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git2thachoppa

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About git2thachoppa

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    MU, B&HA, Iran, England

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    Man Utd - FM 2007 (see my story thread)

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  1. Can you figure out this mystery player? Steve Caldwell said: "...Walter Smith was brilliant at that. When he first took over [Scotland], he took us away to Manchester for three or four days together and spoke for two hours. It was one of the best team talks I'd ever heard. He spoke about everything from turning up, from training, to dealing with the media, to how we should behave, how we should play, when he'd pick the team. He said that if anyone didn't buy into it, or think they could do it, they should chap on his door and let him know. Only one player said he couldn't commit." So who was the player that was presumably frozen out of the Scottish national team after 2004? Just curious.
  2. Mark Lawrenson, Adrian Chiles, Ian Wright and Robbie Savage are personalities in a dull lifeless void. They're always the ones others find annoying but I'd rather them than Shearer and co. (or worse: the Townsend and Earle era).
  3. The annual chokejob is fully underway for the 5th season in a row for Brighton. A point now is as good as 3 points pre-April. Have to hope Cardiff, like previous years with our rivals, are bigger chokers, but they don't look it. Brighton were my favourites to go down between the 2 teams after Cardiff's Chelsea match, and it's got far worse since. Cardiff have the slightly easier run-in too. Also Jermaine Jenas is laughable saying Solskjaer shouldn't have been made manager now and it was an emotional decision... not least because before PSG he said he didn't even need to beat PSG as he'd already proven he should get the job. Him and his BBC colleagues' contemptuous sigh/scoff when answering a question is like a tick too. An annoying one.
  4. I was playing FIFA 17's story mode and that game has the most realistic AI ever... The final game is the cup final against your ex-friend and hated rivals. The stage is set for you to become a hero and score the winning goal in a big happy ending. Except I was a Man Utd player, which meant Zlatan was on my team. So of course Zlatan scores a hat trick and steals my thunder.
  5. Brazil 2026 World Cup The Official World Cup Theme This was the best World Cup for ITV and BBC intros! Favourites World champions Scotland and hosts Brazil have been given the easiest draws possible, with **** easy groups meaning they may well meet in the final. The erratic Germany, who won Euro 2024, are just as likely to be a contender as they are to get knocked out at the group stage. 2022 hosts and runner-up Italy have reached at least the quarter-final stage in the past 5 World Cups. Group A (In order of likely finish) Scotland - Defending World Cup holders Chile - First World Cup in 12 years Russia - First tournament in 14 years Angola - 2nd ever World Cup (2006) Russia 0 - 0 Angola Both teams were happy with a 0-0. Off to a bad start. Scotland 4 - 0 Chile Chile were a mess, making so many horrendous mistakes and gifting goals, as well as getting a man sent off as Scotland made it 2-0. Scotland 0 - 0 Russia Russia clung on for another point, but they'll need to beat Chile or they're out. Chile 1 - 0 Angola Chile dominated and had a goal disallowed. Angola now have to beat the world champions. Angola 0 - 2 Scotland Scotland are through, Angola are out. Russia 2 - 1 Chile Chile had a goal correctly disallowed before taking the lead, but Russia got the win they needed thanks to an 87th-minute penalty! Table Scotland - 7 Russia - 5 --------------- Chile - 3 Angola - 1 Russia make it out of the group stage for the first time since 1986! ==================================================== Group B Brazil - Hosts Finland - Euro 2024 runner-up United Arab Emirates - 2nd ever World Cup (1990) Turks & Caicos Islands - World Cup debut, population: 40,000 (1/10th of Iceland) UAE 2 - 0 T&CI The Islands' striker was lucky to only get a yellow for an elbow, but it didn't matter. Finland 0 - 1 Brazil Brazil also had a goal disallowed as Finland's infamous match-killing tactics didn't work. T&CI 1 - 1 Finland Finland took only 32 seconds to score, but T&CI got their first ever World Cup goal to equalise. Both teams now need to win their final game. Brazil 2 - 1 UAE Despite going down to 10 men, UAE equalised, but the hosts got an 86th minute winner and are the first team to reach the next round. T&CI 0 - 2 Brazil The Islands had several clear cut chances immediately, and 14 shots by the end of the game, but they don't have a top class finisher. They were a man down and losing 2-0 by the 47th minute. UAE 1 - 2 Finland Finland nearly threw it away with a mistake in the 87th minute making it 1-1, but they scored the required winner under 2 minutes later! Table Brazil - 9 Finland - 4 ------------------------------- United Arab Emirates - 3 Turks & Caicos Islands - 1 T&CI got an historic point, UAE nearly made history themselves. ==================================================== Group C Poland Switzerland - First World Cup in 20 years South Korea Zambia - World Cup debut Switzerland 5 - 0 Zambia 3-0 up in 16 minutes, 5-0 up by half-time. A nightmare for the goalkeeper as 5 of 6 Swiss shots on target went straight in. Poland 2 - 0 S. Korea 2 goals in the first 9 minutes made it easy. Zambia 0 - 0 Poland The Poles are kicking themselves after not putting away several clear-cut chances. S. Korea 2 - 2 Switzerland South Korea dominated, but 2 mistakes saw them behind with 10 minutes to go... Relief at the end, but they should've won. S. Korea 1 - 0 Zambia South Korea needed a big win, but a trademark late winner from Busan striker Jeon Jin-Man was the only goal. Now they had to hope Switzerland thrashed Poland. Poland 3 - 0 Switzerland The Poles played both lovely passing football and deadly route one to demolish the Swiss, so both teams still go through. Table Poland - 7 Switzerland - 4 (+2 GD) ---------------------------- South Korea - 4 (-1 GD) Zambia - 1 Poland's weak group means they reach the knockouts for the first time since 1986! ==================================================== Group D Wales - First World Cup in 12 years Czech Republic Mali USA Wales 0 - 0 Czech Rep. The Czechs had a goal disallowed. Mali 2 - 0 USA A routine win after getting a 2-0 lead in 16 minutes. USA 1 -1 Czech Rep. USA couldn't take advantage of having an extra man and only get a point. Mali 1 - 0 Wales A late winner sees Mali through and already confirmed top of the group! Wales 0 - 0 USA Wales had the better of the game, but USA missed 2 one-on-one chances in stoppage time. Wales now had to hope the Czechs lost their game. Czech Rep. 2 - 0 Mali A last-minute set-piece confirmed the Czech's qualification. Mali - 6 Czech Republic - 5 ----------------------- Wales - 2 (-1 GD) USA - 2 (-2 GD) Mali breeze through to reach the knockouts in only their second World Cup! ==================================================== Group E Germany - Euro 2024 winners Uruguay Netherlands - 2 draws v Germany in Euro 2024 playoffs Japan Netherlands 1 - 1 Germany Germany only took 4 minutes to lead, but a goalkeeping error meant another draw. Uruguay 0 - 0 Japan A good performance from Japan, despite 0 shots on target. Uruguay eventually played for the 0-0 too. Germany 1 - 0 Uruguay One set-piece was the difference with the keeper beaten to the ball. Japan 0 - 0 Netherlands Japan actually had a couple of chances. Despite still having no shots on target, it's another good draw! But now they need to beat Germany. Germany 2 - 1 Japan An incredible first half saw Germany take the lead in 14 seconds, then get a man sent off a minute later. However, Germany played an attacking 3-4-3. 13 minutes later, an attempted lob was pushed away, hit the post, and bounced off a Japanese defender for an own goal to make it 2-0. Japan got a goal back 9 minutes later, but Germany regrouped after half time and controlled the rest of the game. Netherlands 2 - 0 Uruguay They only needed a draw, but a penalty helped make this a routine win. Table Germany - 7 Netherlands - 5 ---------------------- Japan - 2 Uruguay - 1 ==================================================== Group F Italy - 2022 runner-up as hosts, Euro 2024 semi-finalists Peru Turkey - First World Cup in 12 years Uzbekistan - World Cup debut Uzbekistan 2 - 0 Peru Shock! The Asians get a debut win! Italy 0 - 0 Turkey Turkey 1 - 0 Uzbekistan A penalty is the only thing that separated the two. Peru 0 - 0 Italy A drab 0-0 keeps both teams in contention but needing to win their final game to be sure. Peru 1 - 1 Turkey Peru fought back from 1-0 down, but it wasn't enough. Uzbekistan 1 - 1 Italy Uzbeks stormed the field at the final whistle, while the Italians collapsed! The 10 Uzbeks held on despite losing their lead after losing a player due to injury and having no more subs. What a debut tournament it's turning out to be! Table Turkey - 5 Uzbekistan - 4 -------------------- Italy - 3 Peru - 2 This group's the wrong way round! ==================================================== Group G England Nigeria Saudi Arabia Bosnia & Herzegovina - Tournament debut B&H 1 - 1 Saudi Arabia England 2 - 0 Nigeria A goal at 2 minutes and stoppage time from the two strikers settles things. Nigeria 1 - 2 B&H A controversial 80th minute penalty overturned Nigeria's lead and knocked them out of the tournament before the other 2 teams even played. Saudi Arabia 0 - 1 England England are through. B&H 1 - 3 England B&H were incensed as they went 2-0 behind thanks to penalties at the start of the first and second halves, which were followed by a red card for a two-footed tackle. Saudi Arabia 0 - 0 Nigeria It didn't matter though. You wouldn't have thought this was a must-win match. There was a 40-minute gap between kick-off for the second half and the next key highlight. England - 9 Bosnia & Herzegovina - 4 ------------------------------- Saudi Arabia - 2 Nigeria - 1 ==================================================== Group H Mexico - Beat Argentina 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Morocco - Beat Mexico 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Argentina - Beat Morocco 2-0 at 2022 World Cup Spain - Haven't got out of group stage of World Cup in 20 years Morocco 2 - 0 Argentina A 2-0 lead in just 8 minutes gives Morocco a big win. Mexico 0 - 0 Spain Spain escape with a point. Argentina 2 - 1 Mexico Spain 1 - 1 Morocco The Africans took the lead in just 2 minutes, but Spain then had the better of the match. Morocco 2 - 1 Mexico Morocco should've won by more. They're through, Mexico are out. Argentina 0 - 1 Spain A draw would've been enough for Argentina. Spain only scored after the South Americans had a man sent off, and the goal itself was controversial as a player who was offside was battling (interfering with play) for the cross that a teammate scored from. Morocco - 7 Spain - 5 ---------------- Argentina - 3 Mexico - 1 Argentina, the back-to-back 2014 and 2018 winners, have been elimianted at the group stage for the 2nd time in a row now. ==================================================== Round of 16 Will we get Scotland v England in the semis? Finland 1 - 2 Scotland 3 disallowed goals (2 for Finland, including in stoppage time) made for a breathless game, but Scotland came back from 1-0 down to get revenge for their Euro 2024 semi-final loss. Mali 0 - 1 Switzerland A defensive error in stoppage time ends the dream. A team of 4 Diawaras and 4 Keitas is not enough to reach the quarters! Turkey 1 - 0 Netherlands It took Turkey 6 minutes to score, their midfielder beating Netherlands' Turkish-born keeper to the ball. Spain 0 - 0 England AET Spain win 5-4 on penalties after 4.5 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-3, 5-3) England were no real threat and couldn't figure out Spain's 4-1-3-1-1 formation. Spain really had the better chances. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Russia 2 - 2 Brazil AET (1-1 FT) Brazil win 6-7 on penalties after 10 rounds (0-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-3, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 6-7) One of the most incredible matches in World Cup history! Russia looked in trouble after they had a man sent off, but only 4 minutes later it was 10 v 10 after a professional foul by the last man! Russia took the lead from the resulting free-kick, which was cancelled out 3 minutes later! Brazil led in extra time, only for Russia to score a last-minute equaliser! Russia went first in the shootout, but missed, eventually going 3-1 down, but Brazil choked twice and it was 3-3 as the shootout went to sudden death! It ended with the goalkeepers having to decide it, with Russia's goalkeeper having his saved and Brazil's finishing the job! The hosts scrape through! There are not enough exclamation points to convey the drama and excitement of this historic fictional match that no one else cares about!!! Czech Republic 1 - 1 Poland AET (1-1 FT) Poland win 5-4 on penalties after 5 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 3-4, 4-5) A harsh late penalty gave Poland a lifeline, which turned into a penalty shootout victory. Uzbekistan 0 - 0 Germany AET Uzbekistan win 5-4 on penalties after 6 rounds (1-1, 1-2, 2-3, 3-3, 4-4, 5-4) Despite missing key players, Uzbekistan successfully killed off the game and stopped the giants ever really being a threat, and then beat the Germans on penalties of all things! Morocco 1 - 0 Bosnia & Herzegovina B&H were barely a threat as Morocco dominated. ==================================================== Quarter-Finals Will it be a final of Brazil v Scotland and hosts v defending champions? Scotland 0 - 0 Switzerland AET Scotland win 4-3 on penalties after 4.5 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 3-2, 4-3, 4-3) Scotland sleepwalked into a penalty shootout, but the world champions' complacency wasn't punished. Turkey 1 - 1 Spain AET (1-1 FT) 1-4 on pens after 3.5 rounds (0-1, 0-2, 1-3, 1-4) 10-man Turkey took the lead, but Spain made a late comeback. Turkey also lost a striker to injury and his replacement got a knock but had to stay on. Spain stumble through again. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Brazil 1 - 0 Poland There were no shots on target for OVER AN HOUR, until Brazil scored with the first. Uzbekistan 2 - 0 Morocco Their star Arsenal striker scored with a volley outside the area, and a few minutes later doubled the lead from close range. Uzbekistan in the semis! ==================================================== Semi-Finals Brazil 2 - 1 Uzbekistan Uzbekistan played so well, cutting open Brazil with sexy passing to make it 2-1. Man Utd striker Santos nearly completed a hat-trick after a Maradona-calibre run. Scotland 0 - 0 Spain AET Scotland win 3-1 on penalties after 3.5 rounds (1-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-1) Spain held on to make it to penalties yet again, but the world champions won't be stopped. ==================================================== 3rd-Place Playoff Uzbekistan 0 - 0 Spain AET Spain win 1-0 on penalties after 4.5 rounds (0-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1) You read that right. The villains of the tournament scraped through one more time, ****ing 1-0 on penalties with 7 in a row missed. The Uzbeks played lovely passing and counter-attacking football again, and they've won everyone's hearts. They feel like the real winners. ==================================================== Brazil 2026 World Cup Final @ Maracana in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil/Fluminense/Flamengo/Botafogo) Brazil v Scotland History Hosts Brazil have won the World Cup the most times with 6, but last won it way back in 2010 in South Africa. They finished 3rd in 2018 without conceding a goal. Scotland are the defending world cup winners after their shock win in 2022, notably beating the hosts in the final... Form Brazil got 9 points in the group stage, beating Euro 2024 runner-up Finland. The dramatic epic against Russia saw them beat the plucky underdogs on penalties, just, before dealing with Poland and underdogs Uzbekistan with relative ease. Scotland have only conceded 1 goal. They opened their campaign by thrashing Chile 4-0 before drawing with Russia. They got revenge for their Euro 2024 semi loss against Finland, but couldn't break through Switzerland or Spain and needed penalties after 0-0 draws. Brazil and Scotland have only met 9 times in their history, last in 1998, and Scotland have never beaten Brazil. Managers Reginaldo Alexandre's only previous job was in Brazil's Série C for a couple of years. He has been in charge of Brazil for 5 years. His side were unimpressive as they were knocked out in the round of 16 in the 2022 World Cup, but they then won the 2023 Copa América without conceding a goal, their first trophy in 13 years. The hosts didn't make it out their Confederations Cup group though, only drawing with Poland before being thrashed 3-0 by eventual winners South Africa. 36-year-old Derek Sinclair was faced with the daunting task of his first ever job being in charge of the shock world champions. They kept a clean sheet in 7 of 8 Euro 2024 qualifying games before reaching the semis. World Cup qualifying was tougher and they needed the playoffs to qualify. However, in 2025, his side kept 11 clean sheets and reached the Confederations Cup final (losing on penalties). Team News Brazil are missing 3 players, most importantly their attacking midfielder who got a yellow in the semi that ruled him out of his own country's final. Scotland have a full squad. Brazil's young Santos and Scotland's veteran Ronnie Allan are joint-top of the scoring charts (with 2 other players) with 4 goals each. It could go down to assists or who gets subbed off first. If neither score, Scotsman Davidson will win it with a goal and an assist, while Brazilian Alexandre would need 2 or 3 goals. Both teams play a standard 4-4-2. Brazil: José (Sevilla); Jeferson (Racing), Souza (Atlético Madrid), Almeida (Valencia), Moreira (Chelsea); Silva (Valencia), Batista (Sporting CP), Clóvis (Valencia), Goncalves (Palermo); Alexandre (Lazio), Santos (Man Utd) - 5 La Liga, 2 Premier League, 2 Serie A, 1 Portuguese Primeira Liga, 1 Superliga Argentina Scotland: Campbell (Recreativo); MacKenzie (Arsenal), Hunter (Sheff Utd), McGregor (Chelsea), Moffat (Motherwell); Brown (Lazio), Wight (Napoli), Harvey (AC Milan), Hegarty (Coventry); Davidson (Sheff Wed), Allan (Real Betis) - 5 Premier League, 3 Serie A, 2 La Liga, 1 SPL --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- First Half 2: Santos is on one of his 1986-Maradona runs and gets fouled by the last man Hunter. Everyone groans as he's unsurprisingly sent off. Scotland have to beat the hosts with 10 men. They change to a 3-4-2. 12: Batista (CM) gets a knock a few minutes later and is surprisingly subbed off for a striker. Striker Santos is moved out of position into central midfield... interesting... 29: Souza trips Davidson in the area. Penalty! And Brown gives 10-man Scotland the lead! Despite Scotland being down to 10 men and having a lead to protect, they're still attacking and are a threat! Half Time Santos and the sub striker swap places, with their top scorer now back up front. They'd been ineffective since that odd decision to move him into midfield. Scotland's Mackenzie (RB) is substituted for a centre-back, seeing as they're playing a back 3 now. Second Half 53: Davidson (ST) intercepts a cross-field ball from the RB, dribbles past the defence, and his shot goes in off the far post! The 10 men have doubled the lead! This is why they're champions! Now with a healthy lead to protect and time ticking away, Scotland change to a 5-2-1-1. Striker Allan is subbed off for an attacking midfielder, right-winger Brown comes off for right wing-back Pressley. 62: Harvey collects a pass, dribbles past the defence and scores! What's happening? Brazil are collapsing! Who would've thought Brazil would put on such a poor display in the business end of a World Cup they're hosting???(!) 73: Alexandre gets on the end of a free-kick to score and keep the game alive. Another interesting move as Brazil's manager takes off both Santos and the substitute striker and replaces them with a striker and a left-back. Brazil now have 2 left-backs on the pitch. 77: Brazil's substitute left-back crosses in and it falls to Alexandre, but his shot goes straight to the keeper. A bad miss. 80: Brazil make a slight change, pushing their wingers way up for a 4-2-4. 90: The change does nothing, so Brazil go back to 4-4-2. No plan B, then? Full Time 10-man Scotland decimated Brazil, in Brazil, to become back-to-back world champions. They had 3 shots, all on target, all went in. Brazil, not so much. This country is delivering one of the most dominant international performances of all time. Final score Brazil 1 - 3 Scotland Scotland Red Card: Hunter (2) 0-3: Brown (pen 29), Davidson (53), Harvey (62) 1-3: Alexandre (73) =========================================================== 2026 World Champions Scotland =========================================================== Scotland now have more World Cups than England! They also become the first team to beat the hosts in back-to-back World Cup finals! They're the 4th team to successfully defend a World Cup, and the 2nd country in a row to do so (Argentina won in 2014 and 2018). Awards Golden Boot: Derek Davidson (ST, Scotland) - 4 goals (2 assists) Golden Ball: Zengin Yuce (GK, Turkey) - 7.80 average rating in 5 games Golden Glove: Zengin Yuce (GK, Turkey) Best Young Player: Mike Stewart (DC, USA) - 19 years old, 7.33 average rating in 3 games Most Man of the Match: Pablo de la Pena (DC/DM/MC, Spain) - 3 MOTM awards Most Entertaining Team: Uzbekistan Team of the Tournament Yuce (Turkey) Graf (Switzerland) - Issah (Nigeria) - Caso (Peru) - James (England) - Cummins (England) Wight (Scotland) - Pablo de la Pena (Spain) Davidson (Scotland) - Santos (Brazil) - Allan (Scotland) Records Broken Highest Average Attendance - 75,045 World Cup Bests Spain - 3rd (Previous best: QF - 86, 94, 02) Uzbekistan - 4th (Debut) Morocco - QF (Round of 16 - 86, 22) Mali - Round of 16 (Debut) Bosnia & Herzegovina - Round of 16 (Debut) Turks & Caicos Islands - Group Stage (Debut) Zambia - Group Stage (Debut) Managerial News Chris Coleman's unpopular reign as Wales manager ended after 6 years. He failed to take them to Euro 2024 after 4 Euros in a row, but did make it to the 2026 World Cup, albeit they didn't score in this tournament. Frank Rijkaard's tumultuous 7 years in charge of Netherlands ended with his retirement. He took charge of the Euro 2016 winners and they couldn't even score a goal in the next World Cup. They didn't even qualify for the 2022 World Cup nor Euro 2024, but somehow he survived. Former international Maarten Stekelenburg is promoted from the Under-19s to take Rijkaard's place. After 9 years in charge of Switzerland, Urs Fischer stepped down. Before achieving their equal-best performance in a World Cup, and their first World Cup in 20 years, he had taken them to the Euro 2020 final. Ubaldino Romitelli resigned as a Finland legend, having taking the team to the Euro 2024 final, beating now-back-to-back world champs Scotland on the way and only being knocked out by them this time around. Former international Petri Pasanen replaces him. Argentina's manager was sacked after he failed to get the 2014 and 2018 world champions out of the group stage of this tournament and the 2023 Copa América. Morocco's manager resigned after 13 years that saw the Africans reach an AFCoN final, and the World Cup for the first time since France 98. Not only that, but matching their best ever performance in 2022 then beating it this year. Russia's manager moved on after taking them to a World Cup and going unbeaten, including a draw with the world champions and an epic draw with hosts Brazil. Rajko Vidovic resigned after 7 years in charge of Bosnia & Herzegovina. He finally gave the country their first tournament, and they got out the group too! Chile's manager left by mutual consent. Despite reaching the 2023 Copa América semis and topping qualifying, they were mauled by Scotland, only beat Angola 1-0, then got knocked out by a late Russia goal. Angola's manager resigned after a great year saw them reach the AFCoN semis and only their 2nd ever World Cup. Sashi Chalwe resigned as Zambia manager after taking them to their first World Cup and a draw with Poland. Juan Carlos Chávez was sacked by Mexico after only 1 point. Man Utd Player Watch Santos was Brazil's breakout star. His runs were frightening and majestic, and he nearly got the Golden Boot with 4 goals. Scotland's Pressley and 2022 Golden Ball winner Preston were squad players, the former getting a few sub appearances and the latter not being used at all in likely his last World Cup. Castillo was one of Mexico's more reliable performers in defence. He scored in 4 games in a row at the AFCoN, but problematic record signing Kanu lasted 10 minutes for Nigeria before getting injured yet again. The only way his Man Utd career can be saved will be by putting him on light training, He risks becoming a famous flop. Striker Boussoufa started all 5 of Morocco's game without standing out. He didn't score. Winger Topic was played out of position as a CM in a 5-3-2 for Bosnia & Herzegovina, and was subbed off at half-time in all 4 matches. He only made 1 key pass. Viveros is an incoming left wing-back/winger who I managed as Chile manager a decade ago. He was subbed off in all 3 games, but he did fine and got a goal. Aleksandrowicz is an incoming young defender and midfielder. He was a sub for Poland and came on in all 5 games, doing his job. Kirn is a young German centre-back coming in the summer who made his international debut off the bench before the World Cup, but didn't get a game here.
