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Potteries Football Blog

Month: June 2012

Group C Review

Posted on June 26, 2012  in Stoke

This was a game where Sweden supposedly stood no chance of winning (and thus qualifying) and only a bizarre set of results on the night would be enough to deny France progression to the quarter finals. Little did we know.

France’s best moves early on came from Ribery on the left who was giving right back Andreas Granqvist a torrid night but few clear cut opportunities were to come France’s way as the Swedes held strong.

Instead, Sweden had the best chances through Ola Toivonen who had clipped a post on 12 minutes before then putting a decent headed chance over the bar. Some lazy runs into an offside position squandered some decent positional play as the half wore on.

Scoreless at half-time the game didn’t look like it would burst into life, but suddenly Sweden conjured a goal from nothing on 54 minutes thanks to a vintage piece of Zlatan Ibrahimovic magic. As the ball swung in from the left, the AC Milan striker swivelled and hammered an unstoppable volley past Lloris, potentially the goal of Euro 2012 so far.

Sweden’s captain had been a little subdued up this point but his strike saw his side take a well deserved lead. For a time, France were a little flat and were restricted to long range efforts. When they did advance into the penalty area, the Sweden backline held firm.

However, Arsenal target Olivier Giroud was introduced on 83 minutes and should have scored with his first touch as a corner from the left found him unmarked. But he connected poorly and it sailed wide.

France still looked the more likely to add to the goal tally but as injury time approached, Sweden countered and with the defence stretched, Seb Larsson settled the game with a fine volley.

The 2-0 defeat sees France sheepishly progress in second place in Group D where they now meet Spain in the quarter finals.

An poor French performance here means they are 4.25 to win that game in 90 minutes while Spain are favourites at 1.80. Laurent Blanc’s side were third favourites at one point to win the trophy but have now slipped to sixth in the betting and can be found at odds of 11.00 to repeat their success of 2000.


Month: June 2012


Posted on June 22, 2012

Stoke city manager Tony Pulis has revealed that he would immediately jump at the opportunity to sign former Manchester United striker Michael Owen, who is now available on a free transfer.

Michael Owen was released by Manchester United after just three seasons at Old Trafford. However, many consider that the former England striker still has the ability to play at the top level.

His record at Manchester United in the three seasons is a testament to this fact after he has an impeccable scoring record even when coming from the bench. Sir Alex Ferguson decided not to offer the former Liverpool striker a new contract due to the concerns over his age and injuries.

Michael Owen has not played for Manchester United since the turn of the year. Yet, Tony Pulis sees Michael Owen is the perfect foil for the club next season. The 32-year-old former England international will be available on a free transfer, but his wages could prove to be a potential problem.

Michael Owen has already revealed that he is not willing to drop down the divisions cannot get regular first-team football because he believes he can cut it at the top level still. He is yet to sign a new contract with another club.

“We tried to find out what he was doing a couple of years ago but nothing came of it – and it was a couple of years ago. Everyone knows Michael’s pedigree and the fact he has performed with such distinction at the highest level for club and country. We are monitoring him, but along with about 400 other players to be honest, so it’s a case of waiting to see what happens,” Pulis told The Sentinel. Stoke finished the season in the 14th position and will be looking to improve on the same.