Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

March 31, 2003

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – France v Malta Report

Filed under: EURO 2008 — Ivan @ 7:50 am

The News Review:

* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Liechtenstein v England Preview
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Scotland v Iceland Preview
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – France v Malta Report
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Italy v Finland Report
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Georgia v Ireland Report
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Scotland v Iceland Report
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Netherlands v Czech Republic Preview
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Albania v Russia Report
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Germany v Lithuania Report
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Macedonia v Slovakia Report
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Poland v Hungary Report
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Cyprus v Israel Preview

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Liechtenstein v England Preview
go.com – Mar 28, 2003
Though there can be few doubts over the outcome in Vaduz,manager Sven-Goran Eriksson will want to see the swagger returnto England’s game after a faltering start to their Group Sevencampaign. Having scraped a late 2-1 win in Slovakia, England thendropped two points in a 2-2 draw at home to Macedonia beforebeing humiliated in a 3-1 friendly defeat by Australia. It was not the form expected of World Cup quarter-finalistswho can boast some of the biggest pay-packets in the game and,not surprisingly, led to a barrage of criticism. Though beating the tiny principality will not silence theircritics or those of the England manager, it should do thevaluable job of geeing up Eriksson’s men for Wednesday’s crunchmatch with Turkey. Defeat in Sunderland by the World Cup semi-finalists, whohave a maximum nine points from three games, would shatterEngland’s confidence and send them spinning towards theplay-offs, with or without Eriksson in charge. Fortunately for the Swede, most of his key players are notjust fit, but are currently in excellent form at club level. CUP WINNERSLiverpool’s League Cup winners Steven Gerrard and MichaelOwen, along with Manchester United’s Paul Scholes and DavidBeckham, are all in great shape and scoring goals… Having scraped a late 2-1 win in Slovakia, England thendropped two points in a 2-2 draw at home to Macedonia beforebeing humiliated in a 3-1 friendly defeat by Australia. It was not the form expected of World Cup quarter-finalistswho can boast some of the biggest pay-packets in the game and,not surprisingly, led to a barrage of criticism. Though beating the tiny principality will not silence theircritics or those of the England manager, it should do thevaluable job of geeing up Eriksson’s men for Wednesday’s crunchmatch with Turkey. Defeat in Sunderland by the World Cup semi-finalists, whohave a maximum nine points from three games, would shatterEngland’s confidence and send them spinning towards theplay-offs, with or without Eriksson in charge. Fortunately for the Swede, most of his key players are notjust fit, but are currently in excellent form at club level. CUP WINNERSLiverpool’s League Cup winners Steven Gerrard and MichaelOwen, along with Manchester United’s Paul Scholes and DavidBeckham, are all in great shape and scoring goals. Two highly promising youngsters, teenage striker WayneRooney and midfielder Jermaine Jenas, are also hungry to makecompetitive debuts for England after impressing against theSocceroos.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Scotland v Iceland Preview
go.com – Mar 28, 2003
Hampden could be close to a 52,000 sell-out for the firsttime since Scotland faced France three years ago and Vogtscommented: ‘All international matches are very special for me. ‘Maybe I had more passion against the Irish Republic than myplayers but tomorrow we see a different team – a Scottishteam. ‘Scotland slipped to an all-time low of 63rd in the FIFAstandings earlier this week but Vogts does not want any negativethoughts affecting his players against Iceland. The German, unlike some of his players, says that his sideare not looking to win the section. ‘The Germans are big favourites. Our target, we are lookingfor a play-off place. We are not an arrogant nation.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 28, 2003
The AC Milan striker scored seven of the nine goals the Danes mustered in competitive matches – including three in two UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 2 qualifying fixtures. Share the goalsNevertheless, Denmark coach Morten Olsen is well aware that the burden must be shared if his side are to feature in Portugal next summer – preferably starting against Romania in Bucharest on Saturday. While Tomasson’s eye for goal earned him a lucrative contract at the San Siro, his international strike partner, Ebbe Sand, is still searching for the magic touch which saw him finish as the German Bundesliga’s leading scorer two years ago… Olsen will remain loyal. “A few years ago Sand did not score for five or six games for his club,” he explained. “Yet when he returned to play for Denmark he sparkled immediately. That could well be the case this time around. Sand is still a great finisher and I’m not worried about him. “Bad memoriesOther history, though, is not so kind to Denmark.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – France v Malta Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
Coach Jacques Santini had to review his line-up for a gamein which France wanted to put in a good performance after theirshock 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic in Paris last month. It was the first time Santini had opted to start with bothHenry and Trezeguet, who had not played as first-choice strikerssince the goalless draw against Uruguay in the first round oflast year’s World Cup finals. His selection did not look too smart for a while as Juventusforward Trezeguet missed two clear chances to open the scoringin the first 20 minutes. France had dominated from the start, but they looked clumsywhen they came within shooting distance while Malta’s goalkeeperMario Muscat made a number of great saves. The European champions had to wait until the 37th minute tounlock the visitors’ defence thanks to a close-range cross shotfrom Wiltord after a corner by Zidane. The goal came as a great relief for France who immediatelymoved up a gear to overwhelm their opponents. Henry, who had started impressively on the left wing, madeit 2-0 two minutes later as he slotted home a powerful shot fromoutside the box to give the French a deserved lead at the break.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Italy v Finland Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
The Inter Milan striker got both of Italy`s goals early in the game as they took the sting out of Finland and then coasted home. There are few defences in the world capable of coping with the bulk, power and presence of Vieri, who is right up there in the top three of world strikers, along with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo. The Finns are not badly equipped at the back, where Liverpool captain Sami Hyypia marshals a backline which also includes in its number the former West Ham defender Hannu Tihinen. But they were not ready for the early Italian onslaught and Vieri delighted the Palermo crowd by netting the opening goal in the fifth minute. After 23 goals in 20 Serie A games for Inter this season, he was always going to be the threat, and so it proved. Francesco Totti and Marco Delvecchio, the Roma duo who were selected to provide support to Vieri, combined well to create space and Totti delivered a low pass which Vieri ruthlessly fired into the net from close range, barely a metre out. The Italians were fearful of finishing the day eight points adrift of group leaders Wales, who had earlier crushed Azerbaijan 4-0 to put the pressure on Trapattoni and his men… There are few defences in the world capable of coping with the bulk, power and presence of Vieri, who is right up there in the top three of world strikers, along with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo. The Finns are not badly equipped at the back, where Liverpool captain Sami Hyypia marshals a backline which also includes in its number the former West Ham defender Hannu Tihinen. But they were not ready for the early Italian onslaught and Vieri delighted the Palermo crowd by netting the opening goal in the fifth minute. After 23 goals in 20 Serie A games for Inter this season, he was always going to be the threat, and so it proved. Francesco Totti and Marco Delvecchio, the Roma duo who were selected to provide support to Vieri, combined well to create space and Totti delivered a low pass which Vieri ruthlessly fired into the net from close range, barely a metre out. The Italians were fearful of finishing the day eight points adrift of group leaders Wales, who had earlier crushed Azerbaijan 4-0 to put the pressure on Trapattoni and his men. That was their position coming into the match, and there were fears that the Finns might further put into doubt their chances of qualifying for next year`s championships.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 28, 2003
At Feyenoord, Robin van Persie is very strong at the moment. Also, for Ajax, Wesley Sneijder is a very promising player. ” And that is not to mention the likes of Rafael van der Vaart and Andy van der Meyde. “There are good prospects for the future,” Bosvelt went on. “When it is time to go, I have to be honest with myself and step aside. “Welcome returnThe present is also showing a welcome return to form for the Dutch after missing out on the FIFA World Cup last summer. The Netherlands have begun their qualifying campaign for the tournament with 3-0 victories over Belarus and Austria, and that has come as a relief to all concerned… “There is a bad feeling about the Dutch team because we missed the World Cup,” Bosvelt said. “We now want to show that we are a good team and we have the quality to do that. We were unlucky and not good enough at certain times so we want to make up for that. On Saturday in Rotterdam, though, the Netherlands face their sternest test since Dublin as they take on a Czech Republic side who have also won their opening two qualifiers – 2-0 victories against Moldova away and Belarus in Teplice. Spine and spirit”We are on a good run at the moment and haven’t lost for a long time,” Bosvelt added. “We have a really good spine to our side and the spirit is very good.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Georgia v Ireland Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
