Saturday, August 8, 2020

Classic Hong Kong Seiko Limited Edition Kits Back on Sale

Classic Hong Kong Seiko Limited Edition Kits Back on Sale

Classic Hong Kong Seiko Limited Edition Kits

INCREDIBLE needs to overcome numerous difficulties to make the jersey available successfully. When Keith, the principal of INCREDIBLE talked about the re-enacted PUMA jersey, said: "The sewing process of the original jersey is extremely complicated. For example, the classic double V design on the neckline uses two methods of connection and overlap stitching. It takes a lot of effort. In addition, there are too many points for quilting. 

We need to hire a master to repair the mouth piece by piece to ensure that the V section is not worth mentioning.” Keith said with a smile.

As for the use of fabrics, the first re-enacted version of the jersey sponsored by Puma used the same cotton fabric as at the time; while the Hong Kong Seiko football team used 60% of the man-made fibers and four Cotton and Yin-Yang fabrics are now extremely difficult to find. 
Classic Hong Kong Seiko Limited Edition Kits


INCREDIBLE has successfully replicated 90% of similar fabrics after its own research and development. What's more worth mentioning is that the number 10 was printed on the reissue of the jersey worn by the Hong Kong Seiko Football Team when it announced its disbandment. It belonged to the late Hong Kong player Mr. Hu Guoxiong that year, which shows the preciousness of this reissue. 

Two "Hong Kong Seiko Soccer Team X INCREDIBLE 50 Years Retrospective Limited Set" will be released on July 18 (the first 1980 Hong Kong Seiko Soccer Team PUMA Reissue Edition Jersey) (HK$1,590, limited edition of 50 sets) and July 25, respectively 

Classic Hong Kong Seiko Limited Edition Kits
On sale (Hong Kong Seiko Football Team's last generation PUMA re-enacted jersey) (HK$1,690, limited to 40 sets). In addition to the re-enacted jersey made in Hong Kong, it also includes a pair of shoe bags and PUMA sports socks.

Shop - Puma in Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Who will win the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League?

Who will win the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League?

The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League matches will resume on 7 August, after an almost 5-month break. 

Who will win the top club competition of Europe? Everyone has their own prediction. Some will say Bayern Munich, some say Manchester City, others Paris Saint-Germain, there are also supporters of Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Real Madrid, etc. 

And who are the favorites of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League based on club rankings?

Real Madrid

Real Madrid?

If we look at the official UEFA Club Ranking, then the clear leader is Real Madrid with 134.000 points. Next in the ranking are three clubs with almost equal strength: Atlético Madrid with 126.000, Barcelona with 124.000, and Bayern München with 123.000. Then Juventus (115.000), Manchester City (112.000) and Paris Saint-Germain (105.000). But here only the results in European competitions and over a 5-year period are taken into account. 

MCFC

That is, the performance of the 2019/20 season is significantly influenced by the previous results. 

Manchester City?
The UEFA 5-year Club Ranking 2020 leader, who became the Spanish champion after a 3-year break, after losing 1-2 in first leg at home in the round of 16 will face a difficult away match against Manchester City, leader of the Global Club Soccer Rankings by Soccer Power Index. 

Bayern


The Soccer Power Index ranks domestic soccer teams in the world based on goals scored, adjusted goals, shot-based expected goals, and non-shot expected goals. These criteria produce offensive and defensive ratings for each team which are then converted to an overall score on the Soccer Power Index. 

Atlético Madrid, Soccer Power Index


According to the index, Manchester City is currently the best club team worldwide, with a Soccer Power Index score of 95.6. Bayern Munich is just behind them with 94.1. Next come Barcelona (91.0), Paris Saint-Germain (89.2), Real Madrid (88.5). 

Or Bayern München?

And in other ratings, Bayern München is in first place. They have become the German champion for the 8th year in a row. In the popular Whoscored, the rating takes into account such data as total goals, shots per game, yellow and red cards, possession percentage, pass success percentage, aerial duels won per game. 

Barca


Due to the long break in European competition, let's look at the rating, where only the results of the national leagues were taken into account. As a result, Bayern Munich is ahead with a 7.15 rating, further Paris Saint-Germain (7.11), Manchester City (7.05), Real Madrid (6.97), Barcelona (6.95), RB Leipzig (6.95), Atalanta (6.93), Juventus (6.88). 

