Posts Tagged ‘ Atletico Madrid ’

World Cup 2014: Predictions For Every Team

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With the kick-off of World Cup 2014 now less than a week away, the excitement is starting to build. Coverage of the event is starting to really pick up, as the footballing world gets ready for the beginning of it’s biggest event of any calendar year. With that in mind, I would like to put forward my predictions for every team and how they will fare, including all the teams who will fall at the group stage hurdle, all the way on to who I predict will be the eventual winners.

Group stage eliminations

Cameroon

The most likely victim of what is a very tough draw, Cameroon seem like long shots to emerge from Group A. Hosts Brazil, potential dark horses Croatia and Mexico make up the rest of the group, and it may well prove too much for Cameroon to claim enough points to sneak in to the knockout stages. An experienced squad led by captain Samuel Eto’o as well as veterans Alex Song and Jean Makoun, Cameroon also boast young defensive talent in Nicolas N’Koulou and Joel Matip. Unfortunately for them, it seems unlikely that they will prove good enough to edge out two of the other teams, and so it looks like three games and out for Cameroon.

Mexico

It looks quite likely that Brazil and Croatia will emerge from this group, especially if the Croatians can get a point in the tournament’s inaugural match. Mexico had a very ugly qualifying campaign to even reach Brazil, finishing fourth in their group, behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras. They eventually beat New Zealand comfortably in a play-off, but it does not augur well for them in such a tough group. Still, Mexico boast a very experienced squad, with the likes of Rafael Marquez still around to organise them. If the likes of Javier Hernandez (who has a scoring rate of better than one every two games for his country) catches fire, then maybe they have a shot. But all signs point to an early exit for Mexico.

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Five Players To Watch At The World Cup

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With just two weeks to go now until the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, it feels like time to start examining the participants in greater detail. There is hardly any point in telling you to look out for the likes of Xavi, Lionel Messi, Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo, so instead we’re going to take a look at some of the slightly lesser hyped individuals, whose performances could be the difference between their countries falling flat in the group stage or making a surprising run to the latter stages of the competition. A lot of countries at this year’s World Cup will fancy their chances of going all the way, and a lot of unheralded players are about to become a lot better known. With that in mind, here are five players we have picked out to watch. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: The Dark Horses

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Yesterday, we had a good look at the four teams most likely to win the upcoming World Cup. What we have yet to touch on is one of the most lively debates before any international tournament. Who will be the team who emerges from nowhere to thrill the crowds and cause a few upsets along the way? Is there a team from lower down the international pecking order who can surprise us all and go all the way? Usually there is at least one team who overachieves in these competitions, and calling them right is often the difference between winning and losing the fantasy football wars, so here we will look at four teams who could potentially go from dark horses to World Cup champions in the space of a few weeks in June. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: The Favourites

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2014 is shaping up to be a great year for football. With exciting finishes ahead in the Premier League and La Liga, both of whom are currently topped by pre-season outsiders with only a few games to go, and a couple of exciting ties remaining in the Champions League, it will be a year to remember. There is, of course, a World Cup coming straight after the end of the club season, so quality football will continue well into the middle of the summer. Here, in the first of a two part special, we will examine the favourites for the competition, who look set to take Brazil 2014 by storm. Continue reading

Manchester United Sack David Moyes

Manchester United Training Session

David Moyes has been sacked as Manchester United manager this morning, with Ryan Giggs taking over until the end of the season.

A statement on the club’s website said: “Manchester United has announced that David Moyes has left the Club.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role.”

Shortly after the Old Trafford based club released another statement, saying: “Ryan Giggs, the club’s most decorated player, will assume responsibility for the first team until a permanent appointment can be made.” Continue reading

Champions League Quarter Final Draw Made

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Manchester United have been handed the toughest tie possible in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals as they were pitted against reigning champions Bayern Munich.

With United currently enduring a torrid season under the tutelage of David Moyes this clash could further highlight their woes or it could yet be the making of The Chosen One, should his charges halt the progress of Pep Guardiola’s  side.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have been paired with Paris St Germain. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and co will offer a stern test to the blues, who coasted through against Galatasary in the previous round.

Real Madrid will face 2013 beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund while an all-Spanish meeting between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid completes the quarter final draw.

Draw in full: 

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund

Paris St Germain v Chelsea

Manchester United v Bayern Munich

First-leg ties to be played on 1 and 2 April, with the second legs being played on 8 and 9 April.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Five Potential Replacements For Luis Suarez

?????????At the end of May I posted an article on Irish News Review about Luis Suarez plotting his exit from Liverpool, but who knew that ten weeks later the Uruguayan would still be in the middle of one of the longest transfer sagas to date.

At the time of writing the previous piece I was already resigned to losing Suarez as were a lot of other Liverpool fans. At this stage I’d guess that a lot of those fans wish he had of just left then to save us all from the endless Twitter rumours and all this ‘he said, they said’ that’s been going on ever since. Continue reading

SOS Real Oviedo

A historic Spanish club, once managed by the famous Irishman Patrick O’Connell is teetering on the brink of extinction although fans worldwide and ex players are pulling together in an attempt to save the stricken club.

In an effort to raise €1.9m that will keep them alive, third-tier Real Oviedo have decided to sell shares in the club for €10.75 each. Subsequently, the football community is showing an ability to pull together during tough economical times at a time when the game is otherwise dominated by unsavoury talking points.

The team that produced some of this season’s Premier League star talents – Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata and Michu – is on the brink of extinction. Shares are now available to buy, but the issue will only last until November 17, where Oviedo’s fate will be learned.

Unfortunately, Oviedo are no strangers to this kind of situation. With a relegation from La Liga in 2001 and a two-tier demotion in 2003, Oviedo’s star players were still being paid top flight wages whilst they competed in the fourth tier. Struggling to cope with the burden of the expenditure, they sought help which wasn’t forthcoming in the shape of local authorities and government.

Their players went without pay, but the fans stayed loyal and managed to maintain impressive attendances in their superb 30,000-seater stadium, breaking numerous records in the process. The Estadio Carlos Tartiere, renovated for the 1982 World Cup, continued to attract fans and the sustainable revenue gained from the supporters is one of the main reason’s Oviedo are still fighting this battle.

Oviedo have called their current financial state their ‘worst time in our 86-year history’. But help is coming from all over the globe.

The club counted on hundreds of fans queuing through the weekend to purchase shares and also had support through English journalist Sid Lowe’s extensive detailing of the cause via Twitter (@sidlowe). A number of football fans outside of Spain have taken it upon themselves to buy shares, with the aim to keep this historic club alive, whilst the aforementioned former players Cazorla, Mata and Michu, have all also pledged money to answer Oviedo’s rallying call for funds.

Michu revealed “Myself, Mata and Cazorla have all bought shares, but it would be wrong of me to say how much,’’ declared Michu. “We just wanted to try and help save the club we all played for.

“The economy in Spain is very bad and the club needs around two million euros to survive. A lot of people have bought shares and hopefully it will be enough by the closing date of November 17.

“It’s my local club, a club I love, so I hope it will be enough.

“Swansea fans should know how much it means to me and the Oviedo supporters. I remember reading up on the history of Swansea when I first arrived here; I remember reading how the Swansea supporters bought shares in this club when it was in trouble 10 years ago – and again many years before that.

“And look at the club now; in the Premier League and winning at places like Anfield. Hopefully this SOS can have a similar reaction.’’

The latest reports have the club as having raised over €200,000 inside the first three days of issue and as a sign of gratitude, Oviedo have already promised the notable foreign support that any shareholders outside of Spain can now attend home games for free. Atletico Madrid striker Adrian is believed to have donated €25,000 to help his former team out. Whilst any shareholders won’t stand much chance of future financial gain, it’s a great opportunity to rescue one of Spain’s finest clubs in their darkest hour.

The glory La Liga days of the late 1990s and early 2000s are long behind them now. A team that once featured Robert Prosinecki, Abel Xavier, Paulo Bento, Victor Onopko and even Stan Collymore are now on their knees, praying for a saviour or rather hundreds and thousands of them.

You can buy shares here.

FAQs around entering the process

 

1)      When and how can I help become a shareholder of Real Oviedo?

The window to purchase shares begins on November 3rd and closes November 17th

2)      How much does each share cost and what is the minimum number of shares I can buy?

You can become a shareholder by buying one share at the price of just €10.75.

3)      How can I buy Real Oviedo’s shares?

You can do a wire- transfer to a Banco Santander Bank account. Complete IBAN for international payments is :

ES 96 0049 4325 6124 1000 4177

You also can buy shares via PayPal in   http://www.yosoyelrealoviedo.com

4)      How would I get the ownership of my share?

Real Oviedo will send your shares to your front door (shares certifciate are likely to be sent out in December)

Real Oviedo cannot express enough the gratitude to everyone purchasing shares and helping to keep this historic Institution alive.

5- How long is the sale process open for?

