Tinder – a surefire solution to the transfer window?

TFN’s Alastair Nasmyth returns with an alternative method for football transfers…

The World Cup is over and the Brazilians are sweeping up the ticker tape (and sweeping away the tiki-taki) whilst trying to overcome one hell of a hangover. After valiantly fighting off her attentions for a year with protests and riots, a few misplaced Caipirinhas and they’ve woken up next to the FIFA fat girl.  Giving in to their better instincts they took the rotund Mrs. Blatter back to their place and just as the passion mounted the mood was killed when it was suggested their German friend got involved. As the haze lifts, one can only imagine what the mixed emotions of self-loathing at their elimination and pride at actually hosting the event will feel like. Continue reading

Louis Van Gaal: The Master Tactician

In his first piece for TFN, Kammonke Obase-Wotta looks at why Louis Van Gaal is set to succeed as the new Manchester United manager…

As the World Cup comes to a thrilling end, it is time to say goodbye and turn our attentions to one of the most anticipated soap operas of the year; the English Premier league. As last season drew to a close after another drama-filled year, the news of David Moyes’ sacking came as no surprise and was greeted with sighs of relief from the Manchester United faithful.

I can remember vividly the last three games of the season and watching Manchester United’s poor performances. After one of the matches I got involved in a heated discussion about whether or not United would bounce back. I remember saying something like, “Manchester United has probably two to three years to bounce back, based on the fact that Liverpool flopped and were out of the Champions League for over four seasons.” Fast-forward three months and I am rethinking my stance. Why? It is quite simple – because of the virtuoso tactician, Louis Van Gaal. Continue reading

Podcast: The False Nine review the 2014 World Cup

Host Greg Johnson is joined by James Dutton, Hugo Greenhalgh, Simon Smith and Francis Gene-Rowe as the False Nine gang look back the best bits of Brazil 2014.

Was it a worthy final? Where does the tournament sit in World Cup history? Who were the teams and players that caught the eye?

Listen on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/tfns-brazil-2014-world-cup/id784149140?i=316356489&mt=2

Lies, Damned Lies and Heat Maps

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TFN’s Alastair Nasmyth is sceptical of football’s growing obsession with statistics…

Football has always been surprisingly suspicious of new technology. How long after cricket did we finally start seeing Hawkeye technology used for goal line disputes (it’s so simple and they also keep pigeons off the pitch)? Will football ever join the majority of professional sports that use television replays? Or is a can of shaving foam the only form help we’re willing to give the men trying to do the impossible job? While the authorities have treated scientific advances and their potential applications in the game in the same way that my Nan treats her mobile phone (used at arms length and with a look of worry on her face like it might explode in her hand), everyone else connected with the sport is embracing it with open arms, and no one more so than the statisticians. Continue reading

Last 16 in sight for USA after hard-fought win over rivals Ghana

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TFN’s Kyle Hulme analyses USA’s 2-1 victory over Ghana…

The people of the United States are no strangers to history; they can proudly recall how they threw off the shackles of the British in 1776, name the field commanders of the Civil War and talk with intrigue and pride about the Battle of the Alamo. But after last night, perhaps they will have a new historical event to talk about around dinner tables and in classrooms up and down the country – the night soccer established itself as a part of their national identity.

Americans are no strangers to rivalries either – ask any hockey fan and they’ll explain how nothing feels better than getting one over the Russians or the Canadians – and last night another ghost was laid to rest. Ghana may seem like an unlikely rival, given that the two countries have no historic problems and they are separated by oceans and thousands of miles, but the Black Stars have been a thorn in the side of the US soccer team for years, bettering them in the group stage in 2006 and knocking them out with a goal in extra time in 2010. Ghana were a demon in long need of exorcising. But last night the US rewrote history, triumphing under a siege of Alamo proportions and moving one giant leap closer to the initially unlikely progression from their “group of death”. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: ITV Preview Belgium v Algeria

James Dutton and Greg Johnson imagine the scenes in the ITV studios as they cover Belgium’s opening game at the 2014 World Cup against Algeria…

Adrian Chiles: Goeiendag! Hallo! Welgekomen to ITV’s coverage of the Red Devils from Belgium against the Desert Foxes of Algeria. Yes, that’s right, Belgium are in town and the golden generation is ready to take the world by storm. With me, overlooking the beauty of the Copacabana Beach are Lee Dixon, Roy Kea… sorry… Patrick Vieira and Fabio Cannavaro. Continue reading

The Non-Redemption of Ricardo Quaresma

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Ahead of Portugal’s opener against Germany, Hugo Greenhalgh looks at one player who didn’t make the cut…

Ever since the appointment of Jose Mourinho as Chelsea manager, there has been an obvious and sustained Portuguese imprint that lasted at the club for around a decade. The easily forgettable Filipe Oliveira predated his arrival, but he quickly brought in his able lieutenants from Porto, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira, while Tiago Mendes joined from Benfica. In 2006, Hilario was added as a back-up goalkeeper and two seasons later, after Mourinho had left, Jose Bosingwa and Deco were signed.

During that 2008/9 season, another Portuguese also joined the ranks on loan in the January window. A one-time prodigy, Ricardo Quaresma had been playing for Inter, incidentally under Mourinho, but his time in Italy had not been particularly happy. Very much a ‘style over substance’ player, Quaresma was criticised for his lack of effort and suffered the indignity of winning the Bidone d’Oro award for the worst footballer in Serie A for 2008. Continue reading