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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Sport: NFL, the Ashes, Futbol

National Football League action is heating up this weekend. With the reduced college schedule, the NFL is able to spread over more days of the weekend, with the current weekend starting on Thursday and lasting until Monday.  Yesterday the Detroit Lions kept their  playoff hopes alive by beating the hapless Chicago Bears 20-10 in a rare Saturday game.  Young quarterback Mitch Trubisky tried to pull out a win, but the team fell short.  24 teams will play in Sunday's 12  big games. 


The Los Angeles Rams, who travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, have a great possibility of pulling off an upset. Seattle is favored by 1.5 (up from an open of one), but the Rams have been playing well, and could present a challenge.  The San Francisco 49ers are slight favorites over the Tennessee Titans, but they look likely to win.  The 49ers are 3-10, but have been surging late in the season, having won three of their last four, that is, after the arrival of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.  He seems to have inspired the young 49ers.  The Titans, meanwhile, are 8-5 and in the hunt in the AFC South, so they won't roll over easily.  They suffered a tough loss to underdog Arizona last week and have been highly inconsistent on offense.  This season they have also struggled away from home.  Should be an interesting game.  The Steelers and Patriots -- both legitimate Super Bowl contenders, are in the hunt to shore up their strengths, and so their play should be good this weekend.   


In international Cricket, each day makes it seem less likely that England will "bring home the ashes," after this year's tour of Australia and New Zealand.  Today is the fourth day of the third test, and the English appear to be demoralized, living the Ashes experience themselves, one might say.   Australia, beginning the day on Saturday 203-3, scored 346-1 as the failings in the English bowling attack were brutally exposed again by captain Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh.  England now face two days to try and save the match and at least keep the series alive to Melbourne and the fourth Test.  Australia could very well go up 3-0 by the end of this match, preserving the ashes and relegating the tour to just another national visit.  Steve Smith struck his highest Test score on Saturday with an unbeaten 229, and his unbroken partnership of 301 for the fifth wicket with Marsh (181 not out) has turned the game from one where England were still in a good position to one where their best case scenario now is a draw.   Australia is enjoying their best all-round bowling attack for a decade in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon to call from.



Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is currently on their tour of India, and will meet the home team today in their third ODI (One Day International) at Visakhapatnam.  After today's action, the tour will conclude with three successive T20 matches, on December 20 and December 22, culminating with the final action of the Tour, on Christmas Eve at Mumbai. 




European Soccer appears to present a ho hum Sunday, with a few exceptions.  Spanish La Liga play presents four games.  League leader Barcelona could really surge in the standings, as challenge Real Madrid, fresh from yesterday's victory in the Club World Cup, has no games in Spain this weekend, and so cannot garner any points.  German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1 both have a few games, but nothing overwhelmingly interesting, at least to this space.  On the surface, the Italian Serie A has many games on Sunday, 7 in total, but seemingly nothing of great interest.  



The most interesting soccer games Sunday in Europe would appear to be in the English Premier League, in which West Bromwich Albion will take on Manchester United, and AFC Bournemouth will contend with Liverpool.  Man U and Liverpool are both near the top of the standings, and West Brom and Bournemouth near the bottom, but these two teams often pull out unexpected wins.  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Dress White

Florin Dobrin
 Philip Fusco
Brian Lewis
Einar Ingebrigtsen
Jacob Nassif
Jamie Alderton
Jared Cunha
Jason Douglas
Jason James Lowe
Jay Gemma
Jay Parks
Jon Sotirios

Where are you from?


It is interesting to post the top 10 countries as a snapshot on where you are coming from.  

The list of the top users right now was interesting, including Kazakhstan and Hong Kong for the first time I remember.  

United States
China
Brazil
Kazakhstan
France
Canada
Germany
Spain
Italy
Hong Kong


The visitors for the entire day are also interesting, more what we are used to, but different from the current users:

United States
France
Canada
China
Brazil
Germany
India
Indonesia
Spain
Japan


The last week, the top ten visitors list, by country, settles into a more usual list:  

United States
France
Brazil
China
India
Germany
United Kingdom
Canada
Spain
Australia




Regarding the visitors for the month, the list changes a bit:  

United States
France
Brazil
Germany
India
United Kingdom
Spain
Canada
Italy
Australia

Russia has been missing from any of the current top 10 lists, that filter must be back in place ;)  

We thank all of our users for your interest and for making use of the blog!  


Sports Saturday: Gremio, Donnarumma, and the Bowls


Every year, or almost very year, the Club World Cup is the tournament of the best of the best in the soccer world, the champions of each province of the world playing the champions of the other.  Although some clubs have won multiple times in the history of the championship, no team has won back to back.  Real Madrid, with two previous titles under the belts, will attempt to be the first back to back champs in series history. 

Today they will battle against Brazil's Gremio in the FIFA Club World Cup final.  A victory on Saturday would give them their fifth trophy of the year, they lost out only on the Copa del Rey.  In 2017, the Vikings have captured also the Primera Liga, the UEFA Champions League, the Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.  Coach Zidane and captain Sergio Ramos have vowed not to look beyond their Brazilian opponents.

Zinedine Zidane says Real Madrid will give their “maximum” in their bid to make history in Saturday’s FIFA Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi.  The defending champions take on Brazil’s Gremio in the showpiece at Zayed Sports City seeking to become the first team to lift the trophy in successive years. While this championship is well respected in South America and in many places in the world, Europeans tend to look beyond it to their normal season, and to the Champions League competitions. 


Zidane acknowledges that Gremio represent formidable opponents. The Porto Alegre side were the last side to book their place in the Club World Cup having late last month sealed a first Copa Libertadores crown in 22 years.  Gremio defeated Mexico’s Pachuca in Tuesday’s semi-final to secure the meeting with Madrid, while Zidane’s men struggled the following day to overcome UAE champions Al Jazira. They required an 81-minute goal from substitute Gareth Bale to seal the victory.  The come from behind win was considered a miracle by the Spanish press, and Gareth Bale was referred to as "El Salvador," the Savior.  Archrivals Barcelona are the only team which has won three Club World Cup titles, so with a victory Saturday, Real Madrid would join them on this lofty perch, vindicating themselves despite their flagging in the Spanish standings. 

Meanwhile, Gremio manager Renato Portaluppi has warned Madrid they will face a “super-motivated” opponent when the two face off in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

May the best team win. 


The US sports world is concentrated, today, on the beginning of the Bowl Season in College Football.  Today there are five bowls.  R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be contested at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, at noon, local time.  The Troy Trojans (10–2) will battle the North Texas Mean Green (9–4), the Sun Belt Conference vs. Conference USA.  The AutoNation Cure Bowl will be played at the Camping World Stadium, Orlando Florida, pitting the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6–6) against the Georgia State Panthers (6–5), another matchup of the above conferences.  The Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, pits the #25 Boise State Broncos (10–3) against the Oregon Ducks (7–5), the Mountain West Conference vs. the PAC 12.  Truly, if there were ever a dog of  a day in the Bowl Season, today is it, but the Boise State vs. Oregon game, matching the Mountain West Conference and the PAC 12,  is the saving grace.  There are two games rounding  out the day, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, at Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, matching the Marshall Thundering Herd (7–5), and the Colorado State Rams (7–5), and the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, at the Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama where the Arkansas State Red Wolves (7–4) and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will play. 



An astounding controversy has erupted in Milano, Italy, where the blood feud is apparently not dead.  Last year he was the phenom, and toast of the town...  Now, AC Milan fans are venting their anger at Gianluigi Donnarumma as Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain prepare to offer goalkeeper escape.  Based on his popularity, and renown as the great white hope of Italian sport, the Italian goalkeeper signed a new contract, but is  reportedly keen to get this new contract annulled, which would allow him free agency at the end of the year.  This has enraged Milan fans, who have banded together to display massive anti Donnarumma banners at their home games. 

The banners attack both Gianluigi Donnarumma's, who has previously been featured in this space, and his  future at AC Milan.  Fans have also demanded that the "other Donnarumma," Gianluigi's  "parasite" brother leave the club.  The largest banner, unfurled at the San Siro  stadium in AC Milano's Copa Italia victory over Verona, was aimed at Donnarumma and read: "Psychological violence by giving you €6million-a-season & signing your parasite brother? It's time to leave ... our patience with you is over!"


His contract, a four-year, €6 million-a-year deal, allows Donnarumma to "annul" the deal.  Donnarumma is reportedly claiming that he signed his new contract under pressure from the Milan board, with Raiola even suggesting his client had received death threats before committing his future to the club.  That is certainly a lot to handle for a teenager.  Donnarumma burst onto the scene in 2015 as a 16-year-old and has since established himself as Milan's, and maybe Italy's undisputed No 1. Watch this space for further updates.  

Friday, December 15, 2017