  6. Brazil 2026 World Cup The best World Cup for BBC and ITV intros! Favourites World champions Scotland and hosts Brazil have been given the easiest draws possible, with **** easy groups meaning they may well meet in the final. The erratic Germany, who won Euro 2024, are just as likely to be a contender as they are to get knocked out at the group stage. 2022 hosts and runner-up Italy have reached at least the quarter-final stage in the past 5 World Cups. Group A (In order of likely finish) Scotland - Defending World Cup holders Chile - First World Cup in 12 years Russia - First tournament in 14 years Angola - 2nd ever World Cup (2006) Russia 0 - 0 Angola Both teams were happy with a 0-0. Off to a bad start. Scotland 4 - 0 Chile Chile were a mess, making so many horrendous mistakes and gifting goals, as well as getting a man sent off as Scotland made it 2-0. Scotland 0 - 0 Russia Russia clung on for another point, but they'll need to beat Chile or they're out. Chile 1 - 0 Angola Chile dominated and had a goal disallowed. Angola now have to beat the world champions. Angola 0 - 2 Scotland Scotland are through, Angola are out. Russia 2 - 1 Chile Chile had a goal correctly disallowed before taking the lead, but Russia got the win they needed thanks to an 87th-minute penalty! Table Scotland - 7 Russia - 5 --------------- Chile - 3 Angola - 1 Russia make it out of the group stage for the first time since 1986! ==================================================== Group B Brazil - Hosts Finland - Euro 2024 runner-up United Arab Emirates - 2nd ever World Cup (1990) Turks & Caicos Islands - World Cup debut, population: 40,000 (1/10th of Iceland) UAE 2 - 0 T&CI The Islands' striker was lucky to only get a yellow for an elbow, but it didn't matter. Finland 0 - 1 Brazil Brazil also had a goal disallowed as Finland's infamous match-killing tactics didn't work. T&CI 1 - 1 Finland Finland took only 32 seconds to score, but T&CI got their first ever World Cup goal to equalise. Both teams now need to win their final game. Brazil 2 - 1 UAE Despite going down to 10 men, UAE equalised, but the hosts got an 86th minute winner and are the first team to reach the next round. T&CI 0 - 2 Brazil The Islands had several clear cut chances immediately, and 14 shots by the end of the game, but they don't have a top class finisher. They were a man down and losing 2-0 by the 47th minute. UAE 1 - 2 Finland Finland nearly threw it away with a mistake in the 87th minute making it 1-1, but they scored the required winner under 2 minutes later! Table Brazil - 9 Finland - 4 ------------------------------- United Arab Emirates - 3 Turks & Caicos Islands - 1 T&CI got an historic point, UAE nearly made history themselves. ==================================================== Group C Poland Switzerland - First World Cup in 20 years South Korea Zambia - World Cup debut Switzerland 5 - 0 Zambia 3-0 up in 16 minutes, 5-0 up by half-time. A nightmare for the goalkeeper as 5 of 6 Swiss shots on target went straight in. Poland 2 - 0 S. Korea 2 goals in the first 9 minutes made it easy. Zambia 0 - 0 Poland The Poles are kicking themselves after not putting away several clear-cut chances. S. Korea 2 - 2 Switzerland South Korea dominated, but 2 mistakes saw them behind with 10 minutes to go... Relief at the end, but they should've won. S. Korea 1 - 0 Zambia South Korea needed a big win, but a trademark late winner from Busan striker Jeon Jin-Man was the only goal. Now they had to hope Switzerland thrashed Poland. Poland 3 - 0 Switzerland The Poles played both lovely passing football and deadly route one to demolish the Swiss, so both teams still go through. Table Poland - 7 Switzerland - 4 (+2 GD) ---------------------------- South Korea - 4 (-1 GD) Zambia - 1 Poland's weak group means they reach the knockouts for the first time since 1986! ==================================================== Group D Wales - First World Cup in 12 years Czech Republic Mali USA Wales 0 - 0 Czech Rep. The Czechs had a goal disallowed. Mali 2 - 0 USA A routine win after getting a 2-0 lead in 16 minutes. USA 1 -1 Czech Rep. USA couldn't take advantage of having an extra man and only get a point. Mali 1 - 0 Wales A late winner sees Mali through and already confirmed top of the group! Wales 0 - 0 USA Wales had the better of the game, but USA missed 2 one-on-one chances in stoppage time. Wales now had to hope the Czechs lost their game. Czech Rep. 2 - 0 Mali A last-minute set-piece confirmed the Czech's qualification. Mali - 6 Czech Republic - 5 ----------------------- Wales - 2 (-1 GD) USA - 2 (-2 GD) Mali breeze through to reach the knockouts in only their second World Cup! ==================================================== Group E Germany - Euro 2024 winners Uruguay Netherlands - 2 draws v Germany in Euro 2024 playoffs Japan Netherlands 1 - 1 Germany Germany only took 4 minutes to lead, but a goalkeeping error meant another draw. Uruguay 0 - 0 Japan A good performance from Japan, despite 0 shots on target. Uruguay eventually played for the 0-0 too. Germany 1 - 0 Uruguay One set-piece was the difference with the keeper beaten to the ball. Japan 0 - 0 Netherlands Japan actually had a couple of chances. Despite still having no shots on target, it's another good draw! But now they need to beat Germany. Germany 2 - 1 Japan An incredible first half saw Germany take the lead in 14 seconds, then get a man sent off a minute later. However, Germany played an attacking 3-4-3. 13 minutes later, an attempted lob was pushed away, hit the post, and bounced off a Japanese defender for an own goal to make it 2-0. Japan got a goal back 9 minutes later, but Germany regrouped after half time and controlled the rest of the game. Netherlands 2 - 0 Uruguay They only needed a draw, but a penalty helped make this a routine win. Table Germany - 7 Netherlands - 5 ---------------------- Japan - 2 Uruguay - 1 ==================================================== Group F Italy - 2022 runner-up as hosts, Euro 2024 semi-finalists Peru Turkey - First World Cup in 12 years Uzbekistan - World Cup debut Uzbekistan 2 - 0 Peru Shock! The Asians get a debut win! Italy 0 - 0 Turkey Turkey 1 - 0 Uzbekistan A penalty is the only thing that separated the two. Peru 0 - 0 Italy A drab 0-0 keeps both teams in contention but needing to win their final game to be sure. Peru 1 - 1 Turkey Peru fought back from 1-0 down, but it wasn't enough. Uzbekistan 1 - 1 Italy Uzbeks stormed the field at the final whistle, while the Italians collapsed! The 10 Uzbeks held on despite losing their lead after losing a player due to injury and having no more subs. What a debut tournament it's turning out to be! Table Turkey - 5 Uzbekistan - 4 -------------------- Italy - 3 Peru - 2 This group's the wrong way round! ==================================================== Group G England Nigeria Saudi Arabia Bosnia & Herzegovina - Tournament debut B&H 1 - 1 Saudi Arabia England 2 - 0 Nigeria A goal at 2 minutes and stoppage time from the two strikers settles things. Nigeria 1 - 2 B&H A controversial 80th minute penalty overturned Nigeria's lead and knocked them out of the tournament before the other 2 teams even played. Saudi Arabia 0 - 1 England England are through. B&H 1 - 3 England B&H were incensed as they went 2-0 behind thanks to penalties at the start of the first and second halves, which were followed by a red card for a two-footed tackle. Saudi Arabia 0 - 0 Nigeria It didn't matter though. You wouldn't have thought this was a must-win match. There was a 40-minute gap between kick-off for the second half and the next key highlight. England - 9 Bosnia & Herzegovina - 4 ------------------------------- Saudi Arabia - 2 Nigeria - 1 ==================================================== Group H Mexico - Beat Argentina 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Morocco - Beat Mexico 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Argentina - Beat Morocco 2-0 at 2022 World Cup Spain - Haven't got out of group stage of World Cup in 20 years Morocco 2 - 0 Argentina A 2-0 lead in just 8 minutes gives Morocco a big win. Mexico 0 - 0 Spain Spain escape with a point. Argentina 2 - 1 Mexico Spain 1 - 1 Morocco The Africans took the lead in just 2 minutes, but Spain then had the better of the match. Morocco 2 - 1 Mexico Morocco should've won by more. They're through, Mexico are out. Argentina 0 - 1 Spain A draw would've been enough for Argentina. Spain only scored after the South Americans had a man sent off, and the goal itself was controversial as a player who was offside was battling (interfering with play) for the cross that a teammate scored from. Morocco - 7 Spain - 5 ---------------- Argentina - 3 Mexico - 1 Argentina, the back-to-back 2014 and 2018 winners, have been elimianted at the group stage for the 2nd time in a row now. ==================================================== Round of 16 Will we get Scotland v England in the semis? Finland 1 - 2 Scotland 3 disallowed goals (2 for Finland, including in stoppage time) made for a breathless game, but Scotland came back from 1-0 down to get revenge for their Euro 2024 semi-final loss. Mali 0 - 1 Switzerland A defensive error in stoppage time ends the dream. A team of 4 Diawaras and 4 Keitas is not enough to reach the quarters! Turkey 1 - 0 Netherlands It took Turkey 6 minutes to score, their midfielder beating Netherlands' Turkish-born keeper to the ball. Spain 0 - 0 England AET Spain win 5-4 on penalties after 4.5 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-3, 5-3) England were no real threat and couldn't figure out Spain's 4-1-3-1-1 formation. Spain really had the better chances. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Russia 2 - 2 Brazil AET (1-1 FT) Brazil win 6-7 on penalties after 10 rounds (0-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-3, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 6-7) One of the most incredible matches in World Cup history! Russia looked in trouble after they had a man sent off, but only 4 minutes later it was 10 v 10 after a professional foul by the last man! Russia took the lead from the resulting free-kick, which was cancelled out 3 minutes later! Brazil led in extra time, only for Russia to score a last-minute equaliser! Russia went first in the shootout, but missed, eventually going 3-1 down, but Brazil choked twice and it was 3-3 as the shootout went to sudden death! It ended with the goalkeepers having to decide it, with Russia's goalkeeper having his saved and Brazil's finishing the job! The hosts scrape through! There are not enough exclamation points to convey the drama and excitement of this historic fictional match that no one else cares about!!! Czech Republic 1 - 1 Poland AET (1-1 FT) Poland win 5-4 on penalties after 5 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 3-4, 4-5) A harsh late penalty gave Poland a lifeline, which turned into a penalty shootout victory. Uzbekistan 0 - 0 Germany AET Uzbekistan win 5-4 on penalties after 6 rounds (1-1, 1-2, 2-3, 3-3, 4-4, 5-4) Despite missing key players, Uzbekistan successfully killed off the game and stopped the giants ever really being a threat, and then beat the Germans on penalties of all things! Morocco 1 - 0 Bosnia & Herzegovina B&H were barely a threat as Morocco dominated. ==================================================== Quarter-Finals Will it be a final of Brazil v Scotland and hosts v defending champions? Scotland 0 - 0 Switzerland AET Scotland win 4-3 on penalties after 4.5 rounds (1-1, 2-2, 3-2, 4-3, 4-3) Scotland sleepwalked into a penalty shootout, but the world champions' complacency wasn't punished. Turkey 1 - 1 Spain AET (1-1 FT) 1-4 on pens after 3.5 rounds (0-1, 0-2, 1-3, 1-4) 10-man Turkey took the lead, but Spain made a late comeback. Turkey also lost a striker to injury and his replacement got a knock but had to stay on. Spain stumble through again. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Brazil 1 - 0 Poland There were no shots on target for OVER AN HOUR, until Brazil scored with the first. Uzbekistan 2 - 0 Morocco Their star Arsenal striker scored with a volley outside the area, and a few minutes later doubled the lead from close range. Uzbekistan in the semis! ==================================================== Semi-Finals Brazil 2 - 1 Uzbekistan Uzbekistan played so well, cutting open Brazil with sexy passing to make it 2-1. Man Utd striker Santos nearly completed a hat-trick after a Maradona-calibre run. Scotland 0 - 0 Spain AET Scotland win 3-1 on penalties after 3.5 rounds (1-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-1) Spain held on to make it to penalties yet again, but the world champions won't be stopped. ==================================================== 3rd-Place Playoff Uzbekistan 0 - 0 Spain AET Spain win 1-0 on penalties after 4.5 rounds (0-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1) You read that right. The villains of the tournament scraped through one more time, ****ing 1-0 on penalties with 7 in a row missed. The Uzbeks played lovely passing and counter-attacking football again, and they've won everyone's hearts. They feel like the real winners. ==================================================== Brazil 2026 World Cup Final @ Maracana in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil/Fluminense/Flamengo/Botafogo) v Brazil v Scotland History Hosts Brazil have won the World Cup the most times with 6, but last won it way back in 2010 in South Africa. They finished 3rd in 2018 without conceding a goal. Scotland are the defending world cup winners after their shock win in 2022, notably beating the hosts in the final... Form Brazil got 9 points in the group stage, beating Euro 2024 runner-up Finland. The dramatic epic against Russia saw them beat the plucky underdogs on penalties, just, before dealing with Poland and underdogs Uzbekistan with relative ease. Scotland have only conceded 1 goal. They opened their campaign by thrashing Chile 4-0 before drawing with Russia. They got revenge for their Euro 2024 semi loss against Finland, but couldn't break through Switzerland or Spain and needed penalties after 0-0 draws. Brazil and Scotland have only met 9 times in their history, last in 1998, and Scotland have never beaten Brazil. Managers Reginaldo Alexandre's only previous job was in Brazil's Série C for a couple of years. He has been in charge of Brazil for 5 years. His side were unimpressive as they were knocked out in the round of 16 in the 2022 World Cup, but they then won the 2023 Copa América without conceding a goal, their first trophy in 13 years. The hosts didn't make it out their Confederations Cup group though, only drawing with Poland before being thrashed 3-0 by eventual winners South Africa. 36-year-old Derek Sinclair was faced with the daunting task of his first ever job being in charge of the shock world champions. They kept a clean sheet in 7 of 8 Euro 2024 qualifying games before reaching the semis. World Cup qualifying was tougher and they needed the playoffs to qualify. However, in 2025, his side kept 11 clean sheets and reached the Confederations Cup final (losing on penalties). Team News Brazil are missing 3 players, most importantly their attacking midfielder who got a yellow in the semi that ruled him out of his own country's final. Scotland have a full squad. Brazil's young Santos and Scotland's veteran Ronnie Allan are joint-top of the scoring charts (with 2 other players) with 4 goals each. It could go down to assists or who gets subbed off first. If neither score, Scotsman Davidson will win it with a goal and an assist, while Brazilian Alexandre would need 2 or 3 goals. Both teams play a standard 4-4-2. Brazil: José (Sevilla); Jeferson (Racing), Souza (Atlético Madrid), Almeida (Valencia), Moreira (Chelsea); Silva (Valencia), Batista (Sporting CP), Clóvis (Valencia), Goncalves (Palermo); Alexandre (Lazio), Santos (Man Utd) - 5 La Liga, 2 Premier League, 2 Serie A, 1 Portuguese Primeira Liga, 1 Superliga Argentina Scotland: Campbell (Recreativo); MacKenzie (Arsenal), Hunter (Sheff Utd), McGregor (Chelsea), Moffat (Motherwell); Brown (Lazio), Wight (Napoli), Harvey (AC Milan), Hegarty (Coventry); Davidson (Sheff Wed), Allan (Real Betis) - 5 Premier League, 3 Serie A, 2 La Liga, 1 SPL --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- First Half 2: Santos is on one of his 1986-Maradona runs and gets fouled by the last man Hunter. Everyone groans as he's unsurprisingly sent off. Scotland have to beat the hosts with 10 men. They change to a 3-4-2. 