Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

December 11, 2003

Eriksson let down his players

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 9:33 am

The News Review:

* ‘If Eriksson left, I doubt I would ever see England win a World…
* Rooney not yet in driving seat
* Tam’s ref blast
* Eriksson let down his players
* Gunners to ‘go for it’ against Lokomotiv
* Butt facing exit after clash with Ferguson
* ‘Lose and I quit’ says Advocaat
* Fletcher to the rescue for Scotland
* Ireland miss target with dig at McCarthy
* Uefa charges Besiktas
* Anelka offered way back into iternational football
* Celtic lament loss of Lambert
* Prague City Council gives green light to new stadium
* Barthez wins in tale of four keepers
* ‘Desire to have Nedved at Chelsea is strong’
* Wales launch player search

‘If Eriksson left, I doubt I would ever see England win a World…
Telegraph.co.uk – Dec 9, 2003
If so, let us all hope that this continues. Certainly the first touch of the Macedonian substitute, Aguinaldo de Jesus Braga, when he fouled John Terry and gave away a penalty, had nothing to do with the half-time changes that were made, but it is things outside a manager’s control that affect the result of most games. My worry is that if England either do not qualify for Euro 2004 or have poor results in the tournament, then the expectancy – along with media campaigns – will lead to Eriksson’s resignation or dismissal. Or Eriksson will simply depart after the tournament whatever the results. In 1988 England lost all three European Championship games in Germany under Bobby Robson’s management. The campaign to get him out was intense, and in the game itself there were many people who felt that, after six years in the job, it was time for a change. This did not happen, and two years later in Italy the same manager, with a group of very experienced players, reached the semi-final of the World Cup and only lost to West Germany on a penalty shoot-out.

Rooney not yet in driving seat
Telegraph.co.uk – Dec 9, 2003
His three-point turn successfully performed for the driving examiner, he could now pick up his girlfriend like any newly-liberated teenager. The problem is: some people now have him driving the whole England bus. By degrees – one quote or headline at a time – we are working our way round to believing it would be unthinkable for Sven-Goran Eriksson not to select this 17-year-old net-buster for the Euro 2004 Group Seven finale against Turkey in Istanbul. If natural talent is the only criterion, he certainly scores higher than Emile Heskey, James Beattie or Darius Vassell. But Rooney should start behind Michael Owen only if it suits Eriksson’s wider tactical plan to frustrate the Turks, who need a victory to replace England at the top of their group.

Tam’s ref blast
Edinburgh Evening News – Dec 11, 2003
” A 2-1 win would have been enough for the Scots, a thought which went through the mind of McManus who revealed he’d have been happy to take responsibility for the spot-kick had it been awarded. He said: “I’ve scored a couple of penalties at Tannadice so I’d have fancied my chances of tucking it away even if I haven’t scored for Scotland yet. “I’m not making excuses, I’ve had chances but been unlucky to hit the post a couple of times. ” While incensed by that particular incident, McManus admitted he’d been disappointed by the overall performance of Riley who also missed Turkish midfielder Ali Gunes’s free-kick crossing the Scots’ line before being punched out by Gary Caldwell. He said: “The boys were saying it was a goal and they didn’t know how he hadn’t seen it while Pearson’s red card was an absolute joke. “He’s gone in with his shoulder and nudged the guy. It was definitely a case of evening things up having sent off the Turkish player a few minutes earlier.

Eriksson let down his players
Telegraph.co.uk – Dec 10, 2003
If he had tried to debate, the response would most likely have been quite similar to Stein’s. The Football Association had absolutely no choice but to act as they did because in missing the drugs test, Ferdinand was left… But it seems impossible that Ferdinand will be subject to that kind of punishment. There do not seem to be any winners in this mess: not the player, the FA nor Manchester United whose threats have not exactly covered them in glory. No winner apart from the small detail that England have reached Euro 2004 and they have done so with a terrifically determined performance that augurs very well for their progress at the tournament itself. England showed that they can raise their game for the big matches. It was the only way to respond after such a bad misjudgement earlier in the week.

Gunners to ‘go for it’ against Lokomotiv
go.com – Dec 9, 2003
‘He’s an artist in his play. His hunger and desire are second to none and hegives defenders a torrid time. ‘That may not be good news for England’s Euro 2004 chances, but the Frenchmanholds the key to his side’s progress into the Champions League knock-outstages. Your views on this story?.

Butt facing exit after clash with Ferguson
Independent Online – Dec 10, 2003
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ferguson replied when asked if he felt any sympathy for Butt’s situation. I cannot comment on something he’s never spoken to me about. ”

Past experience indicts that players who get on the wrong side of Ferguson tend to find themselves offloaded quickly, Jaap Stam being the most notable example. The Dutch defender was sold in the summer of 2001 after incurring Fergie’s wrath by publishing an autobiography containing a number of minor indiscretions about life at Old Trafford. Butt has made only nine starts this season, largely as a result of Phil Neville’s recent conversion from utility defender to Ferguson’s first choice enforcer in midfield… “Nobody in their right mind would want to leave this club if they are happy but at times I have thought this could be it for me – things are pretty dire. ”

Ironically, Butt has remained one of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first choice players for England after being one of the country’s best performers at last year’s World Cup. But although Eriksson has kept faith with the Manchester United man, who won his 31st cap against Denmark last month, Frank Lampard’s form for Chelsea this season could see him displaced in the run-up to the Euro 2004 finals next summer. With David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes all automatic choices, Eriksson has only one midfield slot left to fill and Butt’s chances of hanging on to it are not being helped by his current situation at Old Trafford.

