Last Week’s Stories
New Caledonia are kings of the Pacific, winning the Pacific Games Final 2-0 against Solomon Islands. Madjer has now got to 79 goals in the Beach Soccer World Cup, Israel scored just two goals in two games (maybe it was the pressure of being top of last week’s Top Ten). ITURBEWATCH: His twitter account suggests he is adapting well to life in Portugal and he had a some Twit-Chat with a judge of “Strictly Come Dancing: Paraguay” reminding everybody how much he love’s home team Cerro Porteño. He isn’t in matchday squad yet.
This Weeks Stories
Rogerio Ceni to 1000
We featured the São Paulo goalkeeper on here before and now, having surpassed 100 goals (scored!), he has now played 1000 career games after Wednesday’s game. In fitting fashion his side won 2-1 against Atletico Mineiro and the 38-year-old has no plans to retire yet. He has won everything with São Paulo and was even a World Champion in 2005 with a great shot stopping display to beat Liverpool.
The first of our four qualifying round ups starts in the Caribbean where Haiti played their first home game since the catastrophic earthquake – their team full of foreign-born players beat US Virgin Islands 6-0 and they won away at Curaçao (2-4) to put them joint top in Group F with Antigua. Another team making headlines is Guatemala who won their opening two World Cup Qualifiers for the first time in their history including an away win against Belize. The big boys, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica & Jamaica await in the 2nd group phase.
There were some surprise results in Asia with Japan and Korea being held away at Uzbekistan and Kuwait. Frank Rijkaard’s career with Saudi Arabia has got off to a dismal beginning, a draw away to Oman was followed up by a home defeat to Australia – to put that into context, only their 2nd World Cup Qualifying defeat in Saudi Arabia in 35 games stretching back 30 years.
African Nations Qualifiers: Africa
In Africa the qualification process for the African Cup of Nations is reaching it’s climax, Senegal booked a spot with two goals from Lille’s Moussa Sow and Burkina Faso also progressed thanks to Naimbia’s win over Gambia in Windhoek. There were celebrations and commiserations in Egypt, Libya (playing their home games in the neighbouring country) managed to win 1-0 against Mozambique but the Pharoahs crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Sierra Leone and haven’t qualified to defend the tournament they have won three times consecutively.
Euro2012 Qualifiers: Europe
Italy won 1-0 twice meaning they have only conceded one goal in the qualifiers to date. They have an excellent record in Euro qualifiers, currently 18 games unbeaten with the last defeat coming in Paris against France in 2006. Holland also continue their excellent form with a 11-0 crushing of hapless San Marino whose Euro Qualifying record (following a subsequent 5-0 defeat against Sweden) now reads Pld 55 W 0 D 0 L 55 GF 6 GA 249
Notts to be for Juventus
Juventus opened their new stadium with a game against League One’s Notts County – it was a thank you to the Notts County player who donated the Italian club some shirts well over 100 years ago. But Juventus’ night was utterly spoiled by Lee Hughes who bagged an equaliser in the dying minutes of the match to silence the sell-out crowd.
Bravo Omar! and Philly Thriller
The veteran Mexican striker, Omar Bravo scored a last minute penalty to earn Sporting Kansas City a 2-2 draw against David Beckham’s LA Galaxy. There was also a last minute equaliser in Philadelphia as Philadelphia Union drew 4-4 with New England Revolution in a thrilling encounter that saw Freddy Adu start the comeback for Philadelphia making it 4-1 in the 56th minute.
Shakira and Pique in Finland
Brazilian striker Marcello Matrone has become famous for his extravagant celebration last week. He imitated Shakira’s Waka Waka dance and even got ‘Pique’ to come and give him a hug! Thanks to 101GreatGoals for the video and for more great celebrations delve into the blog archives here.
Stat of the Week
2.36 – The lowest goals per game in an English top flight season in the 1970/71 season (via @OptaJoe)
Goal of the Week
Hard not to pick a Juninho Pernambuco freekick, so I’ve picked Juninho Pernambuco’s freekick which opened the scoring for Vasco against Coritiba last night.
Top Ten of the Week
I’m working on a pretty expansive Top Ten for next week so for now, we just look at the all-time Premier League leaders with regards to clean sheets. You might be surprised to see who is number 10…
10. West Ham Utd – 161
9. Newcastle Utd – 176
8. Tottenham – 189
7. Blackburn – 207
6. Everton – 228
5. Aston Villa – 231
4. Liverpool – 282
3. Arsenal – 293
2. Chelsea – 305
1. Manchester United – 327
So no surprises to see the top 3 represent the three sides that have won the Premier League the most, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Everton have all been ever-presents too. But I was surprised that West Ham, Newcastle and to some extent Spurs (not known for defensive qualities). More next week!