Mexico pick Hernandez in Gold Cup squad

In-form Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has been named in Mexico’s 30-man squad for next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Hernandez joins Fulham defender Carlos Salcido, West Ham midfielder Pablo Barrera and West Brom striker Carlos Vela in the squad for the tournament which runs from June 5-25 in the US.

Barcelona’s Jonathan dos Santos, midfielder Efrain Juarez (Celtic), Hector Moreno from AZ Alkmaar and defender Francisco Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven) have also been called up.

Mexico are in Group A with El Salvador, Costa Rica and Cuba. Their first match is in Dallas on June 5 against El Salvador.

Group B features Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica and Grenada. Group C includes USA, Canada, Panama and Guadeloupe.

The Mexico squad is: Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Guillermo Ochoa (America), Jonathan Orozco (Monterrey).

Defenders: Ricardo Osorio (Monterrey), Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), Edgar Duenas (Toluca), Jonny Magallon (Guadalajara), Jorge Torres (Tigres UANL), Rafael Marquez (New York Red Bulls), Francisco Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven), Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar), Carlos Salcido (Fulham).

Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), Luis Perez, Jesus Zavala (both Monterrey), Antonio Naelson “Sinha” (Toluca), Efrain Juarez (Celtic), Jonathan dos Santos (Barcelona), Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna), Pablo Barrera (West Ham United).

Forwards: Elias Hernandez (Morelia), Christian Bermudez (Atlante), Angel Reyna (America), Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna), Giovani dos Santos (Real Santander), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Carlos Vela (West Bromwich Albion).

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Premier League predictions

Another step closer to the drop

Saturday 30th April

  • Blackburn v Bolton
  • Blackburn are just a point above the drop zone and that must mean that there are some very bad teams in the league! Blackburn are terrible. Having said that, they were a little unlucky last time out in losing 1-0 to Manchester City. It is difficult to see where their goals will come from and that may well see them relegated in a couple of weeks time.

    Bolton looked to have recovered from their FA Cup semi-final humiliation when they beat Arsenal, but they were hammered again in midweek at Fulham. It is a little difficult to know what you are going to get from them, but they are certainly better at home than away. I think they will be too good for Blackburn, but that isn’t too difficult.

    Soccernews prediction: 0-1

  • Blackpool v Stoke
  • Just when you thought Blackpool wouldn’t get another point, they go and get a draw against Newcastle that took them out of the bottom three. There is still some fight left in them and they will fancy their chances of picking something up from this one.

    Stoke haven’t suffered much of a hangover from getting to the FA Cup final and looked good in their 3-0 win over an admittedly poor Wolves. They are another team who are a lot better at home and I fancy Blackpool might just get another point to edge them closer to an unlikely safety.

    Soccernews prediction: 1-1

  • Chelsea v Tottenham
  • If Chelsea are to have any chance of winning the Premier League they must win this game. Likewise, if Tottenham are to have any chance of finishing fourth, they too must win.

    Chelsea go into the game in pretty good form whereas Tottenham are just beginning to fade away. Having said that, a London derby is always difficult to call and Harry will have his side absolutely fired up to get something out of the game.

    I have a feeling that the points will be shared and the only winners will be the two sides in Manchester.

    Soccernews prediction: 1-1

  • Sunderland v Fulham
  • Sunderland produced an amazing win last week against Wigan to bring their long run without a win to an end. It was amazing because they lost all their strikers to injury and still managed to score four goals. The problem is that they have generally struggled for goals and all their strikers are still injured.

    Fulham have made it in to the top ten where Mark Hughes says they belong and they are looking every inch a top half team. Both teams are safe now and I expect Fulham to continue their steady progress.

    Soccernews prediction: 0-2

  • West Brom v Aston Villa
  • Both teams are probably safe from the drop but they would both love to pick up another three points to make sure. They will have both identified this game as one where they think they can do so.

    West Brom have been broilliant under Roy Hodgson and he has turned a team who looked promising but ineffective into a cohesive unit. Villa have flattered to deceive all season but will want to be at their best to aid manager Gerard Houllier’s recovery.

    I think West Brom will be opening the champagne after this one.

    Soccernews prediction: 2-1

  • Wigan v Everton
  • Wigan are fighting for their lives but still find themselves in the bottom three. They had a great chance to pick up three points at Sunderland last week but blew it and may pay for it come the end of the season.

    Everton are now looking like the top six or seven team that David Moyes has put together over the last few seasons. They are difficult to beat and I simply can’t see them losing to this Wigan side.

    Soccernews prediction: 0-2

    Sunday 1st May

  • Arsenal v Manchester United
  • A point here for Manchester United and the title is probably theirs. For Arsenal, even a win will probably not be enough.

    When I watch Arsenal play and watch Manchester United play, I often think that Arsenal look the better side. However, when they play each other, Manchester United usually look like best team. I see no reason why that should be any different tomorrow.

    Arsenal are dejected and disjointed whereas United, apart from the FA Cup semi-final defeat, are rampant.

