The Austin Chronicle

News From Around the World: Austin, Tajikistan, Manchester, and Two World Cups

By Nick Barbaro, August 22, 2007, 5:20pm, The Score

The UT Lady Longhorns open their season this weekend, with an exhibition game in Albuquerque against UNM. The regular season kicks off Friday, Aug. 31 at home against TCU.

St. Edward's women open their season Friday, Aug. 24 at 5pm, hosting Truman State. The men are in Colorado this weekend.

The U.S. lost to Tajikistan, 4-3, in their opening game in the U-17 World Cup. The U.S. now faces must-win games against Tunisia and Belgium to advance out of group play; the tournament continues through Sept. 9.

Countdown to the Women's World Cup in China: Kickoff is Monday, Sept. 10, continuing through the end of the month. All games are at 4am and 7am, CDT; make your late night and/or breakfast plans accordingly. The last U.S. tuneup is this Saturday, Aug. 25, 8:30pm against Finland, live on ESPN2.

Three games into the English Premier League season, and the big question is, what's wrong with the defending champs? Manchester United have two draws and an embarrassing derby loss to Manchester City to show for their efforts.

More on that, plus results from the first international game day of the fall season, (U.S. 0-1 at Sweden, Hungary 3-1 over Italy, Germany 2-1 over England at Wembley), plus news about David Beckham, the Houston Dynamo, and more, are below.

Three games into the English Premier League season, and the big question is, what's wrong with the defending champs? Manchester United have two draws and an embarrassing derby loss to Manchester City to show for their efforts.

Also struggling are London's Tottenham Hotspur. Tabbed as perhaps the one team who could break the stranglehold of the Big Four (Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool), Spurs struggled out of the gate with consecutive losses, and already, there are calls for manager Martin Jol's head.

If anyone's breaking into the top four, right now it looks like Man City. Better loved in their hometown, but always in the shadow of their behemoth crosstown rivals – the Mets to Man U's Yankees – City have an all-new look this year under enigmatic former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, and the league's only perfect 3-0 record.

Of course, we're early days in a 38-week season, but whatever happens, Eriksson will be a charming addition to the Premiership's stellar cast of head coaches. It's hard to imagine a more idiosyncratic, dramatic, love-'em-or-hate-'em lot: Scots traditionalist Sir Alex Ferguson at Man U; Portuguese Euro-GQ star Jose Mourinho at Euro-mafia Chelsea; Arsene Wenger and the French flavor he's brought to Arsenal; Spanish technocrat Rafael Benitez at Liverpool; avuncular Dutch grump Martin Jol at Tottenham. And now Eriksson – the taciturn Swede who was never really trusted by England fans during his five-year stint as the team's first foreign manager ever – returns to prove he's still a boy genius, even at 60. Speaking of English coaches – notice what country doesn't have a manager in that top group?

David Beckham has finally worked his way into the L.A. Galaxy starting lineup, but the Galaxy continue to slide, and time is starting to run out on their season. In his first MLS start on Saturday at a packed Giants Stadium, Beckham had two lovely assists on long crosses into the box; but he also tired visibly, his free kicks failing to clear the defensive wall on his last four tries, and his passes falling consistently short. The Red Bulls got two late goals off of Beckham turnovers, in fact – too-slow passes through the middle that defenders were able to pounce on and turn the other way – and stole a very entertaining 5-4 thriller. A moral victory for the Galaxy, perhaps, after getting shut out in their last three games, but they need more than that.

Beckham, by the way, flew to London right after the New York game to join the England squad before the Wednesday friendly against Germany (see above and below), played all 90 minutes Wednesday night, flies back to L.A. overnight, and will be in the lineup for Thursday's crucial derby match against Chivas USA.

The Houston Dynamo, meanwhile, beat Dallas, 1-0 on Sunday, to leapfrog them into the Western Conference lead.

International Game Results from Wednesday, Aug. 22

Euro 2008 Qualifying

Armenia 1, Portugal 1
Finland 2, Kazakhstan 1
Belgium 3, Serbia 2
San Marino 0, Cyprus 1
Estonia 2, Andorra 1
Northern Ireland 3, Liechtenstein 1

International Friendlies
Sweden 1, United States 0
Hungary 3, Italy 1
England 1, Germany 2
Scotland 1, South Africa 0
Greece 2, Spain 3
Russia 2, Poland 2
Lithuania 2, Turkmenistan 1
Ukraine 2, Uzbekistan 1
Latvia 1, Moldova 2
Bulgaria 0, Wales 1
Norway 2, Argentina 1
Belarus 2, Israel 1
Denmark 0, Ireland 4
Luxembourg 0, Georgia 0
Macedonia 0, Nigeria 0
Romania 2, Turkey 0
Iceland 1, Canada 1
Austria 1, Czech Republic 1
Bosnia-Herzegovina 3, Croatia 5
Montenegro 1, Slovenia 1
Switzerland 2, Netherlands 1
Albania 3, Malta 0
Slovakia 0, France 1
Japan 2, Cameroon 0
Brazil 2, Algeria 0
Ivory Coast 0, Egypt 0
Ecuador 1, Bolivia 0
Paraguay 1, Venezuela 1
Costa Rica 1, Peru 1
Mexico 0, Colombia 1

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