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June 29, 2008

Japan: The J-League, 2008- Zoom Map.

Filed under: Japan,Zoom Maps — admin @ 5:34 pm

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The J-League is back from it’s summer break, so it’s a good time to feature a zoom map of the J-1 level of the league.  [J-2, which has 15 teams, is the other level of the J-League structure.]

The J-League was formed in 1992, and began play in 1993.  There are 18 clubs in today’s J-1, with 2 or 3 clubs relegated each season, and 2 or 3 clubs promoted from J-2.  The two league strucure, with a promotion/relegation system, was established in 1999.  It features a playoff between the 16th place J-1 team v. the 3rd place J-2 team.  The season runs from early March to early December, with a 6 week break in the early summer.

The current champion is the Kashima Antlers, a club from the Ibaraki prefecture, which is part of the greater Tokyo area (east of the city).  They were able to wrest the Title away from the Urawa Reds on the last day of the season. Urawa Red Diamonds, who were founded by Mitsubishi Motors (and are still bank-rolled by the corporation), are the biggest club in Japan.  They are also from greater Tokyo, north of the city, in the Saitama prefecture  They drew around 46,000 per game in 2007, the highest average gate in all of Asia.  Their true goal in 2007 was to win the Asian Football Confederation Champions League Title, which had eluded all Japanese teams since Jubilo Iwata won the Asian Cup (the ACF C.L. predecessor) in 1999.  Urawa Reds achieved this goal, beating Sepahan FC, of Iran, in mid-November.  But this probably contibuted to them losing their focus on the J-League Title.  The Reds only earned 2 points off their last 4 league games, and Kashima Antlers leapfogged them on the last day of the ’07 season (3rd December).  {See this article, from FIFA.com.}

To see the current J-League table, {click here}.   Urawa Reds, who definitely aim to take care of unfinshed business, sit at the top, but only on goal difference, as they are tied for points with Nagoya Grampus Eight.  Both these teams lost Saturday, though.  The Reds went down 1-2 to Kashiwa Reysol, and now Reysol are just three points off the pace.  Grampus lost big, 0-4, to reigning champs Kashima Antlers, so now the Antlers are just 1 point off the pace, with the best goal difference in the league. 

On Sunday, Gamba Osaka beat newly promoted strugglers Consadole Sapporo 4-2 , so now Osaka is also one point below the lead.  FC Tokyo, a relatively new team, with no major trophies but a large fan base, drew versus relegation-threatened JEF United, and now are 2 points behind the lead. 

Throw Omiya Ardija into the mix (at 4 points off the pace),  and you have the recipe for an interesting close of the J-League season, with very likely a half dozen teams (or more) with a shot at the crown.   {J-League site, click here.}

There is a really good independent site for the J-League.  It’s called The Rising Sun News {click here}.  It’s full of lots of info, and graphics.

On the map, I have included a segment of my 2006 J-League Attendance Map, so the viewer can get a better picture of the Greater Tokyo teams’ locations, and their fan-base sizes.  **{Click here, for my 2006 J-League Attendance Map.}

On the map, for each team, I have listed J-League Titles, and Titles for the Emperor’s Cup (the oldest Cup competition in Japan).   {Click here, for Wikipedia’s page on the Emperor’s Cup.}   I have tried to list the original names of all the teams, most of which started as company-teams.  The corporate connections have played a big part in Japanese football, and as far as I can tell, only 3 teams currently in J-1 were not formed by any sort of corporation:  Kyoto SangaAlbirex Niigata,  and Shimizu S-Pulse. 

I began rooting for the Shimizu S-Pulse because I thought their stadium looked the most fan-friendly, the team played an up-tempo style, and I have always had a soft spot for orange kits.  But now that I know they were formed at the grassroots level (from a big footballing region: {see this}), and initially with no big corporate money behind them, I like them even more.  

Thanks to Demis, of the Netherlands {click here},  for the blank map of Japan.   Thanks to http://www.colours-of-football.com,  for the kits.   Thanks to the Albion Road site {click here}, for background on the teams. 

Thanks to Mike, from the Go! Go! Omiya Ardija site {Click here}, for responding to my e-mail, and pointing out misspellings.   Check out this site:  Ardija is shaping up to be the surprise team of ’08…which is nice to see, as the club labors under the shadow of fellow Saitama-dwelling J-League giants Urawa Reds, and last year were only 3 points away from the relegation playoff.

June 28, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Finals Match- Germany v. Spain.

Filed under: UEFA Euro 2008 — admin @ 10:00 am

Sunday, 29th June, it’s the Germany National Team versus the Spain National Team, for the Championship of European football.  Euro 2008 has been an absolutely fantastic competition.  It’s amazing to think how big the Euros have become, and deservedly so, because there have been some incredible games.  I think, as opposed to the World Cup, the teams are willing to play less conservatively, and with a more go-for-broke attitude.  Whatever the reason, the Euro 2008 games have been, by and large, a thrilling affair.   [Note: this is old content, posted again here for viewer convenience.  Late Sunday, I will post a map of Japan's 2008 J-League.]


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June 22, 2008

Major League Baseball: the National League Central- Map and Chart.

Filed under: Baseball2008MLB Divisions — admin @ 9:07 am

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The National League Central Division is made up of four long-time NL franchises (the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals), plus two franchises that were formed in the 1960′s (the Houston Astros, and the Milwaukee Brewers (who were originally the Seattle Pilots)).

The Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis ball clubs all date back to the nineteenth century.  The Chicago Cubs are the only charter member of the National League (established 1876) that has remained in the same city, continuously.

**Click on the image below, for the NL Central Auxillary Chart, which shows selected uniforms and logos from each ball club’s past. Click below…

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**{For team histories, and photos, click here (Sports E-cyclopedia  site.}

Thanks to the SSUR site (http://www.sportscolours.org/).  Thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Dressed to the Nines” site (click here}, which features team uniform templates by Marc Okkonen.

June 18, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Turkey- Squad Map.

Filed under: Turkey,UEFA Euro 2008 — admin @ 6:10 pm

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Kudos to the Turkey National Team, for their two consecutive come-from-behind victories in Euro 2008.  They beat Switzerland 2-1 on 11th June , and stunned the Czechs last Sunday, 15th June, by coming back from a 0-2 deficit, to win 3-2.  Nihat Kahveci pounced on a rare Peter Cech miscue, in the 87th minute.  Nihat then curled a fantastic shot from the top of the penalty area, in the 89th minute.  {See this article (uefa Euro 2008 site)}.

Turkey will now face Croatia, in a Quarter-Final match, on Friday 20th June, in Vienna, Austria.

The map includes the 12 largest cities in Turkey (500,000 population, or more).  {Click here, for the full list of Turkish cities (Mongabay site.

{Click here, for modern history/ demographics/info on the country of Turkey {CIA World Fact Book site}.}

Thanks to the UEFA site, for the Turkish Team kits.

June 15, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Croatia-Squad Map.

Filed under: Croatia,UEFA Euro 2008 — admin @ 10:37 am

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Croatia beat Germany 2-1, last Thursday, to clinch a spot in the Euro 2008 Quarter-Finals.  {To see an article on this, click here (SI/CNN site).}

The map includes the only 4 cities in Croatia with a population of 100,000 or more  {see this}.  Croatia has an approximate population of just 4.5 million, which underscores how impressive their Narional Team’s win over Germany was…Germany’s population is around 82.4 million.  {See this page on Croatia, from the CIA World Factbook site.}

[Note: all players' caps and goals are correct as of 12 June, 2008.]

Thanks to the UEFA site {click here}, for the Euro 2008 Croatia National Team kits.

June 11, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Germany- Squad Map.

Filed under: Germany,UEFA Euro 2008 — admin @ 5:30 pm

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Though they were outshot by Poland 12-14, Germany won their first game last Sunday by a score of 2-0, with both goals scored by Polish-born Lukas Podolski  {click here, for a report from the UEFA site}.  Thursday, Germany plays Croatia.

There are three Polish-born players on the German team: Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski, and Piotr Trochowski.  Both Klose and Podolski were born in Silesia  {see this}, which was formerly part of Germany.  Most of Silesia is now in (south-west) Poland, with sections in the Czech Republic, and Germany.  {Click here, for background on Miroslav Klose’s family, and how they were able to get out of Communist-era Poland, with the help of German-ancestry laws.}

The map shows the 27 cities in Germany with a population over 250,000.  Here is a list of the largest cities in Germany  {mongabay site; click here}.   Below is a population density map of Germany (from Wikipedia).

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Thanks to the UEFA site {click here}  for the German kits.

[Note: Players caps and goals are listed up to before the start of Euro 2008.]

June 8, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: France- Squad Map.

Filed under: France,UEFA Euro 2008 — admin @ 3:14 pm

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Monday, 9th June, the French National Team will open their Euro 2008 campaign against dark-horse team Romania.  These teams are in the “Group of Death” (which also includes current World Cup Champions Italy, and the Netherlands).

{Click here, for an article from the UEFA site.}

The map also shows the 10 largest cities in France (all with over 200,000 population), plus Lille, which has a large metro-area population {click here, for the full list of largest French cities (of over 100,000 population), from the Mongabay site}.

Thanks to the UEFA site, for the French National Team kits {click here, for the Teams page}.

June 5, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Portugal. National Team- Squad Map.

Filed under: Portugal,UEFA Euro 2008 — admin @ 4:02 pm

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Saturday, 7th June, Portugal will face Turkey, in one of the two games which will kick off the first day of Euro 2008.

{Click here, for Portugal’s page, from the UEFA site.}

Thanks to the UEFA site, for the Potugal kits; UEFA site  {click here}.

June 3, 2008

Mexico-2008 Clausura, Santos Laguna, Champions.

Filed under: Mexico: Fútbol — admin @ 1:24 pm

Please note: to see my most-recent post on Mexican football (from January 2017), click on the following, category: Mexico/fútbol.
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Santos Laguna first made it to La Primera Division, Mexico’s top flight {see this, from Wikipedia},  in 1988,  just 5 years after they were founded.  They won their first Title in 1996, in the Invierno competition (which was played between August and November, and predated the corresponding Apertura competition, of today’s Mexican league).  The club won their second Title in the 2001 Verano competition (which was played in the spring, and is now called the Clausura).  They won their third Title last Sunday, after drawing 1-1 versus Cruz Azul,  to take the crown on a 3-2 aggregate.  This is a club that barely avoided relegation last year.

Here is a goal from the 29th May first leg, by Santos Laguna’s Fernando Arce (101 Goals site, click here}.

 {See this article, from Reuters}.

Here’s another photo of Estadio Corona, in Torreon, Coahuila- home of Santos Laguna; plus Google maps {click here (Panoramio site) }.

Thanks to Encyclopedia Brittanica.  Thanks to World Stadiums {click here}.   Thanks to ISC Jorge Garcia (Flickr photostream contibutor;  {Click here}).  Thanks to Colours Of Football site {click here}, for the kits.

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