SoccerLens Archives for January 2010

Rabotnicki Skopje vs Liverpool: Match Preview

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Rabotnicki Skopje v Liverpool
First Leg, Third Qualifying Round, Europa League
Philip II Arena, Skopje
Thursday, 29th July 2010
18:45 (BST)

For the third qualifying round of the Europa League, Roy Hodgson's Liverpool are in Macedonia to play Rabotnicki Skopje.

Emirates Cup: Celtic vs Lyon – Match Preview

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Celtic vs Lyon
Emirates Cup
Emirates Stadium, London
Saturday, July 31st 2010
14:00 (BST)

The opener of the Emirates Cup will be played between the Scottish giants Celtic and the French outfit Lyon at the Emirates.

Finishing second last season behind rivals Rangers, Celtic only managed to win one of their four pre-season friendlies by now.

Mark Hughes Set For Fulham, But Will ‘Second Choice Sparky’ Keep Up The Good Work?

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After a brief but ultimately fruitless dalliance with Ajax manager Martin Jol, it would now appear that Fulham are within hours of appointing Mark Hughes as their new manager, with many reports suggesting that he could be unveiled at Craven Cottage as early as this afternoon.

Emirates Cup: Arsenal vs AC Milan – Match Preview

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Arsenal vs AC Milan
Emirates Cup
Emirates Stadium, London
Saturday 31st July, 2010
17:20 (BST)

Arsenal kickoff their 2010 Emirates Cup against the Italian giants AC Milan in the second of the tournament. The Gunners are the current holders of the cup with eleven points after beating Atletico Madrid 2-1 and Glasgow Rangers 3-0.

C.D. Guadalajara vs Manchester United Match Preview

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C.D. Guadalajara vs Manchester United
Friendly
Estadio Chivas, Guadalajara
Friday 30th, July 2010
00:00 (BST)

The last game of the Manchester United's 2010 tour of the Americas will be a stop in Guadalajara, Mexico to help Club Deportivo Guadalajara inaugurate their brand new 45,000 seater Estadio Chivas.

2010 Emirates Cup Preview

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The fourth version of the Emirates Cup kicks off this Saturday, 31st July 2010.

The tournament is hosted by the Premier League club Arsenal and the format of the tournament is based on Amsterdam Tournament held by Ajax and much like the Amsterdam Tournament, each team plays two matches with three points for the winner, one for a draw and a point for every goal scored.

Ibrahimovic: “I shall remain a Barca player.”

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Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic speaking in Norway on thursday has said that he will be staying at what he believes to be "the best club in the world".

In his press conference before the Barcelona game this evening with Valerenga, Ibrahimovic made it clear that he plans to stay on at the club.

Stoke City considering move for Manchester City flop Santa Cruz

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In an effort to add some scoring punch before the start of their third Premier League campaign, Stoke City could make a move for out of favor Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz, according to the Guardian.

After finishing an impressive 12th in their inaugural Premier League campaign in the 2008/09 season, Tony Pulis' side improved upon that last season by finishing 11th.

Manchester United interested in Danish keeper Lindegaard

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Manchester United have a concrete interest in Aalesunds FK's Danish keeper Anders Lindegaard, according to the Norwegian club's director.

The 26-year-old Lindegaard moved from Danish side Odense last year, and with him in goal, Aalesund sport the third-best defense in the Norwegian top flight this season, with only 19 goals conceded in 18 matches.

A Footballer’s Weapon of Choice

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This week ‘professional footballer' Gavin Grant (...yeah, I didn't have a clue who either) was sentenced to life imprisonment for the shooting and killing of Leon Labastide.

You can't help but feel that the ex Millwall, Wycombe and Bradford striker's choice of weaponry was a little bit of a cliché – I mean, come on, London, gang disputes, gun-crime, we've heard it all before.

Roy Hudgson: Fernando Torres is looking forward to join us in training on Monday

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Liverpool manager Roy Hudgson has brushed aside all speculation surrounding Liverpool striker Fernando Torres as he revealed that Torres is looking forward to training on Monday.

The World Cup winner has been linked with a move to Premier League sides Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United and La Liga champions Barcelona with reports claiming Liverpool would only accept a record offer of £70 million for the Spaniard.

The Fabregas Dilemma

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If James Milner is worth 30 million pounds, Cesc Fabregas is worth 100, so Arsenal's reluctance to do business with Barcelona is understandable, with the Catalans making an offer well below a fair evaluation.

Arsenal's refusal is also dangerous.

They have previous in this regard.

The Old Lady aims to tame the Wild Rovers

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On Thursday evening in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght, history will be made. Shamrock Rovers, a club that not many outside of Ireland will be familiar with, will play host to one of the powerhouses of Seria A, Juventus. In July of last year, amid much fanfare, Rovers played the 'Galacticos' of Real Madrid in a friendly match which was seen by many as the rebirth of a club that in the previous decade had experienced relegation from the Premier League and entered into examiner-ship.

Is Raul’s departure symbolic of Mourinho’s arrival at Madrid?

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The emotional scenes from the Bernabeu of Raul's departure would lead you to believe that the decision to leave, most likely to German club Schalke, was a far from mutual decision. The reaction of the Spanish press would be better spared for the day Raul retires from football which is arguably only two or three seasons away.

Carlos Tevez would love to see Torres in Manchester this season

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Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez revealed his thoughts on the speculation surrounding Fernando Torres' future at Anfeild.

The Argentine talked about how much he would love to play alongside "one of the top strikers in the world" and that if Torres does indeed join City, then the team will certainly but improve.

Manchester United chief David Gill: Ferguson has the money to spend on transfers

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Manchester United chief executive David Gill has confirmed that Sir Alex Ferguson has all the money he needs should he plan on bringing a player to Old Trafford this summer.

The Red Devils have already spent some £20 million on Chris Smalling from Fulham and Javier Hernandez from Guadalajara but the two youngsters are likely to be back-up in their first season in the Theater Of Dreams.

Arsenal are unwilling to sit and talk about Fabregas

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Barcelona board spokesman Toni Freixa says Arsenal have rejected any kind of offer to discuss the future of skipper Cesc Fabregas.

The 23 year old midfielder has been linked with a move to La Liga winners Barcelona since the beginning of the summer, with the Catalans revealing their interest to the media over and over again.

Liverpool manager confirms Javier Mascherano wants to leave the club

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Liverpool coach Roy Hudgson has confirmed that Javier Mascherano has made it "perfectly clear" that he wants to leave the club. The Argentine has been strongly linked with a move to treble winners Inter Milan to link up with former Reds coach Rafa Benitez.

Speaking at the press conference, Hudgson said that Macherano wishes to leave, but there is still a glimmer of hope of keeping him at Anfield:

"Yes he wants to leave the club, he's made that perfectly clear.

Fabregas Agrees Personal Terms With Barcelona?

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Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas is said to have agreed personal terms with the Catalans, according to the latest reports in Spain.

Sport claimed that the Spaniard has signed a 5 year contract and will be receiving £5.9 million per season.

However, Fabregas' current club, Arsenal, are yet to agree any deal with Barcelona and in fact, are not accepting to sit down and talk with Barcelona representatives.

Raul joins German outfit Schalke

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Bundesliga side Schalke have confirmed the signing of former Real Madrid captain and legend Raul Gonzalez on a free transfer.

The 33 year-old striker was no longer needed at Madrid following the signing of younger superstars like Benzema, Higuain, and Ronaldo. Raul announced his departure on Sunday, and has been linked with a move to Schalke since the beginning of the summer.

Will Arsene change the habit of a lifetime and buy big?

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In the five years since Arsenal last won major silverware I haven't once called for Arsene Wenger's head. You're more likely to find me hanging with the "Arsene Knows Best" brigade than the boo boys. In fourteen years he has  led the club to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, a Champions League final and a national record for league games unbeaten.

Andres Inesta: Cesc Fabregas is staying at Arsenal

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Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas is set to stay at the Emirates this season according to his Spanish team-mate Andres Iniesta.

La Liga champions Barcelona have been linked with the tenacious central midfielder all summer but are now resigned to missing out on their top transfer target and will reignite their interest next year.

Sir Alex Ferguson extatic now that Nemanja Vidic has agreed personal terms to a new contract

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Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson expresses his delight after Nemanja Vidic commited his future to the club.

The Scot has revealed that the Serbian has agreed to extend his contract for a further four years which gives him a huge boost looking at Rio Ferdinand's crisis with injury.

