2018 World Cup Russia Preview

Football could have been coming home this summer but it was not to be. Instead, when Russia hosts Saudi Arabia, they will kick start the 2018 World Cup. 736 players representing 32 nations from five continental football federations will be competing on this, the biggest stage in football and after a mammoth month of football (64 games between 14th June and 15th July), 23 players will have played their part I crowning their national side, World Champions!

The geographical spread of the host cities in Russia. [Image from Sky Sports].

With this being Russia’s first hosting of a major international football tournament, a number of new stadiums were built. With Russia spanning 17.1 million square km and two continents, it is mostly concentrated in European Russia (West of the Ural mountains) with the exception of Ekaterinburg that will see football. From St. Petersburg in the north to Sochi in the south on the Caspian Sea, from Yaketerinburg in the east to Kaliningrad in the west, the world cup spans a diameter of 7.1 million square miles. The tournament spans four different time zones and has 12 stadiums being used from 11 cities with the capital, Moscow the only city to be using two stadiums. read more

NUFC Monthly Review 2017/18: September

With the transfer window firmly closed, football got underway in earnest with players settled at their new or current clubs; knowing where they’ll be playing their football until January. The first international break of the season with teams resuming their world cup qualification campaigns and the Champions League group stages started up again. PSG may not yet know the repercussions of their summer spending in relation to financial fair play but on the pitch, they have been in scorching form.

11 Football Developments: September
  1. 200px-Paris_Saint-Germain_F.C.PSG started their Champions League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Celtic at Celtic Park in their first group game before humbling Bayern Munich 3-0 I Paris resulting in the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti. Celtic responded by defeating RSC Anderlecht 3-0 in Belgium.

2. That opening round of fixtures also saw Barcelona defeat Juventus 3-0 in a repeat of last seasons semi-final read more

Match Thoughts: Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City

We saw another entertaining weekend of Premier League football after a week of odd decisions. Crystal Palace became the first Premier League club to dispose of their manager this season, giving Frank De Boer his P45 after only four league games which yielded zero goals, zero points and four defeats. His replacement, former England manager Roy Hodgson (Good luck Palace) did not fare much better as his side lost 1-0 to Southampton. Manchester United hit another four, this time past Everton on Wayne Rooney’s first return to Old Trafford. Burnley surprised on the road again, this time at Anfield, Sergio Aguero stole the show as Manchester City hit Watford for 6 while Arsene Wenger still can’t win at Stamford Bridge and Tottenham still can’t get a league win at Wembley.

At St James’ Park meanwhile, Rafa Benitez was back in the dugout following his hernia operation as Mark Hughes brought his Stoke City side to Tyneside. read more