England’s Revenge on Croatia in UEFA Nations League

Four months after an unbelievable semi-final defeat during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, England’s optimism once again looked like it was going to be punctured by the experience and resilience of Croatia. However, the England squad, as we quickly found out, doesn’t use the same tactics and managed to engineer a mind-blowing comeback to reinstate the team’s reputation.

England Claims Victory Against Croatia

The two teams played for a place in the UEFA Nations League final and provided a dramatic match from start to finish. Croatia managed to take the lead thanks to Andrej Kramaric. However, the home side managed to score during the 78th minute and the 85th minute thanks to Jesse Lingard as well as Harry Kane, sending Wembley into a complete frenzy.

Although it took some time to be confirmed, it was a well-deserved victory from the England squad. Croatia pressed hard during the early stages of the match, but England was fully prepared as they played around with the opposition as they looked for the early ball to release Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, moving at a completely different pace to the severely panicked defenders who were assigned to defend them.

Sterling could have done better instead of firing a straight shot to the Croatian goalkeeper when received by Kane, and minutes later the captain of the England squad managed to fluff his lines when Barkley’s corner was sent straight to him by Stones. On multiple occasions, England’s sensational work was denied merely by last-ditch defending. The England captain witnessed a goal-bound shot which was unfortunately blocked by Tin Jedvaj along with a follow-up save from Kalinic. The Croatian team managed to make it to halftime on level grounds, failing to create a shot on target.

Southgate’s Substitution

Sterling and Rashford’s fearless running and speed continue to be the best route for a breakthrough during the early stages of the second half, but it was the Croatian team who went ahead. Ante Rebic created a phenomenal counter-attack, feeding Kramaric, who clipped a shot off the outstretched leg of Eric Dier and past Jordan Pickford.

Déjà vu quickly grew as the attack of England crumbled against the Croatian squad, but the substitutions made by Southgate managed to turn the tide. New ideas and fresh legs were injected thanks to Jadon Sancho, Lingard, and Dele Alli. Lingard provided the equaliser after Kane managed to scramble the ball past Kalinic, setting the stage for a beautiful goal with only 6 minutes left on the clock.

If it wasn’t for Kane’s decisiveness and Southgate’s substitutions, the game would have been regarded as another monument for the Croatian squad that continues to defy both logic and belief in the months following their incredible final in the Russian World Cup. While the energy reserves of Croatia seemed limitless in 2018, it looked like physical exertion was the main reason England had the opportunity to add more pressure during the final minutes of the game, allowing them to win by one goal in order to get their revenge.

Jose Mourinho Wants Zlatan Ibrahimovic Back at Man Utd

If the rumours going around the Manchester football club are true, Jose Mourinho is planning a move to return Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United in early 2019.

While Jose Mourinho has yet to deny or confirm his interest, there are several reasons for him to do everything in his power to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the Manchester United squad, even if it’s just for a few months.

Zlatan’s Impact on Man Utd

From a football perspective, Ibrahimovic’s tail end of his 2017/18 career at Manchester United, when he only scored once in 7 appearances after making a return following his ligament injury, would suggest that his impact in a match would be minimal should he return to the Premier League during the off-season of the MLS.

Although Ibrahimovic is 37 years old, his record of 21 goals in just 25 matches for LA Galaxy proves that there is still life in the former Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, and Barcelona forward. However, his value when he returns to Man Utd will be measured in the number of goals he scores by Jose Mourinho. Ibrahimovic’s true worth the Mourinho, who is currently under a great deal of pressure, will be the influence he has in the dressing room. There’s no denying that disharmony within the Manchester United squad started the day Ibrahimovic left the club.

Jose Mourinho is Struggling

It’s no secret that Jose Mourinho is struggling to manage certain members in the Manchester United squad where plenty of senior players are growing frustrated and angry with him due to the way he treats players, his negative demeanour, and his tactical decisions when it comes to training.

Obviously, Ibrahimovic can’t offer a miracle cure for the disharmony in the squad, but while he was playing for Manchester United for 18 months, his presence was significant where all players considered him to be the leader. In addition, Ibrahimovic was essentially a buffer between Mourinho and the dressing room due to his longstanding relationship with the United manager as they previously worked together at Inter Milan.

Trouble at Manchester United

After Ibrahimovic left Old Trafford, along with the departure of Rooney who was transferred to Everton last summer, there hasn’t been a player to successfully fill the void left by Rooney and Ibrahimovic.

