Category: International

Phil Neville: A Job For The Boys  

The decision hasn’t been formally confirmed yet, but the rumours circling that the Football Association are set to appoint Phil Neville as the new manager of the England women’s team has already angered a considerable number of people, and it’s hardly surprising that this should be the case. Although it has been done occasionally before, international appointments aren’t usually used as testing grounds for largely untested head coaches, so the question for the FA if they are to make this appointment is a simple one: show your workings. It’s more than reasonable to say that 2017 was a pretty...

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Celtic: Spoiling A Party In The Champions League

“You’ll never walk alone,” verse AND chorus, resonated around Celtic Park as much as it ever could have at Anfield, the spine-tingling barely dying down even when the crowd sang the chorus too fast, as crowds always do. The PA system had been operating on the theory “if it’s too loud, you’re too old.” Yet STILL the Champions League music cowered beneath the din which greeted it, accompanied it and re-intensified when it ended…or when the TV camera operator reached the end of the team line-ups…the best/only way for many to gauge the ending. (Charles Green said he’d own...

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Ireland’s World Cup Car Crash 

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph” is a polite, religious Irish version of a phrase which rhymes with “clucking bell;” the reaction, surely, of many Ireland fans watching their team’s humiliating World Cup exit on Tuesday. And probably a better bet in Ireland’s midfield diamond than the one Denmark ran lanes through at will. When the end came, it was as difficult to watch as much of the football Ireland have played under Martin O’Neill’s management, although some of Denmark’s football was at the opposite end of the quality scale. Christian Eriksen and his manager Aage Hareide had reason to say...

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Italy: The Arrival Of The Apocalypse

There are two sides to most people who watch football on a regular basis. On the one hand, we have to be ruthless pragmatists, in order to preserve our sanity if nothing else. We know that some players are better than others, that some teams are better than others, and that some teams can be either greater than or equal to the sum of their parts. It’s mechanical, in a sense. All footballers – and all football teams – are not created equal. On the other hand, though, we are fabulously flamboyant romantics. We love the idea of David...

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The Under-17 World Cup: The England Kids Are Alright

A mostly great final to sum up a mostly great tournament, with almost precisely the right result. England’s under-17 success in India, on the back of the under-20’s triumph in Korea in June, has had England’s jingoistic media drooling over the senior team’s prospects in Qat…well…in 2022 anyway, although basic arithmetic and probable playing conditions suggest that 2026 is a better prospect (especially with qualification places available to 25% of the world). There is, of course, plenty of opportunity for potholes to emerge on the paths to senior glory. Basic arithmetic and definite playing conditions suggested that Brazil’s youth...

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