Qatar accepts their trophy for winning the 2022 bid. (AFP / Getty Images)

As announced last week in Zurich, in two of the biggest upsets in World Cup voting history, Russia and Qatar were awarded the host nation honors for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments respectively. With the vote last week, FIFA proves yet again that not only is it the governing body for the world’s most popular sport, but it also leads its peers as a medium for ending racism and supporting peace worldwide. As expected, both Russia and Qatar are ecstatic over the decisions, but much attention is being paid to the politicking that went on behind the scenes, FIFA’s problematic current bidding structure, and the monumental challenges that face the host nations.

England’s downfall is Russia’s triumph

Russia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup beat out bids from England, a joint bid from the Netherlands and Belgium, and a joint bid from Spain and Portugal. England, who is arguably the heart of the soccer world (both in talent and passion), is utterly devastated. And maybe with good reason. As the epicenter of the soccer world, they haven’t hosted the tournament since 1966. They have an embarrassment of riches in terms of infrastructure (stadiums, safety, transport, airports etc.), the most passionate fanbase in the world, and their bid committee included Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William, and David Beckham amongst others. By all accounts, their final presentation was flawless, and before the voting, they were the favorite to win the bid. Not only did they not win the bid, but they were out after the first round. Per FIFA protocol, voting goes on a round-by-round basis with the bid getting the fewest votes being dropped. So essentially England was the first out. Very surprising at the least. Continue reading The Times They Are A Changin’: Russia and Qatar To Host 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups »

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Tayler Twellman (photo courtesy of www2.scholastic.com)

One of the greatest careers the MLS has ever seen came to an abrupt (although not unexpected) ending earlier this week. Throughout eight seasons with the Revolution, Tayler Twellman has had to battle through seven diagnosed concussions, sinus problems, broken cheekbones, broken feet, and innumerable muscle tears and strains.  When, earlier this year, Twellman was faced with the sobering question of enjoying a healthy, productive existence for the rest of his life or continuing the play soccer, it was a no-brainer for him. Despite some questionable decisions and play over the years, Twellman played a huge role in advancing not just the New England Revolution, but the MLS in general.

A Resurgence in Foxboro

Taylor was drafted by the Revs in 2002 as the second overall pick. At the time, the Revs were really struggling both on the field and off. There was a clear lack of goal scoring on the pitch, but just as important, there was no real leader, or ‘face’ of the franchise which would help them endear themselves to the uber competitive sports scene in New England.
Continue reading Injuries Force Tayler Twellman Into Early Retirement »

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Liverpool shield

Premiership teams. It seems like every team that has American ownership has been mired with an increasing divide between ownership and its fanbase. Although Manchester United is having their issues with American owner, Malcolm Glazer, Liverpool is an extreme case. As was reported over the past several weeks, New England Sports Ventures (NESV), headed by Red Sox owner John Henry, was involved in a bid to take over Liverpool F.C. from current American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette.

Although Liverpool’s five-person board voted 3-2 in favor of selling to NESV (Gillette and Hicks being the two that didn’t vote for the sale) the deal was stalled several times by Gillette and Hicks. They claimed NESV’s $476 million (300M pound) bid severely undervalued the club and sought to sell their shares elsewhere at the price they wanted. That didn’t work out and Gillette and Hicks gave up the ghost and eventually agreed to the sale last Friday. Although there is a threat of an on-going lawsuit, for all intents and purposes the deal is done. So, now that the dust has finally settled on this debacle, let’s take a look at what it means for NESV and for Red Sox fans.   Continue reading Liverpool Sale Could Cost the Red Sox »

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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lifts the European Cup in 2005 (Photo courtesy of ps3-wallpaper.com)

As most people on the east coast slept Wednesday morning, a vote was taking place more than 3,000 miles away, which could have a significant effect on the most beloved franchise in Boston. By a vote of 3-2, the Board members of Liverpool Football Club approved the sale of the most successful soccer franchise in England to New England Sports Ventures – the group led by John Henry and owners of the Red Sox. The sale will be completed in the next week and will be a new era both at Liverpool and for NESV. I’m the resident Liverpool supporter at SoB, so I’m here to give you an introduction to the club. As you will see, the similarities between Liverpool and the Red Sox are uncanny.

