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Friday, May 19, 2006

Play Fantasy World Cup Football

I've signed up to a few World Cup fantasy football sites and most of the offerings are pretty poor, especially the 2006 World Cup fantasy league thing.

With the game, you can play World Cup fantasy football, but only with players who play in the English Premiership - so, no Ronaldhino, no Totti, no get the idea. Don't bother with this fantasy football game.

Instead, try this one :
World Cup Fantasy League - you get £100 million to spend on players (most of whom are undervalued) and there are big prizes on offer. I've got Shevchenko upfront partnered with Pauleta and Ronaldo on the bench, so you can put together a pretty impressive squad. You need to be aware that you don't get many chances to transfer players, so choosing players from teams likely to reach the Quarter Finals at least is probably a good tactic.

Anyway, sign up at World Cup Fantasy Football and see if you can win the prizes available.

Look out for the team managed by Terry Backhander, though. We're playing to win.

posted by mark_s at 5:57 PM 0 comments

World Cup Football Blogs

I know most bloggers probably have these in a blogroll, but I just wanted to highlight a few of the other soccer / football / blogs that are worth a look.

Personally, I recommend which is an aggregator of the best football blogs and is always a good starting point to find top football commentary, views and generally high quality opinion from people who genuinely love the game. You can't go far wrong with this one.

Then you've got
WorldCupBlog - which has what seems to be hundreds of bloggers from all over the world posting about their teams. So if you are, for example, a Saudi Arabian, then you'll find Saudi specific stuff there. I spend each day trying not to post about the same stuff as WorldCupBlog does. Their contributors know the game...go visit it.

Lastly, I'm particularly
enjoying Who Ate All The Bratwurst right at the moment. Extremely dry humour and pictures of semi-naked Italians for the missus. That's what World Cup football is really about. Forget the game. Seriously, though, it's good stuff. Enjoy.

posted by mark_s at 11:52 AM 2 comments

World Cup Betting with Bet365

England are 11/4 with bet365 to win all three World Cup group games.

Sven Goran Eriksson's men face Paraguay in their first match, Trinidad & Tobago in their second game and Sweden last of all. The price of 11/4 may seem huge if they manage a win in their first two games.

Personally, I think this looks good value. However, if you think it's an ambitious bet, England to score 6 or 7 points instead is a 10/11 shot while bet365 go 2/1 that they score under 6 points instead.

You can bet on the Group Points of every World Cup team with bet365. Brazil are a particularly tempting 13/8 to win each of their three group games. A good bet to build up your world cup bankroll before the lottery of the latter stages.

New customers to Bet365 get a FREE £100/€150 or $200 bet basket and odds are available in American, Decimal and Fractional formats. You can choose your language also. Sign up and bet at BET365 today.

posted by mark_s at 10:02 AM 0 comments

Old Footballers Never Die...They Just Make Mad Predictions

It's always fun to see the greats of yesteryear. Every World Cup they are wheeled out to make their mad, contradictory and often confused predictions. Then they are rounded up, still ranting, and hidden away somewhere where they can do less damage.

So, it is with great pleasure I offer
Pele's latest predictions for the 2006 World Cup.

He says this : "Always in the World Cup, the favorite doesn't succeed." and suggests that this is a reason Brazil might not win the world's biggest soccer tournament.

He goes on to cite the 2002 World Cup Finals saying that the favourites were France, Argentina and Italy - all of whom failed to get out of the group stages. Interesting, as I backed one of the favourites to win the 2002 World Cup - Brazil at, if memory serves, 11/2. Who won it ? Brazil. I don't recall Italy being touted as potential winners of that one at all.

With even more pleasure, however, I offer the wit and wisdom of always modest and joyful former Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus who
says this about his own team's chances :

"Based on my opinion, the German squad have no title chances at all," .

Aw, Lothar, no need to be shy, just tell us what you really think :

"The team will be eliminated in the round of 16 when it has to play against England or Sweden."

I'm getting the impression you
don't rate Germany's chances, then, Mr Matthaeus ? And you think Juergen Klinsmann will quit as coach, yes ? So Germany will need a saviour to put their football back where it belongs, right ?

Any names spring to mind, then, Lothar ?

"(I will only return to Germany) once the decision-makers are convinced that I am the right man with my abilities. If not I will stay abroad," Matthaeus said.

posted by mark_s at 9:10 AM 0 comments

Thursday, May 18, 2006

World Cup and Terrorism

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing but details of security precautions concerning potential for terrorist attacks at the World Cup have been leaked to Stern magazine.

It doesn't say much for the quality and efficiency of their security operations that this classified report has been leaked, but at least they are taking the problem seriously. Match security, it seems, will be extremely high, especially for those games involving countries such as the USA and England who took part in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

posted by mark_s at 9:04 PM 0 comments

Get Your Hair Cut, You 'Orrible Oik

In a move that should be imitated by all teams in the World Cup Finals, Iran have told their players that any footballer who turns up looking too vain, with tinted hair or plucked eyebrows, will immediately be dropped from the squad.

Can you imagine the carnage among some of the more image obsessed football nations if this ruling really did apply to all teams. No Beckham, no Totti, no Cisse, no David James. No David James ? Quick....make it an official FIFA rule now !

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posted by mark_s at 7:32 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sweden World Cup Squad

OK, this is the last World Cup squad Im going to post here. You can view a complete list at Football365 and all squads will be have to be confirmed to FIFA by tomorrow, but here is the Sweden squad as it stands :

Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (Stade Rennes), John Alvbage (Viborg), Rami Shaaban (Fredrikstad)

Defenders: Erik Edman (Stade Rennes), Petter Hansson (Heerenveen), Teddy Lucic (BK Hacken), Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa), Karl Svensson (IFK Gothenburg), Mikael Nilsson (Panathinaikos), Fredrik Stenman (Bayer Leverkusen)

Midfielders: Daniel Andersson (Malmo), Niclas Alexandersson (IFK Gothenburg), Kim Kallstrom (Stade Rennes), Tobias Linderoth (FC Copenhagen), Christian Wilhelmsson (Anderlecht), Anders Svensson (Elfsborg), Fredrik Ljungberg (Arsenal)

Forwards: Marcus Allback (FC Copenhagen), Johan Elmander (Brondby), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus), Mattias Jonson (Djurgarden), Henrik Larsson (Barcelona), Markus Rosenberg (Ajax Amsterdam).

The usual mix of talent and solidity...expect Larsson and Ibrahimovic to cause some havoc amongst a few defences (possibly including England's).

As I said, Football365 have a complete list of squads. They can thank me for all the traffic I'll send them later :)

posted by mark_s at 10:59 AM 3 comments

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Argentina World Cup Squad

An impressive looking Argentina squad for the 2006 World Cup Finals :

Goalkeepers: Roberto Abbondanzieri (Boca Juniors), Leonardo Franco (Atletico Madrid), Oscar Ustari (Independiente)

Defenders: Fabricio Coloccini (Deportivo Coruna), Roberto Ayala (Valencia), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United), Juan Pablo Sorin (Villarreal), Gabriel Milito (Real Zaragoza), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan), Leandro Cufre (AS Roma)

Midfielders: Lionel Scaloni (West Ham United), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan), Javier Mascherano (Corinthians), Luis Gonzalez (Porto), Pablo Aimar (Valencia), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid)

Forwards: Carlos Tevez (Corinthians), Hernan Crespo (Chelsea), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Rodrigo Palacio (Boca Juniors), Javier Saviola (Sevilla), Julio Cruz (Inter Milan)

Not sure about Lionel Scaloni (he plays right back for West Ham) - he's a bit dodgy, but other than that this is a competitive group of footballers. I don't think Argentina will be knocked out in the first round as they were at the 2002 Finals.

posted by mark_s at 9:54 AM 15 comments

Monday, May 15, 2006

Italy Squad For 2006 World Cup Finals

The Italians line up with an impressive looking squad :

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Angelo Peruzzi (Lazio), Marco Amelia (Livorno)

Defenders: Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus), Massimo Oddo (Lazio), Andrea Barzagli (Palermo), Fabio Grosso (Palermo), Cristian Zaccardo (Palermo)

Midfielders: Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Simone Perrotta (Roma), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Simone Barone (Palermo)

Forwards: Alberto Gilardino (AC Milan), Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan), Luca Toni (Fiorentina), Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Francesco Totti (Roma), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Udinese).

No place for Vieri, despite his move to France, but the Italy frontline looks formidable. And, despite the fact that Italian football is in crisis following relevations about match fixing, the Italians go into this World Cup in good shape.

posted by mark_s at 8:52 PM 0 comments

Brazil World Cup Squad

The squad for the most likely winners of the 2006 World Cup is:

Goalkeepers: Dida (AC Milan), Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Rogerio Ceni (Sao Paulo)

Defenders: Juan (Bayer Leverkusen), Lucio (Bayern Munich), Luisao (Benfica), Cris (Lyon), Cafu (AC Milan), Cicinho (Real Madrid), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid), Gilberto (Hertha Berlin)

Midfielders: Emerson (Juventus), Ze Roberto (Bayern Munich), Edmilson (FC Barcelona), Gilberto Silva (Arsenal), Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona), Kaka (AC Milan), Juninho (Lyon), Ricardinho (Corinthians)

Forwards: Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Adriano (Inter Milan), Robinho (Real Madrid), Fred (Lyon)

Now that is a squad. And they've managed to leave out the always-dodgy Roque Junior. Bet against Brazil at your peril.

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posted by mark_s at 8:34 PM 0 comments

Quick World Cup Betting Round Up

Now that many of the squads have been announced and the last few games in the domestic seasons played, you would have expected the odds to shift for 2006 World Cup football betting.

Surprisingly, there hasn't been much movement, which suggests some extremely confident bookmakers out there. Even Wayne Rooney's top goalscorer odds haven't moved that much.

according to SportingOdds, the favourites are as follows :

Brazil: 11/4
Germany: 15/2
Argentina: 8/1
England: 8/1
Italy: 9/1
Holland: 10/1
France: 12/1
Spain: 14/1

They are offering each way odds on places 1/2 and France look a good bet at 12/1 to reach the final. Perennial outsiders Czech Republic at 25/1 may also be worth a punt - they are classic underachievers, but if Koller is fit and with Skacel on form in Scotland, they might spring a surprise this time.

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posted by mark_s at 1:36 AM 0 comments

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Is Sven Having A Laugh

OK, so Sven - famed in the English press as an extremely cautious coach - has picked two players who have never played international football before (one of whom has never even played in the Premiership), left out the league's top English goalscorer altogether and is relying on a man with a broken foot to win us the World Cup.

He's not known for his sense of humour, but my best guess is that Sven is having a laugh. What other explanation can there be in picking a kid (Theo Walcott) who has never been anywhere near the Arsenal first team ? Not only has this guy never played in the Arsenal first team, he wasn't even considered good enough for the Southampton first team until all their best players left.

And it gets better....rather than selecting a fifth striker for the squad (Defoe would have been my personal choice) to compensate for current injuries, he adds Owen (not even English) Hargreaves to midfield instead.

And, to complete the surrealism, his standby list features one Andy Johnson of Crystal Palace who got 15 goals in The Championship in favour of Darren Bent who got 18 in The Premier League ?

Those Swedes sure have got a strange sense of humour, haven't they ?

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posted by mark_s at 9:05 PM 0 comments

England World Cup Squad

The much discussed, bizarre England squad is this :

Goalkeepers: Paul Robinson (Tottenham), David James (Manchester City), Robert Green (Norwich City)

Defenders: Gary Neville (Manchester Utd), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester Utd), John Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Arsenal), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea)

Midfielders: David Beckham (Real Madrid), Michael Carrick (Tottenham), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham)

Forwards: Michael Owen (Newcastle), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester Utd), Theo Walcott (Arsenal)

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posted by mark_s at 8:56 PM 1 comments

Angola and Ecuador World Cup Football Squads

Angola Squad:

Goalkeepers: Joo Ricardo (unattached), Lama (Petro Atletico), Mario (InterClube)

Defenders: Delgado (Petro Atletico), Jamba (AS Aviacao), Kali (FC Barreirense), Lebo Lebo (Petro Atletico), Loco (Primeiro Agosto), Marco Abreu (Portimonensel), Marco Airosa FC Barreirense), Rui Marques (Hull City)

Midfielders: Andre (Kuwait SC), Edson (Pacos Ferreira), Figueiredo, Mendonca (Varzim), Miloy (InterClube), Ze Kalanga (Petro Atletico)

Strikers: Akwa (unattached), Andre Titi Buengo (Clermont Foot), Flavio (Al Ahli), Love (AS Aviacao), Mantorras (Benfica), Mateus (Gil Vicente).

Ecuador World Cup Squad 2006 :

Goalkeepers: Edwin Villafuerte (Deportivo Quito), Cristian Mora (LDU), Damian Lanza (Aucas)

Defenders: Ivan Hurtado (Al Arabi, Qatar), Geovanny Espinoza (LDU), Ulises de la Cruz (Aston Villa), Paul Ambrossi (LDU), Neicer Reasco (LDU), Jorge Guagua (El Nacional), Jose Luis Perlaza (Olmedo)

Midfielders: Marlon Ayovi (Deportivo Quito), Edwin Tenorio (Barcelona), Edison Mendez (LDU), Patricio Urrutia (LDU), Cristian Lara (El Nacional), Segundo Castillo (El Nacional), Luis Antonio Valencia (Recreativo Huelva), Luis Fernando Saritama (Deportivo Quito).

Forwards: Cristian Benitez (El Nacional), Felix Borja (El Nacional), Carlos Tenorio (Al Sadd, Qatar), Agustin Delgado (LDU), Ivan Kaviedes (Argentinos Juniors).

