Tag Archives: finalists

Joleon Lescott wants Manchester City to treat him with respect

Sign me up, or let me leave, says Lescott as City defender urges club to show him respect

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

07:12 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:16 GMT, 20 April 2013

Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect when it comes to deciding his future.

The England defender is close to entering the last year of his contract with the FA Cup finalists and has yet to fix up a new deal.

He has told the Daily Telegraph that he wants to stay, but claims he is not naive enough to think that is assured.

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

And, with the World Cup on the horizon, the former Everton man wants a first-team place to show national boss Roy Hodgson that he is up to the job.

He said: 'If someone said when I signed here “you're going to win the Premier League, get to two FA Cup finals and represent your country in the Euros” I'd have snapped their hand off.

'So now to go into the final year of my contract uncertain about my future is quite strange. I'd love to stay. My wife's pregnant, we've just moved house, the kids are happy at school. But I'm not naive. When you've achieved all that and you're going into the last year of your contract your future might be elsewhere.

'I can't afford to go into a World Cup year being uncertain of whether I'm going to play [regularly] here.

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

'I feel I've done enough for the club to demand a bit of respect in terms of they come and tell me what they want, whether it's a new deal, which I would be delighted to sign, or [to go] elsewhere.

'I'm very respectful of the club with what they've done for me, how they were persistent when Everton were digging their heels in to keep me. I owe a lot to the club. I also feel I've done enough to demand a bit of respect to not see speculation about my future.'

Rafael Benitez needs to win the Capital One Cup for Chelsea says Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as Leeds United bid to stop them

Benitez needs to win the Cup to stay at Chelsea but old foes Leeds will be no pushover, says legend of both clubs Hasselbaink

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UPDATED:

16:30 GMT, 18 December 2012

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes tomorrow night’s Capital One Cup tie at Leeds United is critical for Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez if he is to have any chance of keeping his job long-term.

The former Dutch international was a prolific goalscorer at both Leeds and Chelsea, and is thrilled that the quarter-final at Elland Road will re-ignite a spicy, but dormant, rivalry.

However, he warns that if Benitez is to win over the Stamford Bridge faithful and impress owner Roman Abramovich, he probably needs to win the League Cup early next year.

Up for the Cup: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink played for both Leeds and Chelsea and is pleased their rivalry is to be renewed in the Capital One Cup tomorrow

Up for the Cup: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink played for both Leeds and Chelsea and is pleased their rivalry is to be renewed in the Capital One Cup tomorrow

Championship side Leeds will scent an upset, particularly with Chelsea facing a quick turnaround from their trip to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup, where they lost 1-0 in the final to Brazilian side Corinthians on Sunday.

Hasselbaink, 40, said the failure of Benitez to bring home the Club World Cup heaps even more pressure on them ahead of the match at Leeds, because he knows Chelsea would be the clear favourites out of the four semi-finalists.

‘It will help Benitez greatly to win the Capital One Cup,’ he told Sportsmail. ‘It’s even more important now they haven’t won the Club World Cup because all the Chelsea fans and the owner would have expected him to win that.

Must win: Following the disappointment of losing the Club World Cup final on Sunday, the quarter-final at Leeds takes on extra significance for Rafael Benitez

Must win: Following the disappointment of losing the Club World Cup final on Sunday, the quarter-final at Leeds takes on extra significance for Rafael Benitez

‘The European clubs normally win that competition and Chelsea may have to wait a long time to win the Champions League again and get another shot at it.

‘So now, the League Cup is a very important to Chelsea. They have been fielding strong teams anyway and I bet you they won’t take any chances with the team selection at Leeds.

‘The preparation has not been ideal. They arrived back today and so they only have a day to prepare. You’re tired and jetlagged from the long flight and then you have to go up to Leeds.

‘Benitez will have to find a way to get through this tie, find a way to beat Leeds because if they do get through, they’re the absolute clear favourites to win the competition.’

