An ant making waves in gator territory
Two coffee-makers grinding rivals to bits in the globe’s tea hub**
A 50-hour game, a glorious first touch and a climb up the Tatra Mountains
21 years had passed since the Germany men’s national team – which has a reputation for being one for the big occasion – boasted a winning record in finals until Sunday. Die Mannschaft once had a 75 per cent record in deciders, but back-to-back losses in the conclusions to the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ and UEFA EURO 2008 left them having lost seven of 13. After conquering Brazil 2014, however, the Germans won the FIFA Confederations Cup to lift their record in finals to 53 per cent. Lars Stindl’s unanswered goal in the climax against Chile left his country having scored in ten successive games in the competition – a figure surpassed only by Mexico (11 between 1995 and ’99) and Brazil (13 ongoing from 2005). Curiously, Germany became the first Confederations Cup-winning team to take five matches to record a clean sheet – all but one (Mexico in 1999) registered a shutout in at least one of their first two outings.
9 direct free-kicks in the MLS is what Sebastian Giovinco made it on Wednesday to tie the all-time record shared by Jeff Larentowicz and Javier Morales. But while the Californian and the Argentinian have been playing in the competition continuously since 2005 and ’07 respectively, the tiny Torinese had played only two-and-a-half seasons there. David Beckham, next on the list, managed seven direct free-kicks. Giovinco’s free-kick sealed a 3-1 win at Orlando City that gave Toronto FC a first away win in six attempts and left them averaging two points per game in the league this season. ‘The Atomic Ant’ has now netted five goals in his last four appearances in all competitions, and is just two shy of becoming the seventh European to reach the 50-goal barrier in the MLS after Robbie Keane, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sebastien Le Toux, Dom Dwyer, Thierry Henry and David Villa.
7 goals is the margin Shanghai Shenhua beat Liaoning Kaixin by to record the third-biggest victory in Chinese top-flight history – and Gus Poyet’s team did it without the man they made the highest-paid player on the planet. With Carlos Tevez nursing a calf injury, Fredy Guarin turned 31, signed a new contract, scored twice and set up another on a frenetically busy day personally. Giovanni Moreno, another Colombian who ironically celebrated his 31st birthday the day after, and Obafemi Martins also finished the 8-1 win with two goals and an assist apiece. The only bigger victories in the competition were Beijing Guoan’s 9-1 thrashing of Shanghai Shenhua in 1997 and Dalian Wanda’s 8-0 thumping of Bayi in 2001. The weekend finished with Paulinho outscoring his friend and former team-mate Alexandre Pato 2-1, but it being insufficient to prevent Tianjin Quanjian emerging 4-3 victors and ending leaders Guangzhou Evergrande’s ten-match winning run. It was the first time Guangzhou had conceded over three goals in a game in six years – they lost 5-2 to Jiangsu Suning when they already had the title secured in 2011 – while they had, thereafter, scored four or more a whopping 41 times.
1 goal scored, 42 conceded – that was Progres Niederkorn’s record in 13 winless matches in UEFA club competition until they doubled that tally inside nine heavenly minutes on Tuesday night. The 1919-founded Progres only finished fourth in the 14-team Luxembourger top flight last season, and surprisingly only lost 1-0 away to Rangers – holders of a world-record 54 domestic league titles and the 1971/72 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup winners – in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League qualifier. Emmanuel Francoise broke the deadlock in the 66th minute in Luxembourg, scoring Progres’s first European goal since they got their only one at home to Northern Irish minnows Glentoran in the European Cup in 1981. A Sebastian Thill free-kick quickly made it 2-0 and, after Rangers had hit the crossbar twice in stoppage time, Progres held on for a consequential upset and a next-round date with AEL Limassol.
Quick hits 64 places is what Poland have rocketed up the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in just two years and ten months. In September 2014 they trailed the likes of Cape Verde Islands, Guatemala and Jordan, while they are now in their highest-ever position of sixth.
50 hours of non-stop futsal is what a fundraising group of Tranmere Rovers players, staff and supporters partook in over the weekend, breaking the previous Guinness World Record by ten hours.
31 years after Gary Lineker became the last English footballer to join Barcelona, Toni Duggan became the next. The former Everton forwards were both 25, both attackers, both fresh from finishing as runners up in the English top flights and playing in the FA Cup final, and both left homes on Merseyside to live in Catalonia.
4 seconds after coming on as substitute, Philadelphia Union’s Roland Alberg, with his first touch, swerved home a 30-yard MLS Goal of the Year Award contender against New England Revolution.