Gracenote says England have ‘4 percent’ change of winning world cup

Data experts Gracenote released their findings this week and showed that England have a 4% chance of winning the upcoming world cup in Russia. Whilst some fans will be thinking ‘great, that’s better than I thought we’d do!’ other countries have faired much better and there are some other surprises such as a 50:50 chance of a new winner and how European and South American teams are expected to dominate.

Main Findings

  • Brazil 20% chance of winning, followed by Spain (10%), Germany and Argentina (8%)
  • 50:50 chance of a ‘new winner’ i.e a team that has never won the competition before, currently begged at Peru or Colombia
  • 10 of the teams in the last 16 expected to be from Europe or Latin America


Who are Gracenote?

The website explains:

Gracenote Sports originally developed its proprietary football ranking in 2002. The methodology based on the Elo system which is used for ranking chess players has been fine-tuned over the intervening 16 years. Every time two teams compete, one “wins” points from the other depending on the result and the following: 1) the winning margin, 2) which team is at “home,” and 3) the relative strength of the two teams playing. Gracenote also weighs the number of points which change hands by the importance of the competition and match. For example, FIFA World Cup matches and continental championships are considered more important than friendlies.

Other Stats


Dickie Bet is a specialise site that allows you to compare world cup odds. Follow our blog for regular updates during the world cup competition!

The Rise of Moussa Sissoko

Moussa Sissoko (born 16 August 1989) is a French professional footballer who plays for Tottenham Hotspur and the France national team. He plays as a box-to-box midfielder, and is capable of playing in either a holding midfield role, or even as an attacking midfielder or right winger, due to his pace and offensive capabilities.[3][4][5] Sissoko has been described as a “well-rounded central midfielder” who is “tall, rangy, and strong in the tackle”.


Sissoko Playing Career

Sissoko began his football career playing for local youth clubs in the Île-de-France region, such as Espérance Aulnay and AS Red Star 93. In 2002, he moved south to join professional club Toulouse. Sissoko spent four years in the club’s youth academy and made his professional debut in the 2007–08 season. He also played in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In the following season, Sissoko earned award nominations for his performances and also helped Toulouse qualify for the newly created UEFA Europa League.

Sissoko was a French youth international and played at all levels he was eligible for. In August 2009, he was called up to the senior team for the first time and made his senior international debut in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification against the Faroe Islands.[9] He made his first international start four days later in a qualifier against Austria.

Sissoko was born in Le Blanc-Mesnil, Seine-Saint-Denis, to Malian parents. His father is a construction worker and his mother is a housewife.[10] Sissoko is the eldest of four children, with three younger sisters. He was attracted to football at a very young age, stating, “I quickly realised that football could lead me to have a better life”.[10] At the age of six, Sissoko joined the youth academy of Espérance Aulnay, based in nearby Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb in northeastern Paris. He trained three times a week at the club under the supervision of trainer Adama Dieye, who now serves as a correspondent for the club’s futsal team. Sissoko describes Dieye as an important mentor in his development stating “I am here today because of him”.[10] In July 1999, Sissoko moved to Saint-Ouen to join AS Red Star 93. Sissoko spent two years at the club and was teammates with Guingamp midfielder Yannis Salibur. In September 2001, he returned to Aulnay for a further two years developing before seeking a move to a professional club.

Whilst Sissoko has been put on standby the French world cup squad, you can follow the team and click here for France outright winner odds.

What has happened to “golden boy” James Rodriguez?

This week has seen on loan James Rodriguez play for Bayern Munich in their 2-1 defeat to his parent club Real Madrid. A club where it has not quite worked out for him after his 80 million Euro move in the summer of 2014. Rodriguez moved to Madrid after being one of the stand out players at the World Cup in Brazil, unfortunately for him, he has not lived up to his price tag. But what went wrong for the Colombian International?

In his Debut campaign at the Bernabeu, James impressed, scoring 17 times in 46 games for Real Madrid. Unfortunately, Real ended that season trophy-less and head coach Carlo Ancelotti was sacked. This is where things began to go wrong for the Colombian international as he, almost immediately, become out of favour under new manager Rafael Benitez. Benitez received plenty of criticism for his treatment of James, yet he still remained on the bench most of the time due to the rise of the Brazilian Casemiro in midfield.

