Birthdays of Note: Given the health scare Antonio Cassano survived at the end of 2011, today’s birthday has to have special meaning. The Milan attacker, coming off a strong European Championships, turns 30 on Thursday. Yeah, only 30. Seems like he’s been around a lot longer. At Euro 2012, Cassano started all six matches for Italy, registering the 10th goal of his international career as the Azzurri defeated Ireland 2-0 in group stage.
Big Important Story of the Day: As was noted in the comments to yesterday’s re-set, the John Terry trial persists in London. Is the story big? I guess. It probably should be bigger. Seems most people just can’t get into it, which is understandable. This incident has already been played out in the court of public opinion. Who wants to jump back in? Not me. Nonetheless, the proceedings persist, one day after teammate Ashley Cole took the stand, recounted events, and said he didn’t think the case should be in court.
Real Big Important Story of the Day: We haven’t touched on it here, because how many times can you retell the same story? But FIFA reporting that former president Joao Havelange “received millions in bribes” is big, it is important, but it’s also accepted knowledge, at this point. Reading that will incense those who think the world should rise up against FIFA and get an organization in place that will be free of such corruptions. There certainly were sentiments leaning in that direction on Twitter.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Rick Davis
Twitter daps: Reactions from the victors after yesterday’s U.S. Open Cup semifinals:
PST background noise while blogging today: I’m playing this game with Spotify called “how many songs `til Tom Waits.” Did you know Spotify can get you from Natalie Merchant to Tom in six songs? I would have bet the under on that one.
We’ll leave you with this: Italy expert James Horncastle tweeted this in the wee U.S. hours on Thursday:
Who you do it? Would ya’?
Transfer rumor roundup: Schurrle to Newcastle, Spurs
Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.
Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.
But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.
Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.
And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.
He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.
Voted “the best right back” in Europe between 1962-64, the former England and Blackpool captain also had a successful management and broadcasting career.
Armfield was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup squads, though a toe injury kept him from his place in the starting lineup when England won the tournament.
He spent his entire playing career with Blackpool before managing Bolton Wanderers to promotion and Leeds United to the European Cup Final, righting the ship after Brian Clough’s infamous spell in charge of the club.
There’s a statue outside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, and the club legend has a stand named after him inside the venue.
While Zach’s night was certainly a memorable one for many reasons, it was Julie that arguably had the better performance — which included a goal in the 19th minute off of a close-range volley.
The USWNT had trailed through 14 minutes, but a combination of goals from Alex Morgan and Ertz in a span of two minutes quickly erased the deficit.
For Morgan, it was her 80th goal for the Stars and Stripes.
Meanwhile, a second-half brace from teenage sensation Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn’s finish with nine minutes to play proved to be the icing on the cake for Jill Ellis’ side, who kicked off 2018 with a bang.