Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

March 29, 2005

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Tottenham Hotspur | Tottenham suffer…

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 10:57 am

The News Review:

* Soccer: Something peculiar is happening in Group 4
* BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Beckham must be more disciplin…
* ireland.com / Today / Sport / Soccer
* BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Tottenham Hotspur | Tottenham suffer…
* Terry targets perfection
* English hopes thrust Owen into line of fire
* Lampard joins the elite
* JJ goal not enough for Finns
* France face crucial trip to Israel
* BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Terry lays down England…
* We can win World Cup, says McClaren
* England team mates rave over Rooney
* National duty like a holiday
* Poland hit eight, France held at home
* Coach’s study of stars gives French a dose of les bleus

Soccer: Something peculiar is happening in Group 4
International Herald Tribune – Mar 28, 2005
The Swiss, the only team to really stick it to one of the minnows with a 6-0 home victory over the Faroes, holds the edge in goal difference. But in a surreal group, it is the record of the French that is most bizarre. Halfway through its program, it is unbeaten and has not conceded a goal – and is clearly in deep trouble. France has not qualified for a World Cup on the field since 1986. It was eliminated in qualifying in 1990 and 1994. It qualified in 1998 as host and in 2002 as holder. But ahead of Euro 2004, France won all its group games and sewed up qualification with two games to play… It was eliminated in qualifying in 1990 and 1994. It qualified in 1998 as host and in 2002 as holder. But ahead of Euro 2004, France won all its group games and sewed up qualification with two games to play. Perhaps it was in the hope of repeating that happy, stress-free experience that the French arranged to play their three biggest rivals at home first. Of course the scheduling might have had nothing to do with soccer. Paris is competing to hold the 2012 Olympic Games. Stade de France would hold the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field, and the World Cup schedule gives Paris a chance to showcase its stadium before the vote.

BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Beckham must be more disciplin…
BBC News – Mar 28, 2005
I heard people on the phone-in criticising my BBC colleague Alan Green for making similar observations, but he was absolutely right. England may have escaped punishment for such indiscipline against Northern Ireland, but against the better opposition they will face if – or when – they reach next year’s World Cup, they may pay a heavy price. All it takes is for someone not to be disciplined, or fail to stick to the system, and you could be in big trouble. It may be a small point against Northern Ireland, but against bigger teams it could become a bigger issue. Maybe it is because Beckham plays inside for Real Madrid. Maybe it is because Beckham always wants the ball – and whatever else we may say about him, he never hides from the ball. But he just can’t afford to keep drifting inside… People have talked about him being an old-fashioned England central defender in the mould of some of the old-timers such as, say, Terry Butcher. Nice flattery – but he is much better than I was and I would play him alongside Ferdinand now. Some suggested he had a poor Euro 2004, but I couldn’t believe that – I thought he was outstanding. As for Wednesday, Poland have set the target by scoring eight goals against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan will be shell-shocked and terrified. They will face England with great trepidation. So the challenge to England’s players is this – you’ve got 90 minutes to score at least the eight goals Poland score against Azerbaijan.

ireland.com / Today / Sport / Soccer
Irish Times – Mar 29, 2005
In soccer, the psychological dimension is very important. My players have to become winners. “The gap between average soccer nations and great teams has been reduced, as proved Greece during Euro 2004. “Yossi Benayoun can win a game on his own. But let’s not exaggerate things. We are not the French team. “France are much better than us, I repeat it… “The gap between average soccer nations and great teams has been reduced, as proved Greece during Euro 2004. “Yossi Benayoun can win a game on his own. But let’s not exaggerate things. We are not the French team. “France are much better than us, I repeat it. And we want to proceed step by step. Beating them would fulfil any kid’s dream.

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Tottenham Hotspur | Tottenham suffer…
BBC News – Mar 27, 2005
The Czech international is keen on a move to Tottenham but despite their financial troubles, Dortmund insist they will not sell him. “There are no plans for transfers in our current rebuilding process,” newly-appointed manager Hans-Joachim Watzke told German TV channel DSF. “And we certainly don’t have plans to sell Rosicky. He’s in great form at the moment and he’s an asset to us.

Terry targets perfection
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 28, 2005
At Old Trafford on Saturday he and Rio Ferdinand had long snuffed out whatever attacking threat the Northern Irish had carried when, with just moments left, he still had the commitment and concentration to make a perfect tackle to dispossess Steve Jones. Some might have been content simply to surrender space and wait for the whistle, but not Terry in this sort of form. Terry had played in every game bar the opening defeat against France, after which he thought Ledley King deserved to keep his place. Yet by the end of the tournament he had not convinced himself that he should be first choice.

English hopes thrust Owen into line of fire
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Mar 29, 2005
” It is not a burden that should prove too heavy for England and, for some of Eriksson’s players, complacency would be unforgivable. Joe Cole needs to maintain the good, disciplined form of Saturday while John Terry, his Chelsea colleague, will hope for another impressive performance to make Sol Campbell unsure of his place in the defensive pecking order. Terry admitted that he had not played to his capabilities at Euro 2004, where he was partly held responsible for England dropping so deep, but his form at the heart of the Chelsea back line has been so impressive that he is favourite to be Footballer of the Year. Terry, who voted for Andy Johnson, the Crystal Palace striker, believes that he is starting to replicate his club form for his country. “At club level, things have gone really well,” he said. “But I don’t feel that I have made the step up and proved myself at international level. As a tournament in Portugal, I was disappointed with my performances.

Lampard joins the elite
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 27, 2005
“Fine player,” he agreed. “He’s very creative, he changes direction and he’s cute. Apart from Paul Scholes, we’ve not had a cute midfield player for a while. His goals are a big bonus, of course. The Chelsea players are very confident just now. They’re enjoying playing and doing all the positive things. “A less contentious parallel than the country’s record goalscorer – Charlton held off Gary Lineker, by one – might be with David Platt, who also had to wait until his mid-twenties to nail down a regular place in the England midfield; or with Colin Bell, whose tireless galloping earned him the nickname ‘Nijinksy’ in the dressing room… ” Not that his scoring record needs much polishing. While Beckham has 15 in 79 appearances and Gerrard has five in 33, Lampard can now claim eight in 31 games – only 20 of which he has started. Seven in the last 13 internationals, including three at Euro 2004, against France, Croatia and Portugal, entitle him to be thought of almost as an auxiliary striker, in the mould of Platt, who collected 27 goals in 62 caps. It’s a pity England’s marathon man is nearly 27 already. But then the usual laws of human biology appear to have missed Frank Lampard out. A subcutaneous inspection might reveal not veins and blood but electronic circuitry.

JJ goal not enough for Finns
Charlton Athletic Football Club – Mar 28, 2005
The defeat leaves Bulgaria, who were reduced to 10 men in the second half, third in the group and five points adrift of the Swedes, ahead of their trip to Hungary on Wednesday night. There was similar bad news for Hermann Hreidarsson, who also started for Iceland as they were beaten 4-0 by Croatia in Zagreb in the same group. Second-bottom placed Iceland, who also play Hungary next in June, still have just one point from their five fixtures so far and after coming so close to qualifying for Euro 2004, their World Cup dream looks to be over already. Matt Holland was an 85th-minute substitute as the Republic of Ireland conceded an injury-time equaliser against Israel in Tel Aviv. Ireland took the lead through Clinton Morrison in the fourth minute and although Holland replaced the Birmingham City marksman as Brian Kerr’s side defended their lead in the losing stages, it wasn’t enough as Abass Swan’s strike left both countries still unbeaten in Group Four, and tied at the top of the table with France. Holland still hasn’t started a match for Ireland in the qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup, but will expect to start for the reverse fixture against Israel in June with Roy Keane now suspended for the Dublin encounter. The Charlton skipper could also be involved as Ireland take on China in a friendly in Dublin on Tuesday night.

France face crucial trip to Israel
Independent Online – Mar 29, 2005
In Group 2, leaders Ukraine host third-placed Denmark while European champions Greece, who notched up a crucial 3-1 win in Georgia on Saturday, are visited by neighbouring Albania. Turkey, the 2002 World Cup semifinalists who failed to qualify for Euro 2004, travel to Georgia looking to push themselves into contention for at least a play-off spot. Group 3 could get a shake-down when Portugal and Slovakia, both level on 13 points with four wins and a draw from five games, meet in Bratislava. Third-placed Russia, after recording an unimpressive 2-1 win over Liechtenstein on the weekend, play in Estonia, and Latvia host winless Luxembourg. ‘We must do all we can to win’In Group 4, Ireland, France and Israel are all locked in top place on nine points. Former champions France, who have only beaten the Faroe Islands and Cyprus so far and notched up only four goals in five games, face a tricky trip to Israel, who held Ireland to a last-gasp 1-1 draw on the weekend… “We must do all we can to win” in Israel, said French striker David Trezeguet. “The situation is delicate but there is quality in the France side. Motivated more like. ”

Switzerland, who battled to hold a misfiring France to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, host Cyprus, with only a draw to their credit in their five games so far, and a win would up the pressure on the top three. “I feel it is likely to go to the last weekend to decide first and second places in the group and we need to be in there when that comes about,” said Ireland manager Brian Kerr. Ireland play China in a friendly on Tuesday.

BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Terry lays down England…
BBC News – Mar 29, 2005
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Terry admitted he was not happy with his performances at Euro 2004 and spent last summer ironing out the weaknesses in his game. He is one of the main contenders for the Premiership’s Player of the Year Award and now wants to take his club form on to the international stage. The commanding centre-half has also set his long-term sights on earning the England captain’s armband.

We can win World Cup, says McClaren
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Mar 27, 2005
Rio Ferdinand insisted in midweek that at this stage of the qualification process, all that mattered was the result — the performance was of no consequence. The paying spectator might give him an argument there, but McClaren wouldn’t, and he would not have it that England had become too cautious and defence-oriented. “The team is set up every time to win the match, certainly not to draw,” he said. “How you win is sometimes irrelevant. Greece won Euro 2004. Can you say they were the most attacking team? I think not. It is all about winning.

England team mates rave over Rooney
chinadaily.com.cn – Mar 28, 2005
Though not on the scoresheet in the 4-0 Group Six qualifying romp, Rooney’s
surging runs were a constant menace and led to England’s third goal after
muscling past two defenders from a seemingly impossible position. England won the match 4-0. [AP]”It is
not just his skill but his pure strength,” said defender Gary Neville of his
Manchester United club mate… “He is one of those players who can do it and we are blessed to have him. We’ve got nurture him, look after him and make sure he is flying next year in
the World Cup finals. ”
Neville pinpointed Rooney’s early departure with a foot injury in the Euro
2004 quarter-final against Portugal as the moment their campaign began to
falter, even though England eventually lost only on penalties. Rooney, then 18, had scored four goals during England’s two previous games,
at one stage becoming the youngest scorer in a European championship match. DIFFERENT STORY
“Whilst one player should never break a team, with the championship he was
having, if he had stayed on the pitch it might have been a different story for
us,” Neville said. “That’s the fine line that you tread if you lose your great player, like
France losing (Thierry) Henry or Italy losing (Francesco) Totti during a match
when they’re in a great run of form. ”
Another of Rooney’s remarkable assets is a complete absence of stage fright
when he is on the pitch, whether for England or United, following his move from
Everton last August.

