Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Norshahrul salvages point for Malaysia

Norshahrul salvages point for Malaysia
SUPER STRIIKE: Norshahrul Idlan Talaha scores for Malaysia against Bahrain in an AFC Asian Cup qualifying match. Picture by KAMARUL AKHIR (KA)/Sports247.my
MALAYSIA kept their 2015 Asian Cup hopes alive as they held fancied Bahrain 1-1 in the Group D qualifier at Shah Alam Stadium.
Datuk K. Rajagobal’s side still sit third in the standings, but the point could be crucial as Malaysia’s realistic shot of gaining entry to the continental tournament is via the best third-placed team in qualification. Malaysia hold advantage over Iraq by a point. The Iraqis play Saudi Arabia later today.
Malaysia could walk with their heads high as they held their own against the physically bigger Arabs. Had there had been more options up front, a Malaysia win wouldn’t have been far-fetched.
The absence of Wan Zack Haikal and Mahalli Jasuli on the right flank was telling as the team lacked creativity moving forward and had to rely on S. Kunanlan’s penetrating runs on the left.
Credit is due as the Tigers came into the second half with high spirits, despite Abdulla Ahmed Saleh Abdulla Aman’s first half stoppage time goal.
Malaysia appeared more positive as they sought to salvage the match and it paid off in the 70th minute after Norshahrul Idlan Talaha put the ball past Sayed Mohamed Jaafar.
The teams will play the return fixture on Nov 15

I'm already settled at Everton - Barry

I'm already settled at Everton - Barry
Gareth Barry admits he has settled into life with Everton quicker than he did at parent club Manchester City.

Barry has joined the Toffees on a season-long loan following the summer arrival of Fernandinho at the Etihad Stadium in a bid to get more playing time.

And he has revealed the adjustment from Manchester to Merseyside has been quicker than he expected, and much quicker than he experienced when he signed for City.
13/2 Everton are 13/2 with Paddy Power to finish in the top four
When asked if the move had been more comfortable than first imagined, Barry told the club’s official website: “I think it probably has.

“It’s only the second transfer in my career. Certainly at City it took me a lot longer to feel part of the team and part of the club but here it has felt that bit different.

“Everybody has welcomed me in and the manager has suited my style, so I think that played a big part in me fitting straight in. Obviously positive results help as well.

“It’s been a mixture of things but I’ve felt part of the Everton straight away.”

Despite the departure of long-serving manager David Moyes, Everton have started the Premier League season impressively, losing just one match to City in the absence of the ineligible Barry.

The Toffees will look to continue their good run when they face Hull this weekend at Goodison Park and the 32-year-old expects a tough game against the in-form Tigers.

He added: “Of the teams that have come up, Hull have surprised most people.

“I’ve seen a couple of their performances and they have been really solid at the back. At the same time they have caused problems for teams when going forward.

“We’ve got to be really wary and not get too confident because people can get carried away and think this is a more-than-winnable game.

“We have got to stay really focused and produce a performance like Newcastle to get three points.”
Radamel Falcao Garcia of Colombia celebrates a goal against Chile during their 2014 World Cup qualifying match in Barranquilla, October 11, 2013. REUTERS/John Vizcaino Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has hinted the world's richest club by income could buy Monaco's Colombia striker Radamel Falcao next year.
Speaking on Spanish football chat show Punto Pelota on Monday night, Perez ruled out a bid for Falcao in the next transfer window in January but suggested Real could table one in the close season.
Falcao, 27, left Real's city rivals Atletico to join Monaco at the end of last season for a fee media reported was around 60 million euros ($81.5 million).
"He (Falcao) won't come in January but in June, who knows?" Perez said.
"Nothing is impossible and there is a lot of time between now and then," the construction magnate added.
"Falcao is a great player and I am aware that he wants to play for (Real) Madrid. I am aware of that, but it's normal. They told me."
One reason Real may be in the market for another striker is the patchy form of their French international Karim Benzema.
A favourite of Perez, Benzema has failed to win over Real's demanding fans since his arrival in 2009 and is regularly whistled by some sections of the Bernabeu crowd.
Perez sought to defend the 25-year-old, who has been criticised by Real coach Carlo Ancelotti for not working hard enough on the pitch.
"I have faith in all the players in our squad," Perez said.
"Karim is a great player and we get offers for him all the time, every summer.
"All I can say is that the coach is the one who has the authority to do what he believes is right."
Perez urged Real fans to get behind the players and suggested the whistling could destabilise the team.
"I know how demanding the fans are. The players at this club have come to run, make sacrifices and fight, that's what our fathers taught us and that is what we teach our children but we have to moderate these demands.
"I am greatly disturbed by this whistling of our own players in our own stadium.
"I ask that our members moderate the whistles and the criticism of our players because, if not, it could weaken us."
Perez also discussed the planned refurbishment of the Bernabeu stadium and raised the prospect of a sponsor's name being added to the giant arena.
"We want to start the works at the Bernabeu in the summer," he said.
"It will be emblematic, to create a Bernabeu for the 21st century. We are looking for a sponsor and although the stadium will definitely still be called Bernabeu it could also have the name of a sponsor."
Spanish media have reported that the remodelling of the stadium will cost 400 million euros and the venue may take the name "Santiago Bernabeu Fly Emirates" after the club's Dubai-based partner.

