Let’s just catchup with some of the stories flying around the blogosphere
Euro 2008 Quarterfinals start today – On paper, the matchups, starting with today’s Germany-Portugal match, look outstanding, but one just hopes that teams don’t revert to the defensive tactics we’ve actually seen little of during the group phase. Based on what I’ve seen throughout this tournament (and ignoring past big match pedigree and the prospect of pks) it’s really hard to see Portugal not advancing today. That said, as soon as you take into account all those things I mentioned in the parentheses, suddenly it’s hard to see the Germans losing. I am going to stand by my pre-tourney pick of the Portuguese. 2-1 Portugal.
The Rowdies are back – A group in Tampa are reviving one of the great names in US Soccer history, the Tampa Bay Rowdies as a USL-1 team. The ownership group says they will finance and build a USL-sized stadium but I am pessimistic that this will work out. Tampa is a very different market than the one that succeeded so well in the seventies. When the Rowdies arrived the first time, Tampa did not yet have either the Bucs or the Rays and there wasn’t nearly as much to do. Now, Tampa is far larger with three pro sports franchises and a recent previous pro soccer failure (the Mutiny) on its record. Maybe the market will embrace the team, or maybe it will be ignored much like the Mutiny were? I fear it will be the latter. For more information on the original Rowdies, check out this great site.
Emilio is sticking around – After turning down a move to Morelia, Luciano Emilio has entered into negotiations to re-sign with DC United while starting to score at the pace that is required for United to recover its season. While it’s good that he appears to have found his confidence (and motivation?) again, I am still slightly distressed that we have a player who appeared to have gone into “shut-down mode” over contract negotiations. If a bigger club comes calling next season, say from Europe, will he do the same thing if MLS rejects the offer? Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he is staying. But we’ve seen something in his character that gives reason to worry.
Dunga’s boring Brazil ties Argentina, 0-0 – Why soccer infuriates… A match that counts featuring Robinho, Anderson, Diego, Riquelme and Messi ends goalless despite the fact that both teams really needed three points in qualifying. Paul Gardner, predictably, excoriates Dunga for this fact.