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Grizzly

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Everything posted by Grizzly

  1. Found this article on the internet about Russian soccer and posted it for those interested. The author's impressions are pretty accurate except that Yaroslavl is actually 300 km north of Moscow. I watched some of the same matches on tv. She doesn't mention that there was a very tense atmosphere at the Russian Cup match because of recent terrorist attacks in Moscow. Even though I was hoping that Torpedo Metallurg would get relegated because there are too many Moscow clubs with money but few fans which is bad for the league (they avoided relegation on the last day), I actually like their stadium. It is old and run down but has a certain character and tradition. It is kind of a refreshing change when so many clubs worldwide play in anonymous, luxurious stadiums to see one still playing in its old run down stadium where generations of fans have attended matches. The association of CSKA to the Red Army and Dinamo to KGB refer to the communist era sponsorships. Since they did not have private companies teams were either sponsored by government agencies such as the KGB, large factories or an industry prominent in a city (Shinnik actually means auto tires in Russian which is a prominent industry in Yaroslavl). CSKA's Gusev was a player that really impressed me in games I watched, wouldn't be surprised to see him in England or Spain soon. From Russia with goals London Owl Summer 2003 The inter-season hiatus gets ever shorter, with league fixtures starting in early August and the play-offs not being completed until the end of May. There are pre-season friendlies to keep us happy in July, but in the odd-numbered years with no World Cup or European Championships, then June is something of a footballing desert. In England, that is. The truly dedicated can still find footy to watch, though, as there are plenty of countries in northern Europe where the sub-zero winter temperatures necessitate summer football. So Russia is an obvious place to go for a June footballing fix. Moscow has almost as many local derbies as London, with no less than six of the top teams being based there. And the difference in financial status between the rich and the poor is no less stark than it is here in England. My first experience of football Russian style was at the truly magnificent Lokomotiv stadium in the north-eastern suburbs, with the home team (and reigning champions) taking on Spartak in a Tuesday evening game. Loko have had a pretty good record in the Champions League in recent years, giving them money to invest in their stadium. The result is as good as anything you’re likely to see in the West, a red-and-green-seated concrete cathedral apparently inspired by Bolton’s Reebok stadium. Only the Cyrillic advertising hoardings give away its location. It was also my first experience of football ground security, Russian style. Despite walking through two metal detectors and being frisked three times, an enormous number of flares were smuggled in to be lit and thrown at the pitch. Very young soldiers doing their military service were everywhere; clearly there is little else for them to do in post-Communist Moscow other than be glorified stewards and security guards. Segregation was negligible, though there was one small area where some particularly noisy Spartak fans were caged in. Pre-match fireworks preceded a frantic start for Loko, with three corners in the first two minutes alone. Ignashiev opened the scoring on the quarter hour, with Loko’s advantage being doubled by Evseev just before half time. He got clattered in the process, with the trainer being driven out to attend to him on an ambulance cart. It’s just such a long walk from touchline to goalmouth. Spartak’s woeful finishing was belied by Baranov hitting one in from twelve yards just after the hour. Cue the manic lighting – and throwing – of those smuggled flares by ecstatic Spartak fans. Their inability to finish denied them an equaliser, and they were lucky not to concede a third at the end, as the Spartak goalie succeeded in twisting his ankle on the half way line. As he hobbled back towards his gaping goal, Loko were incapable of taking advantage, having clearly caught Spartak’s goal-missing disease, and the score remained 2-1. The Thursday was Russian Independence day and a public holiday, with two matches scheduled, one kicking off at 5 and the second at 7. The early kick-off was the Torpedo derby, with Torpedo Metallurg taking on bitter rivals Torpedo Moscow. Torpedo Metallurg were, until the start of this season, Torpedo Zil, with roots in the nearby Zil car factory. Sales of Zils – once the motor of choice of Politburo and KGB chiefs – have slumped in recent years, as those with money now prefer to drive the Mercedes and BMWs that have flooded into the country after the fall of communism. The club was taken over by a Siberian mining firm in the close season, leading to talk of a 3,000 mile move into deepest, darkest Siberia. Fortunately for the faithful, the talks came to nothing, but it does put Wimbledon’s move to Milton Keynes into perspective. Torpedo Moscow are the result of a bitter schism in the Zil ranks, and they play their home games at the Luzhniki Stadium, built for the 1980 Olympics, where the statue of Lenin still stands proudly outside. However, this game was Metallurg’s home match, and their stadium was something of a shock to the system after the modernity of Loko. Crumbling concrete and peeling paint made what was clearly once a stadium to be proud of now a picture of neglect. There were no facilities within the stand – never mind the absence of refreshments, the toilets were behind the stadium,back out through the security checks. The quality of the football matched the miserable state of the ground. After an hour of poor passing, no goals and few chances, the lure of the 7 o’clock kick off at the Dinamo stadium a metro ride away was just too strong. Leaving was the right decision – the match report in the Russian Sport newspaper the next day was headlined ‘Boring’, and neither team managed to get the ball in the net in the half hour I missed. The later match was dramatically better. Dinamo’s tenants CSKA – eight points clear at the top of the table – were playing Shinnik from Yaroslavl, a town in the Golden Ring about 50 miles north of Moscow. The CSKA fans were in good voice, chanting ‘Siska’ relentlessly despite Shinnik taking a deserved 1-0 lead after 16 minutes. CSKA were originally the Red Army team, and that’s essentially what the acronym stands for. The singing of ‘Siska’ is somewhat more justified than the ‘Red Army’ chanted by the likes of Arsenal, Man United and Liverpool fans. CSKA moved out of their stadium three seasons ago – it’s now (like much of Moscow) a flea market – and moved in with Dinamo, who were the KGB side. A match made in heaven, clearly. A comedy goal – a backheader by Kushev he knew nothing about – on the stroke of half time meant the teams went in with every prospect of a serious upset. CSKA pulled one back on 57 minutes, much to the excitement of the home fans. Then four minutes later, CSKA’s star player, the long haired darling of the crowd Rolan Gusev (snatched away from Dinamo, where he used to be captain) Beckhamed in a free kick from 20 yards. The world went mad, and I even got a huge overexcited hug from a big bear of a CSKA fan. Perhaps fortunately there were no more goals, and I escaped unscathed. Sunday brought another trip to Loko – not to watch the railwaymen this time, but the cup final. Spartak were there again, this time up against Rostov from the south of the country. The Spartak fans, unsurprisingly, massively outnumbered those from Rostov in the blazing sunshine, and after the immaculately observed and thoroughly spine-tingling Russian national anthem (very wisely they’ve ditched the new one and gone back to the Communist tune) a typical scrappy cup final game ensued. The only goal was scored by Spartak captain Igor Titov after half an hour, very much against the run of play. Rostov wasted several good chances to equalise, culminating in a tame pat at the keeper on the stroke of full time when scoring would probably have been easier. The atmosphere was electric, and the joyous singing of the Spartak fans continued as they waited to be allowed out of the ground. As I’d discovered during the league game, the stewards empty the stadium one sector at a time to reduce the crush at the metro station. A fine idea, as long as you aren’t sitting in one of the last areas to be emptied, as I had on the Tuesday. Forewarned, I sat on the other side of the ground this time, and the post-match beer beckoned much more quickly. While waiting to escape, the crowd was treated to scenes from the victorious dressing room on the big screens. The players were, of course, filling the cup with champagne, and the coach got one of the biggest cheers of the day when he took a big swig. Despite the number of good (and not so good) teams in Moscow, Manuniteditis is alive and well in Moscow. Counterfeit shirts seem readily available, with Arsenal and Liverpool strips also making an appearance. No Chelsea shirts were in evidence, though maybe that will change with the new regime at Stamford Bridge. What was stranger was the patchy availability of home shirts. Spartak replica kits – both real and fake – encased at least half of their fans at the games, yet it proved completely impossible to buy official Nike Loko shirts, despite their Champions League successes. The counterfeiters haven’t even got in on the act. Perhaps the strangest souvenir was in a kiosk at the metro station near Red Square. Think Russia, think matrioshka – those nesting sets Russian dolls in traditional costume and, more recently, painted with the likenesses of political leaders. But no. This matrioshka was resplendent with the likeness of David Beckham. Is there no escape?
