Sport

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

A busy Start to 2023 for Gibraltar’s Referees and Match Officials 

Gibraltar’s Referees and match officials held their annual five-day FIFA Winter Camp, in January, on the Rock.

The Winter Camp, part of the continuous development of the Associations Refereeing Teams saw all Gibraltar Football League Match Officials taking part as well as selected other Gibraltar Referees and Referee Observers.

FIFA Referee instructor Alan Snoddy delivered technical presentations on incidents including upper body challenges, handball, persistent player misconduct and holding offences.

The five-day camp also focussed on the physical aspect of refereeing with FIFA Refereeing Fitness Instructor, Simon Berivik with YoYo/Ariet assessments, Sprint tests carried out alongside Fitness Theory and Analysis sessions.

Match situations that have arisen throughout the current season in the Gibraltar Football League were presented by the Gibraltar FA’s Refereeing Department as well as video analysis of three specifically arranged friendly matches that formed part of the camp.

This year, guest speakers featured prominently starting with Nadine Pardo-Zammitt and Siobhan Gregory who delivered a presentation on International Netball umpiring and the setup at the Gibraltar Netball Association

Current Gibraltar international, Scott Wiseman, was also a guest speaker at the camp, talking to Gibraltar’s Referees about a player’s perception of a referee and an officiating team.      

Speaking about the FIFA Winter Camp, the Gibraltar FA’s Referee Manager, Adrian Bacarisa, stated:

“Once a year we take the opportunity to hold a FIFA MA Course for referees. This is the fifth time that we have held such a FIFA supported training camp which has been held either abroad or in Gibraltar. These camps provide referees, assistant referees, referee observers and selected lower category referees the opportunity to live as a team spending five days together sharing experiences and team building. The camp also exposes them to more professionalism as we work on getting our match officials to be better and minimising mistakes.

This year,  a number of guest speakers took us through their own expertise providing a variety of topics increasing the knowledge and awareness of our match officials. I would also like to thank Gibraltar FAs U17 & U19 teams, FCB Magpies, Glacis Utd, Manchester 62 and Europa Point for providing teams to play friendly matches during this training camp.”

Gibraltar Match Officials FIFA Listed for 2023

Gibraltar has once again had four of its Match officials FIFA listed for 2023. The four match officials who have gained their international status are:

• Referee: Jason Barcelo

• Assistant Referees: Michael Mascias and Daniel Gomez

• Futsal Referee: Zyl Sheriff

FIFA listing means that the officials are able to officiate in International and European competitions.

All four were presented with their FIFA badges for 2023 by the Gibraltar Referees’ Committee Paul Grech and Gibraltar FA Referee Manager Adrian Bacarisa at last weekend’s Winter Camp.

International recognition is the pinnacle of every referees career and shows how much room for progression and development there is in perusing a career in refereeing in Gibraltar.  Anyone interested in becoming a referee can visit www.gfarefereeing.com and start their journey in becoming either a football or Futsal Referee.

RUGBY, CRICKET AND WOMEN’S FOOTBALL WORLD CUPS

in Features/Sport Insight

TRAILBLAZE EXCITING YEAR AHEAD

SIX NATIONS
CHAMPIONSHIP

(Feb 4th – aMarch 18th)

RUGBY’S revered event, the Six Nations championship, by some distance the sport’s most popular annual tournament, so beloved the capacity of all host stadia, whether it be Twickenham, Paris, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin, or even Rome, could be filled more than twice over such is the fervour this tournament engenders, kicks off on 4th February for a six-week celebration of the great game. This year’s championship has powerful added significance as it’s World Cup year and all six countries will be in action in the Webb Ellis Trophy starting next September in France.

Bookmaking opinion is split between France and Ireland as to which to make favourite for the Six Nations title, while Wales and England have both hit the panic button with last-minute sackings of their chief coaches – Wales welcome back tried and trusted Kiwi Warren Gatland following a disastrous last season that included defeats to perennial strugglers Italy and, astonishingly, a home defeat to second-tier nation Georgia, while Twickenham HQ’s patience finally ran out with Eddie Jones’ feeble excuses, replacing the Aussie serial apologist with popular ex-England star Steve Borthwick.

Looking elsewhere, history shows that Ireland struggle when burdened with the tag of being made favourite, as my financial scars over the years bear testament to, but, probably illogically, I’m tipping the Green Machine to be crowned champions, mainly because their two most dangerous opponents, France and England, have to come to Dublin’s fair city to wage war at the cauldron that is Fortress Aviva.

Must-Watch Juggernaut TV Clashes:

11th Feb – Ireland vs France
KO 15:15 (CET)

25TH Feb – Wales vs England
 KO 17:45 (CET)

11th Mar – England vs France
KO 17:45 (CET)

18th Mar – Ireland vs England
KO 18:00 (CET)

WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP

(April 15th – May 1st)

SNOOKER is going through turbulent times at the moment with troubling tales of corrupt match-fixing sweeping through the game and ten players banned by the World Snooker Tour, including Chinese star Zhao Xintong, who is ranked number nine in the world, so it follows that the World Championship, starting at the hallowed home of the sport, the Crucible in Sheffield on 15th April, will be under intense scrutiny as the giants of the game, defending champion ‘Rocket Ronnie’ O’Sullivan and last year’s beaten finalist Judd Trump, among other household names, seek to restore snooker’s reputation.

Winner of the Masters’ title in January, Trump boasts the best current form and is my tip to avenge last year’s final defeat at the hands of O’Sullivan, but write off the ‘Rocket’ at your peril!

WIMBLEDON TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS

(July 3rd – 16th)

WIMBLEDON 2023, minus Roger Federer – arguably the greatest player of all time, but indisputably the most stylish professional practitioner to have ever picked up a racquet – and with chief rival Rafael Nadal beset by injury woes as Old Father Time demands his dues, the road ahead for Novak Djokovic to claim his eighth singles title is clear, with the only possible obstructions being  the volatile and ill-disciplined Aussie Nick Kyrgios and beleaguered Daniil Medvedev who, by accident of birth, can expect a somewhat frosty spectator experience should authorities relent and allow the Russian to compete. The great and defiantly unvaccinated Novak will surely hold the trophy aloft on Sunday, July 16th.

In the Women’s Singles, Britain’s Emma Raducanu continues to disappoint since sensationally winning the US Open as an A-level student in 2021. Knocked out in just the second round of this year’s Australian Open, the charge against the Bromley girl is that there are too many distractions in her life, modelling commitments, multiple changes of coach etc, and becoming a multi-millionaire at such a tender age. This is Emma’s opportunity to recapture the magic that saw her stun the tennis world in New York two years ago, and emulate her idol Virginia Wade by winning Wimbledon in front of an adoring full house. Girl, would that blow the Centre Court roof off!

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL WORLD CUP

(July 20th – Aug 20th)

FOOTBALL came agonisingly close to ‘coming home’ for the men in both the Euros and recent World Cup before the scourge of the penalty shootout and Harry Kane’s ‘pigeon killer’ came into play to cruelly shatter Three Lions’ dreams, but no such doorstep stumble for the ladies on that glorious 31st July night at Wembley Stadium, when the Lionesses devoured Germany 2-1 to clinch their first Euro Championship.

And now for the big one – 32 nations, including England and Ireland, will take part in the FIFA 2023 World Cup Finals, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with the final scheduled for Sydney on 20th August. Defending champions, the United States are strongly fancied to retain the title, but if the Lionesses recapture the spirit of that unforgettable last night in July, then football may well be truly coming home.

