April 23, 2014

Struggles and Successes of this season PART 2

The post Struggles and Successes of this season PART 2 appeared first on FootyBlog.net

With last years top three clubs all undergoing managerial changes many predicted a bit of a shake up and a competitive season at the top of the table. This is not a list of the best, but more accurately the most improved teams of this season.

SOUTHAMPTON
Southampton have been fantastic under Pochettino this season. A team that has been playing attractive football and getting the results when they need them. They’ve not quite been ‘all conquering’ but it’s a significant improvement on last seasons 14th place and it’s a good sign that a key part of the success comes from the young English contingent of Lallana, Shaw, Ward-Prowse and Rodriguez. Its seems Pochettino’s loose grasp of English and the change of chairman at the club has done little to slow progress at St. Marys and now it seems the biggest challenge they face might be keeping hold of their up and coming stars with rumoured mounting interest from the leagues big guns.

CRYSTAL PALACE
Palace were tipped for a swift trip back to the Championship back in August and for a while it looked like that was destined to be. However, under Tony Pulis, palace have been rejuvenated and have soared into mid-table with a string of impressive results typified by their recent streak of five wins. Jason Puncheon in particular has been in a run of good from in recent weeks. Joe Ledley has also impressed since January and the good support from the fans has no doubt help turn Selhurst Park into an intimidating venue for travelling teams.

EVERTON
Firstly, I believe credit must still be given to David Moyes. He spent over a decade at the club and was responsible for building the foundations of their current team. Roberto Martinez was coming to an established and stable club who have been getting good results and league positions for years, but my word, he’s taken something good and made it much better. Everton have been solid as ever this season but going forward have looked to have much more purpose. They attack with pace, and have been playing some great football. The on-loan Lukaku has been fantastic up front, whilst the midfield doesn’t miss Marouane Fellaini one bit. In fact, they look technically better and faster without him. The full backs have also been outstanding this season. Moyes was known to utilise his full backs as an attacking threat during his tenure as Everton boss and was effective, but this year it’s on another level. Seamus Coleman has come on leaps and bounds this term, performing as one of the best right-backs in the league in my opinion. With the ever impressive Baines at left back they really do give teams a good work out in the wide areas whilst remaining fairly solid defensively. Additionally, one man that cannot be overlooked is another loanee, Gareth Barry. He sits in the holding role, bringing experience and a quality of passing to the core of the Everton team, and is defensively aware, dropping back to cover counter attacks which enables the full-backs to go forward simultaneously causing a great attacking threat that has been the undoing of many opposition teams this season. Roberto Martinez can be very happy with his sides performances this year and with them floating just outside the top four, providing they have a good summer and continue to develop, you wouldn’t bet against them continuing to push for a Champions League place next season.

LIVERPOOL
In my mind title favourites. I predicted it would be Chelsea and if I’m honest Liverpool didn’t even come into consideration. I thought they’d be 4th at best and now here we are. Liverpool at the top of the table with three games to play and the best strike partnership in the league. A surge in momentum since the half way point has seen them pick up win after win and now it seems like only Chelsea could upset their title hopes and hand City a way back. They can be assured though with Mourinho recently claiming he may look to rest players against the reds in order to further Chelsea’s Champions League hopes. City won’t be too happy with that. As for Liverpool themselves it really has been a team effort. Brendan Rodgers looked like a man with a plan last season and now it’s certainly come to fruition. Firstly the previously almost anonymous midfielders Henderson and Allen have really stepped up their game. They’e been running teams into the ground with help from others like Coutinho and Sterling in the more advanced roles and with the ever-present Steven Gerrard adapting to a holding role with ease, the midfield has been dominating those of their opponents. I think however, the stand out performers for Liverpool are of course Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez. The duo have been lethal in front of goal bagging 20 and 30 goals respectively whilst setting up many others. Liverpool are running rampant and it’s hard to see anyone standing in their way of a first Premier League title.

And as I did a prediction of the bottom three it seems only right I end with the top, looking exactly the same as it does now.

1st Liverpool
2nd Manchester City
3rd Chelsea

The post Struggles and Successes of this season PART 2 appeared first on FootyBlog.net

Scottish Premier League News April 2014

Scottish Premier League News
SPL News

by Lisa Dillon

Celtic

Inevitably, Celtic cantered their way to a third successive SPFL tile win, with the ribbons on the trophy before March was out. A midweek win at Firhill formally secured what has been expected all season, although despite the expected nature of the success, Neil Lennon remains adamant that there are still ambitions to fulfil at Parkhead.

The dilemma for the club, who have at least another season in the top flight without Rangers, is whether to spend or not this summer. Lennon, majority shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell have met to define the outline of the club's five-year plan. The budgets and strategies they come up with could take them to eight championships in a row - but it is European success that Lennon has his eye on.

"Basically the board work that way, a five-year strategy," said Lennon. "We're getting round to that again. We have frank and open discussions and it's always pretty healthy. Dermot's satisfied with the way things are going and has his finger on the pulse of the club. "I think we're on the same lines. Don't get me wrong, it's not about my elevation - it's about me elevating Celtic. They're the same. It's not about Dermot's elevation, Peter's reputation or anything like that, it's about the security and the future of the club. They have all the information in front of them and that's the way they lead the club."

For Lennon, the aims are more immediate. Having had a fairly paltry return in the cup competitions to date, he craves a treble and a return to the last 16 of the Champions League next term, and would even go so far to suggest that Celtic could burst into the quarter-finals at some stage.