12: Batista (CM) gets a knock a few minutes later and is surprisingly subbed off for a striker. Striker Santos is moved out of position into central midfield... interesting... 29: Souza trips Davidson in the area. Penalty! And Brown gives 10-man Scotland the lead! Despite Scotland being down to 10 men and having a lead to protect, they're still attacking and are a threat! Half Time Santos and the sub striker swap places, with their top scorer now back up front. They'd been ineffective since that odd decision to move him into midfield. Scotland's Mackenzie (RB) is substituted for a centre-back, seeing as they're playing a back 3 now. Second Half 53: Davidson (ST) intercepts a cross-field ball from the RB, dribbles past the defence, and his shot goes in off the far post! The 10 men have doubled the lead! This is why they're champions! Now with a healthy lead to protect and time ticking away, Scotland change to a 5-2-1-1. Striker Allan is subbed off for an attacking midfielder, right-winger Brown comes off for right wing-back Pressley. 62: Harvey collects a pass, dribbles past the defence and scores! What's happening? Brazil are collapsing! Who would've thought Brazil would put on such a poor display in the business end of a World Cup they're hosting???(!) 73: Alexandre gets on the end of a free-kick to score and keep the game alive. Another interesting move as Brazil's manager takes off both Santos and the substitute striker and replaces them with a striker and a left-back. Brazil now have 2 left-backs on the pitch. 77: Brazil's substitute left-back crosses in and it falls to Alexandre, but his shot goes straight to the keeper. A bad miss. 80: Brazil make a slight change, pushing their wingers way up for a 4-2-4. 90: The change does nothing, so Brazil go back to 4-4-2. No plan B, then? Full Time 10-man Scotland decimated Brazil, in Brazil, to become back-to-back world champions. They had 3 shots, all on target, all went in. Brazil, not so much. This country is delivering one of the most dominant international performances of all time. Final score Brazil 1 - 3 Scotland Scotland Red Card: Hunter (2) 0-3: Brown (pen 29), Davidson (53), Harvey (62) 1-3: Alexandre (73) =========================================================== 2026 World Champions Scotland =========================================================== Scotland now have more World Cups than England! They also become the first team to beat the hosts in back-to-back World Cup finals! They're the 4th team to successfully defend a World Cup, and the 2nd country in a row to do so (Argentina won in 2014 and 2018). Awards Golden Boot: Derek Davidson (ST, Scotland) - 4 goals (2 assists) Golden Ball: Zengin Yuce (GK, Turkey) - 7.80 average rating in 5 games Golden Glove: Zengin Yuce (GK, Turkey) Best Young Player: Mike Stewart (DC, USA) - 19 years old, 7.33 average rating in 3 games Most Man of the Match: Pablo de la Pena (DC/DM/MC, Spain) - 3 MOTM awards Most Entertaining Team: Uzbekistan Team of the Tournament Yuce (Turkey) Graf (Switzerland) - Issah (Nigeria) - Caso (Peru) - James (England) - Cummins (England) Wight (Scotland) - Pablo de la Pena (Spain) Davidson (Scotland) - Santos (Brazil) - Allan (Scotland) Records Broken Highest Average Attendance - 75,045 World Cup Bests Spain - 3rd (Previous best: QF - 86, 94, 02) Uzbekistan - 4th (Debut) Morocco - QF (Round of 16 - 86, 22) Mali - Round of 16 (Debut) Bosnia & Herzegovina - Round of 16 (Debut) Turks & Caicos Islands - Group Stage (Debut) Zambia - Group Stage (Debut) Managerial News Chris Coleman's unpopular reign as Wales manager ended after 6 years. He failed to take them to Euro 2024 after 4 Euros in a row, but did make it to the 2026 World Cup, albeit they didn't score in this tournament. Frank Rijkaard's tumultuous 7 years in charge of Netherlands ended with his retirement. He took charge of the Euro 2016 winners and they couldn't even score a goal in the next World Cup. They didn't even qualify for the 2022 World Cup nor Euro 2024, but somehow he survived. Former international Maarten Stekelenburg is promoted from the Under-19s to take Rijkaard's place. After 9 years in charge of Switzerland, Urs Fischer stepped down. Before achieving their equal-best performance in a World Cup, and their first World Cup in 20 years, he had taken them to the Euro 2020 final. Ubaldino Romitelli resigned as a Finland legend, having taking the team to the Euro 2024 final, beating now-back-to-back world champs Scotland on the way and only being knocked out by them this time around. Former international Petri Pasanen replaces him. Argentina's manager was sacked after he failed to get the 2014 and 2018 world champions out of the group stage of this tournament and the 2023 Copa América. Morocco's manager resigned after 13 years that saw the Africans reach an AFCoN final, and the World Cup for the first time since France 98. Not only that, but matching their best ever performance in 2022 then beating it this year. Russia's manager moved on after taking them to a World Cup and going unbeaten, including a draw with the world champions and an epic draw with hosts Brazil. Rajko Vidovic resigned after 7 years in charge of Bosnia & Herzegovina. He finally gave the country their first tournament, and they got out the group too! Chile's manager left by mutual consent. Despite reaching the 2023 Copa América semis and topping qualifying, they were mauled by Scotland, only beat Angola 1-0, then got knocked out by a late Russia goal. Angola's manager resigned after a great year saw them reach the AFCoN semis and only their 2nd ever World Cup. Sashi Chalwe resigned as Zambia manager after taking them to their first World Cup and a draw with Poland. Juan Carlos Chávez was sacked by Mexico after only 1 point. Man Utd Player Watch Santos was Brazil's breakout star. His runs were frightening and majestic, and he nearly got the Golden Boot with 4 goals. Scotland's Pressley and 2022 Golden Ball winner Preston were squad players, the former getting a few sub appearances and the latter not being used at all in likely his last World Cup. Castillo was one of Mexico's more reliable performers in defence. He scored in 4 games in a row at the AFCoN, but problematic record signing Kanu lasted 10 minutes for Nigeria before getting injured yet again. The only way his Man Utd career can be saved will be by putting him on light training, He risks becoming a famous flop. Striker Boussoufa started all 5 of Morocco's game without standing out. He didn't score. Winger Topic was played out of position as a CM in a 5-3-2 for Bosnia & Herzegovina, and was subbed off at half-time in all 4 matches. He only made 1 key pass. Viveros is an incoming left wing-back/winger who I managed as Chile manager a decade ago. He was subbed off in all 3 games, but he did fine and got a goal. Aleksandrowicz is an incoming young defender and midfielder. He was a sub for Poland and came on in all 5 games, doing his job. Kirn is a young German centre-back coming in the summer who made his international debut off the bench before the World Cup, but didn't get a game here.
  7. 2025/26 International Recap Tunisia 2026 Africa Cup of Nations Tunisia took full advantage of being hosts and beat Ivory Coast 2-0 to become the first host nation to win the competition in 20 years. And they wouldn't have even qualified had they not been hosting! Angola had a tournament-best performance by finishing 3rd. After defending champions South Africa were knocked out at the group stage, Neil Tovey stepped down as manager after 8 years that saw them become the first African country to win the Confederations Cup (beating Germany, world champs Scotland and thrashing Brazil 3-0 on the way!), win back-to-back AFCoNs and reach a World Cup quarter-final. He would go on to replace Nemanja Vidic at Scottish giants Hearts. South Africa , meanwhile, hire another former international in his place: Steve Komphela. Comoros, in only their 2nd AFCoN, held their own by drawing with Algeria, losing 3-2 to Nigeria, and drawing with hosts Tunisia, which meant they finished 3rd in their group, above Algeria. Malawi's first AFCoN in half a century saw them score against Democratic Republic of Congo, albeit an own goal. 2026 OFC Nations Cup Kilifi Uele's Tonga, who had only ever qualified for the group stage once way back in 2010, went even further and became the 3rd new runner-up in a row. Danny Halligan's New Zealand beat them relatively easily over 2 legs to win it for the 3rd time in a row. Despite taking Tahiti to the final 2 years ago, their coach was sacked after failing to reach the main tournament this time. Solomon Islands failed to qualify for the 6th time in a row, finishing winless and bottom of their group. 2025 European Under-19 Championships Russia didn't concede a goal against Ukraine, Finland, Italy nor hosts Netherlands twice. They won the tournament after beating the Dutch 3-0. Brazil 2026 World Cup Group Draw World champions Scotland and hosts Brazil have been given the easiest draws possible, with **** easy groups meaning they shouldn't meet until the final. Note: Teams in order of likely finish. Group A Scotland - Defending World Cup holders Chile - First World Cup in 12 years Russia - First tournament in 14 years Angola - 2nd ever World Cup (2006) Group B Brazil - Hosts Finland - Euro 2024 runner-up United Arab Emirates - 2nd ever World Cup (1990) Turks & Caicos Islands - World Cup debut, population: 40,000 (1/10th of Iceland) Group C Poland Switzerland - First World Cup in 20 years South Korea Zambia - World Cup debut Group D Wales - First World Cup in 12 years Czech Republic Mali USA Group E Germany - Euro 2024 winners Uruguay Netherlands - 2 draws v Germany in Euro 2024 qualifying playoffs Japan Group F Italy - 2022 runner-up as hosts, Euro 2024 semi-finalists Peru Turkey - First World Cup in 12 years Uzbekistan - World Cup debut Group G England Nigeria Saudi Arabia Bosnia & Herzegovina - Tournament debut Group H Mexico - Beat Argentina 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Morocco - Beat Mexico 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Argentina - Beat Morocco 2-0 at 2022 World Cup Spain - Haven't got out of group stage of World Cup in 20 years
  8. 2025/26 International Recap Tunisia 2026 Africa Cup of Nations Tunisia took full advantage of being hosts and beat Ivory Coast 2-0 to become the first host nation to win the competition in 20 years. And they wouldn't have even qualified had they not been hosting! Angola had a tournament-best performance by finishing 3rd. After defending champions South Africa were knocked out at the group stage, Neil Tovey stepped down as manager after 8 years that saw them become the first African country to win the Confederations Cup (beating Germany, world champs Scotland and thrashing Brazil 3-0 on the way!), win back-to-back AFCoNs and reach a World Cup quarter-final. He would go on to replace Nemanja Vidic at Scottish giants Hearts. South Africa , meanwhile, hire another former international in his place: Steve Komphela. Comoros, in only their 2nd AFCoN, held their own by drawing with Algeria, losing 3-2 to Nigeria, and drawing with hosts Tunisia, which meant they finished 3rd in their group, above Algeria. Malawi's first AFCoN in half a century saw them score against Democratic Republic of Congo, albeit an own goal. 2026 OFC Nations Cup Kilifi Uele's Tonga, who had only ever qualified for the group stage once way back in 2010, went even further and became the 3rd new runner-up in a row. Danny Halligan's New Zealand beat them relatively easily over 2 legs to win it for the 3rd time in a row. Despite taking Tahiti to the final 2 years ago, their coach was sacked after failing to reach the main tournament this time. Solomon Islands failed to qualify for the 6th time in a row, finishing winless and bottom of their group. 2025 European Under-19 Championships Russia won every game and didn't concede a goal against Ukraine, Finland, Italy nor hosts Netherlands twice. They won the tournament after beating the Dutch hosts 3-0 in the final. Brazil 2026 World Cup Group Draw World champions Scotland and hosts Brazil have been given the easiest draws possible, with **** easy groups meaning they shouldn't meet until the final. Note: Teams in order of likely finish. Group A Scotland - Defending World Cup holders Chile - First World Cup in 12 years Russia - First tournament in 14 years Angola - 2nd ever World Cup (2006) Group B Brazil - Hosts Finland - Euro 2024 runner-up United Arab Emirates - 2nd ever World Cup (1990) Turks & Caicos Islands - World Cup debut, population: 40,000 (1/10th of Iceland) Group C Poland Switzerland - First World Cup in 20 years South Korea Zambia - World Cup debut Group D Wales - First World Cup in 12 years Czech Republic Mali USA Group E Germany - Euro 2024 winners Uruguay Netherlands - 2 draws v Germany in Euro 2024 qualifying playoffs Japan Group F Italy - 2022 runner-up as hosts, Euro 2024 semi-finalists Peru Turkey - First World Cup in 12 years Uzbekistan - World Cup debut Group G England Nigeria Saudi Arabia Bosnia & Herzegovina - Tournament debut Group H Mexico - Beat Argentina 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Morocco - Beat Mexico 1-0 at 2022 World Cup Argentina - Beat Morocco 2-0 at 2022 World Cup Spain - Haven't got out of group stage of World Cup in 20 years
  9. Brazil 2026 World Cup Qualifying UEFA Group 1 Finland - 18 -------------------- Switzerland - 17 -------------------- Serbia - 16 Lithuania - 16 Portugal - 15 Faroe Islands - 1 - Switzerland threw it away in the final minute. Finland had lost in Lithuania, meaning Switzerland's 0-0 draw at home to Serbia would be enough. But a stoppage time corner meant Serbia won 1-0 and the Euro 2024 runner-up qualified instead. - Serbia failed to qualify for a tournament for the first time in 12 years. Group 2 Poland - 22 -------------------------- Czech Republic - 21 -------------------------- Israel - 19 Northern Ireland - 14 Azerbaijan - 6 Moldova - 5 Group 3 Netherlands - 23 Wales - 22 --------------------- Bulgaria - 17 Sweden - 11 Estonia - 7 Armenia - 2 - A route one goal in the 90th minute in Estonia saw Netherlands top the group and qualify. - Faith in Frank Rijkaard and Chris Coleman was rewarded as the Netherlands and Wales as best runner-up (despite Bale retiring) qualified automatically, after both sides had failed to qualify for 2022 and Euro 2024 under them. Group 4 Germany - 20* ------------------- Ukraine - 20* ------------------- Hungary - 15 Slovenia - 14 Macedonia -12 Luxembourg - 2 *Head-To-Head: Germany 4 - 1 Ukraine A crazy group that saw Luxembourg draw 1-1 with Germany ended with Ukraine enjoying an 8-2 win over Slovenia and Germany losing in Macedonia, but the head-to-head record had already decided the placings. Group 5 Bosnia & Herzegovina - 18* ---------------------------------- Russia - 18* ---------------------------------- Republic of Ireland - 14 France - 14 Albania - 13 San Marino - 2 *H2H: B&H 4 - 4 Russia, GD: B&H +6, Russia +2 Bosnia & Herzegovina qualified for their first ever tournament. R.o.Ireland's last match saw them lose 4-0 in Albania. Patrick Colleter's France were a disaster, highlights being drawing in San Marino and losing in Albania. Group 6 Spain - 22 --------------------- Malta - 17 --------------------- Montenegro - 16 Norway - 12 Greece - 8 Georgia - 4 Stephen Azzopardi's Malta came out of nowhere to finish not bottom, but 2nd and in the playoffs! Group 7 Italy - 21* ------------------ Romania - 21* ------------------ Denmark - 15 Belarus - 13 Latvia - 13 Andorra - 0 *H2H: Italy 2 - 1 Romania Andorra now haven't scored in 4 years. Group 8 Turkey - 24 ----------------- Scotland - 18* ----------------- Belgium - 18* Slovakia - 10 Kazakhstan - 9 Liechtenstein - 4 *H2H: Scotland 2 - 1 Belgium Turkey qualified for their first World Cup in 12 years. Defending world champions Scotland have to go through the playoffs. Belgium, after finishing 3rd at the last World Cup, don't even make it. Group 9 England - 18 --------------- Croatia - 12 --------------- Austria - 11 Cyprus - 6 Iceland - 5 England only conceded 2 goals. Playoffs (aggregate) Croatia 1 - 2 Switzerland Czech Republic 2 - 0 Romania Malta 1 - 4 Russia Scotland 3 - 0 Ukraine Switzerland reach their first tournament since becoming runner-up of Euro 2020, and their first World Cup in 20 years! Russia reach their first tournament in 14 years, while Malta manager Stephen Azzopardi is a national hero despite a 1-1 home draw being overturned. ======================================================================== CONCACAF Second Round - Shocks Everywhere If 4 years ago saw the worst 2-legged result in USA's history (scraping past Nicaragua after two 1-1 draws and penalties), this year saw their worst one result ever. USA lost their first leg 1-0 in... Guyana. GUYANA! It was a round full of shocks: - Infamously bad Netherlands Antilles achieved one of footballing's greatest shocks and their best ever result by drawing 1-1 at home to Mexico - Similarly, Montserrat drew 0-0 at home to Costa Rica - Belize came from behind with an hour to go to knock out Gold Cup runner-up Canada in Canada - Turks and Caicos Islands overturned a 2-0 loss to beat Honduras 4-2 on aggregate. - Nicaragua beat El Salvador twice to go through - Barbados destroyed Jamaica 6-1 in just the 1st leg to ease through A lot of people are getting sacked I bet. Third Round Kyle Lightbourne's Bermuda qualified for the Hexagonal while achieving 2 draws with USA. Turks & Caicos Islands reached the hallowed Hexagonal after a dramatic final day win over Costa Rica, recovering from 1-0 down to score in the 70th and 88th minute. They've knocked them out in the final minutes for the second campaign in a row! Hexagonal Turks & Caicos Islands (as of writing, ranked joint BOTTOM in real life and with a population of under 40,000) qualified for their first ever World Cup. And with ease! A huge shock to do so with a few games to spare, but the nation had been gradually improving for a while. The golden generation includes a few players from the Premier League and Real Madrid at peak age. USA scraped through despite a last-minute loss in Mexico, but it's clear the smaller nations are rising. After failing to qualify for 2014 and 2018 before, it'll get worse if they don't get their act together. Final Group Standings Mexico - 26 Turks & Caicos Islands - 17 USA - 12* -------------------------------- Guatemala - 12* -------------------------------- Anguilla - 10 Bermuda - 7 *GD: USA +4, Guatemala -4 ======================================================================== CAF Zambia, managed by Cagliari legend and former international Sashi Chalwe, reached their first World Cup. Makan Dembélé's Mali and Nigeria, managed by former international and ex-Man Utd player John Obi Mikel, also qualify. Angola reached their 2nd ever World Cup after holding Libya, who needed a win, to a 0-0 draw. (In the same group, Stephen Balsom's Malawi threw away a 3-0 lead in Mauritius while Central African Republic scored 3 in the last 10 minutes, 2 stoppage time goals, to win 4-1. It was still Malawi that qualified for the 2nd ever African Cup of Nations thanks to a superior head-to-head record over CAR, but that seems a very... African set of circumstances...) Morocco qualified easily in a group of death that also contained Confederations Cup winners and back-to-back AFCON champions South Africa. ======================================================================== CONMEBOL Chile - 28 Argentina - 27 Peru - 25* ------------------ Uruguay - 25* ------------------ Colombia - 23 Bolivia - 21 Ecuador - 21 Paraguay - 13 Venezuela - 11 *GD: Peru +9, Uruguay +1 After 12 years away, and finishing bottom 4 years ago, Chile stormed to the top to qualify for the World Cup, thanks to top scorer and Arsenal striker Hans Sepúlveda's 11 goals in 15 games. Peru needed to win in Uruguay to leapfrog them, and got a 2-0 win. A Colombia win would've seen them through, but they lost 2-0 in Paraguay and failed to qualify for the first time in 20 years. Bolivia's golden generation didn't have a 3rd World Cup in a row in them. ======================================================================== AFC Second Round Australia didn't make the final group stage, finishing behind Jordan and Lebanon. After 5 straight World Cups and on the back of an Olympic gold medal in LA, Iran didn't even make the final group stage, after a disastrous 1-1 draw away to Tajikistan in the penultimate game finished them below Uzbekistan. They sacked the manager and had their pick of former legends to replace him with. They went with the 108-cap Hosain Kaebi. Third Round Group A Uzbekistan - 13 South Korea - 8* -------------------- Iraq - 8* -------------------- Bahrain - 4 *Head-To-Head: South Korea 5 - 2 Iraq With a history of close calls, the bridesmaid finally became the bride as Uzbekistan qualified for their first World Cup. After eliminating Iran in the previous round, they topped their group easily with 5 clean sheets in 5 before a meaningless loss in Iraq. Asian champions Iraq must go through the playoffs. Group B UAE - 16 Saudi Arabia - 7 -------------------- Japan - 5 -------------------- Jordan - 3 The United Arab Emirates also provided a huge shock by topping their group unbeaten and reaching their second ever World Cup, having failed to even reach the last qualifying round in 24 years. An own goal earned Saudi Arabia the draw they needed at home to Japan to beat them to the other spot and condemn them to the playoffs. Jordan only scored one goal, as the 2018 quarter-finalists failed to qualify for the first time in 3 campaigns, marking the end of their golden generation. Playoff (aggregate) Iraq 1 - 5 Japan A sending off just before half-time in the first leg, to their star defender, turned a 1-0 loss to a 4-0 loss for Iraq. That was too much to overcome. ======================================================================== OFC Playoff (aggregate) New Zealand 3 - 0 Tahiti AFC - OFC Playoff (aggregate) Japan 4 - 3 New Zealand New Zealand were going through on away goals after a 74th-minute goal, but Japan scored 8 minutes later. Once again the Kiwis were close, yet so far.
  10. Brazil 2026 World Cup Qualifying UEFA Group 1 Finland - 18 -------------------- Switzerland - 17 -------------------- Serbia - 16 Lithuania - 16 Portugal - 15 Faroe Islands - 1 - Switzerland threw it away in the final minute. Finland had lost in Lithuania, meaning Switzerland's 0-0 draw at home to Serbia would be enough. But a stoppage time corner meant Serbia won 1-0 and the Euro 2024 runner-up qualified instead. - Serbia failed to qualify for a tournament for the first time in 12 years. Group 2 Poland - 22 -------------------------- Czech Republic - 21 -------------------------- Israel - 19 Northern Ireland - 14 Azerbaijan - 6 Moldova - 5 Group 3 Netherlands - 23 Wales - 22 --------------------- Bulgaria - 17 Sweden - 11 Estonia - 7 Armenia - 2 - A route one goal in the 90th minute in Estonia saw Netherlands top the group and qualify. - Faith in Frank Rijkaard and Chris Coleman was rewarded as the Netherlands and Wales as best runner-up (despite Bale retiring) qualified automatically, after both sides had failed to qualify for 2022 and Euro 2024 under them. Group 4 Germany - 20* ------------------- Ukraine - 20* ------------------- Hungary - 15 Slovenia - 14 Macedonia -12 Luxembourg - 2 *Head-To-Head: Germany 4 - 1 Ukraine A crazy group that saw Luxembourg draw 1-1 with Germany ended with Ukraine enjoying an 8-2 win over Slovenia and Germany losing in Macedonia, but the head-to-head record had already decided the placings. Group 5 Bosnia & Herzegovina - 18* ---------------------------------- Russia - 18* ---------------------------------- Republic of Ireland - 14 France - 14 Albania - 13 San Marino - 2 *H2H: B&H 4 - 4 Russia, GD: B&H +6, Russia +2 Bosnia & Herzegovina qualified for their first ever tournament. R.o.Ireland's last match saw them lose 4-0 in Albania. Patrick Colleter's France were a disaster, highlights being drawing in San Marino and losing in Albania. Group 6 Spain - 22 --------------------- Malta - 17 --------------------- Montenegro - 16 Norway - 12 Greece - 8 Georgia - 4 Stephen Azzopardi's Malta came out of nowhere to finish not bottom, but 2nd and in the playoffs! Group 7 Italy - 21* ------------------ Romania - 21* ------------------ Denmark - 15 Belarus - 13 Latvia - 13 Andorra - 0 *H2H: Italy 2 - 1 Romania Andorra now haven't scored in 4 years. Group 8 Turkey - 24 ----------------- Scotland - 18* ----------------- Belgium - 18* Slovakia - 10 Kazakhstan - 9 Liechtenstein - 4 *H2H: Scotland 2 - 1 Belgium Turkey qualified for their first World Cup in 12 years. Defending world champions Scotland have to go through the playoffs. Belgium, after finishing 3rd at the last World Cup, don't even make it. Group 9 England - 18 --------------- Croatia - 12 --------------- Austria - 11 Cyprus - 6 Iceland - 5 England only conceded 2 goals. Playoffs (aggregate) Croatia 1 - 2 Switzerland Czech Republic 2 - 0 Romania Malta 1 - 4 Russia Scotland 3 - 0 Ukraine Switzerland reach their first tournament since becoming runner-up of Euro 2020, and their first World Cup in 20 years! Russia reach their first tournament in 14 years, while Malta manager Stephen Azzopardi is a national hero despite a 1-1 home draw being overturned. ======================================================================== CONCACAF Second Round - Shocks Everywhere If 4 years ago saw the worst 2-legged result in USA's history (scraping past Nicaragua after two 1-1 draws and penalties), this year saw their worst one result ever. USA lost their first leg 1-0 in... Guyana. GUYANA! It was a round full of shocks: - Infamously bad Netherlands Antilles achieved one of footballing's greatest shocks and their best ever result by drawing 1-1 at home to Mexico - Similarly, Montserrat drew 0-0 at home to Costa Rica - Belize came from behind with an hour to go to knock out Gold Cup runner-up Canada in Canada - Turks and Caicos Islands overturned a 2-0 loss to beat Honduras 4-2 on aggregate. - Nicaragua beat El Salvador twice to go through - Barbados destroyed Jamaica 6-1 in just the 1st leg to ease through A lot of people are getting sacked I bet. Third Round Kyle Lightbourne's Bermuda qualified for the Hexagonal while achieving 2 draws with USA. Turks & Caicos Islands reached the hallowed Hexagonal after a dramatic final day win over Costa Rica, recovering from 1-0 down to score in the 70th and 88th minute. They've knocked them out in the final minutes for the second campaign in a row! Hexagonal Turks & Caicos Islands (as of writing, ranked joint BOTTOM in real life and with a population of under 40,000) qualified for their first ever World Cup. And with ease! A huge shock to do so with a few games to spare, but the nation had been gradually improving for a while. The golden generation includes a few players from the Premier League and Real Madrid at peak age. USA scraped through despite a last-minute loss in Mexico, but it's clear the smaller nations are rising. After failing to qualify for 2014 and 2018 before, it'll get worse if they don't get their act together. Final Group Standings Mexico - 26 Turks & Caicos Islands - 17 USA - 12* -------------------------------- Guatemala - 12* -------------------------------- Anguilla - 10 Bermuda - 7 *GD: USA +4, Guatemala -4 ======================================================================== CAF Zambia, managed by Cagliari legend and former international Sashi Chalwe, reached their first World Cup. Makan Dembélé's Mali and Nigeria, managed by former international and ex-Man Utd player John Obi Mikel, also qualify. Angola reached their 2nd ever World Cup after holding Libya, who needed a win, to a 0-0 draw. (In the same group, Stephen Balsom's Malawi threw away a 3-0 lead in Mauritius while Central African Republic scored 3 in the last 10 minutes, 2 stoppage time goals, to win 4-1. It was still Malawi that qualified for the 2nd ever African Cup of Nations thanks to a superior head-to-head record over CAR, but that seems a very... African set of circumstances...) Morocco qualified easily in a group of death that also contained Confederations Cup winners and back-to-back AFCON champions South Africa. ======================================================================== CONMEBOL Chile - 28 Argentina - 27 Peru - 25* ------------------ Uruguay - 25* ------------------ Colombia - 23 Bolivia - 21 Ecuador - 21 Paraguay - 13 Venezuela - 11 *GD: Peru +9, Uruguay +1 After 12 years away, and finishing bottom 4 years ago, Chile stormed to the top to qualify for the World Cup, thanks to top scorer and Arsenal striker Hans Sepúlveda's 11 goals in 15 games. Peru needed to win in Uruguay to leapfrog them, and got a 2-0 win. A Colombia win would've seen them through, but they lost 2-0 in Paraguay and failed to qualify for the first time in 20 years. Bolivia's golden generation didn't have a 3rd World Cup in a row in them. ======================================================================== AFC Second Round Australia didn't make the final group stage, finishing behind Jordan and Lebanon. After 5 straight World Cups and on the back of an Olympic gold medal in LA, Iran didn't even make the final group stage, after a disastrous 1-1 draw away to Tajikistan in the penultimate game finished them below Uzbekistan. They sacked the manager and had their pick of former legends to replace him with. They went with the 108-cap Hosain Kaebi. Third Round Group A Uzbekistan - 13 South Korea - 8* -------------------- Iraq - 8* -------------------- Bahrain - 4 *Head-To-Head: South Korea 5 - 2 Iraq With a history of close calls, the bridesmaid finally became the bride as Uzbekistan qualified for their first World Cup. After eliminating Iran in the previous round, they topped their group easily with 5 clean sheets in 5 before a meaningless loss in Iraq. Asian champions Iraq must go through the playoffs. Group B UAE - 16 Saudi Arabia - 7 -------------------- Japan - 5 -------------------- Jordan - 3 The United Arab Emirates also provided a huge shock by topping their group unbeaten and reaching their second ever World Cup, having failed to even reach the last qualifying round in 24 years. An own goal earned Saudi Arabia the draw they needed at home to Japan to beat them to the other spot and condemn them to the playoffs. Jordan only scored one goal, as the 2018 quarter-finalists failed to qualify for the first time in 3 campaigns, marking the end of their golden generation. Playoff (aggregate) Iraq 1 - 5 Japan A sending off just before half-time in the first leg, to their star defender, turned a 1-0 loss to a 4-0 loss for Iraq. That was too much to overcome. ======================================================================== OFC Playoff (aggregate) New Zealand 3 - 0 Tahiti AFC - OFC Playoff (aggregate) Japan 4 - 3 New Zealand New Zealand were going through on away goals after a 74th-minute goal, but Japan scored 8 minutes later. Once again the Kiwis were close, yet so far.
  11. 2025/26 Club Football Recap Biggest Transfers Eric Kanu (ST, Nigerian/English, 28) - Inter Milan to Man Utd - £29.5m Aubrey Khabo (DC/L, South African, 25) - Man City to Arsenal - £29.5m Fabrizio Galliano (MC/DMC, Italian, 25) - Fiorentina to AC Milan - £28m Carlo Baldi (DLC/ML, Italian, 23) - Juventus to Bayern Munich - £28m Juho Koski (M/AML, Finnish, 24) - HSV to Juventus - £26m Luca Donzelli (M/AMRL, Italian/Argentinian, 23) - £25.5m UEFA Champions League Marcelino García Toral's Newcastle United and Michael Laudrup's Arsenal met in the final for the 3rd time in 6 years... and Arsenal have now lost their last 5 CL finals. Newcastle scored in just 21 seconds as they took a 3-0 lead in 35 minutes to win the Champions League and FA Cup double. Isaac Mizrahi's Lazio were surprise semi-finalists after beating defending champions David Moyes' Bayern Munich. England Premier League It was a 6-horse race for a title that only Newcastle and Arsenal had won for the last decade. By Christmas, it was Slobodan Drapic's Man City who were surprisingly topping the table. But in the end, it was a familiar story as Laudrup's Arsenal pulled away and won the title by 11 points, while 2 points separated 2nd and 5th, with Man United completing the Big 6 two points below. Midtable regulars Portsmouth were relegated after 23 years in the Premier League. Football League and Non-League After 30 years away, Steve Cotterill's QPR miraculously achieved automatic promotion after yo-yoing between the Championship and League One and finishing 20th and 21st in the past 2 seasons. Teddy Sheringham was sacked after over 6 years as manager of Millwall, his first management job. He was unable to save the club from relegation to League Two when he was promoted from assistant manager. They finished 6th next season and won the playoffs, but were relegated again the season after. They finished 6th back-to-back, but then finished 11th and are currently 16th. It keeps getting worse and worse for Torquay United. After relegation from the football league in 2007, they've now suddenly been relegated from the National League. Spain José Mourinho's Real Madrid won the title by 17 points, conceding only 16 goals in 38 games. Bizarrely, Pep Guardiola walked out on defending champions Real Betis at the end of 2025 to join top-half Greek club Ionikois. Italy The landscape changed completely this season. A Milan club had won 18 of the last 20 titles. This year, Mizrahi's Lazio won their first since 2006 on the final day of the season, and 4 points separated the top 5. Frank Yallop's Torino finished 3rd, under AC Milan but above Inter Milan, thanks to beating them 3-1 at the San Siro. They'll compete in the Champions League, their only appearance being in 1976/77. On the final day, Roma's Brasilian-Portuguese attacker Edmílson doubled his league tally by scoring ALL FIVE GOALS IN THE FIRST 34 MINUTES as midtable Atalanta were relegated with a 5-1 loss (their goal only being an own goal too). After finishing bottom of their only season in Serie A with 1 win and 15 points in 2023, little Cisco Roma returned and survived on the final day while Udinese and Atalanta went down after they all lost. Germany After two 0-0 draws and then losing the Europa League final on penalties, Werder Bremen still only needed to go to relegation-battling Nurnberg and match Bayern Munich's result to stop them winning their 4th Bundesliga in a row. Bremen threw away a 1-0 lead in the last 10 minutes to lose 2-1, confirming Nurnberg's safety. But Bayern also lost, so Bremen lifted their first title in 22 years! Borussia Dortmund replaced Vitesse-bound John Collins with 12-year Dortmund veteran Christoph Metzelder. South Korea Meanwhile at my former club Busan, the new manager's reign started with a rare loss, but the club went to China and impressively retained the summer's A3 Champions cup with all 3 wins and 9 goals, with Jeon getting an assist and Man of the Match, 2 goals and MOTM, then a hat-trick and MOTM. But superstar striker Alex moved only a month after I did, going to Malaga in La Liga for a £1.1m pittance after 63 goals in 72(11) games. Despite this, it was a repeat of my last season with the team - They topped the overall league table, beat Incheon in the semis again, then Seoul again in the final to lift the title. They also retained the Champions League and finished 3rd at the Club World Cup. This year however, with half the 2026 season now gone, they're somehow way down in 9th in the 14-team league. Then again, back-to-back finalists Seoul are 13th!
  12. 2025/26 Club Football Recap Biggest Transfers Eric Kanu (ST, Nigerian/English, 28) - Inter Milan to Man Utd - £29.5m Aubrey Khabo (DC/L, South African, 25) - Man City to Arsenal - £29.5m Fabrizio Galliano (MC/DMC, Italian, 25) - Fiorentina to AC Milan - £28m Carlo Baldi (DLC/ML, Italian, 23) - Juventus to Bayern Munich - £28m Juho Koski (M/AML, Finnish, 24) - HSV to Juventus - £26m Luca Donzelli (M/AMRL, Italian/Argentinian, 23) - £25.5m UEFA Champions League Marcelino García Toral's Newcastle United and Michael Laudrup's Arsenal met in the final for the 3rd time in 6 years... and Arsenal have now lost their last 5 CL finals. Newcastle scored in just 21 seconds as they took a 3-0 lead in 35 minutes to win the Champions League and FA Cup double. Isaac Mizrahi's Lazio were surprise semi-finalists after beating defending champions David Moyes' Bayern Munich. England Premier League It was a 6-horse race for a title that only Newcastle and Arsenal had won for the last decade. By Christmas, it was Slobodan Drapic's Man City who were surprisingly topping the table. But in the end, it was a familiar story as Laudrup's Arsenal pulled away and won the title by 11 points, while 2 points separated 2nd and 5th, with Man United completing the Big 6 two points below. Midtable regulars Portsmouth were relegated after 23 years in the Premier League. Football League and Non-League After 30 years away, Steve Cotterill's QPR miraculously achieved automatic promotion after yo-yoing between the Championship and League One and finishing 20th and 21st in the past 2 seasons. Teddy Sheringham was sacked after over 6 years as manager of Millwall, his first management job. He was unable to save the club from relegation to League Two when he was promoted from assistant manager. They finished 6th next season and won the playoffs, but were relegated again the season after. They finished 6th back-to-back, but then finished 11th and are currently 16th. It keeps getting worse and worse for Torquay United. After relegation from the football league in 2007, they've now suddenly been relegated from the National League. Spain José Mourinho's Real Madrid won the title by 17 points, conceding only 16 goals in 38 games. Bizarrely, Pep Guardiola walked out on defending champions Real Betis at the end of 2025 to join top-half Greek club Ionikois. Italy The landscape changed completely this season. A Milan club had won 18 of the last 20 titles. This year, Mizrahi's Lazio won their first since 2006 on the final day of the season, and 4 points separated the top 5. Frank Yallop's Torino finished 3rd, under AC Milan but above Inter Milan, thanks to beating them 3-1 at the San Siro. They'll compete in the Champions League, their only appearance being in 1976/77. On the final day, Roma's Brasilian-Portuguese attacker Edmílson doubled his league tally by scoring ALL FIVE GOALS IN THE FIRST 34 MINUTES as midtable Atalanta were relegated with a 5-1 loss (their goal only being an own goal too). After finishing bottom of their only season in Serie A with 1 win and 15 points in 2023, little Cisco Roma returned and survived on the final day while Udinese and Atalanta went down after they all lost. Germany After two 0-0 draws and then losing the Europa League final on penalties, Werder Bremen still only needed to go to relegation-battling Nurnberg and match Bayern Munich's result to stop them winning their 4th Bundesliga in a row. Bremen threw away a 1-0 lead in the last 10 minutes to lose 2-1, confirming Nurnberg's safety. But Bayern also lost, so Bremen lifted their first title in 22 years! Borussia Dortmund replaced Vitesse-bound John Collins with 12-year Dortmund veteran Christoph Metzelder. South Korea Meanwhile at my former club Busan, the new manager's reign started with a rare loss, but the club went to China and impressively retained the summer's A3 Champions cup with all 3 wins and 9 goals, with Jeon getting an assist and Man of the Match, 2 goals and MOTM, then a hat-trick and MOTM. But superstar striker Alex moved only a month after I did, going to Malaga in La Liga for a £1.1m pittance after 63 goals in 72(11) games. Despite this, it was a repeat of my last season with the team - They topped the overall league table, beat Incheon in the semis again, then Seoul again in the final to lift the title. They also retained the Champions League and finished 3rd at the Club World Cup. This year however, with half the 2026 season now gone, they're somehow way down in 9th in the 14-team league. Then again, back-to-back finalists Seoul are 13th!
  13. 2025/26 Season Review Competitions Premier League Standings 1 - Arsenal - 81 2 - Newcastle - 70 (+30 GD) 3 - Man City - 70 (+21) 4 - Liverpool - 68 (+27) --------------------------------- 5 - Chelsea - 68 (+18) 6 - Man Utd - 66 --------------------------------- 7 - Middlesbrough - 56 8 - West Ham - 55 9 - Preston - 54 10 - Tottenham - 50* 11 - Norwich - 47 12 - Coventry - 45 (-2)* 13 - Leicester - 45 (-10) 14 - Sheffield Utd - 42 15 - Sheffield Wed - 41 16 - Blackburn - 37 17 - West Brom - 36 --------------------------------- 18 - Portsmouth - 35 19 - Charlton - 33 20 - Ipswich - 24 *Tottenham and Coventry qualify for the Europa League due to winning the League Cup and a 'sporting play' bonus spot respectively. Notable Results W 5-0 v Tottenham (H) - Managerial debut W 1-0 v Liverpool (H) L 4-3 v Arsenal (A) - We lead 3 times before succumbing W 1-0 v Man City (H) L 4-0 v Preston (A) - Our heaviest defeat W 5-0 v Ipswich (H) - 5-0 up by half-time L 0-3 v Arsenal (H) D 0-0 v Man City (A) - 4 points over City for the season, but finish below them L 1-3 v Newcastle (H) Notable Runs 25/9/25 to 6/12/25 - 8 clean sheets in 9 league games (13 in 15 in all games) 25/9/25 to 6/12/25 - Scored in 9 league games in a row (15 in a row for all games) 14/12/25 to 30/12/25 - Failed to score in 4 of 5 league games 8/2/26 to 10/5/26 - Only 5 wins in 14 league games (6 in 17) In my first season, United finished 6th again, but with significantly more points, goals and wins. Europa League 1st Round W 3-1 v FC Haka (A) W 3-0 v FC Haka (H) (Man Utd win 6-1 on aggregate) Group Stage 1 - PSV - 8 2 - Man Utd - 7 3 - Dynamo Dresden - 6 ----------------------------- 4 - Visé - 2 (-3 GD) 5 - Nice - 2 (-9 GD) W 1-0 v Visé (H) D 1-1 v Dynamo Dresden (A) W 6-0 v Nice (H) L 2-0 v PSV (A) 1st Knockout Round W 2-1 v NAC Breda (H) L 1-0 v NAC Breda (A) (2-2 on aggregate, NAC Breda win 1-0 on away goals) After getting knocked out of the Champions League and then eliminating us, NAC Breda also beat Barcelona and Rangers before losing at the semi-finals. We moved 5 places up the European rankings to 13th, the 4th-highest English club. This season was the club's 2nd-best performance in the past 5 years. FA Cup 3R: D 1-1 v Port Vale (A) Replay: W 2-1 AET v Port Vale (H) 4R: W 2-0 v Lincoln City (H) 5R: L 0-3 v Liverpool (A) League Cup 3R: W 2-0 v Blackburn Rovers (A) 4R: W 2-0 v Southampton (H) QF: W 1-0 v Newcastle United (H) Semi-Finals L 0-1 v Middlesbrough (A) L 0-1 v Middlesbrough (H) (Middlesbrough win 2-0 on aggregate) Premier Reserve League The reserves finished 8th in their 10-man group. They broke the record for biggest loss in the group, losing 6-0 away to Sheffield Wednesday. Under-18s' Record-Breaking Season The under-18s won their group for the 9th year in a row, by 19 points in only a 22-game season, losing 1 game and scoring 63 goals, in fact scoring in every game. Group records broken included goals scored (63, beating our own record by 10 goals), biggest win (6-0), highest-scoring game (a 5-3 win), most goals scored by a player (Aaron Porter with 29, 8 more than the record), most Man of the Match awards (Porter with 8) and longest unbeaten run (31, beating our own record by 7). Confidence, Reputation & Finances The board are still more or less 'pleased' with my performance and the finances (despite going into the red), but not with the final league position of 6th. The fans are very pleased with the progress the club has been making and are in full support of my management of the club. Reputation-wise, I'm still the only 'World Class' manager in the game. Although the bank balance just went negative (which will be positive when the new season begins), the club rises 5 places to 10th-richest club in the world on the Rich List. Also the 3rd-richest in England, higher than Abramovich's Chelsea. Awards Despite the dead second half of the season, my signing Sibiya (ST) still won the Premier League Players' Player of the Year in his debut season, made it into the Team of the Season, and was United Fans' Player of the Year. He was also runner-up for England's 'signing of the season'. Record-equalling United signing Kanu (ST) was the 'winner' of 'worst signing'. For Premier League Players' Young Player of the Year, Tsotetsi (MC/AMC) was runner-up and Casey (ML), on loan to Charlton, came 3rd. We also get 2nd and 3rd in Goal of the Season. Despite his loan acrimoniously being cut short, Guilbert's free kick against Coventry came 2nd - from the flank, he near-impossibly curled it all the way into the far post. Santos' narrow angle-shot, after dribbling past 2 defenders from the flank, against Charlton comes third. Staff Assistant manager Rene Meulensteen retires just half a year after joining. So Brian McClair and Tony Humes are my candidates for promotion to assistant. Darren Fletcher returns to the club as a coach, rejoining former teammate John O'Shea. He signed as an 11-year-old and made around 300 appearances in 13 seasons before moving on to Celtic, Everton and Sunderland. He officially retired to become youth coach at Rangers before joining us. Rob Swire's 35+ years as physio at Man Utd comes to an end. Our retiring Bulgarian winger Malinov also joins the coaching setup. Squad Now for the fun part. There's a lot of deadwood to get rid of. *Only first team squad and senior players are included GK 20. Tomi Majava - 36 years old, Finland (84 caps), valued at £1.3m - Played 25, Conceded 24, Clean Sheets 13, Man of the Match 1, Average Rating 6.84 13. Thomas Butler - 22, England (U21), £6m - P 23, C 17, CS 11, AvR 6.87 1. Gilles Dupraz - 24, Tunisia (5) / France, £3m - P 7, C 6 , CS 3, MotM 1, AvR 6.86 With 2 very talented but young keepers, Majava was bought in as an experienced option if they faltered. They did, but Majava was reliable... until, at at some point near the end of the season, he couldn't save anything to the point he was dropped for the last 2 games. With his body aging and another good young keeper coming in the summer, I'll look to sell him. 33-year-old former regular Abdulla was loaned out to Spanish champions Real Betis and got an average rating of 6.82 with 54 goals conceded in 44 matches and 14 clean sheets, so he doesn't look a keeper. IN - Butler, Dupraz, Abdel Aziz OUT - Majava, Abdulla DC 2. John Preston - DR/C, WBR - 31, Scotland (49), £3.4m - P 25(3), Goals 2, Assists 1, MotM 1, AvR 7.04 12. Souza - SW, DR/C - 27, Portugal (2 goals in 32 caps) / Brazil, £13.25m - P 40(1), G 3, A 1, MotM 4, AvR 7.12 25. Mohammad Ali Rafiei - DR/C - 29, Iran (23), £5.5m - P 33(2), A 1, MotM 2, AvR 7.00 19. Arturo Castillo - 28, Mexico (23), £7.75m - P 26(5), A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.97 6. Michal Simak - 32, Czech Republic (1 in 63 ), £3.9m - P 13, AvR 7.08 21. Sasa Andjic - 34, Montenegro (1 in 64), £220k - P 4(1), AvR 7.40 + Darlington, Hamann, King Preston is a World Cup and Golden Ball winner, and he was missed when injured. I bought Souza and Rafiei as the defence needed physical strength and pace. Rafiei is a specimen (19 Pace, 19 Jumping, 20 Strength), but several times a player he was marking rounded him and scored. Castillo wasn't my signing. He lacks in strength, but was a pacier option. We have a really good centre-back coming in the summer so will get less games, but is still has a future as other players get older. As you can see by the average ratings, despite leakiness at times, this should be a top defence. IN - Preston, Souza, Rafiei, Castillo, Kirn, Aleksandrowicz OUT - Andjic, Simak DR + Preston, Souza, Rafiei Wing-back/winger Pressley was tried here, but it turns out he's not a proper defender. IN - Preston, Souza, Rafiei, Aleksandrowicz OUT - None DL 5. Martin Hamann - DL/C, WBL - 32, Austria (58), £2.9m - P 27(6), G 1, AvR 6.94 3. David Farley - WB/DL - 35, England (50), £400k - P 17(2), A 3, MotM 2, AvR 7.05 + McIntosh? World Cup runner-up Hamann was Mr Dependable, nearly always getting a 7/10 whether on the left or in the middle. Farley has insane attributes that suggests Maldini in disguise, but in actual games his tackling is poor. Wing-back/Winger McIntosh sometimes played here and we're trying to get him used to the position. IN - Hamann, McIntosh? OUT - Farley MR 22. Roddy Pressley - WB/M/AMR - 29, Scotland (1 in 22) / England, £11m - P 17(9), G 4, A 2, AvR 6.77 33. Nicky Pryce - AMR/C - 31, England (7), £5.25m - P 8(1), G 1, A 1, AvR 7.11 + Topic Pressley had such a great start; he and McIntosh on the wings were destroying defence. But, after the injury, he suffered just as the rest of the team did in the second half of the season. With Topic and Pressley injured, Pryce was used as emergency backup on the wing. His ratings are a red herring - his passing isn't good enough; in some matches, he doesn't get one key pass. IN - Pressley, Topic, Aleksandrowicz OUT - Pryce ML 7. Steve McIntosh - WB/M/AML - 28, R.o.Ireland (8 in 41), £5.25m - P 30(5), G 2, A 6, MotM 1, AvR 6.97 11. Srdjan Topic - ML/R, AML/R - 27, Bosnia & Herzegovina (26), £8m - P 22(6), G 1, A 7, AvR 6.82 41. Petar Malinov - M/AML - 34, Bulgaria (2 in 68), Retiring - P 4(1), A 1, AvR 7.20 + Anderson As with everyone else, McIntosh was in brilliant form in 2025, but in 2026 the goals/assists dried up. Anderson was quiet on the left, but then found his form playing AMC. 20-year-old Andy Casey went out on a season-long Premier League loan to relegated Charlton and got 5 assists in 38 games (3 in 30 league games) but came 3rd for the Young Players' Player of the Year award. Will he go out on loan again or make the step up next season? It's a big ask. However a summer free transfer is coming in, someone who played really well for me during my ill-fated spell in Chile and is still delivering at 31 years old, helping Torino to a surprise 3rd-place finish. After 8 seasons, nearly 300 appearances and 2 Europa League trophies, Malinov retires to become one of our coaches. IN - McIntosh, Topic, Anderson, Casey?, Viveros OUT - Malinov (retiring) DM/MC 14. Bob Ryan - 29, England (4), £5m - P 29(1), G 2, A 5, AvR 7.07 17. Derek King - DC, DM/MC - 30, Scotland (4 in 48), £7.75m - P 18(10), A 3, MotM 1, AvR 6.89 4. James Darlington - DC, DM/MC - 33, England (15), £3.3m - P 21(5), G 1, MotM 2, AvR 7.08 + Tsotetsi Ryan was the attacking option, scoring a memorable goal outside the area in the 1-0 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford. King was the more defensive 'away game' option, but he lacks strength and is easily beaten in the air. Even though he was one of our captains, he's going to be a surprise leaver in the summer. When King's form suffered, Darlington did a real good job. However he doesn't look like he has another season in him and his contract has 1 year left. Tsotetsi also turned out to be a good all-round option. When his form in AMC dried up, he did well deeper in MC. There's already a young defender/midfielder arriving in the summer to take their spot though. He was in the Breda team that knocked us out of Europe, providing an assist. IN - Ryan, Tsotetsi, Aleksandrowicz OUT - King, Darlington AMC 28. Anderson - 31, Brazil (2 in 36), £4.8m - P 30(5), G 1, A 9, MotM 2, AvR 7.00 24. Tsotetsi - 22, South Africa (3), £12.75m - P 26(8), G 4, A 4, MotM 1, AvR 6.94 10. Guillaume Peres - 25, France (9), £6m - P 16(18), G 4, A 4, MotM 1, AvR 6.71 + Alexandre Tsotetsi hit form just before the Africa Cup of Nations, but when he came back from Africa he didn't get it back. However his move to MC saw him play better, enough to help come runner-up for Young Players' Player of the Year. Anderson found good form when he moved from ML to AMC. Peres is physically great, but he's just not quite contributing enough. He's a Welbeck - will show up every now and then, but the rest of the time he's just there. He should be sold. IN - Anderson, Tsotetsi OUT - Peres, Alexandre (returns from loan) ST 26. Neil Sibiya - 23, South Africa (6 in 10), £12.25m - P 27(6), G 15, A 4, MotM 4, AvR 7.18 29. Eric Kanu - 29, Nigeria (34 in 46) / England, £29.5m - P 7(6), G 1, A 1, AvR 6.38 18. Joe Adams - 30, R.o.Ireland (23 in 44), £13m - P 20(6), G10, A 7, MotM 4, AvR 7.19 15. Santos - 25, Brazil (1 in 11), £3m - P 20(11), G 7, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.58 8. Ali Boussoufa - 28, Morocco (15 in 31), £9.25m - P 13(8), G 7, A 2, MotM 2, AvR 7.00 16. Miguel Lara - 34, Colombia (17 in 55), £900k - P 9(3), G 4, A 1, AvR 7.00 9. Michael John - 33, England (4 in 15), £220k - P 3(1), AvR 6.75 LOANED IN - 23. Alexandre - AMC/ST - 32, Brazil (16 goals in 45 caps), £5.75m - P 11(5), G 3, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.81 LOANED IN - 44. Paul Brouwers - 23, Netherlands (U21), £6.25m - P 2(1), A 1, AvR 6.67 + Peres Sibiya was a sensation from the start, scoring a hat-trick on his debut and plenty more, with a penchant for running to impossible angles and squeezing it into the far post just for a challenge. His goalscoring form continued at the African Cup of Nations but, when he returned in February, he only scored 1 more goal and lost the chance to win the Golden Boot. His fellow players still voted him in the team of the year and awarded him Players' Player of the Year, while he was still joint-top for average rating for strikers. Kanu was a joint-record signing at £29.5m (Rio Ferdinand signed in 2002 for "around £30m") on deadline day. He was immediately injured, and then got injured minutes into his return. He returned to fitness for the AFCoN and scored in 4 matches in a row, but he couldn't recreate that form on his return to England. He finally scored his first goal for United on the final day of the season. Boussoufa only got 1 game in 2026. He could be worth keeping, but hasn't shown why yet, and his contract expires next summer. Alexandre had pedigree and form, yet for us he went 13 shots in a row off-target. Had he been on-target more often, he'd have great stats. Brouwers was an extra free loan, as Italy doesn't have a reserve league so it was a chance for him to get the odd game while we were out of strikers. Also, it was a season to remember for 16-year-old Aaron Porter who scored his first ever goal, at Old Trafford no less. He's now been "dubbed the new Michael Owen". Obviously. IN - Sibiya, Kanu, Adams, Santos, Boussoufa? OUT - Lara, John, Alexandre (returning from loan), Brouwers (returning from loan)
