Tuesday, April 18, 2006

World Cup News - April 18

In two months time, the world will be in awe as the US continues to celebrate their second win in the World Cup, this time over Italy the night before. Names like Donovan, Keller, Onyewu and Beasley start working their way into everyday language and late night monologs as a country finally starts embracing this 'new' sport.

Ah, nothing like writing the movies of my mind. But enough of this dreaming, here's some news.

The Czech Republic had a scare yesterday when their goalkeeper Petr Cech was injured in an accidental collision with Chelsea team mate William Gallas. At first he thought he broke his leg, but no it seems to be 'nothing to serious.'

Arsenal defender Sol Campbell might not be as lucky as Cech as he broke his nose during his club's 1-1 draw with Portsmouth. He might need surgery and a few weeks of recovery, thus hurting his chances of making the English side.

It also looks like Argentinean Gonzalo Rodriguez will miss the finals after tearing ligaments in his left ankle during Friday's Barcelona match. He will need 8 weeks to recover.

England's Ledley King's stress fracture does not look to be as big as initially thought, meaning he might be back in time for the finals. But if he is not, Man United's Wes Brown has emerged as a surprise potential inclusion in Sven's squad.

South Korea's Lee Dong-guk is coming to terms with missing his second Cup due to a tear in his cross ligament, even though his coach, Hwang Seon-hong, says he still might make it.

Barcelona's Ludovic Giuly is fighting hard to make the French squad after rumors started spreading that they might turn to Marseille's rising star Franck Ribery instead.

Oliver Kahn lost his fight to be German's number one keeper, but Germany's general manager Oliver Bierhoff says there is still a chance he might see some more international time.

The absence of forward Cuauh-temoc Blanco from Mexico's roster caused 200 fans to march on the Mexican Soccer Federation headquarters in protest. (By the way, the same article lets you know that Ecuadorian World Cup team is not going to take any chances with German grub as they plan on bringing their own chef and food.)

US defender Cory Gibbs wants his club situation settled prior to the finals so, if he is selected, he can solely focus on the games.

Ronaldinho does not think this will be his World Cup, instead he says it will be Brazil's World Cup.

If Brazil does end up the winner, they will get to hold the statue again, but they will also get the 'Teamgeist Berlin' Golden Ball (pictured) to play with for the next four years.

Talking about the golden trophy, it is now in Germany, finishing up its 32 country tour.

The Cup is welcomed in Germany, but some are saying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should not be. The German government has said a visit would be problematic but that, like other heads of state, he has a right to attend.

Referees got some great news today as they earned a 100% pay raise over the 2002 finals and will now receive $40,000 for the month in Germany.

What to do with all that money? If they are in Leipzig, they will not have to worry about buying condoms as the city plans on handing out 'first aid' packages that include condoms and tissues. The tissues are there for you to dry your eyes after a defeat.

If you are planning on watching the finals on Univision, get ready for some Home Depot commercials as they will sponsor each of the 64 games on the network.

Emirates Airline has agreed to pay $195 million (US) to become FIFA's sixth and final sponsor. The agreement starts next year and lasts till 2015. Even through they are not sponsoring this year's cup, they will place viewing stations in 16 international airports (including New York) so travelers can follow all the matches.

Now on to 2014, where FIFA president Sepp Blatter has warned Brazil that they are not a lock as hosts. Even through the South American federations have all agreed to only nominate Brazil as a candidate, Blatter warned then that if their stadiums are not up to World Cup level, they will not get the tournament. Instead, it could go to a joint bid between Argentina and Chile.

Finally, it's a few days old, but here's a good bio piece on Pablo Mastroeni. I'm sure their are a few US players hoping to be the 2006 Mastroeni.

Don't forget to watch Landon Donovan on tonight's Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Only 52 days till kickoff...

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