Archive for the ‘A Bit of Football’ Category


Yeah, this is one of those sports “fail”s.

This took place during the Presidents Tournament at AUB, it’s the second one they host. American University of Dubai (AUD) and the American University of Beirut (AUB) were playing, and apparently things got messy with a red card.

Don’t ask, just watch :P


With the playoffs coming nearby and the Miami Heat vying to secure the second ranking in the Eastern Conference, reigning two time MVP and superstar LeBron James wants to take his talents to another place. And we aren’t talking about basketball.

Not just Miami, but Liverpool too

Joining forces with hedge-fund manager John Henry and veteran Hollywood producer of The Cosby Show, Roseanne, 3rd Rock from the Sun and That 70s Show Tim Werner, James now owns a minority stake in one of the biggest English football clubs, Liverpool FC.

Bringing one of the biggest North American and worldwide superstar athletes and two of the most famous teams in the world, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) also happens to own the Boston Red Sox of the Major League of Baseball, uniting with LeBron James’ sports-marketing firm LRMR Branding & Marketing to be a worldwide representative for the Miami Heat star.

This deal is a first of the kind, as no professional athlete at his prime has purchased a stake in such a powerhouse club as big as Liverpool, easily magnifying James’ image in the world of sports.

The nine year old Boston-based Fenway Sports Group purchased Liverpool for $488 million dollars last October.

A winning move for LeBron and a winning move for Liverpool. Only if they were both actually winning in their leagues.

Liverpool is valued as one of the most valuable soccer franchises in the world and has won 18 top division championships in its storied history.

“Eighteen championships,” the 26-year-old James told the Journal. “I see myself trying to do the same things they have.”

Yeah, right. He’ll get them all in 4 lifetimes.

 


David Beckham is known for many things: his football skills, his luscious hair, his numerous brand endorsements, and former pop-star wife (who could use a few kilos). He can now add LEGO supporter to that list. Yes, you read right. LEGO, those little building blocks that we used to play with as kids and which to some people are an obsession. Well, I wouldn’t blame them, LEGOs are a great, cheap way to unleash your creativity and be entertained for hours on end.

LEGOs Number 1 Fan

Well, now one of the biggest footballers in the world has admitted that if he had not gone into his current career path, he would’ve been *gasp* a professional LEGO builder. Really? Now that’s one full-time job I’d gladly apply for if job hunting in my field doesn’t bode well, no matter what the pay is.
Of course in our world, if a celebrity, no matter what the field is, endorses something or states his/her passion for it, it becomes an instant bestseller over night. Such is the case for one of the most expensive and extensive box sets that LEGO has ever produced, the Taj Mahal. Yes, that huge tomb in India can be recreated in LEGO :D
Turns out, Becks started building one but gave up on it when he got injured while at Milan. Now, and after his proclamation, sales for this particular set have gone up, get this, 633 PERCENT in one single day. Wow. I wish all those who bought the sets much luck and patience as they attempt to get through all the pieces and instructions.
But I’m not really surprised. Becks could get behind a piece of celery and make it seem like the most exciting thing ever.

One of the biggest Pepsi ads ever made

This is definitely one the biggest rise in sales that I have come across though there have been many of the case, like when supermodel Kate Moss designed a line for the famous English brand Topshop or when Micheal Jackson, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and others got behind Pepsi.
So, the morale of the whole story is that if you have a product you desperately want to sell, just get the nearest, biggest celebrity and just sit back and watch the product fly off the shelves.
Note: The above-mentioned step is not fail-proof. Example: Madonna and Pepsi (Google it, it’s highly interesting)


Kobe Bryant was one of the most hated athletes in the United States.

Tiger Woods was on the other side of that spectrum,

Add back to back NBA championships for Kobe in the past two years, and the sex scandal (call that multiple if you want) for Tiger Woods, and surprisingly, they are tied as America’s Top Sports Star, in a survey of 2,227 adults conducted by Harris Interactive.

Kobe Bryant is now America's top sports star with golfer Tiger Woods

One wouldn’t expect Kobe to be at top, knowing how much  hatred he receives in the league despite being the best basketball player today, but I certainly wouldn’t expect Tiger Woods to still be liked with all the controversy surrounded by him this year.

Woods had possessed the number one position alone since ’06, while Kobe Bryant made a jump from fourth last year to tie the greatest golfer alive.

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees moved up from  fifth to third while LeBron James dropped from third to sixth, despite the fact that this survey was done from June 14 to June 21, i.e. before James decided to leave Cleveland for Miami.

The legend that James and Bryant are being compared to, Michael Jordan, had a huge drop from the second position to seventh.

Quarterbacks Brett Favre and Peyton Manning also saw improvement, as they rose from ninth to fourth and seventh to fifth respectively.

The top 10 was rounded off with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who failed to make the Top 10 last year, at eight, followed by Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees of New Orleans Saints at ninth, and NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. at number ten.

The names aren’t surprises, with only one retired athlete among them (Jordan). Yet one would expect Brees to be the highest among quarterbacks since he won the first Super Bowl for the Saints since Hurricane Katrina.

As for the female athletes, the Williams sisters Serena and Venus once again went 1-2 for the second straight year, while NASCAR’s first female driver Danica Patrick kept her third position for that period as well.

As usual, Serena and Venus giving the 1-2 punch everywhere

Retired soccer player Mia Hamm moved up one spot for number four, and Maria Sharapova, who was tied at six, also moved up one spot.

The tennis list wouldn’t stop there as Anna Kournikova moved up three spots to sixth.

Volleyball player Mista May and gymnast Shawn Johnson tied for number seven, WNBA star Lisa Leslie came in at number 9, with the retired tennis stars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova finishing the Top 10 in a tie.

Dropping out of the Top 10 for male athletes were  NASCAR”s Jeff Gordon and St. Louis’ first baseman Albert Pujols. As for the the female athletes, there were more dropouts, including WNBA’s Candace Parker, golfer Annika Sorenstam,  figure skater Michelle Kwan and former tennis star Chris Evert.


(Note: It was supposed to come out this morning, but due to reasons out of my control, it’s coming out now. Enjoy!)

Iniesta scoring the winner

It’s the moment everyone waits for. It’s the most anticipated and important game that takes place in the global sport. It’s the World Cup final, and the two teams participating in the game, Spain and Netherlands, were battling for their first World Cup.

In Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, the final didn’t live up to expectations as both teams on paper are composed of the top players that play in the top European leagues, mainly the Spanish, English and German league. The game was a very physical and dirty one, as there were 14 yellow cards, a World Cup final record, whistled in the game, 8 for the Oranje side, including a kung fu kick in the first half on Xabi Alonso by Nigel de Jong, where the latter was lucky to remain in the game.

Despite the harsh play by both sides, there were some chances for scoring in regular time, starting with Sergio Ramos missing a header in the first half after a beautiful cross by Xavi. In the second half came a crucial miss by Arjen Robben in the second half as he went one-on-one with Spanish goalie Iker Casillas  after a pass by Wesley Sneijder and shot the ball to the left as Casillas jumped opposite, only to be saved miraculously by Casillas’ feet.  As it would be seen later, this wouldn’t be the only opportunity had in this game. It seemed from there that the Dutch’s luck wasn’t on their side tonight as it normally never is when it comes down to the title match. Sergio Ramos would once again get spectacular opportunity as he had another header off a corner kick towards the end of the second half and would miss again.

After extra time began, Robben managed to sprint past defender Carles Puyol and get control of the ball, yet after a grab by Puyol from behind, Robben was unable to balance himself, hence Casillas once again stepping up and saving the ball, although Robben insisted later that Puyol should’ve been sent off. Cesc Fabregas came in as a sub for Spain and managed to create several opportunities in extra time, including missing a shot himself after it was deflected by the goalie and passing it to Xavi, who was tripped in the penalty box and should’ve been rewarded with a  penalty.

With all the yellow cards being given in the match, it was only a matter of time before a red card was shown, and Hettinga of the Netherlands was shown one in the second extra time after clearly tripping Andres Iniesta outside the box, depriving him from a clear goal and receiving his second yellow card, leaving the Dutch to 10 men.

Yet here comes in the controversy of the game. After a free kick by the Dutch had clearly changed path after hitting the Spanish defense and the Casillas,  the Dutch weren’t rewarded with a corner kick; instead, El Matadore  were given the goal kick, and Cesc  Fabregas took advantage of the extra man and past the ball to Andres Iniesta, who once again stepped up as a clutch player and shot to the opposite left of him past the Dutch goalkeeper with four minutes left, awarding the Spanish their first World Cup ever, with Iniesta and the Spanish captain Casillas the men of the match. The Dutch were left to only think of the “What-ifs” about Arjen Robben unluckily missing those shots.

Spain celebrating their well deserved World Cup

Notes:

  • Arjen Robben received a yellow card for complaining about missing his second shot, and should’ve received another yellow card for scoring after the referee had whistled an offside.
  • This is the third time Netherlands has been defeated in the final, the first since 1978, leading to winning no World Cups in 3 tries; while Spain reached its first final and is now one for one.
  • Spain is the first nation to lose its first match and still win the World Cup.
  • Thomas Muller received Best Young Player of the tournament, as well as the Top Scorer with 5 goals, coming over David Villa (Spain), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands) and Diego Forlan (Uruguay), who all had 5 goals but Muller had more assists.
  • Iker Casillas received the Best Goalkeeper award in the tournament.
  • The talk of the World Cup, Paul the Octupus, went 8 for 8 in its predictions as it predicted all 7 seven winners in Germany’s games, and the winner of the final.
  • Germany has lost to the eventual World Champion for the third consecutive World Cup.
  • European countries have 10 World Cups to 9 for the South Americans, and have broken the pattern of 1 to 1.
  • European countries have ranked the top 3 in the World Cup for the past 2.
  • FC Barcelona had the 15 players in the World Cup, the most, with 8 in the world champions Spain, including Andres Iniesta who capped the win with his goal.

