Fanfare for the common team

DOUBTLESS the euphoria that greeted England’s penalty triumph over a Latin side schooled in the dark arts will have raised expectations beyond the wildest dreams of Gareth Southgate and, indeed, the nation. When England embarked on this “journey” (everyone is on a journey these days), a place in the quarter-finals would have been seen as “job done” by a squad relatively inexperienced in “tournament management”, … Continue reading Fanfare for the common team

Italia’s lament – a warning for the complacent

THE Italian headlines have been screaming, the histrionics have begun and the post-mortems are in full flow – Italy will not be in Russia in 2018 and it is excruciatingly painful for the four-time winners of the FIFA World Cup. Millions of Italians woke up on Tuesday with a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach. “Can it be true?,” they were undoubtedly asking, … Continue reading Italia’s lament – a warning for the complacent

If the Nordics get the euros…

IT’S GOOD NEWS that the Nordic football associations are considering making a joint-bid for either Euro 2024 or 2028. The region has been under-used by UEFA and FIFA, hosting one European Championship in 1992, one World Cup in 1958 (neutral Sweden after WW2) and three European Cup-Winners Cups (Goteborg, Copenhagen and Stockholm). The plan is for a four-country approach, with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden … Continue reading If the Nordics get the euros…

Goteborg: The old, the new and a little bit of Abba in the night

It’s called Snart Skiner Poseidon and it was written and sung by Joel Alme, a pop singer from Gothenburg. It’s the club song of IFK Goteborg and by all accounts, the fans love to sing it before every home game. It’s performed with true passion and emotion, scarves aloft and with the odd tear in the eye. Actually, it’s quite moving to experience. Let’s not … Continue reading Goteborg: The old, the new and a little bit of Abba in the night

Happy Halmstad and the ghosts of ‘58

The first post-war World Cups in Europe were relatively low key affairs. Interestingly, both the 1954 and 1958 competitions were held in countries that were neutral during WW2. Understandable, since many other nations were still reassembling their cities and towns. In 1958, post-modern Sweden hosted the World Cup. We all know Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, but there were other, smaller and lesser celebrated locations such … Continue reading Happy Halmstad and the ghosts of ‘58

The problem with England: Euro 2012 Group D

Alan Shearer, the former England striker, has predicted a semi-final place for Roy Hodgson’s side, because he is patriotic and wants them to do well. That doesn’t sound like an “expert” opinion but more a case of wishful thinking. He also knows that the reason expectations are low is because people realize that England have no chance. And they are right, because England’s squad, depleted … Continue reading The problem with England: Euro 2012 Group D