Monday, May 31, 2004 

PSG To Snatch Rothen?

After much speculation of an experience abroad, Jerome Rothen seems destined to remain in France as PSG have made steps forward in securting Monaco's winger.

Rothen also stated that even though he would like to play abroad, his future might still be in France. "I always said that Monaco is a good trampoline towards foreign leagues, but now I might stay in France with another team. I hope that my future is defined before the Euro; it would be ideal."

Source: Soccerage


Fenerbahce want Fernando Cavenaghi

There are claims in some newspapers that the club is negotiating with River Plate for the transfer of Fernando Cavenaghi in exchange for Ariel Ortega, and that a talk took place in France last week.
Our club has been interested in Cavenaghi before, but his value of 15million USD led to a change of mind.


Sunday, May 30, 2004 

Vasco da Gama 4-0 Botafogo

VASCO DA GAMA: Fábio, Claudemir, Fabiano, Henrique e Diego; Coutinho, Beto, Petkovic (Rodrigo Souto) e Róbson Luiz; Alex Alves (Gomes) e Valdir. Técnico: Geninho.

BOTAFOGO: Max, Marcio Gomes, João Carlos, Sandro e Daniel (Jorginho Paulista); Fernando, Túlio, Carlos Alberto e Valdo (Camacho); Almir (Schwenck) e Luizão. Técnico: Mauro Galvão.

GOALS: 1-0, Valdir (22); 2-0, Petkovic (32'); 3-0, Petkovic (63'); 4-0, Valdir (86')


Racing 1-2 River Plate

River won in a tradicionally difficult derby match, against rivals Racing Club Avelaneda, to mantain the 3 point lead over Boca Juniors, with only 3 matches to play in the Clausura Tournament.

RACING CLUB: Gastón Pezzuti; Leonardo Tambussi, Cristian Grabinski, Angel Martínez, Javier Pinola; Lucas Rimoldi, Leonardo Céliz, Juan Manuel Torres, Sebastián Romero (Vicente Principiano); Lisandro López, Luis Benítez (Luciano Olguin).

RIVER PLATE: Germán Lux; Ariel Garcé, Horacio Ameli, Eduardo Tuzzio, Ricardo Rojas; Eduardo Coudet (Rubens Sambueza), Claudio Husain, Luis González; Marcelo Gallardo (Cristain Tula); Maximiliano López, José Sand (nelson Cuevas).

GOALS: 0-1, Sand (14'); 0-2, Maxi Lopez (40'); 1-2, Rimoldi (65').
Cambios: ST 23m 28-Luciano Olguin X Luis Benítez (Ra), 35-Rubens Sambueza X Coudet(Ri) y 7-Nelson Cuevas X Sand (Ri).


PSG lifts the French Cup

Paris Saint-Germain FC claimed their first silverware in six years as Pauleta's second-half goal saw off second division LB Châteauroux 1-0 in the French Cup final.

Pauleta winner
With PSG having won nothing since the 1998 French Cup and League Cup, they were desperate for victory. However, Châteauroux made it tough for them, and it was not until the 65th minute that Pauleta finally broke the deadlock with a powerful header.

PSG lift the cup for the sixth time - only ten-time winners Olympique de Marseille have claimed the trophy more often.


Saturday, May 29, 2004 

Allbäck finds his form

Finland 1-3 Sweden
Marcus Allbäck put recent fitness worries behind him to score twice as Sweden came from behind to beat neighbours Finland in Tampere.

Litmanen penalty
In their penultimate friendly before UEFA EURO 2004™, Sweden fell behind early on. Jari Litmanen - who has recently returned to Finnish domestic football - converted a ninth-minute penalty after Aleksei Eremenko was brought down by Swedish goalkeeper Magnus Hedman.

Sweden level
However, Sweden were determined not to suffer any setbacks before they begin their Portuguese campaign on 14 June, and despite the constant menace of Litmanen equalised on the half-hour through Anders Andersson.

Crucial goal
It seemed that the first half would end level, but with seconds to go before the break Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent a shot in on goal which Antti Niemi could only parry. Allbäck was first to the rebound and taped in.

Allbäck's clincher
Ibrahimovic had a lively game, and with eight minutes to go made the clincher as he set Allbäck away to confirm victory. Sweden now welcome Poland to Solna next Saturday before opening their EURO 2004™ campaign against Bulgaria in Lisbon. Italy and Denmark also await in Group C.



Vassell lift for England

England striker Darius Vassell has been cleared to play in UEFA EURO 2004™ after passing a fitness test on his hamstring.

Injury doubt
The Aston Villa FC forward was named in coach Sven-Göran Eriksson's provisional 23-man squad last Monday, but has been struggling with a hamstring injury since the end of April. Eriksson must now decide whether to risk the 23-year-old in England's warm-up games against Japan and Iceland in Manchester next week.

'Looking forward'
Vassell said today: "I will be available for the finals. I did some special work on my hamstring and that went well. At this moment in time, I am 100 per cent. The injury was only minor in the first place, I have had a bit of a break and I feel strong. I am looking forward to the finals."



Govou in for stricken Giuly

AS Monaco FC captain Ludovic Giuly has been forced to withdraw from France's UEFA EURO 2004™ squad because of a torn abdominal muscle and he will be replaced by Olympique Lyonnais striker Sidney Govou.

Muscle tear
Giuly was substituted early in this week's UEFA Champions League final, which Monaco lost 3-0 against FC Porto, and a scan today revealed that his injury would take around six weeks to heal, making him unavailable for the final tournament.

Santini confirmation
France coach Jacques Santini confirmed the news after his team's 4-0 win against Andorra in Montpellier. "We have thought about keeping Ludo but his recovery period is too long," he said.



Kuhn names provisional party

Switzerland coach Jakob Kuhn has released a provisional list of 26 players for UEFA EURO 2004™. He will shorten it by three on 2 June - the date of both Switzerland's friendly against Germany and UEFA's deadline for naming squads.

Question mark
Kuhn's selection will have surprised no one although there remains a question mark against defender Ludovic Magnin, who has been struggling with a thigh injury. A central defender, probably Marco Zwyssig or Stéphane Grichting, and a midfield player are also expected to miss out.

Thurre rewarded
Meanwhile, striker Léonard Thurre has been rewarded for his fine form for Servette FC in the final weeks of the season with his first call-up since breaking his hand more than a year ago. Thurre made three appearances in qualifying.

Switzerland's provisional squad

Fabrice Borer (Grasshopper-Club)
Jörg Stiel (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Pascal Zuberbühler (FC Basel 1893)

Bruno Berner (FC Freiburg)
Stéphane Grichting (AJ Auxerre)
Bernt Haas (West Bromwich Albion FC)
Stéphane Henchoz (Liverpool FC)
Ludovic Magnin (SV Werder Bremen)
Patrick Müller (Olympique Lyonnais)
Remo Meyer (TSV 1860 München)
Christoph Spycher (Grasshopper-Club)
Murat Yakin (FC Basel 1893)
Marco Zwyssig (FC Basel 1893)

Ricardo Cabanas (Grasshopper-Club)
Fabio Celestini (Olympique de Marseille)
Benjamin Huggel (FC Basel 1893)
Johann Lonfat (FC Sochaux Montbéliard)
Johann Vogel (PSV Eindhoven)
Raphael Wicky (Hamburger SV)
Hakan Yakin (VfB Stuttgart).

Stéphane Chapuisat (BSC Young Boys)
Alex Frei (Stade Rennais FC)
Daniel Gygax (FC Zürich)
Milaim Rama (FC Thun)
Marco Streller (VfB Stuttgart)
Léonard Thurre (Servette FC)



Athletic 2-1 Real Sociedad (Basque Cup)

Athletic Bilbau won the Basque Cup, after defeating Real Sociedad 2-1. Ezquerro and Del Horno scored for Athletic, while Larrea scored for Real. It was a well played match, where several young players from both teams had a change to show themselves to their managers, hoping to be in the main teams in the next season,


Shevchenko agrees Milan extension

AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko has ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract with the Rossoneri until 2009.

Scoring success
The 27-year-old Ukrainian international topped the Italian scoring charts with 24 goals in 2003/04, helping Milan to their 17th Scudetto. Shevchenko moved to the San Siro from FC Dynamo Kyiv in 1999. He justified his €26m fee by becoming the first foreigner to be crowned Serie A top scorer in his debut season with 24 goals. He claimed another 24 strikes the following term, and 14 in 2001/02.

Knee injury
In 2002/03 he suffered a knee injury, but recovered in time to hit the winning penalty in the UEFA Champions League final against Juventus FC. Shevchenko's previous contract was due to expire in 2006.

Transfer dealings
Since clinching the Italian title, Milan have also allowed defender Martin Laursen to join Aston Villa FC and released Fernando Redondo, replacing them with Dutch international Jaap Stam and Vikash Dhorasoo.



Copa Libertadores results and fixtures

1/4 Finals

São Caetano (BRA) - Boca Juniors (ARG) 0-0 1-1 (3-4 pen)
River Plate (ARG) - Dep. Cali (COL) 1-0 3-1
São Paulo (BRA) - Dep. Táchira (VEN) 3-0 4-1
Santos (BRA) - Once Caldas (COL) 1-1 0-1

1/2 Finals (9/6 - 16/6)

Boca Juniors (ARG) - River Plate (ARG)
Once Caldas (COL) - São Paulo (BRA)


Estrela under construction

It has been an agitated week at Estádio José Gomes. President António Oliveira and Manager Miguel Quaresma have been planning next season, and have guaranteed the signings of midfielders Pedro Mendes, from Vit. Setúbal, and Hugo Machado, from Sporting B. Another "new face" is forward Pedro Silva, who played last year on loan at Tourizense, to become the team's top goalscorer. The board has also signed new contracts with players considered importants to help the club return to the SuperLiga. Amongst these are Pedro Simões, Hugo Carreira, Fonseca and Veiga. Juba and Miran are still analysing the contract proposals made by the board, and will give an answer later next week. Certain are the departures of prolific striker Júlio César, goalkeeper Márcio Santos, and midfielder Rogério.

Meanwhile, the board has next week as a deadline to clear all the tax debts of the club, to avoid beeing relegated to II division B. The president, António Oliveira, has announced that the payments will be made, as Estrela has found financial partners to help resolve this situation.

Friday, May 28, 2004 

Cocu close to PSV Eindhoven

The dutch international midfielder Phillip Cocu is on verge of returning to his old club. After his disappointing departure from Barcelona the dutch player is considering in returning to the dutch league and PSV is on the top of the list to sign the player.
With the most likely departure of Van Bommel, the Eindhoven side would see with good eyes the return of Cocu.


HSV still hopeful of landing Belgian

HSV can still afford to hope that they can finally land the Belgian international Daniel van Buyten, who is currently on loan to Manchester City from the French giants Olympique Marseille. The player himself has asked for time to consider his options. He has had offers from England and Italy as well as HSV.

Mpenza urging him to sign!

Van Buyten has recently admitted to being "pestered" by his good friend Emile Mpenza to join HSV just like he did recently! Both players are good mates as they have played together for Belgium. He also admitted that the city, the stadium and of course Mpenza, could work in HSV's favour. Marseille has said that van Buyten will never play for them again. As usual, the sticking point on the deal is money.

Lauth deal

Another player on Klaus Toppmöller's shopping list is the 1860 Munich German international striker Benny Lauth. The Munich blues, who were relegated to division two at the end of last season, are reported to be demanding at least four million Euros for their prize asset, a figure that HSV is very unlikely to be able to meet. The van Buyten deal has top priority at the Hamburg club.



Nikopolidis joins rivals Olympiacos

The saga concerning the future of Panathinaikos FC goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis has ended with the Greek international goalkeeper leaving the newly crowned champions and joining the club they deposed, Olympiacos CFP, on a three-year contract.

Contract expiring
The deal will become official when the transfer window opens on 1 June. The future of the 32-year-old had been the talk of Greece for the past six months, with his existing contract at Panathinaikos expiring in June.

Dropped from first team
He failed to reach a new agreement with Panathinaikos, despite extensive negotiations. As a result he was dropped from the first team - his last appearance came in February meaning he missed the title run-in as Panathinaikos ended Olympiacos's seven-year reign as Greek champions.

Landmark move
Nikopolidis joined Panathinaikos in summer 1989, but did not establish himself as first-choice goalkeeper until the 1997/98 season. A member of Otto Rehhagel's 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2004™, he is the first player to move from Panathinaikos to Olympiacos since Chris Kalantzis in 1993.


Thursday, May 27, 2004 

HSV shows interest in Benny Lauth

HSV's sport director Dietmar Beiersdorfer confirmed to the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper yesterday that the club is interested in signing the young 1860 Munich striker Benjamin Lauth: "Of course we're interested when a player like Lauth becomes available on the market," says Didi.

Relegation heartache

1860 was relegated to division two at the end of the season just ended, and must raise 7 million Euros for their license for next season. Rumour has it that the defender from also relegated Cologne Mustafa Dogan, could be on the verge of a move to the AOL Arena.

Friendly win

HSV beat SpVgg Steinefrenz/Weroth 6-2 last night in a friendly match played in Westerwald. A crowd of 4,000 saw the HSV goals scored by Bernardo Romeo (2), Marinus Bester (2), Milan Fukal and Stefan Beinlich.



Dep. Cali 1-3 River Plate

River Plate reached the semi-finals, after winning in Colombia, yesterday, 3-1. Deportivo scored first and gave most of the offensive expenses of the match, but with an intelligent and patient game, River scored 3 goals in couter-strike. With a solid midfield and a great keeper, River destroyed most of the Cali plays, and with good ball circulation was able to feed the strikers several times, to turn the match around.

River Plate will face Boca Juniors in the semi-finals, after the Xeinezes eliminated São Caetano in the penalties, on Tuesday.

DEPORTIVO CALI: Breiner Castillo; Fredy Hurtado, A.Mosquera, Nelson Rivas, Wilman Conde; Oscar Díaz (Jorge Díaz 55'), Hernando Patiño (Asprilla, 52'); Alvaro Domínguez, Tressor Morenos; Carlos Castillo, Julián Téllez (Trujillo, 71').

RIVER PLATE: Germán Lux; Ariel Garcé, Horacio Ameli, Eduardo Tuzzio, Ricardo Rojas; Javier Mascherano, Claudio Husain, Luis González (Rubens Sambueza, 83'); Marcelo Gallardo (Eduardo Coudet, 70'); Maximiliano López, Fernando Cavenaghi (José Maria Sand, 75').

GOALS: 1-0, Hurtado (13'); 1-1, Gallardo (21'); 1-2, Cavenaghi (24'); 1-2, Cavenaghi (69').


Porto perform to perfection

FC Porto became only the second side to win the UEFA Cup and the European Champion Clubs' Cup in successive seasons when they carried off the continent's premier club prize for the second time in their history.

Proud history
Seventeen years on from their 2-1 victory against FC Bayern München in the old European Cup final, goals by Carlos Alberto - the third youngest player ever to score in the final - and then Deco and Dmitri Alenichev in the second half wrote another proud chapter in their history. For Monaco, an early injury to their captain Ludovic Giuly hampered their progress and made it an uphill battle, one they inevitably lost.

Midfield reinforcement
Didier Deschamps bolstered his midfield with the inclusion of Edouard Cissé rather than Croatian striker Dado Pršo, while Hugo Ibarra was given the chance to face his former club in place of Sébastien Squillaci, with Gaël Givet moving into central defence alongside Julien Rodriguez. For Porto, the 19-year-old Carlos Alberto got the nod to partner fellow Brazilian Derlei in attack, ahead of South African Benni McCarthy.

