Italian squad without Totti, Cassano and Balotelli

May 12th, 2010 No comments

phpqf5SWuVillarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi was the only new name in defending champions Italy’s 30-man provisional World Cup squad, announced on Tuesday by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

The 23-year-old, who has scored three goals in 14 international appearances, was the only addition to the 29-man group that was summoned to a 48-hour get-together in Rome last week.

Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi missed the rendezvous in the capital due to his participation in the Italian Cup but he has returned to the squad.

Rossi takes the place of Juventus centre-back Nicola Legrottaglie, who has often been called up by Italy coach Marcello Lippi but who has failed to hold down a first-team place with his Turin club this season.

As Lippi had announced on Monday, there were “no surprises” in the list, with Roma captain Francesco Totti, in-form Sampdoria playmaker Antonio Cassano and controversial Inter Milan forward Mario Balotelli all overlooked.

There was no place either for Luca Toni, Lippi’s first-choice striker at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, who is currently on loan at Roma from Bayern Munich.

Ten players from Italy’s triumph at the last World Cup are in the squad: goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, defenders Fabio Cannavaro, Fabio Grosso and Gianluca Zambrotta, midfielders De Rossi, Mauro Camoranesi, Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo and forwards Alberto Gilardino and Vincenzo Iaquinta. Read more…

France’s 30-man squad for the WC : No place for Patrick Vieira and Karim Benzema in France squad

May 12th, 2010 No comments

phpjGyd7vVieira returned to the Premier League from Inter Milan in January and recovered some of his form, but not enough to impress Les Bleus  coach Raymond Domenech.

Benzema, who has had a less than fruitful season with Madrid, has also missed out on selection for the squad, as has midfielder Samir Nasri, whose Arsenal team-mates Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Abou Diaby and Bacary Sagna are included.
Franck Ribery, who is sweating over his participation in Bayern Munich’s Champions League final with Inter on May 22 with the Bundesliga champions appealing his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, is included.

Three members of Marseille’s Ligue 1-winning squad - goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and forwards Hatem Ben Arfa and Mathieu Valbuena - are named, as are two Chelsea players, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda.

France were drawn in Group A alongside hosts South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay, their opponents in their first game in Cape Town on June 11.

Squad: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); 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); Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon); 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).

Capello made several surprise selections in his 30-man World Cup squad

May 12th, 2010 No comments

php5Cp6BwEngland coach Fabio Capello has made several surprise selections in his preliminary 30-man World Cup squad.

Uncapped duo Adam Johnson and Michael Dawson both feature along with Dawson’s Tottenham team-mate Tom Huddlestone.

Jamie Carragher comes out of international retirement, while fellow defender Ledley King and the injured Gareth Barry have also been picked.

Stephen Warnock, Scott Parker and Darren Bent are chosen, with the final 23-man squad to be announced by 1 June.

Under Fifa regulations, Capello is permitted to bring players into his 23-man squad who were not included in the preliminary party.

But that would be an unusual move, meaning the final party he takes to this summer’s finals in South Africa is likely to come from the one he has already named.

England play Mexico at Wembley on 24 May and Japan in Austria six days later as part of a pre-tournament training camp.
That will provide Capello with time to work with a much-changed squad and put the finishing touches to his preparations.

The Italian has included 23-year-old Joe Hart among his three goalkeepers after the Manchester City player enjoyed an outstanding season on loan at Birmingham. Read more…

Ian Wright column : Roy’s Boys can make history

May 11th, 2010 No comments

8771649LIVERPOOL’S incredible comeback against AC Milan in the Champions League five years ago is rightly considered as one of the truly great European stories.

But if Fulham beat Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final tomorrow, I’d rate it as an even greater achievement. Truly amazing, in fact.

It would be the ultimate victory for the underdogs and almost all neutrals will be cheering for Roy Hodgson’s team in Germany.

It’s brilliant that at a time when big clubs continue to dominate in the Premier League, a less-fancied team is flying the English flag abroad. It’s so refreshing and it would be nice to have more of the same next year.

Throughout this season, I have looked at Fulham’s results in the competition and thought ‘good win for them, but they’ll get knocked out next round’.

But Fulham have continued to surprise me - and probably themselves - and now they are on the brink of the greatest moment in their history.

What Hodgson has achieved is no fluke. He’s a really good manager and let’s be honest, Fulham don’t exactly have any players with much of a wow factor. Read more…

Roy Hodgson voted as manager of the year

May 11th, 2010 No comments

phpFV7kXmFulham’s Roy Hodgson has been voted manager of the year by a record margin after steering the west London club to the Europa League final.

Hodgson received the award from the League Managers Association after a poll of coaches, including managers from the top four leagues in England.

Fulham face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, league sponsor Barclays named Harry Redknapp manager of the year and Wayne Rooney the top player.

Hodgson’s award is recognition for a remarkable season in which he masterminded Fulham’s progress to their first European final, while securing a 12th place finish in the Premier League.

The Cottagers played 18 matches on the road to the final in a campaign that began in July, overcoming the likes of Juventus, Shakhtar, Wolfsburg and Hamburg.

