Del Bosque delays Spain’s final roster to test Costa fitness

Leave a comment

Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque has put off naming his 23-man roster for the World Cup to give Diego Costa time to possibly recover from his injury.

Atletico Madrid’s striker appeared to reinjure his hamstring in the ninth minute of the Champions League final, the same injury that threatened to keep him out of the game altogether.

The injury was originally sustained during Atletico’s title-clinching draw against Barcelona last week.

But Del Bosque says he needs Costa to recover soon or else he may be forced to replace him on the defending champion’s roster.

“We are doing it this way because we don’t know everyone’s physical condition and until June 2 we aren’t obligated to give FIFA our final squad,” Del Bosque said to Spanish reporters. “We would like that by June 2 everyone is ready to practice.”

He had originally said he would name his final roster today.

Another member of the 30-man roster in the same boat is Atletico’s Juanfran, who appeared to severely roll his ankle in the waning minutes of the Champions League final as Real Madrid made their final push.

The defender remained on the pitch simply because Diego Simeone had used all his substitutes, and looked incredibly limited in his movements and was limping heavily at times.

Someone who could benefit from Costa’s potential miss is Everton loanee Gerard Deulofeu, who Del Bosque mentioned as someone who they believe could do the job.

“We trust [Deulofeu] and if someone were to pull out tomorrow he would be top of the list.” Del Bosque said.  Deulofeu was named to the 30-man squad, and could get a chance to prove his worth in Spain’s upcoming final against Bolivia.

Del Bosque named just a 19-man squad for that match, which was curious considering Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Llorente were left off that list.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
Leave a comment

Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
1 Comment

A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia