Mark's Feed
Jun 19, 2014

Franco-Swiss treat awaits the footballing connoisseur

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Veteran coach Ottmar Hitzfeld predicted a match for the footballing connoisseur to savor when his Switzerland team take on neighbors France at the World Cup on Friday despite past evidence to the contrary.

“France are a neighbor and so it’s a derby for us and therefore important to deliver a good performance,” he said of the clash at the Fonte Nova arena between two teams who last Sunday made winning starts in Group E.

Jun 19, 2014

Soccer-Franco-Swiss treat awaits the footballing connoisseur

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 19 (Reuters) – Veteran coach Ottmar Hitzfeld predicted a match for the footballing connoisseur to savour when his Switzerland team take on neighbours France at the World Cup on Friday despite past evidence to the contrary.

“France are a neighbour and so it’s a derby for us and therefore important to deliver a good performance,” he said of the clash at the Fonte Nova arena between two teams who last Sunday made winning starts in Group E.

Jun 19, 2014

Cameroon come and go in a cloud of controversy

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Cameroon exited the running at the World Cup on Wednesday in the same turbulent way they arrived with a glum future ahead for the African country that once held the footballing world’s imagination.

A violently petulant display is nothing new from Cameroon but reached a new low when Benoit Assou Ekotto head-butted team mate Benjamin Moukandjo towards the end of the 4-0 capitulation to Croatia in Manaus that condemned the Indomitable Lions to an early departure from the tournament. Their chances effectively ended before halftime when Alex Song was sent off for elbowing Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic in the back, right in front of the Portuguese referee who had no hesitation in handing the midfield strong man his marching orders. Cameroon’s second Group A loss at the World Cup in Brazil means their last game against the host nation on Monday is of academic interest only. Injury means it is unlikely to offer a farewell stage for Samuel Eto’o, their talismanic captain who has been at the heart of much of their turmoil in recent years. A bitter feud between Eto’o and Song split the squad at the last World Cup four years ago, where Cameroon lost all of their first round games. This time Eto’o led the team in a strike action on the eve of their departure for Brazil, delaying their expensively-hired charter plane to squeeze extra money out of an embattled football federation (FECAFOOT). Eto’o had been banned three years ago for leading a similar strike which forced the cancellation of an international match but squabbling over money has become almost a right of passage in the team. Cameroon now face an uncertain future with Eto’o battling with knee problems, plus an uncertain club future at Chelsea, and the football federation still in a state of flux. Their last president was jailed for alleged fraud and after being briefly suspended by FIFA last year, a ‘normalization committee’ was put in place to revise the statutes, conduct elections and manage the daily affairs of FECAFOOT. But they did not complete their task by the FIFA deadline and were given an extension to November by world football’s governing body. Cameroon have been to the World Cup an African record seven times, going unbeaten on debut in 1982 in Spain but exiting after three draws in the group stage and then catching the imagination of football fans worldwide with their unlikely run to the quarter-finals in Italy in 1990, where they beat defending champions Argentina in the opening game. But since those heroics they have won a single match in 14 games at five subsequent finals – against Saudi Arabia in Japan in 2002. Cameroon’s distinctive green, red and yellow strip has become an iconic item of sporting fashion worldwide but so too has the image of a disorganized, self-serving and greed-filled team and federation increasingly out of step with the advances in the modern game.

Jun 19, 2014

Soccer-Cameroon come and go in a cloud of controversy

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 19 (Reuters) – Cameroon exited the running at the World Cup on Wednesday in the same turbulent way they arrived with a glum future ahead for the African country that once held the footballing world’s imagination.

A violently petulant display is nothing new from Cameroon but reached a new low when Benoit Assou Ekotto head-butted team mate Benjamin Moukandjo towards the end of the 4-0 capitulation to Croatia in Manaus that condemned the Indomitable Lions to an early departure from the tournament.

Jun 18, 2014

Sccer-Clean sheet king Enyeama a bright spot for tepid Nigeria

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Among the few bright spots for Nigeria in their tepid start to the World Cup was yet another clean sheet for goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

The fact he did not concede a goal in Monday’s 0-0 Group F draw with Iran in Curitiba should not come as much of a surprise.

Jun 18, 2014

Joker Fellaini eyes return to top form

By Mark Gleeson

Brazil(Reuters) – Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini is hoping the goal he scored at the World Cup will mark a return to top form after a miserable club season which left question marks over his future at Manchester United.

“Next season I want to reach my best level ever. The injury I had in the past season made it very difficult for me,” he told a news conference on Wednesday, a day after scoring the equalizer against Algeria before Belgium went on to win their Group H opener in Belo Horizonte.

Jun 18, 2014

Soccer-Joker Fellaini eyes return to top form

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 18 (Reuters) – Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini is hoping the goal he scored at the World Cup will mark a return to top form after a miserable club season which left question marks over his future at Manchester United.

“Next season I want to reach my best level ever. The injury I had in the past season made it very difficult for me,” he told a news conference on Wednesday, a day after scoring the equaliser against Algeria before Belgium went on to win their Group H opener in Belo Horizonte.

Jun 18, 2014

Africa off to a miserable World Cup start

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Defeat for Algeria on Tuesday completed a miserable start for Africa at the World Cup in Brazil with only the heroics of aging Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba to enthuse over.

The 36-year-old came on as a substitute to help the Ivorians come from behind to beat Japan on Saturday but for the other four African representatives, their chances of a second round berth are already looking bleak with the tournament not yet a week old.

Jun 18, 2014

Soccer-Africa off to a miserable World Cup start

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 17 (Reuters) – Defeat for Algeria on Tuesday completed a miserable start for Africa at the World Cup in Brazil with only the heroics of aging Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba to enthuse over.

The 36-year-old came on as a substitute to help the Ivorians come from behind to beat Japan on Saturday but for the other four African representatives, their chances of a second round berth are already looking bleak with the tournament not yet a week old.

Jun 16, 2014

Soccer-Mueller surprised how easy it was to destroy Portugal

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Thomas Mueller and his Germany team mates could hardly believe their eyes when they looked up at the scoreboard early in the first half and saw they were leading Portugal 2-0 in their World Cup opening match on Monday.

The Germany striker had scored the first of his three goals in the 4-0 rout of the team they feared most in Group G and he was soon involved in an incident that all but ended Portugal’s hopes of a comeback.