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Updated: 2018-03-05T23:14:32.952-08:00

 



Brothers Boateng on opposite sides of the World Cup divide

2010-06-21T05:36:25.326-07:00

One is a defender for Germany, the other a midfielder for Ghana. On Wednesday the two brothers meet in a match which will decide their teams' 2010 World Cup future.Born in Berlin, the Boateng brothers could come face to face on the Soccer City pitch in Johannesburg - making it a first World Cup match featuring brothers playing for opposing teams. They are half-brothers to be more exact, with a father from Ghana, and the meeting on the pitch may also not happen. Although 23-year-old Kevin-Prince will almost certainly start in Ghana's midfield, 21-year-old Jerome can only hope to come off the German substitutes' bench. The match has been given some added spice by Kevin-Prince Boateng's tackle on Michael Ballack in the English FA Cup final on May 15 which ruled Germany's erstwhile captain out of the World Cup. It was a foul which turned Boateng, who already had a bad-boy reputation in Germany, into public enemy number one for football fans. It also led to a cooling of relations between the two brothers. Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince was annoyed by comments afterwards by Jerome, who said a red card should have been shown for the tackle. "After the things he said about my foul on Michael Ballack, we fell out," he said. "We see the event differently. I said to him that we should go our separate ways." Jerome admits he is not on speaking terms with Kevin-Prince but defends his brother from the criticism and insults he had received in Germany. "He is my brother and remains my brother," he said. "I really wish him the best but at the moment it is just that we don't have anything to say to each other. That happens in other families, too." The foul on Ballack, who suffered torn ankle ligaments, was not a deliberate one. "It can't be right that people have begun internet pages and made racist comments," he said. The irony is that both could have been playing together for Germany. Kevin-Prince seemed destined for great things for the country of his birth. He was a stand-out player at youth levels up to the under-21s where he played alongside several of Germany's present World Cup squad. But upset at his treatment and what he saw as his lack of international prospects, he turned last year to Ghana who have gladly included him in their fold. Now the boy who grew up in the working class Berlin district of Wedding and whose maternal grandfather is a cousin of German legend Helmut Rahn - scorer of the winning goal at the 1954 World Cup final - is already becoming a key player for Ghana. He and Jerome have gone their separate ways after playing together from a young age at Hertha Berlin. They are different personalities with different upbringings. Kevin-Prince has 13 tattoos, some of which depict the continent of Africa, and likes the music of German-Tunisian rapper Bushido, whose lyrics have been called misogynist, nationalist and racist. Disciplinary problems have dogged his career, and he was already something of a marked figure even before the controversial Ballack incident. Like Jerome, most of what he knows about Ghana comes from stories he has heard. Nevertheless, he says: "I'm proud to be an African." Jerome, who was bought up in the more upmarket Berlin district of Wilmersdorf, has in contrast been the model professional. Like his brother, he feels a strong connection to the West African nation but says it was clear from a young age where he belonged. "Germany is my home. I like the people here, and the mentality," he told Der Spiegel earlier this year. "The fact that Kevin made a different choice is his business. But he's my half-brother, and I'm happy for him." While Kevin-Prinz's journey has taken him from Berlin, to Tottenham Hotspur, Dortmund and now Portsmouth - with his club future currently uncertain - Jerome established himself at SV Hamburg and is now set to join his brother in England after the World Cup, probably with Manchester City.[...]



Argentina and who else? All bets off in Group B

2010-06-21T05:34:22.594-07:00

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Argentina are among the most impressive teams in the World Cup so far, one of only three to have won both of their matches.

Sitting atop Group B with six points and a goal difference of +4, they have nearly secured a place in the round of 16. But South Korea and Greece, both currently on three points and with a -1 goal difference, could surpass Argentina on Tuesday.

Purely mathematically, the side coached by Diego Maradona can still be deprived not only of first place in the group but also of a second-round berth.

But it would be more realistic to ask which team from Group B will join the Argentines in the next round. The Greeks stand a chance if they beat Argentina, as do the South Koreans if they beat Nigeria.

Even the Super Eagles, who have suffered two defeats in South Africa thus far, could advance if they beat South Korea by at least one goal and Argentina beat Greece.

In terms of play, only Argentina have been convincing in this group, although the South Koreans have performed solidly despite their defeat against the South American powerhouse.

Nigeria did well against the Argentines and even against Greece, at least until their midfielder Sani Kaita was sent off. In both cases, however, Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama was voted Man of the Match, which gives an idea of the kind of pressure put on the Super Eagles.

Greece have played badly, except when they faced a 10-man Nigeria. But they have now broken their curse: Finally, after five games in two World Cups (1994 and 2010), they scored their first goal in the global tournament.

Greece even scored two, and also won their first World Cup match. So they may play more freely against Argentina on Tuesday.

Argentina are likely to rest some of their best players, confident they will reach the knockout stages and that their substitutes can do the job.

Supersubs Diego Milito and Sergio Aguero, to name just two, will probably want to impress Maradona. And star striker Lionel Messi, still looking for his first World Cup goal, could very well play.

This should be reason enough for the Greeks to stay on their toes.






Zidane denies interfering in France tactics

2010-06-21T05:31:24.088-07:00

Former French football star Zinedine Zidane on Monday denied media reports claiming he had been interfering with France's game tactics at the 2010 World Cup.

"I have always respected the rules," the 1998 world champion and 2006 runner-up Zidane told a press conference in South Africa.

Zidane admitted he never had a "good feeling" with France national team coach Raymond Domenech. Despite the lack of faith in the coach, the former midfield maestro added that he never experienced any problems with the controversial Domenech.

In light of major problems on and off the pitch for the French squad in South Africa, Zidane said the France players need to "pull themselves together and put their ego aside".

Zidane, who will turn 48 on Wednesday, admitted he is disappointed with Les Bleus' showing until now, but he still has hopes that France can reach the World Cup final on July 11.

The French newspaper Liberation reported over the weekend that Zidane wanted to change the tactics of Domenech's tactics for the Equipe Tricolore through his friendship with Franck Ribery.

"Even as a player I never spoke my opinion of line-ups or tactics. I have always respected the coach," Zidane said Monday. "That people think I may have called players to pressure the coach is horrible."

France have one point from two matches in Group A ahead of their final match against South Africa. They must beat the hosts and hope that Mexico and Uruguay - both with four points - do not play to a draw.




It's all or nothing for Nigeria, South Korea

2010-06-21T05:25:41.155-07:00

There's little to speculate on for Nigeria and South Korea when they meet in Group B on Tuesday in Durban. The winner will most likely qualify for the second round, provided Argentina beat Greece, while a loser will almost certainly go home."I told the players that the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," South Korea coach Huh Jung Moo was quoted as saying in his country's media. But the Nigerians think the same, and still believe in their chances. "We still have every chance, the last game will say it all," said Nigeria skipper Joseph Yobo.The truth is that all bets are off in Group B: anything can happen for any of the teams involved. After two wins in two games, Argentina lead on 6 points, followed by South Korea and Greece on three and Nigeria on zero.With a draw on Tuesday, South Korea could also go through, provided Argentina win their game in Polokwane, while Nigeria would be eliminated.If Greece spring a surprise win over Argentina Nigeria would be out of the tournament, and so would South Korea, unless they beat the Super Eagles by a larger margin than the Greeks do against Messi and co. Ahead of the crucial clash, South Korea are probably above Nigeria, at least in terms of mood. The African side were downcast after two games in which their keeper Vincent Enyeama was Man of the Match despite the two defeats.While losing against Argentina was a realistic possibility en route to the World Cup, they had every reason to expect a better result in their second match, against Greece.They were winning 1-0 and looking good until midfielder Sani Kaita inexplicably got himself sent off for attempting to kick a rival. The Greeks then went on to score the first ever World Cup goal, and also the second, which gave them their first win ever in the event.The South Koreans have fared better. They beat Greece in their first game and, while they lost their second to the mighty Argentina, they are confident of a win against Nigeria that would most likely take them to the round of 16."We won't excessively stick to either defence or attack. Instead we will play a normal game," said Huh. "Nigeria are expected to play rough right from the beginning of the game. We will do our utmost to display what we have prepared."While South Korea have three points more than their rivals as they go into the match, Nigeria will doubtless appreciate the opportunity to redeem themselves after a bad start to the tournament.The Super Eagles, who already made the second round of the World Cup in 1994 and 1998, will have an extra motivation. After negotiating a bonus of 10,000 dollars per win for members of the squad, the Nigerian federation has now agreed to pay players 30,000 dollars for making it to the last 16.In order to cash in, however, they will need to beat South Korea, the fourth-placed of the 2002 World Cup which the Asians played on home soil, and then hope for the best.In Durban, all eyes will be on the ball, but all minds will be in Polokwane: whatever happens on the pitch between Nigeria and South Korea will have to be seen through the outcome of the match between Argentina and Greece.[...]



World Cup final pitch receives some TLC to keep it in top shape

2010-06-21T05:24:42.857-07:00


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Extra measures have been put in place to ensure the pitch at Soccer City remains in top shape for the duration of the World Cup, which ends with the final at the Soweto stadium on July 11.

The recent cold snap on the highveld has led to frosty conditions at night, causing discolouration of the pitch at one end of Soccer City, which was clearly visible during Sunday's Group G match between Brazil and Ivory Coast.

"It's the impact of shade and frosting," FIFA pitch consultant John Lockyer, who is responsible for the pitches at all 10 World Cup stadiums, told a press conference Monday.

Lockyer said the short daylight hours during the South African winter meant the section of pitch has been in almost permanent shade for nearly three weeks now, with the problem exacerbated by the impact of recent frost.

