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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Agreement struck between clubs and Uefa to reduce number of international matches

However, the European Club Association has admitted there has been no progress with Fifa regarding attempts to have the dates of the Africa Cup of Nations moved

Uefa and European clubs have come to an agreement to reduce the number of international matches in a calendar year.Following discussions, the number of double-headed matches has been decreased to nine over a period of two years, despite clubs asking for the current number of 12 per year to be halved.

However, Uefa will not be backing the clubs as they attempt to oppose Fifa regarding the timing of the Africa Cup of Nations and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association stated that the situation with the world’s governing body remains 'unsatisfactory'.

"The agreement with Uefa is a major breakthrough for European club football,” he said.“While an agreement has been reached with Uefa, the situation remains unsatisfactory in relation to Fifa. “Unfortunately, discussions with the Fifa president have failed to lead to a satisfactory outcome which takes account of the clubs' demands.”

Following Rummenigge’s comments, Fifa pointed the blame at the ECA in a statement, claiming the ECA had rejected to attend meetings in the past, therefore making their demands hard to meet.The statement read: “ECA representatives have previously declined attendance to other Fifa committee meetings, making it very difficult for progress to be made in discussions with the European clubs.

“The international dates and the international match calendar have to be applied on a worldwide basis and that this calendar is ultimately regulated by Fifa.”In the agreement between Uefa and European clubs, it was decided that both matches in the double-headers should be played on the same continent, the final tournaments of all confederations will come to an end in July, while the August international friendly date has been removed. -

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Netherlands defender Johnny Heitinga maintains England's Euro 2012 campaign will be harder without Fabio Capello

The Everton man insists the Italian 'did a good job' during his reign but admits the Dutch would never hire an overseas coach

Netherlands defender Johnny Heitinga believes England have hampered their chances of Euro 2012 glory by losing Fabio Capello.

The Everton man maintains it will now be harder the England squad to be successful this year with just four months to find a manager before the tournament begins following the Italian's resignation earlier this month.But ahead of Wednesday’s friendly between the two sides, Heitinga insists England would still be a threat at Euro 2012.

“Without a manager, it is harder for them," told reporters.“There are still four months to go for the Euros to find a manager, but you have to say Capello did a good job because he got them qualified.“Their squad is still full of quality. I would still be wary if we meet in the Euros. They have a good team - but then again, so do Holland.”

Heitinga feels it would be unlikely for the Netherlands to copy England by appointing an overseas manager, insisting a country's playing philosophy is embedded in its players and coaches.“We have players playing all over the world but our manager always starts the first meeting by saying ‘now we are going to do it the Dutch way," he said.

“I’m doing different things in England than I will do at the national team. Van Persie is doing different things, the players in Germany are doing different things. But for the national team, we do it the Dutch way. We play football, starting from the goalkeeper.” - -

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dortmund march on

Winning run continues for defending champions

Borussia Dortmund stretched their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to four points with a 3-1 victory over the last side to have beaten them in the league this season, Hannover.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice for the home side in a result which equalled a club record of consecutive top-flight wins.Didier Ya Konan was on target for the Reds, who lost their unbeaten record in 2012 and consequently missed the chance they had to move into the top six with a win.

Ivan Perisic completed the scoring in stoppage time to keep Dortmund on course for a successful defence of their Bundesliga title.Sven Bender's involvement in the game lasted just six minutes when he was caught on the head by Mame Diouf and was forced to leave the action with blood dripping from a wound.

Dortmund took the lead in the 27th minute with Lukasz Piszczek threading the ball through to the in-form Lewandowski, who shook off the challenge of Eggimann before striking the ball powerfully into the far corner, with Eggimann getting a slight deflection on the ball. -

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pearson - Foxes are improving

Pearson hails his work in progress following derby win

Nigel Pearson insists the 1-0 win over rivals Derby shows just how far his under-achieving Leicester side have come in recent weeks.

The big-spending side were tipped to take the Championship by storm during the summer under former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson. But inconsistent results have left them in danger of not even making the play-off places and cost the Swede his job.

Neil Danns was the difference with a first-half strike in the East Midlands derby but Pearson's side had to hold off a spirited second-half fightback to bag all three points. "In the first half we were very good," Pearson told Sky Sports. "But in the second half we made it difficult for ourselves. "You have to give some credit to them because they made things difficult for us. This is the sort of game that we could have lost only a few weeks ago. "The positive spin on things is that we showed a desire and a spirit that we can be very proud of." -

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Basel Vs Bayern Munchen 2/23 3:45AM GMT+8

Basel is ranked in second place in Group C with a total of eleven points, with three wins, two draws and one defeat, they have scored eleven goals and conceded 10 goals. The set of Heiko Vogel managed a draw and an important victory against the Manchester United in the group stage.

Bayern is ranked in first place in Group A with thirteen points, four wins, one loss, one draw, scored eleven goals and conceded six goals. Further, Bayern come into this game with six wins in their last nine matches.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Napoli Vs Chelsea 2/22 3:45AM GMT+8

The Partenopei side have been extremely impressive in their debut Champions League campaign, and finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in the Group A. They have not lost a home game in their last 11 matches, but they have not been in the best of forms since the turn of year. The primary reason behind Napoli’s success in Europe has been their defending in the group stages of the competition. Walter Mazzarri’s men conceded only six goals in as many matches during the group stages.

The Blues have a horrendous record while playing in Italy, having won only one of their last seven matches on their travels to the peninsula. Chelsea have won only two of the ten Premier League games since last December. The London side is misfiring in all departments of their game, as they have been vulnerable in defence, slow in the midfield, and Fernando Torres is not providing Daniel Sturridge with the support in attack.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mazzarri - We're not favourites

Napoli boss expecting tough test against Chelsea

Walter Mazzarri feels Napoli may be in better shape than Chelsea but is wary of the threat posed by Andre Villas-Boas' men ahead of their UEFA Champions League showdown.

The Blues travel to Italy on Tuesday for the first leg of a last-16 tie between two sides that have fallen off the title pace in their respective domestic competitions.

But while Napoli have started to regain form in recent weeks, Chelsea have continued to struggle for consistency and the future of manager Villas-Boas has become an increasingly hot topic. Mazzarri, who will be banned from both matches against Chelsea, is happy with how his team have prepared for the clash. However, he expects a tough encounter and has rejected suggestions that Napoli will be facing a side in the middle of a crisis. "We went through a negative period, but that is something that every team has at times," Mazzarri told Rai Sport. -

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Terry '50-50' for Napoli trip

Blues boss waiting on fitness of skipper

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has revealed captain John Terry only has a 50-50 chance of being available for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Napoli.

The Blues skipper was not included in the manager's line-up for Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Birmingham, despite seeing some improvement in the knee injury which has sidelined him for three weeks. The defender only returned to full training on Thursday and Villas-Boas admits he is unsure whether he will feature in Italy. Live on Sky Sports vs Napoli v Chelsea February 21, 2012 7:00pm Remote Record Asked if he expected Terry to be fit for Tuesday, the Portuguese told ESPN: "We will have to wait and see. At moment there is a 50-50 chance of him making it. "He's going to train on Monday and travel with the team. After that we'll make a decision." -

Friday, February 17, 2012

FA confirms 'important' funding from Umbro is behind regular England strip changes

The country's football governing body has backed the decision to change the national team's kit after only eight matches as the funding received from Umbro is crucial

The Football Association have confirmed the decision to change the England's national team strip every 18 months is due to the crucial funding from sponsor Umbro.In a contract negotiated with the sports brand giant following the 2010 World Cup, it was agreed that new models of the kit would be released every 18 months, rather than the former two year cycle.

The latest kit will be revealed when England take on Holland in a friendly on February 29.It means England's kit would have changed a mere eight matches after the last remodel and, remarkably, another change will take place during the middle of the next set of World Cup qualifiers.The FA however, have made it clear that they are fully behind Umbro's agreement, stating that the resulting funding is "extremely important"."As a sportswear company with great history and expertise they are best placed to take decisions on kit cycle, and we support them in their long term strategy," Chairman of the Football Supporters Federation Malcolm Clarke told the Daily Mail."The FA is a not-for-profit organisation that reinvests more than £100million every year, including more than £50million into grassroots football," said an FA spokesman."The FA and Umbro have a long-standing partnership including investment at all levels of England teams and in St George's Park which opens this year." -

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

AC Milan Vs Arsenal 2/16 3:45AM GMT+8

Arsenal qualified for the last-16 top of their group but with just two points between them (on 11) and Olympiakos in third (on nine). The Greek side beat the north London club 3-1 in the last set of matches for the group, but Marseille’s extraordinary comeback away to Borussia Dortmund from 2-0 down to 3-2 up sent the French side through instead.

