14
Jul

Germany’s Kramer can’t remember World Cup final after blow to the head

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A World Cup final is the type of game a player wants to remember every minute of. Unfortunately, Germany’s Christoph Kramer, who took a blow to the head yesterday in a collision with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay, now says he can’t remember much of it at all.

Kramer took a blow to the face early, and then continued playing for 14 minutes before slumping to the ground. Kramer had to be carried off. (Gonzalo Higuain also took a blow to the head from the knee of German keeper Manuel Neuer in the game, but never seemed to lose consciousness.)

"I can’t really remember much of the game," Kramer told German newspaper Die Welt. 

"I don’t know anything at all about the first half. I thought later that I left the game immediately after the tackle. I have no idea how I got to the changing rooms. I don’t know anything else. In my head, the game starts from the second half."

Concussions are no joke. Post-concussion syndromes have been linked to dementia, depression and death. Lingering injuries from concussions have also ended a number of top players’ careers, including that of former USA forward Taylor Twellman.

FIFA has also been criticized for their handling of head injuries during this past tournament: Uruguay defender Alvaro Pereira appeared to be briefly knocked unconscious after a knee to the head, but demanded to be and was allowed to continue playing. 

Kramer’s incident — and his subsequent admission — will heap on more pressure for FIFA to allow independent concussion testing. One solution? Allowing teams to use a free substitute while the player in question is being evaluated. 

(h/t The Independent)

(Image: Getty)

12
Jul

Pope Francis, Benedict XVI will remain neutral in World Cup final

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With the World Cup final nearly upon us, supporters from the two teams that make up the fixture — Argentina and Germany — will be desperate for some divine intervention to see them to glory. Unfortunately, though, they won’t be able to call in any favors from two of the holiest men on the planet.

Pope Francis — who is Argentine — nor his predecessor, ex-German Pope Benedict XVI will be supporting their respective nations.

“Popes are above such things,” Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said, via The Boston Globe. “They can only hope for the best team to win.”

Their decision to remain impartial may come as a shock to many, considering the first pontiff from Latin America is an avid soccer fan who roots for the Saints of San Lorenzo back in Buenos Aires. Since his election in March, Pope Francis has accumulated a growing collection of soccer jerseys tossed to him by fans at his public appearances.

Although neither is willing to side with either nation, the Pope is expected to catch the action, according to Roxana Alfieri, who worked with Pope Francis in Argentina.

“He will surely watch the match; I have no doubt about it,” Alfieri said. “He used to listen to San Lorenzo on the radio and enjoyed following all the big events on TV.”

(H/T NESN)

Photo provide by Getty Images. Information from The Associated Press was used in this post.

9
Jul

World Cup Day 23: Netherlands vs. Argentina

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In case you haven’t heard, the 2014 World Cup final is set: Germany vs. Argentina. Or, Lionel Messi vs. THE MACHINE, as Jon Champion so eloquently put it.

Mmm, tasty!

One thing immediately became clear: Just 24 hours after Germany handed Brazil its most humiliating defeat of all time, the hosts couldn’t jump on Germany’s bandwagon quick enough. Funny how this game goes sometimes:

Speaking of, Wednesday’s semifinal (or should I say, zzzzzz-emifinal) between Argentina and the Netherlands was NOTHING like Germany’s rout.

All you really need to know is that the Dutch and Albiceleste combined for five shots on goal for the entire 90 minutes and extra-time, the same number of goals Germany scored in 19 minutes of the first half on Tuesday. Yeah…

So how did we get to this World Cup final rematch of 1990 and 1986, the “rubber match” if you will between Germany and Argentina? Check out the best tweets:

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The big story of the first half was Javier Mascherano visibly seeing stars after a head-to-head collision, then being allowed to play on. Yet another concussion controversy in soccer. Ho-hum:

Somehow, that was literally the only talking point of the first half

Half time!

Alas, the second 45 minutes were much like the first:

Read More

8
Jul

Argentine-born Dutch Queen faces rough World Cup semifinal

The World Cup semifinal could get tense in the Dutch royal home.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Argentina-born Maxima, might be sitting on opposite sides of the couch on Wednesday when the Netherlands takes on Argentina in Sao Paulo.

The Twitter-verse is at least having fun with the idea.

Take a look at some of the craftier posts:

Publicly, at least, Maxima is a proud fan of her adopted country.

Earlier in the tournament, she joined her husband in Porto Alegre to watch the Netherlands’ 3-2 win over Australia and celebrated with the team in the locker room afterwards.

The Dutch government told The Associated Press on Monday that the couple will not fly to Sao Paulo to watch Wednesday’s match in person.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

28
Jun

Lionel Messi’s grandfather slams grandson over his World Cup form

Most people have run out of superlatives for Lionel Messi’s performances on a soccer field. “La Pulga” (The Flea) has taken the World Cup in stride — four goals in three games — and catapulted Argentina into the Round of 16, where they will now face Switzerland.

His goal-scoring prowess, however, wasn’t enough to impress his top critic: Antonio Cuccitini, his grandfather.

The striker’s grandpa wasn’t too pleased with his famous grandson’s performances in Brazil 2014 thus far. Cuccitini told AS.com:

"I think he’s been pretty poor. In Spain, he’s got more zip, he goes around 22 players. He needs to get his spark back. Right now Leo isn’t running, I’m not convinced by him. I’m truthful and I don’t have time for hot air.”

Ouch! That’s gotta hurt.

Despite three “man of the match” performances, does Messi’s grandad really think the four-time Ballon d’Or winner isn’t putting the effort in? That’s a stretch and one that we can’t believe.

Even so, Cuccitini did offer some helpful words of encouragement for the Argentina superstar and showed us that he does have a heart.

“You can’t demand everything,” Cuccitini said. “He’s not God, who can do it all. … Keep your chin up, you’ll do great, I love you lots.”

(H/T: NESN)

Image provided Mundial Deportivo/Twitter/AP