Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hidup Ini.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ballack calls a two-horse race


MICHAEL Ballack dismissed Liverpool's title challenge yesterday and predicted a two-horse race between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Only goal difference separates Liverpool from Chelsea at the top of the table, but the Germany midfield player believes the Merseyside club is more suited to the UEFA Champions League because its squad lacks the depth to compete for the entire season.

Liverpool has won one Champions League and reached another final in four seasons under Rafael Benitez, but Ballack's views will not go down well at Anfield. Liverpool has been in the top two all season and became the first side to win a league match at Stamford Bridge in 4 1/2 years last month when it beat Chelsea 1-0.

"It's always the big four that everyone speaks about, but it's still about Chelsea and Man U," Ballack said. "Arsenal are already behind, which makes it very difficult for them. Liverpool are very good at this moment, but they are always a club for the Champions League, partly because they can put all their focus on one or two matches.

"But when you look at results and squads over the past couple of seasons, I think us and Man U are just a little bit stronger."

In yesterday's games, Roman Pavlyuchenko scored an early goal to give Tottenham a 1-0 win over 10-man Blackburn and lift Harry Redknapp's team out of the relegation zone.

Spurs outplayed Rovers for long spells at White Hart Lane, even before Blackburn lost left back Martin Olsson in the 39th after he received his second yellow card. The defender was also at fault for the goal. He tried to beat Aaron Lennon but lost possession, and the winger burst down the right flank and pulled the ball back to the unmarked Pavlyuchenko. The Russian striker beat former Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson with a first-time shot.

Lennon repeatedly created openings for Spurs with his weaving runs, and Olsson was sent off for hauling the winger down.

"Aaron's a terrific player," Spurs coach Harry Redknapp said. "He's a threat, he carries the game to the opposition, he's got pace, he excites people and his confidence is sky high at the moment."

While Spurs climbed out of the last three spots, Blackburn slipped to second last. Wigan, which hosts Everton overnight, also dropped into the relegation zone.

In the other game, West Ham won 1-0 at Sunderland to end a run of seven games without a win and inflict a fourth home loss in a row on the Black Cats through a Valon Behrami goal.

Scolari Still Invite Robinho


Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari still hasn’t given up on his summer target Robinho and announced that the Stamfort Bridge side's doors are “always open for him ”.

Chelsea were linked with the Brazilian international attacker throughout the summer but on the final day of the transfer window, Manchester City snatched the player for a 32million deal from Real Madrid.

During that time Scolari was fuming with Anger for not having being able to bring Robinho to Stamford Bridge and claimed that the former Real Madrid man could have been the best player in the world if he was at Chelsea.

"I am sure that Robinho would be the best player in the world if he came to play at Chelsea," he told Brazilian daily O Globo. "The Chelsea doors are always open to him."

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - CHELSEA - TERRY AIMING FOR KNOCKOUT STAGES


Chelsea captain John Terry wants the Blues to bounce back from their Roma mauling to make sure of a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The club head to Bordeaux on Wednesday looking for a victory to erase the nightmare 3-1 defeat in Rome.

Chelsea gave the French side a 4-0 hammering at Stamford Bridge and Terry is confident they can bounce back from the disappointment of the Rome game.

"The lads bounced back from the disappointment of Rome with everyone showing a great attitude to give a great performance in Blackburn (a 2-0 win)," said the England skipper.

"Blackburn is a notoriously tough place to go but with the bad weather and Rome behind us, it was an even tougher fixture.

"Rome apart we are not conceding many goals and Nicolas Anelka is on fire, not just with his goalscoring but in his all-round link-up play.

"It is tight at the top both in the Premier and the Champions League, so we cannot afford to slip up.

"The defeat in Rome put a little bit of a bad taste in our mouths and was a bitter reminder that we have to keep on winning until the other teams crumble around us.

"It is not just the management who can be important after a result like the one in Rome, it is all the backroom staff.

"They play a big part in getting us right. Darren, the young chef, brings his guitar along now and sings a few songs. There were a few Elvis Presley numbers played before the Blackburn game."

Although Anelka is in the best form of his Chelsea career, Luiz Felipe Scolari will have Didier Drogba available for the Bordeaux match even though he is serving a domestic suspension.

But it is the timely return of Germany midfielder Michael Ballack that has team-mate Deco drooling.

Ballack played half-an-hour as a substitute in the 3-0 win over West Brom last week and is set to start against the French side.

"It is good for us to have him back because he is a great, great player," said Deco.

"We need more players because we are playing many games and have some injuries.

"It is difficult to play against him because he is a strong player, very competitive and experienced. I have played against him three or four times for Portugal."

The Drog Returns Again!


Didier Drogba is set to return to the Chelsea side as they prepare to face Champions League opponents Bordeaux on Wednesday. The Ivorian has missed the first match in a three game ban that was imposed after he threw a coin into the crowd during the Carling Cup match at Stamford Bridge in which Chelsea were beaten by Burnley.

However, the ban does not apply to European matches and, after Chelsea could only stutter to a goal-less draw last Saturday against Newcastle, manager Phil Scolari will be hoping that Drogba will give his attack the bite that they lacked in the league game.

His team mate Florent Malouda has spoken in support of Drogba's return saying: It will be a good thing for us because with what is happening now. I think he will be angry and show he has things to do for the team."

The French winger continued: "Didier is the type of player who can find a solution when you play these teams but as you can see Nicolas Anelka is doing well at this moment."

He added: "We had the players and the mentality to reach victory against Newcastle but we have to keep on trying and we hope the next game at home will find the solution."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chelsea will need record 97 points to win league title, says Luiz Felipe Scolari


Chelsea only head Liverpool on goal difference despite having dropped just seven points from the opening 13 games of the season.

And manager Scolari believes it will take a record-breaking campaign to guarantee Chelsea their third title in five years in his debut season in charge.

The Brazilian, who spoke glowingly of the harmony inside his squad, said: "We know that if we want to win the Premier League, we need to win 85 per cent of the points on offer.

"We have a focus for the Premier League games. Three points is important for every game. But we have a good balance and the players know this.

"After the games we lost, we showed the players why we lost and they tried to change that for the next game. In each case, in the next game we have played well."

Scolari's 85 per cent target equates to 97 points over the season, two more than Jose Mourinho's Blues side accrued to set the current record mark and take their first title in 2005. After Manchester United's 2-1 defeat at Arsenal, which has left them languishing eight points behind Chelsea and Liverpool, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "We have got to get above 85 points to have a chance of winning the league, so we must keep going for it."

Chelsea are behind the schedule set for them by Scolari, although back-to-back wins over Newcastle today and Bolton next week would take them within a fraction of the target figure.

Scolari added: "I need to look at the schedule again. After we have played Newcastle and Bolton I will have a better idea about the points we have and what we wanted to have. I will tell you then."

The Brazilian, however, was far more emphatic about the value of a squad willing to exchange views and opinions without it descending into damaging acrimony.

And while he pointedly insisted he was not referring to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger or William Gallas, the contrast between the sweetness and light he described at Stamford Bridge and the apparent civil war across the capital could not have been more evident.

Scolari, set to have Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech all back this afternoon, added: "Having a good atmosphere in the squad is 50 per cent, minimum, of what you need to win a game, because if that atmosphere is not good, you start the game in a bad situation.

"It is something the players create between themselves and with me and my staff. But once it is there it is easy." Scolari insisted that, for all his image as a hardliner, he actually encourages argument between his players - but only when it is for constructive purposes, and on the condition that nothing is allowed to fester.

"I want the players to speak their minds, to talk between themselves and me, even if it's negative," he added.

"We need to look and talk and think about what has happened, before games, even at half-time. But after they have spoken, it is my time.

"Bad results can create problems.

But what is important is that you've involved the players so they understand one bad result doesn't change our focus.

"In that time what you have to say i s: 'Remember, remember, remember; OK, go'. I'm the man who needs to decide what happens."

Scolari said he had been in such situations many, many times, but that he was happy for players to speak their minds as long as they did not breach his code of respect for the structure of the club.

"Sometimes you give the players the chance to say something and they go too far," he explained. "Then we need to say: 'Look, the position is this'.

"I am a coach, and at times I am a friend or a father too, because I am older than them and have had more experiences.

"But when I am a coach, I need to be able bring a player into my office and tell him the way we have to follow and if it is required, to say: 'You are wrong; out'. My job is to solve the problem and finish it."

LAST 11 WINNING POINTS TOTALS
2007-08: MAN UTD 87PTS
2006-07: MAN UTD 89PTS
2005-06: CHELSEA 91PTS
2004-05: CHELSEA 95PTS
2003-04: ARSENAL 90PTS
2002-03: MAN UTD 83PTS
2001-02: ARSENAL 87PTS
2000-01: MAN UTD 80PTS
1999-00: MAN UTD 91PTS
1998-99: MAN UTD 79PTS
1997-98: ARSENAL 78PTS

Lampard fit for Chelsea's Premier match with Newcastle


LONDON, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was slightly relieved as England captain Frank Lampard is expected to be fit for the Premiership leaders' home match on Saturday.

