Soccer birthdays: Vagner Love, a relatively unknown Brazilian striker with a particularly awesome name, turns 28. Former Mexican international José Manuel Abundis, who had a cup of joe with the New England Revolution in 2006 and had a little something to say about some of the U.S.-Mexico set-tos earlier in that decade, turns 39.
This date in soccer: Back in 2002, France completed one of the most stunning first-to-zilch World Cup turns. The 1998 World Cup champs quickly became a punch line in Japan/Korea, failing miserably in Zinedine Zidane’s injury absence. On June 11, a 2-0 loss to Denmark completed Les Bleus first round capitulation, with just one puny point and a minus-3 goal difference in Group A. Nice effort, guys.
Big Important Story of the Day: The Americans are a day away from their second spin of the World Cup qualifying wheel; they traveled Sunday from Florida to Guatemala. And, of course, there’s tons of material coming out of the UEFA European Championship (pictured). And speaking of that …
Ahead on the blog today*: Stop what you’re doing right now and email somebody who likes soccer. Ask them if they’ve seen Richard Farley’s outstanding work in breaking down everything you should know from Poland and Ukraine? It really is outstanding stuff; do yourself a solid and study up ahead of today’s matches, including the channel challenge, England v. France. Speaking of those two Euro matches …
What we should all be watching on TV:
France-England, noon ET, ESPN
Ukraine-Sweden, 2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Hugo Perez
Twitter daps: Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11), paying attention to Sunday’s Italy-Ireland match: “2 certainties from this IREvCRO game:Luka Modric is the best player on the field, and Bilic (CRO coach) looks like a hobo w/ that beanie on.”
We’ll leave you with this: I’m already beaten down from Euro2012 analysts who want to prove what kind of manly men they are by declaring “That’s not a foul!” on every foul.