Friday, May 14, 2010

England: FA Cup Final Previews

Chelsea vs. Portsmouth
When: May 15, 10am EDT
Where: Wembley, London, England
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Preview I
Preview II
Preview III

Key Battles

Italy: Serie A Final Weekend Preview

The Scudetto, and the last Champions League qualifying place for next season, are still up for grabs in the final weekend of Serie A.

Inter Milan lead Roma at the top of the standings by two points while fourth-place Sampdoria are two clear of Palermo in the race for the final spot in Europe's elite club competition.


Spain: La Liga Final Weekend Previews

The title fight between Barcelona and Real Madrid is one of the issues that will be decided in the final weekend of the La Liga.

Aside from the race to finish top, there are two teams in the fight for fourth spot and a Champions League berth, two teams battling for sixth place and entry into the Europa League, and five teams hoping to avoid the three relegation spots.


Eduardo Alvarez's Previews

Leonardo leaves post as Milan manager by mutual consent

Leonardo has left Milan by mutual consent following weeks of speculation over his position at the club in the Italian press.

The manager's relationship with Silvio Berlusconi has deteriorated after the owner publicly criticised his team selection on a number of occasions, and the only surprise over today's announcement was that it should arrive the day before their final game of the season, against Juventus.

Foul play suspected as Kevin Davies is kept out of England picture

For the sixth time in seven seasons the Bolton striker has committed more fouls than anyone in the Premier League – no wonder Fabio Capello isn't keen.

Arsenal's organisational problems at the back, exacerbated by the lack of a commanding goalkeeper, were reflected in the number of goals they conceded from set-pieces, 23 – only the three relegated sides and Wigan let in more.


World Cup 2010: Complete Provisional Squad Lists

Every team's 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup32 teams will be competing for the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

Fifa has released the full details of the 30-man provisional squads of each of the 32 World Cup teams. These lists of 30 must be reduced to 23 by 1 June. Not all teams have named 30 in their provisional squads. Germany have a squad of 27, Mexico and Uruguay have named 26, and Slovakia 29 while North Korea have already formalised their 23-man squad for the tournament.

The youngest players named are the 18-year-olds Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon, Christian Eriksen of Denmark and Nassim Ben Khalifa of Switzerland. At the other end of the scale, the oldest players are the 39-year-old Holland goalkeeper, Sander Boschker, and England's David James, also 39 and the oldest player at the tournament.

Of all the players, 139 are based in England, 93 in Italy, 94 in Germany, 74 in Spain and 12 in Scotland.

The Joy of Six: Great teams that never won the World Cup

From the mighty Magyars to Maradona's Argentina side of 1990, here are half a dozen great teams that failed to go all the way.

World Cup 2010: International Football Village In Johannesburg Ready To Welcome Football Fans

The festive football village in Johannesburg will offer entertainment such as the German Fan Mile, a Brazilian Caipi bar, a Bavarian beerhouse and an African shebeen, every day from 11am until late.

Henry Ready For MLS Move

The ex-Arsenal hero, 32, has signed a pre-contract agreement to join New York Red Bulls for the summer's Major League season.

The Story of the 1970 World Cup

Mexico, May & June, 1970

Perhaps the most indelible image from any World Cup is that of the peerless Pele playing a perfectly weighted pass at the end of the 1970 final for a marauding Brazil captain Carlos Alberto to thump home.

League Run-Ins: Title Winners And European Contenders Across Europe

The major leagues of Europe are drawing to a close - exceptions, such as Russia, aside - and is here to bring you all the action.

If you follow the continental game it can be difficult to keep track of what's at stake. Who is in the title race in France? Who is competing for the Champions League places in England? What about Serie A's relegation battle? All this and more is answered in a condensed, easy-to-read format. Each league is updated after relevant matches are played, and marked accordingly.

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast reflects on Real Salt Lake's 3-1 win over Houston before revealing its Week 8 picks.

Jeff Carlisle: U.S. midfield still seeks winning balance

When Bob Bradley first took over as U.S. national team coach, one of the trickier tasks facing him was reconstructing the team's midfield. The international retirements of Claudio Reyna and John O'Brien meant the Americans suffered a significant drop in experience, and the team's ability to manage tempo and keep the ball took a hit as well.

The Week That Was

This was the week when a Manchester United star burnt his tackle doing a DIY brazilian, relegated Sheffield Wednesday sold off lumps of Hillsborough mud, the deadly cost of World Cup penalty shoot-outs was revealed and Antonio Cassano thanked his fiancé for keeping him out of jail.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Davies slams Sochaux officials over World Cup

The striker claims Sochaux president Alexandre Lacombe wrote to the U.S. coaching staff without his knowledge, saying that Davies was not fit enough to play at the World Cup and that the club would not medically clear him.

Donovan begins England-USA mind games

Just a day after all 32 nations announced their provisional 30-man rosters, Landon Donovan, the USA’s best and highest profile player, wasted no time in cranking up the heat on the England team and its biggest star, Wayne Rooney.

“Of course, there is more pressure on the English players,” said Donovan, in an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Sports. “If we don’t do well in the World Cup, people care for a little bit. But if England doesn’t do well in the World Cup, it is absolutely devastating to their country, their families, to their people.”

Ernst Bouwes in Holland: Not-so-brilliant Orange: Part 1

I will publish my own theory immediately in English: Dutch World Cup successes also happen in waves. The Orange revolution started in 1970, to be followed by a second wave during the '90s. At the moment, we are looking towards a third surge, starting at the upcoming World Cup, as the squad houses attacking power and creativity few teams can match.

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


Gabriele Marcotti's Column

I don't particularly enjoy compiling "team of the season" type lists. But today I'm feeling masochistic, so I've actually gone out and made four of them.

Look at the Premier League table and you see Chelsea and Manchester United together at the top, Arsenal ten points back, but with a healthy five-point lead over the five clubs ranked fourth through eighth. Then there's an eleven-point gap between the five sides between 9 and 13 who enjoy a five-point gap between them and the rest of the table.

So, with that in mind, I split the Premier League up into four tiers (to be fair, Arsenal probably ought to get their own tier, but I did not want to make a Best XI composed only of Arsenal players, so I lumped them with Chelsea and Untied) and made a best XI for each. It's more fun this way and forces you to think a bit more about players who don't get talked about as much.

Sam Kelly in South America

Dunga and Diego are at it again

Sorry, gents. Palermo is going, though. That should make you feel better...

Tim Vickery in South America

Brazil stay focused - Argentina look muddled

Sorry, Ronny...

Lily Allen breaks down in tears as her beloved Fulham FC lose out on the UEFA European Cup

A gutted Lily Allen broke down in tears last night after watching Fulham FC lose to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA European Cup Final.

Both the singer and actor Hugh Grant were among the celebrity fans who had flown to Hamburg to cheer on The Cottagers.

An overwhelmed Hamburg airport...

UEFA Europa League Final

Atletico Madrid 2 - 1 Fulham (AET)

Kevin McCarra at HSH Nordbank Arena

Paul Hayward: Fulham proud in defeat
Mark Lomas: Forlan denies Fulham fairytale
Phil McNulty: Hail Hodgson's Heroes

Spanish media hail Forlan

Player Ratings

John Terry's dad admits drug dealing

Edward Terry pleaded guilty as he appeared before magistrates in Basildon, Essex and said he was "embarrassed" over an incident in which the Prosecutor Ricky Khagram alleged he dealt drugs to a News of the World journalist called Dan Sanderson and was paid a total of £160.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

UEFA Europa League Final: Fulham vs. Atletico Madrid

Fan zones were a big success at the 2006 World Cup finals. One has been set up for today: roll up for family-friendly fun on the Reeperbahn, the scabrous street that makes Soho in London seem like a village lane from a Jane Austen novel. But the host city is locked out of its own party. Hamburg were on the brink of a final in their stadium until two late goals from Fulham. Residents now evoke the city’s history as an international trading centre by selling tickets on eBay at low prices.

Match Preview

Phil McNulty: Hodgson eyes another miracle
Paul Hayward: Hodson the rare radical English coach

Top 10 shock European finalists

The Mill +

Wednesday's Rumours


2010 World Cup: United States Team News

Thirty players were named to the U.S. national team's provisional World Cup roster Tuesday. But the biggest news concerned one performer who didn't make the list: Charlie Davies.

Goalkeepers (3):
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton)

Defenders (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

Midfielders (12): DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), José Torres (Pachuca)

Forwards (6): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki)

2010 World Cup: Italy Team News

The Italy coach Marcello Lippi remained true to his word today by rewarding the players who helped the Azzurri to the World Cup finals with a place in his provisional squad for this year's tournament in South Africa.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari), Salvatore Sirigu (Palermo);

Defenders: Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Grosso (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Mattia Cassani (Palermo), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa);

Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Antonio Candreva (Juventus), Andrea Cossu (Cagliari), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese);

Forwards: Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Marco Borriello (Milan), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria).

2010 World Cup: Serbia Team News

Serbia coach Radomir Antic included six England-based players in his provisional 30-man World Cup squad.

Vladimir Stojkovic (Wigan), Zeljko Brkic (Vojvodina Novi Sad), Bojan Isailovic (Cukaricki Belgrade), Andjelko Djuricic (Leiria);

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), Antonio Rukavina (1860 Munich), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), Aleksandar Lukovic (Udinese), Ivan Obradovic (Saragossa), Aleksandar Kolarov (Lazio);

Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan), Nenad Milijas (Wolves), Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow), Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liege), Milos Ninkovic (Dynamo Kiev), Zdravko Kuzmanovic (Stuttgart), Zoran Tosic (Manchester United), Miralem Sulejmani (Ajax), Gojko Kacar (Hertha Berlin), Nemanja Matic (Chelsea), Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade);

Nikola Zigic (Valencia), Marko Pantelic (Ajax), Danko Lazovic (Zenith), Dragan Mrdja (Vojvodina), Dejan Lekic (Red Star Belgrade).

2010 World Cup: Holland Team News

Ruud van Nistelrooy's international career appears to be over after the veteran striker missed out on Bert van Marwijk's 30-man preliminary World Cup squad.

Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Sander Boschker (FC Twente), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht);

Vurnon Anita (Ajax), Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Edson Braafheid (Celtic), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (HSV), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax) en Andre Ooijer (PSV);

Otman Bakkal (PSV), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munchen), Wout Brama (FC Twente), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), David Mendes da Silva (AZ), Stijn Schaars (AZ), Wesley Sneijder (Inter), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax) en Ibrahim Afellay (PSV);

Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Jeremain Lens (AZ), Eljero Elia (HSV), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munchen).

2010 World Cup: Mexico Team News

Mexico have named only five recognised midfielders in their 26-man provisional group for the World Cup.

Oscar Perez (Chiapas), Guillermo Ochoa (America), Luis Ernesto Michel (Guadalajara);

Rafael Marquez (Barcelona), Ricardo Osorio (Stuttgart), Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido (both PSV Eindhoven), Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar), Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), Efrain Juarez (Pumas UNAM), Jonny Magallon (Guadalajara), Juan Carlos Valenzuela (America), Jorge Torres Nilo (Atlas), Adrian Aldrete (Morelia);

Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna), Jonathan dos Santos (Barcelona), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), Giovani dos Santos (Galatasaray, on loan from Tottenham);

Pablo Barrera (Pumas UNAM), Adolfo Bautista, Alberto Medina (both Guadalajara), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Veracruz), Carlos Vela (Arsenal), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Guillermo Franco (West Ham).

2010 World Cup: Argentina Team News

Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso are set to miss the World Cup after not being included in coach Diego Maradona's 30-man preliminary squad.

Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Diego Pozo (Colon)

Defenders: Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan), Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich), Walter Samuel (Inter Milan), Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille), Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle), Juan Manuel Insaurralde (Newell's Old Boys), Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes), Ariel Garce (Colon)

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Sebastian Blanco (Lanus), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes), Jesus Datolo (Olympiacos), Jose Sosa (Estudiantes), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Liverpool), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina), Juan Mercier (Argentinos Juniors), Angel Di Maria (Benfica), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle), Javier Pastore (Palermo)

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), Diego Milito (Inter Milan), Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli).

2010 World Cup: France Team News

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira have been omitted from France's 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup in South Africa.

Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Adil Rami (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla)

Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)

Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).

2010 World Cup: Brazil Team News

Ronaldinho and Adriano will both miss the World Cup in South Africa after being omitted from the 23-man Brazil squad named by Dunga on Tuesday.

Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Doni (Roma), Heurelho Gomes (Tottenham)

Defenders: Maicon (Inter Milan), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Lucio (Inter Milan), Juan (Roma), Luisao (Roma), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), Gilberto (Cruzeiro), Michel Bastos (Lyon)

Midfielders: Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Felipe Melo (Juventus), Josue (Wolfsburg), Elano (Galatasaray), Ramires (Benfica), Kleberson (Flamengo), Kaka (Real Madrid), Julio Baptista (Roma)

Forwards: Robinho (Santos/Manchester City), Nilmar (Villarreal), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Grafite (Wolfsburg).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


England: Guardian football writers' review of the 2009-10 season

Richard Williams

Best match Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City, City's third equaliser with 10 seconds to go countered by Michael Owen's 96th-minute winner.

Favourite moment The second goal in Arsenal's 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa in December, Cesc Fábregas stretching a hamstring as he sprinted to turn in Theo Walcott's pass.

Least favourite moment Reading the list of those to whom Portsmouth FC owe money.

Unsung hero Clint Dempsey, who may yet give England a nasty surprise in South Africa.

Villain The grotesque duo who took over at West Ham and promptly began to undermine Gianfranco Zola.

