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Top 10 French footballers of all time

Wearing the traditional colours of blue, white and red, the colours of French national flag, they are colloquially known as Les Bleus (the Blues). France national team played their first official match in 1904. Since then the national team won one FIFA World cup title, two UEFA European Football Championships, one Olympic tournament and two FIFA Confederation Cups. Currently they are holding 19th position in FIFA ranking. There are so many prominent French footballers holding their glory alongside with The French national team. Today we are here to present top 10 French footballers of all time.

The list of top 10 French footballers of all time:

10. Franck Ribery (2006-present, 16 goals in 80 caps)

Some may suggest that Ribery is overrated, but the nominee of last year FIFA Ballon D’or won virtually every honour at club level. Currently he has become a key figure of Bayern Munich Club. With Bayern Munich he has won four Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals , one Champions League and a world club cup.

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Franck Ribery in action ——image via: commons.wikimedia.org

In the international football Ribery has turned in some eye catching performances. In 2006 world cup, the match against Spain, his first goal was particularly memorable as he scored it in the first knock out round.

9. Lilian Thuram (1994-2008, 2 goals in 142 caps)

The defender, Lilian Thuram was a key member of France’s Golden period. Besides he also won trophies in France, Italy, and Spain. In the club football, the majority of his success came with Juventus, with whom he won two Serie A titles and Italian Super Cups.

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Lilian Thuram—image via: cm0102.com

Although he was not known for scoring goals, but his two knocks was regarded with great values for the French team. In 98’ World cup in France with the host losing 1-0 in the semi-finals, Thuram fired in an unexpected brace to carry his nation to the final, where they overcame Brazil.

8. Eric Cantona (1987-1995, 20 goals in 45 caps)

Eric Cantona’s international career was littered with controversy as he fell out with team managers-Henri Michel and Aime Jacquet. Nevertheless Cantona still managed himself to score 20 goals for his nation, which included 2-1 win over Sweden in World Cup qualifying.

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Eric Cantona, Manchester United legend——–image via: 18yardbox06.blogspot.com

After being controversial in Ligue 1 following a string of incident, he flew across the channel and joined in Leeds United to win the 1992 title. After that he joined Manchester United and became an old Trafford legend by winning four premier league titles and two FA cup titles. Surprisingly he was an star in England, not in France.

7. Patrick Vieira (1997-2009, 6 goals in 107 caps)

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Patrick Vieira celebrates after scoring goal—-image via: www.theguardian.com

Being an integral part of the France’s Golden era, Vieira was regarded as one of the world’s best mid-fielders. Although he played as a substitute in 98’France world cup, but he was a key player to the national team when they won European Championship two years later.

He made himself a vital figure in Arsenal with which he won three premier league titles and four FA Cups.

6. Jean-Pierre Papin (1986-1995, 30 goals in 54 caps)

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Papin scoring for AC Milan—-image via: thegentlemanultra.tumblr.com

It was sad for a player of his talent being a member of French side branded ‘ the Cursed generation’ with Michel Platini retired Zinedine Zidane struggling to establish himself. But Papin had proven his quality at both Club and International level. He was so popular in Marseille, that the Italian Club AC Milan offered a record fee of 10 million pound to secure his service in 1992.

5. Just Fontaine (1953-1960, 30 goals in 21 caps!!!)

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Just Fontaine , above all—image via: www.sportskeeda.com

France may have finished third in 1958 World Cup, but Fontaine made his glory written in the world cup history. He scored a stunning 13 goals in that tournament which is a still standing World Cup record. His quartet of strikes during the playoff encounter against West Germany was a firing performance in that tournament.

He made his debut match memorable by scoring a hat-trick against Luxemburg in a 1954 world cup qualifier. Fontaine was the leading goal scorer in 1958-59 European Cup with 10 goals. His most successful period was spent with the French club Stade de Reims.

4. Thierry Henry (1997-2010, 51 goals in 123 caps)

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Thierry Henry flying in the wind—-image via: www.picgifs.com

Thierry Henry is France’s leading goal scorer of all time by a 10-goal margin. Henry’s international career is full of glorious matches. He scored three goals in France ’98 world cup and added another three in Euro 2000. In 2006 world cup it was Henry’s goal that defeated the defending Champion Brazil.

Many feel that, he is the best player English Club Arsenal ever got. Henry achieves the position with dignity in the list of top 10 French footballers of all time.

3. Raymond Kopa (1952-1962, 18 goals in 45 caps)

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Raymond Kopa—-image via: lgnds.net

By beating players like Pele, Garrincha and his teammate Fontaine , Kopa won the player of the tournament award in 1958 World Cup. One year later, the French master also won FIFA Ballon D’or. The Frenchman lifted the European Cup on three occasions in 1950s alongside Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano. He remains in Pele’s list of top 125 greatest living footballers of all time.

2. Michel Platini (1976-1987, 41 goals in 72 caps)

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Platini with Ballon D’or—image via: en.wikipedia.org
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Young Platini—-image via: www.theguardian.com

Michel Platini’s finest performance came during 1984 championships. He guided the hosts to their first international trophy while France scored 14 goals, nine of which came from Platini in that tournament.

In the club level, he helped Juventus with his stunning goal to win their first ever European Cup against Liverpool in 1985.

1. Zinedine Zidane  (1994-2006, 31 goals in 108 caps)

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Zidane’s header in 98 world cup finals—-image via: www.bbc.co.uk

The hero of 1998 world cup, ‘Zizou’ has experienced such contrast emotions in two world cup final that no one ever did before. The world cup hero scored two goals of three that sunk Brazil in 1998 world cup final. And dramatically eight years later against Italy in 2006 world cup finals, he made himself the villain of all when he was sent off for headbutting Italian Marco Materazzi. France was defeated on penalties. It was Zizou’s last match as a professional footballer.

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Zidane with the World Cup——-image via: www.japonkale.com

His glittering career includes two Serie A with Juventus and a La Liga crown with Real Madrid.

In 2002 champions league final, Zidane fired an unstoppable volley into the Bayer Leverkusen net. The goal was regarded as one of the best ever scored in any match. And Zinrdine Zidane places no 1 position in our list of top 10 French footballers of all time..

Also Read: Highest sold football kits 2014/2015

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Lucas Podolski, Germany’s secret weapon

Can Lucas Podolski secure his chance?

There were some serious doubts over the German winger Lucas Podoloski after Euro 2012. Although the German scored just twice for Germany in last 18 months, his over all potential for German national team is totally undoubted.

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Lucas Podolski, Germany’s secret weapon—-image via: commons.wikimedia.org

Germany may have an abundance of world class attacking options, many of whom will be ahead of Lucas Podolski. Marco Reus is certainly not a secret anymore after his heroic performance against Real Madrid and he is in great form over few months. Another Mesut Ozil is a kind of player who needs no introduction at all. Ozil has been a cornerstone for German national team since 2009. It was Thomas Muller being the youngest player to score five goals in 2010 world cup since the legend Pele. As a favorite of Low’s opponents can more or less expect Mario Gotze as a threat.