Vermaelen admits may consider leaving Arsenal

Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen celebrates scoring against Stoke City during their English Premier League match in Stoke, northern England February 27, 2010. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis Central defender Thomas Vermaelen is mulling the prospect of leaving Arsenal in January to boost his chances of playing for Belgium in the World Cup finals.
Vermaelen has struggled to regain his place in the Arsenal side after returning from a back problem and appears to have slipped down the pecking order for his country, who have qualified for their first World Cup since 2002.
He was an unused substitute in Arsenal's last three matches and also failed to start in Belgium's decisive win over Croatia on Friday even with Vincent Kompany out injured.
"Yes, I have to think about that when it's necessary," Vermaelen was quoted in British newspapers about his future at the north London club.
"Of course, never playing will not be the ideal situation for me to go to the World Cup, that's for sure."
Vermaelen, who joined Arsenal from Ajax Amsterdam in 2009, was club captain last year and has made nearly 100 appearances for the club but manager Arsene Wenger has stuck with the combination of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny since Vermaelen returned to fitness.
"People ask me if I am concerned, but I don't panic," Vermaelen, who has spoken to Wenger about his situation, said.
"It's just a matter of injuries or suspensions to play again. Those things can happen in a split second and change my situation. That can happen tomorrow or next weekend.
"In that case, we will speak differently in January. I have to be ready for that. This situation is brand new for me."

England Under-21 boss Southgate excited by Morrison potential

England Under-21 boss Southgate excited by Morrison potentialEngland Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate has hailed the "exciting" talent of midfielder Ravel Morrison.

The West Ham man made his first appearance for the Under-21 side in the 4-0 victory over San Marino last Thursday, after being rewarded for a series of fine displays in the Premier League this season.

Morrison is expected to be named in Southgate's starting line-up for the showdown with Lithuania on Tuesday, and the boss has urged caution on placing the onus on just player in his squad.

"[Morrison is] a different type of player to the others that we've got here," Southgate told reporters.

"He's capable of things that are very, very different, there's no question about that, and it's exciting to watch.

"We're a squad with lots of exciting players and I don't want to heap all of that focus on to one. I want him to be able to go on the field and express himself."

Southgate also revealed is Wilfried Zaha earmarked to feature against Lithuania and understands the youngster's frustration at his lack of playing time with Manchester United this season.

"It was never my intention to play him in both games this week," Southgate said. "I spoke to him in the early part of last week about that and he understands.

"He just wants to play football, but he’s at a fantastic football club and he realises that to get in the team there is going to be a lot of work and patience.

"We’ve had some good discussions about that and every day in training for him is another opportunity to get into that side."

Brazil 2-0 Zambia: Oscar inspires Selecao to fourth successive win

Brazil 2-0 Zambia: Oscar inspires Selecao to fourth successive winBrazil racked up their fourth successive victory by beating Zambia 2-0 in a friendly fixture in Beijing on Tuesday.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's men were far from their fluent best but, after a goalless first half, Chelsea midfielder Oscar came off the bench to open the scoring with a deflected effort.

Shortly after, the game was put beyond all doubt when Dede notched his first international goal with a close-range header.

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva was handed his first start in nearly two years, while Alexandre Pato and Lucas Moura were also given opportunities.

Patrice Beaumelle was in the dugout for Zambia, after taking control on an interim basis following the departure of Herve Renard to Sochaux.

Brazil almost made an electric start in the third minute when Neymar's sublime free kick rebounded off the crossbar. Shortly after, his Barcelona team-mate Daniel Alves hit a half-volley that narrowly drifted over the bar.

On the 15-minute mark a clever one-two between Ramires and Neymar led to the Chelsea midfielder going one-on-one with Kennedy Mweene only to ultimately put his effort just wide of the post.

Emmanuel Mayuka was lively up front for Zambia without causing any real issues for the Brazilian defence and only had a tame effort which was held by Diego Cavalieri.

Neymar should have put Brazil ahead in the 37th minute when he looped a header wide from Maxwell's delivery when unmarked in the box. And he was again thwarted on the stroke of half-time with Mweene parrying his left-footed effort for a corner as the sides went in level at the break.

Brazil started the second half in lacklustre fashion with Scolari visibly frustrated on the sidelines. David Luiz did go close with a 25-yard free kick but his effort was smartly parried away by Mweene.

However, the deadlock was finally broken in the 59th minute, courtesy of substitute Oscar. The Chelsea midfielder cut inside Mayuka on the left before hitting a 20-yard effort that took a huge deflection off Chisambu Lungu and looped over Mweene into the far corner.

As Zambia tired, the game was put beyond doubt in the 66th minute when Dede pulled away from his marker to head home Neymar's free kick from six yards.

