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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Which World Cup Managers Are Still In Their Job

The end of the World Cup usually signals a mangerial reshuffle. Some men have kept their jobs, some have resigned, some have already been replaced. Only Croatia’s Zlatko Kranjcar has been fired.
If you fancy a go at international management, then the current job vacancies are: Australia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ghana, Iran, Ivory Coast, Japan, Korea, Montenegro, Mexico, Serbia and USA.

Here’s a handy colour coded guide to what’s happening with each World Cup 2006 manager:
Angola: Luis Oliviera Goncalves – contracted until the end of 2006.
Argentina: Jose Pekerman – Argentinian FA yet to accept his resignation.
Australia: Guus Hiddink – contract ran out after World Cup. Now coach of Russia.
Brazil: Carlos Alberto Parreira – still in job (but probably not for long).
Costa Rica: Alexandre Guimares – resigned.
Croatia: Zlatko Kranjcar – fired.
Czech Republic: Karel Bruckner – signed extension covering Euro 2008.
Ecuador: Luis Fernando Suarez – still there.
England: Sven Goran Eriksson – left by mutual consent (plus the whole fake sheik thing). Replaced by Steve McLaren
France: Raymond Domenech – still there.
Germany: Jürgen Klinsmann – resigned. Replaced by Joachim Löw.
Ghana: Ratomir Dujkovic – resigned.
Iran: Branko Ivankovic – resigned.
Italy: Marcelo Lippi – resigned. Replaced by Roberto Donadoni.
Ivory Coast: Henri Michel – resigned.
Japan: Zico – resigned.
Korea: Dick Advocaat – resigned.
Mexico: Ricardo La Volpe – resigned.
Netherlands: Marco van Basten – contracted through Euro 2008.
Paraguay: Anibal Ruiz – will be replaced by Gerardo “Tata” Martino in January 2007.
Poland: Pawel Janas – resigned. Replaced by Leo Beenhakker.
Portugal: Luiz Felipe Scolari – recently rejected an offer from Brazil, and extended his contract to 2008.
Saudi Arabia: Marcos Paqueta – still there.
Serbia & Montenegro: Ilija Petkovic – resigned.
Spain: Luis Aragones – contracted through Euro 2008.
Sweden: Lars Lagerback – will resign after Euro 2008.
Switzerland: Koebi Kuhn – still going.
Togo: Otto Pfister – still there (though his stylist should be fired).
Trinidad & Tobago: – Leo Beenhakker – now Poland manager.
Tunisia: – Roger Lemerre – still boss.
Ukraine: Oleg Blokhin – still in charge.
USA: Bruce Arena – contract runs out end of 2006 and won’t be renewed.

Monday, April 26, 2010


The Spanish Football-Soccer-League celebrated Round 34 today with three games that included the two top teams fighting it out for the "Liga" title. Only 1º point separates the current leaders FC Barcelona from 2º placed Real Madrid as the "status quo" remains after todays results.

Tough match for FC BARCELONA against last placed XEREZ who are fighting for their 1º Division life. The home team won 3-1 but this scoreline "distorts" the reality of this match. Barça had to resort to Messi & Pique in the 2ºhalf in order to bring back a steady "hand" to secure their 3 points.

In the 1ºst half young JEFFREN scored for Barça in the 14th min & that was followed by HENRY with the second in the 22nd min. However, Xerez pulled one back quickly via a fabulous goal from BERMEJO that shifted the balance to the visitors. From here & up until the end of the 45 minutes Barça were against the ropes with a draw looking more a possibility.

But this match was also a rough affair, with lots of physical contact that ended with TWO Red cards given to Xerez (Alastiza & Orellana). This & the inclusion in the 2ºhalf of Messi & Pique shifted the balance again in Barça´s favour & IBRAHIMOVIC scored the third goal in the 51st min to calm the situation & take the match to good port for his side.

