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Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup Soccer 2010: New Zealand shocks Italy 1-1


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Maybe Italy needed Koman?
Defending World Cup Soccer champion Italy came in with so much promise, but so far has miserably failed to live up to its billing. Italy Azzurri battled the New Zealand All Whites to a 1-1 draw, making kiwis happy on Father's Day, while causing the World to scratch its head over Italy's performance.

Italy has not won a game in World Cup Soccer as of this writing. They have two matches and two draws. Not bad if you're the USA, but this is Italy, the assumed juggernaut of World Cup Soccer.

New Zealand, the 78th ranked team, tied the 5th ranked Italy Soccer team.

Much of the credit goes to New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert's bold move to aggressively attack Italy with three strikers to open the game; the result was the match's first goal, scored by New Zealand.

And were it not for a penalty on Tommy Smith for grabbing and pulling down Daniele De Rossi, thus leading to a successful penalty kick for Italy, the New Zealand team would have won.

It's clear Italy was outplayed, but if it was by one of the lowest ranking teams in the World Cup, what's next?

Stay tuned.

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World Cup Soccer 2010: few TV watching chances in Oakland, CA


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For all of its claims to be moving ahead as a city, Oakland, California is still light years behind it's neighbor, San Francisco, and other cities like Atlanta and Seattle in World Cup Soccer viewing opportunities.

If you don't have a television or happen to live with roommates who don't care about World Cup Soccer 2010 (boring people they must be), you're almost out of luck in Oakland.

There are only eight establishments showing World Cup Soccer, and spread out between North Oakland and the Claremont District of the Central Oakland Hills. The one I most recommend is Barclay's at 5940 College Avenue.

Why this blog post? I just got this email:

Hi there,

I just came across your video shot right after the game on Friday, and I noticed you were in Oakland. I'm originally from Germany (another lucky team that day...), and none of my roommates give a damn about the World Cup, so I was hoping you could point me in the right direction, as to where in Oakland one can watch the games, both, USA and Germany, that early in the morning.

Thanks,
Name not published


Oh if you're wondering what game, this game's outcome:



San Francisco has scores of World Cup Soccer viewing places

San Francisco's unique brand of urban party town is such that you can see The World Cup matches at cafes like The Steps of Rome in North Beach, or bars like Kesar on the corner of Cole and Stanyan. Why, the City and County of San Francisco even had a live broadcast of the France v. Mexico match in the middle of City Hall Plaza on Friday!

Seattle is mad for World Cup Soccer

Seattle, a city that has a professional soccer team, is teaming with places to watch World Cup Soccer. So many that Seattle Weekly has a directory of them. From The George and Dragon Pub to Azzurri and scores of other establishments, you can't miss a chance to watch World Cup Soccer with others in Seattle.

Atlanta has events around World Cup Scocer

The Atlanta International Soccer Fest, a giant contest featuring 20 teams representing international organizations based in Atlanta, was timed with the start of World Cup Soccer. And bars from downtown to Buckhead have World Cup Soccer viewing parties and special times.

Oakland must wake up to The World Cup

What does Oakland have? Well, a lot less. I have a television set and a good one, but it's fun to watch the World Cup with others. My good friends invited me to watch the epic USA v. Slovenia match in San Francisco at The Steps of Rome, but as I needed a day close to home, I elected to stay in Oakland.

Then I got the urge to go out and see it, really to capture how others were reacting to it on video, only to learn the hard way that in Adams Point, no bar or cafe had World Cup Soccer. The one place I'd expect to have a morning game, the bar Smitty's at 3331 Grand Avenue, had some guy watching it for himself behind a looked screen door and saying to me "we're closed." I didn't want to drive all the way over to Rockridge because there wasn't enough time left in the game.

So I went to the gym, Gold's Gym, to watch it. But by then it was over. No talk. No anger expressed by patrons other than me. Nothing.

Meanwhile, my friends in San Francisco were calling and texting me about the World Cup Soccer game.

For a city that tried to bid to host the World Cup, you'd think it would be easy to find places showing it in Oakland. It's not so easy but as I wrote, there are eight places showing the World Cup matches on a regular basis in Oakland.

The first place you should go is Barclay's at 5940 College Avenue in Oakland's Rockridge District and just up the street from Rockridge BART, as they have a great soccer crowd. Their website reports they will be open for all games at 6:30 AM.

Oakland North's Jill Replogle wrote a great, if not widely seen, article on this subject, and unearthed a few more Oakland places showing the World Cup games, but not all on a regular basis (she recommends you call first). They are:

Commonwealth Café and Public House at 28th and Telegraph Ave
Oasis Food Market on 30th and Telegraph
Kerry House on Piedmont near 41st
Dareye Hide A Way Ethiopian Restaurant: 6430 Telegraph Ave.
The Grand Tavern: 3601 Grand Ave (way up the street from Smitty's)
Luka’s Taproom & Lounge: 2221 Broadway
McNally Irish Pub: 5352 College Ave.
La Calaca Loca: 5199 Telegraph Ave.

But that's still a small number compared to the places in Oakland that should be showing the game. First, as much as I love the place, it's a total shame The Lake Chalet doesn't have a television set, and two TVs hanging iconically near the two ends of that long bar, to watch the World Cup matches would be perfect to draw crowds. Crogan's in Montclair should be showing all the World Cup matches. The Oakland Marriott downtown should have viewing parties. Max's City Center should open early for the games. Pican just next to Luka's has great TV sets and should show all of the World Cup matches.

Come on Oakland! Get with it! I don't care that you don't want to be known as a sports bar, and such concerns are for neurotics anyway. The World Cup is once every four years! Mayor Ron Dellums should get his head out of where ever it is and open Oakland's City Hall Plaza for a World Cup viewing party.

This is awful. This town needs an enema, and fast before The World Cup is over!

