FIFA May Regret a Qatar World Cup After All

March 27, 2015

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When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, an evaluation report expressed concerns about the health and safety of players and spectators in the heat.
“Since 1930, every World Cup has been played during the months of June and July, with the occasional match as early as May. Last week, FIFA confirmed that the 2022 tournament, in Qatar, will be held during the winter, with the final scheduled for December 18th. When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, in 2009, an evaluation report expressed concerns about the health and safety of players and spectators in the heat—daytime temperatures reach over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Despite the warnings, in December 2010 the FIFA executive committee selected the country as its World Cup host. Allegations about vote-buying and bribery (not to mention human-rights abuses) have plagued FIFA and Qatar ever since.” New Yorker


Five key games to watch as Euro 2016 qualifying matches resume

March 27, 2015

“… The final lap of the domestic season is just about to begin, and suddenly everything stops and the attention is wrested to Euro 2016 qualifiers and friendlies. International competition often feels like an interloper in the modern game but never more so than in this window when, after four months off, it suddenly returns and everybody has to remind themselves about a whole other set of narratives. Here, then, are five key fixtures in the upcoming European championship qualifiers…” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Poor top-level management will eventually see Córdoba relegated

March 27, 2015

“At 90 minutes, when the pitch invasion started, Córdoba were staying in the Segunda Division for another year as they trailed Las Palmas 1-0 in the play-off that would send the winner to the top flight for the 2014/15 season. At 99 minutes, when order had been restored, Córdoba were heading to the big league as Uli Davila tapped in an away goal that made history; for the first time in 42 years the club from Andalusia would be among football’s elite.” backpagefootball


From the Catenaccio to the 3-5-2: Italy’s love affair with tactics and strategy

March 27, 2015

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Gianni Brera
“Greg Lea takes an in-depth look at catenaccio, the 3-5-2 and an obsession with tactics and strategy tell us about Italian history and culture. ‘In twenty minutes here’, Rafael Benitez exclaimed at his first Napoli press conference in 2013, ‘I have been asked more tactical questions than in an entire year in England’. Italy has always been that way. Whereas in England the mainstream media talk more of psychology and man-management, Italians love to dissect strategies and theories, fans and journalists forcing coaches to explain their plans in the most intricate detail.” Outside of the Boot


Outplayed once again, Klinsmann’s USA sees repeated theme in Denmark

March 27, 2015

“The U.S. national team was outplayed comprehensively during Wednesday’s 3-2 loss in Denmark. But the fact that the Americans were so close to leaving NRGi Park in Aarhus with a win or tie would surprise only those who haven’t been watching coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s team over the past couple of years.” SI


France 1 Brazil 3

March 27, 2015

“Brazil recorded their seventh successive victory since their 2014 World Cup humiliation as they came from behind to beat France in Paris. Raphael Varane powerfully headed in Mathieu Valbuena’s left-wing corner to put the French ahead. But Oscar equalised when he linked up with Roberto Firmino and poked the ball past France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Neymar made it 2-1 as he collected Willian’s pass and shot past Mandanda before Luiz Gustavo headed in a third.” BBC


Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid | How Barca exploited half spaces

March 24, 2015

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El Clasico has become perhaps the most high profile fixture in club football. The historic rivalry between the clubs, the battle for supremacy between Ronaldo and Messi along with a star studded supporting cast, the possible implications in the title race all combine to form a heady mixture of apprehension and euphoria. The world waits with bated breath for kickoff only for it to be taken away by the plethora of talents on the pitch.” Outside of the Boot

Luis Suárez’s Validating Strike Lifts Barcelona Past Madrid
“Last October, Luis Suárez made his debut for F.C. Barcelona in a disappointing 3-1 loss to Real Madrid. He was substituted during that game after a long ban that had prompted questions over whether he could return to form and justify the record transfer fee that brought him here. On Sunday, Suárez repaid at least part of Barcelona’s investment by scoring a spectacular and decisive goal in a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the latest Clásico between the two giants of Spanish soccer. With the win, Barcelona opened up a 4-point lead over Madrid at the top of La Liga, with 10 games remaining in the season.” NY Times


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