Archive for October, 2007

Arsenal vs Manchester United

Posted on October 30, 2007. Filed under: EPL, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

So Arsenal and Manchester United are set to face off this weekend in a top of the table clash. Both teams are sitting on 26 points, although Arsenal is on top through goal difference and still has a game in hand. Many will say that this game could decide the eventual league champion but I feel it’s far too early for that. It does promise to be a hugely entertaining match though. With Fabregas in hot form, he may be able do dictate the match but Manchester United also have a few players in form as well with the likes of Nani, Tevez and as always, Christiano Ronaldo.

Gerard lavished praise on Fabregas after he equalised against Liverpool to grab a point and maintain Arsenal’s unbeaten run. His team mate Gallas also had kind words in saying that he can be the best with a little discipline to not push himself too much when tired. The draw didn’t do Arsenal justice as they outplayed Liverpool for most of the match, but that’s the way it turns out sometimes. Even Carragher confirmed this in stating that it would’ve been harsh is Arsenal did not come away from the match with something to show.

Although Man U have been slow to kick their season off, they have started to play some high quality football lately. Arsenal has had a great start but Christiano Ronaldo has come out to say that the race to the premiership title is a marathon, not a sprint suggesting that Arsenal may run out of steam before the end of it. He does raise a good point, Man U has a large squad with a bench that could make another top level team, while Arsenal is relying on it’s youngsters and doesn’t quite have the same depth in reserve. News that Paul Scholes is out for at least 3 months (he needs a knee operation to repair ligament damage sustained in training) means that the reserves will already get a chance.

Check out Arsenal’s draw with Liverpool below.

As well as Manchester United’s slaughtering of Middlesbrough.

Independent thoughts

The golf galaxy is the famous superstore of golf products among golf players of all over the world. The team of baseball consists of nine players, trying to get scores by hitting down the balls by bat. Golf is a popular game, considered particularly a game of aristocratic class. The golf shoes of different shoe brands are provided for the golf players to play golf with all comforts. The golf carts offer the variety of golf accessories for the golf players.

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Nike Mercurial Vapors

Posted on October 28, 2007. Filed under: Shoes, Technology | Tags: , , , , , |

Nike Mercurial Vapor III Following on from a couple of posts I made about the technology involved in soccer (first with soccer balls then monitoring/statistical equipment), I thought I’d look into the latest innovations in soccer boots/cleats. What better shoe to start with then the Nike Mercurial Vapors. Not that I’m a Nike man or anything but I’ve got the first version of this boot (released in 2002 just before the world cup) and the third version also. I feel that Nike has found the best synthetic material to date for the upper in the third edition of these boots.

They were quite revolutionary when they first came out as being the lightest boots ever made. They weighed in at a paltry 196 grams per boot. This weight has pretty much remained the same throughout the newer versions. Because of the low weight, they were ideal for fast players such as wingers and strikers but weren’t so suited to defensive work because the synthetic was so thin you feel everything, including each hard tackle!

However, because the synthetic was so thin, the touch, feel and control was almost like you weren’t wearing boots at all. It speaks a lot about the material in the upper and that the perfect balance was found in a material that’s elastic, comfortable, water-repellent and extremely hard-wearing. In fact the material in the III’s have lasted almost two years without sign of failing (which is impressive considering how often I play and the workout I tend to put my shoes through). Although I didn’t wear my original vapors as often, I still have them and only the glue on the underside is starting to give, not the synthetic upper. That’s 5 years I’ve had those shoes!!!

The original vapors were very narrow. This wasn’t a problem for me with my clown type feet but many with broader feet would struggle. I also found them very awkward to cross with at first but got used to them soon enough. The biggest problem with the originals was the heel. Right at the top of the heel, Nike may as well have used a cheese grater because the blisters you’d end up with were horrific! I needed to use band-aid’s and strapping tape religiously around the heel to play without getting injured just from running. Apart from that they were fine.

The vapor IIs I can’t say a lot about because I didn’t own a pair of these. They seemed close enough to the originals with many other colour choices and it seems they fixed up the heel problems quick smart! Apparently the synthetic was also thicker in the IIs to make them a more general boot that didn’t hurt so much to get stepped on!

