BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for June 2010

Capello set to stay in charge

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David Bond | 22:42 UK time, Tuesday, 29 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

Despite England's humiliating World Cup exit at the hands of Germany on Sunday, it now looks increasingly likely that Fabio Capello will be given the chance to rebuild the team and restore his own tarnished reputation.

Asking him to wait two weeks while the Football Association weighed up whether it wanted to keep him was hardly the vote of confidence he was looking for in the immediate aftermath of the defeat in Bloemfontein.

But it is understood Capello is desperate to stay and make good the damage done to English football in South Africa. He wants the chance to prove he is the manager the FA told us it had hired.

So what will the FA do?

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Will FA back or sack Capello?

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David Bond | 11:51 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

By asking the Football Association to back him or sack him, England coach Fabio Capello cleverly forced his employers into a corner.

In the aftermath of Sunday's dreadful defeat by Germany, Capello insisted he would not resign but said he wanted talks with the Club England chairman Sir David Richards.

"I want to know he has confidence in me," said the Italian.

If, following those talks, the FA offers anything other than unequivocal support for Capello at Monday's news conference in Rustenburg, the writing will be on the wall for the former Juventus, AC Milan and Real Madrid coach. Even putting off the issue until the team returns to London on Tuesday will place his future in doubt.

At this stage, it is difficult to call but the vibes coming from FA sources on Monday is that they will back him to help rebuild the England team.

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Goal-line row should not mask England failure

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David Bond | 17:37 UK time, Sunday, 27 June 2010

2010 World Cup: Bloemfontein

Although England were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Germany in Bloemfontein, that will not stop the raging sense of injustice over the 'goal' that never was.
 
Who knows how the game may have ended if England had gone in level at half-time? Germany always looked capable of scoring against England's creaking defence but the momentum would have undoubtedly been with Fabio Capello's team.
 
Watching from the stands, Fifa president Sepp Blatter will have no doubt been reflecting on the decision taken by football's rulers in March to put plans for goal-line technology on hold.
 
Blatter has always opposed the introduction of technology, saying refereeing mistakes are part of the game and made by humans.

But surely football can no longer withstand the pressure to act following mistakes like the one made here by Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda and his assistant.

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German's rich pedigree casts large shadow

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David Bond | 17:07 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

World Cup: 2010
At the German training camp near Pretoria


Sunday's classic contest between England and Germany is not only a battle to decide who reaches the quarter-finals of this World Cup. The game in Bloemfontein also presents an opportunity to assess the ideological and cultural differences between these two great footballing rivals.

Ever since England's heartbreaking semi-final defeat by West Germany in Italy in 1990, English football has undergone a commercial revolution which has made the Premier League the richest in the world.

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On the plus side, that financial success, created by the breakaway of the Premier League in 1992, has helped finance a vast improvement in the nation's stadiums, more entertaining football and allowed English clubs to become the most consistently successful in the Champions League over the last decade.

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South Africa consider 2020 Olympic bid

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David Bond | 17:08 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

South Africa may have become the first World Cup hosts to be eliminated after the first round but that does not appear to have dampened enthusiasm for the tournament here.

In fact, so buoyed is President Jacob Zuma by the way the event is going, he said on Thursday that the success of the World Cup should be used as the springboard for a bid to host the Olympics in 2020.

"We have got the facilities," said Zuma. "Those who take decisions have seen how South Africa is. I'm sure we could do it."

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Vindication for Capello with his reputation at stake

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David Bond | 21:14 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Port Elizabeth

You only needed to watch Fabio Capello's post-match interview on the BBC to realise just how much England's 1-0 victory over Slovenia meant to the Italian coach.

His impassioned performance in front of the cameras matched his players' increased intensity on the Port Elizabeth pitch. Make no mistake about it, the stakes were very high not just for Capello but for the whole of English football.

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England hoping to avoid another Black Wednesday

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David Bond | 17:52 UK time, Tuesday, 22 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Port Elizabeth

It is Football Tuesday in South Africa. But all England fans can think about as they arrive in this faded seaside town is the prospect of Black Wednesday.
 
England supporters who have spent thousands of pounds travelling to South Africa are angry about the way their team have played so far at this World Cup.
 
Faced with the prospect of becoming the first England team since 1958 not to make it beyond the group stages, it is clear they want to see more effort and commitment from Fabio Capello's team against Slovenia on Wednesday.
 
On a Budget day in the United Kingdom which has once again brought into sharp focus the economic difficulties the nation still faces, many supporters I spoke to in Port Elizabeth felt England's highly paid players have lost touch with the fans.

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Crunch week looms for England and FA

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David Bond | 10:52 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

This is not only a critical week for the England team, it is a critical week for the Football Association.

As Fabio Capello's side returned to training on Monday - the last time they may practise at their Rustenburg base if they are eliminated on Wednesday - all eyes were on the players for any signs of the tensions that have emerged since Friday's draw with Algeria.

Despite Sunday's supposed clear-the-air talks between the players and the manager, it seems little has changed. John Terry's extraordinary rallying cry appears to have fallen flat with team-mates, who were not prepared for a French-style revolution. Instead, the meeting passed without a player challenging Capello over his tactics, team selection or Rustenburg regime.

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Crisis at camp Capello

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David Bond | 12:54 UK time, Saturday, 19 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Cape Town

Deflated after their listless performance against Algeria, England's players were given Saturday morning off to relax or take in the sights of Cape Town.

Outside the team's exclusive Vineyard Hotel, a group of camera crews and photographers waited to capture those players brave enough to venture out.

Others, like Wayne Rooney, remained holed up inside. After his frustrated outburst at the many England supporters inside the stadium who expressed their anger at England's display, the Manchester United striker was rather more camera shy the morning after.

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Hunt in pursuit of a lasting legacy

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David Bond | 16:29 UK time, Friday, 18 June 2010

Cape Town

Jeremy Hunt may be here in Cape Town on a fact-finding mission for England's 2018 World Cup bid but the London 2012 Olympics are never far from the new Culture Secretary's thoughts.

And in an interview with the BBC here, Hunt has again refused to rule out further cuts to the Olympic budget or, perhaps more controversially, a raid on the Games' remaining £1.2bn contingency fund.

Hunt, who is on a three-day trip to South Africa and will attend England's World Cup match against Algeria on Friday, insisted the Government would do nothing to jeopardise the delivery of a "safe and successful" Olympics.

But he added that, with the public finances facing such severe pressure, coalition ministers could not ring fence the £9.3bn budget set aside to pay for the Games.

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Fifa cracks down after beer stunt

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David Bond | 12:36 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Cape Town

What is the story that has most upset Fifa at this World Cup so far? Is it the lack of goals or the thousands of empty seats at games that were supposed to be sell-outs? What about the stewards' strike that has forced police to take over the running of nearly half the stadiums or the transport gridlock which has blighted some of the early matches?

None of the above actually. Instead, the lawyers are in a lather over 36 blonde girls dressed in orange mini-dresses who, according to Fifa, broke strict ambush-marketing rules at the game between the Netherlands and Denmark at Soccer City on Monday.

The lawyers claim the girls were part of a co-ordinated operation by beer brand Bavaria - and two Dutch women, Mirte Nieuwpoort and Barbara Castelein, appeared in court on Wednesday on charges of breaking South Africa's merchandising laws. Apparently, they were arrested in their underwear.

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Will the goals start to flow? The world waits...

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David Bond | 22:30 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010


2010 World Cup: Johannesburg
 
It's official - this is the most boring World Cup in history. A sweeping statement, I know, but according to statistics for the first round of group matches, there have been fewer goals scored at this stage of the competition than at any point in the last 80 years.

And it's not as if there are just one or two goals in it. Mexico 1986, the closest to South Africa 2010 in terms of goals scored, managed seven more after the first 16 games.

Now, I know that exciting football is not all about goals. Wednesday produced the sort of shock which makes this such a wonderful event, favourites Spain coming unstuck 1-0 against Switzerland.

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Capello faces moment of truth

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David Bond | 14:18 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

Fabio Capello has had a relatively smooth ride since taking over as England manager in early 2008. And rightly so.

He helped England regain their verve after the desperate days of Steve McClaren's reign, which ended in them failing to qualify for the 2008 European Championship, and guided the team to the World Cup in South Africa with an almost unblemished record.

But the last few days have shown that Capello, for all his pedigree as a club manager, is not perfect. Perhaps the unique pressures of managing England are a lot harder than he first realised.

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Germany lead goal rush again

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David Bond | 01:24 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010

Before Germany sparked life into this World Cup with their impressive and ominous 4-0 thrashing of Australia, questions were starting to be asked about the rather lacklustre opening to this tournament.

After a thrilling start to South Africa's World Cup on Friday, the competition went flat and that wasn't only because of England's disappointing 1-1 draw against the USA on Saturday.

This is not exactly scientific but if you take the first eight games from Japan/South Korea 2002 and Germany 2006, the goals per game average is way down.

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South Africa gripped by World Cup fever

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David Bond | 21:13 UK time, Friday, 11 June 2010

Almost two decades after South Africa was shunned by the international sporting community, the country on Friday embraced the world with a vivid, colourful opening ceremony and a memorable first match.

