Missing Passages from ‘Jag ar Zlatan’: Appendix I, things Ibrahimovic hates

3 Comments

Unfortunately for readers of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s awesomely outrageous autobiography (published in Italian and Swedish in late 2011), our traditional, “human” book format couldn’t contain all of his greatness. Even the English translation included in his iPad app proved too restrictive, leaving literally millions of passages on the proverbial cutting room floor. Thankfully, ProSoccerTalk has recovered one of these curiously-timed passages:

Of course, while I was telling this man how he should write my book, we would often talk about the many things that are wrong with the world. Often, it can be a sad, sad place. But Zlatan is not a sad man, and to give something to the fans that is about anything but my perpetual success would be wrong.  The book must tell the true story of the best player in the world.

But then we thought: Would history look kindle on us if we chose to keep any of Zlatan’s beliefs from his fans? I played the role of history and answered the question: No, I would not.

Once my writer told me about appendices and I agreed they should be a real thing, it made sense to list all the world’s wrongs in one place. Please, do not blame me for their existence. Blame yourselves.

There are exactly 10 problems with the world:

1. Dwelling on titles – I hate this. I don’t prioritize winning league titles (never have) which is why I decided not to win the scudetto in 2012. Yes, it was my decision (the coverage will say otherwise). It made me sick, hearing so many people talking about Zlatan finished first for almost 10 straight years. Soccer is not about individual accomplishments. That title streak had to go.

2. Diego Milito – He’ll always be Rebound to me. If a hat trick in a Milan derby was so important, why hasn’t anybody bothered to do it 62 years? Some questions are so obvious, they don’t have to be asked. Milito will always be the player you buy after Zlatan tells you he’s leaving. Milan will call him soon.

3. 12-yard penalty kicks – Boring. I hate them. There is no honor from making a penalty kick from only 12 yards away. It’s emotional seppuku. Once, I saw Rebound convert two in a Milan derby. Could he do the same from the top of the arc? 22 yards is nothing for Zlatan. Can Rebound say the same?

4. Coachella – Seriously. It’s horrible. I hate it so much. They asked if they could use Zlatan’s likeness for a hologram that would play lead guitar during Radiohead’s set. I said, “Please wait until I’m dead to destroy my soul.” I made $12,000,000 last year and can’t justify spending two krona on that jaded cash trap.

5. Your fake blog that thinks I know the future – Stop being stupid. I hate you. If, in theory, I knew the future, I would not be able to tell anybody. As any young boy trying to hide his comic books from Sanela knows, superpowers can’t be flaunted. You have to live lonely and isolated knowing you can never share your true self with the world. Zlatan is not lonely and isolated, therefore Zlatan can’t tell the future. Flawless logic.

6. Knowing the future – It’s lonely. And isolating. I hate it.

7. Not being able to tell people about being bought by Real Madrid – Silvio doesn’t know this yet, but I have decided I will must bring the decima to Real Madrid. My powers transcend Mourinho’s, so it only makes sense. I already sent a text to the Philosopher saying “Oh, please stay at Barça one more year. You’re my hero and” blah, blah, blah – it didn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t, of course. Sigh.

8. Gigi Buffon – That Buffon failed to thank me for Juventus’s scudetto is very painful. He thanked Alessandro, Pavel, David. He even acknowledged Mauro, whose hair was so inferior to Zlatan’s that he eventually cut it. How can Buffon not see that I wanted Juventus to win? I hate him. How else would they have won?

9. IKEA – I am Swedish. That doesn’t mean I know how to put together that couch. It’s furniture for university kids. I am a soccer icon. I’m tempted to buy the company just so I can hide all the screws. I so hate screws.

10. Playing for Sweden – I was forced to decline an invitation to hunt white tigers from helicopters because Sweden has qualified for Euro 2012. I hate this, though hunting with weapons was starting to bore me. I have been told there’s a new documentary were a child uses a bow and arrow to battle other children? Clearly my crossbow has become passé.

I know there are many things in your life that you hate, but I allow myself only 10. I am Zlatan. Of course.

World Cup 2022 Group A: Qatar, Senegal, Netherlands, Ecuador, final table, fixtures, rankings

0 Comments

Group A in the 2022 World Cup was intriguing, as hosts Qatar were dumped out, while Ecuador started well but faded as African champs Senegal finished second in the group and the Netherlands finished top.

[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]

Even thought Senegal were missing main man Sadio Mane through injury, they rallied to win their final two group games including an intense finale against Ecuador.

The Netherlands were unbeaten throughout the group stage and took care of business with minimum fuss.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need for 2022 World Cup Group A.


Group A schedule (all kick off times ET)

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands  – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

How To Watch Group A matches live

  • When: November 20-29, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group A table

1. Netherlands — 7 points (+9)
2. Senegal — 6 points (+1)
3. Ecuador — 4 points (+1)
4. Qatar — 0 (-4) – ELIMINATED


Qatar

Current FIFA world ranking: 49
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 0
How they qualified: As hosts
Coach: Felix Sanchez
Key players: Abdelkarim Hassan, Almoez Ali, Hassan Al-Haydos

Senegal

Current FIFA world ranking: 18
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Beat Egypt in CAF playoff
Coach: Aliou Cisse
Key players: Idrissa Gana Gueye, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly

Netherlands

Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong

Ecuador

Current FIFA world ranking: 44
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 3
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (4th place)
Coach: Gustavo Alfaro
Key players: Enner Valencia, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan


Senegal edges epic battle with Ecuador to clinch last 16 spot

0 Comments

Senegal beat Ecuador to reach the last 16 of the World Cup, as the Lions of Terranga rallied to knock out the South Americans.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

Ismaila Sarr put Senegal ahead from the penalty spot but Moises Caicedo equalized in the second half and a draw would have been enough to send Ecuador through at Senegal’s expense.

