Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Spain’s greatest ever midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.

Xavi, 34, has won 133 international caps for Spain but lost his starting place during their disastrous FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil as Vicente del Bosque’s side exited the competition after just 2 games – and were the first to exit the FIFA World Cup 2014.

The 34 year old midfielder admits that he was due to retire after Euro 2012, but was persuaded to continue by coach Vicente del Bosque. During a Barcelona-based press conference, Xavi said,

I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded me to stay on and go to Brazil which was of course a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually.

After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014. I hope Del Bosque stays as manager as Spain because I don’t think there is a better man for the job. I want to thank everyone involved in that team for the way they treated me and the respect and I could not wish for a better time as an international.

More than any other player, the Barcelona midfielder has embodied the possession-based philosophy of Tiki-Taka, which took Spain to glory at the Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2012. In each victory, Xavi played an instrumental role, monopolising possession with unrivalled pass-completion statistics and allowing Spain to win game after game in the international arena.

On his decision to leave the national team, Xavi said, “I’ve taken the decision to leave the national team. My time there has finished. I’m grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time. I’m not 20 any more, but I still have the motivation of a kid. I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded me to stay on and go to Brazil, which of course was a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually.”

“After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014. I hope del Bosque stays as manager of Spain because I don;t think there is a better man for the job. ”

Long time international team mate Xabi Alonso is also reported to be considering his future with Spain.

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Although Xavi is quitting Spain, he remains with his club Barcelona. Xavi told a press conference that he had indeed made the decision to quit Barcelona but he has now reversed his decision and will stay put at the club where he has been for his entire football career.

7 time La Liga winner and 3 time Champions League winner says he was convinced to extend his career at Barcelona after discussions with new coach and former team mate Luis Enrique.

“I thank the club for being so patient and letting me think over my situation over the summer,” he said. “I’m happy that the club has faith in me and wants me to see out my contract. Having spoken to the coaches, they’ve made me feel competitive and useful.

“My contract is for two years so nothing changes. I think I made a rash decision to [consider leaving] the club and changed my mind. I wish to apologise and thank everyone.”

No one did more to establish Spain as football’s pre-eminent team and impose Tiki-Taka as the prevailing orthodoxy then Spain’s maestro Xavi Hernandez, who retires from the international side as the most influential player ever to wear the red of La Roja. Not only did he excel on the pitch, his close relationship with captain Iker Casillas also helped to heal rifts caused by the numerous El Clasicos between Barcelona and Real Madrid as Spain put aside their club rivalries to become arguably the greatest international side ever assembled, forget the FIFA World Cup 2014 folly.

Very few players quits the international duty having won 3 major tournaments, especially when the team in question had suffered so many heartbreaks before. Xavi’s style of play and quality has helped develop modern football as we know it today, a sport which should rightfully class the magician as a true icon.

A legend has departed the stage.

Xavi Hernandez World Cup

Xavi Hernandez World Cup 2010

David Villa Retires From International Football

Steven Gerrard Retires From International Football

SG Soccer Pitches

Singapore Soccer Pitches | Singapore Soccer Courts | Singapore Soccer Fields

James Rodriguez

Real Madrid Confirms Signing Of James Rodriguez

Real Madrid Confirms Signing Of James Rodriguez

La Liga Club Real Madrid have completed the signing of FIFA World Cup Golden Boot Player James Rodriguez from Monaco for a fee around the region of €80 million.

James has agreed a 6 year contract with Real Madrid and underwent his medical with the club on Tuesday morning. Neither club have confirmed the fee for the 23 year old striker but his believed fee of €80 million would make Rodriguez he fourth most expensive transfer of all time behind Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.

Real Madrid statement read, “Real Madrid have reached an agreement for the transfer of james Rodriguez, who will join the club for the next 6 seasons. The player will be presented today, Tuesday 22 July, at 20:00 (Spanish time), in the Santiago Bernabeu’s presidential box. Following that, James Rodriguez will take his first steps on the Santiago Bernabeu’s pitch wearing the Real Madrid shirt and will attend the media in the press room.”

