Friday, 29 June 2012

Kocic downbeat after another Toronto collapse

Toronto FC goalkeeper Milos Kocic admitted he was left wondering what more he could do after seeing his defence concede two late goals, and let their commanding lead against New England Revolution slip to draw 2-2.

The Canadians have defied soccer betting tips with their dismal MLS form this season, with one solitary win to their name, but could have taken maximum points from their last two games.

Toronto have drawn their last two matches despite being in commanding positions going into the closing stages of both, firstly against Houston and now New England.

Danny Koevermans and Ryan Johnson had given Toronto a 2-0 lead, only to be pegged back by Blake Brettschneider’s 71st minute goal before Chris Tierney popped up in stoppage time to nod an equalizer past the unfortunate Kocic in the Toronto goal.

While Kocic had spent much of the game as a spectator, he was called upon on more than a couple of occasions as the Revolution began to control the game towards the end.

The Serbian stopper was downbeat following the game, admitting he was at a loss to explain why the team continued to come away from games without what they deserved.

“Whatever I do, it doesn’t matter I guess. It’s frustrating,” said Kocic. “I see other goalkeepers in the league make one save and the game ends 1-0 or 2-0. Whatever I do, it doesn’t seem to matter at the moment.”

Head coach Paul Mariner will have been well aware of just how big a job was on his hands when he took over from Aron Winter last month.

Those that bet on soccer games know that drawing games from winning positions will need to be stamped out if Toronto are going to climb off the bottom of the league.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

England ‘are Here to Win’- Hart

England goalkeeper, Joe Hart, has given a reminder that England are not at Euro 2012 just to make up the numbers. He feels that, having made an unbeaten start, they are genuine contenders to win the tournament. 

"The whole point in coming here is not to keep people happy and off our backs," Hart said. "We are here to win."  

Hart’s comments presumably refer to pundits and the media, and he was quick to state that, whatever anyone else thought of England’s chances, the team always believed.

"Regardless of what some people thought, that was nothing to do with the camp. There has been a group of people who did not think we would do well but, for anyone who knew the players, it is not a surprise and it is part of the plan," the 25 year old said.

The form of the England team in defeating Sweden and Ukraine, and drawing with France, has pleased Hart, who insists that the best football scores are yet to come from Roy Hodgson’s men. "We're growing with each game.

“We started well with the right ideas and right game-plans and we've executed them well," he said.  "We are not those guys [who settle for reaching the quarter-finals] - we are winners. We want to be successful for ourselves, and make English people proud of their team,” he added.

England face Italy in the final quarterfinal of Euro 2012, on Sunday night, in Kiev. The winner of that tie will face Greece or Germany in the semi-final.

If England are to confound all expectations and win the tournament, then they will have to continue to improve; whilst they have been better than expected so far, they haven’t won anything yet.

England fans who like to watch football live will find a paradise of odds, tips, and news items on the Bet365 website.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Kilbane calls for McClean chance

Former Ireland midfielder Kevin Kilbane and several soccer betting observers have urged Giovanni Trapattoni to select winger James McClean for the Republic’s clash with Spain on Thursday.

Pressure is building on the veteran Italian boss to include the in-form Sunderland star, who burst onto the scene last season and injected some much needed pace into the sluggish Black Cats’ line-up.

This led to him being called-up to the national side and he has looked sharp in his limited appearances so-far, leading many to tip him to start in his country’s first game at Euro 2012 against Croatia.

However, Trapattoni, who is famously loyal to his players, decided to stick with the team that played during the majority of the Republic’s qualifying campaign, meaning McClean could only look on as his side were comfortably beaten 3-1.

The ‘Boys in Green’ were then defeated by World and European champions Spain in Gdansk which knocked out of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, although they can salvage some pride when they return to live football action against Italy this week.

And a number of pundits have called on Trapattoni to take a chance on McClean and try and use his pace to unsettle the Italian defence.

Kilbane, who represented his country at the 2002 World Cup, is fully behind the campaign for the exciting winger’s inclusion, but believes the Italian manager’s defensive instincts will see him continue with the team that started the opening match.

“There’s been big talk over the last few weeks about James McClean,” said Kilbane.

“His inclusion in the squad has been a big thing for the Irish supporters, so I think every Irishman and woman would have thought he would be the natural man to come in on that left wing.

