Prior to the start of the World Cup in Russia, we analysed 88 years of data to determine whether the tournament is as exciting as it used to be. In the main, games are featuring fewer and fewer goals but have become tighter over time as weaker opposition has improved. Tighter games can be exciting or stultifying depending on the style of play - as in 2010 when Spain endlessly passed their way to glory. Brazil 2014 was identified as an improvement on its predecessors in this regard with counter-attacking on the rise and players like James Rodriguez being able to affect games with moments of brilliance that deservedly allowed their teams to progress. So how does Russia 2018 fare when it comes to the cold hard stats? And what could this mean for Qatar 2022? … [Read more...] about The 2018 World Cup contained some incredibly exciting football – that bodes well for Qatar 2022
Usa 1994 world cup roster
Clips of Faf de Klerk cavorting about the South Africa dressing room in his patriotic ‘budgie smugglers’ and Frans Steyn encouraging Prince Harry to chug bottles of beer had hardly had time to circulate on social media before attention turned to the future. The Springboks’ historic victory over England in Saturday’s World Cup final in Yokohama was a wonderful, historic moment for rugby. And for South Africa as a nation. The sight of Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black captain, leading his multi-racial team in the post-match celebrations was an image to compare with Nelson Mandela congratulating Francois Pienaar all those years ago. Indeed, speaking at the world rugby awards, Pienaar described... … [Read more...] about ‘Planning for the Lions begins now’: South Africa are already shaping next phase to build on World Cup glory
The battle smoke drifting over the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes obscured a disquieting reality. England are currently not playing well enough to win this World Cup. Now that the Great Rotation has delivered them to a quarter-final against Norway in Le Havre, all known logic suggests Phil Neville needs to decide on his best starting XI and work with them intensively. It may already be too late to bring England up a level from toughness, tenacity, and grinding out wins, which they have been doing throughout four games in France, because Norway present a formidable challenge. The quarter-finals, though, would be a good time for Neville’s squad to acquire the rhythm and accuracy of passing that characterises the best teams at this tournament. After a chaotic 3-0 win against Cameroon, many of England’s followers repaired to local bars to watch France knock out Brazil in a game that displayed a level Norway’s opponents on Thursday have yet to consistently match. Strike … [Read more...] about England are not playing well enough to win this World Cup – when will Phil Neville decide his best XI?
She wore the team shirt and cheered as Croatia faced France in a thrilling World Cup final on Sunday. Later, soaked by the rain, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović smiled in defeat and hugged every player from both teams as the winners were given their medals. By the end of the day, it was the Croatian president who had emerged as her country’s star of the tournament. Mediatoolkit, a Zagreb-based analytics company, found 25% more focus on her in news stories about the final than any of the players on the pitch, including the Golden Ball award winner, Luka Modrić, as well as Ivan Perišić and Mario Mandžukić. More than 80% of the stories were positive, Mediatoolkit said, for a woman who travelled to Russia at her own expense in economy class and often watched from the non-VIP stands – missing only the semi-final against England because it clashed with the Nato summit. Boris Dežulović, a journalist and political commentator, said: “Her … [Read more...] about Croatia’s real World Cup star? The president in the stands
England suffer heartbreak in a World Cup semi-final - sounds familiar, feels familiar. Was the tournament a success for Phil Neville and the national team? Today’s podcast panel assess. Onto the final and the USA look destined to defeat Holland, who won 1-0 against Sweden in undoubtedly the dullest match of the tournament. Plus after all that there’s still time to discuss the strangest football commentary we’ve ever heard. Subscribe to Audio Football Club to make sure you never miss an episode and email us at [email protected] iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1266640345 Android: http://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/feed/ (link must be pasted into a podcast app) Online: https://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/ … [Read more...] about Telegraph Audio Football Club podcast: Has the World Cup been a success for England?