8
May

Scoring from that angle should definitely be illegal

Somebody arrest Fernando Guerrero, because the goal he scored for Independiente del Valle over the weekend is definitely not legal.

The Ecuadorian striker scored from a nearly impossible angle. You have to watch it to believe it. And then maybe watch it again:

If breaking the laws of soccer is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

(H/T SB Nation)

24
Apr

National teams have odd requirements for Brazil World Cup

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Is this how Portugal’s security will protect Ronaldo? (Image: Action)

It’s never easy to adjust to a new environment when you’re traveling the world. The importance of that adjustment is astronomical for teams at a World Cup. The pressure is on to perform, but how can players be expected to do so if they’re not comfortable?

Naturally, each team has some specific and downright weird demands ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

  • Portugal must have six private security guards, with FOUR of them dedicated to protecting Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Ecuador requires a basket of Ecuadorian bananas every day in their rooms.
  • Uruguay wants silent air-conditioners in the players rooms.
  • France needs liquid soap, not bar soap, for proper bathing.
  • Honduras has to have faster WiFi.
  • Japan’s demands include a jacuzzi in every suite.

This is just a sample of the requirements released by Brazilian newspaper Lance. And we’re sure there are many more demands that we’ll never hear about (and probably don’t want to).

(H/T SB Nation)

14
Oct

Seven nations still in the mix for final World Cup berths in CONCACAF & CONMEBOL

The single table formats in North and South America create a more straightforward final day of World Cup qualifying. There are some permutations to ponder and some weird scenarios — but the final standings reveal the pecking order rather quickly.

Most of the uncertainty surrounds the final berths in both confederations. Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay will fight it out for the two remaining confirmed berths and the playoff place in South America; Honduras, Mexico and Panama must sort out the last direct spot and the sole playoff berth in North America.

Here is a look at the circumstances on both continents heading into the final day:

CONMEBOL

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Qualified: Argentina, Colombia

Assured of a playoff place or better: Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay

Eliminated: Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela

 
Chile and Ecuador enter the final day with the inside track to secure the two remaining direct berths into the World Cup. A draw between the two sides in Santiago will send both of them through to Brazil. Uruguay must defeat Argentina in Montevideo and hope either Chile or Ecuador prevails comprehensively in order to climb into the top four. Otherwise, a playoff with Jordan beckons next month.

 
CONCACAF

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Qualified: Costa Rica, United States

Assured of a playoff place or better: Honduras

Eliminated: Jamaica


Honduras can guarantee the final confirmed ticket to next summer’s World Cup with a point against already-eliminated Jamaica in Kingston. Mexico stands to benefit if Honduras fails to secure the desired result at the Office. El Tri can climb into the top three with a Honduran setback and a two-goal victory over the Ticos, but a point will suffice to arrange a playoff with New Zealand next month. Panama must defeat the United States in Panama City and pray for a Costa Rica win in San Jose in order to grab the playoff berth and knock out the Mexicans.

15
Aug

Ecuador-Spain friendly stopped in 11th minute to honor Christian Benitez

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Getty Image

Two weeks after the tragic passing of Christian Benitez due to cardiorespiratory arrest, the Ecuadorian national team took the field again for a friendly against Spain. To pay tribute to the prolific former Club America striker, both teams halted play in the 11th minute as fans cheered the memory of their former Number 11.

In addition, Ecuador’s players took the field with black ribbons sewed onto their jerseys, with some wearing shirts depicting an image of Benitez. One player, as you can see in the video, even had “Chucho,” Benitez’s nickname, shaved in his head. A giant Benitez jersey was also unfurled in the stands, inscribed with hundreds, if not thousands of messages and signatures.

It’s one of those moments that truly transcend the sport, and you could see both the anguish and pride of the Ecuadorians as they took a minute to honor one of their own:

Rest in peace, Christian.

7
Aug

Slap sends opponent to the hospital, culprit apologizes

Emotions often boil over in sports, and even more so in games against rivals. But that should never be an excuse to send one of your opponents to the hospital — especially if he is your teammate on the national team.

But that’s what occurred in Ecuador’s version of “el Clasico” between  Barcelona and Emelec. After Barca lost the match, goalkeeper Maximo Banguero slapped Emelec captain Pedro Quinonez in the face, causing his national team colleague to convulse and nearly lose consciousness, according to Emelec officials.

Banguero, who walked away from the crime scene as if nothing transpired, quickly tried to save face with an apology after hearing Quinonez needed to stay a night in the hospital.

"I want to apologise sincerely to Pedro Quinonez, his family, the supporters, everyone," Banguera told a news conference late on Monday. "I was a bad loser. I am aware if there is a sanction, I will have to face it."

Barcelona and Emelec both stem from the country’s biggest and most populous city, Guayaquil, and have been at odds with one another for as long as we remember. Sadly, the slap attack is just one of the milder incidents that have marred the derby over the years. In 2006, Barcelona fans caused a massive riot in Emerec’s stadium, leading to 40 injuries and nine arrests. Just a year later, an 11-year-old Emelec fan lost his life after being hit by a flare.

11
Jun

Mascherano gets red card for kicking medic, offers apology


Javier “hot head” Mascherano is at it again. The Argentine midfielder found a pretty creative way to get sent off in their World Cup Qualifying match against Ecuador.

After going down with an injury, Mascherano was being stretchered off the field by a cart. But the midfielder wouldn’t let that stop him from causing a scene.

As the cart is driving off the pitch, Mascherano is splashed with water and it seemed to infuriate him. So, his next move was to give the medic driving him a kick in the back — logical.

This is certainly one of the most creative red cards in recent memory. After the match, the Barcelona midfielder apologized for kicking the driver of the stretcher buggy and offered this explanation for his actions:

“I feel ashamed. I don’t like to generate controversy. And I am big enough to admit my mistakes. This embarrasses me. Saddens me.”

Mascherano added: “The stretcher buggy was going too fast and I was about to fall. I warned him (the driver) and he ignored me, but what I did was not justified.”

Thanks for keeping us entertained, Javier. Watch Mascherano’s post-match interview in Spanish below: