WEEKLY SOCCER FIX
The latest highlights of the week from the beautiful game
September, 8th 2017
WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS RECAP
Another round of World Cup qualifying ended this week with some surprising events, and as we reach the final stretch in the race with countries all around the world for a spot in the next World Cup in Russia, we already have some teams that have guaranteed a spot in the tournament with others already involved in a drama that could see them miss the big event in Russia. So far besides the hosts, Brazil, Mexico, and now Japan, Iran, Belgium, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia have all guaranteed a spot in the World Cup. After this weeks games, countries that are close to qualifying include: Uruguay and Colombia who lead the table in the South American region, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Egypt who would be making a comeback to the tournament after last appearing in the World Cup held in 1990, representing the African region, France, Switzerland, Germany, England, and Spain in the European region, and finally in the North american region, Costa Rica. In the case of the Asian confederation, Australia will meet underdog surprise Syria for a chance to play the 4th placed team of the CONCACAF qualifiers for a spot in the World Cup. Meanwhile in Oceania New Zealand has qualified for the play off that will see them meet the 5th placed team of the South American Qualifiers. Some upsets include South Africa, Ghana, Czech Republic and Paraguay who are already eliminated from the tournament, as well as big name countries like Chile, Argentina, USA, Netherlands, and Turkey, who are all dramatically trying to avoid elimination.
CORRUPTION ON THE AFRICAN QUALIFIERS SEE REFEREE BANNED FOR LIFE
In a surprising turn of events, FIFA has ordered that the match held between South Africa and Senegal for the African World Cup qualifiers held last year, be replayed after finding the ref guilty of match manipulation. The game held on November last years saw South Africa win by a score of 2-1 after the referee Joseph Lamptey awarded penalty kick late in the game to the South Africans, after calling a nonexistent handball on a Senegal defender. After an investigation and trial opened up by the Court of arbitration for sport, the referee was found guilty for “unlawfully influencing match results”, and has been banned for life from professional football activity. In consequence, FIFA has ordered the game to be replayed during the month of November. This game is crucial in the African Qualifiers, as Senegal still has a chance of qualifying for the World Cup, and recovering the three points they had already lost against South Africa, might be just what they need to secure a Spot in Russia 2018. The Ghanaian referee already had a history of suspicious performances. He had already been suspended by the Confederation of African Football for allowing a critical goal to stand in an African Champions League semifinal, even though the goal was clearly sent into the net by the fist of one of the players on the field. The referee is apparently involved in a betting scheme and is believed to have been acting under the influence of a famous Singaporean match-fixer called Wilson Raj Perumal. Despite stating that they were not involved in any of the referees intentions, the South African federation has said that they plan on appealing the decision of replaying the match.
WAYNE ROONEY CHARGED WITH DRUNK DRIVING
Everton striker Wayne Rooney has been arrested for drunk driving after being found by the Liverpool Police, driving a VW Beetle at 2am last friday night under the influence of alcohol. The former England captain was let go on bail but ordered to appear before court in the next days, where if convicted would be facing a fine, facing a one year driving ban, and possibly a 6 months jail sentence. Besides this he will be facing disciplinary action from his current club Everton, where manager Ronald Koeman has already stated that he is “Deeply disappointed” in the actions of the English star, after he brought him back to his boyhood club with hopes of making him a team leader and positive role model for the Clubs younger players and famous youth academy. This isn’t the first time Wayne Rooney has been linked to a drinking problem. England manager Gareth Southgate also had to take disciplinary action against Rooney after he caught him heavily drinking early in the morning between World Cup qualifying games, some months ago. This comes at a really bad time for both the Club and the player, as the next fixture for Everton is in London where they will face Tottenham, one of the leaders of the league.
VENUE OF THE WEEK: Mexico City
The Capital of Mexico, Mexico city is a vibrant city filled with a mix of historical architecture that dates back to the aztecs, mayans, and Spanish, and high- end buildings and towers that make up on of Latin America’s biggest financial centers. Mexico city is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the world with an estimated 21.3 million people. Famous city highlights and landmarks include the Angel of independence statue located in its main avenue of Reforma, the historical downtown plaza called “Zocalo” where the federal government is located, the Palace of Belle arts concert hall, the Chapultepec lake, and the Chapultepec castle, the only European style castle located in America. Mexico city has hosted the Summer Olympics in 1968 and two World Cups, one in 1970 and the other one in 1986. It is one of the country’s main soccer centers being the home of three mexican first division teams: Pumas, Cruz Azul, and America, the Mexican club with the biggest fanbase in the country and second most successful club, having won 12 Mexican leagues, and 7 CONCACAF champions leagues. The largest venue in the city is the historical Aztec Stadium, with a capacity of 87,000 people, being the 12th biggest stadium in the world. The Aztec stadium has seen legends like Pele and Maradona play at their peak in their respective World Cups, and is also the home of the national mexican football team, that has recently qualified for next years World Cup in Russia.
THIS WEEK’S TRANSFER UPDATES AND RUMORS
The Transfer window is now closed and will open on January 2018
Upcoming games to watch:
Atletico de Madrid vs Valencia 09:15hrs Central Time September 9th SPANISH LA LIGA
Manchester city vs Liverpool 06:30hrs Central Time September 9th ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Leicester city vs Chelsea 09:00hrs Central Time September 9th ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
New York city vs Portland Timbers 16:30hrs Central Time September 9th MLS
Milan vs Lazio 08:00hrs Central Time September 10th ITALIAN SERIE A
Santos vs Corinthians 14:00hrs Central Time September 10th BRAZILIAN SERIE A