“Their team is the one with the strongest spine — John Terry, their goalkeeper (Thibault Courtois), Eden Hazard — and if they can add (Everton’s England defender) John Stones to their team then they will be even harder to beat.. They will only be in trouble if they are complacent.”
Last season, under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea — built around a strong spine of hard-working, physical players — stifled their closest rivals to canter to the league title and Keane said the Stamford Bridge side remained the benchmark in the upcoming season.
“For me, Chelsea remain the team to beat,” the 43-year-old added. Instead of focussing on the Premier League, it’s all about how their bodies look, how their hair is, more so than winning football matches.”
LONDON Arsenal are not capable of winning the Premier League title this season because they have too many players interested in selfies and six packs rather than winning football matches, according to former Manchester United captain Roy Keane.
(Reporting By Tom Hayward; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
“Arsenal have some really good players — some good characters who roll their sleeves up,” Keane told the Mail on Sunday.
Arsenal, under manager Arsene Wenger, have become one of the most dazzling attacking sides in Europe but a perceived lack of leadership has undermined their ability to make a sustained title challenge for a number of years.
Back-to-back FA Cup triumphs ended their nine-year trophy drought but for too long the north Londoners have not been relevant during the intense 38-game toil of a Premier League season.
Keane, a fire and brimstone midfielder, won seven Premier League titles as a player and enjoyed particularly competitive relationship with Arsenal and their similarly combative captain Patrick Viera.
“The bottom line is that if Chelsea’s players show the same hunger and desire that they did last year then they’ll win the league. The current Ireland assistant manager, however, said he saw little in the current Gunners side to convince him that they are poised for a first league title since their Viera-led ‘Invincibles’ team in 2004.
“But they also have one or two players who are more interested in selfies and six-packs, guys who are trying to get their pictures taken every day of the week.
“Every year we hear the same thing about Arsenal being contenders
I talked to Tommy Leonard, the founder of the Falmouth Road Race, and said, “Oh, it should be wide open. I’ve met a lot of runners over the years who say, “My father ran the marathon,” or even “My grandfather ran the marathon.” I love that.
When you knew you had the ’75 Boston won, about six miles from the finish line, you actually stopped running to tie your shoe.
There’s definitely more knowledge and awareness of cross training, and I think that’s good for us older runners, too. Sports have definitely changed, but the Boston course is always the same.
What happens to people when they commit to running a marathon?
When you won in ’75, your “prize” was a bowl of beef stew.
Marathons lacked mile markers, water stops, and porta-potties, and… Not too long ago, no one would have thought that someone would put money forward for a runner to run a marathon. They are building bike paths around their corporate parks and encourage basketball or walking. Every runner has a story.
Tell me why you wrote Marathon Man.
When I initially spoke with my coauthor, Matt Shepatin, I was a little bit nervous. They don’t even walk! They have jobs that are too much for them and take up too many hours, so they can’t find the time to run. It overtakes the city. I love that, but I also love to see the young people in their twenties. It’s just so much fun to see everyone smiling at a marathon. I get almost as much out of it by seeing the runners go by.
In Marathon Man you talk about eating a lot of sweets and junk food as part of your training regimen.
When I travel to races around the country, people tell me that they don’t think they’ll ever be able to run the Boston Marathon, or that they can’t run fast enough to qualify. Since I’m older and have been at races so long, I don’t want to run every race. Frank Shorter and I were a little bit closer to the earlier Boston Marathon winners, the Johnny Kelleys and Clarence Demars, than to runners of the present day. I think to some extent that for elite runners, that’s true. I said, “No one’s going to want to read this.” He is not a runner. American youth are often criticized, but they’re running marathons and they’re raising funds. Think of those 25-year-olds — they’ve got a journey ahead. It’s the oldest yearly marathon in the world. It wasn’t like that thirty years ago. For example, everyone has a connection to fighting cancer.”
Boston hasn’t changed, which is charming — but when you’re running it, it might not be so charming.
One of the myths about running is that you can’t live a normal life if you’re going to be a marathoner. My second year, they said yes.
Just 40 years ago, when Bill Rodgers won his first Boston Marathon, running was considered a bizarre thing to do. I hate to use the word addictive, but there is something different about Boston. The door got wider, especially when the fundraising side came in and when women came into the sport. A sport is just a sport — just a win or a loss. You might quit if you don’t have a focus or if you don’t run with your family or friends. Plus, if you’re active, you sleep better, food tastes better; life is better in so many ways. I wish I knew exactly where it was.
During the first running boom, we didn’t keep it moderate. When it comes to charitable giving, running might be bigger, partly because running is more global than almost any sport. It’s hard to beat. As you get older, everything shifts gears. That caused some runners a lot of wear and tear. That’s a lot of traveling and racing. The race directors in Boston are handling the competitive racing side very well for the professional runners, but they’ve also kept a place for the Johnny Kelleys of today, the amateurs who run because they love to. That enabled me to make the Olympic team. It’s like all the holidays combined. This is ten trillion times more.
The weather’s so unpredictable. The ’75 Boston featured only 2,000 runners, compared with 30,000 today. They think, “This’ll just make me more tired,” or they were never chosen for a sports team, so they don’t believe they can be an athlete. Take a look at our sports teams: eight, ten, twelve people per side. I can remember thinking that if I could win and get that medal, it would be so great. You can be running in thirty-mile-an-hour headwinds, you can be running in ninety-degree heat. I ran New York when it was in September.
Running is more than a sport. You start to say, “Well, I’ll do a half marathon, and that’s my marathon now.” You start thinking of your health, and you want to back off a little. I love seeing that. When I was at Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter actually gave high fives to all 30,000 runners. Even the professional runners today don’t race as much as Frank Shorter and I raced back in the seventies and early eighties. It was ninety degrees! That’s why marathon running was not very popular. I think it is such a cool thing that kids can see their parents run, and vice versa.
Rodgers spoke to me about how marathoning has changed over the years, and how marathoning changed his life.
I remember when they were debating about whether to have prize money at the Boston Marathon. Berlin is in late September. Race directors want to attract the maximum number of entrants, and the thing that attracts people to a race is making it as easy as possible to set a new personal best. We’re the first generation of older people who are trying to stay fit, though we aren’t necessarily marathoning or doing Ironmans.
Suddenly, a handful of long distance runners — Frank Shorter, Jim Fixx, Alberto Salazar, Jack Fultz, and Bill Rodgers — captured the nation’s imagination and inspired the running boom which continues to this day.
When you were training for the 1975 Boston Marathon, you were able to incorporate running into a fairly normal existence — you had a full-time job and a girlfriend.
If I had a part in people finding this quest for themselves, that’s great. Maybe they’re struggling a little at the end, but people are smiling. Their lives are kind of severe. We ran a lot of miles, but we had a lot of fun too. It became my favorite race. Tokyo is in February. I like that we included running with my brothers Charlie and Jason. Now people are finding out what they love, and for more and more people, it’s long-distance running. What’s unique about Boston is that everyone has that feeling.
Rodgers, one of America’s most beloved athletes, and still a free spirit at 67, has just written a memoir, Marathon Man, describing his experiences training for and winning the 1975 Boston Marathon. It was funny as heck, because he had no knowledge of intervals, speed work, or Heartbreak Hill, but he was a very good writer, and we had a lot of fun. Football, baseball, and golf are all very charitable, but that’s all on the corporate level.
It’s not lost if the race leadership doesn’t want it to get lost. My first year, they wouldn’t even let me run on my lunch hour. Running a marathon is a great challenge, a quest, but people say to themselves, “I can complete it because I’m doing it to fight cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.” Everyone has a personal reason to be there, and that’s powerful. When we were traveling from race to race, we’d go back to a hotel afterwards and our celebration was getting a big bowl of nuts or chips with cheese.
My diet today is a little healthier than it used to be, but I still like my snacks, pumpkin pies, and all that.
Are there more marathons in you?
For years, I would run every race I went to, but now it’s more about going to the expo at each race, where I meet the runners.
Today, runners run fewer miles and do more cross training.
Olympic sports, like cycling, running, and swimming, are changing our society and I think employers see that now. I think people just know more now, which has played a role in runners getting quicker and helping more people to become runners. We ate what we wanted. All of these cool things are happening now, which makes it a better sport than ever.
Back then we were winging it.
Today we have the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons, so there’s more of a fun side to the sport, and that’s very powerful. I say, “Yes, you can. Everyone struggles at Boston, which is maybe why that medal means so much.
You change when you become a runner.
I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback about the book. We have too many miles on our bodies, though I think maybe I should do Boston this year because the desire for it never goes away. When I hit 40, I did some more marathons, but I started to lose my drive for it. You didn’t often see parents running with their kids. When you run Boston’s course, you ran where Greta Weitz ran — and Joan Benoit, Ingrid Kristiansen, and Clarence DeMar.
Most people aren’t active.
There are more of us older runners than ever before. There’s a push to make the marathon an easier event, which is smart. Just a few people! That leaves everyone else! You have to figure out what you want to do, and explore it. That’s the way all marathons were, but now they’re all geared for faster times and cooler weather.
That’s part of the charm of Boston — you don’t know what you’re going to get. They’re with their family and friends. At a marathon, we all cheer for each other, which is pretty cool.
I still go in for the race, and I love it. It’s a lifestyle sport, it’s a lifetime sport, and it’s a health and fitness sport. It would be a joke — like George Plimpton running the Boston Marathon. Maybe it’s because Boston isn’t as big as New York, Chicago, or L.A., so it fits the city a little bit better. It’s great.
Do you still attend the Boston Marathon?
What makes the Boston Marathon unique?
Women made it a family sport.
How do you feel about the fundraising aspect of marathoning?
Employers wouldn’t let workers go for a run at lunchtime.
It was just a sign of the times. From age 25 to age 40, I did 50 marathons.
Do you miss the purity of the sport? Is there something that’s lost with the commercialization of it, and the popularization?
That’s true. Running is the number one sport for individual fundraising. They’re seeing all of the older runners out there, and that’s got to be mindboggling to them. . The fastest older runners today are people who came into the sport later in their lives, not Frank Shorter or me.
Before the running boom you helped create, running was disrespected.
I was a special education teacher so that I could have time to train for Boston. New York was in September, then late October, and now it’s the first week of November. That’s probably not true for today’s elite runners.
The fundraising side has turned out to be absolutely spectacular. We didn’t think about nutrition like the professional runners today. You just have to link up with an organization that you have a connection with. And Nike was barely a waffle-shaped gleam in the eye of Phil Knight.
I think running is changing. Grabbing a bunch of chocolate chip cookies after dinner and having them for dessert was part of the game. Everyone is in a good mood.
A lot of my friends still train for Boston, but most of them are younger. Truckers threw beer cans at runners’ heads.
He wore a pair of ill-fitting running proto-Nikes he’d received in the mail from his friend, fellow legend Steve Prefontaine, and once he knew he had the race in the bag, around mile 20, he actually stopped running to tie his shoe.
It is more fun than any other race, and it’s a race that people want to do over and over. They shouldn’t have qualifying times unless 100,000 people want to run.” There’s a tremendous sum of good that comes out of the marathon. That’s what it is really about — becoming a runner. runners. Women seldom ran marathons and were barely welcome at the Boston. I had fun at Boston. That’s what I like about Boston.
To me, you’re an athlete if you try, but you need a boost.
Back then, the New York City Marathon consisted of four loops inside Central Park. It’s one of my favorite days
The matches are a personal choice of the writer, and are not claimed to be objectively selected. He was ably aided by tactically and technically adept players such as Johnny Rep, Rob Rensenbrink, Arie Haan, Ruud Krol, and Johan Neeskens. However, the Germans started to rediscover their rhythm in the second half, with the Italian goalkeeper having to make several important saves. There’s also the small matter of this match being voted as the best match ever by the Germans, who had ended up losing it. Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa drew a penalty for Spain in the 27th minute, and the ever-dependable Xabi Alonso stepped up to give Spain the lead. The Hungarian team in this period were without doubt the best side in the world (it has the highest Elo rating of any national football team in any period), having been unbeaten since 1950 and boasting of influential legends such as Ferenc Pusks, Gyula Grosics, and Sndor Kocsis. Rossi is one of only three players to win a trifecta of the World Cup, Golden Boot, and Golden Ball trophies.
