Everyone has already started talking, Manchester United have found themselves a real manager after Sir Alex Ferguson.
Coaches can find their methods rendered obsolete very quickly in football. Many greats even never see it coming. Various Champions League and domestic league titles that have long littered Louis van Gaal’s coaching CV already stood as testament to his abilities.
Yesterday it just looked like he had organized and motivated his Netherlands side worked to perfection. And they eviscerated World Cup holders Spain 5-1 in Salvador last Friday. Probably it was a sweet revenge, four years after losing the final in Johannesburg 2010.
Spain vs Netherlands: As it happened
Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben were the two architects of the match structure. But you can easily see Van Gaal’s fingerprints over the match results. Again, probably the manager’s innovative 5-2-1-2 wingback system worked too well for the team. He can also thank Van Persie’s marvelous header for the turn over.
Alongside some mistakes, it appeared to be the best defense in the competition so far. Though Wesley Sneijder was a brilliant foil to Robben and Van Persie, everything else was enough to compensate the situation.
Van Persie told NOS,
“The match has gone exactly as the coaching staff predicted. We went on, and on, and on”
Now let’s see the Spaniards for the Spain vs Netherlands match. Only six of the players on the Dutch squad were also around in 2010. Whereas 17 of Vicente Del Bosque‘s contingent were at 2010 World Cup. But there seemed to be a certain staleness about their play. Although, Diego Costa won the penalty, which put them ahead at the very first hour.
There was intricate passing as always. But we can note the lack of real incision in the final third. Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique were often in different postcodes at the back sometimes.
Yes, 5-1 may have flattered the Dutch performance. As David Silva had a great chance to effectively kill the game off at 1-0 at some hour. But it was not that much. On the next game, they are going to face Chile. This is probably another team with same attacking traits and potentials to pose problems for the opponents.
Dutch fans can be relaxed now. Only a victory over Australia will almost certainly send them on to the knockout stages for sure. But as they have just beaten the last Champions, they may now be setting sights a bit higher than that.
Bad day, Diego!!
Diego Costa won a penalty for the team at the first hour. Yes, won is the word. Pretty much an operative word. This put his team ahead. But the end was not a happy one. He had to suffer a painful evening before being substituted for Torres. It wouldn’t be a problem if they were winning. And if, this is not the end of such embarrassment, Diego Costa must be trying to forget the tournament before going to Chelsea. So definitely it can be counted a genuine bad day for the Atletico star.
Is there actually any explanation? The Spain manager, Vicente del Bosque couldn’t have one! Truly the defending champions are the first team to get back home from the tournament, after the unbelievable match, Spain vs Chile.
Probably now we can conclude that the era is ended, unexpectedly ended with a sigh. Two European Championships and one World Cup, good time it was. But it’s over, at least it appears like the very end.
After Brazil steamrollered Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup, Del Bosque had to face situations like this. There were quite the same puzzles around. But the last 12 months suggested that he had found some of the answers. You can off-course say that, especially when Spain won eight of their next ten fixtures in preparation for their return to the leadership. Though there was a thrilling 2-2 draw with the same opponent in September was one of only two setbacks for the defending Champions.
After the Confederations Cup final Del Bosque admitted that Brazil were better than them. At that time he also congratulated them for the victory. He said,
“They had more energy than us and they channeled that into every move they made”
And the history just repeated itself on Wednesday as Chile swarmed Spain’s midfield and pressed with rabid persistence. Defending Champions were overwhelmed. Also there was a matter to be noticed, their former conductor Xavi Hernandez was completely left unused on the side bench.
Year ago, it appeared like the Spain team probably need to search for a new striker. Del Bosque had to react that Fernando Torres’ time had undeniably passed. Again a few months later Fernando Llorente failed to take his chance against South Africa. Though he proved himself with his impressive season for Juventus. Yes and obvious, these were not the answers for Del Bosque at that time. Alvaro Negredo couldn’t also let himself to be chosen for World Cup 2014.
May be the plan was to answer the problem exposed by Brazil, by a Brazilian. Spain rushed through Diego Costa’s international transfer and then rushed the striker back to fitness following a hamstring injury. Spain hoped, Costa will provide a similarly brusque finish, like the way Fred’s two goals tore Spain apart in June 2013.
When Costa trudged off after 64 minutes at Maracana, we could easily understand that the plan didn’t actually work. The Atletico Madrid forward has failed to manage a single shot on target for the defending champions. And now the man he is expected to replace at Chelsea this summer. But Roman Abramovich may now have to think twice about another expensive striking gamble.
We know, Costa is more effective than his performance last day. But Chile simply didn’t allow him the space to be at his devastating best. Along with all their individual skills, Jorge Sampaoli’s side can now be considered genuine contenders for the trophy this time. Spain previously employed their quick and transitional tiki-taka to slice open opponents. But may be Chile were comfortably aware of the game plan and the way to hurt the defending champions back.
Sampaoli at the press briefing said,
“I’ll never forget today’s match and I feel very proud of my boys. They believe in one idea and that’s why we’re so dangerous”
He is also expecting to determine this Chile team as the best ever for them.
