Olympics football Part I. Youth development

This seems a somewhat strange topic to write on, given that Great Britain has had an arm’s length relationship with Olympic football. Hence some comments are in order. A couple of weeks back, GN5 wrote a fantastic post on the first World Cup in 1930, which Uruguay won. Before that date, national football was the domain of the Olympic Games. Uruguay had won both the 1924 and 1928 Olympics gold medals in football.

Encouraged by GN5’s post, I did a bit of background research on the Olympics. This turned into a Gargantuan project, and in the process I unearthed a lot of interesting insights that were largely new to me. This information I plan to organise into a series of 3 posts to fill in part of the lean “transfer” ( :razz: ) season. My general argument is that staying away from the Olympics has been to the detriment of England team’s World Cup prospects. You AAers are the best judge as to how persuasive this argument is.

Today is the first of the three, focusing on youth development. The second will focus on Arsenal stars in Olympics football. The third will be on the controversies behind, and future prospects for, British involvement in Olympics football.

What does Olympic football have to do with youth development in football? Quite a bit, I would argue. Indeed, Olympics football is now the equivalent of youth World Cup in national football. Since the 1992 Barcelona Games, men’s Olympic football has changed from an amateur tournament to an under-23 competition, with three over-age players allowed per squad. Qualification for the main draw is based on under-21 competitions.

With England’s failure to progress beyond the group stage this year, the focus is firmly back on youth development. Olympics, anyone? FA? Dyke, Pearce, Hodgson? :)

At the outset, let us have an Arsenal focused perspective. In the 1912 Olympic Games, as host nation, Great Britain entered the men’s football competition after a long break. Opinions on whether professional players should participate in Olympic football varied, but the mainstream view is that Olympic football is for amateurs not professional footballers.

In April 2012, David Seaman said: “[As a player] if you get the option it’s a big decision. … Obviously representing Great Britain would be a massive honour, but I was a professional for 22 years and I don’t think I would have done it. I don’t think it’s for professional footballers – I’ve always felt it should be left to the amateurs.”

A year before, Wenger in March 2011 said: “In the professional game we see the Olympics football as an obstacle rather than as a motivation. … I think the Olympic Games is not about football, it is about track and field. Football for me never looked to be a highlight of the Olympic Games.”

That may well be a valuable perspective, particularly when it relates to senior professional footballers. However, two issues remain. First, the above mainstream view is not inconsistent with a youth developmental perspective. Do major footballing nations use Olympics football for grooming young players and providing them experience at the world stage?

Second, what about scouting? Can the Olympics be used to identify young footballers who would be future world stars?

To explore these issues further, I report the uptake from Olympic squads for some leading footballing nations in the 2014 World Cup, focussing on members from the corresponding Olympics teams from the 2012, 2008 and even 2004 Olympic Games.

**************************

Argentina men’s football team participated in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, but not 2012. 7 out of the 37 players in those 2 squads were included in the 23 in Brazil 2014. Mascherano 30, Zabaleta 29, Gago 28, Lavezzi 29, Di María 26, Messi 26 and Agüero 26. Let us not forget some other prominent names from 2004 as well who were probably too old by 2014: Ayala, Coloccini, Tevez, Heinze and Figueroa.

Indeed, what a remarkable collection of stars? I have included current ages in the list above so that one can have a sense of how the Olympics were used for youth development.

Ah, well, the sceptic among you may say, maybe Argentina were a bit different. Not in the slightest. Here are some other national sides.

Brazil participated in the 2008 and 2012 Games. 7 of the 35 players in those two squads are included in the current World Cup team. Thiago Silva 29, Fernandinho 29, Marcelo 28, Hulk 27, Neymar 22, Ramires 27 and Jô 27. Similar pattern to Argentina.

Mexico. Of the 36 players in the Olympic squads for 2004 and 2012, 7 are included in the 2014 World Cup squad. Ochoa 28, Herrera 24, Peralta 30, dos Santos 25, Jiménez 23, Reyes 21 and Ponce 25.

Italy. 2004 and 2008 Games. 7 out of 38 players in the 2014 World Cup squad. Chiellini 29, Candreva 27, Abate 27, Marchisio 28, Barzagli 33, De Rossi 30 and Pirlo 35. Similar pattern, but note the difference in the ages. Is there a transatlantic divide? Perhaps not, just the fact that the current Italy side is getting on a bit.

Belgium, only the 2008 Olympic Games. 7 out of 20 in the current squad. Kompany 28, Vermaelen 28, Fellaini 26, Mirallas 26, Vertonghen 27, Ciman 28 and Dembélé 26. Yet again, youth development in focus.

Uruguay. 7 out of the 18 in the 2012 Olympic Games squad. Coates 23, Cavani 27, Suárez 27, Ramírez 23, Hernández 23, Lodeiro 25 and Ríos 32.

For Switzerland, the current World Cup squad has 5 members out of the 18 in their 2012 Olympic Games. Benaglio 30, Mehmedi 23, Drmic 21, Rodríguez 21 and Schär 22.

Portugal. Only 2004 Games. 5 out of 18. Meireles 31, Alves 32, Costa 33, Ronaldo 29 and Almeida 30.

Spain participated in the 2012 Games. 4 out of 18: de Gea 23, Azpilicueta 24, Alba 25 and Martínez 25.

