Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

November 12, 2006

Vanishing act leaves O’Connor out in cold

Filed under: EURO 2008 — Ivan @ 7:59 am

The News Review:

* Bellamy assault trial postponed
* Scotland fans ‘attacked by hooligans’ in Ukraine
* Staunton defiant in face of Ireland’s wrath | Republic Of Ireland…
* Vanishing act leaves O’Connor out in cold
* Guus yields to the grog
* McClaren not to blame for kitbag full of troubles
* RTÉ Sport: Richards is named in the England squad
* Venables upbeat as he emerges from the shadows
* Aragones stays as Spain coach
* Count on Neville for century, says Ferdinand
* Smith has Premiership ambitions
* National Coach: German Soccer on Threshold of new Golden Age
* Sanchez yearns for feel-good factor
* Reality check for Scots
* France hit five past Faroes

Bellamy assault trial postponed
Telegraph.co.uk – Nov 10, 2006
The request was made by prosecution solicitor Catrin Davies after medical evidence relating to one of the complainants in the case came to light last week. Liverpool striker Bellamy, who did not appear at court on Monday, is accused of assaulting two women during an incident at a Cardiff nightclub last February. Meanwhile, striker John Hartson will not be added to the Wales squad for the clash with Cyprus as the West Bromwich Albion player is still lacking match fitness. Wales manager John Toshack spoke to Hartson following Saturday’s 5-1 home defeat against Slovakia but the former West Ham United and Celtic centre-forward will not feature at the Millennium Stadium, having played just 45 minutes of football last month… The request was made by prosecution solicitor Catrin Davies after medical evidence relating to one of the complainants in the case came to light last week. Liverpool striker Bellamy, who did not appear at court on Monday, is accused of assaulting two women during an incident at a Cardiff nightclub last February. Meanwhile, striker John Hartson will not be added to the Wales squad for the clash with Cyprus as the West Bromwich Albion player is still lacking match fitness. Wales manager John Toshack spoke to Hartson following Saturday’s 5-1 home defeat against Slovakia but the former West Ham United and Celtic centre-forward will not feature at the Millennium Stadium, having played just 45 minutes of football last month. Toshack, who also said neither Gary Speed or Robbie Savage would be asked back, explained: “John Hartson is the only one who has rung me to say he wants to come out of retirement. There have been rumours about Gary Speed but I have not heard from him.

Scotland fans ‘attacked by hooligans’ in Ukraine
Ireland Online – Nov 10, 2006
Scotland currently sit at the top of their Euro 2008 qualifying group after beating France 1-0 in Glasgow at the weekend. Travelling fan Simon Johnston, a committee member of the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, was in Independence Square at the time of last night?s trouble. He said around 300 Scots were enjoying themselves in the square at about 9. 30pm local time when they were suddenly targeted by a similar number of chanting locals.

Staunton defiant in face of Ireland’s wrath | Republic Of Ireland…
Telegraph.co.uk – Nov 10, 2006
If the Republic of Ireland players felt humiliated, as they suggested during the retreat from Cyprus, it was nothing compared to the fury of a nation scorned. Bleary-eyed from a long, delayed flight from Larnaca that arrived in the early hours of yesterday morning, the Republic manager awoke to headlines that, even if he put his hands over his eyes, still screamed: “Night of Shame”, “Time to put Stan out of our misery”, “Rabble without a cause shame a proud nation”, and “Stevie Blunder leads Ireland down a blind alley”… When it was suggested that the Irish public were giving up on the manager, he said defiantly: “I certainly haven’t given up. ” To another question, the man known universally as Stan said: “I’ll take it on the chin”, before adding optimistically: “I know in the long run everything will be OK. “Ireland’s problems on Saturday centred on a defence who simply could not defend. Two of those responsible, in part, for the debacle helped to draw the wagons around the manager. “Stan’s not on the pitch, is he?” John O’Shea, the fill-in left-back, questioned. “He isn’t creating the problems that are out on the pitch. “Stan’s trying to do the right things.

