Friday, October 19, 2007

DeMarcus in Glasgow: Old Firm, New Challenge

Beasley, who signed with Rangers from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven during the offseason after spending the previous campaign on loan at Manchester City, is gearing up for his first Old Firm game. Nothing he has experienced in his career so far can prepare him fully for the experience, but just living in Glasgow for the past four months has given him a taste of the level of feeling the matches inspire.

Weekend Previews for La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga

Spain: La Liga
Pires Looking Forward to Facing Henry

Italy: Serie A
Inter's Defensive Woes Worsen

Germany: Bundesliga
Klose Likely to Return for Bayern Munich

English Premier League Weekend Preview: Matchday 10

The Liverpool Derby is the highlight of the weekend as Liverpool travel to Goodison Park. Elsewhere Manchester United face a tricky trip to Villa while table toppers Arsenal are at home to Bolton.

Fast Eddie's Hot Tips:’s exclusive guide to this weekend's Premier League matches for those who like to back informed hunches with a flutter for an extra dash of excitement - and the possibility that the football results will deliver more than three points...

EPL Team News

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Aston Villa v Man Utd (1715 BST)

Aston Villa v Man Utd

I have seen Villa play on a couple of occasions and they seem to lack a cutting edge, even though they have got some good players.

United, on the other hand, have multiple threats going forward and striker Wayne Rooney seems much happier.

Earlier on they were winning by the odd goal and the hallmark of a good side is when they win without playing particularly well but I think we could have a shock here and feel that Villa might just trip them up.

Prediction: 2-1

All Lawro's Predictions

The 3-5-2: The Best One Yet USA's Greg Lalas believes that the 2007 MLS season was the best one yet. Mostly, it was due to the additions of Designated Players, such as Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Juan Pablo Angel and David Beckham, but also because of imports such as Maykel Galindo and Luciano Emilio.

MLS: Red Bulls 1, Galaxy 1

Beckham makes an appearance and Cobi signs off...

Ian Holloway Column

Drogba denies he'll leave Chelsea in January

'I am someone who has always campaigned for solidarity, so I've decided to stay until next summer'

Thursday, October 18, 2007

All The Euro Action

Russia 2 - 1 England
Deservedly leading 1-0 through Wayne Rooney’s spectacular first-half goal, England were on course to earn a famous victory at the Luzhniki Stadium and secure qualification for next summer’s finals in Switzerland and Austria with a match to spare. But then a series of lapses of concentration – starting with what McClaren called a “disgraceful” penalty award against Rooney for a foul that appeared to be committed outside the 18-yard area – turned the game on its head.

Georgia 2 - 0 Scotland
Football historians may well remember this depressing night for Scotland in Tbilisi as the Curse of the Maroon Strip. Wearing an unlikely all-maroon garb for purely commercial reasons, Scotland fell to a fledgling Georgia team peppered with teenagers in a gruesome 90 minutes that Alex McLeish, the manager, will want to forget as quickly as possible.

Germany 0 - 3 Czech Republic

Czech Republic secured a place at Euro 2008 when they thumped already-qualified Germany 3-0 in Group D on Wednesday.

France 2 - 0 Lithuania
Thierry Henry broke Michel Platini's national goalscoring record and put France on the brink of Euro 2008 qualification by grabbing a late double against Lithuania in a one-sided Group B clash in Nantes.

Kazakhstan 1 - 2 Portugal
Portugal's Ariza Makukula and Cristiano Ronaldo gave them a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in their Euro 2008 Group A qualifier on Wednesday. Portugal, who move within a point of group leaders Poland, went ahead in the 84th minute when substitute Makukula headed home Ricardo Quaresma's right-wing cross.

Turkey 0 - 1 Greece
European champions Greece qualified for next year's tournament with a 1-0 away win over Turkey on Wednesday courtesy of a 79th-minute goal from Ioannis Amanatidis.

Wrap of Wednesday's Action Around the World

And Recaps of Each Euro2008 Qualifying Match

Who Needs to Do What

Switzerland 0 - 1 USA: Strong defensive effort leads to U.S. win

As the American players walked off the field after their 1-0 win over Switzerland Wednesday night, the smiles on their faces said it all. Their five-game losing streak was over. A rare victory in Europe had been achieved, and in the process, several young players gave some tantalizing signs of future success. But what probably put the biggest smile on head coach Bob Bradley's face was the means by which the win was accomplished, because at the heart of the American triumph was a solid defensive effort.

