Saturday, May 24, 2008

Raul Left out of Spain EURO 2008 Squad

Spanish striker Raul failed to impress Coach Luis Aragones to get a recall to the National team as he has been left out of the 23-men squad of Spain for EURO 2008. However, Real Madrid captain has been in an excellent form so far this season with 18 goals to his credit and currently stands third in the top scorers’ list. Overall, the striker hit 23 goals so far this season for Real Madrid. So, it was a bit disappointing that once Captain of Spain international will remain out of the squad in EURO 2008, even though he is in good form. He is out of national side since September 2008 and something like this was in the air for the last few months.

I think, Raul deserves a place in the Spanish side. Though there are some promising strikers like Fernando Torres in the squad, still I think, the 30-year old Raul has a lot to give to Spain. Now, let us see if Spain can perform well in EURO 2008 tournament.

EURO 2008: The Czech without Pavel Nedvěd

Prague - Karel Brückner, the manager of the Czech national football team, dispelled any lingering rumors on Thursday concerning his selection ahead of the EURO 2008. Pavel Nedvěd’s name was not among those in the line up. Speculation that the former Czech captain would again put on a national team uniform now be laid to rest.

It has been one week since current national team captain Tomáš Rosický announced that he too would not be participating in the European championship because of an upcoming operation. The Arsenal star is already trying to re-establish himself after suffering a tendon injury. This led increased speculation about Nedvěd’s return. In recent days, the chances that Grande Paolo, as he is known in Italy, would be recalled were never diminished. Ultimately, he has no plans to compete for his country again, despite the extension of his contract with Juventus until 2009. Still Coach Brückner remains confident in the belief that his team will advance past the elimination round.

In fact, he is reacting to a long list of big surprises. One such surprise is the addition of Banik Ostrava forward Václav Svěrkoš to the national team roster following two years of being overlooked in the selection. He will bolster an offensive line that is currently not very effective: Jan Koller, Milan Baroš and even the young Martin Fenin are undergoing a dry spell with their home clubs. Svěrkoš, on the other hand, has his sights set on taking the Czech scoring title.

Initially, Radek Šírl was also added to the list of players, replacing Slavia Prague’s Daniel Pudil. However the St. Petersburg player is not one hundred percent certain of his participation, which will depend on his club’s performance in the UEFA Cup finals against the Glasgow Rangers.

On Tuesday the Czech team will begin its training camp at Austria’s Bad Kleinkirchheim. The team will then play two friendly matches ahead of the start of EURO 2008, the first against Lithuania on May 27 and then against Scotland three days later. They will begin the tournament on June 7 with their first match against hosts Switzerland.

Roster for training camp at Bad Kleinkirchheim :

Goaltenders: Jaromír Blažek (1. FC Nuremberg, 14 stars/0 goals), Petr Čech (Chelsea FC, 57/0), Daniel Zítka (Anderlecht, 1/0).

Defenders: Zdeněk Grygera (Juventus, 52/2), Marek Jankulovski (AC Milan, 62/10), Michal Kadlec (Sparta Prague, 4/0), Radoslav Kováč (Spartak Moscou, 21/1), Zdeněk Pospěch (FC Copenhague, 7/0), David Rozehnal (Lazio Rome, 43/0), Tomáš Sivok (Sparta Prague, 5/0), Tomáš Ujfaluši (FC Fiorentina, 66/2).

Midfielders: Tomáš Galásek (1. FC Nuremberg, 64/1), David Jarolím (Hamburger SV, 14/1), Marek Matějovský (Reading FC, 8/1), Jaroslav Plašil (Pamplona, 35/2), Jan Polák (Anderlecht, 36/6), Daniel Pudil (Slavia Prague, 3/1), Libor Sionko (FC Copenhague, 29/4), Stanislav Vlček (Anderlecht, 9/0).

Forwards: Milan Baroš (Portsmouth FC, 63/31), Jan Koller (1. FC Nuremberg, 85/52), Martin Fenin (Frankfort, 5/0), Václav Svěrkoš (Banik Ostrava, 0/0).

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