FIFA World Cup 2010 – Germany Vs Serbia Preview

Each of Germany's 4 strikers got his name on the score sheet, in a 4-0 walloping of Australia, in their first match on June 13.

On Friday, Germany will play Serbia who lost 1-0 to Ghana in their opening match of group D. Serbia and Germany have only met once before, the match going 2-1 in favor of Germany; at half time, though, Serbia led 1-0.

Three time World Cup winners, Germany have never failed to reach the quarter final from 1954 onwards. winning 8 out of 10 matches, they breezed through the qualifiers.

The German backs can expect a little more of a run against Serbia than they did against Australia.

In their second World Cup campaign after 2006, Serbia were unlucky not to take a point of Ghana, where apart from a couple of errors, which cost them a player, Lukovic, and a penalty, they gave as good as they got.

Much is expected from Nikola Zigic a towering striker; Serbia will be happy if midfielde Milos Krasic and Milan Jovanovic have another good outing against the Germans.

Skipper Dejan Stankovic had a forgettable match against Ghana, and will seek to lead more effectively to make the Germany match a little more even, for his team. With red-carded Lukovic out of the Serbian side, Neven Subotic is likely to get his chance. In his favor, Subotic's Borussia Dortmund experience means that he is familiar with the German players.

The Serbian back, Nemanja Vidic, will have to play out of his skin to hold the German front line in check; his primary focus should be on Miloslav Klose. Much of the credit fot their win against Australia must go to the vision and creativity of the midfielder trio of Oezil, Khedra and Schweinsteiger. Mesut Oezil had a hand in 2 of the 4 goals scored.

German coach Joachim Loew will be averse to changing a winning team. Cacau may come in as substitute, in the last third.

The Germans should take this game, comfortably although Serbia should give a better account of themselves than Australia.

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Manchecter United V Everton Preview (Monday Night)

United officially start their Premier league campaign on Monday night against Everton. After last season’s dramatic final day title loss to City, United must want to get a good start this time around.

United performed well in most of their pre-season games. Their only loss came against Barcelona in a curtailed penalty shootout. Most of the players looked in good touch. The defense looked weak however, and we leaked in a lot of silly goals throughout pre-season.

The good news is that most of the Squad is fit and available for the first match of the season. Darren Fletcher still remains absent with a stomach condition. He did play in the midweek testimonial but looked really thin. He will have to do a lot of fitness and strength training before he can step back up on the pitch.

With the signing of Robin Van Persie almost done, United arguably have one of the most potent strike forces in the premier league. What needs to be seen is how well he partners with Rooney up front.

Everton are always a tough opponent, especially at home. We need to be careful not to attack too much as we could get hit on the break. We need to keep a patient build up and try to break them down with our wing play. Steven Pienaar is big threat down the left wing and needs to be kept in check. They way he ran the show at Old Trafford last season really amazes me. Whoever of Rafael or Valencia starts at right back will have to do a good job.

Anderson looks set to start in midfield along with Cleverly or Carrick. Nani and Young should start on the wings with Welbeck and Rooney in attack. Kagawa looked really bright in the pre-season matches however I think he will start on the bench and come on later. United now have good strength and depth in their squad. Many fans are calling for a new signing in center midfield. I think Sir Alex is content with the midfield and might give a few chances to the youngsters throughout the course of the season

Really hoping to see a good game and a good result to start of the premier league season with.

Probable starting line up:

De Gea, Valencia, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Anderson, Young, Welbeck, Rooney

My Prediction:

United to just nick this one with their superior attacking line up. Everton 1-2 Man Utd

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Tottenham Hotspur v. Bournemouth | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 11/30/19 | NBC Sports



Bournemouth made Spurs sweat after clawing back within a goal from 3-0 down, but Tottenham hung on for their second league win in two games under Jose Mourinho. to increase Tottenham’s advantage to 3-0 against Bournemouth. #NBCSports #PremierLeague #Tottenham #Bournemouth
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The Premier League across NBC Sports Group launched in 2013 with their biggest and broadest programming commitment to-date in the United States. With live multi-platform coverage of all 380 games, analysis from best-in-class talent and extensive surrounding coverage all week long, NBC Sports Group has become the ultimate destination for new and existing Premier League fans.

