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The Official 2010 Pre- World Cup Thread


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De Jong is a tool. I haven't watched the game yet though but from everything I've read it was a late challenge.

[size="5"][b]Holden gets good news and bad

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 5th, 2010 4:36AM[/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] There was good news and bad news for Stuart Holden. The bad news: The injury he suffered when he was taken out on a tackle by Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong during the USA's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands Wednesday in Amsterdam was a fractured fibula in his right leg that will sideline him six weeks. The good news: Bolton Wanderers, the English club at which he had just made his debut a week earlier, thinks so much of him that it will extend his contract beyond the initial short term ending on June 30. Meanwhile, de Jong showed little remorse for the foul and yellow card, which he said "are part of soccer" ...

"It's disappointing for Stuart because he has come into the team and done ever so well," [url="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gf83OvMku0E5-5dEKbGwB_Rpv8Rw"]said[/url] Bolton manager Owen Coyle. "What we do know is he will come back bigger and stronger, but it is sad for him to miss out at this moment in time. He's come in with a real hunger and desire to do well for our club, and in the two games he's played, we've seen his quality."

Holden's injury, which follows a thigh injury he suffered in mid-January and delayed his debut with Bolton, means he'll miss all but the final month of the EPL season. But Coyle said he's seen enough from Holden to want to keep him.

"We've already spoken with him and his representative to assure him he will be here for longer because of the belief I have in him, and the quality he has shown since he came to the club," Coyle added. "When we signed him, within the contract there was the option there to extend it further, which we will do. It augurs well for his future and that of the football club."

De Jong, meanwhile, showed little remorse for the foul, which resulted in a yellow card.

"Such offenses are part of soccer," he [url="http://www.onsoranje.nl/news/content/news/oranje/ned-xi/De-Jong-gaat-altijd-voor-de-bal.html"]said[/url] on the Dutch federation web site. "I went for the ball and got the opponent at the end. I had no evil intent. If the ball is between me and the opponent, you have to go in full. If you do not, then the opponent takes you. And if you're scared in a game, you get injured yourself."[/quote]


Here's the comments on the story so far:

[quote]5 comments [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37091/holden-gets-good-news-and-bad.html#c1330"] [/url] [url=""][/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] Stephen Jones [/b]
commented on: March 5, 2010 at 8:52 a.m. International football is a physical game and not for the faint-hearted. Having said that, De Jong's challenge was two feet, studs up, and very, very late. It was an extremely reckless challenge for which he should have been straight red-carded. Given all of the ticky-tack, touch fouls that were called against the U.S. in that game, this very late and hard tackle was all the more egregious. I feel badly for Holden and for the U.S. side. This injury was the result of a reckless foul and should not be considered "part of soccer."[/list] [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37091/holden-gets-good-news-and-bad.html#c1331"] [/url] [url=""][/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] Steve Rafferty [/b]
commented on: March 5, 2010 at 9:25 a.m. Ditto here. De Jong showed no class and in my opinion is a "hack"... what goes around will come around.[/list] [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37091/holden-gets-good-news-and-bad.html#c1333"] [/url] [url=""][/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] T michael Flinn [/b]
commented on: March 5, 2010 at 9:46 a.m. DeJong should receive additional dscipline fro FiFa.[/list] [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37091/holden-gets-good-news-and-bad.html#c1336"] [/url] [url=""][/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] Bruce Mazurkewicz [/b]
commented on: March 5, 2010 at 11:06 a.m. Both Steve and Stephen are correct - don't know if you guys are referees, but FIFA has been supposedly cracking down on these dangerous tackles for the last two years - the referee in the game showed no gut - straight send off (red card) - no questions and no doubt about it.[/list] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37091/holden-gets-good-news-and-bad.html#c1337"] [/url] [url=""][/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] rob serrano [/b]
commented on: March 5, 2010 at 11:14 a.m. FIFA should really take action aginst De Jong. After a fracture, a player can not perform 100%, not even with the best rehab, because that fracture becomes one of the weakest spots in a player's body. It was a "friendly game" there was no need to tackle like that. De Jong hope you know what Karma is... FIFA where is your Fair Play?[/quote]
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[size="5"][b]Five games we'll be following ...

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 5th, 2010 4:35AM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] As the World Cup gets closer, games take on greater importance for players who are fighting for berths on the U.S. national team and are playing abroad. Here are five games we'll be following this weekend ...

Saturday, 9:30 am ET: Ein. Frankfurt vs. Schalke 04.
Ricardo Clark might see his first action since joining Eintracht Frankfurt on a tree transfer in January.

Saturday, 9:30 am ET: Freiburg vs. Hannover.
Steve Cherundolo could return to action for Hannover, which is in the midst of a horrible slump. It's lost all seven Bundesliga games since the winter break and hasn't won sin ce Halloween.

Saturday, 10 am ET: Rangers vs. St. Mirren.
Maurice Edu came off the bench to score the Old Firm winner for Rangers Sunday. DaMarcus Beasley was outstanding in the last quarter of an hour Wednesday in Amsterdam. Both need to be playing consistently for Rangers to boost their chances of playing at the World Cup.

Saturday, 1 pm ET: Rennes vs. Monaco.
Since beating leader Bordeaux, Rennes has lost three in a row and fallen into 10th place in France's Ligue 1. (Its goal was a top top five finish.) A lot of the blame for Rennes' inconsistent form has been directed at its defense. Carlos Bocanegra started at left back last week after being taken off at halftime a week before that. Given the U.S. problems at left back, that's where Bocanegra might wind up at the World Cup ...

Sunday, 11 am ET: Everton vs. Hull City (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, live).
Game of the week: Tim Howard and Landon Donovan welcome Jozy Altidore to Goodison Park.


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I want Tommy Smyth! He's Irish I believe and I think might be more unbiased in commentating during the USA-England match. Plus he says some golden nuggets almost every broadcast. "Sometimes ya chust gotta hoof the ball up the field!" said with your best Irish accent. That's the kind of stuff the WC needs. [i]Edit: Maybe I'm in the minority on this one as the next article addresses Smyth and a couple reader comments.[/i]

[size="5"][b]ESPN's World Cup coverage to have British accent

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 4th, 2010 11PM [/size]

[TELEVISION WATCH] Ian Darke, who works for London-based Sky Sports, and ESPN commentators Adrian Healey and Derek Rae, will join Martin Tyler as play-by-play match commentators for ESPN's English-language coverage of the 2010 World Cup in the United States. Darke, Healey a nd Tyler are all English, while Rae is a native of Scotland.

Tyler, who also works for Sky Sports, was previously announced as ESPN's lead play-by-play commentator on one of four teams to call the 64 tournament matches June 11-July 11.

Darke works for Sky Sports on its English Premier League coverage, while Healey handles ESPN International's English-language coverage of Spain's La Liga and hosts ESPN2 EPL telecasts. Rae, who joined ESPN after working for the 1994 World Cup organizing committee, worked on UEFA Champions League matches for many years.

