World Cup Nostalgics: 5 Latin Vibes Matches

Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay won a combined number of 9 World Cups. Beside of these teams, we saw a lot of Latin American passion at the history of the tournament and here are few of these moments.

1970, Peru – Bulgaria 3:2
A new name began to shine at this day, Teófilo Cubillas. At the 49th minute Bulgaria led 2:0 and it seems that they are on the way for an easy win. A minute later, the Peruvian started to score and it took only six minute to equalize the score. At the 73rd minute Cubillas scored his debut World Cup goal, a goal that gave Peru their first ever World Cup win.

1990, Colombia – West Germany 1:1
In 1990, after almost 30 years of absence, Colombia made a comeback to the World Cup with one of the most impressive squads the team ever had. Two minutes before the additional time, the Germans scored, but in the 93rd minute it was Freddy Rincón to score the equalizer. This goal was enough for Colombia to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time.

2010, Paraguay – Japan 0:0 (5:3 after PSO)
Paraguay had a team of fighters in 2010. They qualified for the knockout stage after a draw against Italy and win against Slovakia, all the way to the first place of the group. 120 minutes of goalless draw against Japan at the round of 16 ended with a perfect shootouts, when all the five Paraguayan shoots were scored. This win made Paraguay to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.

2014, Costa Rica – Uruguay 3:1
Before the World Cup, Costa Rica considered as minnows at the group of death. At the first match, Los Ticos showed that everyone can dream. A successful penalty of Edinson Cavani wasn't even a clue for the next minutes, while Joel Campbell, Óscar Duarte and Marco Ureña led Costa Rica to a sensational win. Later on, Costa Rica defeated also Italy and had a long journey ended at the quarterfinals only by penalty shootouts against Netherlands.

2014, Chile – Spain 2:0
Chile always has some tough time at the World Cup, until Jorge Sampaoli led the team to a magnificent run in 2014. Chile played against Spain at the Maracanã for a game that was a do or die for the reigning champions. Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aránguiz scored, Chile won and qualified for the next stage and made an early elimination for Spain.

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The Iranian "Lethal Weapon"

This has been a landmark week for Asian and Middle Eastern football in Europe. While the whole world focused on the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, in Holland, another Iranian "lethal weapon" was making headlines.

On Sunday, Alireza Jahanbakhsh - the Iranian winger of AZ Alkmaar - scored a hat-trick in his team's 6-0 victory over FC Zwolle on the final matchday of the Dutch Eredivise season. 

Aside the fact that it was Jahanbakhsh's second hat-trick in his past three matches, these three goals left him as the top goal-scorer in Holland. 

The 24-year-old has scored 21 goals, made 12 assists, completed 78 key passes and 111 successful dribbles in 2017/2018 - in what has arguably been the best ever season for an Iranian footballer in Europe. Jahanbakhsh becomes the first Asian player to become top scorer in a major European league.

 The great Iranian hope for the World Cup. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Getty Images)

The great Iranian hope for the World Cup. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Getty Images)


No other famous Iranian footballer - including Ali Daei, Mehdi Mahadivikia or Ali Karimi - had such a statistical feat in one European season, hinting that the young Jirandeh-born striker might be on his way to becoming one of the greatest Iranian footballers of all time.

Carlos Queiroz and his Iranian national team will now get a top forward in top form for the World Cup, and Jahanbakhsh has been linked with few notable clubs in Europe - with Italian side Napoli reported to be the favourite to add the young starlet to their squad.

Jahanbakhsh is part of a wider range of talented Iranian prospects that have made their mark in European teams in the past season. 

Karim Ansarifard of Olympiakos in Greece notched up 17 goals this season; Heerenveen's Reza Ghoochannejhad scored 10 for the Dutch club; Kaveh Rezaei contributed 16 goals for Charleroi in Belgium; and Saman Ghoddos - who was a key figure in Ostersunds' Europa League run - finished with nine goals and five assists for the Swedish side.

With the return of Masoud Shojaei to the Iran squad, even if not in an active role on the pitch, and Sardar Azmoun - who will play at his club town of Kazan against Spain - the Iranians have a few fantastic reasons to be optimistic for the forthcoming summer in Russia.
 

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Salah Records: All the Awards of Egypt's star

Liverpool Egyptian star, Mohamed Salah, has broken the Premier League record for goals scored in a 38-game season. 

The ‘Pharaoh’ now has 32 goals in 36 games with his strike against Brighton on the last matchday breaking the record set by Alan Shearer in 1995-96 and matched by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007-08 and Luis Suarez in 2013-14. Andy Cole and Shearer scored 34 goals each, in 1993-94 and 1994-95 respectively, when the Premier League season was 42 games long, before the deduction to 38 games for a campaign. 

 Involved in 60 goals and won almost 30 individual awards. Salah, the Egyptian king of Liverpool (Getty Images)

Involved in 60 goals and won almost 30 individual awards. Salah, the Egyptian king of Liverpool (Getty Images)

Earlier this season, Salah have succeeded Didier Drogba as the best African scorer in English Premier League history, as well as already been named as the top Arab scorer ever to play in England. 

With this goal, Salah ended Harry Kane's two-season run as the Premier League's top scorer. Kane was aiming to become the second player, after Alan Shearer, to win the prize three seasons in a row, but a young winger from Nagrig, Egypt has spoiled his wish. 

Salah returned the English football last summer in a deal worth around £37million, having been sold by Chelsea 12 months previous after 19 underwhelming games and two successful loans spells with Fiorentina and Roma. At his arrival, many commentators underrated him as ‘not prepared for the Premier League’, or ‘too expensive for not a top class player’. He proved all of them wrong, while winning multiple individual awards and helping Liverpool to qualify for the Champions League final for the first time after more than a decade. The prizes’ list Salah has won this season is unbelievable:

Liverpool Player of the Month (7 times)
Premier League Player of the Month (3) 
Players' Association Player of the Month (4)
Champions League Player of the Week (3)
The Players' Player of the Year
Football Writers' Player of the Year
Liverpool’s Player of the Year
Liverpool Players’ Player of the Year
Arab player of the year
CAF Player of the Year
Selected for CAF Team of the Year
BBC’s African Player of the Year
Premier League Top Scorer
Premier League Player of the Season

All in all, the Egyptian exploded this season with direct involvement in 59 goals, and won  29 personal titles. These are numbers who are familiar with the biggest names in world football: Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Egyptian now has 45 goals across all competitions this season, following short of Ian Rush's record return of 47 - in 65 games - set in 1983-84. Salah has 1 game left to try and break the record in this historical and mind-blowing season - the Champions League that will take place in Kyiv on May 26th. Can the Nile Magician set yet another benchmark for Liverpool football club? 

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World Cup Nostalgics: 5 Bests Asian Teams' Matches

The Asian teams have long history of great World Cup games. Even when the teams didn't made it through the next stages, the Asian football always provides us great football memories. Here are the best five games of Asian teams at the World Cup.

1966, North Korea – Italy 1:0
One of the first Asian sensations was the North Korea team of 1966. At their last group stage match, surprised Italy by winning 1:0. The goal of Pak Doo-Ik was enough for the Koreans to qualify for the quarterfinals. North Korea almost made another sensation at the next stage against Portugal, but lost 3:1 lead at the half time all the way to 3:5 defeat.

1994, Saudi Arabia – Belgium 1:0
At their World Cup debut, Saudi Arabia stunned the world. Only a late winning goal of Netherland avoided a win at their first match, but they manage to win against European team at their last match. The goal of Saeed Al-Owairan is considered as one of the best goals at the history of the tournament.

1998, Iran – USA 2:1
Iran never managed to reach the knockout stage and they have only one win out of their 12 World Cup matches. Yet, the win against USA was part of a complete political event while the two rivals played each other in Lyon. The handshakes and flowers before the match became an iconic image, as well as the celebration in Tehran after Mehdi Mahdavikia's goal.

2002, South Korea – Portugal 1:0
Even though many believe that the games against Italy and Spain were suspicious, South Korea made a tremendous way in this World Cup. The group stage concluded with a match between Portugal and South Korea in order to decide who will qualify for the next stage. The legendary Park Ji-Sung did it on the 70th minute and clinched the first ever knockout spot for South Korea.

2006, Australia – Japan 3:1
In Australia's last campaign in Oceania, they have been draw in the same group with Japan. Australia made their come back for the World Cup after 32 years of absence but their opening was a bit shocking with a Japanese goal by Shunsuke Nakamura. The last 10 minutes were all by the Socceroos with a brace of Tim Cahill in the 84th and 89th minute and an additional time goal by John Aloisi.

 

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World Cup Nostalgics: 7 Unforgettable Arab Teams

The forthcoming World Cup in Russia will be the most Arab world Cup ever with a record number of four teams representing Arab countries - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia & Morocco. Before one of these will make history in the 2018 edition of the football world most prestigious competition, Baba has gathered for you seven Arab teams that every football must know, or can never forget.  

 The first Arab national team in World Cups. Egypt of 1934 (ESPN)

The first Arab national team in World Cups. Egypt of 1934 (ESPN)

EGYPT 1934
The second ever World Cup took place in Italy, but most importantly hosted the first African & the first Arab team to participate in World Cups - Egypt. The Egyptian took over the British Mandatory Palestine team in a qualifications double header, after big victories in Cairo & Tel Aviv. In Italy, the Egyptians faced Hungary, who back was one of the world's leading teams. Despite two goals by Abdulrahman Fawzi, the Hungarians were with four goals, which terminated Egypt's journey in the tournament. Despite the early exit - you can't forget the first ever. 

KUWAIT 1982
Kuwait is a unique member in this list. Not because its results on the pitch, but due to one of the World Cups most bizarre stories. Kuwait played the group stage with Czechoslovakia, Franca & England. After managing a 1-1 draw in their match against Czechoslovakia, Kuwait faced France and found themselves down 4-1.  After hearing a whistle from the stands, the Kuwaiti players stopped playing as they thought that was the official. As a result, Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, (then-president of the Kuwait Football Association), went down to the field and pulled all of the players from the pitch. I order to cool the situation, Ukrainian referee Miroslav Stupar decided to disallow the goal, marking the first and only time a person from the stands changed the result of an official World Cup matches. France won eventually 4-1, as the Kuwaitis were eliminated, leaving a legacy of one of the World Cups biggest controversies ever. Mabrouk!

ALGERIA 1982
On the same tournament, Algeria have made its World Cup debut, prevailing to the World the great talent of Rabah Madjer, and one of the best kits ever to be worn in a World Cup. The Algerians have beaten Germany 2-1 in their debut match, gaining first ever African team victory over a European one in the World Cup history. “We played a different style of football, a style that no one has ever seen before - it is a mixture of German, Italian and Latin American football", said
Ali Fergani, Algeria skipper after the historical night. Les Fennecs have later on were a victim of the old group stage method, losing their next match 2-0 against Austria before going on to win 3-2 against Chile, while West Germany thrashed Chile 4-1 and grabbed a vital 1-0 victory over neighbours Austria. In the other group game Austria had run out 1-0 winners over Chile, which meant that both West Germany and Austria are the qualified ahead of Algeria, due to superior goal difference. Yet, Algeria '82 was one of the greatest Arab teams to appear in the World Cups. Oh, and what a kit.

 "A mixture of German, Italian and Latin American football". Madjer & the kit shine for Algeria in Spain 1982 (Getty Images)

"A mixture of German, Italian and Latin American football". Madjer & the kit shine for Algeria in Spain 1982 (Getty Images)

IRAQ 1986
The 1980's were the Golden Era of Iraqi national team. The Lions of Mesopotamia have grabbed gold medals in the 1982 Asian Games, 1984 Arabian gulf Cup, 1985 Arab Nations Cup, and their participation in Mexico 1986 was the cherry on the top. The country was in the middle of the famous Iran-Iraq war, and few years before the Gulf War with Saddam Hussein as president, and his son, Uday, as the main figure in local football. The national have beaten almost every country in the Middle East on its way to as it is up to date, the countries first & only World Cup. In the tournament itself, Iraq lost its three matches, scored one goal by Ahmed Radhi, and came back home for different reality of war and shifts in the football leadership. Uday Hussein took charge, and few years later have implement his infamous torturing methods, that enclaves a huge tragedy for Iraqi football. 

 Promising qualification, disappointing results and a took over by Uday Hussein. Iraq '86 (Ahdaaf.me) 

Promising qualification, disappointing results and a took over by Uday Hussein. Iraq '86 (Ahdaaf.me) 

SAUDI ARABIA 1994
The Saudis have made their debut appearance in the World Cup in 1994, and boy, that was an impressive one. A respectable 2-1 loss to Holland on the first match, a 2-1 victory over Morocco in New York and a prestigious triumph against Belgium have sent the Saudis to the next stage - the first Arabic national team to do so. In the knockout they lost to Sweden who continued to a successful campaign until the semis, but it did not harm the impressive achievement the Green Falcones have gained in the USA World Cup. This team exposed the world names like Saeed Al-Owairan, Majed Abdallah, Abdeljawad and Sami Al-Jaber. Some heavy legends there. 

 Saudi Arabia forward Saeed Al Owairan celebrates his goal against Belgium (Doug Mills / AP)

Saudi Arabia forward Saeed Al Owairan celebrates his goal against Belgium (Doug Mills / AP)

MOROCCO 1998
Not much about the Moroccans who drew Brazil, Norway and Scotland, and did not go through, but a very good excuse to put a photo of legendary Mustafa Hadji and his exciting Moroccan side with Youssef Chippo and Nouredine Naybet. These guys were magic!

