Making history is not exactly new to Egypt. This is a nation built on, and made legendary by, the extraordinary achievements of an ancient civilisation. It should hardly come as a surprise, therefore, that Egypt's hosting of the FIFA U-20 World Cup should bring about of a new chapter of football history.
Tournament records were rewritten, with more goals than ever before, and an unprecedented number of fans turning out to watch them. And, as you would expect from a competition that has given us the likes of Maradona and Messi, there was an abundance of promising talent on show. Yet, for Africa at least, Egypt 2009 will be not be remembered for any of these achievements. Instead, it will go down in history as the first time that a team from the mother continent came, saw and conquered all at FIFA's second-biggest tournament.
Ghana were the team to inscribe their name in folklore, and worthy winners they were too. Led by the tournament's top scorer and outstanding player, Dominic Adiyiah, the Black Satellites combined strength and skill to devastating effect, scoring 16 times en route to the final. Even when the goals finally dried up in the decider against Brazil, Sellas Tetteh's side merely took that as the signal to display another essential attribute of champions: character.
Holding the Brazilians at bay with ten men for 83 of the 120 minutes was impressive enough; finding the reserves of stamina and strength of mind to triumph in the subsequent penalty shoot-out was nothing short of heroic. The 70,000-strong crowd roared their acclaim, and rightly so. At a time when Africa has been thrust to the very centre of world football, Ghana - with the likes of Adiyiah, Andre Ayew and Ransford Osei all outstanding - had illustrated just why the continent is so confident about its future. As Tetteh told FIFA.com in the aftermath of their triumph: "We have brought joy to a lot of people."
A tournament of surprises
If Tetteh's Black Satellites were the stars of the show, the supporting cast was almost as impressive. It took the lottery of penalty kicks to deny Brazil the title and some will sympathise with Giuliano who, while praising Ghana, suggested after the final that the better team had lost. Nonetheless, the Brazil No10 - winner of the adidas Bronze Ball - was one of several impressive performers for A Seleção, with the likes of Alex Teixeira, Alan Kardec and Douglas all suggesting that they will be knocking on Dunga's door before long.
Egypt 2009 was also, as FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner pointed out, "a tournament of surprises". Few would have guessed when the tournament started, for example, that the semi-final line-up would be completed by Costa Rica and Hungary. The fact that these sides began their campaigns by losing 5-0 and 3-0 to Brazil and Honduras respectively only made their progress all the more remarkable.
Hungary, led by their superb captain, Vladimir Konan, also needed penalties to edge Los Ticos in the battle for bronze, although a place on the podium was probably the least they deserved for their efforts over the course of the tournament. The Central Americans, meanwhile, head for home with their reputation enhanced by some superb performances from the likes of Diego Estrada, Esteban Alvarado and Josue Martinez, most notably in their last 16 triumph over the hosts.
For many, Egypt's early exit ensured that, in the words of Local Organising Committee president Hany Abo Rida, the tournament was always going to be "tinged with disappointment". Yet memories of the Cairo crowd's celebrations as Trinidad and Tobago and Italy were beaten during the group stage will live long in the memory, as will the memorable cameo provided by Bogy against Gli Azzurrini.
The Italians had a couple of stars of their own in Andrea Mazzarani and Mattia Mustacchio, while Czech centre-half Ondrej Mazuch, Germany's Lewis Holtby and Spain duo Aaron Niguez and Fran Merida all helped to keep the flag flying for Europe. Asian enthusiasts, meanwhile, will have noted that Amer Abdulrahman and Koo Ja Cheol were both shortlisted for the end of tournament awards, a well-deserved reward for their roles in UAE and Korea Republic's success in reaching the quarter-finals.
All these players and more contributed to a new record tally of 167 goals, surpassing the tournament's previous benchmark of 165 from Malaysia 1997. With 1,295,586 supporters clicking through the turnstiles, they too made history, comfortably oustripping the previous record attendance of 1,195,239 set at Canada 2007.
At the end of such a successful tournament, it is fitting that the final word should go to its star. He might have fired his team to the title, become the third-top scorer in the tournament's history and been rewarded with the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, but Dominic Adiyiah was focused solely on the future. "I'm not going to rest on this," he told FIFA.com. "I'm following in the footsteps of the likes of Messi, Saviola and Aguero and I want to emulate their careers - and I'll work hard to do that. I'm preparing to get to the top."
The world will be watching Adiyiah's rise, and the ascent of his fellow Egypt veterans, with great interest.
Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Korea Republic, UAE, Uzbekistan, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Tahiti, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela
4. Costa Rica
Alexandria, Cairo, Ismailia, Port Said, Suez
No. of goals
8 goals: Adiyiah (GHA)
5 goals: Koman (HUN)
4 goals: Niguez (ESP), Del Valle, Rondon (both VEN), Kardec (BRA), Osei (GHA)
SOURCE - Eurosport
Internazionale striker Mario Balotelli was praised for his calm reaction when Roma fans threw bananas at him in a bar.
The 18-year-old, who was in Rome ahead of joining the Italy U21 squad, was praised for his calmness by coach Pierluigi Casiraghi, having previously reacted angrily when confronted by Italy's football racism problem.
"The boy has behaved well both with the team and in the specific incident yesterday when he didn't respond to verbal provocation," Casiraghi said in a statement.
Italy-born Balotelli, who has Ghanaian roots, was racially abused by Juventus fans at a Serie A match in April and has been the victim of racist chanting and gestures from fans throughout the season.
Juve were forced to play a game behind closed doors as punishment.
Fifa change to benefit Africa
Football's world governing body Fifa has removed the age limit for players who want to switch national allegiance.
Previously players who had represented one country at youth level had to make the choice to change by the age of 21.
But Fifa's congress in the Bahamas has approved a motion from Algeria to abandon that restriction.
The move opens the way for players like Dennis Aogo and Mamadou Samassa to represent the country of a parent's birth.
Aogo has been called up by Nigeria, even though under the previous rules he was too old to make the change.
Nigeria have also tried to call up Carlton Cole in the past but he is now more likely to concentrate on England, having been called into Fabio Capello's squad for the qualifier in Kazakhstan and the home game against Andorra.
Samassa has applied to Fifa for clearance to play for Mali, despite also being over the age of 21.
Algeria, who proposed the motion, could now have access to several players who have featured in France's youth teams.
They include Lazio midfielder Mourad Meghni, who was born in France to Algerian parents and has represented France at youth level but has never played for the full national side.
The removal of the age limit is the only change to the regulations - all other restrictions will apply.
In line with Fifa regulations the change of rules will come into effect 60 days after the vote.
Source - b.b.c
That time of year is upon us. January blues banished by silky, skilful soccer. Here I’ll take a look at each teams prospects in the Champions League knockout stages.
Sporting CP Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid Porto
Real Madrid Liverpool
Internazionale Manchester United
Those that know their history will know the ‘Pool have won the European Cup in Rome ’s Olympic Stadium before. In 1977 they overcame the Germans Borussia Munchen Gladbach (with Berti Vogts in defence). In 1984 Roma were beaten with Bruce Grobbelaar’s famous ‘spaghetti legs’ performance earning them their fourth win of a famous five in the late 70s/early 80s.
Liverpool have the chance to return to Rome to do a famous hat-trick of cup wins but will rely hugely on Steven Gerrard. The England midfield dynamo is the heartbeat of the Merseysiders, the game against Madrid will hinge on his performance. Can he and former Athletico man Torres turn it on? I have a feeling it may be close but no cigar against a resurgent Real Madrid.
Real Madrid :
What a difference a month makes! At the years beginning Madrid were a club in crisis. Juande Ramos’ appointment left fans underwhelmed, while President Ramon Calderon made a humiliating exit from Presidency after Spanish newspaper ‘Marca’ uncovered a voting scandal. Since then they have went on a strong run of form, closing the 12 point gap on Barcelona in La Liga to 7 as of this weekend. A 6-1 thumping of Real Betis on Saturday night will have ‘Los Merengues’ high on confidence in their domestic league and Europe .
The signing of Lassana Diarra was logical, he will fill the void left by Mahmadou Diarra in front of defence and look to keep the shackles on Gerrard. Gonzalo Higuain and the evergreen Raul have forged a terrific partnership up front recently, their movement will cause the Liverpool defence all sorts of problems. If Madrid can keep their belief there is no reason they cannot look to not just progress but outright win the tournament. A dark horse in a white shirt? Who’d have thought it?
A season that started so promisingly has taken a disastrous turn for the worse recently. However, Roman Abramovich has called on his knight in shining armour – Guus Hiddink.
Hiddink’s managerial record is simply world class, success oozes out of his every pore. However to take this group of players all the way may be a bridge too far even for this man. While defensively solid and strong in every area of the pitch, Chelsea have a problem of not having any real creativity in the final third. Robinho, the main man Scolari wanted for this team, went to Manchester City and has shown in spurts what could have been. Had the twinkle toe Brazilian went to London , with the likes of Ballack and Lampard behind him he would have run the show.
A hard physical match against another team lacking inspiration, Juventus, awaits. Simply too close to call on if they can dispatch the Italians.
A good season so far and on course for a second or third place finish in Serie A. Claudio Ranieri has built a functional squad capable of grinding down teams and finishing them off with lethal striker Amauri.
The ‘Old Lady’ find themselves up against a team in a very similar position as themselves: a very good team lacking that creative force behind the strikers. Nedved and Camoranesi will run all night and test the Chelsea full backs at every opportunity, Sissoko will look to counteract the runs of Lampard and Buffon will be looking to reinforce his claim to the best goalkeeper in the world tag that Petr Cech covets. I can’t help but see this tie being decided on set pieces, the wonderful delivery technique of Del Piero versus the aerial power of Chelsea .
A difficult season after a fantastic finish in last years La Liga, the ‘Yellow Submarines’ still find themselves in 4th place, only 3 points off 3rd placed Sevilla.
Their last 32 tie against Greek side Panathinaikos looks straightforward, but they’ll need to be on their toes against a side that have a fearsome home stadium.
Midfield lynchpin Marcos Senna will have an interesting midfield battle with ex-Arsenal man Gilberto. While Santi Cazorla and Robert Pires will be the main creative outlets to provide the little Italian Giuseppe Rossi. Rossi has been in good form all season and should be a good bet to score at some point in the tie.
Did fantastically well to qualify top from their group ahead of Inter Milan and Werder Bremen . The Greeks have since fallen away in domestic competition with Olympiakos running away with the Super League.
Panathinaikos will be looking to Karagounis to up his performance from the poor fare delivered domestically and look to create. Gilberto Silva in midfield will be stretched if coach Henk Ten Cate decides to play 4-3-3. A tussle against his old Arsenal team-mate Robert Pires may well be on the cards if so.
Did well to get this far but will need a minor miracle to defeat a Villareal team that this season, haven’t even got near the form they are capable of.
Sporting Lisbon :
A well drilled side that are looking good in the Portugese Liga, currently sitting in 3rd place only 4 points off the top.
Holding on to midfielder Joao Moutinho was a master stroke by coach Paolo Bento. The midfielders enthusiasm and ball retention will be essential against a Bayern Munich side capable of hitting on the break with ease. Fabio Rochemback has recently returned to form and will need to play out of his socks when faced with Franck Ribery tearing in from the wing.
Sporting will need to bring their best against the Germans but it may not be enough if Ribery and co decides to turn on the style.
For all their individual talent Bayern simply cannot get a run of form together in the Bundesliga. Sitting in 4th place they are only 4 points from the top but consistency eludes them at every turn.
Against Sporting the Germans will be looking to get Schweinsteiger down the flank and Ribery should be given free reign to cause chaos down the right and cutting inside. Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose up front is a deadly combination that should get some joy in Portugal .
If Klinsmann can get them organised then they could reach the semi finals, sadly a lack of togetherness means a Quarter Final exit is likely unless the draw is kind to them.
Atletico Madrid :
Look up “under-performing” in the dictionary and you’ll find Atletico. Countless millions invested and success always evades the team from the Vicente Calderon. 5 points off of Champions League qualification for next season means the Madrid men will need to make the most of this years experience as UEFA cup football is their best bet for next year.
A tricky tie against FC Porto is up next. With Lisandro Lopez and Simao on the same side of the pitch it will be an interesting tussle for supremacy on the wing. Argentinian wonder kid Sergio Aguero will be the one to watch however, an occasion like this deserves a big performance from him.
Aguero’s performance may be in vain though, Porto look to be favourites and a second leg in Portugal should prove a key factor.
Sitting top of the Portuguese Super Liga is a position Porto have grown accustomed too. A fearsome home record both domestically and in Europe is the backbone of the team’s fortunes.
Midfield is easily the strongest part of the team with Lucho Gonzalez providing the main support to striker Hulk. On the opposite flank Christian Rodriguez has found his best form and will look to get the best of Maxi Rodriguez on the Atletico right.
If they can come through the first leg at the Vicente Calderon without a collapse then expect Porto to pull a major surprise this year.
While still dominant domestically, the French champions are not the formidable opposition to Europe ’s top guns as they once were. An attack that relies all too heavily on electric front man Karim Benzema means Lyon have looked ineffective against organised defences.
