The 6 Archetypes of Center Backs

February 15, 2015

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“Clichés are very useful for regularly appearing football pundits who have little to no knowledge of the modern game. Take television’s Glenn Hoddle, the man who believed prior to last summer’s World Cup that England’s best XI had Gerrard and Lampard in a double pivot. Actually it probably wasn’t even a double pivot, I think it was Four Four fucking Two. Pundits like Hoddle rely on clichés to sound like they know what they’re talking about and use them liberally across the footballing encyclopedia from transfer assumptions to formational prejudices. So I’ve started to expose these clichés (and the pundits who peddle them) with the only position on the field that seems to do any defending nowadays: The center back.” 8 by 8

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Champions League Shakes Bundesliga Teams Awake

February 15, 2015

“The Champions League appears to have an effect similar to smelling salts in rousing the consciousness of Germany’s top clubs. Bayern Munich somnolently came out of the midwinter break at the end of January, losing heavily and uncharacteristically in the league. But on Saturday, sensing that such lethargy would be exposed in European competition, it went flat-out against Hamburg. Arjen Robben danced down his wing and cut in to score, once with his left foot and once with the right. Thomas Müller, looking at his sharpest since the World Cup final last summer, also scored twice, as did the substitute Franck Ribéry. Oh, and Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski got in on the act, too.” NY Times


The Men Behind the Curtain: Inside FIFA’s Sinister (and Pretty Entertaining!) Presidential Race

February 15, 2015

“Let’s be clear up front: Sepp Blatter is never going to lose a FIFA presidential election. Never. He’s not going to lose the one in May. He’s not going to lose in 2019, if he decides to run — which looks unlikely, but then, we said the same thing four years ago, back when he, you know, promised never to run again if he was reelected. He’s running again, and he’s going to win again, too. If he wants to rule FIFA forever, it’s hard to imagine what could stop him. Get ready for the debate about whom the moon of Ganymede bribed to host the 2480 World Cup.” Grantland – Brian Phillips


Milan fans deserve your condolences, because their team is unrecognizable

February 15, 2015

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“Last Saturday, soccer fiends across the globe were licking their lips at the line-up of matches in Europe. There was a North London derby, a Merseyside derby, a Madrid derby, and over in Italy, defending champion Juventus was hosting Milan. The Merseyside derby was an unspeakably dull affair, but it was still not as disappointing as the showdown in Turin. It was hard to watch Juve-Milan without a tinge of sadness. Milan — one of the most successful clubs in the sport, remember –wasn’t even at the races. This wasn’t just a case of Juve’s players being more motivated, or superior coaching, or even a one-off result for the ages. The bianconeri’s win over its once fierce rivals was much worse than a historic pasting. Sadly, the 3-1 win felt … routine.” Soccer Gods


Everton’s problems move to the front

February 15, 2015

“Everton enjoy a weekend off as many of their Premier League rivals switch their focus on to the FA Cup fifth round. If results go in favour of the clubs at the bottom of the table then, when the Blues return to Premier League action on Sunday 22nd February, they could be just two points clear of the drop zone. Despite enjoying something of a return to form over recent weeks, they are now facing the prospect of becoming embroiled in a relegation battle following their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in midweek.” Football Pink


Euro 2012: Croatia 0-1 Spain | Epitome of the Control of the Game

February 15, 2015

“At first glance, this may appear a strange game to select as representative of what is arguably the greatest international side of all time. Spain, capable at times of the most gloriously intricate football, produced a cautious and tentative display in their final group game of Euro 2012, and were only sure of qualifying at Croatia’s expense when substitute Jesus Navas netted in the 88th minute. Yet this match best epitomises what this Spanish team stood for: control of the game via possession of the ball.” Outside of the Boot