17 killed, several injured inAngola’s football match stampede

At least 17 people have been killed and    several others injured in a stampede at a soccer stadium in the northern Uige city of Angola.The tragedy occurred on Friday evening,

seven minutes into a first division match between Santa Rita de Cassia and Libolo when hundreds of local fans stormed one of

the gates of the stadium to watch the match,news agency Xinhua reported.

Mourinho transformingManchester United quicker thanexpected – Peter Schmeichel

Former Manchester United goalkeeper, PeterSchmeichel says the arrival of Jose Mourinho has
been “fantastic” for the club with the Portuguese
helping to restore feeling of confidence to Old
Schmeichel believes the former Inter Milan boss
has turned things around, and even quicker than

The countdown continues: two weeks to go

Continue reading “The countdown continues: two weeks to go”

Lloyd’s ‘day-to-day’ life with Houston

Continue reading “Lloyd’s ‘day-to-day’ life with Houston”

Tales of footballing cheer for Christmas

Continue reading “Tales of footballing cheer for Christmas”

Griezmann joinsRonaldo & Messi inbattle to be The Best

The three nominees for The Best FIFA Men’sPlayer Award have been revealed, with perennial

rivals Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi joined

by Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann in the

final three. The list of 23 names has been trimmed

down to the elite trio after voting by captains and

coaches of national teams, select members of the

media and fans voting on , with the

winner to be crowned at the ceremony on 9

January in Zurich.

Cristiano Ronaldo had an outstanding year in

continental competitions, securing his third UEFA

Champions League title, his second for Real

Madrid, finishing as top scorer with 16 goals on

the way to the final – in which the Portuguese

scored the winning penalty in the shootout against

Los Blancos’ rivals Atletico Madrid. Six weeks

later, he captained his country to their first major

trophy, scoring three goals to help his side to a

final where he was restricted to just 25 minutes of

action, but provided a memorable performance in

helping to cajole his team to victory from the


After steadily improving in recent years, Griezmann

announced himself as one of the world’s

outstanding players this year thanks, in part, to his

performances on home soil at UEFA EURO 2016.

The diminutive forward, often found in a ‘9.5’ role

between the forward line and midfield, was top

scorer in the tournament as he helped his country

reach the final, only to be defeated by Ronaldo’s

Portugal. The Frenchman also ended the 2015-16

season as his club side’s top goalscorer, helping

Atleti to third in La Liga, and to a tight final defeat

to Ronaldo’s Real in the Champions League.

Argentina and Barcelona’s talisman Messi had yet

another phenomenal year, guiding his side to a

league and cup double, scoring 26 goals in an

incredibly tight La Liga title race, and captaining

his country to the final of the Copa America

Centenario. Ultimately, the national team glory with

Argentina he craves was denied him by Chile once

more, with La Roja defeating La Albiceleste on

penalties in the finale. It was, however another

fruitful year for the No10, who stepped past Gabriel

Batistuta as his country’s outright top goalscorer

during the Copa America Centenario.

Make sure to check back on and on

social media – @FIFAcom using #TheBest , on

Instagram and the official FIFA Football Awards

Facebook page – to see who is The Best Men’s


Hassan Al Thawadi: Qatar 2022 will be abenchmark for future mega events

Six years after Qatar was awarded the rights tohost the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, Supreme

Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Secretary

General HE Hassan Al Thawadi is dynamically

leading preparations for a country in full swing

towards hosting the greatest football event in the


The SC Secretary General sat down for an

exclusive interview with to look back at

the most memorable moments along the way,

explain why 2017 will be a year of major progress

across stadium sites, and highlight his firm belief

that Qatar will set a new benchmark for hosting

major sporting events in the future.

France, Spain bookStade de France date

France will welcome Spain to the Stade de Francefor an intriguing friendly on 28 March – a few days

after the teams play Luxembourg and Israel in

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying.

Les Bleus head Group A, three points clear of the

Netherlands and Spain. La Roja are first in Group

G, above Italy on goal difference and Israel by a


The Stade de France was inaugurated in January

1998 with a friendly between France and Spain.

