Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup 2006 - Italy crowned


Italy wins the World Cup 2006

France finishes second

Germany finished third

Monday, June 26, 2006

Titanic encounters- a football feast

Grand Finale - It doesn't get bigger in Sport

France vs. Italy

So it is Les Bleus vs. Azzurri. A clash which sure would have all the ingrediants for a finals. The two sides clashed in the Euro2000 finals where the French managed to win 2-1, with Trezeguet scoring the winning goal.

Match 62
Portugal vs. France
France won 1-0
Goals (Fra: Zidane (penalty))

A debatable penalty on a Carvalho challenge on Henry, was converted by the coll Zidane although the Portuguese goalkeeper came close to stopping it.
The Portuguese dominated for most part but with Figo missing a chance to equalize in the final munutes, Portugal will now have to get ready to play for the 3rd place kick-off with hosts Germany.


History remains intact.

Match 61

Germany vs. Italy
Italy won 2-0 after extra time
Goals (Ita: Grosso-1, Del Piero-1)
Heart-break for a whole which was only a minute away from penalties. Germany always had an impressive penalty record & Italy had a dismal one in WorldCups. But 2 goals in the dying minutes of extra-time sealed the German fate. The Azzurri's now reach their 6th finals.

Scars of previous tournament clashes has reappeared for Brazil and England.
Match 60
Brazil vs. France
France won 1-0
Goals ( Henry-1)
A complete different French side that played in the first two games. They dominated the Brazilians and left them shell-shocked at the end. With Zidane's magic still alive & kicking, many believe France can go all the way.


Match 59
England vs. Portugal
Portugal won on penalties 3-1 (0-0 full time)
Yet again a penalty shoot-out had decided the final outcome. This was a game market with Rooney being redcarded for pushing his Man Utd. teammate & Beckham in tears after being injured in probably his last WC finals.


Match 58
Germany won in Italia 90, time to return the favor?
Italy vs. Ukraine
Italy won 3-0
Goals (Zambrotta-1, Toni-2)
Italy have produced one of their best performances in this tournament so far. They seemed to have peaked at the right time but you'll have to wait to see if this is enough.


Match 57
Klose & the goalkeeper yet again bring Germany closer.
Germany vs. Argentina
Germany won on penalties 4-2 (1-1 full-time)
Goals ( Ger: Klose)
Heartbreak for the Argentinian fans. It was a game which was completely dominated by the Argentinians in the first half after which it was an evenly balanced contest. Yet again the team with the better goalkeeper won.

Match 56
Spain vs. France
France won 3-1
Goals (Fra: Ribery-1, Vieira-1, Zidane-1) (Esp: Villa-1)

The score line here too did reflect the entire duration of play. Both team were attacking and had a few good chances. In the end it were a few mistakes during crucial junctions that cost Spain dear. The 'perennial underachievers' lived up to their tag.

Match 55
Brazil vs. Ghana
Brazil won 3-0
Goals (Bra: Ronaldo-1, Adriano-1, Ze Roberto-1)

The score-line could be considered msileading as Ghana played their best during this game. They dominated ball possession, passes and came close to scoring a few times. But in the end it was Brazil brilliant finishing and the knowledge of winning that won them the match.

Match 54
Ukraine vs. Switzerland
Ukraine won 3-0 on penalties

None of Switzerland's three penalty-takers - Streller, Barnetta and Cabanas were able to convert their penalty shots. Ukraine's captain Shevchenko too was not able to convert his penalty but it didn't make a difference as Ukraine had managed to edge Switzerland to the quarter-finals.

Match 53
Italy vs. Australia
Italy won 1-0
Goals (Ita: Totti-1)

The game was dominated by the Australians - as illustrated by their 58% possession. Italy had another blow when they we down to 10 men in the 50th minute. However they seemed to have the last laugh in the dying second(5 seconds were remaining in the extra-time) where they won
a penalty which Totti converted.

Match 52
Portugal vs. Netherlands
Portugal won 1-0
Goals (Por: Maniche)

The game was marred by red cards. Both the team ended with 9 players each. Portugal will be missing Costinha & Deco during for their clash against England.

Match 51
England vs. Ecuador
England won 1-0
Goals (Eng: Beckham-1)

England wasn't as impressive as expected. Wonder when Lampard is going to score goals, he has had several chances. But thanks to Beckham amazing strike England are through to the quarters.

Match 50
Argentina vs. Mexico
Argentina won 2-1
Goals (Arg: Crespo-1, Rodriques-1) (Mex: Marques-1)

Both teams struck blood early and the score remained the same till full-time. Then a wonder goal from Rodriques sealed the fate of the match. There were flashes of brilliance in the passes of Argentina.

Match 49
Germany vs. sweden
Germany won 2-0
Goals (Ger: Podolski-2)

Early blows by Germany's striker Podolski proved fatal for a lacklustre Sweden. It was total dominance by the Germans. Ballack missed a few chances and will be hoping to make immense in the next few games.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Round-up of the Cup of Life

Game 48
France vs. Togo
France won 2-0
Goals (Fra: Vieira-1, Henry-1)

Game 47
South Korea vs. Switzerland
Switzerland won 2-0
Goals (Sui: Senderos-1, Frei-1)

Game 46
Spain vs. Saudi Arabia
Spain won 1-0
Goals (Esp: Juanito-1)

Game 45
Ukraine vs. Tunisia

Ukraine won 1-0
Goals (Shevchenko-1)

14 days goals in the day, it getting better each day. Ronaldo has become the joint top-scorer in all World Cups. Bravo Ronaldo!!
Game 44
Australia vs. Croatia
Australia drew with Croatia 2-2
Goals (Aus: Moore-1, Kewell-1) (Cro: Srna-1, Kovac-1)

Game 43
Brazil vs. Japan
Brazil won 4-1
Goals (Bra: Ronaldo-2, Juninho-1, Gilberto-1) (Jpn: Tamada-1)

Game 42
Ghana vs. USA
Ghana won 2-1
Goals (Gha: Draman-1, Appiah-1) (USA: Dempsey-1)

Game 41
Italy vs. Czech Republic
Italy won 2-0
Goals (Ita: Materazzi-1, Inzaghi-1)

Game 40
Argentina vs. Netherlands
Argentina drew with Netherlands 0-0

Game 39
Ivory Coast vs. Serbia & Montenegro
Ivory Coast won 3-2
Goals (Civ: Didane-2, Kalou-1) (Scg: Zigic-1, Ilic-1)

Game 38
Portugal vs. Mexico
Portugal won 2-1
Goals (Por: Maniche-1, Sabrosa-1) (Mex: Fonseca-1)

Game 37
Iran vs. Angola
Iran drew with Angola 1-1
Goals (Irn: Bakhtiarizadeh-1) (Ang: Flavio-1)

Awesome day with 12 goals scored including WC's 2000th goal
Game 36
England vs. Sweden
England drew with Sweden 2-2
Goals (Eng: JCole-1, Gerrard-1) (Swe: Allback-1[FIFA's 2000th goal], Larsson-1)

Game 35
Paraguay vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Parguay won 2-0
Goals (Par: Sancho(OG)-1, Cuevas-1)

Game 34
Poland vs. Costa Rica
Poland won 2-1
Goals (Pol: Bosacki-2) (Crc: Gomez-1)

Game 33
Germany vs. Ecuador
Germany won 3-0
Goals (Ger: Klose-2, Podolski-1)

Game 32
Spain vs. Tunisia
Spain won 3-1
Goals (Esp: Raul-1, Torres-2) (Tun: Mnari-1)

Game 31
Ukraine vs. Saudi Arabia
Ukraine won 4-0
Goals (Ukr: Rusol-1, Rebrov-1, Shevchenko-1, Kalinichenko-1)

Game 30
Switzerland vs. Togo
Switzerland won 2-0
Goals (Sui: Frei-1, Barnetta-1)

France when was the last time you won!!
Game 29
France vs. South Korea
France drew with South Korea 1-1
Goals (Fra: Henry-1) (Kor: Park-1)

Game 28
Brazil vs. Australia
Brazil won 2-0
Goals (Bra: Adriano-1, Fred-1)

Game 27
Japan vs. Croatia
Japan drew with Croatia 0-0

Game 26
Italy vs. USA
Italy drew with USA 1-1
Goals (Ita: Gilardino-1) (USA: Zaccardo(OG)-1)

