Mario Balotelli to Arsenal has been one of the sensational transfer rumours of the summer, but Arsene Wenger has put an end to this by stating that Arsenal are not interested in the AC Milan forward. Balotelli is expected to leave Milan in the summer after two years with Italian Serie A outfit. Over the years, Milan have consistently cut down on their budgets and sold a number of stars. Balotelli is seen as one of the important assets the club.
After failing to secure European football for the upcoming season, Milan are set to be under enormous pressure to increase revenues. They are believed to be considering the possibility of selling Balotelli. Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi hinted at the same a few days ago on the club’s official site. He stated that Balotelli is not a player who cannot be replaced. Those statements have intensified the rumours of Balotelli joining Arsenal.
For the first time, Wenger has responded to those claims by stating that Arsenal have no interest in the 23-year-old. According to ESPN, he said: “No — no, that’s pure invention. We cannot believe absolutely everything that is on the internet or is in newspapers. It’s not true.”
Balotelli is expected to cost around £25 million, thus putting him in the region of Arsenal. After winning the FA Cup last season, it is widely believed that Arsenal will kick on with some big signings this summer. So far, the club have been quiet during the off-season.
Balotelli’s Italy were knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages and the player will now be returning home.
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]pain suffered a rare humbling in any international match, let alone the World Cup finals, after being beaten 5-1 by an explosive Dutch team. This was seen as a small revenge by the Netherlands team, who were perceived to be on the wrong end of some bad refereeing decisions in the 2010 World Cup final.
It was a game of two halves quite literally. Spain were in control for most of the first half and they created chances at will. Playing in the hole behind Diego Costa, David Silva found it easy to go clear in front of goal on a couple of occasions. However, his decision-making and poor finishing helped Netherlands stay level. However, a soft penalty against Diego Costa helped Spain take the lead through Xabi Alonso. For much of the 45 minutes, it looked like the world champions were heading to a comfortable victory in their opening match.
Netherlands, though, had other ideas. They had been probing the defensive line throughout the first half, but Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique stayed strong. The defensive partnership, though, collapsed in the second half after van Persie and Arjen Robben found themselves staying onside for most of the long balls. This ultimately proved to be the decisive aspect of a game, as Spain were ripped apart. It would not have been surprising had the Dutch scored eight or more goals. Such was the manner of Spain’s poor defensive performance in the final 20 minutes.
Van Persie and Robben scored a brace while de Vrij also got on the scoresheet. Wesley Sneijder and Lens also had great opportunities to score.
England’s group is the clichéd ‘Group of Death’ in the media, but there’s no reason why Hodgson’s side shouldn’t get the better of either Uruguay or even Italy, who both appear fairly mediocre. Qualification into the knockout rounds could project some of England’s young talent onto the world stage, so just who will shine in Brazil.
It appears that Hodgson favours Henderson and Gerrard in the engine room, with Lallana, Rooney and Sterling playing behind Sturridge.
The omission of Ross Barkley is the most obvious bone of contention. Many armchair pundits would rank his abilities over those of Lallana, but it’d be difficult to make a case for him ahead of Sterling, who is the Premier League’s man of the moment.
Sterling has revolutionised the number 10 position at Liverpool. Instead of sticking a creative ball player in the hole, Sterling gets past the forward and grafts down the channels. In terms of betting value he’s an enticing 33/1 to be England’s top scorer.
This is highlighted when you consider that Rooney’s basically playing the same position or deeper, and he comes in at 7/2. Sturridge is the obvious favourite at around 5/2, but bear in mind, England will play on the break and Sterling will get chances aplenty.
Another man towatch will be Jordan Henderson who has had a hard time convincing a lot of pundits of his abilities; purists can get too ingrained in their desire for complete ‘technical ability’, which I would suggest comes as much through systems as it does through players.
Most teams needs an engine and there are few better than Henderson, who is also a highly underrated footballer.
The Liverpool contingent will be prominent in Hodgson’s side, and if they can combine that understanding with the addition of world class players like Rooney, Cahill and Baines, they start to look a decent prospect for the latter stages.
The big question is whether Hodgson will strap these players into a 4-4-2 formational straight jacket, or let them off the leash and utilise their energy.
Paul Scholes has gone public in saying Hodgson should try to emulate Liverpool’s style, in the manner of, if you score 2 we’ll score 3.
Hodgson does like defending in two banks of four – perfectly reasonable – but he must build angles into the attack; a modern team doesn’t move out with the ball in straight lines. Defensive rigidity and attacking flair aren’t mutually exclusive; just look at Jorge Jesus’s disciplined but ultimately creative Benfica side.
England probably aren’t going to win this World Cup, but players like Sturridge, Sterling, Barkley and Lallana can announce to the world that they’re fit to play on any stage.
If you have a look at all the bookmakers odds for which team will win the World Cup this summer in Brazil it’s the same old usual suspects of Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain.