  14. 2025/26 Season Review Competitions Premier League Standings 1 - Arsenal - 81 2 - Newcastle - 70 (+30 GD) 3 - Man City - 70 (+21) 4 - Liverpool - 68 (+27) --------------------------------- 5 - Chelsea - 68 (+18) 6 - Man Utd - 66 --------------------------------- 7 - Middlesbrough - 56 8 - West Ham - 55 9 - Preston - 54 10 - Tottenham - 50* 11 - Norwich - 47 12 - Coventry - 45 (-2)* 13 - Leicester - 45 (-10) 14 - Sheffield Utd - 42 15 - Sheffield Wed - 41 16 - Blackburn - 37 17 - West Brom - 36 --------------------------------- 18 - Portsmouth - 35 19 - Charlton - 33 20 - Ipswich - 24 *Tottenham and Coventry qualify for the Europa League due to winning the League Cup and a 'sporting play' bonus spot respectively. Notable Results W 5-0 v Tottenham (H) - Managerial debut W 1-0 v Liverpool (H) L 4-3 v Arsenal (A) - We lead 3 times before succumbing W 1-0 v Man City (H) L 4-0 v Preston (A) - Our heaviest defeat W 5-0 v Ipswich (H) - 5-0 up by half-time L 0-3 v Arsenal (H) D 0-0 v Man City (A) - 4 points over City for the season, but finish below them L 1-3 v Newcastle (H) Notable Runs 25/9/25 to 6/12/25 - 8 clean sheets in 9 league games (13 in 15 in all games) 25/9/25 to 6/12/25 - Scored in 9 league games in a row (15 in a row for all games) 14/12/25 to 30/12/25 - Failed to score in 4 of 5 league games 8/2/26 to 10/5/26 - Only 5 wins in 14 league games (6 in 17) In my first season, United finished 6th again, but with significantly more points, goals and wins. Europa League 1st Round W 3-1 v FC Haka (A) W 3-0 v FC Haka (H) (Man Utd win 6-1 on aggregate) Group Stage 1 - PSV - 8 2 - Man Utd - 7 3 - Dynamo Dresden - 6 ----------------------------- 4 - Visé - 2 (-3 GD) 5 - Nice - 2 (-9 GD) W 1-0 v Visé (H) D 1-1 v Dynamo Dresden (A) W 6-0 v Nice (H) L 2-0 v PSV (A) 1st Knockout Round W 2-1 v NAC Breda (H) L 1-0 v NAC Breda (A) (2-2 on aggregate, NAC Breda win 1-0 on away goals) After getting knocked out of the Champions League and then eliminating us, NAC Breda also beat Barcelona and Rangers before losing at the semi-finals. We moved 5 places up the European rankings to 13th, the 4th-highest English club. This season was the club's 2nd-best performance in the past 5 years. FA Cup 3R: D 1-1 v Port Vale (A) Replay: W 2-1 AET v Port Vale (H) 4R: W 2-0 v Lincoln City (H) 5R: L 0-3 v Liverpool (A) League Cup 3R: W 2-0 v Blackburn Rovers (A) 4R: W 2-0 v Southampton (H) QF: W 1-0 v Newcastle United (H) Semi-Finals L 0-1 v Middlesbrough (A) L 0-1 v Middlesbrough (H) (Middlesbrough win 2-0 on aggregate) Premier Reserve League The reserves finished 8th in their 10-man group. They broke the record for biggest loss in the group, losing 6-0 away to Sheffield Wednesday. Under-18s' Record-Breaking Season The under-18s won their group for the 9th year in a row, by 19 points in only a 22-game season, losing 1 game and scoring 63 goals, in fact scoring in every game. Group records broken included goals scored (63, beating our own record by 10 goals), biggest win (6-0), highest-scoring game (a 5-3 win), most goals scored by a player (Aaron Porter with 29, 8 more than the record), most Man of the Match awards (Porter with 8) and longest unbeaten run (31, beating our own record by 7). Confidence, Reputation & Finances The board are still more or less 'pleased' with my performance and the finances (despite going into the red), but not with the final league position of 6th. The fans are very pleased with the progress the club has been making and are in full support of my management of the club. Reputation-wise, I'm still the only 'World Class' manager in the game. Although the bank balance just went negative (which will be positive when the new season begins), the club rises 5 places to 10th-richest club in the world on the Rich List. Also the 3rd-richest in England, higher than Abramovich's Chelsea. Awards Despite the dead second half of the season, my signing Sibiya (ST) still won the Premier League Players' Player of the Year in his debut season, made it into the Team of the Season, and was United Fans' Player of the Year. He was also runner-up for England's 'signing of the season'. Record-equalling United signing Kanu (ST) was the 'winner' of 'worst signing'. For Premier League Players' Young Player of the Year, Tsotetsi (MC/AMC) was runner-up and Casey (ML), on loan to Charlton, came 3rd. We also get 2nd and 3rd in Goal of the Season. Despite his loan acrimoniously being cut short, Guilbert's free kick against Coventry came 2nd - from the flank, he near-impossibly curled it all the way into the far post. Santos' narrow angle-shot, after dribbling past 2 defenders from the flank, against Charlton comes third. Staff Assistant manager Rene Meulensteen retires just half a year after joining. So Brian McClair and Tony Humes are my candidates for promotion to assistant. Darren Fletcher returns to the club as a coach, rejoining former teammate John O'Shea. He signed as an 11-year-old and made around 300 appearances in 13 seasons before moving on to Celtic, Everton and Sunderland. He officially retired to become youth coach at Rangers before joining us. Rob Swire's 35+ years as physio at Man Utd comes to an end. Our retiring Bulgarian winger Malinov also joins the coaching setup. Squad Now for the fun part. There's a lot of deadwood to get rid of. *Only first team squad and senior players are included GK 20. Tomi Majava - 36 years old, Finland (84 caps), valued at £1.3m - Played 25, Conceded 24, Clean Sheets 13, Man of the Match 1, Average Rating 6.84 13. Thomas Butler - 22, England (U21), £6m - P 23, C 17, CS 11, AvR 6.87 1. Gilles Dupraz - 24, Tunisia (5) / France, £3m - P 7, C 6 , CS 3, MotM 1, AvR 6.86 With 2 very talented but young keepers, Majava was bought in as an experienced option if they faltered. They did, but Majava was reliable... until, at at some point near the end of the season, he couldn't save anything to the point he was dropped for the last 2 games. With his body aging and another good young keeper coming in the summer, I'll look to sell him. 33-year-old former regular Abdulla was loaned out to Spanish champions Real Betis and got an average rating of 6.82 with 54 goals conceded in 44 matches and 14 clean sheets, so he doesn't look a keeper. IN - Butler, Dupraz, Abdel Aziz OUT - Majava, Abdulla DC 2. John Preston - DR/C, WBR - 31, Scotland (49), £3.4m - P 25(3), Goals 2, Assists 1, MotM 1, AvR 7.04 12. Souza - SW, DR/C - 27, Portugal (2 goals in 32 caps) / Brazil, £13.25m - P 40(1), G 3, A 1, MotM 4, AvR 7.12 25. Mohammad Ali Rafiei - DR/C - 29, Iran (23), £5.5m - P 33(2), A 1, MotM 2, AvR 7.00 19. Arturo Castillo - 28, Mexico (23), £7.75m - P 26(5), A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.97 6. Michal Simak - 32, Czech Republic (1 in 63 ), £3.9m - P 13, AvR 7.08 21. Sasa Andjic - 34, Montenegro (1 in 64), £220k - P 4(1), AvR 7.40 + Darlington, Hamann, King Preston is a World Cup and Golden Ball winner, and he was missed when injured. I bought Souza and Rafiei as the defence needed physical strength and pace. Rafiei is a specimen (19 Pace, 19 Jumping, 20 Strength), but several times a player he was marking rounded him and scored. Castillo wasn't my signing. He lacks in strength, but was a pacier option. We have a really good centre-back coming in the summer so will get less games, but is still has a future as other players get older. As you can see by the average ratings, despite leakiness at times, this should be a top defence. IN - Preston, Souza, Rafiei, Castillo, Kirn, Aleksandrowicz OUT - Andjic, Simak DR + Preston, Souza, Rafiei Wing-back/winger Pressley was tried here, but it turns out he's not a proper defender. IN - Preston, Souza, Rafiei, Aleksandrowicz OUT - None DL 5. Martin Hamann - DL/C, WBL - 32, Austria (58), £2.9m - P 27(6), G 1, AvR 6.94 3. David Farley - WB/DL - 35, England (50), £400k - P 17(2), A 3, MotM 2, AvR 7.05 + McIntosh? World Cup runner-up Hamann was Mr Dependable, nearly always getting a 7/10 whether on the left or in the middle. Farley has insane attributes that suggests Maldini in disguise, but in actual games his tackling is poor. Wing-back/Winger McIntosh sometimes played here and we're trying to get him used to the position. IN - Hamann, McIntosh? OUT - Farley MR 22. Roddy Pressley - WB/M/AMR - 29, Scotland (1 in 22) / England, £11m - P 17(9), G 4, A 2, AvR 6.77 33. Nicky Pryce - AMR/C - 31, England (7), £5.25m - P 8(1), G 1, A 1, AvR 7.11 + Topic Pressley had such a great start; he and McIntosh on the wings were destroying defence. But, after the injury, he suffered just as the rest of the team did in the second half of the season. With Topic and Pressley injured, Pryce was used as emergency backup on the wing. His ratings are a red herring - his passing isn't good enough; in some matches, he doesn't get one key pass. IN - Pressley, Topic, Aleksandrowicz OUT - Pryce ML 7. Steve McIntosh - WB/M/AML - 28, R.o.Ireland (8 in 41), £5.25m - P 30(5), G 2, A 6, MotM 1, AvR 6.97 11. Srdjan Topic - ML/R, AML/R - 27, Bosnia & Herzegovina (26), £8m - P 22(6), G 1, A 7, AvR 6.82 41. Petar Malinov - M/AML - 34, Bulgaria (2 in 68), Retiring - P 4(1), A 1, AvR 7.20 + Anderson As with everyone else, McIntosh was in brilliant form in 2025, but in 2026 the goals/assists dried up. Anderson was quiet on the left, but then found his form playing AMC. 20-year-old Andy Casey went out on a season-long Premier League loan to relegated Charlton and got 5 assists in 38 games (3 in 30 league games) but came 3rd for the Young Players' Player of the Year award. Will he go out on loan again or make the step up next season? It's a big ask. However a summer free transfer is coming in, someone who played really well for me during my ill-fated spell in Chile and is still delivering at 31 years old, helping Torino to a surprise 3rd-place finish. After 8 seasons, nearly 300 appearances and 2 Europa League trophies, Malinov retires to become one of our coaches. IN - McIntosh, Topic, Anderson, Casey?, Viveros OUT - Malinov (retiring) DM/MC 14. Bob Ryan - 29, England (4), £5m - P 29(1), G 2, A 5, AvR 7.07 17. Derek King - DC, DM/MC - 30, Scotland (4 in 48), £7.75m - P 18(10), A 3, MotM 1, AvR 6.89 4. James Darlington - DC, DM/MC - 33, England (15), £3.3m - P 21(5), G 1, MotM 2, AvR 7.08 + Tsotetsi Ryan was the attacking option, scoring a memorable goal outside the area in the 1-0 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford. King was the more defensive 'away game' option, but he lacks strength and is easily beaten in the air. Even though he was one of our captains, he's going to be a surprise leaver in the summer. When King's form suffered, Darlington did a real good job. However he doesn't look like he has another season in him and his contract has 1 year left. Tsotetsi also turned out to be a good all-round option. When his form in AMC dried up, he did well deeper in MC. There's already a young defender/midfielder arriving in the summer to take their spot though. He was in the Breda team that knocked us out of Europe, providing an assist. IN - Ryan, Tsotetsi, Aleksandrowicz OUT - King, Darlington AMC 28. Anderson - 31, Brazil (2 in 36), £4.8m - P 30(5), G 1, A 9, MotM 2, AvR 7.00 24. Tsotetsi - 22, South Africa (3), £12.75m - P 26(8), G 4, A 4, MotM 1, AvR 6.94 10. Guillaume Peres - 25, France (9), £6m - P 16(18), G 4, A 4, MotM 1, AvR 6.71 + Alexandre Tsotetsi hit form just before the Africa Cup of Nations, but when he came back from Africa he didn't get it back. However his move to MC saw him play better, enough to help come runner-up for Young Players' Player of the Year. Anderson found good form when he moved from ML to AMC. Peres is physically great, but he's just not quite contributing enough. He's a Welbeck - will show up every now and then, but the rest of the time he's just there. He should be sold. IN - Anderson, Tsotetsi OUT - Peres, Alexandre (returns from loan) ST 26. Neil Sibiya - 23, South Africa (6 in 10), £12.25m - P 27(6), G 15, A 4, MotM 4, AvR 7.18 29. Eric Kanu - 29, Nigeria (34 in 46) / England, £29.5m - P 7(6), G 1, A 1, AvR 6.38 18. Joe Adams - 30, R.o.Ireland (23 in 44), £13m - P 20(6), G10, A 7, MotM 4, AvR 7.19 15. Santos - 25, Brazil (1 in 11), £3m - P 20(11), G 7, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.58 8. Ali Boussoufa - 28, Morocco (15 in 31), £9.25m - P 13(8), G 7, A 2, MotM 2, AvR 7.00 16. Miguel Lara - 34, Colombia (17 in 55), £900k - P 9(3), G 4, A 1, AvR 7.00 9. Michael John - 33, England (4 in 15), £220k - P 3(1), AvR 6.75 LOANED IN - 23. Alexandre - AMC/ST - 32, Brazil (16 goals in 45 caps), £5.75m - P 11(5), G 3, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.81 LOANED IN - 44. Paul Brouwers - 23, Netherlands (U21), £6.25m - P 2(1), A 1, AvR 6.67 + Peres Sibiya was a sensation from the start, scoring a hat-trick on his debut and plenty more, with a penchant for running to impossible angles and squeezing it into the far post just for a challenge. His goalscoring form continued at the African Cup of Nations but, when he returned in February, he only scored 1 more goal and lost the chance to win the Golden Boot. His fellow players still voted him in the team of the year and awarded him Players' Player of the Year, while he was still joint-top for average rating for strikers. Kanu was a joint-record signing at £29.5m (Rio Ferdinand signed in 2002 for "around £30m") on deadline day. He was immediately injured, and then got injured minutes into his return. He returned to fitness for the AFCoN and scored in 4 matches in a row, but he couldn't recreate that form on his return to England. He finally scored his first goal for United on the final day of the season. Boussoufa only got 1 game in 2026. He could be worth keeping, but hasn't shown why yet, and his contract expires next summer. Alexandre had pedigree and form, yet for us he went 13 shots in a row off-target. Had he been on-target more often, he'd have great stats. Brouwers was an extra free loan, as Italy doesn't have a reserve league so it was a chance for him to get the odd game while we were out of strikers. Also, it was a season to remember for 16-year-old Aaron Porter who scored his first ever goal, at Old Trafford no less. He's now been "dubbed the new Michael Owen". Obviously. IN - Sibiya, Kanu, Adams, Santos, Boussoufa? OUT - Lara, John, Alexandre (returning from loan), Brouwers (returning from loan) @Nobby_McDonald You're always so negative! Even when I have a decent season still!
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