sabato 29 marzo 2014

Panini World Cup 2006

Panini Germany 2006 is the 10th World Cup Panini album, a regular publication since the first Panini World Cup Mexico 1970.
Opening the album, there is the sticker zero on the left (Panini stamp) and four metallic stickers on the right page (trophy, mascot and logos). The album continues with the stadium page (12 stickers) and the calendar of the competition. Then all the national teams are showed, following the order of the group stage. Each of the 32 teams (except Angola, Ghana and Saudi Arabia) is placed on two pages with a total of 19 stickers: the team logo (metallic sticker), the squad, and 17 players. The teams Angola, Ghana and Saudi Arabia are placed on one page with 10 stickers each: team logo (metallic), squad and 18 players on 9 stickers (two players per sticker). In the following we review each group with teams and players in details.

Group A: Germany, Costa Rica, Poland, Ecuador
Germany had a young and promising team, but they were not able to reach the final, losing with Italy (0-2) in the semifinals. Players like Podolski, Schweinsteiger and Lahm were at their first big event. Costa Rica most famous player was Wanchope, who played in Europe for Manchester City. Poland was eliminated in the group, while Ecuador reached the round of 16 (lost against England) with great performances of Tenorio and Delgado.

Group B: England, Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden
England shows the rising star (21 years old) Rooney. Other big names are Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard and Owen. Most famous players of Paraguay are Gamarra and Santa Cruz. In Trinidad and Tobago we find the ex-Manchester United player Dwight Yorke (35 years old). Sweden has a big name too: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Group C: Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia, Netherlands
Lots of great players in this group. In Argentina we find a very young Leo Messi (19 years old), at his first World Cup. In the same team other great players as Veron, Crespo, and Tevez. The big name of Ivory Coast is Drogba, whereas Serbia includes Nemanja Vidic (Manch. United). Netherlands shows three young stars: Robben (22 years old), Van der Vaart (23) and Van Persie (23)

Group D: Mexico, Iran, Angola, Portugal
In this group Portugal was the best team. They won the group and reached the semifinals. Here we can find one of the first Cristiano Ronaldo stickers. Other important players like Figo, Deco, Carvalho are also included.

Group E: Ghana, Italy, USA, Czech Republic
Here we have Italy, the World Cup winners! In the base set the album includes Christian Vieri that actually was not present at the World Cup (at his place Inzaghi). The characteristics of the team were a great defense (Buffon, Cannavaro and Materazzi above all) a concrete midfield (Gattuso, De Rossi, Pirlo), decisive forwards (Totti and Toni), and a secret ingredient: Fabio Grosso, who scored against Germany in the semifinal and kicked the last penalty in the final against France.

Group F: Brazil, Croatia, Australia and Japan
Brazil was one of the most expected team as they featured Kakà, Ronaldinho, Adriano, Robinho and Ronaldo. However, they were kicked out in the quarter finals. Australia surprisingly passed the group stage, with players as Tim Cahill and Kewell.

Group G: France, Switzerland, South Korea and Togo
France lost the final against Italy and the main protagonist of their tournament was in the good and in the bad Zinedine Zidane, at his last appearance on the football field. Other great players were Trezeguet, Henry, Vieira, Thuram, Barthez.

Group H: Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia
Spain arrived with great ambitions and big names (Raul, Torres, Morientes), but they failed in the round of 16 against France. Ukraine easily passed the group with their leader Andriy Shevchenko.

Album Details
Full name: Fifa World Cup 2006
Publisher: Panini
Competition: World Cup (National Teams)
Number of teams: 32
Stickers per team: 19 stickers
                              (Angola, Ghana and S.Arabia have10 stickers)
Special sections: Introduction (5 stickers)
                           Stadiums (12 stickers)

Total number of stickers: 597

For more information about this collection and update sets you can check Cardz Review:

mercoledì 19 marzo 2014

Panini Sprint 2010

Panini Sprint is a collection about professional cycling that was popular in the 70's. After 30 years, Panini published a new successfull edition (Panini Sprint 2009) that became regular every season (until present, the last edition is Panini Sprint 2013). 
Panini Sprint 2010 was published for the Belgian market and therefore it contains texts in the two official languages of the country (Dutch and French).
The album opens with the table of contents and then it continues showing the 24 Professional Cycling teams included in the album. Teams are showed in alphabetical order: AG2R, Astana, BMC, Caisse d'Epargne, Cervélo, Cofidis, Euskaltel, Footon, Garmin, HTC, Katusha, Lampre, Lambouwkrediet, Liquigas, Milram, Omega, Quick Step, Rabobank, Radioshack, Saxo Bank, Skil, Sky, Topsport Vlaanderen, and Vacansoleil.
Each team is displayed on two pages and features 17 stickers: the team photo, the jersey (shining sticker) and 15 athletes. 

