Black Stars light up Wembley

March 30, 2011


“Sir Alex Ferguson should try telling Ghana fans that international friendlies are a “waste of time”. A day after the Manchester United boss also labelled the fixtures “worthless”, 21,000 ecstatic Black Stars supporters celebrated Asamoah Gyan’s last-gasp Wembley equaliser as though it had erased all the heartache of last summer’s World Cup quarter-final exit in an instant.” ESPN

England fans are given a glimpse of the future by Fabio Capello
“The pace of change is quickening in this England side, and though Andy Carroll may not be swift in his current half-fit state, the country’s most expensive home-born footballer led the way in an entertaining friendly with his first international goal. A B-team went home with an A for enterprise.” Guardian

England 1 Ghana 1: match report
“Fabio Capello may have 100 words to elucidate his tactical vision but Asamoah Gyan had the final word. Just when England looked to have secured a good victory through Andy Carroll, Gyan equalised brilliantly in the dying moments of one of the finest friendlies in living memory.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

England 1-1 Ghana – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Friendly
The 90th Minute


Afellay’s touch of class shows power of pure technique

March 30, 2011

“Good technique, though while widely accepted as an essential weapon in the armoury of any professional footballer, is rarely cast as a game-changing element. Having good technique usually means simply being able to control the ball easily, weigh passes appropriately or maintain one’s balance when shooting. Occasionally, however, technique is the difference between winning and losing. More precisely, in the case of Ibrahim Afellay in the Netherlands’ 4-0 defeat of Hungary last Friday, it was the difference between scoring and not scoring.” Football Further


Chandler shines in Paraguay loss, leads German-American invasion

March 30, 2011

“It’s still early, of course, but the chances are more likely that we’ll remember this week’s two U.S. national-team friendlies less for the results — a 1-1 tie against Argentina and Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Paraguay — than for the initial impacts made by some young American players.” SI

United States (USA) 0-1 Paraguay – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Friendly
The 90th Minute


Brazil encouraging, but not yet cohesive

March 30, 2011


“Whereas his predecessor Dunga had a very consistent, specific shape in his latter days as Brazil manager, Mano Menezes has switched between systems. He started off with a 4-2-1-3 against the USA, then moved to a 4-4-2 against France recently. In this game, he was hampered by various withdrawals through injury (particularly attacking players) and therefore sent out a side in a strange 4-3-3ish system, which dominated possession but lacked fluency in the final third of the pitch.” Zonal Marking


Lithuania 1 – 3 Spain

March 30, 2011

“Xavi and Juan Mata combined to make sure world and European champions Spain were not embarrassed by Lithuania on a difficult surface in Kaunas. Xavi, embarking on his second century of appearances for Spain after winning his 100th cap in their Euro 2012 qualifier against the Cech Republic on Friday, opened the scoring after 20 minutes.” ESPN

Lithuania 1-3 Spain – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Euro 2012 Qualifying
The 90th Minute


Holland 5 –3 Hungary: Different Hungary formation, different game

March 30, 2011

“After their dominant away ’tiki taka style’ victory only a few days ago, Holland manager Van Marwijk will not have felt the slightest incentive to change his line-up either in terms of tactics or his choice of a starting eleven. And with all players fully fit he wasn’t forced into any changes either. This allowed the unique situation of two consecutive matches started by 11 players all playing for different clubs.” 11 tegen 11


Dundee United 2 A.S. Roma 3

March 28, 2011


“‘God curse Dundee United’; ‘McLean Fuck Off’, ‘Rome hates McLean’. The message from A.S Roma’s, Commando Ultrà Curva Sud (CUCS), was clear for all to see, as the United players walked out onto the Stadio Olimpico turf, just 90 minutes away from a place in the European Cup final.” In Bed With Maradona


Brazil show Argentina way forward

March 28, 2011

“Taking on Scotland at the Emirates was more than just another friendly for Brazil, more than the chance to return to winning ways after two defeats, and even more than a warm up for July’s Copa America. The game got to grips with one of the fundamental issues facing the five-time world champions as they prepare for triumph number six in front of their own fans in 2014.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Things That Are Happening!

