Brian Glanville on the importance to England of Wayne Rooney

October 14, 2011

“And so: no Rooney. Not at the beginning of the European finals which now may or may not take part in disorganised Ukraine as well as Poland. Nor the ensuing friendly at Wembley against Spain. A match from which Fabio Capello has logically enough excluded him.” World Soccer

Euro 2012: Wayne Rooney’s three-match ban a major headache for Fabio Capello
“The nightmare deepens. Rooney has been banned for the group stage of Euro 2012 and England’s manager, Fabio Capello, faces the biggest decision of his tenure over whether to select somebody who could prove only a tourist at the tournament. Rooney was said to be ‘shocked and disappointed’ at the three-game ban. Capello himself was understood to be ‘stunned’ when the news from Nyon was broken to him, a reflection on his conviction that Rooney would receive only 90 minutes in purdah and how grievously he felt the lengthened loss of such a talent. Yet this largely unlovable Italian is not paid £6 million a year to clamber on to the nearest window-ledge at the first hint of adversity.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Fabio Capello has to make big decision over Wayne Rooney for Euro 2012
“Fabio Capello has been forced to consider leaving Wayne Rooney out of his squad for Euro 2012 after Uefa’s control and disciplinary body handed the England striker a three-match ban that will rule him out of the group stage of next summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine.” Guardian

No longer underdogs, Ghana need to become a more complete attacking force

October 14, 2011

“When you’re an unfancied side, playing reactive football is natural. It’s how successful underdogs at international level have set out over the past decade, with Greece in 2004 the obvious example. In aesthetic terms they were mundane, but their strategy of defending solidly and breaking quickly was clearly extremely useful. Their key goals came from set-pieces, but they did have an emphasis upon direct football in open play. Venezuela and Paraguay both overachieved at this summer’s Copa America with a not dissimilar style of play, and for various reasons, it makes sense for the underdogs to play this way.” Zonal Marking

Kubala’s legacy at Barcelona

October 14, 2011

“Lionel Messi could become the standalone second highest scorer in Barcelona’s history on Saturday night as the Spanish champions take on struggling Racing Santander – Messi needs just one goal to pass Ladislao Kubala’s 194-goal record in all competitions. César still stands in his way but, while the 24-year-old continues to press his claims as a Barcelona great, he still has some way to go to overhaul the legacy that Kubala left when he played his last game for the club on August 30, 1961.” ESPN

Book Review: An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish

October 14, 2011

“Although perhaps too much can be made of the so-called language of football, it’s true that the game possesses its fair share of linguistic quirks. The Football Lexicon, co-authored by occasional Two Unfortunates contributor John Leigh, did a marvellous job highlighting these and the overuse of the word ‘adjudged’ as well as the currency of Hollywood Passes, playmakers and those mysterious channels displays the oddness of the sport’s idiom.” thetwounfortunates

Excerpt: ‘An Illustrated Guide to Soccer and Spanish’
“Soccer in the United States, just like the country itself—even if the National Team and some, um, less liberal sections of the population have yet to fully realize or embrace it—is being shaped by Latino culture. Just listen to Jurgen Klinsmann, the new—and German!—head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, in his introductory press conference. We really don’t have an identity as a soccer-playing nation, but as we, hopefully, start to develop one, Latino culture will and should have as big of an influence as any.” Good Men Project

amazon: An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish

Comolli helps to guide the statistical revolution at Liverpool

October 14, 2011

“This Saturday will mark the anniversary of Fenway Sports Group’s takeover of Liverpool and it comes just a few days after UK magazine FourFourTwo published its annual Football Rich List. The magazine ranked FSG owner John W Henry at 20th in the list, and calculated that each Premier League point Liverpool had earned since the purchase has cost Henry a whopping £7.5 million ($11.7M). (The team it beat last week, local rivals Everton, comes in at £48,000 per point, given that owner Bill Kenwright paid £20M for it in 2004.)” SI

Steven Gerrard is a period piece out of kilter with modern mores

October 14, 2011

“Welcome back, then, Steven Gerrard. For all the Premier League’s enduring celebrity tinnitus, the parping flatulence of its star fixation, the return of Liverpool’s captain has been relatively soft-pedalled. Gerrard, who has been suffering from groin‑related maladies, will play against Manchester United on Saturday, his first start since March. And, for once, the rather flaccid fanfare has offered an opportunity to put out a flag or two of one’s own.” Guardian