Costa Rica, only the 2004 Games. 3 out of 18. Umaña 31, Myrie 26 and Díaz 30.

At the other end, the Dutch under-23 team competed in the 2008 Games. However, none of the players are included in the current 2014 World Cup squad.

*******************************

What about England? Great Britain does not usually participate in the Olympic men’s football event. But they did so at home in 2012. Here is the squad.

Great Britain 2012 Olympic men’s football squad (starred players over-age): Jack Butland 19, Neil Taylor 23 (Wales), Ryan Bertrand 22, Danny Rose 22, Steven Caulker 20, Craig Dawson 22, Tom Cleverley 22, Joe Allen 22 (Wales), Daniel Sturridge 22, Craig Bellamy* 33 (Wales), Ryan Giggs* (c) 38 (Wales), James Tomkins 23, Jack Cork 23, Micah Richards* 24, Aaron Ramsey 21 (Wales), Scott Sinclair 23, Marvin Sordell 21, Jason Steele 21

Only one of the above 13 eligible players (5 players in the Olympics squad were Welsh) were included in England’s 2014 World Cup squad. Daniel Sturridge 24. Most importantly, several players who would have been eligible were not included in the Olympics squad: Wilshere, Welbeck, Smalling, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Sterling, Barkley and Shaw.

Why was the Olympics competition not used to groom young English players for the World Cup? Was this a missed opportunity? It seems so. Stars of the 2012 tournament included, among others, Peralta and dos Santos for Mexico and Neymar and Oscar for Brazil. Likewise, the stars of the 2008 Beijing Olympics men’s football included Aguerro, di Maria, Lavezzi and Messi (Argentina), Ronaldinho and Jo (Brazil), Dembele and Mirallas (Belgium) and Kalou (Ivory Coast). Whither youth development, FA?

Finally, here is a question for Arsene. We know you are having a gala time in Brazil. We also recognise that you take pride in developing young players. The World Cup has largely established stars, and hence is perhaps not particularly suitable for scouting. But, what about the London Olympics in 2012? Where were you at the time Arsene? Did you watch football in the Games? Who did you see and admire? Which of those young stars are we signing?

Written by Arnie

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165 Responses to Olympics football Part I. Youth development

  1. Morning all

    Thank you Arnie for a really interesting post.

    I have always felt that the FA undervalue the Olympics as a football competition, see it as ‘football lite’. It’s as if England/Great Britain are too superior as a footballing nation to compete.

    Maybe the FA don’t instill enough passion into our players and that rubs off, we’ve all noted how much passion is on show when other countries sing their National Anthems.

    I think it’s a two way street, the FA have to value International competition in order for players to want to succeed for their country.

    I think the problem lies with the FA sadly.

  2. GOONERKAM says:

    For the English national team to improve there must be an overhaul of the whole system. More emphasis on club academies and then time for these players to mature by playing. Less importation of foreign talent and more resources directed at couching and development. It is not anything magical. All one must do is follow the example of other nations and how they have approached this issue. Tough decisions to be made and no one strong enough in vision to make them. The EPL will not accept any limitations placed on its player recruitments. And so the cycle keeps on and the national team keeps on disappointing.
    Goodmorning and a very nice writeup..

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    That’s a terrific post Arnie, thank you.

    Historically the Olympics were intended for amateur sportsmen and women, but that ideal has long ago gone by the board, so that should no longer be a bar to professional footballers taking part.

    The main reason for Great Britain’s non-participation in Olympic football is the very fact that we are Great Britain. Each of the countries that make up our nation have their own football associations and those individual associations are rightly afraid that if they participate as part of Great Britain they would lose their current status.

    Scotland flatly refused to participate in the 2012 Olympic football for that very reason.

    Politics aside, I would like to see England, I can’t speak for the other home nations, taking part in a strictly under 21 Olympic tournament in 2016, with no over age players at all. We are constantly told that our young players don’t get enough tournament experience, well the Olympics could provide just what those players need.

    Of course, Arsene and all the other managers will be against the idea, they are rightly, in their view protecting the assets of their clubs, but it’s the FA’s job to make it work.

  4. Norfolk Gooner says:

    An after thought, is football part of the Commonwealth Games? An under 21 competition would see all the home nations allowed to participate in their own right as they do in all the other sports.

  5. arnie says:

    thank you chums, good motning (I mean afternoon) to you all. Valuable thoughts. It is nice to see all of you agree on the main premise, that Olympics football is valuable for youth development.

    Somehow, I think qualification for the Olympics (by coming top 4 in the European under-21) has to be top priority. And then participating in the event. If the other home countries do not co-operate, can England go it alone?

    I do not want to give too much of my Part III away. But the English FA is a major part of the problem. In 1992 and 1996, I think, Scotland qualified for the Olympics, but the English FA refused to give them permission to enter a team. The situation is now a bit crazy. Each home nation FA is antagonistic towards each of the others. But now that participation in 2012 has established some precedence, maybe there is a way forward.

    Norfolk. good idea about the Commonwealth Games. the problem is that most leading footballing nations are not members of the Commonwealth.