"I've done the last 16 now, the next step is 'can we go last 16, can we go last eight?'," Lennon said. "And certainly the treble is a viable incentive for [the players] as well. So there's a substantial amount to go for. You always have to present challenges for yourself. My worry is, at the back of my mind, if we just have domestic football next year -will I improve myself? That's just my concern, not the club's." With the likes of Stefan Johansen and Leigh Griffiths adjusting well to their new surroundings, the squad is undoubtedly further advanced in its rebuilding than 12 months previously, with Van Dijk the template for new signings who can be persuaded to join in June.

"I would take this squad into the qualifiers but as we progress I would like to add to it," Lennon said. "We want, if we can, to get business done before the World Cup because some of the players we're after, if they have a good World Cup their price will elevate."

To consider how seemingly outlandish goals can suddenly become a reality, Lennon needs look no further than his countryman Brendan Rodgers. Long before he was chasing the Premier League title at Liverpool, Lennon visited him at Reading, and the two men have kept in touch since an early season friendly meeting between the two clubs in Dublin this season.

"I must say I'm surprised by how well they have done because I always felt Chelsea and Man City would be dominating, but Brendan's done brilliantly," Lennon said. "Not just the fact they are winning games but the style of football too. "When I went to see him he had a file, a really thick file, and it was his methodology on the game. Early on in the season we were in contact, largely through text message. But I think at this stage of the season he doesn't need too many distractions."

Rangers

The on-going stresses and tribulations that continue to engulf Rangers off the park may dissuade many from joining the club. But manager Ally McCoist has insisted that he considers himself 'the luckiest guy alive' to be in charge of his boyhood team, although he did qualify that statement by admitting that he would like to have assumed control in less turbulent times.

Asked if he was feeling the strain of being Ibrox manager in the period since administration, he replied: "It's the dream job without doubt, perhaps not at the right time but, that said, I am the luckiest guy alive. "To play for the club you supported and then be assistant to Walter Smith and then get the job - I still believe I am the luckiest man alive in managing the club you supported since you were a wee boy.

"At best it has been a turbulent two and a half years since even prior to the club going into administration.The problems were there and you could see it coming. The signs were not good around the place and the staff and players could sniff it out."

Having led the Ibrox side to their second successive title as they edge their way back to the top flight in Scottish football, McCoist believes that Celtic, perhaps not publicly, are keen to have a strong Rangers snapping at their heels.

"Celtic thoroughly deserved their league title this year and won it very comfortably,' he said. "They have some very good players but they also lost some, Joe Ledley to Palace, Gary Hooper to Norwich and Victor Wanyama, who was a terrific player for them.

"So I think from Neil Lennon's point of view he will want to keep hold of the squad he's got and to build because, and this is only my opinion, it's maybe not as difficult for Celtic - but it's certainly very difficult without real competition in the league.

"History will tell you Rangers and Celtic have always given each other strong competition so Neil has to maintain the standards he has set while also looking to improve." McCoist admitted he was in the dark as much as anyone when it came to forward planning and budgets.

Rangers will play in a Championship next season including the likes of Hearts and possibly Dundee, Dunfermline and Falkirk.

He admitted he will be under intense pressure to take Rangers back into the top flight to challenge a Celtic side whose bank balance will have been swelled by continued involvement in the Champions League.

"We are planning already," said the Ibrox boss. "We have a couple of plans because we don't know if will we get any money to spend. In an ideal world we would like to plan long term. That would be the perfect scenario where we can bring players in. That would hopefully get us through the league next year and stay with us to challenge in the top flight the year after. That is the ideal scenario and I would love the opportunity to do that but as yet we don't know if we can.

"If we got told the budget is X amount and you can only plan for next season then we will just have to adapt to it.

"It's difficult. We have a list of free transfers all over Europe but if you get money to spend there is another market you can look at. The problem we have at the moment is we don't know if we can shop and where we can shop."

Scotland

The Scottish national team have found that the improvements they have enjoyed since Gordon Strachan took charge last year have been reflected in the FIFA rankings. The Scots have moved into 22nd place - making them the world's most improved country. The jump means the Scots have risen an astonishing 47 places since Strachan was appointed in January last year.

Strachan's Scots continued their excellent recent run of form with a 1-0 win in Poland last month.

That was enough for Scotland to be the biggest risers in the world in April's ranking where they have jumped up 15 places to 22nd. When the former Celtic manager took over last year, Scotland were languishing in 69th place and even dropped as low as 78th spot four months later.

Tags

April 22, 2014

Struggles and Successes of this season. PART 1

The post Struggles and Successes of this season. PART 1 appeared first on FootyBlog.net

With only a handful of games left in the season it’s crunch time at both ends of the table.

This is a brief summary of teams I feel have either underachieved or done well this season based on the current squad, stature and last seasons performances. Firstly, let’s have a look at some teams that have struggled this year.

FULHAM
There’s not much explanation needed for why Fulham get a mention here. A team that finished 12th last term and never really seemed in danger, spending the season languishing at the bottom end of the table and entertaining three managers is hardly a recipe for any great promise. That being said, Magath gives the impression he knows what he is doing at Craven Cottage. They have picked up a few very valuable wins in recent weeks most importantly over relegation rivals Norwich City who are now tipped for the drop. Fulham may yet find a way to keep their Premiership status.

