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June 2010 Archives

It had been coming. June 27, 2010 was at least four years in the making for the 'Golden Generation'.

England have been due a good hiding at the hands of one of football's progressive superpowers for a while now. That they have been able to dodge a bullet for so long is solely down to the fact that international football so rarely brings them into direct competition with one of the six or seven sides capable of exposing our glaring deficiencies.

OK, there are friendly matches against the big guns from time to time but they are notorious for creating a false impression. It is at tournaments where we really get a sense of our place in the international hierarchy and yesterday's denouement was every bit as depressing as I'd feared.

By Zoe Burn and Mic Archbold

RYUICHI Kiyonari proved he is back and in the title hunt after another dominant win in today's second MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship win at Mallory Park.

In what was just about a carbon copy of this afternoon's earlier race, Kyo led his HM Plant Honda team-mate Josh Brookes over the line, with Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider Michael Laverty picking up another third.

However this time it was a different bike which launched into the lead at the start.

By Zoe Burn and Mic Archbold

kiyo_small_-_BLOG.jpgRYUICHI Kiyonari picked up where he left off yesterday as he took the win in today's opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race at Mallory Mark.

The Japanese hotshot led a HM Plant Honda one-two over the line, as team-mate Josh Brookes came home second.

Third place went to Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider Michael Laverty, who despite his best efforts was unable to hold off his two Honda rivals.

Fabio's Impossible Job

By Mark Douglas on Jun 26, 10 12:29 PM

Do you remember the Graham Taylor documentary 'The Impossible Job'? The then England boss, in a move borne of either extreme naivety or rock solid confidence that we'd qualify, agreed to allow cameras to follow him during the 1994 qualification process with fascinating results.

Well, here's a glimpse into what would happen if Fabio Capello agreed to the same thing..

A Spanish TV channel employed a lip reader to make sense of Capello's volcanic touchline eruptions - and discovered that even Stuart Pearce is submissive round the England boss. A fascinating (and hilarious) insight into what makes the Italian tick - and is there a little hint of humour from Don Fabio in there too...?

The 'big five' is a term used by game hunters to describe the most difficult animals in Africa to hunt by foot, but it could just as easily refer to England's treacherous route to the World Cup final in Soccer City.

OK, we only have to slay three big beasts to make it to Johannesburg but still - daunting isn't the word.

A vibrant, fearless Germany on Sunday before a potential meeting with free-wheeling tournament favourites Argentina next week. And then, just when optimism about possibly matching the achievements of 1966 would be legitimate, Brazil emerge as potential semi-final opponents. That would be the same Brazil that England have never defeated in a World Cup finals.

Given all the soul searching that has followed England's insipid stalemate with Algeria on Friday, it seems flabbergasting that no-one has pointed out the one area where vast improvement is required to avoid the unthinkable this afternoon: set pieces.

Forget the thus far unsuccessful search for the real Wayne Rooney or the infernal debate over balance in the midfield - if England don't start to deliver more of a threat in dead ball situations they're finished.

Being able to deliver a free-kick or a corner with power and pin-point accuracy has been the thing that has set England apart in recent years. It has contributed roughly a third of all of our goals in major tournaments recently - two out of the six we scored in Germany, three out of six in 2002 and three out of seven in 1998.

I committed sacrilege yesterday.

Criticising this great collection of Spanish players, it would seem, is tantamount to treason in a World Cup year.

Well, when I say criticised I should probably put it in context. I was as mesmerised as the next person by Spain's balletic style as they pulverised a very weak Honduras side but I got decidedly irked by the hyperbole being lavished at their feet by ITV commentator Peter Drury.

The football has improved after a soporific start but even so, this World Cup is now destined to be remembered for what happened off the pitch rather than on it.

We've had sporadic instances of player power before (Roy Keane's exit in 2002, for example), but nothing like the tensions that have undermined the French and English World Cup campaigns.

On an explosive Sunday afternoon, the villainous French class of 2010 joined Harald Schumacher, Rivaldo and Frank Rijkaard in the World Cup hall of shame while certain members of England's 'Golden Generation' once again laid their breathtaking arrogance bare for all to see.

Jordan2 - BLOG.jpgBTCC Race Three, Croft.

ANDREW Jordan has claimed his first ever British Touring Car Championship victory in today's final race at Croft Circuit.

The Pirtek Racing driver led from lights to flag in the Vauxhall Vectra to claim an easy win and give former BTCC star dad Mike the ultimate Father's Day gift.

Second place went to Team Aon's Tom Onslow-Cole while Steven Kane extended his record of finishing on the podium at every round by crossing the line third in the Airwaves BMW.

sheddon1 - BLOG.jpgBTCC Croft Race Two

GORDON Shedden made it two in a row as he took his second British Touring Car Championship race win of the day.

Shedden led a Team Honda Racing one-two across the line, as team-mate Matt Neal took the second spot.

Neal's main title rival Jason Plato brought his Silverline Chevrolet home in third place.

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