Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

ANYONE who watched the World Cup 1986 “hand of God” incident will have preconceived views about Diego Armando Maradona. In the space of six minutes in Mexico City, the game against England displayed everything that was good and bad about him. If VAR was in use in 1986, Maradona would have been sent off and Argentina would surely not have beaten England. History would have … Continue reading Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

Great Reputations: Portugal 1966 – the alternative champions

ASIDE from the image of Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft, one of the abiding memories of the 1966 World Cup is of Eusébio in full flight, the leading scorer and the most exciting player of the tournament. If you asked most people who would have been worthy champions if England had not won, the answer would undoubtedly be Portugal, who came through … Continue reading Great Reputations: Portugal 1966 – the alternative champions

Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

ANYONE who watched the World Cup 1986 “hand of God” incident will have preconceived views about Diego Armando Maradona. In the space of six minutes in Mexico City, the game against England displayed everything that was good and bad about him. If VAR was in use in 1986, Maradona would have been sent off and Argentina would surely not have beaten England. History would have … Continue reading Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other

Sorokin’s take on Russia 2018

DESPITE recent political wranglings over Russia, the CEO of the 2018 World Cup, Alexey Sorokin, believes the competition changed the image of his country. Speaking at the World Football Summit in Madrid, Sorokin said the World Cup was an economic and social success. “Football has a unifying power,” he said. “And the World Cup is a great remedy for every football sickness.” He was, of course, … Continue reading Sorokin’s take on Russia 2018

Week Four: Into some form of perspective

AMID the theorising about what England’s 2018 World Cup campaign really meant, there were suggestions that ranged from a reaction to the current toxic political climate in the UK to a reborn national team that highlights the power of the Premier League. The fact is, if England had been in the other half of the draw, or Colombia hadn’t fluffed their lines, there would have … Continue reading Week Four: Into some form of perspective

Russia 2018 underlines where global power is shifting

WITH Brazil and Uruguay falling at the quarter-final stage, the 2018 World Cup became an all-European affair, not a total surprise, but the old excuse of geographical disadvantage, used for decades to explain early disappearance in the competition by Europeans or Latin Americans, is becoming somewhat outdated Only Brazil and Germany have won the World Cup in another continent, Brazil in 1958 (Sweden), 1994 (USA) … Continue reading Russia 2018 underlines where global power is shifting

CR7 and Juve, why it will make sense

AT the age of 33, and after a career at Real Madrid laden with glittering prizes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus may seem like a surprising decision. But it could be a very lucrative business transaction for both sides that enhances the reputation of the player and helps shift his employer up a gear or two. From Ronaldo’s perspective, the timing of the announcement was … Continue reading CR7 and Juve, why it will make sense

Week Three: Going home, coming home

AND then there were four. Two good teams, two sides that got a bit lucky, managed their tournament well and worked their way through. If it turns out to be Belgium v England, then the Premier League’s grandees will be making merry, for it will be two teams of Premier players fighting it out for the game’s greatest prize. There’s been a lot of nonsense … Continue reading Week Three: Going home, coming home

Is World Cup success so important for critical acclaim?

THE football world is reaching the end of a cycle, one that has been dominated by two individuals, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both players, worshipped in their own countries and admired worldwide, went tumbling out of probably their last World Cup. This has saved us the tiresome narrative of Russia 2018 being the last-chance saloon for both players, who will now never add the … Continue reading Is World Cup success so important for critical acclaim?

Week Two – Written in the stars

FOR A while, we were led to believe this World Cup would be the one of shocks and surprises. We had Brazil spluttering to a draw, Argentina getting hammered and Germany beaten by Mexico. Messi would exit, leaving his last World Cup unfulfilled, Ronaldo would be crowned the greatest of all time and perhaps “little” Mexico would produce a fairy story. As for England, they … Continue reading Week Two – Written in the stars

Commentary Box: Germany’s “crisis”

IT is easy to admire many things about Germany, from the trains running on time, to German pragmatism and consensus, employee protection, high quality products, Kraftwerk and refusal to discard industries that appear to have little in common with modern trends. Back in the 1990s, some people in Britain laughed that Germany was still “bashing metal” to make money, while the UK was looking to … Continue reading Commentary Box: Germany’s “crisis”

Mexico, the biggest minnow

WHEN Mexico beat Germany 1-0 in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, it was greeted with mild hysteria, not just by the Mexican fans, but also by pundits and onlookers. As far as they were concerned, Mexico had pulled off a major shock, unseated the world champions and created a little piece of World Cup history. Any defeat suffered by Germany is a … Continue reading Mexico, the biggest minnow