‘Lose and I quit’ says Advocaat
Telegraph.co.uk – Dec 11, 2003
Advocaat’s belligerence was all the more surprising because the Dutch FA have been most particular about how press conferences should be conducted and insisted on being told precisely which reporters would attend their conferences and who they would like to interview. Given the time and expense of flying reporters and broadcast crews to Holland, it was agreed that interviews would be conducted in English with Advocaat, Van Nistelrooy and other players, such as Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who have played in Britain. However, the manager listened to questions in English without translation and replied in Dutch, even when it was explained that his answers would be broadcast to Scottish listeners. When it was repeatedly put to him that the Dutch team had not been as successful as expected, he replied: “You read too many Dutch newspapers and there is a tendency for them to think too much in the way you say. “In the qualifiers we only lost to the Czech Republic. We have four or five top strikers but not all the players in the team are of that quality. “Nevertheless, Advocaat found his prospects of remaining in employment enhanced when he learnt that Colin Cameron had withdrawn from the Scotland squad with a groin injury.

Fletcher to the rescue for Scotland
Telegraph.co.uk – Dec 10, 2003
As Berti Vogts sent the teenager on to the field in place of Colin Cameron, his brief was to get wide behind the sturdy Lithuanian defence and put crosses into the box. By Fletcher’s own disarming admission afterwards, he did not once fulfil his orders. Luck matters, but it is what the lucky do with their serendipity that counts most. Vogts, after sifting through 40 or so candidates for his squad, has pragmatically fallen back on what is almost a full team of players assembled by Craig Brown, his predecessor (not to mention absentees like Paul Lambert, Neil McCann and Paul Dickov) while feeding in occasional tyros like Fletcher and James McFadden.

Ireland miss target with dig at McCarthy
Telegraph.co.uk – Dec 10, 2003
We let ourselves down and worse, we let our fans down. “Kerr’s choice of substitutes was puzzling. Stephen Reid and Graham Kavanagh, two attacking midfielders useful when chasing a game, were not among the substitutes, so Steve Finnan and Mark Kinsella, essentially defensive players, were sent on to rescue Ireland’s fading chance of a play-off berth. “Maybe we’ve been unrealistic with the players we have and the teams we’re playing against,” said Kerr after his first defeat in 10 games in charge. However, Ireland’s “unrealistic dreams” took them to the 2002 World Cup from a group containing Portugal and Holland, while Euro 2004 is the first time they have finished outside the top two in a qualifying campaign since the 1986 World Cup.

Uefa charges Besiktas
BBC News – Dec 11, 2003
“It was lucky that nobody was hurt,” said Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard. “We had bundles of coins coming at us, even in the warm-up. ”

Chelsea defender John Terry compared the experience to playing for England in Turkey in their final Euro 2004 qualifier in October. “It was pretty similar to Turkey but this was one of the most hostile crowds I have ever played in front of,” said the Chelsea defender. “It is not good for football and they should definitely do something about it. It seems to be part of their football and it is not nice but thankfully nobody got hurt… ”

Chelsea defender John Terry compared the experience to playing for England in Turkey in their final Euro 2004 qualifier in October. “It was pretty similar to Turkey but this was one of the most hostile crowds I have ever played in front of,” said the Chelsea defender. “It is not good for football and they should definitely do something about it. It seems to be part of their football and it is not nice but thankfully nobody got hurt.

Anelka offered way back into iternational football
rte.ie – Dec 10, 2003
The Manchester City striker explained his decision by saying: “It looks to me as if my selection was a little forced, as if I was a stopgap. I need to feel appreciated and really wanted if I am to give my best. I have not closed the door to ‘Les Bleus’ yet”However it appears that attitudes have softened on both sides and with Djibril Cisse being handed a five-match suspension that is set to rule the Auxerre striker out of most of Euro 2004, there have been calls for Anelka and Santini to make their peace. Santini has now revealed that he would have Anelka back, so long as he apologises for his actions. He said: “He sidelined himself from the national team by refusing a cap. He lacked respect towards the French Football Federation and the national side. As long as he has not publicly apologised for his attitude and his words it will be impossible for me to call him up ever again… The Manchester City striker explained his decision by saying: “It looks to me as if my selection was a little forced, as if I was a stopgap. I need to feel appreciated and really wanted if I am to give my best. I have not closed the door to ‘Les Bleus’ yet”However it appears that attitudes have softened on both sides and with Djibril Cisse being handed a five-match suspension that is set to rule the Auxerre striker out of most of Euro 2004, there have been calls for Anelka and Santini to make their peace. Santini has now revealed that he would have Anelka back, so long as he apologises for his actions. He said: “He sidelined himself from the national team by refusing a cap. He lacked respect towards the French Football Federation and the national side. As long as he has not publicly apologised for his attitude and his words it will be impossible for me to call him up ever again.

Celtic lament loss of Lambert
Telegraph.co.uk – Dec 9, 2003
Lambert, who injured his ankle at half-time in Scotland’s Euro 2004 qualifier. “He’ll miss those games and we’ll miss him, Paul being Paul,” said Martin O’Neill, the Celtic manager, who has other absentees – Joos Valgaeren, Ulrik Lursen and Johan Mjallby – for today’s lunch-time kick-off against Dundee at Dens Park, where former Parkhead favourite Craig Burley will make his debut for the home side… Ross, who appeared as a half-time substitute for Lambert, accumulated two yellow cards in 25 minutes, both for challenges on the Bayern Munich wing-back Tobias Rau. Ross’s first caution was for a high boot, although the Scot took the ball, and the second was for dangerous play. Rau was not hurt in either incident and McLeish said: “Maurice was a bit unlucky. I think Rudi Voller [the German manager] was right when he said that, in Scotland, perhaps Maurice would have got away with that. I think the referee’s decision was also influenced by the way the Bayern Munich player rolled about on the ground. “You don’t like to see bad tackles but Maurice will learn from it, I’m sure. I have taken this sort of thing on board ever since I started playing in Europe and for Scotland at international level.

Prague City Council gives green light to new stadium
radio.cz – Dec 11, 2003
It was the Czech footballassociation who put the proposal for the new stadium to the Pragueauthorities. Daniel Macho is the association’s spokesman:"We would like to have this new national stadium here in Praguebecause we need to have more space for spectators for the bigger sportevents here in the Czech Republic. For the game against the Netherlands,for example, we needed four times more places for spectators than we had. The biggest stadium in the Czech Republic now for football matches is theSparta Prague stadium, which is for 20,000 people and the new stadium herein Strahov will be for 52,000 people.

Barthez wins in tale of four keepers
go.com – Dec 10, 2003
Number two Cedric Carasso was in goal that night forMarseille but he suffered a serious leg injury which may keephim out until the end of the season. Within days Marseille announced they were trying to arrangeBarthez’s return to replace Carasso. But FIFA, world soccer’sgoverning body, said it would not bend transfer rules to allowthe move, a decision it confirmed on Tuesday after an appeal. Marseille president Christophe Bouchet had stressed thatBarthez’s arrival was for the short-term while Runje, 27,remained the club’s long-term choice. But, following the events in Belgrade, Runje feels hisfuture probably now lies elsewhere. ‘Does it mean that I willnot play again for OM? That could be the case, we will see whenthe transfer window opens,’ he told L’Equipe newspaper. One crucial episode early this season could now be hauntingRunje.

‘Desire to have Nedved at Chelsea is strong’
Independent Online – Dec 11, 2003
The Czech player’s agent Zdenek Nehoda told The Sun newspaper on Thursday that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to pay ?25-million (about R300-million) for Nedved after advice from England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. “Juventus’ director general Luciano Moggi told me Chelsea want Pavel and although the answer has been no, they simply won’t go away,” he said. “The desire to have him is very strong and apparently Eriksson keeps on advising Roman Abramovich that Pavel is vital. ”

Eriksson has been linked with the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge ever since he was photographed visiting Abramovich’s London residence with top soccer agent Pini Zahavi… ”

Eriksson has been linked with the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge ever since he was photographed visiting Abramovich’s London residence with top soccer agent Pini Zahavi. “Pavel has a contract until 2006 and intends to respect it but everything can change so quickly in football,” added Nehoda. Abramovich has already spent ?111-million on new players since buying Chelsea in July.

Wales launch player search
BBC News – Dec 9, 2003
Wales assistant coach Eddie Niedzwiecki will lead the search for Premiership youngsters who are Wales qualified. Mark Hughes’ team narrowly failed to make the Euro 2004 finals as injuries and suspensions struck the small squad. “With our full XI out we’re a handful but we have rarely been able to do that,” Niedzwiecki told the Daily Post. “We’ve only got eight or nine players in the Premiership and only three of those are playing regularly. “The players who have come in have been marvellous but we are not blessed with thousands of players. “We went to Moscow where they have between 10 and 16 million in the city alone, while we have less than 3m in Wales… “With our full XI out we’re a handful but we have rarely been able to do that,” Niedzwiecki told the Daily Post. “We’ve only got eight or nine players in the Premiership and only three of those are playing regularly. “The players who have come in have been marvellous but we are not blessed with thousands of players. “We went to Moscow where they have between 10 and 16 million in the city alone, while we have less than 3m in Wales. ”

Despite a fine goalless draw in the first leg of their play-off against Russia in Moscow, Wales lost the return in Cardiff 1-0 to miss out on another major finals. The absence of key players such as Craig Bellamy and Simon Davies hampered Wales and that is why Niedzwiecki and his scouts will be searching so hard.

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