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I have decided to base my team on players who have already retired from international football as it would be tough for me to choose from those still playing. Ideally, I would have Shusaku Nishikawa in goal as I prefer passing football and his distribution – both long and short – is excellent, but that would already be breaking my own rule so I will pick Seigo Narazaki. He was Authentic Brian O'Neill Jersey always a stable performer who never really had peaks and troughs. http://www.ravensofficialfootballshop.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_STEVE_SMITH_SR_JERSEY.html He was just consistently solid and ready.

I want to get as many midfielders in as possible, so I am going for three at the back. The first choice is Tulio. He was not the quickest but he was tall, strong in the challenge, and a really composed passer of the ball. He was certainly quite the shouter, but his passion and leadership created a positive atmosphere for the rest of the team.
Yuji “Bomber” Nakazawa also gets in because his partnership with Tulio was probably the strongest Japan have ever had. The pair of them generally won their aerial battles at the 2010 World Cup, and you always sensed they could get a goal too when they came forward for set pieces.
For the third defender, I perhaps ought to pick my old team-mate Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, but it has to be Masami Ihara. He played so many times (122) for the national team and he was such an intelligent player. You could just imagine him calmly controlling the game alongside the raw intensity of Tulio.
There are so many choices for midfield but I want to pick Ruy Ramos to play alongside myself. That would likely make me the focus for his anger during play, but he was such a good player to watch and he understands the game so well.
A partnership of me and Ramos at the base of midfield would be a strong foundation for our passing football. Ahead of us, the three attacking midfielders will be Shunsuke Nakamura, Hidetoshi Nakata, and “Zono” – Masakiyo Maezono. I would get into trouble if I didn’t pick Hide – when you think of world-class Japanese players, the first name is still Hidetoshi Nakata.
Maezono is our dribbler, Nakamura the technician, and Nakata can do http://www.authenticmetshop.com/authentic-18-travis-darnaud-jersey.html anything. Nakamura and Maezono might not be great defensively, but Ramos and the three centre-backs can cover. I want this team to be attacking, and one that prioritises technical skill over speed or strength. There would be no long balls; I would be Womens Andrew Luck Jersey playing short passes to feet and trying to give the best possible service to the more offensive players in front of me.
I did wonder about playing Nakata as a forward in order to squeeze in yet another midfielder, Hiroshi Nanami, but there are Tyler Johnson Womens Jersey two strikers that simply cannot miss out. They are Kazuyoshi Miura and Naohiro Takahara. The latter is another player capable of doing anything. He scores goals, he works hard defensively, and he is physically strong too. In my impression, Takahara is the most talented all-round forward Japan has ever had. He is very clever, too, and adapts well to the traits of his team-mates.
“Kazu” was, for me, originally a player that I watched on television. I remember watching him in awe at the age of 13 or 14 when the J-League first started, then later on, enjoyed two years playing with him at Kyoto Sanga. He always worked incredibly hard. It was from him that I really learned what it is to be a professional – everything from his approach to training to his mental preparations for matches and his hunger for victory.
He has carried on playing past the age of 50 and he is still a really good player. He was the clear star of the national team and I remember how he would do a little stepover, score, and then celebrate with his Kazu Dance. It is fantastic that we can still watch him playing today

This time it is not so easy to defend the guy. It is not a http://www.officialcardinalsbaseball.com/authentic-29-chris-carpenter-jersey.html witch-hunt, it is nothing to do with his choice of body art, where he shops or what he eats for breakfast and, if you happen to think Raheem Sterling is treated differently in parts of the media because of the colour of his skin, that does not change the fact he has genuinely messed up.

At the same time there is no http://www.vikingsauthenticofficialshop.com/WOMENS-FRAN-TARKENTON-JERSEY.html need to go overboard when Sterling, to give him his due, is hardly known for these late shows and Gareth Southgate has accepted it was a one-off – a disciplinary matter but still, ultimately, a one-off. Lessons Womens Michael Brockers Jersey learned, knuckles rapped and, according to the England manager, time to move on, no real damage done.

The bottom line, however, is there is a world of difference between turning up late for England duty – necessitating an apology from Sterling in front of the entire squad – and the other stories that have ignited the recent debate about why he, of all Southgate’s players, appears to hold so much fascination for some of the more paparazzi-driven newspapers.
Southgate’s response when he was asked about Sterling’s new tattoo of a rifle on his right leg was to defend the player and make it clear it was not an attempt to glamorise gangs or guns. The Football Association had already released a statement praising Sterling for the “honest and heartfelt account” in which the Manchester City player said the tattoo was unfinished and had a deeper meaning because his father was killed by a gun. Sterling has not been short of backing when, to many people, it has started to feel suspiciously as if there was something sinister about some of the Darren Collison Authentic Jersey coverage and, specifically, that it had become a campaign.
That debate should not just be dismissed because Sterling could not manage to get to St George’s Park, as arranged, on Eric Kendricks Authentic Jersey Tuesday, turning up the following day instead and finding out in the process that Southgate, http://www.detroitlions.us.com/WOMENS-MARVIN-JONES-JR-JERSEY.html contrary to what some people believe, does have a temper. But the player has not done himself any favours and, if he was hoping for a period out of the limelight, it was probably not the wisest move to fly to Jamaica on holiday and then go awol when the rest of Southgate’s players were already preparing for Saturday’s game against Nigeria.
As indiscretions go, this is not a man caught stealing flowers from his local cemetery but, in football terms, it does amount to a clear breach of discipline – http://www.officialfootballjetsstore.com/Rashard-Robinson-Jersey one that would incense any top-level manager. As such, Sterling should be grateful Southgate has been so understanding. Was Sterling still in contention to play against Nigeria? “Absolutely,” the England manager replied. Yet not every manager would be so obliging and there are plenty of examples of players who have been left out as punishments for similar incidents.
David Beckham turned up late at Manchester United once and, when he was asked to explain himself, he blamed it on his son, Brooklyn, being unwell. Sir Alex Ferguson decided that “wasn’t being fair to his team-mates” and he was dropped from the following game at Leeds. Beckham’s explanation did not wash: Ferguson recalled in one of his autobiographies that his player did not have “a satisfactory reason for being absent”.
More recently Phil Foden, one of Sterling’s team-mates at Manchester City, Jeff Green Authentic Jersey and Jaden Sancho, of Borussia Dortmund, turned up late for a training session with England’s Under-19s before a game against Latvia. The manager, Paul Simpson, dropped them both.
In Sterling’s case there are also aggravating circumstances, as far as Southgate is concerned, because he had already given the player an extra day off, with the rest of the squad reporting for duty last Monday. Sterling asked for extra time because he had a family problem during a week-long break for England’s players. He had a few days in Ibiza before flying back to deal with that matter. He then went to Jamaica on another holiday and the problem, according to the FA, was that he could not get a direct flight home. A connection was arranged via Miami and, for some reason, he did not make it. wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys from china wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys free shipping
The World Football Cup began in London this week with a match at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium. This statement is true but may need clarification: it might sound like a report from a parallel universe in which the Fifa nobs sent their http://www.49ersofficialauthenticonline.com/24-kwaun-williams-super-bowl-jersey.html 2018 tournament to England not Russia.

