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World Soccer April 2021

Your life made easier - every day. The unrivalled authority on the game of soccer around the world, World Soccer calls upon journalists from the globe's great soccer capitals. The best writers, analytical features and the ability to deliver the inside-track on domestic and world football have made World Soccer an institution. With stunning images and a website delivering up-to-the-minute global results and authoritative insights into the players, politics and power-struggles, the brand constantly looks behind the score-lines. Its insightful writing reaches to the heart of the triumphs, scandals and controversies that constantly emerge in the greatest international sport of them all.

United Kingdom
Kelsey Publishing Group
13 Issues

in this issue

4 min
fabio cannavaro

For a defender who seemed so sure-footed and confident of where he, and everyone else, was at any given time, Fabio Cannavaro has rarely looked in control in either of his two spells as coach of China’s biggest club, Guangzhou FC. Take recent events, for example. There was some discussion as to whether the 2006 World Cup-winning captain would still be in charge of the team formerly known as Guangzhou Evergrande (the “Evergrande” suffix has been dropped, with Chinese football authorities seeking to remove corporate titles from club names to encourage more communitymindedness) for the 2021 season. It was only in February when Cannavaro appeared in the club’s video to wish fans in China’s third-biggest city a prosperous Year of the Ox that there was confidence he would be in charge for…

7 min
flamengo back on top

The final day of the 2020 Brazilian Championship, when amid heartstopping drama Flamengo finished a point ahead of Internacional to win the title for the second year running, was also marked by a peak in Brazil’s coronavirus death toll – the largest since July 29, when the action was just days from getting underway. This, then, was the COVID cup. All the teams suffered spurts of the virus. Santos striker Raniel went down with thrombosis soon after he had “recovered,” worrying evidence of the risks that are being run. The pandemic changed the dates of the competition; instead of May-December, the matches were played between early August and the end of February. The games came thick and fast, extending into high summer, with gruelling 4pm kick-offs. In such circumstances it is hardly…

7 min
talent factory

2006 marked a significant turning point in the history of football in Ivory Coast. Having spent decades as relative minnows on the world scene, the West Africans began the year by reaching the final of the Africa Cup of Nations – losing on penalties to Egypt – before appearing at their first-ever World Cup in the summer. It was to be the first of three consecutive qualifications, before their crowning achievement in 2015: victory in the Africa Cup of Nations. Subsequent failures to go beyond the AFCON quarter-finals, or reach Russia 2018, demonstrate just how much their unprecedented golden age owed to a superb generation of talent. Yet, if it were not for the vision and innovation of a little-known Frenchman, those stars may not have emerged, and the golden years would…

8 min
“we’re in a dark place”

Sometimes miracles can happen; at least where football is concerned. Just 22 years ago Kaiserslautern defied the odds by winning the Bundesliga. They’d won it once before, but this was even more special. They had only been promoted the season before, and yet here they were – champions of Germany. It was, and still is, one of the biggest shocks in the nation’s footballing history. A fairy-tale season with the happiest of endings. “It was so crazy,” says Miguel Palmas, a lifelong supporter and member of the ultras group devil corps. “No other German team had ever done this, and I’m pretty sure it will never happen again.” Now they need a miracle just to reach the second tier. The Bundesliga is a distant dream, and the glory years of the past…

5 min
homegrown heroes

The year was nearing its end and triumphant names around Europe had already lifted their silverware. But in Estonia’s capital Tallinn, celebrations were just underway. FC Flora, the country’s most successful club, had achieved something unique. In 2020, Flora did things their way. In pursuit of a13th Meistriliiga trophy, they placed all their trust in homegrown players. It paid off too, as they won their second consecutive league championship. But this was no one-off experiment. By investing in local talent each year, Flora hope to bring about a new dawn in Estonian football. To put their methods into perspective, champions from lesser-populated European nations such as Liechtenstein and Luxembourg regularly participate in the fluid exchange of players across Europe. Even teams further down the Estonian first division are plugged into the international…

4 min
face to face: pelle pohlak

What led to Flora becoming the most successful club in Estonia? I would come up with three aspects. Firstly, we have created an attractive environment for players to be part of. Secondly, we choose players by weighing up both their skills and personal characteristics. Finally, we possess a clear sporting vision. This helps us to reach our goals. How was your philosophy born? At one point, we understood that there was enough talent in Estonia. You just had to be able to see it and work with it. This is probably the same way everywhere. It’s interesting to give young people like myself a chance by supporting them in realising their goals. Last year we had one of the youngest teams in the Europa League play-offs. As for other personnel, the head coach…