March 28, 2011

“Hey there! Long time no write soccer blog posts for your fleeting amusement, huh? Sorry I sort of abandoned and forgot about you there. Trust me when I say that there’s a good explanation. No, I’m not ‘moonlighting for the LA Galaxy and increasingly unable to handle the pressure of my life as an international icon in the twilight of his career’ (funny, you at the back). What’s happening is that, at the moment, the entire editorial staff of the site is stuck in a small town in Pennsylvania trying to buy a house.” Run of Play


Freedom! Your All-Braveheart Team

March 28, 2011


“Attitude. Stubble. Warrior. Braveheart. Pretend for a moment that William Wallace managed a soccer team. After signing on the dotted line and facing the media to discuss his transition from freedom fighter to manager, one of Wallace’s first tasks would be recruiting an army, one, presumably, that would reflect his, shall we say, brave spirit.” Nutmeg Radio


The Rebirth and Near Death of Rayo Vallecano

March 28, 2011

“Police helicopters buzzing about; beer-fueled fans pouring through the turnstiles; TV cameras squeezed onto the narrow strip of grass separating the pitch and stands – Rayo Vallecano’s Estadio Teresa Rivero was certainly the place to be in Madrid late on Sunday night.” FourFourTwo


1950s Month: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

March 28, 2011

“In 1954, football came home. Sort of. The selection of Switzerland as the venue for the fifth World Cup finals had less to do with practicality and more to do with the Swiss-based FIFA’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Yet in many ways it was fitting that the land of the cuckoo clock provided the setting for the most barking mad World Cup in history.” The Equaliser


Czech mate

March 28, 2011

“I arrived in Prague last Wednesday night and wandered through customs into the arrival zone. A chap waved a banner that had ‘Ball’ written on it, and although I thought it was a tad rude to just use the surname, I was relieved to see that someone had come to pick me up.” ESPN


U.S. earns tie with Argentina

March 27, 2011


Juan Agudelo, 18
“At the final whistle, Juan Agudelo walked over to Lionel Messi. ‘I was like, “Yeah, I’m good friends with Thierry Henry,”‘ the 18-year-old American forward said. ‘I just wanted to introduce myself: Juan Agudelo.’ Agudelo’s 59th-minute goal gave the United States a surprising 1-1 tie against Argentina in a high-profile exhibition game on Saturday night before 78,936 at the New Meadowlands Stadium.” ESPN

Young Agudelo trends upward in U.S. draw against Argentina
“In the journalism world, one of the rules you often hear is this: Three examples qualifies as a trend. And we now have three examples that 18-year-old U.S. forward Juan Agudelo is a promising forward to watch at the international level.” SI

Three thoughts: U.S.-Argentina
“Three thoughts after the U.S.’s 1-1 tie against Argentina on Saturday night…” SI

United States (USA) 1-1 Argentina – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Friendly
The 90th Minute


1950s Month: The Tragedy of Munich

March 27, 2011

“Still the snow fell. The date was 6th February 1958 and British European Airways Flight 609 taxied on the icy tarmac of Munich airport as it prepared for its third attempt at take-off. On board were 44 passengers, many of whom were members of the Manchester United squad returning home after facing Red Star Belgrade in the European Cup the previous evening.” The Equaliser


Hungary 0 – 4 Netherlands

March 26, 2011


Dance to the Music of Time, Nicolas Poussin
“Holland turned on the style as they cruised past Hungary at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium in Budapest. Tottenham playmaker Rafael van der Vaart gave the visitors an early lead and Ibrahim Afellay’s goal shortly before half-time ensured the scoreline reflected Holland’s dominance.” ESPN

Hungary 0 – 4 Holland: Dutch tiki taka football
“Holland beat Hungary in spectacular fashion to obtain Van Marwijk’s 13th consecutive qualification victory, combining both WC 2010 and Euro 2012 qualifiers. And in the process, national manager Bert van Marwijk extended his unbelievable 90 minutes record in competitive matches to 19-1-0, that one being the World Cup final against Spain.” 11 tegen 11

Wales 0 – 2 England
“Early Frank Lampard and Darren Bent goals turned the spotlight off Fabio Capello as England eased past Wales in the teams’ Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff. England manager Capello had endured a torrid week in the media over his handling of John Terry’s reinstatement as captain and defeat at the Millennium Stadium would have seen the pressure increase considerably.” ESPN

Wales 0-2 England: Lampard and Bent seal the victory early on
“England recorded a comfortable victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Gary Speed sent Wales out in a broad 4-5-1 system. Craig Bellamy started on the right, with Andy King on the left. Aaron Ramsey, in his first game as captain, lined up behind Steve Morison. Fabio Capello named a surprising starting XI. Ashley Young was given a game on the wing, with Wayne Rooney also out wide, off Darren Bent. Michael Dawson partnered returning captain John Terry at the back.” Zonal Marking

