Landon Donovan – Rising For the Occasion

As the minutes ticked away, the chances for the U.S. World Cup squad to advance was getting more and more unlikely. In many fans minds, it was over even though we kept attacking. All I could think about was waiting another four years for them to get another chance to prove themselves to the soccer World. But there it was -the changing moment. Landon Donovan’s 90th minute goal is arguably one of the best moments in U.S. soccer history!

The U.S. needed a win against Algeria and they got it. If there’s ever a way to describe what a nail biter is, this game was exactly that. One shot banged off the right post, an open net opportunity was missed, a chance to head the ball home and a goal was even overturned. The call that was overturned was extremely questionable, but we’ve dealt with this before (against Slovenia!).

As the British squad took an early lead in their game, it meant with a win England was through and the U.S. must win to advance. As each minute went by and each opportunity was missed, it looked less likely that the U.S. would advance. Even coach Bradley was quoted saying «maybe it’s not our night.»

It took 12 seconds to put the game winner together. They moved the ball from one end of the field to the other and left the U.S. fans with something to talk about. This game winner was probably the biggest goal and most dramatic game winners in the 94 years that the U.S. Men’s National Team has been playing.

It was the U.S. soccer legend, Landon Donovan. If anyone could have predicted who would score the game winner, all fingers would have been pointing his way. Landon goes down as possibly the greatest U.S. soccer player of all time. If you’re not sure about this, then check out the U.S.A.’s two biggest goals this World Cup.

This game winner meant more than just advancing to the next round. It also meant that we finished the group stage ahead of England and on top of the tables for the first time in the modern era. The round of 16 match will be played vs. Ghana, the team that sent us home in the previous World Cup.

One thing you can count on with this U.S. squad is fight. This team doesn’t give up. They came back to tie it against England. They came back against Slovenia down 0-2 at halftime to tie it up and could have won if the ref made the right call. They also fought against Algeria until the final whistle and it sure paid off.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed against Ghana and hope that we can get through to the next round. The boys deserve it and it would make a huge impact on U.S. soccer.

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The Rolling History of the Soccer Ball

The phrase ‘play ball’ has most probably emerged from our natural instinct to kick at anything we find lying on the ground, be it paper, plastic or a rubber ball. In the olden days, people even kicked heads for fun. The Chinese in the Ts’in and the Dan dynasties invented animal skin balls between 255BC -220 AD, which they dribbled between two poles through gaps in nets. The ancient Egyptians conducted rituals which resembled a football and the Greeks and Romans also played similar games.

Even the South Americans Indians knew the use of a light elasticized ball. During the pre – medieval times, people of an entire village took to kicking a skull into the square of another village, as a favorite past time. The bladder of pigs was inflated and used for playing. Hence the shape and size of the ball depended on the pig’s bladder, so the trajectory of the ball when kicked could not be predicted. This habit of kicking slowly saw the evolution of the first ever rubber ball in 1855, when Charles Goodyear, after patenting vulcanized rubber, made the first ever rubber ball, which now stands displayed at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY, USA.

In 1862, H. J. Lindon, invented the first inflatable rubber bladders for balls. The next year, the newly created football association chalked out the rules of the game. By 1872, it was agreed that the ball would be ‘spherical with a circumference of 27 or 28 inches’ and would weigh 13 to 15 oz, which exists even today in the FIFA rule book. In 1937, the weight was increased to 14 to 16 oz. According to the Encyclopedia of Association Football which was first published in 1956, the ball has to be spherical with and outer casing of leather or other approved materials, while the size and weight has remained constant till date.

The founding of the English Football League in 1888 gave a fillip to the mass production of soccer balls, with Mitre and Thomlinson of Glasgow being the first two companies to begin manufacturing. Retaining the shape of the ball was imperative, so good quality leather covers were made from the rump of the cow. The 20th Century brought changes in the design as interlocking panels replaced the large leather sections that met at the north and south of the ball.

The color of the soccer ball in the 1950s used to be orange so as to make it visible while playing on snow. In 1951, the first white ball was played with using floodlights. By 1980s, leather was totally replaced by synthetic material. The present 32 panel soccer ball in white and black is the invention of Richard Buckminster Fuller, consisting of 20 hexagonal and 12 pentagonal surfaces. This soccer ball was first marketed by Select in Denmark in the 1950s and the first official FIFA world cup soccer ball – the Adidas Telstar was used in the World Cup at Mexico in 1970.

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria World Cup Journey From USA 1994 to South Africa 2010

It was a delightful crop of players that stormed the 1994 World Cup, brushing aside Bulgaria and Greece 3-0 and 2-0 respectively before succumbing to the superior power of the Argentinian 2-1.

