Insane Stretford Posse

I remain so utterly baffled as to why footie fans tend to have a generally poor reputation amongst those not inclined toward the sport. Sure, we get pretty riled up and a little rowdy, but so do all sports fans, right? It's not like we're losing our minds and going completely flipping mad over routine things that happen in sports all the time...right?

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MLS' Homegrown Initiative

Via I don't remember where, I liked this article on MLS' "Homegrown Initiative" by Nancy Armour:

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Euro qualifying, one step further

Another set of games today, another handful of minnow-thrashings and semi-impressive, semi-surprising wins. But it's early in the qualifying yet! This stage doesn't finish up till mid-October 2011, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to allow myself to sneak a couple games on ESPN3 at work on upcoming match days.

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Let's Go Euro

It sort of sneaked up on me, but the Euro 2012 qualifying group stage got fully underway this week. I didn't catch any games (are they even on TV in the States?) but I do always enjoy watching the outcomes in these early stages, when the minnows are still around to either get the bejeesus stomped out of them or to surprise the hell out of everyone except the soccer hipsters who TOTALLY KNEW that Cyprus was way better than any of you thought.

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Or...perhaps not

Well, nevermind that previous post, I guess.

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Gulati and Klinsmann, sitting in a tree...

(Hey look, I'm not dead! Aren't you thrilled?)

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Fergiesplaining

If any England fans are still wondering what went wrong in South Africa, allow Sir Alex Ferguson to illuminate you:

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Queer as football folk

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SEMIFINAL: Spain 1 - 0 Germany

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Iker Casillas gives grateful thanks to the curly game-winning locks of Carlos Puyol.

Neither team played up to their potential, and both teams were maddening at times. Possession and set pieces were nearly even, and there were no cards handed out. But Spain outshot Germany 13 to 5, and in the end it was one lone shot of those 13 that mattered, when Carlos Puyol got his head to a corner from Xavi in the 74th minute.

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Spain 1 - 0 Paraguay: Meh, shrug, yawn, OMFG!!!

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Yeah, so...there were these penalty kicks...

So. This game. I wasn't going to have much to say about it, really. The first half was a scoreless...well, I won't go so far as to call it a bore, but it was far from exciting. Paraguay's defense was pretty strong, and they were managing to have three or more players surround every Spanish player at all times, it seemed. Spain was having trouble with their passing, their communication, their set-ups...basically just having trouble. There were few shots to each side, and even the Paraguay goal called back for offside wasn't another jump-out-of-your-chair bad call moment. The replay showed maybe it was a wrong call, but it was close and wasn't even argued much. (The offside call seemed to be against Nelson Valdez, who looked onside, but further commentary says it was against Oscar Cardozo, who was offside.) When the second half began, it was more of the same for about the first 14 minutes.

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Germany 4 - 0 Argentina: Predictable and unexpected

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Happy German Fan is happy...and a little scary.

Part of me finds Germany's 4-0 crushing of Argentina rather unsurprising. The European side turning in another strong performance, knocking in multiple goals and keeping a tight defense is no big shock to the system. But it's not as though Argentina has been twiddling their thumbs all tournament, and their lackluster performance was decidedly unforeseen.

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Round of 16, final match: Spain moves on

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Yay, me! All me! I win!

The knockout round ended today with the Iberian derby, as Spain pushed past Portugal with a 1-0 victory. Super happy David Villa's 63rd minute strike may have been the only goal, but it was a far more entertaining game than the scoreline would have you believe. (Okay, maybe not you, dear soccer fans...but certainly more entertaining than the whiny soccer haters would think.)

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Round of 16 Day 2: Argentina and Germany moving on

No real surprises in today's results: two strong teams continue to roll on, and the officiating continued to induce head-meets-desk collisions around the world.

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Panini!

If anyone out there is collecting World Cup panini stickers and has some dupes to trade, let me know! Here's my list of extras to offer (space numbers only, too long to type all the names!):

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Group G results: Brazil and Portugal advance

We've talked here before about the potential value and positivity of a 0-0 result, and I do still agree with those sentiments...but sometimes a scoreless draw is a damn shame.

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