[ MORE: Group A – Table, rankings, results, schedule ]

Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Senegal’s captain Kalidou Koulibaly scored the winner to send his country through to the knockout rounds for just the second time in their history.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub


Stars of the show

Kalidou Koulibaly: Scored the famous goal to send Senegal through and was dominant at the back. Led by example.

Ismaila Sarr: Another of one Senegal’s stars stood tall as he scored the opener and gave them an outlet. Sadio Mane would be proud of this display.


How to watch Ecuador vs Senegal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Tuesday, November 29
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

GOAL! Moments later Koulibaly puts Senegal back in front. What drama. Now Senegal are going through instead of Ecuador.

GOAL! Ecuador equalize. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo slots home after a flick on. As it stands, Ecuador going through ahead of Senegal.

GOAL! Hincapie clatters into Ismaila Sarr and he slots home the resulting spot kick. Senegal lead.

What a start from Senegal! Idrissa Gana Gueye slams a shot wide and Ismaila Sarr sees a deflected effort fly just wide. Ecuador have yet to get going.


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Enner Valencia has obviously been the main man for Ecuador with his three goals so far but Gonzalo Plata and Michael Estrada have been excellent alongside him in attack. Brighton duo Moises Caicedo and Pervis Estupinan have been superb too, while Angelo Preciado has been electric down the right flank.

Senegal’s defense has looked a bit shaky, even with Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly back there. In midfield Idrissa Gana Gueye was much better against Qatar and Ismaila Sarr continues to do his best to fill the huge void left by Sadio Mane.


Ecuador quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 44
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 3
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (4th place)
Coach: Gustavo Alfaro
Key players: Enner Valencia, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan

Senegal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 18
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Beat Egypt in CAF playoff
Coach: Aliou Cisse
Key players: Idrissa Gana Gueye, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly


Iran vs USA: How to watch live, USMNT stream link, team news

0 Comments

The USA seeks a return to the knockout rounds and that’ll only come with a win over Iran at 2pm ET Tuesday inside Al Thumama Stadium in Al Khor.

STREAM LIVE IRAN v USA

It doesn’t matter what Wales does vs England at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan because England already has four points and a draw would give Iran four as well.

The Yanks’ two draws mandate a win-or-go-home mentality on Saturday and there are multiple generations worth of redemption up for grabs after the USMNT was felled by Iran at the 1998 World Cup and failed to qualify for the 2018 tourney in Russia.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

How can Gregg Berhalter unlock the USMNT attack to get the goal or goals he’ll need to reach a date with Group B’s winner or runner-up?

Here is everything you need for Iran vs USA.


How to watch Iran vs USA live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Tuesday Nov. 29
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

For Iran, it’s about riding the momentum of a huge win after finding inspiration in a huge loss. There’s an ocean’s worth of difference in emotion between the 6-2 tournament-opening loss to England in Al Rayyan and the 2-0 triumph over Wales In the same city. Can Mehdi Taremi or Sardar Azmoun succeed where Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling could not and break down the USMNT defense for a goal?

Meanwhile, the Yanks may still be lamenting a 1-1 draw with Wales as much as they are celebrating a strong performance that kept them unbeaten against England at the World Cup after a scoreless draw with Gareth Southgate’s men In Al Khor. Gregg Berhalter has to find a way to unlock the USMNT’s final-third woes when they hit Al Khor on Tuesday.

There has also been some off-field tension brewing between the U.S. and Iran surrounding this game, as Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams responded to in a tense press conference amid questions from the Iranian press.


Iran quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 20
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group A)
Coach: Dragan Skocic
Key players: Ehsan Hajsafi, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi

USA quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 16
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 9
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (3rd place)
Coach: Gregg Berhalter
Key players: Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams

USMNT scenarios to advance: How can USA qualify for the World Cup last 16?’

0 Comments

Everyone wants to figure out the USMNT scenarios to reach the knockout rounds.

“How can the USMNT qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup and make it out of the group stage?”

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock

That is the question you will hear time and time again ahead of their Group B finale against Iran on Tuesday, November 29 at 2pm ET.

This is intense.

[ MORE: Group B schedule, rankings, table ]

As the information below tells you, the USMNT scenarios is now very simple for Gregg Berhalter’s young side.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

After their draws against Wales and England to kick off Group B play, it all goes down to the final 90 minutes against Iran to see whether or not they can reach the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar.


Group B table heading into final group stage game

1. England – 4 points (+4 GD)
2. Iran – 3 points (-2)
3. USA – 2 points (0 GD)
4. Wales – 1 point (-2 GD)


Group B remaining schedule

Tuesday, November 29: Wales vs England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Tuesday November 29: Iran vs USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


How the USA can qualify for the last 16

  • Win against Iran

How the USA will not qualify for the last 16

  • Draw against Iran
  • Lose against Iran