For women who love football, and for men who love it when women know the football game. – Recently I wrote a piece about Mario Balotelli’s transfer from AC Milan to Liverpool at a lower price than his previous move. Here is a piece about why I think Super Mario, as he is called, will likely succeed at Liverpool and this was a wise move by him and Liverpool.

Anfield Move More Important For Super Mario



After several days of transfer rumors surrounding Liverpool’s hunt for Mario Balotelli, on Friday in a reportedly £16 million deal, the out of favor AC Milan striker travelled to Merseyside to join the EPL team.

Mario Balotelli is not a stranger to the English Premier League having previously worn Manchester City colors, but his off-the field controversies turned unbearable for former Citizens manager Roberto Mancini, and he was eventually sold to AC Milan. At the time, Super Mario was sold at £20 million but his continued poor form and inconsistency has seen his price drop yet again.

During his Italy return the Italian striker faced several racial profiling and racial chants against him during his time in Milan which saw him greatly effected. Yet his goal tally was impressive even at his new home, including 12 goals in 13 games in half a season since he joined in January 2013. Last season, he also netted 18 goals in 41 matches.

Considering his goal records and impressive performance at club level, signing the 24-year-old Balotelli at lower rate than his previous contract, is quite a bargain for Liverpool.Despite his form and game play being heavily criticized, it is hard to argue with a 30 goal return in 54 matches.

Liverpool sold their top scorer, controversial striker Luis Suarez, during the Summer transfer window and may have just captured the perfect replacement at bargain price.

Although Balotelli is more or less just as controversial on-the pitch as Suarez was, the stadium atmosphere at Anfield and fans’ welcoming approach to their top players will immensely help calm down the Italian striker. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has proven to be a very capable manager to contain his team’s dressing room avoiding spats, and is likely exactly what Balotelli needs in a figurehead at the club.

The Liverpool move is a much needed transfer for Super Mario as he needs a place to truly be at home and find his talent once more. Liverpool fans are more welcoming than AC Milan’s, and Rodgers is a more capable man-manager than Mancini was at City and his several managers at Milan have been. What will hope Balotelli the most is the stability and structure that Rodgers has created with his staff at Anfield. If Mario manages to keep his cool on-the pitch too, the opponents’ net will be sizzling and Liverpool will have yet another weapon in attack.

Original article at – This is one of the articles I contributed at this week. As you are aware by now, Luis Suarez was signed by FC Barcelona during the Summer transfer and here is the story on his official unveiling at his new club and his pledge for the new season:

Barcelona: Luis Suarez Unveiled and Makes No More Biting Pledge

Luis Suarez at Barcelona

Luis Suarez at Barcelona

The Uruguay and former Liverpool superstar was unveiled at FC Barcelona’s Friendly match on Tuesday. Luis Suarez , despite his outstanding performance for Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup, was best known for his controversial biting scene against Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and his lengthy suspension.

Yet, FC Barcelona insisted on their pursuit of former English Premier League’s top scorer and Player of the Year to land the striker in a £75 million deal with Liverpool during the Summer.

Suarez, who is suspended until October from all official matches, was unveiled by FC Barcelona in a presentation to the fans on Tuesday in a ceremony that was overshadowed over his biting incident. It did not take the media too long during the press conference before asking him about his suspension and biting incident.

Luis Suarez however, for the first time, pledged to “no more biting” in upcoming season at La Liga.

”I say to all the fans, don’t worry, because I won’t do that anymore,” the former Liverpool striker said.

”The suspension is what it is, and I have to accept it,” Suarez said. ”After what happened I didn’t want to do anything. I was depressed. But while I was with my wife and children I had to accept reality. I asked for forgiveness as I had to do, and now I have to think about the present.”

When asked for the reason for repetitive violent behavior during football games, Suarez refused to go into details about what he considered was at the root of his violent behavior. He called it a ”private” issue that he was treating with the ”appropriate professionals.”

‘Of course I was worried, but not only about the transfer (to Barcelona), but also about myself, for what I had done. I try to erase it,” he said. ”The lesson I take from it is personal. I try to forget it.”

The lengthy suspension will effectively rule him out of the first eight Spanish league matches and three of Barcelona’s six Champions League group stage matches.

Suarez also remains banned for Uruguay’s next eight competitive matches and will miss next year’s Copa America and some World Cup qualifying matches.

”It hurts not playing for Barcelona but it hurts even more not playing for my country,” Suarez said. ”I love my country. The fact that I will miss the next Copa America hurts very much. But I have to try and forget it.”

In terms of tactics, many pundits have questioned the need for third striker competing for a role on the pitch, while Barcelona already enjoy the goal production of Lionel Messi in particular and also Neymar. However, if Suarez keeps his words and avoid another biting controversy, considering his immense scoring impact at his former teams, Barcelona may soon become an unstoppable attacking force that La Liga and the Champions League opponents can hardly reckon with.

