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‘Seniors can help U21s’

[unable to retrieve full-text content]England manager would be happy for younger players to help out if U21s qualify for next year's Euros

Is the game finally up for Sepp Blatter?

Issa Hayatou could be the man to take over should Blatter suspension be confirmed.

Sepp Blatter

The net appears to have closed in on Sepp Blatter after a a 90-day suspension of the FIFA president was recommended to judge Hans-Joachim Eckert by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee. Reportedly a similar suspension was also proposed for Michel Platini, the French president of European federatiom UEFA.

Eckert was expected to deliver his own verdict in the morning. The decision must then be communicated, under the terms of FIFA Code of Ethics by formal letter or fax. Eckert can also decide the scope of a suspension which would settle the issue of whether Blatter is even allowed back into FIFA’s headquarters.

A 90-day suspension can be ‘topped up’ by a further 45 days. In any case a 90-day ban would debar Blatter from chairing the crucial executive committee meeting set for early in December in which a decision must be made on the agenda for the extraordinary elective congress on February 26 which is due to choose his successor.

Also now in question is whether it is possible to pursue the reform proposals work which Blatter had set under way or whether it wil have to put on hold pending the election of a president possessing the authority and credibility to revive what is an essential task for the sake of both the organisation and a leaderless game.

The ethics committee had been summoned to meet in barely-hidden secrecy this week to assess the questions hanging over Blatter, Platini and other senior football figures including South Korean Chong Mong-joon.

Eckert’s room for manoeuvre appears to be minimal with Blatter the subject of a Swiss criminal investigation over alleged mismanagement. This included an under-valed TV rights sale and a ‘disloyal payment’ to Platini for work which the Frenchman claims was undertaken appropriately for FIFA between 1999 and 2002.

Chung is, like Platini, a contender to succeed Blatter as president at an extraordinary congress next February 26. The South Korean, by his own admission, risks a 15-year ban for his activities in the contentious 2018-2022 World Cup bidding process.

Reports that Blatter and Platini would face investigation emerged soon after the pair were ambushed for questioning by Swiss police after a FIFA executive committee meeting two weeks ago.

Confirmation of an ‘all-stations’ summons to members of the ethics committee came from reports in Senegal concerning the travel plans of the former Sports Minister, Abdoulaye Makhtar Diop, who is an ethics committee member.

Speculation that the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee had recommended Blatter’s suspension were confirmed by his adviser, Klaus Stohlker but a spokesmen for the discipinary body insisted it was debarred from any comment on ongoing investigations.

With Blatter suspended then Issa Hayatou, FIFA’s senior vice-president and head of the African confederation, should take over as interim president. Hayatou was once reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee for accepting illicit funds from ISL, the bankrupted former marketing partner of both FIFA and the IOC.

Women close in on World Cup

England’s Women are just one point away from next summer’s World Cup after a narrow 2-1 win in Ukraine.

Mark Sampson’s side have won all eight qualifiers to date and are five points clear of second-placed Wales with two Group 6 matches remaining. A draw in Wales in August will seal a place at Canada 2015.

Ukraine 1-2 England Women

2015 Women's World Cup Qualifier
Group 6
Arena Lviv, Lviv
Thursday 19 June

Casey Stoney, making her first start under Sampson, headed the visitors into a 10th-minute lead and Eniola Aluko doubled the advantage soon after from just a few inches out.

Ukraine had the better of the second half and Olha Ovdiychuk halved the deficit on 63 after England failed to clear a corner.

If Wales had dropped points against Belarus in Minsk, a win for the Three Lions would have secured qualification, but a late Natasha Harding hat-trick extended their hopes for at least another couple of months.

After the Ukraine goal, neither side were able to create many opportunities and Sampson’s charges held on to put themselves on the verge of progress.

There were two changes from the team that defeated Belarus at the weekend as Stoney and Jill Scott came in for Demi Stokes and Natasha Dowie, who scored twice the last time these two sides met, in May.

Eniola Aluko continued her scoring run against Ukraine

Eniola Aluko continued her scoring run against Ukraine

Arsenal defender Stoney slotted in next to Steph Houghton at centre-back and Lucy Bronze moved out to left-back, while Karen Carney took Dowie’s place up top with Manchester City midfielder Scott operating in the No10 role.

There was further reason for celebration for Liverpool midfielder Fara Williams who made her 129th England appearance, equalling Rachel Yankey’s all-time record.

