Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

July 10, 2002

James stakes claim to fill Seaman’s goalkeeping boots

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 5:23 am

The News Review:

* EURO 2004: Greece
* EURO 2004: Bulgaria
* Redknapp ‘fluke’ a cruel ending for tired Blackburn
* James stakes claim to fill Seaman’s goalkeeping boots
* EURO 2004: Russia
* More gloom for Scotland manager
* Gascoigne keen on Exeter job
* Turkey coach feels the heat
* Thompson answers England call
* No luck for the Irish
* UEFA Cup – Viktoria Zizkov against Glasgow Rangers, photo: CTK

EURO 2004: Greece
Squarefootball – Jul 9, 2002
However, the Spanish will certainly not be underestimating them for one, having had to settle for the runners-up spot behind Otto Rehhagel’s team in qualifying Group 6. Consecutive 2:0 defeats at home to Spain and away to the Ukraine in their opening two qualifiers looked to have ended Greek hopes of a place in the Euro 2004 finals almost before they had began. Given their fairly lamentable record at international level, there seemed little hope of them overhauling either of the sides that had already beaten them. What was to follow would have surpassed the expectations of the most buoyant of optimists though, as a routine 2:0 win over Armenia set them on their way to six straight victories without conceding a single goal. Defeating the Spaniards 1:0 in Zaragoza last June was the obvious high point and could be crucial to their self-confidence when the two meet again in Porto in the second group game here… However, the Spanish will certainly not be underestimating them for one, having had to settle for the runners-up spot behind Otto Rehhagel’s team in qualifying Group 6. Consecutive 2:0 defeats at home to Spain and away to the Ukraine in their opening two qualifiers looked to have ended Greek hopes of a place in the Euro 2004 finals almost before they had began. Given their fairly lamentable record at international level, there seemed little hope of them overhauling either of the sides that had already beaten them. What was to follow would have surpassed the expectations of the most buoyant of optimists though, as a routine 2:0 win over Armenia set them on their way to six straight victories without conceding a single goal. Defeating the Spaniards 1:0 in Zaragoza last June was the obvious high point and could be crucial to their self-confidence when the two meet again in Porto in the second group game here. German coach Rehhagel can call on a wealth of experience in his homeland, having spent the bulk of his coaching career at Werder Bremen among a host of other German league clubs and has instilled real self-confidence within his players.

EURO 2004: Bulgaria
Squarefootball – Jul 9, 2002
The fact that Bulgaria are in Portugal this summer is a surprise in itself to many observers, with coach Plamen Markov taking the plaudits for having steered a relatively inexperienced side to the finals ahead of Croatia and Belgium in qualification. 46-year old Markov replaced Stoicho Mladenov as national team coach in December 2001 on the back of a 6:0 drubbing from the Czech Republic. Bulgaria topped Group 8 having conceded just four goals, with their only defeat being 1:0 in Zagreb when they had already booked their place among the final 16. They took control of the group from the outset, with consecutive 2:0 wins away to Belgium and at home to Croatia, but were less impressive in missing a hatful of chances in only beating group whipping-boys Andorra 2:1in Sofia… Celtic midfielder Stilian Petrov is now the team captain, chosen by the players themselves and, along with Bayer Leverkusen striker Dimitar Berbatov, is the key man in the current squad. Berbatov scored five goals in the qualifiers and is likely to play in a lone striking role in Portugal. That?s not to say that Bulgaria will go into the finals on the defensive, with Serbia-born Zoran Jankovic likely to be deployed in the hole behind Berbatov and midfielders Georgi Peev, Martin Petrov and the captain himself, all happy to push forward. Kaiserslautern?s Marian Hristov will probably be deployed in the holding role. There is also ample back-up to Berbatov on the bench, even in the absence of Todorov, with Lille striker Vladimir Manchev and 18-year old Lecce striker Valeri Bojinov both likely to feature at some stage. There are also high hopes for CSKA Sofia?s Velizar Dimitrov, who is being touted in some quarters as the heir apparent to Balakov in the playmaker role. The one survivor from the USA 94 squad is the versatile Daniel Borimorov, who could be used to fill the gap left by the omission of Kishishev in defence.

Redknapp ‘fluke’ a cruel ending for tired Blackburn
Telegraph.co.uk – Jul 10, 2002
By the end of yesterday’s encounter, it was beginning to tell. “We find ourselves playing on a Thursday, which is hardly the best night to play football when you are competing in the Premiership – but we are in thrall to the powers in Geneva,” Souness said. “I can guarantee you that as long as we are in the UEFA Cup it is not a help to our Premiership form. We do not have the squad to compete in both competitions and four hours on a plane has to have an affect on the players. “Souness might well have thought that his team were beginning to come apart at the seams as early as the sixth minute when Robbie Keane sailed through the home defence for his first Tottenham goal. The striker picked the ball up outside the Blackburn area and embarked on a run at goal that went unchallenged until Henning Berg lunged in seconds too late… Andy Cole bundled in Damien Duff’s knock-down from David Dunn’s cross but was ruled offside. Not quite fit and barely interested, the former Manchester United striker was replaced up front by Egil Ostenstad at half-time. Another player Sven-Goran Eriksson had to strike from his list of hopefuls for next week’s Euro 2004 qualifiers was David Dunn, who withdrew with a hamstring injury. It was the 22-year-old who made Blackburn’s equaliser, however, flicking Tugay’s long ball through the middle of Tottenham’s defence for Ostenstad to chase on 59 minutes. The Norwegian clipped his shot over the advancing Kasey Keller. “We started slowly and were not really at the races in the first half but after the break we certainly did enough to get a point,” Souness said. “It just illustrates how cruel this game can be – they really did not cause us any problems in the second half.

James stakes claim to fill Seaman’s goalkeeping boots
Telegraph.co.uk – Jul 9, 2002
David Seaman of Arsenal, who kept goal in the World Cup in the summer, will be 39 in 12 days’ time and that is close to geriatric in international sporting terms. He is still flinty-sharp, of course, even though the pony-tail makes him look like that ageing rocker in The Commitments. With the future in mind and Euro 2004 the next big event on the UEFA calendar, Sven-Goran Eriksson gave Seaman a Saturday off and decided to have a look at James with the immensely promising Leeds ‘keeper, Paul Robinson, itching to get his own bid in but starting off against Portugal, the 2004 hosts, on the bench. He had a turbulent start there, finally establishing himself as first-choice in 1994 after the departure of Bruce Grobbelaar. A couple of errors in important matches earned him the Calamity tag and he went to Villa in 1999 for £1… Eriksson sent on three more substitutes, meaning that both sides had created the most over-populated team sheets in recent memory but there was still no place for the Robinson while James’s nifty footwork helped him out of tight spot. Sadly, not for long. Hugo Viana’s corner in the 79th minute was gloriously met by Costinha and James was rooted as the header flew inside his post. He could not be blamed. The Portuguese player was given a free header by statuesque defenders. Will James get the job? He did well enough to impress the boss ahead of the European qualifier in Slovakia next month, with perhaps an eight out of 10 performance. Eriksson insists that Seaman has not been jettisoned but the days when England had a surfeit of top-class goalkeepers have long gone.

EURO 2004: Russia
Squarefootball – Jul 9, 2002
Given that the Russians only victory on their travels in reaching the finals was in the play-off in Wales, the omens don?t look terribly encouraging for success in Portugal. Qualification for the finals was something of a roller-coaster affair, with excellent results against main group rivals Switzerland and Ireland offset by embarrassing defeats in Albania and Georgia. Then there was the positive drug test (leading to a one-year ban) for Spartak Moscow captain Yegor Titov after the 1st leg of the play-off with Wales, which can have done little for their preparations in the light of the Welsh attempt to have them thrown out of the competition. The fact that Russia travel to Portugal with a largely home-based squad is testament to the investment in the domestic league in the last couple of years… His hat-trick in the win over Switzerland went a long way to securing the runners-up spot in Group 10. He could be played as a lone striker, although Dmitry Sychev, now back on form at Lokomotiv Moscow after a barren spell with Marseille in France, or the pact Alexander Kerzhakov are both potential partners. Whether they will be able to adapt to the heat in Portugal against three teams from southern Europe who will be used to the conditions might well have a bearing on their hopes, especially given the perceived lack of self-belief and that they have a tendency not to travel particularly well anyway. Group A does look the most clear-cut in terms of qualification, with Portugal and Spain looking a class above both the other teams. Russia?s best hope will probably be in catching Spain off their guard in the opening game to secure at least a point, leaving them with at least some hope in their final group fixture against the Greeks. Russia has done very little on the world stage since the break-up of the USSR – it doesn?t look terribly encouraging this time either. Squad:GoalkeepersSergei Ovchinnikov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Vyacheslav Malafeyev (Zenit St Petersburg), Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow).

More gloom for Scotland manager
Telegraph.co.uk – Jul 9, 2002
The striker should have had a hat-trick and secured an incredible three points for his country but he blazed over the bar of an open goal just before the hour. Afterwards Vogts said: “I have to talk to the players. That was not good enough for international football. You have to look to three years ago when Scotland played with their best team here and made a draw. “Now we are building a new team with a lot of young players in the side who aren’t playing for their first teams in Scotland and that’s a problem. A draw is OK, but we have to look forward to the Iceland qualification match. “Scottish football has suffered terribly over the past eight months, starting when Vogts’s new recruits suffered a thrashing in Paris where France, then the world champions, put five past them… A 4-1 defeat by eventual semi-finalists South Korea was followed by a 2-0 defeat against South Africa. They eventually recorded a win over a Hong Kong XI but still they were less than impressive. Their last outing before the start of the Euro 2004 qualifiers was the 1-0 home defeat to Denmark – but even that result flattered their performance.

Gascoigne keen on Exeter job
Telegraph.co.uk – Jul 10, 2002
“I don’t understand why it’s a big problem me finding out as the skipper with seven months left [on my contract]. I’ll either be kept or I won’t. “If I’m not required it is a case of knowing and if that is going to happen I will still give 100 per cent as a professional. I will keep fighting for the team but I will know what I have to do for the future. “Austria and the Czech Republic have agreed to bar known hooligans from entering their country to reach Slovakia , where England play a Euro 2004 qualifying tie on Saturday. The National Criminal Intelligence Service targeted those two countries as the most likely route to Slovakia and anyone suspected of trying to make their way to the game while banned from attending England matches will be refused entry. However, Slovakia also borders Poland, Hungary and Ukraine which are harder to police… “If I’m not required it is a case of knowing and if that is going to happen I will still give 100 per cent as a professional. I will keep fighting for the team but I will know what I have to do for the future. “Austria and the Czech Republic have agreed to bar known hooligans from entering their country to reach Slovakia , where England play a Euro 2004 qualifying tie on Saturday. The National Criminal Intelligence Service targeted those two countries as the most likely route to Slovakia and anyone suspected of trying to make their way to the game while banned from attending England matches will be refused entry. However, Slovakia also borders Poland, Hungary and Ukraine which are harder to police. Celtic manager Martin O’Neill has insisted talks to extend his contract will still take place – despite speculation that he has already decided to leave Parkhead at the end of the season. O’Neill claims no decision has been made on his future and says he will take advantage of the international weekend to hold talks with chairman Brian Quinn, either later this week or the beginning of next week.

Turkey coach feels the heat
Telegraph.co.uk – Jul 9, 2002
And Tayfun Korkut was furious when he was axed from a 27-man preliminary World Cup squad. “I’ve had a successful season in Spain and I don’t deserve this,” he said at the time. Gunes threatened to resign after criticism spiralled following the Sweden defeat – and may be forced to do so again if Turkey start their Euro 2004 qualifying campaign badly. During the World Cup, Turkey players had refused to speak to any journalists other than those working for the country’s state broadcaster because of the coverage the coach and his squad were receiving. Gunes has now appointed himself sole spokesman of the national team. “We have to prove that finishing third place in the World Cup was not a surprise, so we have to be careful in every game,” he said… During the World Cup, Turkey players had refused to speak to any journalists other than those working for the country’s state broadcaster because of the coverage the coach and his squad were receiving. Gunes has now appointed himself sole spokesman of the national team. “We have to prove that finishing third place in the World Cup was not a surprise, so we have to be careful in every game,” he said.