When James was finally picked in the starting XI, it was in an El Classico match at home to main rivals Barcelona. To make matters worse for Rodriguez, Real were thrashed 4-0 in that match leading to Rafael Benitez being sacked.

Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane made the jump from being youth team manager to managing the first team. Many fans thought that Zidane coming in would instil James back into the first team, however, this was not the case as Zidane chose to stick with the deadly front 3 of Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo with Casemiro again taking up the other place in the midfield. When it came to the end of the season, James only had 21 starts and never made it off the bench in the Champions League final victory over Atletico.

Throughout this time, James remained adamant that Zidane was his idol and that they maintained a great relationship. However, words from Zidane about James remaining in Madrid were getting less and less convincing. The climax ofJames’ time in Madrid was when he was left out of the 2017 Champions League final match day squad against Juventus. Rodriguez could clearly see that he was not in Zidane’s plans for the big games and seeked a move away.

James moved to Bayern Munich last summer on a 2 – year loan deal from Madrid but once again struggled early on in the season due to Bayern’s problems with Carlo Ancelotti. However, when Jupp Heynckes took over, he has helped James Rodriguez to get back to the level that he once was at. The Bayern Manager has said that the fans love him and “enjoy” watching the Colombian play. James has said he is “very happy at Bayern” and that he “feels very happy in Munich.”

Are you backing James? Check out our Colombia world cup odds.

Zidane said on Tuesday ahead of Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern at the Allianz Arena that he did not want James to leave. “He wanted to play more and I understand that. I have never had problems with James. He needed to play more and that’s the only thing.” Zidane also reassured James that he has nothing against him and he views him as a “great player”

The PFA player of the year award 2018

This week, Mo Salah was awarded the PFA players player of the season for his remarkable first season back in England. We take a look at the 6 candidates that were on the shortlist for the award.  Manchester city dominated the shortlist with 3 out of the 6 players

David De Gea – Manchester United

The Spaniard has featured in the PFA team of the year four times in the last 5 seasons. This season De Gea has played 39 Games for United, keeping a total of 20 clean sheets. He also has the cleanest sheets in the Premier League with 16 in 32 league games. As well as this, De Gea has the highest save percentage in the Premier League, stopping 80% of all shots that he has faced this season. This statistic also ranks third in Europe’s top 5 leagues (Germany, Spain, France, Italy and England).

Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

De Bruyne has played a huge role in the success of Manchester City this season and many people believe that he is one of the main reasons City are 13 points clear at the top of the League. Since he joined Man City in 2015, his range of passing, crossing and set-pieces have led to the Belgium International being considered as one of the best in the world.  In 47 appearances for hisclub this season, De Bruyne has scored 11 goals and has 20 assists. Additionally, he has created more chances than any other player in the Premier League this season with 102 and has the most assists in the top flight (15). Did you know that De Bruyne and the Red Devils are 16/1 for Belgium to win world cup.

Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur

Kane has had yet another successful campaign in front of goal, scoring 36 goals in41 games for Spurs this season. In the Premier League Kane has 25 goals meaning that this is the fourth consecutive season that he has scored more than 20 goals, an achievement only held by 3 other players: Alan Sheared, Thierry Henry and Sergio Aguero. Harry Kane will also be hoping that he will be the first player since Henry to finish as the League’s top scorer 3 seasons in a row, although he is currently 4 goals behind Mohammed Salah. England Manager Gareth Southgate, will be hoping that Kane can replicate his prolific form at the World Cup in Russia this summer.

Leroy Sane – Manchester City

The young German International has also been a pivotal part to Manchester City’s success this season due to his pace, creativity and width. Sane has scored 13 goals in 44 games for his club this season as well as achieving an impressive 16 assists. Sane had many doubters in his first season in England due to his hefty price tag, however he has clearly proved all of those doubters wrong with an impressive campaign this year. At only 22 years of age, Leroy Sane will only keep on improving and could be on track to be one of the best in the world in the future. Want to back Sane in Russia this summer? Click here for Germany outright winner odds.

David Silva – Manchester City

The Spanish International has been a vital part of the Manchester City team ever since he signed for the club 8 years ago from Valencia. The 32-year-old has scored 9 goals in 37 games and his 14 assists have also been key in City’s challenge for the Premier League title. Silva has a pass completion rate of 89% which is the highest amount of any attack minded player in the Premier League this season.

