Category Archives: World Cup General

The World of Soccer

Over recent years the world of professional football has seen the age of players signing to play professional, dropping to the early to mid-teen years. The latest addition and currently the youngest player to sign, was the Laguna Bay player, Francis Jacobs. Jacobs was merely 14 years, four months and 29 days old when he signed with Orange County SC. That made him the youngest male since Freddy Adu had that title since 2003 when he signed with D.C United. Earlier this year the soccer world also saw Olivia Moultrie turning pro at the age of only 13.

Great Success for the Youngsters

Although some might consider these early signings of professional contracts to be risky, it seems that these young candidates are all considered to be much more mature for their age than the average teenager. Being able to practice and play with professional players with experience on the international level is brilliant exposure for them to prepare them in their careers. As with Orange County SC, who signed Francis Jacobs, these clubs are keen on developing these players. The club members are willing to guide the young stars into a great future. Aaron Cervantes is an example of such a young actor, who was also signed by Orange County SC when he was only 15 years old. His career is excelling rapidly with the much-needed backing and support from his club. Another star who signed on at a young age is Alphonso Davies who signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps when he was 15 years old and since then climbed the ladder of success to a point where he is now playing for Bayern Munich.

Changes in the Sport

Since Freddy Adu was signed in 2003, the soccer world introduced The Development Academy in 2007. The Academy inspired many smaller academies popping up all over the sport, which are all committed to providing a proper development of these young players on all levels. This notion can be seen in both the United States as well as in Canada, and they are creating a favourable ecosystem in the world of soccer for the young players to thrive.

Another point to take note of is the fact that when clubs are signing on these young players, they are fully aware that they aren’t just taking on the talent or skills, but that they need to develop the entire player. Like with Orange County SC, they are willing to work together and provide the support required to establish Jacobs in his entirety as a player. His first opportunity to debut his professional career is set for the 17th of August against the Las Vegas Lights FC, but it remains uncertain whether he will play the entire game or even at all. The club’s management won’t put him under the stress of performing if they aren’t convinced that he is ready, both physically and mentally.

2019/20 Premier League Fixtures

The countdown for the 2019/20 Premier League season has finally started thanks to the much-anticipated publication of the upcoming fixtures for the brand-new season that lies ahead, promising tons of excitement and nail-biting action. Manchester United is set to host Chelsea during the opening weekend at Old Trafford.

There’s a bunch of heavyweight clashes on the horizon that will take place during the first month of the 2019/20 Premier League season. For instance, Manchester City will return from their domestic treble to face West Ham on route for their third consecutive Premier League title. The match will take place on 10 August 2019, so make sure you don’t miss it.

Liverpool, the newest Champions League winners, will return to face Norwich City during their opening match and will hit the ground running to ensure they stay ahead of Manchester City this season to finally claim the Premier League title they have wanted for so long. So, which team will have the most relaxed start and which team will have a nightmare from day 1?

Easiest Premier League Start: Manchester City

Even though Manchester City are scheduled to have a challenging home game against Tottenham Hotspur on 17 August 2019, it’s necessarily the only fixture in their first six matches that will see them face a genuine contender for all 3 points. The team’s opening match is against West Ham which Manchester City destroyed 4-0 the last time they met on the field. Pep Guardiola’s side will have a smooth start this season as they face Watford, Norwich, Brighton, Bournemouth, and Everton. Manchester City will have the perfect start this season as most of their rivals will meet at least two of their opponents from the start.

Toughest Premier League Start: Manchester United

Manchester United’s offensive end during the 2018/19 season, when the team only managed to win 2 out of the 12 matches in all their competitions, has placed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under an immense amount of pressure before the season even gets underway. The team start their Premier League journey by facing Chelsea at home during the opening weekend and will then make their way to Wolves territory who defeated Manchester United twice in the previous season. Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs also have a difficult start, but there’s no other team that is required to be more successful than Manchester United and its manager. There will be no margin for error when the team goes up against West Ham, Leicester, or Southampton.

Must-See Matches

Apart from the easier starts and the toughest beginnings for Manchester United, there are a couple of must-see matches not to be missed. This will include the Manchester United vs Chelsea game on 11 August 2019 followed by the Liverpool vs Manchester United game on 19 October 2019. You can also tune in to witness Manchester City vs Liverpool on 9 November 2019 as well as Liverpool vs Manchester City again on 4 April 2020. So who do you think will win the Premier League title this year?

