Posted on: November 14, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 11:28 pm

England Sweden, Draw I think.

England has an advantage, playing these games at home.

Historically, I've seen the figures before head to head, it's rather equal, many draws so without further elaboration, I'd predict a draw again. They are friendlies afterall and the two teams may meet again in the Euro Cup. I really think Sweden wants to get off the floor of a rather long downtime in International play for them at least. Hey, Norway has played in a recent World Cup. Denmark? They were in South Africa and they will be in Poland/Ukraine so the Scandinavians do fairly well in football.

In fact, check head to head, it's actually been decades since England defeated Sweden! Eh, 1923? England beat Sweden, surely a number of times subsequent to that. I'd seen the head to head going back to 1969 and Sweden often played England evenly. http://www.eloratings.net/England.h


In fact, I'm not sure how far the soccerway info goes back but at least since 1988, England has not defeated Sweden, 10 games, Sweden has won 3 times, the rest draws. So, those thinking England will walk this....?? We do need to consider though that Sweden lost to Denmark Friday in a friendly and probably won't be highly inspired to win this one either. In fact, comparatively, USA does just as well vs. Sweden but that is without the major trophy tournaments for the most part.  I don't readily see where we have played Sweden in the World Cup yet, check it out, historically, we, the USA, have faced Italy a number of times.

I'll stick with a draw and if that happens, expectations for the 3 Lions come back down to earth.

Interestingly, check out the history of USA soccer, Sweden was our 1st International that was NOT against Canada. http://www.eloratings.net/USA.htm . "Soccer in a football world", one of the best soccer books out there and that is about the history of the sport in the US makes this clear, 1916 basically saw the USA's first international soccer match and it was against Sweden. We did play Canada twice back in the 1880s.


The other game we will be watching the result for, USA plays Slovenia.

Category: Soccer
Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 11:20 pm

Keep Lamps at Captain!

Hey, truly, Spain may have dominated but as they say, at least they didn't look like a bunch of guys playing for the first time with each other in the way they would pass it back and forth and there is truth to that when the team had the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, no mistake, Gerrard has contributed in some key England wins over the years but I think this team today gelled and this was but one game, there was some good passing out there and honestly, Rooney can be a liability with his play, great for Man Utd., not much for England. Experimental team but it can be tweaked but in the right direction not back to the old guard.

To other news stories, first off, Redknapp had his heart scare? Poor Harry, I'd pray for him but now, this is heavy stuff about the tax court.

The indictment reads: "Mandaric and Redknapp, between 1 April 2002 and 28 November 2007, with intent to defraud and to the prejudice of HM Revenue and Customs, arranged for $145,000, paid by Mandaric as a result of or in connection with Redknapp's employment and as a reward for services, to be transferred to a Monaco bank account opened by Redknapp for that purpose, in order to conceal the said emolument from HM Revenue and Customs and evade the payment of income tax and national insurance contributions thereon (whether by the operation of PAYE by the club or otherwise)."

Much more at the article.

This sounds really serious... you've got to think maybe Redknapp's heart problems might be related to this.

I know a lot of people would disagree but I like Allardyce, I think he could coach England, more heart problems, so then? After Fabio leaves, who might come in??

And back to the 3 Lions, this team today did well enough and as stories say, Spain did have the better attack, all of their big guns were out there, Villa, Fabregas, Mata, everyone. The problem is if Lamps is made permanent Captain and the rest of this team were to stay as is, you'd have those saying "well, where's Rooney?, where's Gerrard?" and on and on. It does present a problem and if they failed, they'd blame it on Capello.

England play again Tuesday versus Sweden, a team who historically, they have a number of draws with. It would not surprise me to see a John Terry Captained England team again, draw Sweden. However, if England can score, obviously, Hart in goal has to be about as good as any goalkeeper in the world today. He made some splendid saves.


Category: Soccer
Tags: England, Euro
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:09 am
Edited on: November 10, 2011 3:19 am

Wearing poppies on the shirt.

In the news we currently have these stories about wearing poppies on the shirts for England, Wales and Scotland to follow suit as well. I was not always aware of the origins of the poppy. It's really important to some. I'm surprised this never came up before. I know there is a famous poem about the poppies.


In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



I may not understand the whole of the situation as well as I should but it seems to me fifa is being their usual shoddy selves.

Category: Soccer
Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:51 pm

Swindon Town defeats Rotheram, League II

Good news for our friend Paolo Di Canio, he was in the news this week, it seems Swindon Town got an ace striker and Di Canio got into a fight with him and said he would never play for Swindon Town.

Now, Swindon Town defeats 2nd place Rotheram today but not before Rotheram was leading.


See the standings here. Paolo was a controversial player, I don't want to overlook or condone things he was accused of but he had bucket loads of talent as a dribbler and ball handler as well.

Category: Soccer
Posted on: May 1, 2011 12:03 pm

Cruising around the World Rankings.

For those that are unfamiliar with them, the ELO ratings http://www.eloratings.net/world.htm

Here for comparison are the Fifa rankings: http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/r

I think the Elo ratings are slightly better.

Our United States is at #27 currently. That doesn't seem quite right. We defeated Spain in the Confederations Cup it seems not too long ago. Mexico is over a hundred points better than our 1735 and Mexico is with Italy, 10th in the rankings. Mexico obviously has some very good players playing for the big teams in Europe such as the case of Chicharito at Manchester United but there seems to be a fair number all over. The US is number 22 in the Fifa rankings, Mexico is actually below us at #26.

