Just to let readers know, I am going on holidays tommarow so I may not be able to update as frequently as normal but I will be hoping to update more on the world cup whilst I am in Italy on my holidays so if I do not update then you know why. By the way I will be in Italy for the final so lets hope Italy make it to the final! I will be back fully updating in about two or three week but remember to keep reading because I may be able to update their!
The World Cup group stages have finished. Sixteen teams qualifying for the 2nd round stage. The ties will be played between the 24th - 27th of June with eight teams progressing to the Quater Finals. In the post I will review each group and then give you the 2nd round ties. Among those qualified nations sit each option in our poll which has been running since April. Of course, 5% of our readers chose "Other," but - just to be nice - we'll presume that the Other team have also qualified. Expectedly, Brazil top the poll with 33%, while England finish second with 29% of the vote - although this tells more perhaps about our reader demographics than it does about the World Cup!
Group A: Group A was won by the hosts Germany who took maximum points from their three group games, beating Costa Rica 4-2, triumphing over Poland 1-0 and finally seeing-off Ecuador 3-0. Their best player so far has probably been Miraslav Klose who is, at the moment , the leading goalscorer of the tournament. Ecuador also went through in the group taking six points. They beat Poland 2-0 then beat Costa Rica 3-0 but then lost to the host Germany 3-0. They have certainly been one of the surprise packages in the competition. Poland and Costa Rica both bowed out of the competition with Costa Rica taking no points and Poland taking only three.
Group B: Group B was won by a less-than-impressive England side who were perhaps lucky to take seven points from their three group games, beating Paraguay by just one goal, before managing a 2-0 win against Trinindad & Tabago, while being held to a 2-2 draw by Sweden in their final group clash. Their star player, so far, has probably been Joe Cole. Sweden snatched at the second qualification spot, taking a mere five points; drawing 0-0 with Trinidad & Tobago then luckily seeing- off an average Paraguay side 1-0, before drawing with England 2-2. Trinidad & Tobago and Paraguay were both knocked out, but they gave a good account of themselves in the tournament.
Group C: The group of death many people labelled it but it went according to the form book with Argentina topping the group with seven points by beating Ivory Coast 2-1 in their opener and then they really turned on the style with an impressive 6-0 win over Serbia & Montenegro but could only manage a 0-0 draw with Holland who also progressed with seven points beating Serbia & Montenegro 1-0 and then just scrapping past Ivory Coast 2-1 and getting their 0-0 draw with Argentina gave them second place. Serbia & Montenegro went home with no points and Ivory Coast went home with just three.
Group D: One of the most predictable groups went exactly to the form book with Portugal topping the group with maximum points seeing off Angola 1-0 before going on to beat Iran 2-0 and finishing off the job with a 2-1 victory over fellow Group D qualifiers Mexico who only took six points from their three games. First, they impressivley beat Iran 3-1 but surprisingly enough they only managed a 0-0 draw against Angola and then were defeated at the hands of Portugal 2-1. Iran and Angola both go out of the tournament with 1 and 2 points respectivley.
Group E: Group E in my view was the toughest group to get out of but Italy managed to qualify taking seven points from their three group games. They started with a decent 2-0 win over African side Ghana before been held to a 1-1 draw against USA in a game that produced three red cards. They finished the group off with a comfortable 2-0 win over Czech Republic. Ghana were the other team to qualify through Group E taking an impressive six points and becoming the first African team to qualify for the 2nd round this year. They started with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Italy before impressivley seeing off Czech Republic 2-0 and then guarenteed their place in the 2nd round with a 2-1 win over USA. Czech Republic were very unlucky to be knocked out in the group stages after a superb 3-0 win in their first game over USA who are also going home early.
