In the mag: The rise of the Lionesses! Plus, Gheorghe Hagi and Diogo Jota exclusives, AND Becks in Madrid

FourFourTwo issue 354
(Image credit: Future)

Order the new issue with free delivery here – just select ‘August 2023’.

Subscribe to FourFourTwo today and save! You’ll get 13 issues per year…

First a message from our editor, James Andrew:

Last summer the Lionesses roared their way to victory in the Euros on home soil, and now 12 months on they are aiming to conquer the world Down Under.

It hasn’t been a straightforward build-up for Sarina Wiegman’s side, with a number of high-profile injuries, but England remain one of the favourites to win the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

In this issue, we chat to Alessia Russo, Georgia Stanway and Alex Greenwood about the Lionesses’ quest to lift the World Cup. We also have a full team-by-team guide to the competition, so you’ll be fully prepared for the big kick-off.

Elsewhere, we look back on David Beckham’s time at Real Madrid, two decades on from him swapping Manchester for the Spanish capital, and we sit down with Liverpool’s Diogo Jota to discuss his return to scoring form and love of FIFA.

We also meet Romanian icon Gheorghe Hagi, who answers your questions and reveals how close he came to moving to England.

A note for your diaries: the next issue is our Season Preview (yes, really) and will be in shops on July 20, complete with an extra supplement looking ahead to the 2023-24 campaign. As always, it’s one not to be missed.

Enjoy the mag.


England are ready... are you?

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Rise of the Lionesses (Image credit: Future)

After bagging their first ever major trophy at the Euros, England’s women now want to conquer the globe. Alessia Russo, Georgia Stanway and Alex Greenwood tell FFT about their World Cup ambitions.

Women's World Cup 2023 preview

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Women's World Cup 2023 preview (Image credit: Future)

We've put together a comprehensive team-by-team guide to the participants, from favourites to outsiders and eight nations on debut.

England's road to their first World Cup in 57 years has been mapped, we speak exclusively to Canada's Christine Sinclair who at 40 is preparing for her sixth World Cup. 

We also caught up with the two English coaches heading down under: South Korea's Colin Bell and Canada's Bev Priestman.

Our World Cup coverage is rounded up with a look back at highlights from previous tournaments.

Antony exclusive

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Antony exclusive (Image credit: Future)

"We starved in the favela, but I had a dream"

After growing up in poverty, Antony will never take his life at Manchester United for granted. In an exclusive interview, he tells FFT how he made it, and why he thinks he can be the world’s best player...

No-one likes them, they don't care

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: MK Dons (Image credit: Future)

Twenty years after their divisive move to Milton Keynes, MK Dons tumbled into League Two in May, amid dwindling crowds at the gigantic Stadium MK. FFT weighs up the first two decades outside of London for a team whose stigma shows no signs of fading.

Becks in Madrid

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: David Beckham in Madrid (Image credit: Future)

David Beckham’s seismic move to Real Madrid in 2003 seemed like a match made in heaven – and at first, it was. But when managerial madness rocked Los Blancos, Becks faced down the nightmare the only way he knew how...

Diogo Jota exclusive interview

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Diogo Jota exclusive (Image credit: Future)

"Not going to the World Cup was the hardest knock I've had. I deserved to be there"

After an injury-hit season, the Liverpool man struck seven goals in his last nine games to remind everyone how he earned his nickname. He tells FFT about his World Cup heartbreak, the time he caused Jurgen Klopp to pull a hamstring, why Cristiano Ronaldo won’t challenge him to a game of FIFA… and what comes next.

