FLASHBACK: Germany 1-5 England

15 years after a 5-1 win over Germany in Munich, James Dutton looks back at the greatest result in England’s recent history and the lessons that have not been learned…

‘It’s Neville to Campbell, Campbell to Rio,

Rio to Scholesy, Scholesy-Gerrard,

Gerrard to Beckham, Beckham to Heskey,

Heskey to Owen, it’s a goal, 5-1!’

It is perhaps a sign of the times that Ant and Dec soundtracked the greatest moment of the English football team in the last 15 years. Ignoring the fact the lyrics are incorrect – Michael Owen did not score the fifth goal – ‘We’re on the Ball’ reflected the fresh optimism that had been injected into the national side at the start of the Sven-Goran Eriksson era.

It was England’s official song as they travelled half-way across the world to Japan and South Korea for the 2002 World Cup, a journey that had looked a remote fantasy when Kevin Keegan resigned in the Wembley toilets after a 1-0 defeat to the Germans in October 2000. Continue reading

TFN’s Favourite Teams: Wolfsburg 2008-09

In a new series on our favourite teams, Ben Sibley fondly recalls the Bundesliga-winning Wolfsburg side of 2008-09…

Published in 2008, page 88 of the fifth edition of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting states that “A fire naturally occurs when the elements [heat, fuel and oxygen] are present and combined in the right mixture”.

In August of the same year, Zvjezdan Misimović joined fellow Bosnian Edin Džeko and the Brazilian Grafite at Wolfsburg – managed by Felix Magath. Magath, shocked by the decision of Wolfsburg’s outrageously-talented but homesick Marcelinho to return to Brazil, believed Misimović was the ideal replacement – he was signed for just under £4m and tied down to a four-year deal.

Misimović was a wonderfully gifted attacking midfielder and had enjoyed an eye-catching 07/08 season in a Nurnberg team that lost half of its league games and couldn’t escape relegation to 2. Bundesliga. He had the technique that ensured his vision and reading of the game was utilised regularly and ruthlessly. All he needed was a player on a similar wavelength – he ended up with two. 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

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


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

The Non-Redemption of Ricardo Quaresma


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

The False Nine predict the World Cup


With the World Cup less than a month away the excitement is palpable. We at The False Nine have put together our own predictions for how the tournament will pan out with an almost universal consensus that Spain will complete an unprecedented quadruple and retain their crown…

Don’t forget to head over to the Betting Expert World Cup Predictor page to create your own set of World Cup results! Continue reading

Around the world with Lutz Pfannenstiel


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.


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