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posted by mark_s at 8:21 PM 0 comments

Trinidad and Tobago World Cup Squad

The 2006 T&T World Cup Football squad:

Goalkeepers: Kelvin Jack (Dundee), Shaka Hislop (West Ham United), Clayton Ince (Coventry City)

Defenders: Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham) Cyd Gray (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh), Marvin Andrews (Glasgow Rangers), Brent Sancho (Gillingham), Ian Cox (Gillingham), Atiba Charles (W Connection), Avery John (New England Revolution)

Midfielders: Silvio Spann (unattached), Chris Birchall (Port Vale), Aurtis Whitley (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh), Anthony Wolfe (Jabloteh), Densill Theobald (Falkirk), Carlos Edwards (Luton Town), Russell Latapy (Falkirk).

Strikers: Dwight Yorke (Sydney FC), Stern John (Coventry City), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton), Collin Samuel (Dundee United), Jason Scotland (St Johnstone), Cornell Glen (LA Galaxy).

No comments on the T&T squad as I always seem to get angry Trinidadians posting comments everytime I suggest that their players have never been near the Caribbean. Lots of players from Scotland in the squad. Genuine Trinidadians Shaka Hislop and Stern John have had good seasons though.

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posted by mark_s at 8:10 PM 0 comments

Holland World Cup Squad

The Dutch squad looks very much like this :

Goalkeepers: Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax Amsterdam), Henk Timmer (AZ Alkmaar).

Defenders: Kew Jaliens (AZ Alkmaar), Jan Kronkamp (Liverpool), Andre Ooijer (PSV Eindhoven), John Heitinga (Ajax Amsterdam), Khalid Boulahrouz (SV Hamburg), Joris Mathijsen (AZ Alkmaar), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Barcelona), Tim de Cler (AZ Alkmaar).

Midfielders: Mark van Bommel (Barcelona), Philip Cocu (PSV Eindhoven), Denny Landzaat (AZ Alkmaar), Hedwiges Maduro (Ajax Amsterdam), Wesley Sneijder (Ajax Amsterdam), Rafael van der Vaart (SV Hamburg).

Strikers: Dirk Kuijt (Feyenoord), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United), Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (PSV Eindhoven), Arjen Robben (Chelsea), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Ryan Babel (Ajax Amsterdam).

posted by mark_s at 7:38 PM 0 comments

France World Cup Squad

The France 2006 World Cup squad is :

Goalkeepers: Fabien Barthez (Marseille), Grgory Coupet (Lyon), Mickal Landreau (Nantes)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Lyon), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Newcastle), Pascal Chimbonda (Wigan), William Gallas (Chelsea), Gal Givet (Monaco), Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich), Mikal Silvestre (Manchester United), Lilian Thuram (Juventus Turin)

Midfielders: Vikash Dhorasoo (Paris SG), Alou Diarra (Lens), Claude Makelele (Chelsea), Florent Malouda (Lyon), Patrick Vieira (Juventus Turin), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

Strikers: Djibril Cisse (Liverpool), Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Franck Ribery (Marseille), Louis Saha (Manchester United), David Trezeguet (Juventus Turin), Sylvain Wiltord (Lyon)

Good to see that playing for Wigan didn't harm Pascal Chimbonda's chances of a World Cup call up, but, um, who the hell is Franck Ribery ? He's not going to get a game, is he. That lineup of forwards is immense.

No room for Pires. He got all sulky a while back and the coach left him out. Also Zidane is included. Didn't he retire from international football again recently ? Guess not. Anyway, a pretty damn impressive squad. Expect better things from the French than at the 2002 Finals.

posted by mark_s at 7:33 PM 2 comments

World Cup Squads - Australia

The Australia World Cup squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Zeljko Kalac (AC Milan), Ante Covic (Hammarby)

Defenders: Michael Beauchamp (Central Coast), Craig Moore (Newcastle United), Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Tony Popovic Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC)

Midfielders: Marco Bresciano (Parma), Tim Cahill (Everton), Scott Chipperfield (Basel), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Vince Grella (Parma), Stan Lazaridis (free agent), Josip Skoko (Stoke City on loan from Wigan Athletic), Mile Sterjovski (Basel), Luke Wilkshire (Bristol City)

Strikers: John Aloisi (Alaves), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Archie Thompson (PSV Eindhoven), Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Dinamo Dresden)

Fairly predictable for the Socceroos. Good to see the much underrated Stan Lazaridis get a call up despite being released by Birmingham City. Latest rumours link
him with Crystal Palace, and a whole bunch of A-League teams incidentally.

posted by mark_s at 7:21 PM 0 comments