Retro Recap: Ronaldinho’s Home Debut for Barca vs Sevilla

In the summer of 2003 a bucktoothed Brazilian took Barcelona by storm. His name: Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, or rather just Ronaldinho. For our latest Retro Recap we’re taking a look at his home debut, played on September 3rd 2003. Barcelona hosted Sevilla.

Further reading as mentioned in the episode:

The full match is available over at footballia, Ronaldinho’s goal below:

Snoozefest Or Defensive Master Class? w/ Laura Bradburn

What happens when an immovable object meets another immovable object? Well we found out just that having re-watched the Champions League final 2002/03. An All-Italian affair, contested between Juventus and Milan, one could have expected a rather tepid offensive output. Beauty however is in the eye of the beholder and so we honed in on the defensive genius of Maldini, Gattuso & Co.

Trying to help us make sense of the state of calcio around ’02/03 was Laura Bradburn. Check out her blog The Counter Press and follow her on Twitter.

Minutes after the jump: Continue reading

Decoding the World Cup 1930 with Dean Lockyer

On July 30th 1930 Uruguay won the first ever World Cup. In the final held at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo they beat Argentina 4:2. Of that we can be certain. But how much of what we read and hear about the World Cup 1930 should we take at face value?

Dean Lockyer has spent several years battling this very question. On his blog he digs through newspaper archives, memoirs, photographs, and every other bit of information covering the World Cup 1930. Fortunately for us he came onto the show to help us decode the story of the tournament.

Topics include, but are not limited to: King Carol II of Romania and his involvement in selecting the squad; foreign born players featuring for the USA; Argentina’s Luis Monti receiving death threats; crowd trouble in Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Of course we talk extensively about the football on display as well. We also weave in and out of the broader issue of seperating fact from fiction.

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Nottingham Forest vs BFC Dynamo, European Cup 1979/80 Quarter-final

The winter of 1979/80 had left the pitch at City Ground in a dire state. And it had left Nottingham Forest chasing the leading pack of the First Division. As March 1980 rolled around Forest sat in eighth, twelve points off the pace Liverpool had set. But they still had the European Cup to defend.

Under the guidance of Brian Clough Forest won the coveted trophy in ‘78/79 beating Malmö FF in the final. Their ‘79/80 campaign had started promisingly enough. Picking up three wins in their first three matches Forest were leading the league in September. Come November Forest started bleeding goals. Trips to The Dell, The Baseball Ground, Selhurst Park and Old Trafford all proved fatal. Southampton and Derby each put four past Peter Shilton. Manchester United helped themselves to three goals while Crystal Palace needed just the one to keep the points in South London.

Nottingham Forest look towards Europe

By boxing day Nottingham Forest were out of the title chase. Sitting in tenth even the drop loomed ominously. Well, at least it was closer than the top of the table. Alas Forest were able to turn their attention towards Europe. As holders of the European Cup they met Barcelona who had picked up the Cup Winners Cup the season prior. At stake: the 1979 European Super Cup. A glitch in the scheduling matrix saw the sides vie for the trophy in January and February of 1980 with Forest running out victors in a 2:1 aggregate win. Continue reading

Talking Polish Football History From A to Zbigniew, w/ Christopher Lash (@rightbankwarsaw)

In recent years the Polish national side has been trending up. Robert Lewandowski has established himself as one of the premier forwards in the game. A number of talents are starting to make a name for themselves. At the World Cup 2018, with a bit of luck, Poland could progress into the knock-out stages.

There used to be a time when the Biało-Czerwoni belonged to the elite of world football. A unique generation of players saw them finish third at the World Cup 1974: Tomaszewski, Zmuda, Musial, Gadocha, Szarmach, Deyna, Lato, to name but a few.

For our latest episode we dive into those glory years of Polish football. With expert Christopher Lash we first take a look at the structure of Polish football during the ’50s & beyond, talk about how the heroes of the ’70s were groomed, and try to figure out where it all went wrong in the ’90s. You can find Christopher’s comparison piece we talk about during the show on his website.

In the second part we talk about the match of the episode as voted by you: Poland vs Holland in the qualification for the European Championship 1976.

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Maradona vs USSR 1979

Argentina U20 vs USSR U20, World Youth C’ship 1979 Final

First Diego Armando Maradona catches your eye. Then he captures your imagination. When watching him aged 18 leading the Argentine Under 20 side to glory you get the feeling it was always preordained. It was always about El Pibe de Oro, the Golden Boy, winning his first major trophy. His teammates, albeit talented, look a mere supporting cast. Ignorance renders the eleven Soviet opponents in the final into nameless adversaries to be overcome – like villains in many an action movie of the time.

But it is the leading man’s name on the marquee that ensures you buy a ticket to watch the picture. Diving into football history it is Maradona’s name that makes you pull up a nearly four decades old youth match. And then you are left marvelling at what you see because it is all still on display today: Maradona’s athleticism, vision, passing, balance, control, oh that control, and most importantly the promise of more. The World Youth Championship 1979 was only to be the beginning.

Maradona & Menotti

In Japan Maradona may have announced himself to the world. But by 1979 he was already a bonafide star in his native Argentina. Learning to play on the streets of Buenos Aires and in the youth system of local side Argentinos Juniors Maradona quickly rose through the ranks. As a pre-teen he had caught the public’s attention at Argentinos matches performing ball tricks during the half time break. Before turning 16 he debuted for the senior side. After eleven appearances he earned his first Albiceleste cap. Leading 4:0 against Hungary the Buenos Aires crowd urged their national team manager to bring on the pibe. Cesar Luis Menotti obliged. Continue reading