Here at footballbible.net we have decided to take a look at the teams and come up with our own reasoning as to who we think might just surprise everyone and come away with the win.
First of all let’s take the defending Champions Spain out of the mix as we feel that they have peaked as a nation, but do have a very good U-21 side that will be ready to compete in Russia 2018.
As for Germany we would expect them to advance from a weak group that includes the USA, Ghana and Portugal, but once they come up against a top South American side they are finished.
In fact if you look at the History of the World Cup when it has been played in South America or Mexico a European team has never won in six attempts and we do not expect it to be any different this time either.
1930 (Uruguay), 1950 (Brazil), 1962 (Chile) and 1978 (Argentina) then when played in Mexico Brazil won in 1970 and Argentina won in 1986.
Arguably the stage has been set for a Brazil vs. Argentina final, but if any team was to have a chance of upsetting the big two it would be one of the following three teams below, and if like us you fancy a bet on one of these outsiders to win the tournament visit Coral world cup favourite odds to make your wager.
Very much of course will depend on how well Monaco’s Radamel Falcao recovers from his injury, but he is not the only star of the team that includes Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Teofilo Gutierrez.
Colombia’s coach Jose Pekerman loves to play attacking football and if Falcao is on form expect them to emerge from Group C which includes Japan the Ivory Coast and Greece.
Chile shocked England’s football pundits when the beat the “Three Lions” at Wembley in November 2-0 with Arturo Vidal of Juventus and Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona in top form.
Add to this the discipline that coach Jorge Sampaoli has drilled into the team and you have a side that is capable of mixing it with the best of them.
Do we need to say more than Luis Suarez? While also not forgetting PSG’s Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan who on Saturday, scored two goals for his Japanese club Cerezo Osaka to make it three goals in two games.
Uruguay had to struggle to qualify but now they are there they stand a very good chance of upsetting England or Italy to win group D.
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22-year-old Brazilian striker Neymar is having lots of pressure and hopes on his shoulders now. He is expecting the World Cup 2014 on his own soil and wants to crown the sixth trophy for his country.
Neymar is one of the most promising and growing football star in all level of games. He is playing for Barcelona now and that takes him to a new level in his career.
Brazil will play Croatia in World Cup 2014’s opening match at Sao Paulo on 12 June and Brazil is one of the strongest squad in this campaign.
Neymar is the second youngest player who wears number 10 shirt for Brazil, but he takes the full responsibility of the job, which is given to him.
“I think it is an honour to wear the Brazil shirt in my country and to see my greatest childhood dream come true, but the nerves are starting to appear and I’ve butterflies in my stomach,”
He also mentioned that this World Cup 2014 will be a tough one because top contenders like Spain, Germany, Netherland, Argentina and Portugal has very strong squad.
“Your opponents always want to win and will give everything against Brazil. We have no preference regarding who we play as we know every match will be difficult. To get to the final will be a dream,”
Meantime, his career is booming with good skills and energy. He turns to a new level after missing the South Africa 2010 squad.
He said: “It was not my turn (then) to play a World Cup. I have always worked for this day – unfortunately it didn’t happen for me on that occasion. But after that I was lucky enough to be called up to wear the Brazilian colours. I think the difference between the Neymar of 2010 and 2014 is that this one is more mature and has gained experience – the pleasure of playing remains the same.”
Let’s enjoy the show with this young man and hopes to see more productive goals from him.
Radamal Falcao, who helped the South American to participate in Brazil 2014, has happily announced he can play World Cup 2014.
Colombian striker notched nine in their World Cup qualifying campaign and led his side to Brazil 2014. He suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage during French Cup win at Chasselay Monts d’or Azergues.
After doing successful knee surgery, he is recovering very well and ready to hit the ground soon. Meantime, he refused the speculation over his World Cup 2014 absence. You can find some good odds to win the the World Cup 2014
He commented about his current recover: “It would be a special case. We are very optimistic about the response of the knee, but today is very premature to say whether or not I’m going to be at the World Cup. There are lots of days from now until the final decision.”
Normally this injury takes six to nine months to recover, but he is very confident with his comeback soon.
He commented about fitness: “I’m doing everything possible to go, I would give it everything and it would be ideal, but the first thing is to be well, to recover well. I cannot allow that my desire and that of my country to be in Brazil to affect the state of my knee.”
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman has good alternatives over Falcao, like Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate), Luis Muriel (Udinese) and Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin).
28-year-old Falcao is getting good improvement in rehabilitation and he said: “I feel very good, the response from the knee in the first phase of the recuperation has been positive. There hasn’t been any problem and this has allowed me to work well. The healing has been quick.
“It’s been a day to day process. Some days are good, others less good, with more monotonous work. It’s helped me a lot to have gone through the same injury some years ago, when I was at River Plate. Now I’m more relaxed, confident and calm.”
Former Atletico Madrid man is really a great assert for Colombia, he could make a history with this great competition.