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Monday, June 30, 2008

Murray sets up Quarter-final Clash with Nadal

British hopes for a local Wimbledon win are still alive after Scot Andy Murray battled back from the brink of defeat to beat Richard Gasquet in an epic five-set clash on Centre Court.

Murray looked down and out when his French opponent served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but an incredible turn of events saw him claim a magical 5-7 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 6-2 6-4 triumph late on Monday evening.

The final set was played with the light fading out on court and the patriotic crowd were roaring Murray towards the finish line.

He will now meet second seed Rafael Nadal of Spain in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Tennis Betting Previews on the main site
Wimbledon Tennis Live Scores on the Guide
Wimbledon Tennis Live Betting Odds at

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Euro 2008 : Spain beat Germany 1-0 in final

Spain have been crowned European champions for the second time as Fernando Torres's first-half goal in Vienna proved enough to defeat Germany in the final of UEFA EURO 2008.

After a strong start from Germany, Spain were the more dangerous side throughout an somewhat uninspiring final at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion and it took just one goal - in the 33rd minute, courtesy of Torres's pace, perseverance and an unerring finish - to end their long wait.

Xavi was the architect, playing a pass in behind the Germany defence towards Torres, who outmuscled a hesitant Philipp Lahm and clipped the ball over the diving Jens Lehmann and just inside the far post.

Spain had more openings in the early stages of the second half, Lehmann getting a touch to Xavi's low shot before Ramos nearly flicked in Silva's drive from the resulting corner.

Yet Germany still posed a threat, and at the hour mark substitute Marcell Jansen and Bastian Schweinsteiger combining for Ballack to shoot centimetres wide.

Klose then deflected a Schweinsteiger effort past the post and in response to Germany's renewed menace Spain coach Luis Aragones promptly introduced Xabi Alonso and Santi Cazorla in place of Fabregas and Silva.

The switches reinvigorated Spain instantly, Lehmann making sharp stops from Ramos and Iniesta while Torsten Frings blocked another Iniesta effort on the line.

Spain continued to carve out chances as the match reached its conclusion, Marcos Senna narrowly failing to apply the finishing touch to an unselfish header from substitute Daniel Guiza – but the celebrations really started for Spain at the final whistle.

SPAIN (1) 1
Torres 33



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ballack to miss Euro 2008 final? Don't bet on it!

According to Michael Ballack is a doubt for Sunday's Euro 2008 final against Spain.

"Germany could go into Sunday's final against Spain without their captain and inspiration Michael Ballack as the midfielder is receiving treatment for a calf injury" the website says.

"Ballack sat out the team's final training session in Tenero on Friday and was also a notable absentee tonight as the team were put through their paces at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion on the eve of the UEFA EURO 2008™ showpiece." it continues.

"The muscles has tightened and we'll have to wait and see how things develop," explained coach Joachim Low. "Our medical people are working around the clock to give him a chance to play."

But do you believe it?

I need to go no further than Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger who has said .. "It's an old Bayern Munich trick!" said the Arsenal manager. "I'm convinced if it's a minor injury he will play - they have very good doctors in Germany!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mad Jens Lehmann on Focus at Bet365

Jens Lehmann has looked far from his best during Euro 2008 and bet365 are betting on the former Arsenal keeper's performance in the final on Sunday.

bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth commented "Wednesday's semi final seemed to be about which ageing keeper could make the most ricks and somehow Lehmann finds himself in the final.

It may not be long before he follows Rustu in hanging up his international gloves."

Jens Lehmann Specials - Euro 2008 Final
7/4 .. Keep a clean sheet
13/2 .. Concede goal from penalty
15/2 .. Get Booked
10/1 .. Give away a penalty
16/1 .. Man of the Match
25/1 .. Save a penalty
33/1 .. Get Sent Off

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lahm Beats Bookies With Late Winner

Phillip Lahm helps punters to beat bookiesbet365 were left rueing Philipp Lahm's late winner for heavily supported Germany on Wednesday night.

bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth said "The quarter finals belonged to the bookies, but the punters are well on top after the first semi ...

