Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Going to take a small break

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been struggling to find an internet connection as I'm vacationing in Italy, I'll probably ttake about two weeks vacation, so I don't think anything new will be up until August. Got an Inter Milan shirt signed for me from Mario Balotelli, very happy, will blog later.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nike The Chance: Bartek Kalanski

Everyone dreams to be signed for a big club, to go to the Nike Academy, work with the best, show your skills, and become a professional footballer. And now, this dream can become reality with Nike's competition called, "The Chance". 

Here is how "The Chance" works:

  1. Must be male and 18 years old by July 1st 2011 
  2. Create a facebook fan page
  3. Enter the competition, "The Chance" by Nike
  4. Promote yourself with videos, photos, and more
  5. Build a following
  6. Be chosen to go to the Nike Academy
  7. Get scouted, get signed

Bartek Kalanski
And so, SWU has decided to follow an aspiring player in his quest to become a professional footballer, Bartek Kalanski, a young Polish goalkeeper.

Here's his bio:

Name: Bartek Kalanski
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 17
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Club: New College Football Academy
Nationality: Polish

Right now Bartek has 1221 Facebook fans (and growing), but he needs as many as he can get to have the chance to join the Nike Academy. Bartek has some great videos up on his facebook page, so be sure to check them out and become a fan of it.

As Bartek goes through his journey to become a professional goalkeeper, Soccer Wrap Up will be following him and providing you with updates on how he's doing. SWU might even be able to get photos, videos and more from Bartek on his quest and his skills, so check out

So be sure to follow Bartek on facebook as he could become a future professional goalkeeper!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 World Cup awards: Forlan wins Golden Ball

BEIJING, July 12, 2010 Graphics shows Uruguay striker Diego Forlan was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the 2010 World Cup on July 11, 2010, according to the news FIFA announced. .  (Xinhua/Meng Lijing.
A nice little graphic with Forlan's tournament statistics
After the World Cup, it's not all over, there's still plenty of awards to be dished out even if your team didn't lift the trophy. When the nominees were announced, I put up a post with the Golden Ball (best player of the tournament) and Best Young Player award nominees, I forgot about the Golden Glove (best goalkeeper of the tournament), but that award seemed already decided.

And now, FIFA have dished out every single award, and here are the winners (I won't be putting Adidas in front of all these award names, I'm sorry FIFA):

Golden Ball (Best player):
Diego Forlan

Golden Boot (Top scorer):
Thomas Muller

Golden Glove (Best goalkeeper):
Iker Casillas

Best young player award:
Thomas Muller

Yes, here they are, three names for four awards, and it's exciting seeing a young player like Thomas Muller sweep up two awards. Muller claimed the top scorer award because even though he was tied at five goals with David Villa and Wesley Sneijder, he had the most assists (three), therefore the young German claims the top scorer award. I find it very exciting that such a young player is sweeping two awards in his first World Cup, for me, Thomas Muller could become one of the next legendary players.

As for the other two awards, I'm very much in agreement with FIFA, Iker Casillas was the best goalkeeper for me without a doubt, and Diego Forlan was the heart and soul of Uruguay as he dragged them back into World Cup history, claiming a fourth place.

What are your thoughts on the awards? Share them below by commenting!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spain conquer World Cup: 1-0 final score

Captain Iker Casillas of Spain lifts the 2010 World Cup..FIFA World Cup 2010 Final..Netherlands v Spain..11th July, 2010.
Spain captain Iker Casillas lifting the cup

History has been made by Spain, they defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the final of the World Cup. It certainly won't go down as an entertaining game, but in the end the goal came and Spain are World Champions for the first time in their history.

Netherlands – Spain

The first half was very negative, Spain were dominant with their passing, but they weren't able to create anything with the absence of a true center-forward like Torres. David Villa didn't touch the ball much, and the only danger to the Netherlands goal was a header from Sergio Ramos which Stekelenburg did well to save. The Netherlands on the other hand went out to play what could be considered a destructive game, they gave little space to Iniesta and Xavi, and they were constantly fouling in attempts to get the ball back. The Netherland's only memorable chance was a low shot from Robben from outside the box which Casillas parried.

After the half, the game livened up (with plenty of fouls too), the Netherlands were the first to create what should've been a goal, Sneijder plays Robben through, 1 on 1, and the Bayern Munich player sees his shot saved by Casillas's outstretched feet. After that, David Villa had an open net from a corner, but Heitinga stopped the shot with some last ditch defending, and then Spain really missed a golden opportunity with Sergio Ramos getting a free header right in front of goal. The Real Madrid defender sent the ball over the bar, sending the two teams into extra time in goalless equality.

Andres Iniesta of Spain scores the winning goal past Maarten Stekelenburg of Netherlands..FIFA World Cup 2010 Final..Netherlands v Spain..11th July, 2010.
Andres Iniesta scoring the winner
It was in extra time that the red card eventually came, you could sense that a Netherlands player was going to get his second yellow, and be sent off. Heitinga was the man who got his second yellow, getting himself expelled with just ten minutes to go until penalties. But in the 116th minute, Spain found the winner, Fabregas playing a cross over for Iniesta who controls and volleys it underneath Stekelenburg for the epic goal. Spain lift the World Cup trophy for the first time in their history, and Andres Iniesta continues to be the man that finds goals at the right moment.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Goalfest for third place: Germany wins 3-2

July 10, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Uruguay v Germany FIFA World Cup Third/Fourth Place Play-Off - South Africa 2010 - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa - 10/7/10..Uruguay's Diego Forlan celebrates scoring the second goal.
So falls the rain, and we've received just what we needed, a goalfest. The battle for third was a truly entertaining game, and no matter what anyone else says, I'll happily state that so far, with only the final left, Uruguay - Germany was my favorite game of the World Cup. This goalfest for third probably indicatest that the final will have a goal in it, if we're lucky. Spain's possession based dominance with tiki taka passing, against Dirk Kuyt who will be running around the field in confusion will ultimately be a low scoring affair. But the final is later today, lets talk about this match for third place.

Uruguay - Germany

The two sides were evenly matched, Uruguay were direct and dangerous with Forlan, and Germany were led by one-touch passing between Ozil and Muller. Germany got the first with Schweinsteiger blasting a shot which Muslera couldn't contain, letting young Muller follow up for the lead early on in the 19th minute. But Uruguay took advantage of Germany's poor positioning to find an equalizer; Freidrich moved up to attack along with Khedira and Aogo, so when Scheinsteiger had the ball taken away from him, there were only two German defenders against Uruguay's three forwards. This let Cavani finish one on one against Butt for the equalizer.

In the second half, Uruguay took the lead with Forlan who was completely unmarked at the top of the box, the Atletico Madrid striker side volleyed the ball into the ground making it bounce into Butts net for a memorable goal. But it was inevitable that Germany would find the equalizer, and it was Jansen who found it, heading the ball past Muslera who had come out to punch the cross, but missed. Jansen scored, looked around in confusion, then at the linesman, and walked off unhappily with his first goal in a World Cup finals.

Germany found the winner in the 82nd, a goal-mouth scramble from a corner eventually finished with Sami Khedira looping a header over Muslera and into the back of the net, strangely, Khedira decided to celebrate with his teammates, unlike Jansen. But it couldn't just finish like this, in the final minute of injury time, Uruguay get a free kick right outside Germany's box, Forlan steps up ready to take what could be the last kick of the game. A curling free kick, destined for the top left corner, decides to break everyones hearts and thud off the crossbar, it's followed by the final whistle as the German players thank their stars that Forlan's effort wasn't a couple of centimeters lower.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

FIFA World Cup Golden Ball award nominees

JOHANNESBURG, July 9, 2010 FIFA General Secretary Jerorne Valcke (L) and Adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer display the ''Golden Ball Award'' trophy after offically announcing the 10 nominees of the 2010 FIFA World Cup ''Golden Ball Award'' for the best players of the tournament during a press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 9, 2010.
The nomination ceremony with the Golden Ball trophy
FIFA have recently announced the 10 players which will contest the player of the tournament award for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Along with these 10 players, another three have been nominated for the best young player award.

