Spain have become favourites to top their group after a 1-0 win over Macedonia saw them move to points ahead of Slovakia in the second spot.
The former world champions were overwhelming favourites to win their group, but they suffered from a hangover after the World Cup 2014 to lose ground in the early parts of the qualification campaign. Slovakia claimed full advantage by opening a substantial advantage, which has since been reduced to a two-point deficit following impressive form from Spain. The Spaniards needed to defeat Slovakia in order to overtake them and they exactly achieved it with a 2-0 victory a few days ago.
This has been followed up by a narrow win against Macedonia. Spain were definitely not at their fluent best and their performance was later criticised by manager Vicente del Bosque. He claimed that it was only by chance that Spain managed to defeat their less illustrious opponents. The game was expected to be a walk in the park for a team containing the likes of Andres Iniesta, Diego Costa, and Cesc Fabregas. After all, Macedonia lie at the bottom of the group after having conceded 16 goals in just 8 games. Only a Pachovski own goal saw Spain grab three points from this encounter. Read more »
Roy Hodgson expressed his desire to stay on as the England manager despite a very poor World Cup 2014. His wish was granted after his contract was extended until Euro 2016, but growing speculation about his future has led to the manager stating that he would step down if he is no longer needed.
England have managed to win all their Euro 2016 qualifying matches up until now. This has put them in an excellent position as far as reaching the tournament final in France is concerned. However, doing well in a major tournament is a totally different aspect and it is something has Hodgson struggled with. Read more »
Preparations for the 2018 World Cup have already taken place and the international soccer organization, FIFA has revealed that they will be spending $185 million for preparations.
$185 million is only the amount of money that FIFA estimated which will be spent just for the year of 2016. The total amount which is believed that FIFA plans to utilize in order to fully support and fund the football tournament which is over 2 years away from kicking off is $4 billion.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin and former president of FIFA Sepp Blatter continue to support each other despite having received numerous criticisms for different reasons which extends beyond the world of football.
A few days ago, there were a number of FIFA officials that were arrested due to claims of corruption but Vladimir Putin believes that this only occurred as a way to prevent Sepp Blatter from being re-elected as the president of FIFA.
Vladimir Putin said: “I have no doubt that this is obviously an attempt to prevent Mr. Blatter’s re-election to the post of FIFA president, which is a grave violation of the principles that international organizations function on,” Read more »
The level of Argentinean Football has definitely gone up in the last one decade or so. They have been one of most dominating teams in the International arena at the junior level and that’s because they have had some really good young players coming through the ranks.
Normally, when you make good progress in junior Football, it means you get strong at the senior level too and win consistently. But, it has not happened with Argentina at all.
They have somehow not been able to achieve as much success in senior Football as they have in junior Football over that same period of time and it’s something to be quite surprised about.
It’s not that they haven’t had good teams at the senior level. Even currently, if you look at the group of players that are there in the frame for them, you would be impressed, but, there is no major trophy to show off in the recent times.
The last one was the Copa America in 1993. More than two decades down the road, the search is still on.
In Brazil the previous summer, it seemed as if the drought would end. Alejandro Sabella’s boys were well on their way, but, only to bump into an enormously strong and highly skilful German side in the final and see their dreams get broken.
There has not been that much of Football for Argentina post the World Cup as has been the case with every other South American team. A few friendlies here and there and that’s it. Read more »
Former Manchester City striker Robinho says that he has not still given up hope of being recalled back to the Brazilian national teams for major tournaments.
The 31-year-old was left out of the Brazilian squad for the World Cup 2014 despite having a great relationship with the national team’s former manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari. Robinho would have been thankful for this decision by Scolari given the way Brazil have been facing criticism since the embarrassing exit from the competition. The 7-1 defeat against Germany in the semifinals has not been forgotten and much will be expected from the nation in the next World Cup in Russia.
The World Cup 2018 is still more than a couple of years away, but Robinho could be at the end of his career. Even though Robinho still remains on the books of Milan, he returned to Santos in yet another loan spell. This is the second time he has been at the club where he started his career for a loan spell. After scoring nine goals in 21 appearances, it does not look like Robinho has the statistics to be called up for the national team. New boss Dunga may prefer the experience offered by the 31-year-old, who has featured 95 times for the national team. Read more »
The French national football team has experienced a positive campaign in 2014 as they managed to reach the quarter-final stages of the previous World Cup and only lost to Germany which was the nation that would later turn into the champions.
Didier Deschamps is the manager of the French team and he has expressed his desire to remain being the coach on a long term basis even beyond the 2016 UEFA Euro’s which is going to be hosted by France and the pressure is already starting to build up as the nation has to make a good campaign as they are playing in their home soil.
