Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Canada to play Poland on November 18th

You read that correctly. Canada is playing on both of the upcoming International Dates. We are playing Macedonia on the 14th of November and have now added a fixture against Poland on the 18th. I have no idea if either of these matches are going to be shown in Canada. However I am certain that the Poland match will be available on some of the grey media out there, given that much of it is run out of Poland.

Poland is not an ideal opponent as they have just dropped 20 places in the FIFA rankings to #56. While Poland are the sort of opposition that Canada should be playing (a strong side in Europe, that we have a chance of beating). It is a little frustrating that we are playing them when they are ranked artificially low. I mentioned in my previous post that we are planning to play a lot of matches. This is good for the team, but it hurts our Rankings. I would much rather have the team playing well than a high FIFA ranking. However I think that it is possible to have both. I know that scheduling friendlies is never an easy thing to do. That said Slovakia, who qualified for the World Cup after a disastrous 1-0 win in Poland where they were massively outplayed are ranked 20 spots above Canada. They are of a comparable quality to Poland, but they are ranked much higher. It would be better if we were able to play against them.

Alas what is done is done. And we have Macedonia and Poland coming up. So now the real question is who do we pick in the side? Do we bring European players in the middle of their season? Do we bring North American players who have finished their season? Do we call up some of the people with other national team options to try to sell them on Canada? It will be interesting to see what team Hart selects. Personally I am hoping that every player selected in the side will be able to play in the 2014 World Cup. That said it would be fun to line up both Klukowski and Radzinski against Poland, given that it happens to Canada all the time. So here is my starting XI for the two matches:


Ledgerwood - Edgar - Attakora - Klukowski

JDG2* - Atiba - JDG - Hume

Jackson - Hoilett**

*Why not eh? If we don't select him, I would use Will Johnson.
** Why not eh? If we don't select him I would move Hume to striker and play Issy.

Thoughts? What is your XI?

Transfer Ban WTF!?

Apparently Pompey fans are not allowed to feel happy for very long this season. After our brilliant 4-0 destruction of Stoke in the League Cup. We are hit with a transfer ban. Why you ask? Because we haven't paid clubs or agents in a long long time. Now this is not the first time that we have heard this information. I heard it when Sulaiman Al Fahim was trying to take over the club. Peter Storrie said that a lot of the agents and clubs weren't demanding payment as a personal favour to him. But now we have apparently a rich new owner in Ali Al Faraj. In fact Al Faraj gave 5M pounds to Pompey so they could pay players and staff after it became apparent that Sulaiman Al Fahim didn't have a lot of money. This was not long before Al Faraj bought a 90% stake in the club. So I know that I am not a multi-millionaire but I don't think it is overly complicated that when you buy a club that you settle the outstanding debts. When Al Fahim took over we paid off the South African bank that we owed 30M pounds. Now with Al Faraj we haven't paid for the players that we have on our club. It is flat out embarrassing. Al Faraj has brought in some money from a few people that were a part of his initial attempt to purchase the club. Hopefully this money will be used to pay the clubs and agents that we owe money to.

I should mention that the Premier League deserves full marks. I am pleased to see that they are taking action on debt in their league. My compliant is with the Pompey owners that allowed this to happen.

I, like all Pompey supporters, would just like to know what is going on. Every week we read one story saying one thing and then read a story contradicting it. It is embarrassing and frustrating. It can't be easy on the players either. With the amount of times that we have been in the news this season for embarrassing reasons, I can't see a whole lot of players queuing up to sign with us in January.

So now that we seem to have got the play on the pitch sorted out, it is up to the ownership to get their performance sorted out. Play Up Pompey, Owners PAY Up!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Canadian Terrace Talk Episode 15

In this episode we're joined by James Sharman of the Footy Show. We discuss the Premier League weekend, the disaster that was TFC, and a Canada match to boot. Plus we discuss whether I may have an influence on the CSA, also Sam tells us why Liverpool will win the League,


Canadian Terrace Talk Episode 15

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pompey Canuck on the Subs Bench

The boys over at the Subs Bench invited me on their podcast, for a second time no less. We discuss the Champions League results, what is going on at Liverpool, the situation at Portsmouth, is West Ham getting relegated, TFC, and have a lot of fun doing it. Luckily I got out of there before they made me sing,

To listen to the podcast go here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The curse of the Scorpio?