Northern Exposure: The People’s Team Abroad

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Football teams wishing to be taken seriously at a World Cup should probably avoid losing all of their group games, especially if they concede twelve goals and score just one in doing so. Registering a striker as a goalkeeper in a futile bid to bend the tournament's squad regulations is also frowned upon, as is hiring a group of Chinese actors to impersonate genuine supporters.

Man City’s summer spree hits £80m as Lazio star Kolarov signs on

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It took longer than expected, but Manchester City have finally completed the signing of Lazio left back Aleksandar Kolarov.

City had been expected to wrap up a deal for the Serbia international for much of this month, but it‘s only now becoming official after the player completed his medical and was granted a work permit.

Transfer Rumors: Chelsea to sign Benfica and Brazil star Ramires for £20m?

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England

Chelsea To Sign Benfica Star?

As reported here earlier, Chelsea will sign Benfica midfielder Ramires next week for £20m, according to ESPN Soccernet sources.

Analysis: If you need to be impressed, see here and here (you'll especially enjoy what happens around the 1:15 mark).

Dzeko and Misimovic are going nowhere, says Wolfsburg director Hoeness

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VfL Wolfsburg sporting director Dieter Hoeness has set the record straight once again, and perhaps for the final time this summer, about the futures of star striker Edin Dzeko and playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic.

For the second straight summer, the 24-year-old Dzeko has been linked with a big-money move, with Manchester City and Juventus said to be battling it out for his signature.

France Suspend Entire 23-Man World Cup Squad

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The French Football Federation (FFF) have suspended all 23 members of France's World Cup squad for their next game, at the behest of their newly-appointed coach Laurent Blanc who was sworn in as Raymond Domenech's successor last month.

France endured a tortuous campaign in South Africa, failing to win a single game and finishing bottom of their group, but there woeful display on the pitch came to be vastly overshadowed by the childish mutiny that ensued off it.

Man United exec Gill confirms Real Madrid target Vidic to pen new deal

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Manchester United chief executive David Gill has confirmed that center back Nemanja Vidic will put pen-to-paper on a contract extension once he returns from his holiday, according to Manchester United's official site.

Earlier today, it was reported that Vidic had been offered a two-year contract extension worth £90k per week, a raise of £20k per week over his current salary of £70k per week.

Chelsea to snap up Benfica midfielder Ramires in £20m swoop?

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According to ESPN Soccernet, highly-rated Benfica midfielder Ramires has snubbed Manchester City and other suitors and will sign for Chelsea next week in a £20m deal.

As per their sources, the 23-year-old is already headed to Stamford Bridge, and the finishing i's and t's are expected to be dotted and crossed in the next few days.

Manchester United to offer Real target Vidic £90k per week extension

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It remains to be seen whether Rio Ferdinand will be fit for Manchester United's Premier League curtain raiser against Newcastle on 16 August, but the club are set to ward off the speculation about his partner in the heart of United's back line.

According to the Guardian, United are set to offer defensive stalwart Nemanja Vidic a two-year contract extension worth £90k per week.

Liverpool Consider Sacrificing The Europa League Next Season – Is It The Right Thing To Do?

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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has revealed today that he is, in so many words, considering 'ditching' next season's Europa League campaign in order to help stabilise his squad ahead of a potentially gruelling domestic season.

Liverpool still have to qualify for the European competition via a two-legged preliminary fixture with Macedonian side FK Rabotnicki, and after that may face a further 17 games on the road to the final in Ireland next May.

South Africa May Be Bullied Out Of ‘Bafana Bafana’ Nickname

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Due to an ongoing copyright dispute, the South African national football team may be forced to drop the Bafana Bafana (which translates as 'the boys, the boys' in Zulu) moniker that has become so instantly familiar right across the globe following the World Cup.

The rights to the nickname were acquired by a South African businessman in 1994, meaning that the South African Football Association (SAFA) are limited to using the phrase on officially administered literature and are therefore unable to seek financial gain from using it on any of their licensed merchandise.

The curious incident of the Frenchman in the transfer market

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As Carlos Vela's exquisite chip gave Arsenal a 4-0 win against Fulham and a third place finish on May the 9th, their supporters thoughts turned immediately to the 2010-2011 campaign. At the top of the rather lengthy agenda was the number 1, something that has plagued the club ever since the departure of David Seaman in 2003.

Manchester City and Inter Milan locked in Mario Balotelli talks

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Former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini could soon be reunited with one of his former players, if the price is right.

According to reports last night, talks are ongoing between Manchester City and Inter Milan over the sale of promising striker Mario Balotelli.

In speaking to Sky Sports 24, Inter president Massimo Moratti said of the discussions, "At this moment there are contacts with Manchester City, we must find an agreement that satisfies both us and them.

Aston Villa manager O’Neill admits Milner wants Manchester City move

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One of the top names on Manchester City's extensive summer transfer list is Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, and while their attempts to land the England man have fallen short thus far, the saga could soon be over.

In speaking to Sky Sports News, Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill revealed that Milner has already admitted that Milner has stated his wishes to leave, and O'Neill admitted that Milner's wish could be granted if City can improve their initial offer.

Valencia and Berbatov don’t ideally fit the 4-5-1

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It is no secret that for the big games, Sir Alex likes to deploy a modern and pragmatic 4-5-1 formation in favor of the traditional 4-4-2 he uses for most games in the league. Berbatov's repeated absence from the starting line-up in the one striker system is not much of a surprise, but Valencia too hampers the working of the formation due to his style of play as the role of the wide players in a 4-5-1 system is different from that in a 4-4-2 formation.

Paraguayan footballer chokes referee for showing red

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Paraguayan footballer Jose Pedroso lost his head after the referee Marcelo Miranda blew a whistle for a foul against his team. The match was set up in the second division of the Chilean league. Taking prompt action, Pedroso was banned for 27 matches but the ban will only be enforced in Chile.

Liverpool land future defensive star in Rangers ace Danny Wilson

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After a previously quiet summer for Liverpool, it's fair to say that things have picked up this week.

After adding a key component for the present with the signing of free agent Joe Cole to a lucrative deal, Liverpool have landed a future defensive star in snapping up Rangers defender Danny Wilson.

Forbes Rich List: David Beckham Is Still The World’s Most Valuable Football Player

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Forbes' inaugural SportsMoney 50-50 list (a system used to rank the 50 most valuable teams and the 50 most valuable athletes across all world sport) were announced yesterday and, whilst the individual standings were stacked heavily in favour of American sports stars (NBA players occupy 14 slots, NFL players 9), there are six footballers that feature in the top 50.

Forbes Rich List: Manchester United Are The World’s Most Valuable Football Club

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Forbes' inaugural SportsMoney 50-50 standings (a system used to rank the 50 most valuable teams and the 50 most valuable athletes across the whole of world sport) were announced yesterday and, although the 'teams' segment is predominantly populated by American sports franchises, sitting pretty in the top spot is Premier League outfit Manchester United.

Portsmouth vs West Brom: Slow & steady wins the race?

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We investigate two examples of how quick success has crippled clubs financially but on the other hand by having success and failure rolled into one will reap financial rewards and over a period of time give success on the pitch.

JANUARY 2010, Portsmouth FC, bottom of the Premier League, already seen five owners come and go since the start of the campaign, 80 million worth of debt on their back, in trouble with HM revenues and customs, was it really all worth it?

Fantastic 4 to Super 6: City and Spurs on the rise?

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For the past few years, people from around the world are more than satisfied to put a surefire bet on the either of the "Traditional Big 4" -Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

But during the past 2 seasons, two teams have emerged from the shadows to show that they are more than capable of challenging the "Big 4" and constitute a new "Super 6".

Transfer Rumors: Liverpool sign young Rangers star Wilson

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England

Liverpool Land Wilson

Liverpool have signed Rangers defender Danny Wilson in a deal that could be worth up to £5m. Liverpool will pay £2m up front for the 18-year-old, who was both the Scottish FWA and PFA Young Player of the Year last season.

2010/2011 La Liga fixtures announced – Barca and Real to kick off away from home

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The Spanish Football Federation has released the fixtures for their premier competition La Liga which will transpire over the course of thirty eight weeks.

Champions Barcelona will begin their title defence away from home as Racing Santander play hosts. Real Madrid will also be playing the part of guests as they will face Real Mallorca at the ONO Estadi.

FIFA Approve The Use Of Extra Officials In The Champions League

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Those vacant, atavistic drudgeons who constantly serve to mire the progression of football as a entity, in direct friction with the conservatory morals they purport to adhere to FIFA have confirmed that they will be introducing two further 'chefs' to spoil next years Champions League 'broth', rather than asserting an iota of gumption and finally addressing the screaming need for goal-line technology.

