Written by Will Parchman

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.

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Written by Will Parchman

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.

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Written by Maxi Rodriguez

england

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?

Never.

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Written by Will Parchman

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.

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Written by Will Parchman

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?

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Written by Will Parchman

suarezzzz

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.

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Written by Will Parchman

MESSSSS

We have to talk about Leo Messi.

You may not want to talk about Messi. You may be Messi’d out. And that’s a natural reaction. The man’s gotten so much press over the years – and especially this year – that a sort of Messi fatigue sets in relatively easily. But he’s irrepressible, a charging rhino that keeps ramming your car no matter how much distance you seem to put between yourself and the tusks. And it happened again on Sunday. He gored the car.

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Written by Will Parchman

England and Ecuador fought to a 2-2 draw in Miami on Wednesday in a World Cup tuneup. And if nothing else, it proved the English are in for one hell of a ride in Brazil.

It’s not as though Ecuador is a poor team – there’s plenty of talent here, but England at times looked blown back defensively and unable to cover space Ecuador was all too happy to control. Both teams ended on 10 men, so it’s hard to take much away from the way it ended, but that goal up there is one.

To wit, check out that golazo from Michael Arroyo to make it 2-2. Jack Wilshere sort of lazily saunters up to the ball like he’s going to ask it on a date before it whizzes through his legs and into the upper corner. If England are deploying Wilshere and Milner together in the midfield, expect there to be openings. And lots of them.

The English are a bit like the Americans lately, in that nearly any eventuality seems like the most likely at any given time. Just spin the wheel and see where the dial lands, and are you surprised? No matter what happens, the answer has to be no. You’re not.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

Luke Shaw, Sunderland fullback extraordinaire, was recently called up to the England senior team. And Sunderland made a cool Vine about it. I’ll admit my first reaction was basically this:

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Written by Travis Clark


Sit back and watch the U.S. U17 MNT battle England at the Dev. Academy Showcase down in Florida. Kick off is scheduled for around 5 p.m. ET.
 

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