The Spaniard are now left to ponder their return to the pedestal. This time the future of the exaggerated tiki-taka is well well predictable. Hope for the youth ranks and the players who just missed out on the World Cup squad, will come back stronger at France 2016. There are probable chances to have changes in every prospective aspects, even for the managerial post for Del Bosque himself. As he admitted,
“It’s true that when such things happen during the World Cup there are consequences, we will have to take a decision for what is best for Spanish football and that applies to myself as well”
Another European clay title for Rafael Nadal. This the first of the season for him. And the 27th Masters Tournament victory of his career at the Madrid Open.
European clay title in Madrid:
His opponent Kei Nishikori was forced to retire through injury. Before that, Nadal had won seven straight games to lead 3-0 in the third set. Then the match was halted having lost the first set 6-2. And then it came for a break down to win the second 6-4.
Previously Nishikori was struggling with a back spasm. In Saturday’s dramatic semifinal victory over David Ferrer, he was badly injured. But he couldn’t understand this can haunt back again on Sunday game time.
He must be disappointed after losing his first European clay title in such an unfortunate manner. But still the Japanese can take comfort from his performances this week. As this is bringing him to the world top 10 for the first time. Probably in the latest ranking of Monday.
At the clay court in Madrid, Nishikori out-played Nadal for a set and a half with some aggressive shots. Some of them were big winners for him too.
It was clear after the trainer was called on seven games into the second set, that Nishikori‘s movement was inhibited. Rafael Nadal capitalized to break twice and level the match at a set apiece.
Probably the third set was an anti-climax. Rafael was easing ahead of his injured opponent before Nishikori decided he couldn’t continue any more of this game.
“I am very disappointed about what happened today in this final”
Said Nishikori after the match.
He acknowledged that the final was quite unfortunate for him. He tried his level best with being hurt. But after the game he congratulated Nadal as he believes that his opponent played too good. And so, Nadal was gracious in victory with the European clay title.
Rafael Nadal also felt sorry for his opponent. He knew well about the tough job against his opponent as he previously met him in London at the ATP World Tour.
“Winning at home is always more special than winning anywhere. To play in front of your home crowd… is unforgettable for me”
Sharapova rebounds back:
Maria Sharapova recovered from a horrendous start to defeat Romania’s Simona Halep 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to claim the women’s title ( European clay title ).
She had previously lost the first four games of the match to the World No. 5. As a matter of fact she conceded the first set in less than half-an-hour.
The Russian turned things around as the game progressed. And now she wins seven of her last nine titles on a clay court.
The 27 year old, after the match said,
“Last year I lost in the finals and I really wanted to go one extra step this year.it has just been a fantastic week”
She believes that her opponent is now at another different level. It is clear from her come back from 64th position to number five in less than a year. So she is happy with the way she pulled it off.
Many saw his return to Stamford Bridge as being a major indicator the Blues would lift the Premier League trophy again. But their deficiencies eventually restricted them to a third-place finish. Champions League semi-final is also no surprise for them.
May be Chelsea is lacking a true world class striker. They have plenty of talent in defense and midfield. So their downfall is probably the cause of striker.
Chelsea mustn’t be planning for being undefeated against the top four in the league. It can be a better prospect for the teams like Aston Villa, Sunderland or Crystal Palace. As these are the present struggling teams. They soaked up pressure before striking. They could have liked a shock victory against their opponents.
This season ended for Chelsea a little bitter way. In some cases they progressed but they had to put an end without being able to punish their opponent squads.
Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic:
Mourinho has already been quick to act for the remedy. He is waiting for Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid to arrive imminently. There is also another possibility. The Brazilian cum Spaniard could be joined in attack by another striker. This one is from Bayern Munich, Mario Mandzukic.
The World Cup event may be taking all the focus for the present month and half of the next. But these rumors prove that Chelsea have plenty of fans to be excited about even in this World Cup event.
Definitely, the potential of two big names (Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic) arriving at Stamford Bridge will whet the appetite. Still, there are confusions about the other front men from the Blues.
The English media is expecting that Chelsea will be finding an entirely new front line for them, next season.
Everyone is expecting, Fernando Torres as the biggest casualty. Even Chelsea star Demba Ba’s future is questioned. Many suggesting him to join the Turkish club Besiktas.
Another thing, Samuel Eto’o’s one-year contract will expire shortly. He hasn’t been offered a renewal. Romelu Lukaku is also in doubt. Will he be trading places with Diego Costa at Aletico Madrid??
Regardless of the talent he acquired, Mourinho could well be placing himself in a weaker position if he offloads all four players as suggested.
Both the players Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic have proven their undoubted qualities in recent seasons. But it’s very difficult to rely that much on just two front men to carry the Blues’ hopes. Even it’ll be risky for Mourinho himself.
Chelsea would become incredibly weak, if one of these players get suspensions, injury or even loss of form. Their rivals will not allow them such weakness endured.
Manchester city have already big stars like Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo. They just need to choose from. While Liverpool also added Rickie Lambert to their ranks.
This is not a rare story. Similarly each of the clubs in this continent is trying to boost up their front line with enviable forwards. May be Mourinho needs to do the same. Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic can easily be the preference.
There is not many more options of clearing out the players who failed to prove themselves last season. The manager must find something more to flourish them. And this can be a greater solution for him.
