Taking sides in France

December 17, 2009

Sophonisba Receiving the Poisoned Chalice, Simon Vouet
“Those of us brought up in the high-rise, low-expectation housing projects surrounding Paris will have our very own Norman Tebbit-style nationality test this summer. Thanks to both France and Algeria qualifying for the football World Cup finals it’s going to be a straight choice between blue and green – Les Bleus representing our parents’ adopted homeland, or Les Verts from the former colony where they were born.” (Guardian)

World Cup 2010: football culture around the world

December 17, 2009

“The following pictures are taken from Dream and Goals: The World Cup and World Football 1990-2010 (Dewi Lewis Publishing; http://www.dewilewispublishing.com), which showcases hundreds of photographs of passionate football fans around the world, taken by Alistair Berg. A riot policeman shares the moment of euphoria as supporters spill on to the pitch to celebrate Burkina Faso qualifying for the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 1998).” (Telegraph)

Can Milan wait for icon to deliver?

December 17, 2009

“Is Ronaldinho finally about to deliver? When the Brazilian ace was formally ‘presented’ to the AC Milan faithful last year, he was greeted at the San Siro like some sort of all-conquering hero, wooed by pulsating samba rhythms, a firework display and a 30,000-strong crowd.” (SI)

How Mick McCarthy Let Wolves Down

December 17, 2009

“Forty-two pounds is a lot of money. It’s more than someone working full-time on the minimum wage earns in a day. It was also the cost of a ticket for Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters that wanted to go to see their team at Old Trafford in the Premier League last night. They may now be wondering why they bothered. Part of the rationale that is frequently given by managers that a desperately scrapping to get there in the first place is that they want the experience of “playing the best as equals” (or variants thereupon), but that can hardly be said to have been what happened last night as Wolves played supine rather than lupine in fielding a second string team to take on a Manchester United side that was off colour but still allow to stroll to a 3-0 win.” (twohundredpercent)

World Cup Moments: Johan Does the Cruyff Turn in 1974

December 17, 2009

“I’m sure Johan Cruyff (or Cruijjff, if you prefer) had performed his famous Cruyff Turn long before the 1974 World Cup. He was probably Cruyff Turning all over the place while playing football for Ajax in the ’60s and ’70s. But that was long before YouTube, long before footage from any league in the world could be uploaded and shared globally. So the world didn’t see the Cruyff Turn in all it’s glory until the 1974 World Cup.” (World Cup Blog)

Liverpool 2 – 1 Wigan Athletic

December 17, 2009

“Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Wigan in the week of the 50th anniversary of Bill Shankly’s first match at the club would not have impressed the legendary manager but it was a welcome relief for current boss Rafael Benitez. Young French striker David Ngog’s 10th-minute glancing header from Fabio Aurelio’s cross and Fernando Torres’ second-half scrambled effort proved enough to see off a Latics side, for whom Charles N’Zogbia scored an injury-time consolation.” (ESPN)

Liverpool 2 Wigan Athletic 1: match report
“Even at Liverpool, the club which cherishes its heroes more than most, there are times when the past can be an unwelcome guest. Fifty years on from his arrival, Anfield last night remembered Bill Shankly, the man who made the people happy. The present heir to the Scot’s legacy, Rafael Benítez, may not have appreciated the uncomfortable reminder of what Liverpool once were, and what they are now.” (Telegraph)

Fernando Torres seals victory to ease pressure on Rafael Benitez
“The 50th anniversary of the arrival of Bill Shankly at Anfield could have provided the inspiration for Liverpool to put on a performance in keeping with his legendary feats. Instead, it simply served to underline how far the club the Scot revolutionised have fallen from the standards he famously set.” (TimesOnline)

Liverpool beats Wigan Athletic 2-1 in the English Premier League – Recap and Video Highlights
“The English Premier League resumed with several midweek matches including Liverpool v Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, December 16, 2009. Liverpool continues to struggle in all competitions and needs a top four finish to be in the UEFA Champions League next season. Who won the match and happened? Were Liverpool able to get a win and get back in track for a top four finish? Here’s a recap along with video highlights of the match.” (The 90th Minute)