Brazil v Italy, 1970
However, the Germans responded with typical gumption, and won another penalty in the 25th minute. Tel Santana’s Brazil team in the early 1980s, featuring Zico, Socrates, Falco, etc., was the third great generation of Brazilian players, following in the ranks of the Pele-Jairzinho-Carlos Alberto band of brothers that had so utterly dominated the 1970 World Cup and the Didi-Vav-Garrincha group that had won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. Pak Seung-Zin gave the Asian minnows a dream start by scoring in the very first minute. The 55th-minute goal, coming after a 60-yard solo run, was voted the best goal in the history of the World Cup, and is called the ‘Goal of the Century’.
Grson got the party started with a hard drive into the net, and then provided a cross for Pele to provide a headed assist for an onrushing Jairzinho to extend Brazil’s lead to 3-1. Rivera’s goal followed Mller’s goal so closely that some TV channels were still showing replays of the latter when Rivera scored.
Like in 1950, the result of the match caused a united outbreak of emotion in an entire nation. The Netherlands, on the other hand, had been completely revamped under the forceful guidance of Louis van Gaal, having stripped off many of the players who had starred in the previous two international tournaments, and with a heavy reliance on young colts. Everything changed 11 minutes from time, when right winger Alcides Ghiggia stole into the box to slide the ball past Brazil keeper Moacir Barbosa, who was caught in no man’s land, having come forward expecting a cross.
The Dutch drew first blood in ominous fashion, taking the lead with a penalty just after the first minute. The goal arrived through the unlikeliest of sources, left back-sweeper Karl-Heinz Schnellinger scoring his first and only goal for the German national team.
Date: July 23, 1966
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
North Korea had shocked the footballing world by merely qualifying for the 1966 World Cup. While the English team and the fans were outraged, the linesman didn’t spot the blatant handball, and the goal stood. in certain aspects the founding day of the German Republic”.
Having not scored in the World Cup before this game, Rossi went to score two more in the semifinal against Poland and another in the Final against West Germany. The equalizer, which made Van Persie the first Dutch player to score in three separate World Cup tournaments, rejuvenated the Dutch, and with the Spanish now unsettled, they ripped through the holding champions in the second half with little mercy. Apart from these, there are many other matches that could be included in this list. The Germans, however, came back in the 89th minute, scoring in a goalmouth scramble from Wolfgang Weber. After Rossi’s second goal, the match became a demonstration of the dedication both teams had to their choice of strategy: Brazil threw everything at the Italians, utilizing their flair midfielders to attempt to sneak past the Italian defense, which held its lines with virtually no intention of breaking and scoring more goals. Here’s a description of some of the top football matches the World Cup has given us.
The 173,000-strong crowd fell unnaturally silent, so much so that FIFA President Jules Rimet described the atmosphere as “… Spain were the favorites to repeat their 2010 success over the Dutch.
The match started with the Netherlands combatively fighting Spain’s famous obsession with possession. He then added two more in the 56th and 59th minute to drag Portugal away from potential embarrassment, and into the lead for the first time in the game. Hurst’s historic third, England’s fourth, came with the last kick of the game, with the German defense having gone forward in the hope of grabbing an equalizer.
Date: June 21, 1970
Venue: Aztec Stadium, Mexico City
The 1970 Brazil team, featuring all-time legends of the game such as Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao, and Carlos Alberto, all in their prime, is considered one of the best international teams ever. Rossi had returned to the Italian national team after a two-year ban due to manager Enzo Bearzot’s faith in his abilities, but was obviously out of shape and out of match practice. Uruguay hit back through Juan Alberto Schiaffino, but since a draw was enough for Brazil to top the round-robin group, the hosts weren’t unduly concerned, and the Brazilian fans were still in full swing. Fittingly, Zico, arguably the best player in the world at the time and the best exponent of Brazil’s policy of all-out attack, called it “the day football died”.
Date: July 5, 1982
Round: Second Group Stage
Venue: Sarria Stadium, Barcelona
This is the match that best defines a battle between attack and defense, between proactive, creative football and reactionary, counterattacking football. Unable to build upon their lead, the Brazilians were pegged back 8 minutes form the halftime whistle, when Roberto Boninsegna, who had played a crucial role in Italy’s semifinal victory over West Germany, pounced on a mistake to bring Italy level. Neither team was in the frame of possible champions when the tournament began, with the perennial powerhouses Brazil and West Germany, as well as a Platini-led France and holders Italy being the favorites. Their enthralling style of play had won them matches and fans alike, and would go on to inspire many modern tactical innovations. A still-injured Pusks took his place in the team for the final.
Did You Know?While not one of the ‘top’ games, the most important pair of games in the history of the World Cup took place on July 13, 1930. These were either illuminated by individual brilliance, la Maradona in the 1986 quarterfinal, or by tactical brilliance, la Italy in the 1982 semifinal, or they may even be iconic upsets, la the Maracanazo. With this victory, Brazil became the only three-time winners of the Jules Rimet Trophy (original name of the World Cup), edging fellow two-time winners Uruguay and Italy.
These were some of the most famous and most influential games in the history of the FIFA World Cup. The first half was dominated by the Italians, and Germany couldn’t break through. Rahn became the hero when he scored what would be the winner, six minutes from the end.
Brazil v Uruguay, 1950
The first half, though dominated by Argentina, ended scoreless. Opinions will almost certainly differ.
However, Netherlands captain Robin van Persie equalized the game, a minute before halftime, with a diving header from just inside the Spanish penalty area, having beaten the Spanish offside trap. The impact of the utterly-unexpected defeat was such that the defeat has been compared, by Brazilian writers, to the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings. Since he played in more games than Alcides Ghiggia, the other player to achieve this feat, Jairzinho holds the (joint, with Ronaldo) record of scoring in the most matches in a single edition of the World Cup.
The last-minute drama aside, what made this match the ‘Match of the Century’ was the unbelievable goal-fest in extra time. In the 74th minute, he pounced on a poor clearance by the Brazilian defense from an Italian corner, and slipped the ball in from six yards to seal one of the most famous matches in World Cup history.