U.S. Player Ratings

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Blissful hope of a nation raised on Hampden heroics

Kevin McCarra: Scotland are once again a formidable team, but let's hope their wonderful run will not end now expectations are high.

England fans in hospital after fighting in Moscow

Four England supporters have been taken to hospital after being involved in a fight in Moscow ahead of this afternoon's Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia. A spokesman for Moscow police confirmed that the injured fans had been taken to the Botkan hospital, but it was not immediately clear how serious their injuries were.


Stadium construction for 2010 World Cup is on track

Last week, officials from the governing body of world soccer, joined by South African organizers, visited four of the nine host cities to assess the stadiums in Johannesburg, site of the opening and final matches, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

"FIFA is confident progress is on track and going the right way," FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said after a board meeting of the local organizing committee.

Freddy Adu struggling to get playing time in Europe

Freddy Adu has been mainly a spectator with Benfica since arriving in Europe.

The 18-year-old American transferred to the Portuguese club last summer from Real Salt Lake and has played just 64 minutes over 2 1/2 months, appearing twice as a substitute. Now he's training with the U.S. national team ahead of Wednesday night's exhibition game at Switzerland.

The kiss of death?? -Sanford

USA Seeks Elusive Win in Switzerland

The United States faces Switzerland on Wednesday with coach Bob Bradley looking to rediscover the winning touch as he nears one year in charge. Bradley, who took charge of the team on an interim basis in December before getting the job permanently in May, went 10-0-1 in his first 11 games, but has now seen the Stars and Stripes lose five straight since winning the Gold Cup final in July.

2:30 pm Eastern on FSC

Beckham not guaranteed place in Galaxy team

'I'm not going to just change the line-up with the people coming back from injury,' he said. 'You can't do that with a team that's on a six-game unbeaten streak and has won five games in a row. 'For me it's a great message for people coming back that they have to work their way into the team. That's the correct way to have it.' Of Beckham's fitness, Yallop added: 'He's not close to being 100%.

Through the middle of summer, the Galaxy found the heat from the giant spotlight trained on Southern California to monitor David Beckham's arrival to be too much for them. As a unit, L.A. wilted. Accusations in the British press that Beckham had joined an outfit that possessed no more quality than a "pub team" were cruel, but by stumbling through a dismal six-game losing streak, coach Frank Yallop's players unintentionally provided their detractors with extra ammunition.

Bolton decide to ditch Lee

Bolton have parted company with manager Sammy Lee "by mutual consent", having taken just five points from their first nine Premier League games. The club's general manager Frank McParland, who joined Bolton in the summer from Liverpool, has also left.

And he wins the sack race...because Jose doesn't count. -Sanford

Euro 2008 Qualifiers: Countdown To Ecstasy

Qualification is a case of finishing first or second, so does the maths and a spot of analysis to work out what is likely to happen, group-by-group...

And another summary of where we are at this point...

Lawro's Previews

Qualifying round
- Match kick-offs are listed in Central European Time:

17/10Grp ERussia17:00EnglandMore »
17/10Grp BUkraine18:00Faroe IslandsMore »
17/10Grp CMalta19:30MoldovaMore »
17/10Grp DRepublic of Ireland20:30CyprusMore »
17/10Grp FLiechtenstein20:00IcelandMore »
17/10Grp FDenmark20:00LatviaMore »
17/10Grp AKazakhstan16:00PortugalMore »
17/10Grp EF.Y.R. Macedonia20:00AndorraMore »
17/10Grp DSan Marino20:15WalesMore »
17/10Grp GLuxembourg20:15RomaniaMore »
17/10Grp GNetherlands20:30SloveniaMore »
17/10Grp CTurkey19:30GreeceMore »
17/10Grp CBosnia-Herzegovina20:30NorwayMore »
17/10Grp FSweden20:30Northern IrelandMore »
17/10Grp DGermany20:45Czech RepublicMore »
17/10Grp ABelgium20:45ArmeniaMore »
17/10Grp GAlbania20:45BulgariaMore »
17/10Grp AAzerbaijan18:00SerbiaMore »
17/10Grp BGeorgia18:00ScotlandMore »
17/10Grp BFrance21:00LithuaniaMore »

Burdisso Head Injury Mars Argentina Win

Venezuela 0-2 Argentina

A headed from Gabriel Milito and yet another 'super-strike' from Lionel Messi saw Argentina pick up a 2-0 win in Venezuela, in a match marred by a very nasty head injury suffered by Nicolas Burdisso...

Harry Potter thaws Moscow cold front in diplomatic relations

Anglo-Russian politics are frosty like the weather, but Russian fans feel warmer about England.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moritz Volz: If Sepp Blatter had his way I’d be working in a German restaurant

Sepp Blatter, what are you on about? Your idea of limiting domestic club sides to five foreign players in a starting XI to allow home-grown talent to flourish is mad. If you had your way I would probably be working in a restaurant in Germany instead of playing for Fulham. But then, why am I surprised? The only decent thing you have suggested was that girls should play in tight shorts to increase the popularity of the women’s game. Genius. You obviously got to the top of Fifa because of your sense of humour.

The Euro 2008 hosts who are worse than Haiti

Raphael Honigstein: Austria are in such a bad state that some supporters think they should withdraw from their own tournament.

"Getting into the quarter-finals wouldn't be a sensation, it would be a world-sensation," said Hickersberger. The head of the ÖFB (the Austrian FA), Friedrich Stickler is a bungling know-it-all but the malaise is no one's fault in particular. They simply don't have any decent players. The eminently useful Paul Scharner (Wigan) and Emanuel Pogatetz (Middlesbrough) are both banned from the team following critical remarks about a lack of professionalism.

Sure is purty, though! -Sanford

Sid Lowe in Spain

Thursday night at Las Rozas, the Spanish Football Federation's headquarters 25km north-west of Madrid. Training has finished and it's gone dark but a gaggle of fans still gathers behind the metal fence overlooking the car park, waiting for a glimpse of the players, an autograph, a hand to shake, a cheek to kiss, or a photo. Through the bars, Luis Aragonés appears. A few fans wish him good luck, then one shouts something about Raúl and the Spain coach does his nut. In the presence of a cameraman from La Sexta.

Phil Ball in Spain

If you enjoy football it's always worth watching some kids' stuff. Because my 12 year-old son is now playing for a club in the feeder leagues in the north of Spain (each region runs competitive leagues from the age of 10, sponsored by a combination of municipal councils and the biggest local clubs) I get to see quite a lot of games. The great thing is that you often see aspects of the game in miniature that can lead you on to insights about the adult professional game.

Who Are The Early-Season Losers From Serie A?

David Suazo (Inter) – The Honduran has been one of the most prolific goalscorers in Serie A in recent seasons with Cagliari but things just haven’t worked out in Milan thus far. Despite a bright pre-season, Suazo has failed to score a competitive goal for the Nerazzurri and is lagging behind in the forward pecking-order.

All The Losers

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Legendary Alabama football coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant used to conduct part of his practices perched high above the pitch, watching proceedings from a privileged position, one of the many he enjoyed as arguably the best-known person in the state of Alabama. Nothing sent his players into a state of frenzied terror more than hearing his booming voice amplified by a loudspeaker or, worse still, frantic footsteps as he flew down the ladder to tear into them for whatever misdeed the unfortunate souls had committed.

I think he's going to talk about the Italian National Team soon... -Sanford

World Cup Qualifying Preview: Venezuela-Argentina

What: World Cup Qualifier Who: Venezuela vs Argentina When: Tuesday, October 16 2007, kick-off 20:40 (local time) Where: Jose “Pachencho” Romero de Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Argentina come into the clash as the overwhelming favourites, not only because of their impressive record against the Venezuelans, but because their football is at a completely different level. On Saturday against Chile they didn’t perform to their full capability, but still were able to pick up a comfortable 2-0 victory.

MLS: Mad dash for final playoff spots continues

It's quite possible that both the Fire and Galaxy earn postseason berths. That scenario is now real because Kansas City keeps sliding. Curt Onalfo's men started with such a flourish but are just 2-7-2 since July. That's only eight points from a possible 33, leaving the Wizards with one foot on the proverbial banana peel.

Switzerland vs. USA: Bradley looking to build for the future

As has been Bob Bradley's habit since assuming the reins of the U.S. national team, his roster for Wednesday's friendly against Switzerland contains a bit of everything: something old, something new and something "huh?". Getting the most out of such a group has its challenges of course, and establishing cohesion in a short time frame is the most onerous. But ahead of this week's match in Basel, Bradley will continue doing the same things he's always done, namely take a look at new players all while building the team's core brick by brick. It may not be sexy, but it's work that has to be done.

