What to watch when the World Cup is over

Scandinavian Football

Unlike most European leagues, the majority of leagues in Scandinavian countries do not follow the traditional August to May pattern.

In Sweden the top flight – known as the Allsvenskan – has been in operation since April, and recommenced in early July despite the fact that the Swedish national side were still competing in the World Cup. Talk of the 2018 season so far has been the performance of the country’s top side – Malmo. The habitual title-winners have suffered an appalling first third of the season and currently sit below halfway in the table. Their championship-winning coach Magnus Pehrsson has been sacked and replaced by former Manchester City player and Leeds United manager Uwe Rosler.

The Eliteserien is the leading league in Norway, and games commenced in March. The season is running interrupted as Norway did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals tournament. Brann are currently topping the table, with Rosenborg and Ranheim giving chase.

Football in Finland follows an April to October pattern with no break, while the Superliga in Demark does not start until the middle of July.

Major League Soccer

While attendances in the US at baseball games are falling, the number of people taking an interest in ‘soccer’ is continually on the rise. This begs the question – have the US sports-loving population finally seen what the rest of the world has known for over a century?

The regular season for MLS began in March, and will continue until the MLS Cup in December. The main source of interest for the 2018 season so far has been the continual rise of Atlanta United, a team that did not even exist until 2014. Currently topping both the Eastern Conference and consolidated standings, Atlanta has average crowds of over 50,000, which is 20,000 per game more than the long-established baseball franchise, the Braves.

Of interest to UK football fans will be the new career of former England hero Wayne Rooney who, at the age of thirty-two, has quit the EPL after one season of return at Everton for DC United. Rooney will start his USA career one week before the end of the World Cup but has his work cut out, with DC United currently rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

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