Indian World Cup Win No Fluke, Suggests Flash Cricket Simulator

Earlier this year, the Indian cricket team won the 2011 edition of the Cricket World Cup. Although India were the favourites leading into the tournament, cricket is a sport where any of the top teams can beat any other on their day. Thanks to the existence of online cricket simulators, we can try to determine what the chances were of India winning, and how the other placings should have gone.

ODI CricSim is a flash cricket simulator that determines the results of matches by crunching over 200 variables from each player’s actual world career, including the average length of a batsman’s innings, the chance of hitting a four or a six on any given ball, the bowler’s strike rate and the bowler’s economy rate. For this experiment I used the ODI CricSim engine to run 1,000 simulated World Cups based on the quarterfinal standings of the various teams. The teams for each match were the same as the teams in the actual world, and in cases where a simulated team advanced when their actual world counterpart did not, the quarterfinal team was used for their next match.

The results were as follows:

First Quarterfinal – Pakistan vs. West Indies:

Pakistan 572
West Indies 428

Second Quarterfinal – India vs. Australia:

India 576
Australia 424

Third Quarterfinal – New Zealand vs. South Africa:

New Zealand 399
South Africa 601

Fourth Quarterfinal – Sri Lanka vs. England:

Sri Lanka 568
England 432

The results from these quarterfinal matchups suggest that New Zealand beating South Africa was the biggest upset of this stage of the tournament. South Africa was the only losing team that the simulator suggested should have won. In fact, South Africa were the team with the highest simulated chance of winning their quarterfinal, which will add more heartbreak to Proteas fans who felt that this tournament was a great chance for their team to break their Cricket World Cup duck.

First Semifinal:

There were four possible matchups for this semifinal, and the following were the predicted chances that the matchup in question would have resulted:

New Zealand vs. England (172 iterations)
New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka (same as actual world) (227 iterations)
South Africa vs. England (260 iterations)
South Africa vs. Sri Lanka (341 iterations)

The simulator results were as follows:

New Zealand vs. England: NZL 105, ENG 67.
New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka: NZL 134, SRL 93.
South Africa vs. England: SAF 181, ENG 79.
South Africa vs. Sri Lanka: SAF 180, SRL 161.

Second Semifinal:

There were four possible matchups for this semifinal, and the following were the predicted chances that the matchup in question would have resulted:

India vs. West Indies (247 iterations)
India vs. Pakistan (same as actual world) (329 iterations)
Australia vs. West Indies (181 iterations)
Australia vs. Pakistan (243 iterations)

The simulator results were as follows:

India vs. West Indies: IND 197, WIN 50.
India vs. Pakistan: IND 238, PAK 91.
Australia vs. West Indies: AUS 138, WIN 43.
Australia vs. Pakistan: AUS 186, PAK 57.

Final:

There were sixteen possible matchups for the final, and the following were the predicted chances that the matchup in question would have resulted:

India vs. South Africa (157 iterations)
India vs. Sri Lanka (same as actual world) (110 iterations)
India vs. New Zealand (104 iterations)
India vs. England (64 iterations)
Australia vs. South Africa (117 iterations)
Australia vs. Sri Lanka (82 iterations)
Australia vs. New Zealand (78 iterations)
Australia vs. England (47 iterations)
Pakistan vs. South Africa (53 iterations)
Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka (38 iterations)
Pakistan vs. New Zealand (35 iterations)
Pakistan vs. England (22 iterations)
West Indies vs. South Africa (34 iterations)
West Indies vs. Sri Lanka (24 iterations)
West Indies vs. New Zealand (22 iterations)
West Indies vs. England (13 iterations)

The simulator results were as follows:

India vs. South Africa: IND 98, SAF 59.
India vs. Sri Lanka: IND 69, SRL 41.
India vs. New Zealand: IND 63, NZL 41.
India vs. England: IND 54, ENG 10.
Australia vs. South Africa: AUS 65, SAF 52.
Australia vs. Sri Lanka: AUS 57, SRL 25.
Australia vs. New Zealand: AUS 47, NZL 31.
Australia vs. England: AUS 37, ENG 10.
Pakistan vs. South Africa: PAK 22, SAF 31.
Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka: PAK 19, SRL 19.
Pakistan vs. New Zealand: PAK 14, NZL 21.
Pakistan vs. England: PAK 12, ENG 9.
West Indies vs. South Africa: WIN 13, SAF 21.
West Indies vs. Sri Lanka: WIN, SRL 14.
West Indies vs. New Zealand: WIN 8, NZL 14.
West Indies vs. England: WIN 6, ENG 7.

These results give the following percentage chances of winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup, given the quarterfinal standings and given that the simulator is accurate:

India 28.5%
Australia 20.6%
South Africa 16.3%
New Zealand 10.7%
Sri Lanka 9.9%
Pakistan 6.7%
West Indies 3.7%
England 3.6%

It is important to note here that these rankings do not reflect the relative merits of each team, but their chances of winning the tournament given the quarterfinal standings and eventual opponents in the semifinals and final. Perhaps disappointingly for the tournament itself, the two top teams met each other in the quarterfinal stages, robbing it of what would have been a titanic final between the eventual champions and the triple defending champions.

Soccer Coaching – Soccer Tactics Lessons From the World Cup

Below are 8 lessons about soccer tactics and strategy that I learned from the 2010 World Cup:

1. Soccer Formations and Tactics Make a Difference. If you listened to the commentators, they made some excellent points about this. Argentina, for example, played a 4-1-2-1-2 formation which left them defensively strong in the center (between the 2 goals) but vulnerable to attacks down the sideline. (They also had the problem of their Midfielders not going back to help defend). Spain was criticized for continuing to attack down the center when it wasn’t working. The commentators felt they should have attacked down the sidelines and then crossed the ball in to the Center. Germany played a 4-2-3-1 which gave them more width.

