England 5-3 Kosovo: England struggle past spirited Kosovo to win in Southampton

England 5-3 Kosovo: England struggle past spirited Kosovo to win in Southampton

Featured in the Raumdeuter Online Magazine – Edition #15

Kosovo head coach Bernard Challandes stole much of the pre-match spotlight with his animated press conference, dramatically urging his players to attack from the first whistle. His passion was electric, and it clearly translated onto the turf at Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium.

Within just 34 seconds, a lackadaisical England defence invited pressure onto themselves, before Michael Keane passed a suicide ball across defence – directly into the path of a black Kosovo shirt.

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John Barnes is right in saying that to tackle racism in football, you must fix it in wider society

John Barnes is right in saying that to tackle racism in football, you must fix it in wider society

Racism shouldn’t exist in football. No discrimination should. That much goes without saying, and yet as seen when England faced Montenegro in Podgorica on Monday, it still very much does even at the highest levels of the game, and is the result of a much wider societal issue.

I took genuine time in debating whether or not to write this article. In truth, I actually didn’t want to at first.

However, racism has once again reared it’s ugly head and become such a major issue this week in football that it feels wrong to ignore. And ignoring it would be part of the problem, too.

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Montenegro 1-5 England; Three Lions survive early scare to mount an impressive attacking display

Montenegro 1-5 England; Three Lions survive early scare to mount an impressive attacking display

England looked to have been struck by a sucker punch in Podgorica when Marko Vesovic fired Montenegro ahead with their first shot, but Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions recovered to roar back to an impressive 5-1 win.

It had looked like a routine qualifying game for England in the opening ten minutes, as they knocked the ball around confidently, relatively unchallenged by Montenegro.

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Fabian Schar’s head injury v Georgia demonstrates football’s glaring issues regarding injury protocols

Fabian Schar’s head injury v Georgia demonstrates football’s glaring issues regarding injury protocols

It doesn’t take a medical expert to understand that there should be little messing around when it comes to serious head injuries in football. For example, should a player be knocked unconscious after a clash of heads, it’s probably not best he continues playing.

Yet, for Newcastle’s Swiss international Fabian Schar, that very situation did happen over the weekend.

The central defender suffered a nasty clash of heads with Georgian defender Jemal Tabidze as both players challenged for the ball early in the first half, and the Premier League centre back was left visibly unconscious.

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Why international friendlies should prevent players switching allegiances

Why international friendlies should prevent players switching allegiances

Declan Rice made his international debut for England in a 5-0 win over Czech Republic last night. Normally, seeing an exciting young talent turn out for England for the first time would be exciting, except Rice has already had an international debut… for the Republic of Ireland.

The 20-year-old has in fact represented the Boys in Green on three occasions in 2018, having qualified for their national team through his Irish grandparents.

Yet, in accordance with the FIFA rule book, Rice decided to switch allegiances earlier this year and pledge himself to the country of his birth, leading to him pulling on a Three Lions jersey at Wembley last night.

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England 5-0 Czech Republic; Sterling stars as Three Lions carve open Czech defence

England 5-0 Czech Republic; Sterling stars as Three Lions carve open Czech defence

England ran out confident 5-0 winners in their opening EURO 2020 qualifying match against Czech Republic, with Raheem Sterling stealing the show with a sublime hat-trick.

The Manchester City winger opened the scoring for England with a poacher’s finish, before adding two more clinical finishes to silence any potential critics. For a player previously criticised for lacking goals in a national team shirt, he made no mistake with his chances in this one.

He fully deserved his plaudits as he walked off the Wembley pitch shortly after to be rested for the next match against Montenegro.

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Underestimated or simply upstaged? Scotland stumble from the start against Kazakhstan

Underestimated or simply upstaged? Scotland stumble from the start against Kazakhstan

Scotland fell to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan in their opening EURO 2020 qualifying match in the Kazakh capital, Nursultan. However, was it a case of underestimating the underdog, or simply being upstaged by a nation rising to the occasion?

Going into the match in the recently renamed Kazakh capital, the Scotland side will have been feeling confident.

Their opening two matches of their qualifying group had put them up against Kazakhstan and San Marino. On paper, that looked as close to a guaranteed six points as one could have hoped for from the group.

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