Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

January 9, 2003

Ferguson rues Beattie blow

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 4:41 am

The News Review:

* Find a comfy spot on the couch and just veg
* UEFA let England off lightly
* Berg could quit football this summer
* Ferguson rues Beattie blow
* Eriksson backs Ferdinand over pool-table ‘fight’
* Mick and Roy hang over FAI and reform
* Under-21: Jeffers on target but Turkey look the part
* Vogts earns respect for Scotland
* Vogts rules out Scotland’s non-starters
* Family tribute is goal for Keane
* Fingers crossed as rates issue hits Lords
* Young Turk Nihat has an eye for goal
* Larsson demolishes Livingston spirits
* Neville out for up to three months
* Security is stepped up for Israel

Find a comfy spot on the couch and just veg
Irish Times – Jan 6, 2003
The cricket World Cup, meanwhile, starts up in South Africa and Zimbabwe, where it is anticipated that Robert Mugabe will confiscate bats, balls and pads from any white players who dare to show up. The highlight, though, should be that historic floodlit National League football match between Cork and Kerry at P?irc U? Rinn. What else? Oh yeah – that boatie thing, the America’s Cup, sets sail in Auckland. March: The Formula One season starts in Melbourne. It ends in Japan in October and, short of him being banned from driving for accruing too many penalty points for speeding, Michael Schumacher will triumph… Many an Irish home will be re-re-mortgaged after Cheltenham before Ireland travel to Georgia to resume their (so far) unsuccessful Euro 2004 qualifying campaign. In athletics, Lausanne stages the World Cross Country Championships on the 29th-30th and, in golf, Sawgrass welcomes the Players’ Championship. April: It’s Aintree Grand National time, swiftly followed by the Fairyhouse version, with Ted Walsh and Jenny Pitman, once again, taking on the Animal Liberation Front. Ireland travel to Tirana to play Albania in the Euro 2004 qualifiers, and the snooker world championships, em, cue off, in Sheffield. Augusta will see Padraig Harrington win his first major, the Masters.

UEFA let England off lightly – Jan 5, 2003
The booing of the Turkish anthem, racist chants, two pitch invasions and the English fans’ attack on Alpay, the visitors’ centre-half, has been deemed as worthy of punishment equal to one-twentieth of what the FA earned from that night at the Stadium of Light. Too diplomatic to smile, the FA looked mightily relieved when the nine men on… “But our appeals did work with the Slovakians [again over racism] when we appealed against our original fine and that led to them having to play a game behind closed doors. ” The moral of the story is that England and PSV have better lawyers than the impoverished Slovakians. England have escaped partly because UEFA do not feel legally confident enough to bring them to account over incidents outside stadiums. There was trouble outside the Stadium of Light while Eriksson described city-centre scenes in Bratislava as “something from the Wild West” when English fans clashed with Slovakian fans and security forces. “Those are matters for police,” stressed Lee. The FA are also looking to the police to assist them in cleaning up the stain on the Three Lions. Working in conjunction with Northumbria Police, the FA are to publish photographs of those fans who invaded the pitch at the Stadium of Light.

Berg could quit football this summer – Jan 7, 2003
And the 33-year-old is considering retiring from professional football altogether, though he may play on for another year if he expects Norway to reach Euro 2004. He told Norwegian newspaper VG: `Valerenga does not have any arrangement with me. ‘It’s not even certain that I will continue my professional career. That basically depends on whether it looksas if Norway will make it to the Euro 2004 finals. ‘Your views on this story?.

Ferguson rues Beattie blow – Jan 9, 2003
“Scholes will be out for a month,” said Ferguson, hinting that a third hernia operation is likely for the England international. “After a week’s rest he’ll see a specialist about an operation. “The news about Ferdinand was less clear but the defender was included in England’s squad for the Euro 2004 ties against Macedonia and Liechtenstein. “He’ll see a specialist on Wednesday,” said Ferguson, who admitted United did not know the exact problem Ferdinand is suffering from. Kleberson played wide on the right and on the evidence of yesterday this is not the Brazil international’s best position. He barely made a forward pass and had minimal impact until being substituted with a dislocated shoulder. Eric Djemba Djemba was little better and for all Keane’s industry, only Giggs provided any real attacking threat to Southampton… He had an excellent game and he’ll get over that. “Southampton worked their socks off and Strachan was particularly pleased with a third consecutive clean sheet for his team. The home side did the simple things well and were not as wasteful with their possession as United. The Southampton back four kept their shape and discipline, the midfield was industrious while Beattie and Phillips showed further proof of their potential as a partnership. “The way they played, they made it very difficult for us,” said Ferguson. “But the season’s a long one and you don’t win or lose the title at this stage. “The players have done a good job until now.

