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Tag Archives: Euro 2012

LOOTING scum on the streets of England on Monday night (8 August) meant that England’s (6) match at Wembley against the Netherlands (2) on Wednesday (10 August) was cancelled.

But fortunately for me, there was still a full day of international football to look forward to.

There was one Euro 2012 Qualifier amongst all the friendlies, a Group C tie between Northern Ireland (62) and the Faroe Islands (112) at Windsor Park in Belfast.

Northern Ireland needed to win in order to stay in the race to get on the plane to Poland and the Ukraine, and win they did. A 4-0 victory for the Green and White Army sees them climb up to third in their group behind Slovenia, who are two points better off but have played one game more. The Faroes on the other hand (who drew 1-1 with Northern Ireland in the reverse fixture last October) cannot now make it to Euro 2012.

Japan (16) held onto their crown of Unofficial World Champions by beating rivals South Korea (28) 3-0, in their friendly at the Sapporo Dome.

Just in case you don’t know, the Unofficial World Championship is past around like a Title Belt in Boxing, and if you go back far enough, you will find yourself at the first ever international between Scotland and England in 1872.

Japan took the title away from Argentina on 8 October 2010 in a friendly they won 1-0, then defended it against: South Korea (0-0, friendly), Jordan (1-1), Syria (2-1), Saudi Arabia (5-0), Qatar (3-2), South Korea (2-2 a.e.t. 3-0 pens.) and Australia (1-0 a.e.t.) as they lifted the Asian Cup for a record fourth time, before drawing 0-0 in both their Kirin Cup matches against Peru and the Czech Republic before this 3-0 over South Korea.

The next defence of their title comes on 2 September in their first 2014 World Cup Qualifier against North Korea. Also in Japan’s group (Group C) are Syria and Uzbekistan.

Select International Friendly Results (World Ranking in Brackets)

Albania (59) 3 – 2 Montenegro (17)

Côte d’Ivoire (14) 4 – 3 Israel (32)

France (15) 1 – 1 Chile (11)

Germany (3) 3 – 2 Brazil (4), which I watched.

Germany is a young team now that looks like they can beat anybody. Brazil on the other hand seems a shadow of the side they were at the turn of the millennium.

Hungary (47) 4 – 0 Iceland (121)

Italy (8) 2 – 1 Spain (1)

The reining European and World champions suffer another defeat to a top-class nation – the others being Argentina (1-4) and arch-rivals Portugal (0-4).

Latvia (83) 0 – 2 Finland (75)

Liechtenstein (118) 1 – 2 Switzerland (30)

Norway (12) 3 – 0 Czech Republic (38)

Poland (69) 1 – 0 Georgia (57)

Portugal (7) 5 – 0 Luxembourg (128)

Republic of Ireland (33) 0 – 0 Croatia (9)

Russia (18) 1 – 0 Serbia (27)

Scotland (61) 2 – 1 Denmark (21) 😦

Turkey (24) 3 – 0 Estonia (79)

Ukraine (45) 0 – 1 Sweden (19)

Wales (112) 1 – 2 Australia (23) 🙂

U.S.A. (30) 1 – 1 Mexico (20)

 

 

Wales

0

vs.

2

England

Attendance = 68,959

Frank LAMPARD 7P’

Darren BENT 15’

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Ref = Olegário BENQUERENÇA (Portugal)

Millennium Stadium – CARDIFF

ANY hopes Wales had about beating England in last Saturday’s (26 March) Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff were dashed as they lost the 100th match between the two.

Wales’s captain for the game was 20 year-old Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey. That’s not bad is it? You’re 20 and in just your 11th match for your country you are made captain against your biggest rivals. However, the Welsh were without their star player, Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, who was out injured.

England were led out by John Terry, who was back as captain after coach Fabio Capello reinstated him as full-time captain over Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Terry had been stripped of the captaincy in early 2010 after explosive revelations about his private life hit the headlines. All I’ll say on this matter is this: “Bad move Fabio.

The match itself got off to a fiery start (after God Save The Queen was booed by the Welsh) with Wales’s Craig Bellamy keeping his rough-boy reputation.  But England got their revenge when James Collins brought down Ashley Cole in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. Frank Lampard coolly rolled the ball into the net and England led 1-0 just seven minutes in.

