soccer

You Must Participate, Comrade!

Featured image One of the strange phenomena of our time is the co-opting of sports organizations into the service of leftism. I can’t explain it, but here is another case: the French Football [Soccer] Federation organized a pro-LGBTQ+ demonstration by players who were told to wear “rainbow” jerseys. Most went along, but one–a Senegalese Muslim named Idrissa Gueye–apparently didn’t participate. Natalie Solent at Samizdata has the story; links omitted: Idrissa Gueye is »

For lifelong Evertonian, a dream come true

Featured image Last month, I wrote about the romance of the FA Cup. That competition is an English soccer tournament open to more than 700 teams — from local semipro clubs to some of the best teams in the world. Every year, it seems, one obscure, lowly team makes a deep run in the tournament. This year, it’s Boreham Wood, from England’s fifth division. Over the weekend, the Hertfordshire club knocked off »

Everton selects all-time legend as new manager

Featured image Everton has hired a new manager. He’s one of England all-time great players — one of its five best this century* — and the all-time leading scorer for a massive Premier League team. But that new manager isn’t Wayne Rooney, Manchester United’s all-time scoring leader, who began and ended his Premier League career with Everton. It’s Frank Lampard, the former Chelsea star. Lampard is Chelsea’s career leader in goals. He »

Everton fires “Agent” Benitez

Featured image When Everton hired Rafa Benitez as its manager last summer, I felt he already had three strikes against him. First, he was the former manager of Liverpool, the enemy across the park. Second, while with the Red Shite, Benitez had gone out of way to insult Everton. Once, he compared us to Extremadura, a Third Division Spanish side he managed early in his career. It was possible to view Benitez’s »

The romance of the FA Cup

Featured image The FA Cup is the signature tournament in English soccer. It’s open to every team in the top four English leagues and also to “non-league” teams from all over the country. More than 700 clubs compete in it. The romance of the FA Cup stems in part from occasional upsets of top teams by ragtag semi-pro clubs featuring barbers, landscapers, teachers, etc. Upsets of that magnitude rarely occur these days, »

The trials and tribulations of Wayne Rooney

Featured image 2002 was Power Line’s inaugural year. It was also the year Wayne Rooney burst onto the English soccer scene as a 16 year-old phenom for Everton. We have followed Rooney’s career ever since — his sensational performance at Euro 2004, his exit from Everton the same year, his champagne play at Manchester United for whom he is the all-time leading scorer (as he is for the English national team), his »

Chelsea player breaks ranks, declines to kneel

Featured image For more than a year now, players in the English Premier League have been “taking a knee” just before kickoff. The gesture, an outgrowth of the George Floyd affair, is supposed to signal opposition to racism. In every EPL match I’ve seen, all 22 players have gone along with it. It’s not clear why anyone should kneel to protest racism. The gesture strikes me as either meaningless or a nod »

Soccer never rests. Neither does Richarlison

Featured image American pro sports have extended off-seasons. The National Football League, for example, doesn’t play any games that count during more than half of the calendar year. It maintains fan interest through events like the scouting combine, free agency, the draft, mini-camp, and pre-season games. International soccer is a different story. With the regular league seasons, international club competitions, and international nations’ tournaments — the World Cup, Copa America, the Euros, »

U.S. women’s soccer team loses in Olympic semi-final

Featured image Canada defeated the U.S. 1-0 in women’s soccer at the Olympics today. The defeat came in the tournament semi-finals. Thus, a bronze medal is the best the U.S. can do in this sport this year. This is only the fourth time in 62 matches that Canada has beaten the U.S. women. There have been seven draws. Today’s result isn’t terribly surprising, though. The U.S. lost to Sweden in the group »

Euro 2020 all-stars

Featured image By any reasonable account, Euro 2020 was a success. The fact that it was played at all, in venues across Europe from Glasgow to Baku, is an accomplishment. The willingness of many teams to attack rather than just sit back, the innovative tactics, the closeness of the semi-finals and finals, and the quality (for the most part) of the refereeing were all significant plusses. Some commentators are calling Euro 2020 »

Soccer, South American style

Featured image Normally, South America’s big soccer tournament, Copa America, isn’t played the same year as the European Championship. But because Euro 2020 was pushed backed to 2021 due to the Wuhan coronavirus, this year the two tournaments took place during the same period. There are only so many hours in the day and slightly fewer that can be devoted to watching sports. Therefore, I saw very little of Copa American — »

Did Southgate finally get it wrong?

Featured image Italy defeated England in the Euro 2020 final today on penalty kicks. The score was 1-1 after 120 minutes. The penalty kick tally was 3-2 in favor of Italy. The two teams combined to convert a substandard 50 percent of their spot kicks. Gareth Southgate, England’s manager, has done a great job with the English team. In 2018, he took a squad of chronic underachievers — bounced from Euro 2016 »

Gareth gets it right, again

Featured image Denmark’s national soccer team accomplished little of note until the early 1980s. In 1983, a strong Danish team had a great campaign attempting to qualify for Euro 1984. Qualification turned on a match against England at Wembley Stadium. In the build-up to the match, one English soccer pundit commended Denmark for its qualification efforts but predicted that, after England thrashed them, the Danes would return to doing what they do »

Previewing the Euro semifinals

Featured image The Euro 2020 semifinal matchups are set. Italy will play Spain tomorrow. On Wednesday, it will be England against Denmark. Both matches will be played at Wembley Stadium in London. There has been some grousing about the fact that England will get to play all of its matches except one (the quarterfinal against Ukraine) at home. The grousing is ridiculous. Every two years, there is a major international soccer tournament »

A look at the Euro 2020 quarterfinalists

Featured image In my view, there are five teams left at Euro 2020 with a realistic chance of winning the tournament. (Full disclosure: I never imagined that Greece could win Euro 2004 until the Greeks made it to the final and even then I doubted their chances). The five teams, in no special order, are England, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Denmark. England has been the best defensive team at the Euros. The »

England 2 Germany 0

Featured image England defeated Germany today in a round of 16 match at the European Championship. It’s the first time since the 1966 World Cup final that England prevailed over West Germany/Germany in the knockout stage of a big tournament. At the 1970 World Cup, West Germany gained revenge for the 1966 result. The Germans also knocked out England in the semi finals of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1996 (both »

What lineup should England use against Germany? [UPDATED]

Featured image It’s understandable if, at the start of a soccer tournament like the World Cup or the Euros, the manager of a national team doesn’t know which players make up his best eleven. After all, these teams don’t play regularly and their composition changes every time they gather for a tournament. After three matches, though, most managers know their best eleven. And if one or two of its members are unavailable »