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Friday, July 07, 2006

World Cup Soccer - Italy vs. Germany: Fans At Caffe Del Sole San Francisco


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Are you in this video? It shows the reactions of the folks @ Caffe Del Sole in San Francisco, as Italy scored twice late in the game to top the Germans in the World Cup.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Word About World Cup Tickets - Not The First One


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As many of you know, World Cup tickets are a hot item. However, some of you may not know that FIFA has issued strict rules regarding ticket resale. But for those who think they can't get tickets at all, here's some new information for you.

There are news reports to suggest that some World Cup team representatives sold their allocations to ticket brokers. It's reasonable to suspect that the brokers have engineered a way around the FIFA restrictions and are in the process of selling tickets.

That written, I recommend -- and this is self-serving -- that you buy tickets through StubHub. The reason is that StubHub will reimburse you for any tickets not received for reasons of fraud or scam. But I must inform you that StubHub is very good at repackaging tickets for resale. Thus, if this were to happen, in many cases the ticket posting for sale would never make it to their website.

This can't be said for eBay.

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MPs' Get Free World Cup Tickets!


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While others pay as much as $2000 for a single World Cup ticket, MP's got a set for free according to this BBC article.

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2006 World Cup Soccer Day Five Video Highlights


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This is an amuzing video look at the goals from several games including Brazil v. Croatia.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Racism and The World Cup - An Enormous Problem That Must Be Solved


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It's disquieting and unnerving to think that there are people in the World who dislike you just because your skin is darker than there own. It's weird to know that someone thinks it's just fine to harm you because you don't look like they do. It's hurtful to know that there are people in charge who seem to look the other way as these acts are carried out.

It's even more disheartening to know such behavior goes on at the World's most popular sports event. But it does.

The 2006 World Cup has been beset with fears of racist behavior on the part of European fans even as it's just getting under way. But these concerns are not without good reason. For example, Nigerian forward Adebowale Ogungbure was spat upon by German citizens just as he and his teammates were finishing a club match in Halle March 25th of this year. Yes, 2006.

FIFA, the World Soccer organizing body, has identified a trend toward increases in racist acts like the ones described. My question is why do these acts happen do often in Europe? The World is not treated to stories of such high levels of racism in Africa. Or if not Europe, then in Austrialia -- which is mostly white. Why is this? The question must be asked.

The truth is that Africa too has it's racial problems, but for the most part the issues of today have their roots in European Colonialism. So, we're back to the central focus on Europe. And it must be reported that the African conflicts are in many cases not blacks attacking whites, even though such problems do occur. But the white-attacks-black problem is prevalent all over Europe.

Is it safe for African American tourists visting Germany? Given the wave of news, the obvious answer seems to be "not really." If one's not familar with the nation's cities and where to go, it seems one could step into problem environments. It's not easy for black athletes in Germany either, as this ESPN video clip will show:



If you're wondering if there are any accounts of black Americans and racism in Europe, I did find the case of Shawn Shelton, who gives a detailed and causionary tale of problems he encountered in Eastern Europe.

Mr. Shelton writes "Although racial incidents occur in Western Europe from time to time, for the most part they are unthreatening. Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, and Amsterdam are all sophisticated and cosmopolitan cities. However, east of the German and Swiss borders skin color becomes a factor in most interactions with the native populations.

I began to have second thoughts about my 7-week jaunt through Eastern Europe soon after I left the Salzburg train station and saw the Nazi swastikas and the words “Minderheiter Verboten” (Minorities Forbidden). Here, and throughout my entire trip, I was repeatedly asked by Africans about how they could emigrate to the U.S. They told me it was hard for them to find jobs where they were and that the police constantly harassed them.

If you are a person of color considering a visit to Bratislava in Slovakia, I’d advise against it. Bratislava is a collection of abandoned factories, an industrial town with no industry. Imagine Flint, Michigan or Gary, Indiana after the Ford and GM factory closures and multiply by five."


While this is a problem that's not going to go away anytime soon, America can help it's black citizens abroad in this way: the President of The United States should issue a television radio message that acts of racism toward American people traveling abroad during the World Cup will not be tolerated and met with swift punishment under internatonal law. American embasies should have special offices staffed with people who can contact the local and national authorities and the media and gain swift action. The office should also tell people candidly where they should and should not go. Americans of color must know they're being protected.

In closing here's Part Two of the ESPN news special on racism in the World Cup.

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Portuguese Fans Chanting In Koln: Angola v. Portugal: World Cup 2006


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If you want some idea of what it's like to be in Germany for the World Cup, take a look at this video of Portuguese fans chanting in front of Koln Cathedral and going absolutely mental in the process.

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Togo v. Korea - 2006 World Cup Soccer Highlights


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Video highlights of a victory by a much improved Korean team.

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World Cup Soccer: Brasil 1, Croatia 0 - Video


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I saw this game today and the score -- even as close as it is -- doesn't begin to describe how much of a battle Brazil was in. The Croatians put up one heck of a fight to the end.

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Italia contra Ghana - Italy Beats Ghana 2-0: Video


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This video features Italy's victory over Ghana, 2-0.

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A Couple Of Chicks Talking World Cup - In Spanish - Mundial Alemania 2006 : Argentina (Por Rubias)


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Whatever the language it sounds good to me. This is a their take on World Cup news. It's in Spanish, but so what.

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US Gets Clobbered By Czechs 3-0; Video Highlights and ESPN Report


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I saw this game over breakfast at Barclay's in Oakland. It wasn't funny at all. What a clobbering.



Change in attitude required - ESPN
Jeff Carlisle
Archive

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany -- Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Czech nation has showed an uncanny knack for making the difficult look easy. They did it with their revolution. They did it again with their divorce from Slovakia. And that effortlessness certainly applied to Monday's World Cup match against the United States, as the Czechs took apart the Americans 3-0 in a game whose score was every bit a reflection of the events on the field.

