Good morning folks. Today is shaping up to be a busy, interesting and entertaining day in the soccer world. The Euros are drawing closer and today we will see the U.S. national team take on Spain, the No. 4 team in the world. I will be doing a live running commentary on the match beginning at 4pm so stay tuned for that.
For now, here are some news and notes from around the world of soccer to get your day started.
Sven says Hola
Swedish manager Sven Goran Eriksson was formally introduced as Mexico’s new manager on Tuesday, marking the official start to one of the more stranger marriages in recent memory. Will it work? Aside from Sven really not looking good in green, he is a smart coach who will have talent to work with.
He won’t have that much time to adjust. After Mexico knocks out Belize, ‘El Tri’ will be in a CONCACAF qualifying group that includes Honduras and Canada, with only two teams advancing the final round of qualifying.
Hughes named new City manager
That didn’t take long.
Manchester City have replaced fired manager Sven Goran Eriksson with Blackburn manager Mark Hughes just a day after firing Eriksson. Hughes, a former Manchester United star, leaves Blackburn after four seasons to take over a Manchester City squad that will be taking part in next season’s UEFA Cup.
Hughes is certainly one of the better young managers in the EPL but I can’t help but see this as a sign that Alex Ferguson has no plans to retire any time soon. Why else would a great prospective replacement like Hughes, a Man U legend, would take a job with Man City of all teams. I suppose that between Carlos Quieroz and Roy Keane, the succession plan is still in place at Man U.
What I do wonder is if this does anything to Brad Friedel’s desire to finish out his career at Blackburn. Will he stay there or join Hughes at City? Might this facilitate an eventual return to MLS? It’s worth considering.
Argentina still No. 1
The newest FIFA world rankings were released on Tuesday and Argentina widened its gap at the top of the rankings. England cracked the Top 10, Mexico moved up to 14th and the USA stayed steady at 21.
The biggest drop in the top 50? Serbia fell eight points to 39. Australia made the biggest climb in the Top 50, moving eight places to 35th.
Gamberini replaces Cannavaro
As most of you know by now, Italian national team captain Fabio Cannavaro is out of the Euros after tearing ankle ligaments in the team’s first practice this week. Italy coach Roberto Donadoni has replaced Cannavaro with Alessandro Gamberini, who joined the ‘Azzurri’ on Tuesday. Cannavaro had successful surgery earlier today on his ankle and is expected to be out ‘several’ months. The Real Madrid defender and World Cup hero will stay with the Italian team despite being unable to play.