Stories about football

An Ángel in disguise for Manchester United

Much has been said about Manchester United’s transfer policy for the last two years, the majority of which is negative. Last season, United had to replace two individuals, who have been part of the fabric of the club, for a good part of a decade, regardless much was expected. What ensued was a virtual train wreck; without completing even one season, David Moyes was given the boot. The chief executive of the club, Ed Woodward, also had to shoulder a great deal of the blame due to his failed exploits in the transfer window. Fast forward one year: Manchester United is in the hands of the experienced Louis Van ...

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Liverpool may have lost Suarez but will they lose the Premier League title too?

We are only a day away from the kick-off of the most watched football league. Yes, I’m referring to none other than the Barclays Premier League, which returns to your screens for the 2014-2015 season. Unlike other football leagues, where the title race is mainly between two or three teams, this league has five to six teams competing for the title. This summer transfer window has seen some of the biggest signings made by English clubs for their upcoming season. Some have been filling in the gaps left by departed players while others have been busy building up some real ...

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#SavePalestine: Why can’t our sportsmen be political?

When Dwight Howard tweeted #SavePalestine, he drew, in equal amounts, plaudits and condemnation from social media. He soon deleted his tweet, called it accidental and issued a retraction. Soon enough, #Howardthecoward started trending on Twitter. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t! A prominent sportsperson had aired his views on a sensitive political subject, and by issuing a retraction, had later on failed to stand by it. Dwight Howard (R) Back in 2003, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga had worn black armbands during a World Cup, mourning the death of democracy in their native Zimbabwe. Not only were they not criticised, they were lauded for ...

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Yes, I don’t like watching football if Pakistan isn’t playing

The FIFA World Cup 2014 was a sporting spectacle watched by everyone. From youngsters to elderly people, everybody’s eyes were fixed on the television as some of the best players in the world fought for eternal glory. Seasonal fans came out to discuss the matches in detail, while some enthusiastic football critics even took to television to voice their opinions. I, too, watched the games and was amazed by the quality of football on display. But while everyone cheered Argentina, Netherlands or Germany on and cried tears when Brazil lost, I remained neutral. Why wouldn’t I be? My beloved Pakistan was not in the FIFA ...

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In Messi I believe!

It has been a long time coming. Since Euro 2008, the Germans have been hovering around the edges of supremacy. Their only crime being that Spain, forever the underachievers had been pegged by fate as its darling. What Jürgen Klinsman started at World Cup 2006 resulted in a finals defeat to the Spanish in Euro 2008, a semi-final defeat to the same opposition at South Africa 2010 and the Italians in the semi-finals of Euro 2012. This time, however, the Spanish have been vanquished by their own doing. The once-famed Brazilians have been annihilated in an absurd seven minute stretch of play that will linger on as a scar ...

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From Pakistan to ‘Survivistan’

You make a football for the world to kick (even though we don’t play football) and I cheer you on! You give a speech at the United Nations (UN) and I cry tears of pride and joy! You win a cricket match and I clap till my hands hurt! You get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and my chest bloats with pride! You discovered the Higgs Boson and I am enthralled! Proud is too small a word! You take the first Oscar for your country and I scream out the news to the world! You produce the most divine mangoes in the whole wide world and ...

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Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

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What does religion have to do with football?

The World Cup 2014 is about to reach its final stages, with the quarterfinals matches starting from Friday, July 4. The knockout rounds saw major teams facing a tough challenge against underdog teams and five out of eight matches went into extra-time so that a winner could be decided. This highlights the intensity of these matches. The clash between the mighty Germans and the dark horses, Algeria, also went onto extra time. Andrea Schurrle scored in the opening minutes of the extra time, to give Germany an edge over the highly impressive Algerian side. Mesut Ozil doubled Germany’s lead in the 119th minutes and ...

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No, I’m not a football fan – bite me Suarez

I don’t follow football! Yes, I don’t have a favourite team – the closest I have ever gotten to it was when I played FIFA video games with my friends or back when Ronaldo had not gotten a hair transplant and was not such a Prince Charming lookalike; oh wait, that’s not the same guy – that explains a lot. By the way, we must limit the number of Ronaldos in one era, so that it’s easy to remember who is who. They are becoming the Khans of soccer. Exactly the way people from Rawalpindi think its cooler to live in ‘Pind’ rather than Islamabad, ...

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Hypocrisy at the Pakistan Football Federation is killing our chances at FIFA!

Despite lack of infrastructure, no comprehensive grassroots program and a mediocre league, Pakistani football does have one major gain – foreign-based players. Throughout the globe, national teams opt to pick the best players no matter where in the world they are playing. In Asia alone, you can see glaring examples with world cup candidate Iran recruiting players such as Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) and Daniel Davari (Grasshopper) from Germany to bolster their ranks. Similarly, Lebanon has done the same with a host of European-born Lebanese players opting to play for The Cedars on an international platform. As a result, Lebanon has reached the last round of the 2014 ...

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