Buoyed by their quick-fire double, Brazil continued to push for a third and Oscar should have done so in the dying stages when after a flowing move he curled an effort straight at Mweene.

But the miss made no difference to the final outcome as Brazil extended their winning run to four matches. Scolari will now look ahead to Brazil's friendly clash with Honduras in Miami in November.

Tajikistani striker has water and power shut off after scoring against his hometown team

Tajikistan might be up there with Syria and Detroit on your vacation wishlist, but the Central Asian Republic takes its football very seriously.
Earlier this month, Regar-TadAZ defeated top flight rivals FC Vaksh in a Tajikistan Cup semi-final thanks to two goals from Ahtam Hamroqulov. The young striker is a native of the city of Qurgonteppa (where Vaksh is based) and he played for his hometown side up until two years ago.
Clearly, Hamroqulov had no qualms about knocking his old side out of the cup competition with his brace, but representatives of his local utility suppliers felt otherwise. In revenge for his treacherous goals, Hamroqulov's hot water and electricity were cut off for five days. Talk about getting the cold shoulder! Well, the cold shower. Ahem. The Guardian reports:
The striker still lives in Qurgonteppa – which is located in south-western Tajikistan and is the capital of the Khatlon region – and returned to his house there after the match with two Regar-TadAZ team-mates only to be greeted by some unexpected guests. According to Hamroqulov, they introduced themselves as representatives of the city mayor's office and claimed he had failed to pay his utility bills for a couple of months, owing more than $600 to the local authority.
"I always pay my utility bills, 100%, and I keep the receipts," Hamroqulov told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an international broadcaster serving central and eastern Europe. "So, I told them to take their bills and leave." They did, but only after cutting off the electricity and water supply to the property Hamroqulov shares with his parents. They also reportedly stole the meters.
The head of Qurgonteppa's city water and sewage department insisted that there was no personal agenda in the utility shut-off, but the fact that his services returned shortly after Regard-TadAZ lost the Tajikistan Cup final to Istiqlol seems a little too coincidental.

Malaysia to fight for three points against Bahrain

Hamidin urges Malaysia to fight for three points against Bahrain
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) general-secretary, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, has insisted that only a win can give the Malayan Tigers a chance to qualify for the next round.
Hamidin stated that the national team must use the home advantage to collect at least a point despite a tough task against Bahrain on Tuesday night.
According to Utusan, Hamidin said: "I hope the game against Bahrain will be our kick-start in the campaign by collecting maximum points as well as improving ourselves in order to have a chance to qualify for the Asian Cup in 2015.
"All other teams in ASEAN have yet to collect any points so we must use this opportunity to collect three points."
Hamidin also voiced out his faith in national coach Datuk K. Rajagopal to come up with the right strategy despite missing a few key players in the team.
He also said that there are more than enough players to replace the injured ones, and he is ; hoping that playing on Aidiladha would not be an excuse for the players to underperfom.
Malaysia will face Bahrain on Tuesday night at the Shah Alam Stadium where a loss could end the nations' hope of qualifying for the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

Germans hunt revenge in Sweden World Cup qualifier

Germany players take part in a training session on October 14, 2013, the eve of their World Cup qualifier against Sweden in SolnaSweden's Per Nilsson pictured during their World Cup qualifier against Austria on October 11, 2013 in Solna
With only pride at stake for Sweden and Germany in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier, the Germans come to Stockholm to settle a score following last year's dramatic draw in Berlin.
The final qualifier is meaningless for both sides with Germany already confirmed as Group C winners while second-placed Sweden face a two-legged play-off in November in order to claim their Brazil berth.
Erik Hamren's Sweden are chasing a confidence-boosting win while the Germans have a score to settle, after throwing away a four-goal lead as last October's World Cup qualifier in Berlin ended 4-4.
Swedish superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is suspended this time, sparked a stunning second-half fight-back from 4-0 down in the German capital before the Swedes' scored a 93rd-minute equaliser.
The draw proved to be the only points dropped so far in Germany's qualifying games for Brazil and Joachim Loew's team are chasing their ninth win from 10 matches on Tuesday.
Their 3-0 win over Republic of Ireland in Cologne last Friday secured Germany's World Cup place, while Sweden beat Austria 2-1 to confirm second place.
"We're happy to qualify but we definitely have a score to settle against Sweden," said Loew, whose side lead the series with 14 wins from 35 games compared to the Swedes' 12 victories, with nine draws.
"I might switch things up but we want to win in Sweden."
Chelsea winger Andre Schuerrle, who scored Germany's second goal against Ireland, said the visitors are highly motivated.
"There is still a score to settle, we want to win the game, even if the ticket for Brazil has already been decided," said the 22-year-old.
Having last lost either a World Cup or a European Championships qualifier in October 2007, Germany are looking to extend their unbeaten run to 32 qualification matches.
If Sweden are to end that run, they will have to do so without Ibrahimovic after the 32-year-old picked up a yellow card in Friday's win over Austria in Solna.
The Paris St Germain star produced the crucial winner with the match edging towards a 1-1 draw when he brilliantly brought down a long ball and slotted home a left-footed shot in 86th minute.
Germany will be without Sami Khedira after the Real Madrid defensive midfielder also picked up one yellow card too many against the Irish.
Loew will again be without first-choice strikers Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez having used Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil as a lone forward in Friday's win.
Untested striker Max Kruse is likely to start up front, while Toni Kroos is expected to drop into the holding midfield role alongside Bayern Munich team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger, who wins his 100th cap.
Dortmund's Mats Hummels is set for a recall at centre-back having sat out the last three internationals after losing his place due to poor form.
Teenager Julian Draxler could also come in on the left wing for Schuerrle after a series of eye-catching displays for Schalke while Hamburg's Rene Adler is set to take over in goal from Manuel Neuer.

