Friday, October 12, 2007

Lawro's Euro Predictions

Scotland v Ukraine
(1500 BST)

Scotland v Ukraine

I think that one of the interesting aspects to the remainder of Scotland's campaign is how they handle raised expectations, both from their supporters and within the squad itself.

The 1-0 win in France was one of their best results in recent years and, with three games of their campaign left, Scotland are top of Group B.

They are one point clear of Italy and two ahead of France - and I hope it does not prove to be a case of so close but so far for Scotland.

Complete Predictions

Euro 2008: Germany close, France and Italy sweat

Twice former champions France are sweating in third place in Group B after their shock home defeat by surprise leaders Scotland last month and travel to the rocky shores of the Faroe Islands knowing they can afford no more slip-ups.

Qualifying round - Match kick-offs are listed in local time

13/10Grp DSlovakia15:00San MarinoMore »
13/10Grp EEngland15:00EstoniaMore »
13/10Grp BScotland15:00UkraineMore »
13/10Grp BFaroe Islands16:00FranceMore »
13/10Grp FIceland16:00LatviaMore »
13/10Grp CHungary16:20MaltaMore »
13/10Grp GBelarus18:00LuxembourgMore »
13/10Grp FLiechtenstein19:00SwedenMore »
13/10Grp DCyprus19:15WalesMore »
13/10Grp DRepublic of Ireland19:45GermanyMore »
13/10Grp FDenmark20:00SpainMore »
13/10Grp AArmenia20:00SerbiaMore »
13/10Grp ECroatia20:15IsraelMore »
13/10Grp GRomania20:15NetherlandsMore »
13/10Grp GSlovenia20:30AlbaniaMore »
13/10Grp APoland20:30KazakhstanMore »
13/10Grp ABelgium20:45FinlandMore »
13/10Grp BItaly20:50GeorgiaMore »
13/10Grp CMoldova21:00TurkeyMore »
13/10Grp AAzerbaijan21:00PortugalMore »
13/10Grp CGreece21:30Bosnia-HerzegovinaMore »

Adu Should Play in the Hole

After looking at the 21-player roster that Bob Bradley named for the U.S. National Team's friendly against Switzerland next week, USA's Ben Brackett believes this youthful side will be motivated to make their mark, with Freddy Adu leading the way.
Where to play Adu

Should Gerrard be in the centre?

Surely having someone named 'Stevie G' central to your plans is always going to be a bit dodgy. Scott Murray seems to think so:
Time for Benítez to give Gerrard a wide berth

Bonnie Scotland

After losing Sky's cash five years ago, Scottish football's resurgence is down to homegrown talent:
How Scottish game came back from the dead

Dida banned, Bhoys fined

Dida gets a two match ban for bad acting, while Celtic get off with a 25 grand fine:
Nelson Dida handed two-match ban

Scotland and Ireland prepare

Weir: We’ll be failures if we miss finals
Shevchenko looking to dent Scotland’s hopes
Steve Staunton adds insult to Ireland's injuries

Campbell and Rooney set to step up

England captain John Terry will miss tomorrow's Euro 2008 Group E qualifier against Estonia with Sol Campbell set to replace him.Meanwhile Rooney would like to start scoring again:
Injury toll catches up with John Terry
Rooney bidding to shine for England

Et tu Gary?

Could it be that after the Bolton Vs Chelsea match Gary Speed asked John Terry for some tips on playing the Brutus role? Will Speed and his Liberatores be the end of Little Sam?
Lee left looking over his shoulder

MLS Power Rankings: Chivas USA closing fast

Every week during the regular season, ESPN takes the pulse of the league by ranking all 13 teams. The ESPN MLS Power Rankings consist of a consolidation of the votes by Andrea Canales, Jeff Carlisle, Jen Chang, Steve Davis, Frank Dell'Apa, Kristian Dyer, Ives Galarcep, Allen Hopkins and Rob Stone.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Guardian Joy of Six: Cracking Free-kicks

From Matt Le Tissier's insouciance to Gazza's 'Schoolboy's Own' screamer, we doff our titfers to the greatest ever free-kicks.

6. Paul Gascoigne (TOTTENHAM v Arsenal 1991)

If ever a free-kick defined a man's career at the very top level of the world game, this was the one. It's easy to forget how unlikely the chances of a Tottenham victory in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final were: George Graham had organised Arsenal's back line so efficiently they would lose only one league game all season, while Spurs, with tactical genius Terry Venables winging it at the helm, were a dog's dinner. They did have one ace in the pack, though - and up stepped Gazza, four minutes in, to put his foot through a set piece nearly 40(!) yards out. The ball screeched and swerved at ridiculous pace into David Seaman's top-left corner, and Arsenal never recovered from the seismic shock. "Is Gascoigne going to have a crack? He is, you know! That is Schoolboy's Own stuff!" commented Barry Davies as events unfolded, capturing the insane drama in a monkeys-and-typewriters moment of lyrical brilliance.

Ibrahimovic Perplexed By FIFA Omission

Ibrahimovic, who is currently preparing for his country’s Euro 2008 qualifier against Liechtenstein on Saturday, is not the only high-profile name to be left off FIFA’s 30-man shortlist. Francesco Totti, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas and Luca Toni also failed to make the cut.

This list is absurd. Cannavaro? He’s been awful since winning the World Cup, which if I remember, was in 2006. Lahm? Vieira? Henry? Marquez? None of these guys deserve to be on the list. Henry has barely played in 2007. Juninho? I realize he’s been great for Lyon but if you’re not kicking ass in one of the top European leagues and in international competitions I don’t see how you should be on the “shortlist.” Thuram? The guy peaked like four years ago. Ibra has a valid gripe, as do Fabregas, Totti and Villa. Their omission at the expense of some of these other guys is once again poor form by FIFA. Totti won the Golden Boot, for Chrissake! -Sanford
Click here for the complete list.

MLS to mull possible DP rule increase in offseason

To the league's delight, DP's like New York's Juan Pablo Angel and Chicago's Cuauhtemoc Blanco have more than lived up to their considerable hype. The same can't be said for New York's Claudio Reyna (signed when the Red Bulls acquired Chivas USA's DP slot) and Dallas' Denilson, although the season isn't over yet. As for David Beckham, his maiden MLS season has been cut short by injury, but the boon to the L.A. Galaxy's bottom line has been clear, and the excitement he created on the few occasions he played was immense. That enthusiasm is even evident in the normally staid voice of MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis.

Feature: Six Young Stars In Spain This Season

They call it ‘Liga De Estrellas’ – ‘The League of Stars’. There were many stars that shone, each standing out for their club in one way or the other. So who is it going to be this season? Is it going to be Ruud again for Madrid? Will Ronaldinho shine after a lacklustre season by his own standards? Will Henry do it for Barcelona like Ruud did it for Real Madrid?

The Young Ones...

Interview: Di Natale Blossoming in Maradona's Shadow + Serie A Table

He is the new man of Italian soccer. His goals, first and foremost, have propelled him into the national side, but Udinese's Antonio Di Natale, known by his friends as Totò, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

Serie A Table
Inter Milan75021711
AC Milan7214106
Catania Calcio72239-1

Mind Games At The Top Of The Premier League

There's a psychological diimension to finishing on top of the pile, and it's alive and well in the Premier League.

Making the Cut for Euro 2008

With just a few games left before the automatic qualifiers for the Euro 2008 championships in Austria and Switzerland are revealed, it is notable that not every country who were expected to progress will be there.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The squad so far:
Dean Windass - Starting Striker
Rod Fanni - Starting Right Back
Berndt Haas - Starting Center Back
Danny Shittu - Starting Center Back
David Seaman - Reserve Goalkeeper

I've been asked how many players will make the team. The answer is 25. Here's number six:

Nicky Butt is a 5’ 10” midfielder who was born in 1975 in Manchester, England. Butt came up through the youth set-up at Manchester United and although he did not enjoy regular starts like his mates Giggs, Scholes and Beckham, Butt was a key component of the successful United squad of the 90s. He’s won gobs of trophies and medals, and was a member of the treble-winning side of 1999. When Sir Alex began to buy loads of midfielders, Butt saw his future limited at Old Trafford and after 389 appearances for the Red Devils, moved to Newcastle United in 2004. Things did not go well for Nicky at St. James’ Park, where injuries prevented him from carving a spot for himself in the side. After an ugly loan spell at Birmingham, Butt returned to Newcastle and has enjoyed a more comfortable run over the last 16 months. Butt also had an enviable England career, with 39 caps for his country. At the 2002 World Cup, the form of Butt inspired Pele to name him the best player in the tournament. Although selected to represent England at Euro2004, an injured Butt was forced to watch from the sidelines. There is no doubt that Nicky Butt deserves a spot on Sanford Soccer Net’s All-Name Team, and he’ll start as our defensive midfielder.

Sorting Out the MLS Playoffs

It's not very easy to figure out which teams could be matching up in the MLS playoffs later this month. USA's Pat Walsh takes a stab at it, complete with analysis over the final weeks of the regular season.

With just two weekends left in the MLS season, time is tight for teams whose playoff lives are still in the balance. A majority of teams already know whether they will progress on to the playoffs or clean out their lockers come October 20. Yet even those that will continue on with a chance for MLS Cup don’t know who they will face on the road to RFK Memorial Stadium on November 18, 2007.

Here is a breakdown of where all teams stand, and where they can expect to finish.

River’s Undefeated Streak Against Boca Reaches Two Years

River Plate took their undefeated streak against Boca Juniors to two years, after Sunday’s comfortable 2-0 victory at the Monumental stadium.

Bradley Names 21 Players to Roster for Switzerland Friendly

A youthful roster, including the likes of seven players without international experience at the senior level, have been named as part of the U.S. National Team's roster for next week's friendly against Switzerland.