The Premier League maintains strong and consistent reach across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, and NBC Sports Group’s live streaming products, led by the biggest stars and most prestigious teams in the world.

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Tottenham Hotspur v. Bournemouth | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 11/30/19 | NBC Sports

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All Cleats Are Not The Same

While you are new to the games, you don’t digest the idea of cleats of different kinds of different sports. Cleats are external attachments to the lower end of the shoe sole. They are present to improve traction to the kind of ground the sport is being played on. They come in varieties like detachable or fixed to choose from. The three typical types of studs are bladed, rounded/conical and hard grounded. The materials used to make them are rubber, plastic or metal-tipped.

Depending on the sport you opt for, the shoes with cleats change. The combination of materials and types differ from the surface of play for traction.

For Baseball:

Most of the shoes the professionals prefer for baseball have front cleats to dig into the soil and help for a quick acceleration. Improving the force needed to catch a ball or make a run, the baseball shoe’s design help maneuver the feet and pump with the right traction. These are also designed as such, as the sport doesn’t involve ant stepping between the players.

For Football:

For this very particular sport, the cleats are longer than usual. This helps the feet to make easy cuts and turns by swift digging into the grass and soil. Moreover, the leather on them is thicker than the rest to protect the feet when stepped upon. They come in three heights; low cuts, for swift positionings like that of receivers and cornerbacks; mid cuts for the running backs and quarterbacks and finally high cuts, for less mobile positions like defensive line of players.

Generally heavier in overall construction, these shoes are typically made up of leather or synthetic materials. The quality is designed to withstand heavy usage even in dirt, rain, mud or snow.

For Lacrosse:

Might think it to be similar to that of the football, but no they are similar to that of baseball providing toe cleat for quick side movements and stability. Its weight is similar to that of soccer cleats. Moreover, these have mid-level cuts to offer appropriate ankle support. For the dig into the dirt or turf, the top-quality makers usually install eight to ten nubs on the bottom. As ankle rotation or high impact blow is common in lacrosse injuries, these are designed to provide maximum protection.

For Soccer:

Made mainly for running, these are very versatile in its design. The soccer cleats can be worn in other sports, but no vice versa so you should choose wisely. It is not at all safe to wear lacrosse and baseball shoes on the soccer field, because of their front toe cleats. For soccer, it’s always a low cut, evidently because of the rapid movements needed to drive the ball with complete stability. It’s interesting to know that, these are the lightest among all the categorical sports as they are usually made of rubber polyurethane outsole. To keep the center of gravity of a player’s feet, these shoes do not have midsoles. The upper is either leather or synthetic.

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Every goal from Premier League 2019/20 Matchweek 1 | NBC Sports



Watch all the goals from the thrilling opening weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League season. #NBCSports #PremierLeague #Matchday1
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The Premier League across NBC Sports Group launched in 2013 with their biggest and broadest programming commitment to-date in the United States. With live multi-platform coverage of all 380 games, analysis from best-in-class talent and extensive surrounding coverage all week long, NBC Sports Group has become the ultimate destination for new and existing Premier League fans.

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Every goal from Matchday 1 in the Premier League | NBC Sports

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Sachin: A Billion Dreams

An entire set of generations grew up admiring Sachin and his style. When Sachin batted, the entire nation wanted to be glued to the television.

People relate to Sachin in more ways than one. He is a hero in multiple dimensions, a feat which athletes may not always achieve.

Sachin’s fan following does not span in India alone. All across the world, Sachin is seen as larger than life. He is the name which can give jitters to the opposition, even while they take time to admire the game.

While Sachin retired, he was a part of life for every cricket fan. One could not imagine a cricket game without him. Many of Sachin’s fans were born while Sachin was in the team. His career lasted for staggering 23 years. That’s a reasonably long time for playing at the top level, while being a top batsman.

Let’s run through some exciting facts about Sachin’s cricketing career.

  • It is hard to believe that Sachin Tendulkar made his career debut way back in 1989. It was also the year when Anil Kumble made his debut. The two went on to become the hottest players in the squad and win many games for India.
  • Sachin was just 16 years of age when he made his test debut. Only three players in the world have made a debut at a younger age.
  • Sachin took reasonably long to make his first ODI century. It took him 78 matches to get started. He got 110 vs Australia in the Singer World Series. This was in R.Premadasa stadium in Colombo, on 9th September, 1994.

However this was just the beginning, and set the wheels in motion for many more to come. Sachin’s career stats would take anyone by surprise. These are beyond comprehension and very hard for a batsman to achieve.

Sachin has gone on to score 49 centuries in the ODI format of the game. This includes a lightning fast double century, which is a rare feat to achieve.

Sachin has nearly 18.5K runs in the ODI format, and has played 463 matches to achieve the same.

Another interesting stat in Sachin’s career graph is that he has scored 96 half centuries. With his 51 test centuries, he is the only player in the world to have scored 100 centuries in ODI and test cricket combined.

In Sachin’s own words

Before you lay a foundation on the cricket field, there should be a solid foundation in your heart and you start building on that. After that as you start playing more and more matches, you learn how to score runs and how to take wickets.

The crowning glory for Sachin’s career was winning the World Cup for India. He was a part of the World Cup winning squad in 2011, and this is a dream come true for any player!

Top 25 long-range Premier League goals from the 2018-19 season | NBC Sports



Take a look back at the best long-range strikes from players like Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Man City’s Kyle Walker. #NBCSports #PremierLeague #Liverpool #ManCity

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The Premier League across NBC Sports Group launched in 2013 with their biggest and broadest programming commitment to-date in the United States. With live multi-platform coverage of all 380 games, analysis from best-in-class talent and extensive surrounding coverage all week long, NBC Sports Group has become the ultimate destination for new and existing Premier League fans.

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Top 25 long-range Premier League goals from the 2018-19 season | NBC Sports

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Four Different Baltimore Pro Football Teams Have Won Championships

Winning the championship is the primary goal of any football team, or any sports team at all really. There is only one reason to go out and play and that is to win the championship. A championship season is not only rewarding to the players that duke it out on the field, but also to the fans that root them on. Cities and regions should be very proud of their championship winning teams.

Baltimore is a great football town and professional football has been present there in one form or another for more than 60 years. Many people don’t know this, but four different professional football teams have won championships while representing the city of Baltimore.

The Baltimore Ravens – 2000

The last Baltimore team to win a league title in pro football was the team that currently represents the city in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens began as a franchise in 1996, having been active as the Cleveland Browns the previous year. They had a few tough years, but in 2000 everything came together behind a strong running game and an out of this world defense. They ended up defeating the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.

The Baltimore Colts – 1958, 1959, and 1970

The Baltimore Colts won championships three times. In 1958, they defeated the New York Giants for the NFL title in what many would refer to as the greatest game ever played. After trailing most of the 1959 title game, the Colts would eventually score 24 unanswered points and defeat the Giants in a rematch of the previous year’s championship game by the score of 31-16. The Colts won their third league title in 1970 when they beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl V by the score of 27-17. Technically, the Colts have a fourth title as they were champions of the NFL in 1968, but went on to lose Super Bowl III to the New York Jets of the American Football League before the two leagues merged.

The Baltimore Stars – 1985

The Stars franchise had played the first two seasons of their time in the USFL in the city of Philadelphia. The team was moved to Baltimore for 1985 and though they weren’t as successful as they had been in the past, they were able to make it into the playoffs. The magic was still there though and they marched through the post season and would win the last championship game in USFL history by defeating the Oakland Invaders.

The Baltimore Stallions – 1995

The Canadian Football League expanded into the United States in the mid 1990’s, and one of the cities that got a team was Baltimore. In 1995, their second season, the Baltimore Stallions not only won their division, but they became the first team based in America to win the Grey Cup as champions of the Canadian Football League. The team was gone the next year as they were moved to Montreal and renamed the Allouettes.

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Conspicuous By Their Absence: David Beckham – Romario – Raul – Sunday Oliseh – Roy Keane

It always provokes a reaction from fans of national teams whenever their favourite players’ names are excluded from the squad to play in any match or to participate in a major tournament. Every fan is an expert, an Alex Ferguson who can give you a million reasons why player A should have been included in the squad.

In reality, football is a lot more complex than that. Some players might excel in their clubs because of the position they are being played in and, or because of the formation the club manager adopts often. The national team manager might adopt a different type of formation or they might not have vacancy in their squad to fit the player in a position that would fully maximise his potentials and ultimately lead to team success which in effect is the end game.

A lot more factors go into this of course. Some can easily be explained in a press conference and reasons given understood and appreciated if not accepted. Others could however be shrouded in mystery and attempts at explaining why player A has been dropped, for instance, could give rise to more questions being asked. Nicholas Anelka’s omission from various French squads over the years could easily be explained as him not getting on with the National team handlers and also disciplinary issues.

However, Mario Jardel’s sparse invitations to the national team of Brazil between 1994 and 2002 when he was one of the most prolific strikers in Europe left many questions unanswered. At some point, he was the highest goal scorer in Europe for two seasons in a row between 1998 and 2000. Naturally, people came to their own conclusions. Some said ‘his style of play was too European to fit into the South American samba style that Brazil adopted’. Whatever the reasons, it would be reasonable to assume that a Striker of his calibre should have been given more opportunities to represent his country.

Below, I have compiled a list of five notable names of players who were conspicuous by their absence when squad lists were released, furnished with some background information.

These are David Beckham, Romario, Raul, Sunday Oliseh and Roy Keane.

David Beckham of England (2006): Steve McClaren took over as England manager after the departure of beleaguered coach Sven Goran Eriksson in 2006. As he unveiled his first squad for a friendly against Greece on 16 August 2006, David Beckham’s name was conspicuously missing.

McClaren made it clear he was ‘out for change’ and that Beckham – for the moment at least – ‘wasn’t part of the change.’ McClaren hinted he favoured wingers with pace who could run at defenders, move with the ball and cause different kinds of problems.

Beckham would however make a return to the England squad when qualification for Euro 2008 was in jeopardy. It was his sublime cross that in fact picked out Peter Crouch who chested and volleyed to make it 2:2 against Croatia in the final qualifying match at Wembley Stadium on 21 November 2007. He had come in as a substitute for Shaun Wright-Phillips. England would however lose 2:3 and miss out on the tournament with the coach being criticized – among other reasons – for not playing Beckham from the start; he was promptly sacked.

David Beckham’s contributions at Manchester United had marked him out as a future star and he was first called up to the England squad on 1 September 1996 to play against Moldova. He however became somewhat of a public enemy number one when he petulantly got himself sent off against bitter rivals Argentina at the second round of the World cup in France 1998. He was seen kicking Argentine player Simeone while lying on the floor; he was shown his marching orders. England would later lose on penalties with Beckham apparently taking the bulk of the blame from an angry British press and a hurting public.

Time is a great healer and in time, Beckham started to warm his place back into the hearts of the British press and the English public. He started turning out consistent and occasional brilliant performances for both club and country. He played a pivotal role in the Manchester United squad that historically won the treble of the FA cup, Premier League and Champions league in the 1998-99 season. He scored United’s last goal in the last game of that season against Tottenham Hotspurs and also delivered both corner kicks that led to United’s remarkable comeback against Bayern Munich at the Champions league final to win 2:1 after trailing at 0:1 up until 90 minutes.

His redemption for England was complete when his ‘bend it like Beckham’s’ fabulously taken free kick against Greece on 6 October 2001 ensured that the English flag would be flown at the FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea 2002. England needed at least a draw in their final group match to qualify for the mundial but were losing 1:2 at Old Trafford Manchester, much to the frustration of their fans. At about 91 minutes, Teddy Sheringham – who had made it 1:1 for England earlier – was judged to have been fouled from outside the 18 yard box. Up stepped Mr. David Beckham who courageously volunteered to take the resulting free-kick and curled it neatly behind the wall into the net. The Greek goalkeeper, Nikopolidis Antonis, was reduced to a mere spectator as he could only watch the ball lodge into the back of the net. The whole stadium erupted in scenes of joy and jubilation that would have been equally felt by fans watching from television screens in Pubs up and down the country and those watching on telly in the comfort of their homes.

His marriage to Victoria Adams of popular British female pop group Spice Girls on 4 July 1999 has created a global brand – via their celebrity lifestyle, public persona, business interests and marriage longevity which is thus far blessed with four children – which has brought immense pride to the nation.

David Beckham is at the twilights of his career and now plays his club football for California outfit LA Galaxy in the United States. He has hinted that he would love to play for team GB (Great Britain) at next year’s summer Olympics to be held in London, England; he would be 37 years old by then. Beckham should temper his ambitions of wanting to win a major tournament with England with the reality that he doesn’t really ‘bend it like Beckham’ as he used to.

Romario (full name: Romario de Souza Faria) of Brazil (1998 and 2002): Named as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers by FIFA, few would forget how Romario inspired Brazil to win the 1994 FIFA world cup in the United States. He scored five goals in that tournament and won the World Cup golden ball.

Despite his immense skills and breathtaking goals, his name would be conspicuously missing from Brazil’s squads to participate in the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cup tournaments.

Medical reasons were given for his exclusion from the team to participate at the France ’98 world cup. He had been prolific for Brazil leading up to the tournament. In February 1998, he scored one goal each against Guatemala and El Salvador respectively. He cried in a press conference on 02 June 1998 held in Lesigny, France and fans were visibly upset when talking about the fact he would not be at the mundial. «This is very sad for me, a big disappointment,» he said. «This is a very difficult moment in my life. From now on, I will start to give value to other things. I just want to thank the national team for having given me the chance to become what I am.» He broke down and wept several times before been led away to a standing ovation.

The story went that medical tests revealed he had muscular lesion on the back of his lower leg and that this might – or might not – heal in time for or during the tournament. The decision was taken by the national team handlers for him to be dropped, much to the dismay of vast majority of Brazilians. Brazil would reach the final eventually losing to host France in a one-sided final which ended 3:0.

Indiscipline is thought to be the reason for dropping the 36 year old Romario from the squad that represented Brazil at the 2002 world cup held in Japan and Korea. He had in fact been in consistent form for club and country leading up to the tournament. He netted four goals against Venezuela in a world cup qualifying and had netted three against Venezuela a month earlier in 2000. He had formed a formidable partnership with the legendary Ronaldo. Brazil would in his absence go on to win the tournament, beating a gallant German side 2:0.

Just like four years earlier, Brazilians had been massively disappointed by his exclusion. The coach, Phil Scolari vigorously defended his decision to leave the player out. He maintained that he had faith in the strikers he had selected, that it was him and not 170 million Brazilian fans that was the coach of the National team, and win or lose, he was ready to face the consequences of his decisions.

Romario remains a legend of Brazilian football having won the FIFA World Cup in 1994; the Confederation Cup in 1997; and the Copa America in 1989 and 1997 respectively with the national team. He remains a household name in football circles worldwide. He is into politics these days.

