Tag Archives: making

John Terry makes Chelsea return and gives away a penalty

Terry makes top flight return after two month absence… and concedes a penalty!

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

17:44 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 12 January 2013

Chelsea captain John Terry made his return to Barclays Premier League action on Saturday afternoon against Stoke.

It wasn't quite the return he would have envisaged, his foul on Jon Walters seeing the Potters awarded a late penalty.

On other days this may have been disastrous for Chelsea, but thanks to two Walters' own goals, a Frank Lampard spot kick and an Eden Hazard belter, the Blues were already 4-0 up.

Back to business: John Terry enters the fray with 10 minutes to go against Stoke

Back to business: John Terry enters the fray with 10 minutes to go against Stoke

Leader: Terry takes the armband from Juan Mata and resumed his role as Chelsea skipper

Leader: Terry takes the armband from Juan Mata and resumed his role as Chelsea skipper

Not making amends: Walters smashed his penalty high over the bar to compound a terrible afternoon

Not making amends: Walters smashed his penalty high over the bar to compound a terrible afternoon

Regardless, Walters saved Terry's blushes anyway by thumping the spot kick over the bar.

Terry was brought on as a substitute for Juan Mata in the 79th minute and instantly took the armband, ignoring the now-traditional abuse from the opposition fans.

The skipper's return capped a superb afternoon for Rafa Benitez, who has not been able to deploy the defender during his time as interim Chelsea manager because of a knee injury.

Terry sustained the problem after a clash
with Liverpool's Luis Suarez on November 11 and although initially he
seemed set for a quick return, only appeared on Thursday night the the
Chelsea U21s.

Benitez said: 'I was trying to give
him some minutes to see how he was. I watched him in the reserve team
but this is totally different, so we played five at the back and tried
to protect him a bit.

'We will see how he trains and if he has no problems, it is a question of fitness now.'

Terry's team-mate for club and
country, Gary Cahill, missed the game against Stoke because his partner
was giving birth to his son.

Benitez
explained: 'We had trained with Cahill but he had to go. The baby is
fine and they are happy, and we are happy, so everything is going well.'

David Luiz retreated from the midfield
position he has been deployed in of late and impressed at the back, with
Lampard stepping in alongside Ramires in the centre.

Warm up: Terry has been out since November

Rafa Benitez has not been able to call on the defender

At long last: Rafa Benitez (right) had not been able to use Terry so far during his time at Chelsea

Terry will now be aiming to start in Chelsea's match on Wednesday at home against Southampton, but the manager admitted he would have to monitor his fitness.

Benitez will be delighted with his
side's show of strength, seeing as no side had been able to turn Stoke
over at the Britannia since February last year.

After
a pitiful defeat against Swansea in midweek in the first leg of his
side's Capital One Cup semi-final stoking the ire of Chelsea supporters,
Benitez needed a result today.

He dropped striker Fernando Torres
after he was booed off against Swansea, but introduced him in place of
Demba Ba with 20 minutes to go.

Benitez
was encouraged and said: 'The attitude of Torres pleased me. He is
fighting for his position, so we had a lot of positives.'

Bench boy: Fernando Torres (centre), sitting alongside Terry, was dropped after a poor midweek showing

Bench boy: Fernando Torres (centre), sitting alongside Terry, was dropped after a poor midweek showing

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was obviously far less happy with proceedings at the Britannia.

'The second goal killed us. The goals we conceded were poor and I'm disappointed with the penalty, Mata's legs collapse and I think it's a soft penalty, but it was a wonder goal from Hazard. I don't think that was a 4-0 today.

'We're disappointed,' he said. 'It just didn't go for us. The referee gives a penalty at 1-0 and it was offside, it was a good call, but if that goes for you it's one each and we have the impetus.

'We didn't deserve to be losing at half-time and until the second goal I felt we were the better team, although Chelsea have some fantastic players.'

Gary Speed"s son Ed represents Wales schoolboys near first anniversary of his death

Speed's legacy: A year since his father's tragic death, son Ed follows in his footsteps by playing for Wales… alongside Craig Bellamy's kid

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UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 27 November 2012

It is a year to the day since the world of football was stunned by the death of Gary Speed – a versatile and tireless midfielder, gentleman of the game and consummate professional.

And the Welshman's legacy is continuing through his 14-year-old son Ed, who started out following in his father's footsteps by being called up to the Wales under 16 squad for the first time last week.

Midfielder Ed was on the teamsheet for the Victory Shield match with Northern Ireland in Ballymena on Friday evening but didn't come off the bench in a 1-1 draw.

Father's footsteps: Ed Speed, the 14-year-old son of the late Gary Speed, received his first Wales under 16 call-up last week in the Victory Shield match with Northern Ireland

Father's footsteps: Ed Speed, the 14-year-old son of the late Gary Speed, received his first Wales under 16 call-up last week in the Victory Shield match with Northern Ireland

Future star: Ed has already drawn praise from coaches for his maturity and professionalism, as well as his ability in midfield

Future star: Ed has already drawn praise from coaches for his maturity and professionalism, as well as his ability in midfield

Tragic: Gary Speed in action for Wales in a Euro 2004 qualifying win over Italy at the Millennium Stadium. He died on November 27, 2011 at the age of 42

Tragic: Gary Speed in action for Wales in a Euro 2004 qualifying win over Italy at the Millennium Stadium. He died on November 27, 2011 at the age of 42

But Speed Jr is already being tipped to emulate his father's achievements, with clear likenesses both in appearance and their style of play.

It came days before football united to pay tribute to Speed on the first anniversary of his death.

Wales under 16 boss Osian Roberts, who was Speed's assistant when he was in charge of the senior squad, said about him: 'As everyone now knows Ed is a phenomenal kid and he reminds me so much of Gary as a player.

'He's a centre-midfielder who reads the game very well and does the easy things – he makes the game look simple at times.

'His decision-making and preparation is spot on. You can imagine the influence his father had on him. He's probably more professional than full-time players now.

'There is no rule, but you'd like to think there is something in the genes. I've got great hopes for Ed.'

Keep on running: Ed warms up during the 1-1 draw in Ballymena. He didn't manage to get off the bench to make his Wales schoolboy debut

Keep on running: Ed warms up during the 1-1 draw in Ballymena. He didn't manage to get off the bench to make his Wales schoolboy debut

Quickstep: Ed during a training drill before the match at Ballymena Showgrounds. His likeness to his father extends beyond his looks to his ability in midfield

Quickstep: Ed during a training drill before the match at Ballymena Showgrounds. His likeness to his father extends beyond his looks to his ability in midfield

Next generation: Ed Speed (number 16) and Ellis Bellamy (number 14) on the Wales teamsheet

Next generation: Ed Speed (number 16) and Ellis Bellamy (number 14) on the Wales teamsheet

Ed and his brother Tom led out the Wales side before the match with Costa Rica dedicated to the memory of Speed in February.

And Wales manager Chris Coleman revealed afterwards that Ed addressed the players after the 1-0 defeat in Cardiff.

He said at the time: 'Ed and Tom, what a credit to Gary they are. Ed has come into the dressing room after the game and he gave a speech which anybody would have been proud of.

'There was not a tear in his eyes, he was strong as an ox.

'He came in and he said, 'My dad always said to me that if you do your best it's enough, and I think you lot did your best tonight.'

Emotional: Gary Speed's sons Ed (nearest to camera) and Tommy walk out alongside Wales captain Craig Bellamy in the tribute match with Costa Rica in February

Emotional: Gary Speed's sons Ed (nearest to camera) and Tommy walk out alongside Wales captain Craig Bellamy in the tribute match with Costa Rica in February

Brave: Speed's sons and Bellamy proudly sing the national anthem before the game

Brave: Speed's sons and Bellamy proudly sing the national anthem before the game

'What do you say to that from a 14-year-old who has just lost his dad That's bravery, isn't it'

When Ed makes his debut for the under 16 side, it will be the first step towards emulating the 85 caps his father won for Wales over a 14-year international career.

But one player who is already on his way is Ellis Bellamy, son of Wales and Cardiff City forward Craig.

Ellis, who plays in midfield, came on as a late second half substitute at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Bellamy Jr, who plays for Cardiff's academy, has become a regular fixture in the Wales schoolboy squad in recent months.

