SoccerLens Archives for January 2010

World Cup Contest – Win a pair of Nike Superfly II

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The World Cup, like Christmas, is a time for giving. With that in mind, it's our pleasure at Soccelens to introduce a brand new contest, with the sweetest football prize possible, a free pair of Nike Superfly II's. Not only is the Nike Superfly II boot the most advanced football boot ever made, but it is also by far the most popular boot at the World Cup.

Movie star footballers

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A life of a footballers is not much inferior than that of a rockstar. From awfully huge wages to their sexual activities getting closer to hypersexuality (a.k.a. nymphomania). And just like rockstars, footballers too have shown the desire to become movie stars. But unfortunately, rockstars usually don't have problem with fluent speech unless they have had one sniff too many.

Transfer Rumors: Man City land Valencia’s Silva, Real Madrid to step up efforts for England pair, Man United close on Ninis, and more

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David Silva is busy helping Spain attempt to win the World Cup for the first time, but whether he returns from South Africa after this weekend or the following one, it won't be as a Valencia player.

While Silva is making the switch from La Liga to the Premier League, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard could be set to do the opposite sometime in the next couple of weeks.

World Cup Podcast: What’s your Team of the tournament (so far)?

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Join Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg on the latest episode of the pint size Soccerlens World Cup Podcast as they argue over which players should feature in the team of the tournament so far.

Should Mesut Ozil be a shoe-in? Has Lionel Messi done enough to make the XI? And who would you choose as best right-back, Philip Lahm or Maicon?

Premier League football doesn’t cut it at this level

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The past few days has seen players, managers, coaches, journalists, reporters and almost anybody with a television set give their views on why England produced such a disappointing World Cup campaign. This has normally brought negative views regarding previously worshipped manager Fabio Capello and complaints over over-paid lacklustre performances from England's supposed star players.

Diego Maradona has been a breath of fresh air in this World Cup

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It is pretty evident for all to see that Diego Maradona's presence at this FIFA World Cup has been a real breath of fresh air. The 49 year old had been in World Cup exile for sixteen years since his shameful eviction from the 1994 finals in the USA after failing a drugs test was truly harrowing viewing.

Diego Maradona: There is a method to his madness

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Diego Maradona has been the headline maker at this World Cup. From his elegant suits, to his animated gestures in the technical area, to his controversial quotes and his genuine hugs of appreciation for his players, el Diego has deflected pressure away from his side. The Milan spots daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, outlined a few of his rituals and superstitions.

TFT Episode 56: Did England and USA deserve better?

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World Cup 2010 is down to its last eight teams and it's time for a period of reflection for the national team set-ups in both England and the USA. No such trouble for Brazil, Germany and Argentina, all of whom strolled through their second round ties with comfortable and emphatic victories.

World Cup News: Cristiano Ronaldo Spits His Dummy Out!

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Morning all, and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

There's a bit of a strange hush falling across the planet today, as we face the first football-less day in nearly three weeks and I tell ya, it just don't feel right.

However the good news is, although the action itself is taking a brief hiatus, there are still plenty of happenings and hoo-ha to keep you abreast of!

Spain 1-0 Portugal – Video Highlights

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Spain 1-0 Portugal
2010 FIFA World Cup
29 June 2010

Spain would fail to convert several chances but a second half goal from David Villa moved them into the quarterfinals.

The Spanish had much more possession and chances including eight shots on goal in the match.

Paraguay 0-0 (5-3 on penalties) Japan – Video Highlights

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Paraguay 0-0 (5-3) Japan
2010 FIFA World Cup
29 June 2010

It would go down to a penalty shoot-out in the penultimate round of 16 match as Paraguay edged Japan.

The match didn't have many chances during the first 90 minutes or extra time as both teams were a bit cautious.

2010 World Cup Quarter-Final Preview: Netherlands vs Brazil

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Netherlands vs Brazil
Quarter-finals, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Friday 2nd July
15:00 (BST) / 16:00 (Local Time)

After respectively seeing off the threats of Slovakia and Chile in the second round, it will be Bert Van Marwijk's Netherlands and Dunga's Brazil that will contest the first of the World Cup quarter-final ties and what a tie it promises to be.

Transfer Rumors: Man City close on trio, Real land Benfica wiz Di Maria, Henry to leave Barcelona, and more

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With the World Cup heading towards the latter stages, we're already seeing things rapidly heating up in the world of transfers. Up to this point, there's been mostly speculation and little substance, but that's about to change in the next several days.

Manchester City's second straight summer super spending spree (that's a lot of s's to take in, I know) is set to kick off in a big way over the coming days, with not one, not two, but at least three and maybe more deals set to be done this week.

Harry Redknapp: ‘I Couldn’t Turn The England Job Down’

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Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has made it painfully clear that he would be interested in taking the England manager's job, should it become available at some point during the next couple of weeks.

Speaking to TalkSPORT, Redknapp said;

"The FA have got a manager and until he's not the manager it's difficult to talk about it.

Messi: “I thought that they would negate the goal by Tevez because they were looking at the big screen above…”

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After the impressive victory by Argentina over Mexico in the round of 16, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez provided news conference comments that were published by the Buenos Aires news daily, Clarin. Maradona deftly evaded a question about the apparent offside position of Carlos Tevez on the first Argentinean goal.

German U21 stars outshine England’s ‘Golden Generation’

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Leading into the World Cup, the German side were looked upon as an unknown quantity. A side without their talisman Michael Ballack and the investment in youth by Joachim Löw failed to fill many pundits with confidence they resembled great German teams of the past. They were regarded as a team in transition rather than tournament contenders.

2010 FIFA World Cup: South American Trios Lead Their Teams to the Quarter-finals

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Kaká, Robinho and Luis Fabiano; Godín, Forlán and Suarez; Messi, Tevez and Higuain. I would walk into a dark room and randomly pick any of these players for my team on any given day. They are arguably the main reasons and hopes for their countries to succeed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

World Cup News: Carlos Tevez Comes Clean(ish)!

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Welcome once more to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

Footballing boar-dog Carlos Tevez has done the decent thing and admitted that he was well aware of just how offside he was when he opened his World Cup account against Mexico t'other night, but then immediately rendered his confession redundant by adding that he doesn't really care!

Brazil 3-0 Chile – Video Highlights

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Brazil 3-0 Chile
2010 FIFA World Cup
28 June 2010

Brazil would cruise into the quarterfinal round with a 3-0 win over fellow South American side Chile.

It started out slowly for the Brazilians but the eventually would find their form and take control of the match.

Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia – Video Highlights

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Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia
2010 FIFA World Cup
28 June 2010

The Netherlands would move into the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over Slovakia on Monday.

It appeared to be a comfortable 2-0 win for the Dutch until a late penalty would make it close. Despite not getting the clean sheet, the Netherlands were always in control of the match and took the lead in the 18th minute.

Sepp Blatter & FIFA: Reasons To Be Thankful

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There is a common misconception that seems to prevail within footballing circles that FIFA are a dribbly-chinned, stubbornly atavistic outfit concerned only with trifling over the insignificant minutiae of the game, rather than addressing the monolithically obvious issues that should be taking precedent, in order to protect the integrity of the sport as a professional entity.

World Cup Podcast: A painful England post mortem

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Join Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg on the latest edition of the pint-size Soccerlens World Cup Podcast.

The duo do their best to analyse what went wrong for England and what the future holds for Fabio Capello and his boys after their lame exit from the finals at the hands of Germany yesterday.

Only Time Will Tell How England’s Golden Generation Are Remembered

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So to Shizuoka in 2002 and Gelsenkirchen in 2006 we must add Bloemfontein in 2010, as England's golden generation now face up to the reality of another exit from a tournament. Whatever gold they were made of, it was probably a fool's one.

Whereas in 2002 it was a freak of a goal which separated Sven Goran Eriksson's team from the eventual champions and in 2006 it was that dreaded gambit of a penalty shootout.

Brazilian striker wants to win titles with Manchester United

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The Brazil striker Luís Fabiano has said that he only wants to play for a club where he will have a chance of winning titles, and he's picked out United and Milan as his two favourites targets.

Fabiano:

"I have made it clear I will not be signing a new contract with Sevilla and at 29 I now need to join a club where I can start challenging for the highest honours from the first season.

Kobe Bryant: “I love soccer since the time I was a boy.”

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Kobe Bryant has an interesting history that many fans might not know. His father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, played professional basketball in Italy where Kobe spent his formative years. Kobe grew up playing soccer and basketball. But his passion for soccer/Italian calcio never left him.

‘Arrogant’ England Fob Off The World’s Media

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The world's media were left with their jaws on the floor yesterday, when England's press briefing (before their systematic dismantling at the hands of Germany) lasted barely five minutes and featured a meagre amount of questions fielded only from hand-picked British journalists.

More than 250 journalists and around 30 television crews from around the world had assembled in the media tent at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, in anticipation of the pre-match briefing with England coach Fabio Capello and captain Steven Gerrard.

World Cup News: England Lost, But At Least Gabriel Heinze Got Clocked!

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Top of the morning and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

You may have noticed that England did a 'lose' yesterday when they really should have done a 'win', and it seems that the manner in which they whimpered out of the World Cup has angered an awful lot of people not least the irate Fleet Street scribes (see below).

Transfer Rumors: United and City after Real keeper Casillas, Tottenham to splash the cash on Forlan, Inter’s Maicon set for Real switch, and more

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It's a very important summer in Manchester, to say the least.

Manchester United are looking to strengthen their squad ahead of a run at a record-breaking 19th top flight title and a chance to play for a fourth Champions League title come next May at Wembley, and they're no doubt also looking to the future as well.

Argentina 3-1 Mexico – Video Highlights

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Argentina 3-1 Mexico
2010 FIFA World Cup
28 June 2010

Argentina would advance with a two goal win over Mexico but once again there was a controversial referee decision.

The opening goal for Argentina was a header from Carlos Tevez on a Lionel Messi chip but it was clearly offside on the replays.

Ian Blanchard: “We need to be open to anything that assists the match officials in getting those big, crucial decisions right.”

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Despite Germany's clinical elimination of England, we had a controversy with regards to Frank Lampard's potential equalizer in the first half. Two years ago, I had the great pleasure to interview Ian Blanchard, Head of National Referee Development at the English FA.

Scoring Statistics for the Group Stages of the 2010 World Cup

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We have seen some great goals so far. David Villa of Spain, Landon Donovan of the USA and Maicon of Brazil have stood out to me among many "golazos." It sounds better in Spanish, don't you think? The free kicks by Yasuhito Endo and Keisuke Honda of Japan against Denmark were clinical.

Germany 4-1 England – Video Highlights

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Germany 4-1 England
2010 FIFA World Cup
27 June 2010

Alas, history doesn't always repeat itself.

The "Golden Generation" of English football met the ruthlessly efficient Germans and it all ended in disaster... for England. It wasn't too long ago when England was dreaming that they are going to repeat their triumph of 1966.

Rafael Marquez: “I have the keys to shut down Messi.”

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Mexican international, Rafael Marquez, is a teammate of Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona. During an interview with Univision.com, who are broadcasting the World Cup in Spanish in North America, Marquez provided his perspectives on the key quarterfinal fixture against Argentina on Sunday from Johannesburg.

Luis Fabiano disses ’small’ Tottenham, wants to play for Manchester United

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The Brazil striker Luís Fabiano has said that he only wants to play for a club where he will have a chance of winning titles, and he's picked out United and Milan as his two favourites targets.

Fabiano:

"I have made it clear I will not be signing a new contract with Sevilla and at 29 I now need to join a club where I can start challenging for the highest honours from the first season.

Transfer Rumors: Chelsea to beat Manchester United to Dutch star Van der Vaart?

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It's anything but a quiet Sunday on the transfers front. Today's rundown of the top transfer rumors from around Europe include several players who had starring roles for their country at the World Cup and a couple who still have a key part to play for their national sides in South Africa.

While the likes of Rafael Van der Vaart might have another few days or longer before having to shift their focus, that doesn't stop the speculation train from running, does it?

World Cup News: FIFA Introduce Synchronised Refereeing?

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Guten morgen and willkommen to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

Three words: England...Germany...versus. Rearrange!

Here's this morning's World Cup news round-up...

(If you would like to subscribe to this column – and others like it on Soccerlens – then please feel free to follow this link, or you can also just enter your email address on the SL homepage.

Maradona: “My dream is to manage Napoli.”

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On the eve of Argentina's key elimination round match with Mexico, Diego Maradona provided his thoughts to the Milan sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport. He discussed the shock exit of Italy, his desire to manage Argentina for many years and his dream job: manager of Napoli.

Ghana 2 USA 1 – An African success for an African World Cup

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In a sentence

After a tense ending to the 90 minutes, Black Stars strike early in extra-time to progress.

Just like I wanted to see Spain play last night

Ghana moved the ball brilliantly in the first-half, far better than in their previous games.

USA 1-2 Ghana – Video Highlights

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USA 1-2 Ghana
2010 FIFA World Cup
26 June 2010

It was a repeat of the 2006 FIFA World Cup as Ghana defeated the United States 2-1 to advance.

The two teams played in the final group stage match of the 2006 and Ghana defeated the USA 2-1 in that match.

Uruguay 2-1 South Korea – Video Highlights

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Uruguay 2-1 South Korea
2010 FIFA World Cup
26 June 2010

Uruguay would move into the quarterfinal round with a 2-1 win over South Korea.

The South Americans had both goals scored by Luis Suarez who had a fantastic season in the Dutch Eredivisie (scoring 49 goals in 48 appearances in the 2009-10 season).

Rafa, Liverpool and some truth

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Rafa Benitez and Liverpool. What a story, eh?

Man gives club best years in last two decades. Man loves club. Fans love the man. And then, poof. In one bedraggled season where everything went wrong even when it was going right, the fans turned on him, former players stuck their boots in and the press, having built Liverpool up one season, tore him down the next (to save face, to sell papers, who knows?

Adidas and FIFA send Goalkeepers to defend Jabulani

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Why are Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Oliver Kahn (Germany) and Sergio Goycochea (Argentina) talking to the press about penalty shootouts?

On the surface, which where mainstream media reporting here's looking at you Reuters stops, it seems like a great opportunity to hear about what some great past and current goalkeepers have to share about penalties from a goalkeeper's perspective.

Paraguay vs Japan Preview

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Paraguay vs Japan
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
1500 (BST) / 1600 (Local Time)

Watch Paraguay vs Japan live online.

Match Review
Paraguay's knockout opponents will be group E runners up Japan.