Zinedine Zidane netted the only goal after Andoni

Zubizarreta failed to hold a fizzing Youri Djorkaeff

strike, with now Bleu coach Didier Deschamps

facilitating it with a finely-executed pass. Six

months later Zidane headed two goals in the same

stadium as France downed Brazil 3-0 in the World

Cup Final.

Both teams have had periods of dominance in the

fixture. France went unbeaten in it between 1983

and 2000, winning six of eight. Spain won four and

drew one of five meetings between 2008 and ’13.

In the Brazil 2014 preliminaries, a last-gasp Olivier

Giroud equaliser earned France a point in Madrid,

but Pedro’s unanswered goal at the Stade de

France ultimately helped Spain finish top of Group

I and send their opponents into the playoffs, where

they overcame a 2-0 first-leg loss to edge


The sides have met once in the World Cup. David

Villa fired Spain ahead from the spot in the Round

of 16 at Germany 2006, but goals from Franck

Ribery, Patrick Vieira and Zidane earned France a

3-1 success.

Full steam ahead inpreparation for the FIFAConfederations Cup

A few hours before the final FIFA Confederations

Cup match schedule is known at the Kazan Tennis

Academy, FIFA, the Local Organising Committee

(LOC) and the Host Country provided an update on

the preparations for the Tournament of Champions

taking place from 17 June to 2 July next year.

During the media briefing held at the same venue

as the Official Draw, Russia’s Deputy Prime

Minister, Vitaly Mutko, FIFA President Gianni

Infantino and Local Organising Committee (LOC)

CEO, Alexey Sorokin, went through details of some

of the main operational aspects of the event, such

as infrastructure, security, ticketing, and

volunteering. brings you the main quotes of the press


Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Vitaly Mutko

I would like to welcome you to the wonderful city

of Kazan. We did not have any doubts where to

hold the FIFA Confederations Cup draw as Kazan is

a very hospitable city with more than 1,000 years

of history. It’s a city that has been growing and

evolving very fast recently and the capital of

Tatarstan has truly become a major sports city in

Russia and has held a lot of big sports events over

the last few years.

For today, two stadiums are fully operational and

100 per cent ready – it is the Spartak Stadium in

Moscow and the Kazan Arena which FIFA President

Gianni Infantino and myself visited today.

Fisht Stadium in Sochi will be commissioned in

November and we plan to arrange a friendly match

there in March involving the Russian national

football team. Saint Petersburg Stadium will be

commissioned in December and hopefully in March

or April we will arrange a test event there as well.

Apart from that, 12 venue specific training sites

will be used during the tournament. This

infrastructure is to be handed over to the youth

sports academies afterwards and this is the legacy

of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Part of our obligations as Host Country was visa-

free entrance to Russia during the tournament for

all football supporters who bought tickets. In this

regard, to simplify all the procedures and to

provide additional security guarantees, we plan to

implement FAN ID cards for each supporter

planning to visit the stadium. The FAN ID portal

was launched simultaneously with the FIFA

Confederations Cup tickets Visa pre-sale. There’s

a direct link on that leads to the

dedicated portal with a detailed explanation of all

the procedures on application process. FAN IDs

are to be delivered via post worldwide, but the

electronic confirmation letter would also allow

people to enter Russia. We will be communicating

information on FAN ID as much as possible to all

the parties involved: supporters, teams and

commercial affiliates. Apart from that, we plan to

implement additional services into the FAN ID card.

For example, free ground transportation within the


FIFA President Gianni Infantino

I am happy and pleased being here in Kazan, the

capital of Tatarstan, a city and region which has

incredible cultural and historical heritage, a city

where different cultures and religions are living

peacefully side by side. These are things which are

not really known to the world and football can also

can make these elements and facts known to the

world. That’s why I am happy to be here in Kazan.

Stadiums in Russia are progressing very well, will

be ready in time; perfect status. I know that there

are challenges in Saint Petersburg, but the stadium

will be ready on time – President Putin assured


Also I would like to remind you that the general

phase of ticketing starts on 1 December and you

will be able to buy tickets to all 16 matches. They

will be available on

The FIFA World Cup™ in Russia will the first where

we officially will use Video Assistant Referees,

subject to be approved by IFAB in March 2018.

The World Cup is the biggest competition and we

can help referees not to make mistakes. We are

now making tests and will test the system during

the Confederations Cup.

Local Organising Committee (LOC) CEO, Alexey


We have been preparing the FIFA Confederations

Cup Official Draw for a year. In general, we are

deep in the operational phase, after the

Confederations Cup Draw we actively will start to

promote the tournament. We are now working hard

on preparations of it, this is our focus currently.

Another aspect I would like to touch on is the

volunteers programme, which already became the

biggest in Russia’s volunteer movement history.

On Monday we received our 150,000th application

and today we already overcame the level of

153,000 applications. I would like also to add that

during the Confederations Cup, around 5,500

volunteers will be used and also a reserve of 40

per cent prepared. We are happy that the

tournament is so popular.​

Follow Saturday’sRussia 2017 draw liveon will be streaming live on Saturday 26November as the Official Draw for the FIFA

Confederations Cup Russia 2017 takes place at the

Kazan Tennis Academy.

Fans will also be able to tuck in to our Live Blog,

along with exclusive interviews and images as the

Tournament of Champions’ hopefuls learn their

group-stage opponents. The draw show begins at

6pm local time (4pm CET) and will be followed by

a press conference – which we will also be

streaming live – at which the coaches of all seven

confirmed participants will give their reactions.

The 2017 Confederations Cup will be played out

between Australia, Chile, Germany, Mexico, New

Zealand, Portugal, Russia and an as-yet undecided

African entrant, and information on tickets can be

found right here on .

Matsubara, Japan’sresourceful all-rounder

It was yet another Japan masterclass on Thursday,

as the Young Nadeshiko stormed into the last four

at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New

Guinea 2016 with a stylish 3-1 win over Brazil.

Japan’s usual attacking outlets – Yui Hasegawa,

Yuka Momiki and Hina Sugita – were prominent as

always, but this time it was another name to the

fore; Shiho Matsubara.

Coming on at half-time, Matsubara netted after just

five minutes and added a second midway through

the second half. Her second goal was taken with

the poise of a supremely confident player.

Controlling an awkward bouncing cross at the back

post, Matsubara brought it down, shimmied past a

defender and side-footed the ball inside the

furthest post.

Japan have already scored 14 goals in just four

outings thus far at Papua New Guinea 2016. In

truth, they could have easily have scored more

than three against Brazil at Port Moresby’s

National Football Stadium on Thursday evening.

“The coach told us to chase more goals at half-

time and put the game away,” Matsubara told . “We stepped up and had a good second

half. I did the job for the team that I could, and

tried to contribute where I could and the task I was

set. Every small contribution greatly helps.”

Goalscoring all-rounder

Nine games played, four goals scored. That is the

record at FIFA tournaments for Matsubara. Not a

bad goalscoring return for a defender. But while

Matsubara is ostensibly lining up in the Japan

squad as a defender, coach Asako Takakura has

long used the 19-year-old as a utility player. It

was exactly the same scenario in Costa Rica two

years ago when Takakura led her Little Nadeshiko

side, Matsubara included, to the FIFA U-17

Women’s World Cup title. Matsubara has even

been known to play in the forward line for her

Nadeshiko League side Cerezo Osaka.

“It was a good feeling then,” said Matsubara,

reflecting on what was a deserved win for Japan at

Costa Rica 2014. “But this is a different category

where the stakes are much higher. The

accumulated pressure and the different factors are

much higher now.”

Japan boast a remarkable record at U-17 level –

they fell just short of a second title in Jordan only

last month – but success has been harder to

come by at U-20 level. Only once prior to Papua

New Guinea 2016 have Japan reached the semi-

finals, and that was on home soil four years ago.

Can they make history this time?

“We didn’t qualify last time and so we were

mindful of first improving on that first of all,”

Matsubara said. “All teams want to be the best in

the world, and we are now well placed to achieve


“It is a do or die time, and of course, once we lose

we go back home, and that is not our purpose or

goal when we arrived yet. We are working on the

notion that we will keep winning and I feel

confident and have a good feeling about this


FIFA launches newexchange platform forits member associations

FIFA has held its first Executive Football Summit,

one of the key initiatives introduced as part of the

FIFA reforms, in Paris on 22 and 23 November. The

series of summits will bring together member

association presidents and general secretaries to

discuss strategic matters and provide a platform

for discussion, debate and an exchange of know-


“It is important that in future the decisions at FIFA

are not dictated from the top but really come from

those who have to engage with and organise

football in their countries every day, and that is

why it is important that we use their feedback and

input to develop our programmes,” said FIFA

President Gianni Infantino.

