Friday Night Rock:Pop Evil-Next Life

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The five national teams which won’t be seeing Russia next summer

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The qualifications for next years World Cup in Russia are almost over with the with European and Intercontinental playoffs taking place where the remaining tickets to the biggest stage will be decided which national teams will go to the biggest stage of World football.While we got the usual suspects easily qualifying (Germany,Spain,France,England,Brazil) others made it barely (Argentina) and some are still have a job to do (Croatia,Italy,Australia).But here are the six national teams which which didn’t made to the World Cup next summer and which are one of the most high profile during the qualifiers but failed badly and they will not see Russia next year.

1.Netherlands

On the top of the list are the Oranje.This is the second time in 16 years we are not going to see the Netherlands in the World Cup,but it is one of the worst periods of the Oranje since the mid eighties where they missed the 1984 Euros in France and the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico where they missed both tournaments.History has repeated itself after the fantastic run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil where the Oranje finished 3rd and the World admired their style of play but ever since the World Cup in Brazil three years ago,the Oranje are in free fall.The generation of Sneijder,Robben,Huntelaar and Van Persie is worn out and replacements are nowhere near and once promising players like Royson Drenthe simply disappeared from the field altogether.The Dutch are in such crisis that it will take years of rebuilding the system once they prided themselves and were an example to the rest of the footballing world,but now they are way down and a top-to-bottom change with new people and approach is needed if the Oranje want to return to their winning ways.

2.Chile

For the last two years Chile was the king of South America and it got out of the shadow of Brazil and Argentina,proving that they can go all the way and win back-to-back Copa America titles.Going to Russia and making a deep run next summer the Roja would prove to its competitors that their time was coming,during the summer the Roja made all the way to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup where they were defeated against Germany by a single goal.The Chileans tought the performace at the Cofederations Cup was just a show of strenght before next summer they would make a deep run in the tournament,however the Roja failed to qualify for Russia.They had destiny in their hand and with a win or draw against Brazil they would boot out Argentina out of the World Cup,instead Pizzi’s men were humiliated by Brazil and what it had to be a fornamlity turned into a nightmare where Chile wouldn’t see the World Cup next summer besides they are blessed by one of the most best and taleneted generations of the Roja in decades which twice conquered the Copa America tounaments.After the match with Brazil,Pizzi was fired from the bench and a new manager would be on the bench of the Roja,but its a shame we won’t be seeing them next summer in Russia.

3.United States of America

B far one of the most biggest surprises is that the USA won’t be seeing the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and the downfall happened in Trinidad & Tobago where 28 years ago Paul Caliguri’s goal launched the USA back to the world stage.A cycle began and ended in Trinidad & Tobago which will force the US Socer Federation to make radical changes from top-to-bottom after years of ignoring problems which plagued both the USSF and USMNT.Last week Bruce Arena resigned from the position of the coach of the USMNT,Sunil Gulati the current chairman of the USSF might not survive coming the elections in February he will be gone by then,a number of players like Dempsey,Beasley,Guzan and others will be gone from the national team as well.With the failure to qualify a new approach would be needed for the USMNT to go back to the world stage and produce results which would have meaning.

4.Bosnia-Herzegovina

Of all ex-Yugoslav national teams,Bosnia-Herzegovina can be considered the unlucky one besides it has top quality talent which plays in Europe.The Dragons failed to qualify for the World Cup next summer after an inconsistent qualfying campaign which saw them losing 3-2 against Cyprus.And inconsistency is a huge problem of the Dragons,besides with the likes of Džeko,Pjanić,Medunjanin,Ibisevic and Kolasinac,the problems lay in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Football Federation and have spilled into the national teams which made the fans furious.The Dragons qualified only for one major football tournament-the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and that is for now,it is truly a shame that we won’t be seeing Džeko next summer in Russia.

5.Wales

A summer ago the Red Dragons from Wales were the hit of the 2016 Euros where they made it to the semifinals and the footballing world was impressed by the extraordinary performance of Chris Coleman’s men the 3-1 victory against Belgium sent the small nation west of England into celebrations not seen in decades,however we won’t be seeing them in Russia next summer.No team in the European qualifiers had such large number of draws like Wales,the Red Dragons made 5 draws which included a 1-1 draw against Georgia and a 2-2 against Austria.Prior to the final match against Ireland in Cardiff,the Red Dragons needed to pick up a victory to seal the playoffs,instead a goal by James McClean has condemned Wales to skip another World Cup whose qualification are waiting for the last six decades.

A cycle ended in a place where it started for America

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The unthinkable for the USMNT has happened,tuesday night became one of the mosr saddest and embarrasing moments for US Soccer in history,the national team have failed to qualify for the first time in 32 years.And it happened in the place where the cycle of World Cup qualifications for the United States began almost three decades ago in Trinidad & Tobago where in the final match of the qualifiers the Yanks qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup which was held in Italy thanks to a goal by Paul Caliguri which sent the Yanks in their first World Cup since the 1950 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil where the Yanks wrote one of the most unusual stories where they defeated England by a single goal.This time the Caribbean island became the place of sadness and embarassement which its consequences will be felt in the years to come in a time where football as a sport is growing in America.But the loss against last-placed Trinidad & Tobago in front of a poor domestic crowd is the epitome of the growing problems which the USMNT and the US Soccer Federation face,when the Yanks were winning there were no questions asked how the USMNT and the USSF were run and those were happy times where USSF chairman Sunil Gulati was happy to sweep the problems under the rug,but they emerged in the surface after a catastrophic start in the hexagonal part of the qualifying campaign where the Yanks lost their first two matches which led to the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann who layed a part of the problems in the USMNT due to the style of play which was heavily criticized.Instead of brining an experienced coach like Claudio Ranieri or Guus Hiddink who would get the job done,but Gulati brought a worn out Bruce Arena who coached the USMNT during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan where the Yanks went the furthest in the modern era by reaching the quarterfinals,but this time the re-hiring of Arena led to the failure of not qualifying to the World Cup next year in Russia.The seeds of the catastrophic qualifying campaign for Russia were planted much earlier,it is a sting of complexed problems which have troubled the United States for a long time and all came back around which will now force USSF to make radical changes to make the Yanks competitive on the World stage again,a top to bottom cleaning will be needed and will have to start will Sunil Gulati who will have to be repleaced with a person who actually has a vision for soccer in the US instead of quick fixes,scandals and conflicts constantly inside the USSF as well there is no real program to attract the youth in the sport itself,also the part lays in Bruce Arena himself where Arena made catastrophic moves in the lineup and in the roster itself.Besides being the best central defender on the roster,Geoff Cameron was left on the bench,instead Omar Gonzalez took his place which resulted in an own goal which saw the US behind the Soca Warriors on tuesday night,Fabian Johnson was missing from the roster and Arena played the same squad which played against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.But one of the most crucial things is a thin roster which it shouldn’t happen to the USMNT and besides that the USA has 330 million people still there are problems how to attract the youth and develop future players for the MLS and the USMNT,the only good point in the qualifications was Christian Pulisic which at 19 will in the following years become a name in soccer and an American superstar of the sport itself,but he will be robbed of the experience of participating in the World Cup,but in 2022 in Qatar he should be there to lead the USA into the new era.In the following days players will mourn the loss,many careers will end,tough questions will be answered about the orientation of the USMNT which along the USSF needs a reboot after the failure and not seeing Russia next summer.But one thing is for sure radial change will be needed for America in order to return and compete at the biggest stage of world football and after almost three decades of Paul Caliguri’s goal which relaunched the USA back into the stage of World football,radical change is needed and it starts at the top with new people with new and fresh ideas.

Catalonia’s independence means the end of the El Clasico

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Spain’s biggest political crisis in forty years got the attention on the rest world and that is will Catalonia which is for now a part of the Kingdom of Spain get independence,judging from the referendum results which no one recognizes that Catalonia voted for independence.The whole thing escalated into the violence in the streets of Barcelona and the political battle between the government of Mariano Rajoy and the Catalan authorities which in the following days prepare to declare the independence of Catalonia from Spain which will have far reaching consequences that nobody currently wants to discuss it.One of the consequnces of Catalonian independence is where Catalonian football clubs will play if Catalonia truly succedes in achieving independence.There is a reason why Leo Messi hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Blaugrana and that is because of the current situation in Catalonia and the uncertanity in which league the Blaugrana would play in the near future.However one thing is for sure the independence of Catalonia would mark the end of the El Clasico,one of the biggest derbies in world football which created so many legendary moments in the La Liga and which is also a money making machine for the La Liga,Real Madrid,FC Barcelona and Spain in general.And that is something which very few paid attention when it came to negative consequnces of the independece of Catalonia.The El Clasico is more than just a football match between Real and Barcelona,it is a conflict of two political identities which have defined Spain during the 20th Century with the Blaugrana representing Catalonian left-wing republicanism and Real Madrid representing the Spanish monarchy and Spanish right-wing nationalism.That also resulted that politics itself had fingers in the El Clasico and its outcomes,in the 1943 Copa del Generallisimo semifinals Real beat the Blaugrana 11-1 in the second leg despite it lost the first leg 3-0,but in the second leg in Madrid the government officials of Francisco Franco’s regime came to the Blaugrana’s locker room and made it clear to the Blaugrana players that they must lose or face jail,Real went to score eight more goals in the second half.After that the rivalry just intesified and became notorious for the favoring of Real Madrid against the Blaugrana,since Franco a supporter of Real Madrid wanted them to be Spain’s best club which they were,but with Franco’s tdeath in 1975 and the establishment of democracy in Spain the policy of favorizing Real came to an end the Blaugrana made efforts to turn the tides in their own favor and successfully challenge Real for being the top club in Spain and in Europe.But after the referendum and the uncertanity which can happen in the near future,everyone is asking himself,now what?What if truly Barcelona quits the La Liga in favor of another league?But there will be far reaching consequnces for everyone involved.One of those is the loss of money for the La Liga since the El Clasico is by far the match they make the biggest amount of money and it is the flagship event of the La Liga every year,then comes the consequnces for the clubs in terms of competition and sponsorhip money,Real Madrid would go unchallenged in Spain since Barcelona is their only competition and no club has the buying power besides the Blaugrana in Spain,that wouldn also weaken Real’s results and performance in Europe since it would lack a strong competitor in the La Liga,many current and future superstars wouldn’t consider a move to Madrid since the lack of competition and money.The same goes for  the Blaugrana with problem of trying to apply membership in another European league since they would be eternal champions of Catalonia.With that we could see a general decline of both clubs in Europe and Spanish football together with the national team since the La Furia is composed by a majority of players from both Real and Barcelona and the independence of Catalonia will rt the La Furia itself.But with so many negative consequnces for Spanish football and the future of both clubs itself,the only question is will politics after all save the El Clasico from being a thing of the past.

