Tag Archives: shootout

Basle v Chelsea – live Europa League

EUROPA LEAGUE LIVE: Basle v Chelsea – follow the semi-final as it happens from St Jakob-Park

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

03:00 GMT, 25 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 25 April 2013

Live scores

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Basle v Chelsea

Fenerbahce v Benfica

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Europa League as Chelsea visit Basle in the first leg of their semi-final at St Jakob-Park.

The Blues remain on course to win a European trophy in successive years following last season's Champions League triumph, but face a tough test when they travel to the Swiss league leaders.

Basle have already proven their pedigree against Premier League opposition having eliminated Tottenham in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

*This page will auto refresh every two minutes*

18.16: From Sportsmail's Neil Ashton:

Interesting Chelsea team in training last night. Luiz defensive midfield, Ramires right, Moses left, Hazard in behind Nando, but no Mata.

18.13: If that's not good enough for you though, if the Europa League ends up at Stamford Bridge this season, Chelsea will become only the fourth side to win all three of UEFA's major club competitions.

They would join Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich (good company) in having won the Europa League, the Champions League and the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

Chelsea won the latter in 1970/71 and 1997/98 and it's still a competition I miss after being scrapped in 1999 (bring it back UEFA!)

The Italian job: Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli lift the 1998 European Cup-Winners' Cup

The Italian job: Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli lift the 1998 European Cup-Winners' Cup

18.10: For a club often accused of lacking history compared to its current stature, you sure can't fault Chelsea's recent record at trying to make up for lost time.

After becoming the first London club to be crowned European champions last year, the Blues are now attempting to become the first team to win the Europa League a year after becoming champions of Europe.

It's not quite the desired order to achieve the double – but it's uncharted territory nonetheless.

18.05: Kick-off is not for another two hours but we have plenty to keep us going between now and then, including the team news which should be with us in around an hour's time – possibly quicker.

18.00:
At many times this season, the Chelsea ship has taken a number of
hammer blows and has looked anything but stable, but for all the
turbulence we have seen at Stamford Bridge, the Blues are
just one step away from yet another European final.

Rafael Benitez may not be a manager
remembered fondly by the majority of the west London club's fans, but the Spaniard is on the brink of leading Chelsea into the record books

Good evening folks, welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of the Europa League semi-finals.

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On the charge: Chelsea remain on course to lift the Europa League trophy

On the charge: Chelsea remain on course to lift the Europa League trophy

Thibaut Courtois thinks he will replace Petr Cech at Chelsea in 2015

Courtois: Give me two years and I'll oust Cech as Chelsea No 1

By
Frank Foster

PUBLISHED:

17:05 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:28 GMT, 19 February 2013

On-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes he will wear the number one jersey at Stamford Bridge in 2015.

With Chelsea's current first choice keeper Petr Cech showing no signs of a dip in form, the statement certainly reveals the confidence of the Belgian international.

Courtios is currently on his second season-long loan at Athletico Madrid and has been in magnificent form since replacing David De Gea at the Vicente Calderon.

Man on a mission: Thibaut Courtois claims he will be ready to replace Petr Cech in 2015

Man on a mission: Thibaut Courtois claims he will be ready to replace Petr Cech in 2015

But the 20-year-old has been reassured by Chelsea that he is not for sale despite their reported interest in Jack Butland in January before his move to Stoke City.

‘Cech is one of the best goalkeepers
in the world, and I think I am an up and coming young talent with the
quality maybe also to play for Chelsea,' Courtois told the Evening Standard.

'They will continue with Cech for two more years, I believe.

Still going strong: Cech was heroic in Cheslea's Champions League final penalty shootout in May

Still going strong: Cech was heroic in Cheslea's Champions League final penalty shootout in May

'The problem is I think that Chelsea didn’t expect me to be at this level this soon. I’ve developed really quickly. It’s a very good situation for Chelsea.'

When quizzed about reports he would be used a makeweight as part of a deal to bring in Colombian striker Ramadel Falcao in the summer, he said: 'A lot of things the press say are nonsense. They are guessing.

'They know Chelsea want Falcao but Chelsea have told me, “The last thing we want to do is sell you”. Maybe they are lying to me but I don’t think so.

Speculation: Courtois believes the prospect of him being used in a deal for Chelsea to sign Ramadel Falcao is pure fiction

Speculation: Courtois believes the prospect of him being used in a deal for Chelsea to sign Ramadel Falcao is pure fiction

'It was strange joining Chelsea but when I signed for them I knew I would be loaned out to a team. They had a five-year plan for me.

'I only went to Chelsea to take my medical. I then went straight to Atletico and had a good year so I preferred to stay for another year.'

Chelsea must now consider how best to manage the young Belgian's development whilst Cech remains at the peak of his powers.

The Czech stopper penned a new contract in May that will keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2016, one year before Courtois plans to oust him as the undisputed first choice.

Bradford City invite Diana Ross to practise penalties

EXCLUSIVE: We're the shootout Supremes! Bradford cheekily invite '94 World Cup penalty flop Diana Ross to hone her spot-kick skills

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UPDATED:

17:05 GMT, 13 December 2012

With an incredible nine penalty shootout wins in a row, Bradford City are the undisputed spot-kick kings – and now they want to share their secret with the world.

After they again showed nerves of steel to knock Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, the club cheekily wrote a letter to the taker of officially the worst penalty of all time offering their assistance.

Many of you will recall the cringe-worthy moment when pop star Diana Ross somehow missed from about five yards in the opening ceremony for the 1994 World Cup finals in Chicago.

Spot-kick Kings! Bradford City won their ninth consecutive penalty shootout as they dumped Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday

Spot-kick Kings! Bradford City won their ninth consecutive penalty shootout as they dumped Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday

Enlarge

Cheeky: Bradford's invite to Diana Ross, through her agent, to come over to Valley Parade and practice her penalties

Cheeky: Bradford's invite to Diana Ross, through her agent, to come over to Valley Parade and practice her penalties

What made it so ridiculed was that the goal then collapsed in on itself as though her spot-kick had smashed it while the ball trickled hopelessly wide of the mark.

But with Bradford so 'Supreme' from twelve yards, they've kindly offered the music legend some advice.

In a letter addressed to Ross's agent, the club explain that a 'major upheaval' happened in English football this week as Arsenal were dumped out.

Special guest: Could we see Diana Ross at Valley Parade (below) practising her penalties in the New Year

Special guest: Could we see Diana Ross at Valley Parade (below) practising her penalties in the New Year

Valley Parade, the home of Bradford City

It goes on to claim that the shootout win, Bradford's ninth in a row, is an unofficial World Record.

It then gently reminds Ross of her embarrassment before the World Cup kicked off 18 years ago, saying: 'Sadly at that event Diana bowed to the pressure and missed with her kick.'

The letter, on Bradford City headed notepaper, continues: 'We would like to improve Diana's record by sharing some of the squad's techniques and hopefully help Diana learn how to take penalty kicks with the proper skill set.'

Embarrassing: Diana Ross missed from about ten yards out during the opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup in Chicago

Embarrassing: Diana Ross missed from about ten yards out during the opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup in Chicago

An invitation is then made by City and tournament sponsors Capital One to have Ross over for a match in the New Year – perhaps the home leg of the semi-final.

While the chances of actually seeing Ross lining up a spot-kick at Valley Parade remain slim it is worth remembering what she taught us – 'There ain't no mountain high enough…'

Video: Diana Ross misses from close range in the 1994 World Cup opening ceremony

Bradford v Arsenal: Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott out injured for Capital One Cup quarter-final

Bradford out to make Arsenal pay the penalty with Giroud ruled out of cup

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UPDATED:

00:59 GMT, 11 December 2012

Of all the things Bradford City might fear about tonight’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Arsenal, the prospect of a penalty shootout is not one of them.

