Columnist

Les Murray

Fondly known as 'Mr Football', Les has been directly involved in all the major events covered by SBS Sport, including five World Cup football tournaments. Follow @lesmurraysbs on Twitter.

637blog entries
The Chapecoense air tragedy in Colombia was a horrifying heartbreak for the perished’s loved ones, the club’s supporters, for Brazilians and the global football community.
Sadly it wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last, incident in which planes carrying football teams have gone down and questions need to be asked as to why these things happen. Let us first examine what exactly occurred on that dark eveni...
While Australia is engulfed in a tough battle for World Cup qualification, which is by no means certain yet, in little over six months the team will be back on the world stage in FIFA’s next major international tournament.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off on June 17 in St Petersburg, the eight-team event ending on July 2 in the same city. The other three cities being used for the tournament are the capital, Moscow, Kazan in central Russia and Sochi...
There has been much chatter in recent days, mostly on social media, about Australia’s recent youth level failures on the international stage and the reasons why.
A number of diagnoses have been offered. Popular among them is that Australia’s modern player development methods, inspired by input from a Dutch technical culture, are bankrupt and not bearing fruit. This is not true simply because not en...
This occurred to me while watching Tom Rogic dominating the game in a recent outing for Celtic - whatever happened to the number 10 role?
Rogic is your classic number 10, even though he wears number 18. He may indeed be the best number 10 we ever had. And that’s partly because we haven’t had too many. For many decades the number 10 was the most critical position in football....
Some crooks have gone down but, it seems, the craziness, greed and political expediency at FIFA have not gone away.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who replaced disgraced Sepp Blatter when elected only last February, is delivering on his key promises during his campaign: channel more money to the voters and give them a better chance at qualifying for t...
Oh, it’s such a great feeling to be there when history is being made. The nearly 62,000 fans who attended the Sydney A-League derby on October 8 was not just a record for an Australian domestic club football match - it was also the realisation of...
Hands up those who don’t remember what crowds domestic football used to attract and believed an attendance this large was simply not achievable in Australia. When I arrived in Australia in 1957 as an 11-year old immigrant kid it was just a...
Let me start with a confession. In 2005 I was invited to the AFC Champions League Final in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, all expenses paid including business class travel - I declined for a number of reasons.
Foremost among my logic was what the Department of Foreign Affairs advised on travel to Saudi Arabia. It said visitors have been known to be arrested when alcohol was detected on their breath at the airport. That would have done me in for ...
In his excellent biography of Pep Guardiola, Guillem Balagué devotes his first chapter to the reasons why Guardiola left Barcelona after winning 14 trophies in four season at the club.
Balagué writes: Pep Guardiola rang one of the world game’s leading managers [Sir Alex Ferguson] to ask him one question. If you get to a situation where the balance seems broken, what do you do? Do you go or do you change the players? He w...
As Australia now counts the days before their next 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, against Saudi Arabia on October 6 and Japan five days later, they can be well satisfied that they have a fine, well-rounded team that seems to be getting better...
Follow @TheWorldGame The two recent games, against Iraq at home and UAE away, showed, against very different opponents, just how balanced the team is. In the first game, a 2-0 win, the Socceroos excelled in attack as they were required to ...
It is now 51 years since Australia played their first international game in the FIFA World Cup era. In the coming days the Socceroos will play their 474th and 475th games that came and went in that fascinating half a century, an average of 9.3...
Of course I do not wish to ignore what happened before the World Cup era and the 61 internationals Australia played before that time. But Australia never entered the FIFA World Cup before 1965 and I feel there needs to be a line of distinc...