James Rodriguez was one of the revelations of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil, scoring in each of Colombia’s games as they reached the Quarter Finals of the tournament for the very first time, eventually losing 2-1 to host Brazil.

James scored a total of 6 goals at the FIFA World Cup 2014, finishing as the top scorer – one above Germany’s Thomas Mueller – while his stunning 25 yard volley against Uruguay was voted as the goal of the tournament by FIFA.com.

His signing comes less than a week after Real Madrid brought in another of the World Cup 2014 star performer, Germany’s Toni Kroos, from Bayern Munich, for a reported fee of £24 million. If the reported figure is accurate, it would mean that Real Madrid now boast 3 of the 4 most expensive signings in history, having spent a world record of £86 million of Gareth Bale from Tottenham last summer and £80 million on Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009.

James Rodriguez FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil vs Colombia

More on James Rodriguez:

James Rodriguez began his professional career with Colombian side Envigado before before moving down to Argentinian club Banfield at aged 17. Rodriguez became well known in Europe during his time at Porto, winning several trophies and individual awards during his 3 years at the club.

He then moved to Monaco in 2013 and played for them during the 2013-14 season, before making a move to Real Madrid with a transfer fee of around €80 million. This move made Rodriguez the most expensive Colombian in history, above Radamel Falcao.

Singapore Soccer Pitches | Singapore Soccer Fields | Singapore Soccer Courts

Klose breaks record

Klose Breaks Record

Klose Breaks Record

Miroslav Klose scores 16th World Cup goal to break the all-time World Cup goal scoring record. Germany striker Miroslav scored in the 23rd minute in the FIFA World Cup 2014 Semi Finals as Germany trashed Brazil with a convincing 7-1 scoreline to make it to the FIFA World Cup 2014 Finals.

Klose goal led to him becoming the tournament’s all time leading goalscorer with 16 goals in 23 World Cup matches. Klose had moved level with former Brazil striker Ronaldo on 15 when he scored in Germany’s 2-2 draw against Ghana in the FIFA World Cup Group Stages.

His close strike range in Belo Horizonte after a rebound put Germany 2-0 up in the last 4 clash and was his first goal in a World Cup Semi Finals. Klose said, “We are a team and it shows on the field. It’s also important that our set pieces bring results. You saw it again today. Toni puts the ball where it has to go every time and that’s a big strength.”

However, after scoring his goal against Brazil, in his 23rd World Cup Match, Miroslav Klose refrained from doing his trademark back flip. He explained, “I got hit in my left foor while attempting a shot and I was not able to do the flip.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has much praises for the veteran and the only true striker on the team. He said, “It really means a lot to all of us. This is a record. This is a record that could be beaten only by (Thomas) Mueller. We believe that he really deserves it. Because at his age, he is still playing at the highest possible level.”

Klose, 36, netted his first ever World Cup goal against Saudi Arabia in 2002 – a hat trick in an 8-0 victory over Saudi Arabia. He netted again in their next group game, a 1-1 draw with Republic of Ireland, before scoring the second in a 2-0 victory over Cameroon. (5 Goals)

During his home World Cup 4 years later in 2006, the forward found the net 5 times again, and was awarded the Golden Boot. He scored 2 goals in their 4-2 victory over Costa Rica, and 2 more in their final group game against Ecuador. Miroslav Klose final goal in the 2006 World Cup was a vital 80th minute equaliser against Argentina in the World Cup Quarter Finals, bringing the score to 1-1,with Germany eventually winning on penalties. (5 Goals)

In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Klose managed 4 more strikes, 1 in their opening 4-0 victory over Australia, 1 in their 4-1 win over England in the Round Of 16 and 2 in their 4-0 demolition of Argentina in the World Cup Quarter Finals.

He has since played in 4 World Cups and has now scored 71 goals in his 136 appearances for Germany. A deadly finisher, Klose is considered the best German striker of his generation, along with his tremendous sense of fair play.