In the World Football / Soccer Clubs Ranking in the Footballdatabase, Bayern München is the clear leader with 2037 points. Then in the ranking comes Manchester City (1966), Paris Saint-Germain (1927), Real Madrid (1924), Barcelona (1923), Atlético Madrid (1900), Atalanta (1875). 

Bayern München leads the Euro Club Index with 4233 points. 
Paris SG
The Top 10 also includes Barcelona (4119), Manchester City (4078), Real Madrid (3895), Paris Saint-Germain (3879), Atlético Madrid (3752), Juventus (3627). 

The Euro Club Index also includes a ranking of clubs with a win percentage in the UEFA Champions League. Here in the top five Bayern München with 24.2%, Paris Saint-Germain with 18.3%, Manchester City with 17.4%, Atlético Madrid with 13.3% and Barcelona with 11.9%. 

RASIM MOVSUMZADEH Ballon d’Or Award juror

RASIM MOVSUMZADEH Ballon d’Or Award juror

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Gunners Beat the Blues in Empty Wembley

THE 2020 ALL-LONDON F.A. CUP FINAL

An empty national stadium for an eventful and entertaining F.A. Cup Final was just and fitting.

'The restart' has been a surreal experience for everyone for many reasons. For me the most jarring change to the norm has been the piped crowd noise absurdly stuck on to televised matches.

THE 2020 ALL-LONDON F.A. CUP FINAL

Sky TV started adding a constant roar to live broadcasts soon after the birth of the Premier League, an aberration immediately seized upon by supporters.

As the Covid lockdown eased, all the TV broadcasters went further and added a soundtrack to matches played in empty stadia. It was weird without fans but that was the reality.

Listening to matches on the radio was an especially unusual and eerie experience, but I made myself accept it because it was the truth.

The closest experience was watching a training match but the shouts of the players are at least authentic.

The TV experience with fake crowd noise was a denial of reality. It is not just that hearing thousands cheering while watching an empty arena suggested England's 20 Premier League teams are followed by invisible spirits who take a couple of seconds to register a goal scored.

The addition of canned cheering implied the football could not stand alone when the tactical evolution has never been more admirable or analysed. Yes, the sport is 'nothing without its fans' etc but surely we can live without fake crowd noise for a few weeks.

Thank God today's match was live so I could mute the noise and place myself in earshot of the players and coaching staff instead. That facility alone has been a rare treat. The closed stadia also let us hear Frank Lampard's recent petulant tantrum against Jurgen Klopp when normally we would have been none the wiser.

Plus today it meant Ian Wright could bellow instructions from the BBC commentary box to his beloved Arsenal players and they could hear him, as confirmed by Gunners defender Rob Holding afterwards.

The final was unusually open, particularly the first 45 minutes. One suspects this was because there was no crowd present but it is impossible to say.

Had 90,000 people been there one wonders if passions would have really spilt over on that humid afternoon into a real card fest with crowd trouble outside between the two sets of London fans.

Chelsea had plenty of cause to feel aggrieved with the penalty award for Arsenal's equaliser, Mateo Kovacic's two yellow cards and the wretched misfortune of injuries to Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro and Christian Pulisic.

The Blues' defeat following such a positive start and goal scored by the sublime Pulisic was a textbook example of how the 90 minutes is a game of phases. The extra drinks breaks and additional substitutions gave Mikel Arteta the chance to play psychological cards and change the flow of play.

Why Lampard did not react accordingly and prolong the pressure his side were applying from the off is an interesting question. After being on the back foot for 15 minutes, Arsenal began to play long channel balls to exploit the space vacated by Chelsea's advanced wing-backs and the tide had turned from what had looked like a repeat of last year's Europa League final.

The Gunners' sustained possession play approaching half time appeared to come straight out of Arteta's pupillage under Pep Guardiola. Chelsea seemed to have bounced back after the break, bossing a new phase of the game, before the Pulisic injury disrupted their game plan.

Both sides should feel content. In Lampard's first season in charge, Chelsea qualified for the 2021 Champions League and with new recruits like Timo Werner on tap, are sure to be title challengers as well.

Finishing eighth is not good enough for a club of Arsenal's stature but a new coach promises much as well and today's victory at Wembley ensured a happy ending of Europa League football. 

Neither is yet at the level of Liverpool or Manchester City, however.

Although the Champions and Europa Leagues will not conclude until the 21st and 23rd of August respectively, at least the domestic season is over in England.

Moaning about the lack of football seemed churlish at the height of a deadly pandemic, although there was still a residual regret that Liverpool's long quest might be kiboshed by a most unexpected virus.

When the new Premier League season starts on the 12th of September there could still be closed arenas and canned crowd noise. 

Maybe by then we will have all accepted this is the  'new normal'.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Reds unveil first Nike home kit for 20/21 season

Reds unveil first Nike home kit for 20/21 season

Liverpool FC has today revealed the new Nike home kit for the upcoming season (2020/21) which is now available to pre-order. The first kit to be designed by Nike as part of the new partnership, the home shirt sees a traditional vibrant red jersey, accented with teal and white around the v-neck collar and sleeves. Red, white, and teal has been a traditional colourway used throughout the club’s longstanding history, relating to the traditional club crest, while also appearing as a prominent feature on the iconic LFC jersey since the club was founded in 1892.

Reds unveil first Nike home kit for 20/21 season

Liverpool FC has today revealed the new Nike home kit for the upcoming season (2020/21) which is now available to pre-order.


Teal is also a colour that represents the city of Liverpool, reminiscent of the colour of the Liver Bird that sits at the top of the famous Liver Building.

On the nape of the neck, the 96-emblem encased by the eternal flames sits proudly in memory of the 96 children, women and men who lost their lives at Hillsborough.

The kit officially launches Nike's "Tell Us Never" campaign for the 20/21 season, which encapsulates just what it means to be undeniably Red - always surmounting the impossible and striving for success.
Liverpool FC defender, Virgil Van Dijk, said: "I've been part of the Nike family for a while now and have an incredible relationship with them. I’m very familiar with the quality of the design and innovation that goes into making a kit like this. Stepping out as champions next season in this kit will be really special."

Scott Munson, VP, Nike Football Apparel, said: "At the start of any new partnership it is important to show maximum respect and we have done that by concentrating on the club’s core identity. What you have is a clean, strong design, which any fan would immediately know belongs to Liverpool."

Billy Hogan, managing director and chief commercial officer, Liverpool FC, said: "We said back in January, when we first announced the new partnership with Nike, about our expectations on them becoming an incredible partner for the club.

We're so excited to be starting this journey with Nike, the global leader in sports apparel, and we look forward to working together to bring performance and lifestyle product to our supporters in the years ahead."

The new kit will be available for pre-order in store and online from 7am BST on Saturday 1 August and will go on general sale for purchase in-store and online from Thursday 6 August. It is also available now for Early Access from nike.com and all other Nike retailers from Thursday 6 August.

LFC's unique name and number style is also available again this season.

The LFC fonts have been designed to embody iconic characteristics of Anfield Stadium and the surrounding area and come in white for the outfield players' jersey.

Following the success of the 2019/2020 season, supporters will also be able to purchase gold Premier League patches and IFA Club World Cup Winners patch to be added on to their shirts.

To celebrate the kit launch, working alongside Red Neighbours - the club’s CSR programme - LFC is also donating 100 home kits to young people in the Anfield area who have made a difference to their local community during lockdown.

The youngsters will be carefully selected by teachers from the 25 schools based near Anfield, local community leaders and the Red Neighbours team for the fantastic contribution they have made to support others in the local area during these challenging times.

Nike is also committed to supporting the local community and is working with Earl Jenkins and the Tiber Street Centre to lower the barriers of access to sport and create pathways for young people from the city.

Nike will also be opening a brand-new shop-in-shop experience at the Anfield retail store from Thursday 6 August, where supporters can purchase the entire Nike range, including home kit, and the new training kit and Express lifestyle collection, which will also be launching on this day.

