France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established. The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural, political, and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is also a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks
A midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their teams defenders and forwards, some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being mobile and efficient in passing, they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the teams formation, most managers assign at least one midfielder to disrupt the opposing teams attacks, while others may be tasked with creating goals, or have equal responsibilities between attack and defence. Midfielders are the players who typically travel the greatest distance during a match, central or centre midfielders are players whose role is divided roughly equally between attack and defence. When the opposing team has the ball, a midfielder may drop back to protect the goal or move forward. The 4–3–3 and 4–5–1 formations each use three central midfielders, the 4−4−2 formation may use two central midfielders, and in the 4–2–3–1 formation one of the two deeper midfielders may be a central midfielder. The term box-to-box midfielder refers to central midfielders who have abilities and are skilled at both defending and attacking. These players can track back to their own box to make tackles and block shots. A good box-to-box midfielder needs good passing, vision, control, stamina, tackling and marking in defence, left and right midfielders have a role balanced between attack and defence, similar to that of central midfielders, but they are positioned closer to the touchlines of the pitch. They may be asked to cross the ball into the penalty area to make scoring chances for their teammates. Common modern formations that include left and right midfielders are the 4−4−2, the 4−4−1−1, the 4–2–3–1, a notable example of a right midfielder is David Beckham. Defensive midfielders are players who focus on protecting their teams goal. These players may defend a zone in front of their teams defence, defensive midfielders may also move to the full-back or centre-back positions if those players move forward to join in an attack. Sergio Busquets described his attitude, The coach knows that I am an obedient player who likes to help out and if I have to run to the wing to cover someones position, great. A good defensive midfielder needs good positional awareness, anticipation of play, marking, tackling, interceptions, passing and great stamina. A holding or deep-lying midfielder stays close to their teams defence, a player in this role will try to protect their goal by disrupting the opponents attacking moves and stopping long shots on the goal. The holding midfielder may also have responsibilities when their team has the ball and this player will make mostly short and simple passes to more attacking members of their team but may try some more difficult passes depending on the teams strategy
Montpellier Hérault Sport Club is a French association football club based in the city of Montpellier. The original club was founded in 1919, while the current incarnation was founded through a merger in 1974, Montpellier currently plays in Ligue 1, the top level of French football and plays its home matches at the Stade de la Mosson, located within the city. The first team is managed by Frédéric Hantz and captained by defender Hilton, Montpellier was founded under the name Stade Olympique Montpelliérain and played under the name for most of its existence. In 1989, after playing under various names, the changed its name to its current form. Montpellier is one of the members of the first division of French football. Along with Marseille, Rennes, Sochaux and Nice, Montpellier is one of only a few clubs to have played in the inaugural 1932–33 season and is playing in the first division. The club won Ligue 1 for the first time in the 2011–12 season, Montpelliers other honours to date include winning the Coupe de France in 1929 and 1990, and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1999. Montpellier is owned by Louis Nicollin, a French entrepreneur, and has been since 1974, the club have produced several famous players in its history, most notably Laurent Blanc, who has served as manager of the France national team. Blanc is also the clubs leading goalscorer. Eric Cantona, Roger Milla, Carlos Valderrama and Olivier Giroud are other players who have played in Montpelliers colours, in 2001, Montpellier introduced a womens team. The city of Montpellier had been in the process of creating a club in the city since 1914, however. Upon its creation, the club mainly engaged in association football, rugby union, athletics, tennis. The clubs headquarters was located at the local Café de Paris and carried the colours of the city, red, the successful merger with VGAL and the acquisition of the clubs players allowed Montpellier to easily adapt in the sport. The club spent its formative years playing mainly in the Division dHonneur Sud-Est, in 1925, the club was managed by Scotsman Victor Gibson. That same year, Montpellier endured an internal crisis after the French Football Federation discovered that the club had been guilty of financial misfeasance, the clubs president was suspended from football for five years and Montpellier were relegated for the first time. The resulting penalties led to the departure of several players, the rebuilding process was immediate as the club returned to the Division dHonneur after one season. In 1929, the club won its first major trophy, the Coupe de France, in the final, Montpellier faced FC Sète and recorded a 2–0 victory courtesy of goals from Auguste Kramer and Edmond Kramer. In July 1930, the National Council of the French Football Federation voted 128–20 in support of professionalism in French football
Levante Unión Deportiva, S. A. D. is a Spanish football club based in Valencia, in the namesake community. Founded on 9 September 1909, it plays in Segunda División, Levante UD was founded in 1909 as Levante Fútbol Club, taking its name from the Levante beach in La Malvarrosa, and was one of the pioneering football clubs in Valencia. Local rivals Valencia CF was not formed until 1919, however another club, Levantes earliest games were played at La Platjeta, near the docks on a plot of land owned by a perfume entrepreneur. Its next ground was also near the area, and the club gradually began to become associated with the working class. In 1919, the side played Valencia for the first time, losing 0–1, in 1928, Levante FC won its first trophy, the Valencian Championship. 1909 also saw the birth of Gimnástico Fútbol Club, which played at Patronato de la Juventud Obrera. By 1920, the team had become Real Gimnástico Club de Fútbol, in 1934–35, both Levante and Gimnástico debuted in the second division, when the league was expanded from 10 teams to 24. During the Spanish Civil War, Levante and Gimnástico played in the Mediterranean League, finishing fifth and sixth respectively – teams from this league also competed in the Copa de la España Libre. It was originally intended that the top four teams from the league would enter the cup, but Barcelona opted to tour Mexico and the United States, the first round of the competition was a mini-league with the top two teams, Levante and Valencia, qualifying for the final. On 18 July 1937, Levante defeated its city rivals 1–0 at the Montjuïc, during the Civil War, Levantes ground was destroyed, but the clubs squad remained intact. In contrast, Gimnástico had a ground, Estadio de Vallejo, as a result, the two clubs merged in 1939 to become Unión Deportiva Levante-Gimnástico, changing two years later to Levante Unión Deportiva, which club colours in the 2000s also dating from this era. Levante had to wait until the 1960s to make its La Liga debut, in 1963, the club finished runner-up in Group 2 of the second division, defeating Deportivo de La Coruña 4–2 on aggregate in the promotion play-offs. It spent most of the two decades in the second and third divisions, the Segunda División B would not be created until 1977. In the early 1980s, Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff played half a season for the club, after winning 2003–04s second division, Levante returned to the top level but survived only one season. Levantes financial status worsened, however, and there were reports that the players had received approximately one-fifth of their contractual payments. News reports stated that the club had incurred a debt of over €18 million in due to its players. The team plummeted down the standings, and it was confirmed that the club would be playing in the division in 2008–09. On 13 June 2010, Levante returned to La Liga after a 3–1 home win against already relegated Castellón and it lost in the final round 0–4 at Real Betis, but its opponents only managed to finish with the same points as fourth
Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres, the population of Mali is 14.5 million. The countrys economy centers on agriculture and fishing, some of Malis prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt. About half the population lives below the poverty line of $1.25 a day. A majority of the population are Muslims, present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade, the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, at its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, French Sudan joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegals withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. In January 2012, a conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of by April and declared the secession of a new state. The conflict was complicated by a coup that took place in March. In response to Islamist territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013, a month later, Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second round held on 11 August. The name Mali is taken from the name of the Mali Empire, the name was originally derived from the Mandinka or Bambara word mali, meaning “hippopotamus”, but it eventually came to mean the place where the king lives. The word carries the connotation of strength, D. Niane suggests in Sundiata, An Epic of Old Mali that it is not impossible that Mali was the name given to one of the capitals of the emperors. 14th century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta reported that the capital of the Mali Empire was indeed called Mali and this name could have formerly been that of a city. In old Mali there is one village called Malikoma which means “New Mali. ”Another theory suggests that Mali is a Fulani pronunciation of the name of the Mande peoples. It is suggested that a sound shift led to the change, whereby in Fulani the alveolar segment /nd/ shifts to /l/, Mali was once part of three famed West African empires which controlled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt, slaves, and other precious commodities
Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation