28 DAYS TO GO!

Officially the 28th best team in the World, Senegal will be hoping to repeat their successes in the 2002 edition. 16 years ago, Senegal went unbeaten in the group stages and famously beat a world-class France side 1-0.

In what will be only their second ever World Cup appearance, Senegal have been pitted in Group H this time round, along with Japan, Colombia and Poland. They will rely on Liverpool’s talisman Saido Mane to steer them out of this tricky group and repeat their successes of 2002.

29 DAYS TO GO!

After 29 minutes of the first semi-final in Belo Horizonte four years ago, Germany were already 5-0 up against Home nation Brazil.

Goals from Müller, Klose, Kroos and Khedira x2 inside the opening half hour broke the record for fastest team to score 5 goals at a World Cup finals!

⚽️

Tottenham Hotspur: A season review 2017/18

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If this season was supposed to be a year of transition for Pochettino and his players, the north London side have outdone themselves. If you offered the pessimistic Spurs fans back in August a third place finish above London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, an FA Cup semi final and an exciting run in the Champions League, most would have bitten your hand off. Since its reopening in 2007, Tottenham had won just two games at Wembley in 12 attempts prior to this season – causing obvious concerns among the Tottenham faithful.

In their final season at White Hart Lane, Spurs went unbeaten at home, winning 17 of the 19 matches, scoring 47 and conceding a frugal nine at the other end. The job for Pochettino was to replicate the home form his players displayed last year as they moved into their temporary home at Wembley.

This looked unlikely as it took Spurs four attempts to win a league game at home at the start of this campaign. Even though they struggled on ‘home’ turf, due to their impressive away form, winning their first four outside of north London, Spurs found themselves in third place having played ten games. However, in order to maintain their league position, home form had to improve.

A magnificent string of performances in the group stages of the Champions League suggested that the ‘Wembley hoodoo’ had been lifted. A 3-1 home win against European heavyweights Borussia Dortmund sparked a 13-game unbeaten home run in the Premier League, a run which included wins against Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

So, with Tottenham finally having learnt how to play on the expansive national pitch, the outlook from the terraces started to look a little brighter and expectations were raised. With the Premier League title being seemingly wrapped up by Man City come the turn of the year, Pochettino and the fans had their sights set on the top four for the third season in a row.

For some, however, their ambitions were much, much higher. Following an incredible display in Turin, Spurs were favourites to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a home tie against Juventus left to play. Unfortunately, the experience of Allegri and his seasoned veterans was the difference in this second leg tie as Spurs faltered to a 2-1 defeat, forcing them out of the competition.

In spite of this crushing defeat, Spurs remained on track for the top four, whilst also extending their run in the FA Cup with a convincing 3-0 quarter final win against Swansea. This win, once again, encouraged Tottenham fans to set their sights higher than a top four finish, with FA Cup glory now a real possibility. Once again, however, the inexperienced players crumbled on the big stage as they lost their semi final tie against Man United.

With Champions League football all but secured following a 3-1 win against rivals Chelsea three weeks prior, the semi final defeat dealt Spurs fans a final blow in a roller coaster season. For many Spurs fans, Champions League football is expected to be delivered by the world-class talent in their ranks and the requirement now is silverware.

With Harry Kane losing out on the golden boot to Mo Salah and many of the players’ heads being turned to the World Cup in a month’s time, the tired players looked just as relieved to be leaving the national stadium come the end of the season as the travel-weary Spurs fans were.

All in all, this season has to be deemed a success for Tottenham Hotspur. Having essentially played 38 games away from home, securing third place is commendable and for the thousands of fans who will be returning to their rightful home next year, having Champions League football there is a must. If the purse strings can be loosened this summer and the key players retained, Tottenham’s inaugural season at their new home is set to be a very successful one.

Hot or Not: World Cup Kits ranked!

Home nation not qualify for the tournament? Drawn an underdog in the office sweepstake? Or just an aficionado of international kits. Well look no further for shirt ideas. After being put through our rigorous testing process, we have selected 11 of the most noteworthy strips which will not go unnoticed at this year’s World Cup, ranking them from worst to best.

11. Russia

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Can I just say, I’ve seen more effort been put into university kits. Russia are hosting the WORLD CUP for the first time ever, and they’ll be defending their home turf sporting this sorry excuse for a strip. Must try harder.

10. EGYPT

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Egypt did very well to make the World Cup, granted. But if they had told us this is what they would be wearing once they got there, I’m sure most would’ve told them not to bother. If only they had put as much effort into their kit as they did in qualifying, they may be higher up this list. Even Mo Salah won’t look good in this. Bore off.

9. Switzerland

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A very unique design as the pattern attempts to reflect the country’s mountainous regions. But Switzerland certainly haven’t peaked with this kit and will hope for a less rocky competition. Sorry.

8. Belgium

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Is it a Christmas Jumper? Is it a golf jumper? No. It’s Belgium’s new home kit for the World Cup. This design has no place in football and clearly the folk at Adidas didn’t get the memo. Would imagine Thomas Pieters and your grandma are eyeing this one up for next year’s Ryder Cup and Christmas dinner, respectively.

7. Spain

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After an embarrassing display in Brazil four years ago, Spain are out for redemption this time round and this isn’t the way to go about it. Good effort at recreating a retro kit, but simply mimicking the kit of the glory days will not put trophies back in the cabinet. It’s like when a six-year-old puts on a ‘Ronaldo 9’ jersey and suddenly thinks he can play like him. Grow up, Spain, that’s not how it works.

6. Argentina

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*ADIDAS BOARDROOM MEETING*

Boss: “This is Messi’s last ever World Cup, we need an iconic kit to suit the occasion.”

Intern: “Why don’t we just use the same kit they’ve worn for the last 70 years?”

*Offers intern the job*

About time Argentina’s creativity on the pitch was reciprocated in their kit design department.

5. Germany

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Who doesn’t love a throwback kit? In tribute to the World Cup winning side of 1990, Germany have recreated their classic kit that oozes class. Looking forward to the tear-stained edition of this strip after England knock them out in the quarter-finals. Probably.

4. Japan

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Whilst Adidas have favoured the retro look for many of their kits this year, they didn’t have this luxury with Japan as they only competed in their first World Cup 20 years ago. A sleek design nonetheless and one of the most modern looking kits at the tournament, as they attempt to outdo their rivals in a colourful Group H.

3. Peru

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Umbro … take a bow, son. After designing some of England’s most iconic kits, the classic brand has turned its attentions to the vibrant South America and look what they have pulled out the bag. In typical Umbro fashion, they have simplified an iconic design and created this absolute masterpiece that simply screams quality. Bravo.

2. Nigeria 

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Love it or hate it, this is the sort of flair I want to see in a World Cup kit. Reminiscent of that guy in PE who was always the worst at every sport, but his parents had a bit of money so always turned up with the flashiest clothes. A very brave effort from an exciting side, best of luck to them.

  1. Colombia

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After what was quite frankly an embarrassing excuse for a kit at the last World Cup, Colombia have come out all guns blazing and taken it back to basics this time round. If neutrals were to back a team based on their kit alone, I’m sure Colombia would have an expansive fan base. Paying homage to their classic Italia ’90 kit, this jersey has stolen the show and, win or lose, there will be countless players demanding to swap shirts with the Colombians this year.