Each summit brings together the representatives of

around 20 member associations and is divided

into two half-day workshop sessions, conducted in

an informal setting to allow open and constructive

dialogue. The inaugural meeting in Paris brought

together top executives from French-speaking

countries across Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and

Oceania showcasing a wide range of experiences.

“We’ve enjoyed a familiar atmosphere, a football-

loving atmosphere, with deep discussions at the

same time,” said the President of the Haiti Football

Association, Yves Jean Bart. “I’ve heard comments

from African colleagues that have shown me that

the world of football is the same everywhere and

we all face the same issues. I think we should get

to know each other better, understand each other

better, appreciate each other more and probably

develop joint actions.”

The main topic on the agenda of the Paris summit

was FIFA’s revamped development programme,

Forward, which raised great interest and many

questions among the member associations.

“Today, we can see that the Forward Programme

will allow improvements to be made in the

governance and management of national

associations. Through Forward we can review the

whole administrative structure of an association,”

said President of the Democratic Republic of Congo

FA and FIFA Council member Constant Omari.

“It gives us the opportunity to give and receive

feedback about projects and programmes. We

receive clarification and can better understand

some topics that we often find unclear,” explained

Jean Bart.

“The programmes presented by FIFA are very

interesting, extremely positive,” added the

President of the French Football Association, Noël

Le Graet. “I think that, in a short time frame, FIFA

has done a great deal of work. I see that FIFA has

a sharing nature and I like that. All of the smaller,

less privileged associations really need FIFA.”

The 11 FIFA Executive Football Summits will be

held in six venues around the world between

November 2016 and March 2017. Following the

launch in Paris, two summits will take place in

Singapore (6-8 December), two in Miami (17-18

January), two in Doha (14-16 February), two in

Addis Ababa (21-23 February) and two in London

(7-9 March). Key findings from the discussions will

then be fed back to the relevant decision-making

bodies within FIFA.​

Brazil’s Duda sizing upher options

The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New

Guinea 2016 seems to be providing Brazil forward

Duda with some answers to the questions she has

been asking herself of late. Blessed with talent to

burn, she has been pondering the options her

skills have opened up to her, and which involve

choosing a career in futsal or football and playing

on the wing or down the middle.

“I think I love football just as much as futsal,” the

Canarinha No9, who scored her side’s opening

goal at Papua New Guinea 2016, told .

“Playing both games gives you an advantage or

two, and I find it natural to use skills that you often

see in futsal, like keeping your foot close to the

ball, dribbling past opposing players and making

bursts down the flanks.”

Born in Major Isidoro, in the state of Alagoas, Duda

was Brazil’s leading scorer with seven goals at the

South American U-20 Women’s Futsal

Championship held in Paraguay four months ago.

She is also enjoying her time with the national

football team at Papua New Guinea 2016, where

they kicked off with a 9-0 defeat of the hosts. A

4-2 defeat to Korea DPR in their second game

promptly brought them back down to earth,


Overcoming adversity

That reverse left the Brazilians to fight it out with

Sweden for a quarter-final place, a make-or-break

game in which they fell behind to an early Stina

Blackstenius goal. “It was a really tough match

against a side that played well,” said Duda, looking

back on the 1-1 draw that took Brazil through at

the European side’s expense. “We managed to

overcome all the problems they posed to us at the

start, though, and come away with a valuable draw

that took us into the next round.”

Waiting for the Brazilians in the last eight are

Japan, who eased past Canada in their final game

in Group A to top the section from Spain, who

relinquished first place after losing to Nigeria.

“We knew we were going to come up against a

tough side,” said Duda, looking ahead to Brazil’s

meeting with the Japanese at Port Moresby’s

National Football Stadium on Thursday. “We’ve

seen for ourselves what a good team they are and

how hard they are to play against. We’ve got to do

our own preparations, though, no matter what their

strengths are. We need to be focused on the job

right from the start, play our game and not make

mistakes. We’re hoping we can come away with

the win.”