Raul ( full name: Raul Gonzalez): After having scored 23 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid in the 2007 – 2008 season and played a role in qualifying Spain for Euro 2008, one could be forgiven to assume that – injury permitting – Raul would automatically make the squad for the tournament. This assumption would have been misplaced as Raul’s name was conspicuously missing from the final squad.

A lethal striker, Raul scored 44 goals for Spain between 1990 and 2006 and currently holds the record as Spain’s most capped outfield player with about 102 appearances thus far. As talented as he is however, he unfortunately belongs to a generation of Spanish players that were seen as perennial underachievers in major tournaments, often displaying a gap between potentials and performance. For instance, a lot was expected of him and his teammates at the 1998 FIFA world cup in France. They however crashed out of the first round winning only one match. In Euro 2000 co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands, Spain reached the quarter finals but lost 1:2 to World cup champions France with Raul missing a last minute penalty that, if scored, would have forced the match to extra time. Raul along with Fernando Morientes and Joan Capdevila were part of the talented but hapless Spanish squad that failed to progress beyond the group stages at the Euro 2004 tournament held in Portugal.

A new generation of Spanish players have now emerged that have effectively shed the image of the past. This so-called golden generation includes players like Fernando Torres, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas and Xabi Alonso. They have already won the European Championship (Euro 2008) and the FIFA World Cup (South Africa 2010) both tournaments which Raul was eligible but ignored. Loss of form is thought to be the reason he was excluded from the squads to participate in both tournaments.

It would appear the emergence of promising young players like, Alvaro Negredo of Sevilla and Pedro Rodriguez of Barcelona continues to account for Raul’s exclusion from the national team. The likes of Torres and Villa were preferred to him between 2008 and 2010. It is then reasonable to conclude that Luis Aragones and Vicente Del Bosque – two national team Managers who have recently overlooked him – wanted a break from the past, seeking a fresh new perspective and outlook for the Spanish national team, after all, one cannot continue to do the same thing the same way and expect to get a different result.

Raul who to his credit has never been issued a red card in his career thus far presently plays for German club Schalke 04. He remains a prolific striker and has already scored 3 hat- tricks in club he joined less than two years ago. He remains the record goal scorer in the EUFA champions league with 71 goals.

At the age of 34, a return to the Spanish national team is not beyond the realms of possibilities. However, with each passing day and the emergence of young, bright, energetic and talented Spanish strikers, these possibilities appear to become more and more remote.

Sunday Oliseh of Nigeria (2002): Shakira – South American music sensation – said in one of her songs that her ‘hips don’t lie’. Well, Sunday Oliseh’s feet were not lying when his right foot released a ferocious shot from outside the 18 yard box that drilled home a 3:2 lead and victory for Nigeria against Spain at the FIFA World Cup France 1998. Feet as well don’t lie.

Incidentally, that goal would be Oliseh’s last World Cup goal and France 1998 his last World cup appearance for his country. Despite being available for selection to participate at the World cup in 2002 to be held in Japan and South Korea, his name was conspicuously missing when Nigeria’s squad to participate in the tournament was released.

Oliseh had played a pivotal role in qualifying Nigeria for the mundial in 2002. He was solid in his defensive midfield role as his country qualified from a group the included legendary George Weah’s Liberia and bitter West African rivals Ghana. Nigeria amassed 16 points to narrowly edge out Liberia on 15 points. Several big name players including Finidi George and Victor Ikpeba would – along with Oliseh – however be excluded from Nigeria’s World cup squad.

Oliseh had become a darling of Nigerian football, loved and adored at home; well known and respected abroad. He played his first game for the Super Eagles of Nigeria on 24 July 1993 in an African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Ethiopia played Lagos Nigeria. For almost 10 years, he made the defensive midfield position in the national team his private property from where he dictated play and shelled out passes. He was both a creative and a destructive defensive midfielder; creating chances for his team mates with clever short and long range passes on one hand and nipping opponents attacking moves from the bud on the other hand often with neat and timely tackles. He was quite simply a joy to watch.

