John Giles: France are world champions but they didn't really shine in the final - or even in the tournament
AFTER a World Cup of thrills, spills and fairly ordinary football, France deserved to raise the...
AFTER a World Cup of thrills, spills and fairly ordinary football, France deserved to raise the...
IF Paul Pogba's one-off display of professionalism in the semi-final against Belgium is a sign of a more permanent shift in the lad's attitude, France will...
BRAZIL are still favourites, England can make the semi-finals and if I’m right about the next few...
FINALLY, England caught a break in a penalty shoot-out and now they can realistically think...
THIS may seem like a big thing to say but in a World Cup of unpredictability and inconsistency...
My heart wants Lionel Messi and Argentina to win the World Cup in Russia, but my head tells me that this could be a year of redemption for Brazilian football after the horrors of 2014 in Belo Horizonte.
THIS Champions League final is very hard to call, but ultimately it’s about being realistic and I think Zinedine Zidane is much more rooted in the real world than Jurgen Klopp.
It’s not easy to pick a team to support in this year’s FA Cup final.
IT has never been more important for a club to give the manager control of his football team, and yet all around me I see owners and chairmen doing what they’ve always done – getting in the way of success.
SEAN Dyche stands at a crossroads and he will have a big choice to make at some point in the coming summer. Does he stick with Burnley or follow the money?
THERE is one inescapable conclusion to be reached about Manchester United’s current circumstances. Either Jose Mourinho or Paul Pogba must go and,...
AFTER a stunning series of Champions League quarter-finals, the only thing I can say with any...
JURGEN Klopp earned the big, beaming grin he wore after a great night for Liverpool at the Etihad. In the battle of wits with Pep...
I DON’T know which Liverpool will turn up at the Etihad Stadium next week for the second act of a fantastic Champions League quarter- final with...
TIME is almost up for Antonio Conte at Chelsea and I’ll bet he cannot wait to get out of Stamford Bridge.
I’m not totally happy about my decision to put the favourites hat on Brazil before Russia 2018 kicked off, but I’m a lot more comfortable with it now than I was after they made such heavy weather of their tournament opener against the Swiss.
IF the object of the exercise for Gareth Southgate and Roberto Martinez was to learn something about their reserve players, only the Belgian boss could take anything positive from their game last night.
THERE’S nothing better than a good start for any World Cup manager and Gareth Southgate can certainly take comfort that so far, his planning and preparation has been good.
BRAZIL have a problem with Neymar and it’s one I didn’t anticipate when I sat down to pick my World Cup winner.
When I saw England line-out against Tunisia with one midfielder and a posse of attacking players around him, my first thought was that Gareth Southgate is either a genius or monumentally foolish.
CAN Liverpool win the Champions League? Of course they can but I’d hate to have to stake my life on Jurgen Klopp lifting the trophy in Kiev at the end of the month – even if they were 3-0 up with ten minutes to go in the final.
WHY now? That was the only question in my mind after Liverpool announced that key man Zeljko Buvac has stepped away as Jurgen Klopp’s assistant.
WHATEVER way next week's Champions League semi-final Act 2 unfolds, the final in Kiev will be a clash of cultures. Old values will square off against an exhilarating but often rash brand of football.
MOHAMED Salah is not long a part of Anfield folklore but at this rate, he could end up as the most celebrated striker in a stellar list of Liverpool club legends.
IT’S a bit early to be picking a team of the year with so many dramas still to unfold in the season but in terms of the Premier League, Manchester City’s dominant performance all season makes the timing right.
If you’re looking for a good image to describe the prospect we have at Anfield tonight, think about two heavyweight boxers, both aggressive and stylish but one with a weak chin.
IF Ireland's friendly with Turkey was to be the start of something new and a foundation for what is to come over the next few years, it wasn't a very good one.
MARTIN O’Neill has a great chance to make a fresh start, push recent negative moments to one side and give a whole raft of young lads a chance to impress the nation when Ireland meet Turkey.
