Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers

Odds: 350/1

Last Five Seasons

2005/06 – 6 (Premiership), 2004/05 – 15 (Premiership), 2003/04 – 15 (Premiership), 03/03/2002 (Premiership), 10/02/2001 (Premiership).

2005/06 Cup Progress

FA Cup Fourth Round vs West Ham United (a) – lost 4-2.

Carling Cup Semi Finals vs Manchester United – lost 3-2 on aggregate.

Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Craig Bellamy (striker) – 17 goals.

Players In

Benni McCarthy (FC Porto – £ 2,500,000), Jason Roberts (Wigan Athletic – Undisclosed), Zura Khizanishvili (Rangers – Free), Francis Jeffers (Charlton Athletic – Free), Jason Brown (Gillingham – Free).

Players Out

Craig Bellamy (Liverpool – £ 6,000,000), Paul Dickov (Manchester City – Free), Gary Harkins (Grimsby Town – Free), Lorenzo Amoruso (Released), Vratislav Gresko (Released), Steven Drench (Released).

Blackburn Rovers were the Premier League's surprise package last season by securing a sixth placed finish following two seasons just above the relegation zone. Mark Hughes transformed the underachieving former champions and got the best out of bad boy Craig Bellamy, who finished the season as the club's top goal scorer.

Bellamy's outstanding form did not go unnoticed and Liverpool snapped him up for a bargain £ 6 million but Hughes has been quick to sign replacement attacking options. Porto striker Benni McCarthy arrived for an undisclosed fee believed to be £ 2.5 million. The South Africa international was art of the Porto side that won the Champions League in 2004 and signed a four year contract at Ewood Park. McCarthy has won 60 caps for South Africa and has scored 26 goals. He retired from international football after the World Cup in 2002 but reversed his decision two years later.

Wigan Athletic striker Jason Roberts also signed a four year deal, again for an undisclosed fee. Roberts was Wigan's top scorer last season with 14 goals and Hughes swooped after he turned down a new contract to extend his stay with the Latics.

Francis Jeffers completed a hat-trick of new strikers arriving at the club this summer, with the former Everton and Arsenal forward joining on a free transfer from Charlton Athletic. Hughes has also been linked with Nicolas Anelka, who has Premiership experience with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City and Mido, who spent 18 months on loan at Tottenham Hotspur from Serie A side AS Roma.

Verdict

Blackburn's involvement in the UEFA Cup next season will add strain to Mark Hughes' squad which still lacks some strength in depth. It is unlikely that they will be able to recreate last season's sixth placed finish and mid table is more likely should they progress to the later stages in Europe.

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Free Live Football and Soccer – Even At 3PM on a Saturday Happy Days

Free Live Football and Soccer – Even At 3PM on a Saturday Happy Days

Free Live Football and Soccer – Even At 3PM on a Saturday Happy Days

I am a football / soccer fan, always have been always will be. I love my football / soccer and I know there are thousands and thousands of people out there just like me.

Two weeks ago I received an e-mail from a friend of mine. He text me and said, you have got to log into your e-mail now and check out what I have sent you. I did as I was told and about 3 minutes later, I was the happiest football fan on the planet, at the point in time. I had discovered live football / soccer on the net for absolutely NO COST what so ever.

Now, we all know that live football / soccer on the box has been the cause of many, many family arguments. It clashes with Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emerdale, you know what I mean. Well, now there was a way to end those rows. Football / Soccer on the PC / Laptop and the soaps on the box. Happy Days !!

I was so excited about this. I had to share it with my Dad. The only problem with this, was that my Dad is very new to computers and the internet. He has been on-line for about a year now and only recently upgraded to Broadband. I couldn't visit it him, because of other commitments, but I wanted to get him up and running with my new discovery, for two reasons.

1. My mum could watch her soaps and give her control of the remote. That maybe a step to far though!

2. My Dad could cut costs without missing his Live football. Yes I got the football / soccer bug from my Dad, bless him. He is a pensioner now, so every saved penny is a bonus.

The only way I would be able to give him access, to this great online offer, would be to write an installation, easy to follow "idiot guide," with screenshots taking him through every step and every click. It took me longer than I thought, but the end justified the means.

I was so excited. I had to get a second opinion before I e-mailed it off to my Dad. So, I popped next door with a printed copy of my lovely, colorful guide. I sat in the kitchen with my neighbor's wife having a cup of tea, while her hubby logged on to his PC and followed my instructions. It took him about 5 minutes, but "SUCCESS" was achieved and he was as happy as I was.

I wasted no time in patting myself on the back, but the big test was still to come. I e-mailed a copy off to my Dad. I called him and explained, what I had just sent him. He printed of his copy. I sat on the other end of the phone, with a copy of the guide on the screen in front of me.

I was really pleased. In about 15 minutes he was done. The date was Feb 17th and we were both now watching Chelsea v Norwich FA cup 5th round match, Live on our PC's, FOR FREE and even better than that; It was 3:20 PM on a Saturday. Sorry, but to coin a phrase, he was "over the moon". I was a very, happy chappy too !!

To make this work you need the following, but there is no EXTRA cost involved.

1. Broadband Connection (You are already paying for this)

2. Windows Media Player at least version 9 (free download link is given for version 11) or real player

3. 10 minutes of your time and then you will be up and running

4. A Good Supply of "cold ones." Okay, you will have to pay for these

The choice is yours. Premier League, Coca Cola Championship & League. The FA Cup, Carling Cup, Champions League & UEFA Cup. The Italian Seria A, The Spanish La Liga, The French Le Championship, The German Bundesliga and much more.

You can even watch from a selection of movies. In February I watched the latest James Bond Movie "Casino Royale".

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The Twisted Confession of a Cheating Housewife

The Twisted Confession of a Cheating Housewife

The Twisted Confession of a Cheating Housewife

It was exactly 1 am in Lagos, and the night was stillborn. I was having the worst day of my life as my favorite club Liverpool had so dramatically lost the 2018 Champions league trophy to Real Madrid yesterday, all thanks to Karius and of course Sergio Ramos who tactically dismembered our star-man Mohamed Salah to clench a smooth oppression. It had rained heavily shortly after the match-for about two hours-I guess even the heavens smelt fowl-play and decided to cry for Liverpool.

The roads were flooded with heavenly tears, but it obviously had not prevented angry Liverpool fans from finding their way home so quickly. I was walking alone, wondering what had made the night so lifeless, even after a big match-day like the UEFA champions league final, and also since they say Lagos never sleeps. Suddenly I began to hear rushing footsteps…

My heart fluttered instantly, but the real-man in me stabilized the pounding… I braced my morale, and looked on.

Few seconds later I heard some heavy breathing from a close distance. I hid myself behind an abandoned Danfo bus and narrowed my vision towards that direction, using the reflected rays from the towering street lamps that stood like some guardian angels. I saw a huge Shadow approaching me. My heart jumped out through my mouth-how on earth could whoever or whatever it may be, had figured me out-from my obscured position. I concluded; my days on this cruel world was up eventually. What do I have to lose anyways, since I have neither married nor had my own kids. Well, just my mother and only sister whom I would miss so dearly. I steadied my breathing-‘let the worst come’ I reassured myself, bidding my time, calculating the footsteps of the approaching shadow and waiting for whatever may happen next…

The silhouette suddenly transformed into a heavily pregnant woman. A dozen thoughts ran through my head. The transformation was so whimsical that I didn’t know if I should feel relieved or more scared-she was running as though for dear life… I followed her point of view as she looked behind intermittently to see whoever or whatsoever was pursuing her, (But I sooner found there was no one in pursuit).

Even so, she seemed to be running away from something. She slowed down at some point– Looked back– No one was coming– She was breathing so hard–she then lowered upon a hip of gravel obviously meant for a nearby construction site, and then slowly rested her posterior on the gravels…

Gradually, her heavy breathing stabilized. Suppressing my riveting impulse to flee to safety, I ambled hesitantly toward her, observing her closely and carefully as they would generally advise of anyone in Lagos. My heart hit my chest painfully. As soon as I was close enough, I tried to act like a security guard… but before I could utter a single query, there was a sudden power interruption… (As in total darkness).

Anyone who has lived or been to any part of Nigeria would certainly understand what I mean, and considering my current circumstances, it was share mischief. How could they black-out on me at this very crucial moment? All I expected at the point was for some wild or mystic creature to pounce on me, or rather for this mysterious woman who might be some sort of blood sucking demon to either rip me apart or suck my blood to dryness… (But neither of these hideous things happened to me).

Suddenly I heard a soft voice from within the darkness… It was the woman’s.

«Wondering what a heavily pregnant woman like me is doing on the street by this time of the night I suppose? You wouldn’t pity me if I told you who I am or what I’ve done.» She spoke in Yoruba, and I understood her very well. «I have done what no one has ever contemplated, and my sins have caught up with me… Don’t pity me! I don’t deserve your pity… »

I was shaken by these words, and just in time, power was restored, and I could see her face clearly as she continued, in Yoruba.

«Please, what is the quickest way for a pregnant woman to die?»

Upon hearing this one, I quickly took some steps away from her. See me o. Have they sent her to tempt me or something? She sounded desperate, her voice was shaky, but her will was firm. I couldn’t respond, and so she continued…

«I know you are probably thinking I am a mad woman. No, I’m not. My name is Ose, from Edo. I am married to a man from Imo, but I reside here in Lagos with my husband. I had been married for 15 years with no issue to show for it. The world, for me, was a tinny cottage full of scorpions and vipers… and I was just in the middle of it all, counting time and waiting for the last sting or bite that might knock me out for good. The frustration gradually accrued to the acme as I perceived the cold hands of menopause clawing me gently but yet with a malignant clench. Unfortunately and to my utter dismay, my husband was not so bothered at all by my dilemma.

