‘Norway game will be tough’

Roy Hodgson is expecting a "tough game" when his England team meet Norway at Wembley on Wednesday night.

The 22-man Three Lions squad has gathered for their first get-together of the new season, with the Norway fixture first up ahead of their opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland next week.

Hodgson's squad, which has an average age of 25, includes four new faces as he contends with a number of injuries as well as the retirement of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. 

England v Norway

International Match
8pm, Wednesday 3 September 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE

And following their World Cup exit from the group stages this summer, the manager accepts there may be some negativity surrounding the England squad, but believes expectations will still be high as they go into the game against Norway.

"Norway will be in the same situation as we are," said Hodgson. 

"They've had some very good players - Morten Gamst Pederson, Brede Hangeland, a group of players who have decided to retire or who are reaching the end.

"But they'll be hard to beat and it'll be an exceptionally tough game."

He continued: "There is a mood of negativity after what happened at the World Cup, and there's nothing I can do about that. But it won't help our boys.

"They'll go out against Norway and no matter how well prepared we get them and however keen they are to do well, they won't find it easy because Norway aren't a bad team.

"Anything other than a thrashing of Norway won't be particularly well-received. But if you ask me now what I think 'will you go out and thrash Norway?', I'd have to say, 'no I don't think we will."

England meet Norway at Wembley on Wednesday night to kick off the new season. You can buy tickets online here...

Europe’s biggest summer transfers

The impact of the latest television deal continues to be felt as England's Premier League again outstrips the rest of Europe when it comes to transfer spending.

Luis Suarez Barcelona

Luis Suarez joined Barcelona in the biggest deal of the summer.

The two biggest deals of the summer, Luis Suarez to Barcelona and James Rodriguez to Real Madrid, took place in Spain, but once again it was the English clubs that splashed out the most cash in 2014.

The 20 Premier League clubs set a new record by spending just north of £857m over the summer months. Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria became the biggest signing in the history of the English game when he agreed to join Manchester United in a deal worth £59.7m.

In contrast, Serie A, which not so long ago housed the world’s most expensive football’s talents, has been reduced to scoring the world for mid-range bargains. The biggest signing of the summer in Italy was the £17m spent by Roma on Juan Iturbe.

It was a relatively quiet transfer window in France with previously big-spending Monaco looking to cut costs and becoming net sellers over the summer months. Only the £50m signing of David Luiz by Paris Saint-Germain bucked the trend un La Ligue.

England: (total spend – £857.7m)

Angel Di Maria – Real Madrid > Man United – £59.7m

Eliaquim Mangala – Porto > Manchester City £43m

Diego Costa – Atletico Madrid > Chelsea – £32m

Alexis Sanchez – Barcelona > Arsenal – £32

Cesc Fabregas – Barcelona > Chelsea – £27

Spain: (total spend - £425m)

Luis Suarez – Liverpool > Barcelona – £75

James Rodriguez – Monaco > Real Madrid – £63m

Toni Kroos – Bayern Munich > Real Madrid – £24m

Mario Mandzukic – Bayern Munich > Atletico Madrid – £17.6m

Ivan Rakitic – Sevilla > Barcelona – £16.1m

Germany: (total spend - £250m)

Mehdi Benatia –  Roma > Bayern Munich – £24m

Ciro Immobile – Torino  > Borussia Dortmund – £15.5m

Hakan Calhanoglu – Hamburg >Bayer Leverkusen £10m

Xabi Alonso – Real Madrid > Bayern Munich – £6m

Matthias Ginter - Freiburg > Borussia Dortmund - £6m

Italy: (total spend - £260m)

Juan Iturbe – Verona > Roma – £17.4m

Alvaro Morata – Real Madrid > Juventus – £15.8m

Konstantinos Manolas – Olympiakos > Roma £10m

Gary Medel – Cardiff City > Internazionale – £10m

Stefan de Vrij – Feyenoord > Lazio – £7.1m

France: (total spend - £100m)

