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Sunday, July 29, 2012

OLYMPICS : Spain knocked out of mens football after two games

Spain are out of the Olympic men's football competition after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat by Honduras.

Striker Jerry Bengtson scored for Honduras with a seventh-minute header and it was the only goal of the game - a result eliminated Spain, following an opening defeat by Group D leaders Japan.

The match became ill-tempered with 13 yellow cards shown, as Spain became increasingly desperate, with Iker Muniain hitting an upright, and substitute Rodrigo the crossbar amid a second-half Spanish onslaught.

But Honduras battled heroically to keep Spain's star-studded side at bay and earn an important win.

Group D Standings

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

OLYMPICS : Brazil target mens football gold medal

It's not the World Cup, but the mens and womens Olympic football tournaments are still high quality events and will sell more Olympic tickets than any other Olympic sport.

Mens Olympic Football :

In the mens event, Spain are looking very strong as a nation with wins in European Championships at senior level, U21 and U19 and with a strong side selected that Spanish team are probably the best value at 3.50.

However, Brazil have never won the mens football olympic gold medal and as brazil are still considered the kings of football that fact hurts and Brazil have selected a very strong side to make a big effort this time.

African sides have done well at the Olympics in recent years at big odds, with Nigeria winning in 1996, Cameroon in 2000, Mali 5th in 2004, and Nigeria 2nd in 2008. Nigeria did not make it this time - and Gabon, Morocco and Egypt do not look to have the same force.

Argentina won in 2008 (with Lionel Messi, Juan Riquelme and and Sergio Aguero playing) beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final, while Brazil won the Bronze medal.

Gold Medal Olympic Football Odds from PinnacleSports :
Brazil 2.53 -- Spain 3.50 -- Uruguay 6.88 -- Britain 10.79

The knockout draw will keep the group winners from Group C (Brazil?) and Group D (Spain?) apart until the final - and I predict that we will see a Brazil v Spain final so your gold medal bets should probably be either one of these two sides.

Womens Olympic Football :

The womens event is dominated by the United States side who have three gold medals and a silver medal from the last four events.

With only twelve teams competing, qualification was fierce, and three countries which normally contest in the semi-finals at least, Germany, China and Norway were all eliminated and will not be at London.

That leaves the United States and Brazil as the two stand out sides with Olympic pedigree, indeed the last two Olympic finals have seen USA beat Brazil 2-1, and 1-0. So the United States are the standout side.

One team hoping to change Olympic history is Japan, who won the FIFA World Cup in 2011 for the first time, beat Germany 1-0 (AET), Sweden 3-1, and the United States in the final on penalty kicks.

Because this is only a 12 team competition, the kncokout draw is a little strange, and the winners of Group F (Japan?) will have an advantage of not meeting another group winner until the final, whereas the winners of Group E (Brazil?) and Group G (United States?) could meet in a semi-final clash.

Gold Medal Olympic Football Odds from PinnacleSports
United States 2.86 -- Brazil 4.54 -- Japan 4.97 -- France 7.03 -- Sweden 9.75 -- Britain 11.26

The United States at 2.86 are the favourites, but Japan has the favourable draw and their 4.97 odds are definately good value as well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

OLYMPICS : Brazil to win both Beach Volleyball gold medals?

Brazil will be looking to break the Beach Volleyball stranglehold that the United States has in the Olympics as they seek to emerge victorious in both the Mens and Womens Beach Volleyball at the London 2012 Olympics.

The beach volleyball at the London 2012 Oympics takes place between Saturday 28 July and Thursday 9 August at the Horse Guards Parade in central London.

Brazilian Women Gunning For Beach Volleyball Gold

In London 2012 Olympic Beach Volleyball betting, Brazil pair Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca are priced at 3.71. So how good are the Brazilians? Look at this .. ;-)

Chinese pairing, Zhang Xi and Xue Chen are 4.55 for the gold, making them second favourites, they won bronze at the last Olympic Beach Volleyball event in 2008.

American duo Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor are the defending champions, winning gold in Beijing and also in Athens 2004. But this time the US pair are third favourites to win in a third straight olympics at 4.62.

All Olympic Beach Volleyball Odds taken from PinnacleSports

Men play Beach Volleyball too? Really?

Apparently the men play beach volleyball as well - although that seems a bit pointless to me - and Brazil are also the favourites to win Men's Beach Volleyball in London too.

Current betting lines :
BRAZIL - Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego at 3.80
USA - Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser at 3.98
GERMANY - Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann at 9.60

The American duo are the defending champions, while Brazillian Rego won silver medal with a different partner in Beijing 2008, and the Germans are the only European team to have won a world championship title in Beach Volleyball, so are formidable opponents.

All Olympic Beach Volleyball Odds taken from PinnacleSports

Thursday, July 19, 2012

OLYMPICS : Will Usain Bolt win the 100m again?

The 100m sprint is the headline event of the Olympics track and field program and especially since the arrival of record-breaking Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.


