Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cool little guys

Some teams do not have the quality to be competitive in the UEFA Champions League, but they are nevertheless fun to include due to the occasional upsets they can cause in the tournament. There is no doubt that FC Nordsjaelland, the 2012 Danish championship side, is one of these sides. In their first two matches they lost 2-0 and 0-4 to Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea respectively, although nice and polite things have been said about their style. Today at home against Juventus they were looking for their first goal.
I watched the match on ESPN, where the Latin American commentators spend around 10 minutes talking about the great Michael Laudrup, whose son Andreas plays for FC Nordsjaelland. But as the game progressed they had only admiring words to say about the dedication of the tenacity of the Danes against the Italians. Some five minutes into the second half Mikkel Beckmann scored the first CL goal for the Danes on a splendidly taken free kick, and then the match became more fun as everyone was expecting one of the occasional upsets in the CL. Although goalkeeper Jesper Hansen had some amazing saves against the Italians, Mirko Vucinic in the end managed to equalize for the Italians.
The match ended 1-1, and FC Nordsjaelland may be a bit disappointed, but truth is that Juventus remains a far better team than the Danes, who have now made a little upset against the Italian champions. Pretty cool for some little guys, but that is also what it will remain.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Football in New York

Last week I spent in New York. This fantastic city is not known for its football, but nevertheless I had some good footballing experiences in the city.
There is surely vast footballing talent in the USA, but only in recent decades has it begun to seep through to the highest level, although the potential surely remains unexploited. So it was very interesting to me when a friend invited me to see a High School match in Brooklyn between the two local schools, Brooklyn International High School and Prospect High School. Although organisation and great variety in skills, there were surely some skillful players on both sides, but most importantly, eager to play football! The match ended 2-3 to the Prospect side, much to the disappointment of Brooklyn International, who had been leading and playing better way into the second half. But both teams are in their play-offs, and I hope they both do well!
Brooklyn Internatonal High School football match
On Saturday evening, after enjoying a beautiful day in the city, I went to have a beer in the great local football bar, Woodwork, in Brooklyn. Watched the last minutes of FC Barcelona's 4-5 victory against Deportivo La Coruna, but then greatly enjoyed watching the MLS match between the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City.
New York is probably one of the more known teams in the MLS, counting in its ranks such greats as Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. But the fact is that Sporting Kansas City are the leaders of the MLS Eastern Conference with a Danish goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen. He has already become one of the highest ranking goalkeepers in the MLS, making it twice to the all-stars, and is close to becoming the number one goalkeeper of the season. With some great saves Nielsen contributed to the 0-0 draw, and their first place in the Conference, but it should be mentioned that the New York Red Bulls are already in the Play-offs as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

World cup qualifier in Brooklyn

I love traveling to the USA, but normally, I do have a hard time finding places to watch football. All in all, this is still not a football country. However, today I did get a delightful surprise in Brooklyn New York. I was looking for a place to watch the South American qualifiers, and a friend told me to go to "Woodwork", on Vanderbilt avenue in Brooklyn. While they were not showing the South American qualifiers, they were showing the last match in the first round of the CONCACAF qualifiers, where the USA were facing Guatemala at home. A tie was enough to let both teams through, but the USA were surely the best against a poor Guatemalan side that nevertheless went ahead 0-1, before the USA scored three goals for the victory.
Fully deserved, and I think the USA are on their way to Brazil.
And "Woodwork" was a great place, just until the match ended and they put on a presidential election debate.
Apparently they are having elections sometime soon in the USA. I vote for Clint Dempsey.