David Luiz – Chelsea > PSG – £50m

Aymen Abdennour - Toulouse > Monaco £10

Tiemoue Bakayoko – Rennes > Monaco – £6m

Batshuayi – Standard Liege > Marseille – £4.8m

Doria – Botafogo > Marseille – £4m


Adrian – Atletico Madrid > Porto – £8m

Andreas Samaris – Olympiakos > Benfica – £7.6m

Yacine Brahimi – Granada > Porto – £5.6m

Martins Indi – Feyenoord > Porto – £6.4m

Figures compiled by Joe Rennie

Right on McCue

Sherry McCue can’t wait to fulfil a “dream come true” when England get their FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup campaign under way in Canada next week.

The Aston Villa midfielder has travelled to Toronto with the rest of Mo Marley’s 21-strong squad for a seven-day training camp ahead of their Group C opener against South Korea on Wednesday 6 August.

And after captaining her country at last year’s U19 Euros, McCue is now relishing taking on the world’s best.

World Cup schedule

v South Korea, Wednesday 6 August
v Mexico, Saturday 9 August
v Nigeria, Wednesday 13 August

She said: “I can't wait to start playing. I am sure the experience will be unbelievable.

“I get excited even if it's just a friendly game so this will be like a dream come true for me.

“I think every footballer dreams of playing in a World Cup. But to compete is a different story.

“I think our main aim is to put up a fight no matter who we play and what challenges we face.

“If we do that, results will take care of themselves. We will then be in control of our own destiny in terms of how far we can go. Team spirit is great and we are all confident.”

The Young Lions qualified for the World Cup by finishing runners-up to France at the European Championship last summer.

They are now preparing for three group matches against South Korea, Mexico (Saturday 9 August) and Nigeria (Wednesday 13 August) – and McCue is delighted with the progress her side has made, especially considering they lost their opening Euro qualifier to Serbia in April last year.

She added: “It was a real honour to captain the U19s last year in the European Championship final.

“I was so proud of the team in terms of the achievement of reaching that stage of the competition.

“I think the squad has come a long way. We all knew we were the underdogs in the Euros but that made us work even harder to get where we wanted to be.

“Mexico, Nigeria and South Korea will all bring different challenges. We expect them all to be of good standard - or they wouldn't be there.

“But if we work hard and put into practice what the coaches tell us, I am sure we can pull results out of the bag.”

England's U20 World Cup squad in full

Lizzie Durack (Everton), Caitlin Leach (Aston Villa), Megan Walsh (Everton)

Gabrielle George (Everton), Martha Harris (Liverpool), Aoife Mannion (Birmingham City), Meaghan Sargeant (Birmingham City), Ellie Stewart (Liverpool), Paige Williams (Everton)

Jade Bailey (Arsenal), Sherry McCue (Aston Villa), Jess Sigsworth (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Abbeyleigh Stringer (Birmingham City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Katie Zelem (Liverpool)

Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), Jess Carter (Birmingham City), Natasha Flint (Manchester City), Mel Lawley (Birmingham City), Beth Mead (Sunderland), Nikita Parris (Everton).

Gunners at Town Hall

Arsenal were given a special reception at Islington Town Hall on Monday afternoon to celebrate their FA Women's Cup success last month. The Gunners secured the trophy for the 13th time with...

Gualtieri stuns England

England face San Marino at Wembley next month as they continue their Euro 2016 qualification campaign.

It will be the fifth time the two nations have met - the other four games have been World Cup qualifiers - and England have won each time, scoring a total of 26 goals in the process.

However, one of those games, back in 1993, was the scene of one of England's most infamous moments. 

England v San Marino

Euro 2016 Qualifying
Group E
Wembley Stadium Connected by EE
Friday 9 October 2014
Tickets on sale at TheFA.com/Tickets

After a disappointing qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup, Graham Taylor’s side went into their final match needing to beat San Marino by seven goals and hope Holland failed to beat Poland in the other game in the group that night if they were to reach the USA. 

All the pre-match talk had been of whether England had the goals in them. And then...

