Who are ya? (The new football thread)

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Dirk Kuyt's late strike earned Liverpool a dramatic victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield.

The tie seemed destined for a replay at Old Trafford as Ji-Sung Park's powerful shot put United level after Daniel Agger had headed Liverpool into the lead - but there was a late twist to a surprisingly flat encounter.

Liverpool substitute Kuyt escaped the attentions of Patrice Evra with two minutes left to latch on to Andy Carroll's flick and fire past United goalkeeper David de Gea in front of an ecstatic Kop.

It capped a perfect four days for Liverpool and manager Kenny Dalglish after reaching the Carling Cup final and their first Wembley appearance since 1996 at the expense of Manchester City on Wednesday, then sending their fierce rivals out of the FA Cup to reach the last 16.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Pretty grim year's on order for the mighty Red Devils. And for Hibs for that matter.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

They made the Oympics. Good job, ladies. I was watching. Were many others? Much to shape up to compete with the States.


The Mexico game was a little late on the East Coast. I watched the first half of the match against the US. Canada was fortunate to lose only 4-0.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Yes, I'd say so, considering they were down 3-0 after 28 minutes.

Canada always looks great against weaker teams, but the strong teams always shut down the Canadian offence and baffle the defence.

No soccer medals for Canada in London, I'm afraid.

The men's qualifying starts in March, but they haven't made it to the Olympics since 1984.


England captain John Terry will stand trial after the European Championship over allegations he racially abused an opponent during a Premier League match, possibly clearing the way for him to play in the tournament.

England coach Fabio Capello has previously stressed that Terry is "innocent until proven guilty," meaning Terry could remain captain at the June 8-July 1 tournament.

The Chelsea defender is accused of shouting abusive comments at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during an October match. He did not attend Wednesday's first hearing into the case, where his legal team entered a plea of not guilty. The Westminster Magistrates' Court then set a trial date of July 9.



At least 73 people have been killed in fan clashes following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said, state television reports.

The deaths occurred after supporters invaded the pitch following a match between top-tier clubs Masry and al-Ahly on Wednesday.

It is feared the death toll could rise as scores have been injured.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

FA could strip captaincy from Terry

David Bernstein, the Football Association chairman, is facing increasing pressure from inside the organisation to remove the England captaincy from John Terry after a day of high-level talks behind the scenes to ascertain whether he should overrule the manager, Fabio Capello.

Bernstein contacted every member of the 12-strong FA board to ask for their individual views on the day that Rio Ferdinand described himself as "insulted" with a "bad taste in my mouth" and Emmanuel Frimpong, Arsenal's 20-year-old Ghanaian, became the first footballer to say the FA's handling of the case would put him off reporting racist abuse.

Ferdinand and Frimpong both used their Twitter accounts to express their anger on the day Bernstein established that at least one FA member wants Terry to lose the captaincy and that the decision should be taken immediately rather than putting it off until the next board meeting on 23 February.

One issue raised to Bernstein is that it would be difficult for the FA to take the moral high ground if any of England players are racially abused by the crowds at the European Championship in June. Other board members believe the FA is in a no-win situation and that, if it removes the captaincy from Terry, it will be accused of prejudging the case and ignoring the principle of innocent until proved guilty.


John Terry was removed as England's soccer captain Friday as he awaits trial for racial abuse. The star Chelsea defender remains eligible to play for the national team at the European Championship.

The English Football Association said Terry will be stripped of his captaincy "until the allegations against him are resolved."

Terry faces trial in July on charges of racially abusing Queens Park defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game in October.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Good riddance to bad rubbish, says I.


The Anfield Cat


A cat on the Anfield pitch


11 mins: There's a cat on the pitch. It's currently settled in Tottenham's penalty area. Not a fox in the box, but not too far off. "After the Manchester United game Carroll said that Kuyt had shouted at him to knock the ball down for him to run on to it. Which he did. To great success," writes Phil Sawyer. "And then carried on doing during the Wolves match. Had it not occured to Dalglish to mention this tactic in the previous 12 months, or have Carroll's travails at Liverpool been because he's really really hard of hearing?"

13 mins: The cat has now been removed, quite gently, by a burly steward. Carroll celebrates this with a couple of tasty touches.

16 mins: "Would it be unfair to say that the stray cat has already shown more awareness in the penalty area than Andy Carroll?" asks Michael McCarthy, not alone in comparing the two. It showed a good turn of pace and its movement was decent if unconventional, but it also showed a very limited grasp of the offside law and offered limited aerial ability. I'm giving Carroll the nod here.



Catchfire Catchfire's picture


bekayne, that was awesome. Anfield Cat=legend (and a better instinct in the 6-yard box than Andy Carroll. Snap!)

Fabio Capello resigns over John Terry affair; 'Arry Redknapp favourite to replace

Harry Redknapp is the overwhelming favourite to replace Fabio Capelloas England's next manager after the Italian resigned because of the breakdown in his relationship with the Football Association over the John Terry affair.

On an extraordinary day for the two managers, Redknapp was acquitted of tax evasion and Capello informed the FA chairman, David Bernstein, he could not continue in the role now that his employer had gone above him to demote Terry as England captain against his wishes.

Capello was not involved in the consultation process and, after publicly criticising the decision in an interview with Italian television on Sunday, he told Bernstein that he felt the relationship was beyond repair.

His resignation was accepted only hours after Redknapp had been cleared of taking bungs at the end of a two-and-a-half‑week trial at Southwark crown court. The Tottenham Hotspur manager, who said he had been living through a "nightmare", will be the clear choice to take over from Capello and try to reunite a squad that has been badly divided by the Terry case.



Catchfire wrote:


bekayne, that was awesome. Anfield Cat=legend (and a better instinct in the 6-yard box than Andy Carroll. Snap!)


Guess who has their eye on the England job



Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Ha ha ha ha



The non-human captain

You'd hesitate to describe Capello as whimsical but, as he sat mutinously in the stands at Anfield on Monday night, perhaps he took a look at the cat that wandered into the Tottenham penalty area and thought: "You've impressed me as much as anyone else English on the pitch tonight." Had he sought to make some sort of inscrutable philosophical point to his FA handlers, the Italian could have done worse than naming the tabby as his next leader of men. After all, the feline had a familiar quality for an England football captain: an air of having found itself in the middle of a big game by mistake.


Wolverhampton Wanderers fired manager Mick McCarthy on Monday, a day after a humiliating drubbing by its local rival left the club fighting to preserve its Premier League status.

The former Ireland coach's final match in charge of Wolves was Sunday's 5-1 home loss to fellow Midlands team West Bromwich Albion, a fifth straight home defeat that plunged the team back into the relegation zone with 13 matches remaining this season.

McCarthy, who joined Wolves in 2006, became the third manager to lose his job in the Premier League this season - after Steve Bruce at Sunderland in December and Neil Warnock at Queens Park Rangers last month.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Poor Mick. He's a good coach. I don't know what makes Wolves think they'll find a better one -- it always seems to be the way with managers. One of Wolves's rivals will just pick up McCarthy in a few months and he'll have a crack at revenge. Not far off from Ancelotti--it cost Chelsea some 38-million pounds to fire him (a year after he won the domestic double!)--only to hire the new phenom who has them scrambling out of a Euro league position.

Menawhile, Suarez, who never denied using a racial slur against ManUtd's Patrice Evra--just that in Uruguay you can use racist language and it's not offensive--decided not to shake Evra's hand in their Saturday's match. "He could have started a riot," said Sir Alex Ferguson. "He should never play for Liverpool again." It sure was dumb--almost as dumb as Kenny Daglish's strained defence of the classless move after the match.

Oh, and apparently Carlos Teves and Man City's coach Roberto Mancini are set to make peace. Well that's nice.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Rangers appoint administrators and incur 10-point deduction

Rangers have appointed administrators Duff and Phelps after a court battle with Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs. The Glasgow club were given an ultimatum to move into administration at the Court of Session in Edinburgh 24 hours after lodging notice of intent.


The move will trigger an automatic 10-point deduction by the Scottish Premier League all but handing the title to Celtic.


The Court of Session had given Rangers until 3.30pm to appoint an administrator, at which point a challenge by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to do exactly that at Ibrox would have been ruled upon.



