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Best of the week – 19 November 2016

CC Image courtesy of Aaron Sholl on Flickr. Their images can be found on https://www.flickr.com/photos/bayareabias/

G’day League gives a wrap up of the major (and minor) news for this week in Australian and world football.

A League

Following a disappointing 1-1 draw by the Socceroos in their WCQ against Thailand this week, Fox Sports Australia gives the low down on what the Socceroos need for the remaining qualifying matches (see: they need to win a lot).

The long-awaited A League expansion continues to dominate headlines, however David Gallop seems more interested in imparting wisdom on his other apparent passion, telling media to “fish where fish are”. In the mean time, the A-League have promised to think about thinking about expansion in 2017.

Speaking of expansion, and proving there truly is no fury like a demoted franchise, Townsville-based Northern Fury have signalled intent to return to the the HAL, although have ruled out themselves out of the next round of tribal voting.

Fox Sports Australia with a treasure chest of Round 7 stats for the William Hill/Sportsbet aficionados. Pick of the bunch: Neither team in the Wanderers-Melbourne City fixture has ever registered back-to-back victories (with astute punters recognising that Melbourne City are currently “it” owing to their 4-3 loss away to the Wanderers in January this year).

World

ESPN FC has just released its Top 100 players in the world by position. Among the winners, in shocking news Lionel Messi took out best forward,  Gerard Pique edged out Jerome Boateng and Diego Godin for best centre back and (perhaps controversially) Pep Guardiola is still considered the best manager in the game.

Speaking of Messi, stalled contract negotiations with Barca have once again fuelled EPL transfer rumours. While giving hope to those that rate Messi’s one true remaining legacy is in fact to do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke (rather than any nonsense about World Cup glory), the author will continue to place this prospect in the “believe-it-when-I-see-it” category. Although given this is the year of President Trump, why shouldn’t we see Messi in a Canaries’ yellow jersey?

Madrid’s Marca has tracked down the current resting spot of a number of football’s most famous jerseys (Spanish only). Among the findings:

  • Maradona’s shirt from the 86 World Cup Quarter Final against England continues to taunt the Poms in its final resting place at the National Football Museum in Manchester (with a nice big plaque reminding patrons that it is called the “Hand of God” for a reason)
  • Pele’s shirt worn during the ’58 Swiss World Cup victory is in the hands of the Museo de Futbol in Montevideo Uruguay
  • Further proving the German spectre will never truly leave Brazil following the Mannschaft’s 7-1 demolition of the hosts in the 2014 semi final, a signed version can be still be found in the museum of the Mineirão stadium.

Perhaps unintentionally lending weight to the argument that footballers are nothing more than high paid dummies, teams including Portugal, Borussia Dortmund, Mexico, and Juventus have taken on the mannequin challenge. Spoiler alert: Ronaldo of course finds a way to pose without a shirt or pants.

Carlos Puyol names his “toughest” starting 11 faced. With names including Buffon, Maldini, Zanetti, Zidane, Seedorf, Pirlo, Robben and Drogba, while unsurprising the list is perhaps a healthy reminder of just how far Italian football has fallen these past two decades.

In their 1-1 draw with Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Edin Džeko has found a new way of embarrassing defenders, performing a stellar rendition of the ol’ schoolyard dacking. While his no-nonense approach should be applauded, the sending off might have been a little harsh given he stopped short of completing a full ‘Hopoate’.

Reddit soccer has provided the best tricks by crap players. Highlights included Kieran Trippier’s dazzling ball skills (matched by his disgust at the nerve of the guy to foul him while such wizardry was on display) , Arsenal’s Johan Djourou’s supreme nutmeg, and the self-administered anklebreaker by Hadjuk’s Ante Aracic (a career ender apparently).

Proving himself a solid (albeit optimistic) judge of football skill and potential, Russell Crowe took to twitter this week to alert his pet team Leeds United of the potential of a little known Bundesliga striker by the name of Robert Lewandowski. Transfer negotiations appear to be ongoing.

Good read: Pablo Escobar and his (other) white line fever. Spoiler: Maradona makes an appearance.

World Cup 2014: Why Chile might be Australia’s toughest match

In just under a month’s time, Australia’s own Socceroos will begin its 2014 Brazil World Cup campaign with a match against South American qualifiers Chile, before taking on the might of the Netherlands and Spain in the three guaranteed games of the group stage.

Until now, the focus of the Australian media and wider public has been on the impending battle with current title holders and world’s number one ranked team Spain, as well of course as 2010 World Cup runners up Netherlands. Each are giants of world football and boast an embarrassment of riches in terms of the talented footballers at their disposal. We are talking about David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Robin Van Persie, Robben Huntelaar, etc, etc.

Continue reading “World Cup 2014: Why Chile might be Australia’s toughest match”

Why Ognenovski is wrong to criticise the Socceroos selection strategy

Recent news on the selection of the Australian football squad for the Brazil World Cup has been focusing on the preemptive retirement of many of Australia’s “Golden Generation” players.

Australia’s coach Ange Postecoglou has made the step of contacting a number of players considered the regulars of the last fews Socceroos campaigns to let them know personally that their services will no longer be required. The recent addition of Lucas Neill to this list of unwanted and his subsequent retirement appears to be the precursor for Ognenovski to have let fly at the new Australian manager, going as far as to suggest it disrespectful.

Now with all due respect of my own to Sasa, that is crap.

Continue reading “Why Ognenovski is wrong to criticise the Socceroos selection strategy”

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