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World Cup Interview with PS users (Part 1)

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It’s 6 days to the 2014 World Cup! It’s finally here after a long wait, isn’t it?

Undoubtedly, there is a growing debate as to which team will win the World Cup title which will be held in Brazil in just a few days’ time. I managed to spend some time and have a quick interview with a few experienced users in Power Soccer regarding their view on the upcoming tournament. Credits to them for giving swift but constructive replies, and here we go:


 washeka –MA

Q: Which team do you support for the World Cup next week?

A: Well, I hate to say it but I am not that much of a big football fan as a stereotypical Englishman as I used to be, after Ronaldo left Man United, I kinda stopped watching football as a whole. But If I had to choose on the international stage, England definitely, otherwise I would be betraying my country 😛

Q: England must be proud of you 😛  So, do you fancy them winning the world cup this year? Do you rate them as the ‘underdogs’? Or are they considered as a genuine title contender?

A: Well, I think many England fans will agree when I say that we didn’t have the best times in World Cups in the recent ones at least, I don’t really expect them to be top four, maybe top eight, as I said, I haven’t really been following football, so all of this might be totally wrong. But with teams as strong as Brazil and Spain, I don’t think England has a chance, therefore I will class them as Underdogs 😛

Q: Fair answer. Are you expecting an outstanding performance from any individual player throughout the tournament?

A: Well, I think there are a fair few individuals to look out for, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Q: Alright, last question for you, which English player do you like the most, and what’s the reason?

A: To be honest, I think Rooney is underrated at times but quite inconsistent, he isn’t what he used to be but still can surprise us, that’s why I would have to go with him.


 play42 -MA

Q: Bonjour play, who do you support in the World Cup?

A: I support France of course.

Q: Cool, why do you support France?

A: Cause I’m french ^^

Q: Ahh I see. Which player do you like the most?

A: I like the young players in the French team: Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann etc. They are the future of French football. Generally, I like Messi very much, he’s an artist!

Q: Do you think they can win the World Cup this year?

A: No, it’s a young team you know… I just hope they will play well and do not repeat what happened in South Africa… I think they can reach second part of the competition, but it’s hard for them to even reach the quarter-final. Anyway it’s just my opinion, and if I’m wrong then I will be very surprised.

Q: Your thoughts on the potential title contenders?

A: Difficult question… I see Brazil as they’re playing at home, but there are also Germany, Uruguay, Argentina… I don’t think Spain can win again. My outsiders are Belgium, Croatia, Portugal and France 🙂


gamer009 –CA

Q: So, who do you support for the World Cup this year?

A: Since my country Turkey has been not qualified, I am supporting Spain once again. 🙂

Q:  Alright, personally do you think they will be able to defend the World Cup title?

A: Humm, it’s a bit hard to imagine it, since there are very good teams like Brazil who are playing in their own country, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay etc.. But why not, everything is possible.


yop123456 – club member

Q: Who do you support for the upcoming tournament next week?

A: I am from Serbia and since neither Serbia or Canada made it to the World Cup finals, I will be supporting Chile, Greece and also Japan.

Q: Wow, that’s an odd choice. Do you agree that they are they are the ‘underdogs’ of the tournament?

A: Yes, they are ‘underdogs’. But i find it to be more fun if they go far or even win the World Cup. The obvious favorites are Brazil, Spain, Argentina and Portugal.

Q: Right, which of the star players you think will stand out from the rest during the World Cup?

A: Ronaldo, Messi, Shinji Kagawa, Georgios Samaras, Luka Modric, Edin Dzeko, Arturo Vidal, Neymar, Luis Nani, Rooney, Iniesta, Xavi, Suarez are all examples of spectacular players that will participate in the World Cup. But, winning the tournament is a team effort, individuals can’t do it alone.


It will only get more interesting to debate and discuss about the upcoming World Cup isn’t it. In my opinion, I view Brazil (with home advantage), Germany, Spain and not forgetting the superb Belgium who have shown marked improvements as a whole as the potential title contenders. But the question remains unanswered, who will win the World Cup 2014? Only time will tell. 

 

 

To conclude this interview, this is the official song for World Cup 2014 for those who are not aware of it. Stay tuned for Part II and enjoy the song!

 

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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Real life football

 

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World Cup 2014 – Brazil’s squad

Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was among the first of national managers to announce his final squad for the World Cup to be held at home ground in about a month’s time. He has made a few clever selections, but dropped several players to stir controversy as well. After all, FIFA limits the number of players in a squad to 23, so obviously harsh choices have to be made.

Scolari picked three goalkeepers in the squad, including possible first-choice Julio Cesar, Botafogo’s Jefferson and Atletico Mineiro’s Victor. He has opted to drop Fluminense’s Diego Cavalieri, although Cesar would most likely be the first-choice goalkeeper due to his vast experience playing at the top level.

In defence, Scolari has opted for experience over youth. His youngest defender is David Luiz, at 26. Luiz is likely to be paired up with captain Thiago Silva in defence, flanked by Marcelo and Dani Alves, both of whom are extremely offensive-minded. Their deputies will be Maxwell, Russ Henrique and Dante. Among those dropped are the young defensive prospect Marquinhos, Rafinha, Dede, Marcos Rocha, Rever and Atletico Madrid’s Filipe Luis.

Three Chelsea midfielders have been picked for the squad, they are Ramires, Oscar and Willian. Paulinho, Hernanes, Fernandinho and Luiz Gustavo have also been picked to provide cover in central midfield and speedy Bernard down the wing will definitely provide a threat to opponents.

Brazil’s talisman Neymar has also been included, as are his striker partners Fred, Jo and Hulk. Neymar has an incredible scoring record for Brazil, at the age of just 22, he has scored 30 goals while amassing 47 caps. Fred, too, has a decent scoring rate, scoring 16 times in 31 internationals.

Liverpool’s Phillipe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva have been surprisingly dropped despite being key men in Liverpool’s charge towards a second place position in the English Premier League this season. Coutinho has fallen behind Oscar and Willian in the pecking order and was thus dropped. Lucas was injured for the earlier half of the season and Scolari probably did not see the point of picking a sixth central or defensive midfielder.

Ronaldinho and Kaka have been denied chances to win World Cup glory this year, as they have been dropped despite their illustrious careers seeing both players win Ballon d’Ors. Lucas Moura, Alexandre Pato and Fernando have been dropped despite having their careers ahead of them. Robinho has been dropped after unconvincing form. Despite being picked for the Confederations Cup last year, Jadson and Leandro Damiao have too been dropped.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Real life football

 

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Club Spotlight – Southampton

Hey guys! It’s time for another club spotlight edition. This time we do not look at major European powerhouses but rather the youth of Southampton and their youth academy products.

Boasting one of England’s most acclaimed youth academies of recent times, Southampton have been cruising to great heights they would never imagine themselves scale a couple of years back. In the 2009-2010 season, Southampton was playing in the Football League’s third division, League One, against the likes of Millwall and Bristol Rovers. Today, they are in the running for a Europa League spot, which could see them play against Lazio, Fiorentina and Lyon.

Their team has a strong English core which provides good foundation for Roy Hodgson in his England side, but the fact that their youth academy has been churning out so many famous players is amazing. Let’s look at some of these players.

 

The world’s most expensive player Gareth Bale actually hails from Southampton. He started off as a left-winger at the Saints but was later converted to a winger at Tottenham Hotspurs, where he currently glorifies that role at Spanish giants Real Madrid. At Southampton, Bale scored 5 times in 45 appearances, which is not that bad for a 17-year-old left-back in his first senior season.

 

 

Speedy English winger Theo Walcott was also a product of the Southampton academy. He is the youngest player to play for the Saints, at 16 years and 143 days old. He had an amazing first season and scored 5 times in 21 games, before getting called up for international duty in 2006. Walcott is now a regular with Arsenal and England.

 

With Walcott out of World Cup 2014 through injury, England might look towards yet another Southampton youth academy player, who is still starring for the Saints. Adam Lallana signed for the the youth academy at a tender age of 12, making his first senior appearance at 18. The left-winger has score 48 times in 233 games for them. He has made his first caps for England and looks set to be boarding the Brazil-bound plane with the rest of the English squad this summer.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has an outside chance to make the English World Cup squad as well. He joined the Saints academy at the age of 7. He had 9 goals in 36 games and was a glimmer of hope during Southampton’s dark years in League One. He is versatile all around midfield and is an important part of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side today.

That’s still not all the talents they have produced.

Luke Shaw, at the age of 18, is already contesting with the likes of Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines for the England left-back spot. He is an attack-minded left-back, similar to Gareth Bale. He has already made his first cap for England.

