Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal comes clean over social media blow upby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal admits his social media posts this season have been borne out of frustration.During a slow start to his Barca career, Vidal took to social media to express his frustration earlier this season.With things now looking up, Vidal explained: “I was upset. You always want to play and you want to come here to make a contribution, not to be a problem for such an important team. “It was done in a fever, it’s over and now we only think about playing and winning titles, which is the most important thing.”Vidal also spoke of Ousmane Dembele’s issues.He added: “He apologised, but I will not explain what he said. It was seen that he was wrong, but not in anything that could affect the group.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Mentor tells Mohamed Elneny: Leave Arsenalby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveHamdi Nouh has urged Mohamed Elneny to leave Arsenal in January.Nouh was coach of Elneny when they were together at Egypt’s Arab Contractors.And he said, “He has to leave Arsenal in the next transfer period. “He has to leave at least on a loan basis to play more and to regain his confidence.”Nouh added: “His situation has been influenced by a trainer change and a new way of playing, but I am convinced that he will return better. Because his enormous potential and his winning mentality will help him to come back.”
The Week in Women’s Football: Review of The Making of the Women’s World Cupby Tim Grainey17 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveThis week, we review another recent book that came out around the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Kieran Theivan (based in England) and Jeff Kassouf (the founder of the excellent U.S.-based women’s football site the Equalizer) have together written The Making of the Women’s World Cup: Defining Stories from a Sports Coming of Age (Robinson, London, 2019).The book is a solid review of the previous seven Women’s World Cups. This new work certainly has a lot of information about the American team, as they won three finals, lost another and hosted two World Cup Tournaments in 1999 and 2003. Delightfully, the book—rather than a straight history—looks at the past tournaments through legendary players and teams such as Marta and Brazil in 2007, Nadine Angerer and Germany in 2003 and 2007 and Kelly Smith and England in 2015.In Chapter 1—The Early Years—Jeff Kassouf makes the point that the first Women’s World Cup (not yet having that currently strong brand as FIFA was unsure of whether it would be successful but rather called it the First FIFA World Championship for Women’s Football for the M&Ms Cup) drew strong attendance in China (where officials encouraged people to attend to boost their bid on the 2000 Olympics, which they narrowly lost to Sydney, Australia). The Americans surprised the other teams with their different attacking, pressing style as 1991 Golden Ball Winner Carin Jennings (now Gabarra) said: “I think it was the start of the U.S. women’s national team programme and the start of a programme that won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals. That was the start of the culture of the U.S women’s national team. That culture has never wavered. That is a culture of mentality, competitiveness and hard work, along with talent. So, I think it was the start of that. That has always been there. Every person who has ever played for the US national team is connected in that regard (pages 18-19).” Chapter 2—The Birth of the Lionesses—focuses on the 2015 event in Canada through the prism of England’s path to third place. Theivan profiles Steph Houghton (Manchester City) and her elevation to team captain at the comparatively young age of 26—over previous captain Casey Stoney (31)—by former women’s national team head coach Mark Sampson, even though Houghton had missed the 2007 World Cup and 2009 Euros through injury. Houghton recalled: “I’d just moved to [Manchester] City and I had been given the armband, but in terms of my international career I was nowhere near being a regular starter. So for me I just wanted to make sure I was in the squad. Mark said he saw me as a leader of his team, but obviously there were a lot of candidates like Fara Williams and Jill Scott, who had played a number of times for England, Kelly Smith was still involved at that time, and of course Casey, who was current captain….I will always remember sitting down with him at St. George’s Park around April. I’d had the armband a few times and no way did I think it would be a possibility for the long term, but I remember him saying what I brought to the team and the sort of things he was looking for in his captain, and then he asked me if I would take the role and be the leader of the team. Obviously, you’re delighted but the rest of the conversation was a bit of a blur….For me it wasn’t working against them [the senior players], it was a case of using their experience and using them as fellow leaders to create a team environment and a special environment where we loved playing for England (pages 26-27).” Houghton is still one of the core members of the team in defense and has over 100 caps for a side that has reached the semifinals of the last two consecutive Women’s World Cups (2015 and 2019) and it was fascinating to hear in-depth from her about England’s preparation and progress to a bronze medal in Canada.Chapter 7 on Kelly Smith was entitled England’s Golden Girl Arrives—and profiles one of the leading ambassadors of the game. The former English international forward emphasized the importance of league soccer for the development of the domestic game. Smith discussed the 2005 European Championships which England hosted, which were televised throughout Europe: “The 2005 experience was amazing because we didn’t have to qualify for that tournament, and obviously it was hosted in our home country. It meant we got to play in front of our home fans and we really wanted to develop the game, and TV coverage was starting to happen, so we really wanted to play well to get people talking about women’s football. It was great because you’d go to the grounds and you’d be playing in front of fifteen to nineteen thousand, which I think was a record at that time for a women’s game. It was a lot of fun to play in (page 121).” This reporter was in Sweden and Russia for most of the tournament, where the games were televised and the tournament was an important step in the growth of the game in Europe. Smith felt quite the let down when she went back to her domestic league, even though she played for Arsenal which won the European Club Championship at the end of the 2006-07 season: “It was difficult because you know mentally what is coming from international football. But when you’re not playing at that level week in, week out and you’re playing some league games that you had won before you’d even walked onto the pitch, it makes that step up more challenging. Some of the players would have friendly bets between themselves to see what the scoreline was going to be because that’s how it was. There were probably only a few teams you knew you’d get a good game against—Charlton and Everton. You’d get into bad habits when it’s too easy. You don’t do your defensive work because you can get away with it. But at international level you can’t do that. The players knew going into the big games that you had to be switched on, and we made sure of that because we knew the magnitude of the game. The players are fitter and faster at international level, and we need to adjust to be ready for that (Page 122).” England qualified for the 2007 WWC in China but as Kieran Thievan wrote: “But all the talent in the world wouldn’t be able to compensate for the current state of domestic football in England, with players only training two to three times a week with their club, and having to balance their daily lives with their football., even though Arsenal own the league title, two cups and what is now the Women’s Champions League title (page 128).” It will be interesting to benchmark the attendance figures and reaction in the country between 2005 and 2021 when England again hosts the European Finals, in which should be an outstanding event.Chapter 8—A Hat-Trick and a Worldwide Movement focuses on now-retired American forward Abby Wambach and the prelude to the 2015 Tournament in Canada, where the games were designed from the beginning to be played on artificial turf. Wambach led an international group of 40 players and positioned FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Federation that their plan violated European charters and Canadian law for gender discrimination equality as men’s World Cups never had nor would ever be held on turf fields. Wambach said in March 2013: “We’ve worked so hard as female athletes—not only here in the United States, but internationally—to grow the game and in my opinion, I think this is taking a step back. All of the men’s international players around the world would argue the same point. A lot of these guys will not play on an artificial surface because it is an injury-prone surface and I don’t blame them (Page 143).” Kassouf writes: “Wambach would state after a January 2015 meeting with FIFA officials that the playing surface decisions were set in stone, but she would also later point out that FIFA officials had promised her that there would never again be a Women’s World Cup played on artificial turf. That’s hardly a binding contract, but it was clear that this type of battle for equality was going to be necessary, whether in 2015 or down the line (Page 145).” In France this past summer, all the games were held on grass pitches and I believe that this is a non-issue now for future tournaments, and we have Wambach and other vocal players to thank for that. Kassouf continues: “Around that same time, FIFA announced an increase in prize money for the Women’s World Cup, which was a small victory that at least appeased players. Women’s players had long been told to be thankful for what they had. The two years of battling the bigwigs over what women’s players felt was, morally and legally, gender discrimination, proved to be the exposition to the approaching tidal wave for the fight for equal rights (Page 145-146).” FIFA doubled the prize money amount (from $15 Million to $30 Million) in late December 2018 for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. We would expect that amount to continue to rise ahead of the expanded 32 team tournament in 2023.Kassouf also included interesting insight from Heather O’Reilly [who will retire from the sport at the end of this NWSL season for the reigning champions North Carolina Courage] who, “would describe the World Cups proximity to the U.S. as the perfect scenario: “The feel of a home World Cup without the pressure of being hosts (Page 147).” The level of American support in cities close to the border, particularly in Winnipeg and Vancouver, was overwhelming and a contributor to the American victory in the tournament.In Chapter 9—Australia’s Kids are Allright—the review of Australia’s Women’s National Team is a stellar job, focusing on the restructuring of the nation’s regional development system. The discussion of the Matildas 2007 World Cup campaign in China—where they opened the tournament by blasting Ghana 4-1, tied Norway 1-1 and then came back from 2-1 down to tie Canada in their last group game to advance to their first ever knockout round on an injury-time shocking goal from Cheryl Salisbury. I had covered three of Australia’s four tournament games in China—including that stunning draw in Chengdu that shattered the tournament dreams of the 2003 semifinalists Maple Leafs. Canada seemed to be cruising to a runner-up spot in the group and the knockout stage, including an 85th minute goal from Christine Sinclair, before Salisbury’s late goal just before the final whistle drew the Matildas level, vaulting the Australian side into second place in the group. Australia finished second on five points to Norway’s seven while Canada finished third on four points and the sight of the Canadian players crying and distraught on the field at the conclusion of the game sticks to me to this day. The game had been postponed a day because of a typhoon warning, though the media were not told about the delay until we were at the stadium, and the weather was not particularly threatening at that point from my standpoint. The Matildas then fell to eventual finalists Brazil 3-2 in another stirring match in Tianjin, coming back from an early 2-0 deficit and gave the favorites some troubling moments but never quit attacking; Brazilian forward Cristiane scored the winner in the 75th minute. Despite the narrow defeat to the ultimate 2007 runners-up, the Australian players after the match were cordial with the media and proud of their accomplishments; they had started a path for the national team that has led to their powerhouse status in present times and helped to propel the launch of the soon to be 12-year-old W-League the next year. The Australians, their coach Tom Sermanni and his vibrant and articulate group of players was one of the highlights of that tournament for me.This book is quite well researched and written by two experts in the game.Their focus on teams allow them to discuss key issues of the Women’s World Cup—FIFA’s initial reticence, equality issues in later years, development of youth programs and coaching regimes (Australia/Germany)—and leaves the reader with a solid understanding of the roots of the Women’s World Cup, the leading tournament and most highly visible advertisement that we currently have for the women’s game. This should be on all women’s football fans’ shelves.Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women’s football. Get your copy today.Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey TagsOpinionAbout the authorTim Grainey FollowShare the loveHave your say
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd centre-back Maguire: Leicester should be happy with dealby Freddie Taylor16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveHarry Maguire says Leicester were reluctant for him to join Manchester United.United made Maguire the world’s most expensive defender when they paid the Foxes £80m for his signature. And Maguire says the deal was good for both parties.”[The fee] doesn’t bother me at all,” Maguire told Inside United. “It’s something that I can’t affect. Leicester wanted to keep me and they are in a great position as a club.”Manchester United wanted to buy me and they came to an agreement. It’s probably a good deal for both parties and it’s something now where I want to concentrate on my football.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Burnley boss Dyche happy with performance in Leicester defeatby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBurnley boss Sean Dyche was happy with their performance in defeat at Leicester City.Burnley led through Chris Wood’s first half header before Jamie Vardy levelled on the stroke of half time.Youri Tielemans put the Foxes ahead in the 73rd minute as the hosts began to ramp up the pressure, before the moment of controversy ultimately took the wind out of Burnley’s sails.Dyche said: “I thought the performance, generally, was good.“Don’t forget people are talking about Leicester breaking into the top four, but we certainly gave as good as we got and made them play slow and methodically.“They got out of jail a little bit in the first half and then in the second half it was a poor second goal from our point of view.“We’ve had our chances, but the bigger picture is we have moved a long way coming to places like this and performing like that.“We are in a far better place than we were at this time last season and that has to be registered.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Petit: Arsenal not being honest about Ozilby Paul Vegasa day agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal hero Emmanuel Petit is baffled by the demise of Mesut Ozil.The midfielder has been frozen out by manager Unai Emery for the past month.Petit said, “Emery said last week that Mesut Ozil was ready to play. Yet he didn’t even make the bench. That left Arsenal without any quality to bring on. The players Emery picked to start in Sheffield – honestly, come on! Were there really no other options? What about Dani Ceballos? He’s one of the few Arsenal players who can create something with his passing. I don’t want to focus on Granit Xhaka all the time but, well, show me something else!”Regarding Ozil, I don’t think the club are being completely honest. Ozil seems to be ready to play, he has been training for weeks – if he’s not fit now, when is he going to be fit? There’s a problem somewhere.”Maybe it’s a mental issue or maybe Emery simply doesn’t like him or doesn’t trust him.”- Emmanuel Petit was speaking to Paddy Power
Arsenal hero Merson sympathises with Ozilby Ansser Sadiq7 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal legend Paul Merson has sympathy for the current circumstances of Mesut Ozil.The Gunners star is enduring a frustrating period under boss Unai Emery, who refuses to pick Ozil in most of his matchday squads.The German may be the club’s highest earner, but he is struggling to get into the 25-man squads for most games.”Ozil doesn’t play because he doesn’t run around,” Merson told Sky Sports. “He would play in my team, because he can make things happen. Then you get two midfield players around him who do run around. “He’s on £350,000 a week – and that’s the problem. If he was on £10,000 a week, he would play every week even if he didn’t run around. Because he’s on £350,000 a week that means he has to. “I would be wondering how am I not getting in this team? He might have gone past the point of frustration now and be wondering, ‘what am I doing?’ You would have to weigh it up. “He played in the Watford game away and I don’t think he did anything wrong, but he hasn’t played since. He gets in my team. “Until he’s out of the club, I don’t see how Arsenal can bring new players in. If they go for a top player next summer, they will point to Ozil being on £350,000 a week. “Ramsey left the club because he wasn’t offered anywhere near the same as Ozil and he left on a free transfer.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
FORT WORTH, TX – OCTOBER 20: Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs prepares to take the field with hois team to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the TCU Horned Frogs 56-53 in triple overtime. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)TCU football released a new hype video to get fans everywhere ready for the pivotal Big 12 matchup against Oklahoma.TCU football is coming off of two 20+ point wins and the Horned Frogs are expecting nothing less than another victory this Saturday as they host the Oklahoma Sooners. It’s a matchup that has serious Big 12 title implications, and if TCU wants to be in the playoff conversation at the end of the year, this is definitely a must-win game for the Horned Frogs.The game isn’t until 5 p.m. though, so in the meantime, watch this hype video put together by TCU athletics:The Horned Frogs fell to the Sooners last season, 30-29, but this Oklahoma team is reeling after three straight weeks of underwhelming football. The Sooners are coming off a bye-week though, so they’ll be ready to play.The No. 21 TCU Horned Frogs are 3.5 point underdogs and take on the Oklahoma Sooners this Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET on FOX.
Nicolas Pepe has said he was inspired to join Arsenal to emulate his heroes past a present after sealing a move to North London in a club record deal. Pepe joined the Gunners for £72 million ($87m) from Lille in a long-anticipated move, becoming the most expensive acquisition by an English club so far in the transfer window.The 24-year-old winger said it would be an honour to play alongside players he had admired while plying his trade in Ligue 1 as he now moves to a club with a long history of international stars. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? “When I knew I was coming to Arsenal, I immediately thought of the French guys who play here,” Pepe, and Ivory Coast international raised in France, told the club’s official website .“I thought of [Mesut] Ozil, the world champion, [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and many more. Of course, these are players who sprang to mind because I used to watch them when I was at Lille.“Also, Lacazette used to play for Lyon and so I have had the opportunity to play against him. It will be an honour to play alongside him.”Pepe was not only influenced by players from his adopted country of France, where he had spent the entirety of his professional career before moving to London.He joins a list of several Ivorians to play for the Gunners, and says they have also offered advice as to how he might make an impact at the Emirates now that he has secured his long-awaited move.“Kolo Toure was with [the Ivory Coast] squad as an assistant coach [at the Africa Cup of Nations],” Pepe added .“He spoke to me a lot about the very high level, how he got to Arsenal and how you always have to work hard and really graft on a daily basis to get right to the very top.“Toure, [Emannuel] Eboue and Gervinho are the major players from the Ivory Coast.“We talk a lot about Gervinho, for example, who played for Lille and ended up at Arsenal, so I am on the same path.“They are definitely examples to us young Ivorians and I hope we will continue to follow these examples.”
Oregon football rolls out a different uniform look many, if not most, weeks. That is definitely true for this Saturday’s game against San Jose State.With the Spartans coming to town, Oregon is breaking out all black uniforms with incredibly bright “electric green” numbers and accents.The helmets have a black wing pattern on a black shell.Oregon’s uniforms this season feature some of the biggest numbers we’ve ever seen. On these black threads, the neon numbers look almost glow-in-the-dark.Oregon football unveiled this weekend’s uniforms this afternoon.From the athletic department’s Twitter account:Turn it on. Black and electric green uni combo for Week 3. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/3JWGjF1eOF— GoDucks (@GoDucks) September 13, 2018Another look, from the Instagram account.Oregon is 2-0 on the year so far under Mario Cristobal. The team knocked off Bowling Green in the season opener, 58-24, and Portland State last weekend 62-14.Don’t expect the Spartans to be much more of a match for the Ducks.SJSU lost to FCS program UC Davis to open the year, 44-38, and was blanked 31-0 by another Pac-12 program last week: Washington State.The Ducks are a 41-point favorite in the game. The game kicks off at Autzen Stadium at 5 p.m. ET.