Issue 18, 25th April 1996: SPORTING ROUNDUP
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By Charles Hirst.

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Match Reports
Fixtures and Results
Premiership League Table
Latest News

Match Reports

England Draw Hope From Missed Chances(25/04/96)

England 0 Croatia 0

England held off the challenge of a much respected Croatian team and completed their first game under the new system of three defenders to earn themselves a draw. A win would have been nice, but their was no suprise in the resistance shown by the Croatian's as England searched for the ellusive goal.

Twice the ball found the back of the Croatian goal and twice the goals were disallowed by the Polish referee. Both were probably fair decisions as Sheringham looked to have impeeded Mrmic in the Croation goal before Fowler gathered and rammed it home. Less controversial though was Platt's effort, ruled out for offside.

Croatia made their competitive intentions known to all before the game, embroiling themselves in an arguement with the referee about the allowed number of subs and consequently making last minute changes to their line up. They certainly came out looking dangerous, countering well and not easily being disposesed. They arrived at Wembley on the back ofa 17 game unbeaten streak and pressed hard in the opening minutes.

England though looked solid in their new found formation, passing as usual at speed, but playing the ball uncharacteristcly out of defence with deft touches, none more so than the enigmatic Paul Gascoigne. Even with the Croation's defending in numbers, the English midfield still looked to move forward with verve and imagination. McManaman, who can now be concidered as true international class, showed trickery and evasiveness in losing markers on the left flank, or wherever it was that he popped up. Ince showed his enormous ability in steadying the midfield area and it is already hard to imagine the team without him. Platt, desperate to make an impression after several matches out in the wilderness was often seen in forward positions and made some of the best chances of the game.

Other than the two disallowed goals, England provided the Croation defence with plenty of other moments of distress. McManaman made a terrific run to latch onto ball unintentionally played through by Fowler. Unfortunately though the winger's vision was not matched by his finishing as his shot ricocheted off the advancing keeper. Again McManaman made a good chance by volleying against the right upright only for Sheringham to blaze past the empty goal.

Fowler, who had a relatively quite full debut for such an explosive talent, headed too close to Mrmic from twelve yards, allowing the keeper to comfortably smother the effort. Stone too had an early effort, finding space wide to the right of the goal but he could only blast wide and high. Sheringham snapped an overhead effort in that troubled the keeper, but Mrmic again got down well. Platt perhaps had the best effort on target for England. Neville released a pacey cross that Platt met well only for his header to crash against Mrmic, who saw Platt again go close with the rebound.

With so much direction against the Croation goal, all in an undirect approach, England can certainly take good heart from their performance against one of the most rated teams in Euro '96. Their many efforts need just the touch of clinical finishing that has evaded their performances of late. But with games against Hungary and a tour of China approaching, thew goalscoring touch should be back in abundance soon.

Fixtures and Results


FA Carling Premiership

Saturday 27th May

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough
Blackburn v Arsenal
Bolton v Southampton
Liverpool v Middlesbrough
QPR v West Ham
Sheff Weds v Everton
Tottenham v Chelsea
Wimbledon v Coventry

Sunday 28th April

Man Utd v Notts Forest

Monday 29th

Leeds Utd v Newcastle


Saturday 13th April

Chelsea 4 Leeds 1
Coventry 1 QPR 0
Man City 1 Sheff Weds 0
Middlesbrough 1 Wimbledon 2
Notts Forest 1 Blackburn 5
Southamton 3 Man Utd 1
West Ham 1 Bolton 0

Sunday 14th April

Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1
Monday 15th April

Arsenal 0 Tottenham 0
Tuesday 16th April

Everton 1 Liverpool 1

Wednesday 17th April

Aston Villa 1 West Ham 1
Blackburn 3 Wimbledon 2
Man Utd 1 Leeds 0
Newcastle 1 Southampton 0
Notts Forest 0 Coventry 0
Sheff Weds 0 Chelsea 0

