From Russia With Love

FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia (1) Events at the World Athletics Championships have shone the spotlight on Russian law and the merits of the country hosting major sporting competitions. Actor Stephen Fry’s recent open letter called for them to be stripped of the Winter Olympics because of draconian homophobic laws just passed in the state. All this raises yet more questions about FIFA’s criteria for World Cup host nations as Robbie Duggan writes. Continue reading →

YBIG Football Show: Team the Fans Built

Untitled Has Trapattoni finally bowed to the pressure from the media and fans and picked a team to satisfy everyone? It’s a packed YBIG Football Show as Dave O’Grady chats with five Irish soccer journalists and writers looking back at the game with Wales and ahead to September’s crucial qualifiers with Sweden and Austria Continue reading →

Moyes Seeking to Keep the Faith

david moyes united If Fergie was a god in the red half of Manchester, it remains to be seen if his successor David Moyes can keep the Red Devils in the promised land. Does landing his first trophy matter? Irish Mancunian Dan Mellett explores what the Community Shield success means for the new boss, observing that even Christ himself didn’t have to follow Alex Ferguson. Continue reading →

Über Para, Ibra Hattrick, Cardiff was Atrocious…and Austria lost

305739hp2 A youthful Ireland enjoyed the lion’s share of possession against Wales in Cardiff, creating more scoring opportunities, but could only manage an uninspiring 0-0 draw. Meanwhile, World Cup group rivals, and imminent visitors to Dublin, Sweden beat Norway 4-2 with Ibrahimovic grabbing a hattrick while Austria were beaten at home by Greece. Germany played out a 3-3 thriller with Paraguay. Continue reading →

Wales v Ireland: World in Motion

Untitled As Ireland prepare to take on Wales in Cardiff, we look back at a historic previous clash. When the sides played at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground in 1906, two film-makers were on hand to capture some of the action. The images are believed to be the oldest surviving footage of an international match in existence. Continue reading →

Whelan in the Years

crop His team-mate John O’Shea has called him an ‘unsung hero’ and while his partners in the Irish midfield have fallen in and out of favour, Glenn Whelan remains at the heart of Giovanni Trapattoni’s quest to reach the World Cup next summer. The Dubliner earns his 50th cap in Wales tonight. Continue reading →

Squad Rotation: A Year of Change

ireland italy euro 2012 Statistics released this week show Ireland with the fourth highest representation of footballers in the Premier League and, with the new season just starting, international boss Giovanni Trapattoni was able to name ten top flight players in his team to face Wales. This time a year ago, however, his squad was reeling from a disastrous European Championship. The manager has stuck to his word and overhauled the playing staff but for the team that lined out against Italy last summer, much has changed in just 12 months. Continue reading →

Hand of History

Untitled Perhaps unsurprisingly, Thierry Henry is a divisive figure in French football. Perceived as aloof, an adversary of Zidane, and the apparent leader of a shameful strike at the 2010 World Cup. In an extract from French Football Weekly’s Jeremy Smith’s interview with Phillipe Auclair, author of Thierry Henry: Lonely At The Top, Póg Mo Goal looks at the Frenchman’s standing in history, and THAT night in Paris. Continue reading →

Villa’s Jack the Lad Boosts Ireland

crop He’s the highly-rated winger who’s lined out for Ireland since U-15 level but such have been the performances of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish that England came calling. Believed to have considered a switch in allegiances, in a massive boost to the Republic, the 17-year-old has accepted a call up to Noel King’s U21’s for this week’s Euro qualifier. After an exciting pre-season where he’s appeared for the club’s senior side, Shelley Osborne of Villa supporters’ site My Old Man Said takes a closer look at the rising Irish star. Continue reading →

