Posted by: sefa101 | April 23, 2008

Anti-doping on the agenda

Preparations continue to run smoothly for the anti-doping programme at Euro 2008. The finalists recently signed an ‘Anti-Doping Charter’ enabling blood tests to be carried out on players for the first time ever. The presidents of the national associations of the 16 teams signed the charter in Vienna last month, allowing for both blood and urine samples to be taken in some 300 tests before and during this summer’s tournament.

The new measures will enable the identification of banned substances, including the blood-boosting drug EPO, while a new technique to test for growth hormones will be used at an international event for the first time. Experts will also be able to determine whether a player’s blood has been abnormally manipulated by means of a transfusion.

Posted by: sefa101 | April 22, 2008

Ranieri keen on Del Piero recall

Juventus boss Claudio Ranieri has urged Italy boss Roberto Donadoni to re-call Alessandro Del Piero. The Juve captain has been in top form this season scoring 17 goals, his second best in Serie A behind the 21 he scored in the 1997-98 season.

“I’m convinced that Donadoni will call up Del Piero,” Ranieri said. “Alex is in great form at the moment, he’s been showing that for a long time”

The Juve manager was speaking after his team demolsihed Atalanta 4-0 at the weekend with Del Piero scoring 3 and setting up the other in a sensational performance.

“I’m sure he’ll get a call up. I would call him up.” Ranieri added.

Posted by: sefa101 | April 21, 2008

Nedved in the frame for Euro return

Czech Republic manager Karel Bruckner is believed to have begun talks to bring back Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved for the Euro 2008 championships.

A top official at the Czech FA said; “I believe that some communication is going on there…But the situation is not so advanced that I could say that Nedved is returning to the national squad,”

The Juventus midfielder scored 18 goals in 91 caps and called time on his international career after the 2006 World Cup.

Pressure has mounted for the 2003 European Footballer of the Year to return to the national team in the light of doubts whether Arsenal playmaker Tomas Rosicky will recover from a long term injury in time for the championships.

Posted by: sefa101 | April 18, 2008

No place for Raul in Spain squad

Real Madrid striker Raul will not be going to the European Championship finals after being left out of Spain coach Luis Aragones’ privisional 31-man squad. Raul’s absence is not that unexpected with the Real Madrid skipper not having represented his country since September 2006.

Aragones has included Barcelona teenager Bojan Krkic and Valencia’s David Albelda who has not played for his club since December. The absence of Raul may meet with an outcry from the Madrid-biased press, such as AS, who were driving a campaign to see the goalscorer recalled after showing good form this season.

Posted by: sefa101 | April 17, 2008

Low assures Kuranyi of Euro place

Germany coach Joachim Low has assured Kevin Kuranyi that his place in his countires Euro 2008 squad after the striker’s return to form with 4 goals this weekend. The 26-year-old looked back to his best as he smashed four of Schalkes five goals against Energie Cottbus and it proved a timely reminder to the national team coach.

“If nothing unforeseen happens, Kevin will be at Euro 2008. He did go through a weaker phase but over the last few years he’s been convincing for us and always scored goals. He’s a valuable player.” said Low

Posted by: sefa101 | April 17, 2008

Gokhan gives Terim food for thought

Fenerbahce right back Gokhan Gonul is stating a very strong claim to become Turkeys no.1 right back at Euro 2008. Despite having just four caps to his name the 23-year-old has become a key figure in Fenerbahce’s Super Lig and Champions League campaigns. Having made 20 league appearances this term, and consigned Onder Turaci to the bench, Gokhan has proved he is more than just a mere defender, frequently surging forward and delivering accurate crosses from the flank.

With Roberto Carlos flying down the left side, one would be forgiven for thinking they were watching Brazil as the Turkish international is far from the traditional defender. Fenerbahçe coach Zico has compared Gokhan to fellow Brazilian Cafu, saying:

“His acceleration is as fast. Most of his attributes are similar. He just needs more experience to eliminate the differences between him and Cafu.”

With Fenerbahce level on points with arch-rivals Galatasaray at the top of the Super Lig, his priorities are soley at club level, but he has already cast an eye over Turkey‘s finals opponents, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Switzerland. “We will try to get the best results we can and see how far we can go.”

Given Gokhan’s explosive form this season, he and international coach Fatih Terim will certainly believe that could be a long way.

Posted by: sefa101 | April 16, 2008

Janczyk keeping fingers crossed

CSKA Moskva forward David Janczyk has been named as the only uncapped player in Poland coach Leo Beenhakker’s provisional 31-man squad for Euro 2008. The Poland coach will select his final 23-man squad from the 31 and Janczyk will be hoping his name is on that list. The 20-year-old scored scored three goals at both the 2006 European Under-19 Championship and 2007 U-20 World Cup has also impressed in the Champions League this season.

Janczyk was chosen along with fellow strikers Marek Saganowski, Artur Wichniarek and Lukasz Piszczek, after Beenhakker overlooked the claims of Grzegorz Rasiak, Ireneusz Jelen and Pawel Brozek.

Posted by: sefa101 | April 14, 2008

Strike force key to Bilic’s preparations

With less than two months until Croatia play co-hosts Austria in their first match of Euro 2008, coach Slaven Bilic has fitness concerns over three of his strikers.

With top scorer Eduardo da Silva already out due to the leg and ankle break the sustained in February, several of Bilić’s other forwards have endured turbulent campaigns. Of those Parma’s Igor Budan, made his comeback in late January having been sidelined since the end of August, while Werder Bremen’s Ivan Klasnic still requires time to reach full fitness following two kidney transplants. Completing the trio is Hamburg’s Ivica Olic who suffered a thigh injury two weeks ago, and requires at least another week to recover.

“Eduardo is a huge loss for us, I am just praying our other strikers can keep fit in time for the summer” stated Bilic.

Posted by: sefa101 | April 14, 2008

Borriello finds golden touch with Genoa

Genoa has proved the perfect location for the forward who, last season, made only nine Serie A appearances, scoring once. The striker who is on loan from Champions League winners AC Milan has set the league a light with some outstanding displays and signs of expert finishing. His return so far, of 19 league strikes from 30 appearances has been greated with international recognition. The 25-year-old made his Italy debut on 6 February and recieved the promise of more caps to come. Gian Piero Gasperini, Borriello’s coach said;

“Of course we all hope that Marco makes the Italy squad, however, it is too early to make a final decision on Austria and Switzerland, so Marco has to keep working hard in the next two months to convince Roberto Donadoni of his worth. The future is in his hands and he must continue to improve both physically and mentally. But I think he is on the right track.”

Posted by: sefa101 | April 9, 2008

Scolari gives hope to out of form stars

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has reassured some of his top stars they will not be judged purely on their club form when he selects his 23-man squad for Euro 2008.

Playmaker Deco has been out of favour for long periods at FC Barcelona, starting just 12 league games so far, and has recently been sidelined with a thigh injury. Real Betis goalkeeper Ricardo is another experienced international encountering problems in Spain, having been demoted to the substitutes’ bench by coach Francisco Chaparro. Yet, according to Scolari, the player has every chance to retaining his No1 spot with the national team.

 “If I think he’s in a good condition then I’ll call him no matter what is happening at his club. I’ve done the same thing with other players in the past. If I consider that a player is important I pick him, whether if he is playing for his club or not.”

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