Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Football News April 2 2008

Football News
World Soccer News for week of 04/02

Czechs new European champions, says an analysis

The Czech Republic will win the next European Championship by beating Italy in the finals, while France and Portugal will suffer dismal failure in the first round. This is the prediction of UBS Wealth Management Research, the company that accurately predicted Italy's win at the 2006 World Cup.
The analysis is based on a complex model that takes into account the current estimated quality of the teams, their history in the competition, home field advantage and economic and monetary factors.

After all the factors were weighed, UBS worked out that the Czech Republic and Switzerland would go through from the first group, Germany and Croatia from the second, Italy and the Netherlands from the third, Spain and Greece from the fourth group. Switzerland would then upset Germany, the Dutch would kick out Spain, the Czech Republic would take care of Croatia, while reigning champs Greece would succumb before world champs Italy.

In the semis, Italy would see off the Netherlands and the Czechs would put an end to the Swiss hopes. Finally, the Czech Republic will edge Italy with the narrowest of odds, 51% to 49%, which suggests that the winner will be determined in extra time or on penalties.

Dinamo Zagreb closest to the title

The month of April has barely begun and one country could already salute its soccer champions. Croatia's Dinamo Zagreb is a mere two points away from their third consecutive title since they are leading Hajduk Split by 19 points with seven games to go. If Dinamo defeat Inter Zapresic on Sunday, or if both Hajduk Split and Slaven Belupo fail to win, the Croatian league will already be resolved as far as the top spot is concerned.
In the past two seasons, the Zagreb Lions were also quite convincing. Two years ago, their final advantage over Rijeka was 11 poins, whereas last year Dinamo ran away from Hajduk by 20 points.

Close to the title, but not just as close as Dinamo, are PSV Eindhoven in The Netherlands and Rangers in Scotland. The Glasgow blues are four points in as many matches away of regaining the league after three seasons, while it will take PSV five points to make it four in a row. Finally, Porto will repeat the title if they collect six points in the remaining seven games.

Malaysian laws to stop Chelsea's Asia tour

Chelsea may cancel their summer tour of Asia if Malaysia does not allow their two Israelis to enter the country (and, presumably, guarantee their safe stay and return).
Due to the absence of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and Israel, the midfielder Tal Ben Haim and the coach Avram Grant would not be able to be with the team during the preparations.
"We will certainly not go on tour without our head coach. That mini tour is the key part of our preparations for the next season. There is no point of going there without the key man from our technical staff," said Chelsea's executive director, Peter Kenyon.
However, should Chelsea fail to win a trophy this season then Grant would surely be sacked and then the Blues would be able to enter Malaysia with a non-Israeli coach.

Mexico dumps Hugo Sánchez

Mexican national team coach Hugo Sánchez has been unceremoniously dumped from his post following a decision of the country's FA.
"The FA's assembly unanimously voted to terminate our last coach's contract," said the secretary general, Decio de María.
The official added that "Hugo Sánchez's tenure was a colossal failure," announcing Jesús Ramírez as the interim successor. Ramírez is the coach who took Mexico's U-17 team to the world title three years ago in Peru.
Sánchez's undoing was the failure to win the qualification for the next summer's Olympics. The greatest Mexican player in history was named coach in late 2006 and his contract would have normally ran out in 2010.

Romário postpones retirement again

One of the most venerable veterans, 42-year-old Romario de Sousa Faria, has yet again postponed his retirement. The great Brazilian forward said this week that the claims of his imminent retirement were false. Curiously, the claims were made by Romário himself a day earlier.
"I have not stopped playing. I am jobless and waiting for new offers," the striker told Globo television one day after announcing his "adeus" to soccer in an interview to the O Dia daily.
Romario played his last game for Vasco da Gama last November, when he was given a four month suspension for using a hair-growth product containing an obscure banned substance. In the meantime, he worked as Vasco's coach, but quit the job as the club's chairman tried to interfere with his coaching decisions, including line-ups.

Eduardo da Silva on the way to recovery

Arsenal's Eduardo da Silva is doing fine in his recovery from a horrific ankle injury. He has had his cast removed and replaced with a protective air boot and now he is about to undertake the next stage of his rehabilitation in Brazil.
After a check-up in a London clinic where the surgery had been performed on his shattered left ankle, the doctors informed the Croatian international that the traumatized tissue and the broken bone were healing well. Eduardo had worn the cast for exactly five weeks after that unfortunate tackle from Birmingham's Martin Taylor put him out of action for a period estimated at around nine months.

Raúl González makes history

Who is the most effective Spanish forward besides Liverpool's Fernando Torres? Obviously Raúl. However, unlike Torres, Real Madrid's skipper is not in coach's Luis Aragonés's plans for the forthcoming Euro 2008.
The irrational veteran coach does not appreciate the fact that Raúl last week scored his 16th league goal of the season, raising his career total to 290 official goals for Real Madrid.
The captain, who is having his best season since 2000/01, is currently the second all-time scorer for the royals, tied with the legendary Carlos Santillana, but is only 26 goals short of the top scorer Alfredo Di Stéfano. Since Raúl is only 30, he will have plenty of time to overtake Di Stéfano possibly by the summer of 2009.
Incidentally, Raúl has played 475 games in the Primera división, scoring 205 goals. In 14 seasons, he has scored less than 10 goals just in four of them.

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