Tag Archives: football

Germans fume over Euro 2012 soccer spy scandal

GlobalPost, June 27, 2012

BERLIN, Germany — Joachim Loew, coach of Germany’s national soccer team, should be elated. His team is undefeated in the Euro 2012 tournament. It is now poised to reach the final, if it can beat archrivals Italy on Thursday, giving Germany a chance to claim its first major tournament victory since 1996.

Instead, the coach is irate. And so are his compatriots.

A mole with access to the inner ranks of his team has been leaking vital information to the press about the team’s lineup. That means hours or even days before each match, Germany’s opponents know who they’ll be up against.

The leaks are causing no end of frustration within the German camp. Team captain Phillip Lahm has branded the informant — who remains undiscovered — a “disgrace.” Continue reading

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Women’s football is still a pauper’s game, despite World Cup success

The Guardian, 16 July, 2011

The striker swerves past two defenders and buries the ball in the bottom corner to score the winning World Cup goal in front of a sellout crowd and millions more viewers at home.

But there is unlikely to be fame and multimillion-pound sponsorship deals when the stars of the Women’s World Cup return home after a tournament that has surpassed all expectations, winning over new fans and delighting advertisers.

The women’s game is still a pauper compared with men’s football. Continue reading

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Neo-Nazis Spurn Germany’s Diverse New National Team

Most of the country may be in the grip of football fever but one group of Germans are resolutely not supporting the national team. The far-right scene rejects the new multicultural squad as un-German and says it can’t identify. For many, it is consistent with their rejection of the entire democratic state.

“I can no longer identify with the national team,” someone calling himself Blaue Narzisse writes, explaining why he isn’t supporting Germany in the World Cup. “The colors black, red, gold are being abused for the mega event by this motley Germany team.” It is a sentiment repeated widely across the far-right scene these days.

Germany may be awash with black, red and gold, as the national flag adorns cars, balconies and pubs. But while most of the country is urging the team on as it faces Argentina in Saturday’s quarter-final, for neo-Nazis it is next to impossible to back a team that includes players with names like Boateng, Özil or Podolski. This German national team is the most ethnically diverse ever, celebrated widely as finally being representative of the wider German society. But to the far right, a squad where 11 of the 23 have migrant backgrounds is no longer really German. Continue reading

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More than ‘Just a Game’: Sport Turns into Ultimate Political Football

It’s not often that sport becomes the stuff of diplomatic disputes. But two highly controversial World Cup qualifying matches have pushed football into the global headlines this week. Algeria and Egypt find themselves embroiled in a serious spat while the Irish government complained to Paris.

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. …. I can assure them it is much more serious than that,” the legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once famously said.’

That has become more than apparent this week as entire nations seethe with anger and resentment after two highly controversial qualifying matches for next year’s World Cup in South Africa. So intense are the feelings that the coverage of the games has leapt from the sports sections to become front page news. And governments in both Europe and North Africa have been quick to jump on the football bandwagon as a welcome respite from economic and political problems at home.

While the controversy over the match between Ireland and France was based on an incident on the pitch, with Thierry Henry’s blatant handball sending Les Bleus through, the spat between Egypt and Algeria has centered on violent incidents off the pitch. The huge outcry in Ireland has prompted the government to call for a replay of the game and the Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has even taken up the issue with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Continue reading

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