Transfer Rumors (26 June 2010): Manchester United eye World Cup stars to beef up midfield

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The 2010 World Cup is heading into the knockout stages, and just as the action in South Africa is getting ready to really heat up, so are things on the transfer front.

Manchester United had a relatively quiet summer last year, but it doesn't look like that will be the case this summer, as United look set to strengthen their squad in multiple areas.

World Cup 2010……What A Load Of Balls!

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So here we are....2 weeks and 48 games into South Africa 2010 and if I had to sum up the World Cup so far I'd say it has been nothing but a load of balls! Or to be more specific.....a load of Jabulanis!

Yes, I realize that this has been debated to death but the outcry seems to have died down as the competition has progressed.

England v Germany – A Tactical Preview

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Watch Germany v England live online. Click here to sign up.

Germany vs England
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Sunday, 27 June 2010
1500 (BST) / 1600 (Local Time)

Excerpts from the latest World Cup Podcast, with Adrian Clarke and Iain Spragg:

You can listen to this episode below:
Download link (mp3, 17mb, 18 mins)

Adrian Clarke: I don't think you were that convinced by England, though were you?

Franz Beckenbauer Apologises For ‘Stupid England’ Outburst

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Doddery old Franz Beckenbauer has apologised to England for comments he made in German daily Bild recently, in which he labelled Fabio Capello's side as both 'stupid' and 'burnt-out'.

A few weeks prior, the German legend also suggested that England had regressed to 'the bad old days of kick and rush football' in a column he wrote for South African newspaper The Times.

French Government (Yes, Government!) Launch World Cup Probe

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In 'slightly over-dramatic reaction' news, the French government (yes, you heard that right!) are to launch an enquiry into their national football team's disastrous showing at the 2010 World Cup.

France captain Patrice Evra told TF1;

"An investigation will be opened by the ministry and all the players will be heard.

World Cup News: ‘Der Kaiser’ Takes It All Beck(enbauer)!

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Morning all, and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

Today sees the start of the World Cup proper, with the first (and second) of the last 16 ties taking place this afternoon.

It'll be good to see some unrelenting do-or-die hyper-tense knock-out football after having to sit through some shamelessly awful 'let's hold hands' games of late That's right!

Brazil v Chile Preview

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Brazil v Chile
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Monday, 28 June 2010

That Brazil have historically dominated encounters against their fellow South Americans will be of little surprise. What's more interesting is how well Chile have done in this tournament as a strong attacking unit and how frustrated Brazil were against a Portuguese side that played almost exclusively on the counter.

Netherlands v Slovakia Preview

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Netherlands v Slovakia
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Monday, 28 June 2010

The head-to-head Netherlands v Slovakia record is deceiving, at least if you follow official FIFA stats.

Chile 1-2 Spain – Video Highlights

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Chile 1-2 Spain
2010 FIFA World Cup
25 June 2010

Spain would get two first half goals and hang onto their lead as they won Group H and advanced to the next round. Chile also advanced despite the loss as Switzerland were held to a draw with Honduras.

Spain would take the lead in the 24th minute with a David Villa goal and extend it to 2-0 with a Andres Iniesta goal in the 37th minute.

Why England will beat Germany

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So a potential world cup classic looms on the horizon with the old enemy, and all the other cliches and jingoistic clap trap that will undoubtedly emerge in the tabloids to obfuscate and emotionally charge the match in entirely the wrong way.

Of course, the standard reaction in this country has been one of fear, i.

Switzerland 0-0 Honduras – Video Highlights

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Switzerland 0-0 Honduras
2010 FIFA World Cup
25 June 2010

It was an uneventful match where Switzerland were eliminated because of the inability to score any goals.

Both teams had a few chances and have a chance to make it out of the group heading into the match.

Revisiting the England-Germany Rivalry

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An old rivalry will spark into life on Sunday, June 27, 2010, as England prepare to take on Germany in the first knockout round of the World Cup. To say there's some history between the two countries is a gross understatement. But when faced with the cold hard facts of bygone days, the rivalry does tend to lean more to one side than the other.

Spain 2 Chile 1 – Del Bosque’s men avoid Brazil

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In a sentence

Off-colour Spain are helped to victory by  a mad dash from Chile's keeper and an early sending-off.

Â

Not looking like favourites

Spain are another European team who have been poor in the group stages (at least they are still in South Africa).

TFT Podcast Episode 55: Ben Shaw and James Appell

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The holders are out of World Cup 2010 and they took the beaten 2006 finalists with them. Another troubled team, England, scraped through their group and face a stern challenge in their next game against Germany.

France's exit was as limp and disheartening as you could hope to see. A mind-numbing draw with Uruguay was followed by almost total implosion as senior players showed themselves up as nothing but unprofessional mercenaries.

North Korea 0-3 Ivory Coast – Video Highlights

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North Korea 0-3 Ivory Coast
2010 FIFA World Cup
25 June 2010

The Ivory Coast would win their final group stage match 3-0 against North Korea but fail to move onto the next round.

It was a dominating performance from Ivory Coast who had chances to win by more but only could convert three of them.

Liverpool Set To Announce Roy Hodgson As New Manager

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Apologies for the slightly 'gossipy' nature of this article but it would appear that, after weeks of speculation, Liverpool are finally preparing to name Roy Hodgson as the man they have chosen to succeed Rafael Benitez at the Anfield helm.

Hodgson is expected to return from South Africa (where he has been working as a pundit for the BBC) later today to finalise his move, and many sources are speculating that the veteran Fulham boss could be sworn in at Liverpool as early as tomorrow though most reports are suggesting that an announcement will not be forthcoming over the weekend unless 'developments progress rapidly'.

Portugal 0-0 Brazil – Video Highlights

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Portugal 0-0 Brazil Video Highlights
2010 FIFA World Cup
25 June 2010

Portugal would play a defensive and conservative match as they earned a scoreless draw against Brazil.

Neither side have a lot of chances but Brazil had more possession. Portugal didn't play many of their attacking players from the first two matches and had allow Cristiano Ronaldo as the lone forward.

World Cup Podcast: England v Germany, the Art of Man Marking and Honda heroics (25 June, 2010)

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Check out the latest pint size Soccerlens World Cup Podcast with Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg.

The two journalists study the tactical strengths and weaknesses of England and Germany ahead of their winner takes all clash in Bloemfontein on Sunday, rate Japan and Italy's contrasting displays, as well as taking a look at the best (and perhaps only) way to stop Lionel Messi.

Transfer Rumours: Tottenham Boss Harry Redknapp Makes A Move For Joe Cole

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Tottenham? Arsenal? Manchester United? Just where will Joe Cole be playing his club football next season?

In a story that has taken more twists and turns than a barrel full of Carles Puyol's off-cuts, it would now seem that Spurs are back in the race to sign the former Chelsea man just days after manager Harry Redknapp admitted defeat.

Why England will beat Germany

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So a potential World Cup classic looms on the horizon with the old enemy, and all the other cliches and jingoistic clap trap that will undoubetedly emerge in the tabloids to obfuscate and emotionally charge the match in entirely the wrong way.

Of course, the standard reaciton in this country has been one of fear, i.

“They had terror in their legs, heads and hearts… I didn’t prepare them well.” – Marcello Lippi

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Italy became only the fourth defending champion to exit at the group round phase (Italy in 1950, Brazil in 1966, France in 2002) after a humiliating South African experience. The Azzurri lacked balance, creativity, organization and urgency.

Paraguay wins the group and Slovakia finishes in second.

Gattuso: “Italian football has to examine its conscience.”

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Earlier, I translated candid post-match comments by Marcello Lippi. In the aftermath of Italy's elimination from the World Cup, here are additional quotes from notable Azzurri players. Fabio Cannavaro has not provided a statement at the time of this writing.

This was the first Italian exit at the group phase of the World Cup since 1974.

World Cup News: Marcello’s Getting Lippi!

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Buon giorno and welcome, one and all, to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

It may have caught your attention that the reigning champions Italy did a bit of a whoopsie last night, failing to overturn 'little' Slovakia (see below) and flying home early with their collective tails between their collective legs as a result.

Maradona loves his players but not “that” way

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We have all seen how the Argentinean boss Diego Maradona shows his affection to his players by hugging and kissing them over and over again. It's natural if it raises a few eyebrows because in this time and age, one man must not touch another man lest he notices that the curtains don't match the carpet.

Barcelona to tour Asia in pre-season

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FC Barcelona's pre-season program has been scheduled and revealed. Barca's official website revealed the plans and pointed out that the club will travel more than 25,000 kilometers for the pre-season friendlies and the Super Cup tie with the Copa del Rey winners Sevilla.

Their schedule features:

Oslo
The players who are currently not involved in the 2010 World Cup will join training on July 19, 2010 in Barcelona.

Denmark 1-3 Japan – Video Highlights

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Denmark 1-3 Japan
2010 FIFA World Cup
24 June 2010

Japan would move into the knockout stage with a great 3-1 victory over Denmark.

The Asian side started off quickly with goals from Keisuke Honda in the 17th minute. They would extend their 13 minutes later in the first half as Yasuhito Endo made it 2-0.

World champions no-more as Italy crash out

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Rewind to four years ago to that wonderful glittering night in Berlin as Italian football rose above the diplomatic and testing troubles of their domestic game and peaked at the summit of world football once again to capture their fourth FIFA World Cup. The scenes of an unknown yet ageing left-back from Palermo stepping up from twelve yards out and netting the goal that made him a national hero and made his nation the rulers of the World are cemented into the archives of football legacy.

Cameroon 1-2 Netherlands – Video Highlights

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Cameroon 1-2 Netherlands
2010 FIFA World Cup
24 June 2010

The Netherlands would win keep their winning streak alive with a 2-1 win over Cameroon.

It was a meaningless match as Cameroon's chance of advancing were gone after their second match and the Dutch had clinched their spot.

Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand – Video Highlights

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Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand
2010 FIFA World Cup
24 June 2010

Paraguay looked a bit sluggish but they ended up getting a 0-0 draw against New Zealand to win Group F.

New Zealand were eliminated with the loss but did impress with three draws. They also finished third and head of Italy in the final group standings.

Slovakia 3-2 Italy – Video Highlights

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Slovakia 3-2 Italy Video Highlights
2010 FIFA World Cup
24 June 2010

Slovakia would upset the defending champions and send them out of the tournament with a 3-2 victory.

The Slovakia would grab a 2-0 lead in the match as Robert Vittek scored goals in the 25th minute and 73rd minute.

Argentina v Mexico Preview – El Diego leads from the back

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Argentina v Mexico
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Sunday, 27 June 2010
1930 (BST) / 2030 (Local Time)

Argentina didn't break a sweat in qualifying for the second round, taking the energy of the Korea, the strength of Nigeria and the obduracy of Greece in their stride.

England need more than beer to beat Germany

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Germany vs England
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Sunday, 27 June 2010
1500 (BST) / 1600 (Local Time)

Oh. England. If only beer could help them beat Germany. One thinks that beer probably wasn't the catalyst in beating Slovenia (who, after contriving to beat themselves against USA the game before, needed little excuse to implode), and if England play like they did against Slovenia they're unlikely to go past the second round.

Uruguay v South Korea Preview

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Uruguay v South Korea
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Saturday, 26 June 2010
1500 (BST) / 1600 (Local Time)

Uruguay have pace, power, technique, flair, discipline almost everything going for them. They've been tested mostly by Mexico and come out on top.

2010 World Cup Second Round Preview

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The charm of the World Cup is in the anticipation that fuels the excitement in the latter stages. After a slowish start (at a par with any cup competition), South Africa 2010 has sprung into life with devious sub-plots, shocking submissions, scandals, last-gasp wins, over-the-top celebrations and of course, favourites marching on to the final.

Franz Beckenbauer Taunts ‘Stupid’ England

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German legend Franz Beckenbauer has yet again been quick to criticise English football, by branding Fabio Capello's side as 'stupid' for failing to secure the top spot in Group C thus avoiding a tough tie against Germany in the second round of the World Cup.

Australia 2-1 Serbia – Video Highlights

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Australia 2-1 Serbia
2010 FIFA World Cup
23 June 2010

Australia secured their first win of the 2010 World Cup but it wouldn't be enough as they missed out on the knockout stage. The Socceroos opening 0-4 loss to Germany proved to be the difference as they were behind second place Ghana on goal difference.

Martin Palermo: “It was as if all of the Argentineans scored the goal with me.”

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Martin Palermo, 36, became the oldest Argentinean player to score at the World Cup. He also became the oldest player to ever score in World Cup history on his debut. Palermo took over the Argentinean record of his boss, Diego Maradona, who ironically set the mark against Greece at the 1994 World Cup.

Fabio Cannavaro: “The best is yet to come.”

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In what will be his 137th and potentially final appearance for the Azzurri, Fabio Cannavaro commented ahead of the key match with Slovakia in Johannesburg. Cannavaro will retire from international play after the World Cup and next season will feature for Al-Ahli in Dubai.

World Cup News: The Secret Behind England’s Revival? A Good Old Fashioned Pint!

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A very good day to you all, and welcome to the daily World Cup column here on Soccerlens.

It seems England may have a certain brand of beer to thank for the upturn in their World Cup fortunes after all.

Apparently coach Fabio Capello decided that the only way to get his team up and running was to allow them to have a skinful the night before the Slovenia game and, you know what, it looked like it may have worked!

Transfer Rumours: Chelsea To ‘Hijack’ Man City’s Move For David Silva?

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After the news broke late last night that Manchester City had been granted permission to open negotiations with David Silva, Chelsea (The Spanish star's preferred suitors) have wasted no time in throwing their hat back into the ring.

Here's the best of what the rumour mill has to offer this morning.

USA v Africa – Ghana carry the hopes of a continent

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USA v Ghana
Round of 16, 2010 World Cup
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Saturday, 26 June 2010
1930 (BST) / 2030 (Local Time)

The Yanks v the Black Stars, this game has history written all over it. Not only is this Africa's best hope now of success in the first World Cup on African soil, it's also the United States' best chance of emulating the 2002 team by progressing to the quarter-finals or even beyond, since the opposition in the quarter-finals is not top of the class.

The Day The U.S. Got Through

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Where were you when Landon Donovan rolled in the goal of his life?

Screaming into a pillow? Chest bumping your buddies? Sobbing like an infant? Or all three, like I was?

However you slice it, this beauty from Donovan not nearly the prettiest of the amalgam of chances to fall to U.

Ghana 0-1 Germany – Video Highlights

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Ghana 0-1 Germany
2010 FIFA World Cup
23 June 2010

Germany would win Group D with a 1-0 win over Ghana.

The match was close in the first half but Germany would take the lead in the 60th minute with a Mesut Ozil goal. It was a shot from the edge of the box and little chance for the goalkeeper to make a save.

England 1 Slovenia 0 – Crisis, what crisis?

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In a sentence

England dominate but have to survive a nervy finale.

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Unrecognisable

Just three changes from the Algeria nightmare, but England were a different side. The confidence was back and with that came quality movement and passing which made goals look inevitable.

Slovenia 0-1 England – Video Highlights

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Slovenia 0-1 England
2010 FIFA World Cup
23 June 2010

It wasn't a dominating or particularly impressive performance but England did get a 1-0 win over Slovenia to advance out of the group stage.

The goal for England would come from Jermain Defoe in the 23rd minute.

USA 1-0 Algeria – Video Highlights

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USA 1-0 Algeria
2010 FIFA World Cup
23 June 2010

The USA would score in stoppage time to win Group C and move into the knockout stage.

It was almost a disastrous start for the Americans who allowed Algeria a great chance early which hit off the crossbar.

Foreign Managers: Right Or Wrong?

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Excerpts from today's World Cup Podcast, with Adrian Clarke and Iain Spragg:

Adrian Clarke: Yeah definitely. Argentina has been great to watch too. Obviously Greece parked the bus big time.

Iain Spragg: But they are not good at that anymore, are they?

Uruguay’s World Cup prospects – group winners, but are they good enough?

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Excerpts from today's World Cup Podcast, with Adrian Clarke and Iain Spragg:

Adrian Clarke: ...One team that has no need to worry is Uruguay, through to the last 16 where they face South Korea. Group winners what you make of them, are they genuine contenders?

Manchester United Rule Out Joe Cole Move

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According to a few well-respected sources (most notably BBC Sport and Sky Sports News) Manchester United have ruled out a Bosman move for soon-to-be former Chelsea winger Joe Cole.

The England international fell foul of owner Roman Abramovich by refusing to lower his £115,000-a-week wage demands whilst negotiating an extension to his contract with the club, and is therefore now set to become a free-agent as soon as his current deal at Stamford Bridge expires next week.

Are the English fans behind England?

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Take the Afternoon Off.

I'll be popping on the telly this afternoon and hoping, against all odds, that the ball can get into the back of the net. For England, of course. But I may be a lonely fan.

We have just run a survey which shows that it's not just the England team that's putting in a lackluster performance this time – it's the fans, too, who even before the tournament hadn't made plans to take time off or throw sickies.

World Cup Podcast: Foreign gaffers, Uruguay’s prospects and Yakubu howler

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Join Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg for a brand new episode of the pint size World Cup podcast.

The talismanic two heap praise on Uruguay and Argentina, debate the rights and wrongs of employing national team managers from overseas and attempt to understand why Europe's elite have been so second rate so far.

Transfer Rumours: Barcelona Are ‘Determined’ To Sign Fernando Torres

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It would appear that a certain other Spanish international has replaced 'Cesc Fabregas at the top of Barcelona's summer shopping list, with Liverpool's recently-shorn hitman Fernando Torres now reported to be the Catalan's 'numero uno' transfer priority.

Here's the best of what today's transfer gossip columns have to offer.

England v Slovenia: road to final starts here

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Watch Slovenia take on England live online.

Slovenia v England
Group C, World Cup
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kickoff: 16:00 local time
Referee: Wolfgang Stark

How did it come to this?

Argentina’s persistence pays off to defeat Otto Rehhagel’s Greece

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Argentina's persistence over a dogged and vintage Greek side finally paid off after they ensured their 100% record in the competition remains intact with a two-nil victory at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Greece are notorious for their lack of adventure going forward as they sought nothing more than a draw with the hope of cashing in on goal via a counter attack.

South Africa 2 France 1 – So long Bafana Bafana, good riddance to Les Bleus

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In a sentence

Despite a flying start and a one man advantage, South Africa fail to get the goals necessary to progress.

Â

Electrifying before a limp finale

At half-time, the improbable seemed to be on but the second half saw the game fade.

Kaka’: “Maradona’s goal was an intentional handball”

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Ricardo Kaka' was probably the last person we would expect to see red in South Africa.

"They'd been talking to me about a kid in Brazil. I'd never heard of Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite. From the name he sounded more like a televangelist and that wasn't far wrong.

World Cup News: Fabio Capello Isn’t Crazy!

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Good morning everybody and welcome once more to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

England take on Group C leaders Slovenia (that just doesn't sound right does it?) later today and need to pull a convincing win out of the bag in order to, at least momentarily, silence their growing phalanx of doubters.

Nigeria 2-2 South Korea – Video Highlights

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Nigeria 2-2 South Korea
2010 FIFA World Cup
22 June 2010

South Korea would move onto the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time outside of home soil with a 2-2 draw against Nigeria.

It was a match where Nigeria would have several chances but couldn't convert.

Greece 0-2 Argentina – Video Highlights

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Greece 0-2 Argentina
2010 FIFA World Cup
22 June 2010

Argentina would remain undefeated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup with two late goals to defeated Greece 2-0.

The win eliminated Greece from the knockout stage while clinched first place in Group B for Argentina.

France 1-2 South Africa – Video Highlights

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France 1-2 South Africa
2010 FIFA World Cup
22 June 2010

South Africa would fail to qualify for the knockout stage but did end their 2010 World Cup with a victory.

They were clearly the better side in the match as France was in poor form and ended the tournament with one point from three matches.

Mexico 0-1 Uruguay – Video Highlights

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Mexico 0-1 Uruguay
2010 FIFA World Cup
22 June 2010

Uruguay won Group A with 1-0 win over Mexico to book their place in the knockout stage.

Mexico also qualified for the next round despite the loss because of a better goal difference than South Africa.

Zizou-zela – Vuvuzela meets Zinedine Zidane

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Rants about Vuvuzela being a pain in the... ears has been on since the Confederations Cup last year. It annoyed me in the beginning too but since the 2010 World Cup kicked off, I have still to find it annoying and usually I don't even notice it unless I think about it.

What was the point behind hosting the World Cup in different continents?

TFT Episode 54: France, Italy and England

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If you want a big story from World Cup 2010, look no further than former winners France, Italy and England. The French camp has completely collapsed following Les Bleus' dreary draw with Uruguay and mauling by Mexico. Years ago, Nicolas Anelka's expletive-ridden outburst at manager Raymond Domenech would have been worth 20p (it was 2 Franc – never mind) but last week it only served to get the Chelsea man sent home from his first ever World Cup finals, which in itself seems to say a lot about his character.

Transfer Rumours: David Silva To Snub Chelsea For Manchester City?

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After declaring his desire to play for reigning Premier League champions Chelsea only yesterday, it would appear that Valencia's highly-rated winger David Silva has undergone a dramatic change of heart that will see him sign for nouvelle-riche money-merchants Manchester City for the best part of £30 million in the next few days.

Zidane: “US is stronger than England right now”

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Wouldn't want to deprive you of this beauty, would we?

"Algeria was really weak in the first game against Slovenia and it is a shame since they did not play very well against England. I think they were the better team and they only lacked a score. I do believe they have chances to qualify since England is not playing well at all.

Maradona: “I didn’t see the referee smile after the goal against England.”

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Argentina boss, Diego Maradona, commented on recent controversies with UEFA President, Michel Platini and his long-time nemesis, Pele'. Both had questioned Maradona's management credentials although apparently, Platini was misquoted. Maradona also provided intriguing insights on Luis Fabiano's controversial hand ball against Cote d'Ivoire and some thoughts about his team during during a press conference published by Buenos Aires newspaper, Clarin, ahead of Argentina's last group round match against Greece.

World Cup News: John Terry Is Really, Really Sorry

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Good day all and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

The big(gest) news today is that England's 'rabble-rouser' John Terry, after a full day of brave defiance, has fallen back in line following his 'player power' speech on Sunday night in which he urged Fabio Capello to play Joe Cole, let the players drink etc.

Chile 1-0 Switzerland – Video Highlights

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Chile 1-0 Switzerland
2010 FIFA World Cup
21 June 2010

Chile would win their second group stage match 1-0 as Switzerland had to play two-thirds of the match with 10 men.

The South Americans would get several chances but couldn't find the back of the net in the first half.

Zinedine Zidane Denies Influencing The France Squad

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French legend Zinedine Zidane has refuted rumours that he still holds a decisive sway within the France dressing room amidst specualtion that the former midfield great may have directly influenced the French World Cup squad's recent decision to challenge the authority of coach Raymond Domenech.

Portugal 7 North Korea 0 – So you wanted more goals?

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In a sentence

A rout.

Less organized in defence, more swashbuckling in attack

Compared to their defiant effort against Brazil, North Korea were sloppy at the back. Portugal's fifth and sixth were gifted by defensive errors. Several of the others were the products of loose marking.

Portugal 7-0 North Korea – Video Highlights

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Portugal 7-0 North Korea
2010 FIFA World Cup
21 June 2010

It was a dominating win for Portugal as they crushed North Korea 7-0 in a Group G match on Monday.

The scoring would start in the 29th minute as Raul Meireles scored the opening goal. That would be the only goal of the first half and it wasn't until the second half that the flood gates opened.

Korea DPR has hired football fans?

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As I was sitting at home working, I thought I would watch the Portugal vs Korea DPR game just for the heck of it. Apart from the boring performances both teams tried so hard to put up, it wasn't long before I was yawning like I haven't slept in days. The first half goal from Raul Mierelles didn't help either.

Transfer Rumours: Real Madrid Want Steven Gerrard, But Only ‘On The Cheap’

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Cash-strapped, poverty-stricken Real Madrid (yes, the very same side that spent over £200 million pounds on transfer fees last summer) have apparently baulked at the exorbitant price tag Liverpool have slapped on Steven Gerrard's head and requested that they be allowed to pinch the influential midfielder on the cheap the cheeky sods!

World Cup Podcast: French revolt, JT’s gamble and South American dominance

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Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg have World Cup mutiny on top of the agenda in today's pint size Soccerlens World Cup podcast, analysing in particular the bizarre actions of England and France in their respective training camps.

Kader Keita's disgraceful act of unsportmanship, New Zealand's joy and European football's struggles also crop up in conversation too.

Match Report: Paraguay 2-0 Slovakia

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Paraguay have all but secured their passage to the last 16 team for the first time since 2002 after a convincing 2-0 win against Slovakia in Bloemfontein.

Enrique Vera opened his account for the tournament in the 26th minute, whilst Cristian Riveros sealed it late on.

The White and Red dominated for large parts of this encounter, peppering the Slovakian goal with an impressive forward three of Lucas Barrios, Nelson Valdez and Roque Santa Cruz.

Brazil 3 Ivory Coast 1 – Bad tackles and play-acting rather than Samba football

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In a sentence

Brazil cruise to victory while tempers flare.

Lethal even when half-hearted

Brazil's first half performance was tepid: the tempo was slow and the penetration was limited. But they still scored. It's time to roll out that old cliche about how the best teams are those that still win even when the play poorly.

South America dominating the 2010 FIFA World Cup

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I've been saying for quite some time that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will end in South America. Football is one of the hardest sports to predict and I've been wrong so many times so don't go around putting all your bets on what I say. However if we take in consideration the performances and results in these first two rounds of group matches you'll see that I'm getting it all right so far.

Fernando Torres: “We have to keep faith in our own style.”

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Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina discussed the current state of their Spanish side after their shock loss to Switzerland. Torres stressed putting the Swiss game behind them, the importance to stay true to their unique style and his side's preparation during a brief interview with the respected Madrid sports daily, Marca.

What’s Wrong With England?

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As the England players trudged off the Cape Town pitch to a chorus of boos on Friday evening, the post mortem has been long and frenetic. Such introspection usually follows a bad England performance and with the team having produced arguably their most feeble game since the Euro 2008 qualifying defeat in Zagreb the ire of those who wish England success in South Africa has been spread widely.

Analysis: England v Algeria

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Slow, lethargic, one paced and heavy-touched... and that was just Emile Heskey. Yes, England let their fans down yet again in a major tournament. At least Sven Goran Erikkson won his group games against inferior opposition fairly comfortably, whereas Capello has managed to build a team that is more one-paced and clueless than his predecessor.

“We lack a cutting edge” says Lippi as the World Champions are held by spirited New Zealand

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Italy coach Marcello Lippi has bemoaned Italy's lack of cutting edge in decisive moments for his team's downfall after a disappointing 1-1 draw against minnows New Zealand in the beautiful Mbombela Stadium.

"We didn't have much luck." said Lippi.

"But we didn't play a great game.

World Cup News: France Send In The Politicians As Things Go From Merde To Worse!

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Good morning all and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

Unsurprisingly both England and France are dominating the column inches today as both squads attempt to address their supposed in-fighting in very different ways, the English with beer and the French with strike action it's good to see that stereotyping is still alive and well in the 21st century.

Marcello Lippi: “New Zealand is a very physical side and closed us down well.”

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After the historic draw by New Zealand against Italy yesterday afternoon from Nelspruit, Italian boss, Marcello Lippi, had to face his critics with the Azzurri on the brink.

Closed Down by the All Whites

"Siamo stati poco fortunati come contro il Paraguay abbiamo preso gol sull'unica azione degli avversari.

Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast – Video Highlights

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Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast
2010 FIFA World Cup
20 June 2010

Brazil would clinch a spot in the next round of the tournament with a 3-1 win over the Ivory Coast. Most of the headlines will probably focus on the end of the match where it turned physical between the two sides and Kaka was sent off for a red card (second yellow).

Transfer Rumors (20 June 2010): Manchester United and Real Madrid wrestle for Inter star Sneijder

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One of the best parts about the World Cup is getting to see the stars of tomorrow who are on display. There are several such talents in South Africa, and a few of those are mentioned in our rundown of the day's top transfer headlines.

Germany's Marko Marin and Greece's Sotiris Ninis have both had small roles for their squads thus far in the World Cup, but if they get a bigger chance to impress and take full advantage of it, there's a more than fair chance we could see them move from the gossip pages to the transfer lists sometime this summer.

Slovakia 0-2 Paraguay – Video Highlights

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Slovakia 0-2 Paraguay
2010 FIFA World Cup
20 June 2010

Paraguay would play a solid match to get a 2-0 win over Slovakia and move on top of the Group F standings.

