World Cup Warm Up Matches From 5th June 2010

An interesting round of results which pretty much went as expected with Holland again looking like a real threat and Italy struggling to impress. The main injury worry was that of Arjen Robben who limped off with a hamstring injury and now looks like missing out on the group stage games at least. The results were:
 

Algeria 1-0 United Arab Emirates
A win for Algeria but this form confirms that barring a major slump by their opponents they will be going home after the group stages.

Ghana 1-0 Latvia
Ghana looked less than impressive in beating a poor Latvia team at the MK Stadium. However they did dominate the game and playing in England will be a lot different than playing in Africa with the support of the home nation. They should still at least challenge for a place in the last 16.

Holland 6-1 Hungary
Holland look like the form team going into the finals and although Hungary are not a major force in European football this was still an impressive win. The only black spot in this performance was the possible loss of Arjen Robben who has had a great season both Internationally and at club level. Holland look like possible winners at the moment.

Romania 3-0 Honduras
Honduras looked a bit out of their depth against an admittedly good Romania side and the 3-0 scoreline could have been worse. An early exit looks increasingly likely for the Central American side.

Serbia 4-3 Cameroon
This was a bit of a turn up with the usually defensively sound but goal shy Serbia being involved in a bit of a thriller. Cameroon finally discovered their scoring touch, but looked woeful in defense. Both sides looked much better in this game than of late, but will have to improve quite a bit to progress from the group stages. Of the two Cameroon are the most likely to succeed.  The match highlights are below.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqZExis3uDo[/youtube]

 
 
Slovakia 3-0 Costa Rica
 
 
Slovakia played really well in this game but the potential loss of Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel who suffered an ankle injury could be a major blow to their last 16 chances. In what is looking an increasingly easy Group F they would have a realistic chance of making the last 16 on this form if they have everyone fit, but with several injury worries now they will have to wait and hope.  
 

South Africa 1-0 Denmark
A goal from Katlego Mphela was enough to maintain South Africa’s 12 match unbeaten run in what was a hard fought game against Denmark. Bafana Bafana have now completed their preparations and will open the World Cup against Mexico on Friday. They have shown a high level of fitness and this could come into play as the group progresses and the final game against France which will be played in the afternoon heat could still be decisive.  

Switzerland 1-1 Italy
 
Yet another poor Italian performance will have the doomsayers excited. However in this case they could have a case, Italy have an ageing squad and lack the star players of old as evidenced by Inter Milan starting the European Champions League Final without a single Italian on the pitch. It is dangerous to write the holders off but they will have to improve on this to trouble the likes of Spain, Brazil or England. Three performances like this and they might not make the last 16. As for Switzerland they look like missing out on the last 16 being in a tough group with Spain & Chile and the loss of one of their top strikers Marco Streller will be a big blow.

USA 3-1 Australia
 
A good win for the USA who will go into the game against England on a high note thanks to two goals by Edson Buddle which helped finally see of a dogged Australia side. The one worry for the USA in their opening game against England is their lack of a dominant central defender. One would expect Peter Crouch to cause them all sorts of problems when the two sides meet in their group opener.
 
Australia are in a tough group but with there being some question marks against both Serbia and Ghana they will still fancy their chances of making the last 16 where they could meet England. They have a decent backbone to the team with Lucas Neil in defense, Tim Cahill who is a quality attacking midfielder and Harry Kewell up front and if they can avoid a heavy defeat against Germany they could sneak through on goal difference.

Serbia’s 2010 World Cup 23 Man Squad

Serbia have announced their final 23 man squad for the 2010 World Cup Finals:

Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (Sporting), Bojan Isailovic (Zaglebie Lubin), Andjelko Djuricic (Uniao Leiria).

Defenders: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), Antonio Rukavina (1860 Munich), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), Aleksandar Lukovic (Udinese), Ivan Obradovic (Zaragoza), Aleksandar Kolarov (Lazio).

Midfielders: Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan), Gojko Kacar (Hertha Berlin), Nenad Milijas (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Zdravko Kuzmanovic (VfB Stuttgart), Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade), Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow), Zoran Tosic (Manchester United), Milos Ninkovic (Dynamo Kiev), Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liege).

Strikers: Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City), Marko Pantelic (Ajax Amsterdam), Danko Lazovic (Zenit St. Petersburg), Dragan Mrdja (Vojvodina Novi Sad).

Looking at the squad they appear fairly solid defensively with Chelseas Branislav Ivanovic & Manchester Uniteds  Nemanja Vidic both being amongst the best in the Premire League.  However they look likely to struggle to score goals with this forward line and the midfield dosent look like being able to pick up the slack. They should be quite hard to beat but an early exit looks on the cards.

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Woeful Performances By France & Italy in Latest Wam Up Matches

Raymond Domenech
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Some mixed performances in the latest World Cup warm up matches including awful results for the 2006 finalists France & Italy.  
 

Friday 4th June 2010

 

France 0-1 China PR
 
France were looking to get back on track following their disappointing1-1 draw withTunisia in their last game, but despite staring with a strong side including  Franck Ribery, Florent Malouda, and Patrice Evra they finished with another embarrassing result. Their form is dreadful going into the Finals and French fans can only take heart from the fact that surely they can’t keep playing this badly. Their manager Raymond Domenech (right) must be feeling the pressure now, and a poor showing in the Finals will almost certainly bring his tenure to an end.  

Japan 0-2 Ivory Coast
 
The scoreline is of little importance to the Ivory Coast, (who looked good in the game) compared to the injury to Didier Drogba. The news of his broken arm is not only a blow to their fans but to the whole tournament as he is Africa’s most talismanic player and his loss will probably cost the Ivory Coast any chance they had of making the last 16.

Thursday 3rd June 2010

 
 

Germany 3-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
 
Nice and comfortable for Germany, who are looking quietly confident going into the Finals.

Italy 1-2 Mexico
 
It is debatable whether this was a poor performance by Italy or a good one by Mexico, who again looked good in possession and seem to have improved their defense markedly since their dominant but ultimately futile performance against England a couple of weeks ago. Mexico swept into a deserved 2 goal lead and Italy rarely looked like getting back into the game only managing a consolation goal in the 89th minute. Italy will need to rediscover their goal scoring form if they are to make much of an impact , while on this showing Mexico are genuine contenders for the Quarter Finals at least.

Spain 1-0 South Korea
 
Neither side looked particularly interested in what looked more like a practice match than a competitive game. The Spanish starting 11 included a lot of second string names so it would be unwise to read too much from this performance.
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Injuries Hit Ivory Coast & England With Only A Week To Go

Rio Ferdinand
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There was bad news from both the England & Ivory Coast camps today with the announcements that England Captain Rio Ferdinand was on his way home with an injury and that Didier Drogba the Ivory Coasts talismatic striker had broken his arm and was unlikley to take part in the finals.

The Injury to Rio, although disapointing for England fans is not the end of the world so to speak and given that he has not looked fit in the build up could prove to be a blessing in disguise as Michael Dawson has looked competent all season and with Ferdinand’s knee going now there is at least time to draft him in. Had the injury occcured in the opening game then England would have bee down to a 22 man squad for the remainder of the tournament.  Steven Gerrard has been given the captains arm band which looks like a good choice.

The Ivory Coast on the other hand will be devastated and the possible loss of Africas most recognised talent will take a little of the shine off of what promises to be a great specticle. The Ivory Coast just like 2006 have been handed a tough draw and the loss of Drogba probably means that qualification for the last 16 will be beyond them again. Hopefully the draw will be slightly kinder to them in 2014.

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Paraguay Building Momentum as World Cup Nears

Paraguay beat fellow World Cup qualifiers Greece 2-0 in Winterthur yesterday and look to be gathering momentum going into the finals. This excellent result follows on from a hard fought 2-2 draw with the Ivory Coast where they came back from 2-0 down. They are most people s tip to take the second qualifying spot in group F, and on this form they could push Italy close for the top spot.

In other matches both Honduras and Serbia failed to impress both gaining disappointing 0-0 draws. Honduras will be particularly worried as Azerbaijan are one of Europe’s weakest teams.

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Julio Cesar off Injured as Brazil coast past Zimbabwe 3-0

Brazil had an easy 3-0 win over Zimbabwe in Harare today but will be concerned that their star Goalkeeper Julio Cesar had to leave the pitch with an injury in the first half. There is no word on his injury at the moment but he will have until the 15th June to get fit before Brazil’s opener against North Korea and given this should be one of their easier games they could rest him until the 20th if necessary.  In the game its self goals from Michel Bastos,  Robinho and Elano were enough to see off Zimbabwe.

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Holland Send Out A Warning With Emphatic Win

The FIFA World Cup (awarded 1974–Present)
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Holland sent a clear indication that they will be a force in the World Cup Finals with a very impressive win over a good Ghana side at the Feijenoord Stadium in Rotterdam. The 4-1 scoreline doesn’t flatter the Dutch and Ghana will have no complaints as they had a near full strength team out.

This is Hollands last meaningful match before the finals and no one will fancy playing them on this form.

On other warm up matches Australia had a good 1-0 win over Denmark and Portugal had a nice 3-1 win over Cameroon,  who again looked short of firepower.

Switzerland lost 1-0 to Costa Rica and will struggle in the finals on this form.

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England Announce Final 23 Man Squad – No Walcott

Theo Walcott
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England have announced their final 23 man squad for the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa. The lucky players are:

Goalkeepers

Hart,  James & Green;

Defenders

Carragher, Cole, Ferdinand, Johnson, King, Terry, Upson &  Warnock;

Midfield

Barry, Carrick, Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Lennon, Milner, & Wright-Phillips;

Strikers

Crouch, Defoe, Heskey &  Rooney.

No major shocks apart from Theo Walcott missing out and possibly Darren Bent missing out to Emile Heskey who is a good target man but not the player to grab vital goals. Stephen Warnock has been included despite not kicking a ball in anger for England for quite some time, however given that  Everton’s Leighton Baines was the only viable alternative its not such a surprise as Baines doesn’t look international class at this stage of his career.

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World Cup Warm Up Wins for Chile & South Africa

Both Chile & South Africa had easy wins in their latest warm up games on Monday.

Chile who beat  Israel 3-0 looked much more impressive than they did in beating Northern Ireland last week, however they did field a stronger looking team.They have one final game before the finals against New Zealand, and a similar performance will send them into their opening game against Honduras full of confidence.

South Africa continued their preparation with a comfortable 5-0 win over soccer minnows Guatemala and in doing so set a couple of records. This result was their highest winning margin since South Africa  returned to international football in 1992. Their previous best was 4-0 achieved against both Chad and Thailand. Also centre back Mokoena became the first South African footballer to win 100 caps. Its not easy to gauge much from this result given that Guatemala are ranked 114 in the world however all they could do was win.
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