Coming on: Ellis Bellamy, son of Wales striker Craig, prepares to take the field against Northern Ireland on Friday night

Coming on: Ellis Bellamy, son of Wales striker Craig, prepares to take the field against Northern Ireland on Friday night

One for the future: Ellis Bellamy, who came on as a late sub in the 1-1 draw

One for the future: Ellis Bellamy, who came on as a late sub in the 1-1 draw

Toby Flood: What a shocker… England were second-best in every area

Toby Flood: What a shocker… England were second-best in every area

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UPDATED:

22:16 GMT, 17 November 2012

I can 't remember the last time I felt this frustrated after a Test match.

A win was there for the taking. Instead we lost, and we deserved to lose, because they were better than us in many areas: from a skills point of view; from decision-making and, most of all, with how they managed the game.

You can talk about positives but you have to be honest in rugby and the truth is this is a big blow. We came into this game full of confidence after drawing with South Africa last June, and then putting 50 points on Fiji last week.

Going over: Nick Cummins goes past Toby Flood to score

Going over: Nick Cummins goes past Toby Flood to score

It hadn't been the perfect performance but it laid a good foundation. Instead we came second because we just weren't good enough on the day.

There are a number of factors why Australia won.

We had issues at the breakdown and we had issues holding on to the ball and we had issues with some of our skills but that's because we were always trying to force the issue, rather than be patient, and that led to mistakes.

I guess people will highlight some of the penalties spurned.

Our scrum-halves are both instinctive players like all good scrum-halves should be, and although I would have backed myself to have kicked those three points at the end of the first half, Danny Care's decision to take a quick tap led to Manu Tuilagi's try.

It didn't quite work out the same though when Ben Youngs also tapped quickly and went with 11 minutes remaining.

Best men won: Wallaby Nick Cummins celebrates his try with Kurtley Beale

Best men won: Wallaby Nick Cummins celebrates his try with Kurtley Beale

Perhaps that was a time when the context of the game has to be taken into account and, although you never want to curb the instincts of an attacking No. 9, we need to work on our collective composure.

Australia came off a really bad performance and result last week against France and on Saturday they threw caution to the wind and were aggressive in their attack.

Add to that an Australian pack who won more penalties than any other Southern Hemisphere side in the recent Four Nations Championship, and we had our hands full.

We should know how to deal with a situation like this but we are still making far too many mistakes under pressure and being caught out by sides who are taking their chances much better than us.

If you drop even by five percent at this level you almost always have to pay for it, and that's what happened against Australia.

So what now We face South Africa in six days' time and it is fair to say that we will have a hard week trying to eradicate quite a few failings that reared their head against Australia.

Then the All Blacks come to Twickenham the week after. It's clearly a tough couple of Test matches but if we can compose ourselves and start taking the chances that we continue to create then, of course, we can win them.

I'll accept yesterday is not a great platform. We have to start learning right now because I don't want to feel like this again for a long time.

Good read helps give me a kick…

Some of the London-based boys were able to get away for the night on Tuesday to go back and see their families.

But for those of us living further afield, we'll spend the majority of our time at the England squad's base at Pennyhill Park.

Of course, it can get a little claustrophobic at times but it's a fantastic facility and there are far worse places to be stuck.

When we're not training, I've been catching up on my reading with Tom Wolfe's novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons.

Happy with kicking: England's Toby Flood boots a penalty

Happy with kicking: England's Toby Flood boots a penalty

I was pretty happy with how my goal-kicking went against Fiji.

Goal-kicking is a pretty hard thing to quantify and sometimes it's a very individual art. When I'm with England I have help from kicking coach Jon Callard and I work with Paul Burke back at Leicester.

But quite often I just like to take myself away and work on my own in order to refine the processes and ensure I'm happy with the way I'm striking the ball.

My aim is 2k for hair-raising feat

The moustache I've been growing for the Movember campaign to raise awareness over men's health issues is coming along pretty well.

I'm copping a lot of abuse for it from the rest of the boys, although so far I've managed to escape landing a new nickname.

I'm not taking anything for granted though. I've raised about 800 now and it would be great to make it 2,000 by the end of the month.

At least that would make up for all the dodgy looks I'm getting whenever I walk along the street.

