Weekend Recap: France Soccer Falls Apart Just As An Irishman Wins The US Open. Coincidence?


AP Photo/Francois Mori

France soccer coach Raymond Domenech and Captain Patrice Evra discuss possible ways for the national team to be seem more dysfunctional but both admit that the barometer has been set unusually high.

With the World Cup group play in full swing, it was hard for soccer to not dominate the headlines this Father's Day weekend. Surprisingly, though, the upsets on the pitch were overshadowed by a team getting even more upset off the pitch. After a loss and a tie in their opening two matches, things got decidedly chilly around France's camp as the team refused to train Sunday in protest of Nicolas Anelka's expulsion from the squad. One has to wonder if all this chaos is karmic payback for Thierry Henry's golden hand?

Meanwhile, Friday's controversial tie for the U.S. definitely made it easy to take a break from soccer and chill with Dad this weekend, and if you did that we won't fault you. On Saturday, Netherlands became the first team to advance to the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Japan. As for Cameroon, they were the first team eliminated from the 2010 World Cup after losing to Denmark 2-1. Look on the bright side Cameroon fans; that's three more games than Ireland got to play. And after Germany's loss to Serbia, Ghana now leads Group D with four points after tying Australia.

Group F favorite Italy provided the headlines on Sunday after tying New Zealand. "It's the most incredible result we've had across the board. As a football coach, it's way above anything we've achieved in the history of the game," said New Zealand's coach Rick Herbert. The Kiwis had one shot on net the entire match, but it was a golden one. Paraguay's 2-0 win over Slovakia earlier in the day vaulted them into first place in Group F. And in Sunday's later game, Brazil dominated Ivory Coast to the tune of 3-1. Brazil has also punched their ticket to the knockout stage and improved their all-time World Cup record to 6-0-0 versus African nations.

Meanwhile, MLB interleague play is here to stay for another week. Stephen Strasburg was magnificent once again Friday night as he pitched seven innings, gave up one earned run, struck out 10 and walked zero. He didn't earn a decision, but he did set the Major League record for most strikeouts through a pitcher's first three career starts (32). Maybe $16,403 for his rookie card was a decent investment after all.

It was also Manny Ramirez's first game at Fenway since joining the Dodgers in 2008. He ended the three-game series going 2-3 from the plate and managed to blast a home run on Saturday, but L.A. lost all three games to Boston. The red hot Red Sox have now won six straight and have scored the most runs in baseball. Also, if, by chance, you're looking for a Manny Ramirez rookie card, you can purchase one for like $30 bucks.

And finally, the U.S. Open, aka "The Tournament Nobody Wanted to Win," came to a close yesterday. Dustin Johnson entered the day as the leader (-6), but shot an 82 in his final round and finished at (+5). In the end, it was Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell edging out France's Gregory Havret to win the championship. See Ireland, you did beat France in the end. McDowell became the first European U.S. Open winner since Tony Jacklin raised the trophy in 1970.