As I said before, with the IIIs, they perfected the synthetic upper to create something similar to leather but thinner and bringing all the benefits of a synthetic microfibre. Apart from that, the boot was broader to accommodate larger feet and actually had the core built around carbon-fibre and glass-reinforced nylon (the carbon-fibre you can see on lifting up the sole and around the heel on the bottom, very cool). Also they did a lot of work on the heel counter to lock the foot and boot together and stabilise the ankle. This worked quite well but depending on your foot, did take time to get used to and in my case seemed to fatigue a few muscles I didn’t even know about. It only took a little while to get used to and was probably more a result of my dodgy ankles that have been rolled one time too many! It also protects the heel area very well (and the tender Achilles tendon) because it’s is very solid and hard.

Apparently the MV IVs are on the way soon. There were some leaked pics going around but I rarely trust them and they didn’t look that great either. Oh well, time will tell, hope they are another step up like the IIIs were.

Check out the other research Teijin and Nike teamed up to produce. Interesting stuff for those skeptical about benefits of the dri-fit, etc. type materials (myself included at one stage).

Other mercurial related posts…
Nike mercurial vapor IV review
Mercurial vapor 4s have arrived finally
Who is the fastest
Nike mercurial vapor IVs on the way
Ten years of mercurials
Nike mercurial SL (limited edition)

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Arsenal demolish Slavia Prague (UEFA CL)

Posted on October 25, 2007. Filed under: UEFA, Video | Tags: , , , |

Just a quick post with some of the best highlights you’ll see (if you’re into one-sided demolitions!) from the champions league this matchday. Arsenal ran rings around their competition to finish 7-0 with a brace each from Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott. The youngsters really proved what they can do.

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Inter vs Moscow (UEFA CL)

Posted on October 24, 2007. Filed under: Inter, UEFA, Video | Tags: , , , , , , |

Crespo opens Inter’s account

Inter had to fight back from being one goal behind to seal a win in Moscow, 2-1.

Inter had a difficult first half, struggling through injuries and suspensions, not to mention Viera breaking down again after just 17 minutes. The frailties were clearly evident and CSKA’s Jo did not hesitate to point this out be scoring the first goal. Things got a bit heated after that with Figo picking up a caution to commemorate his 100th UEFA CL appearance in the black and blue.

Crespo was able to equalise after the restart and Samuel completed the win with a somewhat lucky headed effort. From Figo’s cross he was able to put a deceptive amount of spin on the ball and as it bounced in front of the keeper, it turned a simple save into an embarrassing goal. Zanetti was happy with his fellow country men scoring although worried about Viera’s injury (It was later revealed that he could be out for another 2 months with a new calf problem). Inter are now sitting at the top of group G which makes a nice change from the usual struggle to get out of the group stages. Now they just have to continue to improve and play well to guarantee qualification into the knockout stages.

Inter now need to prepare for their Serie A match against Palermo on Sunday. A difficult game indeed! Enjoy the highlights below until then.

If you’re after extended highlights in good quality, see below.

[Video Length: 9m58s]

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Inter defeat Reggina 1-0

Posted on October 22, 2007. Filed under: Inter, serie a, Video |

Figo against Reggina

Inter continue their winning streak to maintain the lead in serie A by defeating Reggina at their rain-soaked pitch on Saturday. The only goal of the night was scored by Adriano to finally break his drought (the last time he scored was in April!). On 18 minutes, Adriano directed Figo’s inswinging free-kick with a slight touch to give Inter the win.

