Who will win the Championship?

It has crept up on us again, fixture lists are out and the football leagues will be back underway in just four weeks. The quality in The Championship is ever-growing and competition is fiercer than ever for promotion as well as a spot in the play-offs.

Last season saw Reading, Southampton and West Ham, who finished in that order respectively, promoted into the Premier League – all three clubs were among favourites to be promoted but West Ham were predicted to arrive first but actually finished third.  The top clubs for promotion this season are Bolton, Leicester and Wolves respectively.

Bolton slipped out of the Premier League for first time since 1995 and will be very keen to make their way back to the top flight where they now feel they belong. Up until now the club have been able to keep hold of key players and with Owen Coyle at the helm Bolton will be looking to play strong, authoritative and attacking football. With the crop of players that Bolton have at their disposal they should find themselves in the top six, at the very least, come the end of the season. Continue reading Who will win the Championship?

Rooney strike sees England top Group D

It was simple for England at the start of the game; Win or draw against Ukrainian, shorn of potent striker Andriy Shevchenko at the start and they were through. England recalled their own talisman in the shape of Wayne Rooney for Andy Carroll but Hodgson’s men were firmly on the back foot for much of the first 45 minutes.

The host nation gave everything, knowing they had to win and at one point had seven attempts on goal before England had registered a shot of their own. At every opportunity, the ball was being sprayed out on to the flanks and as the crosses rained in on Joe Hart’s goal, Andriy Yarmolenko had the best opportunities to open the scoring but the Three Lions keeper was equal to his efforts. Continue reading Rooney strike sees England top Group D

PROVE YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH

England manager Roy Hodgson has said that he wants the players to prove that they have the ability to do well at a major tournament like the Euro 2012. England will be taking part in the Euro 2012 after missing out on the Euro 2008.

It seemed that former Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello would be in charge of the team at the Euro 2012, which could have been his final major tournament with England. However, he offered his resignation from the job just a few months ago, which jeopardised the preparations for the tournament from the players.

The English FA only recently appointed former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson as the successor for Fabio Capello. The former West Brom manager has said that he wants the players to prove that they have the ability to do well at a major tournament by giving their all in the opening match against France. England have been drawn in the group that also contains France, Ukraine, and Sweden. It is estimated that France and England will be competing against each other for a place in the quarter finals of the Euro 2012. The two sides have already met each other in a friendly match when Fabio Capello was in charge.

“I’d like to think I have the experience and knowledge to lead that nation into the future. But football’s played by the players. They have to do a good job. There are a lot of people who, after the World Cup in South Africa, will want to prove they are good enough, and I’ll be expecting performances from the players. It’s an opportunity for them to prove they should be involved,” said Roy Hodgson ahead of the preparations for the Euro 2012.

The former liverpool manager began his reign with a 1-0 win over Norway recently.

EURO 2012 JUST DAYS AWAY

Once again, Europe and the entire world will be joining together in one spirit of sportsmanship for the EURO 2012 final tournament, which is a sporting event, organized by UEFA every 4 years. This year tournament will be hosted by two European countries; Poland and Ukraine which will be the third successful joint bid for the tournament between 8th June and 1st July. It is the first time either nations will be hosting this tournament.

This year’s final competition will feature 16 European countries that qualified from a total number of 51 countries that entered for the competition; both hosting teams had automatic qualification for the tournament. The event will be hosted in 8 major cities across both countries to also include 16 team base camps will act as accommodation and training camps or the teams. The Popular teams that qualified for the tournament includes: Spain, Germany, Portugal, Italy, France, England and Greece.

Adequate preparations are being made for the sporting event which includes the new match ball which is the Adidas Tango 12 which gives better dribbling and ball control over the unpredictable Jabulani, new soccer boots by Nike the ‘Nike clash Collection soccer boots’, twin mascot named Slavek and Slavko with the song “Endless Summer” by the German singer Oceana as the official Euro 2012 song.

Spain national football team which is ranked 1st in FIFA World ranking and currently the European and World champions after winning both trophies in 2008 and 2010 respectively will be in the tournament to defend the title. Featuring players like David Villa (most international goal scorer with 51 goals from 82 caps, top scorer at Euro 2008 with 4 goals in 4 matches), Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres, Xavier Hernandez (UEFA Team of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011; FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball: 2011; IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Andrés Iniesta (UEFA Team of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2011) and other top quality players will definitely make them a team to watch. Spain is placed in Group C along with rival counties like Italy Croatia and Republic of Ireland after a qualifying campaign with a 100% winning record.

Germany, another top team in this competition with 3 European champions’ titles (1972, 1980 and 1996), runners up (1976, 1992 and 2008) winning all 10 games to qualify for this tournament. Having top notch players as Miroslav Klose with 63 goals from 114 caps, Luska Podolski (UEFA Euro 2008 team of the tournament and UEFA Euro 2008 silver boot) and Philipp Lahm (UEFA team of the year: 2006, 2008; FIFA team of the year: 2008; FIFA world cup all star team: 2006, 2010). The qualities of the German defend and their goalie Manuel Neuer will definitely make the team a formidable opponent.

Nike has introduced the new Nike clash Collection soccer boots that are a set of colorful boots engineered for best performance on the pitch also giving each player an outstanding look. The boots were debuted at the just concluded UEFA championship finals in Munich. Notable players will be using this exquisite soccer boots for this tournament and you can ‘stand out on the pitch in style with your very own pair of Nike Clash Collection soccer shoes’.

CONNOR BACKS HODGSON

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Terry Connor has said that the English FA have chosen the right manager in the form of Roy Hodgson for the England managerial position.

England have been without a manager ever since the resignation of Fabio Capello following the sacking of John Terry as the captain of the England team. It was very much expected that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp would take over the position after the end of the season, but it is now announced that West Brom manager Roy Hodgson would become the permanent manager till Euro 2016. There has been a lot of support coming on for former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson and Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Terry Connor has been the latest.

Terry Connor arrived at Wolverhampton Wanderers in order to replace Mick McCarthy, but he has been extremely unlucky in the job. He is yet to win the Premier league match with Wolverhampton Wanderers and he has also relegated the club to the Championship. However, they showed a lot of pride in the most recent match against Swansea, in which they managed to pull themselves from being 4-1 down to draw the match 4-4. Connor reckons that he is certainly not worried about his future, but he would like to manage the club if he is offered the opportunity.  He’ll be waving his England Flag with pride to support Hodgson.

“His credentials and CV stand up and speak for themselves and his knowledge is second to none. Like everybody else, we were seeing what was happening at Tottenham, how they were playing. That was all credit to Harry Redknapp, who was doing really well, his teams were playing really expressive, really expansive football and that’s what we all want to see. But the FA have taken their time, maybe with the bigger picture in mind and Roy’s the best man for it,” said Connor.

WOODCOCK BACKS ENGLAND

Ex-England striker Tony Woodcock has said that there is every chance that England can be successful at this summer’s Euro 2012, which promises to be very exciting.

Even though England head into the competition without a permanent manager as of yet, Tony Woodcock believes that England can perform well at the Euro 2012 because they have some great players in the team. Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will miss the initial two matches of the campaign, while Jack Wilshere is a major doubt for the Euro 2012, despite having ruled out by Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season.

The tournament will be taking place in a matter of just 52 days and the excitement has been building up. Fabio Capello recently handed his resignation in the wake of the captaincy being stripped off John Terry. The English football Association, however, are yet to name his replacement.

Stuart Pearce has been named as the caretaker manager of the England national team, but is unlikely to continue. Harry Redknapp is one of the big names being linked with the job, while the likes of Roy Hodgson have also been spoken about for leading England at the Euro 2012. Woodcock played for England back in the 1980’s. He has compared the current England team with the Danish side of 1992, which won the European Championships.

“Maybe this is the right time, with the pressure off a little bit, to just go out there and play. There is hope – there will be a lot of teams who will not relish playing against England. I have been encouraged with the way Chelsea have been playing in the last few weeks, where the so-called experienced players [John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard] look to be refreshed and are up for the challenge in the Champions League,” Woodcock said.

According to the latest Football Betting odds, England are third-favourites.

JOSE RULES OUT ENGLAND ROLE

Real Madrid manager José Mourinho has said that he is not interested in taking the England job after it has been rumoured that he is one of the contenders for the job amongst the English FA ranks.

José Mourinho was one of the favourites to take over from Steve McClaren the last time the opportunity opened up, but the then out of work Mourinho, did not take the job. Hence, the English FA are not considering him seriously this time around, as José Mourinho is currently managing one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Even though there have been reports that he is set to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, the former Chelsea manager dismissed speculation linking him with the England job.

