Germany 0 – 0 France | UEFA Nations League

Germany 0 - 0 France | UEFA Nations League

World Cup Champions France drew 0-0 against former Champions Germany in UEFA Nations League A.

France, who won 2018 World Cup, never hit top form in UEFA Nations League opener against Germany and ended up with a 0-0 draw on Thursday for their first match since lifting the World Cup.

Germany won back some honor with a tough performance in Munich, after their shock World Cup group-stage exit in Russia, their earliest exit in 80 years in the tournament.

The French side seemed to be in a vacation phase post-World Cup and lacked their usual speed and style but their goalkeeper Alphonse Areola‘s key saves in the match saved them from an ugly defeat.

The Nations League, a branch of European soccer body, UEFA, aims to boost interest in the autumn and spring internationals, which were seen by clubs and fans as disruptive and useless to the domestic football season. The competition is said to be held every two years and to feature all 55 of Europe’s national teams divided into four divisions and further split into four groups. The games will be played between September and November.

The Germans started with four central defenders which aren’t their usual style. Joshua Kimmich switched from right back to a holding midfield position which was coach Joachim Low‘s way of striking a better balance between attack and defense than his team had done in Russia. His France counterpart Didier Deschamps played his World Cup final team, including Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Paul Pogba, apart for injured keeper Hugo Lloris, with Areola making his debut.

Neither sides were keen on risking much but had a chance each in the first half, a blocked Olivier Giroud header for France and Germany forward Timo Werner‘s low shot.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer did well to save a Griezmann’s effort just past the hour but it was Areola who made the saves of the day, first punching Marco Reus‘ close-range effort wide. The 25-year-old, who only got to start because Lloris and Steve Mandanda were injured, denied Mats Hummels, tipped a Thomas Muller chip over the bar and stopped Matthias Ginter from securing a goal from close range as the hosts grew in confidence but ran out of time.

Areola’s six saves were the most by any French goalkeeper in 54 matches of official competition since 2012.

France face the Netherlands on 10th September while Germany too face Netherlands in the next UEFA Nations League match on 14th October.

FIFA World Cup 2018: European XI on the plane to Russia

Cristiano Ronaldo Kevin De Bruyne Sergio Ramos Manuel Neuer FIFA World Cup 2018

FIFA World Cup 2018: Europe is often considered to be the industry of football. Players from all around the world dream of playing in the continent; with the big players, bigger clubs and the biggest leagues in the world.

Here, we take a look at the best XI from the European players who are going to the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018.

Goalkeeper – David De Gea (Spain)

De Gea has proven himself as the best goalkeeper in the world for the last few seasons. The 27-year-old stopper is renowned for his inhuman athletism and charismatic form in front of the goal. He has made 28 caps for Spain and takes the spot ahead of Manuel Neuer (out with injury).

Left-back – Jordi Alba (Spain)

The Spanish full-back is considered to be one of the best defenders in the world. His composed defensive style as well as ability to burst down the flanks and link up with attackers flawlessly makes Alba a complete full-back. The 29-year old holds 61 caps for the Spanish National team.

Centre-back – Sergio Ramos (Spain)

Sergio Ramos may not be the gleaming face of football but he is undoubtedly the first choice defender for most people. Barring his on-field antics and unethical style of football, the Spanish international is a force to be reckoned with. Ramos has made 151 appearances for the national team.

Centre-back – Mats Hummels (Germany)

One of the most recognized defenders in world football, Mats Hummels is regarded as the best defender and best-looking player in the Bundesliga. The German international has made 63 caps for the national team.

Right-back – Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

The youngest player in the team, Joshua Kimmich is one of the most complete full-backs in modern football. At just 23 years of age, he holds 28 caps for Germany and is expected to fill the boots of Phillip Lahm, for both club and country.

Centre Defensive Midfield – Sergio Busquets (Spain)

Sergio Busquets recently passed a century of caps for his national team. One of the most experienced and disciplined footballers in the world today, the defensive midfielder is a must have for any team.

Centre Midfield – Luka Modric (Croatia)

The midfield maestro in Real Madrid’s world-class midfield and the hope of Croatia in the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Modric holds 105 caps for his country.

Centre Midfield – Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)

PFA Premier League Playmaker of the year, Kevin De Bruyne has been in sensational form in the recent seasons. He has made 61 appearances for the Belgian National team is an irreplaceable player for both club and country.

Left Forward – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

The best player in Europe and arguably the world, Cristiano Ronaldo holds 149 caps and 81 goals for Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo is the complete player,

Right Forward – Antoine Griezmann (France)

Antoine Griezmann has scored 20 goals in his 53 appearances for the French National team. The talismanic Frenchman will lead the line for France in the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

Centre Forward – Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world, 52 goals in his 93 matches for Poland show it. The hitman has been Europe’s top striker for the past 5 years, if not more.

 

Read on the South America XI on the plane to Russia

Bundesliga Team of the Season 2017/18: Who has made the list?

Bundesliga Team of the Season

The Team of the Season for the Bundesliga has been announced on 18th May this year by EA Sports. This team includes the best players of the season who have managed impress consistently. With 5 players in the team, Bayern top the chart unsurprisingly, Schalke come second with 2 players and there are a few non-traditional inclusions as well. Here is the starting eleven of the best players in the Bundesliga 2017-18 season.

Goalkeeper: Lukáš Hrádecky (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Hrádecky has been one of the standout goalkeepers in the 2017/18 season playing 34 matches conceding only 45 goals, the 6th lowest in the league. The 28-year old stopper helped Frankfurt not only to a top-half finish but also to win the DFB Pokal with a brilliant performance against Bayern in the finals. The Finnish stopper later announced his departure from the club after his contract expiry to join Leverkusen.

Right-back: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Kimmich has proven himself to be capable of filling the huge boots left behind by club legend Phillip Lahm. With a single goal and 11 assists, 3rd highest in the league, the 23-year old is certainly a fierce attacker also earning a spot in the Die Mannschaft World Cup squad.

Centre-back: Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich)

One of the best and most consistent defenders in world football right now, Mats Hummels put in another stellar performance for Bayern this season with 52 tackles, 56 clearances, and 55 interceptions. The German International also holds the record of the highest accurate passes/match in the Bundesliga this season, 67.8 passes/match.

Centre-back: Naldo (FC Schalke 04)

The 35-year old veteran an absolutely amazing season with Schalke scoring 7 goals and assisting another 2. The Brazilian’s defensive contribution was immense as he made 35 tackles, 193 clearances, and 55 interceptions. Naldo was a key figure who helped the club finish second with the 3rd least goals conceded in the Bundesliga.

Left-back: Wendell (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

Wendell was an important part of Heiko Herrlich’s side this season as he made 26 appearances for the club scoring 2 goals and providing 3 assists. The 24-year old Brazilian full-back made sold defensive contributions with 41 tackles, 46 clearances, and 28 interceptions.

Centre Midfield: Leon Goretzka (FC Schalke 04)

A natural all-around midfielder, Goretzka has been a revelation this season scoring 4 goals and providing 2 assists in his 26 matches for Schalke. The 23-year old finished the season with 18 key passes, 18 shots on target, 34 tackles, 31 clearances and 41 interceptions; with his consistent performances, Goretzka has also earned a place in the German World Cup squad. The centre midfield player is set to join Bayern in the summer.

Centre Midfield: James Rodríguez (Bayern Munich)

Bayern seemed to have struck an absolutely amazing deal with Real Madrid’s James Rodríguez turning out to be a beast in the Bundesliga. The Colombian star finished the season with 7 goals and 11 assists while he made 64 key passes with the league highest average of 2.8 key passes/match.

Left Midfield: Leon Bailey (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

The second ‘Leon’ in the team, Bailey has been in sensational form this season with 9 goals and 6 assists in 30 matches. With 58 dribbles succeeded, the 20-year old Jamaican is considered to be one of the best dribblers in the game.

Right Midfield: Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich)

The assist king of the Bundesliga this season, Thomas Müller finished the season with 8 goals and 14 assists in 29 matches resurging as a key figure in the Bayern squad. The ever joyful 28-year old has been selected in the German World Cup squad once again and he seems as prolific as ever.

Striker: Michy Batshuayi (Borussia Dortmund)

Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi joined Dortmund on loan in January has a terrific season in the Bundesliga with 7 goals and 1 assist in just 10 games. The 24-year old became an instant hit as he helped Dortmund claim the final Champions League spot this year.

Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Bundesliga’s most prolific striker added another Golden Boot to his collection as he scored 29 goals in 30 matches, setting himself a class above the other candidates who had at least 14 goals lesser than him. With a goal in every 74 minutes, Lewandowski leads the minutes/goal list as well.