Friday, 29 June 2012

Weimann eager for Villa chance

Andi Weimann has admitted he is hoping to be given a chance to prove himself at Aston Villa under new manager Paul Lambert, who took over from Alex McLeish at the end of last season after impressing with Norwich.

The young striker emerged as an exciting prospect towards the closing stages of a dismal season for Villa, scoring two goals that proved instrumental to the club avoiding relegation

He was given a chance in the first team following a number of injuries to rival forwards as the club struggled their way over the line at the end of a season they’ll want to soon forget.

The 20-year old has now revealed he hopes the policy of bringing through youth players will continue under the new manager, and that the team can go on to defy soccer betting tips next season.

“Hopefully I get another opportunity to show what I can show and get a few more chances in the team,” he said.

“Last season we had loads of young players come through.”

“I think seven players who had come through the academy started one game, which is good for the young players because they can see there is a chance there for them.”

Weimann will have to really work hard to earn his place in the starting line-up come the new season.

Darren Bent’s return to fitness, along with whoever Lambert decides to sign, will make it hard for the young striker to get a regular run in the first-team.

That said, Those that bet on soccer games saw some real quality in Weimann towards the end of last season, bringing a rare bright spot to a shocking couple of months for the Villa fans, and Lambert will want to keep the prospect around the squad.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Del Bosque Admits Spanish Fatigue

Spain head coach, Vicente del Bosque, has admitted that his side are feeling the strain from playing so many games in quick succession. The defending European champions recently booked their place in the semi-finals with a victory against France.

The Spanish will have just three days before they take on Portugal in their last-four clash, which will no doubt take it out of a squad that looked jaded during their victory against the French.

While Spain controlled nearly every aspect of their 2-0 victory, thanks to a brace from Xabi Alonso, the pace of the game was played at walking pace, as both sides began to tire.

Portugal will go into the semi-final against Spain with an extra two days’ rest, which could level the playing field, in a game that del Bosque’s men are heavy favourites for in the football betting.

While the Spain boss has admitted that his side had been tired against France, he highlighted just how dominant his team had been through the whole match.

“We have arrived very drained because the heat we suffered tonight was cruel on the players.

“The truth is, we did well and controlled the game, despite being tired. Iker Casillas hardly had anything to do and that speaks of the good defensive performance of the team.

"If our defenders are good, then we will be closer to winning the tournament because we will always create a chance."

Despite losing defensive rock, Carles Puyol, before the tournament, Sergio Ramos and Gerrard Pique have been impressive in Spain’s progression to the semis, much to the delight of live football fans.

While much is made of the creative threat that Spain bring, a defence that has kept 11 clean sheets from 14 games could well mean the difference between the Spanish retaining and losing their title.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Podolski Writes off Poland

German forward, Lukas Podolski, has written off Poland’s chances of beating Germany, if the two sides come up against each other in the quarterfinals. The football betting tips from Bet Victor are likely to be equally pessimistic, concerning Poland’s hopes of success.

Podolski, who is set to join Arsenal next season, was born in Gliwice, Poland, and will be cheering on his home nation this weekend, "I will watch the Poland game against Czech Republic [Saturday] and have my fingers crossed for them, but if we play against them in the quarter-finals, they will lose," he said.

The last time that Germany met Poland in a major tournament was at Euro 2008, when Podolski scored both of their goals in a 2-0 win.

If the two sides meet again in this tournament, then you can expect the same ruthless efficiency from Podolski, who is keen to make up for a quiet start to the tournament, by his standards. "I expect a lot from myself and will do more offensively," he said.

Podolski is set to make his 100th appearance for Germany, in their Group B game against Denmark, on Sunday, and he knows that a win or draw will secure qualification from the group stages.

Despite his wealth of international experience Podolski is still only 27-years old, and he feels that he has plenty more to achieve in a German shirt.

“I feel very comfortable in the German team, and I hope it will go on like this," he explained. "I am very proud of myself but the statistics do not mean that much to me. In my career, I have other goals."

Having looked comfortable in their first two games, it is hard to see the Germans being troubled by Denmark and, if Podolski can add to his tally of 43 international goals, their place in the quarterfinals should be assured.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Rio issue could overshadow whole tournament

The England fans and press never really believed  Roy Hodgson’s assertion that Rio Ferdinand was dropped for ‘footballing reasons’, but were prepared to accept it for now as attention switched towards the impending European Championships.

But as the steady succession of England players pulled out through injury, with Ferdinand still excluded, it became increasingly obvious that the Manchester United man was left out for political reasons.

Poor old Martin Kelly is the innocent victim in this, but his call-up in place of Gary Cahill means that Hodgson will struggle to justify those footballing reasons given Kelly only made 12 appearances for Liverpool last season and has little over 10 minutes of live football in an England shirt under his belt.

It is clear Ferdinand was dropped due to the simmering feud between himself and John Terry, who is to stand trial later this year accused of racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton.

It is an issue that Hodgson has been lumbered with and one he really shouldn’t have. The FA are the masters of their downfall in all of this. 

They stripped Terry of the captaincy in February over the issue, causing Fabio Capello to quit, but in my view they should have gone further, telling Terry he would not be selected while this court case was hanging over him (though why this has dragged on for so long I don’t know – the incident happened in October).

Instead we have this almost farcical situation whereby Hodgson is choosing everyone BUT Rio Ferdinand, who is effectively being punished for the actions of Terry, who– by accident or design – is being protected by the FA.

If Terry and Ferdinand don't get on because of the impending court case, why should the one who is actually standing trial stay in the squad?

And herein lies the truth; if Hodgson had to choose, it is clear he sees Terry as the better player to have in the squad than Ferdinand (footballing reasons after all!), and given how sensitive footballers' egos are, Rio won't have taken that well

Throw in the likes of Micah Richards and Michael Carrick, who refused to be on the standby list for their country, and it paints a sorry tale of English international football. All it needs is a group stage exit for the game to fall back into its usual state of crisis –if it isn’t already.

Even if Ferdinand’s gone he won’t be forgotten and the manner of his exclusion will not go down well with his teammates and friends who are on the plane to Poland, meaning those divisions Hodgson was so desperate to avoid could open up anyway.

 By dealing with this issue in such a clumsy manner the FA have made Hodgson’s job 10 times worse and once again given the media licence to distract the attention away from matters on the pitch to dealings off it.

Given the football betting puts England as outsiders to even qualify from their group, that is something the players could really do without right now.