Friday, June 30, 2006

Scary News From Toronto

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

I picked up the morning paper to see what's what at the World Cup today - funny story from the Argentina vs. Holland game during the group stage. Three fans from Argentina were kicked out of the game for posing as physically challenged fans - which FIFA reserves special seating for. Seems these three clowns enter the stadium in wheelchairs...but were caught jumping up and down after Argentina's 1st goal. They were escorted out and missed what was likely the goal of the tournament by Maxi Rodriguez - soccer fans are funny.

Wire services report that Gary Roberts has asked the Florida Panthers to trade him back to Toronto so he can be closer to his teenage daughter - that is not the scary news. No, what scares Leaf Nation is that NHL big mouth Jeremy Roenick has made it known that he would like to play in Toronto this year (or with the SenaTards) - we hold our collective breath that John Ferguson Jr. will not be dumb enough to sign this clown...but then again, he was the guy that signed Tie Domi to a 2 year $3.5M deal last year. Hazel, things aren't very rosey in Leaf Nation.

Have a great one peeps - enjoy your World Cup Friday!

Don't let a relationship cause you to make some errors. If you are feeling confused, it's probably best to take the day off. Relax and give yourself a chance to think things through. 3 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - morning wake up song.

Fado Corrido - Amalia Rodrigues

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

World Cup Breakdown

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The World Cup is down to quarter-final play - 6 of the 7 countries to have ever lifted the World Cup are amongst this year's finalists; Uruguay, the other country to have lifted football's Holy Grail, did not make into World Cup play this year. The first two quarter-final matchups kick off tomorrow, with the host Germans taking on Argentina, and Italy taking on the upstart Ukranians. On the surface, one game looks like a toss-up, with the other looking like a foregone conclusion.

Germany vs Argentina - the Germans have surprised many of the experts, and themselves, by making it to the quarter-finals (count me in amongst the surprised). German Captain Michael Ballack had cautioned fans before the tournament to not get their hopes up too much - that his team would be in very tough at this year's tournament. Argentina came into the tournament with some questions about their recent form, but put doubts to bed with a great opening round. Based on their play of late, there isn't much to choose from these two teams.

Both are relatively sound in goal, though German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has been known to have some brain cramps in big games. Even

The Argentines get the edge on defence, they are solid and are helped by a midfield that likes to control the ball and keep possession from the opponent. The German defence has not been tested to this point, which is a good thing because coming into the tournament, they were seen as the achilles heel of the team - primarily due to a lack of speed. The edge goes to Argentina.

Both teams are strong in the midfield with the play flowing through Riquelme and Ballack. There isn't much to choose from in the midfield - Riquelme may be the more complete player, who controls the game with timely rushes into the zone, but relying more on great vision and ball distribution; as Riquelme goes so goes Argentina - particularly their strikers. Ballack is more of a game breaker, he can hit from anywhere inside of 30 yards and possessed the speed and strength to run right at defenders and beat them. Torsten Frings, he of the 35+ yard beauty in the opening game, gives the Germans another sniper in the midfield. I'm calling this one even.

The Argentine strike force of Crespo and Saviola, with Messi and Tevez coming in from the bench was thought to be the best set of strikers in the tournament - they have not disappointed. As a group, they are having the kind of tournament that many of the pundits expected. The German have featured Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski; both coming off very impressive club seasons. Before the tournament, I would have said Argentina all the way - but the German strikers are in a zone right now and make this much closer than would have been expected a month ago. Slight edge to Argentina.

The intangible tomorrow will be the home crowd - they have lifted their team to heights previously thought unattainable in this year's tournament. Argentina is yet another South American team that hasn't been able to put it all together when they play in Europe - still though, they have depth on their roster that the Germans don't yet have.

The Germans will look to counter attack in waves with speed up the middle and the flanks - the Argentines will look to break down a weak German defence with creative passing and attacking from the flanks. In the end, this one is a toss-up, it could very likely go to extra time - with things being decided by the strikers.

Argentina 2 - 1 Germany

Italy vs Ukraine - this looks like, and probably is, a mismatch. The Italians are in to the latter stages of the tournament for the upteenth time - the Ukranians are likely shocked and very pleasantly surprised they have made it this far...their tournament has been a success.

There is really no need to break thing down by position - the Italians are better in every facet of the game - with the lone advantage for the Ukraine coming up front with Shevchenko.

The Italians have more depth and more options than the Ukraine, who rely on playing a tight game and counter attacking - hoping that Shevchenko can break things open for them. Italian teams have been masters at playing a defensive game and eating up teams that rely on the counter attack...they pretty much invented that style of play.

The only hope for the Ukraine is a super human game by Shevchenko and/or hoping the volatile Italians self-destruct and suffer a team brain cramp.

Italy 2- 0 Ukraine.

There you have it, if you care. I'm not allowed to talk World Cup on yahoo...but on here I can say - enjoy your World Cup games tomorrow. Speaking of World Cup, a shout out to my man DJames, who has been noticeably quiet this week. I wonder if he gave up on the World Cup when the US was sent packing. DJames, if you are checking in PHONE HOME man...or just send a damn email.

On another note - according to our girl Renee, great time to be a sports fan in Boston - particulary with good news coming from Brigham and Women's Hospital that the prognosis for Mr. Peter Gammons' recovery has been categorized as "good". I'm sure the Red Sox 12 game winning streak helps brighten the mood too. Things aren't so rosy in Leaf Nation these days.
Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world. Enjoy your weekend.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - because I'm in one of those moods, one of these days I'll get around to translating these songs in that heals the heart and is good for the soul.

Estranha Contradicao - Antonio Mourao

Peesth Out.

Leaf Nation Can Rest Easy Now

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Canadian wire services were reporting last night that Toronto Maple Leafs D Bryan McCabe had informed league offices that he had accepted the team's offer of a five year, $5.75M/year contract offer. The only way this deal makes sense to me, is if John Ferguson Jr. packaged McCabe up and traded him to Edmonton for Chris Pronger...but we are talking about JFJ, so that isn't likely to happen. I can't believe how many bad moves this guy has made...with free agency days away, he couldn't wait a few days. Leaf Nation, I think we are going to be in for some lean years.

The quarter-finals at the World Cup start tomorrow - breakdown later tonight.

Have a great one peeps.

You've paid your dues and done more than your fair share so treat yourself to a day of pampering. Love and romance are in the stars so be sure to leave time to get up close and intimate with someone you love. 5 stars

Hazel I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - wake up song (remember the theme this month)

On The Radio - Nelly Furtado

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wednesday Can Only Mean

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Back later with another Wednesday entry...but I'm running late.

Have a great one peeps.

Take a little time out for yourself. You will rise above any competition you face and will find yourself in a winning position before the day is over. Taking action will bring great results. 5 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - for no particular reason

Cancao do Mar - Amalia Rodrigues

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Shocker In Germany

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The World Cup provides yet another shocker today (and I don't mean the kind in the urban dictionary...though it may have felt that way to Spain). France beat Spain today by a score of 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals, and a date with Ronaldinho and the Samba Boys from Brazil. So with Spain's loss - the World Cup has said goodbye to teams ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 5th (US and Spain)

I still can't believe that Spain lost this game - everything pointed to a win and a quarter-final game against Brazil
  • the French had not been scoring;
  • the French looked unorganized and uninterested;
  • Spain's strikers were scoring; and
  • Spain had breezed through the group stage.
But I guess that is why the play the game - to add insult to injury, France's Zinedine Zidane scored France's third goal. So Spain continues the tradition of teasing their fans with thoughts of the big prize...only to self-destruct and lose a game they really should have won. The hopes of the Iberian rests with the boys in maroon and they should.