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Podolski can be Germany’s cornerstone—-image via: hu.wikipedia.org

Lucas in Low’s eye:

It is unlikely that Lucas podolski to start, while so many other international superstars are available to Joachim Low. But Low is looking increasingly to be an impact substitute like a surprise package just like Lucas Podolski can be.
Low has been loyal historically to certain long standing players, from Klose to Per Mertesacker to podolski. The issue was never their current form in the club. With Low mentioning him as ‘ indispensable’ , podolski has continued to make appearances for his country, despite his recent drought of goals.
After managing 112 caps for Germany , Podolski will be Low’s first choice of attack. Julian Draxler’s stagnation at Schalke and Andre Schurrle’s inability to make much impression in Chelsea will make Podolski’s path smooth.
Although in recent years, he has often lacked confidence and precision and it has become increasingly easy to forget the impact that Podolski can have. But he has the potential to offer some unique qualities of attack and that may be very useful in the upcoming world cup tournament. He may prove very useful to the German team. His shooting power is definitely unmatched to any current German international except Reus, a better finisher with stronger leg.

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Podolski, will he make the blow?—–image via: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Will it be his last World Cup?

Lucas Podolski has had the chance to work on his partnership with his Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil and they certainly now have a chemistry unlike any other pairing in Low’s team. Ozil was quite a helping hand for podolski in Arsenal as he’s been a menace to opposing defenses, latching onto through passes from the playmaker on the left wing.
Podolski has been to the world cup twice and he perfectly understands the magnitude. It can be his last World cup, as his 29th birthday is knocking. After joining Arsenal, the 2014 FIFA World cup Brazil will be his first international match. He may not be a good starter, but he will be the Germany’s secret weapon off bench in Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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5 Stars missed FIFA 2014 World Cup

1. Petr Cech:

Petr Cech, misses world cup
Petr Cech, the wall—-image via: theshedender.com

This Chelsea player has long been established as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. With over 100 international caps Cech has proved a veritable rock for his country, Czech Republic. His strength and reliability coming out on corners and set pieces. You have to earn a goal against stunning reflexes. Strikers will be happier that Petr Cech is not around Brazil. Petr Cech is one of the finest stars missed FIFA 2014 world cup.

2. Christian Eriksen:

Christian Eriksen, 5 stars missed the World cup
2. Christian Eriksen—-image via: www.fmsweden.se

Major tournaments like World Cup usually reveal a rising star, such as 20 year-old EnzoScifo for Belgium and Michael Laudrup for Denmark in 1986. When Laudrup shone in Mexico, he was just 21, the same age as Christian Eriksen is now. Eriksen is seen as the future of Denish football as his silky skill and quick-thinking brain has drawn comparisons to the legend Laudrup. The Denish must be disappointed not to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He is indeed one of the stars missed FIFA 2014 world cup in our list.

3. Gareth Bale:

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Gareth Bale—–image via: www.thetimes.co.uk

 

 

The Wales winger Gareth Bale will be hoping he doesn’t follow the footsteps of his illustrious countryman Ryan Giggs-who won everything with his club Manchester United but never played in a World Cup. Bale had a stunning last season with 21 goals for Spurs, fair enough to draw the attention of Real Madrid. His combination of power, searing pace and incredibly hard shot make him a nightmare to defend against. Defenders in Brazil world cup will be thankful to him for his absence. He is one of the stars missed FIFA 2014 world cup.

4. Robert Lewandowski:

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Robert Lewandowski —-image via: soccerlens.com

This Borussia Dortmund striker outshone Cristiano Ronaldo when he scored four goals against Real Madrid in the last season’s Champions League semifinals. He has scored 63 goals in 110 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund and he is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe. Unfortunately, Poland ended up finishing fourth in a tough qualifying group leaving the chance for England, Ukraine and Montenegro.

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic—-image via: en.wikipedia.org

His fans are saying,

‘ there is no point of watching the World cup because Ibrahimovic won’t be playing in it.”

Zlatan, the 32-years is in the best form of his career. His reputation of making some spectacular goals are well known to his fans, like the martial arts-style volleys, dipping shots from all angles, his overhead kicks from 30 meters out.

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Lionel Messi, is this time for Argentina?

The world cup count down has begun with digital clocks around all over Brazil marking the seconds remaining before kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Argentine manager Alejandro Sabella is expected to reveal his final squad within next few days. This agenda is dominating by a press fracas over the ‘people player’ Carlos Tevez and a worry due to Gonzalo Higuain’s recent injury.

Carlos Tevez or Lionel Messi?

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Lionel Messi in action—image via: en.wikipedia.org

Although ,Tevez has enjoyed a superlative season with Juventus, he has never been part of Sabella’s national project. It is indeed a fact that has become a bone of contention generating minor demonstrations and widespread emotional outburst in some circle.

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Carlos Tevez, in a mood of despire—-image via: www.flickr.com

The possible clash with Lionel Messi, if not personally in terms of position they occupy on the pitch, may be among the reasons why it is unlikely he will be included now. Messi is being hailed as the axis around which the squad must turn without having expressed himself at all on this subject. Whatever works for Messi is what works for Argentina.

Messi is the hope:

 The four times Ballon D’or winner, Lionel Messi, 26 is still a bit of an unknown quatity for his country. He may not be a natural leader, but his boy-next door demeanour and by now renowned economy of words hide the power behind his name. The fact is Lionel Messi has become the centre of expectation, whether he overtly executes his influence or simply by osmosis makes whoever happens to be the manager try out the system in which he appears more comfortable.

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Lionel Messi , the Hope—-image via: pt.wikipedia.org

For years the Argentine outcry was why Lionel Messi deliver with the nation as he did with Barcelona. Now even Barcelona is no longer deemed an adequate model to aspire to.

The history:

In 2002, under the leadership of Marcelo Bielsa, Arentina saw one of the quickest exits in memory with them failing to get past the group stage, the smoothest ride to World cup finals the country has ever known.

Since the last world cup victory in 1986, the quest for the right formula has evaded many managers. In 1978, Argentina’s first world cup victory was under the managerial nous of Cesar Luis Menotti. Menotti defended the beauty of an attacking game above everything. He dared leave the 17- year old Maradona out of the squad completely, feeling a solid team could work just as well with out a single genius.

Failing of the Greats:

The footballing discourse has not changed for long time since. The bi-valued approach is ever present, not just in terms of style but also in the culture. Pro-government and anti-government, Boca or River, touchy passes vs dirty antics,

 All approaches tried since, have failed to win the world cup. Jose Pekerman, Alfio Basile, Sergio Batista, Daniel Passarella and of course the God of Football himself, Maradona all failed to lighten the nation.

No more dispute please!

Perhaps it is time to stop focusing on indiviguals, whether Tevez and Messi can co exist in no 10s is less serious than whether a country so geared to rising little boys for international sale can start to produce some defenders as well as some attacking mid-fielders in the long run.

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Argentina football team in the last World Cup—-Image via: en.wikipedia.org

There will be a profound structural changes within the establishment which has remained in power for over three decades could well be afoot if Lionel Messi fails to deliver the actual world cup back to the Football Association.

Lets see what Lionel Messi brings for his supporters in this world cup.

