The Lead

With the news tsunami that followed Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager, and with Manchester City’s crucial 1-0 victory over Manchester United to put them level on points in the Premier League, we’ve had a bit of time to reflect. Particularly Jonathan Wilson, who’s penned as lovely an article as he’s likely ever written, on the reality that in football, all good things must come to an end. He puts his remarks mostly over the end of the Guardiola era at Barcelona in the context of Greek tragedy:

Rather than just let his Barça wither away, rather than face the prospect of their philosophy being overcome, rather than risk the intervention of random events, Guardiola sought to stave off the entropic imperative by exaggerating what had made Barça great, by holding possession even longer, by getting even more men forward. It was failure, but at least it was failure on his terms.

While Wilson cites everyone from Joseph Conrad to Charles Darwin to Samuel Weber, the example I think here is from the popular HBO show The Wire. An almost certainly doomed Bodie, once comfortably nestled within Barksdale’s now crumbling Baltimore drug empire, realizes he’s a pawn. Rather than attempt to adapt to the new reality, he reverts to the exemplar of the perfect soldier, holding his corner even if it kills him.

Wilson’s piece is incredible read in any case, and matches his other column today for Fox Soccer, in which he details how Manchester City’s victory on Monday felt like “more than three points.” An imperceptible shift in the existing world order, perhaps, and a reminder that the the insubstantial pageant that is football will always fade and leave not a wrack behind.

Canada

Did I mention Toronto FC suck?

Do they even need their Designated Players?

But Aron Winter insists they’re better than the Montreal Impact.

Mountroyalsoccer chats with Waking the Red on the two teams’ game Voyageurs Cup.

Meanwhile Ben Massey warns not to underestimate FC Edmonton.

England

Hodgson to England fans: Hey, would you lay off? We’re trying to work here.

Also, Roy wasn’t surprised to get called up.

Ben Foster says Hodgson’s a better coach than Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Sun is not his friend.

So what did Sir Alex say to Mancini in their touchline exchange on Monday?

Awkward.

David Silva wants to stay at Man City.

Kenny Dalglish scolds his players after their 0-1 loss to Fulham.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew hopes that Chelsea suck for at least the next 90 minutes of play.

So, of course Di Matteo will field his strongest side.

Jermaine Pennant in trouble again.

Italy

Arjen Robben won’t be coming to Juventus.

Former Inter player encourages Moratti to keep Stramaccioni as coach.

Conte has a little dig at title rivals AC Milan.

Spalletti rails against Serie A’s culture of the sack.

Germany

A profile of Toni Kroos ahead of the Euros.

Spain

Real Madrid fans prepare to celebrate.

The Yellow Submarine stays afloat.

Bits and bobs

Ball girl sets up goal in Brazil.

UEFA refuses to change yellow card accumulation rules in the Champions League.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…