The World Football Cup is not quite the actual World Cup. It is not even a consolation event for the countries temporarily locked out of the World Cup, those obscure places such as Italy, the Netherlands and the United States, who failed to qualify. It is more of a consolation prize in life.

It is for those places locked out of Fifa and, in almost every case, the international community as a whole: the world’s outcasts, the dispossessed, the not-quite nations, the once-were nations and in many cases never-will-be nations. Some are not geographical entities at all, such as Japan’s Korean minority. Some are intermittently, and almost always unhappily, in the news: like the Romany people and the Rohingya of Myanmar (neither of whom qualified).
There is also an undercurrent of humour and satire. Among the 47 members of the Confederation of International Football Associations (Conifa) are Yorkshire, admitted too late for this tournament, and Cascadia, a greenish, libertarian, un-Trumpian confection with a slight whiff of dope, covering British Columbia and the north-western states of the US.
But the overwhelming theme is tragedy. The opening match at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium was between the reigning champions, Abkhazia (a breakaway from former Soviet Georgia), and Tibet. Hardly any of the Tibetan players or supporters have even been there. Their parents and grandparents were forced into exile after China invaded their country in 1951. “These players live all over the world,” says Tenzin Kunga from the unofficial Tibetan embassy in London. “But they are all Tibetans. I have never been there myself. But I dream of Tibet, always.”
The stadium was not quite as grand as the royal name suggests. This was the home ground of non-league Enfield Town, less pretentiously known as Brent Urban Youth jersey Donkey Lane. About 300 people turned up to watch, first, Tibet bravely restrict Abkhazia to three goals and then Northern Cyprus, the Cypriot Turks, take on Karpatalya in a skilful and combative match that ended in a sending-off, a punch-up and a 1-1 draw.
The Turkish half of Cyprus, unrecognised by the world, has 32 teams in two leagues (“Not professional,” http://www.officialcoyotesonline.com/Anthony_Duclair_Jersey I was told, “but the players are well-paid”). They cannot even play against anyone from their protectors, Turkey, because even President Erdo?an quails before Fifa’s rules.
Karpatalya, or Carpathian Ruthenia, is a Hungarian-speaking enclave, known to historians as the shortest-lived state in history. It declared itself independent from Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939 and was annexed http://www.buccaneersshopnfljersey.com/J-R-Sweezy-Jersey by Hungary the next day.
It is now in Ukraine, which tries to stop the people speaking their own language. Or so their only visible supporters, Andrew Shaw Jersey two passing Hungarians, told the locals on the terraces, who were themselves the kind of affable, mildly eccentric types that somehow gravitate towards non-league grounds. They went to a football match and a geopolitics lesson broke out. The World Football Cup is like that.
It is a biennial event and this is its third rendition. There Charles Clay Youth jersey had been a predecessor body to Conifa but it collapsed in 2010. The leading lights in its revival were Per-Anders Blind, a referee (he makes the joke first – “I’m the blind ref”) who is a Sami from Swedish Lapland, and Sascha Düerkop, a German football shirt collector who, having completed the Fifa set, was working his way through the non-Fifa teams and thus had the best contacts. cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys
It is easy to see why Everton identified Marco Silva as their ideal head coach last October but less easy to understand why they persisted in doing so after his time at Watford unravelled in off-pitch acrimony and on-pitch chaos. The manner in which his performance in Hertfordshire went from immaculate to inadequate must at the very least have made what might once have been a straightforward decision significantly more complicated.

Everton will believe they have the status to keep Silva’s ego http://www.officialnewjerseydevils.com/Adidas-Andy-Greene-Jersey satisfied for a bit longer than the two months and nine matches that separated his first game with the Hornets from the decision that he could do better. The coach’s history certainly suggests that what follows is likely to be fun as well as dramatic.
Silva turns 41 this summer and no coach goes inside seven years from allowing a mediocre playing career to drift to a conclusion at a mid-ranking Portuguese second division club to a third Premier League managerial appointment without having ambition.
He spoke of this when he signed a two-year contract at Vicarage Road last May. “They showed me the project and I like the ambition,” he said. “I’m excited. It’s a good challenge and I’m really happy. The club want to improve and this is what I try to fight for in my career as well – to always improve. The ambition this club has is really important to me.”
But almost immediately he demonstrated dissatisfaction with some elements of his role. While he was instrumental in the arrival of the Brazilian forward Richarlison and the club also brought in the winger André Carillo, who had worked with Silva at Sporting, the head coach had limited influence in player recruitment.
This did not stop him talking in public and at length about players he wanted to sign, with Leicester’s Islam Slimani, who excelled under Silva at Sporting, frequently mentioned. “Do I know the player? Of course I do. He worked with me three seasons ago. Do I like the player? Of course I like the player. Is he a player that could help us? I’m sure about that,” he said in August. “If I could control everything maybe I’d answer to you another way. In this moment I can’t control situations.”
Once the summer transfer window closed Watford were delighted with their recruitment, believing they had provided their coach with a significantly strengthened squad capable of finishing in the top half of the Premier League. They were then astonished when Silva strongly criticised their dealings in a press conference. “I expected something different,” he said. “I’m clear, last week was not the best for us in the market.”
This tallies with accounts of Silva’s time at Sporting, who sacked him Teppo Numminen Authentic Jersey in 2015, a few days after Tony Gonzalez Authentic Jersey he had led them to victory in Portugal’s domestic cup. One of the explanations given by the club was that he repeatedly used press conferences to air his unhappiness about issues which they felt had been settled in private.
A source at Sporting complained to the radio station TSF about Silva’s “provocative and disloyal attitude”. He swiftly joined Olympiakos, and set a new postwar European record by winning his first 17 league games – they won 28 of their 30 matches that season, which they ended 30 points clear of second-placed Panathinaikos. As a result of that success Porto attempted to sign him in May 2016; Olympiakos, who http://www.authenticatlantabraves.com/Dansby-Swanson-Jersey had tied him to a two-year contract, blocked the move and he abruptly resigned the following month.
So Everton should not expect long-term stability. What still attracts them to Silva is his record of coaching success, with the final weeks at Watford the only blot on a spectacularly bright landscape. At Estoril he took a club with few pretensions out of second-tier mediocrity and into Europe; at Sporting he won the cup, lost only two league matches and ended with a points tally that would have been enough to win the title in seven of the previous 10 seasons (but in 2014?15 took them to only third place). wholesale nfl jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys
Clarke Carlisle, the former chairman of the Professional Footballers’ http://www.authenticcanucksshop.com/authentic-18-jake-virtanen-jersey.html Association, believes the criticism of Raheem Sterling’s tattoo of an M16 assault rifle is “unfair” and has called for the England forward to be left in peace as he prepares for the World Cup finals next month.