"The group of commentators we have assembled represents some of the finest English-language voices for televised soccer anywhere in the world," said Jed Drake, ESPN's executive producer of its World Cup coverage. "They present the sport at its highest level and their first-hand knowledge of the players who will compete in the FIFA World Cup will greatly inform fans and enhance how we present this global event in the United States."

ESPN's analyst pairings will be announced later this spring.


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[size="5"][b]Dellacamera moves to ESPN Radio for World Cup

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 4th, 2010 11:02PM [/size]

[RADIO WATCH] JP Dellacamera, ESPN’s lead commentator for telecasts of the U.S. national teams and Major League Soccer matches, will head ESPN Radio’s lead broadcast team for the 2010 World Cup.

Dellacamera, who has called the last six World Cups for a variety of networks and was NBC Sports lead commentator at the past two summer Olympics, will be joined in the ESPN Radio booth by long-time ESPN analyst Tommy Smyth.

Dellacamera will also handle play-by-play on local Philadelphia Union broadcasts.

Other ESPN Radio teams will consist of Glenn Davis and Kyle Martino and Ross Dyer and Shep Messing.

All matches in the round-robin stage and the round of 16 will be called from ESPN Radio’s studios in Bristol, Conn. Dellacamera and Smyth will then travel to South Africa to call two of the four quarterfinal matches, the semifinals, the third-place and final matches.

ESPN Radio broadcasts of World Cup matches will feature prematch, halftime and postmatch studio segments.

ESPN Radio will launch weekly, one-hour World Cup studio specials on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET, beginning April 2 and running through May 28. The specials will air at 6 p.m. daily June 1-July 11.

ESPN Radio will broadcast 13 matches live on its main channel – the three U.S. Group B matches, two matches in the round of 16, four quarterfinals matches, the two semifinals, the third place and final matches.[/quote]


Guess these guys don't agree with me on Tommy Smyth LOL

[quote]2 comments [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37082/dellacamera-moves-to-espn-radio-for-world-cup.html#c1328"] [/url] [url=""][/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] Ian Plenderleith [/b]
commented on: March 5, 2010 at 7:57 a.m. Tommy Smyth relegated to radio - this is the best news for US soccer fans since Belo Horizonte. All of a sudden I'm really looking forward to watching the World Cup on ESPN.[/list] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37082/dellacamera-moves-to-espn-radio-for-world-cup.html#c1329"] [/url] [url=""][/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] Rudi Janos [/b]
commented on: March 5, 2010 at 8:28 a.m. They should not use Brits at all for U.S. broadcasts. Use Americans. tommy smyte is a goofball he gets every play wrong. He has to see the replay and then correct himself. Send him back to Britain where he can analyze the lower divisions kick and run game it is easier. [/quote]
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This would be a good thing. Hopefully the Galaxy will suck it up and let LD prepare for the WC. He can go back after that.


[b][size="5"][b]Everton wants to keep Donovan beyond his loan period[/b][/size][/b]

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) -- Everton wants to keep United States midfielder Landon Donovan beyond his 10-week loan period and says it has already had promising talks with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Donovan has made an impact in the English Premier League, winning praise from club manager David Moyes and the Goodison Park fans, who have started a Facebook campaign to keep him.

"I am keen to keep Landon and it sounds initially in America that they might say 'yes,"' Moyes told reporters on Friday. "I think Landon is keen to stay also so it looks as though all parties are keen.

"But I have not got that confirmed yet. I can't say exactly if that is going to happen. If we can make it happen we will."

Donovan, who was Everton's player of the month for January, is currently expected back for the Galaxy's opening Major League Soccer game on March 27.

Everton has moved into the top half of the standings since the 28-year-old American arrived.

"In the main he has done a really good job for us," Moyes said. "It is very rare you can bring in someone in January on loan who can make a real difference to you but Landon has.

"He came in when the team was on the up, so that has suited him, but we cannot deny he has done well. Landon had to be thrown straight in so we had to find out very quickly if he could do a job or not."

Though Moyes is hopeful of keeping a player who will have a key role for his country at the World Cup, the Scot also knows Donovan's value to the Galaxy.

"I think his manager at LA Galaxy would say the best World Cup preparation for him would be to start in their team," Moyes said. "They will be keen to get him back so we will have to be respectful of their wishes. If we can keep him it, would be nice. But if not, I totally understand it."


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[b][size="5"][b]US will net World Cup [/b][/size] [/b]

[list][*] [size="1"]Matthew Hall [/size][*] [size="1"]From: [url="http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/"]Herald Sun[/url] [/size][*] [size="1"]March 06, 2010 12:00AM[/size][/list] [b]

[size="3"][b]AUSTRALIA'S plan to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup has been cast into the shadows of a towering self-assessment of America's rival bid.

[/b][/size] [/b] US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati presented a long list of credentials he believed would see the US beat Australia to win the rights to host in 2022 - if Europe wins 2018 as widely expected.

While unable to directly criticise a rival bid under FIFA regulations, Gulati's roll call of US strengths exposed areas of concern for Australia's bid.

Gulati conceded a European nation is likely to win 2018, leaving the battle for 2022 between the US and five Asian bids: Australia, Japan, South Korea, Qatar and Indonesia.

"The United States has a $14 trillion ($A15.46 trillion) GDP with 18 stadiums that have a capacity of five million seats (over 64 games)," Gulati said.

"None of our rivals will have that. "We have lots of experience hosting events, a very large population, including a very large immigrant population, with virtually guaranteed sell-outs for all 64 games and the opportunity to leave a legacy that would truly make a very large country integral and central to the sport."

While Australia's bid juggles stadium commitments with other sports, state and federal governments clash over the cost of infrastructure upgrades and the taxpayer-funded $46 million bid budget includes significant outlay to foreign consultants, Gulati said the US bid required no public funding.

"We are not asking the US government or state authorities to spend billions of dollars to build facilities," Gulati said.

"Given the world economic climate, that is difficult to do.

"Our funding comes from the private sector or donations. Because of the NFL and a number of universities, we have world class facilities without the need to build new ones."

Gulati revealed the US bid could already claim three of the required 13 votes from FIFA's executive committee from its own regional representatives, including controversial FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who has been aggressively courted by Australia.

"Mr Warner, (and FIFA executive committee members) Mr Blazer and Mr Salguero have assured us they support our bid," he said.

Gulati claimed the influence of US President Barack Obama should not be ignored and highlighted the diverse credentials of the US bid board, which includes diplomat Dr Henry Kissinger, filmmaker Spike Lee, boxer Oscar De La Hoya, California Governor and former film star Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Iger, president of the Walt Disney Company.

FIFA's executive committee will vote on the 2018 and 2022 hosts in December.


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Bruce Arena...you suck. You know it's a WC year. You can have him around the all-star break.


[b][size="5"][b]LA uninterested in extending Donovan's loan[/b][/size][/b]

[b][size="3"][b]Arena says that Donovan will return to Galaxy on March 15[/b][/size][/b]

[size="1"]03/05/2010 4:42 PM[/size] [size="1"]By Larry Morgan / MLSnet.com Staff[/size]

CARSON, Calif. -- Los Angeles Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said the club is not interested in extending the loan of Landon Donovan to Everton of the English Premier League, despite reports that the Toffees will pursue such an arrangement. Everton manager David Moyes was quoted by the Press Association in the United Kingdom as saying he was hoping to extend the loan which began Jan. 6 and is scheduled to end March 15. Donovan has played in eight games with Everton and has one goal and two assists.

