Tag Archives: Football Soccer

2016-17 Champions League Group Stage – Wrap-Up

We have the sixteen teams that will face-off next February for the round of 16.

Winner of each group:
Arsenal FC (England)
AS Monaco (France)
Atlético de Madrid FC (Spain)
Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
FC Barcelona (Spain)
Juventus FC (Italy)
Leicester City FC (England)
SSC Napoli (Italy)

Second of each group:

Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Benfica (Portugal)
FC Bayern Munich (Germany)
FC Porto (Portugal)
Manchester City FC (England)
Paris Saint-Germain FC (France)
Real Madrid CF (Spain)
Sevilla FC (Spain)

Four teams from Spain.
Three teams from England and Germany.
Two teams from France, Italy and Portugal.
Sixteen teams in total.

The draw for the next round will take place this week after the UEFA Europa League games. Until then, Real Madrid CF will play the FIFA Club World Cup thanks to their success against Atlético de Madrid FC in the UEFA Champions League last May.

Will Real Madrid CF finally break the curse and become the first club to win back-to-back titles? Can FC Barcelona or FC Bayern Munich win their sixth Champions League title? Or will we have a brand new champion? Can Leicester City FC even do it? The answer in May 2017.

Stay tuned…


2016 Copa America Centenario – Time for Messi and Argentina to raise the trophy

Argentina, this is your moment. After years, even decades of frustration, this competition, which celebrates its 100 years and will be played in the United States for the first time ever, is the moment for Lionel Messi and his group to finally bring some silverware back home. And there are several reasons why we believe they can do so:

  1. The team itself is jam-packed with world-class talent. Messi, Aguero, Di Maria, Higuain, Pastore. Lamela, Rojo, Otamendi, Mascherano, etc. Enough said.
  2. Brazil, their biggest and regular threat, will be without their talisman and captain Neymar Jr., who will feature in the 2016 Summer Olympics Games instead, in Rio de Janeiro this August. Furthermore, football fans can sense that La Seleção is still trying to search itself after the 7-1 loss at home, two years ago, and after its second consecutive elimination at la Copa America, last year, versus  the same opponent and in the same fashion (penalty kicks), Paraguay.
  3. Uruguay will challenge for the title, but without the “Pichichi” (La Liga BBVA<s top scorer) and European Golden Shoe winner, Luis Suarez, and it should hurt them a lot since the native of Salto has been on fire for about one year and half now, after a slow start with FC Barcelona.
  4. Chile is the defending champion and a good side with tons of heart. This year, not playing at home, compounded with the resignation of their former manager, Jorge Sampaoli, last January, will definitely make them more vulnerable and less likely to repeat from their success of last year.
  5. Colombia. A Talented team with talented players, but just not having enough to win it all, it seems. They do know how to play and irritate Brazil in recent years, but their elimination on penalties against Argentina, last year, and the fact that they have not won a competition since la Copa America 2001, without Argentina a with a lackluster Brazil, played on home soil, demonstrates that Colombia will most likely not be crowned champions again this year.

Others selections such as Mexico, with Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado will not be easy to deal with. Paraguay, who have been second and fourth respectively of the last two Copa Americas, can do some damage. Ecuador has been a force to be reckon with in the CONMEBOL qualifications for the 2018 FIFA World Cup especially with a win in Argentina. The United States of America play at home and could very well be the surprise of this competition. We doubt though that it will be enough to raise the trophy since it lacks the quality to match the likes of Argentina and Brazil in particular.

Prediction ? Argentina wins its first senior’s title since 1993 and ties Uruguay for the most Copa America triumphs with 15.

Stay tuned.

Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or 2016 – Luis Suárez

Can Luis Suarez “snitch” the FIFA Golden Ball (FIFA Ballon d’Or) from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, this year? So far, the FC Barcelona hitman has been firing on all cylinders. This week, the man from Salto, Uruguay not only scored 2 four-goal games, but also assisted on 3 goals from his teammates. Stunning statistics from arguably the best pure striker in the world today.

As a result of this fruitful week for the Uruguayan international which saw the club win its 2 matches, he has overtaken Ronaldo as the best goalscorer of the 2015-16 season in La Liga BBVA and for this calendar year (34 to 31 with Messi trailing at 25 goals), he has a production of 28 goals and 15 assists which matches the production of Lionel Messi who also had a productive week with 2 goals and 3 assists giving him 28 goals and 13 assists in 2016 alone.

In my article upcoming regarding Week 17 and the race for the Ballon d’Or, Luis Suarez will be included along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Stay tuned…

FIFA Ballon d’Or 2016 – The Race Is On

Already, the race for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2016 (starting January 01st) is heating up. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar Jr., Cristiano Ronaldo are currently the favourites to win the big trophy.

So far and while most of the football world is on international duty, we can take a look at individual and collective statistical for each one of them and create a prediction on who might win the big prize next January (in bold, the best statistic for each category).

Lionel Messi is the current title holder – 22 games. 25 goals. 10 assists.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 17 games. 17 goals. 6 assists.

Luis Suarez – 20 games. 18 goals. 12 assists.

Neymar Jr. – 19 games. 11 goals. 6 assists.

Robert Lewandowski – 15 games. 13 goals. 1 assist.

FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich are currently on course for a treble winning season meanwhile Real Madrid is ten points behind the Catalan giants at the top of Spanish league, was disqualified from the Spanish Cup for fielding a suspended player, but are still alive in the C.L.

It will be interesting to see until the votes by the 209 managers and captains of their national team and a selected journalists from each country are counted sometime in November, but if everything goes according to the current statistics and trophies to be won, Lionel Messi should collect his unprecedented sixth Ballon d’Or next January.

Stay tuned…

Champions League Curse – Can FC Barcelona break it in 2016?

This is the question that the football world will be asking as we move towards the Champions League final held in Milan, this May. Since the introduction of the current format in 1992, replacing the former European Cup, not a single club has been able to repeat (winning the trophy twice a in a row). While it was not uncommon to see this feat done in the past with teams winning two, three, four and even five times like Real Madrid, it has been somewhat of a different scenario now. All have tried, all have failed.

AC Milan won the trophy in 1994 against F.C.Barcelona 4-0 and then lost against Ajax Amsterdam 1-0 the following year.

The same fate happened to Ajax who lost in 1996 against Juventus FC on penalty kicks in the 1996 final.

Juventus FC also tasted the same medecine with defeats in the 1997 final against Borussia Dortmund 3-1 and the following year vs. Real Madrid 1-0. The German champions were eliminated in the semifinals in 1998 against the Spanish giants.

Real Madrid won in 1998, 2000 and 2002, therefore never being able to do it back-to-back.

AC Milan won the trophy in 2003 an 2007 while losing in the 2005 memorable final against Liverpool on penalty kicks in Istanbul.

FC Barcelona proves to be another example by being crowned champions in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015. They were always winners in the final, but could not reach it a second time in a row.

Bayern Munich won the Champions League in 2001 against Valencia and in 2013 against Borussia Dortmund but suffered defeats in the 1999, 2010 and 2012 finals.

All of the above just goes to show how difficult it has been for clubs, even the greatest and most talented ones, to achieve success year and after year. No one has succeeded so far. Can FC Barcelona, led by Messi, Neymar and Suarez, do it this year? The answer in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned…