England 3-0 Senegal: Emboldened Generation Head For Historic French Showdown


Jude Bellingham
“England came into this game nursing an unbeaten seven-game record against African sides in their World Cup history, although the only time they’d experienced one in the knockout stages was against Cameroon in the 1990 quarter-final, a game in which the Three Lions were largely outclassed, progressing thanks to a late pair of penalties from Gary Lineker. Senegal began 2022 by winning the African Cup of Nations and ending the same year as the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final would be a fair reflection of Aliou Cissé’s squad, even shorn of the injured Sadio Mane. England were favourites, but this is knockout football and the margins are tiny. …”
The Analyst
The Athletic – England 3-0 Senegal: Bellingham sparkles, eight World Cup scorers, Henderson sets the tone (Video)
Guardian: Jude Bellingham’s moment of cinema makes us wonder where this might go

Advertisement

Demba Ba’s guide to Senegal: ‘We will fight toe to toe with England’

“As Senegal prepare to face England for the first time in international football, former Newcastle and Chelsea striker Demba Ba — who won 22 caps for the Lions of Teranga over eight years, and is one of The Athletic’s guest writers during the World Cup — breaks down how they got here and where they could hurt Gareth Southgate’s team on Sunday. ..”
The Athletic

Michael Owen’s Moment of Magic, Followed by England Heartbreak in 1998


“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves Michael Owen’s moment of magic in 1998. …”
The Ringer (Video)

England 3 Wales 0: Rashford at the double, Foden takes chance, has Bale bowed out?


“Two goals in a minute from Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden helped England end Wales’ resistance to top Group B and set up a round-of-16 date with Senegal. After a dour first half, England were brought to life when Rashford scored a sublime free kick before Foden finished at the far post from Harry Kane’s cross following woeful Welsh defending. Rashford added a second in the 68th minute and England were able to enjoy the closing stages after their struggles against the United States and in the first half. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic – Cox: England’s defence has been brilliant but don’t rule out switch to a back five

England 0-0 USA: All-action McKennie, retreating Kane and how USMNT dominated right side


England were outplayed by the United States men’s national team in the second group game in Qatar, as Gregg Berhalter’s side earned a deserved 0-0 draw. Gareth Southgate named an unchanged team following the impressive 6-2 win against Iran in their opening game. The U.S., meanwhile, had drawn 1-1 with Wales in their first game, because of a late penalty by Gareth Bale. Weston McKennie impressed in midfield for the U.S., causing all sorts of problems down the right, and Christian Pulisic came closest to a breakthrough when his shot hit the crossbar in the first half. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Edgy England on verge of World Cup last 16 after fortunate draw with USA
The Athletic: USA vs England and the path towards respect and rivalry
***NY Times: England Gets a Look at Itself, and Isn’t Sure It Likes What It Sees

Iran’s brave and powerful gesture is a small wonder from a World Cup of woe


While many protests were shut down by World Cup organizers, two people in attendance held signs protesting the Iranian government’s treatment of women.
“Well, that was unexpected. After the cold, cold theatre of Qatar 2022’s opening game, elite sport reimagined as a despot’s light-show, something remarkable happened on Monday afternoon in Doha. As night fell over the vast, swooping Khalifa International Stadium (all these World Cup structures are vast and swooping; unless specifically told otherwise, assume vast and swooping) England and Iran produced something that felt jarringly real, oddly warm, suspiciously authentic. Against all odds at this dislocated World Cup, a football match broke out. Albeit one shot through with its own layers of intrigue, and indeed pathos and horror. …”
Guardian
NY Times: Amid Disruptions, England’s Win Over Iran Was the Easy Part
****The Athletic – Cox: England dragged Iran apart thanks to ambition of full-backs Trippier and Shaw

The Radar – The Athletic’s 2022 World Cup scouting guide


“Welcome to The Radar — the World Cup edition. Last year, for Euro 2020, we profiled 60 players that people were talking about — or would be by the end of the competition. Thirty-four of those players have since moved club. More teams means more players, so for the World Cup we’ve upped that to 100. The result is below, a carefully crafted guide to some of the best footballers on show in Qatar listed alphabetically by country — the heavyweight names, the rising stars and the under-the-radar players who could be coming to an elite club near you. …”
The Athletic

Who Will Be This Year’s World Cup Supernova?