Germination blankets, supplemental growth lights and a protective frost cover are now all in place to protect the surface and with warmer temperatures expected in the coming days, Lockyer believes the problem with grass growth will be resolved.

"We expect that to catch up quite quickly in the next few days," he said.

While the pitches in high-altitude Johannesburg and Pretoria have to fight with the problem of frost, the surfaces in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth have at times had to be closed because of rain.

Several pre-match training sessions at the two stadiums have had to be called off to protect the playing surface.

"These are completely normal measures," said FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot.

Despite the problems, the pitches at this year's World Cup are a vast improvement on the surfaces that teams had to deal with at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

The pitch at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, for example, was uneven and completely cut up as result of rugby matches played there in the run-up to the tournament.

Although there have been mutterings of discontent about the semi- synthetic surface in Polokwane, no team has lodged a complaint about any World Cup playing surface so far.

The experts in charge of the World Cup's pitch management programme are using a mixture of summer and winter grass in an effort to overcome what Lockyer described as difficult climatic conditions.



world cup results friday 18-06-2010

2010-06-18T14:59:23.410-07:00

Germany 0 : 1 Serbia'12 Miroslav Klose yellow card'18 Branislav Ivanovic yellow card'19 Aleksandar Kolarov yellow card'22 Sami Khedira yellow card'32 Philipp Lahm yellow card'37 Miroslav Klose red card'38 Milan Jovanovic Goool'57 Neven Subotic yellow card'59 Nemanja Vidic yellow card '60 Lukas Podolski missed penalty'73 Bastian Schweinsteiger yellow cardWatch The Goals15 ServerDownloadSlovenia 2 : 2 USA'13 Valter BIRSA Goool'35 Bostjan Cesar yellow card'40 Robbie Findley yellow card'42 Zlatan Ljubijankic Goool'48 Landon Donovan Goool'69 Marko Suler yellow card'72 Andraz Kirm yellow card'75 Bojan Jokic yellow card'82 Michael Bradley GooolWatch The Goals15 ServerDownloadEngland 0 : 0 Algeria'58 Jamie Carragher yellow card'85 Medhi Lacen yellow cardWatch The Goals15 Serversoon[...]



world cup results thursday 17-06-2010

2010-06-17T16:00:59.319-07:00

Argentina 4 - 1 South Korea'10 Yeom Ki Hun yellow card'17 Park Joo-Young own goal Goool own goal'33 Gonzalo Higuain Goool'34 Lee Chung-Yong yellow card'45 Lee Chung-Y Goool '54 Jonas Manuel Gutierrez yellow card'55 Javier Mascherano yellow card'74 Ivan Gabriel Heinze yellow card'76 Gonzalo Higuain Goool'80 Gonzalo Higuain GooolWatch The Goals15 ServerHEREGreece 2 - 1 Nigeria '15 Sokratis Papastathopoulos yellow card'16 Ikechukwu Uche Goool '33 Sani Kaita red card'44 Dimitirious Salpiggidis Goool '60 Alexandros Tziolis yellow card'72 Vassilios Torosidis Goool '88 Georgios Samaras yellow card'89 Chinedu Obasi yellow cardWatch The Goals15 ServerHEREFrance 0 - 2 Mexico '4 Guillermo Franco yellow card'45 Jeremy Toulalan yellow card'48 Efrain Juarez yellow card'49 Hector Moreno yellow card'64 Javier Hernandez Goool'78 Eric Abidal yellow card'79 Cuauhtemoc Blanco penalty Goool'82 Francisco Javier Rodriguez yellow cardWatch The Goals15 ServerHERE[...]



