It's only been 50 hours since the first Izzo/Cavs post went up here, but I'm already feeling major burnout from tracking every minute development. Must . . . find . . . distraction.
LVS, Pete, and I are all soccer guys, so we're going to open up an OT exemption big enough to drive a Mack truck through and talk some World Cup for the next five weeks. (All the cool kids are doing it.) Kurt at Bless You Boys is also one of us, so we're going to flip flop daily WC open threads between here and there. There seem to be a pretty large number of soccer fans between our readership and his. We might as well chat about the action in South Africa with people whose odd internet usernames we're already familiar with, right? Friday's thread will be at BYB. Saturday's will be here (USA-England, baby!).
Anyway, here are some WC links to get things started:
Kaka, Diego Maradona among key figures at 2010 World Cup - Grant Wahl - SI.com
Mr. Wahl (remember when he covered college basketball, too?) breaks down the storylines/players to watch.
Spain leads 2010 World Cup Power Rankings - Grant Wahl - SI.com
More Wahl. USA at #14.
American soccer's most accomplished and enigmatic star, - 06.07.10 - SI Vault
Posnanksi: "But it is not impossible. It happens. And this, the lovers of the sport will tell you, is why soccer soars. What it takes to score a goal goes beyond hitting a home run, beyond scoring a touchdown, beyond slipping the puck past the hockey goalie. It is something beyond athletic skill, something that transcends ball handling and deft touch and a powerful shot. It takes, for lack of a better word, magic."
The Case for (and Against) Gooch " Stars and Gripes
Solid USA blog. Onyewu's status the #1 issue for the Yanks IMO. Australia looked dangerous on just about every cross into the box on Saturday. Very thorough breakdown of England's formation/tendencies in earlier posts.
Three thoughts on United States-Australia tuneup result - Daily Soccer Fix
Again, central D is the worry (ironic, given that's historically been the USA's most solid spot among the field positions). Offensive potential is there. I worry about losing a couple games 3-2 and going home after group play.
Soccer Insider - Altidore returns to full practice
USA's only established pure striker looking good to start on Saturday after recent ankle injury.
2010 World Cup: England squad is looking far from its best - ESPN Soccernet
I like the sound of that.
2010 World Cup - Clint Dempsey is a star overseas. But what about in the United States? - ESPN Soccernet
I scored a goal in the FIFA™ World Cup final - ESPN Soccernet
Very cool mini documentaries.
Mundial 2010 en MARCA.com
Greatest sports schedule page in history of universe.
Football is Coming Home
WC blog from TOC reader (and England fan) Sam Seaver.
OK, back to the Izzo-watch. Bad signs: (1) Izzo's buyout isn't all that big in the scheme of things. (2) James signing a 3-year deal might make it easier for the whole thing to come together relatively quickly. Good sign: There are other names in the mix (Jeff VanGundy, Byron Scott).
Deep breaths, deep breaths.
P.S. We've been meaning to put something up on the new SB Nation regional site for Detroit, but it's gotten lost among all the Izzo talk. Do check it out. They've been doing a nice job tracking Izzo-related developments.