Gael Force: A Whole New Ball Game

Untitled Champions eventually topple. As Barcelona and Spain have demonstrated their fallibility – and that of their play – so too in Gaelic football, Donegal, praised and pilloried for a revolutionary style, have been unceremoniously dumped from the All-Ireland. But what can the rise and fall of Jim McGuinness’ side tell us about the state of Irish soccer? As the main criticism of Giovanni Trapatonni centres on Ireland’s manner of play, the issues run far deeper than the senior team. Diarmuid o hAinle explores a uniquely Irish state of affairs and the influence of Gaelic Games on young players. Continue reading →

Lord of Gdansk – Neymar’s Barca Bow

Barcelona's Neymar gestures as he runs during their friendly soccer match against Lechia Gdansk in Gdansk Barcelona’s new signing Neymar has made his long-awaited début coming on as a 78th minute substitute in Poland. The Brazilian was introduced late on and was met with some hefty challenges from the locals Lechia Gdansk. Meanwhile Lionel Messi was up to his old tricks in the 2-2 friendly draw at the PGE Arena. Continue reading →

In Demand Mac’s the Centre of Attention

crop If there’s one universal truth in professional football, it may be that talented young players keep moving on and moving up. Sadly for Wigan supporters, it’s increasingly apparent that 22-year old midfielder James McCarthy is not exempt from this truth. Despite the 5-year contract McCarthy signed with the Latics in 2011, the last few months have seen rumours of a transfer escalate into a bidding war between top English clubs with Everton and Spurs upping the ante last week. Continue reading →

Dunne and Dusted? Richard Out of Squad

richard-dunne_2541387b Richard Dunne has been omitted from the Irish squad for the friendly clash with Wales in Cardiff. The new QPR signing’s return could depend on how much game-time he sees at Loftus Road. Meanwhile, Robbie Keane has not been asked to fly in from the States, and there’s another chance for Anthony Pilkington. Stephen Quinn is rewarded for his impressive display against Spain and is named in the squad for the August 15 friendly. Continue reading →

Red Alert: Where Next for Suarez?

suarez Despite the controversy that follows him, Luis Suarez remains a man in high demand. With rumours of a potential departure from Anfield, his performances last season and in the Confederations Cup have some of Europe’s top clubs on high alert. Who are his suitors and who might Liverpool replace him with should the Reds lose the feisty Uruguayan? Continue reading →

Up the Duff – The Comeback Kid

shane duffy everton It’s a big season for Everton’s Shane Duffy. Captain of the Irish U21 side, the Derryman is eyeing a gap in the Toffees’ back-line and a return to Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic plans. Having suffered a life-threatening injury on international duty, Duffy knows all about comebacks. Continue reading →

Gloves Off in Battle for Irish Number One

Untitled With Liverpool’s signing of Simon Mignolet, we thought the door had opened for Keiren Westwood to reclaim the goalkeeper’s jersey for both club and country. However, Sunderland’s recruitment of Vito Mannone puts the pressure back on the Irish international who has watched from the sidelines as David Forde has grown into his role as Ireland’s ‘keeper of the faith. Continue reading →

Fan Direction #2: Cork City FORAS

CorkCity In the second of our Fan Direction series, looking at the growing phenomenon of supporter-owned football clubs in Ireland, the spotlight is on Cork City. Borne from the official supporters club, the FORAS trust became the saviours of the southern giant as she flirted with extinction. The Turners Cross outfit are now the driving force in Ireland behind an EC initiative on football governance. Continue reading →

Thin White Line Magazine

Thin White Line Magazine Thin White Line is a new football culture magazine coming out of Australia that combines great writing and photography with great design. Like American soccer magazine Howler the magazine is using crowd funding to pay for the costs of getting the publication printed. Continue reading →

Ice Ice Beattie

steven beattie Dubliner Steven Beattie is one of the growing list of Irish players who’ve come through the US Colleges’ system. Currently starring for Icelandic side Tindastóll, famous for recently spoofing Chelsea paint-drenched kit launch, Steven tells Póg Mo Goal of his experiences Stateside and the opportunities open to aspiring footballers from these shores. Continue reading →