Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 18th 2013 Contents RECIFE---Spain has everything
else, and now it seems to have a
genuine striker---the one thing the
World Cup champions have had
New No 9 Roberto Soldado scored
with a perfect finish in Spain s 2-1
victory over Uruguay in the Con-
federations Cup opener. The Valencia
striker scored both goals in Spain s
2-0 victory over Ireland in a friendly
last week, and now he s chalked up
the deciding goal against Uruguay
on the biggest stage of his career.
With the most powerful midfield
in the world, Spain coach Vicente
del Bosque has often played with a
so-called "false No 9," usually an
attacking midfielder. This may be
history with Soldado---which means
"Soldier" in Spanish.
"First of all, to be among the 23
to be on the team is great," Soldado
said after Sunday s victory. "But then
to be a starter is a radical change.
And then to score. Of course I m
Soldado scored 24 goals in La Liga
this season, surpassed only by the
likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano
Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao and Alvaro
Among the other strikers, Fer-
nando Torres scored 23, but only
eight in the Premier League this sea-
son for Chelsea, and David Villa
managed only 10 with Barcelona.
Soldado said he was hoping he
would get a start, saying he felt he d
been playing well and had caught
Del Bosque s eye for the World Cup
"Being here is a dream," said Sol-
dado, who is playing in his first major
championship for Spain. "Playing
with these guys is a dream that does-
n t feel real, particularly in an official
match like this one."
Spain and Uruguay are viewed as
the class acts of Group B, which also
includes Tahiti and Nigeria. The lop-
sided victory---it could have been a
two- or three-goal margin of vic-
tory---leaves Spain as the clear
favorite, possibly headed for an
appetising final against Brazil on
June 30 in Rio de Janeiro s renovated
"We deserved to win by more,"
Del Bosque said. "We did almost
everything well. We recovered the
loose balls, played a creative game
but we missed a few chances, which
left us a bit worried at the end."
Spain was very comfortable lead-
ing 2-0 on first-half goals by Pedro
and Soldado, until Liverpool s Luis
Suarez scored with a curving free
kick in the 88th.
Even with the goal, Uruguay coach
Oscar Tabarez acknowledged Spain
was far superior.
"It s a team that imposes condi-
tions on you," Tabarez said. "It s
playing in this tournament to win
the one title it lacks, which makes
me think they are very motivated
for the Confederations Cup."
The two-time defending European
champions had 77 per cent of the
possession in the first half, and 71
in the match---and that tells plenty.
It was the kind of game Spain captain
and goalkeeper Iker Casillas needed
in his first competitive match in
almost five months. He was dropped
in December by then-Real Madrid
coach Jose Mourinho, broke his left
hand on January 23 and was kept
on the bench even after the hand
healed after an argument with Mour-
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DEVIZE---The hand-written official
team sheet from Alex Ferguson s first
game as manager of United is expected
to raise up to 3,000 pounds ($4,700)
when it is sold at auction on Saturday.
Manchester United s 2-0 loss to Oxford
United on November 8, 1986, was the
first of 1,500 league games under Fer-
guson, who retired last month after nearly
27 years in charge.
A fan who was given the team sheet
by former Oxford player Peter Rhoad-
es-Brown as a souvenir has put it up for
sale in Devizes, Wiltshire.
Andrew Aldridge, an auctioneer for
Henry Aldridge and Son, says "the (United)
team in November 1986 was a little different
to the star-studded affair for Sir Alex s last
game in charge that included global stars
such as Robin van Persie." (AP)
Ferguson's first team sheet goes under hammer
JOHANNESBURG---FIFA is investigating
Ethiopia and Togo for allegedly fielding inel-
igible players in World Cup qualifying, poten-
tially leading to the Ethiopians losing their
place in the final playoffs for Brazil 2014.
Possible sanctions against the two teams
could significantly affect Africa s qualifying
competition for next year s World Cup and
help South Africa and Cameroon s chances---
but hinder Libya s.
Ethiopia qualified Sunday for the final play-
offs in October and November with a 2-1 win
over South Africa, but potentially faces being
stripped of its 2-1 win in Botswana on June
8 for an alleged ineligible player there.
FIFA said it is also looking at Togo s 2-0
home win over Cameroon on June 9, which
could now be awarded to Cameroon, pushing
it above Libya in the race for a playoff place
in their qualifying group.
FIFA did not say which players were under
suspicion or why they may be ineligible.
The typical punishment for fielding ineligible
players is a 3-0 win for the opposition team
and FIFA has already punished Burkina Faso,
Gabon and Sudan for ineligible players in qual-
Ethiopia won a place among Africa s final
10 countries with its 2-1 win over South Africa
this weekend, but if its earlier victory over
Botswana is ruled out, it will only lead South
Africa by two points ahead of the final round
of Group A games and won t yet be sure of
a place in the playoffs.
Botswana also would then have an outside
chance of jumping above both teams and grab-
bing the playoff spot.
If Cameroon is awarded a 3-0 victory in
the game against Togo in Lome, it will go
above Libya and need just a draw at home
against the Libyans in September to progress
from Group I.
The 10 group winners in African qualifying
proceed to two-legged playoff ties to decide
the five World Cup qualifiers.
FIFA also said Sunday that Equatorial Guinea
was appealing against a decision to strip it of
its 4-3 win over Cape Verde in March for an
ineligible player. If FIFA s ruling is upheld and
Cape Verde is awarded the game 3-0, it will
mean Tunisia s place in the playoffs is not yet
Tunisia would then lead Cape Verde by two
points ahead of a meeting between the two
countries in September to decide Group B.
FIFA investigating Ethiopia, Togo players
Bad news for rivals...
Spain has a new striker
Spain's Roberto Soldado, right, celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal during the football Confederations Cup group
B match between Spain and Uruguay at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Sunday. Spain won 2-1. AP PHOTO
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