Present circumstances considered (form, club, man-bun status), Gareth Bale would be the best English player in a generation, the best since Paul Gascoigne and maybe stretching even further back than that.
In lieu of a trip to Europe for this year’s Algarve Cup, the U.S. women’s national team are hosting the She Believes Cup with France, Germany and England making the trip.
Crystal Dunn’s penchant for scoring spectacular goals propelled the USWNT to a 1-0 win over England in Thursday’s opening group match. The Washington Spirit star has shown a knack to lash home goals from all around the field and her effort in Tampa was no different.
Jill Ellis’ side enjoyed and up-and-down performance up until Dunn’s 72nd minute effort, frustrated by the defensive effort of the visiting Lionesses.
The USA continue the tournament on Sunday against France, which lost 1-0 to Germany.
Google ‘Stuart Pearce psycho.’
Sufficiently terrified yet?
If you needed any further proof that the FIFA rankings are a glorified listicle conspiracy clandestinely put out by Buzzfeed to up the international eye roll quotient, Wales passed up England in the FIFA rankings this week. This is the first time in history this has happened, dating back to England’s creation of the game in 9.3 billion BC, when the first Englishman (his name was Garry Potatoes) kicked the first soccer ball.
The top 10, for your chuckling pleasure.
Doncaster hosted Fleetwood Town in an English League 1 match last weekend (the game was played at Keepmoat Stadium, which is the greatest). BBC Sport listed seven shots on target, but their three succinct sentences sum up the match’s quality: awful and verging on apocalyptic.
In-house media teams have a whale of a time packaging highlight videos for drab scoreless draws. So Doncaster didn’t even try. These glorious 27 seconds are a monument to future highlight videos everywhere. We don’t need to see this game run back. Nobody needs to see this game run back. And so you get to see the glorious walk out of the tunnel and the beautifully taken final whistle. Bravo, Doncaster. Keep that moat.
College soccer is littered with English players. The ease of language transition and cultural similarity makes a jump from England to the States relatively straightforward, and for many the prospect of essentially being “paid” via scholarship to get an education and play soccer is too good an offer. As a result, “chaps from an agency,” in this case, rove the English countryside looking for capable recruits.
This is one recruit’s story. Christian, whose last name is never specified (and therefore I have no idea if he ended at that unspecified college in New England), came up in Fulham’s academy before being spotted by an American agency trawling for college soccer recruits. In most cases, these recruiters are looking for players who don’t necessarily have futures that track to their respective first teams. Otherwise they’d never leave.
But the human realities of the situation are striking. Dealing with leaving family and a girlfriend for another country and a newly defined career arc is no walk in the park.
Let’s be honest from the get-go: England may be home to one of the most entertaining and continentally dominant domestic leagues around the world, but the national team’s performance on the international level has been, well, awful.
For all the dominant players, prominent teams and sort of patriarchal ownership that England claims over the sport, England has only ever won a single tournament. Sure, it was a World Cup, but England’s been living in the wake of their High School glory since the late 1960s. Since that victory, one underlined by favorable scheduling and refereeing for the English no less, the country has functioned primarily as overhyped also-rans at the international level. They’ll dominate headlines, make the quarterfinals and be labeled “contenders,” but will they ever genuinely threaten the competition?
The England U18s came back from a goal down to rout their Polish counterparts 4-1 on Monday. It was a pretty good game. The most notable thing about it was this simultaneously awful cross and incredible golazo from Ryan Ledson, a highly thought-of midfielder in the Everton youth setup.
May we all some day be so terrible.
On this day 13 years ago, David Beckham’s curling golazo free kick sent England from the dumpster to the 2002 World Cup finals. The moment lives in wonderment in England, and two years ago I wrote about it on Futbol Intellect. I’m reproducing that here in honor of the occasion.
Read on, won’t you?
Luis Suarez didn’t play in Uruguay’s listless 3-1 loss to Costa Rica to open the tournament. You could see it in the attack, which lacked bite – and that’s not just an oblique reference to Suarez’s past in the public eye. Uruguay is a shadow team without Suarez’s relentless motor churning over tackles and doggedly running down balls he has no chance of catching.
Suarez was back against England, and it was clear his knee wasn’t 100 percent. He couldn’t move with the same fluidity. His knee chained him to the ground and limited those Matrix moves that almost bring his body parallel with the ground. But in many ways he was the same Suarez, cleaving into space and finishing with ruthless abandon.
Two Suarez goals later and Uruguay had the sword buried into England to the hilt. Luis Suarez’s postgame comment before abruptly walking away was a perfectly apt summary.
“I dreamt it, I dreamt it,” Suarez said. “And I’m enjoying this moment as much as any other. For all the criticism I got, there you have it.”
There you have it indeed.