Giuly threat
Following much pre-match speculation, Monaco captain Giuly took up a central attacking position from the start, and four times in the opening three minutes his pace nearly caught Porto cold. On three occasions the experience of his opposite number Jorge Costa was just enough to keep him at bay as he darted through, but once, from Lucas Bernardi's searching pass, Vítor Baía had to race from his goalline to effect a risky last-ditch tackle.

Grateful for Givet
Porto responded and Monaco were grateful for Givet's composure, first when he cleared a low cross after a jinking left-wing run by Carlos Alberto; then when he blocked Deco's shot following Flavio Roma's weak punch; and finally when he arrived in the nick of time as Rodriguez struggled to hold off Derlei as the striker chased a high ball forward.

Monaco momentum
But Giuly now came into his own as a playmaker with some deft touches on the edge of the Porto area, setting up Cissé whose cross was tantalisingly out of reach of Bernardi's outstretched leg, then providing Jérôme Rothen with a chance to cross from the other flank but this time Fernando Morientes was just out of range.

Enforced change
Sadly for Monaco, it was to be nothing more than a cameo from their captain as, after just 22 minutes he limped out of the game clutching his midriff, handing the armband to Rodriguez and being replaced by Pršo. Undeterred, Monaco kept their momentum and Nuno Valente became the first player to be booked after a clumsy foul on Cissé, then Morientes was adjudged offside from another astute pass from Bernardi.

Carlos Alberto strikes
The pendulum swung Porto's way when Rothen lost possession to Paulo Ferreira who charged up the right flank and crossed to the near post where Rodriguez just beat Deco to the ball. Five minutes later though Porto took the lead from the same source. This time Paulo Ferreira's cross was a lofted one and it found Carlos Alberto. Unselfishly, he tried to lay the ball off to Derlei but the ball bounced back to the teenager off the hapless Akis Zikos and this time it was despatched with aplomb past Roma's left hand.

Meek Monaco
Up to that point, five minutes from the interval, there had been little to choose between the teams, but in the opening period of the second half Monaco looked shell-shocked, a goal down and minus the inspirational Giuly. Gradually however they crept back into contention as Porto failed to capitalise and only another marginal offside verdict denied Morientes an equaliser.

Tactical changes
On the hour Porto coach José Mourinho withdrew Carlos Alberto in favour of Russian midfield player Alenichev, and four minutes later Deschamps brought on his Congolese striker Shabani Nonda in place of Cissé as Monaco threw caution to the wind.

Deco delight
But as their forays began to founder on the edge of the Porto area, the chance of a decisive counterattack grew more likely. And so it happened when, in the 71st minute, Deco broke clear and found Alenichev on the left. The Russian put the ball straight back into the playmaker's path and Deco stroked home Porto's second.

Resounding finish
Four minutes later the game was as good as over. This time it was Derlei who broke free, and he found Alenichev courtesy of a cross that deflected off Squillaci, by now on for Givet. Alenichev needed no second invitation as he drove the third nail in Monaco's coffin.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004 

Icelandic football news

Tough tests for Iceland

Iceland have named their squad for a international tournament starting later this month against England and Japan in Manchester.

The two friendlies against the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosts Japan on 30 May and the UEFA EURO 2004 finalists England on 5 June will serve as warm-ups for the start of 2006 World Cup qualifying later this year. "It is an important part of our preparation," coach Ásgeir Sigurvinsson said. "England and Japan are tough opponents but we will do our best to get satisfying results."

Here's the squad selected for the matches: Arason, Finnbogason, Hreidarsson, Marteinsson (in picture), Helgason, Ingimarsson, Jónsson, K O Sigurdsson, Gretarsson, T Gudjónsson, B B Gunnarsson, J K Gudjónsson, Sigurdsson, B Gudjónsson, J Gudmundsson, H Sigurdsson, T Gudmundsson, Gudjohnsen, Helguson, Baldvinsson.

Premier Division: Days 2 and 3

Second draw for ÍA Akranes at home, as this weekend's game against Grindavik ended with both teams being unable to score. Meanwhile, last night's game at Fram gave Akranes their first win of the season, with a 2-0 victory at the Laugardalsvollur. With 5 points from 3 matches, Akranes reaches second place and waits for the results of the other four games, to be played next thursday.

Sources: Knattspyrnufélag ÍA,

Tuesday, May 25, 2004 

Anderlecht sign Ehret

Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht have signed midfield player Fabrice Ehret from RC Strasbourg.

German competition
The 24-year-old left winger has signed a two-year contract with the option of a further two years if all goes well. The Belgian side beat off competition from German sides DSC Arminia Bielefeld and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, both of whom were reportedly keen to sign the player.

Broos excited
"Ehret might become the new [Christian] Wilhelmsson," said coach Hugo Broos of the club's Swedish international. "He was also unknown when we first signed him. He is a player who can control the whole left flank and also is strong in attack."

French national
The midfield player was born in Switzerland but took French nationality. This season he has played 27 games in Ligue 1 for Strasbourg, scoring two goals in the process. He also received six yellow cards and two red ones.



City To Lose Van Buyten To Hamburg

As previously announced by Football United Marseille defender Daniel Van Buyten is on the verge of joining German outfit Hamburg for £3m.

The Belgian international had been targeted by Manchester City after a successful loan spell at the City of Manchester stadium.

However, Kevin Keegan's side were unable to find the cash to make their move, which allowed Hamburg to swoop for the big centre-back.

Source: Soccerage

Monday, May 24, 2004 

Olympiacos - Bringing pride to Piraeus

By the mid-1920s Greek football had developed to the point where Athens and Thessaloniki had teams to be proud of, leaving Piraeus, a city often overlooked as merely being the port area of Athens, in the shade once again.

Public approval
The response from Piraeus came on 10 Marcy 1925, when a group led by Michalis Manouskos founded Olympiacos Syndesmos Filathlon Pireos (literally, the Olympiacos club of Piraeus supporters). The club immediately caught the attention of the locals, with the team filling the Piraeus Velodrome (now the Karaiskakis stadium) despite the fact that their fans came mostly from poor families of workers or sailors.

The Andrianopoulos brothers
The stars of the day were the Andrianopoulos brothers - Giannis, Dinos, Giorgos, Vassilis and Leonidas - who were behind the side's early successes. A first league title came in the 1930/31 season, and from then on the Red and Whites developed the winning habit which has turned them into Greece's best-supported team.

Six in a row
The second world war prefaced a golden era in the late 1940s and 1950s, as Olympiacos collected nine league championships and eight Greek Cups. With key performers such as Andreas Mouratis, Elias Rossidis, Thanassis Bebis, Elias Yfantis, Kostas Polychroniou, Giorgos Darivas and Savas Theodoridis, they won six consecutive titles from 1954-59. But even in the lean years, the club remained the team everyone wanted to beat.

Century of goals
Another glorious chapter began to unfold in 1972, after Nikos Goulandris became president. He appointed Lakis Petropoulos as coach and signed star players Giorgos Delikaris, Yves Triantafyllos, Julio Losada, Milton Viera and Dimitris Persidis. The highlight for that side was the 1973/74 season, when Olympiacos won the league with a record tally of points (59) and of goals (102). It was a question, not of whether they would win, but of how many they would score.

Dismal decade
Olympiacos then lived their darkest days between the mid-1980s and mid-90s. The club's shares passed from one businessman of dubious background, Giorgos Koskotas, to another, Argyris Saliarelis; both would be imprisoned while Olympiacos fell into debt. On the pitch, the team went ten years without a league title from 1987-97.

Back on track
The situation improved after Socrates Kokkalis took over Olympiacos's shares of in 1993, having agreed a settlement of the club's debts with the Greek government. Kokkalis slowly resurrected the team, his most significant step being to hire Dusan Bajevic as coach in the summer of 1996. Ever since, Olympiacos have been Greek champions - even after Bajevic left in 1999.

