Daily Archives: January 22, 2015

Ghana’s loss to Senegal leaves Avram Grant in familiar territory

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“Avram Grant has faced enough hostile press conferences in his career to know that he got away lightly. The Ghanaian media was clearly disappointed by the 2-1 defeat to Senegal on Monday but it was relatively restrained in the way it dealt with Grant, who sat in familiarly morose pose as a bat fluttered back and forth above his head. Perhaps the gentle approach was born of a recognition that this was Grant’s first competitive game in charge, or perhaps it was simply that the poor performance wasn’t unexpected.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Afcon 2015: Star players, prizes and stats from Equatorial Guinea
“The opening round of group games at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations has delivered penalty misses, last-gasp winners, no goalless draws and some man-of-the-match presentations with a twist. The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has given fans the chance to hand out awards to the chosen star man in fixtures, but have they gone to the right players? Here, we put forward the round-one stars chosen by you, our reporters on the ground in Equatorial Guinea and African football’s governing body.” BBC

Zambia 1 Tunisia
“Tunisia made the most of Zambia’s wastefulness in front of goal as they came from behind to win. Emmanuel Mayuka opened the scoring when he blasted home a cross from the impressive Rainford Kalaba. But Mayuka was injured when stretching for a chance to turn the ball into an empty net and moments later Tunisia scored against 10 men when Ahmed Akaichi scored from two yards out. Tunisia improved after that and Yasine Chikhaoui headed home a late winner.” BBC

French Football Column: Lyon Stay on Top, Raphael Guerreiro impresses and more

“Another round of Ligue 1 games has come and gone. It’s still tight at the top and tight at the bottom as we look at the talking points from week 21. Rampant Rhone Valley – Part One. Lyon consolidated their position at the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-0 victory away to Lens, who in turn were playing away in Amiens. After reaching the summit last week, it took a slightly comical own goal and Alexandre Lacazette with his 20th goal of the season via the penalty spot, to ensure Lyon came away with the points and guaranteed top spot at the end of week 21.” Outside of the Boot

Football Manager 2009 – Brian Phillips

“Pro Vercelli: The End, Or Is It. A new version of Football Manager is released today, which makes this, in my house at least, a time of hushed reflection. The old era is passing away, the new era is rising up before us. Everything we knew and loved is sliding into the sea, while before us, like a mountainous country, is thrust a terrifying and exhilarating possibility. Just like every day, really, but the arrival of a new FM makes it that much clearer. Here is the past, there is the future. Eurogamer gave it a 9, but wished more had been done to fix the press conferences. …” Run Of Play – Brian Phillips

A Different Kind of Business Model

“Over the past 20 years football has changed beyond recognition. The very identity of the football today is very different; the game has moved with society. Football was always a working class game in the 70s and 80s – it was a release for many of the everyday drudgery of life. But times have changed, and so has the working class identity of football. It is a difficult transition for many traditional football fans, money has poisoned the game in so many ways and the gap between players and supporters is now so wide that there is very little connection. A player will kiss his club’s badge one week, and the next he will be off kissing another club’s badge for an extra £10k a week. That’s how the game works these days.” Tomkins Times

Bojan: Stoke City’s Defense Against the Dark Arts

“No matter how accomplished, no matter how creative, a certain type of foreign player must answer a question when he crosses the English Channel. ‘Can you do it on a wet Tuesday night at Stoke?’ The fact that Spanish playmaker Bojan Krkic Perez is currently ‘doing it’ at Stoke—creating goals—tells us a lot about the state of English soccer. To explain: It is Stoke in this question and not, say, Newcastle or Aston Villa. Manager Tony Pulis led Stoke to the Premier League in 2008, but promotion didn’t mean Pulis suddenly had time for false nines and triple stepovers. Stoke had a strategy, and it worked.” 8by8

The story of Ernö Erbstein, who survived Hungary’s Holocaust to coach Torino

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Ernö Erbstein, far right, lines up with his Torino team before the friendly against Benfica on 3 May 1949. Tragically the entire Torino team was killed the following day in the Superga air disaster.
“Ernö Egri Erbstein was a pioneering coach who created Il Grande Torino, the great side that won five successive Serie A titles. He was killed with the rest of his squad in the plane crash at Superga in 1949. Erbstein was part of the great Jewish Hungarian football tradition of the 20s and 30s and had begun to make a name for himself as a coach in Italy but when the Manifesto of Race was passed by Mussolini shortly before the second world war broke out, the newly appointed Torino coach was forced to flee the country where he had made his home. He eventually returned to Budapest with his wife, Jolàn, and his two daughters, Marta and Susanna, but their lives were devastated when, in March 1944, his homeland was occupied by Nazi Germany.” Guardian

Blood lust for power : The fascinating history of Inter Milan Ultras

“Even the most casual followers of Italian football are aware of the dark history of the rivalry between the Milan clubs. The peak of the violence associated with the fixture between the two may have been a long time ago but the Inter Milan Ultras are still very much in the forefront of matters. Joseph Solomon traces the origin and history of ‘organized groups’ of the Nerazzuri.” Outside of the Boot

Cabinet Of Curiosities: What Is Wrong With Borussia Dortmund?

“After having been perennial title challengers over the past three seasons, Borussia Dortmund find themselves in the horrible and unexpected position of ending the Hinrunde in the relegation spots. In a word, the campaign so far has been a catastrophe – Riddled with a number of false starts and illusions of a new hope that simply did not materialize. Manager Jürgen Klopp undoubtedly still has the complete support of everyone at BVB, but the question is whether the manager can steady a ship that has been punctured below the water-line through a number of factors, physical and mental.” Vavel

Eric Abidal: A Tribute to the Legend

“There are footballers retiring every year, from top professionals who will go down in history as some of the greatest we have seen – such as Thierry Henry, Paul Scholes and Alessandro Nesta in recent times – to the lower division journeymen who most football fans would never have heard of, with all due respect. There are a myriad of reasons for retirement, be it injury, to prepare for the apocalypse – hello, Carlos Roa – or after falling out of love with football like David Bentley. How we remember footballers would depend on the legacy that they leave behind, the lasting impression that they made on us. It is the memories that we as football fans hold onto most dearly; perhaps it was a last minute winner in a fiercely-contested derby, a coolly-taken penalty in a shootout or someone who played for only one club throughout his career. However, for all the memories, only a certain few can leave behind a legacy that touches us on a human level, away from the pitch. Eric Abidal is one such player.” Outside of the Boot