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Dengue fever concerns for World Cup in Brazil

Dengue, a threat in brazil world cup football 2014:

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Dengue prevalence throughout the world, some areas of Brazil in red zone—–image via: en.wikipedia.org

The new research suggests there are some concerns about the FIFA World Cup, taking place in Brazil later this summer, could result in serious outbreaks of dengue fever. A study carried out by international scientists has revealed the cases of dengue outbreaks could be set to soar over the summer, as approximately 1 million football fans will be travelling across Brazil between 12 cities from 12 June to 30 July.

The research of Dengue fever:

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Aedes mosquito, carrier of dengue—-image via: commons.wikimedia.org

From the explanation of Dr. Rachel Lowe, the lead researcher from the Catalan Institute of climate sciences in Barcelona, there are the possibility of a large dengue fever outbreaks during the World cup in Brazil. She also suggested that the outbreaks is capable of infecting visitors and spreading dengue back to their country of origin. Although it depends on a combination of many factors, including large numbers of mosquitoes, a susceptible population and high rate of mosquito-human contact, the concerned authority should treat it as a threat.

Areas affected by Dengue in Brazil:

Three certain areas of Brazil may be most affected while the football fans visiting there for watching the matches. These three locations are Natal, Fortaleza and Recife. If England wins its group, they will play in Recife on 29th June.

Dengue and Brazil:

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Tourists in Brazil should be conscious —-image via: www.flickr.com

However, warnings of dengue have been issued to 553 areas throughout Brazil, after analyzing the data relating to rain fall, average temperature, altitude and density of population recorded between 1981 and 2013.

Since 2000, dengue fever is a prevalent problem in Brazil, with more cases –around 7 million in total-in this country than anywhere else in the world.

Dengue is a viral infection and it is carried by Aedes mosquitoes. Dengue fever can quickly develop into a serious life threatening condition named ‘Dengue Haemorrhagic fever’. No preventive vaccines or other treatments are available currently to fight the disease.

The preventive measures of Dengue:

The researchers have urged the tourists to use mosquito repellent take advantage of air-conditioning systems and consider using screens to shield themselves from aedes mosquitoes.

As these warnings have come before the tournament begins, local Brazilian authorities have taken the chance to prepare enough preventive measures.

It is being advised that if anyone does return home ill following the world cup, they must seek immediate treatment from a doctor as soon as possible to prevent the disease from spreading further.

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Can Cristiano Ronaldo power Portugal to World Cup glory?

On Wednesday Cristiano Ronaldo broke another world record and became his country’s all-time top international goalscorer with 49 goals in 110 appearances. In Portugal’s 5-1 friendly win over Cameroon Ronaldo scored twice and he played down the significance of his latest achievement saying,

” I do not look to beat records. This happens naturally, with a lot of effort, dedication, with the excellent national team we have, a good coach. I knew that sooner or later it was going to happen.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo goal celebration —-image via: www.beinsports.tv

In spite of his modesty in this occasion, there is surely one achievement he could not possibly play down were he to claim it. He would become one of the indisputable all-time greats in football if Ronaldo could lead Portugal to World Cup glory in Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Ronaldo does not need a World Cup win to be considered great, claimed by Jose Mourinho. He may be saying the truth but it does not mean that Ronaldo, the 29 year old cannot be a World Cup winner.

Received wisdom suggests that in terms of quality Portugal are on a similar level to England and are thus it is highly unlikely for them to win the world Cup. However, anything is possible with a player of Real Madrid star’s quality. Cristiano Ronaldo has proved that several times. He is the type of player who can beat teams on his own, as he displayed in last November when his stunning hat-trick sent Portugal to the World Cup at the expense of Sweden.

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Cristiano ronaldo in action against Cameroon—-image via: www.goal.com

In addition, his displays in EURO 2012 were equally impressive as Portugal reached the semi-finals only to be edged out on penalties by eventual champions and 2010 FIFA World Cup winners, Spain. The group stage of that game Portugal defeated the Netherlands, the beaten finalist of 2010 FIFA World Cup with Ronaldo’s stunning class. And Ronaldo is more furious and strong and skilful than he was in 2012. He is currently holding the FIFA Ballon D’or. In this season of La liga he scored 23 goals in 22 matches and 11 goals in six champions’ league appearances.

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cristiano ronaldo after breaking the record—-image via: www.indiatimes.com

The reason Portugal are rare seen as legitimate contenders for the World Cup are because of the rest of the squad. But having some qualities in the squad it needs a little help for Ronaldo to reach his full potential. Players like Raul Meireles, Edinho and Fabio Coentrao, fellow goalscorers offered him a good support in the game against Cameroon. Monaco’s Joao Moutinho was a great help two years ago in Poland and Ukraine and if he finds that kind of forms once again Portugal could go far. But being the key player of Portugal, everyone will be looking for something special from Cristiano Ronaldo in every game they play in Brazil this World Cup. The history could be made if Ronaldo can see Portugal deep into the tournament.

Although there is certainly some huge pressure on Cristiano Ronaldo, if anyone could power an unfancied side to World Cup glory in this summer, it would be certainly him.

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Top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014

As the world cup gets firmly on the horizon, the anticipation is building ahead of the first match of the tournament between host Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

Brazil are certainly be the favorite. But they will face major competition on home. There are plenty of challengers threatening them. Today we will focus on top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

Top 5 teams with their different tactics:

5. Argentina:

Argentina is a team with the richest collection of attacking players on their side. Diego Maradona or Sergio Batista shove as many of them as possible into the side and hope their collective talents will somehow win it out. Funny, isn’t it? But this time, learning from mistakes, Alejandro Sabella built solid base and then started to add the marvels.

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the duo of Messi and Aguero will be the key—-image via: indianexpress.com

Argentina always have the problems of defense. The back four may lack the star quality of the forward, but it does have Javier Mascherano with Fernando Gago and Angel Di Maria shuttling alongside him. His main role will be to link to a dazzling front three; Gonzalo Higuain with Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.

Argentina thus stays in the list of top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

4. Chile:

The coach Jorge Sampaoli has proved so popular in Chile as he described himself as a ‘disciple’ of Marcelo Biesla.

Like Biesla he often uses three backs that allows his midfielders to press the opponents as early as possible. Jorge Sampaoli will change the shape according to the opposition, just like Biesla, 3-4-1-2 sometimes becoming 4-3-3.

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Jorge Valdivia, Chile’s weapon of attack—–image via: celebrityhairstylez.com

The changes that are made are all about identifying the patterns of the opponents and then looking to disrupt their natural rhythm as far as possible.

The front three is formed highly mobile with Alexis Sanchez cutting from the right, Eduardo Vargas on the left and Jorge Valdivia in central position.

However, for their technical aspects of playing they gain the position in our list of top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

3. Germany:

As it has been since the quarter-final of EURO 2008, the shape of German team will be 4-2-3-1. But it is only the part of story.

The Coach Low has abandoned a centre-forward to play with a false nine eight times over the past two years.

Mario Gomez misses his chance for the squad while Miroslav Klose, at 36, could be given the opportunity to add to his 14 goals in World Cups. It seems likely that Low will start with Thomas Muller and Marco Reus on the flank, Mario Gotze as a false nine and Mesut Ozil as the playmaker.

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Mesut Ozil, the playmaker for Germany—-image via: www.theguardian.com

On the contrary, the front four isn’t necessarily great at tracking back, which can expose the back four. Low’s attempt to make German team more proactive which has coincided with such defensive lapses that no side finished top of its qualifying group in Europe conceded more goals than Germany.

2. Mexico:

With a struggling qualifying for the World Cup, the new coach is now attempting to use players from the domestic league. He has returned to the system they used in 2010 World Cup, which in turn was essentially the style Ricardo La Volpe used in Germany in 2006 World Cup.

In some sense the formation is a 5-3-2, but there are some natural fluidity to this shape, with Rafael Marquez stepping out from the centre of defence and the two wing-backs, Paul Aguilar and Miguel Layun, providing the width.

Deep in the midfield, Juan Carlos Medina sits to provide a fixed point, while Herrera is

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Javier Hernandez——image via: awfulannouncing.com

committed to a front two, usually Oribe Peralta and Javier Hernandez, so the formation can shift into 3-3-2-2 or 4-2-2-2 depending on whether the wing-back or Marquez advance.

1. Spain:

The Brazil-born striker Diego Costa gives Spain a bustling, physical edge up front and it may be the end of the False nine upon his arrival.

However, Spain has an embarrassment of riches in the middle. There has always been something slightly awkward about Xabi Alonso and role of disrupting the Barcelona trio Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

But if Cesc Fabregas and David Silva are included in the team, does the team lack pace, is it just full of neat midfielders who hold the ball firmly.

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Cesc Fabregas and David Silva , the duo, the key for spain—-image via: justfootballers.blogspot.com

Spain, the previous champion leads as the most influential team in the list of top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

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USA Soccer Team will play against Belgium in pre-world cup closed-door friendly

The US men’s National Team (USMNT) has added another friendly match to its world cup preparations. They will take on Belgium on June 12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The closed –door match will take place just four days before the Americans take on Ghana in world cup 2014.

This agreement will give both national teams some final competitive testing. Pre world cup matches are always good for the main tournament. Already FIFA have announced the event.

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USA Soccer Team: image credit www.flickr.com

“It will be a kind of training session for each side.”

Belgium Football Federation expressed their expectation per FIFA.

USA Soccer Team expects a full-blown friendly. But it sounds more like a scrimmage. Both the managers should assure their squad to remain sharp. They also need to keep fit both their key players during the final domestic match and after starting the group event of world cup.

Last May in Cleveland, both the teams faced off in a friendly match. USA Soccer Team loses the game. Christian Benteke provided the second half pair of goals which leaned Belgium to a 4-2 win.

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Belgium National Team : image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Some believes that match is the main reason for this agreement. That game probably is inspiring both the teams to train together so close to the Brazil world cup 2014.
The USA Soccer Team was set to battle Nigeria, Turkey and Azerbaijan in the United States. These matches were to earn the ticket for the trip to world cup 2014.

Jurgen Klinsmann, the manager for USA Soccer Team has placed a major emphasis on current form. He will make up his line-up decisions based on the friendly matches and training sessions.

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USA vs Belgium : image credit commons.wikimedia.org

So there are chances of making or breaking of certain players to the final events. The decisions will be provided from the closed-door match probably. The midfield and the outsides of the back line positions are up for grabs.

Many people considers group G as the “Group of Death”, this year. The USA Soccer Team is in a group alongside Portugal, Germany and Ghana. So the United States have to earn three points against the black stars in the opening match. May be this will become the key to survive in group G.

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USA vs Belgium : image credit msn.foxsports.com

Belgium is in Group H. They are with Russia, Algeria and South Korea. This group is much easier to navigate. Belgium will definitely hope the final training session with the USA Soccer Team is crisp and clean.

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Brazil fired by anti-World Cup protests: Rio and Sao Paulo are burning

With the FIFA World Cup coming in less than a month, the Brazilian government has sent in the tanks to restore order amid anti-world cup protests against the hosting cost of this international football competition. The riot police have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo who marched against that demand. Some protesters hurled stones while others burned tyres and blocked roads.

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The protests across Brazil—image via: usa.chinadaily.com.cn

The cause of their anger was that billions of dollars are being spent on next month’s FIFA World Cup, rather than social projects and housing. Including Brasilia, the anti-world cup protests also took place in other cities in Brazil. Among others, teachers and civil servants also join in the protest across Brazil.

In Rio, hundreds of people were marching in rush-hour traffic on a main thoroughfare. The Rio riots drew the attention of the world as Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the final match of the FIFA World Cup 13 July.

Another city, Sao Paulo, hosting the inauguration match against Brazil and Croatia, was affected when the protesters cut off access to the Avenida Paulista.

 The federal troops arrived in the World Cup host city of Recife on Thursday, as the state police are on strike demanding better pay in that city.

Protests are more frequent:

The number of people protesting on the street was much lower than during similar anti-world cup protests last year. Although some of the activists promised that the demonstration would get bigger and more frequent as the World Cup gets closure. More than a million people took to the street last June over poor public services, corruption and the vast cost of World Cup hosting.

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Brazil on fire—image via: www.bbc.co.uk

According to BBC the Brazil government is looking closure to the protests as it indicates a security challenge for them. In addition the with the World Cup and the Presidential election coming in the same year, many groups are spotted to put pressure on the current government.

‘No panic, just protest’

The head of the Homeless workers movement Guilherme Boulos said,

“Our goal is symbolic. We don’t want to destroy or damage the stadium.”

On the other hand the Government was trying to downplay the scale of Thursday’s protest, arguing it was not linked with the upcoming World Cup at all. On behalf of the government, Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said ,

” I’ve seen nothing that is related to the (World) Cup”.

He was assuring that there’s no reason to panic in receiving three million Brazilian tourists and 600,000 foreign visitors for the World Cup tournaments.

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The peaceful protest—image via: abduzeedo.com

The anti-world cup protests were planned along with a range of strikes, including the one by the police force in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. On the third day of strike the army was deployed to provide additional support after some robberies and looting.

The local media reported that total 234 people were arrested in the last 24 hour.

The Brazilian leaders had believed that the World Cup and then 2016 Olympics in Rio would put a spotlight on the country. They show the advances over the past decade in improving its economy and pulling tens of millions out of poverty cycle.

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Bastian Schweinsteiger in Injuries, Worry German Squad

German midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger left Bayern’s final Bundesliga match of the season with a knee injury. The injury gave the German fans another anxiety ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2014.

The need of Schweinsteiger:

German’s are desperate in need of Schweinsteiger to be fit in their campaign for world cup. It has been a season of many absences for the German and none is giving a guarantee that he will be fit to start the Brazil campaign.

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bastian schweinsteiger, the integral part of German team—-image via; www.zimbio.com

Schweinsteiger, the 29-year-old will celebrate a decade in the German Squad just before their opening Group G game against Portugal on June 16 having won his 101st cap in the 1-0 win over Chile in last March.

A defensive midfield shoo-in for country as well as club, Schweinsteiger’s presence for Bayern Munich this season has been restricted by a trio of injuries.

Injury became part of his life:

In the preseason period back to back ankle surgeries hampered him badly. Then in January he suffered an inflamed knee ligament at a training camp in Qatar.

Bastian Schweinsteiger returned with a vengeance on his full 90 minutes appearance in mid-March when he curled home a free-kick for the winner as Bayer Leverkusen lost 2-1 in Munich.

