Tag Archives: Euro 2012

Steven Gerrard’s Top Five England Matches

It was a sunny afternoon in May 2000 when Steve Gerrard made his promising England debut against Ukraine and more than 12 years later the Liverpool midfielder is set to win his 100th cap for the Three Lions when he captains them against Sweden on Wednesday night.

He may not have picked up any medals with the national team, but he has surely given his all in the national cause on many occasions. Here we have a look at his top five matches for the Three Lions..

September 2001 – Germany 1-5 England

Gerrard scores his first goal for his country as England come from a goal down to achieve one of their most memorable wins in Munich’s Olympic Stadium and revive their World Cup qualification hopes. Michael Owen scores a hat-trick and there is even a rare goal from Emile Heskey.

June 2006 – England 2 -0 Trinidad & Tobago

Gerrard puts the agony of missing out on the 2002 finals through injury behind him by netting his first World Cup tournament goal to seal victory after Peter Crouch nets the opener with only seven minutes remaining.

March 2007 – Andorra 0-3 England

Gerrard single-handedly wins it for England with an inspired second 45 minutes in this Euro 2008 qualifier against Andorra in Barcelona after a dismal first-half performance. He scores twice before David Nugent nets his only international goal.

September 2009 – England 5-1 Croatia

Revenge is sweet for Gerrard and his team-mates after missing out on the Euro 2008 finals as Croatia are hammered at Wembley to secure a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Liverpool skipper and Frank Lampard share four goals with Wayne Rooney the other man on the scoresheet.

June 2012 – England 1-1 France

One can sense the pride as Gerrard leads England into a major tournament – UEFA Euro 2012 – as official captain for the first time. He sets up the opener for Joleon Lescott with a pinpoint cross only for Samir Nasri to equalise. Gerrard was later named in the UEFA team of the tournament.

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John Terry Quits England, But Is The FA To Blame For It?

John Terry has sensationally announced his retirement from intenational football less than 24 hours before the Football Association hearing into the Anton Ferdinand saga is expected to begin.

The Chelsea defender, 31, was cleared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game. But Terry, who won 78 caps, still faces a Football Association disciplinary hearing over the matter on today (Monday). The Chelsea captain said he could not play for England because of the FA’s decision to pursue charges against him and his position with the England national team was now “untenable”.

In a statement, John Terry said:

“I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable.

“Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I want to wish Roy and the team every success for the future.

“I now look forward to playing for Chelsea and challenging for domestic and European honours, and I want to thank the fans and the club for their continued support.

“I would like to thank the England managers who have selected me for my 78 caps. I have had great pleasure in sharing that honour with all the players that I’ve played with. I would like to thank them, the fans and my family for their support and encouragement during my international career.”

England face a couple of World Cup qualifiers next month. First they welcome San Marino to Wembley and then, four days later, face Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland in Warsaw.

Is The England FA to Blame for it?

John Terry claiming his position in the England team “untenable” or the lack of the support from the governing body is complete ‘nonsense’. The Chelsea skipper is the author of his own downfall and there is no one else to blame for it.

Whether it was the Wayne Bridge saga, the dispute with Anton Ferdinand and subsequent fallout with Rio Ferdinand or the impression he gave that the England armband belonged to him, Terry had become a poisonous asset during the international week. Keeping aside his performances on the pitch, he brought with himself too much additional baggage whenever he boarded the England bus.

The FA charge he faces this week has become almost incidental in the public’s eyes. Even if Terry’s name is cleared, the storm clouds won’t automatically go away. His unpopularity will remain. He represents much of the arrogance and ego that alienates many people from modern football.

If he was chasing for any sympathy by yesterday’s swipe at the FA, then it’s unlikely to happen. He calling his position in the England team “untenable” isn’t true at all. He was continued to be picked by England managers during his troubled times. First Fabio Capello and then Roy Hodgson. The current England boss backed him strongly during his squad selection for the Euros, a tactic that looks even more doubtful now that Terry has walked away.

Terry’s inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad came at the expense of Rio Ferdinand. Nobody fully believed Hodgson’s reason that the Manchester United defender was omitted “for footballing reasons”. It was all to do with the dressing-room dynamic, with the tension between the pair following Terry’s dispute with Ferdinand’s brother Anton. Hodgson took him to Poland and Ukraine, he behaved but his presence was always an issue.

What Next For England?

