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Bulgarian Coach Krasimir Balakov Resigns amid Mass Criticism on Moot Statement

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Krasimir Balakov

Last updated on October 21st, 2019

The past few days have been tumultuous for England’s football team due to the instance of racial abuse during the 2020 Euro Cup Qualifier against Bulgaria.

Moreover, the statement of Bulgarian coach Krasimir Balakov not only led to his mass criticism but also shed light on the fact that how the prominent authorities are willing to avoid voicing the racial abuse concerns.  

The academicians and the researchers for a long time have claimed football to be a binding sport between the players, fans and the administrative authorities. But the recent instances of racial abuse against different players, clubs, and teams have successfully managed many to believe it otherwise.  

The resignation of the Bulgarian coach came four days after the splendid win of England national football team against Bulgaria by a score of 6-0 in the 2020 Euro cup Qualifier.

Following the resignation, coach Krasimir Balakov said, “I am no longer national team coach. I wish success to the next coach, the situation is not rosy at the moment. I have never been a coach in such an atmosphere. I tried to pick up the players in the locker room.”

“There was no rebellion. The players were so mentally stressed by what was happening on the pitch that they lacked the energy to rebel,” he added. Apart from the Bulgarian coach, the whole board of the Bulgarian Football Union, along with its President Borislav Mikhailov resigned on Friday.

The Bulgarian Football Union claimed the poor performance of men’s national team as the reason behind Krasimir Balakov’s resignation. Although, it won’t be wrong to consider the possibility that the criticism for Balakov’s post-match statement amassed might be the reason for his resignation.

Even though there have been numerous instances of racial abuse in Europe, the incident is prevalent in other parts of the world,  including the Middle-East dating back to 1970s involving anti-Arab, promotion of Holocaust against Maccabi Tel Aviv and anti-Semitic taunts.

The horrific scenario achieved new heights in the Middle East region when Iran accused Syria of “fixing” the 2018 World Cup qualifiers match held in Kuala Lumpur.

On the other hand, there have been instances that gave a glimmer of hope like the collective effort of Algerian football fans to stop racial abuses against the dual-nationality players.

The resignation of Krasimir Balakov is a key example that most of the responsible authorities avoid taking a constructive stance on resolving the racial abuse cases on a psychological level, and instead believe in the removal of leadership.

If such practices continue, the famed sport “football” might lose its charm and enthusiasm for which it is known from a long time.

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Complications Grow as Liverpool Gears to Play 13 Matches in 40 Days

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Complications Grow as Liverpool Gears to Play 13 Matches in 40 Days

Premier League is in November, but for most Liverpool fans the club is already on course to lift the Premier League title in under six months. With as many as 26 match weeks left, the task ahead is not easy, especially as the club gears up to play 13 matches across leagues in 40 days, beginning Saturday.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher insisted, nothing can stop his former club from winning the Premier League. Interestingly, Jurgen Klopp’s side currently has an eight-point advantage at the top, but that is the sort of lead they lost last season, as Manchester City became champions of England for the fourth time.

The season is really complicated for the European Champions and problems have multiplied with in form players Andrew Robertson and Mohamed Salah getting injured. The duo is set to miss their next encounter against Crystal Palace, as per Sky Sports.

Salah has been struggling with a damaged ankle since a strong tackle from Hamza Choudhury in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Leicester City back on October 5. Unfortunately, his injury got worse while playing against Manchester City following Fernandinho’s challenge.

Meanwhile, Robertson also left the Man City game with a swollen ankle, forcing him out of Scotland’s two games.

The added complication of traveling without much intervals to rest, also adds to the misery. And to top it, the European champions are to contest in 2 matches within a span of 24 hours. The club will reportedly play Aston Villa in Carabao Cup quarter-final on 17th December, before taking a long flight to contest for the Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar.

“What I mean by that is do not play anyone in your first XI (for Carabao Cup) I know a lot of Liverpool supporters wouldn’t say this, and certainly the club couldn’t, but nothing can get in the way of Liverpool winning the league. Nothing,” Jamie Carragher said in his statement to Liverpool Echo, explaining how Liverpool should approach the task upfront.