IT’S all about progress. No football club can flourish without it and Jose Mourinho is failing in that fundamental pursuit.
THERE have been many crimes committed against football over the years but Antonio Conte is not a man I would ever label as a wrong-doer in this regard. In fact, completely the opposite.
I'M sick to my back teeth of the Class of '92 and the overwhelming sense of entitlement which seems to govern everything they have done since the days when Alex Ferguson and a lot of other good players helped them win all before them at Old Trafford.
IF there is one winner in the middle of the chaos that is Arsenal at the moment it’s Mesut Ozil, the proud owner of a huge new contract which he did absolutely nothing to earn other than to hire a good agent.
WHILE Ed Woodward was chasing across Europe to make sure he nailed down Paul Pogba’s signature two summers ago, new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte had already been working with N’Golo Kante for a month and at a third of the cost.
IT’S always an abrupt slap in the face for a young prodigy who has been told from an early age that he is the greatest thing since sliced bread when he comes up against the brutal demands of football.
THE business end of the Champions League will always expose weakness in teams but it also highlights raised standards and I think we now have to acknowledge that the Premier League has recovered its swagger.
Jose Mourinho has a problem.
THE only way we would ever have seen the best of Wes Hoolahan in a green shirt was if Pep Guardiola had, by some miracle, been appointed as Ireland manager 10 years ago.
THERE has always been one question which stands out above all others about the Munich air disaster. Why did they take off a third time when it was so treacherous? What was the motivation to take such a risk?
THIS has been a revealing transfer window for the top Premier League clubs and managers and nobody has been exposed more than Arsene Wenger. He’s now a lame duck.
THERE will be a time not so far in the future when we will look back at the debate surrounding Video Assisted Referees and wonder what the fuss was all about. When that moment arrives, some football people will have reason for red faces.
IT is astonishing to me that the biggest issue which has arisen around Martin O’Neill is his relationship with RTE man Tony O’Donoghue. There are more important problems for the Ireland manager to be dealing with.
THAT’S a huge statement of intent Manchester United have just made by signing Alexis Sanchez and a poke in the eye for every one of their rivals. Even the noisy neighbours across town must be miffed.
I’LL bet Pep Guardiola had nothing to do Manchester City halting their bid for Alexis Sanchez at £20m, as I'm sure he would have topped any offer Jose Mourinho made to Arsenal if he was allowed.
There is now a serious issue of trust between hardcore fans of the Ireland senior team and Martin O'Neill over his willingness to talk to Stoke about the job vacated by Mark Hughes and now filled by Paul Lambert.
I was very surprised and disappointed to see that Arsene Wenger was happy to pick Alex Iwobi in the team which drew against Chelsea in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final in midweek.
I’VE had a question in my mind about Liverpool for a few years now and whether they can still be considered a big club. It was answered for me this week when they sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
Jack Wilshere looks hungry.
There is no greater insult that Jurgen Klopp could aim at the FA Cup than sending his two best players to Ghana 24 hours before a derby tie. What is he thinking?
WHEN it comes to the affection and regard Manchester United supporters have for Paul Scholes, he has enough in the bank to last ten lifetimes. In this area, Jose Mourinho is running a big deficit.
WITH every passing week, Pep Guardiola’s halo gains definition and Jose Mourinho’s horns grow longer and sharper.
I wonder if Harry Kane feels the way I do about the latest record he has broken? I wonder if he thinks about Jimmy Greaves and not Alan Shearer when he's counting his goals?
I reckon it was a couple of years back when I first spotted something in Dele Alli which made me wonder about him.
THE end of an era is coming at Arsenal and nothing makes that more certain than the fact that they have been hiring staff. New faces like Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat have arrived to “help with recruitment”.
Mike Ashley wants just one thing from football. Sales. If his sports goods are selling well, he probably feels the same way Newcastle United supporters felt when Rafa Benitez secured promotion for them back in May.
AROUND this time of the year, the pantomime season kicks off but I reckon Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp could star in a Punch and Judy show all year round. Both men would have to be billed as villains.