After the teams, there is a section dedicated to the old champion Eddy Merckx, who turned 65. His great career is resumed with 12 stickers on two pages. 
The album ends with a page about Cyclo-cross (very popular sport in Belgium). Seven stickers with the main athletes are included: Stybar, Albert, Nys, Vantornout, Pauwels, Wellens, and Peeters.

In Panini Sprint 2010 we can find the stickers of the main protagonists of the season. 
The Tour de France was initially won by Alberto Contador, who was later revealed having failed a doping test and Andy Schleck was declared the new winner. Ivan Basso won the Giro d'Italia and Vincenzo Nibali the Vuelta Espana. Thor Hushovd won the World Championship, held in Melbourne.

Here we show some of the main stickers:

Cadel Evans wears the World Champion jersey, won in 2009

Alessandro Ballan, World Champion in 2008

Cavendish won 5 stages in Tour de France 2010

Pippo Pozzato winner of one stage of Giro d'Italia 2010

Vincenzo Nibali won the Vuelta Espana 2010

The young talent Peter Sagan

For Tom Boonen, 2010 was not a very good season

For Lance Armstrong, 2010 was the last of his career.
The doping scandal exploded few months later.

Cancellara won in 2010 the Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders 
and the Time Trial at the World Championship.

Bradley Wiggins impressed as a potential winner of Tour de France, who got in 2012

Album Details
Full name: Sprint 2010
Publisher: Panini
Sport: Cycling
League: UCI professional teams
Number of teams: 24
Stickers per team: 17
Special section: - Eddy Merckx (12 stickers)
                          - Cyclo-Cross (7 stickers)

Total number of stickers: 427

lunedì 10 marzo 2014

Topps Premier League 2014

Topps Premier League 2014 is the latest chapter of the Topps saga dedicated to the English Premier League. The album style is similar to the 2013 edition: the cover is soft and the total number of stickers (352) is significantly reduced compared to few years ago. The reduced number of players per team (12) means that some interesting players (especially young prospects) are not included. However, this collection introduces an innovative concept, the "Pro 11" players, which are related to an online game: on the official Topps website it is possible to collect virtual stickers (with the code found behind the Pro 11 stickers) to build its own team and compete with other collectors. It is possible to win special gold stickers.
The album opens as usual with the table of contents on the left, foreword and first two stickers on the right: the Premier league logo and the trophy. This year these stickers are normal and not silver shining. The 20 teams are showed in alphabetical order and for each team there are 16 stickers: the club badge (shining sticker), the coach, the squad (double sticker) and 12 players

In the center of the album we find a double page with the 2013/14 kits: 10 stickers with the home uniforms of each team. The album continues with 4 pages of Topps Pro 11 players: 20 shining stickers (one per team) of some of the best players of the league, each one associated to a code (on the back of each sticker) to unlock the player on the online game. Among these stickers we find Ozil (Arsenal), Bellamy (Cardiff), Oscar (Chelsea), Sturridge (Liverpool), Negredo (M. City), Van Persie (M. United), Eriksen (Tottenham), Osvaldo (Southampton).

Even if the number of player for each team is limited to 12, there are included in the album some young talents that have positively impressed this season and could become top players in the coming years. We can mention Wilshere (Arsenal, 1992), Bacuna (Aston Villa, 1991), Caulker (Cardiff, 1991), Lukaku (Everton, 1993), Barkley (Everton, 1993), Kasami (Fulham, 1992), Brady (Hull, 1992), Coutinho (Liverpool, 1992), Santon (Newcastle, 1991), Redmond (Norwich, 1994), Luke Shaw (Southampton, 1995), Ben Davies (Swansea, 1993), Joe Shelvey (Swansea, 1992), Eriksen (Tottenham, 1992), Townsend (Tottenham, 1991), Ravel Morrison (West Ham, 1993).
Of the same age we have to consider also Hazard (Chelsea, 1991) and Oscar (Chelsea, 1991) that standed out already last season.   

The sticker of the Portuguese manager Mourinho

Maybe the best player of the league: Luis Suarez

Update (April 2014): I managed to win some Topps Gold stickers in the online game. These are actually thick cards with the name of the player in the back. A great and rare product from Topps!

Album details
Full Name: Topps Premier League 2014
Publisher: Topps
League: English Premier League
Number of teams: 20
Stickers per team: 16
Special Sections:   -Logo and Trophy (2 stickers)
                              - 2013/14 Kits (10 stickers)
                              - Topps Pro 11 (20 stickers)

Total number of stickers: 352