Brazil put eight past China

11 September 2012 05:35

Three goals for Neymar was the key for Brazil, as they showed no mercy in destroying a demoralised China team 8-0 in Recife.

The midfielder, Hulk, Ramires and Lucas Moura also found the net, while the Asian side’s misfortunes were compounded by Liu Jianye who put the ball past his own keeper in a second half to forget for the visitors.

Neymar should have handed his side the lead after just five minutes when he got on the end of Oscar’s cross, but with the goal at his mercy the Santos starlet hit the post.

Hulk and Lucas both forced saves from Zeng Cheng, before midway through the half Brazil finally found a way through.

Ramires surged brilliantly from deep and, after playing a delightful one-two with Chelsea team-mate Oscar, chipped past Cheng to open the scoring and ease the pressure on the home side.

The advantage was doubled a matter of seconds later.

A well-placed low cross from Hulk, given a start in the place of Leandro Damiao after his goal against the Bafana, found Oscar with space in the area.

The midfielder squared for Neymar, who could do little else but stroke the ball into the net with little trouble.

From that point onwards, it was merely a case of seeing how many Mano Menezes’ men could add to the tally.

A rampant Brazil added three more to the scoreline in less than 10 minutes after the two teams retook the field for the second half.

Lucas Moura took advantage of lovely approach play between Hulk and Oscar, storming on the outside to meet the former’s pass and slide the ball past Cheng.

Hulk then got his own name deservedly on the score-sheet, finding himself in the right place after Neymar had struck the bar to drive the rebound home with authority.

Neymar was hungry for goals, and netted his second of the evening minutes later in converting Marcelo’s pinpoint low cross.

The hat-trick was completed on the hour mark, an almost identical finish this time coming from the right having been fed by the outstanding Oscar.

Even with the game sewn up, Brazil refused to let their foot off the accelerator.

Bamboozling play from Lucas forced Liu Jianye to put past his own keeper, before Marcelo was felled in the area for a penalty.

Having played a key role in the build-up as well as almost all the Brazil goals, Oscar was handed the ball; making no mistake, the wonderkid drove into the bottom corner to finally get his name on the scoresheet.

Hodgson: Crouch refused Euro 2012 spot

11 September 2012 04:18

Stoke City striker Peter Crouch refused a spot on the Euro 2012 standby list, according to England manager Roy Hodgson.

The 31-year-old target man has been left out of Hodgson’s first two World Cup qualifiers, despite injuries to both Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll and doubts over Daniel Sturridge’s fitness.

And the veteran manager revealed that it was the former Liverpool and Tottenham man’s decision to avoid involvement in the summer tournament and not his.

“I selected him for the Euros but he didn’t want to come,” Hodgson said.

“He made it clear that unless he was in the squad he didn’t want to be considered.

“As a result, we’ve selected squads since that time when I felt I didn’t need him here. I’m not going to bring him here to fill up the bench. The day Crouch gets in the England squad is when I think he should be in the original 23.”

However, despite not being picked in the squad for their most recent matches against Moldova and Ukraine, the Three Lions boss has not dismissed any player from future squads and insists he will be following the progress of strikers such as Crouch and Darren Bent, who has also failed to feature for his country since Hodgson’s appointment.

“They have both played for England in the past. Darren Bent was injured for a large part of last season and the new season is only three Premier League games old. He is a player we’ll be following,” he added.

“I was thinking Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney when I put this squad together but I lost Rooney a week before and then Carroll at the last minute. I’ve not dismissed anybody, even Peter Crouch.”

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EN-AU

Diarra motivated by Eto┬┤o not money

11 September 2012 04:09

Lassana Diarra says his move to Anzhi Makhachkala was driven by a desire to play alongside Samuel Eto’o rather than the lucrative salary.

The 27-year-old left Real Madrid on transfer deadline day to sign a four-year contract with the Dagestan-based side, after falling out of favour at Santiago Bernabeu.

The deal came as a surprise to many, with the likes of AC Milan and Fenerbahce touted as potential suitors for the midfielder, but the allure of acquainting himself with Cameroon striker Eto’o swayed his decision.

“Spartak showed an interest in me this summer, but at that time I was only focused on Real Madrid,” said Diarra at his official presentation on Monday.

“Overall, I would not talk about the clubs that were interested in me. Anzhi were interested more than the others, but the most important thing for me is that Samuel Eto’o is here.

“He’s like a big brother to me. Why can’t we succeed together?”

It had also been suggested that Diarra’s transfer to Anzhi was motivated by the promise of a larger pay packet, but he poured scorn on such claims.

“It’s a new challenge for me. So far I’ve only been here a few days, but I’ve had time to train,” the ex-Chelsea and Arsenal man continued.

“I’ve been very well received and I thank you all. I believe Anzhi can push themselves to become champions, so why can’t I be?

“During my career I have played for some very prestigious European teams and, trust me, I’ve won enough titles and been paid enough. I did not come here for the money.

“Those who believe that should come to the games, analyse my performances and then tell me why they think I came to Anzhi.”

Russian football has been noted for a series of racist incidents over the past few years, but the Frenchman does not believe that he will be the target of such discrimination.

“Of course, there is no place for racism in football. Fifa and Uefa should take action to fight this disease, but in my career, I have not had any specific problems with this,” he added.

Blokhin expecting a tough challenge

11 September 2012 02:44

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin is under no illusions about the challenge his team will face when playing England at Wembley on Tuesday.

First choice England stars Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll, John Terry and Ashley Cole are all unavailable for the Group H clash between the sides in 2014 World Cup qualifying, but Blokhin is expecting a tough match with the Three Lions despite those absences.

England beat Ukraine 1-0 at Euro 2012 in June and the Ukraine boss believes his opposition on Tuesday have improved since then.

“I think England played very well at the Euros and I think they have progressed very well,” Blokhin said.

“I think now having [Frank] Lampard and a strong midfield line up is very good.

“If we had such problems as England we wouldn’t be worried.”

England thumped Moldova 5-0 in Chisinau in their opening match on Friday and Blokhin is keen to make sure that his Ukraine team doesn’t afford their opponents too much respect.

“If we are in the position that Moldova was then we will lose 8-0 because they lost the game before they came on the pitch,” Blokhin said.

“So I’m preparing my players that they have to play football and we will see what the result will be tomorrow.

Tuesday’s match will be Ukraine’s first step on the road to Brazil 2014 after not having played in the opening round of matches.

Their only appearance at a World Cup finals so far came in 2006, when they reached the quarter-final.

Tough draw worries Osieck

11 September 2012 01:53

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has slammed Australia’s FIFA World Cup qualifying draw, with three away matches in their first four group games.

Osieck’s men have drawn 0-0 away to Oman, and also drew 1-1 at home to Japan, but have upcoming trips to Jordan on Tuesday and Iraq (October 17) leaving it tough for his side to set up their qualification campaign with a positive start.

But while the German was damning of Australia’s draw comparatively to other nations in his group, he said they must not dwell on it.

“I always tell you it’s definitely not a pleasant one (the draw), as other teams, they have a decent start regarding their play dates, but they put us into that (position) I don’t know for what reason,” Osieck said.

“What can we do? Should we sit in the corner and start to cry? So we have to accept and we have to play.”

Osieck said while their 3-0 friendly win over Lebanon on Friday could be misconstrued as a comfortable victory, he said he side were made to earn the win in a tough environment.

“We had a good game against Lebanon, but we won’t get deceived by the score. We had to work for it very hard, and our boys performed very well so it’s not that Lebanon were so poor, I think you have to give them a lot of credit,” he said.

“They really tried to play some good football, but that day our team really performed well.”

The tactician said he backed his players’ experience to handle the conditions in Amman, saying they had the maturity to cope with adversity.

“I think first of all we are mentally very strong,” he said.

“Secondly, we know pretty well that games are decided on the pitch, and not on Twitter or whatever blog you may recall. So people don’t decide, it’s still the teams on the pitch.”