A gathering by the Great Lakes, a London surprise and an Iberian adios decorate FIFA.com’s latest stats review, along with an 11th-hour twists in Borisov and two players ending long goal droughts.
fans packed into ‘The Big House’ on Saturday to set an attendance record for a soccer match in the USA. The crowd for the International Champions Cup final between Manchester United and Liverpool comfortably broke the 101,799 present at the Rose Bowl to watch France overcome Brazil in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament final in 1984. The fans witnessed United beat their arch-rivals 3-1 and make it four winning and one draw in five examining assignments under Van Gaal, during which time they have scored 16 goals (3.2 per game). It proved a double celebration for football in the US with the National Women’s Soccer League celebrating a competition record 19,123 attendance a day later as Portland Thorns hosted Houston Dash.
caps and nine major tournaments – both records for a Spanish outfield player – were the figures with which Xavi quit international on Tuesday. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas is the only man to have represented La Roja more times (151) and in more notable competitions (ten). Curiously, Xavi’s first and last matches for his country came in defeats by Louis van Gaal-coached Netherlands sides: 2-1 in 2000 and 5-1 at the recent FIFA World Cup™. Incredibly, the pocket-sized midfielder won 82 of his caps in qualifying for or at major events – Latvia’s Vitalijs Astafjevs is the only European to have seized more.
The number of minutes into injury time it was when Sergei Krivets dramatically snatched BATE Borisov a place in the UEFA Champions League’s play-off round draw and eliminated Debreceni. An Ibrahim Sidibe penalty proved enough for the Hungarians to win the third round qualifier’s first leg, and the same player, from the same method, broke the deadlock at the Borisov Arena on Tuesday to leave the Belarusians requiring three goals without reply to progress. After Debreceni went down to ten men, however, Aleksandr Volodko and Vitali Rodionov sliced BATE’s deficit to just one, before Krivets headed home with his side’s 21st and last attempt on goal. It sent BATE into Friday’s play-off round draw alongside Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen and Napoli, among others, and left Debreceni in the play-off round draw for the UEFA Europa League. Joining BATE were Lille, for whom midfielder Florent Balmont scored for the first time in 541 days to help to an 3-1 aggregate reverse of Grasshoppers.
Arsenal finished an Emirates Cup game without scoring for the first time in six years and 1 attempts on Sunday. Only once previously had the Gunners failed to score in the 2007-incepted tournament: a 1-0 loss to Juventus in its second instalment. Despite thumping Benfica 5-1 in their first outing of this year’s competition, however, Arsenal lost 1-0 to their manager Arsene Wenger’s former club. Falcao headed home the only goal in London – his first since suffering an injury in January which ruled him out of Brazil 2014 – to allow Valencia to become the Emirates Cup’s first Spanish winners.