For women who love football, and for men who love it when women know the football game.

“I want to reach the semifinals of the Champions League with this squad”, said Pep Guardiola at the beginning of the season, aiming high for Bayern Munich in their quest to dominate UEFA Champions league. Although not as strongly hopeful, Guardiola also sets sight on their 3rd consecutive Bundesliga title under his reign, and 4th domestic Championship in 4 years. “Of course, we would like the championship. Nobody has managed the fourth championship, so that would be a big step. But we have strong competitors: not just Wolfsburg, but Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Dortmund and Schalke.”

Following the Award-winning Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Allianz Arena, the holy man of Tiki-taka doctrine has been under immense pressure by Bayern Munich fans, and former icons of the club in recent months. The team’s lengthy triangular passing, rather than a quick counterattack is a style Bayern Munich are not used to.

Just recently, Pep Guardiola was booed by a section of the Bayern Munich support ahead of their pre-season friendly against Real Madrid. That dissent followed former Bayern Munich star, Steven Effenberg’s prediction, “I am pretty certain Guardiola will no longer be in charge of Bayern after 2016,” said former Bayern star, in an interview with Sky Sports.

After all, Bayern Munich fans are quite familiar with Bundesliga title win. They have pride in their club for 24 league championship in Bundesliga’s history, higher than any other German club. Their Spanish coach too has delivered on all top-level Championships for the club except UEFA Champions League. Having won two championships, one DFB Cup, one Club World Cup and the European Super Cup, and having made two semifinal appearances in the Champions League with Bayern, the 44-year-old has provided a better return than any other top-level manager over the course of the past two seasons.

In contrast to Bayern Munich fans, Bayern’s senior officials regularly claim the Bundesliga title remains the priority each season, but Guardiola was brought in to bring Champions League glory to the Bavarians.

To put Bayern Munich’s Champions league performance in perspective, in the last 10 years of UEFA Champions league tournaments, Bayern Munich has won 1 trophy, and that was under former retiring manager, Heynckes. Their 2013 Champions league trophy came after a lengthy wait since year 2000. In the same period, Bayern Munich’s trophy record is in par with Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan and Inter Milan with 1 European title in their trophy cabinets. The only club that has won more Champions League trophies is FC Barcelona. Although the historic data does not look bad on Bayern Munich, the club fans clearly do not tolerate being under the shadows of FC Barcelona in terms of European glories.

So far, Pep Guardiola’s quest for Champions League trophy has been fruitless. In the last 2 seasons, the club bowed out at Semifinals, most notably, humiliating 5-0 loss at the hands of Real Madrid. Pep Guardiola though, could keep his bosses’ unforgiving attitude in mind. Back in 2010, Luis Van Gaal in his 2 year term managed to take Bayern Munich into the Finals of UEFA Champions League, ending with a runner-up position. Yet, the following season, Round of 16 exit and poor record at Bundesliga cost his job immediately.

The question is, what exactly do Bayern Munich fans expect from Guardiola this season? Do Bayern Munich fans expect nothing less than Champions League trophy? Or an improvement in Bayern Munich’s spot to, say a Runner-up would be good enough this season? Does a Semi-final spot – A promise by Pep Guardiola and the same spot as last season- would guarantee him his pink-slip?

If Bayern Munich fans expect nothing less than Champions League trophy, Pep Guardiola’s survival at Bayern Munich may look slim. Since Barcelona looks as strong as ever, alongside Juventus and Chelsea.

But if Bayern Munich fans expect an improvement from Semi-final finish to either Runner-up or Championship at UEFA Champions League, one should look at history of Bayern Munich in comparison to other European opponents in the Final of the tournament.

In the first chart, Bayern Munich’s Runner-up position at UEFA Champions League is compared against other club since the beginning of European Cup/Champions League formation, which was 1955-1956 season): In the history of Champions League, Bayern Munich has made it to the Final of the Tournament 5 times; Only one appearance fewer than Juventus. While the usual contenders such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan trail Bayern Munich in that aspect.

Bayern Munich CL Runner up Position

Bayern Munich CL Runner up Position

In the second chart, Bayern Munich’s Champions League trophy count is compared to other teams. Bayern Munich has won Champions League 5 times in the Tournament’s history. Interestingly, they are tied with Barcelona and Liverpool in that aspect. Real Madrid leads the list with 10 European trophies, followed by AC Milan with 7 titles. Therefore, in general, although FC Barcelona has done extremely well in recent years, Bayern Munich is still in par with Barcelona in terms of number of Champions League titles. Although one could argue, Barcelona’s dominance in Champions League in recent years is more important than early years of the Tournament.

Bayern Munich CL Trophy

Bayern Munich CL Trophy

To put everything into perspective, Pep Guardiola has won more trophies than any another Bayern Munich manager in his 2 seasons in charge; Of which, 2 Semi-final finish at Champions League. The question is, whether or not Bayern Munich fans will run impatient if they do not see an improvement in Bayern Munich’s Champions League spot this season. As Bayern Munich officials have proven numerous times before, any small slip-up in the club’s results, along with fans’ pressure, would end with an immediate dismissal of the manager. Even if that manager is the most prolific manager in Spain and Champions League.

womenforfootball-  Copa America 2015’s breathtaking games came to an end last week with a great final touch by Chile in the Final. They held Copa America trophy for the first time in their history. Chile displayed superb games by beating top dogs such as Mexico, Uruguay and Peru all the way to the Final to stall and put an end to yet another Final heartbreak for Argentina. Watching their thrilling games I wondered if Chile’s impressive run of games in this Tournament is linked to their Youth team’s success?

To be able to track their youth team’s progress throughout the years, I checked Chile’s track record in U-20 World Cup games. Their best record is their 3rd spot finish with their youth team at U-20 World Cup 2007 games. Few years later, they made it to Quarterfinals of U-20 World Cup 2013 games.

From their 21-men squad in their 2007 team, fearlessly their manager featured 7 of those youth players in World Cup 2014 games. As everyone knows, Chile had a great run of games at World Cup 2014 games too, most known for their elimination of Spain at Group Stage.

Then, in the recent Copa America games, 6 players of their squad came from the same strong U-20 team of 2007. So over 1/4th of their current Champion team is made up of their 2007 youth team.

To put into perspective, Chile youth team’s progress is compared to their Final game’s opponent, Argentina. Argentina has a great young generation too, most notably World’s Best player, Lionel Messi’s quick progress from Argentina’s youth team to their main squad. Yet, Argentina barely stack up against Chile’s youth progress.

Back in U-20 World up 2007, Argentina youth team became the Champion of the Tournament. Out of that championship squad, 7 youth players were featured in 2014 World Cup games. As all football fans know, Argentina made it to the Final of 2014 World Cup games. But in recent Copa America games, which again Argentina made it to the Final, only 3 of the same youth players were in the squad.

Copa American 2015

Copa American 2015

It may be too radical to base Chile’s recent championship on one factor only. Certainly, their players’ fitness and great performances at top clubs of Europe played its part as well. But based on data above, it could be said with great certainty that Chile’s investment in youth has paid off; most recently in Copa America 2015 but the trend could well continue in years to come.

womenforfootball.com –

Women World Cup 2015 games came to an end in Canada on July 5th. U.S women National team won the crown for the third time in their history.

women-crown

Although Canada were the host, they were crashed out Women’s World Cup in Quarter Final stage.

In the 5th edition of Women’s World Cup games though, there were new records set that we review here.

1. Highest viewership in U.S history:

Women World Cup 2015 Final between U.S and Japan interestingly set the record for highest viewership of Women World Cup games in U.S. Previous viewership for Women World Cup games was back in 1991, where 18 million viewers watched the Final. Also, with 25 Million people tuning into women football Cup Final, the viewership in U.S beat previous year’s men World Cup games between U.S and Portugal in Group Stage. Also, incredibly, Women World Cup 2015 Final, beat the viewership of NBA Finals in U.S.

2. United States Women national team is now the only team with highest number of Women World Cup titles. Followed closely by Germany with 2 Championships.

3. For the first time in their history, England Women team made it to Semifinals of Women’s World Cup games. They successfully managed to beat the host, Canada to advance to Semifinals.

4. Women World Cup 2015 recorded the highest number of own goals. 6 times during the games, teams scored own goals. Ecuador lead other teams in this competition with 2 own goals. Although, the most damaging own goal was scored by England’s Laura Bassette in the last second of extra time, during their semifinal game that cost them elimination at the hands of Japan.

5. U.S women team is the only country that has won World Cup games as a host. Ironically, all other Women World Cup games’ hosts could not win World Cup trophy at their home base. Also, U.S women team has managed to win Championship twice away from their home, when they were not the hosts of the competition. In 1991 where the games were held in China, and in 2015 in Canada, U.S won the trophy.

As a Canadian citizen and football fan, it was quite depressing to see Canada getting eliminated at Quarter Final stage. Specially the fact that Canada was the host and many pundits were counting on Canada to make history at home and win the Championship. Although, for those fans who complain about Canada’s poor results, it is essential to note that in this round of Competition, Canada managed to get the 2nd best result in their Women World Cup history. Once, they had managed reach the Final back in 2003, but all other times, they were knocked out at Group stage.

womenforfootball.com – Women World Cup 2015 is underway in Canada, and with two weeks into the games, top contenders have displayed their superiority on the pitch.
In this piece, we will look at top 10 National Football teams that their women’s teams are superior to their men’s teams. Of course, I made the case, using the teams’ results. It could be argued the performances of teams on the pitch tell a different story, but based on teams’ results, this is how men’s and women’s teams compare against each other.
Since Women’s World Cup 2015 is not yet concluded, for this comparison chart, I compared the results of men’s and women’s national teams in the past 3 rounds of World Cup games: For Women’s teams: World Cup 2011, 2007 and 2003. For Men’s team: World Cup 2014, 2010 and 2006.
Also, the teams’ results were counted from Quarter Finals up to the Final, to compare the strongest teams against each other.

The chart below shows number of times a Women National team of a country has made it to Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals. Summing up that number of appearances and then that number is compared to that country’s Men National team’s results in the same World Cup stages.

women-men-national-teams
The surprise findings are:

•    A shocking and surprising finding is that, Brazil national team, which its men team were once the best team in the World, now find their women’s team producing better results than their men’s national team. Brazil women’s team have made it far into World Cup games 5 times in 2011, 2007 and 2003, while their men’s national team have appeared 4 times.

•    U.S Women National team have by far surpassed their men counterpart in the past 3 rounds of World Cup games. For instance, U.S has made it to Quarter Finals and Finals 7 times already. Whereas, in comparison, U.S Men national teams had not made it to neither Quarter Final, semifinal nor Final of the past 3 rounds of World Cup games.

•    Germany women and men national teams are both equal in terms of great results. Both gender-based teams have appeared 7 times in higher stages of World Cup.

•    Other interesting findings are that Canada, Norway, Sweden,  Japan, China and North Korea’s women national team have all made it far in Women’s World Cup games, but their men’s national teams had not made it even once to Quarter Final stage of men’s World Cup games in the last 3 rounds.

•    The only top national team that its men’s team is still doing better than their women’s national team is France. Les Bleus’ men national teams have appeared in Quarter Final, Semis and the Final 4 times in the past 3 rounds of World Cup, while their women’s team have made it far 2 times.
Of course, these results could change based on Women’s World Cup 2015 games, but this is the comparison chart so far.
Maybe not as surprising regarding Canada and U.S national teams, as all citizens of these two countries witness their women teams’ great results, versus their men national team’s poor games. But a very surprising finding was about Brazil and England National teams. Both top teams have superior women national teams than their men’s.

The goal of this article was not to make a gender-based argument, but rather to show the great development of top teams regarding their women’s teams. It is a relief to witness all these top teams are investing in their women teams’ improvement over the years. The best role model could be Germany, where both their men and women national teams’ consistency is in fruition. Another case would be that, Norway, Sweden, China and even highly-sanctioned North Korea are planning for a strong women national team foundation. Certainly these countries’ men teams have catching up to do, if the same focus and investment could be made in their men national teams.

Lets continue to enjoy and observe the remaining games of women World Cup 2015 games in Canada, as surely new surprises are in store for us.

womenforfootball.com – Whoever has watched Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 so far, would consent that the games have been nothing short of exhilarating. So many surprises, so many goals with great tactical game plans.

Each team of the groups have played once so far. As it stands, by June 10th:

  • Canada & Netherlands lead Group A
  • Germany & Norway lead Group B
  • Cameroon & Japan lead Group C
  • USA leads Group D
  • Brazil leads Group E
  • France leads Group F

Certainly the biggest surprise of the Tournament so far has been Cameroon’s extraordinary debut at 2015 World Cup games. After all, it is their first time appearance at these games, and yet they have managed to top Japan, Switzerland and Ecuador in Group C so far.

