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Archive for June 2010

Socceroos moment of truth against Ghana

The Socceroos play Ghana tonight in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Group D fixture knowing that a defeat will make them the first team to exist the tournament this year.

After the 4-nil humiliation against Germany things cannot get any worse and I hope that the Socceroos will rise to the occasion and at least snatch a draw and also at least score a goal.

Ghana beat Serbia 1-nil in their opening fixture and they looked very comfortable in that match even though they needed a penalty to score their lone goal.

Ghana knows that a win will make them the first team to qualify for the second round and what has made things complex is that Ghana knows they have to get something from this match because Germany having lost to Serbia means the Germans need something from their last fixture.

Tim Cahill is suspended for this match and I think that will make things a lot complex.

I think the injury to Vince Grella is not of much concern because he didn't have a particularly good game against Germany and I was expecting him to be on the bench anyway.

I think people may blame coach Pim Verbeek but the truth is that the Socceroos don't have the players to draw from.

Its surprising the Socceroos still depend on Harry Kewell a player who last played for his team in December last year and is no longer in top form.

The team certainly needs renewal and the match against the Black Stars may have come at the right time.

Massa extends Ferrari stay

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has extended his stay with Ferrari to 2012 after extending his contract.

Massa was injured last year in accident but he is back now for Ferrari and is currently lying seventh in the driver's championships.

There was a rumour last month that suggested that Red Bull's Mark Webber was going to replace Massa at Ferrari and this contract extensions will end those rumours.

Massa currently has 67 points to his name whilst team-mate Fernando Alonso has 79.

Schiavone wins French Open

Francesca Schiavone beat Samantha Stosur in straight sets to win the French Open and her maiden Grand slam.

This was Schiavone's first Grand Slam win and she played so well she made Stosure not look like the played who had caused some upsets on her way to the final.

Many women grand slam finals are not very interesting because they tend to be too one sided but it wasn't the case with this one.

The straight sets win means that Schiavone dropped just one set throughout the whole tournament which in itself is quite an achievement.

I was hoping that Stosur would win because I think this presented her with a very good chance to win a Grand Slam and now I hope that she will get further chances like this.

2010 World Cup preview

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is now less than a week from kick-off and in this post I will have a quick preview of the tournament.

The hosts South Africa are in group A with France, Mexico and Uruguay. I think South Africa as hosts will have that bit extra going for them with local support but there is also France who reached the final last time around in Germany and I think are the strongest in this group.

I think that France will get out of this group and joining them will be either the hosts or Uruguay.

In group B I expect Argentina to comfortably come through but as for who will join them it looks very tight.

I think Nigeria would have more of a chance had they played more matches under Lars Lagerback and as it is at the moment to me they look like an unknown quantity.

Greece missed the last World Cup when most people expected them to be there as European champions and South Korea have a good compact team that sometimes plays like a club team.

Group C is all about England but I expect the United States to give them a run of their money. At the last Confederation Cup the United States were very good and even reached the final which they lost to Brazil and therefore I am expecting them to get out of that group with England.

I don't think Slovenia and Algeria will cause a lot of problems.

In group there is the Socceroos, Germany, Ghana and Serbia. I think Germany are the strongest team in this group and should win even without Michael Ballack.

Ghana and Australia reached the second round in Germany but I think one of them if not both are going to go home after just playing three matches because Serbia has a strong team.

The Netherlands stand out in Group E and to me I think they should go as far as possible and the semis and even the final is a possibility.

Cameroon is in this group and I think its the African team in the easiest group and should they not qualify from here then that would be a disaster.

I think second place will be a shootout between Denmark and Cameroon with Japan finishing last.

The defending champions Italy are in Group which I think is the weakest of all the groups. Italy should win that group with Paraguay or Slovenia coming second.

I am not sure about New Zealand but I think they will not be able to cause an upset here.

Group G is one of the toughest but Brazil should come through all the same and I think as group winners.

I think its a lottery for second place and I think all the three other teams have a good chance. I don't know much North Korea and I think that is their strength that they are very much unknown by most people and therefore can spring a surprise or two.

Finally in Group H there is Spain who I expect to reach at least the semis but I don't think its that straight forward as to who would join them in the second round.

I would go with Chile but I think Switzerland and Honduras are quite capable and so I think it could be tight in this group.

Now I am now going to say who I think will the final but I expect four countries to do very well and these are Brazil, Argentina, Spain and the Netherlands.

I am looking forward to this World Cup and I will also be predicting the scores on TipsChallenge.

Stosur storms into French Open final

Samantha Stosur's winning run at Roland Garros continued as she won her semi-final match against Jelena Jankovic in straight sets.

She has gone one more step compared to last year when she lost in the semi but she made things look so easy with a straight sets victory especially in the first set.

Stosur will now meet Francesca Schiavone in the final after Elena Dementieva retired from their semi-final match.

This should be an interesting final because it will be the first Grand Slam title for either player and its a chance they should seize.

Its good to see that Stosur's wins over Justine Henin and Serena Williams have been rewarded with a place in the final but it would be better if she can now go and win it. This could be her best chance to win a grand slam title.

In the earlier match Dementieva retired and I think up to that point it was a pretty even match.

Lets hope the final will be entertaining and that the best player on the day wins.

Stosur stuns Williams to reach semis

Samantha Stosur's march at the French Open continued after beating world number one Serena Williams in three sets to reach the semi finals once again.

After beating a former world number one Justine Henin in the fourth round, Stosur continued her exploits by beating the current number one and even saving a match point.

I don't think Williams expected Stosur to play as well as she did and by the time she started playing well she managed to get the second set leading to the final deciding set.

Stosur will meet Jelena Jankovic in her second consecutive semi final and if she continues the way she has played the last two matches then she could be in the final this year at Roland Garros.

In the men's draw, Novak Djokovic lost to Jurgen Melzer in five sets despite winning the first two sets.

For his efforts Melzer will play Rafael Nadal who beat Nicolas Almagro in three tight sets. The first two were won in tie-breaks.

So it looks like the French Open is getting more exciting as it draws to a close and I am looking forward to today's action when Robin Soderling plays Tomas Berdych.

Soderling stops Federer's run

Robin Soderling beat defending champion Roger Federer in the French Open quarter-finals to stop Federer from the 24th consecutive Grand slam semi final appearance.

Soderling who lost to Federer in the final last year looked like he was going to lose the match again after losing the first set but he came back to win the last three to send the defending champion crashing out.

This was the first time Soderling had beaten Federer after twelve previous attempts finished in defeat.

Another upset was the day before when Samantha Stosur beat Justine Henin in three sets.

When Henin retired she was the French Open champion and she looked she was marching to another final at Roland Garros until Stosur stopped her.

Soderling will now meet Tomas Berdych who beat Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets.