Author Topic: World Cup and European leagues  (Read 410950 times)

Offline Hoosier Titan

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #990 on: November 12, 2007, 07:45:37 am »
Anfield Trip Report (Warning--long!)

My husband, daughter and I--currently living in London for the autumn semester, teaching and being parent figures for 20 IWU sophomores--took a long-planned trip to Liverpool last weekend to see the Liverpool-Fulham match.  I tried ordering hospitality tickets from LFC last summer the very first day they went on sale but no luck--I got a letter two weeks later saying they were sold out.  So, as soon as we got here, I started looking at legal ticket brokers.  We ordered tickets in early September and booked our hotel and train.

The tickets finally arrived Thursday for a Saturday match; we were starting to sweat a little because we had to leave Friday.  They were delivered by courier at about 2:00 p.m.  The trip was uneventful, and we had a great dinner on the Albert Dock, right on the waterside.  We stayed at a Travelodge, which was a good deal and very quiet.  The match was Saturday's late (5:15) one, so we had the morning to ourselves.  We went to the Maritime Museum, which is the home of the Slavery Museum.  Britain is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Britain, and the Museum is in Liverpool because it was the city most involved (in fact, Penny Lane is named after one a well-known slave ship owner).  Our daughter is doing her U.S. history project comparing the effects of slavery in Britain and in the U.S., so it was great for her.

We caught the bus for Anfield at about 2:00.  It soon became jammed with people in red scarves, hats, sweaters--you name it.  The street was jumping, with lots of vendors, all the pubs open, and people asking for tickets.  We just hung out, watching the scene.  We wandered over to the side with the players' and bigwigs' entrances; the only celebrity we saw was former Liverpool star John Barnes, heading for the Setanta booth.  He stopped for autographs and photos with kids (and a few older people) and was very gracious.  We'd been told the gates would open at 4:15, an hour before match time, but for some reason they opened at 3:45.  The turnstiles are incredibly narrow--I'm surprised that some people fit!--but of course this prevents crowding and crushing.

Our seats were very near the top of the Main Stand (the side where the cameras are for televised matches, and where the managers and teams sit), but we were exactly midfield and the whole field was visible.  They were really great seats.

There are large signs as you enter the seating area "No Alcohol Beyond This Point"--a very welcome sight. 

Liverpool's lineup was unchanged from the victory over Besiktas Tuesday night--very unusual for Rafa Benitez.  The match was frustrating for Liverpool--Fulham were clearly playing deep and narrow in an attempt to gain a tie.  It's a reasonable strategy, but of course not what we wanted to see.  There were many, many near misses for Liverpool; Andriy Vornin was so close a number of times.  At about 60 minutes there was a huge roar from the Kop (the diehard fans on the end who lead the singing)--subs were up, including Fernando Torres.   Torres came in at 70 minutes, and finally, at 82 minutes, came the goal.  Pepe Reina's clear from the other end of the pitch came to Torres, who looked to be going at goal from the extreme right side.  Just as the defender with him and the keeper committed, Torres switched to his left foot, neatly nutmegging the defender and beating the keeper.  Finally, Carlos Bocanegra brought Peter Crouch down just in the box (or very close--there was some controversy), and Steven Gerrard put away the penalty.  Fulham has a lot of players I like--and a lot of American players--but they really weren't trying to win the match, and the win was well-earned.

It took us over two hours to get back to our hotel, but that's for another story.  There's going to be one BHS female defender very well kitted out after a visit to the club store!

All in all, a GREAT sporting experience.  I've seen Red Sox-Yankees games, the Larry Bird-era Celtics, the undefeated Indiana 75-76 team, and IWU in Salem, and this was not second to any of them.  I've never seen a crowd so into the game and so tuned into what a team was trying to do.  I'm so glad we were able to go.
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Offline Browneagle64

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #991 on: November 14, 2007, 01:16:20 pm »
Can't wait to see the U.S. mens national team take on South Africa in 2 days. Coach Bradley just named his starters as of today

btw, H.T.: I bet that stadium and atmosphere was just awesome to see and be in. I wish that one day our major U.S. stadiums (stadiums that are 70,000 +) can fill up like that for all MLS games.
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Offline Browneagle64

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #992 on: November 17, 2007, 03:19:22 pm »
Nice win for Team U.S against South Africa last night. Glad to see that the M.N.T has ended the year with a big win.

Here's a short game recap and highlight about last night's game. Congrats U.S:
Steve Cherundolo gave fans watching at Summers, Ginger's, Nevada Smith's and on the couch something to cheer about with a 27th minute blast from tight angle for a first-half  lead, and that's all the U.S. would need to top South Africa, 1-0, in Johannesburg to finish their year with a win.
“Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”--Vin Scully

"I don't really care," he said with an impish smile. "It's all about the Dodgers. I don't think anyone really watches hockey anymore.".....Tiger Woods

Offline sac

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #993 on: November 19, 2007, 11:31:57 pm »
Nice to see Israel save England's rear in Euro qualifying.  It looked pretty dire 3 weeks ago, now it seems doable.
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Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #994 on: November 20, 2007, 12:03:24 pm »
Nice to see Israel save England's rear in Euro qualifying.  It looked pretty dire 3 weeks ago, now it seems doable.

It's certainly doable seeing as how their opponent has already qualified and has stated publicly that a draw would be ok by them.
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Offline sac

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #995 on: November 21, 2007, 06:00:36 pm »
It's certainly doable seeing as how their opponent has already qualified and has stated publicly that a draw would be ok by them.

Not so much.  Croatia 3 England 2
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Offline Hoosier Titan

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #996 on: November 21, 2007, 07:04:42 pm »

Not so much.  Croatia 3 England 2

Ouch ouch ouch.  We had bought tickets long ago to see Patrick Stewart in Macbeth (excellent), so we didn't watch the match.  Evidently the change in goal was a big mistake.  Word now is that the FA are meeting first thing in the morning to discuss McClaren's future.

A guy in the row in front of us went out 10 minutes before the play started and sold his ticket in the street; he said he was going to the sports bar next door to watch the footie.  I think I'm glad I didn't make that choice.
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Offline Hoosier Titan

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #997 on: November 21, 2007, 07:12:05 pm »


btw, H.T.: I bet that stadium and atmosphere was just awesome to see and be in. I wish that one day our major U.S. stadiums (stadiums that are 70,000 +) can fill up like that for all MLS games.

Browneagle,

Sorry, I just saw this.  You're right, it was an awesome atmosphere.  A few years ago, when we lived in Boston, a friend gave us tickets to see the New England Revolution.  The fans who were there were knowledgeable, but the football we discuss here still hasn't caught on enough to pack the stadiums and make the atmosphere electric.  It will happen!
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Offline ScotsFan

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #998 on: November 22, 2007, 09:50:53 am »

Not so much.  Croatia 3 England 2

Ouch ouch ouch.  We had bought tickets long ago to see Patrick Stewart in Macbeth (excellent), so we didn't watch the match.  Evidently the change in goal was a big mistake.  Word now is that the FA are meeting first thing in the morning to discuss McClaren's future.

A guy in the row in front of us went out 10 minutes before the play started and sold his ticket in the street; he said he was going to the sports bar next door to watch the footie.  I think I'm glad I didn't make that choice.
Hoosier,

So have people started jumping off bridges yet???  What a horrendous result for England and more specifically McClaren?!  Especially after what Israel did for their cause!

McClaren's only mistake wasn't just who he started in goal IMO.  I thought not starting Beckham was a big mistake on his part as well! 

I guess Sven-Goran Eriksson  isn't looking so bad these days! ::)

Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #999 on: November 23, 2007, 10:07:02 am »

I turned it off when Croatia got the second goal.  England never comes back like that.  It's got to be even more tragic by the fact they worked it back to a draw only to give up one more.  Just crazy.  McLaren's an incredible coach though; someone is going to be very lucky that the FA pulled the trigger so fast.
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Offline Hoosier Titan

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #1000 on: November 23, 2007, 04:47:33 pm »
Hoosier,

So have people started jumping off bridges yet???  What a horrendous result for England and more specifically McClaren?!  Especially after what Israel did for their cause!

McClaren's only mistake wasn't just who he started in goal IMO.  I thought not starting Beckham was a big mistake on his part as well! 

I guess Sven-Goran Eriksson  isn't looking so bad these days! ::)

It's been pretty dreary, Scots.  Here's a link to an article that was on the BBC front page earlier:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7108840.stm

it's called "10 Thinks to Do During Euro 2008"

I think, deep down, a lot of people weren't surprised.  I was concerned about the need to change from 4-4-2--England never seem to do well in other formations--but I did think they'd at least get the draw.  And the failure to hold on for the draw after clawing back from 2 goals down is shocking.  Before the match I thought that keeping Beckham in reserve was probably the right move, but Wright- Phillips' attempt getting an offside call was beyond stupid.  At least Becks wouldn't have made a mistake like that.

"Overpaid footballers" have taken a lot of stick during the time we've been here.  I think the contrast with the rugby team (which made it to the finals of the World Cup and got me to watch several rugby matches from start to finish) hasn't worked to the footballers' advantage.  Everyone wants a strong national team for qualifying events like this, but what they put their money on, week after week, is the English Premier League--and the teams are more and more populated by Spaniards, Frenchmen, Africans, a few Americans...and about 3 Englishmen per side.  Even Steven Gerrard has come out in favor of a quota on non-English players on EPL sides--yet I wouldn't want to watch Liverpool without the Spanish players Benitez has brought in.  They do have a dilemma.