Germany’s Goal Frenzy game against Cote d’Ivoire was the highlight of the Tournament. Germans started off strong by scoring 10 goals in this match without conceding any goal.

Ultimately, highest number of goals was scored by Germany Women’s team, and they have had the best attack, with 10 goals, and 9 attempts off-target.

Top scorer of the games in the first round is Germany’s Anja Mittag with 3 goals under her name. She also had 2 Assists so far.

Germany’s Celia Sasic and Cameroon’s Gaelle Enganamouit are also top scorers with 3 goals each.

Top Assist providers of the first round are Germany’s Goessling, Norway’s Gulbrandsen, Germany’s Mittag and Nigeria’s Okobi, with 2 Assists each in one game that they have played so far.

Best goalkeeper of the games in the first round is Netherland’s Loes Geurts with 5 saves.

The players with highest goal attempts are Cameroon’s Gaelle Enganamouit, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg and Germany’s Alexandra Popp.

In average:

  • There has been 3.3 goals per match.
  • 2.2 Yellow Cars per match
  • 5.9 shots per match

Looking forward for more rounds of exciting games.  And as a Canadian Citizen and football fan, Go Canada Go!

womenforfootball- The wait is over. Finally the day has come to kick off Women’s World Cup games in Canada.

As a Canadian football fan, this Tournament is particular exciting and important to me.

1. Because it is been held in Canada.

2. Because Canada’ Women football National team, unlike our men National team, is one of the top teams in the World, always being among title contenders.

3. This important World Cup event will hopefully encourage more women to pursue football and follow the game of football, or soccer as Canadians call it, more regularly.

Few weeks ago, I was passing by Queen Street West in Toronto and noticed there is a huge event for FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy tour, which was passing Toronto. There were also Canada’s women football national team that were on stage.

20150430_174624

Also, yesterday, I was at BMO Field in Canada for a Friendly match between Toronto FC and Manchester City, and among the spectators were Canada Women’s National team squad. As soon as the announcer announced it and fans spotted them, there was huge round of applause for them by 23,000 spectators. To give a context, due to our women football National team’s quality team and great record in every competition, they are immensely popular in Canada.

Since the World Cup games will start within few days, I thought it would be useful to give detailed information about this important event.

Which cities in Canada will host the games?

Vancouver

Edmonton

Winnipeg

Ottawa

Montreal

Moncton

I know it is disheartening that the games will not take place in Toronto, but that is due to upcoming Pan American games this Summer in Toronto.

How long is 2015 Women’s World Cup event?

2015 women’s World Cup games will kick-off next Saturday, June 6th. The games will resume until July 5th, 2015.

How many matches will take place during this Tournament?

For this Tournament, the number of games has increased from 32 to 52 games.

How many teams will participate in this World Cup?

Also new in this Tournament, the number of participating teams has increased from 16 to 24 teams.

How many teams from each Continent have qualified to 2015 Women’s World Cup?

According to FIFA’s regulation, each Content is allocated different number of slots.

There will be 5 teams from Asia(AFC).

There will be 3 teams from Africa (CAF).

There will be 3 teams from North America, Central America, and Caribbean (CONCACAF).

There will be 3 teams from South America (CONMEBOL).

There will be 1 team from Oceana (OFC).

There will be 8 teams from Europe (UEFA).

And of course the Host nation, Canada.

Which teams are currently the top teams?

Purely based on previous Women’s World Cup record in 2011, Japan, U.S, Sweden and France have the best Women football teams. In 2011, Japan won Women’s World Cup Championship. U.S was runner-up, Sweden became 3rd and France 4th. Likes of Germany, U.S, Canada, Brazil, England and China have always been very competitive and title-contenders.

What are the Fixtures of this Tournament?

The teams are divided into 6 groups, with 4 teams in each group.

Canada is placed into Group A.

Here are the Group details:

Group A:

GroupA-women

Group B:

GroupB-women

Group C:

GroupC-women

Group D:

GroupD-women

Group E:

GroupE-women

Group F:

GroupF-women

What are the rules for Group games?

Top two teams of each group will automatically advance to Knock-out stage.

Third teams though do not have to lose faith. Four best third teams with highest points will also advance to the knock-out stage.

What are the knock-out stage process of Women’s World Cup?

