International Football

England Totter Towards Euro 2012

By on Oct 8, 2011 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

For all the panic and soul-searching, then, England have qualified for next year’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, although their performance last night was again patchy and hinted at a team that is likely to struggle against the very best in Europe next summer. Moreover, England’s night – which should, or might, otherwise have been...

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Match Of The Midweek: England 1-0 Wales

By on Sep 6, 2011 in International Football, Latest | 6 comments

There are empty seats at Wembley this evening. The FA’s hyperbolic per-match ticket advertising for this match may have made inferences to this being the match that everybody wants to see, but the fact that the advertisements were on display anywhere at all told its own story. There are red dots pock-marking the background at the national stadium this evening,...

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My Favourite Match: France vs Portugal, The 1984 European Championships

By on Aug 28, 2011 in History, International Football, Latest | 3 comments

Football matches come, of course, in all shapes and sizes – the critically important and the relatively inconsequential, local derbies steeped in decades of mutual loathing and round-trips which measure thousands of miles and have never been undertaken before. Occasionally, though, context isn’t everything. Every once in a while, a match can suck an...

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The Under 20 World Cup: The Final Curtain

By on Aug 23, 2011 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

 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...

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The Under-20s World Cup: And Then There Were Four

By on Aug 19, 2011 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

It isn’t anyone’s idea of a dream final – certainly not Eurosport’s Tim Caple. But this Under-20s World Cup hasn’t been a dream tournament. Defensive Portugal against counter-attacking Brazil is something of a representation of what we have seen in Colombia over the last three weeks. And the ball could – should, in theory – spend long periods of the final untouched...

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The Under-20 World Cup: No Quarter Given

By on Aug 15, 2011 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

So… it transpires that England weren’t rubbish after all, just in an impossibly difficult group. Mexico sit proudly in the Under-20s World Cup semi-final line-up and Argentina should have been alongside them. The apologies of a nation are due to Brian Eastick and his team. Details of Mexico’s elimination of tournament hosts Colombia were impossible to find without...

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And Then There Were Eight: The Under-20 World Cup

By on Aug 12, 2011 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

Despite the fears that I, among others, expressed about England’s fate in their Under-20s World Cup last-16 encounter with Nigeria, it turned out that you could say: “England could have won”, out loud, in public, and not be immediately fitted up for a white, long-sleeved jacket. Blackpool’s Matt Phillips was the one England player of which most observers had heard....

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The Under-20 World Cup: Let’s Get This Party Started

By on Aug 9, 2011 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

It is a quirky system that requires two-thirds of the matches to knock out one-third of the entrants. But the opportunity for a well-placed third-placed team in a group to qualify for the last-16 gave us what drama there was in the third series of matches at the Under-20s World Cup… and perhaps the most bizarre qualification in recent tournament football history....

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