Todays World Cup predictions

June 29th, 2010 1 comment

phpPeobQXIf you thought England-Germany  was a big game then today’s Spain-Portugal  second-round game has got the Iberians knickers in a right twist.

‘Underdogs to bite harder’
There was a raft of money on Spain  to win the World Cup when they qualified first in their group. But are the punters missing a trick with Portugal  facing the European champions today?

The fact: Spain have never progressed beyond a quarter-final of any World Cup. Portugal reached the semi-finals in Germany four years ago and where runners-up in Euro 2004. Portugal are yet to concede a goal in this World Cup so far.

Bare in mind that includes games against Brazil and the Ivory Coast. In the last 30 years Spain have only beaten Portugal once in twelve matches. Read more…

Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ reignites goal-line technology debate

June 28th, 2010 No comments

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By Paul Kelso

From his seat in the VIP section of the Free State Stadium, Sepp Blatter had only to turn his head to see a monitor showing the instant replay that confirmed Frank Lampard’s 38th-minute shot had crossed the German goal-line after crashing off Manuel Neuer’s crossbar.

It was a luxury denied the match officials. Thanks to the Fifa president’s continued intransigence on the issue of technology, they were left to rely on the erroneous evidence of their eyes.

The result was that a perfectly good goal was ruled out despite swift and unambiguous evidence of its legitimacy. No-one in the England camp, save perhaps for Fabio Capello, was claiming that the decision was the reason for defeat. But had the equaliser stood it is fair to surmise that the nature of the game would have changed, if not the outcome.
“It is incredible that there is no technology,” Capello said. “We played with five referees and they cannot decide whether that it is a goal or not. That one goal would have made the game completely different. I saw from the bench that the ball had gone over the line. I do not understand this.” Read more…

Rio Ferdinand : I love that photo of the scoreboard, I have a copy at home

June 27th, 2010 No comments

phpoqraxkRIO FERDINAND has told his England pals to picture victory over Germany tomorrow.
England’s crocked skipper says he always gets inspired just by looking at a photograph of Deutschland 1 England 5.

That was the unforgettable scoreline when our boys crushed the Germans in Munich back in 2001.

Ferdinand said: “I know we can do it on Sunday. When I think of Germany, the 5-1 win in the Olympic Stadium always springs to my mind.

“I love that photo of the scoreboard. I have a copy at home.

“It was a brilliant moment. Such things stay with you for ever.”

Current acting skipper Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Emile Heskey and Jamie Carragher are all survivors from that night.

Ferdinand is also backing Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney to burst back into form in Bloemfontein.

He added: “The Germany game is where Wazza can do the business.

“I’m desperate for him to come out of this tournament as the game’s greatest player. If it happens, there’s a chance we’ll win the World Cup.”

Meanwhile former Germany chief Franz Beckenbauer has apologised for branding England ’stupid’ for not winning Group C and suggesting they were ‘burnt out’ by a tough Premier League season.

He said: “Before the World Cup I thought England would maybe win it.

“They have a great team and a great coach and then, after the first two games, I was so disappointed.

“Maybe my words were the reaction of my disappointment but I apologise.”

David James : Let me take a penalty

June 27th, 2010 No comments

php80mjf8DAVID JAMES wants to be the shootout hero against Germany - by SCORING a penalty.
The England keeper says he is willing to take a spot-kick if needed tomorrow as well as trying to keep the Germans out.

James said: “Of course I’ll take one because if the situation occurred, there would be certain players who would rather not take penalties.

“I’m not naming names but the reality is that some players are less inclined. Maybe I’ll take the last one.”

It would not be the first time a keeper has stepped up to hit a penalty in a shootout involving England.

Portugal stopper Ricardo famously scored his side’s winner to put England out in the Euro 2004 quarter-finals.

But James is adamant it will be England going through from tomorrow’s last-16 clash.

He insisted: “We have a strong side and we are not fearful of them at all.

“We are confident we will make the British people happy by beating Germany.”

Boris Becker column—– This is a team competition, and Germany are a better team than England

June 27th, 2010 No comments

phpWNVjJmThe Germans take a different approach to penalties – unlike the English, we don’t make such a big deal of it. You’re asked to shoot and you shoot and you don’t think about it too much.
We want to finish the match in normal time, of course, but the English are afraid when it comes to penalties, even though you could still beat us after 90 minutes and extra time.

For us, it’s not about penalties, it’s about playing football over 90 minutes against the English. Yes, we missed a penalty for the first time in 28 years in the group stages, but Germany are not afraid of penalties, and you can’t practise them.
I think there’s more pressure on the England  players because the core of the team won’t play in four years’ time. By 2014, they are going to be too old. They are called the golden generation and yet they haven’t won a big championship. They know that it’s now or never for them at the World Cup.

You know as a country, even though you have great individual players, you haven’t done a whole lot at international tournaments, and that’s always surprising to us in Germany. Germany have only one or two star players, and England have three in Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and John Terry, but Germany seem to be more of a unit, more of a team. And it is a team competition. Read more…

Germany v England : Capello knows he can count on Jamie Carragher

June 27th, 2010 No comments

phpjDecX9Two hours before kick off. Until then nothing is certain. Fabio Capello is understood to be reluctant to change the team that beat Slovenia but for all the Italian’s famed imperviousness to pressure, he does like a last-minute decision.
For the provisional squad he changed his mind on Owen Hargreaves, for the final 23 he left it late on Theo Walcott and on the morning of the Algeria game, he decided to switch from Rob Green to David James in goal.

Going into the final preparations for Sunday’s game with Germany, Jamie Carragher is hoping the England manager has another one of those second thoughts.
Capello clearly favours Carragher over Matthew Upson. That much was clear when he was selected to be Ledley King’s deputy after he was injured against the Americans.

But Upson did capably well against Slovenia and, perhaps crucially, is quicker over the turf than Carragher. The way Carragher was effortlessly rolled by Jozy Altidore in Rustenburg was not lost on Capello. Read more…

Rio Ferdinand : Der Kaizer made us stronger

June 26th, 2010 No comments

php4Zv1joRIO FERDINAND has told Franz Beckenbauer: Your taunts will come back to bite you.
The England skipper, out of the World Cup with a knee injury, has been amazed at how much The Kaiser keeps sticking the boot into England.

Beckenbauer first labelled England a ‘kick and rush’ side which had gone backwards.

Then he said Fabio Capello’s team were ’stupid’ for finishing second in Group C and that our players were tired from a tough Premier League season.

Yet it looks like his rants have succeeded only in virtually doing boss Capello’s team-talk for him.

Although Beckenbauer apologised for his taunts last night, Ferdinand is convinced he will still live to regret them when England face the Germans in their last-16 crunch in Bloemfontein tomorrow.

He said: “I think those comments will come back to bite Beckenbauer. Perhaps he wasn’t expecting Germany and England to meet this early in the competition.

“It has unsettled him and he has got a bit rattled, so he’s looking for ways to get under our skin.

“But he hasn’t. He has just made the lads more determined. The team that wins a World Cup doesn’t necessarily start great. It’s the way you finish that counts.

“I know some of the lads think it would have been better to play Ghana and it would have been an easier route for us.

“But I prefer Germany, because you know what you’re getting with them. Ghana can be unpredictable. Germany are more straightforward.

“We start again at the knockout stage and facing Germany will spur us on. We are going to have to play well and have a bit of luck. Yet we see ourselves as a lot better team than one which goes out in the last 16.” Read more…

Germany v England : I don’t fear World Cup penalty shootout

June 26th, 2010 No comments

phpZRnk3OJames’s German counterpart, Manuel Neuer, talks of playing the “memory game” if Sunday’s World Cup round of 16 game climaxes in a shoot-out. This involves Neuer remembering all the advice from the German technical staff on which way to dive for which player. At the last World Cup, Jens Lehmann frustrated Argentina by checking on their players’ preference from a slip of paper shoved down his sock.

Ben Foster helped Manchester United win the Carling Cup when checking on the Tottenham players’ approach on an iPod before the shoot-out and saving from Jamie O’Hara.
James would not reveal his intentions, saying: “I’ll probably look over to the physio!” Most of the information will be absorbed on Saturday, leaving him far better prepared than in Euro 2004. “We played Portugal [in the quarter-final shoot-out] and didn’t have the access to as much information as we could have done.”

James was particularly frustrated in the group stages in Lisbon, when he faced a penalty from Zinedine Zidane not having seen footage of how the Frenchman addressed spot kicks. Read more…

European giants cannot handle the burden of expectation

June 25th, 2010 No comments

phpYWsGNrIn a poignant mea culpa, he must have repeated 10 times that he was to blame for his team’s pathetic World Cup exit.

“I take all responsibility because if a team shows up at such an important game with terror in their head and hearts and the team can’t express its ability, it means the coach didn’t train as he should have – psychologically, tactically and physically,” he said.
It was a brutally honest analysis and the word which really resonated was “terror”. The European giants here have been laden with fright.

Yes, England live to fight another day, but they’ve been fantastically ordinary; Germany are there too but have stuttered. Johan Cruyff reckons only one has played with any true ambition and verve, Spain. And even they had their own initial mishap against Switzerland. But above all stands the unique double exit of the two 2006 finalists, who for the first time ever both imploded in spectacular and spectacularly different ways, but with both calamitous sagas exemplifying the fear and loathing which has hamstrung Europe’s superpowers.

The snowstorm of hype surrounding the teams, and the national demands for them to deliver, has never felt more suffocating. When before have the continent’s five major footballing nations all been battling in the last round of group matches to gain entry to the knockout stages? Never. Read more…

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