U21: 8 players to watch at the European Championships

June 10, 2011

“As we tied up the last remnants of the 2010/11 season, packed up the suitcases and prepared to hit a few well deserved weeks in the sun, we realised… football isn’t ending just yet. This weekend in Denmark, Europe’s finest young players will be showcased in the U21 European Championships, so here are eight of those players – one from each team – that you should be looking out for.” backpagefootball

Ten Spanish La Liga talents that could be on the move this summer
“And so it starts. There hasn’t even been much of a break for the national team. No sooner had the season finished — even before the season had finished — than they were talking about the new signings. In doing so they confirmed a basic and ultimately destructive trend: Madrid and Barcelona not only have the most voracious appetites in Spain, but they are the only ones with the wallets to satisfy those appetites. Sometimes there is not even much of a plan, just an attitude that says: he’s good, let’s get him before anyone else does.” SI


Ten Bundesliga talents who could be on the move this summer

June 10, 2011

“The post-Bosman age of contractual freedom has made it much harder for the smaller European teams to hold onto their best players. In the case of German champions Borussia Dortmund, however, the fact that it succeeded with the youngest ever side now rather than, say, 20, years ago, actually works in its favor. In those days, every half-decent Germany player was snapped up instantly by Serie A clubs and Jürgen Klopp’s side would have been dismantled in the time it takes to drink an espresso. But the Bundesliga’s newfound prosperity has stopped the migration across the Alps in recent years. The crème of young German talent will only move to a handful of European super-clubs now, and for that reason alone it is unlikely that Borussia’s brave young squad will suffer too much hemorrhage.” SI


La Liga Team Of The Year 2011

June 10, 2011

“I’ve taken the decision to name my team of the year without any mention of Barcelona or Real Madrid players. You know about them already, so it’s time for the rest of La Primera Division to get an honourable mention.” Footy Matters


Liverpool FC Transfers: Centre Back Scouting Stats

June 10, 2011


“Liverpool FC Transfers are the talk of twitter at the moment with the transfer window now in full swing and, shockingly, with Liverpool FC completing its first piece of business of the summer, it promises to be a summer to remember. However a major talking point has been of the pursuit of Blackburn Rovers’ young central defender, Phil Jones. We’ll be looking at Phil Jones’ stats a little later on in this article. First up we’ll be comparing the renowned defenders from the top three and also comparing them to Liverpool’s centre backs, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. We’ll then look at the central defenders that are more likely to be available for transfer.” Anfield Index


The Wages of Narcissism

June 10, 2011

“You’ve got to be someone pretty special to work in the highest echelons of professional football in Europe, a most arrogant and self-aggrandising industry, and still be singled out for narcissism. As any media across Europe, maybe even the world, will attest though, José Mourinho snugly fits that bill.” Run of Play


Ince breaks down barriers

June 10, 2011

“Every so often a moment occurs in football that breaks down an existing barrier. In 1993, such a moment occurred when England midfielder Paul Ince became the first black captain of his country on June 9, in a US Cup match against the USA.” ESPN


Nigel’s Webspace – Galleries of English Football Cards 1965/66 – 1979/80

June 10, 2011

“BAB has always represented one of the great mysteries of football sticker producers. Now, with the help of a website visitor, Mark, this website is proud to exclusively reveal at least part of the mystery. Bernard Babani began publishing technical books in 1942. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Clive Sinclair was an employee, and the author of some of their books on transistors.” Nigel’s Webspace


I’m In Love But I’m Lazy

June 10, 2011

“The US national team is part of that élite group referred to in England by their demonym rather than by the name of the country. At the last World Cup, for instance, England were shut out by Algeria after drawing against the Americans. They beat Slovenia but they lost to the Germans. It could be regarded as something of a badge of honour, like being criticised by the TaxPayers’ Alliance. Last summer, an English football website published a link to footage of American fans celebrating Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria. Readers were advised to ignore the ‘obnoxious’ chanting of ‘USA! USA! USA!’” The Carvalho Peninsula


Wigan Athletic’s Unlikely Survival

June 8, 2011


“As Wigan’s fans watched their overjoyed players celebrate the narrow escape from relegation on the last day of the season by first soaking their manager Roberto Martinez in champagne, then throwing the Spaniard into the air, their emotions were surely a mixture of delight and relief. After all, Wigan had been written-off by all and sundry for the majority of a campaign that had started disastrously with two thumping great home defeats, 4-0 to newly promoted Blackpool and 6-0 to reigning champions Chelsea.” Swiss Ramble


Tough Love: Didier Deschamps and L’Om

June 8, 2011

“Didier Deschamps’ decision to remain with Olympique de Marseille is excellent news for France’s most successful club. Captain when L’OM became their country’s first European Cup winners in 1993, Deschamps cemented his legend in 2010 when he led them to their first Ligue 1 title since the match-fixing scandal that overshadowed that Champions League triumph, during his first season in charge. But despite his hero status amongst the demanding Stade Vélodrome crowd, further consecrated by declining a move to Roma, Deschamps faces another difficult pre-season at one of Europe’s hardest clubs to manage.” In Bed With Maradona


Review of the season: Pep & Zlatan fall out as Madrid move for Özil

June 8, 2011

“The month began as most do in la Liga – with a big, stinky controversy fishier than a Valencia pavement café which was only cast aside by the Spanish press when José Mourinho said something particularly outrageous and offensive. This particular bit of dodgy business focussed on Hércules – one of the more colourful clubs in la Primera last season – with reports suggesting particular members of the Alicante side may have ‘encouraged’ opposition teams to perhaps not try as hard as they might during the club’s promotion campaign from la Segunda the previous season.” FourFourTwo


Sweden 5-0 Finland: Ibrahimovic off the bench to score a hattrick as Finland are demolished

June 8, 2011

“Sweden kept up their excellent record in 2012 qualifying with a convincing win over neighbours Finland. Zlatan Ibrahimovic hadn’t fully recovered from injury, so started on the bench – but came on after 25 minutes when Ola Toivonen picked up a knock. Erik Hamren only made one change from the 4-1 win over Moldova, as Emir Bajrami replaced Tobias Hysen on the left.” Zonal Marking


Is Brazilian football in the Ascent or the Decline?

June 8, 2011

“Brazil is in a peculiar situation at the moment. With the impending pressure placed on the national team, or Selecao, growing greater in light of the recent fall from grace in the eyes of the samba nation. Last week’s 0-0 result against Holland hardly delighted the home fans in Goiania. The European based players were thrown out of their comfort zone and given the job to impress their own fans. If Brazil fail to live up to the expectations of people around the world in time to win the world cup on home soil in 2014, it would simply be a disaster.” gib football show


Berlin Olympiastadion: Bigger than History…

June 7, 2011


“Otto March—an architect—had a vision. He had a dream that one day he will leave a ‘gift’ to the world that will be remembered till the times to come. In old times dating as back to late 1860’s, horse-races were popular sport in Germany. It used to be the common interest of wealthy people. The current location of Olympiastadion served as venue for many of horse-races and Union-Klub were the organizers of such riches for the high-class society. The wealthy people of Berlin flew over here to enjoy the spectacles.” Football Stryder


On Freedom

June 7, 2011

“few months ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by the mega-historian Professor David Starkey, during which the characteristically flamboyant expert on the British monarchy (and self-appointed ‘rudest man in Britain’) broke into a somewhat controversial massacre of contemporary culture with a provocative alignment of 21st-Century life with the more insidious aspects of Imperial Roman society.” Run of Play


Sir Alex Ferguson Is No Follower Of Tactical Fashion

June 7, 2011

“In recent times, we’ve seen rise of tactical analysis in football, largely on the internet by the unqualified – some good, some bad. Most of them share, to an extent, a shared editorial stance on certain things. One such observation is a number of tactical ‘trends’ spotted in the game – examining how football tactics have changed, past strategies that are now outdated, and newer ones that may represent the future of the game.” SB Nation