When 16 teams advance to knock-out stage, each team will play against another team, which is already determined. If they lose, they will automatically get eliminated. Therefore, that leaves 8 remaining teams who will advance to Quarter-Final.

In Quarter-Final, again the same process continues. Top 8 teams will battle for a win. If they lose, they will be eliminated. The 4 winners will proceed to Semifinal stage. The same elimination process continues until top 2 teams have to fight for Championship trophy.

What will be the Mascot of these games?

Shuéme, a female great white owl is the Mascot of 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

mascot

Image Credits: Vancouver Sun

Where can I buy the tickets of the games?

Now that is the most important question, isn’t it?

You can buy all the tickets at Ticketmaster website.

What is the price range of match tickets?

The price range of tickets is $38.50 up to $96.50. Just a note for Canadians though, that these prices are in U.S Dollar, not Canadian Dollar!

Hope that answers all the questions you may have regarding this incredible International event in Canada.  If you have more questions, do not hesitate to drop me a line,email or ask in comments below.

womenforfootball.com – These players’ names will surely ring a bell for die-hard football fans. The memories of their goals, celebrations and defeats at 1998 or 2002 World Cup games cannot be wiped out of mind. Yet, these former stars did not left football for good. Almost immediately after their retirement, they kick started their coaching career; some of whom are now among the most successful managers in Europe.

Amongst the long list of former stars, only the ones who are younger than 50 years-old, manage a top Division league team or a national team, and who are currently in charge of a team are included. In no particular order:

  1. Luis Enrique: Currently 44 years old, Luis Enrique was part of Spain’s 1998 and 2002 world Cup squad, netting many goals for Spain. In his managerial journey, he worked his way up starting from Barcelona B in 2008 and is currently the manager of one of the top teams in Europe, Barcelona.
  2. Diego Simeone: The 44-years old Diego Simeone is one of the well-known former Argentina national team stars of 1998 and 2002 World Cup games. He kick-started his managerial career in 2006 starting with La Liga’s Racing all the way up to Atletico Madrid, where he has marked a remarkable record at his current club.
  3. Roberto Carlos: Former Brazil national team’s super star, who is now 41- years old, has also pursued managerial route. Most famous for his outstanding goals as left-back, upon his playing retirement, he started his coaching career at Brazil’s União São João. He is currently in charge of Turkish side, Akhisar Belediyespor.
  4. Fabio Cannavaro: The prolific Italian defender, and winner of 2006 FIFA World Cup player of the Year, is now 41 years old and just recently initiated his managerial journey. Ever since 2014, he is in charge of China’s professional league side Guangzhou Evergrande.
  5. Laurent Blanc: The well-known former French international back in 1998 World Cup, 49-years old Laurent Blanc has had successful spells as manager. Starting with French side Bordeaux in 2007, he is currently the manager of Ligue 1 title contender, Paris Saint German.
  6.  Didier Deschamp : Another French international that made the list is Didier Deschamp. The 46-year old former defender featured for France at 1998 World Cup. He initiated his managerial reign as early as 2001, starting with Monaco and has had impressive coaching record ever since and is currently the manager of France National team.
  7. Frank De Boer: All the passionate football fans would likely remember Frank De Boer. The prolific Dutch centre back was a crucial part of Netherland’s semi-final spot at 1998 World Cup. Soon after, he pursued his managerial path starting with Ajax Youth team. Currently 44, he is now in charge of Ajax team, who has had outstanding record in domestic league.
  8. Vincenzo Montella: Montella was one of the top strikers of Italy during his playing career. Starring in 1998 and also 2002 World Cup, he hung his boots in 2008. As a manager, he first took reign of AS Roma. Currently 40 years old, he is now in charge of Fiorentina team in Serie-A.
  9. Roberto Di Matteo: Another Italian in this list is Roberto Di Matteo. The former striker featured for Italy back in 1998. Immediately after retiring, he started his coaching career by taking reign of English 2nd team tier team, Milton Keynes Dons. Known for his Champions League win with Chelsea, at 44, he is now in charge of Bundesliga’s Schalke.
  10. Filippo Inzaghi: Last but not least is Filippo Inzaghi. The former Italian striker was one of the icons of Italian football during his playing career. Even to date, he carries the record of fourth-highest scorer in European club competitions with 70 goals under his name. Now 41, he is in charge of AC Milan.
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