Tag: Nigeria

The 2011 Women’s World Cup: Group A Preview

It’s now less than two weeks until the 2011 Women’s World Cup starts in Germany, and over the next couple of weeks or so we’ll be taking the time to bring you a quick run-down of all of the teams that are taking part in this year’s competition. FIFA had considered increasing the number of teams entering this year’s tournament to twenty-four, and then to twenty. The former number was rejected because it was considered that increasing to number would dilute the competition too much (critics of women’s football were arguably handed ammunition when Germany beat Argentina 11-0 in the opening match of the last tournament), whilst the latter, just as logically, was rejected as being entirely unworkable. This year’s qualification period started just over two years ago, and ended in November of last year. First up is the group featuring the hosts and defending world and European champions, Germany; Group A. Germany (Tournament Odds – 11/10): Winners of the last two World Cups as well as the last European Championships and the host nation for this year’s showpiece event, if women’s football could be described as “coming home”, then it surely is for Germany this summer. Everywhere we look in their squad for this summer sits the mark of sheer quality. With a mixture of older and younger players, the balance between youth and experience is delicately woven...

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Good Luck, Jonathan: Nigeria’s President Calls The Shots

In the immediate aftermath of a disappointing World Cup campaign, it might seem like an appealing idea. Get the team out of all competitive football and force them to rebuild for a couple of years. The edict issued forth by the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, to dissolve the national football team for two years and to dissolve the Nigerian Football Association, the NFF, beats a highly populist drum and has been greeted with a degree of support from Nigerian football supporters, but he could, in taking such drastic measures, find himself on a collision course with FIFA. It was a massively disappointing World Cup for Nigeria. The notion of this World Cup somehow being a “home” tournament for teams from Africa was a little simplistic. After all, Lagos is 2,800 miles from Johannesberg (only 300 miles less than the distance between Lagos and London). However, expectations in Nigeria were high that this team could get through to the latter stages of the tournament, but things didn’t quite work out like that. Defeats against Argentina and Greece in their opening two matches gave them only a slight chance of getting through the group stages, and a 2-2 draw against South Korea in their final match sealed their elimination from the tournament. Goodluck Jonathan hasn’t been the president of Nigeria for very long. He only took power on the sixth of...

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World Cup 2010: Nigeria 2-2 South Korea

It’s the fault of Germany, Austria, Argentina and Peru, although it was bound to happen one day, although as Mexico and Uruguay proved earlier, some teams can enter a game knowing that a specific result benefits both sides, and still treat the game as any other. But, just in case the last two games kick off simultaneously, which is a shame for the viewer. The first game, especially this time round, is cagey, not losing is more important than winning. The second game is about putting a marker down, showing everyone else what you have as your Plan A. And the third game is usually the one where you have to go hell for leather. A ninety minute version of injury time when you’re one-nil down. ITV went for the ratings and going for the likely “dead rubber” featuring France and the hosts, while BBC take a similar tack by showing the Argentina (or “we’ll assume Argentina will top the group” to give them their new full name according to most of the media) game on BBC1. Yet, that is a game where one team only needs to avoid defeat. This one is the “sleeper” game, yet both sides know that a win sees them through. For Nigeria, only a win will do. The night starts with the group set up like this: 1. Argentina 2. South Korea 3....

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World Cup 2010: Greece 2-1 Nigeria

Finally the tournament has come to life. In the twenty four hours before this game we’ve had some fine football played by Switzerland, Uruguay and Argentina, some drama and a proper upset in the first of thesse games. We’ve even ahd some controversy going on off-the-field too. If we needed a reminder that behind this celebration of world football lies a grubby marketing exercise then there’s the faintly scandalous decision to prosecute two of the women involved in Monday’s ambush marketing stunt (which seemed, in any case, not to break any of FIFA’s strict rules) at the Holland v Denmark game. If you feel the need to tie your World Cup into a deal for an exclusive “official beer”, let alone one that tastes like muck, then you deserve to have your tournament ambush marketed. I applaud it and encourage it, even if I don’t applaud or encourage media pundits cashing in on the exercise.

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World Cup 2010: Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

Diego Armando Maradona’s last World Cup game as a player, was in 1994. Against Nigeria. So, it was fitting that his first World Cup game as a manager was against the same opponents. Maradona’s playing career was controversial, but at his peak he was capable of raising above average teams to great heights, both at club level with Napoli (both their Serie A titles came with Diego at the heart) and of course at national level (Burruchaga apart, most of Argentina’s 1986 side was ordinary, or past their best).

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