WEST BROM
West Bromwich Albion were terrific last season. A team that looked very solid in the first half of last term in particular have since hit a downward spiral. They look a little bit lacking in confidence and have been leaking too many goals from nothing in recent months. Romelu Lukaku was formidable for them during his loan spell and despite the Odemwingie saga, Shane Long also put in a number of good performances and added to the goal tally. They were getting goals when they needed them and staying solid defensively. This season Albion are struggling to table enough wins. You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out wins are what you need. A win and a loss from two games is better than two draws. That has been West Brom’s problem this season, they haven’t been able to hold on to leads as they showed with the collapses against Cardiff and Tottenham more recently. Anichebe and Sessegnon are fair additions in place of Long and Odemwingie and I believe the team is capable of nice football going forward. However, I think they look uneasy at the back. Fosters long absence was a hindrance for sure, and their best back four in my opinion of Jones, McAuley, Olsson, and Ridgewell have all had little niggles with injuries, but all in all the defence needs to stop leaking goals to convert some of those many draws into what could’ve been wins. Nonetheless, Albion should be safe this season.

SWANSEA
Yet another team to undergo a managerial change that I personally don’t agree with. Swansea have fallen far from the attractive and successful football of the past two years. Laudrup endured a struggle this season before being shown the door but since Monks takeover the Swans have dropped further down the table. Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup both encouraged an attractive passing style at Swansea and wonders for the club and so I feel the decision to relieve Laudrup was a rash one. While they are certain to avoid the relegation scrap it is a massive fall from grace for a team that neutrals have loved to watch since their promotion to the Premier League.

NORWICH
From an impressive 11th place finish last year to now hovering just 2 points above the relegation zone with three games to go. Not to mention these games are Manchester United (A), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H). Whilst United’s home record this season has been less than impressive, I wouldn’t fancy their chances against any of the three despite the spirited performance against Liverpool at the weekend. It needed to come sooner. Players have not performed to the level required. Bassong is much more error prone this season, Hooper the only threat up top with no help from Van Wolfswinkel or Elmander in the goalscoring department and an ever changing midfield. In contrast, Snodgrass and Fer have often looked the part, and I have always been a fan of both Howson and Hoolahan. They are capable of much better. The sacking of Hughton with four games to go also bemused me as I don’t really see what the club had to gain from the decision. Realistically I always thought that the game against Fulham was verging on a must win. I like Norwich, but I can’t help feeling that at least one of Fulham or Sunderland will overtake them and the Canaries will be playing Championship football next season.

MANCHESTER UNITED
How the mighty have fallen. From clear cut Premier League champions to what looks like a mid table team at times, United have had a terrible season by their standards that has now culminated in David Moyes leaving the club with four games to go. I could talk forever about this season but I’ll keep it short for now for the sake of this article. 11 losses is not acceptable. 6 points against the top 6 teams is not acceptable. Fellaini for 28 million is ludicrous and the football the team has played this season has been largely unattractive and unfruitful. There will certainly be more said on the matter in the near future.

Predicted bottom 3;

18th Fulham (It really is a toss up between Fulham and Sunderland for this spot)
19th Norwich
20th Cardiff

Part 2 and the successes to follow…

The post Struggles and Successes of this season. PART 1 appeared first on FootyBlog.net

David Moyes Sacked

It is easy, with the benefit of hindsight, to suggest that David Moyes was never likely to be capable of filling Sir Alex Ferguson's shoes at Manchester United.

David Moyes Sacked at Manchester United


When Moyes was appointed as Ferguson's successor last summer, the unprecedented six-year contract handed to him by the club's restructured hierarchy gave the strongest indication of all - even more then the ringing endorsement of Ferguson - that he would be given football's most precious commodity, time.

However, that time has been called on Moyes only 10 months into his tenure, quick even by recent Premier League standards, which was unflattering compared with the Italian league of 20 years ago by former United defender Gary Neville this week. In a statement, the club said it "would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role".

Manchester United - and Moyes in particular - have made a series of miscalculations this season that has left their title defence in tatters. Indeed, according his detractors at Old Trafford, miscalculations would be too soft a description.

Reports suggest that Moyes has alienated senior players such as Rio Ferdinand, Robin van Persie and Ryan Giggs, which has in turn allowed some of United's younger squad members to push the boundaries of the Scot's control further than they would have ever dared under Ferguson

But even if you doubt the authenticity of such reports, the decision-making of Moyes has been questionable from the beginning, especially when you consider that the primary reason behind his appointment was to provide a consistent transition from Ferguson's generation-long reign. One of his first decisions was to dispense with the backroom staff that had served his predecessor well in recent seasons and bring in his own team of trusty lieutenants from Everton despite the lack of silverware among them.

Moyes has also - staggering - not yet named the same starting XI for consecutive matches, while he has been tactically out-thought by not only the experienced managers of Manchester City and Chelsea but also the relative novices at Liverpool and Everton. But Moyes' greatest shortcoming was perhaps his own judgement that he was capable of bridging the enormous gap left by Ferguson's sudden retirement.

Ferguson's own verdict might be called into question on this point, too. That the pair were friends and fellow Scots would have certainly clouded the decision-making process, as would have the feeling that, given time, Moyes would gently, gradually mould the club into his own, just as Ferguson had been allowed to do in the late 1980s before the raft of success enjoyed during the 1990s and 2000s.

The benefit of hindsight allows us all to see that managing Manchester United has been a step too far for Moyes at this stage in his career. He has been seriously let down by a number of his senior players - Wayne Rooney excluded it must be mentioned - as well as by the club's hierarchy during last summer's disastrous transfer dealings.

