Joey Barton Is A Performance Artist

This is occasionally thuggish former Premier League midfielder Joey Barton speaking to the English press last season (after Shaun WrightPhillips goes first):

Sounds like a lad reared in Merseyside, right?

Now here’s the same Joey Barton speaking to the French media after his debut with Ligue 1 side Marseille, where he’s on loan this season:

Cheeky b******.

That’s some Andy Kaufman–level japery right there.

Here’s Barton’s explanation on Twitter:

“In my defence, it is very difficult to do a press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists. The alternative is to speak…

…like a ‘Allo Allo!’ character which is choose. Its simply a case of you had to be there. #youstupidwomen!”

And here’s a clip of ‘Allo ‘Allo!, a BBC sitcom from the 1980s.

H/T to Our Man at the Valley.

2011 U-17 Nike Friendlies: U.S. 2, France 2

American striker Wesley Wade—a New York Red Bulls academy product—scored a dramatic 93rd-minute equalizer to lift the U.S. to a 2-2 tie with France in the opening match of the U-17 Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, last night.

DeAndre Robinson had drawn first blood for the U.S. in the 25th minute, bending a shot into the top corner from 22 yards, but France equalized just before the break and went ahead on a U.S. own goal in the 75th minute. That set the stage for Wade’s heroics.

Highlights here:

In the day’s other match, Brazil edged Turkey 1-0. The U.S. faces Turkey on Friday at 5:00 p.m. ET (Fox Soccer).

U.S.–France Preview: Gooch to Sit Out with Injury

The U.S. national team takes on France at the Stade de France in Paris this afternoon (3:00 ET, ESPN2), and centerback Oguchi Onyewu has been ruled out of the match with a minor injury.

He is not in the 18-man gameday roster, which looks like this:

Starting XI: Tim Howard; Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Timothy Chandler; Kyle Beckerman; Danny Williams, Maurice Edu, Brek Shea; Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore

Bench: Bill Hamid, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, DaMarcus Beasley, Edson Buddle.

Here is the U.S. Federation’s match preview:

Enjoy the game, folks.

U.S. Women Advance to WWC Final with 3-1 Win Over France

The U.S. women’s national team booked a place in the Women’s World Cup final today, downing France 3-1 on goals by Lauren Cheney, Abby Wambach, and Alex Morgan.

Highlights here:

The Americans got off to a bright start with Cheney’s goal, but France dominated the middle portion of the game—maybe the middle hour of the game—and had several other chances in addition to Sonia Bompastor’s 55th-minute equalizer.

After coach Pia Sundhage brought on Alex Morgan (in the 56th minute) and Megan Rapinoe (64th), the U.S. began to reassert itself. Rapinoe was involved in both second half goals (her pass led to the corner kick that created Wambach’s goal) and was generally instrumental in the win, while Morgan iced it with the third goal in the 82nd minute.

As for Wambach’s winner, nice header and way to get in there and all, but c’mon, that was some terrible goalkeeping. Sacré bleu, Ms. Sapowicz!

The U.S. will play Japan, 3-1 winners over Sweden in the other semifinal, in Sunday’s WWC Final (2:45 ET, ESPN).

Japan and the U.S. have met 25 times before, with the U.S. winning 22 of those games, and the other three ending in draws. So … Japan is due?