The first International Break of the season comes as things were just warming up nicely in the Premier League, with clubs not releasing players for the upcoming international matches in red-list countries.

There are a great many World Cup qualifiers going on. with all the nations of the British Isles in competition, as well the South Americans and a host of other regions around the world.

Reader Comments (128)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 03/09/2021 at 05:17:00

Anybody catch the unfortunate Everton presence in Cristiano's dramatic late show last night against Ireland? He leaped in front of an overmatched Seamus for the last-touch gamewinner... after outjumping Duffy for his record international goal six minutes earlier.
Christy Ring
2 Posted 03/09/2021 at 07:03:10

Thanks for reminding us about the Ireland result. Totally gutted, especially when we were leading 1-0, Connolly was upended in the box when he was about to score. A stonewall penalty, but the referee astonishingly ignored it. Not being biased but excuse the expression "the referee rhode us".

Lee Courtliff
3 Posted 03/09/2021 at 09:05:39
Just read that Brazil have agreed to rest Richarlison during this international break due to his summer exploits. Good news for us.
James Flynn
4 Posted 03/09/2021 at 15:56:04
Richarlison played yesterday and was subbed out late in the game.

Watched Portugal - Ireland. A tough loss. Funny that ref let the game go on past the allotted extra time when Christiano got the winning goal. Then, the instant Ireland started things up again, he blew time.

Christiano is still something. Basically a lamppost now except when that ball comes into the box. Two perfectly struck, accurate headers when they were really needed.

Lee Courtliff
5 Posted 03/09/2021 at 16:03:10
Must have read an old article, James. Shame really, we can't afford him to burn out too soon, but I suppose this will help keep him sharp.

They were two great headers from Ronaldo, I'm looking forward to seeing him back in England.

Ricky Oak
6 Posted 03/09/2021 at 16:04:57
The Ireland game was typical of the corruption in the game. Ireland are to internationals, what Everton are to premiership. No bias, I'm English with Welsh blood. 10 mins extra time, geezers score in 6th minute of last five! Sick of it.
Tony Everan
7 Posted 03/09/2021 at 16:14:53
James 4, I was surprised to hear that, I too thought we had reached an amicable agreement with Brazil that Richarlison needs this two week break after his Copa and Olympic efforts.
Joe McMahon
8 Posted 03/09/2021 at 16:38:29
James and Tony, with our next opponents being the physical Burnley, he certainly needs a rest. Yet again, Everton are playing the nice club.

The September international break last season did us. The form and performances never really recovered.

Chris Williams
9 Posted 03/09/2021 at 16:47:37
According to the Everton website, he isn't playing for them. Given time off because he went to the Olympics, as said earlier.
Jay Harris
10 Posted 03/09/2021 at 17:03:52
On another topic, did anyone catch Harry Kane missing 3 one-on-ones with the goalkeeper against Hungary?

If that would have been Calvert-Lewin, he would have been roasted in the media.

Jeff Armstrong
11 Posted 03/09/2021 at 17:10:48
Jay, he'd have been roasted on here after just one missed one-on-one. The media like him; it's his own “supporters” that doubt him!
Jamie Crowley
12 Posted 03/09/2021 at 17:16:01
If anyone endured the horrific 0-0 USA v El Salvador game last night, my apologies on behalf of footy-loving Americans everywhere.

We were awful. So many misplaced passes, passes literally to no-one, wasteful, disjointed, etc. It was the ugliest game of football I've seen in some time. The USA was genuinely shit.

But it'll get spun into, "A good CONCACAF on-the-road point."

Absolute crap.

When this young USA squad clicks, we're really freaking good. When we are shite, we are utter shite. There's very little in between.

Former Blue, Antonee Robinson, was a rare bright spot. He would make brilliant runs down the left, only to not be given the ball. The one time I recall he got service and they actually gave him the ball, he put a really good cross into the box. Only for no-one to get on the end of it.

Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 03/09/2021 at 17:25:46
When the young squad clicks, Jamie? Be patient mate!

Seriously I can see the good old USA being a force in the years to come.

Meanwhile, that most overrated teamwork for many a year, England (in world football) really do look like they have definitely gone up another level. I only watched the last hour, but I thought they were excellent.

John Raftery
14 Posted 03/09/2021 at 17:33:05
Jay (10) and Jeff (11),

When watching those missed chances last night, I had exactly the same thought. All strikers, even the very best, miss chances but, with Calvert-Lewin, no latitude is allowed.

Had he missed those chances, fingers would have been reaching for keyboards quicker than you can say Harry Kane to damn him as ‘not good enough' and for ‘poor technique'.

James Flynn
15 Posted 03/09/2021 at 18:10:01
Apologies all.

Turns out I was watching a repeat of a game from the tournament a few months ago that Argentina won. Would explain why the highlights of other games, I saw Yerry Mina.

Richarlison definitely did not play for Brazil last night. Nor was he in the squad.

Happy to be wrong.

Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 03/09/2021 at 18:13:22
Wow, Jamie #12, I must disagree strongly. Yes, it was a technically disjointed performance. But shit and horrific? No way.

This was the first real away World Cup Qualifier for this team, which included four players under 21 dealing with a hostile Latin American crowd for the first time -- a unique experience. As Tyler Adams pointed out, Reyna and Dest don't have people firing batteries at their heads when they take corners for their clubs. It takes some getting used to.

The side also included at least four second-stringers and a back four that had never played together before (two of whom won't make the final World Cup roster). But they worked relentlessly, closed down instantly on the ball, and were pretty much flawless defensively, covering for each other at the back and hunting in packs in midfield.

Last night may have been unsatisfactory, but it was nowhere near the shit show you portray. They didn't choke or fuck up. And I think you'll see a different US when they roll out their best 11 (including Pulisic, Antonee, Pefok and Brooks) on Sunday.

Darren Hind
17 Posted 03/09/2021 at 18:17:14

No law against being a little biased – which is just as well coz Andy Crooks would have been locked up years ago. Besides I felt the Irish were really hard done by too.

I always remember a call to Radio City years ago when footy phone-ins were relatively new – I think it was the Mac n Tosh show, but I can't be certain.

Anyway, it was around 1983. Reidy was still riddled with niggly injuries and poor form.

Caller: "I think Kendall's biggest mistake is he doesn't play Peter Reid. He is the best passer we have. The best tackler. The most competitive. He's Europe's best reader of the game. A very warm human being." ... On and on he went going well over the top. I thought he was describing a cross between Pele and Teresa of Calcutta. By the time he had finished, the presenters were pissing themselves laughing. They taunted him by saying "He's not your brother by any chance?"

Caller: "Well, yes, actually he is, but that's not clouding my judgement in any way.".

I should have stopped listening to phone-ins after that. Nothing could ever top the call. Wonderful!

I'm all for a bit of bias...

James Flynn
18 Posted 03/09/2021 at 18:21:56

I didn't think we were that bad.

We had some shots that were missed. Nothing new there. Couple of them just skied. Hit the crossbar once.

Disappointing, for sure. But everyone fought hard, had attempts we could have put away, and we got a point.

John McFarlane Snr
19 Posted 03/09/2021 at 18:28:26
Hi John [14],

I completely agree with you, regarding the Kane misses in one-on-one situations, and your comment that Dominic Calvert-Lewin would not be given any latitude by some who post on this site. I often wonder if they've ever played the game? Hoping to see you in The Bramley Moore on the 25th.

Jamie Crowley
20 Posted 03/09/2021 at 19:16:24
Tony, Mike, and James -

Tony - I am very, very bullish on the US Mens National Team. Very! This squad has real talent. It is also very young and its upside is enormous. Patience is required I agree, but this brings me to:

Mike and James -

We were simply awful last night. Awful. The number of passes to literally nobody, the number of errant passes, the simplistic giveaways, the seeming inability or desire to switch field, the disjointed manner of play – all of it was really poor.

All the excuses of, "Good away point on the road in CONCACAF" are hollow. We played El Salvador. Again, for effect, El Salvador. If you have any illusions of winning this Octagonal you get three points on the road in El Salvador.

What I hear are excuses for blatant sub-standard play. It was just ugly.

Important to note as well – the effort was 100% there. I can't, nor would I, fault the effort or desire. They just had a shit night in my opinion.

That being said, it's the first game of qualifying with a very young team. I completely expect a different performance on Sunday. Conditions and environment will be much, much more positive.

But last night wasn't what anyone should expect from our national team, and it wasn't up to snuff. Not even close.

Again, I'm extremely bullish on this team. But I have to say last night was simply poor.

Ending on a positive, because the sun is out and I'm alive so why the hell not, Miles Robinson is fucking brilliant. I adore that kid, despite the missed header. He's a solid defender, he's quick, he can play a precise long ball if needed, his positioning is sublime. That kid is a player.

Brian Harrison
21 Posted 03/09/2021 at 19:21:49
Darren @17,

The phone-in you mention was done by Ian St John, on Radio City, and it was Reidy's brother, Sean, who made the call. I don't think the call influenced Howard but Reidy was in the side the following week.

Strange really because, when he bought Peter from Bolton, Peter actually failed the medical but Howard said he would take full responsibility, so we signed him. Putting Reid back into midfield was the start of us having a really great Everton side.

Darren Hind
22 Posted 03/09/2021 at 19:26:31
Well remembered, Brian.

I forgot all about St John on the radio. Always associated him with Jimmy Greaves and their telly show.

Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 03/09/2021 at 20:44:19
Jamie, none of us -- me, James or Tony -- said anything like "Good away point on the road in CONCACAF" and I didn't hear a word of that from Gooch, Clint or Charlie on the CBS commentary desk either.

Your dismissiveness of El Salvador away is misplaced in my opinion. FYI we have won there exactly once in the last 44 years. They are seriously tough at home. Against everybody. We have won the Hex in the past after drawing there.

And I still say that as poorly as we executed in attack, we executed flawlessly in defense. We were only 50% awful. The other 50% was superb.

Heartily agree with you on Miles. Brilliant young player whom I have already written in as our starting RCB in Qatar. What a find he is. Also Tyler Adams, who everybody knows about but isn't seen often on US TV. I was kinda surprised he was named captain instead of McKennie. After ten minutes you could see why. He's fantastic. Commanding. And only 22. Wonder what he would cost....

Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 03/09/2021 at 20:53:37
America play Canada next, and although I've never had any allegiance to the world's police, I'm going to start supporting the USA, because I've always respected the American sporting culture, Jamie.

Canada just drew with Honduras, who I'm sure played very, very skillful football in the 1982 World Cup finals (still my favorite ever tournament to this day) although I might be wrong and I'm getting them mixed up with the Algerians?

Nevertheless, I never thought I'd ever be rooting for the Americans, but they now seem to be developing into a very interesting football nation, so hopefully I will see a few more disagreements between you and your fellow countrymen on these pages, as I begin to learn more about my adopted team!

Just googled and it was Tunisia in the 1978 World Cup that I used to love watching, they were small and skillful and never stopped running, whereas I think Hondurans might play a more aggressive game.

Jamie Crowley
25 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:01:20
Mike -

It's a general comment. I don't believe I said, nor did I mean to, that any of you actually said that. I heard that about 1000 times on Sat radio today, Jason Davis' show on Sirius FC. It did my head in. You're a victim of the, "Jamie said it, it makes sense in his head despite mentally jumping all over the place, I'm sure you'll follow the mode of thought" dynamic.

I did hear Charlie Davies say something like, "It's a point on the road in CONCACAF" or something like that. Either way, put on sat radio Sirius FC and you'll hear it - frequently. Hearing it sounds so excusitory it makes me sick.

I agree, our defense was strong. El Salvador had one headed opportunity early in the first half that made my heart jump in my throat.

Other than that, sorry, I thought we were supremely poor. I suppose I'm a bit "ugly American" dismissing El Salvador, but if you want to win this thing, that's easily one of, if not the easiest, road games we'll have.

$20 says El Tri wins in El Salvador. Points dropped, ugly football, not good enough.

Now we have to win Sunday. And THAT won't be easy at all. Sunday aside, I'm really pulling for our lovable neighbors to the north to make the World Cup this cycle. They can do it. Good team, great coach. It's a beautiful country - scenery that would make even the most hardened atheist consider the existence of a higher power. Gorgeous country, what I've seen of it. Albeit fucking freezing. But I really hope they get to the World Cup.

Except on Sunday. I expect us to come out looking much, much better, play joined up football, not turn it over so carelessly, and look to reassert ourselves and win.

But Lord above we need to disagree on last night. It was awful to watch, supremely ugly, in my opinion. My bar is high for this young group.

John Raftery
26 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:04:43
Thanks John (19). I have a theory that those who watch games only on a television screen are less forgiving of missed chances, indeed any mistakes on the field. They have less appreciation of how quickly players must make a decision and execute it. They would have more appreciation if they watched the game at pitch level, especially near the goalmouth where the action is lightning fast.

Looking forward to seeing you on 25th.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:06:26
I'm sure I just read Canada had won 9 out of their last 11 matches before they drew with the Honduran's, Jamie? And it's also a derby match, and America have got a very young inexperienced team? I'll take a one-nil now!
Jamie Crowley
28 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:06:30
Tony -

You're officially adopted into Uncle Sam's Army. Congrats.

You've chosen well. Despite many ugly things these days, we're still the Land of Freedom and opportunity. The melting pot is a beautiful thing.

And if anyone reading this disagrees and dislikes America, fine. Your right to do so. But it's also my right to have the opinion that I live in the single greatest country on earth, so politely fuck off. 😂

Welcome aboard Tony!

Dave Abrahams
29 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:08:02
Brian (21),

Yes, the show was run by Ian St John and it was after a 3-1 loss in a derby game at Anfield, and Reidy's brother had a good go for his brother. St John was on to him right away, saying “You're from Huyton and your name is Reid... you're not Peter's brother, are you?"

"Yes, I am," was the reply.

Not longer after Reidy came on, in the game pamphlets were given out, wanting Howard sacked. Reidy changed the game and we won the League Cup tie. Next day, Colin Harvey was appointed chief coach and Everton went from strength to strength.

That was the game, in my opinion, that changed Everton's fortunes – not the much publicised Oxford Utd Cup tie.

Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:18:53
Young teams need to develop first, imo, Jamie, and that team that Peter Reid eventually got to play for on a regular basis (the other talk on this thread) went from getting booed off the pitch on the last weekend of 1983, to being voted World Soccer Team of the Year just 18 months later.

How many of the current American squad are playing in Europe now? I've just read about Miles Robinson, our 6ft-2in central defender, but looking back at Joe-Max Moore, Landon Donovan and Brian McBride, and one thing the three of them had in common is how hard they tried when they put on the Everton shirt. 👏👏

Jamie Crowley
31 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:27:29
Tony -

I think, in an honest moment, I'm scarred from our 2018 World Cup appearance. I'm sure you'll connect the dots.

