woensdag 30 november 2011

All You Need to Know Euro 2012 Draw.

... more about Euro 2012 ...
Where Is It Taking Place?

UEFA are hosting the draw at the Ukraine Palace of Arts in Kiev.
According to Wikipedia, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and Luciano Pavarotti are the among the notable performers to have graced the venue in the past.
Who Will Be There?
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino will be conducting the draw, with the help of TV presenters lga Freimut and Piotr Sobczynski.
UEFA tell us entertainment will be provided by "the P. Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble, Ukrainian singerJamala and a surprise international artist."
We should also expect the national managers of each of the 16 qualified teams, along with a host of legendary names from the tournament's previous editions. The Euro 2012 motto is "creating history together", and the organisers have hence invite a collection of former stars.
How will the draw work?
There are four groups of four to be drawn, with each to comprise of one team from each of the four seeding pots.
Groups A, B, C and D will all consist of  1 x Pot A team, 1 x Pot B team, 1 x Pot C team and 1 x Pot D team.
Pot 1 teams will be drawn first, followed by Pot 4, then Pot 3, and finally Pot 2 to make up the groups. This means those in Pot 2 are in for the most agonising wait (not good news for England fans).
We already know Poland are the Pot 1 team in Group A, and Ukraine the Pot 1 team in Group D. The hosts have been guaranteed top seeding and a place in the group played out in their home city.
What Are the Seedings?
Aside from the hosts, who automatically go as Pot 1 seeds, the remaining 14 teams have been ranked using the UEFA National Team Coefficient. Here are the pots.
Pot 1 - Poland (Group A), Ukraine (Group D), Spain, Netherlands
Pot 2 - Germany, Italy, England, Russia
Pot 3 - Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden
Pot 4 - Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland
Group of Death?
As with all draws these days, we must address the possibility of a 'Group of Death'.
It's highly unlikely, but we could potentially see a group containing the behemoths of Spain, Germany, Portugal and France.
Those are arguably the strongest teams in their respective pots, so teams will be desperately hoping to avoid them.
Group of Eternal Life?

According to the UEFA coefficient, here the weakest teams in their respective pots.
Pot 1 - Poland
Pot 2 - Russia
Pot 3 - Sweden
Pot 4 - Republic of Ireland
This would suggest the best draw for any team is to find yourself accompanied by three of these in a group. As a caveat, I'd make the case for Poland getting to play in front of partisan crowd, Russia having lost just once in 10 qualifiers, and Republic of Ireland riding on a wave of national hysteria.
Sweden were so bad against England at Wembley I can't find anything good to say about them.
A Random Prediction
There's really no point of this final slide, other than to entertain myself with a wild guess at the draw. Oh, and to illustrate once again the fact that each group will consist of seeds from pots 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Source: Bleacher Report

Two top players injured!

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo sustains ankle injury

The Portuguese superstar was the recipient of a strong challenge from Atletico Madrid's Luis Perea at the weekend, and has since been diagnosed with a sprain

Real Madrid have revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo picked up an ankle injury in Saturday's 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

The 26-year-old was on the receiving end of a lunge from Luis Perea during the match, but despite completing the 90 minutes, the club's medical team confirmed he suffered a Grade I sprain and contusion on his left ankle.
Madrid's official website revealed that Ronaldo did not participate in training on Tuesday, but instead worked with physios in order to try and shake off the knock.
However, there was better news for Kaka and Alvaro Arbeloa, who were both present in training after fully recovering from their muscular setbacks which forced them to miss the Madrid derby.


Abbiati facing spell on the sidelines

Abbiati facing spell on the sidelines
AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati will be out of action for two weeks with a right shoulder injury.
The 34-year-old sustained the injury in last week's Champions League game against Barcelona and sat out last Sunday's 4-0 win over Chievo.
Tests done on the player ruled out the need for surgery but Abbiati will take around 15 days to recover.
Marco Amelia will again replace Abbiati in goal when the Rossoneri face Genoa in Liguria on Friday.
Abbiati had played in all of Milan's league games prior to last weekend's clash against Chievo.

EURO finals draw seedings unveiled

Big day next Friday ... very excited to know which pool my two favorite countries (Spain and Netherlands) will be!!!

Spain, the Netherlands and co-hosts Poland and Ukraine are top seeds for the finals draw at 18.00CET on Friday in Kyiv and will have full coverage in our DrawCentre.

