A Comprehensive Preview of Every World Cup Qualifier: Sunday September 7 2013

Road to Brazil

Matt Davies complete his previews of the weekend’s World Cup Qualifiers with a focus on the fixtures taking place today in Africa…

Zimbabwe v Mozambique

Nothing to play for in this one, with neither team impressing at all in this one. Egypt won this group months ago and both of these teams sit at the bottom of the group. Not much to say, a draw in the previous game seems like a repeat result. Draw.

Togo v Congo DR

What should have been the toughest group in qualification hasn’t been as tight as most expected. Primarily, this is down to Togo and their poor goal scoring record without Adebayor and poor decision making by playing an ineligible player in their only victory against Cameroon. Congo DR were highly fancied to go to Rio but haven’t taken advantage of mistakes by other teams having scored only two goals in this campaign. Away win.

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A Comprehensive Preview of Every World Cup Qualifier: Saturday September 6 2013

Road to Brazil

Matt Davies continues his extensive rundown of the weekend’s World Cup Qualifiers…

All times are GMT.


Israel v Azerbaijan – 18:45

Israel are chasing Portugal and Russia in Group F, and should keep the pressure on with a victory here against an Azerbaijan side that lack quality. Israel have options in the squad with youth coming through and if they can keep their heads in the remaining fixtures they could benefit from a slip up. Home win.


Central African Republic v Ethiopia

Ehiopia are in a great position in Group A where a win would guarentee them a place in the African playoffs. The squad are primarily domestic based and they’ve impressed on a continental scale by qualifying for the AFCON in 2013. CAR are already eliminated and haven’t looked good during this campaign. Away win. Continue reading

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

Aleksandr Kokorin – the Next Russian Hero


Andy Shenk previews Russia’s trip to Northern Ireland, and the rise of a prodigious young talent in their domestic game…

Aleksandr Kokorin celebrated his 22nd birthday on March 19, just four days before suiting up for a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast. The Russian national team is ensconced at a golf resort outside of North London, a few kilometers from Arsenal’s training grounds, where they’ve been training since Monday.

The young Dinamo Moscow forward, who captained his club for the first time on Saturday evening during a 1-1 draw with Kuban, admitted this day was a bit different. “[My birthday’s] never come during camp…. This time I had a very strange birthday – with the national team, and in London, no less,” he told reporters after practice.

There certainly was no time to skip downtown, either, for post-workout drinks. Fabio Capello, who signed on with the Russian Football Union last July, has tightened the screws on a squad that earned its country’s ire at Euro 2012, both for their disappointing group stage exit and media reports of pampered footballers run wild in Warsaw.  Continue reading

Another False Dawn for England?


The False Nine editor, James Dutton, looks into Theo Walcott’s claim that this is the best England squad in his time with the national side…

So Theo Walcott has claimed this is the best England squad he’s been part of.

It certainly is a bold claim from the Arsenal forward. After all, this is the same Walcott who was plucked from Arsenal’s reserves by Sven Goran Eriksson at the age of 16 and invited to experience, first hand, England’s 2006 World Cup debacle. WAGs, metatarsals and prima donnas dominated the headlines, whilst poor little Theo was forced to watch on helpless. Continue reading

Young Lions Face Challenge of Filling Golden Generation’s Shoes

False Nine editor James Dutton assesses England’s upcoming fixture against Moldova, the symmetry it presents with the beginning of the ‘Golden Generation’ and the future beyond…

England return to competitive action for the first time since their dispiriting Quarter-Final showing against Italy with a return to Moldova. Sixteen years ago David Beckham was awarded his first cap in Chisinau, by Glenn Hoddle, and the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ was born. Sixteen years later and the ‘Golden Generation’s’ influence has largely subsided or been cast asunder, but its last remnants linger to make up the core of the transitional England of 2012. Continue reading

Archaic Roy Hodgson Unfit to Lead English Football’s Revolution


False Nine editor James Dutton assesses England manager Roy Hodgson’s credentials and the onset of the Football Association’s National Football Centre…

“If ‘keeping the ball better’ means playing it back to the goalkeeper all the time I am not sure I do want to keep it more.”

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