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Entries in Mike Marshall (6)


World Cup Notes: Update On Hot Dutch Girls

Dutch Soccer Fans

One Great Season

Sports Web sites and other media outlets offering even the most basic World Cup coverage were just as ecstatic as Barbara Castelein and Mirthe Nieuwpoort  Tuesday afternoon.

The two Dutch women were cleared of criminal charges in a Johannesburg courtroom, just days after being accused in a beer company's ambush-marketing gag at last week's Denmark-Holland Cup match, The Guardian reported.

The development gave sites everywhere another reason to publish the picture of the gaggle of gals sporting those form-fitting getups in that familiar Dutch orange, and use terms like "Hot Girls" in their cheap headlines.

NOTES FROM ENGLAND: As you know, OGS World Cup writer Steve Susi is wrapping up his whirlwind European tour this week, watching matches at pubs and what not, and sent these emails Monday evening:

"I just landed in London this afternoon and am blown away by how down-spirited the island nation is about their famous football team after two draws. I visited a Sainsbury supermarket here a few hours ago, and walking through the England World Cup merchandise aisle I heard an older guy say to his wife, 'They ought to put all this stuff on clearance.'"

And ...

"In a Notting Hill bar at the moment and just saw this incredibly amazing 'World Cup Managers Fashion Report' that absolutely excoriated Germany's coach Joachim Low, his butt-cut hairdos, and sportcoat/v-neck sweater. I haven't laughed this hard in a while. Like two days. But still, fantastic. (The music bed for the feature was Madonna's "Vogue," FYI.)"

RE: ALL: Susi's second note earned a cheeky reply from OGS Group F correspondent Mike Marshall: "That's awesome they're showcasing Joachim Low. Watching their last match the other day, I was dumbfounded that both he and his assistant were doing some form of Hugo Boss meets Mr. Rogers sweater shit. I'm expecting them to have low-tech head sets, rocking out to Kraftwerk in true Dita Dance Party fashion. They should check out Pep Guardiola for fashion tips."

VIDEO OF THE DAY: NBA star Steve Nash, a native of Canada and lover of seemingly all sports, is featured in Visa's latest worldwide GOOOOAAAAAL cheer, shows off his Brandi Chastain sports bra at the end of this short clip.

SUGGESTION BOX: If American football uses seven officials to spy a 100-yard field for NFL games, why do only three zebras patrol a pitch that in international footy can be as gargantuan as 120 yards long and up to 80 yards wide? Should FIFA consider adding more officials to Cup games?

KIT JOKES: I'd heard plenty of jokes about Slovenia's uniforms during their gift of a 2-2 draw with the Americans on Friday, most of which had a Charlie Brown theme. But this Facebook status update from friend Matthew Fenton was too good to ignore: "Some vandal broke into Slovenia's locker room and drew EKGs on their jerseys."


World Cup Awards: Early Short Lists Announced

World Cup 2010 Logo

One Great Season

Day 12 of the World Cup brings the final matches for Groups A and B. By the end of Tuesday's games, four teams will be advancing to the knockout stage and four others will be making return trips home.

The short lists for the dubious Brown Whistle and the coveted Brass Ball honors are out. With still plenty of soccer to play, there's certainly room for these groups to welcome new nominees. Feel free to share your suggestions here:

The Brown Whistle
When you need to honor an official for a truly shitty performance:

1. Alberto Undiano, Spain, Referee for the Germany-Serbia match
2. Koman Coulibaly, Mali, Referee for the US-Slovenia match

The Brass Ball
This player changes his bloody shirt and gets on with it.

1. Gerard Piqué, Spain
If you've seen either Barcelona or Spain, you're likely to know him. In their first match, a loss to Switzerland, he got a boot to the face while attempting to break up the play that led to the Swiss goal. In their second match, sporting a bandage over his new stitches, he managed to block a crossed ball – at close range – with his groin (fucking ouch), then went on to receive a boot to the mouth, leaving him spitting a fair amount of blood onto the pitch.

