Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

February 16, 2007

NOVEMBER 2006 – A MONTH IN REVIEW: Sporting Life | Football Scores,…

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The News Review:

* Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v…
* NOVEMBER 2006 – A MONTH IN REVIEW: Sporting Life | Football Scores,…
* Celtic cleared to play in San Siro
* OLD FIRM HAVE WHAT IT TAKES IN EUROPE: Sporting Life | Football…
* McLEISH CAN MAKE THE RIGHT IMPACT: Sporting Life | Football Scores,…
* Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v…
* Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v…
* Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v…
* Friday’s gossip column
* Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v…
* Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Football Scores,…

The veteran shot-stopper, fresh from his first-ever tournament as Germany’s number one at the World Cup, has set his sights on glory in Austria and Switzerland, and then bringing the curtain down on his career. “At the age of 36, I have the European Championships ahead of me in two years and that is what I am working up to,” he told Kicker magazine. “Afterwards I think that will be it, both with the national team and as a professional footballer. “Lehmann still has a year to run on his contract with the Gunners, but has hinted this could be his last season in London.

usBy Lisa Gray, PA SportScotland’s Euro 2008 qualifying campaign will kick off at Celtic Park – because Robbie Williams will be playing at Hampden Park on the same day. Walter Smith’s men will take on the Faroe Islands in their opening game on Saturday, September 2. But two sell-out shows at the national stadium that weekend meant they were forced to look for an alternative venue to host the crucial match. The Scots face a nightmare qualifying group, which also includes France, Italy and the Ukraine, and they know a winning start to the campaign is vital.

Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v… – Feb 16, 2007
“Even if we do win, nobody will give us the World Cup. “Those sentiments are echoed by Italy skipper Fabio Cannavaro, who is not reading much into Saturday’s disappointment in his home city of Naples. “I want to win Euro 2008 and winning against France is essential,” he told L’Equipe. “I am certain we can play to win in Paris, even if we aren’t yet at the peak of our form. “We dictated the game (against Lithuania) and deserved to win. “And far from being a revenge mission on Wednesday, Cannavaro believes the France v Italy re-match has already taken place.

NOVEMBER 2006 – A MONTH IN REVIEW: Sporting Life | Football Scores,… – Feb 16, 2007
England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was ruled out for at least a month after suffering kidney damage in Newcastle Falcons’ 26-21 win over Bristol on Friday, his comeback from a previous injury. 9th The Football Association were fined ?4,222 by UEFA for the improper conduct of England fans before the Euro 2008 qualifying match against Croatia in Zagreb. The Croatian FA were fined ?21,113 for a number of rule breaches.

Celtic cleared to play in San Siro – Feb 16, 2007
It also appears that Scotland will be able to fulfil their Euro 2008 qualifier against Italy in Bari on March 28. It had been feared that, following a security crackdown in the aftermath of the murder of a policeman during a football riot in Sicily, both games would have to be moved because of safety concerns. AC Milan subsequently advised Uefa that they would rather play the return against Celtic abroad – the Stade de France in Paris being the likely venue – rather than behind closed doors at home. However, after talks with the Italian government on Tuesday, Milan officials confirmed to Celtic that the tie would go ahead in the San Siro, but with a reduced capacity of 40,000.

That’s me; that’s the players; that’s everybody involved with England. “That’s what we’re determined to do. We see it as a big year, and I do see it as a big year because we start with a friendly against Spain and – we hope – finish it with qualification for the Euro 2008 finals. “There are going to be many twists and turns along the way – but that’s all we’re concentrating on. We’re not concentrating on me personally and whether it’s a make-or-break year for me.

OLD FIRM HAVE WHAT IT TAKES IN EUROPE: Sporting Life | Football… – Feb 16, 2007
It is not unreasonable to expect both sides of the Old Firm to be competing at this stage every season, even though Strachan and Smith are not able to sign players for the likes of ?6million anymore. For what it’s worth, I expect both clubs to negotiate their way past Milan and Hapoel before going out. That, coupled with at least three points from Scotland’s Euro 2008 double-header with Georgia and Italy, would make February and March excellent months for Scottish football.

McLEISH CAN MAKE THE RIGHT IMPACT: Sporting Life | Football Scores,… – Feb 16, 2007
McLeish has managed at the top level, coping admirably with the pressure-cooker environment of the Old Firm during a period of financial cutbacks. He managed to win seven trophies in his four-and-a-half year spell at Ibrox and won two of three titles when in direct competition Martin O’Neill at Celtic, despite having to sell a number of his best players. Scotland have enjoyed an outstanding start to their Euro 2008 campaign and sit top of a group including World Cup finalists France and Italy, as well as quarter-finalists Ukraine. Walter Smith increased expectations in his relatively short spell in charge, somehow managing to resurrect pride in the national side after the disastrous reign of Berti Vogts. Most fans do not expect McLeish to achieve qualification from the toughest of sections – to finish third would be an excellent achievement – but just to finish as high as possible and continue the good work of Smith. However, McLeish has one major attribute in his locker – he has proven himself to be a superb ‘impact manager’.

Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v… – Feb 16, 2007
Galis is preparing his side for Tuesday’s friendly with Malta, their only warm-up game before their opening Euro 2008 qualifier against Cyprus. Slovakia came within a play-off of reaching their first World Cup since claiming independence from the Czech Republic but went down 6-2 over two legs to Spain last November. But Galis is determined to go one better this time in a group that also includes Germany, the Republic of Ireland, Wales, San Marino and coincidentally the Czechs. “This will be the last game before the beginning of qualification for the European Championship and we want to tune-up positively,” he told profutbal.

“I am a completely different man to when I first won this award in 2001. I have grown up, although I probably still look like a child because of my baby face. Elsewhere in a busy night of internationals across the globe, Croatia, who currently lead their Euro 2008 qualification group, face Norway and Dror Kashtan’s Israel side meet Ukraine at the Ramat Gan Stadium. Turkey, another side with high hopes of reaching Switzerland and Austria, travel to Georgia to do battle, while group F table-toppers Sweden go head-to-head with Egypt in Cairo. Eastern European rivals Poland and Slovakia travel to the warmer climes of Spain to face one another in Jerez and Estonia travel to Slovenia to face Abu Baker Bany’s side, while Andorra play Armenia. Srecko Katanec’s FYR Macedonia side await Albania at the Qemal Stafa Stadium, while Iran host Belarus, Malta meet Austria and Victor Piturca’s Romania make the short trip to Moldova.

usBy Ben Rumsby, PA SportSteve McClaren is being asked to “perform miracles” as England manager, according to his former chairman Steve Gibson. The Middlesbrough supremo has hit out at what he sees as unfair criticism of McClaren following Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat to Spain, England’s fourth straight match without a win. Gibson believes the entire structure of English football is to blame for the current malaise that has beset the national team and insists McClaren is being hamstrung by the tools at his disposal. “What we’re asking Steve to do is perform miracles,” Gibson said on BBC Radio Five Live.

“But it gave the chance to people to crawl out of the woodwork with their opinions again. They only wanted to talk about people who had retired rather than the development of the young players who are coming through. “Toshack believes there is still life in this Euro 2008 qualifying group. He said: “We have to go to Dublin next in March, and that will be a cracker against the Republic of Ireland. Then we have San Marino here in Cardiff a couple of days later. “If we can get six points from those two we will be right back in it.

usGermany needed a slice of fortune to secure three points against Republic of Ireland in the opening game of their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign – but they will expect to bulge their goals-for column when they play San Marino on Wednesday in their second Group D fixture. Lukas Podolski was credited with the goal that saw off the Irish 1-0 in Stuttgart on Saturday, although his strike took a huge deflection off the heel of Robbie Keane before finding its way into the net. They should not have to rely on such luck against their next opponents, who have yet to open their qualifying campaign. Podolski and fellow strike partner Miroslav Klose could have a field day up front for the team who finished third in the World Cup, but midfielder Michael Ballack is refusing to take anything for granted against the pool’s minnows.

Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v… – Feb 16, 2007
usCaptain Jari Litmanen led the way as Finland bounced back from their weekend embarrassment with a convincing win in Kazakhstan to take the Nordic nation back to the top of Euro 2008 qualifying Group A. Roy Hodgson’s men could only manage a goalless draw when they lined up against Armenia on Saturday, but courtesy of goals either side of half-time from Litmanen and Sami Hyypia, the Finns regrouped to take pole position in the pool with their second win from four games. And, with the return fixture against Armenia in Helsinki next month, the Finns have a golden opportunity to qualify for a major finals for the first time in their history. Kazakhstan, however, will feel they went some way towards proving their own credentials, having followed up draws with Belgium and Azerbaijan with another creditable, if uncompetitive, performance in Almaty.

The Sheffield United goalkeeper is eager to focus on his family following an agonising time in his personal life. Last November the 28-year-old was involved in a brawl in the early hours of the morning outside a curry house in Halifax in which his left eyebrow was bitten off. That was shortly before Ireland’s 5-0 Euro 2008 qualifying victory over San Marino at Lansdowne Road, a match for which he was not selected. Staunton made clear at the time it was due to personal problems, and it later emerged Kenny was suffering marriage difficulties. Now Kenny is eager to concentrate on more important matters in his life. “As everybody knows, I have been through a troublesome time recently and I want to spend time with my family at every opportunity,” said Kenny.

Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v… – Feb 16, 2007
usBy John Curtis, PA SportSteve McClaren admits he can turn angry if he has to – and this lame performance from England must have tested his temper. McClaren’s team took the first stumble of the Euro 2008 campaign, dropping two points at home to Macedonia. They remain top of Group E thanks to Israel’s draw in Russia but now face a big test away to Croatia on Wednesday. Steven Gerrard will be suspended from the game in Zagreb after his second yellow card in the qualifiers. Rio Ferdinand must also be a serious doubt after missing the Old Trafford stalemate with a back injury.

Friday’s gossip column
BBC News – Feb 16, 2007
(Daily Star)


Gary Neville says football agents make “millions for no work” and has called for them to be kicked out of the game. (Various)

Chelsea say they will not reduce ticket prices because they have to fund the players’ high wages. (The Sun)

Nearly a quarter of England’s ticket allocation for the Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel in Tel Aviv remains unsold. (Daily Mirror)

A Leicester insider has revealed Milan Mandaric has paid only ?4. 5m up front to buy the club. (Daily Express)

Jermaine Pennant says Liverpool are the best team in Europe.

Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Man Utd v… – Feb 16, 2007
usRussia scored their first Euro 2008 Group E victory after goals by substitutes Pavel Pogrebniak and Dmitri Sychev earned Guus Hiddink’s side a 2-0 win over Estonia in St Petersburg. Pogrebniak volleyed home from close range 12 minutes from time before Sychev made matters safe with a clinical 22-yard strike in stoppage time. Yet it was a far from straightforward affair for the Russians, who were forced to stifle spells of Estonian pressure in the first half and were left frustrated for long periods by a defence that gave little away. It was Russia who made the early running, with local hero Andrei Arshavin proving a menace inside the Estonian penalty area without the danger being converting into opportunities.

Sporting Life – Football | FA Cup Fifth Round Live, Football Scores,… – Feb 16, 2007
usAleksandar Tunchev blasted a spectacular first-half winner as unbeaten Bulgaria kept the pressure on the Euro 2008 qualifying Group G leaders with an unconvincing triumph over lowly Luxembourg on Wednesday. The goal, a 25-yard drive into the top corner after 26 minutes, takes Bulgaria’s tally to two wins and two draws from their opening four games this campaign, and sees them leapfrog Romania in the standings, just two points adrift of Holland. It took the Bulgarians just four minutes to show they could cope with the loss of the suspended Martin Petrov, their top scorer with four goals this campaign. Valeri Bojinov, scorer of the opener in the 3-0 rout of Slovenia last month, burst into the area and then drilled the ball towards the bottom corner only to see Stephane Gillet tip his effort around the post.

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