Truly frightening for Lyon fans however is the prospect of Fabio Grosso being demolished by a Barcelona right wing of Lionel Messi and Dani Alves. The Italian world cup winner has failed to live up to his status as a world champion, with performances lacking in the dynamism he often displayed for his country. They will be lucky to come away from this tie without embarrassment I fear.
The in-form team of the 2008-2009 season. An average of three goals scored per game and a defence that is just as adept at keeping the goals out have propelled last seasons under achievers into this season dominant force. Dropped points domestically will hopefully not affect team confidence that has been galvanised by Pep Guardiola’s appointment as coach.
Champions League top scorer Lionel Messi is playing the best football of his career and it is no coincidence the arrival or Dani Alves at right back happened around the same time.
While Andres Iniesta misses out through injury, Xavi and Yaya Toure should not have too much difficulty against Lyon’s ineffectual midfield. Expect a comfortable victory as the Catalans march on to Rome.
A season of inconsistency from Arsene Wenger’s youngsters has seen the team struggle to keep up with the top four they usually occupy. A title challenge was sadly forgotten long ago by Gunners fans.
The absence of Cesc Fabregas cannot be exaggerated, the Spaniard is as influential to Arsenal as Gerrard to Liverpool. Denilson and Diaby do not provide the same forward runs and impact, they will struggle to contain Roma’s excellent performer Daniele De Rossi.
Success hinges on the performance of the midfield in getting Nasri and Van Persie involved in the game. The news Fabregas may be available for the second leg is a huge boost for the team.
The best incentive a team can have is dangling right in front of Italian noses. Roma have the opportunity of playing the final in their own stadium should they get there. Their form since the end of last year suggest they have every chance to.
The forward line of Marko Vucinic and Francesco Totti has proved very potent. Totti playing the deeper role should cause Arsenal a considerable headache. Behind these two is a midfield I fear Aresenal will struggle to deal with: De Rossi, Matteo Brighi and Simone Perotta. The bite and energy from the middle should propel Roma to a good result but only if they perform to the level they can.
Along with Barca, United are Europe’s form team. The base of their success this season is the back four, Vidic, Ferdinand and young Northern Irishman Johnny Evans have all been exceptional at the centre. Young Rafael da Silva has excited fans with his direct skilful running.
Up front the combinations of Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov and Ronaldo will keep Inter’s back line on their toes. With the players at his disposal Sir Alex Ferguson may decide to go 4-3-3 and ask questions of Inter’s defensive capabilities.
Inter have failed to perform in the Champion’s League so far and Ferguson may feel they are there for the taking. A dream final of Barcelona versus Manchester United is surely the choice of neutral fans.
Cruising along in top spot in Serie A fails to hide the fact Inter are a few pieces short of a world class side. Individual talent like Ibrahimovic and Adriano shine through but on the wings they look distinctly average. Quaresma and Mancini were drafted in to remedy this but neither has been capable. Mancini has all but disappeared off the radar and Quaresma is now warming the bench at Chelsea.
Their home form has been exceptional domestically and mourinho will hope to use this as a base to get another over on his old foe Fergie. Like many teams this season, Jose will rely on the individual talent of Zlatan to break down the United defence.
A very close match but united have the pedigree in the knockout stages that Inter just have not had in recent years.
Manchester United teenager of Ghanaian descent John Cofie has opted to play for England instead of Ghana after accepting an invitation to the Under-16 team.
The 15-year-old also qualifies to play for Germany where he was born and for the West African country through his parents nationality.
According to a report in British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror, Manchester United wonder-kid John Cofie has chosen to represent England at international level.
The highly-rated striker was coveted by Liverpool and Chelsea before the Red Devils completed his signing from Burnley for an undisclosed fee in 2007.
Having been called up to the squad, Cofie could make his England Under-16 debut this week in a match against Germany.
Another prodigy at United who qualifies to play for Ghana but is yet to decide his international future is Danny Welbeck.
The Damned United Trailer Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx47RHpQeNQ&feature=relatedHe lasted in the job only 44 days before he was sacked by the Leeds' directors after alienating many of Leeds 's star players, notably Johnny Giles, Norman Hunter and Billy Bremner. He has the unenviable record of being Leeds United's least successful permanent manager winning only one match from six games. Leeds were placed fourth from bottom in 19th position with only 4 points from a possible 12, their worst start in 15 years. However, he left the club an extremely wealthy man as his pay-off was estimated at £98,000, a huge amount at the time.
