Reflecting the times – World Cup posters

THE 2018 World Cup was notable for a number of reasons: the competition was of a high quality and therefore, enjoyable; there was harmony off the pitch; and Russia, with one eye on Soviet-style graphic design, produced an excellent poster representing the event. The image of Lev Yashin was modern, but also nostalgic – it could easily have been an album cover for Kraftwerk, a … Continue reading Reflecting the times – World Cup posters

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

Iceland – coaching for the people

THE recent World Football Summit in Madrid, naturally, focused a lot on the upper echelons of European football. But one of the most interesting and warmly received sessions was about Iceland, presented by Stefan Gunnarsson, director of business development for the Icelandic FA. Iceland captured the imagination of European football fans in 2016 during the European Championship in France. As well as the fans’ distinctive and … Continue reading Iceland – coaching for the people

Football Media Watch: Opportunity knocks for France

FRANCE may have gone wild with delight in response to the country’s second World Cup win, but there were still some dark clouds to contend with as Didier Deschamps and his players danced in the rain. CNN said France’s World Cup victory, with a team made up primarily of black and Muslim players, “may have been perceived internationally as a collective celebration of an ideal … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Opportunity knocks for France

Football didn’t come home, but it’s close to home

ENGLAND’S World Cup adventure may have ended in heartbreak, but if non-league football plays its cards right, it could exploit the goodwill impact of an extraordinarily successful campaign in Russia. There’s no doubt that the nation got behind waistcoated and bearded Gareth Southgate and his young team in much the same way that in Euro ‘96 we all believed that “football was coming home”. Football … Continue reading Football didn’t come home, but it’s close to home

The Final: I’ll do my crying in the rain

A SHAMBOLIC presentation it may have been, but not even Moscow rain could dampen the feeling that the 2018 World Cup was a resounding success. It’s too early to assess the competition in terms of “best ever” claims, but after a series of very mediocre events and finals that failed to please – it is  a struggle to name a decent final after 1986 – … Continue reading The Final: I’ll do my crying in the rain

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

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

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

Guest Slot: Why African football has flopped at the 2018 World Cup

IN 1977, Pelé predicted an African team would win the World Cup before the end of the 20th century. It was and remains a bold prediction: it wasn’t even until the following year that an African country, Tunisia, actually won a match at the tournament. Over the following decade, African football experienced a steady progression, culminating in Cameroon’s near-miss in 1990, when they came within … Continue reading Guest Slot: Why African football has flopped at the 2018 World Cup

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

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

Week one – and where are all the flowers?

IT HAS not been a totally disappointing World Cup, but it hasn’t quite ignited into the festival of football we are always promised and rarely get. The fancied teams have yet to find their form, although it is feasible they are merely pacing themselves after long domestic programmes. The surprise of the first week was surely Mexico’s win against reigning champions Germany, although it didn’t … Continue reading Week one – and where are all the flowers?