Archive for November, 2007

Euro 2008 Players to be… TAXED?

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Now here’s a news that is as short as it is funny (except to those directly involved).

Euro 2008 organisers have resolved an argument with tax authorities in Switzerland, by agreeing that players involved in the tournament should be taxed at source. In a statement released on Friday, the organisers said players would be taxed a flat rate of 20% on any prize money passed on to them by their national associations. The rule will not be applied to coaches, association officials or other non-playing delegates.

European soccer body UEFA had argued that the players should only pay taxes in their home countries, while the Swiss authorities had called for taxes to be levied locally at rates set by the individual host cantons. Under the agreement, UEFA will now withhold part of the prize money awarded to the various associations, who will then have to provide details on the payouts given to each player before receiving any money left over.

The flat rate tax will be applied to all players whether they play their matches in Switzerland or in co-hosting Austria. The statement did not say whether players would still be expected to pay additional tax back home, or if they would pay more tax in total as a result of the agreement. Organizers said the deal would involve an estimated total taxation of between 4 and 8 million Swiss francs ($3.6-7.1m dollars, or €2.4-4.8m Euros).

I guess all that is left for the players to do is emigrate to Patagonia, like Florent Pagny (sorry, I guess only French people will get that one).

England Manager Job: Opinions Wanted

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Picking the next England coach is becoming quite the delicate affair (duh). So delicate in fact that the English Football Association are calling upon “expert opinions”, to avoid making the same mistakes again (read: Steve McLaren and missing out on qualifying for Euro 2008). So, it seems that FA chief Brian Barwick will consult a host of leading figures in the game, in his search for a “world-class manager” for the Three Lions.

Or, the “12 Wise Men” as has tagged them.

Here’s the consultant list:

  • England captain John Terry
  • Wales boss John Toshack
  • UEFA chief Michel Platini
  • German legend Franz Beckenbauer
  • Managerial legend Roy Hodgson
  • England midfielder Steven Gerrard
  • Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger
  • England legend Sir Bobby Charlton
  • England legend Sir Bobby Robson
  • Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Formed England manager Glenn Hoddle
  • Formed England manager Graham Taylor

Barwick said that he is not working to a deadline because “England’s next competitive match is months away“, hence “it is more important to get the best man for the job“.

The FA insists no shortlist has yet been drawn up, but former Chelsea boss José Mourinho is the current favourite for the job.   

Sven Göran Eriksson, age 59Ex-England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson, now in charge of Manchester City, said he could understand the clamour for Mourinho but warned he would be taking on “the biggest job in football”. “Mourinho has already shown that he is big with Porto and with Chelsea, so if he has been winning trophies for them, he can do it with England as well“, said the Swede to BBC Sport

But to be the England manager you must win every game, not do anything in your private life and hopefully not earn too much money” added Eriksson. ”They are the only qualities you need and if you have those, you are perfect. (…) I don’t want to say that I am supporting Mourinho, because I support everyone and it is not my job. But the biggest football job in Europe and in the world is to be the England manager. The Champions League is big and it is fantastic, but to compare it to the World Cup? No chance. The World Cup is, and will be forever, the number one.”

UEFA Cup Group Stage, Day 3 – Fiorentina Manage Only a draw to AEK Athens, but Remain Top of Group C

Friday, November 30th, 2007

UEFA CupFor Fiorentina’s 100th match in European competition, the Viola supporters would have probably wished for a happier atmosphere. The collective hearts still heavy over the recent loss of Manuela Prandelli, the team was nonetheless at in the Olympic Stadium of Athens, ready to battle it out with a fierce (on home ground at least) Greek team and a pretty rough field. Needless to say, Cesare Prandelli was taking a leave of absence and was replaced by vice-coach Gabriele Pin.

UEFA Cup Group Stage, Day 3 - AEK Athens 1-1 Fiorentina

Everyone wanted to see Bobo Vieri, and instead everyone found Osvaldo. The usual Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, selfish and generous at the same time, because that Fiorentina left wing of his was both a dream and a nightmare for the Greek opponents: a nightmare because of Osvaldo’s constant percussions, a dream because of the decisively no-day of Federico Balzaretti tonight (and associated lack of Osvaldo’s support). In any case, final conclusions aside, the match begun quite on the exciting pace, especially for Fiorentina who went forward with all guns blazing, creating most of the chances of the first 30 minutes.