Again, your nominations are welcome. Click here to share them.

Click here for Mike's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


Five World Cup Matches You Can't Miss This Week

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Desperate Football On Tap
In Final Games Of Group Play

One Great Season

Tuesday brings the first day of the final round of matches in World Cup pool play in South Africa.

The first round saw some teams, even traditional powers, sitting back and playing conservatively.

The second round required some of those teams to step things up after less-than-positive results in those opening-round matches.

And now that we're on to the desperation round, it's OK to expect more excitement from many of the games over the next few days. A few of the One Great Season World Cup writers reveal below which must-see matches you won't want to miss:

+ Mike Mudd
USA v. Algeria, Wednesday (10 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Group C has been sort of a mess. The U.S. has played great in stretches, and, frankly, like crap in others. This is a must-win game for the Americans and it's going to be interesting to see if they can buckle down and play their best when a spot in the knockout round is on the line in a do-or-die game.

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+ Steve Susi
England v. Slovenia, Wednesday (10 a.m. ET, ESPN2)
How will the Three Lions respond to this must-win situation (or at least must-draw and pray for help) after a week of discord, calls for Fabio Capello's head, Capello's calling out of John Terry for press-conference comments, Jamie Gallagher's absence due to two yellows and the tabloid mania that's drowned us all these past few days?

+ Jake Yadrich
Germany v. Ghana, Wednesday (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
After Germany blasted Australia 4-0 in their opening match, people were talking Cup favorite. But then a 1-0 loss to Serbia left the Germans likely needing a victory over group leader Ghana to advance to the knockout stage. The German attack will be without prolific goal scorer Miroslav Klose, and Ghana captain John Mensah and fellow central defender Issac Vorsah may both be available for the match (neither played the last game due to injuries). I imagine Serbia will take out Australia, leaving the Germans with no option but to win this game. It has added importance, not only because a world soccer power may be booted, but it could also determine who the Americans would play in the knockout round should they advance.

+ Mike Dick
Italy v. Slovakia, Thursday (10 a.m. ET, ESPN)
The Italians have looked completely devoid of creativity, lack a consistent goal scorer and have been shaky at the back at times. Can Lippi make enough tweaks to get the three points they so desperately need? Or are the defending champs catching an early flight home?

+ Mike Marshall
Chile v. Spain, Friday (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Spain will be looking to top the group, not only for obvious reasons like national pride, but avoiding a knockout-round game against likely Group G winner Brazil. Following a much-improved second match against Honduras on Monday, Spain will move forward often, and shoot the nets off of the Chilean goal.


World Cup 2010: An Open Letter To Alberto Undiano

(Group F specialist Mike Marshall writes an open letter to Alberto Undiano, referee during Serbia's 1-0 stunner over a 10-man German side Thursday.)

One Great Season

Dear Mr. Undiano:

As a neutral, I was most interested to see how Serbia would undertake a game with a German side that had scored four goals in their first-round shellacking of Australia on Sunday.

Instead, I found myself riveted to the match by your play, er performance. It was truly breathtaking how you took over the game with exquisite control, strict (insane) interpretations of game law and leaving common sense well behind -- inspiring in the least. Yellow and red cards, presented so artfully, gave us all the only focus we could manage, not the players and how they might combine to produce some great play. You sir, were the star.

In closing, if you could be so kind as to avoid any further games in your professional capacity, we would be most appreciative.

Best Regards,

Fans of the great game

Click here for Mike's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup Preview: Group F

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Italy Finds A Way;
Paraguay, Slovakia Vie
For Second Place ... Maybe?

One Great Season

Before any teams are reviewed, I think a good place to start is with two terms that, should you not be familiar with this game, will go a long way in potentially helping you to better appreciate the most popular sporting event on the planet – unlucky and good idea.