Ghana on song!!An upset huh!!
Game 25
Ghana vs. Czech Republic
Ghana won 2-0
Goals (Gha: Gyan-1, Muntari-1)

Game 24
Portugal vs. Iran
Portugal won 2-0
Goals (Por: Deco-1, Ronaldo-1)

Game 23
Mexico vs. Angola
Mexico drew with Angola 0-0

Game 22
Netherlands vs. Ivory Coast
Nertherlands won 2-1
Goals (Ned: Van Persie-1, Van Nistelrooij-1) (Civ: Kone-1)

Game 21
Argentina vs. Serbia & Montenegro
Argentina won 6-0
Goals (Arg: Rodriguez-2, Cambiasso-1, Crespo-1, Tevez-1, Messi-1)

Game 20
Sweden vs. Paraguay
Sweden won 1-0 Goals
(Swe: Ljungberg-1)

Game 19
England vs. Trinidad & Tobago
England won 2-0 Goals
(Eng: Crouch-1, Gerrard-1)

Game 18
Ecuador vs. Costa Rica
Ecuador won 3-0 Goals
(Ecu: Tenorio-1, Delgado-1, Kaviedes-1)

Game 17
Germany vs. Poland
Germany won 1-0
Goals (Ger: Neuville-1)

Game 16
Tunisia vs. Saudi Arabia
Tunisia drew with Saudi Arabia 2-2
Goals (Tun: Jaziri-1, Jaidi-1) (Ksa: Al Kahtani-1, Al Jaber-1)

Game 15
Spain vs. Ukraine
Spain won 4-0
Goals (Esp: Alonso-1, Villa-2, Torres-1)

It's getting hot out there. Woof!!
Game 14
Brasil vs. Croatia
Brasil won 1-0
Goals (Bra: Kaka-1)

Game 13
France vs. Switzerland
France drew with Switzerland 0-0

Game 12
South Korea vs. Togo
South Korea won 2-1
Goals (Kor: Chun Lee-1, Hwan Ahn-1) (Tog: Mohamed Kader-1)

Results on a platter. Goals and more Goals. Yippie!!
Game 11
Italy vs. Ghana
Italy won 2-0
Goals (Pirlo-1, Iaquinta-1)

Game 10
Czech Republic vs. USA
Czech Republic won 3-0
Goals (Cze: Koller-1, Rosicky-2)

Game 9
Australia vs. Japan
Australia won 3-1
Goals (Aus: Cahill-2, Aloisi-1) (Jpn: Nakamura-1)

Game 8
Portugal vs. Angola
Portugal won 1-0
Goals (Por: Pauleta-1)

Game 7
Mexico vs. Iran
Mexico won 3-1
Goals (Mex: Bravo-2, Zinha-1) (Irn: Golmohammadi-1)

Game 6
Netherlands vs. Serbia & Montenegro
Netherlands won 1-0
Goals (Robben -1)

Game 5
Argentina vs. Côte d'Ivoire
Argentina won 2-1
Goals (Arg: Crespo-1, Saviola-1) (Civ: Drogba-1)

Game 4
Sweden vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Sweden drew with Trinidad & Tobago 0-0

Game 3
England vs. Paraguay
England won 1-0
Goals (Eng: Gamarra (OG)-1)

Game 2
Poland vs. Ecuador
Ecuador won 2-0
Goals (Ecu: Tenario-1, Delgado-1)

Game 1
Germany vs. Costa Rica
Germany won 4-2
Goals (Ger: Klose-2, Lahm-1, Fringes-1) (Crc: Wanchope-2)

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Monday, June 05, 2006

PLAYER PROFILE - 19 Lionel Messi

Date of birth: 24 June 1987; Rosario, Argentina
Height:
170 cm
Weight:
65 kg
Position:
Forward
Argentinian Jersey number -19
Current Club: Barcelona (ESP)
Int'l Goals:
1
Int'l Caps:
7
First Int'l Cap:
Hungary v. Argentina (17-Aug-2005)

The man many call ‘El Pulga’ (The Flea in Spanish) is Lionel Messi. The young lad whose parents had come to Spain from Argentina while he was just 13 was gifted with the football prowess at an early age. The boy wonder who got noticed during his stellar performance in bringing Argentina the U-20 World title. His movement and his brilliance is such that he is being compared to the legendary Diego Maradona.

