Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

February 10, 2007

Serie A returns but behind closed doors

Filed under: EURO 2008 — Ivan @ 5:16 am

The News Review:

* The Punter: It’s no laughing matter as Stan takes no laurels
* Serie A returns but behind closed doors
* Saturday’s gossip column
* Sporting Life – Football | Arsenal v Wigan live, Bolton v Fulham…
* Local & National ‘Croker’ ready to write new chapter in…
* Sporting Life – Football | Arsenal v Wigan live, Bolton v Fulham…
* TOUGH TEST FOR SAMP : Sporting Life – Football | Italy Serie A News,…
* Sporting Life – Football | Arsenal v Wigan live, Bolton v Fulham…

The Punter: It’s no laughing matter as Stan takes no laurels
Belfast Telegraph – Feb 10, 2007
William Hill Odds: Steve Staunton to be in charge for the final Euro 2008 Qualifier against Wales; (17th November 2007): Yes 5-6; No 5-6. Who will leave their position first: 1-2 Steve Staunton; 6-4 John Delaney. Republic of Ireland to qualify for Euro 2008: Yes 10-1; No: 1-33. McClaren in the pits as England hit skids Steve Staunton is not the only manager under the spotlight. England’s Steve McClaren is feeling the cold air of criticism following England’s friendly defeat by Spain. Just seven matches into his job as England manager and no wins in four, layers have opened a market on who will replace him.

The national governing body have also refused to put a timescale on the announcement of their new head coach. Alex McLeish is hotly tipped to fill the vacancy, after two successful interviews with the Hampden hierarchy. But the Tartan Army will have to wait a while longer for confirmation of the identity of the man who will inherit a side top of their Euro 2008 qualifying group. SFA chief executive David Taylor’s trip to Germany for the UEFA presidential elections was put on hold to have further talks with McLeish yesterday, according to reports. And, after two interviews, McLeish remains the favoured candidate, ahead of former Scotland captain Gary McAllister. The former Motherwell, Hibernian and Rangers manager was initially keen on a return to club management, preferably south of the border.

Fernando Morientes also started up front in his first appearance since March as Aragones shuffled his pack for the clash. Spain had the better of a goalless first half with Silva (twice) and Morientes both drawing saves out of Romania goalkeeper Danut Coman. The visitors, who are unbeaten in their three Euro 2008 qualifying matches, created their best chance of the half just before the break when Marica was put clean through on goal. But his first touch was heavy and by the time he managed to get a shot away Iker Casillas had raced from goal and was able to make the block. Aragones made a couple of changes to his side at the break, and with Spain looking less threatening than in the first half, Romania were able to take the lead through Marica’s third international goal. The young striker made good progress to the edge of the Spain penalty area before driving a low right-footed shot through the legs of the covering Lopez and across Casillas into the far corner.

Serie A returns but behind closed doors – Feb 10, 2007
The on-going problems in Italy are impacting outside the country: both Celtic and Scotland are waiting to hear where they will play matches next month. Celtic’s Champions League away leg against Milan on March 7 could be played without spectators in the San Siro, or be moved to a neutral venue like Geneva. Scotland, meanwhile, wait to learn whether the Euro 2008 qualifier on March 28 will be moved from Bari, one of 25 grounds considered “inadequate” in terms of safety. Steve Staunton, the Republic of Ireland manager, has been given the dreaded vote of confidence following the dismal midweek 2-1 Euro 2008 qualifying victory over San Marino.

Saturday’s gossip column
BBC News – Feb 10, 2007
Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd gave cake to journalists at Friday’s press briefing and apologised for being “obnoxious” following his side’s defeat to Bolton last Saturday. (Daily Mail)

FA sources are claiming that the press pack misheard Steve McClaren following England’s dismal defeat to Spain. His description of the Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel as a “rainbow game” prompted several newspapers to mock up pictures of McClaren as Bungle from 80s TV show Rainbow. The FA says McClaren actually called it a “real ball game”. (Daily Mirror)

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan chased a gang of neds at the cinema for shouting abuse at his wife. Strachan compared the incident to a scene from “Chewin’ the Fat.

“I think only now, the Rangers fans and the Scottish media recognise what a really good job he did. “He did a fantastic job at Rangers because he had even less resources than Paul Le Guen, but he still kept them at a very, very good level so he is without question in my mind the ideal choice for the job. The first task facing Smith’s successor will be the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Georgia and Italy in March. Ferguson added: “Alex is an intelligent lad and he’ll look to add to what Walter has done. “Rather than be disillusioned that Walter has left I think that we (Scots) should be happy that a younger man with the credentials of Alex McLeish, who is Scottish, can do the job.

Sporting Life – Football | Arsenal v Wigan live, Bolton v Fulham… – Feb 10, 2007
usRomania maintained their unbeaten start to the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a hard-fought win over Belarus in Group G on Saturday. Adrian Mutu and Ciprian Marica’s early goals, coupled with a late strike from Dorin Goian, proved the difference at the Lia Manoilu Stadium. Mutu and Marica struck a quickfire double in the opening 10 minutes but were quickly pegged back by the visitors as Sergey Kornilenko found the net. Belarus pushed to level the scores but Goian sealed the win to ensure Romania continued their strong start to the campaign.

Local & National ‘Croker’ ready to write new chapter in…
Belfast Telegraph – Feb 10, 2007
However, a motion to temporarily relax the rule was passed in 2005 by the GAA. This allowed the ground to be rented or leased for events other than those controlled by the association while Lansdowne Road – the usual venue for rugby and football – is redeveloped. Two Six Nations games and four Euro 2008 football qualifiers will be played at Croke Park this year. Former Ireland rugby international turned peace campaigner Trevor Ringland last night hailed the match as "an important landmark in the road to a shared future for the island". Mr Ringland, chairman of the One Small Step campaign, spoke of his hopes as Ireland gear up for the French. "This match and the one next week against England are very important steps as they reflect the true nature of sport and demonstrate that if people in our society are prepared to move on from the past and to work together for each other’s mutual benefit then we can achieve very positive things" Mr Ringland said.

Winger Aiden McGeady is the latest casualty after going over on his ankle during training at Lansdowne Road, Staunton describing the incident as “a freak accident. “McGeady was taken to hospital for an x-ray and Staunton admitted the young Celtic star was “very doubtful” for Wednesday’s Euro 2008 qualifier with the Czech Republic. Staunton also confirmed Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland (both hamstring) had returned to their clubs along with Reading striker Kevin Doyle (ankle). Portsmouth centre-back Andy O’Brien has remained with the squad but will not play due to a sore and swollen ankle. With Richard Dunne suspended, Staunton is without three of the back five from Saturday’s humiliating 5-2 defeat to Cyprus in Nicosia on Saturday.

The former Middlesbrough boss has only been in charge for five games since replacing Sven-Goran Eriksson after the World Cup, yet already some critics claim he is not up to the job. After starting his tenure with three successive wins, McClaren’s honeymoon period came to an abrupt halt last month when a disappointing home draw with Macedonia was followed by a defeat to Croatia when the result was overshadowed by an abject performance. The twin setback has placed a major question mark over England’s chances of reaching Euro 2008 and with all four major Group E rivals in action this week, McClaren knows his side are likely to enter the new year outside the qualifying places. But, looking ahead to Wednesday’s friendly with Holland in Amsterdam, McClaren is adamant he has no doubts his appointment will prove to be a success. “I don’t feel under pressure at all,” he said. “I know what I am doing, I know where I am going.

The Real Madrid midfielder has not been included by McClaren since he took over from Sven-Goran Eriksson after the World Cup. However, in the wake of the goalless draw against Macedonia at Old Trafford and the midweek humiliation in Croatia, there have been calls for the 31-year-old to be restored. Wenger can understand why McClaren decided to forge ahead without him but notes how his home country France reached the World Cup final after recalling some senior players for the qualifiers.

usNew Scotland manager Alex McLeish is under no pressure to qualify for Euro 2008, according to Scottish Football Association chief executive David Taylor. McLeish, 48, was unveiled as the successor to Walter Smith at Hampden Park on Monday. Among his first tasks will be preparing for the March double-header against Georgia at home and Italy away, two games which will go a long way to determining the Scots’ Euro fate. Scotland currently top Group B with nine points from four games but Taylor has attempted to take the pressure off McLeish.

Sunday Herald – Feb 10, 2007
But a goalless draw at home against mediocre Hapoel Kfar-Saba, when he was without his two leading players, Yossi Abuaksis and Elyaniv Barda, was considered reason enough for Schum to be fired. In an interview on Thursday, Schum claimed that: “The bosses of Hapoel feared that I’d win a few more league games, and get through against Rangers in the Uefa Cup, thus creating vast public support which would force them to continue hiring me. ”
Schum’s replacement as manager, Nir Levin, has been signed on for a period of only four months so as to leave the door open for the assistant manager of the Israeli national team, Moshe Sinai, in case the team fails in its Euro 2008 campaign. Sinai was a Hapoel player in the 1980s, winning three titles, but his tenure as manager over five seasons in the 1990s was a failure, and he hasn’t had much success in subsequent posts. Yet he’s a remarkable politician. And, surprise surprise, his very good friends are the aforementioned Harel and Hershkovitz.

usPortugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has admitted he would relish managing Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, should his native country win the right to host the event. Brazil are firm favourites to be awarded football’s showpiece event in eight years time, as Colombia is the only other country to have submitted a bid. On Tuesday, Scolari announced his intention to quit as Portugal manager after Euro 2008 and he has followed that up by telling the Lance! newspaper: “I lived that (coaching a home nation) in the Euro 2004 tournament played in Portugal. “All coaches in this situation would like to coach his national team in that moment. I don’t know if it would be me, as I don’t have any long-term projects as yet, but we will see. Scolari, 58, also claimed that he had been offered the Brazil job by Brazilian Football Confederation president Ricardo Teixeira before Dunga was appointed earlier this year.

Sporting Life – Football | Arsenal v Wigan live, Bolton v Fulham… – Feb 10, 2007
usDefending champions Greece maintained a perfect start to their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a rampant victory over 10-man Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zenica. Goals from Angelos Charisteas, Christos Patsatzoglou, Georgios Samaras and Kostas Katsouranis secured maximum points for Otto Rehaggel’s side for their third Group C match in succession following previous 1-0 wins over Moldova and Norway. It was a miserable evening for Rehaggel’s opposite number Blaz Sliskovic, whose side were reduced to 10 men just after half-time when Sasa Papac was dismissed for manhandling Stelios Giannakopoulos in the country’s 100th international since gaining independence. Greece, who are yet to concede a goal, are second in the group behind leaders Turkey with both teams set to face each other in a mouth-watering clash in Athens in March next year.

Makelele wants to retire from international football again having returned for the World Cup qualifiers and finals, culminating in a penalty shoot-out defeat by Italy in the final. But the French federation have told Chelsea the veteran midfielder will be suspended from club matches if he misses his country’s forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers. Following his side’s 2-0 win at Blackburn, Mourinho told Sky Sports 1: “Makelele is not a football player – Makelele is a slave. “He’s played the biggest game you can, the World Cup final, and now he wants to retire but the coach (Raymond Domenech) told us if he is not playing for France, he is not playing for Chelsea. “We know the rules.

TOUGH TEST FOR SAMP : Sporting Life – Football | Italy Serie A News,… – Feb 10, 2007
“Personally, I have benefited by getting back that which I was lacking by training in the gym,” he added. Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo has also probably lost a little in the fitness department over the last few weeks and will be given an overdue break by coach Carlo Ancelotti on Saturday. The 27-year-old this week complained of playing too much football with Milan’s Serie A and Champions League commitments and Italy’s Euro 2008 qualifiers. He may not be the only player Ancelotti leaves out on Saturday after assessing the condition of players returning from international duty. That practically means his entire squad, while those who have been training in Milan during the last 10 days, such as Christian Brocchi and Paolo Maldini, are primed for a place in the starting XI. Ancelotti has a doubt over Alberto Gilardino, who has a back problem.

If that is the case, it will be great for us. Gerrard enjoyed playing in a more central role with Joe Cole also looking impressive on the right in a 4-3-3 formation. But he knows England have to reproduce the same sort of form when they resume their campaign to qualify for Euro 2008 against Israel in March. He said: “I always enjoy it there in the middle. That’s where I feel I can get the best out of myself. “The formation worked and the positive thing is we know we can use another formation now with 4-3-3 as well as 4-4-2.

usBy Paul Walker, PA SportWrexham midfielder Chris Llewellyn has become the latest addition to Wales’ squad for their Euro 2008 double header. The 27-year-old will join up with Wales tomorrow, after being called up tonight by boss John Toshack as the Welsh injury crisis worsened. Llewellyn last played for his country two years ago under Mark Hughes, but his form with the Racecourse club was checked by assistant boss Roy Evans last week as Wales prepared themselves for what has been an expected lengthy injury list. Wales, who had faint hopes that captain Ryan Giggs might make the second of the two home internationals next Wednesday in Cardiff against Cyprus, this afternoon discovered that would not be the case as Manchester United formally withdrew the 32 year-old from the party.

Sporting Life – Football | Arsenal v Wigan live, Bolton v Fulham… – Feb 10, 2007
usSerbia remain at the summit of Euro 2008 qualifying Group A after a comfortable victory over 10-man Armenia in Belgrade. Despite a first-half penalty miss by Marko Pantelic, the home side rallied in the second period and another spot-kick, this time converted by Dejan Stankovic, and headers from Danko Lazovic and Nikola Zigic wrapped up all three points. Armenia defender Rafael Nazaryan was later sent off for the visitors after two bookable offences. The victory preserves Serbia’s 100% home record since becoming an independent nation.

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