The Super Eagles however topped their group and qualified for the second round where they played former world champions Italy.

Nigeria was within one minute of qualifying for the Quarter finals of the 1994 world cup in the game against Italy, when Roberto Baggio scored to take the game into extra time. He also scored the winning goal for Italy.

In 1998 France hosted the World Cup, with Nigeria qualified alongside Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, and South Africa for a second consecutive time.

With optimism running so high due to the return of most 1994 squad members, the Super Eagles created one of the biggest upsets in football history in their opening game, by defeating Spain 3-2, in a pulsating encounter at the La Beaujoire stadium in Nantes France, where creative midfielder Sunday Oliseh scored one of the best goals of the tournament through a blistering 45 meters cannon from outside the 18 yard box, to beat veteran Spanish goalkeeper Zubizereta, who was forced to go into retirement. That victory propelled the rating of the Super Eagles World wide, and Sunday Oliseh goal was celebrated in major television stations worldwide as a classical masterpiece.

The Super Eagles then went ahead to qualify for the second round with win against Bulgaria 1-0, despite losing their last group match 3-1 to Paraguay.

Their hope of making it to the last eight was shattered by Denmark who walloped the Super Eagles 4-1 in the second round encounter.

The 2002 FIFA World cup co-hosted by Korea and Japan saw Nigeria Qualifying for the third straight time with great optimism.

With a brand new squad and a new indigenous coach Onigbinde Adegboye, Nigerians back home had so many reasons to be hopeful of a good outing.

The Super Eagles were drawn in group F that was then regarded as the «group of death» alongside Sweden, Argentina, and England.

It was an early flight home for the Super Eagles after successive defeat in the hands of Argentina 1-0 and Sweden 2-1.

A scoreless draw against England was not good enough for a second round ticket.

The Super Eagles narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup.

The group’s sole ticket was grabbed by Palancas Negras of Angola, which had a superior goal difference than the Super Eagles.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup which was hosted by South Africa did not go as expected, as Nigeria was humbled 1-0 by a resilient Argentina side which was inspired by Lionel Messi. The goal margin would have been more, but for the heroic of goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. In their second match, the Super Eagles were once again defeated by an under performing Greece 2-1 before they managed a 2-2 draw with South Korea. The solitary point was not sufficient to take Nigeria to the second round.

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Why the US men’s team can win a World Cup sooner than you think | OMG Investigation

Pulisic, McKennie, Reyna, Adams, Dest… where did all of these American players come from? In 2018, the United States failed to even qualify for the World Cup. But in 2021, top American stars are playing next Messi and Ronaldo. Find out how the happened and if the US can win a World Cup in our latest OMG investigation.


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Arabic TV Channels Available in the USA

Arabic TV channels now available in the United States can enhance the viewing pleasure of many Arab Americans. Keeping up with events in their homeland is as easy as turning on the tv. There are a lot of channels available now from Directv and Dish Network. So for those who are not aware of them, I will list the Arabic channels here.

Dish Network

ABU DHABI is a 24-hour-a-day Arabic-language general entertainment channel, is considered to be one of the most respected channels in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi offers the Arab-Americans an exciting lineup of diverse programming including news, current affairs, movies, fashion, sports and much more.

AL ARABIYA is a top ranked 24-hour-a-day Pan Arab news channel catering to the Arab audience worldwide. Al Arabiya’s news programming includes politics, business, current affairs, finance updates and sports highlights.

AL JAZEERA 24-hours-a-day and exclusively on DISH Network, Al Jazeera is the top Arabic news channel in the Middle East that offers news from around the world. Al Jazeera has a wide selection of documentaries and uncensored political talk shows.

AL ZIKR a family oriented radio channel providing 24 hours of cultural programming with focus on history, language, habits and religion. The programming includes live talk shows covering a variety of subjects and events and Al Zikr covers valuable cultural Arab events from many locations in the Arab world linking the Arab and Moslem immigrants with their homeland.

ART AMERICA provides a unique blend of Arabic and multi-language programming consisting of mini-series, dramas, movies, sports (live and recorded soccer events directly from the Middle East) and talk shows.

ART MOVIES features Arabic-language programming from Egypt, Lebanon and different regions of the Middle East. ART Movies offers newly released and classical movies, mini-series, dramas and talk shows such as «Sahraa.»

ART MUSIC radio channel consists of modern and classical Arabic music, talk shows and interviews with new and established performers in the Arabic music industry.

DANDANA TV is a 24-hour-a-day Arabic music video channel broadcast from the U.S. Through its hip shows, music videos and coverage of major Arab-American events, Dandana TV is the pop culture face of the DISH Network Arabic bouquet.

DUBAI SATELLITE CHANNEL offers variety television entertainment from the United Arab Emirates that includes top sporting events, the latest news, movies, documentaries and TV series.

DUBAI SPORTS is a 24/7 sports channel broadcasting from Dubai. One of the leading sports channels in the Arab world due to its distinguished sports programming including highlights of various major soccer leagues from different continents, International speed boat racing, horse racing and more.

ESC-1 live from Egypt, ESC-1 features a wealth of television entertainment including the Egyptian Soccer League, «Good Morning Egypt,» variety shows, movies, talk shows, children’s programming and much more.

FUTURE TV offers top-rated Lebanese TV series, live news, game shows, cartoons, variety shows, family entertainment, soccer matches and much more 24-hours-a-day

IQRAA broadcasted 24-hours-a-day from Egypt, is the first Arabic-language channel that offers religious, media, social and economic programs tailored to the Muslims audience. Iqraa’s programming includes documentaries, live talk-shows, dramas, cultural and educational programs.

LBC The Lebanese Broadcast Channel, will fill your days with movies, sports, mini-series and talk shows such as «Ya Liel Ya Aien.»

MBC Middle East Broadcasting Center is a leading pan-Arab news and entertainment channel. The channel’s program offerings include general entertainment programs such as «Aalam,» comedies such as «CBM,» talk shows including «Kalam,» game shows, in-depth news, social programs and children’s programming.

MELODY ARABIA broadcast from Egypt, is the highest viewed 24-hour-a-day Arabic-language music video channel in the Middle East and North Africa. Melody Arabia offers a variety of music programming including video clips from the 80’s, 90’s, as well as contemporary releases, many of which are premiered on Melody Arabia and are exclusive to the channel. Melody Arabia is a tremendous addition to overall entertainment for Arab Americans in the U.S.

NBN The National Broadcasting Network, is considered the first 24-hour-a-day specialized news and thematic TV station in Lebanon. NBN prides itself on offering a wide variety of programming with in depth news shows including «Al Masa’iya» which has a very loyal following throughout the Arab World, superior documentaries such as «Ahzab Lubnan,» provocative talk-shows and up to date sports and business programs.

NEW TV a 24-hour-a-day Arabic-language station broadcast from Lebanon, offers a wide range of general entertainment programs including dramas, musicals, news, documentaries, cultural, educational, special events and general entertainment shows for all generations and ages.

NILE DRAMA is your choice for Egyptian current and classic movies, TV series and family programming for all ages.

NOURSAT is the first and only Christian channel from Lebanon and the entire Middle East. Noursat’s programming includes talk-shows, documentaries, history, classical musical recitals and social and spiritual programs.

DirecTV ORBIT AL-YAWM is a contemporary Arabic entertainment and variety channel, delivering more than 35 hours of live Orbit productions per week. Al-Yawm offers the smartest fashion tips, intimate beauty care advice, the best recipes, and light-hearted comedy shows. Orbit Al-Yawm top programs include Oyoun Beirut and Al-Qahira Al-Yawm.

ORBIT SEEN (the Series Channel) is the first 24-hour Arabic thematic channel of its kind in the region, featuring the best Arabic TV series from the Middle East. The Series Channel delivers the widest variety of TV productions from drama to comedy and from melodrama to historical biography. Orbit Seen features outstanding dramas like Kkaled Bin Alwaleed and Sikkat Alhilali.

ROTANA CINEMA channel is the leading movie service in the Middle East. It draws from the largest and richest library of Arabic-language films in the world, as well as cinema news and entertainment programs, including «The Hala Show,» hosted by Dr. Hala Sarhan.

ROTANA MOOSSIKA channel is an Arabic variety/entertainment channel that is dedicated to music videos, programs, concerts and festivals. Rotana Moossika has compiled the largest Arabic music library in the world, and exclusively features some of the top acts from the Arab world, including Amr Diab, Nagwa Karam, George Wassouf, Alissa and Kazem.

ROTANA ZAMAN channel delivers state-of-the-art digitally restored classic Arabic movies to millions of viewers around the world. Enjoy the legendary stars and singers – Om Kalthoum, Halim and Fairouz, as well as the popular program «Kashf el Mastour.»

So there you have it. 25 different channels. Entertainment for the whole family, young and old alike. Instead of seeing a five minute clip of news from the Middle East, watch in-depth coverage of the same event. It’s like bringing your homeland in to your living room.

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USMNT vs. Canada, presented by Volkswagen: Highlights – Sept. 5, 2021

The #USMNT played to a 1-1 draw with Canada in a FIFA World Cup Qualifying match in Nashville, TN

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We Are the Crowd

Cultural change can be an incredible thing to witness and examine. This is especially so when the change is something you’ve involved in, up close, and felt personally.

In 1974 as a young teenager living in Cincinnati I watched the World Cup at the Cincinnati Gardens. The games were shown on a movie screen on the basketball court with curtains draped all around. My mother managed to win a set of tickets from a local radio station and I got the thrill of my young lifetime.

The Netherlands were incredible during the tournament, smashing Argentina and Brazil on their way to the final against West Germany. I remember they looked to be the better side in the final, as well. But Neeskens and Cruyff couldn’t get the better of Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier. The West Germans were playing at home in Munich and they took the crown 2 – 1.

It seemed odd to be at the Gardens with all of those foreign voices. I was a clear minority in my own backyard.

It wouldn’t be until 1982 that the first World Cup match was televised in the United States. That’s an incredible statement given the tournament’s immensity.

Today, 36 years after the West Germany World Cup, I sat in a bar in downtown Denver watching England and the U.S. battle to a 1 – 1 draw. The odd thing wasn’t that I expected a good game. American soccer has made great strides and our guys play for some of the best professional clubs in the world. No, what was odd was to sit in a bar in the middle of the U.S., overflowing with people singing, chanting and cheering for one side tons more than the other. Hours before the match started – and I do mean HOURS – you could hear chants of «U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A» and my favorite song «Ole, ole, ole, USA, USA.»

The crowd were so loud when the teams were shown on television before they came onto the field that my ears hurt. And when the players hit the pitch it didn’t let up.

I can honestly say, as a veteran of several ’70s and ’80s hard rock concerts, when Robert Greene mishandled Clint Dempsey’s shot and allowed the U.S. to draw level, I have never heard a louder cheer.

I asked several people around me before the game what they expected and I was consistently surprised by their responses. «I’ll take a draw, but I think we can win,» was repeated to me multiple times. Expectations were very high for the U.S. team, in spite of what the media might have told you. And there couldn’t have been any doubt as to their allegiance. Most people were wearing a U.S. National Team jersey, with many wearing a headband and carrying flags.

The media will have you believe that soccer doesn’t matter in the U.S., that it never will. But the media like this story because the game doesn’t fit into the American Consumerism mould. There are two halves with 45 minutes of uninterrupted play. No TV timeouts. No breaks on the field. In the U.S. the media can’t sell the sport so it continues with its «soccer isn’t important» mantra. The corporate shills can’t find a way to take over the game so they want you to believe it – the game – doesn’t matter. In fact, they will tell you that hockey is the fourth major sport in America, even though soccer has gotten better ratings on television for several years now.

Fado’s is in downtown Denver, across from Coors Field. It is filled with Guinness, wide screen TVs in every corner and, on this day, it was filled with fans screaming and cheering for the U.S. National Team on the world’s biggest stage. But Fado’s was not unusual or unique. Several friends have told similar stories from other places throughout town. There has been a shift in our culture, in spite of what the media say. Football does matter. It is relevant. And it’s here to stay.

You don’t find groups of eight or nine showing up at an Irish pub at 7:30 in the morning to make certain they get a seat for a 1:30pm game, nor do you find women screaming for a yellow card after a bad tackle, unless your football culture has progressed beyond the «soccer doesn’t matter» meme.

At the end of the match I turned to one of my English friends who smiled and said, «After more than 15 years of living here I never thought I’d see this. I feel like I’m in a pub in London.»

This is not 1974. We no longer huddle around in small groups to watch other countries play a foreign sport. We’ve made the sport our own both on and off the field. We have sewn it into the fabric of our culture and we’ve sewn our culture into the fabric of our game.

England go ahead in the fifth minute of the game and then try to protect what they have. But that isn’t the U.S. style, is it? We are a nation that always wants more. We are tied to consumerism as tightly as the Italians are tied to pasta and the English to tea. The beauty – and the treachery – of American soccer is that we won’t sit back and defend, defend, defend when leading. If we’re one goal up we want to be two up. And we play like it. That’s who we are. We started with so little a short time ago and we have moved to the point where our culture now shows through on the field. If the American culture isn’t about never giving up and always searching for more then how else do you describe us? Forget the merits of those traits and whether you like them or not. They are us. And they are reflected in our play on the pitch.

Regardless of how the team ends up in this tournament, it is exhilarating to watch how grown up we’ve become about the sport and our place in it. We now demand excellence. We expect it. And, whether the media like it or not, we are no longer a single voice in a large crowd. We are the crowd.

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