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Schweinsteiger in injury—-image via: www.4-4-2europe.com

While playing against Arsenal at home, he scored in 1-1 draw as Bayern reached the Champions League Quarter-finals 3-1 on aggregate, then netted in their 2-0 league win at Mainz.

Bastian Schweinsteiger gained valuable match fitness in 2014 as he played only 16 of Bayern Munich’s first 27 league matches. In the Champions League semifinals Bayern Munich was defeated by Real Madrid. The match put a great deal of psychological blow and the knock to the knee last weekend didn’t help.

German coach Joachim Loew said,

“with his class and experience, he has a big influence on our game.”

By measuring his value he added,

“When he is able to play 90 minutes, with his confidence on the ball and tactical awareness, Other players respond when they see Bastian is playing well.”

He is the part of German Strategy:

Schweinsteiger claimed his 7th German league title when Bayern Munich finally confirmed Bundesliga champions with a record seven games to spare.

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm switched from right-back to accompany him in the defensive midfield and Joachim Loew could repeat the action in Brazil too.

Loew lacks defensive mid-field options to partner Schweinsteiger with Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira struggling with a knee injury.

bastian schweinsteiger, bayern munich
Schweinsteiger—–image via: hiilkubad.com

The options like Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan has not played since August with a back injury while Dortmund’s Sven Bender is out with a pelvis injury. They all face a race against time to be fit for Brazil.

Bayern Munich’s Toni Kross has proved himself a better option as he has had a stellar season in the attacking midfield role for the European Champions and he may be dropped back into the number six position or Philipp Lahm could be moved across from right back.

No replacement for Schweinsteiger:

When Germany finished third at the 2006 World Cup on home soil, Schweinsteiger played a key role for the team. At Euro 2004, Schweinsteiger at the age of 19, had his debut.

He was awarded man-of-the –match with two long range strikes in the 3-1 play-off win against Portugal and he nearly finished with a hat-trick.

Just before the last World Cup when Michael Ballack was injured, Schweinsteiger filled his midfield role and when fit, he is Loew’s first choice in midfield.

In claiming a fourth World Cup title in Brazil, he will be the heart of Germany’s bid.

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Top 10 overrated football players in the world

These players adore adulation and they demand respects. They possibly earn more money in 1 year only by playing football than 99% of adults make it in a lifetime job. Not only that, they have appeared in different products ads, pouted for photo shoots and have given a big thumps up as a part of endorsement deals. They grab supermodel girlfriends, 25 bedroom mansions and even Lamborghini supercars. But the question is “are they really that good?”

Today Sporty ghost brings you the list of top 10 overrated football players in the world. As the list is completely subjective, you people may vehemently disagree and nail a picture of me to your dartboard for simple target practice. Now I think it’s time someone stood up for these players and told them what they really are the top 10 overrated football players in the world.

Top 10 overrated football players in the world:

10. Cristiano Ronaldo

Nicknames: “A Complete Brat”, “The Winker”

Cristiano Ronaldo has earned his enormous popularity throughout the world. He has got numerous fans worldwide. He is undoubtedly a football genius, a skilled footballer. During his staying in Manchester united, he scored stunning 42 goals in a single season and now for Real Madrid, he is still scoring like a goal machine!

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Cristiano Ronaldo———image via: www.flickr.com

Cristiano has lifted every single major piece of silverware in England by the age of 24 (aside Champions league, just for that time period). He has nominated as 2 times PFA player and player of the year for 1 time. Possibly, he deserves more than these.

To the Portuguese side, he is the perfect heir of Luis Figo and he is on course to have an even more legendary career.

Also read: Top 10 highest paid soccer players 2014

 

You may ask, why C. Ronaldo in the list of top 10 overrated football players in the world? Is it because he is a brat? Perhaps his mind blowing diving and free kicks from inside his own half and all round meat-headedness becoming annoying after a while. But quite simply the reason is CR7 won both the FIFA Ballon D’or and FIFA World player and the great Lionel Messi did not.

If Cristiano Ronaldo is rated as the best player in the world over Lionel Messi, by definition he is overrated, but obviously by the highest standards available.

9. Petr Cech

Nickname: “The best goalie this side of Buffon”

Petr Cech may be suffering from ‘Edwin Van Der Sar’ syndrome throughout his Chelsea career, but his outstanding clean sheet and defensive record have made him exceptional than others. This could be attributed to a well-organized and disciplined defense as opposed to any indivigual brilliance on his part.

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Petr Cech——image via: caps.ball72.com

However, unlike Van Der Sar, Petr Cech has been consistently hailed as the best goalie this side of Buffon. Petr Cech, the 3 times winner of UEFA’s best goal keeper award winner, is the guy playing in goal for Czech Republic with a far poorer defense side.

In fact since his career ending devastating head injury, Cech has begun to look as a shadow of his former self. Unfortunately, he lost the aggressiveness and psychological edge that a world-class goal keeper needs to.

Also read: Top 10 highest transfer fees in world football

 

It is apparent that, Petr Cech is unlike most people on this list of top 10 overrated football players in the world. Rather he is a humble and decent man. Let’s hope he can come back and regain the confidence that would made him the most overrated football player in the world.

8. Lucas Podolski

Nicknames: “Poldi”, “The Scourge of Faroe Islands”,”The conqueror of Liechtenstein”

Lucas Podolski, the German ‘noob basher’ is merciless when it comes to taking advantage of weaker opponents but will promptly take out the autograph notebook against strong to world class opponents.

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Lucas Podolski, Germany’s secret weapon—-image via: commons.wikimedia.org

In fact, even in Bayern GM Uli Hoeness, he is also known as a noob basher. The reason may be the crown prince of German football was appeared as a failure in his 3 sessions there!

Podolski’s goal scoring record would make an uninformed observer believe he is a class of football.

In fact even Bayern GM Uli Hoeness was moved to call him a noob basher, citing this as the reason the crown prince of German football was a failure in his 3 seasons there.

Also read: Top 10 highest paid footballers in the English Premier League

 

Although Podolski was eligible to play for Poland and Germany, he chose to play for the Germans. He first appeared for the German National Team in 2004 and since then he has been an integral part of the squad in all major tournaments. He is the joint fifth –highest goalscorer for Germany, with 47 goals and tied with Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup best young player and 2008 UEFA Euro silver boot winner, Lucas Podolski is indeed one of the overrated football players in the world.

7. Ronaldinho

Nickname: “The fleet-footed platypus”

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Ronaldinho———-image via: en.wikipedia.org

Ronaldinho’s glittering career leading up to his horrible decline after 2006 World Cup. The thing what isn’t well documented is why Adriano Gailliani paid €21 million for a clearly past it player.

Also read: top 10 most popular sports in the world

 

Nowadays most Brazillians have a notorious self-destruction mode when it comes to careers and the great Ronaldinho is no exception. But Ronaldinho is living on past memories as most top earning footballers and despite a Bronze medel at the last olympics, few could be certain he will add significantly to his previous haul over the upcoming years.

