Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Italy benches stars, Terry returns as England captain
by Paul Kennedy, March 23rd, 2011 8:17PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  denmark, england, european championship, italy, netherlands, norway, spain


[EURO 2012 QUALIFYING] Qualifying for the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine continues with the first of two double fixture dates this spring. The first begins Friday and Saturday with several top-of-the-standings clashes on the schedule. Italy has benched several stars for disciplinary reasons, while the Netherlands' injury list is growing. Spain's Xavi is set to earn his 100th cap, and John Terry returns as England captain. Here's a look at the key games, all available live to American viewers ...

SLOVENIA-ITALY (Friday, 2:30 pm ET,
Leader Italy carries a three-point over Slovenia into the Group C clash, but Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli has dropped Italy's best striker, the controversial Mario Balotelli, and its best midfielder, hard man Daniele De Rossi.

“Our ethical code goes on, at all costs,” Prandelli said after the 21-year-old Balotelli dug himself deeper in the dog house at Manchester City when he was red-carded for kicking a Dynamo Kiev player in the chest early in last Thursday's Europa League match and video caught De Rossi elbowing a Shakhtar Donetsk player during their Champions League match. (It didn't help that both their teams were unceremoniously dumped from the competition.)

Italy's frontline includes New Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi, as well as Antonio Cassano and Alberto Gilardino.

The Netherlands and Germany are the only teams with four wins in four games, but it faces a tough Group E test against much-improved Hungary at the Ferenc Szusza Stadium in Budapest.

The Oranje's injury list is growing, however. Midfielder Mark van Bommel pulled out with a thigh injury, joining goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, winger Arjen Robben and striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar (eight goals already in qualifying) on the sidelines. Veteran striker Ruud van Nistelrooy was among the Dutch players brought in at the last minute.

The Dutch will be familiar with Hungarian star Balazs Dzsudzsak. He plays for PSV and has attracted interest from all the big EPL clubs with his play this season.

Defending European champion Spain (three wins in three games) will look to extend its lead over the second-place Czech Republic with a win in Grenada.

Midfielder Xavi will earn his 100th cap, making him only the second Spanish field player after Raul to reach the century mark in appearances. At 31, he is not yet ready to retire. "I still have many more games," Xavi told the Spanish sports daily AS. "I'm very proud of trying to meet the 100 [mark] but I think I have many more [matches] left."

Spain won't be at full strength, however, Xavi's Barcelona teammates, Carles Puyol and Pedro, are both out, as it Cesc Fabregas.

WALES-ENGLAND (Saturday 11 am, ESPN2,
All the headlines concerned John Terry's reappointment as captain 13 months after being stripped of the position after reports he had an affair with then-England teammate Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend surfaced.

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand took over as captain but he's injured, so England coach Fabio Capello says he'll give Terry the armband against Wales. "I'm not going to be everybody's cup of tea as I've read and I've seen, but it was the manager's decision,'' Terry said. "Respect for the players around me and the manager has always been there.''

Capello could pair Wayne Rooney with Liverpool's Andy Carroll up front if Carroll passes a fitness test.

NORWAY-DENMARK (Saturday, 3 pm ET,
At the age of 68, Coach Egil Olsen has come out of retirement and led Norway to a perfect nine points after three games in Group H heading into the match with third-place Denmark at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo.  "This is a match that has captured the imagination in both countries," he said. "This game is of huge importance."

Olsen will be without giant striker John Carew, sidelined with a back problem, starting goalkeeper Jon Knudsen, and right back Tom Hogli.

The Danes got bad news of their own on Wednesday when striker Niklas Bendtner and defender Simon Kjaer limped out of training with ankle injuries.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 24, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.
    Article states that "Italy's best striker, the controversial Mario Balotelli"...illusional at best, delusional at worst.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Playoffs: Youngster Boateng takes charge for Galaxy    
Emmanuel Boateng made up for a penalty whistled on him that negated the LA Galaxy's early ...
Report: Barrett out of running for Dynamo head coach    
Wade Barrett, who served as the Houston Dynamo interim coach for the last five months, won't ...
What They're Saying: Michael Bradley    
"For tonight, every player, every person who is a part of this club, every fan, every ...
What They're Saying: Harvard dean Rakesh Khurana    
"As a human being, and a member of the Harvard College community, I am always profoundly ...
MLS Moves: Robinson stays with 'Caps, but changes coming    
Three days after a 4-1 win over Portland ended a disappointing MLS season for Vancouver, the ...
MLS Playoffs: Toronto FC stars come to play    
Ten years. That's the time it took Toronto FC to finally win its first playoff game. ...
MLS: SKC takes win streak into first playoff meeting    
The Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City have been playoff mainstays -- eight straight appearances for ...
MLS Playoffs: Teams at familiar stage    
MLS's Knockout Round concludes Thursday with two games: D.C. United-Montreal and Seattle-Sporting KC. All four teams ...
Video Pick: Sublime scissor kick by Nacho    
Real Madrid's 26-year-old Nacho scored the goal of the week, a 17-yard scissor kick, on Wednesday ...
U.S. Abroad: Julian Green nets first Bayern goal    
Julian Green scored his first goal for Bayern Munich in his first start of the season, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives