So after a pretty crazy couple of international World Cup qualifiers it’s time to bring up a rare mid-week “The Soccer List“. I’ve boiled the kettle and am ready to dive into the biggest and weirdest stories from the last 48 hours.
1. Ronaldo Pretty Much Seals Balon d’Or
I mocked him earlier this week calling him Puppet Ronnie, but my word did he put me in my place, during the 2nd Battle of Mercurial Vapor Hill. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic dragging Sweden by their bootstraps, the Portugal captain replied in kind, to give the neutral supporter probably the most exciting match of the day. Portgual came into the day needing just a goal to advance next summers World Cup, thanks to a Ronaldo header in the first leg.
Following a goalless first half , the neutrals were treated to the “Ronaldo and Zlatan Show” in the second forty-five. Ronaldo kicked off the scoring five minutes into the second half, this time using his new custom Vapor IX’s as opposed to his head. Needing three goals now without conceding, Zlatan decided now was the time to drag his nation back from the brink, heading home on 68 minutes, before netting his second with a powerful free kick 4 minutes later. However, for Sweden is was not to be, knowing they still had to push for a third goal, Ronaldo camped out near the half way line waiting for the counter, and five minutes later he scored his second of the day which could have been a carbon copy of the first, and busted out this little celebration, which may or may not be letting us know who he thinks is the world’s best player this year:
The man with the customized Supernova Vapor’s added his hat trick goal to ensure that next summer could possibly be “The Summer of Ronaldo” and that this winter FIFA should be naming this “The Year of Ronaldo”.
2. France Dial A Miracle
Needing a 3-nil win over Ukraine to make the World Cup without using extra time, Didier Deschamps and his team pretty much needed a miracle against a tough Ukraine side. Who’d have know that a miracle comes in the shape of a Liverpool central defender? Despite being home to some of footballs most explosive players in Pogba, Giroud, Benzema, and Ribery, it was Mamadou Sakho, who was Les Bleus hero, as he bagged a goal in either half, sporting the jack of all trades Nike CTR 360 Maestri III’s.
Speaking of Benzema, the Adidas F50 Samba wearer popped up with a questionable goal late in the first half, he looked offside when he scored, but officials allowed it to stand.
3. Bendnter Predicts a Move to Barca or Real
Talisman is a word thrown around all too often in our sport, one player who would never be considered a talisman (at the present moment at least) is Arsenal reserve striker Nicklas Bendtner, who happens to be the owner of the worst ponytail in professional footy. Despite a club scoring ratio of 1 goal in 4 and a bit matches, the Dane isn’t short of self confidence, as he predicted a future move to either Barcelona or Real Madrid is in his near future. I’m not going to lie I’m a bit confused where the Vapor man thinks he’s going to fit in at either club if he can’t even guarantee himself a spot in the Arsenal XI. And, if I’m honest I don’t even think he’s the best striking option for Denmark anymore, not with the emergence of “Yukon” Andreas Cornelius.
A slightly more believable rumour sees Catalan club Barcelona taking a punt on my favourite active footballer, Dimitar Berbatov, as a cover for Lionel Messi. Adding the Bulgarian would be similar to their signing of Henrik Larsson back in 2004, bringing in a veteran but supremely skilled player.
4. New Reviews Posted
It’s only been 48 hours since our initial Soccer List of the week but our Scottish contributor Kevin has done the North American market a service, providing a review of the MIJ Mizuno Morelia, before they hit our shores. Check out Kevin’s take here, but it’s safe to say if it’s anything similar to what Mizuno usually puts out it’s fantastic!
5. Welcome to UEFA, Please See Michel For Your Complimentary Fruit Basket
The final section of The Soccer List, is usually something I reserve for the plight of my beloved hometown Sheffield United, who happen to be the 23rd best team in the Sky Bet League One. However, they’ve been inactive since their loss versus Gillingham on Saturday. So I’m donating their spot to the Ultimate Minnow’s. That’s right after nearly 20 years of trying Gibraltar are an officially sanctioned UEFA nation. Despite the fervent objections of reigning World Cup Champions Spain, out of fear I’ll bet! (I wish, it’s a 300 year old political thing) UEFA have been forced to accept the application of the British Territory, and today saw their first official match.
The home match took place in Portugal, as the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar isn’t rated for international competitive matches and the GFA was hoping to get some practice in on the pitch they’d be using for their Euro 2016 qualifiers. Fielding a lineup of amateurs who were bolstered by the additions of Scott Wiseman of Sky Bet Championship Barnsley, and ex-Manchester United trainee and ex-Sheffield United player Danny Higginbotham. The state with a population just shy of 30,000 put up a performance for the ages in a nil-nil draw against Slovakia. I watched the match on a feed provided by the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation, and was shocked. Expecting a mullering, I was surprised as the Gibraltarians hunkered down and played some outstanding defense lead by goalkeeper Jordan Perez and man of the match Danny “The Rock of Gibraltar” Higginbotham, who was wearing some classy looking Adidas Copa Mundial’s in the centre of defense. They even nearly nicked the match in injury time as Al Greene hit the bar with a lovely looking effort. While making Euro 2016 might be a bit of a stretch let me say that manager Allen Bula is up to something on ‘The Rock’.
Now this officially concludes The Soccer List for this week. Critical passes are a must, and worldies are always appreciated.