When Deschamps was asked if he would like to continue being in charge of the French national football team, he responded by saying: Read more »
FIFA have sent their heartfelt apologies to Ukraine on 2018 World logo error. It’s a crucial step especially in the time of FIFA’s support for Russia as an upcoming World Cup host which has received severe criticisms for hosting the mega event at a time of turbulent relations with Ukraine.
The much celebrated presentation of World Cup 2018 logo at the Russian capital last week showed Ukraine as a unit of Russian Federation. Naturally, it was very hurtful for the Ukrainians and the very incident also fuelled further tension in the worsening relation between Russia & Ukraine. The Crimea Peninsula of Ukraine was captured by Putin’s army last march that sparked a bloody series of continuous military in between Russian-backed separatists & Ukraine government forces.
Ukraine Football Federation have published an apology letter from FIFA body on the official site.
“Reference is being made to this unfortunate incident that occurred during the launch of 2018 World official emblem in Moscow”, read a statement from FIFA.
“As a part of official logo launch for this mega event, the local organization committee assigned a Russian creative portal to handle the projection duties as a distinct photo & filming opportunity on Bolshoi Theatre. Unfortunately, a Russian map at the projection displayed Ukrainian territory of Crimea Peninsula as a unit of Russia. The map selection & use at the projection escaped FIFA’s notice while uploading video footage for YouTube channel and our website.
“The moment this very unfortunate act came to our notice, we instantly removed out the controversial short sequence. We deeply regret any kind of inconvenience resulted from this very unfortunate incident & we assure you better attention to materials procured from third parties later on in future.”
Ukraine reportedly approached UEFA & FIFA to impose stern action against Putin’s territory for allowing 3 Crimean soccer clubs to play in Russian League.
Football is the most popular and played sport in the entire planet with the World Cup attracting millions of viewers every 4 years and turning into one of the most watched sporting events ever as fans tuned in to watch their respective nations compete against some of the best squads in the world with hope of lifting the most prestigious silverware in the sport.
Having so much fans and people from all corners of the world has turned football into something much more than just a sport as it represents something much more valuable for certain nations but at the same time it has started to serve as an income for fans, players and even managers as they try to predict what the outcome of a certain match will be with some of them even attempting to rig or manipulate the results with the final objective of it being to get a result that would award them with cash. Read more »
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has come out in praise of US national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann after the German led the national team to a very good showing at the World Cup 2014. The US came into the World Cup anticipating a tough tournament due to a difficult group stage. There were in the same group as Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. This was billed as the group of death with the US being put as third favourites to qualify from it. However, the team managed a remarkable performance after reaching the last 16 of the tournament.
They came up against a Belgium team with stars like Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany, but they almost managed to beat the Europeans. This has been seen as an incredible achievement by the country where football is not one of the popular sports. However, the popularity has increased greatly in recent years with a number of kids taking to the game. Simeone, who was one of the best managers last season, managed to get his Atletico Madrid team, which was built on a shoestring budget, to the Champions League final and also to league success.
He says that Klinsmann’s achievement at the World Cup is simply remarkable considering the position football finds itself in the United States.
“Klinsmann has revolutionized football in the United States. He has been able to get a whole country behind the team, and that’s very difficult in the USA. But above all, he got the team working together and for each other – and they competed at an excellent level in the World Cup. It was a great collective effort – and that’s what seduces us as coaches,” said the South American. Rather than defend their way to the knockout stages, the US captured the attention by playing an attractive style of football.
Netherlands scored 2-1 against Mexico to strive to the quarterfinals of World Cup 2014. It was Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar who shot late goals to drive Mexico to 2-1. In fact Huntelaar was the substitute who came at the 76th minute.
It was Huntelaar’s day and he did not even know that it would come soon. But it was his first appearance and he did not fail to disappoint. Mexicans got the lead in the 48th minute due to Giovani Dos Santos but again in the 88th minute Sneijder equalled the goals. Sneijder also scored it for the first time in this World Cup after scoring five goals in the last World Cup at South Africa. Robben gave the ball to Huntelaar as he had already scored three goals for Netherlands. Robben believed in Huntelaar and that is why he did not hesitate in handing the ball to him. Although Huntelaar and Sneijder scored one goal each but credit must be given to the coach of Netherlands who peaked at the right time making tactical changes in the team.
Earlier too during Australia he had applied similar tactics in the second half of the game. Ochoa the Mexican goalkeeper did his best to save two goals in the second half but he could not stop Huntelaar and Sneijder from striking the ball in the net. It was appearing very confident of the Mexicans since the goalkeeper had done a brilliant job in the group stages of saving goals and conceding just one goal. Robben stated that if not for the five minutes they would have been out of 2014 World Cup but Mexican coach blamed the referee. The Mexican fans were in tears after an unbelievable match which they certainly wish to forget.