UEFA Pays Clubs For Players’ Euro 2016 Release

UEFA Pays Clubs For Players' Euro 2016 ReleaseUnion of European Football Associations (UEFA), has handed out a total of 150 million euros ($162.18 million) to clubs who released players for the Euro 2016 qualifying matches.

UEFA said that, 641 clubs benefited from solidarity payments meant to appease clubs who often complain about the amount of time their players spend with their national teams.

For the qualifying matches, 3,536 Euros was paid to a club each time one of their players was included in the 23-man squad of a national team.

For Euro 2016 itself, 7,321 Euros was paid to a club each time one of their players was included in the final squad.

According to the UEFA figures, Juventus received the biggest handout of 3.48 million Euros, followed by Liverpool 3.39 million Euros and Tottenham Hotspur 3.07 million Euros.

Mahrez Grabs BBC African Footballer of the Year

Riyad MahrezLeicester midfielder, Riyad Mahrez, has won the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016.

After collating votes from fans across the world, the 25-year-old Algerian was picked over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure.

Mahrez says the honour means a lot to him and described it as one big award for African players.

“It’s always good to receive awards and for African players, it’s a huge honour. To all the fans, thank you very much,” he told BBC.

The player also extended his appreciation his family and Algeria fans whom he dedicated the honour to.

Meanwhile in Bernabéu, Cristiano Ronaldo saw his rival Lionel Messi off to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

Cristiano Ronaldo Wins Fourth Ballon d’Or

It is now the fourth time the prolific Portuguese is lifting the prestigious prize after the 2008, 2013 and 2014 honours.

He helped Real Madrid win the Champions League last season before leading Portugal to glory in the France Euro 2016.

Schweinsteiger Retires From International Football

Bastian Schweinsteiger lifting the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Manchester United midfielder, Bastian Schweinsteiger, has announced that he would like to retire from the German National Team after 12 years of service.

He stated this in an Open letter, posted on the Die Mannshaft website on Friday.

“I have recently asked the coach to not nominate me for the national team anymore because I would like to retire,” he stated.

“I was allowed to collect 120 caps for my country and I lived some moments which have been indescribably beautiful and successful.

“Jogi Low knew how much Euro 2016 in France meant to me because I really wanted to win that title we have not been able to win since 1996.

“It was not meant to be, I have to accept that.

“By winning the World Cup in 2014 we achieved something on a historic and emotional level that I cannot reproduce in my career.

“That’s why it is right and reasonable to finish it and to wish the team all the best for the qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

“With this decision I leave the national team that has always been a precious family for me. I hope that the connection will still remain strong in one way or the other.”

Schweinsteiger, 31, made 120 appearances for the German National Team scoring 24 goals.

The midfielder won the World Cup in 2014 and also won a silver medal in Euro 2008.

Schmeichel Confident Leicester City Will Defend Title

Leicester City, Kasper SchmeichelLeicester City Goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, says the Foxes will defend their English Premier League title
with the same determination they took to become winners last season.

Schmeichel told BBC on Monday that he was very sure his side would work harder to defend the title in spite of the changes witnessed by the club such as N’Golo Kante’s move to Chelsea.

“I can assure you the hunger is 100% still there. We have to go again, do exactly the same again and see where it takes us,” he said.

The 29-year-old was an ever-present figure for the Foxes in the Premier League last season.

Leicester City’s shocking title win was described as one of the greatest sporting stories.

Chelsea Move Is A Dream Come True – N’Golo

Chelsea , N'Golo KanteLatest Chelsea signing, N’Golo Kante, has described his move to the Stamford Bridge as a “dream come true”.

The former Leicester City midfielder told the club’s website that he was happy to have signed for one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

“The opportunity to work with Antonio Conte, a brilliant coach, and some of the best players in the world was simply too good to turn down.

“My first season in English football was very special and now I hope to go on to achieve even more during my time as a Chelsea player,” he said.

The Frenchman, who signed a five-year contract expressed his preparedness to meet up with his new team-mates and help Chelsea achieve a lot of success.

He joins Chelsea on a five-year contract after he won the English Premier League title with Leicester City in the last EPL season.

The 25-year-old came close to adding to that success on the international stage in July, being part of the France squad that lost to Portugal at the Euro 2016 finals.

Belgium Sacks Coach Marc Wilmots

Belgium, Marc wilmotsBelgian Football Federation has relieved Marc Wilmots from his job as the Head Coach of the National Team.

This is according to a statement by the Federation’s website.

“The Royal Belgian Football Association have made an agreement with Marc Wilmots to end his contract that lasted until 2018.

“We would like to thank Marc Wilmots for his work during the last four years.

“With Marc Wilmots as a head coach, the Red Devils have climbed from the 54th position to the top of the FIFA World Ranking.

He managed to win 34 games out of 51, including eight draws. Above all, the fans have reinstalled their love for the Belgian Red Devils during this period.

“The RBFA’s Technical Commission have made an evaluation of the recent UEFA Euro 2016 and have declared that the intended goals have not been reached.

“There is a common sense that the team needs a new impulse to lead this group towards a top result at a major tournament.

“The Belgian FA will immediately start the procedure to find a new head coach, in a transparent way. The idea is to start the upcoming games in September with a new coach, beginning with an international friendly game in Brussels against Spain on the 1st of September.”

Wilmots, 47, had been leading the national team since 2012 and managed to guide the team to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup.

UEFA EURO 2016 Team Of The Tournament Revealed

Euro 2016, Team of the TournamentFour Portugal players, three from Germany and two each representing France and Wales have made the official UEFA EURO 2016 Team of the Tournament.

The team, in a 4-2-3-1 formation, is made up of: Rui Patrício (Portugal); Joshua Kimmich (Germany), Jérôme Boateng (Germany), Pepe (Portugal), Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal); Toni Kroos (Germany), Joe Allen (Wales); Antoine Griezmann (France), Aaron Ramsey (Wales), Dimitri Payet (France); Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).

According to Uefa.com, the team was selected by UEFA’s 13-strong panel of technical observers, led by UEFA chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu and including Sir Alex Ferguson, Alain Giresse, David Moyes, Packie Bonner and Mixu Paatelainen.

Others are Savo Milošević, Peter Rudbæk, Gareth Southgate, Thomas Schaaf, Jean-François Domergue, Ginés Meléndez and Jean-Paul Brigger.

The technical observers have made their choices based on various criteria, which had been outlined before the tournament.

The formation was selected as the most-used of the finals. Two technical observers were present at every game and their reports will contribute to the UEFA EURO 2016 technical report, which will be released on UEFA.com in September.

UEFA coaching ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson said: “After quite a bit of deliberation, the observers chose a team that features the best performing players from the best performing teams at UEFA EURO 2016.

“We have chosen dominant central defenders; full-backs who can defend and attack; deep-lying midfielders who can control the game and dynamic, flexible and creative attackers, all of whom have the ability to create and score goals.

“We believe that the selected XI represents the best of the competition.”

In the past a 23-man squad was selected with Ronaldo (2004 and 2012) and Pepe (2008 and 2012) both previously picked twice. Ronaldo was also in the All-Time EURO 11 named before the tournament.

Portugal Defeat France To Win Euro 2016 Championship

Portugal, Euro 2016Portugal are champions of Europe after defeating hosts France 1-0 in extra-time in the Euro 2016 final played at the Stade de France on Sunday night.

Substitute Eder was the hero, scoring Portugal’s lone goal in the 109th minute.

Portugal had to play most of the match without talisman Cristiano Ronaldo as the captain’s second EURO final ended after just 25 minutes after Dimitri Payet had clattered into his standing leg in a tackle after only eight minutes.

Despite receiving treatment, the Real Madrid star was unable to fully recover as he signalled to the bench and was tearfully stretchered and replaced by Ricardo Quaresma in the 25th minute.

Although a big blow for Portugal, the team overcame the shaky reaction to their captain’s exit and started to provide some serious challenge to France’s early domination.

The first half ended 0-0 and in the second half, France coach, Didier Deschamps withdrew Dimitri Payet for Kingsley Conman to enable them break down Portugal’s defensive.

Portugal, however, remained resolute in defense and offering next to nothing in attack.

The game went into extra-time and in the 109th minute, substitute Eder brought the Portugal bench and fans into ecstasy with a fierce low shot that beat Lloris from 25 yards.

Deschamps threw in Antonio Martial immediately to try and salvage the game but it was not to be as Portugal finally won their first ever Euro championships.