We can't drop points in El Salvador. I agree - young teams need time to develop. Thing is, this team should be able to beat El Salvador with the quality we possess, young or not, on the road or not, etc.

We just didn't play well. We need to do better, as well as admittedly be patient. But there's a time to demand and expect a result, and preach patience for another day. That time was last night.

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:29:50
I see Iwobi had the two assists in Nigeria’s 2-0 win today. He’s started the season quite well, and has even started looking like he wants it a bit more, although it’s very early days, right now.
Brendan McLaughlin
33 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:36:46
Tony #32,

Apparently Iwobi had a very good game according to a report I read:

"The Everton forward was the creative spark for the team as he created numerous goal scoring chances for his teammates even went forward to try his best to score. Assisted Iheanacho's second goal. 8/10"

Although, as you say, early days...

Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:49:23
Maybe Jamie, but there are very few easy games in international football, and it does seem like we go into the lions den often, when going to play in some of the countries that are in the group?

Only won there once in once in 44 years? I read some fans were already arriving in the stadium 6 hours before kickoff, and this type of atmosphere is definitely not easy to play in, especially for a group of players who don’t have much collective experience between them.

I’ve watch England struggle in certain qualifiers since I started understanding what football was all about, and I will also watch them struggle in certain games in the future, because football isn’t always easy, especially for a young and inexperienced team, and even one with loads of talent.

Let’s beat Canada, which will hopefully settle the nerves!

Tony Abrahams
35 Posted 03/09/2021 at 21:52:42
Iwobi is another player whose demeanour looks to have changed, Brendan, so it's a 🤞 because I don't think it's talent that the boy lacks.
Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 03/09/2021 at 22:15:42
Jamie #25, you've got a bet. El Tri dropped two points at home last night to Jamaica.

Tony my friend, as Jamie says, welcome to Sam's Army! Delighted to have a new US supporter. You picked a great time to jump in. The five most talented players in US history are in the side right now, and they're all 23 or less. Pulisic, Dest, McKennie, Adams and Reyna are all more gifted -- and already more accomplished -- than Donovan, Dempsey and McBride ever were. And there's an even younger generation coming up behind, guys like Aaronson (who scored a Champions League gamewinner for Salzburg last week) and Chris Richards. This team could be genuine contenders for the 2024 World Cup at home.

And Tony, thanks for the callout on Iwobi for Nigeria. Maybe, as you Brits would put it, the penny has finally dropped for him. If so, we may have to grit our teeth and credit Rafa.

Jamie Crowley
37 Posted 04/09/2021 at 03:45:58
Mike -

You're on. El Tri to beat El Salvador in El Salvador. $20.

I'll ask Lyndon for your contact details so I can Venmo you the moola if El Tri fall short.

Not that I want them to win, mind you! A bet I truly hope I lose!

Mike Gaynes
38 Posted 04/09/2021 at 04:49:53
Nah, Jamie, just donate it to Stand Up 2 Cancer. Tell 'em I sent you.

My various Rom/Dom wagers with Darren et al are for charity too.

Kieran Kinsella
39 Posted 04/09/2021 at 05:05:51
Ton, Mike & Jamie,

I hate to be the negative nelly but I just don't see the US progressing. I say this from a perspective as a licensed coach and ref.

The US federation treat football like... well, US football. It's all set plays, planned moves, the players aren't allowed to use their instincts. It's all static like table football.

Talent wise? Yeah they could do well but the ingrained Bruce Arena era mentality is too ingrained. Plus it's the sport of the privileged. I've coached and reffed very mediocre players who got picked up by good colleges or Sporting KC but they all come from expensive “competitive” kids league.

Meanwhile, I've seen far better players in free city-run leagues that never get looked at because it's all about the money here.

James Flynn
40 Posted 04/09/2021 at 05:40:55
Kieran (39) - Not sure what this means, "ingrained Bruce Arena era mentality is too ingrained".

As to the "pay to play" nature of our youth soccer? You're preaching to the choir, brother.

Danny O’Neill
41 Posted 04/09/2021 at 08:12:29
I hate international breaks. It means no Everton!

But, I watch the football with interest and can at least be impartial. On the US I genuinely believe they can become something of a powerhouse. They have the ingredients. When I was growing up, you would never have named an American player in your team. But even going back 10 or 15 years, you could name a Premier League 11 of US nationals. Their game has developed and evolved and they are now continuously appearing in the international tournaments (they never did when I was a kid), as well as producing players who can perform in Europe's elite leagues. Massive and impressive progress and I anticipate that to continue.

I work for a US company, have a property over there and served alongside US comrades throughout my career as well as spending much time states side (visited 30 of the 50). I'm kind of adopted!

Their sporting philosophy is second to none. There are two local football (soccer) facilities near my house in Florida. I am not exaggerating, they are on a par with Finch Farm. And they are just for the local kids. To our grass roots.

Stop Danny, you bore people enough on this!

Saint & Greavsie. Now that's made me nostalgic!!!

Peter Reid. Andy Gray hiding his medical records. Let's not write off players because of previous injuries and not being 18 years old!

David Pearl
42 Posted 04/09/2021 at 08:49:02
I love how the winners of the Super Bowl NFL or World Series MLB call themselves World Champions. Imagine if the USA win the FIFA World Cup, they would call themselves Champions of the Universe.

Probably the only time l loved to watch England play was when Bryan Robson got injured and Peter Reid came in for him. Although of course l jumped up and cheered when Sheedy scored too.

Other than that, l hate International breaks.

Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 04/09/2021 at 09:17:08
Kieran, I don’t know the history of the famous Williams sisters, but I was always under the impression that they were coached by their father, who didn’t quite trust the system?

It might be all about money for the kids in America, but you don’t need money to kick a football, (I’m probably wrong because I used to cost me mar a fortune in new shoes) and with at least 80% of these coaches possibly polluting the young brain, I think there is a lot of benefit in keeping the kids away from them until they have reached a certain age anyway?

I forgot the 2026 World Cup was back in the USA, Mike, and predict an even bigger explosion on your shores over the next few years for one major reason, because once football has touched you, most other sports, just don’t seem as important anymore?!

Keep me informed on the young players coming through although I’m obviously going to start doing a little bit of research myself. I’m aware that these young Americans, are better than the players who represented Everton, but I was just making a point on why I respect the American sportsperson, because the one thing they never seemed to be fazed by, is hard bloody work.

Mike Gaynes
44 Posted 04/09/2021 at 16:49:05
Kieran #39, the explosion of young US talent is undeniable. However, I wholeheartedly embrace your view of the Federation and US youth soccer in general. Many of these young, explosively talented kids on the USMNT either abandoned the US early for European academies (Pulisic, Reyna, Weah) or grew up overseas (Dest, McKennie, Antonee Robinson). Of our current elite players only Tyler Adams came up through the US youth system. You are correct about the still-elitist structure of our youth programs and the fact that it's the rich kids who get the opportunities, although I do believe that is changing, judging by the number of young Latino players breaking through into MLS right now.

Tony #43, the kind of world success that is now within reach because of our young talent will continue to drive soccer's progress on our Colonial shores, but no explosion will happen... it will never be more than our 4th sport. However, enjoy your research -- in addition to the youngsters who have already broken through, look for teenage names like Richards, Musah, Konrad, Pepi, Gioacchini and Busio. And when you come over for the World Cup, you are my guest. Returning the hospitality of the Abrahams family is a top priority for me!