Klose World Cup Goals

*Image courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

Brazil Appeal Thiago Silva Suspension

Brazil Appeal Thiago Silva Suspension

FIFA has confirmed that Brazil have lodge an appeal against Captain Thiago Silva’s yellow card that has seen him banned for the FIFA World Cup 2014 Semi Finals against Germany.

Thiago Silva picked up the caution against Colombia, imposed after he blocked goalkeeper David Ospina from taking a kick. As the yellow card was his second of the tournament, he was automatically suspended for a game.

The Brazilian federation (CBF) has lodged an appeal and FIFA head of media Delia Fischer said, “I can confirm we received an appeal from the CBF and this is being analysed.”

The CBF chances of success appear limited as appeals against yellow cards are not usually permitted, only red cards.

Real Madrid had appealed against midfielder Xabi Alonso being suspended for the Champions League Final after he picked up a third booking in the Semi Finals, but UEFA ruled that the appeal was inadmissible. Real Madrid went on to win 4-1 against Atletico Madrid in the Champion League Final.

Should FIFA overturn the yellow card it would be hugely controversial and would allow other teams to claim that the governing body is favouring the hosts. All existing yellow cards are now wiped from the slate for players from this stage of the tournament. This means that anyone who is booked in the FIFA World Cup 2014 Semi Finals will not risk suspension for the FIFA World Cup 2014 Finals unless they are sent off.

Brazil Neymar Ruled Out Of Finals

Neymar Ruled Out Of Finals

Neymar Ruled Out Of Finals

Brazil’s World Cup hopes received a crushing blow when the host nation’s team doctor announced that Neymar is out of the finals with a fractured vertebrae, adding to the bad news that Thiago Silva will be missing Brazil’s Semi Finals game against Germany.

Neymar, who has scored 4 goals in the tournament so far, will miss the FIFA World Cup 2014 Semi Finals against Germany in Belo Horizonte as well as the FIFA World Cup Finals should they progress. He is expected to be out for several week.

Brazil’s team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said, “Unfortunately, he’s not going to be able to play. It’s not serious in the sense that it doesn’t need surgery, but he’ll need to immobilise it to recover.”

Brazil’s poster boy Neymar has been driving his country’s bid for a 6th World Cup title with his goals and creative football talents. He went down in the 88th minute after a horrific challenge by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga and looked to be in considerable pain after what turned out to be a cracked vertebra. Neymar was then taken straight to the hospital as Brazilians across the country cheered their team’s success on home soil before the news of his injury dampened the celebrations.

Neymar injured

Colombia Juan Zuniga said that he did not deliberately try to hurt Brazil forward Neymar when he kneed him in the back, fracturing his vertebrae.

“We wanted to score, and it was a tough game. Brazil was marking strongly, I hope it’s nothing serious, let’s pray to God. On the pitch I’m defending my shirt, my country, but I didn’t expect him to fracture a vertebrae. He is a great talent for Brazil and for the World,” Juan Zuniga told the reporters. “It’s a normal reaction, I tried to shadow him. I was not thinking of hurting him. I was defending my country’s colour. Sadly it happened this way. I hope he gets well, God willing.”

Germany Deny Algeria

Germany Deny Algeria

Germany Deny Algeria In Extra Time

Andre Schuerrle and Mesut Ozil each scored in extra time to send Germany into the Quarter Finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil following a real test of their credentials against Algeria.

The Algerians posed a threat throughout the game, and had opportunities to put Joachim Loew’s team to the sword, but in the end, Germany broke the deadlock with Schuerrle and Ozil’s goals and ensured that Germany didn’t suffer a shock exit. Abdel Djabou managed to score a last-gasp consolation goal for his side.

Algeria started the game pressing high and attacking Germany. They came close to scoring within 10 minutes when Manuel Neuer was caught out of position rushing off his line to stop an attack. Islam Slimani looked set to leave the keeper in his wake 40 yards out from his goal post, but Neuer managed a last ditch tackle to spare himself from embarrassment.

