Posts Tagged ‘France’

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So Belgium are the best team in the world. This is quite an achievement considering they didn’t win the World Cup which is, supposedly, a tournament to discover which is the best team in the world.

They were beaten, not in the final but in the semi-final, by France, who are the second best team in the world.

In the final, France beat Croatia who are now fourth obviously courtesy of their semi-final victory over England who, despite this loss to the Croatians, (who were four places below them at the time), have moved up to sixth. (more…)

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After four years of waiting, not quite with bated breath, the World Cup arrived and here we are already at the semi-final stage. What is surprising about this year’s tournament is that England’s players are still there!

For the first time since 1990, (Gazza’s tears at missing the final they never made it to, and all that), England have reached those dizzy heights once again.

Whether by luck, good judgement or good play is debatable but they are there, no denying it. (more…)

After what seemed to be a year-long wait, which actually lasted a whole two days, football is finally back. We never thought we would be pleased to see the return of the international version of the game but, when nothing else is available, beggars can’t be choosers.

No doubt we will even sit up through all hours of the night watching meaningless pre-season tour games when they begin in three or so weeks as well.

Still, there’s some meaningful stuff has to happen between now and then such as the little matter of who is going to be crowned World Champions. Now that we are sure it won’t be Germany, picking the winner is not as straightforward as it once was. (more…)

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Unless England get another chance to play every game at Wembley, which nowadays certainly wouldn’t guarantee them anything, they will be nowhere near winning another World Cup.

Considering that they haven’t come close to winning anything in all that time, this is a very sad indictment of the nation who like to keep reminding the world that they invented football. (more…)

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Well folks, it’s that time of the year again! European competition has returned with the start of the knockout stages of both the Champion’s League and the Europa League.

This article was supposed to be a preview of the two tournaments BEFORE any of the games had been played but, thanks to missed deadlines due to oversleeping, is now published after the first round of them has finished.

Fortunately only Arsenal, out of the English contingent, have played their first leg game and everybody knew what was going to happen before a ball was even kicked. (more…)

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(Yet again Ronald Koeman has donned his Claudio Ranieri mask in order to slip under the radar!)

If you believe everything that you read, then yes, the Premier League is very open this season. The fact of the matter is though, that it isn’t really.

What do we mean by “open” anyway? There are twenty teams in the division. For the title race to be wide open, (as in “that result has blown the title race wide open“, a frequently heard phrase), then every one of the twenty needs to be in with a chance of winning it. (more…)

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Having spent most of my working life scraping a living in the sales industry I have met, over the years, my fair share of blindly optimistic people. It helps, apparently, to think that something will go well even when, to the unbiased observer, it obviously will not.

I have nothing against optimism and positive mental attitude but, as with most things, there is a time and a place. (more…)

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So it has finally happened. The transfer saga of the Summer has reached it’s conclusion and Paul Pogba has returned to the club he left four years ago after being told he had to wait for his chance in the first team.

Typically, being a teenager, he thought he knew best and that Sir Alex Ferguson was wrong in his decision. He proceeded to run down his contract and eventually left for Juventus for a compensation package of around £800,000.

He wasn’t proved right when he went to Italy, as everybody who knew him knew he was an exceptional footballer. What he did prove, unfortunately, is that most of the power nowadays lies with the player, even when he is still very young. (more…)

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(Zlatan has to force his eyes open to try and overcome extreme tiredness brought on by playing a game of football)

So Zlatan needs an extended rest because of his exertions in the Euros! UEFA rules state that players appearing in the competition must be given three weeks break at the end of it. This means that Ibrahimovic would be able to go to China with the rest of the team but, as the poor soul doesn’t have the strength to pull his suitcase, he is being given extra hols by his new boss.

As well as displaying a laudable level of compassion and sympathy it also gives us an insight into how well Jose Mourinho looks after the elder citizens of the team.

The United manager, having watched all the games in France, will have noticed that Ibrahimovic was picked to play in all three of Sweden’s games, meaning that he spent a total of 270 minutes actually on a football pitch during a competitive game. (more…)

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This was the first World Cup I was old enough to watch and appreciate. It was 1966, the year before colour TV appeared, so black and white it was.

Colour TV, just as an aside, made its first appearance on BBC2 at Wimbledon, where everybody had to wear white! A typically well thought out introduction to the wonderful world of colour by the BBC.

So back to the World Cup and, after a laborious 0-0 draw against Uruguay, England sailed through the rest of the group beating Mexico 2-0, then France by the same score. Without playing remarkably well, England had qualified from the group and Roger Hunt had scored three goals. Worryingly, at this stage, England’s top scorer, Jimmy Greaves, hadn’t scored a goal in the opening three games.

In the quarter-final England were to face Argentina. By now Alf Ramsey had decided to drop Jimmy Greaves and picked Geoff Hurst in his place. This paid off when Hurst scored the only goal of a drab game, remembered more for the sending off of Antonio Rattin, Argentina’s captain, than for anything else.

In the semi-final, England conceded their first goal of the competition when Eusebio scored a penalty for Portugal. It made little difference as England were already leading at the time with two goals from Bobby Charlton. The game finished 2-1. (more…)