Spiegler – a star in the Middle East that never got to shine

  IN 1970, West Ham United’s manager, Ron Greenwood, a student of the global game, returned from Mexico with what he thought was a trump card. He was interested in signing  Israel’s captain and star player, Mordechai Spiegler. His fascination with overseas talent preceded the late-1970s trend, which gained fresh legs through Tottenham’s audacious acquisition of Ardiles and Villa, by some eight years. But 1970 … Continue reading Spiegler – a star in the Middle East that never got to shine

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

A joint North American World Cup is inevitable – but crazy

THE extension of the World Cup to 48 teams has, effectively, killed off the single host structure for future World Cups, certainly in Europe. With the exception of Germany, no individual nation in the old world can realistically hope to stage the competition – it is just too damn big. But we think there’s more to it than that. After all, we’ve all read about … Continue reading A joint North American World Cup is inevitable – but crazy

Very big deal for América

MEXICAN teams invariably represent CONCACAF in the FIFA Club World Cup, that ugly child of international club competitions. The annual FIFA bun-fight, which still struggles to gain momentum and credibility, returns to Japan in a week or so and this year, the field is as imbalanced as ever: Barcelona, River Plate, Auckland City, Guangzhou Evergrande, TP Mazembe, a host representative from Japan (Sanfrecce Hiroshima and … Continue reading Very big deal for América

World Cup Day Two: No repeat of 2010, please!

Brazil may have given their fans the result they craved, but Croatia have every right to feel aggrieved after one of the worst penalty decisions seen in a World Cup. It could have been a far worse opening game, but the referee may have been suffering from the “Anfield factor” in giving Brazil a penalty and failing to see Fred’s theatrics. Neymar won the day … Continue reading World Cup Day Two: No repeat of 2010, please!

Mexican wave time in CONCACAF again

So who are Cruz Azul? They’re only the first club to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco later this year. Cruz Azul this week won the CONCACAF Champions League, beating fellow Mexicans Toluca. Mexican clubs have dominated the CONCACAF Champions League in recent years – Cruz Azul’s win was the ninth successive year that a Mexican club has won the title and … Continue reading Mexican wave time in CONCACAF again

Olympic football is alive and well and living in Coventry

A crowd of 28,171 people got a taste of Olympic football in Coventry this weekend for a double bill involving Mexico,  Gabon, South Korea and Switzerland. You got the feeling, however, that Coventry was ill-prepared for such an event – car parking was chaotic and the area around the city had probably not seen such activity since Coventry City were rubbing shoulders with the likes of … Continue reading Olympic football is alive and well and living in Coventry