Prolific: Hasselbaink was a fan favourite at Elland Road, scoring 42 goals in 87 matches in his two seasons in Yorkshire

Prolific: Hasselbaink was a fan favourite at Elland Road, scoring 42 goals in 87 matches in his two seasons in Yorkshire

Leeds United's Dutch soccer star Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink celebrates his goal against Blackburn Rovers August 24

That is not a disrespectful remark, just a matter of fact that Chelsea will fancy their chances in a semi-final line-up alongside Bradford City, Swansea City and Aston Villa.

But as Bradford proved in eliminating Arsenal on penalties last week, nothing can be taken for granted in a competition which has provided great entertainment this season.

Leeds, currently 12th in the Championship, have had plenty of time to perfect their game plan ahead of Chelsea’s visit and are in good form, having won four of their last five.

Hasselbaink is in a good position to talk about the long-standing enmity between the two teams. He arrived in Leeds in 1997 following playing spells at unglamorous sides in the Netherlands and Portugal and quickly became a fan favourite through his prolific scoring.

Leeds had just avoided dropping out of the top flight under the stewardship of George Graham, but with Hasselbaink leading the line, they found themselves challenging for Europe. In all, he notched 42 goals in 87 matches at Elland Road.

Following a season at Atletico Madrid, Hasselbaink returned to England as Chelsea’s record signing – his 15m price tag subsequently dwarfed by the Abramovich-era spending but nonetheless brought its own pressures.

Thankfully, they were no problem for him and his four seasons at Stamford Bridge yielded 87 goals in 176 games, if no real silverware.

Screamer: Hasselbaink finds the net for Chelsea against Manchester United in September 2000

Screamer: Hasselbaink finds the net for Chelsea against Manchester United in September 2000

Sharp shooter: Jimmy scored 87 goals in 176 games for Chelsea

Sharp shooter: Jimmy scored 87 goals in 176 games for Chelsea

Hasselbaink has a good stab at explaining a bitter and enduring rivalry: ‘In the 1970s, they played against each other in the Cup and kicked the hell out of each other! It’s nice that football fans never forget that and remind the players about it, because the players obviously change over the years.

‘There are a lot of fans who saw those games in the seventies who are still watching the clubs now. It might be the case that Leeds especially will play aggressively. Not ‘dirty’ but with tackles flying in, especially in the first 20 minutes.’

The sides haven't met competitively for eight years, during which time an awful lot has happened. Chelsea, fuelled by the petro-roubles of Abramovich have challenged consistently for honours at home and abroad. They were finally crowned Kings of Europe this year and also claimed the FA Cup.

Leeds, by contrast, have found the road leading them back to the Premier League – from which they were relegated in 2004 – a long and winding one. They dropped down to the third tier for three seasons but, slowly but surely, they are now finding their strength again.

A few robust challenges early doors tomorrow night will have little comparison to some of the X-rated encounters in the seventies and eighties that gave birth to this particular manifestation of the north-south divide.

Chelsea were seen as the glamorous and fashionable London side, who tried to play attractive football, while Leeds were the epitome of Yorkshire grit with an uncompromising approach to the tackle.

No love lost: Meetings between Chelsea and Leeds United in the 1970s and 1980s were no-holds-barred affairs

No love lost: Meetings between Chelsea and Leeds United in the 1970s and 1980s were no-holds-barred affairs

Hasselbaink, who now works as a first team coach at Nottingham Forest, has no doubt that Leeds boss Neil Warnock will have his players well versed in the rivalry, perhaps in contrast to some of Chelsea’s South Americans.

‘It will of course be an advantage if the likes of David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar are in the team, but equally, they don’t know anything about the rivalry between Leeds United and Chelsea. They soon will however!

‘Benitez will keep it solid and play his sitting midfielders. He has changed that from [Roberto] Di Matteo, who was all-attack. They were very good going forward but lax defensively.

‘But I was an attacking player, so I want to see attacking football. But I understand why Benitez plays deep-sitting midfielders because if Chelsea keep a zero at the back, they have a big chance of winning games at the other end as they always look like scoring.’

Despite being a fellow striker, Hasselbaink has no sympathy for Fernando Torres, the 50m Chelsea frontman whose performances remain the topic of intense scrutiny despite a recent burst of goals.

No sympathy: Hasselbaink says Fernando Torres must learn to live with the expectation of his 50m transfer tag and score more important goals

No sympathy: Hasselbaink says Fernando Torres must learn to live with the expectation of his 50m transfer tag and score more important goals

‘Sympathise is a big word. When you become a striker, you want to be successful and you want people to look at you and say, ‘He was one of the best.’ If that is the case, your transfer is going to be 50m but as a player you want that recognition.

‘But that also brings pressure with it and you need to be able to cope with it. Obviously, in the beginning, he struggled with whatever was the issue but of late he’s been scoring goals.

‘He’s scored 12 goals and at least he has found the net. I would like to see him score more important, decisive goals – more 1-0s, 1-1s, 2-1s. Those are the goals that separate you from an ordinary striker and he has not done that enough for my liking.’

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was talking to the Mail Online on behalf of Capital One. To join the debate ahead of Round 5 of the Capital One Cup, visit facebook.com/capitaloneuk

England lose to Spain in Gold Coast Sevens

England suffer painful defeat to Spain in Australia's Gold Coast Sevens

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UPDATED:

11:24 GMT, 14 October 2012

England were beaten finalists in the Bowl competition of the Gold Coast Sevens, going down 19-14 in sudden-death extra-time to Spain in Australia.

Ben Ryan's team overcame Scotland 35-7 in the Bowl quarter-finals, having missed out on a place in the last eight of the main tournament following a 19-17 pool defeat to Samoa on Saturday.

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in the bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Dan Norton scored two tries in the win over the Scots, which set up a semi-final against Canada.

England triumphed 24-19 against the North Americans after extra-time and appeared on course to win the Bowl title at 14-7 up in the second half, but Spain battled back with tries from Ignacio Martin and Matias Tudela.

Fiji won the overall title, beating New Zealand 32-14 in the final, while Wales were losing Bowl semi-finalists to Spain.

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Edinburgh 0 Saracens 45: Charlie Hodgson inspires bonus-point thrashing

Edinburgh 0 Saracens 45: Perfect start as Hodgson inspires bonus-point thrashing

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UPDATED:

14:49 GMT, 13 October 2012

Saracens got their Heineken Cup campaign off to a splendid start with a one-sided bonus-point victory over last season's semi-finalists Edinburgh.

Charlie Hodgson's right boot was in fine form, with the former England fly half scoring the last of five tries to complete a personal haul of 25 points.

More follows…

Over the line: Chris Ashton scores the third try

Over the line: Chris Ashton scores the third try

Match facts

Edinburgh: Brown, Jones, De Luca, Scott, T. Visser, Laidlaw, Rees, Yapp, Ford, Nel, Gilchrist, Cox, Denton, Rennie, McInally.

Replacements: Fife for T. Visser (41),
Leonard for Laidlaw (41), Leck for Rees (70),
Hislop for Yapp (70), Titterrell for Ford (62),
Cross for Nel (70), McAlpine for Gilchrist (77),
Talei for McInally (65).

Saracens: Goode, Ashton, Tomkins, Barritt, Strettle, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, Vunipola, Brits, Stevens, Borthwick, Botha, Brown, Fraser, Wray.

Replacements: Farrell for Tomkins (56),
Wyles for Strettle (70), de Kock for Wigglesworth (56),
Gill for Vunipola (56), Smit for Brits (65),
Du Plessis for Stevens (65), Kruis for Botha (56),
Saull for Brown (56).

Tries: Tomkins, Farrell, Ashton, Goode, Hodgson.

Cons: Hodgson 4. Pens: Hodgson 4.

Att: 6,543

Ref: John Lacey (Ireland).

London 2012 Olympics: Senegal beat Uruguay at Wembley to boost Team GB

Senegal shock Suarez and Uruguay to blow Team GB's group wide open

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UPDATED:

18:41 GMT, 29 July 2012

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Ten-man Senegal blew Group A wide open with a shock win over highly-fancied Uruguay at Wembley.