In 1998, he prematurely retired from international football but was persuaded by pleas from the press, millions of Nigerian fans and the NFA (Nigerian Football Association) to ‘please come back!’ He rescinded and led Nigeria to second place at the African Cup of Nations held jointly by Nigeria and Ghana in 2000.

Indiscipline was the reason given for his exclusion from the squad to participate at the World Cup in Japan and Korea in 2002. It was reported that Oliseh – along with other senior members of the squad including Finidi George – had a dispute with Nigerian football officials which unduly distracted the team from performing well at the African cup of Nations held earlier the same year in Mali. This is thought may have contributed to the team’s overall poor showing at the tournament. They however came third. The dispute was over unpaid allowances and air ticket refunds.

Festus Onigbinde who was appointed coach after the African Cup of Nations immediately dropped Oliseh from the provisional 35 man squad released in preparations for the World Cup. There were signs he might be recalled for the tournament proper but this never happened. He retired from international football soon afterwards and this time, it was for good.

In his absence, the Super Eagles of Nigeria crashed out of the tournament at the first round, losing their first two matches to Argentina and Sweden respectively and played out a rather boring goalless draw against England in their final group match.

Oliseh retired from football in January 2006 and now maintains his own website named http://www.sundayoliseh.tv from where he shares his knowledge of football with the world. He recently commented on Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the African cup of Nations in 2012 hinting that this ‘sends out the wrong signals about Nigeria’s place in African football.’

Roy Keane of Republic of Ireland (2002): Not in a long time had Irish football had a larger than life character like Roy Keane. He had played a pivotal part in the midfield in qualifying Ireland for the FIFA world cup in 2002 but his name was conspicuously missing from the Irish squad to participate in the tournament.

Ireland had qualified for the 2002 mundial quite impressively from a group that included European heavyweights Portugal and The Netherlands. They in fact went through the entire qualifying stage undefeated and only came second behind Portugal by virtue of goals difference. Keane had been solid in the heart of the Irish midfield often with ‘man of the match’ performances. He also scored 3 goals in the qualifying campaign.

He however missed the tournament due to a rift between him and the FAI (Football Association of Ireland). He was disappointed at what he saw as Ireland’s inadequate preparations for the World Cup. He was unhappy about the travel arrangements, the training pitch, training facilities and late arrival of the squad’s training equipments among others. It all came to a head when the coach, Mick McCarthy decided to have a word with Keane – in front of other team members – about a recent interview he had given to The Irish Times expressing his views about the Irish team’s preparations. Keane used that opportunity to tell the coach exactly what he felt about him. He said that Mick McCarthy was ‘a liar,’ that he ‘never rated him as a player and that he did not rate him as a coach’ either. He ranted and swore for about ten minutes as he told the coach to ‘stick it up his bullocks,’ according to sources. One player present had described Keane’s tirade as fierce and earth shattering to its recipient.

The Coach moved swiftly and announced shortly after in a press conference the Keane had been dismissed from the Squad. In his absence, the Republic of Ireland would reach the second round only to lose 3:2 on penalties to Spain after the match had ended 1:1 after extra time.

Roy Keane is a Manchester United and an Irish football legend. He had contributed to Ireland’s fine FIFA World cup participation at USA in 1994 as they reached and were eliminated at the second round by an industrious Dutch side after having impressively beaten tournament favourites – Italy – 1:0 at the group stages. Their second round elimination notwithstanding, they received heroes welcome at the homecoming celebration held at Phoenix Park in Dublin from patriotic and delighted Irish Fans with Irish flags been waved joyfully in the air. Roy Keane was singled out for his immense contributions although he thought there was not much to celebrate about as the team had – in his words -‘achieved little’.

He made about 480 appearances for Manchester for just over a decade. A powerful central/defensive midfielder, his style of play was uncompromising. He would usually approach any match like a soldier going to war. From his position, he was able to dictate the tempo and pattern of play, not shy lounge into tackles to disrupt opponents attacking initiatives and would often beseech his teammates to push forward and never give up. His winning mentality endeared him to his coach Sir Alex Ferguson.

He famously revealed in his autobiography how he deliberately set out to hurt another player – Alf -Inge Haaland – after nursing grudge against him for about four years. «I had waited long enough» he said. «I hit him f******g hard». He received a further fine from the English Football Authorities for his confession.

Roy Keane has taken to a career in coaching after retiring from football in 2006. He currently manages Ipswich Town.

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Soccer Fixture: Manchester United Versus Newcastle United

This fixture was first played on 6th April, 1895 when Manchester United – still known then as Newton Heath – beat Newcastle United 5.1 at Bank Street in Clayton, Manchester in front of a crowd of 6,000. Newton Heath had moved there two years earlier after playing their early league games at North Road; this was a Second Division clash with the team having been relegated from the Football League’s First Division the previous season.

Newcastle United’s first win in the fixture came on 13th November, 1897: 1.0 through a goal by Willie Wardrope.

Newcastle’s biggest away win to date against the Red Devils came 25 years after the team had officially changed its name to Manchester United, on 10th September, 1927. Newcastle won 7.1 in front of a crowd of 50,217 at Old Trafford where the Manchester club had moved in 1910.

Newcastle scored seven goals again in the 1930/31 season, conceding four in reply. Jack Cape scored a hat-trick for the visitors with Tommy Reid also scoring a hat-trick for the home team.

A high scoring draw of 4.4 took place on 31st January, 1959 with Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet and the Alberts – Quixall and Scanlon – scoring the home team’s goals. Newcastle scored through Ivor Allchurch, John McGuigan and two from Len White.

Close high scoring games between the two teams include a narrow 3.2 win for the Lancashire team on 3rd September, 1966 when Denis Law scored the winner. It was 3.2. to Manchester United again on 15th October, 1977, shortly after Dave Sexton had replaced Tommy Docherty as manager. Jimmy Greenhoff scored the winner that day

The home team won 5.3 on 23rd November, 2002 with Ruud Van Nistelrooy scoring a hat-trick. Newcastle’s goals that day included Alan Shearer’s 100th Premier League goal for the club (he also thus became the first player to score 100 Premiership goals for two different clubs – Blackburn Rovers being the other one).

On Boxing Day, 2012 Manchester United won 4.3 with Javier Hernandez scoring the winner in the last minute of one of the most breathtaking games this fixture has produced.

Manchester United teams have put six goals past the Magpies in this fixture during three distinctive periods in the club’s history, and all in the top tier of English football. The ‘Busby Babes’ beat Newcastle 6.1 on 12th January, 1957 in front of a little over 45,000 fans and the last time this fixture was played before disaster would strike in Munich just over a year later. Whelan, Pegg and Viollet scored two goals apiece that day, with one Jacky Milburn replying for the Toon.

They won 6.0 on 4th May, 1968, just 25 days before Busby’s rebuilt team would win the European Cup at Wembley Stadium for the first time by beating Benfica. Sadler, Kidd (2) and a George Best hat-trick collectively routed Newcastle that day in front of an attendance just short of 60,000.

Almost forty years later, on 12th January, 2008, Manchester United again won 6.0, this time in front of a crowd of almost 76,000. Their goals that day included a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo. Alex Ferguson’s team would win the second of three consecutive league titles that season and the club’s third European Cup (now Champions League) in Moscow just over four months later against Chelsea.

On 7th December, 2013 Newcastle United won at Old Trafford for the first time in over 40 years, with a single goal by Yohan Cabaye in the second half proving to be the difference between the two sides

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