You see, the League Two promotion hopefuls have won their last eight attempts at football’s so-called lottery, including the elimination from this competition of Wigan at the DW Stadium in October.

So make no mistake, if Phil Parkinson’s team send the tie into extra time, there will be a change in the level of expectation against an Arsenal team trophyless for the past seven years.

Capital concerns: Olivier Giroud (right) is out of Arsenal's clash at Bradford

Capital concerns: Olivier Giroud (right) is out of Arsenal's clash at Bradford

Arsenal team (from):

Mannone, Szczesny,
Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla, Podolski,
Martinez, Coquelin, Djourou, Arshavin, Chamakh, Frimpong, Gnabry, Angha,
Meade, Miquel, Yennaris, Eisfeld, Bellerin.

Naturally, Bradford practised their
skills from 12 yards yesterday but goalkeeper Matt Duke, whose role in
the win at Wigan preceded a frenzied 100-yard dash to celebrate in front
of the club’s 5,000 travelling fans, declined.

Both he and fellow keeper Jon
McLaughlin, who featured in the other two post-match dramas this season
against Hartlepool and Northampton, have been there enough times
already.

‘Our record is there to be recognised,
and it stands up,’ Parkinson said. ‘When you have a lot of success in
those kind of scenarios, you have to be confident. We are but there is a
lot of football to be played before it gets to that stage.

‘There is no big secret to it. But we
don’t like these shortened run-ups, or trying to be clever. There is no
better feeling than sticking the ball in the net.

‘Players over the years have wanted to
do something better than that — score in an arrogant fashion — and have
not always been successful. So we have always told the players, “These
are our rules. Pick your spot and stick to it”.’

Down and out: In-form forward Theo Walcott will also be missing at Bradford

Down and out: In-form forward Theo Walcott will also be missing at Bradford

While Duke has tasted success against
Arsenal before — four years ago he was on the bench when Hull won a
Premier League match at the Emirates — this will be a significant step
up in class for Bradford.

Boss Parkinson thinks his
players will be not over-awed. ‘No, that won’t happen,’ he said. ‘I
understand we’re up against a very good side who scored seven against
Reading and six against Coventry in earlier rounds. But we’re a
confident bunch of players.’

/12/11/article-2246038-167207D5000005DC-37_468x321.jpg” width=”468″ height=”321″ alt=”Parkinson: Bradford's boss getting to grips with the Capital One Cup” class=”blkBorder” />

Parkinson: Bradford's boss getting to grips with the Capital One Cup

‘So we have had a lot of disruption
but the spirit is great, and we have tried to plan things out so that
nobody is playing too many minutes. For example, the three players who
had played more than anyone else this season, we didn’t even take with
us to Port Vale last week.

‘The demands on the players physically are just the same whatever level you are playing at.

‘We document every minute our players
play, and have heart-rate monitors in place to regulate the intensity of
training every day. Your eye tells you so much but it’s good to have
the information to back that up.’

Not that the saturated programme has
unduly affected Bradford: they have lost only twice in 16 games in all
competitions, sit fourth in League Two and remained in all three cup
competitions until expulsion from the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible
player in the draw with Brentford last week.

Parkinson said: ‘If we go out we’ll
take it on the chin and move on; if we play the replay we’ll give it a
good go. To be fair, this is the reward for our hard work. After getting
so far, we waited for the plum draw to come out and got it with what is
a great tie for us financially.’

To join the debate ahead of Round 5 of the Capital One Cup, visit Facebook.com/CapitalOneUk

Zlatan Ibrahimovic misses ball completely attempting his propeller kick as Paris St Germain crash out of French Cup

Zlat's all gone wrong! Ibrahimovic misses ball completely attempting his propeller kick as PSG crash out of French Cup

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UPDATED:

16:48 GMT, 28 November 2012

Zlatan Ibrahimovic came crashing down to earth last night – missing the ball completely as he attempted to re-enact his famous propeller kick.

