Weekend Guide 22.4.2016

Hurry up, you really wouldn't like to miss the new Weekend Guide. An Argentine hot derby in La Plata, past champions meets future champions in Kazakhstan and a crazy race for the post-season games in Panama.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like these fans)

What? Gimnasia La Plata – Estudiantes (Argentine Primera División)

When? Sunday, 0145

Where? Estadio Juan Carmelo Zerillo, La Plata

Why? The weird system of two groups providing us with an interesting season so far, and this week we have a super match - the Clásico Platense. With 5 games left, Gimansia are in 6th place of group A, but they are just 4 points behind the leaders, Godoy Cruz. Meanwhile, Estudiantes are 2nd in group B, 3 points behind Lanús.

Key Players: Gimnasia's Lucas Licht, the former left back of Getafe, making his historic 10th season for his home team. Gastón Fernández came back to Estudiantes after two years in MLS and he’s doing well with 4 goals and 4 assists this season.

The Forest: Gimnasia stadium is nicknamed El Bosque, which means "The Forest", because it is located in a city park by the same name.

Professional (like this goal)

What? Irtysh Pavlodar – FC Astana (Kazakhstan Premier League)

When? Saturday, 1400

Where? Central Stadium, Pavlodar

Why? FC Astana, with two consecutive titles and a Champions League journey, start its journey for another title. Their opponents, Irtysh Pavlodar, was the biggest team in Kazakhstan during the 90's and now want to restore its big days, with 2 points less than FC Astana.

Key Players: Irtysh Pavlodar's Gerogian striker,Gogita Gogua, played for years in his home nation and in Russia and now opens his first year in Kazakhstan with 3 goals in 6 matches. Don't miss FC Astana captain, Tanat Nusserbayev, who play for his team since 2011 and have 24 caps for Kazakhstan national team.

The Other Continent: Before Astana’s Champions League campaign, Irtysh Pavlodar had one of the greatest achievements of a Kazakh team in a continental level, when they reached the Asian Cup Winners' Cup semi finals in 2001.

World Class (like this shoot)

What? Tauro - Árabe Unido

When? Saturday, 0400

Where? Estadio Rommel Fernández, Panama City

Why? Three matches left to the end of the Clausura regular season and the situation is crazy. 6 points only, this is the difference between the 2nd and the last place, as the top 4 teams will qualify to the semi finals. Among these teams, Árabe Unido, the Apertura champions, are now in 4th place, while Tauro are 7th.

Key Players: Tauro have Jan Carlos Vargas, the talented 21 years old defender that have great role in the team defense. With the shirt numbered 99, Árabe Unido's striker Armando Polo is one of the best scorers in the league with 14 goals.

The Brothers: In Panama, there are two managers with legendary brothers - Tauro's Jorge Dely Valdés, the brother of Armando, and Atlético Chiriquí's Javier Wanchope, the brother of Paulo.

Weekend Guide 8.1.2016

We hope you had great holidays, but it's time to get back to the business.

The Weekend Guide is once again here, and this time we have a double header from the Caribbean with the Copa América Centenario playoffs and the league of Bermuda, and a short visit to the Far East and the league of Hong Kong.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like these guys)

What? Trinidad and Tobago – Haiti (Copa América Centenario playoffs)

When? Friday, 2330

Where? Estadio Rommel Fernández, Panama City

Why? The centennial tournament of the Copa América will take place in the USA next summer and the last two CONCACAF spots are left to be decided. On Friday night, in Panama, Trinidad Tobago and Haiti will play for the qualification.

Key Players: Khaleem Hyland will be the top Soca Warrior for this match, with 8 years of experience in the Belgian league and 53 international caps. Meanwhile, Haiti leading player is the promising 21 years old attacker, Duckens Nazon, who plays for the French second tier club Laval and scored 4 goals in the Gold Cup.

Panamanian Heritage: Until 1993, the stadium was named "Estadio Revolución". Now it is named after Rommel Fernández, a Panamanian footballer who died in car accident. He died at the age of 27.

Professional (like this guy)

What? Eastern – South China (Hong Kong Premier League)

When? Sunday, 1030

Where? Mong Kok Stadium, Hong Kong

Why?After both teams played 6 matches, just one point is the difference between the leaders Eastern and the second place South China. Eastern haven't lost yet and they wish to win their first title since 1995. South

Key Players: Eastern's Australian Andrew Barisic is one of the league top scorers with 4 goals, and except from playing in Hong Kong he previously played in India, Indonesia and German amateur leagues. South China's main player is goalkeeper Cristian Mora, 36 years old Ecuadorian who played for the national during their World Cup campaign in 2006.

The O Team: In the 1992/3 season, Eastern started the season with 9 wins in 9 matches, and had an impressive balance of 30 goals for and no goals conceded.

World Class (like this goal)

What? Dandy Town Hornets – Robin Hood (Bermuda Premier League)

When? Sunday, 2000

Where? St. John's Field, Pembroke Parish

Why? Dandy Town is on first place with 25 points, while Robin Hood is 9 points behind in the second place. If Dandy Town will win it, they’ll get closer for their eighth title. If they lose, the race will open up.

Key Players: The two leading scorers of the league will be on the same field, so it's a showtime! Dandy Town’s Tomiko Goater is 18 years old, who scored 7 goals in his debut season. Robin Hood’s Lejuan Simmons scored 9 goals this season, after playing for Ilkeston, a non-league English club, at the 8th division.

National Player: Former Bermudian footballer Kyle Lightbourne had 40 international caps and played for over a decade in England. Except from being international footballer, Lightbourne made 5 caps for Bermuda national cricket team in 1990.

Weekend Guide 13.11.2015

2018 World Cup kick-off is less than 1000 days away, and our Weekend Recap is all about the qualifiers. Three games, on the road to Russia, with love!

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like these guys)

What? Colombia – Argentina

When? Tuesday, 2130

Where? Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez, Baranquilla

Why? Two of the most talented team in South America will play each other in a passionate match. Colombia will try to qualify again, while Argentina hopes to avoid a huge failure, as they gained only 1 point and didn’t score in their first 2 matches.

Key Players: Let's forget for a bit from Higuaín and James, and let's take a look at some other great players. Edwin Cardona is just 22 years old and already scored for Colombia in this campaign. At the Argentine squad, there is one young player that one day may lead the team, Tottenham's Érik Lamela.

Never Forget: The 1994 qualifying campaign was a bitter one for Argentina, and Colombia is the responsible for that. Argentina had to win the last match in order qualify, but they were thrashed at home by Colombia 5:0, what sent them to play the playoffs.

Professional (like this guy)

What? Jamaica – Panama

When? Saturday, 0300

Where? Independence Park, Kingstong

Why? The two surprises of the last two Gold Cups, Jamaica and Panamá, will face each other in their opening match of the qualifying campaign.

Key Players: Jamaican Darren Mattocks, who scored at the Gold Cup semifinals against the USA and plays regularly for Vancouver Whitecaps will look to shine. Veteran Panamanian Luis Tejada, who plays for the Peruvian club Juan Aurich, will lead his team on their way to Russia.

CONCAGOL: In two out of the last three qualifying campaigns, the top scorer came from the CONCACAF tournament. Mexican Jared Borgetti was the leader of the 2006 scorers with 14 goals. In 2014 Deon McCaulay from Belize scored 11 goals.

World Class (like this guy)

What? Equatorial Guinea – Morocco

When? Sunday, 1600

Where? Estadio do Bata, Bata

Why? It takes one golden generation to enter the main stage of the Worldwide football. Morocco had it during the 90's, when qualified to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. Now they have another aspiring generation that wants to end the 20 years absence from the tournament. Equatorial Guinea also have a golden generation, but it based on naturalized players and not local talents.

Key Players: Equatorial Guinea is all about Emilio Nsue, the captain from Middlesbrough who is one of the Spanish naturalized players. Don’t skip on Napoli’s Omar El Kaddouri, who scored 4 goals in 11 international caps.

If you won’t, I will: The real conflict between the team happened before the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year. Morocco was the original host of the tournament, but they decided to withdraw due to the Ebola crisis. In a doubtful decision, Equatorial Guinea, which eliminated in the first qualifying round, hosted it instead.

Weekend Guide 28.5.15

One weekend, three games, all the information.

For the last time this season, the weekend guide is here. After 19 editions, over 50 countries, and hundred of teams, it's time to say: It was fun, it was exciting, but.. see you later!

Don't worry, when we finish a phase, we always take a deep look for the future. This is the reason we took the long flight to New Zealand, in order to visit the U-20 World Cup. We will watch some of the biggest stars of the future and some of the greatest stories of the present.

Saturday, 0600, Argentina – Panama
One of the biggest titles a team can hold while arriving this competition, is the South American champions. With this title, Argentina will try to win the U-20 title for the 7th time, a hard mission by accounts. Their first match will be against Panama, the COCACAF Championship runner-ups.
Argentina made a great run to win the South American championship. Seven wins in nine matches, 24 goals for and just seven goals against, are few of the numbers that led Argentina the victory, and now they are the obvious favorites in this World Cup. After they failed to qualify to the last tournament, Humberto Grondona, the son of the former Argentine Football Association, Julio, was appointed as the new manager. Few players in the squad already played for Grondona in the U-17 team who also conquered the continental trophy. One of the biggest names of the team is Giovanni Simeone, son of Diego Simeone, was the leading scorer of the South American tournament with nine goals. Watch also for Ángel Correa, the captain who scored the decisive goal at the final, and Augusto Batalla, one of the most promising goalkeepers in the world.

