October 9, 2006

The Weekend That Was

Posted in A-League, Euro 2008, MLS, South America at 6:49 pm by deadlymusings

Craig Gordon was a busy man SaturdayWith England deciding to crap the bed against Macedonia, the media focus has turned to Wayne Rooney’s inability to score for his national team. The Manchester United striker has not scored in two years, which is all the more disappointing to him considering Peter Crouch’s record year in an England shirt.

Scotland secured a famous 1-0 win over France at Hampden Park on Gary Caldwell’s header. Despite that, there are problems within the squad. Lokomotiv Moscow striker Garry O’Connor is not only homesick, but he has jeopardized his international career by not joining up with the squad in Ukraine.

Wales were emphatically destroyed by Slovakia, but at least Craig Bellamy’s assault trial was pushed back in their only good bit of news.

An inept defensive display by the Republic of Ireland saw them leave Cyprus on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline. Steve Staunton will be lucky to be in the job much longer after making Cyprus’ attacking displays look like Barcelona.

Italy finally got their qualifying campaign going with a 2-0 win over Ukraine, and the pressure is increasing on Marco van Basten after the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw in Bulgaria.

A recap of club action around the world after the jump.

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October 6, 2006

Euro 2008 Qualifying Preview: Matchday 3

Posted in Euro 2008 at 5:00 pm by deadlymusings

Group A

Kazakhstan v. Poland – The Kazaks are off to a rather good start in their first European Championship campaign with two draws from two matches. They face a Poland side which should be able to beat them, but they have not looked particularly good in their opening fixtures.
Kazakhstan 1-1 Poland

Armenia v. Finland – Finland find themselves top of the group on goal difference, but they proved to be a force to be reckoned with in their 1-1 draw with Portugal. You might as well give them the three points here.
Armenia 0-3 Finland

Serbia v. Belgium – Serbia hasn’t looked particularly good in their opening matches, but they find themselves second in the group. Warning signs are there for Belgium especially in attack. They have four points as a result of the single goal they scored against Armenia and their stalemate at home to Kazakhstan.
Serbia 1-0 Belgium

Portugal v. Azerbaijan – Portugal were fortunate to take a point from their group opener against Finland, but this should be an easy three points.
Portugal 5-0 Azerbaijan

Group B

Faroe Islands v. Lithuania – Normally somewhat competitive, the Faroe Islands have taken several steps backward and they will be lucky to keep Lithuania below four goals.
Faroe Islands 0-6 Lithuania

Scotland v. France – It’s good times for the Tartan Army as Scotland sits on top of a group containing Italy and France. The reality they face tomorrow is that France will be much, much more difficult than the Faroes or Lithuania.
Scotland 1-2 France

Italy v. Ukraine – With a single point from their opening two matches, Italy are finally going to take things seriously. At least they hope they can find some form against a Ukrainian side featuring a badly out of form Andriy Shevchenko.
Italy 1-1 Ukraine

Group C

Moldova v. Bosnia-Herzegovina – Three points to Bosnia.
Moldova 0-2 Bosnia

Hungary v. Turkey – Hungary followed up a 4-1 loss to Norway with a 3-1 win over Bosnia, so it’s difficult to predict which team will decide to show up against Turkey. A 2-0 win over Malta was good enough to move Turkey up to second in the group, but this is superior opposition. It is still a winnable match for them however.
Hungary 2-2 Turkey

Greece v. Norway – The holders play their second qualifier against an in-form Norwegian side. Needing some firepower in attack, Greece recalled Georgios Samaras to the squad. Norway are hoping to extend their winning run and move closer to qualifying.
Greece 1-1 Norway

Group D

Wales v. Slovakia – Ryan Giggs is out for Wales and they will be captained by Craig Bellamy. Wales head in as favorites, but there really is no reason why they should be. Slovakia to take the points emphatically.
Wales 0-3 Slovakia

Czech Republic v. San Marino – 13-0 may not be the worst defeat San Marino take in this group.
Czech Republic 8-0 San Marino

Cyprus v. Ireland – Slovakia pumped Cyprus for six goals in their last qualifier, but they face a winnable match against Ireland. Shay Given is out with that bowel injury and manager Steve Staunton really has no idea what he is doing.
Cyprus 2-1 Ireland

Group E

Russia v. Israel – Guus Hiddink’s side couldn’t break through against Croatia in their opener, and pressure will be on him to get a win at home. Israel are off to a fantastic start to qualifying and they have an opportunity to get some separation from the other contenders for second spot should they somehow take the points.
Russia 1-1 Israel