Group F: Unsurprisingly Brazil were the winners of Group F although they were less than impressive. They started with a unconvincing 1-0 win over Crotia and were made to work very hard to get all three points against Australia although they won the game 2-0, but Brazil being Brazil they turned on the style in their last group game with a 4-1 win over Japan and another plus for them in that game was that their "out-of-sorts" striker Ronaldo scored twice to equal Gurt Muller's all-time World Cup goalscoring record. The other team to progress in the group were Australia who took four points from their group games. They had a superb come back in their first game against Japan scoring three goals in the last ten minutes to win 3-1 before losing to Brazil 2-0 but they managed to get the point they needed to qualify in their last game against Croatia which they drew 2-2. Croatia and Japan just weren't good enough to go through and now they are going home early.
Group G: Switzerland topped group G collecting seven points from their three games. They started with a woffil 0-0 draw with France before seeing off Togo 2-0 and they went on to top the group by beating South Korea 2-0. France also qualified from the group but they were less than convincing from my view. They started with a 0-0 bore draw with Switzerland before going on to draw their second game 1-1 against South Korea but they managed to qualify by beating Togo 2-0. Togo were one of only three teams to end up with no points but South Korea claimed four but they still just couldn't manage to progress to the knock out stages.
Group H: Group H was won by the group favourites, Spain who impressivley took maximum points from their three group games scoring 8 goals in the process. Spain got off to an absoloute flyer beating Ukraine 4-0 before going on to beat Tunisia 3-1 and finishing the job off against Saudia Arabia in their last game 1-0. Ukraine also progressed from Group H taking six points from a possible nine. They got off to a shocker losing 4-0 to Spain but that seemed to kick start their campaign because they went on to beat Saudi Arabia 4-0 and saw off Tunisia 1-0 in their last game. Saudi Arabia and Tunisia both only managed a point from their three group games.
2nd Round Fixtures (to be played between the 24th-27th of June)
Germany V Sweden (24th June) (Munich)
Argentina V Mexico (24th June) (Leipzig)
England V Ecuador (25th June) (Stuttgart)
Portugal V Holland (25th June) (Nuremburg)
Italy V Australia (26th June) (Kaiserslautern)
Switzerland V Ukraine (26th June) (Cologne)
Brazil V Ghana (27th June) (Dortmund)
Spain V France (27th June) (Hannover)
By the way I am starting a new poll to see who you think will win the World Cup Golden Boot so please vote!
The Italian League has today been thrown into disarray after in emerged that four clubs are set to be put on trial next week in connection with the allegations of match fixing. The four clubs AC Milan, Lazio, Juventus and Fiorentina all now face the risk of demotion. Italian Football Federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi did not divulge any individual names but he said that a number of sporting figures will stand trial.
The trial is due to start next Wednesday at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, with the Italian Federation keen to reach a conclusion in the very near future allowing for the clubs to prepare for next season whichever division they are in next season.
I have to say that this is probably a very big distraction for the Italian national team at the moment because they are playing in the World Cup at the moment and that is the only thing that they want to concentrate on at the moment. Many of the players in the Italian national team are contracted to the four clubs.
So finally the fixtures for next seasons Premiership, Championship, League One and League Two seasons have all been announced. In the post I am just going to give some of the so called bigger ties on the first day of the season in the Premiership. Premiership holders Chelsea host Manchester City at Stamford bridge whilst fellow title challengers for next season, Manchester United entertain Fulham at Old Trafford. Premiership new boys Reading, Sheffield United and Watford all face tough test against Middlesbrough, Everton and Liverpool respectivley.
To find out all of the other fixtures from the four leagues I mentioned just click here and best of luck to you all whoever you may support in the new season!
I know over the last two weeks or so many of you have been caught up in the whole World Cup fever stuff but you still have to remember the Premiership still runs as normal. I decided to write this post to juts tell you a few things that have happened in the Premiership during the past two weeks. Today Manchester City signed Lazio midfielder Ousame Dabo on a three year contract after the former French international turned down a contract from Lazio to stay their for six more years. Dabo passed his medical at City on Tuesday.
Former Newcastle bad boy Craig Bellamy looks set to be joining Liverpool after his current employers Blackburn gave him permission to talk to the former European Champions. Rovers boss Mark Hughes said that he had to let Liverpool talk to him because a clause in Bellamy's contract enabled any club that plays in the Champions League and offer over £6 million for him can speak to the player. Bellamy supported Liverpool as a boy and is said to be keen to move to Liverpool.
