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Tuesday, 10 December 2013 5:14 PM
Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Nadine Angerer has been named as a finalist for the 2013 Ballon d’Or award for FIFA Women’s Player of the Year.
After she was originally shortlisted with nine other nominees in October, the Germany captain is now one of the final three following a voting process which was open to captains and coaches of FIFA’s 209 member associations’ national teams and international media representatives.
Angerer will contest the 2013 award against last year’s winner Abby Wambach (USA) and runner up Marta (Brazil) with the awards set to be presented at the FIFA Ballon d’Or award ceremony in Zurich on 13 January 2014.
“It is a fantastic achievement for Nadine to be named in the top three women’s footballers in the world,” Head Coach Belinda Wilson said.
“At Brisbane Roar, we are proud of Nadine’s efforts and it is great to have a player of her stature representing our club and the W-League.”
In September, Angerer was named UEFA Female Footballer of the Year after she led her country to a victory at the UEFA Women’s Euros 2013, saving two penalties in the final and named Player of the Tournament.
She joined the two-time Westfield W-League Champions ahead of the current campaign and has since made two starts for Brisbane Roar.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 5:36 PM
The Newcastle Jets have been dealt a blow with news defender Scott Neville has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Neville was forced off in the first half of Sunday’s upset 2-1 away win over the Melbourne Victory, with scans revealing the 24-year-old has torn his anterior cruciate ligament.
The in-form right-back said he ‘heard something click’ as he fell to the ground in the 26th minute at AAMI Park and despite the sour prognosis is already looking ahead to his rehabilitation.
“I’ve just been trying to stay positive and that’s the only way you can go about it really,” Neville said on Tuesday.
“I’ve already started the first part of the rehab today and we have a great physio and medical staff here at the Jets, so I’ve just got to take their advice and stick to the tasks they give me.
“I’ll be working as hard as I can to get back as soon as I can. It’s just another bump in the road I’ll have to overcome and I’ll make sure I come back better and stronger next season.
“In the meantime, I’ll be supporting the boys with whatever they need, whether that’s carry drinks or helping to strap ankles or whatever it may be.
“I want to stay positive for them because I definitely think we can go on to have a really successful season.”
Neville is hopeful of going in for surgery before the New Year to ensure he can start on his rehab as soon as possible.
“With most ACL injuries you have to strengthen the other ligaments around it before you get the surgery just to make sure it’s nice and strong going into it,” Neville said.
“I’ll do a bit of rehab for two or three weeks beforehand and get the operation around Christmas or just after the New Year.”
Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans said of the loss of Neville: “It’s really disappointing for Scott because he’s worked really hard during the off-season to get himself to where he is.
“I think we’ve all seen how well he’s played during the first third of the season.
“On the weekend we saw Jacob Pepper come in at right-back and he did a really good job. Josh Brillante has played there and young Andrew Hoole has played there in the past.
“We’ve said all along this year that our squad depth is quite good and I don’t think we lost too much from when Scott went off to the end of the game, which was pleasing.”
The Jets are up to third on the A-League ladder after the win over the Victory ahead of this weekend’s home clash with the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 8:33 PM
The draw for the 2014 AFC Champions League was made at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday afternoon.
The Hyundai A-League’s reigning Champions Central Coast Mariners have been handed a tough draw in Group F alongside current J.League Champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima (JPN), Korea Republic heavyweights FC Seoul (KOR), and the yet to be determined 3.1 East Asian Playoff Winner.
Premier’s Plate winners Western Sydney Wanderers, who will be making their debut in the Asian Champions League, have been drawn in Group H alongside, Guizhou Renhe (CHN), Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) and the J.League Runners-up.
Australia’s final representative in this season’s Asian Champions League, Melbourne Victory, will need to win one qualifier to earn their place in Group G.
The qualifier, which will be played over one leg, will see Kevin Muscat’s side take on the winner of Muangthong United (Thailand) vs. Pune (India)/Hanaoi T&T (Vietnam), with the date and location to be confirmed.
A win will see them progress through to the Group G with Guangzhou Evergrande, Jeonbuk Motors (Korea) and the knockout champions of Japan.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 4:35 PM
The nation held its breath as the Socceroos found out their World Cup 2014 opponents. And then, out came the number one team in the world, Spain.
They are the reigning World and European Champions and they are the first team to win three consecutive FIFA tournaments, Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.
Firstly under Luis Aragones and then under Vicente del Bosque, the Spanish have changed the face of modern football with their “tiki-taka” style.
Over the past five years, the Spanish architects, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas have proven that style can bring results, and then some.
Fernando Torres spearheaded the successful Euro 2008 side, scoring the only goal in the final, while David Villa was the striker as the side won the 2010 World Cup.