As expected, Brazil beat Ghana today by a score of 3-0. No surprise there. We have to give Ronaldo a Hazie award for moving into 1st place on the all-time World Cup goal scoring list with his 15th today against Ghana.

So the quarter-final matchups are set:
  • Germany vs Argentina - I'm going with the Argentines.
  • Italy vs Ukraine - Figures the Italians get a plum draw
  • Portugal vs England - no Deco? we'll still win
  • Brazil vs France - there will be a Portuguese speaking team in the final.
Quarter-final breakdowns come on Thursday...

Speaking of shockers - things are starting to get very interesting in the Hazelspeeps Fantasy Baseball Pool on Yahoo. With the dog days of summer approaching - Hubie's team is starting to fall, Hazel Mae's Hackers are on the upswing, and Renee's team is right where they should be...under mine!

Hazelspeeps Fantasy Baseball Pool Standings for the week ending June 26th.

74.5 - The Bronx Zoo - owned by Sparky, who has seemingly called a truce in his war of words with Hubie.

69.5 - Shuggysux - owned by Pogue (the other Pogue) who has watched Sparky and Hubie go at it and quietly staked his claim to second place.

63.0 - Tom Sawyer - owned by Hubie who has slowed down the revolving door that was his dugout.

62.0 - Tina's Team - owned by Tina who has ignored the chatter and quietly made some pretty good moves to revamp her roster.

59.5 - Hazel Mae's Hackers - owned by El Presidente (me) who welcomed back Albert Pujols with open arms.

52.5 - Naughty Girls - owned by Renee who is wheeling and dealing her way into a new roster...oh yeah, and she hates World Cup football.

47.0 - GB Steam Boys - owned by George who is still working nights for weeks at a time.

45.5 - Banana Peels - owned by the Golden Banana who really should be talking trade with Hazel Mae's Hackers.

40.5 - Fighting Bobcats - owned by Commish Drisc who graced Hazelspeeps with a dissertation on why soccer won't ever work in the USA.

36.0 - Leprachauns - owned by Irish, who finally made a blockbuster trade this past week, a move up the standings is quite possible.

For those of you wondering - yes, Hazelspeeps will have an NFL Fantasy Football Pool; we are hoping that Hubie takes the lead and offers to be the Commish.

That's about all for tonight...have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - because I'm still diggin Nelly Furtado's new CD (it is a must pickup)

Glow - Nelly Furtado

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Sad News From Boston Tonight

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Peter Gammons was admitted to hospital today for surgery for an aneurysm in his brain.

If you are a baseball fan, or a fan of good journalism, please send your get well wishes and cards to the Boston Globe.

Thoughts, prayers and get well wishes go out to Mr. Gammons, his family, friends and colleagues.

Two, Three, Four, Five-A, Eight

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in today. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Zidane is back for France today, which these days means they will lose. France, the number 8 ranked team in the world play against Spain today; and I'm calling for them to go down in flames against the Spanish. A loss by France would see the numbers two, three, four, five and eight teams out of the World Cup. Yesterday, I caled for Brazil to beat Ghana - I haven't changed my mind.

Gotta book gang...have a great one.

Keep a stiff upper lip if someone makes derogatory comments today. Don't take everything you hear personally. If you show strength of character, you will impress even your greatest critic. 2 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - just because

O Corvo - Misia

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Night After The Day Before

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

For those of you checking in for this week's Hazie awards, its pretty much all about the World Cup this week. We don't know if Hazel is watching the tournament, but as with every week's awards, it is our hope that she would give her trademark smile and thumbs up to say "Ok, I can see that." Speaking of the World Cup - since "the peeps" aren't having any talk of the most watched sporting event in the world, I'll have to ramble on about it here.

This year's tournament has been mired in controversy - even more controversy than the joke that was the Korea/Japan World Cup 2002. This year's World Cup has seen yellow and red cards being handed out more often that Valentine's day cards in a kindergarten class, questionable penalty shot calls, missed offsides calls, and of course...for our American friends, diving that would make Greg Louganis stand up and give a "10". The beautiful game is getting ugly over in Germany, thanks in large part to poor officiating.

At the center of the controversy was yesterday afternoon's game between Portugal and Holland, a game in which fans from both sides came away feeling cheated. If you have followed the World Cup, you have no doubt read match reports about "the farce" that was the round of 16's most intriguing matchup. I'll throw my two cents in...for anyone that cares.

The Russian official set the tone of the game in the first two minutes by not handing a red card to Holland's Khalid Boulahrouz for a vicious ("boots up") challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo. I am by no means an expert on the rules of football, but I have always heard that any challenge in which a player leads with his spikes is an automatic red card - no questions. The game then took on a rougher tone - with questionable tackles and arm throws, the order of the game - but the first half ended without any major incident.

The Dutch came out on the attack in the second half, and were frustrated for the first 15 minutes; and that was when THEY snapped. Boulahrouz, who was already on a yellow card, threw an elbow at Portuguese captain Luis Figo; while not particularly vicious, it is still a card - no questions asked. The game spun out of control in the 73rd minutes - due in large part to the unsportsmanlike behaviour of the Dutch. Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho went down after blocking a shot - the ensuing play saw Deco break threw the Dutch defence for what would have been a break and a certain goal. The official stopped the play and called both teams in for the drop - football etiquette dictated that the Dutch would give Portugal the ball back with a kick into the Portuguese zone. Dutch defender John Heitinga took the ball and attacked the zone with Portuguese players expecting him to give the ball back - an incensed Deco flew back into the zone and brought Heitinga down with a hard (but deserving tackle) - and that's where things completely unravelled. What had started out as a decent and relatively well played game, turn into a farce and an embarrassment. Both sides felt cheated, with the Dutch claiming the referee made a mess of the game, and Portugal who go into the quarter-final game against England minus their field general Deco. Lost in the game was a beautiful goal by Maniche - who can now be considered an "Oranje" killer.

As a fan of the Selecao das Quinas, I am happy they won - but not proud of the way both teams played. All that said, a great deal of credit has to be given to Portugal's coach - Luiz Felipe Scolari. In recent years, Portugal would have blown a game like this, giving into emotion and playing careless football. Scolari dealt with Costinha being sent off before the end of the first half by substituting striker Pauleta - and kept the team focused on the game. He guided them through a second half in which they played all but 15 minutes down a man to the Dutch. Scolari absolutely gets a Hazie for his coaching performance in Sunday's game. On to the rest of this week's Hazie award winners.

Germany's 21 year old forward Lukas Podolski scored two goals against Sweden on Sunday to lead the host Germans to a suprisingly easy 2-0 victory over Sweden. Though neither of his goals were particulary brilliant, he proved to be an opportunist by getting himself into the right place at the right time. Pretty heady stuff for a youngster.

Argentinian midfielder Maxi Rodriguez scored an absolute beauty in extra time to lead his team to a 2-1 victory over Mexico last Friday. Rodriguez took a cross off of his chest, and in one motion, hit a missle that found the top corner of the net. Rodriguez wasn't a major factor for most of the game - but he came up huge when it counted...and I think Hazel would have to appreciate a player that comes through in the clutch.