It's always worth checking out ELO ratings and in turn to look up every match a country has played. Of course, I don't think they are able to get every single one but they make the effort.

The ELO current rankings see:

1. Spain 2099 points (FIFA, 1857 points)
2. Netherlands 2089 points (FIFA, 1702 points)
3. Brazil 2061 points (FIFA, 1452 points)

And from there, one can look at the rest of the rankings.

Posted on: April 19, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: April 19, 2011 11:43 am

"The Game of their lives"/"Miracle Match" Movie

I once wrote this review of the movie depicting the game between the USA and England at the 1950 World Cup where of course, the USA won. 'Hoosiers' the basketball movie is one of the greatest sports movies ever if not the best one of all. The producers of that came up with this movie too but I personally think the movie is a sham. I probably even gave it too high of a rating.

By the way, there is also a movie called "The game of their lives" about North Korea's 1966 World Cup effort. It is viewable in full at youtube. The link speaking about this movie with the same name is here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0354594
. Most countries are probably somewhat enemies to the oppressive Communistic regime of North Korea, however, I don't fault the players for where they come from and it is still a good story. The BBC aired the documentary. The film on North Korea will likely be enjoyed by all football fans especially how the City of Middlesbrough largely adopted the team as their own as NK were playing in that city.

Here is the Internet Movie Data base's discussion of the American movie "The game of their lives."

Suffice it to say, the story of the USA defeating England in the World Cup in 1950 is a great story. Unfortunately, this movie was highly inaccurate. The movie is based on a book. That book is recommended and not too long at around 200 pages I'd say.

As an action soccer/football movie: 5 stars
As a movie in general: 4 stars
As a historically accurate movie: 3 stars

This is quite a bit different than the book and in most ways the book is better. I had some quibbles about the storyline being faithful to the original event, then I read what a few others found faults with the motion picture fact-wise and now, I'm not sure if this movie should even be recommended. For example, the movie seems to state Sir Stanley Matthews did not play in this game because he went on holiday in Rio...yet, I believe Sir Stan's own book The Way it Was: My Autobiography says simply that he was not picked to play and after this debacle, yes, he got to play for England subsequently but the tourney seemed to be a bust for the 3 Lions. Natthews was not in the prior starting lineups for England in games England won. This is the simple reason he was not picked to play in the game vs. the USA. We all know we would not see such a player having a 'flippant' attitude about sunning himself on the beach while his team faces the stars and stripes. It does count against a movie if its portrayal of events seems to play fast and loose with the actual facts.

This film has some of the best action scenes of any football movie made, the movie moves along rather smooth and harmoniously in regards to how it is written and plot development.

Still, I must say, I do believe the screenplay writer might have had a bit of a personal agenda as to his outlook of this movie, I believe the slant is a bit emphatic on the St. Louis end of the team, so on that basis, you could give it a 4 star rating. I think the book itself has the St. Louis slant too but in a fair and balanced manner. I'm not sure if historically, he's fair to the England team at that and if historically, the presentation is truly factual in other aspects as well. Players in England at that time struggled and did not make great wages yet, I think this movie portrays them as arrogant. Is the speech by Stanley Mortensen fact or fiction?? I don't believe it's in the book. In a way, you could compare it to Braveheart, good action movie but is it truly an honest account of the history in question? Maybe not.

It's definitely a Rah-Rah feel-good movie for USA fans of which I count myself but I do believe there are some glaring errors in how this story is told and that disappoints me.

Posted on: March 26, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: March 26, 2011 12:11 pm

Wales England 100th Meeting

What a pleasant surprise to find ESPN 2 is airing the Wales/England match. This is the hundredth time these two teams have met. Frank Lampard has already converted a penalty kick in the first 10 minutes. The stadium in Wales is abuzz, surely in Cardiff, Stadium of Light (?) or somewhere like that and both National anthems were sung, "Land of Our Fathers" for Wales and the first time I had heard that. That's what I like about watching matches in the UK. Even if Wales has not been a powerful international team in many years, from the crowd, you would not know this. On the other hand, in recent years, Germany and I believe Russia too have defeated the comfortably at Wales. Uh-oh, already a 2nd goal by the 3 Lions.

Back in the old days, there use to be the home nations games or the 'British International Tournament' including Ireland as a home nation and along with Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales, all of these teams would battle each other for supremacy of the land. I believe this idea is being revived in a tournament in Republic of Ireland in a few years except England will not be attending. A very good book talking about the way it was is with these tournaments is indeed, "The way it was" by Sir Stanley Matthews. Wales is currently ranked 78th per ELO ratings while England hangs in at about 6th place. In the days of the Home Nations tournaments, though England surely won the majority of them, Scotland held it's weight quite well and won quite a few. Back in those days, it was a big deal whether England/Scotland played a game in London or Glasgow. I note, even during World War II, the countries would play such as England hosting Wales at the Molineux, that is the Wolverhampton Wanderers home ground.

By 1881, Wales scored their first victory over England. It appears to me that the last time Wales won over England was in 1955 but you can check out the results for yourselves. Wales had a good team and went to the 1958 World Cup, there star player John Charles was injured or according to some, mauled by the Hungarian players in that earlier game and Charles could not play against the fine Brazilian team that won the world cup. There is a book out on this called "When Pele broke our hearts", Wales might have gone further and I believe only lost 1-0.

Category: Soccer
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