Goalkeepers: Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC), Tally Hall (Esbjerg), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Dan Califf (Aalborg BK), Jay Demerit (Watford FC), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Steve Purdy (1860 Munich)

Midfielders: Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Hamburger SV), Eddie Lewis (Derby County), Danny Szetela (Racing Santander)

Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburger SV), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)

Phil Ball in Spain + La Liga Table

After a veritable glut of La Liga action the previous week, this one has seemed a little tame in comparison, despite the Champions League action in which only Valencia let the side down. Having lost out to Chelsea in the Mestalla, they surprisingly lost by the same score in the same stadium on Saturday night, after taking the lead early on, just as they had done against Chelsea.

Spain quakes as it realises that seven of Valencia's players are in Luis Aragonés' squad to play the crucial qualifier in Denmark next weekend, although with David Villa limping off in the first half, it looks like the contingent will be reduced to six.

Primera División
Real Madrid76011913
Atlético Madrid7322114
Real Zaragoza7322112
Racing Santander732211-2
Recreativo Huelva72328-3
Deportivo La Coruña72328-4
FC Sevilla624061
Real Betis71336-1
Athletic Bilbao71336-4

Donovan takes prize again

Landon Donovan captured the Honda Award as U.S. soccer player of the year in a landslide vote, winning for an unprecedented fourth time:
Donovan becomes award's first four-time winner


USA name roster, Ireland disappoints Ireland, McClaren keeps deluding himself over Robinson, Koumas questioned, Owen tells Big Sam to stick it, Scots praying they don't fuck it all up, and Joey Barton is still wont shut up
U.S. names initial roster to face Switzerland
Ireland admits to ongoing battle
McClaren shows faith in Robinson
Wales force injured Koumas to turn up and prove it
England beckons as Owen gets the all-clear
Chick Young's view on Scotland
Joey Barton: I'm still a dick, and club comes before country for me

More Chelsea shite

Guus Hiddink does a bit of Abramovich arse-licking [presumably while stuffing more roubles into his back pocket], but explains it'd be much better if it were his mate Henk dealing with the Russian on a day to day basis. Meanwhile, Chelsea wouldn't be Chelsea unless they were pissing someone off. Today it's Ajax. And just for a bit of fun, Ronaldo sticks the boot in:
Guus Hiddink reveals why he prefers Russian front to Stamford Bridge
Henk ten Cate's move to Chelsea angers Ajax
Cristiano Ronaldo writes off Chelsea challenge

Who should partner Steven Gerrard for England?

Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry have complimentary strengths and weaknesses but who is the right man to partner Steven Gerrard? Asks ex-Spurs manager David Pleat:
Fat Boy or Mr. Villa?

Fallen Giants Dynamo Kyiv

Dynamo Kyiv were once Champions League contenders, but they have failed to evolve since the death of an inspirational coach, write Jonathan Wilson:
Dynamo labour in Colonel's shadow

Evil Club Owners

Martin Samuel, always someone who enjoys a bit of a rant, especially at a nice easy target, takes aim at fat cat businessmen buying football clubs:
Businessmen wear replica shirts

Sammy's Speed problem

Things just aren't getting any easier for the diminutive Bolton manager. Now he's taking on fan favourite and all-round Mr. nice guy, Gary Speed.
Lee’s fragile grip at Bolton weakened

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Arsene, please buy me

Few would dispute that the Arsenal manager is a bit of a genius. But, as we all know, you can't be a bone fide genius without a bone fide flaw. Wenger's is a inexplicable complusion to buy large, cumbersome, slow central defenders who excel at looking really dumb. Prime examples being Pascal Cygan, everyone's favourite oaf Igor Stepanovs, and young Frankenstein's monster Philippe Senderos. Senderos is only 20 and deserves a bit of time, but it looks like there's a big, powerful defender pimping himself to Arsenal. The difference is, this guy's pretty good:
Micah Richards dreams of joining Arsenal

Gabriele Marcotti on Sepp Blatter talking crap

Sepp Blatter meddling in foreign affairs again

Euroland update

Atlético's trip to the Camp Nou was billed as Agüero v Messi, but the Barça man stole the show, reports Sid Lowe:
Messi beats off challenge of another young pretender

Alberto Gilardino has broken his goal-scoring duck, but some of his critics are yet to be convinced, writes Paolo Bandini:
Gila monster shakes the monkey off his back

There have been a few surprises, but the table already has a familiar look to it, says Raphael Honigstein.
Bayern orbiting in a different galaxy

Klinsi speaks

Visionary Jurgen Klinsmann keeps his eye open for an opportunity and drops a few broad hints as to why the Chelsea job was not for him:
German legend keeps his options open


Man, this is where things really get exciting. I'm especially looking forward to Bolton's game against Aris Thessaloniki, and anyone thinking of missing the group C thriller Mlada Boleslav Vs Elfsborg needs their head checking.


Rafa misery

Liverpool wallow in their misery despite unbeaten league record

Managerial merry-go-round

I know the 'n' is missing, but what the hell.

Looks like there's more movement at Chelsea, leaving a place for Martin Jol back in his homeland.
Jol on Ajax alert as Ten Cate flies into Chelsea
Ten Cate arrives to put a bit of Barça into Chelsea

Having stabbed Jose in the back, John 'Brutus' Terry is now kissing up to toady new boy Avram Grant:
Grant represents progress and the fans will love him, says Terry