A short documentary series, produced by the wonderful COPA90 and Eli Mengem, focuses on the side of the international break that not many people look at. This time, they’ve hit Japan showcasing what the nation has to offer in terms of the game. A beautifully crafted video and a sensational story told this video is a must-see.
As a brand we are looking to grow and develop meaning a new look was in order. Below is the logo we have had designed.
We have decided to create this new logo to develop our brand as we grow. We hope you like it. Let us know your thoughts and feedback.
The TCD Team
Games that accompany major international tournaments always add to the buzz surrounding the tournament. In 2010, I was 13 years old and at school. With the World Cup being in Africa, the games kicked off ten minutes after school finished (normally) meaning me and my mates pedalled the fastest we possibly could to catch them. What made it more exciting was playing the Fifa World Cup game after following the matches themselves. It added something to the experience of such a renowned and loved event like the World Cup. We could embark on our own journey through the tournament either with a whole team or a player that we created ourselves. It made us feel so much more involved with the global tournament than just simply spectating.
The game features a tribal and Safari-like design obviously to portray the South African World Cup. The World Cup tournament feature is something I loved because you could take over smaller countries and attempt to topple the footballing giants, which offered intensity and excitement.
Now, looking back, the squads were something I was mostly interested in. I decided to look through the best national teams in the world’s squads and see who was highest rated and who was in the squad itself – Nostalgia at insane levels!
First up, I looked into England and ‘mediocre’ instantly jumped to mind. Aaron Lennon out wide and Emile Heskey upfront. Glen Johnson at right back with Rob Green in net albeit accompanied by John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. England’s team on the game is like real life: average.
Next, Germany’s starting XI. Rene Adler was a solid goalkeeper in the line-up, being the highest rated. Miroslav Klose, the eventual all-time leading World Cup goalscorer, led the line with a young Mesut Ozil playing in behind. Michael Ballack was a player who also sat in the middle of midfield.
Brazil is five-time champions of this prestigious tournament so I was obviously going to dive into their squad. Julio Cesar, with an 89 overall, was between the sticks with Lucio and Juan in centre-back. No sign of Thiago Silva yet in the starting XI according to this game. Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Robinho in attack with Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato on the bench alongside Dani Alves. A talented team despite their exit in the quarter-finals to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands went all the way to the final, beating Uruguay and Brazil on their way, with a fairly strong team (especially in comparison to now). Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Rafael Van Der Vaart all in the starting line up.
The final team I decided to have a peak at was one of the best international sides football has seen, Spain. Champions of Europe in 2008, eventual champions of the 2010 World Cup and then the European Championships in 2012, this team dominated world football for years and is looked at as one of the strongest teams the game has seen.
A young Sergio Busquets was included in the squad but wasn’t the highest rated. He then showed incredible form in the years following (as you already know). Fernando Torres and David Villa led the line in this game. An incredible team.
Now, looking past the teams and into actual gameplay itself, the graphics on this game were seen as stupendous back in 2010 and still today, they are good. The inclusion of confetti on the walk out (and the fact it stays on the side of the pitch) adds a little something. The addition of manager cuts is also a nice factor. Marcello Lippi is spot on. Below are a few shots from gameplay showing you what the game looked like.
Football video games give fans a sense of being involved on-pitch and let them live their dreams of winning titles. This game was something I loved playing alongside watching the games because it added something extra.
Football is a lifestyle. #FOOTBALLISPERMANENT
“Urgh, an international break, bring back club football”, “I hate international breaks, where’s the Premier League?” etc. etc. Many football fans across England have the view that an international break is horrendous and often ask why they should be put through it. However, they aren’t all bad if you look deeper than England vs Moldova (or whoever we play throughout the World Cup qualifiers). England is shit. Shit at football, shit to watch and this is the main reason that English football fans hate international breaks. If you look past England, you can find a lot more highly entertaining moments across the globe that show just why international football is the best kind.
