World Cup Retrospect – Mexico ‘70

Mexico ‘70 the first World Cup to be staged outside of either Europe or South America. The tournament is still widely revered as the best of all time, with a multitude of classic games, goals and magical moments engraining the event in the echelons of football folklore. This opinion is strengthened by the exploits of Mario Zagallo’s fantastic Brazilian team of the day, fondly remembered the world over for the pure and beautiful brand of football they provided. Before the FIFA suits implemented the chaotic and futile 2nd group phase…

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Mexico Camp Focus – A week of promise ends in uncertainty for Franco

Having scored at Wembley on Monday, things were looking up for Guillermo Franco. The disappointing season with West Ham had drawn to an end and the forward was concentrating solely on the World Cup. But just two days later, the good start to the week had been turned on its head. In the build up to Mexico’s friendly with the Netherlands, Franco – still nursing an ankle injury – was informed that his contract at Upton Park would not be renewed. He said: “I don’t know where I’ll be next…

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News and Views from the Football League – The story of the play-offs

With the completion of the play-off finals at Wembley over the weekend, another highly memorable season in the Football League has drawn to a close. For some it will have been a season of disappointment, but for the victors in the traditional end of campaign finale, the summer will be a time to reflect on a job well done and to look forward with optimism to a season in a higher division. Starting in the Championship, it was last weekend when Ian Holloway’s Blackpool fended off the challenge of Cardiff…

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Slovakia Camp Focus – Plans rocked by Karhan injury

Slovakia’s World Cup hopes have been dealt a major blow, as experienced central midfielder Miroslav Karhan has confirmed he will miss the tournament with a recurrence of his Achilles tendon injury which has plagued the 33-year-old’s domestic season with German outfit Mainz 05. The highest capped player in Slovakian football’s history – with a staggering 93 national appearances under his belt – will be out for three weeks with the injury and said: “There’s a little tear which means I can’t take part in the tournament, I have a three-week…

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Tottenham news – Cole to Spurs links resurface, Modric signs new six-year deal, Keane in Villa link

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Tottenham. Today: Modric signs new six-year deal. Luka Modric has signed a new six-year year contract at White Hart Lane, ending rumours of a possible move this summer. Harry Redknapp was adamant about keeping hold of the Croatian international for next season’s Champions League after interest was shown by several clubs including Manchester United. Modric arrived at White Hart Lane in 2008 from Dinamo Zagreb but his new contract secures his future until…

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Chelsea news – Chelsea progress for £14m Srna, Benayoun deal edges closer, Rooney to tempt J. Cole away

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Chelsea. Today: Benayoun deal edges closer. Chelsea are said to be closing in on Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun, according to the Guardian. The paper claims the Blues have already had a £4m bid rejected for the Israel international but could seal a deal within the next week. Benayoun has been quoted saying he expects to complete a deal to sign for the Premier League champions, saying: “Ancelotti wants me for next season and now…

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Man Utd news – Utd linked again with Cole, trio set for new contracts, United not for sale

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Manchester Utd. Today: Veteran trio offered roles. Manchester United will offer coaching roles to trio Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville. The players, who progressed through United’s youth set-up have all been earmarked as future coaches by manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot told L’Equipe “When they stop playing they will stay. I don’t think the club will pass up that much experience.” All three are currently taking their coaching badges and…

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Liverpool news – Broughton suggests Torres exit, Benayoun closes in on Chelsea switch, Man City favourites to sign Javi Martinez

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Liverpool. Today: Benayoun closes in on Chelsea switch. Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun is close to completing a transfer to Premier League Champions Chelsea according to The Guardian. The winger believes the move is only a week away as he looks set to replace Joe Cole at the London club. Chelsea are understood to have made a bid of around £4m though this has firmly been rejected. Nevertheless, the Blues would only need to…

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England Analysis – Japan 1-2 England – Few impress for lacklustre Three Lions

As the England starting XI was presented to the media Saturday afternoon, everyone knew it would be a hugely important Sunday lunchtime for a handful of players who were given a last chance to impress and secure their place on the plane to South Africa and the World Cup David James Glen Johnson – John Terry – Rio Ferdinand – Ashley Cole Theo Walcott – Tom Huddlestone – Frank Lampard – Aaron Lennon Wayne Rooney – Darren Bent None more so than Darren Bent. The Sunderland striker was only beaten…