There is no doubt in Liverpool’s ability of winning the Premier League, but even in the past, the team had reached agonizingly close and let the title slip out of their hands.

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Jose Mourinho Replaces Mauricio Pochettino as New Tottenham Manager

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Jose Mourinho

On Tuesday, Premier League’s sacking season once again kicked off after Tottenham Hotspurs sacked Mauricio Pochettino. But even quickly, the club has appointed Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea and Manchester United Boss as the new man in charge. The Portuguese has signed a new contract until the end of 2022-23 season.

“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me,” said the 56-year-old Portuguese. “Working with these players is what has attracted me,” he added.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football.”

Tottenham played good football under Mauricio Pochettino last season and reached the UEFA Champions League final, where they lost to Liverpool. The Argentine, who was appointed in May 2014, failed to win silverware during his stint with the north London club. Ironically, with the likes of Harry kane, Toby Alderweireld and Dele Ali in the ranks, Spurs still remain in hunt for some sort of success, with their last major being the League Cup in 2008.

Meanwhile, Mourinho who still lives in London, won three Premier League Titles and an FA Cup with Chelsea. Besides, with Manchester United, he won the Europe League and a Carabao Cup.

Other than that, he has managed Portuguese side Porto–where he won the Champions League–Italian Club Inter Milan–with whom he won the league, cup and Champions League–and Spanish Club Real Madrid, where he won the La Liga title.

Mourinho has got huge reputation as a manager, but his rude behavior has often overpowered and made more headlines than his tactics and triumphs alone.

Nonetheless, Levy still believes that since Jose Mourinho has got a lot of experience, he can inspire team to play good football and achieve great results.

Mourinho was sacked back in December 2018, and turned down a number of job opportunities in China, Spain and Portugal, before agreeing to manage the north London outfit. He now takes over Spurs side that are 14th in the Premier league and winless in their last five games.

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Ahead of Euro 2020, All of Three Lions but Harry Kane Need Improvement

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Harry Kane

The Euro 2020 Qualifier has been an eventful tournament for the England football team, especially for manager Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane.

After qualifying for the Euro Cup 2020 after their splendid 7-0 win against Montenegro, the Three Lions ended the qualifying tournament on a good note with a 4-0 win against Kosovo.

With the score against Kosovo in the last match of the qualifiers, Harry Kane has become the first England player to score in each of the Euro Cup qualifiers. Also, with this win, England’s team has created the possibility of being in the top seeds in the Euro Cup 2020.

While England’s players have displayed a splendid performance throughout, the tournament might have ended on a sour note for the Three Lions had the Kosovo players been more experienced and better skilled.

The prime reason being Southgate’s players not only toiled for fluency and precision in the game, but also strived to defend two of their goals.

And if this happened against France, Croatia or Portugal in the tournament, then the scenario would have been a lot different for the team. While Southgate appreciated the likes of Sterling, Kane and Rushford, he also admitted the need for improvement in the game.

England’s boss Southgate while praising the Tottenham striker, Harry Kane said, “Harry played very well. He gave us those connections and he got forward for his goal really well.”

Speaking on the need of improvements amongst the Three Lions, Southgate said, “I think the good thing is that whoever comes to play us knows they are in for a tough game, so we’ve got to have some confidence about what we’re doing as well. That said, we’ve got a lot to keep improving on, and we know that.”

Apart from Southgate, former England player and manager Chris Sutton also praised Kane, saying that the 26-year-old Tottenham striker can break Wayne Rooney’s record and go on to become the greatest player for England football team, only if Harry Kane avoids getting injured or replaced by Tammy Abraham.

Since the Three Lions have ended the Euro 2020 qualifiers on a good note with players like Kane, Sterling, Rushford and Mason Mount in a good form, it only remains a matter of time to see if Southgate’s team dominates the Euro Cup 2020.

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With 7-0 Win against Montenegro, England Qualifies for Euro 2020

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Euro 2020

Euro 2020 Qualifiers and the England football team have always gone hand in hand in terms of controversy. And, the latest proof corroborating the statement is England’s match against Montenegro Thursday night at Wembley Stadium .