In what is known as the World Cup consolation game, Germany secured its second consecutive 3rd place in the World Cup by defeating Uruguay in an entertaining game 3-2, where the Europeans were playing without their stars, captain Phillip Lahm, strikers Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, and goalkeeper Manual Neuer.

Thomas Muller, returning from a one game suspension, opened the scoring in the 19th minute after rebounding on saved shot by captain Bastian Schwienstiger. Muller is now currently tied with David Villa, Diego Forlan and Wesley Sneijder with 5 goals for lead scorer in the tournament.

In less than ten minutes, the South Americans came back into the game after Luis Suarez set up Edinsin Cavani in the left corner with a perfect pass, with the latter shooting the ball past the substitute goalkeeper.

Shortly after the second half began, specifically the 51st minute, Diego Forlan also increased his goal tally in the tournament to five goals by scoring on a beautiful volley after a cross by teammate Egidio Arevalo, where the ball bounced past goalkeeper Butt, who stood and watched the ball go in to give Uruguay a 2-1 lead.

“La Celeste” ‘s lead barely lasted for 5 minutes, Jerome Boateng set up a cross into the box, where the Uruguayan goalkeeper made another mistake as he came out of his goal to save it but missed, and the ball came perfect on Marcell Jansen’s head as he headed it into an empty goal, tying the game at 2-2.

As the game seemed to be heading into overtime miserably, Germany’s Mesut Ozil;s corner kick caused confusion in the Uruguayan area where it led to Sami Khedira heading the winning goal, his first goal of the tournament, securing the bronze medal for the Mannschaft, which is what they least deserved in this World Cup.

This ensures that this would be the second World cup in a row where the medal teams would all be Europeans, where the top 2 would be decided in an exciting clash between the Netherlands and Spain.

Muller's goal

Muller scoring the first goal of the game.

Many football fans were excited about this game since this would be the supposedly last chance for Miroslav Klose, 14 goals, to break the all-time record for goals scored in World Cups, which is 15 set by Brazil’s Ronaldo. Yet due to a back injury, Klose missed the game and a chance to break that record, although it seems that another German is on the path to break that record, Muller. The 20 year old German so far has 5 goals and is expected to play in at least 3 World Cups, giving him a great chance for setting a new record.

The Germans, whose expectations weren’t that good considering the youth and inexperience of the team and absence of captain Michael Ballack due to injury, had a very stellar performance throughout this World Cup, where they thrashed the Australians in their first game 4-1. In their second game of group-play, Miroslav Klose received two yellow cards in the span of 24 minutes to leave the Mannschaft down to ten players, eventually leading them to lose surprisingly to Serbia on a lone goal, putting the Germans’ on the verge of being knocked out. In their last game in the 1st round, the Germans managed to muster a 1-0 win against a defensive-oriented Ghana, helping them top Group D and staging a 2nd Round clash with their hated rivals, England, whom were surprisingly routed by the Germans in that game 4 – 1. Then came the Argentian side in the quarter finals, who were favored to win the World Cup after their strong display in their four games; yet once again, Die Mannschaft knocked the Albeceleste out in the second consecutive quarterfinals, however this time squashing them with four goals to nothing. This win set them up with the heavily favored Spanish, who beat the Germans two years ago in the Euro 2008 final on a lone goal, where two years later, the score would repeat itself, as Carles Puyol netted a header to win the game.

On the other hand, the Uruguayan team started their World Cup run by playing a goalless draw with the French, then they routed the hosts South Africa 3-0, and come on top of their group by defeating Mexico with one goal to nothing. Topping their group led to a clash with the South Koreans, whom they defeated with a late goal, that led to a score of 2-1. The win set them up with Africa’s last hope in the tournament, Ghana. Easily the wildest game in this World Cup, this game will be remembered for Luis Suarez’s controversial handsball in the last minute of extra time that saved them from incurring a goal, eventually leading to a penalty for the Black Stars that was missed and penalty shootout that saw the Uruguayans proceed to their first semi finals in a long time, facing the Dutch. This semi final was unlike the other and full of goals, yet the Celeste’s surprising run would end here with a loss of three goals to two.

The Germans’ future seems to be bright after this World Cup, as their young team has gained the necessary experience and had arguably had the performance in the World Cup despite their frustrating loss to Spain in the semis. Uruguay on the other hand would not have their star Forlan, as he would turn 35 for the 2014 World Cup, but Luis Suarez would be the heart of the team as he would be expected to hit his prime.