Belgium are currently the number one ranked side in world football, overtaking superpowers like Brazil who they eliminated from last year’s World Cup. Simply put, no country per capita is remotely producing as many top footballers as they are. So what’s their secret?
It’s very early days but the possibility of Ireland staging games at the World Cup Finals has moved at least one step closer to becoming reality, with confirmation that the FAI is joining forces with the associations of the four ‘home nations’ to consider making a joint bid for the 2030 tournament.
Tonight’s Europa League semi-final first leg between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid brings together two teams and clubs who are mirror opposites in many ways — including the personalities and philosophies of managers Arsene Wenger and Diego Simeone.
Yesterday’s report by World Rugby’s Technical Review Group was fulsome in its praise for three “outstanding candidate submissions” and the IRFU was particularly keen to cling on to the remark that all of them could host a “successful” tournament.
And so they left with a bang not a whimper, as Spurs said goodbye to White Hart Lane after 118 years in emphatic style, playing Manchester United off the park, sealing second spot in the Premier League, and showing why they are considered the most exciting young side in the country.
It wasn’t pretty, it was more mechanical than magical and got even uglier with a late double sending-off, but Manchester United may have taken a massive step in the post-Ferguson era after they reached the Europa League Final by drawing 1-1 with Celta Vigo — to put both silverware and place in the Champions League in their sights.
Stephen Kenny will be in Poland tomorrow to watch Legia Warsaw host Piast Gliwice as Dundalk accelerate preparations for their huge Champions League play-off games against the Polish champions at Aviva Stadium on August 17 and in Warsaw on August 23.