The Swede scored four goals against England in an international friendly earlier this month. The fourth, an overhead kick, was hailed as the greatest goal many commentators had ever seen.

But the 31-year-old could not recreate the magic last night in a French cup game.

Faulty propeller: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (top) fails miserably attempting to recreate his spectacular goal against England in St Etienne last night

Faulty propeller: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (top) fails miserably attempting to recreate his spectacular goal against England in St Etienne last night

The enigmatic Paris St Germain striker tried his luck in the League Cup quarter-final defeat to St Etienne, but he was left with egg on his face following an embarrassing air shot.

The attentions of the St Etienne defender was surely influential in Ibrahimovic's miss, no doubt providing a lesson to England's defenders that they should have got much tighter to the 31-year-old.

England lost 4-2 to Sweden despite taking a 2-1 lead in Stockholm after goals from Danny Welbeck and a debut strike from Steven Caulker.

Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Top) kicks the ball during the French L1 League Cup football match between Saint Etienne and Paris, on November 27, 2012

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores a wonder goal against England to score his fourth goal of the night and make it 4-2 to Sweden in this friendly

Shaping up to be a carbon copy: It all started so well last night for Ibra (left) and it seemed he was going to perform an exact replica of his wonder-goal against England earlier this month (right)

Uh oh: But it all goes horribly wrong when Ibra misses the ball completely as he comes under pressure from St Etienne's Cesar Alonso during last night's French League Cup quarter-final

Uh oh: But it all goes horribly wrong when Ibra misses the ball completely as he comes under pressure from St Etienne's Cesar Alonso during last night's French League Cup quarter-final

Ibrahimovic may have fluffed his party trick, but it was PSG's Brazilian captain Thiago Silva who was most culpable for his side's cup exit.

Silva missed the crucial spot-kick in a 5-3 penalty shootout defeat, after neither side could make the breakthrough in 120 minutes of football.

Crash landing: The ball falls harmlessly towards the turf with Ibrahimovic flailing in the cup tie that PSG went on to lose on penalties

Crash landing: The ball falls harmlessly towards the turf with Ibrahimovic flailing in the cup tie that PSG went on to lose on penalties

Swede dream: Artist Paul Trevillion, the master of movement, captures Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrating his showstopping goal

Enlarge

Swede dream: Artist Paul Trevillion, the master of movement, captures Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrating his showstopping goal

Swede dream: Artist Paul Trevillion, the master of movement, captures Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrating his showstopping goal (left) and illustrates how the striker did it (right) in an exclusive commission for Sportsmail

Now, judge for yourselves…

VIDEO 1: First Ibra's PSG air-shot in the French League Cup last night…

VIDEO 2: THAT wondrous strike against England that left us all purring…

VIDEO BONUS: Zlatan was even up to his fancy tricks during the warm-up…

Reading 5 Arsenal 7: match report

Reading 5 Arsenal 7: Hat-trick hero Walcott leads stunning Gunners comeback

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 30 October 2012

Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick as Arsenal completed a dramatic extra-time victory over Reading after coming from four goals behind.

Marouane Chamakh scored twice and Walcott completed his treble to give Arsene Wenger’s side the most unlikely of victories. Trailing by four goals after 37 minutes Arsenal fought back, Walcott levelled the game with the last kick of normal time.

Chamakh put Arsenal in front for the first time only for Pavel Pogrebnyak to level matters again. The game appeared to be heading for a penalty shootout but Walcott and Chamakh scored to break Reading hearts.

Main man: Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates as he helps his side to a stunning victory

Main man: Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates as he helps his side to a stunning victory

Match facts

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Gorkss, Morrison, Shorey, Tabb, McCleary (McAnuff 73), Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu,
Roberts (Church 90),Hunt (Pogrebnyak 73).

Subs Not Used: Stuart Taylor, Pearce, Le Fondre, Harte.