Owner of the season Mohamed Al Fayed, of whom many criticisms can be made but who has consistently done the decent thing by a decent club.

What we have learned That, like casino bankers, the Premier League will do nothing to regulate itself.

Quote "Only wine. No water. And easy questions, please" - Carlo Ancelotti celebrates.

In 20 years they'll still be talking about Darren Bent's beachball goal for Sunderland against Liverpool.

The Rest

England's provisional World Cup squad includes Carragher and King

England coach Fabio Capello has included injured the Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry in his provisional 30-man World Cup squad. Sunderland's Darren Bent and West Ham United's Scott Parker are also named, while Jamie Carragher and Ledley King are included among the defenders in the 30-man squad. But there is no place for Manchester United's Owen Hargreaves, or the Fulham striker Bobby Zamora.

Americans On The Continent: Avoiding the Drop

Eddie Johnson, Aris Thessaloniki (Greece)

Away to AEK Athens, 2-4, 90 minutes, 1 Goal

Eddie Johnson started and played the full 90, netting a goal for Aris, but Freddy Adu was left on the bench as they fell 2-4 in a heated match in which both sides ended with nine men on the pitch.

The Rest

Americans In The UK: Titles, Promotion, And Heartbreak For A Select Group Of Americans

Stuart Holden, Bolton Wanderers

Vs. Birmingham, 2-1, (24 minutes)

Holden returned to action on Sunday, coming on as a second half substitute and nearly scored in the 70th minute but his effort went narrowly wide of the post. The midfielder’s return is encouraging and should boost his World Cup hopes.

The Rest

Pienaar ready for defining moment

Steven Pienaar could be forgiven for basking in the limelight of an outstanding season that has seen him named Everton's Player of the Year and attract the interest of the biggest clubs in the Premier League. But, as the midfielder relaxes in the end-of-season sunshine at Finch Farm, his club's multi-million pound training complex, his mind wanders to a place thousands of miles away from Merseyside.

To Johannesburg, where, in just a month from now, Pienaar will experience the defining moment of his career and perhaps his life. At just 5ft 7in tall, he is small in stature, but Pienaar realises that when he walks out for the World Cup's opening match, he must shoulder the weight of expectation that 30 million South Africans will place on the host nation's only world-class player.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Despite 'torturing themselves' during the 3-2 win at Sevilla, Pep Guardiola's side stand on the brink of title glory.

Barcelona hold firm to leave Madrid clutching at straws with one game to go.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

As Bayern were wrapping up the first stage of a possible treble, the rest of the league had their minds on other matters.

Two-day parties, tears, fights and farewells mark Bundesliga finale.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Palermo and Sampdoria battled for fourth place at the weekend and it was Luigi Del Neri's men who hold the advantage.

Draw leaves Sampdoria on brink of Champions League qualification.

Steve McClaren named Wolfsburg manager

Former England boss Steve McClaren has signed a two-year deal as manager of German side Wolfsburg.

1994 U.S. Team: Where Are They Now?

The summer of 1994 will always be remembered as a defining moment in the history of American soccer. The World Cup brought the game's international talent to a curious nation's doorstep in the form of Baggio, Batistuta and Stoichkov as legions of budding American soccer fans began to learn what soccer at its highest level was all about.

Phil Ball in Spain

I have to confess that I enjoyed the penultimate edition of La Liga so much that my little heart was fair beating with emotion at the end of it all - and the beauty of it is that there's still more to come next weekend. It was such a brilliant Saturday that I almost forgot that the team I really support, Grimsby Town, had just lost their league status after 99 years, up in the colder north of the continent in which I dwell. Sunshine and shadow, cara y cruz - the Spanish love all that sort of stuff, and so I must learn to assimilate this mortal blow and get on with life, like all the best stoics.

Stiff upper lip and all that.

Zola "shocked" as Hammers axe finally falls

Gianfrance Zola is said to have been left "shocked" after being sacked by West Ham despite guiding the club to Premier League survival.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Police clear angry Manchester United protesters

Manchester United fans throw smoke bombs outside Old Trafford in angry protests against the club's owner Malcolm Glazer.

DaMarcus Beasley Announces Via Twitter That He Will Leave Rangers

"Yes, I'm leaving," Beasley wrote. "Will never forget my time at Rangers!Thanks for all the messages from the best fans in the world."

Seattle Sounders FC Issue Match Refund To Season Ticket Holders Following Drubbing

Seattle Sounders FC set several records on Saturday.

The 36,273 fans in attendence represented a regular season attendance record.

The 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy was the first time the club had conceded more than one goal in Qwest Field and the joint biggest loss in franchise history.

And, for the first time in Sounders FC history, the club will refund season ticket holders for the match.