Monthly Archives: August 2015

  1. 2018 FIFA World Cup UEFA Qualifying Group A Analysis and Predictions

    The next incarnation of the FIFA World Cup might still be three years off, but qualifying groups for the tournament have officially been announced, and it's certainly not too early to start analyzing those groups and putting together predictions! Today, we're starting off with 2018 FIFA World Cup UEFA qualifying Group A, which includes heavyweights such as the Netherlands and France, a dark horse in the form of Sweden, and a few national football teams (Bulgaria, Belarus, and Luxembourg) that we don't expect to have much of a shot at qualification. Let's dive in!

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    The Netherlands: Could 2018 Be Their Year?

    Based on the outcomes of the last two World Cup events, it would be perhaps even a little unwise to not predict the Netherlands as

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  2. Tottenham Hotspur Transfers 2015: Are they in Crisis Mode and Can They Fix Their Issues before the Window Closes?

    Kane finished the season as the second most prolific scorer in the division-behind Manchester City's Sergio Aguero-and quickly became a transfer target of many football clubs throughout England. Ultimately, Kane pledged his continuing loyalty to Tottenham Hotspur, and based on the growth he exhibited from the 2013 2014 season to the 2014 2015 campaign, it was tough not to imagine what kind of amazing accomplishments he could record at White Hart Lane this year.

    The Disappointment of Harry Kane

    Now, though, two matches into the 2015 2016 campaign, it looks like the Spurs may not be able to rely on Harry Kane to push them into the top three or four slots of the Premier League. Indeed, Kane has looked tired and uninspired in the first two weeks of the new Premier League campaign-suggesting that Tottenham might want to bring in some new talent as insurance, before the summer transfer window closes on September 1st.

    Kane

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  3. AFC 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification: Analyzing the Asian Football Confederation Qualifiers

    The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is interesting: in terms of AFC 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification processes, the AFC qualifiers are nearly as large an undertaking as the UEFA qualifiers. For the 2018 World Cup qualifying competition, UEFA will have 52 teams battling across seven groups of six and two groups of five. AFC, meanwhile, currently has 39 teams competing throughout seven groups of five and one group of four. There would be 40 teams playing, but Indonesia are currently suspended from FIFA, and were therefore disqualified.

    However, despite the comparable size of these divisions, there are 13 slots available in the final tournament for UEFA teams, and only 4.5 slots available for AFC teams. As a result, AFC qualification is a good deal more competitive and complicated than UEFA qualification, involving a longer process with numerous rounds. Needless to say, trying to predict which AFC teams will make it to the World Cup can be a challenging thing-particularly because

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  4. Arsene Wenger 19 Years at Arsenal: What Has He Achieved?

    In a world where football club managers are often blamed for their team's every failure, it's uncommon for one person to stay at the head of a club for more than five years. It's even more rare for a coach to stick around for a whole decade, and managers who last for longer than that are in a truly rarified air. Two recent examples spring to mind Arsene Wenger 19 years at Arsenal, and of course, Alex Ferguson. Alex Ferguson was the man behind much of Manchester United's Premier League success over the past two decades, he coached at the club for 27 and a half years, from November 1986 to May 2013.

    Then there's Arsene Wenger, who has been at the helm of Arsenal football club for 19 years and counting. Next fall, on September 30, 2016, he will celebrate two decades with the team-presuming he's still in his current position after the 2015 2016 season. Based on Wenger's consistent, sure-handed management record since taking over as coach for the Gunners, there's little reason to expect

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  5. Predicting the 2018 World Cup CONMEBOL Qualifiers

    Compared to the massive qualifying competitions that UEFA and AFC use to determine which countries will and will not get to send teams to the World Cup, the CONMEBOL qualifiers are downright simplistic. Featuring just 10 teams who play each other in a round robin series of home and away matches, the 2018 World Cup CONMEBOL qualifiers don't involve any complicated group stage calculations or multi-round qualification steps. Instead, each team plays 18 matches apiece, and the four or five at the top of the standings when those are done get to participate in FIFA's global football tournament.

    Still, while the CONMEBOL qualifiers look simple on paper, South American football teams actually have to play more matches apiece than any UEFA countries do. As a result, CONMEBOL qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup will begin relatively soon-October 2015, versus the UEFA start date of September 2016. So what does the schedule look like for the first matches? And which teams should be expected to

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  6. Roma V Juventus 2015: A Preview of Serie A's Most Exciting Week Two Fixture

    Ever since the Serie A schedules were announced for the 2015 2016 season, Italian football fans have been looking forward to the second to last weekend of August for the league's big opening weekend. But while the idea of Italian football starting up again has certainly been something to look forward to, at Soccer Box, we're actually more excited for week two than for week one, thanks solely to the Roma V Juventus 2015 fixture that is on the schedule for Sunday, August 30th.

    Indeed, the week two battle is like the clash of the titans for the current Italian football scene, a duel between last year's top Serie A finisher and runner-up. And while conventional wisdom would put Juventus as the favorite heading into the match, the fact is that the game could end up being a good deal closer and more competitive than many might think.

    Italian Team Jerseys

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  7. UC Sampdoria Prospects for 2015 - 2016: Can they Edge into the Serie A Top 5?

    In the past few years, the power dynamic in the Italian Serie A has shifted noticeably. Of course, Juventus have stayed on top with little trouble, but the decline of both Inter Milan and AC Milan-major football clubs that won league titles as recently as 2010 and 2011 (respectively)-has left something a vacuum near the top of the table. A number of football clubs have spent the past two or three seasons jockeying for position and trying to worm their way into the top five, from AS Roma to Lazio and Fiorentina.

    UC Sampdoria have also been pulling out all of the stops in recent years, though the Genoa-based soccer club hasn't yet seen as much success as Roma, Lazio or Fiorentina. Still, while Sampdoria haven't found their way into the Serie A top five just yet (they finished seventh for the 2014 2015 season), their narrative arc has still been impressive to watch. So what are Sampdoria prospects for 2015 - 2016? Can they edge into the Serie A top 5?

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  8. Will Lukas Podolski Help Galatasaray Win Another Title in the 2015 - 2016 Super Lig

    In the past four years, Galatasaray SK have won the Turkish Super Lig title three times-in 2012, 2013, and this past spring. The 2013 2014 season, meanwhile, saw the football club bowing out in second place, behind Fenerbahce. In other words, the past few years have been nothing but dynamite for the Galatasaray soccer squad, and the question now is whether or not the reigning league champions can nab another title for the just-begun 2015 - 2016 Super Lig season? And will influential new signing Lukas Podolski help Galatasaray to the top of the Turkish football podium?

    The Arrival of Podolski

    If the wearers of the Galatasaray home shirt 2015 2016 are going to clinch yet another Turkish Super Lig title-their 21st-then new signing Lukas Podolski is doubtlessly going to play a substantial role. The 30-year-old German forward was the club's biggest signing of the summer-he comes to Turkey on a €2.5 million t

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  9. Can Sporting Lisbon Clinch the Premeira Liga

    Sporting Lisbon (or Sporting CP, as they are often referred) are undoubtedly one of the three great football clubs in Portugal. They've won 18 national championship titles, and just last season, they clinched the Portuguese Cup, beating SC Braga in a penalty shootout to earn the trophy. Yet, in spite of Sporting's undeniably solid statistics, they haven't actually won a title in Portugal's Premeira Liga since the 2001 2002 season. Can Sporting Lisbon clinch the Premeira Liga in the 2015 - 2016 season, and give the Lions a spot at the top of the podium once more?

    Root for Sporting CP today, by picking up a brand new Sporting Lisbon home jersey 2015 2016 from Soccer Box! The jersey, from kit manufacturer Macron, is an attractive green and white polo-style soccer shirt that Lions fans will love. Get yours today at our store!

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  10. The 2015 - 2016 Belgian Pro League so Far: KV Oostende, Gent Hold on to Undefeated Records

    22nd August 2015.
    Four weeks in and we assess the 2015 - 2016 Belgian Pro League so far. An interesting narrative arc has begun to emerge concerning the division's current leader, KV Oostende. Oostende-who have won three games so far, and drawn the fourth-have never won the Belgian Pro League before. In fact, just three seasons ago, the football club was playing in Belgium's Second Division. They won the Second Division to earn promotion into the Pro League, but struggled in their first two years in the top-flight, finishing ninth in 2013 2014, and 10th in 2014 2015. Both seasons saw Oostende losing more matches (14, each year) than they won (11 in 2013 2014, nine in 2014 2015).

    An Unexpected Frontrunner

    In other words, KV Oostende would have been no one's pick as a frontrunner contender for the 2015 2016 Belgian Pro League. Now, though, four weeks into the league's 38-game season, Oostende's success

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