Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels England were "killed by their own impatience" as they crashed out of the World Cup to Germany in Bloemfontein.

Fabio Capello's future as boss of the national team is under the spotlight following England's woeful showing in South Africa, which ended with a 4-1 footballing lesson from a young German side on Sunday.

However, Wenger believes it could have been different had the England players used their experience and not allowed themselves to be caught on the break as they pressed for an equaliser, which they had been denied when the officials failed to spot that Frank Lampard's lob had crossed the line.

Wenger also believes England's failure to cope with the weight of expectation was a big part of the problem.


Sunday, June 27, 2010


Manchester United have ruled out a bid to sign Joe Cole on a free transfer. Cole is out of contract this summer and, after Chelsea confirmed he will not be offered a new deal, he has been linked with several top clubs in the Premier League.

It had been reported that Arsenal had agreed a deal, but Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp this week said he believed the player would move to Old Trafford.

However, various reports now suggest United have said they have no intention of offering Cole a deal. The BBC claims that "although Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been a long-time admirer of Cole, a senior club source at Old Trafford said he would not be making a summer move to sign him".

Friday, June 25, 2010


Holland maintained their 100 per cent record at the World Cup as they ensured Cameroon left the tournament pointless after running out 2-1 winners in their final Group E game.

Robin van Persie's crisp 36th minute strike gave the Green Point Stadium crowd something to get excited about in an otherwise drab opening period to what was a virtual dead-rubber.

But a much-improved second half saw the Indomitable Lions rewarded for their endeavour as Samuel Eto'o scored his second goal of the tournament via the penalty spot after Rafael van der Vaart was penalised for handballing Geremi's free-kick.

But Paul Le Guen's side were denied a point as Dutch substitute Arjen Robben quickly announced himself to the South Africa finals as his long-range blast cannoned off the post before allowing fellow replacement Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to tuck home the winner.

The Dutch top Group E with nine points and will meet Slovakia in Durban on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals while Cameroon head home empty-handed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Cesc Fabregas has admitted he was frustrated not to get on the field in Spain's 1-0 defeat by Switzerland on Wednesday.

The Arsenal midfielder has been the subject of intense speculation regarding his future in England, with former club Barcelona desperate to bring the 23-year-old back to the side he left as a 16-year-old academy product.

Despite his standing as one of the world's finest playmakers, Fabregas has often been in the shadow of the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso in the international squad, who are favoured by coach Vicente del Bosque.

Spain headed into the World Cup in South Africa strongly fancied to win the tournament for the first time, but they were stunned by a gritty Swiss side who nullified their threat and hit them on the counter-attack with Gelson Fernandes' winner shortly after the half-time interval.


Denmark hit back from an early deficit to re-ignite their World Cup challenge and in the process extinguish Cameroon's chances of getting through to the second round.

In what was a hugely entertaining encounter between the bottom two teams in Group E in Pretoria, Cameroon took the lead in the 10th minute through captain Samuel Eto'o following a bad defensive error by Christian Poulsen.

Denmark recovered from that setback though, and goals from Nicklas Bendtner and the dangerous Dennis Rommedahl in either half earned the Scandinavians a hard-fought victory.

The result means that Denmark join their next opponents Japan on three points, while group leaders Netherlands are now guaranteed a top-two finish - making them the first team to progress.

For battling Cameroon though, the defeat sees them become the first side to bid farewell to the World Cup after losing both their opening two games.


Wesley Sneijder's second-half goal handed Holland a narrow win over Japan in their second Group E match and put the Oranje within reach of the last 16 of the World Cup.

After a frustrating opening half for the Dutch side, they finally broke through in the 53rd minute with Sneijder's stinging drive deflected by Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima into his own net.

Japan had the best chance to level the score one minute from time but an unmarked substitute Shinji Okazaki fired over the bar from just 10 yards as Holland held on for victory.

The Oranje, who had a sea of supporters at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium, dominated possession but had just one shot on goal in the opening half.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


An own goal by Daniel Agger, thanks to Simon Poulsen's mistimed header, and a late Dirk Kuyt effort helped Netherlands begin their World Cup campaign with a comfortable victory over Denmark at Soccer City.

Both goals came in the second half after an assured first period of defending by the Scandinavians, who constantly thwarted a Dutch attack which appeared short of ideas without the injured Arjen Robben.

But the resistance was broken less than 60 seconds into the second half, when Robin van Persie's cross from the left was headed in the wrong direction by Simon Poulsen - he tried to head clear and sent it towards his own goal - and it struck the back of Agger and went in.

Kuyt doubled Netherlands' advantage five minutes from the end to ensure the highly-fancied Oranje a positive start in Group E.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Rafael Marquez denied hosts South Africa a dream start to the World Cup with his goal 11 minutes from time earning Mexico a deserved draw at Soccer City. The home side was lucky to escape when Khune flapped at a corner, but came so far he played Carlos Vela offside as the Arsenal forward latched on to a flick-on and tapped in.

After struggling through the first half, the home side came out firing after the break and took the lead through Siphiwe Tshabalala. But after missing plenty of chances to build on their advantage, they saw their lead cancelled out by the Barcelona defender.


Sunday, June 6, 2010


Holland came from behind to hit Hungary for six, but then suffered their own big blow with a late injury to Arjen Robben. Star winger Robben left the Amsterdam ArenA with a hamstring injury after notching a brace (64, 79), leaving him a major doubt for the World Cup.
Robin van Persie (22), Wesley Sneijder (58) Mark van Bommel (71) and Eljero Elia (75) were also on target for Oranje in their final World Cup warm-up game before their Group E campaign.
But the Dutch were caught napping for the sixth-minute opener when Sandor Torghelle's long ball from his own half was collected with ease by Balazs Dzsudzsak, who dispatched a powerful shot into the top-left corner of Maarten Stekelenburg's net from the edge of the area.



Navas' first international goal for Spain was enough to secure a 1-0 win over fellow World Cup finalists South Korea in Austria. Sevilla winger Navas' stunning effort four minutes from time earned Spain an 11th successive victory to stretch their current impressive run to just one defeat in 47 games.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque opted to start with a side made up largely of fringe players, and aside from a Cesc Fabregas effort that hit the crossbar, they created little to worry South Korea in the opening period. The South Koreans, who suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Belarus on Sunday, did not create many problems either before half-time, although they did come close twice.

Saturday, June 5, 2010



Mexico warmed up for the World Cup finals with a 2-1 friendly win over holders Italy in Brussels. Arsenal youngster Carlos Vela opened the scoring for Mexico and substitute Alberto Medina added the second before Leonardo Bonucci notched a late consolation for Italy.

Just as England had been outplayed by the Mexicans for long periods at Wembley last week, Italy were given the run-around by Javier Aguirre's team at the King Baudouin Stadium. Whereas England managed to battle to a 3-1 win however, the Italians were stifled by an improved Mexican backline.

Mexico, who will play the opening game of the 2010 World Cup against hosts South Africa on 11th June in Johannesburg, started with Tottenham's Giovani Dos Santos in attack alongside Manchester United-bound Javier Hernandez



Friday, June 4, 2010


Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas is set to play for the first time in two months against South Korea, but Fernando Torres will not be risked. The European champions take on South Korea in Innsbruck on Thursday in a World Cup warm-up as they prepare for their Group H campaign.
Arsenal skipper Fabregas, subject of a transfer bid by Barcelona, is set to come back from a cracked bone in his right leg in the game and Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is expecting no problems. Liverpool striker Torres is also close to a return from knee surgery but the hot-shot missed one of two training sessions on Tuesday as a precaution.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Barcelona have confirmed that they have made an offer to Arsenal for Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
Barca have been strongly linked with Fabregas for some time, and the player has now said he would welcome the chance to return to Camp Nou this summer.
The club's director general, Joan Oliver, confirmed on their official website that a written offer has been submitted and "formal" talks are now underway.


Theo Walcott says he felt he deserved his place in England's final 23-man squad but says he has been reassured he is still in Fabio Capello's plans for the future.
Darren Bent, Adam Johnson, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Michael Dawson and Leighton Baines were all told they had missed out on a place in South Africa on Tuesday, but it was Walcott's omission that provided the biggest shock.
Several newspapers report that Walcott was left out after failing to follow Capello's instructions to stay wide and beat his man on the outside in the last two friendlies, with his mistakes frustrating the coach during a DVD review of the matches, but the Arsenal man feels he had warranted a place.


Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt sent Holland on their way to a crushing friendly victory over disappointing Ghana in Rotterdam. Kuyt struck the game's opener on the half hour and second-half efforts from Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie saw the hosts ease home. Asamoah Gyan netted for the Africans.
Kuyt stabbed the ball home from close range after Ghana keeper Richard Kingson had parried the initial shot from van Persie. Coach Bert van Marwijk made three half-time substitutions and the Dutch struggled to make the game safe before Van der Vaart finished off a one-two with Mark van Bommel on 73 minutes.
Ghana pulled one back through Gyan before a long-range effort from Sneijder and a late penalty from Van Persie wrapped up a convincing Dutch win.