THE WORLD GAME GETS FRIENDLY

February 08, 2008 |

            It would seem that Mexico can’t quite seem to figure out a way past the US Men’s National team. Despite having the lion’s share of possession, shots and supporters, El Tri only managed a 2-2 tie in Houston to a US team that they have failed to beat in their last 10 meetings (0-8-2).
Emerging youngster, Jozy Altidore of the New York Soft Drinks Sometimes Served with Booze netted the US’s second in the 40th minute. It’s probably only a matter of time before he falls victim to the siren song of European money and fame.
 
England ground out a 2-1 victory over Switzerland at Wembley last night. By all accounts new head coach, Fabio Capello, was not overly impressed, patrolling the side line with arms crossed and brow furrowed. Methinks it will be quite some time before we see his granite mien crack with mirth.
            It seems the newest England boss is running a tight ship. Surnames only, no WAGS, no bullstein in any way shape or form from his millionaire wards. The players seem to be adapting to it, or at least paying lip service to his Spartan approach to international duty. It is rumored that this man actually eats people whole.
Beckham was not surprised at being left off the roster for what would’ve been his 100th England cap. In fact he even had someone pen a blog about it for him. It wasn’t the fact that it was respectful that gave its author away, it was more because it didn’t have any pictures in it. Having dealt with him at Real Madrid, Beckham is well aware of Capello’s steely resolve to doing things his way even to the point of seeming stubborn.
It was interesting that talismanic Michael Owen was left on the bench, especially when he was healthy – which totals about 3 weeks out of any calendar year.
           
In other International news, Spain upset the French taking all the marbles on an 80th minute Capdevila goal.
Holland revealed just how dangerous they can be with a handy 3-0 drubbing of Croatia – the same team that wrested 3rd place away from them in the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
            Italy put the proverbial smack on a full-strength Portugal, handling their business 3-1. They must be one of the strongest contenders for the Euro Championship later this year. Nobody fails to impress during regulation and then win on penalties quite like the Italians. Here’s to snoring our way through another Azzurri campaign.
            Brazil beat Ireland in a friendly. Shocker. More shocking still was that is was only by a single strike.
            Ze Germans did what they always seem to do their immediate neighbors and hammered Austria 3-0. ‘Nuff said.
            2004 champions, Greece, won twice in two days beating the Czech Republic 1-0 on Tuesday and then downing the Finns 2-1 on Wednesday. “THIS IS…” well you get the gist.
            My abject apologies to those that follow Macedonia and Serbia for not highlighting what was a thrilling 1-1 result. Ditto to Slovakia and Hungary.  

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