Steven Gerrard slams referee Andre Marriner who ruled out Luis Suarez winner v Everton

Ref told me 'I think so' when I asked if he got Suarez disallowed goal right… that's not good enough, blasts Gerrard (who was left red-faced after 80-yard celebration)

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UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 29 October 2012

Steven Gerrard has slammed the decision making process of the official who controversially denied Liverpool a late winner at Everton.

Luis Suarez fired home from close range deep into injury time only to see his effort chalked off for offside, even though replays showed he was clearly on.

Ruled out: This goal was chalked off as the official believed Suarez had strayed offside

Ruled out: This goal was chalked off as the official believed Suarez had strayed offside

What's going on Gerrard shouts the odds with referee Marriner

What's going on Gerrard shouts the odds with referee Marriner

When pressed by the Liverpool captain at
the end of the match on the contentious decision, the assistant
referee's reply surprised and shocked Gerrard.

I've seen it again and we can feel sorry ourselves because it was a clear goal,' said Gerrard.

'We should be taking away the three points rather than just one.

'There is no offside and it’s difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can explain it is the linesman.

'I asked him after the game if it was offside and he said 'I think so'. That's not good enough. If every decision in this league is based on 'we think so' then we’re in trouble.

'The linesman got it badly wrong. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the attacking player anyway.

'And for their second goal, it's a clear throw-in to us. The linesman gives us the throw but the referee (Andre Marriner) saw something different.

'He gave Everton the throw and their second goal came from that.

'I feel sorry for our lads because I thought we were fantastic today and deserved to win.

'We had a young, small team out there but they were all men today and stuck together. There was one team here who came to play football and win the game and that was us.'

All smiles: Gerrard wheels away to celebrate in front of the Liverpool fans, some 80 yards away

All smiles: Gerrard wheels away to celebrate in front of the Liverpool fans, some 80 yards away

Kneesy does it: The Reds captain slides across the Goodison Park turf, ecstatic after his team's 'winner'

Kneesy does it: The Reds captain slides across the Goodison Park turf, ecstatic after his team's 'winner'

Grim reality: The realisation hits Gerrard that Liverpool haven't, in fact, won the match

Grim reality: The realisation hits Gerrard that Liverpool haven't, in fact, won the match

Gary Neville helping England players maximise their potential, says Kyle Walker

Neville is helping England players maximise their potential, says Walker

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UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 10 October 2012

Kyle Walker has hailed the impact England coach Gary Neville has had on his game as he prepares to make his first competitive start for his country.

The Tottenham defender is poised to replace the suspended Glen Johnson at right-back for England's World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley on Friday.

Walker made his debut 11 months ago against Spain in a friendly and was in contention to be part of the Euro 2012 squad before being ruled out with a toe injury.

All credit: Walker has hailed Neville's influence on the England team

All credit: Walker has hailed Neville's influence on the England team

Walker, who was named the PFA young player of the year in April, received a call from England manager Roy Hodgson assuring him he remained part of his plans after that disappointment, and is now poised to embark on a new chapter in his England career.

And the 22-year-old feels the influence of former Manchester United and England defender Neville is helping him develop still further.

Walker said: 'I'm young, I want to improve, I want to become the best I can be and Gary Neville is really helping me with that aim.

'He a player I looked up to and watched often. He had a fantastic career. He gives me tips and coaches me through things. I'm excited to be working with him.

'I've always liked to go forward but he has helped massively in terms of myself improving defensively. I just want to keep on learning.

'My defending is improving every time, every week. I think it is just about experience and learning off people like Gary plus the likes of Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill.

'The decision-making has to be key. There is club level but then you step up to international level and have to be even more precise.'

Positive impact: Neville joined the England set-up under Hodgson

Positive impact: Neville joined the England set-up under Hodgson

Johnson's absence will give Walker a
chance in a meaningful game which may have happened earlier but for the
injury which ended his Euro 2012 hopes.

He said: 'On a personal note it is a fantastic opportunity for me to get into the team. I've been patient and waited for that.

'Hopefully on Friday I can show everyone what I can do and have a good game.

'A first competitive start is what I've been waiting for, for a long time now. For all my career, since I was seven, I've wanted to play for England, and put that jersey on.

'It's been a very up and down year for me. I won the young player of the year at club level so it's been good in that sense.