For example, if a player shoots on goal and just misses, but the effort was there, you might hear someone say "unlucky." It's not baseball where a player would be given an error for his effort. As for "good idea," should a player pick out one of his teammates making a great run, and the ball is played a bit heavy, then "good idea" would be an in-order comment.

BIO: Meet Mike Marshall

This isn't American football, where nearly all of the actions on the field are scripted. International football is a fluid game; think improvised dance meets Martial Arts. Three subs, no time outs and no chance to run over and get some oxygen after sprinting forward to attempt a goal, then shagging back to cover your own defensive position.

Lastly, I'll be mentioning rankings, but only because people seem to think they hold some sway over how a team might perform. Personally, I think they're absolute bullshit (NCAA Division I, pick a sport), but you are, of course, entitled to your own opinion. Nicknames on the other hand can be quite fun.

Rank: 5
Nickname: Azzurri (Short for Squadra Azzurra, or Blue Team)

OK, so Italy won the last World Cup and will be defending their title. Sure, they tend to put together good tournament sides, having won this contest a near-record four times, and were runners-up twice. However, given the age of the team, Coach Marcello Lippi's men may have trouble should they make into the latter rounds. So what do they have going for them, you ask?

MORE: Meet The 2010 OGS World Cup Writers

For starters, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Gianluigi Buffon. In support of him are three immensely experienced players to ensure the legendary, Italian-Defense Bus keeps its parking space in front of the goal: Defenders Fabio Cannavarro and Gianluca Zambrotta, along with midfielder Gennaro Gattuso. Despite hammering some of my favorite players from time to time, Gattuso is to be well respected for his work ethic, an Italian Dirk Kuyt if you will (cheers, Dirk). Though you never know where the goals will originate, I'd say the player to watch up front is Antonio Di Natale. He was Serie A's leading scorer this past season, and moves well between the left wing and front of goal. On the subject of forwards, an "unlucky" goes out to Giuseppe Rossi, the young Italian-American. Many voices have been raised calling him a traitor because he chose to play for Italy over the United States. Go blow, you envious bastards. He moved back to Italy with his father before he was 17, and had always expressed a desire to play for the Azzurri. Can you believe it, some people actually prefer being members of other countries?

Players to Watch: Antonio Di Natale and Gennaro Gattuso

New Zealand
Rank: 78
Nickname: All Whites

When I think of New Zealand, the first thing that comes to mind is their national rugby team, the "All Blacks", known not only for their prowess on the pitch, but also for their pre-match employment of the Haka. If you haven't seen or heard of the Haka, Google it; it's impressive. Second to mind are the varied and gorgeous landscapes, most recently captured in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings." Unfortunately, neither Gandolf the Gray, nor Gandolf the White will be available for the Kiwis, in this, their second dance at the finals.

COMING WEDNESDAY: Ben Jackey Breaks Down Group G

Unless you follow the English leagues at some level, or more specifically, follow New Zealand's National Team, you will likely not recognize any of the players on the All Whites roster. The one exception would be Andrew Boyens of the New York Red Bulls (Go Red Bulls!). A stalwart stopper at Blackburn in the Premiership, Ryan Nelsen's experience definitely will be in demand. At the goal-scoring end of the pitch will be another name player, Chris Killen, though currently at Middlesbrough in the Championship, he was most recently with Scottish powerhouse Celtic. Despite the aforementioned lads, coach Ricki Herbert will not have the depth in his team to do anything more than give a good showing. All the best to our Kiwi brethren.

Players to Watch: Ryan Nelsen, Chris Killen, and Andrew Red Bull Boyens

Rank: 31
Nickname: La Albirroja, or White-Red

Paraguay come into the finals in good form, finishing third in the South American Zone behind Brazil and Chile. To be more specific, they were only one point behind Brazil, and ceded second place to Chile on goal difference. Well done, Paraguay. With an Argentine coach, Gerardo Martino, Paraguay will be deploying a solid midfield in the form of Cruz Azul's Christian Riveros and Libertad's Victor Caceres. In tandem with these likely to be European-bound players are a strike pair certainly worth mentioning, Nelson Valdez and Oscar Cardozo, of Borussia Dortmond and Benfica, respectively. As Paraguay defeated both Argentina and Brazil in their qualifying run-up (yes, under Maradona, Argentina have been quite the box-of-chocolates), I'm expecting them to tow that Italian bus to the side of the road and claim top of the group. You read it here.

Player to Watch: Nelson Valdez

Rank: 34
Nickname: Bojovni Jondovci, The Fighting Jondas

Anyone remember Czechoslovakia? They finished as runners-up twice. However, as of December 31, 1992, one nation became two. With the former talent pool divided, the Slovak Football Association was founded in 1993. Since then the Czechs have historically done better in both European and world championships, but that gap appears to have been closed. In qualifying for their first ever final, Slovakia left behind the Czech Republic and Poland to take in the 2010 World Cup Finals as spectators at best. To quote Stanislav Sestak, a forward plying his trade at VfL Bochum, "We have nothing to lose. The fact we are participating is already a big achievement, so now we can play freely." Along with Sestak, midfielder Marek Hamsik of Napoli certainly will prove difficult to corral by any team thinking The Fighting Jondas are interested in an early flight home. Bringing up the back line is a stout Liverpool defender, Martin Skrtel. Based on this being Slovakia's first time at the big dance, and given their underdog status, like Paraguay, I wouldn't be surprised to see them surprise the Azzurri.

And about that nickname; what in the hell is a Jonda? My attempt to speak with coach Vladimir Weiss Sunday upon hearing about Skrtel's ankle proved fruitless, so I searched the World Wide Web. Marián 2 explains on Wikipedia that the name comes from the large number of Slovak immigrants who took the surname Jonda. These Slovak supporters reportedly were a rowdy bunch, and the name took -– to both fans and team. If anyone out there has a more substantiated source/definition, please send it my way.

Players to Watch: Stanislav Sestak, Marek Hamsik, Martin Skrtel

Friendly Advice

If you find yourself at a pub, and some people are intently watching this tournament, please wait until a pause in play, say half-time or the end of the game, to ask questions like:

+ How do you think the US will do?
+ Will (insert country name here) win the whole thing?
+ How many teams play in the World Cup?
+ How long does a match last?

Get the point?



Meet The 2010 OGS World Cup Writers

One Great Season is proud to announce it will be covering World Cup 2010 from start to finish. Group previews begin Thursday and once the games begin, we plan to update at least twice daily with match coverage, analysis and other news and notes. Please take a moment to get to know the nine contributors who will make One Great Season the only online destination you'll need for outstanding World Cup coverage.

Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown is a New York-based freelance writer. He's worked as a staff writer covering English and international football at UK and has contributed to several publications over the years, including the New York Post, Scientific American, Seed, Entertainment Weekly, Draft and Star. On Sundays he can be found groggily galumphing around not-always-trash-strewn pitches in the city's Cosmopolitan league, thankful that he never tried to go pro because man that looks like a lot of running. Jeremy will be covering Group B.

Mike Dick

Mike Dick got turned on to soccer by Pele's arrival in the NASL. Living in a virtual soccer vaccuum in Terre Haute, Ind., Mike's love of the game grew via broadcasts of Soccer Made in Germany and the odd NASL match, BBC World Service football coverage on shortwave radio and traveling to see live matches on occasion. He got to see Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best and others in person in the NASL days, and as a semi-regular at matches of the Indianapolis Daredevils of the Amercan Soccer League, had the privilege to see an aged Eusebio as he pulled a Willie Mays at the end of his career. A former college goalkeeper, Mike enjoyed the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt. He supports Nottingham Forest and considers himself to be "the special one" when it comes to prowess on the barstool. Mike, a television producer in Louisville, Ky., will cover Group E.

