Twenty years on, the ‘hate match’ between Egypt and Algeria is on again

October 18, 2009

“The World Cup ‘hate match’ is on again, and if it is anywhere near as bad as the last one it could keep Fifa’s disciplinary experts busy – not to mention the police. One goal on a bumpy pitch in Chililabombwe, northern Zambia, was enough to give Egypt victory in their penultimate qualifier today. When Hosni, player of the tournament in the last African Cup of Nations, scored it in the 69th minute millions celebrated back home in Egypt. It kept alive the African champions’ hopes of taking one of the continent’s five qualifying places in next summer’s finals. All they have to do now is beat Algeria on 14 November, in an exact repeat of what they had to do 20 years ago.” (Guardian)

The hermit kingdom summons the spirit of ’66

October 18, 2009

“North Korea’s football manager, wearing a badge of the Dear Leader Kim Jong-il on his plain blue suit, sat on a bar stool in the French provinces and proclaimed: “We’d like to surprise the world.” In truth, North Korea already has. In Le Mans this week the hermit kingdom played its first international football match in Europe since 1966. The country has not engaged this much with the world since endorsing John Kerry for American president in 2004. In football if nowhere else, North Korea is embracing globalisation.” (FT)

The Michael Owen Problem: A Liverpool Fan Reflects

October 18, 2009

“[Editor’s note: I’ve been wondering how Liverpool fans feel about Michael Owen’s new career at Manchester United, so I asked regular Run of Play commenter and fervent Liverpool supporter George Brown to explain. Here’s what he had to say.]” (Run of Play)

Trouble Brewing At The Wessex Stadium, Yet Again

October 18, 2009

“In his 2006 book ‘Floodlit Dreams’, writer Ian Ridley brilliantly summed up the small town politics that drive the running of so many football clubs. He had taken the chairmanship at Weymouth Football Club with big ambitions, but a combination of under-achievement on the pitch, vultures circling overhead and internal squabbling saw him eventually removed by a coup d’etat. At the time, it appeared on the surface as if the club might have a bright future, but problems for the future from which they have never fully recovered.” (twohundredpercent)

Barca held at the Mestalla

October 18, 2009

Spain Soccer La Liga
“Barcelona saw their Primera Liga lead cut to a solitary point by Real Madrid as they were held to a goalless draw by Valencia at the Mestalla – and they will be relieved to have escaped with that result. Pablo Hernandez went close from his own half and strike partner Juan Mata missed a host of chances, while David Silva was denied by Victor Valdes from the best opportunity of the match.” (ESPN)

At 22, a Veteran of the Madness
“Eventually, the madness of professional sports gets to everyone. Until this weekend, it might have seemed that Spanish soccer was outside the asylum. The national squad had completed the perfect World Cup qualification, winning every one of its 10 games before sending its sons back to their clubs.” (NYT)

“Three games this Saturday afternoon & evening have been played in Round 7 of the Spanish League – “La Liga”. Here is a brief summary of results, scorers & videos of some brilliant goals that were scored today.” (Spanish Football Sports)

Real Madrid beats Vallodolid 4-2, Barcelona draws with Valencia 0-0 – Recap and Video Highlights – Saturday, October 17, 2009
(The 90th Minute)

The Rise of Ajax in the 1970s

October 18, 2009

“In the second half of the 1960, the little Amsterdam based suburb-club Ajax grew out to become a European top team. A new study reconstructs the why: money, professionalism, Cruyff and the psycho-analytical method of coach Rinus Michels.” (WorldCupBlog)

Manic Maradona may not be in South Africa

October 18, 2009

“Football management computer games are, it’s probably fair to say, hugely popular for one fairly simple reason. Football fans – even knowledgeable football fans – are often tempted to believe they could do a better job than the current incumbent of this or that team. In the case of the Argentine national team, they might just be right. Whether successful or not, it would certainly be difficult for anyone to do the job with less basic human dignity than Diego Armando Maradona, a man who has continued to think like a fan rather than a manager throughout his first year in charge of his country.” (WSC)