David Moyes Sacked at Manchester United


But Moyes must still carry the can for a woeful defence of the Premier League crown that the club won by 11 points last season as well as failure in the cup competitions, which has been all the more difficult for supporters to accept because of the numerous insipid displays from their side throughout the campaign.

The thinness of United's attacking threat compared with that on offer by champions-elect Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton - Moyes' former employers of course - must have left a seriously bad taste in the mouth of the United owners.

Indeed, Everton's transformation under Roberto Martinez might not have helped Moyes' plight, with Sunday's 2-0 win for the Toffees confirming that United would miss out on Champions League football next season and thus allowing the club to fire Moyes with only a one-year payoff under the terms of his contract.

© Marc Fox & Soccerphile

Tags

April 13, 2014

Liverpool Title Favorites After Seeing Off City

In one of the most enthralling games of the Premier League season, Liverpool took the box seat in the title race with a 3-2 win over Manchester City.

On a day when Anfield remembered the 96 people who perished in the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago, Liverpool took a 2-0 half-time lead through Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel.

...

Read Full Post

April 10, 2014

Atleti Dreams Turning Into A Reality

They've now beaten both Barcelona and Real Madrid this season and on Wednesday Atletico Madrid's dream of an unlikely Champions League and La Liga double moved a step closer to reality.

...

Read Full Post

March 31, 2014

Can German Legend Break Incredible World Cup Record?

Back in the penultimate game of the 2010 World Cup, a desperate Miroslav Klose sat prone on the bench during Germany's 3-2 third place playoff win over Uruguay, with the striker just one goal shy of equaling Brazilian striker Ronaldo's all-time World Cup goal scoring record of 15.

...

Read Full Post

March 24, 2014

Socceroos Boss Closing On World Cup Squad

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has an important job. It is he who has been tasked with defining the future of Australian soccer and ushering in an exciting new era for the national team.

...

Read Full Post

March 18, 2014

Another Milestone For Messi

Lionel Messi became Barcelona's record scorer on Sunday as he surpassed Paulino Alcantara's record of 369 goals for the club.

The Argentinean, who has been under par by his lofty standards this season, netted a hat-trick in the 7-0 demolition of Osasuna to take his tally to 371 goals for the club. He is still only 26.

...

Read Full Post

March 14, 2014

Liverpool Aim to Make Manchester United More Miserable

Manchester United vs Liverpool is never just a walk in the park, and Sunday's meeting between the two most successful teams in the English top flight is arguably the most important in the modern era, with a power shift in the North West very much on the cards.

...

Read Full Post

March 12, 2014

RVP Heading For Old Trafford Exit Door?

Rumors are abound that Manchester United striker Robin van Persie could be leaving the club this summer.

The Dutchman only joined United from Arsenal in the summer of 2012, and after a terrific first season, which saw him finish as the Premier League's top scorer with 26 goals.

...

Read Full Post

February 28, 2014

The World Cup: A Look Ahead

I have already started my look ahead to this year's World Cup in Brazil. You can check out analysis, players to watch, squad predictions and tournament predictions by clicking on the links below. The other 16 teams are to come...
...

Read Full Post

New Dawn For Australia

The regeneration of Australia's national team started in earnest this week as new coach Ange Postecoglou made a raft of changes to his squad ahead of the friendly with Ecuador.

The likes of Lucas Neill, Mark Bresciano, Sasa Ognenovski and Brett Holman have all been omitted for the March 5 clash, while a number of younger players have been called up.

...

Read Full Post

February 25, 2014

Mourinho Candid About Strikers

Jose Mourinho is said to be annoyed that private, and apparently light-hearted, comments about his strikers have been filmed by French TV station Canal Plus.

Should Mourinho win the title with the Blues this season, he may consider it one of his greatest achievements given that he has been without a world class number 9. Strikers Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba have scored just 11 times between them in the Premier League, and it is no secret that Mourinho will be in the market for a striker, come the summer.

...

Read Full Post

July 29, 2011

Tips for Better Sports Betting

<!--[if gte mso 9]> 800x600 <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]>

January 19, 2011

Cricket Betting Tips

Betting on cricket matches and cricket players has been going on for decades. Today there are number of online sites which offer betting services. Most of these sites allow people to place bets on games going on in all the prominent cricket playing countries. In any form of gambling and while placing bets it is important to know what the odds are and what you are up against. Cricket being a

August 28, 2009

Everton v Wigan Saturday Football Line up

On the 30th of August at 1500 hours, Everton will host Wigan at their home ground, the Goodison Park. Starting out, Everton are definitely the favorites, especially since they are the stronger side and they will be playing at home. However, Wigan does have a few tricks up its sleeve, and they will be hoping to win this match and thereby boost their players' confidence. The betting odds are

August 13, 2009

Burnley v Manchester United

Ardent followers of the Premier League will recall how newcomers Burnley managed to pull of incredible victories against seasoned teams like Chelsea and Arsenal last year. Their nascent Premier League ambitions were brutally cut short by Tottenham in the semi finals. Burnley returns to the Premier League this year, having signed up promising Scottish international Steven Fletcher, in the midst of

November 11, 2008

Football Star Beckham in His Element on the Field

David, along with Victoria Beckham, who attended the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Awards on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, expressed his satisfaction at being accorded a red carpet welcome.A red carpet will not be rolled out for Beckham when he hits the field Saturday night at Giants Stadium where the match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Red Bulls is slated to be

