Mittel: YB Bern poised to end Basel run

YOUNG BOYS Bern look as though they’re about to end the monopoly that Basel have had on football in Switzerland for almost a decade. The two teams drew 2-2 at the Stade de Suisse over Easter as Young Boys maintained a 16-point lead over reigning champions Basel. Young Boys led twice in a game considered to be decisive in determining the destination of the title, … Continue reading Mittel: YB Bern poised to end Basel run

Europe’s giants of all sizes, Part 1

AS we head towards the inevitable European super league, the rest of the continent’s clubs must be wondering what lies in store for those that find themselves excluded from the great gravy train that will emerge from a future shake-up of football. It would be easy for onlookers to only see a landscape that is dominated by Barca, Bayern, Real and PSG, but across Europe, … Continue reading Europe’s giants of all sizes, Part 1

In Bern…YB anywhere else?

THERE’S a nice reminder that Bern once played host to the World Cup final. In 1954, “Das wunder von Bern” took place – West Germany beating the people’s favourites, Hungary – Ferenc Puskas and all. They’ve reconditioned the clock that stood in the Wankdorf Stadium on that memorable afternoon. “The wonder of Bern” is certainly more appropriate than “miracle” as we are talking football here … Continue reading In Bern…YB anywhere else?

The discreet charm of the Bernese

NOT all capital cities form the seat of power in European football. Italy has long been dominated by the northern powerhouses of Milan and Turin; Germany has never really had a capital city giant but looks to Munich for its footballing impetus; France has, historically, struggled to position Paris as the centre of its domestic game; and in England, Liverpool and Manchester have outshone London … Continue reading The discreet charm of the Bernese

Is Swiss football Europe’s most entertaining?

ON Saturday August 20, Young Boys of Bern thrashed Lausanne 7-2 in the Stade de Suisse. It was entertaining, if error-strewn stuff. The crowd, 15,000 – more than 10% of the Swiss capital’s population was sent home happy, apart from the small gathering of Lausanne fans perched in the top corner of the ground. I’ve seen two games in Switzerland in just over a year … Continue reading Is Swiss football Europe’s most entertaining?

Duckworth’s Swiss watch was silver

IF JULES RIMET had got his way earlier, and the first World Cup had taken place in 1926, there’s a good chance that Switzerland might have been among the contenders. Given the recent history of the Swiss national team, that might seem like a bold statement, but for a brief moment in time, Switzerland could have considered themselves among Europe’s best teams. It was a … Continue reading Duckworth’s Swiss watch was silver

Calling in on…FC Zurich – never mind FIFA, here’s the only Swiss derby

There was never a better time to visit Zurich. The world was watching as FIFA’s heady mixture of cronyism and corruption unfolded in the newspapers, online and across our TV screens. As a result, flights to “the big small town” were packed, hotels brimming and journalists and photographers jockeying for position to see a king being deposed. Or so they thought. Elsewhere in Zurich, the … Continue reading Calling in on…FC Zurich – never mind FIFA, here’s the only Swiss derby

What’s going on in Mittel Europa?

We’re familiar with what’s going on in the big five football leagues: the English Premier; La Liga; the Bundesliga; Serie A and Ligue 1. But what about some of the lower profile competitions, leagues that contains some big names from a more democratic age? There’s no doubt that some familiar names are running the show in many Central European leagues, but there are very few … Continue reading What’s going on in Mittel Europa?

England have qualified for Euro 2016. Unofficial

Premature evaluation? Not really. Even this ill-equipped England side, with its mixture of Championship-level players and yesterday’s men, will have trouble not getting out of arguably the weakest group they’ve been drawn in for a major tournament. Just look at these FIFA rankings: Estonia (93rd), Slovenia (39th), San Marino (208th) and Lithuania (103rd), as well as Switzerland (9th). Even as a relatively lowly 20th placed … Continue reading England have qualified for Euro 2016. Unofficial

World Cup Day Nine: A nation mourns and places faith in Italy

“And remember, expectation is low,” said one of the BBC pundits – I think Gary Lineker, before England ran out against Italy. Five days later, the chickens came home to roost, probable elimination at the group stage. So why the long face? It’s not the end of an era, because there was never an era to begin with and this has been a long time … Continue reading World Cup Day Nine: A nation mourns and places faith in Italy

World Cup Day Four: The first hangover…

England and their fans, as well as checking on bleary eyes due to the 1am finish, are now waking up to the reality that under-expectation was indeed warranted all along. As Roy Hodgson’s side adopted the age-old British trait of “honourable losers”, it was also obvious that the young team he is forging is a long way off being competitive. Italy didn’t have to break … Continue reading World Cup Day Four: The first hangover…