Lampard makes it 1-0 from the spot.

Eight minutes later England tore Wales’s defence apart. Glen Johnson passed the ball with pin-point accuracy from 60-70 yards away to Ashley Young who crossed the ball into the box to set up Darren Bent from seven yards out. Bent made no mistake from there and England were now 2-0 to the good.

Darren Bent celebrates his third England goal.

Wayne Rooney could have made it 3-0 soon after but his shot went wide.

England continued to dominate a first half in which Wales had no shots on goal and only one touch in England’s penalty area. Ashley Young had the best chance of the half with five minutes of it left. His powerful volley only just went over the crossbar, and would have been a goal of the season contender had it gone in.

Wales gave England a game in the second half. Nine minutes into the second period Bellamy set up Andy King who hit his shot wide of the post. Just after the hour mark Ramsey shot over from the edge of England’s area. The Welsh Dragon was starting to stir, how would the Lions respond?

The response came immediately with Lampard curling a free-kick directly into the hands of Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey. Young Jack Wilshere then blasted a shot over from 20 yards out.

Then it was Wales’s turn to attack with four corners in relatively quick succession, but nothing came of them.

England held onto their 2-0 lead as the clock ticked ever closer toward full-time. In the 90th minute Stewart Downing almost scored England’s third after an impressive solo run, but missed the target by a Nat’s hair length.

Bellamy shot wide two minutes into additional time, and then came the final whistle. England had won 2-0 and returned to the top of Group G, while Wales stay at the foot of the table still without a point.

The other match in Group G saw Bulgaria and Switzerland play out a goalless draw in Sofia.

Here is how Group G looks at the halfway stage.

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

England (6)

4

3

1

0

9

1

+8

10

2

Montenegro (25=)

4

3

1

0

3

0

+3

10

3

Switzerland (23)

4

1

1

2

5

5

0

4

4

Bulgaria (47)

4

1

1

2

1

5

-4

4

5

Wales (116)

4

0

0

4

1

8

-7

0

 Group winners and best runner-up all qualify for the finals in Poland and Ukraine automatically. The remaining group runners-up qualify for the Play-Off round. Brackets show current FIFA World Ranking.

The next matches in this group take place on 4 June. England play Switzerland at Wembley while Montenegro take on Bulgaria in Podgorica. England’s next international is tonight against 2010 World Cup Quarter-Finalists Ghana at Wembley.

Some other Euro 2012 Qualifying and International Friendly Results

Austria 0 – 2 Belgium

Armenia 0 – 0 Russia 😮

Georgia 1 – 0 Croatia 🙂

Germany 4 – 0 Kazakhstan

Hungary 0 – 4 Netherlands

Luxembourg 0 – 2 France 😦

Norway 1 – 1 Denmark

Republic of Ireland 2 – 1 Macedonia 😦

Serbia 2 – 1 Northern Ireland 😛 (crowd of only 200 or so Northern Irish because of Serbian fan violence in game against Italy).

Slovenia 0 – 1 Italy

Spain 2 – 1 Czech Republic (With his two goals for Spain, David Villa is now their all-time top goal scorer with 46).

Friendly Matches

Estonia 2 – 0 Uruguay 😮

Lithuania 2 – 0 Poland

Montenegro 1 – 0 Uzbekistan

North Korea 0 – 2 Iraq

Portugal 1 – 1 Chile

Scotland 0 – 2 Brazil (Played at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium) 😛

U.S.A. 1 – 1 Argentina

 

 

England

0

vs.

0

Montenegro

Att. = 73,451

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Ref = Manuel Gräfe (GER)

Wembley Stadium

ENGLAND could only manage a 0-0 home draw against Montenegro last night in their third Euro 2012 qualifying match.

The home-team dominated the first-half possession, but failed to do anything with it. The closest England came to scoring was when Peter Crouch only just failed to connect with a long pass from Steven Gerrard.

I could tell the game was dull because my Dad and I had started to talk about something else!

The second-half wasn’t much better. Out-of-sorts striker Wayne Rooney had a few chances, and England should have had at least one penalty. The Montenegrin keeper, Mladen Božović, produced some class saves to keep his country’s record of four clean sheets from their first four matches.

But the really scary moment came just seven minutes from the end. Milan Jovanović – who is the Montenegrin player who should have given away that penalty to England – smashed the crossbar from long range. England keeper Joe Heart was well beaten.