Three maximum valuable points that allows Barça to now plan the big Champions League game against Inter Milan & keep for now the Spanish League top spot. By the way, as an informative note, Barça equals its historical points in a season with 87.

REAL ZARAGOZA are looking at the 2º Division abyss & they haven´t the idea of beautiful Football in their heads at this precise moment. Instead they are fighting with tooth & nails, & tonight gave Real Madrid a torrid & very physical match that nearly paid off for them. REAL MADRID were pushed & slapped around all game with chilling physical tactics that cost Zaragoza in the end a red card in the 2ºhalf, & this played an important part in their 1-2 defeat.

Real Madrid lost Van Der Vaart to injury in the 14th min & this allowed Captain RAUL to get a good run tonight. As always he took his chance & scored his teams opener in the 51st min from a Ronaldo pass. However, with Zaragoza down to 10 men & even more "angry" COLUNGA managed to surprise the Madrid defence & equalize in the 60th min.

Certain panic entered into the Real Madrid game as they were witnessing before their eyes how the Spanish League title was slipping from their hands. Then in the 82nd min Cristiano Ronaldo passed to KAKÁ, who was back after a long spell from injury, to score the winner & give his team the precious 3º points along with a huge sigh of relief for all Madrid followers.

With this worked victory Real Madrid continues to keep the pressure on FC Barcelona & will go home thinking that tonight was indeed a close call.

VALENCIA CF won 1-0 DEPORTIVO & in the process retain the 3ºrd place on the Spanish League table & keep at bay Mallorca who are a close third breathing down their necks. The winning goal came in the 33rd min after a hand-ball was given in the penalty area in favour of Valencia to which DAVID VILLA converted for his 21st personal goal this season.


The best thing from yesterdays Real Madrid 1-2 victory over Zaragoza – apart from the 3 points – was the return of Brazilian midfielder KAKÁ. Just to watch the man smile & score his team’s second & vital winning goal sent warmth throughout most fair minded Football fans.

Kaká has been sidelined for 43 days with a very painful pelvic injury that has stopped him dry, & worst of all put his reputation into question. Many people – fans & media – began to question whether Kaká was thinking more about the upcoming World Cup tournament & his participation with Brazil instead about the Club that was paying him. Serious allegations from people outside the Club that must have added pressure, anxiety & sadness to Kaká that he of all people be questioned in such a manner. The man of “Jesus” was being called a “liar” by a few as his injury extended itself in time.

Yesterday was the night the Kaká shut those vicious & malice mouths with a goal that keeps Real Madrid fighting for the Spanish League title & 1 point away from current leaders FC Barcelona. His come back onto the Football field arrives at the best moment for his team.

Nice to have you back Kaká, Football has been missing you!


The Spanish Football Soccer League continued today with 6 games scheduled in Round 34 of "La Liga". Plenty of games involving teams facing the relegation danger & that brought about some rough matches with some red cards being shown as the nerves became as a consequence part of the games.

Posts, a penalty saved by Malaga Munuá (above) & a final 1-1 draw was the result of the MALLORCA - MALAGA game. The home team managed to equalize "in extremis" with ADURIZ scoring a controversial goal in the 91st min when Malaga claimed a foul on their goalkeeper. Earlier in the 86th min OBINNA scored to put Malaga ahead.

An entertaining game with Mallorca maintaining its "battle" with Sevilla FC for the Champions League 4th table place, while Malaga are still in the relegation danger zone.

ALMERIA lost 0-1 to RCD ESPANYOL with a superb goal from LUIS GARCIA in the 54th min that secures a little bit more their place in the 1º Division next season. Almeria will be disappointed as they had their opportunities & couldn´t convert.

REAL SPORTING DE GIJON continue with their "rough patch" losing to VALLADOLID 0-2 at home. The visitors played intensely as their future in the 1ºDivision depends on it. MANUCHO put Valladolid ahead in the 80th min & BARAJA the second in the 93rd min. To highlight how tense things were, both teams lost a man to red cards in the 86th min (De Horno for Valladolid & Maldonado for Sporting). Valladolid are now 2 points from getting out of the relegation part of the table.

