Daily Archives: March 26, 2010

Is this the best season of football in recent years?

“A brief break from the in-depth tactical analysis here, to round-up the major European leagues, highlight this weekend’s crucial table-topping fixtures, and celebrate how wonderful European football has been this season.” (Zonal Marking)

Secrets of Bayern’s ungainly schoolmaster

“Louis van Gaal, Bayern Munich’s coach, was celebrating a goal when he fell over. The scorer, Arjen Robben, had run up to hug him but instead jumped on top of him. Eventually Van Gaal stumbled into his dug-out, blushing and with a bloodied finger. The hug is already a Youtube classic in Germany.” (FI – Simon Kuper)

The World Cup Of National Anthems: Part Four

“For many people, major sports tournaments are the only occasion that national anthems are heard. These peculiar tunes have become a genre of their own, transcending the mere hymns that many of them were in first place, and they range from the gloriously uplifting to mournful dirges. The selection of words has, in many countries, brought about national debate that has been all-encompassing. In the case of Spain, it was decided that it would probably be for the best just to not bother having any for the sake of national unity.” (twohundredpercent)

Out of form Gerrard living off his reputation

“Watching Steven Gerrard’s body language this season, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a man condemned. And in some ways, perhaps he is. Out of the title race by December, FA Cup and Champions League runs ended prematurely, and sidelined at intervals by groin and hamstring injuries, it’s understandable Gerrard could be feeling a little sorry for himself.” (WSC)

The Best? Football As Never Before

“In looking at George Best Fußball wie noch nie (Football as Never Before) it would be logical to set the work next to the more widely viewed 2006 film, Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and analyze the similarities and differences, but, in my eyes, I don’t think it would be fair to either film. There’s no doubt the Zidane edition is a direct descendant of the 1971 work by German filmaker Hellmuth Costard, with the exact same premise driving both the storyline and singular character focus. But where the two differ is outside the film itself – particularly, in the eyes of this viewer.” (Pitch Invasion)

Belgrade rivals go head to head for the tile

“The animosity between bitter Belgrade rivals Red Star and Partizan, which is bad enough at the best of times, stepped up a notch as they both set their sights on this season’s championship. Partizan president Dragan Djuric got the ball rolling by claiming referees work in favour of Red Star and that his club’s administrative board would be issuing an announcement regarding refereeing at Red Star’s league games.” (World Soccer)

How the 2000s changed tactics #2: Classic Number 10s struggle

“The decade started with the most attacking, open tournament in modern football, at Euro 2000. The four semi-finalists all played ‘classic’ Number 10s in the hole between the opposition defence and midfield. France, Italy, Portugal and Holland had Zinedine Zidane, Francesco Totti, Manuel Rui Costa and Dennis Bergkamp respectively – it almost seemed essential to have a player in this mould to be successful – helped by trequartista-less England and Germany’s early exits.” (Zonal Marking)