December 4, 2022

Germany's Scholz weathers shocks in turbulent first year

A war in his backyard, galloping economic crisis, and unhappy partners at home and abroad -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has weathered unprecedented shocks in his first year, while struggling to make a mark on the global stage.
December 4, 2022

World Cup 2022 diary: every good feeling in Qatar is lined with guilt

Away from the stadiums, there are ‘scenic’ strolls, gristly burgers and a chastening kickabout with Nedum OnuohaMy colleague Sid Lowe and I decide to take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Al Bidda Park. Good news: it’s only 15 minutes away. Bad news: you have to dodge a six-lane dual carriageway to get there. The park is practically deserted and the view of the glittering ocean only marginally tarnished by the enormous sewage pipe flowing into it. A timely and poignant reminder that in Qatar all beauty is fatally tinged by ugliness. Later, Spain draw 1-1 with Germany. Continue reading...
December 3, 2022

Germany must reinvent themselves so that Gary Lineker is right again | Philipp Lahm

Leaving another World Cup early has exposed a lack of strategy and order that means Germany no longer always win in the endGary Lineker is no longer right. Football is no longer a game in which Germany win in the end. In Qatar, the big nations have succeeded so far. Only not us; as in the two previous major tournaments, Germany were eliminated early.A pattern can be discerned in the failures of the past four or five years. Germany have lost defensive stability – the team cannot keep anyone away from their goal. Every opponent creates chances, even Costa Rica and (in the only preparation match) Oman. Germany’s game always suffers a break. Continue reading...
December 3, 2022

How England ‘pulled it out of the fire’ against Milla’s Cameroon at Italia 90

The only time the Three Lions faced African opposition in a finals knockout match was 32 years ago – and they nearly blew itItalia 90’s accepted place in football history is that of a poor tournament where the crosswinds of geopolitics coloured a World Cup with a deeper cultural impact than any other. The final appearances of West Germany and Yugoslavia, a post-Ceausescu Romania throwing off the shackles and the Republic of Ireland’s days of heaven under Jack Charlton represent a small sample of myriad narratives.When England take on Senegal in Al Khor on Sunday, further memories of 32 years ago will be conjured, for that was the first – and last – time England faced African opposition in a World Cup knockout match. Cameroon in Naples on 1 July 1990 in the quarter-finals ended the Indomitable Lions’ thrilling run as a 3-2 win forged English hopes of going all the way. Continue reading...
December 3, 2022

Berlin says goodbye to part of Germany's colonial past

Berlin on Friday stripped a street and a square of German colonialists' names and dedicated them to African resistance figures, as the country looks to reckon with historical guilt beyond World War II atrocities.
December 3, 2022

England are World Cup contenders. Does it matter if they are any good? | Jonathan Wilson

Major tournaments are short and freakish things happen – and England, unlike more illustrious opponents, are still hereThree games into their World Cup campaign, 11 games into 2022, 79 games into Gareth Southgate’s reign, the question remains unanswered: are England actually any good?To which there are probably two answers. The first is simple: yes, reasonably. They finished top of their group. They were joint top-scorers alongside Spain. They kept two clean sheets. The second is a weary sigh as any discussion of England is immediately submerged by hackneyed debates about arrogance and expectation, set against a backdrop of implausible ideals of breezy attacking perfection. What even is good? Continue reading...
December 2, 2022

England doesn’t expect much these days: except when it comes to the World Cup | Marina Hyde

The country is riven by political incompetence and economic distress so expectations are low for everyone bar Gareth Southgate and his playersWell. About last night … to describe the conclusion of the group stages of this World Cup as crazy feels a bit like calling the residents of Arkham Asylum merely eccentric. For three minutes on Thursday, Costa Rica’s lead over Germany would have meant Spain were heading home, with the coach Luis Enrique mercifully in the dark about this potential outcome. “If I’d have known,” he reflected mildly afterwards, “I would have had a heart attack.” It was certainly the evening for it.ITV’s Graeme Souness appeared to be suffering from a number of baroque medical conditions as he “analysed” the notion that the ball did not go out of play before Japan’s crucial second goal against Spain. Graeme’s conniption swiftly tipped over into such deep conspiracy theory that he is expected to follow his stint in Qatar with a secondment to Donald Trump’s stop-the-steal campaign. “Why have we not seen the evidence?” the studio’s Oliver Stone kept demanding rhetorically. Continue reading...
December 2, 2022

Germany's once fearsome World Cup reputation in tatters

Perhaps the most damning indictment in the inquest into Germany's second consecutive exit from a World Cup at the group stage came from 23-year-old forward Kai Havertz, who said simply, "I don't think we're a tournament team anymore".
December 2, 2022

How 'tolerated' migrants could soon gain residency rights in Germany

The Bundestag has passed a law that will see people with a 'tolerated stay' gain a new path to permanent residency in Germany. Here's some background on the controversial law - and what it means for migrants.
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