World Cup 2010: Top 50 World Cup moments

November 15, 2009

“Maradona, Pele, Cruyff… Celebrate the greatest moments and greatest players in World Cup history with our definitive list, complete with YouTube clips.” (Telegraph)

Diego Maradona receives two-month ban for World Cup qualifier outburst

November 15, 2009

“A Fifa disciplinary committee has given the Argentina coach Diego Maradona a two-month ban “from all football related activity” and a 25,000 Swiss francs (£14,815) fine following his outburst at the end of his side’s World Cup qualifier against Uruguay last month.” (Guardian)

Spain’s Xabi Alonso has last word
“TWO penalties, seven yellow cards. This was a friendly with a bit of a grimace on its face at times, and for a capacity audience at the home of Atletico Madrid, it was all the more enjoyable for its hard edge. Diego Maradona’s Argentina finished second best to the champions of Europe, but made a game of it by making good on their best spell of football early in the second half, after Xabi Alonso had given Spain the lead. The same player won the match by converting a late penalty.” (TimesOnline)

Last-ditch Moteab goal forces play-off

November 15, 2009

“Egypt and Algeria will return to the pitch on Wednesday to settle the last of Africa’s qualifying berths for the 2010 World Cup after a dramatic late goal gave the home side a 2-0 win in their last group game on Saturday. Substitute Emad Moteab’s header five minutes into stoppage time gave Egypt the winning margin they needed over Algeria in a tense encounter in front of just over 74,000 fans in the capital and ensured they finished level at the top of Group C.” (ESPN)

France win as Nigeria, Cameroon qualify

November 15, 2009

Francois Boucher, Diana Leaving the Bath
“A header by Bruno Alves gave Portugal a valuable 1-0 win over Bosnia in their first-leg encounter but Carlos Queiroz’s side missed a host of chances to put the tie beyond doubt. Portugal dominated the first half-hour, with Nani exploiting space on the right wing to give Emir Spahic a torrid time. The hosts took a deserved lead after 31 minutes when Nani crossed for Alves to head in unchallenged at the far post.” (ESPN)

“Find out who will be playing alongside hosts South Africa at the 2010 World Cup with BBC Sport’s definitive guide to who has qualified and when they wrapped up their place at the finals…” (BBC)

Proud skipper Rooney admits Brazil the better side

November 15, 2009

“England’s stand-in captain Wayne Rooney conceded Brazil were the better team in their 1-0 friendly defeat in Qatar but admitted the defeat still hurt. The Manchester United striker was handed the armband in the absence of the injured John Terry but could not inspire Fabio Capello’s injury-hit side against the five-time World Cup winners.”

Boys from Brazil prove Fabio’s understudies have lot to learn
“Unused to playing to a largely shirt-sleeved crowd on a mid-November night, a depleted England got what was coming and set off on the seven-hour flight home grateful the damage was no worse. It would have been, but for a shocking penalty miss by Luis Fabiano after Ben Foster, playing in goal in preference to Robert Green, should have been sent off. Brazil, joint favourites with Spain to win the World Cup, may claim to have gained a psychological advantage over a side the bookmakers rate not far behind them, but for all their fluid play it would be wrong to read too much into what was probably the most low-key of the 23 meetings between the countries.” (Independent)

The ten best England v Brazil matches
“England take on Brazil in Qatar this weekend in a mouth-watering fixture between two of the world’s most football crazy nations. Over the years there have been some classic matches between the sides and moments that have since become legend.” (Independent)

Captain Rooney unable to lift inexperienced, uninspired England
“Wayne Rooney seldom suffers from apathy on a football pitch. The opportunity to be captain in Doha seemed to make him particularly animated, although frustration then gripped him even more quickly than usual. He had a craving to leave his mark on a game where the play was sometimes perfunctory, but this was one of his weaker outings for England.” (Guardian)

Anelka’s deflected strike hurts Irish

November 15, 2009

“Nicolas Anelka fired France a step closer to next summer’s World Cup finals as the Republic of Ireland’s brave resistance finally wilted. Anelka’s 72nd-minute strike, which was deflected past Shay Given by the unwitting Sean St Ledger, was enough to condemn Giovanni Trapattoni’s side to their first defeat of the qualifying campaign and send the French into Wednesday night’s return with a lead and a precious away goal.” (ESPN)

Pluck of the Irish is deflated by Anelka
“What a pity. This was arguably Ireland’s best performance under Giovanni Trapattoni but it earned them absolutely nothing bar an incredibly steep hill to climb in Paris on Wednesday. Nicolas Anelka’s deflected goal on 72 minutes was the difference between the teams on the night and the result means that Ireland have to score once at the Stade de France to stay in the tie, or twice if they want to win it without recourse to a penalty shoot-out. Which is a shame because Ireland’s efforts last night were worthy of a 0-0 draw, or with some better finishing – particularly from Liam Lawrence in the first half – a single goal advantage.” (Independent)