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Day: August 23, 2011

It’s Time To Close This Window Sooner

There was one name missing from the team-sheets for last night’s match between Manchester United and Spurs, and it was a name that says a great deal about the state of the transfer market in modern football. In the clearest sign yet that he will be leaving White Hart Lane for Stamford Bridge, Luka Modric was a glaring admission from the Spurs team-sheet. Modric’s head, according to press reports, “wasn’t right”, to which the natural reaction is, perhaps, “yeah, too right it wasn’t”. His agitation to leave North London for West London is, of course, yet another example of the footballer as a mercenary. He is, as we all know, a genuinely gifted talent as a player, and there has been no attempt at pulling of wool over eyes with this transfer story. This move may be about Champions League football. It may be about wanting to play under Andres Villa Boas. It may be about a grotesquely distended pay packet. At least, Spurs supporters may console themselves, there has been none of the mawkish bullshit that blight some – and we think we are safe in being able to assume that the readers of this site will be plenty aware of whom we are talking here – modern transfers, a phenomenon which is little more than an equivalent of badge-kissing, which has come to be regarded as one of...

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The Under 20 World Cup: The Final Curtain

 Nothing became the Under-20s World Cup like the leaving of it. I got it wrong (yet) again. A terrific and genuinely competitive third-place play-off was followed by a fine final – Brazil beating Portugal 3-2 in a relative thriller for such occasions. Or at least, I have to assume it was a relative thriller for such occasions.  Having watched British Eurosport’s 90-minute highlights programme rather than the live feed (which would have taken me to 4.30am on my people’s sabbath without sleep), I can’t be too sure how entertaining the game was, as the ‘highlights’ package appeared to have been chosen and edited by someone with no knowledge of one end of a football from the other. One hundred and twenty minutes plus stoppage time into ninetyminutes doesn’t go, even my rudimentary arithmetic tells me that. But Eurosport’s highlights made it fit by cutting vast chunks of the game in an almost arbitrary manner. They deigned to show the goals. But in ignoring the fifty minutes between Portugal’s two goals and editing extra-time on even more of a whim, the viewer not only lost all sense of the rhythm and quality of the game, but also missed some genuine highlights. The “crazy incident off the post and crossbar just after Portugal levelled”? Don’t know, didn’t see it. Portuguese goalkeeper Mika’s “wobbles in the first half”? Did they threaten another Brazilian goal?...

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