One of the reasons for José Mourinho to be linked with the England job is the recent house hunting by the Portuguese manager in London. However, José Mourinho has many times said that he believes that the international teams should be coached by the managers from the respective regions. He also has said that managing the Portugal national team will make him a complete man, although he is not ready for such a job as of now.

“There is no way Jose will coach England. He loves the football in England but there is no chance of this at all. What he wants is a club,” a close friend told The National. José Mourinho is looking to capture the Spanish league title for the first time in three seasons. They are currently the leaders in the Spanish la Liga, and hold a significant 10 point advantage over Barcelona. Even though Real Madrid are yet to play Barcelona at the Camp Nou – where they have lost numerous times in recent seasons, Real Madrid are the favourites for the title.

HARRY UNSURE ON ENGLAND ROLE

Harry Redknapp has asserted that his taking charge of the England National Football Team now would be extremely unfair on the Tottenham Hotspur side that are doing so well at the moment, sitting pretty in third on the English Premier League table and looking good for direct qualification into next year’s UEFA Champions League.

Redknapp has long been linked with the managerial hot set of the England national team and ever since the resignation of Fabio Capello from the position; Redknapp has strongly been linked with the job.

Many of the tabloids in the United Kingdom have already begun circulating news that harry would take up the job and keep both the jobs at the same time but will leave White Hart Lane ahead of the European Championships at the end of the season. However, it has also been revealed that Harry will talk to his son Jamie, former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur player and current television expert before he takes any decision regarding the managerial position of the England National Football Team.

With Stuart Pearce currently handling the job as the interim manager, Redknapp is in no hurry to jump to any decisions but the FA wants a decision from him by the end of April so that the he and the players can get a chance to acclimatize with each other.

Continue reading HARRY UNSURE ON ENGLAND ROLE

BECKHAM TIPPED FOR ENGLAND ROLE

England midfielder David Beckham is one of the surprising candidates for the vacant England managerial position.

David Beckham is currently a LA Galaxy player after deciding to re-sign with the American team in favour of the French club PSG. He’s being reportedly paid around US$ 15 million in total for the next two years. It would be interesting to see if David Beckham would be interested in announcing his retirement just at the start of a new contract and coming to manage England – in what would be his first managerial job.

David Beckham has always been extremely passionate about his country, which can be easily seen from the fact that he wants to be part of the Olympic team from Great Britain.

Harry Redknapp is currently their favourite amongst the bookies, but it would be certainly difficult to disregard David Beckham with such a proposition. David Beckham was part of the England bid for the 2018 World Cup, which was ultimately handed to Qatar.

The candidates for the vacant England manager job include the likes of José Mourinho, Roy Hodgson, Hiddink, and current under 21 coach Stuart Pearce. The English football association failed to rule out the possibility of foreign coach this time around as well, despite the calls for a local coach.

“There is a preference for an English person or a British person, but in the end we want the best person. Clearly an English or a British person would have a good start of the matter” Football Association Chairman David Bernstein said on Thursday. It is very much expected that the Football Association will be making a decision after the Holland friendly. The English FA have said that Stuart Pearce will be the caretaker manager during the match against Holland. Capello resigned as the England manager recently.

ROONEY OFF TO CITY?

In news that shocked the entire English football fraternity, Manchester City are lining up a £ 60 million bid for Manchester United and England international striker Wayne Rooney if rumors of a rift between the player and his manager Sir Alex Ferguson turn out to be true.

The Manchester United manager dropped his star player from the squad for the match against Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve, a match that The Red Devils went on to lose 3-2, before recalling the player for their 3-0 away defeat at the hands of Newcastle United a few days later.

According to reports, Rooney was dropped from the side when images of him partying after the Boxing Day fixture against Wigan Athletic were released and it is believed that the talismanic striker is extremely displeased with the manager for dropping him. Manchester City reportedly came close to signing the England international striker last October when Rooney handed in a transfer request to the United officials claiming that the club was not heading in the right direction but Fergie managed to hold on to him and got him to sign a new five year deal at Old Trafford.

But with the latest reports indicating another rift between two of the biggest personalities at the club, City might be making the right move as Sir Alex is known to offload players who he believes to have become bigger than the club, no matter how important he is to the side. Having wielded the axe on players like David Beckham, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, The Red Devils manager will not think twice about selling the star player and release some cash for future buys and it seems that only Manchester City have the cash at hand to meet the valuation of the player at United.