Here are the nominees for the two awards,

FIFA Golden Ball award:

Gyan Asamoah   -   Ghana
Diego Forlan   -   Uruguay
Andres Iniesta   -   Spain
Lionel Messi   -   Argentina
Mesut Ozil   -   Germany
Arjen Robben   -   Netherlands
Bastian Schweinsteiger   -   Germany
Wesley Sneijder   -   Netherlands
David Villa   -   Spain
Xavi Hernandez   -   Spain

FIFA Young player of the tournament:

Andre Ayew   -   Ghana
Giovani Dos Santos   -   Mexico
Thomas Muller   -   Germany

It will be interesting to see how the final and the battle for 3rd place will affect who wins, while Xavi won the EURO 2008 best player of the tournament, we could see Wesley Sneijder or Robben claim the award for the 2010 World Cup. Another slightly interesting addition to the list is Lionel Messi, who while he had a couple of great games, failed to score and lift Argentina over Germany.

As for the Young player of the tournament award, the three nominees seem perfect to me, all three played well for their countries and will certainly be looked at this transfer market.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spain move on to final with 1-0 dominance

And so we have our two finalists, Spain and the Netherlands, both have never one the World Cup and have a great generation of players that both deserve to win it. On one side you have Wesley Sneijder's brilliance, and on the other you have Xavi's calculating mastermind. On one side you have Robben's deadly speed, and on the other you have David Villa's precise finishing. And on both sides you have quality of technique, two teams that know how to pass and move with grace and agility. But a team lost today, Germany have a truly golden generation of youngsters who in four years will shine very brightly, but not today.

Germany – Spain

Spain celebrate after the goal
Like many matches this World Cup, the first half was a tight affair, both teams analysing each other and not playing at their best. Spain weren't decisive and they lacked ideas as they tried to pass it around with little security. Germany on the other hand were completely devoid of the fluidity and speed (has to do with Muller being disqualified) which demolished Australia, England, and Argentina. Spain had the best of the chances, Puyol flashing a header high, and David Villa unable to deviate the ball past Neuer after a great through pass.

The second half saw Spain loosen up, much better passing created two good opportunities for Xabi Alonso to shoot from outside the box and scare German fans. While David Villa wasn't as brilliant as usual, Xavi took care of putting in brilliance; the Spaniard yet again taught everyone on the field how to pass the ball. The small Barcelona midfielder was the fulcrum of every thing Spain created, with back-heel flicks, one of which unlocked space in front of goal for Iniesta who squared to Villa who just couldn't reach it with his toe.

Spain got the goal with their eternal captain, heading the ball in decisively from a corner to give Spain the deserved goal. Germany continued to be undertone compared to the Spaniards, they were unable to create opportunities with their pass and move which was so dominant in their other matches. Pedro had what should've been a sure goal as the German's rose up the field leaving the defense completely unprotected, but the Barcelona forward was greedy, and instead of squaring it to substitute Torres for a goal, he tripped over his own feet and hung his head in shame as Germany recuperated. Del Bosque subbed Pedro off for his inexcusable greed and inability to score from what was a goal.

Luckily that missed opportunity didn't cost Spain the win, they held out against the weak German waves of attack, and the Spaniards will be preparing on how to deal with the Dutch wonder-pair of Robben and Sneijder in the final.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Netherlands move on to final with 3-2 win

We have our first finalist of the 2010 World Cup, the Netherlands have defeated Uruguay 3-2 to make this World Cup final a European battle.

July 06, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Holland v Uruguay FIFA World Cup Semi Final - South Africa 2010 - Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa - 6/7/10..Giovanni van Bronckhorst (C) celebrates with team mates after scoring Holland's first goal.
van Bronckhorst celebrating his epic opener
Netherlands – Uruguay

The game began with both teams trying to analyse each other, Uruguay played very well defensively as the Netherlands took their time in building their attacks. It was a wonderful strike by van Bronckhorst which broke the deadlock, a rocket from long distance which went perfectly in the top right corner, slightly hitting off of the post. The Netherlands went on to dominate until Forlan got his long-range goal, a curling left foot which made Stekelenburg look like a fool as he couldn't keep the central shot out of his net.