Various times in the last stages of 2013 and 2014, Ba came to rescue Chelsea. He scored some the vital goals, especially against Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool. Fernando Torres also proved in Europe. He scored five goals in ten Champions League matches.
When given an opportunity, Lukaku also scores for the team. Though he was much more successful in Everton. But he tries his best to find some space for the Chelsea team.
Now that, in a situation like this Mourinho must take a decision. A decision about the former strikers and the upcoming twos. The World Cup 2014 have already seen, Diego Costa failed to prove for the Spaniards. Mandzukic still going on with pace and beauty. He can become a great addition for the Blues.
Yes of course, again after 12 months, we will be here discussing the transitions at Stamford Bridge. But Mourinho must be needing some urge to accomplish as to reside with the Blues for some more. Then the statistics will also be with us about Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic at Chelsea.
The United States football team is pretty much hopeful against Portugal. Especially after the Germany vs Portugal match. Pepe saw red card before the half time because of head butting Thomas Muller. And after that Muller just went on to a hat-trick. Germany won the match 4-0.
But one thing USMNT must be worried about. Portugal’s star player, Cristiano Ronaldo was not at his best that day. He is not even fit right now. But may be ready for the game. Portugal is hoping for the Real Madrid star to Start against US.
Most obviously, this kind of injury is hampering the player’s performance. He is struggling against it and before that he is quite ineffective for the team, which in turn making the whole eleven weak.
Plenty of news (mostly rumors) are swirling about regarding the superstar’s present condition. Team Portugal is even denying to reports on him. Some say, Ronaldo’s doctor advised him to drop out of the World Cup. He needs more time to recover. Otherwise it can harm his total career. even if everybody feels, Cristiano Ronaldo is ready.
Still the team has yet to release anything official on Ronaldo’s status. They are hopeful for the good second start. Though Cristiano Ronaldo himself is confident about the game. Some say, he is inspired even with risking his future career for the World Cup event. As he mustn’t be wanting to watch the dream World Cup sitting. His teammates are also hopeful. Probably Cristiano Ronaldo is ready truly.
Miguel Veloso, one of his teammate tries to sum things up optimistic,
“I’m not a doctor but, from what I see, Ronaldo is fine. He is training, he is jumping and he is shooting. There is not much else to say”
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann remains wary of Ronaldo’s threat. He can only hope, nothing more. As they need to survive this match to continue the journey for the lucrative Cup.
“Now they will come into Manaus pretty angry and I don’t know how Ronaldo is going to perform when he is angry”
He expects from his team, they will show their opponent that how good they are.
These words sounds more like they are preparing for a fully fit Ronaldo. That means Klinsmann is unlikely to show signs of complacency. Fans of USMNT would be happy learning this. They are in fact with advantage, as they will be through to the knockout stage just winning this particular match. Especially after Germany had a draw against Ghana Saturday night. Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to overcome the disadvantages.
As always, it’s really easy to put too much pressure on any US football team during international competitions. This particular team at this particular time in the history of the sport in this country is pretty different. Especially with this particular coach at the helm of the entire program. Practically they are having as much pressure as any U.S. soccer team ever had in history.
After the World Cup draw, many thought the team had been placed in the Group of Death. As two of the top five teams were with them. And Ghana was the United States’ personal World Cup executioner in each of the last two.
But after the first nine days, things are a little bit changed. Life and death in a World Cup are proving to be different from reality. Fans can now just start proving their own group as the group of death. For England and Spain, they are all the same.
There have been much more surprises around the tournament so far. Many of which could have the United States feeling rather optimistic about its own chances to create.
No matter what the group is, even death is often diagnosed wrong at the World Cup.
Getting three points from a match against Ghana, will make the USMNT confident before the Portugal vs US match. They outplayed their opponents for 80 of the 90 minutes. So why worry about the death, rather they can easily enjoy the rest games.
The US team should be hopeful for the upcoming games. They will be assured the knockout stage with only a win from the Portugal vs US match on Sunday.
From the Portugal team perspectives, they will be needing two of their last games win. As they can easily figure out that it would be tough to get out of the goal difference disadvantage, already created. So they will be desperate to bring three points from the Portugal vs US match.
US fans must be hoping for something more too. Just look at Chile, Costa Rica and even Mexico. Expectations can change during a tournament. No one ever had expected US team to take down Portugal or Germany. But now, it’s time for at least to provide the challenge.
May be don’t lose, would be the perfect thinking over the top ranked teams for USMNT. Just maintaining this strategy twice, they are guaranteed the next round of the tournament.
Despite the heat and humidity in Manaus, they have to hope multiple non-contact injuries won’t hit. As a one more match to come up.
This week, speaking with the media Bradley said via US Soccer,
“We talked five minutes after the Ghana game ended about being excited and proud of the way we started off but also realizing that one game doesn’t mean anything”
He knew very well, that night was not the sharpest of him. But he emphasized on keeping importance of following up on those three points with a positive result against Portugal. They need to follow up the first game with a good result. They are focused for the game three needing a result or looking at the other game.
