International football

With Bobby Gould having resigned, Nigel Harris tells us why the Welsh nation is optimistic about the future with Mark Hughes

While England and Scotland endured the media spew that was the “Battle of Britain” and the Republic battled in vain with Turkey, Welsh football’s television delight was Wrexham v Conwy in a BBC sponsored trophy (Wrexham won 1-0, in case you wondered). 

Nigel Harris wants to know why Wales have to play their home matches in England

What major football debate have you had recently? How about a manager being sacked partly due to mass hysteria about his personal beliefs? The merits of someone being able to manage club and country? The reality of per-pay-view football? An FA Cup match effectively being declared null and void? All worthy topics, but what about the British international team barred from playing a match in its own country?

His team sink to defeat after defeat yet Bobby Gould soldiers on as Wales manager. Nigel Harris looks at a deeply unpopular figure

Five years ago, Wales, beating the likes of Germany and Brazil, were ranked 27th in the world and heading towards USA 94. Then Paul Bodin missed that penalty. Welsh football has never recovered. Today, Wales are ranked 107, behind Malawi, Vietnam and Mynamar.

Apparently buying a ticket is no longer enough in the Irish capital, as Davy Millar explains the problem of fakes being illegally sold

With Wimbledon’s proposed move back in the news, there is something that potential visitors to Dublin should know. That match ticket in your back pocket, the one you purchased at an official outlet and which has a seat number printed on it; don’t count on that being enough to get you into the ground. In the Irish capital, a ticket merely represents a desire to see a game, not a right to be there.

After England's recent goalless draw in Italy, Mike Ticher claims that we still haven't shaken off our reputation as football hooligans

“Multiculturalism is a divisive force... One cannot be loyal to two nations any more than a man can have two masters.” So said Norman Tebbit in the week before England qualified for the World Cup with an accomplished performance on the field and a hideous mess off it.

Despite the perfectly good behaviour of the majority of England supporters in Italy, Paul Kelso feels that the occasion was ruined by a select few

There are, we now know, two types of travelling England fan, and they are so distinct that it’s a wonder we didn’t spot it earlier. On the one hand there is the harmless, decent, patriot who likes nothing better than to paint his (or her) face, sing his (or her) heart out for the lads, and wear a replica shirt for four days straight.

Not all the action was on the pitch. Richard Mason reflects on the reputation of the England supporters after they left Rome

The week that began on Sunday, 5th October and ended on Saturday, 11th October saw the re-emergence in all its complexity of the problem of football violence in Italy. First it was the home-grown variety, in connection with the Serie A fixture between Atalanta and Brescia, and then, of course, the much-reported – but perhaps less-understood – incidents which surrounded the Italy v England World Cup Qualifier at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

England managed to defend better than the Italians in their recent encounter, but Cris Freddi doesn't think this approach is new

Judging from some of the press reaction, here and in Italy, to England’s tactics in Rome, you’d think some kind of genuine sea change had taken place. The Italians seemed almost dumbstruck that an England team could play that way, so defensively, like an Italian team. But it’s been happening, on and off, for over thirty years. Does the name Ramsey mean anything to them?

Brazil and Japan's recent international friendly was less about football and more about a chance to promote a well-known sports brand, says Sam Wallace

The ‘summer tour’ is normally associated with a gentle amble through the locals’ defence in a country otherwise too hot to play football. West Bromwich Albion once made it to China, only for Bryan Robson to muse that he’d rather they’d gone somewhere warmer. More recently Manchester United visited post-apartheid South Africa, where Ryan Giggs identified the clement weather as the highlight rather than the fact that he was met (and recognized) by Nelson Mandela.

Kevin Donnelly reports on how Scotland fans have been taken to task in the press in the wake of the World Cup debacle against Estonia

It is all too likely Scotland fans will want to forget the game against Estonia as quickly as possible. However, certain post match fallout is unlikely to allow them the opportunity, with the match seen as the breaking point in the somewhat tenuous relationship between the travelling Scotland fans and the Scottish sports press.