Luxembourg 0 – 2 France
“The return of Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery failed to inspire France as, for the second time in their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, they laboured to a 2-0 win over Luxembourg. Evra and Ribery were back in the team for the first time since their misdeeds at the World Cup contributed to their side’s humiliating first-round exit. But the result with the pair in the team was the same as the result without them as goals from Philippe Mexes and Yoann Gourcuff saw them to a 2-0 win, just as when the sides met in France in October.” ESPN

Spain 2 – 1 Czech Republic
“David Villa scored twice to bring Spain from behind to beat the Czech Republic, and eclipsed Raul as Spain’s all-time goalscorer in the process. Spain were trailing to a 29th-minute wondergoal from Jaroslav Plasil but Villa fired home from the edge of the area in the 69th minute, moving clear of Raul’s record of 44 goals and relieving the tension in Granada.” ESPN

Slovenia 0 – 1 Italy
“Thiago Motta’s second-half strike handed Italy a narrow win over Slovenia in Ljubljana in their Euro 2012 qualifier. The Brazilian-born midfielder, who made his debut with the Azzurri in last month’s friendly against Germany, struck in the 73rd minute to hand the Italians their first-ever win on Slovenian soil. The result has lifted Italy six points clear of second-place Slovenia at the top of Group C after five games, bringing them significantly closer towards qualifying.” ESPN


U.S. aims to stop Argentina’s Messi

March 25, 2011


Lionel Messi
“The last time the U.S. played Argentina, in 2008, the result was proof that a 0-0 score line could still produce a thrilling soccer game. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard stood on his head, and a huge crowd in the Meadowlands saw the Americans survive going toe-to-toe with supernova Lionel Messi and his talented Argentine teammates.” SI


Zonal Marking in Barcelona

March 25, 2011

“Well, I must say, I’m rather disappointed. We’ve come all this way to Barcelona to see a game at the Nou, and it’s not what I expected. OK, the little number 6 is controlling things from the centre of midfield, and the number 10 is a threat upfront, but it’s a tiny little ground and it’s not even full. Mes Que Un Club, seriously? Only joking! We are indeed in Barcelona for a football match, but this is not the Nou Camp, it’s the Nou Sardenya, home of CE Europa. Europa can’t make any claim to being ‘more than a club’ – they compete in the Tercera Division, the fourth level of the Spanish pyramid, in one of eighteen regional groups.” European Football Weekends


Espanyol & Their Poor Man

March 25, 2011

“Faith in youth due to financial turmoil is not uncommon but Espanyol have had to place more in their Cantera than others. Welcome to IBWM David Cartlidge.” In Bed With Maradona


Another death stains Argentine football

March 25, 2011

“Followers of the Argentine top flight had a crazy few days of football at the weekend, with four legitimate goals disallowed in different matches and a veritable bloodbath on the pitch at Boca Juniors, who saw one player get his jaw broken and another laid out cold and stretchered off in a neck brace – both entirely accidentally.” ESPN


No More Heroes

March 25, 2011


“Hero – one of the most divisive & debated words in football. With a look at the subject taking in The Stranglers & Michele Platini, here’s Chris King.” In Bed With Maradona


Slovenia – Italia: Six Things To Watch

March 25, 2011

“Prandelli’s men resume their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign for the first time in the new year. With previous matches against the likes of Estonia, Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland, the first place Azzurri will face their toughest challenge yet in Group C. Italy travel to Ljubljana to take on a talented and emerging Slovenia side who have garnered a name on the world stage. With Italy and Slovenia in first and second place respectively, the match should be exciting enough. However, here are six things to watch when the two sides square off on Friday evening…” Serie A


What to Watch This Weekend – Interlull Edition, Pt 1 (Friday March 25)

March 25, 2011

“The Interlull is upon us. Just when the domestic and Champions leagues are hurtling towards their conclusions, getting us all hot and bothered…they take a break so the best players can fly all over the world to risk injury playing for their respective national teams in largely meaningless international games. (Full disclosure: we picked up the ‘Interlull’ terminology from the indispensable Arseblog.)” Cult Football