If you look at the most recent international break, there were a few moments throughout various games that made me realise my love international football. One of the stand out moments was San Marino scoring an away goal for the first time in 15 years when Mattia Stefanelli scored against Norway. Stefanelli is one of the few professional footballers within this squad but for a team scoring an away goal for the first time in 15 years against a country like Norway is a story to behold. Albeit they lost 4-1 but for that three minute period of scoring the goal and everyone in San Marino going mad, it was worth it.
Another incredible moment was when Macedonia managed to score two goals in two minutes against Italy with Ciro Immobile having to rescue a win for Italy within the 92nd minute, following his equaliser in the 75th.
Iceland carried on the international football glory at UEFA Euro 2016 by beating Turkey and drawing with Ukraine. Looking further back into the World Cup qualifiers, Kosovo managed to grab their first official point as a FIFA registered nation against Finland, a stupendous feat for their country. Switzerland beat European Champions Portugal 2-0 back in September with Breel Embolo and Admir Mehmedi scoring. Even Georgia managed to hold Gareth Bale’s Wales to a draw and Kazakhstan drew 2-2 with Poland.
More recently, we saw a fierce battle between the fans of Bosnia and Greece with offensive banners being displayed and flares being thrown from crowd to crowd. Armenia came from 2-0 down to defeat Montenegro 3-2 with an outstanding second half to the game and Armenia clinched the win in the 94th minute. England defeated Scotland 3-0. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a late equaliser for Serbia against Wales adding to the drama of international football. This seen Serbia keep their spot ahead of wales as they close in on Ireland at the top of the group. Even more drama as Albania were sent down to nine men and Israel battered them 3-0.
Widening our view, in South America there have been some fantastic stories as well. One came when Paraguay managed to grab a 1-0 win over World Cup runners-up Argentina (albeit the Argentinians were Messi-less but did have Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria on the pitch). Venezuela also drew 2-2 with Argentina in September. Paraguay beat Chile 2-1, drew 2-2 with Brazil but got beat by Peru at the end of last year. Brazil is currently sitting top of the group with Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia sitting behind them. Argentina currently sits in sixth place behind Chile. Within these qualifiers, Bolivia actually fielded an ineligible player against Peru and Chile meaning their results changed to 3-0 allowing Chile to jump ahead of Argentina. This, with the structure of the CONMEBOL qualifiers, means Argentina miss out on automatic qualification and a playoff spot if positions remain the same. Things are really heating up considering the remaining fixtures for Argentina include Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay. A World Cup without Argentina? Surely not?
During the CONMEBOL qualification, we have seen some spectacular moments. However, one of the best moments is the big win over fierce rivals Argentina by Brazil. A 3-0 victory with a beautiful goal from Philipe Coutinho alongside a Neymar goal and a Paulinho goal. Chile came from behind to beat Uruguay 3-1 with an Alexis Sanchez brace. Argentina regrouped and beat Colombia 3-0 putting them into a play off place and Colombia is now in danger of not qualifying. Ecuador is sitting in third place after a 3-0 win over Venezuela recently.
CONCACAF is also looking very interesting as they head into the fifth round of qualification. Mexico grabbed a win over rivals USA in the 89th minute after Rafael Marquez scored. USA are actually sitting in last place with zero points from two games as they were beaten 4-0 at the hands of Costa Rica. Panama sits in 3rd after a win against Honduras and a goalless draw against Mexico. A interesting scenario.
Travelling to the other side of the globe, Saudi Arabia currently leads group B of Asia ahead of Australia and Japan with Iran leading group A. China sits in last place but things could change for them now that Marcello Lippi just took over the national team – but do not expect a qualification this time round. Uzbekistan is currently holding an automatic qualification spot and Korea and Japan will advance to the fourth round where they both play each other over two legs and will play the fifth placed team in the CONCACAF qualification. We could see a World Cup with Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan over Japan which is outstanding considering the level Japan should be at compared to these nations. Delving into more detail surrounding the Asia qualifiers, the United Arab Emirates managed to beat four-times Asian Cup winners Japan and Saudi Arabia are currently unbeaten – you can see why looking beyond England could change your mind about international football.
