Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 1st 2014 Contents ROTTERDAM---Robin van Persie scored his
second goal in as many pre-World Cup
friendlies as the Netherlands beat Ghana 1-
On the day Louis van Gaal announced his
final 23-man squad for Brazil, the Netherlands
coach looked to have picked his strongest side
for the match at Feyenoord s De Kuip stadium,
with the vastly experienced striking partnership
of Van Persie and Arjen Robben fed by play-
maker Wesley Sneijder.
It was that trio who teamed up to unlock
the Ghana defense in just the fifth minute.
Sneijder played a one-two with Robben and
then cut back the ball past the advancing goal-
keeper to Van Persie who only had to tap into
the open goal for his 43rd international goal.
Robben should have doubled the lead seven
minutes later but scuffed a close-range shot
over the bar after a cross from left back Daley
Blind set him free in front of goal at the end
of a flowing attack.
The Bayern Munich winger squandered
another great chance when goalkeeper Adam
Kwarasey blocked his shot when Robben was
again on his own in front of goal after a cross
from right back Daryl Janmaat.
"I should have scored two. I m saving them
up," Robben said.
Both final passes came from backs func-
tioning almost as wingers in Van Gaal s new
The defenders --- seen by many as the team s
Achilles heel---also ensured Jasper Cillessen
kept a clean sheet.
"In the second half, we created less but we
gave away absolutely nothing," Van Gaal said.
Ghana, which has a tough draw in Brazil
together with Germany, Portugal and the Unit-
ed States in Group G, never looked like break-
ing down the Dutch back five.
Coach James Kwesi Appiah s team stayed
in the game thanks to Robben s misses and
aggressive tackling and pressure that broke
up the fluency of Dutch build-up play.
"Ghana pinned us back and that makes it
difficult," Van Gaal said.
But he expects the attacking fluency to
come as the squad continues to train togeth-
"It will get better," Van Gaal said. "We ve
only just started."
plays Wales on
Wednesday in Ams-
terdam and flies to
Rio de Janeiro the
following day. It is
in Group B with
Spain, Chile and
Finland 2, Estonia 0
Croatia 2, Mali 1
Norway 1, Russia 1
Algeria 3, Armenia 1
Albania 0, Romania 1
Latvia 1, Lithuania 0
Mexico 3, Ecuador 1
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DUBLIN--- Hall of Fame golfer Phil
Mickelson confirmed that FBI agents
investigating insider trading
approached him this week at the
Memorial Tournament. The winner of
five major championships said
yesterday he has done "absolutely
nothing wrong." A federal official
briefed on the investigation said the
FBI and Securities and Exchange
Commission are analyzing trades
Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler Billy
Walters made involving Clorox at the
same time activist investor Carl Icahn
was attempting to take over the
company. The official was
unauthorised to speak about the
ongoing investigation and spoke to the
AP on condition of anonymity. Reports
of the investigation appeared in
several newspapers, including the Wall
Smiling as he stood before a room
packed with reporters and cameras,
Mickelson said the investigation had
not been a distraction until FBI agents
approached him after his opening
round Thursday. He did not offer any
other details, including his relationship
with Walters or any stock advice he
might have received. (AP)
Mickelson says he's cooperating in trading probe
LONDON---Italy was held to a 0-0 draw
by Ireland in a World Cup warm-up match
yesterday that saw the Azzurri lose key
midfielder Riccardo Montolivo to a broken
leg which will rule him out of the tour-
nament in Brazil.
Reading fullback Alex Pearce fouled Mon-
tolivo in the ninth minute and the AC Milan
player immediately knew what was wrong.
Montolivo could be seen saying "it s broken"
as fellow players and medical staff hovered
around him anxiously while he was still
lying on the pitch.
"Montolivo has what we suspected, a
broken tibia," Italy physician Enrico Castel-
lacci said. "I haven t seen the X-ray yet to
evaluate the extent of it but for a broken
bone you can expect surgery."
Making matters worse, Montolivo s
replacement Alberto Aquilani also left before
halftime complaining of dizziness after
knocking heads with a defender.
Both Montolivo and Aquilani were brought
to a local hospital for tests. In Aquilani s
case, the tests showed he was not seriously
With Italy coach Cesare Prandelli resting
regular starters like Mario Balotelli, Andrea
Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, it was an uncon-
vincing performance for the Azzurri.
"Unfortunately it was a match marred
by injuries," Prandelli said. "It s difficult to
analyze the match in technical terms when
two players are injured...Right now we re
all a bit dazed. It s not easy to swallow this."
Montolivo was making his 58th appear-
ance with Italy.
"Montolivo has become a reference point
over the years," Prandelli said. "He s done
so silently but he s a player with a strong
personality inside the changing room---and
that s also why his teammates were in shock."
Ireland came closest to scoring when
Stephen Quinn hit the crossbar in the 78th.
The positive notes for Italy were reserve
goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who made sev-
eral key saves playing in place of Buffon,
and forward Antonio Cassano, who came
on in the second half for his first national
team appearance since the 2012 European
Giuseppe Rossi, who is pushing to make
Prandelli s final 23-man squad after a long
injury layoff, played 71 minutes and also
created a couple of chances.
"Physically, I feel good," Rossi said. "It s
not up to me to say what happens now. My
job is to play and give my all."
However, Prandelli wasn t so convinced
before deciding on his 23-man squad today.
"It s a little complicated to discuss Rossi s
performance in detail," the coach said.
"Everyone was frozen after what happened.
We need to be very, very rational."
Midfielder Marco Parolo also had a strong
performance at Fulham s Craven Cottage.
"Let s see how we recuperate tomorrow
then we ll make our decisions," Prandelli
Italy threatened early but then appeared
distracted by Montolivo s injury.
Serie A scoring leader Ciro Immobile
wasted a chance four minutes in with only
the goalkeeper to beat when he failed to
control a cross. Two minutes later, a long
shot from Claudio Marchisio was tipped
wide by Ireland goalkeeper David Forde.
Italy next hosts Luxembourg in Perugia
on Wednesday then flies out to Brazil a day
Drawn into Group D at the World Cup,
Italy opens against England on June 14 then
faces Costa Rica on June 20 and Uruguay
on June 24. (AP)
LISBON---Cristiano Ronaldo sat out Por-
tugal s exhibition match against Greece yes-
terday and his flair was sorely missed as
the two World Cup-bound teams produced
a tedious 0-0 draw.
The muted game at the National Stadium
in Lisbon did little to brighten the hopes of
the two European teams ahead of the tour-
nament in Brazil that begins June 12.
The under-strength Portuguese lacked a
spark that could have translated their sporadic
forward moves into goals. As well as Real
Madrid star Ronaldo, who is recuperating
from a series of leg injuries and sore muscles,
Portugal felt the absence of playmaker Joao
Moutinho in midfield and Pepe in the central
defense. Greece, though initially fielding its
strongest team, looked ordinary and rarely
got out of first gear.
"One situation we have to be prepared for
is not having our regular players available,"
Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. "We paid
the price of our lack of effectiveness in attack."
Portugal will start the World Cup in Group
G with Germany, Ghana and the United
States. Greece is in Group C with Colombia,
Japan and Ivory Coast. (AP)
Italy hurting after 0-0
draw with Ireland Netherlands beat
Ghana 1-0 in World
Portugal draws 0-0 with Greece in WCup warm-up
Italy's Riccardo Montolivo, left, is tackled by Republic of Ireland's Alex Pearce and is
injured from the tackle during their international friendly football match at Craven
Cottage, London, yesterday. Montolivo broke his left tibia and will miss the World Cup. The
match ended 0-0. AP PHOTO
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