The Algerians continued their attack, with Sofiane Feghouli seeing his wonderful offside diving header correctly disallowed. Germany regained control of the game towards the end of the 1st half and continued that control in the 2nd half. Yet Algeria retained a sharp threat on the break and were unlucky not to find the net when Sofiane Feghouli fizzed a shot across the face of goal.

Thomas Mueller passed up a chance to score the winner 10 minutes from time, when the Bayern Munich man headed straight at Rais M’Bohli from an unmarked position 10 yards out. Halliche was on hand to clear Schuerrle’s rebound off the line. Bastian Schweinsteiger was also wasteful from an almost identical position, guiding a weak header into the arms of the Algerian keeper, with just seconds of regulation time remaining.

Just minutes of moving into extra time, Andre Schuerrle found the net with an improvised finish from Mueller’s cross. Mesut Ozil added a second in the second half of extra time, no doubt sending Germany into the Quarter Finals, with Djabou scoring a late consolation goal.

Pogba Scores As France Oust Nigeria

A late Paul Pogba header and a Joseph Yobo own goal ensured France progressed into the Quarter Finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil, with a 2-0 victory against Nigeria, as France avoided an upset at the hands of a dangerous Nigeria side.

France Algeria 2014

The African champions had threatened a shock throughout the game, but France’s quality told in the end, with Paul Pogba making the most of a Victor Enyeama mistake to head home at the back post. The win was wrapped up in stoppage time, when Joseph Yobo deflected Antoine Griezmann’s effort into his own net, sealing a 2-0 victory for Les Bleus.

With this victory, France march into the Quarter Finals and face Germany in the last eight.

Netherlands vs Mexico

Dutch Break Mexican

Dutch Break Mexican.

Netherlands pulls off a staggering late comeback to beat Mexico 2-1 and sneak into the Quarter Finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil.

A stunning goal by Giovani Dos Santos and a string of saves from Mexico Keeper Guillermo Ochoa made it looked as if Mexico had sealed the deal to march into the Quarter Finals. They were set for the disappointment when Wesley Sneijder scored just 2 mins before 90 mins.

Louis van Gaal replaced Robin van Persie with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and was rewarded as Huntelaar was at the heart of the astonishing late comeback as Netherlands pulled off an unforgettable victory in the round of 16 knock out stages.

At the 88th minute, Huntelaar nodded down a corner for Galatasaray play maker Wesley Sneijder to drill in a stunning low shot into the bottom left corner of the goal post. The game then went into extra time and Arjen Robben won a penalty just 3 minutes into the additional 6 minutes.

wesley sneijder netherlands vs mexico

Huntelaar stepped up and sent Ochoa – whom have been nothing but impressive – the wrong way. Yet, there was much dispute over the penalty. Replays suggested that it was a highly theatrical dive from the Dutchman Arjen Robben, but he had been wrongly denied a clear penalty earlier in the game (45+2′ min) so justice was probably done in the end.

Mexico had controlled most of the matches and probably deserved to win. It was an especially bitter blow for Miguel Herrera’s spirited side, who have given their very best, especially Ochoa, whose brilliance has made him one of the heroes of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil.

Netherlands VS Greece

Netherlands now face Costa Rica in the last eight, after 10-man Costa Rica held onto a 1-1 draw in extra time to beat Greece 5-3 in the penalty shootout.

Bryan Ruiz scored 7 minutes into the 2nd half when he spotted Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis out of position and simply side-footed the ball into the bottom of the right corner from the edge of the box.

Oscar Duarte from Costa Rica was sent off 14 minutes later for a second yellow, leaving Costa Rica to play with 10-man for an hour. Costa Rica appeared to have held onto their 1-0 lead until Greek defender Sokratis chose the perfect moment to score his first international goal in injury time and equalised the game.

Fine saves from Navas in the penalty shoot out enabled Costa Rica to proceed to the Quarter Finals.

Catch more on the Netherlands Mexico & Costa Rica Greece games here!