Ben Jackey

Ben Jackey is an Emmy Award-winning former television news journalist from Louisville, Ky. He is a soccer addict who didn't pick up the game until World Cup 2002. Since then, he has travelled to watch and cover the USMNT and was producing a soccer documentary before he left the TV business this year. He is an avid supporter of Aston Villa FC of the English Premiership and may be the only person on the planet with cornhole boards adorned with the Villa crest. Up the Villa! It's important to note that Ben is a Leo, is fun at parties and is a great dancer. Ben, now a communications specialist in Louisville, will cover Group G.

Mike Marshall

Having played football continually for 28 years in some form, fashion or level in six countries — with teammates and competitors hailing from more than 50 nations — no other game could have given Mike Marshall a better perspective both on the human condition and how it might be changed for the better. With interests in history, international relations, anthropology, and design, Mike finds time for kick-ups whenever possible. Professionally he is the principal behind Marshall Arts, a graphic design and other creative works company. Mike will be covering Group F.

Mike Mudd, an assistant sports editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal, is a lifelong competitive soccer player, coach and fan whose claim to fame was making the second team Indiana all-state team in high school in Jeffersonville, Ind. Mudd covered college soccer while a student at Ball State University in the early 1990s. He also gets asked a lot about the time he scored four goals in a varsity match back in 1990. Mudd has watched every World Cup since 1986 and is more of a fan of South American soccer than European, though he has a soft spot in his heart for England. Mike will cover Group C, and can be followed on Twitter @mudd4goals.

Wade Murray

Wade Murray learned to play soccer at an early age while growing up in Iowa. He was a Division III All-American player at Luther College, then played semi-professionally in Minnesota and New York. His favorite national team is the US side, of course, but on the club level he roots for Everton. Wade is currently a digital marketing professional in New York City, and his favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo. Wade thinks Ronaldo is simply the smoothest son of a #$%^ he's ever seen, although he dives waaaay too much. Wade will be all over Group A.

Bruce Sholl

Bruce Sholl started playing pickup soccer as a kid on the dirty streets of Toledo, Ohio. He then went on to captain the Upper Arlington Golden Bears in Columbus, Ohio, and started for the men's club team of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He currently plays for The Barnstonworth Rovers third team, a New York City club group. Along with being a fan of his hometown Columbus Crew, he has traveled abroad to play and watch, most notably the Man U-Man City Derby in 2008 and Espanyol vs. Villarreal this year. His aggressive style of play has translated well to the pub when watching matches and head-butting. Bruce, a retail marketing specialist, is on the general assignment beat.

Steve Susi

Steve Susi is founder and chief creative officer of Brand Spanking New York, a NYC branding and creative consultancy. Steve has attended numerous Premiership matches over the past two decades — most of which involving his beloved yet hapless West Ham Hammers — attended the 2006 World Cup in Germany (watch the video) and is a devout Ohio State and all-teams-Cleveland fanatic. Mr. Susi will spend the second week of World Cup 2010 watching the national teams of Germany, Holland, Denmark and England at pubs located in those countries' respective capital cities, and reporting/photographing the proceedings for One Great Season. Check out for more about Steve and follow him on Twitter at @brandspankingny. He'll be covering Group D.

Jake Yadrich

Jake Yadrich has worked in the video production industry since 2004, spending mroe than five years as a videotape editor for FOX 4 News in Kansas City. While at FOX 4, he and the station's film critic earned acclaim at the 2009 and 2010 LA Press Club National Entertainment Journalism Awards for their weekly interview segments with Hollywood's biggest stars. In January 2010, Jake obtained what he considers a dream job in becoming the head of video operations for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer. Jake is an avid soccer fan, his favorite team being Barcelona, and brings an industry insider perspective to One Great Season's coverage of the 2010 World Cup. Jake will be covering Group H.