September issue available now online and in stores
The new WSC, including the 2019-20 Season Guide, is out now, available from all good newsagents or to order now from the WSC shop.
2019-20 Season Guide
Premier League | Championship | League One | League Two | Scottish Premiership | Women’s Super League & Championship | National League | Fan predictions | What money-making opportunities clubs have missed out on
Women’s World Cup review: The lowdown on France 2019 | Have England Improved? | USA – winners all the way
Algeria conquer Africa | The science of lip reading | Home success for Brazil | A legendary badge collection | When medals go missing | Non-League in Lincolnshire: Grantham Town, Cleethorpes Town & Skegness Town | The increasing influence of gambling firms | Focus on Jan Age Fjortoft | Man City’s first League title | New Maradona film | Berwick Rangers fall from senior football | The London Underground Cup | Sin-bins set to shake up non-League | The last straw for Newcastle fans
Tour de France Women’s World Cup review
It seems to have been accepted that the 2019 Women’s World Cup was the best ever, with the competition becoming properly anchored in the world’s consciousness for the first time. It’s worth asking, though, what is meant by “best”. The quality of a modern tournament is no longer merely measured by technical brilliance, volume of goals, the number of classic games, or the emergence of one or several stunning individual players. Sport now thrives on stories as much as action, although naturally the two are linked.
Lip sealed The science of lip reading
“What formation are we playing? Right, kick it straight?” Was that really what Alex Iwobi asked after coming on at half time in Arsenal’s Boxing Day draw with Brighton? In a way, it didn’t matter. Enough amateur lip readers had already interpeted Iwobi’s on-pitch conversation with Granit Xhaka from their television screens. And the broader narrative was more important than exact words. The exchange was written up in the national press. The video bounced around social media. In each, the subtext was the same: manager Unai Emery’s multiple tactical tweaks had left his players baffled. Iwobi, of course, had not taken the modern precaution. The back of the hand, the collar of a shirt, a convenient bottle of isotonic drink – usually a player’s mouth and any hint of conversation is hidden from view, particularly at the start and end of halves, when they are slow-moving targets for long-range lenses.
Rub of the green Africa Cup of Nations
The goal that won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was fitting. Seventy-seven seconds into the final, Algeria’s Baghdad Bounedjah had a hopeful crack. His shot deflected off the outstretched leg of Senegal’s Salif Sané and looped, by my reckoning, about 20 feet into the air, over the keeper and into the net. It was only the 102nd goal in 52 games, a miserly average of 1.96 per match. Algeria then set about strangling the life out of the rest of African football’s showpiece and recorded the tournament’s 18th 1-0 victory.
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Lip reading illustration by Matt Littler