Archive for the ‘2006 World Cup’ Category

Report: Germany pledged millions to Jack Warner for World Cup vote

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

Germany’s soccer association promised a package worth millions of euros to secure a crucial vote from disgraced official Jack Warner for its bid to host the 2006 World Cup, Der Spiegel said Friday. The news magazine — which in October broke the story alleging Germany bought votes to secure hosting rights for the tournament — said it has seen a contract detailing perks that the Trinidad and Tobago official and the association he headed would be given by the German football association (DFB). Warner was president of CONCACAF and was among an initial group of 14 people indicted last May on racketeering, bribery and money laundering charges by the US Attorney General.

The DFB has admitted to the existence of a deal but has said it was only a draft.

Der Spiegel said that incentives offered by Germany to the ex-CONCACAF chief included 1,000 World Cup tickets of the most expensive category that Warner would be able to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A “contact person” would get $240,000 for the deal, according to the report. In addition, $4 million worth of merchandising including Adidas balls, bags and shoes would be sent to the Caribbean.

Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich were also allegedly involved. Franz Beckenbauer was the club’s president at the time, and under the alleged contract, Bayern were expected to train for three weeks every year with a CONCACAF team.

The DFB would take charge of the printing of tickets for up to eight qualification games, as well as the production of 30,000 Trinidad and Tobago flags. The flags would be picked up by a member of Warner’s entourage, with the first-class flights to be paid for by the DFB.

The magazine said the contract was “supposedly not implemented,” but that the DFB had been hit with a bill for the production of Trinidad and Tobago flags and a separate one for the printing of tickets for a qualification game between Trinidad and Panama. Both bills date to 2000, the year the hosting rights of the 2006 World Cup were awarded to Germany.

The DFB had admitted to the existence of a draft deal with CONCACAF that was signed by Beckenbauer, after German daily Bild in November said the agreement was aimed at buying votes.

Germany beat South Africa by 12 votes to 11, with one abstention, to win the right to host the tournament. Der Spiegel had reported in October that Germany had paid 6.7 million euros ($7.4 million) to FIFA to buy votes in the bid.

German authorities launched an investigation into the allegations and German police raided the offices of the German Football Federation (DFB) in November. Prosecutors said they were launching a tax probe against three top officials at the federation but could not pursue accusations of corruption because the statute of limitations on graft had expired.

Both former DFB chief Wolfgang Niersbach and Beckenbauer have denied any wrong-doing in connection with winning the right to host the tournament.

More FIFA scandal:

Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-4 Chelsea: Blues one point from knockout round [VIDEO]

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

Chelsea cruised to an easy 4-0 Champions League victory over 10-man Maccabi Tel Aviv in Haifa on Tuesday to close in on the last 16. The victory, coupled with Dynamo Kiev’s 2-0 win at Porto, means Chelsea need only a draw at home to the Portuguese in two weeks to guarantee their passage to the knockout stage.

Gary Cahill gave the English Premier League champions a first-half lead before former Blues center half Tal Ben Haim was sent off just before the break. Chelsea turned the screw in the last 17 minutes as Brazilians Willian and Oscar, and French center back Kurt Zouma all found the net.

“Very important, especially with what happened in Porto, we really needed to win this match, and also important to get two victories in a few days,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told BT Sport.

SEE MORE: Arsenal keeps knockout round hopes alive.

The London club have been struggling for form all season but this victory follows a 1-0 home win over Norwich City in the Premier League at the weekend and Mourinho added: “I hope morale comes, tranquility comes, confidence comes.”

The Israeli champions got off to a promising start as midfielder Dor Peretz sent a header just wide on three minutes. In the fifth minute, Maccabi defender Eli Dasa had another opportunity to give the hosts, who had lost all their previous group games, a surprising lead, but he was way off target with his shot.

