The match of the week: Iceland - Netherlands

On Saturday, the Netherlands can secure a spot at next year’s World Cup in South Africa if they beat Iceland in Reykjavík. Holland’s eighth away win would also break the record for most consecutive away wins in European World Cup qualification.

Holland’s last WC qualification away match in which they did not win was on 9 October 2004 against FYR Macedonia (2-2).

The Netherlands have conceded only one goal in their last seven WC qualification away matches.

Longest away winning streaks – World Cup qualification UEFA

# Nation Start date Match that ended streak

7 Netherlands 17 Nov 2004 Still running

7 West Germany 28 Mar 1954 Scotland - West Germany (16 Apr 1969) 1-1

7 West Germany 03 Dec 1980 Sweden - West Germany (25 Sep 1985) 2-2

7 Sweden 28 Mar 2001 Croatia - Sweden (08 Oct 2005) 1-0

6 Romania 08 Sep 1993 Republic of Ireland - Romania (11 Oct 1997) 1-1

5 England 15 Oct 1949 Republic of Ireland - England (19 May 1957) 1-1

5 Poland 16 Oct 1976 Belgium - Poland (01 May 1985) 2-0

5 Turkey 11 Oct 2000 Greece - Turkey (08 Sep 2004) 0-0

World Cup qualification away match winning streak Netherlands

Nr. Date Match Result

7 15 Oct 2008 Norway - Netherlands 0-1

6 10 Sep 2008 FYR Macedonia - Netherlands 1-2

5 08 Oct 2005 Czech Republic - Netherlands 0-2

4 03 Sep 2005 Armenia - Netherlands 0-1

3 08 Jun 2005 Finland - Netherlands 0-4

2 26 Mar 2005 Romania - Netherlands 0-2

1 17 Nov 2004 Andorra - Netherlands 0-3


On Tuesday, Germany’s Mario Gomez scored four goals in a friendly against the United Arab Emirates (7-2).

According to Infostrada, Gomez is the third German player to score at least four goals in an international match since 2004. Michael Ballack (2004) and Lukas Podolski (2006) also achieved this feat recently.

Gottfried Fuchs holds the record with 10 goals. That record was set at the 1912 Olympic Games against Russia (16-0).

Gomez is the 12th German player to score at least four goals in a single match.

Most goals in single match for German national team
# Player Match

10 Gottfried Fuchs Germany - Russia (01 Jul 1912) 16-0
6 Wilhelm Hahnemann Germany - Finland (01 Sep 1940) 13-0
4 Julius Hirsch Netherlands - Germany (24 Mar 1912) 5-5
4 Fritz Förderer Germany - Russia (01 Jul 1912) 16-0
4 Georg Frank Germany - Switzerland (10 Feb 1929) 7-1
4 Josef Rasselnberg Luxembourg - Germany (11 Mar 1934) 1-9
4 Edmund Conen Germany - Finland (01 Sep 1940) 13-0
4 Edmund Conen Germany - Bulgaria (20 Oct 1940) 7-3
4 Ernst Willimowski Switzerland - Germany (18 Oct 1942) 3-5
4 Gerd Müller West Germany - Albania (08 Apr 1967) 6-0
4 Gerd Müller West Germany - Cyprus (21 May 1969) 12-0
4 Gerd Müller West Germany - Soviet Union (26 May 1972) 4-1
4 Gerd Müller West Germany - Switzerland (15 Nov 1972) 5-1
4 Michael Ballack Germany - Malta (27 May 2004) 7-0
4 Lukas Podolski San Marino - Germany (06 Sep 2006) 0-13
4 Mario Gomez United Arab Emirates - Germany (02 Jun 2009) 2-7


Spain reaches 31 and goes for Brasil

On Wednesday, Spain secured a 2-1 win at Turkey, extending their unbeaten run to 31 consecutive matches. Spain’s current run has equalled a European record for staying undefeated in successive official international matches.

Hungary had set the European record of 31 in 1954 and this record was equalled by Spain between 1994 and 1998.

Spain’s last international defeat was at home to Romania on 15 November 2006 (0-1).
The world record is 36 and was set by Brazil between 1993 and 1996.

Do you think that the Spanish National Team is one of the best of the history?

Longest streaks of international matches without defeat
# Nation Start date Won Drawn Match which ended streak

36 Brazil 16 Dec 1993 29 7 Mexico - Brazil (21 Jan 1996) 2-0
31 Spain 07 Feb 2007 28 3 Still running
31 Hungary 04 Jun 1950 27 4 West Germany - Hungary (04 Jul 1954) 3-2
31 Argentina 19 Feb 1991 18 13 Colombia - Argentina (15 Aug 1993) 2-1
31 Spain 07 Sep 1994 20 11 France - Spain (28 Jan 1998) 1-0
30 Italy 24 Nov 1935 24 6 Switzerland - Italy (12 Nov 1939) 3-1
30 France 16 Feb 1994 20 10 Denmark - France (09 Nov 1996) 1-0
29 Brazil 08 Mar 1970 21 8 Italy - Brazil (09 Jun 1973) 2-0
28 Korea Republic 03 Sep 1977 23 5 Japan - South Korea (04 Mar 1979) 2-1
27 Ghana 30 Mar 1980 15 12 Ghana - New Zealand (07 Jun 1983) 0-2
27 Colombia 31 Jul 1992 13 14 Colombia - Bolivia (07 Apr 1994) 0-1

Note: Streaks are based on matches which the country in question regards as official.


Spain vs Turkey: Santiago Bernabeu Stadium receives the match of the weekend

The most difficult match of Spain Road to WC 2010, arrives when La Furia Roja is living the best moment in the history. The Euro 2008 champions, seems to have the best players as a National Team and they don’t need many changes in their line-ups as it happens with any Team that experience crisis.

As a result, it is time for records. First David Villa scored one goal per game at EURO 2008, then Xabi Alonso reached 50th cap...

According to our friendly site Spanish Football Sports, Spain vs Turkey achieves special moments for Iker Casillas and David Villa again.

Spain, enjoy it!


Romania vs Serbia: victory is crucial

Star striker Adrian Mutu claimed Romania must beat Serbia in their 2010 World Cup qualifier on Saturday if they are to remain in contention for a place at next year's finals.

The 30-year-old, Romania's third all-time scorer with 29, said that a draw would not be good enough against a side that presently tops Group 7 with nine points, though, the Romanians on four points have a game in hand.

"We cannot just come away with a draw against Serbia," said Mutu.

"This match is vital because if we don't win, we won't have a chance of qualifying," added Mutu, who also said that they must take three points off Austria on April 1.

The Fiorentina marksman claimed Serbia had an advantage because their players played in tougher championships than most of the Romanian squad and called on his compatriots to motivate themselves so that they would not allow this to be replayed out on the pitch.

"We have shown before that we can play as well as stronger teams than us such as against France (a 2-2 draw in their World Cup qualifier last October) and Holland (a 1-0 victory in a Euro 2008 qualifier)," said Mutu, who is just six goals short of Romania's leading all-time scorer Gheorghe Hagi.

Dutch legend Cruyff warns Scotland: Don't start a war

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff identified a chink in Holland's Oranje armour and told Scotland that controlled aggression represents their best chance of causing a shock at the Amsterdam Arena tomorrow.

The all-time great believes the current Netherlands side is no match for George Burley's battlers when it comes to winning 50-50 tackles and individual scraps.

But he warned that, with a potentially more important game against Iceland at Hampden on Wednesday night, the Scots must be wary of turning the World Cup qualifier into a war.

More info: Daily Mail

South America World Cup qualifying: free live TV stream

Diego Maradona and Juan Pablo Carrizo.
Round 11

Uruguay - Paraguay
Argentina - Venezuela
Colombia - Bolivia

Ecuador - Brazil
Peru - Chile

Feel free to add links


England vs Ukraine: for a new record

On Wednesday 1st April, England host Ukraine in a FIFA World Cup qualifier at Wembley. England can set a new record by clinching their seventh consecutive home win in a World Cup qualifying match.

Most successive World Cup qualification home wins - England
# Start date Last match before streak First match after streak

6 09 Oct 2004 England - Greece (06 Oct 2001) 2-2 Still running

6 16 Nov 1949 England - Wales (24 Jan 1973) 1-1

5 13 Oct 1976 England - Poland (17 Oct 1973) 1-1
England - Romania (29 Apr 1981) 0-0

2 18 Nov 1981 England - Romania (29 Apr 1981) 0-0
England - Romania (11 Sep 1985) 1-1

2 26 Apr 1989 England - Sweden (19 Oct 1988) 0-0
England - Norway (14 Oct 1992) 1-1

2 18 Nov 1992 England - Norway (14 Oct 1992) 1-1
England - Netherlands (28 Apr 1993) 2-2

2 08 Sep 1993 England - Netherlands (28 Apr 1993) 2-2
England - Italy (12 Feb 1997) 0-1

2 30 Apr 1997 England - Italy (12 Feb 1997) 0-1
England - Germany (07 Oct 2000) 0-1

2 24 Mar 2001 England - Germany (07 Oct 2000) 0-1
England - Greece (06 Oct 2001) 2-2

Germany vs Liechtenstein: Teutons go for 200th

On Saturday, Germany need to score one goal to celebrate their 200th goal in World Cup qualification matches when they face Liechtenstein in Leipzig.

Josef Rasselnberg became the first German goalscorer in a World Cup qualification match when he netted against Luxembourg (1-9 win) on 11 March 1934.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is Germany’s top scorer in World Cup qualification matches with 13 goals.

Most goals scored in World Cup Qualification UEFA
# Nation P W D L GA

229 Netherlands 100 62 22 16 75
218 Serbia 102 61 25 16 88
210 Belgium 107 59 22 26 116
208 Spain 93 60 21 12 66
208 Sweden 100 63 16 21 90
206 England 86 57 19 10 57
199 (West) Germany 68 50 16 2 55
193 Portugal 109 53 28 28 122
192 Russia 96 60 21 15 65
181 Romania 99 56 18 25 95
Note: matches include intercontinental play-off matches

Top scorers in World Cup Qualification – (West) Germany
# Player

13 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
9 Gerd Müller
7 Michael Ballack
7 Klaus Fischer
7 Pierre Littbarski
6 Oliver Bierhoff
6 Rudi Völler
6 Max Morlock
5 Manfred Kaltz
5 Ulf Kirsten
5 Miroslav Klose
5 Wolfgang Overath


Germany: Löw calls upon Jansen and Podolski, Friedrich injured

Marcell Jansen

Joachim Löw has nominated 21 players for the upcoming games against Liechtenstein in Leipzig on March 28 (8 P.M, live on ZDF) and in Cardiff on April 1 against Wales (8.45 P.M., live on ARD), both qualifying games for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The German coach has refilled some open slots with Arne Friedrich, Marcell Jansen and Lukas Podolski – all three players sat out the year’s opening game against Norway due to injury. On Sunday Friedrich cancelled his participation due to an injury, suffered in Berlins 0-2 defeat at Stuttgart on Saturday.

Hannover's Robert Enke, recently sidelined due to a fractured left hand, returns as one of three goalkeepers on the roster. "I felt that he has had a rather successful convalescence, he’s found his old form quickly", said Löw about Enke. Löw also commented on Lukas Podolski’s reappearance in the ranks: "The fact that he battled back into Bayern's starting line-up did not have an effect on our nomination. We’d have called upon him either way, as we rate him highly. Lukas is an excellent forward."

Marcell Jansen from Hamburger SV is yet another returnee following a prolonged injury phase. "As Piotr Trochowski reports injured, we needed a midfield alternative. We will check back with the HSV to get another read on his ability to perform. But disregarding Trochowski's injury status, Marcell Jansen has performed well in the Bundesliga following the winter break. He is certainly a valid option."


