Saturday, April 29, 2006

Chelsea wins title after 3-0 victory, Rooney injured

Chelsea clinched its second straight Premier League title with a 3-0 victory over Manchester United on Saturday in a game that could damage England's World Cup hopes - United striker Wayne Rooney broke a bone in his foot and will be out six weeks.

William Gallas scored on a header at home in the fifth minute, with the other goals by Joe Cole in the 61st minute and Ricardo Carvalho in the 73rd. Chelsea, which needed only a point to clinch the title, won the championship with two games left. Chelsea has 91 points while United is second with 79.

Rooney was carried off the field with 10 minutes to go. The 20-year-old star grimaced and clutched his right foot after a challenge by defender Paulo Ferreira. He traveled to Manchester with his teammates before heading straight to a hospital.

"He's got a heavy knock," United manager Alex Ferguson said.

The team said on its Web site that Rooney had "a fracture of the base of the fourth metatarsal on his right foot." The diagnosis is bad news for England, which begins World Cup play in Germany six weeks with a June 9 opener against Paraguay.

Chelsea has broken the domination of Manchester United and Arsenal, which won 11 of the previous 12 league titles.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho threw his Premier League winner's medal into the crowd, saying he already had one from last season. When he was given a replacement, he threw that one to the crowd as well, explaining the fans had played a major part in Chelsea's 44-game unbeaten run at home.

Last year, Chelsea secured its first league title since 1955. The latest triumph means Mourinho, who led FC Porto to back-to-back championships in Portugal, has won four in a row with two different clubs.

Rooney was expected to be England's strongest player at the World Cup, with his country trying to win the title for the first time in 40 years.

Rooney fractured a metatarsal in the 2004 European Championship quarterfinal against Portugal and was sidelined three months.

Mourinho said he felt "scared" for Rooney.

"I think England needs the boy, the World Cup needs the boy," Mourinho said.

Rooney's earlier challenge on John Terry left the star England defender hobbling with a gashed leg. Terry needed about a dozen stitches.

In addition to Rooney and Terry, another top England player was injured - Michael Owen. He played the last 30 minutes of Newcastle's 0-0 tie with Birmingham City and was limping near the end. It was his first game since breaking his right foot on New Year's Eve. The team said he will see a specialist Monday.

"The thought of Rooney and Owen not playing for England is not worth thinking about," Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder said

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shakira kicks off her world tour in June

Colombian singer Shakira and hip-hop star Wyclef Jean are to perform at this summer's World Cup final in Germany before the big game kicks off.

Shakira will perform her new song 'My Hips Don't Lie' ahead of the final at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on July 9.

The 2006 World Cup starts on June 9, and the final will be the culmination of a month of football matches involving 32 countries.

And Sony BMG, Shakira's record label, are delighted that the singer and Jean have been picked to perform before the biggest match in world football.

A Sony BMG spokesperson said: "It is sure to make the thousands and thousands of fans gathered at the stadium get up and dance before kick-off."

Monday, April 17, 2006


Tottenham Hotspur captain Ledley King is a major doubt for England's World Cup finals squad after fracturing a toe on his left foot in the 1-0 win at Everton.

King had to be replaced in the final minute at Goodison Park, with Spurs confirming that his domestic campaign is over and his participation in Germany is in serious doubt.
Ledley King Tottenham Hotspur 2005/06 profile size

A statement on the club's official website read: "Ledley King has suffered a stress fracture to the fourth metatarsal of his left foot.

"Early indications are that his recovery will take three to four weeks."

King had impressed in recent months for England, featuring as both a centre-back and a holding midfielder, with his versatility looking likely to win him a place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad.

King's possible absence leave Eriksson hoping that John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Carragher avoid injuries before the summer showpiece.

World Cup to boost LG plasma TV sales by 40 per cent

With an eye on the football fever in June, LG today officially unveiled the region's first flat panel TV with a built-in DVR to ensure soccer fans do not miss a second of the action. A 42-inch version of the LG DVR PDP is now on sale in the UAE, and a regional roll out of the product is expected to follow.