Usain Bolt is currently the fastest man in the world and holds the Olympic and World Records in the 100m. He shot to fame in 2008 by winning two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, setting a 100m world record in the process. He later beat his 2008 time of 9.69secs in 2009, which saw him lower the 100m to 9.58secs.

However, it has not been all plain sailing as Bolt was disqualified from the 100m final at the 2011 World Championships because of a false start. Despite that Bolt is the 1.78 favourite at PinnacleSports to defend his Olympic title and win Olympic gold at London 2012.

This year Bolt held his nerve and ran the year's fastest 100 metres at the Jamaica International Invitational. He ran 9.82sec in his first individual race of 2012, erasing the season‑leading time of 9.90 set by Yohan Blake.

But Yohan Blake is a major threat, as the current World Champion and training partner of Usain Bolt holds the national junior record for the 100 metres as is within 1/10th of second of Bolt this season.

Blake is priced as the 2.79 second favourite at PinnacleSports to win the 100m final at London 2012 and heads to the Olympics in fantastic form after beating Bolt in the 100m final at the Jamaican Olympic trials.

An outside contender to win the Men’s 100m sprint is American Tyson Gay, who is offered at 14.50(again at PinnacleSports) to win in London. Gay remains the only sprinter to have defeated Usain Bolt in a final since Bolt made his first world record run in 2008.

Will The 100m World Record Be Broken?

Despite the excitement around a Bolt/Blake face-off, bookmakers at Pinnacle Sports predict that the rivalry won't push either of the pair to break the existing 100m sprint World Record of 9.58 seconds.

It's no surprise that the existing 100m record is priced at a low 1.23 to remain in place after London – Bolt hasn't even come close to that time since setting it in China. He ran a 9.84 in Paris and a 9.97 at the DN Galan in 2010. 2011 saw him reach 9.79 in a Diamond League race – still over 0.2 seconds above his best.

Blake still only has a personal best of 9.75 seconds – a long way away from the World Record. Still, he has already shaved his 2012 time down from 9.84 seconds at the Cayman Invitational to 9.75 at the Jamaican Olympics trial – could he cut a further 0.18?

Check out PinnacleSports for the best betting lines on the 2012 London Olympics)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

FOOTBALL : European pre-season friendly games top club schedule

Here are a selection of pre-season friendly fixtures for the top UK and European sides during July and August, with most of these games to be shown live on ESPN.

Some of these games will be very low-key with many international stars not returning until early August from Euro2012, or even later if they are involved in the London 2012 Olympics.

But it's still interesting to see the sides in action, and evaluate how new signings are fitting into the club. Besides ... what else are you going to watch? Synchronised Swiming or Gymnastics? ;-)

Mon 16 Jul - Newcastle v AS Monaco 1-0
Sat 21 Jul - Newcastle v Fenerbahce 1-1
Sat 21 Jul - Toronto FC v Liverpool 1-1
Tue 24 Jul - Arsenal v Malaysia Select 1.45pm
Tue 24 Jul - Schalke v Milan 6.00pm 
Tue 24 Jul - LA Galaxy v Tottenham 4.00am 
Wed 25 Jul - Liverpool v AS Roma 11.30pm 
Wed 25 Jul - MLS All Stars v Chelsea 1.30am 
Thu 26 Jul - FC Bayern Munich v VfL Wolfsburg 1.00pm
Fri 27 Jul - Arsenal v Manchester City 1.00pm 
Fri 27 Jul - Benfica v Real Madrid 7.45pm 
Sat 28 Jul - Liverpool v Tottenham 6.00pm
Sun 29 Jul - Arsenal v Hong Kong Kitchee 10.00am 
Mon 30 Jul - Manchester City v Malaysia Select 1.45pm 
Tue 31 Jul - NY Red Bulls v Tottenham 12.00am 
Thu 09 Aug - Valencia v Tottenham 8.30pm 
Sun 12 Aug - FC Cologne v Arsenal 5.00pm 

I will update the results in the blog with some match reports as they come in.

NFL : ESPN reports QB Drew Brees agrees new Saints deal.

Sports broadcaster ESPN are reporting that Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have reached an agreement on a five-year, $100 million contract that includes a first-year take in 2012 of $40 million.

Brees's 2012 salary of $40 million is fully guaranteed, breaking down as $37 million in bonus and $3 million in salary. The deal carries a $10.4 million cap hit.

That is potentially a record guarantee of nearly $60 million, although there are contractual outs for the Saints before Brees would receive all of that sum.

The deal was struck Friday morning in the latest round of negotiations between Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Brees' agent, Tom Condon.

Drew Brees set the single-season passing record last season of 5,476 yards, and since joining the Saints has two of the four most prolific seasons in NFL history.

Friday, July 13, 2012

FOOTBALL : Rangers to play 2012-13 in Scotland's Division Three

After a vote by the 30 football clubs of the SFL, the new version of failed Glasgow giant Rangers Football Club will start it's life next season in Division Three.

Rangers went into administration last season owing up to £134m to unsecured creditors and will eventually be liquidated - as a result its registrations with the Scottish FA and Scottish Premier League were terminated.

Charles Green led a consortium which bought Rangers' assets for £5.5m and has refromed Rangers as a new company, but the 'newco' did not get the required votes for re-admittance to the SPL - and instead, the new Rangers will start life in Division Three.

Rangers chief executive Green said "We are grateful to be accepted as members of the SFL and accept their decision to vote us into Division Three". Green continued "We made clear we would play where we were told to play and we just want to get back to playing football."

Sunday, July 08, 2012

FOOTBALL : Didier Deschamps appointed new France manager

France have named former World Cup-winning captain Didier Deschamps as their new manager, replacing Laurent Blanc who resigned after France's loss to Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.

Deschamps, 43, was manager of Juventus for one season in Serie B, and recently managed Marseille for three seasons until last week.

The former Chelsea midfielder also won the World Cup and Euro 2000 as a player.

Deschamps' first game in charge for France is set to be against South American champions Uruguay in Le Havre on 15 August.

TENNIS : Federer wins Wimbledon mens singles - Marray win doubles

Roger Federer beat Andy Murray 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 to win a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon mens singles title and 17th grand slam trophy.

Federer who was seeded 3rd behind, Djokovic and Nadal, recovered from dropping the opening set to dominate the match and return to the top of the world rankings.

After sharing the first two sets, rain halted the contest for 40 minutes early in the third and when the players returned under the closed roof on Centre Court Federer took control.

Federer made the decisive break in a marathon sixth game and broke again for 3-2 in the fourth set before sealing victory on his second match point in three hours 24 minutes.

The victory ended Murray's attempts to become the first British man to win the mens singles title on home soil for 76 years.

But there was some long awaited tennis success for Britain when Sheffield based Jonathan Marray won the Wimbledon mens doubles this year, partnering Dane Frederik Nielsen and winning in 5 sets to become the firat Briton to win the Wimbledon mens doubles title for the same 76 year span.

Patrick Hughes and Raymond Tuckey were the last British winners in 1936

Friday, July 06, 2012

FOOTBALL : Van Gaal gets second stint as Netherlands coach

Netherlands have re-appointed Louis van Gaal as coach for the next two years.

Van Gaal, sacked by Bayern Munich in 2011, will take charge of Netherlands for the second time having previously been coach from 2000-02. The Dutch FA (KNVB) said in a statement that the 60-year-old had signed a two-year deal.

He will replace Bert van Marwijk who "stepped down" after the team lost all three group matches at Euro 2012 last month. Van Marwijk produced the best run of a Netherlands coach when he won his first 14 competitive matches in charge and led the side to the 2010 World Cup final where they lost to Spain.

In comparison, Van Gaal resigned after the Dutch failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, the only major tournament finals they have missed since 1988

Van Gaal's first match will be a friendly on August 15 against Belgium. The Dutch start their World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Turkey on September 7.

OLYMPICS 2012 : Brazil name strong football squad

Brazil have included forwards Hulk, Neymar and Alexandre Pato in a strong squad for this summer's Olympic Games.

Santos' Neymar has nine goals in 18 games for the senior team, while AC Milan's Pato and Porto's Hulk have also impressed for the full side.

Hulk is one of three over-aged players along with defenders Marcelo (Real Madrid) and Thiago Silva (AC Milan).

Coach Mano Menezes has also picked Manchester United defender Rafael and Tottenham midfielder Sandro.

Menezes has also selected several promising young stars such as Santos midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso, striker Leandro Damiao and midfielder Oscar (both Internacional) and Sao Paulo midfielder Lucas, all of whom have senior caps to their name.

Brazil, who are aiming to win their first Olympic football title, have been drawn in Group C along with Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand.

Goalkeepers : Rafael Cabral (Santos), Neto (Fiorentina)

Defenders : Marcelo (Real Madrid), Rafael (Manchester United), Danilo (Porto), Alex Sandro (Porto), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), Juan (Inter Milan), Bruno Uvini (Sao Paulo)

Midfielders : Romulo (Vasco da Gama), Ganso (Santos), Oscar (Internacional), Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur), Lucas (Sao Paulo)

Forwards : Neymar (Santos), Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Leandro Damiao (Internacional), Hulk (Porto).

Replacements : Marquinhos (Corinthians), Giuliano (Dniepr/UKR), Cassemiro (Sao Paulo), Gabriel (AC Milan/ITA)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

FOOTBALL : Tottenham name Andre Villas-Boas as new manager

Former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has been appointed the new head coach of Tottenham Hotspur, three weeks after Harry Redknapp was sacked.

Villas-Boas, 34, returns to football on a three-year contract four months after his dismissal at Chelsea. Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea less than 12 months into a three-year contract in March.

In the wake of Redknapp's dismissal, former France coach Laurent Blanc, Wigan's Roberto Martinez, Fabio Capello and former Tottenham striker Jurgen Klinsmann were linked with the post before the ex-Porto boss emerged as Spurs' preferred candidate.