Women´s World Cup wrap: France crush Canada, Germany scrape home

France showed why they are one of the favourites for the FIFA Women’s World Cup with an impressive 4-0 win over Canada on Thursday.

In front of more than 16,000 fans in Bochum, France were exceptionally impressive, especially in the second half as they extended their unbeaten streak to 14 matches.

Gaetane Thiney scored the only goal of the first half after 24 minutes and managed to get a second 15 minutes after the break to double France’s lead.

Camille Abily wrapped up the result with France’s third goal on 67 minutes, before with 11 minutes remaining; Thiney was substituted, ending her brilliant impact on the game.

There was still time for another goal though as Elodie Thomis added the fourth with seven minutes to play as the France juggernaut rolled on.

In the day’s other match, Germany edged Nigeria 1-0 in front of almost 50,000 fans in Frankfurt.

The host nation took a while to get going but managed to win the game via Simone Laudehr’s goal nine minutes into the second half.

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Reports: City sweat on Nasri

Manchester City are reportedly interested in signing star Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri.

City are also believed to be close to agreeing a fee with the Gunners for left-back Gael Clichy, while La Liga champions Barcelona have been continually linked with a swoop for Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.

Nasri has been the subject of interest from a number of clubs over the past few weeks, including City’s closest rivals Manchester United.

The Frenchman signed for Arsenal from Marseille in 2008 and has been one of Wenger’s most impressive players over the last few seasons.

He’s made 126 appearances for the Londoners, scoring 27 goals.

City could well hit Arsenal with a double blow as they are reportedly close to signing Clichy for a deal believed to be worth about seven million pounds.

Clichy joined Arsenal in 2003 and has made 187 English Premier League appearances, becoming the first choice left-back after Ashley Cole departed for Chelsea.

With Barcelona chasing Fabregas, Wenger may have to rebuild his squad in the remainder of the off-season.

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Ji joins Sunderland

Sunderland have signed their second striker in as many days, with South Korean starlet Ji Dong-Won joining the Stadium of Light.

The 20-year-old South Korean international has joined Steve Bruce’s side from K-League outfit Chunnan Dragons on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee, just one day after teenage goal sneak Connor Wickham signed from Ipswich.

Ji has already made 11 appearances for his country, scoring six goals, and the 6 feet 2 inches-tall front man has scored 16 goals from 44 games for the Dragons since joining them last year.

Four of Ji’s goals for South Korea came at this year’s Asian Cup, where his side made it through to the semi-finals before losing to Japan on penalties, and his performances in Qatar showcased his talents to the world.

The signings of Wickham and Ji bring Sunderland’s total of off-season acquisitions to four, after the arrivals of former Coventry goalkeeper Kieren Westwood and winger Sebastian Larsson from Birmingham.

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Klopp confident despite transfers

Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp has declared his side will be improve on last season, when they begin their Bundesliga title defence.

Klopp led Dortmund to their first title in nine years in April, and despite the departure of key players such as Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin to Real Madrid and Brazilian left-back Dede, Klopp believes they will begin the new campaign in top shape.

“Dede is in Brazil now. I don’t know what is going to happen next and what he is doing – we lost a valuable player and team member,” Klopp said.

“We have traded all the young guys but I dare to claim that we are personally stronger than last season.”

“The pressure situation within the team is bigger. It is important we trust the team and I am sure we need all the players.”

Dortmund have added Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic from Club Brugge, with German prospects Ilkay Gundogan, Moritz Leitner and Chris Lowe also bolstering Klopp’s stocks, and the 44-year-old feels their addition will be vital.

“I am glad that we have made good transfers,” he said.

“The new players have to fit in, but that won’t last long. I had a little team induction this morning, and on Sunday the internationals will return and then the pre-season training will start.”

“We have planned a lot for the next season. I have heard often that a season like the last won’t happen again.”

“I hope the relationships within the team become tighter, they are very good now. It is very important that we maintain the quality from the last season and keep it.”

“We have to improve and pull strength out of our quality. We have to face the tasks, these were harder to manage than last season.”

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Villas-Boas keeps Terry as captain

John Terry will stay on as Chelsea captain, but has been told by new boss Andre Villas-Boas he is not guaranteed a place in the team.

Villas-Boas said Terry would wear the captain’s armband as long as he was still performing at his best, but left supporters in no doubt that a spot in his side would be earned on form, not reputation.

“If John is in the team, he will be the captain,” the Portuguese manager said.

“John is the captain of this club and will continue to be, as long as he can perform to the utmost of his ability as he has in the last six years.”

“He has been successful in his captaincy for most of the time.”

“And he represents the successful history of this club in the last six or seven years.”

“I know most of the players in the dressing room see John as a leader and a player who motivates them.”

Villas-Boas said the club was not short on leaders both on and off the pitch.

“If we find other leaders, more social role models, for sure they will have the captaincy as well,” he said.

“Like Lamps (Frank Lampard) and Didier (Drogba) who have taken the captaincy in different games.”