The chaos of the Greek Cup Final

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: The Greek Cup Final (Image credit: Future)

The Greek Cup has become so venomous that Serbia, Australia and even Selhurst Park were sounded out in a desperate quest to find a venue for this year’s final. FFT went to find out why, and see AEK Athens triumph

Around The Grounds

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Around The Grounds (Image credit: Future)

Our one stop shop for all things EFL, non-league and Scotland finds us chatting Guns 'n' Roses with QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth who hopes to get the Hoops rocking next season following a tricky start in West London. Garry Grey has gone from boots to suits having broken into football (via his gran) as a kit man at Fulham and Chelsea, now he's an agent with more medals than most top flight players. Daniel Buxton from Stoke City podcast Every Step Along The Way talks Bojan, Pulis and light strangulation for our 'Best and Worst' feature. We look back at the iconic Scottish Cup match, Arbroath 36-0 Accord, from 1885, while Gazza, Howard Wilkinson and deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam crop up in Boston's Claims to Fame. Finally, the chaos caused by the cryptocurrency consortium who took over at Crawley Town in 2022 is analysed with views from both sides of the metaverse sought. 

Gheorghe Hagi answers YOUR questions

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: You Ask The Questions (Image credit: Future)

“Tottenham made a good offer, but it wasn’t about money – when Johan Cruyff calls and asks you to join Barcelona, it’s hard to say no”

The Romanian GOAT discusses an incredible 19-year career that saw him play for Real Madrid and Barcelona and take his country to the quarter finals of the 1994 World Cup.

Now a successful manager in his homeland, the 58-year-old answered all your questions, from ones about Paul Bodin, to the story about those bleach blond haircuts at France '98.

The Mixer

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: The Mixer (Image credit: Future)

We round up of the best football kit, fashion, art, design, books and tech. There's a remake of Fergie's bench coat (just in time for the summer), the Puma boots Neymar might never get to wear, and some stunning kits to cycle in and to just look cool in.

If you've seen something you want to put in The Mixer, DM our Deputy Editor Matt Ketchell on Instagram

Up Front

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Up Front (Image credit: Future)

This month's target man contains some unique shots of the much talked about Kenilworth Road, and Jermaine Jenas discussed the games that changed his life.
You can get to grips with our world famous quiz, FourFourTwo columnist Jules Breach talks up England's chances at the World Cup, with The Who's frontman Roger Daultrey explaining to us how he became an Arsenal fan on the school run. England U-21 manager Lee Carsley gives us the lo-down on the young lions ahead of their Euro tournament in Romania and Georgia.

Meanwhile we look at Matthew McConaughey's big angry soccer trees, look back at some iconic pitch invasions and discuss the FourFourTwo cameo we recently enjoyed in Ted Lasso (did you spot us?)

Our new regular The Debate sees FFT staffers Ryan Dabbs and Conor Pope go head to head over the idea that football should use a 'stop clock' when the ball goes dead.

The Players' Lounge

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Players' Lounge (Image credit: Future)

Welcome to the Players' Lounge. This month you'll find Ledley King talking about playing Sunday League with John Terry, Nigel Winterburn explains how a nice man like him ended up playing for Wimbledon during the peak Crazy Gang era, Richard Dunne admits he'd have probably done the same as Thierry Henry did to Ireland in that World Cup qualifier, with Julian Speroni discussed the totally unique playing career of Platense, Dundee and Crystal Palace.

Perfect XI: John Aldridge

FourFourTwo Issue 354

FourFourTwo Issue 354: Perfect XI (Image credit: Future)

The goal machine includes a mixture of players from the great Liverpool side he spearheaded, as well as a sprinkling of team-mates with the Republic of Ireland...

Subscribe to FourFourTwo today! Guarantee the finest football stories and interviews dropping on your doorstep every month.  

Matthew Ketchell
Deputy Editor

Ketch joined FourFourTwo as Deputy Editor in 2022 having racked up appearances at Reach PLC as a Northern Football Editor and BBC Match of the Day magazine as their Digital Editor and Senior Writer. During that time he has interviewed the likes of Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Gareth Southgate and attended World Cup and Champions League finals. He co-hosts a '90s football podcast called ‘Searching For Shineys’, is a Newcastle United season ticket holder and has an expensive passion for collecting classic football shirts.