Things became worse when my husband’s family intensified pressure on him to take a second wife. He complicated the already-bad situation by refusing to their demands, thereby escalating the heat, and everything backfired to me. They instantly laced the whole fabric around my neck alleging that I’d pinned down their son with strong juju, to do my bidding.

My mother-in-law was the most desperate, but I understood her predicament. She was in her late sixties; and according to a popular African belief, seeing your grandchildren before death is a sure ticket to eternal bliss. From all indications, I was going to deny her of what she deserves- for this reason I became her worst enemy. She later upped her game by coming to live with us in the house; and this was the beginning of everything sorrowful. She gave me the kind of blissful married life that I wouldn’t even wish for my worst enemy. Whenever my husband travels out of town, she would throw my things out of my matrimonial bedroom until my husband returns. I kept my cool and made no fuse of anything she did. She continued this way until she had an urgent reason to return home. She really made my life a living hell, to the extent that I contemplated suicide countless times.

Titi (my best friend), suggested that we opt for adoption, but my husband utterly forbade the idea and even threatened to break the marriage if I as much as mentioned the word adoption again. He gave his reasons being that Adopted Children often come from contaminated blood lines; since they are often abandoned children. No normal person would ever leave his/her child for another man to raise, except for prostitutes who must have been impregnated by criminals and never-do-wells.

At this point, Titi again gave me an awkward advice. She told me to consider finding a lover, just for me to conceive… perhaps the problem might have been from my husband all these years. She even told me that it was how she gave birth to her four children– it had been her little secret all these years.

I had never cheated on my husband before; have never contemplated it, ever before, and my husband was indeed a champion in bed… yeah-yeah, of course he sure knows how to hammer and pleasure a woman, well-well… (Lol)… But my dilemma was deeper and darker than a mirage, because I had a very strong feeling that I was just two years away from MENOPAUSE.

For several weeks I slept and thought over it. I was in turmoil; never knew any other man except for my husband. I didn’t know how to find a man who would just sleep with me, get me pregnant, and then walk away without causing troubles.

On the other hand, I thought about God, the bible and the gospel teachings. But my mind was made up already. I have been faithful to both God and my husband for the past 15 years and yet no reward for it. I was fed up already with the whole gospel and morality sermons.

Titi advised me to choose a man I could control so there won’t be complications later. I chose my Housekeeper; a very handsome young man with an amazing personality even in his low status. Bayo was around 23yrs, but he was so matured, reasonable and irresistible. I’d always admired him a lot but kept to my distance.

When I threw my advances at him he at first declined, stating a whole bunch of reasons why it was so wrong for him to see me ‘pantless’. He left me with no option than to coerce him into it. I increased my incentives but threatened to send him back to the village should he decide to turn me down again or raise a fuse about it-oh, the poor boy… I couldn’t stand the look of his innocent face when he undressed me (because I had him do it by himself). When he eventually entered me, it felt like heaven. I swallowed every inch of his creativity, and yet craved for more.

Bayo’s skills took me through cloud-nine, down memory-lane. When I was younger, I was addicted to porn and often fantasized about being handled by Pros — he made my dreams come true. He was so good that he soon wiped the memories of my husband’s magic touch from my lustful mind. I lost control of myself; I brought him into my matrimonial bed during the day (while my husband has gone to work), and would sneak out of bed into his arms most of the nights. We constantly had unprotected sex for two straight months and I almost forgot the main reason why it had all began in the first place… I actually started enjoying my unholy relationship with him.

As the second month passed, I began to notice changes in my body. I later found out from diagnosis that I was already two months pregnant (I couldn’t believe it). Titi was the first to hear my testimony, even before my husband. She was so excited, but curious to know and meet the miracle worker. After much persuasion I let the cat out of the bag; at once she became very mad at me. She advised me again to dispose of him (as in find some way of killing him), her reasons were that the boy was a very risky loose-end for me to keep since he was an insider and might somehow find out that I had his child later in the future.

I dauntlessly tried on several occasions to poison Bayo but something held me back. I soon found out I was in love with him. Once more I sort Titi’s opinion. She offered to assist me with a «permanent» solution. I didn’t know what she meant, but I accepted with ‘thanks’. The next morning, two Assassins came to the house in form of armed robbers and made away with my Husband’s jeep. They also shot Bayo thrice, in the process… Bayo died moments later, as three of the bullets sank through his chest.

I was not happy. I definitely did not ask her to kill the innocent boy. I should have understood her undertone when she used the word «permanent». I’d assumed she was going to kind of kidnap him and possibly coerce him to exile or something else of that nature… in fact she actually said she was going to whisk him away to exile for good. I had no idea the kind of exiling she meant. This made me brake my relationship with Titilayo from that very day, but I neither told my husband what happened between myself, Titi and Bayo nor what even led to his death.

I noticed that my husband was so aggrieved about Bayo’s death but I didn’t bother asking why. One early morning, I was in the 7th month of my pregnancy, my husband woke me up. He looked very disturbed and depressed. I asked him what the matter is, but he knelt down before me and said that he had a big confession to make.

«Honey I am so sorry, I have not been telling you the truth all these years»

I was confused… what truth is he talking about? I became curious… (Could it be that I am not the only one with a red skeleton in her cupboard?). At that point, he began his confession.

«Baby, many years ago I lived a very rough life in the university. I had contracted an STD and was too ashamed to go to the hospital. I opted for a local concoction instead, but later when I left the university, I had some medical complications… The untreated virus had already damaged my testicles and rendered me impotent forever. »

«What! Honey?» I couldn’t contain my shock! But knowing what I had already committed, I didn’t know how best to act like I had been deceived… My husband calmed me down… he had another confession.

«Baby, please forgive me… » he’d continued, «I didn’t know how to tell you all these years. But earlier before the infection, I had a girlfriend in school who had gotten pregnant for me. I had given her money to abort the fetus but she’d bluntly refused. I broke the relationship afterwards, but nine months later she brought a baby boy to my mother during the long vacation. I couldn’t reject the baby this time, and so my parents accepted to take the responsibility while I completed my schooling. It was the same girl that gave me the STD, but she died few years later as a result of other medical complications.»

At this point I felt my husband was drifting away from his confession, as I was not interested in what happened to the woman who got pregnant for him. I was only concerned about the wellbeing of the boy, so I asked him;

«Honey, don’t worry… I forgive you. But how is this boy now and where has he been all these years?»

My Husband paused for a very long while… moments later he drew a very long breathe, and then continued his narration.

«Honey, he has been living with us. He was Bayo our house boy… I didn’t want you to know his true identity. I was afraid you might maltreat him or even kill him like most women do to children who’re born into their matrimonial homes from another woman. I wanted to protect him since I wasn’t going to be able to get a woman pregnant in my lifetime again… » and then he began to cry like a baby.

I froze to the spot. I didn’t know what to say or do anymore. Then to crown it all, my husband said;

«Dear, Please. I am not angry with you. I knew all these while that the baby in your womb is not my own. But I was too ashamed to confront you. Now that everything has come to the open, Please tell me, who is the father of our unborn child?»

For hours, I couldn’t say a single word to my husband. I didn’t know how to start my own confession either. How do I possible admit that I really cheated on him repeatedly, under his very nose… and how do I even admit that I did it with his own son? Worst still, how do I possibly tell him that it was my fault that his son is dead?

At this point she paused for a long beat… I waited patiently for her to continue the confession. I was so keen to hear the end of her story (at least her husbands’ reaction to her confession)… But she remained Cold, Silent, and Remorseful.

I knew she still had a lot more to say. I waited patiently for her to regain voice. Moments later she suddenly grabbed my arm and groaned;

«Promise me! Promise me you’d tell the world my story! Promise me!»

I managed to contain my shock and then replied reassuringly;

«I promise. Tell me everything, I will write a book in your name.»

She took a deep breath and then nodded twice. We stared into each other’s face. I wanted to ask her a lot of questions but couldn’t risk working her up. She took her time to narrate the remaining part of her story bit by bit, and I listened very aptly not missing a single fragment.

Her story was quite an intriguing tale. I thought of leaving her for few moments and rushing home to fetch my pen and paper. I just couldn’t afford to miss any detail. On a second thought, I considered convincing her to follow me home so we can be more comfortable. It took me a long while to calm her down and of course win her trust, but after much persuasion she obliged and followed me to my family home. My mother being very emotional, didn’t even bother inquiring about her identity-seeing her with me alone was enough to certify such curiosity-again, considering that she was heavily pregnant (as it is customary in Africa to attend to pregnant women with care and compassion devoid of class or personality (including pregnant mad-women)). After settling through the night, Ose confided in me with her history. I have taken my time to arrange all the details from the very threshold, down to the conclusion.

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New Hopes? Guardiola To Lead Barca

New Hopes? Guardiola To Lead Barca

New Hopes? Guardiola To Lead Barca

One of the oldest and most well-known football clubs in the history of the sport; the FC Barcelona has been struggling over the past seasons in the Spanish first division in order to get back on track. It has definitely been a bumpy ride for the Catalan group as many of its football have began to diminish their usual shine; either due to injuries or constant internal affairs that do not seem to reconcile.

However, the Barça continues to be an European football powerhouse with 18 Liga titles, 7 Spain Supercopa, 2 UEFA Championship League, 24 Copa del Rey and 2 European Super Cups as background. The team draws large amounts of followers due to the magnificent play display and its football players who make the show worth seeing; players such as: Samuel Eto’o, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Gianluca Zambrotta, Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, and Rafael Márquez have supported the Spanish team for the recent era.

As of 2003 the Spanish club hired former AC Milan and Dutch star Frank Rijkaard to lead the club and during his first season the Barcelona obtained the Liga championship besides the Super Copa and one of the most incredible accomplishments a UEFA Champions League title which ended the team’s drought of 14 years.

Most recently during the 2006-07 season the Barcelona began to show some signs of weakness as the club finished second in the Liga and were not able to conquer any other European tournament. Therefore; the team’s leaders decided it was time for a major change as they have asked Rijkaard to step down.

«Joan Laporta (FC Barcelona President) has announced that Frank Rijkaard will end his career at the club at the end of this current 2007/08 season. Josep Buardiola, current coach of Barça B, has been picked as his replacement on the bench of FC Barcelona. «After a meeting of the Board of Directors, the president Joan Laporta appeared before the media to announce the takeover on the bench of the first team of FC Barcelona at the end of the season. On June 30, Frank Rijkaard will no longer be coach of FC Barcelona and Josep Guardiola will be his replacement.»

The announcement has left many questions as what exactly happened in the club’s locker room as despite the Dutch Coach’s success his leave has become a need. Many have stated the real reason is the players themselves who don’t count with the proper encouragements and a positive attitude besides the obvious disagreements between the club and some of their super stars as Ronaldihno and Thierry Henry. Others claim that two years without a title is a clear sign it is time for a new approach in order to shift the future.

On the other hand, new coach Guardiola who will take over from the beginning of the new football season was leading the FC Barcelona B team since 2007 and he has a vast knowledge in the sport as he is a former Al Ahly of Qatar, Brescia, AS Roma, and Mexico’s Dorados player. We certainly hope to see an improvement in the team’s play and attitude as it has everything required to be one of Spain’s top winners and achieve a new title during the 2008-09 campaign.

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Italians Dominate League Action

Italians Dominate League Action

Italians Dominate League Action

Italy dominated this week’s Matchday Five action with all four Italian participants posting victories. Superpowers Bayern Munich, Ajax, Barcelona, Chelsea, and defending champion Liverpool are all through to the knockout round of sixteen. Regular fixtures Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven will all need to win and in some instances get help in Matchday Six to advance.

The UEFA Champions League Cup features the thirty-two best teams in Europe based on their finishes in their respective leagues from the previous year. The thirty-two are seed into eight groups of four who play a home-and-home round robin format. The top two point-getters advance to the knockout round while the third place team is relegated to the consolation UEFA Cup draw. Last place teams are eliminated from Europe.

Italian champ Juventus beat defensive minded Brugge 1-0 on a 80th minute goal by veteran Alessandro Del Piero to lock up their group and move on. Inter beat upsart Artmedia 4-0 behind a triple from Brazilian striker Adriano. The neroazzuri have also clinched their group and move on. Milan beat Turkish champ Fenerbahce 4-0 with former Euro Player of the Year Andruiy Shevchenko netting the first «four-pack» in Champion’s League history. Milan controls its own destiny in its group finale. Upstart Udinese scored twice in the final 20 minutes to beat Panathiakos 2-1 and will need a hard to come by point vs. Barcelona to guarantee their advancement.

Below are the Group Standings and Matchday Five results along with scenarios outlining advancement into the round of sixteen. Matchday Six will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday December 6th and 7th.

Group A: Bayern Munich 12 points, Juventus 12, Brugge 6, Rapid Vienna 0

This group is finalized with Bayern and Juventus moving on. Munich got two goals from Dutch ace Roy Makaay in 4-0 route of rapid. Juve bested Brugge 1-0 on late goal by verteran Del Piro. Brugge has secured place in Uefa Cup. Brugge hosts Bayern while Juventus travels to Rapid in what amounts to a Friendly.

Group B: Arsenal 15, Ajax 10, Thun 3, Sparta Prague 1

Arsenal beat Thun 1-0 on late goal by Pires and travel to Ajax for tuneup. Nigel de Jong got both Ajax goals in 2-1 win over Sparta. Ajax is through. Thun needs a home draw against Sparta to send home the Czechs and a position in Uefa.

Group C: Barcelona 15, Udinese 7, Panathinaikos 4, Werder Bremen 5

Ronaldinho had a goal and an assist in Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Werder Bremen. Barca is perfect through five matches. Udinese need home draw against La Liga’s best or Panathinaikos win to move on. Weder Bremen would advance with win over Pana and Udinese loss. A Werder/Pana draw would eliminate the Germans with the Greek champs continuing on in the consolation.

Group D: Villareal 7, Lille 6, Manchester United 6, Benefica 5

Lille at Benefica and Villareal at Manchester United both drew 0-0 setting up complicated final leg. Villareal continue with a draw or with a loss and Manchester Unied loss or draw. United is through with a win at Benefica or with draw and Lille loss. Lille, despite just one goal in five matches, continue on with road win or draw and Manchester United loss.

Group E: Milan 8, Schalke 7, PSV 7, Fenerbahce 4

Milan eliminated Fenerbahce with 3-1 win. Red-Devils need home win or 0-0, 1-1 draw against Schalke. The Germans advance with a draw or loss with a PSV loss. The Dutchmen must win or draw at home vs. Fenerbahce or they’ll be going home.

Group F: Lyon 13, Real Madrid 10, Rosenborg 4, Olympiakos 1

Lyon and Real Madrid drew 1-1 at Stadio Bernabeu, Guti and Carew exchanging goals. Lyon has now gone an entire calender year without a loss of any type. Rosenborg secured their spot in Uefa by netting a rebound 83rd minute of their 1-1 draw at Lerkendal Stadium. Rosenborg at Lyon and Real Madrid at Olympiakos are just formalities.

Group G: Liverpool 11, Chelsea 10, Real Betis 7, Anderlecht 0

Chelsea advanced to the knockout round by sending Anderlecht to their 11th consecutive Champion’s Cup defat. Anderlecht has yet to score in this year’s round robin. Liverpool and Betis slugged it out in scoreless draw sending Spaniards to consolation. Chelsea and Liverpool renew their Premiership rivalry at Stamford Bridge in their group finale.

Group H: Inter 13, Rangers 6, Artmedia 5, Porto 4

Inter is through after bombing Artmedia. Rangers got miracle 1-1 draw at Porto as late substitution McCormack buried a scramble off a set piece in the 88th minute. They’ll move on with win over Inter at Glasgow or a draw and a Porto/Artmedia draw. Artmedia slips by with Rangers loss and home draw. Porto must win to have any hope of moving on.

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4 Reasons Individual Awards (UEFA "Ballon D’Or" and FIFA "The Best") in Football Should Be Scrapped

4 Reasons Individual Awards (UEFA "Ballon D’Or" and FIFA "The Best") in Football Should Be Scrapped

4 Reasons Individual Awards (UEFA "Ballon D’Or" and FIFA "The Best") in Football Should Be Scrapped

The Ballon d’Or is an award awarded by UEFA and France Football magazine while «The Best» is awarded by FIFA, the ethically-challenged arbiter of the world’s most popular sport. Although prestigious as it is degenerate, both awards are nothing more than tangible compliments paid by the writers and experts (confederations administrators, coaches, football team captains, fans etc.) whose opinions and votes were canvassed. Presently, both awards have become an egotistical first past the post as nobody embodies the toxic and political nature of both awards than the recipients of the past decade. The comparisons of football players across and within football leagues (for these awards) is a time-honed guilty pleasure for fans. Like most sports awards, fans will always root for their favorites – but unlike many others, it’s hard to make a statistical case that one player is more valuable than another. The point is, teams are like machines. One part, no matter how important, cannot function properly without the other. That makes the award merely a measure of prolific goal-scoring but as any manager will tell you, that is probably not enough to carry a successful football team. Comparisons among football players are essentially what makes trading cards, sticker albums and fantasy soccer so popular but there should be no place for it in an official capacity. And how can we improve on what we have at present? The basic truth is we can’t, unless the awards are discontinued due to the following reasons:

Football is a Team Sport: Debate on individual footballers among football fans is fun but in a team sport with so many leagues, such individuality is impossible to measure precisely. Football (as we all know) is a team sport where eleven men from two separate squad of players compete against each other for a trophy or in modern times, to get a paycheck at the end of it all. Every football team requires world-class (supremely talented) goal-keepers, defenders, midfielders and attackers to excel and win domestic (EPL, Serie A etc.), continental (CAF, UEFA Champions League) and inter-continental (FIFA Club World Cup) trophies. No player or position is dispensable or greater than the other as they must all work in unison to achieve a common goal. Most great attackers of today (and yesteryears) would probably make terrible defenders and goalkeepers and most great defenders and goalies might be terrible attackers and midfielders in the game. It feels wrong to constantly elevate a particular set of football players over their teammates because of their position on the field of play. Football games are worn ‘Firstly’, by goals scored by a team’s strikers, midfielders, defenders and ‘Secondly’, by (potential) opposition goals stopped by that same team’s defenders and goal-keeper. No player truly wins a game single handedly except he plays all positions simultaneously – being at his penalty box defending and punching away the opposition’s shots on goal and at the same time running of to score all kinds of goals in the opposition penalty area. Most FIFA and UEFA individual awardees perform brilliantly when their team’s passing and playing style suit them thus giving them freedom like no other side would. Most managers strive to fit 11 players into the best team rather than having to fit the best 11 players into a team. There is a reason why reputable managers around the world like Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have categorically despised and blasted such individual awards in a team based sport.

