Monday, January 22, 2007

Adu leads U.S. into Under-20 World Cup

Phenom scores two of team's five goals in qualifying win vs. Panama
Freddy Adu scored twice as the United States beat Panama 5-0 Sunday night to win its qualifying group for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Robbie Rogers, Johann Smith and Jonathan Villanueva also scored for the United States, which qualified for this year’s tournament in Canada when Haiti upset Guatemala 2-0 in the first match of the doubleheader. The Americans will be making their sixth straight appearance in the tournament, formerly known as the FIFA World Youth Championship.

“Our team was highly motivated this morning, wanted to finish the job on a high note and we did,” U.S. coach Thomas Rongen said. “We showed in this game what we’re capable of. We are a good team that came into a very tough surrounding against a very good opponent.”

Panama earned the other berth in the tournament from the four-nation group. Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and St. Kitts and Nevis will play from Feb. 21-25 for the other two sports from the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

The Under-20 World Cup begins June 30. The draw is March 3.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

FIFA Chief Regrets Not Handing World Cup Trophy To Italy In Person

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wishes he could do the World Cup trophy presentation over again. He missed the ceremony after Italy won the World Cup in the summer of 2006, and has now expressed his regret that he did not make certain that he was there to make the handoff. He met with members of the Italian team on Monday and apologized. His apology may also put to rest the claim that FIFA has "anti-Italian" tendencies.

Blatter told AFP, "History will say it was a mistake for the FIFA president not to award the Italians the World Cup, and it was indeed an error on my part."

The FIFA president reportedly did not want to be in the center of attention after being booed and hissed by fans, which led some to conclude that Blatter was disaffected by the Italian victory. In fact, in trying to avoid causing a stir, his absence did just that.

Blatter told AP he decided to skip the ceremony before the game began.

"I wanted to avoid creating an ugly scene because the Germans had shown they would whistle at the word FIFA.

"Yes, Italy deserved to win the World Cup," Blatter added. "The Italians found themselves in a difficult situation at the World Cup and they showed a great capacity to play soccer, producing a great effort."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hayden in preliminary World Cup squad

SYDNEY: Matthew Hayden’s World Cup hopes received a big boost Friday when he was included in Australia’s preliminary 30-man squad for the Caribbean tournament.

Test opener Hayden, 35, who was not part of Australia’s successful Champions Trophy campaign in India in October-November, was also named in the 13-man squad for the triangular one-day series against New Zealand and England, starting in Melbourne on January 12.

Hayden and Cameron White replace the retiring Damien Martyn and the injured all-rounder Shane Watson in the 13-man squad.

Australia’s chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said in a statement Friday, “Damien Martyn’s retirement provides captain Ricky Ponting with an opportunity if he chooses to elevate Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey in the batting order and to bring back into the squad Matthew Hayden and Cameron White”.

He further said that Hayden’s inclusion was well deserved given his performance in the DLF Cup (in Malaysia in September), his terrific form in domestic one-day games and the recently concluded Ashes series.

About Cameron White, Andrew wasn’t short on praise again adding, “He adds depth to the batting and balance to the bowling and hopefully we can see him seize his chance.”

Defending champion Australia’s 30-man squad for the World Cup will be cut to 15 before the February 13 deadline, Cricket Australia said.

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