Clericus Cup Blog

NAC draws Polish College in victory

Spain, Brazil and England Favoured

Oddsmakers have moved England into third slot for the World Cup. Spain is favored at 4.5:1, with Brazil and England holding on at 5.5:1 odds. Portugal has dropped out of the top seven due to recent player injuries. Argentina, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands round out the favorite teams.

While any of the top seven teams could take the Cup, there is common praise for the work Fabio Capello is doing at England’s helm. Capello has won nine championships in three countries, with four teams: Milan (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996), Real Madrid (1997, 2007), Roma (2001) and Juventus (2006, 2007). That said, I personally think Brazil, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands will be a challenge for any team.

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Premier League Dec 28 – Arsenal on Fire

The Gunners are on a roll, outscoring opponents 9-2 in the last four games. In this Sunday’s match against Aston Villa, the game remained scoreless through 45 minutes. Arsenal exploded in the second half, with Fabregas scoring twice, and Diaby adding a point seconds into stoppage time… In the league’s first scoreless game of the season, Chelsea tied Birmingham 0-0. Injuries to Drogba and Anelka have blunted Chelsea’s attack, and Birmingham saw an opportunity to score negated by an offsides…. Man U defeated Hull this Sunday 3-1, in a game that featured only two bookings. Rooney and Berbatov scored for Manchester, and Hull contributed an own-goal and a point on pk’s.

Standings
Chelsea 13-3-3; Manchester United 13-1-5; Arsenal 12-2-4; Aston Villa 10-5-4

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World Cup Commentary

The Guardian has a great interactive guide to the 32 teams. They also have a national key player gallery, identifying potential stars for each team. I’m not quite sure why they featured Brandon Donovan over Clint Dempsey for Team USA. Dempsey is currently one of the best midfielders in Premier League play.

Christiano Ronaldo tipped Brazil, Spain, England or Portugal to win the World Cup. Admittedly he was being polite, so let’s not fail to mention Germany, Italy or the Netherlands.

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Italian Snow Bowl Update of Dec 20. Week 17

Inter remains alone atop the standings after defeating Lazio 1-0 on Sunday. In sub-freezing temperatures, Samuel Eto’o scored the loan goal for Inter. Juventus fell 1-2 to Catania in Milan; hometown Juve fans showed their characteristic passion by pelting their own team bus with eggs and fireworks. The Red and Black (Milan) were idled by snow at home against Fiorentina on Saturday.

Standings

Inter 12-3-2; Milan 9-4-3; Juventus 9-3-5

Filed under: Italian Serie A

Premier League Update, December 20

Chelsea battled back to draw 1-1 against West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday. Both teams scored on penalties. Chelsea’s Lampard scored on his second PK after his first was called back on an offsides… After losing to Aston Villa last Saturday, Manchester United suffered another loss this weekend against Fulham. Man U fielded ten substitutes, and it showed as Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney appeared helpless against Fulham’s attack… Arsenal faced Hull, winning 3-0. Arsenal’s Nasri was booked for swiping an opponent with his cleats, and a 21 man brawl ensued. He may face a three game suspension.

Standings:
Chelsea 13-1-3; Manchester United 12-1-5; Arsenal 11-2-4.

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Filed under: Premier League

World Cup’s Team USA Offense

I’m starting to get a little suspicious of the so-called “power rankings” that handicap the relative strength of the World Cup teams. USA ranked 11th? Where is the data to back it up? You’ll find experience at the defensive and goal keep positions. But offense is a different matter. ESPN reports that Jozy Altidore and Jamarcus Beasley are slotted as potential forwards, with Michael Bradley, Brian Ching, Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson vying for the starting striker positions. Of the six men, only Altidore plays regularly in the Premier League. Donovan and Ching are starting forwards for Los Angeles and Houston, and the other three are platoon players. Granted that Team USA will step up and are not afraid to face the likes of Spain and Germany. But the absence of a squad with deep professional experience at forward gives you an idea of how challenging it will be to move beyond the sweet sixteen round.

Filed under: World Cup

Vatican to Join FIFA?

This week, Benedict XVI was quoted as saying “The game of soccer can always be a better educational vehicle for advancing values like honesty, solidarity and fraternity, especially among the younger generation.” Having acquired an interest in AC Ancona, a series C team with Series A aspirations, the Holy See is certainly backing up its rhetoric with action. On a related note, a French sports website reports that two top prospects to join FIFA are Monaco and Vatican City.

Filed under: Clericus Cup, World Cup

Saturday’s 61-yard strike “among the best” in Premier League history

Honduran and Danish World Cup talent were featured in a Premier League match Saturday, with Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa firing off a 61 yard missile against Stoke’s Thomas Sorensen in an otherwise uneventful game. In the 71st minute, Wigan was awarded a penalty shot behind the midfield line. As Stoke’s goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen cheated to the right side of the field, Wigan’s defender Figueroa decided to fire off a salvo at the undefended goal… 61 yards away. Figueroa struck quickly, punching the line drive over the heads of his opponents, and sending Sorensen into a frantic backpedal. The ball traveled through the upper far corner of the goal, just out of reach of the goal keeper.

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Filed under: Premier League, World Cup

Series A Update

Juventus lost to Bari (1-3), while Palermo downed AC Milan (2-0). Inter tied Atalanta. League officials fined Roma and Lazio 40,000 euro each for illegal fireworks at the game last week, while Inter and Juventus were also fined after racist chants were heard from the stands. The standings:

Inter…36; AC Milan…31; Juventus…30

Filed under: Italian Serie A

Premier League Update

Aston Villa broke into third place for a day, with its first win over Manchester United at Old Trafford Stadium since 1983. Gabriel Agbonlahor, an up and coming striker, scored the lone goal in 23′. Everton managed a 3-3 draw against Chelsea, with Louis Saha involved in two goals, one of which ricocheted off the back of a Chelsea defender. Chelsea remains atop the leaderboard, with Man U in second place in the season standings. On Sunday, Arsenal’s Arshavin put one past the post in 58′, giving Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Liverpool. Arsenal’s victory sent down Aston Villa to fourth place.

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Filed under: Premier League