Could the Old Firm ever compete across the border?

January 19, 2013

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“The way forward for Scottish football is still somewhat blurred. League reconstruction talks have stalled while the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Premier League tear themselves apart from the inside. All parties agree change is needed, but that remains the only thing they can agree on. So considering the state of the Scottish game, is it time that Scotland’s two biggest and most supported clubs, Celtic and Rangers (known as the Old Firm), took care of themselves? Could a move to the Premier League finally come to pass? Ultimately, the chasm between the Old Firm and the rest of Scottish football is now unbridgeable.” ESPN


Africa Cup of Nations preview: Ivory Coast primed to fly or flop again

January 19, 2013

“Ah, Ivory Coast. As we approach kick-off in another Africa Cup of Nations, all we can say for sure is that it would be as foolish to back against Didier Drogba & Co as it would be cavalier to count on them. For the fifth time in a row the Elephants go into the tournament as one of the heaviest favourites, but this time no one will be surprised if they flop in timid or traumatic fashion. Bad luck and bad attitudes have been foremost among the factors that have led to seemingly the most gifted generation of Ivorian players losing the 2006 and 2012 Nations Cup finals on penalties and getting dumped out of the two tournaments between by opponents who turned out to be sharper and more balanced (Egypt in the 2008 semi-finals and Algeria in the 2010 quarter-finals).” Guardian


The African Cup Of Nations: Back So Soon?

January 19, 2013

“Whether it was a sign of maturity or resignation, it was good to hear so little moaning from Premier League clubs about losing African international players to Africa’s Cup of Nations, especially given the decision to move the biennial tournament away from World Cup finals’ years by holding tournaments in 2012 and 2013. But Premier League clubs have accepted their temporary depletion of playing resource with relatively good grace, with the minor kerfuffle over Tottenham’s Emanuel Adebayor down to the player’s selection uncertainties – the Togolese striker being dropped for criticism of the team’s management before being re-instated at the behest of their football federation chief.” twohundredpercent

African Cup of Nations Preview: Group D
“Group D: Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tunisia, Togo. This looks the most difficult group having been labelled the `Group of Death` by most football pundits. Ivory Coast, Algeria and Tunisia are all powerful football nations in Africa. Togo can’t be taken for granted either, they can boast of some talented footballers who can win games individually such as Adebayor. This is also a very tricky group and very difficult to predict, but I will be brave to make my prediction. I see Ivory Coast and Tunisia advancing from this group. Tunisia play as a team and most of their players play together in the local league. Ivory Coast have some of the best players in World football and will likely put in a strong showing again.” Think Football


Soviet giants have enjoyed mixed fortunes since the Iron Curtain fell

January 19, 2013

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“The domestic football league of the old USSR was a vast, vibrant, and powerful competition, containing as it did clubs such as the Moscow giants Dynamo, Spartak, CSKA – and occasionally Torpedo – as well as influential teams from the republics, like the Dynamos of Kiev, Tbilisi, and Minsk. Evidently, the league would have been exceptionally strong and closely contested – it was so strong, in fact, that it rose to second place in UEFA’s league rankings.” World Soccer


Barcelona’s Valdes doesn’t deserve vitriol for leaving club

January 19, 2013

” Víctor Valdés is leaving Barcelona. On Thursday, the agent for the club’s longtime No. 1 goalkeeper released a statement through the Spanish news agency EFE announcing his “irrevocable decision” not to renew his contract with the club beyond summer 2014 when he will be 32. It is exactly a month since Barcelona announced that Xavi and Carles Puyol will finish their careers at the club, having signed new deals. Lionel Messi, too, signed an extension to 2018, when he will be 31. Valdés will not be following suit.” SI


Liverpool 5-0 Norwich City

January 19, 2013

“Norwich must be sick of the sight of striker Luis Suarez as he scored his seventh goal in three matches against them to help Liverpool return to winning ways. The Canaries’ nemesis, after hat-tricks in his previous two outings against them, struck the second after Jordan Henderson’s well-taken opener. New £12million signing Daniel Sturridge became the first Reds player since Ray Kennedy in 1974 to score in his first three matches before Steven Gerrard’s strike and Ryan Bennett’s own goal completed the rout.” ESPN