Columnist

Vitor Sobral

Vitor commentates for SBS and works as a presenter for The World Game. His passion for European football resonates through his blogs. Follow @Vitor_TWG on Twitter.

176blog entries

The malaise that is ruining Newcastle United

In recent times, football clubs with the most money to spend on players are usually those that are most successful but that rule of thumb does not equate at Newcastle United - one of the most consistent and expensive failures in top flight football.
When the authors of Soccernomics Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski analysed the correlation between the wage budgets of English Premier clubs and where they finished on the table, the results were on the whole what they expected....

Portugal teetering on the brink

A lack of long term planning has Portugal at risk of being left behind Europe's rapidly evolving top football nations.
A national team transition is a tricky course to navigate for any coach and federation. Do you take it slow bringing in the next generation and risk them not having the required international experience when the time comes? If you decide to go fo...

Swans boss Monk shedding 'ugly duckling' reputation

Gary Monk talked the talk when he was sensationally picked to replace the sacked Michael Laudrup as Swansea manager late last season. Now his undefeated team is walking the walk.
The day Swansea City made the shock announcement that highly likeable Danish manager Michael Laudrup was sacked and replaced by the inexperienced Garry Monk, many, including myself, feared the Welsh club was abandoning its philosophy....

Touring is big business

The photo of more than 109,000 people packed into Michigan Stadium for the clash between football giants Manchester United and Real Madrid would have brought a massive smile to the marketing strategists at both these clubs.
Just in case any further evidence was needed that the game is growing rapidly in the United States, the turnout of 109,318  was a new record for a football game in the country. Growth is the key to the future of Europe's major clubs, who need...

The 'Brazil' of European football

AC Milan is a seven-times European champion and an icon of world football that has been on the slide for a number of years now, with Filippo Inzaghi now tasked with the job of reviving its fortunes. Will the glory days ever return to the San Siro?
For Manchester City it seemed like a pre-season stroll against a lower division minnow. The English champion was four goals ahead before the half-hour mark and looked almost certain to score every time it went forward. But this was no third-tier ...

The Iron Tulip blossoms in Brazil

Deep in the bowels of the aptly named Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, the press conference room is bursting at the seams with captivated journalists listening intently to the wisdom of Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal.
It seemed curious that Van Gaal, who has a history of berating reporters for their stupidity or unnerving players with his bizarre dressing room acts, was able to become such a cult hero among journalists and more poignantly his players.  ...

Shattered Selecao can still be a catalyst for change

Brazil's 2014 FIFA World Cup may have been ended by Germany in the most brutal of ways but that doesn't mean the tournament can't have a positive effect on the future direction of the nation.
'Esta muito complicado.'   It’s a phrase you often here in Brazil and it was particularly poignant on a night in Belo Horizonte that will forever be known as the Mineirazo. The horror show inflicted by Germany on the Selecao and its disbelieving ...

USA's World Cup bus slogan rings true

The power of the World Cup has cemented football's place aming the upper echelon of American sports - UNITED BY TEAM, DRIVEN BY PASSION.
Before the United States took on Belgium in Salvador, Jurgen Klinsmann claimed that football is now an unstoppable force in the world's most powerful nation. What happened after USA's heroic defeat to the Red Devils proved Klinsmann's proclamatio...

'Foreigners' argument doesn't wash

Portugal's limp exit from the 2014 FIFA World Cup must be the catalyst for change to the country's youth development system, but capping the number of foreign players in the league, as has been suggested in other countries, is not the way to do it.
An inquisition by Portuguese football officials over the national team's FIFA World Cup performance should begin in earnest. It is already underway in the media, not long after the team's exit Joao Moutinho was grilled for 10 minutes in the mixed...

Costa Rica a revelation

No matter what Costa Rica achieves from now on at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, its feats in Group D have made it the feel-good story of the tournament so far.
Taking an early morning stroll along the beach in Recife would have left any tourist drenched in sweat. By lunchtime the beaming sun and the humidity made breathing difficult enough. On the day Italy played Costa Rica there were a few clouds abou...