RUGBY WORLD CUP

(Sept 8th – Oct 28th)

FRANCE hosts the 10th Rugby Union World Cup which starts on September 8th, with the opening group game being an absolute awe-inspiring snorter, featuring the hosts taking on the mighty All Blacks – Les Bleus vs New Zealand – a pairing that could well be repeated seven weeks later, in the final itself. Of the nine previous world cups, southern hemisphere giants New Zealand and South Africa are tied with three triumphs each, with Australia successful twice, leaving England as the sole European winner, an historic victory gained in 2003.

France, as hosts, probably represent Europe’s best hope of repelling southern hemisphere giants, defending champs South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but Ireland, currently world-ranked number one, and a resurgent England should not be overlooked.

2023 ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP

(Oct – Nov – Dates TBA)

INDIA hosts the ODI World Cup this autumn in the 13th edition of the competition, rearranged because of delays in the qualification schedule due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, as the home nation, no surprise that they feature high on most experts’ lists as favourites to claim their third world title.

Recently crowned T20 World Cup winners England, unrecognisable from the side that were whitewashed by the Aussies in the Ashes Down Under just 18 months ago, pose the biggest threat to an India triumph, but never under-estimate the Three Roses’ recurring ability to throw in at least one wobbly among the googlies, as was perfectly illustrated by defeat to minnows Ireland in the group stage, a result that nearly wrecked their triumphant T20 campaign.

Traditional heavyweights, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan can never be discounted, so buckle up for an exciting finale to a stellar sports year.

2022 SPORT HIGHLIGHTS – HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE YEAR SO FAR…

in Features/Sport Insight

JANUARY

3rd:

Darts supplied the year’s first world champion when Scot Peter “Snakebite” Wright won his second PDC World Open title and with it a cool half-a-million quid when beating Michael Smith 7-5 in the final at Alexandra Palace, London.

16th:

Australia complete a 4-0 humiliation of an abject England side in the Ashes cricket series Down Under.

29th:

Ash Barty thrilled an ecstatic Melbourne Rod Laver Arena when she became the first home  player since 1978 to win the Australia Ladies Open, beating American Danielle Collins in straight sets in the final.

30th:

Rafael Nadal roared back from two sets down to overcome Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in an epic 5hr-24min Australia Men’s Open final, giving the 35-year-old Spaniard a record 21st slam. Sadly, the tournament will probably be best remembered for the deportation of unvaccinated defending champion Novak Djokovic.

FEBRUARY

6th:
Round One of rugby’s Six Nations sees Scotland retain the Calcutta Cup, controversially edging out England 20-17 at Murrayfield.

13th:
Los Angeles Rams grab victory from the jaws of defeat courtesy of a last-minute Touchdown to pip Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in a thrilling NFL Super Bowl final.

20th:
The charming sport of Curling supplied Team GB’s total tally of two medals in the Beijing Winter Olympics, with gold coming in the Women’s final to add to the silver gained in the Men’s event the previous day.

27th:
The Carabao Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea produced a pulsating 0-0 draw with the Men from the Mersey clinching victory 11-10 in a bottom-clenching penalty shootout.

March

4th:
Australia and the world of cricket recoiled in disbelief at the news of the sudden death at age 52 of Shane Warne, universally acclaimed as the world’s best-ever spin bowler, following on from the passing of another Aussie cricket legend Rodney Marsh, aged 74, just a few hours earlier.

18th:
Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup when guiding A Plus Tard to victory, the historic event coming just three days after the Tipperary girl retained the Champion Hurdle crown aboard Honeysuckle at the festival.

19th:
France clinched the Grand Slam when comfortably brushing England aside in the Six Nations Championship in Paris, while Ireland lifted the Triple Crown when routing Scotland in Dublin.

23rd:
Reigning world number one and holder of both the Australian and British Open titles Ash Barty shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement from the game at the tender age of 25.

26th:
Robert Milkins pocketed the £50,000 first prize when he beat Kyren Wilson 4-2 in an all-English final of the Gibraltar Snooker Open at the Europa Sports Complex.

April

9th:
Ridden by amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, Irish-trained surprise packet Noble Yeats won the Aintree Grand National at odds of 50/1.

10th:
Scottie Scheffler lived up to his world number one ranking when easily winning the US Masters at Augusta, the 25-year old American donning the famous green jacket and trousering  an eye-watering first prize of 2.7 million dollars.

May

2nd:
‘Rocket  Ronnie’ O’Sullivan pocketed his seventh World Snooker Championship title and half-a-million sterling when easily snookering Judd Trump 18-13 at The Crucible, Sheffield. 

14th:
It was deja vu on the double as Liverpool added the FA Cup to their Carabao triumph, with Chelsea again succumbing in the final, and once more the tie was decided only after a tense penalty-shootout, which the Men in Red won 6-5.

18th:
Heartbreak for Rangers in the Europa League Final, when the Glasgow giants were pipped in a penalty shootout by German side Eintracht Frankfurt.

22nd:
Manchester City clinched their sixth Premier League title in spectacular fashion, coming from two goals down against Aston Villa to win 3-2 and consigning arch-rivals Liverpool to the runners-up spot.

28th:
More misery for Liverpool as the Mersey men falter in the Champions League Final in Paris, cruelly losing 1-0 to Real Madrid, despite totally dominating the game, but unable to beat inspired ‘keeper Courtois.

29th:
Racing legend Lester Piggott, the greatest jockey of all time, dies in a Geneva hospital, aged 86.

June

5th:
Wales seal their place at the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals, beating Ukraine 1-0 in playoff at the Cardiff City Stadium.

12th:
Legendary Wales rugby union flyhalf Phil Bennett passed away, aged 73.

19th:
Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick, 27, wins the US Golf Open at Brookline Massachusetts.

July

3rd:
Spain’s Carlos Sainz triumphs in a thrilling F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

9th:
Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina came from a set down to beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon Ladies final.

10th:
Super Serb Novak Djokovic captures his seventh Wimbledon Men’s title, comfortably seeing off the challenge of volatile Aussie Nick Kyrgios.

17th:
Australian golfing sensation Cameron Smith won the 150th British Open at St Andrews, thrillingly coming from four shots down on the final day to lift the Claret Jug.

31st:

England were crowned UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 champions with a dramatic 2-1 extra-time victory against Germany to win their first major title in front of a record crowd. 


Nothing could separate the sides after a physical first half, before Ella Toone’s outrageous chip put England ahead and blew the roof off Wembley. 


Germany found themselves back in it 17 minutes later though, as Lina Magull finally got past a stoic Mary Earps to take the game to extra-time. 


But substitute Chloe Kelly provided the decisive goal on 110 minutes, poking home from close-range before wheeling away in celebration in front of 87,192 fans. 

August

6th:
Premier League football kicks off earlier than usual because of the mid-season suspension owing to the Qatar World Cup. At time of writing I’m deliriously happy because my beloved Arsenal proudly sit atop the table, a full five points clear of nearest pursuer, defending champions Man City.

September

8th
The sporting world united in grief at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

11th:
Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaras, a mere 19, captures the US Men’s Tennis Singles title, beating Norway’s Casper Ruud in the all-European final in New York.

23rd:
Not a dry eye in the house, among the ladies anyway, as Roger Federer confirms his retirement after defeat in Laver Cup doubles with his close friend Rafael Nadal, a stubborn knee injury forcing the elegant Swiss to call an end to his stellar career.

October

9th:
Max Verstappen clinches his second  F1 championship when winning the Japan Grand Prix.

November

12th:
Heartbreak for England Women as they lose a dramatic Rugby Union World Cup Final 34-31 to New Zealand at Eden Park.

13th:
Better news next day as England triumph Down Under in Melbourne, when the Red Roses pruned Pakistan, comfortably capturing the T20 World Cup for the second time.

Qatar World Cup: November 20 – December 18

Another World Cup, this time it’s the turn of the footy boys to travel, and as I write the Wales and England teams are airborne, enroute to their date with destiny in the Middle East –  we wish both squads well  in their quest for glory.

Latest from Downtown Gibraltar

in Features

EQUAL REPRESENTATION ACROSS ALL SECTORS IN THE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

The Downtown Gibraltar Business Improvement District (BID) has been a project for over three years in the making. Initially spearheaded by the GFSB, it all began after a review study of our town centre highlighted a number of areas we could improve on to become more prosperous, and made the case to explore appetite for a BID.

A BID is a tried and tested place management mechanism, with over 300 in the UK alone, that aims to generate improvements for businesses in an area, including reducing business costs, increasing business revenue, attracting public realm improvements and creating a thriving, prosperous business area.

The Main Street & Surrounds BID project (now Downtown Gibraltar) was launched to deliver on projects set out in a 5-year business plan (available at downtown.gi/faqs). There are a wide range of projects planned, based on ideas contributed by hundreds of Downtown businesses, to benefit those same businesses from all sectors, all corners of the area and of all sizes.

Year 1 Projects

Downtown Gibraltar is in its fledgling stages, but there has already been a significant amount of headway made on projects including: the Preferred Supplier Programme, the Downtown Gift Card, Fire and Lights Season, and working towards making the area more accessible for those with disabilities. For a more exhaustive list read our October newsletter at linktr.ee/downtowngibbiz. In addition, the new Downtown website will soon be launching, allowing members to create business listings, promote offers and events, and access information on current and upcoming projects.

Service Sector

The advantages for retail may seem more obvious to some, but the service sector will also enjoy many benefits such as: reduced business costs and improved return through initiatives such as the Preferred Supplier Programme; opportunities to have your business marketed to both consumers and other businesses (depending on your target audience); additional networking meetings and events aimed specifically at professional and service businesses within the town centre; a strong and influential community voice representing your views and speaking up for you on the strategic issues, alongside those of the wider business community; greater coordination and interaction with government bodies and other stakeholder groups; up-to-date data and business support information, as well as emerging and urgent issues Downtown; influencing a better-quality, more prestigious and vibrant environment for your business, clients and staff both during the day and into the evening; and more.

Measuring Results

Downtown members will be able to track relevant data such as their total cost savings through initiatives including the Preferred Supplier Programme – small to medium businesses may find that their BID levy is covered by these savings alone. 

Levy payers will be kept up to date on all the projects implemented over the 5-year term – via annual meetings, group liaison forums and briefings, and direct communications including e-bulletins, newsletters and face-to-face meetings – demonstrating that it is delivering against its objectives. A set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and criteria upon which to measure the performance of the place will include measurables like footfall figures, visitor numbers, rental levels, car parking usage, new business activity, annual surveys, regular business and consumer feedback, media coverage, and website/social media interactions.

Get in Touch

The Downtown BID project is run by businesses, for businesses. If you own a business within the BID area, YOU have a say in what happens Downtown. 

Register now by visiting www.downtown.gi.

Rugby Tour

in Features/Sport Insight

Gibraltar Rugby travelled to Bermuda in October to fulfil the delayed return match against Bermuda Rugby.

The 80 minutes formed the centre-piece of the famous World Rugby Classic, held in Hamilton.

Although the teams were evenly pitched, a few break-out scoring opportunities meant that the hosts ran out 35-16.

This means the series is now tied 1-1.

We await the glamour series decider!

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

New Safeguarding Policy Implemented across all of Gibraltar Football 

This safeguarding policy is a sign of the Association’s commitment to ensuring that football is both fun and safe for all children to participate in, irrespective of their age, ability, or level of involvement. 

Centred around five goals, or areas for action the policy will underpinthe Association’s work to prevent any risk of harm to children in football and to appropriately respond to any issues or concerns. These five goals are:

  • Laying the foundations for safeguarding
  • Ensuring organisational preparedness and prevention
  • Raising awareness
  • Working with others and reporting concerns
  • Measuring success in safeguarding 

The new policy deals in depth with areas such as a code of conduct for adults and parents. Another key focus are guidelines and documents to refer to on the supervision of children and minors when playing away from home and travel that includes overnight stays. Privacy and the correct and appropriate use of dressing rooms and changing facilities is also covered.  

A crucial part of the Association’s new safeguarding policy, is that anyone involved in football in Gibraltar wherever youngsters are playing, is required to complete UEFA’s online safeguarding courses and submit the relevant certificates of completion to the Association’s Safeguarding Officer. Failure to do so will mean that relevant coach or club official will not be allowed onto a pitch or pitch side to carry out their duties. 

For a more in depth read, please visit the dedicated safeguarding page on the Gibraltar FA website: https://www.gibraltarfa.com/safeguardingwhere each of the goals is broken down and explained in detail. 

Speaking bout the new policy,  Gibraltar FA Safeguarding officer Julian Valverde stated: “It has been a very busy summer for the association as we have revamped a lot of our working practices. Safeguarding has featured heavily, and we are pleased to announce our new safeguarding policy together with all the accompanying annexes to help our membership in this very important field”.

Gibraltar FA General Secretary Ivan Robbais delighted that the safeguarding policy has been rolled out stating: “ As a parent of young children myself, safeguarding has always been at the forefront of my thoughts when discussing youth football. In consultation with the GSLA, we have embarked on a new venture with UEFA, to provide our members an online platform to qualify in safeguarding. This by no means is the end of the instructional phase, as I am conscious of the benefits of face-to-face interaction. Therefore, we will continue providing personal development to our members by bringing out safeguarding guest speakers to carry out seminars on a biannual basis”

FIFA World Cup – Qatar 2022

in Features

High Hopes

Santa will bring home World Cup this Christmas

QATAR WORLD CUP 2022 promises to be like no previous celebration of the beautiful game – hold on to your hats, and your wives as, for the first time ever, Match of the Day clashes with the Christmas shopping, with the tournament roaring into life on Sunday 20th November and the final scheduled to take place on Sunday
18th December, a week before Santa Claus comes calling.

The potential for disruption to household harmony looms large over this festive period, with blanket TV coverage of the footy extravaganza, often covering four matches daily, all at pub-friendly hours, clashing with Jingle Bells and Slade belting out “Merry Christmas Everyone” just as mummy and daddy are queueing up in Morrison’s, Mark’s & Sparks, Emporium et al, scouring Irishtown in an attempt to lighten Santa’s load.

 Women can be strange creatures, one or two I’ve known don’t even like football, indeed I’ve had first hand experience of this curious condition when working for the Guardian newspaper in London many years ago. Stuck in a small editorial room that boasted just the one telly, I was settling down to watch England vs Italy in a World Cup quarter-final when a lady, much more senior than I, pulled rank and insisted that she wanted to watch The Antiques Road Show instead!

