The Nigerian national team has declared war against Iceland after their 2-0 loss to Croatia in the first game. The team has been much derided back home after the huge disappointment, conceding goals from set-pieces and failing to be productive in the final third.
Iceland impressed, playing a 1-1 draw against Argentina in the opener. They are seeking to continue strongly against the African giants on Friday in Volgograd. The players will be reunited with their families on Thursday, ahead of the key fixture against Nigeria.
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Czech Republic pinned down Netherlands in their 2016 qualifying match in a game that came out with a very surprising result as the team that came in 3rd place during the 2014 edition of the World Cup lost against a side that did not even manage to qualify into the worldwide tournament.
Netherlands travelled to the Generali Arena in order to play one of their 2016 qualifying matches against Czech Republic and it a dramatic last few minutes of game a late goal from Pilar secured the victory for the hosts.
The 25 year old midfielder Borek Dockal who plays for Sparta Prague kicked things off for Czech Republic as he scored the opening goal of the match after 21 minutes had passed with a left-footed strike that managed to get it’s way into the net of Netherlands’ goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen who could do nothing to deny the ball from passing the goal-line.
Memphis Depay was without doubt the best player in the pitch for Netherlands as he constantly tried to break upfront and find space to score but the player of PSV was denied over and over by Petr Cech.
As the timer ticked down Netherlands continuously tried to get back in the game and pushed more players upfront with hopes of achieving their objective and Stefan de Vrij accomplished the task as he scored the equalizing goal through a header at the 55th minute and was able to connect with the cross that was launched by Daley Blind and put it past Petr Cech.
The match was reaching its last stages and both sides seemed to be rather content with a draw but a mistake from the defender of Netherlands, Daryl Janmaat awarded the victory to Czech Republic. The defender of Newcastle United made a surprising blunder with a header that fell right into the path of Stefan de Vrij as the 25 year old midfielder did not hesitate in scoring from close range a late goal that gifted Czech Republic the crucial victory in their journey of making it into the 2016 Euro’s.
Belgian international Thibaut Courtois, who has returned to Chelsea, says that he wants to challenge Petr Cech for the first-team spot while also learning from the Czech Republic stopper. Cech is regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in modern history. The 32-year-old, however, has not been up to his usual standards since the horrific head injury that he suffered in 2007. This has not stopped him from being a regular first-team player for Chelsea and he has been quite successful as well. Over the last decade, he has won several trophies with the blues including the Champions League in 2012.
However, his position at the club is being challenged after the return of Courtois. The Belgian international has matured into one of the finest goalkeepers after his three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid. Signed as a 19-year-old from Belgian club Genk, even Chelsea would not have imagined the swift progress from the goalkeeper. Due to his age, he is seen as the natural replacement for Cech, but that replacement could come sooner than expected. It is highly speculated that Courtois will be Chelsea’s number one from the new season while Cech is expected to be sold.
Courtois, though, says that Cech still remains a great goalkeeper and he wants to learn from him.
“Petr has had a really nice 10 years here. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Every goalkeeper can have a type of thing they are usually good at so when you see them train you can learn from them. It helps you during your training. I signed with Chelsea three years ago but because of the loan it took until today to have my first training session, so I’m really happy to be here. There will be a battle to be in the starting XI but that’s good,” said Courtois.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento has confirmed that he will not resign from his post should Portugal fail to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup. The team were disastrous start to the World Cup 2014 after losing their opening match against Germany 4-0. Since then, it has been downhill for the Portuguese, but they did manage a late equaliser against United States to get at least a point from the match. They go into the final match against Ghana looking to get a victory. However, they will be able to qualify only if other results go their way.
United States take on Germany in the other match and Portugal need a combination of several results coupled with a high-scoring win over the in order to take them into the last 16. As it is almost certain that they will be returning home much earlier than expected, pressure is on Bento to resign. However, he has confirmed that he will remain in the job as long as the Portuguese football Federation want him. Portugal have been one of the disappointing aspects of the World Cup. Much was expected from Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the tournament, but he has failed to score in the opening two matches.
It also has been a major reason behind Portugal’s poor form. “What exactly do you want me to answer? If I’m going to continue with the team? I have repeated many times, the situation is very specific, very peaceful. The federation trust me and the president trusts me, this goes way back. The same with the qualification, [before the crucial matches] against Azerbaijan and Israel. They never failed to trust me and they trust me now,” said Bento.
Portugal went into the play-off match against Sweden in a similar situation, but they won it quite comfortably.
Petr Cech sustained a shoulder injury on April 22 when playing the Champions League match against Athletic Madrid which forced the Czech shot-stopper on having to miss out on the last 4 matches that Chelsea played before the conclusion of the season.
Arsenal is now considering the possibility of signing Petr Cech from Chelsea as the 32 years old goalkeeper will have to fight for his place in the Premier League club when Thibaut Courtois makes his return to Chelsea.
When the Belgian goalkeeper was asked about his future, he replied by saying:
“If I move somewhere, I will play. With my age, what I want, the most important thing for me is to play. We will see what happens. But Petr Cech is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he won the golden glove in the Premier League, and I have a lot of respect for him, so we will see what Chelsea decide and what they plan to do. You guys will see the decision then.” Courtois said.
Courtois has made it very clear that he desire to be the main goalkeeper in whatever club he performs and if indeed, he does return to Chelsea the spot in between the posts will have to be battled off between him and Petr Cech.
At his 32 years of age, Petr Cech is a player who has attracted the attention of clubs around the world and if Jose Mourinho decide on selling in order to make way for Courtois it might just be the best option as the cash injection will give Mourinho the cash injection that he needs in order to sign some of summer targets including: Diego Costa.
Jose Mourinho and his squad made a slip-up which has given Liverpool more breathing space at the top of the Premier League. Chelsea suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat against the relegation threatened club Sunderland and now the league title is in the hands of Liverpool and it will be theirs as long as they don’t drop any points during the remainder of the season.
Chelsea has been hit with a further blow as they received news concerning the condition of Petr Cech and John Terry. Both of them sustained injuries during the Champions League match against Athletic Madrid and medical scans have revealed that neither of them will be available to play for the remaining matches of the campaign.
Jose Mourinho said: “Petr Cech’s season is over. Don’t ask me technically, but season over and John but we have to play the final for him to play with us.”
“We had problems before the game, we had problems during the game, we lost four players during the game, two with injuries, two with yellow cards, but we will fight. Ivanovic is back, Schwarzer showed clearly that we can trust him. People that are not playing a lot, like for example Ashley Cole, put in an amazing performance.”
The 1st leg of the Champions League match against Athletic Madrid concluded with a 0-0 draw but Mourinho was happy about the result as everything will be decided when they play on April 30 at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho also went on talking about his priorities in charge of Chelsea as he said that the Premier League is not his main focus and the Portuguese coach is even considering resting some of his key players during their Premier League match against Liverpool and instead prepare them for the 2nd leg of the Champions League which is scheduled to be played only 3 days later.
Czech Republic star Tomas Rosicky has stated that Arsenal need to match the aggression of Stoke City if they are to come away from the Britannia stadium with three points. Arsenal will be under pressure to get a win at this ground where they have struggled in recent years. They have managed just one win in the last seven visits to this ground. Since they are in the midst of a title race, Arsenal cannot afford to drop any more points between now and the end of the season. Poor form in February has already cost the team heavily, as they have slipped to third in the table.
Rosicky has been an important player for Arsenal this season, as he has finally managed to overcome his injury problems of recent years. He recently extended his spell at Arsenal with the new one-year contract, which appears to have put down rumours surrounding his future. He only had a few months left on his contract before signing this new deal. He may have scored only two goals throughout the season, but his overall play has helped his teammates find the back of the net on a regular basis. Rosicky will not be going to the World Cup after this Czech Republic national team failed to qualify for the tournament.
He will now be looking to get to the national team back on track by qualifying for Euro 2016.
“[I‘m expecting] a typical game when you go to Stoke. It’s always very similar – they are a very physical side, very aggressive and it’s a very tough place to go. All the away games are pretty similar so we need to be really well prepared [for a] physical and aggressive style of play. We need to match them in those attributes,” said the 33-year-old ahead of the match.