  6. neamman says:

    Interesting post, well done

  7. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Arnie, If that’s the case we (England) might be able to win it. Sneaky!! :D

  8. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Or we could rename the games The Empire Games then we could rope in all the old colonies, half the world in fact, still we might not be able to win it then. Oh well! Back to the drawing board. :D

  9. The Eurovision Song Contest within the world of music.
    Geddit? That’s my tuppence worth today.
    Sorry, Arnie.

  10. arnie says:

    Norfolk. :) Surely, being willing to compete is a precursor to winning a competition. :razz:

    Or starting a Commonwealth Games football competition as an under-21 competition as you suggest. Second, participate in teh competition at the very least. Third, win it by defeating Australia.

    Something is better than nothing. At least the young guys will gain some experience and some confidence from having won something at the national level.

  11. arnie says:

    Big Al. :) Jokes apart, not quite.

    The Eurovision Song Contest has never produced a top star in the world of music. Erm, except Abba.

    But the Olympics have produced the top footballers of the world. Everyone of them that you can name from the past 20 years. :)

  12. arnie says:

    Norfolk. I just checked. There will be Cameroon and Nigeria to defeat as well. :razz:

  13. arnie says:

    OK, the likes of Messi and Neymar are special talents. But the question is what have their national associations done to support them.

    Identified them early. Sent them off at an early age to play qualifiers and in the Olympics. Encouraged them to go abroad and hone their skills in more hostile environments. Then offer them a chance to shine in the World Cup.

    Of course, this strategy does not always work. Damiao of Brazil is an example. Shone at the 2012 Olympics, but did not manage to create a move abroad. Dropped from the national team. However, the effort was there.

  14. arnie says:

    how about that from “grand old man” Federer? :)

  15. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well done Arnie, I think the absence of our young England players during the Olympics was due to the fact that many if then were already on full international duty and had been involved in the Euro’s….Ox for example.

    I never understand why the home FAs believe that fielding a GB side could see UEFA attempting to force the merger of the football associations into one. Once every two years the British and Irish Lions merge for a foreign tour, but has it ever been suggested that they unite for World Cups?

    It would be something special.

    However I believe that our under 21 sides should be learning to play as a team and therefore would there be a benefit to merging the sides? Perhaps we could say that it was for those not capped at any level by their home nation, then if those players are ever needed to make up the numbers in major tournaments they would at least have the experience.

  16. arnie says:

    Nice ideas, GiE. :) My feeling is that it is largely to do with politics. In Part III, I will go into a historical account staying as far away as possible from politics. But that is the elephant in the room.

    Unfortunately, it would seem, the English FA is busy doing lip service. It cares a flying fig for youth development. Same sentiments were expressed earlier by Peaches and Norfolk.

    The other home FAs are no better. Sad. :sad:

    However, I believe things can change and this is the reason why I am writing.

  17. chas says:

    Excellent post, arnie.

    I never quite know why we have a combined GB team for the whole of the Olympics rather than 4 separate countries. It always seems a bit strange cheering on the sweaties but as they’re usually quite good, I force myself.

    The football tournament never seems to have any proper any proper qualifying process, so ends up as a mish-mash of teams that can be bothered to enter. I don’t blame any of the players for joining in with the prospect of possible a Olympic medal at the end of it, but isn’t Olympic participation an end product to an already flourishing national youth set-up rather than being crucial to its development. That’s the way it’s always seemed to me.

  18. arnie says:

    nice one, Chas. :)

    Yes, it seems the qualification process is not uniform everywhere in the world. Perhaps this is to encourage more teams from Asia/ Africa to participate. But the European qualification is well organised. I think 4 top teams from the under-21 European competition are automatically selected, plus the host nation, subject to all 4 selected teams competing. England qualified for 2008 Olympics, for example, but did not participate, so the 5th placed team (Portugal) was selected.

    Regarding whether Olympic participation can lead to youth development, I think it can. To me, this is more chicken and egg rather than horse and carriage. Difficult to say whether chicken comes before egg or the other way round. Hence better to assume both affect one another.

    This is my argument in any case. Bollix, maybe! :razz:

  19. chas says:

    Strangely hypnotic

  20. GOONERKAM says:

    Damn good goalie we have. Tnx for the vid. Enjoyed watching it.

  21. GOONERKAM says:

    In fabianski we had a good on too. Viviano?? Never saw the poor guy play. I heard he let four in playing with the reserves in one game. Looked exactly like almunia. Could have been twins.

  22. arnie says:

    lovely vid, Chas. :)

    motning all.

  23. arnie says:

    GoonerKam (GK). Yes a pity about Fabianski leaving. And about Viviano never playing. No 2 for Italy and a Buffon understudy cannot be bad. :sad:

  24. arnie says:

  25. arnie says:

    Ahmed Fathi, the Egyptian international right back who currently plays for Al Ahly, is set to join Arsenal this week for a ten-day trial. The defender, who can play anywhere along the line and as a defensive midfielder, has earned over 100 caps for Egypt. He will travel to London probably on Tuesday.

    Fathi spent six months on loan with Hull last season however they did not try and sign him permanently after just one start in seven appearances. This would be the player’s second trial with the Gunners having tried out for the side back in 2004 when he was just 20. He is now 29.

    Source: various

  26. arnie says:
  27. arnie says:

    OK, final piece of bollix from me for the moment. :razz:

  28. stevepalmer1 says:

    Afternoon all,
    I apologise for leaving it so late to comment, as i had a days fishing yesterday and never got home till late, and then threw all my clothes in the washing machine and forgot my phone was still in my pocket, so trashed phone, spent all morning getting one of my old phones up and running.

