Men's World Cup
In recent times, the rule changes FIFA have implemented have been with regards to self-examination; changing their own internal processes in the face of ongoing investigations and claims of corruption. On the footballing end of the spectrum, president Gianni Infantino has been trotting out his plan to kill the World Cup with a 48-team edition. Beyond the influence of Infantino, it appears as though Australian rock band AC/DC are the biggest catalyst for change in the international governing body.
What is there to say about the England National Football Team and their governing body that hasn’t already been said? England is, well, a joke. With an underwhelming nil-nil draw marking the start of the Gareth Southgate era, are we simply looking at the next Steve McClaren in charge of the Three Lions?
Right now, the Italian national side does not have an identity. On paper, drawing a match with Spain and winning against Macedonia might seem perfectly acceptable, but those who watched the games will know that there’s trouble afoot.
Spain should have won by a comfortable margin but consistently shot themselves in the foot when it came to actually putting the ball in the net. Italy were bad and deserved to lose.
Few would argue against major international tournaments being the biennial highlight of the footballing calendar. They’re a marketing groups’ wet dream; hundreds of millions worldwide tuning in on their official World Cup Samsung 60’’ flat screens to watch Pepsi and Coca Cola adverts interspersed with 45-minute segments of the very best in the game representing their motherlands at the highest level.
Bolivia got off to an absolute flyer against Ecuador on Tuesday in La Paz. This shouldn’t surprise anyone as Bolivia’s home gournd, Estadio Hernando Siles at an altitude of 11,932 feet above sea level, is almost a literal deathtrap for CONMEBOL opposition.
La Verde took a fourth minute lead through Pablo Escobar, the 38-year-old attacking midfielder just thrashing a shot from almost 25 yards out. The shot was sensational, flying into the top corner. However, Rodrigo Ramallo also deserves credit for applying the assist from his a**.
The life and times of Serge Aurier are anything but straightforward. Last month, the Ivory Coast and Paris Saint-Germain defender was fined and sentenced to two months in prison for assaulting a police officer.
Think about this number: 8.1 seconds. Chances are, your car goes zero to 60 slower than that, but that's how long it took Christian Benteke, who is not renowned for his speed, to score against Gibraltar.
Benteke's goal is the fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history, scored against a team that features just a few true professional soccer players. It just came together perfectly, although if you had asked us who would score the fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history, we would not have picked Christian Benteke. Good for him.
The England National Team's Wayne Rooney era appears to be drawing to a close after interim manager Gareth Southgate announced the captain would be dropped against Slovenia.
After a performance from Rooney against Malta that involved a lot of standing around and not very much doing things, Southgate must have felt he had no choice in the matter, even though Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson had been cowed into keeping Rooney in their respective England teams. Southgate appears to have followed the example set by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho in dropping the player.
Cristiano Ronaldo added to his four-goal tally against Andorra on Friday by scoring a belter against the Faroe Islands. Portugal finished their October World Cup qualifiers by defeating their opponents by a combined scoreline of 12-0.
For Ronaldo, he’s now scored 40 goals in 43 games for club in country during 2016. He’s almost a certainty to win the FIFA WOrld Player of the Year following his triumph with Real Madrid in the Champions League and Portugal at Euro 2016.