European envy
For all their domestic success, though, Olympiacos are yet to impress in Europe. The mere thought that arch-rivals Panathinaikos FC have a stronger record in UEFA club competition (having played in one European Champion Clubs' Cup final and three European Cup or UEFA Champions League semi-finals), makes them desperate for glory on the continental stage.

Olympiacos's best moments at this level came with appearances in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals - where they lost to Club Atlético de Madrid - and in the last eight of the 1998/99 Champions League, when Juventus FC beat them.

New stadium
The club's supporters hope their much-anticipated return, in autumn 2004, to the Karaiskakis stadium, which has been rebuilt for the 2004 Olympics, will be the catalyst for improved fortunes in Europe. Certainly, a new ground has been one of only two gaps in the CV of one of the continent's most-titled clubs.

League championships: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.

Greek Cups: 1947, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1981, 1990, 1992, 1999.



Roque Junior Heading For Greece?

According to a number of Greek newspaper reports, Olympiakos are about to sign Brazilian World Cup winner Roque Junior.

The 28-year-old defender, belongs to Milan and was on loan to Siena, but matters for the Piraeus club are further complicated with the news that Greek giants Panathinaikos have also made an approach for the Brazilian, as Amstel Beer on their website reported on Sunday.

Both clubs Panathinaikos, will represent Greece in next season's Champions League, together with PAOK Thessaloniki.

Source: Soccerage


Larsson Snubs Blackburn For Sunnier Climate

Graeme Souness has revealed that Henrik Larsson turned down a move to Blackburn - because he's got his heart set on a move to somewhere sunny.

The Swede ended seven prolific years with Celtic on Saturday, but is yet to decide where he wants to play next season.

Souness told the Express: "It would have been a fantastic signing for us. But Henrik told me he wanted to go somewhere it was sunny." Knowing the interest of SL benfica, that might means that Larsson might come this summer to Portugal to stay.

Source: Soccerage


Camacho in for Queiroz

Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz has left Real Madrid CF after just one season in charge with former Spain coach José Antonio Camacho confirmed as his replacement.

Strong ties
Club president Florentino Pérez said of Camacho, who made over 500 appearances for Madrid between 1974 and 1989: "Camacho has always been in the hearts of everyone at the club and 'madridismo' itself."

No silverware
He takes over from Queiroz, who arrived at the Santiago Bernabéu in June 2003, succeeding Vicente del Bosque. However, the Portuguese has been unable to steer the club to any silverware and Madrid's directors decided to replace him with a year to run on his contract after the Merengues' season fell apart in the spring.

Champions League exit
After their Copa del Rey final defeat by Real Zaragoza in March, Madrid exited the UEFA Champions League in the quarter-finals, beaten by AS Monaco FC and - to be precise - the goals of one of their own, on-loan striker Fernando Morientes.

Form collapsed
Since then their league form has collapsed and Madrid's club-record fifth straight defeat against Real Sociedad de Fútbol yesterday meant that they ended the season in fourth place, missing out on automatic qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Now that they must enter the tournament's third qualifying round, Madrid may be forced to cancel a lucrative summer tour of Asia.

Two-year contract
Camacho will be unveiled to the press tomorrow having agreed a two-year deal. The 48-year-old was in charge of Spain at UEFA EURO 2000™ and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and last week won his first trophy as a coach when he led SL Benfica to victory over FC Porto in the Portuguese Cup final. He had yet to renew his one-year contract with the Lisbon club.

'Lack of success'
Pérez said: "It has not been a good year for us and that is something that really hurts us. Real Madrid have always been a successful club and the lack of success this season has left us without an option but to announce that Carlos Queiroz will not continue [as coach] and from Tuesday, José Antonio Camacho will be the new coach."



Athletic 3-4 Atlético

ATHLETIC: Lafuente; Javi González, Murillo, Prieto, Larrazabal (Felipe, 62'); Bordas, Orbaiz; Iraola, Guerrero (Yeste, 79'), Arriaga; Urzaiz (Ezquerro, 68').

ATLÉTICO: Aragoneses; Novo (Simeone, 88'), García Calvo, Lequi, Sergi; Aguilera, De Los Santos (Jorge, 91'), Ibagaza, Nano (Musampa, 87'); Paunovic, Torres.

Goles: 1-0, Iraola (19'); 1-1, Ibagaza (25'); 1-2, De los Santos (32'); 1-3, Torres (34'); 2-3, Arriaga (53'); 2-4, Torres (84'); 3-4, Arriagam (89').


Rahn gets Völler nod

Germany coach Rudi Völler has named 22 of his 23 players for UEFA EURO 2004™ - leaving one squad place to be filled by an Under-21 international.

Leading contenders
The leading contenders for the final berth appear to be 18-year-old 1. FC Köln forward Lukas Podolski and FC Bayern München's 19-year-old midfield player Bastian Schweinsteiger. Völler will announce his decision on 2 June at the conclusion of the group stage of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Neuville left out
Völler has also left forward Oliver Neuville out of his squad. The 31-year-old, who today left Bayer 04 Leverkusen for VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach on a free transfer, found it hard to hold down a first-team place this season. He loses out to Hannover 96 striker Thomas Brdaric, whose 12 goals helped save his club from relegation.

Preparations begin
Germany will start their preparations for Portugal on Tuesday, when they meet in Winden in the Black Forest. Their opening game of the tournament is against Group D rivals the Netherlands in Porto on 15 June.

Germany squad

Oliver Kahn (FC Bayern München)
Jens Lehmann (Arsenal FC)
Timo Hildebrand (VfB Stuttgart)

Frank Baumann (SV Werder Bremen)
Arne Friedrich (Hertha BSC Berlin)
Andreas Hinkel (VfB Stuttgart)
Philipp Lahm (VfB Stuttgart)
Jens Nowotny (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Christian Rahn (Hamburger SV)
Christian Wörns (BV Borussia Dortmund)

Michael Ballack (FC Bayern München)
Fabian Ernst (SV Werder Bremen)
Paul Freier (VfL Bochum 1848)
Torsten Frings (BV Borussia Dortmund)
Dietmar Hamann (Liverpool FC)
Jens Jeremies (FC Bayern München)
Sebastian Kehl (BV Borussia Dortmund)
Bernd Schneider (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

Fredi Bobic (Hertha BSC Berlin)
Thomas Brdaric (Hannover 96)
Miroslav Klose (1. FC Kaiserslautern)
Kevin Kuranyi (VfB Stuttgart)



River Plate 0-0 Chacarita Juniors

Under heavy rain, River Plate was unable to achive more than a point against Chacarita Juniors. The conditions forced the players to try long balls, and none of the teams played a good match. Despite the draw, River is now two points clear of Boca Juniors, that lost at Quilmes, 2-0.

River: Germán Lux; Barzola, Cristian Nasuti, Cristian Tula, Juan Fernández (Daniel Ludueña, 66'); Gabriel Pereyra, Claudio Husain, Rubens Sambueza; Montenegro; Nelson Cuevas, José Sand (Fernando Cavenaghi 62'). DT: Leonardo Astrada.

Chacarita: Leo Fernández; Iván Furios, Sebastián Pena, Claudio Arzeno, Mariano Mignini; Diego Rivero, Luciano Precone, Jorge Casanova, Carlos Moreno; Mauricio Piersimone (Unycio, 69'), Claudio Graf (Ojeda, 86'). DT: Enrique Borrelli.


Botafogo 1-1 Figueirense

Botafogo continues without any victories in the championship, and yesterday, once again, lost the lead against Figueirense to achieve yet another draw.

BOTAFOGO: Max, Ruy, Sandro, João Carlos e Daniel; Fernando, Carlos Alberto (Têti), Valdo e Camacho (Fábio); Almir, Luizão.

