México Actually Wins a Penalty Shootout

Mexican fans you know the routine. In an elimination match, you better hope that El Tri wins in the first 90 minutes or if not then manages to put the match away during the 30 minute overtime, why?

Because as all of us know, Mexican fútbolistas are inept at taking penalty kicks. The memories are many and are painful.

There was the ’86 World Cup quarterfinals when ze Germans bested México 4-1 in a penalty shootout. While it’s easy to blame then Mexican goalie, Pablo Larios, let’s keep in mind that his teammates couldn’t beat the German keeper. [Let’s not even mention Hugo Sanchez’ annulled goal, grrrrrr]

Then there was the ’94 World Cup Round of 16 against Bulgaria. Even though, yes Mexican keeper Jorge Campos (below right) could have better lived up to the hype his ridiculous jersey’s generated, his teammates wilted at the 11-meter dot and couldn’t buy a penalty kick. The Bulgarian keeper was the Germans and my countrymen’s penalty takers were the French.
Jorge Campos

On a lesser scale there was the harrowing loss to the hated Argentines in the 2005 Confederations Cup. In that case, my countrymen made their kicks only to have national team luminary Ricardo Osorio miss a sudden death penalty kick.

My point with all this historical hash is that my countrymen have shown an iniquitous ineptitude to execute penalty kicks and/or block them. What do you expect when your goalies’ height haven’t even come close to 6’? (This is slowly changing)

All that changed last night when my native land’s 11 bested Costa Rica in a penalty shootout in the Gold Cup Semifinal.

The frustrated/jubilant thoughts of a Mexican after the jump…

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México’s Nigerian Nightmare Signs with AC Milan

Oguchi Onyewu, the man who has done more damage to México since Gen. Winfield Scott, has been signed by AC Milan, one of the premier fútbol/football/soccer clubs in the world.

Whereas Gen. Scott stormed Chapultepec Castle and unintentionally gave us Mexicans one of our most beloved, if not over-romanticized,heroes, Onyewu, Team USA’s world-class central defender, has been terrorizing Mexican strikers and forwards since 2004.

Here he is abusing another one of my native country’s over-romanticized heroes, striker Jared Borghetti,
Oguchi Onyewu

Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Onyewu, who is of Nigerian descent, has been a huge reason why México has not figured out Team USA in nearly a decade (at least on American soil).

While playing with the Rossoneri will make Gooch (as Onyewu is affectionately called) even more formidable, and this bodes ill for my beloved Tri, the signing is well-deserved. His recent performance in the Confederations Cup (especially against Spain) showed that he is world-class.

Shawn Johnson is Awesome

Yeah she’s only 4’9″ but let’s see you do this:
Sports Illustrated

That’s the chippy Ms. Johnson during her gold medal balance beam routine (click here for the the full story).

After Johnson secured a gold medal in these games, I guess it’s safe to say that the Coca-Cola curse is no curse at all.

I must admit that it is nice to see an American Olympic athlete live up to the corporate hype. Though I’m sure Coca-Cola preferred that she won all gold medals, Johnson with one gold and 3 silvers to her name still had a pretty good haul (we’re still holding our breath in the case of Bron-Bron).

Which brings us to the best part of her Olympic experience. So if you’re Shawn, you’ve spent countless hours in the gym: bleeding, sweating, crying, tumbling, falling, learning. Your folks have spent an inordinate amount of time and keish to keep the Olympic dream alive, according to this piece, Johnson’s parents,

…took out a line of credit on their home and have used that money over the years to cover travel expenses. The debt has made a dent in the family finances, but that’s a price parents seem willing to pay.

Yet for all that, the affable Ms. Johnson, in describing her gold medal, reminds us what the Olympics are all about, a childlike wonder and dreams fulfilled:

“It’s crazy,” the 16-year-old Johnson said. “I remember seeing Nastia have hers from the all-around and it is so pretty. Silver is really pretty, too.”

You’re awesome Shawn Johnson!

Martha Karolyi’s Sour Grapes

OK so maybe Alicia Sacramone (below right, picture credit: Reuters) might have cost the US women’s gymnastics team the gold last night by falling off the balance beam then doubling down by slipping in the next event, the floor exercise.

Team USA eventually claimed the silver medal and it was a huge disappointment judging by the looks on the girls’ faces. [Funny because the U.S. men reacted like they had won an Academy Award, Bible Bowl, the Super Bowl, World Series, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and the gold after winning “only” bronze the day before. Had they won the silver, they might just have dropped dead from excitement.]

Then U.S. team director, Martha Karolyi had to pull out all the stops in making excuses for Sacramone’s potential gold medal-costing performance. According to this story (“U.S. team blame stadium official for gymnastics loss”):

US team coordinator Martha Karolyi said officials at Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium had disrupted Sacramone’s preparations for the beam.

“First they called her name up, then they did not even put her name up even though the Chinese had finished … (it was) totally unusual holding,” she said.

“She was mentally prepared and then she had a mental break, then after not doing the job, the beam, on the floor exercise her concentration was bothered.”

Karolyi insisted the world champion US team would have won gold if Sacramone had not become unsettled.

Had the U.S. team won gold, I wonder if Martha would have said that the alleged saboteurs only strengthened her girls’ resolve?

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