Delving into the most recent international break, the Asian qualifiers went crazy. Japan were coming up against the group leaders in Saudi Arabia and overcame the challenge with a 2-1 win. There was late drama in that game as Omar Hawsawi pulled one back for Saudi Arabia but then received his second yellow of the game two minutes later. Not only that but South Korea scored a winner over Uzbekistan in the 85th minute seeing them jump into second place an a qualification spot.
However, the most significant result from the most recent international break was Thailand 2-2 Australia. Thailand picked up their first point of the campaign after Australia were rescued from defeat after a Mile Jedinak penalty. Teerasil Dungda was the hero for Thailand after a brace. This result left their manager, Kiatisuk Senamuang, in tears of joy. It’s the effect of the global game.
The Oceania qualifiers are currently in round 3 with Fiji, New Caledonia and New Zealand making up one group and Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tahiti making up the other. The second-placed sides will play each other, leading to a play-off with a team from the South American zone – currently Chile. We could hopefully see an upset, which is, of course, possible in football, and see Fiji or Papua New Guinea qualify for Russia which would be a spectacular achievement. Not one of these teams, apart from New Zealand who qualified in 1982 and 2010, have qualified for a World Cup.
Africa’s qualification has just kicked off due to the AFCON coming up in 2017 but this could change things with teams looking to rest certain players and club teams putting pressure on the national teams.
These are just a few examples of International football that fully prove this side of the game is not boring. Broaden your horizons and look further than England and their shoddy performances within the international break and maybe you can find some games to dive into. Albeit, some of the quality may not be spectacular but the stories behind these nations, the fan culture across the globe and the beautiful thing that is international football prove to be more entertaining than a game between Stoke City and Watford on a rainy Monday night.
All this is evidence of why international football is full of entertaining drama and people really need to wake up and take notice. International football is one of the greatest games on the planet both on and off the pitch. Look further than England, look deeper into national football.
When there is an international break, football doesn’t stop. FOOTBALL.IS.PERMANENT becomes more relevant, it’s more than a tagline. Follow it.
Me and my mate were sitting have a chat about the games we used to love playing as kids. Various FIFAs were thrown about, including FIFA World Cup games, a few PES’ were thrown about also. This list included Pro Evolution Soccer 6. Alongside this discussion came the soundtracks of many of the FIFAs but Pro Evo really hit home on the nostalgic side so we gathered a whole 25p and bought it. After dusting off my Xbox 360, I eventually got to playing it and from the opening sequence of some goon doing freestyle next to a Reebok logo, I knew it was going to be a good time.
I dived straight into it, played as AC Milan who had a team full of superstars but we were too early for the Ronaldinho, Zlatan and Ronaldo stage just yet, However, Kaka, Cafu, Paulo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Dida, Filipo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo were all in attendence on the starting XI very similar to the one that featured in the Champions League Final defeat to Liverpool back in Istanbul in 2005. It was spectacular, I was like a little kid in a sweet shop. In the first game, I played Saint Ettiene who had no players I knew apart from a young man called Fredy Guarin. Selecting the ‘regular’ difficulty mode, I set off and learnt to realise I wasn’t that good. The opposition managed to score within two minutes of the game, Gennaro Gattuso got sent off for an absolute cruncher and I was unlucky not to score after hitting the bar with Cafu from 30 yards out. Despite losing 1-0, this game is still fantastic to play again.
The next game I decided to see what team Milan’s rivals, Internazionale, had at the time. I selected to play against my beloved Newcast….erm I mean Tyneside. Inter’s team hosted Adriano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Estaban Cambiasso, Luis Figo, Javier Zanetti, Patrick Vieira and Hernan Crespo (who I left on the bench….I know right). Newcastle’s team you say? Well, Shola Ameobi was starting up top with Nolberto Solano and Damien Duff outwide. Titus Bramble was at the heart of the defence so that says it all.