2. Adaptability is Critical to Soccer Coaching Success. If you want to beat tough teams, you must be willing to adapt your formation and Style of Play and put players in positions where they can be effective against your competition. An example: The England coach played Defoe instead of Heskey in the critical match against Slovenia and Defoe scored the goal that won the game.

3. Never Give Up. The U.S. had 2 goals disallowed that should have counted — one vs. Slovenia and one vs. Algeria — yet they persevered.

4. «Boom Ball» Can Even Work in the Soccer World Cup. Some people mistake every long ball for a «Boom Ball». That isn’t true, but I will go with that term here for fun. If you have an attacker pushed up and send the ball long and your attacker can win the ball, it is a «tactic» that can result in a scoring opportunity. In England vs. Germany, there were hundreds of short passes, but the first goal scored (in the 19th minute) was on a very long goal kick that Klose ran on to and one-touched for a goal. The fourth goal in that game was also a «Boom Ball» when on a counterattack Germany sent a long ball to a breaking attacker. The Netherlands first goal vs. Slovakia was also a breakaway on a long ball. And in the final, late in the match Spain even started booming the ball to get it away from their goal.

5. Short Corner Kicks («Short Corners») are Better for Youth Soccer Teams. I loved the way Spain mixed up short and long corner kicks. Even the Dutch tried one and had a good chance with it. I recommend Short Corners for youth teams because they teach possession and control.

6. Great Soccer Goalkeeping Makes a Difference. In this World Cup we could see what a difference great goalkeeping makes.

7. Don’t Disrespect Your Opponent, You Might Motivate Them. Maradona disrespected Germany and they crushed Argentina 4-0.

8. Organization and Discipline Usually Beats Lack of Organization and Lack of Discipline. Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Uruguay are all well organized and disciplined.

Real Madrid – The Best Football Club in the World

They are not only the most successful club in the world but also the richest in the world according to the latest survey done by the money league which publish their research results annually. Yes, its true that Real Madrid is the richest club by income for the season 2006-2007 probably for the season 2007-2008 too but the results are not completed yet.

So what makes Real Madrid not only the richest club in the world but more significantly, the most successful as well.Well the statistics do not lie and more often then not speak for themselves. For any club to be successful, only two titles could and should be given credit, The league and the Champions League, the rest are mere formalities as you all know (it does not take much to beat Sao Paulo in a cup final) so I am going to ignore the minor trophies here, lets have a look at most of the major football clubs track records against the Madrid Galacticos.

Manchester United have won only two Champions League trophy, one way way back when it was known as the European cup and the other in 1999, they have 16 league titles.

* Barcelona have also won two champions league trophies and 18 league titles

* Liverpool have won the competition FIVE times and they have 18 league titles

* Inter Milan have 2 champions league titles and 15 league titles

* Ac milan have 7 champions league titles and 17 league titles

There are some other major clubs as well but they have just started to grow so lets just ignore them for a moment.

Finally, Real Madrid has won 9 champions league titles and 30 league titles. Now I have listed all the great clubs of Europe above, not even a single club can match or come close to the records set by the Spanish powerhouse. Thus proving what I stated earlier that real Madrid is the undisputed champion of champions.

Real Madrid is the only team that holds the Cup in property, having won the title five consecutive times.

2010 FIFA World Cup – Team USA

This year in 2010 marks the 19th FIFA World Cup. The World Cup is to be hosted by South Africa this year. There has been a lot of talk about South Africa not being a good choice to host the cup in 2010. The FIFA World Cup is held every 4 years. Just like the Olympic games which are held every 4 years, countries from across the world take part in this extraordinary world sporting event.

The qualification process for this year's soccer cup took place back in 2007. In August 2007 there were 204 FIFA national teams which took part in the qualifications for this year's cup. In terms of the number of competitive nations in this world event, the number is very close to that of the Summer Olympics. The USA team has qualified for this event and will be playing in Group C.

Although soccer has not had a huge impact on American Sporting life, the sport has grown in popularity over the years. It is said that team USA is ranked first in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football otherwise known as CONCACAF. The United States national soccer team is ranked in the top 20 in the world.

The United States has ended up in Group C for the 2010 world soccer cup. In Group C the following countries are playing: Algeria, England, Slovenia and United States. Of the four countries in this group, I believe the strongest of these 4 are England and USA. It has been said by some that England could win the cup in 2010.

The schedule for United States is like so. It will be playing up against England on 12th of June 2010. On the 18th of June 2010 United States are up against Slovenia. It will play the Algeria on the 23rd of June 2010. The question is now whether or not they can progress through this Group C. They have England to contest with and I am very excited to see what happens in this exciting group.

Teams like USA are sporting newly designed soccer jerseys. Soccer jerseys have been designed by many famous manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas and on sale to the general public so that they can support their country. Each country has both home and away designs and they all look stunning. Team USA have a great design for 2010 and people who support them should get hold of one.

Many people sport soccer jerseys while watching the FIFA World Cup to get behind the team that they love. For Team USA supporters in the current year it means getting their very own soccer jersey and wearing it while watching this amazing sporting event.

Team USA should be able to get through their Group this year and progress to the slower stages of the World Cup. They have qualified for the last five cups and this year they are off to South Africa. In 2002, the American's reached the quarterfinals. For the current cup in South Africa they can probably do better and reach the semifinals.

Bob Bradley is the current manager of the USA national team. He started off in 2006 and has led the team to where they are now. As the head coach of the USA national team, he has done a lot of great things to the team.

In conclusion, get behind Team USA this year because they will certainly do great against the other nations. They have a great chance this year to reach the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup. Sport your very own team American soccer jersey during this year's world sporting soccer event.

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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