Welcome again to the daily World Cup column on Soccerlens.
It seems like it was months ago that the tournament kicked off, now there’s just two games (albeit fairly important ones) left to play.
Can you ruddy believe it?.
Here’s your round-up of this morning’s World Cup news..
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Gio refuses drug test…
Netherlands captain Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has revealed that he will refuse to do a drugs test if his country win the World Cup.
Van Bronckhorst, now 35-years-old, is set to retire from football after tomorrow’s final and says that doing a drugs test after the semi-final with Uruguay meant that he missed the post-match celebrations in the dressing room.
So said the veteran full-back;
“I am not doing the dope test. This is my last game and last time I came off the pitch, I was left isolated and I missed the party.
That was a shame. It took one hour and 15 minutes but luckily I got permission to go to the locker room when Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima [of the Dutch royal family] were there.”
Just say no Gio.
Spain pair beg for final starts…
Fernando Torres and ‘Cesc Fabregas have ‘begged’ Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque to include them in his starting XI for tomorrow’s final, after both being omitted from the first-string for the semi-final tie with Germany.
According to The Daily Mail, Torres has pleaded in a face-to-face meeting with Del Bosque for another chance after repeatedly failing to spark in South Africa and, with David Villa rumoured to be struggling with a dead leg, it looks like the Liverpool striker may get the reprieve he is desperately seeking.
Meanwhile Fabregas has spoken of his ‘desperation to play at least some part in the final’ after being used sparingly during the tournament so far and vowed that, if selected, he will give his all.
The Arsenal captain, who is yet to start a game for La Furia Roja, told The Sun;
“I can’t deny it has hurt not to be in Spain’s starting line-ups throughout this tournament. But I only have to look at our incredible players – and especially our midfielders – to realise I’m so honoured to be part of this magnificent Spanish side.
Of course I believe I can play a part in making history for our country, which has never won a World Cup before.
If I’m lucky enough to get a start, I will give everything I have. But if I have to start on the bench, then so be it. All I can pray for is that I get a chance to play some part of this unbelievable game.”
- More goals (20) have been scored at Soccer City (the venue for the 2010 World Cup final) than any other stadium during the tournament.
- The Netherlands are the first country in World Cup history to win five consecutive games by a single-goal margin.
- The final between the Netherlands and Spain will be the seventh all-European World Cup final.
- No European team has ever won the World Cup outside of Europe before.
- If Spain win the final, they will become the first ever World Cup champions to have lost their opening game.
FIFA have unveiled their 10-man shortlist for the 2010 World Cup Golden Ball award, which is handed to the player of the tournament.
Three Spanish players have made the list with five-goal striker David Villa being joined by midfield duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta (who seem to turn up everywhere together these days), whilst Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben are flying the Oranje flag for fellow finalists the Netherlands.
Germany have two representatives, with engine-room slugger Bastian Schweinsteiger and rising star Mesut Ozil making the cut.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Uruguay’s Diego Forlan and Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan are the other contenders for the prize.
Germany’s Thomas Muller has been named on a rather brief three-man shortlist to take home the Young Player of the Tournament award, with Mexico’s Giovani Dos Santos and Ghana’s Andre Ayew also in contention.
FIFA will announce the winners of both awards following the final tomorrow evening.
Platini released from hospital…
UEFA president Michel Platini has been released from hospital this morning after fainting in a Johannesburg restaurant yesterday evening.
In a joint statement, both FIFA and UEFA confirmed the former French international midfielder’s release from the Morningside Medi-Clinic;
“Michel Platini, UEFA president, was released at 9am this morning from the hospital in Johannesburg where he was admitted last night after feeling unwell.
All the medical tests conducted were normal and Mr Platini is looking forward to attending the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup tomorrow in Soccer City stadium.”
Get well soon Michel.
Read the full report on Soccerlens.
Paul picks Spain…
The Netherlands may as well hand in their World Cup dreams at the door to Soccer City.
Incidentally, the psychic octopus – who has a 100% prediction record – has plumped for Germany to pip Uruguay to third place tonight.
Quote of the day…
“Total football is beautiful – you get the Nobel Prize. But we want to win”
Netherlands midfielder Mark Van Bommel has a thinly veiled jibe at Cruyff and co.
And in other news…
Germany striker (and Golden Boot candidate) Miroslav Klose is a doubt for the third-place play-off game with Uruguay tonight, after succumbing to the same flu bug that caused coach Joachim Loew to miss a training session yesterday. (The Mirror)
However, Uruguay striker (and Golden Boot candidate) Diego Forlan is hopeful of shaking off a thigh injury in time to start the game. (BBC Sport)
Not really World Cup news, but tennis star Rafael Nadal has become a shareholder in Real Mallorca in a bid to help out the cash-strapped Spanish club. (F365)
Soccerlens Fantasy Football…
Soccerlens Fantasy Football gives you the option to go against friends and fellow competitors over a day’s games.
This means that you should pick your fantasy team from players involved in the games happening on that specific day. It also gives you the option of picking your fantasy team with the players you might be more familiar with.
Either way, it’s fast and action packed. So pick the specific round(s) you want to join from the home-page and join a competition!
You can also challenge your friends over a specific round by creating a private competition
Today’s (Saturday 10th July) round is as follows:
- Uruguay vs Germany (Third-place play-off)
Give it a go and you may come away with a cash prize!
The 2010 World Cup on Soccerlens…
There will be comprehensive coverage of the World Cup on Soccerlens over the coming months.
With the dedicated World Cup section (chock full of info, including fixtures and stats – and even links to buy replica shirts) on SL, there really is no need to go anywhere else for your World Cup needs this summer!
Also on Soccerlens…