After changing difficulty, I went into this game with a positive mentality. Still looking for my first PES 6 goal in 9 or 10 years, I was optimistic with a strike partnership of Zlatan and Adriano. Oh, how wrong was I?! The first half was a nightmare. Heroics from Shay Given and Stephen Carr kept me at bay and the angrier I got at how hard it was to score in this game. Every shot was saved or went high and wide. 15 shots, three on target! Despite this, all I needed was a bit of Zlatan. A brace from a 25 year old Ibra managed to clinch my first goals and my first win returning to this game. One of them, an absolute stunner.
After realising how awful I am at this game, I decided to take a look at some of the best squads within the game and oooo this is good. The best ones below:
China seems to be crawling its way onto the map within global football and is creating a stamp for Asia on the game (despite Japan already doing this with multiple World Cup appearances and the J League). One thing surrounding China, with reference to the beautiful game, is that the origins of our game are argued to originally came from the country over 1000 years ago. Early stages of football have been linked to China and dated back to the BC era. Back then, it was called ‘cuju’ or kickball in English. This is clear evidence of it being a big time player but not everyone believes they started the game and it was in fact the English. “Football’s coming home” and all that from the English create a debate between the two and an even wider debate sparked when the Germans took that song to try and make it their own. Now, the Chinese Super League seems to be attracting some incredible talent from Europe’s best leagues but this comes down to one thing; the financial capabilities of this global superpower. How is China’s game “crawling onto the map” as I say?
It seems as though there is significant reforms being made on China’s game from bottom to top. First of all, the President of the communist state Xi Jingping is a massive football fan and has been active in changing the game in China. Xi has made it clear, from when he became President, that he wants World Cup football from the national side and eventually for them to win the prestigious trophy. He wants world dominance from the national side by 2030. With this ideology, Xi placed football on the national curriculum which means schools have to teach the game within school as law. 5000 have been specialised in football, all with the aim of developing China’s younger players to mold a better future for the nation side (one of Xi’s aims with these reforms). The state have brought in foreign coaches from countries all around the world to help the reformation of the Chinese football system including former Serbian footballer Rade Kokovic. He said, “number One: from today’s session is passing because we feel passing is an essential part of football games.”
He then went on to say, “And the second thing is mentality. We want to keep them sharp, keep them mentally focused, concentrated all the time, so they don’t make unnecessary mistakes.”
Two of the teams training with foreign coaches are based in Shanghai and this movement is supposedly set to spread across more cities within the country with foreign coaches going to other schools/academies. Schools inside Shanghai (280 approximately) have joined leagues with City officials setting up youth training camps in 16 districts to train 3000 students. Due to a pre-season tour of China, Juventus have opened a J Academy within China. This highlights that global superpowers within the game are becoming intrigued by the game in Asia and are making further investments into it. There is expectations of 20000 football themed schools to be open by 2017. Substantial movements are being fashioned by the government to improve the game within this global giant.
Looking further up than school level in football and focusing on the national team, there is improvements albeit them being small. Within the FIFA rankings, China placed 97th in 2014 behind Caribbean island Antigua and Barbuda (population: 89,000) and just ahead of Faroe Islands (population 49,000). Comparing the size of these two countries to China, who have a population of 1.357billion (as of 2013) and make up around 37% of the world’s population alongside India, something is clearly wrong somewhere when they cannot find 11 talented enough players to be rivaling these countries. However, they have moved up the rankings to 84th in 2015 and again moved up to 81st in 2016. This is showing small but significant improvements being made within the national team.
Alain Perrin was appointed manager of the team in 2014 (despite the wishes for Marcello Lippi who led Guangzhou Evergrande to domestic and Asian Cup victories) and under his leadership they continued through the qualification process for the 2015 Asian Cup. They qualified under Perrin as the best third placed team. During the tournament, China went from strength to strength with three wins out of three in the group stages with a notable 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan who attempted to rival them for the top spot of their group. Their group stage game against North Korea packed 25,000 of the reds into Australia’s capital stadium which is a surprising amount in all honesty. Before these victories, the national team were branded embarrassing and a laughingstock among fans based on their failures before hand. They never came close to any of the the World Cup tournaments since 2002 and their group stage qualification in the 2015 Asian Cup was actually the first time the team had not been knocked out in the group stages in 11 years. However, they were knocked out in the quarter finals by the rapid growing team Australia with the result being 2-0 to the Socceroos.