If there is a call for optimism heading into the match against Portugal, surely it starts with Bradley. USMNT must make this player understand that he needs to play better. There is no telling, how much better the USMNT will be, when Bradley plays his best. What do you think? Will it be enough for the Portugal team? Probably the Portugal vs US match will reply in a more optimistic way.
Former French teammate Eric Cantona once described him as the water carrier. After lifting the trophy at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Didier Deschamps is now coaching his country at this summer’s Brazil World Cup.
The 45-year old has always been Solid and reliable for the Les Blues’. He has been the most trusted players and one of the most important members of those two tournament-winning sides for France. Now, he has been charged with the task of restoring France to greatness. For the last eleven years he has been coaching at club level.
The French have been anything but unspectacular in South America so far. On their last match against Switzerland, they got the unbelievable 5-2 victory. The Friday match is a clear is a clear indication that Deschamps is finally starting to stamp his mark on this french youngsters.
The team is going to be modeled in their coach’s own image. Also the benefits are starting to become apparent for them.
Switzerland vs France: As it happened
After the 2-0 defeat in Ukraine in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying, it appeared as if the challenge of coaching his country was becoming too much for the former captain. But certainly he has responded well to adversity.
Didier Deschamps has changed his team in terms of both personnel and formation. He tried to find out the boys he could trust better. That’s the way like a 103 times capped former player.
He has already been awarded for his bold decisions. The 3-0 win at Stade de France secured France’s berth in Brazil.
On the Friday match, France tried routing Switzerland 5-2, at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
By only half time, France stormed to a 3-0 lead in a magnificent attacking performance. If Karim Benzema had not missed a penalty, there were possibilities for more. On the 17th minute, Olivier Giroud opened the scoring. Blaise Matuidi doubled Les Bleus’ lead only a minute later. In the 40th minute, Mathieu Valbuena then finished off a blistering counter to make it 3-0 at the break.
After the half time, Pogba unlocked Switzerland’s defense with a brilliant pass into the box toward Benzema. And Benzema finished this time to make it 4-0.
Still, they were not done yet. Just after two minutes, at 71st instant, Sissoko made it five at the other end. Watching deeply, you can easily figure out that Benzema was the catalyst again. He unlocked the Swiss defense. he helped the Switzerland vs France match end with +3 gd victory.
With time running down, the Switzerland side attempted to make an improbable comeback. Dzemaili and Xhaka added their two goals at the very last moments of the game.
Switzerland vs France: Aftermath
Les Bleus also benefited from an early injury. Von Bergen left the match in the ninth minute after having his face bloodied by Giroud’s boot. He was replaced by Philippe Senderos. France quickly gave Switzerland’s makeshift defense look ordinary.
France went on top of the group E. They have six points already and undoubtedly qualifying for the next round.
On the other hand, Switzerland must regroup before facing Honduras on Wednesday. Goal difference can be the ultimate problem for them to qualify.
Probably most of the people, especially Argentine fans all around the World, became a slight confused watching the Argentina vs Iran match, Saturday night. Unbelievably people saw Argentina’s desperately tight clash with Iran moved into injury time deadlocked with the score line 0-0. Suddenly the screen showed Lionel Messi slowly advancing on the implacable red defense. And once again, finally he had to be the ultimate hope for Argentina and frustrate his opponents.
The Iran supporters were already exploding in screams of delight. But at the end of the day they had to admit the inevitable, brilliant curling shot eluded Alireza Haghighi’s desperate dive. This was Lio’s second goal in 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil.
For once again, Lionel Messi’s individual brilliance had pulled Argentina out of their footballing anguish. A lot more thousands of supporters decked in the Albiceleste and refused to leave the spot. It seemed like, they just don’t want to miss a little moment from Mineirao stadium.
Mostly Argentina vs Iran match was quite a mediocre one for Alejandro Sabella‘s men. But the conclusion was more like a dream, especially after the starkly disappointing 90 minutes (without injury time).
It was clearly an ecstasy strike from the captain. The coach told the reporters from TYC sports,
Mostly, Argentina’s starting tactics depend on two key factors. Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Segio Aguero and Angel Di Maria combine to fire a 4-3-3 setup that leans heavily on the counter attack. And the other one is to let the opponent to push forward, which leaves their holes exploited for the Argentines.
May be the resolute coach was not prepared enough for the upset. From the very beginning of the game, Iran set out to defend with up to eight or nine men in and around the box. They always picked their illustrious rival to come and get the win.
For a moment, it appeared like Argentina did not desire the victory. Each of their steps started to become labored and clumsy approaches. Although, Higuain looked the most likely to damage. But he must be unhappy seeing a one-on-one saved in the first half. And for most of the time Messi was starved of space. Which was enough for the Argentines to break down themselves.
Meanwhile, Aguero and Di Maria will have every reason to be disappointed with their performance in Argentina vs Iran match. None of their touches were creative or inventive to break open the opponent solid defense. Probably all of their possible passes went astray and the crosses flew over the heads all the time.
After a few more minutes in the Second half, Messi intervened with another majestic goal. But no result. Then it came for a situation, when Iran almost was taking on a victory, if not saved by Sergio Romero. Yes, of course, this kind of save can easily prove his critics wrong.
Think for moment!! Such a defeat could have precipitated a real crisis for the pre-World Cup favorites.