England v. Macedonia – The England squad thinks Steve McClaren has no idea what he is doing. That idea has taken away from the previous buildup of England not winning things and Wayne Rooney putting eight into Macedonia’s goal. England will probably manage to only take a point leading to calls for McClaren to be sacked.
England 1-1 Macedonia

Croatia v. Andorra – The current high score against Andorra in the group is five. Croatia will take their shot and perhaps reach double digits.
Croatia 7-0 Andorra

Group F

Denmark v. Northern Ireland – Denmark should be worried going into their second qualifing match against Northern Ireland. Last month, Lawrie Sanchez was being questioned about his future with the national team, and he responded with a shock 3-2 win over Spain. The rumors have already started up again. Could it happen again?
Denmark 2-1 N. Ireland

Latvia v. Iceland – Latvia played well in defeat to Sweden last time out and they could be expected to win against easier opposition. Iceland opened with a 3-0 demolition of Northern Ireland, then fell on their faces against Denmark. Eidur Gudjohnsen will probably score and take the national team goalscoring record for himself.
Latvia 2-1 Iceland

Sweden v. Spain – The top two sides in the group battle for supremacy with Spain looking to prove that the defeat at the hands of David Healy was just a fluke. Sweden’s manager Lars Lagerback is under pressure for his handling of moody striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but I see the rest of the squad responding well without the Inter striker. Raul was surprisingly dropped by Spain coach Luis Aragones, which could turn out to be a regrettable decision.
Sweden 1-1 Spain

Group G

Romania v. Belarus – The hosts have to be favored for this one as they have looked good in their opening two fixtures, a 2-2 draw with Bulgaria and 2-0 win over Albania. Belarus, on the other hand, are off to a shaky start with a terrible 2-2 draw with Albania being followed up by a destruction at the hands of the Dutch. Romania will probably score a pair, but they could come from anywhere on the pitch.
Romania 2-1 Belarus

Bulgaria v. Netherlands – Marco van Basten has been underfire for his handling of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mark van Bommel, which led to both of their international retirements. With over half the country wanting him sacked if he fails to take maximum points this week, he opens with a difficult trip to Bulgaria. They may be without Dimitar Berbatov, but they have many more attacking options.
Bulgaria 1-2 Netherlands

Slovenia v. Luxembourg – Many, many goals will be scored at the Petrol Arena.
Slovenia 5-0 Luxembourg

October 5, 2006

Australian National Team Controversy #2182

Posted in Asian Cup at 4:36 pm by deadlymusings

Craig MooreAs Australia prepares for its doubleheader of matches, a friendly against Paraguay and an Asian Cup qualifier against Bahrain, Craig Moore has become a controversial figure.

Moore missed a flight on Wednesday after making the mistake of combining sleeping pills with a few beers, and as a result, he missed training yesterday and failed to make several arranged public appearances. The Football Federation of Australia decided to act against the Newcastle United defender by suspending him for the Paraguay match, and Moore took it upon himself to exclude himself from the match against Bahrain.

Players not showing up to training with the national team is nothing new for Australia, but the new regime is looking to stamp its authority over players who used to play the odd match that mattered.  Needless to say, but it has not gone down well with some members of the squad.

Zeliko Kalac thought the punishment was a bit excessive, FFA head John O’Neill disagrees and Moore is left wondering if he will ever play for Australian again.

Banned Moore Wants to Play On [The Australian]

October 4, 2006

Today’s News: October 4

Posted in Bundesliga, English Premier League, FIFA World Club Championship, La Liga, South America at 7:19 pm by deadlymusings

As I search for a new name to call this that actually has some originality, here is that same daily item.
Alan Pardew is learning that you actually need to be winning matches in order to have influence over a club. [Sporting Life]

David Dein is now the most powerful man in the organization that fights against international football and Chelsea. [Eurosport]

Hidetoshi Nakata will not be coming out of retirement to play for amateur side Auckland City in the FIFA Club World Championship. [Sky Sports]

Fernando Gago wants to join Real Madrid just days after scoring his first for Boca Juniors. [International Herald Tribune]

Miroslav Klose wants to move to a bigger club outside of Germany, Premiership clubs surely interested. [Soccer365]

If Only What People Said To the Media Was True…

Posted in Euro 2008 at 4:52 pm by deadlymusings

Then everyone would win with the nation’s star player scoring five times.