The football in Panama is in a process of improvement. The country qualified to four out of the previous six tournaments, and now they made it once again. Their CONCACAF Championship campaign was sensational when they finished the first round with five wins in five games, including 1:0 against United States. They almost won the title, but lost by penalty shootouts gave the title to Mexico. Except from two players, all the squad is based in the domestic league and its stars are Luis Pereira and Jaime de Garcia, who won the Golden Ball and the Golden Glove titles in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, and Chin Hormechea, one of the dominant players of the local team Arabe Unido.

Argentina, one of the best football nations in the world, will try to win the U-20 World Cup once again. Will they go through their first match in a positive way?

Sunday, 0300, Qatar – Colombia
Unless there will be any surprising change, Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. The Middle Eastern country was never qualified for the tournament, but is now cultivating its players for the occasion. From the other side, Colombia wants their next generation will join Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, in becoming a new worldwide power. It is the 3rd appearance for Qatar in the competition. Their AFC U-19 Championship campaign was finished with their first ever title, winning 1:0 against North Korea. In order to improve the young Qatari prospects, the football association have appointed Félix Sánchez Bas, former Barcelona academy coach, and now part of ASPIRE Academy's staff. Not only that the academy supply the best coaches they can, but also the best players are traveling to foreign academies like the Austrian LASK Linz and the Belgian Eupen, which co-operates with ASPIRE. The leading players of the team are Ahmed Moein Doozandeh, the AFC U-19 tournament’s MVP, Ahmed Al Saadi, the tournament’s top scorer, and Akram Afif, who scored the winning goal in the final.
Colombia sees the qualification for this competition as a tool to improve their growing national players’ pool. The 80's generation was the basis for the Colombian golden generation in the 90's, and as the players of the last decade were the basis for the current Colombian squad, this team is tipped to be the future of the Colombian football. Colombia finished second at the South American Championship, making great results in the final stage like draws against Argentina and Uruguay and a victory over Brazil. The stars of the team are Andrés Tello and Alexis Zapata, who both plays abroad in Italy, Jeison Lucumí, one of the dominant players of América de Cali last season, and Joao Rodríguez, who’s a Chelsea player that getting experience in loans around Europe.

Two teams with big hopes for the future, this is a chance to see the future of the football in two of the emerging nations of the game.

Monday, 0300, Nigeria – Brazil
Nigeria and Brazil are two teams which always have the biggest prospects in the U-20 World Cups. Scouts from all over the world will watch this game, knowing that some of them will be the future stars of the biggest clubs in football. It will be the 4th meeting of the teams in the U-20 World Cups, and the record is in favor for Brazil: three wins and single draw.

Nigeria, the reigning African champions, wants to make history and finally win the U-20 World Cup. They qualified twice for the final, and in both of them they lost to two legendary teams – Portugal in 1989 (with players like Fernando Couto and Paulo Sousa) and Argentina in 2005 (with Lionel Messi and Pablo Zabaleta). This time, Nigeria is coming after winning the Continental title against Senegal. The coach, Manu Garba, led the U-17 team to winning the World Cup two years ago, and now he wishes to do it once again. You can find in the Nigerian squad one player that already made two caps for the senior team, Moses Simon, who won the Belgian championship with Gent. Other key players that were part from the African title winning squad are Musa Muhammed from Beşiktaş and of course, 18 years old Kelechi Iheanacho, the exciting talent of Manchester City, who was the star of the Super Eagles U-17.
After their absence from the last World Cup, Brazil will try to win the title for the 6th time. Their qualification was difficult, as the team failed to win against Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia, and eventually finished 4th, the last qualifying spot. That's not their only problem. Alexandre Gallo was the coach who decided the squad, but in the beginning of May, the CBF decided that Gallo will be fired and replaced by Rogério Micale. Anyways, Brazil has lots of quality.
Danilo, who played his debut season abroad in Braga, Marcos Guilherme, who was the leading scorer of Brazil in the South American U-20 Championship, and Boschilia, who won the Bronze Boot in the U-17 World Cup two years ago, are the main figures in the squad.

Brazil and Nigeria are always supplying many of the biggest promises of the worldwide football, and this is the chance to see some of them.

Bonus Match – Monday, 0300, Germany – Fiji
In this match, we will focus the interesting story of the team from Fiji.
As New Zealand is the host of the competition, the Oceanian teams have a great chance to make a historic appearance in the tournament. A great OFC Oceanian Championship led Fiji for the sensational title and a qualification to the World Cup. The staff of Fiji is led by a local coach, Ravinesh Kumar. The team also guided by the senior team coach, Frank Farina, who recently was appointed for the job. Some of the interesting names are Saula Waqa, who scored five goals in the OFC Champions League in this season for Ba, Nickel Chand, who was dominant in Suva's Champions League campaign, and Praneel Naidu, one of the experienced players in the squad with 19 caps for the U-20 team.