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Czech Republic beat Switzerland in Euro 2008 Opener

Switzerland 0 – 1 Czech Republic

                          (Vaclav Sverkos 70 )

Sverkos scored the first goal of Euro 2008 Euro 2008 got to a perfect start as Czech Republic narrowly beat Switzerland in the cup opener. There was plenty of excitement for the fans, despite the lack of the goals, both teams played with attacking instincts and created chances, though they lacked in converting them. Switzerland, one of the host nations may feel that deserved something from the game after creating much better opportunities than Czechs. Peter Cech produced a commanding performance in the Republic goal as he was absolutely unbeatable.

The first half was an even affair with Switzerland being the better side and creating chances but failing to convert them. Alexander Frei was twice denied by Peter Cech until he was forced off with an injury and replaced with Yakim. The Czech’s also attacked but failed to create any clear cut chances in the match. After the restart, Czech made there first change by bringing on Vaclav Sverkos for Koller who had remained almost subdued throughout the match. Many may have considered this a surprise decision as Baros was left on the bench. But he soon silenced his doubters when he slotted in the ball from 12 yards after the ball found its way to him from top of the defence. Switzerland began to attack and they were denied by Peter Cech and then Johan Vonlanthen hit the woodwork from the rebound with almost the goal at his mercy. Swiss might feel that luck wasn’t on there side as they were denied a clear penalty with the ball hitting Jankulosvki on the hand but the referee failed to see it. There were some nervy moments but Czech Republic defended well to get an important win.

Now Switzerland will have a tough task in there hand as there remaining two matched are against Portugal and Turkey who are dangerous opponents.

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Cannavaro out of Euro 2008

With Euro 2008 going to begin in a few days, world cup winners Italy are sure going to be one of the favourites for lifting the trophy. But they will be without there influential and experienced captain Fabio Cannavaro. who will be out for a few months after damaging ankle ligaments during the training session.

Since he was the captain of Italy, the coach Donadoni must now decide who to give the armband, the favourite being Gianluigi Buffon. The replacement being called for him is Alessandaro Gamberini who has performed well in a centre half position for his club. However, since Italy are in a group of death which contains the Dutch, France and Romania, losing Cannavaro may seem to be a blow. But Italy have got some good defenders in Nesta, Materazzi. It will be interesting to see how there defence holds out in there opening game against the Dutch side on 9th June.

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Why Manchester United are Champions

Even if the title race went down to the last day, we finished the season as Champions. Here are the reasons why we managed to win the title

  1. Squad Depth: Our squad depth was far better than previous seasons. We were able to cope with injuries this time. The arrival of Hargreaves, Anderson, Nani and Tevez made the squad more strong. Even the absence of Saha and Neville didn’t effect us
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo: Even if winning the title was a joint effort, we cannot overlook the contribution of Ronaldo. The first player after Alan Shearer to score more than 30 + goals in the league and it definitely helped us
  3. Attack: Our attacking play this season helped us. Even if Chelsea would have won on the last day, we would have won the league thanks to our superior goal difference. That was possible because of our attacking play
  4. Defense: The unsung heroes of our campaign are Brown, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra or defenders. Our defense was far better than last season and we kept the most number of clean sheets. Even keeping two clean sheets against Barcelona in the CL is an achievement in itself
  5. Winning important matches: Except the loss against Chelsea in April and the draw with Arsenal, we took almost all the points from the top teams such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Winning against the top teams are crucial in the title race and this season we did that

So Why do you think we finished as Champions. Share the thoughts in comments

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Premier League set for D Day

In the beginning who would have thought that Premier League would go to the final match of the season. There has been a lot of mind games going on recently regarding the two highly anticipated matches. But the equation is very simple. We have to beat Wigan to if we want to win the championship. There has been a lot of talk about Wigan being motivated to beat us and Bolton celebrating about avoiding relegation.

But i think every team will be trying to win there respective matches. There are lot of things still undecided which will be decided tomorrow. The champions, the UEFA spot and the relegates will all be decided tomorrow. But for Man Utd and Fulham, the destiny is in there own hands and i will be devastated if we don’t win the title. Wigan are all fired up about beating us and we can’t doubt the commitment of Steve Bruce. But we have great side that will be going for the win. Even without Wayne Rooney, Fergie would have had all the player fired up for the match. And with the likes of Ronaldo and Tevez in superb form, hardly any team can stop us. So i expect United to win the championship tomorrow on goal difference. Everton will get to Europe while Reading and Birmingham will join Derby in the championship.

