Roy Hodgson

Bad Lads
June 23, 2012

IF YOU FOLLOW international soccer, you might be familiar with the peculiar English compulsion to vastly overrate their national team. Before each major tournament, high expectations swarm the yellow and the-not-so-yellow press. The punditocracy asserts that the current generation, whatever it may be, is overdue for success. The fans book trips in the hope of a drinking holiday in some exotic place enhanced with national arousal.

Maradona is Smarter Than You Think
June 22, 2010

Well, maybe he is. The contrast between Argentina and France or England is total and not simply because Argentina are winning and a winning team tends to be a happier team. Nevertheless, keeping the players contented—and unified—helps too. And here Maradona has, I think, done well. All but one of his outfield players has now played a part in the tournament and the man who hasn't, Ariel Garcé, is, well, Ariel Garcé: Of the lesser lights who made the plane instead, Ariel Garcé has become symbolic of Maradona's unconventional approach.