Despite minimal spending in the transfer market, the club never flirted with relegation and only struggled for form at the end of the season when Hodgson began to rest players with the Europa League in mind.

Hodgson arrived at Fulham in December 2007 and led the club on a run of 12 points from their last five games to ensure Premier League survival on the last day of the season.

Last year they achieved their highest ever league position of seventh.
LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said Hodgson received an “overwhelming” number of votes from the association’s 256 members, made up of all 92 league clubs’ bosses, retired coaches, and those still involved in the game below managerial level.

“Roy won the LMA manager of the year award by the most significant margin in the history of the award,” said Bevan.

“He is highly respected within the game and held in the highest regard in the family of football.” Read more…

John Terry tells Manchester United it’s their time to hurt

May 10th, 2010 No comments

phpctwCNvChelsea won the Barclays Premier League with an eight-goal spectacular on Sunday and warned Manchester United this was just the start of their quest to dominate English football.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti and captain John Terry vowed to bring more silverware to
Stamford Bridge, starting with the FA Cup on Saturday.

‘After the first year, I hope to stay here a long time and win a lot of titles,’ said Ancelotti, after watching his team beat Wigan 8-0 and become the first Premier League team to score 100 goals in a season. ‘We have the opportunity to win the Double and I hope my players can after these celebrations.’

After lifting the trophy, Terry said: ‘I’ve been hurting inside for three years seeing Manchester United lift it. I can promise you, every one of us has sat there and watched it. It’s their turn to watch today. We need to do what United have done and maintain it for a few years.’

Chelsea finished the season with 103 goals after a second-half hat-trick from Didier Drogba, who threw a tantrum before the break because he was denied the chance to take a penalty.

Drogba had started the day vying with United’s Wayne Rooney to be the Premier League’s top scorer. He won the race, finishing with 29, but that did not stop him arguing with Frank Lampard about who should take the first-half spot-kick.

‘That’s what makes Didier Drogba the way he is,’ said Lampard. ‘He’s hungry. It was 1-0 and I’ve been taking the penalties all season. But there was no problem in the end. We’re a team and it was nothing.’ Read more…

Drogba: Terry’s scandal helped us

May 9th, 2010 No comments

phpcnAERUChelsea striker Didier Drogba believes the storm surrounding John Terry helped the side really come together as a unit.

Captain Terry was under some harsh media scrutiny after details of his affair with the girlfriend of former Chelsea and England teammate Wayne Bridge came out in the public.

Drogba believes that the furore created at the time helped the squad really unite and turn their season around.

Speaking to France Football magazine, he said:”We showed solidarity between us just as we’ve always done each time the club is in the middle of a storm.

“I think it was a key moment of our season because we were losing points on the field and Terry was not performing as well as usual.”

Drogba himself has enjoyed a sensational season at Stamford Bridge and is in the running along with Wayne Rooney for winning the Golden Boot.

I think it’s been by far my best season here… ending the season ahead of Rooney in the scoring charts would be the icing on the cake,” said the Ivorian.

“It still can be a good season because only six teams have completed this double in England until now. If we achieve that, we’ll make history.”

Torres: If Rafa Benitez is too slow, I’ll leave Liverpool

May 7th, 2010 No comments

php6PsMpLFernando Torres was anxiously awaiting news of Rafa Benitez’s meeting with
Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton last night after deciding he wants his uncertain Anfield future resolved in the next week.

Liverpool’s record £21million signing is in demand after it became clear Anfield bosses may have to cash in on him, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona all waiting for any encouragement to open a bidding war that could send the fee soaring to £70m.

While Benitez presented his argument to Broughton over why any proceeds should go towards strengthening his squad, rather than servicing the club’s debt, Torres was agonising over his next move.

Alarmed at the way Liverpool’s campaign has petered out and left them lagging behind their main rivals, he wants answers on whether Benitez is staying and evidence of a strategy to guard against any repeat of this season’s failings.

Eager to avoid any unwanted distractions ahead of next month’s World Cup, he has made it clear he needs to know Liverpool’s intentions before he leaves Merseyside next week, in readiness for linking up with the Spain squad. He may be prepared to tolerate one more season without Champions League football but is ready to move on, should Liverpool deem a £70m offer too good to turn down. Read more…

The first dream has become reality

May 6th, 2010 No comments

php37fftWJosé Mourinho spoke on Rai Sport before lifting the Tim Cup with his Inter players.

“It was a very hard game from the first minute because losing a player like Sneijder in this way at the start is obviously very hard,” said the Portuguese coach.

“For ninety minutes it was a very aggressive, intense and ugly match. We scored a goal and then we controlled the game, and Julio Cesar did very well in the moment of danger.

“Roma then lost their heads a bit but my boys did very well and I tell the fans not to come to Malpensa this time because the team really needs to rest.

“The first dream has become reality. Inter are the team of the moment. We are doing very well. Now we have to fight until the end and win two more titles, and we will fight for these two dreams.

“Now I can say that I have won all the national competitions in every country that I have coached in. The Champions League? It’s a beautiful dream.

“Inter have changed. They have made an enormous leap. Now they can change coach and players, but they have changed. Is there a chance of me staying. Obviously yes.”

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