  2. I can only comment on Russia but I didn't know that Luzhniki was Field Turf until your post. This despite watching a minimum of one game on t.v. from the stadium per week for 3 months and having several soccer fanatics as friends. I am sure that there was some publicity when it was first installed but now the total silence about it seems to imply that it has been accepted and is not an issue. I never noticed any strange bounces or ball speed in the games I watched although I would certainly watch more for this this summer now that I know it is Field Turf. The stadium in Yaroslavl where I was attending matches was natural grass to the best of my knowledge. I would say that artificial turf is also gaining acceptance now in Germany and most of the professional teams have at least one practice field with this surface. It may however, be a while until a Bundesliga stadium uses such a surface for games.
  3. The more important tenant of Luzhniki is Spartak. I watched a lot of games this summer on t.v. played in the stadium and I never noticed that it wasn't grass so I guess that counts for something. I read that Luzniki had a lot of turf problems since it was renovated and the roof was extended to cover all seating thus not allowing much sun on the turf. The turf had to be replaced several times due to damage after games at a cost of $200 000 each time so that is why they switched to field turf. Plus a lot of large rock concerts are held at the stadium. According to the following article the new Salzburg stadium will also be field turf so Austrian 1st division teams will also be playing on the surface. I think as much as some of us may prefer grass, Field Turf is probably the way to go for cost purposes. It will continue to be improved and with more Eastern and Northern stadiums switching to it will be more and more accepted throughout the world. Just imagine how much the conversion of all of our existing Astroturf CFL stadiums to the far superior field turf could have a positive effect on Canadian soccer and make a Canadian league far more feasible. FieldTurf at Luzhniki BSA Olympic Stadium in Moscow. PR Newswire, Dec 9, 2002 Montreal -- - First synthetic turf installation to be named to UEFA subsidized safety and medical research study Montreal - FieldTurf, the originator and leader in the in-filled turf industry, is pleased to be associated with UEFA's major pilot synthetic turf project that will research safety and other medical criteria. UEFA's study will be comprised of six European installations (professional football clubs), the second being at the yet to be completed Salzburg Stadium in Austria. Four additional installations will be named within two weeks. The goal of UEFA's study is to introduce synthetic turf systems into UEFA competitions as of 2004 / 2005. The research study will examine the performance synthetic turf surfaces with these six professional football clubs co-operating with UEFA appointed specialists. Luzhniki Stadium, a FieldTurf field since June, 2002, is one of the largest in Europe, seating 80,000. Luzhniki Stadium has already hosted 25 matches this season. Another integral part in the development of the field installation at Luzhniki Stadium, a first in the synthetic turf industry at this level, was the underground heating system. This allows for extended seasonal play, even in Moscow's brutal weather. FieldTurf, which is presently conducting safety studies of its own and compiling injury data within the synthetic turf industry looks forward to the results. "We are pleased that the European Football governing body chose Luzhniki Stadium and FieldTurf as a testing installation," said David Wright, Director of Operations -- European Business, based in the U.K. "We look forward to working with UEFA on groundbreaking study." Fieldturf is a revolutionary synthetic turf, designed with a single goal in mind: to create an artificial surface that duplicates the playing conditions of real grass. After years of research and development, and hundreds of tests on the playing field and in the laboratory, FieldTurf is an artificial turf unlike any other. It looks like grass, feels like grass and plays like grass.
  4. He may be good to have around as depth so I wouldn't write him off unless he is causing problems within the team which doesn't seem to be the case so far (it was Holger he couldn't get along with not his teammates, nor was he the only one who didn't get along with Holger). I am also not very high on his soccer abilities but there are situations when a physical, energetic player may be required or where injuries may make him the best available replacement. Based on his recent play, were I Yallop I probably wouldn't call him unless injuries required me to do so and even then would probably only use him as a sub but there is certainly no need to drive him out unless he is causing problems in the team chemistry. I would, however, definitely insist that he take off the QPR jersey as this is disrespectful to Canada and the team does need some discipline even under the more relaxed regime of Yallop. And if you are going to make any exceptions for players, do it for top notch guys like Radz and not for mediocre ones like Bircham.
  5. Tunesia does have a fairly high number of black people though, between 10 to 20% of the population. I never noticed any conflict between the blacks and Arabs nor discrimination during the two weeks I was there. The leader of a tour I took throughout the country was black and was well treated everywhere we went. We did talk a lot about the problems in Tunesia and discrimination against blacks was not something that he mentioned. If there is some conflict between the arabic and black African countries I think it probably has more to do with religious differences because the Tunesian blacks are also Muslim while most of the southern black countries are Christian. The people in this area are also pretty hot blooded and the idea of showing respect to the country of your opponent is foreign to them.