With her performances in Papua New Guinea, Duda

seems to be finding some answers to the

questions she has been asking herself about her

future, with A Canarinha’s run to the last eight

giving her the time to showcase her talent. The

question now is, can she shed more light on her

future path when she runs out against Japan?​

No stoppingsupercharged Sung

Sung Hyang-Sim has been keeping herself busy in
recent weeks. At the end of October, the Korea
DPR international helped her side take the honours
at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan
2016, a competition in which she collected the
adidas Silver Ball and was voted the Live Your
Goals Player of the Match in three of their six
Within ten days of returning to her home town of
Pyongyang, Sung was packing her bags again for
another world finals adventure. Her destination this
time was the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
Papua New Guinea 2016, where things have been
going according to plan for a Korea DPR side with
designs on lifting another trophy. After winning all
their group matches – one of only two sides to do
so, along with Germany – the North Koreans look
well equipped to go all the way again.
Sung featured in two of Korea DPR’s group games
in Papua New Guinea, scoring one of the goals in
their 7-1 defeat of the tournament hosts. “I always
want to score,” she told . “When I’m out
on the pitch I give my all for the team and I always
expect to get a goal or to set one up.”
Though only 16, she poses plenty of problems to
opposing defences with her pace. That said, and in
spite of being very pleased with her performances
at Jordan 2016, Sung is determined to become an
even better player. “This is the U-20 World Cup
and I need to keep improving,” she explained. “I
hope I get the chance to do that.” That opportunity
could well come in Thursday’s quarter-final
against Spain, a team the striker describes as “one
of the best in the world”.​

Castellanos: These awards help women’s football

“It won’t be too long before she’s the best player
in the world, no question.” That was the emphatic
opinion of former Venezuela international Juan
Arango when asked by for his views on
compatriot Deyna Castellanos, who is fulfilling her
rich promise faster than anyone expected.
A goalscorer at the age of 14 – along with team-
mate Gabriela Garcia – at the FIFA U-17 Women’s
World Cup Costa Rica 2014, Castellanos was in the
limelight again at Jordan 2016, where she scored
the goal of the tournament en route to collecting
the adidas Bronze Ball and becoming the leading
goalscorer in the history of the U-17 Women’s
World Cup.
“I’m delighted with what Venezuela have achieved
and with what I’ve achieved,” said Castellanos
herself in an exclusive interview you can watch in
the video above.
Two of the five goals she scored in Jordan to help
propel La Vinotinto to fourth were truly spectacular
strikes. In the group match against Canada,
Castellanos controlled a lofted pass with her back
to goal, took out two defenders with an impudent
back-heeled drag-back and turned to hit a
thumping shot into the top corner of the net.
Then there was the jaw-dropping effort that was
voted by the fans as the goal of the tournament:
her last-gasp effort from the centre circle against
Cameroon, a stunning strike that kept her side
firmly in contention for a place in the quarter-
finals. “They were amazing goals,” said the player
who scored them.
As both were scored after 30 September, neither
goal is eligible for the 2016 FIFA Puskás Award,
though they will both be in contention for next
year’s accolade, much to the striker’s delight: “I’d
be thrilled if either of them are in the running for
the award.”
The Venezuelan starlet has some other big
objectives for the future, as her mother Yrene
Naujenis revealed in a conversation with :
“She’s always wanted to see the senior Vinotinto
team reach the World Cup, and she wants to pick
up the award for best player.”
The young forward is delighted that FIFA’s awards
offer equal recognition to the men’s and women’s
games, in the shape of The Best FIFA Women’s
Player and The Best FIFA Women’s Coach
accolades, and sees them as a big step forward:
“The men’s game is way ahead of the women’s
right now, but these awards can help raise the
standard of women’s football. That’s why it’s so
important to me.”
Castellanos can vote for her favourites at The Best
awards, just like any other football fan, a feature
that sets these awards apart from the rest. Don’t
forget that you can join her in casting your votes
at and that you have until Tuesday 22
November to do so. The awards themselves will be
presented on 9 January.
And don’t forget the name Deyna Castellanos
either. Before you know it, her dream and Arango’s
prediction could well be coming true.​

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