C.H Lee, President of LG Gulf FZE, said:

'The 2006 World Cup in Germany will generate massive demand for quality TV viewing and recording, and this latest innovation from LG is perfectly placed to fill an important gap in the market. The busy lifestyles of consumers have created a need for integrated products, and LG Electronics is the first manufacturer to address this growing trend with the High Definition DVR PDP.'

C.H Lee added: 'LG enjoys a 25 per cent market share for PDPs in the UAE and the Gulf, and we expect regional plasma TV sales to grow by as much as 40 per cent as the World Cup approaches. LG plasma TV sales grew 50 per cent in the Gulf last year, and our LCD TV sales shot up 200 per cent.'

LG occupies the number one spot for LCD and plasma TVs in the Middle East and Africa, with a combined market share of 40 per cent. The consumer retail and digital signage sectors have driven demand for plasma TVs, along with hotels replacing old CRT sets with flat panel technology.

Total TV sales for LG were US$431 million in the MEA region in 2005. PDP and LCD TV sales contributed US$136 million, a 75 per cent increase compared to 2004.

LG's DVR PDP was launched in Europe at CeBIT in March, and the product's built-in 80GB DVR can store up to 30 hours of digital standard-definition programming, equivalent to nearly 20 World Cup football matches.

The advanced technology can pause and replay TV just minutes after the original broadcast, and block out unwanted commercials with a touch of a button. The LG DVR PDP also boasts continuous automatic recording in one-hour intervals.

LG's exclusive XD™ Engine improves brightness, contrast, and 3D colour control. It also offers sharpness enhancement and 3D noise reduction, and the XDS and SRS/BBE Sound System delivers cinematic surround sound.

Clear Filter technology minimises dullness and eliminates the double image reflection of glass filter TVs. The LG DVR PDP's High Definition Multimedia Interface also does away with multiple wires in favour of a single cable for all functions.

Abdul Jabbar Al Sayegh, Chairman of Al Sayegh Brothers Trading, exclusive distributors in the UAE of LG digital display products, said: 'LCD TV and plasma TV have traditionally competed in different screen size and price segments, but falling prices have brought the products closer together. Integrated technologies like the LG DVR PDP help grow the plasma TV category and generate excitement for consumers.'

Al Sayegh added: 'We're seeing big demand for 42-inch and 50-inch screen PDPs, and customers are turning to specialised electronics stores in larger shopping malls because they are seen to offer the most product variety, and the best service and technical advice.

Customer service is increasingly important in our industry, and Al Sayegh Brothers will continue to set the highest standards.'

LG Electronics aims to become the number one player in the global display market by 2010 with worldwide sales of US$10 billion. To achieve its goal, LG will secure the largest production capability in flat panel displays from its four major plants in Mexico, Poland, China and Korea. LG will also build on its region-specific research and development efforts and localised marketing.

LG operates 27 research and development centres around the world and is investing more than US$2 billion in research and development as it explores new product categories like home networking, car infotainment, post-PC technology, and satellite and terrestrial DMB technology.

LG regained its position as the world's number one TV manufacturer in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to research firm iSuppli. LG shipped 5.7 million TV set, accounting for nearly 11 per cent of the market. LG had the largest share of the world TV market in 2005 at 10.2 per cent.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kahn will be on World Cup team

When Kahn, the goalkeeper whose saves took Germany all the way to the World Cup final in 2002, was told last weekend that he is no longer the No. 1 keeper for the coming tournament, there were explosions of outrage dropped like hand grenades on his behalf.

But none from Kahn. He kept his counsel, played his game for Bayern Munich on Saturday, and suppressed his disappointment. On Monday, he was ready to call a press conference. Many, including those who made the biggest noise when he was demoted, expected Kahn to rest on his 84 German caps and say good-bye to the national team.

Instead, he said: "This cannot be about personal vanity. It's about something much bigger, a World Cup on home soil.

