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Sports Then and Now



Hosts Tipped for World Cup Success 20

Posted on April 02, 2014 by Pete South
Called by some the next Pele, Neymar will try to make Brazil the first host to win the World Cup since 1998.

Called by some the next Pele, Neymar will try to make Brazil the first host to win the World Cup since 1998.

With just three months before the start of the tournament, many soccer fans will have one eye on this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. While there is still plenty of twists and turns before the start of the tournament in June, the betting odds are beginning to give punters an idea on who could go on to lift the famous Jules Rimet trophy in Brazil. With the world’s gaze descending on the colorful South American country, the excitement is building ahead of a World Cup that looks set to be one of the most keenly-fought tournaments in recent memory.

While Spain will head into this World Cup as the defending champions and winner of the past two European Championships, the betting odds are tipping host nation Brazil to win the tournament for a sixth time. The hosts are considered to have the best chance to win the World Cup despite not winning the tournament since 2002. With the help of the home fans and a talented squad, Brazil have been given odds as short as 3/1 with some bookmakers.

Not since 2002 have Brazil boasted a squad packed with the same sort of talent that saw them win their fifth World Cup title, led by Ronaldo’s incredible goal scoring exploits in Japan and South Korea 12 years ago. While Ronaldo now spends much of his time as a Team PokerStars SportsStar -representing the brand who also took over Full Tilt Poker to make them the biggest online poker provider- the former striker will be hoping to watch on from the sidelines as the new Brazil side look to repeat the success achieved by himself and the rest of that 2002 side. Read the rest of this entry →

Preparing for the World Cup: Player to Watch, Kaká 1

Posted on March 12, 2010 by Thomas Rooney
Kaká is the leader of the Brazilian squad for the 2010 World Cup.

Kaká is the leader of the Brazilian squad for the 2010 World Cup.

A team does not become one of the World Cup 2010 betting favorites without talent in all positions and great overall depth, but Brazil’s hopes of glory are strongly pinned to the performance of their top player Kaká. The Real Madrid playmaker should be one of the stars of the tournament and prove on a global stage why he was once voted the World player of the year.

Some of the world’s greatest ever players do not have great World Cup records and Kaká’s previous appearances – 25 minutes as a substitute in 2002 and a solitary goal, albeit a superb one, in an unmemorable Brazilian campaign four years later – means the best Brazilian player of his generation might end up being included on that list.

However, everything is in place for Kaká to make this his career-defining year. At 27 he is at his peak and part of a team that is many observers’ favorite to lift the trophy. He is the attacking heartbeat of the Samba Kings, able to prompt attacks with his guileful passing and surging dribbling.

True, the goals have dried up recently – only four since he was voted the world’s best in 2007 – but he is hitting the net regularly for free-scoring Real Madrid and can be expected to get more chances for his national team in the summer, who often go through the motions in friendlies.

Not since 1986 has a World Cup-winner be sustained throughout the tournament by the brilliance of one man, and whilst it might be too much to expect Kaká to hit the heights Diego Maradona reached in Mexico, if he plays his best it is probably safe to say that World Cup 2010 odds will back Brazil to become world champions for the sixth time.

As Marta Wins Fourth FIFA Award Brazilian Community Is Abuzz 6

Posted on December 23, 2009 by Todd Civin
Players from Brazil's National Team including Marta, Christiana and Fabiana have impacted WPS play.

Players from Brazil's National Team including Marta, Cristiane and Fabiana have impacted WPS play.

With the announcement by FIFA naming Brazil’s Marta as their Women’s World Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive year, I hurried to my virtual Rolo-dex in an attempt to try to score a Brazilian perspective on the award.

Amongst the thousands of names which have found their way into my growing list of connections, I didn’t expect to find too many who make the land of Carnival their home since the Brazilian population in my rural town of Winchendon, MA can probably be counted on one hand.

Then I remembered a gentleman I had met at my first WPS Breaker’s game last spring. I tried desperately to jump start my memory to recall his name. After scurrying through every letter from A to R, I came upon the name “Marcus Santos” and knew I had struck pay dirt.

Santos and his band Bloco Afro-Brazil, had entertained the crowd of Breakers fans playing their Brazilian styled beat from the end zone of historic Harvard Stadium. They added a Brazilian flare to the game reminiscent of the World Cup and created an excitement which would become synonymous with Breaker brand soccer as the season went on. Read the rest of this entry →

Marta! Marta! Marta! 0

Posted on December 22, 2009 by Todd Civin
Marta starred for the Los Angeles Sol in the first year of WPS play.

Marta starred for the Los Angeles Sol in the first year of WPS play.

One year ago, Marta made history at the FIFA World Player Gala by publicly announcing her signing with the Los Angeles Sol of the new Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league which kicked off in March 2009.

One year later, the Brazilian arrived at the very same gala with her first season of WPS behind her and made history once again: this time by becoming the first player ever – male or female – to win the award for a record fourth-time as she was announced as the 2009 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year at a gala in Zurich, Switzerland on Monday evening.

“I want to thank God for everything that is happening to me in my life,” Marta said after winning the award. “I also want to thank my football colleagues in Los Angeles Sol, Santos and Brazil.” Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

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