Italian stallions held by the Super Eagles

Being the city that London is, and with its wide variety of nationalities contained therein, it’s not much of a surprise any more that more internationals are being played here and you can be guaranteed that when one of these takes place, the Daggers Diary team will be there.

Last month, Dagenham Dan and I traipsed across London to watch Australia v Canada at Craven Cottage. While others were watching England beat Poland at Wembley, we were getting cold down by the Thames watching the green and gold easily defeat a spirited but inferior Canadian team.

IMAG1125This month, the good people at Fulham have attracted Italy to the Cottage, for a friendly international against Nigeria. While Italy qualified for the World Cup in September (winning their group by six points), Nigeria secured their place at the weekend, becoming the first African team to qualify for Brazil by beating Ethiopia 4-1 on aggregate. For both, the start of the World Cup on June 12th starts to loom large on the horizon, although the draw on December 6th will be the most immediate thing to worry about.

For both (and indeed, all) teams taking part next summer, this will be one of the last opportunities to have a look at their team before the month of wall to wall football kicks off. With one international date in March, and then probably two just before the tournament, any player wanting to make an impression on the coach of their national team doesn’t have that long left. It may even be that players will be going to the World Cup with no international experience at all. While that may not be a bad thing, a quick look at England’s defeat to Chile last Friday shows that it isn’t always desirable. Continue reading

Potsdam blown away by vent de la France

Brian Parish and Dagenham Dan bring us news of the 2nd biggest European final held in London this week.

The women’s game in England has probably never had a higher profile than it does at the moment. The national team reached the quarter finals of the last World Cup in 2007, and were runners up in the last European Championships, two years ago. On top of this, the new FA Women’s Super League has started this year, and is currently in their mid-season break, presumably to allow the England team plenty of time to prepare for the World Cup to held this summer in Germany.

For the last few years, Arsenal seem to have swept all before them in the domestic game. The Women’s FA Cup Final, normally the only women’s game seen on terrestrial television at least, always had Arsenal and one other team, which would normally end up being beaten. This year’s final, held only a couple of weeks ago, saw Arsenal claim yet another trophy, beating Bristol Academy 2-0.

In Europe though, it’s a different story. While Arsenal are the only women’s team from these shores to have been European Champions, the dominant force in women’s European football at the moment is Germany. Continue reading