The Trequartista is a weekly feature in which editor Axel Falk will embrace the role of the trequartista and free roam through the happenings of the week and what happens during the upcoming weekend. Be it before you go out for drinks, or before you sit down to watch Bundesliga, make sure you are prepared and updated by scrolling through this piece of art.
International break. What can you say about it, more than it being a horrible interuption? Is it full of great games? Rarely. Is it full of excitement? Once or twice, perhaps. This was one of those times. The international break was actually exciting this time around, and as much as I'm pleased (not really, but I'll get back to that) to see my Sweden go through to the playoffs, they were one of the countries that brought the least excitement. On the other hand Turkey produced some great stuff, beating Iceland to quality for the European Championship as the third placed team with the most points gained. Turkey, Norway, Wales and Czech Republic impressed me the most this week, with the latter playing my personal favourite Vladimir Darida at central midfield.
Furthermore, Northern Ireland qualifying for the European Championship in France with ease was not expected, not at all. As one of three countries from the British Isles to qualify, they impressed me more than England and even as much as Wales. Continuing south across Ireland, Ireland sensationally beat World Cup winners Germany 1-0 and showed their defensive qualities, as often is the case with Ireland. However, Ireland missed out on the European Championship as they finished fourth. Moving east, and quite a bit, Czech Republic did something that made me chuckle, or in particular Robin van Persie. The Dutchman doesn't seem too impressed with Fenerbahce and with his goal versus the Czech Republic he showed us all that maybe Manchester United did wrong by letting him go. However, the goal was in Jasper Cillesen's net and it was an own goal. "Congratulations Manchester United", it is instead!
Czech Republic have impressed me a the most. Petr Cech in goal, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Hoffenheim player Kaderabek on the wing, Hertha Berlin's engine Vladimir Darida in the middle. It's a good team. Maybe not good enough on the paper to beat the Netherlands in Amsterdam, but football is an unpredictable sport and this is a real team and a country to be feared in the Euros. The same goes to Wales. Impressive in the qualifiers, Bale and Ramsey being the stars in a balanced team, many countries will not want to get them in their group next summer.
Back to Sweden and the intricate and rather unknown problem. Sweden's manager Erik Hamrén is not good enough and absolutely nothing works. This was shown in ther displays against Liechtenstein and Moldova. Except a dominant Zlatan and an impressive Oscar Lewicki in midfield, these were performances to forget. However, these problems with nothing working for Sweden have been there since te start of the qualifiers and Hamrén hasn't done anything to change it. He plays the same experiences but clumsy goalkeeper, the same shambolic back four and the same boring midfield and Zlatan up top, the one to save us most times. There are plenty of options in all positions on the pitch, our Under-21s won the European Championship and some players in that team would do a much better job than those in our current eleven. If we don't start inteoducing these young talents soon enough, the chance to create a decent future for Swedish football will be gone.
What lies ahead? A weekend full of football as the European leagues return. We start off tonight with Mainz versus Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga, a highly interesting match, and AS Monaco face Lyon tonight in the French Ligue 1. Saturday there's action in the Premier League as Tottenham Hotspur play against Liverpool with new manager Jürgen Klopp, a very exciting game. In Spanish La Liga Villareal face Celta Vigo at the top of the table. First versus third, could be one of the coolest games of the weekend. Eintracht Frankfurt face resurgent Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday as well, which is a game I recommend. Finish off the quiet week by watching Internazionale play against Juventus in the Serie A on Sunday, a real blockbuster to say the least. That's it from me, have a pleasant evening and weekend and enjoy the football.
Axel Falk, editor and Co-Founder.
This is where it all begins. Our resident analysts study the unrecognised players and examine the matches that are of interest across Europe.