15.7.10

IT WAS A TIMEBOMB WAITING TO EXPLODE


Nicolas Anelka says the tension between the France squad and their coach at the World Cup was like a 'timebomb waiting to explode'.

The Chelsea frontman was sent home from the tournament following his bust-up with boss Raymond Domenech, which provoked the rest of the 23-man party to strike in support of the forward.

The disruption saw Les Bleus lose their final group game against South Africa 2-1, a defeat which ended their World Cup campaign.

The French media have suggested that some members of the squad were pressurised to participate in the strike, but 31-year-old Anelkais adamant the players were united in their revolt.

Les Bleus midfielder Jeremy Toulalan admitted on Sunday that the strike was a unanimous decision and that the whole squad should be punished, and Anelka praised the Lyonplayer's stance on the issue.

7.7.10

CAPTAINCY CRISIS


Joachim Low has hosed down the controversy surrounding Philipp Lahm and Germany's captaincy ahead of their World Cup semi-final against Spain.

Lahm told the Bild newspaper he wants to retain the armband even when regular skipper Michael Ballack returns from injury after the tournament, causing an unnecessary distraction in the German camp less than 48 hours ahead of their crucial match in Durban.

Ballack left the camp shortly after the comments were made, creating the impression of a rift, but Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff has insisted Ballack always intended to visit the team during the quarter-finals and simply departed as scheduled.

2.7.10

ESSIEN CONFIDENT WITH GHANA


Michael Essien believes Ghana are more than capable of beating Uruguay in the World Cup quarter-finals.

The 27-year-old has sent a good luck message to his national compatriots whilst continuing his rehabilitation on a knee injury.

The Chelsea star injured his knee at the African Cup of Nations early in 2010, and he failed to recover in time for the finals in South Africa.

Although disappointed to have missed out, he admits he is immensely proud of seeing his side become the only African nation to make it to the knock-out stages.

28.6.10

LAMPARD WANTS GOAL TECHNOLOGY


Frank Lampard has demanded the introduction of goal-line technology after being denied a goal against Germany as England crashed out of the World Cup.

England were trailing 2-1 when Lampard's 20-yard strike hit the underside of the bar and bounced down around a yard over the goal-line.

However, the officials failed to spot the ball had crossed the line and allowed play to continue.

Germany took full advantage of their lucky escape by going on to win 4-1 and Lampard is amazed his goal was not allowed to count.

Lampard believes that if it had gone to 2-2, it would have been a different game. It baffles him that it wasn't given and it was a big deciding factor.

GERMANY 4 - ENGLAND 1


England were hammered 4-1 by Germany in the second round of the World Cup, but the spotlight fell on the officials after they missed an obvious equaliser for Fabio Capello's men just before half-time.

After Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski had put Germany 2-0 up early on, Matthew Upson got one back but then Frank Lampard's goal was ruled out after the ball bounced down off the bar, despite it landing a yard over the line.

When Lampard's effort went in, only for assistant Mauricio Espinosa to miss it, grainy images of England's controversial third at Wembley in 1966 immediately sprang to mind. To his total disbelief, Capello's celebrations of what would have been an equaliser were cut short. Everyone in the ground, except the men who mattered, knew what had happened.

Germany made the most of their good fortune to book a quarter-final place, with what turned out to be their biggest win over a rival they have not lost to in a major tournament since the 1966 final. For England, it was their joint-biggest ever defeat at a World Cup.

Klose and Podolski's first half-goals were doubled by a pair from the excellent Thomas Muller after the break. But no-one will be talking about them on the streets of England. Nor will they discuss a Matthew Upson header that brought the Three Lions back into it.

Eventually they might get round to the clear defensive deficiencies in a team Capello claimed was good enough to reach the final.

26.6.10

IVORY COAST 3 - NORTH KOREA 0


Sven-Goran Eriksson's side struck twice inside 20 minutes as they tore into their limited opponents from the outset, but only frustration followed in their final Group G game. Yaya Toure, Romaric and Salomon Kalou were on target as Ivory Coast's World Cup campaign ended with a hollow victory over North Korea.

The Africans had 14 shots, 10 on target, as they dominated the first half and sensed an unlikely chance to reach the last 16. The threatened goal duly arrived after 13 minutes as Toure took a neat touch from an Arthur Boka cross and coolly placed a shot into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

Romaric then clipped the post from distance before a fierce Drogba shot rattled the underside of the bar and bounced off the line to allow Romaric to head in the second.