Mohammed Salah – Liverpool

The winner of the award and Liverpool’s “Egyptian King” has enjoyed an extremely successful first season back in England that nobody expected. Salah, has scored 40 goals in 45 appearances for his club this season as well as 11 assists. He has an impressive 30 league goals in 34 games and is currently 5 goals ahead of Harry Kane in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot. The Egyptian has been involved in 51% of Liverpool’s goals this season which is more than any other player. He has also earned his side 15 points from his goals and assists which is also more than any other player in the Top flight of English football this season. Salah also scored in both legs of Liverpool’s Champions League Semi-final 5-1 aggregate win over Man City and he will also hope that he can replicate his magical form for Egypt at the World Cup this summer.

The rise of the Egyptian King Mohammed Salah

When Liverpool signed Mohammed Salah for just 35 million Pounds last summer, not many people would have expected him to have made anywhere near the impact in his first season on Merseyside. He is not only the current Premier League top scorer with 28 league goals, but he is also the top scorer across the top 5 European Leagues – surpassing the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and Cavani.

He has also recently led his beloved Egypt to the World Cup with a last-minute penalty and was named African Player of the Year. However, things have not always been easy for the 25-year-old, and below we take a look at how his short career has led him to be the success that he is today.



His early days in Egypt


He was born in June 1992 in the Village of Nagrig in the Western Province of Egypt. At the age of 11, Salah joined Egyptian club El Mokawloon. He managed to gain a promotion to the club’s first team after scoring 35 goals in one season at under 17 level. He spent two seasons with the Egyptian club’s first team scoring 12 goals in 39 games. Salah’s coach at that time, Mohamed Radwan, reportedly told Salah to leave Egypt and go to a European club so his talents could be shown to the world.


At this time, Basel from Switzerland has been interested in the winger. They organised a match against the Egypt under 23 side just so that they could see Salah play. It was after this, that Salah decided to leave Egypt to chase his dreams and play in Europe. Although, the Egyptian has never forgotten his roots and Egypt has always had a big place in his heart. He has always remained humble and grounded, as well as donating large sums of money to his home town for different charitable projects such as building a nursery.



Almost immediately after the under 23 game where Basel scouts kept a close eye on Salah, he signed for the Swiss division 1 side. At first, he was used more as an impact substitute however slowly but surely, he nailed down a fixed place in the first team. He won the Swiss Super League in 2013 and scored 10 goals in 47 appearances.

The winger scored in both ties against Chelsea that season in the Champions league. As a result of this, he caught the eye of Jose Mourinho and resultedly signed for the Blues in January 2013.




 Although there was a lot of hype surrounding Salah’s move to Chelsea, things did not go exactly as planned for the young Egyptian at Stamford Bridge. His time in London almost looked over before it had begun as Salah was informed that he would have to go back to Egypt for Military Service. After much debate, he was excused from his duties and was able to stay at Chelsea.

It was not long before Salah fell out of favour under Mourinho, with the Portuguese manager pulling him off at half time in one particular game. As well as this, Mourinho was unimpressed with Salah on many occasions as he “barked” at him during games before being told to “return as a professional footballer next season”. This left Salah’s career in Jeopardy, with the young Egyptian feeling hopeless and extremely embarrassed.




Chelsea then decided to send him to Italy, on a loan deal to Fiorentina. Surely looking back, Mourinho must be ruing his decision!



When he arrived in Florence, Salah took the number 74 shirt to commemorate the 74 people that lost their lives in the Port Said Stadium Riot in Egypt.

During his time at Fiorentina, Salah scored memorable goals in high profile games against Inter Milan Juventus. He scored 6 goals in 16 games which made everyone at Fiorentina want to keep the Egyptian winger. Salah decided that he did want to stay in Italy rather than move back to the Premier League, however, he decided to move south to Roma.



Salah joined Roma in August 2015 on a 1 year loan deal with the option to make the deal permanent. He finished that season with 15 goals in all competions, making him the leading scorer in Rome. As a result of this, they decided to make his move a permanent one in August 2016.

During his time in Rome, Francesco Totti, a legend at the club, labelled Salah as “one of the best players around”. It was praise like this that attracted the attention of the biggest clubs around Europe, and in August 2017, the Egyptian winger signed for Liverpool for a fee of 36.9 Million pounds. This price was arguably a bargain, leaving many Roma supporters questioning the sale of such a great, young talent.



