By DAN KARELL
Belgium are one of the eight seeded teams at the 2014 World Cup but they find themselves outside the top nine seeds for the 2016 European Champions.
UEFA revealed on Friday the six pots ahead of Euro 2016 draw next month, and pot one includes Spain, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but surprisingly not Belgium. England, Portugal, Greece, Russia, the Netherlands, and Germany round out pot one.
The pots were based on UEFA’s national team coefficients, which takes into account performance in qualifying and at a finals tournament from the 2010 World Cup, 2012 Euro Cup, and 2014 World Cup (qualifying only).
The draw for the 24-team tournament takes place on Sunday, Feb. 23 and will distribute the nations into eight groups of six teams and one group of five teams. For the first time, Gibraltar will take part in a European qualifying tournament. Though France are hosting the tournament and qualify automatically, they’ll be placed into the five-team Group I and play each of those teams in friendly matches during the qualification period.
Here are some more stories to kick off your Friday:
MATA TO ARRIVE IN MANCHESTER FOR MEDICAL
Juan Mata’s move to Manchester United is nearly complete.
The Spain National Team midfielder is expected to arrive in Manchester on Friday ahead of a transfer move reported between £37-40 million ($61.5-66.5 million) from Chelsea. Though the London club have yet to send out a press release on the matter, manager Jose Mourinho confirmed the deal in a press conference on Friday and said that once Mata decided he wanted to leave, Mourinho wouldn’t stand in the way.
“I think that Juan was fantastic,” Mourinho said, via BBC Sport. “He gave everything, but at this point the team is doing very well, with Eden Hazard and Oscar playing well.
“I think he was frustrated and disappointed. People in this club know him better than me, but I know enough that he deserves this. If he is not happy, then even if it is another big club in England, we will not stop him being happy if they make the right offer. One day, if he comes back to Chelsea in a Manchester United shirt then the stadium will show him how much they respect him and want him.”
Mata, 25, joined Chelsea ahead of the 2011/2012 season from Valencia and became one of the English Premier League’s top players for the next two seasons. Despite being named Chelsea’s player of the year by the fans last season, Mata found himself second choice to Oscar, Eden Hazard, Ramires, and Willian this season.
This season, Mata has only played 17 times with one goal scored. Mata played just twice in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League group stage matches. Mata could potentially make his Man United debut on Tuesday against Stoke City.
SALAH SIGNED TO REPLACE MATA
While Chelsea make a big profit off the Mata transfer, the club quickly moved to invest some of those new funds in a new player.
In addition to confirming Mata’s transfer, the club and Mourinho confirmed that a deal has been agreed with FC Basel for Egyptian international winger Mohamed Salah. Reports in England state that Salah will cost Chelsea £12 million initially with bonuses of £4 million. The move is subject to a medical and Salah agreeing terms with the club.
“I am confident he will sign,” Mourinho told reporters at a press conference. “We have an agreement and that only goes forward when there is an agreement with the player. We know he wants to come, he told me personally but now it is terms and medical he has to pass.”
MONACO CONSIDERING HULK, VUCINIC AS FALCAO REPLACEMENT
AS Monaco are on the lookout for a new forward
Radamel Falcao’s torn anterior cruciate ligament injury threw a wrench into Monaco’s plans, but because the transfer window is still open, the club are searching for a replacement through the end of this season. According to L’Equipe in France, Monaco are looking at both Brazilian forward Hulk and Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic as January signings.
Monaco could hold off on signing a new forward if they decide not to loan Lacina Traore to Everton, which is close to being completed.
Vucinic nearly moved to Inter Milan earlier this week but Inter owner Erick Thohir pulled out of the negotiations in the 11th hour. L’Equipe believes that he’d cost Monaco €9 million for a transfer.
Robert Lewandowski begins his Borussia Dortmund farewell tour in with his first home game on Saturday since announcing that he has signed a five-year contract starting next June with Bayern Munich. (REPORT)
Real Madrid have remained at the top of the Deloitte Money League for the ninth consecutive year with revenues of €518.9 million in the 2012/2013 season. (REPORT)
Fabio Capello has taken himself off the market of available coaches this summer by extending his contract with the Russian National Team through 2018. (REPORT)
Nicolas Anelka has requested a personal hearing with the FA to dispute his charges. (REPORT)
UEFA have named former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson their coaching ambassador. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Think that England should be a top seed but not Belgium? Do you agree with Mata’s move to Man United? Like the Salah signing?
Share your thoughts below.