Europe vs The World – The Battle of the Best 11

With the World Cup just a few weeks away and with the best players on the planet preparing to lead their respective nations in Russia, we wondered what the best XI’s would look like if it was the EU vs. the rest of the world (ROW).

We have stuck purely to nationality and put aside their club’s locations, this way we get to keep Messi and Ronaldo on opposite sides!

Have a look, cast judgement over our sides and comment on who we’ve missed or who has no place on the pitch?

Europe XI

A strong Premier League spine to our European side with added La Liga flair.

De Gea, Kante, De Bruyne and Kane provide safe hands, phenomenal work rate, creativity and goals.

A defence made in Germany with Munich’s Hummels and Kimmich accompanied by Spain’s Alba and France’s Varane from La Liga.

Kante and new wonderkid – Asensio, in the middle with and amazing trio of Griezmann, De Bruyne and CR7 all in behind Harry Kane. Safe to say that any goal scored against the below World XI will be claimed by the Tottenham man. Now we’ve all seen Ronaldo’s tantrums when someone tries to take a goal from him!

Mentions for players missing out include Ramos, Hazard and the difficult omission of Kieran Tierney!

Onto the best of the rest World XI…..

World XI.jpeg

Perhaps unsurprisingly that the South American superpowers of Brazil and Argentina make up a good proportion of this side.

Roma’s wanted-keeper Allison has the gloves, with an interesting centre half pairing of the reliable Uruguayan Godin and solid Senegalese Koulibaly. Either side of these, there was a no contest in our eyes with Alves and Marcelo, serial winners and are both equally as good going forward as at the back.

The Midfield has been collated to counter balance their opponents. Casemiro and Vidal provide good distribution. Perhaps the most surprising inclusion of Naby Keita could be the key? The box-to-box midfielder who isn’t afraid of a challenge could nullify counter attacks.

Up top it was straight forward. Messi, Neymar and future Ballon D’or winner Mo Salah. Do we need to justify these selections? Thought not.

No Suarez, Cavani, Firmino or Sanchez – we felt they weren’t quite up to level we wanted to put against the Europeans this time.

Now remember that it’s never easy to throw out 22 options and be 100% correct, the teams are open to interpretation and change but we believe they are as close as can be.

Perhaps with all the glamour friendlies that go on pre, mid and post season we will get to see the best each side can offer – go head-to-head for a good cause and for the pure interest of every football fan around the globe.

Team images created with the Footballsilo App.

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Atletico Madrid – Striking Sensations

With prodigal son Fernando Torres leaving the club at the end of the season and heavy speculation linking Antoine Griezmann with a move away we felt it was worth taking a look at the wealth of striking talent that Atletico Madrid have had, let go, re-signed and will soon be struggling to hold onto!

Now removing the obvious glacticos of Messi, Ronaldo and Mo Salah (he deserves a mention in any footy topic these days) and Atleti have had the best of the rest at one time or another.

Athletico-Madrid-Scorers.jpg

Take a look below and the names on this list and their goals / games ratios:-

Player Games Goals
Antoine Greizmann 205 110
Fernando Torres 397 127
Diego Costa 153 70
Kevin Gameiro 79 26
Sergio Aguero 234 101
Diego Forlan 196 96
Radamel Falcao 91 70
Mario Mandzukic 43 20
David Villa 47 15
Total 1442 634

There is clearly something special about the goal scorers who pull of those famous red and white striped shirts in the Spanish Capital.

Currently boasting an attacking force of Griezmann, Torres, Costa and Gameiro they are gunning for Europa League glory with only Marseille standing in their way.

Their prior goal machines will equally be household names to many.

Aguero, Forlan and Falcao have had stints in the Premier League with mixed fortunes and the world Cup winner David Villa was captured for under £5m to see out his final years in La Liga.

Rewind to the end of the previous decade and you’ll find the days of Christian Vieri and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, these two had a combined record of 62 goals in 75 appearances in the late 90’s.

Not to mention a cost-cutting measure of closing their youth academy cost them Real legend Raul!

They have recently moved to the Wanda Metropolitano and will be hoping their frontmen feel equally at home here as they used to be at the Vicente Calderon.

Atletico Madrid striker image sourced from; goal91.com

Live TV Footy – Are we being entertained?

With the cost we are being asked to pay to watch football on TV these days I think it’s fair to say we expect a good level of entertainment for our hard earned £.

Watching the bore fest of Liverpool v Man Utd got me thinking…Just what are we paying to watch?

united-fan-sleeping

For anyone not a nerd like as myself, the players on show were bought by the North West giants for a combined total of £449M!!

They managed 5 shots on target and a passing averages equivalent of a part time side. Yes there will be the odd 3-3 or as the past weekend has shown a rare 5-4 but on the whole do we feel like we have enjoyed those 90+ minutes with the 0-0’s or “tactical” 2-1’s.

Sky and BT Sport are battling between themselves for supremacy. Major meetings take place to discuss who gets what game and at what time it will be played, bear in mind this is catered for the TV audience and not the fans travelling to the games (another story for another day). The 3 main leagues shown by the TV companies mentioned are The Barclays Premier League, La Liga and the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership.

I’m sure if I asked most to name the most “entertaining” the BPL would be the easiest and possibly most argued for answer. So is this correct?

Below is a basic breakdown of games shown, goals scored, shots on target and red cards dished out. I believe the latter 3 are the key to basic entertainment for the neutral TV viewer.

Premier League Total
Games Goals Shots On Target Red Cards
93 238 894 11
Average 2.5 Goals PG 9.6 Shots PG Every 8.4 Games
SPL Total
Games Goals Shots On Target Red Cards
27 80 248 7
Average 2.9 Goals PG 9.1 Shots PG Every 3.8 Games
La Liga Total
Games Goals Shots On Target Red Cards
141 485 1231 44
Average 3.4 Goals PG 8.7 Shots PG Every 3.2 Games
  • The Premier League gives us the lowest goals to game ratio
  • However does provide us with the most attempts on target
  • La Liga loves a red card with one being shown nearly every 3 games
  • The Spanish game provides us with nearly an additional 1 goal per game and before you ask….Barca & Real have featured in only 20% of the games shown
  • The Scottish Premiership performs very well in comparison, despite being considered “poor standard” by most

Sam-Nicholson-Hearts

So I urge football fans to shun the Swansea v Watford’s of this world and cast your eye to Partick Thistle, Eibar, Hearts and Getafe.

You may be pleasantly surprised in the quality you watch, entertainment it provides and potentially learn a bit more about other countries leagues to impress your mates with down the pub.

Happy watching!

Manchester United fans image sourced from; www.talkingbaws.co.uk
Hearts image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football