World Cup watch: Mario Balotelli, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ukraine crisis

March 10, 2014

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Police Battle Protesters in Kiev as Crisis in Ukraine Deepens
“The World Cup in Brazil is only 95 days away, with the opening match between Brazil and Croatia taking place in Sao Paulo on 12 June. BBC Sport, with the help of European football expert Andy Brassell, is taking a weekly look at happenings from across the world of football and what impact they could have on the tournament in the summer.” BBC


2014 Fifa World Cup: Gary Lineker’s guide to the eight seeds

December 7, 2013

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“England have been drawn in Group D for the 2014 World Cup, meaning they will face seeded team Uruguay as well as Italy and Costa Rica. Hosts Brazil are in Group A, reigning world and European champions Spain are in Group B and three-time champions Germany are in Group G. Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, speaking before the draw was made, takes a closer look at the eight seeded national teams…” BBC


Brave Nigeria bow out as Spain soldier on

June 24, 2013

“A courageous Nigeria team exited the Confederations Cup with their dignity very much intact despite being on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline against European and world champions, Spain. At the final whistle, the Super Eagles left the field as the spectators’ clear moral victors with the crowd chanting ‘Nigeria! Nigeria!’ albeit in suspiciously Brazilian accents.” ESPN (Video)


Uruguay 2-1 Nigeria: Tabarez switches to a back three, then to a back four, then to a back five

June 23, 2013

“Diego Forlan hit the winner on his 100th international appearance, as Uruguay unconvincingly defeated Nigeria. After a terrible performance against Spain, Oscar Tabarez brought back Diego Forlan into his starting XI, completely changed his midfield duo, and switched to a back three. Stephen Keshi swapped his two central attackers – Ideye Brown replaced Anthony Ujah, and John Ogu came in for Sunday Mba. Uruguay were a little fortunate to win this one – over the course of the game they hardly outplayed Nigeria, although they unquestionably had more quality in the final third.” Zonal Marking


Confederations Cup 2013: Spain remain team to beat in Brazil

June 14, 2013

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“Despite some resistance from the Republic of Ireland at the Yankee Stadium, they outgunned Giovanni Trapattoni’s men 2-0 in their last game before the Confederations Cup campaign gets under way in Brazil this weekend. On Sunday, the world and European champions play their first group game against Uruguay, as La Roja begin their bid to bring yet another international trophy back to Madrid.” BBC

Uruguay’s fighting spirit comes to the fore
“Uruguay turning up for a tournament on Brazilian soil is enough to send a shudder down the local spine. The other day Pele was remembering the World Cup final of 1950, and his father in tears as the sky blues came from behind to shock the host in Rio’s newly built Maracana stadium. Now Uruguay is back once more, this time for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.” The World Gane – Tim Vickery

Confederations Cup 2013: Spain team profile
“… Whether in a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or 4-6-0 formation, the modern-day Spanish side, with a little help from their free-flowing Barcelona contingent, have ripped up the formation book – even winning tournaments with the false number nine/strikerless line-up. Barcelona’s Victor Valdes is expected to start the tournament as Spain’s number one goalkeeper in the major change from Euro 2012, with Iker Casillas missing out.” BBC

Face of World Cup host Brazil? Look no further than Neymar
“When the World Cup hopes and dreams of arguably the world’s most successful footballing country rest on your skinny shoulders, you’re going to need all the help you can get. It is not known what great works of literature Neymar chose when packing his suitcases for Barcelona, but he could have done worse than to seek solace in a little Shakespeare. Dank and drizzly though it can sometimes be, Santos’ Vila Belmiro stadium, our hero’s erstwhile home, is a long way from the gloomy battlements of Hamlet’s Elsinore. Nevertheless, there are more than a few parallels between the life and times of Brazil’s current idol and Shakespeare’s classic paean to troubled young manhood.” SI

Confed Cup Preview: 5 storylines to watch
“The Confederations Cup (June 15-30) is the ritual eight-team dry run designed to give the World Cup hosts the chance to iron out any kinks in their stadia and transport systems a year before the big show begins. The tournament pitches the hosts, reigning World Cup holders and six confederation champions (with Italy qualifying as Euro runners-up to World Cup holders Spain) into battle.” ESPN (Video)

A rare Confederations Cup – all the teams, for once, want to win it
“Tournaments are like birthdays: they are as significant as you want them to be. To many the Confederations Cup is a meaningless intrusion on the football calendar, a rinky-dink competition that proves nothing more than Fifa’s greed. After all, the World Cup already exists to establish the best team on the planet so what, other than money and attention-seeking, is the point of a mini-tournament between the leading teams from each continent?” Guardian

Starting anew: Deeper Spain lacks strong XI
“While club football’s evolution from a ‘team game’ into a ‘squad game’ has been widely acknowledged the past two decades, the situation at the international level remains uncertain. After all, major international tournaments are decided during the course of four weeks, rather than eight months. Whereas the speed and intensity of modern football ensures club managers frequently rotate their squad to prevent burnout in the spring, international managers often squeeze every last drop out of their regular starting XI.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Africa’s big guns are feeling the heat in World Cup 2014 qualifiers

June 4, 2013

Nigeria celebrate
“The nearer it gets to its denouement, the more you look at the format Africa has chosen for World Cup qualifying and wonder. It is brilliantly absurd, a guaranteed way of generating drama, with the very real possibility that many of the continent’s grandees will miss out. Pre-qualifying whittled it down to 10 groups of four, with the group winners to play off in five two-legged ties for the five qualifying slots. In that the system makes no concessions to vested interests of established powers it is to be applauded, although its wisdom may be questioned if none of the continent’s big guns make it through: one bad day in October could be enough to see any side out.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Nigeria 1-0 Burkina Faso: Nigeria triumph

February 11, 2013

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“Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations following a typically tight, tense final. Stephen Keshi was able to select Victor Moses (who had been a doubt) but Emmanuel Emenike was injured, and replaced by Ikechukwu Uche. Paul Put, who has tinkered with his formations and line-ups throughout the tournament, was able to name an unchanged side after Jonathan Pitroipa’s suspension was overturned. This was a disappointing game, both in tactical and entertainment terms. Nigeria played better football, but there were very few shots on target from either side.” Zonal Marking

Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Sunday Mba gives Nigeria victory at last
“It says much for the baffling politics of Nigerian football that a week before the Cup of Nations began there were moves afoot in the sports ministry to have Stephen Keshi replaced as coach. And it says much for the 52-year-old’s strength of character, his combination of thick skin, single-mindedness and good humour that he was able to ignore all the distractions so that he stood on the touchline in Johannesburg on Sunday night beaming as only the second man – after the Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary – to win the Cup of Nations as both player and coach.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)

Stephen Keshi has worked miracles for Nigeria, but will they keep him?
“Back in 2006, when Stephen Keshi was still manager of Togo, he gave an interview to a handful of journalists in a hotel lobby in northern Cairo. The first time I’d spoken to him, four years earlier in Bamako, he had been lying on a sun lounger by a swimming pool and, metaphorically at least, he still was. Keshi always gives the impression of being laid back. But for a moment, the hardness beneath showed through. ‘Some day,’ he said, ‘I will be coach of Nigeria and then they will know they have a coach.’” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Keshi avoids politics as usual by winning Africa Cup of Nations
“The Cup of Nations, in the end, was won and lost in the thunderstorm in Rustenburg. Nigeria had gone into its quarterfinal with hope but little concrete evidence of its abilities. Then it defeated the perennial favorites, Ivory Coast, 2-1 and discovered a profound sense that it would win the tournament. It went on to hammer Mali 4-1 in the semifinal before beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in Sunday’s final.” SI


Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals: giants set sights on a return to power

February 8, 2013

“As the dust settles after the quarter-finals, the landscape looks strangely unfamiliar. The favourites, Ivory Coast, have gone; the hosts, South Africa, have gone; and Egypt, who dominated the tournament in the last half of the first decade of this century, didn’t even qualify. So the Africa Cup of Nations will go either to one of the traditional powers of African football, Ghana or Nigeria, both of whom nurse the pain of years without a title, or to a first time-winner, Mali or Burkina Faso.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Nigeria 4-1 Mali: a battle of attacking left-backs

February 8, 2013

“Nigeria qualified for the final by controlling the game in midfield and attacking with more speed. Stephen Keshi named an unchanged side from the XI that triumphed over the Ivory Coast at the quarter-final stage. Mali coach Patrice Carteron left out Samba Sow and Samba Diakite, with Mahamane Traore coming into the side on the left, and Mohamed Traore in the centre. Mahamdou N’Diaye returned in place of Adama Coulibaly. Nigeria dominated this match and fully deserved their victory.” Zonal Marking

Burkina Faso 1-1 Ghana: Burkina Faso dominate and win the game on penalties
“Burkina Faso upset the odds to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations final. Paul Put made various chances to the side which beat Togo – in came Artistide Bancé upfront, and Prejuce Nakoulma on the right. With two holding midfielders, Charles Kabore became the number ten and Jonathan Pitroipa moved left James Appiah made one change – Wakaso Murabak replaced Albert Adomah. Ghana went ahead but Burkina Faso deserved the win – they pressed well, passed smoothly and Bancé was magnificent upfront.” Zonal Marking


Pitroipa hits extra-time winner

February 3, 2013

“Unfancied Burkina Faso will play an African Nations Cup semi-final outside their own country for the first time following an extra-time win over Togo in Nelspruit. Jonathan Pitroipa headed in the only goal of an otherwise tedious contest seconds before the half-time whistle in extra-time. The Rennes forward was one of the few creative influences and deservedly provided the decisive moment in a match that was hampered by a sandy surface at the Mbombela Stadium.” ESPN

Nigeria trample Elephants
“Tournament favourites Ivory Coast crashed out of the African Nations Cup at the quarter-final stage after they were beaten by Nigeria at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Emmanuel Emenike gave the Super Eagles the lead just before the break and although Cheick Tiote equalised early in the second half, Sunday Mba’s deflected effort won the game for Nigeria, who will now face Mali in the last four on Wednesday.” ESPN


African Cup of Nations: Quarter final preview

February 1, 2013

“After twelve days of soccer in South Africa, eight nations are set to battle it out as the journey towards the final of the 29th Africa Cup of Nations continues. South Africa, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso,Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Togo have all booked their places in the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations tourney. The Black Stars of Ghana will lock horns with the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in the first of a series of four quarter final games starting on Saturday, January 29. Coming into the game as the clear under dogs, Cape Verde will undoubtedly hope their fairy tale story in South Africa continues especially after defying the odds to qualify for the next round ahead of the more fancied Morocco and Angola in Group A. Though they had eliminated Cameroon during the qualifiers for the tourney, little was expected from the debutants, who have so far defied expectations. The Blue Sharks boisterous march in the tourney, led by coach Lucio Antunes, has caught the attention of many soccer pundits.” Think Football

Emmanuel Adebayor puts Cabinda behind him as Togo go through
“Togo secured the draw they needed against Tunisia and so made it through to the quarter-final of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history. Those are the bald facts, but they don’t begin to tell anything like the full story of an extraordinary night at the Mbombela. It may not have been great football, but it was magnificent drama. The Sparrowhawks, exploiting Tunisia’s shambolic offside line, broke through again and again in the early stages and eventually took the lead after 13 minutes, Emmanuel Adebayor laying in Serge Gakpo, whose firm low shot from just inside the penalty area beat Moez Ben Cherifia.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


No North African side in the last eight

January 30, 2013

Algeria's Sofiane Feghouli and South Africa's Dean Furman
Sofiane Feghouli, Algeria
“Didier Drogba scored his first goal of the African Nations’ Cup to ensure Ivory Coast go into the quarterfinals on an unbeaten run in the competition. Their opponents in that match, Nigeria, and their place in the group was already decided but they surged back anyways from 2-0 down to draw level with Algeria. The group’s bottom-feeders left with their respect intact. Although Algeria failed to record a single win in the competition, similar to their 2010 World Cup, the much-talked about Sofiane Feghouli made his impact on the competition with a goal through a penalty and assist for Hilal Soudini. But Algeria’s disappointment was compounded with Tunisia’s exit which means that no North African team will play the quarter-finals of the 2013 ANC.” ESPN

Mali’s Seydou Keita hails ‘priceless hope’ brought to crisis-torn land
“For Mali, this is becoming a habit: win the first group game narrowly, lose to Ghana, do just enough in the third match to get through and set up a quarter-final against the hosts. What they did in Libreville a year ago, when they beat Gabon on penalties, they will have to do again on Saturday as they face a newly enthused South Africa in Durban.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)

Tiny Cape Verde is Africa Cup of Nations’ Cinderella story
“When Cape Verde coach Lucio Antunes entered the press conference room in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, he found his team had gotten there before him. They were lined up on the dais behind the desk, bouncing up and down in glee as a African Football Confederation official sat sheepishly in the foreground, aware he had formalities to complete but unwilling to interrupt the jubilation. Defender Gege, wearing his shirt back to front, leapt on a chair and carried on dancing. Antunes, at 46 and a little too old for that sort of thing, initially looked a little uncomfortable but then, after some awkward shuffling, draped himself in the flag and began directing the celebrations. Usually, he directs planes.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Salomon Kalou, Ivory Coast eye missing Africa Cup of Nations title
“he Africa Cup of Nations has always been one of my favorite international tournaments, and for the first time it’s possible for fans in the U.S. to watch every game live easily and legally, thanks to ESPN3 picking up the rights. One of the biggest storylines is whether a remarkable generation of Ivory Coast players — Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Touré, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho and others — can finally get over the hump and win the tournament after falling short in each of the past four occasions.” SI


Africa Cup of Nations preview: Ivory Coast primed to fly or flop again

January 19, 2013

“Ah, Ivory Coast. As we approach kick-off in another Africa Cup of Nations, all we can say for sure is that it would be as foolish to back against Didier Drogba & Co as it would be cavalier to count on them. For the fifth time in a row the Elephants go into the tournament as one of the heaviest favourites, but this time no one will be surprised if they flop in timid or traumatic fashion. Bad luck and bad attitudes have been foremost among the factors that have led to seemingly the most gifted generation of Ivorian players losing the 2006 and 2012 Nations Cup finals on penalties and getting dumped out of the two tournaments between by opponents who turned out to be sharper and more balanced (Egypt in the 2008 semi-finals and Algeria in the 2010 quarter-finals).” Guardian


The African Cup Of Nations: Back So Soon?

January 19, 2013

“Whether it was a sign of maturity or resignation, it was good to hear so little moaning from Premier League clubs about losing African international players to Africa’s Cup of Nations, especially given the decision to move the biennial tournament away from World Cup finals’ years by holding tournaments in 2012 and 2013. But Premier League clubs have accepted their temporary depletion of playing resource with relatively good grace, with the minor kerfuffle over Tottenham’s Emanuel Adebayor down to the player’s selection uncertainties – the Togolese striker being dropped for criticism of the team’s management before being re-instated at the behest of their football federation chief.” twohundredpercent

African Cup of Nations Preview: Group D
“Group D: Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tunisia, Togo. This looks the most difficult group having been labelled the `Group of Death` by most football pundits. Ivory Coast, Algeria and Tunisia are all powerful football nations in Africa. Togo can’t be taken for granted either, they can boast of some talented footballers who can win games individually such as Adebayor. This is also a very tricky group and very difficult to predict, but I will be brave to make my prediction. I see Ivory Coast and Tunisia advancing from this group. Tunisia play as a team and most of their players play together in the local league. Ivory Coast have some of the best players in World football and will likely put in a strong showing again.” Think Football


Nigeria and Ghana battle the egos in Africa Cup of Nations buildup

January 9, 2013

Marseille's Andre Ayew
André Ayew
“There is a new mood of militancy about west African football. The buildup to previous Cups of Nations has often been dominated by will-he-won’t-he sagas as big-name players decide whether they really want to take a month out of the league season to go to play for their countries. This year, the coaches have hit back. The Ghana coach, Kwesi Appiah, on Monday omitted Marseille’s André Ayew from his squad after the Marseille winger reportedly turned up late for a squad get-together; he follows Nigeria’s Steve Keshi, who had already refused to select Peter Odemwingie and Shola Ameobi on the grounds they didn’t seem bothered enough about representing their country.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Lords of the dance

May 10, 2012


“Rashidi Yekini has died at a tragically early age, but in his all-too-brief time on earth he certainly left his mark. He will be remembered all over the globe not just for scoring Nigeria’s first ever World Cup goal (against Bulgaria in USA 94), but also – perhaps more – for the way he celebrated. One of the lasting images of the tournament is that of Yekini gripping the back of the net and then forcing his arms through the holes as he yelled out his thanks to the heavens. It was a beautiful moment because there was nothing contrived about it. It was a genuine, spontaneous show of deep emotion.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Argentina 3 – 1 Nigeria

September 6, 2011

“Real Madrid duo Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria were amongst the goals as Argentina defeated Nigeria 3-1 in an international friendly in Bangladesh. Higuain and Di Maria both netted in quick succession to put Argentina 2-0 up after 26 minutes and in control of the contest. Nigeria pulled a goal back right after half-time through Chinedu Obasi, but Argentina sealed the victory when Uwa Elderson inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net midway through the second period.” ESPN


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


Notes on Nigerian Football Scandals & the Amazing Falconets

October 18, 2010

“Today Naija Football 247 reposted a Sahara Reporters story about journalist Olukayode Thomas’s struggle with the Nigerial football/sporting executive Amos Adamu (FIFA and CAF executive board member). ‘How a David Defeated Goliath in a Nigerian Court’ is well worth reading, as is a more recent story on the same site about the place of that scandal in FIFA’s delay of the 2018 World Cup bid (‘Nigeria’s Amos Adamu Offers to Sell FIFA Hosting Rights for 500,000′).” (From A Left Wing)


Brazilian league lacks bite

July 19, 2010

“Spain or Barcelona? No contest. Week in, week out, Barcelona combine the midfield interplay of Xavi and Iniesta with the cutting edge of Lionel Messi, Daniel Alves and co. The comparison serves to confirm the impression that these days club football is of a much higher standard than international – as long as we restrict the debate to the major European leagues. The big clubs in Spain, England, Italy and Germany are in front of the national teams because of the time their players spend together and because they count on the best talent from all over the planet. When the World Cup stops and domestic football returns, the level of play goes up.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)


Not For Glory Alone

July 17, 2010

“Two billion souls: One must begin with that. That’s how many people, or nearly so, sat or stood in view of television screens to watch twenty-two men kick a white ball around a green field on a warm July night in Berlin four years ago. The twenty-two men comprised the men’s national soccer teams of Italy and France. The occasion was the final game of the 2006 World Cup. The cagey match, as the world now knows, turned on an extraordinary event near its end when France’s captain and star, Zinedine Zidane, strode toward the Italian defender Marco Materazzi and, for reasons unknown, drove his bald pate into the taller man’s chest. The motion mimicked one he’d used a few minutes earlier to head a flighted ball inches over the Italians’ goal, coming ago nizingly close to winning the day for France. Now Zidane was expelled, his team was rattled, and a player in blue whose name few outside Umbria and Trieste recall darted inside a player in white and curled the ball inside the French goal with his left foot, cueing images, on countless flickering screens around the planet, of his countrymen celebrating Italy’s triumph in the floodlit waters of the Trevi fountain in Rome.” (Laphams Quarterly)


World Cup scouting: The 32 – Conclusions

July 16, 2010


Antonio Di Natale
“Starting with Nicolás Lodeiro back in December last year, Football Further selected 32 players to watch out for at the 2010 World Cup and then tracked their progress through the tournament via weekly scouting reports. Below is a full compilation of those reports, along with conclusions (and marks out of 10) on how each player performed.” (Football Further)


‘Octodamus’ and other surprises – Eduardo Galeano

July 15, 2010


Mensaje de Eduardo Galeano para América Latina Cartagena de Indias, Julio de 1997
“Pacho Marturana, a man with vast experience in these battles, says that football is a magical realm where anything can happen. And this World Cup has confirmed his words: it was an unusual World Cup. The 10 stadiums where the Cup was played were unusual, beautiful, immense, and cost a fortune. Who knows how South Africa will be able to keep these cement behemoths operating amid pulverising poverty? The Adidas Jabulani ball was unusual, slippery and half mad, fled hands and disobeyed feet. It was introduced despite players not liking it at all. But from their castle in Zurich, the tsars of football impose, they don’t propose. …” (Dispatch)


World Cup 2010: A tactical review

July 14, 2010


Marcello Bielsa
“At the dawn of the tournament Football Further posed ten tactical questions that the World Cup would answer. Three days after Spain’s tense extra-time victory over the Netherlands in the final, the answers to those questions reflect a tournament in which defensive rigour was overwhelmingly de riguer and tactical innovation conspicious by its rarity.” (Football Further)


Finale

July 14, 2010

“Two days after the World Cup final, the whole event seems slightly surreal. I’m returning from South Africa today, having survived on my last day here a gauntlet of baboons and a march up a gorgeous mountain, after arriving on the 26th of June just in time to see Ghana beat the U.S. I’ve had the privilege of watching seven games, including the Cape Town semi-final and the final in Johannesburg. I’ve come to know and love the vuvuzela — and, yes, I’m bringing one home to blow at Duke soccer matches this fall. It was rapture on many levels, and now it’s passed.” (Soccer Politics)


