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Michael 84

Football

Everything you love about the beautiful game.

Iran 0 – 1 Spain – A Hard Fought Win For Spain

Wednesday, 20th June, 2018

Spain beat Iran 1-0 In The World Cup 20th June 2018

Everyone seems to know the score, we’ve seen it all before…If you’re a Spain fan then you’ll be used to seeing teams not trying to play and only defending, and that’s what happened tonight, but Spain managed to grab a 1-0 win against Iran thanks to a Diego Costa goal in their second World Cup match.

Iran did not play in the first half, had 10 men behind the ball and could rarely even muster a counter attack. They added in some time wasting, really slow play and diving around like they’d been shot to waste as much time as possible, and made the beautiful game as ugly as can be.

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Portugal 3 – 3 Spain – World Cup Lives Up To It’s Billing

Friday, 15th June, 2018

Portugal 3 - 3 Spain - 15th June 2018

The first big match of the World Cup has lived up to it’s billing, with an epic game! It finished Portugal 3 – 3 Spain, and was a game which had everything.

Portugal started off the better team in the first 5 minutes, with Cristiano Ronaldo winning a penalty against his Real Madrid teammate, Nacho. He scored, and made it 1-1. Busquets played a long ball to Diego Costa who had a lot of work to do up on his own, and managed to bully the Portuguese defence and make it 1-1.

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Every Home & Away Football Shirts For The World Cup In 2018

Tuesday, 5th June, 2018

Every World Cup 2018 Football Shirt Home And Away

The World Cup is right around the corner! Here is every single home and away shirt you will be seeing in the World Cup, that’s 64 different kits! Virtually every team will be wearing a new kit in the competition, some with different designs, and some slight updates on their kit. It’s always good to see the fresh new kits in the World Cup, from the heavyweights such as Nike, Adidas and Puma, to the smaller brands such as Hummel, Errea and Uhlsport.

There’s a couple of first timers in the World Cup, including Iceland and Panama, so a few new kits to look out for. Do you have any favourites?

Check out every kit below

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Real Madrid 3 – 1 Liverpool – Champions League Final 2018

Sunday, 27th May, 2018

Real Madrid beat Liverpool in Champions League Final 2018

What a game it was last night! Real Madrid are the champions of Europe once again, winning the Champions League 3 times in a row and have an ever growing record of titles, now sitting at 13. It’s a game which will be remembered for a couple of things, depending on your personal affiliation, but for me and many, it was all about that Gareth Bale goal.

Here’s how I saw the game.

Liverpool were pretty decent for the first 20-30 minutes, then bad news for Liverpool, Salah got injured from a tussle with Sergio Ramos, and had to go off injured. A short time later Dani Carvajal also got injured for Real Madrid, stretching for the ball. Both players were in tears as they left the pitch.

Real Madrid started to play better, and in the 2nd half, Benzema opened the scoring with a bizarre goal. The Liverpool ‘keeper Karius went to throw the ball out to a defender, Benzema stuck out a leg, the ball hit it and trickled into the net. Benzema had earlier scored a goal in the 1st half, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.

Just 4 minutes later, Liverpool got an equaliser. Liverpool won a corner and the ball was played in, it was headed on and Saido Mane was quick and managed to get in and stabbed the ball into the net.

Then the moment of magic. Bale came on, and scored a wonder goal. Marcelo crossed the ball in, and Bale hit the sweetest overhead kick of all time, and scored an unbelievable goal from about 15 yards out. It was a goal which was worthy of winning any game.

With just under 10 minutes to play, Bale scored again. Bale had the space opened up for him, and from about 25-30 yards shot more of less straight at Karius, who couldn’t deal with the ball, and it went in.

Real Madrid went on to win 3-1, and fully deserved the victory.

A lot of the focus will be on Karius, who’s 2 huge mistakes cost Liverpool. But in the end, Real Madrid were the better team, and did deserve to win.

The two big talking points for anyone who was supporting Liverpool for the night were the huge errors of Karius, and Mo Salah going off injured, with most blaming Sergio Ramos for a cynical foul. The foul itself was not bad, it was 2 players fighting to get to the ball, with Salah grappling with Ramos, Ramos getting his arm and not letting go, the two fall to the ground, and sadly for Salah, for Liverpool and for the game, he got injured and had to go off.

