Category: Football News

All You Need to Know About the 2018 FIFA World Cup

With the regular football season almost over, the world’s biggest footballing event, the FIFA World Cup will be underway in a few days time in Russia. Russia are first time World Cup hosts and as a result their national team was given an automatic qualification. Like the previous editions, this World Cup will also have 32 teams drawn from around the world competing for this coveted cup.

Road to Russia

The road to Russia had a few surprises which makes the 2018 World Cup even more interesting. The biggest story was the Italian national team also known as the Gli Azzurri did not qualify for the first time in more than 60 years. For many people the World Cup is certainly going to feel different without the green, white and red of the Italians. The USA and Netherlands were other big names which did not qualify for this edition of the World Cup. Another country which captured the hearts of many people around the world was Egypt’s qualification. They were led by their talisman and Liverpool striker Mo Salah which ensured they participate in this year’s World Cup.

The Competition

The tournament starts on the 14th of June where the hosts Russia will play against Saudi Arabia in the first group phase match. The World Cup will be played in 11 different cities and the final will be held in the capital Moscow on the 15th of July 2018. The event will be televised worldwide and is expected to have viewership in the hundreds of millions. Recent political happenings did initially threaten to spoil the World Cup mood but thankfully the political tensions have eased and the mood is definitely better.

Rivalries

The World Cup is also the stage where we are reminded of the great rivalries in football. One such rivalry is the one pitting Messi and Ronaldo who play for Argentina and Portugal respectively. Ronaldo has done better at the international stage by winning the previous edition of Euro Cup but if any of the two wins this World Cup then it will surely cement their career to legend status.

Favorites

If there is one thing that we learned in the previous World Cup in Brazil where the hosts were taken apart by Germany is that anything can happen. However, we also must leave some room for speculation and this years world cup is truly interesting. One of the strong favorites is Spain who won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Another strong contender is the Germany national team who are the current defending champions.

The world cup is an event which changes mere mortals to idols which are talked about for generations and sadly it also takes other players from superheroes to people who are talked about in hushed tones. For a tournament that comes only once in 4 years, it is expected that every team and each individual player will give everything to achieve success at the biggest stage. Expect a range of emotions from disappointment, joy, surprise, grief, hope and everything in between. Similar to other World Cup editions, new world-beaters will be created and some legends will fade away. Fun fact about this world cup is that 50% of the bets have come from New Zealand, which is surprising because they are not your typical big gambling nation but in recent years their gambling has exploded, to learn more about this phenomenon check out this resource on New Zealand gambling/betting.…

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi, Born on 24th June 1987 in Rosario is an Argentine-born soccer player who has won the FIFA player of the year 5 times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015). Messi began playing soccer when he was a young boy. He joined Newell’s Old Boys in 1995, a top division youth team based in Rosario. His remarkable skills gained the attention of big clubs worldwide. When Messi was 13, his family moved to Barcelona where he started to play for the under 14 team of FC Barcelona. In his first season at the junior team, he scored 21 goals after playing only 14 matches. Because of his phenomenal skills and talent, he graduated to the top level team and at the age of 16, he played his first unceremonious debut for FC Barcelona main team during a friendly match.

Lionel Messi was named the youngest goal scorer and official player in the 2004-05 season at the age of 17 in Spanish top football division La Liga. At that time he was 1.7 meters (5 feet and 7 inches) and was 67kgs (148 pounds), but he was well balanced, strong and flexible when in a football field. Messi was a natural left footed player, precise and quick in controlling the ball making him a profound pass distributor and he easily created his way even through defenses that were well packed. He was officially granted the citizenship of Spain in 2005. In the year 2006, Barcelona and Messi won the European club championship usually known as the Champions League.

As he continued to play soccer in Barcelona his skills and play improved rapidly all through the years. By the year 2008 Messi was among the world top dominant players. In the voting for the top FIFA World player of the year, 2008 Messi came second after Christiano Ronaldo who was then playing for Manchester United. The 2008-09 season was one of the best for Messi has he helped Barcelona capture three major titles in just one season. That season Barcelona won the Champion League, Copa del Rey a Spanish main domestic cup and La Liga championship. That season in just 51 matches he scored 38 goals and he won the FIFA World Player with a record verge. In 2009-2010 season he scored 34 goals in national games and they won the La Liga league again. He was named FIFA Ballon d’Or winner again that year. Messi has continued with his top form up to date still playing for Barcelona helping them winning different cups and scoring many goals for the club.

Despite having a dual citizenship for both Argentina and Spain he remained a key member for his national home team in Argentina since 2005. In 2005 he played at the FIFA World Youth Championship in which Argentina emerged victorious and in 2006 he represented his country in World Cup. He also helped his national team reach the quarterfinals in the 2010 World Cup and in 2014 he played a great role in making Argentina reach the World Cup finals. Currently, Messi is still playing for FC Barcelona and he is still among the top football players presently and in History.…