ARGENTINA WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION SUFFERS BLOW

Argentina’s hope of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup suffered a major blow as apex football body FIFA ordered Bolivia to forfeit two World Cup qualifying games for fielding an ineligible player.


The ruling is one that favours current Copa America champions and Argentina’s archrival, Chile. The move is a major blow to the qualification hopes of the South American giant.

FIFA announced on Tuesday, November 1 2016 that the goalless draw Bolivia played against Chile and the 2-0 triumph over Peru in September are automatically 3-0 losses due to their actions. The two points gain lifts Chile to fifth place. They share the same points and goals’ difference with Argentina in the CONMEBOL World Cup 2018 qualifying standings. Chile were on a tight rope but a fifth place end for them means they would enter a play-off against a team from Oceania to get a chance to play in Russia.

RAMSEY TO MISS 2018 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is set to miss the 2018 World Cup qualifiers coming up next month against Austria and Georgia due to hamstring injury.


The 25-year old Wales international has not played any game picking up an injury on the opening game of the Premier League this term.

Ramsey has highly instrumental in the Wales national team set-up that broke a fifty year old record to reach the semi finals of the Euro 2016 hosted by France. Wales started their 2018 World Cup campaign on a bright note, thrashing Moldova 4-0 in September. They are billed to take on Austria on October 6th, then Georgia three days later. Ramsey was impressive during the run to the Euro semis but missed the semi final game against Portugal as he was suspended.

In the list of players released for the qualifiers, Midfielder Jonny Williams would also be absent despite returning to training with Ipswich where he plays on a loan deal. George Williams was also left out, but Shaun MacDonald has been called up to national team duty. Hal Robson-Kanu, Sam Vokes, Ashley Williams, Gareth Bale, Joe Ledley, Joe allen, and all the other regulars would be present as Wales seek for a spot in Russia.

Michael Ballack advises Bastian Schweinsteiger not to wait

Michael Ballack advises Bastian Schweinsteiger not to wait for another couple of years for his farewell in national colours and to say goodbye to his Germany career right away for his own sake.


Ballack reckons the body of the playmaker has gone through a lot in the recent times and maybe now it can’t cope with the amount of Football he has been playing for the last decade or so.

Schweinsteiger has to diminish the stress on his body and for that, leaving international Football is a good option for him especially now with Germany missing out on Euro within two years’ of the World Cup triumphant and he himself being one of the major disappointments in that. Taking such a step would also help him play the game at the club level for a longer period.

According to Ballack, Schweinsteiger would not want a situation where he finds out that his usefulness in the squad is getting questioned by his teammates themselves. It would be pretty undeserving for a personality like him. He should instead take a proud exit and it can happen if he opts for it at the present moment. If he remains in the set up, it is going to be no good for him.

Tijani Babangida said that it would be tough for Nigeria to qualify for the next World Cup

Former Nigeria star Tijani Babangida has stated it will be tough for Nigeria to qualify for the 2018 World Cup that will be held in Russia.

He said that at the moment the team is playing poorly and does not have any chance of making it to the finals. For him, Nigeria needs a miracle if ever they are going to make it to the World Cup.


Babangida came to prominence in the Nigeria team featuring players such as Jay JayOkocha and Sunday Oliseh, which participated at the 1998 World Cup in France. He is currently working as a coach and was Oliseh’s assistant when the latter was managing the Nigerian team.

He said that the problem with Nigerian football is that there is not a proper structure in place. He said that while other countries are busy preparing their teams for the World Cup qualifiers, Nigeria does not have a permanent coach at the head of the team. They change managers too frequently, and this does not give enough time to prepare a quality team. He said that there need to be some fort of stability at the head of the national team if they want Nigeria to progress and do well in the future.

Chris Coleman to stay as manager of Wales until the 2018 World Cup

There are media reports that Chris Coleman has agreed on a contract extension that will see the Wales manager stay until the 2018 World Cup.

His contract was due to expire after the Euros, but the Wales Federation has managed to convince the manager to stay beyond this date.

Chris Coleman has managed to take Wales to their first international tournament since 1958 will be hoping that he can accomplish the same thing and take his team to the 2018 World Cup.

There were reports however that Coleman has demanded change from the Football Association of Wales before committing to staying with the national team. He wanted changes in the way the teams work as he does not want only a one-off campaign. Chris Coleman believes that Wales has the potential to achieve great things on the footballing scenes, but they need changes in the way the team is prepared.

Australia will face some tough teams on their road to World Cup 2018

Australia has found out which teams they are going to beat if they want to make it to World Cup 2018.

If they want to be present for the fourth consecutive time at a World Cup, the Australians will have to finish in the top two of a group comprising Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Thailand.


The Australia coach, Ange Postecoglou knows that it will be tough to play against some of those teams and has requested that his team is given proper football pitch for the home games. He knows that playing away at some of these nations can be really tough and as such want to make the most of their home matches.

He believes that if given the right football pitch and a good crowd, Australia can win all their home games thus putting them in a comfortable position. The toughest opponent in the group will certainly be Japan, who is currently ranked as the 57th team in the world. The two sides have met a couple of times in World Cup qualifiers, but it has been 7 years since the Australians last beat them.

Scotland can reach the World Cup 2018 according to midfielder Darren Fletcher

Scotland can reach the World Cup 2018 according to midfielder Darren Fletcher, who might actually play if Scotland qualify as the last major tournament in his career.

The former Manchester United midfielder is currently playing with West Brom. His experience and quality have been immense to the Scotland national team, but they have been unable to benefit from it much due to the lack of quality elsewhere on the pitch. The last major tournament in which Scotland played was the 1998 World Cup in which they were knocked out of the group stages.

The increase in the number of participating countries of the upcoming major tournaments is likely to help teams like Scotland reach the event. This may be one of the reasons for Fletcher sounding incredibly confident about Scotland’s chances of going to the World Cup 2018. Russia will host this tournament, although several doubts remain about the ability of the nation to make it a huge success. The last few World Cup have been surrounded by controversies on a number of subjects including the award for a bid from a country. Russia competed with England for the rights to host this tournament.

WHY BIELSA?

Shay Given can’t quite understand why Swansea City is so keen to sign Marcelo Bielsa.

According to the veteran, somebody, who has got the experience of managing the English teams and knows the nature of Football in this country, would be more beneficial than a foreigner as far as Swansea City is concerned.

A website quoted Shay Given as saying, “It’s incredible that Swansea is at somebody who has never worked in England and is not able to communicate in English. I don’t think too many people even know him over here.”

“They should instead be looking to sign a manager who has seen English Football from close quarters and has got the idea how it works in this part of the world.”

When asked if he is hinting towards the former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes who is currently out of job, the star shot stopper said, “Yes for sure.”

“David would be a better choice in my opinion. He knows Premier League as well as anyone having worked in it over a long period of time.”

As far as Bielsa is concerned, he might not be a known commodity in England, but, he is a well respected figure in some other Football crazy counties in the world.

He has been in charge of the national team of Argentina in the past and has guided them to Olympic Gold.

Apart from that, he has fairly successful tenures with Chile and the Spanish club Athletic Bilbao too.

Those who know him well say he is an aggressive manager and one of the shrewdest tacticians going around.

So, while some people including Shay Given might not agree to it, there’s surely some logic behind Swansea’s interest in Bielsa.

However, his language problem might be an obstruction in his work in England.