The bride isn’t always the prettiest girl – How the World Cup taught us to adore those lovely losers.
At the World Cup, the teams that lift the biggest award the sport has to offer can go on to become the style setters for a generation. It happened after 1966 with England dispensing with genuine wingers. The Brazilians did it on a number of occasions, but especially perhaps in 1970, when they reinfused the game with an injection of Joga Bonito that made everyone want to play with such unfettered joy and in 2010, Spain raised the Roja banner for tiki-taka. For all the glory and acclaim that winners receive, and the flattering sincerity of imitation that so often follows however, love and affection doesn’t always go to the winners. In football’s four-yearly jamboree, whilst the bride is the star of the show, it’s often the bridesmaid that everyone falls for. It’s a World Cup legacy that taught us to cherish those who never make it to the alter. Continue reading →
The birth and passing of the eloquent and rich, but all-too-short, story of the Danish Dynamite team were both delivered at the feet of Jesper Olsen. In a qualifier for the European Championships of 1984, Denmark were playing an England team managed by the late Sir Bobby Robson for the first time. Olsen’s stunning last minute equaliser declared to the world that, here was something special. Here was a team that would pick up the baton left by the ‘totaal voetbal’ of the Dutch 1970’s vintage, and run with it, tinting the orange flame with the explosive pace and dribbling skills of red and white dynamite. Continue reading →