Eriksson backs Ferdinand over pool-table ‘fight’ – Jan 6, 2003
Beckham will address the nation at 1700 hours, asking supporters to respect opposing anthems and desist from “racism, violence and jumping on the pitch”. The players split up after their 7pm dinner to do their own thing, although some went to their rooms to watch Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini, Lilian Thuram and Ciro Ferrara remind the world how to block, tackle and nudge forwards into submission. “I am sure the only reason we don’t have a side in the Champions League final every two years is that there’s too much football in England,” said Eriksson, who then added that Premiership clubs had a right to go on summer tours because “they have to find a new market for their shirts”. As for the Premiership versus Serie A debate, the former Lazio and Sampdoria coach added: “Nobody can convince me Juventus and Milan are better than Arsenal and United. I talked to Italy today and their squad is missing only Christian Vieri… “Trevor Sinclair, nursing a dead leg, was forced to miss training at England’s Leicestershire HQ. When the cameras were ordered out of training by Eriksson, Wayne Rooney was not handed a first-team bib, Eriksson electing to pair Michael Owen, England’s captain in Beckham’s absence, with Emile Heskey. “If they [Owen and Rooney] are a couple for the future, it would be good to play them together but Heskey has done very well,” said Eriksson, who needs Rooney fully fit for the Euro 2004 qualifier with Slovakia on Wednesday week. Yet with every confident touch of the ball yesterday, the Everton youngster’s extraordinary talent shone even in this exalted company. Midfield comprised Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Jermaine Jenas, although Owen Hargreaves was excused duty having played all 90 minutes of Bayern Munich’s German Cup victory on Saturday. “I had a long night celebrating,” said Hargreaves. Eriksson said that Hargreaves, like Rooney, would feature at some point.

Mick and Roy hang over FAI and reform
Irish Times – Jan 6, 2003
The stated intention is to totally reorganise the association in line with the recommendations of the Genesis report, but the bulk of public attention will be focused on who is chosen to replace Mick McCarthy and whether the successful candidate can revive Ireland’s prospects of reaching the finals of the Euro 2004. Its current position in the group 10 table may look rather pitiful, but the cause is not quite lost with second place and yet another play-off still looking to be a possibility. Having been defeated by both of its main qualification rivals in its opening two games, however, there is no more latitude for the sort of blunders that allowed Switzerland to leave Lansdowne Road in October with all three points and very little time for the new man to figure out how it is that he is going to turn things around. Still, the limited pool of available talent means there will be relatively few changes in personnel or, most likely, direction. There is, of course, a need to integrate the brightest youngsters into the squad, but what is required first, foremost and most immediately of McCarthy’s successor is an ability to extract more cohesive performances from a group of players that should have beaten the Swiss and certainly could have, on a better day, taken something out of the game with Russia in Moscow… Even if Keane were to return and the senior team’s fortunes were to dramatically improve, there remains much else to be done by the FAI during the year ahead. Its internal structures and senior management are both to be overhauled, and for all the early signs of progress a huge amount of work is left to be done before the association can claim to have turned the corner. Had Keane not departed earlier in the summer, though, and the team not lost out narrowly on a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup it’s hard to imagine that anybody would have been bothered much afterwards with how the organisation ran itself. Now, as they look to appoint a man capable of rekindling the nation’s love affair with its soccer team, it’s a point that won’t be lost on the officers of an association that could do with spending 2003 well away from the media limelight.

Under-21: Jeffers on target but Turkey look the part – Jan 4, 2003
The threat from Senol Gunes’ team tonight is one that cuts to the very heart of England’s Euro 2004 aspirations. There was little doubt after 20 minutes that his collection of unknowns were comfortable in this kind of company. Turkey exacted a patient grip through their midfielder, Ugur Inceman, whose passing matched anything Jenas could muster in the early stages… Turkey’s goal was scored by Tuncay Sanli, a Fenerbahce striker who had six goals in 10 games for the Under-21s before last night and a big contract to play at Inter Milan next season. Ibrahim Yavuz sent the ball out to the right and Okan Koc’s cross was turned in by Sanli. There had not been a great deal of noise beyond the shrill encouragement of the childrens’ seats, but St James’ 21,085 crowd brought a baritone roar of disapproval down on the celebrating Turks. They were here to see Jenas, whose brief call-up to the senior England side has deferred on him a swift seniority in Platt’s team. He made both England goals from the centre of midfield against Portugal and it was the West Ham captain and Jenas who dragged England back into this match.