Nigeria and Match-Fixing at the World Cup: The Vulnerability Remains

July 10, 2010

“Just to end the week on a depressing note, we hear about a BBC Newsnight report that says FIFA was warned Nigeria might be ‘vulnerable to match-fixing’.” (Pitch Invasion)


Europe is still football’s dominant force

July 6, 2010

“Wasn’t it just a few glasses of Chardonnay ago that European soccer was melting faster than a wedge of warm Brie? France, Italy and England — three of the continent’s soccer superpowers — had gone home in various levels of disgrace. To make matters worse, all five of South America’s entrants had moved on to the knockout round, with all but Chile winning its group.” (ESPN)


Good Luck, Jonathan: Nigeria’s President Calls The Shots

July 2, 2010

“In the immediate aftermath of a disappointing World Cup campaign, it might seem like an appealing idea. Get the team out of all competitive football and force them to rebuild for a couple of years. The edict issued forth by the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, to dissolve the national football team for two years and to dissolve the Nigerian Football Association, the NFF, beats a highly populist drum and has been greeted with a degree of support from Nigerian football supporters, but he could, in taking such drastic measures, find himself on a collision course with FIFA.” (twohundredpercent)


World Cup Quarters – “& Then There Were 8″

July 1, 2010

“The typical suspects have overcome group stage difficulties to rise to the top. However, no smoking gun has appeared to point out the single culprit most likely to win the tournament. Using a really big magnifying glass, a trench coat, a smart talking sidekick, and intuition, we embarked on an investigation of the remaining teams in this World Cup quarterfinals, searching for clues in a sea of uncertainty. Our conclusion as to who will win the World Cup?” (futfanatico)


Corruption, disorganization blamed for Africa’s poor showing at Cup

June 28, 2010

“So much for the boost African sides were supposed to receive from the first African World Cup. Only Ghana made it through to the last 16, and had Serbia been awarded the late penalty it deserved in its defeat to Australia — and converted it — the Black Stars would also have been on the way home. Had that happened, Africa would not have had a representative in the second phase of the World Cup for the first time since 1982.” (SI)


World Cup scouting: The 32 – Week Two

June 26, 2010


Rene Krhin (Slovenia)
“The following 32 names represent Football Further‘s players to watch at the 2010 World Cup. We’ll be following their performances closely over the course of the tournament, with weekly scouting reports rounding up their progress.” (Football Further), (Football Further – Week One)


Greece 2-1 Nigeria – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 17 June 2010

June 17, 2010

“Two teams who needed a result to have a realistic chance of making it to the knockout stage met as Greece faced Nigeria on Group B play. A loss wouldn’t end either teams chances but a win was definitely needed for Greece who will play Argentina in their next match.” (The 90th Minute)

World Cup 2010: Greece 2-1 Nigeria
“Finally the tournament has come to life. In the twenty four hours before this game we’ve had some fine football played by Switzerland, Uruguay and Argentina, some drama and our first proper upset in the first of these games. We’ve even had some controversy going on off-the-field too. If we needed a reminder that behind this celebration of world football lies a grubby marketing exercise then there’s the faintly scandalous decision to prosecute two of the women involved in Monday’s ambush marketing stunt (which seemed, in any case, not to break any of FIFA’s strict rules) at the Holland v Denmark game.” (twohundredpercent)


XI. World Cup Factoids and a Few Observations

June 16, 2010

“Today we complete the first set of 2010 World Cup group play games. I’ve watched more than 90% of all the minutes – and yet managed to miss five goals live (Holland, Argentina, Slovakia, Brazil’s second and North Korea’s). It’s been an educational experience. I’ve learned many interesting factoids (many acquired by virtue of this being the first Twitter World Cup) and made a few observations as well.” (Pitch Invasion)


World Cup 2010: Super Eagles allow hopes to soar in land of so little

June 16, 2010

“The sun had barely risen on a typical Saturday in Lagos. Yet there was life beneath the concrete overpasses of Nigeria’s megacity of some 15m people. Dozens of boys were out playing football, in any space they could find, before the unforgiving African sun got too high.” (Guardian)