  6. Good point about clubs like Lazio with fans who have extreme right views. As much as one can hate clubs like Bayern for being the rich, advantaged kids of the league, I must admit that their fans (even if some are success fans) are generally well behaved and the administration is not extremist/hooligan friendly like that of many clubs. Naturally not every Lazio fan is a fascist but it is still pretty hard to have a lot of sympathy for a club when you see a televised live match and several thousand of its fans are giving the fascist salute.
  7. The team I most hate is the rivals to my team Sachsen Leipzig, VFB Leipzig. They have won the German championship 3 times, the German Cup once, finalist in 1987 Cup Winner's Cup, semi-finalist in UEFA Cup in 1973-74 and played in the 1st Bundesliga in 1993. This year they were playing in the 4th division but have just gone bankrupt, half of their team has signed with other teams and they will be relegated to the 5th division next year because of the German Soccer Federation's rules for teams that go bankrupt during the season. Schadenfreude doesn't get any better than that :-) As far as larger teams the one I hate the most is Schalke because it is a big money corporate club that tries to present itself as a cult club. It calls itself the "Champion of Hearts" which makes me want to puke, at least Bayern (who I also dislike) are honest about being a big money corporate club.
  8. Next time the Olympic qualifying shouldn't be so soon after the U20 tournament. The delay of the U20's in UAE probably had a big effect on player availablity because teams had just released some of the same players a month earlier. How is this for a conspiracy theory? Bush pressures FIFA to not require teams to release players for OQ. Then he invades Iraq on the false WMD premises but really trying to delay the U20 tournament knowing full well that Tranmere will not release Hume for long periods twice within a month thus preventing him from scoring the goal that will eliminate the US from the Olympics. I hope my releasing this information will not lead to Hume turning up with his wrists slashed in a British field in an apparent suicide.
  9. Since it seems that Twamley will leave the U23 and many of us will be happy to see him go, should Mitchell take his place. I have so far been quite impressed with Mitchell but for this reason think he should remain at the U20 level. The U20 World Cup is a more important tournament than Olympic soccer. Success at this level will also lead to more professional opportunities for the players than at the Olympics where most of the players should be under contract by this age. The big reason, however, is that a coach can be a greater positive or negative influence on players at the U20 level. By U23 level the players should already be formed and have some high level experience behind them. Thus in my opinion the CSA should leave the good coach they have at U20 level working in developing our young talent and of course hire a better U23 coach than the current one.
  10. Maybe he should join the team where Brad Parker and Joey Torchia are playing. Don't know what team that might be but maybe Luis can fill us in :-)
  11. Regardless of the validity of Twamley's comments they are certainly not too bright. Why give the opposing team extra motivation after they have played a poor game when you are playing them in a must win situation. Combined with his comments that could lead his team to believing that they can not beat Mexico this is not very competent coaching. He should tell the players both teams can be beat and say the usual crap to the media about respecting his opponents. It may be a good thing that he will probably leave this post after the tournament.
  12. Regardless of the validity of Twamley's comments they are certainly not too bright. Why give the opposing team extra motivation after they have played a poor game when you are playing them in a must win situation. Combined with his comments that could lead his team to believing that they can not beat Mexico this is not very competent coaching. He should tell the players both teams can be beat and say the usual crap to the media about respecting his opponents. It may be a good thing that he will probably leave this post after the tournament.
  13. Could be the best thing for Stalteri to lose his left back position. He is playing there because Werder is weak on defence, lacks any sort of depth in this position and because he has the ability to play this position. His natural position would be as right defensive midfielder with some freedom to be making rushes up the right side. I have watched some games in which he played here for Werder and he was very strong. Schaaf knows as well as anyone that Stalteri is playing out of position. If Werder had the budget of Bayern or Dortmund, this would have been rectified two years ago. The fact that they don't have this budget is one thing that makes Stalteri so valuable to Werder with his ability to play every position other than keeper (if he could play keeper he probably would have been their starting keeper last year when this was their biggest problem).
  14. I don't see why Mexico is being feared so much. I think the US is presently the top CONCACAF team at all levels particularly if the Azteca factor is removed. While the US is certainly the favoured team in our match we certainly have the ability to beat them. This would hold true for Mexico as well even if they are at home. I don't believe in making your players afraid of certain teams especially when you may face that team in the semis and will then have to change your tune. Twamley should be trying to instill the belief that they can beat any team at any time like Mitchell did at the U20 level.
