Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Backpasses: Toulon Days 5 & 6

The group stage of the Toulon Tournament wrapped up over the weekend, though only one game had any real significance. Inside, a really quick look at those games and the setup of the semifinals.

Group A

Netherlands 1-0 France

In the Group A game that meant absolutely nothing, Netherlands defeated France 1-0 off of Dominique Kivuvu's 53rd minute goal. France fell apart after a red card in their first game, giving up 7 goals and scoring only one after Faty's foul. Netherlands never really looked all that awesome in any of their matches, but did enough to beat France on Saturday. Tim Krul had a couple of fantastic saves to preserve the Dutch win.

Chile 2-0 Japan
Chile took the top of Group A with a strong performance against Japan. Japan produced some early chances, but Chile secured the win with a couple of second half scores. Carlos Carmona volleyed from 25 yards out in the 75th minute. He had luck on his side as the ball bounced off the post, onto keeper Kaito Yamamoto's outstretched hand, and into the net. Pedro Morales sealed the game in the 92nd minute with a simple back-post finish.

Group B

Italy 2-0 USA

The USA once again displayed its new youth offense--try to pass from the back, either clear the ball under pressure or give it away, pick the ball out of the net--against the eager Italians. Italy took full advantage of two first half giveaways to score goals from Ignazio Abate and Daniele Dessena. Quintin Westberg finally got some second half play in the net and pulled some fine saves despite looking lost on some crosses. The USA leaves pointless and hopefully embarrassed. This makeshift U-23 squad was played off the pitch be three U-21 teams.

Ivory Coast 4-0 Turkey
In the only game that meant qualification on the weekend, one player shone. Sekou Cisse, who missed a penalty in Ivory Coast's first match against Italy, had a hat trick. He was joined in the goal scoring parade by Moura-Komenan Anthony. Turkey, who did themselves no favors in getting two players sent off against Italy, had another red card early in the second half. It was already academic at that point as the short-handed team was down two first half goals.

Interestingly, the group stage had no draws, so the standings were pretty easy to figure out. Group A winner Chile will take on Ivory Coast tomorrow at 1200 EDT, while Group B winner Italy and Japan will follow at 1430 EDT.

And now, links. But first . . . the whores!

Chelsea keen on buying Torres. For $100 million [Daily Mail]
The Special One will come back to Chelsea, but only on his terms [The Sun]
Super Frankie Lampard decides it's not enough to lose his mom and the CL final. He decides to chase off his fiancée as well [Daily Mail]
Top 10 English team's websites as visited by US users. Some surprises [EPL Talk]
SGE to go to Mexico. Will lose important games 2-0 [The Press Association]
DaMarcus Beasley looks forward to England friendly, exciting new injuries [Daily Mail]
Harry Kewell to RBNY. Giants Stadium turf sure to be nice to those old joints [Herald Sun]
MLS never going back to Miami [Sun-Sentinel]

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