England seek to polish off World Cup bid

England's Andros Townsend (L) celebrates with Danny Welbeck (2nd L) during their World Cup qualifying match against Montenegro in north London on October 11, 2013
England conclude their World Cup qualification campaign against Poland on Tuesday, needing a victory to reserve a berth in Brazil and avoid another night of Wembley Stadium infamy.
Wembley was the setting when the Poles denied England a place at the World Cup in 1973 and it was also the backdrop for a 3-2 loss to Croatia on a rain-sodden night in 2007 that prevented England reaching Euro 2008.
Alf Ramsey, architect of England's 1966 World Cup triumph, and Steve McClaren paid for those failures with their jobs, but current manager Roy Hodgson approaches the game buoyed by a 4-1 success against Montenegro.
A point clear at the top of European qualifying Group H, England need only match second-place Ukraine's result away to San Marino, but with the Ukrainians almost certain to win in Serravalle, Hodgson's side will not be making calculations.
Poland's 1-0 loss in Ukraine on Friday means that Waldemar Fornalik's side can no longer qualify, but with 18,000 Polish supporters expected at Wembley, Hodgson does not anticipate a straightforward evening.
"I can't imagine they will take their foot off the pedal," he said.
"They will want to come here and get another good result just like Poland did in 1973. We are going to be preparing for the very best Poland can be.
"If we are lucky and they decide not to turn up and allow us to stroll through them, so be it. But I am not expecting it."
It may be Fornalik's last game in charge of Poland but visiting captain Jakub Blaszczykowski says that he and his team-mates are determined to end the campaign on a positive note.
"There are sure to be many Polish fans there. We want to thank them with a good game and the right result," said the Borussia Dortmund winger.
"It doesn't matter that we only have honour to play for. Matches at Wembley are always very important to us."
Both teams will be without important players in the full-back positions.
Poland right-back Lukasz Piszczek is out and England have left-back Ashley Cole injured and right-back Kyle Walker suspended.
Leighton Baines, who impressed against Montenegro, will once again deputise for Cole, while Hodgson must choose between Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as Walker's replacement.
Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend, star of the victory over Montenegro on his international debut, is expected to hold onto his place on the right-hand side of the England attack.
Speaking about his performance on Friday to his club's website, Townsend said: "It hasn't sunk in at the moment and I haven't allowed it to because we've got another big game on Tuesday.
"That's the best thing, to keep my feet on the ground and try not to get carried away."
Should England slip up, they have the safety net of a place in the European qualifying play-offs, but a second-place finish in the group would represent a huge disappointment when Brazil is within sight.
It would also oblige the Football Association to scrap plans for a couple of friendly matches in November, with games against Uruguay and old rivals Germany reportedly pencilled in for the dates of the play-off games -- although the Uruguay match is almost certainly going to need to be re-scheduled as they look set to face a play-off.
Hodgson will want to see his side preserve their unbeaten record in the group as well, with fellow pool leaders Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain the only other European teams still to taste defeat.
Fornalik has sounded a warning by saying that "nothing else will do" but victory for his side, but Baines says that England's players will not want for motivation.
"Qualifying for a World Cup is as big a carrot as you could probably dangle in front of any player," said the Everton left-back.
"The magnitude of the game is something we are all aware of. On Friday (against Montenegro) we had to make sure it was in our own hands and we have to go and finish the job now."

