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What Was FIFA Thinking With World Cup Choices? 2

Posted on December 03, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Both the United States and England fell short in bids to host the World Cup.

So there we have it. After 18 months of political lobbying, journalist digging, scandal, corruption and a last minute Royal-infused dash to the line, England’s 2018 World Cup bid ended in dismal failure.

For many people normally following the live match score centre who have seen the bid process develop over the past few weeks the choice of Russia is perhaps no surprise. As pointed out in their bid presentation Eastern Europe has never hosted a World Cup and their country harbours a growing passion and, crucially, the financial support for a football tournament of this magnitude.

As an England fan I can perhaps grudgingly accept that. But I don’t think it is the losing that is the galling thing. It’s the fact we had the best technical and commercial bid yet came last out of all four countries. Then the decision to award Qatar the 2022 WC despite also having the weakest bid says it all – it was seen as ‘high risk’ by the FIFA report! It all leaves a bitter taste in the mouth

It is easy to accuse the English of sour grapes. But to put our failure purely down to perceived ‘arrogance’ and FIFA’s whiter than white vision of spreading the game to new boundaries is naïve. Read the rest of this entry →

Emile Heskey Quits International Football 3

Posted on July 16, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Emile Heskey has called it quits as an international player.

So after 62 caps and just seven goals, Emile Heskey has decided to retire from international football (soccer).

The Aston Villa man has never been a fan favourite and many Three Lions supporters suggested his poor goal scoring record meant he did not deserve his place in the side.

However, manager after manager kept faith with him and he went to the last World Cup as one of the side’s most experienced players.

For his part, Heskey has no qualms about his England career but, at the age of 32, he has finally decided to call it a day.

He said: “I have enjoyed every moment of my England career and worn the shirt with pride when selected.”

“I would like to thank every manager I have played under, everyone at the FA and the fans for all their support over the years.”

If he’d taken the decision a couple of years ago, he would have saved his Fabio Capello a tough choice. Heskey is very much a footballers’ footballer and Wayne Rooney loved playing with him.

However, the Villa man was never the complete package and although his work as a target man was often first rate, his finishing let him down. Read the rest of this entry →

World Cup Updates: Ivory Coast Looks To Progress 1

Posted on June 14, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Didier Dogba is hopeful that his fractured elbow will be not keep him out of the World cup.

When Ivory Coast qualified for their first World Cup in 2006, they were given the shortest of straws by being put in a group with Argentina, Holland and Serbia. They finished with two losses and a win over Serbia, but gained much needed top-class experience.

They are going to need that experience they gained playing in that group this year. In what has been given the token ’group of death’ tag, Group G contains Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. With North Korea looking as though they will be the group whipping boys, World Cup Group G Betting suggests that  Brazil and Portugal will be battling Ivory Coast for the top two places in the group.

Many view the Ivory Coast as a team who has underachieved in the past decade. A squad rich with talent have failed to win the African Cup of Nation since 1992, making the final only once since, in which they lost on penalties to Egypt in the 2006. On paper, few teams at this summers World Cup have better squads. Read the rest of this entry →

Bert Patenaude: America’s First World Cup Star 0

Posted on June 08, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Bert Patenaude

In recognition of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month the first American World Cup super star.

During the first-ever World Cup in 1930, Bert Patenaude scored the first “hat trick” in World Cup history to lead the United States to a third place finish that remains the highest finish ever for the U.S. in one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.

In the first-ever World Cup game for the U.S., Patenaude scored a goal in a 3-0 victory over Belgium. He then scored all three goals in a 3-0 victory over Paraguay. Read the rest of this entry →

Preparing For The World Cup: England’s World Cup Squad Announcement Was Spot On 4

Posted on June 03, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Fabio Capello has tried to keep the press away from his team.

Perhaps the biggest off-field difference between the managerial reign of Fabio Capello and that of his predecessors has been the handling of the press.

In the past team sheets for pre-tournament friendlies would be received by reporters and World Cup match betting experts well in advance of kick off, while coaching staff and players seemed to be available for interview no matter what.

Sven Goran Eriksson especially gave the impression that the media circus was not only an inescapable fact of international football but should also be actively encouraged. Perhaps the nadir of this little love in was the glitzy press conference he used to announce his squad for the 2006 World Cup. 

Fast forward four years and things couldn’t be more different Capello has largely shut out the press and although keeping them in the dark has bred some resentment among the less reputable areas of the press, there’s no doubt it has gained him wider respect. Read the rest of this entry →

Preparing For The World Cup: Wayne Rooney Feels Good 4

Posted on May 27, 2010 by Thomas Rooney
Wayne Rooney will be a key to England's World Cup success.

Wayne Rooney will be a key to England's World Cup success.

Most people would agree Wayne Rooney is pivotal to England’s World Cup chances this summer. In fact, many argue that without him, Fabio Capello’s men might as well not turn up in South Africa.

With this in mind, it is good to hear Rooney speak positively about his fitness and general wellbeing as the first game against USA gets closer and closer. England’s World Cup odds make them third favourites for the tournament, and they need their key players at full fitness.

The Manchester United striker has revealed that he has been in “every training session” with England since the World Cup squad got together and that he “feels good” ahead of a very important few weeks for the national team.

There have been rumours since the Mexico game that Rooney has an ankle injury, but he has dismissed that particular story as “a load of rubbish”. Obviously, this is good news, but you have to wonder where this rumour emerged from.

It seems as though some people are determined to panic England supporters. Rooney is clearly the team’s most important player, so news of an injury to him will get people talking won’t it? Therefore, someone decided to report an ankle injury, seemingly out of nowhere.

It is good to hear the player himself put everyone straight on his fitness. The only slight problem he has is a “bit of a stiff neck” but this is something that should pass before the Japan game on Sunday.

Rooney did admit that he feels slightly “jaded” after a long season, but this is to be expected. Still, he might actually be fresher than others as he “hasn’t trained a lot in the last six weeks”, presenting him with a perfect opportunity to rest up ahead of England duty. Read the rest of this entry →

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      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

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