English football needs a winter break

June 7, 2011

“It’s a debate that is slowly becoming a one-way argument. Sir Alex Ferguson wants it. So does Fabio Capello. But their cries for a winter break in the Premier League may never be answered – yet observation and statistics suggest they have a point. After England’s 2-2 draw with Switzerland on Saturday, Capello was quick to use fatigue as an excuse for his side’s under-performing and, in the process, dismissing the notion that his side simply aren’t good enough; ‘It is not the quality. We have got quality. The problem is the energy, not other things. We are not so fresh. It was difficult.’” Man Utd 24


The Commonwealth of Independent States Cup: A Modern Footballing Relic

June 7, 2011

“The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) came into being after a walk in the park. That walk in the park occurred about 30 miles north of the Belorussian city of Brest, as the leaders of the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine formalised the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The alliance, signed on the 8th of December 1991, not only changed the landscape of eastern European politics but precipitated the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States Cup.” Slavic Football Union


Before & After Ronaldo: Nike Soccer

June 7, 2011


“Ronaldo has forever changed football with his speed, skill and strength. He conquered the planet, brought together rival fan crowds and overcame injuries. His legacy inspires the next generation of Brazilian football stars. And all for one simple pleasure: playing ball.” YouTube


Transfer Names Not Exciting You? Read On…

June 7, 2011

“While it’s understandable to want to be excited about Liverpool’s transfer activity, I started to wonder if our preconceptions had any bearing on how good the player turned out to be in a red shirt.” Tomkins Times


Belgium 1-1 Turkey: a possession-based game finishes all square

June 7, 2011

“Two goals in the first quarter of the game gave Belgium and Turkey a point apiece. Georges Leekens shuffled his pack, bringing both Eden Hazard and Marvin Ogunjimi back into the side, amongst others, and used a 4-2-3-1 system. Guus Hiddink’s formation was more of a 4-1-2-3, with Selçuk Şahin deep ahead of his own back four. Kazim Kazim (aka Colin Kazim-Richards) surprisingly played as the lone striker, though he frequently came towards play as something of a false nine.” Zonal Marking


Brazil 0 – 0 Holland: Lessons from a useful friendly

June 7, 2011

“In what was beforehand regarded as a potential ‘unfriendly-like friendly’, Holland kept Brazil at 0-0 in a rather disappointing match, more so from the host’s perspective than from the guest’s. From a Dutch perspective, several interesting lessons were to be learned. For one, goal keeper Tim Krul made an impressive debut, keeping a clean sheet in the process.” 11 tegen 11


More questions than answers for Capello after Switzerland draw

June 6, 2011


“Two poor goals conceded and then a decent fightback, but it’s hard to draw many positive conclusions from England’s 2-2 draw with Switzerland.” Zonal Marking

Fabio Capello’s England fail to inspire confidence despite fightback
“Switzerland: England’s nemesis. Discuss. First the FA is wiped out at the court of Sepp Blatter, then two set-piece goals past a shambolic English defence lay the ground for an underwhelming 2-2 draw that casts doubt on their qualification for Euro 2012.” The Observer

Ancien regime of Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand holds England back
“The most hopeful words uttered on England’s behalf came from their youngest player, speaking in the buildup to Saturday’s draw with Switzerland. Jack Wilshere said how much he was looking forward to being joined in England’s midfield by Josh McEachran, Chelsea’s 18-year-old playmaker. Unfortunately for Wilshere, the man next to him as the match kicked off was Frank Lampard, McEachran’s clubmate, now only a couple of weeks away from his 33rd birthday.” Guardian

England 2 – 2 Switzerland
“England fought back from two goals down but still dropped two precious points against Switzerland as their bid to reach next summer’s European Championship finals stuttered. Switzerland profited from a pair of inexplicable errors from the normally solid Joe Hart to establish a two-goal cushion.” ESPN


Just Football: Serie A 2010-11 Team of the Season

June 6, 2011

“With the 2010/11 Serie A season now complete and Internazionale Coppa Italia winners, time for the obligatory team of the season. Naturally, champions Milan are the most represented team in the main XI, with three players. The midfield area, however, contains choices from teams outside the top three in Italy this season.” Just FootBall


Africans in European football: the best of 2010-2011?

