Kelechi Iheanacho & the Stars of the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup

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Nathan Carr profiles Kelechi Iheanacho and two other standout performers at this year’s U-17 World Cup…

This year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup, held in the United Arab Emirates, proved a great success. Nigeria were tipped beforehand to claim their fourth title and they did just that after comprehensively beating Mexico in the Final. There was shedloads of goals (172, the highest ever scoring edition of the tournament), drama and glowing talents – as we were given an insight into the next wave of young global superstars. In no particular order, here are three individuals that really stood out… Continue reading

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love San Marino

TFN regular David Wild finds some solace in the the spirit of San Marino…

“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting” – George Orwell – The Sporting Spirit, 1945

As England held their breath last week and the spheres of World Cup Qualification began to move in the favour of Heavyweights and Underdogs alike, another, less heralded game was being played out, miles away from the oceans of expectancy. Despite the lack of TV camera focus and fanfare this was a match that would answer another burning question in the footballing world.

Would this be San Marino’s worst round of major tournament qualifiers ever?

20:00 GMT- 15/10/13 – San Marino lined up against Ukraine having conceded an average of 5 goals per game in World Cup 2014 qualifying, roughly one goal every 1080 seconds. Euro 2012 tournament qualifiers had seen them concede 53 goals without reply, their worst figures to date. La Serenissima faced up this time against the impending yellow threat determined to stand strong.

They lasted 13 minutes before conceding, then shipped another 7 that night. As can be seen in the figures below, this meant that the worrying upward trend of goals conceded per game in tournament qualifiers continued to haunt the ‘whipping boys’ of European football. Continue reading

Qat-ar you having a laugh?

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As negotiations over the 2022 Qatar World Cup continue, Jacob Mignano offers his own vitriolic assessment of the farcical process…

It’s hard to believe I’ve never written anything about the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar that hasn’t been neatly summed up in 140 characters. Such is my outrage, I feel Twitter is not an adequate medium through which to sufficiently summarise my feelings. That changes now.

Ever since the competition was awarded to Qatar I have tried my best to bite my tongue and just get on with it. Honestly, I was so incredulous at FIFA’s decision to overlook England as the host of the 2018 World Cup in favour of Russia, that when it was announced a short while later that Qatar had pipped the U.S.A and Australia to the post, I assumed it was just a very elaborate joke. As time passed though, I began to understand. Why hold the World Cup in the home of football, a country with one of the world’s most competitive leagues and some of the world’s finest stadiums already in place, when you can hold it across seven time-zones, on plastic pitches linked together by 24-hour bus journeys? I suppose for the same reason you’d choose to hold a World Cup in the sweltering heat of a country almost half the size of Wales.

(Oh, what’s that you say? They both have oil? Well, why didn’t you say so before?) Continue reading

The TFN Fifa Personality Test

David Wild takes you through the FIFA Personality Test…

This is largely reposted from a blog piece that I wrote previously last October for The Daily Touch.

We have a theory here at TFN that FIFA brings out a lot of your inner personality. Gaming in general gives any person the medium to behave exactly as he wants in a world with relatively few consequences. Whether it’s GTA V, Fable or Fifa, where there’s an element of free roam there is going to be the opportunity for the game to bring out some of your innate virtues and unleash some of your inner demons.

Fifa’s relatively broad canvas of creativity and the variations in playing style and in-game behaviour that it gives us may bring with it that chance for us to finally live out our fooballing fantasies.

We can stamp an imprint of ourselves on play and behave as if we were the spoiled millionaire of our dreams. Not in as broad ranging a way as something like a souped up New Star Soccer would perhaps allow (EA Games please take note) but nevertheless the structured freedom of play gives us scope to get creative with how we go about things.

Bearing this in mind there are certain archetypal personality types that can be seen over and over again in the Fifa world. Just as people can sometimes be seen as ‘introverted’ or ‘passionate’ in real life, so their Fifa personality can be dissected to reveal some interesting insights into their true character.

We invite you then, our loyal readers, to take our personality test and discover which of the Fifa personality types you think you best fits your own style. Be warned, we may not invite you to Fifa 14 release night if you reveal yourself as a number 5 or a number 7. Continue reading

They Think It’s All Over. For now….

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David Wild looks at the controversies of goal line technology and its impending introduction to English football…

It has never been the wont of Football to keep up with the ceaseless march of technology. A game that often defines itself by its simplicity, emotion and unpredictability is traditionally thought of as being set in its ways, resistant to change, stubborn.

But is football correct to resist the changes that technology brings? What would the effects of referral systems have on football’s dynamic and on the authority of it’s officials? While we can see the obvious benefits of Hawk Eye and video replay referrals in other sports is football too unique in its make up to embrace such systems?

The recent decision to introduce Hawk Eye technology in the Premier League as of the 2013/14 season is remarkable because it has happened at all. The amount of time it has taken for football to adapt a system successfully used in cricket and tennis for the last five years is baffling to many who claim it is impossible to doubt the potential of technology in clarifying official’s decisions. Continue reading

Around the world with Lutz Pfannenstiel


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David Dodds looks at the extraordinary tale of Lutz Pfannenstiel, who represented 25 clubs and remains the only professional to have played in all 6 FIFA Confederations…

Earlier this month I wrote a profile of Lutz Pfannenstiel and his charity Global United F.C. which appeared on In Bed With Maradona For the sake of brevity I excluded a lot of biographical information from that article, but his story is so interesting that I’ve decided to construct a more comprehensive account of his footballing life from the remaining notes and research I have.

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Mercenary. Greedy. Financially-motivated. When you see a footballer who has played for twenty-five different clubs, you might be forgiven for thinking this. The game has no shortage of players who consider football a job, a way to pay the mortgage. But in the words of Lutz Pfannenstiel, the globetrotting German goalkeeper: “It’s nice to be rich. But it’s better to be wealthy in the head, wealthy in experience”. Continue reading

Has Welsh Football ever had it so good?

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In the wake of Swansea’s glorious League Cup triumph, The False Nine editor James Dutton explores the state of the Welsh game…

As the dust settles on Swansea’s emphatic Capital One Cup victory over the unlikely opposition of Bradford City, Blue Square Conference leaders Wrexham are due to travel to Wembley next month for the FA Trophy Final. Cardiff City sit eight points clear at the summit of the Championship with a game in hand, whilst Newport County sit just two points behind their North Walian countrymen, also with a game in hand.

Swansea’s meteoric rise from the basement of the Football League pyramid in 2004 to the heady heights of the Premier League, and now League Cup winners just nine years later, is an astounding tale. Next year the Swans will be playing European football; a chance for Welsh football to showcase its burgeoning ascension on the continent.  Continue reading