Then there’s Karius. The two errors he made were so huge, they were errors they no goalkeeper should make at the top level, or some would say, at any professional level. It was the final of the Champions League, and those two errors will be remembered in Liverpool and England forever. It will be tough for him to come back from those mistakes, as they were so high profile. It was a major loss of focus in 2 incidents.

It’s interesting to see the perspective from the two countries; The media/fans from England focus on the Salah injury, Sergio Ramos and Karius, while the Spanish fans and media are talking about the wonder goal and the beautiful game, Real Madrid’s 13th win and 3 in a row, with many called it a Dynasty.

Real Madrid were simply the better team, with the better players doing more in the game. The difference was that Real Madrid had a Gareth Bale to come on and win the game, and without Salah, Liverpool looked out of ideas. None of their attacking players really made any kind of impact, with Trent Alexander-Arnold one of their better players.

After the game Gareth Bale was talking like he was almost resigned to leaving Real Madrid, talking about his future and how he needs to start more games, a strange conversation to have after scoring one of the best goals of all time in a final, and winning a Champions League.

He was not alone talking about the future, with Cristiano Ronaldo saying “It been very nice playing for Real Madrid”.

Real Madrid Champions 2018

Real Madrid 3 – 1 Liverpool

Benzema (51′), Bale (64′, 83′) | Mane (55′)


Spain 2018 World Cup Squad Announced

Monday, 21st May, 2018

Spain 2018 World Cup Squad Announcement

Today was the day, later than most of the other teams, Spain announced the squad which will be going to Russia in the World Cup this Summer. The squad is the following:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao).

Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Nacho Fernandez (Real Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid).

Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid).

Asensio and Vazquez are named as forwards by most, but are seen more as midfielders, which means there’s only 3 real strikers. Not a big surprise.

What do you think of the squad?

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World Cup 2018 Draw: Spain Get Portugal!

Friday, 1st December, 2017

World Cup 2018 Draw In Russia

It’s a day I’ve been looking forward to for a while, today was the draw for the World Cup 2018!

The seedings and pots were decided a few weeks ago, and were worked out by using only the World Rankings for the first time ever. This meant that Poland managed to get itself as a top seed, as did Russia since they were the host. That left England and Spain in pot 2, which could have meant some really juicy groups. Here’s the groups in full.

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Nigeria, Croatia

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

The biggest match of the group stage? It has to be Spain vs Portugal which will be the opening game for group B, and will be on the 2nd day of the competition; Friday 15th June in the evening.

My Thoughts

Group A – The weakest group, a good thing for Russia and they should be able to get through this one. Egypt could be a dark horse, but with the Russians having home advantage, I think it will be them and Uruguay which go through.

Group B – It could have been a lot worse for Spain, getting Portugal as a top seed meant that they couldn’t get a tricky European team from the 3rd or 4th pot. Spain and Portugal should both go through

Group C – An easy group for France. Australia almost didn’t qualify, Peru only got through as the 5th place team in South America and winning a playoff. Denmark should join France going through.

Group D – Argentina and Croatia should be the favourites, but there could be some surprises with Nigeria playing well, and Iceland’s team spirit coming off the back of good qualifying and a good Euro 2016. I think Croatia will top the group, and Argentina should also qualify.

Group E – Brazil are obvious favourites, but will have to contend with two European teams, Switzerland and Serbia, as well as Costa Rica, who overcame a group with Uruguay, England and Italy in the last World Cup. Another group which could have a shock or two, but I think Brazil will top it and Switzerland has bundles of World Cup experience, so will also go through.

Group F – A tough group, World Champions Germany should go through without too many problems. Sweden are back at a World Cup, South Korea had a woeful one last time out. Mexico are not bad. It will be Germany along with another, the 2nd team is tough to pick, but I will go for Sweden.

Group G – Belgium are the top seeds, and should not have any problems in this group, along with England who are joined by debutants Panama along with Tunisia. Belgium and England meet each other in the final game, both teams should be through by then.

Group H – A fairly weak group along with Group A, Poland have a really bad World Cup record, but should be able to make it through this group. I think Colombia will join them, sending Senegal and Japan home.

What do you think of the groups?

It all kicks off on 14th June and I can’t wait!