Kalou entered the action but spurned a good chance when he scooped over at the end of a neat move. He made up for that when he volleyed in a Boka cross nine minutes from time but by then the players were going through the motions.

24.6.10

SLOVENIA 0 - ENGLAND 1


England produced a vastly improved performance to beat Slovenia 1-0 and progress to the last 16 as Group C runners-up. The Three Lions needed to win after being held to disappointing draws by USA and Algeria in their opening two World Cup games, and responded with a dynamic display full of urgency and slick passing.

Two of the players brought into the side by Fabio Capello combined for the crucial goal on 22 minutes as James Milner delivered a superb cross from the right wing and Jermain Defoe provided the finishing touch.

England continued to dominate possession and carved out a number of good opportunities to double their advantage, with Samir Handanovic repelling Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney with athletic saves, and Defoe also flicking an effort wide.

Slovenia did carry a threat on the counter-attack and anxiety would have been spreading among England supporters as their team failed to take a more comfortable lead.

However, England stayed solid in defence and held on to the final whistle to make it through to the next round, with Slovenia dramatically bowing out as a result of USA's last-gasp winner against Algeria.

23.6.10

ENGLAND IN A DO OR DIE MISSION

 
Fabio Capello says he never considered dropping John Terry after the defender's outburst, and insists confidence is high in the England camp as they prepare to face Slovenia in Wednesday's crunch match in Port Elizabeth.
England have had to deflect stories of rifts in the camp following newspaper speculation at the weekend and John Terry's press conference, when the former skipper claimed there would be frank words spoken at a team meeting.
Capello has since stated that Terry made a "big mistake" in that press conference, but insisted on Tuesday that he never considered dropping the former captain in order to punish him.
Captain Steven Gerrard, who described the game against Slovenia as "do or die'', claimed Terry's outburst is not affecting the players. Gerrard sympathises with the supporters and revealed the team are desperate to put on a better performance. He also denied that he and his team-mates had put pressure on Capello to pick Joe Cole in his team.
Capello also backed Wayne Rooney to up his game following recent criticism of his below-par performances, especially in the goalless draw with Algeria. The manager admitted it was possible he had made mistakes in England's opening two games but has called for his players to knuckle down and start battling.
 

SOUTH AFRICA 2 - FRANCE 1


France exited the World Cup at the first round stage with barely a whimper after this humbling defeat by the host nation at the Free State Stadium.

On a day of drama Raymond Domenech stripped Patrice Evra of the captaincy and handed the armband to Alou Diarra instead. Then the coach, set to be replaced by Laurent Blanc, saw his side reduced to 10 men after 26 minutes of this Group A game when Yoann Gourcuff was sent off.

South Africa took advantage with Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela both finding the target. Although Florent Malouda stepped off the bench to pull a goal back France are heading home early.

Evra was dropped after the squad boycotted a training session after striker Nicolas Anelka was expelled following a row with Domenech. The Manchester United full-back cut a lonely figure on the bench on another dreadful day for France.

It was a bitter sweet win for South Africa as they have become the first host nation to be eliminated at the first round stage of the finals.


21.6.10

PORTUGAL 7 - NORTH KOREA 0


Portugal hit their stride at the World Cup on Monday, thrashing North Korea 7-0 to give themselves an excellent chance of reaching the last 16 while ending the Asian team's hopes.

Portugal took the lead through Raul Meireles in the 29th minute and went on the rampage in the second half with three goals in a seven-minute spree from Simao Sabrosa (53rd), Hugo Almeida (56th) and Tiago (60th).

The score was completed with late strikes from Liedson (81st) and Cristiano Ronaldo in the 87th, his first for Portugal in two years, and Tiago again in the 89th.

Portugal scored five in their remarkable 1966 World Cup quarter-final with North Korea when they came from 3-0 down to win 5-3.

Brazil, already sure of a second round place, lead Group G with six points from Portugal, who have four. Ivory Coast have one and North Korea none with one match each left to play.


IVORY COAST 1 - BRAZIL 3


Kaka was controversially sent off as a brace from Luis Fabiano and an Elano strike helped Brazil ease to victory in their battle with Ivory Coast at Soccer City. 

Didier Drogba grabbed a late goal for the Elephants, but the game was marred by the late dismissal of Kaka for an off the-the-ball foul on Kader Keita. It came too late, though, for the Elephants to respond as they slipped to defeat that leaves them with just a point in Group G, while Brazil now have six. 

The game got slightly scrappy late on and Kaka received his marching orders after being shown a second yellow card.

