Tag: betting on soccer
Let it there be no doubt, Spain is currently experiencing it’s golden age in sports, and by no means is soccer an exception. Forget about the haters that claimed that the Spanish style is not beautiful, that their game is effective but ultimately boring. Let’s get this one right from the start: Vicente del Bosque’s squads played a magnificent game of football against the Italian squad for the EURO 2012 Championship. And the Azzurri never had a chance. From the start, Spain kept a flowing, one-touch, quick and swift play with which they constantly found it’s way pass the Italian defense, to take a 4-0 win to leave no doubters behind. This is the finest soccer team in the world. After this display of talent and courage, Spain became the first team to win three straight major tournaments and the first to repeat as Euro champion.
Earlier during the tournament, and for the first time in a while, the Spanish team looked vulnerable. Losing their all-time leading scorer, David Villa, had dogged the side throughout. Del Bosque opted to try to cover-up his lack of offensive talent, playing with a false nine formation, appearing to be playing without a true striker. But for the Final match in Kiev, the Spaniards shook it up a bit and started Cesc Fabregas up in the front. The Spaniards relied heavily on a fast-paced short play game. The Italians on the other hand, were going for the long pass and it became evident from the start that Andrea Pirlo was aiming his passes straight up to the young and talented striker Mario Balotelli who kept on trying to impose with his physicality over another rough guy: Spaniard defender Sergio Ramos.
But the big difference was that for this match, the Spanish National team was taking shots whenever it’s strikers had a close look. It took the team less then 15 minutes to break this one down. Andres Iniesta cut open the Italian defense to find Fabregas a step ahead of Giorgio Chiellini. A little too much space and Fabregas got things rolling, opening enough space between him to send the ball in for David Silva to head it into the goal of Gianluigi Buffon. It was a strong game and from the start, the Spaniards new that this one would go their way. Just take into account the following record, this very defining streak: Spain has won all of the previous 70 matches in which it had taken the lead. That’s a win every time they scored first since September 2006.
The rest of the goals came in soon enough. The Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas send a goal kick straight to Xavi. He controlled the ball and sent a swift pass into the path of flying down Jordi Alba, who controlled the ball and sent it straight into the goal for the 2-0 advantage in the game. In the 75th minute Cesc Fabregas was substituted by the striker Fernando Torres. He didn’t miss a beat to make a strong impression and score his 3rd goal in the tournament. As if that was not enough, just four minutes later he provided the assistance for Juan Mata’s goal. That’s 4-0.
A soccer match in Port Said, Egypt, between Al-Masry and the nations strongest squad, Al-Ahly, ended up in tragedy when hundred of fans stampede into the field at the end of the 3-1 upset from Al-Masry. The detail of the tragedy are still a bit unclear, but the official report says that at least 76 people have died because of the fighs, riots and stampede that happened at the end of the game. It is hard to understand why and how the violence grew so fast. It’s not that the fans rushed into the soccer field, what has taken many people by surprise is how fast the violence escalated and soon enough, Al Masry fans were armed with sticks, rocks, even stadium chairs, hitting the fans.
The fight broke out after fans of Al-Masry, the home team in the northeastern city of Port Said, stormed the field. For a moment there it seemed that all they were doing was celebrating a rare 3-1 win against Al-Ahly, Egypt’s top team. But sure enough, as opposite fans tried to escape through the tunnels of the lower part of the stadium, many fans died from suffocation and injuries produced by the stampede. It looks as if the emergency exits just could keep up with the huge mass of fans trying to desperately escape. Many others fans were plain victims of violent attacks in the outskirts of the stadium. The police officials and the additional private security personal in the stadium not only were outnumbered but didn’t even really tried to stop the madness.
State TV showed footage in which the Al-Ahly players were seen running for their locker room, trying to find some protection. In the meantime fistfights broke out among the hundreds of fans swarming the field. You can find some videos of this incident in the Wall Street Journal YouTube Channel. Some men had to rescue a manager from the losing team as he was being beaten, and carried him to safety.
This tragedy was the deadliest incident of soccer violence since Oct. 16, 1996, when at least 78 people died and 180 others were injured in a stampede at a stadium in Guatemala City before a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica. Still, it seems that once the official report comes out, the number of fatal victims could increase. Sayed Hamdi, an Al-Ahly player, told reporters that the players had to seek refuge in the locker rooms. “It was an atmosphere of terrorism,” Hamdi said.
What results to be most shocking was the utter incompetence from the police forces to actually control the fans in the initial outburst. By the time there was some sort of reaction and policeman tried to help some of the players, hundreds of other fans were already rioting in the middle of the field, having impromptu fist fights among rivals. Although further details are still to be delivered, Hesham Sheiha, a health ministry official, said in a press release that the fatal victims suffered deep cuts to the head and suffocation from the stampede. The Soccer Tournament has now been suspended indefinitely and an official investigation has been requested by the government.
