Can Any of the UEFA Play-Off Nations Win the World Cup?

After a long and gruelling group stage there are eight European nations still dreaming of booking a place at next year’s World Cup in Russia. Italy, Sweden, Croatia, Greece, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland are all only two games away from qualifying. But can any of them go on to win the whole thing next summer?

As half of these sides won’t even make it to the finals it may seem a little early to predict glory for any of them. But once the play offs are decided the victors will be eagerly awaiting their first game in Russia and dreaming of winning the ultimate prize… Continue reading “Can Any of the UEFA Play-Off Nations Win the World Cup?”

Mesut Ozil left out of Germany squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

Germany head coach Joachim Loew has left out Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira for the upcoming set of international fixtures.


The World Cup champions will be assured of a place in next year’s showpiece tournament in Russia, should they avoid a defeat against Northern Ireland, who trail them by five points in Group C. Other than that, they face a game against Azerbaijan, where Loew could potentially test his bench strength.

Speaking to reporters, Loew admitted that the likes of Ozil and Khedira have been left out of the national squad in order to recover from their respective injuries. The German pair have had their fitness issues since the start of the campaign, and Loew wants them in the best of shape ahead of the international friendlies next year.

He said: “It is unfortunate that some of our key players will not be with us. I expect Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira to recover during this break for international matches. That is more important for them now. What will be decisive for us is that the players are fully fit next year.” Continue reading “Mesut Ozil left out of Germany squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers”

Antonio Conte ends debate over Davide Zappacosta’s first goal

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has ended the debate over Davide Zappacosta’s first goal by insisting that it was supposed to be a cross.


The Italy international notched his goal of his Blues career in sublime fashion as he ran through the right side of the field before shooting at goal from 30 yards out.

Zappacosta scored the second goal in the 6-0 Champions League thrashing of minnows Qarabag, and Conte was impressed with the performance of the Italian in the right wing-back spot, he said: “He told me he was aiming to cross. I think it was a good result. We start the Champions League in the right way. I saw the right commitment from my players. Great focus, great concentration from the start of the game. These are tricky games and we must pay great attention but I’m pleased for the great performance from our players. I think a lot of positive things for us and Batshuayi to score and Zappacosta on his first appearance at Stamford Bridge – he played very well.” Continue reading “Antonio Conte ends debate over Davide Zappacosta’s first goal”

Will Spain overpower Italy?

Spain take on Italy in a crucial World Cup qualification game on Wednesday night, and this match could potentially decide the winner of the group.

Both teams come into the game level on points after having taken 16 from the six matches so far. The only factor that has kept Spain at the top of the table is the slightly better goal difference. Italy, though, will be aware that any negative result at the Santiago Bernabeu will end hopes of reaching the World Cup 2018 through the automatic qualification places. Only the team that finishes top of the group will be able to reach the finals, while the second placed team will have to reach the competition by winning a play-off. Continue reading “Will Spain overpower Italy?”

WC 2018: RUSSIA OFFERS FREE TRAIN TRAVEL BETWEEN HOST CITIES

Fans that would be in Russia for the 2018 World Cup would be getting free train ride between the host cities, according to reports.


A Fan ID and a football match ticket would be required to book train tickets online. The Fan ID is an innovation to help manage the influx of football fans and get a visa-free entry into the 2018 World Cup host country.

The prelude to the World Cup, the Confederations Cup which held few weeks back was considered a success. Many applauded the free transportation and lack of fans’ clashes. Sixteen games were played between June 17 and July 2 and over 60,000 train tickets were issued.

The head of the Transportation Directorate TerentyMescheryakov said they thought of how to kill two birds with one stone in accommodating the thousands of incoming fans and the issue of seamless transportation, especially between the host cities. Continue reading “WC 2018: RUSSIA OFFERS FREE TRAIN TRAVEL BETWEEN HOST CITIES”

Fans can book train tickets for World Cup 2018 as early as December

Football fans from around the globe will get the chance to book their free train tickets in advance in order to avoid any congestion prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.


The trains between the Russian cities will come without cost so long as they are selected to host the games in the showpiece tournament.

“We usually offer tickets 45 days before the scheduled train departure, but we want to shift the date to half a year in advance,” TerentyMescheryakov, the head of the 2018-Transportation Directorate, said. “This is why we want to publish the schedule in early fall and make tickets available for booking starting in December or after the New Year celebrations. We are putting into operation more trains and the exact number will be announced after the schedule gets approval. We have the task of providing a good travel between the cities and we will cope with it.” Continue reading “Fans can book train tickets for World Cup 2018 as early as December”

O’NEILL ANGRY OVER DISALLOWED GOAL

Republic of Ireland national team manager Martin O’neill is angry that his side was denied a late winner when they played Austria in a World Cup qualifier over the weekend.


Shane Duffy had risen higher to score but the referee David Borbalan ruled that it was a foul on Konrad Lainer.

Martin Hinteregger had scored first for Austria in the first half but Ireland returned stronger to get an equalizer through Jonathan Walters. It was five minutes to the end of the game when they equalized so many thought they had completely turned the game on its head when Duffy scored before the ref ruled it out.

“There’s nothing wrong with it at all – he’s called a foul on Shane Duffy and I can’t see it. We were very sloppy in the first half but went roaring into it in the second half and got the goal,” O’Neill said. Continue reading “O’NEILL ANGRY OVER DISALLOWED GOAL”

KOMPANY TO RETIRE AFTER WORLD CUP 2018

Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany has hinted that his international career would be over after the forthcoming World Cup 2018 in Russia.


The Belgium international has battled regular injury concerns in recent years.

In the last two years Kompany has played just 25 games in the Premier League. He returned to the team to help Pep Guardiola’s men finish strongly. While he is hoping to play in Russia next year, he said it could be his “last season with Belgium.”

Kompany said the tournament was “always a big motivation” when he was down but that he might not be able to go beyond it. He says it was important that he returned to the team as they were doubts.

The Citizens’ skipper said he was not afraid of the impact of the injuries else he “would have already stopped his career.” He says for now he wants to be reintegrated into the national team so he has spoken with Coach Roberto Martinez. Continue reading “KOMPANY TO RETIRE AFTER WORLD CUP 2018”

QATAR AIRWAYS BECOMES FIFA OFFICIAL AIRLINE

Even as FIFA struggles to get sponsors for its event following the corruption scandal that has rocked the body, Qatar Airways has announced a partnership with FIFA.


The national career of the Middle Eastern nation agreed a deal with FIFA to be the official airline for the next five years.

The multimillion dollar deal will see the airline’s brand on upcoming football related events around the world including the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The total value of the deal was kept under wraps but is seems to be a mutually beneficial one.

FIFA said the deal was “one of the biggest sporting sponsorships in the world and the largest in the history of Qatar Airways. With the way the statement from the world regulatory body was worded, the deal would likely be worth hundreds of millions of dollar as the deals with Coca cola, Hyundai and Adidas. Continue reading “QATAR AIRWAYS BECOMES FIFA OFFICIAL AIRLINE”

Sponsors aren’t as motivated anymore for the 2018 FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup has traditionally been one of the most viewed sporting events in the world. According to FIFA, the finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup which was played between Argentina and Germany had over 1 billion people watching the match.


It’s because of this high amount of viewership that sponsors from all over the world are usually working hard to make their brand appear in either the commercials or the banner space in stadiums as this has been an effective way to promote their respective products.

Things however, have taken a turn for the worse as the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup has struggled trying to attract a high amount of sponsors as they have historically been able to do. Continue reading “Sponsors aren’t as motivated anymore for the 2018 FIFA World Cup”