National duty like a holiday
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Mar 28, 2005
”Tony Cascarino, 88 caps for Ireland from 1985 to 1999. With any luck, Saturday’s stroll for England against Northern Ireland will kill off the sense you get from listening to players and coaches that playing anyone short of San Marino is tougher than your average club game, simply because it is an international. It is a myth concocted to promote the idealistic fantasy that representing your country is the pinnacle. I have to tell you that playing the national anthems before a match does not automatically signal an intense contest. In fact, in my experience, when the band struck up The Soldier’s Song it usually meant I was in for a nice relaxing break from the strains of club football… Like the best domestic units, we were settled, played to our strengths and had a strong team ethic. That’s why we were successful. That’s why Greece won Euro 2004. What a reflection on international football: a team that is similar to, but probably worse than, Charlton Athletic were crowned kings of Europe. You can ’t extract a general truth about small sides being awkward from that outcome; but you could argue it shows how the European powerhouse nations make life difficult for themselves. Players adapt to altered surroundings, different climates and new colleagues at varying speeds, but as a borderline inclusion, one thing you don’t get, especially under Sven-Göran Eriksson, is time to impress. Many struggle to handle the pressure that is heaped on every game as a result of the intense media interest.

Poland hit eight, France held at home
The Age – Mar 27, 2005
Austria stayed in touch on eight points with a 2-0 win inWales. It was a triumph of youth over experience in Bucharest where anew-look Dutch side proved too good for the ageing Romanians. The Euro 2004 semi-finalists had a flying start as Philip Cocuheaded in after 38 seconds and they sealed the win six minutes fromtime through 18-year-old debutant Ryan Babel. The win takes the Dutch to 13 points, with the Czech Republicsecond on 12. Romania have 10 points with the Finns on nine. The Czechs needed a late goal from Vratislav Lokvenc to snatch athrilling victory in Teplice. Milan Baros and Tomas Rosicky had them 2-0 up after 34 minutes,Jari Litmanen, pulled one back at the start of the second half butJan Polak made it 3-1 after 58 minutes… Midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg got the first and third goals totake Sweden to 12 points from five games. Croatia move up to secondon 10 after they thumped Iceland 4-0, with Bulgaria third onseven. European champions Greece continued their renaissance as a 3-1win in Georgia hauled them to 11 points, within three points ofGroup Two leaders Ukraine, who did not play. Denmark moved to nine as Peter Moller scored twice in their 3-0home win over Kazakhstan, with Turkey also on nine after their 2-0home win over Albania, both goals coming in the first fiveminutes. In the only game in Group Five Italy stretched their lead tofive points over Norway and Slovenia with a 2-0 win over Scotlandsecured by near-identical free kicks by Andrea Pirlo late in eachhalf. Group Seven’s only game was a 4-1 home win for Belgium overBosnia but both sides remain well adrift of Lithuania, Spain andleaders Serbia and Montenegro. Group Three leaders Portugal, playing a friendly against Canada,saw Slovakia join them on 13 points after a 2-1 comeback win inEstonia.

Coach’s study of stars gives French a dose of les bleus
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Mar 29, 2005
In a recent documentary about the study of star signs, Domenech was introduced as “France coach and Aquarius with Virgo ascendant”. He went on to explain his interest in a manner that, in the context of good results, might be seen merely as eccentric. In the light of his team’s problems, it is a miracle that he has not been laughed out of his job. The savaging would have been brutal in England… ” If astrology has not become a stick for beating Domenech, it is because the French press and public believe that there are more serious issues at hand, such as the deployment of William Gallas at left back rather than centre half. They know that Domenech’s disputes with Robert Pires and Mikaël Silvestre, which have meant both players being banished from the squad, are not purely because they are, respectively, a Scorpio and a Leo. Although some of France’s leading players, such as Zinedine Zidane, were due to retire after Euro 2004, others, such as Claude Makelele, are said to have been driven to quit by the manager. A former manager of the under-21s, Domenech is said to treat his players like children. In the circumstances, it is a miracle that they remain level on points with Israel and Ireland and, with the French federation reluctant wielders of the axe, Domenech is likely to continue whatever happens tomorrow. However, if they decide to be rid of their manager, the federation should recall how Kelvin MacKenzie, a former Editor of The Sun, is said to have dismissed the paper’s astrologer. “As you already know,” the letter began, “your contract is terminated.

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