The best World Cup format–that FIFA would never consider

December 8, 2016

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“The World Cup might grow to 40 teams, or it might wind up with 48. It might be eight groups of five or four groups of 10, or there might be 16 seeds and a straight 32-team knockout round to get to join them in the format we have now. Or it might be 16 groups of three. Either way, the endless gigantism stimulated by FIFA presidential elections, as candidates promise more and more nations that they, too, can play in a World Cup, means that the competition will be even more bloated, even more unwieldy by then. Of course, this is 2026 we’re talking about, so there’s a significant chance global political elections by then will mean that by then, as George Orwell foresaw, it’s just three teams: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Bayern Munich – Elevation

December 8, 2016

“Bayern Munich won the double of the Bundesliga and the German Cup in 2015/16, obviously a fine feat, but not that surprising for Germany’s most successful club. In total, the Bavarians have won the league no fewer than 26 times and the cup on 18 occasions, though Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that it was still a ‘historic achievement’ to top the Bundesliga four years in a row.” The Swiss Ramble


Tactical Analysis: Dortmund 4-1 Mönchengladbach | Dortmund’s patience and clinical finishing

December 8, 2016

“Thomas Tuchel was critical of his team’s showing after their 2-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, suggesting that the players were technically, mentally and tactically deficient on the day. After a win over Bayern Munich and the demolition of Legia Warsaw in the Champions League, Dortmund found themselves in 7th place before the start of their home fixture against Borussia Mönchengladbach. In contrast, Borussia Möchengladbach came in to this fixture having won just one game in sixteen away from home in the Bundesliga. They had managed to keep one clean sheet away from Borussia-Park since the start of the season, and their last victory at the Westfalenstadion came in 2014.” Outside of the Boot


Legia Warsaw and the Champions League: an unexpected success

December 8, 2016

“It couldn’t have started any worse. Legia Warsaw, Poland’s first representative in the Champions League group stage in 20 years, kicked off their grand adventure at home to Borussia Dortmund in mid-September. Instead of a gutsy performance Legia succumbed to a 6-0 thumping in such an embarrassing fashion that they sacked their manager – and the display was so dire that many Polish fans expected to watch further matches behind assembled living-room furniture. On top of the terrible result Legia hooligans made a fool of themselves in the stands, leading to the next home match vs Real Madrid to be played behind closed doors.” Rightbankwarsaw


Arsenal seal top spot as Spurs head to Europa League – Football Weekly Extra

December 8, 2016

“The award-winning Football Weekly returns to look back on a busy midweek of European action. AC Jimbo’s voice is at around 75% in the seductive stakes, so he’s joined by Barry Glendenning, James Horncastle and Jonathan Wilson on the harmonies. We begin with the Champions League. Arsenal were most un-Arsenal and ended up winning their group, while Spurs were über-Spursy and ended up third and in the Europa League. As for Leicester, well – at least they did the business before heading to Porto.” Guardian (Video)


Greed Is Destroying European Football, but Too Many Don’t See It as a Problem

December 8, 2016

“And so with a weary sigh, the Champions League group stage comes to an end. There have been brilliant goals, lots of them, and a couple of exhilarating games. The clashes between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, between Manchester City and Barcelona, between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, had certain self-contained dramas. Ludogorets Razgrad and FC Rostov, here and there, put up encouraging fights. But fundamentally, it all passed with a shrug and a yawn. Those big clashes have essentially ended up being meaningless, as both teams went through.” Bleacher Report (Video)


Tactical Analysis: Everton 1-1 Manchester United | United’s build up play and Everton’s compact structure in defending

December 8, 2016

“Everton hosted Manchester United at Goodison Park as the two teams were desperate for a win following a poor run of results. Everton had only one win in the last eight matches while United had one in seven. Languishing beneath the European spots with the teams above them racking up points consistently, it was imperative that both teams look for the win in order to stay within touching distance of those at top.” Outside of the Boot