Salah is now loved at Liverpool and has been labelled the “Egyptian King”

He is on course to reach 35+ goals in the league this season and therefore has to be in contention for PFA player of the year. As well as this, might he be able to lead his beloved Egypt to World Cup Glory this summer?

From fights with supporters to being sold lies, what has happened at West Ham?

When West Ham United moved from the Boleyn Ground to the Olympic (London) Stadium at the beginning of last season, their fans were promised that they would compete with the biggest clubs. This has not happened, in fact it has turned into the opposite, and in the words of the West Ham fans, they have been sold “lies”.

For weeks now there has been a build-up of tension and anger amongst the supporters at the London Stadium, however last weekend during their 3-0 home loss to Burnley, the fans really made their feelings known. Four West Ham fans invaded the pitch when the first of the three Burnley goals were scored. Mark Noble, who has been at the club for 14 years, and is considered by many as “Mr West Ham”, was seen pushing a supporter to the ground who had ran onto the pitch. Another supporter took a corner flag and ran onto the pitch with it.

Towards the end of the match, the tension was so bad in the Home end that some fans were fearing for their children and therefore the Burnley players offered to let some of the younger fans sit on their substitutes bench (as shown in the picture below)

At one point in the match, fans even began throwing coins at the West Ham Co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan. Things got so bad that security at the stadium even advised them to leave their seats.

Why has the atmosphere got so toxic at West Ham?

The tension between the fans and the board began when they moved away from the Boleyn Ground, their home since 1904, to the Olympic Stadium. Many fans felt that they were losing a big part of their club and the move to a stadium that was double in capacity, would destroy the atmosphere. When they left the Boleyn, West Ham fans were promised Champions League football – a promise which has not been kept and could not be further away from the current state of affairs at the club.

Also, fans are discontent at the lack of sufficient spending at the club despite the sale of their superstar, Dimitri Payet, to Marseille for 25 million pounds. If you rate Payet at this summer’s World Cup, you can follow here for France outright winner odds.

These money from Payet were then spent on their record signing Marko Arnautovic from Stoke City, a player who came with huge expectation but has failed to the hit the heights in East London. Many other players including Zabaleta and Joe Hart have come in to West Ham however fans are discontent as they see a net transfer spend of around 30 Million pounds as unsatisfactory.

The supporters of West Ham are also angry that their famous crest has been rebranded. The “Boleyn castle” has been abandoned and the word “London” has been added under the crossed hammers. Some supporters have seen this change of crest as destroying the famous history of the club as well as feeling that the heritage of the East End club has been abandoned.

As well as all this, their manager Slaven Bilic was sacked in November 2017. Bilic was replaced with David Moyes. However, he has been unable to turn their fortunes around as they sit in 16th place, 3 points above the relegation zone.

What happens now at West Ham?

Following the troubles during the game at the weekend, West ham have released a statement explaining that an emergency meeting has been called to ensure no such trouble occurs again. There will be a strong police presence at all West Ham home games from now until the end of the season.

Despite this, anger remains very high amongst the fans and many fans are calling for the idea of a protest to be revived after the idea was shut down last time by the club.

Fans are still calling for owners Gold and Sullivan to sell the club as worries both on and off the pitch are increasing.

If the problems are not sorted out soon, and West Ham United get relegated, they could face a long road to get back to where this club should be.

How does Petr Cech compare to the great goalkeepers of the Premier League era?

Arsenal Goalkeeper Petr Cech made history this weekend at the Emirates in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Watford. His clean sheet in this game was his 200th in the Premier League.

Here are the 10 Goal keepers who have kept the most clean sheets in the history of the Premier League:

10 – Peter Schmeichel (128 clean sheets)


The former Danish footballer was voted The world’s best Goalkeeper for two years running in 1992 and 1993. His most successful years were at Manchester United where he captained the side that won the Champions league in 1999 to complete the famous “treble”. As well as playing for Manchester United, he played in the Premier League for Aston Villa where he became the first goalkeeper to score in a Premier league game. He also signed for Utd’s rivals City in 2002 for one season before retiring.


9 – Brad Friedel (132 clean sheets)

The US born Friedel had a career in the Premier League lasting almost 20 years whilst making almost 500 appearances. He played for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham during his time In England. As well as a staggering 132 clean sheets, Friedel holds two very impressive records in the Premier League. First, in February 2011 he became Aston Villa’s and Tottenhams’ oldest ever player to play in the Premier League. He is also the current holder of the most consecutive appearances in the top flight of English football with 310.


