Squad For Egypt Friendly Announced

by on February 28, 2010
in Chile Earthquake, Friendlies

First the squad, then the opinion:

Goalkeepers:
David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Birmingham City, on loan from Manchester City)

Defenders:
Wes Brown (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Matt Upson (West Ham), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Ryan Shawcross (Stoke), Leighton Baines (Everton), Steven Warnock (Aston Villa)

Midfield
James Milner (Aston Villa), David Beckham (AC Milan), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Steven Gerrard (probable captain, Liverpool), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa)

Strikers
Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Jermain Defoe (Spurs), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Spurs), Carlton Cole (West Ham)

We’re almost 100 days until the World Cup kicks off and Wayne Bridge’s decision to rule himself out of further contention for the England team plus injuries to Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand are casuing a major defensive headache. Injuries are one thing – and to be honest, it would have been a miracle if we’d gone into the tournament without any – but for an established international like Bridge to have withdrawn as a consequence of John Terry’s off-field behaviour vindicates the decision by Sr. Capello to look for on-field leadership elsewhere.

To his credit, at the end of last week Sr. Capello made it clear that if Bridge was to reconsider his decision, the Manchester City defender would be welcomed back to the squad. I really hope we haven’t heard the end of this because I think we may need Wayne Bridge this summer, especially as all sorts of rumours are flying around about Ashley Cole’s mental state following Cheryl Cole’s decision to end their marriage. If Cole (A)  is neither mentally nor physically fit this summer then he shouldn’t go to South Africa at all.

To cap it all, one of the defensive replacements has a lot of back page coverage this morning. I didn’t see Ryan Shawcross’ tackle on Aaron Ramsey (I was in the kitchen listening to the game while I cooked dinner) but as soon as I heard the commentary I was instantly reminded on a similar injury that occurred about a decade ago at my local club. Shawcross got an instant red card and left the field in tears. A few hours later he got his England call up.

Apart from the casualties listed above, Glen Johnson and Aaron Lennon are also injury concerns at the moment, thankfully Gary Cahill is on the mend after suffering a health scare with a blood clot, but Joe Cole is missing again, simply because he’s not playing regularly for Chelsea. Intriguingly, Theo Walcott returns to the squad and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an appearance at some point on Wednesday; his last chance to impress Capello perhaps.

To put all of this into some kind of perspective, if you think England’s preparations have been hampered by scandal and injuries, Chile have cancelled both of their friendlies that were scheduled for Wednesday after the country was hit by a massive earthquake on Saturday morning – the strongest one to affect the country for 50 years, which was the biggest ever recorded. We also haven’t sacked our manager – Vahid Halilhodzic was dumped by the Ivory Coast on Saturday, fuelling speculation that Guus Hiddink would take over for their World Cup campaign, although I don’t think Bora Milutinovic is busy at the moment.

Finally, a couple of follow up stories: there have been charges in the Salvador Cabanas shooting and it looks as if wounded Togo goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale may be on his way back to France at last.

We’ll have a look at the Egypt squad on Tuesday evening – the game will be live on ITV in the UK everywhere other than Scotland (kick off at 8pm GMT) and although we haven’t decided to run one of our infamous live blogs for this game yet, we’ll let you know on Tuesday.

Pop Star’s Hubby Injured: World Cup Over

It was always bound to be a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’; following David Beckham’s metatarsal in 2002 and Wayne Rooney’s broken foot in 2006,  Ashley Cole may miss all or part of the World Cup finals with a fractured ankle.

Multiple ironic angles here: the injury was sustained when Cole was tackling Landon Donovan of the USAin Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Everton during the week: but now the door is wide open for Wayne Bridge to make an international return…alongside Errol Flynn. Obviously it’s Sr. Capello’s shout from here on in, but this needs to be sorted out as soon as possible, arguably before John Terry gets back from Dubai (where he’s been ‘talking’ to his wife) and definitely before the friendly versus Egypt.