Though tough on the lad to live up to the expectations, all that is there in his mind now is to go out and play. Messi had swept the awards at the U-20 World Championship by winning the Golder Shoe award for being the top-scorer and also the Golder Ball for the best player of the tournament, truly showed his involvement in the game.

The prodigy is capable of maneuvering his runs to perfection, has impeccable passes and above all has a great vision. His favorite foot is his left-foot and he’s been the architect to most of his team’s attack; all these makes the opposing defenses extremely wary of the young man. Argentina in a Messimania now and most teams would do well not to mess with Messi.

In the run up to the World Cup the lad had suffered an injury and has just recovered. He had played for brief 20 odd minutes in Argentina’s friendly against Angola. Though he didn’t score any goals, Messi created some of Argentina’s best attacking chances. It is this form along with his other recent history that puts him in a league of top-performers to watch in this World Cup.

Recent History

*His 6 goals in the U-20 World Cup won his both the Golden Shoe and Golden Ball awards.

*His opening goal against Brazil was seen as the most important goal of the U-20 Tournament.

*He currently plays for the European Champions Barcelona. At just 17 years he became the youngest goal scorer ever for Barcelona.

*His first international goal with his country's senior team came against Croatia in March, 2006.

Friday, June 02, 2006

TEAM SPOTLIGHT - Go Socceroos !!!


Seeing their team photo it’s easy to believe them to be the World Champions Brazil. But then this is Australia, also known as the Socceroos; a top sporting nation who have just got over the disappointments of losing in the football playoffs in 1985, 1993, 1997 and 2001 by qualifying for Germany 2006.

Their only previous World Cup came in 1974 in Germany again; they need to score goals to erase the bittersweet memory of 1974 where they failed to score a single goal.

Australia surprisingly least known among the top football nations are the dark horses to watch in this World Cup. They have come a long way in sports and especially in football since their sports revolution began.

Australia boasts of a strong and experienced line-up with most of its players having played in Europe for long. Their main players include their inspirational captain Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, John Aloisi, Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer and Craig Moore.

The Australian side is coached by the legendary Dutchman Guus Hiddink whose earlier done wonders with the Dutch and South Korean sides in the World Cup. Their road to the World Cup had always been tough even after topping the Oceania group in the qualifiers.

Recent History

They had to play South American old warhorses in the playoffs to the World Cup. After managing to hold Uruguay to a draw in the away leg, they won their home leg in penalties 4-2. Soon the celebrations began and their goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer became the nation’s darling.

Australia also had phenomenal success against other major International sides and their world ranking of 44 hardly seems to bother them.

Their 3-1 win over England in 2003 showed a lot of what the side was capable of doing in this World Cup.

Also their recent win over Euro Cup 2004 winners Greece gave a huge boast to the side. The Socceroos next friendly before the World Cup is against the Netherlands.

Recent news of Harry Kewell being able to play their first game against Japan makes the side full strength. They coach Hiddink has a lot of plans to plot the defeat of Japan, only time can tell if his romance with football will continue.

Australia is in Group F along with Brazil, Japan and Croatia.

The Squad

Goalkeepers

1) Mark Schwarzer, 12) Ante Covic, 18) Zeljko Kalac

Defenders

2) Lucas Neill, 3) Craig Moore, 6) Tony Popovic, 14) Scott Chipperfield, 16)Michael Beauchamp, 22) Mark Milligan

Midfielders

4)Tim Cahill, 5)Jason Culina, 7)Brett Emerton, 8)Josip Skoko, 11)Stan Lazaridis, 13)Vince Grella, 20)Luke Wilkshire, 21)Mile Sterjovski, 23)Marco Bresciano

Forwards

9) Mark Viduka, 10)Harry Kewell, 15)John Aloisi, 17)Archie Thompson, 19)Joshua Kennedy

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

PLAYER PROFILE - 10 Andriy Shevchenko



Date of birth: 29 September 1976; born in Yagotyn, Ukraine
Height:
183 cm
Weight:
73 kg
Position:
Forward
Ukraine Jersey number -10

Clubs: Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea (to move next season)

Int'l Goals:
28
Int'l Caps:
63
First Int'l Cap:
Croatia v. Ukraine (25-Mar-1995)

The man known as Sheva is going to be a man to watch during this World Cup. Andriy Shevchenko's quick manoeuver ability along with great finishing of chances created, makes him one of the most deadly strikers in the football world.

The European footballer of the year 2004 started his football goal in Ukraine with Dynamo Kyiv. He had a prolific stint with the club and was immediately noticed by the Italian giants AC Milan. His transfer and subsequent seasons with the club were really fruitful and slowly made him argueably the most-feared forward in the league.

Coming to his national side Ukraine, which lost out in the previous two play-offs for the World Cup. They finally managed to qualify to this edition of World Cup by winning 7 of their 11 games. Though they may not be the contenders, the sheer brilliance of Sheva might see a spring in their performances.

Sheva is known to play a major part in his team's silverware. AC milan has achieved a lot of them with his efforts for the Club. He top-scored for a couple of seasons in the Serie A. This top-scoring in the Italian league (the league known for their defensive style of play) in the 2003-04 season with 24 league goals in 32 matches has won him many accolades across the globe.

Sheva also top-scored in the 2003-04 European league. He scored the winning penalty that helped AC Milan win the European Cup that season. Further his subsequent stints with the club were as successful; however AC Milan’s loss to Liverpool in the 2004-05 Champions League finals cut-short from being a perfect year for Sheva. In the finals with both team tied at 3-3 after extra-time, Shevchenko missed his spot-kick in the penalties to give the English side the title.

However the man has now reached the stage of reckoning, his performance in the World Cup will be closely watched from all quarters- his country, clubs and his many fans across the world. Presently Sheva is down with an injury but he shall be ready for the opener with Spain on June 14.

These days he’s also making the transfer headlines, with Chelsea holding talks with AC Milan. With Shevchenko confirming that he would be leaving the Italian Club and moving to England, English fans can expect fireworks on the field during the English Football season.

Monday, May 29, 2006

TEAM SPOTLIGHT - Won't cry for you Argentina this time


Argentina ranked No.8 in the World and tipped to be the last team standing. Their poor showing in the previous edition of the World Cup doesn’t change them from being direct challengers to Brazil and the other contenders.

The two-time world champion Argentina has been long under the limelight of the legendary Diego Maradona, whose astonishing feat in the 1986 World Cup has made him a legend.

In subsequent edition of the World Cup, World Cup '90 they came close to winning it a third time where they eventually lost to West Germany in the finals. In 1994 edition of the World Cup which was led by Diego Maradona they were again tipped to win it. However their fortunes tumbled when Maradona was out of the World Cup after a failed drug test.

Inspite of the Team being overshadowed by Maradona they have always produced amazing players. They had inspirational Gabriel Batistuta to take the side to glory in the 2002 World Cup but Argentina had a sad stint in the Group of Death.

They sure are ready to make amends for their 2002 World Cup debacle. This time they have a more balanced side and a better talent pool, players who could make it to any side in the World. The star studded lineup includes Riquelme, Saviola, Aimer, Sorin, Mascherano, Crespo and the young Messi. Messi being instrumental in Argentina winning the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2005.

In this World Cup, Argentina is placed in group C along with the Netherlands, Cote d’Ivoire and Serbia & Montenegro.

World Cup History

World Cups played -18 (1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002)
World Cup laurels – winners 2 (1978, 1986); runners-up (1930, 1990)
The Squad

Goalkeepers
1) Roberto Abbondanzieri, 12) Leonardo Franco, 23) Oscar Ustari

Defenders
2) Roberto Ayala, 3) Juan Sorin, 4) Fabricio Coloccini, 6) Gabriel Heinze, 13) Lionel Scaloni, 15) Gabriel Milito, 17) Leandro Cufre, 19) Nicolas Burdisso

Midfielders
5) Esteban Cambiasso, 8) Javier Mascherano, 10) Juan Riquelme, 16) Pablo Aimer, 18)Maxi Rodriguez, 22) Luis Gonzalez

Forwards
7) Javier Saviola, 9) Hernan Crespo, 11) Carlos Tevez, 14) Rodrigo Palacio, 19) Lionel Messi, 20) Julio Cruz