NOTE: The matches are not ‘ranked’ in any way, but are instead listed chronologically. The shell-shocked Koreans couldn’t hold on after this stunning one-man reversal, and conceded another through Jose Augusto in the 80th minute. As mentioned before, this list is a personal choice of the writer. After growing in stature over the course of the second half, the Germans finally drew level in the final minute. Uruguay became the only team in the tournament to keep Brazil from scoring in the first half of games, but two minutes after the interval, Brazil scored through Friaa. The implications of the 2-2 scoreline were that Brazil would top the group on goal difference, and would advance to the semifinals on the virtue of having scored one more goal than Italy.
Date: June 17, 1970
Venue: Aztec Stadium, Mexico City
The fact that this match was called the ‘Match of the Century’ immediately after it ended bodes well for this match to be considered an all-time football World Cup classic. It was the final game of a round robin group between 4 teams. Breitner converted it successfully, making the scores level. In contrast, Germany were centered around their midfield powerhouses, Franz Beckenbauer and Wolfgang Overath, and a deadly attack, containing Uwe Seeler and Gerd Mller.
In Eusebio, however, the Koreans had bitten off more than they could chew. This scoring streak earned him the Golden Boot, as the top scorer of the tournament with six goals, as well as the Golden Ball, as the best player of the tournament. ‘Der Bomber’ Mller scored again in the 110th minute to bring Germany level once again. Brazil responded quickly, with captain Socrates leveling the scores in the 12th minute. Pele, being aware of the attacking run made by the full-back Carlos Alberto, held the ball up for a moment, before releasing a perfectly weighted pass through the Italian defense and onto the right foot of Alberto, who smashed it in.
Italy ultimately held on to clinch one of the most famous and celebrated games in World Cup history. Dribbling past Beardsley, Reid, Fenwick, and twice past Butcher, Maradona then went on to round Peter Shilton, and poked the ball into the net with the outside of his left foot. Within a minute of Mller’s equalizer, Italy snatched what would be the winner, with midfielder Gianni Rivera slotting in a goal from just inside the penalty area. With a minute gone past the 100-minute mark, midfielder Alan Ball delivered a cross to Geoff Hurst, whose shot cannoned off the underside of the bar, bounced on the goal-line before going out (back into the field of play). But fans, experts, and players alike had no idea just how unbelievable the tie, the first ever group stage encounter between the two finalists of the preceding tournament, would turn out to be.
Coming into the tournament, Spain, managed by Vicente del Bosque, were still among the pre-tournament favorites in spite of the widely recognized flaws of having an aging unit of core players and predictable tactics. Brazil came out with ferocious purpose in the second half, and their second half performance is a shining example of positive, attack-minded football grinding down even the most famously stubborn of defenses.. Uruguay held on till the end to seal an epochal victory. With his goal, which he almost missed but eventually scuffed in, Jairzinho became only the second player in history to score in all of his team’s games at a World Cup tournament. This was the last World Cup tournament for Johan Cruyff, who retired in 1977. Though not dull, most of the play occurred in the middle of the park, with either goalkeeper rarely troubled. Maradona later cheekily attributed the infamous improvisation to the “head of Diego Maradona and the Hand of God”, giving rise to the famous expression.
Date: June 22, 1986
Venue: Aztec Stadium, Mexico City
Containing one of the most famous moments in the history of organized sport, this match owes its popularity to the *resourcefulness* and brilliance of Diego Maradona.
Played four years after the Falklands War, in addition to the backdrop of an infamous match in the 1966 World Cup, this tie had already gained national importance in both countries, even before a ball had been kicked. Arjen Robben joined his captain in scoring at his third World Cup tournament, giving Netherlands the lead. Realizing that he couldn’t reach the ball with his head, he raised his hand and tapped the ball beyond Shilton into an empty net. They were famous for their carefree, attacking football. It was in the second half, though, that he decided to take matters into his own hands. Johan Neeskens converted the penalty, giving the Netherlands a precious lead before any German player had even touched the ball!
The relentless Brazilian onslaught finally paid off in the 68th minute, when Falco’s fiercely hit shot from just outside the penalty area nestled into the back of the net. They were considered the best team in the world, and were the favorites to emulate their glorious predecessors in winning the ultimate prize while playing an attractive brand of football.
Italy, on the other hand, were still reeling from the aftereffects of the Totonero match-fixing scandal in 1980, in which their star striker Paolo Rossi had been indicted. The penalty was awarded at the culmination of one of Johan Cruyff’s mazy runs, in which he was brought down by Uli Hoene. Li Dong-Woon and Yang Seung-Kook further increased the lead in the 22nd and 25th minute, respectively.
Rossi, however, was not about to give up his greatest day so easily. The move started deep in the left side of the Brazilian half, with the ball eventually reaching Pele on the right side of the Italian penalty area, throughin that orderTostao, Brito, Clodoaldo, Pele himself, Grson, Clodoaldo again, this time toying with the Italians by beating four players in his own half before passing the ball, and Jairzinho, who crossed the ball from the left wing to Pele. Amid confusion and protests from the Germans, the linesman adjudged the ball to have crossed the line. Spain had mastered the art of grinding out 1-0 wins in their previous successes (all four of their knockout games in the 2010 World Cup had been won by the same scoreline), and a similar success was on the cards against a Netherlands side set up to counterattack.
Portugal v North Korea, 1966
Click on the respective match to know more about it.
* Though even FIFA themselves call the match a ‘final’, and it is universally considered as such, the match was not, in fact, a knockout game. The whole country was in a celebratory mood, as scrappy Uruguay were widely expected to bow down to the might of the Brazilian team. Moacir Barbosa was blamed for the defeat, and claimed in 2000 that while the maximum prison sentence in Brazil is 30 years, he had been paying for the defeat for 50 years.
West Germany v Hungary, 1954
England v West Germany, 1966
Date: July 16, 1950
Venue: Maracana Stadium, Rio
With all due profuse apologies to Brazilian football, what better match than the ‘Maracanazo’ to kick things off?
Emotions were running high in the host nation Brazil as the team advanced to the match with minimal fuss. The Germans, meanwhile, had a team overflowing with talent in the form of indomitable Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mller, Paul Breitner, Berti Vogts, Sepp Maier, etc.
