Brooks Peck

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Brooks Peck is the award-winning editor and co-founder of Yahoo! Sports soccer blog Dirty Tackle. He has also written for World Cup Blog, BT Life's a Pitch and Howler Magazine.

  • Dirk Nowitzki given penalty in charity match for poorly executed dive

    NBA star Dirk Nowitzki and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer held a match in Germany to benefit their respective charity organizations on Sunday. And during that match, Nowitzki showed that basketball players are catching up to footballers in the art of egregious flopping.

    As Ball Don't Lie pointed out last week, Nowitzki happened to speak to the Dallas Morning News about flopping in basketball before the Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs (or the San Francisco Spurs to Sergio Ramos) in the NBA Finals.

    “We’re never going to get rid of it,” he said recently. “But you got to limit it. It’s part of sports. It’s part of winning. Some people are smart and do a little extra thing to kind of sell the call. To me, that’s part of sports.

    “You don’t want the obvious ones, the really, really bad ones. I think we’d love to get rid of those."

    Well, the 7-foot-tall Nowitzki displayed a really, really bad one for comedic effect in the charity match, taking a delayed tumble while a defender sat on the ground some distance in front of him. And to the Dallas Mavericks power forward's delight, he was awarded a penalty for his terrible acting, which he converted. He wasn't successful on another penalty attempt though, and the blown opportunity proved costly as Nowitzki's team (which included the likes of Lukas Podolski, Mats Hummels and Stefan Kießling) lost Neuer's team (with the likes of Ilkay Gündogan and Julian Draxler) 8-7. Neuer even scored twice himself.

    But Nowitzki's performance wasn't limited to awful dives and missed penalties. He also added some odd facial expressions...

    Read More »from Dirk Nowitzki given penalty in charity match for poorly executed dive
  • (Getty)

    Tahiti lost their three Confederations Cup group-stage matches by a combined score of 24-1, but being the gracious guests that they are, they still took the time to thank the host nation. Following their 8-0 loss to Uruguay, in which they surrendered the fastest goal in the Confederations Cup's brief history (79 seconds, scored by Abel Hernandez), the Tahitian players held a large banner that read "Obrigado Brasil!" (thank you, Brazil) as they waved farewell.

    As the smallest nation to ever compete in a FIFA senior tournament, Tahiti instantly became fan favorites at the tournament. Their popularity only grew when they managed to score in their first match against Nigeria and gave traditional shell necklaces to all of their opponents before every match. Their massive defeats in every match prompted some critics to argue that their inclusion in the tournament (achieved fair and square by winning the 2012 OFC Nations Cup) only served to devalue the competition. But the Brazilian people

    Read More »from Tahiti players hold ‘thank you, Brazil’ banner after their final Confederations Cup match
  • Gus Poyet finds out he’s been sacked by Brighton on live TV

    While serving as an in-studio pundit for the BBC's live Confederations Cup coverage, Brighton manager Gus Poyet was informed by the show's producers that the club had released a statement on their official website announcing the termination of his contract. Poyet had been suspended by Brighton since he sent out a scolding email in the wake of a bizarre incident in which feces were smeared in Crystal Palace's dressing room before the second leg of last season's Championship playoff semifinal.

    Here's the statement that was published on Brighton's official website, which is referenced in the video above:

    Gus Poyet has been informed today by Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club's internal disciplinary panel that his employment has been terminated with immediate effect.

    This followed his suspension, an investigation, and a subsequent formal disciplinary process. In line with the club's own procedures, and UK employment law, Mr Poyet now has a right of appeal. As such, the club will make no

    Read More »from Gus Poyet finds out he’s been sacked by Brighton on live TV
  • Mario Balotelli gives Gigi Buffon a workout in training

    Before Brazil gave Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon a difficult time in their 4-2 win on Saturday, teammate Mario Balotelli tested him in training. Balotelli went one-v-one against Buffon with a lengthy bit of fancy footwork that had the keeper crawling on the ground to try and keep Mario at bay. But 35-year-old Buffon stuck with the 22-year-old striker and eventually knocked the ball away from him to show that experience beats youth. Except when that youth belongs to Neymar.

  • Neymar continues goal streak with lovely free kick against Italy

    With Italy and Brazil already through to the Confederations Cup semifinals, their match on the final day of Group A play turned into a battle to avoid Spain in the next round. It got off to a tentative start, but Dante put Brazil up 1-0 just before halftime (apparently from an offside position) and Emanuele Giaccherini equalized shortly after the break. That set up Neymar to take the lead back for the home side just four minutes later.

    Given a free kick just outside the box after he kicked the back of an Italian defender's leg to make it look like he was fouled, Neymar caught goalkeeper Gigi Buffon cheating the wrong way with a perfectly placed shot into the far side of the net. That gave Neymar his third goal of the tournament (one in each match). Although, he did score in the third minute of the first game and in the ninth minute of the second, so clearly he's losing his touch.

