Clarence Seedorf Is The New Cameroon Coach


Former Real Madrid and Milan star has been appointed as the new coach of Cameroon’s national team.

The Dutch international who also played for Ajax, Sampdoria, Inter Milan and Botafogo in Brazil has had an at best indifferent coaching career. He took his first coaching job at Milan and quit his playing career in Brazil to answer the call of his former team. His record was only 11 wins in 22 matches and he lasted only half a season after he had replaced the fired Massimiliano Allegri. He also failed to rescue Deportivo La Coruna from relegation. In between his two European jobs he spent a short in China coaching Shenzhen F.C. where he failed in promoting the club.

Ironically the man who replaced him at Shenzhen F.C., Sven-Goran Eriksson, had been mentioned as Cameroon’s first choice but the The Indomitable Lions failed to agree terms with the veteran Swede.

Patrick Kluivert will assist Seedorf with the Africa Cup of Nations less than a year away. The 2019 edition of the competition is being held in the summer for the first time and starts next June with Cameroon as hosts.

World Cup 2018 : A Set Of Predictions

The FIFA World Cup is starting in less than 24 hours on June 14, 2018. One of the powerhouses and favorites to win the trophy has just made a coaching change that has the potential to change the status of the team from favorites to perhaps less so.
Spain fired Julen Lopetegui with two days to go to Spain’s crucial first match vs Portugal. The coach agreed to take over the vacant Real Madrid head coaching position while in Russia preparing for the month long tournament.
It is still somewhat unlikely that Spain’s group stage position is under threat, here is one set predictions for the World Cup (teams in bold to progress)

GROUP A
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Egypt
Uruguay
GROUP B
Portugal
Spain
Morocco
Iran
GROUP C
France
Australia
Peru
Denmark
GROUP D
Argentina
Iceland
Croatia
Nigeria

GROUP E
Brazil
Switzerland
Costa Rica
Serbia
GROUP F
Germany
Mexico
Sweden
South Korea
GROUP G
Belgium
Panama
Tunisia
England
GROUP H
Poland
Senegal
Colombia
Japan

SECOND ROUND

Uruguay – Portugal
Russia – Spain

France – Croatia
Argentina – Denmark

Brazil – Mexico
Germany – Switzerland

England – Poland
Belgium – Colombia

QUARTER FINALS

Portugal – France
Brazil – England

Spain – Argentina
Germany – Belgium

SEMI FINALS

Spain – Germany
Brazil – France

FINALS
Germany – Brazil

The Final is to be a repeat of the 2014 World Cup semi final where Germany humiliated the hosts 7-1!

Referees At World Cup 2018

FIFA has released the names of the referees and assistant referees who will take charge of games at World Cup 2018. The list currently contains 36 referees and 63 assistant referees. The VAR (Video Assistant Referees) will also be chosen from these 99.

FIFA chooses referees based on “skills and personality, as well as his level of understanding of football and ability to read both the game and the various tactics employed by teams” and the final list is chosen after three years of seminars that concentrate on fair game, consistency and protecting players.

There are more workshops and seminars to come after which the decisions will be made as to who will be the first ever VARs at a World Cup.

The list of referees does not include any from the United Kingdom, that is a first in 80 years. Mark Clattenburg who would be the leading UK candidate is now working in Saudi Arabia and was not picked.

The referee list includes five from Asia, five from Africa, five from north and central America, five from south America, two from Oceania and 10 from Europe. The assistant referee list includes three from Oceania, 10 each from Asia and Africa, eight from north and central America, 12 from south America and 20 from Europe.
It is hoped that the use VAR will improve the game and cut down on mistakes while not overly delaying games or disrupting the flow of play too long. Recent uses in some leagues have led to confusion and in a few cases offenses not being caught even after review!

France At World Cup 2018

France’s record at the World Cup has been very mixed. The French national team finished third at World Cup 1958 in Sweden. The team featuring Just Fontaine provided France with a golden era that was not repeated until decades later. Michel Platini was the star of the rising French team in the 80s that won the UEFA European Championship in 1984 and was semi finalists at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups in Spain and Mexico respectively. There was another shoter lull but Zinedine Zidane and others, including the current coach Didier Deschamps, made for another golden era that had its climax when winning the World Cup at home in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000. The up and down nature of the team, too often mired in squad controversy and divisions, meant a group stage exit in Wold Cup 2002, followed by a runner up spot in 2006 and another group stage exit in 2010.

The current version of the national team is certainly very talented but that hasn’t always proven to be enough. Below are some of the names that illustrate the depth and the quality of the current crop of French players.

