Sweden defeated their hosts South Africa 3-0 in an international friendly. The Swedes had their full European might on display against the Banyana Banyana at Cape Town Stadium on January 21.
Senegal sealed their World Cup qualification campaign with a follow up victory over rivals South Africa. They thrashed their opponents in the replayed match in Durban before a second home victory in Dakar.
FIFA ordered a replay following allegations of match manipulation. The Bureau for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers ordered that the game be replayed after considering the sporting analysis and the betting patterns from international betting monitoring companies.
Switzerland were able to maintain their 100% record in the World Cup 2018 qualification group after managing wins over Andorra and Latvia.
Both teams were not expected to offer any threat to Switzerland’s 100% record coming into the game. Along with Germany, the Swiss are the only team to have won all of the six matches before the latest round of qualification matches in September. This has put Switzerland on the verge of qualification to the World Cup 2018 finals in Russia. Vladimir Petkovic has been a delighted manager after watching his team move three points clear at the top of the table.
Switzerland only have two matches left in the qualification group and they will take place in October. If the national team manages to win both these matches, they will be able to finish ahead of Portugal irrespective of the results from Fernando Santos team. (more…)
VAR is short for video assistant referees or in other words, video technology.
This is something that for years now has been utilized by various sports including American Football (NFL) and baseball (MLB) just to name a few.
It´s designed to help officials in making crystal clear and fair decisions. However, in soccer, it has always been a subject of huge debate as there are many supporters and figures of the sport that consider it to be a negative thing if it gets implemented as it could destroy the essence of soccer.
One of the main elements or characteristics of soccer is it´s free-flowing aspect as there are generally very few interruptions in an actual match and the timer which never stops until the end.
Introducing VAR could negatively affect this component of the sport as more interruptions and consequentially hampering one of the core elements of why soccer is considered to be as a beautiful and attractive sport for many people as it almost never stops or gets disrupted. (more…)
Not too long ago, the world celebrated the achievements of famed coach Louis van Gaal.
The former Ajax and Barcelona coach led a less fancied Dutch side to the top three spot in world football’s biggest event. The Netherlands were impressive at the 2014 World Cup now the team lays almost in ruins.
The team failed to qualify for the Euro 2016 even as their former coach suffered setbacks at Old Trafford after exiting the team. Maybe the marriage should not have ended?
Memphis Depay eventually moved to the same Old Trafford where his career suffered as he failed to impress. He was key to the team that helped PSV to the Eredivisie in 2014 but he was disappointing in England.
Then 22-year old Bruno Martins who was part of the team is struggling to impress after he moved to FC Porto from Feyenoord; Joel Veltman, who was with Ajax then, is expected to exit the team after their Europa League slump; Jordy Clasie initially struggled upon moving to Southampton but he has been trying under Coach Claude Puel; Daley Blind is yet to establish himself fully at Manchester United; Leroy Fer suffered on loan at Swansea and only just returned to the national team. (more…)
South American football giant Brazil have been named the number one football nation according to the latest FIFA world rankings.
Brazil were ousted in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa by the Netherlands in the quarter final stage. Since then Brazil have not been ranked the top footballing nation until the recent release by FIFA.
Brazil have 58 points more than closest rival Argentina to lead the rankings. Brazil have showed spirited performances in the Copa America World cup qualifying campaign, winning all of their last ten games. They lead the pack now despite facing the threat of missing out months back. The most recent result was the 3-0 rout of Paraguay.
Current coach Tite replaced Dunga mid last year after a disastrous performance at the Copa America Centenario. Brazil had been suffering poor confidence after infamously exiting the 2014 World Cup, suffering a huge defeat in the hands of a disciplined German side. They lost to Paraguay in the 2015 edition of Copa America with a recap the next year being the tipping point. Since Tite came on board, Brazil have turned their fortunes around. They are the first team to qualify for Russia 2018 after eight straight wins in the qualifiers.
Argentina dropped to second place with points’ total of 1603. Germany were at a distant third with 1464 points. Chile, Colombia, France, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland and Spain completed the top ten.