Not the best think to say on your first day as Manager.
As far as I'm concerned you can throw all those medals you've won in the bin, because you won them all by cheating" - to the Leeds United players on his first day as manager.
thanks again to Luke Szymczak
|Four fans die in Kumasi|
|Monday, 09 February 2009|
A hospital official confirmed that fans, all men, died as a result of suffocation in an overly filled Baba Yara Stadium.
Hearts suffered a great tragedy on May 9, 2001 when 126 people died in Africa's worst footballing disaster while watching a match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko. Trouble started when supporters of Asante Kotoko began ripping out seats in an act of hooliganism in protest at a goal allowed by the referee for Hearts of Oak,which they believe should have been disallowed for offside. Police reacted by firing tear gas into the crowd, it has been suggested that this was an over-reaction. Reports suggest that the gates to the ground were locked and that the rush to escape the tear gas was a contributory factor to the death toll. A commission inquiry strangely failed to indict the hooligans in its report.
my cousin gideon the c.e.o was at this game some our family died r.i.p - hearts never say die
not a good look at all for ghanas bigggest league game both teams former CAF Champions League winners
The Swamp Soccer New World Championships is fast approaching - Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June 2009. This will be the fourth consecutive annual tournament to be held in the UK. The venue will again be the Swamp Soccer Arena in Strachur, Argyll, which is one of the most scenic parts of Scotland. This year you can register and pay online at www.swampsoccer.co.uk .Team registration is only 115 pounds (sterling). This will give you a minimum of three games, and access to all the facilities on site such as a bar, restaurant, toilets, showers and entertainment. Once more we have camping facilities at the Swamp Soccer Arena, and other accommodation choices; all this information and more is on our very detailed website.
Last year we had an independent survey carried out by a market research company. The company interviewed over 150 players and visitors. 95.4% of players and 97.4% of visitors thought that the Swamp Soccer event was either very good or good. This was extremely good news and proves once more that almost everybody enjoys this unique and fun event. A popular suggestion from your feedback was to reduce the tournament from 3 days to 2 days, so we have implemented this. We are also working on some improvements to the event, like the showers and making the beer much cheaper (hurray).
This year we are expecting up to 100 teams from approximately 15 different countries. The current economic climate may affect these numbers but we are remaining very positive. Bookings to date are higher this year than they were at this time last year.
Our Swamp Soccer international tournament continues to attract a lot of worldwide media interest. Some examples of television footage and radio coverage from the previous three tournaments are available to see and hear at the pictures & videos section of the website, and so is a selection of photographs from all the tournaments to date.
With their new found wealth thanks to Arabian oil money, Manchester City have compiled a shopping list that reads like fantasy football. Kaka, Buffon and Adriano have all been name dropped. However with City’s current terrible run of form and the realisation they are in a relegation battle, can money really buy them happiness?
Why would somebody like Kaka, a World Cup winner, Champions League winner and AC Milan’s golden boy want to move to Eastlands? As has been reported, any transfer will be subject to a myriad of clauses. Speculation is the Brazilian playmaker would want assurances City would be in the Champions League within two years or he could leave the club.
This could be just the start of a number of contracts with release clauses and stipulations. While nobody could blame a world class player for seeking assurances on his future, City may be biting off more than they can chew. One poor season could see them lose key playing staff. How will dressing room harmony be affected if the player next to you is earning almost £2Million a month? Mark Hughes seems to have the right idea. In targeting players like Bellamy and Scott Parker, he is looking to experienced Premiership players. Players who can slot into his team and immediately perform to help them rise up the table.
‘Mega signings’ like Buffon and the rest are attractive for the fans, every week we hear the chant "We’ve got Robinho" from the City loyal. If January passes and no world class player is paraded wearing the sky blue shirt fans may become deflated and feel duped.
Not much has been said of manager Mark Hughes and how he feels about the proposed signings, we do not even know if he is involved in selecting these players at all. Perhaps Sheikh Mansour is spending his £15Billion in playing the most expensive game of football manager ever seen. When bids were made for Berbatov and Robinho in the summer Hughes appeared to be in the dark, if this was to continue will the manager not tire of players being signed without his consent? It puts the manager in a very difficult place, while he has the millions upon millions to spend he may not be allowed to choose his shopping list at all.
Manchester City is a club in a transition phase, looking to flex it’s financial muscle on the world stage. Fearfully for City though, they may be trying to run before they can walk.