Brazil Want Olympic Gold

Memories of the infamous World Cup 2014 semi-final between Brazil and Germany will be played out as the Brazilian’s take on Germany for the Olympic gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic tournament.

The 7-1 thrashing will forever remain as one of the worst results for the Brazilian national team, which is ironically regarded as the best in the world. Brazil have been hugely successful in terms of national trophies after having won a record five World Cup titles and several Copa America winner’s medal. However, the Olympic gold medal has been the biggest absentee from the trophy cabinet.

Brazil superstar Neymar set out at the Rio 2016 with the objective of achieving the ultimate glory of Olympic gold. The only opponent that stands in their way now is Germany. It is not surprising given that Germany are widely thought to have the best youth setup in the world now. Youth played a major role in making Germany as world champions with victory at the World Cup 2014. Most of this youth have been retained for the Olympic tournament while Brazil brought in Neymar as one of the overage players. The move has so far been highly successful for the home nation, but they have to get past the final hurdle.

Brazil coach Rogerio Micale says that all players are looking forward to beating Germany and get revenge. “We are going to deal with the pressure as we have done so far. We knew there would be a lot of pressure to win the gold medal as this would be an unprecedented achievement. We will work as we have done from the start and we will deliver results by striving to our absolute utmost. We will give our all – our football is not just about quality, but also perspiration which is why we can hope to make our big dream come true,” said Micale.

World Cup 2014 winners have work to do

World Cup 2014 winners Germany has some reconstruction work to do after their defeat at the Euros in France.

Indeed, Germany did not appear to be as strong as they were in the Brazilian World Cup and had some major changes to make if they want to win the next World Cup. Some pundits believe that Germany’s football has stalled during recent years and that there is not a lot of development taking place.

At the moment there are not a lot of young German footballers coming on the world stage, and there seems to be a problem with their development program. Unless Germany makes some changes to the way they develop new players, they may end up in trouble as other European nations.

Some pundits are comparing the situation to the Netherland where the Dutch team is lacking quality players at the moment. They fear that the World Cup winners are in a process of decline and that there is no replacement coming up. Once the generation of Ozil, Muller and Neuer is gone there will be no replacement.

Germany will have to make a thorough assessment of their development program and ensure that they are developing players that are consistent with modern football. The Dutch federation has done the same after failing to qualify for the Euros, and they asked assistance from world-renown coach to help them develop a proper strategy.

At the moment it seems that Germany should be able to recover in time for the Russian World Cup because their current team seems to be coming to maturity. They should be able to make a more than decent performance at the next World Cup, but they will need to worry about the subsequent tournaments as their current players will be past their prime by then.

DEPLH FOR ENGLAND?

Many have backed the inclusion of Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph in the squad for World Cup 2014. The England national has been in fine form for his club throughout the season, although it has not translated into three points for Villa most of the time.

After managing to recover their form at just the right stage in the season, Paul Lambert’s men find themselves just outside the top half of the table. Delph demonstrated his importance to the team in the 1-0 win over Chelsea during the weekend. He scored the winner late on by breaking away against the table leaders.

Delph has stated that it is the ambition of every player to be part of the national team squad at the World Cup.

England manager Roy Hodgson is likely to look at a couple of midfield options given that the likes of Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard are coming to the end of their careers. Even though Lampard has been a regular for Chelsea this season, Hodgson may look at the possibility of taking Delph given that the Villa man offers a long-term future to the national team. Delph has revealed that he had struggled with injuries in the past, but good management by lambert has ensured that he remains fit for most of the season.

“It is every player’s ambition to represent their country – but I might be a bit away from that. There seems to be a lot of quality mid?eld players who are above me at the minute. I’ll keep grafting and maybe one day. I had a terrible start [to my Villa career] – some really bad injuries and I struggled to ?nd ?tness. But I have found the right balance and there’s a manager [Paul Lambert] who believes in me,” said the midfielder, who has four goals this season.

WILL AFRICA COME CLOSE?

Ivory Coast have appeared in the World Cup finals three times in the history, but they have not come close to winning the trophy. Despite possessing a star-studded squad that includes the likes of Didier Drogba and Yaya Touré, they have not even won the African cup of nations.

Drogba, who is expected to make one final appearance in a major tournament, is the perfect man to lead Ivory Coast to success in the upcoming World Cup 2014 according to Ivory Coast manager Sabri Lamouchi. Even though Drogba has not announced that he will retire from international football after this tournament, it is expected to be the final swansong for the 35-year-old.

He is currently playing his football with Galatasaray, but he has said on several occasions that he still can carry on playing at the top level for several more years. After the recent fallout with Lamouchi, Drogba appears to have made up with the manager. He is expected to be picked for the World Cup 2014 as the captain of the team. Lamouchi has come out in praise of the striker, who has 60 goals in 98 appearances for the team. Even though he won almost everything at club level, Drogba remains trophyless at international level.

He has the chance to put it right in Brazil according to Lamouchi.

“For sure, the World Cup is going to be his last and he’ll want to achieve. For the Ivory Coast it is the third time to be at the World Cup and for this third adventure there is a sense that nothing is impossible. It’s not complicated. Didier Drogba propels Ivorian football and the Ivory Coast team. He is an icon, not only in Abidjan and elsewhere in the country but also across Africa. He’s a good professional, who contributes his part of the collective. He can be a big factor,” said Lamouchi.

CURITIBIA STANDS OUT

Curitiba has been chosen as one of the host cities for the upcoming World Cup 2014. The Arena da Baixada being built at this city is expected to be one of the finest stadiums in the country upon completion.

However, the delivery date of the stadium has been extended beyond schedule and this has angered FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke, who says that the organising committee may decide to remove Curitiba from the list of the host cities. This has brought out an immediate reaction from the local council, who have sanctioned an increased workforce towards finishing the stadium.

Valcke has given a four-week deadline in order to complete the stadium, which is still a long way off from being resembling like one. Local officials will now be giving FIFA daily reports about the construction pace. Valcke says that he will decide along with FIFA members on February 18 whether to continue with the stadium at Curitiba. Arena da Baixada has been scheduled to host four matches in the group stages including one involving current world champions Spain. Tickets have already been sold amounting to several million dollars when the likes of flight and hotel costs are taken into account.

Arena da Baixada is not the only one giving headaches for FIFA, as the Itaquerão stadium in São Paulo also faces the same situation.

“To be very honest, the situation as it stands is not ideal. The stadium is very delayed and well outside the delivery schedule to ensure best use by Fifa and the Fifa World Cup. All parties have to decide whether the stadium is in a position on that date to give us the confidence to hold World Cup matches there, without risking the organisation of the event,” said Valcke.

Even Brazil’s sports Ministry admitted that work was going well behind schedule.

COUTINHO WANTS CHANCE

Liverpool’s Brazilian star Philipe Coutinho has said that he is hopeful of being selected for the Brazil national team squad before the start of the World Cup in order to show that he deserves a place to be on the plane to World Cup 2014. Coutinho was an £ 8 million signing from Inter Milan last January, but he has been an immediate hit at Anfield much to the surprise of many.

Even though he appeared to have all the talent at Inter Milan, he struggled to cope with the expectations. At Liverpool, he has been looking liberated and this has consequently improved his form.

Brazil are one of the strongest in the world in the attacking midfield position with a number of players competing against Coutinho. However, the youngster has the chance to get into the Brazil team if he continues to perform at the same level because unlike some of them, he gets regular game time at Anfield. The 21-year-old may have scored just three goals in his last 13 matches, but he has been a very good contributor for Liverpool this season.

“I still think there is plenty of time for me to try and be part of the team. It’s always going to be difficult because there are a lot of players who play in my position who have been given their chance and are playing very well, but there is a lot of football to be played before the World Cup, so you just have to try to impress for your club until then. My main focus has to be on Liverpool,” said Coutinho.
He has been playing out wide on the left, which is a position taken up by stars like Robinho and Neymar at the national team level. They will provide intense competition to the Liverpool midfielder.

MEXICO ARE READY

Mexico are currently preparing to take on Ivory Coast in a friendly match in the United States. Ahead of the match, manager Jose Manuel de la Torre has expressed his confidence that the team will be able to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

There has been a lot of criticism of de la Torre following a run of poor results. He barely managed to keep his job after the Confederations cup in which Mexico is extremely disappointing. The team looked like a group of strangers up front and they were knocked out of the tournament.

De la Torre has said that he plans to implement a series of techniques over the next few months in order to improve the performance of his players. He has made a note of the mistakes that were made by the team during the last few years, and he is keen on rectifying them ahead of the 2014 World Cup. After this friendly match, Mexico will be taking on Honduras, who are one of the main opponents in the World Cup qualifying group. They are separated by just one point in the battle for the third place. United States lead the group with 13 points on board, while Mexico have seven points.