Booked: Leigertwood, Morrison.

Goals: Roberts 12, Koscielny 18 og, Leigertwood 20, Hunt 37, Pogrebnyak 116.

Arsenal: Martinez, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Djourou, Miquel (Meade 105), Arshavin, Frimpong (Giroud 62), Coquelin,
Walcott, Chamakh, Gnabry (Eisfeld 62).

Subs Not Used: Shea, Squillaci, Bellerin, Yennaris.

Booked: Miquel, Chamakh, Giroud, Koscielny, Martinez, Eisfeld.

Goals: Walcott 45, 90, 103, Giroud 64, Koscielny 89, Chamakh 103, 120.

Att: 23,980

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Click for the latest League Cup results and stats

They may have progressed but Arsenal’s first-half performance was shambolic as Reading stormed into a four-goal lead.

Wenger made 11 changes from the side that started in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. Theo Walcott was given a chance to show why he is worth the 100,000-per-week new contract he so desperately craves, while Serge Gnabry was hoping to show why Wenger is tipping him to become Arsenal’s next bright young thing.

Reading boss Brian McDermott was not as carefree with his changes, making six from the side that started in the dramatic draw against Fulham at the weekend.

And the home side nearly made the perfect start in the third minute when Sean Morrison rattled Damien Martinez’s crossbar with a header from Nicky Shorey’s floated corner.

Walcott thought he had a clear run at goal two minutes later after Andrey Arshavin located him with an inch-perfect lofted pass — but Reading skipper Kaspars Gorkss made a timely challenge with the England forward primed to pull the trigger.

Martinez showed why he has already been called up into the Argentina national squad at the tender age of 20 with a smart stop to deny Jay Tabb who had wriggled his way into the box.

Off and running: Jason Roberts fires home to put Reading in front against Arsenal

Off and running: Jason Roberts fires home to put Reading in front against Arsenal

But Reading were awarded for their enterprising start in the 12th minute when Jason Roberts, who easily evaded the attentions of Ignasi Miquel, slid home Hal Robson-Kanu’s low cross to give the Premier League new-boys a deserved lead.

And Reading’s night got even better just six minutes later as they doubled their lead to stun a shell-shocked Arsenal side.

Right back Chris Gunter came flying down the flank before firing a low cross into the Arsenal box that Laurent Koscielny failed to clear, instead slicing the ball into his own goal to double the home side’s lead.

McDermott and the home supporters were in dreamland.

Dejected: Laurent Koscielny scores an own goal to gift Reading a second

Dejected: Laurent Koscielny scores an own goal to gift Reading a second

Bullet: Mikele Leigertwood fires home to extend Reading's advantage further

Bullet: Mikele Leigertwood fires home to extend Reading's advantage further

So, God knows what must have been going through their mind when Reading took an incredible three goal advantage in the 20th minute.

As Arsenal’s backline struggled to clear after yet another Reading attack, midfielder Mikele Leigertwood picked up the ball 20 yards from goal before unleashing a powerful drive that somehow Martinez only parried into his own net.

And Arsenal’s embarrassing opening half got worse in the 37th minute, this time Noel Hunt climbing highest in the box to nod past the stunned Martinez after Garath McCleary’s excellent cross.

That was the cue for dozens of Arsenal supporters to leave the Madejski Stadium.

Heads you win: Noel Hunt finds the back of the net to add Reading's fourth

Heads you win: Noel Hunt finds the back of the net to add Reading's fourth

Back in the game: Theo Walcott scored a fine goal just before half time for Arsenal

Back in the game: Theo Walcott scored a fine goal just before half time for Arsenal

They had obviously seen enough. And who could blame them as they launched into cries of ‘We want our Arsenal back.’ There was a riposte, finally, from Wenger’s men as Walcott cooly finished past Adam Federici after Arshavin’s through ball on the stroke of half-time to cut the deficit.

If there was a half-time rocket from Wenger then it did not show as the home side came out with all guns blazing.

