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Curse of the Champions

Every team in the World Cup has now played at least once - and boy, have we seen some surprises. Australia and Tunisia really tested France and England, Iceland managed to draw against Argentina and so did Switzerland against Brazil. Japan won Colombia and as the icing on the cake, Mexico shockingly robbed three points from Germany, the champions of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.


But if you look at the history of the World Cup the curse of the reigning champions is the rule rather than the exception. During the 21st century the champions have every time - more or less - flopped in the next tournament. Namely, since the World Cup 2002 four of the five defending champions - including Germany - have failed to win their first match, only exception being Brazil in the World Cup 2006 as they won their group and went on to be eliminated in the quarterfinals.

On top of that, those three of the four champions before Germany did not even manage to make their way out of the group stages: France i…
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Five predictions for the World Cup

The title is somewhat misleading since these five picks aren't just predictions but facts that are certain to happen (although I wouldn't advise anyone placing bets based on this text). But let's get straight to the point, here are my predictions!

1. Winner  From all the obvious choices I'm going to go with Brazil. On paper the team has changed a lot from the humiliation four years ago and they won the South American Qualification really comfortably: 41 goals scored and 11 conceded in 18 games. The Seleção just seems so strong that this will be their year and they are going to win their sixth World Cup Trophy.
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2. Top Scorer As Brazil is going to win the World Cup and France's team are going to bring home bronze medals their marksmen will have to share the Golden Boot of the World Cup 2018: top scorers will be Neymar and Antoine Griezmann. Embed from Getty Images
3. Breakthrough Well, technically if you play in the World Cup you have made your …

The future of Arsenal FC?

As we all know, the 22-year reign of Arsène Wenger at Arsenal has come to its end. Unai Emery was appointed for the job a while back (and actually appointed himself before that on his own web site - by a mistake, supposedly) as the Basque's contract wasn't renewed after his two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain. I won't go too much into detail on Wenger's departure nor his time in Arsenal but if you have followed football during the last few seasons at all you have seen those Wenger Out banners - and you have seen them practically everywhere. 

So, the major part of the Arsenal fans - or at least the loudest part - have been really waiting for the end of the Wenger's era at the club. However, it has been great to see that immediately after Wenger's decision to step down he has got the sympathy of the Arsenal fans and all the appreciation from the whole footballing world he deserves. This is the end of one chapter in Arsenal's history and it's time to star…

World Cup 2018: Not-qualified XI vs. Snubbed XI

The worst - and also the best - thing about the World Cup is that it's only once in four years. But as we have patiently waited, there is only just about a week to go before the kick-off for the World Cup 2018. The most precious tournament there is in the world of football is once again filled with great teams and magnificent players.
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And - to emphasise the amount of quality there is included in the tournament - I decided to show how many world-class players you won't be seeing in Russia this summer. So, I created two different line-ups: the first is set up of players whose countries did not even qualify for the tournament, and the second consists of players whose national teams are involved in the World Cup but were snubbed for the squads themselves.
1. The Not-qualified XI
On the bench:
Buffon, de Vrij, Kolašinac, Wijnaldum, Pjanić, Robben, Alexis Sánchez

Verdict: 
To be honest, this team looks strong as hell. Two absolute world-class goalkeepers and a s…

Champions League Final - Responding to my preview of the Final

Once again - Real Madrid did it. Frankly, their ability to succeed in the big games over and over again is something quite remarkable and even terrifying. Nevertheless, it has been a fantastic UCL season for Liverpool as well, and although it ended up in a disappointment Klopp's team can really be proud of themselves. After all, it seems that currently Real Madrid in the Champions League is just an insurmountable challenge for any team and their third consecutive UCL title was somehow inevitable.

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Before the highlight of the season I wrote about five things to look for in the Final which I considered to be pivotal for the outcome of the game. Now that the Final is in the history, I thought to answer and comment those questions and things I brought up before the game and also rate each of the picks with respect to their relevancy in the game - let's see how well I did in my preview!

1. Ronaldo vs. Salah Before the match I asked which of them could step up …

Football in Finland: Tops and flops of the first third of Veikkausliiga

When it comes to Veikkausliiga it's somewhat risky to declare that a certain part of the season has been played when usually there are almost as many different numbers in the league table's 'Matches Played' column as there are teams. Well, I may have exaggerated a little and this issue certainly is not the topic of this post - but let's just say that as we are approaching the second third of the Veikkausliiga season it looks like we are going to have a thrilling title race and an interesting relegation battle based on what we have seen already. HJK is currently on top of the table with RoPS and KuPS just behind the leaders and on the other end of the table there are within just three points TPS, PS Kemi, SJK and FC Inter.

Without further ado, here are my picks for the tops and the flops of the season so far!

Tops 5. Filip Valenčič The Slovenian attacking midfield moved to HJK during the last season after impressing at PS Kemi and has adapted well to the capital. Af…

5 things to look for in the Champions League Final

It's getting closer - just a few more days to go to the Champions League Final. For me, the UCL Final has always been the biggest game in the European football and the highlight of the season so I am obviously very excited. And I really couldn't have wished for a more thrilling set up in the final: Liverpool will take on Real Madrid as the Spanish team is trying to make history - again - and Liverpool is in the final for the first time in over ten years. Both of the teams are really flying at the moment and I have a feeling that we are going to see a really exciting game in Kiev. Without a further ado, here are my picks to look for in the climax of the UCL season.

1. Ronaldo vs. Salah I know, this is a quite obvious pick, but I really couldn't ignore this duel in my preview as both of them have been in terrific form lately: Salah just made the record for the most goals in one (38 matches long) season in the English Premier League and Cristiano Ronaldo has been a pivotal p…