  15. Jaime did not start but subbed on in the 69th minute.
  16. There are certain soccer officials that believe that clubs are playing too many games. While I do not disagree and would like to see UEFA and Intertoto replaced by a Cup Winner's Cup to give them some significance, I think it is offensive that this death is being used for this purpose. Feher was a seldom used substitute for Benefica so it is pretty hard to blame his death on fixture congestion. This is just opportunism by certain officials to promote their viewpoint.
  17. Ed, I can imagine several reasons why a person would not be bothered by his decision, for example, someone for whom nationality is not important, but how you can call him a loyal Canadian is beyond me and any sort of reasoning I can think of. It's not like he has a choice of which country to visit his parents in considering they live here. He may himself prefer living in Canada to any other country but this does not make him a loyal Canadian either. A loyal Canadian would want to represent Canada over any other country. I don't think I have ever seen Aguiar play which is why I use the word "may" in describing his possible playing level. A player can certainly improve a great deal in 10 years. Considering he is competing for a starting spot on a top team in a pretty good league with a Portugese National Team Player and often winning the battle to start, I would think he is a pretty decent player. Of course we will both have to wait and see whether he suits up for our NT and how he performs.
  18. Ed, I haven't read this forum for a while so am late answering your post. I will state outright that I don't respect OH or his decision and feel some Schadenfreude when he plays poorly. I also have the impression you seem to like him and do not have a big problem with him playing for England. You are certainly entitled to your own opinion. I do not, however, let my opinion of OH as a person affect my judgement of his soccer performances. I have seen him play a great deal having lived in Germany for so long. He certainly made a big splash at the beginning both in the Bundesliga and Champion's League and it seemed he would be a future Bundesliga star. I think he played well and continually improved up to and including his World Cup appearances. Since then he has been inconsistent and average and seems stuck at the same level of play. No he has not been terrible, has maintained his starting spot on Bayern and usually plays 90. But he has changed from a prominent member of Bayern to a largely anonymous one, from a future superstar to an average Bundesliga middlefielder. Average Bundesliga players play for Wolfsburg and Rostock and not Bayern. Two years ago OH seemed to have far more potential than DeGuzman or Stalteri, this year DeGuzman has completely outperformed him and Stalteri is at the least his equal despite playing out of position. Kahn as teammate and team captain obviously should not have made his comments publicly. The reaction of other teammates was the usual one (kind of like Jacques Martin's saying yesterday that Lalime's play wasn't the reason the Sens lost to Dallas 5-3 despite the fact that an amateur goalie should have been able to stop the 4th and 5th goals.) I have heard Kahn interviewed many times and he is quite intelligent and has very good analytical comments on the game (he is much smarter than he looks). In fact I think he is one of the most knowledgeable players in the Bundesliga so if he thinks that OH is a weak spot on the team, I would take his opinion seriously. Bayern is a very well run and smart team so if they feel that he is a risk of losing value (his transfer value is already artificially high in England because he is a national team player) they will definitely transfer him before his stock dips. There is no doubt that at his present level of play, they could upgrade at his position through a transfer. I think he has about 12 to 18 months to both improve his current play and show that he will develop into the player that Bayern expected he would become. If this does not happen he will be playing in a middle table Premiership side soon. While I do not wish him well in this endeavor and in fact hope that he fails, I will not let this cloud my judgement of his actual play. Nor am I one of the people that think he wouldn't have helped our MNT. We only have three players I consider A level, DeGuzman, Stalteri and Radz although Aguair may be a fourth. Certainly Hargreaves even in present form would be an A level player for us. And even if a destroying midfielder is not something we lack nor what we most require, we certainly don't have a destroying midfielder at his level with also some scoring and passing upside (again this may be a role Aguair could fill however even two such midfielders at this level would be awesome and difficult for attackers to penetrate). I do have my doubts about whether he would have been committed and regularly show up for our MNT but on playing level he would have definitely been an asset.
  19. That was excellent, very informative. Features about the camp, our qualifying opponents, several of our players and an interview with Yallop. Maybe the best SoccerCentral that I've seen. Yallop impressed me with his views, attitude and the overall way he presented himself. Sportsnet deserves credit for this (hope such coverage continues).
  20. training camp. They are now in commercial and will interview Yallop after the break.
  21. I am not saying it is a step backwards, only that it is not a very big step forward. Nor am I saying that he should have played in Russia if he was uncomfortable moving there. He should have checked it out himself though, it is only a 60-90 minute flight from Stockholm to Moscow, thus quite easy and inexpensive. If I was his agent, I would have tried to establish contact with some good Portugese, Dutch, Belgian, Greek, Turkish (I guess if he didn't want to go to Russia he might not want to live in Turkey either but at least he visited it) or 2nd Bundesliga teams in case nothing worked out with the bigger teams. There is an enormous number of teams from northern leagues that train in Turkey in January so tryouts would be very easy as he was there already. These leagues would certainly help him to prepare more for future opportunities with bigger clubs. I think if you took the top half A-league teams and the lower half MLS teams you would have a league about the same level as the Swedish. I am not trying to knock the Swedish league which has helped a number of our players, but a 20 year old of his potential should be playing at a higher level if he has the opportunity. While it is certainly his perogative to decide what is most important to him, if I were a 20 year old player of his ability I think I would take a few more risks to further my career.
  22. I guess this will be no surprise to anyone but I am disappointed in this. Helsingborg in the last few years has been pretty mediocre, usually finishing between 3rd and 6th (last year). Thus his chances of playing in a European Cup are probably lower than with Saturn. I think Saturn has a good shot at a Cup spot next (they probably would have made it this year had they not fired their coach 5 games before the end of the season) and Russia has more Cup places than Sweden. And while two or three Swedish teams might be near the level of Saturn, possibly Helsingborg if they have made significant signings, the Russian league has 16 teams at this level and he would be regularly facing much stronger opposition. Basically he is staying at the same level with a better club, not much of a step forward. While noone knows the real reasons for this decision, considering the possibilities that seemed to open after the U20-WC, if none of the big four possibilities panned out, I would have felt better if he had signed to play in a stronger second tier league. At his age I think it is important to play as soon as possible in the strongest league possible. The only positive I can see with Helsingborg is that they may be more open to transfers and less likely to try to hold onto him than Saturn. I sure hope he doesn't play out the three year length of this contract in Sweden.
  23. That's a great agreement. We need to convince them to do the same with our men's teams :-)
  24. Maybe this is moot because Atiba has turned Saturn down but I have spent a fair bit of time in Moscow and was briefly in Dallas and lived 3 years in the US. Today I looked at international crime statistics on the interpol website and the rate of almost every property and violent crime is significantly higher in the US than in Russia. For example, the average per capita murder rate in the following cities from 1998-2000. New York 8.77 Washington, D.C. 45.79 Moscow 18.20 Ottawa 0.98 In addition, the Russian figures include attempted murder whereas the American and Canadian only include successfully committed murders. Were the Russians to remove the unsuccessful murder attempts the rate would surely be much lower. I don't know whether Dallas is nearer to the New York or Washington rate but even New York is almost 9 times that of Ottawa. I am not trying to say that Russia is a safe country, only that in my opinion having lived in both countries that the U.S. is at the least as dangerous as Russia if not moreso. Thus I don't see the sense of turning down an offer from a good team in a good league that would probably pay well to accept an offer with an inferior team in an inferior league in a country with many of the same negatives that one would find in Russia. Atiba has apparently turned down Saturn but has another offer on the table. If this offer is from Dallas and he accepts it I would definitely be disappointed and think that it is a poor move. If it was for example from a Dutch or Portugese team where there is a good league, a safe country and one would have a lot of exposure to scouts in other leagues, I might agree that this may be a better move for him. I am not criticizing the level of the MLS either, I agree with Crazy Yank's assessment and might even place it higher than he does. But the Swedish league is not that far off that level either while the Russian is definitely superior. A poster on the other board stated that Atiba had problems adapting to the Swedish life and language and wanted to play in an english speaking country. This does surprise me from what I have heard about Sweden (never actually been there). I think Oesters is in a fairly small town though so maybe this is the reason and if he had trouble adapting to Sweden he should definitely not move to Russia.
  25. I find the timing of the developments in Guatemala and Belize strange. One would think the countries would try and settle these issues at a time when a suspension from Fifa wouldn't have such serious consequences. Or is Fifa just using the pressure of WCQ disqualification to try and resolve issues that it has known about for a long time?
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