    Well Arnie, that was a post and half mate, i appreciate the effort that goes into a post like that and i know there is still more to come, blinding effort so far mate.

    Many believe that England football team is at its lowest its been for many years, where i believe we are not that far from being one of the top.. In my opinion this world cup came a bit early for us, i know that is a lame excuse for being one of the first teams out, but that is my belief.

    Hodgeson has done remarkably well in my mind, and he has tried to put some of Englands finest youngsters in the frame, Of course he had to keep a bit of experience in the team, as he would have been stupid not to have done.

    Many of the youngsters are only just emerging for their club sides, but Hodgeson i feel, has taken them early and thrown them together for the experience, and took a big gamble, I say big gamble but when you look at other England sides i don’t think it was that big a gamble

    Getting back to your very fine first instalment Arnie, I have always seen the Olympics as Amateurs, we used to moan when the Russians used military people who were paid by their governments, so never had the worry of also earning a living. And i do understand that now, all sportsmen are usually professionals.

    Football clubs have a tough schedule of league and cup’s, plus CL for many and the odd International, so players are being saked to play well into the rest break time. Money talks and football Matches puts bums on seats, but for many the close season gives them the chance to recuperate, and get over niggling injuries.

    Football players get well paid, and the main employers are the clubs they play for, and although England or Teem GB or the Olympics may have insurance to cover players, the true loser is the players club should they get injured.

    I believe that grass roots football should start the ball rolling in tempting Youngsters to take up the sport in the first place, and from there they climb the ladder to success, at a major club, On the way up the ladder and as academy players that many will become, that is where Team GB or Olympian teams should be picked from.

    Once a player has played in the top flight he is then a true pro and should only be picked for his country. Thats my view anyway, but again Arn, I look forward to your other posts :) ..

  29. Here is a new Arsenal blog, started a few weeks ago. Thought some on here may be interested. I would like more readers and visitors of course, but some may find it interesting. Some may already be reading it? Link: http://wp.me/p4FeF9-8g

  30. stevepalmer1 says:

    Obviously more people on holiday than i thought, This is turning into a blog that you can only talk to yourself.

    Was reading another blog, where the author was saying that he felt that with the Puma deal starting very shortly, that he expected Arsenal to also announce 2 or 3 signings to help kick the event off. He said that Arsene has been so relaxed in Brazil that he felt that player deals had been made, and that supporters would not only see our new Puma Kit, they would also see new players as well.

    Now that sounded like it could possibly be true, What better way to kick our start off with Puma, than a brand new kit and 3 or more new players.

    Now i know i am talking to myself, but i reckon that other blog may have hit it on the head, will we wait for Arsene to return, or will we announce before. N ow that is the 50,000 dollar question. What do you think Steve, Well Steve i reckon we would wait for Wenger as i would have hoped that he has done his bit already, or i certainly hope he has. Have you seen the new strip yet Steve, No Steve i haven’t, but i believe the Arsenal Ladies wore their new strip when they hammered Chelsea the other day, and i would assume the strips are more or less the same, but i haven’t seen them either, I just hope there is no blue in them.

  31. arnie says:

    Sorry, was Knot Ear, Steve. :razz: Such is the silly season.

    Top comment. I agree that Hodgson has done well to include quite a few youngsters in the England team. But this should not be a one off. They should play regularly with each other and form the core of a future team. I think GiE said as much.

    Now, I feel for these guys to play together regularly, the stage must be the under-23 team rather than the senior side. Next year is qualification for 2016 Olympics. If they can achieve that, perhaps they can form the core of a GB team. And like Norfolk, I would like to see this as a youth only team. No big brothers. Part of the development is leadership qualities.

    And then, all going well, on to the next World Cup. :) :) :)

  32. arnie says:

    Steve: I agree with the second comment as well. I guess the promptness with which players were released suggests that plans are in place. But only approximately. Wenger is good in last minute haggling, and I suspect we will do so this year as well. I hope not, but I suspect so. :razz:

  33. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sorry Arnie if i have missed you, Great post mate.
    I have to say i haven’t looked to see when the final will be played , but i assume Wenger will be back straight after.. I know world cups only come round now and again, but when everybody seems to be away, the guessing game the papers play has started getting on my nerves, The sooner we get back to normal the better.

  34. arnie says:

    Cheers, Steve. The trick is not to believe any of the rumours, but to enjoy the idea that such a lot of great players are linked to the club. :razz:

  35. arnie says:

    hmmmm.

  36. arnie says:

  37. arnie says:

    Arsenal ladies wear PUMA, beat Chelsea 3-0

  38. arnie says:
  39. GOONERKAM says:

    Middle row, last two crests on the right.
    Pure class. I hope we adopt them again but I doubt it the club will do a u-turn and go back on this latest modern ARSENAL crest.
    The ladies looking real good in them new outfits. 3-0 against the chavs , a good omen.

  40. Gööner In Exile says:

    If I was to choose a badge to be worn on the shirt it would be the simple cannon with AFC in the cannonballs.

    Or the ArtDeco one top right.

    Never did like the busy one.

  41. Eddie says:

    one before the last for me, modern, clear with all the name and the cannon, what more do you need?

