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Avid traveller Smith eyes French adventure – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • USA forward Sophia Smith is seen as an emerging talent
  • The travel enthusiast lists France as her favourite destination
  • Striker earned call-up to the senior USA squad in 2017

Playing international football has its advantages. One of the perks is the opportunity to travel around the world and play in interesting locations. It is a privilege that USA U-20 forward Sophia Smith has made the most of.

Whether it has been the Caribbean, Europe, or the Middle East, Smith enjoys fulfilling her pursuits of travelling and playing the beautiful game. When asked to choose a favourite destination, one place stood out for the youngster. “Just in terms of the environment and the people, I would say honestly that it’s France,” Smith said in an interview with FIFA.com

“I think it’s different than all the places we’ve been [as a team], and that includes the soccer environment that saw tons of people coming to watch the small friendlies we played there. Also, getting to see Paris was something that doesn’t come around often.”

The striker’s destination of choice is in line with where she is hoping to appear this August after helping the Stars and Stripes qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018. This year’s tournament will be hosted in the French region of Brittany – a part of the world that Smith is keen to visit again. “I think the people in that area are a very educated soccer crowd, so I think it will be awesome for the soccer environment, and just the area itself is a super nice place, with lots to do,” she said.

Player Profile

  • Born 10 August 2000 in Windsor, Colorado, USA
  • Plays her club football for local side Real Colorado
  • Is set to join the women’s football programme at Stanford University
  • Tobin Heath (USA) and Marta (Brazil) are her favourite women’s players​

On the rise
Smith’s recent globetrotting has been a result of the forward’s rising stock within the USA women’s national team programme. The 17-year-old has made big strides since appearing at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016. “Playing in the U-17 Women’s World Cup gave me a better glimpse of what that environment [of the top level] is like and what it takes to compete at that level,” she said. “That has contributed to my game more than anything in my whole soccer career to date.”

Named US Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year for 2017, Smith’s efforts were rewarded with a call-up to the senior USA squad last year. “It’s hard to put in words because it is a whole different world,” she said of training with Jill Ellis’s team. 

“That opened my eyes to a whole other level of soccer and what it really takes to get to that level. Just meeting the players that have made it there and have been with that team consistently was awesome. Just learning about their lifestyle and their habits that helped to get them to where they are was a life-changing experience. It just made me want it even more to make it to that level.”

France 2018 in sight
The USA’s desire to succeed in the women’s game remains constant. For Smith and her team-mates, the goal is to lead the North American nation to a fourth U-20 Women’s World Cup title. Led by experienced coach Jitka Klimkova, the Stars and Stripes are a side that is well rehearsed in its own abilities. “What I love about this team is the chemistry. Even though there are roster changes here and there, there’s always been a core group with chemistry,” Smith said. “I think that’s what translates on to the field. It helps us play better together. Everyone has a fun and unique personality, on and off the field. I think it’s something that will ultimately take us further than all of the opponents that we play.”

Drawn in a competitive-looking Group C with Japan, Paraguay, and Spain, USA will need to be on their best form when their France 2018 campaign begins on 6 August. “I think we’re pretty familiar with those three teams, though Spain is probably the least familiar to us, just because we haven’t had a chance to play them,” Smith revealed. “We have a lot of respect for every team at the World Cup, and I think if we just come out playing like we know how to play, I think we should be good.”

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36 days to go: Match officials assemble – FIFA on GBP Sports

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 36 days to go! Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.

36 – The FIFA Referees Committee has appointed a total of 36 referees and 63 assistant referees representing 46 countries for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. 

The criteria for selection included each match official’s skills and personality, as well as his understanding of football and ability to read both the game and the various tactics employed by teams. Several preparatory seminars have been held for referees and assistant referees over the last three years, focusing on fair play, protecting players, the image of the game, consistent and uniform officiating, technical and tactical understanding of the game as well as knowledge of different player and team mentalities.

The Committee also selected 13 match officials to act solely as video assistant referees (VARs) during the finals.

The selected referees, assistant referees and VARs will be monitored and supported by FIFA Refereeing on an individual basis to ensure they are fully prepared. They will then take part in a final preparatory seminar at the FIFA World Cup match officials’ HQ in Moscow at the start of June.

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Did Real Madrid Deserve to Win the El Clasico and End Valverde’s Barcelona’s Unbeaten League Run?

by Tactical Analysis Hub

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Frappart looking forward to officiating on home soil – FIFA on GBP Sports

Top French referee Stephanie Frappart is one of the 15 female match officials, who will officiate games at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 in August. She is looking forward to refereeing in her home country and to showing the world how excited France is to celebrate women’s football at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup this year, and of course next year, at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

FIFA.com: Congratulations on your selection for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018. What does it mean for you as a French woman to officiate at FIFA World Cup matches in your home country?
Stephanie Frappart:  I am very proud, of course. I am really looking forward to this competition. It is a big honour to represent France in France. It is a highlight for me. It is great recognition and a token of appreciation for all of the work I have done so far, for the experience I gained over the past years. I am very pleased and I want to thank everyone, who has made this possible.

France is organising two important women’s competitions. Next year, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played in France. The U-20 competition in August is a kind of sample for what’s coming up next year, when FIFA’s flagship tournament in women’s football will be played. How are the preparations going so far? The French Football Federation has prepared this tournament very well. It will be a big test for everyone before the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019. Everyone is focused and ready. The whole region of Brittany is excited to welcome all of the teams and fans. The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will be a great gauge for next year’s competition.

Considering that the level of the U-20 women is very good, are there opportunities for the match officials to make improvements in their own World Cup preparations?
Absolutely. It is a great opportunity for us and it is a great opportunity for the players. We both have an important competition, after which all of us can be recommended for the World Cup, if we have good performances. So, there is a lot at stake for all of us.

You are known for leaving nothing to chance and planning everything down to the last detail. What are your preparations like over the next few days, weeks and months?
It is actually an ongoing process. The World Cup preparations have not just started. We actually started planning and preparing for France 2019 immediately after the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada. It is more a next, important step towards the next big highlight. It will be an intense, but exciting time. We are challenged and encouraged. 

It is an important stopover in our World Cup preparations. We still have a lot of work to do and we must keep up the pace. The exchanges with our instructors will be very valuable and also officiating games at a high level is, of course, very important for us.

What exactly can we look forward to in your country this year* and next year?  
*This summer, it’s the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and next year, it’s the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the best women’s football tournament anywhere! I am sure that both competitions will be a big success for the development of women’s football. 

This FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 is coming at just the right time for the women’s game in France. Our FA’s development programme is paying off. More and more people are watching women’s football matches on TV, and the French national women’s team play in front of packed stadia. There’s a genuine passion for the game, and it’s growing all the time.

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Mourinho: Messi and Ronaldo make their nations contenders – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • ​Jose Mourinho is really looking forward to a ‘really entertaining’ Russia 2018
  • The 55-year-old explains why Brazil and Spain are strong contenders
  • He reckons  Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo give their nations a chance

Jose Mourinho has tagged Brazil and Spain as the teams to beat at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, but believes the presence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and that alone – gives Argentina and Portugal a chance.

“I really like Brazil’s basic structure – their tactics, mentality,” the Manchester United manager told ESPN Brasil. “There’s a mixture of natural Brazilian talent with a serious, physical, tactical approach.

“It’s a team capable of defending well, of conceding few goals, with a good support base. And they have an attack with Willian, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus… all players with exceptional qualities.

“I think that without Lionel Messi, the Argentinian national team wouldn’t be in contention. But with him, they are one of the favourites.

“Portugal have an interesting team. Without Cristiano, it would be impossible. But with him, nothing’s impossible.

“There are the traditional European teams, but I believe Spain are a real team again. They have players who follow their same philosophy and are adapted to their style of play. I think Spain are in a better position than all of the other European teams.

