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Day: June 21, 2012

The Euro 2012 Quarter-Finals: Czech Republic 0-1 Portugal

So, we have had our twenty-four hour break and it is on to the quarter-finals – the business end, if you will – of the 2012 European Championships. And if there is one player above all others who looks as if he may be the one that is talked about in hushed tones when this tournament is talked about in years to come, it is likely that it will be the moustache-twirling pantomime villain of European football, Cristiano Ronaldo. After eighty minutes of knocking insistently at Petr Cech’s goal, he summoned forth a glorious diving header to win this game to send Portugal through to the semi-finals of the competition. If the Czech Republic had found themselves a trifle bemused to find themselves in the quarter-finals of the competition after their opening thrashing at the hands of Russia, though, they didn’t demonstrate it over the first thirty-five minutes of this match. They put in a strong performance in the opening stages of the match, albeit without creating very much by way of goalscoring opportunities, and it looked as if they might even have found a way to snuff Cristiano Ronaldo out, albeit by parking five or six of their players in a circle around him and refusing to move, but with ten minutes to play of the first half an injury to the surprisingly-still-only-twenty-seven-years-old Helder Postiga, who pulled up...

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Next Years FA Cup May Leave A Nasty Taste In The Mouth

Over the last few years, we have come to worry more than a little about the well-being of the FA Cup. Semi-finals at Wembley Stadium, falling television audiences for the final and dwindling crowds for matches involving Premier League clubs have all taken their toll on this most venerable of sporting institutions, but at least we can console ourselves with the fact that it still has a grip over the smaller clubs that enter it. The FA Cup still carries the potency to be able to thrust smaller clubs into the spotlight for a brief period of time, and its appeal to the very – and, considering the origins of the word, somewhat ironic – English love of schadenfreude. When the smaller clubs start to become affected by it all, though, we have to start wondering whether it is worth continuing to support. All of this brings us quite tidily to the small matter of Wembley Football Club. This is a club with a unique attachment to the competition. It remains the club that is the lazy option for television companies and hacks looking for an angle to shine upon the early rounds of the competition on account of its name alone and has featured in the national media on more than one occasion in spite of the fact that it is more than thirty years since it made...

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Rangers, Scare Stories & The Restructuring Of Scottish Football

When a story of a fantastical nature first appears in a tabloid newspaper, the temptation is to write it off as the delusion of somebody with an agenda and move on. In the case of the rumours now circulating that the owner of “The” Rangers, Charles Green, may – and we should stress the word “may” – be looking to buy an English club as a franchise and move into the Football League, however, the level of self-importance, disregard and underhandedness on display feels entirely in keeping with the rest of this dismal saga and it therefore deserves our attention. The clubs of the Scottish Premier League are shortly to vote on whether to allow “The” Rangers to join the their league from the start of next season. This has become the sixty-four million dollar question of the summer in Scottish football, with a very large number of the supporters of other clubs being firmly of the opinion that there is no way whatsoever that this club should be parachuted into the top division of their domestic game, when the only justification for it offered so far has been the money that SPL clubs raise from hosting two matches against them per season. That “The” Rangers FC will be dropped back into the SPL for the start of next season is far from guaranteed, though, and at the time of writing...

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Usmanov & Kroenkes Ongoing Stand-Off At Arsenal

With international football hogging the headlines at the moment, the Premier League has been rather quiet over the last couple of weeks. Sure enough, there was the emergence of Richard Scudamore from a meeting last week wiping drool from the corner of his mouth and carrying a bin bag full of television over his shoulder, but on the whole the Premier League, which is ordinarily a publicity-hungry black hole which sucks all before it in with its gravitational pull, has been almost eerily quiet of late. Earlier today, however, an interesting story appeared in the Daily Telegraph courtesy of the formidable Matt Scott which indicates that the league may be about to agree a change to its rules which may see a little common sense thrown upon its rules over club ownership. The continuing attempts of Alisher Usmanov to buy his way onto the board of directors at Arsenal Football Club has been ongoing for the last few years. Usmanov has been involved in attempting to build up his shareholding in the club since August 2007, when he – along with his cohort in this matter, the Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri – purchased a 14.58% share-holding in the club from former vice-chairman David Dein for £75m. He has increased his share-holding in the club since then to 29.72% in spite of the American Stan Kroenke increased his share-holding in the club...

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