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International Friendlies Tuesday Wrap: Netherlands and Portugal register wins, African teams disappoint

Another round of friendlies took place last night with 7 of our 32 finalists taking part and pitting themselves against opposition that will help them prepare well for the FIFA World Cup, beginning in 10 days time. Four European teams were in action, the Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark and Switzerland taking the stage while Ghana and Cameroon were the two teams from the host continent who took part in warm up games. Australia who are representing the Asian confederation this year were the 7th finalist team to play a game last night.

robin_van_persie.jpgNetherlands 4 - 1 Ghana

The Dutch comfortably thwarted the talented Black Stars when the two faced off at Rotterdam last night. Goals from Dirk Kuyt in the first half and Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and a penalty from Robin van Persie in the second half completed the bashing by the Oranje. Asamoah Gyan's goal in the 78th minute pulled one back for the visiting Ghanaian team with the Dutch having scored two already by that time, but it turned out to be consolation in the end, with the home team running riot. Oranje dominated possession and converted their chances very well and one would do well to look out for them in this edition of the FIFA World Cup. The Hungarians await the raging Dutch train before Bert van Marwijk's team moves on to the World Cup. Ghana will take on Latvia on the 5th of June before kick starting their 2nd ever World Cup campaign against Serbia.


England announce 23 member squad for the World Cup

theo_walcott.jpgFabio Capello named his 23 member squad traveling to South Africa on Tuesday. The Italian saw his team garner unconvincing wins over Mexico and Japan and had enough time to ponder over the perfect blend that will help him win the FIFA World Cup trophy in Johannesburg on July the 11th. They are one of the many favourites to win this edition of the World Cup and a lot of media attention has been surrounding the announcement of who is excluded and who is included in the English squad.

Recent performances from the Three Lions have been far from noteworthy and hence, the world was eagerly awaiting who the audacious Italian Fabio Capello was ready to boot out of the team. Most of the irregular players in the provisional squad were coming off great domestic campaigns and dropping them would seem harsh. The Italian had to carefully weigh his options considering form, blend, requirement, age and injury before making those 7 deadly phone calls to the players who were not going to fulfill their dream of playing at the grandest stage in the sport for the next four years of their careers for sure.


FIFA World Cup 2010 – A Poignant Sporting Celebration on a Mystifying Continent

south_africa_fans.jpgThe beautiful game of Football is a religion that unifies the people of the world. Millions of devout fans will embrace for the first time, an African celebration of the Gods of the game. A galaxy of the finest exponents of this often spiritually enchanting game will all descend on the mountains and plains of South Africa to contest the greatest prize on offer. The blessed fans will arrive in numbers to chant euphoric prayers and hail their Gods as a galaxy of stars light up the lush green pitches that will host the multitude of contests.

The 19th FIFA World Cup kicks off in the 'Rainbow nation' of South Africa and the 'Dark Continent' prepares to celebrate the brightest sporting spectacle on the planet, with unprecedented colour and revelry. The month long festival will open on June 11th and close with the grand finale on July 11th.


Hosts South Africa announce 23 member squad for World Cup

South Africa coach Carlos Albert Parreira announced on Tuesday the 23 members representing the nation in the FIFA World Cup to be held this month on home soil. Bafana Bafana have been unbeaten in the past 11 games which has given Parreira the liberty to choose the best from the available lot.

Former Porto striker and UEFA Champions League winner Benni McCarthy was a surprise omission form the squad which has been trimmed by 5 players from the original provisional list. 32-year old McCarthy is South Africa's leading goalscorer of all time and his omission comes as a huge shocker for the Bafana Bafana, who could do with some top flight experience in Europe. Other notable absentees were Arminia Bielefeld goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez and PAOK defender Bryce Moon who were both expected to make the cut. Left-back Innocent Mdledle and left-side midfielder Franklin Cale will also be watching their national team from the stands as they too failed to make the final list.


South Korea annouce final 23 for World Cup

South Korea's coach Huh Jung-Moo announced on Tuesday the 23-man squad representing the nation in the FIFA World Cup this summer. South Korea are making their seventh straight World Cup finals appearance in South Africa. Their most successful trip to finals came in 2002, co-hosted by them, when they managed to reach the semi-finals, under the guidance of Dutch maestro Guus Hiddink. The Taegeuk Warriors had an excellent qualifying campaign finishing undefeated with 7 wins and 7 draws in total.

Huh has made the inclusion of veteran striker Lee Dong Gook, who missed the 2006 finals in Germany with a knee problem and was not a part of Hiddink's plans in the 2002 campaign. Defender Kang Ming-soo has also been called up after Kwak Tae-hwi was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury. South Korea's hopes will be heavily relying on Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park and the likes of Lee Chung Yong of Bolton Wanderers and Celtic's Ki Sung Yeing.


Paraguay announce 23 member squad for the World Cup

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino announced on Monday the 23 member squad representing Paraguay in the FIFA World Cup this summer. The Paraguayans have won 1, lost 1 and drawn 1 of their pre-World Cup warm up games and the Argentina born coach Martino has had enough opportunities to weigh up his options.

Osvaldo Martinez was surprisingly omitted from the squad despite good performances at club level. Lucas Barrios, who only recently made his debut for the national team gets to go to South Africa after some stellar performances in his first 2 international games. Argentina-based quartet Eduardo Ledesma (Lanus), Marcos Caceres (Racing Club), Marcelo Estigarribia and Jorge Achucarro (both Newell's Old Boys) have all been omitted from the 23 member  squad, as have Libertad midfielder Sergio Aquino and Olimpia defender Julio Manzur.


Nigeria announce 23 members travelling to World Cup

Nigerian Coach Lars Lagerback has cut 7 players of his provisional squad to trim his team down to 23 for the FIFA World Cup. The 23 fortunate (and highly skilled) players will be representing their country in the first ever FIFA World Cup hosted by the African continent. After watching his team draw both their warm up games in the last week, Lagerback made some surprises changes to the squad that would be traveling to South Africa.

Everton striker Victor Anichebe was one big absentees from the list of 23 players travelling to the show piece event while John Utaka's brother Peter was also dropped from the squad. The only two Nigeria based players in the team Akhan Basey and Peter Suswan were also omitted and Nice defender Onyekachi Apam also failed to make the cut for the national team. Ikechukwu Uche's struggles with injury cost him a place, while Brown Ideye also missed out on the final list.


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