The English Premier League may like to think it’s the biggest football league in the world, and certainly it spends the most money, but the 50,000 professional players, managers and journalists who voted for FIFA’s team of the year don’t appear to think it’s the best on the planet.
For the first time since the award was introduced, not one player from England’s top flight made the grade. Instead, the all-star team of 2010 featured six players from Barcelona, three from Inter Milan, with the other two coming from Real Madrid. Contrast that with last year, when the EPL provided five of the elite 11, and it would seem that its reputation has taken a bit of a bashing. FULL POST
The Iran vs. Iraq game was billed as one of the highlights of the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar. Two giants of Asian football with passionate support and a shared past that has been bloody and violent.
In anticipation of a bumper crowd, street hawkers gathered outside the remote Al Rayyan stadium, 15 miles from the capital Doha, to sell maroon vuvuzelas (the color of the Qatari flag), scarves, flags and packets of sunflower seeds. But business was surprisingly slow.
The supporters from both sides - largely ex-pat Iraqis and Iranians living in Doha mixed with several who had flown in from as far as Shiraz, Tehran, Oslo and London - were loud and vociferous outside the ground, chanting their teams' names as they entered the stadium. But inside, a different picture was painted. FULL POST