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The ADL Index – World Cup 2010 England player ratings – Japan 1-2 England

Two late second-half own-goals saved England’s blushes against an energetic looking Japan side in Austria. Brazilian-born Marcus Tulio Tanaka opened the scoring after just seven minutes from a left sided corner, losing Glen Johnson before firing in a well executed right-footed finish. Forwards Darren Bent and Wayne Rooney both appeared to be frustrated with the lack of service as passes from midfield continued to miss their targets. After making five changes England came out much brighter in the second-half and should have leveled after 10 minutes of the restart, Frank…

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Newcastle news – Magpies in for Williams, Boyata deal latest, Taylor set for Arsenal exit

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Newcastle Utd. Today: Arsenal in for Taylor. Arsene Wenger is lining up a £5m bid for Newcastle defender Steven Taylor, according to the Sunday Mirror. The Newcastle centre-half was injured for the majority of United’s successful Championship campaign, and missing the end of the season after suffering a reported broken jaw at the hands of young forward Andy Carroll. Now Arsenal, who struggled defensively again last season and who could loose veteran Sol…

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Chelsea news – Kaka to Chelsea in Lampard swap deal, Chelsea favourites for Yaya Toure, Joe Cole to choose Arsenal

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Chelsea. Today: Kaka to Chelsea in Lampard swap deal. Jose Mourinho has told Chelsea they can have Brazilian midfielder Kaka, if they give Madrid Frank Lampard, reports the News of the World. The paper claims Mourinho will use the unsettled midfielder as bait to lure Lampard after being told he will not have access to the same funds available at the Bernabeu last season (£250m). Kaka, who Madrid splashed £60m on last summer,…

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Tottenham news – Spurs in for Makoun, Pienaar move latest, Upson deal not dead

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Tottenham. Today: Spurs to up interest in Pienaar. Tottenham Hotspur have said they are willing to increase their interest in Steven Pienaar, according to FansFC. With only a year left on his contract at Goodison Park, David Moyes must consider selling the South African international otherwise he could leave on a free transfer next summer. Pienaar has said he was disappointed with Everton’s season, fuelling further speculation he might be leaving the Toffees…

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Liverpool news – Reina blasts Anfield owners, Upson to leave West Ham, Remembering Heysel

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Liverpool. Today: Upson to leave West Ham. England international Matthew Upson looks set to leave the Hammers this summer and Liverpool are one of the clubs interested in securing his signature, according to ESPN. Upson has been linked with the Reds on numerous occasions and the centre-back, who is on the verge of being named in Capello’s final squad for the World Cup, is finally looking to consider his options as he aims…

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England’s World Cup years – 1950, 1954 & 1958 (the frustrating fifties)

The fact that England had been absent from the first three World Cups had meant that her status as the ‘home of football’ and thus its most dominant power had gone unchecked and untested. When they finally decided to enter in 1950, it was against a backdrop of numerous countries declining to take part. However, along with hosts Brazil, they were considered to be possible winners of the tournament before a ball had been kicked. England were pitted in a group with Spain, Chile and the United States. Spain were…

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World Cup retrospect – Chile ’62

Though there were three bids submitted to host the 1962 tournament, the decision over where it would be staged was finally made by a sense of egalitarianism. The West German bid, though strong when viewed in isolation, was dismissed on the basis that having three consecutive World Cups in Europe would be unfair as well as potentially hindering the global exposure the game needed to build on the success in Sweden four years earlier. This rationale left the bids between Argentina and Chile, with the Chilean bid being nominated. However,…

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World Cup retrospect – Switzerland 1954

Switzerland seemed like an incongruous choice to host the fifth World Cup finals, FIFA officials electing to hold the tournament in the organisation’s homeland to celebrate its 50th year. Perhaps fittingly, Switzerland ‘54 would prove to be the most eccentric, goal-laden tournament in World Cup history, averaging a record 5.38 goals per game. Results of 9-0, 8-3 and 7-5 were recorded. The strangeness of the competition was compounded by FIFA’s tampering with the competition format. Two seeded teams were placed in each group of four but avoided having to play…

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Retaining the ball – England’s primary concern for South Africa

As the World Cup of 2006 edged nearer, England was being whipped into an optimistic hysteria. Our national side had cruised to successive friendly victories, 3-1 over Hungary and a 6-0 romp against Jamaica that saw the team, and their assortment of wives and girlfriends, flying over to Germany expectant. What on earth could go wrong? One month later and England sought a scapegoat. Step forward Cristiano Ronaldo. An insouciant wink captured by BBC cameras told us he had got Wayne Rooney sent off. History was repeating itself. Failure was…

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World Cup Wonder 2010 – Denmark – Solid foundations key for Danes

Morten Olsen has been the Coach of Denmark for ten years and is regarded as a Danish footballing legend. He has a great record as Coach, winning over 50% of his games in charge. This will be his second World Cup whilst in charge of the national side, and while his squad lack quality they are expected to progress through the group stages at least. In goal the Danes will hope that Stoke’s Thomas Sorensen recovers in time to start in South Africa. Sorensen is a very capable goalkeeper –…

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Honduras Camp Focus – The case for the defence

Common wisdom surrounding Group H is that three teams are competing for a single spot in the round of 16, given Spain’s superiority over the rest of the pack. A strong defence will therefore be an important factor for the other hopefuls in the last of the eight World Cup groups. Before Thursday, it seemed that Honduras had little to worry about defensively. They boasted the meanest back line in the final round of their qualifying campaign, conceding just 10 goals in 11 games. Los Catrachos boast in their rearguard…

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World Cup Wonder 2010 – Ivory Coast – Sven looks to the stars to pull a surprise

The Ivory Coast are Africa’s brightest hope in the World Cup and could be the competition’s surprise package. Sven Goran Eriksson will be looking to progress further than he did with England in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups when his side were knocked out at the quarter-final stage. Sven’s squad is full of quality players who mostly display their wares in Europe. Standout players within the team include Chelsea strikers Drogba and Kalou and Barcelona’s Yaya Tour

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Switzerland Camp Focus – Swiss hit by second major withdrawal as Streller pulls out

Ottmar Hitzfeld is hoping his players avoid any more injuries after losing talisman Marco Streller just a week after Christoph Spycher withdrew from the Switzerland squad. Streller sustained an injury whilst training with the national side but later found out the extent of it after undergoing a scan later that day. It revealed the 28-year-old had aggravated a previous thigh muscle injury and will be sidelined for several weeks. This year’s World Cup in South Africa will be another major tournament that Streller is set to miss out on after…

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Paraguay Camp Focus – Martino maintains spirits are high going into World Cup

Paraguay’s stars are remaining optimistic and the expectations still high, as they head to South Africa looking to put uninspiring performances and bad luck behind the team. The World Cup warm-up games have come thick and fast for the South Americans, with a 1-0 victory over DPR Korea and a 3-1 victory over a second-string Athletic Bilbao team followed by a 2-1 defeat to Republic of Ireland in Dublin. Coach Gerardo Martino has used the games to experiment with fringe players and adventurous formations. A Roque Santa Cruz penalty was…

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Denmark Camp Focus – Olsen goes for experience between the sticks with final World Cup 23

Denmark Head Coach Morten Olsen has cut his provisional squad to the final 23 required with goalkeeper Kim Christensen missing out. The IFK Goteborg keeper started his first international match against Senegal but was substituted at half-time. It now means the Danes have three goalkeepers amongst their squad, with the injured Thomas Sorensen, Jesper Christiansen and Stephan Andersen all included. It looked as if Kim would make it to South Africa after Andersen played no part in last night’s game but it has been decided not to risk an inexperienced…

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Tottenham news – Spurs bulk at Joe Cole wage demands, Redknapp rules out Ireland move, Modric to support England at World Cup

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Tottenham. Today: Modric to support England at World Cup. Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Luka Modric is hoping to see as many of his English teammates as possible at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. The Spurs midfielder, who was rumoured to be leaving White Hart Lane, will not be taking part in the tournament after Croatia failed to qualify but has said he will be supporting England. He told Hotspur magazine: “I hope…

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