Date: June 13, 2014
Round: Group Stage
Venue: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
A salivating matchup had been thrown up in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup when Spain and the Netherlands, finalists four years ago, were paired in the same group. However, England were level within 7 minutes, as captain Bobby Moore’s quick thinking in taking a free kick right after winning it caught the German defense off guard, allowing Geoff Hurst to slip in his first of the game. They became everybody’s second team when, providing a classic underdog story, they shocked mighty Italy in the round of 16 to set up a fearsome quarterfinal clash with the Eusebio-led Portugal.
Korea DPR relieved their nerves, and furthered the affection neutrals felt for them, by racing into a three-goal lead inside half an hour. Defying their manager’s calls to play defensively, inspirational captain Obdulio Varela instructed his teammates to come out and fight, and fight they did. Defender Stefan de Vrij, who had conceded the penalty on Costa, made amends by extending the lead with a header from a free kick. morbid, sometimes too difficult to bear”. Most of the play was concentrated around the Italian penalty area.
In extra time, England always looked the more likely to get the winning goal, but the manner in which they eventually achieved it has been discussed ad nauseam ever since the game. Receiving the ball in the right channel in his own half, Maradona embarked on possibly the most famous solo run in football history. This was Rossi’s first goal in the tournament, not having scored in the first group stage at all. However, the drama was far from over. It is this unpredictable mixture of bravado and brilliance that makes for the special sport that we all know and love.
Brazil’s fourth goal in the game, finished by Carlos Alberto after an intricate passing move featuring 8 of the 10 outfield players, is considered one of the best goals ever scored. In the eyes of many, this match has a completely legitimate claim to being the best football game ever.
Italy, boasting the talents of legendary playmakers Sandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera, among others, had reached the semifinal thanks to their defensive tactics, a version of the notorious system of catenaccio. The match was also notable for the bravery of Franz Beckenbauer; having broken his clavicle in a tackle earlier in the game, Der Kaiser played on with his arm slung by his side, because the Germans were out of substitutions and a numerical disadvantage would be disastrous for his team. Dissenting opinions are more than welcome; which match did you enjoy watching? Which match does your dad never shut up about? Which do you think should make this list? Let us know!
Best World Cup Games
The rout at the hands of the Netherlands set the tone for Spain’s 2014 World Cup campaign, as they were undone in their next match by a similarly energetic Chile team set out to counterattack, and went out of the World Cup with 2 losses from their opening 2 games.
Spain v Netherlands, 2014
Geoff Hurst remains the only player to score a hattrick in a World Cup final.
This match was considered a death knoll for the top-heavy, positionally loose style utilized by the creative Brazilians. Maradona had already created havoc in the England lines, creating several chances for himself as well as his teammates. Germany went ahead for the first time in the match in the 94th minute through the irrepressible Gerd Mller, only to be pegged back by Tarcisio Burgnich’s equalizer four minutes later. In contrast, West Germany were far from the favorites in the World Cup, and were playing in their first competitive tournament since the Second World War.
Hungary’s star player and captain Pusks had featured in an earlier 8-3 defeat of Germany in the group stage, but he also got injured in the same match. The teams went in at halftime on level terms. Van Persie then capitalized on a bad first touch from Casillas by scoring the fourth, and Robben completed the rout with a virtuoso solo run from the halfway line. Beaten, vilified, and ostracized after the Second World War, this match served, in the words of German historian Joachim Fest, as “… The match became so famous that a monument was constructed at the Aztec Stadium, paying homage to the two teams. The fairytale couldn’t last for North Korea, but they had provided one of the greatest matches and one-man performances the World Cup has ever displayed in the process.
Though his first famous act in this game was in bad spirit, he more than made up for it with his second. Banners and newspaper headlines praising the Selecao had already been printed, and the Brazilian football federation had already commissioned gold medals for the expected victors.
Italy v West Germany, 1970
The match began perfectly for the Italians, with an 8th-minute Roberto Boninsegna goal allowing them to drop back and implement their preferred defensive tactics. This remains the only World Cup game in which 5 goals were scored in extra time.
The decision to field a half-fit Pusks seemed to pay off, as he gave the Magyars the lead after just 6 minutes, with Zoltn Czibor adding another after 8 minutes. However, unlike Brazil, where a few fans even committed suicide, West Germany regained a patriotic fervor through this victory. However, both England and Argentina had been solid and sometimes spectacular in their progress through the tournament, with Argentina depending mainly on the outrageously talented Maradona, and England swiftly becoming experts in getting the job done.
The second half was eventful, with chances falling to either side, but the Germans held on to clinch their second World Cup trophy. In spite of his absence, Hungary beat the top two teams at the preceding World Cup (Uruguay and Brazil) in their quarterfinal and semifinal. A system where tactically flexible players switched positions as the game developed was revolutionary at the time, and changed the game forever.
The style was centered around the brilliant Johan Cruyff, who, while a nominal forward, roamed the lines between attack and midfield, establishing his grip on the game thanks to visionary passing, stunning dribbling, as well as deadeye finishing. Italy then turned the tables and managed to go into the second half of extra time in the lead, with Luigi Riva scoring in the 104th minute. The Netherlands also reached the final of the next World Cup in 1978, but again lost in the final, this time to Argentina.
The match began in a way nobody had imagined, with the much-maligned Rossi opening the scoring with a header after just five minutes. Their performance in the 1970 tournament is, accordingly, considered the most dominant performance by one team in a World Cup tournament.
Having reached the final through completely contrasting strategies, the match was billed as a battle between attack and defense (though a different match between Brazil and Italy would make this oversimplified characterization even more obvious), with the flair-filled, creative forces of Brazil confronted by the defensive, rigid Italians.
Brazil took the lead in the 18th through a header from Pele, who would set up two more goals in the match. Fittingly, given his glorious career, it was his last ever goal for West Germany before retirement from the international game.
Brazil v Italy, 1982
Date: July 7, 1974
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Munich
The Dutch national side of the 1970s is considered among the best teams not to win a World Cup. The Dutch team was considered the best team in the world at the time, and they were overwhelming favorites to triumph over the Germans. The goal was controversial, because there was strong suspicion of a handball having been committed in the buildup, and the free kick that led to the goal was also controversial.