The U.S. appeared to put up little resistance in the loss, but was it down to Czech brilliance or American ineptitude? The answer is a lot of both. The inspirational play of Tomas Rosicky and Pavel Nedved is something that the U.S. can't even begin to match. Rosicky's 36th-minute goal, an absolute dart from 30 yards out, was a moment of sheer brilliance. Ditto for Nedved's defense-splitting pass that setup Rosicky's second tally with 14 minutes left.

It highlights the fact that for all of the talk of the Landon Donovans and the DaMarcus Beasleys, the truth is that the U.S. not only lacks that kind of skill, but that attacking mentality as well. It takes a certain ruthlessness to even contemplate taking the kind of shot that Rosicky potted. And it was that mind-set that was absent on Monday, which is perhaps what was most disturbing about the performance.

"We needed guys to move and want the ball more," said captain Claudio Reyna. "It just seemed like other guys were looking to everyone else to make the plays. You can't do that. Everyone has to be brave and want the ball."

That lack of courage was most evident in the play of Beasley and Donovan. Beasley struggled with his touch almost from the get-go, and more often than not, killed U.S. attacks with some horrific passes. And Donovan, after having some bright moments early in the first half, saw little of the ball in the second.

"Not enough players took the initiative," added head coach Bruce Arena. "We didn't get too many good performances. That's why we lost."

Granted, when Jan Koller scored after just five minutes, it was the Czechs who were put in the position of being able to dictate the pace, and they did that to devastating effect. But that was a reason for the U.S. to put its energy level into overdrive, not leave it in neutral, which is where it remained for most of the game.

The lack of grit displayed was also evident in the American's inability to win loose balls. Repeatedly, the likes of Nedved, Rosicky, and Tomas Galasek were first to pounce when an attack from either side broke down. Some of this is down to anticipation, but it's also about attitude.

"When you show up on the field and you compete and you battle and you lose a goal like the one Rosicky scored; then you hit the post and it doesn't go in, then you sit back and say, 'Well, [that's] it,'" said goalkeeper Kasey Keller. "But it's just disappointing that we didn't put them under pressure and compete for second balls the way we can."

Regaining that competitive fire and repairing his team's confidence will be among Arena's biggest challenges as he prepares the U.S. for Saturday's game against Italy. With the Italians claiming a 2-0 victory over Ghana on Monday, the sense is that the Americans' World Cup adventure has ended almost as soon as it's begun. But Arena, while acknowledging the challenge, is conceding nothing.

"We have to make sure that this Czech Republic team doesn't beat us twice," said Arena. "If we can put this game behind us, and prepare our team for Italy ... we'll obviously watch [their game] and try to put together a scouting report that will give our team a chance to win."

One can expect some major changes to the lineup for the next match, but they'll only be successful if they're accompanied by a change in attitude as well.

Player Ratings:

Kasey Keller, 4 - He waited eight years for this? Granted, there wasn't a thing he could have done about any of the goals, but the fact that he picked the ball out of his net three times has got to leave a bitter taste.

Steve Cherundolo, 3.5 - Arena said afterwards that his substitution of Cherundolo was tactical, but given Cherundolo's poor distribution out of the back, it was a switch that the head coach didn't have to sweat over.

Eddie Pope, 4 - There were worse performances on Monday, but Pope didn't cover himself in glory, either. It was telling that every time Pope was matched up against Koller, he was badly out-muscled. It was not the kind of performance that the U.S was looking for.

Oguchi Onyewu, 5 - One of the few players who showed up. One could quibble with his positioning on the first goal, as well as being caught square on the last one, but he not only won most of the head balls that were sent his way, but he came out on top in some key challenges on the ground as well.

Eddie Lewis, 3.5 - Another player whose passing was just shocking at times and he must bear some of the responsibility for the first goal, in which Zdenek Grygera was left wide open on his side, and ultimately crossed the ball for Koller's goal. He'll likely retain his place because there really isn't anyone else.

DaMarcus Beasley, 3 - Right midfield was where American attacks went to die. If he starts against Italy, it will be a major upset.

Pablo Mastroeni, 3.5 - When he wasn't slipping on the turf, he was a step slow to pressure the ball, and he didn't seem to win any of the second balls that the U.S. needed in order to have a chance.

Claudio Reyna, 5.5 - This guy just seems snake-bit when it comes to scoring goals in World Cups, as he hit the post just like he did back in '98. Reyna was one of the few players who at least wanted the ball, but was probably guilty of playing too deep. He'll need to get closer to goal against the Italians.

Bobby Convey, 4.5 - His runs didn't always come off, and his crossing was subpar, but Convey was one of the only players in the attacking half to play with any courage. He certainly showed better than some of his more experienced teammates.

Landon Donovan, 4 - Had some bright moments in the first half, including his setup of Reyna's ill-fated shot, but he faded badly in the second. Four years after a sparkling World Cup debut, it appears that Donovan's game hasn't progressed enough to have an impact at the highest level.

Brian McBride, 3.5 - McBride was starved of service, but struggled with his passing and hold-up play as well. He often seemed to be operating on an island, and he will need to either fix his spacing with Donovan, or be paired with more of an out-and-out forward.

Subs:
John O'Brien, 5 - If O'Brien has a pulse prior to the next match against Italy, then he'll start in Mastroeni's place. He delivered a solid performance, and even got in some good tackles as well.

Eddie Johnson, 6 - The only forward to be truly dangerous, as he just missed with a left-footed effort in the 70th minute and had another effort blocked just a minute later. Johnson certainly showed that he wasn't overawed in his World Cup debut, as he was active throughout.

Josh Wolff, NR - Wolff had a goal-bound effort blocked with just minutes to go, but otherwise, didn't make much of an impression.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPNsoccernet. He can be reached at eljefe1@yahoo.com Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPNsoccernet. He can be reached at eljefe1@yahoo.com

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Mexico Beats Iran 3-1, Iran Coach Blames Lack of Fitness For Loss - ESPN


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But coach, you're supposed to make sure your players are in shape, right? Geez.