Sterling, who is training with Gareth Southgate’s squad before England’s first warm-up match against Nigeria at Wembley on Saturday, featured on the Sun’s front page for a second day in a row on Wednesday despite his explanation that the symbol had been chosen as a tribute to his father, who was murdered in Jamaica when the Manchester City player was two years old.

Richard Taylor, whose son Damilola was killed after a street attack in Peckham in 2000, has accused Sterling of “glamorising” gun violence and urged him to apologise to “the families of gun victims”. Jacob Larsson Authentic Jersey But Carlisle was adamant that Sterling has been singled out for attempting to use a tragic event in his life as a catalyst for his career.
“People seem to be looking for any reason to be outraged these days but who are we to dictate what grief should look like?” Carlisle told the Guardian. “This is a young man who lost his father at a very young age and that symbol is a sign of something that is very important.
“He’s reappropriated it and given it a dual meaning to give him a catalyst to further himself and his professional career. How can anyone say that’s outrageous? I think he’s done a magnificent Malcolm Subban Youth jersey thing in very tough Todd Helton Youth jersey times. Let the man grieve in his way. Every credit to him – people need to keep their noses out of his private business.”
Piers Morgan has been among the most vocal of critics, describing the tattoo as “offensive and misguided”. Carlisle, who was part of a PFA delegation that met the former prime minister David Cameron in 2012 to http://www.bearsfootballproonline.com/Pat-Odonnell-Jersey discuss racism and homophobia in football, insisted Sterling’s decision could provide a positive message to children.
“A young kid will look at it and they will ask – if they ask they will hear the positive message behind it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any coincidence it’s just before the World Cup – our media seem to want to totally derail any possibility of going into the tournament with any positive focus. I don’t know why that is. Why not let the guy go about his work in peace?
“The way they have gone about this is totally unfair – they’ve taken something that is personal to him and compared it to another situation that is tragic to someone else. The media has chosen to connect those two things together and that’s not fair.
“The sad thing is that even if people choose to ignore it, the seed has been planted. This kind of thing happens all the time – it plants a seed for people to water and grasp at should anything go wrong on a professional basis. It’s ridiculous because as soon as he does anything wrong in Russia he will be lambasted.”
The Football Association has defended Sterling’s tattoo, praising his “honest and heartfelt” explanation for the choice in a statement this week. However, the former Nigeria striker Efan Ekoku admitted that the controversy could easily have been avoided.
“A gun is a symbol of oppression, destroyer of families and a weapon of war however you try to dress it up,” he said. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to glamorise guns but other people clearly http://www.steelersnflofficialproshop.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_DAN_MCCULLERS_JERSEY.html see it differently.
“You have to be careful how you use symbols, especially if you are in the public eye. All famous people have a responsibility to themselves first Johnny Hekker Youth jersey and foremost to set an example but often you do things for selfish reasons. I’m sure Raheem has done it without thinking of the full consequences. It’s a shame because it’s a distraction for him and the England team.”

This article is part of the Guardian’s 2018 World Cup Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 32 countries who have qualified for Russia. theguardian.com is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 14 June.

Juan Antonio Pizzi took his place in the Saudi Arabia dugout for the first time in November 2017 yet he is still waiting for his his first competitive game in charge of the Green Falcons - that comes against Russia in the World Cup’s opening match. During his seven-month tenure the Argentinian has packed in as many friendlies as possible to gauge where the side are and what needs to be done before the eyes of the world will be on them on 14 June.
During qualification under Bert van Marwijk, the Green Falcons usually played in a 4-3-3, happy to sit back against the better teams, look to hit on the break and get the ball forward quickly. Pizzi has been trying to get the players to play Jarran Reed Womens Jersey the ball out from the back more. It has worked to a certain extent and there has been a certain tidiness about the team in recent, if low-key, friendly victories over Algeria and Greece, which represented a clear improvement on a 4-0 loss to Belgium in March. The team have been keeping the ball better and moving it quickly. They are also adept at slowing down games, disrupting opponents’ rhythm and being generally frustrating.
Pizzi, a former Chile manager, looks likely to play a compact 4-2-3-1, with the attacking three midfielders ready to drop deep to ensure that there are plenty of bodies in midfield.
With goals potentially hard to come by, the Green Falcons will focus on being solid. There is experience at the back, though that comes with susceptibility to pace and a lack of exposure to top-class attackers. Osama Hawsawi is the leader in defence, strong and physical, but, at 34, he is slowing down. The good news is that Omar Hawsawi (no relation) next to him has been in excellent form this season. There are also a number of decent options at full-back with players such as Yasser al-Shahrani able to play on either side and get forward quickly.
The experienced Taisir al-Jassim will sit alongside the underrated Abdullah Otayf in midfield. Both use the ball well, though the Moe Harkless Jersey latter may not be able to get forward as much as he would like.
The attacking three players are the true standouts. Salem al-Dawsari, Yahya al-Shehri and Fahad al-Muwallad are the team’s http://www.minnesotavikingsauthorizedshoponline.com/michael-floyd-jersey-elite creative heartbeat with the ability to unlock Asian defences, though their greatest tests remain. The trio spent the second half of the season on loan to La Liga clubs, recording only two appearances between them.
How sharp they are in Russia could determine how the team perform. The two wide players are capable of getting behind defences and, if Shehri can find space behind the main striker, the Green Falcons could cause problems. There is also Nawaf al-Abed, another creative talent who was a mainstay in qualification but the playmaker has struggled with injuries all year.
The lack of a regular goalscorer is an issue. Mohammad al-Sahlawi is likely to play up http://www.officiallightningproshop.com/Jt_Brown_Jersey front but there are other options, such as Muhannad Assiri, who is an aerial threat and can hold up the ball better.
Fahad al-Muwallad is an exciting talent and the kind of player fans love to watch, provided he receives the ball in the right areas. If he is given a little freedom by the coach then he has the potential to make things happen and put fans on the edge of their seats. wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys free shipping
This article is part of the Guardian’s 2018 World Cup Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 32 countries who have qualified for Russia. theguardian.com is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 14 June.