6. Andrea Pirlo

Commonly known as “ the poster boy of everything good and bad and ugly about italian serie A”

When serie A and Italian football is on top of the world inevitably, Andea Pirlo gets a nod in the FIFA World Player or FIFA Ballon D’or running. Moreover, when Serie A is in the toilet, likewise Pirlo’s reputation suffers. Do you wanna know why? The reason is, Pirlo impersonates a lot of the characteristics of Italian Serie A.

Pirlo is languid, slow, positioned defensively and while some parts of his game, like long passing and set pieces are top class, every other part of his game ranges from mediocore to even rubbish. He even plays for a football club that has a typical Italian attitude.

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Andrea Pirlo————-image via: www.flickr.com

From a technical point of view,Pirlo, like Carrick for Manchester United and Xabi Alonso for Liverpool FC, is lacking in the close quarters technique that any complete midfielder should have. May be he lacks some qualities to navigate and create space in the middle of the park for his team. This possibly means one must have a bulldog like Gattuso beside Pirlo or a magician like Ricardo Kaka further up the pitch to make up for what should be provided in one player.

Thus Andrea Pirlo stoutly maintains himself 20 yards back from the battle in front of the back four, rarely busting a gut to get into the opponent’s box.

Also read: Top 10 all time football legends

 

When Carlo Ancelotti pushed him further back on the pitch after Inter Milan sold him, he did it because it was a recognition of his weakness, not his strength.

Unlike Carrick who gets hardly any recognition and Xabi Alonso, who gets the recognition he deserves, Pirlo gets much more than these two. And thus he made himself one of the overrated football players in the world.

5. Klass Jaan Huntelaar

Nickname: “ The Hunter”

Dutch league top scorers are notoriously inept outside of Netherlands. Dutch footballers like Dirk Kuyt, Mateja Kezman and Middlesborough’s Alfonso’s 45 goals in 39 games in the Eredivisie’ Alves are most remarkable. Today all of them are more or less suck.

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Huntelaar, “The Hunter”————–image via: sk.wikipedia.org

Why I think Klaas Jaan Huntelaar is particularly one of the overrated football players is simply down to his general abilities in open play. He’s very awkward and despite8/14 in Spain so far I still think the jury board is out until next session. Is Huntelaar the new Marco Van Basten? The technical abilities seems little lacking.

Also read: Top 10 most handsome footballers in the world 2014

 

Apparently, Huntelaar is the only Dutchman, Perez is willing to keep on at the club level. But the omens don’t look good at all, for one he was signed by Predrag Mijatovic and more succinctly he, like Lucas Podolski, looks a bit like a noob basher. As a Dutch international footballer, just about the biggest team he has scored against is Ireland.

4. Adriano

Nicknames: “The booty Basher”, “The Emperor”

For a man that seems lot like he wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of classic Brazilian movie “City of God” or been one of my sisters former boyfriend, you’d think he would be happier being a multi-million Euro earning professional soccer player in a successful team under the world’s best coach.

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Adriano———–image via: www.sambafoot.com

Not so as it seems.

Adriano was being hailed as the best just 3-4 seasons ago. Like his another teammate Ronaldinho, the world cup was to prove ominous and like any other self-respecting-big-shot Brazilian footballer, he took up his bag and went home for a Party.

Also read: Top 10 English Premier League rivalries

 

Adriano is simply among the overrated football players in the world. But unlike some of the others in the list, not because he lacks the talent but for he doesn’t show up to games anymore.

3. Dimitar Berbatov

Nicknames: “Berby-Werby”, “The Bulgarian Hitman”

His footballing style has been praised and criticized in equal amounts and rarely does a footballer seem to divide supporters of his current club as Berba does. Even Alex Ferguson had his doubts in Berbatov.

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Dimitar Berbatov——————image via: www.guncel61.com

His club records for Bayer Leverkusen, CSKA Sofia, and Tottenham Hotspur have been top notch and his technical skill and class have been so obvious all throughout his career.

It is quite unbelievable, that even his own countrymen have a mixed (both love and hate) relationship with him. Berbatov was voted 5 times Bulgarian player of the year and has a boasting 41/67 record for Bulgaria National team. But he has recently been indefinitely exiled from the squad due to perceived lack of effort.

And that’s where all the trouble begin…..

Was Berbatov really fit to lead Manchester United frontline? It seems the answer was ‘only if he wanted to..

Also read: Top 10 French footballers of all time

 

When one takes into account an honest workhorse like Tevez, who rightly feels aggrieved at losing his place, its hard to fathom how Ferguson hasn’t thrown a boot at him.

The warning signs were always there. Quite simply Berbatov looks thoroughly disinterested in the game nowadays, and that’s even taking his notorious style into account. But, one thing for sure as much as I rate Berbatov, when he is on song, he is at this stage one of the flops of the season and if he keeps up his behavior it could become feather of him before too long.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Nickname: “Ibracadabra”

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic———–image via: www.khelnama.com

As one of the two best paid footballers in the world, Ibrahimovic has been constantly touted by those in Serie A as the “complete forward” and by Jose Mourinho as simply the best. His goal records against England, Spain and Italy take into account suggesting as a serious noob basher material.

Although Ibra won Serie A’s footballer of the year, one really has to ask who he is up against nowadays.

Also read: 10 unknown facts about Lionel Messi

 

At the age 27, time is running out for Ibrahimovic to prove he has something else in the secret locker. Man like Jose Mourinho has apparently seen in him things I haven’t found so far. His outstanding performances in the Champions League unfortunately have done nothing to dispel my view that every brace or hat-trick against the likes of Lecce or Atlanta is roughly the equivalent of ½ a goal in the Champions league.

Right now, Zlatan is somebody that give noob bashers a bad name. He made his name in this list of top 10 overrated football players in the world quite simply.

1. David Beckham

Nicknames: “Becks”, “A nice guy”,”Golden balls”

Before some people throw their hands up in disgust and decide to attach my picture to a dartboard, I just want you to know that I genuinely think he’s a great footballer to be overrated. Nobody will forget his performances in the champions league quarter-final involving Real Madrid and Manchester United.

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David Beckham——–image via: retireloaded.com

Beckham is always a humble, decent and professional guy with a childlike fascination with representing England. He is certainly NOT the worst guy you could meet on this list of top 10 overrated football players in the world.

But, Beckham is always something else. Everytime I think of Becks, I heard the scream of Japanese teenage girls in airports…..that awesome Bend it like Beckham movie…the Vogue magazine cover….the ridiculous €250 million deal to sell t-shirts…the list goes on and nothing on it has anything to do with the game that made him famous!

David Beckham has become such a phenomenon off the pitch, that people would think he really was a movie or a popstar. As he is the most well-known footballer arguably, no footballer’s face is as instantly recognizable anywhere in this free world.

Also read: 7 amazing facts about Cristiano Ronaldo

 

But all these have nothing to do with his stunning footballing ability. It should come as no surprise that much of the demand for David Beckham from clubs since he was sold by a despairing Alex Ferguson.

I’m kind of disappointed that the world’s best sport will forever be associated with Beckham for hundreds of millions of football fans that don’t know much about it. If David Beckham was the man to finally make soccer big in USA, I can only imagine most of the newly acquired football fans there would surely have been getting into football for the wrong reasons.