 A player who had lit the minds of the football world regarding Arab & north African players. Hadji (FIFA)

A player who had lit the minds of the football world regarding Arab & north African players. Hadji (FIFA)

ALGERIA 2014
The Brazilian summer of Algeria was by far one of the most exciting runs of any Arab, North African and Middle Eastern team in the World Cup history. The Algerians have listed a rarely talented squad for the competition, including only two players that have been born in Algeria - the rest were all born in France! Les Fennecs have started with a respectable loss to Belgium after they lead for the majority of the match; continued with a celebration over the South Koreans and concluded the group stage with a 1-1 draw with Russia, what sent them to the Round of 16 to face no other than Germany. 0-0 in 90 minutes, but Schurrle gave the Germans the advantage. Mesut Ozil scored Germany's winner on the 120th, but Djabou tched one for the Algerians, who were much better throughout the extra time. and sent Algeria home. Who knows what would have happen if Algeria took this match to penalties, kicking Germany out. The world was a different place wouldn't it?  

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World Cup Nostalgics: 5 Most Memorable African Teams

The 2018 World Cup in Russia will host five African teams - Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia & Egypt. Up to day, no African team have ever went through the quarter finals. While all of the five has tough draws in order to progress and produce a sensation, BabaGol decided to look back on the most memorable African teams in the history of the World Cups, and feel the emotions again. 

ZAIRE 1974
The first member in the list is Zaire, participated in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.  Zaire did not manage to score any goals and lost all of its games, but earned the audience respect for their performances against Scotland and Brazil. However, their 9–0 loss against Yugoslavia remains one of the worst World Cup defeats. A bizarre moment came in the match against Brazil. While they were facing a free-kick 25 yards out, defender Mwepu Ilunga, upon hearing the referee blow his whistle, ran out of the Zaire wall and kicked the ball upfield. 
He received a yellow card. This part was voted many times as one of the greatest World Cup moment in various of listings, though many commentators held it to be an example of African football's "naïvety and indiscipline", and years later erupted a discussion on racial & social perceptions while commentating a football match. However, Ilunga has claimed that he was quite aware of the rules and was hoping to convince the referee to send him off. The intended red card would have been a protest against his country's authorities, who were alleged to be depriving the players of their earnings. Just watch it for yourself.

CAMEROON 1990
Cameroon opened the Italy World cup in storm with a lucrative 1-0 victory over Argentina. Another win over Romania (2-1) guaranteed their spot in the next round, and despite losing to Russia, The Indomitable Lions have continued to the next stage. A stylish victory over Colombia with a brace (out of 4 goals along the tournament) by one of the oldest players to ever play in the World Cup - Roger Milla - have sent Cameroon to the next around. A heartbreaking loss to England, thanks to a penalty of no other than Gary Lineker.

NIGERIA 1994-1998
It was a tough decision to pick one Nigerian team for this article, so we've picked two of them. Along the 90's, Nigeria was the striking force of African football, with an inspirational golden generation. It took them to the knockout stage in 1994, won them the Olympic gold in 1996, and rocked the world with an impressive victory over Spain in France 1998. No doubt that Bigeria has sparked the potential African football is enclaving in a way no other national team has ever done. 

SENEGAL 2002
These are the names: Tony Sylva, Ferdinand Coly, Habib Beye, Papa Sarr, Aliou Cisse, Papa Bouba Diop, Omar Daf, Salif Diao, Moussa N'diaye Soulmanye Camara, Herny Camara, Khalilou Fadiga, El-Hdaji Diouf. Senegal national team was a group of no-names before the tournament in Japan & South Korea, but after it - the whole world knew almost the whole squad. It was the match that opened the first ever World Cup in Asia, and gathered a clash the world & European champions France, with its ex-colonial little sister in West Africa - Senegal. The Lions have won 1-0 and left the French in a shock, that cost them the whole tournament. Draws with Denmark and Uruguay took the Senegalese team to the next round, where they kicked off Sweden - and became the 2nd African country to go through the Round of 16. On the quarterfinals they met Turkey, and a 94th minute winner by Ilhan Mansiz have put an end to the Cinderella of the tournament. 

GHANA 2010
The Black Stars were the pride of Africa in the the 2010 edition of the tournament. Victories over Serbia, Australia and the United States have made the whole world believe that Ghana would be the first African to go through the quarter finals. The fact that tournament was held in Africa made it a desired goal in the whole continent. After the hosts South Africa fell out in the group stage, the Ghanaians have became the fans favourite, the Pride of Africa. They had put up a great  squad with Kevin Prince Boateng, Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari, all in a monster shape. Only if Suarez wasn't playing dirty., and Gyan was kicking this penalty better... we would have seen a first African team in the semifinal. Baba's heart is still beating like crazy from the finish of this game, and the dramatic penalty shootouts. Goosebumbs!

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