Iran coach blames lack of fitness - ESPN

NUREMBERG, June 11 (Reuters) - Iran coach Branko Ivankovic bemoaned the lack of fitness of his key German-based players after his side tailed off in the second half and suffered a 3-1 loss to Mexico in their opening Group D match on Sunday.

Six of the squad play outside Iran, four of them in Germany, and Ivankovic has pointed to their experience playing in German stadiums and said they had to stand up and be counted.

Iran opened brightly and dominated for the first 20 minutes, with Hamburg's Mehdi Mahdavikia flashing a long range shot past a Mexican post and Bayern Munich's Ali Karimi crossing to striker Vahid Hashemian of Hanover 96, whose downward header forced a sharp low save from the Mexican keeper.

However, Mexico took control in the second half, exploiting a defensive mix-up for the second goal after 76 minutes from Omar Bravo before Zinha added a third three minutes later.

Ivankovic was not without his injury problems, however, while some of those players who had recovered from knocks were struggling for match fitness in the afternoon heat.

He had to withdrew Karimi after an hour, later telling a news conference Iran's playmaker was not fully fit. Karimi, known as the "wizard of Tehran" and the "Asian Maradona", suffered an ankle injury playing for Bayern in March.

"With Hashemian it was two months probably (since he last played). Mahdavikia didn't practice over the past 10 days," said Ivankovic. Hashemian picked up a knee injury in April while Mahdavikia has been struggling with a back injury.

"Also today, we didn't have (Ferydoon) Zandi in the lineup," said the coach referring to the injured Kaiserslautern midfielder.

Of the defensive mix-up from which Mexico retook the lead, Ivankovic said it could have reflected a lack of concentration but that could also partly be the result of the injuries.

"They had an advantage in preparation," he said of the Mexican team. "We had many problems."

The Croat said his Iranian squad had already turned their thoughts to their second group match against Portugal on Saturday. They face Angola the following Wednesday.

"We will have a chance to do something. Not everything is over today," he said.

Jewish and human rights groups have seized upon Iran's involvement in the World Cup to protest against the Iranian government but Ivankovic said this had no impact on his team.

"Nobody in the team discussed politics. We discussed opponents, football and today Mexico," he said.

Ivankovic also dodged a question about his plans after the World Cup. Media are speculating that he will then step down as Iran's coach.

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Austrial Beats Japan 3-1, Rejoices In Victory - ESPN


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Does this mean someone in Japan will jump from a building? I hope not. Read this to discover what I'm writing about.

SYDNEY, June 13 (Reuters) - Bleary-eyed but jubilant Australians straggled into work on Tuesday after staying up late to watch Australia score their first ever World Cup finals win.

Thousands of fans braved the winter cold to gather at pubs, clubs and open-air venues in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two biggest cities, while millions more watched on television at home as their team staged a dramatic comeback to beat Japan 3-1.

The match kicked off at 11 pm in Sydney and Melbourne (1300 GMT), with some fans carrying sleeping bags as they prepared for a long winter's night.

As offices opened for business, many fans were still heading home after celebrating Australia's first World Cup finals victory. They lost two games and drew one in the 1974 tournament.

'We haven't been here in 32 years. We're going to win the World Cup,' an unidentified man said as he walked with dozens of jubilant friends down the centre of Sydney's main street amid honking car horns and flares.

'Everyone was just going mental, with flares everywhere and everyone just going really berserk,' another fan told Reuters Television as celebrating fans blocked traffic.

Australia's joy contrasted with gloom in Japan, where many believed the match was theirs after Shunsuke Nakamura's controversial early strike.

'Don't ask me anything about the market today,' one downcast Japanese oil trader said. 'I won't be watching. I don't feel like doing anything.'

Australia had failed to score a single goal in 1974 but hammered three in eight minutes past a tiring Japan in their opening Group F match in Kaiserslautern.

'Raining goals after 32 years,' The Sydney Morning Herald said on its front page.

Soccer has long lagged behind more popular sports like rugby union and Australian Rules football but media and politicians have quickly jumped on the World Cup bandwagon.

'Miracle!' the tabloid Daily Telegraph said. 'Socceroos make history to stun Japan.'

Special praise was reserved for Australia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, nicknamed 'Aussie Guus', after his tactical gamble in bringing on goalscorers Tim Cahill and John Aloisi as late substitutes was rewarded.

'I think Guus is indeed a hero, the greatest Dutchman ever created,' Labor opposition MP Anthony Albanese told reporters.

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Italy Shuts Out Ghana 2-0; Takes On United States Saturday


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The Us better be ready for what appears to be a confident Italy.

Italy 2-0 Ghana: Azzurri pushed

Italy began their World Cup campaign in stylish, confident mood with a comfortable victory over tournament newcomers Ghana in Hanover.

AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo opened the scoring after 39 minutes before substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta put the game beyond their African opponents with eight minutes remaining.

The Azzurri looked by far the more incisive team and Marcello Lippi's men could have won by a bigger advantage had Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingston not stood strong to deny attacking duo Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino on several occasions.

They were also thankful for goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who held firm when Ghana drove on in search of an equaliser before Iaquinta scored Italy's second.

The game began at a frenetic pace, with both teams determined to impose their play but it was not long before the Azzurri took command.

Captain Fabio Cannavaro had the first chance of the game as he headed over from a Pirlo corner.

Italy could have broken the deadlock in the 11th minute, with Simone Perrotta serving an unmarked Gilardino inside the far post, who struck past Ghana goalkeeper Kingston only to be denied by the post.

Ghana were beginning to take a grip in midfield after Italy's whirlwind opening.