BTW, you are correct about the Williams sisters. Their father believed (with undeniable justification) that two Black girls would never get a fair shake in the lily-white US tennis system unless they stormed the battlements from outside the established structure, including coaching.

Tony Abrahams
45 Posted 04/09/2021 at 18:10:42
Thanks Mike, I would love to get to America for a World Cup mate, especially now I’m a fan!

What are the three top sports, are they Gridiron, baseball and basketball?

David Pearl
46 Posted 04/09/2021 at 19:46:07

l have been to a Basketball game to see Toronto Raptors... nothing special. Too many flashing lights and they tell you what to chant.

A Canadian football game where l was looking the wrong way for the ball and couldn't find the quarter back. That was a totally crap.

Baseball to see Toronto Blue Jays... that kicked off without me even knowing it was that quiet but still better than the other 2. It was into the 3rd innings before l realised the game had actually started.

However its worth the trip over just to watch the NHL, ice hockey which was brilliant. Fast paced, lots of action, lots of hits, a couple fights (the players drop gloves and go for it... weird its still allowed). The NHL kept me going while l couldn't see the blues.

James Flynn
47 Posted 04/09/2021 at 20:07:04
Digne starting for France against Ukraine.
Jamie Crowley
48 Posted 04/09/2021 at 20:33:02
Kieran -

You're spot on about pay-to-play. The college system here is another brick wall as well. Mike at 44 in his first paragraph sums up my thoughts closely - so I'd echo that.

Mike Gaynes @38 -

Stand Up 2 Cancer it is. If I win, you can donate to your local Catholic Charities Adoption Services.

Mike Gaynes
49 Posted 04/09/2021 at 21:53:07
Works for me, Jamie. My "honorary grandfather" was Very Rev Monsignor Thomas J Holbrook, the director of the Chicago Archdiocese Catholic Charities.
Jay Wood

50 Posted 05/09/2021 at 20:34:00

BIG, BIG breaking story.

The South American classico Brazil v Argentina got barely 5 minutes into the game when representatives of ANVISA, the Brazilian health regulatory body, stepped in and insisted the game was halted.

The issue is that whereas 9 PL Brazilian players did not travel for the WC qualifiers a couple of Argentina players did, including the Villa keeper.

ANVISA already warned that such players should NOT be allowed to enter Brazil for this game. They did. ANVISA advised such players should NOT travel to the stadium on match day. They did. ANVISA further advised said players should NOT be selected to play. They were.

When the ANVISA official tried to engage with the match officials, the suits of both teams tried to wave him away. He has the law on his side. Federal Police got involved when they tried to continue the game and all hell broke loose.

The current scene is Brazil remains out on the pitch. Argentina are back in the changing room and there is absolute confusion on who gave Argentina the authority to select the players they did given current local protocols.

Absurd scenes.

Michael Kenrick
51 Posted 05/09/2021 at 21:12:35
Wow, Jay, that is just nuts. Sky Sports News are relaying the story and have just had Tim Vickery on, describing the scenes.

No pictures for us here as it's on the Premier 1 channel behind a paywall.
Jay Wood

52 Posted 05/09/2021 at 21:49:00
All very surreal, Michael.

The suits on the touchline, wearing those credential badges commonly seen at sporting events, clearly thought they could wave aside the intervention of the ANVISA agent, but he was having none of it and stuck to his guns.

They tried pushing him back down the tunnel and he simply stepped round them all and walked right on to the pitch up to the referee. It got nasty for a little while with the Argentina players crowding him, followed by the Brazilians and a LOT of suits.

The police joined in and shortly after the Argentinians retreated to the changers while the Brazilians laughed and joked, playing keepy-uppies between them.

The commentators slowly pieced it all together as to what was happening and the issue is very much with the FOUR Argentinians who arrived from the UK.

ALL arrivals in Brazil from the UK are obliged to go into quarantine and isolation for 14 days. The curiosity here, of course, is that by and large sports people that have trained under Covid protocols have had a waiver with a 'special passport.'

ANVISA advised Argentina that the four players should NOT enter Brazil because they would face 14 days in isolation. This was ignored. Having arrived, they were told not to leave their hotel and certainly not travel to the stadium. This too was ignored. They were told very clearly if selected ANVISA would intervene and suspend the match. Three of the four started the game.

This is common knowledge in recent days. Twitterati has been kicking it back and forth for days, thinking 'they wouldn't dare!' Well, Argentina called their bluff and ANVISA did dare. Big time.

In the absence of a game of football they had a long phone chat with the ANVISA president who made it very clear that the four players face two infractions: falsification of their departing point (they claimed Argentina when in truth it was the UK), and being out in public when they should be isolating for 14 days. Hard to deny the second when millions are watching live on TV.

It was all friendly enough between the players, many of whom are of course club team mates including the biggest pair of them all, Neymar and Messi.

CONMEBOL the South American UEFA equivalent has already side-stepped the issue saying eventual sanctions has nothing to do with us, but with FIFA.

The Brazilian commenators of course lean towards Brazil being awarded the game, the points and a 3-0 win.

The ANVISA President was uncompromosing. The four players, Villa's Buendia and Martinez, Spurs' Celso and Romero (only Buendia wasn't in the starting XI) should be arrested and immediately deported from Brazil.

Questions are being asked if anybody on the Brazilian divide - CBF the Brazilian footy federation - or someone higher in government gave the green light to Argentina to act as they did.

The diplomatic and sporting fallout from this is far from over.

Not quite football as we know it, but it was a comedy hour.

James Flynn
53 Posted 05/09/2021 at 21:50:18
Jay, just read that in the news.

Saw it here: Link

There's a picture of officials talking to Messi and Neymar.

Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 05/09/2021 at 23:05:26
US media picking up on the story as well. Game abandoned. Insane.

Craziest thing to happen on this side of the water since El Salvador invaded Honduras after a World Cup qualifier in 1969.

Mike Gaynes
55 Posted 05/09/2021 at 23:46:13
Just saw the video... a group of Brazilian health officials actually walked onto the pitch to stop the game about five minutes after kickoff.

One pudgy little official actually shoved Otamendi, who heroically refrained from ripping his arm off.

Bill Watson
56 Posted 06/09/2021 at 01:10:42

"And if anyone reading this disagrees and dislikes America, fine. Your right to do so. But it's also my right to have the opinion that I live in the single greatest country on earth, so politely fuck off".

FFS. I think you need a serious head wobble! That country is responsible for all the mayhem in the Middle East, not to mention the fuck up in Afghanistan, and can't resist meddling everywhere else.

I'm half American myself but that doesn't blind me to the fuckcluster that counrty is.

Jamie Crowley
57 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:17:05
Most free country on earth, Bill. Mic drop.

And I couched my brazen declaration with, "Despite many ugly things these days..."

Anywho, I'd not trade it for any other country. Warts and all.

We're playing a weird first half. Pass it around the perimeter as Canada waits for us to screw up and hit us on the counter. We need a goal. If we don't win this game, it's pitchfork and torches time!

Jamie Crowley
58 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:28:23
YESSS!!!!!!! Mayhem! Fuck Ups! Meddling!!

Whoo hoo!!

Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:31:38
Exultant and heartsick at the same moment.

Exultant because Antonee Robinson has been the second-best player on the pitch for the US tonight, and just plated a gorgeous assist to Aaronson to put the US in the lead.

