Monthly Archives: May 2022

Eastern Promise for Russia


“Once Gazprom were cut as UEFA partners and Aeroflot was jettisoned as a blue chip Manchester United sponsor, an isolated discussion returned to the Russian football sphere – Europe can go get stuffed. And once clubs and national teams were banned from UEFA competitions on may We’re off to join Asia! …”
Backpage Football

Where will everyone sleep during the Qatar World Cup?


“With the beginning of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar looming nearer every day, those that intend to attend will be looking for accommodation. But as a recent investigation by the Associated Press news agency revealed, there are not nearly enough hotel rooms to accommodate everyone at the tournament. So where will they stay? David Goldblatt explains the current situation, Marco Bevilacqua illustrates.”
YouTube

Strasbourg: 21/22 Season – Ligue 1 Overachievers?


“Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace were formed in 1906 and have been a professional football club since 1933. The club has had a fairly chequered history in recent times, being relegated to the fifth tier of French football after liquidation. Les Bleu et Blanc rebuilt themselves and secured promotion to Ligue 1 in 2017, where they have remained ever since. In May 2021 the club hired Julien Stéphan to take the reins of the first team and since then, they have gone from strength to strength. …”
Breaking the Lines
W – Julien Stéphan
W – RC Strasbourg Alsace

Only in an alternate reality should Real Madrid be Champions League winners – that’s the beauty of football


“On another day, in some other timeline, maybe Real Madrid could have won the 2021-22 Champions League final. It would have been improbable in any universe, with the way Carlo Ancelotti’s team played, but you can imagine some alternate reality where the movements of bodies and balls are just a little less orderly, where football is a little less fair — who knows, maybe stranger things have happened in a world like that than a smash-and-grab 1-0 win. But yesterday was not that day, and this is not that timeline. Of course Liverpool are champions. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic – Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid analysis: Courtois’ saves and Klopp’s goalless finals
Guardian – ‘Don’t be sad’: Liverpool fans pack city streets to welcome heroes home
BBC – Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid: Champions League defeat caps miserable end to magnificent season amid Paris chaos (Video)
NY Times: UEFA Blames Delay at Champions League Final on ‘Fake Tickets’

Liverpool’s elite underdogs and the clubs who (finally) gave them a shot


“Fos-sur-Mer lies on the Mediterranean coast, but it is not a town renowned for its cool, refreshing sea air. It is a busy port, dominated by factories, oil refineries and gas terminals and known more widely for its polluted air and some alarming health statistics. Nor is it known as a football hotbed, but a few miles in from the port is the Stade Parsemain, where FC Istres were forced to relocate after winning promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in their history in 2004. It was an ill-fated move — by the time the stadium was ready to host top-flight football, the season was nearly over and relegation was looming. …”
The Athletic
NY Times: The Liverpool Star Who Came Out of Nowhere
W – Luis Díaz

How will the new Champions League work?


The new format for the UEFA Champions League has been confirmed. After proposing a ‘Swiss Model’, UEFA has taken on board feedback from member clubs and has finalised a new version of the Champions League. But what is it? What will it mean for your club? Who is unhappy? Written by Dan Sheldon, illustrated by Alice Devine.”
YouTube

At Real Madrid, a President Rides Out the Storm


“MADRID — Florentino Pérez strode onto the television set looking somber. Though he knew his questioner would be a little more informal — open-necked shirt, blazer — the Real Madrid president had chosen a straightforward black suit for the occasion. He even wore a tie. This was business, not pleasure, serious, not trivial, and Pérez wanted to project that. On the screens behind him, a lurid orange logo depicted a cartoon soccer ball with flames jetting out of its rotating crown. …”
NY Times
W – Florentino Pérez

Mohamed Salah, Real Madrid and revenge


“It’s a question — like, ‘You don’t mind, do you?’, or ‘Does size matter?’ — that is very rarely answered honestly. When the BT Sport gang asked Mohamed Salah, in the immediate aftermath of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final win over Villarreal, which of Manchester City or Real Madrid he would prefer to play in the final, they probably thought he would give the standard, stock answer. ‘I don’t mind, both are great teams, I’m just happy we’re in the final, either will be a tough game,’ blah, blah, blah. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic: Konate or Matip? Liverpool’s big Champions League final decision
SI: Champions League Final Brings Elixir for Liverpool, Real Madrid’s Fresh Setbacks – Jonathan Wilson
The Athletic: Luis Diaz: The remarkable rise of ‘Luchito’, Liverpool’s ‘true miracle’
Guardian: ‘It’s not easy to score against me’: Courtois the key to Madrid’s wild ride (Video)
The Athletic: Carlo Ancelotti — the Galactico whisperer and king of cups
The Athletic: What makes Eduardo Camavinga the perfect super-sub for Real Madrid

Premier League winners and losers: set pieces, sprinting, nutmegging and fouling


“Manchester City are champions, Tottenham Hotspur grabbed the final Champions League spot and Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min share the golden boot trophy. The main prizes have now been handed out, but take a look under the bonnet and there are plenty of alternative awards to be handed out to players and teams. Some of them are insightful, some of them are utterly pointless. All of them are fun. Here we go… ”
The Athletic
The Analyst
Guardian – Premier League 2021-22 season review: our writers’ best and worst
***ESPN: How VAR decisions affected every Premier League club in 2021-22 (Video)
***W – 2021–22 Premier League

Why Pedri might not ever win the Ballon d’Or?


Pedri is one of the most exciting young players in world football. He plays for a giant of a club in Barcelona, and already there’s little he can’t do on the pitch. So surely, one day, he’ll be in the reckoning for the Ballon d’Or award. But is it that easy? Seb Stafford-Bloor looks at the previous winners to find out. Illustrated by Philippe Fenner.
YouTube
W – Pedri

Ottmar Hitzfeld Arena


“The Ottmar Hitzfeld Arena is a sports stadium in the village Gspon in Canton Valais, Switzerland. It is the highest stadium in Europe at 2,000 m (6,600 ft) above sea level. It is the home of amateur football club FC Gspon and is named after football manager Ottmar Hitzfeld. … The FC Gspon was established in 1974. Until 1986 the football club was active in the amateur football in Valais. In 1984, with the support of FC Gspon, the Mountain Village championship was established in Switzerland. According to the club legend, the pitch’s location close to a cliff made it lose around a thousand footballs. … The stadium was the host of the European Football Championship of Mountain Villages, first held in 2008 which was organized in collaboration with the European Football Championship in Austria and Switzerland. …”
Wikipedia
BBC – Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium: What’s it like to play at Europe’s ‘highest’ football stadium? (Video)

Kevin De Bruyne: Peaking at the Perfect Time


“Three of Manchester City’s five previous Premier League triumphs have gone right to the wire, where margins are so fine the title battle can be settled by a single man in a single moment. Sergio Aguero of course set the standard in 2011-12 with surely the most iconic goal of the Premier League era, defeating QPR at the death and clinching a first City championship in 44 years. Then, in 2018-19, it was Vincent Kompany’s turn. Although the departing City captain made only 17 league appearances that year, he will forever be associated with the title win after his thunderous strike secured a vital late-season victory over Leicester City. …”
The Analyst

In Milan, an Iconic Stadium Isn’t Going Down Without a Fight


Camilla Ferrari
“As he watched the soccer game playing out on television, the Milanese writer and actor Gianfelice Facchetti felt an emotional tug that he thought might be leading him toward his next book. It was during Italy’s first coronavirus lockdown, and Facchetti’s favorite team, Inter Milan, had been forced to play its matches behind closed doors. The decision left its longtime home, the 80,000-seat Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, more commonly known as the San Siro, devoid of atmosphere, and amid the silence Facchetti’s mind began to drift. …”
NY Times

Salah vs Son for the Premier League golden boot: Who will win with a game to go?


(A version of this piece was originally published on April 15. It has been updated to reflect results in the Premier League since then and the recent form of Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min) The two favourites for the Premier League golden boot are in contrasting spells of form. Mohamed Salah has scored three times in his last 10 games, while Son Heung-min has 10 goals in the same period. …”
The Athletic

Orlando Pirates seek Zen in Uyo


“The Orlando Pirates who won the Africa Cup of Champions Clubs in 1995 did not really need a coach. Why would they? They had hellraisers. Irascible characters such as Mark Fish and the late Marc Batchelor. With a ball at his feet, the spectacularly destructive Jerry Sikhosana. Ball thieves Phiri Tsotetsi and Brandon Silent, and the barnstorming wing Helman Mkhalele. They were a side of hard men. Innocent Mncwango, Gavin Lane, Bernard ‘Shoes’ Lushozi, Marks Maponyane, John Moeti and Fish never shied from a challenge. They had style merchants. …”
New Frame
W – Fadlu Davids