FIGUEIRENSE: Édson Bastos, Paulo Sérgio, Márcio Goiano, Cléber e Filipe; Jeovânio, Bilu, Sérgio Manoel e Nenê (Everton); Izaias (Eloy), Rodrigo (Marlon).

GOALS: 1-0, Luizão (39'); 1-1, Izaias (48').


FU Clubs in European Competitions 2004/05

The season is over in Europe. Time to see what are the FU Teams that will represent us in the European Competitions Next Season.

Champions League - AC Milan, PSG, Olympiacos

Champions League Qualifying Round 3 - Benfica, PSV Eindhoven, Inter, Anderlecht, Fenerbahce*

Uefa Cup - Sporting, SC Braga, FC Utrecht, Athletic Bilbau

Intertoto - Hamburg

* Fenerbahce can still go directly to the Champions League is FC Porto win the match agains Monaco next wednesday


PSG get the Champions (Bastia 0 - 1 PSG)

PSG were indebted to Pedro Pauleta, whose solitary 52nd-minute goal away against SC Bastia ensured the capital club of a place in next season's UEFA Champions League, a competition they have not graced since 2000/01. Champions League finalists Monaco finished third and will be forced to go through qualifying for next season's competition unless they defeat FC Porto in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday.

Bastia : Penneteau - F. Mendy, Hilton, Yahia, Chimbonda - Hadji, Cauet (Gourvennec, 80e), Diarra - Ben Saada, Maurice, Ogbeche. Entr. : Gili.

PSG : Letizi - Heinze, Mendy, Pierre-Fanfan, Déhu - M'Bami, Sorin, Cana, Fiorèse (El Karkouri, 80e) - Ljuboja (Rocchi, 74e), Reinaldo (Pauleta, 36e). Entr. : Halilhodzic.

Goal(s) : Pauleta (52e)


FC Utrecht Win Amstel Cup Again

For the third time in history FC Utrecht have won the Amstel Cup. In a mediocre final the Utrecht outfit beat FC Twente 1-0. A goal from Dave van den Bergh after 66 minutes was enough to take the cup back to Utrecht. It was Utrecht's second win (and third final) in a row. Last year they beat Feyenoord in a spectacular match 4-1.

Both teams were nervous from the start. Utrecht were far from being the side that upset Feyenoord in last years Cup Final, while FC Twente weren't their normal selves either. Especially in the first half there was not much to enjoy for the fans. Both teams had come to Rotterdam to win, but once the game had started they had more eye for each other than for the ball and chances were very scarce.

In the second half things were not much different at first. Utrecht were the slightly better side, but - like FC Twente - they didn't create any chances. Meanwhile frustration and confrontations on the pitch only added to the irritation. This irritation came to an outburst, when the first shot on goal in the second half went in.

In the 66th minute it was Dave van den Bergh who broke the deadlock for Utrecht with a powerful strike. His shot from 25 yards found the net. This goal led to a lot of discussions on Twente-side. Twente claimed they had knocked the ball out of play, because Simon Cziommer was injured. Once the player was on his feet again they expected Utrecht to throw the ball back to them, but they didn't. Instead Tanghe passed the ball on to Van den Bergh, who scored.

After this goal the atmosphere on the field got even grimmer. FC Twente tried to push forward, while FC Utrecht did everything to delay the game. 15 minutes from the end Twente got a free-kick in midfield. In his hurry to get the ball Twente's Jeroen Heubach gave one of the Utrecht players a push and was sent off by referee Roelof Luinge. It was a disputable decision and one that killed the game. With ten men FC Twente were even less in a position to harm Utrecht and it was 'game over'.

For Rene Vandereycken it was a sad end to his Twente career. Next season the coach will be in charge of Belgian side RC Genk, but he had hoped to leave the club with a prize. Utrecht not only won the Amstel Cup, but also secured a ticket for next season's Uefa Cup.

FC Twente: Paauwe, Ouedraogo, Gruijic, Pothuizen, Heubach, Van der Weerden, Cziommer (Christensen/71), Polak, Ramzi (Jochemsen/81), Gakhokidze, N'Kufo

FC Utrecht: Ponk, Lamey, Schut (Keller/55), Zwaanswijk, Shew-Atjon, Broerse, Tanghe, De Jong (Zuidam/70), Van den Bergh, Leitoe (Chaiat/80), Van de Haar

Source: Soccerage

Saturday, May 22, 2004 

Panathinaikos end rivals' reign

Panathinaikos FC ended Olympiacos CFP's seven-year reign as Greek champions by completing a domestic double with a 1-0 victory that relegated Paniliakos FC.

Olisadebe winner
Having seen Olympiacos dominate since their last title victory in 1995/96, a spell which included several last-day deciders, Panathinakos finally took their championship tally to 19 as just as against FC PAOK and Proofeftiki FC, Emmanuel Olisadebe came on as substitute to score the winner.

Akratitos play-off
His 76th-minute solo effort relieved the tension ten minutes after Dimitrios Papadopoulos had headed on to the post. Panaliakos join Proodeftiki in relegation, allowing Akratitos FC to survive, despite a 3-1 defeat at Halkidona FC. However, Akratitos do now take on Ergotelis FC in a play-off.

Victory in vain
Olympiacos were determined to win lest Panathinaikos, two points ahead, slipped. They did beat UEFA Cup-bound Egaleo FC 3-1, Marcin Kuzba scoring twice in the second half after Giovanni's league leading 21st goal of the season was cancelled out by Anestis Agritis. But just as Panathinaikos beat Olympiacos in the Greek Cup final, so again the recent title-monopolisers missed out.

However Olympiacos will still be playing Champions League next season.



Bundesliga round 34: HSV 2 - 1 Eintracht Frankfurt

HSV send Frankfurt down

Coach Toppmöller made three changes to the side which drew 0-0 in Freiburg, for the final Bundesliga match of the season in front of 52,000 in the AOL Arena this afternoon. Hollerbach came into the side for the suspended Fukal, Romeo for Takahara and Rudolfo Cardoso was allowed to play his last ever Bundesliga game from the start, meaning that David Jarolim was relegated to the bench. Frankfurt coach Reimann stuck with the side which gave the club hope of staying in the Bundesliga by beating high-flying Bochum 3-2 last time out.

Hermann steals the show

Before a ball was kicked HSV said goodbye to no less than six players. Hoogma, Cardoso, Hollerbach, Fukal, Maltritz and Starkeall said their goodbyes and were given a bunch of flowers by the club. There was however, someone who stole that show. HSV's legendary masseur Hermann Rieger is leaving the club after 26 years. The cult masseur was given a rousing sending off by the huge crowd present.

Game on

The sums were very simple for this match. HSV had secured a place in the Intertoto Cup by finishing in 8th place, Frankfurt supported by around 10,000 travelling fans, had to win to have any chance of staying in the Bundesliga. As expected, the visitors started in a perky manner. On 14 minutes Frankfurt should have taken the lead as Frommer found himself one on one with keeper Wächter. HSV's shot-stopper kept his cool and parried the shot away. Four minutes later Bernardo Romeo tried a low shot from the edge of the area which the superb Pröll saved comfortably.

Frankfurt go ahead

After 26 minutes the visitors took the lead. A fine pass by Skela found Amanatidis on the blind side of the HSV defence. Wächter had no chance this time as Amanatidis blasted a shot between the keeper's legs and into the net. The celebrations of the huge travelling contingent had hardly died down before HSV were level. Sloppy defending by frankfurt allowed Romeo a shot from just inside the area. That shot was deflected by Chris into the path of Mehdi Mahdavikia lurking at the far post. The Iranian international had no trouble pushing the ball home from close range for the HSV equaliser. Two speculative shots by first Skela (41.) and then Preuß (45.) were the only other noteworthy points before the half time break.

Taka hits a post...Sergej mops up!