It is well known that France coach Raymond Domenech is a little odd. He doesn't like to pick Scorpios in his side. Regardless of how good they may be. Well the World Cup Qualifying draw was made under during the Scorpio window, and it looks like Domenech has another reason to dislike the sign of Scorpio. Franck Ribery is out for the playoff against Ireland. This can only help the Irish cause. Ribery is in my opinion the best player in the French side. I don't know how the French side will respond to Ribery's absence but it does tip the scales a bit in favour of the Irish.

Why Canada IS playing Macedonia

I know that many of you have read my post about why Canada should not be playing Macedonia. Like you I want Canada to be in the best position going into qualifying for 2014. With that in mind I was prepared to not see Canada take to the field for another 7 months, solely to preserve our high FIFA points totals that we earned in the Gold Cup. As I mentioned on Canadian Terrace Talk when Sam first mentioned that Canada would be playing a friendly in November, I went to talk to the CSA to present my case about why we shouldn't be playing Macedonia. I wasn't able to meet with Peter Montopoli when I went to the office (a perk of living in Ottawa) but I met with his assistant and was able to set up a chance to talk with him. That happened yesterday. I told him that I wanted to understand the other issues that led to scheduling a friendly against Macedonia, and make sure that the CSA was aware of the numbers ahead of a potential qualifying draw in May 2011. What I heard was encouraging. We are playing Macedonia because we need to play matches otherwise we won't be good enough to qualify. We are also going to be playing other friendlies some of them even in Canada! I mentioned that the key thing was to play 5 matches between May 2010 and May 2011 and that didn't sound like it was going to be a problem. Which is great news for Canadian Soccer fans. As I mentioned in my post about the whole process Canada really dropped the ball between May 2006 and May 2007. We didn't play enough matches and we didn't play the right kind of opponent. I told Peter that I would keep him updated with the numbers. If Costa Rica lose their playoff with Uruguay (we should all hope that they do) then Canada is competing for three spots with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Jamaica, & Trinidad and Tobago. Right now we are in second. With a sizable lead over third. Things are looking good for Canada. The main thing for us is to win the matches that we play, and hope that Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama etc lose any matches that they play. This should see Canada seeded as a top six team going into World Cup Qualifying for Brazil 2014. Which ideally means that we will be in the Hex, which would give us a shot at Brazil which I know we could take. Play Up Canada!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why is no one talking about West Ham as a crisis club

West Ham are sitting second from bottom on 5 points. They could easily find themselves bottom after this weekend's fixtures. I don't think that many people had West Ham getting relegated at the start of the year predictions so why no talk? Obviously Pompey stole a lot of the headlines with their double ownership switch and losing streak. But West Ham's ownership looks none to stable. With Portsmouth putting in solid performances every week, there aren't a lot of people talking about us taking the drop. I would say that if I had to pick West Ham or Pompey to take the drop this year, I would take West Ham. I know I am a little biased but looking at the fixtures for Pompey & West Ham between now and December 5th. Here is what you get


West Ham

Looking at those fixtures I think that Pompey will get more points than West Ham. Also that West Ham could easily stay on 5 points until they play Hull (on November 21st). There also have ownership questions and may need to do some selling in January to keep going. There is a lot of talent on the West Ham squad and if they have to sell it and bring in a bunch of new players, you don't need to be a Portsmouth fan to know how that is going to go.

I think that after this weekend the focus of the media will shift from the South Coast to East London.

A shorter version of this was posted on Pompey Gossip. Apologies for those that read it twice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Canadian Terrace Talk Episode 14

On this episode of Canadian Terrace Talk we are joined by Squizz from Some Canadian Guys Writing/Talking About Soccer. We talk EPL, WCQ MLS, USL, the Canadian national team and why there is hope for all you soccer geeks out there.


Canadian Terrace Talk Episode 14

Monday, October 19, 2009

Euro WCQ Playoffs - Updated

The draw is made, as I understand it the home team for the 2nd leg is listed first.

UPDATE - CBC was wrong and the team listed first is home to start and then away.
Ireland - France: I think that this is advantage Ireland unless the star charts tell Domenach to actually put out a solid French team. Hopefully this loss is what convinces the FFF to let Domenach go.

Portugal - Bosnia: Portugal's to lose, however they have not played well against Balkan opposition. That said I think that Bosnia are the weakest side in the draw. However with strikers like Dzeko anything could happen. Who knows maybe we could see Portugal lose to Bosnia and Begovic not named in the World Cup side, that would make me smile.

Greece - Ukraine: This is a toss up. Greece were in the easiest group in Europe and weren't able to make it, while Ukraine beat out Croatia. With the second leg in Kiev you would think it would be advantage Ukraine with Sheva there is always a chance that he will pull out one more great performance. However the Greek attack is led by UEFA WCQ top scorer and Pompey reject Gekas. This is the most interesting tie after Ireland - France.

Russia - Slovenia, Poor Slovenia. Russia were the strongest team in the draw and were going to beat any team that they were drawn against. Slovenia I think could have had a shot against any of the other three seeded teams. Tough break for the small nation. That said in Playoffs anything could happen. I will be rooting for Slovenia as once Russia are eliminated then Guus Hiddink can take over team Canada. Hey if the Slovenians can dream, so can I.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Canada Ranked #53

You may have noticed that Canada has jumped 13 places, and is now ranked #53. How did we accomplish this amazing feat without playing any matches? The FIFA rankings are based on four years worth of results. So for the October Rankings it includes Oct 08 - Oct 09 at 100%, Oct 07 - Oct 08 at 50%, Oct 06 - Oct 07 at 30%, and Oct 05 - Oct 06 at 20%. So for a painful yet concrete example that disaster in Montreal has now stopped counting against our 100% average entirely and is now counted against the 50% average. Given that our stellar performance in the Gold Cup is rated 100% we can expect to stay high in the rankings until July or August 2010 when that drops to 50%. At which point we should have already started playing friendlies in May so hopefully to maintain our ranking.

The points for each phase are calculated by average. So if a team accumulates 3000 points in a year. That total is divided by the number of matches that they have played (it must be at least 5, or it is divided by 5 anyway). So if a team only played 5 matches then they would have 600 points that count towards their ranking. But if they played another match and lost 3000 would be divided by 6 leaving them with only 500 points to count.

For the year May 09 - May 10 Canada has just over 2900 points from 6 matches or 484.5 points (at 100%). Any points that we gain will be added to our total and then divided by the number of matches. So it would make sense to play a team that could offer us at least 484.5 points if we won, otherwise we would be guaranteed to drop in the rankings. That means the lowest ranked team that Canada could play would be a UEFA team that is ranked #39 or #38. That means with a win we would stay where we are. To improve our standing we would have to play a higher ranked team and win.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Latest CONCACAF standings for the 2014 World Cup Qualifying

The good news for Canada is that Costa Rica may miss the World Cup, which would put them in contention with us. Hopefully Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan & co can ensure that the Ticos don't head to South Africa. Here are the latest standings for CONCACAF ahead of the 2014 World Cup Qualifying Draw, likely to be in May 2011. For information on the methods check out my previous post.

1. USA - 541.24
2. Mexico - 489.39
3. Honduras - 444.27
4. Costa Rica - 393.58
5. CANADA - 355.60
6. El Salvador - 269.58
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. Panama - 242.75
8. Jamaica - 211.52
9. Trinidad & Tobago - 194.99
10. Haiti - 174.21
11. Antigua & Barbuda - 148.41
12. Grenada - 114.54
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13. Guatemala - 111.88
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14. Cuba - 82.96
15. Bermuda - 79.89
16. Barbados - 72.12
17. Suriname - 63.11
18. Nicaragua - 52.66
19. St. Kitts & Nevis - 50.63
20. Guyana - 50.30
21. Netherlands Antilles - 50.18
22. Puerto Rico - 44.24
23. Belize - 22.31
24. St. Vincent & the Grenadines - 21.54
25. Cayman Islands - 19.00
26. St. Lucia - 12.75
26. Turks & Caicos Islands - 12.75
28. British Virgin Islands - 11.90
29. Bahamas - 8.50
30. Aruba - 6.50
31. Dominica - 4.93
32. Dominican Republic - 4.25
33. US Virgin Islands - 3.40
34. Anguilla - 0.00
34. Montserrat - 0.00

Why Canada should not play Macedonia - UPDATED

Right now Canada have accumulated 242.26 points towards the World Cup Qualifying Draw for 2014 from Phase 3. For more information on the phases check out this post.

If we win against Macedonia (based on their current rank of 56) we would LOSE 3.75 points.

If we drew against Macedonia (based on their current rank of 56) we would LOSE 24.32 points

If we lost against Macedonia (based on their current rank of 56) we would LOSE 34.61 points

So no matter what the result against Macedonia we lose ground. The next FIFA rankings come out tomorrow. They will show us where Macedonia will be ranked when we play them. For their to be a chance that Canada could improve its standings Macedonia would have to be ranked #39. So it is not going to happen.