Biased towards Attackers: Winners of FIFA and UEFA awards (presently and in the past) are (nearly) always players who play close to the opposition goal – such as strikers and attacking midfielders – enabling them to score hatful of goals while putting faith in their teammates (defenders and goalkeeper) to prevent the opposing team from scoring and winning the game. In football, it is widely known and accepted that attack win games but defense win titles and trophies. Very few defenders and goalkeepers are recognized for their output on the field of play and the dirty work they do (so that their attacking teammates in the opposition goal can get the ball to score.) It is quite disheartening that attackers are paid way better than defenders and goalkeepers. Goalkeepers are usually the least paid in a football team, even with the alarming level of scrutiny aimed at them, which begs the question why anyone would choose to be a goalkeeper. No one has really found a way to compare the value of goal keepers to outfield players – much to the detriment of goalies. Should a goal stopped by a goalkeeper be treated as equally to a goal scored by a striker? How much should quality defenders influence our judgement of a keeper – and how much should quality midfielders influence our judgement of a forward? There can be no denying the fact that some players do improve the overall quality and effectiveness of certain teams, but even in that case, such extraordinary players wouldn’t be able to win anything for their respective teams if, for example, the goal keeper spills every shot fired at him by the opposition. The beauty of modern football is such that every player (bar the goalkeeper) is minimally required to score goals anytime, anyhow and whenever it pleases him or (to some extent) his coach, which makes the fact that individual awards given only to offensive players does a lot of disservice to their teammates and the sport.

No specific Criteria in given out the Awards: There are no specific criteria in given out individual awards to players by UEFA and FIFA in football competitions played. Most fans, and administrators do not know which competitions – the national league (EPL, La Liga, Serie A) the continental leagues (UEFA Champions League – since all FIFA individual awardees are based in Europe) or international tournament (The FIFA World Cup) – players’ performances in are given top priority when nominees for the FIFA and UEFA individual awards are compiled. Although most nominees and awardees of such awards play for football teams that are either champions in their domestic leagues or champions in the UEFA Champions League or champions in the World Cup (in a world cup year) with their countries, some winners of such awards play for club-sides and countries that were not champions in domestic, continental and international tournaments. Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or in 2010/2011 (because he scored 91 goals in a year) without winning Spain’s La Liga or Champions League with Barcelona or the World Cup with Argentina beating other deserving players who won at least one of the aforementioned competitions.

Breeds Individualistic and Selfish Footballers: In pursuit of individual awards from FIFA, some players forego team work and effort, preferring to go solo on the field of play – to show off (as fans would say) – to the detriment of the squad. Such players do not care if the team is winning or losing a game as long as they are scoring goals, boosting their goal tallies and being in contention for awards by shooting for goal instead of passing the ball to a better positioned teammate, taking every set-piece – free kicks, penalties, corner kicks – awarded in a game even when they have poor records taking such set-piece. This creates instances where a player wins The Ballon d’Or or The Best Player of the Year Awards because he has the highest number of goals in the football season in addition to 5 or 6 man-of-the-match performances and a few awesome highlight reels of the season while his team ends that season trophy-less and second-best in competition finals.

In conclusion, if there must be individual awards (for whatever bizarre reason) then they should be based on objective criteria such as number of goals scored (best striker), number of saves (best goal-keeper) or number of tackles made (best defender) etc. Even that wouldn’t make much sense because, again, scoring a goal is about team effort. No one player can score a goal without the help of his teammates. And Yes, even the solo goals require team efforts. Therefore, it becomes unfathomable as to why football’s governing body, FIFA would hand out these awards which are destructive to the very nature of the sport it is supposed to regulate. FIFA should not be lending its name to a beauty pageant.

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How Dish Network Airs Setanta Sports?

How Dish Network Airs Setanta Sports?

How Dish Network Airs Setanta Sports?

Setanta Sports in Dish Network is the abode of International sports that brings subscribers the complete package of premium global sports programming with non stop access to live coverage of best European and international soccer, rugby and other sports. Subscribers can watch UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, England Internationals, 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, 2012 Euro Qualifiers, Super 14, Tri Nations, Six Nations and much more lively and enjoy them. This article enables the reader to know more about the best soccer in the world.

UEFA Champions League UEFA Champions League also known as European Cup is an annual association football cup competition organized by UEFA since 1955. Setanta sports will show nearly 55 champions league including 14 live matches. The champions league is recognized as the benchmark in the world club soccer.

Air New Zealand Cup Air New Zealand Cup is New Zealand’s professional rugby union competition that was founded in the year 2006 with 14 teams. It is formerly known as the National Provincial Championship. The Air New Zealand cup champions, for each season are awarded with the Air New Zealand Cup Trophy. Setanta Sports will broadcast most games LIVE.

FA Cup The Football Association Challenge cup is a knockout cup competition in football. As it is sponsored by E.ON, officially it is called as FA Cup Sponsored by E.ON. The first competition was held in the year 1871-72 and it is the oldest football association in the world. Setanta sports has offered an extensive live coverage of all rounds.

Barclay’s Premier League The Premier League is an English professional league for association football clubs. It is the country’s primary football competition contested by 20 clubs who acts as shareholders. As it is sponsored by Barclay’s Bank, officially it is known as Barclay’s Premier League. Setanta sports will telecast more than 140 live and exclusive matches.

Chelsea TV Chelsea TV is the official television channel of Chelsea Football club. It delivers matches, news, players, information, live commentary and match highlights. Chelsea TV is found every week displaying matches in Setanta sports.

Currie Cup Currie cup tournament is the South African’s premier domestic rugby union competition. The tournament is regarded as the cornerstone of the south Africa’s rugby heritage and it is founded in the year 1889.

EDF Energy Cup EDF Energy Cup is an English and Welsh rugby union knock out competition featuring twelve premiership clubs and four welsh regions. The sixteen clubs are placed in four pools with three English clubs and one welsh club. It was founded in the year 1971 and was originally known as R.F.U club. Setanta Sports broadcast a total of 12 live matches.

Gaelic Athletic Association Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in the year 1884 by Irish men that focuses on Irish sports such as Hurling and Gaelic football. Gaelic Football is a form of football played mainly in Ireland. The ball of the Gaelic football is similar to that of the soccer ball but it is smaller in size. As per the game regulation the ball has to be carried for a distance of four feet then it has to be either kicked or hand passed. After every four steps, ball has to be bounced to kick or hand pass and kicked back to the hand. Subscribers can watch nearly 25 Gaelic football games in Setanta Sports.

Magners league The Magners League is an annual rugby union competition involving regional sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It was originally known as Celtic league. The Magners league will take place between September and May. It delivers a 22 week calendar throughout the season where players can play in home and away. Subscribers can enjoy watching nearly 50 games live in Setanta Sports.

MUTV (Manchester United TV) MUTV (Manchester United TV) is an English subscription based TV channel operated by Manchester United F.C. The channel was launched in the year 1998. MUTV provides exclusive interviews with players, matches including all Premier League games, chat shows, classic games, live reserve and academy games and footballing news. Subscribers can find this game every week in Setanta Sports.

RBS 6 Nations Six Nations Championship also referred to as RBS 6 Nations is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and wales. It was the first international rugby union tournament in the Northern Hemisphere. It is played over an eight week period in the spring of every year. Setanta Sports broadcast all the 15 games.

Russian Premier League The Russian Premier League is the top division of Russian football that was founded in the year 2001. There are 16 teams in the competition. Subscribers can watch nearly 60 live matches for every season with English commentary in Setanta Sports.

Super 14 Super 14 is the largest rugby union football club championship in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The competition runs for fourteen weeks. Setanta Sports shows 45 matches live.

Football League Championship Football League Championship is the second highest division in the English football league system after Barclay’s Premier League. It is referred to as Football League Championship. On regular seasons Setanta Sports broadcasts nearly 60 games.

Tri Nations Tri Nations is an annual rugby union series contest, held between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. A total of six games will be played by teams both home and away in a round robin format. Subscribers can watch all the six games live in Setanta Sports.

Thus, Setanta Sports provides live access to coverage of best European and International soccer, football games to subscribers. Subscribers can enjoy different types of league games in different seasons.

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No Premier League Side in the Semi-Final of the Champions League! Is it a Sign of EPL’s Fall?

No Premier League Side in the Semi-Final of the Champions League! Is it a Sign of EPL’s Fall?

No Premier League Side in the Semi-Final of the Champions League! Is it a Sign of EPL’s Fall?

Firm followers of UEFA competitions and most especially the Champions League, can attest to the reality that there have been EPL sides in the semi-final of the champions league for the previous six seasons i.e. 2003-2009.

In the past six seasons, EPL sides regular in the champions league (Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC) have all some way featured in the semi-final of the champions league in the past six seasons, which made English and even foreigners marvel at their absence this season, in the semi-final of Europe’s elite club competition.

In 2005, Liverpool (the all red) and Chelsea (the true blues) locked horns in an entertaining semi-final with both sides led by managers who have managed his team for barely two seasons, Liverpool went on to win the encounter, after a closely contested semi-final match. Liverpool eventually emerged triumphant in that year’s Champions league, after defeating Ac-Milan in an epic final which saw one of the greatest comebacks in football history, 3-0 to 3-3 and then victory.

The proceeding year, Arsenal featured in both the Semi-final and final of the Champions league, to mark a turn-around in their footballing history, but were not so lucky to win the trophy after only qualifying for their first final match in the champions league. They battled with Barcelona in that year’s final, i.e. 2006 final, but got beaten by 2 goals to 1, with Jens Lehmann sent off in that match.

In 2007, Liverpool and Chelsea once again were drawn to do battle in the semi-final of the 2006/2007 season. With the first leg drawn to be played at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had the opportunity of progressing, and they took full advantage of the home factor by defeating Liverpool by a lone goal after a highly contested fixture. At Anfield, Liverpool played with caution while also surging forward in search for the goal that will put them on level terms with Chelsea, luckily for Liverpool the goal came. A low cross from Steven «general» Gerard found an unmarked Daniel Agger, who sliced the ball through the bodies of Chelsea players and bang into the net early in the first half. Liverpool preserved the one goal lead even after 90 minutes until the extra time was over, then it was time for the ultimate decider; penalty kicks, Pepe Reina was the hero of the day as he saved the deciding spot kick to send Liverpool into the final for the second time in three seasons and a replay of 2005 final with AC-Milan, that dispatched Manchester United in the other semi-final clash by 5 goals to 3 on aggregate.

The final was a highly anticipated one, as two of Europe’s power houses in club football go head-to-head to decide the winner of the 2007 Champions League, eventually two Pippo Inzaghi goals, which made him the highest goal scorer in the Champions league, won Ac Milan the trophy for the seventh time in their footballing history.

The following year saw the best from English teams in the Champions League. All four English representatives made it to the quarter final, with three (Liverpool, after ousting Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United) out of the four progressing onto the semi-final, Liverpool were eventually dumped by fellow English team Chelsea. The progression of Chelsea into the final in 2008 was the first time they were playing in the Champions League’s final; they battled with Manchester United for the coveted trophy, matched United strength for strength, skill for skill, technique for technique, but were just unlucky to miss out in the spot kicks, as United went on to win their third and Sir Alex Ferguson’s second UEFA Champions League trophy, which also aided Cristiano Ronaldo in winning the world player of the year award.

The year 2009, saw a different football style displayed by a team. 2009 Champions League was won by Barcelona of Spain, after showing the footballing world how the game should be played; neat defending, accurate passing, and clinical finishing: characterized the play of Barcelona en-route to winning the trophy for the third time in their history, after triumphs in 1992 and 2006.

2010 came with a lot of promise for the English sides, after bright starts from all the sides in their respective groups; Liverpool won its first game against Debrecen at Anfield, by a lone goal scored by Dirk Kuyt, which made him the club’s third highest goal scorer in Europe with 12 goal to his name. Chelsea also won its first game against FC Porto by a lone goal scored Nicolas Anelka, in a dull encounter due to the water soaked pitch.

Manchester United didn’t do badly in its first game; same was the case for Arsenal, all the English representatives representing well to the delight of English stalwarts. Things started becoming shaky as the competition progressed further to its crucial stage. Liverpool were ousted very early in the competition, as they were ousted in the group phase, even before the last group game. The victory of Fiorentina over Olympique Lyonnais in the game before the last, meant Liverpool were forced to the Europa league were they have solace recently, making an impressive run to the semi-final, having not scored lower than three goals on aggregate in the previous rounds, i.e. round of 32, round of 16 and quarter final, which has earned them a clash with Athletico Madrid away in Spain.

Chelsea were next up for elimination, after a partly successful run in the group onto the round of 16. Chelsea had great scares during a few of their group phase games, Athletico Madrid away in Spain was one those, where they had to settle for a 2 all draw after going through Didier Drogba, only to see a Sergio Diego Aguero brace give Athletico the lead, but Drogba proved to be very clinical in finishing when he slotted his second past Athletico’s goal. The most surprising of Chelsea’s group phase result came on the last day of the group. Apoel Nicosia making only its debut in the Champions League held all conquering Chelsea, with a full first team squad, to a 2 all draw at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal had the most impressive group phase performance where they picked up 16 of the 18 available points in a group which consisted of Olympiakos, Standard Liege, and Az Alkmaar, which are low pedigree teams with frequent Champions League due to inability to make it through the preliminary.

Manchester United, I would say, had an indifferent group campaign. Had a great start, but flattered during the crucial mid games, needed the last game to confirm qualification but put threw any doubts into the thrash after a Michael Owen hat-trick cancelled out Edin Dzeko’s opening goal, for VFL Wolfsburg at Old Trafford.

With the progression of three tops teams from England into the round of 16, hopes and expectation were extremely high. The English teams, however, didn’t get the perfect draws, Chelsea were billed to face Inter-Milan, tutored by Jose Mourinho, Manchester United drawn to do battle with 7 times European champions, Ac-Milan, and Arsenal getting a re-match of the 2009 group game against Porto Fc, 2004 winners.

The first legs saw the English teams face real test of strength, skill and technique.

Manchester United were tested for all the mentioned above against Ac-Milan, first in Giuseppe Meazza, San Siro and then in Old Trafford, but then they emerged victorious on both legs, winning 7-2 on aggregate, with Wayne Rooney scoring four of the seven goals, i.e. 2 goals in each leg.

Arsenal had a similar situation, against Fc Porto, the Portuguese representatives giving them a good run for their money, most especially in Portugal, where the first leg was hosted, which Fc Porto won by 2 goals to 1, in a match which Porto’s second goal by Falcao, was a bit controversial, appearing to be an offside goal.

At Emirates stadium, Arsenal showed no mercy, firing 2 goals past Helton in goal for Porto in quick succession, and at half time, it was Arsenal 2 Porto 1. Porto started brightly in the second half of the game, attacking Arsenal from all angles of the pitch. As the game grew, Arsenal became for more confident, and began playing like the Arsenal we are use to watching in league games. Samri Nasri threw the Emirates into ecstasy, when he dribbled past three Porto defenders and slotted past helpless Helton, who tried to rush out to prevent the goal, but all to no avail. Super sub, Emmanuel Eboue, came on minutes later and sealed the victory, with a clean finish, after he outran the Porto defenders and was set up by Andre Arshavin, with only the keeper to beat, he rounded him neatly before netting Arsenal’s four to cap a fine performance from truly smoking gunners. Nicklas Bendtner, who had earlier netted 2 superb strikes, added a third to mark his first hat trick in his Arsenal career.

It wasn’t a bed of roses for Chelsea neither, as they had to suffer defeats in the hands of Inter-Milan on both legs, which put paid to their Champions League campaign. At the magnificent Giuseppe Meazza, Inter tested Chelsea for wits, work rate and technique, as both teams played out their lives to progress in the competition. Chelsea partly outplayed, but all the «ball possession» could not fetch them the win which they set out to achieve. The ball possession favoured Chelsea in the first leg match, but these were not translated into goals neither were they translated in the goal attempt, shot-on-goal, and so on. Of all the teams which started European campaign in September, Liverpool can be deduced to be the most disappointing of all, due to the fact that it was knocked out in the group phase.

Presently, there are only two English teams in European competition, Liverpool FC and Fulham FC and they both have interesting fixtures in the semi-final, having to face Athletico Madrid and Hamburg, respectively.

There is the possibility of an all English Europa league final, a feat which has not been achieved for over 6 seasons.

The absence of premier league teams In the semi-final of the champions league, in my own estimation, does not connote the fall of the premier league, rather the sole reason is the reality that we have come to face, which is the fact that teams form other countries have sat down and reviewed the methods of English teams, which they have applied, and it has worked magically and very effectively too.

English teams were neither totally outclassed, outpowered nor outplayed, but rather the element of luck was against them, and also the English teams have had a good run in the past, so let other teams enjoy same, so people won’t say the Champions league is an English competition. The English teams will rise up to take what’s rightfully theirs, which is the prestige it has earned over the years, a prestige which in my estimation, is in jeopardy considering the inability of making it to the semi-final of Europe’s elite club competition.

Upon this I settle, the absence of English teams in the semi-final of the champions league is by no means equal to the fall of the premier league, and besides which other league is so unpredictable as the premier league? A league where any team can beat any team, home or away; name the league.

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Lolo Fernandez: A Footballing Genius – A Biography

Lolo Fernandez: A Footballing Genius – A Biography

Lolo Fernandez: A Footballing Genius – A Biography

Lolo Fernandez: One of Latin America’s Most Popular Footballers

Throughout his 12-year career with the Peruvian side, between 1935 and 1947, Lolo Fernández was not a World Cup player such as Obdulio Varela of Uruguay and Brazil’s Leonidas da Silva. Despite all this, he is still an inspirational leader in the history of Peru’s soccer. On the field, he did a lot to stimulate the men’s football in all of the country, one of the most soccer-crazed places on the planet. He was very popular in the outback of Peru, from Trujillo and Ica to Puno and Cajamarca. His passion for his homeland was reflected in all facets of his life.

He began to play soccer before it was a professional sport on Peruvian soil. Football — the world’s most popular sport— was imported by Britain’s expatriates in the second half of the 19th century and is known as Peru’s national pastime.

The oldest and most powerful of three soccer-playing Fernández brothers, he — known affectionately as «Lolo»— is considered as one of the country’s greatest athletes of all time, along with Edwin Vásquez Cam (Olympic gold medalist at the 1948 London Summer Games), Cecilia Tait Villacorta (among the world’s top volleyball players in the past century), Juan Carlos «Johnny» Bello (winner of 12 Bolivarian titles in the early 1970s), and Gabriela «Gaby» Pérez del Solar (silver medal in women’s volleyball at the 1988 South Korea Games).

During Fernández’s tenure with the national side, the Andean republic gained one South American Cup (1939) and one Bolivarian Championship (1938). At the club level, he earned the Peruvian League Cup — nationwide competition— six times with his club Universitario de Deportes, having scored a club-record of 157 goals — a record that remains unique. Also, he was the top goal-scorer in the country’s top division of football teams in 1932 (11 goals), 1933 (9), 1934 (9), 1939 (15), 1940 (15), 1942 (11), and 1945 (16). Additionally, he is one of best-known Peruvians Olympians of all time. He holds the distinction of being the first (and only) top player from that nation to compete in the modern Olympiad.

Peru’s First Genuine Top-Class Athlete

Since then, the apex of his career came in the late 1930s when he was the hero of Peru’s South American Football Confederation Cup win, putting the Peruvian flag on the sporting map and making him one of the most exciting players in the game. A Lolo Fernández-inspired Peru defeated Uruguay in the gold-medal match, a surprise to most fans and sportswriters on the American mainland (Campomar, 2014, Penguin). He had been called up by England’s coach Jack Greenwell. Before the championship, Peru’s sportsmen had never won a continental trophy (equivalent of the European Cup). Previously, this Cañete-born footballer was a member of the 1936 Peruvian Olympic football team, which competed in the Berlin Olympics. Curiously, Western Europe was the first continent to recognize Fernández’s talent. Although his homeland’s squad succumbed in a controversial game against Austria (a match they should have won) during the Men’s Olympic Games Soccer Tournament— the unofficial world cup of soccer at that time— he was regarded as one of the South America’s most celebrated sportsmen (Hilton, 2011).

Back in Peru, he led his own «soccer revolution» in Universitario de Deportes, winning many top division cups, setting off a wave of explosive emotion in Lima, the nation’s capital. In fact, he was one of the first superstars of that club. The national squad and his club had been his first loves. He could have played abroad, but decided to play for the Peruvian side and the Limean club, one of the nation’s premier clubs (Newton, 2011).

In fact, Lolo Fernández was Peru’s first genuine top-class sportsman in the world of sports in a time when some Spanish-speaking republics began to produce world-famous competitors. Already, in 1928, Argentina’s fighter Victorio Avendaño had caught the public’s attention with his Olympic gold medal in the Games of the IX Olympiad in Holland’s capital city of Amsterdam (Grasso, 2013). Two years later, the Soccer World Cup was won by the host country Uruguay— called the Celeste. Meanwhile, the men’s shooting contingent of Brazil picked up a total of three medals at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics in tiny Belgium (Almanaque Mundial, 1976). On the other hand, on March 19, 1938, four Ecuadorans — Ricardo Planas, Carlos Luis Gilbert, Luis Alcivar Elizalde and Abel Gilbert— swept the gold medals at the Swimming South American Tournament (Almanaque Guayaquil, 2003).

The Life and Times of Lolo Fernández

Teodoro Oswaldo Fernández Meyzán was born on May 20, 1913 in San Vicente, Cañete, near Lima, Peru’s capital. He was the seventh of eight children born to Tomas Fernández Cisneros, a farm administrator, and his wife, the former Raymunda Meyzan.

Cañete covers an area of 4,577 km2 — the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It lies around 140 km from Lima. This Connecticut-size territory is blessed with a fertile land and is well-recognized for its African-Peruvian culture, cuisine, fruits and birthplace of notable people such as Héctor Chumpitaz (footballer), Caitro Soto (musician), Enrique Verastegui (writer), and Rolando Campos (singer).

Fernández spent his early childhood on a farm in Cañete. Like many Peruvian children, he became fascinated with the game of soccer at an early age. But not everyone applauded that passion, among them his father.

He invested his life in this sport since he played for his hometown club Huracán of Hualcará in the early 1920s. The then little-known player was the first to arrive to the stadium and the last to leave. In his land, he trained with a lot of intensity. The exercise and fresh air made him feel better.

During his first appearance, he led his club to a victory over Alianza San Vicente in a local event in his native Cañete. His debut could not have been better: he scored the winning goal. The date was August 30, 1923. On that occasion, his play (without being paid a salary) impressed his team-mates early on. He was celebrated throughout Cañete, whose people are addicted to football and other Olympic sports as canoeing, boxing, and track-and-field.

Toward the end of the 1920s, he was allowed to leave his home and went to Lima to live with his elder brother, Arturo Fernández, who had played for Universitario de Deportes after being a member of Ciclista Lima. In this context, Lolo, as he was more often known, was introduced to Universitario by Arturo.

In the Peruvian place, his personal life underwent some significant changes. Unanimously elected player by the club’s chairman Placido Galindo, Fernández signed a contract for 120 soles a month. Relations between he and his new club were excellent and friendly since that day.

He kicked off his career with the Lima-based club when he made his official debut on November 29, 1931 during a friendly match against Deportes Magallanes of Chile. Some young athletes would have been intimidated in such situation, but not Lolo. The Lima-based club, with a young side, was the winner. The Peruvian victory was due largely to Fernández’s leadership. He scored the winner against Magallanes in a 1-0 win. Gradually, his talent was recognized by experts, coaches, and sportswriters in his homeland country. As a player, he was without peer in his generation.

An Athlete In Troubled Times

Like many Latino champions such as Alberto Spencer of Ecuador (football),Mateo Flores of Guatemala (track-and-field) and Chino Meléndez of Nicaragua (baseball), Lolo Fernández lived in a country plagued by political violence, poverty, and economic difficulties. Despite these hurdles, he emerged as one of Latin America’s top athletes in the first half of the 20th century.

In the 1930s, his native country had a record of short-lived governments and eight conservative rulers. By 1933, Peru’s military warlord Luis Sánchez Cerro was killed. At the same time, opposition-led demonstrations broke out in Lima in response to an electoral defeat (Loveman, 1999).

During the global financial crisis, the economy fell into chaos, which was vulnerable due to the nation’s dependence on minerals and agricultural products.

Due to these and other reasons, the country’s sport activities had been all but ignored by the governments. Under this atmosphere, Peru was one of the last countries to make its international debut in the Football South American Championship (known as the Copa America later), having competed for the first in the XI Cup in 1927.Similarly, their athletes could not attend the Summer Olympics between 1900 and 1932. But that wasn’t all. Upon competing in Great Britain in 1948, this Spanish-speaking republic did not have Olympic representation until 1956, despite having Pan American gold medalists —among them Julia Sánchez Deza and Edwin Vásquez— and continental champs.

Western Europe: From Spain to Great Britain

As guests of honor, Fernández and other players from Universitario played for Alianza Lima during a tour of Chile in 1933, accumulating wins over Colo Colo, Audax Italiano, Magallanes, and Wanderers. Lolo also played as a special guest for some foreign clubs such Racing Club,Club Atlético Banfield, and Colo Colo.

Between 1933 and 1934, Fernández went as a member of a Peruvian-Chilean contingent —composed of sportsmen from Alianza Lima, Colo Colo, Atlético Chalaco and Universitario– to Western Europe, where he played 33 men’s football matches (compiling 11 wins, 11 draws and 11 losses) against first-class squads from Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, including Bayern Munich, Newcastle and Barcelona— his first time outside of Latin America (Witzig, 2006). Here, he earned the respect of fans and rivals. Lolo’s performance on the European tour was spectacular: despite his lack of international experience, he accumulated a record of 48 goals!

Berlin: 1936 Summer Olympics

After many obstacles, the Peruvian Olympic team, that included future South American champion Lolo, made a brief but historic trip to Germany to attend the 1936 Summer Games. It was the first time in Olympic history that Peru had sent an athletic contingent to the Summer Games. The nation’s sports officials brought an all-male team to Berlin, with Peruvians competing in aquatics, athletics, diving, basketball, cycling, fencing, modern pentathlon, shooting, and soccer.

There were 22 soccer players and they were Juan Valdivieso Padilla, Alejandro Villanueva, José Morales, Adelfo Magallanes, Víctor Lavalle, Enrique Landa, Eulogio García, Carlos Tovar, Orestes Jordán, Teodoro Fernández, Arturo Fernández, Andrés Alvarez, Arturo Paredes, Segundo Castillo, Teodoro Alcalde, Jorge Alcalde, Miguel Pacheco, Carlos Portal, Raúl Chappel, Pedro Ibañez, Guillermo Pardo, and Víctor Marchena. These players made up the country’s largest delegation in Berlin.

The Lolo’s squad was the first Peruvian team in the Olympic team sports history. Scoring five goals in a 7-2 victory over the Nordic nation of Finland, Fernández played one of his most memorable matches (Campomar, 2014). Without a doubt, he was a genius on the field. Subsequently, they beat Austria (it expected to finish in the top four in these Games). But it wasn’t a clear-cut victory for the Latin American republic (Witzig, 2006).

In the second time, Peru came back and won its match 4-2 after losing to Austria 2-0 in the first time in one of the most controversial games in the history of football (Mandell, 1971). Nonetheless, the Austrian delegation refused to recognize this triumph (Risolo, 2010). They said that Europe’s footballers were threatened by Peru’s attackers during the Olympic match (Murray & Murray, 1998).

Under pressure from Austria, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) pledged to hold other match (Campomar, 2014).

But the Peruvian dictatorship didn’t allow their countrymen to compete again. In an attempt to try to gain popularity within Peru, the nation’s strongman Oscar Raimundo Benavides forced the Peruvian Olympic Committee to agree to withdraw its delegation from the 1936 Berlin Games (Walters, 2012). Despite everything, Fernández was the second top scorer in the Olympic tournament with five goals, alongside Norway’s sportsman Arne Brustad. A year earlier, Lolo earned his first cap for Peru.