Will Maurizio Sarri join Chelsea next season?

It’s now extremely simplistic for Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea. Claiming victories against Leicester and Watford over the last two weekend of the English Premier League will ensure a group stage entry into the Champions League next season.

Chelsea’s Current Season

Let’s forget about the potential of a Europa League final that will occur in Baku as a safety net – 6 points from two matches and the Blues will finally be over the line, allowing them to return to where Roman Abramovich wants them to be, among the most prestigious clubs situated in Europe.

This will necessarily mean that the first season where Sarri was in charge was a successful one. Of course, we mean relative success, because Chelsea hasn’t been anywhere when it comes to challenging clubs for a title. However, progress is the same when it comes to a coach that has also witnessed his team miss out on the Carabao Cup after a penalty shoot-out against Manchester City. Even if the Blues manage to finish in the top 4 and claim victory in the Europa League, it might still not be enough for Maurizio Sarri to keep his job as head coach.

The Doubts Over Maurizio Sarri

Marina Granovskaia, the person that runs the football club daily, remains the most prominent advocate for Sarri, and that is considered a massive tick in the coach’s favour. However, one the dust settles on the current season for Chelsea, the doubts and questions surrounding Sarri will remain, and Marina Granovskaia will be required to convince Abramovich that Sarri is the coach to lead the club during the 2019/20 season.

With Chelsea back in the Champions League next season, it will help their rebuilding program. However, the current season has produced more questions than answers regarding their development and progress under Maurizio Sarri. If Chelsea managed to end up in the top 4 positions of the Premier League, it could be argued that the result is the failings of Manchester United and Arsenal instead of the successful methods by Sarri.

This might be harsh, but the Blues have managed to open a two-point lead between themselves and Arsenal that is currently in fifth place despite claiming 2 points from a potential 9 points in the last three games of the Premier League.

Chelsea managed to make ten goals without being able to score in consecutive away matches against Manchester City and Bournemouth earlier this season. It was only the 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Sunday which spared the Blues from becoming the first Blues side to lose all away matches against the big six rivals during a season since the club was bought in 2003 by Abramovich.

Chelsea is also on the brink of losing their most valued player, Eden Hazard. He is currently playing the last year of his contract, and when he transfers to another club, Chelsea will need all the help it can get to stay an elite football team.

Famous Football Stars & Their First Expensive Homes

Football stars are amongst the highest earning sports stars and supported by millions of fans. Most football stars are legends and ideals for many sports fans, and it’s interesting to learn more about their lifestyles. The millions of dollars these superstars earn are no secret, and most of it is invested in real estate, and there is no limit on the amount they can spend. Which makes it beautiful to see how much they did spend on their first mansion or expensive homes.

Gareth Bales Professional Welsh Football Players

Back in 2007, the Gareth Bale started his FC Southampton career, and by 2007 he moved over to the Tottenham Hotspur team. By 2013 he was bought by Real Madrid, the Spanish football club and according to the British press, the cost was around €100 million. When you compare transfer costs, the transfer cost was €94 million for Cristiano Ronaldo at the time. Once Bales moved to Real Madrid it was time to buy a mansion, and he paid $3 million for his home that previously belonged to Kaka.

Andres Iniesta

When Andres Iniesta, the Spanish soccer players was 30-year-old he played for Barcelona as the central attacking midfielder in Spanish. He was recognised during the 2012 and 2013 season by the International Federation of Football as the best playmaker. By 2009 he was the player of the year in Spain, and he purchased his first home in 2005 for $ 4.6 million. Andres Iniesta house features no less than five bedrooms, a swimming pool as well as a chapel, while the name on the wall of the house is his name, “INIESTA”.

Lionel Messi

Only 27 years old at the time Lionel Andrés Messi Kussitin was the captain and striker of the Argentina national team soccer club “Barcelona”. He was the youngest player to score 200 goals, and only two years later, he increased the score to 400 goals. Messi is a four-time “Golden Ball” winner as well as a Barcelona legend. He spent $ 5 million on his mansion, which features a home theatre, home spa centre and outdoor soccer field, perfect for training.

Mario Balotelli

As a professional football player, Mario Balotelli Barvua played for FC Liverpool as a striker. He also played for the Italian team in the 2012 Euro championship as well as the 2014 World Cup. Called by millions of fans, Super Mario he later also got the nickname Bad Italian Boy. His first mansion is a large villa, featuring a home theatre as well as an indoor pool.

Cristiano Ronaldo

At age 29 Cristiano Ronaldo Santos Aveiro the Portuguese football player of Real Madrid was both the winger and striker, as well as the captain of the Portugal team. In Euro 2012, he led his team to the semi-finals and is remembered for his transition to Real Madrid. The cost of the transformation came to €94 million euros, which enabled him to claim the title as the most expensive footballer soon after Ronaldo bought his mansion in Manchester, which set him back $6 million in 2006.

FA Cup Win for Watford Would Mean Everything

Ben Foster recently informed reporters that glory in the FA Cup with Watford during the 2018/19 season would mean a great deal more than the success he had with Manchester United after he admitted that he genuinely struggled to cope with the brutal drive for trophies at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ben Foster at Watford

Ben Foster, who is currently 36 years old, has enjoyed one of the most glorious seasons of his football career after he decided to leave Albion for Watford last summer. The former goalkeeper for England could have been the first-choice for Manchester United after he was billed as Edwin van der Sar’s successor by Ferguson following his phenomenal performance in the penalty shoot-out League Cup final win when they faced Tottenham Hotspur in 2009.

Ferguson stated that the future is in the hands of Foster after being highly impressed by the development of the player. However, a loss of confidence and form witnessed Ben Foster leaving Manchester United to play at Birmingham City only 12 months later. He is now approaching the final years of his football career at Watford.

The Watfords are set to face Wolves this weekend in an attempt to reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 1984. Ben Foster has informed several reporters that the joy of claiming a win for a football club without the added pressure of expectancy is something that the player relishes after he failed to understand the reaction to success with Manchester United truly.

Comments from Ben Foster

“I managed to win the League Cup while I was playing for Birmingham during 2011 and its definitely one of the highlights when it comes to my career,” Foster stated. “We faced Arsenal on that day in Wembley, and we were considered the underdogs in that game. Thankfully, we won the match, and when you run down the pitch to see the reaction of the fans in the stadium, you start to understand how much it means to them too entirely.

“I remember walking back to the coach after we won the match and it was basically, ‘Okay lands, training tomorrow, we have a Champions League game on Tuesday.’ “It was instantly forgotten just like that. I was surprised. We did not celebrate at all, and that’s where the difference comes in at Watford for me.

“I was unable to get my head around the fact that it was simply another trophy for the cabinet. However, I believe that when you claim the trophy with a team like Watford, West Brom, or Birmingham, it would mean a great deal more.”

Looking back at the football career of Foster, where he had 8 England caps, a Premier League title, and 4 League Cups, there is a sense that he was never fulfilled when Manchester United signed him in 2005 from Stoke City. Foster also admitted that Manchester United was way too much, way too soon.

England Heading to Semi-finals

England has done what no other team from the nation has done since 1990 – make it to the semi-finals. This is an accomplishment not even Beckham achieved. Saturday’s game saw England victorious over the Swedes 2-0 to send the U.K to the semi-finals and one game away from playing the finals.

Scoring first for England was Harry Maguire, their second came as a result of Dele Alli, who scored at the 59th minute of play. For Harry Kane, he felt the team was composed and in control and considering many are playing their first World Cup tournament, their performance has been one that was not expected. However, this has been a tournament that has been full of surprises.
When the clock brought an end to the game, celebrations in the United Kingdom were off the charts. Of course, they started well before knowing the odds of Sweden coming back and catching up to earn a draw and force a shootout were slim.

When you consider the likes of Beckham and Gerrard w,ere unable to achieve what this year’s team lead by Harry Kane has achieved is something to honour. England has not made it this far since 1990 and in the last tournament they failed to advance beyond the group stage.

What made the difference

A big part of the success came as a result of a young team and the guidance given by Kane and Coach Southgate. Kane stated after the game ended that he expected fans would be pleased and celebrating back home adding he imagines some good celebratory videos would be seen in the aftermath of the win.

Fans could be heard chanting at the stadium in Russia saying “On our way, on our way, to Moscow, on our way” If not for the large number of goals scored by the squad, England may not have made it this far, but with superior speed, agility and youthfulness behind them, they are strong contenders to go the distance and earn a place in the finals.

Maguire drove the first one home 30 minutes into the game. It was his first of the tournament and England’s 11th. England has been stellar in their passing skills and accepting a pass from Jesse Lingard put Ali in positon to score their second goal – fancy footwork goes along way.

Commenting on his goal, Maguire said, “We knew set plays would be key, and also that little ball that Jesse sent in for Dele, that was great. We worked on that in practice.”

