World Cup 2014: Spain rely on the old guard….and Costa

Before Spain came along in 2008 and started winning cups, Brazil’s 1970 team was widely considered to have been the greatest international side of all time. Two European Championships and a World Cup have elevated Spain’s status in footballing history and statistically speaking, they are probably the most successful team ever. Can they make it four in a row? No European team has won the … Continue reading World Cup 2014: Spain rely on the old guard….and Costa

FIFA needs to change – but it might take boycotts to do it

The media are, quite rightly, ripping FIFA apart at the moment as reports and dissections merely confirm that football’s global governing body is akin to Bertolt Brecht’s Mahagonny, a pleasure city where men can have fun. The damage being done to the game is immeasurable. But what do you do when the politburo is revealed as being deeply corrupt? The only way to deal with … Continue reading FIFA needs to change – but it might take boycotts to do it

World Cup 2014: Brazil – who’d be a host nation?

It’s now 44 years since Brazil set a World Cup benchmark they – and any country, come to think of it – have never been able to live up to. Pele’s heroes of 1970 left the samba nation with a legacy they just cannot better, not matter how many times they win the competition. The only time they have excited us the way the media … Continue reading World Cup 2014: Brazil – who’d be a host nation?

England really were World Champions in 1966

This week, the BBC screened “live” the 1966 World Cup final in the style of its regular matchday coverage, with text commentary and through-the-game interaction with the audience. The timing was superb. Notwithstanding that the World Cup is just days away, England 2014 were about to play Peru at Wembley in their last game before flying to the other side of the world. So, after … Continue reading England really were World Champions in 1966

World Cup 2014: A year, a word – 1990-2010

Recent World Cups have been disappointing, notably the last three which have failed to excite. It’s about time that FIFA delivered a good tournament. The last one to capture the imagination was 1998 – it seems a long time ago! 90 on 90: Nessun dorma and out we go – UK public tolerance 90% The tournament that kick-started English football’s revival. Once more, a slow … Continue reading World Cup 2014: A year, a word – 1990-2010