“Michael Owen, Mario Götze, and Kylian Mbappé anointed themselves as stars with stellar World Cup performances. Will any young players usher in a new era at this year’s tournament? There are very few moments in world history that can unite entire generations in awe. At the head of that very short list, you will find the moon landing. A couple of lines further down, but still on the same page, you will see an athletic feat of rare brilliance: say, Usain Bolt breaking the sound barrier in the Olympic 100-meter final. …”
The Ringer

England team to face Iran: Eight writers, eight different starting XIs


England will kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21 and talk of who should start is likely to dominate the week between the end of the Premier League season and the start of the tournament in Qatar. We asked eight of our writers to pick the team they would like to see start at the Khalifa International Stadium — and they came up with eight different line-ups. …”
The Athletic

World Cup 2022 Group B guide: England’s control and the Iran goalkeeper’s javelin-style throws

“What tactics do England use? What is the USA’s weakness? Which quirk should we look out for from Wales? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic will be running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar. Liam Tharme will look at each team’s playing style, strengths, weaknesses, key players and highlight things to keep an eye on during the tournament. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 Groups: The Predictions


“The 2022 World Cup is finally here, with the tournament in Qatar being the first held in the months of November and December since the first World Cup finals in 1930. The 22nd men’s FIFA World Cup tournament will see 32 teams battle it out in the group stage after qualifying via five different regions – Asia, Africa, South America, North America/Central America and Europe (no nation from Oceania qualified). From there, 16 will make it through to the knockout stages. …”
The Analyst

World Cup provisional squads explained: What are the rules and will they be made public?


“A month from today, it all begins. The World Cup in Qatar looms ever larger on the horizon and the countdown is on to the first of 64 games that will crown a winner at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, December 18. Doubts persist over the suitability of Qatar to host this World Cup, as well as its readiness to welcome more than one million visitors, but the biggest names in football are about to descend on a tiny Gulf nation that’s half the size of Wales and roughly as big as the US state of Connecticut. …”
The Athletic
The Analyst: World Cup 2022 Guide to Each Group

Countdown to Qatar: How Prepared Is the USMNT for the World Cup?

“Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup plan exists in many fragments across several mediums. There are whiteboards at the U.S. Soccer Federation headquarters containing tactical outlines and depth charts, as well as spreadsheets with detailed roster breakdowns. An internal database hosts all of the U.S. men’s national team’s logistics, and then there are the details constantly swirling in his own mind. …”
The Ringer

Read this if you want to understand the Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool v England ‘debate’


“Whenever there’s an England squad, especially with the World Cup on the horizon, the eternal debate rises: should Trent Alexander-Arnold start for England? Critics will point out his defensive frailties, others will argue that Alexander-Arnold’s game shouldn’t be judged on those weaknesses and Jurgen Klopp will explain why his No 66 is so vital to Liverpool. And round we go again. But what if everyone is right? And what if that is OK? …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Faltering Liverpool are at a crossroads and Klopp is hard-pressed to find answers – Jonathan Wilson

World Cup 2022 news round-up: Nkunku and Lewandowski shine as Argentina put faith in Scaloni

“Club football is back and with fewer than 50 days for players to find form and fitness before the World Cup kicks off on November 20, Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Leandro Trossard of Belgium and USA forward Ricardo Pepi laid down a marker at the weekend. Off the pitch, coaches are already being rewarded before the tournament kicks off with Wales extending Rob Page’s contract and Argentina set to keep Lionel Scaloni as head coach until the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico. …”
The Athletic

Juventus Learns That Progress Requires a Plan


“The fairest way, perhaps, is simply to recount the story as Massimiliano Allegri told it, stripped of all interpretation and emphasis. It is not a long one. Earlier this month, a few minutes after Benfica had beaten his Juventus team in the Champions League, Allegri ran into Rui Costa — the Portuguese team’s president — in the corridors of the Allianz Stadium in Turin. …”
NY Times

World Cup 2022 power rankings: how the 32 look with two months to go

“With most teams having played their final matches before the tournament in Qatar, who appear most likely to lift the trophy? …”
Guardian

Germany still confident about World Cup hopes despite lean run of form

“A proud footballing nation on a lean run of just one win in six games. A humiliating defeat at home against Hungary. And above all, a sense of stasis and frustration, a lack of creativity, the suspicion that for all the talent and trophies in this team, it remains considerably less than the sum of its parts. Germany and England may share a common predicament, but as they prepare to meet on Monday night only one of these nations is currently racked by existential crisis. …”
Guardian

