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Trio pull out of commonwealth games

Published by  Julieta | 22/09/2010

Source: Reuters

A trio of top British athletes, including world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu and Olympic 400 metres gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu, pulled out of the troubled Commonwealth Games in India on Tuesday.
Idowu's withdrawal was based on security concerns while Ohuruogu, plagued by injury problems this year, suffered cramp in a training session over the weekend and decided to pull out as a precaution from the event starting in New Delhi on October 3.
Lisa Dobriskey, Commonwealth 1,500 metres champion and fourth over the distance at the European championships in Barcelona last month, also withdrew saying she had run out of time after struggling with injury earlier in the season.
Idowu outlined his worries about attending the Games on his Twitter page, writing: "Sorry people but I have children to think about. My safety is more important to them than a medal."
Organisers have endured a raft of criticism from competing teams over unfinished and unclean athletes' accommodation.
"I am disappointed to miss the Commonwealth Games after working so hard to get fit since my quad injury in June," Ohuruogu, 26, said in a statement.
"However, with the 2012 Olympic Games on the horizon the last thing an athlete wants to do is risk re-injury to the same muscle.
"It was very important for me to be cautious in dealing with my previous injury; although training was progressing well, intense competition over three days may prove to be more harmful than good and may compromise the long term functioning of the muscle."
Dobriskey said she had been looking forward to competing but had taken medical advice to rest and focus on winter season training working towards the 2011 indoor season.
"I'm really disappointed, but I just ran out of time. I want to wish all the best to the athletes out in Delhi," she said in a statement.
The Games have already been hit with several high profile withdrawals, including multiple Olympic champion Usain Bolt and Kenya's David Rudisha, who broke the 800 metres world record twice last month.


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nadal v federer: who is the greatest?

Published by  Julieta | 15/09/2010

Source: BBC Sports


A terrific US Open  final, between two good friends hitting the spirit out of each other with a tennis ball, ended with Rafael Nadal on the ground, body shaking with emotion, secure in the knowledge he had joined the list of all-time greats.
A dazzle of flashbulbs helped capture history as the 24-year-old Spaniard completed the magical tennis set of all four majors. It was his ninth Grand Slam overall.
It was a worthy final. Towards the end, the magnificent Novak Djokovic was smashing winners without a chance of victory. He somehow believed he could do it - that was evident from the ambition he admirably showed. And of course it was possible - but Nadal was in the mood. You could see it in his widening eyes and feel it in the snap of his improved serve and the force of his groundstrokes.
And so, in successive years, we have two players winning the career Grand Slam. Only five men - Perry, Budge, Laver, Emerson and Agassi - had won the set before Roger Federer joined the club last season. Now his great rival Nadal has sealed his place in history. How lucky we are to have been around to see this unique happening.
So where does this leave the rivalry? Where does Nadal now stand?





Federer has more titles - a world record 16 majors - but Nadal is much younger and - important to the debate - has beaten his rival to win in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Federer's triumphs over Nadal at the majors have come exclusively on the London lawns.
Add Nadal's Olympic gold from Beijing, a record haul of Masters titles
- including three in a row on clay this spring (never done before) - plus Davis Cup victories, and Nadal arguably boasts a stronger list of accolades.
Brad Gilbert said on Twitter immediately after the final: "There's your GOAT [Greatest of All Time]". Surely that claim is premature.
Nadal in my mind has to match Federer's longevity, consistency and domination. At least come close to it. The Swiss' streak of consecutive major semis, which only ended this year, is something extraordinary and one of the factors which keeps him ahead. Just.
Of course, there is no prize for this and I know some people like to grumble about these comparison pieces but rivalries make sport so compelling. The quest for unmatchable performance and historic accomplishments. The quest for true greatness.
Nadal is improving, adapting, hungry and healthy. On the New York evidence, it is entirely possible that he could become the greatest.
Perhaps you think he is already there. As we just enjoy these modern-day tennis riches, let the debates continue! What do you think?


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Sir alex ferguson expects man utd selection criticism

Published by  Julieta | 15/09/2010

Source: BBC Sports

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said he expected criticism after a side with 10 changes failed to beat Rangers in the Champions League.
Only Darren Fletcher retained his place from the team that had drawn with Everton three days earlier.
"The criticism will be why didn't I play a stronger team," said Ferguson.
"I played a very strong team. Eight of them played in the Charity Shield. It's a terrific squad of players we have and there was no problem playing them."
Ferguson, whose side host fierce rivals Liverpool on Sunday, admitted that not putting in-form striker Dimitar Berbatov on the bench for the Rangers game may have been a mistake.
"We wanted to see how Javier Hernandez would do in a full game and because of that we left Berbatov out and his form has been absolutely fantastic," added Ferguson.





