Mykhaylo Fomenko’s forward thinking gives Ukraine hope for the future

England v Ukraine
“For a long time football in Ukraine has been backward looking but that is beginning to change at last. For the first decade after Soviet fragmentation everything revolved round Valeriy Lobanovskyi and for the decade after his death everything revolved round Andriy Shevchenko, whom Lobanovskyi had hailed as being closest to his ideal of the ‘universal player’ and who revered the Colonel and his ideas. Lobanovskyi’s genius had been to keep evolving. He stayed at the top of the game for 35 years because of his ability to adapt but his legacy was stasis. Everything came back to his way of doing things; his philosophy became a religion that had to be obeyed.”
Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Mykhaylo Fomenko reignites Ukraine’s World Cup qualifying campaign
“Out of chaos has come hope. When Oleh Blokhin quit as national coach of Ukraine after the 1-1 draw against England at Wembley to take charge of Dynamo Kyiv, there were three schools of thought. One thought it an outrage that anybody should abandon what was perceived as a patriotic duty; one accepted that, having spent 17 years as a player at Dynamo, the emotional pull was too strong to resist; the other breathed a sigh of relief at the deposition of a cranky and authoritarian manager whose teams had played crabby, bad-tempered football. As Dynamo’s slow decline continues – they lie sixth in the table after eight games and, as Metalist Kharkiv and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk grow, are arguably not even Ukraine’s second side (after Shakhtar Donetsk) any longer – it is the third school that seems most reasonable.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Roy Hodgson and England keen to make a point in Ukraine
“Ever since he unwisely admitted to thoroughly enjoying the dull scoreless draw between Manchester United and Chelsea last month, Roy Hodgson has been castigated for his innate conservatism. The England manager sets his sides up not to be beaten, it has been said, values a draw almost as much as a win and rarely attacks with sufficient aggression to deliver a knockout.” Guardian


Under-fire Uruguay rising to the challenge

“South America’s World Cup qualification campaign has featured 35 wins for the home side — and just 11 for the away. It is a statistic that puts the value of Uruguay’s last two results in stark context. The Sky Blues had a disastrous 2012-13, suffering four consecutive heavy away defeats and making it difficult for them even to finish fifth and claim the playoff slot. But Uruguay are seldom more dangerous than when they have their backs to the wall. They have since won away from home against their two rivals for fifth place — beating Venezuela 1-0 in June, and then winning 2-1 at Peru last Friday.” ESPN – Tim Vickery

Lukaku struggles to prove worth with Belgium

“Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has a phenomenally talented bunch of players to pick from. It showed again on Friday, when Belgium hardly broke a sweat as they easily disposed of Scotland at Hamden Park. Belgium controlled the game from start to finish, not allowing their hosts a single shot on target. The 2-0 victory showed the strength in depth Belgium currently boast. Missing three key players in Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Eden Hazard, Wilmots simply had a look at his bench and fielded a team capable of coasting to victory away from home.” ESPN

Rubin Are On the Rise

“Seven games into the Russian Football League season and Rubin Kazan are unbeaten. Sounds good right? But the reality is that it’s not as bright as it seems early on. While it’s nice to see a goose egg in the loss column, Rubin only have two wins from those seven games meaning they’re already playing catch up to league leaders CSKA Moscow. Perhaps the saving grace for Rubin is that the league is so tight this year. Rubin sit seventh in the standings, but they only trail CSKA by six points. There’s certainly time for Rubin to make their way up the standings and secure European football again next year, but they better get moving soon.” Russian Football News

The Choicest Sports Spot On Earth

“To reach the chicest sports spot on Earth in the first week of September of 2013, get the train to Marienplatz. Change to the U6 line and ride north through Odeonsplatz, Dietlinderstr, Studentenstadt and eight other stops. Disembark at Frottmaning, and remember an old sports dynamic: the act of seeing something for real after seeing it only on TV. Remember how Augusta National always seemed to have a castle and a moat and turned out to have, humorously, a boulevard of aggressive ugliness just out front. Lambeau Field exceeded the imagination and wrought a little gasp.” Sports On Earth