Now, two goals in two opening matches. Perhaps, Lio is trying to prove that he will not wilt under the pressure of a nation this time. But it is unfair to expect the spark in every games from one player, even from the Barcelona genius (Lionel Messi). They have to be cautious, as results cannot always revolve around the magic left foot of their captain. So it’s high time to find for plan B.
The newspapers on 5th July said it all. On Friday night, The host Brazil may have reached the semi-final beating Columbia, but the full cost of their quarter-final victory was being counted. Neymar Jr, the 22 year old super star of this world tournament, the player has kept the weight of Brazilian expectation with calm and some extraordinary good grace, is out of the world cup with a fractured vertebra.
It put thousands of football fans in mourning while watching a newsstand to see image after image of Neymar in agony, being stretchered off the pitch. As Neymar departed down the tunnel, a hush of agony fell over the Fortaleza Stadium as well as over the fan parks across Brazil. The news on O Tempo said that Brazil won the game but lost his star. The Lance demanded in their front page,
“ Play for him”.
“The World Cup was Neymar’s dream and for years he has been thinking about it”,
Neymar’s friend and agent Wagner Ribeiro said.
Neymar was flown to Galeao air base, Rio de Janeiro after the match. Then he was taken by ambulance to Grange Comay Hospital in Teresopolis, the Brazil training base. Outside the hospital, hundreds of fans gathered holding the banners saying “ Forca Neymar”. The phrase also trended on Twitter by Brazil’s 1970 World Cup winning Captain Carlos Alberto Torres. Now, all Brazil is with Neymar with a hope of his recovery and return to the pitch soon.
There was a burst of anger among the fans alongside the sadness and the realization of what this might mean to Brazil in winning the world cup on home soil. The headline of Extra said it all,
The match possessed 54 fouls in total, more than in any other game at this World Cup. However, 31 of them were committed by Brazil. Rotating the offender to avoid cards, tactical fouling, have been the pattern of Brazil’s play throughout this World Cup. The hosts committed 28 of total 51 fouls in their last match against Chile, the second most fouls match of this tournament.
If there was anger in Brazil, there was even more fury in Colombia too. The newspaper Hoy, Diario del Magdalena was in doubt who was to blame for their defeat. It screamed on the front page accusing the Spanish referee.
The incident of the injury didn’t seem noteworthy in the context of a robust game. Zuniga leapt for a high ball while Neymar didn’t. In that, he failed with the Colombian Defender Zuniga making clean contact with the ball. The Spanish referee Carlos Carballo decided the challenge as clean. The defender’s knee caught Neymar in the back in this incident. It is difficult to say whether there was a deliberate attempt to injure or whether he was simply trying retaining the balance.
For Zuniga it was a normal action. He said,
”I never intended to cause harm the player, although we have to play tough on the field.”
The former Brazilian striker and the World Cup top scorer Ronaldo mentioned the action ‘very violent’. The phenomenon sent his condolences to Neymar saying the whole country is proud of him. The team is now determined to win the world Cup and dedicate to him.
However, winning the hexa with Neymar in the Hospital and Thiago Silva in the bench will be harder than anytime for this Brazil team.
Colombian star James Rodriguez, the breakout star at the 2014 FIFA World Cup has been drawing the attention of world’s top clubs, particularly the Spanish giant Real Madrid.
Real Madrid are quite interested in the Monaco product James Rodriguez and very much intended to make a run at him provided they can sell Angel Di Maria, the Argentine midfielder.
As the 23-year-old winger expressed his desire to make the move to Real Madrid if Madrid ultimately makes a deal with him. It turns out to be a mutual feeling between James Rodriguez and Real Madrid.
James Rodriguez transfer rumor took its shape when he said,
” It makes me proud that a club like Real Madrid is interested in me. It’s like a dream to play for Real Madrid.”
James Rodriguez’s transfer would bring a great deal of excitement and energy to Bernabeu, but not everyone is convinced that it would be a right move for him. Some believe that replacing Angel Di Maria with James Rodriguez would be a mistake.
Although Colombia was eliminated by Brazil in the quarterfinal at 2014 world cup, James Rodriguez’s performance was spectacular throughout the tournament. As the tournament’s top goal scorer, he leads superstars like Germany’s Thomas Muller and Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the Golden boot race.
Real Madrid is already stacked with several attacking talents like Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. So it would be even deadlier adding someone like James Rodriguez to the fold.
Above all, Rodriguez is a young player, just 23 who continues to get better. He could potentially reach unseen levels of success at Bernabeu.
However, his current club Monaco may not be keen on giving Rodriguez up, but the offers that come their way from Real Madrid and other clubs may force their hands as well. Right now, James Rodriguez is the fastest-rising star in the football world and seeing him with Los Blancos would be a true treat for football fans worldwide.
Perhaps the football world has found the unchanged favorites. And the nation has just ripped Brazil’s dreams to shreds in the semifinals and also won its fourth World Cup after a tense 1-0 victory over Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2014 final.
For the Brazilians, FIFA World Cup 2014 final could have been calamitous. There was only one thing worse than their national team’s losing. And that thing is, their neighbor country Argentina to win the trophy. Surely that hung heavy over the fans at Maracana on Sunday.
There was actually no coronation for Lionel Messi and no party for Brazil’s greatest ever rivals, Argentina. Instead it was Germany, which celebrated its fourth World Cup title.
Many have said, no European side would or could ever win the World Cup on South America. But now we have to believe that there is always one team to refuse such proclamations.
Even words like ‘organized’, ‘machine’, ‘ruthless’, ‘efficient’ etc. would not be enough appropriate to describe this German side. The world have to admit the wonderful talent which passes through the veins of each and every player of this 2014 World Cup German squad. Germany has long threatened to rule the world football.
It came close in a tournament held in its own country. But they had to undergo the painful defeat by Italy at the semifinal stage in FIFA World Cup 2006.
In 2008, Germany was beaten in the final of the European Championships by Spain before the same opposition ended its World Cup dream in South Africa 2010.
“We’re going to celebrate for at least five weeks now”
We can easily understand, how much did Brazilian fans want to see Argentina lose? After Götze scored in the 113th minute, plenty of fans in Brazil’s yellow jerseys in the stadium, erupted. Though this very team just eliminated Brazil from the tournament in the semifinals. But any team other than Argentina winning the trophy would please the home fans.
Their opening game against Portugal, just indicated their urge for victory this time. And their mesmerizing 7-1 victory against Brazil in the semifinals probably ensured their final glory. they fit most for the FIFA World Cup 2014 final.
They have secured this win through guts and fights. Also a moment of magic was needed from one of its brightest new stars to overcome the most difficult hurdle for Germany. The Bayern Munich star Gotze provided the game’s defining moment. He took Schurrle’s pass on his chest and displayed the exquisite technique to volley the ball past Sergio Romero.
Finally, Argentina couldn’t find an equalizer for the 1990 World Cup 1-0 loose against West Germany.
Meanwhile, the Argentine fans and players have hung their heads. Lionel Messi is often praised as the best player in the world. And often being compared with Diego Maradona. But Messi has failed to gain universal acclaim in Argentina, where Diego Maradona at least delivered a World Cup title in 1986.
The golden ball has been given to him, but this honor of the most valuable player in the tournament is little comfort for the magical Messi. He just missed the opportunity to cement his legacy. Whatever he has already earned or will earn in future, but this could be his biggest achievement for lifetime!
“All I wanted was to raise the Cup. Right now, nothing else is important”
Probably, it was left to another wonderful talent and his left foot to steal the headlines from Messi with the decisive goal. And yes, off course Brazil can smile once again. Surely there is not enough beer in the entire country to distract from the prospect of an Argentine party on the Copacabana.
FIFA World Cup 2014 final: as it happened
Having scored seven in its previous game against Brazil, Germany began to wake from its slumber and only a fine save from Romero prevented Kroos’ fierce drive. It was surely supposed to nest at the corner.
Kroos’ corner dissected the Argentine defense. Benedikt Howedes also had flown through the air before sending a thunderous header against the post.
Just before a minute of the first half remaining, dramatic circumstances forced Romero to thank the woodwork as it seemed like Argentina is getting out of jail.
Germany constantly tried to regroup the South American side. They were eager to use the flanks to exploit a lack of pace in their opponent defense line.
Finally Argentina created the move, which was was thought to be the crucial breakthrough. From the right flank Ezequiel Lavezzi found some space and delivered the perfect cross for Higuain to fire from close range.
Everything was ok and perfect along with the celebration. But it did go again against the Argentines. As the flag of the assistant referee was held aloft after the forward was correctly adjudged to be offside.
Javier Mascherano grabbed his head in disbelief after seeing Higuaín’s first miss. And said,
“The pain will be for life because this was our opportunity”
Tired limbs and minds began to show down the pace of the contest. Both sets of players continuously failed to create any kind of chance for their own good.
Meanwhile Javier Mascherano was quite fortunate to escape a second yellow card. And Schweinsteiger was left with a blood pouring from his face after a clash with Sergio Aguero.
Even the extra time was slower. So, Penalties seemed inevitable.
Then, Germany finally seized its moment seven minutes before the end of the game. André Schürrle powered down the left side of the field and floated a tantalizing ball toward the six-yard box. Substitute, Götze showed good speed to arrive under the ball and chest it down. Lashed the ball past Romero and into the net. His teammates on the field and also on the side bench poured onto the field in delight.
Surely it was like dream becoming true.
“It is absolutely sensational, a dream became reality”
Also Argentina had a few last-ditch rushes up field. But they were unable to penetrate Neuer’s penalty area. The team was left with a final opportunity when Messi lined up a free kick from about 20 yards.
But there was no magic as Messi’s shot flew over the net. And so it was over. FIFA World Cup 2014 final found its result. Messi kicked the dirt up in the stands. The German fans as well as the Brazilians shouted out with glee. And Frustration was the only thing left for the Argentines.
Like they said, even with the miraculous Messi, Argentina was unable to take the game to penalties.
Such a thrilling finish could fit with a tournament that ended up being more about the games than pessimists had predicted earlier. But the organizers worry completely proved wrong. It didn’t happen like the last year’s Confederations Cup, which was marred by violent protests. Even after Brazil’s national team was embarrassed in the semifinal, also lost the third place game, forecasts of widespread tumult were never realized.