The reality is, England proved to be too much for Sweden. Considering they were the underdogs and not expected to have advanced as far as they did, they were unable to break down the superior skill of the English team.

World Cup 2018: Germany boss Joachim Low admits side deserved to go out

After Germany lost in the group stage, Germany’s Coach, Joachim Low said he felt that they deserved to lose after the historic crash during the group stage. Germany were the defending champions going into this year’s World Cup and finished last in Group F after suffering a defeat to South Korea, a team many expected would not be much of a challenge for the Germans. It was the first time since 1938 that the country failed to advance.

For Coach Low, he said, “This is something for us to reckon with. This is historic. I am sure this will create some public uproar in Germany.”

The winners of Group F was Sweden, who beat Mexico 3-0. With Mexico advancing due to Germany’s loss, Mexican fans were on the edge as they watched, many in disbelieve as South Korea defeated the Germans.

When asked to expand on his comments, Low, who in 12 years of coaching had not made it to the semi-finals, explained,

“We saw Sweden had taken the lead, so we needed to keep the pressure up but our team was missing the ease of play and the classiness we usually have. So, we deserve to be eliminated, yes. At this tournament, we didn’t deserve to win again or move to the round of 16. We were eliminated not because we didn’t want to win but we never had the chance to take a lead at any point – we were always lagging behind, trying to keep up.”

While the match came down to the wire, both of the goals scored by South Korea came during injury time. The first of those was by Kim Young-gwon who scored with a close range goal that was initially disallowed after an offside call, then later overturned and allowed. The second came minutes later after Ju Se-jong tapped another past German goaltender Manuel Neuer to give the Koreans a 2-0 win.

Germany’s Epic Exit

For Germany, the end was anything expected. It was only the second time in history that Germany failed to advance beyond the group stage. They have advanced to the semi-finals in their last four World Cup tournaments and have made the final four in the World Cup with the exception of three times. They have made the final two twice and before the loss to South Korea, had yet to lose in a match against an Asian country.

Interesting World Cup Facts

The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world, and it is also the worlds most watched sporting event every four years. Here are some interesting facts about the World Cup.

• Brazil is the king – Brazil has won the most World Cups hoisting the trophy five times. They have qualified for all 20 of the tournaments held. A couple of other interesting facts is their biggest defeat was when they hosted the World Cup in 2014 losing to Germany 7-1 in the semifinals giving up five goals in the first 29 minutes, which was also a record. On top of that the biggest attendance for a match in the tournament was in 1950, also held in Brazil, where at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro 199,984 spectators watched Brazil take on Uruguay.

• US peaks early – The best finish by the United States came in the first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay where the Yanks lost to Argentina in the semifinals.

• Guns aplenty – in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 in a match with 60,000 fans a referee in the match ordered a search of the crowd and in excess of 1,600 guns were confiscated.

• Steal the bus – In the 1974 World Cup in Germany the Zaire team attempted to steal a bus they were given for the tournament and drove it back to Africa, but they were caught before leaving German soil.

• Qualifying match sparks war – In 1969 in a World Cup qualifying match between El Salvador and Honduras the aftermath was a war between the two nations where in the span of only four days 2,000 people were killed, and 100,000 were displaced.

• Hide the hardware – During World War II FIFA’s Italian Vice-President Ottorino Barassi, smuggled the World Cup trophy out of q bank in Rome and hid it under his bed. It remained there for most of the 1940’s, as there was a major concern at the time that the Nazis would steal it.

• Qatar spending big – The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar, and while there has been much controversy surrounding their bid, there is no doubt they spent big in order to be the host. It is estimated that they spent more than 60 times what South Africa spent to host in 2010 and more than 15 times what Brazil spent in 2014. Much of the costs will be going to the outdoor air-conditioned stadiums in the country, where the temperatures can get sweltering in June when the tournament is held.

• Nice prize for a goal – The United Arab Emirates (UAB), surprisingly, qualified for the 1990 World Cup and prominent statesman Sheik Mohamed promised that every player for the team that scored a goal in the tournament would receive a brand-new Rolls Royce. Ismail Mubarak and Thani Jumaa were the two players that earned the new luxury cars netting the only two goals for the country.

• One and done – For every World Cup, but one the knock-out-final stage is used to crown the champion. However, in the 1950 tournament FIFA tinkered with the format and used a round-robin one, which was not popular and scrapped right away.