France 1-0 Turkey: Benzema pen seals win

June 6, 2009

“France bounced back from their miserable performance against Nigeria earlier this week to beat 10-man Turkey in Lyon tonight. Having been booed off after a 1-0 loss in St Etienne three days ago, France were eager to put those memories to bed and did so courtesy of Karim Benzema’s first-half penalty at the Stade de Gerland.” (ESPN)

Unconvincing but enough for England (ESPN)
“Emile Heskey scored his first goal in a competitive match for England since the 2002 World Cup as Fabio Capello’s side took another important if unconvincing step towards the 2010 finals. The Aston Villa striker had not hit the target in an important match for his country since netting against Denmark in Japan seven years ago.”
Kazakhstan 0-4 England (BBC)
England bounce back to finish on a high in Almaty (Paul Hayward – Guardian)
Kazakhstan v England: Steven Gerrard revels on centre stage (Telegraph)

Youngsters do it for Wales (ESPN)
“Wales’ amazing youngsters grew up in front of boss John Toshack’s eyes here, to claim their first away win in this World Cup Group Four qualifier. Toshack had been shorn of 10 senior players for this long trip to the shores of the Caspian sea and he must have had doubts in the back of his mind that this bunch of raw youngsters could handle an occasion like this.”
Toshack praises young side (FIFA)

South Korea qualify for seventh time in a row (ESPN)
“South Korea qualified for their seventh consecutive World Cup finals on Saturday after beating United Arab Emirates 2-0 in a Group Two qualifier.”

Point not good enough for either (ESPN)
“North Korea spurned their chance of earning an early play-off place for next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa when they were held to a goalless draw with Iran on Saturday.”
Korea Republic clinch finals berth (FIFA)

Honours even in Sofia (FIFA)
“Richard Dunne kept Republic of Ireland on course for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ as Giovanni Trapattoni’s side scrapped their way to a hard-fought draw in Bulgaria.”

Bulgaria 1 – 1 Ireland (ESPN)
“Richard Dunne kept the Republic of Ireland on course for the World Cup finals as his side scrapped their way to a hard-fought draw in Bulgaria.”

Denmark beats Sweden 1-0 in WCup qualifier (SI)
“Thomas Kahlenberg scored an early goal and Thomas Sorensen saved a penalty to lead Denmark past Sweden 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday. The win – Denmark’s first over Sweden since 1996 – solidifies the former European champion’s grip on the top spot in Group 1 with 16 points from six games as it looks to qualify for the World Cup finals for the fourth time.”

Italy 3 Northern Ireland 0: Match report (Telegraph)
“Giuseppe Rossi scored one goal and set up another in Italy’s 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in a friendly on Saturday. The American-born Rossi found the target with a powerful shot from outside the area in the 20th minute, then provided a through ball that set up a goal for Pasquale Foggia in the 53rd.”

Foto Focus: Allianz Arena

June 6, 2009

Munich Allianz Arena
“This week marks the fourth anniversary of the opening of the Allianz Arena (or Fußball Arena München for UEFA-organised matches), home to FC Bayern München and TSV 1860 München and made famous during the 2006 World Cup.” (Pitch Invasion)

Topple Every Statue (The Run of Play)
“I’m pleased to announced that—thanks in part to readers just like you—we came home with a pretty decent haul from the inaugural EPL Awards sponsored by EPL Talk.”

A troubled tournament looks forward (ESPN)
“A tournament with a troubled history, the Confederations Cup is arguably the second most prestigious competition – behind the World Cup – staged by FIFA, but was only recognised as such in 1997. The first time a competition of this type was seen was in the Mundialito (Spanish for ‘little World Cup’) in 1980, when six teams from two confederations (UEFA and CONMEBOL) met in Uruguay, with the hosts beating Brazil 2-1 in the final.”

U.S. team overwhelmed in every facet by Costa Rica (ESPN)
“When the U.S. national team’s lineup versus Costa Rica was first revealed Wednesday night, it was easy to think the Americans were ready to attack and try to deliver their first-ever victory in a World Cup qualifier played in Costa Rica. A three-forward formation coupled with a pair of superfast fullbacks gave the impression the U.S. team would attempt to overwhelm Costa Rica with pace and attack down the flanks.”

A Response to Barry Glendenning on Gareth Barry (A More Splendid Life)
“Barry Glendenning doesn’t often write feature articles for the Guardian Football website, so when he does it means something is jammed deep in his craw, usually one of football’s false idols.”

England goalkeeper crisis (WSC)
“Injuries to David James and Ben Foster leave England forced to choose between Scott Carson, Robert Green and Paul Robinson to face Kazakhstan today. Three goalkeepers that many would accuse of lacking that oft mentioned, never defined quality of ‘international class’.”

FIFA can’t control agents (WSC)
“Wayne Rooney seems to be bearing up quite well considering that he is involved in a bitter conflict that has rumbled on for seven years. The warring parties are his current agent Paul Stretford and Streford’s former company Formation that he left last year.”

Leadership, consistency key for Aguirre in return as Mexican coach (SI)
“Once again, Mexico will usher in a new era and again it will start with a World Cup qualifier. Much like last August, a new coach will debut in a qualifying game in charge of El Tri and he’ll either be crowned the conquering hero or will leave many wondering why a change was made in the first place.”

Club down, Messi turns to country (SI)
“If there were still any doubts, Lionel Messi last week proved he is the best player in the world after playing a key role in Barcelona’s victory over Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final. Messi wasn’t at his best that day, but he still made the difference, scoring Barça’s second goal with a spectacular header.”

A Cultured Left Foot – A Season In Review

June 6, 2009

“How will 2008/09 be remembered for Arsenal? Was it a failure, no silverware and fourth in the Premier League or should it be viewed positively, two cup semi-finals and Champions League football once more at The Emirates? The truth is a mix of the two.” A Cultured Left Foot – 1, 2, 3, 4