England’s Women achieved their first World Cup target when safely negotiating their way out of Group F.
They started rather conservatively in the opening game of the group, going down narrowly 1-0 to the fancied French but bounced back with 2-1 victories over both Mexico and Columbia.
The victory over Mexico courtesy of goals from Fran Kirby and Karen Carney and the win over Columbia thanks to strikes form Karen Carney and Fara Williams from the penalty spot.
The positive performances in the latter two group games provide optimism for the Lionesses as they move into the knockout stages of the competition.
However, they have landed themselves a tough challenge as they take on Norway, runners-up in Group B, at the Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa
I’ve always judged the arbitrary cut off point as six. A 5-0 defeat somehow seems acceptable in a sad sort of way. Whereas, when the score gets to 6-0 and beyond then the word ‘thrashing’ seems to firmly come into play.
What started me off on this train of thought was a BBC article about a game in Estonia. FC Infonet, from the country's capital Tallinn, handed out a 36-0 thrashing to Virtsu Jalgpalliklubi - a team from a town with just 500 residents. It would seem that the coach selected the wrong 11 from the 500 available!
Virtsu are reportedly enjoying their moment in the spotlight with the number of visits to their website growing at a rapid pace.
For those with a statistical bent, the score-line of 36-0 will clearly resonate, as it matches
As the old cliché goes ‘one game at a time’ or more precisely three games to hopefully see us past the Group Stage.
England open up on Tuesday 9 June with a tough test against France, followed by a bit more of a journey into the unknown on Saturday 13 June when they face Mexico, concluding on Wednesday 17 June when Colombia are their opponents.
England couldn’t face a much trickier task kicking off against France, as recent results have favoured our old foes from across the Channel.
France have accounted for England in the last two major tournaments – winning a tense penalty shoot-out in the 2011 Quarter-finals before winning convincingly, 3-0, in a Euro 2013 group game.
Incidentally England drew 1-1 with Mexico in those group stages
Updated 5th June 2015 at 09:41 AM by Veritas
As the FA Cup final draws near, Arsenal look to defend their title against an Aston Villa side who are much improved under Tim Sherwood. For all that has been said about the FA Cup losing its magic and interest, when your side is in the final it’s still considered a big occasion. Regardless of top quality Champions League nights, a FA Cup final at Wembley is still a reason to get excited. Wenger and his Arsenal side are the overwhelming favourites for the second year running, but the statistics below may not paint quite the same picture.
Arsenal’s appearance in this year’s final will break the record for the most number of appearances, 19, surpassing Man Utd. If Arsenal manage to make it consecutive FA Cup wins they will hold the record for the most wins, a total of 12 titles,
Updated 27th May 2015 at 08:08 AM by Statisticallyarsenal
AFC Bournemouth and Watford have already made it to the Premier League, with Middlesbrough and Norwich due to battle it out for the third promotion place. They may be fresh faced young whippersnappers starting the first day of Big School right now, but who’s going to end up with their dinner money pinched, head flushed down the toilet and ‘Kick me’ written on their back? (That sound you can hear is a metaphor being stretched to breaking point)
by Matthew Harris
The knee-jerk reaction of the average football fan is to opine, sadly but wisely, that all of the promoted teams are clearly going to struggle, such is the gulf in class and finances between blah blah blah… but the truth is more nuanced. Only once in the last 17 years – 1997-98 to be precise – have all
Updated 21st May 2015 at 01:13 PM by Veritas
I have to admit that the Play-Offs have been good for football, creating interest deep into the season, end of term tension and excitement and giving fans of many clubs the thrill of a great day out at Wembley.
But part of me still thinks that a team is quite often not rewarded for an excellent, consistent hard slog of a season as the ‘best’ team entering the end of season lottery is often sunk by a team that has come up on the rails and snuck into the Play-Offs right at the end of the campaign.
A look through some of the results from this season’s versions that have already been concluded in non-league football shows what can and does happen in these tricky to predict end of season matches.
In the Conference North, fifth place Guisley were promoted
Updated 16th May 2015 at 12:00 PM by Veritas
It has been yet another wonderful season in the Championship, with 2014/2015 seeing one of the closest races for the title, play-off spots and relegation places in recent years. The quality of football continues to increase year-by-year, with the ability for any team to beat anyone illustrates just how difficult it is to secure promotion to the Premier League. Top flight teams who have recently dropped down a division will vouch for how hard it has become to bounce straight back up, with former Premier League side Wigan and Blackpool suffering the ignominy of being relegated to League 1 after a season to forget on and off the pitch for both clubs.
Although there is still plenty to play for in the final game of the season, the Football League awards have already been handed out
Updated 13th May 2015 at 10:14 PM by 11v11
After another year of poor showings in the European competitions, and with the star players of the last couple of seasons leaving for the La Liga giants, the criticism of the Premier League as a league has come from all directions; and it has been coming hard. Actually, it is becoming a little tedious.
However, some improved decision-making (Manchester City, Manchester United) and further development of existing sides (Chelsea, Arsenal) down the line, and the top Premier League teams – fueled by ever more ridiculous amounts of TV-money – will compete for the big international trophies again.
But if we return to this year’s edition, looking at the 2014-15 season as it is nearing its end, one sign of the small step down in quality is the lack of truly exceptional
Updated 29th April 2015 at 08:19 AM by Veritas
It’s time to sneak in another of the quirky challenges set for me by the ever resourceful Nicola.
This time, however, I think I manage to turn it into a serious football blog.
It started when I opened a Mission Impossible style text message:
“Your mission Steve should you choose to accept it, is to find a link to football for something Kardashian and Kanye West related.
“And did you know that over 100,000 people signed a petition for Kanye not to play Glastonbury this year.”
I have to confess I have no knowledge of the Kardashians, or any interest in such reality programmes – the "famous for being famous" syndrome.
Apparently, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ is an American reality television
Aston Villa wrestled our hypothetical FA Cup baton from West Bromwich Albion at the Quarter-final stage of this year’s competition, as Tim Sherwood’s men marched into Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final showdown with Liverpool.
Tim Sherwood has galvanised the Birmingham club, as the recent Premier League win at Tottenham Hotspur clearly demonstrated. He now has the chance to take that form to Wembley with his star striker Christian Benteke full of praise for Sherwood’s impact at Villa Park:
“The first day he came he said we have to play without fear. You can see when he speaks he has a lot of charisma and confidence.”
As a player, Sherwood reached the 6th round stage with Glen Hoddle’s Spurs side in 2002 only to be beaten 4-0 at home to Chelsea, courtesy