It was not a good week for some international managers. Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign as Ireland manager ended with successive defeats to Sweden and Austria and failure to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. Northern Ireland’s Michael O’Neill suffered the ignominy of losing to Luxembourg. Chris Coleman fared no better with Wales against Macedonia and Serbia amid criticism of his style of management. Despite remaining on course to qualify for Brazil, Roy Hodgson’s England were putrid in their draw against Ukraine. Jose Manuel De la Torre was fired when Mexico suffered an embarrassing home loss to Honduras and put their World Cup qualifying hopes in jeopardy. At least he did not have to preside over a fourth consecutive 2-0 loss to the USA.
The English Premier League is off to a slow start with some mediocre games so far this season. Manchester United versus Chelsea and Liverpool versus United were snooze fests, when in past years they provided a lot of fireworks. Let’s hope that David Moyes and Jose Mourinho take the shackles off their respective teams and provide more entertainment than they have done thus far.
This week’s schedule serves as a reminder to fans of the club formerly known as Rangers how far their club have fallen behind bitter rivals Celtic. On Tuesday Rangers have an away game at Queen of the South in the Scottish Challenge Cup. The following night Celtic play AC Milan at the San Siro in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Enough said.
Matt Besler was suspended for the US game against Mexico after picking up an unwarranted yellow card in the loss at Costa Rica. Besler did not touch Tico forward Joel Campbell, who feigned injury and duped the linesman into convincing the referee to book the American. FIFA needs to take into account video evidence in such instances. A look at the video should have seen the yellow card rescinded and Besler cleared to play against Mexico. In return, Campbell should have been assessed a caution for simulation and charged with bringing the game into disrepute. Retroactive punishment would soon put an end to such cheating.