Scouting Report: Max Kruse

November 18, 2013 in Europe, Features by Ballsy Banter

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The enviously efficient German production-line has delivered some top class talents through the years, and one has only to shed an eye over some player who aren’t 23 yet – Götze, Kroos, Ter Stegen, Draxler. Add younger talents like Emre Can, Max Meyer, Bernd Leno (Germany’s version of Jack Butland), Matthias Ginter and Leon Goretzka; it makes one wonder what the hell is in their water. Then there is always the case of ‘late-bloomers’, those who look decent in their younger years, but like a fine South African red wine just gets better and better as they get older. Players like Phil Jagielka, Stefan Kießling, Roman Weidenfeller, Dante, Leon Osman (LOL) and to a lesser extent Michu have all hit their best form in their latter years, only coming to the fore when the 30’s come ever closer. But one player has largely gone under the English fans’ radar: Max Kruse.

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Cristiano Ronaldo gives Portugal the advantage against Sweden

November 17, 2013 in Features by Ballsy Banter

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Portugal hosted Sweden in the first leg of the play-off round of the European World Cup qualification. The majority of the build-up was about the world-class attackers of the two teams; Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimović. Even though Cristiano Ronaldo decided the game with a header from close range, neither of them had a particularly good game.


Zlatan and CR7
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England vs Chile: A little too friendly

November 16, 2013 in International by Lizzi Hollis

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Last night was my first trip to Wembley and first England game. Had the boyfriend not won the tickets I probably would have wished I’d stayed at home. I had fun, especially because we were given Club level tickets so it was rather plush, but as far as our national team go, the football was poor.

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European Play-Offs Preview

November 15, 2013 in International by Louis Baxter

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Portugal v Sweden

Portugal seem to be perpetually incapable of topping their qualifying group, so finding themselves in the play-offs is merely a matter of routine at this point. Their opponents this time are Sweden. Perhaps a preferable draw to France but in a way the two teams mirror each other somewhat. Both lodged in the 2nd tier of European teams; both reliant on a single genius at the centre of things in Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic; whilst being sparse for quality across the full 11. Portugal can claim to be a superior team then Sweden perhaps, with the experienced professional psychopath Pepe in defence and Manchester United’s Nani on the opposite wing. But their midfield looks particularly weak, With Monaco’s Joao Moutinho the only player who could be considered elite, and the fact that they still have to start Helder Postiga up front speaks volumes to their lack of quality strikers. Sweden meanwhile don’t have too much going for them right now outside of Ibrahimovic, so you imagine the plan will be to contain the Portuguese and then hope Zlatan does something suitably Zlatanish.

Looking at their squads, you understand why they’re in the play-offs, but Portugal should have the muscle to see themselves past Sweden here, with their home leg very important. Portugal to win.

ZlatanRonaldo

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Last act for Cole’s Hollywood chapter

November 14, 2013 in International, Premier League by George Curtis

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If you were ever in doubt as to why footballers are branded as overpaid, self-obsessed, machismos you need look no further than Ashley Cole. The Chelsea and England defender’s football career reads more like the script for a season of Hollyoaks than a supposed world-class footballer, but one gets the feeling that we’re approaching the crescendo of Cole’s scandalous time in the spotlight.

As a youngster, there were clear signs that Cole had the ability to make great strides in the game, even if a question mark over his temperament and approach to the game still loomed. Of course, at the spritely age of 18, nobody bats an eyelid at a dysfunctional hothead, particularly in football. It’s the norm. If you don’t have attitude problems you’re considered mundane and proper, and who wants that? Cole though, was rapidly emerging as one of the country’s most accomplished young defenders, on whose shoulders England could place the burden of being first-choice left-back for the next decade and beyond.

ashley cole arsenal england

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