"I am keen to keep Landon," Moyes said. "In the main he has done a really good job for us. It is very rare you can bring in someone in January on loan who can make a real difference to you but Landon has.

"Landon has been thrown straight in so we had to find out very quickly if he could do a job or not. But I think his manager at LA Galaxy would say the best World Cup preparation for him would be to start in their team."

Arena confirmed such sentiments Friday.

"We're not interested," Arena said before his club scrimmaged San Diego State. "Landon will be back here March 15. We're being consistent with everything we've said all along."

Donovan signed a new four-year contract with Los Angeles in mid-December, but several clubs were interested in his services during the offseason. Aside from Everton, those reportedly included Serie A side Livorno, Paris Saint-Germain of France's Ligue 1, Mexico's Club America, Scotland's Glasgow Celtic and even Liverpool of the English Premier League.

Donovan is coming off arguably his finest season. The nine-year MLS standout was named the league's Most Valuable Player, he led the U.S. into the finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, he was named to his ninth MLS All-Star team and he became the league's leading scorer in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Arena did leave an opening, however. MLS currently is in talks with the players union about a new labor agreement, and the start of the regular season -- the Galaxy open against New England on March 27 -- could be jeopardy if no deal is reached.

If the league does not start on time, Donovan then might be able to stay with Everton.

"Obviously the collective bargaining could change that," Arena said. "If we didn't have a league going on we would certainly entertain the idea of allowing Landon to stay there.

"If we have a league, Landon's going to be playing for the Galaxy."


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Galaxy is garbage. Right up there with the Steelers right now. It would be in the best interest in the MLS to let LD stay in Europe to hone his skills for the WC and when the US makes a big run in the WC because Landon is so sharp from playing against good competition, the MLS becomes much more popular.

Anyways..this is kind of Landons fault for signing that contract. Big mistake..
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[quote name='JC' date='06 March 2010 - 11:34 PM' timestamp='1267940067' post='867909']
Anyways..this is kind of Landons fault for signing that contract. Big mistake..

Yeah. He shouldn't have signed for that many years. It's like either he thought he could find a way out of it if needed, or he didn't really think he would get another shot in Europe. You would think of any MLS coach that Arena would understand how important it it for LD to play in England to get ready for the WC. Perhaps he is bitter towards US Soccer and figures he can stick them by keeping LD in the MLS.
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Well, holy crap, Boca's doing more than our forwards.

[size="5"][b]Bocanegra's winner ends Rennes' losing streak[/b][/size]

[size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 7th, 2010 2:19AM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Defender Carlos Bocanegra followed up his goal for USA against the Netherlands with the winning goal for Rennes in its 1-0 victory over Monaco in France's Ligue 1.

Bocanegra, who scored when he pushed on a Sylvain Marveaux free kick in the 29th minute, almost added a second goal in the 86th minute. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Rennes, which is in ninth place.

Bocanegra has scored at least one goal in 10 off his 11 league seasons with the Chicago Fire, Fulham and Rennes.

Bocanegra’s goal against the Dutch in Amsterdam was the 12th of his international career.[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]U.S. national team weekend

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 6th, 2010 12:10PM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Three days after a solid performance for the USA off the bench against the Netherlands, DaMarcus Beasley was rewarded with a start for Rangers against St. Mirren. He played 64 minutes and hit the post in a 3-1 win that extended Rangers' lead over Celtic to 13 points. Beasley was one of seven players who played against the Dutch and were in action abroad on Saturday. Here's how they did ...

ENGLAND, Premier League
Marcus Hahnemann , 90 minutes (Wolves, 0-1, vs. Man. United)
Jonathan Spector, 90 minutes (West Ham, 1-2, vs. Bolton Wanderers)

ENGLAND, First Division
Jay DeMerit, 90 minutes (Derby County, 2-0, Watford)
Frank Simek, sub: 45 minutes (Sheffield Wed., 2-0, Leicester City)

Carlos Bocanegra, 90 minutes (1 goal) (West Ham, 1-0, vs. Monaco)

Michael Bradley, 64 minutes (Bor. M'Gladbach, 3-0, vs. Bor. Dortmund)
Steve Cherundolo, sub: 11 minutes (Hannover, 2-1, at Freiburg)

Eddie Johnson, sub: 10 minutes (Aris, 1-1, at Kavala)

Jose Francisco Torres, 90 minutes (Pachuca, 0-3, at Monterrey)

DaMarcus Beasley, 64 minutes (Rangers, 3-1, vs. St. Mirren)[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]Making last-minute World Cup plans?

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 5th, 2010 5:35AM [/size]

[TRAVEL WATCH] The countdown to the World Cup has begun in earnest. It's 96 days until the finals kick off. Many American fans have obtained tickets for the finals but are still trying to find affordable flights to South Africa. Others are weighing their options. Here's what's available ...

[url="http://www.emirates.com/english/"]Emirates[/url] has flights from New York, Houston and Los Angeles to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban connecting through Dubai.

It has flights from New York (JFK) to Johannesburg departing June 9 and returning June 24 -- right before and after the USA plays in the first round -- for $2,070.80.

Flights on [url="http://www.delta.com/"]Delta[/url] for similar dates are much higher: $4,196.20.

Flights through Europe or via other parts of the Middle East or Africa are available.

For fans making last-minute plans to attend the World Cup, tickets are available in the fourth phase of sales at [url="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/index.html"]fifa.com[/url].

Tour operators are offering packages.

Emirates has “Follow Your Team” packages starting at $4,749 that include flights to South Africa, five nights at a two-star hotel in your selected base camp, ground transportation logistics and a Category 1 match ticket for one.

For fans with tickets and flights but in need of accommodations, [url="http://www.greatatlantictravel.com/sports/soccer/hotel_packages_without_tickets.aspx"]Great Atlantic Travel[/url] offers various hotel packages in key cities.

si.com's Grant Wahl, on getting there and getting around:
[url="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/grant_wahl/10/13/wc.travel/index.html#ixzz0h0xoMRrt"] http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/grant_wahl/10/13/wc.travel/index.html#ixzz0h0xoMRrt[/url]

London Times' Mark Bridge, on what to look out for and what to avoid:
[url="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/grant_wahl/10/13/wc.travel/index.html#ixzz0h0xoMRrt"] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/article7042889.ece[/url]


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[size="5"][b]Donovan bids farewell to Everton fans (probably) in style

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 7th, 2010 1:12PM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] If Landon Donovan played his last game for Everton at Goodison Park, he sure went out in style. In 20 minutes off the bench, the U.S. star scored a goal and added an assist in the Toffees' 5-1 win over Hull City Sunday. Interviewed after the game, Donovan said he'd love to stay at Everton, but that it was out of his hands. With the Los Angeles Galaxy insistent that he return after Everton's next game Saturday at Birmingham City, even Everton manager David Moyes seemed resigned to losing Donovan.