Although Paul Pogba is the most valued player at Manchester United, he hasn’t been able to gain the same respect that Zlatan instantly earned due to his career achievements and persona. United’s highest-paid player, Alexis Sanchez, is considered a remote figure who lacks the charisma of Ibrahimovic, while others have simply formed small groups based on their shared language and nationality.

Ibrahimovic has always led by example where he inspires youngsters in the club with his dedication and humility and is able to lead from the front when it comes to speaking to the press. So, moving Ibrahimovic back to Manchester United is not the craziest idea as the manager is in desperate need of resolving the current issues in the squad and Ibrahimovic will certainly help with that.

D.C United Closes Playoff Gap After Defeating Montreal Impact

It was the biggest game of the 2018 season, and in the second half, the Montreal Impact dropped the proverbial ball. It cost them any chance of recovery in what saw United winning 5-0 and leaving the Impact with a devastating and embarrassing loss.

Paul Arriola, and Wayne Rooney each scored two goal for D.C United. Luciano Acosta scored one and also earned three assists on Saturday. The win helped put D.C United to within two points of the Impact for the final playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference.

Head coach of the Impact, Remi Garde stated, in post-game interviews with reporters that,

“In the first half, I wasn’t under the impression that we would play such a horrible second. There are certain behaviours we need to correct. These are important games in which we need all 11 players on the field to be at their best physically, mentally, and in their aggressiveness. Today, we were outclassed by our opponent in these categories.”

Luciano Acosta sent a shot to an open net at the 17th minute mark to start the scoring for D.C. Rooney made it 2-0 after he found an opening at the 48th minute mark. Rooney earned his second goal with 8 minutes left in regulation time to increase their lead to 5-0 and at the 78th and 82ond minute mark. D.C’s Bill Hamid had five saves and earned his second shutout this season.

Commenting on the devastating loss, Montreal Impact striker, Quincy Amarikwa stated.

“”When we look back on the season, this will be the moment that we decided if we stepped up or we crumbled. I’m confident of the quality we have in the locker room, and we’re going to use this as motivation to move forward into the playoffs.”

About D.C United

D.C. United plays in the Major League Soccer, a North American professional soccer league. They compete in the Eastern division and began as an organisation in 1996. D.C United has won eight titles and shares the record for the most “Supporters’ Shields”. The franchise also has won hour MLS Cups, and won three U.S. Open Cup championships.

UEFA Nations League loss to Spain Results in Luke Shaw Injury

The satisfaction that England felt from the World Cup was brought to an end this week as Spain. The team returned to action this week after finishing fourth at this year’s World Cup but saw the hope of win vanish after Spain to the win, and for England, it was the first loss in eleven years.

The start of the UEFA Nations League campaign at Wembley Stadium saw Rodrigo and Saul Niguez scoring for Spain to give the Spaniards a 2-1 victory of England. The game was a bright spot for the recently hired Luis Enrique who joined the team after the unexpected early exit from the World Cup.

England managed to make it to the semifinals at this year’s World Cup but lost in the semis to Croatia, and again lost to Belgium in the third-place game. The loss on Saturday brings England’s record to 3-0 in the last three played and brings into question the leadership of Gareth Southgate’s

England had a lead in the game for only two minutes when Marcus Rashford scored England’s only goal. Rashford’ was set up by Like Shaw eleven minutes into the first half, but it didn’t take long for Spain to counter and tie the match 1-1.

Shaw exited the game in the second half with an injury, one that looked rather serious after he and Spain’s Dani Carvajal came in contact with each other while challenging for the ball. Shaw managed to connect with a header but then fell awkwardly hitting his head on the ground. This was Shaw’s first start with England since 2015

About Luke Shaw

Shaw generated a large amount of interest as a teenager while playing for the Southampton youth system. In 2012, he signed his first contract professionally with Southampton before moving to Manchester United. ManU signed the star teenager for a record £30 million, which at the time, was the highest ever transfer fee paid for a teenager. Later that year, he agreed to a four-year contract with Manchester United rumoured to be worth £30 million. That officially made Shaw the highest earning teenager in football.

Christiano Ronaldo joins Juventus in Record-breaking deal

Christiano Ronaldo joined Juventus in mid-July earlier this year after the Italian club agreed to a record-breaking €100 million fee to transfer the Portugal forward from Real Madrid.