Mourinho is excited for the 21st World Cup, and will be in Russia to watch some of it.

“It will be really entertaining,” he said. “I’ll be in Russia for a week to follow the games, and then finally vacation.”

FUN AND GAMES
Panini
Join millions of fellow fans sticking, swapping and sharing!

FIFA World Cup Bracket Challenge
Who will finish first, second, third and fourth in the groups? Who will win the knockout ties? Challenge your friends and compete for some great prizes.

Team bus slogans
Each of Russia 2018’s 32 teams will have a slogan emblazoned on their team bus. You can vote for the winners in the Be There with Hyundai Contest.

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Godin: I dream of lifting the Trophy – FIFA on GBP Sports

Diego Godin has revealed he can’t stop thinking about the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and expressed his desire to become the first Uruguayan in 68 years to receive the Trophy.

Jules Rimet handed it to Obdulio Varela – albeit in bizarre circumstances – at the Maracana in 1950, and though La Celeste have reached the semi-finals thrice thereafter, they have never gone further, losing to Hungary in 1954, Brazil in 1970 and the Netherlands in 2010. Eight teams have shorter odds of winning Russia 2018 than Uruguay, but that doesn’t stop the Atletico Madrid centre-back fantasising.

“There isn’t a day goes by that I stop thinking about the World Cup,” Godin told Radio Rincón. “I dream of lifting the Trophy – of course I do.

“We qualified for the World Cup well. The important thing is that no-one gets injured, that everyone is right physically.”

Godin believes the secret to Uruguay’s prosperity under Oscar Tabarez – they exceeded expectations at South Africa 2010, won the Copa America 2011 and upset England 2-1 and Italy 1-0 at Brazil 2014 – has been stability and playing to their strengths, which includes feeding Luis Suarez (50 goals in 97 internationals) and Edinson Cavani (42 in 100) as soon as possible.

“The great success of this team is that, in the eight years since South Africa, we’ve maintained a consistency – in the World Cup qualifiers, in the Copa America,” said the 116-times-capped Rosario native. “There is a base of players who are still good enough to compete and, in addition, some changes have been made with the introduction of new players, youngsters, but ones who also have experience due to playing in Europe and for the youth national teams.

“But the national team never lost its stability. It has been reinvented. I always say the same thing: it’s good that the new players have been incorporated into the team. The players who have come in have different characteristics.

“Uruguay now have more ball possession, play at a higher volume. It’s good – they’re changes that have improved the team.”

“We are on the right track, because we’ve had good performances. What we always say to each other is that we cannot become lost – nobody can – about what our strengths are. That is defensive solidity, the team’s great work ethic, and quickly getting the ball to the strikers, who are the ones who win us matches now as they have done in the past. We cannot lose sight of this.”

At 32, Godin reckons he is at his peak going into Russia 2018, where Uruguay face Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the hosts in Group A.

“Personally, this can be my great World Cup – because of experience, age, my sporting moment and my maturity,” he said. “That’s why I want to enjoy it to the fullest and win.”

FUN AND GAMES
Panini
Join millions of fellow fans sticking, swapping and sharing!

FIFA World Cup Bracket Challenge
Who will finish first, second, third and fourth in the groups? Who will win the knockout ties? Challenge your friends and compete for some great prizes.

Team bus slogans
Each of Russia 2018’s 32 teams will have a slogan emblazoned on their team bus. You can vote for the winners in the Be There with Hyundai Contest.

⚽📺🍺🎉 Watch FIFA World Cup 2018 on GBP Sports

🎁🎁🎁 Refer your friend and get discount, check it out here! 

 

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Worst Signings Of The Season XI! – Football Daily

by Football Daily

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FAMOUS FOOTBALLERS and his DOUBLE ● NEYMAR, SALAH, RONALDO, MESSI, IBRAHIMOVIC

by Joga Bonito

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