Jean-Paul Sartre on: The Problem With Other Players

March 24, 2011


“Anybody who saw the 1983 football biopic ‘Being is Believing’ will almost certainly have left the cinema with a somewhat romanticised view of the period that Jean-Paul Sartre spent as manager of Paris based side Stade Saint-Germain in the early 1960s. Yet, despite its historical inconsistencies, the film does at least manage to convey a tantalising flavour of the footballing revolution that took place in those astonishing few years when the unprepossessing Sartre transformed, in so many ways, how we perceive the beautiful game today.” Fisted Away


Total fitness from the land of Total Football

March 24, 2011

“Nearly 40 years after Netherlands legends Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff unleashed Total Football on an unexpecting world, along comes a Dutchman espousing a new philosophy – periodisation.” BBC


Hungary – Holland, the preview

March 24, 2011

“This match must certainly be considered as one of the biggest games in Group E of the Euro 2012 qualifying tournament. With 9 points from three matches, the Hungarians are ranked second behind the runners up of the last World Cup, Holland, who have won all four qualifying matches so far. Sweden is also in contention for direct qualification, with 6 points from three matches, having lost 4-1 in Holland, but having beaten Hungary 2-0.” 11 tegen 11


Gelukkige Verjaardag Ruud Krol!

March 24, 2011

“Ruud Krol, one of the original Dutch masters, was born in Amsterdam on this day in 1949. So: Gelukkige Verjaardag Ruud Krol! Krol was part of the great Dutch generation of the 1970s: he played on the great Ajax side that was managed by Rinus Michels and led on the field by Johan Cruijff, Johan Neeskens, Piet Keizer and Krol. Together they famously won three consecutive UEFA European Cups (the precursor to today’s Champions League), and in doing so introduced totaalvoetbal to the world.” Cult Football


Götze heads Germany’s new wave

March 24, 2011


Dortmund midfielder Mario Götze
“After signing a contract extension (until 2014) and tentatively solving the ‘Michael Ballack question’ — the Germany captain will have an unofficial farewell match against Brazil in August — coach Jogi Löw has few problems left. The biggest one might be finding places for a wave of new, exciting prospects in the squad. Here’s a projection of Germany’s next top model professionals (under 22 years).” SI


Football Weekly Extra: Fabio Capello’s phoning it in, and Fifa’s battling it out

March 24, 2011

“Despite a tumbleweed week of football, the pod find plenty to chew on in this week’s Football Weekly Extra-a-a-a-a-a-a … James is joined by ZonalMarking.net editor Michael Cox, Owen Gibson, Barry Glendenning and Paul MacInnes. And thank heavens for your posts, as the team discuss why there are so many games at Christmas and so few in March, now that the sun has come out.” Guardian, James Richardson


Crumbling Stadiums and the Number 61 Bus

March 24, 2011

“If you fly into Bratislava and take a number 61 bus from the airport towards the city-centre and railway station, you will pass some of Slovakia’s principle sporting venues. There is the excellent National Tennis Centre, where the likes of Lukáš Lacko and Dominika Cibulková play Davis Cup and Federation Cup matches, and a gleaming new ice-hockey arena, which will stage the final of the 2011 World Championship later this spring. In the same area, within a goal-kick of each other, there are two football grounds. Each is watched over by an impressive quartet of floodlights but each is, to put it mildly, in less than ideal condition.” In Bed With Maradona


The Ball Day 29 – Soccer + Breakdancing in Morocco

March 24, 2011

“The Ball continues to spread it’s message of participation, no boundaries, and unity and today they visit a Casablanca children’s dance group to play soccer and find out how breakdancing and soccer go hand in hand. This EP has music again from the great Jali Bakary with ‘Combination’ a nice tune from his new album.” The Ball


Milan derby looms large in four-horse race for the scudetto

March 23, 2011


Antonio Cassano and Pato react after Palermo’s goal in the win over Milan.
“Crisis? What crisis? As Internazionale prepared for their Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich on Tuesday, newspaper editors up and down the peninsula were putting the finishing touches on bleak spreads about the decline of Italian football, preparing for the worst as Serie A faced up to the prospect of having no teams in the quarter-finals of either major European competition. But then Inter won. Better still, four days later Milan lost.” Guardian


UEFA Champions League Power Rankings: Before Quarterfinal Round

March 23, 2011

“The Champions League is now to the quarterfinals which will begin on April 5-6 and conclude on April 12-13. There are two Spanish sides, three English sides, one Italian club, one German club, and one from Ukraine.” The 90th Minute


All Change At Leicester City

March 23, 2011

“Leicester City’s home defeat against Portsmouth on Saturday might not have definitively ended their hopes of securing a Championship play-off place, but it has certainly put another nail in the coffin. The recruitment of Sven-Göran Eriksson initially looked like a masterstroke, as the Swede inspired a dramatic improvement in the team’s fortunes, including a run of seven wins and one draw after the turn of the year, but Leicester’s surge up the table has virtually ground to a halt in March. However, few leagues are more competitive than the Championship and while there’s life, there’s hope, particularly as the Foxes are still only five points away from featuring in the end-of-season play-offs.” The Swiss Ramble


On Monarchies and Captains, John Terry and the Meaning of Armbands

March 23, 2011


“John Terry, a man you may know from Bridgegate and Tour-for-moneygate, is now back in the limelight in the latest episode of England Captaingate. England manager Fabio Capello has reinstated his former captain as England’s new temporary-permanent captain, replacing the injured Rio Ferdinand in what can only be described as a Capello-esque manner. The decision, like all of Capello’s now trademark decisions, has been everything but straight-forward and has sparked heated debates about the merits of Terry’s reappointment as captain. But does it matter who sports the elastic armband for England? Probably not.” Nutmeg Radio


The Best Looking Football Shirt. Ever?

March 23, 2011

“France. Cultured, sophisticated, elegant. Fine wine, fine dining, beautiful people and beautiful clothes. It’s no wonder that many of the great restaurants and design houses are French, with Paris the symbolic home of the fashion industry. The embodiment of sophistication and beauty isn’t the primary reserve of the gastronomic or fashion universes either. Think great artists – Matisse, Monet, Rodin – and then think great footballers; Platini, Tigana, Giresse, Cantona, Henry. Artists themselves. If ever there was a footballing nation that deserved a stand out football shirt, it is France.” In Bed With Maradona


Tactics: French sides flock to worship at altar of 4-2-3-1

March 23, 2011

“A peculiar tactical phenomenon has been witnessed in France in recent months. In a microcosm of global trends that have shaped the game over the course of the last decade or so, Ligue 1′s top sides have all – without exception – begun to ditch their preferred formations in favour of a 4-2-3-1.” Football Further


Ghana’s Andre Ayew Scores Le Classique Winner

March 23, 2011

“Our preview of Olympique Marseille‘s visit to Old Trafford a couple weeks ago focused in large part on their young Ghanaian striker Andre Ayew (and by extension his famous father Abedi Pele). And then we told you to watch Le Classique this past weekend.” Cult Football


II Soldatino 2.0

March 23, 2011

“2010/11 has been something of a nightmare for Juventus. But Adam Digby has spotted a potential club hero amidst the trials and tribulations.” In Bed With Maradona


The Unwritten Law of Managerial Suitability.

March 21, 2011


Jamie Carragher
“‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ has to be the harshest phrase for a manager to hear from his club’s supporters. (That said, maybe the name of another manager being chanted ranks up there on the hurtometer.)While many will think that Roy Hodgson doing well at West Bromwich Albion proves his critics (myself included) wrong, it seems to merely back up my oft-made point: he’s clearly a good manager, but only in certain situations. He has some great skills, but they are not universally transferable. Just as you wouldn’t play Jamie Carragher at centre-forward, even though he’s a long-proven footballer, you wouldn’t want Roy Hodgson managing beyond his comfort zone.” Tomkins Times


Good Day, Bad Day: Sun loungers, lucky bunnies & outlandish insinuations

March 21, 2011

“An awful week off the pitch with the news of Eric Abidal and the outlandish insinuations of doping coming from the direction of the Spanish capital came to a relatively happy end with a 2-1 win over Getafe. It was a match that appeared to fit a similar pattern at the Camp Nou of late – Barça creating oodles of chances but missing pretty much all of them.” FourFourTwo


Adriano struggling to find suitors after Roma departure

March 21, 2011

“When Roma signed Brazilian striker Adriano last year, the club directors may as well have lit their cigars with high denomination banknotes or poured their money down a rathole. They were quite happy to tear up his contract earlier this month and received no money in return. This, though, is not the story of a player unable to adapt to life in a foreign country.” BBC – Tim Vickery