Chelsea controlled possession and had created several dangerous chances before taking a deserved lead in the 20th minute when center back Cahill tapped in a rebound following a wonderful save from goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic. But perhaps the most pivotal moment came in the 40th minute when the referee controversially gave Ben Haim a straight red card for kicking out at Diego Costa. The home crowd jeered and Ben Haim looked shocked but television replays suggested the referee’s decision was fair.

Despite being down to 10 men, Maccabi got off to a determined start in the second half, but they couldn’t threaten Asmir Begovic’s goal.

In the 73rd minute, Brazil international Willian scored a spectacular free kick that left Rajkovic rooted to his line. Willian is now Chelsea’s leading scorer in this Champions League campaign with four goals.

SEE MORE: Bayern rout Olympiakos to claim Group F.

Three minutes later fellow Brazil international Oscar headed in a perfect cross from left back Baba Rahman to give Chelsea a commanding 3-0 lead.

Some Maccabi supporters began heading for the exi,t but there was worse still to come for the hosts, as Zouma headed home deep into injury time.

Chelsea had also defeated Maccabi 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in the opening group match.

The result meant the Israelis can no longer even finish third and qualify for the Europa League.

Chelsea are level on 10 points with Porto while Dynamo Kiev are two points further back. All three could finish level on points at the end if the Ukrainians win at home to Maccabi and the other two sides draw in west London. In that case, Dynamo would win the group and Porto would drop into the Europa League.

Arsene Wenger refines Francis Coquelin timeline, says midfielder out 12 weeks

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has been ruled out for 12 weeks, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed on Tuesday. Coquelin suffered a knee ligament injury during Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and scans have now revealed the extent of the problem.

Speaking after Arsenal’s vital 3-0 win against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, Wenger said he doesn’t expect the Frenchman back until the new year:

“Coquelin’s injury is what we feared basically.

“We had the scan. Lets be realistic and say 12 weeks.

“He doesn’t need a surgery. It is a medial knee ligament.”

Coquelin will miss vital Premier League matches against Manchester City on Dec. 21 and at Liverpool on Jan. 13, but Wenger can take heart from the return of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey as a second half substitute against Dinamo. Ramsey had been out for a month with a hamstring injury.

Bayern Munich 4-0 Olympiakos: German champions clinch first in Group F [VIDEO]

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

Germany defender Holger Badstuber marked his return from injury with a red card as10-man Bayern Munich reached the Champions League’s knockout stages with a 4-0 win over Olympiakos on Tuesday.

Badstuber, 26, making his first start in the famous red Bayern shirt for seven months after tearing a thigh muscle, lasted just 53 minutes before being sent off. The German champions were already 3-0 up by that stage thanks to goals from Douglas Costa, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller. Even the numerical disadvantage failed to slow the Bayern goal-machine as France Under-21 winger Kingsley Coman added a fourth after Badstuber’s dismissal.

The victory confirmed Bayern will advance to the last 16 as Group F winners, regardless of their final group match at Dinamo Zagreb in a fortnight, for which Badstuber will be suspended.

Having beaten 3-0 Olympiakos in Greece in their opening European match of the season back in September, Bayern completed the double in emphatic style. The hosts hit top gear in the opening 20 minutes at Munich’s Allianz Arena as Olympiakos’ Spanish goalkeeper Roberto endured a torrid time in conceding three goals.

Just eight minutes had gone when Jerome Boateng’s long-range shot was blocked, but Costa won the foot race and slotted the loose ball into the far corner. Lewandowski doubled the lead on 16 minutes when he converted Coman’s cross before Bayern’s star-studded squad combined for the third. Lahm’s cross was volleyed across goal to Arjen Robben who headed down and Mueller stabbed home on 20 minutes.

The floodgates threatened to open when Lewandowski fired wide on 24 minutes with Roberto beaten, but the Poland star fired wide of the post.

Robben went off with a leg injury on 33 minutes and Bayern’s fortunes took another turn for the worst on 52 minutes when Badstuber was shown a straight red. Nigeria international Brown Ideye was through on goal when he was brought down just outside the area, and Germany center back Badstuber was on his way for an early bath.

Bayern barely broke stride, and Coman scored with a perfect header that floated over the keeper and into the back of the net on 72 minutes. He suffered for his art after a heavy clash with Roberto with both players going for the ball.

SEE MORE: Arsenal keep knockout round hopes alive.

Both teenager Coman and Joshua Kimmich, 20, who was on for Robben, had late chances as Bayern dropped the tempo, but kept up the pressure while Olympiakos offered little. Mueller hit the post in the dying stages as the hosts chased the elusive fifth goal.

The defeat means the second-placed Greeks face possible elimination from the competition against Arsenal at home in a fortnight.

Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb: Gunners’ knockout round hopes alive [VIDEO]

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

Arsenal kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League last 16 as Alexis Sanchez inspired a vital 3-0 win against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.

Arsene Wenger’s side were in severe danger of an embarrassingly early exit after losing three of their first four Group F matches. But Chile winger Sanchez was the catalyst for a result that, combined with Bayern Munich’s thrashing of Olympiakos, gives Arsenal renewed belief they can reach the knockout stages for a 16th successive year. Sanchez laid on Mesut Ozil’s first half opener at the Emirates Stadium, then struck himself before the interval and wrapped up the points with his second goal in the closing stages.

The Gunners still have work to do, however, as they face a shootout for a last 16 berth with Olympiakos in their final group fixture on Dec. 9. Second placed Olympiakos, 3-2 winners when the teams met earlier in the campaign, are three points ahead of Arsenal, and the north Londoners will only advance if they win in Greece by either a two-goal margin or by winning by a one-goal margin having scored three or more goals.

Even that tricky task will seem like a welcome assignment for Arsenal after they successfully navigated what could have been a nerve-jangling experience against Dinamo, whose shock 2-1 win over Wenger’s men in September had played a large role in their perilous predicament.

With their European campaign hanging by a slender thread, Wenger made two changes from Saturday’s defeat at West Bromwich Albion as Mathieu Flamini and Joel Campbell replaced Francis Coquelin and Kieran Gibbs.

Just one win from their last five matches was hardly ideal preparation for a do-or-die showdown, so it wasn’t surprising Arsenal made a nervous start. With Bayern doing their part to keep Arsenal in contention, the north Londoners needed to increase their own tempo after a sluggish start in a subdued atmosphere not helped by a surprisingly large amount of empty seats at the Emirates.

Wenger’s team had dominated possession without threatening to open up the massed ranks of the Dinamo defense, but they finally clicked into gear to take the lead with an incisive counter-attack in the 29th minute. Taking the ball deep inside his own half, Santi Cazorla moved possession onto Flamini, and he set Sanchez galloping clear in acres of space on the left. While Sanchez sprinted towards the Dinamo goal, Ozil had made his own lung-bursting surge, and the midfielder was perfectly placed in the six-yard box to bury a flying header from the Chilean’s clipped cross.

Confidence now coursing through their veins, there was noticeably more swagger about Arsenal’s play, and within four minutes they had doubled their lead. This time the goal came courtesy of a horrendous mistake from Dinamo defender Leonardo Sigali, whose woefully misplaced pass on the edge of his own penalty area was intercepted by Nacho Monreal. Sigali’s mistake had completely unhinged the Dinamo rearguard, leaving Monreal with room to break into the area and slide his pass towards Sanchez, who slotted a cool first-time finish past Eduardo from close-range.

Ozil could have killed off the Croatians, but the German’s shot was smartly saved by Eduardo, and the keeper did well again early in the second half when he repelled Olivier Giroud’s header.

Dinamo’s attacking impotence made the second half routine for Arsenal and, after Aaron Ramsey came on for his first appearance for a month, the imperious Sanchez capped his latest masterclass in the 69th minute. Campbell played his part with a fine run and clever reverse pass that Sanchez drove high into the net to complete part one of Arsenal’s escape act.