Ireland and Poland renew friendship that has brought fond memories for blazers

March 28, 2015

“Jackie Carey is said to have written in his official report to the FAI on the game between Ireland and Poland in Katowice in May 1958 that it was ‘fitting that our association should be the first to resume international games with this predominantly Catholic country.’ This curious observation raises a couple of points. The first is: What on earth was the team ‘manager’ on about? The Poles had been back in international football for a decade by the time the game took place and their first post-war attempt to qualify for a World Cup, which included a 2-1 win over the Soviet Union in front of 93,000 in the same stadium where Ireland played, had only ended the previous year with a play-off defeat by the same opponents in ‘neutral’ East Germany.” Irish Times


Eight Bells: Football on Television

March 28, 2015

“1. Football at the Arsenal (1937). Exactly how much effort the BBC put into television during the medium’s infant years is a moot point. Take the opening day of their regular service, on Monday, 2 November 1936. At 3pm, the curtain went up for pompous welcoming speeches by various BBC grandees, blowhards and windbags. After a whopping 25 minutes of programming, the station paused for its first interval. Another 35 minutes and it was time for closedown, followed by large G&Ts all round, then a siesta. Thanks, BBC, you pissed-up shower of indolent toffs!” The Blizzard


FIFA May Regret a Qatar World Cup After All

March 27, 2015

Whittall-FIFA-Qatar-2022-1200
When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, an evaluation report expressed concerns about the health and safety of players and spectators in the heat.
“Since 1930, every World Cup has been played during the months of June and July, with the occasional match as early as May. Last week, FIFA confirmed that the 2022 tournament, in Qatar, will be held during the winter, with the final scheduled for December 18th. When Qatar launched its bid to host the World Cup, in 2009, an evaluation report expressed concerns about the health and safety of players and spectators in the heat—daytime temperatures reach over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Despite the warnings, in December 2010 the FIFA executive committee selected the country as its World Cup host. Allegations about vote-buying and bribery (not to mention human-rights abuses) have plagued FIFA and Qatar ever since.” New Yorker


Five key games to watch as Euro 2016 qualifying matches resume

March 27, 2015

“… The final lap of the domestic season is just about to begin, and suddenly everything stops and the attention is wrested to Euro 2016 qualifiers and friendlies. International competition often feels like an interloper in the modern game but never more so than in this window when, after four months off, it suddenly returns and everybody has to remind themselves about a whole other set of narratives. Here, then, are five key fixtures in the upcoming European championship qualifiers…” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Poor top-level management will eventually see Córdoba relegated

March 27, 2015

“At 90 minutes, when the pitch invasion started, Córdoba were staying in the Segunda Division for another year as they trailed Las Palmas 1-0 in the play-off that would send the winner to the top flight for the 2014/15 season. At 99 minutes, when order had been restored, Córdoba were heading to the big league as Uli Davila tapped in an away goal that made history; for the first time in 42 years the club from Andalusia would be among football’s elite.” backpagefootball


From the Catenaccio to the 3-5-2: Italy’s love affair with tactics and strategy

March 27, 2015

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Gianni Brera
“Greg Lea takes an in-depth look at catenaccio, the 3-5-2 and an obsession with tactics and strategy tell us about Italian history and culture. ‘In twenty minutes here’, Rafael Benitez exclaimed at his first Napoli press conference in 2013, ‘I have been asked more tactical questions than in an entire year in England’. Italy has always been that way. Whereas in England the mainstream media talk more of psychology and man-management, Italians love to dissect strategies and theories, fans and journalists forcing coaches to explain their plans in the most intricate detail.” Outside of the Boot


Outplayed once again, Klinsmann’s USA sees repeated theme in Denmark

March 27, 2015

“The U.S. national team was outplayed comprehensively during Wednesday’s 3-2 loss in Denmark. But the fact that the Americans were so close to leaving NRGi Park in Aarhus with a win or tie would surprise only those who haven’t been watching coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s team over the past couple of years.” SI


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