Saturday, February 13, 2010

World Cup Player Profile-Philipp Lahm

Unlike 2006, Bayern Munich's 26-year-old defender won't have the comforts of home to help ease the pressure on he and his German teammates. Then again, maybe the roughly 5,000 mile gap between Germany and South Africa will prove to be a respite from the sometimes over indulging passion that football fans provide. Either way, the Germans will be leaning heavily on Phillipp Lahm's experience to help them lift their fourth World Cup Trophy.

Traditionally a left back, Bayern's manager, Louis van Gaal, has often played him at right back this season, much to Mr. Lahm's dismay. Bayern struggled early in this year's Bundesliga campaign and Lahm was not shy about voicing his opinion. Munchen have since regained their form and sit level on points with Bayern Leverkusen atop the the Bundesliga table.

I liken Lahm to a point guard in basketball at times. He starts the link up play and is often a tempo setter for his team...bombing up the left flank and providing service in to the box or cutting in to central midfield for some one touch football. He's not afraid to unveil a powerful shot, from either foot, as well and his speed was an immeasurable component to Germany's success at Euro 2008.

Let's take a look...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

World Cup Player Profile-Marek Hamsik

Keep your eyes and ears open for the name Marek Hamsik. The 22-year-old Slovakian is all over Chelsea's radar and will continue to be the subject of many a transfer rumor until, at least, that "big transfer move" is made. With 8 goals in 23 games for Napoli this year, Hamsik is looking to lead Napoli in scoring for the third year running.

The attacking midfielder will be a key component for Slovakia this summer in South Africa, as they compete against fellow Group F participants, Italy, Paraguay, and New Zealand. Hamsik will be need to be on top of his game to advance out of the group. Here's a sample of his game...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

World Cup Player Profile-Giovani dos Santos

Mexican national Giovani Dos Santos is today's World Cup player profile. Currently own loan to Galatasaray of the Turkish Super Lig, Tottenham Hotspur's "Gio", as he's often referred to, will be a key component of Mexico's midfield at World Cup 2010 in South Africa. A mere 20 years old, Gio is a seasoned veteran in footballing terms. Having played for Barcelona under Frank Rijkaard and been the recipient of the both the adidas Silver and Bronze balls as a Mexican youth national player at FIFA U-20 & U-17 World Cups, Dos Santos had some envious teenage years to say the least.

After a move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2008, Giovani's injuries and a poor run of form by the club led him to a late season loan to Ipswich, and an eventual loan deal to Galatasaray last month. The more first team football he can get, the better Mexico's chances of advancing to the knockout stages of the World cup will be.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Euro 2012 Group Draw

The Euro 2012 qualifying draw took place yesterday, and as with any group stage draw, there are talking points and also a few groups that aren't worth talking about at all.

Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Italy, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Slovenia??? Sure the Serbian squad boasts a number of recognizable names likes Vidic, Stankovic, Zigic, Ivanovic and the Italians are always full of headline grabbers, but what else does this group have to offer. Yes I realize Slovenia will be a part of this summer's World Cup in South Africa, but an underachieving Czech Republic side certainly helped their cause for qualification.

Group D: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Luxembourg, Romania. Could France have an easier run of games? Now they will probably endure some speed bumps as they usually do during qualifying, but this is a ridiculously weak group.

What I'm really looking forward to over the next few years is the transition a lot of national teams will be going through. The Italian team is already as old as Rome itself and Coach Marcello Lippi doesn't appear to have any interest in bringing along youthful Italians like Sebastian Giovinco, David Santon, and Mario Balotelli. Now maybe Lippi will leave following the World Cup. Regardless, aged ones like Fabio Cannavaro, Mauro Camoranesi, and Andrea Pirlo need to be put out to pasture.

England will also be looking at a changing of the guard. John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, and Gareth Barry are or will be over the age of 30 by Euro 2012. Luckily they have some promising young players already in the fold. James Milner, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, Gabriel Agbonlahor, and Theo Walcott are the youthful future of the Three Lions. Can they take the next step and become superstars? It'll be fun to find out.

Here's a look at the full group draw:

Group A: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Germany, Kazakhstan, Turkey

Group B: Andorra, Armenia, Ireland, Macedonia, Russia, Slovakia

Group C: Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Italy, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Slovenia

Group D: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Luxembourg, Romania

Group E: Finland, Hungary, Moldova, Netherlands, San Marino, Sweden

Group F: Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Malta

Group G: Bulgaria, England, Montenegro, Switzerland, Wales

Group H: Cyprus, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal

Group I: Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Scotland, Spain

World Cup Player Profile-Tim Cahill

Sorry folks. Living in New Orleans as I do, I was a bit preoccupied yesterday with the Super Bowl. But now that I'm back, I want to bring you the magic of Tim Cahill. Everton's Australian midfielder has a knack for getting goals when he has no business beating bigger players to the ball. "A great head on his shoulders" would be an understatement. If the Socceroos are to make it out of the group stage this summer, much of the responsibility will lie with Tim Cahill.

Friday, February 5, 2010

World Cup Player Profile - Maicon

Today I offer a video compilation of arguably the best right back in the world. Brazil's Maicon had a spectacular Confederations Cup last summer and will no doubt will be a vital part this summer's World Cup affair. He currently plies his trade for Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan, who are well on their way to a fifth consecutive scudetto. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

World Cup Player Profile-Andres Iniesta

Today is the first edition of my World Cup 2010 Player Profile segment. I will try to profile one player everyday who is scheduled to participate in this summer's World Cup in South Africa. I don't want to give you every player's biography, etc. I simply want to give you a video introduction along with their current club and country information. It may be a montage, a breathtaking goal, or just a bit of skill.

Today I want to start with one of my favorite footballers and possibly the most underrated player in the world. Barcelona's Andres Iniesta...the man looking to bring the World Cup trophy to Spain. His footwork at the :45 mark is SICK!!!