Wednesday, October 17
International Friendly
Switzerland vs. USA
2:30 pm Eastern
From Basle
TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Richard Jolly on England

As England head to Russia for their crucial Euro2008 qualifier they could do worse than take heed of former manager Graham Taylor's interest in the fortunes of a previous visitor to Moscow. Taylor, a hugely unfortunate, though not particularly good England boss, is fond of quoting Napoleon Bonaparte, who himself preferred lucky generals to good ones; but Napoloeon's luck famously ran out in Moscow with the onset of the Russian winter. The question here is will Steve McClaren's?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blanco is the anti-Becks

No player has had a greater impact on MLS this season than the explosive, 5-foot-9 striker. Since coming to the States in July, his creative and controversial playmaking has lifted the Chicago Fire from last place in the East to eighth overall, putting them on pace for a spot in the playoffs, which begin Oct. 25. While mainstream America drools over Beckham's brand name, it is Blanco who has at last made the league relevant to working-class Mexicans, pro soccer's most passionate U.S. fan base.

Superb free kicks light up S.American qualifying

Juan Roman Riquelme converted two superb free kicks to give Argentina a 2-0 win over Chile at the start of South America's World Cup qualifying campaign on Saturday.

Brazil struggled to an uninspiring goalless draw away to Colombia in their opening match of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign on Sunday.

"C'était comme un champ de bataille"

Mali players Frederic Kanoute and Mamady Sidibe were both injured during crowd disturbances following their 2-0 win away to Togo in an African Nations Cup match, L'Equipe has reported.
Mali duo left bloodied after crowd attacks
L'Equipe: CAN 2008 - Graves incidents à Lomé

Fifa '08 review

Despite impressive realism, Fifa '08 lacks the pace and hypnotic flow of the Pro Evolution Soccer games.
Fifa '08

Klinsi to replace Jol?

According to The Observer Jurgen Klinsmann is ready to replace Martin Jol as manager of Tottenham Hotspur if he receives assurances about the club's future ownership:
Klinsmann 'ready for talks' over Spurs job

Idiot Boo-boys target Lampard

The constant abuse aimed at the Chelsea midfielder is doing him and England no favours, says Daniel Taylor:
Lampard falls victim to the mocking culture
And according to Henry Winter, it's all water off a duck's back:
Fickle England fans fail to ruffle Frank

Wake up sleepyhead!

Marco van Basten, the coach, said it was the second time that the Liverpool midfielder has missed team meetings for this reason.
Babel dropped by Holland for oversleeping

Euro 2008 Roundup

Republic of Ireland show their good side again as Germany qualify
John Toshack questions future with Wales
France and Italy turn screw
Tamudo: It Has Been Great For Espanyol
Germany relax after booking place in finals
Escude out of Lithuania game

MLS Roundup

The Galaxy have won five in a row sans Beckham. So, with that play-off spot tantalizingly close and David near full fitness there's just enough time for Bex to return and fuck everything up.
Galaxy Win Fifth Straight

Feilhaber:Derby is my dream city

"There were other clubs that showed interest, but none were so serious like Derby who came to me. Billy Davies called me himself and talked to me. I felt like they were the team that really wanted me the most and that influenced me also"
Feilhaber: I feel my football can still grow a lot

Scotland 3 Ukraine 1

Sherlock Holmes observed that if one eliminates the impossible, whatever is left — no matter how improbable — must be the truth...
Case very nearly closed for Alex McLeish
Shevchenko backing inspired Scots to qualify

Mother Russia

It's off to Russia for England and their crunch match in the group. There's problems for McClaren with the pitch, injuries and a cold front. No problems for the Ruskies though, they've got Guus Hiddink telling them what's what.
Cole injury forces McClaren into reshuffle for Moscow
Guus Hiddink lays smokescreen in plot for Russia’s revenge
O'Connor warns England over 'nightmare' pitch

Señor Nice Guy

There are some people who just seem to get along with everyone, gradually gathering more friends as they travel through life. Luis Aragones ain't one of them. Spain’s head coach has triggered a controversy over his decision not to pick the national team’s record goalscorer.
Aragones talks himself into Raul row
Sid Lowe, however, thinks Aragones is spot on to give Raul the cold shoulder:
Raúl-rage pays off for Aragonés

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Don't get me angry!

There are some people you just don't want to get rub up the wrong way. Mad Jens is probably one of them. So Arsene has a problem. Lehmann has warned his manager he expects to start against Bolton on Saturday.
I'm fit so pick me, says Lehmann