David Beckham was the toast of England for his goal off of a free kick against Ecuador on Sunday - but if you have read this page know how I feel about him. The Hazie from that game goes to defender Ashley Cole who saved England from certain doom when he slid in to block a shot by Ecuador's striker Tenorio. A goal against England at the juncture (less that 30 minutes in) would have certainly sent the fish and chip eaters home early. Cole was instrumental in not letting Ecuador gain the box. We think Hazel can appreciate good defending.

The Ukrainian National Team gets a Hazie for advancing to the quarter-finals with a shootout win over a very good Swiss team. While most expected the Ukraine to advance out of the group stage - few picked them to advance to the final eight - especially with Shevchenko not getting a goal. Next up for them - Italy...ugh.

The last Hazie goes to Australian defender Lucas Neill. We don't normally give Hazies to players who are on the losing team - but Lucas will be the exception to the rule. Neill was called for a foul on Italy's Fabio Grosso in the box with less than 30 seconds left in regulation time. Replays showed that Neill barely touched him and the call was dubious to say the least. The end result was that Totti potted the penalty and sent the Australians home - some may try to make Neill the scapegoat...but it was a good play. We think Hazel would have some sympathy for Lucas. Honourable mention goes to coach Guus Hiddink, who has guided another team out of the group stage.

We haven't done this in a while - but let's take a moment at those special individuals who have conducted themselves in a manner that we think Hazel wouldn't be down with. It's time for the "Not-So-Heroic".

Nike's biggest mistake, the over-hyped, so-called soccer phenom Freddy Adu - who decided to wade in on the US's exit from the World Cup by hinting he may yet consider playing internationally for Ghana. A word of advice to Freddy - the big boys play in Europe; before you start talking about that stuff, try getting a job in Europe and prove yourself have a long way to go before you can carry Michael Essien's boots. Rumblings from New England are that Hazel isn't going to jump to ESPN...if NESN is good enough for Hazel, team USA should be good enough for Freddy.

Holland's John Heitinga - for charging the Portuguese zone like an escaped mental patient, when he should have given the ball back. He got off easy with Deco's challenge - congratulations John, your 15 seconds of fame leaves you with the legacy of being a jerk. We think Hazel wouldn't be down with players who don't abide by fair play rules...even if the guys at Sportsnet have hinted that Hurricane Hazel used to throw the odd spitball when she pitched for them.

A couple of honourable mentions go to sports figures who aren't involved in the World Cup.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers who was charged by Boston police with hitting his wife in the face. As our girl Renee so eloquently put it - Another case of an athlete out on the town getting "inebriated" (faced) with his wife and punching her out. The Sox put a hurtin' on Myers the next day. Way to go gotta know Hazel ain't down with hitting girls - something makes me think Hazel would have punched him right back and dropped him.

Maple Leafs General Manager John Ferguson Jr. who is proof that you can't trust a GM of a losing team in the final year of his contract. Ferguson has proven to be a desperate man as he tries to save his job - first with an outrageous contract offer to defenceman Bryan McCabe, then trading his number 1 (1A) goaltending prospect Tuuka Rask to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft (who fell to third on Boston's depth chart), to today talking about trading Tomas Kaberle as part of a package to the Oilers for disgruntled Chris Pronger. This after Kaberle signed "the hometown discount" to stay with the Leafs on a long-term basis. We don't think John has heard about Hazel his actions of the last couple of days, we think he hasn't heard of bad karma.

That's about all for tonight. More news tomorrow from some of the fine upstanding citizens in the National Football League...and an update on the Hazelspeeps Fantasy Baseball Pool - where Hazel Mae's Hackers are making a run at 4th place.

Have a great one peeps...don't worry - no more World Cup talk on yahoo.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world - if you tuned into the Portugal vs. Holland game yesterday...THANK YOU! England on Saturday (Canada Day) at 11 am, we could use a little more Hazel Karma.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - for the game between Portugal and Holland, where Scolari praised his players for their will, their passion, their guts and their resolve.

Desgarrada - Jorge Ferreira

Somos todos Portugues
ate a hora da morte

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

A Win...But At What Cost?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in today. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

It was supposed to be the best matchup of the round of 16 - instead, it turned into a farce. The game between Portugal and Holland took a back seat to the referree, who lost complete control of the game. Portugal squeaked out a 1-0 victory (thank you Hazel????) and now goes on to face England on Saturday. More on this later.

Two games today - no time for analysis, running late here.

Italy 2 - 0 Australia - The Australians' tournament was made by reaching the knockout round...I'd love to see them win, actually I'm hoping they win, but I can't see it happening today.

Brazil 2 - 1 Ghana - Brazil has too much game for Ghana; having said that, Ghana could use their strength to exploit Brazil's one weakness - a lack of speed on defence. Ghana could make this one interesting - I'd like to call an upset here, but I can't.

That's about it gang...running late.

Prepare to troubleshoot in personal and family matters. Your enthusiasm and ability to fight for what you want will be hard to beat. Keep in mind, however, that humility and generosity of spirit will make you not only a winner but a popular one at that. 2 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - watching Luiz Felipe Scolari go crazy on the sidelines yesterday...

O Careca - Amalia Rodrigues

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Little Nervous

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae - who if I may say, would look great walking around the streets of Boston in this little number today.

The round of 16 continues today in Germany - the hosts and the Argentines booked their spot in the quarter-finals by winning yesterday; two more games today.

England 2 - 1 Equador - I can't see England losing today. While Michael Owen's knee injury has left England thin up front - they still have Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard to control the game. England will look to play a slower, controlled game against a quicker Ecuadorean team - their set pieces will be particularly important today as they will look for 6'9" striker Peter Crouch to impose himself on the game. England wins out today to set up a quarter final game against...

Portugal 2 - 0 Holland - Of course I like Portugal to win today - in a game against two teams that are very similar, both in terms of talent and tactics; there isn't much to choose from in this game.
  • Goaltending - Edwin van der Sar is one of the better goalkeepers in the world; but Ricardo has played well and finally started to mature as a goalkeeper at the international level. His challenges on corners are still a little scary...but he's getting better. Slight advantage Holland.

  • Defence - not much to choose from here, the difference in this game may be that Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira (if he plays) are familiar with Arjen Robben and his style of play/tendencies. Even

  • Midfield - Portugal's strength is in the midfield; with Figo and Ronaldo attacking from the wing - and Deco pushing up the middle. The Dutch rely on Robben to create opportunity for their attack - he will be neutralized today. . Advantage Portugal.

  • Striker - Van Nistelrooy is an opportunist and one of the best in the world - though there are questions about whether or not he plays today. Portugal goes with Pauleta, who isn't the quickest striker in the world, but gets the job done. Slight advantage Holland.
The difference in today's game, much like the last time these two met in 2004, will be the play of Portugal's midfield. This Dutch team is a little younger and less experienced than the group that lost the last time around. In a game between two evenly matched team - the difference may be in coaching.

Luiz Felipe Scolari coached Brazil to a World Cup win four years ago - and guided Portugal to the finals of Euro 2004. The team is confident, and most importantly, united; they have bought into Scorlari's system. Captain Luis Figo said Scolari is the best coached he has ever had.

All this said...I'm would still welcome a little bit of Hazel Karma to put us over the hump...
Have a great one peeps...I'll be living and dying with Portugal this aft - likely stuck with a bunch of drunk England fans at a local watering hold this afternoon.

Plan an outing that will stimulate you physically and calm you down mentally. You need a break and time to relax with the ones you love. Romance will develop if you are receptive. 4 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world...we could really use some of your good karma this afternoon against the Dutch.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - The national anthem would be the obvious choice...but we've done that one.

Cheira Lisboa - Amalia Rodrigues

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

DJames says RIIIISH

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The 1st half is over and Germany leads Sweden 2 - 0; to make matters worse, Sweden is down to 10 men after a questionable 2nd yellow card was given to Teddy Lucic. So instead of saying "Yoosh" - I'm going to go with my man DJames reaction after he found out the US was knocked out of the tournament - Riiiiiish.

The afternoon game features Argentina and Mexico - the fiesta for Mexico is over today. Argentina is better than Mexico in all facets of the game, particularly on the attack. Argentinian midfielder Riquelme is the best player on the field and head and shoulders above any of Mexico's midfielders (sorry Pardo). Up front, Mexico's Omar Bravo wouldn't even be Argentina's 3rd choice; Crespo and Messi will prove to be too much today.

Argentina 3 - 1 Mexico. This one you can take to the bank...Red Bull & Vodka buzz now gone.

Enjoy your soccer Saturday peeps - Hazel, if you are peeking...tomorrow at 3pm Portugal and Holland - we need that Hazel Karma!

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Too Much Red Bull & Vodka

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Last night I opted for a night of Red Bull & Vodka over posting Weird & Whacked entry...maybe later. On the plus side, I think our girl Renee is reading to get back into the blogging mode - she's posting some "interesting" news items on yahoo; I'll see if I can get her back into posting here.

Quick post prediction for the Germany/Sweden game - maybe its the Red Bull & Vodka talking, but I'm taking the Swedes today, 2 - 1. There are a number of reasons for it, but not enough time to outline them all; I'll say this. Sweden can control the ball in the midfield, and they have game breakers up front. You heard it here first.

Have a great one peeps...back later.

Have some fun. Don't worry if someone doesn't want to join you. It's better to be out and active than sitting at home feeling guilty about what needs to be done. By allowing everyone else to do as they please, you can follow your own desires. 4 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world - by the looks of it, you are in for a great day!

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - because I'm feeling my girl Nelly Furtado's new cd - a MUST BUY

Maneater - Nelly Furtado

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Last Day Of Opening Round

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Teams in Groups G and H play their final game today...with three positions for the round of 16 still available. Spain has already booked their place in the knockout round - with the remaining seven teams having a chance to make it...well maybe 6, since the Saudis are not likely to beat Spain.

On to today's games

Saudi Arabia 0 - 3 Spain - no explanation needed here.

Ukraine 2 - 1 Tunisia - in a word...Shevchenko. Ukraine has him...Tunisia doesn't.

Switzerland 1 - 1 South Korea - the Swiss advance with a tie, they'll keep things tight against the Koreans.

Togo 0 - 3 France - the French luck their way into the round of 16...

Gotta book peeps...have a great one.

If you have to leave someone behind, that's just the way it is. Right now the focus should be on you and your goals. Don't sell yourself short or put others first today. 4 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world...have a great weekend; if you get a chance, tune into Portugal vs Holland on Sunday, we need that good karma!

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - because I'm in a Nelly kind of mood

Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Did Hazel Say Buh Bye?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The World Cup is providing plenty of surprises - enough for a Weird, Whacked and Wild Wednesday update...but that will come tomorrow. Germany said buh bye to one of the legitimate pre-tournament favourites - Czech Republic; and a counterfeit #5 team from the U.S. (sorry American soccer fans, they were never seen as a threat).

It is very likely that by Sunday night, the tournament will be without FIFA's 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th ranked teams. The Argentines should dispense with Mexico rather easily on Saturday, which means that we won't see Ms. Mexico anymore (the stunning woman in the Mexico tube top who was shown in the stands during the game against Portugal). Speaking of Portugal, they should dispatch with the freaky deaky Dutch on Sunday afternoon.

Things to consider, in the spirit of a weird, whacked and wild World Cup:
  • Will Togo take the field tomorrow? There has been all sorts of controvery with the coach and players threatening to walk out on the world's biggest stage in a dispute over what else - money.

  • Will the sad sack French National Team be bounced in the opening round of the third successive major tournament they are in? A tie between the Swiss and the Koreans would leave the French needing victory by 2 or more goals - somewhat of a tall order for these guys.

  • First word of a team being harrassed upon their return home - the Costa Ricans came home to a crowd of people who showed up to greet them with insults and disparaging remarks about their performance in Germany.

  • The man the Brazilian press was calling "Fatty" - Ronaldo - scored two goals today to tie him for 1st in all-time World Cup goals.

  • In non-World Cup news - two Italian soccer giants, Juventus and A.C. Milan may be taking a tumble for match fixing.

  • Diego Maradona is making news again - this time for tax evasion.

All this and a lot more tomorrow and through the weekend. Long day today...and I had to watch the replay of Ghana and the U.S.A. So I'm left to wonder - if Hazel did SportsDesk tonight...did she usher the U.S. out with a "Buh Bye"? Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - for the Czechs and the U.S soccer teams.

A Saudade - Traditional Folk Song from the Azores (you don't have to understand the words...just listen to the melody and harmony - you'll get it).

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Is The USA "Ghana" Win Today?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The first four matchups in the round of 16 have been set at the World Cup; of particular importance here is Sunday's matchup between Portugal and Holland. Portugal, sitting out five starters who were on yellow cards, beat Mexico by a score of 2-1; Maniche and Simao Sabrosa were the goal scorers. So...Mexico, number 5 in the world huh? Bring on the freaky deeky Dutch as Dr. Evil would say.

Four more games today and all with round of 16 implications.

Czech Republic 2 - 1 Italy - The Czech throw everything they have at Italy today, which may be enough to get the win; after losing to Ghana, the Czechs will be out to prove they are a contender...oh yeah, and they want to avoid Brazil. Italy was beaten up in the game against the US.

Ghana 1 - 1 U.S.A - The World Cup party ends for the USA today; they haven't scored a goal in the tournament up til this point (the goal against Italy was an own goal). They may get one today...but I think Ghana responds, Michael Essien keeps them in this one. The U.S.A number 5 in the world...ya right - the slide down the FIFA rankings starts today. Fret not my American friends - you guys will have 25 or 30 games over the next four years against the likes of Jamaica, El Salvador, Panama and others to build that ranking back up. Ugh

Croatia 2 - 1 Australia - The Croats haven't played up to their potential yet - the Australians have a win against a disorganized Japanese team in the opening game. The Croats get their act in ger and take the win.

Japan 0 - 3 Brazil - Brazilian legend Zico leads Japan against Brazil is not going to be pretty. Critics are questioning Brazil's game right now...Japan is about to find out it is fine and well. Adriano is the key man today.

There you have it...back later with some weird and whacked stuff. Oh yeah...I'm taking back the team Hazie I gave Argentina this week...the tie against Holland blew up my lottery ticket. This morning I'm hating Eric Chavez and Vernon Wells (his HR came a day late for me) who also blew up big tickets. Have a great one peeps!

You aren't likely to please everyone but, the people who truly care about you will understand. A break will do you some good and allow you to rethink your strategy. Then you will be back on track and hard to stop. 3 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world...hope you were watching Portugal play yesterday...we need the Hazel Karma!

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - on what should be a good day of rest for my man Figo

Fui Ao Mar Buscar Sardinhas - Amalia Rodrigues

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

World Cup Wednesday Picks

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

World Cup features Groups C and D today.

The Group C games are about pride and positioning - Group D games are about positioning as the first and second spots have yet to be determined (though Portugal has already qualified for round of 16).

Cote D'Ivoire 2 - 1 Serbia & Montenegro - the Ivory Coast has asserted themselves well at the tournament, they deserved a better fate that being drawn with the Dutch and the Argentines. Drogba leaves the tournament on a high note.

Argentina 3 - 1 Holland - I had picked Holland to win Group C in my World Cup preview, but I'm picking Argentina today as Holland's coast could be sitting up to 6 starters who have yellow cards.

Portugal 2 - 2 Mexico - Portugal is in the same boat as the Dutch, with Luiz Felipe Scolari saying that anyone who has a yellow card is sitting today. Portugal has enough left to stay in the game and secure top spot.

Iran 1 - 0 Angola - Iran leaves the tournament salvaging some pride. Angola has been playing not to lose, I don't think they can play to win.

Have a great one peeps. GO PORTUGAL!

A little competition with friends will do you some good. Once you get going, you will be difficult to stop. Don't rush too quickly into making personal changes to your looks. 3 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world. We could use a little Hazel Karma today.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - morning wake up song

Grass Is Green - Nelly Furtado

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This Week's Hazies

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

For those of you who haven't been here before - The Hazies take a look back at some of the more notable performances from the past week. The winners are awarded a Hazie and have the title of "Hazel's Hero" bestowed upon them. While Hazel hasn't officially OK'd the nominees - we'd like to think she would give her trademark smile and the thumbs up.

This week's awards are going to focus a little more on team achievements rather than just individual performances - mainly due to the fact that I spent the better part of last week watching the World Cup, and the weekend up in the mountains where we only turned on the television to watch Portugal vs Iran.

Reluctantly, I have to give it up to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were definitely one of the surprise teams of the new NHL - and are now the poster boys for Gary Bettman's NHL. The Canes were a great story this year - rising from the depths of the NHL to hoist the Cup...the 2006 version of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While they were definitely the beneficiaries of some great luck (major injuries to 3 of the 4 teams they beat), they made it through the grind that is the NHL playoffs - they did it with a relatively unknown goalie, Cam Ward. A nice side story to this one was seeing Rod Brind'Amour and Justin Williams win the Stanley Cup - two very good players who were banished to hockey's wasteland by none other that Flyers' GM Bob Clarke.

You had to know I couldn't end the hockey season without taking one last shot at Clarke.

The Edmonton Oilers deserve a lot of credit for their playoff run. They came in as the number 8 seed in the Western Conference, with all sorts of questions about their goaltending, questions about some of their forwards (notably Michael Peca), and questions about whether or not they could muster enough offence to compete - they answer their critics and the doubters (yours truly included) to come within inches of winning the Stanley Cup, in a year when many thought they wouldn't even make the playoffs.

The Oilers are the epitome of what makes hockey such a great sport - enthusiasm, heart, grit, determination, perseverance in the face of adversity. They brought hockey fans from coast to coast together - to rally for the cause of a small market Canadian team. Bravo to the Oilers.

I think Hazel would definitely agree on this one.

The World Cup always has some surprises, and this year's tournament is no different.

Germany did the expected, winning Group A; but few expected them to steamroll their way through the group (yours truly included). The Germans dismantled the opposition in the opening round of the tournament and deserve some credit for the way in which they advanced to the round of 16. One player that deserves special mention, and an individual Hazie Award, is striker Miroslav Klose who scored 4 goals in the opening round - an for a bit of irony, Klose was born in Poland.

Ecuador came into the tournament with few expectations - Poland was expected to finish second to Germany and advance to the round of 16. Ecuador started the tournament off by shocking Poland and then beating Costa Rica to secure their passage. Veteran striker Augustin Delgado who struggled through the first round with a bad back gets special mention, and a Hazie.

Argentina is showing the world why "football" is referred to as The Beautiful Game. The Argentines came into the tournament as one of the favourites, but their recent performances had some wondering whether they could find their form from their South American qualifying stage. They have found their game in a big way, outscoring the oppostion by a count of 8 - 1 in their first two games...and in the driver's seat to win the group. Special mention has to go to striker Hernan Crespo who had a tough year at Chelsea, but has served notice that he can be a special player.

Portugal has put the disappointment of the last World Cup behind them and won the first two games of their group stage to advance to the round of 16. The Seleccao das Quinas have not lost a game since Euro 2004 (I don't want to talk about it) - and look poised to make a long run at the title. Special mention goes to the old man of the team - Luis Figo, who has silenced doubters by showing he is far from being washed up and can be an impact player at the elite level. The Captain has put the team on his back and created a number of scoring chances for his team...his last kick at the can has been special up to this point.

Spain has started the tournament with two impressive wins, and have served notice that they intend to shake the tag of "underachievers". Spanish coach Luis Aragones made a bold move in starting the tournament with the country's most famous striker, Raul, on the bench in favour of youngsters Fernando Torres and David Villa. Special mention goes to Fernando Torres who has scored three goals in his first two games - solidifying himself as the team's first choice striker. Raul also gets a Hazie - he was put in the difficult position of sitting and watching his team take the pitch; he handled it with class and waited for his chance, scoring the tying goal against Tunisia yesterday.

That's about it for the World Cup - though games over the next few days may result in mid-week Hazies being awarded.

Have a great one peeps - back with more tomorrow.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - at the outset of the World Cup, I said the songs of the day/night would be all about Portugal - in honour of the boys in red and green. But one of the peeps admonished me for not putting forth "Spanish Bombs" by The Clash for Spain's performance to open the tournament. There - done! (I love that song). But for tonight...a song for the game tomorrow against Mexico.

Oxala (I wish) - Marisza

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Some Playing For Pride, Some For Prize

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Before starting today's post - congratulations go out to the Carolina Hurricanes who beat the Edmonton Oilers last night to win the Stanley Cup. More on this later.

So the World Cup's group stage is drawing to a close - with four games per day being played now. In today's action, there are two games with implications, and two games that won't mean anything in terms of advancing.

Playing for pride today will be:

Costa Rica 1 - 2 Poland - the Poles have been one of the bigger disappointments in the tournament, they salvage something from the tournament with a win over the Costa Ricans.

Paraguay 1 - 0 Trinidad and Tobago - Paraguay is another team that came into the tournament with high hopes, and will leave bitterly disappointed. Trinidad & Tobago's tournament was made with the draw against Sweden.

Playing for the prize today will be:

Ecuador 2 - 2 Germany
- the Ecuadorans have been a pleasant surprise in the tournament; a tie against the Germans gives them 1st place in their group on the basis of goal differential. They have the talent and, most importantly, the speed to cause the Germans headaches.

Sweden 2 - 1 England - this game is a tricky one, because England will likely be resting Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, both of whom have yellow cards - yellows are wiped out in the round of 16. Talk on English messageboards is that the team would be better off finishing 2nd, for a more favourable draw in the knockout stage (ie. they would avoid Portugal in quarter finals). Whatever the case, the Swedes take today's game a bit more seriously that England.

There you have it. Have a great one peeps!

Look for a little adventure. By spicing up your life, you will increase your enthusiasm for other things as well. Travel plans should be in the works. If what you gain by making the journey teaches you something, you will be that much further ahead. 3 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - for the teams that will be going home after the opening round

Lagrima - Amalia Rodrigues

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Monday, June 19, 2006


Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae...who is probably torn between watching the Sox and Nationals play - and game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

If you are wondering about the title - it goes back to my days in university. A friend of mine used to respond to bad news with one word..."Yoosh"; instead of groaning or complaining, he would just roll his eyes and respond with "Yoosh".

The Canes lead 2 - 0 after two periods and things are looking dire for the Oilers and my prediction of a 3 - 2 Oilers win tonight. The Oilers blew a great chance to get back in the game with a 5 on 3 power play in the closing minutes of the 2nd period.

Hazel, the Oilers and hockey fans across Canada could use a little bit of good Hazel Karma in the 3rd's hoping that you are watching the game and pulling for the Oilers.

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Power Restored

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Just checking in to talk a little Stanley Cup - 1st period over and Carolina leads 1 - 0 over Edmonton. I didn't post my prediction for tonight's game - so I'll do it now...Edmonton will come back to win by a score of 3 - 2. Edmonton had all of the momentum going into tonight's game and Carolina looked tired and beat up after Saturday night's game; everything points to a game 7 win for Edmonton.

For those of you who have read this page regularly, yes - at the outset of the series, I picked Edmonton to win; and yes, I thought Edmonton was done after losing Roloson. Edmonton has showed me a lot during this series, and Carolina has shown me that they can't win in the face of adversity (losing Weight and having some of their players banged up). I am going to stick with my prediction...Edmonton comes all the way back tonight.

For those of you checking in for this week's Hazies...likely tomorrow night.

Have a great one peeps - I'll probably check back later though.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - it was the theme song for Portuguese National Team at Euro 2004...but it works for Edmonton tonight too.

Forca - Nelly Furtado

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

World Cup Weekend

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

What a weekend at the World Cup - Portugal beat Iran to book their place in the round of 16; Luis Figo had another very good game Saturday, setting up the goal by Deco and drawing the penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo converted from the penalty spot...the boys are definitely on the rise.

Brazil looked shaky in their win against Australia, something is not quite right with the Samba boys; this is looking very much like the 1998 World Cup where all signs pointed to Brazil winning - and the French upset them.

Some shockers this weekend:

Mexico tying Angola, I don't know if this is a case of Angola rising to the occasion; or the Mexicans not being quite as good as everyone thinks.

The Czech Republic losing to Ghana, coupled with Italy and the USA tying, leaves Group D up for grabs...who knows what is going to happen.

South Korea coming back to tie France could be a death blow to the French; if nothing else, it completely demoralized the French and has them doubting themselves.

Three more games today, here's who I am picking

Togo 0 - 2 Switzerland - the Swiss know this is a must win today - the cannot afford to give up points to Togo.

Saudi Arabia 0 - 2 Ukraine - The Saudis shocked Tunisia, but the Ukraine and Shevchenko are a different animal. The Ukraine know that with a win, they determine their own destiny in game 3 against Tunisia.

Spain 3 - 0 Tunisia - Spain just have too much for Tunisia. I think the Spainiards bolt out to an early lead and coast the rest of the way.

That's about it for this morning - gotta book peeps. Have a great one.

You'll be able to get things done today. Your energetic approach will tire -- and impress -- the people you are with. You'll be able to enhance your look, making your chores a little easier. 3 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - for some of the teams at the World Cup who are a little shaken right now, most notably the French

Sou De Vidro - Misia

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup Weekend

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Nine World Cup games and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup to look at - all of them with survival implications. Three teams have already had their fates sealed at the World Cup - Costa Rica, Poland and Paraguay (my dark horse in Group B) by virtue of starting off with two losses, are making plans to head home after their next game - "Playing for pride", isn't that the saying? No word from DJames on whether or not the inlaws were impressed with his insight into this year's tournament.

On to the games -

Argentina 2 - 0 Serbia & Montenegro - it comes down to having the ability to create and score, the Argentines do and Serbia & Montenegro doesn't. While the Serbs held Holland at bay for most of the game, Argentina features more pure goal scorers; and in Riquelme, a creator who can penetrate that wall and provide Crespo and Messi with opportunities at goal. Mateja Kezman isn't quite ready for the world stage just yet.

Holland 2 - 1 Ivory Coast - Hup Hup Holland, or "If it ain't Dutch - it ain't much" if you prefer. Ruud Van Nistelrooy was quiet in game 1, I expect him to wake up and score at least one today. Robben runs right at the Ivory Coast to create holes and opportunities.

Mexico 2 - 0 Angola - Angola left it all on the field against Portugal - Mexico looks to stay in first, setting up a game 3 showdown against Portugal.

Portugal 3 - 1 Iran - the 1st game jitters are over, time to show the world that we are serious about a run at the finals. Figo scores in this one, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco show the world that they will be factors in this tournament.

Ghana 1 - 2 Czech Republic - Ghana came close to scoring against Italy, so I think they get one against the Czechs. The Czechs are banged up at the striker position, but that midfield of theirs will control the game.

Italy 2 - 0 United States - Italy doesn't want to play Brazil in round of 16, they beat the U.S setting up a game 3 matchup with implications against the Czechs. U.S. forward Eddie Johnson said the World Cup was like going to war - I won't get into how wrong that is...but I'll say, prepare to surrender Eddie, the war is over tomorrow.

Japan 0 - 2 Croatia - the Croats need this win if they are going to advance, and they will. Japan got a controversial goal against the Aussies, they won't be so lucky this time.

Brazil 3 - 0 Australia - Ronaldo is sick, but Brazil still has Ronaldinho, Kaka, Adriano and company. Australia finds out what it is like to play against the big boys - they won't like it.

France 2 - 1 South Korea - Both teams disappointed in the first round, France needs the win to avoid Spain in the round of 16. South Korea will find out that France is a little tougher than Togo.

That's it for the weekend's games.

Last but not least, I'm calling on the Oilers to force a game 7 with a win on Saturday night against the Canes. For the first time in the playoffs, the Canes are a little banged up and shaken.
Edmonton wins 4 - 2 with the re-emergence of Ryan Smith and Horcoff.

I'm out for the weekend peeps...bachelor party in the mountains - golf, beer, steak and the World Cup...GO PORTUGAL!

Don't waste time; make today count. Offer your services or time to someone or something you believe in. The contributions you make will help you out in the future. 4 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world - have a great weekend!

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - for tomorrow's game against Iran...the unofficial national anthem

Uma Casa Portugesa - Amalia Rodrigues

Uma promesso de beijos
Dois brassos a minha espera
A uma casa Portugesa com certeza
A com certeza uma casa Portugesa

Peesth Out...Buh Bye (til Sunday!!!)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Staring Elimination In The Face

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The Edmonton Oilers pulled one out in Carolina last night - Fernando Pisani scored a shorthanded goal three and a half minutes into overtime to send the series back to Edmonton. I was one of the people that wrote them off when Roloson went down, but you have to think this one is going to go seven games - and the old saying goes "Game 7 is anybody's game."

Two teams face elimination at the World Cup today; elimination in the sense that their last game will be rendered meaningless if the lose today. Costa Rica and Sweden need big games to stay alive - while in the other game, England can clinch first place in the group with a win over Trinidad and Tobago. On to my predictions for today's games:

Ecuador 2 - 0 Costa Rica - A win for Ecuador guarantees them a place in the round of 16, a loss or a tie means they have to look to Poland to help them out - I can't see Ecuador putting their faith in Poland.

Trinidad and Tobago 0 - 3 England - The English press were critical of the team after their opening game victory over Paraguay...they shut the press up today with a good game.

Sweden 1 - 1 Paraguay - Sweded is in some trouble, grumblings about players fighting - I think Paraguay plays it close to the vest and takes their chances against Costa Rica.

That's it for this morning peeps. Have a great one!

Get back to doing the things you enjoy. Make time for your friends, lover and children as well as for your own hobbies. Consider the changes necessary to your looks in order to stay current and marketable. 4 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - just because

Sou De Vidro - Misia

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

World Cup Preview - Group H

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The last installment of the World Cup Preview - for my man DJames, who sent along a thank you email. Group H is another one of the easier groups to breakdown, much like Group G, this group has one world class team - Spain, a team used to playing top ranked competition - Ukraine, and two weaker teams - Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. The two teams advancing from this group should have pretty favourable matchups in the round of 16.

Spain (ranked 5th by FIFA) - the Spanish, along with the English, are the tournament's most notable underachievers. They have a wealth of talent that matches up favourably with just about anyone in the world - but they never seem to get it done when it counts. Spain's strength lies in the midfield - Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia are both very talented midfielders who can distribute the ball around the field, and score when given the chance. Jose Reyes and Cesc Fabregas, two highly rated young midfielders, give Spain the option of playing a speed game if needed. Up front, one big change from previous Spanish teams - Raul (one of their greatest strikers) will likely be watching from the sidelines, giving way to two younger players Fernando Torres and David Villa. Spain's defence is experienced and solid - though unspectacular - Carlos Puyol has lost a step and a half (not that he was ever a speed demon to begin with). Real Madrid's Iker Casillas is a world class goalie who should keep things clean in the group stage.

Spain cruises through the group - three relatively easy wins, and a date with the Swiss (or maybe the Koreans).

Ukraine (ranked 45th by FIFA) - the Ukraine is a bit of an unknown in this tournament, but with Andriy Shevchenko (the best striker in the world) they have a game breaker that can win games on his own. The try to play a tight game, relying on defenders who are well organized and can defend in the air. They will play a counter attack game, hoping that Shevchenko can create an opportunity or two and bury them. A round of 16 game would be considered a success for them - they may not go far, but they have enough to get past the Saudis and the Tunisians.

Tunisia (ranked 21st by FIFA) - a ranking largely built on where and who they play - African teams are on the rise...but certainly don't match up against the better teams in Europe or South America. They are another teams that doesn't feature many name players, but they work hard and are quick - so they can take advantage if you give them an opportunity on the counter attack. Their strength lies with their defenders, and they will try to mark Shevchenko with one, two and three men at times. I wouldn't completely write them off, but they will need a great deal of luck to get through to the round of 16.

Saudi Arabia (ranked 34th by FIFA) see explanation for Tunisia on rankings. The Saudis should be looked at as one of the teams that is just happy to be there. They come into the tournament being looked at by the other three teams as a relatively easy win (though the Tunisians found out today that they aren't so accomodating). The Saudis go home early - and "Sharif don't like it." (sorry, had to put in a reference to The Clash).

Winner - Spain, no further explanation needed - head and shoulders above the rest.

2nd Place - Ukraine, to sum it up with one word...Shevchenko.

Key Game - Tunisia vs Ukraine. 2nd place will certainly come down to this game with both expected to lose to Spain. A bit unfair, since I know the results from today's games - but the Ukraine will likely go into the game against Tunisia knowing that a tie should see them through to the knockout stage. I still think Shevchenko leads his team to two wins.

There you have it probably didn't need a breakdown for this group, but don't say I don't do anything for you.

There you have it peeps - I'm going back to the 3rd period of the Edmonton/Carolina game...may be back later. Have a great one!

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - for the country they dubbed "our big brother" at Euro 2004 (where we beat them) - Spain

Fado Caracois - Amalia Rodrigues

Sao caracois, sao carocolites
Sao Espagnols, sao Espaganolites
Sao Espaganolites, sao Espagnols
Sao carocolites, sao caracois

Ai um dia foi a Espagna
Ai um dia foi a Espagna
Comi la com Espagnols
Comi la com Espagnols
Toussinho assada nou espeto
Toussinho assada noe espeto
Nou moulho dos caracois
Nou moulho dos caracois

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

You Know 'Em - I Hope You Love 'Em

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

World Cup takes center stage in this week's edition of The Hazies. For those of you who haven't been here before - The Monday (or so) Hazies take a look back at some of the more notable performances from the past week. The winners are awarded a Hazie and have the title of "Hazel's Hero" bestowed upon them. While Hazel hasn't officially OK'd the nominees - we'd like to think she give her trademark smile and the thumbs up.


This year's tournament has started off with a bang - the defensive style of crap the Greeks brought to Portugal in 2004 is now a distant memory, replaced by the slashing runs of Robben, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rosicky, Nedved, my man Figo and a host of others at the World Cup.

Tomas Rosicky of the Czech Republic scored two goals, including a highlight reel blast from about 30 yards out, in a thrashing of the United States. Time and time again Rosicky beat the U.S. defenders, and looked like a man playing with boys. The Czechs have been predicting big things for him at this tournament - he served notice to the world that he is a player.

Australia's Tim Cahill also scored two goals against Japan, including a howitzer through a crowd of defenders from about 20 yards out. What makes his performance all the more impressive was that he did it as a sub (he went into the tournament hurt) and he hit both late in the game within a couple of minutes.

Costa Rica's Paulo Wanchope started off the tournament with two goals against the host Germans; quite a feat to do it in the opening game, in a hostile environment. Wanchope's game against Germany is definitely the highlight for Costa Rica.

Mexico's Omar Bravo and Germany's Miroslav Klose each hit for two goals in their opening games.

Holland's Arjen Robben was outstanding in his game as he took it to Serbia and Montenegro last week. Robben, who scored a goal and created a few more chances for himself, controlled the game and made a very good Serbian defence look ordinary - he absolutely shredded them.

Trinidad and Tobago's goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, who wasn't expected to see much action, turned in a memorable performance - stifling the Swedes a few times late in the game to preserve a 0 - 0 tie.

Portugal's Luis Figo proved to doubters that he is ready for the tournament. Thought by some to be past his prime, Portugal's attack flowed through the old man on Sunday and he controlled the flow of the game. He set up Pauleta's goal and created a number of other chances with slashing runs into the middle of the field. The man is on a mission to lift the out world.

The tournament has also had its share of great goals - top 5 goals (not already referred to tonight)...I think Hazel would have no problem counting these down.

5) Brazil's Kaka scored a great one today against Croatia.

4) Italy's Andrea Pirlo curled in a seeing eye free kick from about 25 yards against Ghana.

3) Australia's John Aloisi made a great individual run, splitting the Japanese defence to seal the victory.

2) South Korea's Jung-Hwan Ahn hit a great one today from about 2o yards out to bring his team back over Togo.

1) Germany's Torsten Frings shocked the Costa Rican's with a strike from 30+ yards out. The best goal of the tournament so far.

"The Beautiful Game" indeed it is! Speaking of which - I'm lovin' the new line of ADDIDAS commercials with the kids picking soccer teams. The World Cup always has the best commercials.

The last World Cup Hazie goes to the Commissioner of the Hazelspeeps' Fantasy Baseball Pool "Drisc", who after the Americans' loss to the Czech Republic felt compelled to wade in on the World Cup

" All the hype about USA in the World Cup and they get slammed 3-0, I
mean nill.
All those wasted hours of kids playing youth soccer. Put on the pads and play real football!"