Alessandro Nesta was forced to make a vital clearance inside his own area from John Pantsil's deadly cross with Matthew Amoah ready to fire on target.

Midway through the first half, Italy missed a golden chance to go in front after Cristian Zaccardo curled in an inviting cross towards the box which neither Toni nor Gilardino were able to reach.

Toni made amends seconds later, and Gilardino's pass sliced Ghana's defence wide open to find the Fiorentina striker, whose effort from the edge of the area was denied by the crossbar.

Ghana finally put together a good move on 30 minutes, with Asamoah Gyan's right-footed effort fizzing inches wide of Buffon's near post.

Italy replied with Totti warming the hands of Kingston with a stinging drive which the goalkeeper palmed over for a corner.

Kingston was lucky not to be punished for his failure to clear Totti's corner, with Cannavaro heading over the crossbar.

Italy's efforts finally broke the deadlock six minutes before the break, with Totti's pass finding an unmarked Pirlo, who thumped home a shot from 30 yards towards the far post and there was little Kingston could do to save it.

Italy could have gone into the break with a 2-0 lead had Kingston not palmed away Grosso's powerful shot on the stroke of half-time.

Ghana looked more lively after the break but it was Italy that continued to look more dangerous.

Kingston did well to anticipate Toni with the striker ready to fire from Simone Perrotta's beautiful cross from the right.

On 50 minutes, Gilardino wasted a great chance from Totti's beautiful assist, with the AC Milan forward unable to beat the keeper in a one-on-one.

At the other end, Essien almost punished Italy, with his right-footed volley forcing Buffon to make a spectacular save.

Lippi was forced to make his first substitution on 56 minutes, with Mauro Camoranesi in for Totti, who was hurt following a harsh challenge from a Ghana player.

Totti's withdrawal saw the Azzurri shift to a 4-4-2 formation.

Substitute Camoranesi was booked two minutes later after an unnecessary challenge on Sulley Muntari.

Shortly after the hour mark, Essien fired off-target as Ghana attempted to find the equaliser.

With Italy looking content to sit deep and hit on the break, Lippi brought on in-form Iaquinta for Gilardino.

Italy could have netted their second shortly after, had Kingston not palmed away Perrotta's close-range shot from Daniele de Rossi's assist.

Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic replaced Amoah with Razak Pimpong in the hope that the Black Stars still struggled to break Italy's organised defence.

With 12 minutes remaining, Ghana players demanded a penalty after Gyan was brought down inside Italy's area by De Rossi but referee Carlos Simon who was close to the action said to play on.

Shortly after, Essien's long distance effort went off-target.

Lippi made his last substitution on 80 minutes, with Alessandro del Piero in for Toni.

But it was Iaquinta who made sure to kill the game two minutes later, after intercepting Samuel Kuffour's pass to his goalkeeper before dribbling past Kingston and firing into the back of the net, much to the joy of the 39,000 Azzurri fans in the AWD Hanover Arena.

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South Korea Gets First World Cup Victory in Europe, Beats Togo 2-1 - ESPN


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From ESPN.com

South Korea 2-1 Togo
PA - ESPN

Former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat can take his place in South Korean football folklore.

For this was the first time the nation had achieved a World Cup victory in Europe.

They managed to reach the semi-finals in 2002 but that was on home ground.

What this victory will do to their confidence is anyone's guess but with shrewd Dutch coach Advocaat at the helm they will believe anything is possible.

However, they struggled to overcome a Togo side making their bow at this level.

Otto Pfister may have returned as coach but they lost their skipper Jean-Paul Abalo following his sending off in the second half.

That proved to be the turning point as Togo had looked comfortable in the early stages.

Mohamed Hader strode forward in the 11th minute and rattled a shot over the bar.

Togo broke forward in the 16th minute through Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor but his delivery to Mahamed Kader was poor and the chance was lost.

They took the lead in the 31st minute with a cool finish from Kader.

The 27-year-old striker, who plays for French club Guingamp, showed a clean pair of heels to Kim Young Chul before firing a shot into the corner.

South Korea hit back in the 38th minute and Cho Jae Jin made space down the left. But his finish was wasteful and he failed to trouble goalkeeper Kossi Agassa.

Togo almost added a second four minutes later when Junior Senaya curled in a free-kick from the edge of the area but Lee Woon Jae turned his effort over the top.

Ji-Sung Park then got into a good position on the edge of the area in the 47th minute but blasted his shot over the bar.

However, a minute later Kader almost got a second. He cut inside and Lee Woon Jae did well to parry his shot to safety.

The Koreans looked short on confidence and substitute Ahn Jung Hwan fired his effort into the crowd when a cross would have a better option.

The game took a dramatic twist in the 54th minute when Abalo was sent off by English referee Graham Poll after picking up a second yellow card for bringing down Park in full flight.

South Korea took immediate advantage with Lee Chun Soo equalising with a superb free- kick from the edge of the area.

They stepped up the pressure to take the lead in the 72nd minute following a stunning finish from Ahn, who lofted a shot over Agassa.

Ahn is looking for a move after his German club Duisburg were relegated and it was a goal of the highest order.
He then had a shot blocked by the goalkeeper two minutes later as Togo ran out of steam and ideas.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

World Cup Video Highlights: Germany v. Costa Rica / Ecuador v. Poland


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Video of the key plays of both games from Friday. Boy, you can hear the German-biased crowd go nuts in the first game.

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World Cup: David Beckham Paces England To 1 To 0 Win Over Paraquay


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England 1-0 Paraguay
PA - ESPN

David Beckham got England's World Cup campaign off to a winning start by setting up the early goal that clinched an unconvincing 1-0 Group B victory against Paraguay in Frankfurt.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's men then struggled to create clear opportunities -- and also took off striker Michael Owen early in the second half -- but held on to claim three points with the win.

Steven Gerrard was named in the starting XI by England boss Eriksson after the Liverpool skipper sufficiently recovered from the stiff back which has recently hampered him.

