Argentina will lift the World Cup on July 13, 2014 - and the country's third triumph in football’s biggest tournament will be the sweetest of them all because it will come in the back yard of South American rivals and hosts Brazil.
Predicting the winner of a major sporting contest is a precarious business for a journalist at the best of times. We’re trained to report the facts, not interpret tea leaves or stare into a crystal ball.
The guessing game for a World Cup, even an educated one, is even harder when it’s done before the teams are drawn into groups – but that’s the task I’ve been given.
Better, then, to face it than live in fear of it. I’ve pinned my colors to Argentina’s mast because they have the will, the skill and the local knowledge to beat their rivals. FULL POST
After nearly 400 games, and over 300 goals, is Lionel Messi suffering from burn out?
I first met and interviewed Messi in December 2005, almost eight years ago.
I recall thinking, if reports of his phenomenal talent are even half true, this teenager could go on to enjoy a top-flight career spanning the best part of twenty years.
And so it’s transpired. Messi has scored an awful lot of goals.
But is that still the case? FULL POST
It’s football’s eternal search for the transfer market’s Holy Grail.
To discover a way where the numbers add up - and just as importantly to correctly interpret those numbers - and cheaply sign a player who goes on to become a star for your team, or someone you sell for a lot of money.
Many have tried and many have failed in trying to bring precision to this imprecise science. FULL POST
They say that "time waits for no man" – except perhaps if you’re a fan of American sports. The United States is the land of opportunity, and on the basketball courts and the playing fields here it represents an opportunity to freeze the clock and make the action last quite a bit longer.
I love most sports, and the ballgames across the pond from my native Britain are no different. But I do so wish they’d hurry up. Football – the one they play with their hands – lasts exactly 60 minutes on the clock but it takes over three hours from start to finish. Basketball is a game of four equal quarters and it should take just 48 minutes, but an average NBA contest lasts three times that – two hours and a quarter. FULL POST
While Italian football club Internazionale acquired new owners last week, there were also profound changes going on at city rival AC Milan.
The club that has won the Italian league 18 times and the European Champions League seven times is rethinking its youth structure’s organization - in future, Milan officials hope to tap in to the power of the brain.
For cerebral help, they have turned to a couple of Belgians - former Standard Liege coach Jose Riga and pioneering youth coach Michel Bruyninckx - to help influence the way the club develops its young players.
Milan has long had a reputation as a club that leaves nothing to chance in the pursuit of excellence. This after all is the team with its very own science establishment - the MilanLab - which it describes as a “high tech interdisciplinary scientific research center” to provide “the best possible management of individual well being and health” for its players. FULL POST
Trust the English to be level-headed and rational in their response to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Well, not quite ...
Known for its population of the stiff upper-lipped and emotionally aloof, England’s green and pleasant land is also home to a gaggle of hacks who seemingly lead the world in their habit for hyperbole.
Ok, so the football team are perennial underachievers; glory on the pitch has not been in abundance. In fact, the side of the self-dubbed 'Home of football' has a track record for success that would give IBM a run for it’s money.
Having invented the damn thing the nation has since endured every competitor under the sun reshaping the product into a new form that betters the original: the Spanish, with their Apple-like aesthetic, the Germans, who produce consistent year-on-year success growth like Hewlett Packard, and then there’s Lenovo ... (add further PC-based metaphors here). FULL POST