It looks as though there won't be a new manager right away.  The first two contenders for the job, Jose Mourinho and Martin O'Neill (who applied for it last time and was passed over for McClaren), have said they're not interested.  The only thing I have to say about McClaren is that I don't think he always used the best players in the best way.  For example, Jamie Carregher, still one of the best centre backs in the EPL and still in his 20's, retired from international football after being either benched or used out of position at fullback too many times.  McClaren could have used him in this match--he did go to Liverpool a couple of games ago to try to get Carragher back, to no avail.  But I guess being second-guessed by old ladies like me is why they pay the managers the big bucks!  :D

And yes, Sven is looking pretty good these days.  We were here when he named Theo Wolcott to the England side for the World Cup, and he looked silly after that.  But now, Theo could probably have helped them the other night, and Sven is in the top four of the EPL.  Who'd'a thunk it?
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Offline Browneagle64

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #1001 on: November 27, 2007, 12:55:20 am »
Hey guys
here's what the M.N.T website announced today in regard to the team's quest to qualify for the World Cup and thought that i should share it with you guys. Additionally, i looked at "El tri's" qualifying matches and boy did i start to laugh (Coach Hugo Sanchez and Co. have the easiest path to the World Cup this time around as they will face off Belice and  San Kitts & Nevis)

At the FIFA Preliminary Draw for the 2010 World Cup in Durban, South Africa, it was determined that the U.S. Men’s National Team will open their quest to qualify for a sixth consecutive World Cup in June in Group 1A with a home match versus the winner of an opening-round series between the nations of Dominica and Barbados. The U.S. will play the away leg of their second round series in consecutive weekends.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2007, 01:00:46 am by Browneagle64 »
“Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”--Vin Scully

"I don't really care," he said with an impish smile. "It's all about the Dodgers. I don't think anyone really watches hockey anymore.".....Tiger Woods

Offline Hoosier Titan

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #1002 on: December 11, 2007, 06:50:25 pm »
This will be my last report from the home of the English Premier League--we leave for home on Thursday.  While there is lots we will miss--the Underground and theatre and football--we are starting to get hungry for hot dogs in gyms in the deep midwinter (and it sounds like Illinois is in the thick of that).

We had promised to take our daughter to see Spamalot a second time as a part of her Christmas present, and tonight turned out to be the only time we could go, so I had to pass on the Liverpool-Marseille Champions' League qualifier.  Some of you may have seen it (and another thing I'm missing at home is Tivo, so I can record things like this).  After losing their unbeaten record in the EPL Saturday against Reading, the Reds apparently came out strong tonight and put it away within minutes--a Steven Gerrard penalty after 4 and a Fernando Torres strike after 11.  Next weekend brings Man U to Anfield for the first meeting of the two teams this season.  Arsenal and Man City's losses this weekend kept the top of the table tight--should be an interesting next few weeks.

London is great, and going to Liverpool and Anfield was one of the very biggest highlights.  I'm really glad we did it. 

See you all here (and on the basketball boards!)
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Offline ScotsFan

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #1003 on: December 12, 2007, 01:06:38 pm »
London is great, and going to Liverpool and Anfield was one of the very biggest highlights.  I'm really glad we did it. 
You are right about that Hoosier.  I spent a summer after college in London working at a shelter.  I was able to sub-let a flat for a very dirt cheap price for London's standards!  It was even a 1st floor flat with a garden in the back!  I was in heaven for the 3 months I spent over there!  My flat was right around the corner from the Portobello Market which I took in almost every Saturday.  I was also less than 2 blocks from the Underground giving me easy access to all of London!  Although, I didn't enjoy my commutes to and from work too much!  Talk about feeling like a sardine! But that was a small price to pay to have had the opportunity for such an incredible experience!   It sounds like you, your family and your class have all had a pretty incredible experince as well!

I haven't been back since and your stories have really got me jonesing to get back! :)

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Re: World Cup and European leagues
« Reply #1004 on: January 01, 2008, 09:20:21 am »
Coming out of the holiday season, it looks like a two horse race in the Premiership (I know, that's not what we are supposed to call it, but that is how I will always know the league) between Arsenal & Man U.  I am hopeful that the young Gunners can see it through to the end, but am certainly leary of United's veterans.  I look for Arsene to add some experience to the backline to compensate for the loss of Toure to the African Nations Cup, and hope that will be enough.

It seems to me that with all of their injuries and losses to the ANC Chelsea will not be able to keep pace. 

Liverpool is a one trick pony.  If and when Torres cools, they will fade.

At the foot of the table I supect it will remain just as it is today.  Keane will not allow the Black Cats to go down, and Bolton for all of their troubles simply have more talent than the other "contenders" for the drop.