RACING DE SANTANDER who are in danger of relegation lost 1-2 to VILLAREAL who managed to turn the game around thanks to their midfielder Santiago Cazorla who set up the goals from GODIN (above) in the 70th min & later NILMAR in the 82th min. Earlier the new Real Madrid signing & Racing young sensation SERGIO CANALES scored a "blinder" in the 38th min that showed all his class, but it wasn´t enough.
ATLETICO DE MADRID managed to shake off second-last placed TENERIFE winning 3-1. Atletico left Forlan & Simao on the bench thinking about Liverpool mid week & this allowed SALVIO (above) to start. He took his chance & scored two goals in the 11th min with help from Tenerife goalkeeper & in the 30th min. Tenerife managed in the 2ºhalf to get back the game & dominanted to be rewarded with their only goal by ROMAN in the 60th min. But SERGIO AGUERO scored in the 77th min to secure things & knock the wind out of the Tenerife sails.

GETAFE defeated SEVILLA FC 4-3 in an amazing come back, & on the way did a favour to Mallorca who consolidate a bit more the 4th Chmpions League place on the Spanish League table. Getafe scored first via ADRIAN in the 16th min, but that only inspired Sevilla to take control & they equalized via LUIS FABIANO in the 33rd & then go ahead via KANOUTE in the 38th min, the latter would get a red card in the 88th min.

The 2ºhalf was all champagne Football from both sides. Getafe equalized via PEDRO LEON in the 58th min & Sevilla answered via LUIS FABIANO for his second in the 61st min. Getafe took in a dep breath a went for it & virtually ran over Sevilla when they equalized via MANU in the 75th min, & in the last moment PAREJO (above) scored a penalty & the winner in the 93rd min to bring the house down. Amazing come back, Sevilla will be kicking themselves for going down to 10 men & allowing this game to slip through their fingers. Getafe are only 2º points away from Euro table positions.

Mourinho could deny Guardiola a repeat triumph

LONDON — Pep Guardiola's bid to underline Barcelona's status as the best club team in the world is in danger of being derailed in the Champions League by a man appointed by Inter Milan to end decades of failure in European football's biggest club competition.
Barcelona has to overturn Inter's 3-1 first leg lead in the semifinals, although a 2-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's Italian champion at Camp Nou on Wednesday will mean it advances on away goals. That will give Guardiola's team the chance to win the Champions League title for the second season in a row, this time at the home of its biggest domestic rival, Real Madrid, on May 22.
With a final against either Bayern Munich or Lyon to play for, Guardiola believes his team has to maintain the regain the momentum of last season's triumphs in Spain, Europe and the FIFA Club World Cup.

"It's too important for us," he said. "We've just won six titles (in one year) and there's a feeling that if we don't win the double we've achieved nothing.
"We need to settle it as quickly as possible. The game needs that. We can't sit back and see what happens while the minutes are ticking by. We have lots of goals to cancel out."

With both sides hit by injuries and suspensions, it might come down to the battle between two of the best coaching minds in the game.
While Guardiola's motivation is maintaining last season's achievements, Mourinho has to help Inter make up for 55 years of disappointment on the continental stage.

The last time Inter won the European title then called the European Cup was in 1965. Some of the biggest names in European football including Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi have tried and failed to bring the trophy back to San Siro.

Twice a European Cup winner back in the mid-60s, Inter has watched most of the powerhouse clubs capture the title since then and, despite four consecutive Serie A titles, dearly wants to win a competition now known as the Champions League.

An Inter victory in Barcelona will mean that Mourinho, who was an assistant coach at Camp Nou when Guardiola was a player there, will be close to achieving what he was appointed to do.

