Not considered to achieve direct qualification in Europe’s Group 1 against quality sides such as Portugal and Sweden, Denmark once again defied the odds and did just that, finishing first in an extremely difficult section. Morten Olsen’s side now head to South Africa full of confidence and nothing less than a place in the Round of 16 will do for this team. In Group F alongside the Netherlands, Cameroon, and Japan, the Danes won’t have it easy, however they are a team whose reliance on teamwork and unity should serve them well in their fourth World Cup appearance.
TALE OF THE TAPE
FIFA Ranking: 35th
World Cup Appearances: 3 (1986, 1998, 2002)
World Cup Record (W-D-L): 7-2-4
Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals, 1998
Road To South Africa: Qualified as 1st in Europe’s Group 1
For so long in the shadow of their former countrymen, Slovakia finally exorcized some football demons by beating out the Czech Republic in Europe’s Group 1 to qualify for the World Cup. In fact, the group was quite tricky considering it was full of other quality sides such as Slovenia and Poland. Slovakia however went about their business and despite a slip-up here and there against Slovenia mainly, qualification to South Africa finally came against Poland on the final matchday. This will be the country’s first ever international tournament since becoming an independent nation and while the pressure might be on, this is a talented side who have the makings of a classic tournament sleeper. In Group F with Italy, Paraguay, and New Zealand, the team have the ability to challenge for a place in the Round of 16.
TALE OF THE TAPE
FIFA Ranking: 38
World Cup Appearances: 0
World Cup Record (W-D-L): 0-0-0
Best World Cup Finish: N/A
Road To South Africa: Qualified as 1st-placed team in Europe’s Group 3
Hello all, welcome to the Monday Morning Kick-Off. A couple bits of business to tend to first before we dive into some hopefully interesting football tidbits.
For starters, One Game, One World will go all World Cup starting in mid-May. We are planning previews of the teams, along with news, interviews, and stories ahead of the 2010 World Cup which begins on June 11th. This is a historic tournament, the first in Africa, and it means that here at OGOW we are excited to bring you coverage of the competition before, during, and after the competition.
Of course, there will be a million media outlets to receive coverage from, but we hope you will check out our mix of traditional and non-traditional coverage for perhaps something a bit different ahead of the world’s greatest sporting event.
Ok, well off we go for today’s Kick-Off.
Yes, we have reached what is commonly known as the business end of the season in many leagues, mostly Europe. In most leagues it is a two-horse race as Barcelona and Real Madrid contest La Liga, while Chelsea is attempting to hold of Manchester United in the English Premier League. Continue reading
Jason Culina’s 14-year career at the highest level is a portrait of the consummate professional. After getting his start with Sydney United in Australia, Culina was snapped up by Ajax so impressed were the Dutch giants with the young Australian player. He spent four seasons in Amsterdam before making the move to FC Twente where his career in Europe really took off.
Jason Culina will feature for Australia during the 2010 World Cup
One superb campaign at Twente was all the convincing that powerhouse PSV Eindhoven needed and Culina’s time in Eindhoven coincided with the club having one of the most successful periods in their history. Culina has over 300 professional matches under his belt, including 45 caps with the national side. Recently, Culina was given the captain’s armband for his country.
Culina now stars in the Australian A-League for Gold Coast United. Currently, he is back in Eindhoven training with PSV so that he can keep sharp for Australia ahead of their World Cup participation in June.
One Game, One World was able to catch up with Jason Culina and get his views on his career and football in general. Check out what this versatile footballer has to say about his start in the game, his time in Europe, and what it feels like to wear the Australian shirt. You’ll be seeing him on the fields in South Africa this summer wearing the green and gold for Australia and we are thankful he took the time to answer our questions. Continue reading
It was one of the most important El Clasico matches one could remember. The winner would undoubtedly hold a major advantage in claiming the title with only 7 matches remaining. So when Real Madrid and Barcelona battled at the Bernabeu on Saturday evening it was all set up for another classic confrontation.
In the end what we saw probably wouldn’t reach classic status yet it was an enthralling fixture complete with some back and forth football and no shortage of intensity and desire from the combatants in question.
Xavi's Brilliance Led Barcelona To Victory
Real came out of the blocks quickly perhaps to no surprise. After last season’s 6-2 embarrassment at home to Pep Guardiola’s side, the Madridistas surely wanted to exact some revenge especially in a match of such importance. And let’s be honest, in the opening exchanges it was Manuel Pellegrini’s side who looked a bit more composed and dangerous in and around goal. Continue reading
Morning everyone! Thanks to all who have visited the site in the last couple days. We have received some wonderful feedback on the Fabio Lopez Interview. If you haven’t seen it check it out below. Some exciting stuff is in the works as well for next week. Australian National Team captain Jason Culina was kind enough to give us an interview and we will also look at the state of football in Liechtenstein as well and in true One Game, One World style probably throw in a surprise to the mix.
Anyway enough of that, let’s go to today’s Morning Kick-Off.
You are probably asking yourself what the heck does that mean. Well, I came across this fantastic story about a couple of English guys who were looking to do a football documentary on a place unspoiled by the greed and riches of the English Premier League. They ended up in Pohnpei, one of the four islands in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Gorgeous Scenery From Pohnpei
To make a long story short, the two men in question, Journalist Paul Watson and filmmaker Matthew Conrad became coach and assistant coach respectively of the Pohnpei national side, a team that is not affiliated with FIFA at the moment and that has never won a competitive fixture.
The work that is being done by these two is absolutely fantastic and refreshing in this day and age where some players make hundreds of thousands of dollars, pounds, and euros a week. This is a super story right up our ally at OGOW and we will be giving you an exclusive scoop on it sometime this month. Continue reading
He is the Don Fabio you don’t know. An Italian manager with the same first name and a fan of his far more famous and illustrious counterpart Fabio Capello, Fabio Lopez is a coach you probably haven’t come across yet, however at the age of 36, he is an ambitious and up-and-coming manager who is well known in Central Italy.
Fabio Lopez is a young, ambitious Italian coach
Hearing his story and listening to his views on the game is to get a glimpse of how difficult it is to make it big in the cutthroat world of a football coach. But it’s also intriguing to hear the tale of a manager who truly loves the game and has a burning desire to succeed.
To date Lopez has had but two full-time coaching stints in Lithuania’s top league and is a respected manager who has been an assistant coach, goalkeeping coach and scout for some of Italian football’s biggest clubs.
This well-rounded base will surely help Lopez as he seeks to further his career. One Game, One World was fortunate enough to speak with Fabio Lopez recently and hear about his career and football philosophy as well as his goals for his managerial career. There is a belief about Lopez that will certainly be an asset as trudges on down the difficult path of manager stardom.
This interview and profile is above all else a documentation of a man and his dream. Time will tell whether he will “make it big” in football, for now enjoy his unique take on the sport. Continue reading