Impressive teenager Moussa Konate scored twice, either side of Abdoulaye Ba's first-half dismissal.

And in a match littered with fouls – and five more yellow cards – Senegal kept the World Cup semi-finalists at arms' length, with Luis Suarez coming closest when he headed into the side netting.

On target: Senegal's Moussa Konate (second right) celebrates after scoring the opening goal

On target: Senegal's Moussa Konate (second right) celebrates after scoring the opening goal

Outsiders to qualify before the competition started, Senegal know a victory against United Arab Emirates in Coventry on Wednesday will send them through, leaving Great Britain and Uruguay to scrap it out for the additional quarter-final berth.

A brilliant opening period ended with two goals, one red card and countless chances, leaving a sizeable crowd both breathless and absorbed beyond merely booing Suarez.

Helpless: Uruguay goalkeeper Martin Campana (bottom, centre left) watches as Moussa Konate (7) scores

Helpless: Uruguay goalkeeper Martin Campana (bottom, centre left) watches as Moussa Konate (7) scores

Head boy: Moussa Konate (centre) scores the second Senegal goal at Wembley

Head boy: Moussa Konate (centre) scores the second Senegal goal at Wembley

The Premier League's new public enemy No 1 was the victim that brought Ba's dismissal.

As he had already been booked, Ba could have few complaints even if Suarez was heading away from goal when he cynically chopped him down and his expulsion was confirmed by a straight red card.

Senegal were already ahead at that point.

Off: Abdoulaye Ba (centre) is shown the red card after fouling Luis Saurez (floored)

Off: Abdoulaye Ba (centre) is shown the red card after fouling Luis Saurez (floored)

Making his point: Moussa Konate (left) celebrates his goal in Senegal's surprise win over Uruguay

Making his point: Moussa Konate (left) celebrates his goal in Senegal's surprise win over Uruguay

Kanote, said to be a target for West Ham, showed lightening reactions to prod home after Martin Campana had parried Cheikhou Kouyate's header into his path.

With a man advantage, Uruguay should have had enough class to force their way back into the contest.

Instead, thanks to a couple of excellent saves from Ousmane Mane and a goal-line clearance from Saliou Ciss, Senegal were able to double their advantage when Konate steered home Sadio Mane's corner with a deft header.

Despite plenty of possession, Uruguay never really looked like mounting an effective response.

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray in great shape ahead of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga semi-final

Andy feels ace! Murray in great shape for giant leap to the final… but Tsonga awaits

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UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 5 July 2012

Andy Murray has declared himself in good shape to take the penultimate step towards ending a British title drought at Wimbledon that he considers 'a bit shocking'.

He believes his progress through a tough draw has been perfect preparation to tackle world No 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in an attempt to reach his first final at the All England Club.

Tsonga turned up the pressure on Murray by saying he would ‘not like to be standing in his place’ because of the expectations on the 25-year-old Scot, who admitted he has to try and do it for himself rather than the whole nation.

Game for a laugh: Andy Murray enjoys a joke in practice ahead of his Wimbledon semi-final

Game for a laugh: Andy Murray enjoys a joke in practice ahead of his Wimbledon semi-final

‘When I think about Wimbledon and how long it has been since a British winner it’s a bit surprising and a bit shocking too,’ said Murray, who is trying to snap an 11-match losing streak for home semi-finalists.

‘I really try to make sure that I want to do it for myself. I haven’t looked at the Fred Perry statue or thought too much about him. If I did it might not be beneficial, especially at this stage of the tournament.’

With tickets for Sunday’s final already on sale at 10,000 each, Murray added to hopes that he might make it by comparing his journey this fortnight to that when he made the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

Just warming up: Murray in practice ahead of his semi-final with his coach Ivan Lendl on Thursday

Just warming up: Murray in practice ahead of his semi-final with his coach Ivan Lendl on Thursday

In practice: Murray

In practice: Murray

‘This year has been one of my toughest draws so I have had to play some of my best tennis to get here. In Melbourne I did not have to play so well because the guys I played were shattered after long matches the round before, but this time it has not been like that.

