Chris Brunt has returned to the Northern Ireland squad after an injury layoff to give the national team a huge boost in the World Cup 2018 qualification. Brunt is expected to feature in the game against Azerbaijan.
The West Brom defender has not been amongst the first team squad since March after suffering a major knee injury. As a result, he missed the Euro 2016 tournament which would rank as one of his biggest disappointments of his career. Brunt has been a major player for Ireland since 2004 and he has made 54 appearances to date.
At 31 years of age, the Euro 2016 was probably his greatest chance of featuring at a major international tournament before the end of his career. Missing out on this tournament seems to have given Brunt a lot of motivation to appear at the World Cup 2018. After having taken four points from the opening three matches, Ireland are sitting pretty in their group. (more…)
After repeated failures in recent World Cup tournaments, Brazil are fast losing theirstatus as one of the celebrated teams in world football.
The five-time winners are in desperate need of a trophy that would go a long way into the collecting the efforts at the 2002 World Cup. Brazil have not been successful in this major tournament since it was held in South Korea and Japan more than a decade ago. The 2018 World Cup will be held closer to this region in Russia. Hopes are once again fly high within the Brazil camp as they have just begun qualification for the tournament.
After having managed victories against Ecuador and Colombia in the opening two games of qualification, Brazil are sitting comfortable in the table. Since the appointment of Tite, the national team has been expected to undergo major revisions in terms of the way they play. This has helped Brazil keep the goals conceded to just one in the last two games. It does look that this Brazil team will be hard to beat, but upcoming games against the likes of Argentina and Venezuela could help come to a conclusion. Douglas Costa, though, strongly thinks that Brazil are now at their strongest and will be capable of winning the World Cup 2018.
Wales manager Chris Coleman says that he will not consider renewing his contract when it expires at the end of the World Cup 2018 campaign.
He says that his decision will not change even if Wales manage to qualify and do well at the World Cup. Coleman has completely revolutionised to the national team since taking over in 2012. They come on the back of an impressive campaign at Euro 2016 where they reached the semi-finals in unexpected circumstances. Prior to the Euro 2016, Wales had struggled to even qualify for a major tournament let alone think about reaching the semifinals.
Coleman has also been helped by a new generation of extremely talented players coming through to the national team. The likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have added to the gritty players like Ashley Williams . The team now has more talent than ever before. Even though Wales did enjoy players like Ryan Giggs, the former Manchester United winger was not helped by quality elsewhere on the pitch. The scenario is different from Bale and Ramsey, who can seek the help of other quality names on the pitch. Coleman started out with four defeats in his first four games and it remains the worst record of any new Wales manager. However, he is now one of the most in demand international managers around.
South Africa managed to beat Lesotho by 4-2 on penalties to move to the COSAFA Cup semifinals on Saturday.
The match ended 1-1 following the normal time, and the game went on to the penalties.
The match started well for the South African team where they created a number of occasions. However, they will fail to take their chances and will allow Lesotho back into the game. The South African team will get a good occasion in the 14th minute when they will be awarded a free-kick. Unfortunately, for them, Modiba will miss the target by putting the ball over the crossbar.
It is Lesotho that will open the score on their first occasion of the match in the 19th minute. The goal will come from a solo effort of Jane Thaba-Ntso. The latter will find his way into the box after an amazing run and will unleash a fierce box that will give the South Africa keeper, ReyaadPieterse no chance.
South Africa will attempt to come back into the game, but they will be let off by poor passing and great defending by Lesotho. The match reached half-time 1-0 for Lesotho. (more…)
Russia 2018 Organizing Committee Alexei Sorokin claims that the nation will be spending as much as $ 10 billion on improving the facilities are ahead of the World Cup 2018 in Russia.
There has been much speculation about the World Cup going ahead as planned. This is due to several allegations and sanctions being imposed on the nation. Russian athletics has received a huge setback with allegations of doping by a large number of players. This has threatened the feasibility of World Cup 2018,
which is being promoted as a very clean tournament, going ahead as scheduled.
Sorokin confirmed that there are no changes to the plan initially made by the Russians in order to successfully host the World Cup. There will be a total of 11 cities involved in hosting different games over the course of the tournament, which runs between June 14 and July 15. Moscow, Samara, Saransk, Nizhny Novgorod, Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, and Rostov-on-Don. Unlike Brazil, Russia are planning to finish all their work regarding stadiums before the end of 2016. This will allow the country plenty of time to focus on other activities like improving transport and hotel infrastructure. Brazil made the mistake of being involved only in stadium construction throughout the 10 year period since they knew they would be hosting the tournament. (more…)
After recent performances at the FIFA world Cup 2018 qualification matches, many have questioned the hopes of seeing the star studded Brazilian team in the Cup Finals in Russia come 2018. The team’s head coach Dunga said the team’s qualification is far from conclusion.
The South American giants fought back from two goals down to draw level with Paraguay in a crucial match. Brazil men national team has won only two games of six. The team has played a draw in three matches and lost one.
Coach Dunga even admitted that the qualification is complicated. The results from the match with Paraguay leaves out the option of automatic qualification for the five-time world champions.
In the match against Paraguay, amazing strikes from Dario Lezcano and Edgar Benitez gave Paraguay the lead. However, a lapse in concentration in the final ten minutes turned the game around for The Little Canary as they scored two goals. Ricardo Oliveira struck in the 80th minutes followed by an impressive effort by Barcelona star, Dani Alves in injury time.
Brazil would face group leader, Ecuador next. Dunga still insists that it isn’t over but “complicated.” In his post-match interview, Dunga said: “The beauty of football is that the next match of ours is against the leader.” (more…)