Roy Hodgson was in Belo Horizonte last week, checking out the facilities at the training centres of the city’s two big teams, Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro, where England may set up camp during the 2014 World Cup (assuming qualifying does not prove an insurmountable obstacle). Rumours remain unconfirmed that, seeking creative inspiration, he took in an Atlético game.
British interest in Belgium football is the highest it has been in many years, owing to the conveyor belt of talent heading abroad, most notably to England. While the Belgian Jupiler Pro League cannot lay claim to having played a significant role in the development of Premier League newcomers Eden Hazard and Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany all took their first steps in their homeland.
Over the past year senior scouts from both Manchester City and Liverpool FC have been in regular attendance at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, in the hope of catching a glimpse of Ramírez in full flow.
Hooliganism is a liberally used word, but the behaviour of a number of fans at a number of clubs continually threatens to undermine the privileges which German fans and German fans alone currently enjoy.
The least troubling aspect of the John Terry case for me is the revelation that footballers shout offensive and unpleasant obscenities at rivals in the heat of a football game. Even those of us who cannot lip read surely did not think they were saying ‘please pass me the ball’
One of the main orchestrators behind the recent resurrection and makeover of the German national team, Sammer has taken over from Christian Nerlinger.
The signing of Seedorf, a bona fide member of the footballing aristocracy, turned normally sober journalists as giddy as schoolgirls.
The No.10 in Argentine football is almost as important a part of the national identity as the old clichés of steak or tango and in recent years, as far as a large section of the country is concerned, there has been only one – Juan Román Riquelme.
The side is built around organisation and rigor. Zagueiros Chicão and Roma-bound Leandro Castan provide a sturdy, often impenetrable base, ably supported by full backs Alessandro and Fabio Santos.
This is Germany. Solid, steady Germany. The team who was set to end the reign of Spain as they built methodically on the foundations laid over the the last three major tournaments.
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