“Welcome,” the radio commentator Jonathan Pearce said as the game kicked off, “to Bologna on Capital Gold for England versus San Marino with Tennent’s Pilsner, brewed with Czechoslovakian yeast for that extra Pilsner taste... and England are one down.”

Massimo Bonini and Nicola Bacciocchi had taken the kick-off. The ball was knocked to Pier Angelo Manzaroli who returned it to the advancing Bacciocchi. 

He saw Davide Gualtieri making a run from the right and tried to play a through-ball. He over-hit it, though, allowing Stuart Pearce to intercept. The left-back tried to play it back to David Seaman but his pass allowed Gualtieri in to stab the ball past the goalkeeper. 

At 8.33 seconds from kick-off to the ball crossing the line, it remains the fastest goal in World Cup history. For Gualtieri the memories remain clear. 

“We were playing in Bologna at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara because hooliganism was still a problem in that period and we had to play there for safety reasons,” he said. 

“I didn’t even realise how quick the goal was. I think I was a bit lucky although I reckon I also believed I could score. Let’s say it was a mix of luck and self-belief. 

"But it was only after the game, with all the journalists pouring down on me, I realised how historic it had been. Still, I probably only realised what had happened days later.”

Pearce was gracious enough to swap shirts with Gualtieri after the game. “I still have to frame it,” Gualtieri said, “but it will soon be hung on my wall along with dozens of others – Finland, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland. 

"Pearce and the rest were more angry with each other than with me. Tension was really high because they had to win by a seven-goal margin, hoping that Poland did the job against Holland – which they didn’t. 

England bench in San Marino, 1993

England's bench in San Marino

"After the game, some relatives that used to own a restaurant in England sent over a copy of the Daily Mirror to me with the front page that read 'End of the World' with my picture on it. 

"I was running with joy, while Des Walker was despairing in the background. We knew that the England side was by far bigger and stronger than us – Les Ferdinand looked like he was taking the lift when jumping in the air – but in that picture Walker really dwarves me.”

Given Gualtieri would be unknown in football were it not for that record, does he find himself watching a games and counting to nine? 

“Not really!” he laughed. “It’s great to think it was such an achievement though. Sometimes I go on Youtube and watch it – I still had hair, which cheers me up! I also have a VHS of the game. 

"More often that you’d think, there are fans who come into my electronics shop and ask me for an autograph. There are some guys from eastern Europe who send me letters and e-mails asking for autographs.”

In 2000 Gualtieri was presented with a silver medal by the San Marino Olympic Association and in 2012 the football federation gave him a commemorative plaque. 

“I think that goal acquired more value also because Hakan Sukur scored a goal after ten seconds for Turkey in 2002 against South Korea, and that was the fastest ever in a World Cup,” he said. 

“Obviously, scoring against England, it was quite an achievement to be honest. When a new record emerges, Gazzetta dello Sport mentions my goal too.”

Even if a faster goal is scored, Gualtieri will always have his place in English history. 

For the first time in 16 years, England failed to qualify for the World Cup and six days after the game, Taylor resigned.

England's next clash with San Marino is at Wembley Stadium on Thursday 10 October. Tickets are available to buy online from www.TheFA.com/tickets.
Ticket prices: £25, £35, £45 & £55 (Family enclosure - £20 adults/£10 children under 16)
A £10 discount is available for OAPSs, students and U16s elsewhere in the stadium
Hotline: 0844 826 2010
General public disabled sale hotline: 0845 458 1966

Sterling vows to learn

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling has pledged to learn from his World Cup experience this summer.

The 19-year-old played in his first senior international tournament – but it turned out to be a short stay as England failed to make the knockout stage.

“It was a learning curve for me - an experience I am willing to learn from”

Raheem Sterling 

Despite the disappointment with the results, Sterling is looking to bounce back in the new season as he prepares for his next challenge – tackling the Champions League.

On his time in Brazil, Sterling said: "For any young person to be involved in such a big tournament is obviously a great experience and it was no different for myself.

"It was a good feeling to get out there on the pitch and show the world what I could do really.

"Obviously on a team performance [level] we are disappointed with how the tournament went.”

Raheem Sterling surges forward with the ball

Raheem Sterling in action against Italy

He continued: "We would have liked to be in the tournament up until now and all the way to the final but that was not the case.

"It was a learning curve for me - an experience I am willing to learn from.”

Sterling is on holiday in Jamaica before he heads back to pre-season, but he is already looking ahead to the new campaign.

He told LoopJamaica.com: "Last season we did really well as a team. This season we will just go in the same as we did last year and take it step by step, week in week out.

"Hopefully we can do well as a team and a collective. We will be going out there on a positive note and hopefully we can do what we know we can do."

Jørn Andersen, one of Norway’s leading exports to Germany

While not always the colourful, quinto-continental spectacle it is today, since its inception in 1963, the Bundesliga has always had its fair share of gifted foreign players.

In the 1960s, Petar Radenkovic, the singing Yugoslav goalkeeper – his Bavarian smash hit “Bin i Radi bin i König” sold more than 400,000 copies – and his compatriot midfield wizard Zeljko Perusic led 1860 Munich to the title, while Austrian Wilhelm Huberts and Josip Skoblar (another Yugoslav) scored goals galore for Eintracht Frankfurt and Hannover 96 respectively. The following decade, as both West German clubs and the national team approached their historical peak, two great foreigners – first Allan Simonsen at Borussia Mönchengladbach, then the similarly diminutive Kevin Keegan at HSV, won the Ballon d´Or (the Mighty Mouse even won it twice, just for good measure) – while Swede Ronnie Hellström excelled in goal for Kaiserslautern and Japan´s Yasuhiko Okudera struck a blow for the land of the rising sun by winning the league title with Köln.

The 80s began with the legendary Korean Cha Bum-Kun – later voted his continent´s greatest ever player – becoming the first Asian to win a European trophy as Eintracht Frankfurt lifted the Uefa Cup; Belgian custodian Jean-Marie Pfaff and Danish Dynamite Man Sören Lerby were key components in a typically dominant Bayern side and Rune Bratseth was anointed the Bundesliga´s best libero by none other than the position´s inventor, Kaiser Franz himself.

Great as these players indisputably were though, one honour eluded them all: that of topping the West German goalscoring charts.

For twenty-seven seasons, the title of Torjägerkanone was the exclusive realm of West Germany’s own. Some were bona fide legends of the game – Gerd Müller, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Rudi Völler – others were honest toilers of less extravagant ability – Johannes Löhr, Horst Hrubesch, and Stefan Kuntz – and at least one was a sensational flash-in-the-pan – Lothar Kobluhn, a nominal defensive midfielder who somehow contrived to score 24 goals for struggling Rot-Weiß Oberhausen in 1970/71. The one thing they had in common, though, was that they were all Germans. Then, in 89/90, a season that would end in World Cup glory for West Germany, a lanky, fair-haired Norwegian came along. His name was Jørn Andersen.

Born in the same year as the Bundesliga – 1963 – in the coastal town of Fredrikstad, sport was in Andersen’s genes.  His mother, Björg, had been an international handball player and represented her country at three World Championships during the Seventies.  Beginning his career at local club Östsiden, whose other famous son, Egil Olsen, would lead Norway to consecutive World Cups and briefly to second in the Fifa rankings during the 1990s (and would also, ironically, permanently exile Andersen from the national team), he joined cross-town rivals Fredrikstad FK in 1982, and set about establishing himself in the top-flight.

FFK belong among the aristocracy of the Norwegian game – between the early 1930s and the mid-60s, they won both the League and the Cup nine times and, in 1960/61, were the first side to represent the nation in the European Cup, remarkably defeating an Ajax side featuring Sjaak Swart, Henk Groot and Bennie Muller in the first round, but by the early 80s they had fallen on hard times and were a struggling side. Thus, the young striker found goals hard to come by, and in his second season there the team was relegated.  They would not return to the top-flight for eighteen years.