June 6, 2011

“It’s been another momentous year for African footballers, with players from the continent involved in title-winning sides in Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Others have won a domestic cup, although the biggest trophy on offer ended up in the hands of Mali’s Seydou Keita after his Barcelona side destroyed Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday.” BBC


Mundialito 1981

June 6, 2011


“On Wednesday Holland play Uruguay in Montevideo, which is not the first visit for the Dutch team. In 1980-81 they went to play in the Mundialito to celebrate 50 years of World Cup football. All winners were invited, but England, without a winterbreak, declined and Holland were asked instead as the shining lights of European football during the seventies.” Total Football NL


Brian Phillips: Are even Barcelona unable to save football?

June 6, 2011

“Football has been murdered, resurrected, strangled, saved, thrown in a ditch, pulled out of the ditch, bought, sold, given away, wrecked, and redeemed so many times that nothing’s really shocking anymore. But even by the standards of the modern game, the contrasts presented by the last ten days have been eye-opening.” Life’s a pitch – Brian Phillips


Football Scholar Miscellany: A First Eleven

June 6, 2011

“In the spirit of helping to make the Football Scholars Forum a space for exchanging and enriching scholarly perspectives related to the beautiful game, I suggested the possibility of periodically posting a collection of links to and notes about work or events that might be of interest or use to the group. After that initial suggestion, however, I’ve realized that I’m not exactly sure what could be of most interest or use. But as a starting point I’m thinking of something like Arts & Letter Daily, morphed into something like Football & Letters Quarterly (or perhaps Football & Letters Very Periodically).” Football Scholar Miscellany


Recap: USA 0 – 4 Spain

June 6, 2011


Philips Wouwerman, Battle Scene
“Saturday’s friendly between the USA and Spain sadly provided what many American fans were fearing, with the World Champions thoroughly dominating possession on the way to a four-goal win. The re-match of the memorable 2009 Confederations Cup semifinal took place in Foxboro, Massachusetts in front of a packed crowd of more than 64,000, just three days ahead of the US beginning their quest for a fourth Gold Cup title and a spot in the coveted 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.” Yanks Abroad

Santi Cazorla helps Spain rout U.S.
“After allowing three goals in a 13-minute span, United States goalkeeper Tim Howard pounded his hands on his thighs in frustration. And there was still another half to go. ‘When you get knocked down, you see what you’re made of,” Howard said Saturday after World Cup champion Spain overwhelmed the U.S. 4-0 in an exhibition that the Americans used to tune up for the Gold Cup.” ESPN

Friendly – USA 0-4 Spain
YouTube


Portugal 1-0 Norway: Portugal attack, Norway sit back, and Postiga gets the breakthrough

June 6, 2011

“Helder Postiga’s well-taken goal gave Portugal an important victory. Paulo Bento was without Ricardo Carvalho through injury, so Pepe was partnered by Bruno Alves. Joao Pereira came in at right-back, and the midfield trio was the three Ms. Egil Olsen played his usual 4-5-1 system, with the expected XI. John Carew was upfront, and Vadim Demidov came in at the back for his first start in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.” Zonal Marking


On Helplessness

June 6, 2011

“I do very little on Sundays. I sleep late. I half-heartedly clean my apartment. I peruse my Netflix Instant queue. Sometimes I nurse a hangover and journey a few blocks north for some fried chicken and a soda. I also spend roughly two hours staring at a laptop screen with a slack jaw, intermittently wiping spit from the corners of my mouth. I do not have a medical condition nor do I indulge in Sunday afternoon peyote binges. I’m an Atlético Madrid supporter, and
TracksI am in awe.” Run of Play


