Afghanistan United

October 18, 2013

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“It’s four hours to the game, and none of us have tickets. The match is a friendly between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the first in 37 years. The last time the two countries played each other, Afghanistan won 1-0. After the match, the country’s then-president Daoud Khan planted a kiss on the team captain who scored the winning goal. Two years later, Daoud Khan was killed in a communist coup, which also marked the death of modern sports in Afghanistan. Two years after that, the former captain fled to Germany, where he still drives a taxi. Today, the two countries are uneasy neighbors: Kabul blames Islamabad for fueling the Taliban insurgency; Islamabad blames Kabul for the same. Artillery shells and rockets are fired across the disputed border on a regular basis.” SI


Emotional end to CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in images, videos and words

October 18, 2013

“North America is still buzzing following the unforgettable conclusion to CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying competition. Planet Fútbol has compiled the sights and sounds of the triumph and tragedy of Tuesday night’s results, as well as the poignant and pointed aftermath. Mexico, now a shadow of the juggernaut that claimed the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and the 2012 Olympic gold medal, was minutes from a historic and humiliating World Cup elimination. Then Brad Davis found Graham Zusi with a pinpoint cross, and with a flick of his head, the Sporting Kansas City midfielder altered the fate of two countries.” SI (Video)


My Favorite Player of All time: An Italian icon, the Ultimate Bianconeri , a gentleman and a player the will always be missed in Turin – Alessandro Del Piero

October 18, 2013

“Growing up a Juventino in the city of Turin there was only one name you needed to know Alessandro Del Piero. You entered the stadium every Sunday hearing 40,000 fans screaming ‘C’e un capitano, C’e solo un capitano, Alex Del Piero,’ (there is a captain, only one captain), it was riveting, exciting and a joy to behold for a player that only represented one club for 19 years of competitive football. It wasn’t just his ability to pass through defenders like a magician with an invisible ball at his feet, or his ability to score when his team needed him, it was also the class he represented off the field. Unlike the Totti’s, or Cassano’s or Balotelli’s of our generation, Del Piero lived a simple life of an man who exhibits the characteristics the game needs today. He was a fighter, a leader and an incredible player to watch.” Soccer Politics


Review: ‘For the Liverpool Fans Who Think Deeper’

October 18, 2013

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“As a football mad lad growing up in Dublin in the 1970s and 80s, I looked forward to every Saturday evening when my Dad or brother would come in with the now defunct Evening Press newspaper. Back then, buried in the middle of the paper was a page given over to syndicated football writing from some of the best in the business at the time. Special features, interviews, opinions and tales from not just the English leagues, but from Scotland, Europe and even beyond. As a Liverpool fan, I scanned the page for news and comment on the club, but recall often a sense of frustration that Liverpool in its pomp often seemed to be ignored. Perhaps writing about the most successful formula in football had become boring – and it tended to be the troubles of others that drew more column inches.” The Tomkins Times

amazon: These Turbulent Times – Liverpool FC’s Search for Success


Tactical Analysis: What is Branislav Ivanovic’s best position for Chelsea?

October 18, 2013

“Branislav Ivanovic has emerged as a top class player for Chelsea since he joined the club. The Serbian centre-back is a no nonsense centre-back or right back whose versatility has made him an asset for every manager whom he has served under. There is however a debate in some quarters over what his best position is, so is Ivanovic wasted at right back?” Think Football


The wondrous uncertainty of the Premier League

October 18, 2013

“‘The best league in the world’ is a compliment often bestowed on the Barclays Premier League by enthusiastic commentators and fans alike. This has become a point of contentious debate and rightly so. Does the Premier League boast of the best team in Europe currently? None of the Premier League teams featured in the quarter-final stage of last season’s UEFA Champions League so I think not. Do any of the 3 best players in the world feature for any of the 20 clubs present in the Premier League? Well, no. Then why is it that the Premier League is so exalted in the eyes of so many fans worldwide? There are a wide range of answers varying from TV right deals around the world to fast-paced football that the Premier League faithful are used to witnessing. In my own opinion, despite it’s shortcomings (and there are a few especially when compared to the likes of Spain and Germany) the USP of the Premier League is its unpredictable nature.” Outside of the Boot