Czech Republic Press Conference - Quarter Final: UEFA EURO 2012

ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

I was in the stadium the day Tomas Rosicky (pictured) scored two goals in the Czech Republic’s huge 3-0 win over the United States to open both teams’ account at World Cup 2006. A little later that summer, I was sure the man was going to set England on fire, having signed on with Arsene Wenger and esteemed Arsenal. And that first year: not too bad at all, with six goals in 37 appearances. After that, however, Rosicky pretty much went averaged on us, underwhelming us to death over a series of so-so seasons.

But never mind all negativity. Let’s be good fellows about it and raise a glass to the man, who turns 31 today.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

Americans in Europa League? Yeah, we’ve got a few. Start with Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey, who will be available to feature for Spurs in a match against Greece’s Panathinaikos.

Veteran U.S. right back Steve Cherundolo and his German club Hannover takes on Spain’s Levante.

Rising American forward Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna take on Metalist from Ukraine.

Others in action include Alejandro Bedoya (Sweden’s Helsingborgs IF), midfielder Mikkel Diskerud (Nowway’s Rosenborg) and goalkeeper David Yelldell (Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen).

The complete Europa League schedule is here:

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day):Chris Armas

*Ahead on the blog today: The curiously elusive Panic Quotient makes a return; look for it in the afternoon. We’ll dig into Europa League and keep a watch out for MLS news. Plus, look out later in the afternoon for Noah Davis’ “Overlooked and Underloved” feature, which is anything but. Overlooked and underloved, that is.

Twitter daps:

source:

What you should watch on TV today:

A great Europa league doubleheader is listed for Fox Soccer Channel: Up first is Panathinaikos against Tottenham from Greece, kicking off at 2:50 p.m. ET.

That’s followed by Liverpool-Udinese from fabled Anfield, kicking off at 3 p.m. ET.

If the MLS playoffs started today (following 28 rounds):

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston at D.C. United

(Second round)

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
  • Chicago vs. New York Red Bulls

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Vancouver Whitecaps at Seattle

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Real Salt Lake vs. L.A. Galaxy

PST background noise while blogging today: Catching up on DVRed Daily Shows; you just know that former forward from William & Mary will have a little something to say about the debates and such going on.  (You do know Stewart played soccer in college, right?)

*Always subject to change; you know how it is…

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.