Stories about football

Argentina – A nation in a ‘Messi’ situation

One of the most calm and cool heads under pressure, Lionel Messi steps up to take Argentina’s first penalty of the shootout in the Copa America Final. He is expected to tuck away the penalty, but to the dismay of his supporters he balloons his spot kick over the crossbar. It frantically leads to a catapult of mistakes from the Argentinians, culminating in their loss to Chile in the Copa America Final – again. Chille stun Argentina to win the Copa America final for the second consecutive time.Photo: Reuters As if losing a final wasn’t bad enough, ...

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Pelé sells his history, but remains in ours

Sometimes, it’s not enough being a legend. Pelé, the first global superstar of football has auctioned his entire collection of awards and memorabilia for five million dollars including what he won as FIFA’s player of the century. It can’t be easy letting this treasure go, Pelé was still in his teens when he won the first of his three world champion titles and now at the age of 75 will see strangers holding his trophies. Pelé insists that he wants his fans to own a piece of his history and will be donating proceeds to the largest paediatric hospital in Brazil. Memorabilia will also be given to the ...

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Euro 2016 finally got going, and not just ‘on’ the pitch!

International football’s second biggest tournament after FIFA World Cup is a battleground and not just figuratively. Euro 2016 is playing host to continent’s finest teams and players involved in hard fought contests on the turf , but football hooligans converging in France from all across Europe, have made the competition witness bloody clashes taking place in the streets as well. The build-up to the summer tournament has been shrouded in controversy, with various terror threats from religious extremists putting a damper on the proceedings. But it’s horror of a completely different nature that is engulfing the event currently. #England fans in ...

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José Mourinho will be an instant success at Manchester United

José Mourinho, widely regarded as one of the best managers of the current era, is coming to the team he used to call “a giant club” – Manchester United. On May 27, 2016, Mourinho penned a three-year contract deal with an option to stay with the club until at least 2020.  Will Manchester United finally go back to its old form? It’s fascinating to see “The Special One” at The Theatre of Dreams. He has been there many times before, but now he comes there not to be on the opposite end, but on the touchlines to guide and lift the team to higher ...

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Women only watch football to check men out, yup, the secret is out!

Another fatwa about women has emerged from the glorious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a fatwa that declares the innocent enjoyment of a football match to be haram for women. After all, with the infamous wife-beating bill courtesy of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Pakistan, KSA could hardly stand to be left behind. Of course they’ve graduated from wife-beating to wife-eating so now it’s on to figuratively invading the privacy of people’s homes and telling them what to watch on TV. Of course, it’s not okay for the civil society or legal bodies to figuratively invade homes, or work-places, or ...

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With the Euro and Copa America, this will be a football summer like no other!

This summer is like Eid, Diwali and Christmas rolled into one for all us football fanatics. It’s not just the Euro taking place in France that will the set our pulse racing, but us fans have got a one-off tournament in shape of Copa America Centenario taking place in the American continent to look forward too. Slotted in between the usual four year cycle, the Centennial Copa America is scheduled to celebrate the 100 years of South American football competition that started off in 1916. Chile won the Copa America for the first time on Saturday when ...

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Did Louis Van Gaal’s failed philosophy cost him his job?

Almost two years ago, Louis van Gaal (LvG) was the centre of attention at the biggest football event on the planet – the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In the build-up to Netherlands crucial semi-final game against Argentina, BBC Sports justified Louis van Gaal being labelled as the tactical genius. No one would have thought that in two years’ time, the same man would be heavily criticised and eventually sacked for the very tactics that were once glorified. France’s 2-0 friendly win over the Netherlands in March prompted a tactical rethink by Van Gaal.Photo: Getty Images Van Gaal’s announcement as the new Manchester ...

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90 minutes to La Liga glory

For me personally, there is only one thing worse than watching either Barcelona or Real Madrid lift the La Liga trophy and that is to watch any one of these clubs winning a rather predictable two-horse race of a league at a canter. It’s like watching a glorified Scottish Premier League. For “Los Merengues and Els Blaugrana” read “hyped-up Celtic and Rangers”. With the notable exception of 2013-14 Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone, a Rafa Benitez led Valencia in 2001-2002 and 2003-2004, and Deportivo La Coruña once at the start of the current millennium, no team other than Real and Barca has won the Spanish first division title in the last 20 years. And ...

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Which of these giant teams will not make it to the Premier League top four?

Imagine hiring, arguably, the best football coach on the planet and instead of handing him a Champions League berth as a welcome gift, you saddle him with an unwanted distraction of a tournament that is the Europa League. Well, that’s precisely what Manchester City is close to doing to Pep Guardiola, following their failure to beat Arsenal in Manuel Pellegrini’s final home game in charge. But the worst part, this isn’t even the worst case scenario. This nightmarish situation of finishing outside the top four and failing to qualify for the Champions League could reach gargantuan proportions because it is ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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