‘It has been very tough with matches against different types of players. My game should be in a good place going into the semis.’

Murray is desperate to avoid a repeat of 2009, when he lost to Andy Roddick in the last four, when favoured to win. ‘That for me has maybe been my toughest loss so far in a Slam, I definitely will have learned from it. I got into it pretty well, had chances but he served incredibly well and I didn’t take them.’

Tsonga, his opponent, was keen to mark himself down as the underdog due to his 1-5 record in matches against Murray.

Underdog: Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was quick to paint himself as second favourite

Underdog: Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was quick to paint himself as second favourite

‘When I play against Andy what is difficult for him is that everybody believes he is playing against a guy who he is supposed to beat,’ said the 27-year-old from Le Mans.

‘There will be extra pressure on him because it’s not Rafa (Nadal), it’s me. But I’m still a good player and I’m sure Andy knows that and I wouldn’t want to be standing in his place.’

They will play the second match on Centre Court following a mouth-watering opener between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, their first meeting on grass.

Tim Henman, whose total of four Wimbledon semi-finals Murray is equalling, said: ‘He is a phenomenal player and a really good person.’

Euro 2012: Cristiano Ronaldo"s dragging Portugal to a peak

Ronaldo's dragging Portugal to a peak as Queiroz sacking proves turning point

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 22 June 2012

During his two spells as assistant manager at Manchester United, Carlos Queiroz was a popular figure in the North West. The charming man Sir Alex Ferguson plucked out of nowhere to help him after the 2002 World Cup was the approachable face of the Old Trafford coaching staff.

How remarkable, then, that it is Queiroz's departure as coach of the Portuguese national team that is now viewed as the pivotal moment in the country's transition from under-achievers to European Championship semi-finalists here in Poland and the Ukraine.

Reason to believe: 'Our spirit is great,' insists Ronaldo

Reason to believe: 'Our spirit is great,'
insists Ronaldo

Euro 2012 email button

Now in charge of Iran, Queiroz left his post with Portugal in September 2010. Many of the players who worked under him during the South Africa World Cup two months earlier were astounded he wasn't dismissed sooner. Nevertheless, his sacking after a defeat and a draw at the start of Euro 2012 qualification clearly came just in time.

Under his replacement Paulo Bento, Portugal have grown, and in beating the Czech Republic in Warsaw on Thursday, had the look of a team capable of upsetting Spain or France in next Wednesday's Donetsk semi-final.

Sacked: Queiroz was dismissed at the beginning of Portugal's qualifying campaign

Sacked: Queiroz was dismissed at the beginning of Portugal's qualifying campaign

Winning goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo said: 'The most important thing is the ambition and spirit in our squad. It is different to before.

'Our path has been very difficult but we are here now and we have gone through one more stage. That didn't always look possible.'

Portugal's players have closed the chapter on the Queiroz years now, at least in public. Few speak about it to the media but it is understood the sense of loathing within the squad was quite unprecedented during his time in charge.

Here in eastern Europe, they do look more settled. Without Ronaldo they perhaps would be quite ordinary but the Real Madrid star has found some sparkling form and revels in the captaincy.

Meanwhile, the absence in the squad of the divisive Ricardo Carvalho also appears to have helped.

Net gains: Ronaldo scored the only goal of the game against the Czechs

Net gains: Ronaldo scored the only goal of the game against the Czechs

'Being the top scorer here is not important to me,' added Ronaldo, who now has three goals.

'I don't even want to think about it. I just want to go as far as possible at the Euros. To me it doesn't matter whether it's Spain or France. The team are ready.

'It doesn't matter what I do here, it's the team. But I felt a big joy against Czech Republic. We were worthy winners, we played better than them.'

More to come: Nani impressed against Holland but was fitful in Portugal's quarter final

More to come: Nani impressed against Holland but was fitful in Portugal's quarter final

If Portugal are to progress further, few will begrudge them. They have shown some spirit, losing their first group game against Germany, scoring late to beat Denmark and then coming from behind to defeat Holland in a decisive final match.

In Ronaldo, former United club-mate Nani, Chelsea's Raul Meireles and the talented Joao Moutinho, Portugal have some gifted technicians, even if they do lack a natural centre forward.

Playing primarily on the left side, Ronaldo is essentially required to double up as a striker, such are the deficiencies of Helder Postiga – who is now injured – and Hugo Almeida.

Ronaldo's winning goal on Thursday illustrated that point as he darted in from his wing to punch a header past Petr Cech. Postiga himself said afterwards: 'When you have one top player like Cristiano it's more easy because he's number one in the world.

'He deserves congratulations because he had such a great game and a great tournament.'

Man in charge: Paulo Bento took over from Queiroz

Man in charge: Paulo Bento took over from Queiroz

With Postiga confirmed as being out of the semi-final with a hamstring injury yesterday, Almeida is expected to start on Wednesday.

Another option is young Benfica forward Nelson Oliveira but what is clear is that the likes of Ronaldo and Nani are going to have to produce big performances.

Nani played well in the defeat of Holland but was fitful against the Czechs. It was ever thus with a player who has now been told by United that contract talks will begin when he returns home from these championships.

He said: 'Maybe we can play England in the final – you never know. Anything is possible.

'But first of all we have to win our next game before we start to think about that. We don't mind who we play, it doesn't matter.

'The quarter-final was a fantastic night for us. The team are happy because the performance on the pitch was great.'

As for coach Bento himself, he is not a man prone to expansive gestures. The other day in Warsaw he was serenaded by the Portuguese press to mark his 43rd birthday but responded only by ticking them off about their coverage. He has none of Queiroz's ready charm but – until now at least – his results are better.

In Portugal, a demanding public is beginning to become optimistic.

Euro 2012: Bert van Marwijk faces Holland axe after exit

Bert on the brink: Van Marwijk set to pay price for early Holland exit

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UPDATED:

08:34 GMT, 19 June 2012

Bert van Marwijk is fighting to keep his job, with the under-fire Holland coach facing the axe following their disastrous Euro 2012 campaign.

The disappointing Dutch failed to win a single game in Group B, soundly beaten by Denmark, Germany and Portugal to confirm their unexpected early elimination from the tournament.

And the inquest has begun as to why one of the pre-finals favourites and 2010 World Cup finalists crashed out before the last eight, with Van Marwijk the man called to blame.

Packing his bags: Van Marwijk faces a fight to keep his job as Holland boss

Packing his bags: Van Marwijk faces a fight to keep his job as Holland boss

Euro 2012 email button

Now Van Marwijk, whose deal runs until 2016, must convince an unhappy Dutch FA that he is the man to lead the team to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

However, he faces the sack amid reports that his relationship with key players has deteriorated beyond all repair.

Dutch football chief Bert van Oostveen will hold talks with Van Marwijk within the next fortnight and will decide the 60-year-old's fate ahead of their August 15 friendly against Belgium.

On his way: Van Marwijk leaves the Sheraton Hotel in Krakow on Monday after Holland's early Euro 2012 exit

On his way: Van Marwijk leaves the Sheraton Hotel in Krakow on Monday after Holland's early Euro 2012 exit

'The performance was unworthy of the orange shirt in terms of results,' Van Oostveen said.

'But it is not for nothing that we recently extended his contract until 2016.

'I cannot get into it too much so soon after the game. But I have received no signal that Van Marwijk wants to stop. The question is whether Bert is the man who can turn this situation around.'

Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart believes Van Marwijk should not be sacked, while Wesley Sneijder believes he should be allowed to continue.

Stay put: Van der Vaart and Sneijder believe Van Marwijk should remain in charge

Stay put: Van der Vaart and Sneijder believe Van Marwijk should remain in charge

'He should remain in charge,' said Van der Vaart.