By Euro 2012, Spain was striker-less, playing with a “false nine”, ostensibly playing without a centre forward and instead an extra midfielder, making it more difficult for opposition defenders to mark a forward out of the game.
It worked, as Spain smashed Italy 4-0 in the final, in what is widely regarded as one of the all-time great performances.
David Silva and Jordi Alba scored and Italy hardly touched the ball as Spain put the game away by half time. Torres came on as a substitute and scored, before he set up his Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata, also a substitute, for the piece-de-resistance in the closing moments.
One might ask: where did this all start?
Spain was long considered the perennial underachievers when it came to major tournaments and prior to Euro 2008, they hadn’t won a major tournament since the 1964 European Championships.
Some fabulous players with illustrious club careers were unable to taste success for La Furia Roja (the Red Fury). Fernando Hierro, Raul and the 126-capped goalkeeper, Andoni Zubizaretta, all served Spain with distinction, but without international success.
As Euro 2008 approached, then-coach Aragones was blessed with the most talented generation to date. He decided that Spain didn’t have the physicality to beat teams in that manner, and so decided on a way of monopolising possession: tiki-taka.
The Spanish took Euro 2008 by storm and when they beat Germany 1-0 in the final, they graduated from underachievers to tournament winners. It was just the first step on their way to world domination.
Aragones was replaced by Del Bosque after the Euro 2008 final and by the World Cup in 2010, they were a well-oiled machine.
The 2010 World Cup final was marred by the Netherlands’ attempts to knock Spain out of their passing pattern and a spiteful match was the result, but Spain prevailed after an extra time goal from Iniesta.
In winning that tournament, Spain became the first European team to win a World Cup outside of Europe.
When Euro 2012 came around, the Spanish with their refined “false nine” system were unstoppable.
Their performance in the final was from another planet and the 4-0 win saw them become the first team to defend a European Championships, the first team to win three major tournaments in a row and Torres become the first player to score in two European Championships finals. It was also the largest winning margin in European Championships finals history.
The current Spain squad contains the nucleus of the squad that started their glorious era of success in 2008.
Goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas may be out of favour at Real Madrid, but he remains first choice for Spain and now has 152 caps.
Xavi is not far behind with 130, while Sergio Ramos (115), Alonso (109), Torres (106), Carles Puyol (100), Villa (95) and Iniesta (94) are all experienced heads still in the mix.
Manchester City’s brilliant David Silva and Fabregas are still vital components of the squad, whilst Chelsea’s magnificent Juan Mata, Swansea City’s Michu and Tottenham’s Roberto Soldado remain on the fringes.
Their strength in depth is amazing, their football exhilarating and the Socceroos will get to experience it at close quarters at Brazil 2014.
Monday, 9 December 2013 6:00 PM
In a weekend where the Hyundai A-League celebrated its 1000th match, three players notched braces to demand selection in Round Nine’s Team of the Week.
Player of the Week: Sidnei
The Glory wideman fired in a contender for goal of the season when he opened the scoring in the six goal thriller against Phoenix. The Brazilian celebrating the World Cup draw by unleashing an unstoppable strike on his favoured left boot from beyond the area. Sidnei had a hand in Glory’s second goal when he laid on the ball for Thwaite to nod home, and capped his performance with a second goal in injury time which will no doubt accelerate Glory’s bid to re-sign their exciting winger.
Goalkeeper: Matthew Acton
Making just his second Hyundai A-League appearance, Matthew Acton put in an accomplished performance deputising for the injured Michael Theo. The 21-year-old made one of the saves of the season to deny Fabio Ferreira and also denied Sergio Cirio late on to ensure Roar took maximum points and extended their lead at the league’s summit.
Storm Roux: The Central Coast right back was a constant menace down the right flank against the Sky Blues and was part of a Mariners defence that kept the only clean sheet of the weekend. His overlapping runs and crosses to the box had Sydney FC constantly on the backfoot. The 20-year-old is proving to be another astute signing by last season’s Champions and has taken his game to another level since making his international debut for the All Whites against Mexico.
Kew Jaliens: The former Dutch international has been a large part of the Jets revival this season, and his leadership and work rate were again strong in the Jets win on the weekend. Victory were expected to make light work of Newcastle playing in front of their home fans in the Hyundai A-League’s 1000th match. However Jaliens was responsible for repelling wave after wave of attack and was also a threat from set-pieces.
Michael Thwaite: The Perth skipper headed home a classy finish and had the post-goal celebratory dance to match in Glory’s two-goal win over the Phoenix. Thwaite showed great athleticism to get his head to the ball from a cross, the equaliser giving his side back the ascendancy and they went on to take the match in convincing fashion.