France out to win hearts and minds in final World Cup qualifier

French forward Karim Benzema (C) during the friendly football match between France and Australia on October 11, 2013 in ParisFrance's forward Mathieu Valbuena (L) vies with Australia's midfielder Mile Jedinak during on October 11, 2013, in Paris
With results elsewhere Friday guaranteeing France a World Cup qualifying play-off spot, Les Bleus tackle Finland in their final Group I match at the Stade de France on Tuesday with another challenge altogether.
A poll published on Sunday in Le Parisien newspaper found that 82 percent of French people have a "bad opinion" of the national football team while 54 percent expect them to fail in their bid to reach Brazil next year.
While France's bid to reach the global footballing showpiece is likely to rest on a two-legged play-off clash in November, barring an unlikely Spanish defeat to Georgia on Tuesday, it seems Didier Deschamps's players face an infinitely tougher task in winning over the hearts and minds of their countrymen.
It is the personalities of the players who infamously refused to get off the team bus and train one day during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that still irks the French public.
It seems they have not been forgiven.
Judged unpleasant (85 percent), overpaid (86), individualist (84), talentless (76) and vulgar (73), it seems almost as if the French public would rather see their national team fail.
And yet it can't all be doom and gloom as six million people tuned their televisions into a festival of attacking and creative football as France dismantled Australia 6-0 at the Parc des Princes on Friday.
Yet even then, on what was supposed to be a celebratory evening, there was more than a hint of the antagonistic relationship between players and fans.
Star forward Karim Benzema was jeered more than cheered when he entered the fray as a second-half substitute for Olivier Giroud, paying for a run of 1,222 minutes without scoring in the blue shirt of the national team.
When he did find the net, six minutes after his introduction, he did seem to be forgiven his previous profligacy.
Marseille playmaker Mathieu Valbuena was roundly booed every time he touched the ball, paying for his association with the fierce and bitter rivals of the host club at the Parc des Princes, Paris Saint-Germain.
Valbuena, though, failed to let the moment pass and his reaction could only serve to further tarnish an already strained relationship.
"Not much affects me. You have to forgive them, maybe they thought Paris were playing," said the diminutive midfielder after the game.
"You can't turn idiots into intelligent people. It's a shame because when you're wearing the France shirt they should get behind us, but it doesn't bother me."
Perhaps it wasn't just a case of Valbuena being a Marseille player in PSG's stadium, though, as the Le Parisien poll suggested.
When asked which of six star players was their favourite, the respondees shunned the likes of Valbuena, Benzema, Franck Ribery, Samir Nasri and even Blaise Matuidi, plumping instead by a wide margin for Tottenham's low-profile goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
A sign perhaps that it was more of a vote against the limelight-seeking superstars rather than for the humble and understated goalkeeper.
With six goals in their last match, and four in the second half of their 4-2 win in Belarus in their most recent World Cup outing, France will hope to continue their recent effectiveness in front of goal against the limited Finns and pray that that can help turn the tide of public opinion in their favour.
It would be too much to hope for Georgia to win in Spain, but another handsome victory and an impressive display in the northern suburbs of Paris will at least provide Les Bleus with a confidence boost ahead of the play-offs, in which they could potentially face Portugal or England, just as easily as Hungary or Iceland.

Messi resumes Barcelona training

Messi resumes Barcelona training

Lionel Messi handed Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino a boost on Monday when he returned to training after overcoming a thigh injury.
The 26-year-old has missed his side's last two games – a 1-0 win over Celtic in the Champions League and a 4-1 success over Valladolid – as a result of the muscle strain he sustained against Almeria last month.
The 26-year-old, who has eight league goals to his name this season from six appearances, has made a swift recovery and trained for the first time on Monday, although it remains to be seen whether he will feature in Saturday's trip to Osasuna.
That game at Estadio El Sadar is followed by fixtures against AC Milan in Europe and the first Clasico of 2013-14. ;
Barca captain Carles Puyol also trained alongside Messi as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury that has sidelined him since March.
Like Messi, Puyol is waiting to discover what part – if any – he will play at the weekend.

Australia captain Neill hits back at retirement calls

Australia's national soccer team captain Lucas Neill answers a question during a news conference in central Sydney June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz Australia captain Lucas Neill hit back at critics calling for him to retire in the wake of the Socceroos' 6-0 drubbing by France, saying he felt "responsible" to help the team restore confidence ahead of the World Cup.
Australia scraped through Asia's final round of qualifying to book their ticket to next year's finals in Brazil, but have come crashing back to earth with Friday's massacre at Parc de Princes, which followed a 6-0 spanking away to Brazil.
Football Federation Australia wasted little time in sacking coach Holger Osieck after the France defeat, and pundits have called on the German's eventual replacement to clean out the team's ageing ranks, which include 35-year-old defender Neill.
Former Australia and Premier League goalkeeper Mark Bosnich called on Japan-based Neill to fall on his sword for the better of the team, but the former Blackburn stalwart was having none of it.
"I'm not going to get drawn into tit for tat. Like I said, football is a game of opinions," Neill told reporters in London ahead of a friendly against Canada on Tuesday.
"(Bosnich) is entitled to his. I expect better from people who have played the game and certainly from people who call themselves my friend.
"I'm happy to stand out there and shoulder criticism on behalf of the team. But people who have played the game, and especially those who have voiced their opinion they know that football is won and lost by a team, not by one person.
"And I am a captain of a team that at the moment has had two very difficult results, very poor performances by our standards, and I will collectively shoulder some of that responsibility.
"I have responsibility as captain to get the wheels back on the track. We have nine months before a major tournament and I feel partly responsible for making sure that this team goes into that tournament in the best possible shape they can ... and hopefully with a lot of confidence."
Despite guiding Australia into a third consecutive World Cup, Osieck endured a strained relationship with Australian media, who also struggled to warm to his Dutch predecessor Pim Verbeek, who put the Socceroos into the 2010 finals in South Africa.
The FFA have put out feelers to Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who took Australia to the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but local media have called for a local coach to take the reins, pushing the claims of Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou and Graham Arnold, who managed the Socceroos from 2006-07.
Neill said he simply wanted "the best" for the job, but said he hoped Australian coaches would emulate local players by seeking to improve their careers in Europe.
"I'd love to see more Australian managers have ambition to go and be the best coaches in the world," Neill said.
"Footballers from Australia in the last 20 years have gone over and challenged themselves to be the best players they can be on behalf of their country.
"We need coaches now to have that ambition to yes, coach in Australia, but then go and see if they can go and crack the big-time in Europe, just like the players did."

