England hooker Josh Hodgson will miss Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia with a knee ligament injury. The 28-year-old sustained the injury in England’s dramatic 20-18 win over Tonga in the semi-finals.
Although there had been a lot of speculations about where the game would be changing its venue from Faro, London has always been an alternative proposal. This time the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) confirmed that they will move forward with the venue that had already been planned before and that there has been no change. The issues regarding security and money have been resolved with the Portuguese Football association and UEFA.
In a statement, the Gibraltar Football Association said that the speculations of the match changing its venue to London is over as the GFA are confirming that the European Qualifiers matches against Germany on 13th of June, 2015; the Republic of Ireland on 4th September 2015 and that of Scotland on 11th October 2015, all these will be taking place at Estadio do Algarve in Faro/Loule in Portugal.
The GFA said that the security concerns that there were, have all been resolved as the GFA has made contracts with a new security company who are going to take care of all the security measures in the stadium on the days of the matches. And the company has given very satisfactory service in the recent matches that were held against Georgia and the feedback from the supports have been nothing but positive.
The GFA have confirmed that they have got the confirmation from the Germans, the Irish and the Scotland Football Associations asking and requesting them to host the matches in Faro so that all the fans who have booked their flights and accommodations already will not lose the money.
The Estadio do Algarve is going to be used as the home stadium as long as there is not a stadium in Gibraltar that fits the criteria and gets the approval of UEFA, the GFA said.
The former Leicester City player Gordon Banks believes that it would not be easy for the Foxes to retain their place in the English top tier.
Leicester City, having finished at the top of the table in the Championship last season, earned promotion and would play in the Premier League this summer, but, many people doubt if they are good enough to survive at the top level and Banks is also one of those doubters.
According to Banks who won the World Cup with the Three Lions 48 years back in 1966, Leicester’s chances depend a lot on their shot stopper Kasper Schmeichel.
Banks who himself also was a goalkeeper is believed to be a fan of Schmeichel, the Denmark international.
Schmeichel has recently put pen on a new deal with the Foxes. He will now remain at the King Power Stadium till the summer of 2018.
Banks expressed his surprise at the fact that no other Premier League team tried to grab the services of Schmeichel this summer.
Speaking in an interview of his, Banks said, “It’s really good on Leicester. Kasper will be the key for them in the league. He is class apart.”
“It’s a little bit surprising that there’s been no interest for him from either of the teams.”
“If they (Leicester) are over dependent on Kasper, that’s trouble because he will have a few off days. The other players will also have to lift their game as they are going to play in the league now.”
When asked if he thinks Leicester would be there in the League next season too, the 76-year old said, “I would be hoping so, but, it isn’t likely to be honest.”
Banks featured for the Foxes in 293 matches.
England manager Roy Hodgson has suggested that his team will be more wary of the threat posed by Andrea Pirlo rather than Mario Balotelli. England will be coming up against 2006 World Cup in Italy in the group stages of the World Cup 2014. Uruguay and Costa Rica are the other opponents for England.
Hence, they need to be at their best in order to progress past the group stages. Balotelli has been in impeccable form for the national team over the last few years. Cesare Prandelli has been able to get the best out of him.
Arsene Wenger has stated that he feels that the win over Wigan Athletic in this FA Cup semifinals could prove to be the turning point of the season for the club. Since they are coming up against a Championship club in the semifinals, Arsenal were overwhelming favourites to register a win and progress to the FA Cup finals, which was also the last trophy that the club lifted back in 2005. However, Wigan have come into this position after having beaten big clubs like Manchester City along the way and they proved that they are able to compete with the best.
Jordi Gomez scored a penalty in the second half to get Wigan a lead in the match. For long periods of the match, it looked like this advantage would be enough to see Wigan in the second consecutive FA Cup final. They were holders of the competition, but Arsenal came back into the encounter following a goal from Per Mertesacker in the 80th minute. They then went on to win the match 4-2 on penalties, which puts them in the finals against Hull City. Following this match, the club also managed to go on and register a 3-1 win over West Ham in the Premier League.
Wenger says that this win could be the turning point of the season.
“There was a lot at stake for us. You know how it is today in football. Had we gone out of course we would have been tremendously questioned and I knew it was a turning point of our season. To go out on Saturday would have been very difficult. But we have shown resilience and nerves, and that is an important quality at the top level. It means a lot for the club, and I want to win,” said Wenger.
Lucas Podolski, born Lucas Josef Podolski, is a German footballer who plays as an attacker for Premier League side Arsenal, whilst also playing for the national German side. Podolski is known for his attacking talents and powerful shooting accuracy. He is currently the sixth highest goal-scorer in German history, scoring 46 times for his country.
The German joined Arsenal from FC Koln in 2012 in a long term deal, which was for an undisclosed fee, although it is rumoured the deal was close to eleven million pounds. Since then, Podolski has gone on to score 23 goals for Arsenal in 57 games. Throughout his career, the forward has a total of 135 competitive goals in 348 appearances.
Abou Diaby born Vassiriki Abou Diaby is a French footballer who plays for his national team as well as the Arsenal, the English football club. He is known for his adaptation of attack and defense and described as a footballer with athletic, elusive and languid abilities that allow him to dribble around opponents or slip a pass quickly to a team mate during play. His position of play and his physical build prompt comparison with Patrick Vieira, the Arsenal legend.
Born on 11th May, 1986 in Paris Diaby is a towering midfielder standing at 6.3”who made his youth debut with Aubervilliers club in 1996. His senior debut was made with Auxerre in 2004 and the Arsenal contract was offered to him in 2006. Made the French under 19 in 2004, under 21 in 2006 and the French national team in 2007.
He was the member of the under-19 team that took the 2005 UEFA European under-19 Football Championship. Senior International debut started with UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Lithuania and his representation for France was the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He played all the 3 group matches with the starting lineup.
He was awarded a £2 million contract by Arsenal in January 2006 and prior to that he had already refused an offer from Chelsea the London rival of the Gunners. When he made his first appearance for the team he was awarded the shirt number 2 which was incidentally lying vacant after the retirement of Lee Dixon. His career statistics include a total of 190 appearances with 20 goals and 16 assists. For his national team he has played 16 times scoring once. His contract with the Arsenal team started in 2006 and will run till 30th June 2015. His 2009-10 seasons with Arsenal was his highest output in terms of number of games played and he played a phenomenal 40 matches out of 55.