Aziz Behich: The Melbourne Heart left back undoubtedly had his best game of the season against the Wanderers to help ensure the Red and White took away a valuable point from Pirtek Stadium. Not too many sides have held last season’s Premiers to one goal at home but Behich held firm in the face of Western Sydney’s attack. The on-loan Bursaspor defender was rarely beaten and was able to win the ball for his side with some sharp tackles on numerous occasions.
Nathan Burns: Newcastle winger Nathan Burns made a welcome return to the goal scorers list and he made it a brace to give the Jets the points against Victory. On loan from Incheon United, Burns scored his first Hyundai A-League goal since netting for Adelaide back in October 2007. He struck two similar goals, one in each half, firing low across goalkeeper Nathan Coe to ensure the Jets were the victors in the league’s 1000th match.
Aaron Mooy: The Wanderers playmaker has been a consistent performer in midfield this year and notched the equaliser that ensured last season’s Premiers extended their unbeaten home run to 10 matches. Deployed in a more attacking role Mooy was a constant threat, netting his first goal of the season and he could easily have had a couple more. The 23-year-old showed his versatility playing in the No.10 role and only a great save from Heart keeper Andrew Redmayne denied him a late winner.
Michael McGlinchey: The Kiwi international was pulling the strings for the Mariners in midfield during their win over the Sky Blues. McGlinchey was involved in the lead up to the decisive goal and provided some silky touches that should have seen his side win by more than a solitary goal. He also got through his fair share of work in defence to help ensure Sydney FC barely had a sight of goal.
Besart Berisha: The Roar striker has been on fire since making his return from injury and made it four goals in three games in the win against the Reds to extend Brisbane’s lead at the top of the table. Berisha calmly slotted an equaliser from the spot and showed the kind of determination you want from your frontman when knocking in the winner to make his third appearance in a row in the Team of the Week.
Daniel McBreen: Last season’s Golden Boot winner netted his first goal of the season against the Sky Blues to see his side back on the winners list – and managed to get in a plug for Camp Quality in the process. McBreen was a constant target up front for the Mariners who had gone a little shy in front of goal in recent weeks and proved why he could be the man to lead Central Coast to back-to-back titles.
Monday, 9 December 2013 7:49 PM
A fantastic Round Nine of the Hyundai A-League saw Brisbane Roar open up a five-point gap at the top of the table.
Adelaide United 1-2 Brisbane Roar
Adelaide United shocked Brisbane Roar by taking the lead at Coopers Stadium, but they were undone by the stealth and composure of Besart Berisha, who scored in either half.
Adelaide took an early lead through Osama Malik, but some ill-discipline from Tarek Elrich gave Roar the chance to equalise from the spot. Elrich carelessly brought down Corey Brown and the referee awarded a penalty, in the 21st minute.
Berisha made no mistake, sending Eugene Galekovic the wrong way.
As is usual, Adelaide had more possession than their opponents, but it mattered little when Berisha snuck into the area and slid a finish past Galekovic to win the game.
Perth Glory 4-2 Wellington Phoenix
Perth Glory scored twice at the death to secure three points and equal sixth place. Their win puts a buffer between the top part of the table and the bottom three teams: Adelaide United, Wellington and Melbourne Heart.
Glory started spectacularly, when Sidnei lashed an unstoppable 25-yarder into the top corner of the net in the 15th minute. The lead didn’t last until half time though, as Stijn Heysugems scored a stunner of his own for the Phoenix to level the scores.
Paul Ifill was a constant menace and he was rewarded with a headed goal, but Michael Thwaite scored a header of his own to level the scores once more. It was left to Adrian Zahra and then Sidnei again to steal the three points for the home side.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1-1 Melbourne Heart
Wanderers are now three games without a win, after drawing with bottom of the table Melbourne Heart. The draw leaves Wanderers five points behind Brisbane Roar and only one ahead of both Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC.
Heart meanwhile are rejuvenated after their epic 3-3 draw with Adelaide last weekend and they took the lead here, when David Williams’ cross from the left beat everybody, including Wanderers ‘keeper Ante Covic, to nestle in the back of the net.
Wanderers drew level when Aaron Mooy arrowed a shot into the bottom corner and the revived Wanderers turned up the heat in the second half as they searched for a winner.
Heart’s shot stopper, Andrew Redmayne, made a number of good saves as Wanderers pushed hard. Harry Kewell’s return in the second half and the point away from home here, gives plenty of reason for optimism for the Heart.
Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Sydney FC
Sydney FC travelled north to Bluetongue Stadium on the back of a club record four straight wins. They were missing Alessandro Del Piero though and his place was taken by Ranko Despotovic, who had scored twice in two appearances as a substitute.
Mariners had Daniel McBreen back in the line-up and it was he who settled the game in the first half. His neat back-heel finish caught the Sydney FC defence and goalkeeper out.