Final Pressure

Deschamps’ side had completed their run to the final at the Stade de France with a 2-0 win over Germany.

With enthusiasm around the nation reaching fever pitch in anticipation of France’s first Euro triumph in 16 years, Deschamps remained confident his players can deal with the pressure.

The 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winning captain said that they had learnt from some nervy earlier performances in the group stage and that they would not be overawed by the occasion.

Euro 2016: Ronaldo Hopes To Fulfill Country’s Dream

Euro 2016, RonaldoPortugal Captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, hopes to fulfil the dream of winning a competition for his country after securing qualification to the finals of the Euro 2016 on Wednesday.

“The team did a marvelous job to reach the final, it’s what we have dreamt of since the beginning.

“We knew it would be a long road and we’re still in the tournament. I hope on Sunday you’ll see me crying with joy.

“I always said I wanted to win something with Portugal. We’re closer to doing it and I believe that we’ll win.

“I’ve been at the highest level for 13 years. The statistics never lie”, Ronaldo told Skysports.

Portugal last reached the final of a major tournament in Euro 2004 and Ronaldo was left crying on the pitch as his side lost 1-0 to Greece on home soil.

Ronaldo stated that “This is different…that was my first final, my debut, now 12 years have gone by and we are going to play another final.

“I have always dreamed of winning for Portugal. I hope it is our time now.

“I am very confident. I deserve it, Portugal deserves it, all the Portuguese people deserve it.

“I’ve always dreamt of winning something for Portugal and now it’s just one step away. Dreaming is free so let’s keep dreaming.”

The Portuguese all-time highest goal scorer, scored a brilliant header also assisting Lius Nani for the second goal, when they beat Wales 2-0 on Wednesday.

Either Germany or France would join Portugal in the final when they faceoff at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Thursday.

France Humble Iceland 5 – 2 In Euro 2016 Quarter Final

Euro-2016-FranceThe host nation of the on-going Euro 2016, France, have humiliated Iceland 5 – 2 to qualify for the semis.

The French demonstrated their superiority, as they shocked the Irish on Sunday night.

Goals from Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann set France ahead of Iceland, as they dominated the first half.

Arsenal striker, Giroud netted another fantastic goal in between Iceland’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason goals.

France would contest for the final match’s ticket with Germany who earlier beat Italy 6 – 5 on penalties.

Germany Beat Italy In Euro 2016 Quarter Final

Germany, Italy, Euro 2016Germany had to endure a long stretch of penalties as they defeated Italy 6-5 in the third quarter final match of the Euro 2016 championship.

The game had ended 1-1 after 120 minutes of football.

Mesut Ozil broke the deadlock in the second half but the Germans’ lead lasted few minutes as Jerome Boateng’s handball in the box gave Italy a penalty which was well converted by Leonardo Bonucci.

The quality of their penalties were, however, not particularly good.

Thomas Mueller, Mesut Oezil and Bastian Schweinsteiger all missed for Germany while Simone Zaza, Graziano Pelle, Leonardo Bonucci and Matteo Darmian missed for Italy.

Germany goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, who was voted Man of the Match, said; “I have never experienced a shoot-out like this. I think most of the Italians just aimed into the middle.

“The 1-1 score we conceded during regular time was a bit unlucky. But I believe we were the better side and are deservedly through to the semi-finals.”

The total of 18 penalties ties the record for most penalties taken in a Euro penalty shootout.

The record was set in 1980 when Italy also lost 8-9 to Czechoslovakia in the 3rd place play-off.

Wales Cruise To Euro 2016 Semis After Crushing Belgium

Euro 2016: Wales beat BelgiumWales have progressed to the next stage of the Euro 2016 after beating Belgium 3 – 1 in the quarter final of the competition.

The Welsh got the shocking victory with Ashley Williams’ opener in the 31st minute after being down by a goal to the Belgians.

The duo struggled to get a lead before the end of the first half but went away with a goal apiece.

Hal Robson-Kanu then gave Wales a hope of victory in the 55th minute, just as Sam Vokes sealed the winning four minutes to the end of the match.

Consequently in the semi-final, Wales will contend with Portugal, who had beaten Poland 5 – 3 on penalties, to get a chance to play in the final match of the European competition on-going in France.