Argentina fret over form of Lionel Messi and fitness of Fernando Gago

April 18, 2014

Boca Juniors' midfielder Fernando Gago
“Football is always, ultimately, about compromise. Everything had been looking rosy for Argentina, who had qualified for the World Cup – for once – with games to spare and the sense of a cohesive team coming together, but then the injuries began. When the draw is made, the World Cup exists in a world of perfect possibility and you imagine every player at peak form and fitness, but it is never like that, and the job of a manager is always to balance the idea with what is possible.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Their Game, Now Ours

April 18, 2014

“What, you didn’t catch Liverpool storm back against Manchester City last week? You missed Wayne Rooney’s 58-yard wonder goal against West Ham United? There was a time not long ago when Americans — even worldly New Yorkers who regularly logged on to The Guardian website and claimed knowledge of the best little out-of-the-way pub in Shoreditch — could float along in a happy bubble of ignorance, pretending for all practical purposes that the world’s favorite sport, soccer, did not exist.” NY Times


Timing is everything for PSG, under-fire manager Laurent Blanc

April 18, 2014

“This is a story about timing. Two weeks ago, Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc had enjoyed the best victory of his coaching career, the 3-1 Champions League quarterfinal first leg win over Chelsea. It was better than the 1-0 away win in Caen, back in May 2009, which clinched the Ligue 1 title for Bordeaux (that was its 11th straight league win), and the following season’s double over Olympiakos that took Bordeaux to the Champions League last eight; it was also better than France’s 2-0 Euro 2012 win over Ukraine, which sealed its quarterfinal place at the tournament.” SI


Is Samba fullback Wendell ready to waltz yet?

April 18, 2014

“German clubs, and Bayer Leverkusen in particular, have a long tradition of acquiring Brazilians. The latter club has also been very successful in doing so. Lúcio, Zé Roberto, Paulo Sérgio, Juan, Jorginho, Renato Augusto, França and Emerson each played over 50 matches for Die Werkself, most of them have even featured in over 100 games. Robson Ponte, another canarinho who had two periods in the outfit from North Rhine Westphalia, even got a techno tune of his own. Considering that only the most successful Brazilians are mentioned here, it’s safe to call Leverkusen a good destination for the boys from Brazil.” Bundesliga Fanatic


An Englishman’s English Week in Bavaria

April 18, 2014

“Having just returned from our third successive pre-Christmas trip to Germany, my brother and I had no desire to wait another year for our next dose of live Bundesliga action. The upcoming “English Week” in March was too big an opportunity to miss and when the fixtures were finalised our preferred Bavarian excursion fell perfectly into place. We were fortunate to find a direct flight to Nürnberg and having arrived on Friday afternoon we set about familiarising ourselves with the city that would provide a base for the opening five days of our stay. As has become customary, our attention primarily focussed on the local Brauhäuser so our first port of call was the nearby Hausbrauerei Altstadthof, where the traditional red beer proved a treat. We then moved on to the large cellar location of Barfusser to sample some more Franconian specialities that went down equally well.” Bundesliga Fanatic