They would take a lead in the 27th minute as Enrique Vera received a through ball while making a great run into the box and scored.

Italy 1-1 New Zealand – Video Highlights

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Italy 1-1 New Zealand
2010 FIFA World Cup
20 June 2010

The defending champions would continue to struggle as they could only manage a 1-1 draw against New Zealand on Sunday.

The Kiwis would be the first team to score on a free kick in the 7th minute that was crossed in the box.

The 17 Laws of the Game and the Enforced Silence of Koman Coulibaly

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Two years ago, I had the great pleasure to interview Ian Blanchard, Head of National Referee Development at the English FA, for Soccerlens. Mr. Blanchard sets the training standards for all professional English referees and evaluates them after each Premiership match. I would like to provide two excerpts from that interview:

In your opinion, what are the key attributes that a modern-day referee must have to be successful domestically and internationally?

The Wayne Rooney Incident- Is it Acceptable To Boo Your Team

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After England's lacklustre performance against Algeria the fans that had travelled thousands of miles to see their country play, elected to jeer the players off the pitch after one of the most abject displays in modern English international football.

England fans everywhere will empathise with the actions of those in the stands at Cape Town, after a performance that leaves England's progression from the tournament hanging by a thread.

England’s World Cup – Pointing the finger

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On the 12th June 2010 England started their World Cup campaign, their team littered with some of the best players that world football has to offer. The likes of Ashley Cole, Stephen Gerrard and Wayne Rooney are but three names within the star-studded squad that look to both excite the Rainbow nation and bring the expectations of a country to reality.

World Cup News: Patrice Evra Refuses To Blame Mice!

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And lo, we find ourselves face-to-face once more. Welcome, friends, to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

It would appear that, despite bravely limiting Mexico to only two goals the other night, all is not well within the French World Cup squad.

Raymond Domenech's charges are falling apart at the seams, with Nicolas Anelka now on his way back home following a leaked spat with his coach and captain Patrice Evra determined to weed out the 'Deepthroat' within the group (in a 'Watergate' sense, rather than.

Ghana 1 Australia 1 – Black Stars squander, Socceroos fight

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In a sentence

Ghana waste their one man advantage, while Australia rally strongly in the second half.

Don't shoot!

Hopeful long shots formed the bulk of Ghana's attacking efforts. They needed to be more ambitious and create quality chances.

Australia 1-1 Ghana – Video Highlights

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Australia 1-1 Ghana
2010 FIFA World Cup
19 June 2010

It was a back and forth match as Australia started off strong but in the end would have to hold off Ghana because of a red card.

The Socceroos had a much better start from their opening match against Germany as they would score in the 11th minute.

Cameroon 1-2 Denmark – Video Highlights

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Cameroon 1-2 Denmark
2010 FIFA World Cup
19 June 2010

Cameroon would get an early lead but couldn't hold onto it as their knockout stage chances came to an end.

The opening goal was scored by Samuel Eto'o in the 10th minute as Denmark turned it over in their own end.

Netherlands 1-0 Japan – Video Highlights

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Netherlands 1-0 Japan
2010 FIFA World Cup
19 June 2010

The Dutch would move to six points in Group E with a solid 1-0 win over Japan on Saturday afternoon.

The match would remain scoreless until the second half as Japan did do a good job of keeping the Dutch attack in check.

Brazil vs Ivory Coast – When flare and power collide

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Brazil vs Ivory Coast
Group G, 2010 World Cup
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Sunday, 20 June 2010
1930 (BST) / 2030 (Local Time)

Brazil got off to a good start earning all three points from their opening fixture against Korea DPR a.k.a. North Korea. But what was worrying about the match was the close margin by which Brazil won.

Toughest job in Football: Goalkeeping

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To be a goalkeeper requires more than just agility and a safe pair of hands, but mental strength, more self belief than your average multi-million record selling diva and a hide thick enough to repel a missile. I know this as I like many others before me fell far short of these requirements.

Italy vs New Zealand: Can Marchetti fill Buffon’s gloves?

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Italy vs New Zealand
Group F, 2010 World Cup
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Sunday, 20 June 2010
1500 (BST) / 1600 (Local Time)

The Group F is perfectly balanced at the moment with all teams having drawn their opening game. Italy went into halftime 1-0 down after the Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz headed home in the 39th minute.

Vuvuzelas – are you blowing them wrong?

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The Mail has a story today about a 29-year-old woman who blew the vuvuzelas too hard and as a result ruptured her throat.

The lady says:

'I had never blown a vuvuzela before but was given one at work and was going to watch the first South Africa match so thought I'd take it along.

Transfer Rumors (19 June 2010): Manchester City to tempt Valencia’s Silva with £160k per week offer?

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Manchester City are pulling out all the stops to strengthen their squad this summer, and while one Spain-based player is all but signed, sealed, and delivered, City might not yet be done raiding La Liga.

That's the biggest bit of news on a quiet Saturday morning (unless you happen to be in the vicinity of a vuvuzela or two), but we've also got the latest on Aston Villa's search for a goalkeeper and more in today's roundup of transfer rumors.

World Cup News: ‘Algeria Win 0-0!’

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Morning everyone and welcome, welcome, once again welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

Apologies if none of today's news makes sense, I think a part of my brain may have died whilst watching a certain game of football last night I think you can probably guess which one I'm referring to!

England 0-0 Algeria – Three Lions continue to whimper

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In a sentence

Precious few chances for either side as confident Algeria hold England.

Heskey is effective but the front-line isn't working

Emile Heskey has been as good as any England player in this tournament. Many fans will never love him but he has held the ball up well and hassled defenders.

De Rossi: “If we lose, it would as if the All Blacks were knocked out in rugby.”

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Daniele De Rossi of the Azzurri was the protagonist of the first group round match against Paraguay. He accepted blame for the Paraguayan goal and scored the equalizer. He commented on Italy's objective, the first match against Paraguay, the upcoming encounter with New Zealand, differences between his side at the last World Cup and the impressive early form of Argentina in South Africa.

Cameroon vs Denmark – Eto’o vs Bendtner?

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Cameroon v Denmark
2010 World Cup
Loftus Versfeld Stadium (Pretoria)
Saturday, 19 June 2010
1930 (BST) / 2030 (Local Time)

Cameroon and Denmark have both lost their opening games to Japan and Netherlands respectively. Although FIFA ranks Cameroon (19) over Japan (45) but on the day the Samurai Blues got one up on the Indomitable Lions.

England 0-0 Algeria – Video Highlights

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England 0-0 Algeria
2010 FIFA World Cup
19 June 2010

England would once again struggle in the attack as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Algeria.

It was another disappointing performance and fewer chances created than in the USA match. The partnership of Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey is proving to be ineffective and it's a good chance Fabio Capello will make a change for the final match.

How Koman Coulibaly made 300 million enemies in 15 seconds

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Well, if you watched the train wreck this morning, you'll know why.

The gaping maw of Coulibaly's face is the last thing Jozy Altidore wanted to see post-match after Edu's magical run yielded no Slovenian defenders. Edu goal. USA go 3 points up. The end.

Or not.

Of course, this all could have been avoided by the U.

Slovenia 2-2 USA – Video Highlights

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Slovenia 2-2 USA
2010 FIFA World Cup
18 June 2010

The United States would storm back in the second half from an 0-2 deficit and denied a win by a poor referee decision in the final minutes.

Slovenia would start out with the better of play and have a lead after only 13 minutes.

Germany 0-1 Serbia – Video Highlights

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Germany 0-1 Serbia
2010 FIFA World Cup
18 June 2010

Serbia would get a crucial win in Group D over Germany on Friday afternoon at Port Elizabeth.

The match was scoreless until a foul by Germany's Miroslav Klose would alter the momentum of the match.

Soccerlens’ official song for the 2010 World Cup

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I know it's a bit late but we just couldn't resist it after we have been crazy about this song around the same time that the 2010 version of the World Cup kicked off.

It's a rather unknown band – the kind of bands who only have one good song and that's it – Clutch and the song is actually the original soundtrack of the brilliant first person shooter video game Left 4 Dead 2.

Liverpool Target Roy Hodgson Insists He’s ‘Happy At Fulham’

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It would appear that all and sundry are claiming Fulham manager Roy Hodgson to be the prospective candidate that the Liverpool board would prefer to see succeed Rafa Benitez at Anfield.

However, the man himself has refused to be drawn on the mounting speculation linking him a move that would see him swapping from the last season's remarkable over-acheivers to last season's highest-profile under-acheivers.

World Cup Podcast: England fever, French flops and Maradona magic

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Check out the latest episode of the pint size Soccerlens World Cup Podcast with Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg.

Ahead of England's big match against Algeria the duo debate Fabio Capello's methods, question the attitudes of the French players, ask themselves if gorgeous Sara Carbonero was really to blame for Spain's shock loss to the Swiss, as well as giving their verdict on madcap Maradona.

Transfer Rumours: Jose Mourinho To Take Glen Johnson To Real Madrid?

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Real Madrid are being linked with a raid on the Premier League for a Liverpool star this morning, although it's not the one you're probably thinking of.

New Real coach Jose Mourinho has apparently turned his sights on England's flying right-back Glen Johnson, after conceding that Inter Milan will not relinquish Maicon without a fight.

Flash Forward: Three Reasons Why the U.S. Will Lose to Slovenia

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Slovenia v USA
Group C, 2010 World Cup
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Friday, 18 June 2010
Kickoff: 19:00 Local

After a surprising draw with England, the U.S. soccer team now finds themselves in a much different position: the favorite. The opposition, Slovenia, goes into the game as a confident underdog, knowing that even a defeat would not eliminate them from contention.

Can Serbia surprise Germany at the World Cup?

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You can watch Germany v Serbia live online through our partners at Live Sport Network. Click here to sign up.

Germany v Serbia
Group D, 2010 World Cup
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Friday, 18 June 2010
Kickoff: 16:30 Local

Germany's win over Australia briefly catapulted them into the favourites slot, and while their squad always had the quality, it's worth noting that their win came against a team shorn of striking ability and defensively stale, while the scoreline was flattered by their best player being sent off.

Les Bleus on the brink of elimination – Domenech’s parting gift?

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France are on the verge of elimination from the FIFA World Cup as they were humbled 2-0 by Javier Aguirre's Mexico who fully deserved their victory.

Les Bleus were appalling in a game that they dare not lose to keep their destiny in their own hands but it was not to be. They lacked a cutting edge once again as Mexico's prowess and flair conquered the 1998 winners.

10 Things You Should Know About England v. Algeria

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Round 2 of the group stage has officially begun, if you want to call it that. With Mexico beating France this afternoon, things are beginning to shape up in some groups and we're starting to see who's a contender and who's a pretender.

It's always nice to take a look into a team's history, though, so let's look at 10 things you need to know about England vs.

Italy’s second keeper, Marchetti: “Seeing death up close changes something in you.”

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Federico Marchetti will replace the injured Gigi Buffon for the Azzurri against the All Whites of New Zealand on Sunday afternoon from Nelspruit. Buffon's herniated disc and sciatic nerve problems may cause him to miss the rest of the World Cup. The double-edged sword to have one of the world's best keepers is that his deputies rarely see playing time.

World Cup News: Allez Les Bleurgh!

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Bienvenue and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

The big story from yesterday was France's abject performance against Mexico, that saw El Tri post their first ever victory over Les Bleus in international football not that the French looked remotely bothered.

Come on England!

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The time has come, the World Cup is here
Calling in sick, as we stock up on beer

Not on the plane, was poor little Theo
One training session and it was over for Rio

In Fabio we trust, whoever he picks

To repeat the joy of '66

We start the journey on Saturday

With a tricky encounter with the USA

The players we have should be enough

But take nothing for granted, this could be tough

four minutes gone and we are 1-0 up
A fantastic start to England's World Cup

Gerrard scores as the fans start to sing

Now we need a clean sheet from Terry and King

A mistake from Rob Green was not expected

Capello's men feeling dejected

A point to start in our opening match
It could have been three if our 'keeper could catch

A flight from Jobourg down to the Cape
As England's campaign starts to take shape

Not quite filled with mass hysteria
The fans are nervous as we face Algeria

Rooney was awesome and scored with his head
Lennon so fast, left the full back for dead

A clean sheet from James, and a penalty from Frank

Even Heskey scored, built like a tank

Top of the group and its all going well
Three points V Slovenia?

France 0-2 Mexico – Video Highlights

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France 0-2 Mexico
2010 FIFA World Cup
17 June 2010

Mexico would get an important win to move one step closer to the knockout stage while France continued to struggle.

Overall, Mexico were the better side but the goals wouldn't come until the second half.

Pakistan for the 2022 World Cup

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Yes, I know it is quite far away and yes, I also know at the speed the world is going, a lot would have changed in the next 12 years.

Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) recently claimed that their Vision 2020 will lead Pakistan to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Here is what an unnamed official said:

"We are quite confident that Vision 2020 for game development will see us playing at the Olympic Games and Vision 2022 will place us in the FIFA World Cup if the PFF's focus remains on development at the grass-root level of the game.

England v Algeria Preview: all hands to battle stations?

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England v Algeria
Group C, 2010 World Cup
Friday, 18 June 2010

As convenient as it seems to swing wildly between delusions extreme optimism and suicidal madness extreme pessimism when talking about England's chances at the World Cup, the truth is that they're not coming home after the group stages (and after today's results, Nigeria just might so think of the reception they'll get, and thank the stars England have a point on the board).

Greece 2-1 Nigeria – Video Highlights

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Greece 2-1 Nigeria
2010 FIFA World Cup
17 June 2010

The Greeks would score their first goals in a World Cup along with the country's first result thanks to a red card against Nigeria.

Nigeria were the first to strike as Kalu Uche scored in the 16th minute but the lead wouldn't last.

Greece 2 Nigeria 0 – All still to play for in Group B

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In a sentence

Kaita's moment of idiocy triggers a Greeks comeback, leading to a comfortable victory.

Blame the keeper or the ball?

Fresh from denying Messi, Enyeama came up with more heroics before his blunder led to the winner. This incident is going to be analysed again and again by those seeking to make a case against the Jalubani ball.

England v Algeria Preview: all hands to battle stations?

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England v Algeria
Group C, 2010 World Cup
Friday, 18 June 2010

As convenient as it seems to swing wildly between delusions extreme optimism and suicidal madness extreme pessimism when talking about England's chances at the World Cup, the truth is that they're not coming home after the group stages (and after today's results, Nigeria just might so think of the reception they'll get, and thank the stars England have a point on the board).

Portsmouth Agree Deal To Come Out Of Administration

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An overwhelming majority of Portsmouth FC's creditors have voted in favour of a deal that will most likely see the south coast club exit administration at some point this summer, and hopefully therefore save them from any further points deductions whilst playing in the Championship next season.

Argentina 4-1 South Korea – Video Highlights

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Argentina 4-1 South Korea
2010 FIFA World Cup
17 June 2010

Argentina would move close to clinching first place in Group B with a 4-1 win over South Korea on Thursday.

The scoring would open with a bit of luck for Argentina as a cross deflected of South Korea's Park Chu-Young in the 16th minute for an own goal.

Borussia Dortmund Issue Vuvuzela Ban

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Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund have taken positive steps to keep the Westfalenstadion free from the moronic drone of the vuvuzela next season, by banning supporter's from entering the arena with the South African trumpets.

The monotonous rumble of the banausic plastic horns has accompanied every single World Cup game so far, driving many hundreds of supporters to the mute button or, if unlucky enough to actually secure themselves match tickets, the knitting needles.

Maradona: “Nigeria was like colliding against a wall”

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Argentina boss, Diego Maradona, discussed starting Maxi Rodriguez and Jonas Gutierrez, his exclusion of Juan Sebastian Veron, the pace of South Korea versus the physical nature of Nigeria, the brilliance of Leo Messi and some friendly advice for opposing defenders ahead of the upcoming match with South Korea in Johannesburg.

Transfer Rumours: Chelsea Keen On £20m Germany Star Mesut Ozil

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After watching Mesut Ozil almost single-handedly demolish the Australian defense in Durban just four days ago (although it seems more like four weeks ago now), it is understandable that many-a-Premier League side would have upped their interest in the German schemer.

World Cup Week One – What is the World Talking About?

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The World Cup is underway and amid vuvuzela's, goalkeeping mistakes and the choice of World Cup ball, there has been plenty to talk about during this tournament so far.

 In the first week the talking points/questions from this World Cup have been:

 Is This World Cup is Boring?

The Best Of 2010/11 English Premier League Fixtures

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Ah, the Premier League fixture list. More tightly controlled than cocaine, and considering the football fans global community, probably more abused than cocaine too.

The 2010/2011 fixtures were just announced, and you're the lucky few ones to see it before all your mates. Here are the hot matchups from this year's Premier League fixtures list (pending rescheduling due to TV requirements, cup ties, etc):

August 2010

On the opening day, Liverpool host Arsenal and Spurs and City renew their 4th/5th rivalry at White Hart Lane before City host Liverpool and Fulham host their new-found bunnies Manchester United the following weekend.

World Cup News: The Vuvuzela Backlash Begins!

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Good morning, and may I once again welcome you all to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

Yesterday we saw the first proper shocker of the tournament, as the unfancied Swiss 'did a number' on Spain, lulling them into a false sense of security by cunningly allowing La Furia Roja over 70% possession and 22 attempts at their goal before hitting them on the break to steal the win.

Spain 0-1 Switzerland – Video Highlights

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Spain 0-1 Switzerland
2010 FIFA World Cup
16 June 2010

The favorites heading into the 2010 World Cup, Spain, were shocked by the Swiss in their first group stage match of the tournament.

Despite dominating possession and most stats, Spain failed to break down the Swiss defense.

South Africa 0-3 Uruguay – Video Highlights

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South Africa 0-3 Uruguay
2010 FIFA World Cup
16 June 2010

Uruguay would get a crucial win with a strong performance from striker Diego Forlan as South African's chances of qualifying for the knockout stage took a major hit.

Forlan would give Uruguay the lead in the 24th minute with a shot that deflected slightly off a defender and then off the crossbar to make it 0-1.

Thousands March In Durban To Protest FIFA’s World Cup Excess

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Thousands of people have marched through Durban today in protest of the South African government's lavish spending on securing, preparing for and then hosting the 2010 World Cup.

The protesters were joined by hundreds of the match-day stewards and security staff that have been caught up in a dispute with the World Cup organisers over their low and, in some instances, unpaid wages disputes that have seen the security workers withdrawn from five of the ten World Cup venues.

Honduras 0-1 Chile – Video Highlights

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Honduras 0-1 Chile
2010 FIFA World Cup
16 June 2010

Chile would get an opening win with a first half goal over Honduras in the opening match of Group H.

Chile were clearly the better side and had more possession and 22 shots overall (with 5 on goal).

World Cup Podcast: Reasons for cheer, Robinho’s revival, plus Kick and Rush England

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Check out the latest episode of the pint size Soccerlens World Cup Podcast!

Hosts Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg respond to Franz Beckenbauer's criticism of England, assess the credentials of Brazil and find plenty of reason for optimism despite a cagey start to the much-hyped tournament.

Robbie Earle Dropped As ‘England 2018′ Bid Ambassador Following Ticket Scam

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Things really are going from sh*te to worse for Robbie Earle at the minute!

After being sacked by ITV yesterday for flogging his complementary press tickets (which are intended solely for the use of friends and family) to a Dutch beer brand yesterday, the former pundit has now had his profile removed from the official 'England 2018′ World Cup bid website.

World Cup News: Sven’s Talking Balls Again! (Same Pun, Different Day)

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Morning everybody, and welcome to the daily Soccerlens World Cup column.

It's day six of the tournament and, without trying to put a downer on the competition so far, there have been a few too many 'damp squibs' for my liking here's hoping Spain can rectify that this afternoon!

Transfer Rumours: Real Madrid To Go Big With Double Raid For Rooney And Gerrard?

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Sensational (but hardly original) stuff in the British red-tops this morning, with the 'news' that Spanish giants Real Madrid are preparing to break the bank once again this summer with a massive double raid on the Premier League for a pair of England's finest.

I'll only believe it when I see both Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard holding that famous white shirt aloft whilst being unveiled in front of a baying 50,000-strong crowd at the Bernabeu but that's just a personal quirk!

Brazil scores twice and confirms superiority in Group G

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Before we get to talk about Brazil's debut against North Korea let's have a quick review on what I saw these past few days from Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in their first matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Let's also not forget that there's still another South American side to play their opening match.

New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia : Winnie The New Boy Rescues The ALL Whites.

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World Cup Group F:
New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia
(Reid 90+ 3 Vittek 50)
Video Highlights
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa
Attendance: 23,871

Winston Reid, the 21 yr old newbie from Auckland, became a national hero last night after securing New Zealand's first ever World Cup point.

Manchester United – more than just a club for Aon

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Narratives on football sponsors and especially shirts sponsorship are usually limited to how that money is spent, how much a say that sponsor might have on the club and whether the sponsor's logo looks good on the shirt.

So it's interesting to read about how sponsoring a club changes the culture of the sponsor itself.

Brazil 2-1 North Korea: The favourites are off to a winning start but the minnows can hold their heads up high

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Favourites Brazil kicked off their 2010 World Cup quest after defeating a North Korea side who shocked the five time winners with a spirited and heartfelt performance that will capture the imagination of their supporters back home along with the rest of the world.

North Korea had been tipped to be the whipping boys of Group G as they are occupied with prestigious company which along with Brazil includes Portugal and the Ivory Coast, who both contested a highly dull nil-nil draw earlier on in the evening.

Iker Casillas: “We have always been favorites”

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Iker Casillas Fernández is the captain of la furia roja, current European Cup holders, Spain. He has been the Spanish first-choice keeper for over 10 years. Iker grew up in the Real Madrid youth system. On Wednesday night, Spain opens group round play against Switzerland in Durban.

The Vuvuzela World Cup

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The 2010 World Cup has effectively been rebranding as the Vuvuzela World Cup for all intents and purposes, they are bigger than England's dreams of fluking to another title, Italy's paranoid delusions or the hype that Spain, Brazil and Messi have received in the last year or two.

It also brings home an interesting point about football matches, one that has repeatedly been raised since the influx of TV money and its influence on the beautiful game.

Brazil 2-1 North Korea – Video Highlights

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Brazil 2-1 North Korea
2010 FIFA World Cup
15 June 2010

Brazil failed to impress in their opening stage match as North Korea made it a much closer match than expected.

They were unable to score in the first half as North Korea did a good job of staying organized and keeping their shape.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Portugal – Video Highlights

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Ivory Coast 0-0 Portugal
2010 FIFA World Cup
15 June 2010

The Ivory Coast and Portugal would play to a disappointing scoreless draw in a Group G match on Tuesday.

Both sides would get chances including a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo that hit the post in the 11th minute.

Zinedine Zidane unimpressed with France and Domenech

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France legend Zinedine Zidane has added to Raymond Domenech's woes by publically stating his disapproval of the national teams exploits thus far in the FIFA World Cup.

Zidane, who infamously got sent off in his last ever appearance on a football pitch in the 2006 World Cup final is highly unimpressed with the severe lack of team spirit and management that is hampering Les Bleus' World Cup experience.

New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia – Video Highlights

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New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia
2010 FIFA World Cup
15 June 2010

New Zealand would get a dramatic result with a goal in stoppage time to get a much needed draw.

Slovakia had a 1-0 lead in the last minute of stoppage time before conceding the goal and seeing their knockout stage chances take a hit.

Foreigners, Philosophy and the Idiocy of Franz Beckenbauer

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Knee-jerk. Look at that phrase, roll it around your tongue, and say it in your head. Knee-jerk. That is the god awful, insidious, depressingly ubiquitous mental response to anything to do with the England football team in this country.

It would even appear the trend has migrated Franz Beckenbauer's incongruous comments that England are a 'kick and rush' football team and have gone ‘backwards' have sparked another wave of self denigration that inevitably culminates in the bogus assertion that the Premier League the most watched league in the world employs too many foreigners.

ITV Sack Pundit Robbie Earle For Selling World Cup Press Tickets

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Rejoice!

British broadcasters ITV have sacked their World Cup pundit Robbie Earle, after discovering that he breached FIFA regulations by selling his press tickets on to a third party which hopefully means we will no longer have to be subjected to his gummy, dribbling (yet somehow still televised) post-match nonsense for the foreseeable future.

World Cup News: England Kit Covered In Sh*t!

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Good afternoon all, and welcome once again to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens, where you can sate all your World Cup needs in one easy-to-swallow dose.

Here's the best of today's South African-hued tidbits...

(If you would like to subscribe to this column – and others like it on Soccerlens – then please feel free to follow this link, or you can also just enter your email address on the SL homepage.

TFT Episode 53: Andy Brassell & Bruce McGuire

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World Cup 2010 now well underway, why not line up a top-notch panel for the second TFT World Cup podcast? That's exactly what we've done, with Andy Brassell from the BBC Radio 5 Live World Football Phone-In and Bruce McGuire of Du Nord joining Chris Nee and Gary Andrews to chew the South African fat.

Is this the worst World Cup ever?

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OK, so we've only had the first week of the World Cup, but let's be honest, with the exception of the Germany game, most of the matches have been rather disappointing. In fact a few of them – notably Algeria vs. Slovenia – have been shockingly poor.

Is this just a blip? A slow start to the tournament as the players adjust to the altitude?

Gigi Buffon: “I hope that it doesn’t happen to me even in my worst nightmare.”

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Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon has been a mainstay for the Azzurri since his debut at the age of 19. He was born in Carrara, the site in Tuscany where Michelangelo quarried marble for his famous sculptures. Both of his parents were competitive athletes. He has been with Juventus since 2001 and last night was his 102nd cap for the Azzurri.

Transfer Rumours: Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun On Verge Of Chelsea Switch?

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Reports circulating in Israel are suggesting that Liverpool's death-faced midfielder Yossi Benayoun may be on the verge of completing a surprise switch to Chelsea over the next few days, and many of today's papers are speculation as to the whys and what-fors of the move.

However, judging by the thumbnail, it would seem the reason is obvious he just misses JT!

Italy 1-1 Paraguay – Video Highlights

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Italy 1-1 Paraguay
2010 FIFA World Cup
14 June 2010

Once again a goalkeeping error would determine the outcome of a match in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Paraguay would take a 1-0 lead into the second half before a poor play from goalkeeper Justo Villar allowed Italy to equalize.

Japan 1-0 Cameroon – Video Highlights

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Japan 1-0 Cameroon
2010 FIFA World Cup
14 June 2010

Cameroon would get the better chances, more possession, and generally look more dangerous but it was Japan who ended up with the victory on Monday afternoon in the 2010 World Cup.

Japan had few chances but would convert one chance and then hold onto their lead for three points.

World Cup Podcast: Green and Capello madness, Podolski power and Ronaldo

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Join Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg for the latest pint-size Soccerlens World Cup Podcast.

Having watched every minute of action so far the boys focus on whose impressed them and who hasn't, with England boss Fabio Capello coming out among the top of their flops so far.

The Vuvuzela drone, impressive Argentina and Germany displays and the upcoming Ivory Coast v Portugal encounter all crop up in conversation too.

Netherlands 2-0 Denmark – Video Highlights

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The Netherlands 2-0 Denmark
2010 FIFA World Cup
14 June 2010

The Netherlands began their 2010 World Cup with a good 2-0 victory over fellow UEFA side Denmark.

It was a scoreless match throughout the first half but the Danes would concede an goal early in the second half that turned the match.

Adrian Mutu Forced To Pay Chelsea €17m After Losing Final Appeal

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Troubled Fiorentina striker Adrian Mutu has received yet another kick in the nads, with the news that he will be forced to pay Chelsea the princely sum of €17,173,990 (astonishingly precise figure courtesy of the Associated Press) in compensation after a five-year legal wrangle following his sacking by the club in 2004.

Paul Gascoigne In Hospital After Car Crash

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Former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne is in a 'serious, but not life-threatening' condition in hospital this morning after being involved in a car crash yesterday evening.

The accident, which took place at around 9:45pm yesterday in the Sandhill area of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne's quayside, occurred when the car in which Gascoigne was travelling, left the road and hit a nearby lamppost.

Holland 2 Denmark 0 – Hardly “Total Football” but a win

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In a sentence

Poulsen's horrible own-goal and Denmark's lack of ambition make it comfortable for the unconvincing Oranje.

The tamest fightback

After their first-half performance, it seemed reasonable to expect a strong Danish response to going behind.

World Cup News: North Korea Struggling With Ball Control

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Afternoon everybody, and welcome to the daily Soccerlens World Cup column.

Here's the best of what the tournament, way down yonder in South Africa, has to offer up today...

(If you would like to subscribe to this column – and others like it on Soccerlens – then please feel free to follow this link, or you can also just enter your email address on the SL homepage.

Italian Phrasebook for Match Officials

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We have read that referees in South Africa have been taking immersion courses in English to understand words our mother's told us not to use in polite company. With this in mind, here is my list for match officials with the Azzurri who open group round play on Monday against Paraguay in Cape Town.

Netherlands vs. Denmark – 10 interesting facts you should know

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Netherlands vs Denmark
Group E, 2010 World Cup
Soccer City, Durban
Sunday, 14 June 2010
Kickoff: 11:30 GMT, 13:30 Local

The greatest competition in the world is in full swing, well underway, and every other cliche you could think of for ‘having started already,' but how much do we really know about all these teams?

Japan vs Cameroon – 10 interesting facts you should know

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Japan vs Cameroon
Group E, 2010 World Cup
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Sunday, 14 June 2010
Kickoff: 14:00 GMT, 16:00 Local

It's always nice to read about whatever team is in the spotlight (i.e. England and Robert Green), but somtimes I find it nice to look into the less popular teams to get a good grasp on what else is going on in this tournament.

Germany 4 Australia 0 – Germany state their case

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In a sentence
Germany thrash Australia with the tournament's first "contender' performance.

Familiarity over class
Based on their domestic records, Klose and Podolski should not form a prolific pair. Yet the level of understanding leads to fine link-up play.

A touch of Mourinho required for stunned Aussies?

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Don't get me wrong. I'm a proud Aussie and by no means a Verbeek-hater.

But after wiping away the small tears rolling down my frosty cheeks at 6am this morning (yes, we are in a bad time zone for football fans!), I couldn't help but wonder whether we could have done with a little sprinkle of the Special One's magic following the Socceroos 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Germany.

Transfer Rumours: Man Utd Waiting In The Wings For Raul?

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There's a hint of deja-vu in this morning's gossip columns as Manchester United have woken to find themselves linked with a Bosman move for a striker, a couple of years past his prime, who is known to struggle with niggling injuries and who was replaced by younger models for both club and country some while ago.

New Zealand vs Slovakia: World Cup newbies showdown

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New Zealand v Slovakia
Group F, 2010 World Cup
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Kickoff: 11:30 GMT, 13:30 Local

The All Whites may have waited 28 years for this match, but the Slovakians have waited an eternity. Having been forced to integrate with the Czechoslovakian team after the second world war, they only gained footballing independence in 1994, and have been unable to qualify for the World Cup since.

Germany 4-0 Australia – Video Highlights

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Germany 4-0 Australia
2010 FIFA World Cup Group Stage
13 June 2010

The third place finishers from the 2006 World Cup, Germany, kicked off their 2010 Group Stage with an impressive 4-0 win over Australia.

Overall, it was a solid performance throughout the German side as they had goals from four different players and kept a clean sheet.

Serbia 0-1 Ghana – Video Highlights

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Serbia 0-1 Ghana
2010 FIFA World Cup
13 June 2010

Ghana started out the 2010 World Cup Group Stage with a victory and in position to qualify for another knockout stage.

They were much more dangerous than Serbia in the match and had chances to win by several goals.

Algeria 0-1 Slovenia – Goal Videos

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Algeria 0-1 Slovenia
2010 FIFA World Cup
June 13, 2010

Slovenia would move to the top of Group C with a solid defensive performance and a timely goal late in the second half.

Neither side many scoring chances in the first half as both teams played a bit cautious.

World Cup News: It’s Not That Easy Being Green

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Roll up, roll up and welcome to today's World Cup column on Soccerlens.

The tournament in South Africa is now in full swing and I was really enjoying being immersed in football all day, every day- that was until about 8:10pm yesterday evening.

Thank you Mr Robert Paul Green of Chertsey.

Young Germans Have First Chance To Shine

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However good (or bad) the German football team is on paper, they can never be written off at the World Cup.

The current Germany side have shaken off the image of an aging team, and have some vibrant and creative young players, who have their first opportunity to show the world what they can do.

Lionel Messi: “The goalkeeper was phenomenal.”

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According to the Milan sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Argentina had 20 shots on goal, 65 percent of possession, and completed 87% of their 512 passes at Ellis Park against Nigeria. But with goal difference one of the tie-breakers in group round play, the Argentineans may regret their lack of finishing ability despite the stellar display by Nigerian keeper, Vincent Enyeama.

Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 – Maradona’s quest begins

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In a sentence

Argentina deservedly win after a finish far nervier than it should have been.

Â

Don't concede like that

The underdog must at least force the favourite to work for their goals. Instead, Argentina were gifted a goal through mindless marking.

Is Domenech’s stubborn nature going to haunt France?

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France coach Raymond Domenech has never been warmed to at all by the French public and even more so from his players as he dropped his latest clanger on Friday in the build up to France's uninspired 0-0 draw with Uruguay by succumbing Florent Malouda and talisman Thierry Henry to the bench.

The 58 year old's eccentric management style of supposedly picking his teams based on astrology has left people baffled.

Germany v Australia Preview

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You can watch Germany v Australia live online through our partners at Live Sport Network. Click here to sign up.

Germany v Australia
Group D, 2010 World Cup
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Kickoff: 18:30 GMT, 20:30 Local

No arguments about who is the "underdog" here.

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria – Video Highlights – 12 June 2010

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Argentina 1-0 Nigeria
2010 FIFA World Cup Group Stage
12 June 2010

Diego Maradona's first World Cup match as a manager ended with a win but left many with doubts about their overall chances.

It ended up being a 1-0 win for Argentina but it could have easily been a bigger margin.

England 1-1 United States – Video Highlights – 12 June 2010

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England 1-1 United States
2010 FIFA World Cup Group Stage
12 June 2010

The question marks surrounding England's goalkeeping would prove to have a major impact on the match against the USA. The Three Lions started the match off strong and looked like they were heading for a victory until a mistake from goalkeeper Robert Green.

South Korea 2-0 Greece – Video Highlights – 12 June 2010

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South Korea 2-0 Greece
2010 FIFA World Cup Group Stage
12 June 2010

The South Koreans would start off strong once again in a World Cup with a 2-0 win over Greece on Saturday afternoon in South Africa.

It was a quick start for the Koreans who took a 1-0 lead with a 7th minute goal from Lee Jung-Soo.

Australia v Germany: Preview

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No arguments about who is the "underdog" here

On paper (and if you look at the odds on any betting website), this match should be a one-sided affair.

And the Germans appear all to keen to remind their Australian counterparts of this fact. None more so than the usually quietly spoken coach Joachim Löw.

“If the same spirit we had in Germany returns, we can do something important” – Fabio Cannavaro

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Fabio Cannavaro Closes a Great Azzurri Career

He may be 37 years of age and perhaps past his prime, but with 133 caps for the Azzurri, he is a legend. This will be his last international tournament. Next season, he will play for Al-Ahli in Dubai. He has featured at the following senior level tournaments: World Cup 1998, Euro 2000, World Cup 2002, Euro 2004, World Cup 2006, Euro 2008.

World Cup Podcast

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The World Cup Podcast is a special segment of the Soccerlens Podcast that will run throughout the 2010 World Cup, with new shows airing at least 3 times a week.

If you're already subscribed to the Soccerlens Podcast, the World Cup Podcast will be directly delivered to you via ITunes / RSS.

Uruguay 0-0 France – Video Highlights – 11 June 2010

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Uruguay 0-0 France
2010 World Cup Group Stage
11 June 2010

France disappointed in their World Cup opener with a scoreless draw against South American side Uruguay.

The 2006 World Cup runners-up would start out with most of the chances but failed to create many clear cut chances.

South Africa 1-1 Mexico – Video Highlights – 11 June 2010

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South Africa 1-1 Mexico
FIFA 2010 World Cup
11 June 2010

South Africa would be denied an opening match victory by the post.

It was a match largely dominated by Mexico but South Africa would be the team to strike first in the match. It was a scoreless first 45 minutes even though Mexico would have several chances.

World Cup Video Highlights

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Missing World Cup matches? You can catch video highlights of ALL 2010 World Cup matches right here on Soccerlens!

How it works:

If you're able to catch the matches live, you can watch the 2010 World Cup live online.

For goal videos and match highlights, we will be posting match reports and video highlights for all World Cup matches on Soccerlens.

World Cup News: England Vs USA, A Slick Affair? (Poor Taste Prevails)

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Morning all, and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens. I'm thoroughly glad you could join us.

As you may be aware, today is the day I've been waiting for since before I can remember (although the acute amnesia I suffer from probably undermines a lot of the drama in that particular statement), as England will are poised to begin their World Cup campaign against the USA in Rustenburg this evening.

Indian businessman confirms £25m bid for Blackburn Rovers

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Indian businessman Saurin Shah, owner of Qubic Sports and Entertainment group, has confirmed he is keen on buying Blackburn Rovers. He has made a £25 million offer for the club and hopes to complete a deal by the end of July.

Saurin:

"We're serious. We're in negotiations.

A football tactic you won’t see at the World Cup

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The World Cup, coming as it does once every four years, provides an insane amount of anticipation and hype in the build-up, but like anything that you wait four years for, can be a damp squib more often than it is a gorgeous orgy of climax after climax.

But who the hell cares? It's a time to enjoy football safe in the knowledge that everyone around you has at least a passing understanding of what football is (they're supposed to, because, you know, the WORLD CUP is on TV) and your mood swings, violent outrages and unintelligible mutterings are considered perfectly acceptable, if only for a month.

France 0 Uruguay 0 – A game that didn’t deserve a goal

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In a sentence

France make attacking look very difficult against an extremely beatable Uruguay side.

Where are France's creators?

Ribery did little. Gourcuff did less. Other players under-performed but France would have cruised to victory if this pair had created the chances that they should have.

Here we go: World Cup 2010. But who will win?

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So here we go a cornucopia of style, speed and drama; a heady mix of sport rich in story lines and the creation of heroes and villains. Aside from coming to terms with a new, roundly criticised ball, the test of mettle at a world cup is more often than not a mental one: who can withstand the eyes and pressure of a worldwide audience and not only perform fault-free but play with the inhibition talent demands.

World Cup News: Argentina Suffering ‘Goosebumps’ Epidemic?

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Oh lord. It's all apparently getting a little bit much to bear in the Argentinian World Cup camp (see below) and I can fully sympathise, as I'm on the verge of passing out through sheer excitement myself.

Two hours, one minute and counting!

In the mean time, here's the best of today's World Cup-hued tish and fipsy.

Maradona: “Watching Tevez play gives me goosebumps”

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Argentina boss, Diego Maradona, discussed four of his jewels: Carlos Tevez, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Juan Sebastian Veron from the training ground in Pretoria ahead of their first group round match with Nigeria on Saturday in Johannesburg.

Transfer Rumours: Man Utd Planning Serie A Double Raid?

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Manchester United have found themselves linked with a pair of highly-sought-after Serie A based targets this morning, namely Palermo's Danish defender Simon Kjaer (there's that name again!) and Juventus' Brazilian string-puller Diego.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will seemingly have to gird their loins this summer if they wish to keep hold of their Argentine scrapper Javier Mascherano, who has been linked with a move to rejoin his former manager at Inter yet again this morning.

World Cup Podcast: Previews and Predictions, Shakira and Martin Keown interview (10 June, 2010)

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Tune in now for episode 1 of the Soccerlens World Cup Podcast!

Former England international Martin Keown joins Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg for the opening show to discuss all things England, while the boys also debate which big name absentees will be missed most and how Friday's Group A openers will pan out.

England v USA – Overconfidence and Rooney to bring Yanks down?

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England v USA
The 2010 World Cup
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Kickoff: 18:30 GMT, 13:30 EST, 20:30 Local

England v USA Preview

Bob Bradley is notoriously tight-lipped. About everything, really.

Marcello Lippi: “My favorites are Brazil and Spain”

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Italy boss, Marcello Lippi, had his first press conference from Irene, South Africa. He spoke to journalists about his adamant refusal to provide his playing formation, favorites to win the World Cup, the age of his Italian side, altitude training and the status of his injured players.

World Cup News: ‘Swear List? What F**king Swear List?’

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Welcome, one and all, to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

And may I be the first to remind you: One day. One single day. One single sodding tortuous day left to go!

(If you would like to subscribe to this column – and others like it on Soccerlens – then please feel free to follow this link.

England At The Word Cup – My Summer Schadenfreude Fix

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Each time the World Cup comes around, I think that it will finally be the year that I will be able to truly adopt my patriotism. After all nothing brings out that nationalistic pride you've been keeping in the dusty cupboard along with all those boardgames that you used to play Ages 5-6 (as stated on the box) better than a hearty helping of goals en route to the topping of an easy group.

Transfer Rumours: Rafa To Raid Liverpool For Kuyt And Mascherano?

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It would appear that Inter Milan are finally going to let Rafa Benitez (should he actually get the job of course!) get his sweaty little mitts on some filthy lucre again, after a fairly barren couple of seasons at cash-strapped Liverpool but they better keep their eyes on him as, lest we forget.

The first World Cup in twelve years without Zinedine Zidane – A true World Cup icon

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Zinedine Zidane captured a nation's imagination twelve years ago as the Frenchman who was born and raised by his Algerian parents in the suburbs of Marseille helped orchestrate his team's path to world dominance as the French realised a long overdue dream by becoming world champions. Magnifique.

England’s Road to South Africa – a LEGO production

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A cheesy and over-simplistic look at England's World Cup qualifying campaign and their chances in South Africa 2010 by LEGO.

But you know what? It's a welcome break from the mind-numbing negativity that grips the English press whenever it comes to talking about their own team. It seems that everywhere we turn, every paper we read, there's nothing but doom and gloom and harsh words for England.

Emile Heskey: Zero To Hero?

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On the 10th of June 2006 England played their opening World Cup game against Paraguay. And nobody liked him. On the 1st of July 2006 England lost to Portugal on penalties and were eliminated from the tournament. And everybody loved him.

England's star of that tournament started off as the inclusion in Sven-Goran Erikkson's squad that people loved to hate.

Chile 2 – 0 New Zealand: Carnival starts early at All Whites Warm up

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International Warm Up Match: Chile 2 -0 New Zealand (Fierro 67′, Paredes 71′). Attendance: 15,000.

If you happened to tune into this game a little late, you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was an opening match for the World Cup. With Chilean television crews, a packed grand stand, and vuvuzela's a plenty, the All white's where given a taste of what will be waiting for them when they walk out of the tunnel on June 15th their first World Cup game in 28 years.

Roo Rage Needs to Stop

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On 1st July 2006, England's defeat to Portugal on penalties not only raised question marks over their ability to shine on the big stage but cast a dark cloud over the temperament of the man who is such an essential weapon in their World Cup armour this summer: Wayne Rooney.

His dismissal in extra-time after a stamp on Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho and some excessive protests  from former United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo lead to people asking whether his undoubted talent would forever face a battle with his short fuse.

Best World Cup Shirts – Cape Town Fashion Show

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The World Cup is quickly approaching, and this means the launch of the biggest show in the world. One month of sweat, tears, joy, sore throats, loud noise, beers, women, and football. Over 2.2 billion people watched the games of the 2006 World Cup, with over 760 million watching the final alone.

Tiger Woods meets Football

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No puns at Tiger Woods and his 'adult' lifestyle here because I am very much against making an issue out of celebrities' personal life but this is something that he could use every time he's going for a hole.

Although I believe that golf should not be counted as a sport and EA should not bother making a video game over it.

Babes of the 2010 World Cup

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World Cup 2010 is around the corner and just like the previous years, hot football fans will be travelling with their nations to boost their morals. For once and for all, it does not matter if the English WAGs aren't travelling with their respective players (or John Terry) because all the Brazilian, Italian, Spanish, German, Argentinean and even Australian hotties will be there to keep us entertained.

Interview with Aon’s David Prosperi

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At the very top level, the world of football has undeniably changed. Team performances are determined more by the financial muscle and brand power of the club than scouting networks or managerial talent. Football clubs are global brands, and it stands to reason that they behave commercially and in sporting terms as brands.

World Cup News: England On Safari (Cue ‘Three Lions’ Jokes)

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Welcome, once again, friends to the daily Soccerlens World Cup column. I trust you are well?

Here's the best (and the rest) of today's hottest South Africa-flavoured potatoes and I'm afraid that metaphors just don't get any better than that!

(If you would like to subscribe to this column – and others like it on Soccerlens – then please feel free to follow this link.

World Cup Facts: Longest Streaks

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Whether you're a die hard fan who will lay down in the street and wait to be run over and killed when your team is eliminated from the tournament, or whether you wil simply go and cheer for Portugal or Brazil once Portugal or Brazil is eliminated, there's this little thing called the World Cup of football that you will be unable to avoid wherever you are on this planet in the upcoming month.

World Cup 2010 Preview: The South American Edition

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The 2010 FIFA World Cup is right around the corner and for those who like to base their predictions on tradition the title should be coming to South America.

Europeans teams never won a World Cup played outside their continent and Brazil is the only South American team to win in European soil but that was back in 1958.

“Today my career ends because after you, I can’t have another manager” – Materazzi on Mourinho

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While the rest of the footballing world prepares for the month-long festival in South Africa, José Mourinho of Real Madrid CF needs to assemble a side to bring back glory to the Estadio Bernabeu faithful. There have been rumours that Maicon may follow his former manager to Madrid.

World Cup Facts: Individual Achievements

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Whether you're a die hard fan who calls in sick to work just to watch your team play, or you're a casual fan who happens to be in little Italy during an Italy match and gets caught up in the excitement, there's this little thing called the World Cup of football that you will be unable to avoid wherever you are on this planet in the upcoming month.

New Zealand vs. Chile: Training Match Preview.

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Training Game: New Zealand vs. Chile
Venue: Kanyamazane Stadium, Nelspruit, South Africa
Kick off: 09th June, 10:30am GMT (11:30pm NZT)

The battle for a seat on this years plane to the World Cup may be over, but the fight for a chance to leave a lasting impression in South Africa is still very much alive for the history boys of this All Whites squad.

Transfer Rumours: Ballack Out, Schweinsteiger In At Chelsea?

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Chelsea are featuring heavily in the gossip columns this morning, with the news that a couple of their highest-profile players are almost certain to be ushered out of Stamford Bridge this summer after failing to sway owner Roman Abramovich with their hard-ball contract demands.

Group G – The ‘Group of Death’

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"There once was a man from Korea,
Who drowned all his sorrows in beer.
'Cos his team had done poop,
Finished bottom of their group,
And now he's got to wait four more year" William Shakespeare (Korea Sonnet 1612)
*

*Disclaimer May not have actually been written by Shakespeare himself

Poor poor Korea.

Why Italy Will Win the World Cup (Again)?

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When it comes to winning the world cup, two teams can never be discredited, Italy and Brazil. However I have seen very little support for the Italians entering this world cup, perhaps it was their unbeaten qualification campaign which has led to doubts over their credentials. Or perhaps it is that the spine of the reigning World Champions remaining the same.

World Cup News: Vuvuzelas Will Deafen Us All!

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Not long to go now.

The World Cup is now within spitting distance and I can barely contain myself, in fact I think I might have to invest in some adult daipers just to be on the safe side.

2 days: 11 hours: 56 mins and counting.

Here's the best of today's South Africa 2010-related gubbins.

World Cup: The Unusual Suspects?

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As the World Cup countdown ticks down to just four days, the media have typically focused on nations in the upper echelons of world football. Those without greater knowledge may assume that the tournament will be played out with just 8, or 10 countries each fighting for the ultimate crown on the world stage.

June 2010 Pre-World Cup Friendly Matches

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Are they disappointing? Everyone is talking about how these friendly matches have been disappointing. Are people losing faith in the big teams? Is it only a strategy? Will they play better when the 11th comes around?

Here are the Pre-World Cup friendly matches for June 2010:

  • Netherlands 4-1 Ghana
  • Portugal 3-1 Cameroon
  • Australia 1-0 Denmark
  • Switzerland 0-1 Costa Rica
  • Norway 0-1 Ukraine
  • Greece 0-2 Paraguay
  • Serbia 0-0 Poland
  • Belarus 0-1 Sweden
  • Azerbaijan 0-0 Honduras
  • Albania 1-0 Andorra
  • Brazil 3-0 Zimbabwe
  • Romania 0-1 FYR Macedonia
  • Germany 3-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Spain 1-0 Korea Republic
  • Mexico 2-1 Italy
  • France 0-1 China PR
  • Slovenia 3-1 New Zealand
  • Japan 0-2 Ivory Coast
  • Sudan 1-1 Palestine
  • Luxembourg 0-0 Faroe Islands
  • Netherlands 6-1 Hungary
  • Slovakia 3-0 Costa Rica
  • South Africa 1-0 Denmark
  • Algeria 1-0 United Arab Emirates
  • Romania 3-0 Honduras
  • USA 3-1 Australia
  • Serbia 4-3 Cameroon
  • Ghana 1-0 Latvia
  • Switzerland 1-1 Italy
  • Nigeria 3-1 Korea DPR

There are two more coming June 08: Spain vs.

Clockwork Oranje – Can Holland win the World Cup this time?

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When every World Cup comes around, everyone places an outside bet on Holland. Based on their qualifying campaign, it seems a very safe bet. Their football is certainly entertaining and at times, dazzling for the spectator. But when it comes to tournaments, the Dutch will often begin with performances full of flair and vigour, but then collapse in the late stages.

Martin Keown: Capello will have to raise England to a new level

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Diehard English patriots might not love the fact their national team is coached by an Italian but not since Terry Venables has an England manager been regarded so highly as Fabio Capello. Inter Milan's brief flirtation with the 63-year-old proved this.

In fact, Usain Bolt couldn't have sprinted to Capello's door quicker than the panic-stricken FA bigwigs who desperately reassured the bespectacled boss that no matter what happens this summer they want him to remain in charge until 2012.

Field Testing the Adidas Jabulani – Official World Cup Ball

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Adidas creates a new ball for each global competition. The word Jabulani means "to rejoice or celebrate" in Zulu, one of the eleven official languages of the Republic of South Africa. This ball features eleven different colors that reflect the diversity of the Rainbow Nation. These balls are manufactured in China and have a retail price of US $150.

Transfer Rumours: Man City To Swap Robinho For Zlatan?

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Manchester City have apparently spent the down-time since the end of the domestic season concocting an ingenious plan to swap their lazy, expensive waster for Barcelona's lazy, expensive waster.

Zlatan for Robinho? I'm not quite sure which club would be inheriting the most baggage in that particular deal.

World Cup 2010 Injuries – the players missing out in 2010

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As we gear up for the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup this coming Friday we are in store for a month of a carnival football as the ‘Rainbow Nation' invites the world to enjoy this landmark achievement for the African continent as they host their first ever World Cup tournament. As excited as we all are for this historic occasion we will be fully aware that not all of the world's major players will be in attendance for footballs big dance.

What if Argentina ignore Maradona?

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A vastly talented team hopelessly mismanaged the story of Argentina under Maradona. Will it be more of the same in South Africa?

Remember France

For an example of a team succeeding in spite of a hapless manager, look to France finishing as runners-up in the last World Cup.

World Cup News: England’s Ref Is A ‘Shameless Bastard’

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It's a Monday and we're still in that tangible pre-tournament lull.

As a result it's a bit of a slow news day, but there are still some choice nuggets available for you perusal.

Here's the best of what today has to offer up World Cup-wise...

(If you would like to subscribe to this column and others like it on Soccerlens then please feel free to follow this link.

The sticky conundrum of America’s second striker

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It's interesting that the U.S. men's team should be in this curious situation on the eve of this great stage next weekend.

Striker, at one point in the not-too-distant past, was a locked down position. It was a non-issue. In the wake of the Americans' stunning 2-0 defeat of Spain which I'll remind you is still Spain's only loss in 40+ games striker appeared to give way to the central midfield and the back line as points of worry.

All-Time World Cup Facts

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Whether you're a die hard fan whose heart breaks a little when one of your friends chooses Manchester United over Liverpool to support (it happened to me the other day. A little part of my love for that friend literally died on the spot), or a casual fan who thinks that they're talking about (fat) Ronaldo when they're really talking about (gay) Ronaldo, there's this little thing called the World Cup of football that you will be unable to avoid wherever you are on this planet in the upcoming month.

Milton Keynes today, Pretoria tomorrow

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Milton Keynes seems like a strange place for an international friendly, but it has actually staged 2 in a week and there have been no complaints about their pitch. Â It is obvious that the town/stadium is on some kind of inside track as they were included in the 2018 World Cup bid submission in almost a two fingered salute to other better placed and easier to get to venues.

Moore and Grella disappointing in Australia loss to the United States

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The Socceroos final pre-World Cup hit-out has ended in a disappointing 3-1 loss to the United States at Ruimsig Stadium. With national coach Pim Verbeek fielding a strong side, they were expected to challenge their more-illustrious opponents. But from the moment midfielder Vince Grella gave the ball away cheaply for Edson Buddle to blast past Mark Schwarzer in the 4th minute of the game, it was always going to be a long night for the Socceroos.

World Cup Preview Part 1: Rooney’s Metatarsal, Dunga’s Demise and French Revolution!

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Now I can point to endless articles I have written on here that have been so on the money, in terms of their predictions/forecasts, that it's scary! Only recently I predicted the demise of Benitez and that Chelsea would win the PL. I have also clearly pointed out that Mourinho is a lucky wanker, Wenger a sleep-walking idealist and Maradona a nutter.

World Cup Preview Part 2: Going Dutch, Korean War and ‘The Hand of God’

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Welcome back to my pre-post review of South Africa 2010. For those of you have just come in from the pub please refer to part one of my report lest you find yourself somewhat lost, if not a little bemused, as to how the quarter finalists have arrived at this point in the competition.

So far the competition has met all expectations.

Transfer Rumours: Real Madrid Enter The Race For Cesc Fabregas?

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Monday Monday, can't trust that day.

The new week has brought with it a flurry of fresh transfer rumours, some perfectly feasible, some a little dubious and some completely and utterly nonsensical! Brilliant!

It seems that the relentless speculation surrounding the future of Cesc Fabregas is showing no sign of dying down whilst the Spaniard represents his country at the World Cup with Real Madrid now apparently set to enter the race to sign the Arsenal talisman.

World Cup News: James Milner Condemned By Nike Ad?

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Today's Soccerlens World Cup column is brought to you by the number '4′ and by the word 'curse'.

There's an awful lot, and I mean an awful lot of injury news doing the rounds this weekend.

Holland are the latest side to suffer the wrath of the dreaded curse, after Arjen Robben (see below) hobbled out of their tune-up match against Hungary yesterday although an injury to the former Chelsea man shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise, given that his skeleton seems to be made of warm chocolate.

Arjen Robben to join list of World Cup casualties?

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Dutch winger Arjen Robben's contention is this summer's World Cup has been cast into real doubt following Holland's 6-1 friendly victory over Hungary.

The Bayern Munich player suffered the injury with minutes to play after attempting a back heel which aggravated his thigh. The 26 year old limped off the field of play as his inclusion in Bert van Marwijck's World Cup squad looks doubtful.

Slovenia 3-1 New Zealand: Harsh Lesson For The All Whites

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After the highs of last week's narrow victory over Serbia, New Zealand were yesterday schooled in the consequences of missed opportunities by a very capable Slovenian side . Slovenia may not have carved out goal scoring chances with aplomb, but the chances they did create were taken with devastating effect.

Is Dalglish really the right man for Liverpool?

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There is no doubting Kenny Dalglish's pedigree as a player, having won five league titles and three European cups during his time at Liverpool.

He was just as successful as a manager, guiding Liverpool to a further three league titles and later transforming Blackburn Rovers from a second division side into Premier League winners.

Nothing scary about Brazil

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So many people are backing Brazil to win the World Cup. It's an easy choice given their history with the competition. Traditionally, Brazil have boasted a super-abundance of talented, flamboyant players, allied to the physical steel necessary to overcome tactically disciplined European sides.

World Cup News: Baboons Attack The English!

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Welcome, Ladies and Gentlepeeps, to the inaugural edition of Soccerlens' daily 2010 World Cup column.

Allow this newsletter, if you will, to become your South African grapevine, your go-to point for all the light-hearted news and rumour-nation that you could possibly need to see you through the upcoming World Cup safely.

World Cup ball: Supernatural, unpredictable or cheap?

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Every four years when the World Cup is approaching there are always complaints about how bad the ball is mostly from goalkeepers. This time it's no different. But what is alarming this time around is that all of those players are making similar complaints. Mind you, the complaints are not just coming from the second grade or the third grade players heading to the World Cup.

World Cup Ads: Hit or Miss?

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A week to go to the World Cup and all our media is overflowing with relating themselves with the biggest tournament in football by all means possible overflowing to an extent that they're touching the boundary lines of spam. Big brands, TV channels and everything in between are spending like there is no tomorrow, expecting a huge return during the 30 days starting June 11th.

Sex trade at the World Cup

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The World Cup kicks off in exactly 7 days, and hundreds of thousands of football fans will descend on South Africa to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime event.

However, where there are tourists looking to have a good time, there are also underlying problems. We had some experience of this in Germany 2006 but South Africa 2010 is a different beast, with far less regulation and more health risks as a result.

Will Portugal ever fulfill their potential on the world’s biggest stage?

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As Portugal gear up for only their fifth ever FIFA World Cup we begin to ponder once again if they will ever mount a serious assault on football's grandest stage.

Over the past ten years the Selecção das Quinas have produced some of the finest talent in Europe, most notably Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luis Figo before him.

Group D: Deutschland Ãœber Alles

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Blog readers, football fans, sod it, people of the world... We all owe Kevin Prince Boateng a pint. Thanks to his awful tackle in the FA Cup final, Germany are in this tournament without their chief playmaker, and of course captain.

I would never wish such hard luck on anybody, not even Michael Ballack, but he leaves a star-sized gap in the middle of their team.

Maradona to strip for Argentina?

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In Argentina, there is one psychologist or psychiatrist for every 1000 people. Most Argentineans think it would take a doctor to understand the team selections of Argentina boss, Diego Maradona. Especially his strange decision to leave out Inter Milan defensive specialists, Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti, or his decision to include Martin Palermo in a squad already top-heavy with world-class strikers.

We’re on the march with Ally’s Army

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Has there every been a World Cup for drama and intrigue than Argentina in 1978? Â I was 8 years old and with England failing to qualify, I was beginning to believe that we were above such tournaments, especially as the Scots were there again. By the age of 8 I was into my football big time. So much so that I spent every waking hour playing the game.

New Zealand vs. Slovenia – Preview

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International Friendly: New Zealand vs. Slovenia
Venue: Ljudski Stadium, Maribor, Slovenia
Kick off: Friday 4th May 5:45pm(GMT)
Capacity: 12,435

Threat of injury worries Herbert

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert is expected to name the same starting line up that beat Serbia 1-0 last week.

Steven Gerrard Lucozade ad

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The energy and sports drink Lucozade sent two guys to sneak up on Liverpool and England midfielder Steven Gerrard with a video camera to capture his secret of the powerful long range shots he pulls off so often. Well, since Lucozade sent the people to spy on Gerrard, guess what his secret is!

Transfer Rumours (4th June 2010): Yaya Toure Is ‘Desperate’ To Join Man City

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After yesterday's revelations, I'm slightly surprised we haven't got a few more 'Liverpool exodus' stories this morning, but I'm pretty sure we won't have to wait too long before the floodgates crash open.

Instead the main transfer story centres around a man that has been linked with a move to the Premier League more than almost any other over the past couple of years.

Official: Liverpool Confirm That Rafa Benitez Has Left The Club

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Liverpool have ended days of mounting speculation by announcing that they have parted company with their Champions League winning manager Rafa Benitez.

The club have confirmed the news via a statement on their official website that reads as such;

"Mr Benitez relinquishes his position as team manager after six years and the Board of Directors would like to place on record their grateful thanks for his services and wish him all the best in his future career.

Who will be the top African nation?

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It is only in recent times that African nations have risen to prominence on football's World stage, most notably thorough their performances at the World Cup. Apart from Egypt's participation in the 1934 tournament, it was not until 1970 when Morocco qualified for the World Cup in Mexico that this continent began to shape its World Cup history.

Will Rafa Benitez Be The Man To Follow Jose Mourinho At Inter Milan?

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From the outside looking in, it would appear that the planets are aligning for Rafa Benitez.

If you subscribe to the theory of Occam's Razor – that the most obvious explanation is usually correct – then it would seem that the Liverpool boss will be stepping into Jose Mourinho's recently-vacated hand-stitched loafers sooner rather than later.

‘Gola Mondo’ – Guardian World Cup ad

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The Guardian and the Observer are going for an extensive online coverage of the 2010 World Cup. They will be producing World Cup guides, wall-charts, match day programs, daily podcasts, match reports and 32 bloggers from every competing nation around the world. Their World Cup activity also includes and 30 second TV ad to be aired across terrestrial and digital channels.

Nando’s World Cup ad beats Nike’s

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If you thought Nike's 'Write the Future' ad was the best, then this Nando's ad is the shit! They have broken all barriers of good advertisement. Who could've thought putting chicken and boobs in an ad for a football World Cup is the right way to go. It makes no sense but it works a magic!

Rooney sneaks on a Tiger beer

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While watching a game at Old Trafford from one of the VIP boxes, Manchester United ace and England's only hope at the World Cup, Wayne Rooney sneaked in on a glass of beer that a waiter brought. Unfortunately for him, just like all his on-field action is swift and caught on camera, this was too.

Transfer Rumours (3rd June 2010): Real Madrid Make Steven Gerrard Top Target

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Another day, another fresh wave of transfer rumours sweeps across cyberspace, and there's some biggies this morning!

It looks like Liverpool may have to brace themselves for a huge double blow over the coming days, with both two of the biggest names at the club set to walk out if sources are to be believed.

Cesena’s Fairytale

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My grandmother's house is on the other side of the street from the Stadio Dino Manuzzi in Cesena, Italy. Every weekend she hears the screams of the fans, cheering their team on. But none of the weekly shouts could compare to the celebrations, screams of joy, and frenetic honking of horns on the night of Sunday, May 30th, 2010.

Nando’s World Cup beats Nike’s Advert

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If you thought Nike's 'Write the Future' ad was the best, then this Nando's ad is the shit! They have broken all barriers of good advertisement. Who could've thought putting chicken and boobs in an ad for a football World Cup is the right way to go. It makes no sense but it works a magic!

2010 World Cup build-up – ESPN’s 32 epic works of art

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ESPN is playing the lead role in 2010 World Cup coverage worldwide even leaving the host nation's TV channel way behind. The top commentators of the game John Motson and Andy Gray have also signed up with ESPN and it does not end there (more details here).

Here is the gallery of 33 epic works of art made for ESPN one for every nation participating in the World Cup and one for the World cup.

Manchester United 2009/2010 Season Review

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Chelsea are the champions. Congrats to them... now piss off, this is a Manchester United review, no more shit about Chelsea.

I still remember the unease I felt after the opening day unconvincing win over Birmingham thanks to a solitary strike from Wayne Rooney. My doubts werent found baseless as United slumped to defeat just three days later at newly-promoted Burnley.

The Yanks touch down in SA; Australia tune-up awaits

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So, the boys are now at altitude. JSpector says the early arrival helps alleviate the burning in your lungs, which crops up immediately and lasts about three days. Helloo, Azteca.

Bobbo called the 17-hour flight from DC to Joburg 'easy.' Right. The USMNT is staying at this place, the Irene Country Lodge, behind three-foot thick walls and amongst roosters and cows.

Liverpool ask Rafa to leave

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It's finally happened. For several seasons Rafa had the backing of Liverpool fans and seemed untouchable, especially given the unpopularity of the American owners.

But a dismal perfomance in the league and Europe has seen his support erode drastically, and according to the Times the board have now offered him a severance deal that would see him leave the club effective immediately, but with a considerably lower payoff than his existing contract would entail.

Arsenal reject Barcelona offer, refuse to play nice over Fabregas

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Just hours after Barcelona said that they bad 'entered formal discussions' with Arsenal over Cesc Fabregas, and Xavi cheekily commented (in fairness, he answered the question posed to him) that he was certain that Fabregas would be joining Barcelona this summer, Arselona Arsenal have issued a definite rejection.

Barcelona Make Formal Offer For Cesc Fabregas

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Barcelona have confirmed that they have entered 'official' negotiations with Arsenal over the transfer of their influential captain Cesc Fabregas.

The Catalan giants have submitted a written offer which is believed to be in the region of €40 million (£33 million) for Fabregas, after initially entering formal discussions with Arsenal earlier today the day after the transfer window re-opened.

Group E: Three continents fight for second

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Unlike Group C, there is no clear underdog in this group, just one supreme overdog. Netherlands qualified perfectly, and will no doubt make it through.

Van Persie (if fit) lines up at the head of an attack including Champions League finalists Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, which will rip through three mediocre opposition defences.

Group F: New Zealand are gone

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There's always a lot of talk about the Group of Death, a phrase used past the point of cliche, up until it has become little more than irritant. This year it is widely accepted that the hardest group is formed when you put Brazil, Portugal together and just add Ivory Coast, with North Korea as a sideshow.

Group H: La Loco’s 3-4-3 will prove too much.

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Not many teams will be more happy with their draw than La Furia Roja, who have every right to feel they will saunter through this group, with all the ease they exhibited in qualifying. There is definite talent in the other teams, but Espanola are in a league of their own here.

Even if Spain managed to pull out that old 'under achiever' trick of theirs, which has seen none of their captains hoist Jules Rimes, expect them to win this group.

Can Argentina return to the summit of world football?

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It has been no secret that for the past two decades since Argentina lost the 1990 FIFA World Cup final to West Germany in the Stadio Olimpico they have sincerely underachieved on the world's grandest stage.

For a nation who has two stars embroidered above their crest to signify their greatest accolades of winning footballs most coveted title in both 1978 and 1986 they have failed to make it past the last eight since that miserable night in Rome as an Andreas Brehme spot kick ended La Albiceleste's hopes of retaining their world title.

Old England’s last chance for World Cup glory?

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Last Chance for the England Chieftains?

At one point Terry, Lampard, Gerrard and now Ferdinand have all held the captaincy yet all four are likely playing their last World Cup ever. Will this incite a mid-life-crisis-esque meltdown or provide swan song cup winning motivation?

England Approaches World Cup Advertising Overload

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As the World Cup gets nearer and the media attention reaches fever pitch, it is impossible in the UK to escape the media spotlight placed on the tournament.

In England the tournament is everywhere; billboards, radio stations, televisions and the internet, nowhere and no one is safe.

It seems as if every company is jumping on the World Cup bandwagon to flog their wares; from the tangibly sport related sports companies and television manufacturers, to the more tediously sport linked chocolate bar producers and banks.

Slovenia World Cup 2010 Preview

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After seeing off Egypt in the latest installment of the world's most violent international football rivalry to qualify for the World Cup, Algeria should be feeling pretty pleased with themselves. The USA, meanwhile, are participating in their fifth straight World Cup, and nobody does utterly groundless footballing optimism quite like England.

Transfer Rumours (2nd June 2010): Edin Dzeko And Maicon To Man City?

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It's that time of year again, the period in the football calendar that we objective observers know affectionately as 'silly season'.

The transfer window has re-opened like a veritable Pandora's box, spewing forth some of the most spurious and entertaining football gossip we've seen in a long time, and I love it!

World Cup Breakout Players

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Though only a small sample-size, the World Cup can be career-altering. Franck Ribery was a surprise inclusion to the French squad in 2006. A few great performances for France later, he was one of the biggest stars in football and the presumptive replacement for the legendary Zinedine Zidane.

Grazie Gazza

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1974 West Germany
On his 7th birthday Paul Gascoigne woke up in his Dunston home with one thing on his mind the forthcoming World Cup Finals in West Germany... probably. But that day it was another Gazza making the back page headlines a certain Silvio Gazzaniga.

ESPN doubles World Cup coverage, bullish on soccer across the board

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ESPN, the U.S. sports broadcasting giant of 5,000 employees, is preparing to launch their coverage of World Cup South Africa 2010, its seventh World Cup and largest operation ever outside of the U.S. The production is twice the scale as the production in Berlin and Munich in 2006 and has 300 full-time staff members dedicated just to the Cup.

The formula to World Cup success

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I'll kick off with a few quick bullet points as an outline of the blog:

  • Argentina World Cup 1986: A terrible qualifying campaign and the nation had very low expectations going into the tournament, the result, champions.
  • Brazil World Cup 2002: The road to the World Cup 2002 for Brazil was a bumpy one.

Portugal, welcome to South Africa

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Maria from South Africa emailed us about something very interesting her daughter has been up to. Her daughter's name is Levonne De Freitas and she happens to be a big Portugal fan. In a bid to welcome Portugal to her land, South Africa, she pimped up her car to express her support and passion for football and Portugal.

Podcast: World Cup tips, Mourinho’s wish list and United’s transfer worries

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Host Adrian Clarke is joined by guest pundit Iain Macintosh for a rip-roaring end of season episode of the Soccerlens Podcast.Â

The dynamic duo (in the absence of a beach bound Iain Spragg) debate who will become Inter's next boss, the names Jose Mourinho will have at the top of his Bernabeu shopping list and whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a genius or a joke.

England 2010 World Cup Squad: The Final Cut

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Although it is yet to be officially announced by the Football Association, it would appear that the seven awkward "it's not you, it's me..." phone calls have been made and after several hours of water-torture style press leakage we can piece together the final draft of the squad that England coach Fabio Capello has chosen to have at his disposal for the World Cup proper.

Four Reasons Why £95m Rooney Isn’t Going To Real Madrid

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Usually I'd trust the BBC to know the difference between bullshit and genuine transfer gossip when they see it but lately that's not happening anymore.

Today, during their live blog for the England squad (minute-by-minute updates on speculation about which 7 players would be left), there was a mention of a £95m bid for Wayne Rooney by Real Madrid.

The Death Of A Football Club – Crystal Palace Have Three Hours To Save Themselves

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Championship side Crystal Palace FC will face liquidation this afternoon if the business group attempting to by the club cannot reach an agreement by 15:00 BST.

CPFC 2010 (a consortium of local London businessmen headed by Palace supporters) have agreed terms on a deal to purchase the club outright but will not compete the transaction until they reach a compromise with the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are brokering the sale of the club's ground, Selhurst Park.

It was 40 years ago today…

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1970 Mexico
I was just 6 months old when England took the real/fake Jules Rimet trophy out to Mexico to defend their crown of 1966. We moan today about the distractions off the pitch for players, but it was no different forty years ago. The squad assembled by Alf Ramsey was regarded as stronger than in 1966, with many players now seen as at their peak.

Aon and Manchester United

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Today's article on Aon was supposed to be about the numbers, a dry analysis of the pros and cons plus the usual refutations needed for every major sponsor no, they're not selecting the team or picking who United can buy.

But then I woke up today and saw the Aon ad on manutd.com and it was refreshing to see a company that has no clue about football manage to hit all the right notes in their launch phase.