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Friday, November 18, 2005

Keane Quits Man United..Shocker !

Roy Keane, that paragon of reasoned, intelligent debate and gentleman footballer, has left Manchester United today. Apparently 'by mutual consent'. Some may suggest that they've finally had enough of Keano and sacked the bugger. Not me though...that could be libellous.

Both parties have put out the usual platitudes in their press releases : 'great servant to the club', 'time for me to move on', 'best midfielder of his generation'...you could write this stuff yourselves. But it all seems a little too hasty to be truly amicable and I'm looking foward to Roy Keane putting his foot in his mouth in the future over this.

In all honesty, Keane has become a bit of a liability in recent months and it's probably time he left. I also think he was overrated as a 'leader' and captain. If shouting at people in an Irish accent was leadership, the Rev Ian Paisley would be Emperor of the World.

What has any of this got to do with the World Cup. Um...well, The Republic of Ireland need a manager. A bit tenuous, I know.
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posted by mark_s at 2:18 PM 1 comments

Nedved's Comeback Short Lived ?

Having come back for the two play-off games, former Czech Republic captain Pavel Nedved is looking very unlikely to make his return to world class football a permanent one.

In a
recent interview, he said this :

"I have to take care of my health. My legs don't run like they used to. You know it more each month. To still play at Juventus at my age, it's something I didn't expect."


While Czech coach, Karel Brueckner, praised Nedved's contribution to the World Cup play-off success, he didn't seem very positive on the chances of the Juve midfielder playing in Germany 2006.

A shame that Euro 2004 is the last we're likely to see of such a class player on the major stage.
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posted by mark_s at 1:34 PM 0 comments

England Conducts World Cup Feasibility Study...A Nation Yawns

For some reason only known to themselves, the British government have taken it upon themselves to launch a feasibility study into the possibility of bidding for the 2018 World Cup Finals. I know, I could barely contain my indifference either.

However, remembering what Tony Blair (y' know the chap - the future-ex-Prime-Minister) said on BBC's Football Focus -that such a bid would have to come from the F.A - this feasibility study, led by Gordon Brown (y'know the chap - the hoping-to-be- ex-Chancellor-hoping-to-be-Prime-Minister), looks more like political maneouvering than a genuine attempt to stir up interest in a bid.

Ho hum.
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posted by mark_s at 12:44 PM 0 comments

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Seconds Out...there go the Turks

People...mainly former footballers who've conveniently forgotten that they ever had any mediocre performances...talk a lot about teams showing 'passion' and 'wanting it'.

The Turks showed just how much they wanted it last night by demolishing the Swiss 4-2 and then trying to beat hell out of them in the tunnel. Still didn't get them through to next year's World Cup, despite some cracking football.

So the next time you hear some former-pro dribbling on about 'they're not winning...because they aren't showing enough passion...they just don't seem to want it enough', spare a thought for the Turkish national team. And smile.
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posted by mark_s at 1:29 PM 0 comments

World Cup Soccer Play Offs - Second Leg

OK, aside from the fight between the Swiss and the always friendly and hospitable Turks after their match, the main news was the qualification of Australia for their first World Cup finals in over 20 years.

Their 1-0 victory over Uruguay and some pretty fine saves from keeper Mark Schwarzer during the penalty shoot-out mean that the Aussies will be in Germany 2006.

The other results as follows :

Czech Republic: 1 Norway: 0 (Czechs qualify)
Turkey: 4 Switzerland: 2 (Swiss qualify on away goals rule)
Bahrain: 0 Trinidad: 1 (Trinidad and Tobago qualify)
Slovakia: 1 Spain: 1 (Spain qualify but undoubtedly will play like complete idiots in the Finals, going out in the first round - it's their destiny).
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posted by mark_s at 1:15 PM 0 comments

Sunday, November 13, 2005

World Cup Play Off Results

Switzerland: 2 Turkey: 0
Spain: 5 Slovakia: 1
Uruguay: 1 Australia: 0
Bahrain: 1 Trinidad & Tobago: 1
Norway: 0 Czech Republic: 1

Pretty much as I predicted, with the notable exception of Spain's crushing of a poor Slovakia. I hope you bet on my previous play off predictions as you would have done rather nicely !

Football wise, the most interesting result was in Uruguay, where the home side stuttered past the Australians. Although revitalised goal scorer and former Man Utd clown Diego Forlan was missing, this doesn't bode well for the South American team. For them to win the return leg in Australia, they'd have to play extremely tight, defensive football. Unfortunately, they're South Americans and the South Americans just don't do defensive football. Be good to see the Aussies in Germany 2006, though.
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posted by mark_s at 9:33 AM 0 comments