"He has been one of our best players this season and his ability to create in tight situations would have made a difference."
Ferguson insisted players such as Hernandez, Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Ji-Sung Park should have been good enough to carve out opportunities against the Scottish champions.
"We wanted to find out about one or two players but seven or eight of them played against Chelsea in the Community Shield, so we weren't short of players we needed to win the game," added the United boss.
"There were plenty of good players on the pitch.
   
"They should have won that game, but give credit to Rangers, their system is very difficult to break down.
"I think we played with great intensity and good commitment. But Rangers just went back to the penalty box and it was successful.
"They had two draws away from home and lost 1-0 in Seville last season so they have a successful format.
"You need 10 points to qualify and tonight was a blemish for us. We need nine points now from five games.
"If we had won everyone would have said we deserved to - we had a big percentage of the possession - but we didn't make any great chances and our first corner was after about 70 minutes, so you have to give credit to Rangers.
"We just couldn't get that goal. We passed the ball side-to-side but didn't cut through them."
United struggled to break down a defensive Rangers side, who fielded five defenders in an attempt to suffocate their opponents.

The home side were restricted to only a handful of opportunities, Gibson with a couple of long-range shots while returning striker Wayne Rooney had one half-chance.
"It was a frustrating night for us," said Ferguson. "I don't know if playing anyone else would have made any difference."They were well organised and defended so deep, it was difficult to open them up at all.
"We didn't test their goalkeeper at all, apart from a couple of shots straight at him. It was a really difficult night."
Of major concern to Ferguson and United was the injury suffered by Valencia, the Ecuadorian facing a very long spell on the sidelines with a suspected broken ankle.


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Will more bayern success make the bundesliga a bore?

Published by  Julieta | 19/08/2010

Source: BBC Sports

German football is rarely in the doldrums but it is definitely on a high at the moment.
The national team won many admirers in finishing third at the World Cup, while Bayern Munich became the first German club to reach the Champions League final in eight years, the feats of the domestic league and cup winners helping the country leapfrog Italy into third place in the Uefa league coefficient rankings.
German officials also proudly claim that the Bundesliga is the world's number one football league on the basis of an average attendance of 41,802 fans per game last season.
Among all sports, only cricket's Indian Premier League and the American football's NFL top that figure on a weekly basis - and neither competition has as many teams or matches across the course of a season.




All in all, it is looking good for German football ahead of the new Bundesliga season, which many believe could be a vintage one - and there could not be a better curtain raiser than Friday's opener between Bayern and their predecessors as German champions, Wolfsburg.
The only note of discord to be heard is the faint chant of "boring, boring Bayern". Certainly not because of the way that Louis van Gaal has instructed his men to play, as anybody who saw them over the second half of last season can testify.
No, the fear is that Bayern - with World Cup heroes Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger to call upon - may turn out to be so good this season that they romp away with the league and secure their 23rd title with weeks to spare.
Schalke 04 ran Bayern respectably close last year, finishing five points adrift after an excellent second half of the season, while winter champions Bayer Leverkusen once again faltered with their first title in sight, drifting to fourth after a record 24 unbeaten games at the start of the season.
In a bid to add a bit more firepower, with goals sometimes at a premium last year, Schalke coach Felix Magath has made two of the most eye-catching transfers of the summer.
He has acquired the 33-year-old Spanish icon Raul from Real Madrid and added the out-of-favour German international defender Christoph Metzelder from the same club.
Raul made himself instantly popular in the Ruhr when he banged in two goals on his debut in a pre-season friendly earlier this month, against none other than Bayern, who were without their World Cup stars.
However, the biggest spenders so far in the generally frugal Bundesliga - Hamburg and Stuttgart are the only other sides to spend more than 10m euros this summer - have been Wolfsburg. They have splashed out 23.4m euros, more than half of which went on the hugely promising Danish defender Simon Kjaer from Palermo.
German international Arne Friedrich has been signed from relegated Hertha Berlin to stiffen a defence that conceded 58 goals, by far the worst in the top half of the table.


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Boston celtics swoop for all-star shaquille o'neal

Published by  Julieta | 05/08/2010

Source: BBC.com

Eastern Conference champions Boston Celtics have signed centre Shaquille O'Neal on a two-year contract.
Four-time NBA winner O'Neal had been a free agent after one season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But with centre Kendrick Perkins recovering from knee surgery, the Celtics moved swiftly to snap up the 38-year-old, 15-time All-Star.
"I cannot wait to get to Boston to get started in pursuit of another championship," said O'Neal.
The 7ft 1in star won three NBA titles with the LA Lakers in 2000, 2001 and 2003 as well as a fourth in 2006 with Miami Heat.





