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Mikel Arteta Ineligible For England and other Thursday Links

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FIFA have declared that Mikel Arteta will not be eligible for England even should he acquire a British passport, due to a little-known rule which means that junior team performances can rule a player out of other international squads unless that player holds multiple passports at a time (Article 18.1). Everton star Arteta, crowded out of the Spain squad by the likes of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, was though by many to be the creative spark required for the Premier League stars in the England lineup to properly gel, but he won't have the chance to be the next Great National Hope. [Guardian]

The last Great National Hope, Wayne Rooney, was singled out by FIFA 'technical experts' as having a fine World Cup, a notion that many of those watching the game may find bizarre; Rooney spent much of the tournament as a static, frustrated figure who typically lost the ball whenever he received it. His 'hard work' was praised, however, as he was described as, "hard-working, energetic striker; worked hard for team; good technique". I notice that only one of those four comments relates to footballing skill. The two others commented upon from the England setup (there does not appear to be a minimum nor a maximum number of players from each team) were Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole, the latter referred to as a "competitive left back." Uh huh. [Guardian]

Michael Ballack's back as Germany captain for the Euro 2012 qualifiers despite having no obvious position in their starting lineup. The ex-Chelsea man has retrieved the armband from Philipp Lahm after withdrawing from the World Cup due to injury. With the emergence of Bastian Schweinsteiger as one of the world's premier talents at central midfield, Ballack will have to unseat young Sami Khedira in order to regain his place in the side, which will be difficult unless he hits top form very quickly after he fully recovers from injury. [Guardian]

Combining my love of football with my love of fluid dynamics (don't judge me) is the New Journal of Physics, who have found just how Roberto Carlos managed to score this goal [warning: video, sound].  As it turns out, with enough spin delivered on the initial kick, the football's flight path will follow a spiral until gravity and air resistance stop it moving. Hit the ball hard enough and from far enough away and you'll get much tighter swerve than a close-range shot could ever manage. Science! [BBC]

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