Capello needs quick reactions

2010-06-17T02:17:31.147-07:00

TEAMtalk's Jon Holmes believes Fabio Capello must hammer out the pesky problems in his side if England are to bounce back against Algeria.One game into England's World Cup campaign and Fabio Capello appears to be struggling with the managerial equivalent of 'Whac-A-Mole'. There are suddenly plenty of posers and potential problems, and they're popping up faster than the Italian could have ever envisaged when basking in the glory of England's superb 5-1 win over Croatia last September that booked their place in South Africa. It would certainly be tempting to thwack Robert Green with a giant mallet after his butter-fingers attempt to gather that routine Clint Dempsey effort on Saturday night. Of course, there is sympathy for the West Ham man but surely that can only stretch so far. It's like when an X Factor contestant develops a sore throat - everyone agrees it's a real shame for them, but they're promptly discarded and soon forgotten. Calamity can befall any keeper at any time, but the fear is always that uncertainty between the sticks might transmit its way into the defence. With John Terry having now lost two centre-back partners to injury in the space of a week, he needs to have total trust in the insurance policy behind him. Whereas he may have been convinced by Green before kick-off in Rustenburg, can he say the same now? On this occasion, you couldn't really blame the Chelsea captain for being unfaithful. Whilst Green tried to alleviate some of the damage by fronting up in the post-match interviews, he had by then taken on a slightly haunted look and his train of thought was derailing in response to very straightforward questions. On and off the pitch, he doesn't exude the quiet confidence of David James - a man just two months short of the big 4-0 - or the confidence of youth displayed by Joe Hart. Green may survive for the next match, but his next mistake could send England crashing out of the World Cup altogether - and then he would surely go the way of Paul Robinson and Scott Carson, neither of whom have been seen wearing the Three Lions since the end of Euro 2008 qualifying. Capello's decision not to reveal his hand until as late as possible meant Green had limited time to cogitate over his selection before striding out at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. However, and perhaps for the first time, that was not the only criticism that could be directed at the Italian. Taking a punt on James Milner on the left wing after a week of illness proved misjudged, but replacing him with Shaun Wright-Phillips was also a mistake. In fact, the left side was the biggest (outfield) disappointment in what was otherwise a much-improved England display. Ashley Cole must have been told to keep a close eye on Landon Donovan because he barely broke forward during the 90 minutes to help out in attack, while Wright-Phillips fluffed his big chance late on in the second half when given space in the box. Joe Cole would always be this writer's preferred option on the left flank. Ledley King's injury has ruled him out of the Algeria game on Friday night, but Jamie Carragher hardly convinced on his substitute appearance due to his lack of pace. In truth, none of King's fellow centre-backs in the squad are particularly speedy which is why the expected return of trusty shield Gareth Barry for the Cape Town clash is most welcome. As for the other Three Lions departments, there is much to work on in the next five days. Aaron Lennon may have won the battle of the right wingers, but his crossing was little better than that of Theo Walcott on the evidence of Saturday night. Wayne Rooney can only 'write the future' when he rediscovers the scoring touch that has eluded him for the last seven outings. Frank Lampard was Steven Gerrard's midfield partner but not his equal by any means on the balanc[...]



Barca 'convinced' of Fabregas swoop

2010-06-17T02:15:56.277-07:00

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Barcelona's new president Sandro Rosell is "convinced" Cesc Fabregas will sign for them before the new La Liga season gets underway.

Rosell has just won the presidential elections at Camp Nou, succeeding Joan Laporta.

Laporta first instigated Barca's move for Fabregas earlier this summer and Rosell will continue their pursuit.

"We are not under any sort of pressure at the moment," said Rosell.

"We have the whole summer to sort this deal out.

"I am convinced that Cesc will be our player by the start of next season. I know what happens in football and I will not be surprised to see stories of other clubs chasing him.

"But we are very calm because the key person in all of this is Cesc himself.

"The only way he will leave Arsenal is if he is joining Barcelona because of his roots."

Reports on Thursday suggest Barca are ready to offer Arsenal a final 'take-it-or-leave-it' £40million for Fabregas.





world cup results wednsday 16-06-2010

2010-06-17T02:06:59.343-07:00

Honduras 0 - 1 Chile'4 Carlos Tello Carmona yellow card'19 Matias Fernandez yellow card'33 Wilson Palacios yellow card'34 Jean BEAUSEJOUR GooolWatch The Goals15 ServerHERESpain 0 - 1 Switzerland '30 Stéphane Grichting yellow card'52 Gelson Fernandes Goool'73 Reto Ziegler yellow card'90 Benaglio yellow card'90 Hakan YAKIN yellow cardWatch The Goals HERESouth Africa 0 - 3 Uruguay'6 Steven Pienaar yellow card'24 Diego Forlan Goool'43 Kagisho Dikgacoi yellow card'76 Khune red card'80 Diego Forlan penalty Goool'90 Alvaro Pereira Barragan GooolWatch The Goals15 ServerHERE[...]



Dawson keen to impress Capello

2010-06-16T01:40:13.676-07:00

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Michael Dawson is relishing being part of England's FIFA World Cup™ squad but will make no brash predictions as to whether he should be picked to face Algeria on Friday.



Dawson's hopes of going to South Africa looked to have been shattered after he was axed from Fabio Capello's final 23-man squad two weeks ago. But 72 hours later he was on a plane to Rustenburg after skipper Rio Ferdinand pulled out with a knee injury. Now Ledley King's groin problem has put the spotlight on Dawson, Matthew Upson and Jamie Carragher in the battle to play in Cape Town against the Algerians.

But Dawson, Tottenham's player of the year, is content to concentrate on trying to impress Capello in training. He said: "We'll just have to wait and see. You'll have to ask the manager. For me it would be a dream to play. There's no hiding that. I've said that for a long time, since before I got in the squad but we've got Jamie Carragher and Matthew Upson as well.

"But we're just concentrating on training and hopefully I'll do the best I can and then we'll see. I'm excited for Friday and the World Cup is an amazing experience and, from getting a call from the FA to say Rio was injured, it's all happened really quickly. To be part of it is great and I'm enjoying every minute of it. Unfortunately Ledley came off the other day with a groin injury but it's not too bad. He's out of the game on Friday but it's the manager's decision who he picks. I'm always hopeful."

