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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Dropping Like Flies...And It Hasn't Even Started Yet

Well, the first match of the 2010 World Cup Finals is just under a week away, but already key players are dropping like flies.

Just to keep you all updated: Rio Ferdinand suffered an injury in a collision with Emile Heskey that will mean he misses the World Cup.

Nigeria's Jon Obi Mikel also misses out as his knee injury hasn't cleared up sufficiently for him to play any part.

Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba fractured his elbow in a friendly against Japan and is currently rated doubtful by manager Sven Goran Eriksson.

Italy's Andrea Pirlo suffered a calf strain and will definitely miss their opening match.

Also injured are USA striker Jozy Altidore, who has an ankle injury and Brazil 'keeper Julio Cesar who has back problems.

We haven't even played a match yet. God only knows what the injury list will look like then!

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posted by mark_s at 1:03 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Reflections on the England Squad

I suppose I really should have an opinion on yesterday's England world cup squad announcement. Frankly, though, there's been too much written about it already, so I'll do what most bloggers do (and what I hate to do) and that is: comment on the commentary on the story.

Firstly, there's been a lot of complaining among the media because the FA delayed the official announcement until 4pm GMT. By this time, of course, every one who was paying attention already knew who was in or out of the squad.

I have some sympathy with this viewpoint. If - and I'm just speculating here - Capello let the 7 players he was dropping know by, say, 9 am; then there was no reason for the FA not to announce the final 23 by 10 am at the latest. That would save all the tiresome gossip, Twitter b*******t and so forth.

Secondly, regarding the squad itself.

There seemed to be a lot of early consternation that Darren Bent wasn't included. I've no idea why, but facile comparisons between him and Emile Heskey indicate a complete lack of understanding that football is a team game.

Thirdly: Theo Walcott. Yup, Walcott's exclusion was a surprise, particularly as Shaun Wright-Phillips appears to have been the beneficiary. For my money, that's like cutting the heads off two chickens and claiming that the one that doesn't run in a completely straight line is superior.

Fourthly: I just don't really care. Capello has picked his squad. Some players made it; others didn't. The end.

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posted by mark_s at 5:40 PM 0 comments

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friendly Results...Everyone Is Rubbish

Manchester United's second top scorer - 'own goal' - made a timely appearance in England's clash with Japan, scoring 2 goals. This saved everyone's blushes in a very unconvincing 2-1 victory for England.

So, it is with relief that I note that every other World Cup bound side who played a friendly today was also rubbish. Well, except Mexico who gave Gambia a 5-1 thrashing.

You can see the full results for the latest round of international friendlies at the BBC website here.

Feel free to marvel at scores like Belarus: 1, South Korea: 0 and Spain: 3, Saudi Arabia: 2.

Let's hope it all improves dramatically next month.

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posted by mark_s at 8:01 PM 0 comments