Brazil first to qualify

In March 2017 Brazil became the first team to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup alongside the host, Russia.

Brazil had collected enough points in the South American qualifyers with four games to play to guarantee they will be one of the region’s four teams in Russia.

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Confederations Cup 2017

The Confederations Cup will take place in Russia between 17 June and 2 July 2017 and will feature Russia, 2014 World Cup winners Germany and the six reigning champions of world football’s confederations: Australia, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal and Cameroon.

The Confederations Cup acts as a mini dress-rehearsal for the World Cup. In 2013 host Brazil won the competition.

World Cup 2018: Qualifying draw

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A year on from the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the preliminary draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was made in St Petersburg on 25 July 2015. The result of that draw is:


Europe

Group A
Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg
Group B
Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra
Group C
Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino
Group D
Wales , Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia
Group E
Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan
Group F
England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta
Group G
Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Liechtenstein
Group H
Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus
Group I
Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

Nine group winners qualify. Eight runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups proceed to play-offs. Russia automatically qualify as hosts.


Africa

Round one: Two-legged ties, played 5 October and 13 October.
Somalia v Niger, South Sudan v Mauritania, Gambia v Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe v Ethiopia, Chad v Sierra Leone, Comoros v Lesotho, Dijibouti v Swaziland, Eritrea v Botswana, Seychelles v Burundi, Liberia v Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic v Madagascar, Mauritius v Kenya, Tanzania v Malawi

Round two: Two-legged ties, played 9 November and 17 November.
Somalia/Niger v Cameroon, South Sudan/Mauritania v Tunisia, Gambia/Namibia v Guinea, Sao Tome e Principe/Ethiopia v Congo, Chad/Sierra Leone v Egypt, Comoros/Lesotho v Ghana, Djibouti/Swaziland v Nigeria, Eritrea/Botswana v Mali, Seychelles/Burundi v Congo DR, Liberia/Guinea-Bissau v Ivory Coast, Central African Republic/Madagascar v Senegal, Mauritius/Kenya v Cape Verde, Tanzania/Malawi v Algeria, Sudan v Zambia, Libya v Rwanda, Morocco v Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique v Gabon, Benin v Burkina Faso, Togo v Uganda, Angola v South Africa

The 20 winners from the second round will go into a third round comprising five groups of four. The winners of each group qualify for the World Cup.


Concacaf

Third round: Two-legged ties, played from 31 August to 8 September.
Curacao v El Salvador, Canada v Belize, Grenada v Haiti, Jamaica v Nicaragua, St Vincent & Grenadines v Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda v Guatemala

Group A
Honduras, Mexico, Curacao/El Salvador, Canada/Belize
Group B
Panama, Costa Rica, Grenada/Haiti, Jamaica/Nicaragua
Group C
Trinidad & Tobago, USA, St Vincent & Grenadines/Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda/Guatemala

The top two teams from each group will play in a six-team mini-league. The top three qualify and the fourth goes into an inter-continental play-off.


Oceania

Round one (group stage)
American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga

Round two (group stage)
Group A
Winner of round one between American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga. Plus Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Tahiti
Group B
New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands

The top three teams in Group A and Group B progress to round three. That will comprise of two groups of three, with the top team in each progressing to a two-legged play-off. The winners of that qualify for the inter-continental play-off.


South America

Group stage
Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay

Top four automatically qualify. Fifth place goes into a play-off.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015

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The draw has been made for the 2015 FIFA’s Women’s World Cup that will be played in Canada between 6 June and 5 July.

The championship, like the men’s version, has been played every four years since the  inaugural tournament held in China in 1991. The United States beat Norway 2-1 in the final, to become winners of the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup. The current title holder is Japan.

The United States and Germany have won the championship twice, and Norway and Japan once each. Brazil made the final in 2007, losing to Germany, and were third in 1999. Brazil’s Marta is the tournament’s top scorer of all time, along with Germany’s Brigit Prinz. Both have scored 14 goals.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is recognized as the most important international competition in women’s football and is played amongst women’s national football teams of the member states of FIFA, the sport’s global governing body.

Brazil is drawn in Group E in 2015 with Korea, Spain and Costa Rica.

The full draw for 2015 is:

Group A
CANADA
CHINA
NEW ZEALAND
NETHERLANDS

Group B
GERMANY
IVORY COAST
NORWAY
THAILAND

Group C
JAPAN
SWITZERLAND
CAMEROON
ECUADOR

Group D
UNITED STATES
NIGERIA
SWEDEN
AUSTRALIA

Group E
BRAZIL
SOUTH KOREA
SPAIN
COSTA RICA

Group F
FRANCE
ENGLAND
MEXICO
COLOMBIA

Draw

Copa America 2015 draw

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After all the excitement of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014, the Copa America will take place in neighbouring Chile from 11 June to 4 July 2015. Host Chile and existing champions Uruguay will face eight other South American countries, including Brazil, along with invited guests Mexico and Jamaica.

The three groups are:

GROUP A: Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia

GROUP B: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Jamaica

GROUP C: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela

Top two from each group go through to the quarter finals plus the best two third place teams.

First held in 1916, current champions Uruguay have won the cup 15 times, followed by Argentina with 14, Brazil with 8, Paraguay and Peru with 2, and Colombia and Bolivia with one title each. Brazil last one the cup in 2007 and 2004. It is the oldest international continental football competition.

The tournament schedule is:

Date / Time (local) / Teams
June 11 8:30 p.m. Chile vs. Ecuador
June 12 8:30 p.m. Mexico vs. Bolivia
June 13 4 p.m. Uruguay vs. Jamaica
June 13 6:30 p.m. Argentina vs. Paraguay
June 14 4 p.m. Colombia vs. Venezuela
June 14 6:30 p.m. Brazil vs. Peru
June 15 6 p.m. Ecuador vs. Bolivia
June 15 8:30 p.m. Chile vs. Mexico
June 16 6 p.m. Paraguay vs. Jamaica
June 16 8:30 p.m. Argentina vs. Uruguay
June 17 8:30 p.m. Brazil vs. Colombia
June 18 8:30 p.m. Peru vs. Venezuela
June 19 6 p.m. Mexico vs. Ecuador
June 19 8:30 p.m. Chile vs. Bolivia
June 20 4 p.m. Uruguay vs. Paraguay
June 20 6:30 p.m. Argentina vs. Jamaica
June 21 4 p.m. Colombia vs. Peru
June 21 6:30 p.m. Brazil vs. Venezuela
June 24 8:30 p.m. TBD vs. TBD Quarter-Final
June 25 8:30 p.m. TBD vs. TBD Quarter-Final
June 26 8:30 p.m. TBD vs. TBD Quarter-Final
June 27 6:30 p.m. TBD vs. TBD Quarter-Final
June 29 8:30 p.m. TBD vs. TBD Semi-Final
June 30 8:30 p.m. TBD vs. TBD Semi-Final
July 3 8:30 p.m. TBD vs. TBD 3rd Place
July 4 7 p.m. TBD vs. TBD Final

Champions League Group Draw 2014-15: The Road to Berlin

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  • Group A: Atletico Madrid (Spain), Juventus (Italy), Olympiakos (Greece), Malmo (Sweden)
  • Group B: Real Madrid (Spain), Basel (Switzerland), Liverpool (England) , Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria)
  • Group C: Benfica (Portugal), Zenit St Petersburg (Russia), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Monaco (France)
  • Group D: Arsenal (England), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Galatasaray (Turkey), Anderlecht (Netherlands)
  • Group E: Bayern Munich (Germany, Manchester City (England), CSKA Moscow (Russia), Roma (Italy)
  • Group F: Barcelona (Spain), Paris St-Germain (France), Ajax (Netherlands), APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)
  • Group G: Chelsea (England), Schalke (Germany), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Maribor (Slovenia)
  • Group H: Porto (Portugal), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Athletic Bilbao (Spain), BATE Borisov (Belarus).

The clubs are split into eight groups of four teams, who play home and away against each of their pool opponents between September and December 2014 to decide which two teams from each section advance to the first knockout round. The third-place finishers in each group enter the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

From the last 16 until the semi-finals, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis with the same rules as the qualifying and play-off rounds applied. In the last 16, group winners play runners-up other than teams from their own pool or nation, while from the quarter-finals on the draw is free.

The final is decided by a single match, which will be played at the Olympiastadion, Berlin on Saturday 6 June 2015.

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Rio de Janeiro unveils the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic look

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With now less than two years until the start of the Rio Olympics on 5 August 2016, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has launched and unveiled the new “look” for the Games.

The look will become familiar over the coming years and at the games itself as it will be used to decorate and enhance the sports facilities and the city, in addition to appearing on tickets, uniforms, credentials, licensed products, stores and more.

People that know Rio well will recognise many of the city’s famous landmarks that have been woven into the colourful design.

The new image, the organisers say, was inspired by Brazil, Brazilians and Rio de Janeiro:  “The look is multicoloured and vibrant as the harmonic diversity of our people. The look is organic and engaging like an embrace, inspired by our lush nature and human warmth. It brings fluid and energetic features, like our art, our identity.”

The games has also unveiled the logos to be used by the cities hosting the Olympic football tournament. As well as Rio de Janeiro (Maracanã) they include the World Cup host cities and stadiums of Belo Horizonte (Mineirão), Brasilia (Mané Garrincha), Salvador (Fonte Nova) and São Paulo (Arena de São Paulo).

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Germany top first FIFA world rankings post 2014 World Cup

Germany ChampionsThe new four-time world champions, Germany, top the first post-tournament FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The World Cup Final against Agentina was also a duel for the leading position in the world ranking – with Joachim Low’s team coming out on top on both counts.

Germany top the table for the first time in around 20 years, followed by Argentina and the Netherlands. Holland’s third-place finish at the World Cup has lifted them 12 positions up the table and back into the top ten. All of the teams that were knocked out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals have climbed up the ranking: Colombia (fourth, up four), Belgium  (fifth, up six), France (tenth, up seven) and Costa Rica (16th, up 12 – the country’s highest-ever ranking).

