Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2014 Contents A69
Saturday, June 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
FORTALEZA---Germany midfielder Sami
Khedira is mystified as to why some
teams, including his own, seem to run
into problems in their second matches
at big tournaments.
Already at this World Cup, Italy has
lost to Costa Rica 1-0 after defeating Eng-
land 2-1 in its opener; the Netherlands
had to come from behind to edge Australia
3-2 after demolishing defending champion
Spain 5-1 in its opener; and Brazil was
held 0-0 by Mexico.
"I can t explain why the second match
is always hard after a win. I think it s a
mental thing," Khedira said Friday. "We
went through the same experience in 2008
and 2010. We don t want to come to the
last game and worry."
Germany has twice lost its second match
in recent tournaments---2-1 to Croatia at
the 2008 European Championship and 1-
0 to Serbia at the 2010 World Cup, despite
beating Australia 4-0 in the opener.
In Brazil, the Germans opened in Group
G by defeating Portugal 4-0 and next play
Ghana on Saturday. After the loss to Serbia
four years ago, Germany edged Ghana 1-
0 to advance to the knockout stage.
"We will be totally focused against
Ghana. It s an African team and they are
very athletic. So we have to concentrate.
And I think we will prevail. We have to
be tactically clever," the Real Madrid defen-
sive midfielder said.
"We beat them four years ago, but it
was a difficult match and we needed some
luck," Khedira added. Germany won with
a second-half goal by Mesut Ozil.
Today, both Khedira and Ozil are still
seeking to reach top form. Khedira was
out for six months with a knee injury and
only returned shortly before the World
Cup, while Ozil s form dipped, amid injury
problems, after a promising start with
Despite confidence in Germany s
strengths, Khedira expects a tough match.
"Ghana has excellent players who play
in good clubs. They don t give up, they
are robust and they are technically good,"
Germany coach Joachim Loew said the
second match presented as great a chal-
lenge as the opening match and that it
was "a psychological problem" for teams
to keep concentrating after achieving a
"You can t have any lapses. If there s a
lapse, you will lose," Loew warned yes-
terday. "Their situation is that it s a final
Ghana lost 2-1 to the United States in
its opener and Germany knows it will be
a long, hard game on Saturday.
BELO HORIZONTE---Argentina coach
Alejandro Sabella yesterday denied there
was any power struggle going on with
Lionel Messi ahead of the Group F match
against Iran, saying he wasn t offended
when his star player publicly expressed
his views about team tactics.
Messi this week told reporters that he
favors a more attacking formation than
the one Sabella used in the first game
against Bosnia-Herzegovina, which
Argentina struggled to win 2-1.
Normally players try to avoid statements
that can be seen as criticising the coach s
tactics, but Sabella said there was "nothing
new" in Messi s comments about how
the team should play.
"We don t have any problem. It didn t
bother me at all," Sabella said. "The
atmosphere in the group is perfect."
Dismissing speculation in Argentine
media that Messi had demanded to speak
publicly about the issue, Sabella said it
was he who asked the Barcelona forward
to talk to reporters.
Messi said he prefers the 4-3-3 for-
mation that Argentina used in most qual-
ifying matches than the more defensive
5-3-2 lineup that Sabella fielded against
RIO DE JANEIRO---Roy Hodgson has
been asked by the English Football Asso-
ciation to remain as head coach until
2016 despite the team being eliminated
at the World Cup group stage for the
first time since 1958.
England has opened the tournament
in Brazil with losses to Italy and Uruguay,
and its hopes of advancing from Group
D ended when Italy lost 1-0 to Costa Rica
At Hodgson s first tournament as coach,
England reached the quarterfinals at the
2012 European Championship, and the
FA wants him to see out contract until
after Euro 2016.
"We re supportive of Roy Hodgson.
We ve asked him to stay as manager," FA
chairman Greg Dyke said. "We do not
see any value in changing. We think Roy
has done a good job and it is an approach
over four years and we hope to do better
in the European Championships."
Dyke was satisfied with how England s
youthful team performed.
"Everybody thought we played really
well in the first game (against Italy) and
narrowly lost," he said.