UEFA has announced the seedings for the UEFA EURO 2012 finals draw at the Palace of Arts in Kyiv, Ukraine at 18.00CET (19.00 local time) on Friday 2 December. will have full coverage direct from the Ukrainian capital from Thursday morning in our DrawCentre with video, stats and live updates.
The 16 teams will been drawn into four groups of four teams each (Groups A to D).  Four seeding pots will be created, with the host associations Poland and Ukraine being top seeds. Poland will be automatically placed in Group A as A1, Ukraine in Group D as D1.
The reigning champions Spain will be placed in Pot 1, together with the Netherlands, the team with the highest national team coefficient, as established at the conclusion of the play-off matches.
The other 12 qualifiers have been allocated to the remaining three pots according to their respective coefficients.
Pot 1: Spain, Netherlands
Pot 2: Germany, Italy, England, Russia
Pot 3: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden
Pot 4: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland
The draw will start with Pot 1 in order to fill position one in Groups B and C. The draw will continue with Pot 4, from which a team will be allocated to each group consecutively, from Group A to Group D. This procedure will then be repeated for Pot 3 and finally for Pot 2.
The position of each team within its group (2, 3 or 4) will also be determined during the draw.
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino will conduct the draw, and the ceremony will be hosted by Olga Freimut and Piotr Sobczynski – two renowned TV presenters in the UEFA EURO 2012 host countries. The show will include three entertainment acts: the P. Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble, Ukrainian singer Jamala and a surprise international artist.
Furthermore, and supporting the motto 'Creating History Together', UEFA has invited legendary players from all previous editions of the tournament to participate in the show. In addition, the official match ball of UEFA EURO 2012 will be unveiled during the ceremony.
The draw will be shown live by more than 70 broadcast partners, covering more than 150 territories around the world.

dinsdag 29 november 2011

Ajax supervisory board members Johan Cruyff, Edgar Davids & three more asked to step down

The Amsterdam side's members council has asked all five commissioners to resign as they no longer have their support

The Ajax members council has asked supervisory board members Johan Cruyff, Edgar Davids, Steven ten Have, Paul Romer and Marjan Olfers to resign in the wake of a four-hour meeting on Monday evening.

The club's governing body had called a meeting to discuss the ongoing power struggle between Cruyff and the other four commissioners and they have now decided that none of the five has a future at the club in an official position.
"The majority of the members council has expressed its disappointment with the methods used by the supervisory board. We have therefore asked them to step down from their positions," members council chairman Rob Been Jr. said in a press conference.

"We expect a response to our request on Tuesday. Additionally, we ask the commissioners to never return to Ajax in a similar position. This also goes for Johan Cruyff." 

If the members of the supervisory board refuse to step down following the members council's request, the future of the five commissioners will be discussed during the next shareholders meeting on December 12.

With 73 per cent of the shares in the hands of the club's members, an exit for Cruyff, Davids and the others seems inevitable.


Didier Drogba will 'go where he is offered the most money' says agent

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba has turned down a new contract offer and a loan move to Milan. 

Didier Drogba's agent has revealed the striker has snubbed Chelsea's offer of a one-year contract extension and vowed to "go where he is offered the most money" after turning down a loan move to Milan.
The 33-year-old Ivory Coast striker looks set to walk away from Stamford Bridge for nothing when his contract expires next summer. And his agent, Thierno Seydi, is weighing up lucrative options including possible moves to America, Russia or Asia.
"Didier has had the offer of a one-year extension from Chelsea. That does not suit us," Seydi is quoted as saying by the Sun. "We know what we want, where we want to go and what offers we have.
"Milan came in for Didier on loan with an option to buy but I said 'No' straight away. Their offer did not interest us.
"At Didier's age, he has nothing left to prove as a player. He will go where he is offered the most money. It could be the United States, Russia, Qatar or somewhere else in Asia. Once you are well into your 30s you have to go to a club where you can be certain you'll be able to pay your bills.
"LA Galaxy are a possibility among many others. He has been linked with Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, as they pay well. But neither Didier nor I have had an offer from them."

Source: the guardian

Tables from last weekend.

