Posted at 02:20 PM ET, 09/ 8/2007

Not Watching the Eagles

OK, maybe that was an overly antagonistic headline. Sorry, Dan.

Jon DeNunzio here, just creating a thread for those who want to comment on the Euro 2008 qualifiers today. Already a good day for England and Scotland, to name two. Bad day for the Ukraine.

The match of the day, one would think, will be the Italy-France tilt at San Siro -- kickoff in less than an hour. I have no Gol TV access this afternoon, so I'll be relying on match tracker and any informed comments to follow that one.

Click here for the silly Euro headline of the day. Reminds me of this song.

Finally, anyone out there going to Euro 2008? Or have you bee nto a previous Euro tourney? I'd like to do that someday ...

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Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 09/ 6/2006

My New Favorite Person

I got this email the other day. Man, this dude is easy to please. I think this guy had been busting my chops lately via email, then,. I go and drop a "penultimate" bomb in a Mark Brunell story the other day, and he's my biggest fan. If only I'd known sooner.

Okay, so here's the email, verbatim:

Mr. La Canfora,

Perhaps about 2 weeks ago I wrote you about your mis-conjugation of the present perfect tense, thinking that maybe today's writers were more worried about the razzle dazzle storyline than the simplistic beauty of basic sentence structures. However, despite reading your work every day in the post, it was Sunday's "2 Minute Warning" article in which my opinion of you changed forever. In the 7th to last paragraph, when describing Mark Brunell's injury in the Giants game, you throw out what could be the greatest word of all time. PENULTIMATE! Wow. The excaliber of the English language. The John Lennon of words. Vocabulary's George Clinton. You get the point. Sir, I had no right to criticize your butchering of the English language. If you can work penultimate into any article, you have mastered English. You can write the same way Stuart Scott talks for all I care, you are the master! You could even fit in with your British contemporaries over there covering the EPL. Sir, you bow down to no one. But if it is possible, could you work penultimate (sounds so romantic) into another story this week? It may sound crazy, but that word could define who you are as a writer. Thank you, and keep writing with your fancy toungue!

A Sir Jason La Canfora fan,
Mike from Herndon, VA

What do you think he'd do if I worked "fortnight" into a story? How many Olde English words can one man stuff into the average football story? (How many cans of Olde English can a man drink and still write a coherent story on any topic? But I digress).

So at this point, I'm taking requests. Throw out an obscure word, and then a matching story idea, and I'll try to accommodate (let's keep it semi-clean and at least somewhat feasible). It's like playing reverse mad libs! Then, when I actually pull it off (assuming my editor Cindy doesn't work secretly behind my back to kill all such references before they get into print), the first person to point it out gets a prize. So bring on the suggestions.

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Posted at 01:16 PM ET, 09/ 6/2006

Quote of the Season - so far


My favorite quote of the season thus far came from rookie Rocky McIntosh Tuesday. He was asked that most innocuous of TV-ready questions, about his confidence level entering the season. He responded thusly, and with glee: "I'm way far from being a sissy." Okay, so it's something of a nonsequitor, and, trust me, no one was questioning the kid's manhood in any way. But that's football, eh? Got to love that response. That's a linebacker, boys and girls.

Rocky has a good sense of humor and plays like a jackhammer. I'm still thinking we'll see him starting around Week 4.

Mere hours later, Coach Gibbs regaled us with some chuckles about Fred Smoot's days here ("I love Smooter," he said at one point of the Vikings cornerback), then, while I asked him some questions about Buck Ortega (as per the inquiry by the loyal readers of this blog), he pulled off the rarest of answers. In mid response, while looking over my shoulder, Joe said: "And speaking of Buck, there's a couple of bucks over there." And what do you know - there were two deer way off in the distance by the far practice field, doing whatever it is that deer do. Pretty cute.

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Posted at 02:56 PM ET, 07/12/2006

Zidane News Conference

Here's what Zizou said. Still no idea what Materazzi said. Also interesting:

The France captain said he felt no regret for his act, "because that would mean (Materazzi) was right to say all that."

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Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 07/12/2006

Repercussions

Well, I can't let it drop just yet. Interesting news in the last 24 hours, and more to come shortly:

- Klinsi steps down. Key graf:

Klinsmann, whose contract expired on Sunday, has dismissed reports he received a lucrative offer to coach the United States and has said he has no interest in coaching another national team.

- Lippi steps down. Key graf:

He was recently linked with a move to Manchester United as a potential successor to Sir Alex Ferguson. But the Italian was quick to reject the speculation - citing his lack of English as his reason for not moving to the Premiership - and United also denied the rumours.

- New FIFA rankings out (I know, I banned them from the blog. But they use a new formula now). What you need to know:

1. Brazil
2. Italy
3. Argentina
4. France
..
9. Germany
..
16. U.S.

- Zidane is about to hold a news conference. More on that later.

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Posted at 05:12 PM ET, 07/10/2006

Can't Resist

Ok, one more post. Enjoy this game.

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Posted at 07:25 AM ET, 07/10/2006

The Song Is Over ...

... it's all behind me.

We started this blog on April 5, more than three months ago, and it'll be shutting down very soon. What else is there to say?

Well, first, thank you. Thanks to:
- The readers and the commenters. It was especially gratifying to see some people turn into regular commenters -- WOW, delantero, futebol fan, deanna come to mind, but I'm sure I'm forgetting others. Like K Moon -- what ever happened to him?

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Posted at 04:49 PM ET, 07/ 9/2006

CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: Italy 1, France 1 (Italy wins on PKs, 5-3)

Well, we have a dramatic -- if not completely satisfying -- end to an entertaining 32 days of soccer.

In extra time, France continued to play a better brand of football than Italy ... but then Zidane went out on that red card (holy cow). You have to think that, plus Henry getting subbed off, gave Italy a little better chance in PKs.

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Posted at 03:53 PM ET, 07/ 9/2006

Extra Time

Still 1-1. But France has definitely played better over large portions of the second half. Seems likely the winning goal will come from France's left side, which seems to get a guy free on attack after attack ...

Italy, unless something changes, will have to hope for a counter-attack opportunity.

How hurt is Zidane? They had a shot of him grimacing ... impressive that he's still out there.

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Posted at 02:52 PM ET, 07/ 9/2006

Halftime at the Final

It's halftime, and France and Italy are tied at 1.

First goal came quickly (8th minute?) on a Zidane PK. Materazzi was called for fouling Malouda, and the call looks bad on replay. But in this observer's opinion, in real time, it was not a surprising call. Ref was behind the play and to the players' right (where he should be), and from that angle I think it probably looked worse than it did from various replay angles.

Italy equalized about 10 minutes later on a Materazzi header off a corner. Italy had two more good headers off corners -- France has to work that out.

Advantage in the play so far? Probably Italy, but just by a little. France has looked dangerous at times, esp. when they get the ball to Henry in the box.

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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 07/ 9/2006

Last Goodbye From Berlin

From: Jason

I've tried to savor the final days of the World Cup with my friends in Berlin, all the while incredibly eager to return to my family back home. I knew Sunday would be a long, long day at the stadium here, so we saved our last all-nighter for Friday, making our way from West Berlin to Mitte and then on deeper to the East. Mortiz and his friend, Elisa, showed my buddy Don and I a great time, bouncing from café's to bars to finally a few early-to-mid morning drinks back at a friend's house. By the end of the night we felt like locals.

We hit a spot in Mitte that featured German rock and dance tracks. It was in an old building and was so crammed with people and humidity that our glasses instantly fogged up upon arrival (no A/C). But it was great. It was a welcoming vibe, our friends we're translating the songs and teaching us the words and everyone was jumping up and down as one. We hit a few outdoor cafes before, and a really cool spot after that - I wish I could remember the name - then Elisa made us some crazy Donner quesadillas, gave us some sangria from a box (at that point it tasted pretty good) and sometime around 7 or 8 I think some of us fell asleep. We met so many cool people and they could not have been more receptive to the arrival of two American strangers on their night out.

That night pretty much summed up the warm feelings from my five weeks in Germany. As corny as it sounds, it really was "A time to make friends," and without all of the cool people I met from Scotland and Australia and England and Ecuador and Holland and Canada and Mexico and Coast Rica and everywhere else, this would not have been nearly the same experience. The Germans, and Mortiz's family in particular, were world class, and there were too many random acts of kindness from the scores of volunteers in this country - and mere strangers on the street - to note. Thanks to all of them, and to all of you who have checked in on this blog and even taken the time to write yourselves. It was a blast writing the daily entries, and I'll miss it.

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