ETA: It is time to challenge the 10 point rule in the courts.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Don't sweat it, Caissa. Even with a ten-point penalty, you'll still finish above Hibs easily.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Football must be popular on Babble - at the end of many threads there's a plug for the CFL. Wink


Three own goals helped Liverpool ease past Brighton to secure an FA Cup quarter-final tie against Stoke.

Martin Skrtel gave the Carling Cup finalists the lead but Kazenga LuaLua levelled from 25 yards.

Brighton's Liam Bridcutt put through his own net before Liverpool striker Andy Carroll made it 3-1.

Two more own goals came from Bridcutt and Lewis Dunk before Luis Suarez completed the rout just minutes after missing a late penalty.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

<a href="http://www.theanfieldwrap.com/2012/02/to-tackle-racism-we-must-tackle-ignorance-2/">John Barnes</a> wrote:
The Football Association ticks all the right boxes with its policies and campaigns, the Government passes legislation, the Prime Minister gets involved because someone didn't shake someone's hand, people queue up to say ignorance is no excuse. But they are wrong. Ignorance is the excuse. To stop it, we have to start talking seriously about race.

The idea that race is about colour is relatively modern. When Aristotle spoke about races he was differentiating between uncivilised barbarians and civilised Greeks. But it was introduced by governments, backed by the Church, to validate slavery and colonialism, to justify treating some people as less equal than others. Just as Linnaeus classified plants, so people were classified by the colour of their skin. Academics tried to prove differences in skull formation to give scientific support to the idea that black people were morally and intellectually inferior....


Sophie Schmidt scored twice as Canada opened defence of its Cyprus Cup women's soccer title with a convincing 5-1 win over Scotland on a chilly afternoon Tuesday.

Kelly Parker, captain Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi also scored for the seventh-ranked Canadians. Jane Ross replied for the No. 22 Scots.



Christine Sinclair scored the 131st international goal of her career and Robyn Gayle added an injury-time goal Thursday to give Canada's women's soccer team a 2-1 victory over Italy at the Cyprus Cup.

Sinclair latched onto a long ball from Shannon Woeller in the 43rd minute, chipping it past Italy's goalkeeper. The Canadian captain is now alone in third on the all-time international scoring list, moving past American Kristine Lilly with her 11th goal of the season.

Gayle found the top corner in the dying seconds to give seventh-ranked Canada its second-straight win of the tournament.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Canada lost 2-0 to France today in the final of the Cyprus Cup. No three-peat for Canada.

And no revenge. Sixth-ranked France beat (now optimistically seventh-ranked) Canada 4-0 in the World Cup last year to effectively send Canada out of the tournament.


One minute a fan was hurling a beer can down on David Beckham, the next minute the world-famous footballer was parlaying his anger into a goal for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Landon Donovan scored off Beckham's corner kick in the 89th minute to lift the Galaxy into a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

That is quite a shock, considering how feeble Canada looked against El Salvador in the 0-0 draw on Thursday.

In other news, Christine Sinclair scored both goals for Canada in a 2-1 victory over Brazil in a women's soccer friendly Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.  [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CXq6Iz57ak#!]Highlights video[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The men's team can pretty well forget about the London Olympics, after giving up a 91st-minute goal to Cuba on Monday. By allowing the Cubans to tie the score, Canada ended up out of first place in their group, and now they have to beat Mexico next Saturday (yeah, right).


M. Spector wrote:

The men's team can pretty well forget about the London Olympics, after giving up a 91st-minute goal to Cuba on Monday. By allowing the Cubans to tie the score, Canada ended up out of first place in their group, and now they have to beat Mexico next Saturday (yeah, right).

The only consolation is that the US won't be going. El Salvador scored the tying goal in the 95th minute on an amazing goalkeeper blunder.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hibs Hibs Hibs for the cup! Our team's the greatest, we'll never give up!

Hibernian have afforded themselves yet another chance to end an extraordinary wait. The fact Hibs have not claimed the Scottish Cup since 1902 is the stuff of comedy. Put in context, the Boer War was raging the last time Leith was afforded a victory parade relating to this competition.