Now here a few rumours speculating around the Premiership. Wigan are supposebly keen on former England international Emile Heskey. Heskey's current club Birmingham were relagated last season and it is unlikely that he would want to play in The Championship. Nicky Butt could be set for a move to Premiership new boys Sheffield United. Butt, who also plays for Birmingham had a dissapointing season last year and could be set for a fresh start at Bramill Lane.
If you have any other gossip that you would like to disscus about the Premiership then just leave a comment!
Well the world cup has got of to a cracking start with loads 0f goals and red cards but not alot of penalties. I have to say and I think youl'l agree that it has been brilliant so far no matter who you support. The competition got of to a perfect start with the hosts, Germany, beating Costa Rica 4-2 and Ecuador in some ways shocking Poland by beating them 2-0. I have to say that I was least than impressed with the start that England have made with two mediocre performances so far but the important statistic is that they are through to the knock out stages already.
Trinindad and Tabago have given a great account of themselves so far although they have only picked up one point against Sweden who are now pretty much guarenteed a place in the knock out stages after a 1-0 over Paraguay. Argentina have made the most impressive start to the competition after they beat The Ivory Coast 2-1 they have went on to beat Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 and in some style as well. Holland have also got off to a great start beating Serbia and Montenegro 1-0 and beating The Ivory Coast 2-1 and their star player so far was Arjen Robben.
Mexico and Portugal have as everyone would of predicted both claimed three points against Iran and Angola respectivley. Mexico were slightly more impressive than Portugal by beating Iran 3-1 and Portugal only managing to put 1 goal past Angola. Czech Republic had a very very impressive group opener against USA by beating them by three goals to nil with Arsenal's new signing Tomas Rosicky scoring two. Italy beat Ghan 2-0 in the other game in that group but Ghana put up a galent effort.
Australia made an amazing come back against Japan after beena goal down they scored three goals in the last ten minutes with second half substitute Tim Cahill getting two. Brazil as suspected made a winning start to their campaign but it wasn't all plain sailing against Crotia. Brazil only beat them 1-0 with a spectacular goal by Ac Milan superstar Kaka but Real Madrid star Ronaldo was less than impressive.
Last year's fourth place team South Korea got their campaign off to a flyer with a 2-1 victory over Togo but Togo did give them a bit of a scare after they took the lead but South Korea faught back after Togo's captain was sent off. The other game in the group was a bore draw between France and Switzerland.
Spain got off to a wonderful start when they beat Ukraine by four goals to nil. The first penalty in the competition was awarded and Spanish striker David Villa slotted home and he also scored another goal in the game. Tunisia and Saudi Arabia both claimed a point when they drew 2-2 but the game wasn't a very good one. If you have any views on the matches then just leave a comment.
Roy Keane has today retired at the age of 34 on medical advice. Roy Keane will mainly be remembered for his time at Manchester United although he did end his carrer at his boyhood heros Celtic. Keane's last match of his carrer was his testimonial match between Celtic and Man United. The ex-Republic of Ireland skipper had endured mounting injury problems during the later stages of his career, which have pressed Keane into his decision.
"Having received medical advice from my surgeon and the Celtic club doctor, I feel my only option is to retire," said Keane in a statement. "I would like to send the manager, the staff, the players and the supporters of Celtic Football Club my best wishes for the future."
Among the best midfielders of his generation, Keane started a glittering career with Cobh Ramblers before being snapped up by Nottingham Forest in 1989. Keane quickly made an impression at The City Ground and was renowned for his all-action style of play. He joined United in 1993 for £3.75 million after shunning Blackburn Rovers and he went on to win a string of major honours after proving to be the heartbeat of Sir Alex Ferguson's team.
But suspension ruled Keane out of the club's finest hour of modern times when he missed the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich after a heroic performance against Juventus in the semi-finals. Following his surprising split from United last autumn, Keane agreed a deal with Celtic and featured in enough games to secure a Scottish title medal.
He had an option for a contract for next season, but Keane has decided that his injury worries are serious enough to prevent him from helping Celtic in the Champions League. Keane's career has also not been without controversy as he famously left Ireland's 2002 World Cup squad in the Far East after a bust-up with Mick McCarthy.
The hothead midfielder was also regularly in trouble with referees and was punished after the event by The Football Association when he admitted to deliberately going out to injure ex-Manchester City player Alf Inge Haaland.
I have to say although I am a Man City fan, he was a brilliant player although he could be a ploncker at times with some of the tackles he made. I wish Roy and his family the best of luck in the future and he will always be remeber as a "LEGEND" by his fellow country men.
So we have reached the eve of the biggest sporting event in the world and I reckon that it is going to be brilliant. 32 countries fighting it out for the biggest prize in football, the World Cup. In the post I won't go into great detail of all of the teams taking part, just the ones with realistic chances. Here are the few that I think have great chances:
Germany: The host of the competition, Germany have obviously got to be taken seriously. They have some class players like Klose, Ballack, Podolski, etc. Germany are priced at around 9/1 with most bookies but I think that they should be around about 12/1. My prediction is that Germany will get knocked out in the Quater Finals.
England: I think that this is England's best chance of winning the cup in years because they have such top class players like Lampard and Gerrard and with the news about Wayne Rooney then their chances have certainly rised. England are priced at about 13/2 which I think is a fair estimate of their chances.
Brazil: The holders of the cup, Brazil are definetly going to be the team to beat in Germany this summer. With world class players like Ronaldinho, Adriano and Ronaldo the holders are definetly the most skillful team in the cup. The bookies have placed them at around about 5/2 but although they are a brilliant team I think that that price is to skinny.
Argentina: To be honest I think that Argentina are the team that have what it takes to win the World Cup this year. Messi, Riquelme and Crespo, in my opinion have what it takes to take Argentina to the final and then win it. The are priced at 8/1 which I think is quiet generous.
If you think that any teams that I haven't mentioned have a good chance of winning the world cup then just leave a comment and if you have any view on my opinions then don't be afraid to comment!
Charlton defender Luke Young has today handed in a transfer request after he became increasingly unhappy at the club. "I've grown increasingly frustrated with the way contract negotiations have been conducted by Charlton," said Young. "I appreciate there has been a change in management but this does not account for the club overlooking contractual obligations to review my contract and allowing three separate deadlines to pass.
"I can only assume they do not want to extend therefore I have handed in a transfer request." As Young was declaring - Charlton announced that they had offered Young a new three-year contract. "Luke is a key member of our squad and we have offered him a lucrative new deal," said Charlton chairman Richard Murray.
"He is an England international and his performances over the past few seasons, including last term when he was the club captain, have been excellent." The England international played in Sven Goran Eriksson's side during the World Cup qualification campaign, but like team-mate Darren Bent he was not selected for the 23-man squad for the finals.
I am not really surprised that Young has handed in the transfer request because I'm not sure Iain Dowie is the man to lead Charlton into the future. I think that if Young was to move to someone like West Ham then that will improve his England chances in the future. Young is a very good player and I hope that whoever he signs for that he does well!
Chelsea have finally agreed a deal which will take John Obi Mikel to Stamford Bridge for a combined fee of £16million with £12million of the fee going to Manchester United. The rest of the fee will go to John Obi's current club Lyn. The agreement resolves the future of the 19-year-old, who has been the subject of a bitter dispute between the three clubs.
United have agreed "to terminate their option agreement" with Mikel, whose registration goes to Chelsea. "Under the terms of this agreement Chelsea will pay Manchester United £12m, half payable now and half in 12 months, and Lyn £4m, half payable now, and half payable in 12 months' time," said a United statement.
To be frankly honest I am fed up of it at this stage, Chelsea been able to buy any player they want just because they have the money. Now I think that John Obi Mikel is a good player but if he isn't guarenteed a first team place then I think it's a big waste. I think that he would of been far better off going to Man United and that's coming from a Man City supporter!