Related

Jurgen Klopp

For more information please visit www.store.liverpoolfc.com

Reds donate face coverings to support local community

Reds donate face coverings to support local community

Liverpool FC has donated 25,000 protective face coverings to its official charity, LFC Foundation, which will work with the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation which plans health services for the city, to distribute them for free to the local health system. LFC Foundation will be working with Liverpool CCG to identify those that are in need of these medically approved face coverings.

Liverpool FC has donated 25,000 protective face coverings to its official charity, LFC Foundation.


The Club has also launched a range of LFC face coverings for supporters. Proceeds from the sale of these products will continue to contribute to LFC Foundation’s support in the local community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These face coverings are now available for fans to pre-order from LFC online and are washable and reusable. Please note, these coverings are not medically certified for professional use. Matt Parish, director of LFC Foundation, said: "We want to make sure we can support the areas of the NHS locally that required additional resource. Through the donation of these vital face coverings from the Club and by working with the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, we can ensure that happens.

It’s great to be able to work in partnership so that we can continue offering support to the amazing NHS staff who are doing so much for us all." LFC Foundation has also launched the 'Big Red LFC Design Competition' to help raise money to continue supporting NHS staff and health professionals at this challenging time. The Foundation is inviting youngsters and their families to get creative during lockdown and draw, sketch, colour or paint a unique design to be featured across a special product range including T-shirts, mugs, water bottles, mouse mats, badges, and keyrings.

All profits from the collection will be donated to NHS Charities Together (registered charity 1186569), supporting NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients, as well as supporting LFC Foundation’s response and recovery work during the pandemic and over the coming months.

Jan Ledward, Chief Officer for NHS Liverpool CCG said: “We are very grateful to the LFC Foundation for this donation, which will be used to protect local NHS staff and patients from COVID-19. “These past weeks have been a hugely challenging period of time for everyone during this pandemic, but one of the biggest positives has been seeing local organisations and individuals coming together to support their local community in new and creative ways. As a city, Liverpool has a really rich history of doing this, and this is another great example.”

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Lewandowski must postpone his desire to become the first Polish winner of the Ballon D'Or to next year!

Lewandowski must postpone his desire to become the first Polish winner of the Ballon D'Or

Lewandowski must postpone his desire to become the first Polish winner of the Ballon D'Or

The Ballon d'Or will not awarded this year for the first time since 1956. What do I think about it? After the cancellation of The Best FIFA Football Awards 2020, I was hoping that the Ballon d'Or would be awarded.

We can only regret that football suffered so much in 2020. Let's not forget that Euro 2020 and Copa América have also been postponed to 2021. Yes, we can only regret…

Lewandowski must postpone his desire to become the first Polish winner of the Ballon D'Or

Which players lose the most from this decision? Recently, some traditions have been formed in the Ballon d'Or. For example, since 2009 only players from the Spanish La Liga has won the Award. The Real Madrid became the champion at 2019-20, and Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema were the top players of their positions this season.

Rasim Movsumzadeh
Rasim Movsumzadeh
Also worth mentioning is Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), a favorite for the Player of the Year Award in the Premier League.
We must not forget about Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), who, at 33 and 35, respectively, continue to set new records.

But compared to the above players, Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) was considered the favorite for the Ballon d'Or. He continued his fine form throughout the season and deserved to be the top contender for the award.

Speaking about the traditions of the Ballon d'Or, I note that also since 2007, with the exception of 2018, the Award has always been won by the top scorers of the UEFA Champions League. Now Lewandowski with 11 goals is the leading scorer of the Champions League, and his Bayern is one of the favorites of the tournament.

In addition, Lewandowski with 34 goals in Bundesliga fight for the European Golden Shoe 2020 alongside Cristiano Ronaldo (30 goals) and Ciro Immobile (30 goals) from Serie A. It is also an important factor. Anyway, Lewandowski, who will be 32 in August must postpone his desire to become the first Polish winner of the Ballon d'Or to next year.

The Ballon d'Or is awarded at the end of the calendar year and journalists answer their questionnaires usually in early November. Therefore, now in July it is difficult to speak about the best players of the calendar year. Although the top three with such a sequence would look interesting: Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Ramos, and Karim Benzema.

Rasim Movsumzadeh (Ballon d’Or Award juror)

Reds Lift Premier League Trophy on the Kop at Anfield

Reds Lift Premier League Trophy

Liverpool laid their hands on the Premier League trophy in a special ceremony on the Kop at Anfield following the clash with Chelsea on Wednesday.

Reds Lift Premier League Trophy on the Kop at Anfield

Having mathematically secured the club's 19th league title last month, the Reds were set to receive the silverware at their final home match of the 2019-20 campaign on July 22.

With supporters unable to attend the behind-closed-doors fixture, the historic occasion involved a unique presentation designed to acknowledge and celebrate Liverpool fans.

Reds Lift Premier League Trophy on the Kop at Anfield

Liverpool players, manager Jurgen Klopp and staff collected the Premier League trophy and their winner’s medals on a special podium built at the centre of the Kop surrounded by fan banners.

Sir Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool manager when the club last won the championship in 1990, joined Premier League chief executive Richard Masters to deliver the medals.

The Reds squad, led by captain Jordan Henderson - who lifted the trophy at Anfield - have been involved in the planning for the much-anticipated ceremony.

The clash with Chelsea, and the subsequent trophy presentation, was broadcast free-to-air by Sky on its Pick channel in the UK, to ensure supporters could watch from home.

Supporters can share their celebrations of the Reds' Premier League title triumph with the club via social media by adding the hashtag #LFCatHome to photographs and videos.

© Soccerphile.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

LaLiga pays tribute to Hong Kong health personnel

LaLiga pays tribute to Hong Kong health personnel

LaLiga, together with The Medical Licentiate Society of Hong Kong (LMCHK), has held an event in Causeway Bay together with 50 members of the island's health staff to thank them for their work in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.



During the meeting, which was held at LaLiga's representative office in Hong Kong and attended by the maximum number of attendees permitted by current health restrictions, LaLiga thanked the work and effort of the region’s health personnel on behalf of all Spanish football.

"Without the work of health workers in Hong Kong and others around the world, we would have been unable to witness not only the return of football but also of a more or less normal life. The work is not finished yet but we are on the right track because of the efforts of doctors, nurses, and other health personnel, and from LaLiga and its clubs, we thank them,” said Eduard Castell, LaLiga delegate in Hong Kong.

LaLiga presented the various campaigns to support the fight against the pandemic that it has carried out in countries around the world at the event and emphasized its commitment to helping to restore normality across all sectors of society as soon as possible.

During the event, Fernando Sanz, director of international institutional relations and director of the LaLiga ambassadors and legends project, delivered a video message expressing his heartfelt appreciation for the work done. "Whether leaving it all on the field or giving it all you have for your patients, LaLiga and our doctors have a shared sense of spirit and professionalism."

"On behalf of the Licentiate Society, we're honored for this Covid-19 tribute from LaLiga", Marcus Marcet, president of the Medical Licentiate Society of Hong Kong, stated. LaLiga's partners PUMA and Budweiser, as well as Now TV, supported this event, which also included the participation of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

King Klopp ends the Long March

HISTORY CHIMES AS THE RED DROUGHT FINISHES

Liverpool's long wait is over. 30 years of hurt are no more. The Reds are kings of England again.

Liverpool win Premier League

For those of us who remember their previous reign, three empty domestic decades are all the more astonishing.

Liverpool felt almost unbeatable when I was young. It was a given they would win the title and demolish all European challengers too, although for some reason they usually stumbled in the F.A. Cup.

Whenever my team Nottingham Forest played them I prayed for a miracle but it almost never came. Liverpool just seemed impossible to beat. Their mesmeric passing, whether short or long, bewitched other sides but it was their intensity which set them apart.

Even if other sides took the lead, Liverpool seemed to draw on high-octane reserves to blitz the opposition, an extra gear no other side possessed.

Roared on by Anfield, a near-perfect stadium for atmosphere, the Reds kept marching on. The passion of the players was matched by the stirring regional identity of the Scousers. It was no wonder they wore red - the tint of passion, blood, and fervour. Bill Shankly was the prophet who found the magic formula his successors imbibed.

In an era when Liverpool the city was gripped by industrial decline and social breakdown the shining success and endless victories of the football club proved a tonic and a head-scratching flip side.

No one could live with them home or abroad. From 1977 to 1985 the Reds reached five European Cup finals, winning four of them.