Other academy products of Southampton include:

-Wayne Bridge (Former England left-back)

-Matt Le Tissier (Member of English Football Hall of Fame)

-Alan Shearer (Euro Golden Boot, Two-time UEFA Cup Golden Boot winner, Bronze Ballon d’Or, Highest Premier League goal tally, three-time Premier League Golden Boot winner; among others)

-Terry Paine (World Cup winner)

Southampton are currently 8th in the Premier League, with 52 points, under the management of Mauricio Pochettino. Home games are played at the St. Mary’s Stadium and they play the South Coast Derby against Portsmouth.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Real life football

 

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Club spotlight – Bayern Munich

Having won an impressive Treble last season, European powerhouses Bayern Munich has done it again this season – by wrapping up the Bundesliga title in record time. This was a season of continue dominance for Bayern – striker Mario Mandzukic is currently perched at the top of the goalscoring charts with 17 goals. Franck Ribery has provided 10 assists so far this season, with his fellow attacking midfielder Thomas Muller creating 8 chances. This could also be Thiago Alcantara’s breakthrough season, in fact, he could just establish himself alongside the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger or Mario Gotze in coming seasons.

Bayern’s Bundesliga triumph this season is record-smashing on multiple fronts. They are the earliest team to win the Bundesliga, doing so as early as Matchday 27. As of publishing time, Bayern are unbeaten for 53 straight games and they could just finish this season unbeaten. Also, they just need 19 more goals in 6 games to smash home a record number of goals in a Bundesliga season, eclipsing the legendary Bayern team’s record in the 1971-1972 season.

It was the Real Madrid era in the early 2000s, but soon Barcelona took over… But it seems like a new club has now regained its dominance in Europe and the world.

It seems that we are in the midst of a Bayern era. Since 2010, the Bavaria-based team has won 10 major trophies, including the prestigious UEFA Champions League and football’s biggest club-football prize the FIFA Club World Cup. Under Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola, Bayern has evolved into one of, if not the best, football clubs in the world now.

Once the playing field of German legends such as Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer in the 1970s, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in the 1980s, Lothar Matthaus in the 90s and Oliver Kahn in the early 2000s, Bayern now possesses what could be the world’s most talented squad. And they don’t seem to be stopping there too – with the arrival of Robert Lewandowski next season allowing Bayern to field the top two Bundesliga goalscorers.

Let’s take a look at this formidable team. In goal is FIFPRO World XI 2013 Goalkeeper of the Year Manuel Neuer. Infront of the German national goalkeeper are the likes of Dante, Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber. They are flanked by the young Austrian prospect David Alaba on the left and the versatile captain Phillip Lahm on the right. Their deputies are the likes of Rafinha and Diego Contento.

Bayern probably boasts the world’s most prestigious midfield. Midfield linchpin Bastian Schweinsteiger dictates the game from his role, sometimes alongside Thiago Alcantara, Toni Kroos or the versatile Javi Martinez, who can play literally anywhere outfield. This season Guardiola had been trying out Lahm in defensive midfield as well, and that hadn’t gone too badly. Supporting the strikers are a whole arsenal of young energetic attacking midfielders. Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Xherdan Shaqiri are among the world’s top midfielders. On the wings are world-class wingers who are among the best in their trade. They are Ballon d’Or second runner-up Franck Ribery and the ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid man Arjen Robben.

We move on to strikers! Even with the impending arrival of Lewandowski, they have Mandzukic and Claudio Pizzaro in their ranks. Guardiola could also play a false nine, where Mario Gotze does well in.

Having been drawn in a relatively easy Champions League quarter-final tie, it is not that hard seeing them repeat their incredible Treble feat from last season again this year.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Real life football

 

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UEFA Champions League Round-of-16

LATEST: QUARTER FINAL DRAW:
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund
Paris St. Germain vs Chelsea
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich

The past two weeks have been relief for some football fans while others face agonizing heartbreak watching their teams lose and get knocked out of European football and probably the world’s most prestigious club-level tournament, the UEFA Champions League. This week saw the second legs of the last of the Round-of-16 ties being played. Let’s look back at which teams managed to qualify for the quarter-finals and who didn’t.

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic starred in PSG’s games.