They could only see one outcome with all the injuries and suspensions that Turkey had to deal with and in the end they got it spot on – but only just!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wimbledon Mens Open - Top Players

Wimbledon mens player biosTop contenders for the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club

No. 1 ROGER FEDERER ----- Age: 26. Major titles: 12

Going for a sixth straight Wimbledon title. In the past 100 years, only Federer and Bjorn Borg (1976-80) have won five in a row. Has won 59 straight matches on grass, the longest streak in the 40-year Open era.

Ranked No. 1 since Feb. 2, 2004, the longest consecutive stay atop the rankings.

No. 2 RAFAEL NADAL ----- Age: 22. Major titles: 4

Second man to win four consecutive French Open titles (Borg did it from 1978-81) and this year's French Open win against Federer was most lopsided men's Grand Slam final since 1984.

Last week became the first Spanish man in 36 years to win a grass-court title, beating Novak Djokovic in the Queen's Club final.

Lost Wimbledon final to Federer last two years.

No. 3 NOVAK DJOKOVIC ----- Age: 21. Major titles: 1

Has lost to Nadal in his past three tournaments but has been a semifinalist or better at each of past five major championships.

No. 4 NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO ----- Age: 28. Major titles: 0

Second only to Nadal on the men's tour in total number of match wins this year. ATP still investigating irregular betting on a match he played in August 2007.

No. 6 ANDY RODDICK ----- Age: 25. Major titles: 1

Missed the French Open with a shoulder injury but has managed to beat Federer, Nadal and Djokovic this year. Ranks second on tour with 380 aces - a huge weapon on grass.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ronaldo wants to move to Real Madrid

Ronaldo dreams of leaving Manchester United for Real MadridCristiano Ronaldo says he hopes to "complete his dream" of moving to Real Madrid, despite Manchester United insisting he is "not for sale".

The Portuguese winger has stated his intention to "take advantage of a great opportunity". "Everybody knows what I want but things don't only depend on me. I am not the person who decides but I hope to complete my dream."

Ronaldo stated that he made up his mind before the Champions League final that he wanted to leave United for Real. And he revealed that Luiz Felipe Scolari, about to take over at Chelsea after Portugal's exit from Euro 2008, advised him to make the move.

"It is a dream, a step forward," Ronaldo replied when asked about the prospect of playing at the Bernabau. "For me, it is a great opportunity and, as Scolari says, that train passes by only once and we have to take advantage of it."

Ronaldo indicated he will make a public statement about his plans over the next few days. He said he had not spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson, who is on holiday in France, during his participation in Euro 2008.

And he insisted he is not worried about upsetting the United manager, who he is set to meet for talks about his future following Portugal's exit against Germany on Thursday.

"It is my opinion," added Ronaldo. "That is why I don't mind if people get upset. It is my decision. It is what I want."

Rugby : All Blacks Thrash England Again

New Zealand piled on the misery as England's tour to forget ended with a 44-12 comprehensive defeat in Christchurch.

The All Blacks led 20-0 at half-time in Christchurch through tries from Richard Kahui and Dan Carter, who added two penalties and two conversions.

England finally got on the board when Danny Care crossed for a converted try after he took a quick tap penalty.

But Ma'a Nonu, Sione Lauakiadded further converted tries for the All Blacks, with Tom Varndell's score little consolation for England.

New Zealand ended the match on the front foot and although they had tries from Sivivatu and Thomson chalked off for infringements they did add a fifth converted try through replacement scrum-half Cowan on the final hooter.

New Zealand 44-12 England
New Zealand (20) 44
Tries: Kahui, Carter, Nonu, Lauaki, Cowan
Cons: Carter 4, Donald
Pens: Carter 3

England (0) 12
Tries: Care, Varndell
Cons: Barkley

Friday, June 20, 2008

Paul Ince set for Blackburn Rovers managers job

Paul Ince looks set to be installed as Blackburn's next manager after the Premier League gave the green light for his appointment.