Far superior Hibs teams to the present one have failed in bids to end the drought, meaning there is no logic whatsoever to the fact Pat Fenlon's men – haunted by the threat of relegation all season – will return to Hampden Park on 19 May. Then, they will face either Celtic or Heart of Midlothian. Interest in the second Scottish Cup last-four encounter, played on Sunday, has intensified now with the prospect of an Edinburgh derby cup final.

Could be the Hoops or the Jambos in the final. Glory to the Hibees!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Heart of Midlothian beat Celtic 2-1 on a dubious, late penalty in the other Scottish Cup semi-final. It's a capital affair for the final. A Cabbage and Jam Tart Derby.

Come on you Hibs!



Q.: is Mourinho truly  a miracle-worker?

cf. also Champions League next week....



Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the 73rd minute to send Barcelona to its first loss in 55 home games and put Real Madrid on the cusp of breaking the Catalan giants' three-year hold on the Spanish league crown with a 2-1 win Saturday.



Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It was only a matter of time before that team managed to sneak at least one league title away from Barcelona. Mourinho has a good record, but I wouldn't count this as one of his greatest challenges. Especially if, as I expect, Bayern Munich progress to the CL final over Franco's team.

Jonathan Wilson asked yesterday if any of Pep Guardiola's signings actually improved Barcelona. Certainly his tactics did, but if you have a team that perfect, how can you introduce another player into it?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Manchester City FC are champions of England. When they gave Sir Alex Ferguson the worst bollocking of his career, beating Manchester United at Old Trafford 6-1 in October (United's first loss of the season), it looked like they would waltz to their first top league title since 1968. But their early season form started to flag while Sir Alex's Red Devils (who had called Paul Scholes out of retirement) calmly, like champions, racked up a series of wins from January to March. City's league lead, which had seemed unattainable, gradually bled away until United led by a seemingly unsurmountable 8 point lead with six games to play.

Even with the second Manchester Derby coming up, United had a much easier schedule and it didn't seem possible for United to relinquish their advantage, not after their relentless, merciless play since January. Cue their collapse: a loss to relegation-threatened Wigan, giving up a 4-2 lead to Everton to draw 4-4. Then the second Derby, when a buoyant City won 1-0, handing the advantage back to City with goal advantage.

And then the most ridiculous final day in living memory. For United to win the league, with goal difference out of reach, they need to better City's result. Both City and United score early, which seemed to settle the result. But City's opponent, QPR, themselves fighting relegation, equalized, incredibly. When QPR captain Joey Barton (who has done jail time for assault) was red carded for elbowing Carlos Tevez, it seemed inevitable that City would score again. But, again incredibly, it was QPR who scored again. United saw out their 1-0 lead, and seemd poised to take the title one more time.

Cue more unbelievable scenes: Eddie Dzeko heads in from a corner at 91 mins, and City player of the season, Sergio Agüero, at the death, took a touch from Mario Balotelli, danced around a QPR sliding tackle and slotted it into the corner. Pandemonium. Pitch invasion. The title, finally. Vincent Kompany, Man City captain: "Please, please. Never again like this."

I bet Liam and Noel Gallagher are pleased as punch right now.


Any day Man U finishes second is a good day. Too bad my Reds had an indifferent League season.


Okay, I know zero about football, but I was watching a match on Saturday between Manchester U and Sun Somethingorother, and this guy on the Sun team goes down, looking for all the world like he's in total call-911-agony, limps off the field.  Not ten minutes later he's back on, no sign of injury.

What's with the extreme faking?  I've seen this a lot in pro sports, but when it comes to football, it's Academy Award performances.  Please, someone explain this to me.

ETA: I played soccer in school, and stood on the sidelines watching my daughter play.  That's about it for my footie knowledge.


Catchfire might take a crack at this one since he sent sometime living in a Scottish hot-bed of football.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Caissa wrote:
Any day Man U finishes second is a good day. Too bad my Reds had an indifferent League season.

While I may be biased (although I wasn't too broke up about the title, to be honest) and I really like Vincent Kompany and Sergio Agüero, I think any day a team wins the title simply because they bought every good player available and more (they were paying Wayne Bridge £100 000 a week to sit on Sunderland's bench) is a bad day for football. Even if it was the most exciting final day in ages, maybe ever.

Rebecca West wrote:
What's with the extreme faking?  I've seen this a lot in pro sports, but when it comes to football, it's Academy Award performances.  Please, someone explain this to me.