Yes it is an international week, and that means not much is going on in terms of anything really. The week preceding the weekend fixture is filled with players giving team talking points about certain players regaining international form, or how great a job their manager is doing. Nevermind the fact they will turn their backs on him once he is sacked for never being able to beat a certain Brazilian manager, everything is about unity.

So today, the England squad are focusing on the play of Wayne Rooney and to a lesser extent Frank Lampard’s inability to score deflected goals for his country. Peter Crouch stated that Rooney was looking to “prove a few people wrong.” I’m sure there might be three people out there that think Rooney isn’t good enough for England, but those people aren’t really worth the time.

After putting the fans behind the goals in Germany under a barrage of mishit shots, Lampard wants to prove his critics wrong. The Chelsea midfielder appears to be regaining some form, but it is not as though his place in the starting eleven is under threat. Scott Parker might be touted as an option, but there is no real chance he is dropped by Steve McClaren.

And finally, the guy who does not sing the national anthem, Gary Neville, said that it is a joke that England hasn’t won anything in over 40 years. Maybe, the joke is on him for buying into the media hype.

October 2, 2006

Today’s News: October 2

Posted in Asian Cup, English Premier League, Euro 2008, J-League at 5:25 pm by deadlymusings

The official bung inquiry announced its preliminary findings which amounted to Lord Stevens saying he needed more time. [Eurosport]

Those androgynous Euro 2008 mascots face a legal challenge to their very existence. [Reuters]

Ivica Osim continues to not call up European-based players to his Japan squad. [Goal.com]

Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer’s preparation for international action includes criticizing former managers and backup keepers. [The Australian]

Italy are now relegated to calling up players from Serie B’s bottom club. [FOXSports.com]

Man Management, Dutch Style

Posted in Euro 2008 at 1:59 pm by deadlymusings

Marco van BastenThis is the face of a man who is quickly losing control of his job. Despite being top of their qualifying group, Marco van Basten faces the biggest crisis in his reign as manager of the Netherlands.

Late last week, van Basten recalled Mark van Bommel to his squad. In the process, he was admitting he was wrong to say that the Bayern Munich midfielder had no international future while he was in charge.

Things got even worse when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had to pull out of the squad with an injury. He responded by calling up the other player he said had no international future. In Ruud van Nistelrooy, he was calling up someone who had spent the better part of the week criticizing him for just about anything.

Desperate to humilate the manager of the national team, both van Bommel and van Nistelrooy rejected their call-ups saying they would never play under van Basten again. With gaping holes in midfield and attack, van Basten will likely have to turn to Dirk Kuyt, who has yet to play well at the international level, and Denny Landzaat, who is struggling with Wigan this season, to fill them.

September 29, 2006

Today’s News: September 29

Posted in Bundesliga, English Premier League, Euro 2008, UEFA Cup at 7:39 pm by deadlymusings

Spurs have signed a 15-year-old goalkeeper from Sweden, who should do well in the Championship. [Sky Sports]

Mark van Bommel has been called up for Euro 2008 qualifiers as a reward for not criticizing Marco van Basten, unlike a certain Real Madrid striker. [FOXSports.com]

Gerald Asamoah will be out of the news and out of the Schalke team for a while after breaking his leg in two places. [Reuters]

Raymond Domenech will be carrying on his slave trading practices for another four years, or until France emphatically crash out of Euro 2008 in the group stage. [CNN International]

Kieran Richardson among those comically named in the England squad. [TheFA.com]

The EPL Weekend Preview: September 30-October 2

Posted in English Premier League at 7:26 pm by deadlymusings

Martin O'Neill in the distant past. Two unbeaten sides remain in the English Premier League, and one of them faces the most difficult fixture in the entire league. Rafa Benitez changes his side again. A fat Irishman will try to take on Arsenal’s remaining English defender. While yet another boring match will take place at Bramall Lane. Yes, it really is Round 7 of the EPL.

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September 28, 2006

Today’s News: September 28

Posted in A-League, African Nations Cup, Champions League, English Premier League, MLS at 6:28 pm by deadlymusings

Benito Carbone will now officially bring that Italian flare to Sydney FC, and his new manager thinks he will stay the whole season. [The Australian]

Radhi Jaidi announced his international retirement and his intent to keep his word. [The Guardian]

FC Kobenhavn’s Swedish international Marcus Allback is questioning Thomas Gravesen’s toughness. [Ireland On-Line]

Arsene Wenger can call himself Arsenal manager for life. [Sky Sports]

DC United are going to block the most amount of money MLS will ever get for Freddy Adu. [Clubcall]

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