8- Tim Howard (132 clean sheets)

Howard made almost 400 appearances in the Premier League between 2003 and 2016. He played for Manchester United and Everton. In January 2012, the American became only the 4th goalkeeper to score in a Professional match when Everton faced Bolton. As well as this, Howard is themost capped player of all time for the US men’ s national team with 121 caps since his debut in 2002, with whom he has played in 2 world Cups. During the 2014 tournament, Howard set a World Cup record for the most saves in a match when he recorded 15 against Belgium.


7 – Edwin van der Sar (132 clean sheets)

The former Dutch international enjoyed a very successful 10 year spell in the Premier League playing for Manchester United and Fulham. During his time at Old Trafford he starred in a side that won 4 Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008. In the 2008-09 season, Van der Sar set a World record by not conceding a goal for 1,311 minutes! Furthermore, the ex-Dutch international holds the record for the oldest player to win the Premier League, at 40 years and 205 days.

6- Pepe Reina (134 clean sheets)

The 35 Year-old Spanish Goalkeeper currently plays for Napoli in Serie A. He moved to Liverpool in 2005 where he made his debut in the UEFA Super Cup final which Liverpool ended up wining. He enjoyed over 9 years in the Premier League with Liverpool, with more than 200 appearances in his first 5 seasons, making him the record holder for appearances by Spanish players in the Prem. He kept his 100th clean sheet for Liverpool in the 2010-11 season in a 3-0 Win against Aston Villa


5 – Nigel Martyn (137 clean sheets)


Martyn enjoyed a senior career lasting almost 20 years in the English game. He played for Bristol Rovers, Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Everton before being forced to retire in 2006 due to an ankle injury. He won 23 caps for England, including the 2-2 Draw with Greece at Old Trafford which sent England to the 2002 World Cup finals.

4 – David Seaman (140 clean sheets)


Seaman is best known for his illustrious 13-year career at Arsenal where he won 3 League Titles, 4 Fa Cups, 1 League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup. He won 75 caps for England including appearances at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. He is also the country’s second most capped Goalkeeper after Peter Shilton and was awarded an MBE for services to football in 1997. As well as Arsenal, he also played for Manchester City in the Premier league for a brief spell in the 2003-2004 season.


3 – Mark Schwarzer (151 clean sheets)

The former Australian International enjoyed a career in England lasting almost 20 years where he played for Middleborough, Fulham, Chelsea and Leicester City. He holds the record for the most appearances of a non-Brit in Premier League History and also is the oldest player to play in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. He won 109 caps for Australia making him their most capped player when he Surpasses Alex Tobin’s record in January of 2011.


2 – David James (169 clean sheets)

James is fourth on the List of all time Premier League appearances having featured In 572 top flight match. He played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Man City and Portsmouth in the Premier League. He holds the record for the oldest goalkeeper to appear in an FA Cup Final at the age of 39. He was capped 53 times by England and in 2012 he was awarded an MBE for his services to football and to Charity.


1 – Petr Cech (200 clean sheets)

Cech enjoyed a successful 9 year stint at Chelsea where he won 4 League Titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 1 Europa League and 1 Champions League. He has also now added another FA cup medal during his time at Arsenal. He holds many other Premier League records such as the record for the fewest appearances to reach 100 clean sheets, doing so in just 180 games. He is also the most capped player for the Czech Republic National team with 124 appearances and has starred for them at 5 major tournaments.





Could there be a Premier League ALL-Star Match in the future?

This week, Romelu Lukaku has sent social Media into meltdown with a tweet regarding the idea of a Premier League all-star game with the north taking on the south. It has caused lots of discussion all over the internet and many people have had their opinions on it.

This is not the first time that this idea has been brought into football. In 1997, there was a Europe vs the Rest of the World game in the run up to the France ’98 World Cup Draw. The teams both were full of the very best the footballing game has ever seen. For Europe, they boasted the likes of Alessandro Costacurta, Fernando Hierro, Paul Ince, Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Kluivert and Alen Boksic. But with Gabriel Batistuta and Ronaldo up-front, there was only going to one winner – the Rest of the World ran out 5-2 winners that day.


