De Bruyne hopeful for Belgium

9 August 2012 16:47

Werder Bremen loanee Kevin De Bruyne believes that Belgium can become a force in international football.

The winger, who is on loan from Chelsea, thinks that moving from the domestic league in Belgium to bigger leagues across Europe is an important factor in the development of the country’s players.

Qualification for the 2014 World Cup, he feels, would be another significant step for the national team.

“It’s true; in the past years many dared to take that step abroad and were successful,” De Bruyne told

“Now we have to find ourselves as a team and start playing together.

“We can be a fabulous national team. Maybe we can already succeed in qualifying for the World Cup in 2014. That would be important for the whole country.”

De Bruyne is hoping to gain experience in a top European league during his time with the Bundesliga club and admitted that he sought the advice of Marko Marin, who left Bremen for Chelsea earlier in the summer, before completing the switch.

“I’ve spoken to Marko about it, that’s normal,” he said.

“But my own and my family’s opinions were essential. You should be able to stand behind a decision more than 100 per cent, and then I’m sure everything will turn out fine.”

His career in Germany got off to a positive start as the Weserstadion club defeated defending champions Borussia Dortmund on penalties to win the Liga Total-Cup, a small pre-season competition contested by four top German sides.

“It was OK, and we can continue like that,” he said.

“In modern football it’s all about having the ball, and Bremen did a good job in this respect.

“Particularly the first 20 minutes against Dortmund we played well, only when we conceded we didn’t look that good as a team.”

Sabatini plays down De Rossi speculation

9 August 2012 16:29

Roma director of football Walter Sabatini has dismissed reports linking Daniele De Rossi with a move from the club.

Reports circulated earlier in the day that Manchester City were preparing a 32 million euros bid for the 29-year-old midfielder, who has attracted interest from the Premier League champions in the past after talks on a new contract had stalled.

But Sabatini moved to clarify Roma’s position on the matter, insisting that they were not actively looking to sell their vice-captain due to his value to the club.

“De Rossi is a leader for us, and therefore we never considered selling him,” Sabatini told the Corriere Dello Sport.

“We are not looking for anyone to buy De Rossi, because he is extraordinarily important for us, a player who is irreplaceable, and so it would be difficult to even look at an indecent proposal.”

Sabatini maintained that the Serie A outfit would only consider a “monster” offer for the Italy international, claiming that he was worth significantly more than the €30m valuation of Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic.

“If a monstrous offer materialises, then we will evaluate. The figure for De Rossi is much higher than FIorentina’s asking price for Jovetic.”

De Rossi has played for Roma all of his career, amassing almost 400 appearances with the club, while winning 78 caps for Italy.

Rodgers delighted with squad

9 August 2012 15:29

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hailed the quality of his players but feels it will take time for them to understand his tactical approach.

The Anfield club amassed their lowest points total since the 1953/54 season during the 2011/12 campaign but the Northern Irishman said there is plenty of talent available to him.

Liverpool have brought in only one player so far this off-season, striker Fabio Borini from Roma, who cost the club around 10.5 million pounds.

“I will have quality players all the way through the team,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.

“The goalkeeper (Pepe Reina) is one of the leading ones in the world, the back four are top international players, really good players, and (we have) a young midfield that can play.”

The former Swansea City manager went on to lavish praise on the club’s attacking options, revealing that he could use a combination of Borini, Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing up front.

Andy Carroll, however, was not mentioned by Rodgers as he detailed his offensive options.

“Then I look at the potential of the front four in terms of Borini, Suarez, Gerrard and Downing and you’ve got pace, power, creativity and hunger, so I’m excited about going forward,” Rodgers said.

“It will just take time for the chemistry to take place. That’s why we do our work on the (training) field, so in time we can execute those patterns.”

Cannavaro desperate for Supercoppa win

9 August 2012 15:55

Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro has stressed the importance of winning Saturday’s Supercoppa match against Juventus.

“We are fully charged up for this final against Juventus. It is a game that has a lot of significance,” he was quoted as saying by

The 31-year-old inisisted that there is no great expectation ahead of Saturday’s showdown despite his team’s clear desire to win a trophy that has alluded Napoli since their last triumph in 1990.

“We want to bring the Supercoppa back to Naples. However, winning should not put us under any weight of expectation,” he said.

The final between Juventus and Napoli is at Beijing’s National Stadium on Saturday.

Japan leave out suspended trio

9 August 2012 14:57

Japan have named a 22-man squad for the international friendly against Venezuela next Wednesday in Sapporo.

Half of the squad play in European leagues, with the remaining 11 from J.League teams.

The full-strength roster includes Manchester United newcomer Shinji Kagawa and CSKA Moscow star Keisuke Honda as well as Arsenal’s Ryo Miyaichi, but does not feature defenders Atsuto Uchida, Yuzo Kurisawa, and Yasuyuki Konno, all of whom are suspended for Japan’s September 11 World Cup qualifier against Iraq.

Fresh from their Olympic campaign will be back-up goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda, as well as defenders Maya Yoshida and Gotoku Sakai. Fellow Olympians Hiroki Sakai and Hiroshi Kiyotake were omitted from the squad to avoid fatigue as they look towards their respective Bundesliga debuts.

Japan will host Venezuela at the Sapporo Dome on August 15.

Full squad: Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shunsaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).

Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Maya Yoshida (VVV), Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Hiroku Mizumoto (Sanfrecce), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart).

Midfielders: Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Leverkusen), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka).

Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Kengo Fujimoto (Nagoya Grampus), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal).