Monthly Archives: July 2015

  1. UEFA Groups and Fixtures Announced for the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Stage

    Qualifying play for Euro 2016 still isn't finished yet, and it still seems like the 2014 World Cup was just wrapping up a few weeks ago, but things are already getting underway for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. On July 25th, UEFA officially announced the 2018 World Cup qualifying stage draw for all of its teams, separating 52 countries into nine lettered groups.

    The qualifiers won't begin for over a year still-the earliest date of any of the fixtures is September 4, 2016. It will also be more than two years before the World Cup qualification rounds officially wrap up, on November 14, 2017. Still, while there are a lot of events on the soccer circuit that will happen before these qualifiers get started, that doesn't mean it's too early to look at some of UEFA's top soccer teams and see who they'll be facing as they take their first steps toward Russia in 2018.

    Football Shirts


    Recent Cup Victors and Contenders

    The German national football team will be playing the role of defending champions at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. If they win the tournament, they will tie Brazil's current record of five titles at the venerated FIFA tournament.

    Needless to say, the stakes are high for Germany, but they aren't likely to face many substantial challenges in the qualifying rounds. They've been drawn into Group C, alongside the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, and San Marino-all teams that didn't reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Czechs are the most likely challengers.

    The Netherlands, UEFA's next-highest finisher at the 2014 World Cup (third place), will play in Group A, alongside France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, and Luxembourg. Of those teams, the Dutch are the highest on FIFA's most recent

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  2. Under Armour Unveil Flashy New Tottenham Hotspur Away Kit 2015 - 2016

    If you were hoping for a change of pace from Tottenham Hotspur's black and light yellow away kit, you're in luck! On July 15th, the football club and their kit manufacturer, Under Armour, officially unveiled the Tottenham Hotspur away kit 2015 - 2016, and it's a complete change of pace from last year's design.

    Indeed, the Tottenham Hotspur away jersey 2015 2016 trades the muted black design of the 2014 2015 season for a vibrant blue kit design. The shirt colors are balanced between sky blue and navy, with white detailing tying the design together for a truly striking aesthetic. Fans of the Spurs should be excited to see Harry Kane and other Tottenham players donning this football jersey for away fixtures this year.

    Under Armour's Unique Touch

    Just like the 2015 2016 Spurs home kit, the new away jersey design makes a unique use of striping patterns that seems to be Under Armour's unique stylistic touch this year. Where most kit manufacturers create shirts with traditional, evenly rendered vertical or horizontal striping, Under Armour is mixing things up across their 2015 2016 Tottenham shirts.

    For instance, the Tottenham 2015 2016 home kit boasts a smart and thoroughly unique diagonal striping pattern. The blue stripes are uneven in size, going from large to small, while narrow stripes of white separate them. It's an innovative, striking, and modern twist on the blue and white soccer shirt-a praiseworthy feat, to be sure, considering how many football clubs have worn blue and white uniforms over the years.

    Under Armour's unique striping touch extends to the new Hotspur away jersey. Starting with a triangle pattern of navy on the chest (containing the logo of kit sponsor, AIA Group Limited), the shirt alternates horizontal stripes of sky blue and navy moving toward the bottom of the shirt. The navy stripes gradually decrease in size the further down the shirt they get, making

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  3. Why Does the Messi, Neymar, and Suarez Partnership Work so Effectively?

    During the 2014 2015 soccer season, FC Barcelona's offensive frontline of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez scored a combined total of 122 goals in all football competitions. That tally was unprecedented in Spanish football history, not only setting a new record, but also encouraging soccer publications to question whether or not the partnership was "the best-ever front three." But why does the Messi, Neymar, and Suarez Partnership Work so Effectively?

    FC Barca Kits


    Otherworldly Stats

    Even if Messi, Neymar, and Suarez were just the best front three in Barcelona history, that claim to fame would be impressive. Barca is no stranger to incredible offensive trios, and Messi himself has been a part of three of them since arriving at the football club in 2004. During the 2008 2009 season, he combined with Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o for a frontline total of 100 goals in all competitions. Just a few years later, in 2010 2011, the trio of Messi, Pedro, and David Villa tallied 98 goals.

    If those statistics were great, though, then what Messi, Neymar, and Suarez accomplished together during the 2014 2015 season was otherworldly. Suarez didn't even play the entire season, making his competitive debut for Barcelona on October 25th thanks to the worldwide soccer ban he'd received for the biting incident at the 2014 World Cup. With that in mind, it stands to reason that Barcelona's front three could break their own record in 2015 2016.

    The X-Factor?

    Before you start parading around in your Lionel Messi Barcelona home jersey 2015 2016 and predicting a 150-goal season for the Messi-Neymar-Suarez trio, we have to ask: what makes

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  4. Spreading the Wealth at the International Champions Cup 2015 Australia

    Real Madrid technically walked away with the trophy at this year's International Champions Cup 2015 Australia, but there was a real spreading of the wealth as far as wins and impressive pre-season moments were concerned. Spread across three games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the International Champions Cup Australia played out like a round robin group stage style competition between Real, Manchester City, and AS Roma.

    Football Jerseys


    Things to Prove

    All three soccer clubs arrived in Melbourne for the International Champions Cup with a thing or two to prove. For Real Madrid, the International Champions Cup Australia marked an initiation of sorts for new manager Rafael Benitez. The Vikings hadn't played a single match since the end of the 2014 2015 La Liga season and the subsequent dismissal of coach Carlo Ancelotti, meaning that all eyes were on Real Madrid in Australia during the second half of July.

    For Manchester City, the stakes didn't feel quite as high, but there was still the matter of Raheem Sterling. The Sky Blues Manchester City Home Shirt 2015 - 2016paid £49 million for the 20-year-old forward after a lengthy back and forth with Sterling's old club, Liverpool FC. The International Champions Cup 2015 in Australia would see Sterling donning the Manchester City home shirt 2015 2016 for the first time in a competitive setting, and one of the big questions of the tournament was whether or not Manchester City would get an immediate return on their hefty investment.

    As for AS Roma, many fans are hoping that the Italian soccer club might be able to challenge Juventus for

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  5. Mexico Win CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015 After Beating Jamaica 3-1.

    At the last CONCACAF Gold Cup, held in 2013, the Mexico national football team had missed out on a spot in the championship match for the first time in eight years. The United States ended up winning the title, beating Panama in the final while Mexico settled for a third place finish. In the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, though, it was clear from the get-go that the Mexican soccer squad wasn't going to settle at all. And now it is official Mexico win CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015! Keep reading to find out how they got to the podium.

    Coming into this year's tournament, the Mexican national team had won a record six CONCACAF Gold Cups. The USA were looking to tie that record, having won their fifth in 2013. In other words, the race was on.

    Ultimately, the wearers of the Mexico football kit 2015 2016 were the ones who prevailed. The United States won their group stage and flattened Cuba 6-0 in the quarterfinals, but lost 1-2 to Jamaica in the semifinals. Mexico's Tri-Color beat Jamaica 3-1 in the championship match to clinch the tournament and secure a record seventh CONCACAF Gold Cup.

    Mexico Shirt


    Mexico's Journey through the Tournament

    Interestingly, at the start of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup back at the beginning of July, Mexico looked downright weak. While the United States and Jamaica won Groups A and B, respectively-each with an undefeated record of two wins and one loss-Mexico didn't win their group, Group C, at all.

    On the contrary, the Tri-Color only won a single match in Group C, and while it was a big victory (a 6-0 win over Cuba), a Mexico Home Shirt 2015 - 2016

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  6. Adidas Reveals the New Chelsea Home Kit 2015 - 2016, Will it be Another Winner?

    "If it's not blue, it will be."

    That's the bold slogan for the new campaign that Chelsea football club and Adidas are launching for the 2015 2016 season. According to the club's official website, the slogan reflects "players' determination to dominate domestic and European football." In other words, the Blues are seriously gunning for a treble victory this year-the English Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League-and the Chelsea home kit 2015 - 2016 is a big part of that ambitious new campaign.

    Chelsea Jerseys


    The New Home Shirt

    If you know what Chelsea's home kits have looked like in the past, then you at least partially know what to expect from this new design. At least in recent years, the club's home shirts have all been the same vibrant blue color and have featured the three iconic Adidas stripes, in white, on the shoulders. The 2015 2016 home jersey is no exception, and will appeal to fans of the club's traditional jersey style as a result.

    Not that the Chelsea home jersey 2015 2016 is identical to last year's design. The Samsung logo, featured so prominently on the 2014 2015 shirt, is replaced here with the logo of Chelsea's new official shirt partner, Yokohama Tyres. Part of Yokohama's logo is a red "Y," which adds a splash of extra color to a kit that has traditionally been exclusively blue and white. It makes for a nice change of pace.

    Also changed for this year's home kit is the striping. The 2014 2015 Chelsea FC home jersey had a unique horizontal striping pattern that added a look of texture and depth to the jersey. For the 2015 2016 campaign, the Blues are using a vertical pinstripe pattern instead, giving the jersey an aesthetic that feels subconsciously more traditional and "classic" than last year's modern design.

    Overall,

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  7. Can Athletic Bilbao Finish in the La Liga Top 5 in 2015 - 2016

    Athletic Club Bilbao have not won a La Liga title since clinching back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984. Still, even though the Lions have not often been title contenders in recent years, they are still considered Athletic Bilbao Home Shirt 2015 - 2016one of the greatest football clubs in Spanish history. They are one of only three Spanish soccer squads-the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona-that have never been relegated from the top-flight division, having participated in every La Liga season since the league's inception in 1929. Needless to say, most Lions fans believe adamantly that their soccer team's return to the top is coming-even if it's been over three decades since their last title. So we ask can Athletic Bilbao finish in the La Liga top 5 during the 2015 - 2016 season?

    A year ago, it looked as if Athletic Bilbao might be mounting a return to the zenith of Spanish football. With a record of 20 wins, 10 draws, and eight losses, they finished fourth in the 2013 2014 La Liga. The team was still quite a fair distance outside of the top three-they won seven fewer matches than both Barcelona (second) and Real Madrid (third), and ended the season seven points behind both football clubs. But they were also a fair cut above the rest of the field, finishing seven points ahead of the fifth place squad (Sevilla), and notching a respectable goal difference of +27.

    2014 2015 Woes

    Unfortunately, the 2014 2015 season was not nearly as kind to the Lions. Their La Liga record for the year-of 15 wins, 10 draws, and 13 losses-wasn't bad, but was still a considerable step down from what they'd done the year before.

    As a result of the weaker performance, Athletic Bilbao dipped 15 points in the standings and fell from fourth place

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  8. Newcastle United Sign Aleksandar Mitrovic: Will He Help to Reverse the Club's Recent Woes?

    Steve McClaren, Newcastle United's recently appointed manager, is marking his territory. Since taking over the head coach job at St. James' Park, McClaren has announced that Newcastle United sign Aleksandar Mitrovic and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, he is also reportedly eyeing a third (defender Chancel Mbemba), but they've been pricy. He laid down a reported £13 million and £14.5 million for Wijnaldum and Mitrovic, respectively, and will likely pay another £8.5million for Mbemba. And while those figures might not sound that lofty compared to what, say, Manchester City just paid for Raheem Sterling (£49 million), they are high compared to what Newcastle United has usually expended on new transfers in recent years.

    The message that McClaren is sending is twofold. First, he wants fans and rival teams to know that he's not messing around; second, he is acknowledging the fact that the Magpies are in dire straits right now, and the only way out of rough waters is by investing in and developing youthful soccer talent with star potential.

    Aleksandar Mitrovic: A Star in the Making

    As far as young football players with star potential go, Aleksandar Mitrovic is certainly among the most intriguing. The Serbian striker is only 20 years old and only has four seasons of senior football under his belt-and will mark his fourth senior club when he dons the Newcastle United home jersey 2015 2016 this fall. However, we've already seen signs that Mitrovic could grow into one of the sport's most intriguing offensive players, and Newcastle is investing in that possibility.

    One of the most intriguing things about Mitrovic is that he has been improving noticeably every year. In his debut senior season, with second-tier Serbian football club, Teleoptik, Aleksander scored seven goals in 25 appearances. It wasn't a remarkable season, but it was enough to catch the eye of higher-profile football clu

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  9. Liverpool Complete Christian Benteke Signing for £32.5 Million

    Even before Raheem Sterling officially exited Liverpool FC for a fresh start at Manchester City, rumors were flying that Reds manager Brendan Rodgers was interested in signing Aston Villa striker, Christian Benteke. Now, less than two weeks after the July 12th announcement of Sterling's transfer, it has been confirmed that Liverpool complete Christian Benteke signing - for a cool £32.5 million.

    Liverpool Kit


    New Blood

    Benteke now becomes the latest Liverpool acquisition in what has been a highly active summer transfer season for the football club. The Reds' other 2015 2016 signings include forwards Danny Ings and Roberto Firmino, midfielder James Milner, defenders Joe Gomez Nathaniel Clyne, and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

    Even without Benteke, it would have been intriguing to see what all of that new blood would do for Liverpool's performance during the 2015 2016 season. The soccer club struggled in 2014 2015, falling to sixth place in the Premier League, after a runner-up finish the year before. With guys like Milner and Ings donning the Liverpool jersey 2015 2016, fans were already predicting a better season very early on in this summer's transfer window.

    However, there was no doubt that Liverpool still needed a little extra firepower. With Sterling transferring to Manchester City-not to mention this summer's departure of club legend Steven Gerrard, and last year's exodus of top goalscorer Luis Suarez-Liverpool FC have lost three key cogs of their offense in the past year. Signings, Milner, Ings, and Firmino will all help to counterbalance the losses, but the Reds still needed another striker with football star potential.

    Benteke's Career Profile<

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  10. Euro 2016 Qualifying Group I: Assessing the State of the Qualifying Competition's Smallest Group

    Group I is the odd man out in the Euro 2016 Qualifying Competition. Where the other eight qualification groups are all comprised of six teams apiece, Group I only has five. That makes it a less competitive spot in some ways: after all, the top two teams still qualify, and the third-place team still has a shot at the wildcard spot. In other ways, though, the five-team structure of Euro 2016 Qualifying Group I presents its own challenges: with fewer squads to play, there are also fewer fixtures on the schedule, which means less time for each soccer team to find a strong footing and establish an advantage.

    The Current Standings

    Not that the truncated qualifying campaign has hurt Portugal or Denmark-the group's top two countries. With five games played, Portugal is leading the charge in Group I, with four wins, one loss, and a point total of 12. Denmark is just two points back, with three wins, one draw, and one loss.

    At this point, Portugal is guaranteed at least a third-place spot in the group. Cristiano Ronaldo has gotten the team to that point more or less by himself, scoring five of the side's seven goals. He's not the top scorer in the qualifying competition right now: eight other football players have hit the five-goal mark, while Poland's Robert Lewandowski (seven goals) and England's Danny Welbeck (six) are the top scorers of the competition.

    Portugal's Goals

    Still, Ronaldo's tally is significant. The Portuguese captain has won his team three qualifying games singlehandedly. In an October 14th bout against Denmark, he donned the Portugal away jersey 2015 2016 and scored a last-minute goal (at 90+5) to give his side a win instead of 0-0 draw; a month later, he scored Portugal's lone goal in an at-home win against Armenia; and on June 13th, he scored three more goals against Armenia en route to a 3-2 away

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