31
Jan

Mario Balotelli takes shot at Three Lions

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This summer, Mario Balotelli will square off against many familiar faces as his Italy side takes on England in the World Cup, and he clearly isn’t worried about it. Talking with reporters, the former Premier League striker said that aside from Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart, no England player would be good enough to make the Italy squad.

From the Daily Mail:

"Wayne Rooney I am sure would get in any squad that will be in Brazil - he is one of those few special players. Manchester United had many good players - but when I was at City (manager) Roberto Mancini and the coaches would always teach us pay attention to Rooney - and make it clear he is the one that can hurt us.

'I know that Joe (Hart) is one of the top five goalkeepers in the world - there is no argument about that. He had some games that he would not have been pleased with earlier this season but the best players in the world hit some bad form.

Both Rooney and Joe are of the highest quality but once you look past those two I don’t see an obvious player from England that would make the Italy team or even squad.”

We’re not here to argue whether he’s right, but one thing is for sure: when these two face off this summer, it’s going to get heated.

19
Nov

Setting the table for England vs Germany

imageWayne Rooney will lead Roy Hodgson’s side in attack on Tuesday night (Images: Reuters).

The classic rivalry between England and Germany will write another chapter Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium (live, FOX Sports 1, 3 p.m. ET), so let’s run down a few things to know:

1. Twice as nice: Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge will be paired together up top, with Rooney playing in the No. 10 role. This is great news for England, who need Rooney to be in top form and utilized in his best position in order to make a run at the top teams. You can read more about what this means for England in Patrick Barclay’s match preview.

2. Taking it easy: You’ll notice that while the Three Lions are fielding their best XI, more or less, the Germans will miss a lot of key players. Captain Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer have been left behind in Germany to rest for Bayern Munich’s upcoming clash at Borussia Dortmund, while Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will be rested as well. Also absent are injured playmakers Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ilkay Gundogan and Sami Khedira, as well as strikers Miro Klose and Mario Gomez. Joachim Low will have to give his side a new look, including Lars and Sven Bender in holding midfield.

imageWith his team hampered by injuries, Low will be forced to experiment vs. England (Images: Reuters).

3. Players to watch: Don’t feel bad for Germany, they still have plenty of weapons. Watch Marco Reus and Mario Gotze closely today; the two  wingers are competing with Ozil and Thomas Muller for starting spots next summer. The same thing goes for Max Kruse, who starts as the lone striker today.  On the other side, keep an eye on Adam Lallana and Andros Townsend. Still new to the national side, they, too, need to present themselves to the manager.

4. History lesson: The old rivalry has been a story of two eras. From their first meeting in 1908 through the legendary 1966 World Cup final, England completely dominated Germany (10W-2D-0L). It’s been a different story since then; Germany is 13-2-5 against England after ‘66. However, the Three Lions won the last meeting, 2-1, in November 2008 in Berlin.

5. Going tubing: Yesterday, the German national team took the Tube to Wembley Stadium for their final practice. This would be unfathomable if not for the well-known fact that getting to Wembley any other way actually takes ten times as long. This just speaks to Joachim Low’s thorough preparation. A video of the team’s unique transport is below:

14
Aug

Scottish fans take over London’s Trafalgar Square, fill fountain with soap

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Photo via 101GG

In the build-up to Wednesday’s “friendly” match between longtime rivals England and Scotland — in fact, it is the oldest football rivalry in the world — the traveling Scottish fans took over one of London’s most famous downtown spots, Trafalgar Square.

Given that this was the first match between the two nations in 14 years, the Scots were particularly riled up for this one, with more than 25,000 reportedly traveling down the British Isles to, mainly, stir up trouble. And to make lots of bubbles.

Yes, the “Tartan Army”successfully turned Trafalgar Square into one giant bubble bath by squirting large quantities of dish soap into the famous fountains (and perhaps some other, non-cleaning liquid):

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Photos by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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Photo via 101GG

Not a bad prank to pull on the old enemy. We’re not sure how cheery the Scots were after this, though:

England won the match 3-2 on debutant Rickie Lambert’s winner in the second half.