Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fifa World Rankings For December 2011

Fifa World Rankings For December 2011.
Fifa World Rankings, December 2011

Fifa's World Rankings for December 2011 were published today at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland.

2010 World Cup winners Spain remain on top followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Copa America champs Uruguay. England are in 5th.

Ranking Team
1 Spain
2 Netherlands
3 Germany
4 Uruguay
5 England
6 Brazil
7 Portugal
8 Croatia
9 Italy
10 Argentina
11 Denmark
12 Russia
13 Chile
14 Greece
15 France
16 Côte d'Ivoire
17 Switzerland
18 Sweden
19 Japan
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Full world rankings

Previous Fifa World Rankings


Monday, December 19, 2011

Barca Win 2011 Club World Cup

2011 Club World Cup

Barca duly wrapped up the 2011 Club World Cup in Yokohama on Sunday with a one-sided 4-0 win over South American champions Santos in front of a full house of 68,166 fans.

The team from Sao Paulo in Brazil had looked likely to provide stiffer opposition than they eventually offered after their impressive 3-1 win over J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol in the semi-final on Wednesday at Toyota Stadium.

Barca Win 2011 Club World Cup

In the final Barcelona quickly imposed their possession and hard-pressing game on their beleaguered opponents and racked up possession statistics of around 75% which is the team's average in La Liga.

The match was basically over by half time as Messi, Xavi and Fabregas all scored in a dominant first 45 minutes. Santos came more into the match in the second period but the individual talents of Neymar, Ganso and Elano were left chasing elusive shadows as the Catalans took the sting out of the game and Messi added a fourth late on to seal Barcelona's second Club World Cup in three years.

In the 3rd/4th place play off Al Sadd made history by beating Kashiwa 5-3 on penalties after the teams had played out a goalless draw.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Santos v Kashiwa Reysol Images

Santos v Kashiwa Reysol Images

See some photographs of the Kashiwa Reysol v Santos game at the Club World Cup at Toyota Stadium.

Santos v Kashiwa Reysol

Santos v Kashiwa Reysol


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Neymar Magic Inspires Santos To Win Over Reysol

Neymar Magic Inspires Santos

Neymar Magic Inspires Santos To Win Over Reysol

Santos overcame J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol at Toyota Stadium in the first semi-final of the 2011 Club World Cup.

19-year-old superstar-in-waiting Neymar opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a superb looping left foot shot. The genuinely two-footed player was sensational in the opening half, linking well with his team-mates and showing some amazing dribbling skills. Reysol resorted to crude fouling to try and contain the young tyro.

Five minutes later Borges rifled home a great second goal for Santos from just outside the area and it looked as if Kashiwa would be overwhelmed. To their credit, the Japanese side regrouped in the second half and got back in the match with a headed goal by Hiroki Sakai from a corner by Wagner.

Santos' third was another spectacular strike, this time from a free kick by Danilo, that he expertly bent around the wall. Danilo, who can play in defence or midfield will be joining Porto after the tournament and should make a big impression in Europe.

The team in yellow refused to buckle, however, and came close to a reply from Masakatsu Saka, who spurned two great chances created down the left of Santos' defence.

The 30,000 strong crowd, who braved a cold evening in Nagoya, left happily after witnessing a fine match full of attacking play by both sides.

Santos go on to the final in Yokohama on Sunday where they will expect to face European Champions and holders Barcelona.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Exciting Sunday at Club World Cup

Club World Cup 2011

An exciting pair of matches in the 2011 Club World Cup took place on Sunday at Toyota Stadium, just outside Nagoya.

In the early kick off, Al Sadd from Qatar defeated Esperance Sportive De Tunis 2-1 in a fractious match which saw a shoe thrown on to the pitch and a solitary fan run on to the field as Al Sadd wasted time at the end to hold on to a hard fought win over the African champions.

Very much against the run of play Asian champions Al Sadd took the lead in the first half with a headed goal from Khalfan Al Khalfan and doubled that lead five minutes in to the second half with a goal from Abdulla Koni with the assist provided by much-travelled Korean center-back Lee Jung-Soo.

Esperance pulled a goal back on the hour mark when a free kick from Ousama Darragi evaded everyone and found the net. Al Sadd now advance to a semi-final against mighty Barcelona fresh from their 3-1 win over Real Madrid in the Spanish clasico.

In the later match, J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol advanced to a meeting with Santos on Wednesday after a penalty shoot out win over Monterrey of Mexico. In a see-saw match that witnessed a number of missed chances by both teams, Reysol's Brazilian midfielder Leandro Domingues opened the scoring in the second half but the home team were soon pegged back by a goal from Monterrey's Chilean forward, Humberto Suazo.

Extra time produced no further goals and it was substitute Ryohei Hayashi, who won the match for Reysol 4-3 on penalties, sending the crowd rushing for the last train home.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jeonbuk Motors Win Deserved Title

Jeonbuk Motors

It didn’t come as a surprise. Jeonbuk Motors led the K-League from early in the season and were the best team for most of it. Choi Kang-hee’s men should have won the Asian title too but had to make do with the domestic title to add to the 2009 crown.

The inevitable came to pass on December 4 in the second leg of the Championship play-off final against Ulsan Horangi. Jeonbuk won the away leg 2-1 and then, despite falling a goal behind at home, recovered to take the return match by the same scoreline in front of a big crowd, which took the league past the three million mark for the season.

Even stony-faced Choi Kang-hee managed a smile during the celebrations after which he told reporters that he felt now that Jeonbuk had become a big club. He is right. Until their 2006 Asian title, the Jeonju outfit had never been a serious contender but is now one of the best in Korea and the continent at large.

Striker Lee Dong-guk didn’t get on the score sheet and even missed a penalty (Ulsan conceded five in five play-off matches but only two were scored) but had already done enough to be overwhelmingly voted in as the 2011 K-League MVP almost exactly 48 hours after lifting the trophy.

Jeonbuk are not a team full of internationals, Korean squads come and go with barely a name in it from the champions, but coach Choi knows all about winning in the K-League. He rarely smiles but he often wins. Well-organised, tough but with players who can really play, the champions have been formidable.

Ulsan finished sixth in the regular standings after a fairly mediocre campaign. The team saved their best for the play-offs, deservedly beating FC Seoul in the opening game and then squeezing past Suwon Bluewings and Pohang Steelers to get the shot at Jeonbuk and the title.

Pohang finished second in the league but didn’t get too much reward for a solid first season under Hwang Sun-hong. The team was never really in danger of losing second spot but, for a thrilling 3-2 win over Jeonbuk aside, rarely threatened to occupy the summit.

Big boys FC Seoul and Suwon both had disappointing starts to the season. Seoul lost coach Hwangbo Kwan and while caretaker Choi Yong-soo stepped in to steady the ship, he struggled to produce the goods in the games when it mattered. Montenegrin marksman Dejan Damjanovic had another season to remember however, scoring 22 goals, an impressive tally and six more than the next in the charts – Lee Dong-guk.

Suwon’s season took a turn for the better with the summer signing of Stevica Ristic. The muscular Macedonian scored for fun and sent the Bluewings soaring into the play-offs. He never appeared in the loss against Ulsan however as he had to serve a six-game suspension handed out by the AFC. His part in the mass brawl against Al Sadd in the semi-final of the 2011 Asian Champions League was worst than most but the punishment seemed excessive.

It was an unlucky season for Suwon. A controversial goal knocked the team out of the Asian Champions League, the same happened in the final of the FA Cup and they were eliminated from the play-offs after a penalty shootout.

The surprise package of the season were Busan I’Park. Ahn Ik-soo was in his first season as coach and after an indifferent start led the team into fifth helped by talented attackers such as Park Hee-do and Yang Dong-hyun. Park has already left for Seoul and the problem for Busan over the coming months is going to be keeping hold of their best players when the bigger boys come calling.

Seongnam Ilhwa started the season as Asian champs and ended it by winning the FA Cup to book a place in the 2012 version. Not much in between was good as the team without sold stars such as Mauricio Molina and Jung Sung-ryong struggled but coach Shin Tae-yong is hopeful of a return to form both at home and overseas for Korea’s most successful team.

Gyeongnam FC
almost made the play-offs but failed at the end. Their season was disrupted by the sale of star striker Lucio to Ulsan in the summer and the sale of star midfielder Yoon Bitgaram to Seongnam as soon as the season ended, despite interest from Glasgow Rangers suggests that the future may not be so bright.

Chunnam Dragons also just missed out and the day after it all finished, coach Jung Hae-sung handed in his notice but was persuaded to stay on by the club. Also in Jeolla Province, Gwangju FC had a reasonable first season and finished in 11th with Lee Sung-ki impressing in midfield, so much so that he was named Rookie of the Year. Last season’s runners-up Jeju United ended in ninth after a disappointing season.

Then there are the strugglers. Daegu FC, Daejeon Citizen and Sangju Sangmu spent the season in the lower reaches of the standings along usual mid-table team Incheon United. . Gangwon FC failed to score for the first four matches, setting the scene for a pretty dire season.

The season was dominated however not by Jeonbuk or anyone else for that matter but match-fixing. Rumours have abounded for some time but the scale of the practice surprised everyone with around 60 players, some still playing others not, prosecuted and all banned from football from various numbers of years and sometimes life.

It was all a bit depressing but some good could come out of it if the K-league sticks to its guns and launches a more professional version of Asia’s oldest professional league. Relegation is coming in 2012 for the first time though it has yet to be confirmed just how many teams will drop through the trapdoor.

World Cup Posters


Friday, December 2, 2011

Euro 2012 Draw & Groups

Euro 2012 Draw

Euro 2012 Draw

The draw for the 2012 European Championships was made today at the Palace of Arts in Kiev, Ukraine.

England in Group D will kick off their Euro 2012 campaign against France in Donetsk on 11 June, followed by games against Sweden in Kiev on 15 June, and then face hosts Ukraine again at the 51,504-capacity Donbass Arena in Donetsk on 19 June.

The Republic of Ireland in Group C will face Croatia in Poznan on 10 June, followed by World and European champions Spain in the Baltic port city of Gdansk on 14 June before ending their group games with a match versus Italy in Poznan on 18 June.

The four groups are as follows:

Group A




Czech Republic

Group B





Group C



Republic of Ireland


Group D





Soccer - Capello expects tough finale

England head coach Fabio Capello thinks that Euro 2012 will be even harder to win than the World Cup in South Africa two years ago. Capello's reign as England boss will end after next year's finals in Poland and Ukraine, with England 10/1 to send the Italian off on a winning note. However, Capello believes that his side will face a massive test of their mettle, with the likes of reigning champions Spain (5/2) and Germany (3/1) among the favourites. Capello said: "It will be stronger because if you look at the groups and all the teams - particularly the three European teams who reached the World Cup semi-finals - the technical level is at the top, the organisation of the teams is at the top. "Also some teams who didn't play well at the World Cup will now be back at the top. "Portugal, France and Italy will be better. It will be a really tough tournament."