  42. Perhaps a change in badge… I’d like to see the first cannon on the left, just with AFC across the top.

    By the way CockieM…. I did the Google map thingy last night and took a little tour of the Holloway area…. fucking brilliant. I’ve posted the rouge on my blog. Thanks for the suggestion.

  43. Just realised I posted a response to someone on another blog…. too early in the morning, bugger!

  44. Gööner In Exile says:

    Actually had a brainwave this morning we won’t sign anyone til after 10 July. I’ll go one further….deals are done but due to PR we have to wait until after new kit launch to boost sales. I’m sure Puma would be unimpressed if new signing was shown being handed the old Nike kit.

  45. LB says:

    GIE

    Good call.

  46. arnie says:

    motning all.

  47. arnie says:

    nice banter this motning. :)

    I do not expect any signing to be announced before 11PM on July 31. :razz: If you can leave it late and haggle on prices, why do it early? Unless like air tickets, prices go up the closer it is to departure date. :)

  48. arnie says:

    I mean 31 August. too early in the motning for me! :razz:

  49. arnie says:

    Allegedly, the Corporal and Joel heading to Newcastle. Not saying I believe the rumour, but if it were to be true, I think it is not bad news. Both will get first team football in Newcastle and I have some respect for Pardew.

  50. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Peaches/Rasp, Possible post e mailed to Arsenalnuts.

  51. LB says:

    On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy would you be if we signed Sanchez?

    10 being the highest. Adjectives, superlatives and phrasal verbs can all be added.

  52. arnie says:

    Good question, LB. 8. No matter what the performance on the field, it is a statement of purpose. :) However, I think there is a sad side to this as well. If Sanchez comes, and any other big names, I would be more certain this is the final team that Arsene is trying to build.

  53. arnie says:

    Norfolk. The matriarch and senior admin dont seem to be around. What should we do? :)

  54. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Arnie, it’s a post about the signing of Sanchez, I could just put it up as a comment. What do you think?

  55. Eddie says:

    Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal? I doubt it, I think Barca and Liverpool are doing the exchange. In case we don’t get him we can look on the bright side – he cannot score penalties, rubbish really :)

    I am guilty of the worst holiday planning ever – will be landing at Heathrow at 10pm, which means I miss both first and second half of the game tonight. Shocking error. Never mind, it is going to be a boring game with both teams scared shitless of losing

  56. arnie says:

    No, Norfolk, in that case, let it be. IMO. I thought it was a poll for today. We are not going to know one way or another about Sanchez in a hurry, I think. Let Peaches make an executive decision tomorrow morning. :razz:

  57. arnie says:

    Evonne. Safe journey. Rest assured, we have seen worse planning. :razz:

  58. Norfolk Gooner says:

    White Bear? Eddie? Evonne? all the same person? I’m confused. :D

    Yep Arnie, I think you’re right. I’ll leave it to Peaches.

  59. arnie says:

    What about Brazil-Germany, then?

    No poll :sad: but my vote goes to Germany. The better team, the team is better than the sum total of individuals. Brazil are without Neymar, and that clinches it for me. Besides, I suppose, we do not want an all Latin America final.

  60. Eddie says:

    why not arnie? I’d much rather Brazil v Argentina that the Orange men or Kraut eating nation.

    NG – a symptom of a split personality :) I like White bear best, ,but it annoys Didit, so now I am Eddie in memory of Eddie Hopgood

  61. arnie says:

    Evonne. There has to be first time for everything. I wish this is the first time an European team wins the WC in Latin America.

    Plus, we have three Gooners in the team. Plus, Brazil have not played well except the first half-hour against Colombia. They are here partly because of poor refereeing decisions.

    I would like to see an Argentina-Germany final. Irrational? Perhaps. So be it, then. :razz:

  62. Vinay says:

    On a scale of 10 how would i rate sanchez coming to us- 10, with a cherry on top. He would be massive and may i be the first one to say- he will be close to Suarez if not the same at times. He is that good.

    Germany Holland final for me, time to put 2 miserable teams out of their misery, specially the Brazilian team. Time for the right headlines Mesut.

  63. LB says:

    I would love to answer that comment Eddie but out of politeness to Norfolk I am going to wait until we can all wade in boots and all.

  64. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening All,
    I see nobody wants to tempt fate and talk about the possible signings of Sanches and Debuchey (probably spelt their names wrong) but if they are to wear the new strip from Puma, I will be very happy.

    I know some believe that a new post should be done by the Administrators and of course they are probably right, but when i see other blogs and websites talking about it, we cannot bury our heads in the sand because of ethics.

    Close season is all about Transfers and transfer windows, and in my opinion any new signings is a fresh air to me, Now those statments maybe a load of hogwash but if it isn’t and we still have our heads buried in the sand we may just miss the new build of a team, and i certainly don’t want to miss that.

    As i stated yesterday Puma would want any new signings displayed in the new kit, and judging by the ladies i never saw any Blue :) We are supposed to be Arsenal supporters and we should show interest even if it turns out wrong.

    I am sure our Administers would appreciate us keeping the blog fresh while they are away, and my twopenath says if you have any news or a post with current news then post the bugger, if it turns out wrong who gives a shit.

  65. Gööner In Exile says:

    Problem is Steve there are not many of us with access to Arsenalnuts, I have access to the WP back end which means I can get posts up but I can’t necessarily do all the other stuff ( post to NewsNow etc).

    I’m not sure when you posted comment about kit yesterday but I made same comment this morning, sorry for not reading up on comments.