The ambitious Andersen felt he couldn´t follow the club down to the second division, so moved to the capital and signed with reigning league champions Vålerenga. There, he came under the tutelage of Swedish coach (and Roy Hodgson disciple) Olle Nordin – who´d later become an object of ridicule after his Sweden side suffered three consecutive 1-2 defeats (to Brazil, Scotland and, most infamously, Costa Rica) at Italia 90.

Vålerenga could not retain their title, but that certainly wasn’t Andersen´s fault: he found the back of the net 23 times to top the national goalscoring charts, which obviously attracted the attention of scouts from foreign shores. After only a year in Oslo, the striker joined FC Nürnberg for a fee of 200 000 D-mark, alongside compatriot Bjørn Gulden.

While it would be wrong to say that the Norwegian set the Bundesliga alight upon arrival, he quickly gained a regular starting spot up front and did his job as Nürnberg finished 12th – admittedly only one point ahead of Dortmund in the relegation play-off spot, but still more than acceptable for a newly promoted side.

As it happened, the club captain at the time was hard-nosed defender Anders Giske – the first Norwegian to wear the armband for a German side since the legendary Asbjörn Halvorsen at HSV in the 1920s – who did a valuable job in assisting his compatriot´s integration into the team.

In his first full season, Nürnberg climbed to ninth, with Andersen as their most effective marksman on 14 goals. Equally importantly, he had by that time done what any young man with money to burn would do: he´d bought himself a fancy car, opting for a gleaming Mercedes cabriolet which, courtesy of a prohibitively high import tax, would be unavailable to anyone but the very wealthiest in his homeland at the time.

When his new wheels weren´t running as smoothly as expected, the car had to be handed in for maintenance. Now, at the Mercedes offices in Nürnberg there was a receptionist called Ulla. Jörn found that he liked her, and it also appeared that she quite liked him, so he suggested that they should start going steady. By the time of the striker´s career-defining move to Frankfurt in summer 1988, they were married, and Ulla gave birth to a baby boy they called Niklas, who´d later go on to represent the German U-20 side and these days plies his trade as a left-back with Wattenscheid in the Regionalliga West.

The 87/88 campaign was a highly successful one for Nürnberg as they finished the season in fifth place, their highest league position since lifting the Meisterschaale twenty years previously.

Still, finding his services in demand, Andersen opted to sign for Eintracht. Initially that decision appeared to be a rather unwise one, as his new team struggled and only retained their first-class status through a play-off with Arminia Bielefeld.

The next season, however, new players – including the criminally underrated Uwe Bein (who´d go on to enjoy a fine World Cup the following summer until an injury sustained in the quarter-final v Czechoslovakia put him out of action) – were brought in to add quality to the team, and suddenly the fair-haired Norwegian exploded into life, scoring goals right, left and centre as Frankfurt powered to a third-place finish, thus ensuring qualification for the Uefa Cup. Andersen’s final tally of eighteen was three more than closest challenger Stefan Kuntz (Kaiserslautern) – thus, the spell was broken: a foreigner had finally been crowned Bundesliga´s Torjägerkanone.

At the age of 27, and with a monumental achievement to his name, the forward from Fredrikstad was at the peak of his powers, which makes what happened next seem implausible, downright bizarre.

Like any ambitious footballer of his era, Andersen´s ultimate (and publicly stated) goal was to play in Serie A. In Genoa, the wily Oswaldo Bagnoli – who, five years previously, had steered  Verona to a sensational Scudetto with another Scandinavian marksman, Preben Elkjär, leading the line – was sitting ready by the fax machine, cheque book in hand. Only problem was that a World Cup took place that summer and that Bagnoli had access to a television set. Thus, he got to see a burly Czech by the name of Tomas Skuhravy put his head to good use and score five goals. Abruptly, Bagnoli changed his mind, and Andersen´s Italian adventure was over before it had begun.

In retrospect, it´s hard to find fault with Bagnoli´s decision, as Skuhravy would go on to score almost sixty league goals for Il Griffone, while also helping his new side reach the semi-finals of the 91/92 Uefa Cup.