The first legs of the round kicked off on 19 February this year with Paris St. Germain storming past Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Bay Arena. In what was an almost flawless night for the French giants, star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a brace while Blaise Matuidi and Yohan Cabaye both scored. It marked a special day for Cabaye as he scored his first goal in PSG colours after moving from Newcastle United. About three weeks later, the two teams met at the Parc de Princes in Paris and the game was merely a formality as the hosts already had a massive four away goals. This meant that Leverkusen needed to win by more than five goals, but alas they lost 1-2, with Marquinhos and Ezequiel Lavezzi cancelling out Sidney Sam’s spirited opener.

Aggregate score: Paris St. Germain 6-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

At the same time, Barcelona got two precious away goals at the Etihad Stadium. Hosts Manchester City had a night to forget when defender Martin Demichelis’s sending off reduced them to ten men and soon after, Lionel Messi and Dani Alves sank City. In the second leg at Camp Nou, the Citizens also had right-back Pablo Zabaleta sent off, and as a result they had to settle for a 1-2 defeat, with Alves cancelling out Vincent Kompany’s equalizer for Messi’s strike.

Aggregate score: Barcelona 4-1 Manchester City

Defending champions Bayern Munich emerged from the Emirates Stadium victorious with a 2-0 lead thanks to Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller’s goals. In the second leg, Arsenal put up a more resilient display of football and Lukas Podolski, recently restored back to the Arsenal line-up, pulled a goal back after Bastian Schweinsteiger scored earlier to put the game beyond the Gunners.

Aggregate score: Bayern Munich 3-1 Arsenal

Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, won 1-0 at the San Siro thanks to Diego Costa’s late goal. At home in the second leg, however, the Spanish giants were ruthless, running out 4-1 winners. Costa netted twice, with Raul Garcia and Arda Turan both scoring as well. Milan midfielder Kaka scored his first goal since his return to the club, but that was insignificant and Atletico progressed to the next round.

Aggregate score: Atletico Madrid 5-1 AC Milan

Borussia Dortmund, despite their long injury list, managed to overcome Zenit St. Petersburg at the Petrovski Stadium, 4-2. Star striker Robert Lewandowski blasted two goals, and Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored to deem Oleg Shatov and Hulk’s goals minor. Dortmund, however, lost at the Signal Iduna Park, where Rondon and Hulk both scored. Luckily, midfielder Sebastian Kehl also put his name on the scoresheet and Dortmund were through, albeit after a tough battle.

Aggregate score: Borussia Dortmund 5-4 Zenit St. Petersburg

Olympiakos registered a shock win over Manchester United at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens after a poor performance from the Red Devils. Alejandro Dominguez and Joel Campbell both scored and United were now facing a mountain to climb. That did not daunt them and Robin van Persie’s hat-trick at Old Trafford left Olympiakos reeling in shock after they had come so close to qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Aggregate score: Manchester United 3-2 Olympiakos

The mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was a barrage of goals when Real Madrid thrashed FC Schalke 04 6-1 at the VELTINS-Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The frontline of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale each scored a brace while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar pulled a consolation goal with a stunning volley in the dying seconds. Many thought that it would be another goal-scoring spree once the return leg took place at the Santiago Bernabeu. However, manager Carlo Ancelotti decided to rest key players and handed rare starts to Nacho Fernandez, Asier Illarramendi, Jese and Alvaro Morata. However, Jese, a dark horse for a spot in the Spanish World Cup squad, got injured eight minutes in and was ruled out for the rest of the season – six months, in fact -, effectively ruling him out of the World Cup. However, Real did not let that linger on their mind and Ronaldo’s double, coupled with Morata’s strike sealed the tie for them, despite Tim Hoogland’s goal in the second leg.

Aggregate score: Real Madrid 9-2 FC Schalke 04

Chelsea’s Gary Cahill.

Chelsea’s two ties with Turkish side Galatasaray meant that legendary Blues striker Didier Drogba had a reunion with his former employers. He famously said before the two games, “I will be playing at home for both games.”. However, the Ivorian powerhouse failed to score in either game. In the first leg, Aurelien Chedjou equalised after Fernando Torres had given Chelsea an early lead. Despite Chelsea being unable to win at the Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, they did not give up with that one precious away goal and in the second leg they managed to win 2-0, with goals from Samuel Eto’o and Gary Cahill sending the English giants into the quarter finals.

Aggregate score: Chelsea 3-1 Galatasaray

That’s it so far. Let’s hope for a thrilling quarter-finals!

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Real life football

 

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