Ranked: The top 10 defensive midfielders in the Premier League


“Defensive midfield is one of the most underrated and undervalued positions in modern football. These pivots are so often crucial to the success of their teams but can so often be overlooked for individual recognition, or in Manchester United’s case just overlooked entirely from the squad. So we’ve looked over the 2021/22 Premier League season and, taking into account the players enduring class in the years prior as well as their performances this season, come up with a list of the 10 best defensive midfielders in the Premier League. …”
squawka

Introducing playstyle wheels – The Athletic’s way of capturing ways a team play well (or not)


“There are a lot of numbers in football that measure success. Goals and points are the original analytics, and newer stats such as expected goals and possession value are just increasingly fine-grained ways to model how likely goals are to happen. They’ll give you the bottom line: is this team or player doing things that help put the ball in the net or keep it out? Basically, are they good at football? It’s harder to measure how they’re good at football. …”
The Athletic

What Is ‘Project Red Card’


Data analytics has become an integral part of sports in the last decade or so. As technology around sports is evolving so are the questions regarding it. One such petition that looks to safeguard players from big firms collecting player data,called ‘Project Red Card’. In 2021 the petition gathered momentum. Finally in 2022 is set to be tried in court as a class action lawsuit. Now it has become a highly debated topic in European football. Player data often provides the clubs with information that can drastically alter a player’s performance. Thus in the modern game data collection and processing are paramount for clubs to gain an edge. …”
Foot the Ball

How Mino Raiola Became a Super Agent


Mino Raiola passed away in April 2022 at the age of 54. He had become the most infamous football agent in the world, broker deals for some of the games biggest player, including Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But how did he become a footballing super agent? How did a restaurant worker from Naples connect Serie A with the Eredivisie? How did he inspire such loyalty in his clients? James Horncastle writes, Philippe Fenner illustrates. …”
YouTube
SI: Mino Raiola Was an Unorthodox, Transformative Force, Adored by His Players – Jonathan Wilson
W – Mino Raiola

How U.S. Soccer and Its Players Solved the Equal Pay Puzzle


“The new collective bargaining agreements approved this week by the United States Soccer Federation and its men’s and women’s national teams will, at last, bring an end to a decades-long, emotionally exhausting and wildly expensive fight over equal pay. For the first time, the women’s team, which has won the last two Women’s World Cups and four overall, will be paid at the same rate for game appearances and tournament victories as the men’s team, which has historically (and persistently) failed to even sniff that kind of success. In addition to those new (and higher) per-game payments, the new contracts also include an unprecedented redistribution of the millions of dollars in World Cup prize money the men’s and women’s teams can earn by playing in the tournament every four years. …”
NY Times
The Athletic – USWNT, USMNT achieve equal pay: How they reached a historic benchmark
NY Times: U.S. Soccer and Top Players Agree to Guarantee Equal Pay

Amateurs & A Yorkshireman: Sweden’s World Cup Finalists


“Following the 1958 World Cup final, the Swedish FA informed their English head coach, George Raynor, that he would be relieved of his duties. Far from being an acrimonious disagreement between two parties, this was the Swedes being self-aware. There was no way Raynor wouldn’t have offers flooding in from back home. They were wrong. …”
The Longball Football
W – 1958 FIFA World Cup Final
YouTube: Brasil 5 x 2 Sweden – 1958 World Cup Final Extended Goals & Highlights (Live)

‘One of the greatest moments of my life’: Lampard revels in Everton survival


“Frank Lampard described Everton’s dramatic Premier League survival as the one of the greatest moments of his career after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 85th minute winner completed a stunning comeback against Crystal Palace. … But a stirring second-half recovery, capped by the England international’s late diving header, preserved the club’s 68-year top-flight residence in remarkable style. The victory sparked a huge pitch invasion at Goodison Park. The celebrations were largely peaceful, certainly in comparison to the ugly scenes at Nottingham Forest and Port Vale, but Vieira appeared to kick out at an Everton fan who goaded him after the final whistle. The Palace manager declined to comment on the incident afterwards. …”
Guardian
BBC: Everton 3 Crystal Palace 2 (Video)

