Montenegro 2 – 2 England

October 8, 2011

Jacques-Louis David, The Intervention of the Sabine Women
“Wayne Rooney was sensationally sent off for the second time in his England career to spoil what should have been the celebration of reaching Euro 2012. First-half goals from Ashley Young and Darren Bent were enough to claim a draw against a Montenegro side who were rampant in the second half following Elsad Zverotic’s deflected effort in stoppage time before the break, and they levelled at the end through Andrija Delibasic to grab a play-off berth. But the journey home for England was spoiled by Rooney’s red.” ESPN

Montenegro 2 England 2: match report
“On a stormy night in the Balkans, England made desperately heavy weather of reaching Euro 2012, receiving a timely wake-up call about the work required before next summer, also receiving a painful reminder that Wayne Rooney can still walk on the wild side. No excuses for Rooney. No expectations for England. As the rain lashed down, goals from Ashley Young and Darren Bent put Fabio Capello’s side in charge but poor concentration allowed Elsad Zverotic and then Andrija Delibasic to underline the reality that England are only a qualified success.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Montenegro or bust: England must be wary of an in-form striker
“England: beware Mirko Vucinic! He has a penchant for scoring goals against English sides; as he showed when he was playing up front for Roma. Now the Montenegro striker is playing up front with great success for Juventus and had an outstanding match last weekend when Juve beat Milan in Turin. Just turned 27, Vucinic was the perfect all round lone ranger, linking cleverly with his midfielders, well able to hold the ball up, as well as to strike for goal.” World Soccer

Self-harming England give Fabio Capello plenty to ponder
“Fabio Capello must now prepare not for one European Championship, but two. At some point in the group stage – after one game or two if Uefa extends the punishment – the England coach will have to take his team sheet for the start of the tournament and rip it up, to allow for the return of Wayne Rooney, who was dismissed against Montenegro for a lamentable loss of self-control.” Guardian

Euro 2012: Five lessons Fabio Capello can learn from World Cup failure
“1. Avoid a repeat of the claustrophobic training camp in Rustenburg. England and Fabio Capello appear to have learned from their experiences in South Africa, where their choice of base – the isolated, if plush, Royal Bafokeng complex on the outskirts of Rustenburg – prompted the familiar complaints of mind-numbing tedium from his squad.” <a href=”

The race to the Euros

October 8, 2011

“By Tuesday evening we’ll know the 12 of the 16 nations which will participate at Euro 2012. Poland and Ukraine will be there as hosts of the tournament, while England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain can already book their flights. The eight group winners qualify automatically along with the best runner-up. As three groups only have five teams, the groups with six teams will have the record of the team finishing bottom of the group ignored to calculate the best runner-up. We take a group-by-group look at who can still qualify, and how they can get to the finals. Head to head record comes before goal difference in this qualifying campaign.” ESPN

Football Manager 2012 3D Match Views: Sneak Video Preview

October 8, 2011

“The release of Football Manager 2012 is just weeks away, but we have a sneak preview of what the enhanced 3D Match Views will look like. As you can see from the above video, the level of detail that has been added to the 3D Match Views is quite substantial. That includes everything from improved stadiums, player injuries, animated player responses, better lighting and much more.” EPL Talk

Belgium’s “Golden Generation” hits a rocky road on the way to Rio

October 8, 2011

“The idea that Belgium could have an outside chance of winning the 2014 World Cup might seem strange to anyone who considers its lack of recent success and a domestic league suffering from low budgets and poor stadiums. However, a look at the current squad shows that for the first time in 20 years there is talent to spare: Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Steven Defour, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Moussa Démbéle; the list is endless. This sudden blossoming of talent though is more by accident than design. Sadly, there is no Belgian blueprint.” SI

Argentina 4-1 Chile: debut victory for Sabella

October 8, 2011

“Alejandro Sabella’s first competitive game ended in a convincing 4-1 win over an ever-entertaining Chilean side. Sabella chose a flexible 4-4-1-1ish shape for the game – more on that later. One of the more eye-catching selection decisions was his choice of Rodrigo Braña in the holding role, his trusted number five from Estudiantes. Having played 3-4-1-2 for most of the Copa America, Claudio Borghi tilted the midfield triangle to include both Mati Fernandez and Jorge Valdivia, leaving Carlos Carmona as the sole holder in an unusual 3-1-4-2ish shape. Main man Alexis Sanchez was out injured.” Zonal Marking

Czech Republic 0 – 2 Spain

October 8, 2011

“Spain continued their 100% record in Euro 2012 qualifying and kept Scotland’s hopes of sealing a play-off place from Group I alive with a dominant win over the Czech Republic. Juan Mata’s calm finish in the sixth minute put the visitors in control and they doubled their lead midway through the first half as Xabi Alonso slotted home a fine cut-back from David Silva.” ESPN