If the winners have gained, the less successful teams are left counting the cost of failure in terms of ranking positions. Former champions Spain have fallen from the top spot to eighth place, with Portugal 11th, down seven; Italy 14th, down five; and England 20th, down ten. Despite reaching the semi-finals, World Cup hosts Brazil have dropped four places to seventh position.

The results of 111 international “A” matches have been taken into account for the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, of which 64 were played at the World Cup, 46 were friendlies and one was a CONCACAF continental qualifier. In this qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015, Turks and Caicos Islands (181st, up 26) celebrated their first victory in over six years against the British Virgin Islands, lifting them off the bottom of the table. The total number of international “A” matches taken into account by FIFA so far this year is now 362.

The world’s top 50 ranked countries on 17 July 2014 following the World Cup are:

1 Germany
2 Argentina
3 Netherlands
4 Colombia
5 Belgium
6 Uruguay
7 Brazil
8 Spain
9 Switzerland
10 France
11 Portugal
12 Chile
13 Greece
14 Italy
15 USA
16 Costa Rica
17 Croatia
18 Mexico
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 England
21 Ecuador
22 Ukraine
23 Russia
24 Algeria
25 Côte d’Ivoire
26 Denmark
27 Scotland
28 Romania
29 Sweden
30 Venezuela
31 Serbia
32 Turkey
33 Panama
34 Nigeria
35 Czech Republic
36 Egypt
37 Slovenia
38 Hungary
38 Ghana
40 Honduras
41 Armenia
42 Tunisia
43 Austria
44 Wales
45 Japan
46 Slovakia
47 Iceland
48 Paraguay
49 Iran
50 Montenegro

 

World Cup Final sets TV viewing records

WC Trophy FinalThe World Cup final on 13 July between Germany and Argentina set an all-time ratings record in Germany. An estimated 34.65 million people watched the game on public broadcast network ARD, beating the previous record, also set during the World Cup,  Germany’s 7-1 semifinal victory over Brazil on broadcast network ZDF, which had reached nearly 32.6 million viewers on average.

The final is now the highest-rated program ever in Germany since audience data has been collected. The game had a share of 86.3 percent of all Germans watching TV at the time, which is also one of the highest figures ever.

The numbers do not include fans who watched at public viewing sites, such as in bars or on big screens in outdoor locations around Berlin and other cities, a popular viewing option in Germany.

In comparison to the final, Germany’s quarterfinal against France had drawn 26.3 million viewers in Germany, the Round of 16 game against Algeria had reached 28.2 million, while the team’s first match of the World Cup against Portugal drew 26.4 million, followed by a 2-2 draw against Ghana that averaged 24.5 million viewers.

Prior to the 2014 World Cup the previous audience records were reached in 2010 when the World Cup semifinal between Germany and Spain drew 31.1 million viewers.

Numbers for the US show the country’s growing interest in “soccer”. The final averaged an impressive 26.5 million viewers on ABC and Univision, according to Nielsen — higher than the 24.7 million who watched the USA-Portugal match on 22 June. Both ABC (17.3 million) and Univision (9.2 million) registered their largest audiences ever for a World Cup game

To put it in context, the figure of 26.5 million is a larger audience in the US than the deciding game for the most recent World Series on Fox (19.2 million) and the NBA Finals on ABC (18.0 million). It also beat the BCS Championship game in college football on ESPN in January (25.6 million).

For ABC, the 17.3 million ranks third among all English-language soccer matches in the US, behind only the 18.2 million for USA-Portugal match and the 18 million for the Women’s World Cup Final against China in 1999.

In addition to the TV broadcast, the final match on WatchESPN generated 1,800,000 live unique viewers, 112,100,000 live minutes viewed and the highest time spent per viewer (63 minutes) of any match of the 2014 World Cup.

Univision, which had set a  US Spanish-language World Cup ratings record in each round of the tournament, ended up about 35% ahead of 2010 in average viewership. The network’s coverage reached 80.9 million viewers, 65% more than 2010 (49.1 million).

In the UK a peak television audience of more than 20 million viewers watched Germany win – the vast majority of them on BBC1. The game was seen by a peak of 16.7 million viewers on BBC1 at 10.30pm on Sunday. Another 3.8 million viewers were watching at the same time on ITV, for a peak audience across both channels of 20.5 million. ITV’s five-minute peak, across the entire game, came towards the end of normal time with 4 million viewers at 9.45pm.

BBC1’s audience was down on the 2010 final, which averaged 12.7 million viewers across the entirety of the BBC’s coverage. ITV was up marginally, from 2.8 million.

The final was the biggest UK TV audience since the Summer Olympics 2012 closing ceremony in London. On a combined basis, the audience share peaked at more than 75 percent of people watching TV in Britain at the time, up from 72.7 percent for the last World Cup final.

In France, the final averaged 13.6 million viewers, on TF1 with a peak audience of 15.3 million. A 61 percent share.