Pröll between the Frankfurt posts was their best player, foiling HSV time and time again. On 57 minutes he was powerless to stop the home side take the lead. Frankfurt lost possession going forward, giving HSV the chance to counter attack. Good combination play was rounded off by a Takahara shot which was deflected onto the crossbar. Sergej Barbarez was in the right place at the right time to blast the ball high into the net from five yards out. The Bosnian striker showed no emotion as the ball hit the back of the net, probably his way of answering the stinging criticism of the home fans from the last home game against Stuttgart (2-1).

Bye bye Frankfurt

HSV had their tails up after going ahead and never let the visitors back into the game. Frankfurt seemed resigned to their fate and had very little resistance to offer after the strike by Barbarez. They now go down to the second division along with 1860 Munich who went down 1-3 in Gladbach.

HSV: Wächter - Wicky, Hoogma, Ujfalusi, Hollerbach - Schlicke - Mahdavikia, Cardoso, Beinlich - Barbarez - Romeo

Eintracht Frankfurt: Pröll - Bindewald, Puljiz, Chris, Bürger - Schur - Preuß - Lexa, Skela - Frommer, Amanatidis

Goals: 0:1 Amanatidis, 1:1 Mahdavikia, 2:1 Barbarez



Amstel Cup Final Preview: FC Utrecht-FC Twente

On Sunday FC Utrecht, the current cup holders, and FC Twente will battle for glory in the Amstel Cup Final. Both teams have had a mediocre year (Twente finished 8th this season, while Utrecht had to settle for 10th place), but the Amstel Cup gives them a chance to end the season on a high. By winning the cup either Utrecht or Twente will secure an Uefa Cup ticket.

For FC Utrecht it's the third year in a row they will contest the Cup Final and it's their fifth final altogether. In 1982 FC Utrecht were finalist for the first time. That year AZ Alkmaar, one of the best sides in Holland in those days, were too strong. Three years later Utrecht had more succes, when Helmond Sport was defeated (1-0). After this win in 1985 the fans had to wait a long time before they could celebrate another cup win. In 2002 Utrecht were back for their third final. In a thrilling match Utrecht lost to Ajax in extra time (3-2). One year later - last year - the Utrecht outfit had more succes when they upset Feyenoord in their own stadium De Kuip by beating them 4-1.

FC Twente also enter the final for the fifth time. The best years in the club's history date back to the seventies. In those days Twente was one of few teams in Holland that could compete with the great Ajax and Feyenoord sides. In 1975 Twente even reached the Uefa Cup final against Borussia Monchengladbach and the club also appeared in three Dutch Cup Finals. In 1975 (against FC Den Haag) and 1979 (Ajax) FC Twente were defeated, but in 1977 the cup was theirs when they recorded a 3-0 win over PEC Zwolle in extra time. Then the fans had to wait a long time before they could celebrate again. In 2001 FC Twente reached the Cup Final for the fourth time. After a scoreless match they upset PSV after a penalty shoot out.

Team news

So, both teams will try to win their third cup in history on Sunday. FC Utrecht will be without Pascal Bosschaart. The 24-year-old midfielder, who will play for Feyenoord next season, is suspended. Karim Touzani, who will leave Utrecht this summer to play for Twente (!) is injured. The same goes for Tom van Mol and Donny de Groot, who will also be absent. For Patrick Zwaanswijk it will be his last match for Utrecht. He has told the club he doesn't want to extend his contract and hopes to find a new club in England or Germany.

For Rene Vandereycken this will be the last game in charge of FC Twente. The coach will return to his home country Belgium next season to take over RC Genk. Although Twente reached the Cup Final and has played some good and spectecular games this season, he hasn't been given the credit he deserves. At Twente there are some doubts over the fitness of Swiss star Blaise N'Kufo and German youngster Peter Niemeyer. Especially N'Kufo has played a crucial role in Twente's Amstel Cup campaign. The forward left the field with an injury after 7 minutes last Sunday, but Vandereycken hopes he will be fit to play tomorrow.

Source: Soccerage


Man United Sign Heinze

Manchester United have reportedly agreed to terms with PSG's full-back Gabriel Heinze.

The well-travelled 26-year-old, who hails from Argentina, was reportedly topping Sir Alex Ferguson short-list of players to acquire.

Heinze, who has also played for Valladolid and Sporting Lisbon, holds a French passport and will not be considered a non EU player.

He had been previously linked with a move to Chelsea (then again who hasn't), but it appears he will be playing with Man U next season.

Source: Soccerage

Friday, May 21, 2004 

Larrazabal's last match

Aitor Larrazabal will play, next sunday, in San Mamés, his last match with Athletic's jersey, after 22 years in the club. "It will probably be the most dificult day of my career", stated the left full-back, that will be on the starting eleven, as assured by Ernesto Valverde, and will be team captain, to play his 390th match in the league, wich places him in third position in the ranking of historical Athletic players, side by side with Orue, and after Iribar and Txetxu Rojo.



Dehu Set For Marseille

Paris Saint-Germain defender Frederic Dehu is set to join Marseille, according to French daily Le Parisien.

The player has reportedly signed a two-year contract with Marseille, but has asked the two clubs to keep the deal a secret until after the French Cup final between PSG and Chateauroux on May 29.


River Plate 1-0 Dep. Cali

Rubens Sanbueza's only goal gave River a slim advantage in the quarter-finals of the Libertadores. Los Millionarios didn't transform their superiority in the pitch on to the final result, and will have to work hard on the second leg, to be played in Colombia next week, if they want to go through to the semi's.

RIVER PLATE: Germán Lux; Juan Fernández, Horacio Ameli, Eduardo Tuzzio, Ricardo Rojas; Javier Mascherano, Luis González (Gabriel Pereyra, 75'), Rubens Sambueza, Marcelo Gallardo (Daniel Montenegro, 69'); Maximiliano López (José Sand, 82'), Fernando Cavenaghi.

DEPORTIVO CALI: Breiner Castillo; Freddy Hurtado, Andrés Mosquera, Nelson Rivas, Wílman Conde; Hernando "Cocho"´ Patiño, Oscar Díaz (Jimmy Asprilla, 65'), Abel Aguilar, Alvaro Domínguez (Trujillo, 46'), Malher Tressor Moreno; Carlos Castillo (Jorge Díaz, 72').

GOALS: 1-0, Rubens Sambueza (18')

Other Results

São Paulo (BRA) 3-0 Dep. Táchira (VEN)
Santos (BRA) 1-1 Once Caldas (COL)
River Plate (ARG) 1-1 Dep. Cali (COL)
São Caetano (BRA) 0-0 Boca Juniors (ARG)


Fabio Luciano called up for Brazil

This season`s consistent defender Fabio Luciano has been called up to the Brazil squad to face Catalonia.
Former Fenerbahçe boss and current Brazilian national team coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has called upon the services on the day Brazil play France in FIFA`s Centenary friendly.

Fabio was informed by Hakan Bilal Kutlualp in the last minute as he was about to get a transfer flight from Frankfurt back to Brazil. Fabio changed his route to Paris to join the world champions.



Daniel van Buyten on the road to Hamburg

The Belgian national player stands very above on the wish list of the HSV. Van Buyten is 26 years old, 1.96 meters largely and 87 kilograms heavily. The right foot plays in the defense headquarters, and he got 21 caps for Belgium already.

Currently in Marseille the belgium international might join is recently signed countrymate Emile Mpenza.


Benfica strong in the Transfer Market

Several coatchs are being linked to substitute Camacho in Benfica. In the top of the list is Scolari, currently in front of the Portuguese National Team. Also mentioned are Fernandez, Hiddink and Koemen.

But independently of the coatch, benfica wants to streight their squad for next season. The brasilians internationals from Santos, Alcides and Paulo Almeida are already signed and Yanick (french goalkeeper from Alverca), and Carlitos (attacking midefielder from Estoril) are very close of signing a deal with the Eagles.

Beside this players Benfica want more 5 players with international reputation: a goalkeeper, a defender center, a left defender, an attacking midfielder and a striker.