"I'm not the sort of person who can't lose. It's not an easy situation. Of course I was disappointed not to be chosen as first choice after working so hard. But it's more important that I give my support to the whole team so that we can achieve our objective, to be world champions."

Kahn even said the words no one expected to hear - that he will support the team, including Jens Lehmann, the Arsenal goalie who has been his understudy, his rival, sometimes his acrimonious opponent, and who has leapfrogged him as the first choice.

"A huge compliment to Oliver," said Jürgen Klinsmann, the national coach who made the decision between the 36- year-old keepers and, by no means friendly, rivals.

"His experience and willingness to stay and help us have a successful World Cup are really important."

The example is important. The fact that Kahn bit his lip, considered his options, and chose to come out so clearly and so swiftly in support of Klinsmann is immeasurably more sensible than most people expected. Lehmann has earned the place, on form alone in recent months. Kahn also knows that the backup is one injury away from starting.

Should Kahn decide one day to pursue the job of national team trainer, his words this week boosted his chances.

Looking back, how relieved Klinsmann must be that his first act as Germany's coach was to remove the captain's arm band from Kahn. This was a decision based on personality, on form, and on the preference for a leader in the outfield.

The twist is that the new captain, Kahn's club mate Michael Ballack, is still negotiating a move away from Germany. Ballack is going to Chelsea, we simply wait to hear when and for how much.

World Cup Trophy travels through Germany

The FIFA World Cup trophy, currently on a world tour, has arrived in Germany on Tuesday (April 11) where it went on display in the Black Forest town of Freiburg.

The 18 carat trophy is usually stowed away in a safe and FIFA organisers have decided to put it on show allowing football fans to pose for pictures with t the medal.

Gerhard Ralter, one of many people who stood in line to have their picture taken with the trophy, said, "It was a great experience and I have been looking forward to it for days," adding "you don't see this every day."

The trophy presently on world tour was made by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga in 1974 after Brazil won the World Cup three times in a row in 1970 and was therefore allowed to keep the former original.

The cup on display in Freiburg weighs some six kilograms and remains with FIFA.

A gold-plated copy will be handed to the 2006 FIFA World Cup winner at Berlin's Olympic stadium after the final game on July 9.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lehmann picked over Kahn as starting German World Cup goalie

Jens Lehmann has been selected over Oliver Kahn as the starting German national football team goalie for the 2006 World Cup, ending a two-year attritious war of nerves between the two rivals from Arsenal London and Bayern Munich, news reports said Friday.

According to an advance report by Germany's top-selling Bild newspaper, German head coach Juergen Klinsmann informed both goalies of his decision on Friday.

Meanwhile DPA confirmed that a such meeting between Klinsmann and his goalies took place Friday morning.

There has been no official confirmation yet of the Bild report.

Klinsmann had initially planned to continue his policy of rotating national goalkeepers until May before selecting either Kahn or Lehmann for Germany's World Cup games.

The German sports media has speculated for days that Lehmann would become the number one national team goalie during the 2006 World Cup.

Korean legend warns against overconfidence

Widely regarded as the greatest player his country ever produced, Korean icon Cha Bum-Kun's FIFA World Cup™ credentials are well established, given that he represented the Taeguk Warriors as a player at Mexico 86 and as a coach at France 98.

Cha, currently managing K-League outfit Suwon Samsung Bluewings, is nothing short of a legend in his native country and, in this exclusive interview with, he shares some of his many recollections and offers his thoughts on the national team's prospects at Germany 2006. What are your memories of the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico?
Cha Bum-Kun: I can still remember the whole tournament clearly, especially our first match against the eventual winners, Argentina. That was the first time Korea had reached the World Cup finals in 32 years and we were very tense. Whenever Maradona got the ball, we just freaked out and chased him.

You were called up to the national team just before the tournament. Was that difficult for you?
There was some controversy over my selection, because I hadn't had a chance to play with the national team after I went to Germany in 1979. However, I was able to lay those issues to rest when I joined up with the rest of the players, although I had become used to playing at a fast pace in the Bundesliga, so I did have some trouble at first adjusting to the other players' timing.