FA Carling Premiership League Table

                P    W    D    L    F    A    W    D    L    F    A    Pts
Man Utd         36   14   4    0    31   9    9    3    6    34   26   76
Newcastle       35   17   0    1    37   8    6    4    7    26   27   73
Liverpool       35   13   4    1    45   13   6    5    6    22   19   66
Aston Villa     36   11   5    2    32   14   7    4    7    20   19   63
Arsenal         35   9    6    2    28   15   7    4    7    18   15   58
Blackburn       36   14   1    3    43   18   3    5    10   14   26   57
Tottenham       35   9    4    5    25   18   6    7    4    20   17   56
Everton         36   9    5    4    34   19   6    5    7    24   23   55
Nottm Forest    35   10   5    2    25   16   4    7    7    21   32   54
West Ham        36   9    4    5    24   20   5    4    9    18   28   50
Chelsea         36   7    7    4    28   19   5    6    7    15   21   49
Middlesbrough   36   8    3    7    27   24   3    7    8    8    22   43
Leeds           35   8    3    6    20   17   4    3    11   19   36   42
Wimbledon       36   5    6    7    27   31   5    4    9    28   37   40
Sheff Wed       36   7    5    6    28   26   3    4    11   17   29   39
Southampton     36   7    6    5    21   18   1    4    13   12   34   34
Coventry        36   6    6    6    21   23   1    7    10   19   37   34

Man City        36   7    6    5    19   17   1    4    13   11   39   34
QPR             36   5    5    8    22   26   3    1    14   13   28   30
Bolton          36   5    4    9    16   30   3    1    14   22   38   29

FA Carling Premiership Leading Goalscorers

L F C E O T Shearer (Blackburn) 31 0 5 1 0 37 Fowler (Liverpool) 28 6 2 0 0 36 Ferdinand (Newcastle) 24 1 3 0 0 28 Yorke (Aston Villa) 17 2 6 0 0 25 Sheringham (Tottenham) 16 5 3 0 0 24 Wright (Arsenal) 14 1 7 0 0 22 Armstrong (Tottenham) 13 4 3 0 0 20 Yeboah (Leeds) 12 1 3 3 0 19 Collymore (Liverpool) 13 5 0 0 0 18 Cantona (Man Utd) 13 4 0 0 0 17 Dublin (Coventry) 14 2 0 0 0 16 Holdsworth (Wimbledon) 10 2 4 0 0 16 Bergkamp (Arsenal) 10 0 5 0 0 15 Milosovic (Aston Villa) 12 1 1 0 0 14 Stuart (Everton) 9 3 1 1 0 14 L=League, F=FA Cup, C=Coca Cola Cup, E=European, O=Other, T=Total.
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Latest News

Robson Signs New Three Year Contract(25/04/96)

Brian Robson has signed a new three year contract at Middlesbrough ending speculation that he was linked with the England job. The deal that will keep him at the Riverside Stadium until 1999 will allow Robson to continue his rebuilding job on Teenside.

Robson was an early favourite to take over the mantel of England coach, having served under Venables as his assistant. Also Robson's undeniable pedigree had him in good stead for the job. However the former England captain insisted that the opportunity had arisen too soon.

The FA are giving no clues as to where they are curently looking for a replacement for Venables, although it is likely that they will appeal to the present coach to stay on. Venables has let the team do the talking for him and with them now showing enormous potential it is likely that he would receive the full backing of the FA to stat on.

Violence in Rotterdam Outlines Euro '96 Fears(25/04/96)

Crowd violence in the match between Holland and Germany highlighted the fears of crowd trouble at Euro '96. Two people were taken to hospital with stab wounds and 47 others were arrested as trouble errrupted before and after the ill tempered clash. The game finished in a 1-0 win for Germany after Klinsman scored from the spot. Bergkamp missed a penalty at the other end in what was a dull encounter.

German fans were involved in racial abuse against the coloured Dutch players. After the game riot police had to charge the German fans who were ripping up the seats. The confrontation between two top teams in Euro '96 this summer, raises alarms for the international operation to prevent trouble this summer.


Clarke in Murky Water Over Move From Bath

Ben Clarke who has been offered a lucrative deal to join Richmond next season, has been warned off the move by teammate Phil de Glanville. A simular message was sent out to Mike Catt the England full-back, who is also concidering the move to Richmond. Phil de Glanville argues against the lure of money to move to a team who will play in the second division next season.

Clarke has reportedly been offered a GBP1 million contract to make the move to Richmond which would tie him with the club for five years. De Glanville highlighted the gap between the two divisions and queried where the challenge would come from. He also referred to the difference between division two and international level, stating that it was hard enough stepping up to international games from division one.

De Glanville is widely tippped as the next England captain after Will Carling stepped down at the end of the Five Nations. His words will not have gone unconsidered, as players jeapordise their international careers playing in the second division.

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Gooch and Botham Both in the Running for Test Selector Role

Graham Gooch and Ian Botham are going head to head for a role as a test selector. With only one place available it will be a close contest, with eight nominations in the hat the vote may turn into a farce. Other contenders include Fred Titmus, Brian Bolus, John Edrich, Peter Willey, David Graveney and Kim Barnet.