In the second half Uruguay came out with passion and fight, chasing after every ball and sending plenty of men up the field to attack the Dutch goal. The Netherlands dealt with the pressure well and eventually created their second goal, Sneijder hits a low shot which deflects off of two Uruguayan defenders and curls around Muslera. The match seemed over, although Uruguay continued to press and have spirit, when the Netherlands scored their third with Robben tucking away a header off of the post, it seemed impossible for the South Americans to come back.

But as the Dutch were celebrating full of smiles and laughter, Uruguay pulled one back in the final minutes thanks to Maxi Pereira, giving them new inspiration to fight for the win. It's injury time and Uruguay are sending the entire team forward in a desperate attempt to score what would've been an epic equalizer. The Netherlands held out for a shaky finish, but move on to the final with Sneijder and Robben's magic emanating through the team.

Ballon D'Or 2010: The 23 Nominees

Here are the 23 nominees for the Ballon d'Or of 2010, and there are also the 
World Coaches of the Year award nominees listed below as well. On December 6th 2010 the top three voted players (and coaches) will be announced, until then, we'll just have to analyze the nominees. But I 
won't mosey around, here are the Ballon d'Or of 2010 nominees below:

Xabi Alonso

Daniel Alves  

Iker Casillas 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Didier Drogba 

Samuel Eto’o 

Cesc Fabregas 

Diego Forlan  

Asamoah Gyan 

Andres Iniesta

Julio Cesar 

Miroslav Klose

Philipp Lahm 


Lionel Messi

Thomas Muller

Mesut Ozil  

Carles Puyol

Arjen Robben 

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Wesley Sneijder 

David Villa 

Xavi Hernandez

There's also another award to be given out, and that's the World Coaches of the Year award, here are the 10 nominees below.
Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea), Vicente del Bosque (Spain), Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United), Pep Guardiola (Barcelona), Joachim Low (Germany), Jose Mourinho (Inter Milan/Real Madrid), Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay), Louis Van Gaal (Bayern Munich), Bert van Marwijk (Holland) and Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).

Who do you think will win the two awards? Comment below!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The emergence of Muller, Villa, and Sneijder

It's the day before the semi-finals of the World Cup, and it's interesting to see what players have thrived and which haven't. I wrote a piece for Soccerlens entitled, "Where are Rooney, Ronaldo, and Messi?" which you can read here on the three most anticipated players flopping this World Cup. But which players have really emerged as the best of the tournament? Here's my starting 11 of the tournament.

Formation: 4-3-3


                                      Lugano                               Friedrich 
          Lahm                                                                                                 Fucile



                              Sneijder                                              Ozil

      Robben                                                                                    David Villa

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below by commenting!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spain fight to defeat tough Paraguay

And so we get a pair of extremely interesting semi-finals after today's results, one side we have an overachieving Uruguay with as much history as anyone else in this tournament playing against what could be described as an underachieving Netherlands who only stepped up against Brazil. And the other semi-final will be super-charged Germany against Spain, who had some difficulty against an inspired Paraguay. Spain have made it to the semi-finals, and it's been 60 years since they last made it back in Brazil 1950.

And another thing I should mention: CasinoOnline.co.uk, Soccer Wrap Up, and a bunch of other awesome soccer blogs and websites have teamed up to create an awesome World Cup Twidget!

Paraguay's Antolin Alcaraz (R) tackles Spain's David Villa inside the penalty area during their 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg July 3, 2010. The play ended with Alcaraz getting the yellow card and a penalty awarded to Spain. REUTERS/David Gray (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Villa earning Spain's penalty with a little bit of acting
Paraguay - Spain

Paraguay came out and played a high pressure style, they stopped Spain from playing that hypnotizing passing possession game. Spain weren't as crisp and fluid as usual, they didn't get a shot on target during the first 45 minutes as Paraguay created chances of their own which they sent wide, high, or right at Casillas.

With the second half came more tension, the action picked up and Paraguay got a penalty on the 60th minute mark thanks to Gerard Pique's tugging in the area. Iker Casillas saved the penalty and helped stop what could'be been the biggest upset of the tournament. Minutes later David Villa went down/dived in Paraguay's area to earn themselves a penalty of their own, Xabi Alonso had to take it twice because of encroachment in the area, and the second time Villar matched Casillas and saved. Tension continued to rise as the 90 minutes were coming close...

