Fri, August 11th 2006

McClaren names first England squad

No Beckham - Large Manchester Utd influence

David Beckham looks unlikely to add to his 94 England caps as the 31 year old was left out of new England coach Steve McClaren’s first England squad.

Winners are West Ham’s Dean Ashton, and a large number of former McClaren players from his time at Manchester Utd.

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Fri, July 21st 2006

Materazzi banned for Zidane insult

FIFA set dangerous precedent

FIFA have announced that Italy defender Materazzi will receive a £2,170 fine and 2 game suspension, and Zidane a £3,260 fine and 3 game ban.

In choosing to punishing the ‘victim’ nearly as strongly as the perpetrator, FIFA have given players a who commit serious foul play a dangerous ‘get out’ by allowiing provocation to be blamed. In Zidane’s case, the provocation does not even seem that great - a verbal insult - that the player must have heard countless times through his career.

FIFA’s attempts (however weak) to remove racism from the game on and off the pitch should be encouraged, but when it transpired that the abuse Materazzi hurled at Zidane was not racist, there seems little grounds for his punishment.

If Materazzi can consider himself unlucky, Zidane must be very pleased. Rooney received an almost equivalent penalty for his red card against Portugal. With Zidane retiring after the World Cup final the 3 match ban is irrelevant, and £3,000 pocket money for a top class (and top paid) footballer.

Former Rangers and Everton attacker Duncan Ferguson received a 3 month jail sentence for assault and a 12 game ban from football for a similar head butt on Raith Rovers defender John McStay in 1994.

As the event happened in the World Cup Final, FIFA could be expected to react in one way or another: to set a severe precedent and impose a stringent penalty, or to try and brush the incident under the carpet and forget about it.

Zidane, probably due to his reputation and the fact he has retired, has got away lightly. Materazzi, probably due to his reputation, has not.


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Mon, July 17th 2006

With Juve effectively relegated for 2 seasons due to their 30 point deduction in Serie B it seems inconceivable that they will be able to hang on to all their players or even loan them out for a year.

Not too many leagues will be able to match the Italian clubs’ salaries, so England will be a likely destination for many who leave.

Here’s a list of transfer speculation of England’s top clubs and who they are targetting.


Alessandro Nesta (Milan), Fabio Cannavaro, Pavel Nedved, Gianluca Zambrotta (Juve);

Manchester United

Patrick Vieira, Pavel Nedved (Juve), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Luca Toni (Fiorentina)


Mauro Camoranesi, David Trezeguet (Juve)


Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram, Patrick Vieira, David Trezeguet (Juve), Filippo Inzaghi (Milan)


Lilian Thuram (Juve), Filippo Inzaghi (Milan)

Source: BBC


Serie A sides Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina have been demoted to the second division for their involvement in Italy’s match-fixing scandal.

Juventus were also stripped of their last two Serie A titles and had 30 points deducted, meaning they are likely to stay down for two seasons.

AC Milan will stay in Serie A but will start the season docked 15 points.

All are barred from playing in Europe.

Inter, Roma, Chievo and Palermo, who finished third, fifth, seventh and eighth, are in line to take the places of the penalised clubs in next season’s Champions League.

Lecce, Messina, and Treviso will avoid relegation to Serie B and keep their places in the top flight as a result of the verdict.

From: BBC


All 4 clubs are expected to appeal.

Related: Juventus face relegation from Serie A



Tue, July 11th 2006

After an exhaustive study of the match video, and with the help of an Italian translator, Rees claimed that Materazzi called Zidane “the son of a terrorist whore” before adding “so just f*** off” for good measure.

From: The Times


Seems to be corroborated here: The Daily Mail


Mon, July 10th 2006

Fifa says video replays played no part in France captain Zinedine Zidane’s dismissal in Sunday’s World Cup final.


Referee Horacio Elizondo acted similarly with Wayne Rooney’s sending off earlier in the tournament. He appeared to be taking no action for some time against Rooney before pulling him aside and showing the red card.

Zidane seemed in no doubt he was guilty. He could be seen taking off his captain’s armband some time before being dismissed, but put it back on after the thinking the officials had missed the incident.




Zinedine Zidane has been awarded the Golden Ball as the best player at the World Cup, despite his sending-off in the final last night.



Zidane red card overshadows Italian triumph

Italy 1 - France 1 (Italy win on penalties)

Zinedine Zidane’s career came to a staggering end as he saw red for his brutal head butt on Italian Materrazi.

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Thu, July 6th 2006

Zidane penalty ends Portugal cup run

France 1 - Portugal 0

After a first half penalty from Zinedine Zidane, France closed down the game with ease to qualify for the second World Cup final.

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Wed, July 5th 2006

Italy dump out hosts in game of the tournament

Italy 2 - Germany 0

After a raft of uninspired knock-out phase matches, the hosts Germany and Italy fought out one of the most exciting semi-finals of all time, and restored the reputation of the World Cup.

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