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Articles filed under Soccer

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  • Romanian midfielder joins Chicago Fire Jul 14, 2014 11:52 AM
    Veteran Romanian midfielder Razvan Cocis, 31, has signed with the Chicago Fire, team officials announced Monday. “Razvan is an experienced, well-traveled central midfielder,” said Fire head coach Frank Yallop, whose team has struggled to a 3-10-4 record and sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. “He brings a wealth of international experience and will be a great addition as we enter the second half of the season.”

     
  • Heads up, World Cup teams: The robots are coming Jul 13, 2014 6:14 AM
    When robots first started playing soccer, it was a challenge for them just to see the ball. And to stay upright. But the machines participating in this month’s international RoboCup tournament are making passes and scoring points. Their ultimate goal? To beat the human World Cup champs within the next 35 years.

     
  • Germany wins World Cup on late goal Jul 13, 2014 4:56 PM
    With two quick touches, Mario Goetze ended Germany’s 24-year wait for another World Cup title. Goetze scored the winning goal in extra time to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday in a tight and tense World Cup final that came down to one piece of individual skill. Goetze, who wasn’t born when West Germany beat Argentina in the 1990 final, controlled a cross with his chest in the 113th minute and in one fluid motion volleyed the ball past goalkeeper Sergio Romero and inside the far post. It was a goal that gave Germany its fourth World Cup title in its eighth final, and left Argentina star Lionel Messi still walking in the shadow of his compatriot Diego Maradona, who led his country to the 1986 title. Goetze had come on as a substitute for Miroslav Klose at the end of regulation time and the 22-year-old midfielder’s fresh legs made the difference. Andre Schuerrle broke down the left flank, sending his cross into the area, and the Bayern Munich player did the rest with a clinical finish. The goal echoed that of Andres Iniesta’s four years ago, when the midfielder scored in similar fashion but from the other side of the area to give Spain a 1-0 extra time win over the Netherlands. For Germany, the win ends a string of near misses since winning its last major title at the 1996 European Championship. The team lost the 2002 World Cup final to Brazil and lost in the semifinals in both 2006 and 2010. It is Germany’s first World Cup title as a unified nation. It was also the third World Cup final between these countries and had been billed as a matchup between the perfect team and the perfect individual, pitting Germany’s machine-like unit against the brilliance of Messi, the four-time world player of the year. But in the biggest game of his career, Messi came up short. He had one good chance to score when he was sent free in the area just after the halftime break, but sent his shot wide of the far post. It was a difficult angle, but still the type of chance he so often scores from. Messi threatened intermittently throughout the match, but was effectively neutralized for long stretches. When he did try to break forward with one of his quick dribbles, he was surrounded by the German defense. His free kick in the 120th minute went well high. When the final whistle blew, Germany players collapsed in a pile in the middle of the pitch, while Messi walked with his hands on his hips toward the center circle. Up until the winning goal, the game was more notable for top-class defending than creative attacking, but both teams had their share of chances. Gonzalo Higuain wasted an opportunity by firing wide when gifted a chance in a one-on-one with Neuer, and later had a goal ruled out for offside. Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes hit the post just before halftime with a header from a corner, and ineffective finishing plagued both sides the rest of the way.

     
  • 5 reasons Messi is one of the best Jul 12, 2014 5:52 PM
    A four-time world player of the year, Argentina’s Lionel Messi is gifted with talents that most footballers can only dream of. What makes him special is that he possesses not just one or two but a combination of special skills that give him an edge over just about everyone. Although he hasn’t played brilliantly in every game of this World Cup, Messi’s talents have been on display on Argentina’s road to Sunday’s final against Germany. Here are five traits that explain what makes the Argentina captain so difficult to stop. • Speed: There are plenty of players who could outrun Messi in a 100-meter dash. But running with the ball is a different story. Messi can control the ball at close to top speed, making him an excellent dribbler. Also, it’s his acceleration rather than his top speed that cuts up defenses. Few defenders can keep up when Messi revs up from standstill, creating space for his left-foot shot. • Balance: Like former Argentina great Diego Maradona, Messi uses his short stature to his advantage. His low center of gravity enables him to make quick turns and to stay on his feet when challenged. Often, the only way to knock him off balance is to foul him. Defenders at the World Cup have been taking turns tackling Messi to spread the risk of getting booked around the team. • Accuracy: Messi is one of the world’s top free-kick takers, striking the ball with impressive accuracy with his magic left foot. Almost always he hits the target or just misses it — you rarely see Messi blast a free kick five meters over the crossbar. In Argentina’s final group-stage match, Nigeria gave Messi two free kick opportunities near the penalty area toward the end of the first half. He elegantly curled the first one over the wall, but goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was well-positioned and stopped it. By the second free kick, Messi had fine-tuned his aim, and struck the ball perfectly inside the post. Enyeama jokingly asked the referees during the break to not give Messi any more free kicks. • Patience: Patience is a perhaps and underrated virtue for a football player, and it’s one that has served Messi well in the World Cup. Every opponent has come with a plan to stop him, by closing down his space and tackling him as soon as he touches the ball. As a result, Messi has looked out of the game for long periods. But instead of hanging his head and getting frustrated, Messi keeps looking for openings, patiently awaiting a moment when defenders take their focus off him for just a split second. That’s when he strikes. Against Iran, that moment came in injury time when he scored his second goal of the tournament. Against Switzerland, it happened in extra time as he set up Angel Di Maria’s winning goal with a piercing run down the middle. • Intelligence: He also stands out for his ability to read the game, mapping out paths to the opponent’s goal in his mind before the opponent does. That’s key to understanding why he’s such a prolific scorer. Knowing by instinct where a gap will open up for a quick pass or shot gives him an advantage over others, though it can also complicate things for the team. Sometimes Messi lets chances slip away by being too smart for his Argentina teammates, who aren’t in sync with him to the same degree as Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez in Barcelona.

     
  • Fire holds on for 1-0 win over Revolution Jul 12, 2014 9:59 PM
    Quincy Amarikwa scored in the 3rd minute and Sean Johnson saved a penalty kick in the 86th to seal the Chicago Fire’s 1-0 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday.

     
  • Netherlands beats Brazil for 3rd in World Cup Jul 12, 2014 5:19 PM
    Robin van Persie and Daley Blind scored early goals to help give the Netherlands a 3-0 win over host Brazil in the third-place match at the World Cup on Saturday. With the result, the Netherlands finishes a World Cup unbeaten in regular play for the first time, having lost to Argentina on penalties in the semifinals. After finishing runner-up in 2010, the third place is the best position for the Dutch squad since it lost the final in 1974 and 1978.

     
  • Argentina: ‘Perfect game’ required against Germany Jul 12, 2014 9:10 PM
    Perfection is hard to attain in football. Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella says that’s what his team needs to achieve to have a chance of beating Germany in the World Cup final on Sunday. The Argentines lost one of their key players in the quarterfinals when Angel Di Maria limped off after straining his right thigh. Sabella said the Real Madrid winger’s condition was improving, but it was unclear whether he would be ready for the final.

     
  • Sorting out World Cup winners and losers Jul 12, 2014 3:15 PM
    Every once in a while a big event lives up to the hype. Take a bow, World Cup 2014. Forgetting about the Argentina-Netherlands semifinal for a minute, this tournament has been fantastic, ranking as perhaps the best ever. Orrin Schwarz offers up his winners and losers during the World Cup, along with his prediction for the World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina.

     
  • Brazil’s Neymar thankful he’s not in a wheelchair now Jul 10, 2014 7:41 PM
    Neymar became emotional when talking Thursday about the injury that ruled him out of the World Cup, saying that if the knee to his back had been slightly more to one side he “could be in a wheelchair” right now. The Brazil striker cried as he recalled the injury, saying “God blessed” him and prevented a more serious injury. Neymar had to stop talking for several seconds, lowering his head and putting a hand in front of his eyes.

