21 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

Lee Wellings: Is American soccer really moving forward?

There was a time, when Beckham’s Miami project was first gathering pace and New York and Manchester City first joined forces, that I suggested in this column a crucial period for club football was emerging in the States. Or more accurately franchise football.

But three thirtysomethings from over the Atlantic indicate things haven’t actually changed that much from the 70s. The idea back then was to hire legends like Pele, Beckenbauer and Moore to sprinkle their stardust over the league.

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Lee Wellings: Fourth pretences from underachieving clubs

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is a master, a genius. If only it were as a football coach.

No, his gifts come in a much more productive area for the modern manager, that of positive spin and subtle self-praise. First spotted from him in that toe-curling American-flavoured documentary inside the club from 2012 and used to full effect as Liverpool meekly exited the Champions League with 5 points out of a possible 18. In a group that included Basle and the mighty Ludogorets.

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Lee Wellings: Groundhog Day for Qatar World Cup

One day at FIFA HQ, Zurich, I expect to see the familiar world weary face of actor Bill Murray on the path to the entrance, crouched on the steps peering into the flowers. Looking for a Groundhog. There have been more ‘Groundhog Days’ than I’d care to remember around the subject of, you know, begins with a Q. Ends in 2022. Well it will end at some stage of 2022, or even 2023. Who knows when exactly?

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Lee Wellings: Fishy business for Garcia

It was in the Fishmongers Hall, yes the Fishmongers Hall, chasing investigator Michael Garcia through tables of lunching American lawyers, that the World Cup bid story reached the level of high farce.

Consider the scene. A lawyer who, perhaps advantageously, knew little of football when he took on the independent investigation into the 2018/2022 bid process. Hired, to its credit, by FIFA. Telling his dining peers endearingly that the only live football he had watched was his daughter’s year 12 games.

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Lee Wellings: Publish and be damned?

Transparency. It’s clear to see what an easy word it is to throw around. Get it wrong, fake it, claim it, and people will see through you. But genuinely aspire to deliver it, and do it voluntarily, however tough that path is, can do wonders for reputation. Of an individual or organisation.

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Lee Wellings: Will football’s IPL work in India?

It’s just NOT cricket. That, in a nutshell, is the biggest obstacle the Indian Super League faces when it launches in October. It is football sold and packaged with the successful IPL formula. A burst of action over an intense couple of months. Big names, star backers (none bigger than team owner Sachin Tendulkar). Not too may teams (eight), a good spread around the country’s major cities, and a big focus on marketing, promotion, sponsorship and advertisers.

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Lee Wellings: Bayern raids destroy Bundesliga competition

Allow me to pick up where I left off at the end of the World Cup with the big theme in world football – German football dominance. The world champions achieved arguably the most impressive World Cup win of all time. Beating the big two from South America to become the first European nation to lift the trophy on that football-crazy continent. Including that 7-1. And German club football is great too isn’t it. Well isn’t it?

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Lee Wellings: Germany make their own luck

“You make your own luck.” A saying that is sometimes true, sometimes designed to push you to do your best and sometimes…it’s nonsense.

But I’m intrigued by the role luck plays in life, in football, in World Cups.

As football has become a business, so coaching has become increasingly like a game of chess. Coaches posing as grandmasters, players often pawns, the straightforward approach of inviting a player to go out and PLAY looking increasingly over-simplistic,

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Lee Wellings: Africa’s wait continues

At this rate will an African nation win the World Cup by the end of THIS century?

Pele regularly demonstrates why he was an infinitely better footballer than pundit, but his famous line that an African team would triumph by the year 2000 is quoted more than any of his other theories.

Watching the exciting Cameroon and Nigeria in the 1990s raised hopes that defensive frailties may one day be improved upon,

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Lee Wellings: CONCACAF shines brightly in Brazil

It was a simple message from the President of their Confederation, Jeffrey Webb, but it said it all:

Very proud of @CONCACAF teams and their quality of play at #WorldCup. Let’s keep going #WeAreCONCACAF

This incredible World Cup of action is likely to end with a South American narrative. It is their tournament, it is their backyard. It is Brazil and Argentina I expect to be there at the end.

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Lee Wellings: Great games and goals will be World Cup Legacy

Listen to executives and politicians and they will hammer home the L-word, legacy, as what hosting a major sports event is all about. The P-word too. People.

“It’s for them.”

But a major sports event is remembered around the globe for something more simple that that. The action. The goals. The magical moments on the field of play. And that’s the reason Brazil 2014 is likely to be remembered as a glorious month,

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