Here is who doesn't get a Hazie - Hazel's former colleague Mike Toth of Rogers Sportsnet. I normally like Mike, but I swear I want to punch him when I hear him mispronounce Ronaldinho. Toth keeps pronouncing it "Ronal-deeno". Come on now, for the love of Hazel, how could you mispronounce the most well known athlete in the entire world? Everyone knows its "Ronal-deenyo" - ADD THE DAMN "Y" MIKE. Speaking of Mike, his co-host Martine Gaillard is just as bad - you'd think these two would watch the game for a few minutes and hear how names are pronounced. Jeebers...I bet Hazel isn't butchering world cup names - she is doing world cup games on NESN...isn't she? Hazel? (if you are checking in).

My World Cup Predictions for today's games

Spain 2 - 1 Ukraine - the Spaniards will look to duplicate their first round success in Korea, where they won all three games. Spain has too much talent, more than enough to overcome Shevchenko.

Tunisia 3 - 1 Saudi Arabia - Tunisia can play and the Saudi's can't, not at this level anyways.

Germany 2 - 1 Poland - Germans play tight knowing that a win guarantees them passage to round of 16. Poland's game against Ecuador was telling.

I have been so wrapped up in the World Cup that I've had half an eye on MLB and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I saw enough to know that Hank Blalock's woeful performance yesterday against the White Sox, failing to get a single hit, blew my pro-line ticket out of the water. But a quick run down:

New York Mets Carlos Beltran and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins were awarded the Player of the Week.

David "Big Papi" Ortiz gets a Hazie for another 9th inning HR on Sunday to win the game for the Sox.

There were a number of other great performances - but like I said, the World Cup. Now for those of you watching the tight race in the Hazelspeeps Fantasy Baseball Pool - this past week was not without controversy. Our resident Steinbrenner - Hubie - has been charged by Sparky with adding and dropping multiple players everyday in order to take them off the waiver wire for 2-3 days...thus impacting the rest of the league's ability to acquire players. Hubie vehemently denies the charge...stay tuned to see how this plays out. If we can't resolve this to everyone's satisfaction - we may just ask Hazel herself to intervene!

Standings for the week ending June 11.

73.5 - The Bronx Zoo (owned by Sparky - who has pledged to stay the course with his team)
68.0 - Tina's Team (owned by Tina - who is hanging in there with the big boys)
66.5 - Waiver Man (owned by our man Hubie - who hasn't met a player he didn't want to waive or acquire)
65.5 - Shuggysux (owned by Shuggy - who we still haven't heard from)
53.5 - Hazel Mae's Hackers (owned by me - I wanna draft Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Hazel Mae!)
52.5 - Naughty Girls (owned by Renee - who has been working hard the group in search of trades)
45.0 - Banana Peels (owned by the Golden Banana - who hasn't been slipping down the standings)
44.0 - Fighting Bobcats (owned by Commish Drisc - who is lashing out at USA Soccer)
44.0 - GB Steam Boys (owned by George - who is still working every damn night)
37.5 - Leprachauns ( owned by Irish - who we haven't heard from in a while)

There you have it. What you should know:
  • Hubie's cup of coffee has run dry - he isn't in first anymore,
  • Tina's Team is for real, and
  • I am still ahead of Renee - who still hasn't put in her request for our bet.
Have a great one peeps!

Network all you can today. The more people you can talk to about a project, the better equipped you will be to do it properly. You will make some new friends if you take a short trip or attend a tradeshow or conference. 2 stars

Hazel I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - for the Brazilians who won a tough game against the Croats yesterday...keeping in mind its World Cup and its all about Portugal this month.

Fado Xuxu - Amalia Rodrigues

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

World Cup Preview - Group G

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in today. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

I know Group G started off today, and that this preview for my man DJames may be a few hours late - but today's results have not influenced my initial thoughts on this group. While this is one of the weaker groups in the tournament, it may hold some of the biggest surprises - witnessed by the France/Switzerland tied today.

As an aside, this group features two of the teams I hate most in the tournament - France and South Korea (yes, even though I picked Korea to win today)...both teams have knocked Figo and the Portuguese out in big tournaments. Both victories had controversial decisions that helped the bad guys win - but we won't get into that tonight. This group will come down to the level of competition you are used to playing against - France and Switzerland play some of the top European teams, Korea doesn't - I think it will be as simple as that.

France (ranked 8th by FIFA) - the last go around for Zidane and Makalele, and the beginning of the spiral down the rankings for the French. The team features some big names - Henry Trezeguet, Barthez and the aforementioned old timers; but they haven't been able to achieve anything since their victory at Euro 2000 (did I mention there was some controversy?). France should be able to generate some offence in the tournament, given that they are playing Togo and a South Korean team that is not known for their defense; Henry and Trezequet should be able to take advantage with Zidane and Vieira servicing them. They are reasonably solid in goal with Barthez, who is by no means a top flight goalkeeper anymore, but still probably the best of this lot - and their defence is experienced and solid (Makalele plays more like a defender than a midfielder). Zidane's tired legs will show in the tournament.

France has enough to get by in this relatively weak group - but they should not be considered as a legitimate threat to get beyond the quarter-finals.

Switzerland (ranked 35th by FIFA) - don't be fooled by the ranking, these guys are on the upswing; tying France twice in the World Cup qualifying group and beating a very good Turkish side to book their place at the tournament. There are not a lot of big names on this team, but they played very tight and are well organized. The Swiss defence is solid, anchored by Arsenal defender Senderos, and is the backbone of the team - they are good enough to holdoff any of the teams in this group. They don't have a wealth of talent or creativity up front - but their striker Alexander Frei is a finisher and can be considered a game breaker. The Swiss have enough to beat South Korea, which should be the deciding factor in this group.

South Korea (ranked 29th by FIFA) - they had a great tournament four years ago in their backyard - but this time around, there won't be multiple goals against them called back - and they won't be playing against teams who have had two players sent off. The Koreans are quick, which may give France and the Swiss some problems - but again, they are workman like and don't have the creativity needed to break down the French and Swiss defences. South Korea's defence will be tested by the likes of Henry and Frei - two finishers who won't make too many mistakes when given the opportunity. The South Koreans haven't had to face the level of competition of the group's two favourites and it will show here.

They are led by Dutchman Dick Advocaat, who doesn't exactly have the most impressive resume leading international teams - South Korea will miss Guss Hiddink this time around.

Togo (ranked 61st by FIFA) - there isn't much to say about Togo. They are just happy to be there - their coach wasn't, but that is a different story (look for it on a Weird & Whacked Wednesday post). The tournament will be considered a success if some of their players manage to land contracts in Europe. Three strikes and they are out.

Winner - France, they aren't as good as people think - but I don't think they are weak enough to blow this one.

2nd Place - Switzerland, their defensive, counter-attacking, style will be enough to get them through the group stage...but Spain will beat them in the round of 16.

There you have it DJames - your Group G breakdown.

I will do Group H tomorrow - but given that all four teams play tomorrow morning, here is how I see it finshing up. Spain wins the group, with the Ukraine finishing second. Tunisia puts up a decent fight and finishes third, with Saudi Arabia finishing with three losses and a quick trip home.

I'll wrap this up and try to get started on the World Cup Hazies - oh? is there baseball being played these days? Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world!

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - because I can't stand the French

Lisboa Nao Sejas Francesa - Amalia Rodrigues

Lisboa nao sejas francesa
com toda a certeza
nao vas ser feliz

Lisboa que ideia daninha
vaidosa alfancinha
casar com paris

Lisboa tens ca namorados
que dizem coitados
com as almas na voz

Lisboa nao sejas francesa
tu es portuges
tu es so p'ra nos

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!

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