The Rise & Fall of Ronaldinho


In 2005 Ronaldinho was on top of the footballing world with a Ballon d’Or in his hand. But that was his peak. It wasn’t a smooth ascent, he didn’t make many friends along the way, and his descent was even bumpier. From a teenage star playing for his boyhood club, via the glittery lights of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, to imprisonment and near bankruptcy. This is the story of one of the most entertaining footballers of all time. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Henry Cooke.
YouTube
W – Ronaldinho

USMNT Players Abroad Learn That Club Success at Highest Level Isn’t Linear


“Considering his effervescent personality and obvious on-field impact, not to mention the prominence of his name, it’s easy to forget that 12 months ago, Tim Weah was an almost totally unproven senior international. Untimely injuries had limited his time with the U.S. men to about 40 minutes across the preceding two-and-a-half years. …”
SI

Sean Dyche, Ulla Klopp and whoever saves Everton: Who deserves a statue at your Premier League club?


“Ten years on from ‘Aguerooooooooo!’ and Manchester City’s first Premier League title win, the club yesterday unveiled a statue of their former striker at the Etihad Stadium. Aguero’s iconic stoppage-time winner in their 3-2 victory against Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the 2011-12 season will be remembered forever by City fans, so it is only right that he has been immortalised in galvanised steel. But who deserves a statue at your Premier League club? And who will be next at City? We’ve asked our Premier League club reporters to explain their choices and if you think they’ve got it drastically wrong then please let us know in the comment. …”
The Athletic

The Most Decisive Goals in Premier League History


“Today marks 10 years since Aguero. You remember: 93:20. Balotelli’s assist. The Goal That Changed Everything. The Match That Had Everything. Joe Hart on throw-in duties. Joey Barton’s long walk off. A surprisingly iconic QPR away kit. I think Edin Dzeko did something or other. Drink it in. I swear you’ll never see anything like this again. Sometimes goals are so iconic that they don’t need a date or a time. Just a single name. Michael Thomas, Jimmy Glass. Aguero. …”
The Analyst (Video)

Scrutinized documents, a mysterious brother and lots of jokes: The legal battle between Chile and Ecuador with World Cup implications


“Accusations of cheating are nothing new in South American football. The latest scandal, however, could have major implications ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It involves an international court battle between the Ecuadorian and Chilean football federations that is surrounded by nationalism, name-calling in the press and decades-old grudges. …”
The Athletic

Dignity and doom: Levante succumb to inevitable in Bernabéu mauling


Francisco Gomez alias ‘Son’ of Levante is consoled by teammate Ruben Vezo after their team were relegated to the second division.
“Adrián Cordero Vega ended it a second too early and not a moment too soon. The clock said 89.59 when the referee blew but it had been over almost from the start, and not just last night. Levante were a goal down after 12:42 at the Bernabéu; they were down-down as well, no longer able to resist the inevitable, the fate they had fought. …”
Guardian

1987 FA Cup Final


“The 1987 FA Cup Final between Coventry City and Tottenham Hotspur on 16 May 1987 at Wembley Stadium, London, England was the 106th Final of the FA Cup, English football‘s primary cup competition. It was the third final for Tottenham Hotspur in seven years, the team having won the trophy in 1981 and 1982, while Coventry were making their first appearance. Both clubs were in the Football League First Division that season, giving them entry into the competition in the third round. They each won five games en route to the final, with Coventry beating Leeds United 3–2 and Tottenham beating Watford 4–1 in their respective semi-finals. Both clubs recorded songs to commemorate reaching the final. …”
Wikipedia
Where Are They Now? #17 – 1987 FA Cup Final (Coventry City)
YouTube: Tottenham vs Coventry 2-3 | FA Cup Final 1987

From Soccer to Football: Jesse Marsch in Yorkshire


“In a recent interview with The Athletic, the newly appointed Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch said, ‘To grow up as I did and where I did, to be here now feels almost impossible.’ His hiring as Leeds United’s next head coach has sparked a sensation in both sport and popular culture. For the past two years, an American TV series streaming on Apple TV has not only dominated the Emmys but has also piqued the interest of football fans who wonder what would happen if this were to happen in real life. …”
Football Paradise
The Athletic – Jesse Marsch interview: ‘To grow up as I did and where I did, to be here now feels almost impossible’ (March 24, 2022)
W – Jesse Marsch