AC Milan are currently perched at the top of Serie A, having overhauled Juventus. However, they have played two more matches than the Turin giants whom they hold a two-point lead over.Antonio Nocerino has been fouled 19 times in European competition this season, the third most of all players.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rubin Kazan VS Olympiakos 2/154 7PM GMT+8

Europa League knock-out stage starts today with a very tough match between Rubin Kazan and Olympiakos Piraeus. Rubin Kazan played many friendly matches during this time so the team would be able to keep the form before playing in Europa League.Rubin Kazan was able to win four from five friendly matches that they had played during this new year. In the other side Olympiakos Piraeus is trying really hard to mantain a good form in Greece Super League and at the moment had done very well to take many positive results there by being just two points behind from Panathinaikos that is leading the Greece Super League.

Bayer Leverkusen Vs FC Barcelona 2/15 3:45AM GMT+8

Bayer qualified for the European spring finishing second in Group E, a very balanced group in which they have faced Valencia, Chelsea and Genk. Matches played at home were "key" for Leverkusen, they earned them all, collecting just one point away at Genk, 1-1. Barcelona had no trouble getting out of Group H, Milan only managed to elicit a point Catalans in the six matches played.

Home team Beyer 04 Leverkusen with odds 8.78 which is weak comparing to away team Barcelona with odds 1.36 that has higher possibility to won this match. I wouls bet for away team on this game. Get the great ODDs for online sports betting at 12BET. Good Luck!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rooney backs Gerrard for captaincy

United ace also keen on skipper role

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has backed Liverpool star Steven Gerrard as the ideal choice to be the new England captain.

England are looking for a new captain after John Terry was stripped of the role earlier this month. A number of names, including Rio Ferdinand, Scott Parker and Joe Hart have been mentioned as possible candidates to fill the role, but Rooney believes Gerrard would be perfect for the job. Rooney has also declared his own interest in the taking the captain's armband, but feels Liverpool rival Gerrard is the favourite. Rooney wrote on Twitter: "For everyone asking, I would love to be England captain. But that's up to new manager to decide. Gerrard is perfect choice for me." -

Sunday, February 12, 2012

‘I would be very surprised if I didn’t finish the season with Tottenham’ – Harry Redknapp

The 64-year-old has reiterated his commitment to Spurs until the end of the current campaign, but has not ruled out taking on the England job on a part time basis

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed his intention to remain at White Hart Lane until the end of the current season. The 64-year-old has been heavily linked with the vacant England manager’s job following Fabio Capello’s resignation on Wednesday, with the former West Ham boss clear favourite to succeed the Italian. However, following the announcement that Stuart Pearce will take over the Three Lions hotseat on an interim basis for the friendly clash with the Netherlands in February, it has been suggested that Redknapp could take on the role in a part time capacity. Whilst not ruling out a potential club and country balancing act, Redknapp has reiterated his commitment to Spurs, and stated his belief he will still be in charge in north London come May.With England’s next two games following the Holland clash coming after the Premier League season, it is feasible that Redknapp would be able to take on the international role alongside his position with Spurs. However, the ex-Portsmouth boss is refusing to get carried away with the hysteria surrounding his potential appointment.Redknapp was also keen to touch upon the issue of confidence within the England camp, a problem recently noted by FA chairman David Bernstein, with the Spurs boss suggesting that Premier League player’s often struggle to replicate their performances on the international stage. -

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Aston Villa's Shay Given backs Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart for England captaincy

The Irishman uses Dino Zoff and Iker Casillas as examples to show that goalkeeping captains can be successful and sees no reason why his former team-mate cannot take the role on

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has backed Manchester City's Joe Hart to take over as England captain after John Terry was stripped of the role.Hart has now established himself as first-choice No.1 for club and country and has been touted amongst the favourites to take over the armband. And Given, a former team-mate of Hart, sees no reason as to why he should not be a contender as goalkeepers for other countries have been successful as captains in the past. He told Sky Sports: "It depends on what manager comes in I suppose because a lot of managers, for some reason, don't want to give the goalkeeper the captain's armband which I think is a bit strange. "Joe could be a captain no problem. Dino Zoff won the World Cup with Italy and in more recent times Iker Casillas won the World Cup and European Championship with Spain so I definitely think a goalkeeper can wear the armband. "Joe is very established in the England team as well as Man City and he's the first name on the teamsheet and that will be for the foreseeable future. "There's different players putting themselves forward, but it depends how long they are going to be around the England squad and long-term Joe is going to be a big part of that. "But it will all depend on who they bring in as new manager." -

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