Archive for the ‘Bolivian Soccer’ Category

Team India Holds Onto The Nehru Cup

September 2, 2009

Courtesy of FIFA:

India goalkeeper Subrata Paul was the hero as the host nation held their nerve to retain the Nehru Cup winning 5-4 on penalties against Syria at New Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium on Monday.
Despite losing to Lebanon by a solitary goal in the opener, India bounced back to reach the final of the five-nation tournament with wins over Kyrgyzstan and Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, it was Syria that went into the tournament decider with an unblemished record that including a solitary-goal victory over the hosts two days prior.

Second-time around proved a different story altogether. Following a goalless 90 minutes, the hosts went ahead eight minutes into the second period of extra time, with Renedy Singh curling in a well-taken free-kick. Despite the agony of conceding so late, the Syrians showed impressive resolve to equalise as Ali Diab headed home a minute from time to force the penalty shoot-out.
Having excelled throughout the campaign, India’s young custodian Paul went on to produce some of the tournaments finest saves when his country needed him most. Although Renedy missed the target and Mehrajuddin Wadoo’s shot was saved, the 22-year-old bravely denied Wael Ayan and Ahmad Haj Mohamad, and after Irungbam Surkumar put India ahead, Paul kept his cool to save from Hamzeh Al Attounim to seal India’s dramatic triumph.
Houghton hails progressPaul’s sublime display didn’t go unappreciated by India coach Bob Houghton, who was quick to acknowledge the talent displayed by his goalkeeper. “Again Subrata was brilliant for us and he had an outstanding tournament,” said the former China and Uzbekistan boss who assumed the reigns of the world’s second most populace nation in 2006.
Under the Englishman, India made history two years ago when they ran out 1-0 winners over Syria to lift the Nehru Cup trophy as hosts for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1982. Boosted by the ground-breaking success, India went on to claim arguably their greatest success to date by winning last year’s AFC Challenge Cup, thus booking their place in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.
“The team has played together for the last three years and they are a matured group now,” Houghton stated after the Nehru Cup final. “They play for each other and give everything for the team. Even after conceding the late equaliser and missing two spot kicks, the team came back.”
Winning a hat-trick of titles in his three years in charge has provided Houghton and his charges with a timely boost in the build-up to India’s first appearance in the AFC Asian Cup since 1984. “We still have our work cut out if we are to do well in the Asian Cup. We will plan to play some good matches to keep the team in good shape.”

Like India, Syria also showed impressive form throughout the tournament and despite the second near-miss against the hosts, they showed they are truly a side to be reckoned with.
Under the guidance of Fajer Ebrahim, Syria began brightly with a 2-0 win against Kyrgyzstan. They went on to defeat Sri Lanka 4-0, edging Lebanon 1-0 to book their place in the final, before beating the hosts in the final group match, albeit with the result academic.

“We were unlucky to lose the game as we had created so many chances,” said Ebrahim, whose side is seeking to qualify for Qatar 2011 from a group which also features Lebanon, China and Vietnam. “I hope the experiences gained and lessons learned from this campaign will benefit us in the forthcoming Asian Cup qualifiers.”
A special thanks to our LFV readers in India – Jai!
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Armstrong Channels Maldini: Hangs Tough on Mont Ventoux

July 26, 2009

American Lance Armstrong seems to be channeling Paolo Maldini these days by hanging tough with athletes who were born at least a decade after him. Today on the Tour de France’s gruelling 20th stage ride up Mont Ventoux, Armstrong beat back several attacks to cement his third place standing for the ride into Paris tomorrow.

The seven-time winner made his comeback this year after a four year hiatus from top level cycling. Young Spanish powerhouse Alberto Contador appears set to claim his second Tour title tomorrow after maintaining a 4:11 lead over second place Andy Schleck and third place Armstrong.

Berhalter Leaving 1860 Munich For MLS

April 1, 2009

1860 Munich has announced that American defender Gregg Berhalter will be leaving the club immediately to continue his career back home on Major League Soccer (MLS). Berhalter’s contract with the Second Bundesliga club was set to expire in June 2009 but the club has agreed to release him early.

This marks an end to Berhalter’s long career in Europe after playing in the Netherlands, England, and for the past seven years – in Germany. Reflecting on his European career, Berhalter remarked that: “I had a very good and successful 15 years in Europe but the time has come to say goodbye and go home.” He thanked the club for their understanding to release him early and in a parting statement to the fans said: “I had a super time here in Munich and I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life playing in MLS.”

What remains unclear is which MLS team he will be playing for in the coming weeks as he starts a new 2-year deal with the league.

Berhalter made 23 appearances in the Bundesliga and 88 in the Second Bundesliga. During his stint at 1860 Munich, he made 73 appearances, scoring eight goals.

Slowing Down For A Bit

March 25, 2009

As you’ve probably noticed, your loyal Vagabond is slowing down for a bit since my father passed away last Sunday. We’ll be up and running again soon but in the meantime, you can find great soccer updates on the Friends Of LFV links on the left side of the page.

Happy New Year Vagabonds!

