There’s an old saying that has become fairly cliché in the English language: ‘calm before the storm’. Nicolas Anelka’s career was pretty much the polar opposite, and instead, it started as a stormy beginning hitting the highs of European football to a calm and mundane ending, where Anelka retired from the playing game as a villain off the field, and not a great player on it. To describe the ending as calm is probably to be misleading, as Anelka was subject to widespread debate, and despite his career going in the way of a stormy beginning followed by a slow ending, one moment was the opposite…
By Kieran Ahuja
Believe it or not, Brazil haven’t always been the world beaters we know them to be in the 21st century. Back in the 1950’s, there was a national identity crisis when the country lost to their continental neighbours Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup. Brazil hosted the tournament, the first held since 1938 due to World War II. After a convincing qualifying campaign and two high-scoring victories in the final round (7-1 against Sweden and 6-1 against Spain), Brazil went to the final convinced of their imminent victory; newspapers had already printed headlines declaring Brazil’s World Cup win.
By Andrew Misra
“Gooooooooooaaaaaallllll”. Not just the introduction to Alan Partridge’s 1994 World Cup Countdown, but a shortened version of a noise regularly heard on South American television, radio and inside bars. Colombian commentator Javier Fernandez Franco, tunefully nicknamed the “Goal Singer”, unleashed a 37-second outcry of this after Carlos Bacca scored in the 2016 Copa America third-place playoff. Bacca’s effort wasn’t extraordinary either, rather it was scruffily turned in, bouncing over the line.
Andrew Misra is joined by Barney Stephenson and Lewis Steele for the ‘post-pilot’ episode of the pod. Featuring improved sound quality and a swanky jingle!
Hear our bemused reaction to Thiago Motta suggesting a 2-7-2 setup could be the future, which would see the Goalkeeper playing alongside the central midfielders. Aptly located in ‘the Diamond’, we reflect on rogue formations.
We also discuss violence and intimidation in the wake of the Copa Libertadores non-final, and as ever there’s some quiz questions and surprises to boot…
Listen by following the link below!
Cultures and civilisations rise and fall in a cyclical nature. Over time, many civilisations have conquered and then collapsed. Sociologists, anthropologists and religious advocates have preached this for centuries. Historian Ibn Khaldun was a key figure in the proposal of the theory, suggesting that empires will rise and fall via eight stages. These range from bondage and spiritual growth, to courage, to liberty, to abundance, to complacency, to apathy, to dependence, back to bondage. The major theme of the theories of rise and fall in societies is the Church and the biblical culture, which remain constant, although often in need of reform.
The latest edition of Asunción’s Superclasico, the biggest fixture of Paraguayan domestic football, saw a 14-year-old line up for Cerro Porteño against Club Olimpia’s Roque Santa Cruz – arguably the nation’s greatest ever player. Standing at 5’8”, fresh-faced and playing against players of more than twice his age Fernando Ovelar would have been forgiven had he been overwhelmed by the day, had he been star struck and unnerved. It soon became clear to the sell out crowd at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco this wouldn’t be the case.
Maybe you’ve seen the goal by now, but maybe not…
By Joe Davies
This summer, Patrick Vieira was tipped for the Arsenal job by none other than Arsène Wenger. His history with the club, success in relative obscurity with New York City, and knowledge of the inner workings of a modern Premier League giant in Manchester City, gained while working for their Elite Development Squad, meant for many fans he represented a worthy candidate. As it transpired, the gig went to Unai Emery, who has hit the ground running at The Emirates, and Vieira ended up at Ligue 1 club Nice, who finished eighth last year.
By Andrew Misra
A month of delirium rolls on in Argentina after the 2-2 draw in the first leg of Boca Juniors v River Plate in the Copa Libertadores Final. Unsurprisingly, all eyes in South America and beyond have been fixated on the biggest clash in the history of arguably the most intense footballing rivalry – the Superclásico. Bookies were quoting 1/250 for more than two yellow cards in the first leg. Off the pitch, these fixtures dodged security issues and the G20 Summit. While not expected to dazzle on the pitch, the first ninety minutes weren’t a damp squib in the end, despite rain postponing the match by a day. Boca can still win the trophy with a lap of honour in River’s El Monumental stadium on 24th November. It would be easy to focus on these two great superpowers from Buenos Aires (pronounced “Bwenos I-res”) who play out the battle of the continent. But to ignore the pedigree elsewhere in the capital would be to do an injustice to the city of “fair wind”. Greater Buenos Aires is home to 14 million people or one-third of the country’s population, and no fewer than 24 professional football teams. This includes the ‘Big Five’ teams in the country. This remarkable city has a profound influence on South American football.