Welcome to the only website where you’ll see the following 10 stories all on the same page, this week we are in England, Paraguay, Brazil, Kenya, Morocco, Turkey, Chile and Mexico. There is no mention of Gary Neville retiring, Andy Carroll’s real value or any sort of transfer records. At footballtoptens we have the Rio Ferdinand vs Robbie Savage tweet-off, a manager gone mad, Goal of the week and a drag back that went really, really bad. Top Ten of the week is the FIFA Rankings Table with a twist – who is the best international team adjusting for population. These are posted every Friday but in case you forget, you can follow me on Twitter for updates @paraguayralph
Update from last week
Remember the Haitian league was in a four-way tie? ASCAR ruled themselves out by drawing as America de Cayes won 3-0. In the crunch match up at Baltimore’s home ground, the visitors Victory pulled off an incredible 1-0…errr…victory to secure their first ever title on head-to-head results (they had beat America de Cayes 3-1 earlier in the season). The shortest team in Europe racked up a record-equalling 15th straight league win and reached the Copa del Rey Final. Harry Kewell couldn’t inspire Australia to an international title, Japan beat them in extra time to secure a record 4th Asian Cup. And finally following on with NeymarWatch, the Brazilian wonderkid scored 2 more goals this week to take his tally to 7 in the sub-20 South American Championships.
This week’s stories
Last week we mentioned that the best defence in Europe was Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova but another team that is building its title challenge from the back is Anderlecht. The Belgian outfit drew 0-0 on Sunday and have now gone 660 minutes without conceding a goal in competitive matches. The last person to score past Silivio Aliaj Proto in the Anderlecth net is Remi Mareval for Zulte Waregem a day shy of 2 months ago.
Mazembe retain African Super Cup
Africa’s representatives in the recent FIFA World Club Cup, TP Mazembe, played out a tough 0-0 draw with FUS Rabat of Morocco before winning a lengthy penalty shoot-out 9-8. They become the third team to retain the trophy (Nigeria’s Enyimba did it in 2004/05 followed by Egypt’s Al Ahly in 2006/07) and the 6th to win it on penalties since the tournament’s inauguration in 1993.
Raja Casablanca hit double figures
Staying in Africa with the CAF Champions League which kicked off over the weekend and the 1st leg of the qualifying tie between Raja Casablaca (Morocco) and Tourbillon (Chad). It was always going to be a tough game for the Chadians who had never made it past the 1st round matched up against 3-time winners Raja Casablanca. After 20 minutes it was game over at 3-0, by half time it was embarrassing at 6-0. The aim must have been to keep it below double figures, but Tourbillon couldn’t mange that as the score ended 10-1 equalling the highest margin of victory in a CAF Champions League game.
Week of violence in Paraguay
At last week’s Copa Libertadores match, the rival hooligans within Cerro Porteño, Comando and La Plaza had running battles inside the stadium which lasted throughout the first half. The arrest and subsequent release of the gang leaders had no effect because on Sunday evening the Cerro Porteño vs Guarani match was suspended when Guarani goalkeeper Pablo Aurrocheca was hit my a stone thrown by a 20-year-old “fan” moments before kick off. If that wasn’t bad enough a 15-year-old was shot and seriously injured in fighting between rival Cerro and Olimpia “supporters” outside Asunción on Tuesday night. Very sad start to the Paraguayan football calendar.
Savage vs Rio Ferdinand on Twitter
Robbie Savage and Rio Ferdinand have had a tweet-off the last couple of days. I reckon Rio has just edged it, here are a few of the best tweets:
Robbie bites back to a so-true-it-hurts observation:
Ferdinand bounces back immediately:
@RobbieSavage8 let’s not talk about how u was on the floor in the tunnel lookin up at me with that “OMG he is gonna kill me” look again!
Then he drives the knife in:
@RobbieSavage8 pipe down before I slap u with 1 of Nevs medals…!!! Actually u might enjoy it as u aint ever felt one yet!
Before putting the nail in the coffin:
@RobbieSavage8 lads said u were a pub player at man utd anyway! Sit down!
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When dragbacks go wrong
In Mexico Cruz Azul’s Argentine left winger, Neri Cardozo, gets the drag back all wrong and goes hurtling into an advertising hoarding. Definitely the showboat-gone-horribly-wrong-of-the-week!
Trouble in Turkey
Umit Ozat went all Brian Clough at the weekend as he took out a supporter with a smart right hook. Of course Cloughie just gave them a “clip round the ear” but Ozat took it one step further when he started stamping on the fan’s head after he had already floored him. Next week I’ll let you know the length of the ban!
Futsal Falcao raises Ronaldinho
Remember Ronaldinho from behind the goal, well Futsal legend Falcao has, in homage to the great man, produced a video of his own. No words to describe it (it is the 2nd goal 0:23 sec in) so here it is (video courtesy of the excellent 101greatgoals.com). Although as an Arsenal fan my goal of the week has to go to ex-Gunner Gilberto Silva for this cracker in the Greek Cup against AEK on Wednesday night!
Bielsa to remain as Chile coach?
The Argentine and manager of the Chilean national side, Marcelo ‘Loco’ Bielsa, failed to hand in his resignation at the end of January. He had vowed to hand in his resignation in November but as no written resignation has been received by the President of the Chilean FA, Sergio Jadue, he confirmed that “Bielsa will continue his current role”. The coach himself hasn’t said anything yet, maybe he will, maybe he won’t but for now it seems that he will remain as the coach. Argentinian sports daily Olé summed up the unpredictable trainer perfectly “Bielsa will never change”.
Ronaldo misses out
Brazilian superstar Ronaldo has seen his dream of winning the Copa Libertadores crushed in the qualifying stages. A 0-0 draw at home to Tolima meant it was always going to be difficult when the Todo Poderoso visited Colombia. And so it proved with the Colombians running out 2-0 winners at home. Also through to the group stages at the time of writing are Copa Sudamericana champions, Independiente, Union Española of Chile, Brazilians Grêmio and Mexican side Jaguares.
Top Ten of the week
This week FIFA brought out their updated rankings on international teams for February. But I thought it would be more interesting to look at the Top Ten teams when you take into account population size. The formula is simple population size/FIFA Ranking points giving you the number of inhabitants per point, obviously the less people per point the better because inversely this is means more points per head! (NB This only takes into account the top 50 FIFA ranked teams – so neither Monseratt or American Samoa had a chance!)
10 Denmark – 6929.81 inhabitants per FIFA points
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina – 6591.98
8 Republic of Ireland – 6564.90
7 Slovakia – 6358.04
6 Norway – 4960.70
5 Croatia – 4125.63
4 Uruguay – 2913.70
3 Northern Ireland – 2908.94
2 Slovenia – 2284.23
1 Montenegro – 779.09
So there you have it, Montenegro might be 25th overall but when you take population into account they are by far the best international team. Spain, current leaders of the FIFA rankings, are 27th when you look at inhabitants per point. For a related Top Ten check out my Top Ten Small International Teams I posted last year, interestingly just half of the teams in today’s Top Ten are mentioned then!
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