The tournament was won by Italy and was followed by Austria (silver medal), Poland (bronze), Norway (4th), Great Britain (5th),Germany (6th), Peru (7th), Japan (8th), Sweden (9th), USA (10th), Taiwan (11th), Egypt (12th), Hungary (13th), Turkey (14th), Finland (15th) and Luxembourg (last).

When the Olympian delegation arrived back in Lima, they were declared «national heroes» (El Comercio, 2009). In the next year, he married Elvira Fernández Meyer and had two children: Marina and Teodoro.

Lolo and the First Bolivarian Games

Despite missing the XI Olympiad in the German capital of Berlin, Fernández worked relentlessly to take part in the Olympic-type Bolivarian Games. The First Bolivarian Sports Games (one of the oldest multi-sport games of its kind) were held in Colombia’s capital of Bogota in 1938. At that year, all Limeans were anxious to see a national victory. Fortunately, there were good news. Fernández captained the Bolivarian winners by capturing the gold medal, providing a moment of enjoy for Peru’s population.

The 1938 men’s squad was the heavy gold medal favorite on Colombian soil. The victory was scored over squads from Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and the host nation. This accomplishment was greater than any previously achieved by the national squads. Ecuador was bronze and Bolivia won the silver medal.

Before and after the event, Fernández —his first international title outside his own land— brought his energy and passion to the national team.

Peru kicked off its campaign at Bogota’s Universitario Stadium,on August 8, when they beat Colombia 4-2 with goals of Pedro Ibañez (2), Lolo (1) and Teodoro Alcalde (1). In its second Bolivarian match, the Andean country slaughtered Ecuador 9-1 in a spectacular show of football— biggest margin of victory in the history of Peru’s soccer team. The best player was Alcalde (4 goals). On August 14, Peru blanked Bolivia 3-0. Lolo was the pivot of that game with two goals. This remarkable athlete knew what he needed to do to win the match.

On August 17,Venezuela was eliminated from the Games after losing to Peru 2-1. Before the Peruvian delegation left the stadium, they received a standing ovation.

Why one of Latin America’s Greatest Players Never Play in the FIFA World Cup?

Among Latin America’s greatest players during the first half of the 20th century, Fernández was the only one never to have appeared in a World Cup. There are different reasons why he could not compete in the global sporting event in the late 1930s and the 1940s. In 1938, the III World Cup was overshadowed by an Argentina-led boycott that was followed by almost all South American republics ( Reyna & Woitalla,2004). Officially, Peru did not participate in the international boycott, but it declined to send a delegation. SA boycotted that Cup in response to «Eurocentric policy» of FIFA. Europeans had hosted the last event and the next was scheduled to be held in France in that year. In the following decade, the world of sports was hard hit by World War II and the international events were canceled.

Lima: 1939 South American Championship

The year of 1939 saw a new hero in Latin America’s sport. A son of Cañete attracted admiration when he led Peru to win the (XV) South American Championship for the first time following a win against Uruguay, one of the powerhouses in the world of football since the 1910s. Four years ago, the national side failed to make the semis in the regional event at home. In 1937, Peru finished at the bottom of the six-team tournament.

The 1939 national side claimed the first place to defeat Uruguay 2-1 in the finals. It was a proud day for Peru. The country, under British coach Greenwell was a home grown champion (Campomar, 2014, Penguin). On paper, Uruguay’s background made it a strong opponent —three World Championships from 1924 to 1930, including two golds in the modern Olympics.

It was gratifying to see the progress that had made the national side, who were underdogs from the start. Thanks to this win, Peru became the four nation in the continent to win that event (after Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina), well ahead of Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay.

Fernández was the hero in the Continental Cup on his home soil— his second major international trophy. As well as winning the Most Valuable Player trophy, the Cañete-born striker was the top scorer.

The continental winners were Juan Humberto Valdivieso, Jorge Alcalde, Carlos Tovar, Teodoro Alcalde, César Socarraz, Alberto Baldovino, Pedro Reyes, Víctor Bielich, Juan Quispe, Segundo Castillo, Enrique Perales, Raúl Chapel, Pablo Pasache, Lolo Fernández, Adolfo Magallanes, Jorge Parró, Juan Honores, Pedro Ibañez, Arturo Fernández, Arturo Paredes, Rafael León and Feder Larios.

South American Championships

Back in the 1940s, Fernández, who was nicknamed «the Cannoneer» by the local media due to his aggressive style of play, was member of Peru’s national squad that competed in three South American championships. But he was less successful in these competitions.

Between February 2 and March 4, 1941, the Peruvian contingent participated in the international competition in Santiago (Chile). It was recognized as the unofficial SA Cup. Peru’s 22-man roster included: Gerardo Arce, Manuel Vallejos, Vicente Arce, César Socarraz, Teodoro Fernández, Juan Quispe, Alejandro González, Leopoldo Quiñones, Juan Honores, Carlos Portal, Marcial Hurtado, Enrique Perales, Guillermo Janneau, Roberto Morales, Orestes Jordán, Pedro Magán, Adolfo Magallanes, Máximo Lobatón, and Pedro Luna.

The men’s football tournament was marked by the presence of top-class athletes such as Lolo of Peru, Obdulio Varela of Uruguay, Sergio Livingstone from Chile, and Juan Andrés Marvezzi of Argentina.

The Bolivarian champions didn’t bring home any medals, but Fernández scored three goals and was ranked second to Marvezzi as the tournament’s most prolific scorer (sharing the honor with José Manuel Moreno from Argentina). His homeland’s squad placed fourth in the overall classification, ahead of Ecuador,in the five-team tournament, an event sponsored by the Chilean rule.

On February 9, the Peruvians were defeated by the host nation by a narrow margin (1-0). Shortly thereafter, Argentina won its match against Peru 2-1. The Argentine team was a powerful squad in the Americas and had gained two awards in 1937: The Soccer Pan American Cup in Dallas, Texas (U.S) and SA tournament (as a host country). On February 23, the squad’s star striker Lolo eliminated Ecuador 4-0 and obtained their first points. Fernández scored three goals. Three days later, his homeland’s team, however, could not win their last game. Uruguay won 2-0.The win helped avenge Uruguay’s 1939 loss to Peru.

By 1942, Fernández departed for Uruguay to attend the Latin American tournament (between January 10 and February 7), a year where Brazil was awarded the 1942 World Cup, but the event was cancelled. The men’s soccer of Peru placed a disappointing fifth on Uruguayan soil. The national side was represented by 22 players: Juan Quispe, Antonio Zegarra, Diego Agurto, Juan Soriano, Antonio Biffi, Leopoldo Quiñones, Alberto Delgado, Carlos Portal, Lolo Fernández, Enrique Perales, Luis Guzmán, Pablo Pasache, Teobaldo Guzmán, Tulio Obando, Juan Honores, Roberto Morales, Marcial Hurtado, Pedro Magán, Orestes Jordán, Adolfo Magallanes, Máximo Lobatón, and Pedro Luna.

Following an opening draw with Paraguay (1-1) at the XVIII South American Cup on January 18, Peru suffered defeats against Brazil (2-1) and Argentina (3-1).Over that time, the Brazilian side was a strong rival with a bronze medal in the 1938 global event after his international star Leonidas da Silva (known as the «Black Diamond») led Brazil to its first wins in a World Cup.

On January 28, the Peruvians dispatched Ecuador 2-1 at Montevideo’s Centenario Stadium, which is the nation’s symbol of sport. In the next days, they had drawn 0-0 with Chile after a 3-0 loss to Uruguay in the 65,000-seater Centenario Stadium, one of the most famous of all soccer stadiums around the globe. The Celeste Spanish for sky blue due to the color of squad’s shirt— was all but unbeatable and it was seven-time winner of the SA Cup (1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926 & 1935) (Guevara & Chaname, 1998).

Lolo and his fellow sportsmen did not return to the regional championships until 1947. The Andean republic missed the next two international competitions (1945 & 1946).

In 1947, the Peruvian Soccer Federation sent a Lolo Fernández-led team to Guayaquil (Ecuador) to participate in the international meet. He and his fellow countrymen had drawn with Paraguay (2-2) and Ecuador (0-0), but there were two losses to Chile (2-1) and Argentina (3-2).

In front of over 20,000 persons, on December 20, 1947, Fernández played his last match on foreign soil at Guayaquil’s George Capwell when Peru made a tie of 0-0 with the host nation. He was on Peru’s South American Cup roster at the age of 34. Later on, Colombia —gold in men’s football at the 1946 Central American and Caribbean Games— was outclassed by a Peruvian side without its star Lolo (5-1).

In the 8-team tournament, the men’s side ranked fifth, behind Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay,and Chile. The country’s roster included 22 athletes: Guillermo Valdivieso, Rafael Asca, Carlos Torres, Guillermo Barbadillo, Luis Suárez, Félix Castillo, René Rosasco, Juan Castillo, Marín Reyna, Andrés da Silva, Domingo Raffo, Lolo Fernández, Enrique Perales, Carlos Gómez Sánchez, Lorenzo Pacheco, Máximo Mosquera, Alejandro González, Ernesto Morales, Luis Guzmán, Eliseo Morales, Cornelio Heredia, and Valeriano López.

In the wake of participating on Ecuadoran soil, Fernández no longer competed in the continental events.

Six National Championships From 1934 to 1949

Before embarking on a seven-month tour of Europe, Fernández was the most outstanding player in the 1932 National Cup with 11 goals. But that wasn’t enough to win the event. A total of eight clubs sent delegations: Alianza Lima, Sports Tabaco, Ciclista Lima, Sportive Union, Sport Progreso, Tarapacá Ferrocarril, Circolo Sportivo Italiano and Universitario.

Soccer became a national level when the domestic tournament began in the 1920s, making it one of the oldest events in the history of Peruvian sport.

By 1933, Universitario’s amateur side again made the final, but was runner-up and their star was top scorer for the second time in a row. Despite the loss, he had captured the attention of the spectators as no other sportsman when he produced nine goals in the men’s football national league.

After winning experience in European countries, Fernández and his fellow Peruvian athletes moved back to Lima to attend the 1934 domestic league. The youthful Universitario side reached the podium in the country’s top soccer division (Almanaque Mundial, 1977). Alianza Lima was extraordinary beaten by the Limean squad, beginning one of South America’s greatest derbies. AL and Lolo’s club are arch rivals and matches between two clubs are referred to as «El Clásico» (Newton, 2011). During that year, Fernández began to make a name for himself in the history of Peru’s football as he was the tournament’s top scorer.

The 1935 event was an event with five soccer clubs. It produced a surprise winner: Sport Boys. Fernández’s squad placed third.

By 1938, Universitario won the bronze medal. In the next year, the Limean side became one of the first clubs of Peru to appoint a foreign manager: Jack Greenwell of the United Kingdom. Under Geenwel’s guidance, Fernández and his fellow mates earned the national football league title with nine wins, three draws and two losses —improving on their third place finish in the past cup (Almanaque Mundial, 1977). Extraordinary, the Cañete-born athlete was the tournament’s dominant player in 1939 (Witzig, 2006).

In the wake of Fernández’s participation in the South American Cup, Universitario came close to a second successive tournament in 1940.

In 1941, the Lima-based club obtained the Peruvian trophy, after a series of home-and-home soccer matches. The Limean squad showed why it was one of the most powerful clubs on home soil. In the finals, there were wins over Atlético Chalaco (1-0) and Alianza Lima (3-1). The championship had been postponed for a while because of Peru’s participation in the South American Cup.

In the mid-1940s, Universitario came the attention when they won back-to-back national championships (Witzig, 2006). After breaking his own personal record of 15 goals in 1939, Lolo picked up a total of 16 goals in 1945. Curiously, these titles can be attributed to the Fernández family: Arturo, Eduardo and Lolo were members of that team.

Assembling one of the most powerful teams in the history of Peru’s football, Lima’s club earned the trophy in 1946. The key to the Peruvian club was the trio of Victor Espinoza, Eduardo and Lolo Fernández. Under a new system of qualifying matches, the Limean side obtained 11 wins.

Toward the end of his career, Lolo and his club recaptured the trophy: it defeated Atlético Chalaco 4-3 to claim the first place in the Peruvian Championship in 1949 (Almanaque Mundial, 1977). In that year, the club celebrated its 25th anniversary.

A Universitario Icon

In contrast to players from other parts of the world, Fernández was not an international player, being one of the few footballers who had stayed with one club (Universitario) his entire athletic career despite several offers from top clubs (including Racing club of Argentina, Peñarol of Uruguay and Colo Colo of Chile). He refused, citing his strong connections to Universitario. This club is one of the most-supported squads in Peru. Curiously, Lolo remains Universitario’s all-time goalscorer with 157 goals.

Fernández, at the age of 40, retired from the world of soccer in the early 1950s during a series of exhibition matches in a stadium built by the country’s head of state Manuel Odría. On August, 30, 1953, his team had a sensational victory over his traditional rival Alianza Lima (4-2). Here, Lolo scored a hat-trick, among the most notable of his more than 157 goals during his career with the Lima-based club.

Before an audience of some 30,000 spectators, Fernández played only six minutes with Universitario during a game against Centro Iqueño, the darkest day for Peru’s football. His presence was symbolic in a memorable event at Lima’s national stadium. He left the national stadium to a roaring ovation.

After retiring from soccer, he worked mostly with top junior soccer teams from Universitario.

After a battle with Alzheimer, on September 17, 1996, Lolo Fernández died in a Lima hospital at the age of 83. It was a great loss to South America’s sport.

Rivaled only by Teófilo Cubillas, he has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards both within and outside Peru, including a museum. The country’s legendary Olympian was immortalized by Lorenzo Humberto Soto Mayor, who wrote a song entitle «Lolo Fernández», a tribute to the Peruvian footballer. On October 27, 1952, the country’s ruler Odría conferred him the Sports Laurels, the highest sports award of Peru. In the early 1950s, the Universitario stadium was renamed in his honor (Witzig, 2006). Within Latin America, several sports-oriented magazines and Spanish-language newspapers have devoted many pages to Lolo.

Lolo Fernández died in the mid-1990s, but the legacy of this Olympic carries on. He was so advanced for his time and place. A man that always worked with love for his homeland country of Peru and a personal hero of mine.

Further Reading

(1)- Almanaque Deportivo Mundial 1977, Editorial América, Ciudad de Panamá, 1976 (Spanish)

(2)- Almanaque Deportivo Mundial 1976, Editorial América, Ciudad de Panamá, 1975 (Spanish)

(3)- Almanaque Guayaquil Total 2003, Editarsa, Guayaquil, 2002 (Spanish)

(4)- Campomar, Andreas. ¡Golazo!: A History of Latin American Football, Quercus, 2014

(5)- —————- Golazo!: The Beautiful Game From the Aztecs to the World Cup: The Complete History of How Soccer Shaped Latin America, Penguin, 2014

(6)- Dunmore, Tom. Historical Dictionary of Soccer, Scarecrow Press, 2011

(7)- «Fuimos Heroes». 170 Años Suplemento Especial, El Comercio, 4 de mayo del 2009 (Spanish)

(8)- Grasso, John. Historical Dictionary of Boxing, Scarecrow Press, 2013

(9)- Guevara Onofre, Alejandro & Chaname Orbe, Raúl. Enciclopedia Mundototal 1999, Editorial San Marcos, 1998 (Spanish)

(10)- Hill, Christopher. Hitler’s Olympics: The Berlin Olympic Games,The History Press, 2011

(11)- Loveman, Brian. For la Patria: Politics and the Armed Forces in Latin America, Rowman & Littlefield, 1999

(12)- Mandell, Richard D. The Nazi Olympics, University of Illinois Press, 1971

(13)- Murray, Bill & Murray, William. The World’s Game. A History of Soccer, University of Illinois Press, 1998

(14)- Newton, Paula. Viva Travel Guides Machu Picchu and Cusco, Viva Publishing Network, 2011

(15)- Parrish, Charles & Nauright, John. Soccer Around the World, ABC-CLIO, 2014

(16)- Risolo, Donn. Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats, University of Nebraska, 2010

(17)- Reyna, Claudio & Woitalla, Michael. More Than Goals: The Journey From Backyard Games To World Cup Competition, Human Kinetics, 2004

(18)- Walters, Guy. Berlin Games: How Hitler Stole the Olympic Dream, Hachette UK, 2012

(19)- Witzig, Richard. The Global Art of Soccer, CusiBoy Publishing, 2006

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Soccer – The Sport That Binds The World

Soccer – The Sport That Binds The World

Soccer – The Sport That Binds The World

Soccer is famous among the layman by the name of 'Football'. The term 'Soccer' has been derived from the word 'assoc' that in turn originated from 'Association'. The game is basically about 'playing ball with the foot'.

Today, football is played at a professional level all over the world, and millions of people regularly go to football stadium to follow their favorite team, whilst billions more watch the game on television. Since, soccer evokes great passions and plays an important role in the life of individual fans, local communities, and even nations; It is therefore often claimed to be one of the most popular sports in the world.

The game of soccer, played between two teams of 11 players each, is by far the most popular sports in the world. The game is played with a ball on a rectangular grass field with a goal at each end of the field. The object of the game is to score by manoeuvring the ball into the opposing goal. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. A game is officiated by a referee, who has "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed" and whose decisions are final. The referee is assisted by two assistant referees. A standard adult football match consists of two periods of 45 minutes each, known as halves. There is usually a 15-minute "half-time" break between halves. The end of the match is known as "full-time."

The contemporary history of soccer dates back to more than 100 years. It all began in 1863 in England, when rugby football and association football branched off on their different courses and the world's first football association was founded – The Football Association in England. Both forms of football have a common base and both have a long and intricately branched ancestral tree. After the English Football Association, the next oldest are the Scottish FA (1873), the FA of Wales (1875) and the Irish FA (1880). Strictly speaking, at the time of the first international match, England had no other partner association against which to play. The spread of soccer outside of Great Britain, mainly due to the British influence abroad, started slow, but it soon gathered momentum and spread rapidly to all parts of the world and today it is an undeniable truth that the game has die-hard fans all over the globe.

Scholars might have conflicting views on the origins of the game and the influences that certain cults may have had on its evolution, but one thing is absolute truth: football has flourished for over a thousand years in diverse rudimentary forms, in the very region which we describe as its home, England and the British Isles.

Football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). The most prestigious international football competition is the World Cup , held every four years. More than 190 national teams compete in qualifying tournaments within the scope of continental confederations for a place in the finals. Since 1900, Summer Olympic Games also holds a football tournamnet. After the World Cup, the most important football competitions are the continental championships, which are organized by each continental confederation and contested between national teams. These are the European Championship (UEFA), the Copa America (CONMEBOL), African Cup of Nations (CAF), the Asian Cup (AFC), the CONCACAF Gold Cup (CONCACAF) and the OFC Nations Cup (OFC).

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