His place was taken by his Tottenham team-mate Doherty, and it was fittingthat he had the final word with the winning goal, which was also his third forhis country. The Georgians included two players known to most of the Irish players – fans’favourite Giorgi Kinkladze, the former Manchester City playmaker who is now atDerby, and former Newcastle favourite Temuri Ketsbaia. But they could notinspire their team against the spirited boys in green. Ireland had a great chance after 12 minutes when Duff raced to the left flankand took two defenders out of the game with a clever back-heel to Kevin Kilbane. The Sunderland man cut into the box but drove his shot straight at thegoalkeeper. The Irish kept up the pressure and it was Duff who forced a fine save fromGiorgi Lomaia a minute later with a fierce drive from 25 yards which theLokomotiv Tbilisi stopper tipped over the bar. The opening goal arrived as Lee Carsley did well to take down Kilbane’s leftwing cross at the far post, and he drove a shot against the woodwork… Shashiashvili’s poor back-pass hit Doherty and fell nicely into the path ofCarsley on the left side of the area. He hit it first time and made a goodconnection, but Lomaia denied him with a fine save. Mark Kinsella may not be getting a regular game for Aston Villa, but he was arock in the heart of the Irish midfield and made a great saving tackle after 57minutes to block a shot. There was an unsavoury incident two minutes later as John O’Shea trippedDemetradze a yard outside the box down the Irish left. Kilbane and Kinsella were involved in a shoving match with some of theiropponents and some plastic water bottles and what appeared to be a knife werethrown on to the pitch by the fans behind Shay Given’s goal. When order was restored, Levan Kobiashvili drove in the free-kick and Givencould only help it into his own net at the near post to give Georgia theirequaliser. Ireland should have regained the lead after 74 minutes.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Scotland v Iceland Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
On this showing, the Scots will not get the better of future opponents Germanyto win the group but this win means Iceland have little chance of snatching therunners-up spot, the gateway to the play-offs that the Scots are likely occupyafter all the games are completed. The Scots are currently top of the group though, until Germany play Lithuanialater today at least, thanks to Wilkie after they had allowed EidurGudjohnsen to cancel out Kenny Miller’s early opener. After the lacklustre showing in the 2-0 defeat to Ireland last month Vogts gambled giving the Wolves striker only his second cap – and within 11 minutes ithad paid off. Strike partner Stevie Crawford was the man who started the move by sendingGraham Alexander away down the right. There were plenty of defenders in the box when the Preston man sent a squareball slightly behind Miller but when you are hot you are hot and Miller was ableto deflect the ball past goalkeeper Arni Arason with aplomb… Naysmith had floated a cross in from the left and the Brighton man lookedintent on tipping it away with an outstretched arm. Whether he made contact wasdebatable but Hutchison was soon appealing for a spot-kick, with ArnarVidarsson’s grabbing of his arms extra evidence in his case. Dutch referee Rene Temmink was not interested, however, and the Scots had tobe content with a 1-0 lead from a scrappy half they had nonetheless dominated. But all that good work was wiped away within three minutes of the restart whenPressley made a mess of an attempt to catch Gudjohnsen in the offside trap. Joey Gudjonsson sent a long ball over the top and as the Chelsea man sprintedaway to loft the ball over the advancing Douglas Pressley was appealing in vainfor a raised flag that would never arrive. Wilkie almost headed the Scots back ahead straight away but was lucky at theother end when Gudjohnsen went down in the box when he pushed him in the chest. The referee ruled it had been a foul but one punishable only by an indirectfree-kick at the point where it was committed.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Netherlands v Czech Republic Preview
go.com – Mar 28, 2003
‘I saw Marc play last Sunday and he scored two great goals,but apart from that he didn’t really attract attention. But hestill is close to my squad. ‘The Netherlands, the biggest team not to reach the 2002World Cup finals, have won both their previous qualifiers inGroup Three 3-0, against Austria and Belarus. But the Czechs, losing finalists to Germany at Euro 96, havealso won both theirs, albeit 2-0, against Moldova and Belarus inwhat is currently a very tight group. Austria, who the Czechsplay next Wednesday, also have six points from two games. MIDFIELD BATTLEIn the battle for midfield, Edgar Davids will replace theinjured Philip Cocu, while Boudewijn Zenden is likely to coverthe left side for the hosts. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who scored the only goal in lastmonth’s friendly win over Argentina, will be posted as a leftback — a role he also fulfils at club level… Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who scored the only goal in lastmonth’s friendly win over Argentina, will be posted as a leftback — a role he also fulfils at club level. Advocaat is unworried that neither van Bronckhorst, despitea recent run in place of injured Ashley Cole, nor Zenden, areregular starters at Arsenal and Chelsea respectively. ‘So far it’s not been a disadvantage that both players arenot starting at their clubs,’ said the former Rangers boss. ‘Inmy squad, they have always played well. Captain Frank de Boer will reach the century mark for hiscountry and it will also be the Dutch national team’s 100thmatch in Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam. The Czechs have no injury worries, although BorussiaDortmund striker Jan Koller has two stitches in his upper lipfrom a cut suffered in a recent Bundesliga match. Borussia Dortmund playmaker Tomas Rosicky returns aftermissing four weeks in the Bundesliga with a thigh injury.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 28, 2003