Dawson, 26, is adamant the mood in the England camp is upbeat despite England being held to a 1-1 draw by the United States. He said: "Hopefully we'll get a win under our belts on Friday. We got a point against the USA. We would have liked to get more, but it wasn't to be. The mood is positive."

Dawson met the 12-year-old he sponsors for the first time at a village near Rustenburg yesterday. He was greeted by Aubrey, wearing a Wayne Rooney Manchester United shirt. The SOS children's village comprises ten family houses to take in up to 100 children, and a community-based childcare and support programme for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS has been set up.

Dawson said: "It's certainly different. It opens your eyes to the real world and, when you look at the smiles on the children's faces, it's great. It's scary with kids being affected by HIV but we've come here to try to put a smile on their faces. Tottenham have sponsored a house and the FA as well. If people like ourselves can do it (help), we hope many more people can do it as well.

"The Tottenham players all agreed to sponsor a child at the start of the season and fortunately enough I got to meet mine. When you come here and see how happy they are it's great. If we can do that, and help them have a better life, that's great."






Del Bosque: Spain can lift World Cup

2010-06-16T01:34:36.611-07:00

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Vicente del Bosque heads into Spain's opener against Switzerland believing South Africa's tournament can be the best World Cup of all time.


Spain coach Del Bosque said on Tuesday he and his players feel a sense of responsibility to make the tournament a success so the people in the host country, and all of Africa, have something to be proud of.

A slow start to the tournament has seen few memorable matches, complaints about the ball, and a shortage of goals, compared to previous World Cups.

But Del Bosque said: "We have to be positive. I want to be very optimistic.

"We have to help because this is the first World Cup in Africa.

"So if there are any logistical problems or any other issues, we have to just co-operate so that this World Cup is the best ever."

Spain head into the tournament as reigning European champions and are among the favourites for the title.

"It's difficult to get away from the view of the outside," said Del Bosque. "There is an optimism as if we were going to play the World Cup final now.

"But fortunately, we have players that are aware of the reality and not of utopia. Players that know what football is like."

Del Bosque is just happy to have all of his players available for the tournament.

Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta all suffered injuries in recent months but have recovered.

"It's a good day for us," said Del Bosque. "I have 23 players who are all in perfect condition.

"We are ready to start this World Cup."

Del Bosque could leave Barcelona star Andres Iniesta out of his starting XI for Wednesday's Group H game despite the player having shaken off a muscular injury.

"Iniesta trained yesterday and today," Del Bosque said. "We will talk to the doctors and decide what is best.

"We have to think about the future, not just about tomorrow."

Spain, who won all of their warm-up games before travelling to South Africa, will not take Switzerland lightly.

"With the exception of the Germany game, this has been a very level World Cup," said Del Bosque. "There have been few differences between teams and there are many candidates for the title.

"We know Switzerland. We know they have qualified directly.

"It's a team that have been working for many years together, they have good organising skills and a great coach. We respect them enormously."

Del Bosque has urged his players not to be driven by anxiety.

"We have to work towards being superior to our rivals on the pitch," he said.

"It's good to have responsibility but we cannot allow that to affect our game."

Del Bosque is set to start with Barcelona's new boy David Villa as the lone striker, with Liverpool's Fernando Torres starting on the bench.





Unsteady France a tempting prey for Mexico

2010-06-16T01:13:30.805-07:00


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After ruining South Africa's opening party plans, Mexico take on an unsteady France side on Thursday eager to highlight their growing reputation as World Cup gatecrashers.


France's household names hold no fears for a side who upset champions Italy 2-1 in a warm-up game before holding the hosts to a 1-1 draw in their first Group A match.

"At the end of the day, we're not playing against their stars, we're playing 11 against 11," Mexico midfielder Gerardo Torrado told reporters before facing the likes of Franck Ribery and Thierry Henry. "We have to be warriors."

The intriguing fixture in northern Polokwane looks a lot tighter than the sides' contrasting pedigrees suggest and France, who looked harmless in their 0-0 draw with Uruguay, can expect a fierce challenge from coach Javier Aguirre's men.

"They're an excellent side who can give any team a hard time," France coach Raymond Domenech said of Mexico. "I watched them against Italy and I was impressed. You must make sure they don't get too much possession, otherwise you're in trouble."

Another key to the match will be whether France's high-profile forwards, who have not scored an international goal since last November, will hit the back of the net at last.

"We can't put our trust in the fact that it has been a long time since they scored," said Mexico's defensive stalwart Rafael Marquez, who plays for Barcelona but knows French soccer well having had a three-year spell in Ligue 1 with Monaco.

"They're maybe not in the kind of form that we're used to seeing them in but that can change in an instant," he added.

FEW CHANGES

Such are the 1998 champions' worries up front that Domenech might decide to bring back Henry, their most prolific scorer with 51 goals from 122 appearances, in place of Nicolas Anelka at centre forward.

Domenech, who boldly introduced an attacking 4-3-3 system during his side's preparations, is expected to revert to his preferred, more cautious 4-2-3-1 system against Mexico with Jeremy Toulalan and Abou Diaby in front of the defence.

Aguirre could also make a few changes and may opt for Guillermo Ochoa in goal after Oscar Perez's shaky showing against South Africa.

The experienced Cuauhtemoc Blanco, now 37, and young Javier Hernandez, 22, could also start in attack, at the expense of Carlos Vela and Guillermo Franco respectively.

Surviving a group from which any side could advance would be satisfying for Mexico, who dream of equalling their best World Cup performances, quarter-final appearances in both 1970 and 1986 on home soil.

France, whose first duty is to avoid another early exit following their Euro 2008 flop, are more ambitious and targeting a repeat of their run to the last World Cup final.

"We must show more accuracy in front of goal but physically, we're better prepared than in 2006 and I honestly believe we are capable of doing just as well this time, if not better," said midfielder Florent Malouda, who should start on Thursday.





Old foes Maradona and Huh renew battle

2010-06-16T01:06:13.830-07:00


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Argentina coach Diego Maradona will see a familiar foe in the opposing dugout when his side face South Korea in their second Group B match at Soccer City on Thursday.



South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo was the man assigned to stop Maradona when the countries met in their opening match of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, a game long-remembered in Buenos Aires for the Koreans' strong-arm tactics against their skipper.

"I remember Huh very well," Maradona said after the draw pairing the sides together was made in December. "In 1986 the Koreans played taekwondo, not football, against us."

Maradona went into that game in Mexico City nursing a long-standing injury, and the Koreans tactics were to do anything they could to stop him.

Ultimately they failed as Maradona had a brilliant game leading his side to a 3-1 victory, setting off on the path that led to victory in the World Cup final against West Germany.

Argentina and South Korea, who have only played each other once since then, go into Thursday's match buoyed by victory in their opening games last Saturday with the Argentines beating Nigeria 1-0 and the Koreans ovecoming Greece 2-0.

VERON DOUBT

Maradona has just one doubt over defender Juan Sebastian Veron, who strained his right calf muscle against Nigeria and was still sitting out training on Tuesday.

Although he is expected to play Veron, Maradona will probably wait until the last minute for a decision on his fitness, otherwise the team should be unchanged.

Veron, like Maradona, will also be keen to beat the Koreans after suffering some rough treatment from Pohang Steelers when his Estudiantes side played them at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in December with three Steelers players sent off.

South Korea, who need to raise their game another notch to compete with Argentina, have no fresh injury worries.

Huh could also welcome striker Lee Dong-guk back into the lineup following his recovery from a thigh injury.

Huh has previously hinted he could employ a more conservative 4-5-1 formation against Argentina, which could see Lee at its apex with forward Park Chu-young pushed out wide.

Jung Song-ryong is likely to remain in goal after Huh's startling decision to axe Lee Woon-jae against Greece.

Jung had a solid start but was rarely tested and will undoubtedly be the busier of the two keepers on Thursday.








world cup results Thusday 15-06-2010

2010-06-15T15:37:08.091-07:00

New Zealand 1 - 1 Slovakia'42 Tony Lochhead yellow card'50 Robert Vittek Goool'55 Zdeno Strba yellow card'90 Winston Reid Goool'90 Winston Reid yellow card Ivory Coast 0 - 0 Portugal '7 Didier Zokora yellow card'21 Aruna Dindane yellow card'21 Cristiano Ronaldo yellow cardBrazil 2 - 1 North Korea'55 Maicon Douglas Sisenando Goool'72 Elano Blumer Goool'88 Ramires Santos yellow card'89 Ji Yun-Nam Goool[...]



Netherlands make winning start against Danes

2010-06-14T08:30:19.865-07:00

The Netherlands kicked-off their World Cup campaign in Group E with victory over Denmark but they needed help from some calamitous Danish defending.comedy own goal gifted the Dutch the lead on 46 minutes when Simon Poulsen headed a clearance against his own defensive team-mate Daniel Agger and past Thomas Sorensen. Bert Van Marwijk's Dutch side came into tournament on a record unbeaten run of 19 games and named a strong side with only Arjen Robben missing and with captain Giovanni Van Bronckhorst earning his 100th cap. "It's wonderful to play your 100th game and then to win. But we still have many games ahead of us, hopefully six more," Van Bronckhorst said. "We needed to get off to a good start and we achieved that." Against a Dutch side who had not lost their opening match at a finals since 1938 Danish boss Morten Olsen erred on the side of caution naming Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner as a lone striker. The Dutch threatened first when on six minutes Wesley Sneijder tried his luck from distance with a free-kick that did not trouble Thomas Sorensen in the Danish goal. Thomas Enevoldsen then sent a long-range free-kick wide for the Danes before Sneijder set up Dirk Kuyt whose shot moved in the air leaving Sorensen scrambling to grab it at the second attempt. On 20 minutes there was an early flash of some Dutch magic when after a slick passing move Robin van Persie released Rafael Van der Vaart who shot wide. The Real Madrid man went close again moments later but on 27 minutes Denmark had their first chance with Dennis Rommedahl crossing from the right only for Bendtner to get his header all wrong and steer the chance wide. Rommedahl found space down the right again on 35 minutes and this time elected to shoot forcing Maarten Stekelenburg to make his first real save of the game. On 37 minutes Bendtner spun his marker and sent Thomas Kahlenberg through. The Wolfsburg midfielder's shot was palmed away for a corner by the increasingly busy Stekelenburg. Van Persie had his first chance on 43 minutes when he wriggled away from Daniel Agger but could only send his shot wide. The Netherlands were no longer dominating and they finished the half with Nigel de Jong going into the referee's book for a wild challenge on Bendtner. But the Dutch were given a huge helping hand just one minute into the second half when a Danish own goal put them one up. A long ball out of defence found Van Persie and his cross was headed by Poulsen into his own defensive team-mate Agger and past Sorensen. "He has to forget it and look forward to the next game,@ Olsen said of the own-goal scorer. "I said it happened to me in my career." The Dutch should have increased their lead moments later when Kuyt released Van Persie but he dallied too long on the ball and Sorensen made the save. The Stoke City keeper made another fine stop moments later from a Van der Vaart effort as the Netherlands continued to dominate against a Danish side who took off Bendtner on 62 minutes. Sorensen kept the Danes at bay again turning a Van Bommel shot away for a corner from which Van Persie headed wide. He joined Bendtner on the sidelines when he was replaced by Ibrahim Afellay on 79 minutes. There was no let-up in Dutch pressure and Sneijder, who was later named Man of the Match, shook the cross-bar with a shot from distance before Kuyt added a second five minutes from time. He scored from a rebound after Eljero Elia hit the post. And only a fantastic goal-line clearance from Christian Poulsen prevented a third. Later on Monday Japan were due to face Cameroon in Bloemfontein in the second match in Group E.[...]



world cup results Monday 14-06-2010

2010-06-16T02:37:47.162-07:00


Netherlands 2 - 0 Denmark
'44 Nigel de Jong yellow card
'46 Simon Poulsen
Goool owngoal
'49 Robin van Persie
yellow card
'63 Simon Kjaer
yellow card
'64 Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
yellow card
'85 Dirk Kuyt
Goool

Japan 1 - 0 Cameroon
'39 Keisuke Honda Goool
'72 Nicolas NKoulou yellow card
'90 Yuki Abe yellow card

Italy 1 - 1 Paraguay
'39 Antolin Alcaraz Goool
'62 Fernando Caceres yellow card
'63 Daniele De Rossi Goool
'70 Mauro Camoranesi yellow card






world cup results Sunday 6/13/10

2010-06-14T08:05:06.252-07:00

Algeria 0 - 1 Slovenia'35 Aleksander Radosavljevic yellow card'59 Abdelkader Ghezzal yellow card'73 Abdelkader Ghezzal red card'79 Robert Koren Goool'90 Hassan Yebda yellow card'90 Andrej Komac yellow card Ghana 1 - 0 Serbia '19 Nikola Zigic yellow card'26 Isaac Vorsah yellow card'54 Aleksandar Lukovic yellow card'54 Andre Ayew yellow card'74 Aleksandar Lukovic red card'83 Zdravko Kuzmanovic yellow card'85 Asamoah Gyan penalty Goool'89 Prince Tagoe yellow cardAustralia 0 - 4 Germany'8 Lukas Podolski Goool'12 Mesut Ozil yellow card'24 Craig Moore yellow card'26 Miroslav Klose Goool'46 Lucas Neill yellow card'56 Tim Cahill red card'58 Carl Valeri yellow card'68 Thomas Muller Goool'70 Cacau Goool'90 Cacau yellow card[...]



Fabregas exit is inevitable - Keown

2010-06-14T08:06:16.718-07:00


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Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes Cesc Fabregas "will certainly leave" the Gunners for Barcelona this summer.


Barca saw a 35million euro offer for Fabregas rejected recently but the Catalan giants are likely to up their efforts to bring him back to the Nou Camp following Sunday's presidential elections.

And Keown, who is part of the coaching staff at Arsenal, believes the Gunners will have no choice but to let their captain go.

"Fabregas will certainly leave," said Keown in the Sunday Mirror. "What we are seeing at the moment are long, protracted, drawn-out negotiations between Arsenal and Barca.

"Arsenal are showing their early position and Barcelona are looking to get him for as cheap as they can.

"If Fabregas' body language is wrong, he's such an important figure, then he has to go. We trust in Wenger to make the right decision for the football club.

"The move to Barcelona is something that has been in his mind for some time. He wants to go back to where he began, but at the same time he wants to be respectful to Arsenal and to Arsene who has nurtured him through.

"It must have been difficult for him to see Arsene Wenger and ask for the move."

Fabregas learned his trade as a youngster at Barca before moving to the Gunners seven years ago and has made no secret of his desire to return to his hometown club.





world cup groups

2010-06-14T08:07:04.345-07:00


Group A
France
Mexico
South Africa
Uruguay
Group B
Argentina
Greece
Nigeria
South Korea
Group C
Algeria
England
Slovenia
USA
Group D
Australia
Germany
Ghana
Serbia
Group E
Cameroon
Denmark
Holland
Japan
Group F
Italy
New Zealand
Paraguay
Slovakia
Group G
Brazil
Ivory Coast
North Korea
Portugal
Group H
Chile
Honduras
Spain
Switzerland



City move for £20m Vidic

2010-06-14T08:07:49.608-07:00

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MANCHESTER CITY will launch a shock £20million bid to nab Nemanja Vidic from bitter rivals Manchester United.


And City will offer the wantaway Serbian a staggering £24m pay deal.
A £115,000-a-week four-year contract is on the table for the centre-half and City will make their bid in the next few days.
Vidic, 28, has been unsettled for some time - but will not make any official announcement about his future until Serbia are out of the World Cup.
Paolo Fabbri, an associate of his agent Silvano Martina, confirmed Vidic could quit Old Trafford.
Fabbri said: "We are waiting for Nemanja to tell us what we he wants to do. Any eventual transfer will take place only after the World Cup."
Landing Vidic would represent a massive coup for City chief Roberto Mancini and a huge blow for Alex Ferguson.
The United boss has shown interest in £10m Palermo centre-half Simon Kjaer and he is seen as a possible replacement for Vidic.
Danish international Kjaer is regarded as one of the top defenders in Serie A



Stevie gives Green a boost

2010-06-14T08:08:28.338-07:00

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SKIPPER Steven Gerrard refused to condemn Robert Green after the keeper's gaffe cost England three points in Rustenburg...


Gerrard fired the Three Lions into the lead after just four minutes as Fabio Capello's men made the perfect start in their Group C opener.
And the United States never looked like grabbing an equaliser until Green failed to hold Clint Dempsey's tame 40th-minute drive

But Gerrard insisted the mistake would not destroy the West Ham stopper's confidence.
He said: "It was one of those freak things, I don't think you can criticise the keeper.
"People have been talking about the match ball and it is tricky.
"Rob will learn from this and he might make an important save that wins us a match.
"We're all behind him. It was a bit of shock and it took us a while to get over it."
England threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Americans after the break, only to be let down a lack of composure in front of goal.
But Gerrard refused to be downbeat about the performance with matches against Algeria and Slovenia still to come.
He added: "It was a difficult game. The most important thing in the opening game is not to lose.
"The idea was to win but unfortunately we let a poor goal in and we couldn't go and get the winner.
"The target now has to be seven points."



Messi needs chocolate fix

2010-06-14T08:08:42.221-07:00

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DIEGO MARADONA is using the Willy Wonka school of football as he chases World Cup glory


The Argentina boss saw Lionel Messi dish up a masterclass in Argentina's opening victory against Nigeria.
Maradona said: "We've talked about this and I want Messi close to the ball
"As long as he has fun close to the ball, then we will all be fine.
"If you take the ball away from him it would be like taking chocolate away from a kid.
"He produced magic on the field today."
Messi was only denied a hatful of goals by keeper Vincent Enyeama, who pulled off a string of top saves.
Gabriel Heinze's diving header settled the match in the sixth minute.
And Maradona admitted he was nervous until the final whistle sounded.
He said: "We suffered a little bit by not converting all those chances.
"We've won the match but when you fail to take those chances you could end up with a draw every minute."
Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback was pleased with his side's overall display but lamented the lack of concentration that allowed Argentina to forge ahead.
He said: "I'm very disappointed by the result but I'm proud of my players and the team performance they put in.
"Unfortunately there was a mistake from our side that created a corner kick, we were passive at the corner.
"We stood sleeping for one corner and that was enough, otherwise we had at least a draw. But we are not out of it yet



Capello: We will get better

2010-06-13T01:31:48.402-07:00

FABIO CAPELLO insisted he was happy despite seeing England drop two points in their World Cup opener.


He said: "We created a lot of chances, we pressed hard... we played a good game.
"One mistake cost us but this is football.
"Sometimes a striker will miss a goal, this time the keeper's mistake.
"I think Green played very well. I am really happy for him.
"I am very happy with the performance of the team. But in the next game, we will be better."
Gerrard put England in front with a superb finish on four minutes after Emile Heskey's neat pass.
But Green allowed Clint Dempsey's tame effort to slide off his hands and bobble into the net as the States stunned the tournament's third favourites



Pepe sees first action in 178 days

2010-06-11T15:03:07.422-07:00


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The Madridista played 19 minutes in Portugal's 3-0 victory against