Hugo Lloris Goalkeeper at Tottenham, can make occasional costly mistakes but the team captain is solid.
Alphonse Areola Goalkeeper at PSG, a home grown relative low cost player among the expensive stars assembled in Paris.
Laurent Koscielny Veteran defender at Arsenal, provides leadership.
Raphael Varane Young defender at Real Madrid, had a fast rise to stardom, now considered a solid player.
N’Golo Kante One of the best defensive midfielders of the recent past, virtual unknown until three years ago.
Paul Pogba Most expensive player and arguably most hyped player but having a hard time getting game time at Manchester United this season under Jose Mourinho.
Antoine Griezmann The world class goal scorer opted to stay at Atletico Madrid, more than a few teams willing to pay an enormous sum for him.
Kylian Mbappe Fast rise to stardom at Monaco, left to PSG for an initial loan to be made permanent after the World Cup for €145 million plus €35 million in bonuses and add ons. Still a teenager.

The list doesn’t include Karim Benzema, the sometimes prolific Real Madrid forward, due his ongoing exclusion because of the black mail case involving his national team mate Mathieu Valbuena.

March 2018 Friendly Matches

With less than three months to go World Cup 2018 in Russia teams around the world use the FIFA international dates to prepare for the games. The March international break will be busy with many teams playing two or even games. The next times teams play friendlies will be in May and days before the World Cup starts.

In other news:
Te use of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) was given the final seal of approval and it is deemed ready for Russia.
Neymar has undergone surgery for a broken metatarsal and will miss three months. He is due to be ready on the eve of the World Cup but not before.

Below are some of the bigger friendly matches scheduled for this period.

March 23, 2018
Russia – Brazil
Germany – Spain
Italy – Argentina
Netherlands – England
France – Colombia
Portugal – Egypt
Poland – Nigeria

March 26, 2018
Portugal – Netherlands

March 27, 2018
Nigeria – Serbia
Russia – France
Spain – Netherlands
Germany – Brazil
England – Italy
Spain – Argentina

England At World Cup 2018

England, the so called inventor and home of football, have struggled at the international stage. The record of the English national team at the World Cup and European Championship is at best disappointing. The UEFA European Championship has never been won and the World Cup was last won at home in 1966. The best result since has been the being the semi finalists at Italia 90. At Brazil 2014 England finished last in a group featuring Costa Rica, Uruguay and Italy.

The road to Russia 2018 has been smooth on the pitch but anything but off of it. England took 26 out of 30 point in qualifying but went through two coaches after Sam Allardyce left the team after one game as coach due to malpractice issues. Gareth Southgate, the then under 21 coach, replaced Allardyce.

The coach, no matter who he is, faces many questions in finding ready players. The English Premiership doesn’t always help in developing English players so choices and options will not offer the best possible. Goalkeeping has been one of the most difficult. The recent first choice, Joe Hart, has been struggling at West Ham following time in Italy and after being discarded at Manchester City. Jordan Pickford is a young goalkeeper at Everton and is still relatively inexperienced. Others considered are Stoke City’s Jack Butland, Southampton’s Fraser Forster and Burnley’s Tom Heaton. All are the right age perhaps but neither is really experienced at international level.

Other positions are also not filled with players that are sure to inspire confidence. In defence the likes of Gary Cahill and John Stones can be good on their day but are also mistake prone. In midfield there is a mix of every kind of player from an Eric Dier to a Jesse Lingard and from a Dele Alli to a Fabian Delph. Good but not world beaters. Harry Kane has been prolific at club level for Tottenham and will need to be healthy and continue scoring for English as well. Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling will all need to be at their best for England to have a chance to move forward in Russia.

Whether Southgate can find the player and achieve something more and whether the players can minimize mistakes are all big questions to be answered this June.

Germany At World Cup 2018

Germany is of course one of the favourites to win in Russia. Being a world power and World Cup holders are just one of the many reasons for being a top contender for World Cup 2018.

Germany’s national team boasts a large pool of talent who are almost all 30 years or younger. The reset and planning that the German football association (DFB) along with Bundesliga clubs worked on after disappointments between 1998 and 2004 is still producing results at most levels of football. Academies were opened and work on tactical and mental aspects of the game restarted. Money was spent on regional centers. Youth development – crucially agreed up on by the clubs – and training and coaching modernization has meant a steady supply of very capable players that generated successes and culminated with a World Cup win in 2014.

The team that will travel to Russia this June is very deep and very talented. The midfield of the team is filled with great players who have vast experience without being old. Here are some names with the number of international caps, goals and most if not all are regulars at big club level.

Sami Khedira Juventus 30 years old, 72 caps, 7 goals previously at Real Madrid and Stuttgart

Toni Kroos Real Madrid 28, 80, 12 previously at Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen

Mesut Ozil Arsenal 29, 88, 22 previously at Real Madrid, Werder Bremen and Schalke

Ilkay Gundogan Manchester City 27, 22, 4 previously at Borussia Dortmund

Julian Draxler PSG 24, 40, 6 previously at Wolfsburg and Schalke

Emre Can Liverpool 24, 20, 1 previously at Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich

Julian Weigl Borussia Dortmund 22, 5, 0 previously at 1860 Munich

Leon Goretzka Schalke 23, 12, 6 leaving to Bayern Munich in summer 2018

Sebastian Rudy Bayern Munich 28, 24, 1 previously at 1899 Hoffenheim

This depth of talent will be complemented by forwards such as Thomas Muller and Timo Werner and defenders such as Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng along with Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal to showcase the team to beat.