Matías Vecino was 14 when he lost his father, the man who taught him the secrets of football. With the support of his family he has recovered to conquer Italy and grab the attention of Óscar Tabárez.

It had Cal Clutterbuck Authentic Jersey been a long and difficult journey, from the Anton Khudobin Jersey trips from his childhood home in San Jacinto to train with his first club, Central Español, 50km away in Montevideo, to his debut in their senior side, his transfer to Nacional, and eventually to Italy and international recognition. Along the way he has been inspired by memories of his father, whose signature is tattooed on his right hand. On 1 August 2017 he opened a new chapter of a remarkable story by moving to one of Europe’s great clubs. On the day he was introduced as Internazionale’s latest signing he turned to his mother and asked: “What would Dad say if he saw me here?”
Mario Vecino was also a footballer, whose career peaked with a spell in the Uruguayan top flight with Liverpool. When he died, killed in a car crash on his way to work, Vida Nueva, the local club in San Jacinto, renamed their ground the Estadio Municipal Mario Vecino in his honour. “That night I gathered the family around the table and told them what had happened,” says his mother, Dolly. “But we all got on with our lives, because the family was strong and we did not just sit down to cry or look for pity.” At one point Dolly, an English teacher, was doing three jobs in an effort to support her family.
Dolly still lives in San Jacinto with her younger son, Nicolas. Her daughter, two years older than Matías is a lawyer. “Nicolas was the http://www.bearsofficialnflproshop.com/Authentic-Hroniss-Grasu-Jersey one most affected by the death of his father,” she says. “For months he was looking for him. He thought it was his dad every time someone knocked on the door or the phone rang. He was two and a half years old.”
Matías had taken his first steps into the world of football as a four-year-old, when he joined his local kids’ team, with his father http://www.officialpacersonlineshop.com/Authentic-T-J-Leaf-Jersey as coach. “Mario spent hours teaching him,” says Dolly. “He didn’t want Matías to win, he wanted his kid to learn.”
He was taken on by Central Español and travelled every day to train in Montevideo. When he returned Paul Stastny USA Authentic Jersey home he would give his grandmother Esther his white football boots and she would clean them for the next day. “They were the only boots he had and they are something that reminds him of how far he has travelled to get where he is today,” his mother says.
“There were days when I would see him heading out with his little backpack on, walking in heavy rain, and I’d ask him: ‘Are you sure training’s going to be on?’” his uncle Raul Falero remembers. “And he’d say to me: ‘We’ll find a way.’”
Daniel Sánchez was the manager at Central Español when Vecino made his debut in 2010. “When I first joined the club to work with the under-15s, he was already there,” he says. “Then I was head of youth and finally first-team coach. When Matías was in the under-20s his coach told me he was the http://www.authenticflyerstore.com/authentic-23-brandon-manning-jersey.html best player he had.”
Eventually he was promoted alongside Diego Riolfo, the other star of the club’s youth system, Jim Otto">http://www.officialraiderslockerroom.com/elite-jim-otto-jersey">Jim Otto Authentic Jersey a striker who plays in the Argentinian top flight for Godoy Cruz. It was a difficult time for the Palermitanos, who were fighting relegation. On 6 March 2010 Vecino made his debut, playing the final half-hour of a 4-1 win over Tacuarembó. cheap jerseys from china wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys
The World Cup in Russia will be a tournament of firsts. It will be the first held in Ian Thomas Authentic Jersey eastern Europe and the Eurasian landmass. It will be the first for Panama and Iceland. It will be the first to feature video assistant referee technology. And, for the first time in the 88-year history of Fifa’s flagship event, two of the most senior officials – host city general coordinators – will be female.

One is Australian Jo Fernandes, women and girls development manager at Football New South Wales. A charismatic 51-year-old, Fernandes was recently appointed general coordinator for Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave among the Baltics and the western-most of the host cities. The creatively-named Kaliningrad Stadium will play host to four matches during the World Cup, including visits from Spain, Croatia, England and Belgium.

“I am very proud to have been selected,” says Fernandes. “It is not the first time http://www.authenticcanadienshop.com/authentic-19-larry-robinson-jersey.html a woman has had this role at a Fifa tournament – myself and another were general coordinators in India and South Korea last year for the Under-17 World Cup and Under-20 World Cup. But this year they have appointed women for the senior men’s World Cup for the first time. It is ongoing progress from Fifa.”
The general coordinator role http://www.officialseahawksfootball.com/YOUTH+FRANK+CLARK+JERSEY demands versatility, with responsibility for each venue resting on their shoulders. “Everything!” laughs Fernandes when asked to describe what the position entails. General coordinators are the highest ranking Fifa officials in each host city. They are paired with an equivalent from the local organising committee, and together manage a team of Fifa employees and local staff numbering into the hundreds to ensure the tournament is delivered smoothly.
“We run the venue,” she says. “We look James Casey Authentic Jersey after training fields, transport, ensure the teams are getting in and out through the city smoothly, and then most importantly the stadium – making sure everything is ready for match day. Everything from spectator facilities, waste disposal to technical operations for broadcast. We are effectively the CEO of the venue.”
While Fernandes expects her time at the World Cup to be demanding, she credits local organising committee colleagues for the bulk of the hard work. “We come in and assist at the pointy end of the operations,” she says. “We mostly fine tune during the delivery phase – making sure all Fifa operational requirements are met. But the local organisers – with Fifa guidance – have been working on the World Cup for years. They have done a massive job.”
Fernandes leaves for Russia at Enrique Hernandez Authentic Jersey the beginning of June, and will spend several weeks in Kaliningrad preparing before the first match which kicks off on 16 June. She was recently Jonathan Isaac Authentic Jersey in Sochi for a technical briefing, and has been receiving daily updates from her local counterpart. “I am undergoing a crash course,” Fernandes jokes of her Russian language abilities. “It is not my first time in Russia – I was there with the Young Matildas in 2006 – but most of the words I learned are long gone.”
Fernandes’ journey to the pinnacle of football administration was unintended. She studied sports science in Canberra with a view to specialising, but upon graduation accepted a job for the ACT’s female football federation (at the time state and territory federations were split by gender). Fernandes later moved to Football Federation Australia, where she was Matildas team manager for over a decade and headed the W-League for four http://www.jetsfootballofficialshop.com/Authentic-Wayne-Chrebet-Jersey years.
Kaliningrad is not among the host cities to welcome the Socceroos and their fans during the group stage, and will host no knock-out matches. But Fernandes is only mildly disappointed to be missing her national team. “Fifa try to allocate http://www.officialathleticsproshop.com/Jose_Canseco_Jersey us in such a way that people are not in charge of matches played by their own country,” she explains. “It is not a hard and fast rule – I was responsible at Australia’s heart-breaking loss to Brazil at 2016 Rio Olympics – but the preferred position is that we are assigned elsewhere.” Not, she says, that it would matter if she was in charge of Australian matches. “When I am in general coordinator mode I barely notice the colours of the shirts – I am focused on so much more than the match.”

For Coventry City there is finally scope for blue-sky thinking after sealing an immediate return to League One with a convincing play-off final win against Exeter City. For more than 37,000 baying Coventry supporters who made Wembley appear lopsided, the victory not only reversed an alarming slide but brought a first promotion for 51 years in arguably their biggest game since the 1987 FA Cup final.

Fine second-half goals by Jordan Willis, Jordan Shipley and Jack Grimmer were enough for Coventry’s unpopular owner, Joy Seppala, the chief executive of the hedge fund Sisu, to nudge her sunglasses on to her forehead so she could properly witness the sea of sky blue – enhanced by smoke bombs – below. The roar from those fans at full-time was even more telling.
“That reconnection between the players and the supporters is fundamental to building anything,” Shawn Kemp Jersey Mark Robins, the Coventry manager, said. “Coventry City supporters deserve the best and we have to try as much as we possibly can to give them Deone Bucannon">http://www.officialcardinalslockerroom.com/elite-deone-bucannon-jersey">Deone Bucannon that.
“It is a brilliant, brilliant day for everybody connected http://www.officialcowboysnflstore.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_MICHAEL_IRVIN_JERSEY.html with Coventry City – I couldn’t be prouder, couldn’t be prouder. Even though we were getting relegated the win here against Oxford [in the Football League trophy] last year was the start for me. It was the wood in the door stopping Julien Gauthier Jersey that slide.”
Marc McNulty proved a livewire from the off, neatly dovetailing with Michael Doyle, described as “superhuman” by Robins. That particular Maurice Richard Jersey combination was unsurprising given the pair are good friends, with Doyle influential in ensuring they ran out as team-mates this season. The Irishman “battered” McNulty’s phone, rang him 20-30 times in one week, sent him pictures of Coventry’s stadium and even met him at the airport after the striker flew down from Scotland. McNulty’s movement and Doyle’s guile was ultimately too hot for Exeter’s young, primarily homegrown defence to handle.
After an impressive first half Robins’s message at the interval was to serve up more of the same and, within four minutes, an unlikely source had delivered. After staying upfield from a corner Willis made the most of a slick Doyle pass, stepping inside before wrapping his right boot around the ball, sending a thumping effort beyond Christy Pym.
With one half of Wembley still reverberating, McNulty surged forward once more, bouncing off a couple of red-and-white shirts before spraying the ball wide to Shipley, whose shot deflected in off Pierce Sweeney. Grimmer then put the icing on the cake with a delicious curling effort. Playing in a one-off striped kit – its purpose questioned in more cynical quarters – after allegedly running out of their regular home strip, Coventry suddenly had victory sewn up.
“The kit was a bit contentious but seriously – honestly – after the game against Notts County Jordan Shipley came in without his top on and I just said to him: ‘Where’s your top?’ and he said he gave it away and I said: ‘Well you can’t play at Wembley then, we haven’t got any left,’” Robins said. “But, thankfully we found another 700 that we were able to badge up and sell the rest. It was a one-off kit with a nod to the 87 cup final.”
In the end it was a miserable bank holiday weekend for Exeter, with the city’s rugby union team defeated at Twickenham on Saturday. After successive play-off final defeats the Exeter manager, Paul Tisdale, is expected to relinquish his title as the country’s longest-serving manager, after 11 years and 336 days in the job. wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys
It’s the defining image of the 1974 World Cup; the defining image of the great Dutch team of the 70s; the defining image of one of the most talented, enchanting and magical players to ever breeze around a football field.

It’s the 23rd minute of the Group 3 game between Holland and Sweden at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, and Wim van Hanegem has the ball at his feet on the right wing. Houston Texans Jersey He’s about to be crowded out by Bjorn Andersson and Ralf Edstrom, so clips a pass back along the flank to Wim Rijsbergen, who in turn flicks the ball inside to Arie Haan, airily ambling through the centre circle. Haan takes a couple of quick, adroit touches to tee himself up, then wafts his right leg, spraying a long diagonal pass towards the left-hand corner flag, towards … Johan Cruyff.

