Columnist

Philip Micallef

Philip Micallef is a football writer with almost 40 years of experience. He has worked for News Limited and now SBS. He is a long-time follower of AC Milan.

339blog entries

Football in Sydney's west bares its soul

In the space of nine days football 'made in western Sydney' will be at the forefront of the domestic and international game.
And so it should be because Sydney's multicultural west is seen by many as the heartland of the Australian game. It also is the pulse and soul of the city's football and all roads will lead to the heavily populated area that has been a breeding g...

Wanderers dreaming of a fairytale finish

Minutes after Western Sydney had beaten Guangzhou Evergrande in the first leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-finals, coach Tony Popovic may have shown what the Wanderers are all about with a deadpan answer to a simple question.
"Where is this all going to end," he was asked after his Wanderers had beaten the Chinese juggernaut 1-0 in Parramatta. The answer had much to do with Popovic's unflinching belief in his players' extraordinary efforts to leave their mark in Asia ...

Brave Socceroos deserve some tender loving care

The new-look Australia team that is still reeling from three defeats at the 2014 FIFA World Cup needs all the support it can get as it shapes up for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup on home soil.
After suffering its sixth defeat in eight matches since coach Ange Postecoglou took over less than a year ago, fans would be entitled to feel nervous about their favourite team. Coaches usually get sacked for that sort of record. After a comprehe...

Chequebook coaches take the easy option

Coaches making excuses for their failures is one of the most enduring features of the world game and you learn to treat some of their complaints with a pinch of salt.
Many coaches come up with the most banal of explanations for their defeats and very few are prepared to admit their mistakes or acknowledge that their teams are simply not good enough. Why is it so hard to do this? What really amuses me is the pe...

Give the FFA Cup winner a ticket to Asia

It is still early days but the football fraternity's enthusiastic acceptance of the FFA Cup should persuade the powers-that-be to reward the winning team with a spot in the AFC Champions League.
The inaugural competition has captured the imagination of the sporting public. It already has been an unmitigated success and proven to be a knockout with clubs, players, fans and media. The cup is backed by Westfield but it is only a matter of t...

Wanderers out to conquer Asia's highest peak

Western Sydney Wanderers will attempt to capture its biggest scalp when it faces Chinese giant Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.
Tony Popovic's Wanderers take on Marcello Lippi's Evergrande in the first leg at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday night before the two teams meet again at Tianhe Stadium a week later. This is all new territory for the intrepid Wanderers and their band...

That's more like it

Some people take the game of football a bit too seriously sometimes.
The concept of the All Stars has been dismissed as an American-style gimmick and a blatant money-grabbing exercise that has as much chance of boosting football's development in this country as an administration led by Clive Palmer....

Was Asia really all that bad in World Cup?

Asian football emerged from the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign with its tail between its legs as inflated expectations were dealt a savage blow in Brazil.
For all the so-called progress the region has made in recent years, it appears that there is still a chasm separating the European and South American masters and their Asian students. The four teams representing Asia did not win one match in Braz...

The magic of cup football comes to Australia

Australian club football will enter an exciting era when the keenly anticipated FFA Cup kicks off in four suburban grounds this week.
'Old soccer' finally gets an opportunity to mix it with the 'new football' in a national knockout that could become a permanent fixture in Australia's sporting landscape if everything goes according to plan....

German giants deserve better recognition

It's about time we all give a red card to the outdated stereotypes associated with the German school of football that has broken new ground to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Germany became the first European country to win the game's biggest prize in the Americas, after eight attempts, by beating Argentina 1-0 in a gripping final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. A late goal from baby-faced assassin Mario Gotze kill...