'At the end of the season it was a disappointment, having worked so hard to get into the England team, to have that little niggle on my toe.

Capital gains: Walker has made the right-back position his own at Spurs

Capital gains: Walker has made the right-back position his own at Spurs

'But it was fantastic the manager gave
me the phone call, saying it was sad he couldn't take me there but
saying I was in his plans and he had belief in me.'

Walker, who signed a new five-year contract with Tottenham at the end of last season, can certainly not be accused of being over-confident.

He said: 'I've done nothing. I'm 22. I've done absolutely nothing in my career so far. I had a good last season, winning the young player and a few more awards, but that's just the start and hopefully I can go on.'

England will be red-hot favourites to dispose of San Marino before a sterner test against Poland in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Walker added: 'Teams will want to play really well against England and prove to the world what they can do.

'It's just a matter of us being on song and doing the basics right and not showing off and showboating and getting the three points.

'If they want to put 10 men behind the ball it's up to them, but we just have to do our job right.

'Everyone is saying it will be an easy game but it could be Real Madrid, Manchester United or San Marino. I'm going to prepare the same and put my all into it.'

Michael Schumacher warns Lewis Hamilton about Mercedes car

Over to Lew! Schumacher bows out with warning to Hamilton over car

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UPDATED:

00:11 GMT, 5 October 2012

Handing the baton on to Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher used the second retirement speech of his career to highlight the formidable task that awaits his replacement at Mercedes.

That Schumacher decided to call it a day is no surprise. Ever since Mercedes received positive vibes from Hamilton that a move from McLaren was possible, the German team had been working on a dignified exit plan.

Scroll down for video

Putting the brakes on: Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of the season

Putting the brakes on: Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of the season

Putting the brakes on: Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of the season

Putting the brakes on: Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of the season

The agreed line was that Schumacher
cannot offer the long-term commitment that Hamilton can, which was
hardly a revelation since the seven-time world champion will be 44 by
the time next season comes around.

More plausible was that, without a
win and just one podium to his name during his second coming, Schumacher
had simply lost his mojo and Hamilton’s arrival had only served to
speed up the decision-making process.

‘The special moment is that the team
have found an option with Lewis that helped me find the decision,
because there was an option for me to retire at an earlier stage,’ said
Schumacher, coming as close as could be expected to saying he had been
pushed.

Glamour: The seven-time world champion will go down in F1 history

Glamour: The seven-time world champion will go down in F1 history

Tainted Schumacher, who crashed spectacularly in Singapore, has failed to match the achievements in his second spell of those in his first all-conquering time at the wheel

Tainted Schumacher, who crashed spectacularly in Singapore, has failed to match the achievements in his second spell of those in his first all-conquering time at the wheel

Admitting he had failed to live up to
his standards, Schumacher conceded: 'I said at the end of 2009 that I
want to be measured by my success, and this is why I had a lot of
criticism in the past three years which partly was justified.

'It is without doubt that we did not achieve our goal to develop a world championship-fighting car within those years.’

That challenge, from next season,
rests in Hamilton’s hands. But the 27-year-old admitted he will be
largely behind McLaren next year.

One of the men Hamilton will be chasing will be his replacement Sergio Perez. ‘I think he will surprise us all,’ he said.

Beware! Schumacher has fired a warning to his replacment Hamilton

Beware! Schumacher has fired a warning to his replacment Hamilton

VIDEO: Michael Schumacher retires…again…

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MICHAEL SCHUMACHER FACTFILE
Smooth: Michael Schumacher

Smooth: Michael Schumacher

1969: Born on January 3 in Huerth-Hermuelheim, Germany.

1973: Makes his racing debut in a karting event.

1987: Wins German and European kart championships.

1988: Finishes fourth in German Formula Ford championship and is second in the European series in his first year of car racing.

1990: Wins first major single-seater title, clinching the German Formula Three crown. Steps up to sportscars, driving for Mercedes.

1991: Makes Formula One debut for Jordan in Belgium, qualifying seventh before retiring. Poached by Benetton for the rest of the season.

1992: Takes first grand prix win in Belgium on his way to third in the championship.

1994: Wins title, with eight wins to his name, after controversial last-race clash with Damon Hill in Australia.

1995: Retains world crown, taking nine victories.

