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Archive for October, 2011

The English Premier League is best on the planet and football fans are so fickle – just ask Robin Van Persie and Arsene Wenger!

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BY JOHN GUBBA

To all those fickle football fans out there who think one bad result or two is the end of the world, just take a look at the way Arsenal have bounced back from that 8-2 demolition by Manchester United.

Led by Robin Van Persie, the most outstanding striker of the season so far, Saturday’s remarkable 5-3 triumph at Chelsea was the Gunners’ eighth win in nine matches. So what do those ridiculous fans who were baying for the head of Arsene Wenger have to say for themselves now?

    Twitter-ific - Robin Van Persie is the Premier League's Top Gun

Twitter-ific - RVP's hat-trick at Chelsea took tally to 28 goals in 27 PL matches

When Manchester United crashed 6-1 at home to neighbours City it was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Premier League. But does that make Sir Alex Ferguson’s men a bunch of no-hopers overnight? Of course it doesn’t – and that’s the point.

City boss Roberto Mancini won a lot of respect from United fans when he refused to crow about the way his side destroyed the Reds at Old Trafford. And the Italian knows only too well that there is a long way to go to win the toughest League in the world.

The truth is football fans in England are so lucky to have the Premier League – the most exciting and popular domestic competition on the planet. It will be fascinating to see if anyone can stop City’s mega millionaires becoming champions. But you can bet your bottom dollar there will be many more twists and turns before the destination of the silverware is decided in May.

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Time for Terry to get the boot – and Capello can go with him

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John Terry's abuse of Ferdinand - link here to the video courtesy of The Guardian

John Terry's abuse of Ferdinand - link here to the video courtesy of The Guardian

BY JOHN GUBBA

Whether or not John Terry is guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at QPR, it was not acceptable to see the England captain spitting venom at Rio’s younger brother in front of a worldwide TV audience.

Terry may be an inspirational figure to some of his team mates.But that does not make him fit to be a role model and captain of his country. How many times is the overhyped Chelsea skipper going to be allowed to bring shame on England? Fabio Capello made the mistake of reinstating Terry after he’d sacked him as skipper following the Wayne Bridge affair and ironically replaced him with Rio Ferdinand.

It will be interesting to see if Capello stands by his man now, whether or not Terry is found guilty by the FA. Personally I’d like to see Terry booted out for good – and he can take Capello with him. I’d rather see England lose than succeed with Capello and Terry at the helm.

Terry, who claims it has all been a “big misunderstanding” is in line to be recalled for Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal on Saturday after being left out of the midweek Carling Cup win at Everton. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police has announced it is assessing evidence from the incident after receiving a complaint.

Earlier, Ferdinand thanked fellow players for helping him cope with the situation.

“I’d like to thank players like Jason Roberts  for the support they have given me,” Ferdinand told the Telegraph. “Not just professionals at other clubs but my team-mates at QPR. They’ve been fantastic for me. Having team-mates around you, like I have, is nice to feel and nice to see.”

http://youtu.be/5E-radfdIH8

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Sneak peak of the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida

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Formula 1

Formula 1

BY VISIONSPORT.TV

This is the first time the Formula 1 will go racing in India.

Catch up with all the action this weekend from the Indian GP on BBC One – Saturday 29 October: Practice three – 0630-0730; Qualifying – 0930-1030. Sunday 30 October: Race – 0930.

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Marco Simoncelli was set for greatness before his fatal crash at the Malaysian MotoGP in Sepang

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Marco Simoncelli Facts

Marco Simoncelli Facts

BY CORINNE GUBBA

Only 24 years old and set for greatness. Another tragic loss of a sporting hero; Marco Simoncelli. Motor cycling is seen as a dangerous sport and the riders know this, but they gain a huge amount of fun, excitement and adrenaline from doing it. Riding motor cycles at high speeds accidents are going to happen even with the best riders.

The fatal crash occurred when Edwards’ bike ran cleanly into Simoncelli hitting the back of his head taking his helmet off with Rossi catching the edge of the accident. It is very rare for a riders helmet to come clean off, the impact would have been huge. With out a riders helmet they are extremely vulnerable.  Simoncelli succumbed to his injuries just 15 minutes after reaching the medical centre.

Before the accident Simoncelli was in 4th place.

Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa said: “In a tragedy like this there is not much to say. I just want to give my condolences to his family and all the people who love him. I’ve been with his father and all we could do was to hug, nothing else matters.

