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The Sweeper: Turf, Ronaldo, Diego and Becks

October 9, 2009

Turf it!

The Luzhniki Stadium Moscow

Welcome to my new piece “The Sweeper” featuring snippets from around the football world told just the way I see it! I’ll try to deliver stories previewing the football weekend’s hottest topics. Now, for volume 1!

Russia v Germany – Whenever a football match is about to played in an artificial surface there are two things that are certain to happen… the ball will bounce or play differently, and every single media outlet concerning the away team will disect the topic for weeks and weeks leading up to the match. The amount of time devoted to turf coverage simply continues to amaze me. They will talk about how the ball will play differently, how injuries might occur and more importantly, how the unusual surface gives a disadvantage to one side. What these media outlets forget to mention is that all 22 men will be playing on the same pitch, its not as if the other side would be playing in the greenest grass of all. Cover the football, analyze the players who will truly influence the match.

Moving on to things that actually matter, Andrei Arshavin will make the start for the home side and will surely post the biggest threat to the organized German defence. The Arsenal star has scored two goals since returning for the Gunners and will surely be motivated to catapult Russia to the top of the table with a victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo y Portugal – Legions and legions of Cristiano Ronaldo fan-boys will be holding their breaths as they wait to see if Portugal has a prayer in qualifying for next year’s World Cup. Portugal are in a tough situation needing to win their remaining two fixtures if they want to be a part of football’s biggest spectacle in South Africa. The Portuguese are facing Hungary this weekend before playing world beaters Malta on Wednesday. I’m still 50-50 on this, one part of me would love to see Ronaldo’s ego take a huge hit by not being involved next year but at the same time, I think its necessary to have the world’s best player be involved in the sport’s biggest tournament.

David Beckham = Commitment – The inevitable has finally been confirmed by the Galaxy as Becks continue to show his commitment to the LA Galaxy and American Soccer. Golden Balls will move to Milan on January with the hopes of keeping his fitness level up and improve his chances on getting in Fabio Capello’s England squad for FIFA 2010. From what I can remember, I think I’ve never seen a player had his way so easily. What Becks want, Becks get… This new episode will give Beckham haters around the world more ammunition but I say lets leave the boy alone and let him chase his dreams.

Diego Maradona: “I ain’t quittin!” – The Argentine legend has once again reiterated that he will not quit nor is he going anywhere despite his team’s struggles. Argentina are currently holding the playoff spot in South American qualifying ahead of their fixture with Peru. Maradona, has been criticized by fans and pundits alike thanks to his questionable tactical approach. This manager’s position is quite a unique one as the man refuses(and will refuse to) give in due to his competitiveness and pride, yet the AFA can not simply let him go as he is a living legend in the country. In the end, I see the current situation concluding with either Argentina qualifying for the world cup or ending with riots in the streets of Buenos Aires.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. maserati4200 permalink
    October 9, 2009 3:51 pm

    The latest 3rd generation artificial grass pitches are amazing. If they’re properly maintained, they are as close to grass as you can get.

    AGPs are the future for developing countries in hostile climates and amateur clubs and communities who struggle with the high cost of maintaning decent natural grass pitches.

    If you can’t play on a top-clss 3G AGP, you can’t play – play pub football instead.

  2. October 10, 2009 3:16 pm

    maserati4200,

    You’re right some of the latest generation of plastic pitches aren’t bad at all, most have loads more “give” in them than ever before. Around half the sides in the Spanish non league division my team plays in have artificial surfaces. Many of the others have natural grass that resembles Roland Garros because of, as you say, the hostile climate. Another thing with an artificial surface is there is no chance of gouging out a divot big enough to go putting on, so the performance of the ball is always consistent.

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