O'Neal will line up alongside Boston's "Big Three" of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, as well as up-and-coming point guard Rajon Rondo and centre Jermaine O'Neal, who arrives from Miami.
"I have played against Paul, Ray, Kevin, Rajon, and Jermaine for many years and it will be great to be able to call them my team-mates," added O'Neal, who made his NBA debut for Orlando in 1992.
He holds a host of NBA honours and is second only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the All-Star appearances list - the match which pits the best of the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference.
The Celtics will be hoping O'Neal's extensive experience can land them their 18th championship title.
They lost last season's finals 4-3 against the LA Lakers. 


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Where do england go from here?

Published by  Julieta | 15/07/2010

Source: BBC Sports
By Gary Lineker
Former England captain and BBC Match of the Day presenter

After such a disappointing showing at the 2010 World Cup, England coach Fabio Capello has to decide which direction his side take next as they get ready to start their qualifying campaign for the 2012 European Championship.
Some coaches move on if they have had a poor time at a major tournament, but Capello probably does not want to be remembered for England's dismal showing in South Africa.
Instead, he will want to turn things around and ensure England reach Euro 2012, which is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Qualifying from a group that includes Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales and Montenegro should be a straightforward task for England, although they face some tricky ties along the way.
We saw in South Africa that the Swiss are hard to beat - they even defeated eventual winners Spain - while Wales will be very motivated when they play England.
I would never have called for Capello's sacking after what happened in South Africa.
England underperformed but he is clearly a top-class manager.
What he has got to do is restore confidence in both the team and in himself - and do it quickly.
He must assess everything, especially preparations for the World Cup because his players did not look sharp.
Capello also has to reassess his tactics because the 4-4-2 formation he employed looked antiquated compared to other teams.
Like Alan Shearer, Lee Dixon and every other member of the BBC's World Cup panel, I thought England should be lining up differently.
That's not just speaking with hindsight either, because we all said it before the tournament began, not just after the disappointing draws against the United States and Algeria.
Even after improving and beating Slovenia 1-0 to reach the last 16, we all felt we might have big problems as soon as we faced a decent side. It proved the case when England were crushed 4-1 by Germany.
The Germans used Mesut Ozil in a free role between midfield and attack, which is exactly where I would have played Steven Gerrard.
They also played with two holding midfielders, just like most of the top sides in this World Cup, including Spain and the Netherlands.
England will probably cotton on to it in time for the next tournament, by which time their rivals will have moved on to something else.


I think tactics are the main issue for Capello. He has already spoken about rebuilding England and using younger players in the future but I am not sure we have enough coming through.
I am sure Theo Walcott will get another chance after being left out of the World Cup squad, while Jack Wilshire and Adam Johnson will probably get their opportunities at some stage.
But there is no point just axing everyone who performed badly in South Africa and bringing in youth.
If he does that, the likelihood is that some of them will either not be good enough or not ready yet. As a result, they will struggle, end up losing confidence and never appear for the national team again.
Capello will understand the pitfalls that face him. The key is picking the best players available and finding a system that works for them. I am sure he can get it right.
It was interesting hearing Jurgen Klinsmann's explanation of how he and Joachim Loew improved the fortunes of German football when they took charge of the national team in 2004.
I would hope that Premier League clubs would try to help the national team in the way that the Bundesliga backed Klinsmann's ideas.
But I think it is difficult to look long-term like the Germans did when England have got a foreign manager in charge.
For Capello, it is all about the next game, the next result and doing the best that he can while he is in charge because he knows he is not going to spend a lifetime in the job.
But there is something to be learned from Germany's approach.
At the moment, there are three bodies running English football - the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League.
What we really need is everyone working together for the benefit of the game in this country and the development of young players.
Getting that right is all down to proper coaching from an early age. The fact that academies are now controlling the footballing education of our most promising youngsters is a good thing, too.
Some of the clubs - not all of them - are teaching kids the right way to play in terms of technique, possession and positioning. They are giving them a greater understanding of the game, too.
We might have to wait before the work benefits the senior set-up but starting with the very young is the way England must do it.
Hopefully - in eight years rather than four - we can be realistic contenders at a World Cup. Hopefully one being held in England, too!



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Our video section

Published by  Julieta | 15/07/2010

As you may know, scouts, agents and clubs used to evaluate player videos before contacting them. That’s the reason why our videos section is one of the most visited pages on MyBestPlay!
So, if you're looking for a club to play, you have to upload a video.
And if you're looking for talent, you’ll find it in this video section on our website!