JOSE Mourinho is certain of only one thing in the run up to Sunday’s big Manchester derby.
At any time up to ten years ago there’s a good chance that David de Gea’s willowy frame would have seen him discarded by the orthodoxy of the day.
MAURICIO Pochettino faced a barrage of queries about his book this week, linking it with Spurs’ dismal form since it was published but nobody asked the obvious question. Why did he write it?
I’LL bet there won’t be many Everton fans, heading to Goodison tonight to watch their team take on West Ham, who started the season expecting to be in a full-on relegation battle by November.
I've reached the conclusion that if Jurgen Klopp found four new defenders tomorrow, all with gifted with great ability, that Liverpool would still leak goals.
PAUL Pogba is a modern day idol for many kids around the world but in purely football terms, I don’t think he’s a very good role model for young players at all.
THERE has been a definite change in mood in the country since Monday night, when Denmark gave Ireland a lesson. Martin O’Neill’s position is now being questioned and that’s no surprise.
When the dust settles on this bad beating from Denmark, missed opportunities will be the dominant theme, I’m sure of that. Not in this game though. This was a mauling.
MISSED opportunity or a good away draw? Time will tell but there’s more than a niggle at the back of my mind telling me that Martin O’Neill and Ireland will look back on Copenhagen with regret.
WHEN I try to get into Martin O’Neill’s head and put some substance on what he does to trigger players to perform the kind of heroics which have delivered some truly memorable results, my mind always settles on Brian Clough.
The more the days go by, the more certain I am that Jose Mourinho wants out of Old Trafford as soon as he can find a way to sign on the dotted line for PSG.
If Martin O’Neill can put his finger on where Christian Eriksen is and what he is doing when he ‘goes missing’ in a game, he can go a long way to removing the threat of Denmark’s most creative player.
OVER the top criticism is nothing new in football but I thought the response to Spurs' defeat by Manchester United set a new standard in foolishness.
When Alex Ferguson gave his damning "it's only Spurs" assessment of the threat posed by a club which has rarely delivered success to match expectations, I'll bet there were very few who didn't nod their head in agreement.
THERE’S nothing crueller than football when it comes to taking optimism and ripping it to shreds. Right now, it’s Merseyside’s turn to be miserable.
I must admit, I never saw Kevin de Bruyne as a man who could be a midfield general and control football matches in the way he has been doing for Manchester City.
JOSE Mourinho will have plenty on his mind after Manchester United’s Champions League win over Benfica last night.
Spare a thought for Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp who watched key men take a hammering during the international break - but the greater damage was done to Liverpool.
WHEN a manager walks his own road, the sense of satisfaction when success arrives is sweet. Only he truly knows how he did it. The rest of us can only watch and try and understand his thinking.
He takes the stick when it goes wrong but he takes the credit when it works out. Martin O’Neill’s big game magic is still working.
The most important thing about Friday night’s match against Moldova was that Ireland got the necessary win.
FEAR is the greatest enemy for Ireland over the next four days but Martin O’Neill and his players have nothing to be afraid of against Moldova tonight. Get that game right and they can carry momentum to Wales.
This isn’t the first time I’ve found reason to grit my teeth where Dele Alli is concerned . He has a streak in him which is, to be blunt, nasty.
I take my hat off to Gareth Barry and his longevity. He’s a rare bird but as ever, I’m appalled by the attempt to airbrush a century of history out of the picture.
ANTONIO Conte had a stroke of luck when Romelu Lukaku ended a bitter internal debate at Stamford Bridge during the summer by declaring his intention to sign for Manchester United.
WHEN a manager reaches into his bag of excuses and can come up with nothing more than blaming players, he’s in trouble. Jurgen Klopp is in that place now.
FOR those who would anoint Pep Guardiola as the most likely winner of the title, I would urge caution. Inconsistency in defence is the theme of the season so far and Manchester City are not immune to that failing.