Meanwhile, having already served Eintracht notice that he would not be returning to play for them the following season, Andersen humiliatingly found himself without a club, and, with the new campaign fast approaching, left with no choice but to agree terms with any side that would employ him. That side turned out to be promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf, but his time there was so utterly miserable that he did in fact return, tail between legs, to Frankfurt after only one season.

At the Waldstadion, however, he found that things had changed. When he left, the club, naturally, had signed someone else to replace him, and that someone else was a powerful young man who had impressed them by scoring twice and creating all kinds of trouble during that play-off game v Bielefeld two years previously. His name? Anthony Yeboah. Although he had some difficulties adjusting the style of his new side during his debut season, the Ghanaian was already firmly established as a cult hero at Eintracht, the racist taunts that had accompanied his early outings for the club gradually giving way to excited chants celebrating his exuberant, unpredictable performances.

To this day, many Frankfurt fans will happily identify themselves as Zeugen Yeboahs - Yeboah´s Witnesses. So, merely a year after seemingly having had the world – or at least the Waldstadion – at his feet, Andersen found himself playing second fiddle to another striker. To his credit, he took that challenge in his stride, scoring nine goals to augment Yeboah´s fifteen as the team – by now also featuring home-grown returnee Andy Möller in attacking midfield – enjoyed another fine season.

Alas, the 91/92 campaign would end in heartbreak for the Eagles. On the final day, they travelled to relegation-threatened Rostock – one of the two former East German sides that had been incorporated into the Bundesliga following reunification – knowing that a win would almost certainly secure the title. Implausibly, however, they lost 2-1, the Rostock defender Stefan Böger netting the decisive goal – which still did not save Hansa from the drop – in the final minute. Thus, the Meisterschaale went to Stuttgart instead.

And with that, Andersen´s career went into permanent decline. Exiled from the national team, he could only watch as Egil Olsen´s Norway undertook an implausible journey during which they qualified for the 1994 World Cup by beating the Netherlands and England, while at club level, he went from Frankfurt to Hamburg to Zürich and Lugano in Switzerland, never again finding the net on a regular basis.

Upon retirement, he returned to Germany, trying to carve a niché for himself as a coach. His postings include Rot-Weiß Oberhausen, Skoda Xanthi in Greece, Kickers Offenbach, Mainz – where he replaced an upwardly mobile fella going by the name of Jürgen Klopp – Larissa (Greece again, his second spell there lasted for 23 days) and Karlsruhe. He´s also claimed he was approached by the German Federation to become assistant to Jogi Löw with the Nationalmannschaft – Löw himself later corroborated this story – only to ultimately fail to nail down the job due to his nationality. In short, it never quite worked out for him.

Nonetheless, he´ll always have that 89/90 season, when he could do nothing wrong, and opened a path on which future foreign Torjägerkanone such as Yeboah, Ebbe Sand, Sergej Barbarez, Ailton, Theofanis Gekas, Edin Dzeko, Robert Lewandowski and many more would later gratefully tread.

By Nils Henrik Smith

This article originally appeared in In Bed with Maradona

Suriname’s enduring football legacy

Suriname's international team is languishing in the FIFA rankings, but their lowly standing masks a rich footballing heritage.

Ruud Gullit Holland

Ruud Gullit, Suriname's most famous football export, in action for Holland at the 1988 European Championships.

Just off the North Atlantic coast lies South America’s smallest nation, Suriname. The country, one of three on the continent, competes in the CONCACAF international tournaments and qualification groups. With a FIFA World Ranking currently standing at 136th and never qualified for a World Cup finals or Olympics, it is little wonder that the media limelight has never paid attention to the 500,000 strong state.

2014. The Suriname national football team is reliant on local players from the semi-professional divisions to make up the bulk of the squad. Only two players from abroad are regular features in the side with Tourano Pinas and Ray Frankel competing in Israel and Qatar respectively. The side failed to embark onto the final stages of Qualification for the Brazil World Cup highlighting the country’s struggle to compete with the dominant teams in the Americas.

