The Lead

The roughly five thousand year history of Western philosophy can be boiled down to the tricky relationship between the universal and the particular (see phil grads? you can apply your degree in a real-world situation). Both Plato and Aristotle tried to figure out how a chair could always be a chair despite the fact there are countless chairs, each with their own distinct qualities or particulars (or accidents, if you’re Aristotle). They were preoccupied with what gives chairs their chair-yness.

Last night, Canadian soccer fans were also faced with making the distinction between the state of the CANADIAN SOCCER and a single moment in a single match with an inexperienced team in an unpredictable confederation. Last night, seasoned veterans of the one, long epic disappointment that is the national team saw everything about the Canadian game in Maykel Reyes’ 89th minute header, which cancelled out Evan James’ 25th minute strike and condemned Canada to an almost certain semifinal against the mighty Mexico. As Ben Massey aptly Tweeted:

But then cooler heads prevailed (including Massey’s in this definitive match report), and we took stock. This was a young team that had barely performed against El Salvador, played their socks off against the USA, and then trailed off and got lazy against Cuba. As Daniel Squizzato reminded Canada fans this morning:

And hey, y’know who came first in Canada’s group four years ago in this same tournament? Guatemala. Yeah, figure that one out. It’s CONCACAF, folks. The regional duopoly notwithstanding, there are still plenty of oddball results to be had.

And that’s the refrain this morning. Things could be worse, CONCACAF is weird (the USA is out of the Olympics after a 3-3 draw with El Salvador, for goodness sake), and we’ll only provide grist for the Canadian “woe is me” soccer mill if we attempt to leap from last night’s unfortunate particular to the broad universal. So smile, and #pray4Canada against Mexico. Toronto FC however, that’s another story…

England

Manchester United were “lucky” not to have conceded a penalty when Michael Carrick tripped Danny Murphy against Fulham, said Sir Alex Ferguson impossibly.

Di Matteo counters Lampard and looks on the bright side ahead of Benfica Champions League match.

And Laurent freaking Blanc is on the Chelsea shortlist.

Roberto Mancini to offload Edin Dzeko at Man City?

Liam Stacey jailed for 56 days for racist Muamba tweets.

Bolton’s “emotional” return to Tottenham.

Mick McCarthy won’t rule out return to Wolves. Good lord.

Italy

Nocerino says Milan can beat Barcelona.

Arsene Wenger (?) says no they can’t.

Gazzetta with some details on the Ranieri sacking at Inter.

Bits and bobs

Always great when Jonathan Wilson writes about Sunderland.

APOEL’s success in the Champions League is no surprise.

Meet the Geordie who led Benfica to three league titles.

Robbie Fowler wants one last chance, writes Ben Lyttleton.

Oh, this is delightful.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…