Fri, June 9th 2006

24 hours after German coach Jurgen Klinsmann ruled his captain out of the opening tie against Costa Rica, Michael Ballack has announced he is fit to play.

I am fit, I want to play,” he told Bild today. “I am ready and without problems. Whether I will be playing or not is up to the national team coach.”



Thu, June 8th 2006

United fail to stop Rooney’s World Cup chance

Man Utd's lawyers on standby

A powerless Manchester United were unable to stop Wayne Rooney rejoining the England camp in Germany last night as yesterday’s scan did not prove that the player was ‘definitely injured’.

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Wed, June 7th 2006

The BBC is reporting that it appears that Rooney has been given the green light to rejoin the England World Cup squad.

The decision was made by a group including United doctor Tony Gill and physio Rob Swire, England team doctor Leif Sward and other specialists.

It is also thought that an independent consultant from Fifa was on hand should there have been any conflict between Rooney’s club and the FA - and it was reported that United lawyers were in attendance.


Rooney flew back to Germany earlier tonight.



Staff watching the World Cup on the internet at work could cost the British economy almost £4bn, it is claimed.

Law firm Brabners Chaffe Street calculates that during the tournament, if just half of British workers surf the net for an hour a day, it will cost the UK nearly £4bn in lost time.

From: Sky



Wayne Rooney has undergone a scan on his broken metatarsal to determine whether he will be fit to play in the World Cup.

Club and country doctors are now assessing the results. If the 2 camps disagree on his ability to play an independant doctor may be called on.

A decision is expected today, but may be delayed until tomorrow morning. England have until 2pm Friday to make a decision on whether to replace Rooney with Jermain Defoe.



It’s a difficult ball for goalkeepers, this one moves all over the place. We just have to live with it, but it’s not at all goalkeeper-friendly,’ said England goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

“There’s no stitching whatsoever. It’s two sections glued together and it’s a lot lighter than the Premiership ball. There’s a plastic coating around it and when it’s wet it’s even worse.”

The keeper was not officially supposed to get hold of one of the new balls until yesterday, but had the foresight to order half a dozen of his own at a cost of £420.
From: Guardian


Tue, June 6th 2006

New rules set to launch red card spree

Refereeing standards to be in the spotlight

After the variable quality of refereeing performances in previous World Cups, it is important for the referees of the opening 2 games on Friday to set a sensible precedent for the rest of the tornament.

Fifa’s head of refereeing Josť-Maria Garcia Aranda does not seem to have calmed the situation by demanding that the officials ‘proactively’ referee games. The old cliche that a good referee is one you do not notice could not be truer, or it seems, further from Aranda’s mind.

World Cup referees have been ordered to send off players who “lunge” at opponents, a decree that is likely to set off a raging debate over exactly what the term entails.

From: Guardian


Vague guidelines such as this and the current offside rule could threaten to spoil the competition. Dubious decisions in the last tornament saw Italy and Spain defeated and the job of the referee is hard enough without ill thought-out rules.

The Guardian article lists the level of caution a player should receive for certain offences. Some look potentially too harsh, but I feel FIFA must start introducing red cards for ‘simulation’ (diving). It is this form of blatant cheating that I would prefer to see eradicated, rather than the occasional miss-timed foul.

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Mourinho said: “I have no idea who can stop Brazil because they have such a strong team, much more so than they did in 2002. For now, there are two teams who stand out — Germany and Holland.

From: The Sun



Ronaldo is suffering from blisters after wearing new Nike boots.

The Brazil superstar moaned: “It’s not just one blister — it’s several on both feet. One is from an open wound and I am already using ointment to accelerate the healing process.

“I have to be sure to treat myself well so that the blisters do not interfere with World Cup preparations.”

Ronaldo, 29, was given new boots in the build-up to the finals.

From: The Sun



Mon, June 5th 2006

The Sun claims that England’s squad took, among many other items, the following to Germany on Monday:

Styling mousse (24 cans), shampoo (24 bottles), soap (48 bars), vibrating razors (24), electric toothbrushes, Jaffa Cakes (2,300), wasp killer (48 cans), white socks (122 pairs), crisps (several dozen boxes) and a food blender.

From: The Sun via BBC



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