Over the years, the World Cup has had some of the greatest soccer matches the world has ever seen. The legendary striker reduced the arrears for Portugal in the 27th minute, before adding another via a penalty two minutes before halftime. With a simultaneous kickoff of 3 pm (Uruguayan Standard Time), the matches between France and Mexico, and the USA and Belgium, were the very first matches in the history of the FIFA World Cup.
When the biggest and baddest guys in a movie come head to head, usually at the end, we all know that the ensuing fight (oh, there IS going to be a fight, of course; amiable, peaceful discussions don’t really sell tickets) will be replete with stunning camera angles, slow motion replays, and a thumping background score.
Similarly, when the biggest and baddest teams in the footy world come together in the quadrennial FIFA World Cup, you know that sparks are going to fly, studs will be raised, and magic will inevitably happen. Gerd Mller then scored the winner in the 43rd minute. Leaving the Spanish central defenders Pique and Ramos trailing in his wake, he took out Casillas by waiting till the hapless goalkeeper went to ground, before calmly slotting in the fifth.
Though England managed to get a goal back, through tournament top scorer Gary Lineker, Argentina held on to earn a famous victory.
However, the Uruguayans hadn’t quite read the script. In the 51st minute, Maradona jumped alongside England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to contest a high ball. The triumph of the tactically astute Italians, despite lacking (relatively) big names, is considered one of the best examples of tactical understanding and pragmatism defeating attractive but naive flair play. However, their compulsive dedication to passing the ball out of defense, in keeping with the general pursuit of a beautiful game, cost them dearly, as Rossi intercepted a pass played in the Brazilian backline, and buried the shot to make it 2-1 in the 25th minute. The fact that it was the chronologically last game in the tournament and was played between the only two teams that could win the title, has led to it being termed as the ‘final’.
Date: July 4, 1954
Venue: Wankdorf Stadium, Bern
Hungary were riding high on the wave of the Magical Magyars, and reached the final of the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland in style. However, the Germans responded magnificently, scoring through Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn just 10 minutes after Czibor’s goal. With 12 minutes to go, England retook the lead, when Martin Peters slotted in a goal from Hurst’s deflected shot. His performances in the first group stage had been deplorable, and the press and fans were starting to turn on him, though Bearzot still doggedly persisted with him.
West Germany v Netherlands, 1974
Argentina v England, 1986
Date: July 30, 1966
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
The World Cup had come home, held in the country that invented it, and the hosts responded to national fervor brilliantly with a classic match at the Wembley.
The match began well for the Germans, with Ray Wilson’s misplaced header out of the English defense allowing Helmut Haller to score the opening goal in the 12th minute. Inspired by the game-changing philosophy of coach Rinus Michels and his favorite disciple Johan Cruyff, the ‘Total Football’ of the Netherlands had blazed a path through the preliminary rounds
Back in 1998, there was controversy when Boston Magazine ran a profile of the country’s leading African-American scholar under the headline Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Head Negro In Charge. Speaking Spanish, Suárez reportedly called Evra either a Negro or negrite, which means “little Negro,” up to five times during a heated exchange.
In a February 1961 letter to the US Justice Department, asking the federal government to help his historic and ultimately successful effort to win admission to the University of Mississippi, James Meredith used the word Negro four times. The word hasn’t appeared in US Supreme Court judgments or transcripts, except where older cases or commentaries are being quoted, since 1985; the justice who used it on that occasion was Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), the first black person appointed to the court. Leading media outlets like the Associated Press adjusted their style books, replacing Negro with black. The Latin root is niger. Nonetheless, the word Negro survives in a few situations. In the USA, however, applying the word to a segment of the population fell out of favor quite rapidly between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s. Even though the content of the article flattered Gates, many thought the title was belittling, as it harked back to a time when many black men labored under the supervision of a fellow black (usually dubbed “the head n**ger in charge”) who in turn reported to a white boss.
In both Spanish and Portuguese, negro simply means black, as in the color.
In 1950, if an American described a compatriot with obvious African heritage as a Negro, no listeners would’ve raised their eyebrows. When Frederick Douglass (statue pictured here) was writing in the second half of the 19th century, he seldom employed the term Negro. Du Bois thought Negro was preferable to colored, and lobbied the New York Times among others to always capitalize it.
However, the Census Bureau only recently dropped Negro as a racial classification. Negro was in common use until Stokely Carmichael and others called for “black power” from 1966 onwards. Throughout South America, the word negro is still very often used to describe black people. Negro History Week, first celebrated in 1926, has been Black History Month since 1976. The United player, Patrice Evra (pictured here), was born in Senegal but raised in France; he has played more than 60 times for the French national team. In the 1980s, the term African-American began to enter mainstream language, and has to an extent replaced black. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. We speak of “Negro spirituals” more often than “African-American spirituals,” perhaps because that form of music is firmly rooted in the era before World War II.
Surprisingly, widespread use of the word Negro in the USA wasn’t an accident, but the result from campaigning by black leaders such as W.E.B. Between 1900 and 2013, the term appeared on all census forms. Until the 1920s, black Americans were usually described as colored. The term Negro is thought at best to be archaic, at worst a serious ethnic slur. In recent years, the precise wording has been: “Black, African Am., or Negro” as the category on the form placed under “White,” and above “American Indian or Alaska Native.”. Among respected institutions, the only notable holdout is the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), a scholarship body established in 1944.
Even in the UK, where race relations aren’t as fraught as in the USA, the word is regarded as offensive. For many, it’s uncomfortably close to the N-word.
Suárez, who rose to global infamy during the 2014 World Cup after biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, has never apologized for what he said to Evra. The word black doesn’t appear in his letter. Nowadays, the preferred epithets are African-American and black. He played down his choice of words, pointing out that his grandfather had some African ancestry, and was nicknamed negrite by his grandmother.