The Premier League board ratified the appointment on the basis that the 40-year-old gains his UEFA Pro Licence within the next two years.

The decision removes the last remaining obstacle in the way of Blackburn offering the job to the current MK Dons manager, who is viewed as one of the most promising young English managers in the game.

The decision was made that much easier by the League Managers' Association (LMA) saying they would have no objections were he to be offered the job.

Young English managers are in such short supply in the top flight of English football that LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said the organisation would actively support Ince were he to be appointed.

Germany favourites for Euro 2008 again.

Germany have regained favouritism for Euro 2008 after booking their place in the semi-finals.

The Germans became the first team through to the last four after beating Portugal 3-2 in an enthralling contest in Basel. And it means Germany head the market again with Paddy Power making Joachim Low's side 5/2 (3.50) favourites.

Holland are the second favourites at 4.50 at BoyleSports, followed by :
Spain 6.00 at BoyleSports
Italy 6.50 at BoyleSports
Croatia 8.00 at VC Bet
Russia 17.00 at VC Bet
Turkey 26.00 at VC Bet

Monday, June 16, 2008

Interwetten offer new customers 50 Euro Bonus

Top European sports book Interwetten are offering new customers a €50 bonus when they join up to try their betting site.

We were doing our regular weekly surf of all the bookmaker sites that we monitor when we saw this item front and centre of the Interwetten site.

click to visit interwetten sportsbook

This promotion at Interwetten is valid from 14.05.2008, 10:00 CET until the end of the competition and they'll do a 50% match of your FIRST deposit.

The maximum pay-in bonus per customer is 50 EUR, 80 CHF, 75 USD, 100 SGD, 30 GBP, 375 Dkk, 375 NOK, 450 SEK, 170 PLN, 1.250 CZK, 12.500 HUF, 150 RON.

So what are you waiting for - get to Interwetten now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daniel Negreanu wins 4th WSOP bracelet

Daniel Negreanu won a fourth WSOP bracelet and $200K by claiming all the chips in Event #20 the $2,000 Limit Hold'em event.

Get all the description of the final few hands of play at Poker Labrat's blog.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Euro2008 : Four group winners found

After two rounds of games in Euro 2008, we've already found the four group winners, as UEFA's change to head-to-head tie breakers simplifies the rules.

Portugal top the standings as winners, while the Czech Republic and Turkey will face each other for the runners-up spot in the final match - which could go to a penalty shootout.

Croatia have beaten both Austria and Germany and are confirmed as winners, leaving Germany and Austria fighting for the runners up spot.

The Netherlands have been stunning in thrashing both Italy and France by three clear goals.

Romania, France and Italy are all battling for the second qualification spot on the final day in this quality group.

Spain will finish on top - with two well deserved wins already, while Sweden and Russia will face each other in matchday #3 for second place.

19 June - Basel - PORTUGAL v (Germany)*
20 June - Vienna - CROATIA v (Turkey)*
21 June - Basel - NETHERLANDS v (Sweden)*
22 June - Vienna - SPAIN v (France?)*

* Prediction in brackets ()

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Croatia win Group B with victory over Germany

Croatia beat Germany 2-1Croatia claimed a win over pre-tournament favourites Germany to claim top spot in Group B and reach the Euro 2008 quarter-finals.

Darijo Srna broke the deadlock on 24 minutes when he beat Marcell Jansen to Danijel Pranjic's cross and fired home and Croatia were gifted a second goal on 63 minutes when Ivan Rakitic's cross came off Lukas Podolski and rebounded off the post for Ivica Olic to slot home.

Podolski pulled a goal back with a late drive but Bastian Schweinsteiger's red card ended German hopes in injury time.

It was a famous victory for Croatia, and they now win Group B at a payout of 3.64 at the bookmakers (as previewed by Mike.)

Germany will now face co-host Austria in their final group match - and will only need a draw to progress to qualify the quarter-finals as group B runners-up where they will face Portugal.

Scolari is the new Chelsea boss

scolari is new Chelsea manager
Chelsea have confirmed Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari as their new manager.

The Brazilian was one of the favourites to succeed Avram Grant in the Stamford Bridge hotseat but the timing of his appointment has come as a surprise.

Scolari is currently managing Portugal at Euro 2008 and was not expected to make a decision about his future until after the tournament.

A statement from Stamford Bridge read:

"Chelsea Football Club is delighted to confirm that Luiz Felipe Scolari will be the club's new manager from July 1, 2008.

Out of respect for his current role as Head Coach of the Portuguese national team, and to ensure minimum disruption to this work, there will be no further comment from Chelsea FC nor from Felipe about his new role until his employment with us commences."

Despite a number of big-name managers being linked with the job following Avram Grant's sacking last month, it is understood Scolari was always Chelsea's number one choice and nobody else was offered the position.

He is likely to be unveiled during the first week of July, at which time the details of his contract will also be revealed although figures of £6.25m per annum are being floated.

Before becoming an international manager, he enjoyed success at club level in Brazil, winning South America's equivalent of the Champions League - the Copa Libertadores - with two different clubs.

The 59-year-old has no experience of managing at club level in Europe.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Holland beat Italy 3-0 - was the referee right?

Was the referee correct?Holland beat Italy 3-0 last night - scoring twice in five minutes in the first half - and scoring a killer goal late in the second half.

Many of the newspaper reports today are saying that the Dutch took advantage of a "referee mistake" to score the opening goal from an offside position - but I'm not so sure.

A possible explanation for the referee's decision was that Christian Panucci, who had collided with Buffon seconds earlier and was off the pitch, was adjudged to be playing Van Nistelrooy onside.

By the letter of the law Fifa rule 11 "If a defending player steps behind his own goal line in order to place an opponent in an offside position, the referee shall allow play to continue and caution the defender for deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission when the ball is next out of play."

(see FIFA Laws of the game )

This is to prevent a situation where defenders stationed on the goalposts could possibly just "walk off" behind the goal - and without this rule the attackers could be caught offside.

By going over the back of the goal line - is Panucci considered to be on the goal line while the referee allows play to continue and thus playing everyone onside?

I'm not SURE the rule was applied correctly and Panucci seemed oblivious to what was going on around him - but that's my take on how the situation was ruled.

It will be interesting to see what FIFA / UEFA have to say.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ana Ivanovic wins French Open

Ana Ivanovic confirmed her status as the new world number one with her first Grand Slam title at the French Open.

The 20-year-old second seed beat Russia's Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3 to become the first Serbian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title.

In a tense opening set, Ivanovic got the better of five breaks of serve.

And two breaks in the second were enough for Ivanovic to make up for her heavy defeat by Justine Henin in last year's final.

Porto kicked out of 2008/09 Champions League

Porto have been excluded from next season's Champions League by Uefa, European soccer's governing body, over the alleged bribery of referees in the 2003-04 season.

Porto said it will appeal against the ruling but club officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The decision comes after a lengthy investigation known as "Apito Dourado," or Golden Whistle, into alleged bribery by Porto of referees in three matches in the 2003-04 season.

The affair, which came to light in April 2004, also resulted in five referees being suspended for periods between two-and-a-half and six years for either accepting the offer of prostitutes after matches or one who received €2,500 prior to a match.

Last month the Professional Portuguese Football League Disciplinary Commission docked Porto six points and fined the club €150,000.

Porto, who won last season's Portuguese title for the third time in a row, 14 points ahead of Sporting Lisbon, opted not to appeal as the six-points punishment did not affect final standings.

Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, the club president, has been suspended for two years and fined €10,000, but is appealing.

Jose Mourinho, who joined Inter Milan on Tuesday, was the Porto coach in the 2003-04 season when his side won the Champions League and Portuguese title but has not been implicated during the investigation.

Scolari doesn't say no to Chelsea - but is it a yes?

Luiz Felipe Scolari refused to rule himself out of the race to become Chelsea's manager last night but also effectively told the London club that they would have to wait until his participation at Euro 2008 with Portugal had ended before he would give serious consideration to an approach from them.

The Portugal manager, preparing Portugal for a Group A tie against Turkey, insisted that his squad had his total focus.

The Brazilian has been in this situation before. In the countdown to Euro 2004 with Portugal he was linked with the job at Benfica. Before the 2006 World Cup he was touted as England's next manager. On both occasions and for different reasons he came out on the eve of the tournament to make it clear that he would not accept the jobs. Not this time.

"I am here as the Portugal coach; I am going to work hard with the Portugal squad until the end of the Euro, which may be the first phase, the second phase or, if it is up to me, June 29 [the date of the final]," said Scolari, who will be out of contract at the end of the championship, as he was after the last World Cup.

"What is going to happen to me, whether I stay or leave, concerns me [only] and I am not going to talk about it now. I am only going to make a public declaration after the Euro.

"If something happens during the Euro, I am not going to answer [questions about it]. Something might happen one way or another and things might go this way or that but I am here to work for Portugal.

"I started to work for Portugal for 2004, 2006 and 2008; I might sign again or I might leave. It's a situation I'm going to examine, but I'm not going to answer this sort of question or talk about it and I'm going to stay quiet. I'm going to talk to my family and examine the possibilities, then I will decide."

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Chelsea job betting has Spalletti as new favourite

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has emerged as the new favourite to take over at Chelsea - according to leading UK betting site Bet365.

The announcement that Carlo Ancellotti will be staying in Milan has upset the market and punters are running out of high profile names to turn to.

Spalletti is now the 3/1 (4.00) favourite with Bet365 whose spokesman Steve Freeth said: "Roman Abramovich has apparently had a couple of knockbacks in finding a replacement for Avram Grant in the Chelsea hot-seat and some punters think he'll be turning to Spalletti next."

Personally, I think that he looks a bit like a Gianluca Vialli clone (without the beard) and I wonder if he has the sort of managerial pedigree that the Russian money-man is looking for ...

I'll keep my coin in my pocket over this one.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jose Mourinho moves in to Inter Milan job.

The former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been confirmed as the new manager of Internazionale.

A press statement on the Inter Milan website read "The whole Internazionale organisation takes great pleasure in welcoming Jose Mourinho and his colleagues."

The Portuguese has signed a three-year contract with the Nerazzuri, and will work alongside his former Chelsea colleagues Rui Farias, Silvino Louro and Andre Vilas-Boas at the San Siro. Giuseppe Baresi, previously director of Inter's youth programmes, will be Mourinho's assistant.

As I revealed 6 days ago when writing about Roberto Mancini's departure, the shadow of Mourinho always loomed large over this job after it was apparent that neither of the Spanish giants wanted to try Mourinho's negative brand of football management.

The arrival of Mourinho at Inter is likely to increase the speculation over the future of several of his former Chelsea players, particularly Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

WSOP starts in Las Vegas.

The World Series Of Poker has started in Las Vegas, and the first final table has several big names included.

Andy Bloch, Mike Sexton, Patrik Antonius and Phil Laak are four of the nine players left in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em tournament.

You can check out all the WSOP news on the Poker Lab Rat blog WSOP category.

Captain Beckham to lead England

David Beckham has been named England captain for Sunday's friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.

Beckham has been rewarded with the armband by manager Fabio Capello following his recent return to form and fitness.

The LA Galaxy midfielder set up John Terry's goal in Wednesday's 2-0 win over the United States on Wednesday - his 101st England appearance - and becomes Capello's fourth captain in as many matches after Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.

"People will always question whether I can still play at this level but I want to carry on. I am not ready to stop playing for my country," said Beckham.

"I have a few more wrinkles now but I still feel I can do what I did 10 years ago. I was happy with my performance against France in March, my first game under Fabio Capello, and it was the same against the United States the other night. I was happy to set up the opening goal."