Australian FourFourTwo December 2017

FourFourTwo is Australia’s only soccer magazine! If you live, sleep and breathe football you’ve come to the right place… With access, insight and passion, we take you deep inside the game delivering world class, entertaining content on the English Premier League, the world’s best players, top European club sides and leagues, the Socceroos and the A-League.

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in this issue

2 min
straight from the stands

It seems like every month, Australian football manages to dig a deeper and deeper hole for itself. The last few ed’s letters read like last letters from the western front. And yet here we are... once again on the edge of an apparent abyss. By the time you read this, our World Cup dream may be over for another four years. By the end of this month, we may be without a WC campaign, a national team coach, a chairman, a chief executive and a board, and a FIFA “normalisation committee” in their place. Just to be clear, we could be about to be taught a lesson in transparency and good governance by FIFA. Let that sink in for a moment or two... While the situation could yet be salvaged, it is…

5 min
around the world in 12 stories

1 BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS, THEO HERNANDEZ-STYLE Spain Madrid It was no simple family shindig for Theo Hernandez when he celebrated his 20th birthday. The Real Madrid defender had even grander plans and was seen being held at gunpoint by a couple of dwarves wearing Madrid jerseys and police hats. “It has been an unforgettable day,” he posted online. He could say that again. The snap caused a stir: maybe just have a quiet one for your 21st, Theo. 2 THE ULTIMATE PITCH INVASION Japan Mito Japanese side Mito HollyHock came up with a proper deterrent in the run-up to their second-tier tie at home to Fagiano Okayama – parking a tank by the side of the pitch, ready to steam into action if their opponents as much as crossed the halfway line. OK, it wasn’t really an act…

1 min
six of the best fixtures

Sydney FC vs Adelaide United Sydney have the treble in their sights this year but can Reds spoil the party before it begins? Matildas vs China Fresh off their hat-trick of wins against Brazil, the most exciting team in Oz takes on China twice. Sydney Derby The first derby of the season ended in deadlock. How many will fill ANZ Stadium to see part II? Arsenal vs Tottenham The Gunners haven’t lost their last seven home matches with Spurs, but has the power shifted? Wolves vs Leeds Both clubs put themselves in the promotion hunt by starting the season well – this is an acid test. Monaco vs PSG Neymar’s resurgent PSG are top of Ligue 1. Will they sweep aside last season’s kings?…

2 min
“99? my rating should be 999”

How do you decide which players are truly world-class these days? Caps? Trophies? Bonkers transfer fees? Mad wages? Back in the noughties, fans knew exactly who to put on that virtual pedestal via video game Pro Evolution Soccer. Real superstars had the rare 99 rating somewhere within their statistics, be it the long-passing accuracy of David Beckham, the skill of Zinedine Zidane or the teamwork of, er, Phillip Cocu. “It all started with Adriano, the Brazil striker – he was like a cheat player and everyone wanted to play as him,” says Scott McRoy, an illustrator and graphic designer, and one-time Pro Evo fanatic, who noticed the former Inter forward’s 99 rating for shot power. “A couple of years ago I saw Adriano’s stats online and wondered, ‘Were there any others who…

2 min
reiss nelson

THEY SAID: “You know when you’ve seen a player and you just want him to get the ball?” said Thierry Henry, Nelson’s former youth coach. “He is that player. He has got that ‘thing’.” THE STORY SO FAR: One game, one trophy – that was Reiss Nelson after his pro debut in August’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea. A pacy and skilful dribbler who is capable of playing behind a striker or on either flank, the Londoner hit nine goals in 10 outings for England’s Under-17s and was named man of the match in his first senior match for Arsenal, during pre-season in Australia. Since then, Reiss has started games in the League Cup and Europa League, albeit in the wing-back role. HE SAID: “I was on trial at Spurs when I…

1 min
3 career highlights

Rising star Arriving from Maritimo, breaks into the Porto first team and helps them win back-to-back Portuguese titles in 2006 and 2007, before earning his $45m move to Real Madrid. European champion (part one) An unused substitute when Madrid beat city rivals Atletico in the 2014 Champions League Final, he starts the rematch two years later as Los Blancos win on penalties in Milan. European champion (part two) Tastes Euro 2016 glory in France and puts in a man-of-the-match performance in the final. Named in the Team of the Tournament for a third Euros in succession.…