From November 3 to November 17

6- Is there an age limit?

No, for buying purposes. The only limit is related to political rights such as attend and voting at AGM.

7- Do I have to be Spanish?

No.

8- Is there any risk? Will I be liable for any debt in the future?

No, the liability is held by the current board of directors.

9-What do I gain by being a shareholder? Will I make my money back?

Probably not. Realistically, you will gain nothing. But we believe this is bigger than that: it is the chance to help save one of Spain’s most historic clubs. The value of your shares is not likely to go up. In financial terms, it is likely to be worth nothing to you. But you will be part of the salvation and you will officially be a part-owner. Please do not spend money that you cannot afford. This is effectively a donation (you can also make a donation without buying shares if you want).

10- Can I go to the AGM?

All those with four shares or more can go to the AGM.

11- Will Oviedo become an entirely fan-owned club?

That depends on the number of shares sold and the balance of shares after the share issue. Our hopes rest largely on small shareholders and supporters.

12- What happens next?

After the share issue there will be an AGM at which, depending on the votes of the (new and old) shareholders, a new board will be elected and the club will move forward.

 13-Will the current board continue after the share issue?

That will depend on the balance of shares after this share issue. Whoever holds a majority following the the share issue will be able to name a new board.

14 -What happens if we do not reach the target?

If we do not reach the 1,905,000 Euro target, the board will be obliged to call an AGM to dissolve the club

15- I want to buy a Real Oviedo shirt. How do I do that?

We hope that the  on line store will be up and running around November 10.

LOI V Bundesliga: A Steep Learning Curve

The League of Ireland has once again fallen victim to the underrated force of the Bundesliga after Hannover 96 all but ended St Patricks Athletic’s European dream after securing a three nil away win in Dublin.

The first leg tie saw goals from Leon Andreasen, Christian Pander and Didier Ya Konan break Saints hearts and all but end the tie as the contest. The Saints travel to Germany on Thursday for the second leg which is nothing but a formality but it could have been so different had Liam Buckley’s men claimed a well deserved goal.

The Inchicore side will travel to Hannover with pride at stake and will bow out of Europe with their heads held high after a great Europa League run saw them knock out IBV of Iceland and Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia before coming up against the might of the Germans, something they weren’t phased by.

Indeed it’s not the first time Ireland’s most consistent European club has felt the gulf in quality between the League of Ireland and the Bundesliga, a league which is arguably the toughest in the world. Hertha Berlin knocked Pats out of the Europa League in 2008 despite the Saints claiming a credible nil all draw at the RDS, which could have easily swung in the Saints favour.

Fast forward to 2012 and Die Roten proved a more brute force than their Bundesliga rivals. Hannover haven’t had any great European history but in recent years they have shown their form and prowess. The 2010/11 season saw an amazing fourth place finish for the men from Lower Saxony and ensured they ended their 19th year absence from competing on the European stage. Few could have predicted that finish for Mirko Slomka’s side yet the best was yet to come from the German side, who marched all the way to the Europa League quarter finals only to lose out to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.

This season offers another venture in the Europa League for Slomka’s side, who beat Pats 3-0 without really hitting their top gear. While 3-0 was incredibly flattering to the Germans, Pats deserve tremendous credible for their valiant second half showing. The League of Ireland is a world away from the Bundesliga both on and off the pitch but the determination and heart of St Patricks Athletic has shown that if lady luck was on their side it would have been a different story. In the end the clinical finishing of Hannover killed off the tie, although Brendan Clarke should have done better to save Pander’s free kick while there was a suspicion of offside about Ya Konan’s finish.

St Patricks Athletic have long been regarded as one of Ireland’s top clubs and their consistency on the European stage is far greater than any other club despite Shamrock Rovers tremendous feat of reaching the Europa League group stages last year.

Pats have an incredible home record in the Europa League but when they reach the crunch stage the very fact that they have to move their home tie from Richmond Park seems to be something of a mental hindrance. The Saints have enjoyed many great nights in Inchicore and have saw off some good sides such as Elfsborg, Krylya Sovetov and Siroki Brijeg. Such victories have brought the might of clubs such as Hertha Berlin, Steaua Bucharest, Karpaty Lviv and Hannover 96 to Dublin. European football is a tremendous learning curve and a whole different game to the domestic league.

If Pats can learn anything from their illustrious opponents of which Hannover are no doubt the finest then we may well see Ireland’s European club crack the Europa League year after year.

But until then Saints fans must remain content in the knowledge that fantastic European nights come at the expense of domestic success, as has been proven year upon year.