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Jun 30, 2010

June 29, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Spain v Portugal FIFA World Cup Second Round - South Africa 2010 - Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa - 29/6/10..David Villa celebrates scoring Spain's first goal.

David Villa strike secures Spain QF spot

Newly signed Barca striker, David Villa continued his red-hot goal scoring streak with the solitary winning goal against Portugal. Portugal as done in their previous matches against quality opponents parked the bus, but still failed to keep David Villa quiet. But this match highlighted more problems for Spain's coach Del Bosque. It was one of the better performances by Spanish side, but still the form of Xavi and Torres is still a worrying factor for Spain. Spain will meet Paraguay in the Quarter Finals after the latter had seen off Japan in the first penalty shoot-out of the World Cup.

Jun 28, 2010

June 27, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Argentina v Mexico FIFA World Cup Second Round - South Africa 2010 - Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - 27/6/10..Carlos Tevez celebrates after scoring Argentina's first goal.

Tevez Brace Takes Argentina through

Argentina has booked themselves a Quarter final clash with old foes Germany with a 3-1 controversial win over Mexico. This will be a repeat of last World cup's Quarter Final clash in which Argentina surprisingly went out in penalties. Lionel Messi once again failed to score a goal coming very close, only to see Tevez steal that goal. By the end of the match there were a herd of senior players, especially Heinze trying to console him and keep his spirits up. The match had its fair share of controversies with the first goal. Tevez looked clearly offside while he scored the goal but the linesman thought otherwise. Mexico then gifted Argentina's Higuain his fourth goal of the tournament, you have to appreciate his calmness in rounding off the keeper. And then in the second half, Tevez scored his second with a stunning kick from outside the box.

Jun 25, 2010

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World Champions Italy finished bottom in the Group

As expected defending World Champions Italy was knocked out of the World cup following a 3-2 defeat against Slovakia. Everyone expected this to happen, after Marcelo Lippi hugely controversial decision to exclude Antonio Cassano and Fabrizio Miccoli. Eventhough they got themselves into good positions throughout yesterday's match, they never had the strike power to finish of those chances. Meanwhile the New Zealand - Paraguay match ended in a goalless draw. That means the brave NewZealand side was eliminated from the World cup. In Group F Holland maintained their 100% win record with a 2-1 victory over Cameroon. Japan secured a birth in next round with a 3-1 victory over Denmark. Japan will now face Paraguay while Netharlands will face Slovakia.

Jun 24, 2010

England's Jermain Defoe scores a goal during the 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match against Slovenia in Port Elizabeth June 23, 2010.    REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Many say this has been a very dull World Cup, get a grip guys. I mean, look almost all groups are in tantrum until the last day. Group C and D were decided yesterday. USA and England joined Germany and Ghana in the round of 16. Ghana most probably will be the only African team left once the group stage ends. England who produced a much more enterprising performance last night secured a 1-0 victory courtesy of a first half goal from Defoe. The victory had its fair share of nervous moments, but nothing compared to the USA - Algeria match. United States of America left it pretty late to secure qualification. Donavan scored in the 91st minute to slash the Slovenian hopes. When the Slovenia vs England match ended both the teams were supposed to proceed but that changed in the very next minute.

Jun 23, 2010

(Front L-R) Argentina's Clemente Rodriguez, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Diego Milito, Maxi Rodriguez, Nicolas Otamendi, (rear L-R) Martin Demichelis, goalkeeper Sergio Romero, Juan Sebastian Veron, Mario Bolatti and Nicolas Burdisso pose for a team photo during a 2010 World Cup Group B soccer match against Greece at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane June 22, 2010. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Argentina Continues Winning form under Messi

Diego Maradona's Argentina secured a hard fought 2-0 victory against a ultra-defensive Greece. If you felt that you were watching the Inter-Barca second leg, you could be very much forgiven. It was kind of bizzarre. Greece needed to win this to make sure about progressing but they had 4 centre backs and two full backs on the pitch and forget the defensive minded midfielders. Still Samaras as the lone striker created enough problem for a make shift Argentinian back four. The highlight of the match was once again Messi failing to get into the scoresheet. He came close hitting the woodwork but Palermo was the lucky one who scored from the rebound.