1996: Moves to struggling Ferrari and manages three wins on his way to third in the championship.

1997: Wins five races but is stripped of second in the championship for attempting to take out title rival Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez.

1999: Breaks his leg at Silverstone when easily leading the championship.

2000: Finally wins Ferrari's first drivers' title since 1979, amassing nine wins on the way.

Golden era: Schumacher enjoyed some ding-dong battles with British driver Damon Hill

2001: Another nine wins and another title, setting a new record for all-time victories.

2002: Wins championship in record time, setting a new mark of 11 victories.

2003: Wins title by a point after six victories, breaking Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five championships.

2004: Breaks his own record for wins in a season, 13, to take title number seven.

2006
September 10 – Announces his retirement at end of 2006 season after winning Italian Grand Prix.

2009
July 29 – Announces plans to make a shock return to F1 with Ferrari, deputising for Felipe Massa until the Brazilian recovers from injuries suffered in an accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Just champion: The German bought the glory days back to Ferrari

August 11 – Forced to abort comeback due to a neck injury sustained in a motorbike accident in February.

December 23 – Signs a three-year contract to drive for Mercedes GP, ending three years in retirement.

2010: Makes his return to F1 in Bahrain and finishes the season in ninth, with a highest finish of fourth.

2011: Betters his previous season with an eighth-placed finish and 96 points, with a fourth in Canada his best result.

2012: Returns to the podium for the first time since his retirement, finishing third in the European grand prix.

October 4: Announces he will be retiring from the sport at the end of the season.

Euro 2012: Ian Ladyman"s diary: Brendan Rodgers cancels Spain spying mission

Ian Ladyman's Euro diary: Rodgers cancels Spain spying mission

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UPDATED:

00:20 GMT, 13 June 2012

Brendan Rodgers planned to spend three days observing Spain training this week but cancelled his trip when he got the Liverpool job. Shame, he could have smuggled Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso back to Anfield in his suitcase.

No Spanish mission: Brendan Rodgers canceled a trip to watch Spain train

No Spanish mission: Brendan Rodgers canceled a trip to watch Spain train

Can't get off the ground

The travel problems in Ukraine continue to worsen. Flights from Kiev to Lviv — where Portugal face Denmark — were delayed by 10 hours. Expect more empty seats at both today’s Group B matches.

Showing their true colour

The victorious Ukraine team looked like they were being interviewed by their fans after Monday’s game. It was in fact a gaggle of Ukrainian journalists all dressed in bright yellow replica shirts. They weren’t wearing ties either!

Press pack: The Ukraine journalists wore replica shirts to interview players

Press pack: The Ukraine journalists wore replica shirts to interview players

Real courage

Brave Oscar Knox, who is a three-year-old cancer sufferer from Belfast, has become a star back home after a picture of him was posted on Twitter before Sunday’s Ireland game against Croatia. It said simply: ‘My Ma thinks I’ll be in bed early.’

Let's go outside

It's no surprise that everybody is getting excited in Poland at the moment.
However, surely the couple who were spotted ‘making love’ on a river bank near Warsaw’s National Stadium at 7pm last night could have at least waited until it had gone dark. Who said there is no love left in the beautiful game

A big thumbs up for…

The Swedes. They may have lost on Monday and their captain may hate them all. But there were smiles, handshakes and interviews available for the English press at their training ground yesterday. Plus, there was cake.

Good sports: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the rest of the Sweden team were all happy to speak to the press

Good sports: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the rest of the Sweden team were all happy to speak to the press

A big thumbs down for…

The German press who clearly haven’t gotten over Bayern Munich’s failure to win the Champions League final on their own ground last month. Take this headline in Bild yesterday: ‘England Play as Ugly as Chelsea.’ Miaow!

Play of the day

They were under some serious pressure following their dismal defeat by Russia. So, the Czechs flew out of the blocks and Tomas Hubschman’s through pass for Petr Jiracek to score in the third minute against Greece was an absolute beauty.

Quote of the day

'I hope there isn’t one in the team.'
Antonio Cassano’s reaction to claims in the Italian press that there are two secret homosexuals in Italy’s squad. He later said sorry for the remark.

