Friday, June 13, 2008

World Soccer News June 13 2008

World Soccer News for week of 06/13

European Championships: What does a good start mean?


What's a thousand lawyers chained at the bottom of the sea? A good start, says a joke. At the Euros, a good start is essential for the ultimate win, says the history. The Netherlands, Spain and Portugal shone in their initial games, beating Italy, Russia and Turkey by an aggregate 9-1.
Before 1980, only four teams played in the final stage under the cup system, so the champions necessarily had to win in the semifinals to reach the finals at all.
Starting with Italy 1980, we notice that five out of seven champions won their first games, whereas only the Dutch lost 20 years ago and still went on to collect the ultimate prize.
Germany and France on two occasions each plus Greece at the last Championship all won on their debut and kept the good form until the final moment. The Netherlands had a hard time qualifying for the semifinals after an initial loss to the Soviet Union in 1988, but two weeks later defeated the same rival in the finals to win their only big gold medal to date.
Of all the winners, only Denmark achieved a draw in their first match in 1992. That was a goalless draw against England when no-one alive dreamt that the Danes could go all the way. Well, they did and that was the year of the Danish Dinamite.

How the winners started

2004. GREECE vs Portugal 2-1
2000. FRANCE vs Denmark 3-0
1996. GERMANY vs Czechia 2-0
1992. DENMARK vs England 0-0
1988. NETHERLANDS vs USSR 0-1
1984. FRANCE vs DENMARK 1-0
1980. (W) GERMANY vs Czechoslovakia 1-0


Ian Wright duly slams greedy Ronaldo


Former Arsenal's superstar Ian Wright was a speedy, cool finisher. And in his column for The Sun, he clinically finished off Cristiano Ronaldo over his irreverence showed towards Manchester United fans, teammates and coaches.
"As a player, there’s no doubt what you’re capable of. As a man, you’re not showing any class whatsoever," Wrightie told the spoiled Ronaldo, who is still toying with the nerves of Alex Ferguson and United's millions of fans.
The ex-Gunner reminds the Portuguese that Ferguson stuck with him in the first three seasons when he did not always play so amazingly, with all the diving and selfish dribbling instead of passing to an open team-mate:
"I understand if it’s your dream to play for Real but you owe it to United to be patient — and that’s why you should stay. Doesn’t the affection of United’s fans and your team-mates mean anything to you?"
Wright also touches upon the role of the "advisors", the obscure selfish individuals who thrive on displacing players just so that they could collect the commission, and the FIFA's leniency towards the clubs who so blatantly disregard contracts and regulations.
And Real Madrid fits the profile better than any other club in the world.
"It seems Real have again shown they have a disregard for other clubs and the rules of football. But they’ll continue to act like this, as long as they’re allowed to get away with it," concluded Wright his dissection of the "cesspit" today's football has come to be.


Eto'o: Tottenham not good enough for me


The Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o, recently involved in an incident with hitting a journalist, pointed a finger at the core problem that cost Barcelona trophies over the past two years: lack of physical fitness.
"Technically, we have been really strong, but physically only average. In today's football, whoever does not run is lost. We were not prepared to run and that's why we suffered so many defeats in the last two seasons," said Eto'o to the Cameroonian television station, CRTV.
In the same interview, Eto'o spoke of his future and the offer received by Tottenham.
"May the English forgive me, but Tottenham is a midtable team, while I need more.
I have a contract with Barcelona until 2010 and I feel well at the club. I cannot rule out the option with Inter, but I insist that I'm a Barca player."
Maybe Eto'o will change his mind if the Spurs, now led by Luka Modric, climb among the top four in the Premier League?


River Plate champs four years later


One of the most famous American clubs, River Plate of Buenos Aires, returned to the Argentinian throne by winning the Clausura 2008, one of the two six-month championships played in this country.
The "Millonarios" made sure of the trophy by beating Olimpo 2-1 on the penultimate day of the competition thanks to two goals by Diego Buonanotte, one in each half.
River featured the unfortunate Ariel Ortega, the Argentinian Gazza, who alternates good displays with visits to alcoholism clinics.
The decisive match was played at the Monumental Stadion before 58,000 fans, who cheered their players and the coach Diego Simeone. The former 100-cap international, famous for provoking David Beckham into getting sent off at the 1998 World Cup, already has two titles to his name. Since retiring as a player 27 months ago, Simeone led Estudiantes to the Apertura 2006, before repeating the success at River.
With 90 minutes to go, River are four points ahead of their perennial rivals, Boca Juniors.

Coach Diego Simeone.



Pelé against playing at high altitudes


During his recent visit to Chile, the legendary Pelé confirmed he was against FIFA's decision to again allow playing of soccer games above 2750 meters, which it had banned last year because of the possible threat it poses to players' health.
The Brazilian hero claims that playing at such heights is a factor of inequality, because it favours only those who live high above sea level.
"Considering the equality and protection of players, I believe that each country should organize the teams in places at lower altitudes. That is more favourable for players' health," said the three-time World Cup Winner.
When FIFA initially introduced the high-altitude ban, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia raised their voices crying "discrimination", although all of these countries have stadia far below the danger zone.
"Although I played in La Paz, I would much prefer Bolivia choosing other cities for staging games," concluded Pelé.

Copyright Ozren Podnar&Soccerphile

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