In Search Of Eusebio

January 9, 2015

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“As one year ends and another begins, the football world looks back on the marvels of Atletico Madrid’s La Liga triumph and Germany’s 7-1 rout of Brazil. Here in southern Africa, the landmark event of 2014 was the death of our region’s greatest-ever player. I did not think about Eusebio when I used to go to Mozambique. In the mid-nineties the country, wearily emerging from years of civil war, seemed far removed from the world of football stars. Skull-and-crossbones signs, tacked to trees, marked the margins of the Beira Corridor, the Tête Corridor, and the spectacularly cratered road from Ressano Garcia to the capital. The signs declared, not a country devoted to Orlando Pirates, but one riddled with landmines. It is a short distance from South Africa to Maputo. Still, having reached the Indian Ocean, it could take a week to clear a load from the Frigo customs yard in the city. While one waited, there were chances for exploring. Much remained from the old LM, the place Eusebio knew in his childhood.” In Bed With Maradona


Happy Birthday Paul McGrath: Reliving Giants Stadium

December 10, 2014

“To celebrate the 55th birthday of one of the greatest of them all, Paul McGrath, we’re reposting Reliving Giants Stadium. The 1994 World Cup in America was the first for Luke Constable of the brilliantly named RGSOAS (Ruud Gullit Sitting on a Shed). His native England hadn’t qualified but thanks to his Irish grandfather, Luke was rooting for the Republic. Having missed the full game with Italy, the myth around the match had grown. Houghton’s goal and McGrath’s performance became legendary as the years went on. Luke has never seen the game in its entirety…until now.” Póg Mo Goal


Maracana Upset Brings Robson Breathing Space

October 6, 2014

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same… A Kipling today might have been tempted to add: You’ll be a successful football manager. For his words possess a sympathetic ring for England boss Bobby Robson. He took his battered, depleted England squad off to South America under round condemnation for the manner — rather than the size — of a 2-0 Wembley defeat by the Soviet Union. He returned with a balanced record of three games played, one won, one drawn and one lost. Respectable by any light. Doubly so in general, international opinion because of that 2-0 victory over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Yet critical echoes accompanied Robson and Co on the long flight home from Santiago because the ensuing displays and results against Uruguay and a dismal Chilean Olympic team didn’t match up to the expectations raised in Maracana.” In Bed With Maradona


Lament For A Lost Scotland

September 21, 2014

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“Only those who have to take off their shoes when they want to count to twenty will ever believe Scotland will one day win the World Cup. There is more chance of Ronald Reagan being voted Man of the Year by the Russians than Scotland achieving total global success. This line of thinking, of course, will shock no one. Just over five years ago Ally MacLeod brainwashed the Tartan Army into actually believing the world was about to be conquered in Argentina and Bruce Rioch was only a fortnight or so away from claiming a very expensive and coveted chunk of gold. Let’s not dwell on that nightmarish episode. Scotland’s balloon wasn’t so much punctured as blown to smithereens. There was an eruption of eggs on the faces of the Scottish fans who genuinely believed Scotland would overcome all the obstacles that stood in the way of their heroes. Peru and Iran changed that state of mind.” In Bed With Maradona (Video)


The Curious Case of Hungarian football

August 3, 2014

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“There was a time where Hungarian football was a global force, it’s clubs reckoned with and it’s players among the elite of the sport. It’s now a shadow of what it once was. Ilija Trojanovic takes a look at what happened to the country in the beautiful game, and how the political situation had a positive and eventually negative role to play.” Outside of the Boot


Explaining the difference between Germany’s and Italy’s World Cup wins

July 22, 2014

July 15, 2014. “As Germany evens Italy’s four World Cups, Brazil 2014 teaches us a lesson on the difference between Germany and Italy: the former win when they should, the latter win when they shouldn’t. On the day in which Germany pulled even with Italy, winning their fourth World Cup (they both trail Brazil with five) the two European football giants have never been so distant. And this isn’t just because the Nationalmannschaft literally dominated this Brazilian edition while Italy languished miserably, failing to qualify for the R-16 for the second straight time. This World Cup actually teaches us a lesson on how deeply different the Azzurri and the Germans are, even at football.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Zé Carlos: from selling watermelons to World Cup semi-final

July 19, 2014

“Zé Carlos knew he didn’t belong here. He stood out like a sore thumb. He looked across the training field at his squad mates: the laughing and joking duo of Roberto Carlos and Denílson, the lantern jawed Claudio Taffarel and Dunga both brimming with experience, the mercurial Ronaldo with the world at his feet. And Cafu, the legendary full-back who he was assigned to replace; whatever planet this was it wasn’t his.” World Soccer (Video)


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