The Argentine president couldn’t be in Brazil. She had to decline an invitation from President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil for illness and a desire to celebrate her grandson’s first birthday. Chancellor Angela Markel of Germany and Russian president Vladimir Putin did make the trans-Atlantic trip. As Russia will host the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2018. So. We have to wait another four years for another mesmerizing party, a total football party.
In order to transfer Suarez a club should meet a release-clause of around £80m that was included in the £200,000 per week contract Suarez signed in last December. Though it was a third time since Suarez bit an opponent in three years, Liverpool’s valuation has not altered. However, Ian Ayre puts his interest in the Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez.
If the Chile international moves to Anfield, he would be valued in the £30m region by Barcelona. The Catalans are much more keen for the courtship of the Premier League leading goal scorer, Luis Suarez.
With the influence of Barcelona, Suarez may go to public with an apology for biting Chiellini amid concerns over how his prospective transfer would be received. Six days after the incident on Monday, the apology and U-turn from Suarez duly followed via social media. The Barca employees were fulsome in their praise of Suarez’s action.
Barcelona’s Sporting director, Andoni Zubizarreta speaks at unveiling of the midfielder Ivan Rakitic,
“ Luis Suarez is humble enough to admit an error. In this case it’s the best thing a person can do”
The former Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper added ,
”Everyone knows last season he played in various positions in attack, but everyone also knows that he is a Liverpool player and he is an excellent player indeed.”
Ivan Rakitic also commented by saluting Suarez character and strength
“ Suarez has the necessary quality to play for Barca”
Meanwhile, Liverpool will attempt to develop their defence following the £25m signing of Adam Lallana. The English midfielder Lallana joins his former Southhampton team-mate Rickie Lambert and the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can,£4.5m and £9.85m deals respectively.
Liverpool manager’s leading central defensive target is Croatia international Lovren. The manager is believed to be keen on a move to Merseyside despite rival interest from Tottenham Hotspur, the club which is currently led by the former Southampton coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Liverpool supporters will recall Suarez’s finer moments in the club , the hat-tricks, stunning goals, individual skill while he becomes free to undergo the medical for Barcelona. The Suarez transfer news is not a gossip anymore. The legend Kop banner was inspired by Suarez saying,
“Luis Suarez can nutmeg a mermaid’.
In reaction to Suarez transfer news others will also recall one of the final images of Luis Suarez when he ushered off the pitch at Selhurst Park by Captain Steven Gerrrd, his face covered to his tears.
The Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez arrived in the Catalan city on Tuesday to complete the formalities of his reported €94 million (£75m) transfer from his former Club Liverpool.
Carlos Dunga is officially taking the responsibility as a manager of Brazilian national team again after previous four-year stint leading up to the World Cup 2010. Dunga replaces Scolari, who watched over a meltdown during the final rounds of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
Carlos Dunga having no prior managerial experience took the charge in 2006. As a longtime Brazilian midfielder he had enjoyed enough success at both the club and international levels. Hence he has given Brazil enough confidence to lead the national team.
But alas! At the football’s biggest stage in 2010 World Cup he was not able to deliver his outmost as the Netherlands eliminated Brazil in the quarterfinals. It marked the end of his first stint as manager.
Scolari made it worse!!!
The story changes following a disappointing finish by the Scolari-led squad on home soil. Although the team made it to the semifinals, in the match against Germany they were shockingly routed by 7-1 defeat and then losing the third place match by 3-0 against the Netherlands.
After this unexpected 10-1 cumulative defeat, Scolari found the exit door, the man who led Brazil to the World Cup title in 2002.
And now it’s the return of Carlos Dunga.
For Brazil it’s a risky hire to assign Dunga obviously as he had only one managerial job between his two stays with the Selecao. It featured limited success for him at the international levels. It appears far from a guarantee that Dunga will be able to get the Brazilian national team back on track.
Putting aside all dispute, it is notable that Dunga was with the side during some of its peak years and he clearly understands what it takes to win at the highest levels. His main task will be creating the same sense of determination and belief within the current team.
Carlos Dunga, the Captain of the winners:
Carlos Dunga was always fueled by anger. He is the one captain, winning World Cup in history who transformed the act of lifting World Cup trophy from one of celebration to one of revenge. After USA’94, he held aloft the cup pouring his contempt for those who had doubted him and his team.
As a player, even as a World Cup winning team captain, he contributed at his best. But it is quite another thing in the position of coach. During the 2010 campaign it was clear that Dunga was entirely out of his emotional depth. In one press conference after match he even tangled with an entirely inoffensive Brazilian Journalist.
It was clear that he was unable to control himself that time. Then how could control a national team like Brazil? Was it really a surprise when the team suffered an emotional collapse in the second half against the Netherlands while Carlos Dunga, the future coach lost his temper on the sidelines?
Probably, now the time for those to shed tears who hoped for something more idealistic from the country seen by many as the spiritual guardian of the holy game of football for the Brazilian.
The Brazilian Football Confederation undoubtedly believes that Dunga is the right man for this holy job. The Brazilian supporters won’t have much patience after the disappointment, so here quick progress is eagerly expected.
Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer, most importantly the match was tough enough to hold the nerve. Djokovic overcame the uncertainties with a hard win of 6-7,6-4,7-6,5-7,6-4 and three hours and 56 minutes match.
Before this astonishing win, Djokovic had lost his last three major finals and hadn’t won a Slam since 2013 Australian Open. May be that was the key to his success. There is no doubt about his excellence. He was making finals and winning smaller titles, which made him a great player still. But like all other greats, at the most important times in the biggest matches, Djokovic was caving.
On Wimbledon final, for a while it looked like that pattern will continue.
During this crucial final, Djokovic found himself surrendering leads again and again to in-form Federer. At the beginning, he was up two sets to one and had even a 5-2 lead in the fourth set. But he couldn’t hold on his standing. He always remains so vulnerable at Federer’s serve as Djokovic lost five consecutive games and failed to convert one championship point on that.
But it was Novak Djokovic who refused to fold and finally won the title.
That year he won his first 41 matches before the defeat came in French open semifinals again Roger Federer.
Since then, remaining towards the top of the game he added a third and fourth Australian Open title, but he hasn’t been able to recapture his 2011 performances. Nadal beat him three Slam finals, Murrey beat him two Slam finals and most notably he looked lost and frustrated in the biggest matches.
But Djokovic never gave up despite all these high profile losses.
He was toiling hard to make him perfect.
At the beginning of this year the great Boris Becker joined his team to get him some mental edge for achieving the ultimate goal. But it didn’t seem to pay off quickly as Djokovic lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian open to Stan Wawrinka and in the French open final to Rafael Nadal.
Now, let’s get back to the Wimbledon final, this year and it was against seven-time Wimbledon Champion Roger Federer and the score was 2-2. In the final set, Novak Djokovic showed his talents, he showed he can beat the champion. He finally converted his championship point.
He lifted his arms to the heavens, swiftly jogged to the net to embrace Federer and then kneeled down to taste the Wimbledon’s sweet grass!
Then he ran to his box embrace his team and also Boris Becker. Their partnership had paid off at last.
After winning the title Djokovic told the press,
“I realized, you know, what I’ve been through mentally to get through to this point.”
For now Djokovic has once again put himself at the top of the tennis world. He didn’t need to play his best for this to prove that he is the best.
After playing 14 years with the Three Lions, Steven Gerrard has announced his retirement from international football.
The announcement comes almost a month after England national team’s poor performance in the World Cup 2014 Brazil. Gerrard captained the English side while they knocked out at the group stage of this tournament.
The 34-year-old reflected on his lengthy international career,
” I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again. However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.”
Gerrard’s current club Liverpool just missed out on their first title in the English Premier League top flight since 1990 as they came second to Manchester City, last season. As a result, they are going to take part in the Champions League for the first time since 2009-10.
Current England coach Roy Hodgson had previously stated his desire for Steven Gerrard to continue his role as captain until 2016 Euro championship. Hearing Gerrard’s decision he expressed his disappointment,
“While I’m disappointed in his decision, I can entirely understand Steven’s situation and can have no complaints given the great service he has given to his country”.
Steven Gerrard in his golden career:
Steven Gerrard made his debut for England in 2000 at Wembley stadium against Ukraine. Since then he accumulated 114 caps for England and netted 21 goals. Since then Gerrard represented the country at 2000, 2004 and 2012 UEFA European Football Championship. He also played his role as the captain of England side 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup. Steven Gerrard became the sixth English player to win 100 caps for England in 2012.
Steven Gerrard has been described as one of the greatest midfielders in the history of English football. He is a real leader and a tireless runner with a superb vision. In 2005, he was honoured as the UEFA Club footballer of the year and won Bronze of FIFA Ballon D’Or. Gerrard is the only footballer ever in the football history to score a goal in a League Cup final and an FA Cup final and a Champions League final and a UEFA Cup final.
Steven Gerrard, who has spent his entire career with Liverpool after making his debut in 1998. He was named as team captain in 2003. His honours at Anfield include three League Cups, two FA Cups, two community Shields, one Champions League, two Super Cups and one UEFA Cup.
The French great Zinedine Zidane considered Steven Gerrard as the best footballer of the world.
Who will be his replacement???
The question now is who will be his replacement??? It will be a great task for the guys who will replace both personally in the center of the midfield and as captain. For the deep-lying midfielder role Roy Hodgson may look for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Gerrard’s Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson.
Roy Hodgson is probably planning to shape a young-looking side. So the vastly experienced Wayne Rooney is likely to be considered as captain as will Joe Hart and Gary Cahill.
Steven Gerrard, the legend of ‘Golden Age’
The legendary midfielder Steven Gerrard leaves without any medals for England side, but he has a plenty of memories with his team. In the mid 2000s, English football was supposed to be ‘the Golden Age’ and Gerrard is one of the last standing members. In many ways, his retirement represents the end of and era for England.
Steven Gerrard said about his decision,
“This has been a very tough decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career. I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to friends and family and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.”
However, he wishes to prolong his career at Anfield. With Liverpool attaining Champions League title for the first time since 2009/10 season, his club calendar will be as stressful as it has been ever before.