Monday, June 26, 2006

Stick with Keith Powell and Stay Outta Romania

Actress Vanessa Redgrave, whose sister Lynn slaved away for the famous Keith Powell in the production of Collected Stories, is causing a bit of a storm in the land of the Bribe and Home of the Horse-Drawn Cart. While appearing at the aforementioned Transylvania Film Festival, Redgrave took time to say something stupid give support to a group concerned with the environmental impact of a proposed mine in nearby Rosia Montana. Oddly enough the Canadian company that will operate the mine was a sponsor of the film festival. Redgrave dedicated her lifetime achievement award to Alburnus Maior, a local community group that is opposing the planned mine. In her acceptance speech, Redgrave said, "Our planet is dying and we have no right to destroy the ecosystem."
The Invasion is for the mine. After countless years of Romanian mismanagement and combined with a typically Romanian carefree attitude towards the environment, Gabriel Resources, the Candian firm, has said that their operation of the mine will replace "2,000 years of poor mining practices" as well as helping out the nonexistent local econonmy.
According to a report by The Guardian, the mine would start production in 2009 if it goes ahead, it'll run for 16 years and producing 500,000 ounces of gold.
Keith Powell could not be reached for comment (we're too lazy to email him) but we'd imagine that he would jump on a chair and make a comment about big bootie hoes. Great man.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Group Stage Round Up

Group Stage Round Up
The Group Stage is over and the Second Round has begun. Here's a brief team-by-team review of the Group Stage:
Group A
Germany - Typically lucky Germans.
Ecuador - Surprising quality.
Poland - Sucked, unlucky, didn't matter.
Costa Rica - Didn't cut it.
Group B
England - Not that good, but undefeated.
Sweden - Worse than England, but still undefeated.
Paraguay - Not good enough.
Trinidad & Tobago - Not as bad as feared, but still not good.
Group C
Argentina - Dynamite. Best so far.
Holland - Quality when it's needed.
Cote d'Ivoire - Good, but stuck in a tough group.
Serbia & Montenegro - Sucked, no wonder Montenegro wants to quit this team.
Group D
Portugal - Good enough, but nothing special.
Mexico - Good enough, but nothing special.
Angola - Worked hard, no one to score goals.
Iran - Too many mistakes, shouldn't be developing nuclear weapons.
Group E
Italy - Typical damn Italians.
Ghana - Good wins vs. Czechs and US. Brazil should be scared.
Czech Republic - Started hot, finished shitty.
USA - Ugh.
Group F
Brazil - Lackluster effort = three wins.
Australia - Great effort. Please, God, let them beat Italy.
Croatia - Unlucky v. Brazil, lucky to tie Australia. Go figure.
Japan - Not good enough.
Group G
Switzerland - Getting the job done. Darkhorses.
France - Overrated and lucky. Lack a certain, how do you ne sais quoi.
South Korea - Unlucky, needed a goal scorer.
Togo - Disaster.
Group H
Spain - En fuego. They'll still choke soon b/c they always do.
Ukraine - Got stomped by Spain and replied with two quality games. Talisman Shevchenko has yet to really catch fire. Another darkhorse.
Tunisia - Pretty bad, exciting game vs. Saudi Arabia though.
Saudi Arabia - Pretty bad, exciting game vs. Tunisia though.

Best teams so far = Argentina, Spain
Best players so far = Miroslav Klose (GER), Fernando Torres (ESP), Michael Essien (GHA), Juan Riquelme, Maxi Rodriguez, Esteban Cambiasso (all ARG), Philippe Senderos (SWI), Philip Cocu (NED), Ze Roberto, Kaka (BRA)