Inter is chasing the biggest European football prize and the trophy Mourinho held six years ago when he was in charge of Portuguese club FC Porto.
Although he then guided Chelsea to its first league titles in half a century, Mourinho was unable to lead the Premier League club to the Champions League final. Now he is out to end Inter's long wait for European success.
Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who scored Inter's first goal in the first leg, is a doubtful starter with a left thigh muscle injury and Mario Balotelli, who threw his shirt down after being whistled by Inter fans in the first leg, may not travel.

Since Inter's last appearance in the final in 1993, Bayern has won four European titles but only one since 1976.
Like Mourinho, Bayern coach Louis van Gaal is aiming to capture the trophy with two different clubs, having led Ajax to a triumph in 1995.
But he has been hit by suspensions to Franck Ribery and Danijel Pranjic and, although Mark van Bommel returns from a ban and his team has a 1-0 lead from the first leg, central defenders Daniel van Buyten and Martin Demichelis are both doubtful starters after leaving the field with calf injuries in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Lyon has Jeremy Toulalan missing through suspension after he was sent off for two yellow cards in Munich while Brazilians Cris and Michel Bastos could be sidelined through injury.
Coach Claude Puel admitted his team should have taken advantage of Ribery's first half red card in Munich.

"We played with the handbrake on, and we couldn't make the most of the time when we had the extra man," he said. "But we still have our chances for the return leg, even though it would have been good to score away from home.
"We went to Madrid and qualified and now we will go and do it at Stade Gerland. I prefer this kind of scenario, because you play your best football when you need to get a result rather than," protecting a result.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Iraq drawn with N Korea, Iran and UAE in Asian Cup

DOHA, Qatar — Defending Asian Cup champion Iraq was drawn with World Cup qualifier North Korea and longtime foe Iran on Friday for the group stage of next year's tournament.
United Arab Emirates round out Group D, offering plenty of challenges for an Iraq team that has struggled on and off the pitch since winning the event in 2007.
Favorite Australia was drawn with Bahrain, South Korea and India in Group C while Saudi Arabia and Japan join Jordan and Syria in Group B. Group A features Qatar, Kuwait, China and Uzbekistan.
The Jan. 7-29 Asian Cup will feature 16 teams and a total of 32 games, all in Doha, three years after the tournament was jointly hosted by Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage.
Along with an Iran-Iraq clash, the tournament could offer a possible match in the knock-out stage between North and South Korea.
Iraq enjoyed a memorable 2007 tournament, beating Australia and South Korea on the way to the crown. Since then, the team has struggled to beat some of the weakest teams in the Middle East, fired two coaches and endured a five-month ban from international football.
The ban, which was imposed because of allegations of political interference in the running of the sport, was lifted last month.
"Our ambition is to be the champions again," Iraq captain Younis Mahmoud said. "Through winning the cup, we did what America and the government couldn't do which was to unite the country."
As champion, Iraq qualified for the 2011 tournament automatically. Finalist and three-time winner Saudi Arabia and South Korea, which beat Japan in a third-place playoff last time, were also awarded automatic qualification.
Iran, another regional football power, enters the competition looking for its first triumph in 35 years.
"For the Iranian coach, the goal has to be winning tournament," said Seyed Afshin Gotbi, the Iran coach. "For the people of Iran, this is a very important tournament. After not qualifying for the World Cup, the morale of football fans in Iran is very low. This is very important tournament for the psyche of the people of Iran."
Australia, which surprisingly lost in the quarterfinals in the 2007 tournament, will be in a state of change following the departure of coach Pim Verbeek, who is quitting after the World Cup for a job in Morocco.
Hans Berger, the technical director of the Football Federation of Australia, said the key for the team will be have all their European-based players available.
"It's always more difficult because our first choice players are in Europe," Berger said. "The first thing is to create a situation where we have the strongest possible team in January and see that our new coach is able to put a motivated team on the pitch."
Among the other favorites are South Korea and Japan, who also qualified for the World Cup. But both teams have struggled of late, with Japan having trouble scoring goals and South Korea's defense coming under fire.
"I would like Japan to play as many matches as possible and we do aspire to play in the final, which is especially important since we are hoping to bring in new players in after the World Cup," coach Takeshi Okada said.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sooner, then later: Oklahoma has 4 1st-round picks

NEW YORK — Clearly, that was one heck of a Sun Bowl team.
Oklahoma, which finished 8-5 last season and played a December bowl game in El Paso had four players taken in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.
"I am so happy for these guys mostly because of the way they represent themselves," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "They are a credit to our university and our football program. I could not be more pleased for them. This accomplishment is the result of hard work and dedication that these guys have put forth since they day they arrived on our campus. They have earned their way to this level."
Of course, part of the reason the Sooners struggled last season was that quarterback Sam Bradford was hurt early in the season.
The St. Louis Rams weren't afraid, taking him first.
Then at No. 3, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Right after that, the Washington Redskins made Trent Williams their left tackle of the future.
And as if that weren't enough, the Cincinnati Bengals took tight end Jermaine Gresham with the 21st pick.
"To think that four guys who came in as members of the same recruiting class went in the first 21 picks is amazing," Stoops said.
Gresham also was hurt last year, but another reason a depleted Oklahoma team may have struggled was apparent just by looking at the first-round board.
Five other Big 12 players were picked, along with the four sooners. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh went second, offensive tackle Russell Okung of Oklahoma State went sixth to Seattle, which later picked Texas safety Earl Thomas at No. 14.
Atlanta took linebacker Sean Weatherspoon 19th, and wide receiver Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State went to Dallas at No. 24. That's over a third of the first 24 players.
At his news conference shortly after he was picked, McCoy was asked about the three Sooners taken with the first four picks.
"We can't play football in the Big 12, but the first four picks went out the Big 12? Mmmmm," McCoy said, then held up three fingers and leaned forward in his seat.
"Three of 'em from Oklahoma, by the way."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Robin Van Persie set for Arsenal return at Tottenham

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie could make a surprise return to the Gunners squad for Wednesday's crucial trip to Tottenham, BBC Sport understands.

The 26-year-old Dutchman scored eight goals in 11 games before rupturing ankle ligaments during the Netherlands' friendly against Italy last November.

In Van Persie's absence Arsenal have scored only 1.77 goals per league game, as opposed to 3.26 before his injury.

Arsenal are three points behind leaders Chelsea with five games left.

And with the Blues hosting Bolton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, Arsene Wenger's men could be six points adrift by the time they kick off against Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea also benefit from a far superior goal difference, so anything other that a victory would deal the Gunners' title aspirations a potentially fatal blow.

Three points would keep Arsenal in realistic contention and see them leapfrog Manchester United into second place.

That may encourage Wenger to name Van Persie in his injury-ravaged squad, who play their first match since being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona last Tuesday.

The Dutchman, who scored twice in Arsenal's 3-0 win against Spurs early this season, has missed 31 games in all competitions but his rehabilitation went according to plan and Wenger was impressed by the physical condition he was in on returning from the Netherlands.

Van Persie maintained his fitness through swimming and gym work and, once the ankle had completely healed, he began training with amateur side AFC Amsterdam.

He has now been doing ball work for several weeks and reportedly stunned onlookers by completing a daily work-out in which he would shoot with full force and perform sprinting drills.

"He is physically, fitness-wise, in a good shape," said Gunners boss Wenger on 25 March.

"So we have just to get him back to full team fitness - that will take two to three weeks maximum.

"I would say two weeks but after that when you start to play you are not at your best. You have to get a few games to get back to your best."

Club physio Colin Lewin recently told the Arsenal website that Van Persie - Arsenal's joint third-highest scorer in the league this season - would be joining the first-team squad for full training "imminently".

After Tottenham, Arsenal face Wigan, Manchester City, Blackburn and Fulham as they bid to win their first trophy since 2005 and a first Premier League title since 2004.

Van Persie's return is also good news for the Netherlands ahead of this summer's World Cup in South Africa.

Monday, April 12, 2010

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