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.

336blog entries

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...

Europe relishing a golden chance to rewrite history

Europe is in a strong position to create FIFA World Cup history when Brazil's fabulous football festival that has thrilled us to bits comes to a fitting end at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
No country from the old world has inscribed its name on the trophy on the seven occasions the game's biggest and most important tournament was held in the Americas. Each time football's showpiece was staged in North, Central or South America big ...

The pact that damaged football's credibility

Forget Luis Suarez's bite, Diego Maradona's failed drug test and the Battle of Santiago: the FIFA World Cup's darkest hour came in the city of Gijon in 1982.
It was the mother of all scandals and the shameless perpetrators of a despicable stitch-up were allowed to get away with it Scot free. European neighbours West Germany and Austria appeared to the whole world to have fixed a result in a group game...

Good times beckon for revitalised Socceroos

It was rather remarkable that on the very day that Spain's era of world dominance came to a crushing halt in Rio de Janeiro, another era dawned on the Socceroos in Porto Alegre.
The two teams that went into the 2014 World Cup with wildly disparate expectations will meet on Tuesday morning (AEST) in what has become a playoff for third place in the group. The Spanish matadors have become the fifth world champions to bow ou...