Mark's Feed
Jun 15, 2014

Soccer-Drogba could be set for super-sub role

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 15 (Reuters) – Didier Drogba proved a talismanic influence in helping the Ivory Coast to win their opening World Cup encounter but the ageing striker could be confined to a role as an impact player, coming off the bench at the tournament supposed to be his swansong.

The 36-year-old came on as a substitute, just after the hour mark, to spark a come-from-behind 2-1 victory for his country over Japan in a rain-drenched Recife on Saturday.

Jun 14, 2014

Tackles fly in as Belgian intensity builds

SALVADOR, Brazil (Reuters) – Belgium are evidently chomping at the bit as they wait to start their World Cup campaign with the intensity ratcheted up a notch since the stunning win for their Dutch neighbors over Spain on Friday.

Two Belgian players were injured in tough challenges in training on Saturday and a full 90-minute warm-up game between the players at their base camp at Mogi das Cruzes on Friday had coach Marc Wilmots fearing for their safety.

Jun 14, 2014

Soccer-Tackles fly in as Belgian intensity builds

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 14 (Reuters) – Belgium are evidently chomping at the bit as they wait to start their World Cup campaign with the intensity ratcheted up a notch since the stunning win for their Dutch neighbours over Spain on Friday.

Two Belgian players were injured in tough challenges in training on Saturday and a full 90-minute warm-up game between the players at their base camp at Mogi das Cruzes on Friday had coach Marc Wilmots fearing for their safety.

Jun 14, 2014

Van Gaal’s softer side helps downfall of Spain

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal’s surprise decision to allow family visits just hours before kickoff is being credited with helping put his players in the mood to demolish world champions Spain in their World Cup opener on Friday.

The decision was to allow the players to see their wives, girlfriends and children on the morning of the match was a significant departure from the usual style of a coach with a reputation as a no-nonsense hard-man.

Jun 14, 2014

Soccer-Van Gaal’s softer side helps downfall of Spain

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 14 (Reuters) – Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal’s surprise decision to allow family visits just hours before kickoff is being credited with helping put his players in the mood to demolish world champions Spain in their World Cup opener on Friday.

The decision was to allow the players to see their wives, girlfriends and children on the morning of the match was a significant departure from the usual style of a coach with a reputation as a no-nonsense hard-man.

Jun 14, 2014

Dutch delight as local media trumpets victory

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Dutch delight screamed out from the pages of their newspapers on Saturday as the country basked in the afterglow of a thrilling win over holders Spain at the start of their World Cup campaign. “What a hero” wrote the Algemeen Dagblad, which ran an almost full-page picture of Arjen Robben, who scored twice in the 5-1 victory at the Fonte Nova arena at the start of Group B. “A dream start,” trumpeted De Telegraaf, adding that the result was revenge for the defeat by Spain in the 2010 final. De Volkskrant also had the same lead headline, showing a flying Robin Van Persie scoring a remarkable headed first goal.

“Super sensation was written in Salvador according to the master plan of coach Louis van Gaal,” said the paper.

Jun 14, 2014

Soccer-Dutch delight as local media trumpets victory

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 14 (Reuters) – Dutch delight screamed out from the pages of their newspapers on Saturday as the country basked in the afterglow of a thrilling win over holders Spain at the start of their World Cup campaign.

“What a hero” wrote the Algemeen Dagblad, which ran an almost full-page picture of Arjen Robben, who scored twice in the 5-1 victory at the Fonte Nova arena at the start of Group B.

Jun 14, 2014

Van Persie tries to stay calm after ‘brilliant’ goal

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 13 (Reuters) – Captain Robin van Persie sought to temper Dutch excitement with a dose of his own experience but had to admit his opening goal against Spain on Friday was worthy of a brief party.

“I’ve been to five tournaments now and so I know it’s just the start. I don’t want us to be too excited about the first win, it’s only three points,” he told reporters after the Netherlands upset the world champions in a stunning start to World Cup Group B with a 5-1 triumph at the Fonte Nova arena.

Jun 13, 2014

Soccer-Van Persie tries to stay calm after ‘brilliant’ goal

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 13 (Reuters) – Captain Robin van Persie sought to temper Dutch excitement with a dose of his own experience but had to admit his opening goal against Spain on Friday was worthy of a brief party.

“I’ve been to five tournaments now and so I know it’s just the start. I don’t want us to be too excited about the first win, it’s only three points,” he told reporters after the Netherlands upset the world champions in a stunning start to World Cup Group B with a 5-1 triumph at the Fonte Nova arena.

Jun 13, 2014

Van Gaal expected goals against Spain but never five

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Scoring against Spain was always a possibility for the Netherlands but five goals in a rampant victory was far beyond expectations, said coach Louis van Gaal after a 5-1 triumph in their World Cup opener on Friday.

“I didn’t expect the result but I did expect goals. We have players who can turn a match,” he said after the game, looking remarkably calm for a coach whose side who had just inflicted a stunning upset win over the reigning world champions.