The midfielder missed England's win in Germany on Wednesday with sore ribs but will return to the field for Chelsea this weekend when they host Newcastle United at Standford Bridge.

Joe Cole is also back in the squad and goalkeeper Petr Cech is also fit again after recovering from a calf strain that kept him out against West Bromwich Albion last week.

Striker Didier Drogba, however, begins a three-match ban, while Scolari was sweating over his Portuguese contingent who played the international friendly for their country in Brazil.

"I didn't receive Deco, Jose Bosingwa or Paulo Ferreira because they arrived from Brazil at 6pm (on Thursday). After 15 hours flying it's impossible to train," he told Chelsea's website.

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari underlines squad importance

The Brazilian was adamant that he would not discuss the situation at Arsenal, yet was happy to outline the "very, very good atmosphere every day" at Chelsea, a quality he considers fundamental to the team's success.

"If you don't have a good atmosphere you will start the game in bad condition," he said. "I think [it's importance to the club is] 50 per cent minimum. If you are happy, your job is fantastic. We created that atmosphere and after this, it is easy."

Chelsea captain John Terry was openly critical of the team following the recent defeat against Roma but, unlike Gallas, there was an emphasis on collective responsibility rather than any individual incident. Scolari says that he encourages his players to speak frankly, whether exchanging positive or negative views. "John Terry may be critical because he is more angry than other players," he said. "But, in the dressing room, all of the players are critical. The players respect my level and I respect the players. We have lines.

"We talk – I understand, the player understands, the board understands, we finish the problem. They are very professional and I like this so much. My authority is the normal authority. Sometimes I am a friend, a father and sometimes I am a coach. Sometimes, as a coach, I need to say 'you are wrong'."

Scolari's man-management has extended to his supportive handling of Dider Drogba following the coin-throwing incident that has resulted in a three-match Football Association ban that will rule him out of today's game against Newcastle.

It is also understood that he has been fined two weeks' wages for the lapse in discipline, but Scolari said: "Didier did not go to the pitch with the coin, Didier is not the man that started it."

Scolari also expressed his hope that Michael Ballack will extend his contract beyond next season. "He is young and plays very well, if he wants, I want and if Chelsea have a deal it's fantastic," he said.

Although top of the league, Chelsea are one point adrift of Scolari's "85 per cent" ratio that he regards as necessary to be sure of winning the Premier League. It is a standard that would result in a record-breaking haul at the end of the season of 97 points.

Although Drogba is suspended, Scolari is likely to welcome back Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Joe Cole to his squad after the England trio all missed the 2-1 win against Germany on Wednesday. Petr Cech is available again, while Alex could also return.

Anelka expresses sympathy for Drogba



CHELSEA striker Nicolas Anelka has expressed sympathy for team-mate Didier Drogba who was given a three-match ban by the Football Association after admitting a charge of violent conduct for throwing a coin into the crowd.
"Didier threw back a coin that supporters had chucked at him. It's not something serious. It's a gesture like any other," Anelka said of the incident in Chelsea's Carling Cup defeat by Burnley.


The full article contains 75 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.

Chelsea VS Newcastle United

VS

Chelsea face Newcastle at home on Saturday with some of the injured players making a comeback this weekend, while others still sit and wait. Cole and Cech are confirmed, Lampard is a very slight doubt. Ballack is back, but the newly returned Drogba is banned for 3 matches and won't be making an appearance until December.

With 6 players still out with injuries, the bench line is looking rather sparse. But the squad is full of talent.

So what will the starting line look like? Here's my prediction.


Cech
Bosingwa - Ivanovic - Terry - Bridge
Mikel
Lampard - Deco
Cole - Anelka - Malouda


Bench: Cudicini, Ferreira, Mineiro, Sinclair, Ballack, Kalou, Woods

Newcastle at times has proven difficult, and Chelsea has struggled at home at times, although the last Premier League match at Stamford Bridge had a fantastic result. So here's hoping that the boys can keep the momentum going.
My Verdict: A win of course

EPL 2008-09 Season: English life suits Scolari but Chelsea come first


LONDON: Luiz Felipe Scolari has quickly grown to love life in England but the Chelsea manager has put sight-seeing to the back of his mind as he tries to keep the Londoners on top of the English Premier League.
Scolari and his family have settled well in their new home near Chelsea's training ground in leafy Cobham, south of London, but the Brazilian has made only a handful of trips into the capital because he is so focused on winning silverware this season.

