Welcome back to The Corner, our weekly round up from the world of football. Qualification for Euro 2016 has started and World champions Germany who, after the friendly defeat by Argentina, got off to a winning start but didn’t impress. The big surprise of the weekend, though, was Portugal, who suffered a shock defeat by Albania.
Earning three points is always a good way to start European qualification and although Germany locked down the points they did fail to light up the Stadium in Dortmund.
The ever-present Thomas Mueller opened up the scoring before Ikechi Anya handed Scotland a deserved equalizer in the 66th.
Muller hit the winner four minutes later for a hard fought win which came at a price as midfielder Marco Reus injured the same ankle that kept him out of the World Cup.
As Germany scraped to a 2-1 win, Portugal, without Cristiano Ronaldo, got their qualifying campaign off to a terrible start when they were stunned by Albania in Alveiro.
A stunning volley from Bekim Balaj early in the second half proved to be the only goal of the encounter which at the end saw Portugal booed off the pitch by their home support.
We might be wrong
After this short international break, next weekend the domestic leagues are back in action.
In Spain, the focus is on the Madrid derby. How is this match and the selected others will end? Send us your predictions, on the social networks, using the hashtag #TheCornerScores.
In the English Premier League we feel Arsenal will have their worked cut out when they host Champions Manchester City- We predict Real Madrid will beat champions and city rivals Atletico two nil while in Russia we feel Zenit St Petersburg will prevail 4-2 against Dinamo Moscow.
Ups and downs
And now we look at the ‘‘Ups and Downs’‘ form the world of football this week.
Manchester United fans will be full of renewed optimism if they were lucky enough to see their marquee summer signing Angel Di Maria in action against Germany in a friendly midweek.
He was in devastating form and inspired his nation to a 4-2 victory.
He set up the first three goals and then found the net himself for the fourth.
An on-field performance of such quality that should go a long way in helping United fans their club should also now be on the up.
Another player to make our ‘up’ list is Ronaldinho.
The former two-time world player of the year has been plying his trade in his native South America since leaving AC Milan in 2010. And was even named South American player of the year in 2013.
The 34-year old playmaker is still seeking further adventures and over the weekend signed a two-year deal with Mexican first division club Queretaro.
Making the ‘down’ list this edition is Pedro Leon.
The Spanish league has blocked Getafe’s registration of the 27-year-old star forward, after his salary demands would break the club’s salary cap and violate Financial Fair Play regulations.
A potential season-long loan move for Leon is now on the cards with Sevilla reportedly keen on taking the former Real Madrid winger who has refused to lower his salary in order to be eligible to play for Getafe.
On this day
It’s time for a new feature on the Corner – ‘‘On this day’‘.
Let’s see what happened ‘On this day’ back in 1888 and how football changed forever.
On the 8th of September 1888 the very first edition of the Football League began in England.
It was also the first national football league anywhere in the world.
There were twelve original members but only ten kicked off on the first day.
Preston North End were eventually crowned the first ever league champions after the twenty-two game format finishing 11 points clear of Aston Villa.