February 2015 - Fastest Live Scores - reliable football data

2022 Qatar World Cup

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After months of expectation, the Head of FIFA’s taskforce finally presented their recommendation that the 2022 Qatar World Cup should be held in November and December. The decision told the event away from the traditional Summer period had long been expected due to fears of the effect of extreme heat on player safety. Staging the event between January and February was rejected due to the Winter Olympics, whilst Sheikh bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa also ruled out other options of hostin the event between April and September due to Ramadan and excessive heat. To reflect the untimely staging of the event for many countries, the taskforce also proposed “reduced competition days schedule with the exact dates to be defined in line with the match schedule and number of venues to be used.

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Whilst FIFA has spent a great deal of time and effort in an attempt to formulate an outcome that would reduce the stress on Football Federations across the globe, European heads and, in particular, England have expressed considerable angst at the taskforce’s decision. Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, who was also a part of the taskforce, expressed his frustration at the “disappointing” decision that he believes would spoil the extremly busy Christmas programme in place in England. Meanwhile, Scudamore has not been alone in his criticism of the decision. The Association of European Professional Leagues has condemned the movement of the Qatar World Cup to November, explaining it will “cause great damage” to domestic and European competitions, whilst declaring its intention to maintain its battle against the decision. Its sister organisation, the European Club Association also called on the international football Federation to pay compensation to reflect the extreme disruption to the schedules of clubs across Europe who will have to release their players mid season. This request has since been rejected by FIFA with Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary stating that “its happening once we’re not destroying football.”

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However, not all footballing quarters are opposed to the proposition put forward for the Qatar World Cup. Whilst reinforcing his ultimate defiance against Qatar staging the competition, Greg Dyke the FA Chairman, has voiced his support for the decision. Dyke explained that the change of date signalled “the best of the bad options,” pointing to the fact that the high temperatures meant that “it would be ridiculous” to play during the summer months. Jim Boyce, the FIFA Vice President expressed a similar view that it was important that the confusion regarding the date of the tournament had been put to bed to allow for preparation to commence, “if its going to be in Qatar then lets agree on a date in the winter and look forward to a wonderful World Cup.”

It should be noted that whilst such comments do not represent a glowing indictment of FIFA’s decision, certain analysts have commented that the task force’s decision may significantly benefit the chances of the English National Team. Phil Neville commented that the English often arrive at major tournaments on the back of a mentally and physically draining nine month season. For instance, in each of the last three world cups, Wayne Rooney has entered having played more than 50 games, far from an ideal preparation for an intense month long competition. However, in 2022, the average England player participating in the Champions League would have played 14 games before having to depart for their World Cup training camp. This illustrates that hosting the competition in November will allow the players to arrive at the tournament in prime condition.

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Despite the varying opinions on the matter, it says much for the priorities of FIFA that the decision was made to hand the footballing centrepiece to Qatar with little consultation with the global footballing federations or promises for meaningful reform of their treatment of migrant labourers building the infrastructure to host the tournament.

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The Best North London Derby Matches

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Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal in the latest North London Derby in the lunchtime kick off on Saturday, with both teams eager for three points to aid their challenge for Champions League qualification. Whilst an Arsenal win will solidify their position as they continue to flirt with the Top 4, a victory for Spurs will see them leapfrog their neighbours and may kickstart their season after a couple of questionable home results in recent weeks.

The encounter has produced some wonderful matches over the years. We have compiled a list of the best North London derbies in recent years.

November 2004: Tottenham Hotspur 4 – 5 Arsenal

With Arsenal still reeling over the loss of their unbeaten run and Spurs recovering from a disastrous spell under Jacques Santini, some had expected a low scoring, tight affair. However, the two sides played out an enthralling nine goal thriller. Nourreddine Naybet gave Spurs the lead before goals by Thierry Henry, Lauren and Patrick Vieira had seemingly wrapped up the game for the Gunners. Freddie Ljungberg had restored Arsenal’s two goal lead after Jermaine Defoe had given Spurs hope. Further goals by Ledley King, Robert Pires and Freddie Kanoute, respectively, ensured that the tie would live long in the memory of fans.

January 2008: Tottenham Hotspur 5 – 1 Arsenal

The sides were once again involved in a pulsating clash when they met in the second leg of the Carling Cup Semi Final. After playing out a 1 – 1 draw at the Emirates Stadium, tensions were high as Spurs went into the clash in the knowledge that they had not registered a victory in a North London Derby since November 1999. However, Spurs took advantage of Arsene Wenger’s preference to field youngsters in the competition to overrun their opponents. From the moment Jermaine Jenas gave the home side an early lead, Spurs controlled the fame with a mixture of resolute defending and attacking football, starving Arsenal of any meaningful possession. Despite Wenger attempting to stem the tide by introducing the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Eduardo and Emmanuel Adebayor, Spurs continued to control proceedings. Ultimately, the result proved highly significant as Spurs went on to win the Carling Cup Final against Chelsea.

October 2008: Arsenal 4 – 4 Tottenham Hotspur

The two sides shared one of the most memorable matches of the season as they once again were involved in a high scoring encounter. In what was Harry Redknapp’s first game in charge having taken the helm from Juande Ramos, David Bentley had given the away side an early lead through a stunning 40 yard strike against his former club. However, strikes from Mikel Silvestre, William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor had seemingly ensure that Arsenal would take the three points. However, with Arsenal leading 4 -2 entering the final two minutes of the contest, Spurs staged a stunning fightback to shock the home side with strikes from Jermaine Jenas and, at the death, Aaron Lennon sending the away fans into delirium and left the Arsenal fans in disbelief.

November 2010: Arsenal 2 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

The North London Derby witnessed one of the stunning comebacks in the history of the fixture as Spurs performed second half heroics to get the better of their rivals. After two goals in the opening thirty minutes, Arsenal were seemingly on course to register a victory over their counterparts that would send them top of the Premier League. However, Spurs came to live after half time, bringing themselves level within twenty minutes of the restart through a superb Gareth Bale finish and a Rafeal Van der Vart penalty. With the match entering its closing stages, some hapless Arsenal defending allowed Younès Kaboul to power a header past Lukas Fabianski to ensure the visiting fans were sent home whilst the home fans were left to face the prospect of another stuttering title challenge.

November 2012: Arsenal 5 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur

Nine months after Arsenal had inflicted a 5 – 2 defeat on their North London neighbours, the home side once again prevailed by the same scoreline in a highly entertaining affair. Despite Emmanuel Adebayor giving Spurs an early lead, his sending off for a high tackle on Santi Carzorla minutes later handed the initiative back to Arsenal who unduly took advantage of their extra man to score two quick fire goals as half time neared. Despite Spurs attempts to stem the tide of pressure in the second half in search of mounting an unlikely comeback, goals by Carzorla and Theo Walcott ensured that the home side left the Emirates celebrating another victory in the North London Derby.

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