Original article at – As indicated here, I booked my ticket and with lots of excitement headed to National soccer stadium(BMO Field) to watch Canada-Ghana match.

The atmosphere was great: Based on Stadium announcement, there were over 14,000 spectators. Obviously mostly were Canadian fans and surprisingly I saw many Canadian guys too coming with their guy friends and watching our women U-20 team; Which was a great supportive scene to watch. Ghanaian fans too were as loud and cheerful as possible, all along celebrating their 1-0 lead.

About the game itself, Canada U-20 team was playing cohesively in the first 15 minutes of the match, but defensive errors were obvious. And after Ghana scored the goal, Canada tried to attack on numerous occasions, specially in the Second half, but lucky was not on their side, and many times they would compromise their defense at the back to be able to attack. Overall, Ghana’s team balance and transition was much more superior to Canada, in my opinion.

Canada’s Number 2, Yekka, and Number 5, Buchanan were superb though with their tackling but it takes the whole team and lots of luck to win a match.

So far, with that 1-0 loss to Ghana, and DPR Korea’s win over Finland, DPR Korea is leading the table, followed by Ghana, and Canada is sadly at the bottom of the table. I really hope Canada bounce back in the next fixtures against Finland and DPR Korea, so that at least they can qualify to the knockout stage. For that, they need to finish among top 2 teams of the Group in terms of points.

Here is Group A standing so far:



And as promised, here are some pictures from the match:


And this is a match report by Metro Canada which includes interviews with Canada coach after the match: – It is a pleasure to announce that Canada, arguable the most diverse country in the world with millions of football(soccer) fans here, is the host of FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup games.

The official games kick off today, and with only few games being held in Toronto, thankfully I got my hands on Canada-Ghana match in Group A and I will be heading to the game tonight. I will surely take lots of pictures and share with you all.

So lets begin with some information about this Tournament.

Frequency: FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, are being held every two years.

Venues: This time, Canada is the host and following cities will host several games: Edmonton, Toronto, Montrea and Moncton. Majority of games, including play-off for 3rd placed team, and the Final will be held at beautiful Olympic Stadium of Montreal.

Participating teams: There are 16 teams participating, grouped into 4 groups of 4.

Format: The format is that the Winners and Runner-up team of each group will qualify to Quarter Finals.

Dates: The games commence today, Aug 5th and the Final will be in Aug 24th.

Recent History: In the last edition of U-20 Women’s World Cup, Japan was the host and USA became the Champion of the games. Also back in 2012, Germany, Japan and Nigeria made it to the Semifinals(Top 4), which only shows their upcoming supremacy of their Women teams.

Tickets: If you are eager, like me, to buy the tickets to these games, check to buy tickets. You will have the option of printing your ticket at home, so you may even find tickets on same-day basis.

I am very excited that I will be attending Canada-Ghana match, and I will surely cheer for Canada as loud as possible. Here is my most recent article that was published at SWOL(Soccer Without Limit). Hope you enjoy it:

You are surely in for a surprise.  Based on all summer transfers of 2014 so far, the Catalan club, FC Barcelona, always known for its academy players’ development and generation of La Masia class, have so far surpassed all other clubs’ expenditure.

1.  FC Barcelona — Total Summer expenditure: €143 million

Although the most notable signing of Barcelona has been Luis Suarez, the most controversial and shocking of all has been the signing of 30-year old Jeremy Mathieu for €20 million. His transfer fee is the highest transfer fee on record for a defender.

Yes, even higher than World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro to Real Madrid.

2.  Real Madrid — Total Summer expenditure: €110 million

Real Madrid giants are always in the top five list of big spenders. This season, they racked up their spending with signing of top talent James Rodriguez from Monaco. Although to their credit, Real Madrid’s summer signings have lower average age than Barcelona’s summer signings.

3.  Chelsea — Total Summer expenditure: €93.50 million

Jose Mourinho, who is not shy of spending in each transfer market, has so far surpassed all other English Premier League clubs’ transfer expenditures. He has managed to sign Filipe Luis and Diego Costa from La Liga champions, Atletico Madrid, as well as Catalan playmaker, Cesc Fabregas, from Barcelona. To be fair, Chelsea also off-loaded David Luiz for a cool €63 million, so their net transfer spending is not so much.

4.  Manchester United — Total Summer expenditure: €73.50 million

Louis Van Gaal has started his new job with a lavish spending spree and so far has managed to spend three times more than Manchester City’s spending this summer. Not afraid to throw around money with United’s new Chevrolet sponsorship, Van Gaal and United have closed on Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera, two big signings for the future.

