Originally posted on Finishers Forum  |  Last updated 3/26/13
Montenegro criticism playing into England’s hands, says Steven Gerrard - Steven Gerrard has dismissed Branko Brnovic’s pre-match criticisms of England and suggested the Montenegro coach’s comments actually revealed the visitors have their hosts “right where we want them”, with the locals perturbed by the size of the task ahead… (The Guardian) Fear and loathing in Paris - Not if their test of fire were in Rio, Buenos Aires, Dortmund, Lisbon, Wembley or even Milan could Spain have a less appetizing place to play what looks like an all-or-bust fixture than in Paris on Tuesday night. There have been only eight competitive meetings between these two often uncomfortable neighbours, and Spain have the paltry record of one win and two draws to offer up against France’s five wins… (ESPN FC) Robin Friday movie to tell tale of football ‘rock star’ - He was one of the most gifted footballers of his generation, scoring a goal dubbed the best ever by a renowned referee, but it was Robin Friday’s crazy lifestyle that secured cult hero status. During a pre-Premier League 1970s where the violence and drinking exploits of players could sometimes match the extremes of the hordes on the terraces, wild behavior was hardly unusual… (BBC Football) U.S. jumps from ice straight into fire - Here’s what we learned during Friday night’s “Chilla in Vanilla”: The U.S. men’s national team can win during a blinding snowstorm.   Here’s what we still don’t know: Can they win in normal soccer conditions? Because the chances that there’ll be a foot of snow at Estadio Azteca on Tuesday are about the same as the chances of Mexico’s Giovanni Dos Santos getting his hair permed (approximately 2.7%)… (Kicking and Screaming – ESPN) … A bittersweet evening for Wilfried Zaha - Sunday night at the Football League Awards was a bittersweet evening for followers of Manchester United. The good news was that Wilfried Zaha, who will arrive at Old Trafford in the summer, was nominated for the Young Player of the Year Award. The bad news, as it would sadly transpire, was that he would lose out to Tom Ince, the Blackpool forward whose father Paul was so influential in Manchester United’s midfield in the mid-Nineties… (ESPN FC) The necessary reinvention of Aleksandar Kolarov - Not quick enough to play on the wing, not defensively sound enough to play left-back, Aleksandar Kolarov needs to reinvent himself after last night’s 2-0 defeat to Croatia … Black 4×4 vehicles trundled around the lonely running track as the din of the Maksimir endured through half-time. The previous forty-five minutes had given Croatia a 2-0 lead, something that the nervy home support and only slightly less anxious coaching staff were determined to celebrate… (SB Nation) Argentina must balance attack and defense before World Cup - Four years ago, in his competitive debut as coach, Diego Maradona’s Argentina won 4-0 at home to Venezuela. Four days later they went down 6-1 away to Bolivia. The crushing defeat is not hard to explain. Argentina had not planned for the extreme altitude of La Paz, some 3,600 meters above sea level. Maradona had put his faith in motivational slogans, but they were no substitute for adequate preparation… (BBC Football) Jordi Alba absence exposes Spain weakness - While England’s game in Podgorica against Montenegro has been billed as the biggest in their World Cup qualifying campaign, the match in Group I with France hosting Spain will be far more appealing to the neutral, and is the focus of WhoScored.com’s analysis this week… (Tactics & Analysis – ESPN) You can’t expect Luis Suarez to stay at Liverpool - There will be heartache this summer. Free of interfering press officers and perhaps a little too relaxed in his home country, Liverpool’s star striker Luis Suarez has admitted to a journalist that he would consider an offer from a club with “more prospects”… (The Boot Room – ESPN) Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye reveals battle with depression - Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye has revealed how he overcame a battle with depression brought on by a rigorous club and country schedule last year.  And the Frenchman said he was “reassured” by reading books by Jonny Wilkinson and Rafael Nadal, who had both been through similar experiences… (The Independent) Tottenham winger Gareth Bale signs new contract… with BT - Gareth Bale, possibly the most coveted player in world football at the moment, has agreed a new deal. However, the Tottenham winger has not put pen to paper at White Hart Lane, but has instead agreed to become a pundit on BT’s new sport channel… (The Independent) Nigel Adkins confirmed as Reading manager on three-year deal - Nigel Adkins was keen to draw a line under the past after being appointed as Reading’s new manager on Tuesday. The 48-year-old has signed a contract until summer 2016 to replace Brian McDermott at the Madjeski Stadium, returning to football after a two-month break… (The Guardian)
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