But the majority of the football world failed to realise one of the games’ biggest secrets: This small sub-tropical state is home to some of Europe’s greatest footballing talents. The country, formerly a member of the Kingdom of Netherlands, was utilised to plant, grow and supply goods to be shipped back to the Dutch ports like Amsterdam. With local and African slaves forced to slog on the plantation fields in the sweltering heat, the colony’s populace were treated especially brutally by the European nobility. The abolition of slavery came in the 19th Century where slaves left the fields and left the Netherlands having to hire workers from other parts of the New World. The diverse community were granted independence in 1975 but many individuals still fled to the riches of the Netherlands. The Dutch didn’t realise that onto their shores were the children and ancestors of some Dutch greats.

So who are these thrilling players that have captivated Dutch fans? After the Total Football of the 1970’s, Netherlands went back into the faded corners of football as West Germany became an unrelenting force in European and World Football.

A revival came in the 1980’s as a new generation of professional footballers had changed the philosophy of football in the Netherlands. Either born in Suriname or with family members native to the former colony, players such as Ruud Gullit and Frank Rjikaard were signing off their international careers as the first of many to come from the South American land.

Both winning European Cup’s in their successful career, they inspired more Suriname players to migrate in the future and represent their country. Later in the decade came Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink.

The national team boasted an impressive side, in part thanks to the Surinamese players, with more success coming to those individuals across various leagues in Europe. The Netherlands would win the European Championship in 1988 and reached the semi-finals in two of the next three tournaments.

But it wasn’t just the national team that prospered, FIFA reported in 2009 that nearly 150 players from – or that could claim ancestry to Suriname – were playing in the Eredvise over the last ten years.

Nigel De Jong Javier Mascherano

The Suriname legacy continues…Nigel De Jong in action during the 2014 World Cup semi final against Argentina.

Current players continue the Suriname legacy that has come from the independence. From midfielders like Nigel de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum to shot-stoppers like Michael Vorm, Netherlands have remained one of the most influential sides on the international stage. In complete contrast, the South Americans are the third lowest ranked team on their continent.

Due to the Netherland’s expansive empire over the Renaissance, it has meant they became an influential colony through to the 20th Century. One of their groups of islands they had adopted was named the Dutch East Indies. Before being taken by the Japanese in 1942, the Islands in the Pacific Ocean were utilised for growing and supplying spices to Europe, causing a mass growth economically for the Dutch. After proclaiming independence after World War II and becoming Indonesia, much of the population returned to the Netherlands.

One of these to descend from the Indies was Giovanni Van Bronckhorst. The marauding left wing-back has been successfully throughout his career winning the Premiership with Arsenal and the La Liga and Champions League with Barcelona.

Unlucky for Gio, he ended his career at the 2010 World Cup where Spain stole the show. But from his parent’s background, their son became one of the most celebrated full-backs in the country’s history.

But it’s not just the Dutch colonies that has produced descendants or born superstars from their respected provinces. With Vurnon Anita born in the colony of Dutch Antilles, many current players have been born in other states across the globe.

Luuk and Siem de Jong were born in Switzerland, Bruno Martins Indi in Portugal and Jonathan De Guzman in Canada. Other destinations where internationals have been born include Belgium, Morocco, Turkey, Australia and Germany.

This talent aided by Dutch ancestry and the Dutch-born professionals has helped the Dutch become such a commanding side that has finished 2nd and 3rd in the last two World Cups.

Whether Les Oranjes would’ve been so successful without the influence of players from Suriname and the other colonies seems unlikely. But combining the players from the additional parts of the old empire makes for a impressive and difficult to beat combination XI.

The effects of colonialism on football have stopped Suriname from bolstering their chances of success. Now governed by a socialist dictatorship, legislation implemented by the regime means that a footballer that moves abroad to play in the Netherlands are ineligible to play for Suriname.

An opinion shared by the fan base of the nation is that those talented players who claim ancestry or were born in the country should be able to help their nation to succeed in future competitions.

The third-world country may have a chance of winning competitions if some of their associated Dutch players had picked to represent their South American counterparts. Especially if they could have a strike partnership like Kluivert and Hasselbaink punishing the inferior CONCACAF defences.

