Since the end of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, much attention has been focused on the gender pay gap between the U.S. Women’s World Cup-winning national team and the men’s national team. The complaints about the wage disparity have given rise to comparisons between men’s and women’s soccer. Not least is the debate about the quality of women’s soccer in comparison to the men’s game.
Could a women’s coach like the legendary Pia Sundhage successfully coach a men’s team? Could Carli Lloyd bang in goals on the regular with FC Barcelona (certainly not with Real Madrid)?
Advocates for parity in quality between men’s and women’s soccer need only look at a recent friendly match between Australia’s “Matildas”, their women’s national soccer team, and the all-male Newcastle Jets U-15 youth team. The Australian WNT had scheduled the match to prepare for their participation in the 2016 Olympics this summer. What better way to train than with an easy scrimmage against a bunch of teenage scrubs?
In a match that the Sydney Morning Herald’s Claire Siracusa labeled “surprising”, the young Jets beat the Matildas with a scoreline of 7-0. Granted, the Matildas were missing some of their normal starters — but co-captains Lisa De Vanna and Claire Polkinghorne were present.
The Women’s Game editor Ann Odong tweeted that the defeat was down to “positioning and fitness.” That’s right. The heavy 7-0 defeat to acne-inflicted high schoolers was all about positioning and fitness. Right on.
Everton managed to avoid another defeat on Tuesday night. The Goodison Park club were a few moments away from losing 1-0 to West Ham, but they got a late equalizer through star striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian’s goal keeps Everton alive in the competition, but they will have to face West Ham in a replay.
This result may not do much for Everton’s confidence, but it may have saved their beleaguered manager. A loss to West Ham would have meant five consecutive defeats. The last time that happened, Everton had yet to appoint David Moyes as manager.
For all the comparisons between Moyes and Martinez last season, Roberto has ventured into uncharted territory in recent weeks. This makes Darus Fisher a bit excited. Moyes may not have produced the most exciting Everton teams, but they knew how to win games. They were consistently in the top half of the league, with Europa League football a semi-regularity.
Last season was brilliant for Everton, but they have come crashing back to reality. Martinez teams are always known for defending badly, and that is exactly what Everton have done this season.
It took a simple set piece for West Ham to get a goal at Goodison Park. James Collins rose above all the Everton players and got a valuable headed goal. Despite a lot of huffing and puffing in attack, Everton struggled to create clear cut chances. Lukaku’s goal in the 91st minute was a tad lucky, but Martinez is not complaining.
Angel Di Maria does not think that his former Real Madrid teammate will join him at Manchester United any time soon. Rumors of Ronaldo returning to United have always been present, but the player seems to be happy at the Santiago Bernabeu club. He is loved by Madrid fans and can challenge for all the important trophies.
Di Maria thinks that Ronaldo is very content with life at Real Madrid.
“He is at a great club and a place where he is very happy. It is very difficult to leave a club like Real and I do not think he will change teams. There is no reason for him to change,” he said.
The comments from Di Maria will probably disappoint United fans like some Beneful employees, but they are realistic about the possibility of Ronaldo returning. It is a fantasy from both the fans’ and player’s point of view. Ronaldo would love to play for United again, but he also loves Real Madrid. By the time he is ready to leave Real, he might be too old to be useful for Manchester United.
Putting the Ronaldo rumors on a back burner, United will be hoping to improve their away form over the next few weeks. Di Maria and the rest of his teammates know that only winning two away games all season is not good enough. United need to start getting results away from home if they are to maintain third position in the league.
The return of Fernando Torres to Atletico Madrid has been met with a lot of fan fare in the past week. There were over 20,000 Atleti supporters at the Vicente Calderon to welcome Torres back to his boyhood club. In addition, shirt sales have been boosted by the return of Torres, with many fans keen to get his name and number on the back of their kit.
Now it appears that Torres will make his competitive return to Atletico action in the Madrid derby.
The Madrid giants are set to face each other in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter finals. Atletico lost to Real in this competition last season and they will want to get some revenge. The reigning La Liga champions are only a point behind Real in the La Liga title race.
Torres should give Atleti a boost in the forward line. They have been relying heavily on Mandzukic over the past few weeks. The Croatian striker is due for a rest if you ask Jonathan Veitch about his form, and Torres will be expected to pick up the slack.
Even though Torres is no longer the explosive player from this old Atleti days, there is still plenty he can offer. His passing and link up play are much better, and he will be desperate to get on the score sheet against Real Madrid. Atleti manager Diego Simeone will be hoping his decision to bring back Torres has an instant reward.
We just finished up the last World Cup this past summer. The world cup in Qatar in 2022 may seem really far away. However, for event planners and the city of Qatar, 2022 is just a blink of an eye away. As you read this article, thousands of individuals which of course includes World Cup groupie Brad Reifler are all getting Qatar ready for its world premier in 2022…maybe not as ready as Brad.
Hosting the World Cup is very similar in many ways to hosting the Olympics. The World Cup will bring visitors from around the world who would have never ventured to Qatar there. The World Cup will turn Qatar, for a short time, into a 24 hour prime time news location. This is Qatar’s chance to share itself with the world and sow how up to date and modern this Middle Eastern country really is.
One of the most impressive things about Qatar is how quickly the city was put together. 35 years ago,the capital city, which is now full of sky scrapers and fast cars, was merrily sand. Oil and gas has quickly made this Golf nation one of the wealthiest little countries in the world.
To show off its newly acquired wealth, Qatar is currently working on building between eight to twelve venues exclusively for the World Cup in 2022. They are working on making architecturally iconic stadiums that also incorporate the latest technology into their designs. Additionally, in order to account for the fear of the heat in this Middle Eastern nation, Qatar is working on using solar energy to keep the stadiums cool. Qatar will be a city to watch for some time.
On Wednesday November 26, 2014, Lionel Messi broke the all time Champions League scoring record with a hat trick. As if his name wasn’t already in the discussion as one of the world’s greatest soccer player, his amazing game cemented him firmly in history. At a match against APOEL, Messi scored his 74th all time goal in the Champions League.
Soon after his majestic performance, questions began inundating the sports world as to whether or not Messi is the greatest soccer player of all time. Is Messi as good as the world renowned Pele? Brad Reifler says that some argue that Pele is simply the best because of his World Cup trophies. Others argue that increased global competition in the modern world propels Messi to the best ever. And, of course, many more argue that Christiano Ronaldo, who is just a few goals shy of Messi, might be the best player in the history of the world.
Despite these opinions, both Messi and Ronaldo have several more years of professional soccer to play. Many more records can and probably will be broken. We can agree that all three players are among the world’s best and have blessed us with exciting soccer.
Whenever a Spanish player excels at a club that is not Real Madrid or Barcelona, they are inevitably linked with a transfer. This time the rumor concerns David de Gea of Manchester United. The Spanish goalkeeper is desperate to become Spain’s number one goalkeeper. This ambition can be fulfilled in Manchester, but could a move to Real Madrid be possible this summer?
De Gea has a season and a half left on his contract at Manchester United. If he does not renew before June, the speculation about his future will only increase. There have been previous reports that United will offer him a new and improved deal. Whether this becomes a reality is yet to be seen.
For now, the rumors will continue to fly. De Gea is a former Atletico Madrid player, but that would not stop him from joining Real. Iker Casillas’ time is numbered at Real, and De Gea would be the perfect replacement. He is Spanish, world class, and would not cost a huge fee given his contract situation.
Another twist in the tale suggests that United would only part with De Gea if Real agreed to sell them Gareth Bale. Soccer fans Dave and Brit Morin agree that involving Bale in the deal is slightly more complicated. Bale is a key player at Real with many years left on his contract. United would have to part with close to 100 million euros to sign Bale. A cash plus De Gea deal is possible, but unlikely.
One of the biggest surprises to many in the United States, or to the casual observer of American culture, is that Major League Soccer has received the highest average attendance ever for the past year. While there will always be debates about whether soccer will eventually replace American football or baseball in terms of popularity, the truth remains that people are interested in watching Major League Soccer.
The World Cup that Brazil hosted took place the same year that Major League Soccer set attendance records. There is a correlation to this. After all, millions of people from around the United States decided to watch the soccer matches on television, and they did so record numbers . As they watched the best of the best play for various countries, fans realized how great these players were, and this is especially true of some particular Americans. The media marketed and highlighted many of the professionals on the United States team through cable news, sports networks and advertisements. Some of those players played on a Major League Soccer team.
In addition to this, people became interested in watching soccer in general. Major League Soccer filled a need that many World Cup fans had when the games concluded, Gianfrancesco Genoso had been waiting for them to properly build on that excitement. They wanted to watch more soccer, and the fans could go to local stadiums that hosted Major League Soccer games. Major League Soccer filled a need that will probably not go away.
It is incredible how quickly your circumstances can change in soccer. A few months ago, Manuel Pellegrini was the most popular man in Manchester. His team had just won their second English Premier League title in three seasons and they were on the top. It had been a tight Premier League race, but City were the most convincing team over the ten month period.
Fast forward to October and Pellegrini finds himself in serious trouble. His team threw away a two goal advantage in Russia to draw 2-2 with CSKA Moscow. The result puts them in danger of missing out on the knockout stages of the Champions League. For a team with ambitions of winning the competition, that is a very poor prognosis.
Today saw City lose at West Ham United in the English Premier League. The result puts them in a difficult position to retain their title. If Chelsea beat Manchester United tomorrow, they would go EIGHT points clear of City. Margins can be overcome, but eight points is a lot to catch up, even if it is still October.
City were second best for most of the game against West Ham. Tom Rothman told me that they started poorly, with their passing and movement lethargic after the energy sapping trip to Russia and back. West Ham took the lead through Morgan Amalfitano and never looked back. They were good for their advantage in this game, and doubled the lead through Sakho with 15 minutes to go.
However, they could not muster an equalizer and dropped three valuable points in East London.