Harry Redknapp tax case: David Beckham was greater concern

Avoiding tax I was more worried about dealing with Beckham, says Redknapp

Harry Redknapp told jurors he was more interested in David Beckham than dealing with his Monaco bank account.

He also told the court he wrote the account off when Milan Mandaric told him it was a 'disaster'.

When asked about a six figure bank transfer from Monaco to Mandaric's US bank in 2003, Redknapp said his mind was on football.

Taxing times: Redknapp continues to fight his case at Southwark Crown Court

Taxing times: Redknapp continues to fight his case at Southwark Crown Court

He said: 'All I was thinking about was marking David Beckham than signing them (forms).'

Redknapp said Mandaric's investments did badly.

He added: 'When he first mentioned it to me he was on about making a million dollars – he said it was a disaster later on.'

Redknapp told Southwark Crown Court he 'didn't know anything about the account, never went near it'.

Redknapp took to the stand and told a jury: 'I have always paid my taxes. I've always gone to the best available people… I have always paid too much tax rather than not enough.'

When asked about his relationship with co-accused Mandaric, Redknapp said they hit it off within an hour of meeting.

'There was no-one in the world I would rather be with,' Redknapp said. 'We had our ups and downs, I was a bit volatile perhaps. Even now I love his company.'

Redknapp told the court his only previous charge was for speeding.
As defence QC John Kelsey-Fry began his questioning, Redknapp confirmed
he had received a 300,000 gift from West Ham United for the sale of
Rio Ferdinand to Leeds United.

Spurred on: Redknapp watched his side beat Wigan 3-1 on Tuesday night

Spurred on: Redknapp watched his side beat Wigan 3-1 on Tuesday night

Bespectacled Redknapp, wearing a blue suit with black sweater, said the Hammers told him he had done 'fantastic'.

He said: 'The club was not contractually obligated to pay that money I suppose.'

Both former Portsmouth boss Redknapp,
64, and Mandaric, 73, deny cheating the public revenue with 189,000
payments into a Monaco account.

There was laughter in court shortly
before the lunch adjournment as Mr Kelsey-Fry said Redknapp's success in
football was “much to the displeasure” of Mandaric's QC Lord Ken
Macdonald.

Redknapp, looking over the rim of his glasses, said: 'Well he's an Arsenal supporter isn't he.'

The prosecution alleged earlier that
the multimillionaire football boss was sent bungs into his Monaco bank
account because he was “greedy”.

In heated exchanges with former
Portsmouth FC chairman Mandaric, John Black QC said the tax dodge was
'all about Mr Redknapp and he was greedy and wanted more money'.

Title hunt: Redknapp is trying to guide Spurs to the top of the table while the case continues

Title hunt: Redknapp is trying to guide Spurs to the top of the table while the case continues

Title hunt: Redknapp is trying to guide Spurs to the top of the table while the case continues

The barrister asked Mandaric: 'That's the truth isn't it'

Mandaric, standing in the box, replied: 'Absolutely not true.'

Mandaric told jurors earlier that Redknapp 'was paid millions of pounds. He was paid fairly… there was no issue whatsoever.'

Mandaric told the court he had paid 100million in taxes during his time in football, adding: 'Did I suddenly go crazy'

A 96,300 deposit was made after Portsmouth beat Manchester United in 2004. Mandaric denied the incidents were connected, adding: 'We were a better team, better manager.'

In the dock: Mandaric has also faced questioning

In the dock: Mandaric has also faced questioning

He said the sum deposited in Monaco 'was money that I was going to develop his portfolio' with.

During cross-examination, Mandaric
added: 'We can go over and over, Mr Black. I respect your job and
everything but I cannot deviate from the truth. Simple as that.'

Mandaric denied Redknapp was unhappy
over disputes about a bonus due after a 3million profit Portsmouth made
on the sale of Peter Crouch.

'I would not say an unhappy Mr Redknapp, that's not fair to say,' Mandaric said. 'Overall he was a happy manager.'

Mandaric accused Mr Black of 'correlating', adding: 'You are connecting these things.'

'I am going back with sadness and unrepairable damages to myself and my family and I am asking why,' he told the court.

He 'enjoyed so much pride' in his
work at Portsmouth, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday but
'unfortunately my enthusiastic tank is going down to empty.'

Both Redknapp, 64, and Mandaric, 73, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue.