A Comprehensive Preview of Every World Cup Qualifier: Friday September 5 2013

Road to Brazil

In his TFN debut, Matt Davies runs through every single World Cup Qualifier taking place over the international break. Time to once again take a step down the road to Brazil 2014…

All times are GMT.


Russia v Luxembourg – 15:30
Perennial underdogs Luxembourg head to Kazan to face a Russian team going through a slight crisis after rolling over meekly to Portugal and losing away in Northern Ireland in their last qualifiers. Fabio Capello will hope to return to winning ways though, and qualification is still in their hands. A win will put Russia top of their group, and while Luxemburg have a respectful 3 points from 6 games, it could be a bump to earth after drawing away in Azerbaijan last time out. Home win.

Kazakhstan v Faroe Islands – 16:00
This game will most likely slip under the radar – both teams field players who wouldn’t really be classed as stars, and neither have sprung any surprises in qualification so far. The trip to (far) eastern Europe will likely do no favours for the Faroese and it seems probable that they won’t get anything in this fixture. Home win.

Czech Republic v Armenia – 17:00
The Czech Republic play as a solid unit, with a more than capable back five. Gone are the big names from the last decade (with the exceptions of Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky); they will aim to stifle the opposition into submission, as they did when they reached the second round in Euro 2012. Armenia’s stock is most definitely on the rise this qualification. A great result beating Denmark 0-4 away in the last round proves that point, and in £21.5m Dortmund signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan they have one of the rising stars in European football. They are a pacey, open team that will look to use their speed to their advantage. A win for either team would put them in a good position for second place, but I can see the Czechs just edging this one. Home win. Continue reading

Can Brazil make home advantage count in 2014?


With the countdown well under way for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Rory Macdowall assesses the host’s chances of winning the tournament on home soil…

On 16th July 1950 in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana, Alcides Ghiggia completed a storming run to fire in a goal at the near post, securing a Uruguayan victory in that year’s World Cup. The goal was met with near silence in a primarily Brazilian crowd of 173,850, stunned into submission by one of the greatest upsets in football history. The loss burned in the hearts of the biggest footballing nation on the planet, their right to win thwarted by their tiny neighbour to the south.

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The FAI Must Escape Trap

After a series of man-management mishaps, it’s time for Giovanni Trapattoni to go quietly writes False Nine editor Hugo Greenhalgh

Stubbornness appears to be a quality synonymous with great management. The master of this trait was probably the late Brian Clough. When asked how he handled players who disagreed with him, Clough famously replied, “We sit down for 20 minutes, talk about it and then decide I was right”. Continue reading