Tag: Russia

Euro 2012: Russia 4-1 Czech Republic

There is a school of thought which suggests that part of the reason behind the global success of football lays in its occasionally ruthless depiction of the fallibility of humanity. We watch this game above all others for the brilliance and the horrendous, and all stops in between. The first match of the 2012 European Championships demonstrated this in spades. Both Poland and Greece were sporadically excellent and horrific, and the result was a match which surpassed the low expectations that most had for it before it started. Moreover, their draw meant that this evenings game between Russia and The Czech Republic kicked off with this most enigmatic of groups looking no more resolvable than it had a couple of hours earlier. Within twenty-five minutes of kick-off in Wroclaw this evening, however, this fog had started to lift. Russia had intermittently sparkled at the last European Championships but had followed this up with a failure to qualify for the World Cup finals, while the Czechs have flattered to deceive since reaching the semi-finals of the competition eight years ago, only qualifying for this tournament thanks to a ropey last minute penalty kick against Scotland in their group and a play-off win against Montenegro. Having edged through the play-offs, there had been few signs of any improvement on their part in recent months and with some wondering whether Russia, with...

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Euro Moments: Russia

Our daily cartoon series continues this morning with Russia and an incisive comment on perhaps the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game, Lev Yashin. Dotmund scribbled this with his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth. You can download the Twohundredpercent Euro 2012 spreadsheet here (for Excel 2007), whilst a version that will be compatible with older versions of Excel is available here. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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Euro 2012: The Runners & Riders – Russia

The Russian national team could be forgiven for treating all matches up to the 2018 World Cup finals as a warm up for that competition. After all, the amount of money being spent on the first tournament to be held in the country will be vast and expectations amongst the Russian public will be accordingly high. Russia, however, have spent most of the last two decades or so since the break-up of the Soviet Union singularly failing to set the world of international football alight and there is little to suggest that this summer will see a significant improvement from them. The History: They may have consistently failed to live up to billing in the World Cup, but the Russian (or, rather, Soviet) record in the European Championships since it began is as good as anybody else’s. The Soviet Union won the first tournament in 1960, and since then they have been the tournament runners-up on three occasions, in 1964, 1972 and 1988, although of course the Soviet Union teams of the time were bolstered by the involvement of other areas which are now independent countries, including this year’s co-hosts, Ukraine. Russia’s World Cup record, however, is worth examining and it is considerably poorer than their record in European competition. They have failed to qualify for the last two consecutive tournaments and haven’t got past the group stages of the competition since  reaching...

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FIFA, The FA and The British Press: No-one Really Wins The Moral Debate

“Please accept my resignation. I wouldn’t belong to a club that would accept me as a member”, said the telegram that Groucho Marx in his famous telegram to the Friar’s Club of Beverly Hills, and the Football Association must be inwardly feeling the same as Marx with their admission that recent press revelations into the behaviour of various senior FIFA delegates has had an extremely damaging effect on their bid to host the 2018 World Cup. The FA had apparently at first thought that they had managed to escape the ire of those at the top of the world’s governing body over the revelations made by The Sunday Times, but with an edition of the BBCs Panorama  on the subject also due to be shown before the vote next month it is now widely anticipated that the award will go to Russia. There was a brief period in time that, unbelievably, the English bid was the bookmakers’ favourite, but this was a brief highlight in what has looked from the outset like a dismal campaign. Lord Triesman was was stitched up earlier this year by the Mail with a pincer movement that may or may not have been more about him having the sheer nerve to be a Labour peer in favour of changing the financial structure of football than the World Cup bid. The Mail widely criticised more...

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Tackling Racism Head On, The West Bromwich Albion Way

With just a couple of months left until the voting starts for the hosting of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals, it is perhaps unsurprising that a story should enter the public domain regarding racism that involves, to some extent, clubs from the two countries that are the current favourites to win the nomination to host the 2018 tournament. The controversy has involved the transfer of midfielder Peter Odemwingie from Lokomotiv Moscow to West Bromwich Albion. It has been reported that, when Odemwingie left Lokomotiv, he was greeted at his last match with a banner with a picture of a banana on it and message saying, “Thanks West Brom”. The argument turned faintly odd when the head of the Russian bid, Alexei Sorokin, stated that everybody had missed a subtle joke, stating that: I know that this banner applied to a certain player and to the manner of how he played in his last matches. Apparently fans were not happy with the fact that he plays better for Nigeria and worse for the club. That’s why they have shown their satisfaction after he left. And there is nothing racial in it. If there would be another player – from Russia, Denmark, Norway or Japan, for example – the reaction could be the same. In Russia ‘to get a banana’ means ‘to fail a test somewhere’. There are, without...

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