Archive for the World Cup Category

Canada’s women: Winning one for all of us

Posted in Canada, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by Daniel Squizzato

There have only been two instances in which I’ve been able to see Jack Warner‘s face without feeling the bile rising up in the back of my throat. On both occasions, he’s handing a Gold Cup trophy to the captain of a Canadian national team.

Ten years ago, it was Jason de Vos. And last night, it was Christine Sinclair.

Ten years ago, it was a fortuitous coin flip that allowed the men to progress into the knockout stages of the tournament. Last week, the biggest upset in women’s soccer history (the Mexicans’ semi-final defeat of the #1-ranked USA) gave Big Red an easier path to the trophy than they were anticipating.

Ten years ago, the men’s national team had high expectations after the recent appointment of a well-regarded international manager (Holger Osieck). Today, the women have Carolina Morace.

But that’s where the similarities end. Whereas the men’s Gold Cup success never translated over into World Cup qualifying, and dissension within the dressing room helped contribute to Osieck’s departure, I can’t help but think that this women’s side may be at the precipice of a defining moment in Canadian soccer. Continue reading


Oops, Mexico did it again

Posted in Uncategorized, World Cup with tags on June 24, 2010 by Grant

Shortly after the World Cup groups were announced last December, radio commentator José Ramón Fernández unfurled a torrent of controversy in Mexico by saying on air that El Tri was the “ugly duckling” of its group and that because it barely qualified out of Concacaf, expectations should be kept low.

He argued that South Africa had the “host” factor going for it, that France was a generally powerful team and that Uruguay boasted experience and toughness.

Of course Fernández didn’t account for South Africa choking or France immolating itself. But his bleak assessment of Mexico looks depressingly close to becoming reality.

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Yep, he went there. Would Torontonians cheer Canada in the World Cup?

Posted in World Cup with tags on June 22, 2010 by Grant

I’m glad someone finally asked it. Angelo Persichilli fully admits it’s “a question that many are afraid to ask and many more are afraid to answer.”

It reminds me of the wonderful quote from the character Huntly McQueen in Two Solitudes: “Yes, we have discovered a great social secret in Canada. We have contrived to solve problems that would ruin other countries merely by ignoring their existence.”

Well, I’ve got news for everyone. It may not happen in 2014, but it probably will by 2018. Canada is going to qualify for the World Cup, and we’re going to get our answer whether we like it or not.

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World Cup Day 6: Quick hits

Posted in World Cup with tags on June 16, 2010 by Grant

Day 5 was so good, we couldn’t bring ourselves to write about it. But we’re back.

  • Switzerland’s surprise 1-0 win over Spain highlights an alarming trend in top-level football: teams winning soccer games while not showing much interest in actually touching the soccer ball (see Jose Mourinho’s Inter in the Champions League semi-finals and final.) Of course, when it’s my team that sets out to surrender 80% possession against wildly superior opposition and nick the winner through smart counterattacking… well that’s perfectly ok. And for that matter, I’m not sure anyone who watched Barca bombard Inter for 93 minutes would have called it  boring. All I’m saying is that given the choice, I’d rather see two teams have a go at each other.
  • South Africa earns the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first World Cup host to miss the knockout rounds. It’s too bad. I would have been far more furious about the two flagrant second-half dives by Uruguay’s Luis Suárez if South Africa  actually deserved to go through. At least the culture of the host country is one that inherently cares about football, so their poor showing on the pitch shouldn’t dampen the overall enthusiasm surrounding the tournament.
  • As predicted, Honduras lined up 4-5-1 without their two best attacking players and were lucky to only lose 1-0 to Chile. A certain co-author of this blog will revel in the knowledge that Honduras is headed for an underwhelming tournament in which they won’t even fail to live up to expectations because there were none outside of Central America anyway.
  • While watching CBC’s ‘Pulse of the Nation’ – or whatever it is they’re calling the stupid halftime segment in which Canadians send in pictures of themselves decked out in the colours of countries other than Canada – I saw a sad image that summed up the obstacles facing our national mens’ program. A 7-seven-year old kid in Calgary on the soccer pitch dressed up (by his parents presumably) in a Portugal shirt. I wonder which country he dreams of playing for when he grows up?

Honduras limps even harder into World Cup

Posted in Honduras, International, World Cup with tags , on June 15, 2010 by Grant

I realize by the time many of you read this, Honduras versus Chile will be in the record books. So I hope that Chile grinds out an uninspiring 1-0 victory, and that the “preview” below explains why that happened.

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World Cup Quick Hits: Day 4

Posted in World Cup on June 15, 2010 by Jamie
  • So far this World Cup is proving to be a big disappointment to all the people who are looking to see the world’s biggest stars showcase their skills in an orgy of dazzling highlight-reel goals. Apart from Germany, who saw half their team (including Klose and Podolski) score against Australia, the big names haven’t gotten on the board. Nothing from Rooney, Messi, Van Persie, Eto’o or, well, anything great from anyone on the French or Italian teams. We’re about halfway through and no one’s doing much to get themselves a lucrative shaving-cream sponsorship. We’ve yet to year from Kaka, Torres, Ronaldo and Drogba, but if they don’t get things shaking, my money’s on Slovenia’s Robert Koren snaffling the Golden Boot. Continue reading

USA-England TV numbers: lots of Americans watched

Posted in International, U.S. soccer, World Cup with tags , on June 14, 2010 by Grant

There was much theorizing in the Canadian soccer blogosphere leading up to the World Cup about how success for the U.S. team (both on and off the pitch) would help awaken Canadians to the idea of some day waving their own flag during the world’s biggest sporting event. Despite the CBC’s best efforts to the contrary.

And this wasn’t simply opinion, former Canada coaches and current players went on the record saying this exact thing.

ABC has now released its initial viewing numbers for that USA-England match on Saturday afternoon. Roughly 13 million English-speaking* Americans watched the match, and since that number means nothing in isolation, here’s some context:

  • 100 million or so Americans regularly watch the Super Bowl
  • 28 million watched the gold medal hockey match against Canada during the Winter Olympics in February
  • 24 million saw the NCAA Championship basketball game, Duke versus (massive underdog) Butler
  • 16 million saw Game 4 of the Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals this year
  • 14 million watched the U.S. team lose to Brazil in the round 0f 16 at the 1994 World Cup
  • 12 million watched the 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy
  • 8 million took in Game 5 of the Blackhawks-Flyers Stanley Cup finals this year
  • 4 million tuned in to the Argentina-Nigeria match at 10 a.m. this past Saturday


So what does 13 million Yanks tuning in to watch their national soccer team mean?

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