ANALYSIS: Ragged Red Devils survive Brazilian barrage

Alan O’Brien 

Knockout football has always been capable of throwing up the odd aberration, but this one takes the cake. Tite’s Brazil created three big chances, and at least four very good ones. Roberto Martinez’s Belgium, at the Selecao‘s mercy on the flanks throughout, created absolutely nothing. And, yet, the Red Devils are looking forward to a World Cup semi-final, while Brazil contemplate the long journey home. Football, eh? Continue reading


ANALYSIS: Deeper Sergej deployment spells disaster for Serbia

Alan O’Brien 

When Serbia deemed Slavoljub Muslin’s services surplus to requirements at the end of 2017, most of world football sat perplexed. Sacked, at least in part, for not using the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in qualification, the Belgrade-born coach was refused the chance to see his work through in Russia.

Serbia, who topped their group, looked instead to former international Mladen Krstajic, a managerial tyro who happily welcomed Sergej back into the fold. And look at how that turned out. Continue reading