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Entries in Football (80)


Deservedly So

France was the favourite to win the World Cup from the off. They had a very talented team despite a lack of out and out striker. But Olivier Giroud turned himself into the ultimate target man and was instrumental in the way France play. This was made easy with the strong midfielders they had, plus Griezmann and Mbappe who could walk into any team in the world.

They had the perfect mix.

And Croatia wasn't that bad either. The team had leaders and guts. They fought in every corner of the pitch and truth be told, they played better than France in the Final. But it wasn't to be.

The Final was also a memorable game which had everything. Dodgy play acting earning a freekick leading up to a goal. VAR decision which could go either way. Own goals. Lloris applying to play for Liverpool with a calamatous goal.

On the flip side, Croatian equalizer from Parisic was too notch, Mbappe was an express train in scoring the final goal after Pogba demonstrating that he could shoot with both feet.

Six goals in total. And the heaven opened during the trophy presentation which was really a hug fest in the end. Mbappe was crown Young Player of the tournament with the great Luka Modric taking the consolation of the Golden Ball for tournanent's Best Player.

It was a great World Cup, topped off by a great Final. The quality of football may not be as great as the 2006 in Germany. The fact that many of the top teams stumbled during the group stage or soon after did not help. England getting to the semis put a smile to my face.

It was scary to think that France had the second youngest side - youngest being Nigeria and England third. This team will only to continue to get better. And Raphael Varane was a Rolls Royce at the centre of French defence. That boy can play ...

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The World Cup fever had finally hit me. And yes, I support England, and this was despite our pet goldfish - Gareth the Goldfish - died suddenly last month. Bad omen it may be, but England would still be on top.

They started their campaign against Tunisia the other night. On paper, it should have been an easy win but it turned out that Tunisia was a very organised outfit. Although England striked first - courtesy of a penalty by Kane - Tunisia equalised and the score remained so until an injury time winner from a set piece - a corner this time.

England clearly lacked the flair player who could unlock defences and throved more on fast transition play. This would be a problem against opponents who parked their bus and stayed behind the ball. At the end, the set-piece play bailed England out. Against better opponent, they had to be more clever. Without penetration, England would not go far.

The next game would be another straight forward one before the real test in the last group game against the best team in the group, Belgium. That would be the game who would make or break England’s campaign. For them to progress far, these are the games they would need to perform and get results from ...

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For an Early Night

Or at least that was the plan. United would be playing Real Madrid at 3 am tonight as a season opener. I have a long day tomorrow but watching the game was just too tempting. One of the ways to make it world would be to start with an early night, and set the alarm to catch the second half of the game.

Let’s see if things go according to plan then ....

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The Euros 

Finally the EURO 2016 has kicked off last week. The first round of the group stage was wrapping up and as usual, I was interested in how England was doing. The Dutch didn't even qualify this time around.

England drew the first game against Russia, a game which they a oils be won if they were decisive in the final third. As it was, they carried a goal lead into injury time only to be disappointed with a late equaliser.

The TV had been doing wall-to-wall football understandably, and last night I caught the highlight on the Swedish national team. As expected, it was mainly about Zlatan. No mention though about his move to United, only rumours. Fascinating player nonetheless.

England would be playing Wales tomorrow. I will be watching the game after my berbuka - which incidentally will be at the Hilton since I would be chairing a talk there. A game which England must win. Looking forward to that.

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Lost Again

It was getting excruciating every weekend now. Even though we were playing a relegation struggler in Sunderland, I got a feeling that United would come undone. And I was proven right again.

What was devastating was the manner of the loss. We were hardly in the tie. We conceded first but managed to equalise. Came the second half, the complexion of the game changed when Big Sam Allerdyce somehow managed to suss out our tactics.

Sunderland played with a higher line and United just couldn't keep hold of the pace. We were behind again, deservedly so in the final 10 minutes. Added to that, we lost Darwin through dislocated shoulder.

It looked like the rumour mill would be churning double quick with the latest loss. A lot would be written about the arrival of Mourinho and at the rate we were going, that might just be a relief.

Certainly not looking forward to the next game ....

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