Liverpool defender Agger wants European football back at Anfield

Liverpool ;defender Daniel Agger is eager to ensure the Anfield outfit qualify for European football again, and is targeting a return to the Champions League.

The Reds have not participated in the tournament since the 2009-10 season, though Agger believes Liverpool's lack of European involvement this year could help them to a top-four finish in the Premier League.

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ENGLAD Football : Leighton Baines urges caution ahead of Poland World Cup qualifier

England football squad member Leighton Baines speak to journalists near Watford, England, on October 13, 2013
Leighton Baines has urged caution ahead of England's final World Cup qualifier against Poland -- despite Tuesday's opponents at Wembley being unable to qualify for Brazil 2014.
The Everton left-back is set to win his 21st cap against Poland, with Chelsea's Ashley Cole again ruled out with a rib injury.
Baines played in England's thumping 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley on Friday, a result that left them needing to defeat Poland to be certain of a place at next year's finals.
But although that victory was a huge confidence booster for Roy Hodgson's side, Baines insisted England would take nothing for granted against the Poles.
"We're not sure how Poland will approach the game now they are out of the equation," Baines told reporters at England's hotel in Watford, north of London, on Sunday.
"They have some big players, but we're just thinking about ourselves and know if we are at our best we can get the result we need.
"We're looking forward to the game. We have to just concentrate on what we have to do. Poland are a good side and we are aware of the rewards at the end and it is a massive incentive for us," he added.
If Hodgson's side were to slip up, then they would most likely enter the play-offs given Ukraine, currently second in European qualifying zone Group H, are widely expected to defeat minnows San Marino on Tuesday.
With just one point separating England and Ukraine, a draw against Poland is unlikely to see the group leaders qualify automatically.
"It's always nice to know that is there (the play-offs)," the 28-year-old Baines said. "It's not lose and bust, but it is not something we are thinking about. We are at home and we know we are capable of going out there and beating top sides.
"The magnitude of the game is something we are all aware of. On Friday we had to make sure it was in our own hands and we have to go and finish the job now."
Hodgson was boosted by the performance of Tottenham's Andros Townsend as they breezed past Montenegro.
The winger capped an impressive England debut with a well-taken goal and Baines said: "It was a great performance from Andros and a massive lift for us.
"It was great for him to score that goal and he is now an important part of the squad who can produce match-winning performances.
"When he is in that kind of form he is very difficult to stop in his tracks. It was great to see him come in and do so well.
"You need someone who can produce a bit of brilliance and he can run with the ball, beat players and that's what he did all night and I am sure if we didn't have him on the pitch it would have been a tougher task.
"With the emergence of some of the younger players we have that fresh blood and excitement -- combined with the experience of other players -- that mix and blend puts us in a great position to go there and try and do something.
"For me there is a significance with every cap you get and you grow into it more and more. It has been good to be involved in more qualifiers in this campaign.
"I'm pleased with how things are going at the moment and it was great to play on Friday and get the win."


Seorang wanita berusia 22 tahun nyaris
maut terkena tembakan di persimpangan lampu isyarat Simpang Empat Binjai, Kubang
Kerian di sini, semalam.
Timbalan Ketua Polis Kelantan Datuk Mazlan Lazim berkata kejadian pukul 6.40
petang itu menyebabkan Nurul Atikah Sidek mengalami luka di bahagian hidung,
muka serta tangan kanan dipercayai kesan terkena serpihan cermin kereta yang
pecah akibat tembakan.
"Terdapat lima kesan tembakan ditemui pada kereta mangsa iaitu dua di cermin
sebelah kanan pemandu, satu pada pintu dan dua di cermin hadapan sebelah
"Tembakan itu bagaimanapun tidak tepat mengenai mangsa dan penembak kemudian
melarikan diri ke arah Bachok dengan motosikal," katanya dalam kenyataan di
sini, hari ini.
Mazlan berkata ketika kejadian, wanita yang berasal dari Kampung Karang
Banggu, Kota Baharu itu sedang memandu kereta seorang diri dari arah Bachok
menghala ke Kubang Kerian sebelum berhenti di lampu isyarat itu.
Beliau berkata kereta jenis Proton Persona itu dihampiri empat individu yang
menaiki dua motosikal sebelum seorang daripada pembonceng motosikal itu
melepaskan lima das tembakan.
"Mangsa yang dalam keadaan berlumuran darah dihantar ke Hospital Universiti
Sains Malaysia (HUSM), Kubang Kerian dan keadaannya stabil.
"Mangsa memberitahu tidak pernah mempunyai masalah dengan sesiapa dan
kemungkinan dalam kes ini suspek tersalah sasaran," katanya.