Heartsick because I still can't believe we sold him for pocket change. He is one outstanding player.

Mike Gaynes
60 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:32:54
Heh, heh, Jamie, how you enjoying that DeSantis freedom down there right now?

Finest leader since Pharoah in Exodus.

Mike Gaynes
61 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:35:06
Ah, crap. Once Davies got isolated on Yedlin, it was all over but the crying.
Jamie Crowley
62 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:35:33
Uh oh 1-1
Jamie Crowley
63 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:53:25
Mike - has the US been banned from making substitutions?
Jamie Crowley
64 Posted 06/09/2021 at 02:55:27
82nd minute. Brilliant Berhalter. 🙄
Terence Leong
65 Posted 06/09/2021 at 06:24:31
Antonee Robinson was a strange one... when I first heard of him, he was touted as a promising left-back, went out on loan, and then apparently, was thought to be unable to make the grade.

He did well at Fulham (is he still there?), though if he was still at Everton, we might not have gotten Digne.

Well, I guess, it's always a case of "hits & misses", and timing. Hopefully we have a lot more hits rather than misses along the way.

Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 06/09/2021 at 17:18:53
Anthony Robinson had a big hand in the American goal, which was really great football, but with our team leading he was nowhere to be seen for the Canadian equiliser. I knew it was going to be a hard match when Jamie, said we had to win because must-win are never easy, especially for an inexperienced team.

Onto the next one in Honduras now, and with these also sharing the points with Canada, then I’m expecting us to finally get three points!

Michael Kenrick
67 Posted 07/09/2021 at 20:53:26
The BBC is carrying a story that suggests a raft of International players from Premier League clubs who were prevented from traveling to red list countries during the International break may be suspended from subsequent domestic games for 5 days.

Premier League: Clubs 'need to know' if Brazil players are suspended

The ruling could apply to Richarlison, despite the fiasco that ensued when Brazilian health officials stopped the Brazil vs Argentina World Cup Qualifier after just 5 minutes over concerns about four Argentine players who had flown out from the Premier League to play.

Seems absolutely farcical that the national associations should insist on applying this Fifa rule as 'punishment' for countries where players had been prevented from participating by their leagues or associations.

Fifa needs to sort this nonsense out surely... but then I know that is expecting far too much.

Tony Abrahams
68 Posted 07/09/2021 at 21:04:10
I haven't read the report Michael, but I did read something along similar lines last week. It said that Richarlison would be available to play for Everton, because the Brazilian FA have stated that he was exempt from traveling because Everton released him for the Olympic Games.
Jay Wood

69 Posted 08/09/2021 at 12:29:49
Looks like Everton has built up some good will with the CBF - the Brazilian football federation.

The CBF has triggered a FIFA rule which states clubs who don't release players for international duty can be prevented from playing them for 5 days on their return.

Brazil was denied the use of 9 PL players in this international break. The CBF has asked that the 5 day ban for eight of them is applied.

The one exception? Our Richy. All thanks to Everton releasing him to Brazil for the Olympics when we weren't obliged to.

8 Brazilian PL Players Banned

Michael Kenrick
70 Posted 08/09/2021 at 12:47:10
Phew, that's a relief. Spot-on, Tony.

This whole nonsense presents a huge jeopardy to Premier League clubs now. What happens in the next International Break?

I felt Fifa should have stepped in to suspend that rule as a consequence of Covid. But they don't want to admit that Covid could be threatening the integrity of their already blighted World Cup.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 08/09/2021 at 13:02:06
This might also backfire on Brazil who are stopping some players from playing football now, through no fault of their own, especially after what happened against Argentina the other night, which is just a complete contradiction imo.
Brian Williams
72 Posted 08/09/2021 at 13:11:55
Thing with this is that it'll now ruin the theories of those "among us" who swear blind there's a long running conspiracy by just about everybody in football to fuck Everton over. :-))
Michael Lynch
73 Posted 08/09/2021 at 13:29:54
Brian, just wait til Richarlison picks up an injury against Burnley: "He shoulda been banned like the RS players!"
Jamie Crowley
74 Posted 09/09/2021 at 03:25:21
We lose or draw tonight, it's time to go septic.

Road game or not, it's must win. Full stop, end of.

Jamie Crowley
75 Posted 09/09/2021 at 03:57:59
I honestly can't stand this. The USA have possession with NO intent. pass it around... wait to get punished.
Kieran Kinsella
76 Posted 09/09/2021 at 04:38:15

Don’t they have about 10 more games?

Mike Gaynes
77 Posted 09/09/2021 at 04:40:21
Kieran Kinsella
78 Posted 09/09/2021 at 04:40:24
Brian 72

I was thinking the same thing myself — although —- the conspiracy theorists will say Rich will be rested at some point for more than one game. But, fair dues to Brazil for showing us some reciprocal respect

Jamie Crowley
79 Posted 09/09/2021 at 04:40:54
Jamie Crowley
80 Posted 09/09/2021 at 04:45:49
Kieran - you're missing the point.

2-1/2 games of knocking it around the back with no fucking point, no attacking intent, we've looked utter shit.

You do that, and fall behind the leaders, you're fucked.

This half is WAY better! Getting the ball forward, looking to attack and score - which is what you should ALWAYS do with an inferior team

** against an inferior team EDIT

Jamie Crowley
81 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:06:49
Mike Gaynes
82 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:07:12
Jamie Crowley
83 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:11:16
I've got a Pep in my step
Mike Gaynes
84 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:18:27
Jamie Crowley
85 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:19:13
BOOM! MUCH better second half. Pressuring their back line - something we didn't do in ANY game up and to this point - made the difference.
Mike Gaynes
86 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:22:33
Hopefully Berhalter has learned his lesson about starting the children in a WC qualifier.

If Robinson and Aaronsen had been in the lineup from the outside instead of the kids Sands and Bello, Honduras wouldn't have scored and this would have been a less stressful evening.

Mike Gaynes
87 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:24:08
And 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mike Gaynes
88 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:28:39
MOTM Ricardo Pepi. First US appearance. First US goal. First US assist. Second US assist.

18 years old.

And he could have chosen Mexico.

A star is born.

Jamie Crowley
89 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:33:22
I think Antonee was MOTM. up and down the pitch. Pressured all over the field. he completely changed the complexion of the game. He got the ball and went forward, with intent to attack. It was like everyone around him was like, "Can we do that, yes we can."

Pepi was excellent as well.

Mike Gaynes
90 Posted 09/09/2021 at 05:50:33
Actually Pepi was credited with an assist on Antonee's goal as well, so he either scored or assisted all four.

Antonee was great, but the kid gets the trophy tonight.

Tony Abrahams
91 Posted 09/09/2021 at 07:39:52
The more games this young squad play together the more they will settle down, especially when they can go and get results like this!
Martin Nicholls
92 Posted 09/09/2021 at 08:40:19
Interesting that recent debate is all about USA match with not a comment on England*. Maybe that will help our American cousins appreciate what little interest most Evertonians have in the national team.

*it is doubtful that the separate article would have appeared on the site had our own goalkeeper not featured.

Mike Gaynes
93 Posted 09/09/2021 at 14:55:41
I've always found that fascinating, Martin. I don't think there's another country in the world besides England -- the cradle of the sport -- where club is more important than country and the national team is so widely viewed with disdain. And where the players, even those from other nations, are expected to put club before country as well.

