Who will replace Sir Alex Ferguson ?, this is the biggest question that Manchester United board will face when Sir Alex will retire after 2-3 years. A few leading candidates for the job would obviously be Carlos Quieroz who has served as an assistant to Sir Alex for so long. Roy Keane will be another leading candidate as he is quite favorite among the supporters and also passionate about the club. Rio Ferdinand has hinted that Jose Mourinho can become the next manager of Manchester United. read more »
So Liverpool have finally managed to sign one of the most proven goal scorer in the premiership. Even though he may have cost around $20m, he will be worth every penny. Now it will be interesting to see if he and Torres can form a good partnership, and I am confident they can. This is the the Liverpool’s biggest signing of the season so far and Rafa will need to sign a few more players of his stature if he wants Liverpool to challenge for the premiership.
Holland 3 – 0 Italy
(Nistelrooy 26, Sneijder 31, Van Bronckhorst 79)
The World Cup Runner’s up suffered a draw, but the World Cup Winners suffered a more humiliating fate. Before the match, i didn’t think the Dutch had enough quality to win the Euro 2008 but the win and there style of play has definitely changed my mind. So good was there attacking and counter attacking play, that the Italians were brushed aside. And with a reliable goal keeper such as Van Der Sar, I am pretty sure that they have won there so called “Group of Death”. And this match might have been the best match so far of the Euro 2008 with Italy, despite there defeat, producing an attacking display. It was Italy who created the first chances with Di Natale’s cross failing to find Luca Toni and a few minutes later, Toni headed wide from a good position. For the Dutch, Van Nistelrooy had a good chance in 17th minute when he collected Kuyt’s pass and tried to round off Buffon. There was a contact but Nistelrooy choose to stand on his feet and missed the chance.
Van Nistelrooy had much better luck in the 26th minute when he gave the Dutch a lead in controversial circumstances from an offside position. But according to the chairman of Austria’s refereeing commission, Gerhard Kapl, that Van Nistelrooy had been played onside by Italy defender Christian Panucci, who had been injured seconds earlier and was lying off the pitch. And the Dutch scored after 5 minutes, what could be “one of the best goal “ of Euro 2008. Italy won the corner and from the corner, Van Bronckhorst made a great clearance on the line, then he raced to attack , got the pass, and crossed it for Kuyt who headed it into the path of Sneijder who produced a neat finish past Buffon to score on his 24th birthday. It was a classic Counter Attacking goal from the Dutch. Nistelrooy had a great opportunity to kill the game three minutes before the interval when he was raced through by Sneijder but Buffon made a wonderful save.
Italy upped the Tempo after the break to try to get back into the game. Del Piero who was brought in place of Di Natale forced Van Der Sar into a smart save. He had another good chance few minutes later but he was off target. Luca Toni wasted one of the best chances for Italy when he lofted the ball over van Der Sar as well as over the bar. Van Der Sar was the hero again as he saved well from a Pirlo free kick and from the resulting play, Dutch got there third goal. The rebound on the save landed to Van Bronckhorst, who raced forward and set up Kuyt. Kuyt’s original effort was blocked by Buffon, but Kuyt got the ball again and crossed for Bronckhorst to head the third goal. It might have been worse for Italy had substitutes Affelay and Van Persie spectacular shots would have found the net. And the Dutch side help don to record a famous victory against Italy since 30 years. A wonderful performance by the Dutch which clearly sends the message that they are a force to be reckoned with.
World Cup runners up France produced a boring display against Romania which makes qualifying tough for them in the group of death. They created very few clear cut chances and lacked there attacking rhythm. In the absence of Viera and Henry, the job was left on the youngsters but they failed to shine. With Henry absent, Anelka and Benzema started the forward line but they failed to provide any decent chance and Anelka could have done better with the few scoring opportunities that he got.
Romania also didn’t threaten much but they would be very happy considering that they prevented France from scoring and took a point of them. The only positive that France can take from the game is the link up play between Ribery and Benzema. Anelka was again out of form and i will be surprised if he is included when Henry is fit. But it is going to put doubts over whether France have enough quality to win the Euro 2008 or not. With there remaining matches against Italy and Netherlands, it is going to be a tough ride if they wish to qualify. Although for the underdogs Romania, it is a great result.
Germany 2 – 0 Poland
Germany, one of the favourites for the Euro cup made a winning start thanks to two goal hero Lukas Podolski. Germany started well and should have gone ahead after just four minutes but Mario Gomez shot wide with just the goal at his mercy after an unselfish pass from Klose. It was Klose again that was responsible for the first goal. He broke through the defence and passed the ball to Podolski who slid the ball easily into the open net. Poland were nervy at the back and Germany were beginning to take full advantage with Ballack providing the main damage. Poland had a great chance too but Zurawski shot wide from a good position. It was one of the rare chances that Poland got and Germany should have made it 2- 0 eight minutes before the interval but Gomez’s finishing was again poor from a good position.
Poland started the game in an energetic fashion but still the opportunities were limited and the German defence was superb. In the other end Germany were creating there own chances and an inspired save from Boruc prevented Ballack from scoring in the 70th minute. But minutes later, Podolski got his second of the night to almost seal the victory. Klose’s misshit shot fell to Podolski who volleyed past Boruc to seal the victory for Germany. Poland’s Guerro had a great chance later on, when his good cross found Saganowski but his shot was blocked by Lehmann and Germany held firm to make a winning start to Euro 2008.
Austria 0 – 1 Croatia
(Modric pen 4)
In the other match, the day was also bad for the other hosts Austria as they were narrowly beaten by Croatia 0 – 1. Judging beforehand, the game looked like a one sided affair but credit must be given to the Austrians. The performed well and should have all the reasons to be happy with there performance. It was the same case that happened with the Swiss the previous day.
Austria got to a bad start as they conceded a penalty in the 4th minute which Luca Modric converted. Austria created a lot of chances but were finding it hard to break the Croatians down. They were doing well at set pieces but somehow, they missed to find the back of the net. Even Croatia didn’t create any decent chance after there goal but they maintained possession and performed well in defence to claim the victory.
Portugal 2 – 0 Turkey
(Pepe 61 , Raul Meirless 91+ )
Portugal opened there Euro 2008 campaign in an impressive fashion by defeating Turkey 2-0. Already a favourites to win the competition, and containing the best player in the world right now, Portugal showed why they are a force to be reckoned with. Portugal started well but were unlucky not to score in the first half.
They nearly took the lead in the 16th minute but the Pepe goal was rightly ruled offside. Ronaldo, who was quiet in the opening minutes sprang into his usual self at 30 minutes and beat 3 defenders but he shot wide. He nearly gave Portugal the lead eight minutes before the interval but his free kick was turned on to the post by a brilliant save from the goal keeper Volkan. Portugal hit the wood work again after the interval when Referee gave an advantage to Portugal but Nuno Gomes hit the post. It looked like it was not going to be there day but they scored a wonderful goal in the 61st minute. Pepe surged through the defence, played a neat 1-2 pass with Gomes before sliding the ball past Volkan. Three minutes later, Turkey were lucky that the scored reamined at 1 –0 .Ronaldo crossed from the left and Gomes header bounced off the bar. Turkey didn’t;t really threaten the Portuguese goal and whenever they did, Ricardo was up to the mark. In the injury time, Portugal added a second through a counter attacking move, Ronaldo found Moutinho with a pass and Moutinho set it up for Raul Meirless to side foot home in an empty net.
Portugal really showed that they are strong contenders for the Euro Championships.