Undoubtedly, Brazil were the most comfortable winners in the last-16 stage of the FIFA World Cup. Out of eight games, three were decided on penalties, and four teams registered a single-goal over their respective opponents in normal time. Continue reading
After the first break of the tournament, the World Cup is ready to proceed with what promise to be four great days of football. The round of 16 will kick off later today with two of the most interesting match-ups on paper: France-Argentina and Uruguay-Spain.
Les Bleus have won two out of three matches in the group stage, but they have been rather uninspiring so far, squeaking by Australia and Peru and drawing with Denmark. The Albiceleste is the poster child of not playing up to their talent: they showed great character in the thriller against Nigeria, but their manoeuvre is still way too discombobulated. Both teams need to improve to go far, but they have an excellent launching pad early because eliminating a contender always gives you a big boost. Continue reading
A couple of shockers, late drama, clutch goals: the third round of the group stage did not fall flat. The biggest surprise was obviously Germany dropping the ball against South Korea: Die Mannschaft just had to win two-nil (or more) to be safe, but despite multiple good chances, they did not manage to score and eventually the Taeguk Warriors took advantage of their unbalanced tactics and punished them, much to the jubilation of Mexico.
The World Cup Champion curse continues, as also Spain in 2014, Italy in 2010 and France in 2002 also were not able to get past the first phase after lifting the trophy. Continue reading
Brazil have made it through to the last 16 of the World Cup after beating Serbia 2-0 at the Otkrytie Arena. The five-time world champions began their campaign with a stutter but by the time they took to the field against Serbia – also contenders to qualify on the night – they were looking much more like their usual selves. The football was fast, fruitful and flowing – and suddenly fellow challengers for this year’s World Cup crown may be fancying a draw away from the South Americans for as long as possible. Neymar put in easily his best performance of the summer so far, and helped to inspire Brazil to the top of Group E.
Replacing a club legend is never an easy task, and managers are often define, or destroyed, in their ability to do so.
On Friday morning, club captain Andres Iniesta announced that this will be his last season at the club, in front of a packed media conference.
Whilst the decision to call time on his career at the club has been rumoured for months, the formal confirmation has presented a question – how do you replace Andres Iniesta?
The Spanish international added that he will not move to another La Liga side, or to a European club, as he does not want to come up against his boyhood club
Barcelona have the La Liga title within their grasp, as the Catalan side need just three more league wins to make completely certain of their first title since 2015-16.
The goals and talismanic performances of Lionel Messi, alongside the enduring brilliance of Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, alongside outstanding seasons for Paulinho and Samuel Umtiti have put Barcelona top of the pile.
The manager Ernesto Valverde also deserves great credit, for his intelligent management of the summer transfer window, his tactical moderations of a great side and his ability to cope with the pressure that comes with this role.
The Catalans have won the treble three times before, in 1958-59, and famously under Pep Guardiola in 2008-09, and again under Luis Enrique in 2014-15.
However given the tame predictions of how they would fare under Valverde this season, at the start of the campaign, this season could be the biggest achievement yet.
The former Athletic Bilbao boss has diligently redeveloped Barcelona’s tactical approach, as their Golden Generation enters their thirties, and a need for new blood emerges.
No La Liga action from the week just gone but here are some of the star performers to have emerged from Spain’s premiere division from the international break!
Kaylor Navas, Costa Rica
The Madrid goalkeeper has been put under immense scrutiny over a tepid campaign for Los Blancos but secured a clean sheet for his national side in their 1-0 victory over Scotland.
Welcome back to the Euro Fantasy League Podcast! The lads discuss Paulinho’s Barcelona spell, big up Kyle Walker’s Valentine’s Day conduct and discuss wages in football.
We expect both sides to register comfortable wins, and we suggest you load your team with players from these two sides this week. In other important fixtures, Real Madrid have a tricky home tie against Real Sociedad while Valencia are set to host Levante.
Here is a look at our pick of best 11 players for the upcoming week in La Liga. Continue reading