Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

March 29, 2006

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Bolton Wanderers | Speed targeting…

Filed under: EURO 2008 — Ivan @ 12:23 pm

The News Review:

* England purr against shambolic opponents
* RTÉ Sport: Savage eyeing Wales comeback
* WPP lines up dream team for Sportfive
* BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Bolton Wanderers | Speed targeting…
* FA play down Wembley scare
* Door not closed for Beckham, predicts Hoddle
* BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Wales told to bid for Euro…
* After the ball was over
* A week in football: James sketches out his future
* The last word: Should Israel play on Shabbat?
* Bellamy: I’m to blame
* Deflection denies unlucky Irish
* Rampant Scotland put minnows in their place
* Montenegro vote has Fifa in quandary
* Inside Football: West Ham fears hit Church
* Round-up: Vieira moves to Inter
* Weir: the early goal helped us
* Who is going to get Sven’s job?
* McManus agrees new Celtic deal

England purr against shambolic opponents
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 9, 2006
So just how fortunate is Steve McClaren to have begun his competitive career as England manager against a so-called international side who would have struggled to give Accrington Stanley a game?. Failing that, send them a video of this apology for a Euro 2008 qualifier, the viewing of which would be just as painful. The only challenge for England was to maintain their competitiveness and professionalism against such hapless opponents, who might have done slightly better in a baseball contest. The scoreline might have disappointed supporters who had anticipated one in double figures, but it represented a job well done by England, sensibly playing within themselves ahead of a slightly more competitive game in Macedonia on Wednesday. Things were so easy for them that McClaren was able to throw on extra attackers and experiment with 3-5-2 for the final half hour and, even if this meant nothing, there were things to make him purr. One was the sight of Aaron Lennon coming on as a substitute and making an immediate impact, just as he continually did in the World Cup, suggesting that it is time he was given a start… There was no need to be in such a rush when they only had to wait to be supplied by errors from opponents who barely register on the world rankings. Sure enough, left back Javier Sanchez was soon managing another football first, an air header, the equivalent of a golfing air shot, as he tried to defend Cole’s cross, leaving Steven Gerrard to pick his spot. Having not realised that Sanchez was that big a mug, Gerrard then set about tormenting him, playing him like a three card trickster by showing him the ball and then whipping it away before setting up Defoe for the second goal of his England career. His third followed minutes into the second half. McClaren, dressed in an official Football Association suit these days instead of the tracksuit he always wore as Eriksson’s assistant, marched to the end of his technical area shortly before that effort, clearly upset that some of the seals were being allowed to escape. Yet McClaren was left with egg on his face after his ludicrous appeal to Austrian referee Bernhard Brugger beforehand not to let Andorra’s players intimidate or rough up his superstars. They were simply not good enough to get within hacking distance and it seemed a bit small minded of McClaren to try to seek an added advantage when the odds were already so overwhelmingly in his favour.

RTÉ Sport: Savage eyeing Wales comeback
rte.ie – Mar 9, 2006
That will not extend to settling his differences with Toshack, as Savage added: “While he is manager of the Wales team, I will never play for Wales again. “When Wales do not qualify (for Euro 2008) and John Toshack is not manager, the next manager will pick me if I’m still playing at the highest level. ”
Savage claims that Toshack’s assistant, the former Liverpool boss Roy Evans, would be in favour of his recall. However the rift with Toshack appears too great for there to be any way back under the present regime.

