Will Modric work-rate Croatia to the final?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 13:35

By Oluwaseun Aleshinloye

Davor Suker was the hero 20 years ago, scoring six goals the last time The Blazers got to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Suker’s goal against France in the Semi-Final in 1998 gave the Croatian team hope of reaching their first FIFA World Cup final until a double from unlikely Lilian Thuram sent them to the third Place fixture, where they defeated the Netherlands 2 goals to 1 – thanks to a 35 minutes winner scored by Suker.

Back in 1998, Luka Modric was only 12, with nobody nor him thinking he will be the one to make the Croatians dream again. Though with fierce relationship with his people in recent years, El Pajaro has fondly called by the Spanish media, no doubt will go down as one of the greatest to ever donned The Blazers colours.

No iota of disrespect to the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, who have been phenomena at the Mundial, Modric by miles has stood himself out – with his work rate and resistance spirit the first point of call.

El pajaro has played a total of 485 minutes at the World Cup, covering 50.8km, and a total of 28 midfield recoveries. In addition to that, Modric has scored two goals created 12 chances and has won the Most Valuable Player on three occasions.

A more soothing question will now be: Will a Modric led Blazers stop the Waistcoat inspired Three Lions side from righting their generational wrongs? For the records, Modric is one of those that announced to the whole world that there were so many things wrong with English football.

After an ignominious showdown at the 2006 World Cup, there came a cold rainy Wednesday at the Wembley Stadium in 2007 – a night where Croatia and Modric ended England’s Euro 2008 qualification hopes. Modric on the stage upstage and ran riot on the Three Lions midfield that had the trio of Steven Gerard, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry.

Things have taken new shape for English football in the last two years – their U-17 and U-21 both winning the World Cup in the 2016 is an evident to this. With the rollercoaster journey of the Three Lions in Russia coupled with how well their youth teams had faired, there comes rekindled fire all over the British press, reminding everyone where modern football started from.

The talking is on the field - not in the media nor the fans, and the field is where the real champions are made.

After 20 years, The Blazers will once again play in the semis of a World Cup. Suker made the Croatians dream in 1998: Luka Modric will lead them all out in 2018; El Pajaro, did not only give the Croatians a dream but accompanied the dream with hope.



Published in International Watch

The Three Lions are in the semi-finals of a World Cup, there first in 28 years and Paul scholes has said Pep Guardiola deserved some accolades for the team’s success.

The former Manchester United man, who represented the English national team on 66 occasions, with 14 goals said Guardiola was the brainstorm behind England’s feat at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Guardiola played three at the back last season, a style Gareth Southgate has been working with during the Mundial.

Scholes poured out praises on Guardiola, telling Bein Sports, “He is definitely an influence on England.

“Especially when you see the way they’ve got the back three, the way they’ve got the goalkeeper playing.

“I don’t think Gareth has made any secret of that. He’s been to see Pep and he’s picked his brain.

“He wants to know how he produces that type of football. As ab England fan and ex-England player, we want to see the best possible football.

“Spain played the best football, Manchester City played the best football, so why not try and copy that type of play?”


Published in International Watch

The Englishman and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has revealed that he had his first marriage at the age of six.

Dele Alli said he had his first crush at a very tender age, and admitted he went as far tying the nuptials with his then crush on the fields at school when he was a youngster.

The 21-year-old Alli made the revelation at the Lynx’s You Gold Campaign, a campaign aimed to help guys overcome embarrassing moments.

“My first crush was when I was six or seven, there was a girl that lived on the other end of my council estate and we used to pretend to get married and everything, either in a field or our school field. 

“We got married a couple of times, and I even remember one time I went there and I ran off as I didn't want to do it,” Alli said.

Alli can be playing for the Three Lions of England, but he is a true son of the Yoruba land and Nigeria at large.

We can’t be more proud of Bamidele Alli who took our mummy and daddy game as far as England. All hail Bamidele!!!!!!!

Published in International Watch

Neville Rates Wilshere as England's best midfielder

The United legend has branded the 26-year-old Jack Wilshere as the best English Central midfielder.

Wilshere, who came through the Arsenal’s Youth Academy has suffered various degrees of injuries which has hampered in growth at Arsenal.

The midfielder spent last season on loan at Bournemouth and he is in the final six months of his contracts at Arsenal though reports are having it that the England international has been offered a new pay cut deal at the club.

With Arsenal’s recent awful showings of late, Wilshere has been one of the few bright points to talk about – and that made Gary Neville to describe him as the best English midfielder – saying he could feature for any team when fully fit.

Both Neville and Wilshere worked together from 2012-2016, when Neville was the assistant to Roy Hodgson, who was then the England Manager.

Garry Neville believes Wilshere is the best English midfield player (Getty Image)


And talking about Wilshere, who last featured for England in 2016 on Monday Night Football, Neville said there was no other midfielder in the country than Wilshere.

“He’s the best English midfielder by a street,” Neville said. “I worked with all of the English midfield players for four years and he could play in any single team in this country and live in that team or any single team in Europe, he’s that good.

“He takes the ball on the half-turn and hes the only English central midfield player (like that). Dele Alli yes and Ross Barkley Yes, but I class them as being more forward.

“I’ve worked with him and I’ve got no allegiance to Jack Wilshere or Arsenal Football Club and this is a fantastic player and talent, who is a must for England if he’s fit and playing well.”


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Though a fan of Wilshere’s talents, Neville conceded that injury has made the midfielder not to be reliable.


Neville says injury has hampered Wilshere's progress (Getty Image)

“Every time he goes to into a challenge or over-runs the ball a little bit, I think ‘broken leg.’ I know that sounds really bad.

“That is the only problem with him. His performance levels are high, but the reliability is not good enough. You need him to play three, four or five seasons on the bounce.

“The talent is unquestionable. For me, he is the best midfield player that I saw with England in my time there. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were coming to the end in my first year, but I overall in that four-year period, for me he was the best of the bunch,” he added.



Published in International Watch

NFF confirms Super Eagles, England friendly

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 18:54

Eagles to face England at Wembley on June 2

The Nigeria Football Federation ( NFF ) has confirmed that the Super Eagles will lock horns with the Three Lions of England at the Wembley Stadium on June 2 of this year.

The match will be the last of the four friendly matches the NFF had set aside to prepare the team for the World Cup.

The two sides have met three times in the past - with a win a piece and a draw for the two sides.

NFF 1st Vice President on the NFF official website confirmed the meeting between the two sides (Nigeria and England).

Akinwunmi told thenff.com: “Now, we are happy to say that it is all sealed. Certainly, it is going to be a big match, between two countries of remarkable historical affinity and similarities.

“We have other matches and programs for the team, and we will soon roll out the entire plan for matches, camping sites and training camps.”

Akinwunmi added that the choice of England was as a result of the NFF trying to be strategic to get the best preparation for the three-time African Champions.

“We decided to be strategic in our choice of opponents for the Super Eagles leading to the World Cup, and in total agreement with the preferences of the Technical Adviser.That is why we opted for England. We played Argentina (in November 2017) without even knowing we were going to be in the same group at the Finals,” He added.


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Meanwhile, The Technical Adviser of the team, Gernot Rohr has revealed that England would give the Eagles a good test.

The Franco-German said the game would be a good conduit to test the Eagles for the World Cup.

“This is good news for myself and the entire team,” Rohr said.

“England is a very strong team presently and I believe they will give us a very good match. We will be able to test our readiness for the World Cup when we meet the Three Lions at Wembley.”

The Super Eagles will also face Poland on the 23rd of March

Also 27th of March and 27th of May had been slated for friendly matches with countries, whose identities had not been disclosed by the NFF.




Published in Awa Football