Germany Camp Focus – Ozil vs. Messi, with a semi-final spot the prize

Germany’s World Cup quarter-final tie with Argentina is more than a battle between two teams who benefited at the weekend from the lack of technology available to officials. As well as being the first meeting of the tournament between two multi-time World Cup winners, Die Mannschaft against La Albiceleste is a duel of two of the most stylish teams left in South Africa, and two whose chances were all-but-written off before the tournament began. Argentina were dismissed because of the identity of their Coach, one Diego Maradona. Ever controversial, el…

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Japan Camp Focus – Japanese dream ends in cruellest manner

The Blue Samurai’s dream of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time was shattered after a penalty-shoot out defeat to Paraguay, with Coach Takeshi Okada claiming he is set to retire following his side’s elimination. After a dire encounter, in which neither side were committed to attack, Japan lost 5-3 in the first penalty shoot-out of this year’s World Cup after Yuichi Komano’s spot-kick hit the crossbar. Following Japan’s impressive victory over Denmark to secure their first second round fixture on foreign soil, Okada’s men proved their ability…

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Spain Camp Focus – An unhappy Ronaldo makes for a happy Spain

“How do I explain Portugal’s elimination? Talk to Carlos Queiroz!” And with that one of the best footballers on the planet was gone, his final contribution to the 2010 World Cup probably being his most memorable one. Cristiano Ronaldo, the most recent global icon of the most globally iconic football club in the world – who just so happens to play in the Spanish capital – was not a happy man after the nation of his birth had just lost to the nation that he now calls home. Spain beat…

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World Cup round of 16 round-up – Eight down, eight to go as quarter-finals draw near

The knockout stage of any football tournament is always liable to increase both excitement and anticipation as the winner-take-all nature of the ties means there can be no second chances. Some teams may still insist on caginess over ambition, but eventually even they must conjure up a way of winning. The World Cup is no different. The last-16 provides an opportunity for the contenders to go through the gears and also gives an opportunity for those who scrambled through to regroup and forget what has occurred previously and start again.…

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World Cup Morning Report – Paraguay win confirms South American dominance

It may have been an achingly soporific affair with two teams either adopting a hugely negative approach, or as is more likely on this occasion, just suffering from a large bout of stage fright due to the unfamiliar magnitude of the game for the two sets of players, but in the end Paraguay’s victory over Japan on penalties yesterday confirmed the South American teams at this World Cup are the most successful. As the Paraguayans attempted to come to terms with their achievement of reaching a World Cup quarter-final for…

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Day 19 World Cup action round-up – Blue Samurai left heartbroken, Spain and Paraguay to lock horns

Day 19 of the World Cup saw the goals begin to dry up with just one effort from the two last 16 encounters. The first penalty shoot-out of the tournament did take place however, with Paraguay coming out on top against a spirited Japan side. The game of the day saw Spain narrowly edge out Portugal thanks to David Villa, who moves to the top of the goal scoring charts, taking his tally to four goals. PARAGUAY 0 JAPAN 0 Paraguay win 5-4 on penalties The first penalty shoot out…

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Chile Camp Focus – Bielsa’s men not quite hot enough to overcome last 16 hurdle

The curtains on Chile’s South Africa World Cup were drawn to a close yesterday after a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil in the Last 16. Coach Marcelo Bielsa admitted after the match that his side lacked the flavour to beat their South American counterparts: “I had hoped we would have got closer to Brazil, it wasn’t such a one-way match. We had some good chances coming down the right side, but we lacked the necessary punch to convert dangerous situations into goals.” The game was brought under control…

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Spain 1-0 Portugal – Classy Spaniards move into quarter finals

Spain edged a tight contest against Iberian neighbours Portugal in Cape Town thanks to a second half goal from David Villa. The Portuguese had Ricardo Costa sent off a minute from the end for elbowing Joan Capdevila. Spain were fast out of the blocks and enjoyed early success cutting in from the left. First Torres curled from the corner of the area in the first minute and Eduardo had to tip it away. Villa replicated the Torres effort two minutes later and again Eduardo pushed away the shot. Villa tried…

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Paraguay 0-0 Japan – Paraguay win 5-3 on penalties – Albirroja squeeze into the last eight

PARAGUAY 0 JAPAN 0 Paraguay win 5-3 on penalties Paraguay progressed to their first ever World Cup quarter-final, beating Japan 5-3 on penalties after a dire 120 minutes of negative football. Yuichi Komano hit the bar with the third Japanese spot kick, leaving Oscar Cardozo to net the winning penalty to send the Paraguayans through. Japan had two sighters at goal within the first three minutes. Yoshito Okubo cut in from the left and fired wide just seconds into the match and then Komano got forward from right-back and shot…

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Tottenham news – Spurs set to tie up Cavani and Kjaer deal, Lucrative contract offer for Cole, Redknapp wants England job

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Tottenham. Today: Spurs set to tie up Cavani and Kjaer deal. Tottenham appear to have made their first two signings of the summer in Palermo’s Simon Kjaer and Edinson Cavani. Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini told Sky Italia television: “Tottenham have bid €35m, an offer we cannot refuse, seeing as the two players have both said they want to leave.” Both players have impressed at the South Africa World Cup for their respective countries…

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Today’s World Cup Preview – Clash of the underdogs, followed by the Battle of Iberia

The last 16 comes to a close at the World Cup. Firstly, a Paraguay and Japan clash in a battle of the underdogs. And then Spain and Portugal meet in the match with plenty encouragement for goals, on paper at least. PARAGUAY vs. JAPAN3.00pm –Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria One of these outsiders has the chance to put the cat amongst the pigeons at the World Cup, with an unexpected quarterfinal spot in store for the winner between Paraguay and Japan in Pretoria. The Japanese, who were not fancied at the…

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Man City ready for £22m Kolarov bid

Lazio left-back Aleksandar Kolarov is the next player on Roberto Mancini’s radar as the Serbian’s dream move to Real Madrid stalled this week. The highly rated full-back, who can also play in midfield, was thought to be interesting Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho, however Real Madrid are unwilling to meet his £22m asking price, according to the Daily Mail. It is thought that Mourinho has offered around £12m to secure the services of the 24 year-old, which is well short of what Lazio are asking for. However, Manchester City are now…

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Day 18 World Cup Action Round-Up – Holland & Brazil set up quarter-final clash

Day 18 of the tournament saw two of the best sides left in the tournament both successfully negotiate their last 16 ties to set up a mouth watering prospect in the quarter-finals. The Netherlands are yet to show their cards as they did what was needed to see of Slovakia, while in contrast, Brazil sent a clear message to their quarter-final opponents with an impressive victory over Chile. HOLLAND 2 Robben, 17, Sneijder, 84 SLOVAKIA 1 Vittek 90+ (pen) Holland never got out of first gear, comfortably disposing of Slovakia…

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World Cup Morning Report – FIFA’s technology refusal damages the integrity of the game

Although England’s performance against Germany on Sunday did not warrant even the slightest of rewards, the fact remains that Frank Lampard’s deliciously weighted lob that clunked against the under-side of the crossbar and then bounced so obviously over the goal-line should have stood. It would have done if goal-line technology, so doable it defies belief why it has not yet been implemented, had been given the go-ahead by FIFA President Sepp Blatter long ago. Blatter’s peculiar opposition to the introduction of goal-line technology is monumentally weak, as is any other…

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Slovakia Camp Focus – Slovakia ‘proud’ of World Cup heroics

Slovakia bid farewell to the World Cup after Monday’s defeat to Holland in Durban. Goals from Arjen Robben and Weslye Sneijder were enough to secure a quarter final spot at the expense of the Repre, who pulled one back late on through Robert Vittek. Despite elimination Slovakian Coach Vladimir Weiss was full of praise for his side: “I’m very proud that we were in a position to play in the Round of 16 and the players showed what they were capable of. No coach is ever happy to lose having…

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Netherlands Camp Focus – Oranje grind out Slovakia win but Brazil challenge awaits

The Netherlands successfully negotiated their way into the last eight of the World Cup after a comfortable 2-1 win over Slovakia, who rarely threatened and their goal was a mere consolation in the dying seconds of the game from the penalty spot. Bert van Marwijk’s side has been going about their business quietly during the tournament in South Africa whilst the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Germany have been grabbing the headlines. The Dutch have been pragmatic and churning away like a well oiled machine, a style that many…

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Brazil 3-0 Chile – Brazil cruise into the last eight

BRAZIL 3Juan 34, Luis Fabiano 38, Robinho 59 Chile 0 Brazil strolled into the quarter-finals of the World Cup with victory over South American rivals Chile. Goals from Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho sealed the win for the Brazilians who will play the Netherlands in the next round. Gilberto Silva brought the first save of the match from Claudio Bravo after nine minutes, his 30 yard effort drawing a full stretch save from the keeper. Humberto Suazo took a shot on early at the other end in the 13th minute…

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Brazil Camp Focus – Confidence high amongst Dunga’s men

While some lesser lights were forced to fret over the group stages of the World Cup and others left embarrassingly early, Brazil did what they always do by easing themselves into the business end of the tournament. All that’s gone before in Group G is forgotten because the old adage remains true that while you can’t win the World Cup in the group stages, you can certainly lose it. In truth, save for an hour against Ivory Coast, the boys from Brazil have rarely ventured out of second gear, but…

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Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia – Brave Slovakia beaten by hard-working Dutch

NETHERLANDS 2Robben 18, Sneijder 84 SLOVAKIA 1Vittek 90 The Netherlands are through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup after a comfortable win over Slovakia. Goals from the returning Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder were enough to beat the Slovakians who could not repeat their famous victory that knocked Italy out of the tournament, Robert Vittek grabbing their late reply from the penalty spot. It took just 65 seconds for Erik Jendrisek to have Slovakia’s first effort on goal, shooting just over after he was fed by Vladimir Weiss. Robin…

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Premier League previews – Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool

With Chelsea taking the Premier League and the FA Cup double earlier last season, a lot of moving and shaking is bound to take place as the other “big 4” clubs fight fervently to get back in the hunt. Being a World Cup year, there will be the usual revelations that are found in the tournament, and sold onto Europe’s top clubs for often inflated prices. What is clear is that at the end of the World Cup, the transfer market silly season will begin in earnest, with the Premier…

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Mexico Camp Focus – Errors kill quarter-final dream

Two glaring mistakes sealed Mexico’s World Cup fate as Argentina repeated their 2006 exploits by eliminating the Aztecas in the second round. Defender Ricardo Osorio’s blunder gifted Gonzalo Higuain the opportunity to put Argentina two ahead, but the first was even more damaging. Mexican morale had been crushed after the linesman wrongly allowed Carlos Tevez’s opener. The Manchester City forward was initially denied by goalkeeper Oscar Perez, but was standing in an offside position when Lionel Messi guided the ball back towards goal. Tevez nodded home, Perez should have held…

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Man Utd news – Luis Fabiano warm on Man Utd, Sessègnon linked with Utd, Casillas tells of Manchester interest

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Man Utd. Today: Luis Fabiano warm on Man Utd move. Luis Fabiano may end up a Manchester United player after all. Last week A Different League reported that the Brazilian goal machine wanted to move to Milan instead of Old Trafford. But the 29-year-old who has failed to agree a new deal with Seville told the Daily Star Sunday: “The choice will come down to Manchester United and AC Milan. I think the…

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Iker Casillas claims Man Utd and Man City interest

Spain’s number one Iker Casillas claims that both Manchester clubs would be interested in his services, according to Sky Sports. The goalkeeper, who many consider to be the best in the world, has attracted the interest of City and United however he insists that he is happy in Spain.   Casillas captained the Spain side which claimed glory at Euro 2008 and has consistently been amongst the best goalkeepers in the world for many years now, therefore it is unlikely that new boss Jose Mourinho would or would even be…

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Tottenham news – Spurs join Suarez race, Bentley ready for Stoke transfer, Gudjohnson nears Fulham move

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Tottenham. Today: Gudjohnson nears Fulham move. In light of yesterday’s reports, Eidur Gudjohnson has agreed a move to Fulham if Tottenham fail to offer a new contract this summer. In a report by the News of the World, the striker has said he is frustrated by Tottenham’s indecisiveness as he attempts to prepare for next season. Chairman Daniel Levy is believed to be the only person stopping a permanent deal from being settled…

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