World Cup - Group Stage Draw
World Cup - Group Stage Draw
BAHIA, BRAZIL — With all the negativity surrounding the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it’s easy to forget what it was that brought the tournament here in the first place: soccer.
Before the concerns about infrastructure, stadiums, transportation, government distrust and overall cost of the world’s sporting event, there was the simply the game, and the Brazilians’ undying love for it.
On Thursday afternoon in Bahia, adidas gave me the official match ball for next summer’s World Cup. Little did I know that the ball would prove to be the apple in the eye of every Brazilian I met that day.
Every few feet, someone wanted to hold it and take a picture with it. A couple of local volunteers looked like they might cry when they had to part with it. You could see the unbridled joy in just the way people looked at what adidas is calling the “brazuca” – it’s like a holy grail to Brazilians.
There was the young girl who asked me if it was the “oficial brazuca,” and her jaw nearly dropping to the floor when I told her yes. And when she held it, she jumped around like it was Christmas morning.
There were the two children so small they could barely wrap their arms around it, beaming with delight as they desperately held on tight.
There was the waitress who, after a few minutes of gesturing and attempts to explain what she wanted, gave me her email so I could send her a copy of the photograph I took of her holding it.
There was the chef who took a break to come all the way out of the kitchen to the dining area just to hold, juggle and take a picture with the ball.
There was the cheeky little boy that jokingly tried to run off with it – twice.
Despite ever-growing concern and frustration with Brazil’s World Cup, the Brazilians’ excitement and joy from something as simple as the brazuca made it clear that if there is one thing this country can find happiness in, it’s soccer.
Bosnian league leaders Željezničar beat second-placed Borac 1-0 on Saturday, but the heavyweight showdown was marred by fiery altercations between the two clubs’ fan bases.
Just before halftime, supporters turned the stands into a battlefield by tossing exploding firecrackers at each other, causing a stoppage of play that lasted for a few minutes.
Sadly, this is just par for the course in the Balkans. Just a few weeks ago, Serbia’s top rivalry between Partizan and Red Star Belgrade turned into a massive bonfire as Partizan fans set their foes’ stadium literally aflame:
Real Madrid v Galatasaray
One can only wonder why this lone, stunned Spurs supporter stayed at the Etihad this long (Image: Reuters)
Poor Spurs …
Fresh off their biggest defeat of the season, a 6-0 smack-down courtesy of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Tottenham were mocked by more than one player from North London rivals Arsenal.
Chronic Re-tweeter Emmanuel Frimpong retweeted a pair of exasperating messages during the match, one a (successful) plea to make the defeat even heavier, and the other a harsh evaluation of a particular Spurs player:
Not one to miss an opportunity for some Spurs trash talk (or piano dissing) Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny took to Facebook instead, trolling his rival supporters with this message:
During the match, a whole block of City supporters flashed Tottenham the famous “Heart” sign which Spurs were used to seeing from a certain Gareth Bale:
Talk about rubbing it in. It can’t get much worse for Spurs, who tumbled down to ninth place with the loss and have a goal differential of minus 3. In fact, Sergio Aguero, who scored two goals Sunday, now has one more Premier League goal this season (10) than Tottenham (9).
Spurs fans, if there is one reason to remain optimistic it is this: Manchester United were down in the bottom half of the table only a month ago, but after a streak of six games without a loss, find themselves back in 6th.
League One side Leyton Orient beat Swindon Town 3-1 on Saturday to maintain their lead in the standings, but the story of the match was an ugly incident. During a stoppage of play, a Swindon fan stormed the pitch and threw several punches at Orient goalkeeper Jamie Jones.
Reports have since confirmed that the fan was immediately arrested, and Orient’s chief executive Matt Porter said Swindon are set to hand the supporter a life ban from their ground.
Swindon confirm fan who ran on pitch and attacked Jamie was arrested and will be banned for life. We will also press for strongest penalty— Matt Porter (@MattPorter_LOFC)
According to the Daily Mail, the FA will speak to officials from both Swindon and Orient before deciding on whether to take any more action.
A spokesman said: ‘We deplore scenes of this kind and would call for the authorities to take the appropriate actions if allegations of assault are proven.
The spokesman also confirmed the FA would push for a banning order from all grounds.
Following the incident, infuriated O’s manager Russell Slade called for a lifetime ban on all grounds, while Swindon chairman Jed McCrory apologized to Jones and vowed to launch a review of the club’s safety measures.
Pictures of the attack, as well as comments by Orient captain Nathan Clarke are below:
Slade: “It was a fantastic performance soured by what happened. It was the worst I’ve seen as a manager” pic.twitter.com/uGxfghbyij— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc)
— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc)
Clarke: “Jamie handled it well and fair play to Swindon, their captain apologised on behalf of them straight away” pic.twitter.com/J1d3vlFooJ— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc)
Former Welsh international Vinnie Jones joined FOX Soccer Daily on Thursday, so what better than to take a trip down memory lane with the Wimbledon legend?
Jones after winning the FA Cup final with Wimbledon in 1988.
Jones, seen here celebrating a save, was forced into action in the goal after Wimbledon’s keeper was sent off against Newcastle.
More than just a footballer, Jones made his acting debut in Guy Ritchie’s classic “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”
(Image: The Monecito Picture Company)
And then, of course, who could forget Jones’ role as a Manchester United hooligan in “Euro Trip”?
Scotland v United States
The fine folks over at FootballAsFootball.com have re-envisioned some of the most recognizable logos in American sports: NFL team logos.
Taking four of football’s most soccer-crazed countries, the artists made logos in the style of English, Italian, German and Spanish clubs. Take a look at some of our favorites from each country below, and be sure to check them all out and find your favorite:
San Francisco 49ers (Germany)
Arizona Cardinals (Spain)
New York Jets (Italy)
Buffalo Bills (England)
Football is nothing without its fans.
That’s the message Barclays, the Premier League’s official sponsor, is reaffirming with a series of videos on their YouTube channel. The videos are dedicated to supporters all around the world and specifically some local heroes. Heroes such as George Forster.
Forster, 87, founded the Sunderland Supporters’ Association back in 1965 and dedicated the last 48 years of his life (and counting) to the Black Cats. Nothing short of a legend around the Stadium of Light, even the players have acknowledged his lengthy service: George is an honorary member of the Sunderland Former Players Association - the only non-player to hold such an honor, according to Barclays Football’s official Facebook page.
"People like George, they are football, they are the real fans, they are the football club” said his grandson, Lee Redford.
Image: Facebook/Barclays Football
There are stories like Forster’s all around the Premier League, and it’s important to show our appreciation to these men who dedicate their lives to their club, to their passion. Aptly labeled with the #YouAreFootball hashtag, we encourage you to watch the rest of the Premier League’s original videos on their YouTube channel!