Marcello Lippi,who led Italy to the Cup, and Jurgen Klinsmann, who guided Germany to thirdplace, left their posts, while the U.S., looking for what one official called a"fresh approach," announced that Bruce Arena would not return.
July 23, 2006
For "freshapproach" read "German coach." The 41-year-old Klinsmann, who livesin California, was cagey about his future, but U.S. Soccer president SunilGulati said, "I'm sure I will talk to Jurgen." Italy wasted no timehiring national team legend Roberto Donadoni.
After France'sZinedine Zidane apologized for head-butting Marco Materazzi, lipreaders weighedin with what the Italian said to provoke the assault. Explanations ranged from"calm down" to "[You're the] bastard son of a terroristwhore."
Both players lookdumb, especially Materazzi, who said he didn't know what a terrorist was anddenied he dissed Zidane's family. ("The mother is sacred. You knowthat.") He could be suspended and the retiring Zidane stripped of theGolden Ball he won as Cup MVP.
The Italianplayers celebrated their fourth World Cup win with nearly one million fans atRome's Circus Maximus, but their joy was short-lived. Last Thursday three topclubs were relegated from Serie A as part of a match-fixing scandal.
Expect thedemoted teams to run a fire sale √† la the Florida Marlins. The biggest prizes:defender Fabio Cannavaro (expected to be sold to Real Madrid) and goalkeeperGianluigi Buffon (linked with Arsenal and AC Milan).
THE 2010 WORLDCUP
Attention shiftedto the 2010 host, South Africa, but the things that made Germany a success--newstadiums, efficient trains to shuttle fans from venue to venue--are behindschedule in the land whose tourist slogan is "It's impossible."
Nothing iscertain, but rumors persist that FIFA, worried about the pace of construction,may push South Africa back to 2014. If that happens, the 2010 Cup could eitherreturn to Germany--or go to Australia or the United States, which hosted thebest attended Cup ever in 1994.
The preseasonAll-America Notre Dame receiver is pitching this summer for the Cubs' Class Ateam in Boise
SI: You recentlysaid that quarterback Brady Quinn's arm ranks third on the team behind yoursand safety Tom Zbikowski's. Has Brady gotten wind of those comments?
Samardzija: Idon't think so. Or maybe he has and he just won't say anything. Natural armstrength is different from throwing a football. If you put a football in myhands, it'll flop all over the field. But I can throw it real hard. AndZbikowski has a cannon. But Brady has a lot of good things going for him,too.
SI: Zbikowski isyour roommate, and like you, he's a two-sport athlete. [He made his pro boxingdebut last month.] Have the two of you ever sparred?
Samardzija: I'venever gotten in the ring with him, but I don't need to. We have plenty of timeswhere [we're playing around, and] the fun turns into a nice little brawl. Nowthat he has Angelo Dundee in his corner, he might have a mental advantage. Butthat's where my physical attributes come in [laughs].
SI: Is your idealscenario to play both sports in the pros?
Samardzija: Ofcourse. If things can fall into place with the Cubs and the Bears, well, that'swhat I think about every day. I think about the cool things. Do I understand Imight have to make a decision in six or seven months? I do. But right now I'mjust trying to have some fun and live it up while I can.
SI: You threw 45pitches in the Wrigley Field bullpen when you met the media after the draft.What was that like?
Samardzija: Itwas ridiculous. Greg Maddux sat and watched me. What can you say about GregMaddux watching some 21-year-old punk kid in the bullpen? Not too shabby. Icaught a lot of heck for being an ND guy because, well, we always do. [FormerTrojan] Mark Prior gave me a USC shirt. But I didn't wear it.
SI: Have yourBoise teammates coaxed you into playing touch football?
Samardzija: Theytry to guard me sometimes in the outfield but not too successfully. They'repitchers. Not exactly the most fleet-footed people on the planet.
• For more fromJeff Samardzija, go to SI.com/scorecard.