• Gracias Espana! A Win for The Beautiful Game
    Spain the winner, Spain better in every department, Spain -- at last -- capturing a major tournament. They tell me the Spanish have been waiting 44 years for this victory -- but it might just as well be three of four times as long. Who remembers 1964, anyway?
  • Germany Marches Methodically On
    I don't think I'm revealing any deep secrets when I announce that the Germans have an image problem. A problem with wide ramifications -- but I'm talking strictly soccer here. Only Germans root for Germany. Only Germans want Germany to win.
  • Advice from The Crumpet: You Never Can Tell
    Euro 2008 cannot seem to quite make up its mind -- whether it's going to upset all the logical assumptions, or whether it's going to conform. The first three quarterfinals gave us the wrong winners -- all three group leaders were beaten by the second-place finishers. How likely is that? But in the fourth game, some sort of order was restored when group D winner Spain saw off Italy. But that wasn't right either, because Spain never beats Italy in a game that matters, hasn't done so for 88 years.
  • Russia Redux, Brazil Betrayed
    Within a few hours yesterday we got a look at Russia playing Sweden in Euro 2008, and then Brazil taking on Argentina in a World Cup qualifier. Two so-so European teams, then the South Americans, who happen to be the FIFA-ranked No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the world.
  • Attacking Style Pays Off
    Euro 2008 is turning out to be quite a tournament. UEFA president Michel Platini has piled on the superlatives, calling it a competition of "exceptional quality, sizzling ... with dazzling individual performances."
  • Euro 2008: Host Failure No Big Deal
    Yesterday the Swiss joined Belgium in a select category of soccer failures: host nations of a major tournament that failed to get past the first round. Belgium screwed up in the 2000 Euro tournament, and it is possible that the "failed host" category will expand to three today - with the co-host of Euro 2008, Austria, sharing the unenviable honor if it fails to beat Poland.
  • Ruud's goal: A rotten decision
    I'd better begin this one with a disclaimer: I think the Italians played poorly against the Netherlands on Monday, and were soundly beaten by a better team. But ... Ruud van Nistelrooy's obviously offside goal for the Netherlands should not have been allowed.
  • Remembering Jim McKay (1921-2008)
    Back in 1979, ABC decided that pro soccer had arrived -- arrived enough for them to air a regular NASL Game of the Week. What gave ABC's decision major impact was that the play-by-play announcer would be Jim McKay, the most respected sports announcer of his day.
  • Euro 2008: The New Ball and The Old Bull
    Here we go again: Euro 2008, another big tournament, so we're getting, right on cue, the two stories that now inevitably precede such events. Count on it.
  • Wanted: A Brain for Midfield
    Spain 1 USA 0. A better showing by the USA, better than against England? Oh yes, a hell of a lot better, particularly in the first half. But still a worryingly patchy, scrappy, style-less affair.
  • MLS Suffers when National Duty Calls
    For the second time in two tries, David Beckham has failed to materialize at Toronto's BMO Field. The first no-show, last August, was down to his not being fit. This past weekend, he was on international duty. As an irate fan e-mailed me: "England didn't make Euro 08, so what effing international duty?" Good question.