Thursday, July 03, 2008

FIFA rankings: July

Do you see how quiet it gets here when there's no national team action to report on? Did you miss me?

The real reason for the radio silence in these parts is that I've been buried by work (don't feel too sorry for me -- my job includes several hours a day of playing FIFA 2008 on the Xbox), and a true sign of that is the fact it has taken me two full days to report on the latest edition of the FIFA rankings.

You might be tempted to look at Canada's 17 place free-fall (to 77th), and call it evidence that we've all been drinking the kool-aid a bit too much with the recent optimistic performances. But if you look at the other CONCACAF sides, only Jamaica (+4), Cuba (+26) and Suriname (+58!!WTF>!?) gained spots among the top 10 in this month's rankings. Group rivals Mexico (-5) and Honduras (-11) were also among the droppers.

A little birdie tells me that the reason is that Canada's back-to-back thrashings of Belize come off the books this month, although that should be offset by the similar beatings laid on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A significant factor is also that last June's Gold Cup matches lose a chunk of their value as they are now a full calendar year in the rear-view. Yes, it's been that long. Canada drops to 5th overall in CONCACAF behind Panama, who have been eliminated from qualifying after 2 matches.

It would be hypocritical of me not to do my Group of Death report this month, even if all the teams in Group B have lost a bit of steam. Group A is looking a little more decent, but the real travesty is Group C:
Group 1
USA 780230
Trinidad and Tobago35810102

Group 2

Group 3
Costa Rica433779
El Salvador26212117

Other Canadian news (aside from playing Xbox 360, I've been checking the Voyageurs site almost hourly):
  • Dejan Jakovic (one of the most popular search terms for this blog) signs with Red Star Belgrade
  • Adrian Cann, of the two-Adrianned central defense pairing, signs with Andrew Ornoch's Esbjerg fB in Denmark
  • Patrice Bernier signs with Issey Nakajima-Farran's FC Nordsjaelland after being given the boot by FC Kaiserslautern
  • Iain Hume stays in the Championship in England signing with Barnsley.
  • A rumoured move for Dwayne de Rosario to join Atiba Hutchinson at FC Kobenhavn? Here is some confirmation of the rumoured FCK move in the Danish press.

By the way, if any of you missed the Nutrilite Canadian Championship/Voyageurs Cup tilt between Toronto and Vancouver on Canada Day, count yourself unlucky. You missed, among other things, Jim Brennan mixing it up with former MNT teammates Jeff Clarke and Martin Nash, a masterful display of non-finishing from TFC, and a ridiculous shirtless celebration by Jeff Cunningham on an offside goal. Nash scored a penalty to give Vancouver the 1-0 win, making the remainder of the tournament quite interesting, to say the least.

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