My Danish Season

June 3, 2011


“Three seasons ago it seemed as if the shift of power in the Danish Superliga had moved away from Copenhagen, with AaB claiming their third title and the new kids on the block FC Midtjylland edging out FCK and Brøndby in second place. The Danish press heralded it as the dawn of a new era in the domestic game. New manager Bruce Rioch led AaB to the Champions League group stages, beating Celtic at home before gaining a very credible draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United. And then it all went horribly wrong. Domestic form went out of the window and by the time the league recommenced after the winter break, Rioch was gone and the title had almost fallen back into the lap of FC Copenhagen.” Stone by Stone


Lionel Messi assures his place in the pantheon of the greats

June 3, 2011

“‘Lionel is the best player I’ve ever seen, probably the best ever. He made the difference. Messi is unique, a one-off….’ Pep Guardiola looked to be drifting off into predictable territory with his eulogy of Lionel Messi after the UEFA Champions League final but he suddenly slipped into a more sombre note when turning his attentions to Lionel Messi: the human being. ‘….Messi is unique, a one-off,’ he continued. ‘I just hope he doesn’t get fed up. When he doesn’t play well it is because something is wrong with his environment. Let’s hope he can continue playing well.’” The Arsenal Column


Two Seleção friendlies, a farewell to Ronaldo, preparations for Copa América 2011, and the accompanying roster intrigue

June 3, 2011

“The Brazilian national team will play two friendlies in Brazil over the next week. First, on Saturday in Goiânia, a rematch of the quarter-final game with Holland that ended Brazil’s campaign in last year’s World Cup. And then on the following Tuessday, Ronaldo’s farewell game, against Romania, held at the Pacaembu stadium in São Paulo.” Cult Football


Messi the perfect combination

June 3, 2011


“It is too soon to know where he is going to end up in the pantheon, but Lionel Messi’s performance on Saturday ensures beyond all doubt that he belongs among the all time greats. Watching him scale the heights has given me particular pleasure because I had the good fortune to be there at the start of the journey, the moment when he first appeared before a mass public.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Paraguay, 1953, and the Waterboy of Lima

June 3, 2011

“1954 will forever be remembered as a sad year for Paraguay, the year the country plunged into the 35-year-long dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessnor. But just one year earlier, the country was on a national high. This is the fairytale story of Paraguay at the 1953 Copa America, told by Ralph Hannah.” In Bed With Maradona


It’s the Sids 2011! The complete review of the past La Liga season

June 3, 2011

“Eighteen days in the spring defined and decided the season. Finally, the inevitable happened and the curtain came down on the rest of Spain, leaving Real Madrid and Barcelona to fight it out for absolutely everything. The clásico series felt like the obvious conclusion, two-and-a-half weeks that acted as a microcosm of the season. The best two sides became the only two sides, league, Champions League and Copa del Rey their own private battleground, and as much of the spotlight was shone off the pitch as on it – where there were accusations and acrimony, formal complaints and a complete lack of class. Where it got genuinely pretty horrible. Just as it was always going to.” Guardian


La semaine en France: Week 38

June 3, 2011


Pascal Berenguer
“After 34 years in France’s top flight, during which they won five league titles, three Coupes de France, one Coupe de la Ligue and finished runners-up in the 2003-04 Champions League, Monaco were relegated to Ligue 2 following a 2-0 defeat by Lyon last Sunday.” Football Further


Sing a song of Socrates

June 3, 2011

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we all know that a good idea instantly becomes better when shared with the World. If you keep a good idea to yourself how can it ever truly blossom? Where would the World be if Thomas Edison had been a selfish fool? Whilst you ponder that question I shall cordially invite you, and any guests that you may wish to bring to join Jamie Cutteridge in an Art Project crossed with a Socrates meet up crossed with a Football Singalong. Intrigued? You better bloody be!” onestepovertoomany


Pyotr Sokolov: The Spy From Stockholm

June 3, 2011

“The 1912 Olympic Games may not feature highly in the average person’s consciousness, but its football tournament has proved to be a hugely interesting competition for reasons which reach far beyond the game itself. Here’s Domm Norris.” In Bed With Maradona


What makes Barcelona such a formidable team? – Part 1

June 2, 2011


“On Saturday night Barcelona beat Manchester United comfortably to secure their third Champions League victory in just 6 years, and their second under Pep Guardiola. The manner of the victory – against undoubtedly their biggest European rivals over the last 5 years – has left many in no doubt that this is a special team up there with the best in history. Even the traditionally insular English media had to hold their hands up and admit that Barcelona’s blueprint was the way forward, after seeing their nation’s top club humbled on home soil.” The Backwards Gooner – Part 1, Part 2


Goals of the Season 2010-11

June 2, 2011

“We’ve got halfway-line lobs! We’ve got net-ripping volleys! We’ve got… speculative shots from near the right-hand corner flag! Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, and feast your eyes on Football Further‘s Goals of the Season 2010-11 (goals presented in purely chronological order)…” Football Further


The 50 greatest European club sides

June 2, 2011

“Alex Ferguson was left in no doubt. ‘In my time as a manager I would say yes, this is the best team I’ve faced.’ But then, on Saturday night at Wembley, the Manchester United manager wasn’t exactly analysing the issue with the most detached viewpoint. His team had just been utterly dismantled by Barcelona. And as he gets closer to the end of his career, it was a performance that will probably leave as deep an impression as that of Real Madrid at Hampden Park near the start of it in 1960.” The Football Pantheon


Three pivotal Euro 2012 clashes

June 2, 2011

“In football, there’s very little rest for the weary. After a long European club campaign, many top players are being called back into action for Euro 2012 qualifying matches on June 3, 4 and 7. There will be over 20 games, so which ones should you focus on? Here are our picks for the three matches with the most at stake as teams continue their quest to qualify for Poland and Ukraine.” ESPN


La Liga Review 2010/11: Levante’s Miracle and Málaga’s Near Disaster

June 2, 2011

“Our man in Spain, Tim Stannard, continues to look back on another incredible year in la Primera with the second installment of his review of the seaon…” FourFourTwo


The 2010-2011 Season: Five tactical observations

June 2, 2011


Edwin van der Sar
“Despite being prefaced by a World Cup that was characterised by stodgy, unadventurous football and which produced the lowest goals-per-game ratio (2.27) since the notoriously defensive 1990 tournament (2.21), the 2010-11 European football season was generally a positive one for teams that sought to keep the ball on the deck and play an expansive game. Football Further examines some of the tactical trends that have emerged in the continent’s major leagues over the last 10 months.” Football Further


The Football Men, by Simon Kuper

June 2, 2011

“This isn’t really a book about football. Football is all around it, providing means, motive and opportunity, but this is a book about a group of very strange people. It is an investigation undertaken with a lot of affection, a dose of hostility, and above all an incessant curiosity into their strangeness. What makes them men apart?” Twisted Blood


The tactical challenges facing Liverpool FC and how Kenny Dalglish can overcome them

June 2, 2011

“THE sporting commentariat are often fond of cliché, and in football there is no phrase more well-worn than the one about it being a game of two halves. But in Liverpool’s case, the 2010-11 season truly was bi-polar. The club’s renaissance under Kenny Dalglish, following a grim six months with Roy Hodgson at the helm, has seen the side tighten up defensively while at times playing some wonderfully free-flowing passing football.” Daily Post


Calcio Tavolo

June 2, 2011

“Last month we stumbled across a piece of footballing gold. A trailer to a forthcoming film being made by Italian director Pierr Nosari on the beautiful Calcio Tavolo. Stuart Fuller tracked down Pierr and his colleague Enrico to tell us the inspiration behind the project.” In Bed With Maradona


CSKA Moscow v Spartak Moscow

June 2, 2011

“Upon the announcement in November that Prince William was to marry Kate Middleton, my overriding thoughts were not of joy for the happy couple, but of nausea and a desire for escape. Attention quickly turned to football: ‘where on earth could I go to get away from this inevitable show of unbridled patriotism?’ A scour through the European fixtures, shortly thereafter, showed that CSKA would host Spartak Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium that very weekend. The Russians would surely not care about Kate and Wills, and instead, I could watch two of the biggest teams in the Russian Premier League meet in the first derby of the season.” European Football Weekends


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