Bring them in while they are young and they’ll be yours forever. That’s how the popular saying goes like, and yet, it’s still a bit unnerving that year after year, scouts all over the world are trying to secure talent as young as they can possibly get them. And yet, there is got to be a limit, right? Someone is got to draw the line at some point, I guess. But then again, who’s supposed to say when someone is too young to sign a professional contract? Let’s say, the parents, if the player involved is still a minor. But then, what about a 7-year-old kid; I mean, is there a limit? What if NCAA division I basketball teams start finding talented players and offer them private primary school tuition, then take care of them in high school and pave their way straight into their university. Yes, certainly the NCAA wouldn’t allow any of this, but I’m just trying to give you some sort of plausible scenario.
For all I know, if someone shows talent, even if it is at a young age, they should be able to make some profit out of it. Be it, a great scholarship, or chance to study or develop that same talent abroad, it seems at first that it is all about making an advantage, getting something in exchange for your talents. But is it morally or even physically a good idea to sign-in a 7-year-old kid to play in the minor leagues of one of professional sports biggest teams?
Well, that is exactly what’s happening with one Leonel Angel Coira. The Argentinean prospect signed with Spanish club Real Madrid and will begin training Sept. 6, according to a report given by the team to the associated press. According to his facebook page, Coira’s idol is Lionel Messi, the Barcelona forward who is also Argentine and goes by the name Leo. Coira said he prefers to pass rather than score, something that makes him sort of share a similar philosophy towards the sports as the Argentinean midfielder he so admires. The seven year-old and his parents have posted picture of his recent visit to Madrid.
One would first thing that this is quite a risky signing. I mean, for crying out loud, the kid is 7. It’s impossible to guess if his talent is actually going to evolve in a way that could make him a professional athlete. And yet, on the other hand, it seems that the true motivation for Madrid signing the young kid is that other teams in the market had already offered Coira a deal. Rumor has it that Spanish league rival Atletico Madrid was also pursuing the youngster. It seems that Madrid has now secured another possible star.
It really seems that the other two Spanish teams are trying to emulate Barcelona’s business model. Barcelona signed Messi from the Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys as a teenager. He was an undersized young player who had talent but had much to learn and grow before he could play as a pro. Yet, it has been one of the best deals ever made by Barcelona. Lionel Messi has gone on to win the World Player of the Year award two times. He also has helped Barcelona win 15 trophies, including three Champions League titles and five Spanish league championships. Is Coira going to live up to these expectations? I guess we’ll have to give this kid another 10 years to grow before we can figure out if it paid out or not.
Not many fans saw this one coming. At least not before the tournament kicked in two weeks ago. Brazil and Argentina are now officially out of the tournament. They were the two favorite teams to win it all. Now, despite having two of the most sought after players in the continent, that is Lionel Messi for Argentina and Neymar for Brazil, the two teams were an utter disappointment, and their early exit only leaves us wondering if it is time for Brazil to get their act together before they host the next World Cup and for Argentina to stop living off their past glories. It’s been a long time since Mexico 1986.
Brazil and Argentina have been two forces to reckon with in the past. Not only in South America, but their players are exported every year to professional leagues in Europe where they compete among the best players in the world. But when it comes to penalty kicks, there is plenty to do learn still for these multimillion-dollar squads.
The semifinals will pit Uruguay against Peru and Paraguay against Venezuela, which advanced to the semifinals for the first time in its history by beating Chile 2-1. This is certainly an unexpected outcome. Venezuela is perhaps the biggest surprise. Consider for a moment that with what Barcelona paid for Lionel Messi, you could buy Venezuela’s national team, player by player including the bench, 10 times. But then again, it seems to be an endless story of disappointment for the Argentinean and the Brazilian team.
The Copa America 2011 hosted by Argentina will bring out a new South American champion for the first time in at least 16 years. Uruguay won the 1995 tournament at home, and since then Brazil won four titles and Colombia one—at home in 2001.
Let’s start with Brazil. The defending champion outplayed Paraguay from the start but was not able to capitalize on its scoring opportunities, thanks mostly to a great performance by goalkeeper Justo Villar. The talented 34 year-old keeper currently plays in Argentina for Estudiantes de la Plata. Shooting Penalties wasn’t the Brazilian team stronghold and Justo Villar was going to make them suffer at the end. After 120 minutes of game, Brazil and Paraguay went on to the Penalty Kicks. Villar stopped defender Thiago Silva’s shot in the shootout and Elano, Andre Santos and Fred would eventually miss their shots for Brazil, giving the Paraguayans a 2-0 victory.
Argentina’s exit also was nothing short of an utter disappointment. Let’s not forget that Argentina was playing at home, and had Lionel Messi as their creative player. The squad was working in overdrive as it was trying to end a drought of 18 years without major titles. But the Uruguayans got on their way. Not only had to go on with 10 players for a little under 40 minutes of game time, but they kept on defending cleverly and taking every chance to rapidly move their lines forward for with dangerous counterattacks. Uruguay is now on track for its record breaking 15th title as it seems to be the strongest team to advance into the semifinals. But then again, this particular Copa America has been fairly cruel to the favorites.