Sampson’s side had to wait until five minutes before half-time before they broke the deadlock in Shrewsbury but it was a different story here in Lviv as two early goals helped lay the foundations for England’s victory.

The opening 10 minutes were fairly uneventful – until Stoney nudged the visitors ahead. Williams’s corner was headed goalwards by Houghton and Stoney completed the job, nodding the ball home from close range.

Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Jill Scott latched onto Jade Moore’s through ball, out-muscled Olha Basanka and prodded the ball beyond Ukraine goalkeeper Iryna Zvarych. 

The shot was heading goalwards but Aluko made sure and tapped the ball over the line from a matter of centimetres for her ninth goal of the qualifying campaign.

The hosts had spells in the first half where they enjoyed more of the ball but failed to cause England any real problems, with Karen Bardsley only called upon to catch a few over-hit crosses.

When Ukraine did pen England in their own half, Sampson’s charges worked their way out of danger with some calm defensive play. Alex Scott and Houghton hassled and harried Tatiana Romanenko, Jade Moore played the ball back to Williams who then showed exactly why she has earned so many caps. 

The 30-year-old played an exquisite ball into the path of Carney, who took it in her stride, but her angled shot was parried away by Zvarych.

Ukraine began the second half brightly, looking for a goal that would get them back into the contest, and potentially back into contention for at least a play-off place.

They failed to test Bardsley directly but did force Stoney to head a dangerous right-sided cross to safety.

Jill Scott came close to extending the lead when she headed Williams’s free-kick just wide of the target.

Anatoliy Kutsev’s side were increasingly growing into the game and they got their reward just after the hour mark. England failed to properly deal with Lyudmyla Pekur’s corner and Ovdiychuk took full advantage, side-footing the ball home from six yards out.

It was the first goal the Three Lions had conceded in this World Cup qualifying campaign.

The goal whipped a small but fervent home crowd into even more of a frenzy and spurred Ukraine on to search for the equaliser.

The impressive Pekur and Olha Boychenko tried their luck from range but both efforts were too high to trouble Bardsley.

Ukraine (4-4-1-1): 1 Iryna Zvarych (C), 2 Olha Basanska, 4 Valentyna Kotyk, 6 Lyudmyla Pekur, 8 Olha Boychenko, 9 Vira Dyatel, 11 Tatiana Romanenko, 14 Olha Ovdiychuk, 16 Alla Lyshafay, 17 Dariya Apanashchenko, 18 Iryna Vasylyuk

Substitutes: 10 Oksana Yakovyshyn for Romanenko (59), 21 Yuliya Korniyevets for Boychenko (85), 19 Maryna Masalska for Lyshafay (89)

Substitutes not used: 12 Kateryna Samson, 5 Dariya Kravets, 7 Olena Khodyryeva, 15 Iya Andrushcha.

Goals: Ovdiychuk 63

Bookings: Vasylyuk 59

Head coach: Anatoliy Kutsev

England (4-4-2): 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City); 2 Alex Scott (Arsenal), 5 Steph Houghton (C; Manchester City), 6 Casey Stoney (Arsenal), 3 Lucy Bronze (Liverpool); 7 Jade Moore (Birmingham City), 4 Fara Williams (Liverpool), 11 Jill Scott (Manchester City), 8 Laura Bassett (Chelsea); 9 Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), 10 Karen Carney (Birmingham City).

Substitutes: 16 Lianne Sanderson (Boston Breakers) for Jill Scott 69, 17 Jess Clarke (Notts County) for Aluko 79, 12 Alex Greenwood (Everton) for Carney 90.

Substitutes not used: 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), 14 Sophie Bradley (Notts County), 15 Dunia Susi (Notts County), 18 Natasha Dowie (Liverpool).

Head coach: Mark Sampson

Goals: Stoney 10, Aluko 14

Bookings: Bronze 53, Bassett 62

Referee: Cristina Dorcioman (Romania)

Bees v Lionesses preview

London Bees may be struggling to find any form but Millwall Lionesses star Kylie Davies insists her side’s own personal history against them does not reflect the league table.

The Bees are anchored to the bottom of The FA Women’s Super League 2 with just four points to their name – yet one of those came against Millwall back in April.

Naomi Cole completed the rescue job – securing the Lionesses a share of the spoils with her late penalty – a match that Davies remembers all too well.

London Bees v Millwall Lionesses

The FA WSL 2
2pm, Sunday 31 August 2014
The Hive

This time Millwall will be travelling to The Hive and Davies is confident that at the very least her side can add to their 11 WSL goals so far this season, even if star forward Emma Whitter is sidelined.

“We have played them twice and they were both good, competitive games,” she said. “They dominated most of the possession in those games but it is about taking your chances which we did not and that is something we have struggled with.

“We are working hard in training and need to get goals, it has not helped that our main striker Emma Whitter is out for the rest of the season, but we know what we have to do and hopefully we can kick on.”

According to Cherie Rowlands, the Bees have targeted the fixture as a possible to return to form.

And the goalkeeper has also set herself some personal goals to fulfil before the end of the season as injury has hampered her campaign to date.

“We have drawn twice against them this season, so we go into this one looking to improve on our previous results and we would like to come away with a win,” said Rowlands.

“It will be tough game, we are both quite similar in the way that we play but after getting two draws we are looking for the win.

“I have been a bit hot and cold, I do well and play a few games but then I pick up a little niggle and I am out again.

“It is disheartening for me, because I do well but then miss out through injury and have to build up again.”

For tickets to the game visit: www.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl

Joel Campbell with a scorching finish

Joel Campbell was Costa Rica's outstanding player in their surprise 3-1 win over Uruguay. His emphatic finish levelled the scores, but it was the lung-busting run and fantastic cross from Cristian Gamboa that made the goal possible. [e...

Chambers’ ‘whirlwind’ month

Calum Chambers says it's been a "whirlwind" month after making his England debut against Norway at Wembley Stadium.

This summer, the 19-year-old defender made a move to Arsenal from Southampton and soon figured for the Gunners in The FA Community Shield.

Inside a few short weeks Chambers had received a call from Roy Hodgson and was given his first taste of senior international football last week. He came on as a late substitute in the Three Lions' 1-0 win over the Norwegians.

Switzerland v England

European Qualifier, Group E
7.45pm BST, Monday 8 September 2014
St Jakob Park, Basel
Watch live on ITV

"It has been a whirlwind month for me," Chambers told TheFA.com. "I was over the moon [when I got the call] as it's every kid's dream to play for England. It was fantastic news.

"Wembley is an amazing stadium and making my debut there made it all the better really. I had all my family and friends there and it was a dream come true. 

"It was a little bit nerve-wracking when I got on the pitch. It was just excitement, I just wanted to get on there and kick a ball. 

"I took it all in and really enjoyed it - it was a really good day for me."

When Chambers - who has played for England at U17s and U19s level - met up with England last week, he was one of three Arsenal players in the squad, along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. 

Danny Welbeck has since joined the Emirates ranks, while Chambers is also friends with striker Rickie Lambert.

Lambert, 32, played alongside Chambers at Southampton last season, but both have moved to pastures new ahead of this campaign. However, the youngster was pleased to see the Liverpool forward again.

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He continued: "The Arsenal players are here and have helped me settle in well. It was obviously nice to see Rickie again, as I haven't seen him since he's moved to Liverpool - we had a good catch up.

"I've really enjoyed it. It's been a really good experience for me. I've been [to St. George's Park] before with the U19s, but this is on a different level.

"Everyone has been really nice to me and welcomed me, which I think has helped the transition from the U19s to the senior squad. 

"Training with the boys here, they are all players of such quality, so you are going to learn things in training. You can speak to the more experienced boys as well and they can help you and give you tips too, which is nice."

After making his first England appearance under the Arch on Wednesday, Chambers will be hoping to add another cap when they face Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Basel on Monday.

With a relatively young squad, Chambers believes it's an exciting time for the Three Lions as they continue to build, with the Finals in France in two years' time their aim.

Calum Chambers

Chambers in training at St. George's Park

But with the Swiss - who reached the knockout stages of this summer's World Cup - first up for Hodgson's men, the former Saint says England will need to be at their best.

"We know they are going to be a good team, they've got some really quality players and had a good World Cup," he said. 

"We're not going to go into it thinking it's going to be easy, because it's not. We've been working really hard over the last few days to prepare ourselves physically and mentally. 

"We're going to go into the game knowing it's going to be a big test, but we'll give it our all and hopefully get a result out of it."

He added: "Norway sat off us a little, but I think Switzerland will be a good test as they'll come out at us. I think we've prepared well, so we'll be in good shape for it.

"There is a lot of young talent in the senior squad and there is a lot of excitement. Players have a lot of flair - we're looking forward to a good game."

No Women’s World Cup bid

The Football Association has pulled out of the running to host the 2019 Women's World Cup.

The FA had registered an expression of interest with FIFA but has now dropped its bid.

A statement from English football’s governing body said: "The FA can confirm that it will not be progressing its initial interest in hosting either the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019, or the Under-20 Women's World Cup in 2018.

"Expressions of interest were lodged to gain a wider understanding of the bidding process, the benefits associated to the tournament and the competition to host the tournaments. 

“Having assessed all of these factors The FA will not be furthering its interest in these competitions at this time.

"The FA remains committed to growing women's football and continues to invest in the game domestically both at the elite and grassroots level."

France, South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa are the other countries bidding to host the tournament.

Thomas Muller scores with precise shot into corner

Germany's Thomas Muller scored this pin-point shot against USA for his fourth goal of the tournament. [embedded content]

Barring a miracle, Arsenal can now concentrate on the league

Arsenal were humilioated by Bayern Munich, but an early exit from the Champions League may be a boost to their domestic ambitions.

Arsene Wenger

After Arsenal’s fortuitous 2-0 win over Bayern Munich at the Emirates, and before their pitiful collapse in the return, Pep Guardiola, the Bayern manager, derided the long ball methods the Gunners had employed in the first game.

Well might he do so for despite the 2-0 victory, they seemed a betrayal of all that Arsene Wenger had stood for for so long. An emphasis on skilled, sometimes intricate, rhythmic build up sometimes, it is true, criticised for its alleged lack of final penetration, but a pleasure to watch and a tribute to Wenger’s perfectionism; even if a couple of seasons ago the wheels came off at least three times.

But in Germany, the wheels came off disastrously. On an occasion when they might well have been excused for letting down the drawbridge, they were simply and embarrassingly overwhelmed.

An edgy 1-1 draw against the old enemy Tottenham at the Emirates followed, and mitigating voices were heard suggesting that with the Gunners seemingly doomed for the first time for so many years to go out of the European Cup at the first stage, they can – what an ancient chestnut! – now concentrate on the League! In those days the reference was to being knocked out of the FA Cup.

Whatever, the fact that Arsenal still seem to be challenging so strongly for their first Premiership for so many years surely tells you something about its overall standard.

And Wenger fatally left Cech out of the lost game versus Olympiakos.

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At Craven Cottage, where Birmingham City overwhelmed poor Fulham 5-2, one saw a spectacular emerging talent. Demarai Gray is only 19-years-old, and one of only two players on the club’s squad – the other a reserve goalkeeper – actually to be born in Birmingham.

At 18, he was a regular first choice all season. Now, his salient gifts surely make him an England right-winger of the near future. Fulham could do nothing with him, whether he was deploying his grace and pace, his ball control and readiness to beat his man, on the right or on the left.

This was further concrete evidence that, despite the narrow orthodoxy of past English years, when wingers were absurdly seen as an irrelevant luxury, they still vigorously and excitingly live. Moreover, they can still delight us and profit their team by getting outside their marker, reaching the goal line, and pulling the ball back into the middle for the most dangerous pass in the game.

Gray can effortlessly do that and much more.

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Alas, the old so-called Peter Principle has been all too plain, demonstrated in West London where, in quick succession, both Chris Ramsey at Queens Park Rangers and Kit Symons at Fulham have lost their managerial jobs.

The Peter Principle, conceived by a knowing American academic, being that in an organisation, a member will be elevated just one step higher than he can cope.

When Harry Redknapp decided to bow out at QPR, Chris Ramsey was after a trial period, moving up from a secondary role, somewhat surprisingly confirmed as number one. Surprisingly because he had made at least one major and expensive error, playing an inexperienced teenaged right back at Crystal Palace, where he was all too predictably taken apart by the formidable Yannick Bolasie. Nor would things improve after relegation.

Meanwhile, Kit Symons, a successful youth coach, was made Fulham’s manager after the disastrous reign of the dictatorial German, once a European Cup final winning scorer for Hamburg, Felix Magath.

There was no doubt that the Fulham players breathed more easily, but before long it grew clear that Symons both in terms of tactics and selection was making mistakes.

Ironically his departure following the 5-2 rout by Birmingham City, came so soon after a couple of impressive wins, at four goals a time, sandwiching an honourable defeat at Burnley.

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There’s, alas, no end to it. The Russian doping scandal overshadows any such problems soccer has, but it now emerges that Germany may have bought the 2006 World Cup. And what about South Africa and that mysterious payment?

World Cup Fans

Fans at Brazil 2014 have been bedecked with colour and smiles...apart of course from those from England.