Day: May 16, 2012

King Kenny Dethroned: An American Revolution At Anfield?

So farewell then, Kenny Dalglish. The Liverpool manager leaves the manager’s position at Anfield in a curious position, having reminded supporters of the club what winning trophies feels like – it seems scarcely credible but is nevertheless true that this year’s League Cup final was the clubs first at the new Wembley Stadium – but having failed in the Premier League, where no amount of white-washing could mask the fact that an eighth placed finish was unacceptably modest. Indeed, the club has only finished as low as this in a final league table on two occasions since the mid-1950s. That he should stand and fall on league position when he won the club a trophy and got them to another cup final is, of course, a sign of the times. Qualification for the Champions League is everything these days, and the relative lack of consistency amongst the teams that finished above Liverpool in the final table this season indicates that this season was a nettle which could have been grasped. For the clubs that Liverpool would consider to be their contemporaries, this has been a far from vintage season and the team still fell a long way short of them. Dalglish’s season came to be defined by this and two other issues: the amount of money spent by Liverpool on players and the Luis Suarez incident (and the club’s reaction to it)....

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Euro 2012 – The Runners & Riders: The Czech Republic

One could forgive the Czech Republic for being a little circumspect in their preparations for the 2012 European Championships. Having failed to qualify for the World Cup finals again two years ago – they’ve only qualified for one World Cup finals since the division of the Czechoslovakia’s national football team split into two early in 1994 – their qualification for this European Championships was modest and unspectacular. They scored only twelve goals in their eight qualifying matches, of which they lost three including a home defeat in their opening match against Lithuania. With Spain winning the group by an almost inhumane eleven points, the Czech Republic squeezed through to the finals with a comfortable win against Montenegro. The History: The Czech Republic national team came into being with its first international match, a friendly match in Turkey played in February of 1994. Prior to this, the Czechoslovakian national team had a moderate record that was punctuated most significantly in 1976, when they won the European Championships on penalty kicks against West Germany in Belgrade. Since the formation of the Czech Republic team, the contrasts of the team’s fortunes between the European Championships and the World Cup could not be more stark. The team has only qualified for one out of four World Cup finals since first entering the tournament for the 1998 competition, but in contrast to this the...

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