Jurgen Klopp

Heysel then kept them out of Europe for five years and it was a pity for European football their 1988 championship-winning side never got the chance to take on the continent's best.

When they came back under Graeme Souness, they were not the force they had been before. 

The unbroken spell kindled by Shanks and Bob Paisley had dried up and the spell was only found again in 2019.

Liverpool's magic flared up again with a UEFA Cup win in 2001 under Gerard Houllier before Rafael Benitez recaptured their Champions Cup crown in 2005, a feat repeated by Jurgen Klopp last year.

Inevitably those with memories of great sides will try to compare Klopp's 2020 vintage to those of the '70s and '80s but this is a bit of a fool's errand. Football gets better every year so Klopp's current crop would defeat all previous Liverpool teams.

The German has cleverly assembled a backbone of platinum players: £75 million for Virgil Van Dijk was the world record price for a defender but has been one of the best Premier League investments, on a par with Leicester City buying N'Golo Kanté or Manchester United bagging Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel for modest sums.

Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah have become as feared an attacking trident as any and buccaneering Scottish left-back Andrew Robertson has been outstanding too. Klopp's backroom staff are top class and his love of intensity, the gegenpressing we first saw at Borussia Dortmund, has translated seamlessly into Liverpool's attacking front-foot tradition.

They are the most worthy winners. English and European Champions and World Club Cup holders to boot. It does not get much better than that. As with Pep Guardiola's grand slam of trophies at Barcelona, the challenge now for Klopp is to sustain the success and not rest on his laurels.

Benitez's miracle of Istanbul was supposed to have ended the hoodoo and ushered in a new age, but it kept stalling. Klopp has a stronger winning formula this time around.

He is a victor, blessed with charisma, intelligence, and an ability to get others to follow him. He also comes across as a fair man, not a mad genius. 

As with Gareth Southgate's statesmanlike performance during the 2018 World Cup, Klopp's unifying spirit and strong leadership skills stand in stark contrast to the nation's flailing politicians, and many wish he was in charge of Britain as well as Liverpool F.C.

When asked in March about the Covid-19 lockdown, however, he was fast to distance himself from politics. Render unto Caesar...

Klopp works wonders but is still only human. He will nevertheless go down in history as the man who ended Liverpool's long wait for the title and that is enough for now.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020 - Official Draw Results

Photos highlights from the AFC U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020 - Official Draw Results

Sixteen (16) qualified AFC Member Associations of the Asian Football Confederation will be part of the AFC U-16 Championship 2020 in Bahrain.

Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020

Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020

Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020

Official Draw

Official Draw

Welcome to Bahrain.

Official Draw

Bahrain.

Official Draw

Bahrain

Bahrain

Bahrain

A bald guy

Groups
© Soccerphile.com

Saturday, June 20, 2020

HONG KONG CELEBRATES LALIGA’S RETURN WITH AN URBAN ART PROJECT IN CENTRAL

HONG KONG CELEBRATES LA LIGA'S RETURN WITH AN URBAN ART PROJECT IN CENTRAL

To champion the return of top-flight Spanish football, LaLiga has launched 'United Streets of LaLiga', a worldwide urban artwork campaign to commission unique football-inspired murals in cities across the globe. Urban artists from five continents and 12 separate locations were given license to bring to life the passion and excitement of LaLiga fans across the world and create unique pieces of urban artwork for fans to experience in person and share online.



The end result is a colourful array of bespoke artworks that blend colloquial characteristics and iconic LaLiga symbolism while bringing to life the raw emotions embodied by the campaign #BacktoWin (in Spanish, #VolverEsGanar). The #BackToWin campaign has been launched by LaLiga and its Spanish broadcast partner Movistar to celebrate the importance of bringing back professional football for a series of stakeholders across society: including clubs, fans, and the wider sports industry.



The locations for the ‘United Streets of LaLiga’ artwork include 12 cities across five continents: Mexico City (Mexico), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Bogotá (Colombia), Hong Kong SAR, Bali (Indonesia), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), London (UK), Paris (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Lagos (Nigeria), Dar Es Salam (Tanzania) and Kabul (Afghanistan).

