Friday, October 2, 2009

And the World Champions are...

Next summer all football fans will have the chance to watch the best nations among the world in the same competition. I´m obviously talking about World Cup 2010 that takes place in South Africa. In 2006, Italy became the new World Champion....Who will be able to do it in 2010? Teams like Brazil, Germany, Italy or England are always pressed to go to the final. However, only a few of them will make it. If we pay attention to the qualification stage, we note that some top teams may not be present in South Africa next summer, as Argentina, France or Portugal. We should now focus our attention on to the 5 best teams in the world, according to FIFA ranking.

Brazil Brazil

Spain Spain

Netherlands Netherlands

Italy Italy

Germany Germany


One of the most impressive football nations of ever. They are always considered as favourites due to their incredible history and world class players. Who doesn´t know them? Kaka, Ronaldinho, Pato, Lúcio, Luis Fabiano....All of them play in the best european clubs and gives to this selection quality enough to beat any team. In spite of being criticized at the beginnig of the qualification, Dunga has now the support of millions of people in Brazil who want to see "a seleção" be world champion again. They want to be the next Word Champions and they got reasons to be optimistic because Brazil seem to have found the necessary strenght and quality to grab next´s summer trophy.


The new European Champions have all the conditions to win the World Cup next year.  After an outstanding performance in Euro 2008 and an even better one in the Qualifiers, the spanish players must  be proud of themselves. Players like Fernando "El niño" Torres, Iniesta , Xavi, David Vila, Casillas give hope to a nation that want to see Spain World Champions for the first time. This team has shown good football in the last matches, so it won´t be a surprise if we see Spain in the final of the competition next summer.


Another wonderful team who have an offensive play that destroy many defenses. This nation have what it takes to go through the final in World Cup and their exibitions speak for themselves. The Netherlands play as a team, so their oposites can´t be focus just in a particular player. They´re organized at defence and efficient at attack. It´s fair to say that this team have a real possibility to win any competition and fight as equal with opponents like Brazil or Spain.


What about the still World Champions? Do they have the quality to win it again? It will be very difficult to Italy to do it, but they are 4th in FIFA´s ranking and that has to mean something. Pirlo and company aren´t playing consistently as we italians were used to....However, the World Cup is just in 2010, so Italy still have time to improve their performances. The current champions are always contenders no matter what.


Germany have won the World Cup for three times and are currently 1st in their qualification group. This is one of the best teams in the world and even though they can´t win any competition since 1996 when they were able to win Euro 1996. This powerfull team is used to play lots of finals and semi-finals in World and European Cups but they will have to be at their best ig they want to reach the final in South Africa. Germany will be a hard opponent for any team.

Besides these fantastic teams, we can´t forget that all the others will be looking for an opportunity to stand out in a competition that counts on the best nations in the world.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Europa League reaplaces UEFA Cup

It is called now Europa League, the new UEFA competition that brings to Europe more quality matches and more money for the winning clubs. The new format that replaces UEFA Cup continues to be a valid alternative for those who can´t be present at Champions League. Teams like Ajax, Valencia, Celtic, Sporting CP, AS Roma, Galatasaray, Villareal, SL Benfica, Shakhtar, PSV or Werder Bremen ensure quality to a Cup that even though isn´t good enough to be compared to CL, has also good players. In this new format the group stage is expanded to include 12 groups of four teams each and each team plays the other three sides on a home-and-away basis, with the top two teams in each of the 12 groups progressing to the Round of 32. This system is similar to CL and much better than the one used in UEFA Cup.

In addition to the number of teams involves and the huge diference between both competitions quality, there is another important subject that should be highlighted: the probable winners. As we all know, the millionaire league is used to be won by english, italian and spanish teams, what doesn´t happens with UEFA Cup/ Europa League. This tournament is usually won by many teams that come from Ucraine, Russia, Portugal, Netherlands, Turquey, Germany etc. This fact contributes to the competitiveness I have referred before. It´s hard to name a favourite because unlike Champions League there isn´t three or four teams much better than the others.

Europa League is then a Cup in which all clubs are invited to win money and visibility in a continent where football assumes the role of most important sport. Who will win it? Wait until May...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What is wrong with Portugal, Argentina and France?

One of the best and most waited competitions all over the planet is the World Cup that occurs in every four years. It´s something unique that brings hapiness to many football fans, who hope to see their country to be aclaimed the best football nation in Earth. The 2010 World Cup will take place at South Africa and will count with top nations discussing the world champion title. Next year we will be able to watch the best players of the world playing in the most important football event of the year. Torres, Xavi and Iniesta from Spain have confirmed their presence in South Africa, just like Luis Fabiano and Kaka from Brazil and Schneider and Robben from Netherlands. However, some world class players might have spend 2010 summer at home, watching the World Cup on tv. Im talking about three countries that are in a difficult situation and still have to struggle in order to qualify themselves.

Certainly that a World Cup without players like Lionel Messi and Aguero (Argentina) , Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco (Portugal) or Ribery and Henry (France) wouldn´t be exactly the World Cup we all expected, but it´s a fact that these fantastic players might not achieve the qualification.

When there are only two matches left to play, Argentina is in a complicated position in their group. They are 5th, the last place that give them an opportunity to reach a play-off. They will play against Peru (10/10/09) and Uruguay (14/10/09), two strong teams that will try making Los Albicelestes´s situation get worse.
In Europe, France is also in a play-off place access. They´re 2nd in a group led by Servia. However, France supporters may be optimistic once the next matches will be against Faroe and Austria, two relatively weak teams. Henry´s team just need to win one of this games to garantee the 2nd place or win both matches and pray for a Servia´s loss to get 1st in the group and directly qualify.
Among the three nations, Portugal is the one who is in the worst position. With a Denmark almost qualified, the 2nd place thats gives acess to play-off is disputed by Sweden and Portugal. A Selecção need to win against Hungary and Malta at home and expect a loss by the sweden team in order to keep their hopes of being in South Africa next summer.

The main question is this: Why are these fantastic teams with so many problems in qualifying? Have Maradonna, Carlos Queiróz and Raymond Domenech the fault? Are the coaches the main responsible for their teams poor performances?

One thing is for sure: If any of these nations fail the qualification, the team´s coach will be fired and they know that. There are no excuses in case of failling. All three teams have players with quality enough to be in the World Cup. Argentina and France have been World Champions before and Portugal have also achieved some good results in the last decade, like going through the Euro 2004 final and World Cup 2006 semi-final.

My guess is that France and even Argentina will get through play-offs and be in South Africa. Now about Portugal.... I have my doubts (but still believe they will be there).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Messi or Ronaldo? Ronalmessi

Nowadays one of the most common questions made all around the world is: Who is the best player in the world? Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi? They are both fast, creative and score lots of goals. That´s true but there are a lot of fast and creative players in many teams....What makes CR9 and Messi so special? Their special quality is the fact that they can solve a match by themselves. Sometimes players like these take actions that nobody else can. It can be a shot, a pass, a run....a impossible goal.
CR9 was considered the Best Player Of The Year in 2008. Messi will be probably it in 2009. And why is that? Simple answer...At FIFA´s eyes, collective titles are decisive: CR9 won Champions League in 2008 and he was the best player in Manchester United in that season. Messi was the best in Barcelona in 2009 (until may) and the spanish team were european champions last it´s logical that Messi will be The Best Player Of The Year in 2009.

Individual titles apart, is it really necessary to make a choice between these wonderful players? I don´t think so. They are so similar and so different at the same time! Now that they are both playing in Spain, they will play against each other more times. This is great for all football fans! We will be able to see the best players in the world in the same field more times. However we shoudn´t forget players as Kaka and Ibrahimovic who also play in Madrid and Barcelona.
These fantastic players show how to play. Afterall, football without players like these isn´t the football we all love.

Messi or Ronaldo? Ronalmessi

Champions League Favourite Team....Why not Barcelona?

Every year the same question is made: who will grab the next Champions League trophy? The first team that comes to most people´s mind is the actual european champion. FC Barcelona. Last season Barcelona won everything they could have won in Spain. The spanish championship, the cup (Copa del Rey) and Champions League. They have top world players like Messi, Iniesta, Xavi or the new team mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Their young coach Pepe Guardiola seems to know how to motivate the players and has an offensive culture playing. It looks like Camp Nou´s team is perfect at the moment.

However, Barcelona will have to struggle if they want to be well succeed. Their eternal rivals Real Madrid are stronger than last seasons. The current president Florentino Peréz came to Madrid with new ideas and a big budget: he intends to build a more competitive team through buying top players, spending whatever it takes to make a world class team. Lets wait and see if Real Madrid´s some new awesome players as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema and Xavi Alonso allied to the spirit of the club are enough to conquer Europe for the 10th time in history.

The 4 "big" teams in England are also running for the european title. Last season ´s runner-out Manchester United may have lost their star CR, but they still have arguments to discuss a presence in the final of the competition. Chelsea remains the top team we are used to see in last seasons and they are one of the favourites to win CL. About Liverpool and Arsenal we can say that both teams are strong enough to go through the final, in spite of the fact that they are not as consistent as they had shown to Europe a long time ago.

Inter, AC Milan and Juventus are also capable of beating any team. Mourinho has the team he always wanted (Eto´o, Milito and Shneider give to Inter more attacking power) and Juventus are in a great form (finally we see this team playing good football!). AC Milan seem weaker than their eternal rivals, but they are always a club that fights for european good results.

As you all know CL usually is won by english, spanish and italian teams....but there are some outsiders that can cause some surprise such as Lyon (France), FC Porto (Portugal), FC Bayern München and Wolfsburg (both from Germany). Since 1998 only 2 teams that are not from England-Spain-Italy have won CL. They are FC Bayern Munchen in 2001 and FC Porto in 2004.

The teams who appear to better now are Barcelona, Chelsea and Inter. Anything can happen...but my guess goes to Barcelona.

About me and WinninGoal

Hi there! This is my first blog and I´m looking forward to write about many football issues that come to my mind. Despite of being portuguese, I write in english in order to make easier to everyone understanding my posts. This is a blog where I will talk about european football in general, commenting as many matches, players, coaches, teams as my time allows me to. All commentaries and opinions are welcome since they are not disrespectful. Forgive me for any possible misspelled (I am improving my english, but it isn´t perfect yet).

This is my space and your space, so I´m counting on you to turn this normal blog into something bigger through your commentaries and suggestions.

A Blog dedicated to all football true fans. The ones who breathe football even at sleeping.

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