'He has not signed a contract for so long for nothing. I’m not going to kick a man when he is down.'

Sneijder added: 'We have all failed together and you cannot just blame the coach.

'I think he definitely has a future with the national team.'

Manolo Preciado dies of heart attack before Villarreal unveiling

Spanish football in shock as new Villarreal boss dies of heart attack on day before unveiling

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UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 7 June 2012

Manolo Preciado, who was due to be unveiled as new Villarreal manager on Friday, has died of a heart attack.

The 54-year-old Spaniard left relegated Sporting Gijon this summer and was due to take charge of their former La Liga rivals.

Villarreal, who were also relegated last month, only announced on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement with Preciado to take charge of the club next season. He was due to be officially unveiled to the media by the 2006 Champions League semi-finalists on Friday.

Tragedy: Manolo Preciado was due to take charge of Villarreal

Tragedy: Manolo Preciado was due to take charge of Villarreal

Spanish newspaper Marca report that he was suffering from a virus before he passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning.

A statement on Villarreal's website read: 'Coach Manuel Preciado died early this morning in Valencia and as a result of a heart attack.

'Villarreal wants to show its deep regret at the sad loss and wants to show their condolences to his family and all his relatives.'

A statement on the Sporting website
read: 'With deepest regret, Sporting Gijon wish to express their sorrow
at this sad loss, for someone who formed an integral part of this club's
history, and send their deepest condolences to his family in this time
of grief.'

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas was one of many players to post their condolences on Twitter. He wrote: 'I cannot believe the news when I woke up. From here my most sincere hug to all the family of Manolo Preciado.'

Move: Manolo Preciado had left Sporting Gijon this summer

Move: Manolo Preciado had left Sporting Gijon this summer

Preciado parted company with Gijon in January following six years in charge of the Asturian outfit.

Preciado took over Sporting in the summer of 2006 and in his second season led them into the Primera Division for the first time in 10 years.

His record of 232 official matches in charge at El Molinon is second only to Jose Manuel Diaz Novoa, who sat in the Sporting hotseat for 282 games.

Prior to his time at Sporting, Preciado was coach of the likes of Racing Santander, Levante and Murcia, while as a player he represented Racing, Real Mallorca and Alaves among others.

Sporting were relegated from the Primera Division in the recently-completed season, as were Villarreal.

Shock: The manager was due to take the reins at the El Madrigal stadium

Shock: The manager was due to take the reins at the El Madrigal stadium

Paris match zone: Hull and high water for Quinzi"s conqueror Edmund

Paris match zone: Hull and high water for Quinzi's conqueror Edmund

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 6 June 2012

After making the junior quarters by beating second seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy 7-6, 1-6, 6-4, Yorkshire’s Kyle Edmund had a dozen reporters turn up to his press conference, including an Italian who was curious about Edmund’s formative training years in Hull. When quizzed about the Humberside city, a British hack helpfully interjected: ‘It’s a bit like Venice.’

Victor: Edmund

Victor: Edmund

Bottoms up, Bob

American doubles great Bob Bryan had Tuesday night’s ITF World Champions’ Dinner in stitches when asked by host Andrew Castle if he and mixed doubles partner Serena Williams reprise the celebratory ‘chest bump’ that Bob does with brother Mike. ‘No, we do the butt bump,’ he replied.

Some cheek: Serena

Some cheek: Serena

Time for change

Why can’t tennis ever start at the advertised time With a dicey weather forecast for Paris, you would have expected games on the show courts to get off promptly at 2pm, but the women’s quarter- finalists did not walk on court until 2.03pm and it was nearly 2.15pm before the first ball was struck in anger.

Sight for sore eyes

Surprise women’s quarter-finalist Yaroslav Shvedova, born in Moscow but now representing Kazakhstan, may set a trend with her fashionable blue glasses, already said to have been a big hit in China after her win over Li Na. She used to wear sunglasses, but found they gave her a nervous tic in one eye, so has switched to the prescription variety.

Trend-setter: Shvedova

Trend-setter: Shvedova