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  • Hertha BSC vs 1. FC Union Berlin: A Complex Overview of a Complex Derby

    In many respects, Berlin is an anomaly. The heart of geopolitical discourse for the best part of the 20th Century, the memories of a different world are still fresh in the minds of many of the city’s residents. Whilst there is no doubt that the fall of the Wall liberated the German capital’s soul, the…

  • 25 Years Later, Ajax’s Unbeaten Double Remains Unparalleled

    There have been clubs that have won their respective leagues without losing a game, like Arsenal (2003-04 season) and Juventus (2011-12). There have been clubs that have won the Champions League without losing a game, such as FC Barcelona (2005-06) and Manchester United (2007-08). However, no club has managed to match Ajax’s incredible feat of winning…

  • An Ode to Paul Gascoigne and Italia ’90

    The biennial celebration of Italia ’90 is perhaps one of the most fascinating rituals in England. Forget Cheese-Rolling, forget Cornish hurling, forget burning 17th-century arsonists with your children. Every English football fan has been bought up on tales of Paul Gascoigne’s tears and Chris Waddle‘s penalty, and it’s no doubt this tradition would have played…

  • The Dark Side of Colombia’s Beautiful Game: Narco-Football, Money Laundering, and Mass Murder

    Like many South American nations, football spearheads sporting interest in Colombia. The passion can be found at international tournaments amidst a sea of yellow, with exuberant fans flocking in their droves to cheer on Los Cafeteros.    But less than 20 years ago, football in Colombia was a sport that went hand in hand with…

  • Czechoslovakia’s 1962 World Cup: Part 2: One Step From Immortality

    Facing Hungary in the quarter finals, Czechoslovakia once again were seen as outsiders. The Hungarians didn’t have the stars of the Mighty Magyars like Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis or Zoltán Czibor (all fleeing Hungary to European clubs after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution), but they still boasted a competitive squad.    They had a spine of…

  • Czechoslovakia’s 1962 World Cup: Part 1: Overcoming the Naysayers

    Since its inception in 1930, the FIFA World Cup has been rich with a plethora of Cinderella runs, underdog heroics, and undeterred dominance.   From the glory of Italy in the 1930s under Vittorio Pozzo, Uruguay’s triumph at the Maracana in 1950, the brilliance of Brazil in 1970, the tour de force of Diego Maradona…

  • Le Carre Magique: The Story of France’s Golden Midfield Quartet

    Magic Squares are square grids within which every row, column and diagonal adds up to the same number. Used by Arabic astrologers to predict horoscopes as far back as the 9th century, the perfect mysticism of this formula has been noted throughout history.   Reason and logic may denigrate the astrological routes of this theory,…

  • Didier Drogba’s cry for Ivory Coast to lay down its guns

    “We want to have fun, so stop firing your guns” – one team’s plea to a nation. African Footballer of the Year on two occasions. Champions League victor and four-time Premier League champion. Didier Drogba’s career has been filled with unforgettable trophies and goals, but his proudest moment came in a tiny changing room in…

  • How Feyenoord kickstarted the Dutch dominance in Europe

    Feyenoord’s somewhat unexpected triumph in the 1970 edition of the European Cup was a watershed moment for Dutch football in general, and the country’s club football in particular. For the next few years the Dutch dominance continued with an impressive total of five European trophies in as many seasons, and peaked with the Netherlands’ national…

  • Ashley Cole: When football got its priorities wrong

      It was David Beckham’s birthday last week, and it’s been 13 years since he made the momentous decision to move from Real Madrid to MLS side LA Galaxy. Since then, football in the United States has grown enormously, with teams becoming wealthier, viewing figures increasing and more high-profile players joining.   One of those…