The impressive Robson-Kanu forced Martinez into a good save low down to his right with a close range header before Miquel nearly put though his own net after another dangerous Shorey corner.

Nodding off: Olivier Giroud grabbed a second goal fro Arsenal as the comeback continued

Nodding off: Olivier Giroud grabbed a second goal fro Arsenal as the comeback continued

Making amends: Koscielny scores at the right end to reduce Arsenal's arrears even further

Making amends: Koscielny scores at the right end to reduce Arsenal's arrears even further

Level pegging: Walcott fires the ball home to complete a stunning comeback

Level pegging: Walcott fires the ball home to complete a stunning comeback

Leigertwood then went desperately close to notching his second of the night with a vicious drive from 15 yards after Roberts’ cut back that flew narrowly over Martinez’s bar.

Walcott saw his attempts to cut Reading’s lead further thwarted by Federici 10 minutes into the second half as his low effort, after a trademark pacy run, was well saved.

Marouane Chamakh was then yellow carded for running 20 yards to remonstrate with a linesman after seeing his half-hearted attempts to win a penalty turned down.

And another: Marouane Chamakh makes it five for Arsenal as the Gunners scrape through

And another: Marouane Chamakh makes it five for Arsenal as the Gunners scrape through

Level again: Pavel Pogrebnyak equalised for Reading in extra time

Level again: Pavel Pogrebnyak equalised for Reading in extra time

Wenger threw on summer signing Olivier Giroud in the 62nd minute in an effort to somehow inspire his men. And the substitution paid off instantly as the France striker nodded home Walcott’s corner in the 65th minute to give Arsenal hope.

The visitors then took control of the game but couldn’t force a third goal until the 89th minute when Koscielny scored at the right end. Reading looked to have held on but in the fifth minute of added time Arsenal pumped a hopeful long ball into the box.

Giroud nodded on and Walcott reacted first, making some space and poking a shot towards goal which just crossed the line to force extra-time.

Seventh heaven: Arsenal celebrate after Chamakh scored their final goal at Reading

Seventh heaven: Arsenal celebrate after Chamakh scored their final goal at Reading

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk is Ukraine injury doubt – England"s big match dossier

Big match dossier: Ukraine worry over injury doubt Tymoshchuk

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 10 September 2012


Doubtful: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk might be injured for the game

Doubtful: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk might be injured for the game

Ukraine have been struck with their own injury problems with doubts surrounding Anatoliy Tymoshchuk’s fitness after he pulled out of training on Monday night. It would be a huge blow for manager Oleh Blokhin if he is without the 33-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder, who has a record 120 caps.

So much for planning

England
started last season with a resounding away win in Bulgaria but Roy
Hodgson has only two players available from the team which started in
Sofia. One is Joe Hart and the other Gary Cahill, who seems unlikely to
start. It all underlines the perils of long-term planning.

The goal is… goals

Without
Andriy Shevchenko, who retired after Euro 2012, Ukraine’s squad finds
itself short of goals. Only two players have reached double figures in
international football — Serhiy Nazerenko (53 caps) and Oleh Husyev (76
caps), who have 12 goals each.

England's lucky 13

If
you overlook the penalty shootout defeat against Italy in the
quarter-final of Euro 2012, England have a healthy unbeaten record in
competitive games. It stretches back 13 games to Germany in
Bloemfontein, although it includes two draws against Montenegro.

Four-time losers

Ukraine were aggrieved by the Marko Devic goal that never was when beaten 1-0 by Roy Hodgson’s side at Euro 2012 in June but their record against England is not good. In five games, they have lost four, winning a dead-rubber home World Cup qualifier in 2009.

Practice: Ukraine training at Wembley

Practice: Ukraine training at Wembley

New look: Only Gary Cahill (centre) and Joe Hart are available from the squad that played in Sofia

New look: Only Gary Cahill (centre) and Joe Hart are available from the squad that played in Sofia

Well out of it, JT

Perhaps it is as well John Terry is not fit for England tonight because the referee is Cuneyt Cakir, the Turkish official who sent him off for kicking Alexis Sanchez during the second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final in Barcelona, forcing him to miss the final.

Arsenal target Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yeung

Arsenal line up shock bid for 'Korean Gerrard' after sealing Cazorla deal

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UPDATED:

23:34 GMT, 7 August 2012

Arsenal are plotting a shock move for
Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yeung after rubber-stamping their
16.5million move for Santi Cazorla.

Gunners spies were alerted to the South Korea international’s talents while on scouting assignments in Scotland last season.

The club’s scouting network have kept
a closer eye on the 23-year-old — who has been dubbed the South Korean
Steven Gerrard in his homeland — during the Olympic Games and have been
suitably impressed.

Centre of attention: Arsenal are lining up a bid for Ki Sung-yeung (middle)

Centre of attention: Arsenal are lining up a bid for Ki Sung-yeung (middle)

Fantasy football 2012

Crucially, influential chief scout
Steve Rowley rates Ki — who would be available for around 9million
—very highly and will recommend the energetic midfielder to manager
Arsene Wenger.

Ki, who scored South Korea’s decisive
spot kick in their penalty shootout win over Great Britain in the
Olympic quarter-finals on Saturday, is also wanted by Queens Park
Rangers manager Mark Hughes.

Arsenal are also interested in Ki’s club team-mate Victor Wanyama, who was watched by Wenger’s scouts in Celtic’s recent pre-season defeat by Norwich.

Busy: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Busy: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Meanwhile, Arsenal confirmed the
capture of Cazorla from crisis-hit Malaga yesterday — and the
27-year-old got straight down to business training with his new
team-mates at their pre-season camp in Germany.

The
Spain international — who was joined in Germany by Robin van Persie —
has revealed that two former Arsenal stars played a key role in his
decision to join the club.

Cazorla said: ‘I believe that it’s a
great club. Everyone who has played here, such as Robert Pires and Cesc
Fabregas, has spoken very highly about the club.

‘I think it’s one of the greatest clubs in Europe, they are always
fighting for silverware and just for those reasons it is worth trying to
play at this club and in the Premier League.

‘There was already some interest (from Arsenal) a few seasons ago. I
remember when I signed for Malaga there was already an interest from
Arsenal.

Out to impress: New signing Santi Cazorla is put through his paces after arriving from Malaga

Out to impress: New signing Santi Cazorla is put through his paces after arriving from Malaga

‘It was always a club I liked very much. Because of circumstances in
football, things have not gone the way we wanted in Malaga this year but
now I am going to have the opportunity to experience the Premier
League and to be at a big club.

‘I could not miss this opportunity — I am 27 years old so it was the last train I could catch.’

However, Arsenal are only likely to follow through with their interest
in Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin if they sell Alex Song this
summer.

Arsenal have toyed with the idea of launching a loan move for the Turkey
international as Wenger looks to increase his midfield options.

But it is understood Wenger will only move for Sahin if they lose Song, who is a target for Barcelona.

London 2012 Olympics Football: Ryan Giggs admits Great Britain shortcomings

Giggs admits Great Britain weren't good enough after crashing out on penalties

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 5 August 2012

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Now Ryan Giggs knows what tournament football is really like. On a night when a dream ended in familiar fashion, Team GB’s captain was forced to admit shortcomings after an agonising penalty shootout defeat.

While this nation’s athletes were being spectacularly making history in the Olympic Stadium, the footballers found history being frustratingly repeated as South Korea held their nerve to win 5-4 on spot-kicks after Daniel Sturridge saw his effort saved by Bumyoung Lee.

It meant that there was no dream finale for Giggs, whose glittering career had lacked an appearance at a major tournament, but there was no sense the Manchester United star felt hard done by as he explained Team GB’s quarter-final elimination.

Crashing out on penalties: Ryan Giggs saw Great Britain go out of the Olympics on spot kicks

Crashing out on penalties: Ryan Giggs saw Great Britain go out of the Olympics on spot kicks

‘We weren’t good enough’ said Giggs, reflecting on a game that ended 1-1 after 120 minutes. ‘That is the bottom line. Our luck ran out and it could have gone either way. Not going to a tournament with Wales will always be a (personal) disappointment. We were never good enough, it’s simple.

‘But I will look back on this experience with great pride. To captain the Great Britain side has been a privilege. Obviously it is disappointing to have lost like we did but the overall experience has been nothing but positive.’

While the climax to the evening was dramatic, there was a slightly surreal atmosphere at times, as chants of “One Jessie Ennis!” and “One Mo Farah!” broke out, as news filtered through of their achievements in London.

Moment of truth: Daniel Sturridge misses his penalty in the shoot out

Moment of truth: Daniel Sturridge misses his penalty in the shoot out

It gave a sense that football was intruding on the main event but Team GB head coach Stuart Pearce, who saw Aaron Ramsey miss a penalty in the 40th minute, shortly after he had equalised a strike from Sunderland’s Ji Dongwon from the spot, feels the sport’s place on the schedule was merited.

‘I've been walking around the Olympic park and bumping into families who are telling me it's their first game and how they've never been to football together before,’ he said.

‘I think these people have really enjoyed it. We've touched another audience.

Learning experience: The Great Britain team watch as they lose on penalties

Learning experience: The Great Britain team watch as they lose on penalties

‘It would be interesting to know how many were first-time football fans coming to the games. If they've turned up and enjoyed the experience under the Olympic umbrella, I think it's been a real success. I really do.’

Pearce will now return to his role as England Under-21 Head Coach but he feels Sturridge and Tom Cleverley, two young men who have graduated through the ranks, are now in line for regular senior action. It could be that Roy Hodgson selects them for his squad to face Italy in a friendly next week.

‘I certainly think they’ll be around the squad,’ said Pearce. ‘With the talent that’s available, I think the way Cleverley can handle the ball and with Sturridge’s eye for goal, they’re two individuals who can be in and around the senior England team.

‘That’s my opinion. They’ve both benefited from this tournament and they will both go back to their clubs, to Manchester United and Chelsea, with something to prove.’

Alessandro Nesta signs for Montreal Impact

World Cup winner Nesta hoping to make an Impact in MLS with Montreal

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UPDATED:

08:10 GMT, 6 July 2012

Italy's World Cup-winning defender Alessandro Nesta has signed an 18-month contract with MLS side Montreal Impact.

'I'm very happy to be here,' the 36-year-old Nesta said on Thursday. 'Despite some offers to continue my career in Europe, I was looking for a new challenge and wanted to play in MLS.'

Nesta left AC Milan at the end of last season following 10 trophy-laden seasons with the Rossoneri.

High hopes: Nesta (left) plays in a World Soccer Masters Tour match in Miami last month

High hopes: Nesta (left) plays in a World Soccer Masters Tour match in Miami last month

He won two Champions League and two Serie A titles with Milan following his move from Lazio in 2002 and was widely regarded as one of his country's finest defenders.

He played 78-times for Italy and lifted the World Cup in 2006 after a penalty shootout win over France.

Nesta will link up with his former Lazio team mate Marco Di Vaio at struggling Montreal, who are currently eighth in the 10-team Eastern Conference with five wins from 19 matches.

Matt Fortune

'Upon visiting my friend Marco to see him play his first game with Montreal, I met great people in this club. I really liked what I saw and I was convinced Montreal was where I wanted to be,' Nesta said.

Impact coach Jesse Marsch was desperate to get the defender into action and help drag the team away from the lower reaches of the table.

'It's an incredible opportunity for our club to add a defender of his talent. We are very anxious to get him into our lineup because he will make us better on every level,' Marsch said.