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Germany at world cup : Marco Reus out of the world cup

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 23:35:00 +0000

In a massive setback to the German national team, star winger Marco Reus has been ruled out of the world cup after suffering suspected ankle ligament damage in the friendly against Armenia. Its a shame that fans across the globe won't be able to see Reus in action in Brazil and Germany, for sure, is going to miss his services badly in the latter stages of the tournament. Reus, who has been attracting attention from big clubs across Europe had recently stated his desire to stay at Dortmund. Reus joins Ribery in the list of star attractions missing the world cup due to injury. Get well soon Marco.

France at world cup : Franck Ribery out of the world cup

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 21:21:00 +0000

In a huge setback to the French national team, star attacker Franck Ribery has been ruled out of the world cup in Brazil. The persistent back problem could be attributed the reason behind the Bayern Munich stars' pull out. France are drawn alongside Switzerland, Equador and Honduras in Group E. Though Ribery's injury is not likely to affect their qualification to the next round, a player of his class is surely going to be missed in the later stages of the tournament, if they happen to progress. All said and done, the fans across the globe are going to miss to the trickster in the gala tournament.

FIFA world cup 2014 : World rankings by group

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 18:40:00 +0000

32 countries have qualified for the FIFA world starting in Brazil next week. It should not come as a surprise that quite a few fancied teams have missed out. Players like Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Gareth Bale wouldn't be seen in action as their teams failed to make the cut. Lets have a look at the world rankings of the teams that have qualified for the world cup in Brazil.

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group H

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 18:32:00 +0000

Group HBelgiumGettyGoalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid, on loan from Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Sammy Bosut (Zulte Waregem).Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).Midfielders: Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele (both Tottenham), Steven Defour (Porto), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj (both Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Divock Origi (Lille), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg).Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Everton, on loan from Chelsea), Dries Mertens (Napoli).AlgeriaGoalkeepers: Rais Mbolhi (CSKA Sofia), Cedric Si Mohamed (CS Constantine), Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche (USM Alger).Defenders: Essaid Belkalem (Watford, on loan from Granada), Madjid Bougherra (Lekhwya Club), Liassine Cadamuro (Mallorca), Faouzi Ghoualm (Napoli), Rafik Halliche (Academica Coimbra), Aissa Mandi (Stade Reims), Carl Medjani (Valenciennes), Djamel Mesbah (Livorno), Mehdi Mostefa (AC Ajaccio).Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham), Yasine Brahimi (Granada), Medhi Lacen (Getafe), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan), Hassan Yebda (Udinese).Forwards: Abdelmoumene Djabou (Club Africain), Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia), Nabil Ghilas (Porto), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon), Hilal Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb).RussiaGoalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Lodygin (Zenit St Petersburg), Sergey Ryzhikov (Rubin Kazan).Defenders: Vasili Berezutskiy, Sergey Ignashevich, Georgi Schennikov (all CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Granat, Alexey Kozlov (both Dynamo Moscow), Andrey Eshchenko (Anzhi Makhachkala), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Andrey Semenov (Terek Grozny),Midfielders: Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Igor Denisov, Yury Zhirkov, Alexey Ionov (all Dynamo Moscow), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Victor Faizulin, Oleg Shatov (both Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Krasnodar).Forwards: Maxim Kanunnikov (Amkar Perm), Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Dynamo Moscow).South KoreaGoalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryeong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Horang-i), Lee Bum-young (Busan I'Park)Defenders: Yun Suk-young (QPR), Kim Young-kwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Hwang Seok-ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg), Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal), Lee Yong (Ulsan Horang-i), Kim Chang-soo (Kashiwa Reysol), Park Joo-ho (Mainz)Midfielders: Ki Seung-yueng (Sunderland, on loan from Swansea), Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan), Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol), Park Jung-woo (Guangzhou R&F), Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen), Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton Wanderers), Ji Dong-won (Augsburg).Forwards: Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz), Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-young (Arsenal), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Horang-i).My picks : Belgium, Russia[...]

Weather Could Play A Huge Factor In Brazil

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 17:46:00 +0000

Soccer players are known as some of the fittest athletes in the world, but when the 32 best countries get together to face off in Brazil for the World Cup, they will be tested. The majority of players play in cooler, less humid places around the world compared to Brazil, so it could be a big change.

Dehydration is definitely something that people will have to watch for during the World Cup. A lot of teams have spent the last few months conditioning their top players for Brazil. However, technically only the Brazilian team will know exactly how it feels to play multiple games in the tropical setting.

Those familiar with soccer and playing in one day fantasy sports already know about the impact weather can make in the top European Leagues. Most of the time, the adverse weather conditions over there include rain, sleet and snow. Rarely is it so hot and humid that players are left gasping for air.

Thanks to a lot of technology and knowledge about dehydration in general, teams are doing a very good job of preparing as much as possible. They are strategically taking water breaks, training in similar weather and more. Just one example is England’s preparation in Miami, Florida for the tournament.

With all that being said, experts, oddsmakers and everyone else who follows the sport still believes that the South American teams, and specifically Brazil, are going to have the edge. That seems to always be the case in the World Cup in general, but if it really heats up, they could have an edge specifically on the European powers. After all, there is no real way to prepare for the actual matches with all the emotion that goes with it in a hostile, tropical setting.

Written by : Daniel Luchington

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group G

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:29:00 +0000

Group GGermanyAlexander Hassenstein / GettyGoalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover)Defenders: Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm (both Bayern Munich), Erik Durm, Kevin Grosskreutz, Mats Hummels (all Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal).Midfielders: Julian Draxler (Schalke), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (all Bayern Munich), Christoph Kramer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea)Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal).PortugalGoalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patricio (Sporting).Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentreo, Pepe (both Real Madrid), Joao Pereira, Ricardo Costa (both Valencia), Neto (Zenit).Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dinamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting).Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder, Rafa (both SC Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg).GhanaGoalkeepers: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars).Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Harrison Afful (Esperance), John Boye (Rennes), Jonathan Mensah (Evian), Rashid Sumalia (Mamelodi Sundowns).Midfielders: Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari (both AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Christian Atsu (Vitesse), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan).Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke 04), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux).United StatesGoalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders).Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johansson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).My picks : Portugal, Germany[...]

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group F

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:26:00 +0000

Group FArgentinaGoalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors).Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis (both Manchester City), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Jose Basantra (Monterrey)Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell's Old Boys), Enzo Perez (Benfica).Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris St-Germain).Bosnia-HerzegovinaGoalkeepers: Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Asmir Avdukic (Borac Banja Luka), Jasmin Fejzic (VFR Aalen).Defenders: Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen), Toni Sunjic (Zorya Lugansk), Sead Kolasinac (Schalke), Ognjen Vranjes (Elazigspor), Ermin Bicakcic (Eintracht Braunschweig), Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros), Mensur Mujdza (Freiburg).Midfielders: Miralem Pjanic (Roma), Izet Hajrovic (Galatasaray), Haris Medunjanin (Gaziantepspor), Senad Lulic (Lazio), Anel Hadzic (Sturm), Tino Susic, Avdija Vrsaljevic (both Hajduk), Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim), Zvjezdan Misimovic (Guizhour Renhe), Senijad Ibricic (Erciyesspor),Strikers: Vedad Ibisevic (VfB Stuttgart), Edin Dzeko (Manchester City), Edin Visca (Istanbul BB).IranGoalkeepers: Daniel Davari (Eintracht Braunschweig), Alireza Haghighi (Sporting Covilha, on loan from Rubin Kazan), Rahman Ahmadi (Sepahan).Defenders: Hossein Mahini, Jalal Hosseini, Mehrdad Pouladi (all Persepolis), Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps), Pejman Montazeri (Umm Salal), Amir-Hossein Sadeghi, Hashem Beikzadeh (both Esteghlal), Ahmad Alenemeh (Naft).Midfielders: Javad Nekounam (Kuwait SC), Andranik Teymourian (Esteghlal), Reza Haghighi (Persepolis), Ghasem Haddadifar (Zob Ahan), Bakhtiar Rahmani (Foolad), Ehsan Hajsafi (Sepahan).Forwards: Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham), Masoud Shojaei (Las Palmas), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (NEC Nijmegen), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Charlton), Karim Ansarifard (Tractor Saz, on loan from Persepolis), Khosro Heydari (Esteghlal).NigeriaGoalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be'er Sheva), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United)Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco), Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod), Joseph Yobo (Norwich, on loan from Fenerbahce), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).Midifelders: John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Ramon Azeez (Almeria), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren), Michael Babatunde (Violyn Lutsk).Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Shola Ameobi (Newcastle), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge), Peter Odemwingie (Stoke), Victor Moses (Liverpool, on loan from Chelsea), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen).My picks : Argentina, Nigeria[...]