The Club’s History

Liverpool FC was founded in 1892 in Liverpool, England, which is on the northwest coast about a two-hour train ride north of London. In short, Liverpool is the most successful soccer club in the history of English football, winning 18 League titles, seven F.A. Cups and five European Cups. Continue reading Liverpool FC – An Introduction to a Red Sox Town »

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Sporting Lisbon's Helder Postiga (23) heads the ball in for a goal against Glasgow Celtic's Lukasz Zaluska, on ground, and Thomas Rogne (25) in the second half of an exhibition soccer match at Fenway Park in Boston on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Something was definitely amiss at Fenway Park Wednesday night. Sure, the fans were all there (over 32,000). The architecture was the same as it always was: the Green Monster looming over left field, the Budweiser sign illuminating right, Fisk and Pesky marking the corners. The songs were the same too: “Dirty Water,” “Shipping Up to Boston,” and “Sweet Caroline.” There was even a wave that spread across the stadium. But something didn’t feel right. Instead of the traditional reds and blues of Red Sox jerseys, the seats were a sea of green and white. “Shipping Up to Boston” played before anything started, not near the end. It was joined by a lesser known Irish folk song, “Fields of Athenry,” also made famous by the Dropkick Murphys, but not typically sung on Landsdowne Street. People chanted, but “Let’s go Red Sox” was oddly replaced by “Let’s go Celtics,” as if Causeway Street had migrated. And oh yeah, the outfield had been turned into a soccer pitch.

Football at Fenway was taking place, an international friendly soccer match between Celtic F.C. of the Scottish Premier League and Sporting Clube de Portugal of the Liga Sagres. It was the first time soccer had been played at Fenway park in over 40 years, and the fans poured in and cheered as if they had been waiting for it to come back.

The Game: Slow Start, Great Finish

It was jarring to watch a game played at Fenway where play moved laterally across the outfield instead of radially from home-plate. Continue reading Football (aka Soccer) Returns to Fenway »

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Sarah Jessica Parker, looking like hell these days, clutches the World Cup trophy

Andres Iniesta blasted home the World Cup-winning goal in the 116th minute, (26 minutes into extra time) giving Spain the championship of the 2010 World Cup, defeating the Dutch, the Netherlands and Holland with one lethal drive, and proving for once and for all that Spain is the greatest country on earth (for at least the next four years).

The last time Spain and Holland faced off, it took 80 years to determine a winner. This time, it only took 120 minutes of hard-fought, intense soccer, replete with loads of yellow cards and “professional fouls.”

While many pundits have criticized the match for its roughness (14 yellow cards and one red dished out) and lack of scoring, only great play by both goalkeepers prevented it from becoming a wild 2-1 or 3-2 match. Continue reading World Cup 2010 Final: Spain is Offically the Greatest Country on Earth »

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Paul the Octopus, Germany's resident oracle, is a perfect 8/8 in his predictions for the 2010 World Cup, and has even survived death threats. (AP Photo / Mark Keppler)

The deed is done. The month-long, quadrennial athletic tournament the U.S. doesn’t care about is now over. After a thrilling 64 matches, Spain has emerged victorious, handing the still-championship-less Netherlands their third loss in the last game. Spain won 1-0 (again) behind defense and almost literally last-minute heroics. There were a total of 14 yellow cards given: nine went to the Netherlands, and two of them went to Heitinga, booting him out in the 109th minute.

Thanks to that, the winner of the SoB 2010 FIFA Pick ‘Em is … Dan! It might not be that surprising, given his lead. Despite missing out on the consolation game, Brian still took 2nd, thanks to his buffer hold on the position. The Netherlands hurt Robert and Teddy, though Robert’s damage was mitigated by getting two points from the goal timing for the Bronze.

So there you have it. The Pick ‘Em is now complete, and you can view the entire results, as brought to you by Paul the Octopus, below. Continue reading 2010 FIFA World Cup Expert Picks: Finals Results »

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