Slovenia 2-3 England: The Three Lions have won all six of their EURO qualifiers so far, and thanks to Jack Wilshere‘s brace and Wayne Rooney‘s score, England was able to cement that accomplishment in a significant win over Slovenia. Wilshere’s two goals were blasted into the upper-90 in wonderful manner, while Rooney netted his goal in the 86th minute, in a more casual way, to place him at third all-time (48) on England’s top-scorer list. Slovenia opened the game up in the 37th minute when Milivoje Novakovic, off a feed from Josip Illicic, outsmarted an offside trap to convert an attempt past goalkeeper Joe Hart. Nejc Pecnik’s downward header equalized two minutes before Rooney won it.
UEFA has announced that the seeding for the Champions League will change next season, a decision that will have potentially a huge impact on the fortunes in Europe of English and Spanish sides.
The existing UEFA format means that seeding is based on the results of clubs competing in the five previous seasons of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. This season that meant that the top seeds come from just four different nations: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid representing Spain, Chelsea and Arsenal representing England, Porto and Benfica.
The title races in both Spain and England look like they will come down to the final weeks of the season after wins for the top three in both countries left Liverpool and Atlético Madrid still holding narrow leads.
Two more penalties for Steven Gerrard penalties helped Liverpool beat West Ham 2-1 and lifted them back in front of Chelsea, who bounced back from two straight defeats to beat Stoke City 3-0, with Manchester City four points off the top, but with two games in hand, after beating Southampton 4-1. City travel to Anfield next weekend with the winner odds on favorite to lift the trophy. Meanwhile Arsenal’s season is threatening to come undone as they lost 3-0 at Everton, a result that moved Roberto Martinez’s side to within a point of the Gunners, having played one game less.
The interesting tweet from @giggs_boson over the weekend that shows the average number of academy players used in starting 11 this season in the top 5 leagues. Arsenal leads the Premier League with 3.9 players per game.
Not a big surprise to see that Barcelona’s starting line-up this season has contained just over seven players from their famed La Masia academy. The financial crisis that has gripped Spanish football over the last four or five seasons has meant that teams have had to develop their own talent instead of buying it, and as a result La Liga teams have the highest number of academy players in their starting XI. Although that is not the case at Real Madrid, who have relied on players they have bought rather than ones they have developed. Is that a carryover from Jose Mourinho’s win now philosophy?
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or award, which is given each year to the top-performing soccer player in the world, after a stunning year that saw him score an astonishing 69 goals in 59 games.
Ronaldo claimed the award with a total of 1,365 points, ahead of Lionel Messi (1,205) and Franck Ribery (1,127), with the votes cast by 184 coaches, 184 national captains and 173 members of the global media.
In another interesting weekend of soccer, a draw between Spain’s leading duo played into Real Madrid’s hands, while Paris Saint-Germain stretched their lead in France, Juventus won again and Manchester City moved to top of the Premier League.
In a defensive masterpiece Atlético Madrid and Barcelona played out a 0-0 draw in the Estádio Vicente Calderón to remain locked together on 50 points at the top of the table. Real Madrid took advantage of the teams ahead of them dropping points as they beat Espanyol 1-0 to close withhin three points of the leaders. Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao cemented their hold on fourth spot by thumping Almería 6-1.
They might be two of the richest clubs in the world, but even Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain could not turn down the millions of euros to play a friendly game in the pouring rain in Doha, Qatar on Thursday.
In a game that PSG dominated for large periods, rising Real star Jese scored the only goal of the game after 19 minutes to give the pro-Spanish crowd the win. A defence-splitting pass from Alvaro Morata allowed Jese to get behind the PSG back four and the young striker made no mistake as he slotted the ball past Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
Roma’s record breaking start to the season finally ended as the Giallorossi were held 1-1 by Torino, dropping their first points of the season in the process.
“We’re still first and you cannot win every game,” said Daniele De Rossi. “It’s a shame we conceded during a moment of slight relaxation. That can happen, especially after this great start to the season.”
Jozy Altidore had a hat trick to lead an impressive comeback Wednesday, with the U.S. scoring all of their goals in the second half to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 4-3 in Sarajevo and extend their record winning streak to 12 games.
Altidore has scored in five straight games, a first for a U.S. player, and also had an assist on Eddie Johnson’s goal. It was the first time the U.S. has come back to win a game in Europe, and gives the Americans two victories over top-15 teams during their winning streak after a 4-3 victory over No. 2 Germany on June 2 that started the run.
While the Confederations Cup is being hailed as Neymar’s coming out party, according to the Castrol Index, not only was Neymar not the best player in the competition, he was not in the top five Brazilians!
The Castrol Index ranks players based on their actual performance in games. Castrol measures every pass, tackle and move on the field to see if it has a positive or negative impact on a team’s ability to score or concede a goal.
Confederations Cup Top Players
- FRED 9.57 Forward
- SERGIO RAMOS 9.47 Defender
- JORDI ALBA 9.38 Defender
- DAVID LUIZ 9.30 Defender