Sports Outside the Beltway

USA Beats England in Thrilling 1-1 Tie

The US beat England in a thrilling 1-1 tie to open the World Cup.

That’s a bit tongue-in-check, of course, but certainly the outcome is being considered a “win” for Team USA (indeed, I’ve received a congratulatory email for the “soccer success” from a European) and a crushing disappointment for the country which invented the sport.

The record will show it was a tie, but it was hardly that.

One found renewed confidence; the other is going to feel the heat back home.

The United States and England played to a 1-1 draw Saturday night in the World Cup, with the Americans rallying when Clint Dempsey scored on a blunder by goalkeeper Robert Green and U.S. goalie Tim Howard withstood a second-half barrage by Wayne Rooney and his celebrated teammates.

Steven Gerrard put England ahead in the fourth minute, blowing past Ricardo Clark to beat Howard from short range. But Dempsey tied it when Green fumbled his 25-yard shot that skipped off the ground twice.

“It was a difficult game,” Gerrard said. “I think the important thing in the first game is not to lose. Unfortunately we’ve let a poor goal in and we couldn’t go on and get the winner.

As an American, where even meaningless games in sports with 162-game regular seasons are played until someone wins, the idea of ending a match in the most important championship tournament on the planet in a tie still boggles the mind. But that’s the tradition in this game, where scoring opportunities are few and far between.


China coach urges gender test on South Korean soccer player

Park Eun-Sun had just recently come out of retirement. From Reuters-

China coach Shang Ruihua is questioning the eligibility of South Korean player Park Eun-Sun for the upcoming women’s Asian Cup and has urged authorities to conduct a gender test, local media reported.Park Eun-Sun

“If Park is participating in the Asian Cup we will definitely appeal to the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) to test her gender,” Shang told Chengdu Business Daily, a paper from the host city of the May 19-30 tournament in southwest China.

Park has been selected for the South Korea training squad after a five-year retirement. The 1.80m (5 ft 11) striker scored 13 goals in 11 international matches she played for South Korea before retiring in 2005 at 19.

However, her power and voice have raised doubts in some players and coaches.

“Her voice is too deep,” said Chinese player Li Jie.

My voice is too deep to be mistaken for a woman’s.

Hat tip- NC47 at ROK Drop who writes- “I don’t know if China should be asking for any type of qualification tests on athletes considering their history of cheating at sports.” Cheating is cheating, and should be reported by whoever observes it.


Togo pulls out of stays in Africa Cup of Nations tournament

Update- Togo has pulls out of”>decided to play after all. Their goverment is also asking for an apology from Angola and Africa Cup officials.

The rest of my original post is below


The attack on their team bus by gunmen resulted in three deaths. From AP-

Hosting the African Cup of Nations was Angola’s chance to show it is recovering from decades of war, but tragedy struck as gunmen sprayed bullets at Togo’s national team, killing three people and forcing its withdrawal from the soccer tournament.

Africa’s main soccer tournament was expected to open as planned on Sunday, even though players from other countries expressed shock at the ambush on the Togo team bus as it traveled through Angola’s restive oil-rich Cabinda province.

“We have goose bumps … who knows what is going to happen to us,” Amade Chababe, assistant coach to the Mozambique national football team, told AP Television News as the squad passed through Johannesburg en route to Angola on Saturday.

In South Africa, the local organizing committee of the World Cup said the attack had no relevance to the upcoming global sports event that starts in June. Spokesman Rich Mkhondo said FIFA views Friday’s attack as an isolated incident that could have happened anywhere in the world.

That’s a awfully dumb thing to say. How many machine attacks on buses full of athletes have happened in other parts of the world. I’m too far away to know if this is an isolated incident but will note that a violent civil war took place in Angola starting in 1975 and that it lasted almost 30 years.

The attack in Angola, a former Portuguese colony, killed an assistant coach, a team spokesperson and the bus driver, according to the team and the Togolese government.

“Despite this, the championship will go on,” Angola’s sports minister, Goncalves Muandumba, said.

In 1961 the entire U.S. Figure skating team was killed in a plane crash as they traveled to the World Figure Skating Championships. As a result the World Championships were canceled that year. How many of the other participants really want to go on after this tragedy. Won’t any victory feel bittersweet in the end?

It is perfectly understandable why Togo felt the need to withdraw. I don’t understand why this soccer tournament has to go on after this tragedy instead of being postponed.


Togo national soccer team shot at in Angola

The team is scheduled to take part in the 16-team African Cup of Nations Championship. From AP-

Gunmen in an area plagued by separatist violence opened fire Friday on a bus carrying Togo’s national soccer team to a tournament in this southwest African country, wounding at least six people including two players, an official said.

Some players said they wanted to pull out of the African Cup of Nations tournament following the violence, but an official in Angola said it would go ahead as planned.

Togo’s bus in a convoy from Congo was six miles across the border in Angola when it came under fire. The bus driver died in the 30-minute ambush, according to Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor, who was not hurt.

One player said they were ‘machine gunned like dogs’. Some players have expressed a desire to leave. I hope they don’t and pray the two wounded team members make a speedy recovery.

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Former Manchester United winger Albert Scanlon dead at age 74

He was also a survivor of the 1958 Munich air disaster and played for three other teams before retiring in 1966. RIP.

Former Manchester United winger Albert Scanlon, one of the ‘Busby Babes’ who survived the 1958 Munich air disaster that killed eight team mates, has died at the age of 74.

Manchester United paid tribute on their website to a player who made his debut at the age of 19 for Matt Busby’s first team in 1954 after coming through the United youth system.

Scanlon won two titles as an outside forward in 1956 and 1957 and was on the flight from Belgrade to Manchester that crashed after a refuelling stop in Munich following a European Cup match in February 1958. Fifteen passengers and crew were also killed in the disaster.

Scanlon stayed with United after recovering from his injuries, making 127 senior appearances and scoring 35 goals.


Cyprus soccer fans will need IDs for tickets

Papers please and then I’ll take your cash. From AP-

Soccer authorities in Cyprus say all fans will need to show state identity cards to buy tickets for domestic league matches in a bid to curb violence at games.

Wednesday’s announcement follows weekend clashes between fans of rival Nicosia clubs APOEL and Omonia that left a 20-year-old man critically injured.

The Cyprus Football Association says ID card numbers will be printed on tickets starting late this month as a means of identifying hooligans and enforcing banning orders.

I seem to recall how photo identification was proposed by some American officials aways back. Also as a means of protecting the public. How well did that policy work on September 11, 2001?


Serbia’s president arrested for drinking at Soccer stadium

I’m so glad a country who has never had a President convicted of war crimes takes enforcing the law against all its citizens seriously. From AP-

Serbian President Boris Tadic faces a fine for allegedly drinking champagne at a stadium with his sports minister and the head of the soccer federation.

Judge Zoran Pasalic said Tuesday the three are requested to appear in court on Dec. 1.

Drinking alcohol at and around sports venues is illegal in Serbia and fines range from $150 to $1,500.

Police filed misdemeanor charges against all three officials after photos were published of them holding glasses filled with champagne after Serbia’s 5-0 victory over Romania last month in World Cup qualifying.

Tadic said he drank no champagne and just made a toast. I don’t care, throw the book at him.


U of New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert suspended indefinitely

This for her actions in a recent Mountain West Conference semifinals versus BYU. From AP-

New Mexico women’s soccer defender Elizabeth Lambert has been suspended indefinitely after engaging in rough play — including hauling an opposing player to the ground by her pony tail — in the Lobos’ 1-0 loss to BYU in the Mountain West Conference semifinals.

Lambert is prohibited from taking part in practices, games and conditioning, coach Kit Vela announced Friday.

“Liz is a quality student-athlete, but in this instance her actions clearly crossed the line of fair play and good sportsmanship,” Vela said.

Video footage of the game shows Lambert, a junior, committing a series of excessively rough plays, including kicking, tackles, a forearm shiver to the back — in response to an elbow to the ribs — and yanking BYU forward Kassidy Shumway to the ground by her hair.

Lambert was assessed a yellow card during the 76th minute, apparently for tripping.

Lambert apologized for her actions.

Here’s a video of what happened. Warning the audio isn’t too good.

Her actions may have been provoked but are still uncalled for. I do think Lambert could have a future in another sport. How good is she at ice skating? Watch out Mountain West women’s hockey players.


Tanzanian soccer referees banned over match-fixing

Maybe they can go to work on Mongolian boxing matches. From BBC-

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has imposed life bans on four premier league referees and fined a club US$10,000 after it found them guilty of corruption.

The officials allegedly received around US$200 from premier league side, Majimaji FC, to fix their match against Mtibwa Sugar last month.

Majimaji, who eventually won the game 1-0, were fined US$10,000 for their misconduct.

The TFF spokesperson Florian Kaijage claimed that the club also covered the officials’ accommodation and gave them air tickets for their journey back to Dar es Salaam from Ruvuma in Southern Tanzania, where the match was being played.

Match officials are normally given money by the TFF to cover their return travel by bus to games, for their food and accommodation as well as a small allowance.

The referees say they planned to give the money back.

But the match referee, Othman Kazi, insisted to BBC Sport that they were given a bribe but never planned to keep the money.

“Majimaji brought us the money, but we refused to take it, then they threw it at us,” he told BBC Sport.

“We then decided to pick up the money and handed it over to TFF.

“We are the ones who reported the incident, how can they ban us?”

The TFF says the bribe was never reported to them. All I can say to this muddle, is if the bribery took place, Majimaji FC should have faced worse sanctions than a $10,000 fine.


Deflated- Beachball deflection wins soccer game

The fluke goal took all the air out of Liverpool. From AP-

Maybe a lifeguard should have run on the field and declared no goal.

A beach ball from the stands floated on the field in the opening minutes of Saturday’s Sunderland-Liverpool game in the Premier League. It might as well have been a set piece for Sunderland.

Sunderland’s Darren Bent took a shot that Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina appeared to have covered. But Bent’s ball hit a large red beach ball, deflecting past Reina and into the net.

The goal, coming in the fifth minute at the Stadium of Light, stood. No referee – or lifeguard – waved it off.

The video can be found here. It can not be embedded.


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