When They Mattered: Ajax and its failed chance at a second dynasty

July 27, 2015

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“The high point was also the tipping point. The slow and torturous decline began almost at the very moment 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert’s 84th-minute toe-poke skittered past Sebastiano Rossi and into AC Milan’s net to win the 1994-95 Champions League, whereupon the teenaged striker wheeled away as he twisted his jersey around on his torso so everybody could see real well.” Fusion (Video)


England Rules: Four Questions That Explain the Summer Transfer Window

July 27, 2015

“While there’s still more than a month remaining, something about the current transfer window just seems … off. Most of the big clubs — Chelsea, PSG, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Real Madrid — have been relatively quiet, and the star we all expected to leave looks like he might stay put in Italy for another year. Now, there’s been plenty of movement in Munich, Manchester, and everywhere else, but even those transactions have been underpriced, overpriced, or seemingly out of nowhere. In short, the silly season’s gotten weird. Here are four questions to sort through all the mayhem.” Grantland


Mexico is the most talented team in CONCACAF and finally showed it in the Gold Cup final

July 27, 2015

“Mexico is the champion of the 2015 Gold Cup. Well, Mexico and the refs. Some spectacularly bad refereeing helped El Tri make it to the final, but once there, it finally put on a show, beating Jamaica 3-1. This was the tournament in which Mexico proved itself. More than booking its spot in the Confederations Cup playoff, the Gold Cup was a showcase for El Tri’s absurd amount of talent. There’s no longer any doubt which team in CONCACAF is the most talented. In fact, the gulf between Mexico and the rest of the region may be even bigger than we previously thought.” Fusion


USA, still confident, knows there’s work to be done after Gold Cup finish

July 27, 2015

“The U.S. national team was well past writing a storybook ending to this disastrous CONCACAF Gold Cup when DaMarcus Beasley, 33 and a veteran of four World Cups, stepped to the penalty spot hoping to keep his side alive in Saturday’s bronze medal game. Even victory over Panama would not have obscured the disappointment of the Americans’ two-year decline from unbeaten regional champion to this consolation match played at half-empty PPL Park. But a Beasley miss, on what was probably the last touch of his historic international career, would be cruel salt in the wound. It would have been too much.” SI


Alessio Romagnoli: Why The Man Being Compared to Alessandro Nesta is Such Hot Property

July 27, 2015

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“It seems perplexing that Roma are willing to entertain offers for their tremendously talented central defender, Alessio Romagnoli. At 20, Romagnoli is brilliant for his age, in a position where experience and maturity are considered huge benefits. Further time to develop into the completely finished article is most definitely on his side. While it’s no secret he’s prone to the odd lapse in concentration, like the positional error that kept Raheem Sterling onside, and allowed him to score, in Roma’s recent friendly against Manchester City, that’s somewhat to be expected for a player of his position at his age. It’s not easy being a mistake free defender at 20, let alone 30. Just look at 29-year-old Vincent Kompany, who, despite his quality, still has more than his fair share of slip-ups.” Licence to Roam


Reggae Boy Blues: A Guide to Worrying About the USMNT’s Disappointing Gold Cup Exit

July 27, 2015

“Well, that wasn’t supposed to happen. The United States men’s national team, which had reached the last five CONCACAF Gold Cup finals, fell, 2-1, to an active and inspired Jamaican team in last night’s semifinal in Atlanta. Their first home loss to the Reggae Boyz sends the Americans into Saturday’s sad third-place match against Panama, while Jamaica moves through to its first final against Mexico. Not winning the whole thing — let alone crashing out before the championship game — is an utter failure for the Red, White, and Blue. So, how worried should you, USMNT-adjacent person, be? Well, it depends who you are …” Grantland


Tactical Philosophy: Andre Villas-Boas

July 27, 2015

“André Villas-Boas is still only 37, but it feels like he’s been a football manager for a very long time. Indeed, the 25th of October, 2015 will only be the 6th anniversary of Villas-Boas’ first game in charge of a senior, professional football team, discounting a brief stint as Technical Director of the British Virgin Islands at the age of 21. Villas-Boas has taken first team management roles in Portugal, with Académica de Coimbra and his beloved FC Porto, then in London, with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, and he is now currently working for Zenit St. Petersburg, in Russia.” Outside of the Boot


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