Alex Chick

  • Has Fergie gone soft?

    Alex Ferguson has revealed that no more than "one or two" of the players who went to the World Cup will feature in the Premier League opener against Newcastle on August 16.

    Come again?

    "Even the Community Shield does not come into the agenda in terms of a need-to-win game. It's always been used at this club as the final part of our preparation ... By that time, after we've surveyed the fitness of the ones who've been in the World Cup because they don't come back until July 28, we'll really know whether any or all of them should play in the opening game. I have a feeling that we'll probably

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  • ITV’s Robert Green moment

    There are some things in sports broadcasting
    that are nice to have. An amiable host, a flash studio, knowledgeable experts
    and experienced commentators, for example.

    ITV HD had all of those things this evening.

    Sadly they forgot about the one absolutely
    essential thing - that you actually show the match, in particular the
    goals. 

    Four minutes in to England-USA, ITV HD cut
    unexpectedly to their tiresome break bumper of Hyundais playing football in a
    car park.

    When match footage returned, England looked
    happy and the scoreline read 1-0. What's more, the picture was no longer in
    high definition

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  • Germany the ultimate podium dancers

    In my experience, the third-place play-off is the moment in a World Cup when I realise: this thing's nearly over.

    As it suddenly dawns on you that just 180 minutes, maybe a little more, remain in the tournament, a match often seen as a glorified friendly takes on tremendous significance.

    Savour every moment, because after this weekend it's four years until the next one. Early Boers waxed lyrical about third place play-off this morning, and this one did not disappoint.

    Germany and Uruguay played an open, attractive and hard-fought encounter in which the lead changed hands three times - and of

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  • England’s 2014 World Cup squad

    After an ageing England faltered in South Africa, major changes are expected in the national team.
     
    Here's how the England squad might look if we are lucky enough to qualify for the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
     
    For the formation, I'm going with 4-2-3-1 - more as a means to accomodate Jack Wilshere than anything.
     
    I've worked on the basis that these shake-ups are never quite as revolutionary as you expect. Capello might have promised new faces, but you can bet your life Terry, Gerrard and Lampard are involved in the Euro 2012 campaign - and I've got one of them starting in 2014.
     
    Goalkeeper:

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  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 15

    The last 16 line-up is completed today, and it won't contain 2006 champions Italy, the latest high profile casualties.

    - - -

    Thursday's action

    Slovakia 3-2 Italy - Group F - Johannesburg
    The defending champions crashed out after a shock defeat in the best game of the tournament so far. Needing just a draw to go through, some desperate defending saw Marcello Lippi's men beaten. Robert Vittek opened the scoring on 25 minutes and netted his third goal of the tournament 17 minutes from time, shortly after Martin Skrtel cleared off the line. Antonio Di Natale tucked in a rebound to give Italy hope on

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  • LeBron’s decision dwarfs World Cup

    This is a slightly off-topic post, I'm afraid.

    That's because it's three in the morning and I've just watched potentially the most significant sports moment of the month.

    Bigger than the World Cup, bigger than the British Grand Prix and bigger than the Tour de France - bigger even than the Belle Vue versus Coventry Elite League Speedway fixture.

    In the early hours of this morning LeBron James went on television and announced which team he has agreed to sign for.

    Now in pure sporting terms, clearly it is not more important than the World Cup final. Even the most extreme NBA fan will surely

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  • Winning boring: The sign of true quality

    No surprise that the two most decisive, fuss-free teams in the World Cup will contest the final. That Spain and the Netherlands are those teams... well, that's a little harder to swallow.

    The second semi-final saw Spain overcome Germany, but with a goal that bore little resemblance to the rest of their play.

    With their trademark short passing not doing the job, they bunged a corner into the box for Carles Puyol to smash into the net with a flying sphere of cranium and curls.

    By Spain's beautiful standards, it was a goal only a mother could love. But their ability to execute a Plan B got them

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  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 30

    Germany and Uruguay must pick themselves up after their semi-final defeats to play the third place match.

    - - -

    Third-place play-off: Uruguay v Germany
    - Port Elizabeth - 19.30

    A third-place play-off is billed as the game nobody wants to play, but this meeting of beaten semi-finalists should provide no end of entertainment, as long as the dodgy Port Elizabeth pitch does not get in the way. Germany's build-up to the game has been disrupted by a virus sweeping through the camp. Captain Philipp Lahm and Lukas Podolski have been affected, while coach Joachim Loew was absent from training on Friday

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  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 17

    It's that time again. England. Germany, It's going to be excruciating.

    - - -

    Saturday's action

    Uruguay 2-1 South Korea - Round of 16 - Port Elizabeth
    Two Luis Suarez goals gave the enterprising South Americans a deserved place in the last eight. The Ajax striker struck early and late - he fired into an empty net from a tight angle on eight minutes after goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong failed to cut out a tame-looking Diego Forlan cross. And Suarez curled a beautiful shot in off the post with 10 minutes remaining to secure victory. Bolton's Lee Chung-Yong had equalised midway through the second half,

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  • Kiss of Keegan brings down Brazil

    What a time for Brazil to start defending like Brazil again.

    The tournament favourites looked so assured, they led Holland one-nil. And then it all went horribly, horrifically wrong.

    Following a controlled first-half display, they came out after the break and stepped into a horror movie. Three-quarters of an hour later a series of self-inflicted wounds had sent Brazil home.

    Something drastic changed at half-time, and I can only think the moment it all changes was when Kevin Keegan came out in praise of the Brazil defence.

    "The rock of the Brazilian team." Keegan called it. And everyone in

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