For all the off field controversey he caused, his 78 caps with England should be remembered for his never ending commitment on the pitch. He is a proud, patriotic individual and this decision to quit from representing his country will have been a painful one. Along with Steven Gerrard, Terry was England’s best play in Poland and Ukraine.

Terry’s absence will be felt in the dressing-room but the national team will survive without him. His Chelsea team-mate, Gary Cahill has shown he can contribute a lot for both club and country. The former Bolton defender is a European champion with Chelsea, Joleon Lescott is a Premier League winner with Manchester City and Phil Jagielka has imporved a lot in the last couple of seasons at Everton. Rio Ferdinand is in the twilight of his career, but deserves a recall.

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both will be back soon from their long term injuries and have the potential to be the next best England centre-back pairing. Steven Caulker is maturing and developing promisingly at Tottenham Hotspur and is worth a long-term audition, along with Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, who surely deserves a England callup in the near future.

Top Five Keepers Who Can Replace Reina At Liverpool

According to the reports, Liverpool have given Pepe Reina until January to prove his ability to fit into Brendan Rodgers’ new system, or face being sold.

Reina’s role as Spain’s second choice keeper has already been given to Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and his club career looks in danger of following the same path, but who could replace him at Anfield? Here, IntoTheTopCorner has a look at the top five candidates..

1. MICHEL VORM (SWANSEA CITY)

The Dutch international has been very impressive since moving to the Premier League from FC Utrecht a year ago. Vorm kept 13 clean sheets in 37 appearances last season and his performances won him the Fans’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and the Away Players’ Player of the Year awards. The 28-year-old worked under the current Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers at the Liberty Stadium last season. Good reflexes, good ball distribution and comfortable with ball at his feet, Vorm fits into Rodgers’s system perfectly.

2. CRAIG GORDON (FREE AGENT)

The Scotish international was once famously hailed as one of the best keepers in the world by Gianluigi Buffon, but with him currently being a free agent, it looks like no one is willing to take a gamble on the injury-prone former Sunderland stopper. Though a move to Liverpool would be a risk for the club, should they keep him injury free and get the best out of him, then it could be the bargain buy of the year.

3. JACK BUTLAND (BIRMINGHAM CITY)

Jack Butland’s performances for Team GB at the London Olympics 2012 has done justice to his hype that had build around him after being selected in the England squad for the Euros. The youngster has only played first-team football in League Two while on loan at Cheltenham Town, but was tipped for a move to one of the top Premier League sides this summer. Signing Butland would be a major gamble due to his age and experience, but he could develop into one of the top keepers in the world and occupy the number one spot for many years to come.

4. MAARTEN STEKELENBURG (AS ROMA)

The Dutch number one inherited the jersey from the former Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar upon his retirement from national football. Since then Stekelenburg has improved steadily and has also made AS Roma’s number one jersey his own ousting current Liverpool back-up Doni at the Stadio Olimpico. With the rise of Tim Krul in the last year or so, the Roma man may need to move elsewhere to fight off the challenge for the Netherlands number one jersey and a move Liverpool could be the best opportunity. He being a product of the Ajax academy, it won’t be difficult for him to adjust to Rodgers’ style of football.

5. MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)

The German has got many scouts from across Europe excited with his performances in the Bundesliga over the past season. Just 20 years old, Ter Stegen has already made his debut for the senior Germany side and also saved a penalty from Lionel Messi in the recent international freindly. The young keeper forced himself into Gladbach’s starting XI while still a teenager and is a very exciting prospect for the future. His style of goalkeeping has been frequently compared to the great German keeper – Oliver Kahn

Top Ten Most Valuable Premier League Players

The market value of the player is one of the most important things in world football these days and with the help of  transfermarkt.co.uk, we counts down the top ten most valuable players in the Premier League. 

The players are ranked based on the market value. Have a look at the list below..

10. VINCENT KOMPANY – MANCHESTER CITY (VALUE: £31m)

Bought for just over £6m in 2008, Kompany has gone on to become one of the best defenders in the Premier League. He scored the winner against Manchester United in May which decided the title and has seen his value increase more than five times in the last four years.

9. YAYA TOURE – MANCHESTER CITY (VALUE: £32m)

The 29-year-old is the second Manchester City player in the list and certainly not the last one. The Ivorian box-to-box midfielder played an important role in helping the Citizens win Premier League last season. Their first ever league title in 44 years.