After celebrating his 33rd birthday in February, the world-class player is ready to take on a new challenge after spending nine years with Real Madrid and requested that the club lets him go. Christiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes, his agent, met with Andrea Agnelli, the chairman of Juventus in Greece during July to negotiate the final details surrounding the deal.

The player signed a 4-year contract consisting of an annual salary of €30 million. The clubs in Italy are required to pay that amount in tax as well, which makes the total cost of Christiano Ronaldo’s transfer a whopping €340 million (a transfer fee of €100 million along with €240 million in taxes and salary).

Ronaldo stated in an open letter to fans of Real Madrid that he feels enormous gratitude for the city and the club and that he truly enjoyed his nine years. Real Madrid managed to conquer his heart as well as his family, and it is for this reason that he wants to say thank you to not only the club, but also the staff, his colleagues, doctors, the directors, the president, and physics that made everything work.

Shortly after Christiano Ronaldo published the open letter, the Real Madrid answered with a statement saying that Ronaldo agreed to the transfer “at the request of the player”. Real Madrid also stated that they would like to express their gratitude for a player that managed to prove himself as the best in the world and provided one of the most incredible times when it comes to the club’s history. “Beyond the several titles claimed by Ronaldo during his time at the club, he has also been a fine example of constant improvement, talent, responsibility, work, and dedication.”

Real Madrid and Christiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo managed to join Real Madrid way back in 2009 after spending six years with Manchester United. Ronaldo managed to win 4 Champions League titles during his stay with Real Madrid, 3 FIFA Club World Cups, 2 Spanish Cups, and 2 League Championships. Ronaldo also managed to become a record scorer at Real Madrid, boasting with 451 goals in a total of 438 games. During his stay with Real Madrid, he also won 3 Golden Boots and 4 Ballons d’Or.

Real Madrid finished their statement to Christiano Ronaldo saying: “Christiano Ronaldo will always be considered one of the best symbols for Real Madrid and a superb reference for future generations. Your home will always be with Real Madrid.”

The Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos, sent the player a Twitter message thanking Christiano Ronaldo for everything he accomplished since joining the club in 2009. “Ronaldo, your numbers, your goals, and everything you’ve managed to win speak for themselves. You earned yourself a special place in Real Madrid. We’ll remember you forever as Madridistas. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you. Good luck at Juventus.”

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.

U.K.’s Amazon Prime Service to Show Twenty Games A Season

On the 7th of June, Amazon significantly increased its bet on live sports programming by buying the broadcasting rights to a package of soccer games in the English Premier League. These broadcasting rights are exclusive to Britain, enabling fans to watch a selection of twenty games this season on the Amazon Prime service. The rights to broadcast a small selection of games represents a significant boost to the modest foray by Amazon into live sporting events.

With handfuls of industries disrupted in the past by Amazon, which include from grocery businesses to health care. What comes next is the power to broadcast top sport events. The package does not include the league’s marquee offering and covers two rounds of play. These include mid-week events and one on Boxing Day, a day on which only the major league schedule games.

While thousands of Brittan’s look forward to more broadcasted games, their immediate optimism is all based on the game just before the World Cup commences. Marcus Rashford put England in the lead and reports indicate that players are high on confidence while Gareth Southgate is indeed capable of putting together exciting football.

Southgate Has Reason to Optimism

Another satisfying win gives Southgate reason to optimism and Rashford announced that he is pressing for a starting place as England arrives in Russia. He also reminded England’s manager that he can produce moments of outstanding quality. Even though he can be unpredictable at times, he can score goals even against the most accomplished defences.

What is most encouraging is that none of the Southgate players are off-form. Costa Rica placed twenty-third on the FIFA World Rankings, simply overwhelmed by the team’s energy in the first half. It was a relatively stress-free evening for Butland in the first round, replaced in the second half by Pope, while Dele Alli cleared the way in the 2nd half to the second goal for England. It was Jordon Henderson that captained the team in the absence of Harry Kane, and he did so with considerable authority.

The only negative if one is pressurised to find one, it would be that Jamie Vardy had a difficult time to impress. Alexandra-Arnold impressed many during his first international appearance, while it was also the debut of England’s goalkeeper Burnley Nick Pope replacing Jack Butland in the second half.

Now Southgate has some serious decisions to make regarding England’s starting line-up in the World Cup. He agrees that he would have to leave out 11 or 12 players that are genuinely good. Normally managers find it difficult to find players for each position, Southgate’s problem is which of the great players are best for the position, which might be even more challenging.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid?