NBA star Jeremy Lin hailed as 'true milestone'

Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets listens to during a news conference in Taipei on October 11, 2013
Asian-American NBA star Jeremy Lin's success was hailed as a "true milestone" by the league's boss on Saturday, as the player visited Taiwan with the Houston Rockets amid much fanfare for a pre-season game.
"Jeremy Lin is a true milestone for us," NBA commissioner David Stern told a press conference in Taipei.
"I think he alone is going to have enormous impact on more and more Asian youngsters playing basketball with the view that if they sacrifice, work hard and become teammates, they can move to a higher level," Stern said.
As the first American-born player of Asian descent in the NBA, he added, Lin "has been adopted by all countries in Asia as their very own".
"Eventually there will be more Asian players playing professional basketball in the NBA and that's the legacy that's going to come from Jeremy Lin's success."
Lin, whose parents are Taiwanese, has become a sporting hero on the island since he shot to stardom in the NBA with the New York Knicks early last year, sparking a global following known as "Linsanity". He was later traded to Houston.
"Taiwan has always been a very special place for me, you know for me to be here, to play a game here, it's unbelievable," Lin said on Saturday. "It never ceases to amaze me every time I come back how much support I get."
"I am just trying to focus one day at a time. I am thankful that I have the support that I have," he said in response to Stern's remarks.
The 25-year-old was mobbed by reporters before a practice in the Taipei Arena ahead of Sunday's game against the Indiana Pacers, the second pre-season NBA game staged on the island since 2009.
Earlier this week he soaked up similar adulation on his first visit to the basketball-obssessed Philippines, saying Tuesday he was "definitely feeling the love".
Among those watching Sunday's game in Taipei will be Chinese basketball icon Yao Ming, a former Rockets centre.
Besides point guard Lin, the Rockets squad includes All-Star players Dwight Howard and James Harden, while the Indiana Pacers roster features Danny Granger and All-Stars Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and David West.

Bradley edges Marquez to retain WBO belt

WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (R) taunts Juan Manuel Marquez during their bout at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 12, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Timothy Bradley battled to a split-decision triumph over Juan Manuel Marquez to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
Bradley remained unbeaten, and denied 40-year-old Marquez a world title in a fifth weight class.
The bout featured the last two fighters to beat Filipino ring hero Manny Pacquiao going head-to-head in a close, tactical contest.
To the jeers of a pro-Marquez crowd at the Thomas and Mack Center, two judges awarded the bout to Bradley, 116-112 and 115-113, while the third judge saw it 115-113 for Marquez.
Bradley almost sent Marquez down with a left hook in the closing seconds of the 12th.
The 30-year-old US champion -- 10 years younger than Marquez -- was the aggressor through much of the fight, but he avoided the kind of brutal slugfest he endured in a unanimous decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in March that left him nursing a concussion.
Even so, Bradley said this decision offered no room for the kind of argument that greeted his controversial victory over Pacquiao in June of last year.
"He couldn't touch me," Bradley said. "I gave him a boxing lesson."
Marquez kept it close, and rocked the champion in the ninth, insisting he thought he'd done enough to earn the victory.
"I know I did my job and I'm happy with what I've done," said Marquez, who fell to 55-7 with one drawn and 40 knockouts. "I landed the best shots . . . to win a fight it's not always necessary to win by KO."
Marquez is no stranger to disappointing decisions. He endured two narrow defeats and a draw against Pacquiao before stunning "Pac-Man" with a sixth-round knockout in their fourth fight in December.
"I've been robbed six times in my career," Marquez said. "I clearly won the fight."
On the undercard, former champion Orlando Salido knocked out Orlando Cruz in the seventh round to regain the vacant WBO featherweight title.
Salido improved to 40-12-2 with 28 knockouts while Cruz, who made headlines as the first openly gay pro fighter, fell to 20-3-1 with 10 wins inside the distance.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine made an impressive professional debut with a fourth-round knock-out of jose Ramirez in a scheduled 10-round bout.
Lomachenko, who was born in the Odessa region, won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He also won world boxing titles in 2009 and 2011, along with a European championship gold medal in 2008.

Real Madrid clash could be the turning point for Juve, says Vialli

Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli says the matches against Real Madrid could be the turning point for Juventus in the Champions League.

The Bianconeri have drawn both of their matches against Copenhagen and Galatasaray in the group stages of the competition so far.

But Vialli feels Antonio Conte's men can be successful in the upcoming fixtures with los Blancos, and turn the momentum in their favour.
5/1 Arsenal are 5/1 with BetVictor to win the Premier League
"I don't know if the pressure was too much for him [as Florentino Perez claimed] but Ozil had great moments defending Real Madrid."