Mancini partnered the big man with Cruz in attack and the game also saw Viera return from injury (on international duty). Inter face Moscow on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League and so quite a few players were rested. Toldo was placed between the sticks and he did a fine job to prevent Reggina getting a stoppage time equaliser. Suazo and Ibrahimovic got a run towards the end of the game with the latter on the squad to face Moscow. Let’s hope Adriano can continue to improve as him at his best alongside Ibrahimovic make a scary partnership! Enjoy the goal and Ibra skills below…



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Brazil destroy Equador

Posted on October 19, 2007. Filed under: International, Video | Tags: , , , , , , |

Brazil crushed Equador 5-0 in last night’s world cup 2010 qualifier. The festivities began after a characteristic burst down the right flank by Maicon, which left the Equador defense stranded, followed by a cut-back on the line to allow Vagner Love the easiest of tap-ins. Next Kaka’ took an optimistic shot from some distance which allowed Ronaldinho to put an evil deflection on the ball’s path and completely wrong-foot the keeper who, try as he might, just could not reach the ball in time. Seems the Kaka’/Ronaldinho partnership is paying off finally.

The third goal was a perfect strike by Kaka’ on the edge of the area. The ball landed well for him and he curled it precisely into the top-right corner to leave the keeper without a chance again. Four-nil came when Robinho turned on the flare right on the corner-line. He beat his marker with some outrageous moves in the tightest of spaces and eventually Elano blasted home the goal. The final goal to end Equador’s misery was again Kaka’s doing but it was hardly the most spectacular of goals. A simple shot hit directly at the keeper proved too much to hold on to and he let in a howler (or “frango” as the Brazilian’s like to call it). Watch the highlights below.

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Moved again!

Posted on October 18, 2007. Filed under: General, Video |

Okay, so after going through all the hassle of moving from blogger to wordpress, I soon found that I was limited again by the hosted version (on the wordpress site itself). So I’ve bit the bullet and have an install of wordpress hosted externally and I’ve got my domain name in action. I think that should be it for the disruptions. I may have to focus a bit on getting everything how it was/I want it and adding the plugins that I was after. Ultimately it will be (I hope!) worthwhile. I’m just glad it’s done now!

Anyways, enjoy some highlights of Portugal’s Euro 2008 qualification campain so far. They had a less than convincing win against Kazakhstan but a win’s a win I guess!

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Kaka’, off to England and World Player of the Year?

Posted on October 12, 2007. Filed under: Players, Video | Tags: , , , , , |

I love it whenever a player speaks out hypothetically and the press goes wild. Kaka’ was interview earlier this week by Esquire magazine and was quoted as expressing interest in playing in England or Spain if he were to ever leave Milan… Well shock, horror! If you’re not playing in Italy, what are the other major leagues in Europe? That’s right, in England and Spain.

He merely stated that he’d want a move to a club with the history, ability and stature of Milan. He did elaborate somewhat and went on to say that he prefer’s Arsenal and Manchester United over Liverpool and Chelsea. He was actually quite diplomatic in his manner of basically saying that neither Liverpool or Chelsea are playing the sort of inspiring, attractive football he’d want to be involved in. Can’t blame him!

He was also recently named FIFPro World Player of the Year. Many saw him as not only the inspiration but the main driving force in taking Milan to their seventh European trophy earlier this year. He was the top scorer in the competition (don’t forget he’s a midfielder, not a striker!) and was voted as the best player by footballers from all around the globe (45,000 were eligible to vote!). In fact, Christiano Ronaldo has praised him as the best player of the moment (although he did rate Man U over Milan).

Kaka’ joins three others from Milan to enter the running for the Fifa World Player 2007. An award voted by the coaches and captains of all the national teams. Many are already tipping him to win this award (although I think he would’ve boosted his chances had he player in the Copa America winning selecao side). Kaka’ himself said he is confident that he has a good chance to win but also returned the favour in stating that Christiano Ronaldo may take the award because of his blistering performances that took Manchester United to a domestic title. Either way, sit back for some great Kaka’ footage!

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Kaka’, off to England and World Player of the Year?

Posted on October 12, 2007. Filed under: Players, Video | Tags: , , , , , |

I love it whenever a player speaks out hypothetically and the press goes wild. Kaka’ was interview earlier this week by Esquire magazine and was quoted as expressing interest in playing in England or Spain if he were to ever leave Milan… Well shock, horror! If you’re not playing in Italy, what are the other major leagues in Europe? That’s right, in England and Spain.

He merely stated that he’d want a move to a club with the history, ability and stature of Milan. He did elaborate somewhat and went on to say that he prefer’s Arsenal and Manchester United over Liverpool and Chelsea. He was actually quite diplomatic in his manner of basically saying that neither Liverpool or Chelsea are playing the sort of inspiring, attractive football he’d want to be involved in. Can’t blame him!

He was also recently named FIFPro World Player of the Year. Many saw him as not only the inspiration but the main driving force in taking Milan to their seventh European trophy earlier this year. He was the top scorer in the competition (don’t forget he’s a midfielder, not a striker!) and was voted as the best player by footballers from all around the globe (45,000 were eligible to vote!). In fact, Christiano Ronaldo has praised him as the best player of the moment (although he did rate Man U over Milan).

Kaka’ joins three others from Milan to enter the running for the Fifa World Player 2007. An award voted by the coaches and captains of all the national teams. Many are already tipping him to win this award (although I think he would’ve boosted his chances had he player in the Copa America winning selecao side). Kaka’ himself said he is confident that he has a good chance to win but also returned the favour in stating that Christiano Ronaldo may take the award because of his blistering performances that took Manchester United to a domestic title. Either way, sit back for some great Kaka’ footage!

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Soccer technology 2

Posted on October 11, 2007. Filed under: Technology |

Continuing on from my earlier post about soccer ball technology I wanted to explore some other high-tech advances that are going on behind the scenes of the modern game. The areas of match analysis, game statistics and player performance monitoring may have a limited impact on most followers of the world game but they are becoming invaluable to coaches and technical staff of major clubs.

There are basic systems that analyse match footage and can provide statistics such as the number of tackles and passes, etc. The more advanced systems use GPS tracking for real-time positional and movement data. Later on (post-match), computer tracking is added and this can be complemented with a video analysis montage system. The analyst can then jump to areas of interest very quickly and view the footage for that action. Some systems can positions and track movements using an autonomous vision system based on cameras installed around the pitch.

Research is being undertaken into some fairly interesting systems. The researcher discusses collecting the following statistics; distance covered, running speed, tasks (such as runs, jumps, interceptions, crosses, passes, touches, throw ins, shots and headers) among other individual actions. Also team performance including channels of ball circulation, possession, turnovers, styles of play, interaction zones, game pace, etc.

This level of statistical information could allow highly accurate virtual matches and scenarios to be played out using real data on real players. Coaches would be able to set up various formations, tactics and line-ups to do battle with the their next opponent to see what works best. The processing power of todays hardware could churn through countless simulations and benching a certain player could be backed up with quality data about their current performance or perhaps a simulation where they aren’t quite suitable for the selected formation/strategy.

It’s not the most difficult task for current image recognition technology to collect this data. A background of all green grass and players in distinctive colours (although the sheer number of objects to track and camera positioning about the field does affect the accuracy). Add some physical trackers to the players and ball for precise position/velocity data and tie this into the system for much better certainty?

I’m not sure how precise global positioning systems are at resolving the exact location of a player but I have noticed after some televised matches they sometimes display the distance covered of a particular player over the course of the match which could come from GPS data (but is more likely from camera technology as global positioning systems can be quite bulky). I dare say that soon enough, incredibly small global positioning systems will be available. In Australia, they show the heart rate of players during AFL (Australian-Rules Football League, think Gaelic football with an egg-shaped ball!) matches so it would be interesting to see that in soccer. It may already be in use during training but I haven’t heard mention of it in actual matches.

Personally I feel that these advances could do a great deal for the modern game. For coaching, training, player development, injury prevention and most importantly, deadly accurate statistics for video games like winning eleven/pro evo soccer! hehe. As for it’s use in real matches, I wouldn’t want the technology to interfere with the game in any way but it should definitely be used to clear up certain situations, such as whether a ball really did cross the goal line when there are hard to call cases. As for monitoring offsides I don’t know if that’s such a good idea unless it can be performed quickly, accurately and seemlessly (certainly not with slow video replays as seen in some other sports!!!).

For more information, check out www.soccerperformance.org which contained a lot of the information in this post.

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