2014 Fifa World Cup: Guide to Belgium’s Group H

June 4, 2014

marc-wilmots
Marc Wilmots
“Style & formation: Belgium gave a series of controlled and powerful displays throughout qualifying. Disciplined defensively, they are prepared to be patient but look to break with pace. A feature of their usual 4-2-3-1 system is the frequent positional interchanging between the three attacking midfielders.” BBC – Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

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World Cup 2014: Brazil – is tactical fouling crucial to their chances?

June 4, 2014

“A fascinating piece of data emerged from the Confederations Cup – the player who committed the most fouls in the tournament was Brazil striker Neymar. The 22-year-old – also the most fouled player – committed 17 infringements during the 2013 competition, closely followed by team-mate Oscar (14). That Neymar was the most fouled player will come as no surprise, for two reasons. Neymar, who joined Barcelona from Santos last summer for £48.6m, is a wonderfully talented dribbler, superbly balanced and capable of changing direction at pace. On form, he is a defender’s nightmare.” BBC – Tim Vickery


From euphoria to reality: Bosnia face questions before World Cup bow

June 4, 2014

“Saturday’s friendly against Ivory Coast brought a 2-1 win for Bosnia-Herzegovina, two more goals for Edin Dzeko, a glimpse of how they could play without two strikers and perhaps a resolution to the ongoing question at the back of midfield, but the overwhelming conclusion from St Louis, Missouri, was that Ivory Coast are a shambles and need a major improvement over the next 10 days if they are not to go out of the World Cup in the group stage for the third tournament in a row.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Zlatan’s Revenge!

June 4, 2014

“The year is 2010. The La Liga offseason. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is grappling with his late-season outburst at Barça manager Pep Guardiola — and plotting his way out of one of the most storied clubs in European Football. What follows is an exclusive excerpt from I Am Zlatan, on sale this week from Random House.” Grantland


European Team of the Season, 2013/14

June 4, 2014

“The final post of a very enjoyable 2013/14 domestic campaign – the usual XI (and back-ups) of the season. Usual team-by-team previews of this summer’s World Cup contest will commence shortly…” Zonal Marking (Video)


A few words with ESPN World Cup broadcaster Ian Darke

June 4, 2014

“The poet laureate of soccer in the United States is not an American. ESPN’s Ian Darke was born on the south coast of England in the naval port town of Portsmouth and since he landed on American shores fulltime for the 2010 World Cup, his soccer calls have thrilled the American public with the most famous being his description of Landon Donovan’s injury-time game-winner against Algeria during that tournament.” SI


Riccardo Montilivo’s injury ended Rossi & Destro’s World Cup hopes

June 4, 2014

“Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has finally released his 23 man squad for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. However, his decision to omit Fiorentina star, Giuseppe Rossi, has come into heavy scrutiny. After being forced to drop Riccardo Montolivo due to injury in their friendly game against Ireland, Prandelli finalised the team, and the exclusion of strikers Giuseppe Rossi and Mattia Destro was a surprise to the footballing world. However, the exclusion is easy to judge as incorrect, in particular in Rossi’s sake, but when you look at the facts, Rossi and Destro’s sacrifices may have been necessary for the balance of the team.” Outside of the Boot