After winning the 3rd straight Champions League finale, and 4th in five years, Real Madrid’s best player Cristiano Ronaldo stated, “It was very nice to be in Madrid. In the next few days, I will give an answer to the fans who have always been by my side.” This set off a firestorm in the soccer media, as it hinted that the five time Ballon d’Or winner may leave Real in the summer. It has been rumored, and not for the first time, that the superstar will return to his old club in Manchester United where he became a star.

Manchester United is the rumor and there are other ones as well, but will Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid? It seems pretty unlikely. Man U can pay Ronaldo, but his transfer fee would likely be the biggest of all time. He is 33 years old and makes $50 million per year and is signed until 2021. There have been reports that Ronaldo has had issues with the tax authorities of Spain. On top of that even with all of his records and accolades the fans of Real have never really taken him with open arms, as their best player of all time.

Chasing History

If chasing records is Ronaldo’s goal he should stay at Real Madrid. Bookmakers already have Real as the odds-on favorite to win the Champions League next season. Real Madrid’s “Paco” Gento won six medals in the 1950’s and 60’s and AC Milan’s and Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta each have five. On top of that Ronaldo is tied with long-time nemesis and Barcelona great Lionel Messi with five Ballon d’Or trophies. While he would obviously help many clubs his best chance for more trophies in his stacked cabinet has to be with Real Madrid.

Where Would He Go?

While Manchester United is the club that is most often talked about when taking on Ronaldo are other clubs on the radar? PSG have been big spenders in the last few years, but they have striker Neymar under contract for HUGE dollars, so Paris is unlikely. Chelsea and Arsenal have the means, but they will likely not take on an aging star for the amount of money he would command. China is also a possibility, but even at 33 Ronaldo is still in his prime and while he would make a ton of money there, trophies and major individual awards would not be in the cards. He does not fit in the team-game mode of Bayern Munich and his style does not mesh with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Fellow Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who scored in the Champions League finale, said after the match, “Where will Cristiano go? He stays with us, we need Cristiano.” When Ronaldo’s comments after the match were relayed to Real manager Zinedine Zidane he said the Portuguese superstar is “indispensable” to Madrid. There will be a lot of talk this summer with the possible move of the best player in the world, but it would be pretty shocking if he were not in the Spanish capital next season.

Real Madrid Expectations Succeeded During the Champions League

As the Real Madrid team is preparing for their fourth Champions League Final, players such as Gareth Bale are reflecting on how their progress as a team blew any expectations they had straight out of the water.

Gareth Bale is a forward for the Real Madrid team, though his name may sound familiar as he holds the title of being one of the world’s most expensive players when we made the switch between Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013 for a whopping £ 83 million. The player stated proudly during an interview that the team is making history. He reflected no his reason for even joining this club as he aspired to win titles before beaming and ending his statement by stating it’s going to be a special day for him and the team.

The Real Madrid team has had a history of winning the prestigious competition three times in the past four seasons – while Liverpool’s last success happened thirteen years ago in 2005. Throughout all of those wins, the Welsh player Bale has been on the team. This is not Bale’s first impressive win as he won La Liga and the Copa del Rey when he was playing on the Spanish side earlier in his career.

The manager, Zinedine Zidane must hurry and make the decision regarding if Bale is going to be a starter after the Welsh scored five goals in his previous four times as a starter. Zidane stated that he is playing extremely well and has been racking up the goals as of late. The Frenchman beamed as he complimented the Welsh player’s consistency when he has been playing for the previous three games. Following this, Bale added in that he personally feels great and is looking forward to the final as the team already won their second Champions League and they want more under their belt.

In the wake of the game, Bale cannot seem to keep his excitement to himself. He reflects as he thinks about a time where he couldn’t imagine participating in so many finals. His performance on the team is easily superseding the expectations he had for himself.

Liverpool Reaction

While the spotlight may currently be on Madrid and Bale, the manager of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has mentioned previously about the team’s desire to overcome and beat the 12-time record holding winners, The Real Madrid. Other than Madrid, the only other team that was able to win the competition in three repetitive successful seasons happened between 1974 – 1976 and the winning team happened to be Bayern Munich.

Despite the team’s row of successful games, Zidane stated that saying teams such as Liverpool was hungrier than Madrid simply is not true. The manager spoke highly before simply stating that no team can take away the hunger to win and succeed from Real Madrid as the team will give it their all to win again. Zidane finished by stating that either way – Liverpool deserves respect during the match as they have worked and to get where they are.