soccer

Euro 2020 so far

Featured image Euro 2020 was delayed a full year due to the pandemic. Was the wait worth it? The jury is still out after the first round of matches, as the teams round into shape. Six of the eight teams thought to make up the top tier won their opener. The exceptions were Spain, which, despite a strong first half, only managed a goalless draw with Sweden, and Germany, which lost 1-0 »

Euro 2020 kicks off

Featured image As I write this post, Euro 2020 is set to kick off. A year late. Today’s opening match features Italy and Turkey. It’s not a matchup to send one’s heart racing — both countries normally play a “pragmatic” style of football. Yet, on paper this is an above-average group stage contest. That’s because, with 24 teams, the tournament has been badly diluted. It was a great tourney when it featured »

2020-21 ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE ALL-STARS

Featured image The 2020-21 EPL season started out looking like a wide-open race for the title. At least half a dozen teams held the league lead at one time. Everton was among them. Heck, even Southampton was. However, around the turn of the year Manchester City went on a merciless run, and ended up winning the title in a rout. City also claimed the League Cup. The FA Cup went to Leicester »

English fans boo kneeling English footballers

Featured image For almost a year now, soccer players in England have been kneeling just before kickoff to show support for Black Lives Matter. During almost all of this period, English fans weren’t present for the matches. Thus, we had no sense of how they felt about this gesture. But now fans are back, albeit in limited numbers. And earlier this week, fans in Middlesbrough (in England’s northeast) had the chance to »

Southgate picks England’s Euro 2020 squad

Featured image England manager Gareth Southgate has picked his squad for the soon-to-commence Euro 2020 tournament (still named after the year in which it was supposed to be played). As expected, Everton’s Ben Godfrey didn’t make the final cut. He’s one for the future. Trent Alexander-Arnold made the team, as I argued he should. He’s one of four right backs in the squad. Even without Godfrey, two Everton players were selected — »

Yellow submarine sinks Man U kneelers

Featured image Today’s Europa League final featured two contrasting teams: Manchester United and Villareal. Man U, which represents the red half of a city of about half a million, has won everything there is to win in soccer, and most things multiple times. Villareal, known for some reason as the Yellow Submarine, represents a Spanish city of around 50,000. Until today, it had never won anything. This year, Man U finished second »

England names provisional Euro 2020 squad, three Everton players included

Featured image Gareth Southgate, manager of the England national football team, has selected 33 players for his provisional Euro 2020 team. The tournament is called Euro 2020 because it was supposed to be played last year. The provisional squad includes three Everton players — goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, defender Ben Godfrey, and forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Southgate will have to cut seven players before the tournament to get the team down to 26. Pickford »

Israel’s crisis spills into English Premier League

Featured image This week, the Arabic-language social media sites of two English Premier League football teams voiced support for Hamas in its latest confrontation with Israel. The two clubs are Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) and West Ham United. The Wolves’ tweet stated, in Arabic: You don’t need to be Palestinian to speak, you just need to be human. Our hearts and prayers are behind Palestinians. God save the people of Jerusalem & Palestine. »

Rooney avoids relegation by the skin of his teeth

Featured image Wayne Rooney burst onto the soccer stage as a 16 year-old in 2002, the same year Power Line entered the blogosphere. I’ve been writing about Rooney 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 return to Everton, and his »

Manchester United fans riot in protest against American owner

Featured image In English football, it doesn’t get much bigger than Manchester United vs. Liverpool. Unfortunately, today’s match between these titans had to be postponed because a protest by Man U fans turned into a mini-riot. The fans were protesting against the Americans who own the club — the Glazer family. The protest wasn’t about the team’s performance. Arguably, United is having its best season since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager »

Poland’s national soccer team says no to the knee

Featured image Ever since shortly after the George Floyd’s death last May, soccer players in England have been “taking a knee” just before the kickoff of their matches. In my view, athletes should be free to take a knee (or not to) before a match. But why a Minneapolis cop’s excessive use of force, and the death it may or may not have caused, should prompt soccer players in Manchester to take »

Whiny narcissist meets empty suit

Featured image Today, Joe Biden allowed Megan Rapinoe, a female soccer player, to use the White House for two of her favorite purposes: (1) whining about not being paid enough and (2) calling attention to herself. Rapinoe, a radical feminist, is leading the crusade for “equal pay” for women soccer players. At the White House, she made it personal, declaring that, by being paid less than players on the men’s national soccer »

Proud all-Basque team wins Spanish Cup

Featured image On Sunday, Athletic Club Bilbao won the Spanish Super Cup. It accomplished this by defeating the two powerhouses of Spanish football — Real Madrid in the semifinal and Barcelona in the final. In the final, Athletic Bilbao trailed 2-1 but leveled the match in the 89th minute. It went on to score a 3-2 victory in extra time. Athletic Bilbao is a special team. Most European clubs are full of »

Wayne Rooney hangs up his boots

Featured image When we started blogging in 2002, Wayne Rooney was a 16 year-old phenom for Everton FC. This week, Rooney retired as a player. He will be the manager of Derby County in England’s second tier of football. If I didn’t already feel old, this news would have done the trick. Rooney wasn’t your average teenage phenom. He was probably the most promising soccer prospect England had produced in decades and »

The return of the “yid army”

Featured image As I discussed here, this weekend fans returned in small numbers (2,000) to some English Premier League soccer matches. Tottenham Hotspur was among the EPL teams to welcome fans. And what a welcome! Spurs defeated their hated rival Arsenal 2-0 in the North London Derby. Spurs are heavily supported by London Jews. They always have been, to the point that many Spurs fans call themselves the “Yid Army.” And, sure »

Some fans allowed to attend some EPL matches

Featured image For the first time since March, fans were allowed to attend English Premier League matches today. But not very many fans and not all EPL matches. England is divided into three categories (tiers) for purposes of the pandemic, with tier 3 being the most seriously affected. No EPL venue falls within tier 1. The 29 venues are equally divided between the other two tiers. In tier 2 venues, 2,000 fans »

Remembering Diego Maradona

Featured image Diego Maradona died last week of a heart attack at age 60. Maradona is generally considered the second greatest soccer player of all time, behind only Pele. Some even rate him ahead of the magical Brazilian. I never saw Maradona play in person, but did see him on television in four World Cups — 1982 (where he was a petulant dud), 1986, 1990, and 1994. All things considered, I have »