La Liga

Premier League

Serie A



donderdag 24 november 2011

Champions League: Arsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 1

It's him again! RVP's deadly double seals progress

Arsenal may occupy an unusual place in the Barclays Premier League table, but it is business as usual in Europe.
Arsene Wenger’s side became the first English side to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League and, as they progressed for the 12th consecutive season, Robin van Persie was again the difference, scoring two goals  to take his tally to 38 in 41 games in 2011.
While the Manchester clubs have set the domestic League alight but struggled in Europe, Arsenal will finish top of a group containing Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Olympiakos — no mean feat,  especially when you consider that even reaching the group stage, via a play-off victory over Udinese, looked an arduous task in August. Crisis? What crisis?

Flying Dutchman: Robin van Persie breaks the deadlock with a header in the second half

Flying Dutchman: Robin van Persie breaks the deadlock with a header in the second half
Poacher: Van Persie slots home his second goal of the night to seal the win

Van Persie slots home his second goal of the night to seal the win

Winning Group F also delays the almost inevitable meeting with Barcelona — and former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas — in the latter stages of the competition.
In his programme notes, Wenger talked about the ‘growth’ of this team, who have won 11 of their 13 matches since they drew 1-1 against Dortmund on September 13.
The discipline is still sometimes lacking, as substitute Johan Djourou demonstrated with the lapse of concentration that led to Shinji Kagawa’s stoppage-time consolation goal, but things are steadily gelling and improving.
Dortmund also had an indifferent start to their domestic campaign but beat Bundesliga leaders  Bayern Munich 1-0 at the weekend. At the Emirates, they were confident in possession, passing the ball around neatly in the opening half an hour without really threatening goal. It was just like Arsenal can be: zippy and intricate but missing the end product.
Kagawa’s fifth-minute shot was easily gathered by Wojciech  Szczesny, who also watched  Robert Lewandowski’s right-foot shot fizz wide.
Mario Gotze, the 19-year-old who will cost in excess of £30million to prise away from Dortmund, played only 28 minutes. 
With his long sleeves and gloves on a relatively mild night at the Emirates, the German looked like a potential Arsenal player and, although  hampered by injury, there were still flashes of why he is rated so highly.

Jump for joy: Mikel Arteta (second left), Aaron Ramsey and Yossi Benayoun congratulates Van Persie

Jump for joy: Mikel Arteta (second left), Aaron Ramsey and Yossi Benayoun congratulates Van Persie
His balance and easy manner of covering ground is similar to that of Jack Wilshere and he showed a willingness to play little one-twos. 
Dortmund flooded the centre of midfield when Arsenal got the ball and the hosts struggled to break them down in the first half. Pace was the Premier League side’s best asset, with Theo Walcott breaking through twice in the first 20 minutes before having an effort disallowed for offside.
Mats Hummels recovered to thwart the winger’s first run then a delightful chipped ball over the top from Aaron Ramsey was smothered by goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller with Walcott closing in quickly.
The 22-year-old then turned  provider, swinging in an exquisite cross after a pass from Ramsey that Weidenfeller just managed to palm away under pressure from Van Persie.

It was Arsenal’s turn to be exposed by pace at the start of the second half, as the lively Lewandowski and Kagawa combined again to send the latter through on goal. Per Mertesacker looked a relieved man as the Japan striker’s low shot was saved by Szczesny.
Yet, with Van Persie in their side, Arsenal must always be confident of scoring. Wenger admitted he has ‘never had a striker on this kind of a run’ before and the Dutchman pounced again after 49 minutes.

Alex Song sent a chipped right-foot cross to the far post after a sensational run from just inside the halfway line. Weidenfeller got a hand to Van Persie’s header but could not stop the Arsenal captain. Few can in this sort of form.
Gervinho has been a willing ally for Van Persie this season but could have done with the striker’s poise in front of goal 10 minutes later. Instead of shooting early after Ramsey’s pass, he dithered and Weidenfeller intercepted.

The Emirates became strangely quiet when Van Persie fell awkwardly and there was a collective sigh of relief when the 28-year-old, who has so often struggled with injury, dusted himself down and played on, allowing him to score Arsenal’s second in the 86th minute
It was a classic training-ground routine. Thomas Vermaelen drew the goalkeeper to the near post by flicking on Mikel Arteta’s corner and Van Persie capitalised in the space left behind.
With victory all but assured, there was still time for a final lapse of concentration. Szczesny looked furious as substitute Moritz Leitner capitalised on a defensive mix-up and teed up Kagawa, who stroked the ball home.

Source: mail online