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year to all of our readers wherever you are; from Dubai to New Jersey and from Korea to Texas – thanks for stopping by this year.

2009 should be an exciting year and here is just a bit of what we can look forward to:

– The USA taking on Sweden on January 24th
Gooch perhaps finally making the jump to a new club
– Players like Marvell Wynne and Sacha Kljestan possibly moving across the pond
Vincenzo Bernardo and Jozy Altidore possibly being loaned out
– Young Giuseppe Nazzani getting a chance with Bologna’s first team
– The Confederations Cup and U-20 World Championships
– Seeing if Clint Dempsey can keep his hot touch into the spring
– Waiting for Freddy Adu to establish himself as a first team player at Monaco
– Michael Bradley finding his stride and tearing his way through the Bundesliga
– Carlos Bocanegra continuing his strong play at Rennes and earning a CL spot
– Danny Szetela continuing his solid left midfield play at Brescia – with few at home noticing
– Seeing if Landon Donovan can prove that he can hang with the big boys every week
– Whether DaMarcus Beasley heads home to play in MLS or finds a new European club
– Watching Maurice Edu assert himself as a key player in Rangers’ title run
– Watching Bruce Arena turn the LA Galaxy into a winner
– Watching juggernaut Barcelona dominate La Liga all the way to the title
– Seeing if TSG Hoffenheim can keep the dream alive and win the Bundesliga championship
– Seeing if anyone can challenge Olympique Lyon’s dominance of Ligue 1
– Whether Cristiano Ronaldo can avoid the burnout syndrome that comes with being the world’s hottest player
– Wondering when Brad Friedel is finally recognized as one of the best keepers in Europe
– Whether Steven Gerard goes to jail for some recent brawling (doubtful)
– Whether Juventus can catch Inter from running away with another Scuddetto
– Whether Real Madrid qualifies for a UEFA Cup spot, much less a CL one
– Whether Fiorentina sells all of its talent (again) or makes a run for the top three
– Seeing how far Edy Reja can take his bargain-basement priced Napoli team…all the way to the Champion’s League?
– Seeing how far AS Roma will continue to slide, especially now that Francesco Totti is injured
– Watching and enjoying how well Seattle (a great soccer town) supports the return of the Sounders
– Wondering when the scary young talent on the Argentina side starts to gel into a world-beater

Here are some fun highlights from 2008 which we hope you’ll enjoy:

Best Goals:

Best Keepers:

Best Skills:

Flops and Follies (Multisport):

Now There’s An Angle!

September 24, 2008

Our friend Gruff offers us some fresh perspective on the impact of the US financial sector crisis on a certain Premiership side. Check it out here.

USA And Japan Set To Face Off

August 7, 2008


Today the USA and Japan men’s soccer teams will open up their Olympic campaign in a tough group which includes Nigeria and the Netherlands. In contrast to the USA which features three top over-23 players led by striker Brian McBride, Japan is essentially bringing its U-23 team with no overage players.

While the USA has looked solid defensively in friendly matches, it still has yet to find its shooting boots and coach Piotr Novak hopes they find them today. Novak opined that “As a coach you’re always concerned about the team not creating chances, but during the qualifiers they did create a lot of chances. We had the opportunities to score goals, and we did that in the game that mattered the most. Against Canada in the semifinal we scored three goals and as far as I know it doesn’t really matter how many goals you score if you win. In today’s football it’s not possible to run up a score because the games are so tight.”

Their Japanese opponents have not fared much better of late and are now under pressure from their new federation president, Motoaki Inukai, who has criticized the team for its attitude as a cause of its poor form. Novak seems to have a different take: “I think the strength of the Japanese team is their whole team, the way they work together and understand each other very well. We watched them in the Toulon Tournament that we played in and their ‘team’ is their biggest strength. They collectively are very strong and never give up. They know the game and the discipline it takes and at any given time they can hurt you.”

The Japanese player to watch out for is Hiroki Mizumoto, a pesky 6-foot defender who is strong in the air and never seems to tire. In the penalty area, expect him to stick to McBride like glue.

Given the strength of group B, both Japan and the USA need to collect all three points to have any hope of advancing in the tournament for a shot at a medal. Despite the heat (expected to be in the 80s) expect a full-tilt contest with a frenetic start.

My prediction: USA 2 : Japan 1.

Not near a TV? Catch the game live here.

Brett Favre Mystery Solved

August 2, 2008

We can finally count on a bit more space in US newspapers to cover MLS and Olympic soccer now that the mystery of American football star Brett Favre’s future has been solved. Instead of playing for the Green Bay Packers (or some other team), it seems he has been disguised as Americana singer Shawn Mullins. He even seemed to pull of his new gig convincingly, showing up Thursday on the Bob and Tom Show.

Given Mullins’ full touring schedule this fall, its hard to see the three-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl winner finding the time to play professional football.

At the same time, its a relief to be able to dispel this rumor since Favre’s playing style, with full respect for his athletic abilities, is probably not suited to Bolivian soccer. One thing though – he can definitely sing.