Monday, June 24, 2013

Aussies Have Plenty of Questions To Answer as Ashes Quickly Approaches

Australia has sacked coach Mickey Arthur just over two weeks before the start of the Ashes, according to reports. However this shouldn’t really be that big of a surprise to most supporters as it follows a crushing semi-final defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka but most figured if the Ashes produced a strong showing then the skipper would get a reprieve. But the recent loss just tells part of the story and the South African has been under increasing pressure due his side's performances on the field, as well as for the disciplinary issues which have dogged the team in India and England. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and team performance manager Pat Howard are to hold a press conference in Bristol later on Monday where they will "discuss the coaching structure of the Australian team". However it is believed they will confirm Arthur has been relieved of his duties, with Darren Lehmann taking over the reins. Needless to say Lehmann will jump right into the fire straight away as Ashes is less than a fortnight away now and still many questions remain, and Lehmann knows it’s going to be an uphill battle. "No-one is underestimating the task at hand but we believe he is the right man for the job. It is up to the players to respond under his leadership and demonstrate their commitment to a successful Australian team." Lehmann played 27 Tests and 117 one-day internationals for Australia between 1996 and 2005, and he has since been successfully involved with the Brisbane Heat and Kings XI Punjab as a coach, and will need to continue that kind of track record if he hopes to have a long reign on top.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kalifornia Klingsman has The US Ship Steered in the Right Direction, Towards Brazil

Jurgen Klingsman coach of the US Men’s Soccer team was certainly on the hot seat after an opening round loss to Honduras putting the US at the bottom of the table below Jamaica and Costa Rica. However since then they’ve gone 3-0-1 racking up ten points and have moved not only to the top of the table but have the best goal differential (+3) and have three of the final five games in United States. Suffice to state that they’re on the fast road to Brazil, with Klingsman driving. The German born coach and former national player has taken a more proactive approach and it has paid off with immediate dividends. The US defeated Jamaica 2-1 in Kingston in a match that featured some of his most tactical moves and best decisions during his two-year tenure as the national team skipper, including an attacking move that resembled ‘pulling the goalie’ in hockey that yielded the winning goal in stoppage time. Additionally, for the first time in more than two-dozen games in charge, Klingsman selected a starting 11 he had slated once before. There may finally be some continuity and flow to the US game, and that will make them a difficult out not only over their final five remaining qualifiers but when the chips are really in the center of the table next year in Brazil. On the other side of the coin are the Tri-Colors that have not been flying high as Mexico came into the group as the favorites once again but have had a dearth of offense, particularly at home and now have their work cut out for them on the back nine of qualification. The good news is they’re undefeated in group play, but the bad news is that they have one win and four ties, yielding eight points and tenuous hold on third place. Tenuous in the sense that they’ve played one more match than all others in contention and must go on the road for two of their final four matches where they will need a result in at least one them. Normally dominant at Azteca Stadium, Mexico has failed to score a goal at home in three matches and what in the past would be a sure nine points has only produced three thus far and has some very nervous supporters south of the border. This sets up a huge match with Honduras on September 5th, where they must get at least the draw and probably a win otherwise their trip to South America will stop a bit short.