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Day: August 4, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games: Womens Football – The Quarter-Finals

Those pesky quarter-finals do their worst yet again. By the time Hope Powell’s Team GB got any cohesion into their game against Canada, they were already a (terrific) goal down and the initiative had flown across the Atlantic, never to return.It was a sad, slightly flat way for Team GB’s otherwise impressive campaign to end, tempered by the fact that the Canadians ended it with an excellent display. As the BBC’s Guy Mowbray noted in commentary, both teams improved as the competition progressed. Unfortunately for the hosts, the Canadians improved that bit more. All four women’s quarter-finals were entertaining in their own way. France took ages to get going against the ultra-careful Sweden but produced a watchable second-half (spurred on by the commentary of a near-smitten Alastair Mann), even if Louisa Necib failed by some margin to live up to her ‘Zinedine Zidane’ label.The United States/Team USA/USNWT were clearly made to work harder than they wanted to in overcoming New Zealand, the pluckiest of plucky teams. If the Football Ferns hadn’t been as bad as their nickname in the opposition penalty box, the States might have had to snap out of the complacent torpor which has crept up on them in their last two games. And Abby Wambach got booked, not before time. And Japan’s win over Brazil was dotted with sumptuous football from both sides. The Selecao overwhelmed...

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The Scottish Premier League, A Brief Preview

The Scottish Premier League kicks off its fifteenth – and conceivably its last – season this weekend, after a summer when off-field issues have dominated, and the repercussions of which may yet have major consequences on the season ahead. It makes it similtaneously the most predictable, and in other respects the most unpredictable, season in the SPL’s history. The predictability is not hard to find. I imagine somewhere, at some point in time, there’s probably been a team that’s started the season in a major football league as a shorter odds favourite than Celtic start this one, but you’re going to have to look hard to find it. To what extent this will affect the level of interest from all concerned remains to be seen. For Celtic fans the novelty is bound to wear off sooner or later, but probably not for the first season. For the rest, who are now playing for second place rather than third, it doesn’t really make much odds. It’s the casual viewers for whom there will be little interest. And if the relegation place is sewn up long in advance (or if – as might happen – league expansion is pushed through in time for next season and relegation is taken out the equation) then, for the marketing men at least, it will be about as uninteresting a season as is possible to...

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