Euro 2016 — a preview

Featured image Euro 2016 kicks off today. The host nation, France, will take on Romania. The Euro tournament has long been my favorite soccer tourney because of its size. The World Cup nowadays includes 32 teams from all over the world, including continents where the play is inferior. Usually, only about half of the teams are worthy of attention, though the ratio was higher in 2014. The Euros have been limited to »

Leicester City and the richest game in soccer

Featured image Last month, Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday played a soccer match estimated to be worth more than 200 million British pounds for the winner. How was it that two mediocre Yorkshire teams play found themselves in such a contest? Because they were playing for the right to be promoted to the super-lucrative English Premier League. Hull City prevailed 1-0. They are now one of the richest teams in Europe. Not »

EPL All-Stars, 2015-16

Featured image The English Premier League wrapped up its season yesterday, as Manchester United defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 in extra time in the FA Cup Final. Wayne Rooney put in a true captain’s and man-of-the-match performance. He hoisted the Cup for the first time in his long, illustrious career. The real story of the season, though, was Leicester City wining the League. The odds on them accomplishing this were 5,000-1 at the »

Remembering a Dutch master

Featured image Soccer legend Johan Cruyff died yesterday at age 68. Cruyff is one of four magical attacking players I have had the privilege to watch, and the only European in the batch (the others are Pele, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi). Cruyff is also the only one of the four to have emerged from a soccer backwater (Holland). Argentina and Brazil were soccer powers before Pele and Maradona arrived on the »

Sports post of the day: An EPL insurgency

Featured image The English Premier League is possibly the most popular sports league in the world. It has even caught on in the soccer-ambivalent U.S., thanks mainly to fans under the age of 30. One of the EPL’s few drawbacks is that a few rich clubs dominate it. This was also true of certain major American sports leagues at one time, but we’re more egalitarian now that so many clubs are rich. »

Monday Morning News Roundup

Featured image I was indisposed most of the weekend at a conference (about which more in due course), so I have a lot to catch up on. Let’s look at a few headlines from the morning papers: From the Washington Post sports page print edition (I can’t seem to find it online), a story about women’s professional soccer: U.S. Women’s Strike Might Be Brewing Now, if I was a hacker, I’d correct »

Stormy Weather, a convergence of Power Line interests

Featured image John likes to write about beauty pageants; I like to write about soccer. The two topics converge in an unfortunate story out of Seattle, Washington: Miss Washington USA Stormy Keffeler is a possible suspect in the stabbing of MLS player Marco Pappa last month in a confusing incident that could cost the troubled beauty queen her crown. Keffeler, who also has a DUI arrest to her name, gave differing accounts »

When a moment of silence is too much to ask

Featured image The Paris terrorists attacks occurred during a six day period of “international” soccer matches — i.e., contests between national teams. In fact, one of the attacks was directed at the Stade de France, where France was hosting Germany. During the remaining matches, there was supposed to be a minute of silence in honor of the victims of the Paris attacks. Unfortunately, this was too much to ask of many Muslim »

Money can’t buy you Stones

Featured image That’s what Everton fans were singing last week during our match against Tottenham Hotspur: But why? Here’s the back story. It began with a familiar scenario. Just before the start of most English Premier League seasons, a top-4 club wants to pry a star player away from Everton. We initially refuse but end up selling. It happened with Wayne Rooney, Joleon Lescott, Mikel Arteta, and Marouane Fellaini, just to name »

Political incorrectness is alive and well at FIFA

Featured image Will the demise of Sepp Blatter as head of FIFA, the corrupt outfit that governs world soccer, produce meaningful reform? Maybe. But Francois Carrard, the man in charge of leading FIFA’s reform task force has a lot in common with Blatter. Both are 77 years old; both are Swiss; and both hold views that are out-of-fashion, at least when it comes to expressing them. Blatter’s insensitive comments are legendary. They »

The Most Important World Cup Issue

Featured image The American victory in the most recent Women’s World Cup has given rise to what might be thought of as an international Title IX dispute, because the women footballers aren’t paid as much as World Cup men’s footballers. Here’s the indispensable Christina Hoff Sommers explaining why this latest complaint is more of the usual “gender gap” nonsense: »

Soccer in the ’70s

Featured image Before there was the English Premier League (EPL), there was the English First Division. Before three substitutes were allowed, you could only use one. Before a win counted for three points, it was worth only two. Before middling tackles resulted in yellow cards, brutal ones often went unpunished. Before ticket prices soared, there was hooliganism. Before Arsenal fans sang “Walking in a Wenger Wonderland,” they sang “Charlie George, Superstar.” And »

Wayne Rooney to return to Everton

Featured image Wayne Rooney will play once again for Everton, the team for whom he debuted so spectacularly in 2002 as a 16 year-old, before moving to Manchester United in 2004. Unfortunately, Rooney will don the Royal Blue jersey for only one game — the testimonial match for Everton legend Duncan Ferguson. Rooney explained: As a young lad growing up in Croxteth, Duncan Ferguson was a hero of mine. As a young »

For Bill Clinton, venality trumps revenge

Featured image In 2010, Bill Clinton and Eric Holder went to Zurich hoping to bring the 2022 World Cup to the United States. However, FIFA awarded the Cup to Qatar. Nearly everyone who followed the process suspected that Qatar got the Cup thanks to bribery. For one thing, there was evidence of attempted bribery. For another, why else would FIFA decide to hold world soccer’s signature event in the desert, during the »

Media alert

Featured image Tonight at 10:00 p.m., I’ll be back on Tomi Lahren’s show, “On Point.” We’ll be discussing the indictment of FIFA officials and the scandals that led to the indictment. It should be fun. “On Point” is a program of One America News Network, a national network that airs on Verizon Fios, channel 116, AT&T U-verse, channel 208, and CenturyLink Prism, channel 209. It also streams on Roku and Amazon Fire. »

2014-15 EPL round-up and all-stars

Featured image English soccer wrapped up its season on Saturday when Arsenal crushed Aston Villa 4-0 in the FA Cup final. This makes back-to-back FA Cup titles for the Gunners. Saturday’s victory capped a fine season for Arsenal. The Gunners finished third in the EPL, thus qualifying for the Champions League for the 18th year in a row. Once again, Arsenal made a fool out of celebrity (sort of) fan Piers Morgan. »

The FIFA Scandal: As Usual, The Simpsons Was There First

Featured image I’ll defer to Paul at Power Line’s sports desk for the definitive understanding of the FIFA scandal, but it is worth noting that “The Simpsons” was on to the matter a while ago (just over 1 minute): »