Friday, June 29, 2012

It's-a-me, Mario

Mario Balotelli put in a dazzling match-winning performance for Italy in the second Euro 2012 semi-final, scoring twice to seal a 2-1 win over Germany.
The Manchester City striker, who has so often hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, produced two wonderful finishes to ensure his side's smooth passage into the final, where they will meet Spain on Sunday.

In fact, if he can repeat the form he showed against Joachim Low's side then the world champions will have plenty to fear from Italy's newest hero.

 

Ronaldo STILL waiting to hit fifth penalty

Cesc Fabregas narrowly put away the decisive penalty on Wednesday night to squeeze Spain into the Euro 2012 final at Portugal's expense - which left Cristiano Ronaldo unable to take what he had hoped would be a crucial fifth for his side.
After both Joao Moutinho and Bruno Alves failed to register, the Seleccao surrendered their place at the tournament despite matching the world and European champions for much of the game.

With some wondering if the three-goal star had been too selfish in hanging back to take the fifth spot-kick, Ronaldo was unable to claim his moment of heroism, and is still waiting for international glory as his side fly home...
 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

عايز اكون ريس

Spain take measures to stop Ronaldo

The first of the Euro 2012 semi-finals is upon us with Spain taking on Portugal, and one man the reigning European champions will know all about is Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese superstar won the Spanish title last season with Jose Mourinho's men and is hitting top form in Poland and Ukraine with three goals to his name already.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has said his side must "deactivate" the Real Madrid man to progress to the final, but just how will his team go about doing it?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Ashley Cole's extra shooting practice didn't pay off

England practised penalties every day this summer, but it did not help Ashley Cole, who saw his limp effort saved by Gianluigi Buffon as Italy recorded a shoot-out victory to dump England out of Euro 2012.
The left-back is no stranger to firing his way into controversy after police investigated an air rifle incident at Chelsea's training ground in 2011, but this time it was his failure to find the back of the net that had his manager tearing his hair out...
 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mursi and Mubarak

Foul-mouthed Nasri disciplined by Blanc

Following France's 2-0 defeat to Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, Samir Nasri launched a foul-mouthed tirade against some of the journalists covering the game.
The Manchester City star certainly wasn't holding back, but could he be in trouble with manager Laurent Blanc?

England next on Low's hitlist

After a comfortable 4-2 win over Greece in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals on Friday night, Germany are on course to make the final of the tournament and have now won a record-setting 15 consecutive competitive games.
Joachim Low's men will face either England or Italy in the last four, and the Mannschaft coach is ready to add another major European nation to his list of defeated opponents ahead of the tournament decider in Kiev....
 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ronaldo winds down with team-mates after Portugal winner

After last night's stellar performance against Czech Republic in the first quarter final, there's no denying that Cristiano Ronaldo is beginning to take Euro 2012 by storm.
Having shaken off the shackles he seemed encumbered with in the opening two group games, the Portuguese maestro has been in fantastic form, bagging a pair in the Group B decider against Netherlands before netting the winner for the Seleccao in Warsaw last night.

On the back of two scintillating displays, the Real Madrid star would be forgiven for wanting to put his feet up before his side's semi-final next week - and his teammates are certainly indebted to him after his moment in the sun ...
 

The Old Lady fails to woo Van Persie

The Netherlands international, who unfortunately had an eye-catching Euro 2012 campaign for the wrong reasons despite scoring against Germany, has just one year left on his current contract with the Gunners and finds himself in a similar situation to Samir Nasri last summer.
Manchester City have also been linked with the 28-year-old, but it appears a move to the Serie A champions is not on the card after The Old Lady failed to lure the hitman to Turin...
 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hapless fifth official gives England a slice of luck

England progressed to the last eight of Euro 2012 as winners of Group D on Tuesday night, but the 1-0 victory over Ukraine did not come without controversy.
Leading through Wayne Rooney's header early in the second half, John Terry looked to have saved the day with a fantastic goal-line clearance for the Three Lions, only for replays to show Marko Devic's effort should have counted.

The incident not only sparked memories of a similar decision that went against England in the World Cup two years, but it is also set to strengthen calls for the introduction of technology within the game ...
 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spain & Italy scramble into the Euro 2012 quarter-finals

Spain and Italy both secured their place in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals on Monday night, but neither side qualified from Group C with the ease that had been expected.
After draws in their opening two games, the Azzurri secured a 2-0 victory over the already eliminated Republic of Ireland, while Vicente del Bosque's men left it late to see off Croatia and in turn knock Slaven Bilic's side out of the tournament.

With Spain and Italy having reached the quarter-final base point, both sides will now be focused on reaching the peak of the Euro 2012 mountain...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ronaldo passes Euro 2012 exam with flying colours to send Dutch & Danes packing

Cristiano Ronaldo answered his critics in stunning style on Sunday night with his virtuoso performance in Portugal's 2-1 victory over Netherlands at Euro 2012.

After enduring a difficult start to the competition, the Real Madrid star scored both goals to book his side's place in the quarter-finals against Czech Republic - sending the Dutch and Denmark home.
That took Ronaldo's tally for the season to an astonishing 65 for club and country, although the 27-year-old will know that his work has only just begun if he is to deny arch-rival Lionel Messi yet another Ballon D'Or.
 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Euro Hero! Karagounis keeps Greece currency high as Germans await

Greece booked their quarter-final place at Euro 2012 courtesy of Giorgos Karagounis' strike which dumped Russia out of the competition.

Germany are likely to be Greece's opponents in the next round, while the nation who were triumphant at Euro 2004 are today voting whether to stay in the eurozone.

Angela Merkel has warned that Greece's bailout is not negotiable and the German chancellor is lying in wait - along with Joachim Low...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

the Arab Spring

Zlat's amazing Carroll (are you Ibrahimovic in disguise?)

Much has been made of England's tactical approach to Euro 2012, but their conservative approach went out of the window against Sweden as the Three Lions roared to a 3-2 victory.

Striker Andy Carroll came into the team and made an instant impact, heading home the opener with a towering header from a Steven Gerrard cross.
However, the Swedes took the lead, thanks to a double from Olof Mellberg before goals from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck sealed victory for England and a good night for Hodgson and his men.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fans fly the Irish flag while players wave white ones

After a 3-1 defeat to Croatia in their opening game of Euro 2012, Republic of Ireland took on reigning world and European champions Spain, hoping to pull of a shock and keep their Euros dreams alive.
Unfortunately for the Irish, those dreams quickly turned into a nightmare as an early goal from Fernando Torres set the tone for a difficult evening for the Boys in Green.

Goals by David Silva, Cesc Fabregas and a second for Torres followed as Spain ran out 4-0 winners to put an end to Giovanni Trapattoni's hopes of a quarter-final berth, despite the magnificent backing from the Irish fans.
 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bendtner takes Ronaldo back to school

Portugal may have left it late, but they still did just enough to beat Denmark 3-2 in their Group C clash on Wednesday night.
Both Pepe and Helder Postiga combined to give the Seleccao a commanding two-goal lead, but Nicklas Bendtner gave the Danes a lifeline by maintaining his 100 per cent record against their opponents.

However, talisman Cristiano Ronaldo did not help his country's cause by fluffing a pair of gilt-edged chances to extend his side's lead in the second half, inevitably allowing Bendtner to equalise with a clinical finish.

Nonetheless, Silvestre Varela's dramatic winner secured a vital win, but were it not for the Porto super-sub, the Arsenal striker could have made Ronaldo pay for his inexplicable profligacy in front of goal.
 

Poland and Russia help football triumph over hooligans

Hours after some of their supporters clashed on the streets of Warsaw, Poland and Russia went to battle on the pitch on Monday night and produced a thrilling exhibition of free-flowing football.
More than 120 fans were arrested as riot police fired rubber bullets to disperse supporters following violent scenes in the Polish capital in the build up to kick-off.

But with Euro 2012 quarter-final spots up for grabs in Group A, the co-hosts and their neighbours ensured that the beautiful game was the real winner as goals from Alan Dzagoyev and Jakub Blaszczykowski saw the game end in a 1-1 draw.
 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shevchenko's Ukrainian dream comes true

Andriy Shevchenko is undoubtedly one of the finest finishers of all time. However, during his goal-shy time with Chelsea, the Ukraine forward could only imagine moments like the two he experienced last night.
The national icon received a huge cheer when named among Oleg Blokhin's starting lineup, with the striker facing a fight against time and fitness throughout the entire 2011-12 campaign in order to be ready for the tournament.

But after falling behind, thanks to Sweden's own hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the 35-year-old sent the crowd into raptures when he found the net with two superb headers in quick succession, securing an emotional victory in the co-hosts' European Championship debut.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Buffon blocks goal-shy Torres' scoring thoughts

He had the chances to break down Italy's resolute defence and hand Spain a victory in their opening Group C clash but Fernando Torres' poor club form appears to have followed him into Euro 2012.

After Cesc Fabregas, the player who was selected to lead the Spanish attack in favour of Torres, cancelled out Antonio Di Natale's opening goal for Italy, the Chelsea man was brought on to grab the winner for the reigning European champions.
But after Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a superbly timed last-ditch tackle to stop Torres from scoring, the Chelsea man followed with a wayward lob over an open goal after being put clean through.
 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Messi steals the limelight from Euro 2012

All the attention may be on events at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine but Lionel Messi still managed to hog the limelight after his hat-trick in Argentina's 4-3 friendly win over Brazil on Saturday.
The Barcelona star's superb treble in front of 82,000 fans at the Meadowlands Stadium in New York - home of American football teams the Giants and the Jets - took his season's tally to a remarkable 82 goals for club and country to single-handedly beat the combined number of times the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Portugal found the net on the same day.

And with his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo firing blanks, Messi proved once again why he is rated as the world's best player.
 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Czech mate! Dzagoev topples Cech in Group A clash

Euro 2012 got underway yesterday and a thrilling 1-1 draw between co-hosts Poland and Greece was followed with barnstorming Russia display against the Czech Republic.
Alan Dzagoev got Russia on their way in the 15th minute before Roman Shirokov added a second for Dick Advocaat's side. The Czechs threatened a revival after Vaclav Pilar pulled a goal back in the second half but Dzagoev struck again while a fine effort from Roman Pavlyuchenko late on put the tie beyond doubt.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Euro 2012 race set to start

The day has finally arrived. Euro 2012 will kick off this evening as tournament co-hosts Poland take on Greece in Group A's opening fixture.

With all 16 nations having made all of their final preparations ahead of the tournament, it's now left to us to sit back and enjoy day after day of world-class football.

Platini turns from Euro '84 hero to Euro 2012 fat cat

Michel Platini, once a magician on the pitch, fired France to victory in the 1984 European Championship having displayed some of the finest football the world had ever seen.

Cut to a scene 28 years later, however, and the same man was sat in a press room packed with journalists, being told that players at Euro 2012 will face a booking if they walked off the pitch in protest of racist abuse.
Platini's demeanour on Wednesday cut a stark contrast to the one during his playing days, as the Uefa president offered a prickly response to questions regarding racism during the tournament...
 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

me Omar Momani picture

I guess many are wondering how I look like, here I am, I took this shot while I was working, I usually put headsets while working, as I consider myself a music addict.

Blanc puts his Euro 2012 cards on the table...

France capped their Euro 2012 preparations with an impressive 4-0 victory over Estonia on Tuesday as Laurent Blanc's side look in good shape for their Group D opener against England next Monday.

Blanc's charges started their European Championship warm-up in unconvincing style as they found themselves two goals behind in their first friendly against Iceland, but second-half strikes from Mathieu Debuchy, Franck Ribery and Adil Rami secured victory and boosted confidence within the French camp.
A tricky tie against Serbia was next up for France, but Les Bleus grabbed a 2-0 victory courtesy of early goals from Ribery and Florent Malouda.

Ribery was on target once more as he got his French side on their way against Estonia before Karim Benzema's double and a late strike from Jeremy Menez sealed Tuesday's convincing win.

With France looking so strong, can they brush aside England, Sweden and Ukraine to top Group D and make a challenge on Spain's Euro 2012 crown?

Euro 2012 squads arrive in need of an immediate health check

Euro 2012 has yet to get underway but various nations are already smarting from injuries and withdrawals.

England are first in the casualty queue as Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard and, most recently, Gary Cahill have all been ruled out of the tournament, leaving Roy Hodgson reaching for cover.

Yann M'Vila is a doubt for France's opener against England after suffering from an ankle sprain, while Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has only recently returned to training following a thigh problem.
Elsewhere, Italy defender Andrea Barzagli is a doubt for the tournament due to a calf problem, while Nani is Portugal's biggest injury concern with a knock to his right foot.

The Reds bid a fond farewell as Kuyt departs for a snip

The Brendan Rodgers revolution has begun at Anfield, with Dutchman Dirk Kuyt the first casualty as the new Liverpool boss starts the rebuilding process on Merseyside.
The 31-year-old's move to Turkish giants Fenerbahce was confirmed on Sunday, with the hardworking forward leaving for the cut price of £800,000, owing to a clause in his contract concerning European clubs.

Although the figure is a notably low one, the move does not exactly come as a surprise, with the former Feyenoord man becoming an increasingly peripheral figure during the last campaign as he slipped behind Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy in the pecking order.

However, there is little doubt that Kuyt will be sorely missed at Anfield, as he leaves behind a six-year legacy in which he made 285 appearances, netted 71 goals, and lifted the League Cup in February this year. Time will tell if Rodgers is right to cut him loose.

Rio has last laugh as England's injury woes mount

Roy Hodgson may have secured a second successive 1-0 victory as England boss after Saturday's friendly against Belgium, but the win was not without sacrifice as his squad was hit with further injury concerns ahead of Euro 2012.
Having already seen Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard forced to withdraw from th tournament, Hodgson has now been left to sweat over the fitness of centre-back duo Gary Cahill and John Terry.

With the Three Lions squad thinning in both numbers and experience, Hodgson may rue his decision to leave Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand behind this summer...

Hodgson takes cautious approach after England's injury pile up

Following the withdrawals of Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard from the England squad through injury, it appears manager Roy Hodgson may take a cautious approach when Belgium come to entertain on Saturday.
The midfielders were ruled out of the trip to Euro 2012 with a groin and thigh injury respectively, with Phil Jagielka and Jordan Henderson called up as replacements.

With doubts also remaining over the fitness of Scott Parker, rumours that a large order of bubble wrap is heading into Wembley Stadium are currently unfounded.

Friday, June 1, 2012

What next for Ronaldinho?

Former Barcelona star Ronaldinho has quit Brazilian club Flamengo because of a dispute over unpaid wages and image rights.
The Brazil international had long been involved in a tug of war with Fla, with reports suggesting that the 32-year-old has become disillusioned with life at the club after being insulted by Rubro-Negro fans during a match against Internacional.

Ronaldinho claims he is owed millions in salaries, bonuses and image rights, and the Labour Court in Rio de Janeiro has ruled in favour of the player, though the club will undoubtedly appeal against the decision.

After such an illustrious career, where does Ronaldinho's future lie? Will he seek to prolong his playing days or hang up his boots?
 

Will Liverpool bronco buck Rodgers?

The search appears to be over: Liverpool look set to name Brendan Rodgers as their new manager on Thursday after the Swansea boss was granted permission to speak to the Anfield side.
The former Reading and Watford man will be charged with the task of making the Merseyside club a Champions League force again - something both the legendary Kenny Dalglish and current England boss Roy Hodgson failed to do.

Can Rodgers stay in his seat long enough to return Liverpool to their former glory? Or will the Anfield horse bolt once again?
 

659 million can't be wrong

They were pipped to the Premier League title on the final day in dramatic circumstances, and dumped out of the Champions League at the group stages, but Manchester United are moving on from their trophyless season.
A market research survey yesterday claimed the Old Trafford club has a staggering 659 million fans globally - doubling their numbers from a similar study conducted in 2007.

It is a lofty claim, but if it is to be believed, Sir Alex Ferguson's side will surely be back among the silverware soon enough.
 

A case of the Blues as Hazard plumps for Chelsea

After months of speculation, rumours and toying with Europe's top clubs, Eden Hazard finally put an end to one of the longest running transfer sagas in recent times by announcing he will join Chelsea.
Just a month ago the Belgian wizard had looked certain to move to Manchester from Lille, with both City and United battling it out to secure the 21-year-old's signature.

However, the Blues' dramatic victory in the Champions League final changed Hazard's mind one last time, with the continent's hottest property opting for a move to west London, leaving Roberto Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson in a spin...