“Kick-off is a little under an hour away as the train hurtles towards Aldershot. Onboard are the London Reds, Wrexham’s official supporters club in the capital. About 30 members are making the trip, plus a couple of interlopers. One of the interlopers is Sion Jones, who hails from Felin-fach, not far from Aberaeron in west Wales. He’s supposed to be enjoying a family weekend in London, but has instead become an honorary member for the day, leaving his wife, kids and mother-in-law to explore London without him. …” The Athletic
“Louis van Gaal, the Netherlands head coach, has described his asymmetric lateral defenders as a ‘steering wheel’. That is, when Daley Blind (left wing-back) pushes forward, Denzel Dumfries (right wing-back) has to drop deeper and vice-versa. Full-backs, or wing-backs, being pivotal to a team’s chance creation is no longer novel at club level but is underpinning the attacking success of many sides in the first round of World Cup fixtures. …” The Athletic
“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
“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)
“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
“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
“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
“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)
“… The map shows all clubs in the English football system which drew above 1,000 per game in 2021-22 (home domestic league matches): 143 clubs, including 51 non-League clubs.
Also, there is an inset-map for all the clubs from Greater London-plus-the-immediate surrounding area (18 clubs from Greater London + 4 clubs from surrounding areas of the Home Counties). On the left-hand side of the map-page, the clubs are listed by average attendance, along with a column showing 3 things: league-level; 2021-22 league-finish; and promotion-or-relegation (green for promotion/red for relegation. …” billsportsmaps
“CARDIFF, Wales — When it was over, when the referee blew his whistle and the crowd roared and Ukraine’s dream of earning a place in this year’s World Cup was gone, most of its national soccer team dropped straight to the grass. A few players held their heads in their hands. The rest simply stared off into space. The scoreboard confirmed what, in that moment, even the Ukrainians themselves could scarcely believe: Wales 1, Ukraine 0. A World Cup qualifying journey laced with symbolism and spirit and national pride, an opportunity delayed three months by war with Russia and reaching its denouement on a day that had begun with explosions in Kyiv, the first direct airstrikes on the capital in a month, had ended not in triumph but in the cruelest of twists: defeat to Wales on an own goal scored by a Ukraine forward, Andriy Yarmolenko. …” NY Times Guardian: Kyiv locals put Ukraine’s defeat into context after World Cup near miss
Deva Stadium’s parking lot is in England and its field is in Wales. In a pandemic, that’s a problem.
“… The answer to all three, Sumner knew, was Chester F.C., a one-time stalwart of English soccer’s professional divisions but currently residing in its sixth tier. For 30 years, Chester, the team he served as official historian, had played at a stadium that straddled the largely nominal line separating England from Wales. Not that it seemed especially important to anyone. The stadium’s location was nothing more than a minor claim to fame and occasional inconvenience: two countries sometimes meant paperwork for two local authorities. Other than that, Sumner said, nobody even knew exactly where the border was.’ …” NY Times W – Chester F.C.