For the meantime any Suriname children hoping to play professional football when they’re older will have to leave their homeland which has oppressed any potential talents representing the undervalued land. The calls for the rule to be revoked keep on increasing as Suriname continues to fall behind the rest of the world; on and off the pitch.

By Matt Weston

Wilshere: We were confident

Jack Wilshere says he believed England were going to win in Switzerland and was pleased with a "great result" that gets the start on the road to France 2016. 

The Arsenal man played in a deep role in England's midfield as Danny Welbeck's second-half brace gave them all three points in their opening Group E encounter. 

And he revealed he'll be studying videos of some of the world's best midfielders as he looks to develop more understanding of the role he enjoyed playing in Basel. 

Switzerland 0-2 England

European Qualifier, Group E
Monday 8 September 2014
St Jakob Park, Basel

"It was a great result. I said in the week we expected to come here and get a result," Wilshere told TheFA.com. 

"We didn’t surprise ourselves. I know a few people have been saying a few things but we believed in ourselves and we showed that tonight. 

"We knew the longer the second-half went on at 0-0, they weren’t going to be happy, the fans weren’t going to be happy and we used that. 

"We won the ball back in a dangerous position and we used our pace. We got the goal and we knew again they were going to come out. We had to stay together, defend well and we did that so we are happy." 

He continued: "I spoke with the manager and Gary Neville in the week and they told me they wanted me to play that role and I quite enjoyed it. 

"It was my first time ever playing there, so over the next month or so I am going to look at a few videos of this game and of players who play in that position regularly - Pirlo, Mascherano and players like that and I’ll get better. 

"I felt it went well tonight but next time we meet up I feel it can only go better." 

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Jack Wilshere spoke to TheFA.com in Basel

Wilshere was also pleased for his new Gunners team-mate Welbeck, who netted both goals and took his England tally to ten from 28 appearances. 

And the result will not only send Hodgson and his players back home with a smile, but the noisy England support, who kept singing throughout, will board the plane knowing a tough test has been passed. 

"You could see Danny’s hunger," said Wilshere. "He really enjoys playing up front. He hasn’t had much opportunity over the past few years and you could tell that tonight he really wanted to prove a point. 

"Once he gets in front of goal, he is as good as they get. He doesn’t get enough credit, for me, for his technical ability. He is fantastic and he showed that tonight." 

He added: "The England fans are brilliant - we couldn’t have asked for more from them. 

"They are fantastic and they always have been. They have followed us wherever we have been and they will keep doing that because they love England like we love England.

"We have to thank them for that and hopefully in our next away game, they will be there and giving us the same support."

Images of the week – Oct 6-9

Slovakia caused an upset when they beat Spain in last night's Euro 2016 qualifier in Zilina. That leads our pictures of the week. See full gallery below.

Slovakia Spain Euro Soccer

Slovakia's Miroslav Stoch, center top, celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides winning goal during their Group C Euro 2016 qualifying match between Slovakia and Spain.

Mexico Honduras Soccer

Mexico’s Marco Fabian shoots under pressure from Honduras players Luis Garrido and Jorge Claros.

Scotland Training

Scotland players train at the Mar Hall Hotel & Spa in Bishopton, prior to their Euro 2016 match against Georgi on Saturday.

Belarus Ukraine Soccer

Ukraine’s Serhy Sydorchuk vies for the ball with Belarus player Sergei Kislyak during their Euro 2016 qualifier in Borisov, Belarus.


Austria fans celebrate a goal against Moldova in Chisinau while the local police force look on.

Lithuania Estonia Euro Soccer

Saulius Mikoliunas of Lithuania celebrates scoring against Estonia in Vilnius.

England v San Marino - UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E

England’s Gary Cahill controls the ball while being challenged by the San Marino defenders during the Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley.

Slovenia's Mertelj and Switzerland's Lichtsteiner react during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match in Maribor

Slovenia’s Ales Mertelj and Switzerland’s Stephan Lichtsteiner react during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match in Maribor.

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