In Hong Kong, its citizens will be able to see this new piece of artwork on the 26 Cochrane street, in Central District, and discover an interpretation of two Spanish players, Joaquin Sanchez (Real Betis) and Santi Cazorla (Villarreal CF), and the Japanese star Takefusa Kubo, currently part of RCD Mallorca squad.

Speaking about the campaign, Eduard Castell, LaLiga’s delegate in Hong Kong: “After 92 days without official matches we are delighted that football is returning. The fact that LaLiga is back means so much to everyone who loves football, and to celebrate we wanted to capture that raw emotion with our ‘United Streets of LaLiga’ campaign.



Hong Kong is an important place for us and we want to share part of our joy and invite them to join us in this return of the competition .” “Is always nice to express your ideas, emotions and aspirations through the art and this piece wants to show the excitement of LaLiga fans here in Hong Kong and around the world for the return of the competition as a sign of the whole world coming, little by little, back to normal”, Axe Colours HK, the artist behind the piece of artwork in Cochrane Street, said. LaLiga Communications Department prensa@laliga.es

@LaLiga on Twitter / LaLiga on Facebook / LaLiga on Instagram  All the pieces of artwork can be viewed on LaLiga social channels here:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/LaLiga

Facebook: facebook.com/laliga

Twitter: Twitter.com/laliga

This initiative is part of more than 100 global activations that the league has organised to mark the return of LaLiga. Among them, exhibitions of LaLiga club shirts are on display above the streets of Madrid, Seville and Bilbao, while an emotive video along with fan images is being projected onto some of Spain’s most famous attractions, including Madrid's Puerta del Sol and the City of Arts and Sciences complex in Valencia.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

They Think it's All Over?

The enduring legend of England's 1966 World Cup win

Lockdown soccer watching has taken many forms.

With no live football at home, more people than usual have been taking an interest in the Bundesliga and its empty arenas. For the once and only time in its history the Belarus Premier League has even been on some English lips.

England's 1966 World Cup win
England's 1966 World Cup win

Terrestrial football coverage has concentrated on Euro '96 with both BBC and ITV replaying what was in all truth a mediocre competition, while today Channel 4 revived the old chestnut of the 1966 World Cup Final.

Knowing this national anthem by heart, I would have preferred to have seen England's other World Cup campaigns, especially ones less remembered today such as Chile 1962 or France 1998.

The issue must be the cost of TV rights to show them again, given FIFA owns all the World Cup footage and charges a bomb for any reproduction.

1966 is still England's only glory which means it cannot be forgotten, although for years I felt there has been an excessive veneration of a day which grows ever more distant.

We will always have '66. But we do not want it forever as our only idol.

Nostalgia and conservatism are famous attributes of the English mindset but also weaknesses so the fact England has not won anything since '66 only bolsters the clichés.

Yet, as the years pass and the Three Lions continue to stumble what else can we commemorate and what else can we aim to emulate?

Hungary were the best team in the world in the early 1950s but lost the '54 World Cup final to West Germany, leaving them to honour their 1953 conquest of Wembley - the Mighty Magyars' 6-3 win over England, as their golden day ever since.

So we are stuck with '66 in England.

I was not even born then but can name the starting eleven like a litany of saints better than I can recall the 2018 semi-finalists.

I cleave more to the Italia '90 boys because I was an avid teenager then but through osmosis I have learnt to venerate England's one and only triumph.

I am intimate with that day's minutiae; the Hurst crossbar goal and the 'Russian' linesman, Bobby Moore wiping his hands when he spies the Queen's white gloves, the jackets and ties of the pitch invaders and Jimmy Greaves' sullen face on the bench etc.

Within seconds of watching the 1966 final the most obvious difference you note now is the old leather ball.

The orange Slazenger Challenge made the game slower than it is today as it was harder to control and there was no room for the trickery of subsequent stars like Jay-Jay Okocha or Ronaldinho.

There were always skilful players so it is tantalising to wonder what the ball wizards of then - Eusebio, Garrincha and Pele, would have done with today's lighter footballs such as 2010's notorious Jabulani and its unpredictable aerodynamics?

By 1974 the leather Telstar Durlast had a polyurethane coating and by 1986 the Adidas Azteca had completed the evolution to fully artificial materials.

The leather sphere meant free kicks could not be curled or dipped so set pieces were more aerial serves onto attackers' heads. Pressing in '66 was nothing like it is today and defences were more porous. The way Geoff Hurst sailed wholly unmarked into the German box to nod the equaliser was jaw-dropping.

Goalkeepers were similar; Gordon Banks' abilities have not dated, although the sweeper-keeper had not arrived yet. That was popularised by the Netherlands' Jan Jongbloed in 1974.



All goals can be attributed to defensive errors as much as attacking class but in the '66 final the errors glare more. Half the six strikes in the final were down to right clangers.

The technique of some defenders on both sides was notably wobbly which cannot just be attributed to the leather ball. Defenders rarely overlapped so were more practised in clearing than passing.

Whatever the ball-skills of 54 years ago compared to today, the quality players of then still stood out. Bobby Moore was imperious, Bobby Charlton dangerous and Franz Beckenbauer precocious.

There seem to have been far more turnovers of possession than there are today and more optimistic snapshots and efforts from outside the box, which is interesting given the heavier ball. It was an open final, if rather nervous and ragged by today's standards.

Passing back to the goalkeeper in the '66 final catches your eye; it was allowed until 1992. Simulation and time-wasting seemed absent. Strikingly and ludicrously, there were no substitutes allowed.

Statistics on distances run would be interesting because of the advances in modern player fitness - there are no cups of tea at half time or steak and chips as a pre-match meal anymore.

But the athleticism and physical commitment 54 years ago are still impressive. The players were clearly exhausted at the end of 120 minutes.

Regarding the third England goal the less said the better as it did not cross the line, whatever the Azerbaijani linesman said to the Swiss referee. What is remarkable in the light of today's VAR obsession is how lightning quick the pair were to reach the decision, barely a couple of seconds.

The fourth goal, as some fans invaded the pitch and appeared to distract the German goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski, was a surreal cherry on the cake.

Times change rapidly. When I see clips of English football in the 1970s I am aware of the growing menace on the terraces, but watching the '66 final you hear nothing more sinister than 'Rule Britannia', 'We Want Goals' and 'Ee Aye Addio We Won the Cup'. Did it all go sour after the 1970 loss?

There is something of the Beatles & Shea Stadium about the '66 final, a pinnacle never to be reached again.

Channel 4 interspersed their coverage with in-picture interviews with England players old and young, including some of the '66 men, as well as Jurgen Klinsmann, who provided some welcome context.

Klinsi helped a united Germany win in 1990 months after the Berlin Wall became rubble, noting the cultural significance of World Cups.

In that sense '66 was a chapter of an English golden age of Swinging London, the Beatles, the sexual revolution, a healthy economy and a charismatic leader in Harold Wilson. If you were young at the time it must have been a hell of party that summer night in the Trafalgar Square fountains.

The golden-haired gentleman captain Bobby Moore, sporting a sweaty blood red shirt, lifting the shining cup with a lush green background on an English summer's day has easily become a sacred event. The symbolism of defeating the Germans again on a field of conflict was perfect.

Yet unlike England, Germany has moved on. It has won three World Cups since '66 and still honours the '54 Miracle of Bern as their exit from the dark years of the Nazis and recovering from WWII.

England by contrast still cleaves to '66 through necessity, inevitably over-eulogising it and rose-tinting it in the process. Given the explosion of world soccer since 1966, matching that win has only got harder.

My father was at the game, one of 100,000 lucky souls to have been there in person for the Three Lions's finest hour. How I wish I could say the same. A Euro '96 semi-final loss to Germany will have to do for me.

England's glory aside, 1966 is notable as the last World Cup before commercialism took hold.
There was no advertising inside the stadium or visible sponsor names.

The official programme carried adverts for provincial English brands like Charrington beer and Embassy cigarettes, not multinationals like Coca-Cola and VISA. Sir Stanley Rous, for all his faults, was in charge of FIFA until 1974 when the corrupt Joao Havelange stole the reins of world football.

England's World Cup also heralded the rise of African football via Mozambique-born Eusebio, the star of the tournament, as well as Asian soccer in the form of the astonishing North Korea.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile