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Not so Much Football Fever, More Like Mild Summer Symptoms: An alternative perspective on the build up to the 1966 World Cup

‘History is written by the victors’ is a quote often miss attributed to Winston Churchill, what he actually said was something along similar lines when challenging the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in the 1930’s. “I shall write the history”[1] was his portentous prediction, so when Churchill came to write that ‘History of the English Speaking People’ in 1956 all that he wrote was coloured by what he knew to be ‘so’ and what his readers expected from their esteemed wartime leader.  Why is this of any relevance to the myriad of books, films and articles that study the 1966 World Cup? Let’s take “Two World Wars and One World Cup” the jingoistic chant, thankfully now rarely heard, this draws on such familiarity of received knowledge. Ignoring for a moment the evidence that Germany, as recipients of the taunt, has not only won four World Cups (in various guises) but arguably post ’45 in economic terms did not ‘lose the war’ either, what such bellicose popularism does demonstrate is th
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Wales Women's Football: A squad on the verge of history

Euro 2022 is over and history has been made. After an incredible competition, England have won their first international tournament, defeating an excellent Germany 2-1 at Wembley. The English media have celebrated the triumph and both back and front pages of the nation's newspapers have been used to promote the success. Most commentators and pundits are calling the victory a win not just for the Lionesses but for the women's game across the UK. The same competition also saw a first major tournament appearance for Northern Ireland just three years after Scotland competed in the World Cup. With this in mind, there is one of the home nations yet to reach a major finals - Wales.  In recent years, few could argue against describing the boom in Welsh football as its 'golden generation'. The men's side have reached back-to-back European Championships and have now achieved what many fans believed an impossibility, qualification for the World Cup. The tournament in Qatar is

World Cup's Greatest Shocks: USA 1-0 England, 1950

There are plenty of reasons why football has grown to become the world's most popular sport. The game's simplicity means it can be played by almost anyone, anywhere. Its incredible fanbases have helped to create unbeatable atmospheres, but it is arguably in the sport's unpredictability that truly sets it aside. Gareth and I have compiled a list of 10 of the Men's World Cup's greatest shocks. Covering almost 100 years of football history, the following upsets can tell us more than just what happened over the course of 90 minutes.  USA 1-0 England - 1950 This moment, the Miracle on Grass as it has been called, is a TFHB favourite. The moment the English, post-WW2, after missing the first three editions of the tournament, finally decided to join the FIFA World Cup. In 1930, 1934 and 1938, the English (and other home nations) decided that a world football competition was below them, the founders and perfectors of the beautiful game. The danger of letting that crown sli

World Cup's Greatest Goals: Esteban Cambiasso (2006) | @SivanJohn_

The greatest goals in football are often judged on the artistry of a single player. Whether it is a situation of a ball that was dribbled from the halfway line, a curling free-kick, a bullet header or a thunderous strike, it always glorifies the individual. Then again, sometimes football needs a reminder of it’s humble origin, teamwork. Malaysian based football writer  @SivanJohn_ , recalls his experience of Argentina's 2006 beauty. On one afternoon in Gelsenkirchen during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Argentina were set to play Serbia & Montenegro (S&M) in their second group game. Surprisingly S&M were a team that arrived in Germany with the most stubborn defence in the European qualifiers, so little did fans expect a hammering. S&M had topped their qualification group, which also contained Spain, by conceeding just one goal in eight matches. However, within the space of 90 minutes, that defence was about to be shredded to smithereens. Argentina, managed by José Pékerma

World Cup's Greatest Shocks: Cameroon 1-0 Argentina, 1990

There are plenty of reasons why football has grown to become the world's most popular sport. The game's simplicity means it can be played by almost anyone, anywhere. Its incredible fanbases have helped to create unbeatable atmospheres, but it is arguably in the sport's unpredictability that truly sets it aside. Gareth and I have compiled a list of 10 of the Men's World Cup's greatest shocks. Covering almost 100 years of football history, the following upsets can tell us more than just what happened over the course of 90 minutes.  Cameroon 1-0 Argentina - 1990 There are not many major tournaments that provide football fans with as much gleeful nostalgia as Italia '90. Seen as a true 'turning point' in world football, the significance of the 14th World Cup should not be understated. Argentina entered the competition as holders and one of the favourites to retain the trophy, boasting a squad brimming with talent. Not only could they seemingly rely upon many

World Cup's Greatest Shocks: East Germany 1–0 West Germany, 1974

There are plenty of reasons why football has grown to become the world's most popular sport. The game's simplicity means it can be played by almost anyone, anywhere. Its incredible fanbases have helped to create unbeatable atmospheres, but it is arguably in the sport's unpredictability that truly sets it aside. Gareth and I have compiled a list of 10 of the Men's World Cup's greatest shocks. Covering almost 100 years of football history, the following upsets can tell us more than just what happened over the course of 90 minutes.  East Germany 1-0 West Germany - 1974 West Germany have a magnificent history at the FIFA World Cup, winning the competition three times before reunification in 1990, East Germany by comparison, don't. The East Germans qualified on one solitary occasion, 1974, when the competition was hosted by their political and ideological opposites and neighbours, West Germany. Following the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union controlled th

Croatia: Two Generations on the Cusp of Greatness

Having made a splash by reaching the quarter-finals at EURO ’96, Croatia was seen by many as a perennial dark horse when the World Cup in France rolled around two years later. After progressing from the group stage, they would make it past Romania in the Round of 16 before causing the sensation of the tournament, knocking out Germany in the last eight. Handing them a 3-0 loss, it would be Die Mannschaft’s heaviest defeat at the World Cup in 44 years. A semi-final loss to the hosts, thanks to a brace from Lilian Thuram meant they would play the Netherlands for third place, a match they won 2-1, thanks to goals from Robert Prosinečki and Golden Boot winner Davor Šuker. Unbeknownst to all, it would take another two decades for a Croatian team to enjoy such a run again, when the side led by the likes of Luka Modrić and Mario Mandžukić took things a step further, eventually reaching the final. After defeating England in extra time in the semi-final, Croatia would succumb to France for a sec