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Man Utd edge closer to the title with a draw against Blackburn

I had a nervy feeling before the game which almost proved to be correct. Man Utd needed a win if they wanted to remove some pressure of them before the game against Chelsea next week. Keeping in mind, the game against Barcelona at midweek, Man Utd made four changes to the side with Vidic returning and Kuszczak playing in place of Van Der Sar. There were some nervous moments at the back as Kuszczak rushed to save from Jason Roberts after just six minutes. Minutes later, United had an opportunity to take the lead but Tevez failed to apply finish to a wonderful cross by Rooney.

And it was United who were made to suffer after 21 minutes when some confusion at the defense between Vidic and Ferdinand after Pedersen’s throw allowed Santa Cruz to score his 20th goal of the season from 12 yards. And the title race was thrown wide open at that time. Sensing confidence, Blackburn started attacking and Kuszczak tipped over a shot from Bentley from 25 yards. In the past days, Capello had suggested that Rooney had all the ingredients to be a future England captain but Rooney led his frustration get to him as he launched a dangerous tackle on Samba for not being allowed a penalty. He was lucky to get only a yellow card. One player, that has kept United out of the game was Brad Friedel and he produced a fantastic save again to deny Ronaldo from Giggs corner.

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5 Reasons why Arsenal finished without any silverware

When February started, Arsenal was comfortably sitting at the top of Premier League with a 5 point lead over Manchester United and a 3 point lead over Chelsea. They were playing wonderful attacking football and it was difficult to see how anyone can defeat them. But today, they are out of the title race. Even there superb victory against AC Milan at champions league seems blurred now considering the loss against Liverpool. Wenger says that a combination of refereeing decisions, bad luck and injuries are to blame for there bad season. But considering they have gone three seasons without any trophy, something else must be wrong. Here we will look at some reasons why Arsenal failed to win any trophy.

1) Lack of players

The current Arsenal squad has enough quality to win trophies but they are definitely lacking in numbers. After the sale of Henry to Barcelona, it didn’t look like Arsenal would really challenge for anything but they did well. Adebayor, Van Persie and Fabregas kept the gunners season alive with superb performance. But look at what happened when Arsenal fielded a weakened side at the Carling Cup match against Tottenham. They were beaten 5 – 1 and that was the sign of things to come. In the FA cup, another weakened side faced Manchester United and were heavily beaten 4-0. Adebayor, Fabregas have played almost all the games this season and they will tire out.

2) The squad is not strong enough ?

Arsenal faced a lot of injury problems this season. Rosicky and Van Persie have missed most of the season through injury. Eduardo suffered a horrific injury and there was no backup. Bendtner has really failed to convince and Walcott has been mainly used a substitute. Instead of buying players in the January window, Arsenal sold Lasanna Diarra to Portsmouth to further reduce the squad size. Wenger claimed that the squad was good enough to win the championship but that has clearly been proved wrong. Due to injuries, many players got over burdened.

3) Inexperience of young players.

Though Arsenal youngsters have shown enough quality and unity to fight for the championship, they clearly lack experience. They have failed to beat the big teams such as Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool. Look at teams such as Man Utd and Chelsea. They got a good blend of young and experienced players.

4)The Birmingham Game

Yes, the infamous game in which Eduardo got injured. It somehow had a psychological effect on the team. Arsenal downfall started after this game.

5) Getting Key Decisions wrong

Many people have said that Wenger have got some key decisions wrong. One of them will be playing Toure at Right back instead of Center back. Playing Senderos at Center back was a poor decision considering the mistakes he made against Liverpool. Even Walcott who has impressed as substitute haven’t been given a starting place by Wenger.

Clearly Wenger needs to see that he needs to buy a few quality players. The Arsenal squad is likely to reduce in the summer to. The ageing Lehmann and Gilberto who are unsettled will definitely leave . Fabregas has also been attracting the interest of major clubs such as Real Madrid. If this were to happen, Arsenal certainly need a lot of players to challenge for the titles next season.

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