Canada men’s national soccer team


“The Canada men’s soccer team has qualified for the World Cup, for the first time in 36 years. It is only Canada’s second qualification for a World Cup. (Their first came in the 1986 World Cup, in Mexico, when Canada went scoreless in their 3 first round games, and left the tournament dead last.) Canada will play in 2022 FIFA World Cup Group F (vs: Belgium, Morocco, and Croatia). You can see how far the Canada men’s soccer team has come in the last 20 years by simply looking at their home venues. Twenty years ago, for 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification, Canada were playing in places like the 2,000-capacity Winnipeg Soccer Complex, and the 5,000-capacity Varsity Stadium in Toronto. …”
billsportsmaps
The Athletic: The tactical factors behind Canada’s rise to the CONCACAF elite in the Octagonal (Video) Jan. 2022
W – Canada men’s national soccer team
Aljazeera: Canada changes football narrative with Qatar 2022 qualification (Video) March 30 2022

Manchester City Had the Money. Haaland’s Team Had the Plan.


“A few days before last summer’s transfer window drew to a close, a handful of Manchester City’s most senior executives gathered in a conference room at the club’s sprawling campus to pick through what had gone right, and what had gone wrong, over the previous couple of months. Though City, the Premier League champion, had succeeded in persuading Aston Villa to relinquish Jack Grealish, the impish playmaker who had emerged as England’s breakout star during the European Championship — making him the most expensive player in English history in the process — it had failed to land its other priority target, the Tottenham striker Harry Kane. …”
NY Times

Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp Era Is Ascending and Shows No Signs of Slowing Down


“It’s a good time to be a Liverpool fan: They reached their third Champions League final in five years following Tuesday’s win over Villarreal, their 63rd game of 2021-22. They’ve played in every possible fixture available this season, they’re in contention to win a historic four trophies, and Jürgen Klopp recently signed a contract extension committing himself to the club until 2026. …”
The Ringer

Is this the next Brazilian Wonderkid?


You may have heard of Endrick – the next Brazilian wonderkid. Whilst the YouTube clips and the accolades may show the potential to become one of the best talents in the game, it’s worth noting he is only 15 years old (at the time of writing). But what is he like? How does he play? How does he compare to his contemporaries? What does he say about himself? Nick Miller found out, Henry Cooke illustrates.
YouTube
W – Endrick Felipe

Freiburg’s football gods go missing as Champions League dream dissolves


“This should have been the day in which Freiburg made all their dreams come true. Sat in fourth place in the Bundesliga, with rivals RB Leipzig having come off a dreadful week of domestic defeat and European disappointment, they were set – with the sun out and their still-spanking-new Europa-Park Stadion full to its near-35,000 capacity, they were ready to celebrate. …”
Guardian (Video)
Guardian: Premier League’s pull could spell trouble for Bayern Munich and Bundesliga

Futures bets for EPL, Serie A title chases and other tight European races


“The Champions League final is set between Liverpool and Real Madrid, but there are still two incredibly close title races in two of the biggest leagues in Europe. The Premier League and Serie A titles are coming down to the final few weeks. There are also close battles for European places and relegation battles across the top five European leagues. Here’s a look at what’s on the line, the biggest matches to come and how the betting market views the close races in the final few weeks of league play. …”
The Athletic

Outbreaks of chaos expose fatal flaw that keeps denying Guardiola European glory


“At what point does just one of those things become more than just one of those things? If Manchester City’s defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday night were a one-off, it could be written off. What can you do about luck like that? If you have nine shots on target to the opposition’s none in the first 90 minutes and still lose 2-1 what, really, have you done wrong? Especially when you’ve dominated the first leg as City had done. But this keeps happening. Season after season, Pep Guardiola finds his teams dominating Champions League ties and losing. …”
Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Andrea Pirlo Is Timeless


“Officially, whenever Andrea Pirlo has watched soccer over the course of the last year or so, it has been for work, rather than merely for pleasure. It might be almost a year since his first foray into management was ended, abruptly and unceremoniously, by Juventus, but being a manager is less a job and more a lifestyle choice, like being a monk, or a double agent. It cannot be switched off. …”
NY Times

Cox: Like Ancelotti, Guardiola got his subs right. There’s not much more he could have done