According to the journal "A Bola" the choise to the defender center goes to Fernando Couto and the prefered Attacking Midfielder is Alex, from Cruzeiro (already linked to Benfica since the Winter Break, as FU previous announced). To the attack the press is linking Larsson, the swedish star, and the brasilian Amoroso.

Thursday, May 20, 2004 

Spain Squad for EURO 2004

GoalKeepers: Aranzubía, Cañizares e Casillas.

Defenders: Raúl Bravo, Gabri, Juanito, Helguera, Marchena, César, Puyol e Michel Salgado.

Midfielders: Albelda, Xabi Alonso, Baraja, Joaquín, Valerón, Xavi e Vicente.

Strikers: Raúl, Luque, Morientes, Fernado Torres e Etxeberria.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 

Ticket falsification scandal in La Bombonera

Boca Juniors board is being investigated for a ticket falsification scandal. In the last weekend superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate, hundreds of fans, with tickets bought in the Boca ticket offices, were not allowed to enter La Bombonera, as the capacity of the stadium had already been exceeded.

The secretary of the club, Luis Buzio, was taken into custody by the authorities, for questioning (later to be realeased), suspected of leading the falsification scheme. Five Boca Juniors fans and three employees are still in custody.

The president of the club, Mauricio Macri, later admited that at least three tousand tickets were falsified, but had no doubts to state that "the general secretary has nothing to do with the scandal".

The Comitte for Security of the province of Buenos Aires is analysing the police investigations, in order to issue a punishment to the club, that might involve the interdiction of La Bombonera for the rest of the season, for domestic and international venues.

Meanwhile, the board of Boca Juniors has announced that, if the club is not allowed to play the home matches in La Bombonera, they will withdraw for the Copa Libertadores. They stated hat "if our home is interdicted for the next matches, our decision to leave the Libertadores will be irreversible".

The team is currently in Brazil, where they will face São Caetano for the first leg of the quarter-finals of The Copa Libertadores.


Lacruz out for 6 months

Mari Lacruz has been out through an MRI scan in wich an anterior cruciate ligament rupture of his right knee has been detected. He will be undergoing surgery and is expected to be out for a period of 6 months.



Bota's new signings

Former Botafogo and Brazil player in the early 90's, Mauro Galvão is as of today the new coah for the Alvinegros. Galvão was in the Botafogo team that won the Brazilian Championship in 1989 with no defeats. He also won the Copa America 1990 and played in the World Cup in Italy, for the national team, as a defender.

Mauro Galvão's task is to take Botafogo out of the bottom positions of the league. "The most important is to have tranquility. We have more than 40 games left, and there is still time to recover. It's like a new championship, but there has to be a stronger bond between the team and fans" he stated in the press conference.

Meanwhile Botafogo has signed former Cruzeiro striker Schwenck. The 25 yearl old left the current champions recently, and joins Bota on a free transfer. Schwenck has already played for clubs like Juventus SP, Bragantino, América and Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). When he performed for Juventus, he paired in attack with Alex Alves, exactly the player he will be replacing in the team. Alex Alves will be away for at least six months, with an injury in his right knee.


Rui Neves ends career

Rui Neves, historical Estrela da Amadora defender, has decided to end his carrer at the age of 34. Having played in the Amadora club for the most of the time, Rui Neves will now coach the youth levels of the club. This is the way the board found to keep one of the symbol players linked to the club, and present an example to the future stars of the team.

Meanwhile, Pedro Simões will remain at the club, after signing a contract that links him to the Tricolores for two more years.


Valencia victorious in Gothenburg

Valencia CF capped a wonderful season and bridged a 24-year gap since their last European success as they overwhelmed ten-man Olympique de Marseille in Gothenburg to add the UEFA Cup to their Primera División success.

Barthez dismissed
The Spanish club thus made it third time lucky after losing in the 2000 and 2001 UEFA Champions League finals, with goals from Vicente Rodríguez and Mista sealing a well-deserved victory over a Marseille side which had French international goalkeeper Fabien Barthez sent off on the stroke of half-time.

Drogba passed fit
The team news brought relief for Marseille with Didier Drogba, this season's scoring sensation in European competition, passed fit to play after recovering from a hip injury. Valencia coach Rafael Benítez felt confident enough to omit playmaker Pablo Aimar with Miguel Angel Angulo and free-scoring Mista paired in attack.

Howling wind
Drogba was in the action early, sent tumbling by a heavy Roberto Ayala challenge in the first two minutes and Carlos Marchena was forced into a last-ditch clearance from the resultant free-kick. But the match action was initially surprisingly muted, with the howling wind precluding constructive football.

Marlet chance
Valencia suddenly sprung to life after six minutes with Mista's blocked shot followed by an excellent Barthez save from David Albelda's deflected effort. Marseille were chasing shadows for an extended period with Steve Marlet's booking on nine minutes a product of their frustration. However, the French side weathered that storm and fashioned their first real chance after 16 minutes, but Marlet's diving header from Camel Meriem's cross flew over the bar.

Beye miss
Minutes later Meriem should have done better when found by the increasingly menacing Drogba, but he shot harmlessly wide from the edge of the box. Marseille were now in the ascendancy and a third good chance went begging midway through the half when Habib Beye headed wide from another free-kick won by Drogba's trickery.

Turning point
With Albelda and especially Rubén Baraja back on top in midfield, Valencia regained the initiative but Barthez's goal was not threatened until the fateful final 30 seconds. A Curro Torres cross evaded Beye at the far post and Mista feinted around the French goalkeeper only to be brought to the ground.

Barthez dismissed
Referee Pierluigi Collina was on the spot straight away. The two most famous bald pates in world football went head to head and Barthez was sent off with a penalty awarded. After a lengthy delay Jéremy Gavanon came in to take his place with Meriem sacrificed, but the substitute goalkeeper had no chance with the penalty, which was converted by Vicente in the last act of an intriguing first half.

Mista magic
The break brought only brief respite for Marseille as the recently-crowned Spanish champions exploited their numerical advantage at the start of the second half. After 13 minutes of almost total possession, Valencia doubled their lead. A slick move stretched the Marseille rearguard to breaking point and after Vicente cut the ball in perfectly from the left, Mista showed the confidence of a striker at the top of his game to rifle in his fifth goal of this season's competition.

Aimar introduction
Marseille heads dropped as the enormity of their task dawned on them and their shattered morale was hardly helped by the introduction of Aimar for Rufete after 64 minutes. However, the French side threw off their shackles minutes later with Drogba the inevitable inspiration. The Ivory Coast international stung Santiago Cañizares' fingers with a fiercely struck free-kick before coming within centimetres of playing through Marlet.

N'Diaye denied
Despite being under pressure, as long as a third goal eluded the Spanish side, Marseille retained a sliver of hope and Sylvain N'Diaye almost brought Anigo's side back into the game after 80 minutes but his fierce shot was well saved by Cañizares.

Overdue triumph
Entertainment if not excitement ensued in the final minutes: a sublime Aimar pass, a snake-hipped Drogba turn and a crushing Marchena tackle made up one typical passage of play. But bucking recent competition history, there was to be no dramatic denouement in this decider as Benítez's gifted side comfortably secured an overdue European triumph.

Stadium Ullevi: 40.000 spectators.

VALENCIA: Cañizares, Curro Torres, Ayala, Marchena, Carboni, Albelda, Baraja, Rufete (Aimar, 63)', Carboni, Angulo (Sissoko, 82'), Mista.

MARSEILLE: Barthez, Ferreira, Beye, Hemdani, Meite, Dos Santos, N'Diaye, Flamini, Marlet, Meriem (Gavanon (gk), 45'), Drogba.

GOALS:1-0, Vicente, pen. (47'); 2-0, Mista (57').



Striking absences for Italy

Filippo Inzaghi and Alberto Gilardino have been omitted from Italy's provisional 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2004™.