“In typical Giovanni Trapattoni fashion, though, he will pick the team as he sees fit,” he added.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Gerrard Satisfied with Opening

England captain, Steven Gerrard, has admitted that he was left feeling satisfied by his side’s 1-1 draw in their opening Euro 2012 match, against France. Les Bleus were tipped to beat England in the betting on football from Bet Victor.

After taking the lead, England will have been a little frustrated not to finish with the three points. However, Gerrard claimed the mood in the camp was good, after getting a point from the in-form French.

After an impressive opening to the game, England began to fade in the second half, as the French took control of the match. Laurent Blanc’s men failed to add to their equaliser from Samir Nasri, however, with new England manager, Roy Hodgson, maintaining his unbeaten run since taking the job.

Gerrard insisted the result was not exactly what England had wanted from the match, yet he made it clear a draw that against France was a good platform on which to go into their remaining Group D matches, against Ukraine and Sweden.

"We would have been delighted with a win but, as you saw tonight, France have got fantastic players", said the midfielder. "We caused them as many problems as they caused us, so we're satisfied with the performance.

"But we said before the game that win, lose, or draw we wouldn't get carried away, and that this was just a platform. It's great to get off the mark points-wise."

Hodgson will have been able to take plenty of positives away from the game - from youngsters, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in attack, to John Terry and Joleon Lescott’s partnership in central defence.

It remains to be seen whether the manager will change things around, during the rest of the group campaign.

England are favourites to beat Sweden, on Friday, according to the odds for the Euros with Bet Victor.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Rooney expecting 'big things'

Wayne Rooney believes that England can win Euro 2012despite their difficult build-up to the tournament and insists that he knows that he is not guaranteed a place in the team once he returns from suspension.

The Three Lions go into the championships in Poland and Ukraine with perhaps the lowest expectations of many years, despite a superb qualifying campaign.

After sealing their place at the tournament last October, England have been plagued by problems following the resignation of former boss Fabio Capello and new coach Roy Hodgson will be without a number of his key men due to injury.

However, Rooney believes the squad is still strong enough to compete and says he is expecting ‘big things’.

"We are trying and no-one should even think we are just turning up," said Rooney. "Sometimes when you lose, you have to hold your hands up.

"But when you look at our squad, I don't see why we can't win it. There have been a lot of changes but I will expect big things.”

The Manchester United striker will miss his side’s first two group games against France and Sweden after being suspended following his sending off in the final qualification match in Montenegro.

This is one of the reason there is so much doom and gloom around the camp as without Rooney, a number of pundits have suggested that England might struggle to find the net.

However, the 26-year-old has rejected these claims and believes he may find it difficult to get back into the team for the final pool game against co-hosts Ukraine.

"It is the price I have to pay for making that mistake,” he continued. "It happened and I have to accept it. I will just prepare myself as if I was playing and hopefully comeback into a winning team."

Ahead of the start of Euro 2012 don’t forget to check out the new bet365 Ray Winstone video over at the brand new bet365 Youtube channel.

England’s first referee

England and France will be happy to hear that one of UEFA’s top referees is in line to officiate their clash on Monday. Italian ref Nicola Rizzoli has been handed the duty of managing what is expected to be a feisty encounter in Group D, with both teams looking for a winning start to the competition.

What England can expect from Rizzoli is a man that knows his own mind. The determined Italian has made a name for himself in Serie A since joining the league 10 years ago, and has gone on to become an ‘elite’ UEFA official, taking charge of the 2010 Europa League final.

Rizzoli will let Monday’s game flow, but is not scared of holding up play to sort out miscreants. His Serie A average of 4.89 yellow cards per match does front him as one of the strictest referees in Europe, but his no-nonsense attitude should help England against France.

For if England can hit the wings going forward on Monday, cards could start to flourish down France’s flanks.

The pace of Theo Walcott and Ashley Young should attract midfielders Yann M’Vila and Yohan Cabaye, and with France more likely to play a high line that Sweden or Ukraine, England’s wingers will find space to surge in to.

If the space can be found, M’Vila and Cabaye will follow: doubling up with respective full-backs to prevent crosses for the looming Andy Carroll. For France will defend doggedly to prevent balls into the box, and should commit a good number of fouls in the process.

This can only be good news for England with a referee unfazed to express himself on the major stage. He is as happy to discuss incidents with players as he is to order them about, an attribute that should endear him to Roy Hodgson’s men.

Euro 2012 kicks off today! For all the latest Betfair Russia v Czech Republic odds and Betfair Poland v Greece Odds head over to Betfair’s Euro 2012 page.