Gerrard had barely settled into the game when England snatched the lead, with Beckham taking advantage of a free-kick on the left flank after Joe Cole was fouled by Delio Toledo.

England skipper Beckham whipped in a delightful third-minute set-piece and the ball went in off the head of Paraguay skipper Carlos Gamarra, with Eriksson's men expected to go on and compile a big score.

They saw plenty of the ball but Paraguay remained in the game, with Carlos Paredes getting his shot deflected wide of Paul Robinson's post by one of his own players.

Cristian Riveros forced Robinson into a regulation save from 25 yards, with Gerrard earning a yellow card for his challenge on the midfielder, while referee Marco Rodriguez also booked Nelson Valdez midway through the first half.

Frank Lampard then tested Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar which a long-range effort, while Gerrard and Cole both managed to continue despite requiring treatment after robust challenges.

In fact, it was striker Owen -- who has recently returned from a broken foot -- who was taken off 10 minutes into the second half, although it was unclear if he was injured and reports suggested the switch was tactical.

England looked short on options in attack with just Peter Crouch leading the line, although Beckham shot wide and Cole had a tame effort from long distance which was saved by Villar.

Paraguay had earlier threatened in the injury-time of the first half -- Valdez had flashed a volley wide -- and on the hour mark Paredes volleyed over after Robinson had failed to hold a cross.

The South Americans were gaining a foothold in the game but, despite England failing to gain momentum, struggled to create clear-cut opportunities for an equaliser.

With 18 minutes remaining Lampard received a ball from Stewart Downing, who had come on for Owen, but the Chelsea midfielder's shot was tipped over the bar by Villar. Lampard forced another save with a late volley.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup Soccer Video Preview


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Elitezeus on YouTube gives us a great video preview of World Cup Soccer explaining not just who's playing, but in what groups. For more information click on the World Cup Soccer main link just below the post title. Here's the video set to cool techno music.


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World Cup: Ecuador 2, Poland Zip - Poland Upset By Ecuador - ESPN


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The article makes the loss seem rather not a problem for Poland. In reality, it's an upset. It sends Ecuador into "big boy" territory. Can they prevail?

Poland 0-2 Ecuador
PA - ESPN

Agustin Delgado scored one goal and made one as Ecuador got their second ever World Cup campaign off to a flying start with a 2-0 victory over Group A rivals Poland at the Veltins Arena on Friday evening.

Delgado's 24th-minute flick-on set up the opener for Carlos Tenorio before the former Southampton man sealed victory from point-blank range with 10 minutes to play.

Poland's hopes of reaching the second round now look bleak while the Latin Americans will enter uncharted territory if they get into the last 16 in a group also featuring hosts Germany and Costa Rica.

Ecuador coach Luis Fernando Suarez had vowed to play attractive football and his team lived up to that pledge.

It was in stark contrast to their dreadful start to their first World Cup four years ago, when Italy took a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes of Ecuador's first match in Japan.

This time it was an assured performance by the South Americans against Pawel Janas' side.

Ecuador made the early running and after 24 minutes the Latin Americans made it pay.

A throw by Aston Villa defender Ulises De La Cruz was headed on by Delgado to Tenorio, whose header beat Boruc inside his right-hand post.

Poland, who won the Olympic title on German soil in 1972 and then finished third in the West Germany-hosted World Cup two years later, tried to reply immediately but they badly needed someone of the calibre of Grzegorz Lato who was tournament top scorer in 1974 with seven goals and, with 95 caps, is still the most-capped Polish player.

Maciej Zurawski's cross just eluded Ebi Smolarek but the South Americans were now taking control.

Another De la Cruz throw was headed on by Carlos Tenorio but Delgado blasted over and then a delightful move involving De La Cruz and Luis Valencia ended with the former forcing a save from Boruc at the expense of a corner.

Smolarek was then booked for a foul on Edwin Tenorio and Boruc saved his side again when he readjusted well to save a deflected Edison Mendez free-kick.

Poland started the second-half better and after 50 minutes Jacek Krzynowek lashed a left-footed shot into the Ecuador net although Japanese referee Toru Kamikawa's whistle had already sounded for what looked a close offside decision.

The outnumbered Ecuador fans were holding their own against the vast contingent of Polish supporters who seemed to occupy all but one corner of the Veltins Arena, the home of Schalke - a German team founded in 1904 by Polish miners.

But it was now the Ecuadoreans who were being forced to dig deep with Ecuador skipper Ivan Hurtado, winning his 131st cap, doing well to block a Krzynowek shot.

Ecuador were threatening on the break but Kamikawa's decision to deny Delgado's penalty appeal after he tussled with Mariusz Jop looked a fair one.

The killer blow came after 80 minutes when Poland waited for an offside flag which - correctly - never came and substitute Ivan Kaviedes squared for Delgado to roll the ball into the net.

Jelen and substitute Pawel Brozek both hit the woodwork late on but Ecuador were full value for their win.

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World Cup: Germany 4, Costa Rica 2 - ESPN


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As reported in "Germany Goes Nuts" the Germans opened World Cup with a big win over the place known for Internet gambling, Costa Rica. Here's ESPN's coverage:

Germany 4-2 Costa Rica: Klose sees off Ticos

Germany kicked off the World Cup in entertaining fashion as they hammered Costa Rica 4-2 in the tournament's opening clash in Munich.

Former Derby, Manchester City and West Ham striker Paulo Wanchope stunned the sell-out crowd of 66,000 when he levelled the scores in the 12th minute.

Man-of-the-match Miroslav Klose struck in the 17th and 61st minutes before Wanchope punished the shaky German defence for a second time in the 73rd.

And the spectacular curtain-raiser came to a fitting end in the 87th minute as Torsten Frings's 35-yard piledriver sent the crowd into ecstasy.