UPDATE - The Rankings have come out and Macedonia is Ranked #66. So if we win we will lose 5.89 points, if we draw we will lose 25.04 points, and if we lose we still drop 34.61 points. The dropped points are all in relation to the potential World Cup Qualifying draw for Brazil 2014 in May 2011. The effect would be even more pronounced on the current rankings where a win would cost us approximately 12 points.

This was a reckless decision by the CSA that makes zero sense from an organization that should be focused on getting Canada into the strongest position for the WCQ 2014 draw.

I am going to get the latest standings for the 2014 WCQ draw out tonight or tomorrow.

UPDATE - The updated standings are up. You can see them here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Canadian Terrace Talk Episode Thirteen

Greetings Everyone,

I am back after my wedding, my lovely Arsenal fan & I had a great time. In this episode Sam & I cover World Cup Qualifying, the USL final, TFC, and then discuss Asmir Begovic,


Lucky #13 Canadian Terrace Talk

Friday, October 2, 2009

Predictions for the next week or so

I am not going to be near a computer for the next week or so. Thus I thought I would put up predictions for what will happen while I am gone, that way you can come back after a match and marvel at my predictions. The one thing that I do know is that Pompey will be bottom.

Bold prediction #1

Pompey will hammer Wolves and people will say "things are going wrong off the pitch but at least they have corrected the results on the pitch"

Bold Prediction #2

There will be a lot of draws this weekend. There haven't been a lot this year, but i feel there will be a lot this weekend.

Bold Prediction #3

Argentina will beat Peru in convincing fashion, but everyone will remain unconvinced about Maradona.

Bold Prediction #4

Russia will beat Germany and advance to South Africa.

Bold Prediction #5

Ghana & Germany will be in the final of the FIFA U20.

Enjoy the football, Cheers

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oktoberfest - Pompey style

No doubt you are aware that Pompey sit on the bottom of the table, but October brings good tidings for fans of the South Coast club. In the form of Wolves, Spurs, Hull, and Wigan. When I look at these four matches I see 3 relegation six pointers and an intersquad match from last season.

At Wolves:

Wolves are sitting on 7 points but these have come from some of the other weak teams. They got three points most recently in a 2-1 win over Fulham. You may remember that Pompey lost to Fulham when Clint Dempsey's harmless shot took a crazy deflection off Bobby Zamora's back. Wolves picked up a point in a draw with Hull. They got things started with a victory over Wigan. Hull and Wigan are also on Portsmouth's october menu. The Molineaux is not an easy place to play as 4 of Wolves 7 points have come from their three home fixtures. But after the performances that Pompey put in against Bolton, Villa, and Everton I like our chances to get our first points of the season, three of them.

Home to Spurs:

One year ago, Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch, Niko Kranjcar, Joe Jordan, and Harry Redknapp were all at Portsmouth, they are now all at Spurs. Needless to say that this one has been circled on the calendar for some time. I am expecting a lot of the former Pompey guys to get a tough time from the crowd, though mainly Redknapp and Defoe. I know that the fans will be up for this match, and I hope that the players are too. Looking at this without the history between the clubs I would say that Spurs should win, especially since Jamie O'hara won't be playing as he is on loan from Spurs. However in games where there is a lot of energy anything can happen and if Pompey are coming off a first win of the season, perhaps we can welcome Harry back with a win just like we did when he was at the Scummers.

At Hull:

The Tigers are sitting on four points at the moment. One from their draw with Wolves, and three from victory over Bolton. Hull have put in a few solid performances this season, but they have be blown out three times. Their confidence is quite low at the moment and Phil Brown looks like he would be sacked tomorrow if their was a different chairman. Before facing Pompey Hull take on Wigan at home and travel to London to take on Fulham. I am sure that these are matches that Hull are targeting for points. If they lose at least one of these two matches I think their confidence will be shot and they will be easy pickings for Pompey.

Home to Wigan

Wigan rank as the most confusing team in England. They have pulled off great victories over Aston Villa, West Ham and Chelsea. But also lost badly to Manchester United, Arsenal, and Blackpool (in the league cup). They also lost to Wolves and Everton. Really it depends more on which Wigan team shows up than which Pompey team shows up. I am expecting that beatable getting relegated Wigan shows up, as I believe those are their true colours this season.

So their you have it, Portsmouth's October pointsfest. I would be disappointed if November started and we didn't have at least 9 points. Though 10 & 12 aren't out of the question. However if we are still bottom at the start of November then we are definitely in a lot of trouble. But there is not a lot of chance of that given the way that we have been playing. I am going for the full 12 points and a flourishing partnership between Piquionne & Dindane. Play Up Pompey!