The outrage among among many here when Richarlison pushed to play for Brazil in the Olympics -- and was permitted to do so by the club "that pays his salary" -- was truly striking, and will certainly come flooding back when Rich inevitably tires at midseason. English fans genuinely don't understand that for almost all players, representing their country comes first. It still surprises me.

Mike Gaynes
94 Posted 09/09/2021 at 15:03:18
Tony #91, yep, it was a brilliant result, but there are still setbacks to come with these inexperienced players. The youngsters will be the mainstays of this campaign -- the only real veteran, Brooks, may literally have played his way off the team last night. And the kids are still mostly unbloodied, because they've never experienced the true crucible of CONCACAF qualifying. Mexico City. Let alone the pressure cooker they will face in Qatar.

They will qualify this time, no problem. But they won't be contenders in Qatar. 2026 at home will be different.

Tony Abrahams
95 Posted 09/09/2021 at 15:08:28
Funnily enough I fancy England to do really well in Quatar, Mike, just as long as there is good air-conditioning inside the stadiums, but America are definitely emerging, whilst gaining valuable experience along the way.
Chris Williams
96 Posted 09/09/2021 at 15:24:13
James involved in training at Finch Farm today.
Jamie Crowley
97 Posted 09/09/2021 at 15:56:46
These setbacks in the USMNT are largely, not wholly but largely, down to set up and tactics.

I'm sorry, but when Sergeant and Pulisic are dropping off the back line the ENTIRE first half (not to mention the preceding two games) and not pressuring the back line looking to take possession, and when the squad is content to just kick the damn ball around our back line with zero intent to get forward and attack, that's down to a poor game plan.

Also, starting players out of position and constantly trying to "outthink the room" the way Berhalter does, is simply infuriating. Adams at right back was an abject disaster. And Tyler Adams played absolutely terribly in the first half. My son and I were texting the entire game, and both of us wondered if Adams could actually execute a forward pass. Every single time (it seemed) he played the ball backwards. He made Morgan Schneiderlin look like a balls-out frenzied attacking midfielder!

There's a lot of talk about our inexperience in the squad. Our manager needs to make serious adjustments moving forward. The squad I watched in the summer in the Gold Cup looked to get forward. I didn't see ANY of that in any real sense for 2.5 games during this initial phase of qualifying.

Five points in an honest moment just wasn't good enough. But we're damn lucky and sit in a decent position now thanks to one half where we got it right.

Jamie Crowley
98 Posted 09/09/2021 at 16:18:25
Martin -

The national team dynamic in England simply befuddles me. I get it to a degree with a Scouse background. The whole controlled decline thing with Thatcher, the large Irish immigrant population that was never "pro-England", etc.

But here in the States, at least the way this one person out of 330 million sees it, I would give an arm for us to win the World Cup. It's so, so important to me I can't even put it in words.

I would say - bravely I'd add on TW - that if you gave me the choice between an Everton Premier League title or a USA World Cup, I'm taking the World Cup just about every time.

I adore Everton. I don't think anyone on TW who's been here for any period of time would question that. But living here in the States, having been immersed in soccer with my sons, the local Clubs, and watching our country try to compete for eons on the world stage having the population and athleticism to do so but always falling well short, you get emotionally and personally invested.

And frankly you have to add in the patriotism factor. I simply love my country. I know that's not overly popular to say these days, and not "PC", but I don't care a bit. America is brilliant. I think we stand for all the right things a decent society should - freedom, liberty, diversity, freedom, and freedom one more time for effect. And having been born into this by the luck of the draw doesn't diminish my appreciation for my rights and freedoms here.

And that reality creates this undying desire for me to see my country do well, especially in a sport that isn't as "popular" here. I want it to succeed desperately.

I can't help it. It's in my DNA. Actually, it's probably an environmentally learned thing, but that doesn't equate to not being eternally grateful I've lived in said environment.

In short, I'd walk through hell in a gasoline suit to win a World Cup, for al the reasons above.

Outside of the US, anyone with a brain knows there's a lot of (completely justified) criticism of my country. I understand this. The wonderful thing about America is you can actually discuss these things and shout from the rooftops about our shortcomings. You can be 100% critical of our government and not fear personal retribution. It's a free country. Hell, you can burn our flag - that's protected under the right to free speech. And that idea disgusts me, but I support anyone's right to do it because in this country you are free to express yourself.

So ya, I love my country. Like, a lot. And that, by association, transfers to our footy team. The passion I feel when I watch our team play is second to none.

Tony Abrahams
99 Posted 09/09/2021 at 16:18:49
It's so cagey international football Jamie, and it's why you rarely see loads of great games imo, and it was why I enjoyed watching England's game last night, because it was a physical battle, played at a fast pace.

Without knowing too much about America yet, I'm convinced a faster pace will suit their game. Something I think you're already alluding to!

Mike Gaynes
100 Posted 09/09/2021 at 16:20:00
Jamie #97, I think we've seen the last of Sargent. He's proven zero ability to score, either at club or country level (his best season in the Bundesliga was 7 in 35), and unless he suddenly starts banging them in at Norwich he's gonna be watching the rest of the qualifiers on TV.

I have no idea what Berhalter was thinking putting Adams at RB, where he's played two games in the last two years, but the little guy was absolutely commanding when returned to his normal position in the middle of the pitch. He dominated the ball after Pulicic limped off.

But as to this: "The squad I watched in the summer in the Gold Cup looked to get forward."... dude, get real. In the Gold Cup they were playing Haiti, Martinique, and the second strings of Canada and Jamaica. You and I could get forward against those. And even then, five of their six wins were 1-0 and they often had less than 50% possession -- against Mexico's second string they had 36%.

WC qualifying is an entirely different planet from the Gold Cup. And five points is WAY good enough for this team at this point in its development. We will get our shit straight (it may take a while yet) and we will qualify.

PS... and regarding one item in your patriotic tribute in #98... if you really think that one of the values that today's American society stands for is "diversity", you might want to sit down for some long conversations with your fellow citizens (and even non-citizens) who aren't white, Christian and straight. This "Jew-boy" and his "effing China" wife are only two of your many countrymen who would be happy to enlighten you on what this country really is to its minorities, although you might not be ready for it.

Jamie Crowley
101 Posted 09/09/2021 at 16:34:55
Mike -

It's a melting pot. With all it's warts and your personal, tragic experiences, it's beautiful.

Martin Nicholls
102 Posted 09/09/2021 at 17:15:13
Mike and Jamie - interesting posts by both of you on the club v country debate.

For my part, I'd take Everton winning even the much-maligned Carabao Cup above an England World Cup win any day. Even back in 1966, our FA Cup win meant more to me than the subsequent England World Cup win. I suspect many local Blues would agree with me.

I guess we scousers are a unique breed!

Mike Gaynes
103 Posted 09/09/2021 at 17:33:33
Martin #102,

Can you explain that to me? It's certainly not just Scousers. Jim Standen (one-time West Ham keeper) once told me that England's 1966 World Cup victory celebration nationwide was downright subdued compared to what's been seen in Brazil and Italy and Argentina and Germany.

I do understand club passion on a deep level -- I still cry watching replays of my Chicago Cubs winning the baseball championship five years ago -- but why the comparative indifference to the national team that seems so unique to England, the birthplace of the sport? Any theories?

Jamie #101, it is. And it is. And it's glorious. But unfortunately it's not a societal value. I think you'd be astonished to find out just how many of our countrymen consider concepts like diversity and "melting pot" to be not merely undesirable but downright abhorrent.

