Australian FourFourTwo July 2018

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

Look, to be honest, I’ve been having mixed emotions about going to Russia for the World Cup. Obviously IT’S THE WORLD CUP, and I’m actually going to be PAID TO BE THERE and how good is THAT? But also, it’s, well, you know... Russia. Not, say, Brazil. It’s not the home of football, by any definition, and if anything it is the home of a nation that continually underperforms in the sport. It’s a primary sport for them, there’s plenty of money in the country (look what Russian money has done for football elsewhere...) Yet they have never even made a significant impact at club or continental level, never mind on the world stage. And then there are the fans. They also love their football, but they don’t mess about. Poke that…

17 min
one-on-one nigel de jong

“I WAS ALWAYS COVERING EVERY BLADE OF GRASS, SO CITY’S FANS CALLED ME THE LAWNMOWER” CLUBS 2002-2006 Ajax 2006-2009 Hamburg 2009-2012 Manchester City 2012-2016 Milan 2016 LA Galaxy 2016-18 Galatasaray 2018- Mainz COUNTRY 2004-15 Netherlands It’s a roasting hot day in Mainz, the small German city sat cozily on the banks of the Rhine that’s home to around 200,000 people, and FFT has just asked Nigel de Jong to clamber aboard a giant lawnmower and look moody for the cameras. “I can do that,” he says with a smirk, before jumping on top of an orange mower and gripping the steering wheel. The choice of garden machinery is deliberate – it’s a nod to the nickname he was given by Manchester City fans during his three-year stay at the Etihad Stadium, in tribute to the Dutchman’s chopping tackles and the all-action style…

1 min
highs & lows

HIGH: 2004 Lifts the Eredivisie title with Ajax at end of first full season in the Amsterdam side’s first team LOW: 2006 Loses place in Ajax midfield, opts against signing new contract and moves to Hamburg HIGH: 2009 Signs for Man City in $30 million deal on four-and-a-half-year contract at Etihad Stadium LOW: 2010 Becomes pantomime villain after tackle on Xabi Alonso as Dutch lose World Cup final to Spain HIGH: 2012 Part of City side who dramatically win the Premier League title on the final day of the season LOW: 2014 More World Cup agony – this time in the semi-finals as Dutch lose to Argentina on penalties HIGH: 2018 Helps Mainz avoid relegation from the Bundesliga after joining the German club from Galatasaray…

5 min
around the world in 12 stories

1 “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I’M BANNED FROM THE STADIUM?” Turkey Denizli One Denizlispor supporter knew exactly what to do when he was slapped with a one-year stadium ban: hire a massive crane and park it outside the ground for the next home match. He was soon towering over his fellow fans at the Ataturk Stadium – attaching a giant green and black flag to the end of the crane, the scarf-twirling fanatic even conducted chants as Denizlispor beat Gaziantepspor 5-0. He’ll be selling tickets up there next. 2 BORAT’S A PLZEN FAN Czech Republic Plzen Viktoria Plzen have made it back to the Champions League group stage for the first time in five years: the excitement has clearly got the better of some fans. During a win over Karvina, one chap stripped down to a Borat-style…

1 min
six of the best fixtures

Russia vs Saudi Arabia The World Cup begins in Moscow: opening games surely don’t get any better than this??? France vs Australia Here we go! Look, in our heart of hearts, all we’re hoping for here is not to be disgraced. Brazil vs Switzerland Neymar and Coutinho once lost a key game to the Swiss at the U17 World Cup. Payback time? Denmark vs Australia Denmark’s not quite a one man team, but if we can stifle Christian Erikson, we may have a shot. Argentina vs Croatia One of the group stage’s most attractive games. Can Croatia fulfil their potential and stop Messi? Australia vs Peru The tie that offers the most hope – but Peru are still ranked way higher than us. Can we qualify?…

2 min
my greatest goal alex brosque

THE LEAD UP It was a huge game, I wasn’t there for the first season or two, but I watched all the derbies overseas and how big each game was getting. Living out west, playing for Sydney before I left, and then coming back and I guess honouring my word to come back. I’d seen a lot and I knew it’d be big and I’d heard from players and fans about how the atmosphere and emotions were like and to actually play in one was a special thing in itself. THE MATCH We went down 2-0. I thought, ‘Here we go, it’s my first derby and we’re going to cop a hiding here...’ Just before halftime, we pulled a goal back through Corey Gameiro. We went into the break with a bit of…