Aghast, I hastily left the building and enjoyed the game along with quaffing several pints of cider in the Betsey Trotwood pub across the road. So, my tip to harried hubbies on how to avoid marital conflict and prevent possible blood on the carpet, is to bung the little woman an extra few quid for the prezzies and, unfettered by any feminine distractions, off to the pub with you and enjoy the game without any interruptions, amid friendly fellow footy fans.

Featuring 32 of the world’s greatest football nations, split into eight qualifying groups of four, hopes are high that the two British qualifiers, Wales and England, drawn together in Group B with two lesser lights United States and Iran, can go far in this tournament, the 22nd running of the world’s greatest sporting event. The top two teams from each of the eight groups go through to the last 16 knockout stage.

Quite how Qatar came to be chosen to host football’s most hallowed event is still shrouded in mystery – the tiny Middle East country, population less than three million, with no football tradition whatsoever and at time of event allocation with no suitable stadia, successfully saw off bids from established soccer nations, including United States, Japan and Australia.

Suffice to say, the application of cash in unimaginable amounts worked the oracle, with the identity of the recipients remaining a secret, at least for the time being, no doubt with some eminent FIFA  and national football figures, a few rumour has it, hailing from quite close to home, looking nervously over their shoulders, fearful of what dark deeds may be revealed in the unlikely event that a genuine forensic investigation into Qatar’s successful bid is launched.

Adding to the puzzle is that football’s holy grail has for the first time been switched to a European winter schedule – an attempt to counter the searing 40°c summer heat of Middle Eastern sun – a remedy that has necessitated the suspension of major domestic and continental football leagues. Phew, those brown envelopes must have been very bulky indeed!

The action kicks off on Sunday 20th November when hosts Qatar take on Ecuador while domestic neighbours Wales and England join the fray a day later, when the Men from the Valleys face the United States and the Three Lions do battle with Iran. The bookies appear to have written off any chance of the Taffs lifting the cup, quoting rather insulting odds of 150/1 on that possibility, while England are priced at a very skinny-looking 7/1.

Wales ended a 64-year drought when qualifying for the finals via a 1-0 play-off victory over Ukraine and should certainly not be underestimated – star players, potent striker Gareth Bale and midfield dynamo Aaron Ramsey can cause chaos to any defence, and it will be disappointing if they fail to make the last 16. The recent addition of true great 73-cap Wales and Liverpool legend Ian Rush to the backroom staff as ambassador and advisor more than compensates for the loss of one-time manager and self-confessed sex addict, the very troubled Ryan Giggs.

England qualified for the finals with consummate ease, and were cruelly pipped on penalties by Italy in the Euros final, but the long honeymoon Gareth Southgate has enjoyed with the fans screeched to a halt with the Three Lions suffering a 4-0 Nations League trashing by Hungary at Wolverhampton – the worst home defeat since 1928. Gentleman Gareth may wow granny with his three-piece suit and sartorial elegance, but the boos that rang round Molineux on that astonishing June night mean he is now under pressure like never before.

England have the individuals talented enough to claim the crown – Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane are two world-class warriors capable of bagging bagfuls of goals but, sadly, the defence is just as adept at conceding similar amounts. So Gareth, tighten up the rearguard and with Kane and Sterling wreaking their usual havoc up front, it won’t prove to be an impossible dream, and the World Cup will be tucked snugly in Santa’s sack this Christmas!


Complete guide to Qatar tournament

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is rapid approaching and fans around the world are getting prepared to watch every second of the biggest single sporting event in the world.

World renowned stars like Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar are set to strut their stuff in the first ever World Cup to be held in the Arab world.

Here’s everything you need to know about the World Cup’s history and the upcoming tournament in the Middle East. 

What is the World Cup?

Hold on, this is too easy. Everyone knows that. Yes and no. Just like boiling an egg, you may know but do you really know? 

The FIFA World Cup is an international football tournament contested by men’s senior national teams of members of FIFA.

Qualifying rounds take place in the years leading up to each tournament. They are held in FIFA’s six continental zones – Africa, Asia, North and Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Oceania, and Europe – with the amount of qualifying spots given to each zone decided by FIFA.

Host nations have received automatic qualification for each World Cup finals tournament since the 1938 World Cup. Champions are still required to qualify for each tournament.

World Cup history

The international governing body FIFA was officially created in 1904 in Paris and by 1930 every affiliated country had been invited to compete in the first ever World Cup that year. It was hosted in Uruguay and subsequently had more South American sides competing than nations from Europe – only Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia travelled across the sea.

The tournament grew from 13 participating teams to 16 in 1934, where Italy won in their homeland before retaining their title four years later in France.

The planned 1942 and 1946 World Cups were cancelled due to World War II but the tournament returned in 1950, where inaugural hosts Uruguay collected the most points from the final round to win the trophy.

World Cups have been played every four years ever since, with nations Brazil, England, Germany, France, Argentina and Spain all winning the competition in that time.

World Cup winners

1930 – Uruguay 4-2 Argentina

1934 – Italy 2-1 Czechoslovakia (AET)

1938 – Italy 4-2 Hungary

1950 – Uruguay 2-1 Brazil

1954 – West Germany 3-2 Hungary

1958 – Brazil 5-2 Sweden

1962 – Brazil 3-1 Czechoslovakia

1966 – England 4-2 West Germany (AET)

1970 – Brazil 4-1 Italy

1974 – West Germany 2-1 the Netherlands

1978 – Argentina 3-1 the Netherlands

1982 – Italy 3-1 West Germany

1986 – Argentina 3-2 West Germany

1990 – West Germany 1-0 Argentina

1994 – Brazil 0-0 Italy (3-2 on penalties)

1998 – France 3-0 Brazil

2002 – Brazil 2-0 Germany

2006 – Italy 1-1 France (5-3 on penalties)

2010 – Spain 1-0 the Netherlands (AET)

2014 – Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET)

2018 – France 4-2 Croatia

World Cup rules

Substitutions

12 substitutes can be named by managers for each World Cup game. An additional swap can be made when a match goes to extra time, regardless of whether a team has made their full quota of permitted subs already.

Suspensions

Players who are sent off are banned outright for one game – this applies to both straight red cards and accumulation of yellows. Two bookings in separate games result in a one-game suspension.

Yellow cards are then wiped out at the quarter-final stage.

Offside rule

This one is best explained by your mate in the pub after a couple of refreshing ales while watching a game. He’ll be right, obviously. 

World Cup highest goalscorers

Miroslav Klose became the greatest goalscorer in World Cup finals history in 2014, when he overtook Ronaldo’s 15 goals to reach 16 for Germany.

The only current player in the top 15 is Thomas Muller, who has netted ten times for Germany on the biggest stage.

Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 16

Ronaldo (Brazil) – 15

Gerd Muller (West Germany) – 14

Just Fontaine (France) – 13

Pele (Brazil) – 12

Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) – 11

Jurgen Klinsmann (West Germany, Germany) – 11

Helmut Rahn (West Germany) – 10

Gary Lineker (England) – 10

Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina) – 10

Teofilo Cubillas (Peru) – 10

Thomas Muller (Germany) – 10

Grzegorz Lato (Poland) – 10

Eusebio (Portugal) – 9

Christian Vieri (Italy) – 9

World Cup Golden Ball winners

The Golden Ball award is given to the best player at a World Cup and was first awarded in 1982, when Paolo Rossi’s six goals took Italy to victory in Spain.