“Even by the standards of Champions League semi-finals, the most action-packed and dramatic stage of any competition in modern football, Real Madrid’s comeback against Manchester City last night was truly extraordinary. For 85 minutes at the Bernabeu, City were largely faultless and seemed set to record a controlled 1-0 victory that would take them into the final against Liverpool on May 28. Then, suddenly, a late blitz saw the Spanish champions score two goals, both through Rodrygo, and at 5-5 on aggregate, the momentum was with Madrid. It wasn’t a surprise they opened the scoring in extra time, and it wasn’t a surprise that they held out. City were shellshocked. Is it possible to make sense of such a chaotic ending? Let’s see. …”
The Athletic: Michael Cox
Guardian: Systemic flaws of Guardiola’s City keep Champions League out of reach (Video)
NY Times: Real Madrid Stuns City, Seizing the Moment as Only It Can
Guardian: Real Madrid’s latest miracle is a tale of 88 seconds and one Ancelotti video (Video)
The Athletic: Camavinga, Rodrygo, Vinicius: Real Madrid’s big bets on rising stars are paying off

Chile Files Claim Seeking Ecuador’s Place in the World Cup



“Qualification for this year’s soccer World Cup, already disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, now faces more uncertainty after Chile this week called on FIFA to throw out Ecuador and hand its place in the tournament to Chile instead. Chile contends that its South American rival fielded an ineligible player who is in fact Colombian. …”
NY Times

Soccer capitalism


“Soccer academies are springing up across Africa with remarkable speed, evidence of the immense popularity of the sport and the many aspirations it arouses. These academies—institutions that at their core combine a sportive and an educational system—first arrived in Africa from Europe in the late 1990s, following three interrelated processes: (1) the mistreatment by unscrupulous agents of young African players who migrated to Europe; (2) the Bosman ruling of 1995 that further increased the migration of African players to Europe; and (3) the introduction of new transfer regulations by FIFA in 2001 that aimed at curbing the abuse of young migrant players by making it harder for clubs to sign players under the age of 18. …”
Africa Is a Country

Liverpool beat Villarreal: How the Reds came back from the brink in Champions League semi-final


“They were outplayed during the first half of their semi-final second leg in Villarreal, the Reds producing surely their worst half of the season in a game that threatened to derail their quadruple hopes. But – as is so often the case – Jurgen Klopp’s side found a way. Liverpool looked in control of the tie after a comfortable 2-0 win last week at Anfield but the Spanish side cancelled out that lead by the break. At the hour mark it was still 2-2 on aggregate, but Fabinho, half-time substitute Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane scored to send Liverpool to Paris – where they will play either Real Madrid or Manchester City. …”
BBC
NY Times: Liverpool’s Dream Delivered, Only After Villarreal’s Is Dashed
Guardian: Díaz turns tide at Villarreal to send Liverpool to Champions League final
NY Times – Champions League Updates: Liverpool Beats Villarreal to Reach Final (Video)

VAR in Scottish Premiership: What will it solve? What won’t it fix? Who will foot bill? When will it come into force?


“VAR has arrived in Scottish football. On Tuesday, the SPFL’s member clubs passed the motion to introduce video assistant referees to the Premiership from midway through next season — after the winter break for the World Cup finals in November and December. While VAR is, and almost certainly will continue to be, a divisive topic among supporters, all 12 of Scotland’s top-flight clubs enthusiastically supported its implementation in the league. Here is what has happened so far, and what comes next. …”
The Athletic

As World Cup Nears, Brands Weigh Cost of Teaming With Qatar



“For Gary Lineker, a starring role in Qatar’s big show was not an option. Sure, he had hosted a World Cup draw before. And as a former top scorer in the tournament who now works as a popular television broadcaster he has an ongoing professional relationship with the tournament’s organizer, FIFA. But fronting the glamorous event in Doha last month that set the matchups for this year’s World Cup in Qatar — a hosting choice he has regularly criticized — was not something, Lineker decided, that he could consider. So in a conversation with FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, Lineker said no. …”
NY Times

What Seattle Sounders can learn from CCL Final woes of past MLS teams


“Even almost 10 years after that fateful night, Nat Borchers’ voice still dipped and dropped an octave or two as the painful memories flooded to the surface. ‘And I remember at the end of the game, being so upset because the fans there, they’d all been standing on their feet for the whole 90 minutes. They were expecting something, and we couldn’t give it to them,’ he said. ‘If you look back on it, it was probably the biggest game in American soccer history up to that point in time, I mean, in terms of club level, MLS vs. Liga MX. The fact that we couldn’t get it done was tough.’ …”
MLS Soccer (Video)