Arsenal have soared to the top of the Premier League after notching five wins and a draw since the opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa and Cazorla feels that a growing belief within the squad is behind their revival.

"We feel confident as we began with two Champions League wins and we're on the top of the Premier League," he enthused.

"We will fight for titles. I'm pretty sure of that."

The 28-year-old's season was temporarily curtailed by an ankle injury picked up in September while on international duty with Spain but he is expected to return when Arsenal host Norwich City on Saturday and says that it has been a frustrating experience having to watch from the sidelines.

"It was hard when I knew I had to stop for more than a month but it's almost over," Cazorla remarked. "You must be careful and take on board what the doctors tell you and what your body tells you."

Houllier helps FFA track down new coach

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou (L) presents Liverpool football legend Craig Johnston a Victory playing shirt after a team training session in Melbourne on July 23, 2013
Former France and Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is helping Football Federation Australia track down a new coach with local Ange Postecoglou emerging as favourite to replace Holger Osieck, reports said Monday.
Osieck was sacked on Saturday just eight months out from the World Cup after the Socceroos were thrashed 6-0 by France in an international friendly in Paris.
Guus Hiddink was immediately linked to a return after guiding the Socceroos to the second round of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but Melbourne Victory coach and two-time A-League championship winner Postecoglou is gaining support.
Houllier, who was pursued by FFA boss Frank Lowy to succeed Hiddink in 2006, has reportedly provided the organisation with a list of names which is understood to include Frenchman Alain Perrin, the Daily Telegraph said Monday.
Having succeeded Houllier at French club Lyon, Perrin was in contention to coach France in 2008 but has since been working in the Middle East.
While a host of international coaches have been touted, FFA chief executive David Gallop is believed to strongly favour a local candidate with Postecoglou seen as favourite ahead of former national interim coach Graham Arnold, the newspaper said.
"I guess all the commentary will run with my name," Postecoglou told reporters. "The only thing I would recommend strongly is to appoint the best person for the job.
"I don't like this whole 'Let's go local as opposed to overseas'. It is our national team and whoever the best person for the job is, that's who should get it. I've never been into tokenism or just doing things because it seems right."
The Australian broadsheet, meanwhile, said FFA was unlikely to replace its Dutch technical director Han Berger when his contract ends next year amid budgetary measures.
Newspapers said the key issue for FFA was whether to opt for a short-term fix in the form of a high-profile international like Hiddink for the World Cup then make a full-time appointment, most likely a local.
Alternatively, they appoint a full-time coach now to take Australia to Brazil, the Asian Cup in 2015 and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Sir Alex Ferguson honoured with street naming

Sir Alex Ferguson honoured with street namingFormer Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been awarded the Honourary Freedom of the Borough of Trafford, and has had a street renamed in his honour.

It was announced in September that Ferguson would be awarded with the accolade following his retirement in the summer after 26 years as manager of United, and a formal ceremony took place on Monday.
The 71-year-old has also had Waters Reach, a street adjacent to Old Trafford and overlooking a new statue of Scottish manager, renamed Sir Alex Ferguson Way.

Legendary predecessor Sir Matt Busby has a street named in his honour on the opposite side of the stadium.

"It's a great honour," Sir Alex said of the award.

"I would like to thank the Borough of Trafford for this wonderful gesture. It is greatly appreciated by me and my family."

The Honourary Freedom is awared to ‘persons of distinction and persons who have, in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent services to the Borough’.

Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles and triumphed twice in the Champions League during an extraordinary spell at United that saw him lead the club to 28 trophies over two decades.

Arsenal will fight for titles with genius Ozil

Cazorla: Arsenal will fight for titles with genius Ozil
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla believes that the arrival of the "genius" Mesut Ozil will inspire the Gunners to fight for titles and end their trophy drought.

Arsene Wenger broke the north London club's transfer record to land Ozil from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day, ending a three-year spell in the Spanish capital.

And Cazorla, impressed by the Germany international's swift impact, admits that he is still mystified by Madrid's allowed him to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

"I freaked when I knew Real Madrid let him leave and he was joining us," he tolAS. "He's a huge player for us. He arrived humble and ready to achieve things. It's obvious you can learn from him. He's a different player, with genius details.
5/1 Arsenal are 5/1 with BetVictor to win the Premier League
"I don't know if pressure was too much for him [as Florentino Perez claimed] but Ozil had great moments defending Real Madrid."

Arsenal have soared to the top of the Premier League after notching five wins and a draw since the opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa and Cazorla feels that a growing belief within the squad is behind their revival.

"We feel confident as we began with two Champions League wins and we're on the top at the Premier League," he enthused.

The 28-year-old's season was temporarily curtailed by an ankle injury picked up in September while on international duty with Spain but he is expected to return when Arsenal host Norwich City on Saturday and says that it has been a frustrating experience having to watch from the sidelines.

"It was hard when I knew I had to stop for more than a month but it's almost over," Cazorla remarked. "You must be careful and take what doctors tell you and what your body express itself."
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