Archive for the 'Soccer' Category

Chelsea Suffers Defeat – Ends Hope of Top Four Premier League Finish

May 9, 2012

Chelsea suffered a 4-1 defeat by Liverpool thereby ending their hopes of a top four Premier League finish. They will have to win the Champions League final if they are to compete in next season’s edition.

Chelsea were 3-0 behind inside half an hour at Anfield following an own-goal from Michael Essien and goals from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger, just three days after beating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Jonjo Shelvey ended any hope of a comeback with his first Premier League goal after Ramires scored for Chelsea early in the second half. Unless Chelsea beat Bayern Munich at the German club’s ground in the final on May 19, England’s top four clubs will enter next term’s Champions League. A win for Chelsea will deprive the team in fourth of a place in the preliminary round.

Chelsea will now finish in sixth spot and this defeat meant the top four was beyond the reach of them. With just three on offer for beating already relegated Blackburn in their final league match of the season, they are left five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

A win in the Champions League will save the job for interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, and to make sure that the Blues stay in Europe next season as a 4-1 crush against Liverpool at the Anfield on Tuesday killed their even outside chance of a top four finish. Against the Red, Di Matteo played an under strength team, keeping their Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 19 in his mind.

Since Roman Abramovich took control, it is the worst final position Chelsea have ever had. After a selection gamble failed to pay off, even the much-mocked Europa League now beckons. Despite Di Matteo’s team beginning the night still in contention for a top-four berth, he said he had no regrets about making eight changes from his Cup final side for the game at Anfield.

Di Matteo had rested the likes of Didier Drogba, Juan Mata, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard and said he has no regrets. He added that the effort was there but they came up against an inspired Liverpool side. He further said that his side had some very intense games, the last one three days ago and it is hard to keep getting yourself going every three days. He said that since he has been in charge, his team has played every three days and it has been a big ask and a big demand. He thought with fresh legs and new energy they could have had a better chance.

World Cup Preview: Stage 2, Uruguay vs. South Korea

June 25, 2010

Uruguay stormed through the first round in the 2010 World Cup and will now move on to the round of 16 as the winners of Group A. They will face World Cup odds favorite, South Korea on Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the first game of the second round. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 AM ET. South Korea qualified after finishing second in Group B.

Uruguay has been one of the most impressive teams of the tournament. Their experienced defensive unit has played magnificently through three games. Uruguay’s back line includes Diego Lugano, Maxi Pereira, and Diego Godin. All of whom play for good European clubs and they combined with goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to give up zero goals in group play.

In addition to their solid defenders, Uruguay boasts one of the most feared attacking duos in the tournament. Forwards Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez placed in the top five in goals and assists in qualifying and picked up where they left off in the first round. Forlan scored two goals in Uruguay’s 3-0 win over host South Africa. In Uruguay’s clinching 1-0 win over Mexico, Suarez scored the team’s only goal.

South Korea has been a regular at the World Cup, but they failed to move past the first round in all but one of their seven previous appearances. The one time they moved on was in 2002 when they co-hosted the tournament with Japan. After a draw, a loss, and a win in group play this year, they finished second in their group and will play in the second round for the first time on foreign soil.

South American teams have been impressive so far in the tournament. They have nine wins, two draws, and just one loss. When South Korea faced South American Argentina in their second game, they gave up four goals in a 4-1 loss. Uruguay has represented South America well and will be favored in this game to continue South America’s dominance.

World Cup Preview: Italy vs. Paraguay, June 14

June 11, 2010

Italy and Paraguay will face off in Group F of the 2010 World Cup on June 14th. This game will probably be the most significant game that Group F will have.

These two squads are the overwhelming favorites to advance out of this group which also includes Slovakia and New Zealand. Some people give Slovakia an outside chance to advance to the next stage, but New Zealand has been all but counted out for advancement.

Italy is the defending champion team, but is ranked outside of the top 10 in the world in many rankings. Fortunately for them they have drawn an easy group. This match between Paraguay and Italy will likely be used to decide who the winner of Group F will be.

These two teams both have solid defenses. Paraguay may have the edge on the defensive end. Italy on the other hand has a solid offensive attack that is definitely more formidable than Paraguay. The key for Paraguay will be their defensive containment. Paraguay does not have the type of offense that can go goal for goal in a shootout. They need a low scoring game in which they control the tempo. If they let Italy get a lot of shots on goal, it will probably spell their demise.

Both of these teams will be contenders in the World Cup, but this game will go a long way towards building confidence for each squad. If a team leaves feeling as though they are the best team advancing from Group F, then they will have a lot more confidence in later rounds.