Scandals, tragedy clouding France’s preparations to host Euro 2016

December 10, 2015

“The good news for France is that Olivier Giroud scored a hat trick for Arsenal against Olympiakos on Wednesday, taking his tally to 12 goals in his last 15 appearances for club and country and, perhaps, at last suggesting that he can thrive when the pressure is really on. The bad news is just about everything else. From the tragic to the trivial to the weird, France’s preparations for Euro 2016, which it will host next summer, have been hit by a series of problems.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Power Rankings | Top 5 Managers (November 2015): Klopp joins Enrique at the top

December 10, 2015

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“A new mini-feature on the site for the new season is the introduction of the manager Power Rankings, where every month we list out the Top 5 tacticians from across Europe’s top leagues. October’s Power Rankings features five managers who’ve played key roles as the table begins to take shape.” Outside of the Boot


The Outsiders, Part 5: AP Campionese

December 10, 2015

“‘And this is Campione d’Italia’, she’s the Italian comune in Switzerland, you know, she’s an Italian enclave and exclave surrounded by Switzerland but still in the Province of Como, Lombardia, in the Swiss canton of Ticino’. Introducing the small town of Campione d’Italia, is much like describing a distant relative at a very large family celebration. She’s both vaguely recognisable and completely unfamiliar. She has the same plump and contented face as aunty Giulia, yet she’s definitely got the nose of grandpa Müller.” Football Pink

The Outsiders, Part 6: FC Andorra
“As countries go, there are few that can match the sheer stunning beauty of Andorra. Nestled firmly in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe in terms of size, its population could fit inside Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium. It has a rich culture stretching back over a thousand years and is a constitutional monarchy with an official language of Catalan, though French and Spanish are widely spoken too.” Football Pink

The Outsiders, Part 7: The New Saints
“Around the globe, football teams that have incorporated their sponsor’s name are common place. Of course, Red Bull have taken on teams in New York, Leipzig and Salzburg, aptly named the New York Red Bulls, RB Leipzig and FC Red Bull Salzburg whilst Bayer Leverkusen in Germany have taken their founders’ name since their emergence in 1904, as did PSV Eindhoven in 1913. Hyundai have taken on two teams in South Korea, Jeonbuk and Ulsan whilst Toyota even got in on the act in Japan.” Football Pink


Dele Alli scores stunner as England beat France at Wembley

November 18, 2015

“Dele Alli enjoyed a stunning full debut as England beat France 2-0 on a night of tears, compassion and defiance at Wembley. The 19-year-old Tottenham midfielder found the top corner with a stunning 24-yard strike and played a key role in Wayne Rooney’s second-half volley. England’s ninth straight Wembley victory was an impressive one that came against a star-studded France side. But the real winner here at Wembley was football. Just four days after 129 people died in the Paris terror attacks, the France team and their English counterparts, as well as the home and away fans inside this famous stadium, stood shoulder to shoulder to send a defiant message to the terrorists who wreaked havoc in the French capital.” ESPN


France attacks: Sporting fixtures postponed after attacks

November 16, 2015

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“Several sporting fixtures in France have been postponed after a series of attacks across Paris in which 129 people were killed. Three suicide bombers died in blasts outside the Stade de France while France played Germany on Friday. With fans unable to leave, many poured on to the pitch, while both national teams spent the night in the stadium. All European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches set to be played in France this weekend are off. However, the French Football Federation (FFF) said Tuesday’s international friendly against England at Wembley would go ahead following three days of national mourning.” BBC (Video)

As Paris Attacks Unfolded, Players and Fans at Soccer Stadium Remained Unaware
“Shortly after 9:45 p.m. Friday, at halftime of an exhibition soccer match between France and Germany, the players on both teams went to their locker rooms to rest while the coaches, who normally would have been reviewing their strategies, instead received shocking news. Everyone had heard the two explosions outside the stadium during the first half of the game, and Didier Deschamps, who leads the French team, and Joachim Löw, Germany’s manager, were told by French officials that there was a developing crisis, with violence reported near the stadium as well as around the city. President François Hollande, who had been at the match, had already been rushed from the stadium, they were told, but the second half would proceed.” NY Times

Wembley to welcome France for England friendly in spirit of defiance
“So, the show goes on then. As news of the atrocities in Paris on Friday night filtered through to Alicante during the second half of England’s friendly against Spain – a tumorous, spreading sense of horror with each fresh round of details – football became an instant irrelevance. At the time it seemed certain that Tuesday’s game against France, at Wembley, would be cancelled. In part because of the obvious pressing security concerns, but above all because of the sheer rawness of the occasion, the sense of unnecessary intrusion on a period of pain and grief.” Guardian


League success – is three the magic number?

November 10, 2015

“From Sheffield FC to FC United of Manchester, clubs have been born with the same ambition: to become the greatest in the world. In France, this sentiment is echoed loudly by the capital city’s starlets Paris Saint Germain. Relatively speaking they’re a new club, formed in 1970 with the merging of Stade Saint-Germain and Paris FC. For a brief time in the early 90s this dream of footballing conquest almost became a reality with Ligue 1 titles and pantheons of the game like George Weah and David Ginola in the side.” backpagefootball


Zlatan’s Ibrahimovic’s Mortality

November 8, 2015

“Watching a superstar in any sport have to cope with his own mortality is one of the more fascinating things you’ll see, especially so if the player is as stubborn as Zlatan Ibrahimovic. A fun example of seeing the battle between player X and father time is seeing what’s happened to Kobe Bryant over the past three seasons. Even your average person knows just how bad Kobe is currently. More than anything, Kobe Bryant is the cautionary tale of a headstrong superstar declining to a point where they’re way below a net zero in terms of value to a team.” Stats Bomb (Video)


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