There has been a lot of footballing action over the past week. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there’s been enough to have been able to watch at least two everyday!
Phew! That’s a lot… for some.
But not for the football fans.
From the amazing goal scored by Shaqiri to the not-so-eventful Croatia – Portugal game and the Copa America final, football has given all a whole lot to talk about this past week.
And out of all the events that happened, I’ve selected a few to talk about (or write about?).
-Rangers International Can Win the Nigerian Professional Football League
At least the Enugu side are playing like they want to. On Friday, Rangers entertained Warri Wolves, beat them 2-1 and OUTPLAYED them by all means!
Rangers were the FASTER, BETTER and STRONGER side of the evening as they showed off title-winning potentials: A great defense line, midfielders that can continuously string out defense-splitting passes to either find out wingers with amazing speed or pick out strikers who finish with aplomb.
May sound exaggerating but it’s not. Really.
Their flankers had some sort of terrifying speed that the Warri Wolves could not defend against. And everytime Rangers attacked, they seemed like they would score.
Maybe Enyimba should be looking over their shoulders (and ahead of them too as Rangers are now second on the NPFL table with the Aba Elephants currently sixth) as it seems another club is playing like they want the NPFL trophy so badly.
Portgual’s Lucky Euro 2016 Run (or not?)
I’m not even sure if those are the right words to describe Portugal’s run so far in the Euro 2016. Might need a, erm, more luckier word than the word “lucky.”
From not winning any of their group games to qualifying out of their group as a “Best Loser”, you’d have thought Portugal had been lucky enough.
They were drawn against Croatia in the second round and the people’s verdict was simple and straight-forward: Portugal are out of Euro 2016. Some, not all the people.
But Mama Luck wasn’t done with C. Ronaldo and co just yet. Portugal which did not have any shot-on-target in the entire 90 minutes, managed to scored the winning goal with their second shot-on-target in the 117th minute.
Croatia, the favourites, were sent home. Portugal, the underdogs, move a step closer to glory.
Now let me ask: If that wasn’t luck, I’m wondering, what could it be?
Nigeria and the CAF World Cup Qualifiers’ Group of Death
Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia. All of these countries in one group in a football competition.
If it was a normal football tournament where two countries could qualify, as a Nigerian, I wouldn’t have been too worried. The Euro 2016 scenario, where a “Best Loser” could still qualify, would have been even more calming.
But you can imagine how skeptical I was, as a Nigerian, when I remembered it was a World Cup Qualifier and ONLY one team could get the ticket to, this time, Russia 2018.
I started to think: How could a team without a coach beat the likes of Algeria after the Nigeria – Egypt AFCON qualifiers experience? Cameroon? Can the Super Eagles even beat Zambia?
The topic was raised on the blog’s forum (reach me here if you want to join in the discussion). All (myself included), except one (out of 40), concluded that Nigeria could not make it out of that group and qualify for Russia.
The debate shifted to the possible positions Nigeria could finish in. The conclusion? Majority seemed to think Nigeria would finish either second or third.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.
Copa America Final
Even though the competition in the U.S.A was overwhelmed by the Euros, the Copa America caught it’s own fair share of the media’s eye.
While the competition was on, it was hard to ignore scorelines like Chile’s white-washing of Mexico 0-7 and Argentina’s 4-0 thrashing of the USMNT.
But the final was the mega one. The clash of the titans. Chile vs Argentina. Names were pitched against names, head-to-head and all. In the end, Chile beat Argentina 4-2 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.
And there were two major talking points. No, make that three:
– Messi missed a penalty.
– The win meant Chile had now beaten Argentina to the Copa back-to-back.
– Alexis Sanchez was voted the tourney’s MVP.
– Messi cried.
– Messi retired.
– Messi, with Argentina, had successfully missed out on 3 trophies, in the last 3 summers, back-to-back-to-back.
Just in case you’re wondering, I just multiplied Argentina’s back-to-back-to-back trophy losses with Chile’s back-to-back trophy wins. There you go. 6 talking points!
But Why Did Vardy Turn Arsenal Down?
It’s been one of those weird seasons where every Arsenal fan seem to know which player Arsene Wenger will buy. Usually, they’re always in the dark, not knowing which rabbit the Frenchman would pull out of his hat.
I don’t think much expected the Arsenal-Vardy links. But the news kept getting stronger and speculations were rife.
Some football fans were not sure what to think of the move. Leicester had just qualified for the UEFA Champions League. So why leave the Foxes for the Gunners?
Over the week, Vardy signed a new four-year contract with Leicester and “dashed” all hopes of an Arsenal move.
But, why did he turn down Arsenal? Or any other move for that matter? What will another season with Leicester prove?
The Week of Retirements
When a Swedish king like Zlatan Ibrahimovic decides to retire from international football, it’s a sad day.
Like as if it couldn’t get any sadder, Leo Messi the Argentine Legend, decided to quit international football too! Two super stars leaving the international football scene!
For Ibrahimovic, maybe the age factor was one that played a big role in causing him to hang the “International Boots.” But I’m still unsure why Messi decided to quit on Argentina at such a “young and tender” age of 29.
Three final losses in a row could be disheartening enough to make anyone give up. But even though Leo has “hung” his international boots, I’m sure the Argentina FA (AFA) will be scheming several ways to “unhang” those boots.
If you haven’t seen Shaqiri’s goal against Poland, you should check it out. One of the best of the Euro 2016 so far.
I can’t emphasize enough, the beautiful penalty-takers that Poland have. Against Switzerland, they kept rifling spotkicks into the top corner of the net!
Do you have any additions to my list? Something that caught your eye over the past week? Let me know! Share with me and others in the comments section below.
Also, don’t forget to share this great post with your friends. Sharing is caring! Share it with them and they’ll thank you. 😉
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn