World Cup 2018 power rankings: Germany on top among qualified 23

October 12, 2017


“Twenty-three nations have booked their places for the World Cup in Russia, with the holders and Brazil looking in good shape but we rank England in 13th place, below Iceland.” Guardian (Video)

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The Best Soccer Teams in History to Miss Out on Qualifying for the World Cup

October 8, 2017


France, 1994
“As World Cup qualification reaches its final stages, a number of major nations find themselves in danger of missing out on Russia 2018. As Argentina, the Netherlands, Chile and Ghana struggle to make it, and with reigning African champion Cameroon already eliminated, we look back at the most shocking failures to qualify in World Cup history. …” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Carlo Ancelotti’s Firing a Strike Against Complacency Threatening Bayern Munich’s Reign

October 1, 2017


“From the outside, it doesn’t look like much of a crisis, but this is Bayern Munich, and at a modern superclub what appears to be a gentle blip can feel on the inside like a seismic convulsion. Carlo Ancelotti was sacked on Thursday in response to Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain, but in truth the discontent has been building for some time. …” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Bordeaux and the Chase for the Champions League

September 28, 2017

“2017-18 in Ligue 1 was never going to be about a title race in France, because that was sewn up the minute PSG bought Neymar from Barcelona (and just to rub it in, they got maybe the best prospect in world football as well). Rather, where the intrigue in Ligue 1 came from was the cluster of six or so teams below PSG fighting for two Champions League spots. At least for this writer, there was a genuine curiosity about how the standings would shake out in positions 2 to 7 considering the massive changes that had gone on. After seven games where are we? Monaco have been fine despite selling the majority of their title winning squad, Lyon have produced attacking numbers that are quite middling compared to the talent at their disposal, while Marcelo Bielsa and Lille are Ligue 1’s travelling circus act. …” Stats Bomb


Faded Orange – The decline of a footballing superpower

September 25, 2017

“The Netherland’s recent dismantling by France symbolized the frightening predicament the national team now finds itself in. The side that gave us ‘total football’, previously a staple fixture in the latter rounds of major tournaments, now faces the prospect of failing to qualify for two in a row. In truth, the 4-0 score line flattered the Dutch, who were overran in midfield, ponderous at the back, and unimaginative up top. New manager Dick Advocaat was clueless as how to line up against a technically superior side, in stark contrast to his predecessors van Gaal and van Marwijk. Their problems go far beyond the manager however, and at the present moment Dutch football is facing an identity crisis and a lost generation of talent as they desperately attempt to scramble their side into the World Cup finals next summer. …” Backpage Football


Tactical Analysis: Nice 4-0 Monaco | Favre’s efficient approach

September 25, 2017

“After interesting transfer windows from both OGC Nice and AS Monaco, the sides would meet in the Ligue 1, with both having been part of the title race the previous season. Lucien Favre and Leonardo Jardim’s 4-4-2 systems, which share many similar traits, would clash in a battle between two teams who will undoubtedly be aiming for some of the highest positions in France’s most prestigious domestic league. A relatively poor start by Nice contrast to their opponent’s Monaco, who have been unstoppable as they have picked up the maximum of twelve points from their four games so far. …” Outside of the Boot


Pierre Mony: the footballer so popular he got away with murder

December 22, 2016

The following is an extract from issue 23 of the Blizzard, which is on sale in December. The Blizzard is a quarterly football journal available from www.theblizzard.co.uk on a pay-what-you-like basis in print and digital formats. The first full international match between France and England was played on 15 May 1923 at the Stade Pershing in the Bois de Vincennes in Paris. It was an interesting game, attended by an impressive 30,000 spectators, despite driving rain and hail. France had beaten an England Amateurs team at this same venue in 1921 but a similar result was not expected against the full England side.” Guardian, W – History of the France national football team