Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

October 18, 2004

A new Azzurri era

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 7:24 am

The News Review:

* … to Greece this week to face a nation that has lost its way…
* Parker forced into waiting game
* Football star ‘failed’ drugs test
* A new Azzurri era
* Athletic excellence
* Arsenal’s Swedish midfielder Fredrick Ljundberg in this interview,…
* Kerr’s trust pays dividend
* In sight of goal
* Buy lines-Sport-Football-TimesOnline
* Deisler flies back to depression clinic
* Fergie to give Rooney a guiding hand
* SOCCER: Wenger hails young Gunner
* Benfica guarantees security for Porto visit

… to Greece this week to face a nation that has lost its way…
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 17, 2004
Greece have spent the past seven days gazing up at their World Cup qualifying opponents from sixth position in Group Two. Georgia have twice as many points (four) as Otto Rehhagel’s squad, and at an even more uncomfortable distance are neighbours with whom Greece has an edgy relationship. There were disturbances in Greek cities after they lost to Albania last month (most of the sufferers were Albanian immigrants) and the temperature was barely lowered with Turkey the next visitors. That was a goalless draw… He had the chance to manage his native Germany, but stuck with his miracle Greeks, the 80-1 outsiders when Euro 2004 began. Those of his players employed in Europe’s big leagues remain stuck in their ruts, returned to obscurity. Going into the weekend, Giorgios Karagounis had not started a match at Internazionale; nor had striker Angelos Charisteas at Werder Bremen. Giannakopoulos had made the first XI twice at Bolton, as had Traianos Dellas at Roma. One Greek player did change his status dramatically after the Portugal triumph: Demis Nikolaidis turned from centre-forward to board member at AEK Athens, where his main job will be side-stepping the bailiffs, the club having been close to bankruptcy. AEK are not alone in that. A stern audit of Greek club football would detect lively economies only at Olympiakos, serial domestic champions until last season, and Panathinaikos, holders of the domestic Double.

Parker forced into waiting game
BBC News – Oct 18, 2004
Parker said: “If things carry on the way they are, I’ll have to review my situation and consider whether it might be in my best interests to carry on. “A new manager has come in and I have to accept that he might see things a little differently. ”

The 24-year-old midfielder is also worried about his England career – Parker has not featured since being named by coach Sven-Goran Eriksson as a reserve
for his Euro 2004 squad. He added: “Another factor I have to consider is my future with England. It’s a big blow not to be involved. I can’t expect to be in with a chance if I’m not playing first-team football. “When I joined Chelsea in January everything seemed to be going smoothly… ”

The 24-year-old midfielder is also worried about his England career – Parker has not featured since being named by coach Sven-Goran Eriksson as a reserve
for his Euro 2004 squad. He added: “Another factor I have to consider is my future with England. It’s a big blow not to be involved. I can’t expect to be in with a chance if I’m not playing first-team football. “When I joined Chelsea in January everything seemed to be going smoothly. ”

“I have spoken to Jose Mourinho about my situation and he has told me not to worry and I will get my chance. “It’s very frustrating, especially as I have worked so hard to establish myself here.

Football star ‘failed’ drugs test
Guardian Unlimited – Oct 18, 2004
The player and his agent were unavailable for comment. A UK Sport spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual cases or on adverse findings. “In the event that a player’s A sample tests positive for a banned substance, the player has the right to request that the B sample is tested. If that also shows signs of the banned substance, disciplinary proceedings are initiated. Any player accused of failing a drugs test has the right to appear before an FA disciplinary panel. If found guilty of taking either recreational or performance-enhancing drugs the player faces a two-year ban, the mandatory sentence under the terms of the World Anti-Doping Agency code… There have been few high-profile drugs cases in the Premiership. The most notable concerned the test missed by Rio Ferdinand, the Manchester United and England centre-half whose failure to present himself to testers at United’s Carrington training ground resulted in an eight-month ban. Ferdinand missed Euro 2004, but his case also highlighted inconsistencies in the testing regime in football. Critics point out that while more individuals are tested in football than any other sport, the proportion of total participants tested is lower than in other sports. The Ferdinand case prompted a review of football’s regime to tackle drug cheats. It was carried out by Lord Coe, who recommended a 20% increase in the number of tests.

A new Azzurri era
go.com – Oct 17, 2004
The task of leading Italy to the World Cup in two years and, once there, winning it, as the Italians have done only once in the last 70 years, despite boasting of having the best domestic league in the world. And that brings us to a statement made by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, one of the team’s more straightforward and genuine guys, a few weeks ago: ‘perhaps we’re overrated’. Are they? Eighteen months ago, right after Milan beat Juventus in the Champions League final at Old Trafford, I wrote what turned out to be an ill-advised story on the great prospects of the national team for the Euro 2004. They had some of the best players in the world and, on the whole, calcio seemed to be profiting from the euphoria of just having carried three teams to the Champions League semis. Or so it seemed to me, and I could hardly be accused of being positive about calcio and its clubs and players.

Athletic excellence
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 17, 2004
As a priority, he would like to see the club’s Sparrows Lane training ground brought into the 21st century, but moves towards modernisation have been held up in circumstances which would be laughable elsewhere. “We have an inflatable indoor facility for the academy youngsters, like they’ve got at Tottenham, but here the local residents say it’s ugly, and will only let us put it up at night,” said Curbishley, with a suitably wry grin. The aesthetes of New Eltham were not his only problem. “We want to do a bit of building work, to update the place, but someone found a moths’ nest, and the conservationists say we can’t move it. ” You can just imagine it holding up United’s state-of-the-art Carrington complex, or Arsenal’s pride and joy, at London Colney. Come on, of course you can. These are lovely, typical tales of a smashing club one would have called homely, before the world went PC mad and such a description became “patronising”… 5m, and Francis Jeffers, the Arsenal striker, for £2. “The problem was that Rommedahl reported back two weeks after everyone else, because of Euro 2004, and Murphy and Jeffers only arrived a week before the season got under way, so we never really gelled early enough,” he said. “We know we’ve not been playing as well as we can, and the breaks for international matches haven’t helped. I hope things will settle down now. ” Much more was expected of all the newcomers: “Rommedahl didn’t come to China with us for the pre-season warm-up, and when we came back he went straight into the matches when he didn’t even know who he was playing with. Elsewhere, if Matt Holland comes back from injury this weekend (against Newcastle this afternoon), then Danny Murphy will have played with four different partners in the middle of the park in eight games.

Arsenal’s Swedish midfielder Fredrick Ljundberg in this interview,…
This Day – This Day (subscription) – Oct 17, 2004
Are you jaded after Euro 2004?
Mr Wenger gave us some extra time off to recover after the tournament, allowing us to come back to training with Arsenal close to the start of the new season. We have to work our way into the campaign. How do you reflect on Sweden’s Euro 2004 effort?
It was not a success in the way the players wanted it to be. We played well at times and had a chance to go a long way in the competition, so losing on penalties (to Holland, in the quarter-finals) was very hard to take. We played very well against the Dutch, had the chances to win, and it slipped through our fingers. The fans may have been happy with our displays, but we wanted more. I was very down for a couple of weeks and didn’t want to think about football, but once you come back to your club it has to be forgotten and life moves on.

Kerr’s trust pays dividend
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 17, 2004
Kerr is a pragmatist to the core. At St Patrick’s Athletic, and as Ireland youths manager, the hallmarks of Kerr’s teams were discipline and organisation. In Paris, if not in Basel last month, Kerr trusted his players to perform expansively and put it up to illustrious opponents. In that trust, and in the confidence at the core of it, there is great hope for the future… For all that, though, it would be a mistake to underestimate the relevance of the enduring qualities associated with Ireland teams. While Ireland were comfortably holding France last week, Italy were going under in Slovenia while Portugal and Holland were failing to beat Liechtenstein and Macedonia respectively. When have Europe’s major powers seemed so vulnerable? At a time when the currency of international football is falling, organisation and discipline will get you further than ever, as Greece showed at Euro 2004. When he travels to Nicosia to watch Israel’s game against Cyprus next month, Kerr will observe a side that has trained like a club team since the beginning of the year. Under Avraham Grant, Israel have already managed draws against France and Switzerland, just as Ireland have. Kerr will know that Ireland’s trip to Tel Aviv next March is fraught with difficulty. Only those of nervous disposition will travel anxiously, though.

In sight of goal
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 17, 2004
The man from Madrid, much livelier than we had seen him for a long time, played well in both games, as did Rooney, in two different styles. Man of the match against Wales, when the quality of his work in the attacking third of the pitch deserved a goal, Rooney found space and opportunity much harder to come by in Baku, where he was man-marked, but still emerged with great credit for a dynamic performance, highlighted by some Trojan tracking back as an auxiliary defender. Those of cynical bent concluded that Eriksson’s deployment of three forwards was born not of tactical design but of his abhorrence of confrontation and reluctance to drop Defoe or Owen to accommodate Rooney’s return. Be that as it may, playing the three together made sense against limited opposition. But it failed to produce the glut of goals that some had expected, and is unlikely to be repeated in the friendly against Spain in Madrid on November 17. Then, with Bridge, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard all back (availability always permitting) it will be good old 4-4-2 once more, with Defoe earmarked to make way for the Owen-Rooney double act that was the norm at Euro 2004. Another proven partnership renewed to notable effect is that of Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell… Be that as it may, playing the three together made sense against limited opposition. But it failed to produce the glut of goals that some had expected, and is unlikely to be repeated in the friendly against Spain in Madrid on November 17. Then, with Bridge, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard all back (availability always permitting) it will be good old 4-4-2 once more, with Defoe earmarked to make way for the Owen-Rooney double act that was the norm at Euro 2004. Another proven partnership renewed to notable effect is that of Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell. Rock-solid in both games, they afforded Paul Robinson a level of protection that David James must envy. John Terry and Ledley King may be good, but most people would agree that the old brothers in arms are better. So much for the football, now to the nonsense.

Buy lines-Sport-Football-TimesOnline
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 18, 2004
Used on article pages to rotate the images of a story. The trick is to ensure that the number of friends you have does not decrease in inverse proportion to the number of “fascinating” facts with which you enrich their lives. Fantastic Football Facts by Nick Callow (Virgin Books, £5. 99) mostly avoids Thermos flask territory but is not devoid of nerdish stattery. Did you know that “Fanny” Walden (two caps between 1914 and 1922) is the smallest person to represent England, at 5ft 2in? Or that the lowest attendance for an England friendly was 15,628 for a friendly in May, 1989? Some sections, such as those on worst kits, greatest saves, bizarre injuries and the all-time best left-footed players, are not really fact-based at all. But that’s cool… But that’s cool. Joe Lovejoy’s biography of Sven-Göran Eriksson has been updated — hurriedly — to include Euro 2004 and the subsequent extracurricular activities that plunged the FA into turmoil. It has also been portentously renamed to Sven: The Final Reckoning (ColllinsWillow, £7. A somewhat more charismatic and fiery managerial character, Gordon Strachan, gets the life-story treatment in the predictably-titled Gordon Strachan: The Biography by Leo Moynihan (Virgin Books, £16.

Deisler flies back to depression clinic
go.com – Oct 18, 2004
Perhaps it’s just a small setback,’ Magathsaid. One of few truly creative players Germany has to offer,Deisler is an automatic choice for the national team when fullyfit. Before his international return against Brazil last month,Deisler had not played for his country since a Euro 2004qualifier in September 2003. A few weeks later he started histreatment for depression. His partner, Eunice, was then going through a difficultpregnancy. In January she gave birth to a son, Raphael. Fivedays later, Deisler left the Munich clinic where he was beingtreated and in February he was back in training.

Fergie to give Rooney a guiding hand
go.com – Oct 18, 2004
He knows he can get advice from me whenever he needs itso I don’t think it is a problem for us. ‘Ferguson was asked if United were able to concentrate properly on the SpartaPrague clash with Sunday’s vital Premiership showdown with champions Arsenallooming large. ‘There is a big focus on next Sunday’s game with Arsenal because it’s such avital game in the English football calendar but that is not to forget we have animportant game with Sparta Prague first,’ Ferguson told Sky Sports News. Ferguson revealed he had nothing but admiration for Sparta star Karel Poborskywhen the Czech Republic winger played under him at Old Trafford. ‘Karel is a very good player, he did very well for me. We were looking tosign a right-sided midfielder, after he had done so well at the EuropeanChampionships in 1996, and at that time we didn’t expect David Beckham to breakthrough the way he did, so he was unfortunate. ‘But he played many good games for us, the problem was that he was comingfrom another country with a young player like Beckham emerging… We were looking tosign a right-sided midfielder, after he had done so well at the EuropeanChampionships in 1996, and at that time we didn’t expect David Beckham to breakthrough the way he did, so he was unfortunate. ‘But he played many good games for us, the problem was that he was comingfrom another country with a young player like Beckham emerging. ‘I was always pleased with the way he performed for us, and since thenthere’s been evidence, in the summer (at Euro 2004) that he has carried on agreat career. He was always a terrific professional, a great lad and he nevercaused us any problems at all. ‘Your views on this story?.

SOCCER: Wenger hails young Gunner
U.TV – Oct 17, 2004
“The difference with Rooney is that he was already a full international and had played at Euro 2004 when he was sold. Fabregas had never played in the first-team,” observed Wenger. “But while Rooney is already now considered to be a great player, Fabregas is very promising too. “What is staggering, however, is to think that Barcelona allowed one of the brightest talents in Europe, let alone Spain, to escape their clutches, receiving just ?2. 25million compensation for the youngster… For a boy of 17, he never has one touch too many on the ball. His distribution and awareness is fantastic for such a young boy. “Fabregas has been restricted to one game a week so far to ensure his development is not rushed, but he may start away to Panathinaikos on Wednesday, depending on whether Vieira recovers from a twisted ankle. “I will rest him this season as you`d kill him if he played in every game, but it`s possible that he will start again in Greece, no matter what happens,” revealed Wenger. Against Villa, Fabregas certainly showed the full range of his precocious talents. One moment, he was arrowing a 40-yard crossfield ball with inch-perfect precision to Pires and the next he was charging in to win a 40-60 tackle with Thomas Hitzlsperger. Above all, even when Vieira was forced out of the fray injured, Fabregas and substitute Mathieu Flamini continued to direct the game.

Benfica guarantees security for Porto visit
SI.com – Oct 16, 2004
Officials expect a 65,000 crowd to watch unbeaten Benfica, who are top with 13 points after five matches, play champions Porto, four points behind in second place. On Thursday, Porto officials said they were concerned as fans had managed in the past to elude security at the stadium and run on to the field, daily sports newspaper A Bola reported. During the Euro 2004 final against Greece in July one fan got within touching distance of Portugal’s Luis Figo before being tackled. “I won’t go,” the Secretary of State for Sports, Herminio Loureiro, was quoted as saying in a headline in daily newspaper O Jogo. Herminio told SIC TV News he had not dismissed the option of cancelling the match… During the Euro 2004 final against Greece in July one fan got within touching distance of Portugal’s Luis Figo before being tackled. “I won’t go,” the Secretary of State for Sports, Herminio Loureiro, was quoted as saying in a headline in daily newspaper O Jogo. Herminio told SIC TV News he had not dismissed the option of cancelling the match. All rights reserved.

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