"It is out of my hands," said Donovan. "It's up to the Galaxy and the people here. If it works out, I'd love to stay. If not, it's been a great ride, and I'll be happy to go back as well."

Donovan paid tribute to the support he received from Everton fans.

"That's as good as it gets," he said.

Moyes said he hoped it wasn't Donovan's last home game.

“He will certainly play next week and I’ll try to extend his loan as well,” he said afterward. “But from what I’ve heard from America, that doesn’t look likely at the moment.”

Donovan thanked Moyes for believing in him.

"I've really enjoyed it here," he said. "If there's a chance and they want me back here, I would jump at it. I couldn't have imagined it would go as well when I started, I give a lot of credit to the manager for believing in me and giving me chances and I hope that I've given a lot to the club as well."

Donovan didn't seem hopeful that he'd being staying. Looking ahead to the USA-England World Cup match, he said, "I think this will be the last time they'll be cheering for me."

Tim Howard started in goal for Everton, while Jozy Altidore came off the bench for Hull.[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]Yanks bag four goals in weekend play

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 7th, 2010 1:34PM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] The stats from a weekend of league and cup action abroad: 10 U.S. players who faced the Netherlands on Wednesday were in action over the weekend abroad, and four Americans scored. Among them was Ryan Guy, who scored for St. Patricks on the opening day of the 2010 Irish Premier Division season. Brad Friedel was in goal for Aston Villa, which rallied from two goals down and beat Reading, 4-2, to book a semifinal date at Wembley Stadium in the English FA Cup. Here's how U.S. players did this weekend abroad ...

[b]*Played against the Netherlands.[/b]

ENGLAND, Premier League
*Jozy Altidore, sub: 28 minutes (Hull City, 1-5, at Everton)
*Landon Donovan, sub: 20 minutes (1 goal) (Everton, 5-1, vs. Hull City)
Marcus Hahnemann, 90 minutes (Wolves, 0-1, vs. Man. United)
*Tim Howard, 90 minutes (Everton, 5-1, vs. Hull City)
*Jonathan Spector, 90 minutes (West Ham, 1-2, vs. Bolton Wanderers)

ENGLAND, First Division
*Jay DeMerit, 90 minutes (Derby County, 2-0, Watford)
Frank Simek, sub: 45 minutes (Sheffield Wed., 2-0, Leicester City)

Brad Friedel, 90 minutes (Aston Villa, 4-2, at Readling)

*Carlos Bocanegra, 90 minutes (1 goal) (West Ham, 1-0, vs. Monaco)

*Michael Bradley, 64 minutes (Bor. M'Gladbach, 3-0, vs. Bor. Dortmund)
Steve Cherundolo, sub: 11 minutes (Hannover, 2-1, at Freiburg)

*Eddie Johnson, sub: 10 minutes (Aris, 1-1, at Kavala)

Ryan Guy, 90 minutes (1 goal) (St. Patricks, 2-0, vs. Galway United)

Edgar Castillo, 90 minutes (Tigres, 1-0, at Indios)
Herculez Gomez, 90 minutes (1 goal) (Puebla, 1-4, at UNAM)
*Jose Francisco Torres, 90 minutes (Pachuca, 0-3, at Monterrey)
Marco Antonio Vidal, 90 minutes (Indios, 0-1, vs. Tigres)

*DaMarcus Beasley, 64 minutes (Rangers, 3-1, vs. St. Mirren)


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[size="5"][b]Donovan wants to extend stay at Everton

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 9th, 2010 1:28AM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Landon Donovan is expected to play his last game for Everton this season at Birmingham City on Saturday, but he says that -- if possible -- he'd like to stay in England until April 15. And why not? Everton has six wins, one tie and only two losses in the nine EPL games since Donovan arrived -- including games against the league's top six teams.

Most press reports out of England suggest that Everton is resigned to losing the 28-year-old Donovan after Saturday's game, but he admits he'd like to stay with the Toffees.

"I have told the Galaxy what I want, they know what's going on and I speak to my manager [Bruce Arena] there fairly often and at this point it is an Everton and L.A. Galaxy conversation," he [url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/mar/09/landon-donovan-everton-la-galaxy"]told[/url] the Guardian. "Both clubs know how I feel, which is that I would like to stay, though I can't end the season here, I'd have to go back April 15 at the latest. If that can be worked out, great. If not, then the Galaxy are my team and I'm very grateful for the chance I had here. It would be bittersweet either way."

Donovan has two goals and three assists for the Toffees.

Donovan's EPL Run:
1/9 at Arsenal 2-2 (1 assist)
1/16 Man. City 2-0
1/27 Sunderland 2-0 (1 goal)
1/30 at Wigan 1-0
2/6 at Liverpool 0-1
2/10 Chelsea 2-1 (1 assist)
2/20 Man. Utd. 3-1
2/28 at Tottenham 1-2
3/7 Hull City 5-1 (1 goal, 1 assist)[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]SA POLL: What should Donovan do?

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 9th, 2010 1:36AM [/size]

Landon Donovan is torn between staying at Everton, where his loan deal expires March 15, and returning to the Los Angeles, where he has signed a new four-year deal. What should be do?[/quote]


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Ha. You've been slammed by your own people De Jong. You are a punk.

[b][size="5"][b]English refs to blame for leg-breaking tackles, says Dutch boss[/b][/size][/b]

[size="1"]Published [url="http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/river_of_news/?date=2010-03-07"] 05:00 07/03/10 [/url][/size] [size="1"] By [url="http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/author/?aaid=346355"]MirrorFootball[/url][/size]

Holland boss Bert van Marwijk believes English referees are to blame for the scourge of broken legs affecting European football.

Van Marwijk has slammed Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong for the tackle that left Bolton's Stuart Holden with a broken leg last Wednesday. He's now out for the season.

Van Marwijk said: "Nigel plays in England and that is the league where referees allow players to do so much more.

"A foul like that the one Nigel committed on Holden can cost us the World Cup.

"As soon as the game was over, I got hold of him and I told him straight.

"Maybe he thought this foul was not even as bad as the ones in previous games, but he really must get this out of is system.''


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[b][size="5"][b]U.S. goalkeeper Howard opens up[/b][/size][/b]

MANCHESTER, England -- U.S. goalkeeper [b]Tim Howard[/b] may have joined Everton from Manchester United in 2006, but he still lives in the Manchester area, about 35 miles from Everton's Goodison Park in Liverpool. I took the train out to see Howard on Monday, the day after Everton's 5-1 win over Hull City and five days after the U.S.' 2-1 loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Ever since Howard went straight from MLS' [url="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1029303/index.htm?eref=sisf"]MetroStars to Manchester United[/url] in 2003 (and was voted the Premiership's goalkeeper of the year in his debut season), the New Jersey native has been one of the great success stories in U.S. soccer. (That he has done so while having Tourette's syndrome makes his achievements all the more impressive.) I'll let you in on a secret, too: There is no better interviewee on the U.S. national team, which is one reason why Howard is one of my go-to quotes in the mixed zone after any U.S. game.

