Euro 2016 power rankings: every team assessed before draw

December 10, 2015

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“The Euro 2016 draw takes place in Paris on Saturday and Jonathan Wilson looks at all the teams, putting France at No1 and Romania at No24” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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Champions League team of the week: Bayern and Barcelona impress

November 6, 2015

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“It is no surprise that Bayern Munich have three players in the Champions League team of the week after their superb display in the 5-1 win at home to Arsenal. Germany forward Thomas Muller weighed in with two goals, and Barcelona duo Neymar and Luis Suarez join him in attack after scoring in their win over BATE Borisov. For the second matchweek running there is just one Premier League player in the XI, with Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho celebrating his part in the win in Seville which saw City into the last 16.” BBC


Tactical Analysis: France 3-4 Belgium | Belgium’s fluidity in midfield and France’s shift to a 4-2-3-1

June 11, 2015

“Drawing ‘big picture’ conclusions from friendlies, especially after a long and gruelling European campaign, can often be an exercise in futility. This is doubly true with top teams such as Belgium and France, most of whose players were involved in additional 10-20 matches in lengthy European and cup campaigns. With key players such as Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra, Thomas Vermaelen, Vincent Kompany and Kevin de Bruyne missing from both sides, one might have hoped that rather than playing for the result, both teams might be given to a bit of experimentation on the day, with a chance to see some new faces or perhaps a bit of tactical innovation. After all, despite France being qualified as hosts of Euro 2016 and Belgium topping their group, neither have been as scintillating as one might expect.” Outside of the Boot


100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Forwards 10 – 1

December 29, 2014

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“It’s hard to accurately predict future Ballon D’Or nominees based on a players current exploits in the early part of his career. But given the propensity of usual Ballon D’Or nominees bearing rather conspicuous goal-scoring traits, you wouldn’t go too wrong in betting Memphis Depay as a potential future nominee.” Outside of the Boot


100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Midfielders 10 – 1

December 26, 2014

“Hakan Calhanoglu grew up in Mannheim of Germany, before moving on to Karlsruhe, Hamburg and Leverkusen while getting called up to the Turkish National team in 2013. An attacking midfielder by trade, Hakan’s style and elegance on the ball has seen him sought out by some of the world’s best. Mini-Analysis: Operating behind the striker or across the midfield, Calhanoglu’s style of play is easy on the eye. A mainstay in the Hamburg team that narrowly escaped relegation last season saw him bag 11 goals and assist 4 in 32 games.” Outside of the Boot


Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen epitomise Belgian school of defending

October 17, 2014

“Not all sports blend international and club competition as seamlessly as football, where it’s become extremely common for players to be teammates, then opponents, within the same week. How do you spend Sunday, Monday and Tuesday working on understanding and cohesion with a teammate, before setting out to overpower them the following weekend? This Saturday’s contest between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, the weekend’s opening Premier League game, is a perfect example. A match between two squads packed with international talent means a meeting between various compatriots who played alongside one another earlier this week.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Brazil’s World Cup Was Never Simple, Always Irresistible

July 19, 2014

“They had a soccer tournament, and the best team won. If only the 2014 World Cup in Brazil were as simple as that. Let’s look backward—before Germany’s extra-time victory over Argentina in the final, before the host country’s agonizing, indelible 7-1 loss in the semifinals, before the individual greatness of Lionel Messi, Miroslav Klose, James Rodríguez, Neymar Jr. and Tim Howard. Before 20,000 fans jammed Grant Park in Chicago to watch the U.S. team. Before Luis Suárez launched his infamous incisors. Let’s go back to the beginning, to the original idea: a World Cup in Brazil.” WSJ