    Soccernews prediction: 1-3

  • Birmingham v Wolves
  • This is a game between two teams who are in trouble. Birmingham are in just a bit of trouble and Wolves are in a whole lot of it.

    After this game, I expect Birmingham to be all but safe and Wolves to still be deep in the mire.

    Soccernews prediction: 1-0

  • Liverpool v Newcastle
  • It is difficult to put the transformation at Liverpool in to words. They are simply in a different league to the team we saw earlier in the season. They look compact and they look like scoring goals.

    Newcastle are safe now and look to have slightly taken their foot off the gas. If they do that at Anfield they will get turned over.

    Soccernews prediction: 2-0

  • Manchester City v West Ham
  • City were a long way from being great in their win at Blackburn but they got the three points to put them in pole position for fourth place.

    West Ham are rock bottom and haven’t won in six games, losing five of them. Their mini revival has well and truly hit the buffers and is very unlikely to reappear at the City of Manchester stadium.

    Soccernews prediction: 3-0

    Sat 30 April, 2011
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    MLS: Houston Dynamo 4 DC United 1

    Will Bruin netted a hat-trick as the Houston Dynamo cruised to a 4-1 win over DC United at Robertson Stadium in the MLS on Friday.

    Bruin opened his account in the fourth minute at the Corbin J Robertson Stadium, latching onto Geoff Cameron’s through ball and firing past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, before the visitors drew level via Marc Burch’s free-kick in the 39th minute.

    The deadlock, however, did not last, as Bruin restored the lead two minutes later with a headed effort.

    The MLS rookie completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute from close range before Cam Weaver added Dynamo’s fourth goal to deal the three points.

    The win means Houston are unbeaten in their last six matches and are sitting stop the Eastern conference while DC United are seventh.

    Sat 30 April, 2011
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    Liga Sagres: Pacos de Ferreira 2 Vitoria Guimaraes 1

    Pacos de Ferreira have defeated Vitoria Guimaraes 2-1 in Portugal’s Liga Sagres to keep their Europa League qualification hopes alive.

    Moroccan forward Abdelghani Faouzi opened the scoring for the visiting side in the 18th minute at the Estadio da Mata Real, before he conceded a penalty and picked up his second yellow card on the stroke of half-time.

    Leonel Olimpia netted the spot-kick to make it 1-1 at the break.

    The home side then clinched victory in the 85th minute through Rui Caetano to move his side into fifth, displacing their opponents who fell to sixth.

    Sat 30 April, 2011
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    Belgian First Division: Standard Liege 1 KAA Gent 0

    Standard Liege has seen off Gent in the Belgian First Division playoffs with a 1-0 win on Friday, courtesy of a Mohamed Tchite goal.

    Gent were ruthless in their attack at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne, collecting five yellow cards for the clash, before forward Stijn de Smet received his marching orders on the hour mark – just seven minutes before Tchite scored the winner.

    The win keeps Liege top of the playoffs table. They are level on points with Genk having played an extra game.

    Liege will next face Club Brugge in eight days’ time, while Gent will hope to bounce back when they take on Lokeren next Saturday.

    Fri 29 April, 2011
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    Bundesliga wrap: Wolfsburg rise, St Pauli crash

    Wolfsburg secured a major victory in their battle to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win away to Werder Bremen on Friday.

    Defender Sascha Riether scored the winner for visitors Wolfsburg in the 22nd minute at Weserstadion.

    It was their second consecutive victory following a 4-1 win over Cologne last Sunday.

    Felix Magath’s team remain third from bottom, but they are now just two points behind Eintracht Frankfurt with two matches of the season remaining.

    Elsewhere on Friday, St Pauli inched closer to relegation following a 2-0 defeat away to Kaiserslautern.

    Midfielder Christian Tiffert put Kaiserslautern in front 29 minutes into the match at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion.

    Defender Mathias Abel doubled the lead on 67 minutes.

    The victory lifts Kaiserslautern five points clear of the relegation zone.

    St Pauli are now bottom, five points adrift of safety with just six more points up for grabs.

    Fri 29 April, 2011
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    Mazzarri urges Napoli to continue fight

    Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri has called on his players to halt their two-match losing streak in Serie A when they host Genoa on Saturday.

    Mazzarri’s side were unlikely title contenders for much of the season, before slipping to third in the table following consecutive defeats to Udinese and Palmero.

    Now nine points behind league leaders AC Milan with only four matches remaining, the Scudetto is surely out of their grasp.

    But Mazzarri has not given up yet, challenging his team to protect the record of never having lost three consecutive matches under his stewardship, which began in October 2009.

    “The game against Genoa is not decisive because there are another three still to play,” Mazzarri said.

    “However we have never lost two games in a row since I’ve been at the club and it’s the moment to show our attributes.”

    After the visit of Genoa, Napoli are away to struggling Lecce, before matches against traditional giants Juventus and Inter Milan to conclude the season.

    “I am counting on the fans’ support in this game, which will be very difficult,” Mazzarri said.

    “We have to fight until the end to finish this fantastic season. We never pose any limits on ourselves. We have four big finals ahead of us and I want to get maximum points.”

    “Until this year Napoli weren’t used to competing in the upper echelons of the table, but in two years we have done extraordinary things.”

    Fri 29 April, 2011
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    Leonardo not giving up on Inter

    Leonardo does not believe Inter Milan have reached the end of a dominant period in Serie A, despite appearing likely to surrender the title.

    Inter have won the league championship every year since 2006, when the fallout from the Calciopoli scandal seriously weakened immediate rivals Juventus and AC Milan.

    This season they trail Milan by eight points with four matches remaining and would appear unlikely to win a sixth consecutive Scudetto.

    Nevertheless, Inter’s Brazilian coach Leonardo does not believe failure to win the title should mean wholesale changes to the team.

    “I don’t believe Inter’s cycle is over, but then again what does that mean?” Leonardo asked.

    “Does it mean that we have to change 25 players on the squad? I don’t believe that we’ll change 15 or 25 players.”

    “Milan’s cycle seemed like it was over and instead they’ll now win the Scudetto with many of the players from four years ago.”

    “Inter are second in the table and still in the running for the Coppa Italia after having won the Club World Cup and the treble last season.”

    “The results of the past don’t just disappear.”

    Inter’s struggle to match leaders Milan – coupled with surrendering their Champions League crown in the quarter-finals against Schalke – has seen Leonardo’s position come under intense scrutiny.

    He is known to have been reluctant to step into the managerial hot seat prior to his appointment by Milan, which ended last year after just one season.

    But the 41-year-old insists another difficult experience on the bench has not turned him off the idea of a coaching career altogether.

    “For me nothing has ever changed my thinking,” he said.

    “I feel a lot like a coach and I am stronger with respect to before.”

    “Negative things can strengthen or weaken you. They have strengthened me.”

    Inter visit the Stadio Dino Manuzzi on Saturday to take on Cesena.

    Fri 29 April, 2011
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    Players return to work as NFL lockout lifted

    The NFL’s labour lockout was officially lifted on Friday, with players the league over finally reporting to team facilities for training.

    The NFL advised teams they were permitted to begin ‘basic football operations’ in the morning, clearing the way for players to talk with coaches, work out at team headquarters and pick up their playbooks.

    Doors were opened after US District Court Judge Susan Nelson lifted the lockout and refused the league’s request for a stay of her order pending an appeal, some seven weeks after the labour dispute first began.

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, one of 10 players named as plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit filed against team owners, said it was back to business for players.

    “From the players’ standpoint I think everybody is pleased we’re not locked out anymore, especially the rookies,” he told CNBC.

    But others were more circumspect given the ongoing litigation that threatens to scupper the 2011 NFL season.

    The league has taken their case to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for Judge Nelson’s ruling to be put on hold while it argues it should be overturned altogether.

    Should the three justices of the appellate court rule in the NFL’s favour, as appears likely to be the case, the lockout could be in place again as early as Monday.

    Centre Ryan Kalil was one of several Carolina Panthers who showed up to Bank of America Stadium to collect their playbooks from new coach Ron Rivera.

    “I don’t think anyone thought it was going to get to this point and it did. It got uncomfortable I think for everybody,” Kalil said from the parking lot.

    “I think this thing is far from over. I don’t know how you measure victories or losses in this thing.”

    “It’s nice there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel, and we get to come back and get out of that funk. We’ll see what happens moving forward.”

    Fri 29 April, 2011
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    Blatter flags FIFA reform

    FIFA President Sepp Blatter has revealed plans to reform the organisation based on the structure of the International Olympic Committee.

    Blatter, 75, is running against the head of the Asian Football Confederation, Mohammad Bin Hammam, in the FIFA Presidential elections, set for June 1.

    Football’s governing body came in for widespread criticism following the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

    And Switzerland’s Blatter, who has been in office since 1998, has now joined Bin Hammam in announcing plans to revise the secretive voting system of FIFA’s executive committee.

    “It’s a project I’ve had at the back of my mind. I would like to (follow) the example of the IOC, to prevent what happened,” Blatter told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, referring to instances of corruption that blighted the recent World Cup bidding process.

    “The executive (would) receive 10 or 12 bids, look at them, and pick the best (for) the full congress to choose.”

    While the executive committee consists of only 24 senior officials, opening the decision up to the full congress would see 208 people – one representative per member country – choose the location of the quadrennial showcase tournament.

    Blatter also touched on plans to develop a body to oversee the reforms, with a specific person already in mind to lead the initiative.

    “I can’t tell you the name yet. He will choose the other members,” Blatter said.

    “They should be familiar with football but their priority will be to restore credibility.”

    Blatter claims to be surprised by Bin Hammam’s decision to try and unseat him, but remains confident of seeing off his latest challenger.

    “I don’t know why Bin Hammam became so aggressive suddenly. He repeatedly told the executive he would not run against me and now he is doing it,” Blatter said.

    “I imagine that I have about the half votes from Asia and Africa and surely a majority in the rest of the world.”

    Fri 29 April, 2011
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