ADO 3 – 2 Ajax: Two comebacks denied by late winner

March 21, 2011

“With the Eredivisie nearing its end ADO won three very important points in their battle for direct Eruopa League qualification. Ajax, meanwhile, lost three important points in the chase of Twente and league leaders PSV. Major defensive issues cost Ajax dearly as ADO managed to grab the lead three times in this match, with Ajax unable to make up for their defensive frailties.” 11 tegen 11

Excelsior 0 – 2 Twente: Decent victory for the champions
“Off the back of a demanding away trip to Zenit, Twente managed an important away win to keep the pace set by league leaders PSV, who Twente are trailing by just one point. While away at Excelsior, ten men Ajax drew 2-2 and PSV had the utmost difficulty in winning 3-2 in the final seconds, Twente put in a decent team effort to beat the relegation candidates.” 11 tegen 11

Ajax’s slim title aspirations have gone up in smoke
“Look at Christian Eriksen’s face an you know enough. In less than a week, Ajax’s hope for winning the Europa League and the league title is gone. A 3-2 loss in The Hague against ADO has killed Ajax’s chances for the league title. Even more painful is that Ajax actually were the better side but bad defending and 3rd keeper Jeroen Verhoeven being more a hindrance than a help have killed off the slim title aspirations.” World of Ajax


Deportivo Pereira and the Winless Run To End All Winless Runs

March 21, 2011


“There’s an old adage that says that ‘there’s no evil that lasts one hundred years or a body that can endure it.’ What better culture to know about this than in Colombia. After almost sixty years of armed conflict there seems to be no end in sight in that particular situation.” In Bed With Maradona


Celtic 1-2 Rangers

March 21, 2011

“The Celtic fans showed their support to the team by a Green and White display before kick off, that spanned the whole East Stand of Hampden. There was banter aplenty also as legends from both sides took to the touchline with each group of fans booing the other side and vice versa.” Scotzine

Celtic 1-2 Rangers – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Scottish League Cup
The 90th Minute


Buxton

March 21, 2011

“The journey from Stockport was pleasant with football fans mixed in amongst normal travellers. The mood on the train was relaxed; close your eyes and you wouldn’t know there were football fans travelling to watch their team play. This was match day 70 of my season and it stands out as being the first time this season that I’ve been filmed by the police.” Gannin’ Away


Wales and the Curse of the Captain

March 21, 2011

“Mark Pitman on what England could learn from their upcoming opponents about dealing with the captaincy.” In Bed With Maradona


Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Mainz

March 20, 2011


Capriccio with Venetian Motifs, 1760, Francesco Guardi
“Dortmund dropped points for the second week i, n succession as a spirited performance from Mainz in the final quarter of the game and a last-gasp equalizer proved enough to hold the league leaders to a draw. Both sides came into this game on the back of disappointing 1-0 defeats – Dortmund to Hoffenheim, and Mainz to Leverkusen. They were the success stories of the first half of the campaign, but whereas Dortmund have stayed in good form after the winter break, Mainz have been up and down.” Defensive Midfielder

Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich
“A poor showing from Bayern Munich ultimately didn’t matter as they won their second consecutive game in the Bundesliga to keep the pressure on the sides above them in the Champions League places. Looking at the history of this fixture, the odds looked pretty stacked in Bayern’s favour – no defeats in the last 17 Bundesliga clashes between the sides, and a 4-2 win at the Allianz Arena in October.” Defensive Midfielder

Borussia Mönchengladbach 0-1 Kaiserslautern
“Kaiserslautern took a huge step to securing their Bundesliga place for next season at the expense of doomed-looking Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both sides came into this game in precarious Bundesliga positions – the hosts bottom, but knowing a win would lift them up to 17th, while the visitors, level on points with three other sides, were only out of the drop zone on goal difference.” Defensive Midfielder


Sunderland 0 – 2 Liverpool

March 20, 2011

“Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez fired Liverpool to a 2-0 victory at Sunderland as the Reds made amends for their beachball disaster on Wearside last season. Kuyt set the visitors on their way with 33 minutes gone when he converted a hotly-disputed penalty, and Suarez completed the job with 13 minutes remaining.” ESPN

Luis Suárez gives Liverpool the edge over Sunderland
“Liverpool’s hopes of hosting Europa League football next season remain extremely slim but, as long as Luis Suarez continues playing as cleverly as this, Tottenham Hotspur will not be able to sit comfortably in fifth place.” Guardian