England look more feeble than at any other point in the age of Southgate

“Well, it is a pretty weird World Cup anyway. Can we asterisk this thing? Just a thought, but is it actually too late to boycott? Norway did the T-shirts. Good optics. For Gareth Southgate and England this was another cowed and pallid step towards Qatar 2022. What is the perfect prep for these four-yearly moments of destiny anyway? How about not scoring a goal from open play for almost 500 minutes? How about three defeats in five games, topped by a 1-0 here against a so-so Italy? How about getting relegated? …”
Guardian

Geoff Hurst, a Dog Named Pickles, and the Curious Case of the Missing World Cup Trophy

“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves Geoff Hurst, a dog named Pickles, and the curious case of missing World Cup trophy in England in 1966. …”
The Ringer – Brian Phillips (Video)

World Cup health check: The issue each country must address before Qatar


“The September international break is normally relatively relaxed — a chance to tweak tactics and focus on formations. Not this time. For almost all 32 competing nations, this is the final set of international fixtures before the World Cup begins in Qatar on November 20. So that you can go into the break feeling prepared, The Athletic has identified one issue every team need to try to fix this break…”
The Athletic (Video)

Kalvin Phillips’ rare skill set means his shoulder injury is a big problem for England


“Before every World Cup, we are struck with the unfortunate news of an injury to an important player. In 2018, it was Dani Alves for Brazil. Four years before that, it was the unlucky Marco Reus, who this weekend was stretched off against Schalke, with fears that he may also miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And in 2010, it was Michael Ballack who sustained an ankle injury in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth. …”
The Athletic (Video)

England squad: Toney selected on form but others rely on Southgate’s loyalty


Marcus Rashford has not kicked a ball for England since that fateful penalty shootout in the European Championship final against Italy last July. Jadon Sancho has appeared just once. And after being left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest squad today (Thursday), the Manchester United duo really are running out of time to force their way into his World Cup plans. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 news round-up: Jesus’ Brazil snub, Pepi’s debut and Queiroz’s return

England and the USA have goalkeeper injury concerns, Ricardo Pepi has made his debut in Holland but Arsenal’s in-form Gabriel Jesus is suddenly out of favour with Brazil. With the transfer window shut and September international fixtures looming, a relentless domestic and European calendar is providing opportunities for players to shine and prepare for Qatar. …”
The Athletic (Video)

What the Champions League Is Lacking


“PARIS — There will be stories, of course. There are always stories. The Champions League delivers them so frequently and so reliably that it is impossible to dismiss the nagging suspicion that all of this might just be scripted, the product of some complex simulation being run from a secret lair in Nyon. Robert Lewandowski, clad in the blue and red of Barcelona, will return to Bayern Munich, only a few weeks after forcing his exit. Manchester City’s visit to Borussia Dortmund will see Erling Haaland standing once more before its Yellow Wall, that great force of nature no longer at his back but marshaled in his face. …”
NY Times
The Athletic: Champions League draw analysed – The biggest games, the shocks in store, the toughest groups

What is Arsenal? Why are teams called United? What is a Hotspur? A history of English football names


“There are 13 clubs known as United in English football’s top four divisions. Aside from its array of Citys and Towns, ‘the 92’ also include three Wanderers, five Rovers, a couple of Athletics and a Rangers. There are a trio of Albions and just as many Countys. In contrast, as those from a corner of Devon will insist, there is only one Argyle. On top of all those suffixes can be added, among other quirks, an Arsenal and a Vale. There are names to conjure images of elegant stately homes or gleaming palaces of glass, all memories from yesteryear… as well as a day of the week. …”
The Athletic

Season of the Pitch

“‘The mindset was predisposed to be negative,’ the writer Pete Davies said not long ago. We were discussing English attitudes in the run-up to the 1990 World Cup—Italia ’90—the subject of his elating travelogue, All Played Out, often described as the greatest book about soccer. The national game had been in a bad way—the playing style primitive, the supporters feral. An article by Brian Glanville, a prominent reporter, carried the headline ‘England Abroad: Shame and Mediocrity.’ …”
BOOKFORUM
amazon: All Played Out: The Full Story of Italia ’90

Fred Pentland: Athletic Bilbao’s English coach who changed the face of Spanish football