WPP lines up dream team for Sportfive
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 11, 2006
Hellman & Friedman is also understood to be leading the consortium, which is expected to submit a second-round bid by the end of this week. Sportfive was put up for sale by its owners – which include private equity firm Advent International, RTL and investment bank Goldman Sachs – earlier this year… It is understood its owners hope to recoup around €1bn (£670m) from the sale of the business, although some bankers believe Sportfive is likely to be sold for less. Sportfive’s main business is to manage, market and distribute the broadcasting rights to sporting events, such as Euro 2008, the Italian Serie A and the England football team’s home games. Earlier in the year, the Sportfive auction was believed to have hit a stumbling block after Noel Le Graet, vice-chairman of the French Football Federation, was reported to have said his federation would not renew the contract it has with Sportfive if it was acquired by a private equity house. He is reported to have said that he is keen to see the business acquired by a long-term shareholder. It is unclear why WPP’s associate company Mediapro has teamed with up with Hellman & Friedman to bid for Sportfive, although it is thought a joint bid may placate those who do not want to see the company sold to a private equity firm.

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Bolton Wanderers | Speed targeting…
BBC News – Mar 29, 2006
“It was a huge decision for me but I don’t regret it. I believe that the rest has helped prolong my Premiership career,” said the veteran midfielder… “Robbie’s a Premiership player with vast experience. I know he still wants to play for his country and Wales need all the players they can get.

FA play down Wembley scare
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 22, 2006
6 feet out of position because welders had failed to fix it properly to the beams that form part of the complex support structure for the 7,000-ton sliding roof. Despite the embarrassing error, the FA say it will not further derail the troubled redevelopment scheme. A spokesman said: “It has not really changed things from our perspective. The opening date for Wembley will be announced in due course. Multiplex, Wembley National Stadium Limited and the FA remain committed to delivering the stadium at the earliest possible date. “The 3,500 staff working around the clock to complete the project will return to work today… At the same time as they announced they were moving the FA Cup final back to Cardiff, England’s last two World Cup warm-ups against Hungary on May 30 and Jamaica on June 3 were also relocated to Old Trafford. The Football League play-off finals were moved back to Cardiff as well and there are serious questions over a series of rock concerts featuring Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams, Take That and the Rolling Stones between June and September. England’s Euro 2008 qualifying campaign is due to kick off against Andorra at Wembley on Sept 2. It also emerged yesterday that the FA have put Wembley forward to host the 2008 Champions League final. Wembley will face stiff competition from Germany’s Allianz Arena in Munich and the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, as well as Italy’s San Siro in Milan and Rome’s Olympic Stadium. As Wembley is so far behind schedule, any chances it has of winning the chance to stage European football’s showpiece event must be in doubt, especially as inspections will be carried out by a team from Uefa between April and June. But yesterday, that was the least of the FA’s worries.

Door not closed for Beckham, predicts Hoddle
Ireland Online – Mar 9, 2006
New England head coach Steve McClaren launched his competitive reign yesterday with a 5-0 victory over Andorra in a Euro 2008 qualifier having dispensed with the services of predecessor Sven-Goran Eriksson?s skipper. The 31-year-old Real Madrid star has vowed to force his way back into McClaren?s plans and the former Middlesbrough boss has insisted the door remains open. Hoddle believes Beckham could still have a role to play, if different to that in which he established himself on the world stage, and only if the going gets considerably more difficult. He told BBC Radio 5 Live?s Sportsweek programme: ?I think Steve is correct in saying that the door is not shut. ?If we had a really difficult group where I could see us getting on a sticky wicket, I think David would be brought back straight away, and rightly so… Hoddle said: ?We played Greece and they were the whipping boys; we played Turkey and they were the whipping boys. ?In the end, now look what has happened: Turkey have got to a semi-final of the World Cup, Greece have won the European Championships. ?I am not saying Andorra are going to go on and do that, but they will improve if they continue over the next 15 years to play the top teams. ?That is why world football has become so difficult and the margins are so slim against a lot of these teams. ?At the moment, we have to drag our heels along to go through what we had to go through yesterday. The top international teams are not going to gain much from it. ?The satisfaction at England?s performance has been tempered by the quality of the opposition, but Hoddle insisted they could have done little more.

BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Wales told to bid for Euro…
BBC News – Mar 14, 2006

Scotland and Ireland failed in a joint bid to host the 2008 European Championships, which were eventually awarded to Austria and Switzerland. Joint bids from two countries are becoming ever more popular and successful – there are two such bids in the shortlist for the 2012 European Championships. A Nordic bid from four countries failed to win the right to host Euro 2008, but Johansson said Uefa would not object in principle to a bid from three nations. “The Nordic countries tried with four, but that was too much. Next time they will have three,” Johansson told BBC Wales Sport.

After the ball was over
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 9, 2006
But don’t be fooled. A capacity crowd may have poured into Stuttgart’s Gottlieb-Daimler yesterday for the sellout Euro 2008 qualifier against Ireland, Germany’s first post-Jurgen Klinsmann competitive fixture, but two months after staging the biggest sporting jamboree on earth, the legacy left on the eastern side of the country by the revival of the national team can be summed up in one word: non-existent. When the new league season began two weeks ago, most Bundesliga crowds reflected the lingering sense of optimism sweeping through the country in the wake of the Klinsmann revolution. Not in the east, however. Leipzig’s Zentral stadium, a central focus during the World Cup and modernised at a cost of £60 million, is now playing host not to some high-profile, well supported club but to Sachsen Leipzig, a fourth division outfit who, for their first home games this season, attracted 3,500 and 2,700 fans respectively – a far cry from the 45,000 sellouts witnessed when the leading nations came to town. Time was, of course, when things were very different… A capacity crowd may have poured into Stuttgart’s Gottlieb-Daimler yesterday for the sellout Euro 2008 qualifier against Ireland, Germany’s first post-Jurgen Klinsmann competitive fixture, but two months after staging the biggest sporting jamboree on earth, the legacy left on the eastern side of the country by the revival of the national team can be summed up in one word: non-existent. When the new league season began two weeks ago, most Bundesliga crowds reflected the lingering sense of optimism sweeping through the country in the wake of the Klinsmann revolution. Not in the east, however. Leipzig’s Zentral stadium, a central focus during the World Cup and modernised at a cost of £60 million, is now playing host not to some high-profile, well supported club but to Sachsen Leipzig, a fourth division outfit who, for their first home games this season, attracted 3,500 and 2,700 fans respectively – a far cry from the 45,000 sellouts witnessed when the leading nations came to town. Time was, of course, when things were very different. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the likes of Lokomotiv Leipzig and Dynamo Dresden were established forces in European competitions, the latter reaching the final of the old Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1987. Lokomotiv still exist but these days are buried in obscurity in the German sixth division playing at a rundown stadium on the edge of the city, their once formidable reputation tarnished by years of neglect and underinvestment.

A week in football: James sketches out his future
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 9, 2006
Anelka scored two goals in 12 league games for Real and 10 in 34 for PSG, not exactly making him a bargain. Yet he’s still not officially football’s biggest waste of money, Juan Sebastian Veron, formerly of Manchester United and Chelsea, costing a record £77. 2 m for his five moves. After Anelka comes Hernan Crespo (£68. 87 m), Ronaldo (£65. 2 m) and Christian Vieri (£62… 2 m) and Christian Vieri (£62. Despite previous suggestions to the contrary, Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick is to chair a full debriefing of this summer’s World Cup when England return from Wednesday’s Euro 2008 qualifier in Macedonia. This will look into every aspect of World Cup planning, including whether it is wise to house a team halfway up a mountain, as they did in Germany, media preparation and medical requirements (including how to keep cool in extreme temperatures). And they will also address the thorniest question of all: what to do about the misbehaving Wags, the players’ wives and girlfriends?The FA mandarins clearly feel that the women are more trouble than they are worth, since housing them in a secure hotel took up valuable planning time and two officials were assigned to them all the time they were there. Given some of their loutish behaviour, the job could be delegated to a few nightclub bouncers next time. Roy Keane’s long-suffering dog Triggs must have been hoping to put his paws up for a bit now that his master is back in gainful employment.

The last word: Should Israel play on Shabbat?
Jerusalem Post – Mar 13, 2006
But the former Israel national soccer coach had harsh words for Israel Football Association chairman Iche Menahem last week after it emerged that the IFA had apparently made no effort to prevent the qualifying games for the Euro 2008 championships being played on Shabbat. Scharf, who coached the national side from 1992 to 2000, was flabbergasted when he heard that the much anticipated England vs Israel game at Wembley Stadium next September will be played on a Saturday – hours before sundown… But the former Israel national soccer coach had harsh words for Israel Football Association chairman Iche Menahem last week after it emerged that the IFA had apparently made no effort to prevent the qualifying games for the Euro 2008 championships being played on Shabbat. Scharf, who coached the national side from 1992 to 2000, was flabbergasted when he heard that the much anticipated England vs Israel game at Wembley Stadium next September will be played on a Saturday – hours before sundown.

Bellamy: I’m to blame
Ireland Online – Mar 9, 2006
Bellamy missed two golden opportunities in Teplice as Wales slipped to an agonising 2-1 defeat to get John Toshack?s new-look side off to a disappointing start to their campaign. With Germany and Slovakia also winning their opening matches, and the Czechs now putting their World Cup disaster behind them, if any two of those three win again on Wednesday ? when Wales will not be playing ? Toshack?s team will be six points adrift. Bellamy said: ?I suppose there is more pressure on me at this level, playing like I do for Wales… With Germany and Slovakia also winning their opening matches, and the Czechs now putting their World Cup disaster behind them, if any two of those three win again on Wednesday ? when Wales will not be playing ? Toshack?s team will be six points adrift. Bellamy said: ?I suppose there is more pressure on me at this level, playing like I do for Wales. There are not going to be as many chances as I get in club games so the pressure is on me more to put them away. ?Bellamy accepted responsibility for the missed chances, saying: ?It was another case of creating chances and not putting them away, and yes, that means me because of the two great opportunities we had. ?But that?s football, if you have ever played against (Czech goalkeeper) Petr Cech you will know he is the best in the world. ?I wasn?t creative enough with my first chance, I didn?t open myself up to be able to place the ball round him. ?He added: ?The boss had made us believe that this was a great opportunity to pick up an away win against one of the favourites.

Deflection denies unlucky Irish
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 9, 2006
It was tough luck on Ireland who had matched the home team in most aspects of a fascinating tie with Given making a string of saves before being beaten in such a cruel way. This was a professional, patient display which few Irish observers thought likely or possible. Germany had the lion’s share of chances but Given and his defenders stood firm with only a deflected shot separating the sides. To add to Staunton’s frustration the Ireland manager, who had been warned earlier by referee Luis Medina for speaking out of turn, was sent to the stand in the 75th minute for coming out of the technical area and making comments about what he felt was a foul on Kevin Doyle just outside the Germany penalty area. Staunton is Ireland’s most-capped international with 102 appearances but his managerial inexperience was exposed by his actions… Germany claimed a penalty in the 13th minute when the ball struck Stephen Carr’s hand but it did not seem deliberate and referee Medina was right not to point to the spot. Germany had a third good chance when Podolski shot just wide of Given’s left-hand upright. Ireland recovered and at the interval could reflect on their best 45 minutes since drawing 0-0 in France. Three minutes after the restart Podolski was allowed a free header at goal from Bastian Schweinsteiger’s corner which thankfully for Ireland was wide. Schweinsteiger was then cautioned for cynically tripping Damien Duff and Jens Lehmann could not hold Steven Reid’s fiercely struck free-kick and was grateful Marcell Jansen was first to the loose ball to concede a corner.

Rampant Scotland put minnows in their place
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 9, 2006
This is the fourth consecutive qualifying campaign to bring these countries together and although the Scots still have to travel to the clifftop eyrie of Toftir – where they were held to stumbling draws during the reigns of Craig Brown and Berti Vogts – they could scarcely have asked for a more emphatic start to their Euro 2008 campaign than was witnessed here yesterday. Allowing for the Faroe Islands’ lowly status in the rankings, it would be harsh to heap too much responsibility on Mikkelsen’s shoulders, especially since this represented the second game in a row that he and his colleagues have shipped half a dozen goals… This is the fourth consecutive qualifying campaign to bring these countries together and although the Scots still have to travel to the clifftop eyrie of Toftir – where they were held to stumbling draws during the reigns of Craig Brown and Berti Vogts – they could scarcely have asked for a more emphatic start to their Euro 2008 campaign than was witnessed here yesterday. Allowing for the Faroe Islands’ lowly status in the rankings, it would be harsh to heap too much responsibility on Mikkelsen’s shoulders, especially since this represented the second game in a row that he and his colleagues have shipped half a dozen goals. Still, he is not exactly inexperienced – this was his 44th international appearance – and his average concession prior to yesterday was almost exactly two goals a game.

Montenegro vote has Fifa in quandary
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 15, 2006
Fifa, the governing body of world football, insist that this summer’s World Cup will not be thrown into chaos if the people of Montenegro vote to secede from Serbia on May 21, a move that would eventually lead to Serbia and Montenegro, one of the 32 finalists, splitting as a football team. Sources at Fifa indicated yesterday that the Serbia and Montenegro FA would be recognised at the World Cup, because the process of secession, even if approved on May 21, will take a few months. Fifa stress that Serbia and Montenegro will be allowed to perform as a united team in Group C against Argentina, Holland and the Ivory Coast. The real ramifications of a ‘yes’ vote come next season with Serbia and Montenegro drawn in Group A of qualifying for Euro 2008.

Inside Football: West Ham fears hit Church
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 11, 2006
Alex Horne, the FA finance director who played a major role in brokering last month’s peace deal with Multiplex, was supposed to lodge the accounts for the financial year ending December 2005 on Monday. But they were held up, to include all the latest relevant financial information on Wembley. England facing tough Israel testEngland’s vital Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel looks set to go ahead in Tel Aviv despite ongoing worries over Middle East security. Football Association officials visited Israel’s commercial centre this week to carry out an inspection of hotels and the national stadium at Ramat Gan. It is understood the FA were satisfied with security arrangements and, unless there is new fighting between Israeli forces and Hizbollah in Lebanon, the game will go ahead as planned. That could be a blow to head coach Steve McClaren, who might privately have hoped the game would be moved to a neutral country, such as Ukraine or Turkey, where Israel’s home advantage would be seriously undermined. Instead, it appears he will have get England’s campaign back on track in front of Israel’s passionate crowd at a stadium where the national team have not lost a qualifier since 1999.

Round-up: Vieira moves to Inter
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 8, 2006
He made 31 league appearances for Juve last season and scored five goals, and was strongly linked with Manchester United but has instead opted to remain in Italy. John Toshack has recalled three players to the Wales squad to face Bulgaria in a friendly at Swansea on Aug 15. Toshak has been boosted by the return from injury of Mark Delaney, Sam Ricketts and Danny Coyne for the last game before the Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic on Sept 2. Delaney spent much of last season struggling with a knee problem, but has figured in Aston Villa’s pre-season matches. Burnley goalkeeper Coyne has missed 12 months with a serious cruciate knee injury, but has returned this summer and taken part in the Lancashire club’s recent trip to Italy. Ricketts, having just moved from Swansea to Hull, was believed to have broken his foot and faced a long spell on the sidelines. But the injury is not as bad as first feared, and the left-back could well be in the starting line-up against the Bulgarians… Burnley goalkeeper Coyne has missed 12 months with a serious cruciate knee injury, but has returned this summer and taken part in the Lancashire club’s recent trip to Italy. Ricketts, having just moved from Swansea to Hull, was believed to have broken his foot and faced a long spell on the sidelines. But the injury is not as bad as first feared, and the left-back could well be in the starting line-up against the Bulgarians. Goalkeeper Jason Brown, now with Blackburn, Derby youngster Lewin Nyatanga, Bristol City striker David Cotterill and Cardiff’s Joe Ledley have made the jump to the senior squad. Squad details: Jones (QPR), Coyne (Burnley), Brown (Blackburn); Collins (West Ham), Delaney (Aston Villa), Duffy (Portsmouth), Edwards (Wolves), Gabbidon (West Ham), Nyatanga (Derby), Partridge (Bristol City), Ricketts (Hull); Davies (Everton), Fletcher (Crystal Palace), Koumas (West Brom), Ledley (Cardiff), Robinson (Norwich), Vaughan (Crewe); Bellamy (Liverpool), Cotterill (Bristol City), Earnshaw (Norwich), Giggs (Manchester United). Information appearing on telegraph.

Weir: the early goal helped us
Telegraph.co.uk – Mar 9, 2006
The Everton defender said Darren Fletcher’s seventh-minute opener settled Scottish nerves and helped the home side produce a “relaxed” display in the opening Euro 2008 qualifying match. He said: “We got off to a good start with a couple of early goals. We hoped we could go on from there and we did. “You have to give the players a lot of credit, the strikers especially for taking their chances… “Kenny Miller is one who, again, will play on Wednesday. I thought we would save a bit of energy in him. “Smith said he understood why his side were not able to maintain the same pace after the break. “I was really pleased with the way we started and managed to get a couple of early goals which settled everyone down. “It was difficult to recreate that in the second half – I didn’t think there was an edge to our play. “But obviously I was pleased we got six by the end and win the game. “The Faroes will be difficult for a lot of countries to break down, especially in away matches.

Who is going to get Sven’s job?
BBC News – Mar 21, 2006
This is about pride as much as anything. Chris Atkins, England

I think we should appoint a professional manager who’s had a go at international level before. Whether this person is English or not shouldn’t matter too much because whoever takes the job will obviously already have a lot of passion towards the country. Jamie Klein, England

There’s a feeling in the game that foreign coaches are more technical and understand international football better. Appoint a man who knows English players and embraces Eniglishness within the squad. Big Sam is the man – faultlessly professional in approach but possessed of the classic bulldog spirit… The players on Chelsea have tremendous respect for him, and he’s a proven winner. Brent McDonald, USA

Looking from afar, I’d definitely see a partnership of Guus Hiddink with Stuart Pearce as assistant, both working full time, will work well for the result. We’re talking about winning Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 now. Yamin, Malaysia

The best solution to be England manager I think is Jose Mourinho or one Englishman – manager and player David Beckham. hysi, Kosovo

I think the manager should have experience at the highest level with good tactical knowledge. Hiddink or O’Neill would be my choices. Rob,
United Kingdom.

McManus agrees new Celtic deal
BBC News – Mar 10, 2006

McManus has made 31 appearances this season, scoring six goals. The defender barely featured under previous manager Martin O’Neill but has enjoyed a new lease of life since the arrival of Gordon Strachan. With Euro 2008 qualifiers looming, McManus also has dreams of playing on the international stage. But having only just become a first-team regular, he knows more hard work is needed to make that step up. “It’s every youngster’s ambition to play for their country and I am nodifferent,” he said. “But the most important thing is that you’re playing week-in, week-out foryour club. “It’s up to me to keep performing and then you never know what’s around thecorner… “Walter has got his own ideas of what he wants to do,” said Strachan. “I know he knows about Stephen and enjoys watching him but I will justlet Walter get on with that. “But anybody who wants to play football should want to play for Scotland. ”

Strachan says he was always confident McManus would stay with Celtic.

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