The main reason: I would hope that our forthcoming opponents have too much class to start making comments about the ‘situation’ between Terry and Bridge on the pitch – but all you need is a Marco Materazzi and Zinedine Zidane style incident and England could be on the next plane home.

Let’s just hope that no-one else gets crocked.

In other news…Sven-Goran Eriksson’s rather bizarre sojourn as Director of Football at Notts Countyis over after Notts were sold for £1. If some of the rumours flying around are to be believed, he may be moving from the sublime to the ridiculous; apparently he may be in line for the North Korea job. Sounds like a job for Photoshop if ever there was one; on that note, we’ll wish you a pleasant weekend and leave you with a song (which contains some choice language right at the start, so be warned!) that seems appropriate on a number of levels…

News Round Up

by on February 6, 2010
in Miscellaneous

The draw for the 2012 European Championship qualifiers takes place tomorrow morning in Warsaw: there will be reaction to the draw at some point tomorrow but it won’t be immediate due to a family birthday celebration – happy birthday Sally!

We’re also looking at another 11lionslive event: barring any internet ‘issues’ it’s possible that we’ll cover the forthcoming friendly against African Nations Cup winners Egypt. More details later, probably via our Facebook page.

The latest John Terry nonsense  is all over the British papers and seemingly on an endless loop on Sky News, so there’s no point in rehashing it here other than expressing the opinion that Fabio Capello made the right decision to relieve Terry of the captaincy.

Premiership Preview: Steven Gerrard’s Mystery Injury

by on November 7, 2009
in Weekend Previews, World Cup 2010

It’s early November and we’re still another seventh months until the tournament starts but I must admit that the injuries to Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard are beginning to worry me. According to Radio 5, Gerrard hasn’t trained for two weeks and Ferdinand’s overall fitness this season may have contributed to some of his indifferent performances when he has appeared for Manchester United. Still, it’s probably better to be injured now and we’re not the only country with a problem: I strongly suspect that Fernando Torres’ injury is probably more serious than either of theirs.

No doubt about the game of the weekend: Chelsea v Manchester United on Sunday (Sky Sports 1), which – for a change - has been comfortably overtaken in the hype stakes by the Hay/Valuev fight this evening. Both teams go into this meeting having drawn in their respective Champions League games this week: United had to come back from two goals down at home to CSKA Moscow, whilst Chelsea drew 2-2 at Athletico Madrid. Both of them are through to the knockout stages.

In other news…Sir David Beckham will be rejoining Milan when the MLS season finishes, probably just as well for Milan who are currently nine points behind leaders Juventus…’loveable rogue’ Austin ‘Jack’  Warner is playing up about a handbag…and I’m going to post this before IE decides to hang again.

Finally, we’re going to be trying something different next Saturday – if you click on the 11lionslive link above, you’ll be taken to our live blog page where we’ll be attempting to cover the England v Brazil friendly as well as the UEFA playoffs. Should be another post up early next week with squad details, so for now enjoy the rest of the weekend and thanks for reading.

Quick Slovenia preview

by on September 5, 2009
in Uncategorized

Slovenia are no mugs internationally speaking: since independence from the old Yugoslavia in 1991, they reached both Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup and they are currently ranked 57th in the world and 31st in Europe (which puts them ahead of Wales!) and they lie third in World Cup qualifying group three, two points behind Northern Ireland with three games left to play.

With a population of just over 2 million – about the size of Greater Manchester – it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that nearly all of the squad play outside Slovenia. Their best known player is Robert Koren of West Brom, who also holds the record for the most international appearances. The potential goal scoring threat is Milivoje Novakovic of FC Koln who is a big unit and will test our defenders; on that subject, Gary Cahill of Bolton has been called up to provide cover for Wes Brown and John Terry – it’ll be interesting to see if he gets any playing time today.

Coverage on ITV starts at 4:45pm GMT and we’ll have the result when it comes in; over the next couple of days we’ll have a round up of the rest of today’s qualifiers.

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