“[Thomas] Buffel, Jelle Van Damme and Davy De Beule are integrating themselves into the squad quickly, so I am very confident. This is a new team with young players, but we will play our way, with our qualities. ‘Last chance’”I know that Otto Baric has been trying a lot of different players, and I do not know what to expect from him really,” Anthuenis went on. “The atmosphere will be very difficult for us there with a fanatical crowd. This game is Croatia’s last chance. They have to win and I expect an aggressive game. “‘Very optimistic’Belgium captain Bart Goor shares his coach’s positive view.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Albania v Russia Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
Albania’s German coach Hans-Peter Briegel was pleased withthe response of his players after his first match in charge,’The team deserved to win because they concentrated from thefirst minute to the 90th and they did not lose heart aftergiving away a penalty. ‘Albania showed a vast improvement from their 4-1 thrashingby Russia in Volgograd but the former Germany internationalcautioned that they must now concentrate on Ireland. ‘As the team of a small country we should not be looking atthe overall situation of the group but the next match withIreland, who have got some stronger points than the Russians. ‘Played in the northern town of Shkoder on the pitch whereAlbania played their first international against Russia in 1947,the victory delighted the 16,000 crowd and government leaders. Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano said: ‘Albania can nowsay it has beaten a former superpower’.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 27, 2003
No replacement for Van der MeydeMeanwhile, Netherlands coach Dick Advocaat has decided against replacing Andy van der Meyde for the Group 3 games at home to the Czech Republic and away in Moldova. The AFC Ajax winger withdrew from the squad with a thigh injury and it was anticipated that Advocaat would call up FC Barcelona’s Marc Overmars in his place after he was surprisingly left out of the squad when it was named on Monday. ‘Better option’However, Advocaat elected not to name a replacement for Van der Meyde, saying: “Of course we looked at Overmars. He scored two nice goals on Sunday but for the rest of the match he wasn’t really visible. We thought that Van der Meyde was a better option for the position, that’s all. Naturally Overmars is angry and disappointed, I would be in the same mood if I were him. But even without Van der Meyde we still have 20 players, and that seems enough to me.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 28, 2003
‘Huge disappointment’”The Latvia match was a huge disappointment. We played poorly, and they defended well. It’s not the first game to prove that there are no easy matches in Europe these days. But we still believe we can qualify, and it is important to get six points from these two home games. ” Glorious pastHungary are another side with a glorious past, but they have failed to reach the finals of a major tournament since 1986. Their hopes have been raised by an away draw with Sweden and a home victory over San Marino. “The game against Hungary will determine to a large degree whether we have a chance of qualifying,” Zurawski said… Their hopes have been raised by an away draw with Sweden and a home victory over San Marino. “The game against Hungary will determine to a large degree whether we have a chance of qualifying,” Zurawski said. ‘Similar position’He continued: “We know that their best striker, Zoltán Gera, will not play but Hungary are in a similar position to us. They are a team without big stars, but they are ready to play at the highest level.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 28, 2003
And more injuries meant that he was unable to call in Mark Kennedy, Richie Partridge, Glen Crowe and Richard Sadlier. Family bereavementKeane’s father died on Monday and the Tottenham Hotspur FC striker stayed behind in Dublin with his family for the funeral when the squad left for Tbilisi on Thursday morning. Keane, scorer of 14 goals in 40 appearances for the Republic, is not expected to join the squad for the Georgia match on Saturday, although he may fly out to play in Wednesday’s game in Albania. O’Shea’s burdenBut the Irish boss has confidence that his younger players can shoulder the responsibility and drive Ireland towards qualification for their first UEFA European Championship finals appearance since 1988. Much of that hope rests on Manchester United FC defender John O’Shea. Fourth capThe 22-year-old, who has played more first-team games this season than any other player at Old Trafford, is ready to win his fourth cap, filling in at left back for Ian Harte, who withdrew from the squad for family reasons. Celtic FC’s youngster Colin Healy is battling with squad newcomer Alan Quinn to play on the right side of midfield.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Germany v Lithuania Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
