Cameroon: need to get the midfield balance right

June 9, 2014
Cameroon: need to get the midfield balance right

With Cameroon, off-field issues are of greater concern than tactical factors. Read more »

Mexico: talented squad, but highly unpredictable

June 9, 2014
Mexico: talented squad, but highly unpredictable

No other country has such a frustratingly consistent record at recent World Cups. Mexico have been eliminated at the second round stage in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 – often after some promising performances in the group stage. Read more »

European Team of the Season, 2013/14

June 2, 2014
European Team of the Season, 2013/14

The final post of a very enjoyable 2013/14 domestic campaign – the usual XI (and back-ups) of the season.

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Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid (AET): Real snatch late equaliser at end of cautious first 90 minutes before becoming rampant in extra-time

May 27, 2014
Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid (AET): Real snatch late equaliser at end of cautious first 90 minutes before becoming rampant in extra-time

Real won the European Cup final with an impressive late rally.

Carlo Ancelotti selected Sami Khedira as Xabi Alonso’s replacement deep in midfield, and chose Fabio Coentrao over Marcelo at left-back. Raphael Varane started rather than Pepe, who wasn’t 100% fit.

Diego Simeone wasn’t able to call upon Arda Turan, so Raul Garcia started on the right. Simeone gambled on the fitness of Diego Costa, but the Brazilian-cum-Spaniard was nowhere near fully fit, and Adrian Lopez replaced him inside ten minutes.

This looked set to be a classic underdog victory – reactive, counter-attacking and with the winner from a set-piece – but Real’s own set-piece equaliser forced extra-time, and from then there was only one winner. Read more »