Clericus Cup Blog

NAC draws Polish College in victory

Church to Cover World Cup in South Africa with churchontheball.com

The Archbishop of Durban has launched a website – www.churchontheball.com – to cover the World Cup form the perspective of Christian athletes.  The World Cup matches will occur at ten different venues in ten different cities across South Africa.   Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth will host games, with the final match slated for July 11 in Johannesburg (Soweto).

South Africa is expected to be inundated with 5 to 10 million tourists during the games. The website will inform fans of religious services and other events being sponsored by the church during the games.

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Filed under: Clericus Cup, World Cup, , ,

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

Germany the Sleeper of South Africa

It seems clear that the favorites to win the World Cup this summer are Spain, Brazil, England or Argentina. But don’t count out Germany, which does not get a lot of coverage in the English-speaking papers. Germany went to the final in the 2008 Euro Cup, losing to Spain 0-1. They also finished near the top of the European qualification tables for Johannesburg.

The mannschaft has a reputation for being well-coached and playing at the top of their talent range, and a game pitting Germany against possible contenders England, Spain or Brazil is evenly matched. Expect Germany to sail through the quarters and make it to the semi-finals at least.

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Filed under: World Cup

Meet the Americans

Six American players are journeymen in the English Premier League: goalkeeper Tim Howard (Everton), midfielder Clint Dempsey (Fulham), defenders Jonathan Spector (West Ham) and Jay DeMerit (Watford) and forward Jozy Altidore (Hull).

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Filed under: World Cup

World Cup Groups E toughest group, not D or G.

Whatever the pundits are saying, sports brokers are telling us that Group E the tightest race, hosting the Netherlands, Denmark, Japan and the Cameroon. The second tightest race is Brazil v. Portugal in group G, with no one wanting to predict the outcome of that rivalry. Group A will be a challenge, with host team South Africa drawing France, Mexico and Uruguay. Concerns about Germany in Group D are exaggerated (unless they lose players to injury), as they are expected to manage Australia, Serbia and Ghana.

Filed under: World Cup

US to face England in Group C

As the draw in South Africa continues, we know that the U.S team will face England in the first round. “It will be like a Premier League game,” according to Fulham manager Roy Hodgson. Yep, but will it look like Chelsea v. Arsenal or Man U. v Portsmouth?

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Filed under: World Cup

“Is There No Justice?” France Upset over World Cup Seeding

France’s World Cup coach, Michael Hidalgo, complained of “no moral justice” in FIFA’s decision not to give his team a number one seed. Uh, except that even the French admit that the computer rankings likely have them no higher than ninth seed. And then there’s Thierry Henry’s decisive handball against Ireland. Heck, if it didn’t stop Argentina from winning a World Cup title, why should it stop France?

Filed under: World Cup

FIFA to Seed World Cup Teams this Friday

FIFA announced today that the draw for the first round of games will be announced this Friday. With the dates and venues pre-arranged, the rest of us simply await to see who our favorite teams will face in the first round.

The draw favors geographic diversity, so that each group (A through H) should have a team from [Asia & North America], [South America & Africa], and Europe.

The rules state that the top eight ranked teams worldwide cannot face each other in the first round. Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina and England as well as host South Africa will each take the “1” post in groups A through H.

Filed under: World Cup