“Because in the end, it’s not a question of saying John is the only leader. There are lots of leaders in the dressing room.”

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Lavezzi wants fast start

Argentina striker Ezequiel Lavezzi has said it is vital they get off to a winning start in the Copa America.

The hosts play Bolivia in La Plata on Friday in their first Group A game and Sergio Batista’s team are favourites to win the tournament, but Lavezzi has warned they need to make a flying start to proceedings.

“I think that each one of us knows the importance of this game,” Lavezzi said. “We always have to start on the right foot, it is important.”

“Overall, a competition like this one gives you confidence and all kinds of things that really help the morale.”

“We all know the importance of this game and that is why we will give it our best to win so we can start well.”

“We know that we are favoured, we are conscious of this. And we will also try to gain confidence game by game so that we can have a good tournament.”

Argentina have lost to Brazil in the past two Copa America finals and having gone almost 20 years without a major title, midfielder Fernando Gago said the team is hungry for success.

“Every tournament, every Copa America, or every World Cup that you play, starts with a new illusion, with same desire to win them all,” Gago said.

“You have to take it calmly, but know that we have to try to achieve the objective we are all after.”

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Dutch World Cup star reveals he is set to sign for Spartak

Ajax midfielder Demy De Zeeuw has confirmed a move to Spartak Moscow via his Twitter page.

The Dutch international has surprisingly lost his starting place at Ajax last season and has now decided to accept an offer from Spartak.

The 28-year-old has revealed he is set to sign a three-year deal with the Russian club.

“I will undergo a medical in the coming days and move to Spartak Moscow for three seasons if everything goes well,” De Zeeuw revealed on his official Twitter page.

“Long conversations with both clubs eventually made me decide to leave Ajax this summer.”

Spartak will reportedly pay €6 million for the player who joined Ajax from AZ Alkmaar in 2009.

Thu 30 June, 2011
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QPR dismiss Warnock quit rumours

Queens Park Rangers have denied reports manager Neil Warnock has resigned from the English Premier League side.

The 62-year-old has been the subject of renewed speculation since Wednesday, after Peterborough director of football Barry Fry claimed the QPR boss failed to assure transfer target Craig Mackail-Smith he would remain as manager.

Reports began to circulate that Warnock had resigned from the club he led to the top-flight in the last campaign, but the Loftus Road outfit have been quick to assure fans he is still in charge.

“The club would like to make it clear that Neil Warnock has not resigned from his post and is continuing to work hard behind the scenes ahead of the R’s return to pre-season training next week,” read a statement on the club’s website on Thursday.

Warnock led the Rangers to Championship glory last season, putting them back in the top-flight for the first time since 1995/96.

The former Crystal Palace and Sheffield United boss told the club’s website he was excited about what was to come.

“We’ve targeted a number of players during the last few weeks and although we’ve missed out on some, the board are continuing to work hard to assist me in bringing new additions to the football club,” Warnock said.

“I’m confident that we’ll have a few new players on board in the next couple of weeks.”

“With regards to my own position, I’m really excited about the challenge that lies ahead next season and I can’t wait for pre-season training next week.”

On Wednesday, Peterborough’s Fry told The Mirror: “Craig met Neil Warnock and was impressed with him, but he wanted assurances that Neil would still be manager at the start of the season and didn’t get them.”

QPR will meet Bolton at home on August 13 to start their campaign.

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Chelsea snatch Barca wonderkid

Chelsea have agreed to sign Barcelona wonderkid Gael Etock, according to AS.

The 17-year-old is set to leave Barcelona for Chelsea after spending five years in La Macia and he will sign a four-year deal with the Blues.

The Cameroonian forward was seen as one of the stars for the future at Camp Nou, but he has now become the fourth youth player to leave Barca in the past few weeks.

Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin had earlier moved to Arsenal, whereas Pepe Palau returned to Valencia.

The transfer fee, which will be shared between Barcelona and Foundation Etoo, was not disclosed.

Etock will spend next season on loan at Sporting Lisbon, after which he will arrive at Stamford Bridge.

Thu 30 June, 2011
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Coach admits Arsenal target available for sale

Lille coach Rudi Garcia has admitted that forward Gervinho will be sold this summer.

The Ivorian has one year left on his contract at Stade Lille Metropole with the club chiefs looking to cash in on him this summer.

Arsenal are reportedly very close to acquiring the services of the Ivory Coast international, and now Lille boss Rudi Garcia has added fuel to speculations by confirming that Gervinho will be sold.

“Economically, it’s complicated, you cannot allow to keep the player who will be out of contract in a year,” Garcia told L’Equipe.

“It will surely be a very good financial information.”

Garcia also revealed that the capture of midfielder Benoit Pedretti from Auxerre was his choice.

“Pedretti is a decision that I have taken. He is a good set piece taker, he has experience, a long ball that will replace that of Cabaye.

”I do not think that he will change Lille’s style of play.”

Thu 30 June, 2011
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