Thompson answers England call
Telegraph.co.uk – Jul 10, 2002
Sinclair withdrew this afternoon after bruising his toe in West Ham’s Premiership encounter with Birmingham on Saturday. The decision to call up Thompson will be another blow to Lee Bowyer, the Leeds midfielder, who was left out of the squad despite having an impressive international debut against Portugal last month… Sven-Goran Eriksson, the England coach, told the Football Association’s website: “David has been impressive over the last few weeks and I have seen him play on a couple of occasions. “I am now looking forward to working with him for these two important games. “Glenn Roeder, the West Ham manager, said Sinclair had withdrawn because Erikkson did not want to take anyone to Slovkia who was not fully fit. Roeder added that he expected his striker Jermaine Defoe to withdraw from the under-21 squad because of a groin strain.

No luck for the Irish
Telegraph.co.uk – Jul 9, 2002
Ireland may be top seeds in Group Ten, but it was the slick Russians who ran the show in the first half, during which time they scored two goals and left their opponents feeling as if they had been hit by a steam train in the Lokomotiv Stadium. The way Ireland played, it looked as if they had smog in front of their eyes as they capitulated in very untypical fashion during the first 45 minutes… Ireland may be top seeds in Group Ten, but it was the slick Russians who ran the show in the first half, during which time they scored two goals and left their opponents feeling as if they had been hit by a steam train in the Lokomotiv Stadium. The way Ireland played, it looked as if they had smog in front of their eyes as they capitulated in very untypical fashion during the first 45 minutes. The damage was done in the space of five first half minutes when two goals effectively ended Ireland’s hopes of embarking on the road to Portugal with at least a point.

UEFA Cup – Viktoria Zizkov against Glasgow Rangers, photo: CTK
radio.cz – Jul 10, 2002
The most goals came at Slavia Prague, who stunned Belgium’sMouscron with two early goals, eventually winning 5:1 on the night and 7:3on aggregate. The draw for the next round takes place on Tuesday. National team preparing to face Moldova and BelarusMeanwhile the Czech national side are preparing for their first Euro 2004qualifiers. They visit Moldova on Saturday and play host to Belarus inTeplice next week. With several midfielders out, coach Karel Brueckner hascalled up Jan Simak, who is not having a happy season at Leverkusen. Twoof the strikers in the Czech squad faced each other on Saturday; JanKoller scored for Dortmund in their 3:0 win over Hannover, for whom JiriStajner missed a penalty. Tough draw for Czechs in Davis CupThe Czech Republic’s Davis Cup team have got a tough draw for the firstround of next season’s competition – they will face a Russian team whichfeatures the likes of Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin… National team preparing to face Moldova and BelarusMeanwhile the Czech national side are preparing for their first Euro 2004qualifiers. They visit Moldova on Saturday and play host to Belarus inTeplice next week. With several midfielders out, coach Karel Brueckner hascalled up Jan Simak, who is not having a happy season at Leverkusen. Twoof the strikers in the Czech squad faced each other on Saturday; JanKoller scored for Dortmund in their 3:0 win over Hannover, for whom JiriStajner missed a penalty. Tough draw for Czechs in Davis CupThe Czech Republic’s Davis Cup team have got a tough draw for the firstround of next season’s competition – they will face a Russian team whichfeatures the likes of Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin. Bad start for Augusta as Havirov fail to score in two defeatsFormer Czech national ice hockey coach Josef Augusta has had a nightmarestart in charge of bottom of the table Havirov. Augusta’s team lost 4:0away to Karlovy Vary on Friday, and again failed to score even once whenthey went down 1:0 at home to Extraliga leaders Litvinov.

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