Cruyff has already spent the opening exchanges of the game causing Sweden’s right-back, Jan Olsson, all manner of pain, bother, trouble and angst. But now he’s going to take it up a notch. Sticking out a telescopic left leg, Cruyff kills Haan’s pass. Well, nearly. The ball slides a touch to the right, and for a second looks like sticking awkwardly under Cruyff’s right boot. But the Dutch captain adjusts on the hoof, rolls the ball under his studs while turning through 180 degrees. He’s now facing back down the pitch, with Olsson tight behind him and nowhere to go. The full back is doing everything right. Then, through no real fault of his own, he’s doing everything wrong. Having read an almost imperceptible drop of Cruyff’s left shoulder, Olsson makes http://www.saintsshopfootballofficial.com/saints+archie+manning+jersey to chase him back downfield. It’s the right decision 999,999 times out of a million.
What are the chances? By dropping his shoulder a few millimetres, Cruyff has sold the defender the mother of all dummies, the subtlest of swerves. He caresses the ball with his right instep, pulls it back Glover Quin Jersey and spins to the right, retracing those 180 degrees. Olsson’s been packed off downtown, but his opponent is away in the other direction, making good for the touchline, and the Swedish box. A split second, and already there are a couple of yards between the players, Olsson struggling to stay upright as he realises he’s been diddled by a million-to-one shot, Cruyff striding into the area, free as a bird.
Those are the base mechanics of it, though a thousand words would never be quite enough to paint the full picture. No matter, as two suffice as a trigger to jog the memory: Cruyff Turn. The move became instantly world famous, seared indelibly on the brain, stored forever and available for replay on your mind’s eye-player. There it is! Cruyff Turn!
This was athletic, aesthetic, balletic brilliance out of the very top drawer. Cruyff was beginning, argued our reporter David http://www.authenticavalanchejerseys.com/Authentic-Blake-Comeau-Jersey Lacey, “to make the sort of impression on the competition that was left by Didi in 1958 and Garrincha in 1962”. Elite company – and that was the reason Olsson never felt ashamed about being diddled, reasoning, quite correctly, that nobody could have stopped a peak-era Cruyff from executing that trick, and in John Jaso Jersey any case to be preserved in amber as an integral part of one of sport’s most magical moments isn’t the worst fate that can befall a player.
Cruyff’s turn came to symbolise the Total Football being played at the 1974 World Cup by the Dutch, somewhat erroneously perhaps, as it’s really all about one man’s other-worldly skill. Then again, the move does possess many of the trademarks of Holland’s constant carousel: a central midfielder and defender faffing around in tight spots down the right wing; another defender stepping forward to assume the role of playmaker; Cruyff patrolling the left which, if the Dutch footballers’ union had been far stricter about job demarcation, really should have been the beat of his Daeshon Hall">http://www.officialpantherslockerroom.com/elite-daeshon-hall-jersey">Daeshon Hall team-mate Piet Keizer.
In any case, Total Football was less a tactical approach, more a state of mind. Haan explained the concept to the Observer’s man in Munich, Hugh McIlvanney: “People talk of total football as if it is a system, something to replace 4-2-4 or 4-3-3. It is not a system. As it is at any moment, so you play. That is how we understand. Not one or two players make a situation, but five or six. The best is that with every situation all 11 players are involved, but this is difficult. In many teams maybe only two or three play, and the rest Brad Marchand Jersey are looking. In the Holland team, when you are 60 metres from the ball, you are playing.”

Garros holds no fears for her crumbled again like the clay beneath her feet when Yulia Putintseva put her to the sword in an hour and 24 minutes in the infamous Bullring on a cloyingly warm Sunday afternoon.

A player battling to stay inside the top 100 dumped the British No 1 out of the French Open in the first round 6-4, 6-3, going away. For the fourth year in a row Konta has lost at the earliest stage to an opponent so far removed from her in the rankings – 71 places this time – it should have been a mismatch.Her next challenge was to retain her embedded sense of positivity in the face of the questions she anticipated about this tournament being a recurring hell. She did not disappoint.
Batting away the suggestion that she had lost her way after a solid start, she said: “To be honest, [it] didn’t feel like a great match for me. I never quite found my rhythm.“I never quite found the way I wanted to play. Obviously there’s some of that to do with her. She played quite smart. Otherwise I think I just had a bad match.”
That might have been the end of it had her inquisitors not pressed the obvious button: was this the clay tournament – unlike others, such as Rome Jamie Meder">http://www.officialbrownslockerroom.com/elite-jamie-meder-jersey">Jamie Meder Jersey – where she simply cannot get over the past?“I would like to think that we’re not heading to a self-fulfilling prophecy here,” she replied, still smiling.
“But I don’t think it helps anyone’s preparation if the linger around it is like, ‘Oh, she hasn’t done well there before.’“I have felt success here before, through qualifying and coming through that. Actually, out of my four main-draw matches here this is probably the one I’m most disappointed [with] in terms of the level. This one is a bit harder to take in that way. But I would like to think that I’m still more in control of my tennis and my career than any sort of superstition coming into any tournament.”
But did she not feel the external pressures – the media’s harping on about http://www.shopjaguarsnfljerseys.com/Telvin-Smith-Jersey four straight losses here? “You guys http://www.nflbillsofficialauthentic.com/Nike-Taron-Johnson-Jersey.html can answer this for me, then. Let’s say for a few years your pieces of writing have just been crap Frank Clark Jersey every time when you come into Roland Garros. Right? Just crap.“And then your colleagues start to say, ‘You know, you really suck around that time.’ And that happens, you know, for a few years.
“How would you guys digest that and would you feel any kind of lingering, ‘Oh, you know what? I want to prove these bastards wrong, but it’s just kind of lingering there.’? So it’s not something I would like to buy into – and I don’t think I do. However, you guys don’t make it easy.”Yet during the many tough moments of another disjointed and disappointing opener Konta surely had nightmare recollections of her first-round exits against the world No88, Denisa Allertova, in 2015, then Julia Goerges (57) in 2016 and Hsieh Su-wei (109) last year. That is a combined ranking of 347 in four years.
Her own ranking of 22 looks unconvincing ahead of Wimbledon, where she left her best tennis a year ago. She will not let herself think so but this might well be curdling into a mental problem as much as anything to do with her tennis, fitness or attitude.“She doesn’t understand how she needs to play to win on clay,” the 2013 Wimbledon champion, Marion Bartoli, working here for ITV, observed, citing her sometimes reckless aggression. Konta said beforehand she was happy with her form on the surface and felt her preparation had gone well. Evidence to the contrary is mounting – although she admits she does not have a Plan B. Her goal is to Dion Lewis Jersey go in with her best Plan A.

Three hundred Liverpool shirts have been sent to the small Senegalese village of Bambali in the buildup to the Champions League final, donated by Sadio Mané, its most famous son. On Saturday he aims to deliver on a promise to spare his childhood friend the despair and disbelief that accompanied Liverpool’s triumph in Istanbul. The gift set will be complete when he brings a European Cup winner’s medal back home.

“I remember AC Milan v Liverpool in 2005,” Mané explains. “Three-nil down, then 3-3 and penalties. This was a big memory for me. I was watching in my village, Bambali. I http://www.footballredskinsproonline.com/Preston_Smith_Jersey_Cheap remember being with my friend, a big friend of mine, and at 3-0 down he was completely out of it. He stopped watching and ran like crazy to get away. Then he came back at the end and he could not believe it. Even to this day he cannot believe it. He came back after the game when Liverpool had won.”