Yeah, obviously this diving stigma is something that gets attached to football whenever it's discussed in North American contexts. My first answer would be that I just don't think it's as wide-spread as many would-be commentators say it is. They hear the reputation, see a dive, and that confirms their prejudice. As a point of comparison, I'd hate to think what first-time hockey spectators would think if they watched Mike Ribeiro or Maxime LaPierre play.

Second, we tend to apply moral value to the culture of the sports we like. For example, most soccer players would be aghast at the "finishing your check" ethos of hockey, which looks to them as an excuse for slower players to hurt more skilled players on purpose. Every single one of those checks would be rewarded with a yellow card on a football pitch. Going down when you're fouled in soccer, even easily, is just part of the game. It doesn't have a moral connotation. This is especially true in footballing cultures like Spain or Brazil which prize skill more than brute force. If you've fouled someone, it means you're too slow. I find it interesting that Don Cherry (the high priest of the Canadian good ol' boys hockey religion) always accuses 'Europeans" of cheating and diving, who also tend to prize skating and hand skills over the rough stuff.

Third, getting tackled hurts. Aside from shin pads, there's no equipment and central defenders are hard men. Getting spiked on your achilles, having someone tackle through the ball while you're running full tilt, or knocking heads is painful, and walking it off is the only way to recover.

There are other strategic things too that may not be considered strictly sportsmanlike, but occur in every sport--time wasting, getting your breath back, irritating your opponent, whatever. It's not the brightest part of the game, but I don't think it warrants the ire usually afforded it by North American sports fans. For example, the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, probably gets kicked in the ankles more than any other player and you can't get him to go down with anything less than a tire iron to the kneecaps.


The battle for Canadian club soccer supremacy resumes Wednesday night in Vancouver.

The first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship aggregate final pits MLS rivals Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps against one another at BC Place to determine which club will represent the country in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Toronto FC has won the Voyageurs Cup (presented to the Canadian club champion) in each of the past four seasons and this spring became the first Canadian team in the 50-year history of the North American Club championship to reach the semifinal stage.



"Amway Canadian Championship" sounds wierd at best.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The worst man in football, John Terry, has been selected for England's Euro 2012 squad, despite facing a hearing next month for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand (see above). Anton's brother, Rio Ferdinand, who used to partner Terry in defence, was not selected--for "footballing reasons" according to the new England manager, Roy Hodgson. But of course everyone is speculating that Hodgson couldn't have selected both, since they have an irreperable relationship after Terry abused Rio's brother (and hasn't apologized or even admitted it). He could have (and should have) not selected either of them.

This coming off the fact that Terry almost jeopardized Chelsea's Champions League hopes by stomping on a Barcelona player, unprovoked. He was red carded and will miss the final (see also above). Terry also cheated on his wife with the long-term partner of former Chelsea teammate, Wayne Bridge, and then allegedly mocked him for being a cuckold. All-round class act, that Terry.

John Terry is a disgrace to football and it's a disgrace to pick him for England's squad.


Sounds like a typical footballer to me Catchfire. Tongue out(ducks swiftly as football boots fly over my head).


Thanks for the context Catchfire.  I'm completely ignorant about pro football.  Then again, I understand the rate of injury -- when I played soccer in school I had an array of bruises (most of them from the knees down) for the entire season.  Adolescent girls are ruthless in organized sport!l


Kenny Dalglish's name is synonymous with Liverpool, one of England's most successful football teams, but after a disappointing second spell in charge as manager he has been sacked by the club's American owners.

Liverpool confirmed Wednesday Dalglish has been relieved of his duties by Fenway Sports Group, headed by John W. Henry, who also owns baseball's Boston Red Sox.

Dalglish won the English League Cup in February but despite huge outlay on players before the start of this season, his side struggled in the Premier League, finishing in eighth place -- their worst return for 18 years.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Dirty, cheating jambos.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Chelsea mug it again. Champions of Europe.

Two questions:

1. How does Michael Ballack feel?
2. Fuck you, John Terry.


Bayern had 3 chances to win. Up late in regulation, a penalty in extra time and the lead in penalty shots right from the start with Chelsea missing their first. They mus feel snakebitten.