Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quick Throw: Gillett to Sell Canadiens

Well, this should free up some cash for Stadler (or is it Waldorf?). George Gillett is selling his 80.1% stake in the Montreal Canadiens as well as the Bell Centre (the team's arena) and the Gillett Entertainment Group (the team's promotion company). The deal is said to be worth $550M.

Here's the fun part. The Molson family—yes, the beer one—is buying it.

No, we're not becoming a hockey blog but this probably has something to do with LFC and its debt.

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Confederations Cup Liveblog: Spain v. South Africa

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Vuvuzela.

The Group A standings are as follows: (1) Spain - 6pts, +6 GD; (2) South Africa - 4pts, +2GD; (3) Iraq - 1pt, -1 GD; (4) New Zealand - 0pts, -7 GD. If Spain beats S. Africa 1-0 and Iraq beat New Zealand 2-0, then South Africa and Iraq will be tied on pts, GD, and goals scored. This means that there will be a random draw to determine the 2nd team to move into the seminfinals from Group A. That would suck for everyone involved, so let's hope for a different outcome.

Spain will run out a 4-4-2 featuring:
GK - Reina
DEF - Albiol, Pique, Puyol, Arbeloa
MID - Riera, Sergio, Fabregas, Xavi
ST - Villa, Torres

Eh, that's not bad, I suppose.

Bafana Bafana counter with a 4-5-1 featuring:
GK - Khune
DEF - Gaxa, Masilela, Mokoena, Booth
MID - Mhlongo, Sibaya, Pienaar, Modise, Dikgacoi
ST - Parker

There are rumours that the Iraq v. New Zealand match is possibly on Telefutura. It may also be available on ESPN360. If it is available and one of my comrades is able to get to it, we may have dueling liveblogs. Feel free to jump back and forth between the 2 if that happens.

NOTE: If this liveblog ends mid-match, you should be aware that I have most likely been killed by the largest fly that I have ever seen.

In your WC 2010 qualifying news, there were several CAF matches. Those scores:

Algeria 2-0 Zambia (Final)
Kenya 2-1 Mozambique (Final)
Morocco 0-0 Togo (Final)
Sudan 0-2 Ghana (Final)
Burkina Faso 3-2 Ivory Coast (Final)
Tunisia 0-0 Nigeria (Final)

In your pre-game festivities, Magnus Samuelsson defeated Richard Skog 13 reps to 11 in the log lift on World's Strongest Man.

OK, kids - since there is no CWS game necessary, the Spain v. South Africa (my match) is on ESPN, while Iraq v. New Zealand is on ESPN2. Enjoy accordingly.

00:00 - And we're off!

01:30 - Spain using the width of the field, as a pass from Puyol to Xavi is cleared by Booth.

03:00 - Free-kick for Spain taken by Riera elicits a nice save from Khune.

05:00 - Spain is absolutely dancing around the Bafana Bafana, and we see a YC for Sibaya for a late challenge on Cesc. Seriously, the last thing he needs is another hard tackle.

05:40 - Xavi takes the free-kick and it is headed over by Villa.

06:30 - A quick counter from Parker takes too long to get across the field to Modise, and Spain clear.

07:35 - Free-kick for S. Africa on a push by Arbeloa. Modise drives it in and it is flicked on, but the defense clear after Booth has a semi-chance. On the counter, Cesc attempts to slip a pass to Xavi but comes up short.

08:40 - Masilela attempts to dribble the entire Spanish defense but he is eventually dispossessed.

09:50 - A soft pass drifts back easily to Khune, who clears it to midfield. Spain make another run on the right through Puyol but his cross goes over the endline.

11:00 - Riera does some excellent work coupled with Villa in the middle, and he is fouled at the top of the box. The free-kick hits off the wall and is gathered by Khune.

12:45 - Parker is down after a challenge from Pique. He pops up and limps around for a bit while play resumes.

14:00 - Another free-kick for Spain, as Modise commits the foul. The ball is played quickly but is cleared.

15:20 - Puyol plays Fabregas into the box. Booth clears it out, but only as far as Puyol, who sends it on to Torres, whose shot is deflected.

16:20 - A cross from Arbeloa is too close to Khune, who comes out and takes it easily.

17:00 - Foul on Modise by Fabregas for a free-kick at the top of the box. The kick, taken by Modise floats over the bar harmlessly.

19:50 - Some nice interplay between Torres and Fabregas, but Torres doesn't continue his run, allowing the ball to run out over the endline.

20:40 - Gaxa to Pienaar, who sends the ball a little too far down the line for Sibaya, resulting in a deep throw-in for Spain.

21:50 - Xavi with a long ball to Torres, who brings the ball down on his chest (arm?). The shot appeared to be going wide, but Khune gather it up anyway.

ED NOTE: I refuse to make a "Biko" joke in response to Georger's query.

24:00 - The first offside of the match comes on Parker, and after the action Albiol manages to get himself a YC - it appears to have been for grabbing Parker's jersey, which is a fairly soft booking.

25:00 - A dangerous cross is cleared by Mokoena, resulting in a throw for Spain. The ball is played back out wide for Puyol, who finds Fabregas. The ball moves easily, but Sergio loses control and then commits a foul.

27:00 - Sibaya is caught in the corner with the ball against 2 defenders, but manages to earn a corner. The ball is played short and results in a throw after a deflection. Gaxa puts the ball into play and a horrible clearance from Sergio comes directly to Modise. In the chaos, Pienaar is fouled by Sergio (settle down, man!). The free-kick is taken by Modise but goes directly into the wall.

29:40 - Sergio goes down as Gaxa gets up to head the ball over him, but miraculously gets up to defend the throw. Albiol heads it out for a corner, which is taken by Pienaar. Spain look to have cleared, but the ball winds up with Pienaar. A pass to Dikgacoi results in a cross/shot that goes wide.

32:20 - Pienaar goes down in a heap after Pique gives him a boot in the thigh. I can't tell what happens next, because ESPN drops the damn feed yet again. We get switched to Iraq v. New Zealand for 2 seconds, and then back to our match. Congrats, ESPN! Your streak of losing the feed during EVERY match is intact.

34:30 - Best chance of the match as Fabregas streaks through and finds Torres. The attempted chip is turned away by Khune and Booth cleans up the mess.

36:20 - Spain dominating the match, but the Bafana squared are acquitting themselves well here. Good defending has resulted in only 2-3 legitimate chances for Spain.

37:45 - A nice run from Pienaar is wasted as his pass to Parker is shot well over the bar.

38:30 - A quick counter finds Villa at the top of the box, but the ball is just inches beyond his foot and rolls over the endline.

39:10 - And S. Africa should be up 1-0, as Pienaar finds Modise on the left side of the box. His curled chip shot barely goes wide of the post as Reina looked on.

41:00 - Fabregas finds Torres, who dribbles past Masilela and Booth. His pass finds Villa, but the shot is well off-target.

42:00 - Some nice passing from S. Africa goes the width of the pitch across the midfield and ends with a scuffed shot by Parker. Fabregas begins the counter with a pass to Riera. The ball comes back to Fabregas, whose chip is almost headed into an OG but Khune is there to collect.

43:30 - Xavi with a shot/cross that goes wide.

44:50 - Fabregas dances with the ball and eventually finds Puyol. The return pass is cleverly back-heeled...over the endline.

45:00 + 02:00 - Some sloppy play by both sides ends the half, and we are tied 0-0.

HALF-TIME NOTES: As I mentioned, S. Africa are doing well defensively, outside of some minor lapses near the end of the half. Xavi has been a non-factor for Spain, and he needs to regain his midfield dominance if they are to make something happen.

On the Group B front, the studio analysts tell us that the USMNT needs to exhibit some heart in their next match against Egypt. No shit, Sherlock.

45:01 - And we're off again!

45:30 - Well, JP, if I'm Spain I'm wondering: (1) how can I be a whole country; and (2) why the fuck am I on a couch in Michigan?

46:20 - Sergio goes down holding his knee after having been grazed. The resulting free-kick from Xavi barely misses wide, although Khune appeared to have it covered.

48:20 - A long ball from Pique is out of reach for Torres, but El Nino gives him the thumbs up anyway. It's a self-esteem building exercise.

49:50 - Fabregas running into the box, and he is taken down! Mokoena gets in a late challenge after Cesc was past him for an easy decision. Villa is STOPPED on the PK! Khune guesses right and makes the save, and then saves the rebound from Puyol as well. Outstanding work!

51:20 - GOAL! Spain 1-0 South Africa Villa atones for his miss by chesting down the ball from Riera and slotting it at the far post.

52:30 - A YC to Modise for a late tackle, as the Bafana Bafana may be coming undone.

53:20 - Dikgacoi and Puyol get into it, followed by a hip challenge from the former on Albiol, which earns him a YC.

55:50 - Yet another YC, this time to Pique for a very late challenge on Gaxa, as things are getting a bit heated.

57:00 - Good work through the middle, played out wide to Gaxa. His cross fails to find Modise or Parker, but earns a corner. The short corner results in nothing, as Puyol heads it out. The counter finds Villa offsides.

58:20 - Pique struggles to control a ball down the side and S. Africa earns a throw. However, Pienaar commits a foul after the ball is played in.

60:00 - Hernandez on, Villa off for Spain. Llorente on, Torres off for Spain. This is clearly a decision based on preserving Villa and Torres, health-wise.

61:00 - A ball to Hernandez from Fabregas results in a corner. Xavi puts it into the box, and it comes back out to Pique. Pienaar dispossesses but loses the ball again. S. Africa unable to clear until Modise tracks back and takes charge of the situation.

62:40 - A long ball from Pique is too far for everyone and winds up in the hands of Khune.

63:40 - A short kick from Reina comes back in through Modise, but Sergio takes control and sends it up to Hernandez. The ball comes back out to Xavi, but the next touch is too far and goes over the touchline.

66:10 - Booth down the wing finds Masilela, who plays Modise through. His shot is blocked by Puyol, but is tracked down by S. Africa. Gaxa eventually sends in a ball at the 6, which Parker heads wide.

69:00 - Spain use some brilliant passing on the defensive end to avoid some trouble from Sibaya. The ball comes back into Pienaar, but his pass for Parker is just a bit too heavy and Reina pounces on it.

70:20 - GOAL! Spain 2-0 South Africa. A free-kick for Spain after a Mhlongo (where has HE been all match?) foul on Fabregas. Played quickly, and the ball is moved well around the midfield. Modise gets called for a foul after he catches Puyol in the face with an elbow. The resulting free-kick from Xavi is played low to Fabregas, who mis-hits it through for Llorente to get a touch on it for a goal.

73:40 - Parker is down on the pitch, so Fabregas puts the ball out of play. South Africa return the ball as Parker is able to shake it off.

75:50 - Free-kick for South Africa directly at midfield. The Bafana Bafana are still providing some pressure on the Spanish defense

ED NOTE: According to JP Dellacamera, Brazil, Argentina, and France are "clubs" that are tied with 15 wins in a row. Yeah, those are national teams, buddy.

79:50 - Excellent ball played to Pienaar, who pushes it through to Parker. The attempt comes off a bit weak, and dribbles to Reina for the easy collection.

80:20 - Cazorla on, Riera off for Spain.

82:20 - Mashego on, Sibaya off for South Africa.

83:10 - Gaxa finds Parker in space, and he gets off a good left-footed shot that Reina gets down to save.

83:50 - Fabregas lays off the ball for Cazorla, who has his shot pushed wide by Khune. The corner goes out for a throw, which is played up the line for yet another throw for Spain.

85:30 - A well-taken Cazorla cross is headed out by a Booth, triggering a break. Mashego has his pass played out by the defense, but it comes back in to Modise. Sergio gains control and is fouled by Parker.

87:00 - Yet another pass from Cazorla is headed out by Booth, and the ball makes its way down the entire pitch to Reina. Spain is content to play with controlled, passive passes.

88:20 - Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, JP just referred to Xavi as "Xabi." I am surprised that it took this long.

89:50 - Alright, maybe it's just JP's accent, but it sure sounds like he is saying "Xabi."

90:00 - 00:40 - Sergio is taken down for a Spain free-kick, and the cross from Cazorla is mistimed by Hernandez, rolling out for a throw.

90:00 - 02:00 - The ball is in the back of the net for South Africa, but Modise was about 172 yards offside.

90:00 - 03:00 - Tshabalala on, Parker off for South Africa.

FULL-TIME: Spain 2-0 South Africa. Both teams will advance into the semi-finals, as the Iraq-New Zealand match has ended in a 0-0 draw.

Thanks for joining me. Tune in again tomorrow for liveblogs of the US v. Egypt, and Brazil v. Italy matches. For now, go out and play (unless it is pouring rain there).

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Confederations Cup Liveblog: New Zealand v. Iraq

Random picture... check

New Zealand versus Iraq.... on Telefutura ESPN2 (another last-minute scheduling change by the Worldwide Leader). I'm taking one for the team here, but we've just got to liveblog every single Confederations Cup match, right? Let's get it started!

Precious Roy has the intro: "Iraq is still alive though, right? I mean they've got 1 point and a -1 GD (I think that's all). If Spain wins, the Iraq just needs to win by 2 or better such as."


NZ: Moss, Scott, Lochhead, Sigmund, Vicelich, Elliott, Brown (c), Smeltz, Killen, Bertos, Brockie

Iraq: Mohammed K., Mohammed Ali, Basam, Nashat, Imad, Younus (c), Hawar, Karrar, Salem, Ali Hussein, Mahdi

Fun fact: New Zealand and Iraq have only played each other in the 1973 World Cup.

Most likely I'll have no idea what's going on, what with the Spanish broadcasters and all but I'll try my best.

Your ref: Howard Webb (Engerland). Vuvuzelas are buzzing and... we're off!

1: Iraq kick off

Okay it has now been pointed out to me that the match is actually on ESPN2, with Spain-South Africa on ESPN. Uh... ESPN, excellent job telling people that you're broadcasting both matches. Excellent job. On the plus side, I get to listen to Tommy Smyth. Ugh.

4: The first of what will likely be many NZ turnovers. They recover and punt the ball out of play. So far, Iraq looking like they will push forward aggressively.

7: Iraq runs the length of the pitch on the counter and earn a corner kick. The ball bounces off the Iraqi player's head (no idea who!) and goes just over the goal. Decent chance there.

10: Nashat takes a flying elbow on a setpiece. Iraq get the foul but no card. Howard Webb letting them play, perhaps? Meanwhile, Derek Rae says that Iraq look a bit shaky in the back. I can't disagree.

11: Younus goes slicing through the NZ box completely unmarked but skewers the ball completely off target. A wasted chance!

14: Now it's end-to-end stuff. Both teams have fairly weak defenses (I'm being kind) so just a matter of time before someone opens up this game.

15: Right on cue Killen gerrards the ball over the goal, completely unmarked in the middle of the box. Hilarious miss. And to think, I could/should be running errands right now. I'm wasting my Saturday for you peoples!

17: NZ corner, headed out of play in the box. NZ might be more dangerous if they could actually find the goal. They get another corner and waste that opportunity too.

18: Third mention of Norwich City of the Confederations Cup!!

23: Dribble, dribble, pass, ball out of play, Iraqi player injured, handball, turnover, punt, pass, dribble, turnover.

24: Graphic points out that NZ are 0-8-0 in Confederations Cup matches. Impressive!

26: Looks like it's just ü75 and me who are the masochists watching this one. Or maybe there are hundreds of lurkers??? I can dream can't I? Meanwhile, more bumbling play from NZ in and around the box results in another corner.

27: Corner cleared, Iraq can't convert on the breakaway, NZ counter back and pepper a couple shots straight at the Iraqi keeper.

28: Smeltz shot goes wide and Derek Rae with the Special Olympics compliment of NZ... "This is better." Yes, much better to constantly shoot the ball out of play than to not even take shots at all.

30: Smeltz clear header .... wait for it ... goes wide.

32: To clarify, Iraq needs to make up a 3 goal differential with South Africa. So far not looking all that likely.

35: Killen with a good header on goal, but straight at the keeper. Iraq looks quite shaky. Meanwhile, Howard Webb looks very snazzy in his pink ref uni.

36: Iraq freekick into the box is cleared. Long throw into the box is ... cleared.

38: Tommy Smyth with a beauty: "Iraq aren't putting any pressure on the left side or the right side, or the middle either." That about covers all of the pitch, doesn't it?

41: A tame shot by NZ, followed by a tame long shot by Iraq.

44: Killen earns a free kick near midfield. Iraq heads the ball out for a corner.

45: Killen heads the corner out somewhere near Madagascar. 1 minute of extra time.

HALFTIME 0-0: Tuffy makes a good point (he also might be the only person reading this!) and asks whether Iraq knows they need to score goals? NZ have improved from their previous two matches, in that they aren't complete shit. Otherwise, this has the look of an U-12 match -- lots of sloppy play, no real chances on goal. I can't wait for the second half!!

Second half about to start. So far the highlight of the past couple hours has been the turkey sandwich I just made. Brie cheese, a little salad greens, mayo. Truly world class this sandwich.

46: Iraq sub, Hawar out Fareed on. NZ kick off.

47: Smeltz makes a run down the right and his corner goes flying behind the goal. In other words, we're picking up where the first half left off.

49: Iraqi player trips over the ball and Webb awards a free kick. Well done, England.

50: Nashat with a wicked sliding tackle that brings down Killen. No yellow card (one was deserved) but NZ gets a free kick about 30 yards outside the box.

51: Freekick straight into the wall but NZ earns another freekick, near the end line... but Iraq clears.

53: NZ still looking like the team more likely to score, even though the window is open for Iraq after Spain has scored.

55: Oh good clearance by Moss for NZ after Iraq get a long ball into the box. Word must've finally trickled out that Spain is winning and Iraq are starting to press. Sub for Iraq: Alaa on Emad off.

57: Yes, Alaa is the Kaka of Iraq. This game has made me too sleepy to make a joke. NZ corner... cleared, along with the resulting play.

59: Ball in the back of the net!!! Too bad Iraq was miles offside, but still, I saw it!!

60: I think a NZ player just handballed off both of his hands. Iraq punt the freekick straight at Moss.

61: YC to Brockie, who takes out an Iraqi player who was about to go flying past. Free kick about 10 yards outside the box.... straight at the keeper. Ugh. Kick it away from the keeper. And now ESPN is showing highlights of the Spain-SA match.

63: Another Iraq freekick around 10 yards outside the box... blocked low by a defender. More crap set plays.

65: Moss flaps at a corner but Iraq can't convert.

66: NZ has a freekick into the box but can't convert.

67: NZ has a corner but can't convert, ball goes out of play. Last Iraq sub: Sadir on Mahdi off.

69: Iraq long shot goes sailing over the bar. Slightly more urgency from Iraq but not sure this game has a goal in it for either side.

70: Iraq play the ball into the box but can't covert. Get a cornerkick but can't convert, ball goes out of play.

71: Sigmund comes off with a knock, Boyens on. Remember Boyens had a shocking missed kick against Spain. This'll be fun.

73: Boyens makes his presence felt right away and kicks the ball out for a corner which ... wait for it, wait for it ... Iraq can't convert.

74: C'mon Iraq, Spain is up 2-0, all you need to do is score a couple goals!!

75: Smeltz does well heading the ball in the box, but Iraq clears.

76: Iraq long shot off target. Maybe they needed to play this game with bigger goals? Oh and ESPN with more highlights of the other game. WTF fellas, I have a remote and can switch over whenever I want.

77: Iraq break into the box but the ref rightly calls the play offside. NZ have played the offside trap well this game (about the best compliment I can give at the moment).

79: Rae says if Iraq scores than it'll set up a big finish. That's a big, big "if."

82: Nashat bangs heads with one of his own players, and there's a shot of an Iraqi fan in the crowd sleeping. 'Nuff said.

84: A decent chance for NZ yet again goes wasting. Killen just outside the box, shoots the ball wide. Iraq counters but NZ clears.

85: Another Kiwi with a knock. Scott off Mulligan on.

87: Key save by Moss who covers up some terrible defending by blocking the shot with his face. Best chance of the game for Iraq. Then going the other way Smeltz totally muffs a shot in the box.

88: Nashat earns a free kick just outside the box. Kiwis complain to Howard Webb but it was an obvious call. Let's see if Iraq can actually convert (word of the day!).

89: Nope. Over the crossbar. Completely useless.

91: Four minutes extra time. Seems a bit excessive. Please, let this game end!

92: Two great defensive plays by NZ. Moss clears a good long shot, and then NZ clears the corner off the goalline after Moss was beat. NZ just earned their first first point in the Confederations Cup there!

FULLTIME 0-0 A very dreadful match. Iraq failed to take advantage of the opening given to them by Spain-South Africa. NZ and Iraq eliminated. NZ earns its first point ever in the Confederations Cup. So long, thanks for following as I committed karoshi.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Backpasses: Call him up now

This, my friends, is the future of US soccer. Enric Alegre may only be 10 and living in Spain, but I say call him up to the full NT now. Lock him in!

Liverpool jump the gun on a transfer [Dirty Tackle]
Especially when it looks like he may not be going there [ONTD_FB]
At least they are not the only EPL team screwing up on the interwebs. Is this considered tapping up? [ONTD_FB]

British dads must really suck if this guy is the best [Kickette]
More time lapse video of Red Bull Arena going up. How long will this damn thing take? [Red Bulls Reader]
Portland bid and stadium may not be off the rails after all [Oregon Live]

Congrats ladies, you've got STDs. *wink* [The Sun]

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We'll Admit We're Geeked

The second Showdown in Chinatown is next week. And our nipples might already be hard.

Clearly, given the above Twit from Baron Davis, last year's class clown aims to bring more skills to the Lower East Side for the sequel.

It's almost inconceivable that footie fans in NYC can catch Thierry Henry play what amounts to a pick-up soccer game (with NBA'ers) in the park. Even Henry himself doesn't seem to get how cool it is for US Americans. Here's his quote from last year:

I didn't know it was going to be like a lot of people around the Astroturf. But I guess they wanted to see Steve, Baron and the other guys there. I don't know, I think it was a great environment.
Uh, no. Think they were there to see you (and Fowler, and Kalou, and even Jozy) as much as they were to see the cagers.

It's been a good week (shitty USMNT not withstanding), so thanks for popping in. We especially want to thank everyone for chiming in on the Confederations Cup liveblogs. We're trying to bat 1.000 in covering them, although we might not get both concurrent matches over the weekend. Still, they are fun for us, so we'll try to get them all covered... Yoda be damned.

Anyway, between the rest of the tournament and the second Showdown (Wednesday—and we'll be there to cover it again), next week should be busy as well. I think I speak for all of UF when I say it's been a pretty fun month considering there hasn't been any league play*.

[*MLS exempted]

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Oliver Kahn to Scare One Billion People

Chinese television producers are aiming to give kids in their country nightmares for decades to come a shot at being Beijing's Next Top Keeper.

Former three-time World's Best Goalkeeper winner and German legend Oliver Kahn will host a reality show in China aiming to find the country's next Number 1. And he's treating it as serious business.

"We don't want to do an empty and meaningless, mindless casting show," he said, without mentioning Heidi Klum, who hosts model search shows in Germany and the US. "And I don't want to be the one who 'talks big' and disses or offends the young candidates when they don't succeed."
Yeah take that Heidi. You might be pretty and all but you are empty.

The 10-part series will be about more than just goalkeeping though as Kahn aims to give the Chinese a "road map to success." Hopefully there will be lessons on how to look intimidating before ultimately losing your job to someone taller but less skilled (cough *Jens* cough).

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Quick Throw: Setanta misses payment

News is hitting the wires that beleaguered Setanta Sports is unable to come up with the required cash for the Premier League today, which means its TV contract has been canceled. What will happen to the Special One?

Update: Confirmed by the BBC.

The league added: "It is with considerable regret that we announce that Setanta has been unable to meet their obligations. As such the existing licence agreement between us has been terminated with immediate effect.

The rights to show the 46 match package for next year will now be put up for auction.

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Quick Throw: Thomas Vermaelen Is a Gunner

Arsenal needed defenders and went out and got one. Thomas Vermaelen officially signed a four-year deal, with a transfer fee of up to £10m going to Ajax. I'm assuming that this is a good purchase -- for all of the complaining about Wenger's transfer policy, at least there can be no complaints about his recent scouting (Arshavin, Nasri, Sagna, etc.).

[Official page -- that was fast!]

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Exploding Eggs And Blood Clotted Legs.

Ah, the glamorous life of footballers. Holidays in the sun, high salaries, top restaurants and wags, wags, wags. But wait, that summer lifestyle is not for all footballers is it? Or maybe someone forgot to tell Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot about the summer fun. Poor Kirk Broadfoot.

First he tried to cook an egg in the microwave and got.. Er...Egg on his face, hot egg, resulting in a trip to the hospital and treatment on his eyes. And now he is stuck home while his team mates try to tag new wags in exotic locations around the globe.

Broadfoot is worried that his ankle injury may develop a blood clot if he flies. Oh man. Poor Kirk. Maybe he can spend the summer learning how to cook breakfast.

Now, while cooking an egg in the microwave is for idiots, not to mention the darn thing will taste like rubber, there are some easy ways to enjoy your eggs.

Here at UF Headquarters we like to help out misguided, unfortunate and retarded footballers, so just for Kirk, here are some links to simple recipes we've tried in the UF kitchen. Recipes that don't involve the Emergency Room or a microwave.

Eggs Benedict. Poached Eggs.Good old fashioned boiled egg.And finally the Omlette.

Now that Kirk has his eggs, may I suggest he pops that injured peg up on a cushion and sails through the season 3 dvd of the Mighty Boosh? That should keep him busy until the preseason schedule kicks in.

All Kirk needs now is a wag to keep him company. For footballers, those are not in short (NSFW) supply are they?

The Mighty Boosh...A teaser for Kirk...

Oh go on then...Happy Friday.

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Maybe He Just Needs Veneers

FC Porto left back Aly Cissokho's reported €15 transfer to AC Milan has been put on hold due to a hangup in his physical. This is not especially noteworthy, except for the fact that the problem is with his teeth. Seriously. Today is not April 1 and best I can tell nobody is having a laugh at my expense. This transfer is being impacted because of Cissokho's teeth. (rimshot).

This is a perfect story for Rick Reilly and his tooth fetish. Reilly could pull all the teeth jokes out he wanted and then work on a set of dentures. Alright enough. I'll leave the teeth jokes to the master.

Sky Television quotes Milan's chief executive, Adriano Galliani discussing the issue found in the physical and the issues it presents.

"Our doctors found some problems with his teeth which cause muscular trouble, which he has and which could deteriorate."
Muscular trouble? Because of his teeth? Surely he jests.

Apparently not.

After a brief bit of internet research, it appears teeth have been an issue for soccer players in the past.

So, all you soccer moms and dads out there, make sure to take care of your kids' teeth, lest you want them to have chronic injuries that can only be fixed by going to your local dentist.

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The Kids Are Alright

Capello's England may be banging in goals for fun on their way to the World Cup, and those winning ways are rubbing off on the under 21 squad currently playing in the European Championships in Sweden. Last night the young lions beat Spain 2-0 to advance to the semi finals.

Fraizer Campbell and James Milner scored the goals and England could also afford to miss a penalty when Milner saw his effort saved by Spanish keeper Sergio Asenjo. Theo Walcott was on the bench, in a move that seemed controversial until he came of the bench with an hour gone to set up Milner with some super play.

Two wonderful goals.

England now face Germany next Monday in an attempt to reach the final. Get in!

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UF After Dark: Derby County FC Finally Scores

So far here at UF we've introduced you to Eva Roob and Danny Mountain, both former football players who turned to pr0n to make a buck. Now, thanks to one of our most dedicated readers (you know who you are!), we are very proud to show you even more football pr0n....

These are stills from the latest straight-to-Internets video titled "I'm Looking for My Balls" (not making that one up!). The video features English pornstar Kieran Lee (but not this Kieran Lee formerly of ManU), who isn't a Derby County player, but he is from Derby, England and does wear a Derby kit throughout the video, including during the, uh, action. Way to show your support for the team! We're guessing that he learned a thing or two from former-Derby County manager Paul Jewell.

More pics after the jump. No actual nudity but still NFSW. Although, we've saved the really raunchy pictures for our personal collection.

Punchline: For once the Rams give it to someone else in the ass!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Backpasses: Bob Bradley must go

Yes, the US are still alive. No, that does not matter. We require new leadership.

You can download the USA's Confederations Cup media guide. There's not enough red in it [Football Fashion]
Speaking of brochures, here's a more in-depth look at Michael Owen's transfer prospectus [Stud Up]
Sepp Blatter give MLS unsolicited, but useful, advice [NYT Goal]
While we just complained about it in the Last Call thread, someone took the time to write a post about ESPN and MLS [Match Fit USA]
Hell, why not? More MLS. Looking at the league's ticket prices [WV Hooligan]

South American Soccer is crazy. Colombian shark mascot humps everything in sight [Dirty Tackle]
Crystal Palace gets the lightest punishment imaginable [Two Hundred Percent]
Prospective owner of Portsmouth gets dumped from his own company [The Spoiler]

Footballers who pulled much better than they ever should have [Pies]

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CornfedCup Liveblog: Italy-Egypt

Well, American fans, we have nothing else to look forward to this summer, do we? I mean there's still MLS on, but there's not another meaningful US match until August, just before the European leagues kick off. What to do?

Well, we could always get on the Giuseppe Rossi hate train.

For just $24, you can have a stylish look when you enforce the UF fatwa against the New Jersey native by throwing a pie in his face on camera. Plus, since it's an American Apparel shirt, you can show your love for sexed-up weirdos who run companies that pay a living wage in the US.

Which brings us to today's late match between Egypt and Italy. Theoretically, the US could still qualify for the semifinals with an Egypt win today, a large US win over Egypt and a very large Brazil win over Italy. While no one thinks all of that is possible, the first step happens right now. Welcome to your afternoon liveblog.

Pregame show? WHHAAAA? What about Mike and Mike?

Italy (4-3-3): Buffon, Grosso, Chiellini, Cannavaro (C), Gattuso, De Rossi, Iaquinta, Rossi, Zambrotta, Pirlo, Quagliarella. Subs: Everyone else

Egypt (5-3-2): El Hadary (C), A. Said, H. Said, Fathi, Abd Rabbou, Zidan, Shawky, Homos, Moawad, Gomaa, Aboutrika. Subs: Yep, they have a lot.

I'm not going to claim to be a master of the Pharaohs' roster, so bear with me.
-15.00 So, everyone still smarting from this morning? I am.

-5.00 Egypt go defensive to start. Yes, Rossi starts up top for Italy. Can my in jest prediction of that bastard becoming the top goal scorer come true?

-2.00 Nothing controversial about the PK call on Monday. Don't let Tommy Smyth mislead you, Derek.

0.00 Here we go.

1.00 Buffon looking resplendent in all red.
/got nuthin' already

3.00 Pitch looks in horrible shape already. Why is that?

4.00 Oh, thanks Tommy. Rugby is the reason.

4.00 Pirlo takes a shot. No worries.

5.00 Pirlo floats a cross. No worries.

6.00 Rossi with a foul on Shawky in midfield. Smyth gives a bio on Rossi.

8.00 Some creative play in midfield for Egypt leads to a nice pass into the box. Cleared for a corner by Cannavaro. Nothing happens.

9.00 Offside Italy. Egypt immediately give away the free kick and are stretched thin before Italy lose the ball.

12.00 Rossi shoots over from 16. Dangerous chance off of a deflection.

14.00 Egypt work the right flank again. Pass into Zidan leaves him caught up in his own feet.

16.00 Egypt holding their own so far. No real dangerous chances for either side.

18.00 Promising break for Italy goes for nought when the cross is too short for Rossi.

19.00 Cannavaro shows how to man mark on a free kick. Hopefully, Spector was taking notes. Potentially dangerous kick snuffed out by professionalism.

20.00 Fucking vuvuzelas.

22.00 Rossi takes a foul 35 or so yards out. Unsurprisingly, these two sure do like to talk about him. Pirlo tries a shot without the correct direction or any real sting.

24.00 Iaquinta nails a shot from 22, but too close to the keeper. There was a rebound, but no one close from Italy to worry the keeper.

25.00 Rossi again tries from outside the box. Keeper has to turn over the crossbar. Corner Kick, taken, by Rossi, is easily headed out. Not sure if Rossi's original shot was going in, but the save was nice nonetheless.

28.00 Egypt's best attacks so far have been getting behind Grosso. Unfortunately for them, Italy seems to be compensating now and have started to control the match.

29.00 On cue, Egypt string together a couple of passes on the other side and look dangerous. Last ball nowhere close to being productive, though.

31.00 Not a lot to say about this match. Right now, both teams seem more intent on walking around for a bit than trying to attack.

33.00 Quagliarella gets in a good position, but his control off the chest fails him. Gets too close to the end line and lets the ball get tackled out for a corner. Kick taken short and an offside called on the cross in.

34.00 Zidan has pulled something. He'll looks like he will have to come off.

35.00 Grosso looks lost without an Australian leg to fall over. Egypt once again getting behind him with ease. Rest of the Italian defense takes care of biz, though.

37.00 Egypt is extremely well-organized and playing the Italians both ways. Wonder if the US can get their coach?

38.00 Zidan, back on, gets called for offside. Egypt getting their chances here.

40.00 Egypt shoot from 25, Buffon pushes over. Then GOAL. Resultant corner goes to an unmarked HOMOS!!! who heads in off the post. De Rossi the culprit of not marking. 1-0 Egypt

42.00 Must state that Buffon was rooted on the eight yard header. Not a good job by anyone in blue or red on that corner.

44.00 Gattuso leg wraps Shawky. No card. Come on, Ovrebo. We expect more out of you.

Tweet tweet TWEEEEEET Halftime. Italy has now been behind 1-0 in both of their games so far. Does that mean anything, other than you should take Brazil for the first half on Sunday?

What I have seen so far: Egypt like to work the wings, while remaining solid at the back. Italy, despite having three up top, seem to have no numerical advantage while attacking. Italy have also been fond of the long ball, while Egypt are working short and doing it better than the Azzuri. Italy would do well to sub in a MF for a forward (prob Quags) and employ a second wave effect to the attack from midfield. Egypt have to not sit back and try to defend a one goal lead. See you in 10 or so.

45.01 We're back. No subs noticed.

46.00 Italy look dangerous from the start. Good movement. Maybe they care this half?

48.00 Ha Ha. Gattuso lost his pants. Shorts, for you Brits.

48.00 Moawad languishing on the ground after getting stomped on the ankle by Gattuso.

51.00 More hoofing it long and down the middle for Italy. De Rossi then shoots well over from 30 yards. Great gameplan, guys.

53.00 I have the volume down, and that's the second time I've heard Smyth say "The snarling dog doesn't snarl much anymore" in reference to Gattuso. Get this man a coffin!

54.00 Iaquinta beats the offside trap but fails at the one on one. Great chance lost, even if Iaquinta used his arm to control.

56.00 Zidan off. Ahmed Eid on. OK.

57.00 Sixth Italian corner goes way long. Cannavaro went up for the header but it was three feet over his head. Italian subs: Rossi, Gattuso off; Montolivo, Toni on.

58.00 Yellow Card Eid, just on, rugby tackles Cannavaro.

60.00 Egypt have a 2 on 1 break, but the last pass was slow enough so that Italian defenders can catch up.

62.00 Egypt still showing well. Advancing forward but not giving up chances on the other end. Italy look bored/tired. Montolivo hacked down by Shawky, who got the ball. Pirlo to shoot from 30. Just wide. He had the keeper beat.

64.00 Italy's last sub: Pepe on for Quags. Egyptian down forever. Carted off.

67.00 Corner kick for Egypt. Derek Rae wants to #banvuvuzelas. Kick short, ball lost.

68.00 Pepe with a good ball. Toni and Iaquinta flap at it and miss. Egypt sub: Moawad off, Farag on.

70.00 Egypt may have held long enough to start getting some productive counters as Italy press. Iaquinta saved well from in close. Pepe the catalyst here for Italy.

71.00 Maybe I should watch Udinese more. This Pepe kid has some fire.

73.00 Pepe again on the right. Gets fouled twice, but no call.

74.00 This is the worst fast break weave I have ever seen.

What a Save! Montolivo with the open shot from 14 yards. Placed well, but the keeper was up to the task.

75.00 15 minutes left and we are all Homos now.

76.00 Abu Trika should have scored.

79.00 Another goal line save! Iaquinta this time. Ball just palmed enough to stop the momentum from going over the line. Great, great stuff from the Egyptian captain.

80.00 Hassan in for Egypt for Fathi. Last of the subs.

Italy will score here, I feel. It's coming soon.

81.00 El Hadary for MotM, right? Except for repeatedly outkicking the coverage on the punts, that is.

83.00 I don't think I've ever seen a guy coming on get the captain's armband without the previous captain going off. Odd.

Egypt waste a chance. Abu Trika wouldn't pull the trigger.

84.00 "Egypt 1, The United Sates nil." Thanks, Derek Rae.

Apparently we do start one down Matt. Sucks.

86.00 Another break on the right for Egypt. They got nuthin'.

87.00 Give that man the armband back! El Hadary thanks the crossbar as the keeper watched Iaquinta's shot go over his head.

89.00 Handball 20 yards out. Great chance for Italy. Gomaa(?) called for the arm. Pirlo to take. FIELD GOAL! Way over.

90.00 Five minutes added on. Ouch, but fair.

90.00 El Hadary playing with the ball a little. Homos looks on.

90.00 Three minutes left. Nervy.

90.00 Corner kick. Yellow Cards to el Hadary for arguing, and one to Gomaa as well. Hansen comes through.

90.00 Buffon came up for that. Ball cleared and put back in. Italy offside.

90.00 One minute left.

90.00 Toni dives.

90.00 Time up. Blow the whistle.

FULL TIME Holy shit, the US is still alive. Homos is your goal scorer, El Hadary is your MotM on the pitch, and Hassan Shehata is the best coach on earth.

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Confederations Cup Liveblog: USA v. Brazil

C'mon dude, finish your chances

Could it get much worse for the USMNT? The difficult loss to Italy was dominated by the New Jersey boy, and yet, this time, the US have no such straw man available unless we suddenly find out that Kaka was born in Kansas City.

Gut check time. Stand up and be counted. Can Bradley's Boys minus the terrier-like Ricardo Clark do enough to stifle this Brazilian attack? Can they get something against the sieve-like Selecao defense?

We could be in for a high-scoring game. I feel like if Jozy found his left foot somewhere amid his luggage, the US can score against Brazil. It's just a question of whether they can keep the scoring down in their half. To that end, the mantra is simple: don't give Kaka and friends acres of midfield space to shoot from distance.

Join us for the fun after the jump. Oh, and the vuvuzelas! We're not sick of those, right?

Preamble: Thoughts on the final score? I can't bring myself to watch the 30-minute pregame show, which will undoubtedly involve Rece Davis and Alexei Lalas using some ESPN technology to display their alarming lack of knowledge about what's going on. I also pray that Tommy Smyth has nothing to do with things today. He's like a cliche-ridden, clueless Irish vuvuzela.

Preamble: Of course, I relent and tune in. Harkes and Lalas are all over the lack of pressure in defensive midfield, and of course, they show the goals again. Not much xenophobic rage toward Rossi. Yet.

USA, USA, USA, USA (4-3-2-1 ish, maybe just a 4-3-3-): Howard - Bornstein, Demerit, Onyewu, Spector - Beasley, Kljestan, Bradley - Donovan (c), Altidore, Dempsey.
Subs: Bocanegra, Casey, Pearce, Davies, Wynne, Califf, Guzan, Adu, Torres, Feilhaber, Robles, "Clark" (he's suspended, but still listed).

THE SAMBA KINGS OF BRAZIL (4-1-2-1-2): Julio Cesar - A Santos, Miranda, Lucio (c), Maicon - Gilberto Silva - Felipe Melo, Ramires - Kaka - Robinho, Luis Fabiano.
Subs: Kleber, Elano, Victor, Daniel Alves, Luisao, Josue, Julio Baptista, Kleberson, Pato, Nilmar, Gomes, Juan.

I'll go ahead and say it; with the rather secondary string being run out by Gunga La Dunga, there's a chance of a draw here. Three new faces at the back, a midfield of mystery, although they naturally left in their three best attackers (though even that's arguable... no Pato sightings for more than 15 mins at a time?)

Preamble: There's been a bit of discussion in my brain lately about how the US can improve in international soccer, and I'm thinking they need to cut the bullshit regarding co-opting other countries' styles and try to define one of their own. After all, all nations have a style that's inherently theirs. Italy have catenaccio, Brazil have this kamikaze style, Germany have their ruthless organization, South Korea have superior conditioning to 99.99% of other teams.... USA needs one. What should it be?

It's national anthem time. We know the US one, natch... I'd never noticed before how jaunty the Brazilian ditty is. Sounds like something Sousa left behind on vacation. Or maybe a b-side from Peter and the Wolf.

I recognize this Swiss ref, Massimo Busacca, from somewhere. Champions League? Controversy? Someone do the research for me, please.

T-minus 1 minute: Jozy looks ready and primed to disappoint.

And we're off! Vuvuzela! US in all white, Brazil in Yellow and Blue. Me in shorts and an old Sonic Youth t-shirt now lightly soiled with baby puke.

2 mins: Ramirez hops inside Spector and gets impeded by Bornstein. The free-kick gets knocked into the box and Onyewu heads it out for a corner. Donovan nuts it away and Brazil foul on the loose ball in the attacking third. We get a reminder that Brazil scored three goals via the set-piece. Good to know.

@Tuffy -- you've got the right idea. I mean, how can the USMNT try all this quick passing and whatnot when they haven't nailed the basics? Coiled snake sounds good. Or maybe FDR's Big Stick thing.

4 mins: Robinho sighting! He was invisible during the Egypt match. Not that he just did anything of note. Just a quick close-up.

USMNT defending on their heels a bit. Some good passing down the right by Brazil, who have started brightly. Kaka wins a corner, but Robinho's delivery is tragically bad and US clear with ease. Still, all the action in that Yankee defensive third.

6 mins: Bradley with a foul/not-foul on Ramires, and Maicon delivers....

GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL, and credit to the US for holding out longer than New Zealand against Spain. Maicon's delivery is whipped right into the six-yard box, Howard stays on his line, and Felipe Melo nips around the back of Spector to bang it in with his noggin. Killer start for the Selecao. Not sure how much better the US could have defended that. Spector had zero chance. USA 0, Brazil 1

JP Dellacamera tries gamely to draw parallels to the Costa Rica and Honduras games in which the US went behind early in both and battled back. Has the mightily drunk JP noticed THE US ARE PLAYING BRAZIL??

@Whizalen -- it is not the Washing Machine shirt, though I wish it was. It's one from their Dirty/E.V.O.L days... a black shirt with white "Sonic Life" written across the chest and some big glowy cross thing beneath it that looks like it was drawn by Lee Ranaldo's child. I dig it though.

@Keith -- sorry Sir... I get my Roosevelts confused. I also get all the Jackson 5 members mixed up.

11 mins: Another dangerous free-kick whipped in but US head it clear... only as far as Luis Fabiano. He gets to the touchline and cuts back for Robinho, but his shot is whiffed on. Beasley put his defense in danger there with some sloppy play. That, coupled with Bradley's fondness for fouling, and it does not bode well. I eagerly await Donovan's pithy post-game comments dragging his teammates through the mud.

Also, someone noted in the comments -- the free-kick that led directly to the goal should never have been, but them's the breaks. Ramires sold it, and Bradley looked clumsy enough.

Brazil waste their 12th corner of the game. A couple of minutes ago, Landycakes had a bit of a run down the other end before being crowded out by four Brazilians.

15 mins: Naptime efforts to subdue my son have failed, and so I have acquired a sleeping baby across my chest while I rest the laptop precariously on my lap. Kaka ghosts behind Kljestan and gets to the touchline once again, but his cutback is blocked out for a corner. Brazil waste it, staying true to form thus far in this game.

Does the USA have a midfield?

@NY Kid -- fair enough. I thought Spector totally lost Melo, not that he wasn't physical enough. I guess that's even worse though, right?

18 mins: The USMNT finally get into Brazilian territory, with all the urgency of the fellas from Swingers trying to get to that party in the Hills with that chatty redhead and the bottle of Glenfiddich. It doesn't last -- Brazil break, 3-on-3, but it breaks down at the top of the box as Robinho and Luis Fabiano suffer a communication breakdown.

Really, at this point I'd just love to see a US player put a massive challenge in on someone, just to remind Brazil that they're actually playing another team.

Uh-oh... breakaway....

GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL, and some half-hearted attacking by the US gets 'em caught out woefully at the back, and it's DeMarcus again who's making the gaffe. He totally fluffs on receiving the short corner from Donovan. Brazil break with Ramires, and he squares inside Spector, the last man back, for Robinho, who has the easiest finish under a sprawling Howard. That's just fucking sad. USA 0, Brazil 2

23 mins: THE BRAZILIAN POTENCY HAS BROKEN THE LIVE FEED! Dellacamera and Harkes try gamely to keep things going. The US take a decent corner (not taking a short one again, I bet), but it doesn't amount to much. Brazil pour forward themselves and force Bornstein into a silly giveaway, but the US finally get it clear.

Seriously though guys, it's probably best we can't see what's going on right now? Right?

I wonder what's going on right now? Beasley has fucked up again?

WAIT! THE LIVE FEED IS BACK! NO MORE GOALS CONCEDED! It resumes like the game began, with Brazil in comfortable possession and the US just watching them knock it up down, side to side, up down side to side.

28 mins: This is just dire. Disjointed, desperate rubbish. US try to get something going with Donovan, Altidore and Dempsey, but it's easily broken up. Then Bradley gifts possession to Brazil in the midfield (deja vu, anyone?) and Luis Fabiano triggers an attack, eventually cutting outside and ending his best chance to shoot. His shanked effort took a deflection, didn't it?

We're fast approaching moral victory time. You can bet Bob Bradley is flipping through his Book of Sanitzed, Inoffensive Cliches with which to gee up the fans after 90 minutes. One wonders if he'll erupt like Bob Knight in the dressing room at half-time. Or at least have the balls to make a few lineup changes. Shit, Beasley should be shot out back and converted into glue.

@Precious Roy -- I reckon he wants the entire Everton backline. Leighton Baines, Lescott, even an ACL-crippled Jagielka. And Leon Osman in front of that lot would be nice too.

32 mins: USA win a corner! The big men amble up from the back. Decent delivery but it's nodded clear. Kljestan picks up the rebound and it's crossed in again, and headed away again. Donovan gets that rebound and finds Bradley, whose cross is also decent but is also headed clear. Then Gooch breaks up the not-too-bad passage of play by his countrymen by scything down Felipe Melo with a Barton-esque lunge and earning himself a yellow card.

35 mins: Bornstein gets stuck in and nuts Maicon in the face as they go for a header. No foul. Just good, fearless effort. Still, Brazil knock the ball around with ease. Only 52% possession for Brazil thus far? Really? What the fuck have USA done with their 48%?

A ridiculous dive by Gilberto Silva over Kljestan's leg challenge gets 'em another free-kick in US territory. They spread it wide, and when it does come back in, Robinho shoots comfortably wide of Howard's near post. The US clear, and it comes right back in the form of Luis Fabiano, who forces a decent save from Howard.

Seriously, did the US bring a midfield today? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me... is there any midfield home?

38 mins: Maicon has a free, unimpeded run down the right and swings in a decent cross but there's nobody home. US counter with Spector cantering down the right, working hard to overlap Landycakes, but he's gassed from the sprint and turns in an abysmal daisy-cutter cross that Lucio sidefoots away from danger. Bit rubbish this.

Question of the Now: How will Bradley/Gulati/US Soccer spin this performance?

Beasley watches the ball in central midfield and fails to notice Maicon, alone on the right wing. Maicon gets it and puts in another menacing cross, but Gilberto Silva heads powerfully over the bar from 8 yards.

At this point, I'm more tolerant of the incessant vuvuzela drone than the play of the USMNT thus far. Utterly spineless. No tenacity or effort in midfield. More ball-watching than on a gay porn film set.

Brazil attack again with Maicon getting tons of work down the right, but no dice.

42 mins: Onyewu needlessly trips Robinho in the right corner despite having defensive help and the Brazilian seemingly trapped. Maicon delivers another neat cross, it flies over to the back post but whoever that was at the back volleyed it a mile over the bar. Seriously, memo to Bob Bradley: bench half these fuckers for life. I don't believe Sasha Kljestan has touched the ball yet (taking a throw-in doesn't count).

44 mins: Brazil knock it around on the right side as they begin to phone it in. Bornstein fouls someone and gives Maicon another free chance to cross. He does, but it's nodded clear in traffic. Wish some of these USMNT'ers would go and play in rush-hour traffic, so poor they have been.

One minute of stoppage time. Massimo Busacca is a merciful ref.

HALF TIME: USA 0, Brazil 2
Harkes reckons the early goals helped Brazil. No shit, Sherlock. They're probably not done scoring, either. Back in 10, when I've managed to get this sleeping baby to stay asleep in his less comfortable rocker chair contraption.

In the meantime, a poll ginned up by the NY Kid between wrist-slitting motions after his nation's dismal first-half effort.

Oh, and I can't help but point out u75's early comment about how DMB in the midfield means he'll be good. Though knowing the man, I'm assuming it was sarcasm?

Rece Davis calls it an "inauspicious start." That's perhaps the kindest possible way to say it in a way that won't get you fired and banned from doing live TV ever again.

48 mins: And I'm back, with a slight delay due to diaper-changing. US get a free-kick in Brazil territory but the Selecao clear.

Mercifully, a sub for USMNT: Beasley off (and presumably lying dead in the locker room), Conor Casey on.

The switch almost paid off; Casey found Altidore in the box, but young Jozy blasted his shot into outer space. Really should have done better. Should do better at shooting in general, considering he's a striker. Hat tricks against shit CONCACAF teams don't count.

49 mins: Better from the US. Bradley finds Bornstein out wide left, and his cross forces Julio Cesar off his line to collect. Not bad, that.

LB jr. is still lying asleep across my chest. Have I mentioned how difficult it is to breathe consistently with a 9lb child across your lungs? If I set him down, he'll scream and I'll probably miss the 3rd Brazil goal. Blogging requires maximum effort. Nothing but the best today!

51 mins: At the risk of jinxing, USMNT have learnt something at half-time and actually started pushing forward. Brazil are equal to it for now. Bradley fizzes a shot over the bar from 30 yards in an effort to match De Rossi's effort the other day. Same kinda position on the pitch.

You see a lot of shots of the turtleneck'd Dunga on the sidelines, barking instructions.. where the heck is Bradley? Shrouded in shadows and guarded by Satan's minions? Or perhaps hiding under an umbrella a la Steve McClaren?

Spector can't reach a long pass down into the right corner, and Brazil collect themselves. Donovan then fouls Robinho quickly after the restart. The US are pushing more, and will leave themselves open to the counter now that their wing-backs are galloping up and down the flanks from box to box.

As I type that, Brazil do break; Luis Fabiano lays off to Ramires in the middle, and he finds Robinho unmarked far left. The Citeh striker takes a touch and tries to bend it in top corner, but Howard's tall enough to leap and grab.

Jozy slips on a US counter as Bradley tries to play him onside over the top. Bit of a metaphor for the US efforts thus far today.

55 mins: Kljestan completes the double-play of losing the ball and then putting in a nasty foul on Ramires. Busacca waves advantage and play on, which Kaka does. He trots towards goal, creates some space and shoots, forcing a good save from Howard. Ramires is still down, and Dunga is mad as hell and is not gonna take it anymore on the sideline. On come the medics with the stretcher brigade.

Um, wow? Busacca gives Kljestan a red card for that shockingly late tackle. Bit harsh, that. But hey, cheer up, USMNT, you now have your greatest excuse should Brazil march on and score plenty more!

Which begs the question: just who is filling this US midfield for the final game?

@Steve -- thank you sir. I think I'm taking the Rossi approach and will groom him here before shoving him back to England to play for his daddy's country. Dual citizenship for the win!

Sub for the US forthcoming as Bradley takes his pre-game notes and strategy, smothers them with BBQ sauce, and devours them in seconds.

60 mins: Here comes that sub: Altidore off (booooo), Feilhaber on....... 4-4-1 time! Bradley is good at this substitution business. It's damage control time.

Brazil adopt the lion-playing-with-his-supper approach, content to bat it around laterally without much menace.

62 mins: GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL, and we will blame that on there being just 10 Americans left. Brilliant move by Brazil, cued by Ramires who has miraculously recovered. A lovely one-two between Ramirez and Kaka frees Maicon, who's had a good game, inside the box, and he shoots high from a narrow angle and through Howard's grasp. Good. Night. Nurse. USA 0, Brazil 3

BIG IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR THE COMMENTS: Where does this current incarnation rank in comparison to other major eras of US Soccer? We're talking 1950 USA, 1990 USA, 1998 USA, 2002 USA... in history, where do we put this sorry bunch?

65 mins: A nice flowing move by Brazil finds Maicon unmarked out wide, but no-one is there to meet his cross but Landon Donovan. I wonder if Landy wishes he had a German passport? He's seeing the best years of his generation wasted, ruined, etc etc loosely quoting Allen Ginsberg there.

67 mins: Time to channel your rage productively, folks. Gimme your best angry man longform unedited rant about US Soccer in the comments, and the best one, chosen by me, a self-loathing Limey, will win a random soccer book from my sizable collection of soccer books. It's also a cynical move by me to keep you all here, because no matter how bad the USMNT does today, you are absolutely not allowed to turn it off.

69 mins: The vuvuzela orchestra finds another notch above "supremely irritating" as Brazil get on some subs. Kaka and Luis Fabiano off, Julio Baptista and Nilmar on.

Possible chance for the US there, as Donovan's free-kick from wide left is whipped in menacingly, but Bradley cannot rise high enough to meet it with his forehead. Goal kick to Brazil.

72 mins: Final sub for Brazil: captain Lucio off, Luisao on.
Another Brazilian free-kick is floated right into the thick of the box, but Howard comes out to gather. Still, Brazil have possession immediately from Howard's kick.

Onyewu hoofs it long for Conor Casey to chase, but he's never reaching that. Goal kick, Selecao.

76 mins: The 75th minute comes and goes without that moral victory goal by the US that Ebullient Fatalist was predicting (see: 10.21am)

Brazil knock it about with ease. Dempsey's tried hard in midfield but has absolutely no help. As much as I loathe him, Donovan's run just about every blade of grass today too, although with little to show for it.

80 mins: Howard collects another cross/shot and throws out, cueing a bit of a run down the right with Donovan. He finds Dempsey, who gets it back to Landy wide. When the return pass comes back in, Dempsey just about keeps possession until Julio Baptista chops down Feilhaber. From the free-kick, USMNT pass it forward a bit and Feilhaber shoots into that proverbial Row ZZ from 35 yards. Dour.

83 mins: ALMOST THAT MORAL VICTORY GOAL! Spector's been pretty good today, and he overlaps Donovan on the right and the pair of them start something; Spector megs his marker to find Donovan at the touchline, he cuts it back for Spector who finds Feilhaber at the top of the box, but Benny's shot whizzes against the underside of the bar and somehow stays out (though it coulda been in, we have no clue and no-one contested the call). Then Brazil, in a cruel twist, counter with a 2-on-1 and almost score a fourth via Julio Baptista, but his final touch lets him down and Howard falls on it.

You have to think Bradley will name a completely different XI for the final group game, just to try some things out, right? Or will he stick with his preferred lineup in the hopes they can claw a meaningless draw with the Egyptians?

87 mins: Dear God, just end this already.

Dempsey wins a free-kick as he knocks it past Luisao and gets barged down. Think Donovan is taking it? What difference does it make?

89 mins: COULD HAVE BEEN 3-2 IF THE FIRST ONE COUNTED! Donovan's delivery is nice, and Conor Casey ploughs a header off the crossbar. Bradley looks upset on the sideline, the first time I remember him being off his feet and on camera all game long. Now he has three things -- the two crossbar shots and the dubious red card -- to use in an attempt to save his job after the game.

LB Jr is waking up, and I'm glad he stayed asleep for this entire game. His tiny, impressionable mind should not have been subjected to this horror show.

90 mins + 2: Brazil have a free kick front and center some 20 yards out, and they spend an eternity lining it up. Can this be the last action of the match? Julio Baptista winds up and boots it a mile high and wide. He's rubbish.

Bradley then blasts one over the bar. BLOW THE WHISTLE.

FULL TIME: USA 0, Brazil 3
Thank the gods that is over. My internet crapped out for a minute there, and LB jr finally woke up, but shit... an awful morning's footy if you are a US Soccer fan. I can guess that most of you who were pre-game aren't now.

The US needs a complete overhaul. Like Norwich. Like Newcastle. Rebuild this shit from the ground up. Dead weight needs to be cleaned out.

Not sure if we're liveblogging this afternoon, or who is doing it, but I'm hoping we do. In the meantime, go enjoy a liquid lunch. Hearing Bob Bradley being interviewed makes me wish I had a gun that would reach from my couch to that pitch.

Thanks for playing along, folks! You were all excellent. I was hoping for some rants though. That wonderful soccer book is getting returned to the bookshelf until our next impromptu commenter competition!

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The Ultimate Sanction?

North Korea qualified for the World Cup yesterday after a goalless draw with Saudi Arabia. Iran failing to beat South Korea meant that Kim Jong Ill's commie buggers get to go to South Africa for the big dance. Surely this is a great opportunity for the UN to pressure FIFA and ban the country from competing as punishment for recent missile testing?

That may require showing that the UN actually has a pair of balls. We know that 'Dear Leader' likes his football and has attended games in the past. If the International community does decided to take away next summer's tournament from the tiny tyrant, can I suggest they wait until after he has organized a synchronized parade featuring every man, woman, child and hot dog, I mean dog, in the country. That would really be a kick in the sack.

So after that do we care how North Korea qualified? No. not really, but if YOU do, then go here.

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UF Quick Throw: Saint Koog?

According to the Southern Daily Echo, Kelvin Koogan was spotted yesterday, meeting with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier and ex-chairman Lee Crouch. The two men have been trying to spearhead a takeover at the failing club. Southampton is currently in administration.

Could the Koogster be about to make a sensational return to football with his former club in League One? Will he drop them like a hot potato if the Saints fall further? One thing is for sure, the Koogster has experience at this level and dragged Fulham from the depths of League One to the Premier League. UF Headquarters will greet this news with excitement. The return of Kelvin Koogan will mean we can dig around the UF basement and find the Koogometer.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last Call: Who Will You Bring Home?

Melissa Satta - WAG of Christian Vieri

Welcome to tonight's Last Call. Where you can get a pint and maybe find yourself a bed as nice as the one above... but be careful with the beer goggles, you don’t want to wake up next to this.

Tonight, your host is Unprofessional Foul. Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the blogosphere. We understand that the Last Call folks are a new movement and this is their form of the green wristband protest. We wish you luck in your endeavor.

For those of you not familiar with us, a little background on what we do and who we is are.

UF was the mindspring of Lingering Bursitis way back in late 2007, who wanted to create a blog devoted to entirely to the soccer world and whatever happens to enter into the soccer world. Many of the UF contributors are or were Deadspin commenters, and Deadspin was the social mixer where many of us came together. We also have stretched out our social circle to people beyond the Deadspin milieu. Plus, we even accept social outcasts like Chelsea fans, and fans of the lowly Norwich City and Exeter clubs... we tolerate Manchester United fans at this point but don’t push us too much.

While we focus on soccer/football/futbol/footy (we use the terms interchangeably), we do not believe you have to be a hardcore footy fan to appreciate our “work” because, well, our work still includes hot chicks, stupid things athletes do, and crazy stuff related to football, including fashion.

Some of our favorite posts have dealt with wannabe WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends), female footballers becoming porn stars, and even the introduction of brand new WAGs. But, we also do great liveblogs (we are currently liveblogging the shit out of the Confederations Cup), explain football, rant, and even break some news here and there. We can promise you stuff you will not read about in the “mainstream” sports blogs and, frankly, lots of top notch writing and analysis.

Thanks for visiting and enjoy your stay.

[TFA Note: Apparently there is this blog, The Phoenix Pub, I was not aware of. I have checked it out and it appears to be the Last Call secret headquarters or something. I was supposed to namecheck it. Now I have...check out The Phoenix Pub for all your DUAN-ey updates.]

Bottoms up!!

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Confederations Cup Liveblog: South Africa v. New Zealand

Well, here it is... the test of how much you really love football. Probably the two worst teams in the field are facing off. We're hoping for a surprise as, if either team has any prayer of advancing, those prayers involve their God of choice handing them a win and smiting their enemy.

Line-ups after the jump as soon as I find them.

Starting Line-ups:

South Africa: Khune, Gaxa, Masilela, Mokoena, Sibaya, Pienaar, Modise, Dikgacoi, Booth, Parker, Fanteni

New Zealand: Moss, Lochhead, Vicelich (great name), Elliot, Brown, Smeltz, Killen, Bertos, Christie, Mulligan, Boyens

Jesus the news on the web sucks. Is nobody covering the Confederations Cup? I so wanted to get a pic of the reverse own-goal from South Africa in the opener. The above was the only artwork I could find from that match [UPDATE: New video art subbed in].

Okay, we've got live pictures. Bafana Bafana. Zuzuvelas or vuvuzelas or migraine machines are in full effect. At least we'll be spared Harkes and Dellacamara (sp?).

Hey Derek, I've met multiple people who think that NZ and Oz are connected by a bridge. Yes, Americans are that geographically illiterate. Such as. Therefor.

I'll probably be checking in on the Cubs and Sahx, so we're your one-stop sports shopping if legit sites are firewalled at work.

Rae (hooray!) and Smith (less hooray). Pienaar is healthy. So there's that.

Moments from kick.

Kick. Blogger commemorates the occasion by hanging. Thanks.

1st minute: I like that South Africa has the token white in Booth.

2nd minute: And South Africa whiffs on the first good chance. A great cross to Fanteri who was WIDE open outside the six, and he promptly swings over it. Fail.

4th minute: Holy Crap, we have a Norwich City mention. The first of the Confederations Cup I do believe. Then South Africa promptly push a shot wide. Nice effort from about 30-plus but it was never really on goal.

5th minute: It's only the 5th but possession has to be about 90-10 in favor of South Africa. Moral victory for New Zealand... they were already down to Spain by this point of the opener.

And we've got a piper down.... Simon Lochhead for the Kiwis is laying supine on the grass with a bleeding forehead. Now he trots off the pitch.

7th minute: And I've been corrected... that's the second NCFC mention. Ooops. South Africa owns the ball. NZ is keeping shape better but there is also no Torres on the pitch. Parker turns from the top of the 18 and is smothered as he gets a weak shot through to the keeper. Easy save.

9th minute: Lochhead back on with a wrapped head. Foul on Pienaar. And New Zealand finally get a ball into the attacking third... then promptly give it back.

10th minute: Fanteni celebrates a goal. Too bad he didn't know the flag went up. He was off. Good call.

11th minute: Booth plays Peter Garret in the Midnight Oil movie.

12th minute: Long ball into the box but it goes right to Moss. South Africa better be careful or they are going to let New Zealand get some confidence.

13th minute: I'm pretty sure this is what life sounds like when you're a bee. Few exchanges of possession. South Africa controlling around midfield. If I may... this is poor play from South Africa. They outclass the Kiwis and should keep the ball on the floor. They are trying to play long crosses and long balls in. It's not working for them.

15th minute: Phone call from my sister. Hold on. And the White Sox are up on the Cubs 2-0 in the 2nd.

17th minute: Pienaar with a rocket from the top of the 18 but it goes straight to the keeper.

18th minute: I don't think that the Kiwis really mean the kit color when they call their side the All Whites. Pienaar wide to Gaxa. He had a couple of men in support but he feeds it to Boyens, who plays for the other team.

19th minute: Fun fact. I picked South Africa to upset Spain. I am an idiot. South Africa swinging the ball back along their backline.

21st minute; GOAL! South Africa 1-0. Masilela got the corner and Mulligan went down (golf joke... anyone). Parker was wide open in the box and buried the feed into the upper right corner (more mid-upper than upper).

22nd miunte: Kiwis... -6 and counting. Ugh. And Bafana Bafana are already bac on the attack. Of course this is also a moral victory as by this time Torres had a hat trick already.

24th minute: Kiwis are chasing now. Really on their heels as South Africa keep possession in the attacking third.

Oh wow... Parker really mis-hit the ball and it deflected off the hip of a Kiwi defender. That deflection is what spun it out of Moss' reach. When you suck and luck goes against you, you've got no chance. I think that was Boyens again. Bet that guy wishes South Africa had never been born.

27th minute: Why did we ever spend money on Gitmo. We could have just sent detainees to South African soccer matches. Free kick for the kiwis. They get the ball in to a good position with two guys there but Vicelich can't get a head on it.

It was indeed Boyens with the deflection. Ugh...

29th minute: Better for New Zealand. They are keeping possession in midfield for spells now. Okay, just one spell, but it's their first. Baby steps.

31st minute: Boyens plants his elbow into Parker's back. Should have been a yellow. Sahx still up 2-0 in the third. Pienaar is off as he tapes his shin.

32nd minute: Kick save and a beauty! Parker turns around Vicelich at the top of the box and fires one low and to the right but Moss makes a great save. Gaxa was open but Parker took it himself. Should have laid it off would have been 2-0. But again, great save from the Kiwi keeper.

33rd minute: Mulligan tries his best Rory Delap. Gets the ball into the box and it's headed back by a Kiwi. The ball falls perfectly for Brown but he shanks it off the side of this foot. The first good chance for New Zealand and the pull a Norwood.

36th minute: South Africa has fallen back and are inviting the Kiwis upfield. This is proving to be a bad idea as the Kiwis are getting crosses into the box. And they are tall.

37th minute: Corner New Zealand. It's cleared long... And on a nice through ball Boyens makes a good play to clear. So he's not completely inept. Really that has to totally help his confidence.

38th minute: A long free kick from close to midfield. It gets sent it well but Booth cleans up and heads it back out.

40th minute: Game has slowed considerably. South Africa no longer pressing and trying to absorb everything in midfield. Corner for South Africa goes long. Neither Mokoena nor Booth could get it. Open play gives a free kick to SA from about 20 yards out... Ball is played in then headed long by Mokoena.

42nd minute: Slow play for South Africa. Swining it back and forth as they patiently look for something upfield. Whatevs. They're probably cool with a 1-0 halftime lead.

44th minute: Kiwis have gotten back into the game and have had the better of play since the goal. Still they can't keep enough of the ball to put South Africa on their heels.

45th minute: Cross in from Mulligan. And I bet he wishes he had that cross over... See, golf joke. It writes itself. Masilela goes down looking for a card from... Mulligan. Probably could have been a card.

+1 minute: Stretcher on for Masilela. Just a minute of stoppage... and there's the whistle. 1-0 at half. South Africa was dominant early but laid back after the goal. Kiwis have been clearly outplayed but are getting crosses into the box in the attacking third. They are really, really tall and just need one clean header.

Yeah, that's my lame attempt at teasing the second half for potential drama. I started. I'll finish. I'm going into the cone of silence for halftime though.

And we're back

Kick. Second half underway.

47th minute: Foul on Christie. Gaxa wide slips it back to the top of the back. They swing it around before Modise shoots and it goes over the crossbar.

48th minute: As bad as this Kiwi team is, they could be competitive with Bahrain or the Saudis. I mean they are a flukey goal and some good defending short of the World Cup.

49th minute: Fanteni from distance. He's got space but the shot is high and wide and never a threat to Moss. Second half starting like the first. Gaxa on a really good cross, but he can't control it off his chest and it bounces high giving Moss time to collect in traffic.

52st minute: Two whistle-able offenses by South Africa go unblown. Some long ball from both sides. Pienaar to Parker... GOAL! 2-0. It was actually Masilela with the feed from the left side. Parker came in front of his man and made a nice adjustment on the ball to slide it past the keeper.

54th minute: Card for Christie. Yellow for hacking at Parker. Actually it was an elbow. He tried to sneak one high. Life has been sucked straight out of the Kiwis.

Cubs Sahx is still 2-0 to the Sahx in the sixth. Cubs had 1st and 3rd with no outs during half but obviously failed to push anyone across.

56th minute: GD probably starts to matter here. If you're pro Iraq you want the South Africans held or the Kiwis to net at least one.

57th minute: Anyone know what 'Bafana' even means? Pienaar wins a free kick.

58th minute: And they get a corner off the free kick. It swings in and is cleared out.

60th minute: Nice little stat the flashed... New Zealand is 0-7-0 (American notation) all time in the Confederations Cup and have been outscored 24-2. Ouch. Parker waiting to poach a third off a run by Gaxa but New Zealand clear it. My bad... Gaxa just wiffed and topped the ball.

62nd minute: Mashego on. Think it was Fanteni off. Parker with a good header on target. Mulligan was beat but Moss made a nice save.

64th minute: Free kick from about 35 comes into the box. Boyens gets a head on it but Booth contests and it goes over the bar. On the resulting GK South Africa hoof it upfield fast. Masilela gets a shot off but it goes into the side netting. Kiwis should probably make a change and get a couple of guys who haven't had the lifeforce sucked out of them come in.

66th minute: Just as I say it... James on Bertos off for the Kiwis.

67th minute: Mashego gets Arssnal-itis and tries to make one too many passes instead of just pulling the fucking trigger when he was wide fucking open.

68th minute: And now Mashego is offside. But his work rate is nice. And he is suddenly everywhere.

69th minute: South Africa on the break, but a bad pass to Pienaar breaks it up. Think Rae just said that the Suadis drew so they go into the play-off with Bahrain.

70th minute: New Zealand is one of the least inventive sides ever. Mashego offside. By a good solid yard. He netted the ball but flag was up. Still Mashego is going to annoy the fuck out of Spain in a couple of days.

72nd minute: Boyens slides through Pienaar and gets a yellow for his effort. Totally deserved. In fact if Clark's was a red, that was a red (on first sight... haven't seen a replay).

74th minute: 17-year-old Chris Wood is coming on for Chris Killen. Wood plays for WBA in the Colaship. Kiwis must have made a sub at half because they just said they are out of subs. Smeltz with a feeble shot right to the keeper. Booth is cleaning up at the back.

77th minute: Stupid shot from distance by Smeltz when he had two players in support racing up the right side. And South Africa's counter is stopped by their own offsidedness.

79th minute: This is getting tough to watch. Kiwis are helpless. At least the worst is over for them in that they've already played Spain. I'm starting to think that Mashego is Afrikkaner for Inzaghi as that's about the 9th time he's been offside. And he didn't even play the first 60 minutes. I'm pretty sure I misspelled Inzaghi.

80th minute: Yellow for Pienaar. Parker off for Tshabalala Ding Dong.

82nd minute: Kiwis push forward. Or rather 2 Kiwis push forward because they hold it up and nobody comes in support. Even a good wide ball is wasted as Lochhead stops running.

83rd minute: Another good save from Moss to deny Mashego. Then on the rebound thre's a great touch to tart a give-and-go as Tshabalala drives toward the end line and feeds it back to a wide open Mashego but he's off balanace and he can't get a foot to it. Would have been an easy goal. Kiwis lucky.

85th minute: Smeltz with a Yellow for the All White. Clipped Pienaar's heels.

86th minute: A merciful God would end this early. It's getting a little chippy.

88th minute: Kiwis are gassed. Mashego with a great piece of individual effort to turn in the box and keep the ball. He floats it to himself then skies the shot. Holy shit... Mashego was finally onside and was in alone on the keeper but Moss made a great save. Both players turned to look for the flag thinking it was off. Nope. Just a good save.

Three minutes of stoppage time. Gaxa and Mashego are abusing the NZ defenders some more. The only thing they can't do is score.

Run you stupid fucking clock, run.

+3 minute: Vicelich gets a yellow for taking down Pienaar. Free kick for South Africa. from 25. It goes wide and the bench looks like they know they could have used another for GD.

Whistle. Final 2-0 South Africa.

And I'm spent. Thanks for playing.

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