From May 2015, China put a limitation on their players that they had to wear Nike football boots due to the sports giant sponsoring the national side. This, interestingly, had a negative effect on the players and they fell behind Hong Kong in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Alain Perrin was eventually sacked due to this under performance and Gao Hongbo returned. Now, something remarkable in their history occurred within the qualification process. They needed two wins from their final games; they were playing the Maldives and Qatar. They beat the Maldives 4-0 whilst Qatar beat Hong Kong 2-0 allowing Team Dragon to go above Hong Kong into second. They needed results to go their away after beating Qatar and North Korea’s shocking loss to the Philippines allowed them to miraculously qualify for the next round.
These improvements on the national side show something must be working with their recent reforms because they are slowly and steadily climbing the FIFA World Rankings whilst performing like never before.
It isn’t just the national side which is being affected by the growth of Chinese football. The Chinese Super League is attracting some of the globes greatest talents from European’s top leagues. Despite Didier Drogba moving to Shanghai Shenua in 2012, the more recent moves have been causing waves through the global game. If you look at the time Drogba moved to the league, he was 34 years old. This is a player at the end of his career. Now, more recent transfers include Alex Texiera, Ramires and Gael Kakuta. All of these players within their twenties which suggests they aren’t moving to these Chinese clubs to retire thus causing the CSL to be a ‘retirement league’. Texiera moved from Shakhtar Donetsk to Jiangsu Suning for £39.4m despite him being rumoured to be joining Liverpool FC. This is most likely down to financial aspects due to the economy of China being one the strongest and the investment into the league being monumental. However, as a footballer, something about the league has to attract you. Ramires left Chelsea to Jiangsu Suning for £25m, Ezeqiuel Lavezzi left PSG to Guangzhou Evergrande for £23m and is the highest paid player on the planet (reportedly) earning £400,000 a week. Alongside these, Gervinho left Roma and Gael Kakuta (24 years of age) joined Hebei China Fortune FC alongside the ex Arsenal player. Stephane M’Bia also joined Hebei from Sevilla. Jackson Martinez is one of the biggest names to move to China also following his dismal career at Atletico Madrid. However, the player still offers something but just didn’t succeed in Madrid. Martinez was wanted by many European clubs but chose to join the CSL for £42m. This is just a selection of the talent who have moved from huge European clubs, competing in European competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, to join a Chinese club. If that doesn’t scream growth of the game in China then I do not know what would. Even earlier than these, Paulinho was brought to Guangzhou from Tottenham at the age of 26. Even more evidence of China not being a ‘retirement league’.
Chinese businessmen have influence across global football, not just within their home country. China Media Company own 13% of Manchester City which they acquired for £265m. Wang Jianlin owns 20% of Atletico Madrid and 56% of Espanyol is Chinese owned. French club Sochaux is Hong Kong owned also. A Chinese company also owns a percentage of Jorge Mendes’ company and tried to bring Jose Mourinho to the league but couldn’t. That’s huge movements for a small league! This is evidence of China influencing global football substantially and becoming a big time player.
Brazil national side manager, after seeing 22 of his Brazilian players join the Chinese game, called it “the new El Durado” and after research into this phrase, I take one thing; El Durado was claimed as a city at first, a kingdom next and then an empire. China is becoming a big time player in global football and you better believe it.
Basically, where we live there isn’t much nice weather over the calendar year so when we get it, you capitalise. We grabbed the cameras, grabbed the football, grabbed some swag and hopped in the car. Hitting the beach, eating ice cream, playing ball. This is life. FOOTBALL.IS.PERMANENT.
These photos are just us messing about on a day out but offer some pretty sick shots.