Africa’s big guns are feeling the heat in World Cup 2014 qualifiers

June 4, 2013

Nigeria celebrate
“The nearer it gets to its denouement, the more you look at the format Africa has chosen for World Cup qualifying and wonder. It is brilliantly absurd, a guaranteed way of generating drama, with the very real possibility that many of the continent’s grandees will miss out. Pre-qualifying whittled it down to 10 groups of four, with the group winners to play off in five two-legged ties for the five qualifying slots. In that the system makes no concessions to vested interests of established powers it is to be applauded, although its wisdom may be questioned if none of the continent’s big guns make it through: one bad day in October could be enough to see any side out.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Arsenal Review- Just Another Brick In The Wall

June 4, 2013

“The meltdown since the 2006 Champions League final in Paris continues at the Emirates Stadium, with the mighty Arsenal FC of North London ending yet another year without any silverware. That is of course if you ignore the preseason victories which included the Marcus Leibherr Memorial Trophy and some silverware on their South East Asian tour. This should partially be blamed upon the European Championships in the summer, which caused Arsenal to cancel their annual Emirates Cup tournament, a trophy they can at least call as a ‘serious something’. Well, well.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Should Roy Hodgson build his England side around Michael Carrick?

June 4, 2013

“Michael Carrick is a player who often doesn’t get the recognition he deserves for the role he plays at Manchester United. This season he has received more praise from critics and also from the England manager, Roy Hodgson. Fabio Capello didn’t appear to fancy the Manchester United midfielder and often omitted him for his squads and the starting line-up in favour for the most industrious Gareth Barry or Scott Parker. Hodgson though, has identified Carrick as a key player and as such he has featured much more prominently since the former Liverpool manager took over from Fabio Capello.” Think Football


Infographic: The Cost of Football 2012/13

June 4, 2013

The-Cost-Of-Being-A-
“Football has been evolving into a global sport, year after year, the beautiful game is well and truly being recognised as ‘The World Game’. And this evolution is great for the sport; the passion shared by the supporters is unequivocal throughout the World. But despite resources such as the television and the internet, following the game (and your favourite side) is becoming increasingly difficult. Not only the local supporters suffer, but fans from abroad (who share the same passion) are finding it nearly impossible to watch their favourite sides in front of their own eyes. Locals aren’t able to get to as many games due to the rising prices, and the global fanbase is required to carefully plan a savings pattern to be able to afford a ticket at the stadium. It’s almost developing into a rich man’s game.” Outside of the Boot


USA celebrate centenary in style

June 4, 2013

“Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States earned a morale-boosting 4-3 win over Germany in a thrilling international friendly in Washington DC. Jozy Altidore gave the hosts the lead before Marc-Andre ter Stegen scored an embarrassing own goal. Heiko Westermann pulled a goal back for Germany, but Clint Dempsey struck twice in four minutes to make it four for the hosts. Max Kruse and Julian Draxler made things interesting with late goals, but the United States held on for victory.” ESPN (Video)

ESPN: Highlights Germany 4-2 Ecuador (Video)


Spoils shared at Maracana

June 4, 2013

“Superb strikes by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wayne Rooney rescued some dignity for England after Brazil had handed out a footballing lesson at the Maracana. After toiling against Brazil’s dash and panache, two moments of brilliance saw England take an unlikely lead before Paulinho’s excellent volley gave the hosts a draw at the official re-opening of their famous stadium, the very least they deserved. The strikes by Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rooney, following Fred’s opener for the home side, were not quite of the same standard as John Barnes’ legendary solo goal in this stadium 29 years ago. Nevertheless they will provide much-needed encouragement for Hodgson ahead of the autumn’s World Cup qualifiers.” ESPN