A new Yugoslav league:just a far away idea or a reality in a few years?

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On thursday night Red Star defeat Cologne in the UEFA Europe League and with that the club from Belgrade has a maximum of six points from to matches and awaits the clash with Arsenal which will probably the determine the fate of Red Star in this season’s European competition,most importantly they have a real chance to quality to the knockout round in the spring where everything for them is possible,when it came to the rest of the clubs from former Yugoslavia it was the usual-defeats.Maribor which is in the Champions League was defeated by Sevilla and the clash with Spartak Moscow will be a decided for them,Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade was defeated by Dynamo Kiev after they led 0-2 in the halftime,Rijeka put a brave display against AC Milan at San Siro only by losing in the final moments of the match.So only if there is any chance for ex-Yugoslav clubs this season for a result it will be Red Star Belgrade and maybe Maribor if they clinch the 3rd place in the Champions League group which it will be determined by the matches with Spartak Moscow.It shows that the state of ex-Yugoslav football is still in disarray after all these years besides being a major region for producing football talents like Džeko,Modric,Mandžukic,Pjanic,Pandev,Markovic,Matic and countless others which will be up and coming in the following years,which brings us to the question is a new Yugoslav league possible and will that new league finally give clubs a serious chance in Europe without selling their best players.During the existence of Communist Yugoslavia,the Yugoslav First League was among the best and strongest leagues in Europe and by far one of the most competitve with the Belgrade clubs dominating the league with Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk right behind them,while also the Sarajevo clubs of FK Sarajevo and FK Željezničar together with Vojvodina enjoyed success.It was truly the golden era of Yugoslav club football,the league was strong and competitive enought ot challenge Europe’s biggest clubs and achieve European success.In 1966 Partizan Belgrade reached the final of then European Champions Cup,in 1967 Dinamo Zagreb won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup,in 1985 Željezničar made to the semifinal of the UEFA Cup and in 1991 Red Star Belgrade won the European Champions Cup and the Intercontinental Cup in a time when the Yugoslav Wars just started and count also the victories of Yugoslav clubs againstthe European giants with that the Yugoslav First LEague was very successful in Europe.But the wars in Yugoslavia came and the country vanished from the map giving the rise of its former member countries to independence and with that its separate leagues.The situation was never the same ever again,ex-Yugoslav clubs had to adopt to new times which they didn’t.Most of the clubs found themselves in financially weak leagues which were dominated by two clubs (Dinamo and Hajduk,Partizan and Red Star) or when one club dominated (NK Maribor) and the quality of football as well attendances on stadiums dropped on such a scale that only bigger derby games are only a must watch but the thrill isn’t the same.In this comes into play the formation of a new Yugoslav league which for many years has its supporters and opponents,but there are news that the creation of a new Yugoslav league might be approved by UEFA which was the main obstacle,however further questions arrise.Those questions come from security,the Yugoslav Wars ended a mere 18 years ago with the end of the Kosovo War and the wounds from the war are still fresh and not forgotten very soon which will put fixtures of a future Yugoslav league in a organizational problems since the army would be needed to be called to keep peace and safety at matches,but on the other side there were many pluses from bigger TV contracts,old rivalries to be rekindled,way better finances,a much better stadium infrastructure and the talent would go to Western Europe for less cash.In short there would be a lot of pluses but also it will give ex-Yugoslav the necessary matches between each other to have a better chance for a run in European competitions.In fact no ex-Yugoslav club has played in the spring part of a European competition for a long time and those on the scene like Dinamo Zagreb,Rijeka,Red Star and Partizan played only sporadic roles in European competitions which they could thank participation in their weaker leagues.It remains that all clubs from ex-Yugoslavia come together and make a future Yugoslav league possible since there is still resistance from club officials and the general public who dislikes the idea due to possible violence by hooligans which are one of the most brutal in Europe.However the stage is being set and it depends by UEFA and the club officials to kickstart a new era in ex-Yugoslav club football.