Karel Bruckner has announced his retirement from the game

The 69-year-old was in charge of the Czechs for seven years, leading them to the semi-finals of Euro 2004.

After stepping down as coach at the end of last summer's European Championships, Bruckner then accepted the Austria job but resigned at the start of this month following a run of just one win in seven matches.

Former Czech Republic and Austria coach Bruckner has now announced he will not return to coaching.

"My career as a coach is over," he told citing ill health as one of the reasons behind his decision.

"My health and age have become a handicap. This week I'm going to become a normal pensioner."


FIFA fielding World Cup bids from lineup of 11 candidates

FIFA appears to have bidders lining up to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Football's governing body will confirm Tuesday which candidates - nine individual nations and a pair of two-country proposals - have followed up their initial interest last month by formally registering for the contest.

They are: Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, United States and South Korea, plus joint bids from Belgium-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal.

All want one of the two prizes on offer - hosting 32 teams and hundreds of thousands of visitors for a four-week festival of football that is the planet's most-watched sports event.

FIFA's 24-man executive committee will choose the two winning bids in December 2010.

"(The World Cup) is unrivalled in its power to awaken emotions, capture the imagination and unite people all over the world in celebration," FIFA gushed when launching the hosting rights competition in January.

The tournament generates billions of dollars through television, tourist and marketing. But it also requires billions of dollars of investment to stage, once the bills for building and upgrading stadiums, roads, airports and hotels are added up.

Candidates must provide about 12 stadiums holding at least 40,000 fans for group matches, with one stadium of at least 80,000 capacity to stage the opening match and final.

"Much work awaits us, but we are optimistic because our bid is fully supported by the government," said Nugraha Besoes, secretary general of the All Indonesia Football Association.

Australia's bid alone has 23 million euros (C$38 million) of government support and was delivered in person by national federation chairman Frank Lowy to FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Zurich on Sunday. It points to Australia's successful hosting of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

"We have a demonstrable track record in staging major sporting events," Australian federation spokeswoman Bonita Mersiades said. "A World Cup event here would be trouble-free. And we have a country that people want to come and see."

Four of the bids come from FIFA's Asian confederation, two from the CONCACAF region of the Americas and five from Europe.

Because South Africa is hosting in 2010, African nations were eligible to bid only for the 2022 World Cup. None came forward.

South American countries were barred from joining either race because Brazil will host the 2014 tournament.

A European country is considered favourite to win in 2018 to avoid the continent which provides almost half the tournament's teams being deprived of the event for three straight editions.

The World Cup had never left Europe for consecutive tournaments until FIFA introduced a policy of continental rotation that enabled South Africa and then Brazil to make winning bids.

With Europe's television markets being a rich source of revenue for FIFA, broadcasters there would not be impressed if the 2018 World Cup went to Asia or Australia where matches would be played outside of their prime time hours.

FIFA relies on the World Cup for 90 per cent of its income, and expects to earn 2.46 billion euros (C$4.05 billion) in television and marketing revenue from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

England's bid was submitted Monday with chairman David Triesman saying it was for both editions.

"By declaring our interest for both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments we are maximizing our chances of winning the right to host the world's greatest sporting occasion," he said

Russian Football Union spokesman Andrei Malasolov said it had no preference on hosting in 2018 or 2022 and would leave it to FIFA to decide.

Five of the bidders have previously staged a World Cup: England in 1966; Mexico in 1970 and 1986; the United States in 1994; and South Korea and Japan as co-hosts in 2002.

Blatter has said the co-hosting experience was not a happy one and that he prefers bids from a solo host.

However, the two joint proposals from Europe can be converted to a single-nation option up to the May 2010 deadline for candidates to submit their bid book.

Until then, bidders have other dates in their diary. FIFA will send out more details of bidding and hosting requirements next month, while candidates must send a signed bidding agreement to Zurich by Dec. 11. Candidates will also be visited by FIFA officials and executives over the coming year.

Winning bidders also get to host an eight-team Confederations Cup tournament as a test event exactly one year before their World Cup.

The Canadian Press


France announces bid to host Euro 2016 too!!!

The French soccer federation launched its bid to host the 2016 European Championship. "We are now officially candidates to host the 2016 Euros and we launch the bid today", French federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes said during a news conference.

Remember that Italy's federation said last week it was also interested in hosting the 2016 championship after losing out to Poland and Ukraine for the 2012 tournament.

Britains Scotland and Wales abandoned plans for a joint bid due to the global economic downturn, but Sweden and Norway are said to be still considering a joint bid.

Although they lost against Argentina without inconvenience, France has won the last two major tournaments it hosted — the 1998 World Cup and 1984 Euro and they know that it is Nasri time!!!


Italy to bid for Euro 2016

Italy will make a bid to host Euro 2016, Italian football federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete said on Monday.

"Italy will present its declaration of interest for the 2016 European championships by (the deadline of) March 9," Abete told a news conference after a FIGC board meeting. He said the decision had been taken after recent consultations with the government.
Italy was beaten in a bid for Euro 2012 by Poland and Ukraine. The country's hooliganism problem was reported to be partly to blame.

"Italy is interested because we cannot shun the challenge of major international events and because we must start virtuous circles that give hope to our football," Abete told Rai radio earlier on Monday, according to Reuters.

The announcement came on the day that Scotland and Wales dropped plans to co-host Euro 2016 due to the financial demands of the expanded tournament.

Euro 2012 will be the last to feature 16 teams after UEFA voted last year to expand the tournament to 24.


Cristiano Ronaldo: “I hope to visit South Africa”

Cristiano Ronaldo says he would like to visit South Africa one day. Well in just 468 days he could well get his wish should Portugal qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

The Manchester United and Portugal star was talking to Kick Off editor Neil Greig at Old Trafford, Manchester during the launch of Nike’s Mercurial Vapor Superfly boot.

Asked whether he had been to Mzansi and what he knew about the country, the winger said: “Last season Manchester United went there and the lads say it is an unbelievable place to go. I hope to go there one day too.”

Speaking right at the end of what was an interesting 40 minute press conference, Ronaldo looked more comfortable and relaxed than when he first walked in.

Facing around 100 media people from all over the globe was probably just as nerve wracking for him than it would be for anyone, highlighting that the superstar is just human after all.

But by now Ronaldo was smiling, joking and was visibly interested in getting his thoughts across about South Africa.

“I know quite a few parts of the world, but not South Africa. I wish to go there one day,” he says.

And Ronaldo will identify with the majority of South Africa’s children, having also spent a large part of his youth playing street football in Madeira, Portugal.

His message to South African kids who love to express themselves with skills learnt on the street, but also desire to reach the highest level like him, is a simple one.

“I started to play sometimes in Madeira in the street. The kids there still love to play football and all would love to be professional footballers one day.

“What the kids (in South Africa) have to do is believe in themselves and try all the time. Everyone has an opportunity and if someone catches the opportunities it is very good. But believe is the best word.”


Spain and Portugal goes for World Cup 2018

The football associations of Spain and Portugal have formally agreed to submit a joint bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Portuguese Federation president Gilberto Madail signed the official FIFA document with Spanish counterpart Angel Maria Villar in Lisbon yesterday after an Iberian bid had been mooted for over a year.

Under the joint plan, Spain is expected to host the greater share of matches. FIFA regulations stipulate that candidates must provide approximately 12 stadiums capable holding at least 40,000 fans for group matches, and one stadium of at least 80,000 capacity to stage the opening match and final.

“We will create a joint commission to assess all FIFA conditions,” said Portuguese Federation president Gilberto Madail to reporters after signing the document.

The Iberian bid will expect strong support from the three South American representatives on FIFA's 24-man executive committee.

FIFA announced last month there would be a simultaneous bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. Other countries who are proposed to be bidding to host either or both of the tournaments are England, Australia, Russia, China, Qatar, the United States, Japan and a joint bid from Belgium/Holland.

The winning bids will be announced in December 2010.


Spain football team named Infostrada Sports’ Team of the Year for 2008

The National Football Team of Spain has been voted Infostrada Sports’ Team of the Year for 2008. In June, Spain won the European Championship for the second time after beating Germany 1-0 in the final.

It was the second European Championship trophy for Spain after they lifted the trophy for the first time in 1964. It was Spain’s third appearance in the European Championship final. In 1984, they lost 2-0 against France in the final.

David Villa became top scorer at Euro 2008 with four goals. That is the fewest goals for a European Championship top scorer since 1992, when Dennis Bergkamp, Tomas Brolin, Henrik Larsen and Karl-Heinz Riedle all scored three goals.

At the age of 69 years and 337 days, winning coach Luis Aragonés became the oldest coach ever to appear in the final of the European Championship.

Infostrada Sports’ Team of the Year 2000–2008
Year Winners

2008 Spain (Football)
2007 South Africa (Rugby)
2006 FC Barcelona (Football)
2005 Liverpool (Football)
2004 Greece Men's Team (Football)
2003 England Men's Team (Rugby Union)
2002 South Korea Men's Team (Football)
2001 Bayern München (Football)
2000 France Men's Team (Football)

Most European Championship titles
# Nation Editions

3 Germany 1972, 1980, 1996
2 France 1984, 2000
2 Spain 1964, 2008
1 Soviet Union 1960
1 Italy 1968
1 Czechoslovakia 1976
1 Netherlands 1988
1 Denmark 1992
1 Greece 2004

Oldest head coaches in European Championship finals
Age (y-d) Name Team Match

69-337 Luis Aragonés Spain Spain - Germany (29 Jun 2008) 1-0
65-330 Otto Rehhagel Greece Portugal - Greece (04 Jul 2004) 0-1
62-160 Miguel Muñoz Spain France - Spain (27 Jun 1984) 2-0
60-279 Helmut Schön West Germany Czechoslovakia - West Germany (20 Jun 1976) 2-2
60-137 Rinus Michels Netherlands Netherlands - Soviet Union (25 Jun 1988) 2-0
59-014 Roger Lemerre France France - Italy (02 Jul 2000) 2-1
58-125 Dino Zoff Italy France - Italy (02 Jul 2000) 2-1
57-199 Guy Thys Belgium West Germany - Belgium (22 Jun 1980) 2-1
55-238 Luiz Felipe Scolari Portugal Portugal - Greece (04 Jul 2004) 0-1
55-191 Ferruccio Valcareggi Italy Italy - Yugoslavia (10 Jun 1968) 2-0

Top scorers at European Championship
Year Name Nation Goals Matches G/M

2008 David Villa ESP 4 4 1.00
2004 Milan Baroš CZE 5 5 1.00
2000 Savo Milosevic YUG 5 4 1.25
Patrick Kluivert NED 5 5 1.00
1996 Alan Shearer ENG 5 5 1.00
1992 Dennis Bergkamp NED 3 4 0.75
Tomas Brolin SWE 3 4 0.75
Henrik Larsen DEN 3 4 0.75
Karl-Heinz Riedle GER 3 5 0.60
1988 Marco van Basten NED 5 5 1.00
1984 Michel Platini FRA 9 5 1.80
1980 Klaus Allofs FRG 3 3 1.00
1976 Dieter Müller FRG 4 2 2.00
1972 Gerd Müller FRG 4 2 2.00
1968 Dragan Dzajic YUG 2 3 0.67
1964 Deszõ Novák HUN 2 1 2.00
Pereda ESP 2 2 1.00
Ferenc Bene HUN 2 2 1.00
1960 Milan Galic YUG 2 2 1.00
Viktor Ponedelnik URS 2 2 1.00
Valentin Ivanov URS 2 2 1.00
Drazan Jerkovic YUG 2 2 1.00
Francois Heutte FRA 2 2 1.00