"In the second game it could have gone
either way. We were not humiliated or
anything like that. They were narrow
defeats, but it is for the football people,
not for me to identify why we did not
England can t even make a rapid escape
from Brazil, with a group game still to
play against Costa Rica on Tuesday.
Hodgson insisted after Thursday s 2-
1 loss to Uruguay that he would not walk
away from the job.
"I m bitterly disappointed, of course,
but I don t feel I need to resign," the for-
mer Inter Milan, Liverpool and Switzer-
land coach said.
Since becoming FA chairman last year,
Dyke has targeted the 2022 World
Cup as the tournament when England
should finally emulate its only success in
An FA commission reported last month
that measures must be taken to reduce
the number of foreign players in Premier
League teams and increase opportunities
for homegrown players.
Union wants probe of head blow
The world players' union
accused FIFA of failing to protect
Uruguay midfielder Alvaro Pereira
after he played on following a hard blow to the head he
said felt "like the lights went out."
Pereira lay motionless after colliding with Raheem
Sterling in the 61st minute of Uruguay's 2-1 victory
against England on Thursday. He was allowed to return
in the 63rd minute.
The union said that FIFA's protocol for assessing
concussions "failed to protect" Pereira. It called for "a
thorough investigation" as well as "urgent talks and
immediate assurances that FIFA can guarantee the
safety of the players."
Although Pereira himself acknowledged he was
briefly knocked unconscious and then felt dizzy, FIFA
spokeswoman Delia Fischer said: "The neurological
examination by the team's physician clearly showed
that it's normal and that allowed him to return."
Germany defender Hummels in doubt
Germany central defender Mats Hummels went
through some warm-up routines yesterday but remains
doubtful for the match against Ghana today.
Hummels scored a goal in Germany's 4-0 opening
win over Portugal but hurt his right thigh in the match
and hasn't been able to train with the team since.
Germany coach Joachim Lowe said Hummels was
able to run on Thursday but did not tackle or take part
in the full practice.
Loew is waiting to see how Hummels reacts to the
team's last practice before deciding on his lineup.
Hummels went through the usual warm-up routines
at the Arena Castelao but reporters were ushered out
after 15 minutes and could not see if he participated in
the full session.
Mexico coach defends gay slur chant by crowd
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has defended fans
chanting a gay slur which is under investigation by the
sport's international governing body.
Mexico fans shouting the slur as the rival team's
goalkeeper takes a goal kick is "not that bad," Herrera
"We're with our fans. It's something they do to
pressure the opposing goalkeeper," he said. Fare, the
European fan-monitoring group, reported the chants at
Mexico's 1-0 win over Cameroon in Natal.
FIFA subsequently opened a disciplinary case against
the Mexico federation, which is responsible for the
behaviour of its fans inside stadiums.The chant
originated with fans of Mexican club Chivas, then
became popular during a Mexico-United States
qualifying match for the 2004 Athens Olympics played
Dutch players miss training session
Four regular starters have missed full training for the
Netherlands as the team prepares for its final World
Cup Group B match against Chile on Monday.
Arjen Robben, Daley Blind and Nigel de Jong jogged
around the pitch at Rio club Flamengo's training
complex yesterday and did not appear seriously injured.
Defender Bruno Martins Indi sat out the entire session
as he recovers from a mild concussion suffered in his
team's hard-fought 3-2 win over Australia.
The exact condition of the players was not
Coach Louis van Gaal will definitely be without
striker Robin van Persie, who is suspended after
picking up two yellow cards.
Cameroon investigates player spat
Cameroon's football federation is investigating what
it calls "disgraceful behaviour" by some of its players in
the 4-0 loss to Croatia at the World Cup, when
defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto head-butted a
FECAFOOT said players could be punished through
the internal investigation ahead of Cameroon's final
Group A game against Brazil on Monday. Cameroon is
already eliminated after two poor performances in
losses to Mexico and Croatia.
Germany's Sami Khedira, left, helps his team-mate Germany's Thomas Mueller after
Mueller scored his side's fourth goal during the Group G World Cup soccer match
between Germany and Portugal, Monday. AP PHOTO
Argentina coach denies rift with Messi
England asks Hodgson to stay on
Khedira puzzled by
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