Howard and I had a far-ranging conversation Monday, with topics including his interactions with [b]Charlie Davies[/b] and [b]Jermaine Jones[/b], how [b]Landon Donovan[/b] has become an Everton cult hero, what he wants to get from the U.S.-England World Cup match on June 12, whether he's comfortable letting big teams like the Dutch dominate possession against the U.S., why he thinks the U.S. should survive its World Cup group and why he will never use Twitter. Enjoy:

[b]SI.com:[/b] Now that I'm covering soccer full time for SI, I want to get over here more often to report on U.S. players in Europe and get a sense of what life is like on the ground here in this soccer-mad culture. What's the best way to explain that culture to people in America?

[b]Howard:[/b] For football players in Europe, and in England in particular, it's like you're in a fishbowl. Little kids know who you are. Adults know who you are. Grandmas and grandpas know who you are. Everyone has an affiliation with a team. Even the average person who doesn't really follow it too much has a particular team that's in their family or that they followed as a kid. So there's so much coverage of that. Your face is plastered everywhere 24 hours a day. Newspapers. Television.

When you first come over as a player it's really, really weird. People say odd comments, both negative and positive, and you're getting it buying coffee, buying a newspaper, picking your kids up from school. There's always someone there with eyes on you or something to say. And the games mean so much to these people that they're always pointing a finger, good or bad. It's really hard to get used to at first. Your head feels like it's spinning. But eventually you come around.

[b]SI.com:[/b] You've been with Everton for a while now, so you must enjoy being with the club. What makes Everton special?

[b]Howard:[/b] The history. Every club has history, but it's been branded as the people's club. Even Landon has come here and been welcomed with open arms. It wasn't, "You have to prove yourself to us." The players and the fans have really embraced him. He's done well. But for me this has become my home. I have a real sense of belonging, and I feel like I'm a small piece of the fabric of this club. It's a working-man's club. And it's really easy to fit in if your effort is always there for everyone to see. You don't have to be amazing every time out -- hopefully you're pretty good -- but if you're showing at Everton that you're a hard worker, that you really care about the club, that you're not taking them to the woodshed for every contract, people are going to appreciate you. And you see that in the players that they support at the club. Guys give everything for the club.

[b]SI.com:[/b] Everton has had a good 2010 so far: eight wins overall in the new year, including wins over Chelsea and Manchester United. You're up to eighth place in the Premiership now. How high in the standings do you think you can get?

[b]Howard:[/b] If all goes well, I think we can get to sixth or seventh. At the moment there's a four-point gap to seventh. And with the teams above us this year, due to the influx of money that keeps coming into the Premier League, there are going to be more teams competing for these spots. Unfortunately we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. The first half of the season was awful. We underperformed. We had way too many injuries to compete, and we just left ourselves a lot to do. So although 2010 has been really good, we've started to get our form and injured players back. So all that has come together. We brought in a player like Landon, who has only helped. We still have a long way to go in terms of what we left ourselves to do. But I think we can keep climbing.

[b]SI.com:[/b] There are some teams above you in the Premiership that have had some problems with their goalkeepers, either starting or reserve, this season. Arsenal and Chelsea come to mind. Do you know if Everton has received any interest from other clubs for your services?

[b]Howard:[/b] I don't know. You'd probably have to ask them. But no, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. This is a place where I want to be for the foreseeable future. If they're willing to have me, I'll stay as long as they want me. It's an amazing club, and it's a place where I feel like I can compete. We can push for Europe every year. We can do good things here. We have a generous chairman who gives the manager [[b]David Moyes[/b]] money to spend, and he spends it very wisely. So if you look across the board, I'm getting older now [turning 31 last week], so I don't just look at it as, How does it directly benefit me? I look at the overall perspective of where I fit into the club. It's a really good place to be.

There have been questions across Europe and across different clubs about that. Good goalkeepers are hard to come by. I think you can see that overall. There's always going to be a goalkeeper on the move, and there happens to be a domino effect. But I feel like I'll be staying put for a while, I hope.

[b]SI.com:[/b] I know that injuries are part of the game, but Everton has had a lot all season. Currently [b]Marouane Fellaini[/b] and [b]Tim Cahill[/b] are out injured, and a lot of European-based U.S. players are injured now. Are there too many games and not enough time for recovery, especially with an important event like the World Cup coming up?

[b]Howard:[/b] Probably. It's hard to say. Our bodies are our tool. Look, we get paid a heck of a lot of money, and no one wants to hear that we have too many games. So I can understand that. Your club has you for the whole year, but then your national team wants you too. You can't have a whole summer off, so there's a lot of responsibility on us as players, and I get that. But sometimes you feel like it's everywhere you turn. There isn't a heck of a lot of break, and that's OK for a 12-month period. But as it starts to build up over the course of a World Cup cycle and you look back over the last three-and-a-half years and you think there has not been a break for this player or that player, yeah, I think your body is just going to break down.

We've had awful injuries this year, the worst I've ever known in my club career. Long-term injuries to big players. You talk about the amount of games missed, it would be frightening to look at the numbers. As far as the U.S. goes, it's probably the same thing. Some of our biggest players have taken injuries. With now [b]Stuie[/b] [[b]Holden[/b]], gosh, he just had this injection of confidence from coming over here and playing really well at Bolton, finally getting himself into the team, making an impact in the latter stages of qualifying, getting a chance to start, and the timing couldn't be worse.

But we're hoping that Charlie [Davies] makes it, hoping that Jermaine Jones makes it. Gooch [[b]Oguchi Onyewu[/b]] should make it. So should [b]Clint[/b] [[b]Dempsey[/b]]. Stu should be OK, barring any setbacks. But it's been really weird. As long as I've been on the team, going back eight years, we haven't had injuries like that. Maybe one guy hurts his knee and comes back around, but not this close to a big tournament.

[b]SI.com:[/b] You mentioned Jermaine Jones. I know he was in Amsterdam last week meeting the team for the first time. How did it go?

[b]Howard:[/b] It was cool. He fits in really well. He's got a lot of tattoos, he likes his music. He's a perfect fit for us. And, by the way, he's a fantastic player from what I hear. It's always hard for anyone to get plopped into the middle of a group of his peers, and everyone's looking. [b]Mikey Bradley[/b] speaks German and [b]Stevie[/b] [[b]Cherundolo[/b]] speaks German. Jermaine speaks English, so maybe he feels a little more comfortable that we have those guys around.

It's an easy team to come into. Guys are welcomed with open arms, and we've heard great things about him. It was good to finally have him around. I heard it basically through [journalists] what he's like, and I saw pictures and I read things. So it was really good to get alongside him and talk to him a little bit and meet him and have him around. And hopefully in the buildup he will get fit and be a part of the team. That would be really cool.

[b]SI.com:[/b] Do you have any indications of what Jones' chances are for getting healthy for the World Cup?

[b]Howard:[/b] I don't know. I've talked to him a little bit, but I don't think he had the ability to put a time frame on it. I'm just hoping he's back running and playing and tackling, and hopefully that's by around May, and then he can integrate into the team and the training. Things like that are a great boost for the morale of the team.

Landon was a perfect example of that. You're used to all the good players you play with, and then someone comes in and adds a bit of life and spunk and spirit, and to have that little injection right before the World Cup would be great. If we can get Charlie back, it would be the same feeling. We're hoping both of them can be back.

[b]SI.com:[/b] Have you had a chance to talk to Davies much?

[b]Howard:[/b] A little bit since he's been back [in France rehabbing]. He's upbeat. It's hard for me to say, but anytime you have such a tragic instance in your life [Davies was seriously injured in a fatal car crash], it gives you a whole new perspective, new motivation and inspiration. Charlie was a little bit like Stuie -- he was just starting to realize what he could actually accomplish in the game, starting to fulfill some of that potential. He was so confident, scoring in Mexico and the Confederations Cup.

So this may have been the opportunity for him to really step back from the game, whether he wanted to or not. He's rehabbing now, he's back in Europe, and with that hunger, that fire, he's obviously got the goal of being there for the World Cup. That's driving him. He was a fun guy to be around, and I feel like he's even more motivated now. His spirits have been high, and from all accounts he's ahead of schedule, which must make him feel good and continue to motivate him.

[b]SI.com:[/b] There was a nice moment after your win on Sunday when Donovan made what might end up being his farewell lap at Goodison Park. How would you describe how his stay here has gone?

[b]Howard:[/b] His stay has been fantastic. He's jelled into the club, and people have really accepted him. He's really gotten along with the guys and the people around the club and the staff members. The fans have taken to him, which is a no-brainer. You come in and help Everton win, and they're going to love you. That's just the way they are.

On the field he's done really well. He's showed his talent getting forward, running at people, and he's got a fantastic touch and a nose for the goal when he gets there. He'll kind of be like a cult hero here, because he's here-today-gone-tomorrow, and in that little time he played really well. So he's going to leave people wanting so much more, and that's a good thing. The fans have really taken a liking to him, and you saw that [Sunday]. It was probably his last game at Goodison.

[b]SI.com:[/b] David Moyes was saying that Donovan had been welcomed to the club well by his teammates, but he singled out you and captain [b]Phil Neville[/b]. What have you guys done?

[b]Howard:[/b] Made him the butt of most of our jokes [laughs]. Phil's a phenomenal captain, and he really has his finger on the pulse of the club and knows what makes people go and work. He's been fantastic for Landon. And, of course, me just being a friend and a national-team teammate and an American has helped him. He lives by me, and that was by design. Landon is a big boy, so he doesn't need me to hold his hand, but at the same time it's always nice to have a familiar face to bounce questions off of or ask if you're doing the right thing and to kind of be a buffer. That's really what Phil and I have done. And not just us. There's been plenty of people who have been welcoming for Landon. It's been a great time.

[b]SI.com:[/b] Do the U.S. players who are part of the clubs in this northwest part of the country hang out much together away from the field?

[b]Howard:[/b] You know what, not a whole lot. Me and Landon and Stuie have probably gotten together way more often. We're always playing on the same day, we're traveling here, there and everywhere. And our schedules, whether most people want to believe it, are pretty brutal. So there's not a heck of a lot of time for us to be getting together. Every couple of weeks we get together for dinner. But we're always in connection.

[b]SI.com:[/b] Donovan told me he would like to stay longer at Everton, but it's out of his hands. It may depend on the MLS labor situation. Would you like for him to stay, and what do you think his chances are?

[b]Howard:[/b] I think chances are slim, based on what I think I know about the situation. Of course, listen, we all think he's a phenomenal player who adds so much to our team. Why wouldn't you want him to stay? He's showed his class and what he can do. But loads of things come into it: obligations and MLS and the Galaxy and finances. It would be great even if he could extend his stay, but that would just be icing. Because at the moment we're all resigned to the fact that next week will be his last game.

[b]SI.com:[/b] The U.S. national team is done with games until the pre-World Cup camp starting in mid-May. How do you feel about the U.S.' chances right now in South Africa?

[b]Howard:[/b] I feel good about the team. In terms of chances, that's probably a question of how far we get and what's failure and what's success. I won't make any predictions other than the known fact is the three teams that we get to play [in the group stage]. And I think within that group [England, Algeria, Slovenia] we should get through our group. If we play like we've been playing the last few years, particularly in the big games, we have the ability to go through.

Having said that, it's not going to be as easy as that. We have to go out and perform over the course of three segments of 90 minutes against teams that are going to be fighting tooth and nail to kick our behinds. So I do realize that. But I feel like when we're playing at a really high level, this is a group that we have the ability to get through. Now having said that, we could be talking in July about a whole different ballgame. But at the moment where this team is, we can go there and perform and go into all those games very, very confident.

[b]SI.com:[/b] You already play in a league that may be the most watched on the planet. We could probably put you on a street corner in Kenya right now and you'd get mobbed. But how aware are you of the power of the World Cup to make a player a truly global superstar?

[b]Howard:[/b] I'm well aware of it. In this World Cup you're going to get a player who maybe you and I know, but most people don't know, who scores a goal or maybe whips in three great crosses, and the next think you know he's linked with big European teams. It doesn't take much to get noticed. And the way the world works today with the Internet, it doesn't take much for a player to get noticed. With some, they'll just get a Twitter account and tell people how good they are and that's all they need.

[b]SI.com:[/b] That reminds me, I haven't seen you on Twitter yet.

[b]Howard:[/b] No, no, no. I think it's the dumbest thing ever [laughs]. If you're on it I apologize, but for me I don't need Twitter. I always tell people, "Listen, if you're a friend of mine and you're on Twitter and I need to figure something out, I'll call you, I'll text you." The only person I would want to see on Twitter would be [b]Barack Obama[/b].

[b]SI.com:[/b] Obama is on Twitter.

[b]Howard:[/b] Well, that's the only person I would care what they're doing. I don't think I'd care what any other individual in the world would be doing at one particular moment but him.

[b]SI.com:[/b] You see the England players you'll be facing on June 12 all the time. What would you be satisfied with getting out of that game, and how hard will it be?

[b]Howard:[/b] It's probably going to be one of the toughest games we've ever played. When all is said and done, I think England will be one of the four semifinalists. I really believe that. This is an amazing England team. They don't always get that credit here at home, but they're going to be a heck of a team to reckon with. Going into the first game we would like a positive result, and I don't think a draw is selling ourselves short. Having an ability to get a draw in the first game sets you up to keep pushing and feel good about yourself going into the next couple of games.

Having said that, as much as you want to have a good start, there are still two other [group] games. You saw it in Confederations Cup. We didn't have a great start, but in the end it worked out. So regardless of the result, we'll hold out hope. But I feel like with all the work that is going to be put in and has already been put in, if we can at a minimum pull out a draw there, we'll feel really good about ourselves.

[b]SI.com:[/b] In the 2-1 loss at the Netherlands last week, it seemed like the U.S. strategy was to allow the other team possession, stay compact and try to strike when the chance came up. We've seen that strategy in difficult games against other opponents. Are you comfortable with that approach?

[b]Howard:[/b] Yeah. Look, the bottom line was whether we allowed them to or not, they were going to have the lion's share of possession because of how good they are. And when you play the top teams in the world -- and they're one of them -- you might not have much of a choice. Certainly the foundation of what we do -- keep our lines tight, be very compact, defend our 18-yard box and when we have the ability strike quickly and go forward and counter on their mistakes -- over the course of this cycle it has worked for us. Historically that's what we've been. Even in our run in 2002 to the quarterfinals, there wasn't much difference there either. It was a compact unit that defended very well and took its chances on the break.

When you play the big teams, it would be very difficult for us to dominate those games. When you play Brazil and Manchester United and the big teams, they don't get dominated very often. They don't lose very often. So you have to kind of play the cards that you're dealt. We realize our strengths, and that's part of our strength as a unit: staying compact, getting all over the field and trying to put pressure on.

In Holland in the first half of that game we were very good in stretches. Yes, they had the amount of possession, but they didn't cause a whole lot of problems. I think the best shot they had on goal was from [b]José Torres[/b] at our own goal from 40 yards out [laughs]. And [b]Wesley Sneijder[/b] gets in the box and gets pulled down for a penalty. Had he not been pulled down he would have been in a very good shooting position, so we would have had to defend that. In that first half you look at one play that defined a lot of the game, but they didn't pepper us. They caused us problems, but we solved a lot of them as well.

[b]SI.com:[/b] How long do you think it will take for the U.S. to be in the kind of position that the Netherlands was in during that type of hard game, where it dominated possession?

[b]Howard:[/b] For me, the answer is we need to have the majority of our players playing a very high level consistently. You look at that game, look at Holland, their players are at Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and Inter Milan. That big setting is nothing to them. To take the ball against international players is nothing to them. They see it every day in training, every week. They're on the field for 90 minutes every single week in big games where the expectations are high. And until you do that, you can't replicate it. It can't be that you play those big games once every three months. It's got to be every single week. And until we can get 11, 15, 22 of our players doing that, it'll be a reach.

[b]SI.com:[/b] This is the first time I can remember that the U.S. is favored to get out of its group at the World Cup. Is that a fair expectation?

[b]Howard:[/b] I think so. It's hard because you don't ever want to disrespect anybody. I might be guessing in Algeria they're thinking to themselves, We have a chance of getting out of this group, too. But from where I sit, yeah. A lot of that has to do with the games that we've played. [b]Bob[/b] [[b]Bradley[/b], the U.S. coach] made a conscious decision to play big games abroad: Switzerland, Sweden, South Africa, Netherlands, Poland, England, Spain. As opposed to past years, where not only have we qualified in CONCACAF but our friendlies were in Boston against Jamaica or in D.C. against Canada.

So now you're thinking, When we get to the World Cup it's on foreign soil against big teams; how are we going to fare? We've shown somewhat of a consistency. We haven't won every game, but we have beaten some teams on foreign soil: Switzerland, Poland and Spain in South Africa. So there have been games that have given people a reason to believe we will get out of the group if we play well enough.[/quote]

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Never knew Tim had tourettes. Crazy.

Anyways..Lando should just say screw going back, screw the Galaxy, and screw B.A. Landon needs to further develop going into his last WC in his prime. Now. We have to win now.
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How sweet a victory over England would be. Rack up all 9 points in the group...putting England 2nd and would have to face Brazil (most likely) in the Round of 16. Buh, bye Fabio.


[b][size="5"][b]Fabio Capello sets semi-final target as World Cup minimum[/b][/size][/b]

[url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/fabio-capello"]Fabio Capello[/url] has set the bold target of steering [url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/england"]England[/url] to the semi-finals of the World Cup at the very least, thereby emulating the national team's best performance at the tournament since the trophy was won in 1966.

The Italian has had to contend over the past month with injuries to key personnel and serious allegations over his players' personal lives – one of them cost John Terry the captaincy – together with confirmation that the England team hotel had been bugged before last week's friendly against Egypt. Yet those distractions have not doused his enthusiasm for a role he accepted a little over two years ago, with his basic target now to take the team beyond the quarter-finals, where Sven-Goran Eriksson twice came unstuck, in South Africa this summer.

"My job when I was manager of Milan, Juventus, Roma or Madrid was always to try and win and, for me, it's the same now as England manager," said Capello. "I am focused to find the best way and we are one of the best teams in the World Cup. We hope to arrive at the semi-finals, minimum, and then, after a lot of years, win the World Cup.

"We have a good team, good players and, at this moment, we think we can beat all of the teams because we can play at the same level of the best teams in the world. It is a surprise to see the attention on things off the pitch because, usually, my job has been to decide things on the pitch, so that is new. But being England manager is always a challenge. But the challenge for me is always important because, at my age, without a challenge, I'd just stay at home. I could go on holiday. I like the challenge. This will be one of the most important of my life.

"To manage England was one of my dreams and I'm really happy to have taken on the job. I would not swap my position with [the Italy coach] Marcello Lippi. I prefer to be England manager. I hope to play against Italy in the final but my shirt at that moment will be an England shirt."

England have reached the semi-finals only once, in 1990, in the past 44 years, and Capello's ambition is a concession that the Football Association and the supporters will be seeking evidence of real progress under a manager who signed a four-year contract worth around £26m.

A place in the last four at the summer's finals would satisfy that with Capello admitting that [url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/wayne-rooney"]Wayne Rooney[/url] – arguably the side's one world-class player on present form – is key to achieving that much.

"Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rooney are the three best players in the world at the moment," said Capello, speaking at the Laureus Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi. "Their styles are completely different. One is fast, one has lots of imagination. Rooney is more strong. He runs a lot and helps everyone, and this year he has scored many goals. I think he is one of the best, but those three are really young and they are the best players for the future. I hope he will be in the same form during the World Cup and that he will be fit and not injured because he is one of the most important players.

"Of those who are injured at the moment, I am happy because they are injured now rather than when the World Cup starts. Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole are out but the players who played against Egypt played very well and we have no big problem with defenders."

Ferdinand has returned to the Manchester United line-up since the win against Egypt, and Brown is expected to be absent for up to six weeks with a metatarsal injury. Cole continues to make good progress in rehabilitation in the south of France after breaking an ankle during Chelsea's 2-1 defeat at Everton, with the club confident he will return to action before the end of the campaign.

That will grant the first-choice left-back time to prove his fitness ahead of the naming of Capello's 30-man provisional squad for the finals, on 16 May.

England have two fixtures, against Mexico at Wembley and Japan in Graz, Austria, later that month before flying to South Africa on 2 June.


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[b][size="5"][b]Everton fans love them some Landon Donovan [/b][/size][/b]

[b]LIVERPOOL, [/b][b]England[/b] – By the time Landon Donovan was done at Goodison Park on Sunday, I was fairly sure Everton officials were about to rename the stadium after the guy.

Our little soccer party moved up north from London into the land of the Beatles and Liverpool FC. The northern port city is also home to Everton, which gets short shrift in terms of fan attention in the city. (I told one local that I had gone to Goodison Park the day before. "Ah. To atone for your sins, eh?")

But they do love them some Landon Donovan around the old and somewhat dank Goodison grounds.

Even for a cynical journalist – "That glass is half empty, I tell ya!" – seeing the affection for Landon Donovan was moving. I know it's a little late, and you may have heard the tale of Sunday's appearance at Goodison, so I'll be brief.

As they announced the subs prior to kickoff, the round of applause for Donovan was louder than it was for some of the starters. As he came on late, the cheers were loud and surely earnest. As he blazed a ball into the hapless Hull City goal, the place came apart.

Then came the chants. "USA! … USA … "

It happened again as he set up Everton's final goal in the 5-1 win. And then at the final whistle, as he took a short little walk to clap for the fans, the "USA! … USA! … " chant rang anew.

Remember, these aren't just Everton fans. Presumably, they are England fans, too. And this same "USA!" will meet England on June 12. It's been in all the papers, so they all know.

Such is the affection for a guy who earned the admiration and respect quite quickly, not only by fans but by teammates, too. None of them had a bad word to say, and all talked of hopeful efforts to keep the American attacker around Goodison a little while longer[/quote]

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[b][size="5"][b]S.Africa protests spread ahead of soccer World Cup[/b][/size][/b]

By Alison Raymond

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African township residents barricaded roads in Soweto on Wednesday, the latest in a series of protests over living conditions that have hit the country less than 100 days before the soccer World Cup.

Police said about 1,000 people demanding housing demonstrated in the township near Johannesburg, blocking roads with large rocks close to the venue for the opening and final game of the tournament.

"Police went to the scene and they talked to the crowd and they dispersed," police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale said. "The police are keeping an eye on the situation."

Poor shanty town residents have burnt tyres and buildings and police have responded with rubber bullets and water cannons in protests over the past year, in scenes reminiscent of the apartheid era.

Protests in Soweto during apartheid made it a symbol of resistance to white minority rule.

A policeman was shot last week and scores of people arrested when protests turned violent in several Johannesburg townships.

The protests have spread. This week, they reached the capital Pretoria, where demonstrators demanding better housing, schools, roads and sewage systems threatened to disrupt the World Cup, which starts in June.

Nthamaga Kgafela, a researcher at the independent South African Institute for Race Relations, said the protests had escalated since the election last year of President Jacob Zuma, whose pro-poor image had raised hopes of change.

"I think that is primarily because people felt there was someone there to listen," she said. Analysts said the protests could put heavy pressure on the ruling African National Congress to meet demands ahead of local council elections due in 2011 that may be seen as a barometer of support for Zuma.

"There is no specific political force behind these protests, it is just people who are completely fed-up with their living conditions," consultancy Executive Research Associates political analyst Nel Marais said.

"If these protests are not brought under control next year's elections could become a huge nightmare, from a security point of view and a political point of view."

Tens of thousands of people protested in the run-up to the previous council elections in 2006, won overwhelming by the ANC.


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[b][size="5"][b]Sources: Dempsey traveling to match[/b][/size][/b]

Clint Dempsey's recovery from knee ligament damage appears to be right on schedule -- his schedule.

The U.S. midfielder is making the trip to Torino, Italy, for Fulham's Europa League match against Juventus on Thursday, two sources told ESPN.

Regardless of whether Dempsey plays in Italy, his presence on the team plane indicates that his rehab is progressing well. A month ago, Dempsey predicted he'd be ready to play for Fulham in mid-March, and he appears to be hitting his marks.

The news will be welcomed by U.S. fans, who feared the national team would be without one of its most dangerous scoring threats at the World Cup after Dempsey injured his right knee in Fulham's 2-0 loss to Blackburn on Jan. 17.

The injury came in the midst of a career season for Dempsey, who notched six goals and three assists for Fulham before the injury. And it was one of several injuries suffered by U.S. regulars ahead of the World Cup. Central defender Oguchi Onyewu, striker Charlie Davies and midfielder Stuart Holden are also currently sidelined.

But Dempsey's trip is another indicator that he's likely to be not only fully recovered but also match fit when the U.S. opens the World Cup on June 12 against England.


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Incredible. Perhaps CD really will be available for the WC.

[size="5"][b]Davies hopes to play by the end of April

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 11th, 2010 1:41PM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Charlie Davies is into his third week of rehabilitation at the CERS de Capbreton, the sports training center in in southwestern France. He spends more than five hours each day training at the center, where Chelsea stars Michael Essien and Ashley Cole are also rehabbing, and hopes to be playing games by the end of April. Davies described his routine to his club Sochaux's web site ...

Davies described his routine to his club Sochaux's web site ...

"I wake up at 7:30 for breakfast and then I go back to my room at 8:00 to listen to some music till nine. At that time I have to be downstairs in the gym. I work out for an hour and have to go to another gym to do cardio for 45 minutes on the treadmill. I have to go to the pool for half an hour at 11:00. After the pool, I go to another gym where I get therapy for my elbow for the full 30 minutes. At 12:00, we have lunch and hang out with the guys. Ashley Cole and Mickael Essien are also here for their rehabilitation. It's good to have some fellow professionals over here. That's great! "At two o'clock, I start a session outside which consist: running, cutting and agility for an hour. At 3:00, I go for lifting in the gym again. This time for my legs and my arms, trying to get my left arm stronger after all the problems I had with my elbow. At 4:00, I'm back in the gym till 5:00. And at the end, at 5:00, it's massage or pool. Yes, it's a pretty eventful day. We end with a dinner at 7:00. Apart from that you don't have anything else to do. This is like it every day."

Davies hopes to rejoin his teammates in training soon.
"By the end of next week, I'll think I'll be pretty confident to end up joining the team again in training. That will be probably a bit frustrating in the beginning, to train with the guys, but each day that I get to touch the ball, it will become easier and easier. So I can say that things are going well."

He says being able to sprint is his main goal.
"If I can sprint and be as fast as I have been before by next week, I'll be extremely happy!"

The injury that has taken the longest to heal is his fractured left elbow, into which he had placed plates and screws.

"It's close back to normal as far as flexion, maybe just five degrees off. Getting it really straight is still a bit difficult but it's going much better. It's fine for me to play football with so I'm happy with that."

He expects to get extra work with Sochaux fitness coach Cedric Bloome when he returns.
"I want to be as comfortable as I can in an as short amount of time. I'm hoping to be back as soon as possible and to play some matches by the end of April."


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More good news...

[size="5"][b]Dempsey is back in action for Fulham

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 11th, 2010 6:04PM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] You can scratch Clint Dempsey from the U.S. injury list. Only seven and weeks after beind sidelined with a knee injury, Dempsey returned to action for Fulham Thursday. He played the last hour hour of Fulham's 3-1 loss to Juventus in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 series.

Dempey injured his right knee in a Premier League game against Blackburn on Jan. 17. After initial fears that he could be lost for the World Cup, it was revealed that his knee suffered only moderate dame and a mid-March return was projected.

Only three potential World Cup starters -- Charlie Davies, Stuart Holden and Benny Feilhaber -- are currently sidelined after the list of players sidelined grew to seven during the winter.[/quote]

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