Cristiano Ronaldo Leads Portugal to Euro 2016 Success

Cristiano Ronaldo Leads Portugal to Euro 2016 Success

After a slow start to the tournament, Ronaldo found his scoring touch with two goals in a 3-3 draw with Hungary to secure a place in the last 16 against Croatia.

Cristiano Ronaldo Leads Portugal to Euro 2016 SuccessThe Real Madrid star has been embroiled in controversy off the field after being filmed throwing a reporter’s microphone into a lake and accusing Iceland of having a “small mentality” following their 1-1 draw earlier in Portugal’s opening game.

But Nani believes his brace against Hungary has boosted Ronaldo’s confidence and expects his compatriot to find the net again when Portugal take on Croatia in Lens on Saturday night.

“Everyone knows Cristiano and what he can do at any time, in any minute in a game. I am 100 per cent sure he will go on and score more goals now,” Nani told reporters in France.

“No one can say anything against him. He is a fantastic player. He showed it again against Hungary when everyone was talking about him – he has shut them all up now.

“I think Cristiano (Ronaldo) has always been there, always playing well for us throughout the tournament.”

Portugal failed to win any of their three games en route to a third-place finish in Group F behind Hungary and Iceland but Nani insists the belief in the squad is still high.

“Any team we play, we must believe we can win so it doesn’t matter who we will face now,” he added.

“It will be difficult against Croatia. They have one day more than us to rest but we are professional, so we will get a quick rest and prepare for the game.”

Amazing Cristiano Ronaldo’s Goal in EURO 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player to score in four UEFA European Championship final tournaments and is just one goal behind Michel Platini’s record total of nine.

Amazing Cristiano Ronaldo's Goal in EURO 2016Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals against Hungary have made him the first player to score in four UEFA European Championship final tournaments.

Both Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimović struck in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 final tournaments, and now the Portugal forward has gone one better. Coincidentally, in the Hungary match, Ronado also set a new record of 17 finals appearances in this competition.

In all Ronaldo has eight finals goals, one behind the total Platini managed solely in 1984. He will have the chance to claim that record too in the knockout phase.

Ronaldo’s appearance record

Top scorers at EURO final tournaments

9: Michel Platini (France)
8: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
7: Alan Shearer (England)
6: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden)
6: Thierry Henry (France)
6: Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands)
6: Nuno Gomes (Portugal)
6: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands)

Players who have scored at three or more UEFA European Championship final tournaments

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2004 v Greece, Netherlands
2008 v Czech Republic
2012 v Netherlands (2), Czech Republic
2016 v Hungary (2)

Nuno Gomes (Portugal)
2000 v England, Turkey (2), France
2004 v Spain
2008 v Germany

Thierry Henry (France)
2000 v Denmark, Czech Republic, Portugal
2004 v Switzerland (2)
2008 v Netherlands

Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden)
2004 v Bulgaria, Italy
2008 v Greece, Spain
2012 v Ukraine, France

Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany)
1988 v Denmark
1992 v Netherlands
1996 v Russia (2), Croatia

Hélder Postiga (Portugal)
2004 v England
2008 v Germany
2012 v Denmark

Vladimír Šmicer (Czech Republic)
1996 v Russia
2000 v Denmark (2)
2004 v Netherlands

World Cup, day six

The cup has reached critical mass today as we have seen all of the teams in action and can begin to predict potential group outcomes based on their upcoming matches.

The presented predictions for and takeaways from each group, though, are derived not just from projecting similar form for each team in the succeeding matches as they have shown in the ones just concluded. Instead the predictions include the assumption that the upsets-and-poor-performance pendulum has swung as far as it will and must now come back to normalcy.

This means we are in for another round of results different from what we may have assumed would take place given the crazy results so far.

In Group A, Brazil and Mexico have four points each, Croatia and Cameroon have zero, but the Africans are ahead on goal differential. This means that if the leaders tie their last games they are both into the next round. Croatia and Cameroon would have to win both their games to progress and though the Europeans look strong enough to do this the Cameroonians do not. So assuming Croatia beats Cameroon, the critical game of this group will be the Mexico-Croatia match with the winner progressing with Brazil, which will no doubt beat Cameroon.

Takeaway: Brazil may meet Spain in the next round and the Iberians, who are the better team, will be back to their world class form while the Brazilians will pay the price for Scolari’s choices. There is a good chance the hosts will not make it to the quarter finals.

In Group B, the game tomorrow between Chile and Spain is now only one of several critical group games and Australia can play the spoiler. The Dutch play Australia next and will win that game handily while trying to pad the score line, bringing them to six points and several goals to the positive. Australia will be eliminated having accumulated two losses by then but how many goals they allow will become critical.

Spain will also beat Australia so the Iberian’s cup boils down to beating Chile, while the South Americans have their two toughest games coming up but only need to tie them to progress. Chile is strong enough to pull off the two-tie scenario but this group has become a gamble. If Spain beats Chile, and I believe they will, the Europeans will only progress on six points if they can get the additional goals they need to overcome their -4 goal differential.

If Chile loses to Spain but wins against the Netherlands, which is a real possibility, then goal differential will tell the tale. It could be that Chile’s narrow win over Australia or Spain’s clobbering by the Dutch become the Achilles heel for either the South Americans or Iberians. But the fun will be to see the two European giants match up against Chile knowing all three teams are playing must-win games. I now see Spain coming in second to Holland as the two European teams progress.

Takeaway: See Group A takeaway. If Holland flies on the wings of their Spanish victory and progresses as the top team of Group B they will most likely meet Croatia and Italy in that order, and beat them both before reaching the semi-finals for a true classic match-up against eventual winner Argentina.

In Group C, Colombia’s performance would indicate they will move on as the top team. Greece and Japan do not seem strong enough to keep up with the Ivory Coast and thus the South Americans and Africans should progress here.

Takeaway: Colombia might meet Uruguay in the Group of 16 and if Suarez is healthy I think the Uruguayans take it, if not, the Colombians move on. Ivory Coast will probably meet and lose to Italy.

In Group D, Costa Rica has a very hard road to progress and both Italy and England need to beat them. Uruguay meanwhile has put itself in a bind by probably needing to beat both Italy and England to progress. I see Italy beating Costa Rica and doing no worse than a tie with Uruguay and with seven points that would make them the top team in the group. The England-Uruguay game will be the clincher here. If England win and beat Costa Rica they are in and if Uruguay win and only tie Italy, they are in. It is the second scenario that I think will happen, but it will all come down to the fitness of Luis Suarez.

Takeaway: Italy takes the group and loses to Holland in the quarterfinals after beating the Ivory Coast. Uruguay progress with Suarez healthy but England move on if the striker is still not fit. But whichever team moves on they get no further than the quarterfinals.

In Group E, France has taken the driver’s seat and should be able to beat Switzerland. The Swiss will have to beat Honduras to progress, but if Ecuador beats Honduras and France then goal differential will tell the tale. The group, though, would seem to hinge on which Ecuador team takes the pitch next. If it is the one that played so tough during CONMEBOL qualifying then France and Honduras will be put to a very hard test. If it is the team that could not hold a 1-0 or 1-1 score line then the Swiss and French will move on. This group is wide open, but France has the edge, while Ecuador still has an outside chance if it wakes up, and Switzerland is poised to guide its own destiny if it can pull a win over Honduras and a tie with France.

Takeaway: France will move on as the top team because they have found their top form at just the right time and if they can keep it they make it to the quarterfinals and then lose to Germany. Whichever team comes out second will lose to Argentina in the next round.

In Group F, Argentina and Bosnia will move on.

Takeaway: Argentina builds up steam and makes it to the finals where they will meet Spain or Brazil and lose to either of them. Bosnia will lose to France in the Group of 16.

In Group G, Portugal is in greater trouble than Spain is in its group, because Cristiano Ronaldo is simply not fit. The Germans seem too strong to do anything but win against the USA and Ghana and even with the USA’s recent heroics, their next two games are not against the likes of Ghana. The hope for the Americans is that Portugal will be without Pepe and Fabio Coentrao, on top of an injured Ronaldo. But the reality is that the Iberians are stronger than either the USA or Ghana, without those mentioned players having to contribute. I still see Germany and Portugal progressing here in that order.

Takeaway: Germany meets Spain in the semifinals and loses if the officiating is fair. In the finals the Spaniards find their top form while the Argentines have a drop of form and the champions retain their title.

In Group H, I see Russia and Korea beating Algeria but only Russia looks strong enough to keep up with the Belgians. My prediction here is the Belgians and Russians move on.

Takeaway: Belgium will meet Portugal or Germany and lose to Germany, and to Portugal if Ronaldo is healthy. But they will move past Portugal if the striker is not fit. If they move beyond Portugal they will lose to Argentina. Bosnia will lose to France in the Group of 16.

This is how I see it after watching all of the teams play, what do you think?

USA pull off agonizing World Cup win over Ghana

Monday, the USA pulled off a stunning 2-1 World Cup victory after an agonizing battle with Ghana in the two nations’ 2014 debut in Group G action at Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil for a crowd of 39,760. Ghana knocked the USA out of World Cup in 2010 and 2006 and made a brutal attempt in 2014, but the tenacious and sometimes ragtag U.S. squad persevered. The USA’s future is now a lot brighter as to advancing out of Group, especially now that Germany whopped Portugal 4-0 in the other Group G match today.

An early goal by Clint Dempsey, assisted by Jermaine Jones in the 34th second – the sixth fastest goal in all World Cup history – put the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead 1-0 and sprang an early urgency by Ghana. But the United States suffered a crippling setback when target forward Jozy Altidore pulled up with a hamstring injury in only the 21st minute.

Young Aron Johannsson stepped in for the U.S. striker, but was overwhelmed by the ferocity of the opponent and no real replacement. Ghana attacked with vengeance. An ugly tackle broke Dempsey’s nose with a kick to his face – and went unsanctioned – and shortly after, centerback Matt Besler began to grab his leg. The exultation of the go-ahead goal quickly transformed into a stomach-churning nightmare with the injuries and USA falling back to defend with slender midfield presence, despite stars Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman. Rugged Jones, above all players, kept the USA in the game.

Fans bit their nails and threw back a couple extras in anticipation of the seemingly inevitable implosion of the U.S. National Team, but the tenacious squad hung on – minute by grueling minute – in an awkward struggle for survival. They lasted till the 82nd minute when Andre Ayew, assisted by Asamoah Gyan, put in the equalizer and the result looked grim as Ghana continued to attack. But four minutes later, Besler substitute John Brooks, in his fifth all-time appearance, connected with a Graham Zusi corner kick and soared skyward to head in the game-winning goal, sending fans over the top. With the game-winning goal, young Brooks become the first USMNT substitute to ever score a goal in a FIFA World Cup.

Despite the makeshift line-up, the USA slayed the dragon of Ghana and now move on to face Portugal in Group G action on Sunday, June 22, who will be without defender Pepe, red carded in their 4-0 loss to Germany. The USA now stand second to Germany in Group G, followed by Ghana and fourth Portugal. Only the top two teams in Group advance to the Quarterfinals.

Dempsey became the first USMNT player to score in three separate FIFA World Cups and also ties for third on the USA list with Brian McBride. Goalkeeper Tim Howard broke the USMNT goalkeeping record for starts with his 100th on Monday, surpassing the previous record of 99 held by Kasey Keller. Defender DaMarcus Beasley became the first U.S. player to make an appearance in four World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014).

Monday’s starting group featured left back Beasley, right back Fabian Johnson and center backs Geoff Cameron, who played like a lion, and Besler. The midfield consisted of Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, Beckerman at defensive midfield and Bradley at the top of the diamond with Altidore and Dempsey on top.

The USA is now 32-11-8 all-time under Klinsmann.

USL PRO launches online store at

Tuesday, USL PRO launched the USL PRO Shop, the league’s new online merchandise and apparel outlet in partnership with SOCCER.COM, the largest global online soccer apparel retailer. The USL PRO partnership with SOCCER.COM provides the league and its teams with a mainstream outlet through the retailer’s distribution.

Founded in 1984, SOCCER.COM reaches more than six million households annually through soccer catalog and online sales and has partnered with world-renowned teams and events including the FIFA 2014 World Cup, UEFA Champions League, the 2012 UEFA European Championships, Major League Soccer, Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, AC Milan, Manchester United FC, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Santos, FC Bayern Munich, and the Mexican Football Federation.

“The USL PRO shop complements the existing merchandising operations of USL PRO teams, extending their reach throughout North America,” USL Executive Director of League Growth and Partnerships Steven Short said. “This a valuable asset for USL PRO and its teams as the league’s profile continues to grow and more and more fans want to show support for their favorite teams.

Throughout the season the new USL PRO store will include expansion teams and additional items related to USL PRO events.

Division 3 USL PRO features 14 teams in 2014, including expansion teams in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Sacramento. Teams have already been announced for 2015 in Austin, Colorado Springs, Louisville, St. Louis and Tulsa, with more additions expected soon. In 2013 USL PRO began a partnership with MLS that features individual team affiliations, inter-league play, and the opportunity for MLS clubs to field a second team in USL PRO. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and also domestic and international exhibitions.

Revolution’s World Cup Watch Party coming to House of Blues

On Sunday, June 22, the New England Revolution will host a World Cup Watch Party at House of Blues on Lansdowne Street when the USA take on Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo in World Cup Group play. The match will be shown on a large screen on the stage.

The U.S. Men’s National Team vanquished Ghana 2-1 in its first World Cup action on Monday and Portugal is next on the agenda. Currently, the USA stand second in Group G after Germany, who it will face on Thursday, June 26.

Admission to the event is free and the watch party is expected to reach capacity. A similar watch party at House of Blues for the USA-England match drew 1,200 fans. The doors open at 5 p.m. and the World Cup match kicks off at 6 p.m. Fans coming to the watch party are encouraged to arrive early and the first 200 people through the House of Blues doors will receive a free “For Club and Country” scarf as a gift.

Revolution players will be among the many VIPs in attendance, along with president Brian Bilello and Revolution broadcast announcer Brad Feldman.

A raffle and silent auction featuring signed merchandise from around the soccer world will be held at the event, with all proceeds benefiting AmericaSCORES Boston, which uses youth development programming based around soccer, academics and the arts to inspire Boston youth to have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world.

WHEN: Sunday, June 22, 2014
5:00 p.m. – Doors Open
6:00 p.m. – U.S./Portugal Kick-off

WHERE: House of Blues Boston
15 Lansdowne Street
Boston, Mass. 02215

Pele fails to see World Cup match due to massive gridlock in São Paulo

BELO HORIZONTE- Sometimes not even one of the greatest players of all time has the potential to make it to some matches. That was what occured with Pelé on Tuesday as he was one of several people in São Paulo that were stuck in traffic as the rush was on to head home before the match began.
Doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it?

Well the problem was that there was a 300km gridlock in the Brazilian megalopolis despite Tuesday, according to the city’s CET (Traffic and Engineering sector). This chaos occurred despite it being one of six potential national holidays designated by the government throughout the coming month.

Pelé was unable to get home in time for kickoff but was still able to watch the second half of the scoreless draw between the Scratch du Oro and El Tri on Tuesday as Group A began their second round of matches.

“It was the first time in my life I had to follow a Brazil match from my car,” he said in an interview with Globo after the scoreless draw between the Scratch du Oro and El Tri at the Arena Castelão in Fortaleza.

During the interview he talked about how much he suffered listening to the match while he was stuck in the traffic jam.

Brazil will now play Cameroon at the Estadio Mané Garrincha in Brasilia as a win will automatically qualify them to the next round. They would also have to wait and see what happens in the match between Croatia and Mexico at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife. A win for Croatia, in combination with a win against Cameroon would see them advance to the next round over El Tri.

If Mexico were to win, then the tie-break between them and the host nation would have to go down to goal differential.

Socceroos win hearts but lose match

They may have won plenty of respect but their World Cup hopes are over as Australia fell to a shattering 3-2 loss to Netherlands in Porto Allegre on Wednesday afternoon.
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After a horrible start in their match against Chile all eyes were on the Socceroos early and they showed a much improved effort as they dominated the opening stages, passing the ball around with confidence early on.

In the 19th minute, after a slow start, Holland broke through as Arjen Robben beat Alex Wilkinson, allowing him to make a powerful run and shot low and hard leaving Mat Ryan with no chance.

But that lead was incredibly short lived as Tim Cahill scored perhaps the most phenomenal goal of his career as he hit a volley over his shoulder and over the goalkeeper’s head for a real contender for goal of the tournament to pull Australia level just one minute later.

Australia continued on in the second half and as the half started to draw to a close Australia could very well have made it two as Matthew Leckie sent in a ball for Mark Bresciano who could only send his effort over the bar.

The Socceroos continued to be the stronger side and they continued to pressure as Matthew Spiranoic was put in space on a set-piece but couldn’t get his shot on target.

Tommy Oar had the last chance of the half as he was able to get through the Dutch defense but was denied as his shot was blocked, allowing Holland to clear.

Australia started the second half under pressure, but after Oliver Bozanic came on in the 50th minute the match turned, and Bozanic forced a handball to earn a penalty.

That allowed captain MIle Jedinak to step up and hit a penalty that sent the keeper the wrong way to give Australia a stunning 2-1 lead.

Australia probably should have had three as some bad Dutch defending allowed Cahill to send a ball over the top for Matt McKay, but it was over hit, sending McKay wide, making life difficult for him.

But for Australia missing out on that chance proved costly, as minutes later Australia were made to play as Robin van Persie found space in the box and shot, finding an equalizer after a Ryan error.

Tommy Oar was left wide open in the box and had a golden opportunity to score but was denied as he made a poor decision, crossing in, letting Holland off the hook.

Holland made Australia pay instantly, as they ran down the field and had Memphis Depay hit a swerving shot, that caught Ryan out and put Holland back in front.

Holland tried to find some goals late on as Australia tired, but some good goalkeeping from Ryan kept them out, unfortunately the Socceroos couldn’t find another goal.

Australia fell but they won a lot of foreign fans, with the American North American Soccer League tweeting after the match “If you’re not Dutch and your heart’s not broken, you don’t have a heart.” It will be scant consolation for Australia but the future definitely looks bright for the Socceroos, who still lead Spain.