World Soccer News 8 May 2009

World Soccer News for week of 8/2

Lung cancer kills Bobby Robson

Universally popular soccer coach Bobby Robson died on Friday from lung cancer he had been suffering from for a long time. Robson was the last coach to lead England to a World Cup semifinals in 1990, and on a club level he achieved even greater results while coaching Ipswich Town, Porto or Barcelona. Robson used to be a great player in his own right, an offensive midfielder who scored plenty of goals for Fulham and West Bromwich Albion, collecting 20 caps for England. Before leading his country to the last eight in Mexico and last four in Italy, he headed a sensational Ipswich Town to an FA Cup in 1978 and UEFA Cup 1981, narrowly missing out on the English championships. After coaching England, he successfully worked in PSV Eindhoven, Sporting, Porto and Barcelona, returning to his homeland for a final stint with Newcastle. His last job was as an advisor for the national team of Ireland, which he held until he was diagnosed with his fifth carcinoma in 16 years. The one that ultimately proved fatal.

Jacko is alive (and stays at Wolfsburg)

Bosnian international Edin Dzeko (pronounced: Jacko) put an end to long speculations regarding his playing destination extending his contract with German champs Wolfsburg until 2013. The sensational goal scorer was linked with several clubs including Milan, and in fact pressured the directors to release him, but the Wolves held firm and proud before the Italian big guns. So Dzeko changed the tune and said, "I'm very happy we agreed terms before the season begins. Now I can concentrate on the Bundesliga and the Champions League." Dzeko and the Brazilian Grafite were the most successful attacking tandem in the European soccer last season and in fact one of the highest scoring in the past 15 years, since the heyday of Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley at Newcastle. Having notched 26 Bundesliga goals in Wolfsbnrg's championship winning campaign, Dzeko also scored 10 goals in 17 games for Bosnia.

Injury ends Larsson's celebrated career

The beloved Swedish forward Henrik Larsson is close to finishing his career after a recent knee injury suffered during a game with Helsingborg. Larsson, soon to be 38, planned to hang his boots at the end of this year, but the injury speeded up his retirement, said an unknown source to Sportbladet daily. The curly haired finisher had come close to retiring on several occasions, but was always persuaded to continue. After the 2006 World Cup he pulled out of Sweden, but returned just before the 2008 European Championship. Larsson has performed in six clubs, Högaborg, Helsingborg (in several spells), Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United. He well be best remembered for his marvellous displays in the green and white Celtic hoops, but his most precious prize has to be the 2006 Champions League with Barcelona, when he set both Barca's goals in the finals against Arsenal.

Manchester United's Asian tour

Man stabbed in the chest for coming late from football

Manchester United's Asian tour, highly anticipated by millions of fans in the East, almost proved fatal for a Malaysian man who had stayed at the stadium a bit too long. The unfortunate husband attended a game between United and a Malaysian XI in Kuala Lumpur (3-2 for the English champions) but failed to hurry home afterwards, preferring to discuss the play with his pals in a nearby bar. Little did he know his wife was waiting for him at home with a knife in her hand. When he finally arrived in early morning, the wife welcomed him with two stabs in the chest, but a speedy doctor's intervention prevented fatal consequences. Head of the local police department said the police were alarmed by an on-duty doctor while no charge were brought against the women for the time being. While the injured supporter was recovering well, United continued their Asian tour with another win against the same opponent.

Terror in Zilina: "Innocent" Croatian fans attacked by Slovak police

Croatian soccer fans have a deserving reputation of bullies and vandals, but they were on the receiving end last Thursday in Zilina, Slovakia, when they were attacked and beaten up by the local police. Croatia's Hajduk Split had been banned from taking their fans to European away games, but about 1000 of them travelled on their own to Zilina for a UEFA Cup game having purchased tickets from Slovak agencies. Still, when the UEFA's commissioner at Zilina's stadium learned the Croats were coming, he requested the organizers to put the police on high alert and prevent the fans from reaching terraces. The 200-strong riot police squad positioned themselves between Hajduk ultras and when they refused to turn round and forfeit their tickets, the police charged mercilessly wielding their nightsticks. The Croats retreated in disarray before coming across a heap of stones near the train station, turning them quickly into weapons. According to the testimonies from the Croatian supporters and media, the Slovaks were pretty indiscriminate in their assault, coming at and hitting even some Croatian tourists who were not even aware that there was a soccer game in the city. Several dozen fans and 54 police were reportedly injured and treated in the hospitals, causing both sides to launch bitter accusations against each other. The Croatian press, usually extremely critical of domestic fans, this time laid the whole blame on the Slovakian police, calling their actions "the terror in Zilina". Hajduk Split sent letters of protest to both UEFA and the FC Zilina, standing up in the defense of their fellow nationals. On the other hand, the Slovakian police claim their actions were justified as the Croatian fans insisted on entering the stadium in spite of UEFA's ban. One thing is certain: the relations between two ultra-friendly nations have been significantly upset as Hajduk ultras are already preparing vengeance against any Slovaks that dare travel to Split next week for the return leg.

Sergiy Rebrov calls it a day

The long-serving Ukrainian international and a former Tottenham player Sergiy Rebrov put an end to his glamorous career whose only dark spots were his less than fortunate spells in the Premier League. Rebrov announced his retirement last week as the fourth most-capped Ukrainian player with 75 caps and the second all-time scorer with 15 goals. To the connoisseurs of the East European soccer, his turmoils at Tottenham and West Ham must have come as a surprise, since Rebrov was a prolific scorer and maker of goals and a perfect partner for the other great Ukrainian player of the recent times, Andriy Shevchenko. The forward started his 18-year-long career in Shahtar Donetsk in 1991, but his most productive periods were the two spells in Dinamo Kiev, for whom he scored 181 goals in 335 games. After a slump in England, Rebrov reinvented himself as an attacking midfielder, notching further honours in Fenerbahce, Dinamo and finally Rubin Kazan. Rubin's sensational win in last Russian championship turned out to be Rebrov's eleventh and last league title, making him one of the most successful European players in the past few decades.

Copyright Ozren Podnar & Soccerphile


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