A Massive World Cup Qualification Preview

September 5, 2009

“International press conferences at the best of times tend to be mundane, by the numbers affairs filled with platitudes by the key figures within the national side. Not much changes when it comes to conferences prior to World Cup qualifiers, or even the finals itself, but within the words always lies a common train of thought: There are few, if any greater honours in football than representing your country at the World Cup.” (SoccerLens)

The Joy of Six: great volleys

September 5, 2009

“NB: for the purposes of this article, we have gone with the same definition of a volley as suggested in this piece: namely that a volley is only a volley when it does not touch the floor between the previous player touching the ball and the ball being struck at goal (it does not matter how many touches the striker has). No, we are not naïve enough to expect all comments to adhere to this definition.” (Guardian)

Book Review: Why England Lose

September 5, 2009

“Meta: I’ll be away until Monday, which is really quite handy given the transfer window’s just closed and it’s an international break. I will miss the three-year anniversary of this blog tomorrow, but that’s no great shakes. Here’s a book review to hold you over. Don’t break anything.” (oh you beauty)

Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski
“And now we have Why England Lose, a self-conscious attempt to write the Moneyball of football. If anyone can do it, it ought to be these two authors – Szymanski has recently published the best introduction to sports economics, Playbooks and Checkbooks, while Kuper is probably the smartest of the new generation of super-smart sportswriters. Unfortunately, their new book is a bit of a mess. It shows that doing a Moneyball is not as easy as it looks.” (Guardian)

Book Review: Why England Lose
“During this period of transfer window gossip and rumour, it is encouraging that there are those who are thinking deeply about the ‘Beautiful Game,’ to shatter some of the myths we hear daily. Simon Kuper (author of the excellent ‘Football Against The Enemy’) and sports economist Szymanski, delve about as far as is possible from the ‘will-he-won’t-he’ type journalism we are served up every day, to analyse a number of major talking points.” (101 Great Goals)

Argentina holds its breath as Maradona fights yellow peril

September 5, 2009

“The figure on the training pitch refereeing a practice match from the centre circle is very familiar. He is just rounder than when we last saw him. Diego Maradona has put on weight in his ten months as coach of Argentina and it is a jowly, slightly Teletubbyish character who eventually speaks.” (TimesOnline)

Bundesliga 2009/2010: What is New? What is the Same?

September 5, 2009

“Sorry for letting this blog rot away in the late August sun for so many weeks. Other work took over and left some time but not much energy to spend on other things. But the team blogs have been bursting with energy all the more at the same time and a few more came back to life, so I guess there were still enough places on The Offside for Bundesliga related updates. With a couple of lazy days during the international week coming up, it’s time to take a look at how season number 47 of the Bundesliga is shaping up so far.” (The Offside)

Mexico’s World Cup campaign is back on track

September 5, 2009

“When Jamaican referee Courtney Campbell whistled for the end of the World Cup qualifying match against USA, 110 million Mexicans could breathe a huge sigh of relief. The victory against their arch-rivals, the second in less than a month, meant survival in the final qualifying round on the road to South Africa 2010 but, above all, it allowed the football-crazy nation to watch their national team with pride for the first time in two years.” (World Soccer)