    I for one would love to see Sanchez in an AFC kit.

  66. stevepalmer1 says:

    Hiya Exile,
    Doesn’t have to be a proper post, just a comment with a heading just to get us talking on fresh subjects.

  67. arnie says:

    how are the nerves, chums.

    come on Germany. 4th time consecutively in the SF. make it count this time.

    Neymar out, Silva out. this is the chance. cannot tolerate Luiz. scum. :razz:

  68. arnie says:

    OK, excuses accumulated, Brazil OUT! now!

  69. arnie says:

    ok, some conspiracy theory. :razz: what do you guys think about the same ref who missed the cannibal incident getting this game? Mexican as well. :)

  70. mickydidit89 says:

    Budge up.
    Evening all.

  71. arnie says:

    ah, Micky EAR! :)

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    My wall chart says a Germany Argie Final, so I’m looking good.

    Heart says Brazil, but let’s face it, they’re pants.

  73. arnie says:

    well done Micky. Brazil? NO WAY! unless of course the refs cheat! :razz:

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    Evening Arnie.
    Been away for a few days, see you’ve penned a Magnificent Octopus, but will read tomorrow.
    Operating on five hours sleep in three days, so we’ll see how we do. Hanging by a thread right now.

  75. arnie says:

    come on, KNOT EARS, where are you chums? wakey wakey :razz:

  76. arnie says:

    Magnum Opus? No, that will be your posts, Micky. just tried to keep the space going. poor effort ex post, accumulated 60 comments in 3 days! :razz:

  77. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie

    I may have predicted a Germany Argentina, but I always wanted a Brazil Argentina.

    Neymar not playing is a real bugger though, not only for his skill but their chances

    Lively start.

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie

    No. of comments has rarely anything to do with quality of post. People needed.

    Also, you know what this lot on here are like with juicy transfer speculation…borrrrrring :-)

  79. arnie says:

    not complaining, Micky. :)

  80. mickydidit89 says:

    Oi Fred, here’s an idea mate, how about being the furthest forward somewhere near the middle

  81. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh bollocks

  82. arnie says:

    brilliant. :)

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh here we go, the blubbing fans : roll :

    Ooops, another goal :-(

  84. mickydidit89 says:

    5-0!

    Seriously, why doesn’t Scholari slip off down the boozer right now

  85. arnie says:

    ha ha ha ha

  86. mickydidit89 says:

    I know Raddy’s getting naked with his hippy chums in the Italian commune, but where’s Chas and his pals?

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    In 2002 Australia beat Samoa 31-0 in a WC Qualifier

    Come on Fritz

  88. arnie says:

    getting naked? still? does it take so much time? :razz:

  89. arnie says:

    is that 2 assists for Ozil. already?

  90. Gööner In Exile says:

    That was a tad humbling from Brazil. They have been very generously treated by the refs, especially in the Columbia game. But today the ref couldn’t do anything to help. Luiz at the centre of any defence is an accident waiting to happen.

    I said at the start of the tournament that if Germany could afford to have the likes of Schweinstiger on the bench they would be a threat, and they certainly are.

    This is what happens when you form a team from a solid group of youngsters, yes they have added new emerging talent but there is a big similarity between this team and the one dumped us out in 2010, when Muller and Ozil were just finding their feet in International football.

    This should be a lesson to the English FA on how you build a group of players into a strong squad.

  91. Gööner In Exile says:

    Don’t understand why Kroos is having trouble agreeing a new contract with Bayern, surely there is a long line of clubs wanting him?

  92. chas says:

    chas is here.
    Not sure where my ‘mates’ are or even who they are.

  93. mickydidit89 says:

    Mates are for Whimps

  94. arnie says:

    top comment, GiE. :)

    your mates are here, Chas. :razz:

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie
    He sees us as bitches, not mates.

    Exile
    Too tired to get serious, but hi

  96. arnie says:

    Micky. :)

  97. chas says:

    Ok, so my mates are here, but where my ‘pals’ are is a mystery.
    As for my bitches, well. :)

  98. arnie says:

    KNOT EAR, obviously.

  99. mickydidit89 says:

    Ooo, Draxler on

  100. stevepalmer1 says:

    Boy i am enjoying this game, wouldn’t want to be a German in the streets after this one. I thought the Germans had done a wrong un bringing on Merts and if Brazil do get a goal back i think it will be down Merts side.

    Mesut having a blinder, Luiz has done a few things wrong but he also has done a lot of good, just waiting for Poldi to feature, welcome back the not ears, missed you

  101. stevepalmer1 says:

    7 what a goal

  102. arnie says:

    what a goal!!!!!

  103. 26may1989 says:

    Anyone checking the betting patterns in Kuala Lumpur?

  104. arnie says:

    and what do they say, 26may? :razz:

  105. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m suing you right now for that comment 26

  106. arnie says:

    the downside is that now Germany become favourites in the final. oh dear!

  107. mickydidit89 says:

    You’ll be delighted to hear my laptop battery is in the red zone. Blackout imminent. Lead still packed somewhere.

  108. 26may1989 says:

    Didn’t realise you’re Malaysian, Micky!

  109. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie

    According to my chart, the Argies will get to the final, kick the crap out of them, then lose :-(

  110. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m not 26, just could do with the loot

    Oh noooooo Mesut

  111. 26may1989 says:

    Mesut, you plonker! Or was it the ultimate act of sympathy??

    7-1….

  112. arnie says:

    hmmm. Micky :)

    what a miss, Ozil. :razz:

  113. stevepalmer1 says:

    Fantastic run from ozil bad finish, fcuk goal on Merts side

  114. arnie says:

    its alright, I think BFG played well enough.

  115. stevepalmer1 says:

    In all honesty, Brazil was worse than England.

  116. 26may1989 says:

    That’s the irony, isn’t it Steve – England failed to get out of the group stage but the humiliation of the score tonight means Brazil will be judged to have done worse than us, even though they got to the semis.

  117. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening 26, I don’t think Brazil have played that well from the start, but with referee’s helping them they laboured on, but tonight they got what they deserved they got hammered.

  118. 26may1989 says:

    I’m not a Twitterer, hopefully chas will pop up to fix this but just in case the link works……

  119. stevepalmer1 says:

    No somersaults from Klose tonight

  120. arnie says:

    brilliant, 26may. :)

  121. 26may1989 says:

    Blimey, it worked, who’d have thought?

    Steve, I agree, Brazil have been ropy throughout. But still, however they did it, they got to the semi finals. That said, I did have Germany down to win tonight – not by six, mind.

    It is a mystery how a nation of 200 million football obsessives manages to have a side with such ordinary players as Paulinho, Marcelo, Fred, Jo, Cesar and Hulk. It’ll probably do Brazilian football a lot of good in the long term.

  122. arnie says:

    time to avoid Beeb. 10:35 PM Friday. :razz:

  123. stevepalmer1 says:

    Don’t think many of them will wear that shirt again 26, I am off to bed nte to you 26 and any body else that is lingering.

  124. 26may1989 says:

    A Brazil side with Chelsea and City players in it gets humiliated by a Germany side with Gooners; looks like we might have made a superb attacking signing; and Man U get sacked by Nike – now, that’s what I call a good day.

  125. arnie says:

    26may. :)

  126. arnie says:

    one more game. come on you Gooners. :) :) :)

  127. GOONERKAM says:

    Goodness. Those damned Germans didn’t leave Brazil any self respect at all. Tore them to pieces in front of their own fans. Their physical tactics against Colombia came back to hunt them in a big way. Big Phil OUT …

  128. arnie says:

    Brazil OUT! Frankly I dont think they deserved to be in the SF. They might yet win the 3rd place trophy. But Colombia had teh last laugh! :)

  129. 26may1989 says:

    It is a pity Colombia weren’t there this evening, would’ve been a much better game.

  130. arnie says:

    eh!! hmmmm.

  131. arnie says:

    Peaches: can we please have Norfolk’s post today? :) Allegedly, some announcements may be imminent. :razz:

  132. arnie says:

    Richard Keys to Wenger: ‘Have you seen anything at the WC you’d like to take to Arsenal? This was his reply:

  133. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all.

    I’ve been having a little think, especially as watching the morning news there appears to be an outpouring of sympathy towards Brazil….I have no idea why they have been average and got tonked by a very good German side. Brazil have been running round like headless chickens since the first game with only Cesar, Silva and Neymar doing their job properly.

    But thinking about the rest left in it you’d have to fancy Germany now, the Dutch and Argentina are equally poor defensively. Maybe not as bad as Brazil but nevertheless not good.

    But I am asking myself have there been a lot of merely good teams in this WC with one or two stars and then Germany who appear to have a complete squad which goes right through the 25 with players able to be called upon if needed without weakening the team.

  134. mickydidit89 says:

    Exile

    I think what you’re suggesting is that Germany have the best players :-)

  135. mickydidit89 says:

    Anie
    Those Vine clips never have any volume, so no idea how Arsene responded, but boy does he look relaxed and un wrinkled. Like someone has ironed his face.

    My money says we’re getting a massive Ollie upgrade costing a lot of money, and if we don’t, I’ll be Wenger OUTing :-)

  136. chas says:

    Top left corner of the vines has a sound on or off symbol

  137. mickydidit89 says:

    Hey Chas

    Have a little guess what I think of street performers like jugglers and fire eaters and mono wheel bicycling shitballs

  138. chas says:

    Bath Gong Bollix

  139. mickydidit89 says:

    Not even close :-)

  140. chas says:

    Thunderstruck was for Brazil.
    I quite like the idea of a bolt of lightning coming from Mesut’s boot.

  141. chas says:

    Must go.
    Back ear layt ah.

  142. Shard says:

    arnie

    your article must have taken a lot of research and is quite an interesting topic. I do disagree however that Olympics football represents or should represent youth development. Look what it did to Brazil :D

    I think Olympics, and stupid events like U-19, U-20, U-21, U-23 tournaments (all of them exist) have a chance to cause more disruption to a young player’s development than help it. Think of how Coquelin missed pre-season and the first few games with us when he was off playing in some such tournaments. Iggy Miquel the same.

    If youth development is to be aided, football should plan their tournaments and make proper space in the calendar for them rather than have them run haphazardly. Olympics is great, but somehow football doesn’t seem like an Olympic event to me. Maybe they should play futsal instead of football. Might help the English/British team learn some technique :)

  143. Shard says:

    Wenger ‘seduced’ Sanchez, according to Sport. While he distracted everyone else with those beach bum girls, it was Alexis who was the object of his charms.

    But what are the haters going to say if (when?) Sanchez signs for us after Ozil last year attributed Wenger as the reason he signed and the plan he outlined for our growth? Be prepared for more stupidity.

    Such as the Ozil (click) baiting going on in the media after he ‘contributed nothing’ and oh my God nearly cost Germany the game when he didn’t score a goal to put them 8 ahead. He also made the rest of the Germans then let Brazil score. I mean he cost his team 2 goals right there. Useless.

  144. LB says:

    Internal message going around PSG

    Err, so whose idea was it exactly to sign Side Show Bob?

  145. Shard says:

    GIE

    Germany had players like Reus and Bender (both of them) miss the tournament entirely as well. I think it goes back to your comment yesterday. About the work Germany put in since around 2000. and especially since 2004. They brought in young players while keeping a few of the more experienced ones, and trusted them enough to play through some indifferent results. Podolski, Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Mertesacker, were all in the 19-21 age group when they were brought into tournament football. They also had Klose and Gomez and Kuranyi play in their early 20s. This process has since been repeated with Khedira, Ozil, Muller, Kroos, Boateng, Gundogan, Reus, Gotze etc.

    It can be argued that these players were only given a chance because they were produced, rather than them playing for Germany helping them progress. To some extent that it true, but the 2004 squad left out some established players and put their trust in the young guys. Those same guys are now the senior players, and the young have kept finding their way into the team and entrusted to perform.

    If England had trusted the likes of Wilshere, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Shaw to play more, given Rodwell, Baxter, Gosling, Rodriguez, Jones, Smalling, Barkley etc a greater role for the past 2 years they might have ended up with….. exactly the same short term result, but potentially a much better team for the long term. But it needs a manager with courage to do that. Klinsmann was that man for Germany (and might be for the USA too) Who will it be for England?

  146. Eddie says:

    Typical bloody Germans. At 1 nil they are winning, 2 nil almost through, at 3 nil game in the pocket, they can relax. But no, oh no, they go and humiliate the host nation, destroy them just as they destroyed Warsaw in 1944. Hate them

  147. arnie says:

    motning all. ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Shard. disagree. finally some disagreement. thank you. :razz:

    GiE. Nice comment. Nothing to disagree about. Sadly. :razz:

    Chas. That surf video was brilliant. Part of the soundtrack is in my mother tongue. But such a strong dialect I could not understand most of it. :)

    Micky. Motning trash is never the same without you around. :razz:

    Evonne is in mourning this morning. :razz:

  148. Morning all

    Sorry I wasn’t around yesterday, we will be having a new post today, I’m just sorting it …………..

    Back in a while

  149. arnie says:

    snap.

  150. Eddie says:

    no arnie, not mourning, just furious.

  151. arnie says:

    Shard. Please look at the German teams in the European under-21 an under-19 competitions. You will see exactly how they groomed the young ones. Look at how they are grooming the likes of Draxler and Bender. By ignoring youth national football. Never. :)

  152. Morning Eddie, are you here or still over there?

  153. Eddie says:

    here :) no mob

  154. Shard says:

    arnie

    Nothing against the occasional youth tournaments. Once every two years for an U-19/U-21 world cup is fine by me. I just hate that Uefa and Fifa try to make create more and more tournaments with age groups like 17,18,20,22,23 etc and then have them virtually every year. Often cutting into the actual season. I don’t think this helps the players in any way.

  155. arnie says:

    Germany won the 2009 UEFA European under 21 competition defeating England 4-0 in the final. Here was the team that day:

    GERMANY:

    GK 1 Manuel Neuer
    RB 2 Andreas Beck
    CB 4 Benedikt Höwedes
    CB 5 Jérôme Boateng
    LB 3 Sebastian Boenisch Booked 65′
    DM 15 Mats Hummels Substituted off 83′
    RM 14 Fabian Johnson Substituted off 69′
    CM 20 Gonzalo Castro
    CM 8 Sami Khedira (c)
    LM 10 Mesut Özil Substituted off 89′
    CF 13 Sandro Wagner Booked 84′
    Substitutions:
    MF 16 Daniel Schwaab Substituted in 69′
    MF 6 Dennis Aogo Substituted in 83′
    DF 19 Marcel Schmelzer Substituted in 89′

  156. arnie says:

    Shard. point well taken.

    And here was England’s

    ENGLAND:

    GK 22 Scott Loach
    RB 2 Martin Cranie Substituted off 79′
    CB 17 Micah Richards
    CB 6 Nedum Onuoha Substituted off 46′
    LB 19 Kieran Gibbs
    DM 12 Fabrice Muamba Substituted off 78′
    CM 4 Lee Cattermole
    CM 10 Mark Noble (c)
    RW 7 James Milner
    LW 11 Adam Johnson
    CF 14 Theo Walcott
    Substitutions:
    DF 18 Michael Mancienne Substituted in 46′
    MF 15 Jack Rodwell Substituted in 78′
    MF 8 Craig Gardner Substituted in 79′

  157. arnie says:

    how many players in England’s WC squad this year. NIL. And England expects to do well at the world stage completely ignoring youth development! Sad. :sad:

  158. Shard says:

    Ummm..Milner was there :D

  159. arnie says:

    Shard. :)

  160. New Post everyone …………………

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