Legendary icons like Diego Maradona, Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have all been named the best player at a tournament, with the most recent winner being Luka Modric as Croatia reached the final in 2018.

1982 – Paolo Rossi (Italy)

1986 – Diego Maradona (Argentina)

1990 – Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)

1994 – Romario (Brazil)

1998 – Ronaldo (Brazil)

2002 – Oliver Kahn (Germany)

2006 – Zinedine Zidane (France)

2010 – Diego Forlan (Uruguay)

2014 – Lionel Messi (Argentina)

2018 – Luka Modric (Croatia)

The contenders for this year may well include Messi and Modric again, though stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne and Neymar will be in contention if their respective nations go deep into the tournament.

Best Young Player award

The Best Young Player award is given to the best performing young player at a World Cup tournament. It was first officially awarded in 2006, when Lukas Podolski scooped the trophy.

FIFA retrospectively named the best young players at old tournaments via an internet survey.

1958 – Pele (Brazil)

1962 – Florian Albert (Hungary)

1966 – Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)

1970 – Teofilo Cubillas (Peru)

1974 – Wladyslaw Zmuda (Poland)

1978 – Antonio Cabrini (Italy)

1982 – Manuel Amoros (France)

1986 – Enzo Scifo (Belgium)

1990 – Robert Prosinecki (Yugoslavia)

1994 – Marc Overmars (the Netherlands)

1998 – Michael Owen (England)

2002 – Landon Donovan (USA)

2006 – Lukas Podolski (Germany)

2010 – Thomas Muller (Germany)

2014 – Paul Pogba (France)

2018 – Kylian Mbappe (France)

World Cup Golden Boot winners

The Golden Boot – previously called the Golden Shoe – is awarded to the top scorer of any given World Cup. Records show the top scorers for early World Cups, but the award wasn’t officially introduced until 1982.

If there is a tie for top scorer with the same number of goals, the tie-breaker is fewer goals scored from penalties. It is then decided on who has more assists. If there is still a tie, the tie-breaker is playing the least amount of time.

1930 – Guillermo Stabile (Argentina) – 8

1934 – Oldrich Nejedly (Czechoslovakia) – 5

1938 – Leonidas (Brazil) – 7

1950 – Ademir (Brazil) – 8

1954 – Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) – 11

1958 – Just Fontaine (France) – 13

1962 –
Florian Albert (Hungary), Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union), Garrincha (Brazil), Vava (Brazil), Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia), Leonel Sanchez (Chile) – 4

1966 – Eusebio (Portugal) – 9

1970 – Gerd Muller (West Germany) – 10

1974 – Grzegorz Lato (Poland) – 7

1978 – Mario Kempes (Argentina) – 6

1982 – Paolo Rossi (Italy) – 6

1986 – Gary Lineker (England) – 6

1990 – Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) – 6

1994 –
Oleg Salenko (Russia), Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) – 6

1998 – Davor Suker (Croatia) – 6

2002 – Ronaldo (Brazil) – 8

2006 – Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 5

2010 – Thomas Muller (Germany) – 5

2014 – James Rodriguez (Colombia) – 6

2018 – Harry Kane (England) – 6

Harry Kane won the Golden Boot in Russia and will be among the favourites for the prize this winter. However, Mbappe and compatriot Karim Benzema are just two of the premier goalscorers Kane will have to fend off to be top scorer.

Dark horses include the likes of Vinicius Junior, Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku.

World Cup Golden Glove winners

The Golden Glove is awarded to the best goalkeeper at a World Cup tournament. It was initially called the Lev Yashin Award in 1994, but was later retitled in 2010. The decision is made by the FIFA Technical Study Group.

1994 – Michel Preud’homme (Belgium)

1998 – Fabien Barthez (France)

2002 – Oliver Kahn (Germany)

2006 – Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)

2010 – Iker Casillas (Spain)

2014 – Manuel Neuer (Germany)

2018 – Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)

Thibaut Courtois is the current Golden Glove holder and has arguably been the in-form goalkeeper of the last two years, enjoying great success with Real Madrid at club level. Brazil are expected to reach the late stages of the tournament, so expect Alisson to be in contention.

World Cup most finals appearances

Germany legend Lothar Matthaus has
made more appearances at men’s World Cup finals than any other player with 25.

Lothar Matthaus
(West Germany,
Germany) – 25

Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 24

Paolo Maldini (Italy) – 23

Diego Maradona (Argentina) – 21

Uwe Seeler (West Germany) – 21

Lionel Messi ought to break into the top ten this year, with the Paris Saint-Germain wizard currently sat on 19 games.

How was Qatar given the World Cup?

Oh, where to start? It all depends who you speak to and how far down that rabbit hole you want to go. 

In breif, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani was the chairman of Qatar’s bid committee. Their bid received an endorsement from Real Madrid and France legend Zinedine Zidane, who said “now it is time for the Middle East” to host a World Cup.

However, the compact nature of the country and the ferocious heat seemed to make the bid appear fanciful. Qatar promoted their bid as a way of bridging the Arab and Western worlds, though human rights crimes that are still prevalent today also caused a lot of criticism.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter then endorsed a Middle East World Cup, praising Qatar’s infrastructure and their hosting of the 2006 Asian Games.

In December 2010, it was announced the 22 executive committee members had voted to award the 2022 edition to Qatar, who had appealed to FIFA to take a “bold gamble” in bringing the World Cup to previously unchartered territory.

Local laws in Qatar

Fans travelling to Qatar have been advised to learn about the customs of the nation, with different views present on clothing, alcohol and human rights issues.

It is illegal to drink or be drunk in Qatar, though some relaxation of this law will be in force for the 2022 World Cup. Aside from expected fan zones, alcohol can only be purchased at specially licensed premises.

Why is the World Cup in November and December?

Qatar’s summer heats make a European summer World Cup impossible, as it can hit 50 degrees. Instead, the club season will break up in November and teams will travel over to the Middle East to play the tournament in a reduced timeframe.

2022 World Cup host cities & stadiums

All eight stadiums are situated in a 21-mile radius of central Doha and are powered by solar panels farms. They are also equipped with detailed cooling systems to ensure things don’t get too hot.

Lusail Iconic Stadium – Lusail

Al Bayt Stadium – Al Khor

Education City Stadium – Al Rayyan

Al Rayyan Stadium – Al Rayyan

Al Janoub Stadium – Al-Wakrah

Ras Abu Aboud Stadium – Doha

Al Thumama Stadium – Doha

Khalifa International Stadium

Where is the 2022 World Cup final?

The final is scheduled for Friday 18 December – coincidentally Qatar National Day – and will be played at Lusail Iconic Stadium, which has a capacity of 80,000.

2022 World Cup fixtures

A total of 64 games will be played throughout the tournament, beginning with Qatar vs Ecuador in the tournament’s curtain-raiser.

Among the spicier encounters in the group stage will be Argentina vs Mexico – a staple fixture at World Cups – the European clash between heavyweights Spain and Germany, and Iran vs the United States, a match with added tension due to their complex geo-political relationship.

2022 World Cup kits

Not every World Cup kit for the 2022 tournament has been released, but almost every country has confirmed at least one shirt design.

Mexico’s away kit is a thing of beauty while Ecuador have also earned some rave reviews, but Belgium’s year five disco flame shirt and Portugal’s awful split-screen top have gone down like led balloons.

2022 World Cup players to watch

Wow, where do we even start? Again we are sure your mate at the pub will have the best insight but here are our picks. 

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo may not be seen as the two outright top players in the world anymore but both likely know this may well be their final chance for World Cup glory.

France are stacked with stars like Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, while individual stars like Son Heung-min, Gareth Bale and Sadio Mane will be hoping to lead their sides on surprise runs to the knockout stages.

2022 World Cup mascot

The mascot for the 2022 World Cup is La’eeb, a “fun and mischievous character who comes from the mascot-verse, a parallel world where all tournament mascots live,” according to FIFA.

They also say La’eeb has attended every previous World Cup tournament and has “contributed to some of the most famous moments in football history, including a number of iconic goals”.

We’re not totally convinced.

2022 World Cup ball

FIFA and adidas have confirmed the new Al Rihla ball will be used at this year’s World Cup in Qatar. ‘Al Rihla’ translates as ‘the journey’ and a strong emphasis on speed was placed on the ball’s creation.

It is also the first World Cup ball to be made exclusively with water-based inks and glues.


Facts & Stats!

The world’s most popular sporting competition pits 32 teams against each other across 64 matches for an entire month of non-stop football action. As if that’s not enough, there are many reasons why the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be unlike any other. Not to mention that it’s the first genuinely global post-pandemic football tournament.

To help prepare you for all that’s to come, here are some interesting facts about the FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup,

The First Winter FIFA World Cup Ever

FIFA World Cup tournaments traditionally occur throughout June and July, which is summer in the Northern Hemisphere. However, as the first World Cup in the Arab world, the organisers had to make concessions due to the scorching summer temperatures in the region.

While summer temperatures peak at around 50c, winter is much more comfortable, with averages between 4c to 29c. 

Costliest World Cup

With estimates ranging up to £138 billion (US$220 billion) in infrastructure investments, Qatar is the costliest World Cup to date. That’s nearly 10x more than the next most expensive World Cups, Brazil (£11.6 billion) and Russia (£14.2 billion). This is partly because Qatar is building seven brand new stadiums from scratch. It’s also nearly 64x the $3.5 billion South Africa invested in its World Cup.

Fewest Stadiums

With eight total, the Qatar 2022 World Cup will take place in the smallest number of stadiums of any previous World Cup. Seven of the eight stadiums were built entirely from scratch, while the only existing stadium was massively renovated.

The stadiums include:

• Al Bayt Stadium 


Khalifa International Stadium


Al Thumama Stadium

• Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium


Lusail Stadium – the largest
stadium with a capacity of 80,000

• Stadium 974

• Education City Stadium

• Al Janoub Stadium

Largest Number of Potential Visitors

Situated in the Arabic Peninsula, Qatar is an established travel hub and centrally located between most major geographic regions. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the country expects to welcome the largest influx of over 1 million international spectators. It’s estimated that 1,300 incoming flights will land in the country daily throughout the competition.

First World Cup in the Middle-East

Qatar will be the first Middle-Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup and only the second in all of Asia. The last time the FIFA World Cup visited a new region was South Africa (Africa) in 2010.

Smallest Host Country

Qatar is the smallest host country to host the FIFA World Cup by land size and population. Qatar only covers 11,571 km, making it smaller than the whole of New York City. The population is only 2.881 million. The next smallest FIFA World Cup host is Uruguay, with a land size of 176,215 km and a population of roughly 3.5 million.

Only 90 miles separate Qatar’s two stadiums that are the furthest from each other – Al Bayt and Al Wakrah. What’s more, all of the World Cup stadiums are interconnected by the Doha Metro line.

Alcohol Availability During the World Cup

As a highly conservative Muslim country, there were plenty of concerns regarding alcohol available during the World Cup. While alcohol will not be available in stadiums, Qatar has set up alcohol-friendly “fan zones” throughout the country. Alcohol sold in fan zones will also be less expensive than what’s typical for Qatar.

All Stadiums Equipped with Central Air-Conditioning

Although the Qatar 2022 World Cup takes place in winter, the host country is situated in a sub-tropical climate in one of the hottest regions in the world. Temperatures will still peak in the high 20s on most days. While December is one of the coolest months in Qatar, it’s also generally the most humid.

So, it’s no surprise that all of Qatar’s brand new stadiums will feature central air-conditioning. Each stadium will require about 115 MWh per game for cooling. That translates to roughly 43,560 household air conditioners per stadium or a whole lot of industrial fans.

South America’s Longest Streak Without a World Cup Win?

If no South American team manages to win the 2022 World Cup, it will be the continent’s longest title drought. Uruguay (1930, 1950), Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002), and Argentina (1978, 1986) have all previously won a FIFA World Cup. The previous record was 20 years between 1950 and 1970. With Brazil having last won the World Cup in 2002, this is South America’s last chance to avoid a new record.

Nearly 12,000 Door Mats are Needed to Cover a Single Football Pitch

According to FIFA, the legal pitch dimensions for international matches is between 100m and 110m in length and 64m to 75m in width. That means you’ll require roughly 11,984 standard entrance mats to cover one regulation-size football pitch.

You Need Almost 8,000 Cans of Line Marking Spray to Mark All Qatar’s Football Pitches

Each FIFA-regulation football pitch has nearly 735.09m of lines that need marking. On the other hand, each can of line marking spray has the capacity to create 50m-90m of 50mm lines. You need 120 cans of PROline to mark all Qatar’s pitches once and 7680 cans to cover the tournament if you remark a pitch after every game!

How many bathtubs of water are needed per day to maintain the football pitches?

Due to the arid conditions, Qatar’s football pitches need more water [4] than usual to maintain. Each pitch needs about 10,000 litres of desalinated water daily to keep the grass lush and green. That’s 17,597.5 pints or 100 bathtubs (filled halfway) of desalinated water.

Most Expensive Match Tickets of Any World Cup

Unsurprisingly, considering the cost of the tournament, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will have some of the highest ticket prices ever [5]. The most expensive final tickets will cost 5,850 Qatari riyals (£1,179), up 46% from the £807 for the 2018 final in Russia. The cheapest will be available for £513.34. Group matches will start at £58.64 pounds for foreigners, while the opening match starts at £302. Qatari citizens will enjoy a discounted rate of as low as £8 for group matches.


Ranked Best Qatar Kit

1. Ecuador

Left field choice but Ecuador’s handsome navy changed comes in at #1.

Patterns can make or break a kit. Here, the subtle colors in the grey badge, along with the smooth shades of blue makes this a winner. 

It’s hard to make a home shade of yellow easy on the eyes, but they’ve knocked this out of the park. The accompanying red and blue shades, plus the revamped national crest, are a sweet touch.

2. Japan

A World Cup just isn’t a World Cup without a) Japan competing, and b) Japan looking stylish.

Their 2022 home strip is one that will probably be worth about £300 in years to come. Just look at it.

3. Mexico

This kit makes me wish I was Mexican.

The beauty of national kits is you can throw so many colours and patterns together without worrying about giant sponsors ruining the shirt – adidas have utilised this creative licence to perfection. I will be ordering eight Mexico away kits immediately. 

The green is back after going missing for a year so all is right with the world! 

4. GERMANY

You can always rely on adidas to sort Germany out with top kit for major tournaments.

