JUNE 11 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS

JUNE 11 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS

‘NO NERVES’ FOR SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa captain Aaron Mokoena said his team would have no nerves when they walk out in front of an expectant 85,000-strong home crowd at the Soccer City stadium for their World Cup opener against Mexico on Friday, in one of the biggest matches in the nations history.

“We are looking forward to the game,” said Mokoena. “It’s going to be important that we go out relaxed, but of course not too relaxed, and enjoy it.”

Mokoena, who recently became the first South African to earn 100 caps, thinks the team will live in the moment and not feel the pressure of expectation.

“It’s about us, it’s about what we want and about making our country proud. The moment of truth has arrived.”

DROGBA RETURNS TO PRACTICE

Didier Drogba has returned to training just days after surgery on a broken arm and could be considered for Ivory Coast’s opening World Cup match against Portugal.

The Ivory Coast captain had surgery Saturday on a broken arm sustained in a friendly against Japan the previous day, casting doubt over his availability for the World Cup.

The 32-year-old Drogba wore a light protective cast on his arm during practice on Thursday, raising coach Sven-Goran Eriksson’s hopes the Chelsea striker will be fit for Tuesday’s Group G match at Port Elizabeth.

MANDELLA’S GREAT-GRANDAUGHTER DIES IN CRASH

(Associated Press)

Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on the way home from a concert in Soweto on the eve of the World Cup, his office said Friday.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said Zenani Mandela died in a one-car accident and no one else was injured. Tummi Shai, a police spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that a case of probable homicide — not unusual in traffic accidents where negligence is suspected — had been opened. Shai would not give any further detail, including the location of the accident.

Thursday’s World Cup concert had drawn tens of thousands of people to Soweto, and traffic was congested into the early hours Friday.

Zenani, who celebrated her 13th birthday on Wednesday, was one of the anti-apartheid icon’s nine great-grandchildren.

“The family has asked for privacy as they mourn this tragedy,” the foundation said in a statement.

Mandela, who turns 92 on July 18, has largely retired from public life although as of Thursday it had been anticipated he would make a brief appearance at the World Cup opening ceremony Friday, depending on his health and the weather conditions.

In a statement Thursday, the Foundation said it had been “inundated with requests for meetings, and it will be impossible for Mr. Mandela to accede to even a small fraction of these.” But Mandela met this week with members of the Black Eyed Peas, one of the main acts at Thursday’s concert, and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Carlos Queiroz — the latter a former coach of South Africa.

FORLAN WANTS PREMIERSHIP RETURN

Uruguayan Diego Forlan hopes to use the World Cup as a means to secure a move back to the Premier League and salvage his reputation in England.

The former Manchester United striker endured a difficult time during his first spell in England between 2002 and 2004 where it took him 27 games to score his first goal, but he has since rebuilt his reputation as a prolific goalscorer in Spain with Atletico Madrid.

“If a big chance to return to England came up, I would have to look at it,” said Forlan. “I loved my time in English football – the people, the fans, the football, everything.”

SEPP BLATTER TO STAND FOR FOURTH TERM

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has confirmed he will stand for re-election for a fourth term at next year’s Congress – and would not rule out running for a fifth term in office at the end of that.

Blatter confirmed his intention to run again yesterday at the 60th FIFA Congress, and will now seek another term in office – possibly unchallenged.

“I have said that I’m still motivated – not only motivated, I want to do it, I will.” Blatter said. “I will go for another one and I want it to be transparent. Let’s go and see.

AUSTRALIA PULL OUT OF 2018 WORLD CUP BID

Australia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup has been withdrawn in order to concentrate on a challenge for the tournament in 2022.

The 2018 tournament has been long rumored to go to a European Nation. Consequently every non-European nation, except the United States, has pulled out. The remaining European bidders for 2018 World Cup; England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium will.

Australia will focus on the bid for 2022, which the United States is also bidding for, along with Qatar, Republic of Korea and Japan (separate bids).

MARTIN SKRTEL RECOVERY

Martin Skrtel is nearing full fitness as he continues his recovery from injury.

The 25-year-old Liverpool defender has been unable to train with his Slovakian teammates since their arrival in South Africa on Wednesday. Skrtel is expected to step up his training today in preparation for next Tuesday’s opening Group F match against New Zealand in Rustenburg.

Asked about his squad, Weiss said: “All are healthy, although Martin Skrtel still on Wednesday prepared individually.

“But he is now almost completely healthy and on Friday, he will no longer be training without the ball.”

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One Response to “JUNE 11 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS”

  1. Rick Krostag Says:

    your site is interesting.. keep posting often.. please visit my new soccer blog! thnx

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