The 29-year-old Chelsea player had declared himself fit less than 24 hours before the match, but Klinsmann decided to stick with Werder Bremen ace Tim Borowski in central midfield instead.

Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann made his World Cup debut in the backyard of Bayern Munich rival Oliver Kahn, after watching four tournaments from the bench.

Injury-free Costa Rica fielded their strongest squad, with Wanchope and in-form Ronald Gomez up front.

Germany, captained today by Leverkusen winger Bernd Schneider, were first to threaten in the third minute when defensive midfielder Frings shot just over from 35 yards.

The hosts got the start they wanted in the sixth minute when Lahm broke the deadlock with a beautifully-curled effort from the top left corner of the box.

Danny Fonseca lost his footing just outside the penalty box, allowing Lahm to round him before curling in a right-footed effort which went in off the far post.

Costa Rica goalkeeper Jose Porras denied Klose from close range, with Schneider rifling over the follow-up.

But Wanchope then silenced the crowd with his equaliser, beating the offside trap to receive a through-ball and fire low past Lehmann.

However, the three-time World Cup winners restored their lead just five minutes later after Schneider crossed from the right touchline.

Hometown hero Bastian Schweinsteiger dribbled his way past two defenders and fired a clever pass to the far post for Klose to sweep home.

Lukas Podolski and Schweinsteiger then tried their luck with long-range efforts but to no avail, before Germany4s shaky defence was exposed for a second time in the 38th minute when Walter Centeno delivered a clever through ball to Wanchope - only for the linesman to flag for offside.

Germany could have doubled the lead in the 43rd minute as Christoph Metzelder got his foot on a right-wing corner - but the defender fired well over from five yards out on the left.

The second half resumed in the same fashion, with Germany holding the majority of possession but not looking totally secure at the back.

Podolski threatened with a left-footed shot from 20 yards just 26 seconds into the second half, before the unmarked Fonseca went close to levelling with a header.

But just when Germany appeared to be struggling to create further openings, Klose came to the rescue again on his 28th birthday.

The man who grabbed a hat-trick in Germany4s opening 8-0 victory over Saudi Arabia four years ago converted from close range after seeing his header from Lahm's cross blocked by Parras.

The Costa Rica keeper stopped another spirited drive from left-back Lahm to prevent further damage two minutes later, before Borowski, who failed to impress as Ballack's replacement, was substituted for Sebastian Kehl in the 72nd minute.

The underdogs gave themselves hope in the 73rd minute, with Wanchope again the scorer. Centeno sprung the German offside trap with a superb through-ball and Wanchope gently placed the ball past Lehmann.

Two-goal hero Klose received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Oliver Neuville in the 80th minute.

Parras saved brilliantly from Per Mertesacker soon after, before Frings put the issue beyond doubt with the goal of the game.
Schweinsteiger laid a free-kick off to the Werder Bremen man - and he hammered home from fully 35 yards to make sure of a winning start for the hosts.

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John From Berlin Thinks Germany Has A Chance To Win World Cup, But England?


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Stopped on the street by WorldCupBlog, John, who lives in Berlin reports that Germany has a chance to win -- but not England. Perhaps never.

Here's John:

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Video: Turish Fan Eligh Says Brazil Will Win The World Cup


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More at Fan Fest Berlin: this nice-looking Turkish woman "Eligh" says that Berlin's going to win the World Cup.

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Fan Fest Berlin Video - Wanna Bratwurst?


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This is a video of a group of cooks making Bratwurst at a booth at Fan Fest Berlin

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Video: World Cup Berlin Fan Fest - Simple Minds In Concert


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This is from this week's events at "Fan Fest" at The World Cup in Berlin. It's Simple Minds, the band best known for hits like "Don't You Forget About Me" and others.

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American Kathy Johnson Show's Em How To ....Dance At World Cup


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This is another funny video of a young woman just cutin' up at World Cup and telling the World that Gemany's going to win.

Here's Kathy:

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Germany Beats Coasta Rica - Goes Nuts: ESPN


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I've goto to admit, it's pretty interesting to see how the World comes together for this event.

Savoring the atmosphere
By Wayne Drehs - ESPN
Archive

HAMBURG, Germany -- I've stood in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway and watched Dale Jr. win the 500. I've sat on Henman Hill and witnessed a few thousand Brits lose their Pimm's over Scottish tennis star Andy Murray. I've seen the Patriots, Ravens and Steelers win the Super Bowl, the Marlins win the World Series and the Devils take home the Stanley Cup.

But never -- ever -- has a 6-year-old boy, strapped to his father's shoulders, looked down on me, leaned back and with all his might slammed his forehead smack into mine. And then received a high five from his dad.

Nope, it took the World Cup for that. It took German defenseman Philip Lahm's beating Costa Rican goalie Jose Porras in the sixth minute of the Cup opener in Munich (some 480 miles away) to get my first fan head butt.

It took little Max Moeller's seeing the goal on the massive big screen in front of him, feeling the testosterone racing through him and deciding to noggin-knock the first person he saw.

And afterward, Max and his father did what any good soccer fan would do -- they exchanged high fives and sang songs, celebrating their goal, celebrating their celebration.

"DEUTSCHLAND, DEUTSCHLAND, JA, JA, JA ... DEUTSCHLAND, DEUTSCHLAND, JA, JA, JA."

"You must understand," Max's father, Paul, said later, "this is the greatest day of Max's life. He has talked about World Cup since his first words. I'm not sure people from U-S-A understand."

Maybe, maybe not. But Max and Paul sure tried to hammer home their point. Literally. The problem is, back in the States, there simply is no comparison to the World Cup.

"We say the winner of the World Series is the world champion, the winner of the Super Bowl is the world champion, but they don't play anybody outside of our country," U.S. defender Eddie Pope said. "So how can they say that's a true world champion? The magnitude of all this just isn't easy for Americans to understand."

U.S. World Cup schedule

• Monday, June 12 -- vs. Czech Republic at Gelsenkirchen, Germany, noon ET (ESPN2)
• Saturday, June 17 -- vs. Italy at Kaiserslautern, Germany, 3 p.m. ET (ABC)
• Thursday, June 22 -- vs. Ghana at Nuremberg, Germany, 10 a.m. ET (ESPN)

I've tried. And all week long in Germany, I've looked on in awe as the hype has continued to escalate, making the Super Bowl look more and more like the Little League World Series.

Forget the endless, mind-numbing soccer analysis on every media outlet imaginable. That's to be expected. But some of the other things on local television are not. Like Wednesday's fashion show in which models posed in cutouts of soccer balls for their tops -- and bottoms.

Or Thursday night's mini-soccer match between a pair of blindfolded Germans, in which onlookers barked directional commands so they could find the ball.

Or every night this week, when the clock has struck midnight and one channel has displayed what best can be described as soccer porn: female models, lying in goal, peeling off their soccer uniforms until they find themselves completely naked.

Yes, the hype has touched every single aspect of German culture. Beate Uhse, a German sex store with more than 300 retailers, is selling World Cup vibrators. And a news report earlier this week even went so far as to remind dog owners not to paint their pooches the traditional German colors of black, red and gold for the tournament.

Here in picturesque Hamburg, the country's second-largest city, the action doesn't get started officially until Saturday, when Argentina and the Ivory Coast square off at 9 p.m. local time (ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET). But that didn't keep some 50,000 Germans from gathering at Heiligengeistfeld, the city's fairgrounds, in the shadows of a massive former World War II bunker, to watch Friday's opener on a massive 250-square-foot screen.

They began gathering in the morning for the 6 p.m. match (noon ET, televised on ESPN2). By an hour before kickoff a moat of empty beer bottles had gathered around each entrance, with security guards keeping fans from bringing in their own beer.
Fans came in all shapes and sizes, all ages and colors. From the beer-bellied to the pint-sized, from babies to grandparents, from blacks to whites. Nearly everyone wore the black, red and gold of the home country, and seemingly everyone carried a German flag or a foghorn.

While some girls wore tank tops, some occasionally wore no tops.

"I want everyone to know I'm for Germany," said 26-year-old Elke Schmid, who had a friend paint a giant German flag across her chest. "But it became a problem so I have my shirt back on."

The scene was undoubtedly repeated in each of the 12 World Cup host cities, where FIFA and the German host committee organized Fan Fests so fans could come watch the matches with fellow fans. Think Super Bowl Sunday meets Lollapalooza. Berlin was expecting more than 150,000 people for Friday's opener.

CLASSIC REPLAY
Germany-Costa Rica re-airs today at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN Classic.

And for good reason. From 1958 to 1970, the host nation always took part in the opening match. But from 1974, the last time Germany hosted, that honor switched to the defending champion. Thirty-two years later, back on German soil, the old tradition was reintroduced.

In this country of 82 million, one Hamburg city official estimated 85 percent to 90 percent of the country watched Friday night's World Cup opening match.

"You have to remember," she said, "we have babies, old people and sick people, too."

Not to mention rambunctious 6-year-olds, eager to do everything they can to display their patriotism -- preferably headfirst.
Wayne Drehs is a staff writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at wayne.drehs@espn3.com.

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Francis - Berlin Beer Tent Girl Gives Us Her Views On World Cup


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Brasil fan Francis was kind enough to provide this video producer with her view on the outcome of this year's World Cup.

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A Video Tour Of Munich - World Cup Hosts


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I found this interesting video tour of Munich, called "Munich 101"

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World Cup Soccer At 6 AM - San Francisco's North Beach Cafe Is The Host!


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From an email i just received...

Jump start your day with us at 6am and enjoy the World Cup with us all morning!

North Beach's Caffe`Roma, located at 526 Columbus Ave/ Union, has installed a 42' Plasma TV in High-Definition for the ultimate soccer experience!

Want to watch the World Cup Soccer, work on the side without your boss knowing your whereabouts? No problem, with our FREE Wi-Fi service, you won't miss a second of the game and any e-mails.

Enjoy our signature "Good Egg" sandwiches, fresh OJ, a glass of extraordinary Italian wine, beer or a sweet espresso, cappuccino, cannolli, sfogliatelle, tiramisu and gelato.

Watch all the World Cup 2006 games live and free of charge.

The month long tournament begins on June 9th.

-Ciao e Arrivederla

Marsha Garland, Executive Director
North Beach Chamber of Commerce
556 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone: 415/989-2220 Fax: 415/989-6427
Website: www.sfnorthbeach.org

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If there's a social media platform, chances are Zennie is one of the first to use it. If there's a new media platform, it's a good chance he's on it.  Zennie is described as a person who's everywhere online, and for good reason. 

He is a daily user of digital and social media and one of the first YouTube Partners, video-bloggers who are paid from the videos they product on YouTube. His YouTube channel Zennie62 and his Blip.tv channel of the same name were created in 2006. He was on the iReport before CNN bought it. And Zennie has used Twitter since 2008.

He has owned a blog network since 2004, and now consists of over 70 blogs, with Zennie62.com as its flagship blog, and popular local city blogs like Oakland Focus and Atlanta Focus. 

Zennie is also a game developer, having started Sports Business Simulations, and created a baseball sim called The Oakland Baseball Simworld and the XFL Simworld.  They grew out of his background and experience in urban planning; as Economic Adviser to the Mayor of Oakland, a time when Zennie also headed an effort to bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland (Jacksonville won). 

With Zennie.tv, and Zennie62Media Zennie has interviewed some of the most popular celebrities and relevant politicians of our day.

Contact him for consulting in social media, as a TV show guest on the social issues of the day, for vlogging, and for game development.

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