Their home kit feels a bit too Ajax/PSG meh, but the changed strip just looks like one of a team that is going to smash the World Cup final 4-0.


Ranked Worst Qatar Kit

1. BELGIUM

Belgium are threatening to bring the game into disrepute by rocking up to the biggest sporting event in the world dressed like they’re heading to a year 5 disco.

It’s not big, it’s not clever and no one is impressed. 

2. SWITZERLAND

You know things are bad when a Switzerland kit isn’t a big plus.

Boom, Boom. I’m here all week.

Anyway, their changed strip for the World Cup looks like a FIFA 98 loading screen. And not in a good, nostalgic way.

3. Netherlands

Things the Netherlands home top looks like:

  • Velvet 
  • Those cushions with reversible fur when you swipe your hand across it
  • An old rug from the 1980s

Things the Netherlands away top doesn’t look like:

– A Netherlands home top

4. USA

Nice try, Nike. American fans aren’t going to be more interested in ‘soccer’ just because you made their shirt look like a NFL jersey. Looks a like a
 training jersey at best. 


World cup Quiz!

It’s getting close, the 2022 World Cup is now just days away.

A likely last hurrah on the World Cup stage awaits superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, while new names will break through and rising talent will be put to the test.

Many of us pride ourselves on remembering World Cup trivia from past tournaments, but just how good is your knowledge?

The First

1.
Name the English boss who at Qatar 2022 will become the first to coach a team at both the men’s and women’s World Cups?

2.
Gregg Berhalter will become the first man to serve as player and manager of the USA at the World Cup. He appeared at the 2002 tournament and is now boss of the American side. To which present-day Premier League club did Berhalter then belong, becoming their first World Cup player?

3.
Who became the first player to score a Golden Goal winner at the World Cup when he netted for France against Paraguay in a 1998 last-16 clash?

4.
 In the 2018 showdown between France and Croatia, who became the first player in World Cup final history to score for both teams?

5.
Qatar will attempt to become the first nation from the AFC confederation to win their first World Cup finals match. Ten of the previous 11 have lost (including Israel in 1970), but who were the team who in 1982 managed a 1-1 draw against Czechoslovakia?

6.
There have been 52 hat-tricks in the tournament’s history, but who was the last player to score a treble in the knockout stages of the World Cup?

The Last

7.
A goalkeeper won his 159th and final international cap at the 2018 finals, when he became the oldest player to appear at the World Cup, at the age of 45 years and 161 days. He saved a penalty in a 2-1 defeat for his team against Saudi Arabia. Who was that goalkeeper and what team did he play for?

8.
Ghana reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2010 and Senegal did so at the 2002 finals. But who were the first team from Africa to make it to the last eight, doing so at the 1990 finals in Italy?

9.
Brazil last lost a group game at the World Cup in 1998, since when they have won 12 and drawn three games at the first-round stage. Which team beat them in that 1998 tournament?

10.
Cameroon have lost each of their past seven games at the World Cup (between 2002 and 2014). Only one team have ever lost more games in a row in the competition’s history – nine between 1930 and 1958. Who were that team?

The Most

11.
Just Fontaine scored his 13 World Cup goals in just six games for France. The competition’s all-time record scorer is Germany’s Miroslav Klose, who netted 16 times for his country in how many appearances: 22, 23 or 24?

12.
Who will become the only team to have appeared at all 22 editions of the World Cup when they take part in Qatar 2022?

13.
Iran will be making their sixth appearance at the World Cup and have never gone beyond the group stage. Which country has made the most appearances (eight) without making it past the first round?

14.
Which forward had the most goal involvements of all players in European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, scoring 12 and assisting six times in 10 games?

15.
Since 1966, only three players have completed more than 12 dribbles in a single World Cup game, with Brazil’s Jairzinho achieving 13 against Paraguay in 1970 and Paul Gascoigne matching that total for England against Cameroon in 1990. Who managed the most – 15 in a game against Italy at the 1994 tournament?

The Goats

16.
Which superstar, who scored eight times and provided eight assists in 21 World Cup games, also holds the record for the most handball decisions given against a player at the tournament (seven) since records began?

17.
Who holds the record for the most minutes played in World Cup history, having featured in 2,216 minutes of finals action?

18.
Portugal great Cristiano Ronaldo is one of only four players to score in four different World Cup tournaments. He will attempt to go one better this year, but Ronaldo currently sits alongside Pele, Klose and which other player?

19.
Between them, Ronaldo (seven) and Lionel Messi (six) have managed 13 World Cup goals. How many of those goals came in the knockout rounds?

20.
Ronaldo is one of just two European players to have either scored and/or assisted a goal in each of the last five major international tournaments (World Cup/European Championship). Who is the other player to have managed the feat?


Denmark unveils World Cup jerseys that protest host Qatar

Black alt kits, faded logos will honour migrant workers who died during construction

Denmark will wear team jerseys at the World Cup that protest the human rights record of host nation Qatar, with a black option unveiled Wednesday to honour migrant workers who died during construction work for the tournament.

“The colour of mourning,” kit manufacturer Hummel said in a post on Instagram releasing the black third-choice design.

“While we support the Danish national team all the way, this shouldn’t be confused with support for a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives,” the company said.

The designs seem to complete a promise made by the Danish soccer federation last November to wear clothing with “critical messages” at the tournament in Qatar.

Though FIFA’s World Cup rules prohibit political statements on team uniform, the three Denmark shirt designs in all-red, all-white and all-black appear to comply with no words or symbols that are an explicit statement. The national team badge, Hummel logo and decorative white chevrons — a famous feature of the Denmark shirt since the 1980s — are faded into the same single colour as the shirt.

“We don’t wish to be visible during [the] tournament,” Hummel said. “We support the Danish national team all the way, but that isn’t the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation.”

Denmark, the world’s No. 10-ranked team which reached the European Championship semifinals last year, has been one of the 32 World Cup teams most likely to take a strong stance against Qatar.


Top 10 young Guns to watch in Qatar

The World Cup, is coming. Teams are preparing, fans are arriving and the excitement levels are rising.  

Let’s take a look at the top 10 youngsters that could shine in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

1. Nuno Mendes

National team: Portugal

Club: PSG

It would not be surprising to see this 19-year-old left-back at the center of attention with Portugal’s national team in Qatar due to his speed and technical skills.

Being linked with a number of top sides during the summer transfer window, the former Sporting star finally joined French giants PSG and is currently continuing his improvement with Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

2. Pedri

National team: Spain

Club: Barcelona

Spain’s national team has a bright future, having a number of young talents in the squad. One of them is Pedri who sparkles both at Barcelona and at the international level.

The 19-year-old magician is considered one of the best young midfielders of his time as he has already managed to show his class in major tournaments.

3. Jude Bellingham

National team: England

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Despite his young age, Bellingham is showing quality and is proving to be fit enough to play at a senior level.

The 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder was not given much playing time during the Euro 2020. However, Qatar 2022 could become the time for him to shine as England national team player.

4. Eduardo Camavinga

National team: France

Club: Real Madrid

Joining Real Madrid during the summer transfer window, this young star had an instant impact on Carlo Ancelotti’s team, scoring his first goal just on his debut day.

The 19-year-old’s impressive La Liga displays are another stimulus for the French youngster’s involvement in international games.

5. Rafael Leo

National team: Portugal

Club: AC Milan

Leão’s meteoric rise in the last few years has played a key role in his career as he now shines at the Serie A side AC Milan.