Vogts earns respect for Scotland – Jan 4, 2003
The Scotland manager still bears the scars from his treatment at the hands of the German media and once said that he left his native country because of the lack of respect for him, despite his good record as a player and manager with the national side. The rationale behind the planning of Scotland’s Euro 2004 qualifying schedule was that a collision with Germany, the Group Five favourites, should be held back as long as possible to allow Vogts to get his new charges into shape for the collision with last year’s World Cup finalists at Hampden in June… When Lithuania came back from Germany with a 1-1 draw they knew they had two good chances to win the game after they scored the equaliser. “Emboldened to believe that they can inflict damage on Scotland and take the play-off place in the group, the physically strong Lithuanians have switched from a cautious 5-3-2 formation to a more expansive 4-4-2 under Algimantas Liubinskas, the coach who also doubles as a municipal sports director in nearby Vilnius. “I expect a physical game and that they will try to put us under pressure from the start,” said Vogts, who must do without the injured Barry Ferguson and perhaps Robert Douglas, the Celtic goalkeeper, whose chances of playing are not greater than 50 per cent following a knee injury, although he trained yesterday. In his absence, Paul Gallacher, of Dundee United, would step in. Scotland will almost certainly go in with the same formation as against Iceland, which means a straight replacement for Ferguson, probably Colin Cameron, although Vogts hinted that he could use Scot Gemmill in midfield. From the Lithuanian training camp, Liubinskas said that his players would attempt to break the section open with a win which would take them on to the same points as Scotland and Germany. He is likely to field a similar side who earned a surprise draw with Germany in Nuremberg on Saturday night.

Vogts rules out Scotland’s non-starters – Jan 5, 2003
Time is running out before the Euro 2004 qualifier with group favourites Germany, next month. Wednesday proved a serious setback with the visitors… Now it appears that Thompson will have to force his way into Alex McLeish’s championship-chasing side in the next few weeks if he wants to represent his country in the biggest match of the season. Vogts said: “I think this match was very helpful for the players and also gave me a lot of answers to my questions. Some players are not playing regularly for their clubs and I think their time is over. “Now I have to look only for players who are playing regularly for their teams. “But if that change of tack is likely to rule out players like Thompson, fellow Rangers players Maurice Ross and Bob Malcolm, and Celtic winger Jamie Smith, it could also ensnare Don Hutchison. Vogts has gone on record many a time stating how much the Germans fear the West Ham man, who scored the winner in Bremen in 1999 when they last met. However, Hutchison has yet to start a club game since recovering from a serious knee injury.

Family tribute is goal for Keane – Jan 4, 2003
I haven’t asked him but it looked like he was delighted and relieved to be here. Whether Kerr will go along with the popular and professionally sensible option and drop Lee Carsley,… The nearest Kerr would give to hinting at his selection was to say that he likes to “freshen up the team when there are two games so close together”. However, Albania, whose squad will share a bonus of £95,000 promised by Prime Minister Fatos Nano if they win today, are likely to be without the injured left-sided midfielder Edvin Murati and Duff could be the player to exploit any potential weakness in that area. It may be difficult for neutrals to perceive Albania versus Ireland as being one of the most significant Euro 2004 qualifying ties played today but a win for either side would give them genuine hopes of at least a play-off place, a scenario that seemed unlikely a week ago. “I’m not surprised Albania beat Russia,” said Kerr. “They’ve made steady progress in recent years. That result opened up the group and Albania are back in it. “Despite their defeats by Russia and Switzerland, Ireland have lost only six of their last 36 competitive games and two of their last 17 away matches.

Fingers crossed as rates issue hits Lords – Jan 9, 2003
Also scheduled for that evening is a House of Lords vote on rates relief that could have massive implications for the country’s hard-pressed amateur sports clubs. Prompted by Lord Moynihan, the shadow sports minister, the Conservatives will push to vote an amendment on the Local Government Finance Bill that would force councils to give 85 per cent mandatory rate relief to sports clubs. At present, councils have complete discretion on rate relief, which causes wide discrepancies around the country and tends to penalise clubs in poorer areas. “I think we can win this one,” says Moynihan, who coxed a British silver medal boat at the Moscow Olympics and was later Minister for Sport in the Thatcher government… Even if next week’s vote succeeds in the Lords, the Government could seek to reverse it in the Commons. However, this campaign now has such a head of steam behind it – and so much logic and commonsense – that I can’t see the Treasury making stubborn fools of themselves over such a relatively small amount of lost revenue. I hope not, anyway. Another campaign moving finally towards a successful outcome is the battle to save Long Eaton stadium for speedway. The stadium, almost the Derbyshire town’s only leisure amenity, was closed in 1997 after the firm who owned it went bust – not through losses on the speedway, but on other commercial activities. Having failed to get planning permission for housing, liquidators acting for the Royal Bank of Scotland have agreed to sell the land to a single (so far unidentified) buyer – half of it for speedway and stock car racing. There should be some speedway next year after rebuilding and a full season in 2005.

Young Turk Nihat has an eye for goal – Jan 4, 2003
“Maybe that means they will panic if things are not going too nicely and we can take advantage of that. If that does happen then we have the players and the tactics to go on and win the game. “England have very good, world-class players like Beckham and Owen and have a reputation as a big football nation but I am too young to remember that. “What I can say is that this is a greatly-improved Turkey team. We are no longer in fear of anyone, particularly England… Our next step is to go all the way and win a major trophy. “Nihat was restricted to two substitute appearances during Turkey’s World Cup campaign in the Far East but has since started justifying the £3 million transfer fee that had taken him to Spain, a deal delayed by a serious knee injury. He also scored Turkey’s winning goal against Macedonia in an earlier Euro 2004 qualifier to keep his country on track for Portugal. Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, reportedly had Nihat watched by his brother, Martin, recently, and would find that Hakan Sukur, Blackurn’s Turkish striker, would also provide a glowing reference. “Nihat is on the way to becoming world-class,” Hakan said. “He will soon be better than Owen, Raul and Christian Vieri. “Senol Gunes, the Turkey coach, is equally fulsome in praise of his young charge.

Larsson demolishes Livingston spirits – Jan 9, 2003
“I’ve been there and they never have an easy game of football. If you are playing for them a particular game might not be the biggest in your mind but for whoever you are playing it’s their cup final,” said Souness. Well, up to a point, Lord Copper – and that point is usually when one or other of the Old Firm pair takes the lead at home against lesser opposition. What their season ticket holders want is spirited resistance with goals at both ends, culminating in a home victory. Unfortunately, the gap in resources between the Celtic and Rangers and the rest means that visiting managers have to decide between death or glory attacking stratagems – like Hibernian in their 5-2 defeat at Ibrox the previous weekend – or attempts at damage limitation… “I don’t think we will be in the First Division next year because we are better than that. We will get on with what we have to do, beginning with our next fixture against Dundee United,” said Keane. The Scottish Football Association have invited club managers to join the travelling party for the Dortmund leg of Scotland’s Euro 2004 qualifying double header against the Faroes Islands and Germany and, perhaps in response to the courtesy, Martin O’Neill omitted Paul Lambert from his selection. “I don’t normally consider Scotland too much but in this situation I felt that we could give Lambert a rest,” the Celtic manager said. He was rewarded by a mature performance from Lambert’s replacement, the young Irish midfield player, Liam Miller. Only two SPL games were scheduled for Saturday and both ended in draws. At Easter Road Aberdeen harvested their first point of the season, having taken the lead against Hibernian through Russell Anderson in the first half.

Neville out for up to three months – Jan 5, 2003
The 28-year-old, who has not started a league game for United since the 4-0 win over Liverpool at the beginning of April, will undergo surgery to remove a screw originally inserted into his foot during an operation last summer and will be out for between two and three months. “Gary will undergo surgery today after experiencing discomfort in his left foot,” read a United statement this afternoon… The 28-year-old, who has not started a league game for United since the 4-0 win over Liverpool at the beginning of April, will undergo surgery to remove a screw originally inserted into his foot during an operation last summer and will be out for between two and three months. “Gary will undergo surgery today after experiencing discomfort in his left foot,” read a United statement this afternoon. “He will be back with Manchester United for pre-season training. “Neville has been an automatic choice at right-back for almost eight seasons and is approaching his 400th game for United.

Security is stepped up for Israel – Jan 4, 2003
Today’s match is considered a home game for the Israelis, who are not permitted to play in their country due to UEFA worries about the security situation in the Middle East. Security is tight at any sporting event involving Israel, and measures have been heightened due to the conflict in Iraq. So 1,000 security officials will be deployed for the match, including officers from the Israeli secret service… Today’s match is considered a home game for the Israelis, who are not permitted to play in their country due to UEFA worries about the security situation in the Middle East. Security is tight at any sporting event involving Israel, and measures have been heightened due to the conflict in Iraq. So 1,000 security officials will be deployed for the match, including officers from the Israeli secret service.

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