We're Out

Well we're out and it's time to see why (besides the fact that we didn't play well enough). For you soccer novices, just quote the Invasion when speaking to aficionados and you'll sound intelligent. Here's a match-by-match, player-by-player breakdown of the Land of the Free/Home of the Brave's performance at Germany '06.
match 1: v. Czech Republic
Absolute nightmare. Soft first goal given to man-mountain Jan Koller. Add to that a brilliant goal by Tomas Rosicky. Captain American Claudio Reyna hits the post as US is 1-0 down, if it goes in, the match is completely different. It didn't and we got smoked, Jer.
match 2: v. Italy
Heroic performance. Another soft first goal given up to loathsome Italians. Referee does right in showing Italian de Rossi a red for going all Bill Laimbeer Brian McBride's fizzace. Subsequent reds for Mastroeni and Pope killed the momentum. Great work to get a point, especially against the loathsome Italians. Did the OMI mention that we can't stand the Italians?
match 3: v. Ghana
Started strong and took the match to the Africans. Another soft first goal (I dare say a trend) and a complete nonsense penalty before the half set us back. Second half was ok but just not good enough. Could've, Should've, Would've. Reminds me of youth soccer days and rides home from unsuccessful tournaments where Mr. Joe Lazorick routinely laid into the Invasion and his son. Could've, Should've, Would've...
The Team:
Bruce Arena (coach) - Nothing genius. Should've brought some fresh legs on late vs. Italy, but then again, we got the draw so no complaints there. What to do next? Will prolly get axed or resign, so where does he go now? The MLS is a step down but it's doubtful he'll be getting offers abroad. Should be interesting to see what happens with the Bruce from here.
Kasey Keller (GK) - Not bad at all, yet not great. Impossible to fault Keller on anything as usual. Saving the penalty vs. Ghana would've been great (Brad Friedel saved a pk in the last World Cup vs. South Korea). Can't hate on Keller.
Eddie Pope (D) - At fault for two key goals. He got bitched on the first Czech goal and was statuesque for the first Italian goal. Not good enough for the USMNT any more. I mean he plays for Real Salt Lake (MLS) and they suck. He's past it.
Oguchi Onyewu (D) - Not a terrible first World Cup. Got shafted vs. Ghana with the penalty call. Good one for the future, he'll be back and better.
Jimmy Conrad (D) - On the team as an afterthought but ended up starting vs. Ghana and playing vs. Italy. Played surprisingly well and should be proud. Another one with potential. Well done, son.
Steve Cherundolo (D) - Unreal fitness and solid playing. One of the few American to come out of this World Cup with his reputation enhanced. Great against Italy and had a good tournament. Crossing needs improvement, but so does everyone's at this World Cup.
Carlos Bocanegra (D) - Average job. Did well vs. Italy and did ok defensively vs. Ghana. Lack the offensive skills that were needed vs. Ghana. Also he should've just kicked the damn ball out instead of popping it up against Ghana. The scramble that followed resulted in the shite penalty.
Eddie Lewis (D/M) - Played out of position at left back when he's more of a left midfielder and it showed. Schooled by the Czechs and never got to use his supposedly expert crossing vs. Italy. Not bad vs. Ghana but just not good enough. He plays for Leeds in England and they suck too (Go Newcastle).
Pablo Mastroeni (M) - A World Cup to forget. Pedestrian vs. Czech Republic and shown red vs. Italy. Yikes.
Claudio Reyna (M) - All was swell until Ghana. Played well vs. Czechs and Italy but gave away a goal vs. Ghana. Always quality and it's a shame that he'll be remembered in this World Cup for screwing up.
DaMarcus Beasley (M) - Disappointing. Played like shite vs. Czechs and didn't do much but provide fresh legs off bench vs. Italians (did score a correctly disallowed goal). Out of position in the middle vs. Ghana, but did provide assist for goal. Expectations were high and he didn't live up to them (not alone in that department).
Bobby Convey (M) - Philly product and another disappointment. Great this year in England for Reading but just didn't do it here. Crosses weren't good and just didn't perform. Joins Beasley in 'Didn't live up to expectations' Department.
Clint Dempsey (M) - Good work. Scored a damn good goal and had a nice dance to boot. The freestylin' New England forward was fearless and had drive vs. Italy and Ghana. More than likely will be the next American to move abroad. Well done, son.
Brian McBride (F) - Honest performances, solid work, lack of service killed him. Bloodied vs. Italy but didn't whine, complain or cry which is what he is all about. A true warrior. Unfortunately, McBride relies so much on the passing and service of teammates to get his work done that and he just didn't get enough of it. Hit post vs. Ghana, if it goes in, maybe we go through.
Eddie Johnson (F) - The phenom played ok. One of the few to show life vs. the Czechs but didn't do anything vs. Ghana. Showed promise but we needed goals. Another for the future.
Landon Donovan (F) - Disappointing. Challenging Beasley for 'Most Disappointing' prize. Perhaps he should just stay out of Germany forever after his disastrous time at Bayer Leverkusen and this World Cup. Actually he wasn't just disappointing, he was shite.
Anything to add? Do it in the comments.

Friday, June 09, 2006

And So It Begins

The greatest sporting event ever begins today. Here are some final notes on the World Cup to ponder and digest before Germany '06 kicks off:
Joschka Fischer, Germany 's former foreign minister, in a preamble to some of this research, estimates that this year "up to 80% of people around the globe will watch the games, while economic productivity will drop." In the aftermath though, there are positives. ABN AMRO calculates that countries winning the World Cup add 0.7% to their economic growth. ABN AMRO also shows that economic crises are typically followed by poor results from a country's football team. (From World Bank Web Site)

At yesterday's Berlin Fan Fest, Nelly Furtado performed, but the real stars of the show were a German duo. Perhaps you've heard of them. I think Witham owned their cd or the single at one point or he was fond of singing their hit song, can someone remind me?

Speaking of ze Germans, here's a blurb that I have stolen from the soccer newsletter, The Fiver, I get daily. They have a reporter in Germany covering the World Cup.
German taxi driver: "And are you a fan of that most excellent English group, Tears For Fears?"
Writer Sean Ingle: "Er...em ...Everybody Wants To Rule The World?"
Taxi driver: "Ya, ya ... such wonderful voices. You know I saw them in Stuttgart in 1985, and also Depeche Mode in 1987. I love 80s music. Robert Palmer, now there's a man who knew how to dress. The ladies loved him, did they not? But what has happened to English music since 1990? My god, it's turned to s***."

Kasey Keller, American first-choice goalkeeper, plays in Germany, listens to death metal and lives in a castle. USA Today profiles Keller.

Check this goal out. This happened in a recent friendly and it's unbelievable. The goalie is Polish, the joke writes itself.

London rag, The Guardian, has a great World Cup Blog and is doing a daily World Cup Podcast for you pleasure. It's good stuff.

Another YouTube, this one is a classic. It's a fair representation of the Italian and Mexican style of play, German too for that matter. When you see this, you realize why the Invasion hates on the aforementioned nations.

From the Invasion's Department of Goal Celebrations: A player taking off his shirt after scoring will get a yellow card and an English referee said that jewlery of any kind will not be allowed. Graham Poll, one of England's finest, said, "a wedding ring that cannot be slipped off the finger will have to be removed by other means." Yikes?
Peter Crouch, England Striker, and his celebration:

And finally, here are some more YouTube videos to whet your appetite for the Greatest Event on Earth.

the good

the bad

TIFF and Acting

The One Man Invasion spent the past weekend in Cluj taking in the culture with the arty crowd at the Transylvania International Film Festival. The festival kicked off last Friday with the premier of A Fost sau N-A Fost and it runs all week. While most of the acting was in foreign languages, the OMI feels that we deserve a special award for our own performance. Several colleagues were volunteering at the festival so the Invasion simply tagged along acting like we belonged. The result? Free food, free beer, free lodging, and free entry to movies. No one seemed to care or notice that we were doing nothing to contribute, save for our virtuoso performance that is. Friday night the OMI got a free dinner and admittance to a VIP party. Saturday morning was spent walking around Cluj and Saturday afternoon, the Invasion chilled at the festival headquarters drinking limited edition Stella Artois Film Beer (special for TIFF). After several Stellas and resisting the urge to yell "Stella!" a la Stanley Kowalski, the Invasion and friends caught Aislados. A Spanish flick, Aislados was a kind of Clerks type of flick with a dash of Snatch-esque shots. It was very funny and the Invasion recommends it.
The weekend ended with the Invasion almost missing the train back home and having to hop on ticketless. The conductor didn't mind, especially when he realized we hailed from the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. No fine and actually paid a reduced price/bribe. Needless to say it was a great weekend and to be honest, TIFF was only missing one thing. The OMI was hoping for but was ultimately denied an appearance from actor/filmmaker Todd Gebhart or his collaborator Shane McKay. Looks like the Romanian masses will have to wait until next year for a glimpse of their opus Squirt Hunting in America which was controversialy banned in the States.

Stanley Cup Finals & Canadians

It seems that we have severely underestimated the Canadian fanaticism for hockey. With the Stanley Cup Finals underway, the whole country has decided to ignore all and focus on hockey. This includes legislators who accidentally passed the budget because the opposition failed to stand and debate. I don't think a 'whoops, my bad' will work as an excuse either.

"You're a boner-biting bastard, Unclefucker"

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Who to Root For?

More World Cup. It's only a week away and other than the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave who is one to root for? Ze Germans or the Costa Ricans? Trinidad and Tobago or Ecuador? Thankfully there's a reminder on who to support for the casual supporter. The Invasion has simple rules for supporting and hating.

Hate = Italians, Germans, Mexicans, Iranians
Support = English, African teams, the Dutch, anyone playing the above teams
Any other rules, dear readers? Put 'em in the comments.