2691blog entries

Football’s Pacific solution

While Australian football makes the most of its presence in the powerful Asian Football Confederation, it has an opportunity to be a major player in the development of Oceania Football Confederation member countries like Fiji.
Recently in Sydney, Fiji’s Under-20 team lost 2-1 to its Colombian equivalent in a warm-up game for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Fiji  - with Frank Farina acting as technical adviser, by the way - will be in New Zealand for that event as t...

Victorious Melbourne on track to surpass Brisbane

The Brisbane Roar side that romped to two back-to-back A-League championships in 2011 and 2012 is still regarded as the benchmark of Australian club football but it may have a contender for that title very soon.
Coach Ange Postecoglou got Brisbane to play a brand of possession football never seen in Australia that was rewarded by two league titles. Melbourne Victory may not have reached Brisbane's level of tactical sophistication and eye-catching ...

Two best teams to do battle in worthy finale

Sunday's grand final will be a match-up between two of the best teams the A-League has ever seen, and while the game may well deserve a bigger stadium, those fans lucky enough to get a ticket to AAMI Park are in for a special treat.
The showpiece contest in the showpiece event, played in front of a fraction of the potential crowd. It will still be a brilliant occasion, but the stadium fiasco is a great shame. Nevertheless, we move on and take important lessons away. T...

The 5 biggest blues in A-League history

When Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory square up in the A-League grand final on Sunday, they'll not only be playing for the coveted golden toilet seat, but bragging rights in an interstate grudge match that has thrown up its share of classic...
A host of heroes and villains have emerged as the two glamour teams have bashed each other purple in the quest to be the biggest blue. We've picked out our top five. 5. Thompson's masterclass - Melbourne 5-0 Sydney, 2005   A sell-out crowd...

Clasico UCL final would settle the Messi v Ronaldo debate

A dream UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Real Madrid moved a step closer to reality after two compelling semi-finals that confirmed Lionel Messi's status as the most extraordinary player in the world.
The Argentine wizard inspired Barcelona's 3-0 win over Bayern Munich with a majestic performance that was crowned by two goals and an assist. Messi was here, there and everywhere in the free role he has been given by coach Luis Enrique and...

Robinho is still a shining light for Dunga's Brazil

The inclusion of Robinho in Brazil’s squad for next month’s Copa America has raised a few eyebrows around the world.
Back home, though, this was not seen as controversial at all. Robinho was a leading light in the Santos team that just won the Sao Paulo State Championship, the most prestigious of Brazil’s regional competitions. He has been consistently n...

The battle for the last EPL place begins

Bournemouth and Watford have both deservedly booked their places in the English Premier League next season. There is still another spot up for grabs and four teams will battle it out over the coming weeks in the Championship play-offs to claim it....
Norwich City   Final position: 3rd Norwich came from a long way back to give itself a realistic shot of returning to the Premier League, but may be frustrated it didn't gain automatic promotion. It now faces a two-legged tie against East A...

Seismic power shift in Asia

While Australian football has prospered during its shift to the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, there is no guarantee that this status can not be revoked as some key personnel changes take effect in the AFC power base.
In an interview I did some years ago with the then AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam he referred to Sheikh Ahmad al Fahad Al Sabah as nothing but a ‘big mouth’. This was the same Sheikh Ahmad, a Kuwaiti, who in an interview he gave earlier ...

When the Wanderers lose, so too does the A-League

While Western Sydney Wanderers was flying high, the A-League held on tight for the ride and savoured every moment of it but nothing lasts forever.
For two intoxicating seasons, Western Sydney Wanderers was the best sport story going around in Australia and everyone wanted in on a slice of the action. Hacks from rival football codes attended matches at Pirtek Stadium then waxed lyrica...

Does Berlusconi have a plan Bee for Milan?

As the city of Milan kicked off Expo 2015 with its customary pomp, flair and style, its most successful football club AC Milan continued to stumble from one disaster to another.
Thai property tycoon Bee Taechaubol, meanwhile, is waiting in the wings to pounce on Silvio Berlusconi's sinking ship. The world exposition that gave Brisbane international prominence in 1988 is seen by the Italians as an opportunity to sh...