Like Arsene Wenger, who once claimed he only knew the way to Arsenal's stadium, training ground and Heathrow airport, Scolari is too consumed by success to worry about trips to Big Ben and the Tower of London.

That didn't change this week ahead of Newcastle's visit to Stamford Bridge today, even though he had only a handful of players to work with due to the international friendlies.

"My life in England is a normal life as a coach. I have more time for the club, for training, and I spend some time with the family when I have time for this," he said.
"My family like to stay in England, my son is studying at a beautiful, big school and he visited some more places than me and has more friends.

"London? No, I have visited three or four times when I was free with my family, but when I go to London it is to play at Stamford Bridge!"

Scolari has more pressing concerns as he waits to see whether Frank Lampard and goalkeeper Petr Cech can shakes off their injuries.

Seven other first team players are expected to be out of action too, as Alex, Joe Cole, Juliano Belletti, Ricardo Carvalho, Michael Essien, Ashley Cole and Franco Di Santo are all still struggling.

With a third of the season now played, the signs are looking good for the Blues.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Health Benefits Of Green Tea


As far back as 500,000 years ago, people enjoyed steeping tea leaves in boiling water. Was it the soothing experience that turned people onto tea? Or did our ancestors understand the powerful healing properties of a warm cup of tea? Whatever the reason, the art of drinking tea has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Recent media attention has turned the public's conscience to green tea, an ancient Asian blend that has become massively popular in the Western world. There are a number of outlandish claims regarding the health benefits of green tea being thrown around, so wading through all the BS can be anything but soothing.

So, what are the health benefits of green tea?

What's inside?

To understand the health benefits of green tea, let's first take a look at what's inside each cup:

  • Green tea is chock-full of polyphenols, phytochemicals with potent antioxidant properties that give green tea its bitter flavor.
  • Green tea contains six primary polyphenols, known as catechins.
  • Green tea contains more catechins than black or oolong tea.
  • Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most active and studied of green tea's catechins.
  • Green tea also contains alkaloids such as caffeine (although in lower quantities than black tea), which give green tea its stimulating properties.

Is green tea healthy?

If only life were cut-and-dry, this question would have a simple answer. However, as with many natural supplements or remedies, the verdict on green tea is still up in the air. While some studies have suggested that green tea offers health benefits, many institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, agree that there simply isn't enough evidence to definitively proclaim the health benefits of green tea. Keeping in mind that more study is needed, green tea has shown modest benefits for some major health conditions:

Cardiovascular Disease

Several large studies have suggested that drinking green tea reduces the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease, although results are mixed. Green tea may further lower cholesterol, but it seems to have no effect on blood pressure. The FDA, therefore, has rejected a recent bid by green tea makers to allow tea labels to claim that green tea is heart-healthy.

Cancer

Human studies of green tea in cancer prevention have been conflicting. However, animal studies have been much more convincing. Green tea catechin extracts are thus being investigated for their anticancer properties in current clinical trials.

Weight Loss

Some studies suggest that drinking green tea or taking green tea extract pills can increase metabolism and help burn fat, but results are mixed once again.

Along with those health conditions listed above, other studies have suggested that green tea is helpful for diabetes, stress, dental cavities, protection against UV radiation, and viral infection. The bottom line, however, is that scientists just don't know enough to make any clear recommendations.

How much green tea should I drink?

Now that you understand that drinking green tea may offer some health benefits, why not give it a shot? But how many cups a day should you drink? Well, brace yourself: The majority of studies that found any health benefit had participants drink anywhere from three to 10 cups of green tea daily. In other words -- get brewin'!

How should I prepare my tea?

You'll get most benefit out of freshly brewed hot tea that has steeped for three to five minutes, a process that helps to bring out the catechins. Green tea made from older leaves also tends to have more catechins. Decaffeinated or bottled tea preparations and instant teas have less of those favorable chemicals and compounds, whereas green tea extract capsules provide similar amounts of catechins to freshly brewed tea. Typically, you'll want to take in 250 mg to 400 mg of green tea polyphenols per day or more (equals about three cups per day).

Does adding milk affect my tea?

Though green tea is not normally prepared with milk, one study found that the addition of milk blocked the healthy action of green or black tea catechins. Several other studies, however, have refuted this claim.