Dave Ganley
104 Posted 09/09/2021 at 17:35:35
Martin #102, couldn't agree more. I get far more satisfaction from an Everton league win than I do for any England game. That's not to wish them any ill will but Everton are far more important than the English football team. I hasten to add I am a local blue too
Martin Nicholls
105 Posted 09/09/2021 at 18:16:55
Mike #103,

To my recollection (I was 16 at the time), celebration of England's World Cup win was not particularly subdued but no doubt was more restrained than in the other countries you mention. Most certainly our FA Cup win in the same year was the cause of far bigger celebrations in the city.

I would think club football in England is massively more tribal than in any other country (I'd include Scotland in this but would stand to be corrected) and that may be why many fans put club before country.

For my part, in football terms, Everton means absolutely everything to me, the rest (including England) coming nowhere. Like my fellow local Blue, Dave #104, I wish them no ill but lose no sleep over a poor result or performance as I invariably do over Everton – you will guess that I'm frequently very tired!

ps: I should have added that, due to travel home from holiday, I didn't even see the first half of the 1966 World Cup Final but was not over bothered. I still have the one and only World Cup book that was available before the tournament, however, so I did show some interest – more so than I do now.

I also have the completed application form for tickets for the Goodison World Cup games – this was never sent off, however, due to the sudden and tragic death of my mum, who paid for my tickets! I also still have a program, ticket stub and Daily Express songsheet from the FA Cup Final!

Andy Crooks
106 Posted 09/09/2021 at 19:16:41
Jamie @ 98, for you to say "I simply love my country", is a remarkable statement considering how well aware you are of how unfashionable it is. I like that.

Barry Rathbone made a very pertinent comment recently on England and football. For some reason, waving Irish flags in Dublin, getting behind the lads, pride etc seems warm and feel good. English flags waving at Wembley just doesn't, and I don't know why.

Perhaps it's an underdog thing. Ireland North and South, USA will be underdogs most of the time; England very rarely. Is it to do with the press and the appalling nationalism that surfaces at every prospect of success? I reckon that is pretty much the same everywhere.

Something happened, social, political or whatever. Something changed. I think the answer is somewhere in the Eurovision Song contest. UK will probably never score another point again, the glory days of Cliff, Lulu, Sandy, Clodagh are gone forever. No one likes us anymore. England are London Utd.

Tony Abrahams
108 Posted 09/09/2021 at 20:05:46
My two son's who were both at Wembley for the Euro 2020 Final said that, when England missed their final penalty, they were both gutted, but only for a few minutes, because it wasn't as if it was Everton.

I was more gutted because they've got about 35 years between them watching Everton, and they've both seen us play as many finals as England, which is truly appalling for one of the main pioneers of the English game!

David Currie
109 Posted 09/09/2021 at 20:12:54

What made you follow an English club side instead of an American one?

I live and coach in San Diego since 1995 and very few kids wear the National team shirts. I always give them stick for wearing German, French and Spain shirts. I tell them one day the USA will have a strong team and that they should always wear the shirt good or bad.

Same with club teams, they only wear the ones that win. Never seen an American yet who likes Everton over here but starting to see more wearing RS shirts.

One kid came to my practice last year wearing one so I put a blue bib on him and told him never to wear that again at my practice, otherwise I won't play him.

Good to hear your passion for your National team and the better they get the more the kids will follow their own country.

As I tell my own Everton and England fan son who has never seen his 2 sides win anything, "When we do, it will be huge celebrations!"

Dave Abrahams
110 Posted 09/09/2021 at 20:24:47
Martin (105),

Those are exactly my feelings over The Blues and England, love one... not really fussy over the other team, they definitely could never break my heart like my team have done quite a lot. Your post was 95% what I would have written except for the sudden and tragic death of your mother.

Danny O’Neill
111 Posted 09/09/2021 at 20:35:32
So, I grew up with Everton being the most important thing in my life outside of my mother. And that's a close call.

England and international football never featured. I don't know if that's my mongrel scouse / Irish / Scottish roots, or just the way I was brought up.

Everton. It's only ever been about Everton.

Oh, and a soft spot for Schalke!

Mike Gaynes
112 Posted 09/09/2021 at 00:10:52
Martin #105, thanks for sharing all that. Remarkable that your memories of the World Cup are so intermingled with the tragedy in your family. The tracks of our lives are truly unpredictable.

Your observation that English/Scottish club football is likely the most tribal may well be spot on, but I would add "with a few exceptions." I've never been there and never will, but from what I've seen and read there is nothing on earth like the tribalism between Boca Juniors and River Plate. Murders are still committed in that rivalry. And I've been told there's still violence among the Italian club Ultras and gang battle when Fenerbahce meets Galatasaray.

Of course I recognize that England is very different now than it was 40 years ago. A longtime teammate of mine, a former Birmingham hooligan, could occasionally be persuaded to lift his shirt and show off his stab wounds from a particularly bloody street battle with Villa fans.

Derek Thomas
113 Posted 10/09/2021 at 01:35:53
Andy @ 106; "England are London Utd" is the crux of the problem, always has been.

You add to that the fact that London is also England, politically, economically, population, wealth, etc, etc... or at least very many people think it is, including too many who are miles away distance wise but mentally lap up the 'London is England - England is London' kool-ade.

Anybody who is / was half decent for a London club... and also then and now the 1, then 2, red Northern 'Establishment Clubs' could get a cap... 'Budgie' Byrne ffs, Storey. Yet Clough and Kendall get short shrift.

And this lack of connection to the England team has not been made any better by the whole Premier League / Gold Bentley thing in football now.

Then and now, if for some arcane reason or combinations of reasons – your face fitted, you were in... If not, forget it.

Christine Foster
114 Posted 10/09/2021 at 07:40:12
Mike, it's hard to pin but, whilst the World Cup 1966 was a great event on Merseyside due to the use of Goodison Park, it's victory pales somewhat against Everton winning the FA Cup that year.

For me, certainly as a kid growing up, winning the FA Cup was personal; the World Cup was okay... but not my team. Why is that? well I think the England team, the FA and media were elitist and focused on who fits their agenda to the exclusion of all else.

A bias exists between certain clubs and players, always has. Mostly to the exclusion of the none Man Utd but North of England clubs. I have seen nothing to say it's changed.

Players who deserved call-ups never got them until they moved to Man Utd, Man City etc.

So, as scousers, most of us are pretty cynical because we have had a right to be. Even the Red lot haven't really broke the mould with player recognition but I guess that comes with the territory whereby generations have been cynical of opportunities afforded to people, players or clubs.

Cynic? When the FA wants to make an example, it's never a Sky team is it? When the Super League lot gets a laughable wrist slap for bringing the game into disrepute, lying, etc, etc... nothing! But other clubs are docked points for minor financial offences, driven into liquidation and are no more. Niasse made an example of... the hypocrisy goes on.

So no, the FA are not transparent, power is the key and they hold it to the detriment of most clubs and the benefit of a few. England therefore is the FA's team, not a fans' team. Not the people's team. Hence lukewarm support in my opinion.

Paul Smith
115 Posted 10/09/2021 at 08:24:33
I'm English and follow England.

Also born and bred in Liverpool and chose Everton who are my local football club.

I follow them both, it's easy for me. Frig all to do with London, btw.