Mané dissolves into laughter at the 13-year-old memory, half his lifetime ago. The Liverpool forward laughed at his friend’s antics at the time – “I was not supporting Liverpool then, I was a Barcelona fan,” he admits – but thoughts of the club’s eighth European Cup final appearance stir pride. “If you had said then I would be playing the final I would say it is something incredible in my life,” he says. “Hopefully we are going to win.”
Bambali, bedecked in red, will be united behind the Senegal forward against Real Madrid in Kiev. Their pride in Mané’s rise to global stardom is not lost on the 26-year?old, who remains in L.J. Fort Womens Jersey regular contact with family and friends back home, including the one who missed the comeback that secured Liverpool’s last Champions League triumph. “I spoke to him yesterday,” Mané says. “He is a big Liverpool fan. He is still in Senegal. His name is Youssouph Diatta. He asked me that this time do not be 3-0 down.
“Nobody in the village will work this day. My family still live in the village. My mum and my uncle. They are all going to be Gregory Polanco Womens Jersey watching. There are 2,000 in the village. I bought 300 Liverpool jerseys to send to the people in the village so the fans can wear them to watch the final. I will be going back in the summer after the World Cup and hopefully I will be showing everyone a winner’s medal.”
Istanbul staged the most famous rapid-fire Liverpool performance of all, with three goals in six second?half minutes stunning Milan en route to the club’s fifth European Cup. But devastating bursts of firepower have been such a feature of Liverpool’s Champions League campaign http://www.starsofficialauthentic.com/Julius_Honka_Jersey_Adidas under Jürgen Klopp that not even a Real team pushing for a hat-trick of titles provoke fear.
Liverpool scored three goals in 12 minutes in the play-off against Hoffenheim, three goals in 16 minutes and two in another five?minute spell against Maribor, two in nine at Sevilla and three in 15 minutes plus two in four against Spartak Moscow Jim Plunkett">http://www.officialraiderslockerroom.com/elite-jim-plunkett-jersey">Jim Plunkett Womens Jersey at Anfield. And that was just the group stage. Porto, Manchester City and Roma were all in effect banished from the knockout phase before they http://www.chiefsfootballofficialprostore.com/MARCUS-ALLEN-JERSEY-CHEAP.html could identify the threat and regroup.
“It would be good for football [if Liverpool won] because of how we play,” Mané says. “I cannot say most of the world wants that because Real Madrid fans will say otherwise. Maybe everyone who is not a Real Madrid, Everton, Man Utd and Man City fan. I think everyone else would like to see Liverpool win the trophy. Real Madrid won it two times and want a third time in a row. We respect them as a great team and great club in history but Liverpool also has history. It won’t be easy but we will do our best.”
He adds: “I am just thinking it is incredible to be in the final, not about pressure. I’m just happy and excited. It is the best time for the whole squad to play.
We are in the best shape; there is no tiredness. This kind of game does not happen all the time and it is one of the most important of a career. It Darrell Green Womens Jersey will not be easy. They have experience and are one of the best http://www.officialauthenticchargerstore.com/womens_corey_liuget_jersey teams in the world, but we have quality and can beat any team in the world.” cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys from china cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys
European football’s gilded elite assembling for Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev will be more abuzz with intrigue than normal after Uefa’s public slapdown of the Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s effort to railroad through a new format for the Club World Cup. Increasingly influential in the thick of it will be Andrea Agnelli, fourth-generation scion of the famed Fiat- and Juventus-founding dynasty, chairman of Juve since 2010 and, since September, of the powerful European Club Association (ECA).

Trim in his grey pinstripe suit, talking assuredly at the Guardian offices this week while in London for a board meeting of Fiat Chrysler – turnover €111bn last year – the 42-year-old Agnelli came to bury Infantino’s grand plan. But, as he explains, it becomes clear that he sees this row as a mere squall in a six-year quest towards his own vision, which many in football may find more challenging, its ambition no less than “a big project in reshaping European football”.

His proposed reordering is clearly thought out already: for the top clubs to play more European prestige games – and make more money – by expanding the Champions League format. He argues the European elite should http://www.officialoriolesshop.com/authentic-23-joey-rickard-jersey.html play fewer games in their national leagues, which should reduce the number of clubs, even divisions.
This prospect Womens Paul Worrilow Jersey has barely been raised in England, where the so-called big six clubs are more immediately trying to secure a greater share of their own league’s international-TV millions. But Agnelli repeatedly emphasises that top Premier League Andrew Billings Authentic Jersey teams are involved in the discussions.
“We all want more international [European] games and less domestic, combined with an overall reduction of games because we don’t want to go over a certain number. And we said: ‘Let’s come up with a proposal.’”
Agnelli suggests the expansion should keep 32 clubs qualifying for the Champions League, but have four Marcus Mariota Jersey groups of eight teams in the opening stage instead of eight of four. That would mean each club plays at least 14 matches, eight more than the current six. Asked what this http://www.officialmarlinshop.com/authentic-31-jeff-locke-jersey.html will mean for national leagues, Agnelli appears comfortable with them being further undermined.
“You could say that whoever participates [in the expanded Champions League] has to play in the national league with six U21 or U23 players,” he suggests, but adds the qualifier: “But it’s brainstorming because there isn’t a project at the moment.”
There is the suspicion that European clubs such as Juventus might see such expansion of the Champions League as a way to bridge the financial gap with the Premier League, whose £8.4bn 2016?19 http://www.packersfootballofficialshop.com/authentic-damarious-randall-jersey.html TV deal dwarfs them all. Juventus are exceptional in Serie A http://www.newyorkrangersofficialonline.com/Adidas-Martin-St-Louis-Jersey for having modernised – opening the Allianz Stadium in 2011 – and dramatically improved their football and financial performances – revenues last year were €563m, up 45% – since Agnelli took over in 2010 following the 2006 Calciopoli scandal. This season’s scudetto is the club’s seventh in a row, as Serie A becomes, like most European leagues, much less competitive.
Agnelli argues that other Italian clubs must improve their “competences” and a new chief executive, shortly to be appointed, must overhaul the domestic league’s fortunes. “[In] Serie A, the product has come to one of its lowest moments,” he says.
The Agnellis still own 64% of Juventus, which was taken over in 1923 by Andrea’s grandfather, Edoardo, primarily as a bonding experience for Fiat employees in Turin. Andrea describes the family’s Travis Dermott Jersey attachment as “first and foremost pure passion”, with an emphasis on a core of Italian players, captained until his final game for the club this month by the goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon, who is godfather to Agnelli’s one-year-old daughter, Livia.

Harry Kane has marked his appointment as England’s youngest World Cup captain by insisting Gareth Southgate’s inexperienced side are capable of winning the tournament in Russia.

Southgate confirmed to the players his decision to hand Kane the armband in a team meeting on Sunday evening at St George’s Park, though the manager had informed the 24-year-old in March. The Tottenham forward, http://www.officialfootballauthentics.com/new_york_yankees-c-2605_2842.html who has 12 goals from Brian Urlacher Authentic Jersey his 23 caps, had emerged as the favourite for a role Southgate has previously shared among his senior players and will travel to Russia confident a squad boasting only five players with World Cup experience can cause a surprise.
“I think we can win it,” he said. “We’re not going to be favourites to win it, we know that. But look at this season: no one thought Liverpool would get to the Champions League final. Look at Manchester United in the Sir Alex Ferguson days, with a young team, dominating the Premier League for years. It’s not really an excuse, being young. It could be a good thing.
“I believe we can win it. That’s what we’ve got to try and do. Anything else is not good enough, really. I want to win everything I do, it’s in my mind-set. So do the players. So that’s what we’re going to try and do. There are some really good teams in the World Cup but those dreams of lifting the trophy are worth fighting for. We’re going to fight and give everything we’ve got. Maybe there is less expectation [on the outside] at the moment but as soon as we get to Russia it’ll ramp back up again.
“It’s part of planning for the World Cup, this pressure. You have to deal with it. We have a younger team, a less experienced team, but when we’re out there the fans will expect us to win: especially those first few group games. We expect to, too. That’s part of the experience, playing and coping with that pressure. In the past, we’ve been a bit afraid to say we want to win stuff. We’ve been afraid of the fans’ or media’s reaction. We go into our shells.
“But I want us not to be afraid to say we want to win it. We have to be brave. Whether we go out at the group Colin Kaepernick Authentic Jersey stage or the semi-final, it’s the same: you don’t win the World Cup. So we’ve discussed it as players and shouldn’t have any fear. We want to win it, we’ll go there and do our best to achieve that.”
Kane first captained his country in last summer’s qualifying draw in Scotland, when his stoppage-time equaliser secured a point, and has had the armband in three games since. He scored five times in those four games to suggest the captaincy will not blunt his form as he seeks to make more of an impact this summer than he managed during http://www.officialnikechargershop.com/jahleel-addae-jersey-for-sale-c-20.html a scoreless Euro 2016. “I don’t think it’ll be a distraction,” he said. “I’m extremely proud to wear the armband, but I have to go and do my job, work hard for the team, and score my goals as well.’
The striker has effectively been chosen ahead of his Tottenham club-mate Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson, who is with Liverpool preparing to face Real Madrid on Saturday and has texted his congratulations.
Southgate had promoted the benefits of shared responsibility since taking up the reins in qualifying – Gary Cahill and Joe Hart have also captained the team – as he sought to develop a strong dressing-room culture which would benefit England at a major finals. But it had always been his intention to make a permanent appointment for the tournament.
Harry has some outstanding personal qualities,” said Southgate. “He is a meticulous professional and one of the most important things for a captain is that they set the standard every day. He has belief and high standards and it is a great message for the team to have a captain who has shown that it is possible to be one of the best in the world over a consistent period of time and that has been his drive. cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys
Rafael Benítez has already selected the shirt he intends wearing on Saturday evening. “It’s grey,” says Newcastle United’s manager, deadpan.

Considering that some of the best years of Benítez’s life have been spent representing Liverpool and Real Madrid, publicly choosing red over white, or vice versa, would represent a diplomatic gaffe to make even Boris Johnson blush.
A Champions League final between the Merseyside club he so dramatically led to the trophy in http://www.columbusbluejacketsofficialonline.com/Adidas-Alexander-Wennberg-Jersey 2005 and the side he grew up supporting before eventually coaching and managing, will inevitably prove highly evocative for the 58-year-old Spaniard. Benítez plans to watch events in Kiev on television at his long-established base on the Wirral. As the teams emerge, he may well reflect on the acute political tensions with, among others, Cristiano Ronaldo which prefaced his sacking at the Bernabéu early in 2016. But he will surely also relive that glorious night in Turkey 13 years ago, when he choreographed the “Miracle of Istanbul”.
“I always say Istanbul will be the most emotional Champions League final ever because of the way we came back,” Benítez says, recalling that crazy evening when, at half-time, his side were 3-0 down to Milan, only to haul themselves level before winning on penalties.
“Milan had [Andrea] Pirlo, they had Kaká, they were the best team in Europe but my players had great belief,” says Benítez. “We did well but Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool has more quality and value. My budget was £20m.”
Yet, if the Merseysiders are hardly underdogs, neither are they clear favourites against Zinedine Zidane’s side. “Liverpool’s intensity can hurt you but Real Madrid have the experience and quality to match them,” says Benítez, who grew up in the Spanish capital. “It’ll be interesting. You’ll see a team with lots of passion and intensity and a lot of pressing and crossing and fast counter-attacking against opponents who can manage this kind of situation.
“Jürgen Klopp has three players up Kenny Vaccaro Authentic Jersey front who can all score goals. Mo Salah has done really well but Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino can also score against any team. We had a good balance and we also had Stevie Gerrard who could make a difference on his own. But this current Liverpool team has three players who can do that. We had one.
“Liverpool can do it. They have the quality. But sometimes in these kinds Latavius Murray Youth jersey of games you pay for one mistake. It’s how you manage the pressure. Real Madrid have been managing this kind of pressure for a while and Liverpool are in a new situation, so it’s a fine balance.”
Win and Klopp’s place in Anfield’s history will be assured. Confirmation that Benítez’s legacy had been cemented came during the post-match party by the Bosphorus when he rescued some invited guests struggling to bypass hotel lobby security. “A friend pointed to me and asked the security guard, ‘Do you know who he is?’”, recalls Newcastle United’s manager, laughing. Authentic Akeem Spence Jersey When the guard shrugged indifferently, the friend http://www.billsofficialonlineshop.com/YOUTH+JOHN+MILLER+JERSEY declared: “This man is God.”
Sheer adrenaline ensured that Benítez, virtually a teetotaller, felt no need of even a single glass of champagne that night. Surrounded by a roomful of people convinced he could walk on the Mersey, the former Real Madrid third-team midfielder partied until 6am – but two years later he saw in another, more sobering, dawn.
The 2007 Champions League final in Athens featured Milan exacting revenge, beating Liverpool 2-1. “Afterwards I walked around the hotel corridors until 7am,” remembers Benítez. “They didn’t have enough rooms and my wife was sharing my room with the chief scout’s wife.
“Half-time was a disaster because it was so hot. We used ice packets to reduce the players’ temperatures and there was too much sports science. I said, ‘Concentrate! We have to talk about tactics and positions.’” wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys
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