Some of the current squad who are with European clubs have not had much playing time lately. Do you think this could be problematic if those players are chosen for the national team?
Obviously, if athletes can't play, their competitive ability will suffer. But these players already represented the national team in 2002, so they can return to that role whenever they need to.

Korea Republic's failure to score goals is often cited as a weakness; what do you see as the solution?
Scoring goals is not something that can be taught or practised. The front men just need to stay focused and be ready to score at any moment. Of the current batch of Korean strikers, I think Lee Dong-Gook stands out.

Lee Dong-Gook appeared at France 98 but did not make the 2002 team. Do you think he will show his true colours this summer in Germany?
Of course. Lee Dong-Gook is a player who can score goals. The most important thing is not the player's form at a given moment, it's whether he has the ability. In fact, we might have done even better at the finals in 2002 had he been given an opportunity to play.

He has been criticised for not putting in the effort to match his brilliant talent.

It's a mistake to criticise a player just on the basis of how he is doing at the moment. In 1998, I looked to the future and I gave him a chance. You have to bring on youngsters carefully and let them show their talent, but it was difficult because people took a very critical view of my decision. Excessive criticism doesn't help the players or the coach, and it certainly doesn't help Korean football.

Was it that kind of criticism that made you step down in the middle of the 1998 tournament?
I think every country is the same in that they'll change coaches if the results aren't satisfactory. Because I had dedication and did my best for the team, they brought me back right after I was sacked. In the build-up to the 2002 World Cup, (Guus) Hiddink wasn't having the best of results. However, because of what happened to me with my unfair dismissal, he was allowed to lead the team all the way.

So have you finally set aside the events of eight years ago?
Yes, because it turned out that many reports from that time were false. I feel alright today because the misunderstandings have been resolved. Yes, the coach is responsible for selecting the players, but it isn't right to evaluate him purely on the results.

In your second group game in 1998 against the Netherlands, some people said that you had been crippled by the 'orange wave' that engulfed the Velodrome in Marseille.

(Laughs). No, that wasn't it. There was a huge gulf between the two teams in terms of ability. The Dutch side had the very best players. Of course, the atmosphere in the stadium made it like a home game for Holland. That match wouldn't have been easy for any team. (The Dutch beat Cha's Korean team 5-0.)

Korea Republic were weaker than the teams they faced eight years ago. How would you compare that side to the one bound for Germany?
The current team has a lot of experience. They had great results in 2002 and gained a lot of confidence, even if was on home turf. Prior to that tournament, we had never won a World Cup game.

In the first round of the 2002 tournament, Korea did not have to face any of the top seeds, like they do this time against France.

The 2002 tournament was different from other years in that many of the world's biggest stars were unable to make an impact. If they had managed to do so, it would have been a different story. Many teams were on an even footing at that tournament, and because we were the home team, our spirits were high and we rode our luck.

But in this tournament, the teams in Korea's group are not to be trifled with.

If our players stay confident, they can have a good tournament. But I myself am a bit worried about the defence. The attack is just fine, and the midfield is good, but if the defence doesn't hold firm it could prove problematic. The team have a wealth of experience and a good coach (Dick Advocaat). Many players also participated in 2002, so everything is set for them. If they don't unexpectedly stumble at the group stage, they could do very well. France are a strong side, but they were in their prime back at EURO 2000, and (Zinedine) Zidane is getting on. There are many young players in the Swiss squad, but Korea have good youngsters too.

How successful do you think Korea Republic will be in this tournament?
I'd say it's 50-50. It's possible the team will get past the first round, but there's also a chance they won't. If we go into the games expecting an easy match, we'll struggle, but if we brace ourselves for a difficult time, we can triumph easily. The confidence we gained from making the semi-finals in 2002 is a good thing, but we mustn't go overboard. If we are confident but humble, and play with honesty, we can hold our own with any team in the group.