Northern Ireland moved up the most, rising to 26th from nine spots behind. Uruguay were the biggest ‘losers’ in new rankings as they dropped six spots to 15th.
After seven years of trouble, could Brazil be ready to re-establish their prominence in world football?
The head coach of the Spanish national football team Vicente del Bosque stated that his squad will and has learned from their failures that were evident during the 2014 edition of the World Cup.
Spain made a disastrous run in the 2014 World Cup after not being able to get past the group stages due to having lost against: Netherlands and Chile.
When the tournament reached it’s end, Vicente del Bosque later went on saying that his squad is not going to perform in such an underwhelming manner and that his task is to help Spain become the 1rst national side to win 3 successive European Championships.
‘’We go into the tournament with the maximum ambition and that is to defend the title that we achieved four years ago. It’s the same situation that we were in at Euro 2012 but with a bit more responsibility because we now have to defend two straight titles’’ This was the statement released by Vicente del Bosque before the 2012 Euro’s had kicked off.
The Spanish national side won the 2008 and 2012 edition of the Euro’s and Vicente del Bosque wanted to do the same with the 2016 Euro’s but failed to do so after getting eliminated in the Round of 16 when they faced off with Italy and lost 0-2.
It seems like Spain has started to crumble ever since the 2014 World Cup initiated and Vicente del Bosque along with his squad have struggled trying to replicate the performances that they have done a few years ago.
Vicente del Bosque hung up his managerial boots on June 14 of 2015 and JulenLopetegui replaced him, it’s now his task to start rebuilding the Spanish national side and help them become the dominating team that they once were some time ago and with the 2018 edition of the World Cup on the horizon, Lopetegui is hoping that Spain does not go through another disastrous World Cup.
The 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup is scheduled to kick-off on June 14 of 2018 and expected to finalize on July 15 of that same year and the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has urged FIFA to be more active in their quest of promoting the upcoming worldwide competition and make more people be interested in watching the approaching tournament.
Not too long ago, a number of FIFA executives were involved in scandals, briberies and allegations of this nature which led to various figures in the football organization being either fired, arrested or resigned from their position.
The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko wants the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup to be better than all of the previous ones and help clean the image that FIFA has been tainted with in recent times.
Gianni Infantino was the new president that was selected to replace Sepp Blatter who was also involved with scandals and he had to step down from his presidential position in FIFA and Infantino is one of the main figures that has the task of getting FIFA back on track by trying to erase all of this recent forgettable period of time which has been filled with so many unremarkable events.
“We expect questions to Russia from him Infantino. We would like FIFA to be more active in promoting the World Cup. We don’t have any alarming question to him.” This is what the Russian Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said as he urged the new president Gianni Infantino and his entire team in being more active in their task of promoting the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup witnessed Brazil facing off with Croatia and this match had over 40 million people watching this match and throughout the remainder of that competition, each match had a consistent string of large amount of spectators and this is what the Russian Prime Minister is hoping that will occur but have an even larger amount of viewers for the approaching 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has revealed that he wanted to retire from international football after the last World Cup in 2014.
He said that he was not motivated anymore after having won the Euros and World Cup in previous years.
The player has revealed that it is only after talking with the coach Vicente Del Bosque that he has continued to play for the Spanish national team. He said that he was disappointed by the way Spain play in the World Cup in Brazil and felt that it was perhaps time to give chances to other players.
Pique said that he had already announced to his friends and relatives that he would not continue after the World Cup 2014 and it is only the Spanish coach that convince him to change his mind.
He said that it was also a question of motivation as he has won so many things already. He said that he was won all the different trophies available at club level with Barcelona and that he already had won the Euros and the World Cup with Spain. He felt at that time there was no reason for him to continue fighting and that it was better for him to leave the international team.
He said that since the arrival of Enrique at the head of Barcelona things have changed. The coach has successfully motivated the players, and they are ready to fight again. He said that he wants to play again and to come back to his best level.
Gerard Pique said that he wants to prove to himself that he is still the best in the world and that he wants to participate in the next World Cup in Russia. He has however revealed that he will be retiring after the 2018 World Cup.
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.