Then, what has to be considered the man of the tournament scored again, David Villa broke the deadlock with his 5th goal in the tournament. Iniesta layed the ball off to Pedro from the top of the area, Pedro smacked his effort onto the post, and Villa followed up scoring as the ball pinged off both posts and went in. Casillas had to prove himself near the end though as he saved well to send Spain off against Germany.

Germany crush Argentina 4-0

I have to apologize for not having either of yesterday's quarter-final match reports posted, I was traveling, and after a 9 hour flight, I was stuck in Frankfurt airport for just under 11 hours with no wi-fi. I watched both games in the airport with many Germans a mob of very excited Japanese tourists, I'm pretty sure everyone knows the results, but just in case I'll post them.

An important thing of note is that Soccer Wrap Up has now joined a World Cup Twidget which is displayed at the top of our sidebar. This Twidget features Twitter updates from SWU and other blogs and soccer websites, and it is all thanks to the people from CasinoOnline.co.uk. Be sure to check the Twidget out along with CasinoOnline.co.uk.

July 02, 2010 - -, South Africa - epa02234435 (FILE) A composite file picture shows Uruguay's Diego Forlan (L) and Dutch Wesley Sneijder (R) celebrating during the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Uruguay will face the Netherlands in the FIFA 2010 World Cup semi final soccer match on 06 July 2010 at the Green Point stadium in Cape Town.
Sneijder and Forlan will face off in the semi-finals Tuesday
Here are yesterday's results:

The Netherlands defeated Brazil with an amazing comeback to go to the semi-finals, first Robinho early on, but then early in the second half Sneijder equalized with a strange cross/shot which Julio Cesar completely missed. Then Sneijder scored again with a header completing the comeback at 2-1, then Brazil lost Felipe Melo to a red card who stupidly stepped on Robben, and this sent Brazil home as they were unable to come back.

Uruguay were able to stop Ghana from moving onto the semi-finals, a very tight match which saw its first goal before halftime with a long-range effort from Muntari. Uruguay equalized 10 minutes into the second half with Diego Forlan sinking a curled free kick in the back of Kingson's net. It went to 30 minutes of extra time, and in the final minutes the unthinkable happened; Suarez first blocked a Ghana shot off the line with his foot, then he used his hand to block the second effort which seemed like a sure goal. Suarez was sent off and Ghana were given a penalty in the final minute of extra time, Gyan steps up and sees his effort skid off of the top of the crossbar, sending his team to penalties. In penalties, Uruguay missed one and Muslera saved two of them, Abreu took the winning one and scooped it ridiculously to send his team into the semi-finals to play the Netherlands.

July 03, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Germany v Argentina FIFA World Cup Quarter Final - South Africa 2010 - Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa - 3/7/10..Thomas Muller scores Germany's first goal.
Muller opening goal with a head flick 
Argentina - Germany

A massive match, Maradona's inspired Argentina against the efficient but creative young Germany which in the end demolished a tactically disorganized team. Germany scored right away in the 3rd minute with Muller slightly touching a free kick with his head just enough to mess up Romero into comceding the opener. For the rest of the first half Argentina were stumped, Germany were extremely organized with a 4-4-2 in defense and when it came to them to attack, Podolski and Muller rose up from the wings to cause problems for Argentina with width.

In the second half the match opened itself up with flurries of counter-attacks as both teams played an extremely attacking game. Germany won the attacking duel with Klose scoring the second in the 68th minute, making Argentina's hopes even dimmer. In the 74th Friedrich scored his first ever goal for Germany by stumbling Schweinsteiger's cut back (Schweinsteiger just waltzed right through Argentina's box) into the net to make it 3-0. By now Argentina were broken, Messi tried but was unable to find his first goal in this World Cup, and when Klose scored his 14th goal in World Cup finals from a swift counter-attack, the match was over.

Muller will miss the semi-final because he got two yellows in two games, so it will be interesting to see how Germany will do against the winner of Spain - Paraguay.


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