Botham has shown willingness to sacrafice personal comforts in his quest to be come a selector, with the long term ambition of taking over as manager. He has quit his tax haven in the Channel Islands, and may be forced to give up his media work with Sky TV and various newspapers in order to accomodate the 100 matches a season the selector would be required to watch.

David Lloyd Given England Coaching Role

In the fall out of England's dismall World Cup adventure and South Africa tour, supremo Ray Illingworth has been forced out of his managerial role with England. David Lloyd the Lancashire coach will fill his shoes, although his contract will last only up to the end of the summer.

Illingworth who was to face a challenge from Graveney for his role of Chairman of Selectors, will keep hold of that position as he did not face a challenger to it. Lloyd was effectively second choice after John Emburey was offered the position but turned it down, pledging his future to Northamptonshire.

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Motor Racing

Hill Confident in run up to South American Double

Damon Hill has set a target of two wins in the next ten days, as the Grand Prix circuit will tour an intrigueing South American double in Brazil and Argentina. If Hill does come away from the latino races twenty points better off, then he will have propelled homself into an excellent lead to start the season off with. Although the chances are slim, with so much riding on luck, Hill probably has as good as chance as any to pull off a memorable double.

Meanwhile Eddy Irvine suffered a high speed crash in the first warm up laps in Brazil, but is likely to compete in the rest of the weekends activities.

Hill Takes First Race in Australia

Damon Hill took the first Grand Prix of the season, but only after a dramatic early crash from Martin Brundell and a cat and mouse race with team partner Jacques Villneuve.

Brundell was sent flying in his Jordan car, catipulted high over the top of Coulthard's McClaren on the third corner of the first lap. It looked like a devastating crash, but as the dust settled, Brundle scramled out of his wrecked car and appeared completely unscathed. To prove the point he ran back down the pit lan to retrieve his back up car in order to make the restart.

Hill would have been grateful for the restart, as he had already fallen behind to the two Ferrari's by the time the Brundle incident had happened. However he got away well at the restart, chasing Villneuve ahead of him and these two began to open up a gap on the followers. On lap 9 Alesi and Irvine collided, which later forced Alesi out of the race.

Villneuve pitted first out of the two Williams cars and took a terrible 17.6 seconds, Hill managed even worse, taking 18.5 seconds. This is an area that Williams have lacked consistent performance in for sometime, and will have to be improved on to stay ahead of the pack. It was however a one stop stratergy from the Williams, and as Hill exited, he emerged just infront of the charging Villneuve. The Canadian rookie, closed in on Hill and streamed past while Hill's tyres were still warming to the battle.

From here on in it was Villneuve leading the charge with Hill buzzing around in his mirrors. Shmacher had break trouble and after a lengthly pit stop to repair the damage, he retired. The Ferrari had looked far more competitive than had been suggested by Shumacher before the race and certainly by midseason, should be right up there challenging.

In the meantime the battle up front was ongoing. Hill kept constant pressure on Villneuve who at one point left the track briefly, but managed to regain control before Hill past him. As the race went on it became apparent that Hill's car was discoloured. The squeky clean car of Villneuve contrasted with Hill's which was turning distinctly yellow. There was an oil leak springing from the Canadian's car, spraying Hill's who was in his slipsteam. Soon smoke appeared to be fuming from Villneave's car and it was not long after this that an agitated Williams team ordered the rookie to slow down to preserve his car. In doing so Hill sped past his fallen partner with 5 laps to go and went on to win his second Australian Grand Prix in a row.


Becker and Agassi Crash Out of Monte Carlo

Both Boris Becker and Andre Agassi slumped out of the Monte Carlo Open yesterday, leaving Thomas Muster as the only major seed remaining. Muster the world No 2 maintained his place in the tournamount, playing on his favourite surface, clay.

Becker suffered further anguish, going out to Chile's Marcelo Rios, 6-4, 6-3. Becker has complained of continued aftereffects of a case of bronchitis which effected him two months ago. Agassi showed none of his usual verve, losing 6-2, 6-1 to the 16th seeded Spaniard Alberto Carlos.

Muster made sure of his progress after nearly dropping a set against the Spanish teenager Carlos Moya, eventually winning 6-2, 7-6.

Top Sporting Links Around the WWW

Try some of these links for the best sporting action around the Web.

CarlingNet- the official FA Carling Premiership site.
Soccer Virtual Library: has links to every football page on the web.
Coopers & Lybrand Ratings of Test Cricketers
Formula One Grand Prix Page
1996 Olympics Home Page
WWW Rugby Server
The Electronic Telegraph

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