Eventually, the Viola broke through and took the lead in the 29th minute, and all it took were 5 passes. What’s so special about that, you may ask? Well, those 5 passes were all the ball needed to travel from one end of the field to the other, litterally: from Montolivo to Liverani, back to Montolivo, executing a through pass for Vieri. Bobo immediately set up Osvaldo, who dribbled his marker and armed a low accurate shot into the bottom corner. 1-0 Fiorentina.

The Viola’s lead didn’t last very long though, because less than 5 minutes later the Greek hosts were level: from Manu to Dellas, through to the left for Julio Cesar (not the Inter keeper). Balzaretti got in the way of the cross, and unfortunately deflected into his own net with Sebastien Frey helpless. 1-1.

From then on, both teams redefined the notion of “battling it out”, especially because the field was in absolutely horrible conditions, making each pass and each control of the ball very very hard to execute. Fabio Liverani was litterally under an all-out-marking spell, reducing his moving space to virtually zero, but managed to nonetheless to take a few stabs at the net, especially in the 2nd half. The one having a real ball though was Zdravko Kuzmanovic, attempting his long-range shot on more than one occasion (wide). Osvaldo had another chance to make it two with a close-range header, but found the intervention of the Greek keeper ready.

Eventually, it ended as it all started: on a tied game. All in all, not too bad a result given that the leadership of Group C is still intact. Speaking of Group C, the other match of the day between Elfsborg and Mladá Boleslav ended 3-1 for the Czech team. After today’s results (Villareal was on break) the group rankings are now the following: Fiorentina 5 pts. (3 GP), Villareal 3 (2), Mlada 3 (2), AEK Athens 2 (2), Elfsborg 1 (3). Fiorentina’s immediate next match will be against Inter on Sunday, and the Viola will undoubtedly be expecting much much harder opposition..

 AEK Athens FC
[Match Highlights]
 ACF Fiorentina
GOALSCORERS: 29′ Osvaldo, 34′ Balzaretti (o.g.)
AEK ATHENS (4-5-1): Moretto – Ramos Silva, Papastathopoulos, Dellas, Arruabarrena – Manu, Tozser, N’saliva (71’ Kafes), Julio Cesar (81’ Pappas) – Kone (55’ Manduca) – Blanco. (bench: Macho, Zikos, Azcarate, Bourbos). Coach: Serra Ferrer
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Balzaretti, Dainelli, Kroldrup, Pasqual – Kuzmanovic (81’ Gobbi), Liverani, Montolivo – Jorgensen, Vieri (86’ Pazzini), Osvaldo. (bench: Lupatelli, Gamberini, Vanden Borre, Donadel, Semioli). Coach: Prandelli (substituted by Pin)


MISN – Winter Lachine 07-08 game 6 (vs. R.R.C)

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Ricard, unofficial sponsor of MISN Impossible

MISN? What’s this?

Hello MISN,

On Saturday November 24th we played game nº6 of the Winter 2007-08 Lachine indoor league, vs. R.R.C.

After last week’s victorious 3-2 bout against Hellas, MISN Impossible was back on the winning track ready to continue their assault on the Division 2 champions title.  Our opponents for the day were R.R.C, a team with more or less the same record as us (3 wins and 2 losses). We were expecting a pretty open game.


Attendance-wise, it wasn’t one of our best weeks but we managed. Ludo was still M.I.A in France, Can still in Abitibi, and Danny had a work commitments once again. In addition, Jon had picked up an injury in the last game that will probably keep him out for at least 2 weeks, and Bardia was unavailable.

1) Absent long-term: Can, Ludo
2) Injured long-term: Tevin, Alex, Jon
3) N/A this week: Danny, Bardia

Here was our line-up:

Eric / Bruno
Nafee / Abbes

Logistically, this was a very early morning game and when I mean early, I really mean early. Like 9am-Saturday-morning early. Nonetheless, all of us were there and ready, except Jan, who fortunately came right on time to begin the match at kick-off. :)

We started with a clear control of ball possession in midfield, building up our offense progressively and trying to find penetrating runs and passes to set our strikers in front of the net. It was quite difficult however, because R.R.C. kept their defense under tight lock and was always ready to set off a counter-attack by keeping one or two forwards close to the midfield line. We kept the ball inside their own half most of the time, but unfortunately got punished on the first mistake we committed.

On an intercepted corner-kick, R.R.C  launched the counter towards the left wing. Combining passes in our half, and eventually landing in front of our goal in superior numbers, a striker got loose of the marking and deposited into the net, sidestepping Jan. 0-1.

This was really tough luck because (as usual), we had been producing most of the chances in the game. A few minutes after conceding the goal, a corner-kick for MISN was taken by Marco, who waited to spot Santi’s run inside the box. Marco’s low passes was hit by our Argentine winger, but his right-footed shot was over the bar! Meanwhile, Güven was trying his best to hold the ball on the edge of the box, and feed it to the sides (or fooling the pass and attempting the shot), but the R.R.C defense/keeper was doing a hell of a  good job in deflecting/parrying the shots away. And once again, despite our domination, we conceded a goal on our next immediate defensive mistake.

In R.R.C‘s offensive zone, a misjudged pass by one of our players immediately set off the counter-attack. With a pass to the center, a 2 vs. 2 situation soon became a 3 vs. 2 with the addition of yet another R.R.C striker. Kevin had to lose his man to go challenge the ball, ensued a pass to the left, then back to the right for an open man in front of the net. Nafee couldn’t get back on time, and the R.R.C striker executed a low instep shot on Jan’s first post. 0-2.

At this point, we were undeservedly down by 2 goals. Rage and frustration was building up amongst our troops,  which eventually resulted in yellow cards for Nafee and Marco. Nevertheless, our repeated efforts on the opponents’ net eventually came to fruition, and we cut back the goal deficit by one.  

From a kick-in from the right by Marco, a looped cross was sent in to Santi on the 2nd post. Santi’s header was parried away by the keeper, however our Argentine winger managed to on the rebound and have another stab at goal. Once again, saved by the keeper (!) but this time the ball looped up, and Santi lunged at the free chance, slamming it home from point-blank range with an open net. 1-2!

Eventually, the half came to a close on the 1-2 scoreline to the advantage of R.R.C. We were still very much in the game, especially because in terms of ball possession and scoring chances, we were dominating our opponents. We just needed to focus more in defense, and take our chances on goal.

At the restart, we continued pushing forward and eventually got our reward. With Güven obtaining a feed on the right wing, deep into enemy territory, our Turkish striker faked the pass to the center, utilized the dummy to dribble his marker, got towards the goal line, back on his right foot, and BAM! Slammed a ripping shot towards the opposite post! A great goal from an almost impossible angle!! 2-2!!

Minutes later, we made it 3-2! Out on the right wing, Güven faked a run to go deep to fool his marker, came back towards the center and armed a precise left-footed shot low into the right bottom corner! Olé!! We finally had the lead!!!

Our lead however, was unfortunately short-lived. With R.R.C attacking in numbers in the MISN half, the ball dropped back for a long-range shot. The attempt was deflected to R.R.C‘s main target man, who tried to turn around and shoot again from our right side. Another deflection ensued, Jan came out to challenge but missed the interception, the ball spun out of control and, believe it or not, with the backspin (unless some defender/striker touched it… I didn’t see it very clearly) slowly rolled into the net as everyone watched dumbfounded. A last-ditch tackle by Kevin couldn’t keep it from crossing the line. 3-3. ARGH!!

But wait, we still had momentum going to our advantage. That last goal could have stopped us dead in our tracks, but on the contrary it fueled the fire that was already burning in proximity of the R.R.C penalty box. With MISN breaking through into their opponents’ defenses, a first shot was deflected, prompting the keeper to come out to challenge Santi in the center. Our Argentine winger attempted a flick and the keeper saved again, but couldn’t prevent the ball from dropping to Güven on the left side! Powerful low shot into the bottom left corner, and 4-3 MISN!!!!

It was now a matter to stay very concentrated in defense, to stop the hemorrhage and not allow any more stupid goals. With R.R.C in our zone, the ball cycled through a series of players, eventually dropping to a striker on the right. The R.R.C man tried to place an accurate shot onto the far post, but Marco’s header was there to keep it out, one meter away from the line!

Minutes later, a great combination forward brought Marco towards the left wing, with Nafee dropping the ball back with a dribble, and then looping it over towards our Italian wing-back. Güven made a run in the center and Marco promptly flicked him the ball on the volley, but our Turkish kebab… ehm striker couldn’t control the pass in time for an accurate shot.

It was then that Nafee earned his 2nd yellow card of the match. Deep into our defensive zone, MISN was under pressure and trying to clear the ball away from danger. It landed on the right wing to Nafee who, instead of clearing it away, attempted to control and dribble but was dispossessed of the ball. Running after his “thief”, Nafee clipped him in the legs and forced Bryan to send our Moroccan playmaker take an early shower. With 10 minutes to go in the game, this was a set-back which we decidedly didn’t need.

Now, for many teams (and against stronger opponents) this could have meant physical and psychological collapse. For MISN, surprisingly this meant the opposite: within less than a minute after conceding the red card (in fact, on the ensuing free kick taken by R.R.C, if I’m not mistaken), we made it 5-3! On the ensuing FK, the ball was deflected away and immediately set up Santi for the counter-attack on the left wing. Our Aregntine winger ran like Speedy Gonzales (Santi will tell me  that he’s Mexican, not Argentinian, but I don’t care I’m still using him as a metaphor :smile: ) and at the end of his run, poked the ball onto the keeper’s first post!!! GOOOOOOOLAAAAAZOOOOO!!

We now had a 2-goal advantage, playing 6 against 7, would you believe it? No? Good, because it didn’t last very long: with R.R.C continuing to push, pass, and shoot, the ball was deflected by our defense, eventually prompting a pass back for a long-range shot. The R.R.C defender armed an instep right-footed effort, whose outswinging trajectory ended into the left side of Jan’s net. Bummer. 5-4.

Again however, with still one man down and against all expected odds (despite the fact that we were still the better team though), we managed to break our opponents’ defenses once again! Another lightning counter-attack by MISN set up Güven and Eric with a good 2 vs. 1 opportunity. Leading the defender believe he was going to pass, our Turkish striker held the ball and got to the edge of the box, ripping another accurate shot past the keeper into the left bottom corner. 6-4!!

The final 2-3 minutes of the game were intense. MISN obtained yet another chance on a counter-attack, advancing towards the goal: from Marco to Santi, trying to spot a pass, to Güven, holding the ball, and dropping it back to Marco. Our Italian wing-back was however on his weaker left foot, resulting in a bad shot over the bar.

In the final minute, MISN conceded a foul on the edge of the box. The wall was formed, but the ball surprisingly passed toward the right! Kevin threw his leg forward to deflect, managing to thwart the chance. It is then that ref called the end of the match, giving MISN the victory and a well-deserved 3 points in an intensity-laden emotional match!


6-4 final score

Güven (4)

Santi (2)

Yellow cards:
Nafee(2)=red card


An incredible match boys! We established our domination right from the beginning, but due to a tight defense by our opponents we couldn’t produce. Instead, we conceded two goals on coutner-attacks, which could have put this game heading decidedly the wrong way. We never gave up however, and through incredible determination pulled back from behind to win the game, scoring even two goals undermanned!

At the end of the day, while we can be happy about the 3 points, we should auto-critique ourselves and conclude that:

  1. Getting a player sent off (and therefore suspended) shouldn’t happen.
  2. Over the past few games, we are conceding way too many goals. It is time to patch up our defense, and stop making mistakes that may eventually be very costly. 

Cya next week.


Kaka-Golden Ball: Latest Indiscretions Suggest 400 Points for the Brazilian Midfielder

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Ballon d’OrNot a success, but an absolute triumph: while all rumours now indicate with near certainty that the Golden Ball (Ballon d’Or) award is nobody’s but Kaká‘s, details trickle through regarding the distance between 1st and 2nd spot, and apparently it’s huge. Latest indiscretions suggest the Brazilian AC Milan midfielder obtained a total of over 400 points, way ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd), Lionel Messi (3rd), Didier Drogba (4th) & Co. If results are confirmed, Kaká would be the 10th player ever in history to have managed to FIFA World Player of the Year-Ballon d’Or double (the last one being Fabio Cannavaro in 2006).

The first Italian player it seems, is Andrea Pirlo (5th), which is a nice recognition for the irreplaceable playmaker of Italy and AC Milan. Completing the Top 10 we find Ruud Van Nistelrooy (6th), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (7th), Cesc Fabregas (8th), Robinho (9th), and Thierry Henry (10th).

The absolute dominator of 2005, Ronaldinho, dropped down the ranks and finished 12th, while between ranks 15 and 20 we ought to find some more Italian players, namely Pippo Inzaghi, Paolo Maldini, Gigi Buffon, and Gennaro Gattuso. The 2006 Ballon d’Or winner, Fabio Cannavaro, reportedly didn’t make the Top 20.

The officiality of the ranking will be unveiled on Sunday December 2, on the French TV channel TF1. As a reminder, this will be the first Golden Ball awarded to the ‘Best player in the World’, with no distinction as to the player’s nationality or the league he currently plays in.

Kaka with the Golden Ball, PhotoShop artistry at work