Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

September 6, 2003

Macedonia taunt England

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 8:19 am

The News Review:

* SI.com – Soccer – Week at a Glance: Midnight excess – Thursday…
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2004 – Kirkland defends Platt
* Beckham must be central figure
* Macedonia taunt England
* Hughes planning San Siro miracle
* ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2004 – We’ll cope without stars – Owen
* The Russians are cunning
* ESPNsoccernet – Global – Portugal v Spain Report
* Regulars ruled out of South African tour
* Nemeth happy on Teesside
* Valgaeren sent home
* Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
* Psychologists aid football policing
* Early response hope in Azerbaijan football fiasco
* Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
* Barthez denies Ferguson rift
* Russia dent Irish hopes

SI.com – Soccer – Week at a Glance: Midnight excess – Thursday…
CNN International – Sep 4, 2003
With?La Liga refusing to follow the lead of Europe’s other major leagues by taking a break, several coaches find themselves without key players. Zinedine Zidane will miss France’s clash with Cyprus due to an injury sustained in Tuesday’s draw, while his new Real Madrid teammate David Beckham is also a slight doubt for England’s game in Macedonia. This is not the first time Spain has run into trouble over its failure to honor the international calendar. In June, FIFA president accused Spain of showing a "lack of respect" and threatened sanctions after the Liga season overlapped with the Confederations Cup. The Confederations Cup may not be a cause worth fighting for, but the Spanish league does need reigning in to protect the standards of international competition. While clubs may argue that they pay players’ wages, tournaments like the European Championship and the World Cup are essential to the sport’s health. The simplest solution would be to cut the Spanish Liga from 20 to 18 teams… Although widely regarded as the strongest domestic competition in the world, the Liga could comfortably lose several of its smaller sides without damaging standards: Murcia vs. Albacete, anyone?ONE TO WATCH Czech Republic vs. Netherlands; Euro 2004 Qualifying Group 3; Toyota Arena, Prague; Wednesday The pick of the week’s Euro 2004 qualifiers should decide who can start packing for Portugal and who will face the playoff lottery. Tied at the top of Group 3, the Dutch and the Czechs have only dropped points against each other?– in a 1-1 draw in Rotterdam in March. But both face tough matches ahead of Wednesday’s clash, with the Netherlands hosting third place Austria and the Czechs undertaking an uncomfortable trip to Belarus. After missing out on last year’s World Cup, the Dutch Oranje cannot afford to miss out on Euro 2004, and by dropping Clarence Seedorf and Ronald De Boer, coach Dick Advocaat has already warned that time could be up for the generation of players who shone at France 98 and Euro 2000. The Czechs haven’t reached a major finals since finishing runner-up at Euro 96, but with Pavel Nedved and Tomas Rosicky pulling the strings, they look to have the talent to shake up the tournament?– if they get there.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2004 – Kirkland defends Platt
go.com – Sep 6, 2003
euroq –>Updated: Sep. 6, 2003Kirkland defends U21 boss PlattChris Kirkland has branded suggestions that the England Under-21s dressing room is unhappy with the management style of David Platt as ‘a load of nonsense. ‘And the Liverpool goalkeeper has revealed his determination to make amends foryesterday’s disappointing 1-1 draw in Macedonia and qualify for the Euro 2004finals. England face an uphill battle after a blunder by Kirkland – ironically dubbed’one of the best young keepers in the world’ by Platt before the game -cancelled out Phil Jagielka’s first-half effort. There have been reports that the players are far from enamoured with theapproach of former England captain Platt, whose side face elimination unlessthey defeat Portugal at Goodison Park on Tuesday and win in Turkey next month. But Kirkland is adamant that all the squad are behind the former Sampdoria andArsenal star, who has been in the post for just over two years. Kirkland told the Press Association: ‘It’s a load of nonsense to say we arenot behind the gaffer… You take the ups and thedowns. But it will be nice to pay the gaffer back and put in a good performanceon Tuesday and go on to qualify. ‘We were disappointed not to get the result in Macedonia. It has put thepressure on to win the last two games. We’ve got to collect maximum points andhope the other results go our way. ‘We know Portugal are a good side – but so are we. We’ll regroup and look toput in the kind of performance we know we are capable of.

Beckham must be central figure
BBC News – Sep 5, 2003
Beckham has silenced his hasty critics at The Bernabeu with a goal on his competitive Real debut and promising early displays in La Liga. And he has inevitably claimed most of the headlines since his late arrival from Spain to link up with Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad for the Euro 2004 qualifier in Macedonia. If it is not Beckham’s late arrival from Spain because of travel problems that captures attention, it is the niggling groin injury that has supposedly threatened his participation in Skopje. The cynics among us might suggest Beckham enjoys the attention that accompanies a minor injury drama – setting him up nicely for his role as heroic figure and national talisman when he declares himself fit. But there is little doubt that Beckham needs to deliver performances worthy of his reputation and captain’s status against Macedonia and Liechtenstein at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Beckham has played a key role in England’s revival in the Euro 2004 group after a stuttering start – but he must lead from the front again as Eriksson’s men move to the conclusion of an inconsistent campaign.

Macedonia taunt England
BBC News – Sep 4, 2003
Macedonian midfielder Artim Sakiri, who plays for West Brom, branded
England a long-ball team and said they could suffer under the pressure of Saturday’s crucial match. Sakiri said: “England cannot play the ball on the ground, when
the game is like that it is a big problem for them. “And England still have many things wrong with their defence, they’re not
strong. ”

Sakiri, who scored direct from a corner in Macedonia’s 2-2 draw with England last year, insisted his side had nothing to lose after failing to qualify for Euro 2004.

Hughes planning San Siro miracle
Irish Independent – Sep 6, 2003
It was not the most distinguished performance of a career in football – “Hopefully the lads will do as I say and not as I do,” he said with a wry smile – but he appeared not to mind, for these days his is a vicarious existence, his fantasies acted out by players in his custody. Hughes never played for Wales in a leading tournament – he was born in 1963, five years after their only appearance in the World Cup finals – but former team-mates, such as Gary Speed and Ryan Giggs, and emerging talents such as Simon Davies and Craig Bellamy, have what he calls “the opportunity of a lifetime”. Two points clear at the top of group nine, they will take a giant step towards Portugal if – and it’s an extremely big if – they can avoid defeat by Italy in Milan tonight. “These are the occasions you live for as a footballer,” Hughes said. “I would love to be playing out there, but my time has gone now and I’m fortunate that I’m still involved as manager… ” A slip of the tongue, one he quickly tried to put right. Only in his wildest dreams can Wales beat Italy again, but those dreams, he feels, are moving ever closer to reality. Meanwhile, Sammy McIlroy takes Northern Ireland into the Euro 2004 qualifier against Ukraine today heartened by the fact he has the full support of the team. McIlroy was given a new two-year contract in the summer despite the province’s poor record. But not only has he the backing of the IFA he can also count on the loyalty of the players. Danny Griffin, who won his first cap in 1996 when Bryan Hamilton was in charge, believes they can go from strength to strength under McIlroy. Scotland manager Berti Vogts insists his team have made significant progress since failing to beat the Faroe Islands a year ago – and regards that torrid time in Toftir as a turning point.

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2004 – We’ll cope without stars – Owen
go.com – Sep 4, 2003
It’s amazing how people talk him up and thentalk him down again. ‘It would be better just to stay in the middle ground. He’s not aworld-beater yet, but hopefully he will be if he’s given time. ‘Your views on this story?.

The Russians are cunning
Irish Independent – Sep 6, 2003
Up front, he will look to Celta Vigo striker Alexander Mostovoi and Alexander Kerzhakov to do the damage. This is a match Ireland are well capable of winning and if they can be disciplined defensively, there is no reason why they can’t find the goals they need to deliver the three points. While victory today opens up all sorts of exciting possibilities, a draw or a defeat does not spell the end of the Euro 2004 dream – but they would require a win for either Switzerland or Russia when the sides meet in Moscow on Wednesday. Kerr will be an interested spectator in Moscow on Wednesday as the FAI fixed next week’s friendly against Turkey for Tuesday, so he would be free to travel to Russia and they have also laid on a private jet to whisk him there. If results go his way over the next five days then Kerr mightn’t need the plane to fly home to Dublin next Wednesday night.

ESPNsoccernet – Global – Portugal v Spain Report
go.com – Sep 6, 2003
6, 2003, 12:00 PM UKPortugal 0-3 Spain: Hosts outplayedReutersGUIMARAES, Portugal, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Portugal suffered a humiliating setback in their preparations to host Euro 2004 by going down 3-0 at home to Spain on Saturday. Trainer Luiz Filipe Scolari admitted after the game that hisPortuguese side had been outclassed by the visitors. ‘We played badly, the Spanish team was much superior,’ saidScolari, who steered Brazil to a record fifth World Cup win inJapan last year. ‘We didn’t play well. There were several situations we couldhave finished off better, or that we could have defined better,but we didn’t… ‘Big Phil’ Scolari said he understood the home crowd’sdisappointment, but did not plan to tinker with his side, whowill play Norway in Olso on Wednesday. ‘We’ve had some good performances, but this wasn’t one ofthem, it wasn’t the result we expected. We’re not going to havescorched earth because we lost,’ he said.

Regulars ruled out of South African tour
abc.net.au – Sep 5, 2003
England head coach Sven Goran Eriksson names his squad for the May 22 friendly international in Durban on Monday but has already decided to excuse players involved in the Cup final. The decision means South African fans will not get a chance to see two of Arsenal’s England regulars – goalkeeper David Seaman and centre-back Sol Campbell. It is also likely to mean at least one new face in the squad with Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge, rivals for the left-back slot in Eriksson’s side, both ruled out. That could mean Gareth Barry of Aston Villa being given a chance to press his case for a regular squad place. Eriksson looks set to select Everton’s 17-year-old forward Wayne Rooney for England’s first ever match in South Africa, despite the misgivings of Everton manager David Moyes. Eriksson said last month he saw no reason to agree to Everton’s request for Rooney to be left out of the potentially draining trip and further fuelled expectations by choosing the teenager as his young player of the season… Eriksson said last month he saw no reason to agree to Everton’s request for Rooney to be left out of the potentially draining trip and further fuelled expectations by choosing the teenager as his young player of the season. “He’s doing very well at his club and has been fantastic for us,” Eriksson said. It is still unclear whether England captain David Beckham will be making the trip since he is suspended for the side’s next competitive match, a Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia in June. The FA is reportedly hoping to arrange a reception with former South African president Nelson Mandela. Should that meeting go ahead, Beckham would be expected to travel. The trip to South Africa will be England’s first outing since the 2-0 win over Turkey in a Euro 2004 qualifier on April 2, when Rooney was inspirational on his full England debut. Twelve days after the Durban clash, England take on Serbia and Montenegro at Leicester City’s Walkers Stadium in their final friendly before the qualifier with Slovakia in Middlesbrough on June 11.

Nemeth happy on Teesside
Telegraph.co.uk – Sep 6, 2003
Nemeth, 25, trained yesterday in the humble surroundings of the Nunthorpe Football Club on Teesside with the Slovakia team who can no longer qualify for Euro 2004 after their defeat against Turkey at the weekend. “I like the area, I like Teesside and I love the people,” Nemeth said. “The supporters could not have been nicer to me. They have been wonderful and helped me feel very welcome ever since I came here… I said that the town was not beautiful and I think people know that’s true compared to some other places. Obviously I go for days out and there are many beautiful and interesting places in the area. “He added: “As for the women, I have never said the girls were ugly here. That’s simply not true. I think Slovakian girls are beautiful of course.

Valgaeren sent home
BBC News – Sep 5, 2003
Valgaeren had been hoping to play in Wednesday’s Euro 2004 qualifer against Croatia. But Belgian medical staff ruled him out after the 27-year-old arrived carrying what Celtic describe as a “minor hamstring injury” picked up during the victory over Partick Thistle on 23 August. The Belgians decided it was better to call in a replacement than risk Valgaeren. But Celtic insist that he is recovering well, although a decision about his participation in the match at Dens Park will not be taken until late next week… I am 85% fit, but that is not enough for such a game. “This weekend I will fly back to Glasgow in order to get treatment from my club’s medical staff. “It’s too bad I will not even be at the game in Brussels, but an injured player has to be at his club. ”

Meanwhile, Celtic manager Martin O’Neill has insisted that the club’s participation in the Champions League will not deflect his side from their aim of winning back the Scottish Premier League. Speaking after a Uefa elite coaches forum in Nyon, Switzerland, O’Neill said: “This year is the first time the Scottish champions will go automatically into the group stage of the competition next year. “That’s why the domestic scene is so important – whoever wins will not have to play qualifying games before the season has even started.

Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
Daily Times – Sep 6, 2003
Kahn has made not secret of the fact that Germany have a dearth of quality strikers in the Jurgen Klinsmann or Rudi Voller mould, and feels nothing will change until the best German strikers are tested at the highest club level. ?We have a lot of players – Miroslav Klose, Benjamin Lauth and Kevin Kuranyi – who are just developing but have not yet made the step up to become a top class player,? Kahn said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt. Only VfB Stuttgart marksman Kuranyi will play in the Champions League this season and Bayern Munich custodian Kahn, 34, believes the Bundesliga does not provide a high enough level for strikers to really test themselves. ?I have only reached a certain level through playing in the Champions League,? declared Kahn. ?Just playing in the Bundesliga is not enough… ?Just playing in the Bundesliga is not enough. ? Germany have scored just 18 goals in 12 matches since reaching the 2002 World Cup finals and have not beaten a recognised top side since October 7 2000, when they won 1-0 against England in the final match at Wembley Stadium. Despite the statistics Hertha Berlin frontman Bobic denies the German attack lacks potency and hopes a goal rush against Iceland on Saturday in the Euro 2004 qualifier will help to dispel such talk.

Psychologists aid football policing
BBC News – Sep 6, 2003
Scientists at Liverpool University say the behaviour of supporters at these crucial matches could depend critically on how they are marshalled by the police. “If fans are met at airports by officers in riot gear it will not help the situation,” said Dr Clifford Stott, from Liverpool University. He said his team’s in-depth studies of football crowd behaviour had shown that greeting travelling supporters with police wearing standard uniforms, standing in isolated pairs and smiling and talking with people helped to engender a better atmosphere and more friendly relations.

Early response hope in Azerbaijan football fiasco
News Wales – Sep 5, 2003
Speaking from Brussels after the meeting, Mr Wyn said: “I informed the officials of the genuine anger and concern in Wales over the potential docking of Wales’ Euro qualification points. UEFA must inform Welsh football fans as soon as possible of its decision as any further procrastination would be unacceptable. “Although my questions were not immediately answered, I have been given assurances by the UEFA representative present that I will receive a response on the matter on Thursday. ”

Wales’ five-point lead at the top of their group could disappear if UEFA decide to expunge Azerbaijan’s games as suggested. Today’s meeting in Brussels was attended by Alex Phillips, UEFA’s Senior Manager of Professional football and J?r?me Champagne, FIFA Deputy General Secretary. ?Today was an opportunity to raise a catalogue of incidents where I believe the Welsh football team has been treated poorly by the footballing authorities… We have a management team who are doing their job professionally, a football association who are willing to back them, and we have one of the best supported teams in the whole of Europe with a squad of players who are capable of qualifying for the finals of a major tournament. Sadly, UEFA seem to be treating the Welsh team and its fans with contempt by dragging their heels on the matter. ”

“Qualification to a major footballing tournament such as Euro 2004 would have an immeasurably positive effect on the profile and economy of Wales as a nation. We cannot let this opportunity slip by due to the poor handling of this situation by the governing bodies. ?Source:Plaid Cymru.

Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
Daily Times – Sep 6, 2003
The Real Madrid midfielder is suffering from an injured thigh and will sit out the match in which a victory, coupled with a Slovenian failure to beat Israel, will put France in the finals next summer. Although Zidane is expected to return for Wednesday?s clash against Slovenia, French preparations haven?t been helped by a recurrence of the injury which ruled him out of the first two matches of the World Cup last year when they crashed out in the first round. ?It?s nothing serious. It?s a little injury,? said Zidane who first felt the injury during Real?s pre-season trip to Asia… ?I don?t think I will be playing Saturday but I hope to play in Slovenia. ? Coach Jacques Santini wants to keep his major creative force fresh for the trip to Ljubljana. Thierry Henry, meanwhile, insisted that the injury to Zidane does not have the same implications as the World Cup. ?It?s Cyprus – it is not the same as the World Cup,? said Henry. Santini is adamant that his team can flourish without Zidane. ?Since my arrival here, we have built a system of mental comfort so that we can win important matches at important times even when deprived of our best players. ?His absence puts the onus on Ludovic Giuly and Robert Pires, even if we have other options with Sylvain Wiltord.

Barthez denies Ferguson rift
BBC News – Sep 4, 2003
Barthez has lost his first-team place with the Premiership champions following the arrival of summer signing Tim Howard. But the France international, who is preparing for the Euro 2004 qualifier against Cyprus on Saturday, denied reports of a rift with Ferguson. “For me, there are no problems with my club,” said Barthez. “I have had no explanation from Ferguson, we haven’t spoken about anything and I don’t feel I need to have any conversation with him. “People say that we don’t get on well but that is absolutely wrong. We get on very well.

Russia dent Irish hopes
eleven-a-side.com – Sep 6, 2003
Elsewhere in midfield, there were problems for Brian Kerr and Co. to work on ahead of the final fling with Switzerland in a month?s time. Colin Healy was not the same presence as he has sometimes been, but this was a step-up in class for the Cork man, and as he has not yet started a game for Sunderland, it is probably too much to expect him to dominate in a game of this importance after such an uncertain period in his club career. Beside him, Matt Holland was efficient in the tackle but ineffectual on the front foot, while Lee Carsley was replaced at half-time to be replaced by Steven Reid. Given that he has not played a minute of first-team action for Everton this season and only made his return from a month-long injury in a reserve match on Tuesday night, Carsley was a surprise choice on the right of midfield. Reid and Steve Finnan, who have both seen plenty of Premiership minutes for Blackburn and Liverpool respectively, will have been disappointed to have been left out. And while Reid did not make a massive impression in his 45-minute stint, he is surely the better option for the trip to the continent in five weeks time.

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