100 Days To World Cup 2018

The countdown to the World Cup is down to 100 days. On June 14th 2018 the World Cup starts in Russia. The 32 qualified teams will have a series of friendlies later in March and later in the Spring as preparations reach the final stage.

In Russia itself a new aspect of the game is set to dominate the discussions before and surely during and after games. The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has been made official and it’s use in leagues around the world and last year’s Confederations Cup have been mixed at best. The issue of missing a goal where the ball has just crossed the goal line was handled or solved by goal line technology. Now VAR has added four more broad situations where separate referees sitting in a video room can consult with the on pitch referee to correct any possible mistakes.

The four are:

    • Goals, to check if there was any problems during the buildup to them
    • Penalty decisions, to check if one should be given
    • Red cards, if deserved or should be given
    • Mistaken identity in issuing red or yellow cards

So far there have been cases where hand balls in the penalty box or offsides have been missed even after consulting video or when the delay has disrupted the game. Offsides have long been a case where improvements have been required, whether VAR is the solution is somewhat arguable. Assistant referees can do a better job by themselves but video will help.

Controversy is a sure thing but this time it can look different.

Taskade: Lists And Notes

Taskade is an online “lists made easy” tool.

The interface is a simple themed one, after signing up one can start creating lists right away. The background is set to show random images – the theme option is at the bottom left of the window – but can be changed to a solid colour or one of available images, there is no option to choose one’s own. The interface features folders or collections listed on the left hand side and shown and expanded on the right. One can create checklists, free form notes and outlines. It is of course primarily meant as a place to drop in to do lists and ideas.

Lists can be starred and adding the # sign in front of any text creates a hashtag, there doesn’t seem to be a search function and finding other notes or lists with the same hashtag requires clicking on one. The keyboard shortcuts illustrate some of the other features of Taskade such as indenting text, highlighting text and changing them to mark as complete (strikeout), bold, underline or italic. A to do list will show a progress bar tracking the completion of items in it. Selecting or clicking on any text brings up a formatting menu as well with options like changing the text to a heading type.

On sharing and collaboration, it is possible to send any list or note via email, embedding it on a page or sharing its link. It is also possible to invite others to view the note and work on it as a team.

Taskade can be downloaded for Windows and Mac computers or alternatively be used as a Chrome or Firefox extension or addon.

It is currently free with a premium version with support for file attachment and others features to come soon. There will be Taskade iOS and Android apps in the near future.

Brazil At World Cup 2018

Tite and Brazil will seek some redemption in Russia

Overcoming the disappointment and humiliation of the semi final exit at home at World Cup 2014 will haunt Brazil forever. This, a country, which still lives with the 1950 final loss to Uruguay. The still unbelievable 7-1 loss to Germany four years ago is something few but locals understand and even after reading tales and books on it and on the 1950 World Cup and their aftermath one is told that it is impossible to feel how the people and country feel.

Fast forward to 2018 and a new much heralded coach is finally in charge. Tite, finally accepted and left his job at Corinthians to take charge of the Selecao in 2016. The team surged up the CONMEBOL (the South American Football Confederation) qualification group to reach Russia 2018 comfortably. He brought in players like Paulinho (now at Barcelona and playing in the Chinese league at that time) seen by most as a flop while at Tottenham in the English Premiership. He created a not so much new look team but one which played differently. His loyalty and personality that focuses on team moral seems to have played a major part in the change and probably just as much as any tactical changes (Brazil play a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-3-3).

One surprising aspect of that loyalty is that Tite has announced that he knows at least 15 of the 23 players going to Russia, some four months before the World Cup starts.

  • Alisson, Roma Goalkeeper
  • Dani Alves, PSG
  • Marquinhos, PSG
  • Thiago Silva, PSG
  • Miranda, Inter Milan
  • Marcelo, Real Madrid
  • Casemiro, Real Madrid
  • Fernandinho, Manchester City
  • Willian, Chelsea
  • Renato Augusto, Beijing Guoan
  • Paulinho, Barcelona
  • Coutinho, Barcelona
  • Neymar, PSG
  • Roberto Firmino, Liverpool
  • Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City

These 15 will be complemented by the likes of Ederson (Manchester City), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Jemerson (Monaco), Casemiro (Real Madrid) and Fred (Shakhtar Dontesk) to form a great team, on paper and on the pitch. A lot will still depend on the form and temperament of Neymar but Russia provides one early chance at overcoming the pains of 2014.