Stories about soccer

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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Brazil: More than just soccer, samba and sandy beaches!

Soccer, samba, and sandy beaches – I hate to admit it, but those were the three images that came to my mind when I was first informed about my move to the world’s largest Lusophone nation. Alongside many other individuals, I knew little about Brazil itself apart from the hype surrounding its football, economy, and beaches. That is probably what made my fifth country of residence all the more appealing to me – my home for over a year now. Life in Brazil can almost be classified as an art. The appealing climate does have an instant relaxing effect on ...

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English Premier League: Predicting the final league table

Like every year, we are in for a great end to the English Premier League saga. With clubs competing at several avenues this year, it will be a rather stressful, nail-biting finish to see which of these secure elite positions at the league table. The big spender Manchester City is trying to shift in top gear after securing a win over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium. This is being done in an attempt to bridge the gap between them and their namesake, leading Manchester United. The table leaders, Manchester United, have only lost one league home game (against Tottenham Hotspur) this season and are in ...

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English Premier League: Manchester City or Manchester United?

I’m sure all the avid lovers of the English Premier League (especially Manchester United) think that they have already won the crown of the English Premier league for 2012-2013. However, there are still 12 matches to be played by 18 teams and anything can happen. Manchester United seems to be in a very strong position; 12 points above the second place team (Manchester City), and 16 points over third place (Chelsea). Sir Alex Ferguson’s team has the best lead since the 2000-2001 season and their next five matches are against Queens Park Rangers (QPR), Norwich City, West Ham, Reading and Sunderland. They look ...

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PTV learns on the job with Euro 2012

After realising the money in broadcasting sport events last year and in spite of still not knowing enough about the sport, the state-owned channel PTV has coveted the exclusive rights to air the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the Euro 2012. Everything seemed to be running normally during the opening ceremony of the Euro 2012; not very sharp picture quality, but nothing one couldn’t live without. The opening match, however, was an entirely different story as it brought with it a shock that was not part of the actual match. Confused? There was no scorecard displayed on the screen ...

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Finally, Chelsea!

It took nine long years, eight different managers (and more than £60 million in compensation for the termination of their respective contracts), innumerable player signings worth millions and several occasions of heartbreak, but at long last, Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea have finally gotten their hands on the European Cup. A penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich ensured the illustrious trophy went to Stamford Bridge (or indeed any London club) for the very first time. The talismanic touch of interim coach Roberto Di Matteo worked again as his team defied the odds to win ...

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A summer of change for Manchester United

The summer of 2011 promises to be one of major changes for Manchester United. Having finally displaced Liverpool as the most successful side in English League history, United are now set to begin the new season with a different and somewhat inexperienced squad to the one that recently lifted a record-breaking 19th league title in May 2011. Long-serving defenders John O’ Shea and Wes Brown have both joined Sunderland while the retirements of Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar in addition to the retirement of Gary Neville in February has left the English champions short of experienced players to ...

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The inadequacies of ‘Financial Fair Play’

There’s an ongoing debate over the financial muscle of ‘big clubs’ and the amount of money they throw on player transfers – extraordinary amounts of money are seen being splashed out in the transfer window even with the existence of what we’ve come to know as an ‘economic recession’. While clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester City have bored followers by their excessive transfer spending, the recent excursion into the window by Chelsea has raised quite a few eyebrows among the general public and UEFA officials. UEFA’s answer to all these problems is the controversial ‘Financial Fair Play’ legislation. ...

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Female footballers: Wasted potential

In a time when Pakistan faces multifaceted challenges in the shape of religious militancy and deteriorating security conditions, female footballers across the country have made laudable efforts to help Pakistan to do away with the impression of a bigoted and unsafe country. Despite numerous social and financial obstacles, as well as the unsporting attitude of society, female footballers have taken the game with pride, performed it with passion and as a result spread it to the areas, where tribal and gender insecurity give no space for survival to women. Breaking the chains of conservatism The latest example of this is the ...

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Sir Alex Ferguson: The importance of longevity

The breaking of the record by Sir Alex Ferguson recently of the late Sir Matt Busby as Manchester United’s longest serving manager of all time (24 years, one month and 15 days) shows just how important it is to stick with managers rather than wield the axe at the slightest dip in form. It really is the exception rather than the norm in today’s fast-paced world of football. We see the form of a team fall and at once there are strong rumours that the board (and now in most cases owner) of the club will be changing the manager. Gone ...

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