Wide world of soccer: Coutinho chase, Carabao Cup, FFF on the rise
UPDATE: Coutinho has upped the ante by placing a transfer request. From my learning about world soccer, South American players dream of someday reaching the level of being able to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid. Coutinho believes that time has come for him. In fairness to him, he has been quietly making that known without social media blasts or walking out of training sessions. The question now is how the high priced game of "chicken" will play out. Barcelona has a maximum number in their minds they are willing to go to to get Coutinho. Fenway Sports Group (FSG) the owners of LFC have to decide if there is a dollar amount that is "an offer they can't refuse." If Barcelona don't bid that number, LFC keeps Coutinho and have to hope he gives a great season (despite being disappointed) thus raising his selling price even more next year. On the other hand, if Coutinho gets injured (he has had some injuries in the past) and doesn't have a world beating season, the asking price may go down. Stay tuned!
If you have clicked through on your sports web pages to check on England soccer, you may have seen something called the Carabao Cup. Did you wonder what is that?
Well, it turns out that the English Football League Cup has sold naming rights to Carabao. You can read all about the history of the EFL Cup at the Wikipedia link.
The short version is that the top four levels of the English soccer pyramid is involved in this competition. Level 1 - Premier League, level 2 - League Championship, level 3 - League One, and level 4 - League Two. Thus, in addition, to league play, there are domestic cup competitions such as the Carabao EFL Cup. There is also the FA Cup which we can discuss in another post. And there are European Cup competitions (Champions League and Europa).
A few examples from EFL Cup first round of play:
Queens Park Rangers (League Championship club) defeated Northampton Town (League One club) 1-0.
Oxford United (League One club) lost to Cheltenham Town (League Two club) 3-4 aet (in extra time).
Bristol Rovers (League One club) defeated Cambridge United (League Two club) 4-1.
And so it goes .....
The teams of the first round are in one big pot and there is a draw to determine who plays whom - there is no seeding or home field advantage. The winners advance to the next round where 2 clubs from League Championship (the 18th and 19th place finisher in the Premier League that were relegated into the League Championship) and 13 clubs from the Premier League (not involved in European competitions) are thrown into the pot for the second round draw. The remaining 7 Premier League clubs are thrown into the pot in the third round draw. As a result of these draws, sometimes a giant Premier League clubs wind up playing a match against a lower division team (sometimes called "minnows" in the sporting press) in a tiny stadium in a small town.
Meanwhile, Falkenbergs FF won 2-0 over Varnamo to move themselves into fourth place with 30 points. Oster is at 31 points in third place and a slot in the promotion play-off at the end of the season. There is excitement in Falkenberg, population 20,000, the small town by the sea in Western Sweden.
Laget Vid Havet!