Soccer predictions for 2012
Spain beat Germany 1-0 in the Euro 2008 final, and by the same score in the 2010 World Cup semifinal, one of the best games in the tournament. If, as expected, the two sides meet again in the Euro 2012 final, this time there might be a different outcome -- and a new dominant force in world football.
PSG will not be the only beneficiaries of Qatari funding next year. Broadcaster Al-Jazeera has agreed to a €90M-per-year deal ($117M) to show Ligue 1 matches, and a €60M-per-year deal ($78M) for Champions League game. English clubs' summer failures to sign the likes of Yann M'Vila, Andre Ayew, Eden Hazard and Blaise Matuidi show that the talent drain from France to England is already slowing down. With the extra funding, France will soon become an attractive option for top players.
This season Real Madrid is a true Mourinho side, no longer reliant solely on Cristiano Ronaldo's brilliance. Despite its weaknesses, which were apparent in losing the
Balotelli is also becoming an important player for Italy, in good time, too, given its injury concerns over Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano. "He is beginning to understand that he cannot waste his talent," Mancini said. And we are beginning to see just how talented he is.
It's not just in the UK. German referee Babak Rafati tried to commit suicide because he was afraid of making mistakes, his solicitor told
"In professional soccer, there are many people suffering from psychologically- related conditions," Dr Mark Nesti, author of
Reng wants his book to help depressives find more sympathy and understanding, while Collymore's honesty and hard work is achieving the same thing -- and about time too.
Capello will leave after Euro 2012 and the FA has already said that his successor will be English. Harry Redknapp is the huge favorite, certainly among the press if not the FA, while other candidates include Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew and maybe even Hoddle again. One thing is sure: He will be English. At least that way, the national team's failures can be blamed on soccer, and not translation problems or cultural differences.
Samuel Eto'o currently earns £330,000 per week ($511,000) at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, while Asamoah Gyan is on £125,000 per week ($193,000)at UAE club Al-Ain.Diego Maradona is a coach in the same league, at Al-Wasl, while Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour also bankrolls Al Jazira.
Next summer, Alessandro Del Piero and Michael Ballack will be on the market. Both players have been linked with MLS sides, but given the new options available to them now, their arrivals may not be as certain as previously thought.
International soccer may typically work in two-year cycles from a tournament perspective, but the men on the bench, particularly Loew, Van Marwijk and Del Bosque, each of whom is trying to make his own history, are now looking longer-term.
But wouldn't it be interesting to see how Loew or Van Marwijk would cope at a big European club?
Udinese sold the spine of its team, and its three best players in the summer -- Cristian Zapata to Villarreal, Gokhan Inler to Napoli and Alexis Sanchez to Barcelona -- and yet is still a serious contender for the Scudetto. Coach Francesco Guidolin, who changed last season's 4-3-3 formation into a 3-5-1-1, deserves great credit, as do the scouts who found the current generation of stars: Samir Handanovic, the goalkeeper signed from Slovenian side NK Domzale for £40,000 ($619,000) now worth €20M ($26.5M) and among the best in the world; defender Mehdi Benatia, signed as a free agent from Clermont and now tracked by Manchester United and Chelsea; and Pablo Armero, who cost $1.5M from Palmeiras, and wanted by Real Madrid.