Is green tea harmful?

Green tea does contain active ingredients, particularly caffeine, which can cause problems such as an increased heart rate or insomnia for some. Caffeine also crosses the placenta and is found in breast milk, which means that pregnant or breastfeeding women might want to avoid green tea.

Green tea also contains tannin, which may limit iron absorption from fruits or vegetables. Taking tea with some lemon (high in vitamin C) should counteract this.

There are also numerous drugs with which green tea should not be combined. Many of these drug interactions are due to green tea's caffeine content. Green tea should not be mixed with adenosine, beta-lactam antibiotics, aspirin, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, blood-thinning medications, chemotherapy, clozapine, ephedrine, lithium, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, oral contraceptives, and phenylpropanolamine. For more interactions, speak to your doctor.

going green

Despite the common notion that green tea is a holistic and healthy beverage, current medical studies don't yet seem to agree. While results look promising, more time and effort is needed to fully unravel the mysteries of this ancient beverage. In the meantime, drinking a few cups of green tea a day in place of other less healthy beverage choices is not such a bad idea.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Didier Drogba is banned for three matches


Didier Drogba has been given a three-match suspension after admitting violent conduct in last week's Carling Cup fourth-round tie defeat on penalties at home to Burnley, but the Chelsea striker appears to have escaped a club fine.

Although Drogba had apologised immediately after the match for throwing a coin back among visiting fans, an FA regulatory commission handed down a punishment yesterday identical to that received by Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender, who was sent off for a similar offence in a match against Arsenal at Highbury in January 2002.Drogba, the Ivory Coast striker, will miss home matches against Newcastle United and Arsenal and the game away to Bolton Wanderers, but he will be available for the Champions League game against Bordeaux in France next Wednesday. Moreover, Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Chelsea manager, said last week that Drogba was not yet ready to play 90 minutes after recovering from a knee injury, so the extra rest may work in his favour.

“Didier did something he should not have done,” Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman, said. “However, you have to look at the fans. I believe the FA will find the culprits.”

Chelsea and the FA are liaising with police, who are studying CCTV and Sky footage of the match, while Burnley fans back in West London for last Saturday's match against Queens Park Rangers were handed leaflets appealing for witnesses. However, no arrests have been made.

Didier Drogba was wrong, but blame the fan

Chelsea striker deserves to be punished but whoever threw coin at Stamford Bridge is real villain of the piece

All the talk is about how long Didier Drogba's ban should be and that's taking the focus away from the person who started the whole thing - the fan who threw the coin at him.

There's no doubt Drogba was irresponsible and deserves to be punished by the FA, though not in my opinion the police. But it would be ridiculous if he paid a heavier penalty than David Norris, the Ipswich Town player who made the “handcuffs” sign in support of Luke McCormick, the goalkeeper who was sent to prison for causing the deaths of two kids in a car accident. That idiotic gesture must have been premeditated on some level while Drogba's was spontaneous. To me, Norris's behaviour was worse.

Incidents of players abusing fans, as the Chelsea striker did, are very rare while week in, week out, footballers are on the receiving end of disgusting abuse. It's human nature that occasionally some will crack. I certainly did a couple of times in my playing days. When Eric Cantona karate-kicked that Crystal Palace fan, a lot of players thought: “Good on you, Eric.” No player runs on to the pitch planning to start trouble with supporters, but at every game a percentage of fans turn up intending to dish out verbal abuse or worse.

In my Millwall days in the 1980s, I remember warming up at Upton Park and fans in the Chicken Run terrace were calling out my name for ages until I finally looked round - and 30 of them chorused “w***er”. Apparently they used to do it to someone every week, like it was their hobby. Grown men.

During a game at The Den, David Byrne, our winger, told a Millwall fan who was running along the terrace and giving him stick to “f*** off”. The fan took out a knife and said he was going to “do him” after the match. David went as white as a ghost.

Footballers don't worry about security arrangements at stadiums, but deep down they know that if a fan really wants to invade the pitch and get at them, he will. It is a shame that Aston Villa were not able to catch the supporter who threw a coin at Harry Redknapp last month and hit an assistant referee. A heavy punishment for that might have made the Burnley supporter think twice.

Drogba is not a popular player. He's done and said some daft things, but he wasn't trying to wind up the Burnley fans - he scored and in the adrenalin rush that followed he probably didn't realise where he was celebrating. He's got a big ego, so he's not the kind of character to laugh off having something chucked at him, spoiling his moment of glory. He reacted because he felt insulted.