“It was a fatal accident and everybody in the paddock remains in shock.

“Many times we ourselves forget how dangerous this sport can be and when you lose people on the way nothing has any meaning. It’s clear that we all do what we like, what we love, but on days like today nothing matters.”

Marco Simoncelli

Marco Simoncelli

Tribute’s on Twiter: 
“R.I.P Marco… Such an exciting talent lost. My thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone involved in MotoGP. Motorsport can be so cruel…” Jenson Button

“R.I.P Marco A special talent that will be missed… Thinking of your loved ones, and all the motogp paddock..mark.” Mark Webber

“RIP Marco Simoncelli ! A great rider and all round nice guy. My thoughts are with all his family & friends. I will never forget today.” Cal Crutchlow

RIP: Marco Simoncelli. 20 January 1987 – 23 October 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCfvLLuwqHs

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Fireworks from Mario Balotelli as City prove too hot to handle – but how will Reds respond to worst ever Premier League defeat?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi9aew3Xw3w

Click to buy DVD

Click to buy DVD

BY JOHN GUBBA

When Mario Balotelli accidentally set his house on fire by letting off a firework in the early hours of Saturday morning the damage was minimal. But 24 hours later the unpredictable Italian striker created the kind of havoc that will earn him cult status among Manchester City fans.

Two opening goals from Balotelli sent City on their way to a crushing 6-1 defeat of Manchester United at Old Trafford that will send shock waves not just around the Premier League, but the whole of Europe. His cheeky gesture after scoring his first was to reveal a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Why Always Me?” that will only add fuel to the adulation that Balotelli cherishes.

Whatever the impact of a red card for Jonny Evans when United trailed 1-nil early in the second half, there was no avoiding the fact that City were the worthy winners on the day. And Roberto Mancini’s men have made a powerful statement about their ability to challenge United’s supremacy and win their first Premier League title. But let’s not carried away by one bad day for United.

Great Goals on DVD

Great Goals on DVD

The team that crushed Arsenal 8-2 only a few weeks ago when they also demolished Spurs and Chelsea have not suddenly become a bad team overnight. Neither have City – outclassed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League a short while aho – suddenly become world beaters.

It is results like these that makes football the most exciting game in the world,  and the Premier League the most watched competition on the planet.

The big question now is ‘How will United respond to this challenge for their title as Champions of England?’ Only at the end of the season will we have our answer.

But Sir Alex Ferguson – who conceded his side played “suicidal football” as they chased to get back into the game has already promised “there will be a response to that”.

Meanwhile, City boss Roberto Mancini, who admitted “the sending off changed everything” insisted: “We have to continue to improve – we have only played nine games. There is a long way to go”

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New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ winner of the Rugby World Cup 2011 – first time to claim the title in 24 years

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New Zealand win Rugby World Cup 2011

New Zealand win Rugby World Cup 2011

BY CORINNE GUBBA

New Zealand were the favourites to win the Rugby World Cup 2011 and they have finally done it, with a magnificent match against France in the Final at Eden Park in Auckland. The final score was 8-7 to New Zealand.

“The people have been outstanding . . . the people who have supported this team and have supported this World Cup – I am so proud to be a New Zealander standing here,” Quote from All Blacks coach Graham Henry just before the Webb Ellis Cup was lifted by captain Richie McCaw. “There was bit of turmoil up there . . . but reflect over the last seven weeks what these people have done throughout the country . . . and Richie and the boys just hanging in there right through the match for 80 minutes to win this match is superb.

“As a day this is something we have dreamed of for a while – we can rest in peace.”

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Stephen Donald goes from zero to hero as All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup – and Richie McCaw gets the last laugh

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A fairytale World Cup debut for Stephen Donald

A fairytale Rugby World Cup debut for fourth choice fly-half Stephen Donald

BY JOHN GUBBA

There was a touch of French farce about the way the All Blacks ended 24 years of hurt to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Not for the first time since New Zealand claimed the first World Cup on home soil back in 1987, it looked like the Blacks were going to choke again and leave their fanatical fans frustrated by an unlikely defeat at the hands of the rank outsiders France.

For Stephen Donald, previously the most unpopular fly-half in New Zealand, to come off the bench and kick the penalty that turned out to be the match winner was  the most unlikely scenario you could possibly imagine.

Rugby Masterclass DVD

Rugby Masterclass DVD

Fourth-choice Donald, who has at least three Facebook pages dedicated to condemning his performances as an All Black, was only on the pitch because the injury curse that previously ruled out Dan Carter and Colin Slade claimed Aaron Cruden at the end of the first half. Not only was he making his World Cup debut, he confidently took over the goalkicking duty from misfiring Piri Weepu and landed the 46th-minute penalty that turned out to be the winning points, following the first half try by Tony Woodcock.

France stormed back with a converted try from by their inspirational captain Thierry Dusautoir that left the hosts desperately holding on by a single point at 8-7. But All Blacks weathered wave after wave of attacks to seal victory and spark scenes of wild jubilation at Eden Park.

When All Blacks’ captain Richie McCaw – the most popular man in New Zealand – told a live TV audience the encounter had left him “absolutely shagged” it was hard not to smile.

http://youtu.be/C2Pzsfc2OTs

Tribute to England's greatest try-scorer

Tribute to England's greatest try-scorer

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When ‘Superman’ Piri Weepu leads the Haka the All Blacks hero’s embodiment of this ancient ritual is truly inspirational

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Piri Weepu embodies the Haka like no other

Piri Weepu embodies the Haka like no other


BY JOHN GUBBA

The defining image of the 2011 Rugby World Cup for me has been the awe-inspiring sight of Piri Weepu leading the Haka.

There is no more breathtaking spectacle in sport than this ancient ritual. And the Kiwi scrum half embodies the Haka like no other.

Ever since it became a permanent fixture for the Blacks on their way to winning the first World Cup back in 1987, this traditional Maori war dance has become synonymous with New Zealand rugby.

Weepu’s intensity is truly inspirational – and make no mistake the charismatic No.9 will be playing a key role before Sunday’s final against France gets under way when he leads the Haka in his own inimitable style.

As red hot favourites the pressure on the host nation to deliver is immense. But the French will know exactly how determined the All Blacks are to win the Webb Ellis trophy for the first time in 24 years when they look into Weepu’s eyes. It will not be for the feint-hearted. Weepu in the full throes of the Haka is a fearsome sight.

It has been a remarkable year for Weepu, rebounding from a broken leg to become the pivotal player for the All Blacks. With first-choice fly-halves Dan Carter and Colin Slade both sustaining tournament-ending groin injuries and the inexperienced Aaron Cruden drafted in at No 10, Weepu became the goal-kicking, ‘senior’ half-back. And his form has made him the talk of the nation. Such has been his importance at this World Cup that fans throughout New Zealand have pasted posters of the 28-year-old of Maori and Niuean descent with his head superimposed on a Superman outfit.

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Why Wales will be kicking themselves for missing their chance for glory at the 2011 Rugby World Cup

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Wales fan sheds a tear when the team loses the rugby world cup semi-final against France

Wales fan sheds a tear when the team loses the rugby world cup semi-final against France

BY JOHN GUBBA

In the cold light of day Wales’ 2011 Rugby World Cup record reads four wins and three defeats, after the 21-18 deafeat by Australia in the Third Place Final.

The proud Welsh who battled so bravely against adversity will point to the narrow margins of defeat – beaten by a single point by both South Africa in the Group stage and then France in the semi-final.  But the truth is that there was something missing from Warren Gatland’s side. And it wasn’t just their skipper after the match-changing red card for Sam Warburton against the French.

In all three defeats for Wales it was a story of crucial kicks that could have won them the game.

This time it was James Hook who squandered the points that should have beaten Australia. In the semis Stephen Jones hit the post with the conversion which would have snatched the lead, and Leigh Halfpenny then came up just short with a long-range penalty at the death. And against defending world champions South Africa Wales were infamously denied by Hook’s first-half penalty which narrowly cleared the posts but was wrongly ruled a miss.

The harsh reality is that Wales came up short because they just weren’t good enough.

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Wales the toast of New Zealand guaranteed home support in Rugby World Cup third place final

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Wales Rugby World Cup 2011 team

Wales Rugby World Cup 2011 team

BY JOHN GUBBA

When Wales take on Australia in the the third place final at the Rugby World Cup it will be all about ending this marathon tournament with a taste of glory

Any suggestion that this is a game no one wants to take part in is just disrespectful to the sport, the players and both nations.

It will be no consolation for missing out on the final they so deserved to reach, but you can bet your last dollar that this is a game the proud Welshmen desperately want to win.

Wales have won so many admirers for their outstanding contribution to the 2011 Rugby World Cup. And host nation New Zealand would absolutely love to see them overpower the Wallabies.

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