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...A draw would have gotten them through, but teenagers generally don’t play for a draw. German coach Christian Wueck said as much at the end of a tiring win. “It was very hard to come to this game after the match against Iran. The reaction in Germany was not so good. So the pressure was very high on the players. The victory against Guinea was more about confidence because the number of chances (to score) were very high.” And they had to contend with one of the most confusing things in such youth tournaments — a team of shape-shifters, a team that adheres to no (or a nothing-like) formation. Guinea were playing kamikaze ball at its finest and with a physical, tireless performance nearly made a dent in the German psyche. Whether it was intended — this constant switching of positions — is not easy to say. It probably wasn’t. ...TOI on Oct. 14, 2017, 12:12 a.m.
...At 24, Diego Maradona in 1984 was a year younger than what Neymar is today. He was having a worse time at Barcelona than Neymar is supposed to have had of late, prompting the Brazilian’s departure to Paris St Germain. Remember, in 1984 Maradona is pre-1986, pre-El Diego, showing flashes of what is to come, but getting into onfield fights, yet to actually pull off (and into the net) what he would in, and after, Mexico. And he was scrapping with the Barca management, not fitting in. A star peg-inthe-making in the wrong gloryhole. But sure enough, there was a club willing to scoop him out of the liveried bowels of Barca for a then-world record transfer fee of — hold your breath — $10.48 million. (Paul Pogba’s transfer fee from Juventus to Machester United in 2016, till a few days ago the highest, was not that stratospheric, once you count inflation and today’s desperate club-eat-club capitalism. ...TOI on Aug. 4, 2017, 1:13 a.m.
...The FPAI had written a letter to the Football Sport Development Ltd, which organises the Indian Super League, putting forward recommendations for the next season. And Das was responding to what he thought of it. Too quick on the draw was he. Shouldn’t the AIFF be working with the players, or at least keeping it that way for all to see? The demands, so to speak, could be important if the rumours that the AIFF is fast tracking a move to get the ISL and I-League to integrate are true. And one of the ‘side-effects’ of the move was a point of discussion in the FPAI letter to FSDL – the draft system. Most others seem straightforward – longer contract periods, a minimum pay – both to offer Indian players greater job security and removal of cap on number of Indian players in a team (because each team is required to sign at least eight foreigners, including the marque, and can field as many as six in a starting lineup). Some of these could apply to I-League clubs as well of course. ...TOI on March 21, 2017, 12:08 a.m.
...coming soon ...TOI on March 15, 2017, 7:25 p.m.