This Europe vs Rest of World all star game is the only recognised game of this type that the footballing world has seen, however this type of game takes place in many other sports:

NBA All-star game


The NBA has been hosting all-star basketball games since 1951 with the teams being made up of the best players from the NBA’s 2 conferences – the East and the West.

However, this year for the first time they have changed the format with 2 captains being selected who took it in turns to select their teams. The two captains are LeBron James and Steph Curry.

NFL Pro Bowl

This is the NFL’s version of an all-star game is called and it normally takes place the weekend before the Super Bowl somewhere nice and sunny – this year it was in Orlando, Florida, where it rained the whole day!

It’s a part-exhibition match, part game show but getting selected to go is a pretty big deal.

Most of the time the teams are picked based on the NFL’s two conferences – the NFC and AFC.

Players, managers and coaches all get to vote on who goes – which means you have to be rated by everyone in order to be selected. You’ll often hear players referred to as a three, four or five-time Pro Bowler – which means they have been selected multiple times and are amongst the highest regarded in the sport.



Rather than a one-off game, the Indian Premier League have created a whole cricket tournament out of the “all-star” idea.

The Twenty20 cricket competition offers teams the chance to buy the world’s best players, with the players being auctioned off to the highest bidder before the start of the season.

Another interesting fact about the IPL, is that there a system where the players have the power to set their base price to make sure they’re not sold too cheaply.


We’ve now seen how other sports do it, now would this work in the PL?

Build your own lineups here !

How CONIFA have allowed some footballing dreams to become a reality

Pers- Anders Blind, ex professional referee, is now the President of a global football association. And no, it is not FIFA. He is the President of an up and coming organisation called CONIFA – the Confederation of Independent Football Associations. An organisation which is helping football’s most marginalised realise dreams they never thought could be achieved.


Pers-Anders Blind, CONIFA President


CONIFA was formed in 2013 by Blind from the remaining members of the N.F Board (New Football Federations –Board) that previously governed non-FIFA international football. It was founded in order to provide a platform for those who went unseen. A stage where talents could be shown to the world. Since 2013, CONIFA has grown rapidly and now has 47 members from all over the world, each unique in their own way.  Some of the members include: Northern Cyprus, Sapmi, Raetia, Tibet, Rohingya people, Barawa, Western Sahara and Quebec.




“We are more open, and give ethnicities and indigenous people from around the globe the opportunity to present themselves to the world for the first time” says Blind. He also has said that some of the groups associated with CONIFA have been “abused” or “bullied” by their government and therefore CONIFA allows them to regain their identity and restore a sense of pride through the beautiful game.


As well as being the President, Pers- Anders Blind has another connection to CONIFA. His own Sami people compete within CONIFA under the banner of FA Sapmi. The Sami people have suffered a lot of persecution and endured an ongoing battle with the Swedish Government over herding, hunting and fishing rights. Blind believes that being a part of CONIFA will be able to educate and unite his people. He also said “ People on the outside looking at CONIFA often have preconceptions about certain groups or ethnicities – but now we can show them the real thing, that these groups are not scary.


When talking about the direction of CONIFA and where the organization is going Blind said: “We will continue to grow, but are not chasing members as we were before. We need to take care of the ones that we currently have. We don’t have a headquarters, but we are trying to build up representative offices around the world. It’s important to have a presence on each continent. Even if you are global you need to act local”


The CONIFA 2018 World Football Cup

After the inaugural tournament took place is in Sweden in 2014, organisers are confident that his years CONIFA World Football Cup will their biggest and best tournament yet.



Barawa, who are a region of Somalia are the hosts for this years tournament. However, due to the fact that the Barawa football association is based in London, that is where the entire competition will take place. It will run from the 31st May 2018 to the 9th June 2018. Sixteen teams will compete in the tournament.


There will be many stadiums around London that will be hosting matches at this year’s tournament, however thus far only 3 venues have been announces:

  • Hayes Lane – This ground is used by Bromley Football Club, Cray Wanderers and Crystal Palace Ladies. It has a capacity of around 5,000 people and will host a number of games throughout the tournament.


  • Gander Green Lane– This is the home of Sutton United and has a capacity of 5,013 people. The Stadium has a FIFA 2-tar quality pitch, which is the highest rating that a 3G artificial pitch can achieve.

