Iraq's football federation has dissolved its entire national team and withdrawn from August's West Asian championships.Just another example of How Soccer Explains the World. Or at least reflects it.
The war-torn state made an early exit from 2010 World Cup qualifiers following defeat to Qatar in their final third round qualifier on Sunday.
The federation said the national side's failure to reach the later stages of qualification for the tournament in South Africa had disappointed the Iraqi people, and the entire team needed to be rebuilt.
"The Iraqi FA has decided to disband the team as of now and also not continue with the services of Adnan Hamad as coach," a federation statement read.
"It is really sad that Iraq lost in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Iraqis are not happy with the results.
"We will concentrate on rebuilding the team for the Gulf Cup in 2009 as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup. The team will not participate in the West Asian Football Federation Championship."
AP Photo by Paolo Giovannini
Steve Finnan, please back your bags. The next Midlands Express leaves in 20 minutes and will have you in claret and blue by day break.
Liverpool are hoping to complete the signing of Udinese full-back Andrea Dossena next week.
Reds chief executive Rick Parry confirmed a deal for the 26-year-old Italian is almost done.
"We are now ready to confirm the signing of Dossena. The deal should go through next week," Parry told the club's official website.
I say that expecting Dossena to be the starting left back for Liverpool with Arbeloa moving to his more natural right back spot. With Degen slotted as Arb's back up, that makes Finnan, who has some transfer value, expendable. And of course Villa is still looking for a specialist right back, and Finnan would fit the bill nicely.
I'm happy to see Sundhage picking on athletic merits, rather than bizarre motivational ploys or petty squabbles. As to the rest of the roster, I'm surprised that the US is only taking three forwards to the Olympics. Granted Wambach is a force and the US has lots of attacking talent in midfield with Wagner, et al. But might it limit the US' options if they need to change the pace or rhythm of a match, or (god forbid) have to chase one in search of a goal?
CHICAGO -- Goalkeeper Hope Solo is among 18 players picked for the U.S. Olympic women's soccer roster, nine months after she was kicked off the team at the World Cup.
Briana Scurry, who took over from Solo for last year's World Cup semifinal loss to Brazil, was left off the roster by coach Pia Sundhage, who replaced Greg Ryan following the World Cup debacle.
Solo was the starter for most of 2007, but Ryan surprisingly replaced her with Scurry for the semifinal, which the Americans lost 4-0. Solo criticized Ryan, saying she would have made the saves, and was dropped from the team.
Finally, while there are quite a few veterans on the roster, most American will never have heard of any of these players... well, save for Solo after the aforementioned dust up. But no Hamm, Lily, Chastain, Milbrett, or Fawcett. NBC (and US Soccer) and going to have to rev up the old PR machine to sell this team to us all over again.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo.
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler, Lori Chalupny, Stephanie Cox, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone.
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath, Angela Hucles, Carli Lloyd, Heather O'Reilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner.
FORWARDS (3): Natasha Kai, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach.
Arsenal have signed French midfielder Samir Nasri from Marseille, according to the player's website.As to the question of where he fits in with the Arsenal side:
The 20-year-old has signed a four-year deal for a reported £15.8m, although Arsenal have yet to confirm the move.
He can play on either wing or through the centre and won the French first division's young player of the year award, and was voted Marseille's player of the year by fans, at the end of the 2006/2007 campaign.That's not much help, is it? But seemingly he's either a replacement or insurance for Hleb, Rosicky, or both. And definitely +10.
Last season he scored six goals in 30 games for the French outfit, his final strike in a 4-3 win over Strasbourg helping secure Marseille's berth in next season's Champions League.
But it's like a photo of Bigfoot. You're not really sure it's true. I'm much more used to this...
... and this.
- Rovers 'excited' by Ince - Perhaps this is continuity by any means necessary? Ince another branch of the SAF coaching tree and could bring a similar approach/tone to Rovers that Mark Hughes did.
- Milan confirm Adebayor focus - Don't know how much of this is bluster, but Arsenal really need to hold on to K2. He gave them something different than what they've had over the past few years in an aerial threat. It meant that teams had to respect crosses from the fullbacks which opened the middle of the pitch up for Cesc to work. It doesn't appear that Benchtner is ready to step up to being an every week player at this level, so Arsene may have to look to bring in someone new to partner RvP (while he's healthy). Any names come to mind? RSC, perhaps?
- Podolski hits out at Bayern - It would be nice to see Podolski in the Premier League. He's +10 for sure! Surely he'd only move for European football, so that means Spurs, Everton, or one of the big boys. Wouldn't he look nice in blue -- either in the capitol or the north west.
- Arshavin prefers Spain move Arshavin/Messi playing in behind Barca's new center forward? Reminiscent of what the Dutch were doing this summer, or Milan did with Kaka and Seedorf.
- Nihat heads home - Huge loss for the Turks to only compound their problems with injuries and suspensions.
Brooks insists that I "publish it. It's awesome." So here's his list of the best soccer nicknames.
- El Diablo Marco Etcheverry
- El Pescadito Carlos Ruiz
- Padwan Rodrigo Palacio
- der Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer
- The Black Pearl Eusebio
- De rots van Kampen (The Rock from Kampen) Jaap Stam
- The Beast Julio Baptista
- The Apache Carlos Tevez
- Baby-Face Assassin Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- The Ebony Tripod Claude Makelele
- The Matrix Marco Materazzi
So who makes your all-time nickname list? Other than K2, of course.
Who could even have imagined that in a tournament where the Dutch abandoned Cruyff's 4-3-3 formation in favor of a flexible 4-2-3-1 we would also see the Germans adopt the 4-3-3, as they did in their victory over Portugal? Joachim Low set out his three midfielders - Ballack, Hitzelsperger, and Rolfe - to disrupt Portgal, and especially Deco's, passing lanes and gave his wide men, Schweinsteiger and Podolski, the freedom to attack Portugal's full backs.
The result speaks for itself.
Those must be some CRAZY requirements. Sure Eto'o seemed off the boil last season. But no worse than Henry. And Deco is only proving his worth for Portugal. But I guess Xavi plays that same role, and Ronaldinho didn't play much of a role at all for Barca this year.
New Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Deco are surplus to requirements at Camp Nou.
Guardiola, who has replaced Frank Rijkaard as Barca boss, admits he is not currently planning on having the star trio in his squad next season.
I always liked Pep Guardiola as a player, and it seems like he's putting together a team by subtraction rather than addition... for now. But if they add Alves at right back and a center forward -- "We are looking for an out-and-out striker that can score 60 goals a season," he joked. "Well, we want a No.9, we need one to complement Henry and Bojan." -- they are going to have a very powerful attacking side in the Barca tradition.