BACK in my day, the chance of two managers meeting in mortal combat at the side of the pitch was non-existent.
IT would be a sad day indeed if Irish football ever felt it had anything to learn from Robbie Savage.
Football managers often make comments after a defeat which don’t make much sense. After Ireland were beaten by Serbia, it was Martin O’Neill’s turn to raise eyebrows with his words.
IT is deeply ironic that one of Ireland’s best performances in the Group D qualifying campaign to date produced the worst result.
MANY club owners out there watching Arsene Wenger’s torment are probably feeling a bit smug about his predicament.
Wide open spaces at Wembley came to Antonio Conte’s rescue and underlined how big a job Mauricio Pochettino has on his hands this season to find big results at home.
At this time of the year when Celtic run their annual Champions League gauntlet, it is always worthwhile to tip the hat and acknowledge a job well done.
If I thought there was any point, I would love to sit for an hour with Roman Abramovich and talk about football with him. He wouldn’t like what I’d have to say but it would be worth his while.
THERE is a clear message emerging from this summer of transfer madness which shows no sign of letting up. Every club in the world is a selling club now apart from a stellar half dozen.
PEP Guardiola stands alone as the new Premier League gets ready to rumble into gear.
I have to admit, I’m weary with this debate about Wes Hoolahan and annoyed that Martin O’Neill cannot see what is obvious to me and many others.
I’VE said for many years that Ireland is blessed with an honesty and hunger in its footballers that is unusual and should be cherished.
ARSENE Wenger had a chance to walk away from Arsenal with his head held high, a winner again and his reputation intact but he could do it because he’s a fanatic.
THIS was the season when a good, knowledgeable football man with old school values won the Premier League and made an old pro like me happy. Take a bow, Antonio Conte.
I won’t miss Sam Allardyce.
NO frills and for once, no need for any excuses. Jose Mourinho’s big gamble paid off and now he’s bought himself some breathing space.
After events in the Manchester Arena on Monday evening, it is almost indecent to talk about Jose Mourinho and the Europa League final.
THE Premier League season draws to a close on Sunday but unlike other years, there is not a lot left to be decided and there won’t be much in the way of excitement.
It was sad to see White Hart Lane, a ground I loved to play in, crumble under the wrecking ball but I thought Spurs handled the day and marked the occasion with a touch of class.
John Terry is not everybody’s cup of tea but I have no hesitation in nominating him as one of the greats of English football and I mean all-time greats.
It's a great victory for football that N’Golo Kante has been acclaimed as the Player of the Season. Against the tide of fashion, a true midfield general is the top man.
This is usually the time of the year when Sam Allardyce climbs onto his soapboax in the middle of a relegation battle.
FOREIGN owners have a lot to answer for. Scattered across the divisions after a decade of poor stewardship are so many big, old clubs with fans who have been betrayed.
I’ve come to the conclusion, with a heavy heart, that Cristiano Ronaldo’s extreme selfishness could be his greatest strength.
EVERY time I hear Ray Winstone’s hardman voice encouraging me to bet, but bet sensibly, I have to laugh. If everyone did that, betting companies would go out of business.
Jose Mourinho could not have argued if Gabriel Jesus marked his comeback with a winning goal in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
When fate hands you a gift, it would be foolish to reject it and Jose Mourinho has fallen on his feet when it comes to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Jurgen Klopp is smart enough to understand the layers of irony which Cristian Benteke exposed at Anfield when he came back to haunt Liverpool.
I never, ever thought that one day, I would see the title Director of Football used in the same sentence with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.
My father used to say that with football managers “all their geese are swans”.
THERE are many out there who still believe that Leicester City’s players betrayed Claudio Ranieri and that every forward step in the Champions League simply underlines the notion.
NOT long after Jose Mourinho shocked everyone involved in football with his disgraceful verbal attack on Dr Eva Carneiro, the word which I felt best described his state of mind was “tormented”.
NO matter what way you add up the season to date, Antonio Conte has done a better job of management than Pep Guardiola.