International football

Simon Cotterill wants only the best for his children – and that includes a choice of which country's football team to represent

So, I’ve reached that time of life. I’m starting to think about reproducing. And, already, I’ve started to live my own unfulfilled dreams through my as-yet-unconceived children. Those dreams are football dreams. Now, of course, if my future sons or daughters were to decide they didn’t want to become professional footballers I would still feed, clothe and even love them. But first I, and to a lesser extent my partner, am determined to provide them with every possible opportunity to fulfil my dreams.

Neil Forsyth assesses the fallout from the Ferguson/McGregor incident and the somewhat muddled response of their superiors

The Scottish national team has a long, celebrated history of alcohol-fuelled moments of madness and it was about time another one came stumbling into view. After all, it’s been more than 30 years since the glory days of the 1970s – when a drunk Jimmy Johnstone stole a rowing boat during a Scotland camp and was rescued by the coastguard, then the Scotland career of Billy Bremner and two others ended after an altercation in a Copenhagen nightclub following a European Championship game.

Kris Boyd has walked away from George Burley’s Scotland set-up. Gordon Cairns asks why many have sided with the sulking player

Former secretary of state for Scotland David Cairns seems an unlikely mentor for Rangers striker Kris Boyd, but one wonders if the only minister to resign in the short-lived rebellion against Gordon Brown had been whispering in the ear of the disaffected reserve Scotland striker. How else might the bizarre retirement of Boyd in the wake of the draw with Norway be explained? The catalyst seems to have been Burley’s decision to bring on two strikers, Chris Iwelumo and Stephen Fletcher, with one cap between them rather than Boyd, which was obviously too much for his fragile ego.

Their 1990 victory over Austria traumatised the opposition and the Faroese have been reopening old wounds, reports Paul Joyce

The Faroes’ first competitive international, on September 12, 1990, has passed into football folklore. As none of the 18 islands that comprise the North Atlantic archipelago had a suitable grass pitch, their opening Euro 92 qualifier took place in Landskrona, Sweden. Their opponents, an Austria side that had just played at Italia 90, were so dismissive of the Faroese amateurs that striker Toni Polster predicted a 10‑0 landslide. The Austrians even cancelled their final training and went to watch Denmark play Wales in Copenhagen.

Scotland's troubles in Macedonia were not just on the pitch, says Kevin Donnelly

Any football fan who regularly travels home and away with their team will have faced the problem of lack of tickets for their respective end. The dilemma is whether to shrug your shoulders and accept it or go in the home section and sit on your hands, a choice made by approximately 1,500 Scotland fans for the game against Macedonia last month. The events around the World Cup qualifier in City Stadium in Skopje on September 6 raise a variety of questions over the official ticket distribution, stewarding of matches and the facilities that ought to be available for ­spectators in 35-degree heat.

Luxembourg hadn’t won a World Cup qualifier for 36 years – but that didn’t save Switzerland in Zurich. Ben Lyttleton reports

Köbi Kuhn was always tolerated rather than loved during his seven years as Switzerland coach, but the knives are already out for his replacement Ottmar Hitzfeld, just two months into his reign, after last month’s 2‑1 home World Cup qualifying defeat to Luxembourg. Embarrassing, ­embarrassing, embarrassing was the headline in Der Bund, while tabloid Blick claimed that only Hitzfeld’s past club glories were keeping him from the sack.

John Toshack’s reorganisation of Wales’ youth teams under Brian Flynn has paid dividends, as Paul Ashley-Jones explains

It’s typical that when Wales finally escape a qualifying group it leads to a play-off rather than the tournament itself. It’s also typical that, despite finishing top of our group, we draw a side as strong as England in the play-offs. Nonetheless, being so close to the 2009 European Under-21 Championship finals is a huge moment, for players and fans. Participation in such a tournament would help towards changing a losing mentality that Welsh players, at all levels, have had for a very long time.

No other coach has won as many Serie A titles as Giovanni Trapattoni – and that includes England’s coach. Paul Doyle looks at the reaction to the appointment of the Republic of Ireland’s new boss

And so, with the appointment of ­Giovanni Trapattoni to replace Steve Staunton, the Republic of Ireland team prepare to leap from one extreme to the other: from the era of the bungling novice to the reign of the revered veteran.

George Burley is the new manager of Scotland. Neil Forsyth reports on a four-way battle for the job and the challenges facing the former Southampon boss

If Scotland are to continue the renaissance of their national team following the despair of Berti Vogts’ reign, then it is George Burley who will now be leading them onwards. The Southampton manager was the selection of the SFA after a lengthy search that culminated in a shortlist of Burley, Mark McGhee, Graeme Souness and Tommy Burns. It was a quartet that failed to produce a clear favourite among fans and media, with each having decent credentials for the task without standing out.

English reaction to Fabio Capello’s arrival has bemused his compatriots, as Matthew Barker reports. Some wonder how a man used to the best will cope with English talent – a problem other foreign coaches face

Italian reaction to the appointment of Fabio Capello as England coach was, in fairly quick succession, pride, bemusement and a smattering of scepticism. Often deemed a cold, haughty northerner (Capello hails from the Bisàsco region, near the border with Slovenia), the former Real Madrid boss had been steadily winning over a new breed of fans during a stint as guest pundit on state broadcaster RAI’s Domenica Sportiva show. Certainly his entertainingly forthright views and surprisingly chatty demeanour put him noticeably at odds with another apparent candidate for the Soho Square hot seat, Marcello Lippi, who, when coaxed off his yacht for co-commentating duties with Sky Italia, is often disappointingly uncomfortable and wooden.