5.  PSG & Atletico Madrid — Total Summer expenditure per team: €58.50 million

The fifth biggest spenders are shared between France’s PSG and Spain’s Atletico Madrid. Each have spent €58.5 million on their new stars. Most notable signings were Atletico Madrid’s signing of Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich and PSG’s signing of David Luiz from Chelsea. Expect both teams to continue to make waves in the market this year.

Originally published at: – Thanks to the dominance of France, Italy, Spain and Germany in the past decade, it had became a myth that European teams would always dominate the World Cup games from Group stage all the way to the Finals. Many pundits called it the end of an era for likes of Brazil and Argentina and would call for reduction of FIFA World Cup quotas from North American, Central and South American teams in favour of more spots for European teams.

Yet, as World Cup 2014 came to a close, North, Central and South American teams( called American Continent) incredibly matched their European counterparts in terms of their presence in Quarter Finals, Semifinals and the Final. That is while, European teams always enjoy the advantage of having 13 continental quotas for World Cup, while American Continent teams combined have only 8 representatives at each World Cup.

As shown in the chart, the progress report of European continental teams are compared with American continent teams in the span of 8 years(or 3 World Cup Rounds).



• There is a downward trend line by European teams in their recent World Cup appearances. For instance, there used to be 6 European teams in Quarter Finals of World Cup 2006, but in 2014 it was reduced to 4. Also in 2006 and 2010, it was an all European Final but that has been diminished to one European team in the Final of 2014 World Cup games.

• There is an upward trend line by American Continent teams in their recent World Cup appearances. Despite having much fewer representatives than Europeans in World Cup, American teams managed to have 4 teams in Quarter Finals of World Cup 2014, improved from 2 in 2006. Also for the first time in the last three World Cup rounds, in 2014, there was a South American team in the Final.

• In terms of success rate to the Final stage of World Cup, for the first time since 2006, American teams’ success rate match that of European teams; In World Cup 2014, 1 in 4 American teams in Quarter Finals, managed to make it to the Final match, or 25% success rate. That rate matches European teams’ success rate in 2014.

Considering all stats above, one could make the case for a fair World Cup quota allocation by FIFA, so that American teams receive more quotas for the next World Cup games, and declining continental teams such as Europeans receive fewer quotas. Sorry for the delayed blog post but just like many of you I have been constantly glued to TV to watch all World Cup games, as well as writing World Cup match preview articles for Soccer Without limit.

As the group games came to an end, lets look at interesting stat that was published today on Yahoo Sports and the data were compiled by Forbes. In the next few days, I’ll conduct some analytical articles on Group stage games that saw leading teams such as Spain, Italy and England crash out so early in the tournament:

Imaged coach

World Cup’s three highest paid coaches have been eliminated while the lowest paid man delights everyone

Yahoo Sports -

The group stage of the 2014 World Cup has concluded and half of the 32 teams have gone home — including those assembled by the tournament’s three highest paid managers. Meanwhile, the team led by the tournament’s lowest paid manager is not only still in it, but he has arguably become the tournament’s breakout star.

Here’s the full list of what every World Cup manager is making this year as compiled by Forbes.



After resigning from the England job in 2012, Fabio Capello took up the Russia post and led it to the top of its 2014 World Cup qualifying group — edging out Portugal. At the start of this year, he was given a fat new contract that won’t run out until after Russia hosts the 2018 World Cup. This year alone the five-time Serie A winner (as a manager) and two-time La Liga winner is making $11.2 million, which is nearly double what his England successor, Roy Hodgson, is making ($5.9 million).


Though Capello did manage to outdo Hodgson in Brazil — last in the group with two draws and one loss as opposed to last in the group with one loss and two draws — it wasn’t quite the return on investment Russia likely expected. Especially in a manageable group that also included Belgium, Algeria and South Korea.

At least the third highest paid manager, Italy’s Cesare Prandelli, offered to resign immediately after his side was eliminated. And he even got a win (against England)!

All together, only half of the top 10 best paid managers at this World Cup navigated their teams through to the knockout stage. But pulling up the rear of the list is Mexico’s Miguel Herrera, who celebrated his way into the hearts of fans everywhere while leading a once hopeless El Tri through an undefeated group stage for the bargain price of $209,810.

Herrera’s situation is a bit different though. He was appointed as an emergency interim manager last October when Mexico was on the verge of completely missing out on qualification. Once that horror was narrowly avoided, he signed on through the end of the World Cup, so his salary isn’t for the full year. It seems likely that the Mexican federation would be willing to give him anything he wants after what he’s done so far, but even if he doesn’t get a pay increase, he can always subsidize his income with his ska lip syncing. Somehow.


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