Squad announcement
Inzaghi and Gilardino, scorer of 23 league goals for Parma AC this season, were excluded from the list announced by coach Giovanni Trapattoni today, along with another attacker Fabrizio Miccoli.

Still a chance
Inzaghi of AC Milan may yet be named in the Azzurri's final squad on 2 June if he can prove his fitness after ankle surgery last month, but the 22-year-old Gilardino now seems likely to play for Italy at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship later this month.

Training schedule
Trapattoni's squad will assemble at a pre-tournament training camp in Coverciano on 24 May before playing African champions Tunisia on 30 May in their final warm-up game. They kick off their EURO 2004™ campaign against Denmark in Guimarães on 14 June.

Italy squad

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC)
Francesco Toldo (Internazionale FC)
Angelo Peruzzi (S.S. Lazio)

Christian Panucci (AS Roma)
Massimo Oddo (S.S. Lazio)
Fabio Cannavaro (Internazionale FC)
Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan)
Matteo Ferrari (AC Parma)
Marco Materazzi (Internazionale FC)
Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus FC)
Giuseppe Favalli (S.S. Lazio)

Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)
Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan)
Simone Perrotta (AC Chievo Verona)
Cristiano Zanetti (Internazionale FC)
Stefano Fiore (S.S. Lazio)
Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus FC)

Marco Di Vaio (Juventus FC)
Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus FC)
Antonio Cassano (AS Roma)
Francesco Totti (AS Roma)
Bernardo Corradi (S.S. Lazio)
Christian Vieri (Internazionale FC)



Door open for Danish duo

Denmark coach Morten Olsen had a surprise up his sleeve when he announced his squad for UEFA EURO 2004™ today. Olsen revealed only 21 names from the 23-man party, allowing time for PSV Eindhoven's Kasper Bøgelund and Peter Løvenkrands of Rangers FC to prove their fitness and complete the squad.

Press conference
Speaking at a press conference at the Parken stadium, Olsen promised a final decision next week. "I made this decision a couple of weeks ago, as there are a couple of players I want to check on a little bit more. I am going to announce the two last players some time next week," he said.

Duo recovering quickly
Although Olsen did not comment directly on who would fill the two vacant positions, his decision was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that both Bøgelund and Løvenkrands are recovering more quickly than expected from respective hamstring and knee problems.

Additional option
Neither player has featured in any of Denmark's warm-up matches but there is no doubt that a fit Bøgelund would provide useful back-up in both defence and midfield, while Løvenkrands would give Olsen an additional option on the left wing.
Denmark squad

1 Thomas Sørensen (Aston Villa FC)
16 Peter Skov-Jensen (FC Midtjylland)
22 Stephan Andersen (Akademisk Boldklub)

3 René Henriksen (Panathinaikos FC)
4 Martin Laursen (AC Milan)
5 Niclas Jensen (BV Borussia Dortmund)
6 Thomas Helveg (FC Internazionale)
13 Per Krøldrup (Udinese Calcio)
18 Brian Priske (KRC Genk)

2 Morten Wieghorst (Brøndby IF)
7 Thomas Gravesen (Everton FC)
14 Claus Jensen (Charlton Athletic FC)
15 Daniel Jensen (Real Murcia CF)
17 Christian Poulsen (FC Schalke 04)

8 Jesper Grønkjær (Chelsea FC)
9 Jon Dahl Tomasson (AC Milan)
10 Martin Jørgensen (Udinese Calcio)
11 Ebbe Sand (FC Schalke 04)
19 Dennis Rommedahl (PSV Eindhoven)
21 Peter Madsen (VfL Bochum)
20 Kenneth Perez (AZ Alkmaar)



Markov finds the right blend

Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov has named an experienced 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2004™ but has also given youth a chance.

Bojinov chance
The most notable name in Markov's list is the 18-year-old US Lecce striker Valeri Bojinov, who has impressed at Under-21 level. Celtic FC midfield player Stilian Petrov will captain the side, which does not include Charlton Athletic FC defender Radostin Kishishev despite speculation about him coming out of retirement. Instead, PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv right-back Vladimir Ivanov retains his place after performing well against Cameroon last month.

High hopes
"Valeri Bojinov has started to show his qualities at US Lecce. He is young and one for the future," said Markov. "I have taken some hard decisions. There is always pressure on me."

Kamburov out
Another absentee is PFC CSKA Sofia captain Todor Yanchev although he had been a regular member of the squad during the qualifying campaign while domestic top scorer Martin Kamburov, of Loko Plovdiv, has not been named. However, Georgi Chilikov is included after some encouraging recent displays. "Martin Kamburov and Georgi Chilikov are different types of players," Markov said. "There has never been a dilemma for me about them."

Contract expiring
Injury has kept out Portsmouth FC forward Svetoslav Todorov as he requires further surgery on his injured knee. Markov added that a decision would be made soon on his long-term plans. "My contract with Bulgarian Football Union is due to expire on 30 June and my future will be sorted out after EURO 2004," he said.

Bulgaria squad

Zdravko Zdravkov (PFC Litex Lovech)
Dimitar Ivankov (PFC Levski Sofia)
Stoyan Kolev (PFC CSKA Sofia)

Vladimir Ivanov (PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
Rosen Kirilov (PFC Litex Lovech)
Kiril Kotev (PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
Ivailo Petkov (Fenerbahçe SK))
Predrag Pazin (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
Ilian Stoyanov (PFC Levski Sofia)
Zlatomir Zagorcic (PFC Litex Lovech)

Daniel Borimirov (Levski Sofia)
Velizar Dimitrov (PFC CSKA Sofia)
Marian Hristov (1. FC Kaiserslautern)
Martin Petrov (VfL Wolfsburg)
Stilian Petrov (Celtic FC)
Georgi Peev (FC Dynamo Kyiv)
Milen Petkov (AEK Athens FC)

Dimitar Berbatov (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Valeri Bojinov (US Lecce)
Georgi Chilikov (PFC Levski Sofia)
Zoran Jankovic (Dalian Shide)
Zdravko Lazarov (Gaziantepspor)
Vladimir Manchev (Lille OSC)



Sweden name 23 for Portugal

The deadline for naming UEFA EURO 2004™ squads may be 2 June but, almost a month in advance, Sweden have already announced their provisional 23-man party for the finals.

Question mark
The return of Henrik Larsson has already generated much discussion in Sweden, so the main talking point today was the question mark against three players - Michael Svensson, Johan Mjällby and Marcus Allbäck - named in the party but whose places are dependent on their proving their fitness.

'Must be sure'
"We know what Allbäck, Svensson and Mjällby are capable off, but all of them have been injured and we want to be sure that they're fully fit," said co-coach Lars Lagerbäck. Svensson, who plays for Southampton FC, will not feature again in the Premiership this season because of a knee problem, on which he is currently having tests. Lagerbäck said: "Svensson is definitely in our minds, but we must be sure that he's fully fit before including him."

Portugal-based Anders Andersson - who is on loan at CF Os Belenenses from SL Benfica - was also included

Andreas Isaksson (Djurgårdens IF)
Magnus Hedman (Ancona Calcio)
Magnus Kihlstedt (FC København)

Petter Hansson (SCHeerenveen)
Andreas Jakobsson (Brøndby IF)
Teddy Lucic (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Erik Edman (SC Heerenveen)
Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa FC)
Erik Wahlstedt (Helsingborgs IF)
Johan Mjällby (Celtic FC)
Michael Svensson (Southampton FC)

Pontus Farnerud (RC Strasbourg)
Fredrik Ljungberg (Arsenal FC)
Anders Svensson (Southampton FC)
Mikael Nilsson (Halmstads BK)
Kim Källström (Stade Rennais FC)
Anders Andersson (SL Benfica)
Tobias Linderoth (Everton FC)
Christian Wilhelmsson (RSC Anderlecht)

Henrik Larsson (Celtic FC)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AFC Ajax)
Mattias Jonson (Brøndby IF)
Marcus Allbäck (Aston Villa FC)



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