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Knicks get a marquee free agent: stoudemire

Published by  Julieta | 06/07/2010

Knicks Get a Marquee Free Agent: Stoudemire


Source: nytimes.com

After two years of roster purging and payroll slashing, the Knicks got their first big payoff Monday and could hardly contain their optimism — rules, contracts and official signing dates notwithstanding.
Amar’e Stoudemire was on the Madison Square Garden marquee, wearing a white Knicks jersey with a No. 1 on the chest. His image filled electronic billboards across the premises. A large banner inside bore a slogan, “Stat City,” that played on his nickname, STAT (Standing Tall and Talented).
Finally, early Monday night, Stoudemire emerged with a blue Knicks cap on his head and proclaimed, “The Knicks are back.”
It will be two more days before Stoudemire can sign a contract, after the N.B.A. lifts its annual moratorium on deals. But his handshake agreement — on a five-year contract worth about $99.7 million — was enough for team officials to start a small celebration.
Stoudemire, 27, is a five-time All-Star, a prolific scorer and a supreme athlete who, along with Steve Nash, anchored elite Phoenix Suns teams. He is the most talented player to wear a Knicks uniform in more than a decade, since Patrick Ewing’s decline.
“The best thing about him is he will accept the challenge, and he will not shy away from it,” said Coach Mike D’Antoni, who coached Stoudemire for five seasons in Phoenix.
The other best thing about Stoudemire, Knicks officials hope, is his ability to recruit elite free agents. The Knicks are courting LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who are expected to make a decision in the next few days.
James made no public statements Monday as he attended a basketball clinic in his hometown, at the University of Akron. He is weighing offers from six teams. Wade met Monday with the Miami Heat owner, Micky Arison.
The Knicks have generally been viewed as a long shot to sign either player, because their roster is young, thin and generally unproven. Stoudemire’s presence means that Wade and James would no longer have to worry about lifting the Knicks back to respectability alone.
Stoudemire is friendly with both James and Wade, and said he would be recruiting both of them.
“Both guys, Dwyane and LeBron, I’m pretty sure would love to play with me,” Stoudemire said, “and vice versa. So hopefully, we can get one of those guys to join me here this year.”
As Stoudemire spoke, a series of beaming Garden officials circulated through the room, including James L. Dolan, the Garden chairman; Hank Ratner, the Garden chief executive; and Scott O’Neil, the MSG Sports president. Also circulating was the film director Spike Lee, who signaled his approval with raised eyebrows and a big smile.
Technically, there is no binding agreement between Stoudemire and the team until the contract is signed Thursday, and salary figures could change slightly. Everyone present flirted mightily with the league’s rules on announcing deals during the moratorium. Team officials spoke in conditional terms about the contract, trying hard to use “ifs.”
The deal had effectively been in place since late last week, when the Knicks and Stoudemire’s agent agreed to a basic outline, pending in-person discussions. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
There was not much to negotiate. Stoudemire wanted a maximum contract, and the Knicks said they were willing to give him one. Once he broke off talks with the Suns, his path became clear.
Despite Stoudemire’s proven talent, there is risk in the deal. He had major knee surgery in 2005 and eye surgery in 2009, rendering his contract in Phoenix uninsurable. Donnie Walsh, the Knicks’ president, said he was uncertain about insurance for the new deal but said, “I guess because we don’t know, we’re willing to take that risk.”
Stoudemire made a quick commitment to the Knicks, which made their decision easier.
“I just love the city of New York, the state of New York,” Stoudemire said, “and being a part of a great organization is the ultimate goal for a player, and to ultimately win a championship.”
Once the Knicks sign Stoudemire, they will have about $17 million of salary-cap room left, enough for one more max contract. If they miss on James and Wade, they could split that sum among several role players and make Stoudemire the centerpiece. They have been aggressively pursuing the sharpshooter Mike Miller and are interested in point guards Raymond Felton and Luke Ridnour.
“It’s the first step — it’s a big step,” said Walsh, who worked feverishly for two years to create the cap room for this heralded free-agent class. “I think we’re further along, that’s for sure.”
Stoudemire was undaunted by the possibility of being the Knicks’ sole star player.
Stoudemire’s arrival probably spells the end of David Lee’s career in New York. Although D’Antoni said the two could play together, the Knicks have a much greater need now for a point guard and a true center. Lee is being pursued by Chicago, Miami, Minnesota and the Nets, as well as several teams without cap space that want to acquire him in a sign-and-trade deal.
“I don’t really say never to anything,” said Lee’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, when asked if Lee’s tenure had just ended. “Stuff goes on every day. We’ll just see what happens.”



