Schurrle lifts Wolfsburg, Man United disappoints in Champions League

November 28, 2015

“The last 16 of the Champions League is beginning to take shape. The second day of Matchday 5 saw Real Madrid confirm top spot in its group as Cristano Ronaldo scored two and set two up in a 4-3 win away to Shakhtar Donetsk, while Paris St-Germain is through to the next round after Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his return to Malmö with a goal in a 5-0 victory. Benfica and Atlético Madrid also progressed. Benfica had to come from 2-0 down to draw in Kazakhstan against Astana while Antoine Griezmann scored twice in Atlético’s 2-0 win over Galatasaray.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Leonid Slutsky Juggles Two Demanding Jobs in Russian Soccer

November 24, 2015

“The Russian soccer federation announced this year that it was toughening one of the rules for teams in its top domestic league: In an effort to bolster the development of young Russian players ahead of the 2018 World Cup, club teams would be particularly limited in the number of foreign players they could have on the field at any given time. Reactions to the change varied, and in a recent interview, the coach of the Russian national team said — not surprisingly — that he understood the thinking behind the regulation. Also not surprisingly, the coach of CSKA Moscow, one of the country’s perennial juggernauts and a team with the financial resources to sign players from abroad, said he was opposed to the rule.” NY Times

Gambles pay off as Hungary get to France and Storck proves his worth

November 18, 2015

“At the final whistle, after Hungary had won 2-1 to reach their first major tournament since 1986, their players gathered in front of the goal they had been attacking the second half, behind which the most vociferous of the home support was gathered. The ground, momentarily fell silent, then players and fans joined in singing the national anthem. Two lines, perhaps, had particular significance: ‘Long torn by ill fate, Bring upon it a time of relief.’” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Football Weekly: Hungary qualify for Euro 2016 as England’s friendly with France goes ahead

November 18, 2015

“The podders reflect on the Euro 2016 playoffs and the rest of the international friendlies. Plus, Raúl retires, Paul Lambert heads to Blackburn Rovers and Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink remains in high demand. On today’s Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by Jacob Steinberg, Michael Cox and John Ashdown to look back on the Euro 2016 qualifiers, with a bit of help from Jonathan Wilson, who was in Bosnia to see (or not) Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Dzecko and co in the fog, and then in Budapest to witness Hungary qualifying for their first major tournament in 30 years, and is now en route to Slovenia. Because that’s the sort of thing he does.” Guardian – Michael Cox, Jonathan Wilson, etc. (Video)

Euro 2016 play-offs: How the ties stand – and who is through

November 16, 2015

“The 2016 European Championship play-offs are over halfway through, with Hungary becoming the 21st team to qualify for France. The Republic of Ireland and Sweden are among the six teams competing for the final three spots. How do the ties stand?” BBC

Champions League team of the week: Bayern and Barcelona impress

November 6, 2015

“It is no surprise that Bayern Munich have three players in the Champions League team of the week after their superb display in the 5-1 win at home to Arsenal. Germany forward Thomas Muller weighed in with two goals, and Barcelona duo Neymar and Luis Suarez join him in attack after scoring in their win over BATE Borisov. For the second matchweek running there is just one Premier League player in the XI, with Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho celebrating his part in the win in Seville which saw City into the last 16.” BBC

Chewing on the Champions League

November 3, 2015

“The Champions League is the pinnacle of global soccer. It’s the only time we are sure to see teams from disparate leagues matching up at full strength with the same incentives. It’s also the only time we get to see teams from leagues off beaten path match up against the big boys and get their day in the wider public eye. So it’s kind of strange how it can sometimes be treated a bit like an afterthought in English writing and specifically among stats writers. I get why: it’s much harder to draw conclusions over a smaller sample and the wild differences in opponents make it hard to compare teams that the satisfyingly balanced league schedules absolve make easier.” Stats Bomb


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