South African fans leaving Soccer City might have felt they should have beaten an impressive but wasteful Mexican side, but a 1-1 draw will give even more hope to a country that has been swept by optimism in recent days.

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Race to host 2018 World Cup intensifies

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David Bond | 17:05 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010

All eyes might be on this World Cup in South Africa but behind the scenes the race to host the tournament in 2018 is intensifying. Inside the Michelangelo Towers, the luxury Sandton hotel where each of the 24 members of the Fifa executive committee are staying, all nine bidding countries have been out in force.

At this stage, it is still too early to predict the outcome of December's vote. But the last few days have seen some crucial developments.

Firstly, the Asian Football Confederation, AFC, held its congress on Tuesday and decided that it would back Europe for 2018.

With today's unsurprising news that Australia have pulled out of the running for 2018, the move leaves the United States as the only non-European bidder.

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Party like it's 2010

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David Bond | 20:19 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The World Cup hasn't even started and the party has begun here in Johannesburg.

While England manager Fabio Capello was snapping at the snappers in Rustenburg, there was an explosion of a different kind in the business district of Sandton, where tens of thousands of South African fans spilled onto the streets in a joyous celebration of their team, Bafana Bafana.

Their Brazilian manager, Carlos Parreira, was not too happy at the distractions of an open top bus parade two days before his team takes on Mexico in the opening match at Johannesburg's Soccer City. And most teams wait until they have won something before going on a victory procession.

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Reconnecting fans with the beautiful game

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David Bond | 20:09 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Most World Cups have faced criticism for allocating too many tickets to corporate fans - leaving ordinary supporters feeling like they are missing out.

But South Africa 2010 feels different. Thanks to the recession, combined with high hotel and travel prices, the multi-national giants, who traditionally send in huge numbers to big sporting events, have stayed away.

The banks and other financial companies, still anxious about being seen to be extravagant, have decided to keep a low profile here.

And, although South African companies have stepped in to fill the void, the firm responsible for selling corporate packages for this World Cup admits it has taken a hit.

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Fifa sends out mixed messages on corruption

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David Bond | 12:20 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

Given England's appalling record in penalty shoot-outs at World Cups, anything that might help swing the balance back in their favour will no doubt be welcomed by Fabio Capello's team.

Fifa's new directive to all 29 World Cup referees and their assistants means that any players who feint to kick the ball at the end of their run-up will now be booked, any resulting goals will be disallowed and the spot-kick will be re-taken.

For the avoidance of doubt, Jose Garcia Aranda, Fifa's head of refereeing, played examples of the sort of penalties that will be outlawed for the first time in South Africa to officials at their plush headquarters on the outskirts of Pretoria.

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Bad luck scuppers Capello's meticulous preparation

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David Bond | 18:35 UK time, Friday, 4 June 2010

For all the meticulous preparation manager Fabio Capello has put in to England's training camp here in Rustenburg, the injury to Rio Ferdinand goes to show you can't eliminate bad luck.

Capello saw his captain limp out of the tournament a week before it even begins with an injured left knee suffered in a tackle with team-mate Emile Heskey during training.

The loss of Ferdinand, who took over as skipper from John Terry back in February, shows that for all the discipline the Italian has introduced, England's squad remains vulnerable to injury and rotten turns of fortune.

Ferdinand's injury will have ruined a good first full day for Capello and his team in South Africa.

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What next for the Red Knights?

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David Bond | 10:57 UK time, Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Red Knights may have put their charge for Manchester United on hold for now but their announcement on Wednesday is unlikely to mark the end of the controversy surrounding the Glazers' ownership of the Premier League club.

While it is undoubtedly true that the American family's £1.5bn asking price has deterred a significant number of potential investors, senior figures in the Red Knights campaign, including the Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill, insist they will not give up.

Having amassed around 70 wealthy backers, the Red Knights are now down to about 25. But they will not do anything until after the World Cup and probably not until after the new season kicks off.

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Capello future secure - for now

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David Bond | 10:29 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010

After a few days of uncertainty, England coach Fabio Capello will board the plane for South Africa reassured over his future.

A phone call between new Club England chairman Sir David Richards and Capello on Monday was enough to ease the Italian's concerns over his contract after the sudden departure of Lord David Triesman as Football Association chairman.

Six weeks ago, Triesman and Capello shook hands on an agreement to remove a break clause in Capello's £5m-a-year deal that would have allowed both sides to terminate the contract after the World Cup in South Africa.

Lawyers have been working on the small print of the deal for the last 36 hours to ensure the marriage between Capello and the FA will continue up to 2012 as planned.

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