World Cup 2010 – 8 Young Players to Watch

June 14, 2010

“Every four years, a young player emerges and blossoms into a star at the World Cup. Often the young player comes off the bench in the first game, and then during the rest of the tournaments, he’s the main man.It is hard to predict exactly which players will be prominent at this kind of tournament, as lots of coaches pick young players with energy and fresh legs to do the damage at the latter stages of a tense game. With club officials and coaches from world class teams scouting young players at the World Cup, more and more younger players become stars after the World Cup.” (Just Football)


World Cup Stereotype and Myth Update, Part I: The German Machine; African Chaos

June 14, 2010


“We all know that with the thrill of the World Cup comes an astonishing array of national, racial, and cultural stereotypes. While we are not yet through the opening round of matches, we are taking a look for posterity’s sake at some of these, seeing how they’ve held up (or not) so far and what might become of them.” (Soccer Politics)


Argentina 1-0 Nigeria – Video Highlights and Recap – World Cup – 12 June 2010

June 12, 2010


“Argentina began their first World Cup under manager Diego Maradona. They had a poor qualifying campaign but are one of the most talented sides in the entire tournament. Nigeria are a team with talent as well but will be the underdogs against Argentina.” (The 90th Minute)

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria: Maradona’s men dominate but fail to convince
“Eight years ago, Argentina started with a 1-0 win against Nigeria and then crashed out before the knockout stages. You wouldn’t bet on the same thing happening again, but this performance didn’t suggest that Argentina have the ruthlessness needed to win the trophy.” (Zonal Minute)


World Cup scouting: The 32

June 11, 2010


Matías Fernández (Chile)
“The following 32 names represent Football Further‘s players to watch at the 2010 World Cup. We’ll be following their performances closely over the course of the tournament, with weekly scouting reports rounding up their progress. Names preceded by squad numbers. Players in bold have been scouted by Football Further in the build-up to the World Cup. Players in brackets were scouted but not called up by their national sides.” (Football Further)


The Style and Skill to Reach the Final

June 10, 2010

“And the winner is. … As the World Cup opens Friday amid a celebration of exceptional vibrancy with host South Africa playing Mexico, two countries float above the field of 32 teams: Spain and Brazil. Yes, Africa is the host. Yes, Asia is developing. And, yes, there are dark horses — the gifted but erratic Argentines, the talented Dutch and the ever self-confident English among them.” (NYT)


Bielsa’s Chile the most tactically-exciting side

June 8, 2010


Marcelo Bielsa
“Judge Chile by looking at their squad list and you might be rather underwhelmed, but many of those who saw Marcelo Bielsa’s side in action throughout qualification see them as the most intriguing prospect on offer in South Africa.” (Zonal Marking)

Germany more aesthetically-pleasing than usual
“They haven’t got any great players, but you can never write them off” is the usual line about Germany. In 2010, that old cliche might not be appropriate.” (Zonal Marking)

Paraguay – functional rather than spectacular
“Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino has used his pre-tournament friendlies for experimentation, both in terms of formation and personnel, making his starting line-up for the opening game against Italy difficult to predict.” (Zonal Marking)

Nigeria may struggle for creativity in midfield
“Nigeria have traditionally been the strongest African nation, at least in terms of the quality of players they’ve produced. The likes of Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon and Egypt have shown quality at points throughout the past two decades, but Nigeria has produced a stream of genuinely top-class players.” (Zonal Marking)


Thirty-One World Cup Shirts

June 8, 2010

“It’s that time again. Back by popular demand (to be precise, two people), it’s time for our quadrennial report of all the team shirts that will be on display at the upcoming World Cup. As ever, the menu is overwhelmed by items produced and designed by the twin behemoths of the sportswear universe, Adidas and Nike. Whether they have been using their market domination to the benefit of the sartorial elegance of international football, however, is something of an open question.” (twohundredpercent)


World Cup Predictions, Betting Tips, SEO SEO

June 8, 2010


Tiziano Vecellio, Venus and Adonis
“Just when you think that David Bowie has retired from the site, that the Goblin King will no longer grace our presence, that Jorge Luis Borges really is dead and not just waiting for a USMNT run to the finals, bam. It hits you. Despite the odd jokes, obscure historical references, and kinda weird pictures, we at Futfanatico give you the best betting tips for the World Cup while mocking the SEO keyterm Google carousel in an ironic act of betrayal, subversion, and delightful perversion. Thus, here are your WORLD CUP BETTING TIPS.” (futfanatico)


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