 

20.6.10

ANELKA SENT HOME


Nicolas Anelka has been sent home from the World Cup, the French Football Federation have confirmed. The France Striker was reportedly embroiled in war of words with Raymond Domenech at half-time in the 2-0 defeat to Mexico, in which was alleged to have told the much-maligned Les Bleus' coach "go screw yourself, dirty son of a whore".

And after refusing to apologise to Domenech for the exchange, the Chelsea striker has been told he must leave South Africa before France's must-win final group game against South Africa.

Anelka was absent from training on Saturday after the bust-up, which saw him substituted at the interval. He was asked to apologise by French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes and, upon refusing to do so, was asked to leave the squad.


16.6.10

IVORY COAST 0 - PORTUGAL 0


Cristiano Ronaldo was denied by the woodwork as Portugal and Ivory Coast had to make do with a point apiece in Port Elizabeth.

Ronaldo, who has not scored an international goal in 16 months, rattled a post with a blistering early strike, but that was as close as his side came to snatching victory on a frustrating afternoon at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Even Didier Drogba's arrival as a second-half substitute, to the delight of a crowd of 37,034, could not separate the sides as each attempted to gain the upper hand in Group G ahead of their respective encounters with Brazil.

Ivory Coast boss Sven-Goran Eriksson was boosted ahead of kick-off when he was able to name captain Drogba among his substitutes just 10 days after he had broken a bone in his arm.


13.6.10

DROGBA OUT OF TRAINING BUT FINE


Didier Drogba sat out training on Saturday but Ivory Coast are still hoping the striker will be fit to face Portugal. Drogba broke his arm in a warm-up match against Japan on June 4 and there were initial fears he could miss the tournament, but he had surgery the day after the game and has made a swift recovery.

Ivory Coast confirmed Drogba missed training on Saturday to visit the team doctors, but Sven-Goran Eriksson is still optimistic about his chances of playing against Portugal in their Group G opener on Tuesday.

 

9.6.10

ROBBEN TO MISS OPENER

 
Arjen Robben has been ruled out of Holland's World Cup opener against Denmark with a hamstring injury. The Bayern Munich man sustained a small tear in his left hamstring towards the end of Saturday's 6-1 warm-up victory over Hungary.
 
He is hoping intensive physiotherapy will help him play some part in South Africa, but Oranje coach Bert van Marwijk is resigned to being without the 26-year-old for Monday's Group E opener against the Danes in Johannesburg. Robben can be replaced by the Dutch until the day before their first game.
 
 

7.6.10

KING CONFIDENT TERRY PARTNERSHIP

 
Ledley King he is confident of playing alongside John Terry in a new-look central defensive partnership following Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal from the England squad. Ferdinand, who suffered a knee injury in training on Friday, is to stay with the squad for the time being at least until he is considered fit enough to manage a long-haul flight back to the UK. That will not be before England's opening game against the United States on Saturday.
 
Tottenham defender King is thought to be at the head of the queue to replace Ferdinand at the heart of the defence, despite not playing a competitive game for his country for three years. Added to that, King's chronic knee injury means he is only able to take part in limited training - and that causes additional problems as he tries to forge an understanding with Terry.
 
Coach Fabio Capello also has Matthew Upson, Jamie Carragher and Michael Dawson, Ferdinand's replacement in South Africa, at his disposal. Upson has missed recent training sessions through illness but is due to join in with the rest of the squad on Monday.

LAMPARD CONFIDENT ROONEY HAS MATURED

 
England midfielder Frank Lampard has warned World Cup rivals against trying to wind up Wayne Rooney. Former USA defender Alexi Lalas, who played in the 1994 tournament, has suggested his country's best chance of success when the two sides meet on 12th June lies in getting under Rooney's skin.
 
The suggestion comes after Rooney received his marching orders in the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal four years ago following a clash with Ricardo Carvalho. But the 24-year-old has shown a growing maturity in recent seasons and Lampard has warned the USA players not to try and antagonise the Manchester United striker, who also became a father for the first time late last year.

 

DROGBA IS NOT OUT

 
Didier Drogba has been tipped to make a speedy recovery after undergoing an operation on his fractured arm, but his involvement at the World Cup still appears to be in the balance. The Ivory Coast striker was forced out of his side's warm-up game against Japan on Friday and it initially seemed that his World Cup dream was in tatters.
 
However, a spokesman later stated that Drogba had not been ruled out of the tournament 'at this stage' and he has now gone under the knife. The Ivory Coast Federation (FIF) is happy with how the surgery has gone and hopes he will regain fitness as quickly as possible.

 

6.6.10

LAMPARD TO WORK WITH CAPTAIN GERRARD

 
Frank Lampard believes he can forge a successful partnership with new captain Steven Gerrard in the heart of England's midfield. Gerrard has been handed the armband for the World Cup after Rio Ferdinand was ruled out with a knee problem on Thursday.
 
Lampard, who is now the team's vice-captain, is fully behind the decision and has no doubts that Gerrard will thrive on the added responsibility as he does at club level. Lampard and Gerrard could be asked to line up together in central midfield against USA next Saturday, with Gareth Barry doubtful due to an ankle problem.

DROGBA DOUBT FOR WORLD CUP

 
Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba could miss the World Cup after fracturing his right elbow. The skipper left the field clutching his right arm in the 2-0 friendly success over Japan in Switzerland on Friday after a clash in the 16th minute with Brazilian-born defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka.
 
A hospital scan has now confirmed the injury, and team-mate Kolo Toure says the striker is out of the finals. Manchester City's Toure said he was informed of the news by Drogba himself.
 

5.6.10

OBI MIKEL PULLS OUT OF WORLD CUP

 
Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has been ruled out of the World Cup amid fears over his recovery from knee surgery. Mikel becomes the latest Chelsea player to suffer World Cup heartache with Michael Ballack and Michael Essien unavailable for Germany and Ghana and with Didier Drogba's tournament with Ivory Coast in severe doubt.
 
The 23-year-old missed the closing weeks of the domestic season as the Blues clinched a Premier League and FA Cup double after going under the knife to cure a knee complaint. And he will not feature at this summer's showpiece in South Africa despite being named in the 23-man squad after informing his country that he did not want to risk his long-term recovery.
 

2.6.10

ANELKA ESCAPES INJURY

 
Nicolas Anelka has survived a scare when he crashed during a mountain bike ride at France's World Cup training camp on Tuesday.
 
Anelka escaped unhurt after losing his balance on a slippery road and falling at the end of a 50-minute ride on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
 
The Chelsea star avoided injury, though, which is a big boost for France as the 31-year-old striker is set to lead the line for Les Bleus at this summer's World Cup finals.
 
 

BALLACK FEELS GOOD CHANCE FOR ENGLAND

 
Michael Ballack says England have the quality to win the World Cup but their history could prove their main stumbling block.
 
Having spent four years in the Premier League, the Germany captain has witnessed several occasions where England have under-achieved, most notably their failure to qualify for the 2008 European Championship.
 
However, the 33-year-old midfielder believes Fabio Capello's men boast one of the best squads for this year's World Cup in South Africa, but must put their national team's previous tournament failings firmly to the back of their minds.
 

30.5.10

WARM UP: JAPAN 1 - ENGLAND 2

 
England needed two late own goals from Japan defenders Marcus Tanaka and Yuji Nakazawa to gain victory in their final World Cup warm-up match in Graz.
 
England were stunned on seven minutes when Japan surged ahead as Marcus Tulio Tanaka converted Endo's corner with a timely low drive that flew past David James.
 
Frank Lampard saw a penalty saved early in the second period. But Tanaka levelled matters when deflecting in a cross from Joe Cole and then Nakazawa suffered the same fate from a centre by Ashley Cole.
 
 

29.5.10

MOURINHO TO LEAVE MILAN FOR MADRID

 
Inter Milan have confirmed they have reached an agreement over compensation for Jose Mourinho and he is now expected to be presented as the new manager of Real Madrid on Monday.
 
Madrid sacked Manuel Pellegrini on Wednesday and outlined their intention to replace him with Mourinho once both they and the Portuguese had negotiated his release from Inter.
 
The two clubs had been struggling to reach a compromise as Inter were insisting they must be paid the full €16 million due to them under the terms of Mourinho's contract.
 
However, an agreement, reported to be worth €8 million, has been reached after a meeting between Real president Florentino Perez and his Inter counterpart Massimo Moratti in Milan.
 
Miroslav Klose, the man with the most caps in Low's squad, missed out on the captaincy due to the fact he has not played many games this season for Bayern.
 
 

ESSIEN IS OUT OF WORLD CUP

 
Ghana will need a tactical rethink for the World Cup after losing Michael Essien, described by coach Milovan Rajevac as arguably the best player in the world in his position. Chelsea midfielder Essien was ruled out of the June 11 to July 11 tournament in South Africa on Thursday after failing to recover from a knee injury.
 
