Here is another installment from the only place on the web to see these stats and news stories all on one page. None of the usual stuff (Olympic Stadium dragging on, Wilshere’s debut, Champions League previews) sure you can find that elsewhere. This week, statistical proof that Messi is 2nd best footballer in the world, statistical proof that Guinea are the 2nd best team in the world, we find out what CHAN is, footage of Camoranesi back in his homeland, more trouble for Adriano, why nobody wants Spain to play in Madrid and much more! Only here at footballtoptens – don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter @paraguayralph
Update from Last Week
Hours after posting last week’s blog, Marcelo Bielsa announced he was resigning as Chile coach! In a 27 minute monologue he announced his reason why, laying the blame on Chilean FA president Jadue’s behaviour. He thanked the Chilean players and supporters and then was gone. Chile are yet to name a replacement. Anderlecht racked up another clean sheet at the weekend, 750 minutes and counting – will keep an eye on that one. NeymarWatch: Not good for the Brazilian, as they lost in the six-team final phase against Argentina 2-1 and he picked up a booking which saw him suspended for the game against Ecuador. Argentinian daily Olé was not impressed: “The Brazilian star was out of control from the start, he dived a lot, played little and to top it off was booked” It was Iturbe the Guaraní Messi (born in Argentina to Paraguayan parents) who shone with this goal – interesting to see who he plays for when the senior sides come knocking!
This week’s stories
Messi 2nd best
After Messi racked up his 40th goal of the season with a hat-trick at the weekend, I wondered who is the top scorer in Europe at the moment – with the caveat that they’ve played at least 10 games. Looking at league goals Messi averages 1.26 per game but that only puts him in 2nd place! The best striker at the moment is Mali bad-boy Garra Dembélé who earns his keep in Bulgaria. The Levski Sofia striker went into the winter break with 16 goals in 12 games (1.33 per game) – the Bulgarian league restarts on 26 February will be interesting to see if he picks up where he left off!
Shock results in OFC Champions League
The group stages of the OFC Champions League started again after a summer break and it produced two shock results! Firstly New Zealand’s Waitakere United suffered their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of AS Tefana from Faaa (that isn’t a typo). It was the Tahitians first win ever in the competition and the first time a Tahitian team had beaten a Kiwi outfit since AS Pirae in 2006. The next day Koloale (which isn’t Touré’s new beer) of the Solomon Islands thrashed Lautoka 6-1 in Fiji. It was Koloale’s first win of the tournament against the previously unbeaten Fijians who had only conceded once in their first three matches.
Friendly Stat Attack
Here is a quick statistical round-up of some of the mid-week friendlies:
Bolivia crossed the Atlantic – The Andean nation played their first friendly on European soil since June 2003 when they lost 4-0 to Portugal in Lisbon. The 2-1 defeat to Latvia was only the 3rd European team they had faced in the last 8 years having also met Ireland in Boston in 2007.
England keep leaking goals in friendlies – it is now 11 goals in the last 9 friendlies and it was 10 non-competitive ago that they kept a clean sheet, 4-0 vs Slovakia in March 2009. It was however England’s first friendly victory away (not neutral venue) since 2008 when they overcame the Germans in Berlin (I was there!!).
Spain love Madrid – They haven’t lost in the capital since 1987 (against England) and David Silva’s goal was the 150th Spain had scored there. Their overall Madrid record is intimidating, played 59, won 39, drawn 11, lost 9, scoring 150 and conceding 59.
Will the Germans ever beat Italy again? – still no win since 1995 that is 5 matches and counting after Giuseppe Rossi’s late equaliser!
Roaring on in Australia
Brisbane Roar are on the longest unbeaten streak in A-league history as they beat North Queensland Fury on Tuesday to stretch their run to 24 games. The previous record was 22 games set way back in 1986/87 by APIA-Leichhardt when the A-League was the National Soccer League. In the last 24 games they’ve recorded wins and draws scoring goals and conceding just.
Adriano accused of drink driving
Roma striker Adriano was picked up by Brazilian police this week for suspected driving while under the influence of alcohol. He refused to take a breathaliser test but did admit to officers he had been drinking. His driving license has been revoked pending a review of the incident and he has been issued a 577 dollar fine. Police confirmed that he was very polite!
Abreu’s ‘grandes huevos’ and goal of the week
The only way to describe a guy who tries the Panenka dink and fails…then with his 2nd penalty minutes later goes for a dink again and scores (1:00). Not goal of the week though, for me it has to be Wesley Sneijder on Wednesday night for Holland with this 1-2 and volley!
Camoranesi gets first win under his belt
Italian World Cup winner Mauro Camoranesi has gone back to the country of his birth, Argentina, to play for Lánus. While the Argentinian Championship hasn’t kicked off yet Camoranesi took part in a game of foot-volley on Argentine Show Fútbol Para Todos. Teaming up with Damián Manusovich they ran out 10-8 winners against the hosts, some nice touches from Mauro!
Kevin Davies gets his hands on the Premier League trophy
It seems he got Amir Khan onboard to provide the muscle as they robbed it and put it in Khan’s gym. That is the only feasible way of explaining this picture from Bolton on Monday.
CHAN gets going
The CHAN or African Nations Championship is basically the African Nations Cup but only using domestic-based players to give them more international experience. Nice idea right?! It kicked off this week in Sudan and the host nation have won their first two games 1-0. Things aren’t going as well for Ghana with captain Emmanuel Clottey issuing an apology to Black Stars fans after losing the first to games to leave them on the precipice of elimination. In a statement on Thursday the captain lamented “We apologise for our bad performance, we did not expect to play like this, we don’t know what happened”.
Argentinos Juniors draw in Brazil
Say what? For the first time in six Argentina vs Brazil Copa Libertadores clashes the visiting team has taken something from the game. Admittedly Fluminense were smarting from their derby defeat to Big Balls Abreu (see above) and missing ex-Chelsea duo Deco and Belletti through injury. But still full credit to Argentinos Juniors for a great result and fully deserved 2-2 draw. Incidentally the last time a Brazilian team won away in Argentina…Santos on 22 March 2007 against Gimnasia de La Plata.
And next week?
Hard to confirm what I’ll look into but I solemnly promise to review Riquelme’s long-awaited return to Boca after injury and what he called his worst ever season. The Boca trequartista didn’t mince his words in Thursday’s press conference “Summer’s over, Sunday we have to win”. A rejuvenated Boca are big favourites for the league after reinforcing their team – but Estudiantes, Velez and River were all named by Juan Roman (JR to his friends) as contenders.
Top Ten of the week
After the response to last week’s Top Ten on best international team adjusting for population this week we discover the world’s best team adjusting for GDP per head. Here we divide GDP per head/FIFA Ranking points giving you International Dollars per points, like last week the lower the score the better! For the record I have used the IMF stats for GDP per head.
10. Egypt – $8.98 per FIFA ranking point
9. Brazil – $7.81
8. Honduras – $7.18
7. Paraguay – $5.91
6. Nigeria – $3.97
5. Cameroon – $3.71
4. Burkina Faso – $2.24
3. Côte d’Ivoire – $2.07
2. Guinea – $1.87
1. Ghana – $1.71
So the list is dominated by African teams and it is World Cup Quarter Finalists Ghana who just top the list (maybe that will cheer up Emmanuel Clottey, see above). Paraguay were the closest team to be featured in both Top Tens (they are 11th on the population chart) and once again the USA have fared poorly finishing 48th (50th on population). In Europe the top team is Ukraine (11th) with last week’s winner Montenegro in 14th. As for Spain they are only 17th on this list an improvement on last week’s 27th.
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