International Football

The 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Quarter-Finals

The 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Quarter-Finals

By on Nov 4, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

So. Farewell, then, a Brazil/Nigeria Under-17 World Cup final. As I predicted here, Mexico had next-to-no chance of beating Brazil. So they did. Just to spite me. And Eurosport’s Wayne Boyce was left almost tearfully lamenting the loss of “the dream final.” Boyce’s commentary colleague Tim Caple had breathlessly recommended to viewers of Sweden’s surprisingly...

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The FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Second Round

The FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Second Round

By on Oct 31, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

The odds against a Brazil/Nigeria final in the Under-17 World Cup are now shorter than a jockey. For all my talk of “dark horses” in this tournament, the second round revealed a gulf in pace, power, technique – and any other Alan Hansen-ism you might care to quote – between the Selecao, the Golden Eaglets and the rest. It was a curate’s egg of a second...

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FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Group Stages

FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Group Stages

By on Oct 26, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

If Jack Wilshire clocked the squad lists for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup currently taking place in the United Arab Emirates, he might see how the definition of nationality has developed. Austrians called Marko Kvasina and Nikola Zivotic, Canadians called El Mehdi Ibn Brahim and Ali Musse and a Uruguayan called Kevin. There’s no doubting the best name on show,...

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Northern Lights: The Sudden Ascent Of The Iceland National Football Team

Northern Lights: The Sudden Ascent Of The Iceland National Football Team

By on Oct 21, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

Those amongst us who had sleptwalked their way through the UEFA qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil might have been forgiven for not quite picking up on the full implications of such a story, but perhaps the big surprise of the group stages anywhere in the world came right here in Europe, where Iceland has qualified for the play-offs for a place at...

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The Republic of Ireland: International Football As Tragi-Comedy

The Republic of Ireland: International Football As Tragi-Comedy

By on Oct 18, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

Appearances can deceive greatly. On Sunday, I watched my team – who have had such a good start to the season that they are starting to becomeperennially known as “high-flying Kingstonian” – beat Ryman League strugglers Thamesmead Town by a largely expected margin of 4-1. The Thamesmead goalkeeper, the delightfully-named Bob Budd, was responsible for the...

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Spacemonkeygate: Or, How To Create An Omnishambles Within Twenty-Four Hours

Spacemonkeygate: Or, How To Create An Omnishambles Within Twenty-Four Hours

By on Oct 17, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

If only, we might pause to reflect, he had used the name ‘Laika’ instead. At least that way around we might have been spared the acres and acres of coverage that we have been subjected to since around about half past ten last night. There is, in a perverse way, almost something comforting about something relating to the England national football team...

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A Healthy Sense Of Perspective For England

A Healthy Sense Of Perspective For England

By on Oct 16, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

Forty years ago this week, at the same stadium and against the same opposition, English football suffered one of its least dignified nights yet, to that point. Laying siege to the Polish goal in the manner of [insert clumsy and highly insensitive war analogy here], they could only force the ball over the visiting goal line once, and that, it turned out, was not...

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An Impossible Job: Twenty Years On

An Impossible Job: Twenty Years On

By on Oct 11, 2013 in International Football, Latest | 0 comments

Incredibly (face it, they’re a dreadful shower) it’s 20 years this week since England last failed to qualify for a World Cup Finals. Consequently there will be quite a number of you reading this who don’t remember, or perhaps weren’t even born to witness, the terrible scenes that ensued. Five days national mourning. Stock markets in Tokyo...

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