Bernd Schneider`s strike was wrongly ruled out as the ball was clearly still in play when Fredi Bobic centred it, only for the assistant referee to decide otherwise. Scotland`s 2-1 win over Iceland earlier in the day meant Germany now trail them, but only on goals scored as the teams are level on seven points. The disallowed goal not only prevented the Germans from taking a two-goal lead but also seemed to lead directly to the leveller. Rudi Voller`s side were still protesting to Spanish referee Victor Jose Esquinas Torres as Lithuania raced down the other end. Razanauskas produced a goal out of nothing, turning inexperienced Germany left-back Tobias Rau inside out before placing his right-footed shot inside Oliver Kahn`s near post. It set up a frantic finale with both teams having their chances. First, Saulius Mikalajunas` left-foot shot was cleared by Kahn, punching with both fists as he dived to defend his near post.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Macedonia v Slovakia Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
The Macedonians, who lacked precise finishing, wasted ahandful of good opportunities against the Slovaks, who reliedmainly on counter-attacks. Goalkeeper Miroslav Konig saved a string of efforts fromSaso Krstev, Artim Sakiri and the promising 19-year-old IlcoNaumoski. Turkey, who did not play on Saturday, top the group withnine points from three games with England second, two adrift. Slovakia go third with the victory.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 28, 2003
The next two games, when Spain take on Armenia at home four days after the visit to Kiev, could be crucial to their hopes of winning the group and claming automatic entry to the finals. Kiev showdown”Beating Greece away was an important result for us, but I see Ukraine as our biggest threat,” he said. “Andriy Shevchenko is their best player and is always dangerous, so we must not lose concentration in Kiev. This is potentially our most difficult match of the group. ” Shevchenko himself, who will have to do without injured strike partner Serhiy Rebrov, said: “I don’t think the Spain game is decisive. There are many games ahead, and the situation can change. ”
Spain’s new era Although wary of Ukraine’s challenge – Leonid Buryak’s team are a point behind the ‘selección’ in second place in the group, the Spanish squad are confident of success.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Mar 28, 2003
‘Driving seat’”We have put ourselves in the driving seat but things can change very quickly,” the Manchester United FC star added. “We’ve got to assume that other teams will get the results to keep pressure on us and although we have got a four-point cushion, we’ve still got very little margin for error. We must not undo all our good work now. “Preparations disruptedCoach Mark Hughes has seen his preparations disrupted through injury to defenders Danny Gabbidon and Adrian Williams and midfield player Andy Johnston while striker Craig Bellamy left the squad following an alleged late-night altercation at a night-club before being persuaded to return. Azerbaijan, meanwhile, have a major injury worry concerning striker Samir Aliyev who is suffering with a groin strain and is rated very doubtful. More doubtFurther uncertainty was added with the doubt over next Wednesday’s game away to Serbia and Montenegro, which was finally called off because of the state of emergency in force in Belgrade following the assassination of prime minister Zoran Djindjic. Defining momentGroup 9 aristocrats Italy face another defining moment on Saturday in what has been a miserable eight months of international football when they face Finland in Palermo.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Poland v Hungary Report
go.com – Mar 29, 2003
Olisadebe wasted his best chance on 78 minutes when thekeeper parried his well-struck drive. Kiraly also denied thePanathinaikos forward right at the death. The draw kept Hungary in second place in the group with fivepoints from three matches. Leaders Latvia, who were not inaction on Saturday, have seven points. Poland are third on fourpoints.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Cyprus v Israel Preview
go.com – Mar 28, 2003
However Cyprus’s Serbian coach Momcilo Vukotic took heartfrom his team’s impressive showing, and has instilled anattacking strategy built around his two talented strikers,Yiannis Okkas and Rainer Raufmann. At the back, the experience of veteran goalkeeper NicosPanayiotou is another crucial part of the home team’s game. Cyprus, who are level with Israel and Slovenia on threepoints, will also be banking on home advantage on Saturday asthe Tsirion Stadium in Limassol holds difficult memories for theIsraelis, who have not won there in three games. Their last visit in 1999 was one of the most painful, havingarrived brimful of confidence before being edged out 3-2. This time, though, Israel will be much more circumspect andare determined to show their opponents due respect. In new coach Avraham Grant, they have found a good motivatorand tactician who has managed to combine a blend of youth andexperience, in defence and attack, which has given the Israelismuch better focus. However a major disadvantage for the Israelis will be theabsence of Manchester City’s Eyal Berkovic, who is stillrecovering from a hernia operation.

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