McDonald recalled to Australia squad

8 August 2012 04:50

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has given a selection reprieve to striker Scott McDonald for next week’s friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh, while youngsters Jason Davidson and Ryan McGowan have also been included for the first time.

With stalwarts Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill both unavailable, and several other senior Socceroos recovering from off-season injuries, Osieck has opted for some experimentation ahead of the next batch of World Cup qualifiers, giving Dutch-based Davidson, son of former Socceroo Alan, and Hearts defender McGowan a chance.

Osieck has also recalled Brett Holman, just days out from a possible first game from Aston Villa in the Premier League, while McDonald gets his chance to resurrect a national career which has yielded plenty of frustration with 25 appearances and no goals.

McDonald was a star striker for Celtic in his time in Scotland and will hope he can recapture that form in what could be his last chance to prove his international credentials.

Chris Herd is named in the squad and may get a chance to make his Australian debut.

Lucas Neill will captain the side despite not having a club, but Kewell will sit out as he decides his footballing future and Cahill is committed to staying in New York with his new club.

Archie Thompson will make the trip to Scotland as the only A-League player in the squad, while
Alex Brosque, David Carney and Mark Bresciano will travel from their Asian-based clubs.

Osieck said it was more important for Kewell to sort out his club future rather than embark on international duty.

“It’s very unfortunate for him that right now he is hanging in between with no club and still waiting for some kind of signing and I hope that will work out quickly, I still think he has great potential,” Osieck said.

“Lucas is in a very different situation in that he has been working with clubs and is close to re-signing again with one of the Middle Eastern teams.

“In his role as captain he is very important to me and to the team.”

Socceroos squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, David Carney, Jason Davidson, Adam Federici, Chris Herd, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Neil Kilkenny, Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Scott McDonald, Ryan McGowan, Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski, Mark Schwarzer, Archie Thompson, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams.

Schalke´s Farfan confident of title challenge

8 August 2012 04:40

Jefferson Farfan believes Schalke are capable of breaking Borussia Dortmund’s grip on the Bundesliga title in 2012/13.

Huub Stevens’ Schalke side remained in the hunt for the championship for long periods of last season, before seeing their arch-rivals pull away and retain their crown.

It seemed Farfan was set to leave the Veltins Arena for much of the past campaign, but he has now signed a new deal contracting him to the club until 2016.

And the Peru international has said he came to the decision to stay in Gelsenkirchen due to his certainty he could win trophies.

“I want to play for first place all the time over the next four years,” he declared to Bild.

“We have a very good team – one that could even win the championship this season. At the very least, we should return to the Champions League.”

Schalke have been dealt a blow by the departure of Raul for Al Sadd, but Farfan has called on his team-mates to band together to make up for the veteran Spaniard’s absence behind the main striker.

“No single player can replace Raul,” he said.

“But we can make it up as a team. The exact role is in Huub Stevens’ hands. The right wing is perfect for me.

“But if the coach wants me to, I can play as a second striker. I am determined here. I want to score 10 goals. I must be selfish.”

Neymar zeroes in on Brazilian gold

8 August 2012 04:24

Neymar has stated his intention to bring home the gold medal for Brazil at the 2012 Olympics, after his side beat South Korea 3-0 to reach the final.

The skilful Brazilian has been in top form this summer, playing an integral role in his country’s 100 percent record at the Games.

With three goals to his name, he helped the Selecao beat the Taegeuk Warriors on Tuesday to set up a meeting with Mexico in the final.

The young superstar is looking forward to having the opportunity to win a gold medal for Brazil for the first time, and believes that the experience of his team-mates will be integral to any success.

“We are experienced,” he told TV Record. “Despite the young age of some of our players, we have been playing football for a long time.”

The Santos star also stated that the team are ready for the match, and called for divine approval in his quest to bring home the medal that his country crave.

“We are prepared. After the victory against South Korea, we must rest so that the team is ready ahead of the next game. God willing, we will win the gold medal that all of Brazil wants.”

Mano Menezes’ side will face off against El Tricolor in the final of the Games at Wembley on Saturday.

Stoke´s Huth hospitalised

8 August 2012 04:21

Stoke City defender Robert Huth has been hospitalised due to suspected meningitis.

Germany international Huth was sent to hospital for tests after arriving at training suffering the effects of a mystery virus on Monday.

“The club can confirm that Robert Huth has suspected meningitis and that they are awaiting the outcome of further tests,” the club said in a statement.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis had spoken of his concerns on Monday about Huth’s well being after the team’s pre-season draw with Torquay.

“It’s a major concern so close to the start of the new season because Huthy is such an important figure for us,” Pulis told the club’s website.

“It takes a lot to knock Huthy back, but he was clearly not well, so we have sent him to hospital and will hopefully have the results of the tests on him tomorrow.

“We’re just hoping he will be okay and it’s not too serious.”

Brazil, Mexico to contest Olympic football final

8 August 2012 02:54

Brazil booked a 2012 London Olympic final against Mexico courtesy of a 3-0 semi-final win over South Korea on Tuesday.

Five-time FIFA World Cup winners but yet to taste Olympic gold, Brazil’s march towards their first title at the Games continued at Old Trafford thanks to a first-half Romulo effort and Leandro Damiao’s brace.

South Korea produced a gutsy performance and were unlucky not to be given at least one penalty.

But Great Britain’s conquerors lack the creativity Brazil are capable of and once the South Americans got into their stride, there was no holding them back.

It keeps the overwhelming favourites on track for another major international honour with a squad expected to carry the nation’s hopes in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on home soil.

And having extended a remarkable record of scoring three times in all five matches so far, Damiao leading the scorers with six, it is hard to see them being stopped at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

With Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter among the interested spectators, Brazil took quite a while to get going, by which time they could easily have been a goal and a man down.

Alex Sandro turned away Kim Hyunsung’s far-post header, while Thiago Silva booted Ji Dongwon’s effort to safety.

It was the second of those chances that should have triggered a dismissal in addition to a penalty as Juan Jesus kicked Ji in the head with a dangerous high tackle.

Inexplicably, Czech referee Pavel Kralovec decided there had been no infringement.

South Korea goalkeeper Lee Bumyoung twice failed to hold fierce strikes from Damiao, before star duo Neymar and Oscar combined to set up Romulo, who drilled home a low shot.

Snapped up for six million pounds by Spartak Moscow last month, 21-year-old Romulo was one of the few Brazilians on display who could not be of interest to Mancini.

The same is true of Oscar, whose performances in this tournament must have Chelsea fans excited following his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Damiao is available though and Tottenham Hostpur are being linked with the 23-year-old.

He took his opportunity cleanly enough after Marcelo had failed to turn home Neymar’s cut-back.

Damiao had another soon afterwards, his fourth in two games, with Neymar again the architect, the ball breaking to the striker after Oscar’s initial effort had been deflected.

Earlier, Mexico came from a goal down to beat Japan 3-1 at Wembley.

Japan led through Yuki Otsu’s 12th-minute goal, with Marco Fabian levelling for Mexico on 31 minutes.

Oribe Peralta gave Mexico the lead for the first time in the 65th minute, and substitute Javier Cortes completed the turnaround when he netted a third in the 90th minute.