  • Queen Elizabeth II Stadium – this is the smallest out of the three stadiums with a capacity of 2,500 people and it is based in Enfield, North West London.


Who are the 16 sides that have qualified?


What are the groups for the tournament?

Group 1: Barawa, Ellan Vannin, Tamil Eelam, Cascadia
Group 2: Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Felvidek, Tibet
Group 3: Padania, Székely Land, Kiribati, Matabeleland
Group 4: Panjab, United Koreans in Japan, Western Armenia, Kabylia



The Top 10 transfer fees ever paid for players


Virgil Van Dijk – €84.5m

Van Dijk’s long-awaited move away from the South Coast to Merseyside finally happened on the 1st January. He is the only defender to be in the top 10 for transfers and therefore has a lot of expectation to live up to at Liverpool. He immediately payed back some of the hefty fee with a debut winner against Everton in the FA Cup third round. Liverpool will hope that the Dutchman will help mend a leaky define which has already conceded 28 goals in the Premier League this season.



Romelu Lukaku – €84.8m

Lukaku’s big money move from Goodison Park to Old Trafford took place in last summer’s transfer window and was one of the biggest stories of the summer. The Belgian got off to a great start in Manchester and led the scoring charts for the first few weeks of the season. United’s new number 9 has come under a lot of criticism for his lack of goals against the big teams, however Lukaku will hope that this changes in the second half of the season in the run up to the World Cup in Russia.



Neymar – €86.2m

Neymar’s move to the Nou Camp from Santos, in 2013, was the biggest ever transfer fee involving a South American club and was also a deal that had a lot of controversy. Neymar went on to score 105 goals in 186 appearances for the Catalan Giants and had an extremely successful career in Spain.




Gonzalo Higuain – €90m

The Argentine moved away from Napoli in the summer of 2016, when Juventus shocked the footballing world by paying his questionably high buyout clause. Many people felt as though Higuain would not be able to live up to this price and he would be another waste of money. However, the 30-year-old has become very popular in Turin after scoring an impressive 44 goals in 83 games.



Cristiano Ronaldo – €94m

When Ronaldo moved from United to Real Madrid back in 2009, he became the world’s most expensive player. Since moving to Madrid, Ronaldo has paid back every penny of the hefty transfer fee. In his 9 years at the Bernabeu, he has won 4 Ballon d’Or, 3 Champions league, 2 La Liga titles and many others. Ronaldo now has a buy out clause of 1 Billion Euros and it makes you wonder whether any team will pay it for this Portugese Superstar.



Gareth Bale – €100.8m

The Welshman moved to Madrid from Spurs in 2013 and in doing so became the first ever footballer to be worth nine figures. As well as this, Bale is still the most expensive British player. Although Bale has had a lot of success in Madrid, a lot of this has been overshadowed by his injury problems, which even prevented Bale from starting the Champions League final in his home town of Cardiff. The 27-year old came off the bench and helped his side win back to back Champions League’s.



Paul Pogba – €105m

Pogba left United in 2012 on a free transfer and joined Juventus where he endured 4 very successful years. Therefore, it was no doubt that United had to pay a record fee to bring the Frenchman back to Old Trafford. At first, Pogba received a lot of criticism for his poor performances on his return to Manchester, but over time he has begun to show why United were happy to pay whatever it took to bring him back to Manchester.



Ousmane Dembele – €105m

The young Frenchman became Barcelona’s biggest ever signing in last summer’s transfer window in a deal that could still rise by another 40m in add ons. Unfortunately for him, Dembele got a nasty knee injury in only his second game and has only just returned. He will hope that he can get back to the form that secured him a move to the Nou Camp.


Philippe Coutinho – €120m

The saga between Liverpool and Barcelona over the services of Coutinho felt like it had been going on for ages, and just as Coutinho was starting to hit form, Barcelona finally paid the money required for the Brazilian. The Fee for Coutinho could once again rise by a further 40m  in add ons which will make it a record fee for an English club. Coutinho will hope that he can be as successful as fellow countryman Neymar was in Catalan.



Neymar – €222m

Neymar is the only player to appear twice on this list and his record-breaking move to PSG from Barcelona crushed all previous transfer fees. Tt was almost double the previous record and was a fee which many thought was beyond ridiculous. However, with 17 goals in his first 20 appearances in Paris, Neymar is making sure he does all that he can to live up to the price of being the most valuable player in the history of football.