Essien picked up the injury during the African Nations Cup in Angola in January, where the Ghanaians reached the final even though he played only 45 minutes for them. Rajevac said several other players were battling to be fit for Ghana's World Cup Group D opener against his native Serbia in Pretoria on June 13.
 
 

28.5.10

OBI MIKEL IS READY FOR ACTION

 
John Obi Mikel is 'fit' and will join the rest of his Nigeria team-mates on Friday, a spokesman for the country's football federation has announced.
 
The Chelsea midfielder has been in doubt for this summer's World Cup after undergoing a recent operation to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.
 
But Nigeria Football Federation media officer Idah Peterside has revealed a medical team from the Super Eagles that visited Mikel's London club to determine how long he would be out have returned with encouraging news.
 
 
 

26.5.10

BALLACK SAYS NO TO MIRACLES

 
Michael Ballack insists his World Cup dream is over, despite being approached by 'wonder-healers' who claim they could cure him within a fortnight.
 
The Germany captain was ruled out of the South Africa finals after suffering serious ankle ligament damage in Chelsea's FA Cup final win over Portsmouth just over a week ago.
 
Germany doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt said it would take up to eight weeks for the 33-year-old to fully recover but several other doctors have claimed to have trialled ground-breaking treatments which could have Ballack back on his feet within two weeks.
 
That would mean the former Bayern Munich performer would be fit for his country's opening World Cup fixture against Australia in theory, but the Chelsea midfielder is not holding his breath.
 
 

24.5.10

INTER MILAN IS CHAMPION OF EUROPE

 
Diego Milito was overcome with emotion after his two goals handed Inter Milan their first European Cup win in 45 years with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich, and the striker's first continental trophy of a career that has blossomed in the past year.
 
Milito struck twice in the Bernabeu as Inter defeated Bayern to claim the Treble with a deserved victory in the Champions League final. The brace took Milito's tally for the season to 30, ensuring his first season at the club following a move from Genoa has been wildly successful.
 
Focus will now turn to Mourinho's future after he became only the third coach in history to win the European Cup with two different teams, following in the footsteps of Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld. Inter forward Goran Pandev certainly hopes the club retain the services of the self-titled 'Special One'.

 

22.5.10

SVEN WARY OF THE KOREANS

 
Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has said that Group G rivals North Korea could be a tough proposition for his side at the World Cup.
 
The North Koreans - appearing at their first World Cup tournament since 1966 - are very much an unknown quantity, but despite the fact that Eriksson is coming up against Brazil and Portugal in the group, he has his eye on the underdogs.
 
Eriksson also insisted that Chelsea striker Drogba would be crucial to his side's hopes of progressing in the competition, due to the goal threat he possesses.
 
 

19.5.10

BENAYOUN MAY BECOME CHELSEA'S NEW TARGET

 
Chelsea are considering making a move for Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun, with the Israeli international touted as a possible replacement for the out of contract Joe Cole. Cole is apparently no nearer to resolving his contract dispute with owner Roman Abramovich, and the feelers are already out to find a suitable replacement, though Benayoun could even be recruited if Cole stays. There are ample suitors for Cole, but he would like to stay at Stamford Bridge if he can come to an agreement over new terms.
 
However, a list of possible replacements has been put to manager Carlo Ancelotti and the Israeli is highly thought of by the Italian coach, who has now a much clearer picture of the players in the Premier League after his first season in charge of the club. He is also clearer about what is needed to improve the team that won the Double, but fell short in the Champions League.

BOATENG APOLOGISED TO BALLACK

 
Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has apologised to Michael Ballack for the challenge which ruled the Germany captain out of the World Cup.
 
Boateng, who will represent Ghana - an opponent of Germany in the group stage - at the World Cup this summer, told Germany's Sport Bild magazine that he had already offered his apologies several times to Ballack.
 
"All I can do is apologise," said Boateng, who is the half-brother of Germany international Jerome Boateng.
 
"I was just too late and I hit him straight on"
 
"It looked stupid. I apologised to him twice on the field and now for a third time.
 
"I am sorry. It was not intentional."
 
Ballack is still letting the realisation sink in that he is going to miss the World Cup due to the ankle injury he picked up from the tackle.

17.5.10

BALLACK OUT OF WORLD CUP

 
Germany captain Michal Ballack has been ruled out of the World Cup after injuring his ankle in Chelsea's FA Cup final win over Portsmouth. The German Football Federation (DFB) said Ballack underwent a scan on Monday which showed that he had partially torn a ligament in his right leg. The DFB said it would be eight weeks before he could resume training. The World Cup starts in South Africa on June 11.
 
