World Cup favourites choosing defensive-minded midfielders over deep-lying playmakers

June 11, 2018


“The most fascinating tactical development over the past few World Cups has been the increased popularity of the deep playmaker. Having nearly become extinct around the turn of the century, it’s notable that recent World Cup winners have generally depended upon a great creative influence from deep.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)

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América’s Team

June 11, 2018

“I hate the Mexican national soccer team. I hate the Azteca, with its whisper-thin polluted air and stands that reach up into the sky. I hate the diving Chicharito, the enervating Giovani dos Santos, and the downright detestable Rafa Márquez. Even Mexican players I’d otherwise enjoy watching, like Miguel Layún, are equal parts irritating and terrifying—I’d enjoy watching him a lot more if he’d go do his thing to someone else.” The Ringer


Mo Salah, Now Starring in Chechnya

June 11, 2018

“GROZNY, Russia — Ramzan A. Kadyrov did not sustain himself as the autocratic leader of the Chechen republic by failing to understand the value of propaganda and spectacle. So he was not to be deterred when Egypt’s national soccer team arrived here at its World Cup training camp on Sunday, and the whole squad showed up for an evening workout — except for the star forward Mohamed Salah. The bearded Mr. Kadyrov, 41, left the field in his turquoise and white track suit. Soon, he returned, this time making a grand entrance with Mr. Salah before about 8,000 fans, posing for photographers and television cameras, even grabbing the Liverpool star’s arm and raising it as if crowning a boxing champion.” NY Times