UPDATE

World Cup Blog

Hottest Wags Of The World Cup 2018

All World Cup Shirts


20 Years Since Euro 96

Saturday, 11th June, 2016

euro96-20-years-old

I can’t believe it’s 20 years since Euro 96! I was 11/12, I was in year 7 at school, and it was all we talked about all summer, from the run up, during the competition and even after it, it was the event of the year. Even though I was quite young I still have so many memories of Euro 96…It was probably the first international tournament I was really able to get into; USA 94 was on at crazy times in the morning, no good for a 10 year old, and really hard to watch, but I do remember many matches. I remember parts of Italia 90, but since I would have only been 6 then, it was a bit too early for me. Euro 96 was the one, it was the first whole tournament which I remember, and it was even hosted in England!

I’ve always supported Spain, who of course qualified, and they qualified in the group where the games would be hosted in none other than St. James’ Park, Newcastle! Yes, my home city. However Spain did not play any games in Newcastle for whatever reason, and played in Leeds. Further to this, I was in Spain on holiday for a few weeks anyway, so wouldn’t have been able to go. That meant that I could watch Spain in Spain, it was a really good experience, and I remember watching the games against Romania and France, and then coming home where Spain went out against England.

Euro 96 has so many memories; That Gazza goal against Scotland and then celebration of the dentist chair, England 4-1 against Netherlands, England going out on penalties with Southgate’s miss, that Davor Suker goal against Schmeichel, Czech Republic making it to the final against all odds, and then losing to Germany with a golden goal from Bierhoff.

The song too…Three Lions by Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds. Everyone singing it, being sung in tournaments after Euro 96 and still being a favourite now.

It seems unbelievable that it was a massive 20 years since Euro 96, but it is! You can read my Euro 2016 blog which I’ll be updating as much as possible during this years tournament, with thoughts, opinions, scores and news.

What are your memories of Euro 96?


Spain 23 Man Squad For Euro 2016

Tuesday, 31st May, 2016

Spain 23 man squad for Euro 2016

Vicente Del Bosque has named his final 23 man squad for Euro 2016, and as usual, there’s been a few surprises. When the 25 man provisional Euro 2016 squad was named, I predicted that Lucas Vázquez would keep his place, despite never playing for the senior side. He has kept his place, and it looks to be at the expense of Isco, who has been dropped from the squad. The other player who’s been dropped from the original 25 to make 23 has been Saúl, who’s had a good season, and scored that wonder goal for Atleti in the Champions League.

Dani Carvajal played in the Champions League final and went off injured in tears, we held our breath, but it was finally revealed that sadly he will miss out on Euro 2016, and Bellerin has stepped in to take his place. As I wrote 2 weeks ago, Del Bosque named 11 ‘young’ players to travel with the team with the provisional 25, many of these, including Bellerin made their debut against Bosnia on Sunday. For some reason, Mario Gaspar, who’s played 3 times, and scored twice, has been overlooked.

It’s not a bad squad, it’s not doom and gloom, but it is surprising cutting Isco and Saúl, and picking in-experienced Vazquez and Pedro who’s always delivered for Spain, but has had a poor season by his standards. Picking Bellerin over Mario Gaspar is another strange one, he’s good, but has virtually no experience for Spain.

Here’s the final 23 players who’ll be playing for Spain this summer at Euro 2016.

Goalkeepers

I Casillas, D de Gea, S Rico,

Defenders

S Ramos, G Pique, H Bellerin, J Alba, M Bartra, C Azpilicueta, M San Jose, Juanfran

Midfielders

Bruno, S Busquets, Koke, Thiago, A Iniesta, D Silva, Pedro, C Fabregas

Forwards

A Aduriz, Nolito, A Morata, L Vazquez

Who’s Spain Missing For Euro 2016? Spain B Team

You could make up a pretty good B team for Spain, in fact it would probably do well. Here’s a small list of the players who’ve missed out for Spain at this years Euros, who could have easily been called up.

Adirán, Javi Martinez, Bernat, Gaspar, Iñigo Martinez, Monreal, Cazorla, Sergi Roberto, Gabi, Juan Mata, Jesus Navas, Isco, Vitolo, Saúl, Diego Costa, Alcacer, Fernando Torres

What do you think of the Spain squad?


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