Ballack limped off with during the first-half of Chelsea's 1-0 win over Portsmouth on Saturday after a late tackle by Kevin-Prince Boateng. Boateng was born in Berlin and represented Germany at U21 level, but has switched allegiance and will play at the World Cup for Ghana, who are in the same group as Germany.
 

CHELSEA READY TO GET TORRES

 
Fernando Torres will be the subject of a world record bid from Chelsea within days. The total package of transfer fee and salary will make Torres a staggering £130 million investment. And Soccernet has been informed that owner Roman Abramovich is personally taking control of the project to bring the Liverpool striker to Chelsea.
 
Torres has been linked with Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid for a some time but the Blues will be first to make a concrete offer. Abramovich is ready to release the cash following a Premier League and FA Cup double this season, but he is also acutely aware he could cut an alternative deal with Liverpool in need of new players.
 

16.5.10

CHELSEA WIN FA CUP

 
Didier Drogba won the double for Chelsea with the only goal in a quite remarkable FA Cup final. Drogba's 37th goal of the season was a free-kick just before the hour that found the net with tracer-bullet precision from 20 yards.
 
It maintained Drogba's impressive record of scoring in all six competitive games he has played at the new Wembley and confirmed Chelsea as only the seventh club to complete the league and FA Cup double, a pretty significant achievement in Carlo Ancelotti's first season in charge.
 
But that does not even come close to telling the story of a game that saw Chelsea hit the woodwork five times before the interval, including a terrible miss from Salomon Kalou, Kevin-Prince Boateng fail to convert a penalty shortly before Drogba's winner that could have set up a fairytale finish to a shambolic season of turmoil at Portsmouth, and even Frank Lampard fire wide from the spot three minutes from time.
 

12.5.10

CARRAGHER & COLE IN ENGLAND SQUAD

 
Jamie Carragher and Joe Cole have been included in Fabio Capello's provisional 30-man squad for this summer's World Cup in South Africa. It will be reduced to 23 players by June 1.
 
Liverpool stalwart Carragher, who announced his retirement in 2007, returns to provide cover in defence with Gary Neville overlooked entirely. Chelsea midfielder Cole has been plagued by injury for large parts of this season but his goal against Manchester United helped convince Capello he is worth another look.
 
Provisional Squad:
David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Matthew Upson (West Ham United), Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur), Leighton Baines (Everton), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), James Milner (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Scott Parker (West Ham United), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Darren Bent (Sunderland), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).
 

11.5.10

QUEROZ NAMES PORTUGAL PROVISIONAL SQUAD

 
Pepe has been included in Portugal's provisional 24-man squad ahead of the World Cup, despite having been sidelined by a knee injury since December. The Real Madrid defender was a stand-out in a scrappy Portuguese qualifying campaign to ensure his place.
 
Coach Carlos Queiroz had previously indicated he had "one or two'' doubts about the fitness of certain players. Portugal reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Germany four years ago, but face a difficult task to get out of their group in South Africa after being draw against Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea.
 
Provisional Squad:
Beto (Porto), Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis), Eduardo (Braga), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Ze Castro (Deportivo La Coruna), Bruno Alves (Porto), Rolando (Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Duda (Malaga), Pepe (Real Madrid), Miguel (Valencia), Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (Porto), Nani (Manchester United), Miguel Veloso (Sporting Lisbon), Pedro Mendes (Sporting Lisbon), Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Liedson (Sporting Lisbon), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit St Petersburg).
 

10.5.10

CHELSEA WINS PREMIER LEAGUE

 
Carlo Ancelotti's unstoppable Blues crushed the Red opposition as they romped to the title yesterday. And after hoisting the Premier League trophy aloft, Chelsea skipper John Terry expressed the three years of pain for seeing Manchester United lift it.
 
Chelsea blew their opponents away as they stuck eight past Wigan at a delirious Stamford Bridge. Didier Drogba notched a hat-trick - taking him to 29 League goals and the Golden Boot. And it was a net gain all round for the Blues as they finished the season with 103 Prem goals. Nicolas Anelka (2), Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole also struck yesterday.
 
United, who beat Stoke 4-0, finished a point behind Chelsea. And Terry means to make sure Alex Ferguson's side stay second best for years to come. The England centre back also paid tribute to boss Ancelotti who matched Jose Mourinho's feat by becoming the second foreign coach to win the League at the first attempt.