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group E

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:23:00 +0000

Group ESwitzerlandGoalkeepers: Diego Benaglio (Wolfsburg), Roman Buerki (Grasshopper), Yann Sommer (Basel).Defenders: Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Michael Lang (Grasshopper), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Fabian Schaer (Basel), Philippe Senderos (Valencia), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), Reto Ziegler (Sassuolo).Midfielders: Tranquillo Barnetta (Eintracht Frankfurt), Valon Behrami, Blerim Dzemaili, Gokhan Inler (all Napoli), Gelson Fernandes (Freiburg), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich), Valentin Stocker (Basel).Forwards: Josip Drmic (Nuremberg), Mario Gavranovic (Zurich), Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg), Haris Seferovic (Real Sociedad), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach).EcuadorGoalkeepers: Maximo Banguera (Barcelona SC), Alexander Dominguez (LDU Quito), Adrian Bone (El Nacional).Defenders: Frickson Erazo (Flamengo), Jorge Guagua, Oscar Bagui, Gabriel Achilier (all Emelec), Walter Ayovi (Pachuca), Juan Carlos Paredes (Barcelona SC).Midfielders: Segundo Castillo (Al-Hilal), Carlos Gruezo (Stuttgart), Renato Ibarra (Vitesse Arnhem), Cristian Noboa (Dynamo Moscow), Luis Saritama (Barcelona SC), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Edison Mendez (Independiente Santa Fe), Fidel Martinez (Tijuana), Michael Arroyo (Atlante).Forwards: Felipe Caicedo (Al-Jazira), Jefferson Montero (Morelia), Joao Rojas (Cruz Azul), Jaime Ayovi (Tijuana), Enner Valencia (Pachuca).FranceGoalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Stephane Ruffier (Marseille), Mickael Landreau (Bastia).Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), Lucas Digne (Paris St-Germain) Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna (both Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi (both Paris St-Germain), Clement Grenier (Lyon), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Loic Remy (Newastle, on loan from QPR), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich).HondurasGettyGoalkeepers: Noel Valladares, Donis Escober (both Olimpia), Luis Lopez (Real Espana).Defenders: Brayan Beckeles (Olimpia), Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic), Juan Carlos Garcia (Wigan), Maynor Figueroa (Hull), Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes), Osman Chavez (Qingdao Janoon), Juan Pablo Montes (Motagua).Midfielders: Edder Delgado (Real Espana), Luis Garrido (Olimpia), Roger Espinoza (Wigan), Jorge Claros (Motagua), Wilson Palacios (Stoke), Oscar Garcia (Houston Dynamo), Andy Najar (Anderlecht), Mario Martinez (Real Espana), Marvin Chavez (Chivas USA).Forwards: Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Jerry Palacios (Alajuelense), Carlo Costly (Real Espana), Rony Martinez (Real Sociedad).My picks : France, Switzerland[...]

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group D

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 19:58:00 +0000

Group DUruguayGoalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad).Defenders: Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica), Diego Lugano (West Brom), Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Jorge Fucile (Porto).Midfielders: Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio), Alvaro Pereira (Sao Paolo), Walter Gargano (Parma), Egidio Arevalo Rios (Morella), Diego Perez (Bologna), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo).Forwards: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain), Abel Hernandez (Palermo), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka), Christian Stuani (Espanyol.Costa RicaGoalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense) Daniel Cambronero (Herediano).Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Michael Umana (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Bruges), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Saprissa), Junior Diaz (Mainz 05), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls).Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolanos (Copenhagen), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesund), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Valerenga), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano).Forwards: Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven, on loan from Fulham), Joel Campbell (Olympiakos, on loan from Arsenal), Randall Brenes (Cartagines), Marco Urena (FC Kuban Krasnodar).EnglandGoalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Celtic), Ben Foster (West Brom), Joe Hart (Manchester City)Defenders: Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka (both Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones, Chris Smalling (both Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Southampton).Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling (all Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere (both Arsenal).Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).ItalyGoalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St-Germain), Mattia Perin (Genoa)Defenders: Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (all Juventus), Gabriel Paletta (Parma), Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio (both AC Milan), Matteo Darmian (Torino).Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio (both Juventus), Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti (both Paris St-Germain), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Marco Parolo (Parma), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina).Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci, Ciro Immobile (both Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli).My picks : Uruguay, England (Italy might have a say)[...]

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group C

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 19:54:00 +0000

Group CColombiaGoalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe).Defenders: Mario Yepes, Cristian Zapata (both AC Milan), Pablo Armero (West Ham, on loan from Napoli), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo).Midfielders: Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional),Forwards: Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate).GreeceGoalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Granada), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos).Defenders: Kostas Manolas, Giannis Maniatis, Jose Holebas (all Olympiakos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Giorgios Tzavellas (PAOK), Loukas Vyntra (Levante), Vasilis Torosidis (Roma), Vangelis Moras (Verona).Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris (Olympiakos), Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino), Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna), Panagiotis Kone (Bologna).Forwards: Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Giorgios Samaras (Celtic), Konstantinos Mitroglou (Fulham), Theofanis Gekas (Konyaspor).Ivory CoastGetyGoalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), Sayouba Sande (Stabaek).Defenders: Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba (Caykur Rizespor), Constant Djakpa (Frankfurt), Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro (Toulouse).Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle), Serey Die (Basel), Max Gradel, Diomande Ismael (Saint Etienne), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover), Mathis Bolly (Dusseldorf).Forwards: Gervinho (Roma), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Giovanni Sio (Basel).JapanGoalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).Defenders: Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96), Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart).Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Makoto Hasebe, Hiroshi Kiyotake (both FC Nuremberg), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F Marinos).Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Yuya Osako (TSV Munich 1860), Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale).My picks : Ivory Coast, Colombia (I'd love to see Japan going through to the next round)[...]