Not really much else to report, apart from the fact that England were rightly booed off at full-time and that they must do better in their next two games, which are friendly matches against France and Argentina.

The other match in England’s group saw Switzerland destroy hapless Wales 4-1 to earn their first points. Wales stay rooted to the bottom of the table with zero points.

Some other Euro 2012 Qualifying results

Azerbaijan 1 – 0 Turkey 😮

Kazakhstan 0 – 3 Germany

Belgium 4 – 4 Austria

Slovakia 1 – 1 Republic of Ireland

Faroe Islands 1 – 1 Northern Ireland 🙂

Italy A – A Serbia (See below)

France 2 – 0 Luxembourg 😦

Netherlands 4 – 1 Sweden

Scotland 2 – 3 Spain 🙂

The Italy vs. Serbia match had to be abandoned after just six minutes due to the trouble in the stadium being caused by the Serbian ‘fans’. Kick-off had already been delayed for 35 minutes because of crowd disturbances. Flares were thrown onto the pitch by the Serbian crowd and fireworks were launched at the Italian keeper.

Football has moved on, it’s time these thugs did as well.

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

Montenegro (40=)

4

3

1

0

3

0

+3

10

2

England (6)

3

2

1

0

7

1

+6

7

3

Switzerland (21)

3

1

0

2

5

5

0

3

4

Bulgaria (54)

3

1

0

2

1

5

-4

3

5

Wales (84)

3

0

0

3

1

6

-5

0

Group winners and best runner-up all qualify for the finals in Poland and Ukraine automatically. The remaining group runners-up qualify for the Play-Off round. Brackets show current FIFA World Ranking.

 

 

Switzerland

1

vs.

3

England

Xherdan SHAQIRI 71’

Attendance = 39,700

Wayne ROONEY 10’

Adam JOHNSON 69’

Darren BENT 88’

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Ref = Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)

St. Jakob-Park (Basel)

ENGLAND continued their winning start to their Euro 2012 qualifying group with a 3-1 away win in a rainy Switzerland last night in what was on paper, our hardest game of the group. 🙂

Wayne Rooney scored 😉 his first England goal in a year with just ten minutes gone to put England 1-0 up. Glen Johnson crossed the ball from the near side as we looked at it, Theo Walcott and Jermain Defoe either dummied or missed the ball, leaving Rooney on his own in the six-yard box to tap it in.

The highs...

But England’s celebrations were cut short when it emerged that during the build up to the goal, Walcott had gone over on his right ankle and had to be stretchered off. He expects himself to be fit again in less than two weeks, so Arsenal fans don’t be too disappointed.

...and the lows.

England totally dominated the first half, and should have gone into half-time 3-0 up at least. Defoe could have easily scored four goals in the first 45 minutes, but he either: shot over, was too short to reach the ball, saw an effort saved or missed a header. Do you get the feeling that it just wasn’t his day?

Such was the away side’s dominance the roughly 4,000 travelling English fans gave you the impression that the game was in London rather than Basel. Chants like: “1-0 to the Ing-er-land” and “We’re on the p*** and we’re having a laugh” put a wide smile on my face.

What took said smile off of my face was the antics of the England keeper Joe Heart. On three separate occasions in the first half he almost got charged down by a Swiss forward because he was taking so long to clear the ball. I know the pitch was soaking wet with rain water but there is a limit. The heavy tackling displayed by the Swiss wasn’t pleasing on the eyes either.

The first 15 minutes of the second half were nothing special, but the game exploded into life on the hour mark.

From almost nowhere, Switzerland put the England goal under pressure for three solid minutes. Then two minutes later when England finally had the ball in the Swiss half, their number two, Stephan Lichtsteiner was given a second yellow card for a tackle on James Milner and the home team were down to 10-men.

Four minutes later, Adam Johnson scored his second England goal in two games to give England a 2-0 lead. But Switzerland hit back just when my Dad told me that a 10-man team could be dangerous. Xherdan Shaqiri smashed the ball home for his first international goal from 20+-yards, and there was nothing Joe Heart in the England goal could do about it. 1-2, game on.

Both sides pushed hard for the next decisive goal for the rest of the match. Fortunately, that goal was scored just two minutes from time by Darren Bent, and England finished the night with six points to their name in Group G.

In the other game in this group, Montenegro beat Bulgaria 1-0 in Sofia, proving that they mean business. England’s next match in this group is at home to Montenegro on 12 October.

Some other Euro 2012 Qualifying results

Germany 6 – 1 Azerbaijan

Russia 0 – 1 Slovakia

Republic of Ireland 3 – 1 Andorra

Italy 5 – 0 Faroe Islands

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 – 2 France

Sweden 6 – 0 San Marino

Netherlands 2 – 1 Finland

Norway 1 – 0 Portugal 😮

Czech Republic 0 – 1 Lithuania 😮

Scotland 2 – 1 Liechtenstein (Just) 😦

PS: In an International Friendly in Buenos Aires, Argentina destroyed World and European Champions Spain 4-1. 😮

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

England

2

2

0

0

7

1

+6

6

2

Montenegro

2

2

0

0

2

0

+2

6

3

Wales

1

0

0

1

0

1

-1

0

4

Switzerland

1

0

0

1

1

3

-2

0

5

Bulgaria

2

0

0

2

0

5

-5

0

Group winners and best runner-up all qualify for the finals in Poland and Ukraine automatically. The remaining group runners-up qualify for the Play-Off round.

 

 

England

4

vs.

0

Bulgaria

Jermain DEFOE 3’ 61’ 86’

Adam JOHNSON 83’

MotM = Jermain DEFOE (ENG)

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Ref = Viktor KASSAI (HUN)

Wembley Stadium

JERMAIN DEFOE scored England’s first Hat-Trick in almost three years as England beat Bulgaria 4-0 in their opening Euro 2012 Group G qualifier at Wembley Stadium last night. 😀

Jermain Defoe (9) - Hat-Trick Hero

The Tottenham striker’s first goal came after just three minutes. Chelsea’s Ashley Cole crossed the ball (from the far side of the pitch as you look at it on the TV) to Defoe who smashed the ball into the back of the net.

But Bulgaria ever so slowly started to enjoy some time on the ball, but never really troubled England keeper Joe Heart. In fact from what I remember from a rather unexciting first half, Heart’s biggest problem came when Glen Johnson almost put the ball into his own net. Heart had to be alert and quick to pounce on the ball to prevent the eastern Europeans from pull level.

Wayne Rooney almost found the back of the net soon after the re-start with a 20-yrd chip that the Bulgarian keeper just managed to tip over the bar.

Around six or seven minutes later England defender Michael Dawson slipped on the grass during a challenge, and badly injured his right knee. He was stretchered off and will miss the away game to Switzerland on Tuesday.

But English spirits were lifted when Defoe scored his second goal just after the hour mark. Just 18 seconds earlier, Heart had to make a reflex save, and the ball flew off his gloves and the outfield players took the ball up the other end and managed to do what Bulgaria didn’t…score.

The game was finished as a contest when Adam Johnson scored his first England goal with seven minutes left. Defoe completed his Hat-Trick three minutes later, but couldn’t celebrate because he and one of the Bulgarian defenders collided (hurting Defoe’s shin) just as he kicked the ball.

So an impressive score line for England in their first competitive match since that 1-4 defeat to Germany in the World Cup. It wasn’t an exciting match by any stretch of the imagination, but a win is a win.

In the other match in England’s group, Montenegro beat Wales 1-0 🙂 in Podgorica, the capital of the country that became independent just four years ago. The fifth team in this group, Switzerland, who are England’s next opponents, drew 0-0 with Australia in a friendly.

Some Other Results from Euro 2012 Qualification

Armenia 0 – 1 Republic of Ireland

Belgium 0 – 1 Germany

Estonia 1 – 2 Italy

France 0 – 1 Belarus 🙂

Liechtenstein 0 – 4 Spain

Lithuania 0 – 0 Scotland

Portugal 4 – 4 Cyprus 😮

San Marino 0 – 5 Netherlands

Slovenia 0 – 1 Northern Ireland

Euro 2012 Qualifying Group G

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

England

1

1

0

0

4

0

+4

3

2

Montenegro

1

1

0

0

1

0

+1

3

3

Switzerland

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

Wales

1

0

0

1

0

1

-1

0

5

Bulgaria

1

0

0

1

0

4

-4

0

Group winners and best runner-up all qualify for the finals in Poland and Ukraine automatically. The remaining group runners-up qualify for the Play-Off round.

England will play Wales in Euro 2012 qualifying group G. We will also have to play: Switzerland, Bulgaria and Montenegro. I believe that this is one of the easiest groups that we could get. Our world ranking at the moment is 9. Whereas Switzerland are ranked 18th, Bulgaria 30th, Montenegro 72nd and Wales 76th. The first games will be played in early September and the last in October 2011.

The Logo

Yesterdays Merseyside derby fight/football match saw Liverpool beat Everton 1-0. 😀 Both sides finished with 10 men and we were lucky that none of our players suffered any serious injuries. Dirk Kuyt was knocked to the ground, and big haired Marouane Fellaini decided it would be a good idea to kick the ball at his face from point-blank range, and to follow through with his foot. Fellaini was then taken off injured after our man Sotirios Kyrgiakos took him out. But he was then sent off, despite Fellaini making him need stitches in his foot. Tim Cahill missed a sitter just before the end of the first half that 99 times out of 100 he would put in. In the 55th minute, Kuyt headed in a corner from 3 yards out. You can see the mark Fellaini left on his face in the picture below. In stoppage time, Everton’s Steven Pienaar got what he deserved when he was sent off for a second bookable offence after he sent Steven Gerrard tumbling. He should have gone in the first half after he nearly broken Javier Mascherano’s leg. Fortunately, it was just his shin guard which snapped.

See Kuyt’s bruise by clicking here –> http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8500212.stm

The first game of this year’s six nations was won by reigning champions Ireland. They beat Italy by 29 points to 11 at Croke Park. I watched England vs. Wales on the telly last night and as usual with the six nations, I got slightly carried away. Whenever we scored a try I went mad, and when Wales scored their try to pull it back to just a five point gap, some of the things I was shouting weren’t very PC at all. Both teams weren’t at their best, with numerous kicking, throwing and passing errors. When Wales had a man in the sin-bin, England took full advantage and ran in two converted tires. England triumphed by a 30-17 score line and next play Italy in Rome. PS: France beat Scotland 18-9.

The New Orleans Saints take on the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44 tonight in Florida. It is rather fitting that the two best teams in America this season are in the Super Bowl this year, with 13-3 and 14-2 league records respectively. The Colts are looking for their third win, their last was in the 2006/07 season in Florida, so their omens are good. The Saints are by contrast making their maiden Super Bowl appearance. My blog tomorrow will feature the match, and hopefully have some videos of the famed half-time show, this year being put on by The Who.

South Africa are currently on tour in India and loving it. At the close of play on the second day of the first Test, India are 25-0 and chasing South Africa’s huge total of 558-6d. Kallis and Amla put on 340 runs for the third wicket, scoring 173 and 253 not-out respectively.

And finally, Tennis’s wonder mum Kim Clijsters – along with daughter Jada – have been immortalised as Barbie dolls. The unique dolls were unveiled on the opening day of the Nuremberg toy fair, the largest toy fair in the world. The dolls are based on the moment when little Jada walked onto the court after her mum had won last year’s US Open. I can’t see Andy Murray becoming a Ken though.

Kim & Jada Clijsters at the US Open

Kim & Jada as Barbies

Sunday lunch time sees the draw for the qualifying rounds for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. The draw itself in Warsaw consists of 51 teams being split into six groups of six and three groups of five. As host nations, Poland and Ukraine are automatic qualifiers. For political reasons, UEFA will not allow Armenia and Azerbaijan to be in the same group as they dispute the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. And due to the war over South Ossetia, Georgia will not play Russia.

My predictions for England are as follows. If we are drawn in a group of six teams, it will be: England, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Iceland & Malta GC. If we are in a group of five, it will be: England, Greece, Austria, Cyprus & Georgia.

The winners of each group advance to the finals directly, as do the second place team who have the best record against the: first, third, fourth and fifth teams in their groups. The remaining eight second placed teams play-off against another second placed team, and the winner of the tie advances. This will be the last Euro with just 16 teams.  The number of teams in Euro 2016 will increase to 24. Currently Turkey, France and Italy are bidding to host the tournament.

I’ll have more on Sunday for you. 😉