“México is going to qualify, that is our commitment and we are going to do that. We have done a critique among ourselves of the entire process, of what we have done since the beginning to end in all aspects, and knowing where we have made mistakes and where we have not. The change is in the selection of this preparation match. The naturalized players have the right to be selected for being Mexican,” said the manager. Mexico enjoyed just one victory – a 2-1 win over Japan – in the Confederations cup.

Gary Neville defends DNA of England

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has stated that England need to be proud of the hard working DNA embedded in their structure but also try to add some fair and panache to their play in order to become a major force and compete in the major championships at all levels.

The country’s Under-20 and Under-21 teams suffered early exits from major championships already this summer, triggering questions regarding the quality of football being played in the country. But Neville, who serves as an assistant to head coach Roy Hodgson for the senior side quickly jumped to defense of the country’s playing style, stating that the hard working DNA of the country cannot be overlooked.

Neville spoke to an English newspaper where he stated that people need to be careful; when they talk about the DNA of English football they need to realize the country has one: the players work hard, they are organized and structured as well as being resilient and are extremely hard to beat, which are not bad qualities to have.

He went back some time to point out that England had not suffered a defeat for many of the tournaments they crashed out of. He mentioned Italy might have played better last year at Euro 2012 but had to wait till the penalty shoot out to beat them; the same can be said about Portugal in the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2004 as well as Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

Neville went on to mention that England is not arrogant and are always the first to admit they have performed poorly but added that team is trying to take the best out of the situation and add some flair as well as technical ability and hopefully, the team will be able to do good in future.

ITALY LOSE ON PENALTIES

Italy were recently defeated by Spain on penalties in the Confederations cup semifinal. They lost in the semi-final 7-6 on penalties, but Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has said that his players can take a lot of positives from this defeat.

He has said that the example shown by Spain over the course of the match can be a good lesson to his players, as they attempt to win the World Cup first time since 2006. Spain are one of the favourites to lift the Confederations cup after having won the World Cup once and the European championships twice in the last five years.

Italy and Spain have already met each other as recently as in the Euro 2012 final in which Spain once again triumphed Italy. However, it was a much improved performance from the Italians after they suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat in the Euro 2012 final. Italy created the much better opportunities over the course of the match, but they were unlucky to take the lead. Spain were surprisingly lethargic throughout the match, but they came successful when it mattered the most.

Spain converted all the penalties, while the one miss for Italy proved crucial as new Manchester city signing Jesus Navas put Spain in the final against Brazil.

“They have been a great team these last years, they’ve shown continuity in their game, and we would also like to have continuity in our game. Tonight (Thursday) we’ve been up to the task, we’ve matched them stride for stride. We tried to play on the ground and we showed great courage and willingness. This match has been a great test for us, no doubt about that, and we passed it despite the result,” said Prandelli.

Prandelli said that Italy can take a lot of positives from the competition as well.

BIERHOFF UNSURE

Oliver Bierhoff has said that he is not sure whether Germany can win the FIFA World Cup 2014, which will be held in Brazil. Germany are searching for their first World Cup victory since 1990. They have come extremely close in recent times only to falter at the final stages.

While questioning the ability of Germany to win the World Cup, Bierhoff has also said that he doubts whether any European team can win this tournament. The South American World Cup’s have been traditionally dominated by the home countries. There will be a huge support for Brazil in this tournament, and Bierhoff he sees this as a great advantage for the South American countries.

Even if Brazil do not get to the latter stages of the competition, support is expected to extend further other South American nations still left in the competition. Brazil have been extremely poor in recent world cups, and they have not been doing well since the arrival of Scolari either. The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be the fifth time World Cup comes to South America. In all the four occasions, South American teams have emerged as the victorious ones.

South America last staged the World Cup back in 1978. Germany are expected to comfortably qualify for this tournament.

“For us, it is almost impossible to win the tournament. It is a really big mountain [to climb]. The South American sides are usually more advanced [in their own continent]. We are not planning where we will stay in Brazil because we do not know which group we will play in. But it would not be in the extreme north or south of Brazil,” said Bierhoff ahead of Germany’s match with Kazakhstan. Germany could have 1 foot in the World Cup if they managed a victory from this match.