The Sky Blues chased the game, with Pedj Bojic and Joel Chianese finding a lot of space on the right hand side, but the end product was poor and they didn’t test Mariners ‘keeper Liam Reddy enough in the second half.
Michael McGlinchey was magnificent for the home side, pulling the strings with aplomb as the Mariners recorded a well deserved victory.
Melbourne Victory 1-2 Newcastle Jets
The 1000th match in the A-League took place between Victory and Jets. Neatly enough, Newcastle were part of the first ever A-League match but on this occasion, they managed to get the win.
The on-loan Nathan Burns was the hero of the afternoon, scoring twice to give the Jets a win that lifts them into third position.
Burns gave Newcastle the lead with a goal in the 44th minute – his first since in the A-league since scoring for Adelaide United in October 2007.
The lead didn’t last long. James Troisi scored the equaliser just six minutes after the break – with his sixth goal of the season.
Newcastle bounced back strongly though and they took the lead for the second time in the 66th minute. Mark Milligan slid in and blocked James Brown’s cross, but Burns was on hand to tuck the rebound into the bottom corner.
Although Victory pushed for a second equaliser, Newcastle held on with relative ease to claim the points.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 3:32 PM
He has played at seven major tournaments for Italy and won the 2006 World Cup. But, do Sydney FC need Alessandro Del Piero?
We take a look at how the Sky Blues fare with, and without their illustrious Italian import.
In his first season, Del Piero made 24 appearances, scoring 14 goals, three of them from the penalty spot.
Season 2012/13 turned out to be one of the closest in the history of the competition and Sydney FC missed out on the finals on goal difference.
With Del Piero’s significant assistance, they scored 41 goals, twelve more than Perth Glory, who claimed sixth place. Sydney FC’s defence was the worst in the competition, conceding 51 goals. Clearly, it was this that made the difference.
So, can Sydney FC live without Alessandro Del Piero?
After nine rounds of this season’s Hyundai A-League, Sydney FC sit in fourth place. Del Piero has started five of those matches, but was withdrawn through injury in round two against Brisbane Roar and round eight against Newcastle Jets.
The Brisbane Roar match ended in a crushing 4-0 defeat for the Sky Blues, but the Newcastle match saw Sydney FC run out 2-0 winners, with both goals scored after the Italian left the pitch.
Del Piero missed round three after picking up the injury against Brisbane Roar. It was a Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium, and Sydney FC was toothless in attack, going down 2-0 to their rivals.
He also missed round nine at Bluetongue Stadium as Central Coast Mariners won 1-0.
Despite the inclusion of new signing Ranko Despotovic, the Sky Blues lacked penetration and hardly forced a save out of Liam Reddy.
Del Piero started the 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets in round one, the 3-2 epic over Melbourne Victory in round five, the 2-0 win at AAMI Park against Melbourne Heart in round six and the late, great 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix, in the midst of the Sky Blues four game winning streak.
The bottom line is this: when Del Piero starts and plays the majority of the game, Sydney FC win. Barring the Newcastle Jets game, when he doesn’t start, is subbed off early, or comes on late, Sydney FC lose.
They are yet to draw a match this season, so there is no middle ground.
Sydney FC need Alessandro Del Piero.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 9:00 AM
Central Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss has labelled Australia’s World Cup group as the ‘Group of Education’, while his Sydney FC counterpart has warned fans to temper their expectations.
Sydney’s coach Frank Farina has reminded Socceroos supporters they have to be ‘realistic’ about Australia’s chances against Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B in a ‘very tough’ pool but Moss argued the draw was exciting for the Australian national team.
Moss believes the opportunity to learn from the reigning world and European champions, plus two other top 15 nations, will be fantastic for the Socceroos and their new head coach Ange Postecoglou.
“There is two ways you can look at it, you can look at it as the group of death or you can look at it as the group of education and I think that’s the way I would rather look at it.”
Moss hopes the event can be a great tool for coach education locally.
“I think we can learn so much out of playing teams like that and hopefully the A-League coaches get the opportunity to learn from Ange but also the coaches we are going to come up against in the World Cup.
“Hopefully their experience and knowledge filters back through the A-League coaches and that can only improve us.”
One-time coach of the Socceroos, including during their ultimately unsuccessful 2002 qualifying campaign, Farina was more circumspect in his assessment.
The man who was at the helm of the national team for nearly seven years labelled the draw as a ‘tough one, very tough’.
Noting the difficulty of coming up against Spain and the Netherlands, both finalists at the 2010 tournament in South Africa, and also Chile who recently beat England at Wembley, Farina said ‘it’s exciting’ but offered a note of caution.
“People have just got to be realistic about what it is and temper the expectations,” Farina said.