Fred Pentland was invited back to Athletic when they hosted Chelsea in his honour at San Mames in 1959
“It may be 100 years since he first set foot in the city, but mention the name Fred Pentland and Athletic Bilbao fans will fondly recall the legend of the Englishman with a trademark bowler hat and cigars. ‘El Bombin’ wasn’t the first English coach to lead the Basque club but he did leave an unprecedented mark on their history and can also claim to have played a key role in the evolution of Spanish football. …”
BBC
W – Fred Pentland
1930s Month: Pentland’s Lions of Bilbao

UEFA Nations League: What to look out for on Matchday 2


Raheem Sterling, England
“The third edition of the UEFA Nations League has kicked off. The first matchday is done, with five more to come ahead of the final tournament in June 2023. UEFA.com picks out the big fixtures from the Matchday 2 encounters. …”
UEFA Nations League (Video)

About That Game: England 2-2 Argentina (1998)


“International football rivalries are rarely intercontinental, but the ill-feeling between Argentina and England is an exception. The rivalry emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, partly due to the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom, but also on the pitch thanks to controversial World Cup meetings between the two sides in 1966 and 1986. This meeting in 1998 certainly didn’t help to heal the rift. …”
The Analyst (Video)

England immortality beckons for Kane in Qatar


“Harry Kane has already written his name in FIFA World Cup™ history. By scoring six times at Russia 2018, the England captain earned himself the tournament’s adidas Golden Boot and, in doing so, followed in feted footsteps of men like Ronaldo, Gerd Muller and Eusebio. Kane, 28, is also already assured of his place as a Three Lions legend. No-one in the history of England’s national team has scored more often in competitive fixtures, and his overall record of 49 from 69 appearances stands comparison with anyone in modern-day international football. …”
FIFA (Video)

The 2022 World Cup draw analysed: ‘The Group of Dark Arts’, favourites France and that song


“Cringe-inducing cartoon meant to engage with no youngster we have ever met? Check. Song-and-dance routine combing local colour with avant-garde twist? Check. A massive advert for the official ball (the fastest ever, no less)? Yep, we had that, too, and several speeches, a first performance of the first song from the official Qatar 2022 album and a very contrived moment with France manager Didier Deschamps and a young lad who was in the crowd in Moscow four years ago. The 47 minutes of preamble before the draw for the 2022 World Cup at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre flew by! …”
The Athletic (Video)
NY Times – World Cup Draw Highlights: Matchups Let Teams Look Ahead to November
Guardian – World Cup draw: group-by-group analysis for Qatar 2022 – Jonathan Wilson
NY Times: World Cup Draw Brings Certainty. Now Comes the Hard Part.
The Athletic: With a marquee World Cup meeting vs. England, USMNT has a chance to change its perception writ large
BBC – Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022: What are the draw highlights? (Video)

The World Cup Draw Is Friday. Here’s How It Works.


“The World Cup field is almost complete. On Friday, soccer teams will learn the answer to the critical question they and their fans want to know: Who will they play when the tournament opens in November in Qatar? The World Cup draw — part gala, part pep rally, part math seminar — will deliver intriguing clashes of styles, testy political collisions and, if past events are any guide, a few uncomfortable moments. But given the stakes of the draw, it is also one of the biggest events on the global sports calendar. Here is a look at how it works. …”
NY Times
NY Times: Who Has Qualified for the 2022 World Cup? (Video)
NY Times: Your World Cup Questions, Answered
The Athletic – 2022 World Cup odds: France, Brazil are co-favorites ahead of the draw; England, Spain right behind

Jude Bellingham: Has Borussia Dortmund midfielder made himself an England starter?


Jude Bellingham was named man of the match at Wembley
England’s 3-0 friendly victory against Ivory Coast at Wembley was as routine as it comes, but there was still plenty for manager Gareth Southgate to ponder as the countdown to the World Cup in Qatar continues. Southgate will discover England’s group opponents at Friday’s draw, then will further fine-tune his plans when they return to action against Hungary, Germany and Italy in the Nations League in June. England delivered pretty much all Southgate would have wanted in two Wembley wins against Switzerland on Saturday and here against a disappointing Ivory Coast, but it all gets harder from now on and he has issues to consider. …”
BBC (Video)
W – Jude Bellingham

2022 World Cup: List of Qualified Teams for Qatar, Updated Standings, Playoff Brackets


“Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is reaching its conclusion, as countries compete to fill the remaining spots in this year’s showcase on the sport’s greatest stage. … It was determined on Nov. 26 which regions will be paired for the playoffs, whose format has changed. Another wrinkle to qualifying is the expulsion of Russia due to its nation’s invasion of Ukraine. .. Nevertheless, the draw for the 2022 World Cup will occur on April 1, with the March 31 FIFA ranking being used to determine the pots. …”
SI
FIFA World Cup: Which teams have qualified to Qatar 2022? Full list of all 32 nations

