At least there is a Cup of Nations for Nigeria to fail to qualify for

November 21, 2014

South Africa's Eric Mathoho, left, and Nigeria's Ahmed Musa
“Twelve days after the Akwa Ibom stadium in Uyo was officially opened, it is already a site of ignominy. Nigeria fought back with two late Sone Aluko goals to draw 2-2 with South Africa on Wednesday, but preserving their unbeaten record against Bafana Bafana in competitive games is little consolation. Congo, whom Nigeria had beaten 2-0 on Saturday to have even a chance of qualification, held their nerve to win 1-0 in Sudan and so eliminated the defending champions from the Cup of Nations.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Why are South Americans succeeding in England?

November 21, 2014

“Earlier this month Sergio Aguero’s goal won the Manchester derby for City. Nothing unusual there, perhaps – the little genius has been a consistent matchwinner since joining the club just over three years ago, with 64 goals in 98 Premier League appearances. Much more striking is that Aguero was part of a South American contingent which on the pitch that day was more numerous than English players – a fact which serves as a symbol for the season.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Ranking the Top 10 Young Forwards so far in 2014-15: Depay & Alcacer swap positions

November 21, 2014

“Our Talent Radar Player Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe’s top six leagues, with those featuring in these regular pieces, eventually being recognised in our end of season Talent Radar Young Player Awards and 100 Best Young Players to Watch list. Read this document for all your queries on Talent Radar and explanation of the features under it.” Outside of the Boot


Jurgen Klinsmann vs. the Future of American Soccer

November 21, 2014

“In 2014, Jurgen Klinsmann put the finishing touches on the transformation of the United States men’s national team into some sporting version of The Hunger Games. No one died, except for perhaps Landon Donovan’s ego, but the German World Cup winner imposed a vision in which no player’s spot on the squad or in the lineup is ever safe. In Klinsmann’s mind, the previous iterations of the team were happy-feely groups hanging out in Mister Rogers’s neighborhood, complacent and content with the status quo. That needed to change.” Grantland


Scout Report | Muhamed Besic: Everton & Bosnia’s solid midfielder

November 21, 2014

Muhamed-Besic-Everton
“In most highlight reels of the last World Cup one of the most recurrent images was of the Bosnian midfielder, Muhamed Bešić tumbling over his own defender Ermin Bicakic as Messi slalomed past Bosnian defence to score one of his routine jaw dropping goals leaving an unfortunate Bešić colliding with Bicakcic in their opening match against the eventual runners up Argentina. But Bešić had a wonderful World Cup contrary to what that pervasive sequence of events suggests.” Outside of the Boot


The myth of Bosnian unity is being played out through its national team

November 21, 2014

“After Sunday’s 3-0 loss in Israel, the success that saw Bosnia appear in this summer’s World Cup was pushed even further from relevance, though five months ago, the country’s first ever major tournament was cast as a potentially major step in unifying a young, divided nation. On the contrary, the idea of the Bosnia national team as a symbol of unity was always a mere myth. It is an easy story to tell for the journalist who never ventures out of Sarajevo’s old town – or, for the writer who relies solely on photos that emerge after the team’s success.” Soccer Gods


For the U.S. to be a world power, it has to kill its underdog

November 21, 2014

“The plucky, over-archiving Irish. The hard-working, underdog Yanks. Even among those of us who make a living spewing these tropes, there’s recognition that narratives are a poor interpretation of what happens on the field. Yet Tuesday’s game – the final one in a busy year for the U.S. men’s national team – presents a clash of walking, talking stereotypes. Few teams in international soccer are more readily typecast than the Republic of Ireland, Tuesday’s host, and the United States.” Soccer Gods


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