Even though Gareth Southgate’s team won the match by 7-0 with a striking performance, the match was marred by heckles to Joe Gomez at 70th minute of the game, in the wake of his confrontation with midfielder Raheem Sterling in the canteen at St George’s Park on Monday.

However, Gomez’s harassment did not seem to go well with Sterling as he condemned the crowd for heckling Gomez and came forward to support him on Twitter. Along with Sterling, Southgate also came forward to support Gomez.

Criticising the jeering by the crowd after the Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro, England’s manager said, “The whole dressing room are disappointed with it. Contrary to what I’m told has been said in various quarters, all of the players are united, the whole thing was put to bed the other day.”

“Joe had done absolutely nothing wrong. No England player should ever be booed when they’re wearing the shirt. I don’t get it. All of the players are particularly disappointed with that. Also, I know I’m going to start Raheem on Sunday and get him back onto the pitch as well. It was important for both of them to get back on the field and show everybody we’re all in this now.”

Apart from the heckling, everything went well with during the Euro 2020 Qualifier match for the England football team. While the team secured a place in the 2020 Euro Cup with the splendid win, it also became the youngest England team to score seven goals in last 60 years.

Southgate’s side build pressure on Faruk Hadžibegić’s (Montenegro’s coach) team from the very starting of the game.

After scoring the goal in the 11th minute of the game, England scored in quick successions with second, third, fourth and fifth goal in 18th, 24th, 30th, and 37th minute of the Euro 2020 Qualifier game against Montenegro respectively.

Another important aspect of the game was Harry Kane’s hat-trick that made him the highest scoring captain for England. Furthermore, with the hat-trick against Montenegro, the total goal tally for Kane has reached 31.

Even though the controversies during the Euro Cup qualifiers included referees, managers, and players, it mainly revolved around the fans of teams playing and the players.

Although these controversies have managed to mar the splendid win and striking performance from the players, it remains yet to be seen if England’s bad luck with controversies would continue in the Euro 2020 Cup or not..

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FIFA Turns its Back Towards Iraqi Aggression

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Iraq

The opportunity earned after years was the opportunity lost for Iraq. In the intermittent history of FIFA ban, the country was re-gifted the chance to host the 2022 World Cup qualifiers at home after decades. However, as it has always been unfortunate at receiving the present, Iraq had to pass it on to another country.

Citing the constantly inflaming protests, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) asked Iraq to find a “neutral venue” for hosting the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The matches were first of its kind to take place three decades after FIFA lifted the ban on Iraq to host international matches in August.

The saga of ban on Iraq has been on and off since the 1980s. Raising security concerns, the Iraqi aggression has been pushing FIFA away for years. As a result, other Middle Eastern nations, including Iran, the UAE, Qatar and Jordan, kept winning opportunities to host the matches on behalf of Iraq. After all these years, the pattern refused to break.

As demonstrators took to the streets calling for the “fall of the regime” and Iran to “free Iraq” in October, they swiped off the prospects of the country to re-emerge better in the eyes of FIFA. In a letter to the Iraqi Football Association (IFA), the global governing body of football stated that it has been “closely monitoring the safety and security situation in Iraq”, where the protests are frantic.

It had added that considering the “significant deterioration of the overall security situation,” the home ground matches against Iran and Bahrain must be relocated to a “neutral venue outside Iraq”. Consequently, the chance Iraq receive for a millionth time was lost.

The country was supposed to witness two qualifier matches, scheduled to be played at the Basra Sports City Stadium, this month. On November 14, Iraq was set to play at home against Iran, and to face Bahrain five days later, on November 19. However, both the matches were rescheduled to be held in Jordan.

“Jordan was chosen to host the matches against Bahrain and Iran,” the head of Iraq’s football federation, Abdelkhaleq Masud said.

FIFA said that the move “will enable all interested parties to focus their attention on delivering both matches successfully within a safe and secure environment”. However, it was a major blow to Iraq’s progress in football. The country already kicking remarkably on field, also had chance of moving a step ahead in the sport.

As protests being witnessed in the nation emerged because of the deteriorating economic conditions, the diversion that FIFA took towards Jordan came as a dent to its possibilities of re-emerging better. The qualifiers match, after decades, may not have brought an instant progress for Iraq, but it could have definitely opened several positive gates towards immense growth.

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