Robert Tressell
116 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:03:58
I preferred it when Wembley was being built and the England games were being played around the country. More inclusive. Wembley is a complete pain to get to. National stadium (if we even need one) should logically be somewhere nr East Midlands Airport.

One thing I like about Southgate is that he's prepared to use non Rich 6 players like Pickford, Rice, Phillips etc because they do a job for the team - instead of the flawed approach of trying to stuff as many big egos into the same First XI.

Finally, club football is v partisan abroad too, dangerously so, not just here. But in England almost all of the national players play for English clubs - and that's not generally the case elsewhere. You could probably make decent French, Spanish, Belgian, Portuguese and Brazilian sides out of just Premier League players. So when the foreign contingent play for the national side its a pleasant return to people of their own identity who they grew up with. For us, it's a case of playing alongside people you play against all the time. Many of whom are arseholes.

Andrew Ellams
117 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:14:21
I never understand why England don't play more games away from Wembley. Italy often play away from Rome, Spain away from Madrid etc. Why play Andorra at Wembley?
Tony Abrahams
118 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:17:12
That first sentence probably sums up why people are having this debate more than anything else, Robert. Don't get me wrong: I love Wembley stadium, and just the thought of going there can send shivers through my body.

But it's probably not a coincidence that when England played around the country whilst Wembley was being built, the connection towards the national team seemed to grow, or maybe it was just because of the supposedly golden generation?

John McFarlane Snr
119 Posted 10/09/2021 at 12:44:07
Hi Robert [116], Long before the new Wembley was constructed there were calls for a National Stadium to be built in the Midlands (Birmingham area).

Hi Andrew [117], As a youngster, youth, and into my early adult years, England played home games at Villa Park, Molineux, Maine Road, Leeds Road (Huddersfield), Highbury, Goodison Park, White Hart Lane, Roker Park, HIllsborough, Elland Road, and Old Trafford. Between the two 'World Wars' they played at those grounds in addition to, Anfield Road, Ewood Park, The Hawthorns, Selhurst Park, Turf Moor, Bramall Lane, Bloomfield Road, St James' Park, Victoria Ground, (Stoke) and Ayresome Park (Middlesbrough).

I would like to thank you for giving me an excuse to dig into my reference books, which my Young Lady cruelly describes as my 'Junk'.

Robert Tressell
120 Posted 10/09/2021 at 12:56:09
It should have been in the Midlands, John.

I expect the atmosphere at Ayresome Park etc would have been brilliant for an England game. I generally get very cross with the ludicrous concentration of institutions, facilities etc in London. I am convinced it's a way to keep the property prices rising in order to line the pockets of the establishment who already live there.

Andrew Ellams
121 Posted 10/09/2021 at 13:00:34
Thanks for the info John, glad I gave you an opportunity to dust down some of your books.

Considering the reduced number of games that England would have played back then that's probably quite a large percentage away from Wembley.

To come back to the past week I can see that Italy played a home game in Reggio, France in Lyon, Germany in Stuttgart and Spain in Badajoz (home of a 2nd division team) so there is no reason England can't go on the road more often apart for needing to pay for the massively over budget stadium.

Mike Gaynes
122 Posted 10/09/2021 at 13:23:27
Christine #114: "England therefore is the FA's team, not a fans' team. Not the people's team."

That's a really interesting theory too but, like the indifference itself, it does seem unique to England. In other countries the national football federations are utterly despised by the populace without impacting the fans' devotion to the team itself (again, Brazil springs to mind).

Fascinating phenomenon, especially to a Colonial who actually injured himself jumping up and down over the USA second goal the other night. And here it's only the fifth sport, not the first.

Have you become a supporter of the All Blacks?

Danny O’Neill
123 Posted 10/09/2021 at 13:29:34
I long ago advocated against a national stadium. Not that it concerns me, but England would be much more accepted if they rotated where they played. It's what Germany does in a nation made up of 16 states, each with its own parliament and PM or leader. It unifies the nation around its national team as they are made accessible and don't belong to one city or region.

Without going all political, it's a problem with the UK in general and why we have too much of a centre of gravity in the South-East. Everything is focussed on London.

In Germany, the politics are split between Berlin in the east and Bonn in the west. Munich is a manufacturing powerhouse in the south. Frankfurt is a global banking and financial centre in the middle.

Italy has Rome as the capital, but the industry is in the north with Milan holding the financial purse strings.

As a nation, we have too many eggs in one basket.

Back to football, give me a UK team to support and I'd have more interest. Just my background I guess and that I served 28 years under a Union Flag, not a St George's Cross.

Kieran Kinsella
124 Posted 10/09/2021 at 13:38:54
Mike & Danny,

I'm in the Netherlands, it's similar as fans of the big three don't follow the national team. It's more middle class rural families, which is why their league has hooligans and their national team doesn't.

Danny, the difference with Germany and Italy both is they weren't unified nations until 150 years ago so they have a plethora of former capitals from old states with more clout than England. London has been central to the unified nation for 1,000 years.

John McFarlane Snr
125 Posted 10/09/2021 at 13:46:05
Hi again Robert [120]. While I have no great interest in the England team, I appreciate that a lot of youngsters outside of the London area have been denied the opportunity of seeing their heroes, and the pleasure that evolves from that.

Hi again, Andrew [121], I think a part of the current situation is that the FA and Wembley authorities have agreed that England are tied to a contract that stipulates that all home games are played at Wembley. I think I've read that somewhere, but as you age, things are not always as you imagine.

Regarding the England position, I have never really been bothered, although the 1966 World Cup games which I was fortunate enough to attend [all five of them] and which finished in a final victory for England, may have lifted the spirit of the nation. I, like many previous posters, took more pleasure from the FA Cup win of Everton, on my first visit to Wembley, and I have always held a 'Club before Nation' stance.

Bill Gall
126 Posted 10/09/2021 at 14:29:23
My first visit to Wembley was the Everton 1966 FA Cup Final. Also that year I had tickets for the World Cup at Goodison Park and went off England when they moved their semi-final from Goodison to Wembley.

The other problem I have is, before the new Wembley was built, the semi-finals of the FA Cup were played at neutral grounds, usually at grounds that provided reasonably equal distances for supporters, whereas now they are at Wembley, and that is an advantage for the London teams and their supporters.

I now live in Canada, where there is no televised England games plus no Premier League games so I have a lack of interest in the English team.

I have to admit I get more exited watching the Canadian National Hockey team than the England National Football team.

Jay Wood

127 Posted 10/09/2021 at 15:37:45
For those of you who appreciate skill, take a look at this sublime hat-trick by Messi for Argentina v Bolivia last night.

Genius at Work

Gerard McKean
128 Posted 10/09/2021 at 16:12:21
Thanks Jay, 127, it’s a pleasure to watch this supreme footballer at work.
Danny O’Neill
129 Posted 11/09/2021 at 07:40:50
I know Kieran and having lived in both countries, I don't think a lot of people understand how much autonomy a lot of the states in Germany and Italy have. The Sudtirol (South Tyrol) for example, which was ceded to Italy after WW1 and is predominantly German speaking and Austrian in culture retains about 90% of it's tax revenue, only giving a token gesture to Rome.

We struggle with 4 nations (states) who speak the same language and let's be honest, bar the accents and kilts, have the same high streets, bars and culture!! And get outraged when Scotland makes a Covid decision that is the same but called something different and introduced a week earlier. Even though Scotland has always had its own education and legal system that is different but aligns to the UK's.

Right, I'm off to take dog number 2 out and drink coffee.

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