Goals change games. That’s pretty much football 101. That’s how the game works. But not every goal is created equal. This week in Serie A, the true value of a goal was shown to be different on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So let’s take a look at the three goals that defined the weekend and why they differed so widely.
The World Cup draw was completed this morning at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow with the 32 finalist nations placed into eight groups of four. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will kick off on June 14 at Luzhniki Stadium with a match featuring host-side Russia and Saudi Arabia. We now know the makeup of the entire field for the competition as well as the group stage matches that'll captivate the planet next summer. Here are the full results from the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw.
Grêmio claimed its third Copa Libertadores title with a 2-1 victory (3-1 aggregate) over Lanús on Wednesday. The Gremio Copa Libertadores victory sparked a wild celebration back home as the Brazilian club rounded out the field for the FIFA Club World Cup, which begins next week.
Fernandinho and Luan both scored in the first half for Grêmio, which held on despite a red card to Ramiro in the 83rd minute.
Maybe you haven’t heard, but the U.S. will not be participating in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But that hasn’t stopped Americans from purchasing more tickets for next summer’s tournament than any other country outside the host nation. And the U.S. isn’t the only country that won’t be competing in Russia to rank in the Top 10 in World Cup ticket sales.
You could forgive Stefan Frei for suffering from a professional hangover following his heroics in the 2016 MLS Cup final. The 31-year-old native of Switzerland's legend is forever woven inside the fabric of the league following that save on Jozy Altidore in the second half of extra-time, one of seven saves for Frei in a performance that saw him named MLS Cup MVP.
Inter Milan can return to the top of the Serie A table on Saturday with a victory over Cagliari, an achievement heading into December that even the most impassioned of Nerazzurri supporters couldn’t have predicted. The hiring of Luciano Spalletti has been a masterstroke, and an absence of European competition has allowed the side to flourish domestically with largely unchanged personnel in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Scrutinizing the goalkeeper position, more so than any other, requires us to expand the metric of analysis to incorporate the one asset that’s valued above all others in a shot-stopper: consistency. That’s why, although a plethora of recent statistics might tell us otherwise, many would still pony for Gianluigi Buffon over, say, Marc-Andre ter Stegen as the world’s finest keeper. One’s been at the top of his craft for over 20 years, the other for just a few.
At what point do you give up?
At what point, after months of being utterly abject, do you finally snap and say to yourself, “You know what, maybe football isn’t the sport for me?” At what point — if you’re a Benevento player or fan — do you decide rugby, darts or bobsledding is actually your calling in life? Right about now, we should be approaching this point. It goes without saying: Benevento is historically, catastrophically, fantastically abject.
The list of the 32 nations competing in the World Cup was finalized on Wednesday night. That also meant the list of 179 nations not competing in the World Cup was also finalized. While 15 percent of the countries who compete in FIFA will be preparing for the World Cup draw on Dec. 1, the remaining countries, constituting most of the world’s population, will be wondering “What if…” for the next four years.
And so it’s settled. On November 15, Peru claimed the final spot in the 32-team field for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, bringing us to the final event before the June 14 kick off at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow: the draw to determine the eight groups of four for the finals.