Portugal 1986: Part 1: A Troubled Beginning, Part 2: The Saltillo Affair


“Playing in a World Cup is the pinnacle of a player or coach’s career. To test yourself in the world’s premier tournament is the ultimate challenge and a dream come true for many footballers. However, there are times when the dream of participating in a World Cup can turn into a nightmare. No country would have such a nightmare of a tournament than Portugal in 1986. Prior to the mid-1980s, Portugal were unable to build on the success of the 1960s, where Portugal finished third in the 1966 World Cup and Benfica won back to back European Cups in 1961/62 under the coaching of Béla Guttmann. Since then, Portugal had failed to qualify for a World Cup or European Championship. …”
Breaking the Lines: Part 1, Part 2
W – Saltillo Affair
The Saltillo affair – the story of Portugal at Mexico ’86

Conor Gallagher is a throwback to old-fashioned No 8s – and that could be what England are missing


“At a time when the England national side is blessed with several quality attacking midfielders excelling for clubs in the Champions League, Conor Gallagher probably isn’t the best of the bunch. He is, however, surely the most typically English. Gallagher has been the standout player for a rejuvenated Crystal Palace side, featured in many people’s select XI from the first half of the Premier League season, and has been one of the revelations of the season for Fantasy Football players. Palace fans want him to stay, Chelsea fans would like him to return from his loan, and England supporters were delighted to see him make his international debut in November against San Marino. …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox

Whistle unhappy: referee shortage as endless abuse causes recruitment crisis


December 23 ~ In the past five years, the UK has lost almost one in seven of its HGV drivers. While this supply of labour has dropped, the demand for the haulage hasn’t, causing queues at pumps, fuel shortages, problems with imports and deliveries, among all the other issues that we have seen over recent months. In a similar vein, it is estimated that registrations of referees in England dropped by between 20 and 30 per cent in 2021. While this supply of labour has reduced, the demand for referees hasn’t. This has already led to thousands of matches so far this season either being postponed or going ahead without a qualified match official in charge, with volunteers or substitutes taking the whistle instead. …”
WSC

Scotland v England and the peculiarly divergent stance on football crowds


“At is not the case that followers of Scottish football gaze enviously at the Premier League. Camera phones capturing goal celebrations and public investment funds bearing gifts mean Scots revel in their own authenticity. It may be thud and blunder but it is our thud and blunder. In recent days, though, there have been wistful glances across the border. After Nicola Sturgeon, the Scotland first minister, implemented a limit of 500 people at outdoor sporting events the Scottish Professional Football League’s board took the unusually smart decision to expedite its top-flight winter break. At what traditionally is a hectic, joyous time it was deemed better to close the gates. …”
Guardian

The English FA and a very uncomfortable relationship with Qatar


“After wrapping up their place in next year’s World Cup finals, the Danish Football Association (DBU) made an emphatic move. ‘The DBU has long been strongly critical of the World Cup in Qatar,’ its chief executive officer, Jakob Jensen, said in a statement. ‘But now we are further intensifying our efforts and critical dialogue so that we take advantage of the fact that we have qualified to work for more change in the country.’ The Danes committed to action, not only words. They announced that their two training kit sponsors have given up logo space on those jerseys to create room for ‘critical messages’ about alleged Qatari human rights violations. Additionally, commercial partners will not travel to Qatar. The federation also pledged to limit the number of trips it makes there in the lead-up to the tournament to avoid promoting the ‘World Cup organiser’s events’. …”
The Athletic

16 football clubs sitting outside the elite


“Should European football ever morph into a super league structure, the landscape will be substantially changed, no matter how any new league might manifest itself. For the past decade, a set of global, elite players have evolved, but beneath the top layer, there are a number of clubs who have scale and presence, some with back stories that belong to a more democratic age. Some of these glorious names may be dominant forces in their own backyard but do not have the financial clout to compete with Europe’s gargantuan institutions. Others were once feared names across the continent, metropolitan clubs from major cities such as Lisbon, Amsterdam, Rome, Rotterdam and Glasgow. …”
Game of the People

Plough Lane revisited: AFC Wimbledon


“Anyone who remembers the old home of Wimbledon FC in the days when Vinnie Jones, Dennis Wise and their pals upset the establishment will recall it wasn’t a stadium to savour. It may have been a much-loved home for the Dons’ fans, but visiting supporters would never count it among their favourite days out. The story of Wimbledon’s demise and relocation has been told enough, and their rise from the ashes, one of the first so-called ‘phoenix clubs’ was a heart-warming example of how football’s audience can change things if the spirit is willing. That journey, which began with AFC Wimbledon’s reinvention in 2002, has now turned full circle as the club returned to a new stadium in Plough Lane in November 2020. …”
Game of the People
W – AFC Wimbledon

Who Has Qualified for the 2022 World Cup?


“With a year to go, almost half the field for the 2022 World Cup is set. Thirteen countries have already booked their places for the tournament, which opens in Qatar next Nov. 21: some with ease, cruising through qualifying, and some with a touch more drama. Quite what the tournament, riddled with scandal and concern from the day Qatar was announced as the host, will be like cannot yet be known. The identities of the teams who will contest it, though, are remarkably familiar. Most — if not quite all — of the traditional contenders are already there: a 10-country-strong European contingent led by France, the defending champion, and Belgium, officially the world’s best team, as well as the likes of Spain and England and Germany. They have been joined by the two great powerhouses of South America, Brazil and Argentina. …”
NY Times

World Cup 2022: ranking the top 10 contenders a year before Qatar


“With just over a year to go until the World Cup kicks off, 12 teams have qualified alongside hosts Qatar. All four semi-finalists from 2018 have sealed their spots and are joined by former world champions Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Spain, while recent European champions Portugal and Italy still have more to do. With most of the big hitters now able to prepare for the tournament, we assess where they stand as the countdown to Qatar begins. …”
Guardian
The Athletic: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: Where USMNT, Canada, Mexico and Panama stand with six matches left
World Cup 2022 Power Rankings: France & England the early favourites as Portugal & Italy falter

World Cup 2022 qualification: Who will be in Qatar and who is in play-offs?


Gareth Southgate’s England are heading to Qatar 2022, while Wales and Scotland have a play-off place secured
“England have qualified for the 2022 World Cup finals while Wales and Scotland are heading to the play-offs along with some surprising names. European champions Italy and Portugal will also have to go through two rounds of play-off games next March after failing to win their respective groups. Heading to the World Cup so far are: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland. The Netherlands, Norway and Turkey are the three teams left who can still qualify automatically. The winners of each group secure a place at the World Cup, with the 10 runners-up joining two Nations League teams in the play-offs, where three further places are up for grabs. …”
BBC

1998 World Cup terror plot


“From March to May 1998, a terror plot against the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France was uncovered by European law enforcement. More than 100 people were arrested in seven countries as a result of the plot. Organised by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and backed by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the plot is thought to have targeted the England–Tunisia match on 15 June 1998, and involved infiltrating the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille in order to attack players and spectators during the game, attack the hotel in Paris hosting the United States national team, and finally hijacking an aircraft and crashing it into the Civaux Nuclear Power Plant near Poitiers. … Although Osama Bin Laden had a rented place in the stands of Arsenal Football Club, he wanted to destroy English football. Terrorists had reportedly planned to blow up the England substitute bench (targeting youngsters David Beckham and Michael Owen), shoot English players and throw grenades into the stands. …”
Wikipedia
Howler: Net of Suspicion

When the Solution Is the Problem


That split-second when everyone thinks the ends justify the means.
“Not once, in two decades, had David Beckham heard the moment. He had witnessed it at the time, of course. More than that, in fact: He had summoned it and created it and lived it. He had, presumably, watched the moment more than once in the intervening years, too. But it was not until a couple weeks ago that he sat down and listened to it. The moment he did was — obviously — captured for posterity, a social media post as meta as they come: a man recording his own reaction to a recording of himself. As Beckham listens, he has a look of fierce concentration on his face, mixed with just a little genuine concern, as if he really does not know how it all ends. The audio plays in the background, an echo of his past: the last couple minutes of the BBC radio commentary of England’s meeting with Greece on the road to the 2002 World Cup. …”
NY Times (Audio)

When Hollywood came for Wrexham FC


“Ryan Reynolds and Wrexham. Two names that would have never been associated with each other. But thanks to an inherent entrepreneurial instinct, an Always Sunny In Philadelphia actor, and the Netflix documentary, Sunderland ‘til I die, Ryan Reynolds is now the co-owner of the National League outfit. How did this happen? Matt Slater writes, Craig Silcock illustrates. …”
YouTube: When Hollywood came for Wrexham FC
ESPN: Wrexham AFC have Hollywood owners, Premier League hopes and TikTok sponsors. But first, Tamworth

Who invented the red card?