     
  • Germany’s WCup victory sets Twitter sports record Jul 9, 2014 11:27 AM
    It won’t be what Brazil’s fans will remember, but the first World Cup semifinal is the most tweeted-about sports event in Twitter history.

     
  • Red Stars tie Portland 1-1 Jul 9, 2014 11:03 PM
    Penalty kicks would determine the night for the Red Stars and Thorns, who were meeting for the second time in six days Wednesday. It also would be the second tie, this time 1-1, between the two teams after a 2-2 result Friday in Portland

     
  • Argentina reaches World Cup final after penalties Jul 9, 2014 6:53 PM
    Goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved two penalties Wednesday to send Argentina into the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after the game finished in a 0-0 stalemate. A day after Germany lit up the World Cup with its clinical 7-1 destruction of host Brazil, the Netherlands and Argentina could not manage a goal between them in 120 minutes before the shootout.

     
  • Germany thrashes Brazil 7-1, reaches World Cup final Jul 8, 2014 6:14 PM
    With Neymar out injured, just about everyone in Brazil knew it would be tough against Germany. Nobody ever expected this. The Germans tore apart Brazil's porous defense time and time again Tuesday, routing the hosts 7-1 in the World Cup semifinals, the largest margin of defeat at this stage in the history of the tournament.

     
  • The Soapbox Jul 5, 2014 5:01 AM
    Daily Herald editors give their opinions on stories from the week's news, including a bridge's new name, a proposed housing tower and a freakish accident.

     
  • Netherlands beats Costa Rica in penalty shootout Jul 5, 2014 6:20 PM
    Tim Krul came on as a substitute in the final minute of extra time and then saved two penalties in a 4-3 shootout victory over Costa Rica on Saturday, giving the Netherlands a spot in the World Cup semifinals. The Newcastle goalkeeper saved spot kicks from Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana after the match had finished 0-0. The Dutch team will next face Argentina in the semifinals on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.

     
  • Attention shifts to 2018 U.S. soccer team Jul 5, 2014 10:02 PM
    Hank Steinbrecher has been to many World Cups and enjoyed every one of them, but he doesn’t regret skipping this one. The Glen Ellyn native got to witness America embrace the World Cup, leaving us with a big question: What's next? Orrin Schwarz tries to answer that question as the attention shifts to the 2018 team.

     
  • World Cup hits online streaming record, buzz soars Jul 5, 2014 1:01 AM
    Moments after Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez sunk his teeth into an opposing Italian player during Tuesday’s World Cup match-up, brands were using the incident to market burgers on Twitter. More than 300 million tweets have been sent about the World Cup so far, and Google has logged over 1.1 billion searches related to the world’s most popular sporting event.

     
  • World Cup breaks Super Bowl record on Twitter Jul 5, 2014 8:35 AM
    Nervous Brazilian soccer fans took to Twitter to breathe a collective sigh of relief as the final, tension-filled moments of a penalty shootout against Chile broke an all-time record for online buzz during a live event.

     
  • Argentina ousts Belgium, reaches World Cup semis Jul 5, 2014 3:48 PM
    Gonzalo Higuain’s first goal of this World Cup sent Argentina into the semifinals on Saturday with a 1-0 win over a disappointing Belgium. Argentina, which hadn’t advanced past the World Cup quarterfinals since 1990, controlled the match after Higuain’s eighth-minute goal, more due to disciplined defending than sparkling attack. Belgium lacked the creativity to find a way past Argentina’s disciplined defense.

     
  • Brazil striker Neymar to miss rest of World Cup Jul 4, 2014 7:01 PM
    FORTALEZA, Brazil — Brazil’s team doctor says Neymar will miss the rest of the World Cup after breaking a vertebrae during the team’s quarterfinal win over Colombia. Neymar was kneed in the back by Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga in the second half of Brazil’s 2-1 win, and was in tears when he was carried off the field on a stretcher. He was taken to a local clinic and team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said after the match that the star striker had broken his third vertebrae. Neymar is the Brazil’s biggest star and has scored four goals for the team so far in the tournament. Brazil plays Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday.

     
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