8. NANI – MANCHESTER UNITED (VALUE: £32m)

The Portuguese winger signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2007 for a fee of around £20m and has been one of the key performers for the Red Devils in the past five-years. He has been very inconsistent with his form in the past year or so, but still is the second most valued Portuguese in the world.

7. JUAN MATA – CHELSEA (VALUE: £33.5m)

Juan Mata is the first Spaniard to feature on this list and surely not the last one. The 24-year-old joined Chelsea from Valencia last summer and was very impressive for the Blues, helping them win the FA Cup and the Champions League. He was also voted as the club’s Player of the Year by the Chelsea fans.

6. GARETH BALE – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (VALUE: £35m)

Tottenham’s Gareth Bale is the only Welshman to feature on the list of top 100 most valuable players in the world. The winger has been one of the key reasons for the London club’s success in England and in Europe, and with him signing a new five-year contract at the start of the season means his value won’t decrease any sooner.

5. EDEN HAZARD – CHELSEA (VALUE: £35m)

Hazard is the second Belgium and second Chelsea player to be on the list. The 21-year-old Belgium international joined the Blues in the summer from Lille for a fee of around £35m and his value hasn’t changed at all since. He has been very impressive so far and if he can continue the same form throughout the season, then expect his value to rise a lot at the end of the season.

4. ROBIN VAN PERSIE – MANCHESTER UNITED (VALUE: £42m)

The Netherlands international striker joined Manchester United this summer from Arsenal for £24m, but since has seen his value almost doubled after scoring an important hat-trick for the Red Devils in the comeback win over Southampton last weekend.

3. DAVID SILVA – MANCHESTER CITY (VALUE: £44m)

Manchester City’s left footed playmaker is Spain’s last representative on the list. The former Valencia man had an outstanding last season as he helped City win the Premier League and also won the Euro 2012 with Spain. He was named as Manchester City’s Players’ Player of the Year and was also named in the PFA Team of the Year.

2. SERGIO AGUERO – MANCHESTER CITY (VALUE: £45m)

The Argentine international joined City for £38m last summer, but his market value has increased to £45m after a stellar first season at the Etihad Stadium, which saw him score the last minute injury time winner against QPR that broke the hearts of many Manchester United fans and won Manchester City their first ever Premier League title in 44 years.

1. WAYNE ROONEY – MANCHESTER UNITED (VALUE: £57m)

Wayne Rooney joined Manchester United as an 18-year-old teenager in 2004 and Sir Alex Ferguson’s big investment in him has certainly paid off. The United striker is not only the club’s main man but also is England’s most valuable player and is fourth in the world behind Andres Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Five ‘Big Name’ Premier League Signings That Never Happened

The transfer window is finally over, and Premier League managers and chairmen can rest easy and concentrate on the matters on the pitch, for another few months at least.

Now that the dust has settled, we can take a look at the five ‘big name’ transfer deals in the Premier League which were very close to happening but never happened in end.

1. Hulk (Porto) to Chelsea
The Brazilian was continuously linked with a move to Stamford Bridge throughout June and July and at one stage it looked like it was almost a done deal. Hulk even admitted he wanted to leave Porto and join the European Champions, but the Portuguese champions insisted they had never recieved an offer from the Blues. In the end, Chelsea gave up the chase because of his hefty price tag and wage demands and instead signed Wigan’s Victor Moses. The powerful left-footed forward joined Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg this week, for a fee of around £40m.

2. Joao Moutinho (Porto) to Tottenham Hotspur
The Portuguese playmaker was the man Andre Villas-Boas wanted to replace Luka Modric at White Hart Lane. But Spurs had to first sell the Croatian to free up funds to buy new players and Modric’s transfer to Real Madrid took weeks to be agreed and completed, which left the London club with just few days to wrap up the Moutinho deal. On deadline day, Spurs did agree a club record £20m fee with Porto but problems surrounding personal terms and third party ownership issues scuppered the deal.

3. Lucas Moura (Sao Paulo) to Manchester United
The Brazilian wonderkid was Manchester United’s top transfer target this summer after the Red Devils failed in their pursuit of Eden Hazard. After seeing a £23m bid rejected by Sao Paulo, United came back with an improved offer and also reportedly had a bid in the region of £30m accepted by the Brazilian club. But the mega-rich PSG came in at the last minute, paid £35m for the youngster and snatched him away from under the noses of Sir Alex Ferguson

4. Yann M’Vila (Rennes) to Arsenal
The French midfielder was reportedly very close to joining Arsenal before the Euros in Poland & Ukraine but a training ground bust-up with his France teammates made Arsene Wenger to reconsider. The sale of Alex Song to Barcelona saw the rumours start again, but Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham had also entered the fray and in the end, Wenger decided against a late move for the Rennes midfielder and stuck with his players.

5. Clint Dempsey (Fulham) to Liverpool
Liverpool’s American owners were so confident of signing the Fulham forward that they announced on their official website the US international had signed for the club in July. A month later, the Reds did look favourites to complete the deal on transfer deadling day, with the 29-year-old desperate to leave Craven Cottage and join the Merseysiders. But with Liverpool refusing to pay anything more than £4m for the forward, Dempsey joined Tottenham late in the day for £6m, leaving Brendan Rodgers with just two senior strikers at his disposal.

England’s Road To Brazil 2014

England kickoff their World Cup qualifying campaign this week against Moldova at the Zimbru Stadium and here we have a look at the Three Lions’ road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Roy Hogdson’s men are drawn in Group H of the qualifying campaign along with UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts Poland and Ukraine, UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying opponents Montenegro and minnows Moldova and San Marino. Here is the complete fixture list..

Friday, 07-09-12
Moldova v England, Zimbru Stadium

Tuesday, 11-09-12
England v Ukraine, Wembley Stadium

Friday, 12-10-12
England v San Marino, Wembley Stadium

Tuesday 16-10-12
Poland v England, National Stadium

Friday, 22-03-13
San Marino v England, TBC

Tuesday, 26-03-13
Montenegro v England, TBC

Friday, 06-09-13
England v Moldova, Wembley Stadium

Tuesday, 10-09-13
Ukraine v England, TBC

Friday, 11-10-13
England v Montenegro, Wembley Stadium

Tuesday, 15-10-13
England v Poland, Wembley Stadium

10 Things You Should Know About Manchester United’s Latest Signing – Alexander Buttner

Manchester United confirmed yesterday that they have completed the signing of Alexander Buttner from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem for an undisclossed fee.

The Dutch defender, who was linked with a move to Southampton early in the summer, passed his medical on Tuesday, agreed personal terms and signed a five-year contract at Old Trafford until 2017.

His new manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club’s official site:

“Alexander is one of the best young left backs in Europe and we’re delighted to sign him. He’s someone we’ve been watching for a while now. He gives us some really exciting options in that position.”

The 23-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement about the move, he told manutd.com:

“Joining Manchester United is one of the best days of my life. It’s a team I have admired for many years now and I can’t wait to join my teammates and play my part in helping the club be successful.”

Buttner, who can also play as a left winger, a defensive midfielder, an attacking midfielder and as a right-back, will add much needed depth to the defence and will be a pretty good cover for Patrice Evra. If the £3.9m fee on this move is to be believed, then Manchester United have got themselves a pretty solid bargain here.

With the move now officially completed and announced by the 19 times English champions, here are the ten things you should know about Alexander Buttner.

  • Alexander was born on 11th Feb, 1989 in Doetinchem, other footballers to hail from the Dutch town include former Cardiff and Celtic defender Glenn Loovens and ex Dutch international and Man City midfielder Paul Bosvelt.
  • After impressing with local side VV Doetinchem, Alexander joined the famous youth academy of Ajax.
  • After leaving the Dutch giants aged 16 he moved back to Gelderland, and despite being from Doetinchem, home of De Graafschap he signed instead for rivals Vitesse Arnhem.
  • After making his debut in 2008 he went on to score his first goal for the club against FC Volendam in a 3-1 victory.
  • He has since gone on to make 107 league appearances for Vitesse scoring 10 goals.
  • Alexander is a versatile player who has operated on the wing, holding midfield, attacking midfield and a right back but has more recently established himself as a left back.
  • He was included in the 36 man preliminary squad for The Netherlands disastrous Euro 2012 campaign but was not taken to the tournament itself.
  • He has therefore yet to make his full Dutch debut but has represented the Netherlands at youth team levels.
  • In July it seemed certain Alexander would sign for Southampton with a fee agreed between both sides and a medical being, seemingly, the only obstacle. However an unnamed third party requested a portion of the transfer fee and the deal collapsed.
  • After failing in their attempts to sign Leighton Baines, The Red Devils have moved to take the 23 year old to Old Trafford to provide backup, and competition, for Patrice Evra.