    Brazil would extend their lead to two goals when Fred scored in the 66th minute to make it 3-1. Italy then

    Read More »from Neymar continues goal streak with lovely free kick against Italy
  • Prandelli with Balotelli. (Getty)

    According to Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, his side has been kept inside their hotel in Salvador, Brazil amidst security concerns over the ongoing protests throughout the country. And it seems the confinement has blurred Prandelli's judgement as he ended up apologizing for a poor attempt at a "joke" about the team's leading scorer, Mario Balotelli, who was allowed out of the hotel to do charity work with local children in need.

    From the BBC:

    Prandelli said the AC Milan striker was permitted to leave the hotel because his "colour is different to ours".

    But he later said: "I'm sorry. It was a joke. Of course." [...]

    "Before I said something about the colour of our skin," added Prandelli. "I am glad we clarified that issue about why he was the only one allowed out.

    "He was surrounded by all these people but he was working with a charity and doing something nice."

    Italy's final Confederations Cup group-stage match against Brazil — both of whom have already sealed their advancement to

    Read More »from Italy manager apologizes for Mario Balotelli ‘joke’ while team is ‘forbidden’ from leaving their hotel
  • Napoli owner claims Man City ‘do not have the money’ for Edinson Cavani


    In one of humanities most remarkable discoveries in recent memory, Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis claims to have found the bottom of the bottomless pit that is Manchester City's funding vault. As one of the richest clubs in the world, Man City's transfer dealings are only limited by their willingness to fill out the required paperwork. Already this summer, they have given €40 million to Shakhtar Donetsk for Fernandinho and €20 million to Sevilla for Jesus Navas. But according to De Laurentiis, City are now too strapped for cash to afford Serie A's top scorer, Edinson Cavani.

    From the Independent:

    Napoli’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed that City had made an enquiry about a move for the forward, but they refused to meet the £54m minimum buy-out clause.

    "Manchester City do not have the money to pay for Cavani," De Laurentiis told reporters. "They said 'we will never spend €63m on Cavani’.”

    Of course, it should be noted that De Laurentiis is a bit prone to being overly

    Read More »from Napoli owner claims Man City ‘do not have the money’ for Edinson Cavani
  • Torres with Tahiti's Rainui Aroita after the match. (Getty)

    Spain beat Tahiti 10-0 in their Confederations Cup group-stage match to set a new record for margin of victory in a FIFA senior tournament. Though a decisive win for Spain was an inevitability, part of the reason the score got to be that lopsided was the mostly amateur Tahitian players' refusal to just sit back and defend against their supremely talented opponents. They tried to attack instead of parking the bus, as far better teams often do against Spain. They didn't play scared (or pragmatically), they just played.

    [Related: Spain is the team everyone loves to hate]

    As a result, Fernando Torres led Spain with four goals in the game. That makes him the tournament's top scorer, so it probably shouldn't be a surprise that he appreciated the positive and porous nature of Tahiti's play and declared them an example for other teams to follow. Because winning every match 10-0 really would be great for Spain.

    From Reuters:

    "They are the example for other teams," Torres told reporters after

    Read More »from Fernando Torres calls Tahiti ‘an example for other teams’ after Spain’s 10-0 win
  • Abby Wambach beats Mia Hamm’s all-time international scoring record

    USA striker Abby Wambach scored four goals in a friendly against South Korea, including a hat trick in the first 29 minutes, to surpass the all-time international scoring record previously held by Mia Hamm. Wambach was two goals behind Hamm's record of 158 going into the match and she wasted no time in continuing her pursuit, first scoring in the 11th minute before adding a second in the 20th minute, third in the 29thst minute and a fourth just before halftime for good measure. She was eventually subbed off in the 61st minute before things could get too out of hand.

    Wambach's third goal, the one that gave her the new record, was scored with a powerful header off a Megan Rapinoe corner kick. With her family celebrating in the stands at Red Bull Arena, her teammates rushed over to hug her, even those on the bench. But a South Korean player a little too eager to restart the match, took the ball record-breaking ball from her. Bemused, Wambach did get

    Read More »from Abby Wambach beats Mia Hamm’s all-time international scoring record
  • "I made it. I made it!!!" (Getty)

    No one expected a tournament match between the best team in the world and the 138th best team in the world to be close. Tahiti had no delusions of a biblical upset against Spain in the Confederations Cup or even of a noble and defiant 1-0 defeat. Playing Spain at the legendary Maracana Stadium would be a once in a lifetime memory and the score would be irrelevant. It was always going to be an exercise in complete and total domination for Spain, but there tends to be a big difference between what people feel when they expect something to happen and what they feel when it actually happens.

    Spain's 10-0 win — the biggest win ever in a FIFA senior tournament — was perhaps most excruciating for Tahiti's 30-year-old goalkeeper, Mickael Roche. The physical education teacher who once played for Monaco's reserve team did not play in Tahiti's first Confederations Cup group-stage match against Nigeria, a 6-1 loss, so this was his first taste of football at a level previously unheard of for a

    Read More »from The pain, triumph and more pain of Tahiti’s goalkeeper in losing 10-0 to Spain


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