World Cup 2014: Top five transfer targets – and those already done

July 15, 2014

“They may not be new to everyone, but Brazil 2014 brought a handful of players to the attention of a wider global audience who sat up and took notice of them. Even more importantly for the players’ agents, it is likely to have sparked the interest of the clubs with the deepest pockets, who may well be about to spend big on their talents. Here, we look at five stand-out transfer targets to emerge from the World Cup finals – and five deals that were done during the tournament.” BBC


World Cup Tactical Analysis : France 0-1 Germany | France get caught out early and Germany’s high line shuts out France

July 7, 2014

“At the end of  a very highly anticipated clash, Germany reached their fourth consecutive World Cup semi-final as Mats Hummels opened the scoring from a set piece in the 12th minute, scoring what turned out to be the winner. Germany looked dangerous going forward in the early phases, while France tried to exploit the space behind the high defensive line of Löw’s team. The scoreline is a perfect reflection of how close the game was, with both sides having ample opportunities to score goals. Eventually, the game fell in favour of the Germans, who just managed to take their chances on the day.” Outside of the Boot


Germany 1-0 France: Germany get the better of the midfield battle

July 6, 2014

“Mats Hummels’ early header from a Toni Kroos free-kick was the difference in a peculiarly tame, flat contest. Jogi Low made two significant tactical alterations to his side, moving Philipp Lahm to right-back, and bringing in Miroslav Klose upfront. Didier Deschamps, as expected, returned to a one-striker system with Antoine Griezman replacing Olivier Giroud, and Karim Benzema shifting upfront. Germany dominated the first half with some good midfield play, and then the second half was…almost non-existent, with France barely launching a fightback.” Zonal Marking


Talent Radar: Paul Pogba shackled and Raphael Varane stutters as France bow out of World Cup

July 6, 2014

“… Paul Pogba. France’s midfield has won many an admiring glance over the course of their World Cup journey and the match-up against Germany saw the clash of the 2 arguably best central midfields. With Cabaye playing in the regista position, both Matuidi and Pogba have been responsible for providing thrust to the French attack using their physicality and embarking on their trademark driving runs. … Raphael Varane. Despite being only 21, Varane was France’s first choice centre-back leaving Koscielny and Sakho to battle it out for the other position. The Real Madrid defender had a decent game but in the end the solitary goal of the game came directly as a result of his error although credit must be given to Mats Hummels too who was excellent on the night aside from his goal.” Outside of the Boot


Impossible Isn’t French: Can France Go All the Way this World Cup?

July 4, 2014

“In early June, I had an appointment at the French Football Federation (FFF) headquarters, a modern building with lots of glass and light in Paris’ 15th arrondisement. The place hummed with activity and there was a contagious undercurrent of optimism and eager anticipation. My visit occurred just after the last of Les Bleus’ three pre-World Cup tune-up matches (a win vs Norway, 4-0; a draw vs. Paraguay, 1-1; a win vs Jamaica, 8-0), so perhaps those successes fed into the confidence emanating from 87, boulevard de Grenelle. Yet, the atmosphere differed from September, when the air was more heavily perfumed with the “we’ve got hard work to do” odor of determination. This time around, even the French media, often highly critical of Les Bleus, reflected an upbeat sentiment.” New Republic


World Cup From Carrying Water to Stirring a Nation

July 4, 2014

“For a man once belittled by Eric Cantona as ‘a water carrier,’ Didier Deschamps has certainly made a habit of carrying lots of trophies. French reporters like to ask Deschamps, now the French national team manager, if he was born under a ‘bonne étoile,’ a lucky star. But there is clearly much more than good karma and good timing involved at this stage of the game. He was captain of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship and a key player for Marseille and then Juventus when each club won the Champions League.” NY Times


Rio Ferdinand column: Paul Pogba will be world’s best midfielder

July 3, 2014

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“Young France midfielder Paul Pogba has been one of the stars of this World Cup but I am not surprised by his impressive form in Brazil. Pogba did not play much during his time as a team-mate of mine at Old Trafford, but the things he did in training meant every member of Manchester United’s first-team squad was in no doubt how good he was, and how good he could be. It was a big disappointment when he left to join Juventus in 2012, and it was definitely a mistake by United to let him go.” BBC

France’s Paul Pogba: a complete midfielder worth ‘two Gareth Bales’
“Paul Pogba’s nickname has morphed since he arrived in Brazil. For most of his France team-mates he will still always be La Pioche, literally “The Pickaxe” though, in this context, a kid selflessly going about his business to help the collective. The locals, however, have been seduced by the blend of brute force and sinewy skill delivered in flashes by the youngster. They took one look at that eagerness to dribble, spray a pass or crunch a shot at goal, and awarded him their own moniker. He will take to the field at the Maracanã on Friday as Pogiba.” Guardian


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