Vanishing act leaves O’Connor out in cold
Telegraph.co.uk – Nov 10, 2006
O’Connor’s 18-minute appearance the previous afternoon – he replaced James McFadden in the closing stages at Hampden Park – will now be the last of his international career, unless he can cite exceptional circumstances for his vanishing act. The Lokomotiv Moscow player, 23, was conspicuously absent when the squad reassembled at Hampden on Sunday evening and when the Scots flew out to Kiev for tomorrow’s Euro 2008 qualifier with the Ukraine. O’Connor said in a statement: “I apologise to the SFA, Walter Smith and his staff. At the earliest opportunity, I hope to meet Walter Smith, face-to-face, to explain my reasons. “The statement refused to reveal the cause of O’Connor’s failure to show up… The manager can, however, look forward to fielding a reinforced attack, despite O’Connor’s decision to take French leave. Kenny Miller, who was forced to sit out Saturday’s match because he was suspended, is available again. “It was hard not to be playing but I still felt part of it all because there is such a great spirit among the lads,” he said. “After the game the dressing room was really buzzing but although we got a massive result, it’s only one step along the road. We do feel we can win in Kiev but it will take another huge amount of work to do so.

Guus yields to the grog
NEWS.com.au – Nov 10, 2006
article-tools –> November 10, 2006 11:00pm FORMER Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink says if his new team Russia qualifies for the Euro 2008 finals, he will break the habit of a lifetime and down a shot of vodka. "As you know I’m not a drinker, I don’t like to drink, but I’m very aware of this very Russian tradition," the Dutchman said yesterday at the national team’s training centre ahead of next week’s Euro 2008 qualifier against Macedonia. Russia, however, has made a slow start to its qualifying campaign. It is in fifth place in Group E behind England, Israel, Croatia and Macedonia after being held to draws by Croatia and Israel in its first two home games. Despite his sober habits, the Dutchman said he felt at home in Russia. "I feel very welcomed, very much at home here," said Hiddink, who was inundated with gifts when he celebrated his 60th birthday on Wednesday.

McClaren not to blame for kitbag full of troubles
Telegraph.co.uk – Nov 10, 2006
If only Beswick really could lend a healing hand as McClaren struggles to build a new England. Beswick can fix the occasional short-circuit in a player’s mental software, but not deal with a system overload that hampers McClaren. Many of the troubles in that old kitbag are not of the head coach’s making; McClaren, Beswick and the rest of England’s likeable but limited management team are carrying the baggage of long-established flaws in English football. The finger of suspicion can hardly be pointed at McClaren if English football boasts few players who can kick the ball with their left foot. McClaren cannot be held accountable for the sad reality that most English footballers learn a game from the playground onwards that celebrates haste… The Yorkshireman was few people’s idea of the right man for the job, his average record at Middlesbrough and association with the limp last days of Sven-Goran Eriksson counting against him. He was far from this observer’s preferred choice for the hottest of hot-seats, and Martin O’Neill’s immense impact on Aston Villa is worth nothing, yet McClaren deserves some slack. His future should be properly debated only when England’s fate at Euro 2008 is decided. Until then, McClaren must be strong, and be himself. An engaging character in private, he must allow his true character to shine through. McClaren will still need any residual goodwill during the nervous days ahead. If England survive an ambush plotted by Slaven Bilic, next month’s friendly against the technicians of Holland in Amsterdam hardly offers much respite.

RTÉ Sport: Richards is named in the England squad
rte.ie – Nov 10, 2006
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson reported last week his captain was being troubled by a long-standing calf problem, although the injury did not stop Neville producing a superb performance against Portsmouth last week. Neville is on the brink of entering the record books himself as he is now just two caps behind Kenny Sansom, who heads the all-time list for England full-backs. Even if Neville does not make it, McClaren has plenty of options for the right-back role, including the United man’s brother Phil, Wes Brown and Jamie Carragher. In selecting so many players, the England coach has provided a significant show of faith in the men who crumbled to defeat against Croatia immediately after a tame home draw with Macedonia, results which have placed a huge question mark over their Euro 2008 qualification hopes. Of McClaren’s entire squad for last month’s double-header, only Kieran Richardson has lost his place, although notable additions have been made in the form of Joe Cole, Aaron Lennon and Andrew Johnson, who have all returned from injury. The inclusions of Cole and Lennon are particularly significant given the lack of invention shown by England in their last two matches. Both could start, allowing Steven Gerrard – suspended for the Croatia game – to move back into his favoured central midfield berth and have another go at trying to strike up an effective partnership with Frank Lampard… Neville is on the brink of entering the record books himself as he is now just two caps behind Kenny Sansom, who heads the all-time list for England full-backs. Even if Neville does not make it, McClaren has plenty of options for the right-back role, including the United man’s brother Phil, Wes Brown and Jamie Carragher. In selecting so many players, the England coach has provided a significant show of faith in the men who crumbled to defeat against Croatia immediately after a tame home draw with Macedonia, results which have placed a huge question mark over their Euro 2008 qualification hopes. Of McClaren’s entire squad for last month’s double-header, only Kieran Richardson has lost his place, although notable additions have been made in the form of Joe Cole, Aaron Lennon and Andrew Johnson, who have all returned from injury. The inclusions of Cole and Lennon are particularly significant given the lack of invention shown by England in their last two matches. Both could start, allowing Steven Gerrard – suspended for the Croatia game – to move back into his favoured central midfield berth and have another go at trying to strike up an effective partnership with Frank Lampard. Having failed to beat The Netherlands in the Dutch capital since 1969, Wednesday’s trip would have represented a significant test anyway without the backdrop of last month’s debacle.

Venables upbeat as he emerges from the shadows
Telegraph.co.uk – Nov 10, 2006
But Venables’ growing influence over national team affairs is beginning to show. McClaren and Venables worked hard on the formation, one favoured by the former Tottenham manager when he coached England 10 years ago, in training last week. In the end it wasn’t used during the… And last night Venables warned England’s players that they must put Saturday’s woeful display behind them and learn quickly from the mistakes made at Old Trafford. “It is a very big game and a big challenge,” said Venables. “We know they have not lost a home qualifier and that record speaks for itself. “We have had a setback and now there is only one way to look and that is forward. We’ve got to take up the challenge and look forward to it. It will be interesting for us to see where we stand after Wednesday’s game. That will be our fourth game in the group and our last qualifier of the year.

Aragones stays as Spain coach
Telegraph.co.uk – Nov 10, 2006
“Win or lose against Argentina, I’m going to carry on,” the 68-year-old said yesterday. “I tend to react well in adverse situations and what has happened to me has happened to other coaches. “Spain have suffered two consecutive defeats in Group F qualification for Euro 2008,. The defeats, which have left Spain fifth in Group F with only three points from three games, have resulted in calls for Aragones to resign or for the federation to sack him… “We have still got nine games to play and we all know perfectly well what is happening in football: France lost to Scotland, Cyprus thrashed Ireland and Italy drew with Lithuania. “RFEF president Angel Maria Villar gave his full backing to Aragones. “Some people believe he should leave the job, but that is not the case with myself or the federation,” Villar said in the sports daily Marca yesterday. “Whatever happens against Argentina, Aragones will remain as Spain coach. The only reason that he will not continue in the job is if the team does not qualify for the European Championship. “But I’m sure we are going to qualify because there are lots of games left. “Aragones is expected to make several changes to the side who lost in Sweden, with keeper Jose Reina replacing Iker Casillas and left back Antonio Lopez and midfielders Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta included in the starting line-up.

Count on Neville for century, says Ferdinand
Telegraph.co.uk – Nov 10, 2006
Neville missed possibly the best opportunity of the match in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Macedonia at Old Trafford, blazing over the crossbar with the goalkeeper grounded, but Ferdinand believes that his all-round contribution in an England shirt remains as great as ever. “Gary is a great player for England,” said Ferdinand. “I believe he can get 100 caps. He’s always got something to say and if he’s got a problem with something he will always speak up… In fact I would say there is no-one better in that position at the moment. ” Ferdinand, who missed Saturday’s game with a back injury, is hopeful of recovering in time to play on Wednesday. Whether he makes it or not, he is looking forward to coming up against Croatian coach Slaven Bilic, once a team-mate of his at West Ham. He said: “Slaven is a really nice guy. I learned a lot from him at West Ham. And he was a fantastic footballer. “I’ve always had a good conversation with him when we have met.

Smith has Premiership ambitions
BBC News – Nov 11, 2006
“To return to club football it would need to be the right job and I would need to be able to do what I wanted to do,” he told The Herald. “Everybody is competitive and I suppose I feel I would like to redress the situation there again. ”

Smith believes he was not as successful as he wanted to be while at the Merseyside club but feels many of the decisions that were made were not always his. “When I left Everton, I considered myself a failure. Then I looked at the situation and, in three-and-a-half years, I endured two financial crises and 86 transfers, some of which I was against,” he said. “We still managed to stay in the Premiership when more stable clubs went down. I’m biased, but that was an achievement… “I did leave a club financially sound and even recommended David for the job. He’s done a better job than I did. The 58-year-old has presided over the recovery of the Scottish national side as they top their Euro 2008 qualifying group, ahead of France and world champions Italy. But his contract expires at the end of the campaign. “I am comfortable with the current situation,” he said. “The contract ending is not something that is a problem to me or the SFA at present. ”

Scotland supporters have been keen to see that contract extended and Smith describes that as ‘pleasing’.

National Coach: German Soccer on Threshold of new Golden Age
Deutsche Welle – Nov 12, 2006
“These players have progressed considerably during the year — they have matured physically, tactically and technically, but they have still not achieved their true potential and development. ”

“I believe that with them, and all the young players who can enter into our philosophy of play, we have some of our best years ahead of us,” Löw said. “We have the ability in the team now to play at a high level for a number of years to come. ”

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff added that a good showing in front of the home crowd during the World Cup proved to Germans that they could be proud of their team. “2006 allowed Germany to rediscover their national team — the Nationalmannschaft is once again the cherished child of Germany,” Bierhoff said… “Qualification for EURO 2008 is the most important goal for 2007,” Löw said. “We want to make the deciding step as soon as possible. ”

Löw pointed out that Germany won 14 of 18 matches in 2006 and achieved their best start to a qualifying campaign for an international tournament by winning their first three matches, including a 13-0 victory against San Marino, its highest-scoring win in a match outside of Germany. New players get chance to make a mark

As Germany’s chances for qualification improve, Löw said he wanted to continue integrating new players into the national team, adding that he was keeping an eye on between 12 and 15 potential new stars. “We’ve taken a very close look at the perspective players,” said Löw, mentioning Mario Gomez, Stefan Kiessling and Gonzalo Castro.

Sanchez yearns for feel-good factor
Ireland Online – Nov 10, 2006
A victory against Latvia tonight at Windsor Park in a Euro 2008 qualifier would give the province a healthy seven points from four matches. While qualification for the finals would remain an outside bet, at least the team would go forward with confidence when they regroup next March against Liechtenstein. Northern Ireland boss Sanchez said: ?While it is what you do over 12 games that counts, we would be in a great position going into the Christmas break if we beat Latvia. ?We started poorly and have recovered quite well. ?The game against Latvia will determine how much of a chance we have got of qualifying… ?The fans are the people we play for and they are the ones we have to satisfy. ?You cannot rest on your laurels ? we need to feed their expectation. That is not a worry for me or my team. ?But we do know we have to be more consistent against the teams of our stature if we are to continue our progress.

Reality check for Scots
Ireland Online – Nov 10, 2006
Pictured: Ukranian scorer Ukraine 2 Scotland 0
Scotland suffered their first defeat of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 reverse in Ukraine tonight. Chelsea forward Andriy Shevchenko converted from the penalty spot late on, after Olexander Kucher had given the home side the lead. In a further blow for the Scots, a red card for Steven Pressley rules him out of the next match against Georgia, along with James McFadden and Darren Fletcher who both picked up their second bookings of the campaign… Graham Alexander took the free-kick and set up Barry Ferguson for the shot but he screwed his effort wide. Gordon then had to pull of a decent save to block Andriy Voronin?s effort at the near post after he had taken advantage of a mistake by Pressley. Ukraine were unfortunate not to take the lead just two minutes after the restart. Shevchenko squeezed the ball under the body of Gordon, which looked like trickling over the line but hit the post instead. The danger was cleared as the Scots breathed a sigh of relief. Scotland were under pressure again when Hartley hauled down Andriy Nesmachniy 20 yards out but Ukraine failed to capitalise on the free-kick when Kalinichenko blasted well over. Nesmachniy then tried his luck with a thunderous, speculative strike, which cannoned off Gary Caldwell and over the crossbar.

France hit five past Faroes
Ireland Online – Nov 10, 2006
Substitute David Trezeguet scored twice to add to efforts from Barclays Premiership-based trio Louis Saha, Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka, who also came off the bench. FYR Macedonia followed up their weekend embarrassment of England with a 3-0 victory away to 10-man Andorra In good heart following Saturday?s unexpected 0-0 Group E draw at Old Trafford, Macedonia were soon in charge against the minnows thanks to first-half goals from Goran Pandev, Nikolce Noveski and Ilco Naumoski. The Andorrans, minus Toni Sivera who was sent off for violent conduct in the 25th minute, have conceded 19 goals in just four qualifying matches so far… Poland grabbed a surprise victory over Portugal in Chorzow to leapfrog their opponents into third place in Group A. The hosts fully deserved their victory, thanks to two goals from striker Ebi Smolarek inside the opening 20 minutes. A late Nuno Gomes consolation was not enough to prevent Portugal?s first defeat of the qualifying campaign. In the same group, Moussa Dembele scored and was then sent off as 10-man Belgium eased to a 3-0 win against Azerbaijan in Brussels. Timmy Simons opened the scoring from the spot in the first half, before Kevin Vandenbergh made it two a minute after the restart. Dembele bagged a third with eight minutes remaining but took the gloss off Belgium?s second win of the campaign when he was dismissed for violent conduct.

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