Well the blog is finally back as I now have a laptop that works. It is taking on a new format from last year’s posts as I wanted to do something a bit more topical. So here we will have 10 of the best footballing stories from around the globe that you probably haven’t seen this week and certainly not all on one website (So apologies to those who want to know about Darren Bent, FA Cup replays or debates on the Olympic Stadium). As a tribute to the old Footballing Top Tens I’ll still include a top tens at the bottom but it will be shorter and more statistical rather than opinion-based. As always comments are encouraged – good or bad!
Stories of the week
This week we have goofy glasses, the New (Caledonian) R
oenaldo and 5-a-side turned 220-a-side?!
Neymar makes his mark
The Brazilian wonder kid has already got a call up to the Senior Side but he is currently part of the Brazilian U-20 squad in the South American U-20 Championships in Peru. This is a highly regarded tournament in the continent as it acts as the qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics. In their first game Brazil took apart a disappointing Paraguayan side winning 4-2 with Neymar scoring all four! The pick of the bunch was his fourth, this cheeky left-footed chip. Last night he grabbed one more against Colombia to equal the five goals scored by one Alexandre Pato in the 2007 edition of this tournament.
Maradona in 5-5 thriller
Since the decision not to renew his contract as coach of the Argentinian national side, Diego Maradona has returned to playing for them…well their Indoorshow team at least (think Masters football but way more skilful). Maradona netted a brace in front of 8.000 fans in Mar de Plata, against a Colombian team led by Carlos Valderrama (the most recognisable haircut in football) but maybe the best goal was from Hugo Aristizábal with this scissor kick(0.32).
Surprises in Qatar
The 2011 Asian Cup has reached the Quarter Final stage without some familiar faces. While some won’t be surprised by the omission of China (who have a poor record in the competition) the absence of the Saudis (joint record of 3 championships) who finished bottom with no points, 1 goal and ended their miserable campaign with a 5-0 spanking by Japan is a turn up for the books. Iran were the only team to progress with a 100% record which suits me as I’ve backed them to lift the cup at 6/1.
Walcott’s got goofy glasses
On the pitch Theo Walcott has been incredible, but his Pro Evo glasses leave a lot to be desired. Check them out here as he takes on Kieran Gibbs (with Jack Wilshere watching on), photo courtesy of Cesc Fabregas!
Tahiti just miss out on World Cup
I’m talking the U-17 World Cup in Mexico this summer of course. They were beaten 2-0 in the final by the hosts of the qualifying tournament, New Zealand who only conceded 1 goal in 5 matches. This earned captain and centre back Luke Adams the Player of the Tournament but what about the Golden Boot winner, Renaldo Nonmeu who netted 8 times in four games with five goals coming in New Caledonia’s 17-0 tonking of Tonga.
Mateus opens his account in style
The much-maligned Brazilian State Championships (see Tim Vickery blog) kicked off this week and Mateus of Ypiranga smashed the equaliser against Gremio in the Campenato Gaúcho with this rocket to start his year in some style.
Djibril Cissé keeps on scoring
The former Liverpool, Sunderland and Marseille striker is proving way too good for the Greek League. He scored a brace last Sunday for Panathinaikos against AO Kavala to take his personal account for the season to 16 goals in 18 games. No wonder he’s attracting attention from a now cash-laden Sunderland and Galatasaray. Here are the first half of his goals this term.
Cabañas suspected shooter arrested
The drug trafficker suspected of shooting Paraguayan footballer, Salvador Cabañas, in January 2010 has been arrested in Mexico. JJ Garza denies shooting the ex-Club America striker and in an interview with Televisa (Spanish required!) claims that it was the footballer who hit him! Cabañas currently lives in Asunción and is undergoing intensive rehabilitation as he hopes to return to playing football, despite still having the bullet from the shooting lodged in his skull.
Egypt are the Kings of the Nile
Or should that be Pharaohs? Anyway they picked up the inaugural Nile Basin tournament beating Uganda in the final 3-1. More noteworthy perhaps was that the 10-team friendly tournament only featured 7 teams after the withdrawals of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Rwanda – answers on a postcard as to why. The other five teams who did take part were DR Congo, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Burundi. Rumour has it Scotland are looking to enter next year to pick up some international silverware.
5-a-side game gets out of hand
In Paris last Sunday a 5-a-side exhibition match hosted by Panini Comics got seriously out of hand as a total of 441 players ended up taking part! Don’t worry it was all under control, it was part of their successful attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most players used in a 5-a-side exhibition match. The game lasted 35 hours and the final score was 594-532 to the Red Team who beat the Yellow Team.
That was your weekly news, here is your weekly Top Ten!
Top Ten Premier League Defences
Defences have certainly got better, with just 2 teams from the 1990s, Arsenal (98/99) and Manchester United (97/98), on the list. Of the 12 teams featured (thanks to four-way tie for 10th place) only 5 were champions (indicated in bold) proving that title-winning teams aren’t always built on a strong back-line whatever Alan Hansen tells us every Saturday night.
10. = Man United 1997/98 – 26 goals conceded
10. = Arsenal 2003/04 – 26 goals
10. = Man United 2004/05 – 26 goals
10. = Chelsea 2007/08 – 26 goals
8. Liverpool 2005/06 – 22 goals.
5. = Chelsea 2006/07 – 24 goals
5. = Chelsea 2008/09 – 24 goals.
5. = Man United 2008/09 – 24 goals
3. = Chelsea 2005/06 – 22 goals
3. = Man United 2007/08 – 22 goals
2. Arsenal 1998/99 – 17 goals
1. Chelsea 2004/05 season – 15 goals
That’s it for this week – congratulations to the Terry/Carvalho partnership (with a bit of help from Makelele in front of them) – same place next Friday for the weekly round-up!