Alex Chick

  • The Olympics’ religious war

    Travel chaos; shambolic security; waterlogged venues; stadium capacities reduced.

    Just over a week before the Olympics start, London 2012 appears to be negotiating the final straight with all the sure-footedness of Dorando Pietri - the marathon runner who stumbled and staggered over the finish line at the 1908 Games in London.

    Look at today's Olympic update from Reuters.

    In one piece, it manages to squeeze in the following news lines:

    -G4S security fiasco
    -Opening ceremony curtailed
    -London's creaking transport network
    -Athletes' buses getting lost
    -Poll shows only 3/10 Britons are excited

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  • The hollow pursuit of trophies

    For most of Robin van Persie's eight years at Arsenal, success has stayed frustratingly out of reach.

    The team has looked poised for glory, only to lose key players and take a step backwards.

    At 29, time is not Van Persie's friend and his desire to win at the club - cited in his statement on Wednesday - is completely understandable.

    He has not submitted a transfer request, nor has he gone on a three-month golf break in Argentina. He has merely stated that he will not renew his contract, which is entirely his right.

    But what does he hope to achieve by leaving? Win trophies, he says.

    Of course,

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  • Euro 2012 awards

    From Mario to Michel, from Robben to racism, Alex Chick looks back at the best and worst of Euro 2012.

    BEST PLAYER - Andres Iniesta (Spain)

    Nobody relishes the big occasions like Iniesta, the man who provides Spain with much-needed incisiveness to go with their metronomic tiki-taka. Described by Zinedine Zidane as a paler verison of himself, Iniesta might just go down in history as the great man's equal if he keeps this up. Was the pick of an exceptional Spanish bunch in the final to cap off a wondrous tournament.

    On the podium: Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Jordi Alba (Spain)

    BEST GAME - Denmark

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  • After each round of Euro 2012 matches, we will publish our pick of the top performers.

    A strange set of quarter-finals produced four somewhat one-sided games, though the last one went to penalties as England clung on against Italy.

    However, seven of the eight teams are represented in our team of the round - the winning teams' defences were largely untroubled, while there was some heroism in defeat from Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and John Terry.

    Into midfield, where Andrea Pirlo's god-like display against England sees him take pride of place alongside two-goal Xabi Alonso and the improving

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  • Euro 2012 Team of the Round

    The final round of group games proved a stage for so-called underperformers to come to the fore.

    Cristiano Ronaldo produced an electric display as Portugal beat Netherlands, making his critics eat their words.

    Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic also shone, scoring a brilliant volley - as did Mario Balotelli, who does not make our side.

    Balotelli's Italian compatriot Antonio Cassano does make the cut, putting controversy behind him with a glorious display against the Irish.

    Even John Terry might have squeezed in had he not been so reliant on myopic officials to maintain England's clean sheet against

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  • Roy’s realist revolution

    It seems many watchers groaned their way through England's Euro 2012 opener last night; incredulous that we could cede so much territory to France; outraged that we managed just one shot on target to their 15; embarrassed by their slick one-touch passing and our leaden thwacks downfield.

    A scan of my Twitter feed during the game told a familiar story of frustration at England getting outclassed at a major tournament.

    I have one question: have you actually watched any international football in the last two years?

    England are not a great side. This should have been perfectly obvious, even

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  • Don’t expect Chelsea to park the bus

    "Unjust, cruel, horrible, unmerited. Any adjective is not enough to define the incredible elimination of Barca at the hands of Chelsea. Few times has a team done so much to deserve to reach the Champions League final as that of Guardiola's. And rarely has a rival, with so little, gained that very prize."

    Sport (Catalan daily newspaper), 25 April 2012

    "A big issue will be how to play against a defensive team like Chelsea. I believe that Bayern will have a lot of ball possession. Chelsea played effective football against Barcelona, but Chelsea won't win a beauty award. The footballing skills of

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  • Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad created a host of talking points, with enough contentious selections to get #HodgsonOut trending on Twitter.

    But did the new England boss make the right decisions? Here is a look at the key inclusions and omissions.


    John Terry

    Teflon Terry strikes again. On recent form, he is a borderline selection at best. When you add his off-field issues, plus injury problems that are no less severe than Rio Ferdinand's, it seems clear that he is no longer worth the hassle. Yes, he has experience. But it is experience of discord and failure. How on earth does he do it?


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  • Brave Kean has come up short

    You have to admire Steve Kean.

    Minutes after seeing his Blackburn side relegated, after enduring an hour and a half of chants baying for his dismissal, and getting bundled off the pitch to avoid an angry pitch invasion, Kean fronted up - as he has all season - and went through with his post-match interviews.

    After a season of "taking the positives" from even the most dire performances, surely now we would get a more honest assessment of Rovers' season, and an acknowledgement that they have simply not been up to scratch. Wouldn't we?

    Not a bit of it. After praising his team's performance, Kean

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  • Fergie to blame for United collapse

    Alex Ferguson fumes after a touchline spat with Roberto Mancini

    It was billed as the most important game in Premier League history; it was certainly the most-hyped.

    But in the end no compelling storyline emerged. Carlos Tevez did not put United to the sword; Ashley Young did not dive for another penalty; Mario Balotelli was seen only grinning on the touchline; Wayne Rooney barely completed a pass, let alone an overhead kick; Andre Marriner produced a competent, controversy-free refereeing performance.

    In a way, then, it came as a comfort that this ended up as little more than one football team beating another by virtue of playing better.

    The winning goal

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