Jun 22, 2010

June 19, 2010 - Pochefstroom, South Africa - epa02210987 Spain's national soccer team player Fernando Torres looks on during a press conference at Potchefstroom, South Africa, 19 June 2010. Spain will play their second game against Honduras on 21 June.

From the moment Sandro Rosell was elected, Fernando Torres became the primary transfer target for FC Barcelona ahead of Cesc Fabregas. This doesn't mean the club is not interested in securing the signature of Fabregas. It is rumoured that Rosell is having a great friendship with Torres and he can use recent turmoil in Liverpool to bring the former Athletico Madrid striker to Camp Nou. Many Barca fans have questioned the reasoning behind going for Torres as we have both Villa and Ibrahimovic in the team. But there is a growing belief that Ibrahimovic may make a move away from Camp Nou before the transfer market closes. But still signing Torres could have it's pros and cons.

Spain's David Villa celebrates scoring his sides opening goal..FIFA World Cup 2010 Group H..Spain v Honduras..21st June, 2010.

A splendid David Villa brace kept Spanish hopes alive in this World Cup. The performance was far better than in the defeat against Switzerland, but it cannot be denied that Spain was rather wasteful infront of the goal. David Villa who could have easily had his hat-trick, missed a penalty and another open chance. While his striking partner Torres, was rather wasteful wasting around four open chances. Now Spain need a victory against Chile to go through to the next round but that is not going to be easy. Iniesta started from the bench in this match whereas Jesu Navas got a rare start on the right. I have to admiot that I am far from impressed by Navas, as he looks a very one-dimensional player and the crosses were all poor. Hope Iniesta is called back for the Chile match.

Jun 21, 2010

What a historic day for Barca fans, Barca Atletic has secured the promotion to Segunda División after a goalless draw against Sant Andreu. Barca B has earlier won the first leg by a solitary, somewhat controversial goal. Barca Atletic has joined Granada, Ponferradina and Alcorcón earning the honour to play in the Segunda División. The entire list of teams who will be participating in Segunda Division next season are Albacete, Alcorcón, Barcelona Atlètic, Betis, Cartagena, Celta de Vigo, Córdoba, Elche, Gimnàstic de Tarragona, Girona, Granada, Huesca, Las Palmas, Numancia, Ponferradina, Rayo Vallecano, Recreativo, Salamanca, Tenerife, Valladolid, Villarreal B and Xerez. That's hell of a list and to remain there itself will be a hard job for Luis Enrique's boys. The team has come a long way in last two season. Josep Guardiola took over the reigns of Barca B who were in Tercera División at that time and got them promoted to the Segunda División B. Luis Enrique continued the good work and within two seasons got the team promoted to the second level of Spanish Soccer League. To the benefit of teh readers let me remid that Barcelona Atletic will not be eleigible for a promotion to La Liga as the Parent team is playing there.

Jun 18, 2010

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After a dull first phase of World cup, the tournament has come to life with some splendid goal scoring in the second phase of group clashes. As more and more teams are forced to drop their defensive attitude, more goals should follow. There have been four second phase matches so far and those have already produced 11 goals. Argentina were rather wasteful in their first match against Nigeria. But against South Korea they took their chances and brought out the performance of the tournament so far. Lionel Messi would consider himself unlucky for not scoring goals in these two matches, but boy oh boy, he was involved in everything. Argentina won't mind him not scoring goals as far as he creates these many for his team mates. I have earlier written in my Argentina world cup preview, that it is essential for Maradona to play three of his best players upfront and also the necessity to play Messi behind the other two. It looks like he has done all those, but the selection of Guiterrez as right back could come to haunt him.

Jun 14, 2010

A 89th minute penalty taken by Jonathan Soriano gave Barca Atletic a valuable 1-0 win against local rivals Saint Andreu. Barca Atletic struggled to break a very compact Sant Andreu side and the penalty which could prove to be the difference was a controversial one. The next leg takes place next weekend. Chances were at premium in a tough match and Thiago, Muniesa and Nolito failed to take their chance. With a 1-0 advantage, Barca is in prime position to earn the promotion. Barca Atletic starting eleven : Oier Olazábal, Ilie Sánchez, Sergi Gómez, Marc Bartra, Víctor Espasandín, Oriol Romeu, Sergi Roberto, Thiago Alcántara, Víctor Vázquez, Nolito and Jonathan Soriano.

New FC Barcelona's president Sandro Rosell celebrates after winning the elections in Barcelona June 14, 2010. Rosell will be the next president of Barcelona after winning a landslide vote among club members on Sunday, the Spanish champions said on their website. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Rosell's election could see Barca moving away from it's traditional Liberal idealogies

Sandro Rosell, has been elected as the new FC Barcelona president bagging a whooping 61.35% votes in the election held on Sunday. Of the 57,088 votes polled, Rosell won 35,021. Benedito emerged second in the poll winning 8044 votes whereas Ingla and Ferrer won 7014 and 6168 votes respectively. The resounding majority has to be seen as an approval of Sandro Rosell's right-wing Catalan policies by the socios of the club. After the announcement of the winner, Rosell stated "I want a Barça that is Catalan, Catalanista and open to all supporters outside of Catalunya, I want a Barça that will recapture the world's imagination and one that unifies and does not separate while being committed to the country and to the causes of solidarity."

Jun 12, 2010

La Liga fans in Indian sub continent will be once again deprived of the opportunity to catch 2010-11 season Live on television. ESPN-STAR has confirmed to me that they will not be telecasting the 2010-11 season, due to terms that were not acceptable to both parties. This happened last season also. Real Madrid's big spending saw the broadcaster asking ESPN to pay more which they were obviously not ready to do. La Liga telecast usually happens after mid-night in India and due to that ESPN-STAR is reluctant to pay more(due to lack of advertising, maybe). Last year when ESPN-Star announced their decision, we all hoped Ten Sports could do something. Even though they gave some hope, but nothing happened in the end. So this season also don't expect TEN Sports to come and save you as none of them are interested. The only hope is to stream via internet, like we all did last season. You can watch matches online at MyP2P.

Jun 9, 2010

FC Barcelona has always remained as a something more than a mere football club as beautifully described by the club's motto "Més que un club". It was president Narcís de Carreras, in his presidential acceptance speech in January 1968 who was the first person to use these words to describe the social importance of FC Barcelona in Catalonia. FC Barcelona represented much more than just Catalonia and many progressive Spaniards saw the club as a staunch defender of rights and freedoms. Hence every President who represent the club at the highest level has to live up to the expectation laid by the essence of the motto.

Jun 8, 2010

All Four Candidates are all Geared up for Sunday's Election

With the first Presidential Candidate debate over, we have a clear picture of how each of them want to run this club. Agustí Benedito, Jaume Ferrer, Marc Ingla and Sandro Rosell all participated in the first presidential debate on Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio. It looks like Sandro Rosell has managed to edge out others in the initial stages. He secured around 13,618 votes for the Candidate selection process, that is more votes than all other put together. But it will foolhardy to predict a Rosell victory. With the Catalan identity of the club being thye focal point of all the candidate, we the fans around the world has much at stake in this election. I never took too much interest in these election rhetoric, but I can sense this one could be different scenarion with far reaching consequence for Non-Catalan fans. There is a high chance that when the results are announced of the June 13 voting, your hopes of becoming a part of this Club could be dashed forever.