Also Read: 10 Best sellers of men’s soccer jerseys

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France hopes still survive after Franck Ribery injured

Franck Ribery, missing World Cup
Franck Ribery ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

France football team managed to finish their FIFA World Cup preparations, probably in a best possible way. They achieved 8-0 win over Jamaica at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Sunday. After having been blown by the news Franck Ribery injured and will not be fit for the tournament, Didier Deschamps’ men went proving that they could still manage hopes for the France team in Brazil World Cup.

Karim Benzema, Blaise Matuidi and Antoine Griezmann scored two goals each. Yohan Cabaye and Olivier Giroud added the other two goals. The fear caused by Ribery’s confirmed absence earlier in the week was well and truly blown away after this preparation match.

Deschamps finally sought another way to improve Les Bleus’ potency going forward. He decided to deploy Benzema on the left of a loose three-man attacking unit. Now it becomes the familiar 4-3-3 formation. Giroud has to reprise his central role and Mathieu Valbuena once again featuring on the right side.

The evidence of this result can be considered a masterstroke from the 45-year-old coach.

Though Valbuena was unable to find the net himself, he was the star once again. He proved why he is the man whom opponents will have to fear when faced with the French. He was the key in a handful of goals, especially for the first three, he linked up superbly with Giroud and Karim Benzema.

Even Karim Benzema’s roaming role empowered Valbuena. He managed to get the best out of both creatively. Benzema also showed great accuracy in front of goal this night. His club performance was a bit disappointing this season. But now he appears to be in perfect form heading to Brazil world cup 2014. Possibly he will remain key to Deschamps’ strategies.

Karim Benzema, Madrid Star, French hero
Karim Benzema ; image credit www.telegraph.co.uk

The Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema was another major positive on the night. He is continuing to show the confidence that has grown exponentially. The first against Australia back in October and then the second goal in 3-0 play-off win over Ukraine.

Benzema showed in his 80-minute display that he is capable of stepping up and playing one of the decisive roles. He got his two goals exceptionally well. He also linked up superbly with Giroud and particularly Valbuena.

May be these positives should also be tempered by the fact that we have seen this before.

Just before the 2012 UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine, Karim Benzema looked unplayable. But at the final round he failed to score and did precious little else as Laurent Blanc’s side ended its campaign scathingly.

The France team knows what Benzema is capable of. Just he needs to produce these sorts of performances once Les Tricolores arrive in South America. Not only in meaningless friendly matches but also in real competitions.

Along with the system and the shape, France team managed to bring out the best out of the 26-year-old. He was able to roam freely which in turn freed Valbuena too, for that night.

After Franck Ribery injured, France still have four in-form attacking talents heading to Brazil. Which should definitely frighten opponents. For the first two matches it was three as Benzema missed them because of Champions League Final.

France hopes still survive after Franck Ribery injured, missing Brazil 2014
French Star Ribery ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

This kind of impressive performance will be needed to advance from Group E comfortably. Switzerland is arguably the better of their three group-stage adversaries. They managed only a 1-0 win over the same Jamaica side just over one week earlier of this practice match.

Deschamps is probably a little worried about his defense, as it was not really tested. But the forward is quite a cause for him to be happy after Franck Ribery injured. And with an improved performance he can prepare to travel to Brazil.

The French camp has proven that they can be still hopeful after Franck Ribery injured.

Though the Bayern man will be a sore miss at the tournament. Perhaps he will be missed much by those who were keen to see the player who finished third in the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or award, in the World Cup. But Les Bleus, on this evidence probably will not miss him greatly. There are truly other talented options who now appear capable of stepping up in his absence for the Team.

Though a lot will depend on the upcoming week, but this early signs can be considered blessings for France.

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Marco Reus missing the World Cup: Replacement defender Mustafi!!

Marco Reus, Dortmund striker
Marco Reus ; image credit eurofootballweb.com

With all the injuries suffered so far, the German team may have been dealt their biggest blow on Friday. Their key player Marco Reus suffered an ankle injury that eventually ruled him out of the World Cup 2014, Brazil.

Marco Reus was diagnosed with a torn ligament on Saturday. Promptly he was ruled out on the day the team was meant to leave for Brazil. Coach Joachim Loew and his team of arguably their most in-form player heading into the tournament without this key attacker.

Two years ago at the European Championships he featured the bench only. Now Reus becomes an integral part of the team. He helped the team in qualifying and was set to break out on the international stage in the upcoming world event.

But now, as a matter of fact, he will have to wait four more years to get his chance. Joachim Loew just needs to find a way to compensate for the team’s best big-game player.

Now come to the main question!! Is there any alternatives?? Is it compensable?? How??

Finally coach Loew has answered with the idea of replacing Reus by the defender Shkodran Mustafi.

Initially Marco Reus was thought to be missing out. Kevin Volland was the suggestion to replace him. But miserably Volland just missed out after being in the provisional squad while participating in the team’s training campaign.

Anyway, Loew surprised everyone by selecting Sampdoria’s Mustafi on Saturday morning for the team. He was also in the provisional squad. But he was obviously meant to be excluded as there had already been five central defenders on the squad.

May be the first step to understanding Loew’s decision-making is to admit that there is no direct replacement for Reus as well.

The 25-year-old attacker elevated his game to another level this season with Dortmund. He started continuing his prolific scoring with 23 goals but also setting up 23 more for others.

Marco Reus missing the World Cup, German attacker, Dortmund Reus
Reus missing the World Cup ; image credit blogs.independent.co.uk

Many Germany supporters were hoping to see that versatility and output from Reus this summer. As there is no real striker available and also Mesut Ozil struggling to rediscover his form, Marco Reus was the only hope in this circumstances.

It was Marco Reus who tried to make Germany’s system work without a traditional striker. With his combination, Andre Schurrle and Thomas Mueller constantly were interchanging inside and around the box. This was extremely promising and productive against Armenia last night.

Definitely the coach was not looking for direct replacement but to reinforce the defense.

“It was not about finding a like-for-like replacement for Marco. We have a great deal of quality in that position behind the forwards.”

Loew admitted via ESPN FC

The only thing that Germany have been able to count on with so many injuries is their considerable depth in the attack. Probably that is another reason why Loew was able to afford bringing only one out-and-out forward in Miroslav Klose.

It is true that they have enough alternatives like Andre Schurrle, Thomas Muller, Julian Draxler, Lukas Podolski, Toni Kroos , Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil. So another attacking player is not that much necessary for the team with this situation.

“That is why we have chosen an extra option for defense. We know we can rely on Shkodran [Mustafi] 100 percent,”

Loew remarked.

Loew’s first choice up top with Mueller is Schurrle. And Klose can be deemed only an option off the bench. Meanwhile Goetze has been the attacking midfielder used most frequently in that false-nine role. He offers a similar combination of mobility and a nose for goal.

Marco Reus has been Germany’s most complete attacking player. Others bring something else for the table. Loew will have to choose wisely.

Losing Marco Reus is a bitter blow for sure. But for now it can be considered as Germany’s golden generation. And with these countless attacking players we will find out what they can result in Brazil.

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Oscar or Willian : Whom do you prefer for Brazil?

Oscar or Willian: Whom do you prefer for Brazil?, Brazil midfielder
Oscar or Willian ; image credit bleacherreport.com

It is almost time for us. After a very few moments, Brazil will open the FIFA World Cup against Croatia at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

At the beginning of May, Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named his 23-man squad for the tournament. He did not pull any great surprises for the spectators. Like the definition, his team is as good as was proclaimed through the last 12 months.

But the thing that can’t be overlooked from the last two friendlies is the promising performances of Chelsea midfielder Willian. The 2002 World Cup winners must have thought about this great option. It is Oscar himself, who casted his Chelsea teammate into the limelight. The last two friendly matches are probably poling the position to take the central midfield role in front of Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho.

Willian Borges da Silva’s performances for Brazil have brought doubt over Oscar’s place in the team.

Under Scolari’s tenure, Oscar has never been threaten before like this. Some others like have already tried to make the Selecao playmaking role his own. Lucas Moura, Paulo Henrique Ganso and Philippe Coutinho are few of them. Now the greatest rival comes for him in the form of a player. He must also admit that the other one’s versatility has seen him make a sharp ascension to the national ranks.

Immediately after the Friday match against Serbia, Scolari said that his team is physically prepared. And he believes there is still time to prepare the side tactically before Thursday’s kick-off.

Definitely his plan will finally deploy either of the players between Oscar or Willian. But it is previously confirmed that with Oscar, it is more likely to bend towards the commonly favored 4-2-3-1 formation.

Oscar, attacking mid, number 10 Brazil
Oscar ;image credit pt.fifa.com

Oscar is far more inclined to get forward and aid Fred and Neymar in attack. And always looking for goals, more likely with double figures for the Stamford Bridge. Oscar truly has the ability to pries open defenses. Something like, with only one focused center-forward, he is definitely the key asset for the Brazilians during the World Cup 2014.

On the contrary, Willian is more defensively minded. Though his eye for a pass is also intact. Watching his displays last week, we can say that he gave all the right signals that he could be a fantastic midfielder for Brazil.

If we have to put an end to the question: Oscar or Willian, then he is likely to start in a more withdrawn role than Oscar, probably by resembling a 4-3-3 combination.

Yes Willian can pass, dribble and shoot. But the vital most thing about him, he is capable of tracking back and is willing to put in a defensive shift for the team. Paired with Paulinho in the middle of the park, they can make the opportunity to develop a potentially fruitful understanding between them.

And it is already proved that Paulinho can develop a better midfield partnership with Willian than Oscar.

As Oscar is always an advanced habitat, there is limited opportunities for Paulinho to burst forward. And if he is caught out of position, both Luiz Gustavo and the entire back line would be exposed.

Again with Willian in the centre of midfield, they can easily shuffle their position. The tactic is only feasible with Willian, not with Oscar. Obviously Oscar doesn’t have that kind of physical strength to compete in what could turn into a scrappy midfield tussle.

During Brazil’s last two friendlies, Willian’s impact was greater than that of Oscar. Oscar looked jaded after a long season and the birth of his first child. So for the circumstance, Brazil is likely more threatening prospect with Oscar had departed.

In a short competition like World Cup (with a maximum of seven games) Willian could well have the upper hand in Scolari’s mind.

Still Oscar is an established part of Scolari’s Selecao setup. As he was ever-present during the side’s run to the Confederations Cup crown. Everyone believes that he had done more than enough to merit inclusion.

May be Felipao’s philosophy admits for familiarity and confidence. And that has assured Brazil make such rapid progress under his tutorship. Back when he named this World Cup squad, Oscar was named with especial praise. Scolari has always described him as one of the best of the world. So, probably Scolari would have to be in a ruthless mood to decide, Oscar or Willian as he has to decide just one!!

But like every Brazilian fans, we believe that this team has grown together. Now they can win together.

Oscar or Willian: Whom do you prefer for Brazil?, Selecao setup
Brazil team ;image credit en.africatopsports.com
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Brazil vs Croatia: Neymar and Oscar turns the World Cup Opener on their favor

On Thursday evening The World Cup 2014 was kicked off with a bang. Brazil defeated their group A rivals Croatia 3-1 in an enthralling way.

The start was quite awful for the hosts. Marcelo had an own goal just at the very beginning of the match. But eventually they got themselves leveled before the half time. This was absolutely earned by Neymar’s scuffed effort. Then it was again Neymar, who converted a penalty for the Selecao to take the lead. Finally Oscar capped a magnificent display by poking a late effort into the bottom corner and take it to three.

Brazil vs Croatia: Neymar and Oscar turns the World Cup Opener on their favor, Brazil vs Croatia, world cup opener
Brazil vs Croatia ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Formations: Brazil vs Croatia

Brazil just started with the exact same XI that started the 2013 Confederations Cup final. For their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, Luiz Gustavo was held off the challenge of Fernandinho midfield. Also another notable thing about Neymar as he started as no. 10.

Croatia also started with their regular formation, with three exceptional playmakers Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Rakitic. Dejan Lovren was kept at the first eleven and Sime Vrsalkjo played out of position at left-back.

As it happened: Brazil vs Croatia

Belying Luiz Felipe Scolari’s year-long tradition Hulk started on the left and Oscar on the right. But it was not working well. Suddenly with Croatia bagging an excellent early goal, pressure grew at immeasurable level for the Selecao team.

As Neymar was playing as a No. 10, he was swamped out by the studious Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric. It was an easy job for them to shackle him and stop receiving balls to feet. Consequently this isolated Fred in turn and stumped the attack for the Brazil team.

On the other hand, The Vatreni were flying from the first minute. Olic burst forward inside the first minute and broke a challenge. It was a real threat for the defense. But the third wide attack was a genuine score.

It was Paulinho, who put his teammates in a real hole. Though there were a plethora of errors in the buildup to the Croatia goal. As he knows Ivan Rakitic has a runner (Olic) outside and a man free (Mateo Kovacic) to pass. So, the last thing he should do is dive in and “force” the action from the ball-player. Probably this was an example of how naive defending can kill you on the flanks.

Thiago Silva was also quite slow to come out. As David Luiz allowed his man across him, Marcelo scored an own goal. But the thing started on the Croatia half.

Eventually Brazil snapped out of it. Truly speaking, it wasn’t a systematic change that sparked the recovery. It was totally individual effort and determination that allowed Brazil to get back into the game.

It always happens for two same formation teams meeting together. Midfields are matched man for man. So it becomes tough to find space. An individual needs to beat a challenge to open it up and that began happening soon.

Brazil vs Croatia, world cup 2014
two goals for Neymar ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Paulinho first broke into the box and split the centre-backs. Soon enough, Neymar danced around Rakitic and hit the byline for a cross. Then it was the excellent Oscar who did the damage by laying it off to Neymar and letting the 50-cap wonder do the rest for the Selecao.

Oscar looked like the man of the Brazil vs Croatia match. He tried his hardest to make things happen and change the flow.

After going down, Croatia pushed forward and opened the distance between their midfield and defensive lines. They just tried to allow more players to attack.

Scolari also matched the strategy by introducing Hernanes and Bernard.

For the final 15 minutes, with space in the midfield allowing players to travel with the ball and take each other, it was astounding. Especially when it seemed as though Croatia could sneak a late equalizer, Oscar charged down the other end and punted an 18-yard effort into the corner to seal it.

Result: Brazil vs Croatia

Brazil 3 – Croatia 1