September 14, 2008

MSU’s Success in Football Crucial for Funding Entire Athletic Department

Michigan State University’s last athletic director who took its football team to the prestigious Rose Bowl Stadium was Doug Weaver who in Jan 1988 fulfilled this dream with George Perles, MSU’s football coach that year.Mark Hollis, MSU’s present athletic director is working towards achieving the same after 20years. "The goal is that going into every year, we have that legitimate anticipation that

August 31, 2008

Ancient small-school football rivalry in the south spreads to all sports

With the first gridiron feud between these two Virginia schools starting in 1883, the fact that the rivalry has not ended even after 125 years goes on to prove that this small-school rivalry is probably the oldest in the South.While the college students from Hampden-Sydney celebrated their 24-10 victory in the 100th game over rivals Yellow Jackets from the near Randolph-Macon College, they

August 05, 2008

Russia enjoys the Hiddink revolution

If you have been watching the Euro 2008 championships, you would have noticed the Russian advance through the various stages culminating in their booking a semi-final berth. For a side that was written off not long ago, the very fact that they reached the semi-final is in itself a great achievement. The credit for this amazing turnaround goes to the Russian side and its famous coach, Guus Hiddink

July 24, 2008

Repurposing condoms as soccer socks

Every now and then I read an article that catches me off guard and this is one such piece.

I turns out that the big soccer fashion trend in Cape Town, South Africa, these days is to wear condoms on your feet to keep your socks up.

The need for such an innovated way of using these prophylactics is the result of a lack of proper soccer gear, such as socks with elastic to hold them in place. Since condoms are distributed for free in order to help curb the spreading of HIV, it all makes sense.
Sivuyile Nqawe of the Lingelethu Football Association in Khayelitsha said it was to "ease matters for those who cannot afford expensive brands of football kit on their mission to sharpen their skills to become future soccer stars".

"It is just a creative method and it works to alleviate the situation. You just break a condom packet, grab and stretch it. Then you put it on your leg," Nqawe said.

"You will find that in most instances players bring a box of condoms to a match and share them among teammates for the same purpose."
Another example of necessity being the mother of invention.

FC Dallas might lose Toja to Europe

Is Juan Toja about to play his final match as a MLS player?

Rumor has it that the longhair midfielder will fly to Romania tonight, after the All-Star match, to finish a deal with Romanian powerhouse Steaua Bucharest.

Then again, it is just a rumor. Accord to FCD coach Schellas Hyndman, "I expect him here to play against LA (on Sunday)."

Although this season has not been as strong as the first half of last year, Toja is still a vital part of Dallas's attack. If he does decide to move on to Europe, FCD will have a difficult time replacing him.

Then there is the ongoing speculation that teammate Kenny Cooper might also be soon to fly across the Atlantic. Those rumors have died down of late, but if both of these ended up being true, it is hard to see a way for Dallas to finish the season in a commanding fashion.

Is the face of FC Dallas about to change in a major way? We'll know within a week.

July 09, 2008

A Fitting finale to an Exciting championship

The recently concluded Euro 2008 championships in Switzerland were a resounding success by all accounts. If it was a spectator’s delight watching the scintillating games, it was an organizational and logistical success from the administrator’s point of view as well. The Swiss Defence Minister Samuel Schmid declared on Sunday that "It's been a mega event. The third-biggest sporting event in the

June 10, 2008

Sanchez Happy With Fulham Revival

Although drubbed by Arsenal in the Barclaycard Premier League opener, Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez has hardly any doubts about the strength of his defense. He is the person who has been credited with the revival of the side. Fulham was not in the best of form when he had taken over the mantle of leading the side towards the end of last season.Chris Coleman, the predecessor to Sanchez, was under

April 03, 2008

World Cup History: Sweden

Sweden has already managed to put together a pretty impressive World Cup record. After all, the country has already achieved one final appearance as well as three top four finishes. It will certainly be interesting to see what the country still has to offer.

Sweden first participated in the Cup events in 1934. At this time, they beat Argentina with a score of 3 to 2 during the opening round. They then lost to Germany with a score of 2 to 1 during the quarter finals and the Germans went on to lose to Czechoslovakia with a score of 3 to 1.

After this first tournament, the event moved to France in 1938 and Sweden received a bye for the first round when Austria withdrew from the competition. They went on to beat Cuba with a score of 8 to 0 in the quarter finals and met up against Hungary for the semi-final. Here, they lost with a score of 5 to 1. Hungary went on to lose to Italy in the final, with a score of 4 to 2.

In 1950, Sweden managed to beat Italy with a score of 3 to 2 and then had a 2 to 2 draw against Paraguay. They moved onto the final four, but than lost against Brazil with a score of 7 to 1 and then lost to Uruguay with a score of 3 to 2. Although they did win over Spain with a score of 3 to 1, it simply wasn’t enough for team Sweden to move on.

In 1954, Sweden did not qualify for the tournament, but they hosted the event in 1958. This seemed to bring good luck to the team, as they had the best World Cup performance in the country’s history of the game. First, they beat Mexico with a score of 3 to 0 and then won against Hungary with a score of 2 to 1. The team then had a 0 to 0 draw against Wales and moved on to the quarterfinals. They went on to win against the USSR with a score of 2 to 0 and to beat Yugoslavia with a score of 1 to 0. They ended up making it to the finals and facing Brazil. They couldn’t pull of the win, however, and lost with a 5 to 2 score.

Sweden failed to follow up this good year in a positive way, however, as they failed to qualify for both the 1962 tournament and the 1966 tournament. On the other hand, they did qualify in 1970 and they did win their final group with a score of 1 to 0 against Uruguay. That’s as far as they managed to go, however, and Italy ultimately won the title with a 4 to 1 win against Italy.

In 1974, the team did a little better with a 0 to 0 draw against Bulgaria and a Group 3 victory. They won with a score of 3 to 0 against Uruguay. They went on to lose against Poland with a score of 1 to 0 and a 4 to 2 loss against West Germany. West Germany ultimately went on to win the title.

Things looked promising in 1978, with a 1 to 1 draw against Brazil. They went on to lose against Austria and Spain and finished at the bottom of Group 3. The team failed to participate in the 1982 and 1986 events, but returned in 1990. At this time, they faced Brazil and lost 2 to 1, and then went on to lose by the same score against Costa Rica and Scotland.

In 1994, the Swedish team managed to make it to round two after a 2 to 2 draw against Cameroon, a 3 to 1 win against Russia, and a 1 to 1 draw against Brazil. They went on to win with a 3 to 1 score against Saudi Arabia and went on to the last eight. Here, they faced Romania and drew 2 to 2. After the shoot out, Sweden came out on top with a 5 to 4 score. They then faced Brazil and couldn’t manage to pull out a win.

The team failed to qualify in 1998, but did participate in the 2002 event. They won a 1 to 1 draw against England, won 2 to 1 against Nigeria, and had a 1 to 1 draw against Argentina. They went on to face Senegal, but still couldn’t pull out a win.

2006 doesn’t look much better for Sweden. Although they will likely make the last 16, history shows that they probably won’t make it all the way. If they do manage to progress any further, they are not likely to take it all the way to win the title, despite the fact that the team does have a great deal of talent to offer.

World Cup History: Portugal

There are several more contenders for the 2006 world championship title in Germany than many may have thought. In fact, many are claiming there is a “new world order” that deserves to be recognized. Some of the teams being considered more closely include Greece, Turkey, and South Korea. Portugal is also being looked at as a possibility when it comes to winning the cup, though most people think they pose little threat to actually win the entire cup. After all, history has demonstrated that the team has not been able to capitalize on its assets and bring home a win.

In 2004, Greece won the European honors and Turkey and South Korea have also managed to make it to the semi-finals in 2002. Another dark horse that is starting to gain more recognition over the past few years is Portugal, despite the fact that the 2006 competition represents only the fourth time Portugal has participated in the World Cup finals. The first Portugal win came in 1966 in England and it is still considered to be the best main event performance for Portugal.

Before their excellent 1966 performance, they had been in a difficult group that pitted them against two of the most prestigious teams from the decade before. In 1958 and 1962, Brazil had captured world titles. In addition, Hungary was having an amazing period of football at the time. Despite the fact that they hadn’t actually won a championship during this period of time, the Hungary team from that era is still regarded as one of the most revolutionary in the history of the game.

Although Hungary wasn’t quite the juggernaut it used to be by the time 1966 came around, the fact that Portugal was able to win with a score of 3 to 1 at this time was quite an achievement. It was also here that Eusebio made his first goal while helping in a 3 to 0 win over Bulgaria. Eusebio added two more goals to his record while helping Portugal achieve a 3 to 1 victory over Brazil. Although some of the defensive moves used by Portugal at this game were controversial, the game still highlighted the fact that the Portuguese were a team to contend with.

The fact that North Korea beat Italy during the first round also helped Portugal, because this meant the Asian side would be their opposition during the last eight. It looked as if all was lost, however, when North Korea brought the score to 3 to 0 during the game’s first 25 minutes. With the help of Eusebio’s four goals, the team managed to pull out a 5 to 3 win.

The team then faced England and faced a real challenge. Bobby Charlton got two goals early on and Portugal wasn’t able to regain control. It took another 20 years before Portugal made it to the finals again. When Portugal made it to the tournament in Mexico, they were considered a difficult team to contend with, but they still were not thought of as a team that could win. At this time, Portugal found itself facing England in the opening group phase. Despite putting up a good fight, Portugal did not progress.

Once again, the Portuguese found themselves out of the World Cup action for a long period of time. In fact, they didn’t return until 2002. They were referred to as the “Golden Generation” during this time, but still did not fair too well. Despite the excitement surrounding Rui Costa, Luis Figo, and Fernando Couto, the young team wasn’t able to pull off a victory. First, they lost against the United States with a score of 3 to 2. They did win against Poland, however, with an impressive score of 4 to 0. With that victory, team Portugal’s hopes were improved. This was short-lived, however, as they were beaten by South Korea. The hopes team Portugal held in its young talent were quickly dashed.

After that disappointing season, Luis Felipe Scolari was brought in to try to revive the team. Scolari, who was the manager of the winning Brazilian World Cup team has brought new hope to the struggling team. After being beaten in Euro 2004, Scolari has something to prove to the world and he has just the team to do it with. In addition, it is a straightforward procedure to get out of Group D, which contains Iran, Mexico, and the former colony of Angola.

If history is any indication, Portugal is not likely to bring home the win in 2006. At the same time, they have a number of factors working in their favor. They have young talent that is thirsty for a win as well as a high-quality coach with something to prove to the world. The results of this match up remain to be seen.

September 19, 2007

Starting a Football Betting Career

As a novice to football bets, the first thing you must learn is the types of bets used. These are the basics to a successful betting career. There are various types of football bets. A few of them are Straight Wagers, Money Line Wagers, Half-time Wagers, Parlays, Future and Proposition wagers, Teasers, Reverse Wagers, etc. Gaining a basic idea about some of these would help you place bets

July 01, 2007

Rafa’s excited over new signings

Liverpool is all set to get bolstered with new signings. Manager Rafael Benitez is gung-ho about the possible move of major players like Javier Mascherano, Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso into his Liverpool squad. To add to the excitement is the speculated buy-out of ‘The Kid’ Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid. Although played down by the Madrid officials, this move is definitely in the offing.

May 03, 2007

Free Bets on the internet

I was looking around on the internet as I often do for free bets. Most of the time online bookies offer you free bets as an incentive to sign up. Many of these free bets could be a straight $20 or £10 and sometimes as much as £60 / $120. You will also see regular offers such as place a bet on any market and your get a free goal score bet. The site that I was looking at for these free bets was

April 02, 2007

2001 no longer seems 6 years away...


That is how desperate the situation at High... no wait (forgive me) Ashburton Grove has become. Why do I mention a year normally associated with terrorism? That year encapsulated Arsenal's most embarrassing defeat in modern history - a 6-1 tub- thumping at the hand's of Manchester United. On Saturday lunchtime, Arsenal were treated to a another dose of an only slightly less venomous medicine, this time on Merseyside; in front of Liverpool's new American co owners - one wonders whether Liverpool's breathtaking display has left the Americans shell shocked that there just might be something more exciting than March Madness on this side of the pond?

Whatever the case, on this occasion, the terrorism is not being perpetrated by some Islamic fundamentalist, no - the terrorism is etched between the paper thin lines of Arsenal's permeable defense. These players have hi-jacked the Gunners' back line and transformed what are normal defensive rituals into Sunday morning comedy routines which only serve in aiding the opposition, not Arsenal.

All this was on a day when Arsenal were presented with a precious opportunity to cement their status as the third best team in the Premiership, hence securing another venture onto European shores next season. To say Arsenal "spurned" this chance is the understatement of the season. Suicide would perhaps be a more appropriate description. From the start, Arsenal were 2 yards off the pace, Liverpool harried Arsenal like blood thirsty wolves chasing a pack of hyenas, and the skyscraper they call "RoboCrouch" used his height to great effect. More irony for Arsene to ponder, two players the Frenchman previously rejected once upon a time played a decisive roll in this thrashing, number one being Jermaine Pennant whose spell at Arsenal was tainted with off the field controversy, and number two being Crouch - whom Wenger once described as “a basketball player who can play with his head”. I am sure messas Michael Jordon and Kobe Bryant would be equally flattered if they were on the receiving end of such a back handed compliment.

True defeats in the north of England are no stranger to the north London outfit. This season alone, Arsenal have suffered at the hands of Bolton, Man City, Everton, and of course Liverpool. And that does not account for the last gasp defeat to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup; which extinguished Arsenal's only semi realistic shot at silverware this season. If Celtic and Rangers joined the English League tomorrow, rest assured there would be no welcome party from Arsene's boys...

So the heaviest Premiership reverse since February 2001. Accurate to point out that on that occasion the scoreline read 6-1 in Man Utd's favor, but way back yonder Arsenal were still second in the league, and were still fighting in the FA Cup and Champions League. This season's traditional northern drubbing comes at a time when Arsenal are officially annexed from every competition, so although 6 years ago Arsenal conceded two more goals, the picture still looked brighter than it does today considering Arsenal's league position and precarious premature exits in the FA Cup and Champions league (two arenas where Arsenal have flourished in recent seasons).

At the beginning of the 2005-2006 season Wenger said he was not one to look back because he harbors too many regrets on previous failures and misfortunes. One can only imagine that sentiment will have been reversed on Saturday as the Gunners provided their fans with an early, not so welcome, April fools joke of a performance!

March 04, 2007

My Rant on Fox...


And no! Surprisingly my tirade is not directed at the political vultures at the top of the blood sucking money making tree that is FOX. My venom is not directed at the political architecture of the network which continues to serenely support the Bush administration by constantly parroting the orthodoxes handed out by the Republican party which have led us into the quagmire of Baghdad and beyond.

However, my anger is directed towards one of FOX's sister channels, "Fox Soccer Channel", and more specifically, the Fox Soccer Report, which airs on channel 613 on satellite television at 10pm eastern, 9pm central. This show has ruined the prime principle of soccer broadcasting.

This dilemma compounds, what is to me anyway, a fundamental problem entrenched in the roots of this country. American media is incensed with a fixation of advertising by the mass; cramming as much in to as little time possible in order to make the maximum profit. I'm sorry, this simply does not work when it comes to presenting British soccer.

It may work with the endless carpet commercials sandwiched between the intervals of your Sunday morning conservative radio talk shows, it may work during the non stop commercials which display legal attorneys encouraging people to sue for an arm and a leg. And it certainly may work during the infamous ESPN show called sportscenter, which successfully transforms baseball and basketball highlights into tiny two minute segments representing only a portion of the actual game. But you cannot marginalize soccer highlights into such short segments, that action represents an unforgivable sin on "the beautiful game".

And the pirates that run this show Fox Soccer Report are complicit in this act. They have this wild idea of compiling all the soccer highlight reels from 4 or 5 different countries into a brief one hour segment. This leaves the viewer with a somewhat less than full filed taste in his or her mouth. Showing one clip from a game that lasted 90mins and declaring "the game ended in a tie game" is not the way to report a game of soccer.