Referee Horacio Elizondo of Argentina shows the red card to Zinedine Zidane 2006 World Cup … Berlin, Germany, July 09, 2006.
“… Yet that law was only instigated in 1992. Those that watched football throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s still find themselves wondering why the defence doesn’t kick the ball back to the goalkeeper to waste some time. Of all the rules that have been introduced to football over the years, perhaps none have been as influential as the decision to issue players with yellow and red cards for infractions of the rules of the game. The backpass rule that we’ve just mentioned is widely considered to be one of the game’s most successful changes, but it has never had the ability to influence a match in the same way that a sending off has, for example. …”
Yellow And Red Cards In Football
Who has more red cards in their career: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
W – Fouls and misconduct
YouTube: Who invented the red card?

Andrew Watson: The ‘most influential’ black footballer for decades lost to history


Watson is also depicted in a mural at the site of the original Hampden Park
“There are two murals of black footballers facing one another across an alleyway in Glasgow. One helped shape football as we know it, the other is Pele. Andrew Watson captained Scotland to a 6-1 win over England on his debut in 1881. He was a pioneer, the world’s first black international, but for more than a century the significance of his achievements went unrecognised. Research conducted over the past three decades has left us with some biographical details: a man descended of slaves and of those who enslaved them, born in Guyana, raised to become an English gentleman and famed as one of Scottish football’s first icons. And yet today, 100 years on from his death aged 64, Watson remains something of an enigma, the picture built around him a fractured one. …”
BBC

Jack Grealish must play the system to be an England regular for Southgate


“Jack Grealish could not hide the frustration. And nor could pockets of the England support inside Wembley on Tuesday night, some of whom booed the decision. There were 62 minutes on the clock, the team were level at 1-1 with Hungary and Gareth Southgate had substituted Grealish, replacing him with Bukayo Saka. The TV cameras lingered on Grealish as he took his seat. The midfielder shook his head before putting it down and running his fingers through his hair. It was the night when Southgate tried a different blend, dispensing with his usual minimum of six defensive-minded outfield starters and going with five whose first instinct is to attack. It was Phil Foden and Mason Mount as the No 8s in the 4-3-3, leaving only Declan Rice in front of the defence, and there is no doubt that it was what the fans had demanded. …”
Guardian
Guardian: Southgate must not ditch newfound attacking intent. Fail again. Fail better the same way
“We didn’t play at the level we need to play” – Five things learned as England slump to a 1-1 draw with Hungary

Euro 2020: Wide players key as England beat Ukraine to book final semi-final spot – tactical analysis


“The Euro 2020 knockouts have featured some brilliant clashes that have been both entertaining from a visual as well as a tactical point of view. With three teams already having booked their semi-final berths, the final spot will be battled by Ukraine and world-cup semi-finalists England. This tactical analysis will discuss the tactics deployed by both teams and will look into how Gareth Southgate’s men triumphed over their opponents. Let’s begin the analysis. …”
Total Football Analysis

World Cup roundup: Denmark thrash Moldova to keep up perfect record


Denmark thrash Moldova
Denmark maintained their 100% record in Group F, with a 4-0 win in Moldova. Andreas Skov Olsen opened the scoring before Simon Kjær added a penalty. Christian Norgaard and Joakim Mæhle were also on target. Austria won 2-0 in the Faroe Islands to keep up their slim hopes of overtaking Scotland, who beat Israel 3-2 in a Hampden Park thriller. First-half goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk gave Ukraine a 2-1 win over Finland in Group D. The West Ham forward Yarmolenko put the visitors ahead less than five minutes after kick-off when he drove home from 20 yards past the Finnish goalkeeper. Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki levelled for Finland in the 29th minute but Ukraine regained the lead minutes later with a goal from Yaremchuk. …”
Guardian

Turf Moor


Turf Moor is an association football stadium in Burnley, Lancashire, England. The stadium has been the home of Burnley F.C. since 1883. This unbroken service makes Turf Moor the second-longest continuously used ground in English professional football. The stadium is situated on Harry Potts Way, named after the manager who won the 1959–60 First Division with the club, and has a capacity of 21,944. … In 1922, Turf Moor hosted its only FA Cup semi-final and, in 1927, it was the venue of an international match between England and Wales. The stadium’s record attendance was set in 1924, when 54,775 people attended an FA Cup third round game between Burnley and Huddersfield Town. …”
Wikipedia

How do you decide which football team to support as a neutral?