In 2010, US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid got into hot water when it emerged that two years later, just before Barack Obama was elected the USA’s first non-white president, he had said Obama speaking “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” was an advantage. In late 2011, Luis Suárez, a Uruguayan soccer star playing for Liverpool, a leading English team, was fined GBP40,000 and banned for eight games after the sport’s governing authority found him guilty of racially abusing a Manchester United player during a match
When negative thoughts begin to enter our mind, REFUSE IT WITH DETERMINATION AND CONVICTION. Why? The brain acts as an” executioner” from our nerve cells down to our physiological processes.
However, the power of your mind can be managed quite effectively. First, allow yourself to make a good decision to stop the
negative thoughts from entering your mind. Our subconscious were not so good thoughts originate, must be put aside and let our conscious mind overrule it. All we have to do is to take time in studying the origin these ” senseless thoughts”.
“Have you ever wondered how powerful your mind is?” If you happen to think that your brain cannot in any way, be managed or controlled you are certainly incorrect. Through meditation, we commune with our soul and spirit as one. In other words, we calm our hearts and mind. This is the best way to do to control your mind and ward off negative things. It is only a matter of strong will and determination to stop this once and for all. . Likewise, think of its pros and cons that would happen in case you cannot resist thinking of these negative situations. This means to say that the very moment it pops out in our mind, look at it as an outside force which will destroy your inner peace. As the process becomes part of our being, we will develop a sense of optimism and the virtue of hope.
Do some mind conditioning exercises. Maximize its power to achieve your ultimate goals in life.
Meditate. It is better to discover how negative thoughts become real. B y doing this, you have the choice of accepting or rejecting this garbage in our brain. Therefore, block it. We must not get attached to the problems, rather we must focus on the solutions. ” What is meditation?” It is a spiritual process to make our mind tranquil. In doing this, we must be constantly aware of the thoughts that will enter our perplexed mind.
Our mind is the most precious gift from God.
People who are pessimistic must learn how to divert there attention to things and places that will make them feel happy. Go to the mall and stroll, if you do not have money to spend.
The next step is to let a borderline separate the negative thoughts from our ” BETTER INNER SELF. By the way, this can only possible if we keep on entertaining these negative thoughts and feelings in a vicious cycle. Let us say for instance, negative thoughts keep circling around your head, these thoughts will materialize eventually
“What helped them to get over it was that Arsenal won the
Double last season.
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger has warned title rivals ManchesterUnited and Liverpool to beware an early-season backlash as his threeFrance internationals aim to patch up their wounded pride.
Arsenal face their first test tomorrow in the Community Shield
against Liverpool in Cardiff, with Wenger stressing Gerard
Houllier’s side will be just as much of a danger to his team as
United this season.
BACKLASH: Arsene Wenger
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
“I believe people will be surprised by just how strongly
motivated they are. They had a very positive attitude when they came
back and they have shown their character by reacting so well,” he
“It is also an advantage to us that they have had more
The Frenchman believes there is a special desire within compatriots
Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Sylvain Wiltord after their early
World Cup exit.
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Wow what a marvelous season for Bayern Munich last year. We know who were the last year Champions, the German giants Bayern Munich. Now that such names have joined the club, the expectations are very high from PSG because they have spent a lot of money to enable it to compete with the other European Giants.. They can sign any big name they want, they stunned the entire football world when they announced to have signed Tottenham Hotspurs winger Gareth Bale in 100 million and bringing Bale signified the high aims of Mr. Therefore, it means he is the right man who can bring Madrid trophies, and maybe that is why Perez spends a lot of money around Ancelotti.
Last years semifinalist is looking to grab the opportunity to win the Champions league for the tenth time. Fiorentina Perez (Madrid Owner).
If we could look at PSGs history, they have not been a strong force in Europe, however it is imperative to mention about their capability of becoming a major club in Europe. They enjoyed every single moment of last year as they magnificently won another treble under Jupp Heynckes. However, we can guess by their overall performance, strategic wise, strength, weaknesses, and several more things.
Credit: Public Domain (Flickr): Author MahmousSilva720
It is frightful for Madrid fans to think to be a runner up or to be semifinalist again this year. He is a very intelligent and experienced manager; he achieved several major trophies with AC Milan, Chelsea, and PSG. Madrid is one of the most successful club in the history of Champions league, which makes them even more notable in this League.
Credit: Public Domain (Flickr): Author Aciloc10
Paris Saint German
They did well last season when they surprisingly reached quarterfinal, but unfortunately they were slapped by Barcelona.
However, it is too early to say the possible teams as to which of them can be champions. In addition, fairly most of the credit goes to Mr. Real Madrid is one of the richest Football club on the planet with an estimated wealth of 3 billion. It would be no surprise if they win another treble under Pep Guardiola this time.
Thanks to the Jupp Heynckes who brought the Bavarians Champions league. Nevertheless, if again they desire to win they have to be more wary because English, Spanish, Italian and French giants are very ambitious for winning the Champions League and they are very well prepared as compare to last season, some of them have brought some big names and some of them have hired notable managers.
The pair of Cavani and Ibrahimovic can do exceptional things for PSG and they can easily win matches single handedly. The man who replaced Jupp was Pep Guardiola, the one who took FC Barcelona to its peaks; this man also introduced the famous tiki-taka.
Now when everything is settled the fans are expecting something vibrant from PSG manager and the players because they brought several world class players to PSG, namely, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Alex, Lucas Moura, Thiago Silva, Edison Roberto Cavani Gomez, including many more young stars. Both of them are keen to score as many goals as they can just as they are doing in French league 1, however if they continue this in Champions League matches then for sure they can be strong contenders to lift the famous Champions League Trophy.
Credit: Public Domain (Flickr): Author Toksuede
In champions league Munich is one of the strongest title contender, it has become a habit of Bayern Munich to play semifinal each year. Heynckes, however many of us still cannot understand the decision of Bayern Munichs President when he announced that Heynckes will be replaced byby Josep Pep Guardiola i Sala.
With a new season, they have started with new boss Carlo Ancelotti, who resigned from his job, as Paris Saint Germans manager for his dream job was to manage Madrid. That day and now we can see where PSG was and where are they now, so, it would be unfair to not to credit the Qatari Investment authority.
Credit: Public Domain (Flickr): Author Villads Engel
The battle begins
Yes the battle has begun amongst the top teams of Europe with an unlike spirit of winning champions league. It was not less than a miracle for Bayern Munich to win another treble. With this size of squad, they can easily reach the semifinal again this year.
It was not a bad decision by Administration, though they should have given more time to Heynckes and should have waited until he resigned because to be fair he was doing a tremendous job. They did not even dream that one day they would be favorite to win Champions League, though somehow fate was kind to them, when suddenly a Qatari Investment authority decided to possess Paris Saint German
In 2000, Manchester United competed in the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil, and won the league again in the 1999/2000 and 2000/01 seasons. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.
In 1968, under the management of Matt Busby, Manchester United was the first English football club to win the European Cup, ten years after the Munich air disaster that claimed the lives of eight players. The club has also won three European Cups and is unique in having won a Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League Treble, in the 1998/99 season.
Manchester United’s 1998/99 season was the most successful in English club football history as they became the first team to win the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League “The Treble” in the same season. The current manager, Alex Ferguson, is the most successful manager in the club’s history, having won 26 major honours since he took over in November 1986.
The following season, Manchester United claimed its first Cup Winners’ Cup title and competed in the 1991 UEFA Super Cup, beating European Cup holders Red Star Belgrade in the final at Old Trafford. Having won 18 league titles, four League Cups and a record 11 FA Cups,Manchester United is one of the most successful clubs in the history of English football. The team finished as runners-up in 2001/02, before regaining the title in 2002/03. Ryan Giggs made a record 759th appearance for the club in this game, overtaking previous record holder Bobby Charlton.
Manchester United is one of the wealthiest and most widely supported football teams in the world.The club is said to be worth 1.19 billion, making it the most valuable football club in the world.After being floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1991, the club was purchased by Malcolm Glazer in May 2005 in a deal valuing the club at almost 800 million.
Losing 1/0 going into injury time in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjer scored late goals to claim a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich, in what is considered one of the greatest comebacks of all time.The club also won the Intercontinental Cup after beating Palmeiras 1/0 in Tokyo.Ferguson was subsequently knighted for his services to football.
In the 2005/06 season, Manchester United failed to qualify for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in over a decade, but recovered to secure a second-place league finish and victory over Wigan Athletic in the 2006 Football League Cup Final.
In 1993, the club won its first league title since 1967, and a year later, for the first time since 1957, it won a second consecutive title alongside the FA Cup to complete the first “Double” in the club’s history.
In December 2008, the club won the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup and followed this with the 2008/09 Football League Cup, and its third successive Premier League title.That summer, Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for a world record 80 million.In 2010, Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 2/1 at Wembley to retain the League Cup, its first successful defence of a knockout cup competition.. They won the 2003/04 FA Cup, beating Millwall 3/0 in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. A second consecutive League Cup final appearance followed in 1992, in which the team beat Nottingham Forest 1/0 at Wembley.
Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox arrived from Aberdeen on the day of Atkinson’s dismissal, and guided the club to an 11th-place finish in the league.Despite a second-place finish in 1987/88, the club was back in 11th place the following season.Reportedly on the verge of being dismissed, victory over Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final replay (after a 3/3 draw) saved Ferguson’s career.
The club regained the Premier League in the 2006/07 and 2007/08 seasons, and completed the European double by beating Chelsea 6/5 on penalties in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium
The knee feels good. I am building myself up again
for the game against Italy. “You are in the media, you should know what happened and why
they did that to me.”
Suarez will aim to repeat his heroics against Italy today, when the
two nations meet for a place in the last 16.
“I have certainly not set my sights on being the best player
at the World Cup.”
“If it didn’t feel good, I would tell the coach that I
wasn’t available, but I feel good now.”
“The objective is only to play for Uruguay, to fulfil our
ambitions, to go beyond this stage and see how far we get,” he
But Suarez, who scored 31 goals in 33 league games for Liverpool
last season, said he has no desire to be the best player in Brazil.
“I was not really 100 per cent fit and sometimes things turn
around,” said Suarez. I guess this is very obvious and even the people in the Premier
League voted for me, and then if the papers vote for me as well that is
sensational,” he said. It’s not in
perfect shape, but after surgery you need time to see the reaction,
particularly having played so much and been the object of a lot of
The Liverpool striker, who is looking more likely to leave Anfield
with every passing day, admitted he was at the limit of his physical
capacity before undergoing knee surgery.
Byline: FROM DAVID McDONNELL in Natal
GROUP D: Italy v Uruguay 5pm
LUIS SUAREZ is ready to subject Italy to the same one-man
demolition job that sank England.
Suarez’s exploits against England confirmed his status as one
of the world’s best players, with both Real Madrid and Barcelona
chasing the PS65million-rated star.
Suarez’s match-winning display in Uruguay’s 2-1 win over
England defied belief, coming 26 days after the operation that cast
doubt upon his participation in the World Cup.
HE’S CHIN THE MOOD Suarez telling the media yesterday he is in
good shape and (below) after winner against England
Suarez claimed his two goals against England were revenge for hisperceived, e s mistreatment there, claiming people were “laughingat his attitude” in the buildup to the World Cup.
Asked by Mirror Sport to explain his remarks, particularly when he
was voted PFA and FWA footballer of the year for last season, Suarez
went on the attack.
All-time head to head: 2 Italy wins, 3 Uruguay wins, 4
drawsManagers: Italy: Cesare Prandelli Uruguay: Oscar Tabarez Referee:
Marco Rodriguez (Mex) Weather forecast: Heavy rain, 26C, Humidity 88%,
14mph Wind TV: ITV from 4pm GROUP D Probable teamsItaly: Buffon,
Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini, Damian, Deseglio, Marchisio, Pirlo,
Verratti, Immobile, Balotelli Uruguay: Muslera, Caceres, Gimenez, Godin,
A Pereira, Gonzalez, Arevalo, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Suarez, Cavani Das
“Everybody knows that I was elected the best player of the
year. “But what happened before the match
[against England] I did not want to attack anybody, only some media
started making fun of me.
. “I was the other day really at the
limits of my physical capacity and, for the last match of Liverpool, I
was full of cramps and I was tired.
But the 27-year-old said he has recovered fully following the
England game and is ready to face the Italians.
“But of course you can build yourself up and come to the next
assignment and this is what I am doing