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Robin sowden-taylor and scott morgan released by blues

Published by  Julieta | 06/07/2010

Robin Sowden-Taylor and Scott Morgan released by Blues

Source: BBC Sports

Back-five forward Scott Morgan is set to join Newport Gwent Dragons on a two-year deal after his release by Cardiff Blues, BBC Sport understands.
The one-cap Wales international is also believed to have attracted interest from clubs in England and France.
On Tuesday the Blues announced the departure of out-of-contract Morgan and of Wales flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor.
Sale are favourites to sign Sowden-Taylor, an expected move to the Dragons thought to have fallen through.
The Blues say that Morgan and Sowden-Taylor "are looking to finalise contracts with other clubs over the forthcoming weeks".
As the Amlin Cup holders get back into pre-season training, speculation continues to surround the future of Blues and Wales back-rower Andy Powell, although media links with moves to Agen or to rugby league side Crusaders do not appear likely.
We look forward to welcoming the new players to the squad and build on the foundations we laid last season
Blues director of rugby Dai Young said of the players leaving the region: "Everyone at the Blues would like to thank the players for their contribution, both on and off the field, over the past few years.
"They have all played their part in moving the region forward and we wish them the best of luck with their rugby careers.
"We look forward to welcoming the new players to the squad and build on the foundations we laid last season.
"Lifting the Amlin Cup in the south of France was an incredible highlight for our fans and everyone involved at the Blues, and we truly appreciate their support throughout the ups and downs of the whole season.
"As we look to build on these achievements next season, the loyalty of our supporters remains of huge importance to the players and the rest of the Blues team, and vital to our success on the pitch."


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The goal was a big break for us

Published by Julieta | 02/07/2010

Source: FIFA.COM

Seemingly in control at the interval, Brazil had cause to rue a catastrophic 20-minute period in the second half of their quarter-final with the Netherlands at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday. Conceding two goals and having a man sent off in that time, Dunga's men saw their dreams of a sixth FIFA World Cup™ evaporate, their seemingly unstoppable campaign derailed by the opportunistic and indefatigable Dutch.

The Brazilian juggernaut looked to be running smoothly in the opening 45 minutes, the South Americans largely dominating proceedings and taking an early lead through Robinho. With the men in orange making little headway, the South Americans looked well in control of their own destiny. The pattern of the game would change irrevocably eight minutes after the break, however, when Felipe Melo inadvertently glanced a curling Wesley Sneijder cross past the advancing Julio Cesar.

"The goal was a big break for us and it changed everything," Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst told FIFA. "It couldn't have come at a better time, and it gave us fresh impetus. Our confidence just grew and grew from then on and we knew we could do it. When we equalised you only had to look at the guys celebrating on the bench to see that the whole squad could sense this was going to be our day. We never lost our faith because we knew they were beatable, but to get that goal back so quickly after the break was the turning point for us."

In the build-up to the game, Brazil coach Dunga had spoken of his fear of the Port Elizabeth wind. Powerless against the elements, his charges could also find no answer to the storm whipped up by the flying Dutch winger, Arjen Robben. Kept under close guard by Michel Bastos and the Brazil midfield during a frustrating first half, Robben broke the shackles after the restart, driving his side forward at every opportunity and the opposition rearguard to distraction.

Hanging in there
"We dictated the game in the first half but just couldn't get going in the second," said a regretful Dunga afterwards. "We couldn't keep our standards up or maintain the necessary level of concentration." Brazil central defender Juan agreed with that frank assessment. "We lost our focus in defence a couple of times and made mistakes that killed our gameplan," he said. "You make a couple of errors in a match like that and it's game over."

The five-time world champions will no doubt be regretting their failure to make more of their initial dominance, with Juan shooting over from close range in the first half and the impressive Maarten Stekelenburg doing well to divert an arcing Kaka drive away from the top corner. Van Bronckhorst, the only survivor from the semi-final meeting between the sides at France 1998, signalled his side's ability to stay in the game at the height of Brazilian domination as a determining factor. "We were nervous at the start of the game and they were playing really well," he said. "After half an hour, though, I had the feeling we were getting back into it."

Fittingly, the final word goes to Robben, the epitome of the driving ambition of a team that has now gone 24 matches unbeaten. "We said after the first round that we had four finals left to play. Now we're down to two. Right from the start of the tournament our aim has been to go all the way, and the only thing we are thinking about is lifting the cup," he said. Having laid the mighty Brazilians low, the Netherlands, runners-up at Germany 1974 and Argentina 1978, have every reason to believe that their luck is finally about to change.


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