Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bremen to revamp Weserstadion

UEFA Cup hopefuls Werder Bremen have received the green light from their supervisory board for the conversion of the Weserstadion into a pure football arena.

Seating increase
The centrally-located stadium was opened in 1924 and currently plays host to athletics events, for which the track will now be removed. That project, which will include an increase from the current 37,512 seats, is projected to cost €60m and scheduled to be completed at the end of 2009.

Rangers visit
Chairman Willy Lemke said: "Our fans can be happy about this. Bremen will now get a very attractive football arena which will compare well to other stadiums in Germany." The next fixture at the stadium is the visit of Rangers FC on Thursday, with the Scottish club leading the UEFA Cup Round of 16 fixture 2-0.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Euro 2008: AJ to miss vital England matches

Everton hit man Andrew Johnson will undergo surgery on his ankle after pulling out of the England squad for the crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia. England are currently trading at 8 to 1 odds to win Euro 2008 with internet sportsbook SBG Global. It is a blow for England because the talented 26-year-old came off the bench to drag his force his side back into their match with Newcastle at St James' Park with a 53rd-minute equaliser. Afterwards, Everton boss David Moyes confirmed to reporters after the game that Andrew Johnson will have an operation. Johnson had surgery on his other ankle last season and is expected to be out for up to four weeks.

Said Moyes: "It is a big blow for Everton (and obviously) England. We have known for a while he has had a problem with his ankle and he has also been carrying a groin injury, which kept him out recently. With the international break, unfortunately for England, it is probably the best time to get his ankle sorted now. We just know he has got a problem and Andy wants it sorted, so we have to get that done."

The news came on a bad day on Tyneside for Everton, who went behind to Nicky Butt's 42nd-minute goal after seeing the Magpies miss a series of earlier opportunities. Johnson came on as a half-time replacement for Scottish star James McFadden. Johnson scored within eight minutes of coming on as sub.

But that was the only good news for the Toffees as Emre cracked home a 25-yarder four minutes from time. Michael Owen then deflected in the third goal off his shoulder in injury time. Showing fighting spirit Everton reduced the deficit when Shay Given palmed Mikel Arteta's deflected cross into his own net but by that stage the game was well won by Newcastle.

Sam Allardyce, the Newcastle boss said: "Michael came on and won us the game, and you can see the importance of him. It would have been a disaster for us had a fluke goal for Everton in the 92nd minute got them something."

Written by Zico Kelly


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Spanish Press: Barcelona Chasing Juventus' Giovinco

Juventus-contracted youngster Sebastian Giovinco is allegedly attracting the attention of Barcelona scouts, according to Spanish media reports.

The diminutive attacking midfielder is currently on loan at Empoli, who face FC Zurich tonight in Switzerland in a bid to protect their 2-1 UEFA Cup First Round first leg lead.

Capped at each level of the Italian youth system, Giovinco, who can play in midfield or up front, recently made the step up to the U-21s (pictured), with whom he debuted against Albania in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

While Barcelona already have plenty of young striking talent, the Catalan giants are rumoured to be interested in Giovinco's versatility, and as such are expected to scout him this evening.

However, whether these latest Spanish press reports are true or not remains to be seen.

In any case, Empoli coach Gigi Cagni is eager to see his side protect their lead.

He remarked, "Everybody wants to progress in the UEFA Cup and we are going out there to do so, but we're also keeping an eye on upcoming league games.

"I’ve been able to watch several Zurich games and they are a talented side with lots of power in the air.

"We won’t be thinking about the victory in the first leg. We will just play our football."

That 2-1 home win comprised Empoli's first ever European result, the Tuscan minnows having qualified by virtue of a 7th place finish in Serie A last season.