Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

February 7, 2006

Divine intervention for Baghdatis

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 2:38 pm

The News Review:

* Erkisson’s luck holds for England
* New man in charge faces very long journey to qualification
* Sven’s blood boils under the icy exterior
* Divine intervention for Baghdatis
* England should gamble on Rooney and Owen
* Ireland: Money-making draw harder than it looks
* Too many questions cling to perennial No 2
* Baros sings in minor key
* Tough draws for Euro 2008 | FOOTBALL | SPORT | tvnz.co.nz
* Defiant Smith ready to joust with giants
* Greek clique-speak – Sport – theage.com.au
* Rooney and McClaren are England’s most wanted
* Scolari puts hat into England ring
* Red Devils draw well for Euro 2008 championship

Erkisson’s luck holds for England
Telegraph.co.uk – Jan 27, 2006
While Russia and Croatia represent a tougher pairing than Poland and Austria, they are manageable. Russian football is in another period of transition. Having qualified for Euro 2004 after overcoming Wales in a play-off at the Millennium Stadium following a goalless draw in Moscow, they made no impact on the tournament. They fared even worse in attempting to make it to Germany, finishing third in their group behind Portugal, which was predictable, and Slovakia, which most certainly was not. Considering that Germany, Italy or Spain were potential opponents, the FA would be happy to travel to the nonetheless intimidating Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. However, having been terrorised by Wayne Rooney in the Stadium of Light during Euro 2004, Croatia will be rather more apprehensive than England. Their coach, Zlatko Kranjcar, has a problem Eriksson’s successor will not have to wrestle with – whether to play his son… Russian football is in another period of transition. Having qualified for Euro 2004 after overcoming Wales in a play-off at the Millennium Stadium following a goalless draw in Moscow, they made no impact on the tournament. They fared even worse in attempting to make it to Germany, finishing third in their group behind Portugal, which was predictable, and Slovakia, which most certainly was not. Considering that Germany, Italy or Spain were potential opponents, the FA would be happy to travel to the nonetheless intimidating Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. However, having been terrorised by Wayne Rooney in the Stadium of Light during Euro 2004, Croatia will be rather more apprehensive than England. Their coach, Zlatko Kranjcar, has a problem Eriksson’s successor will not have to wrestle with – whether to play his son. However, since Niko, a driving playmaker with Hajduk Split, is one of the forces behind Croatia’s qualification for a third World Cup, it unlikely his dad will face too many accusations of nepotism.

New man in charge faces very long journey to qualification
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Jan 29, 2006
Some good sightseeing, then. Outside Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, much modernised since Allan Wells, Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Daley Thompson won gold medals there at the 1980 Olympics, England may glimpse the concrete likeness of Lenin, who used to give his name to the arena. As for the team, Russia has yet to express its growing influence much beyond the club game. There are roubles at Chelsea and Spartak Moscow, but dissatisfied rumblings surround a national side humiliated 7-1 in Portugal last year, unable to make the World Cup, out in the first phase at Euro 2004 and at Japan-Korea 2002… Outside Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, much modernised since Allan Wells, Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Daley Thompson won gold medals there at the 1980 Olympics, England may glimpse the concrete likeness of Lenin, who used to give his name to the arena. As for the team, Russia has yet to express its growing influence much beyond the club game. There are roubles at Chelsea and Spartak Moscow, but dissatisfied rumblings surround a national side humiliated 7-1 in Portugal last year, unable to make the World Cup, out in the first phase at Euro 2004 and at Japan-Korea 2002. The potential of strikers Marat Izmailov and Dmitri Sychev remains more often vaunted than realised and Russia have yet to discover a man to organise games in the way midfielder Aleksandr Mostovoi used to. Croatia would hope to finish in the top two after winning their World Cup qualifying group ahead of Sweden. They are not quite the equal of the side that finished third at France 98, they have neither a Davor Suker nor an Alen Boksic making menacing moves up front, but they are difficult to beat. Nobody has managed it in a competitive international since England came from a goal down at Euro 2004.

