Searching For the Root: Marley, Music and Football

March 18, 2018

“… Football is the only sport on earth that can be considered truly global. Simple and inexpensive, it is equally likely to be found in a tight Marseille banlieue, an obscure corner of a Lagos slum, and the heart of a Buenos Aires barrio. Marley’s music is similarly universal. It is the embodiment of the ghetto sufferah, the dispossessed street urchin whose never-ending battle for survival transcends continent and race. …” In Bed With Maradona

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Curse of the second-choice Premier League striker: an unwinnable war?

March 18, 2018

“When it comes to impossibly handsome multimillionaire athletes, the natural feeling towards them tends not to be sympathy. Despite that, even the most cold-hearted onlooker might have harboured some pity for Fernando Llorente as Tottenham played Bournemouth last weekend. The Spaniard has endured a wretched season and barely kicked a ball in recent weeks, but when Harry Kane limped off after half an hour it looked like a rare chance to drum up some confidence. …” FourFourTwo


A case of Dejan vu all over again for Lovren the Liverpool fall guy

March 13, 2018


“A long ball. Dejan Lovren steps tight to Romelu Lukaku, tries to shove him, fails to move him and drops off. Lukaku wins the header and Marcus Rashford scores. A long ball. Lovren steps tight to Lukaku, fails to unsettle him. Lukaku wins the header and Rashford, after the brief intervention of a block challenge on Juan Mata, scores. For Liverpool it was a case of Dejan vu all over again. This was not as bad as his performance at Wembley against Tottenham, when Lovren played as though dazed, but it was another game in which Liverpool conceded goals that, from a defensive point of view, came through the Croat. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


The Sensational Rise and Expensive Fall of a Paris Superclub

March 13, 2018

“PARIS — The transfer fee was eye-catching, the salary eye-watering, and the impact jaw-dropping. It seemed to be the move and the moment that signaled a power shift, a change in soccer’s established order. One of the brightest South American talents of his generation, heralded as the next best player in the world, moving to a rising force in Paris, drawn by money and glamour to a club long on cash and short on patience. …’ NY Times


Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Venezuelans battle against the weight of history

March 13, 2018

“If Tottenham came close to glory before blowing the chance last week, then a club from Venezuela came even closer. Last Thursday Mineros were at home to Nacional of Paraguay in the second leg of their clash in the Sudamericana Cup, the Europa League equivalent. The game in Asuncion had finished goalless, and the same thing happened in Puerto Ordaz. The tie went to penalties. After three rounds, Mineros led 3-1. They could hardly be closer to a place in the next round. One successful penalty from their last two, or one more failure to convert from Nacional, and the Venezuelans would be through. The stadium was ready to celebrate. And then, one by one, the chances went begging. After two consecutive Mineros misses, and two consecutive Nacional successes, the scores were level at 3-3. Sudden death ensued. Mineros missed, Nacional scored and the Paraguayans were the ones doing the celebrating….” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


What are England’s options without Harry Kane?

March 13, 2018

“It wasn’t just Spurs fans wincing at the sight of Harry Kane’s foot trapped underneath Asmir Begovic at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The World Cup is only three months away, and Gareth Southgate will have been devastated to see his star striker shake his head and trudge off the pitch, defeated by a third ankle injury in two seasons. …” Telegraph


MSV Duisburg – Fortuna Düsseldorf review

March 13, 2018


“Fortuna wins the derby and increases the lead over Nürnberg. Ilia Gruev sent his team on the pitch in the expected 4-4-2 formation, with Bomheuer fit again replacing Blomeyer. Frontzek arranged his team in a 4-1-4-1 system. Raman was out of squad, not completely healed after a flu, while Neuhaus stayed on the bench, with Bodzek playing from the beginning. …” Bundesliga Fanatic