Jun 7, 2010

Barca Atletic, has qualified for the third and final stage of play offs for promotion to Segunda Division. They beat their opponents Real Jaen 3-0, in the second leg held at Mini Estadi. The first leg has ended in a goal less Draw. Thiago opened the scoring for our boys in the 18th minute from a well taken free kick. Jonathan Soriano then scored twice to secure the precious win for Barca B side. The club has been looking forward to see the B team playing in the second division as it will give so many youngsters (who are looking to break into first team) more exposure and match practice. The first round of the Play offs saw we getting past Poli Ejido on basis of away goal. Barca Atletic's opponents for the thrid round will be revealed tonight. Thiago was sensational throughout the match, scoring one and creating the third with a no look pass. Watch the highlights of Barca Atletic's victory over Real Jaen.

Jun 6, 2010

Group A Preview
When France was paired along with Uruguay, South Africa and Mexico, everyone believed that Lady Luck was shining on France. In FIFA ranking France is ranked at number nine, Mexico at 17, Uruguay at 16 and South Africa at 83. From the numbers it should be a cake walk for France and the second spot should be a fight between Uruguay and Mexico. But this could be very much far from the truth. France recent form has been appaling at its best. Meanwhile Mexico inspired by the young talents of Giovani dos Santos, Javier Hernandez and Vela has been creating huge trouble for experienced defences. Their performance in the defeat against England and the victory against Italy showed the glimpse of what Mexico is capable of. Meanwhile South Africa is in the middle of an unbeaten run and a look back at last year's confederation cup shows that, with the crowd backing they could be the most tricky opponent. FIFA world cup has always seen host nations doing well, even winning the cup. South Africa may not be winning the World Cup but with crowd behind them they could take some big teams along with them. Uruguay now looks like the minows in the team but has the firepower to upstage even the group favourite, France. Add all these factors to France's terrible form, Group A could emerge as the potential "Group of Death".

Jun 2, 2010

Finally it looks like the FC Barcelona management has realised the need to find a replacement for the aging Henry. All of this summer's transfer saga has been around Cesc Fabregas. As I have written earlier Fabregas to Cost 80 Million, Barca were looking like losing focus of the bigger picture. But the latest set of rumours emerging is good news for Barca, which clearly shows an effort to strengthen the front left of attack. If the reports are to be believed, then FC Barcelona is trying to secure the signing of either Juan Mata of Valencia or Arjen Robben from Bayern Munich. It looks like both interest are in some early stage and we may have to wait and watch how these evolves. It is also to be seen whether these will have any effect of the attempt to sign Cesc Fabregas. I have earlier written an article the pointing out the benefits in signing Robben instead of Ribery, a target for Barca for sometime. The major benefit at that time looked like the price but now it is becoming clear that Bayern will not let Robben go cheaply.

Jun 1, 2010

Argentina arrives in South Africa in midst of another selection controversy. Pundits across the world is struggling to make sense of Diego Maradona's decision to omit Champions League winners Cambiasso and Zannetti. To an extent mayhem was expected in the selection process, as Maradona had to pick from a possible 100 players(he used that much for qualifying process). That in itself shoudld be a record. The final 23 players who is making to Argentina are Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar), Mariano Andújar (Catania), Diego Pozo (Colon); Nicolas Burdisso (Roma), Martín Demichelis (Bayern Munich), Walter Samuel (Inter Milan), Gabriel Heinze (Marseille), Nicolas Otamendi (Vélez Sarsfield), Clemente Rodríguez (Estudiantes), Ariel Garcé (Colon); Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Juan Sebastián Veron (Estudiantes), Maximiliano Rodríguez (Liverpool), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina), Angel Di Maria (Benfica), Jonas Gutiérrez (Newcastle), Javier Pastore (Palermo); Sergio Agüero (Atlético Madrid), Diego Milito (Internazionale), Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona). Zannetti's and Cambiasso's exclusion doesn't come as surprise for those who followed Argentinian qualification campaign. After a series of not so good performances, both the players fell out of favour with El Diego.

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