The Inspirational Signing of Joe Cole

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When Roy Hodgson signed Joe Cole on a free transfer, it marked the beginning of the end for Liverpool. The end being of course, the downward curve which Rafael Benitez was bringing them. Mr. Hodgson is a shrewd, intelligent and calculated businessman and an even better manager. Letting Benayoun go for £5m and getting a younger, better version of Benayoun for free, just reinforces the genius we all know Roy has.

Tired? How About Cutting Out The 22,000 Mile Pre-Season Tours?

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Amidst the recent furore over the clamour by several leading figures in the game to introduce a fortnight's winter break to Premier League proceedings, one salient piece of white-hot hypocrisy seems to have been conveniently overlooked.

Many a top-flight manager has been quick to deride the constipated domestic fixture list, with the resultant exhaustion used to vehemently excuse the various ailments and collapses in form that befall many players after toiling away for a 50+ game season.

The lurid lure of transfer rumours

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Now that the World Cup has finished and we are in the midst of the summer lull, the residue of broken dreams and weary familiarity with England's failure has inevitably given way to the utopian fantasies and manufactured optimism of transfer activity.

Let me start off by saying that I too, am a sucker for a bit of transfer gossip.

Premier League Clubs Ban Vuvuzelas Amidst ‘Safety’ Fears

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Three Premier League clubs have all independently announced the banning of vuvuzelas from their stadiums next season, with Tottenham, Arsenal and Birmingham City all declaring that they intend to stem the moronic drone of the plastic trumpet that featured so prevalently at this summer's World Cup.

Will Joe Cole Finally Deliver On His Teenage Potential At Liverpool?

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As you've probably heard, the perennial golden boy of English football Joe Cole signed up to a four-year stint at Liverpool yesterday, thus ending months of mounting speculation as to where he would pitch up next in search of a suitable stage to display his continually stuttering talents.

Who should be the young English coach to join the England set-up

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With Sir Trevor Brooking saying that England want to appoint a young English coach to gain experience and eventually replace Fabio Capello in the national side hot-seat, Peter Jackson analyses the favourites and outsiders for the role...

1) Stuart Pearce

Stuart Pearce

The 48-year old gained many plaudits after he took the under-21 side to the European championship final in 2009 and has been in the England set-up since 2007.

Walter Promises Youth – Who to look out for?

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Rangers manager Walter Smith has admitted youth will get its chance next season at Ibrox as the SPL Champions face tough times with debt problems. The exact figure of the debt has been disguised in recent months after reports suggested Rangers could face a huge tax bill from HMRC which could double, maybe even triple, Rangers' debts which were around £25m about 6 months ago.

Arsene Wenger – The Wise One

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As the news slowly made its way across the pond to me that Thierry Henry had signed for the New York Red Bulls, I couldn't help but think, "He is always right". As a long time Arsenal fan, I was as disappointed and worried as other fans when Arsene Wenger allowed Henry to leave for a modest €24 million back in 2007.

The Big Four: Are they prepared enough?

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As the World Cup frenzy finally ends, with La Furia Roja lifting the coveted trophy and the psychic Octopus Paul ready to be fried in Garlic butter by the Germans, our focus shifts to the new season of the Barclays Premier league. We take a look at the so called traditional "Big 4" and their preparations for the upcoming battle.

Transfer Rumors: Liverpool land Joe Cole on four-year deal

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England

Liverpool Sign Cole

Joe Cole finally has a new home, and it's on Merseyside. The former Chelsea man has agreed a four-year deal with Liverpool, and he's set to have a medical in the next 48 hours to put the finishing touches on his free transfer move.

Official: Liverpool Sign Joe Cole On A Four-Year Deal

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Liverpool have confirmed, via their official website (which has now crashed), that free-agent Joe Cole has signed for the club on a four-year deal following his release from Chelsea.

The England winger's move to Anfield is now only subject to a routine medical that will be undertaken either later today or first thing tomorrow morning.

2010/11 Premier League Predictions

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World Cup? What World Cup?

With only 26 short days left until the Premier League resumes, I've decided to put my neck on the line and start making my predictions which, as we all know, is a precarious pursuit at the best of times.

Some will seem fairly straight-forward, others may be contentious but please remember that all of these fore-sights are rooted in nothing but my fevered imagination.

Free agent Cole to leave London for £90k per week Liverpool deal?

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Thus far this summer, the only certainty about Joe Cole's future is that it doesn't lie at Chelsea.

So far, we've seen the England playmaker linked with a host of clubs and even be ‘on the verge' of a move to a few.

A stay in London? Fulham might feel a little left out, as Cole has been linked with North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, along with a shock return to old club West Ham.

Barcelona to make final offer of £40m for Arsenal star Fabregas

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Will Arsenal finally cave in to Barcelona's persistence on Cesc Fabregas, or will another summer come and go with Cesc where he's been since September 2003?

Yesterday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger did his best to put a stop to the incessant speculation about Cesc's future, saying,

'I fully expect Cesc to be an Arsenal player this season.

Chelsea to make £50m bid for Torres – should Liverpool accept it?

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If Roy Hodgson thought that Chelsea were going to give up hope of signing Fernando Torres after yesterday's declaration that their Spanish strike star wasn't for sale, hopefully he's a patient man.

According to a Chelsea ‘source', Chelsea are set to test Liverpool's resolve and the Liverpool manager's patience by making a £50m bid for Torres.

Thousands Arrested Across Asia Over Illegal World Cup Betting

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Over 5,000 people have been arrested in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as part of a World Cup initiative set up to crackdown on illegal betting rings during the tournament.

Nearly $10 million (£6.5 million) was seized during the Asia-wide raids conducted by Interpol [an international policing agency based in Lyon, France], with over 800 illegal gambling dens being systematically identified and spoliated during the month-long campaign.

Transfer Rumors: Chelsea up bid for Liverpool star Torres to 50m

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"Transfer Rumors: Chelsea up bid for Liverpool star Torres to 50m" was originally published at Soccerlens.com - Football News.


Thousands Arrested Across Asia Over Illegal World Cup Betting

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Over 5,000 people have been arrested in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as part of a World Cup initiative set up to crackdown on illegal betting rings during the tournament.

Nearly $10 million (£6.5 million) was seized during the Asia-wide raids conducted by Interpol [an international policing agency based in Lyon, France], with over 800 illegal gambling dens being systematically identified and spoliated during the month-long campaign.

Tottenham to beat out Arsenal for Ipswich wonderkid Wickham?

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Arsenal and Tottenham are set to be a part of the battle at the top of the Premier League this coming season, but right now, they're facing off for one of England's top prospects.

According to the Daily Mail, the two North London rivals are at the front of the queue for young Ipswich striker Connor Wickham.

Samba No More!

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One overwhelming question has stuck with me since the completion of the World Cup. Is it possible to do it "samba style" anymore? Not since '86, when Maradona dazzled the crowd, have we witnessed a team win the World Cup by playing free-flowing, attacking football. Even Brazil, who invented "samba style", have not been there true selves since Zico's side in '82.

What’s in Dimitar Berbatov’s bag?

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This reporter was surprised to turn around and find two of Manchester United's most cherished players behind her as she chatted with a friendly Nike representative, but pressing her as well was the bag that Berbatov is carrying.

Is this a dopp kit dear readers? This is our best bet. We just aren't going to declare it a man bag, or a man purse, or anything of the sort.

Emile Heskey Retires From International Football, A Nation Remains Apathetic

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And lo, yesterday came the inevitable news that every right-minded man, woman and child had been dreading ever since that glorious day in Budapest on the 28th April 1999.

After 11 long years of distinguished service at the very top of his chosen profession, Emile William Ivanhoe Heskey finally made the decision to call time on his illustrious international career.

Transfer Rumors: Park to be makeweight in Man United move for Bayern’s Lahm?

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England

Lahm Deal No Walk In The Park?

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United could make a move for Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm, but any deal could hinge on whether or not United are willing to part with Park Ji-Sung, who is wanted by Bayern.

Manchester United set to move for longtime target Lahm?

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It's been a quiet summer thus far for Manchester United, but it looks like the dominoes will soon start falling.

United have already strengthened their defense with the future in mind with the signing of Chris Smalling from Fulham, but Sir Alex Ferguson could soon bolster the back line for the present.

FA Plan To Ditch Cup Replays In Favour Of A Winter Break, But Who Would It Benefit?

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News is filtering through today that the English Football Association (FA) are to consider scrapping FA Cup replays, with the view of freeing up space in the already-congested domestic fixture list for a much-vaunted winter break.

The proposal is just one of the possible options that the FA are mulling over, as they try to rejuvenate the image of the 139-year-old competition that is currently struggling with dwindling interest and declining attendance figures as clubs and supporters alike begin to shift their priorities to more financially rewarding undertakings, i.

TFT Episode 59: Jonathan Fadugba and Sam Coare

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The World Cup is over, and to help us wrap up the tournament in our final World Cup podcast Chris Nee and Gary Andrews are joined in the studio by pod veterans Jonathan Fadugba of Just Football and Sam Coare. We discuss the final, which saw Spain defeat the Netherlands 1-0 after extra time amid controversy about referee Howard Webb and the cynical gameplan of the Dutch, who seemingly settled on the idea of booting the Spanish up in the air and hoping to nick a goal on the break.

Transfer Rumors: Manchester rivals set to face off for Ibrahimovic?

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England

Manchester Move For Ibrahimovic?

The agent of Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to meet next week with officials from Manchester United and Manchester City. (Goal.com)

Analysis: It'd seem that the only way United would be able to work a deal out for him is if he significantly dropped his wage demands or if United went well above their current wage structure, neither of which I see happening.

Andres Iniesta – A Tribute to El Illusionista

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Shortly before midnight last Sunday, the man they called El Illusionista (The Dreamer), El Anti-Galactico (The Anti-Galactico) and Cerebro (The Brain) was the greatest man on Earth, deciding the greatest show on Earth. The unassuming superstar reached the pinnacle of his career that night and for several years now, he has been reaching constantly to do so.

Are Barcelona’s Spanish contingent set to continue their winning mentality for their club?

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Off the back of Spain's heroics in South Africa the feel good factor is certainly going to last in the Mediterranean for the next four years at least as their national team marvelled us all with their beautiful football during the course of a month.

Over the last three and half years they had the eyes of the world fixated on their every performance as their dazzling ways with a ball at their feet has mesmerised us all.

Bullsh*t Ahoy! Thierry Henry Signs For New York Red Bulls

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Thierry Henry has officially made his first tentative steps into semi-retirement after finalising his protracted move from Barcelona to the New York Red Bulls this afternoon.

After three largely underwhelming years at the Camp Nou, the 32-year-old striker has joined the MLS outfit on a 'multi-year' contract although the actual terms of the deal are as yet undisclosed.

Transfer Rumors: Manchester City to miss out on Dzeko?

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England

City To Miss Out On Dzeko?

Vfl Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko wants to move, and Manchester City (along with Juventus) have him as a top target. However, Wolfsburg, as was the case last summer, want to hold on to him, and with City not looking to stump up the £34m that Wolfsburg want for the Bosnian, they could be forced to look elsewhere.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mario Balotelli?

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Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli is a child of our footballing times.

Like so many of the new breed of brattish 'starlets', he is self-entitled, egotistical, petulant, immature, head-strong and existing on a financially skewed tangent of reality without any decisive measure of his burgeoning talents other than his ridiculously inflated salary.

Manchester United v Real Madrid – which is the bigger club and why?

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Soccerlens reader (and Real Madrid fan) Ramos writes in:

Re: "The Football Debt League – Top 10 Most Indebted Clubs by: Ross Mackiewicz"

That was a really good article and I applaud the writer for having done his research into the numbers and for having put forward an unbiased view of those numbers too.

Ronaldinho set for a return home?

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Ronaldinho looks set for a sensational return home to his native Brazil according to reports. The GloboEsporte.com website claims that the two time ‘FIFA World Player of the Year' has verbally agreed a switch to Flamengo despite still having a year to run on his Milan contract.

The 30 year old moved to The Rossoneri in the summer of 2008 from FC Barcelona but has struggled to recapture the form where he dazzled those in La Liga with his flamboyant footwork and masterful craft with a ball at his feet.

Top World Cup Transfer Targets

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Now that the World Cup is over and the players are returning home for a couple of weeks of vacation and then joining their respective clubs for training and the pre-season. Managers will looking at the players that out-shone the cream of club football.

Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were nowhere to be seen and to some extent neither was Lionel Messi.

The Social World Cup

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Here's a look at the online buzz and social media activities surrounding the recently-concluded 2010 World Cup:

"The Social World Cup" was originally published at Soccerlens.com - Football News.


Team of the World Cup

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This is not a list of our favorite players from the World Cup. If it were, it would've been quite different to say the least. Taking a look at the statistics of the players, here is a list of the best of them:

Goalkeeper

Manuel Neuer, Germany

Invaluable in Germany's third place finish, Neuer made 22 saves during the tournament, at a rate of nearly four per game.

Cesc Fabregas pulls on a Barca shirt. Well, not exactly…

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Celebrating their first star over the Spanish emblem last night, Pepe Reina of Liverpool called Cesc Fabregas of Arselona Arsenal for something Spanish. Before Reina was done with Cesc, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol jumped on him and forced a Barcelona shirt on him.

Reina didn't help but he did make sure that the shirt stayed on for a while.

South Africa 2010 Was Officially England’s Worst World Cup Ever

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FIFA have done the decent thing and finally confirmed what we have all known to be true for some time (about 16 days in fact), by rubber-stamping England's woebegone showing in South Africa as the Three Lions' worst performance at a World Cup finals since the tournament began in 1930.

The Nominees For The FIFA ‘Golden Shinpads’ Award

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With a conspicuous absence of any defensively-minded players on FIFA's Golden Ball award shortlist, you could be forgiven for thinking that there weren't any outstanding back-line performers at this summer's World Cup but one quick delve into glorious retrospect reveals this not to be the case.

Transfer Rumors: Chelsea to replace Real Madrid-bound Cole with Coentrao?

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England

Coentrao For Cole At Chelsea?

According to the Sun, Chelsea will make a move for Benfica and Portugal left back Fabio Coentrao if Ashley Cole leaves the club this summer.

Analysis: With the World Cup coming to a close and preseasons getting into full swing soon, it shouldn't be long before we see where Cole's future lies.

World Cup 2010 – The Post Mortem

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So was it any good, then?

Yes, eventually. The first week or so of the tournament was largely dull, with too many teams adopting anti-football tactics, simply to avoid defeat in their opening contest. The tournament picked up, as we desperately hoped, after the first round of group fixtures, with bad results for France, England and Italy keeping many groups wide open until the death.

Brazilian League: Bruno goes from champion goalkeeper to probable convict

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Now that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is history (by the way congratulations to Spain for getting a spot among our select club of world champions) we can go back to our local leagues, transfer rumors and criminal athletes.

I'm itching to start writing about the top leagues in South America here at Soccerlens but I can't start any football talk before I recap and put you up to date with the case of the "killerkeeper".

How much are national teams worth?

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One of the more interesting pieces of statistical analysis that's come out of this year's World Cup comes from Frontier Economics, a leading European economic consultancy, who recently carried out an analysis of the economic value of the players from some of the World Cup's most successful teams.

Spain ‘behind the doors’ celebration pictures

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The 2010 World Cup champions Spain celebrated the first star over the emblem. Here are a few images from their dressing room in Soccer City.

Also a couple of images from their trip back home are included. The Spaniards are posing with the trophy in the airplane.

Furthermore, there are images from their grand reception in Spain.

2010 World Cup: The Winners And Losers

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After the 2010 World Cup climaxed yesterday, we at Soccerlens thought it was high time to have a little look at those who, over the course of the tournament, have both transcended in the realms of the heroic and those who have swan-dived into the bowels of infamy.

Whether it be through outstanding individual displays, bouts of chest-swelling national pride and collective endeavours of superior technique or merely through wretched decision making, pig-headed image control and an overwhelming paucity of inspiration, here's our round-up of the big winners and losers that the South African campaign has left in it's wake.

World Cup Podcast: Final review, Andy Brassell verdict and Predictions D-Day (12th July 2010)

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Join Adrian Clarke, Iain Spragg and renowned European football expert Andy Brassell on the final episode of the Soccerlens World Cup Podcast.

Howard Webb's display in the World Cup final is hotly debated, the tournament's high and low points dissected while Clarke and Spragg also re-open the pre-World Cup predictions vault.

World Cup Brazil 2014 Logo Launched (Video)

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Brazil has launched its logo for the 2014 World Cup finals and the Brazilian president Luiz Inacio da Silva has stressed that his country has a 'tremendous responsibility' to match the show put on by Africa.

"The success of our African brothers represents a tremendous challenge to the Brazilian people.

Andres Iniesta: “It was an incredible job by everyone.”

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The last man to lift the World Cup trophy, Fabio Cannavaro, carried the sculpted golden figure into Soccer City. The Netherlands was on a 25 game unbeaten streak having won all 10 qualifiers and six on the trot in South Africa. Spain lost their first match in South Africa to Switzerland but were trying to become the first team to lift the Cup after an initial loss.

Mandela Family Unhappy With FIFA Pressure

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After speculation to the contrary, South African icon Nelson Mandela did attend the World Cup final last night.

However, it would appear that the 92-year-old, who is still mourning the tragic loss of his granddaughter and reported to be in ill-health, was heavily pressured by tournament organisers FIFA to make an appearance at the showpiece finale and, as such, a war of words has broken out between the two camps.

World Cup News: Spain Are The Campeones Del Mundo!

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

Spain are deserved campeones del mundo, Andres Iniesta is officially better than Xavi for the foreseeable future and the carnival is over for another 1432 days. Roll on Brazil 2014!

Manchester United US Tour Squad

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Alex Ferguson will be taking a 22-man squad for United's tour of the US.

Players too old to play in the World Cup, including Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will be joined by players too young to play in the World Cup, like Corry Evans, Ben Amos and Tom Cleverley. Javier Hernandez, the latest United signing, will join his new teammates in Houston on July 27.

The Meteoric Rise of David Villa

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On 3rd December 1981, a child was born. But he made himself a star. His father Jose Manuel Villa was a miner and his mother was a housewife. He was to follow in his father's footsteps in also becoming a miner. He can recall the many nights which his mother had to spend in casualty with his frequently injured father such was the danger of his profession.

Netherlands 0-1 Spain – Video Highlights

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Netherlands Spain
2010 FIFA World Cup
11 July 2010

It was a match where Spain would have most of the possession and would ultimately win the match in extra time.

The Netherlands would have several good chances on the counterattack but failed to finish them.

David Villa: “We aren’t going to leave a drop of sweat.”

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The Netherlands will try to win the World Cup final on their third attempt. Czechoslovakia (1934 and 1962) and Hungary (1938 and 1954) are the other two countries besides the Netherlands who have featured in two World Cup finals on the losing end. (West Germany was on the losing end in 1966, 1982 and 1986 but won the World Cup in 1954 and 1974 before unification with East Germany).

Transfer Rumors: Manchester United to make £35m bid for Ajax star Suarez?

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England

Is Fergie Playing Coy On Sneijder?

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says that there hasn't been a bid for Dutch star Wesley Sneijder and that he doesn't need him, as his current squad is stronger than last season's squad.

World Cup News: Wesley Sneijder Has A Gold Vuvuzela In His Pants!

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

As Rod Stewart once wheezed so fittingly, tonight's the night.

After 30-odd days of solid(ish) football, the 2010 FIFA World Cup will culminate in Johannesburg this evening with a new name being etched on to that famous golden trophy speaking of gold, you'll never believe Wesley Sneijder's secret!

Barcelona and Inter target Mascherano to force Liverpool’s hand with transfer request

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Last summer, a move to Barcelona looked to be on for Javier Mascherano, but in the end, Liverpool held on to him. However, the longing to leave hasn't passed, and it appears that Mascherano is now taking matters into his own hands.

According to the Daily Mail, the Argentine midfielder will submit a transfer request in order to force Liverpool to give in to his desires to leave the club for greener pastures, may it be his preferred destination of Barcelona or a reunion with Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan.

The football debt league – top 10 most indebted clubs

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Barcelona's new president Sandro Rosell revealed earlier this week that the football club is having to take out a €150million loan in order to ease financial debts. Despite the enormity of the football club which generates high income via merchandise sales and tickets it is in a real financial mess as mass spending on new players and wages has contributed to their red status.

Uruguay 2-3 Germany – Video Highlights

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Uruguay 2-3 Germany
2010 FIFA World Cup
10 July 2010

Germany would once again finish third in a World Cup as they defeated Uruguay 3-2.

It was a match that would go back and forth as Uruguay had a 2-1 lead in the second half. Germany would have more possession and chances but some poor goalkeeper from Uruguay was the difference.

Manchester City manager Mancini confirms interest in strikers Balotelli and Dzeko

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Manchester City have already spent £60m on strengthening their squad ahead of a run at Premier League and European success next season, but the money men in Manchester are nowhere near ready to close out their summer spree just yet.

Another midfield purchase could be on the way to Eastlands soon in the form of Aston Villa's James Milner, but Roberto Mancini and Co.

Stats 101: Netherlands vs Spain

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Netherlands and Spain are similar because not only that neither have ever been crowned a world champion but also because time and time again have been related to beautiful football and exceptional passing. But as far as the World Cup is concerned, Netherlands have been in the final twice before.

Sneijder: “We will take special care not to lose the ball.”

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The Dutch are known for expressing strong opinions about football or anything else. Whether it be in their native Dutch, English or in this case, Spanish, to Marca.com in Madrid. Former Real Madrid man, Wesley Sneijder, along with former Barcelona man, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, provided insights ahead of the final against Spain.

Stars playing too much is over played

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England's woeful performance in South Africa has reignited the debate surrounding season lengths in the UK and Europe. Could player fatigue be the excuse every fan so desperately needs? Not unless you include Maicon and Xavi, argues Robert Collins.

The 2009-2010 campaign saw the majority of the England squad played between 40 and 60 games,leading some to question whether the demands of the English football calendar have taken their toll on their international performances.

Spain’s Route To The World Cup Final

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After 31 days (give or take a few unbearable fallow periods) of solid football, the 'greatest sporting tournament in the world' is primed for one final flourish.

Vicente Del Bosque's possession-monopolising (though repeatedly over-indulgent) Spanish outfit will take on Bert Van Marwijk's often studious (but, nevertheless, unbeaten) Netherlands side in Sunday's showpiece finale, with both countries bidding to be crowned champions of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Netherlands’ Route To The World Cup Final

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After 31 days (give or take a few unbearable fallow periods) of solid football, the 'greatest sporting tournament in the world' is primed for one final flourish.

Bert Van Marwijk's often utilitarian (but, nevertheless, unbeaten) Netherlands side will take on Vicente Del Bosque's dominant (though repeatedly over-indulgent) Spanish outfit in Sunday's showpiece finale, with both countries bidding to be crowned champions of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Michel Platini Released From Hospital After Health Scare

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UEFA president Michel Platini has been released from hospital this morning after fainting in a Johannesburg restaurant yesterday evening.

Platini was rushed to the Morningside Medi-Clinic in Sandton after keeling over on the table at the Pigalle restaurant, and the initial assumption was that the former French international midfielder had suffered a heart-attack.

World Cup News: Dutch Captain Refuses Final Drug Test!

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Welcome again to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

It seems like it was months ago that the tournament kicked off, now there's just two games (albeit fairly important ones) left to play.

Can you ruddy believe it?.

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

Which of these 7 players should Arsenal sign?

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 Now that the World Cup is coming to a close, with the Netherlands and Spain playing against each other for the first time in the final, everyone's attention will begin turning to their clubs. Arsene Wenger, fresh from signing Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh from the vast array of talent available from the French Ligue 1, will look to strengthen further.

Transfer Rumors: Manchester City to move for Chelsea star Drogba

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England

Shock Drogba Swoop For City

According to the Sun, Manchester City are getting set to make a £20m bid for Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

Analysis: This one could have some legs, as it's actually a great move for Chelsea. Sure, Drogba's coming off an amazing season, but he isn't a spring chicken, and there aren't many 32-year-olds who can command £20m and up.

Netherlands vs Spain: World Cup Final Preview

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Netherlands vs Spain
Final, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Sunday, 11th July 2010
19:30 (BST) / 20:30 (Local Time)

And lo, here we are.

The culmination of a month of toil, jubilation and heartbreak is set to come to a showpiece head in the magnificent surroundings of Soccer City in Joburg on Sunday, as both the Netherlands and Spain will compete to be crowned world champions.

Schweinsteiger ‘humbled’ by the Spanish

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The Spanish really rubbed their victory in Bastian Schweinsteiger's face as he was giving an interview. Poor guy.

"Schweinsteiger 'humbled' by the Spanish" was originally published at Soccerlens.com - Football News.


Futbol aburrido- are Spain really entertaining to watch?

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With Spain looking forward to their first ever world cup final on Sunday, Peter Jackson asks: are they really nice to watch?

Spain celebrate their solitary goal

Yes they're through, yes it was convincing but really... did you enjoy it? Spain beat Germany in the Moses Mabhida stadium after a header by Carlos Puyol but at times you questioned whether the Euro 2008 champions could score.

World Cup News: The England Team Make The Final!

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

Some hearty SL congratulations are in order this morning, with the news that English referee Howard Webb and his team have been confirmed as the men FIFA want to take charge of the World Cup final.

Be bald Howard, and be beautiful.

Vicente Del Bosque: “The players were superb in defense and in attack.”

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La Furia Roja of Spain booked their first appearance in the World Cup final after decades of disappointment. They will face the Netherlands who won all 10 of their qualifiers and 6 on the trot so far in South Africa. The Oranje have endured their own World Cup near misses.

World Cup Podcast: Premier League transfer targets, Holland-Spain, Heroes and Villains

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Check out this special full length Soccerlens World Cup Podcast with Adrian Clarke. Iain Spragg and the Singapore New Paper's football expert Iain Macintosh.

The trio discuss top transfer rumours including World Cup stars might be heading to the Premier League next season, assess Holland v Spain from top to bottom and pick out their very own World Cup heroes and villains.

Dutch star Sneijder to stay at Inter Milan – what’s next for Manchester United?

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Manchester United want Wesley Sneijder, but does the Dutch star want Manchester United?

Unfortunately for United, that doesn't appear to be the case.

Sneijder, whose five goals have helped the Netherlands reach their first World Cup final since 1978, has been mentioned as United's #1 summer target.

A beautiful year for Wesley Sneijder

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What Wesley Sneijder has achieved in just under a year is incredible. The 26 year old Dutch maestro was deemed surplus to requirements at Real Madrid when Florentino Perez brandished his bulging cheque book to the other big hitters of European football as he began his new Galactico era.

Sneijder who had been a constant professional during his two year stint at The Santiago Bernabeu was left with two choices.

Netherlands vs Spain – the Dutch artists vs the Spanish perfectionists

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Well here we are. 62 games played and only the 3rd place play-off left along with masterpiece of a mouth-watering final featuring Spain against the Netherlands. Both nations have players who've played in Champions League winning teams yet the importance of this game is on an entirely different magnitude.

World Cup Podcast: Semi-final review, Statues, U-turns and Schweinsteiger Conga

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Tune in for the final pint size episode of the Soccerlens World Cup Podcast!

Hosts Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg assess the semi-final action and talk Maradona, Goodluck Jonathan, post match conga's, lucky mascots and Paul the Psychic Octopus in an action packed show.

They'll be back tomorrow for a full length 30 minute podcast, where they will also announce the winner of our competition to land a brand new pair of Nike Superfly IIs.

Uruguay vs Germany: World Cup Third-Place Play-off Preview

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Uruguay vs Germany
Third-place Play-off, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Saturday, 10th July 2010
19:30 (BST) / 20:30 (Local Time)

The two defeated, deflated semi-final losers will have to rejig themselves and climb back into the saddle for one last swansong, as the World Cup's final running order is still in need of settling although you can bet your bottom Rand that it is a game that neither side will be looking forward to at the moment, after seeing their dreams dashed despite coming within spitting distance of the final.

Forlan: “What I feel more than anything is impotence.”

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Diego Forlan has been one of the brightest stars at the World Cup. The former Manchester United and Villarreal man, who now plays for Atletico Madrid, led Uruguay to a deep run in South Africa. He made comments after the match against the Netherlands to the online portal, Ovacion, of the Montevideo newspaper, El Pais.

World Cup News: Paul’s 100% Record Continues As Spain Reach The Final

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Buenos dias a usted and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

Spain raised their game (slightly) to beat Germany in last night's semi-final clash, but I'm afraid they actually had precious little say in the outcome of the game as their fate had already been sealed by a certain clairvoyant mollusk.

Germany 0-1 Spain – Video Highlights

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Germany 0-1 Spain
2010 FIFA World Cup
7 July 2010

Spain would move into their first ever FIFA World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Germany. The score was the same as the 2008 Euro Final but this time it was Carlos Puyol who would score the winning goal.

The opening match didn't have many chances for either side as the Germans were compact and Spain couldn't convert their possession into any goals.

Barcelona Seeking €150m Loan To Cover Unpaid Player’s Wages

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Spanish giants Barcelona have been forced into seeking a huge €150 million (£125 million) bank loan, in order to pay outstanding wages owed to their players and members of their coaching staff.

The newly-installed president of the Catalan giants, Sandro Rosell, has revealed that the 'cash-flow tensions' he has inherited from former chief Joan Laporta mean that the club cannot afford to fulfill many of it's obligations without a cash-injection from an outside party.

Transfer Rumors: Chelsea lodge initial bid for Liverpool star Torres

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England

Chelsea Bid For Torres

According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea have made a formal bid of around £40m for Fernando Torres, with Roman Abramovich reportedly having no qualms about paying up to £70m for the Liverpool striker.

Analysis: Looking at the big picture, selling Torres is a no-brainer.

Has European Flair Triumphed Over South American Pragmatism?

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Ah! There's that word again. 'Pragmatism'.

It surely is the most overused word at this summer's World Cup and probably for a good reason.

Whereas as beforehand I'd only ever heard it used in a footballing context by the more 'scholarly' amongst the punditry circles, this summer the word has found it's way into the stilted lexicons of nearly all of the white-van-men pundits that have somehow inexplicably risen from the rank of 'pub bore' to 'mainstream expert' although only as a replacement for 'dull'.

The Renaissance of German Football

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Brazil, Spain, Argentina, England and Holland. These were the five nations who were most people's favourites to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Only Spain and Holland are left as Germany accompany the Spaniards in the eagerly-anticipated semi-final. But it is not the guile of Spain which has left the world drooling or the classy Dutch.

Frank Lampard’s Denied Goal – Linesman explains his position

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Mauricio Espinosa, the referee's assistant during the England vs Germany quarterfinal match, gave an interview to Ovacion, an online portal of the El Pais newspaper from Montevideo, Uruguay shortly after his return from South Africa. Espinosa discussed the actual apparent goal by Frank Lampard, the nature of refereeing, how he didn't see a replay at half-time, the work of his officiating team and the need to go forward.

World Cup News: Diego Maradona Is Completely Monumental!

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

In what may turn out to be the smallest statue ever conceived, the Argentinian house of congress is mulling over a proposal to erect a monument in honour of diddy 'ickle Diego Maradona presumably for his services to the drug trade over the years.

Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands – Video Highlights

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Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands
2010 FIFA World Cup
6 July 2010

The Netherlands would advance to the final of the World Cup with a 3-2 win over South American side Uruguay.

It was a match where the Dutch controlled most of the play and would break it open in the second half.

Germany v Spain: Historic excellence vs pure talent

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Historically, there's no comparison between Germany and Spain.

Except for 1930, 1938, 1950 and 1978 Germany has been right up there in the final stages of the World Cup. Three quarterfinals, four semifinals, four runners up and of course three times champions out of their 17 appearances.

Uruguay’s ultimate test: Netherlands

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Uruguay have not been tested by a tough opposition in the 2010 World Cup so far. Their test was to come from France in their opening game but we all know what happened there. They cruised through the Group A nil-nil draw with France, and beating South Africa and Mexico landing a tie with Korea Republic in the Round of 16.

Transfer Rumors: Arsenal to replace Almunia with Portugal #1?

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England

Arsenal Offered Portuguese #1

Portuguese side Sporting Braga have approached Arsenal about signing keeper Eduardo. The 27-year-old, who had an impressive showing in Portugal‘s World Cup run, could be signed for £3.4m, which is his release clause.

FIFA Merge Their Two Top Player Awards – Who Will Take This Year’s Crown?

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As of next year, the two most prestigious individual accolades in world football will cease to exist as seperate entities, and merge to create a single globe-spanning award.

France Football's Ballon d'Or (i.e. the European Footballer of the Year award) will now be combined with FIFA's World Player of the Year award to form a single title, to be named the FIFA Ballon d'Or Award.

The Suarez handball and the case for penalty goals

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

Adrian Clarke: Hi, I'm Adrian Clarke and cheers for joining us on pint sized Soccerlens World Cup podcast. Hopefully you didn't take too much notice of our pre-quarter final predictions which turned out to be absolutely useless.

The Dutch should dump van Persie, but who will replace Suarez?

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

Adrian Clarke: Didn't expect the Dutch to go through against Brazil. For me the Brazilians once the things started to turn against them, they did show a distinct lack of character.

Iain Spragg: They got tetchy.

Klose’s remarkable record, England better than Argentina and German v English youth talent

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

Adrian Clarke: Maradona, Argentina, they are out.

Iain Spragg: Who would have thought it? England are officially better then Argentina.

A: Must be.

S: Cause we lost 4:1, they got beat 4:0.

Joachim Low deserves all the credit for Germany’s wonderful World Cup adventure

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What Joachim Low has done in four years since taking over the reins of one of the biggest jobs in world football is nothing short of wonderful.The German head coach succeeded a legend of the game Jurgen Klinsmann after the 2006 FIFA World Cup where they narrowly missed out on reaching the final in their own back yard to a resolute Italian side under the leadership of Marcello Lippi.

Semifinal: Uruguay vs Netherlands – South America’s last stand against European domination

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Uruguay vs Netherlands
Semi-finals, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Tuesday, 6th July 2010
19:30 (BST) / 20:30 (Local Time)

In keeping with tradition, Uruguay will yet again go into a World Cup game unable to shake that seemingly perennial 'underdogs' tag that hangs like an albatross around their collective necks.

Uruguay stands alone to represent South America

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After an amazing group stage performance for the South American nations participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Chile Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina failed to deliver in the final stages of the competition. That left Uruguay as the last one standing in the race to lift the trophy.

Chile's defeat to Spain in the last match of group H forced a continental clash against Brazil in the round of 16 and we know how that story ended.

Semifinal: Germany vs Spain – The ultimate midfield battle

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Germany vs Spain
Semi-finals, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Wednesday, 7th July 2010
19:30 (BST) / 20:30 (Local Time)

The spectacular Moses Mabhiba stadium in Durban will play host to the second of the World Cup semi-final ties, as an irrepressible young German side square up to a decidedly patchy Spanish outfit in a re-run of the European Championship final from 2008 (incidentally, a final Spain won 1-0).

World Cup News: Fidel Castro Doesn’t Fancy Holland Much!

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

Today's 'Who Asked You?' award goes to former Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro, who wins hands-down for his oddly selective summary of the Netherlands victory over Brazil (see below).

For example, where many saw Felipe Melo petulantly stamping all over Arjen Robben's upper thigh, it seems El Comandante saw capitalist pigs once again whitewashing the oppressed and vulnerable of South America.

Diego Lugano: “Uruguay is going to play one of the most important games in modern times.”

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Uruguay has arrived at the semi-final stage of the World Cup for the first time since 1970. They are the last hope of South America after the early exits of favorites, Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay is a small but very decorated footballing nation. They hosted and won the first World Cup in 1930.

World Cup Podcast: Penalty Goals, German Genius and Dunga exit

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

In the wake of Luis Suarez's controversial red card against Ghana the boys consider the prospect of changing the punishments for goal- line handballs, heap praise on Joachim Loew for his tactical mastery, and ask if the Dutch are really as on song as we think they are going into the semi-finals.

The Future of American Soccer

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US Soccer should retain Bob Bradley as head coach, maintaining the status quo.

This is the easiest and safest of all scenarios and when looked at analytically from a business perspective, this scenario makes the most sense.

I know, I know, you're saying "What!

Where are Rooney, Ronaldo, and Messi?

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This World Cup has been characterized by teams with two main traits: organization and mental toughness. While it was supposed to be the Wold Cup where Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi were going to explode with their talent, instead we saw less from their teams, and more from other, more organized, and mentally tougher teams.

The Truly Terrific Thomas Mueller

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Hearing the surname "Muller" in association with German football automatically creates imagery of the legendary German striker Gerd. German football followers expect him to play with the same prowess and quality that "Der Bomber" oozed in the '60s and '70s. How Thomas has delivered.

With only 7 full international caps to his name, this Bavarian native has exploded into the World Cup and has scored four goals in this World Cup, including two clinical finishes to kill England's hopes of a comeback in the second round, 4-1 mauling by Germany.

Sunderland on the prowl for Marcos Angeleri

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Sunderland expect to complete the purchase of Estudiantes right-back Marcos Angeleri for a cool £1.5 million. The finer details of the deal are going to be fulfilled over the weekend and the Argentinian is relishing the prospect of the Premiership. This is manager Steve Bruce's fourth signing of the summer, following the deals for Cristian Riveros, Simon Mignolet and the recent year long loan signing of Eygptian international Ahmed Al-Muhammadi.

Dunga: “I consider myself the first person to blame for this elimination.”

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Brazil manager, Carlos Dunga, who played for many years in the Italian Serie A, responded directly after the elimination by the Netherlands to the Milan sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport. Former Selecao star, Ronaldo, weighed in with heavy criticism on Dunga and Felipe Melo.

French Legend Lilian Thuram Calls For Patrice Evra Ban

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French legend Lilian Thuram has insisted that current captain Patrice Evra must never play for France again, as punishment for his role in the national team's implosion in South Africa.

Evra was a central figure in the player's revolt that followed Nicolas Anelka's expulsion from the squad, and Thuram believes that the Manchester United man is yet to be sufficiently punished for his actions;

"I demanded that the players be harshly punished and that Evra never returns to the France squad.

Maradona: “I don’t believe that anybody is happy with this in a country that lives and breathes football.”

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The road ended abruptly for Diego Maradona and Argentina at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. The roadblock was called Germany. For the second time in successive World Cups, the Germans broke Argentinean hearts. This victory was a humiliation for a proud manager and equally proud footballing nation such as Argentina.

World Cup News: Julio Cesar Receives A Heroes’ Welcome, Felipe Melo Doesn’t!

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

Four games left people. Four...games...left.

Here's your round-up of all this morning's World Cup-related news...

(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.

Football Headshots

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Headshot is a lethal blow to the head killing your opponent in one shot in real world and video games alike. When it comes to football, headshots don't cause causalities but it does have the same reaction from the one at the receiving end: falling flat on the ground.

Funny to look at, yes but those who have been 'fortunate' enough to be hit by a football in the face, know that your world goes round and round and before you know it, you're on the ground with a bunch of players standing around you.

World Cup News: Four-Star Germany Thrash Argentina!

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

There's exactly one week left, and two of the biggest fish have now been comprehensively removed from the pond.

Who'd have thought that the oft-cited South American dominance, that had been so prevalent in the early stages of the tournament, would culminate in Uruguay (rather than Brazil and Argentina) reaching the semi-finals?

Paraguay 0-1 Spain – Video Highlights

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Paraguay 0-1 Spain
2010 FIFA World Cup
3 July 2010

Spain would control most of the play and would edge Paraguay with a late second half goal to move into the semifinals.

It was another match where Spain had a lot of possession but had trouble converting that into goals.

Argentina 0-4 Germany – Video Highlights

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Argentina 0-4 Germany
2010 FIFA World Cup
3 July 2010

Germany would eliminate Argentina for the second straight World Cup with a convincing and dominating 4-0 victory.

Unlike 2006, it was not a close match and the Germans exploited the South Americans who showed vulnerabilities in their defense.

Gonzalo Higuain: “I live to score goals.”

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Gonzalo "el Pipita" Higuain is chasing history. He currently is the leading goal scorer in South Africa and hopes to emulate fellow Argentine, Mario Kempes, who won the Golden Boot during the 1978 World Cup. The Real Madrid man was born in France where his father, Jorge, was playing football.

Transfer Rumors: German wiz Ozil admires Premier League, Manchester City land Barcelona’s Toure, and more

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While Brazil's shocking defeat to Holland and Uruguay's dramatic win over Ghana in the first two World Cup quarterfinal ties rightfully dominated the football headlines yesterday, there was plenty of wheelin' and dealin' going on thousands of miles away.

In the span of a couple of days, Manchester City have kicked their spending spree into high gear, and we can expect much more from City in the coming weeks.

World Cup News: Paris Hilton Arrested As The Netherlands March On!

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

Now forgive me if this sounds a little bit over-dramatic, but I think that yesterday may have been the greatest day's-worth of football I have ever witnessed. In my life. Ever.

Goals, red cards, tense drama, technique, passion, misery, extra-time, penalties, heartache, jubilation, awful refereeing, deafening atmosphere, a collector's-item Wesley Sneijder header and most importantly Paris Hilton got pinched.

Cristiano Ronaldo Buys Scottish Club Stirling Albion

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First division side Stirling Albion have become the first senior Scottish side in history to be owned by their fans, after the club's Supporters Trust struck a landmark deal with chairman Peter McKenzie.

The agreement will see the Trust collectively pay off £300,000-worth of the club's debt, with McKenzie agreeing to waiver a £1.

Uruguay 1-1 (4-2) Ghana – Video Highlights

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Uruguay 1-1 (4-2) Ghana
2010 FIFA World Cup
2 July 2010

Ghana would once again go into extra time in the knockout stage but this time were eliminated on penalty kicks by Uruguay.

Ghana would take the lead late in the first half as Sulley Muntari scored in the 45th minute on a long range shot.

Netherlands 2-1 Brazil – Video Highlights

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Netherlands 2-1 Brazil
2010 FIFA World Cup
2 July 2010

The Dutch would come from behind to advance into the semifinals with a 2-1 win over Brazil.

It started out poorly for the Europeans as Brazil looked much better in the first half. They would grab a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute with a Robinho goal.

What’s the point in sacking Capello?

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England's loss to Germany in the last 16 of the World Cup has sparked another predictable round of tabloid inquisition and calls for Fabio Capello to lose his job. Of course, England had a bad game defensively against Germany, and displayed an impatience likely borne out of arrogance in the second half that precipitated their downfall.

Fabio Capello Will Continue As England Manager

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The FA have confirmed that Fabio Capello will continue as the manager of England, despite his side's woeful showing at this summer's World Cup.

The decision was made at a meeting held by the Club England board (which includes the likes of the FA's head of media Adrian Bevington and director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking) today, and puts an end to a tense few days of speculation over the Italian's immediate future.

World Cup Podcast: Quarter-Final previews and why politics has no place in football

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

The two experts analyse all four last eight encounters with a blend of insight and insults, as well as giving their views on FIFA's concerns over the future of the France and Nigeria teams.

Man City’s Summer Spending Continues With The Signing Of Yaya Toure

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Manchester City's 'summer of frivolous cash flow' is showing no signs of relenting any time soon, with the news that Barcelona's erstwhile holding man Yaya Toure has completed one of the most protracted transfers in recent memory by finally put pen to paper at Eastlands.

The 27-year-old Ivorian has signed a five-year deal with City today, but only after putting us through months (and boy, do I mean months) of intense speculation and counter-speculation concerning his immediate future thanks, in no small part, to his scheister of an agent Dimitri Seluk.

Donovan May Prosper, but Dempsey More Deserving?

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It has been almost a week since the United States was eliminated from the World Cup at the hands of Ghana. Although they carried aspirations of advancing deep into the knockout stages, their journey should be considered a success. The team brought exposure to a game that is usually little more than an after thought in the sporting consciousness of America.

England’s finest export?

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Who is the most successful English player currently playing abroad based on trophies won?

Most people would undoubtably plump for Mr Beckham at this point but they would be wrong. Â Leytonstone's finest has only won the La Liga title since leaving Manchester United despite the glory that always surrounds him.

Is this the World Cup of Mercenaries?

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Disclaimer: this is not an article about the English or French national teams! Instead it focuses on the freedom with which players now pick and choose their national team, and whether or not this is a good thing...

I was in Turkey last week and the big World Cup debate over there has been why Mesut Ozil chose to play for Germany instead of Turkey.

“What’s the matter Schweinsteiger? Are you nervous?” – Diego Maradona

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Argentina coach Diego Maradona has taken a swipe at Germanys Bastian Schweinsteiger in retaliation for the German maestro's comments about his side being too influential on referees with their berated complaints.

Maradona's men will meet the Germany in Cape Town this Saturday in the last eight.

Cesare Prandelli: “The Italian shirt isn’t mine or yours but belongs to everyone.”

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Cesare Prandelli was presented today in Rome as the new Italy boss after the South African embarrassment. Mr. Prandelli had been named to succeed Marcello Lippi before the tournament. He spent the last five years as the manager of ACF Fiorentina and today signed a four-year contract with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

World Cup News: Holland Vs Brazil Will Be Rubbish, Just Ask Bert!

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

Withdrawal symptoms are well and truly setting in now after two whole days spent stranded in the non-football wilderness, with only the bloody tennis to take it's place I tell you, a sport populated by monosyllabic Scotsmen and brawny eastern European women just ain't my cup of meat.

Rooney, Gerrard are afraid of fans

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A:3K was bringing a one of a kind event for the football fans involving Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas and of course England's own Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. But recently, A:3K announced that Rooney and Gerrard have pulled out of the event after their failure to perform in South Africa.

20 ‘Lesser Lights’ That Have Shone At The 2010 World Cup

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With so many of the 'big guns' misfiring at this summer's World Cup, I thought it was high time to take a look at some of the 'lesser lights' that have sparkled in South Africa.

Below are the 20 players that, although having seen their sides crash (some more spectacularly than others) out of the tournament prematurely, can fly home from whichever luxury hotel they may have chosen to hole up in, with their heads held high safe in the knowledge that their careers are very much on an upward trajectory.

Uruguay vs Ghana World Cup Quarter-Final Preview

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Uruguay vs Ghana
Quarter-finals, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Friday, 2nd July 2010
19:30 (BST) / 20:30 (Local Time)

One of the five South American representatives currently left in the World Cup will meet the lone remaining African standard-bearers in the second of the 2010 quarter-final ties, staged in the luxuriant surroundings of the Soccer City stadium in Joburg this coming Friday evening.

Paraguay vs Spain World Cup Quarter-Final Preview

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Paraguay vs Spain
Quarter-finals, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Saturday, 3rd July 2010
19:30 (BST) / 20:30 (Local Time)

There will be a distinctly Latin flavour to the fourth and final of the World Cup quarter-final match-ups, as reigning European champions Spain will battle it out with Paraguay in a clash loaded with some fairly irrelevant historic significance (the conquistadors and all that), although now is not the time or place to go into it.

Germany vs Argentina World Cup Quarter-Final Preview

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Germany vs Argentina
Quarter-finals, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Saturday, 3rd July 2010
15:00 (BST) / 16:00 (Local Time)

The purpose built Cape Town Stadium will play host to arguably the most enticing of the quarter-final ties, a tie that will see Joachim Loew's effervescent young German side pitted against Diego Maradona's well-versed, eye-catching Argentinian charges.

Roy Hodgson Named As New Liverpool Manager

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After a fair few weeks of intense will he/won't he speculation, Liverpool have confirmed that they have appointed Roy Hodgson as their new manager.

The 62-year-old, who was voted the LMA 'Manager of the Year' last term by a jury of his peers, has signed a three-year deal at Anfield and will oversee the club's first day of pre-season later today before being officially unveiled to the media this evening.

Arsenal losing Fabregas may not be as bad as people think

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Let me just me one thing clear before I discuss what many people may consider a ludicrous thought. Cesc Fabregas is a brilliant footballer and I am in no way questioning or doubting his ability.

That comment may lead to a contradiction, but if Fabregas gets his wish and decides to return to Catalan giants Barcelona, Arsenal will not suffer as much as perhaps Manchester United have at the loss of Crisitano Ronaldo, who went to Real Madrid for a record-breaking £80 million last summer and it may even prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Cristiano Ronaldo: “I am suffering and I have the right to suffer alone.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side were eliminated by Spain after only conceding one goal in four matches. It is said that misery loves company but apparently this was not the case for Cristiano in Cape Town.

In comments published by the Madrid broadsheet, Marca, Ronaldo explained his reasons for not attending the post-match press conference and the uproar over one of his statements in the media mixed zone.

Gary Neville Backs Capello And Berates The FA

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Manchester United's veteran captain Gary Neville has leapt to the defence of England coach Fabio Capello and instead insisted that the majority of the blame for his side's gutless display in South Africa lies with the players themselves.

The 35-year-old right-back, who last played for his country in 2007, also berated the FA for publicly announcing that they are to spend the next fortnight considering the Italian's future.

Netherlands vs Brazil World Cup Quarter-Final Preview

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Netherlands vs Brazil
Quarter-finals, 2010 FIFA World Cup
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Friday, 2nd July 2010
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.

World Cup News: Don’t Blame Jermain Defoe, He Wasn’t There!

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Good morning my dears, and welcome to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.

No action to report. STOP. Please send biscuits. STOP

Here's your round-up of all the World Cup-related goings-on this fine morrow...

(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.

So who is accountable for England’s mess?

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England are out finished, end of story. We did not go out on penalties, nor were we "very unlucky". We were well beaten by a team that were man for man better than us. The Media may cry foul about Lampard's goal, or the fact our pampered players play too much football, but isn't it time we simply faced up to the fact that actually we are not as good as we like to believe?

Summer 2010 Football Transfers Lists

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With the World Cup in the rearview mirror, that means that new seasons are within sight, and it also means that the summer transfer season is in full swing. And as has been the case in each transfer window over the last few years, Soccerlens is here with daily coverage of the summer transfer window, so even while you're busy following the goings-on in South Africa, you can still get your transfer kicks.