Even on the few occasions when analysis is permitted (and believe you me, this is rare) the main correspondent, Bobby McMahon, is only provided with 15 seconds or so to either summarize, or preview a game. He often ends up saying "This is gonna be a close game but I see it going this way..." This is simply not nearly enough time to explain the tactics, players, or sheer mental psychology that surrounds international soccer. You have to allow your viewers to understand the emotional pysche of the respective players before a match, and what sort of tactical masterpieces the managers will employ during the match to win the game. Furthermore, I do not think Americans have grasped the concept of "derby matches", these are games which take place between local rivals where the seed of hatred between the two clubs age back 10s, if not 100s of years. Rivalries which make the Packers - Bears rivalry look like a tussle between two spoiled toddlers on a playground!!!!!!!!!!!!

So to conclude, Soccer is not Baseball. It does not deserved to be presented as if it were a commercial itself, no, this game deserves more respect. I hope Fox Soccer Channel changes its ways and adopts a more rounded approach when it comes to Soccer coverage. I can only hope that Fox allows Fox Soccer Channel the same adequate analysis time they allow Bill O'Reilly on "The Factor". Hopefully with less advertisements, and a more comprehensive analysis of the games at hand, the Fox Soccer Report may one day enter "The No Spin Zone".


(Highly unlikely in our lifetimes, however...)

March 03, 2007

Betfair - Betting Exchange

Betfair - Betting ExchangeBetfair is undeniably one of the largest online gambling operations in the world today. Betfair has offered services for some time that has not disappointed their clients, thus making the site the largest online. Betfair launched its site in 1999, and since this time, the site has become the greatest market share Online. Its online betting shares out rates many of

January 26, 2007

Arsenal Football Tickets

Well, the new football season has started and what better time is there to purchase yourself some Arsenal football tickets.Arsenal have some big games coming up and tickets are available for you to purchase.Don't miss out on all the action, the atmosphere just isn't quite then same when watching on the television! Check out Online Soccer for more information.

September 04, 2006

Defoe frustrated with Tottenham situation

Jermaine Defoe has admitted his on-going frustrations at not being a regular feature in the Tottenham starting line-up.After scoring for England and putting in a very impressive performances, Defoe has given his best shot and there's not much else he could do to command a decent role at club level.However, Defoe is going to get his head down and let the football do the talking rather than speak

Gallas makes Chelsea feelings known

Former Chelsea defender William Gallas has criticised former boss Jose Mourinho.Now having joined Arsenal in a deal which saw Ashley Cole head the over way, Gallas feels relived.The France international had been phased out at Chelsea and appeared to be on very bad terms with Mourinho. Gallas feels that the gaffer was fickle with his players and the same thing that's happened to him happened to

Lampard praises Arsenal signing

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is happy with the signing of Ashley Cole.Lampard has played with Cole for England so he knows what he's all about and considers him to probably be the best left-back in the world.There's a lot of pressure playing for a big club like Chelsea but Cole has experienced it with Arsenal and England so Lampard doesn't think the defender will have any problems."Ashley is

Gerrard gets international praise

England boss Steve McClaren has praised midfielder Steven Gerrard.The Liverpool captain has been in good form for England and it's finally looking like he's transferring some of his inspiration from club level to international level.Now McClaren feels that the best is still to come from Gerrard as he'll be on the right hand side for England."He's been influential for Liverpool over the years and

Henry excited by new Arsenal big signings

Arsenal captain Thierry Henry feels that the club have made signings which will help them progress.Despite losing Jose Antonio Reyes and Ashley Cole, Arsenal have got William Gallas and Baptista, two very good players indeed.Henry considers Gallas to be the best centre back in the whole world and also believes Baptista can become a big player for Arsenal this season."I have known William for a

August 31, 2006

Cole completes awaited move

Andy Cole has completed a transfer from Man City to Portsmouth.Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has been trying to strengthen his squad throughout the summer and the arrival of Andy Cole will be a great boost to their Premiership campaign.After passing a medical today Cole completed his move and hopefully we'll have some more news on this later, including quotes from the player and manager.

West Ham shock Arsenal with massive star signings

West Ham have shocked Arsenal and many people involved with football around the world by signing both Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano on year long loan deals.Anyone would have thought that Arsenal would be the club to go to over West Ham but in this case it looks like it's a matter of where first team football would be easiest to come by.Now Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will have to look

Aston Villa fail to make star signing

A move for Javier Saviola to Aston Villa will not go through as the players agent Alfredo Cabrera Brizuela insists his client wants another level.The move never looked likely from the start but it shows that new boss Martin O'Neill is very optimistic and feels he can bring some of the biggest talent to the club."The propositions are important, but Javier wants another level." said Alfredo Cabrera

Blackburn in striker talks

Blackburn Rovers are currently in talks with Roma over a loan deal for Shabani Nonda.Blackburn are looking to strenghthen their attack for the Premiership season and Roma are willing to let the 29-year old go.With two years left to run on his current deal, there is an option for Blackburn to make a purchase for the player when the loan has expired in the summer.

Sven getting £13,000-per-week from the FA

News that Sven Goran-Eriksson is still being paid by the Football association has angered Wigan chairman Dave Whelan.Even before the World Cup when Sven committed gross misconduct, Whelan stood up and said the FA that Sven should be sacked. That was the perfect opportunity to get rid of the Swede in his view.However, Sven was not sacked by the FA and is now still getting paid a reported £