As January Camp Roster is Announced, Has USMNT Missed Out on Jonathan Gonzalez?

January 12, 2018

“The U.S. national team, which is barely a team at this point, will kick off this World Cup year without a World Cup at a January camp defined by last fall’s qualifying failure. There are no big games for which to prepare and there’s no permanent coach. As a result, this is a program with very little structure or long-term direction. Former assistant Dave Sarachan, who led the USA at November’s friendly in Portugal following Bruce Arena’s resignation, will preside over the squad of 30 campers announced Monday. …” SI – Brian Straus

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Joachim Löw’s World Cup Left-Back Conundrum

January 12, 2018

Bundestrainer Joachim Löw is spoilt for choice as he starts to think about his squad ahead of next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia. In many positions he is going to have a real headache choosing which players to leave out of the final 23-man squad. There are of course some dead-certs like Mats Hummels in the centre of defence, Toni Kroos as the metronome in midfield and then Joshua Kimmich at right-back. However, it is on the other fullback flank that the German national team coach is going to have a particular headache. …” Bundesliga Fanatic


The 100 best footballers in the world 2017

January 4, 2018


“Our panel of 169 experts from 63 nations compile a list of the greatest male players in 2017. Click on an individual to read more about their year. …” Guardian


Critics Say FIFA Is Stalling a Doping Inquiry as World Cup Nears

January 4, 2018

“LONDON — Dealing with Russia and its doping program haunted the International Olympic Committee for over a year. Now it’s FIFA’s turn. With the Russia World Cup six months away, leaders of the antidoping movement are criticizing soccer’s governing body over its failure to pursue more aggressively whether Russian authorities covered up positive doping tests belonging to the country’s top soccer players. Travis Tygart, the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said Tuesday that FIFA’s apparent inaction was ‘exasperating.’ Craig Reedie, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said he expected FIFA to pursue any allegations of corruption and act decisively. …” NY Times


Scottish football’s crisis of confidence

January 4, 2018

“When Alex Ferguson was appointed Billy McNeill’s successor as Aberdeen manager in the summer of 1978, it had been thirteen years since a team outside of the Old Firm were crowned champions of Scotland and the Glasgow giants had already racked up sixty seven league titles between them: their reputation as the country’s preeminent force well established. Given the weight of historical context and the fact the 36-year-old Ferguson had recently suffered the ignominy of being sacked by St. Mirren, casual observers may have expected he would ease himself gently into his new position in the North East. Those who understood the psyche of the Govan-raised firebrand knew better. …” Football Pink


Ronaldinho and the Right-Winger

January 4, 2018


“It would be hard to imagine stranger bedfellows than Ronaldinho and Jair Bolsonaro. Ronaldinho became a global icon in the 2000s, his carefree manner on the pitch belying an enormous talent that made him the best footballer in the world before the emergence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was the son of a dockyard worker who died when he was just eight and grew up in poverty in Porto Alegre. Bolsonaro, by contrast, is the champion of Brazil’s rich — a bombastic far-right politician who has made his career directing insults at women, gay people, and ethnic minorities. …” Jacobin


La Liga At the Break: Valencia, Girona and Atlético

January 4, 2018

“In just a scant few days the La Liga teams will return from their truncated winter rest. Before we dive head first into the home straight of the season, let’s take a look back at what the first chunk of games has taught us, shall we? This isn’t technically the halfway-point as Spain’s domestic break comes after 17 games rather than 19. Don’t worry though, we’re not about to let that get in the way of a good ol’ rummage through the numbers! …” StatBomb