Czech Republic national team boss Pavel Vrba has targeted Euro 2016 qualification after the nation missed out on reaching the World Cup 2014 party. Czech Republic were one of the favourites to qualify for this tournament, but they suffered badly in the qualifying stages. This led to the appointment of Vrba recently, and he has said that the national team will be playing in the same attacking sense that his team of FC Vikoria Plzeň have done before his exit in 2013. Vikoria Plzeň gained a reputation for their style of football, and Vrba wants to introduce this into the national team as well.
After their failure to reach the World Cup, Vrba has already begun work on qualifying for the European Championships. He says that the nation has witnessed a boom with regard to attacking and he wants to use this for the national team as well. Vrba will learn the opponents in the European Championship qualifying stages next week, as the draw is conducted for this by UEFA. Former manager Michal Bílek resigned in September, and Vrba was the overwhelming favourite to take over.
Vrba says that he has had the advantage of training players of almost every age. This may come in handy when dealing with stars like Petr Cech, who are at the top of the game.
“I want the national side to play as Plzeň did, to copy their successful attacking football in some way. The Czech league has seen a recent boom in attacking styles that prevail over defensive. I want to capitalise on this trend. That said, a successful coach is the one with successful results. My great advantage is that I have trained teams at all age categories: I started with the smallest footballers and gradually went up to senior level,” said Vrba.
After a furious of suffering from numerous injuries, Tomas Rosicky is finally up to his best and he has been playing regular football with his club team Arsenal. He is one of the important members of the Czech Republic national team, who have failed to qualify for the World Cup 2014. Even though the 33-year-old will not be featuring at the World Cup, national team manager Pavel Vrba does not see the reason why the midfielder should continue playing until he is 36 years of age. As a result, Vrba believes that the Euro 2016 will be the last major tournament for Rosicky if Czech Republic qualify for it.
Preparations have already started in order to not get disappointed for the second major tournament running. This has been one of the talented Czech Republic teams in recent years with the presence of players like Petr Cech and Rosicky, but they failed to live up to expectations partly because most of the players are ageing. Vrba was recently appointed as the national team manager. A run of two victories in the final qualifying matches against Malta and Bulgaria were not enough to prevent Czech Republic from going out of the competition in the qualifying stages itself.
Rosicky has been a crucial player for Arsenal this season, as they continue to dominate the table.
“It’s all about health. I see no reason why Tomas should not play on until he is 38. Pavel Horvath is also older, but he is one of the key players over in Plzen, and the people love him. When I saw Tomas last, I saw no reason for him not to make it. We met with Mr Wenger, which for us was very informative. He himself said that Tomas has had one of his best phases during his time at Arsenal,” said Vrba.
Czech Republic have appointed Pavel Vrba as their new manager and he is expected to join the national team from next month onwards. The nation recently failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2014, which led to the resignation of Michal Bílek, who had been the national team manager since 2009. Since then, the national team has not been extraordinary in major tournaments, while they also missed out on qualifying for some of the tournaments as well. This is despite boasting a very strong team that includes the likes of Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky.
Vrba is currently in charge of Viktoria Plzen, who have been involved in the Champions League group stages this season. They have faced the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester city in the group stages so for, but their future is now up in the air. They have failed to get any credit worthy results in the group stages being the rank outsiders. City and Bayern Munich have already sealed progression to the next stage, which leaves Viktoria Plzen with little options going forward.
Viktoria Plzen have agreed to release the manager from December 15 onwards. Czech Republic’s chances of qualifying look bright. They were in the same group containing Italy and Denmark, but they could finish only in the third place. Bílek left the national team back in September, and they have been in charge of Josef Pesice. “Obviously I am delighted that we have got a coach who has had many great results and is respected and supported by footballing authorities and public alike,” said Vrba after the Czech Republic FA announced the deal.
Vrba has been extremely successful with his club team over the last few years, as he has guided them to several league titles. The Champions League group stage qualification is also a feather in the cap for him.