Sven’s blood boils under the icy exterior
Telegraph.co.uk – Jan 28, 2006
But no one, not even those critics who continually point to Eriksson’s lack of passion as the reason only someone built in the image of John Bull should be allowed to manage the England team, could doubt the fires raging inside him. Even in this mood, however, Eriksson does not do anger. Not table-thumping, screeching, red-faced anger, preferring to convey his feelings through pithy remarks dipped in acid. Asked what single piece of advice or wisdom he would pass on to his successor, he said: “If he is not going to the office or a football match, stay at home and lock the door. “To Eriksson, the fake sheikh sting in which he was conned into talking about taking over Aston Villa, making indiscreet observations about England players and allegedly describing the game in this country as riddled with corruption, was one sting too far, one intrusion too many into his private life… I will also not have anything to do with the identity of the new manager. I will not give you the chance to blame me. “He does, however, suggest that, although his successor might also be foreign, he should at least be an English speaker, which would seem to rule out Luiz Felipe Scolari, also known as Big Phil, who knocked England out of the 2002 World Cup when manager of Brazil and then from Euro 2004 when in charge of Portugal. Eriksson says: “When I went to Portugal [as Benfica manager], I could not speak any Latin languages and that was a huge handicap. Sitting with people, I was like a new-born baby, I did not know what anyone was saying and my interpreter did not understand football, so it was very difficult. ”Eriksson, who says he took legal action against the News of the World only after assurances that it would not affect his World Cup build-up, is now focusing on Germany. “We have a chance, maybe the last one of my professional life to win a World Cup.

Divine intervention for Baghdatis
The Age – Jan 27, 2006
no, they didn’t close the schools,but nobody went to school today, so it’s just amazing,” the20-year-old said after his 3-6 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over theMasters Cup champion and No. 4 seed at Melbourne Park. The unseeded sensation can’t imagine what his people will bedoing if he wins Sunday’s final: his sporting success is sounprecedented in his tiny island nation – population 780,000 – howwould he?But given Baghdatis thinks he’s now probably more popular thanPresident Tassos Papadopoulos, who has exempted the former worldjunior champion from national service so he can concentrate ontennis, no-one is betting against Cyprus declaring a public holidayon Monday if he pulls off the biggest surprise in internationalsport since. well, since Greece won Euro 2004. And after experiencing every emotion in Thursday night’sdramatic final set, having overcome fireworks, thunderstorm, aseemingly insurmountable deficit and one of the most dogged andclassy opponents in the game, Baghdatis believes it’s his destinyto take the trophy home… well, since Greece won Euro 2004. And after experiencing every emotion in Thursday night’sdramatic final set, having overcome fireworks, thunderstorm, aseemingly insurmountable deficit and one of the most dogged andclassy opponents in the game, Baghdatis believes it’s his destinyto take the trophy home. 54 said the heavens opening in the “crazy” last setwas like divine intervention. “It was like a sign because he wants me maybe to be tougher, hewants me to go through these moments,” Baghdatis said… Everyone wants a piece of him. “I just don’t answer the phone,” Baghdatis said of his plans forthe next two days. “I just try not to speak to a lot of journalists, try to keep itsimple. I know it’s not finished. It’s maybe a dream come true forme. So I’ll do my best and stay focused. Win or lose, the son of a Lebanese father and Cypriot mother wholeft Limassol at 14 to pursue his dream in France will return homeas a national hero to the resort town on the south coast of Cyprus- where there are fewer than 6,000 registered players and a measly54 courts.

England should gamble on Rooney and Owen
Telegraph.co.uk – Feb 5, 2006
He has shown during his short career that he is a player who thrives on the big occasion and rises to the greater challenge – as he demonstrated in a magnificent recent performance in Manchester United’s win over Arsenal. Normally, when you diagnose a minimum six-week injury lay-off at this stage, you would write off that player’s World Cup prospects. But I believe it is worth taking a chance with Rooney, and also with Owen, provided Eriksson does not think he can bring in somebody else who would make a bigger impact. This gloomy injury news comes at a time when the Football Association are… The people are lambasting the FA over the way the affair has been handled and the only way that they can redeem themselves now is to choose somebody this week and finish the process. However, that would not be ideal because they might have to rush it. Also, whoever gets the job now will know that he is second choice behind Luiz Filipe Scolari. My first choice all along has been Martin O’Neill and it remains that way. Despite the imminent recruitment of his successor, the spotlight will be on Eriksson for the next few months, starting with the naming of those he wants to take to Germany. While the coach has a major headache up front, the rest of his party look in good shape.

Ireland: Money-making draw harder than it looks
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Jan 29, 2006
In Petr Cech, they have arguably the world’s finest goalkeeper while Tomas Rosicky, the Borussia Dortmund player linked with Arsenal, looks well positioned to take over the reins in midfield from Galasek. Despite struggling in the Premiership, Milan Baros is a fixture in the Czech side. Much will rest on the striker rediscovering the sharpness in front of goal that he showed at Euro 2004, particularly with Koller’s future uncertain after the giant Dortmund striker tore a cruciate knee ligament back in September. Nedved remains their talisman, despite retiring from international football after Euro 2004, and the media scrum that surrounded his return shortly before the World Cup qualifying playoff against Norway seemed well justified. His teammates toiled through the qualifying group, but Nedved’s presence galvanised them into a two-leg thrashing of Norway. The Juventus star will be unable to make the same contribution once the World Cup is over, however, should he be on the international stage at all. The Czechs appear slightly spooked by the prospect of facing Ireland… Speaking to yesterday’s Czech daily, MF Dnes, the assistant coach, Miroslav Beranek, pointed out that his country had lost their previous two games in Dublin — friendlies in 2000 and 2004, the second of which ended a 20-match unbeaten run. “Ireland is the most difficult team in our group,” Beranek said. “Second is Slovakia and third is Germany, because they are not the force they used to be. “Ireland are very dangerous because it’s very difficult to prepare for a match with them, particularly in Dublin, where the crowd is such a factor. The matches against Ireland and Wales will be particularly difficult in this regard. ” Staunton, however, isn’t keen to buy the vulnerability line. “The Czech Republic for many, many years, seem to have had a great conveyor belt providing players.

Too many questions cling to perennial No 2
Telegraph.co.uk – Feb 5, 2006
The Yorkshireman fits the hastily-reassembled FA blueprint of a home-grown coach who can groom a home-grown successor. So expect Peter Taylor, Stuart Pearce and, eventually, Alan Shearer, to appear at England training sessions. Yet the FA miss the point; they are not supposed to be appointing a technical director charged with developing young English coaches, but a national team manager whose sole job is to win tournaments. If the England manager’s job was to nurture coaches, then one is at a loss to understand the job spec of Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s director of football development. The one thing Soho Square got right with Scolari is that they were keen to appoint an outstanding manager focused on ending 40-plus years of hurt. International dugouts are no place for the callow. So, instead of appointing the loose cannon Scolari – a coach with a World Cup-winner’s medal – or seasoned operators like Martin O’Neill or Guus Hiddink, the FA are close to unveiling a man whose only honour is the 2004 League Cup… Victory in the Uefa Cup final in Eindhoven will certainly lend some gravitas to McClaren’s image. Otherwise, he will resemble a No 2 promoted in an emergency. Popular among England players, does McClaren possess the toughness to become the bad cop after so long as the good cop in the England dressing room?His involvement at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 has never fully been clarified. Did he try to dissuade Eriksson from some controversial, overly cautious substitutions, like Darius Vassell when Wayne Rooney was injured at the Stadium of Light? Why did he not react when England’s defence sat too deep? Too many questions cling to Steve McClaren.

Baros sings in minor key
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Jan 30, 2006
Used on article pages to rotate the images of a story. Not Milan Baros, however. The leading goalscorer of Euro 2004, a Champions League winner in 2005, this Eurocrat is so underwhelmed by the Cup that after scoring his first goals in the competition he could not remember whether he has appeared in a final. Baros gave a typical performance on Saturday, displaying the superior touch, pace and finishing power that make him a £6 million player and then giving off the air of indifference that, at club level, goes to explain why Europe’s finest did not form a queue for his services when he was allowed to leave Liverpool last August. It was as if all this is slightly beneath him, that come the summer and the World Cup finals he will return to his natural stage. “The English FA Cup is one of the famous cups in the world,” he said when asked whether it held a special lustre for him.

Tough draws for Euro 2008 | FOOTBALL | SPORT | tvnz.co.nz
TVNZ – Jan 28, 2006
“There is always a lot of emotion, but both matches (in theWorld Cup campaign) were 0-0 and both were fair and clean,” Greececoach Otto Rehhagel told reporters. Greece and Turkey are joined by Norway, Bosnia, Hungary, Moldovaand Malta in Group C. England, who are among the favourites to do well in the WorldCup in Germany in June, will face fellow World Cup finalistsCroatia, who they beat 4-2 at Euro 2004, as well as Russia, Israel,Estonia, Macedonia and Andorra in Group E. England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who will have departed fromhis post before the qualifying starts, said whoever replaces himwould “be happy” with the draw. Portugal, who are also through to the finals in Germany, face agruelling eight-team group. They play fellow World Cup finalists Poland and Serbia &Montenegro as well as Belgium, Finland and long-haul trips toArmenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. All the other groups comprise seven teams, but Portugal coachLuiz Felipe Scolari is not worried by the long qualifyingcompetition… Portugal, who are also through to the finals in Germany, face agruelling eight-team group. They play fellow World Cup finalists Poland and Serbia &Montenegro as well as Belgium, Finland and long-haul trips toArmenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. All the other groups comprise seven teams, but Portugal coachLuiz Felipe Scolari is not worried by the long qualifyingcompetition. “It is better playing 12 or 14 matches than going into theplayoffs where we can have a bad match and then the preparation oftwo or three years can be totally lost,” the Brazilian toldreporters. The top two teams in each group qualify automatically for thefinals along with the co-hosts Switzerland and Austria. World Cup finalists Sweden face neighbouring Denmark, Europeanchampions in 1992, in Group F which also includes World Cupfinalists Spain, as well as Latvia, Iceland, Northern Ireland andLiechtenstein. Top seeds Netherlands, winners in 1988, face Romania, who theyalso played in the World Cup qualifiers, Bulgaria, Slovenia,Albania, Belarus and Luxembourg in Group G.

Defiant Smith ready to joust with giants
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Jan 29, 2006
and the Faroes! A place at Euro 2008 looks lost, but Scotland’s manager will not give up without a fight. Used on article pages to rotate the images of a story… There were gasps of sympathy from those not put into this mincer on the stage of Montreux’s congress centre. As if the three favourites were not punishment enough for a hefty slip down the seeding system, the ghosts of campaigns past came back to haunt Scotland too. The Faroe Islands, where Scotland drew during the Euro 2004 qualifiers. Lithuania, where Berti Vogts’s team lost during the same bedraggled campaign. If Scotland had won those matches, they would have qualified automatically for the finals in Portugal at Germany’s expense. How simple would that have been compared to the task Smith must square up to now? The section is completed by Georgia, officially the strongest of the seeds in Pot Six according to the coefficients used by Uefa. They have also been given fresh impetus by the appointment of Klaus Toppmoller as their coach after fading badly in the World Cup 2006 qualifiers.

Greek clique-speak – Sport – theage.com.au
The Age – Jan 28, 2006
Yes, it’s aloose translation. ) Chant 3: “Marko, bo-bo-bo. Apparently it was seen regularly atEuro 2004. “I do know that you often see Greek fans doing all sortsof things with their hands and fingers,” he said. Wham, slam, thank you DamnWhat a dynamic duo Czech Martin Damm and IndianLeander Paes make. Turned out they were defeated in a closemen’s doubles final by the Bryan twins, but when they were ontop, their enthusiasm was outstanding.

Rooney and McClaren are England’s most wanted
Telegraph.co.uk – Feb 5, 2006
We will know more over the next few days. “While the possibility of losing a player like Wayne would be a concern, I strongly believe we have many world-class players. “I have always said that we are one of four or five teams who can win the World Cup and this would not change that. “Eriksson had more positive news about the “dull” reaction in his foot felt by Michael Owen on returning from his own metatarsal injury. “The news I have received from our doctor about Michael’s injury is very encouraging,” he said… April 2002: Manchester United defender Gary Neville broke his fifth metatarsal against Bayer Leverkusen, also in the Champions League, forcing him to miss the World Cup. May 2002: Danny Murphy was drafted into the World Cup squad but fractured a metatarsal while training. June 2004: Wayne Rooney broke his fifth metatarsal in England’s quarter-final clash with Portugal at Euro 2004. Sept 2004: Steven Gerrard broke his fifth metatarsal in Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester United. Dec 2004: Scott Parker fractured his second metatarsal playing for Chelsea. Oct 2005: Ashley Cole broke a metatarsal before England’s World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Poland. Dec 2005: Michael Owen broke a metatarsal when he collided with England team-mate Paul Robinson during Newcastle’s Premiership match at Tottenham.

Scolari puts hat into England ring
TVNZ – Feb 6, 2006
“I know if I want to take over England I need to learn thelanguage more,” the Brazilian told BBC radio. “It is difficult now but I know in two or three months I need tolearn more and it is no problem for me. “It is not a problem for the job as the language for the playersI know very well, but it is important for communication with themedia. Scolari, who guided Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002 after theybeat England in the last eight, will quit his post with Portugal atthe end of this year’s finals in Germany. Swede Eriksson agreed last month to step down after the WorldCup following a sting by a British Sunday newspaper in which hetold a journalist posing as an Arab businessman that he would beprepared to dump England. Scolari, who is known as ‘Big Phil’, said he would considertaking over as coach of Premier League Newcastle United, who sackedGraeme Souness last week. “After I finish my contract with Portugal (on July 30) I willconsider all offers,” he said… Scolari, who is known as ‘Big Phil’, said he would considertaking over as coach of Premier League Newcastle United, who sackedGraeme Souness last week. “After I finish my contract with Portugal (on July 30) I willconsider all offers,” he said. Scolari’s Portugal side ended England’s hopes in thequarterfinals of Euro 2004, winning on penalties before going on tolose to Greece in the final. The World Cup begins in Munich on June 9.

Red Devils draw well for Euro 2008 championship
People's Daily Online – Jan 28, 2006
Group A is the only group with eight nations and therefore Belgium will play two extra matches. Only the top two teams will progress to the European Championship, scheduled for June 7-29, 2008. National coach Rene Vandereycken can now start preparing his team for the qualifying matches with the knowledge he will not have to face top states like the… However, Belgium will still need to get past Portugal, the losing finalist from the Euro 2004 championship. As host nation, Portugal lost to.

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