Drogba must be held accountable, but he's not the main villain here. Stop fans abusing players and you stop the problem of players being pushed past breaking point.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Old foes Germany and England are in friendly mode - Feature

VS

Berlin - Neither Germany nor England will be at full strength when they meet on Wednesday in a match both coaches will use to test some new players. However a meeting between the two old foes is never one to dismiss even though the friendly nature of the international will be more pronounced than previous meetings.

"Everyone has told me that it is not a friendly game against Germany, but I think this will be a friendly game," England manager Fabio Capello said. "We will do some experiments and after this game I will know better some different players."Germany coach Joachim Loew has some experimentation of his own planned, with new caps likely for some or all of the three players called up for the first time.

England will be without Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in midfield, who has a rib injury, as well as the Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand. Captain John Terry, who was a doubt, is now expected to play, but Chelsea teammates Ashley and Joe Cole are missing with hamstring injuries, while Manchester United defender Wes Brown and Wigan striker Emile Heskey are among others absent.

There was no place in Capello's squad for former captain David Beckham, who is one cap away from equalling Bobby Moore's tally of 108 caps, and striker Michael Owen has again been overlooked. The injuries prompted Capello to call up Fulham's Jimmy Bullard and Scott Parker of West Ham United on Monday. Germany meanwhile are without captain Michael Ballack and defender Philipp Lahm, whose recoveries from injuries have come too late for Wednesday's match at the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

Loew also left out Werder Bremen midfielder Torsten Frings, and there were some surprises when the names of Hoffenheim pair Marvin Compper and Tobias Weis along with Wolfsburg's Marcel Schaefer appeared on the roster. Schaefer, who could fill in for Lahm at left-back, is seen as having the best chance of starting. The Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese, who had featured in recent squads but has yet to make his debut, can also hope for some action at some stage. "It is important that all our energy is focused on this match. I haven't seen an England team as strong as this for several years," Loew said.

"England are the team of the moment. They have made an incredibly strong impression. They are compact, get forward quickly and are technically very good."Loew is using the occasion to lay down the law at a team meeting on how he expects his players to behave from now on. It follows a turbulent time for the coach in which he has had to meet Ballack and Frings over critical media interviews, and deal with the walk-out of striker Kevin Kuranyi. The Schalke forward will not be returning as long as Loew is in charge, the coach confirmed Monday.

There will be "no new rules" but some guidelines set down on what Loew expects from his players from now on. "I will say that we are gladly prepared to talk about possible problems internally but not via the media," he said. Germany have never beaten England in Berlin in seven previous attempts but Loew is convinced his side will end the year on a positive note. "To play against England in such a large stadium is always something special," he said.

Although England will be without several first-choice players "they have a team which has not been as strong for a long time," he said. Having started the World Cup qualifying campaign with four wins, Capello sees the match as an ideal opportunity to test some fresh faces. The decision to call up Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne - who has yet to play for the Blues and is currently on loan at Championship side Wolves - was a surprise.

Uncapped Aston Villa duo Curtis Davies, 23, and Gabriel Agbonlahor, 22, also add to the youthful nature of the England squad which also features Tottenham Hotspur striker Darren Bent and Manchester City's Micah Richards. Capello will be hoping the newcomers can tap into the new-found confidence in the England camp. "I think the confidence of the players is different now," he said. "I remember the first time we played against Switzerland and we played without confidence. "But now we have played and won four qualifiers for the World Cup, and I can see the confidence in the players. This is the most important thing."

Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard out of England’s friendly match with Germany


The midfielder has been ruled out for seven to 10 days and so should be available to feature in Liverpool’s next game - the meeting with Fulham at Anfield the following weekend.

Liverpool spokesman Ian Cotton said: “Steven picked up an injury in yesterday’s game at Bolton.

“A scan this morning has confirmed a tear in the adductor magnus muscle in his right leg, and he is expected to be out between seven to 10 days.”

The central midfield places are likely to be taken in his absence by Gareth Barry and the in-form Frank Lampard. David Beckham was left out of the squad due to his lack of recent competitive action.

Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, neither of whom featured in the weekend’s victory over Stoke City, have already been forced to withdraw from the squad due to illness and injury respectively and John Terry, too, is only rated as 50-50 at best to start the game.

“Rio did his back in training on Friday and Wayne has a chest infection and a calf strain so we have pulled them out,” said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Terry still hopes to be available, despite needing a scan to asses the damage done to his foot during Chelsea’s 3-0 win over West Brom.

“I got shoved in the air and landed awkwardly,” said Terry.

“It felt like a sharp pain in the bottom of my foot which is throbbing at the moment. But I will have a scan and hopefully it will give me the all clear.

“I am desperate to go away with England for the game with Germany as I’ve missed our last two matches. I have not been ruled out.”

Bent targets regular England spot

Darren Bent has vowed to make a strong claim for the one England striking spot he believes is available.

Bent concedes Wayne Rooney is an automatic choice for one of the forward roles, although the Manchester United star has been ruled out of Wednesday's friendly international with Germany in Berlin through injury.

But the Tottenham Hotspur player is keen to resurrect his own international career after having his confidence restored by the arrival of Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane as Juande Ramos' successor last month.

Bent said: "There is definitely a vacancy for a goalscorer. I have always been a firm believer that, if you can score a lot of goals for your club, then you can do it for your country.

"That is especially the case with England given the calibre of players in the squad who can create chances.

"Wayne Rooney has been fantastic for England for a number of years and it does look like the rest of us are all fighting away for one spot.

really well

"As long as I can keep myself fit, score as many goals as I can and play well, it will only stand me in good stead."

Bent is hoping the Redknapp factor can help him with his England aspirations in the same way as with Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch at Portsmouth.

He said: "Harry helped Crouch and Defoe get back into the England set-up after going to Portsmouth and they are playing really well.

"Jermain was in a similar position to me at Tottenham where he was not playing too much, then went to Portsmouth and now he can't stop scoring.

"Now Harry has come to Tottenham and funnily enough I've got back into the England squad. He is a fantastic manager and he is a man manager who keeps things simple."

Robinho: Big Things Ahead For Man City


Robinho insists Manchester City can become one of the best clubs in the world and has set his sights on winning silverware in his first season at Eastlands.

The 32.5-million-pound ($AU 75,512,423) Brazilian star has settled well to life in the English Premier League, scoring seven goals since his arrival on transfer deadline day, and has lofty ambitions for both himself and his new team.

Mark Hughes' troops have nevertheless been a disappointment so far this season, winning just four times in 13 games to sit 12th in the English top flight, well below the aspirations of the club's new owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group.

But the 24-year-old Robinho is remaining upbeat about his new life in Manchester.

He said: "I have great ambitions for the team and myself. I want to be the best player in the world and for City to be one of the best teams."

"The rest of the players and myself admire the ambitions of the owners of this club."

"We all want to strive to make it one of the best in the world. I like the way the game is played here. You still get great goals and great movement."

"It is a physical game here in England but I can cope with it."

"I am adapting well to life here. I get on well with my team-mates, they are good players, and I am learning the language."

"I am in a very good phase and hope this will continue. The best form of my career? Maybe."

While City's league form might leave something to be desired, their exploits in Europe have been more encouraging, and reaching the group stages of the UEFA Cup raised hopes of a successful season at Eastlands.

A win against Steve McClaren's FC Twente in their opening Group A game has further boosted confidence in the camp, and Robinho believes there is quality enough within the camp to go all the way to the final - and to one day become as big as his former employers Real Madrid.

"We can win the UEFA Cup, it is one of our targets for this season," he said.

"We know we are a side that is developing and growing but we also know we are capable of great things when we play well."

"I want to stay here for many years and make history at City and become one of the great heroes. Doing well in the UEFA Cup would be a great start."

"I came to Manchester City because I see them growing and getting bigger. Can they be as big as Real Madrid? Yes, I hope so."

Top 10 Cars We Can’t Wait For

No.10 - Toyota Prius

On sale: 2009

The third-generation U.S.-spec Toyota Prius appears to be taking a major step toward bringing unconvinced buyers into the fold; with more power, even better economy and -- finally -- a more pleasant look. What’s not to like? We’ll probably get a look at the 2010 model at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Expect a more Yaris-like nose, a slightly revised tail and more stylish flanks. The next edition could even include a plug-in model, though in limited numbers.

No.9 - Hyundai Genesis Coupe

On sale: 2009

What few would’ve predicted from Hyundai is now an ambitious salvo at the luxury car establishment with the now-available Genesis sedan. But wait, as the infomercials say, there’s more. The sports coupe market is going to have another competitor when the 2010 Genesis Coupe goes on sale in 2009. With a 223-horsepower turboed 4-cylinder and a 310-horsepower naturally aspirated V6 slated as engine choices, it promises to be a must-drive. Some call it a pony-car contender and others see it as a low-buck alternative to the Infiniti G37. Either way, it’s one of the upcoming cars we can’t wait for.

No.8 - Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series

On sale: December 2008

In the approximate 3.9 seconds it takes to say this car’s name, you can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph. As you’d correctly suspect, the Merchedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series is more than just a dark-hued SL65. It’s lighter, mostly rebodied (mostly in carbon fiber), now a fixed-roof car, and seriously more powerful. Whereas the “normal” car has 604 horsepower, the Black Series menaces with 661. Torque is still a healthy 738 lb-ft, but the transmission has been revised with an electronically limited top speed of 199 mph -- or so they claim. Now, where did we leave that quarter million bucks?

No.7 - Chevrolet Volt

On sale: November 2010

The new face of green, at least for Chevy, is set to roll by the end of 2010. You’ve heard about the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and the ambitious ramp-up; but thanks to some leaked photos from GM, we have a better idea of what’s to come. Admittedly, it does look far more sober than the cool concept, but it’s easily as appealing as a Prius. The Volt stands apart as a plug-in electric car, with a battery-only range of 40 miles. Beyond that, a compact gas engine will kick in to recharge and extend the operating range tenfold.

No.6 - Audi R8 TDI Le Mans

On sale: TBD

For all those who scoffed at Audi for putting a diesel race car on the track, there’s going to be an oil-burning version of the R8 to humble traffic in public too. We must confess, the 6.0-liter, V12-endowed R8 TDI LeMans is still officially a concept as of this writing. However, the good news is that Audi is carefully allowing the press to sample a pre-production example with 500 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Just the idea of a diesel supercar qualifies this Audi as a future car we can’t wait for.

No.5 - Lotus Evora

On sale: Late 2009


If you love everything about the Lotus Elise and Exige, minus the minor details of near-impossible ingress and egress, the upcoming Evora (nee Eagle) is set to thrill those above five-feet tall -- at least in front. Yes, the roomier Lotus is indeed a two-plus-two car, yet remains mid-engined like its baby brothers. Power is expected to be in the 300-horsepower range and courtesy of a 3.5-liter Toyota V6. Where the Ferrari Mondial struck out in looks and functionality years earlier, the Lotus Evora looks to be a winner.

No.4 - Porsche Panamera

On sale: 2009

Porsche used to build two-door sports cars -- period. That ended with a thud when the Cayenne landed, and now another example is coming soon in the four-door Panamera. Spy photos haven’t exactly been thrilling, but we’re going to reserve judgment until we see and drive it firsthand. First, we suspect the car to be a stronger seller overseas than in the U.S., which will likely have an impact on final style tweaks. Second, the engine lineup hasn’t been officially decided. Regardless, as a Porsche, one can reasonably expect the Panamera to be a strong performer.

No.3 - Ferrari California

On sale: 2008 (Europe), 2009 (North America)

In a recent feature devoted to the new Ferrari California, we shamelessly gushed over Maranello’s newest and made it fairly clear why it’s a car we can’t wait for. And why not? This is Ferrari’s first front-engine V8 two-plus-two convertible, with performance to put it very much in line with its stable-mates. Zero to 60 mph is expected to be attainable in under four seconds, with a top speed approaching 200 mph. Besides, it’s exceptionally cool to remark that Michael Schumacher had a hand in your car’s development.

No.2 - Chevrolet Camaro

On sale: February 2009 (coupe), November 2009 (convertible)

Let’s thank Chevy for making threesomes possible. Just as the Dodge Challenger is already running and the 2010 Ford Mustang launches in early 2009, the Camaro returns with a vengeance. Yes, a three-car comparison is already planned. Plus, sources suggest the Camaro could offer a trio of engine choices; including the obligatory 400-horsepower V8, a 300-horsepower V6 and even a 260-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. So long as the Camaro doesn’t also signal the return of the mullet, we’ll gladly celebrate the new car with the old name.

No.1 - Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

On sale: 2009 (coupe), 2010 (convertible)

The last time Alfisti were granted a new model in the States was at least a generation ago. Proving the wait was well worth it, the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione is a stunner. If you think Lamborghinis have too-sharp body lines and Ferrari's looks don’t quite thrill, the Alfa stands apart with just the right style. Of course, being Italian, the 8C Competizione does share one thing with the aforementioned: an engine (in this case, a 4.7-liter V8) whose sound will resonate with you long after the drive.