He joined the Portgual senior national team back in October 2021. His place in the World Cup squad could be booked if we continue to see his impressive performances.

6. Jamal Musiala

National team: Germany

Club: Bayern Munich

Previously playing in Chelsea academy and later in England national team, Musiala has now moved to Germany to continue his improvement in his birthplace.

The 19-year-old became Bayern Munich’s youngest-ever player in the Bundesliga at just 17 years and 115 days old, while now he has also gained his place in the Germany senior national team.

7. Gavi

National team: Spain

Club: Barcelona

Another rising star! His few displays for the Catalan giants Barcelona were enough to impress Spain’s national boss Luis Enrique. The latter believes that Gavi is the “future and present” of their country after the 17-year-old became Spain’s youngest ever player in the Nations League win over Italy.

8. Ryan Gravenberch

National team: The Netherlands

Club: Ajax

Ajax is home to a number of talented youngsters. The Dutch team’s academy players are among the most wanted footballers in Europe, and Gravenberch is not an exception.

Various top clubs, with the likes of Barcelona, Juventus, and Manchester United, have been already reportedly linked with the 20-year-old midfielder, whose skills are promising enough to play an important role in Qatar 2022.

9. Phil Foden

National team: England

Club: Manchester City

Both Manchester City and England have found their own future star – Phil Foden. 

Despite the latest struggle to enter Gareth Southgate’s first team, Foden is quite likely to be given the chance of showing his impressive skills and talent in the biggest football tournament in the world.

10. Ansu Fati

National team: Spain

Club: Barcelona

Barcelona Anfu Fati is back to the club after a long-term injury. The future is promising to be very magical for the Catalan giants’ new No 10, with the 19-year-old already showing the power of his play at the age of 18.

Fati plays for the Spain national team and there is a high probability that he will have his unique role in Luis Enrique’s plans for the World Cup.

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

Gibraltar’s Referees prepare hard for new season

As the domestic action takes a break over the summer months referees and match officials face numerous off season seminars training sessions and fitness tests to ensure they are up to speed and are familiar with any new directives and laws which need to be applied in the 2022/23 season. 

FIFA Listed Referee Jason Barcelo, and his officiating team, have also seen some action over the summer with both European Club competition and international commitments taking him to Andorra and Wales to referee in various UEFA competitions. 

A key part of any preparation for a preseason is personal fitness. All referees are expected to achieve a certain level of fitness and conditioning to be able to officiate domestically. The Gibraltar FA’s Referee Fitness Coach, David Mitchell, prepares bespoke and training plans for each referee and before any season begins each referee is put through gruelling fitness testing. These levels of fitness are then monitored throughout the season to ensure our referees are in top condition.  

Key to readying themselves for any new season is the Referee’s pre-season seminar. This year held on the on 23rd and 24th September, the seminar was the final part of their preparations for the start of the Gibraltar Football League which began on the following weekend.

At the seminar, UEFA’s Referee Convention specialist responsible for Gibraltar, Alan Snoddy, delivered presentations on specific topics concerning their application of the Laws of the Game and refereeing techniques. Gibraltar FA Referee Manager Adrian Bacarisa also covered scenarios arising from last seasons’ domestic competitions as well specialised teambuilding exercises.

Importantly, all the presentations, at the seminar, encouraged active participation from all referees with interesting discussions arising during video clip analysis.

Two of our young match officials had the were delighted with the seminar commenting:

“I really enjoyed this pre-season seminar. The concept and material presented will most definitely be incorporated into my refereeing career. Asa result of this seminar I was able to view my fellow referees’ opinions and experiences and discus our points of view when it comes to challenging scenarios that could happen during game time. The team building exercises were exceptional and I strongly feel it has helped us by building a stronger rapport between the team members. So, we all cohesively work together towards our common goal. Our two presenters were Alan Snoddy from UEFA and Adrian Bacarisa our Referee Manager. Both presenters were extremely knowledgeable and offered valuable information and terrific tips which I will defiantly be taking on board.” –  Fausti Guerrero

“It has been an extremely rewarding experience, improving our knowledge, refreshing our understanding of IFAB’s Laws of the Game. Unusual situations were discussed of which we should be aware. It was a pleasure to have Alan Snoddy once again with us because he brings us a point of view and experiences that we have never lived. Helping in our development as match officials and as responsible individuals. We are looking forward to the start of the Gibraltar Football League on 30th September finding ourselves ready for the challenges that the new season will bring.” – Ruben Navarro

Anyone who is interested in becoming a referee can get in touch with the Gibraltar FA via email on 

Rugby Visitors

in Features/Sport Insight

A team from the British Army responsible for the Army’s physical fitness has spent a week in Gibraltar.

During their visit, the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) played Gibraltar Select in 15s Rugby Union, winning 52–17, before competing in the Gibraltar 7s Tournament.

Whilst on the Rock the soldiers also helped with a number of tasks at Bruce’s Farm — a residential rehabilitation centre.

A spokesman for the RAPTC, said, “Whilst they were primarily here for the rugby, they also tested their skills at Gunwharf Water Activity Centre with the speed boat and paddle boarding and did the Mediterranean Steps, losing items to the local macaques along the way. The entire team were left in awe during a tour of St Michael’s Cave.”

“We would like to thank British Forces Gibraltar for allowing us the opportunity to visit and we hope to be back in the future.”

The spokesman added that the Corps began life as the Army Gymnastic Staff in 1860 after the Crimean War, but its reputation has since grown due to its key role in developing and maintaining soldiers’ physical readiness for military operations.

Gibraltar Football Association

in Features

Annual Gibraltar FA Summer Camp proves an overwhelming success. 

Given the huge interest in previous editions of the summer camp, especially last summer post all  COVID restrictions, this year’s camp would be split in to two weeklong blocks. The split would allow parents to register their children for either week 1 or week 2 of the camp and consequently, from a participation angle, ensure that more children than ever would be able to take part. Within a couple of days over three hundred children had signed up!

Planning for the camp, including appointing coaches and delegates, as well as meticulously preparing session plans for each day began well before the July start date. This allowed the Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football department to call upon the services of players from Gibraltar’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams as part of the coaching team. Familiar faces such as Shania Robba, Joelle Gilbert, Jayce Olivero, Anthony Hernandez, Daliah Salah, Josie Cummings, Kayliegh Tellez and Mollie Karp all proved to be extremely popular faces with the youngsters.

All sessions at the camp were run according to the children’s school year groups. With the emphasis of the camp being on fun, irrespective of footballing abilities and enjoying football with no pressures attached, the children were able to do so in a comfortable and familiar environment with their school friends and colleagues.

This year’s camp also saw the introduction of the Gibraltar FA’s mascots Tarik, Barbara and Nelson, all of whom were named thanks to a hugely successful social media competition and the three of the mascots went down a treat with all the children loving them. 

The Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football Coordinator, Tiago Lino Da Costa, was thrilled with the response, turnout and feedback from the youngsters and their parents alike about the Summer Camp stating:

“We have had an exciting couple of weeks with a great turnout, a variety of age groups from reception all the way up to year 7. They have all enjoyed it which is the main thing and moving to Europa Point has allowed all the groups to be together and the parent close by to watch their children enjoying their football.”

The focus for youth football on the Rock now turns on to new and exciting programmes for youngsters as well as the September start of Gibraltar’s Youth Leagues.  

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