Sunderland 0-2 Liverpool – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – EPL
The 90th Minute


English Premier League (EPL) Match Of The Day (MOTD) Video Highlights

March 20, 2011

“Below are MOTD video highlights for all the EPL matches on March 19, 2011. The full edition of MOTD can be viewed here.” The 90th Minute


Inter close gap

March 20, 2011

“Inter Milan took full advantage of AC Milan’s defeat on Saturday as they defeated Lecce 1-0 to move two points behind the leaders. Giampaolo Pazzini’s match-winner after 52 minutes had a suspicion of handball about it but the hosts just about deserved the three points after an improved second-half display.” ESPN


The United front of Tooting and Mitcham

March 20, 2011

“Wolfie Smith…The most lovable revolutionary in history, leader of the Tooting Popular Front. Mitcham. Named after Robert Mitchum in honour of his fine performance in the 1944 film Mr Winkle goes to War. Put them both together and what do you have? A united front, in fact a Tooting & Mitcham United. It is amazing how the longer I write, the more tenuous my introductions can get.” The Balls Is Round


ADO 3 – 2 Ajax: Two comebacks denied by late winner

March 20, 2011

“With the Eredivisie nearing its end ADO won three very important points in their battle for direct Eruopa League qualification. Ajax, meanwhile, lost three important points in the chase of Twente and league leaders PSV. Major defensive issues cost Ajax dearly as ADO managed to grab the lead three times in this match, with Ajax unable to make up for their defensive frailties.” 11 tegen 11


The Importance Of The Northern League

March 18, 2011


“On March 25th 1889 nineteen clubs from across the north east of England met in the Three Tuns Hotel in Durham City. The meeting had been organised by Charles Craven, a goalkeeper with Darlington FC, who duly took their place as one of the ten founding members of the Northern League. What is now renowned as the world’s second oldest surviving football league got underway on September 7th, Darlington travelling to Newcastle East End in the first round of fixtures. Darlington St Augustine’s won the inaugural title with twenty-six points, edging Newcastle West End on goal difference. A team called Middlesbrough finished sixth that season, just ahead of South Bank.” In Bed With Maradona


United’s forwards destroy Marseille; Marcelo key for Real

March 18, 2011

“Tactical observations from Champions League action this week…” SI


A Brief History of Nous

March 18, 2011

“Did you know that Sir Alex Ferguson still doubts his tactical nous? The headline leaves no room for doubt: “Sir Alex Ferguson: I still doubt my tactical nous”. I find this sad. Sir Alex would seem to have it all: a long record of championships, a range of expensive outerwear, a ruddy Glaswegian complexion, a knighthood—but if you can’t trust in your own nous, what is it all worth, really?” Run of Play


Lower leagues across the globe #8: Sweden

March 18, 2011


“Despite an alpine outlook, football remains the most popular sport in Sweden. Most of the focus is on the Allsvenskan, the top flight which runs from Spring until late Autumn, with the winter months being dominated by coverage of the English Premier League. Stuart Fuller tells us all about life in the Swedish lower leagues.” The Seventy Two


La semaine en France: Week 27

March 18, 2011

“Once may have been a fluke, but to score match-winning goals in injury time twice in the space of a week suggests Lille may have the stomach for a bare-knuckle title brawl after all.” Football Further


1950s Month: ‘O Rei’ and the Defiance of Understanding

March 18, 2011

“In September Brian Phillips, founder and editor of the glorious Run of Play, wrote one of the greatest sporting essays I have ever read. Never mind the ‘blogosphere’, this made even some of Brian Glanville and Hugh McIlvanney’s efforts look tame. I really mean that. It was entitled ‘Pelé as a Comedian’ and dealt with the sheer aesthetic poetry of the great Brazilian, the disbelieving laughter his transcendent genius brings to our lips. Pelé, Brian argued, is a comedian, a man who creates chaos out of peace and thrills us by restoring that peace with dizzying ease.” The Equaliser


Champions League draw – as it happened

March 18, 2011


Jean-Pierre Clatot
“The draw begins at 11am UK time. By which what we mean, of course, is that the video montages, unnecessary musical interludes, and same-old boring lecture we get every year about how wonderful the Champions League is begins at 11am. Then, all of a sudden, the draw will happen very quickly just when you’ve given up waiting and gone to make a cuppa instead. Fear not, though, I shall be here without to make sure you don’t miss a thing.” Guardian