Jonny Singer ponders the rights and wrongs of FIFA’s latest controversy, the Russia and Qatar World Cup bids…
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years, you’ll probably know that there have been a few allegations of corruption against FIFA.
Since Qatar was announced as the 2022 World Cup host, to an air of general surprise and disappointment, football’s governing body has rarely been far from the headlines.
And, if the headlines you see most are written in English, and in particular if they’re written by Englishmen, you’re likely to have a pretty strong view about the issue.
As the news broke on Thursday that FIFA’s corruption report not only absolved Qatar of any wrong-doing, but also made accusations of corruption about the Football Association, the English press were almost falling over themselves to criticize, and mock, Sepp Blatter and his organization.
The response of almost everyone I’ve spoken to in this country is the same – FIFA are so corrupt that they’re attacking the only people to call out their corruption.
But are we right? Continue reading
TFN’s Hugo Greenhalgh believes that Islam Slimani and Yacine Brahimi can provide the basis for further Algerian success…
After producing one of the great World Cup surprises, two of Algeria’s international stars had a week to remember in the Champions League. Islam Slimani and Yacine Brahimi, now playing for Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon and Porto respectively, have continued to shine after enjoying impressive showings in Brazil. Slimani was on the scoresheet at both ends in Sporting’s 4-2 win against Schalke, while Brahimi scored one and assisted another in Porto’s 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao.
Both players were instrumental for Algeria as they qualified for the knockout rounds of the World Cup for the first time in their history. Slimani scored against Russia and South Korea, and was immense in their last 16 game against Germany in which he was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out for offside. There were plenty of offers for him after the World Cup and Slimani pushed for a move. However, Sporting held firm and the striker has since apologised for his behaviour. Continue reading
Alex Stewart ponders the true meaning of the international break…
Break, n. among other things:
6. An interruption or a disruption in continuity or regularity: television programming without commercial breaks.
7. A pause or interval, as from work: a coffee break.
8. A sudden or marked change: a break in the weather.
(From the free dictionary on the internet)
The international break, as a thing, provokes a variety of responses. A quick and in no way scientific survey conducted on social media earlier by yours truly revealed an array of responses which ran from the wholly positive to the suicidally inclined (injuries, etc etc). A quick trawl of internet-based relevant content shows a predisposition for mordant articles on the impact of said break, the opportunities it creates for club/country schism, luxated joints, and general fatigue (With football itself, even? Is there too much of a good thing?).
Actual fans, not thrallish hacks, seem to run contra-narrative and quite enjoy the change, though some express a genuine and understandable lack of interest based on: aforementioned ‘too much of a good thing’; partisan loyalty to club outweighing country; England not being as good to watch as [insert team of your choice here]. Without doubt, though, the ‘international break’ provokes a myriad of responses and a range of conflicting emotions/thoughts (is emotion too strong a word for this? Not if you’re Brendan Rodgers).
The origins of the phrase ‘international break’ are themselves murky. Wikipedia merely states that it is a “period of time set aside by FIFA for scheduled international matches per their International Match Calendar. Continue reading
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
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
Ethan Meade previews the remaining African sides: Ghana and Algeria… Continue reading
James Dutton ponders England’s use of James Milner this summer, and wonders whether he can have a similar impact on the national team as Owen Hargreaves did in 2006…
It’s fashionable to knock James Milner. His sheer unfashionability demands it.
Milner has a certain longevity which is barely credible. He broke Wayne Rooney’s short-lived record as the youngest Premier League goalscorer nearly 12 years ago in December 2002 at 16 years and 309 days. He won 46 caps for the England U21s, over a five-year period, a total that he has only recently passed with the senior side – cap number 47 coming, ironically, filling in at right-back.
He was the recipient of the 2009-10 Young Player of the Year award, in his eighth season as a professional footballer, which says as much about the credentials of that award as it does Milner’s unspectacular consistency in the years leading up to it.
Everyone expected something different from Milner. When a 16-year old breaks the Premier League’s youngest goalscorer record you’re inclined to expect something more fantastical than what Milner has offered during his dependable and steady career. Continue reading