Friday, May 19, 2006


!0 More Squads Announced

TEN World Cup squads, including that of hosts Germany, were announced today and there were a few surprise selections.
Jurgen Klinsmann recalled 32-year-old Jens Nowotny after a two-year absense from international football and also picked uncapped David Odonkor, 22, for his squad.
There was no place in the Spain squad for Liverpool's Fernando Morientes, though, with the strikers berths going to Raul, Valencia's David Villa and Fernando Torres of Athletic Mardid.
Chelsea's Petr Cech and Aston Villa's Milan Baros were included in the much-fancied Czech Republic squad, while Arsenal pair Philipe Senderos and Johan Djourou were selected for Switzerland.
Japan included three British-based players in their squad - Bolton's Hidetoshi Nakata, West Brom's Junichi Inamoto and Celtic's Shunsuke Nakamura. Aston Villa's Olof Mellberg and Arsenal's Freddie Ljunberg were included in Sweden's squad, meanwhile.
For Serbia and Montenegro, Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic and Portsmouth's Ognjen Koroman were picked, while Leeds United's Rui Marques was included in the Angola squad.
Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue both made the Ivory Coast squad together with Chelsea's Didier Drogba.
Jens Lehmann (Arsenal), Robert Huth (Chelsea) and his new team-mate Michael Ballack were included in the Germany squad, while no fewer than eight Premiership stars, including Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Liverpool's Xabi Alonso, were picked for Spain."

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Rooney The Latest News

"Sven Goran Eriksson will know more on whether Wayne Rooney will feature for England in this summer's World Cup on May 25.
The Manchester United striker is due to undergo a scan on his broken metatarsal later this month and until Eriksson obtains his results, he is keeping his cards to his chest.
It has been suggested the likes of Frank Lampard or Joe Cole could fill in as a second striker should Rooney miss out, but the Swede is crossing his fingers on Rooney being fit.
When asked when Rooney will be with England, Eriksson replied: 'I have no idea. It's difficult to say.
'I'm waiting until after the 25th of May for the scan. We'll know after then.
'Hopefully, it is good news. I spoke to Wayne last week and he is working and doing everything he has been asked to do - and maybe even more than that.
'I have always been positive, not because of medical reasons but because he will do absolutely everything to try to get fit as quickly as possible.
'I don't think Wayne even believes that not being at the World Cup will be the case for him. He is desperate to play in the World Cup. He has no negative thoughts like that.'
The England coach is remaining philosophical on his side's chances even if Rooney misses out.
'It would be a pity (to be without Rooney). Things would be better with him. We won't stand and fall on one player.'
With Liverpool's Steven Gerrard in such impressive form for The Reds in an attacking role it had been suggested he should push forward more for England.
However, Eriksson is happy with his international role, although he is not ruling him out of filling that second striker role if Rooney is not fit.
The 25th of May is the day of reckoning when results on the scan will be announced.


Owen Fit to Play in World Cup

Owen Fit To Play - Great News

Striker Michael Owen eased one of England's injury fears on Wednesday when the prolific striker pronounced himself fit for FIFA World Cup™ duty.

Owen has played only one competitive game for Newcastle United since breaking a bone in his foot on 31 December and had become an injury worry for the finals in Germany.
Asked if there were any doubts about being fit for England's first Group B game against Paraguay on 10 June, Owen told reporters: "Not at all. People have a whole summer off and then come in for pre-season training and do four or five weeks before their first match.
"I see it as probably that, only that I've got the added advantage that I've been on treadmills, bikes and everything else for the last three months. It's driven me crackers but it's kept me in good shape."

Owen, who is expected to feature in three England friendlies in the weeks ahead, said: "If there was a World Cup game tomorrow I would be in fit condition to play. I don't understand why people should be so concerned. I'm not."

As for regaining match fitness, he added: "It's not like 50 years ago when you needed to play ten games. You can do plenty of things in training, and there's these three games. It's not like as soon as I had my injury I've been sat there in my lounge watching TV for four months.
"Nowadays you have your operation and you are straight on the bike or the treadmill the next day, you are pushing and pushing and pushing."

With 35 goals in 75 appearances for England, Owen will be key to his team's hopes in Germany, particularly as strike partner Wayne Rooney is a real doubt, at least for the early stages, with a broken foot.

The 26-year-old will get valuable match practice with a B international against Belarus on 25 May and friendlies against Hungary on 30 May and Jamaica on 3 June.
Owen is confident he will not disappoint. "Even though the cameras haven't been on me for a couple of months now, behind the scenes on the Newcastle training ground I've been training, playing and doing everything that everyone else has been doing," he said.
Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was also optimistic after seeing Owen work out at the squad's training camp in Portugal. "He looks very very sharp," Eriksson told a news conference. "Scoring yesterday, scoring today and he's hungry to play football - and that's very good."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Fever Is Building

Thirty-two teams from across the globe make up the field for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finals. Six continents are represented and six past winners will take part, including hosts Germany, who head the 14-strong European contingent, and holders Brazil who lead the South American challenge.
Qualified Teams

32 teams explode onto out tv screens from 9th June , then it will be football, football all the way to the final on the July 9th, 64 matches in total.


England, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Czech Republic


USA, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina


Tunisia, Cote d,Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Angola,


Saudi Arabia


Betting Favourites

Brazil took football's biggest prize in 2002 and with the World player of the year 2004, 2005 and potentially 2006 in their ranks they deserve their status as favourite for the competition. Ronaldinho aside the team is packed with quality and Ronaldo among others is out to prove he is not yesterdays news. Despite some criticism of late this household name always performs for his country, was instrumental in the team's qualification and needs just one more world cup goal to exceed the great Pele's tally.

Of the challengers to Brazil's crown it's worth highlighting Germany who could profit from the ever important host nation advantage. From Uruguay winning the first in 1930 to Korea exceeding all expectations last time round the history of the World Cup is littered with proof that playing at home is a massive boost. Germany themselves won in 1974 last time they hosted and the team they look set to field in 2006 looks enough to trouble any top side.

Of the rest, perennial class acts Argentina have a frightening wealth of talent and results permitting could be set for a showdown with Brazil in the final. England too look as dangerous as they ever have been at this stage. Should neither Rooney or Owen be fit in time though our chances look shot unless young Theo Walcott can step up to the mark on the biggest stage! Will there be a surprise package this year?

The young and progressive Swiss team have a great chance of progressing from their group and let's not forget Croatia who again look set to cause a few upsets. Coming 3rd in 1998 may have been a shock but the team is littered with players from the top teams across Europe, they were mightily impressive in qualifying and have a great chance to get out of the group stage behind Brazil.

The latest betting as at 17.5.2006 is as follows :

Brazil 11/4
Germany 15/2
England 8/1
Argentina 8/1
Italy 9/1
Trinidad and Tobago 1500/1

Groups and Teams
Group A
Costa Rica

Group B
Trinidad and Tobago

Group C
Côte d'Ivoire
Serbia and Montenegro

Group D

Group E
Czech Republic

Group F

Group G
Korea Republic

Group H
Saudi Arabia

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