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group B

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 19:51:00 +0000

Group BSpainGoalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David De Gea (Manchester United).Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid).Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich).Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), Diego Costa, David Villa (both Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Pedro (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Manchester United).NetherlandsGoalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Michel Vorm (Swansea)Defenders: Daley Blind, Joel Veltman (both Ajax), Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Terence Kongolo, Bruno Martins Indi, (all Feyenoord), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (Norwich), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven).Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).ChileLars BaronGoalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile), Cristopher Toselli (Universidad Catolica).Defenders: Gary Medel (Cardiff City), Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest), Jose Rojas (Universidad de Chile), Eugenio Mena (Santos), Mauricio Isla (Juventus).Midfielders: Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras), Felipe Gutierrez (Twente), Jose Pedro Fuenzalida (Colo Colo), Francisco Silva (Osasuna), Arturo Vidal (Juventus), Charles Aranguiz (Internacional), Marcelo Diaz (Basel), Carlos Carmona (Atalanta), Miiko Albornoz (Malmo).Forwards: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona), Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo) Eduardo Vargas (Valencia), Jean Beausejour (Wigan Athletic), Mauricio Pinilla (Cagliari), Fabian Orellana (Celta).AustraliaGoalkeepers: Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge).Defenders: Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Bailey Wright (Preston North End).Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion).Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt 1899), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets).My picks : Spain, Netherlands[...]

FIFA World cup 2014 : Final squads - Group A

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 19:34:00 +0000

Group A

Star man: Neymar

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC, on loan from QPR), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro).

 Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Roma), Maxwell, Thiago Silva (both Paris St-Germain), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Napoli). 

Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham), Ramires, Willian, Oscar (all Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City).

Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Fred (Fluminense), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg).


Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Daniel Subasic (Monaco), Oliver Zelenika (Dinamo Zagreb) 

Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Gordon Schildenfeld, Danijel Pranjic (both Panathinaikos), Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa).

 Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dinamo Kiev), Ivan Perisic (Wolfsburg), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Sammir (Getafe), Ivan Mocinic (Rijeka).

 Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich), Ivica Olic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica jelavic (Hull City), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina)


Goalkeepers: Jose de Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).

Defenders: Miguel Layun, Paul Aguilar, Francisco Javier Rodriguez (all America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres), Andres Guardado (Bayer Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Diego Reyes (Porto), Rafael Marquez (Leon).

Midfielders: Miguel Angel Ponce, Isaac Brizuela (both Toluca), Jose Juan Vasquez, Luis Montes, Carlos Pena (all Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul).

Forwards: Oribe Peralta (Santos), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres)


Goalkeepers: Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport), Charles Itandje (Konyaspor), Sammy Ndjock (Fethiyespor).

Defenders: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (QPR, on loan from Tottenham), Henri Bedimo (Lyon), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray), Cedric Djeugou (Coton Sport), Nicolas Nkoulou (Marseille), Dany Nounkeu (Besiktas), Allan Nyom (Granada).

Midfielders: Enoh Eyong (Antalyaspor), Jean Makoun (Rennes), Joel Matip (Schalke), Stephane Mbia (Sevilla, on loan from QPR), Benjamin Moukandjo (Nancy), Landry Nguemo (Bordeaux), Edgar Salli (Lens), Alex Song (Barcelona).

Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient), Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting (Mainz), Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea), Fabrice Olinga (Malaga), Achille Webo (Fenerbahce)

My picks : Brazil, Mexico

The curious case of David Moyes at Manchester United

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 17:06:00 +0000

When David Moyes was appointed the manager following SAF's retirement, there was a sense of euphoria and excitement surrounding the Chosen One. It was understandable considering the club was stepping into a new era and there was a new person occupying the manager seat after almost three decades. When the announcement came people perceived it was a reward for Moyes' consistent achievements over a long tenure in charge of Everton and Preston. The club had just won a record breaking 20th league title and SAF must have felt he was leaving the club with the best possible squad.

It was not until July 2013 that Moyes took charge of the club and his first task was to sort out the Wayne Rooney situation. As a United fan, I personally feel Wazza hasn't been doing himself any good by putting himself in awkward positions during these contract negotiations. There is a feeling among United fans that he is not a hero anymore though the reaction from Old Trafford faithful suggest otherwise.

By the end of August 2013, Moyes had done enough to keep Rooney at Old Trafford for the season at-least. So what about signings? Manchester United were badly in need of a world class midfielder for a few years now and that wasn't addressed. In the end Fellaini was bought from Everton for a staggering 27M pounds. It did not impress the fans one bit. The season rolled on and slide begun. Moyes had revitalized Wayne Rooney who seemed a different player altogether but RVP paled in comparison to the player he was the previous season.

No one could argue United had the best squad but SAF managed to extract the maximum out of the players when the stepped on to the pitch every single time. Cracks were opening and the worst part was they were widening big time. The tactical acumen of Moyes was questioned and his post match interviews did nothing to inspire confidence among the fans or the management. The performance hit a new low against Olympiakos, seen as one the worst performances ever by the Red Devils

Pulev In Line For World Title Fight

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 11:11:00 +0000

Kubrat Pulev is hoping to get a shot at either Wladimir Klitschko or Alexander Povetkin after beating Tony Thompson on Saturday night in Germany.The Bulgarian defeated the 41-year old on points when a unanimous decision went his favour. The judges scored the bout 116-112, 118-110 and 117-111.The victory ensures Pulev still remains unbeaten so far in his career after 18 professional fights and will now become the IBF’s mandatory challenger. He could get meet the champion as early as next year in a bout that is sure to excite fans who love to bet on boxing.Thompson, who had stopped Britain’s David Price back in June, is likely to miss out on another world championship fight following the defeat, despite doing his reputation as one of the toughest fighters in the division no harm.It was the American who actually started the better of the two boxers in the early rounds of the main event. However, Pulev stepped up his work rate from the fifth round and was hitting his shots cleaner.The majority of the fight was fought from close range which meant neither man were able to strike a telling blow, making it tough for punters who were keen to use their in-play bet offer.There was a few warning signs for the Bulgarian in the seventh round though, where Thompson landed a couple of solid shots onto his chin, but he recovered well to regain control in the final few round of the fight.Earlier in the evening, Arthur Abraham picked up a points victory over Willbeforce Shihepo. The former WBO super-middleweight champion was beaten by Robert Stieglitz on his last outing, but the 33-year old was able to bounce back with the win over the journeyman.There was also success for Juergen Braehmer who defended his European light-heavyweight belt. The German had to work but got the verdict by the judges after 12 tough rounds against Stefano Abatangelo.[...]

Good Start Key for Burns

Thu, 25 Jul 2013 13:26:00 +0000

Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns may have set his sights on snatching the England no.10 jersey ahead of the next World Cup but the 23-year-old knows that club form must come first if he is to become a fixture in the national side.

Burns made his debut for England in their famous victory over the All Blacks last December and since then he has impressed whilst starting at number 10 in both of their games on tour in Argentina.

For Burns, his first three England caps are just the start and his unbeaten run in an international shirt has only whetted his appetite for more success.

 "I have huge ambition with England over the next two years with the World Cup coming,” Burns said "Of course I want to be involved in those autumn internationals,” he added, looking forward to England’s games against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

Despite his lofty ambition to oust Owen Farrell from the England starting line-up, Burns knows that any success at international level will only come as a result of another successful season with Gloucester and, after missing out on the play offs last year despite being well fancied in the rugby betting, a good start will be crucial.

“I know that [international recognition] comes off the back of playing well for Gloucester, so that's my main aim and my main focus,” the man from Bath said."Hopefully I can get a good start. I definitely want to keep pushing but I'm not looking at anything other than getting a good start."

Burns certainly came out of the England tour to Argentina with a lot of credit but he still has some way to go to displace Owen Farrell.

Another solid season could see Burns move further into Stuart Lancaster’s thoughts but for the moment he is right to concentrate on success with Gloucester.

If Burns can regularly produce his best form then punters who bet on rugby feel Gloucester will be hard to stop as they look to make up for last season’s disappointment.

Japan struggling ahead of Confederations Cup

Fri, 31 May 2013 14:45:00 +0000

Japan’s hopes of clinching an unlikely title at the 2013 Confederations Cup later this June already appear in tatters after the squad fell to a second defeat within a week on Thursday night.

The Japanese national side played a friendly against Bulgaria in Toyota as preparations for two World Cup qualifiers and failed to impress sports betting fans during their 2-0 loss.

The defeat came four days after a disappointing 2-1 qualification loss to Jordan, which means they cannot secure safe passage to next summer’s World Cup until later this week.

In fact, they couldn’t have had a worse preparation heading into games against Australia and Iraq and even if they win these two fixtures are unlikely to find much success out in Brazil.

Japan are set to book their place in the World Cup and will use their Confederations Cup experience this summer to acclimatise to the South American conditions. They face Brazil, Mexico and Italy in Group A and are favourites to finish bottom on Betfair’s sports odds.

Yet winning is not everything at the Confederations Cup and the experience of Brazil’s varying conditions is far more important for head coach Alberto Zaccheroni. They play in Brasilia, Recife and Belo Horizonte – three completely different cities that cover a huge expanse of the country.

This will put Japan in good stead for the World Cup next year, regardless of the results. Should they beat Australia and Iraq this week they may go on to prove an upset against Mexico and the hosts, although second place in Group A behind Italy is the most they can hope for.

Betting fans are advised not to back Japan for glory this summer and instead consider how far they can go in one year’s time. That’s what Zaccheroni will be most focussed upon and the results should show at the World Cup.

Not interested in the Confederations Cup? Check out the latest odds on Champions League on the Betfair website.

Kaymer still Basking in Ryder Cup Glow

Thu, 30 May 2013 12:24:00 +0000

Former world number one Martin Kaymer will head to this year’s US Open knowing he will probably still be reminded about how his nerve-tingling five-foot putt on the 18th green broke American hearts in last year’s Ryder Cup at Medinah.

The German, who spends the majority of his time in the States playing on the US PGA Tour, has admitted he has found himself persona non grata with a lot of American fans following his exploits for Europe last year.

"A couple of times in the gym and once when I went out for dinner there were guys that came out and said, 'I didn't really like you before but now I really hate you'," the 2010 PGA champion revealed ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"If it comes down to crucial moments in the last two or three holes of tournaments I am prepared well because I know I did something very special a few months ago. The belief I gained from the Ryder Cup has been very valuable."

While the Ryder Cup experience was a real high point for Kaymer last year, it was one of only a handful of occasions in 2012 in which the German star will have been happy with how he had performed. 

It’s been something of a similar story for Kaymer so far this year. Still without a tournament victory since the end of 2011, Kaymer will go into this year’s US Open with a relatively lowly ranking of 32 in the world.

But the 28-year old will be more than aware of the fact that a strong showing at Merion could catapult him right back into the Open Golf Betting Tips, and breathe new life into a career that has appeared to have become a bit stuck in the mud.

The Geography of Poker

Tue, 28 May 2013 14:48:00 +0000

The game of poker will evolve differently depending what country you originate from. This is true whether you are playing live or online, such as in a Betfair 5 card draw event. Understanding this can give you an edge when creating a read on the player types sitting at your table.

The Global Poker Index (GPI) is the universally recognised poker ranking system. It was first created as part of the doomed Epic Poker League (EPL) and now belongs to Alexandre Dreyfus, the former CEO of Chiligaming.

The GPI also has a country ranking system and at the top of that list with just under half of the 300-top players in the world is the United States.

So, it goes without saying that the game in the States is much tougher than say the game in Italy. There is a steeper tradition and more people have played the game for longer.

The Scandinavians are notorious for their super aggressive playing style, in Asian countries there is this happy go lucky gambling attitude and in France there is more of a calling station vibe to their play.

If you are readless at a table then it does you no harm to start out with the default country settings. If playing against someone from Sweden then consider him, or her, a loose aggressive player until they give you reason to believe otherwise.

Another thing you should keep an eye out for is the fundamentals of a poker player’s game. There is a huge difference between someone who knows how to navigate their way through a tournament field and those that don’t. The limited skills and experience should shine and it will also help you formulate some good reads.

NBA votes to keep Kings in Sacramento

Tue, 21 May 2013 19:01:00 +0000

The Kings will stay in Sacramento rather than move to Seattle after the NBA ruled that the team should remain where they are. The decision brings to an end a saga which began in January when the family of George Maloof, which owns a majority interest in the team, looked at the possibility of moving the team to Seattle after failing to persuade the city of Sacramento to build a new arena. The Maloofs reached a deal to sell the team to a local investment group led by Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen. The city of Seattle has been without its own basketball team since the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. However, the mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, vowed to start a campaign to keep the Kings in California’s capital and he put together a team that promised to match Hansen's bid. The group also persuaded the city council to back a proposal for a new $450million arena. NBA Commissioner David Stern is pleased that a resolution has been found, saying to NBA betting news reporters: "It's nice to see two great cities so interested in an NBA franchise, but the winner here is Sacramento. “It is my expectation that we will now be able to reach a deal with the Maloofs.” Last month, a committee of NBA owners voted that the team should stay in Sacramento, but Hansen vowed to fight on, raising his bid for a controlling interest in the Kings to $406million, which valued the team at $625million. Punters who bet on NBA always favoured the status quo, which is how it has prevailed. Meanwhile, Johnson believes the construction of a new arena will create jobs and provide more economic development opportunities for Sacramento but accepts that Seattle deserves a team of its own, saying: "They know what it feels like to lose a team. We just don't want that to happen to us."

Surprise Candidates in the NCAA

Mon, 20 May 2013 12:38:00 +0000

Each and every season we have a few teams that emerge and make a noise in the NCAA that you would not have considered as contenders but when you look back the signs are there; they may have laid good foundations the year before and built on those or they may have added a missing piece of the jigsaw.

So are there any teams that meet that criteria this year, we think there are, and although you could have some question marks over these three that we have selected they do have the talent to emerge and thrive.

As NCAAB betting fans know, the Virginia Cavaliers have the potential to be one of the elite teams in the country with a team that has experience and well defined roles and most important the players take care of the ball, have shot discipline and are tough to score against.

The Cavaliers also have one of the best players in the ACC in Joe Harris and he is the fulcrum of the side that they can play around although they will need to find a replacement for point guard Jontel Evans who was the heartbeat of the side defensively. If the Cavaliers get consistent point guard play, we feel they will finish in the top four in the ACC and be a dangerous team in the NCAA tournament.

LSU look like a side that has momentum, they had 19 wins last season with 9 coming in the SEC; their victories against Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama sent a message that these were no paper Tigers but a young and talented team that is athletic enough to compete within the conference.

They have a good anchor offensively in Johnny O’Bryant and he was playing as well as anyone in the SEC at the end of last season. Around him he has plenty of talent in Anthony Hickey, Andre Stringer and Shavon Coleman and the Tigers’ top-10-ranked freshman class will provide even further strength in depth and this team has the potential to go to the Sweet 16.

If you are looking for a side that could really breakthrough then look no further than the Arizona State Sun Devils especially after they won 22 games last year. ASU are one of the fastest-playing teams in the West.

The Sun Devils averaged 72 points per game last season, and we expect them to play even faster next season especially with explosive players like Jahii Carson on the court, and his dynamic skill set is backed up by a good supporting cast plus the Sun Devils have two transfers they expect to contribute; Brandan Kearney from Michigan State and Richie Edwards from Valparaiso.

Both are skilled and can make shots, fitting perfectly into the Sun Devils' system. We would expect the Sun Devils to make the NCAA tournament this season and cause a few surprises when they get there especially with Carson, one of the best point guards in the country.

We are sure that there will be other surprise teams to emerge over the season but as things stand these three have as good a chance as any of breaking the out when the new season starts.

Guest Runs Excellent Hunt Cup Trial

Wed, 15 May 2013 13:26:00 +0000

Excellent Guest finally got his head in front in a big handicap when coming fast and late to land the valuable Betfred Victoria Cup at Ascot at the weekend, in the process running the perfect trial for the Royal Hunt Cup, and delighting fans who placed a Royal Ascot bet.Trained by George Margarson, the six-year-old had fallen to a mark of 93 after ending last term on a low note in finishing last of the 33 runners in the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket having run little better on his previous outing. Margarson had endured a series of near misses with the gelded son of Exceed and Excel in top handicaps over the last few seasons and had begun to wonder if he would ever land a decent prize.Ridden in the 26-runner Victoria Cup by Tom Queally, Excellent Guest was held up for much of the straight seven-furlong contest before making good headway in the final quarter mile. Running on strongly well inside the final furlong, he burst through to hit the front and then stayed on well to hold another fast finisher, Bertiwhittle, by half-a-length.Second in recent seasons in the Bunbury Cup, the Royal Hunt Cup, and the Buckingham Palace Handicap, Excellent Guest was certainly not winning out of turn and delighted his handler who is already looking forward to returning him to the fray at Royal Ascot next month for another crack at the Royal Hunt Cup over an extra furlong on the straight mile.The 25/1 chance was landing his fourth win from 26 career starts and is a half-brother to the yard’s Imperial Guest who suffered a fatal injury at Kempton in January having proved a standard bearer for Margarson in recent seasons, including wining a valuable heritage handicap at Glorious Goodwood. In Excellent Guest, it appears that the Newmarket handler has a ready-made replacement for his much missed stalwart, a point that Betfair pundit, Jamie Lynch, has supported in recent days.[...]

Djokovic return Game the key to Clay Success

Wed, 01 May 2013 10:29:00 +0000

Novak Djokovic has always been known for his ability to return even the world’s fastest serves with consummate ease and last weekend this gift proved the difference between winning and losing yet again. Facing Rafael Nadal in the final of a tournament the Spaniard has won eight times before must be a daunting task but when you’ve got a return master at the other end of the court the balance of power evens somewhat.This is what fans betting Betfair enjoyed on Sunday afternoon as Nadal and Djokovic clashed for the Monte Carlo Masters final and few of us expected the result we witnessed.Djokovic was simply too dominant for the Spaniard and bounded to a 5-0 first-set lead before taking the opener 6-2. Although Nadal fought back hard to force a second-set tie-break, Djokovic’s dominance on single points proved the difference between the pair as he won the second and the championship on a 7-1 mini set.What gave Djokovic the edge on Sunday was his ability to return serve and if he keeps this up he is the logical choice to win the French Open later next month.Djokovic only made 62% of his first serves compared to Nadal’s 72%, yet the Serb won 63% of his first serve points, while Nadal only won 55% of his.So, despite having a better serve Nadal failed to make it count, and this was because Djokovic is the master at retuning.His reaction to serves is second to none and because he possesses at 6ft 2” frame he can stretch across the court in a flash and excavate those impossible balls. The 2013 Australian Open champion won 40/78 return points to Nadal’s 23/61 and that is where the pair differed.If Nadal is to win the Roland Garros crown he must improve his return game or find an extra 10mph in his serves. That is unlikely to happen and so betting fans should back Djokovic to win the clay slam this summer.[...]

Burleson injury news great for Lions fans

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 13:49:00 +0000

Detroit Lions fans concerned their offense lacks the spark needed to succeed in the NFC North next season will be pleased to hear injured wide receiver Nate Burleson is way ahead of his scheduled recovery time.

Burleson broke his leg in late October during Detroit’s 13-7 defeat to the Chicago Bears and was immediately ruled out for the rest of the 2012 season. The Lions arguably suffered from his absence, winning just two games after that Chicago game, but now fans can look forward to his return.

"The great news is I'm healed up," Burleson told NFL AM. "I just got news from my doctors that the bone is good. I'm running and jumping three months ahead of schedule."

Indeed, to be three months ahead of the recovery date is great news for both Burleson and Lions fans who bet on NFL, for there is a real chance of healthy competition growing within the team over pre-season training.

Burleson will tussle with veteran receiver Calvin Johnson once more this year and there may even be a surprise draft pick hidden up Detroit’s sleeve come the 2013 Draft this week.

If the Lions can bring in a young WR to learn off Burleson then the 31-year-old’s job of keeping his place will be tough but nonetheless rewarding.

Detroit needs competition in offensive positions as 2012 demonstrated and the departure of Titus Young certainly hasn’t helped things. Despite making the 2011 playoffs the team crumpled to a 4-12 season last term, finishing bottom of the division, and head coach Jim Schwartz needs to get this pack going again if they are to defy the NFL betting odds that are tipping them for another year of struggle.

Hopefully Ryan Boyles can return from injury as good as ever and if Schwartz can add another WR before August Detroit should possess a dangerous forward threat.

Djokovic revels in surprise win

Fri, 26 Apr 2013 12:01:00 +0000

Novak Djokovic admits he did not expect to win the Monte Carlo Masters after going into the tournament with an injury cloud hanging over him. The Serbian was a major doubt after damaging his right ankle on Davis Cup duty just a week before the start of the event in Monaco. The world number one decided to play and was clearly not 100 per cent fit during the early rounds. However, his decision ultimately paid off as he worked his way through to Sunday's final, where he ended Rafael Nadal's incredible stranglehold on the Monte Carlo Masters with a 6-2 7-6 (7-1) victory. Nadal had held the title for eight years and entered the Masters 1000 showpiece protecting a 46-match unbeaten run. The clay-court king had no answer in the early stages as Djokovic took a firm grip on the contest. "The first six, seven or eight games were unbelievable. It's the best I can play on clay - well, it's the only way you can win against Rafa" said Djokovic, who lost finals in 2009 and 2012. The win will boost Djokovic's confidence as he prepares to avenge last year's French Open final defeat to Nadal at Roland Garros next month. He regards taking the risk to compete in Monaco as the "best decision of my life". "I cannot be happier than I am at this moment, knowing what I've been through the whole week – trying to recover and make my decision to play," added Djokovic. "If somebody had told me 10 days ago that I'd be winning the trophy, I wouldn't have thought it was realistic." The 25-year-old will continue his preparations for the second Grand Slam of the season at the Madrid Open in May. Don’t forget to head over to bet365 for all the latest tennis betting news odds, tips, advice and expert opinion, as well as their frequently updated promotions, including their latest in-play bet offer.