Sunday, December 20, 2009

Invictus and more...

Colin, Cammy, Lyndi, and I saw Invictus on Friday. Great movie about the 1995 World Cup of Rugby in South Africa where Mandela rallied the country around their squad on their way to a championship. The most exciting part about watching the movie was seeing Ellis Park Stadium featured several times, and learning some of the history behind it before we will be there watching the USA take on Slovenia. ESPN gave a great run down about all of the stadiums in South Africa featured for the World Cup. Here's the one on Ellis Park:

Ellis Park

For more information on the other two venues the USA will be playing in, visit the two links below:

Lotus Versfeld Stadium

Royal Befaking Stadium

Finally, it looks like the USA has scheduled some more friendlies to warm up for the World Cup. First, Honduras in January and then Mexico in February. The tour will be capped off by the already scheduled game against the Netherlands in March. These games will hopefully give players like Jermaine Jones, Edgar Castillo, and some other fresh faces a god look before the cup run.

Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Draw and Flights

It's been a while since we've posted so time to catch everyone up to speed.

As far as flights, either we all have or we're all close to having booked. Cammy and I are flying out June 9th and arriving June 10th. I leave Phoenix and fly Delta to JFK and then to Accra, Ghana. From there, we hop on Air Namibia and go down to Johannesburg about 24 hours before the start of the tournament!. We leave on the day of the start of the knockout round flying Air France from Jo'Burg to Paris to Atlanta and back to Phoenix arriving back on June 27th, just in time for work on the 28th. Colin's staying the whole month and going to the final. Lucky turd. We're now working on renting 2 SUV's to accommodate the group. After that we should be set!

As for the draw...FREAKING AWESOME!!! Let's start with the US group on move on accordingly...

Group C: Wow O Wow O Wow. USA England on June 12th for my first ever World Cup Game! The first time the countries have met in a match of consequence since the infamous Miracle on Grass back in the 50s where the US upset England to advance to the Semi's and their best finish in their World Cup History. This is going to be huge, and I can't wait to hear the roar of the Three Lions crowd. As far as the rest of the group, the US got a very favorable draw with a couple of upstart teams in Algeria and Slovenia. Neither is going to be a cake walk but the draw could have been A LOT worse (see group G). The other great part of the draw for the US and for us: All of the matches are within a 2 hour drive of their base camp and ours. They are also playing in all the same venues they played in during the Confederations Cup. Even better, should the United States advance to the knockout stages, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and the Netherlands are all on the other side of the brackets. Overall, this is the best situation the US has been in the modern era.

Prediction: England and the US advance.

Group A: So another lucky draw for Mexico at first glance, but something tells me it won't be. Host countries have only failed to reach the knockout phase once and Mexico has the difficult task of playing host South Africa in the opening match in front of all those god awful horns. To make matters worst, they also have to take on upset-capable Uruguay and France. The poor Irish. They probably were seeking justice from the Soccer Gods with France getting the group of death but they received a draw far less difficult.

Prediction: France and South Africa advance.

Group B: This group is very interesting: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, and Greece. Any team in this group is capable of making it out. Argentina under Maradona has been nothing but inconsistent. Nigeria playing on their own continent has the athleticism to compete with anyone. South Korea, as always, will be extremely fit and well organized. And Greece, well that ugly style of soccer can frustrate anyone and the team knows how to win close games. Your guess is as good as mine.

Prediction: Greece and Argentina advance.

Group D: This group is my runner up for the group of death. Germany, Australia, Serbia, and Ghana. Everyone knows the Germans can play. The Australians cruised through qualifying and became the second country to qualify for the World Cup. Serbia dominated their group in qualifying. Ghana has produced some of the finest players out of Africa and always contends. The edge for the group has to go to the Germans, but after that, I think it'll come down to who gets out to a good start. This group will match up with USA's group in the knockout phase.

Prediction: Germany and Ghana advance.

Group E: Another tough group. Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, and Cameroon. The Netherlands are the 3rd best team in the world and should advance out, but not without a fight. In fact, they may not even take first place in the group. Denmark and Japan are both going to be challenging draws. However, I think Cameroon is going to take this group. They're very talented and should be pumped about the first African World Cup.

Prediction: Cameroon and the Netherlands advance.

Group F: Cakewalk. Talk about a gift for the defending champs. Italy should advance out 3-0 with the only challenge coming from Paraguay, who were very impressive in qualifying. New Zealand is just happy to be there, and unfortunately for the Kiwis, they'll be lucky to score a goal. Slovakia shouldn't be to tough to dispatch, but may contend with Paraguay for the second spot. Fortunately, things shouldn't be so easy for Italy when they'll have to meet either Group E team in the knockout phase.

Prediction: Italy and Paraguay advance.

Group G: Welcome to the "Group of Death." Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, and Portugal. Unless Kim Jong-il with his amazing sports accomplishments joins the team, the North Koreans are going no where. Brazil comes in as tournament favorites but now things aren't as certain for them to go deep in the tournament. Ivory Coast is widely recognized as the first African team to really have a shot at winning the whole thing. Portugal is ranked in the top 10 in the world, even though they struggled through qualifying. However, they still have Cristiano Ronaldo who can take over a game on his own. At the end of the day, Portugal's lack of depth up top does them in. The craziest part about this draw: Brazil could meet Spain in the Round of 16.

Prediction: Brazil and Ivory Coast advance.

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile. Another group that looks easy for Spain at first glance, but I think this is a pretty tough group. The Swiss aren't going to just lie down. Honduras is very similar to the USA in style of play and could really frustrate the Spaniards. Chile is playing great soccer right now. Yes, Spain should still advance out, but I wouldn't be surprised if they lost a game in group play.

Prediction: Spain and Chile advance.

That's it for now. We'll jump back on from time to time as we continue our planning or get some news from the US camp.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


please oh please oh please.


Slovenia pulls back a goal in the 88th minute! Huge development to keep the playoff leg more even. Anything can happen Wednesday. Russia leads 2-1.

The game of the day in Africa has kicked off. Egypt leads Algeria 1-0 after a goal in just the 2nd minute of the game for Zaki. Egypt is going to need by more than 1 though to advance to South Africa.

Motherland Update

Bilyaletdinov AGAIN. The Everton employee puts Russia up 2-0 and in full control of the 2 leg playoff if they can hold on to this score.


That's it for the USA. 1-0 loss on a questionable PK call. Scary moment at the end that Cherundolo goes off with a knee injury. We'll have to see how that plays out later in the day. Good showing from the US despite the loss. Robbie Rogers, Bradley, Feilhaber, and Guzan were some standouts for the US. In the end, the Slovakia back line was just too strong. Next up, Denmark.


The first game of the UEFA playoffs has begun and the Russians look to take a 1-0 lead into half time after a 40th minute goal by Bilyaletdinov (say that five times fast...or even once correctly).

Jeff Cunningham and Sacha Klejstan

Two more subs for the US: Jeff Cunningham and Sacha Klejstan come in for Altidore and Rogers in the 82nd minute. Klejstan makes an immediate impact with a shot on goal. The US is running out of time to tie this up.

Cameroon is now up 2-0 after a Samuel Eto'o goal. This all but clinches a spot in the WC for Cameroon.

Dax McCarty and Clarence Goodson

Still 1-0 in the 72nd minute. The US has dominated the game, but Slovakia's back line has done a great job of not letting anything happen in the box. Bradley's going to take a look at some of the new guys as Dax McCarty and Clarence Goodson come in for Bocanegra and Dempsey. Let's see what they can do.

Africa - Group A / USA

We're under way in Africa as Cameroon has taken the lead early over Morocco. The formula for Cameroon is simple: win and in. However, Gabon still has a shot if Cameroon ties or loses.

The 2nd Half is under way in Slovakia, and welcome back to the National Team Eddie Johnson. He comes in for Connor Casey. Let's see what he's got.

Half Time in Bratislava

Well, the USA has been the dominating side, with a solid showing by new starter Robbie Rogers. The only real chance Slovakia had was the PK. The US has had some solid chances, and they midfield and strikers are playing together nicely. A lot more possession from the US than we're used to seeing. It should be an interesting 2nd half. Hopefully, we will see some changes in the line up just so Bob Bradley can get a different look at some other players.

Slovakia takes the lead

Bornstein commits a foul in the box leading to a penalty in the box. Hamsik sends Brad Guzan the wrong way and Slovakia takes the lead.

Nigeria is in! USA about to kick off.

And that's it. Nigeria jumps Algeria in the standings and is headed back to the World Cup after a long absence. Algeria has to be kicking themselves after needing only a win over lowly Mozambique.

The USA is about to kick off in Bratislava. Looks like we have some fresh faces in the starting 11. Spector will be starting at center back with Bocanegra, and they will be joined by Johnny B and Cherundolo. Dempsey and Robbie Rogers starting on the outside mid with Bradley, and my personal favorite Benny Feilhaber in the middle. Altidore and Casey getting the start up top, but don't be surprised if Cunningham or the almost forgotten Eddie Johnson to get some time in this game.

Here we go...


Obafemi Martins does it again! His second goal in the 83rd minute gives the Nigerians the lead!

On top of that, Mozambique's Monteiro has given his team a surprising lead over Algeria. Now Nigeria has the upper hand in the group again.


Heartbreak for the Nigerians

Wanga ties it up for Kenya in the 79th minute. Now only 10 minutes stand between the Nigerians and another failed attempt at a World Cup bid.


NIGERIA SCORES AGAIN! After being down 1-0 to Kenya, Martins tied the game up in the 62nd minute and Yakubu took the lead shortly after in the 65th. If the results stand, Nigeria and Tunisia will tie at the top of the group, with Nigeria going through on goal differential.

WCQ - 2nd to Last Day

Alright folks, fasten your seat belts because here we go...

Before we get started, a quick shout out the USD Men's Soccer Team for winning the WCC. Hell of an accomplishment.

WELCOME TO THE PARTY NEW ZEALAND! Fallon notched a header off a corner right before half, and Paston saved a second half penalty to send his team through to the World Cup.

Qualifying is under way in Africa. Kenya is tied with Nigeria 1-1, and Mozambique is deadlocked with Tunisia 0-0. If the results stand as is, Tunisia punches their ticket to El Mundial and Nigeria is left to watch at home again. Can the Nigerians come up with a late winner to make it through? The first match in Group C is at half with Rwanda and Zambia tied at 0. However, this game doesn't matter. Everyone's looking to Egypt Algeria later today, as group favorite Egypt is sitting on the brink of elimination and will need at least a 2-0 victory to give themselves a shot at the group lead.

Finally, looking ahead to the US friendly against Slovakia, this is one of 3 international games left for the Yanks, and Bob Bradley's going to need to figure out what this team is going to look like in June now that Davies is out and Onyewu won't be back until right before the tournament. "Mandon" will also be out of today's match up as he led the Galaxy to the MLS Cup Final last night. Look for Dempsey to play a bigger role, and hopefully the surprising Cunningham will come back to make an impact up top.

Look for updates throughout the day.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Ok folks, after the final qualifiers on November 14th and 18th, we will know exactly who will be partaking in El Mundial in June. The only qualifiers left are the UEFA playoff legs, the final African qualifiers, and the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL Playoff legs. We'll be covering these regions closely. Here's my quick take on what is going to go down in UEFA:


Russia vs. Slovenia - Russia showed during qualifying that had they not been grouped with Germany, they would have been dominant. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, but these last two games should be a formality. Expect Russia to get through with relative ease.

Portugal vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina - Portugal barely pulled it together just to make it to the playoffs. It's hard imagine the World Cup without CR9, and I don't expect them to lose this match up. Bosnia-Herz is just overmatched. Don't expect Portugal to do too much damage in June though.

Greece vs. Ukraine - The match up that I'm most looking forward to given my Greek heritage. Also, because it should be very close. Greece is probably the most boring soccer team to watch, as they grind out low scoring games with unstylish play and scrappy defense. Ukraine stars one of the most feared strikers in the last decade in Andriy Shevchenko, and much like Russia, if not grouped with England, might have won most other groups outright. My heart says Greece, but my head is taking Ukraine.

Ireland vs. France - This is probably the most anticipated match up. France is a powerhouse that's a World Cup staple. Ireland is taking on an "us against the world" mentality after FIFA gave them the shaft and declared seeding a reality half way through. I'm going with the upset pick, and France is going to be watching this world cup from home this June.

Preparations Update:

We're about to book flights in less than a month here. Let me tell you know, my funding's going to take a serious hit. If anyone knows anyone with flight hook ups, please let us know.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Up to speed...

So with our first post, we'd just like to catch everyone up on our preparations thus far. There will be about 12 or 13 of us going depending on if someone buys our last set of tickets (Amy English, you're on the clock). As far as in country transportation, we have rented a manual Econoline van that fits 14. Given that only Cammy and Wes drive stick, Cammy will be tutoring Colin and I in the art of the stick shift as both of our fathers failed in teaching us the basics of manhood. As far as lodging, we've secured a house out in Kempton Park. Kempton is about 22 miles outside of Johannesburg. We decided to set up shop as close to Johannesburg as most of the stadiums are located around the greater Johannesburg area. We don't know where the USA will be playing until the draw on December 4th. The next most important task will be proper attire when we go over there. This is where I have succeeded and Colin has failed. I've joined the American Outlaws supporters group and with my $15 membership I've also secured my Outlaws t-shirt and bandana. The next step will be for both of us to pick out player jerseys once the new jerseys come out. I'm thinking either Altidore or Feilhaber. Any suggestions or lines of reasoning as to who I should choose would be appreciated.

Now that we've set the basic foundation as to what we've done already, we will be updating you on any other plans we make and our thoughts and insights into the team.

Have a good one.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome to our blog!

Hello all! Welcome to our blog, SoccerCityOrBust. From now through next summer we will be sharing stories about our preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. When the day finally arrives, we will be sharing photos and adventures from our time in Johannesburg and beyond.

Sign up for blogspot so you can follow us as we experience the first ever World Cup in Africa!!