“For me, 11 July 2021 will go down in history. Not as the date of the England men’s football team’s first major final since 1966, but the first time as an adult I supported England in a major tournament. Since 1980, I have found myself looking forward to the point in tournaments when England are knocked out and I can enjoy the rest of the competition, so it was a very different experience to find myself seriously pondering the choice between Braveheart Mancini or Humble Southgate before the final. But why did I end up supporting Anyone But England in all those other tournaments? Was it schadenfreude, the trepidation of UK media, which is dominated by the thoughts and concerns of England, reacting to an England victory? Or maybe it was just the commonplace behaviour of any football fan, helping to cement my own sense of community and belonging by the use of the ‘other’. …”
Guardian
Guardian: The joy of seeing a football stadium for the first time (Oct. 2020)

UEFA World Cup qualifying scores: Poland end England’s winning streak; Spain, Germany notch victories


Poland 1, England 1
“…In a night of relatively low drama most of the big guns of European football eased to a further three points, not least Germany, who looked impressive in swatting aside Iceland 4-0. An early goal from Serge Gnabry set Hansi Flick’s side on course for a win that takes them four points clear in Group J before Antonio Rudiger, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner found the net, the latter only after wasting a string of presentable opportunities. After two games in which they dropped points the visit of Lithuania came at a good time for Italy with new Juventus striker Moise Kean netting a first-half brace. Their lead in Group C had been looking precarious after a draw against Switzerland but they had Northern Irish goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to thank as he saved a penalty that meant Northern Ireland held the Swiss to a goalless draw in Belfast. …”
CBS Sports (Video)
BBC – World Cup 2022 qualifying: Who is close to qualifying? Who are the surprise packages?
Guardian: Szymanski denies England as Poland snatch late draw after Kane’s opener
ESPN: England’s draw in Poland keeps Three Lions on track for Qatar 2022, but they’ll need complete performances to vie for World Cup

Spain Loses World Cup Qualifier For The First Time In 66 Matches, 2-1 Against Sweden


“The Spanish national team tasted defeat for the first time in 28 years in a World Cup qualifying match after they lost to Sweden 2-1 on Friday in Stockholm. Sweden came back from a goal down to defeat Spain who lost a World Cup qualifying match after 66 games undefeated. The defeat means that Spain have lost a World Cup qualifying game after 66 matches and 28 years. During this undefeated run, they also managed to win 10 in a row before the 2010 World Cup which they ended up winning. A defeat that Luis Enrique would not have excepted as his men had done well in the Euro 2020 having made the semi-finals where they lost eventual Champions Italy on penalties. …”
Republic World
YouTube: Sweden stuns Spain 2-1 in World Cup qualifier | WCQ Highlights | ESPN FC
UEFA: European Qualifiers: England and Belgium rampant, Sweden stun Spain

Total Football


Johan Cruyff playing with Ajax in 1971
Total Football (Dutch: totaalvoetbal) is a tactical system in association football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team. Although Dutch club Ajax and the Netherlands national football team are generally credited with creating this system during the 1970s, there were other sides who had played a similar style before, such as the Austrian Wunderteam of the 1930s, the Argentine side ‘La Maquina‘ of River Plate in the 1940s, the Golden Team of Hungary in the 1950s, English team Burnley in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Brazilian side Santos in the 1960s. In Total Football, a player who moves out of his position is replaced by another from his team, thus retaining the team’s intended organisational structure. In this fluid system, no outfield player is fixed in a predetermined role; anyone can successively play as an attacker, a midfielder and a defender. The only player who must stay in a specified position is the goalkeeper. …”
Wikipedia
YouTube: Total Football Explained

2021–22 EFL League Two


“One point from their final seven matches last season is hardly stirring evidence of a title push but this incarnation of Bradford City are determined to mount a challenge and in Derek Adams they have a manager eyeing a third promotion from the division after guiding Morecambe into League One against the odds in May. The recruitment looks sound but the arrival of Adams, a Marmite character, may be the most important piece of the jigsaw. …”
Guardian: League Two 2021-22 season preview
W – 2021–22 EFL League Two
Who will win the 2021/22 League Two? FourFourTwo’s season preview and predicted final table
YouTube: EFL League Two 2021-22 Stadiums 14:55