Doha in the oil and natural gas rich state of Qatar takes center stage in the world of sport today as the 2011 Asian Cup kicks off this evening.
Meanwhile on the tennis courts Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are battling it out in the Qatar Open.
In a different type of court, the Togel Online International Cricket Council’s spot fixing inquiry into claims against three Pakistani cricketers is being held in Doha.
Ex-captain Salman Butt and pace duo Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir pleaded not guilty to charges of bowling no-balls to order in last summer’s test series in England.
Brazil – the next generation
Once again Brazil failed at the World Cup despite entering the competition as favourites. Robinho looked to have sent them on their way to the last four in Port Elizabeth before a Wesley Sneijder brace put the Dutch through instead. The expected fightback never came and for a second World Cup in a row the world’s most valued soccer nation trooped off into the shadows.
So once again, young starlets are emerging post-tournament to raise the spirits of the seleçao.
And most hopes are being pinned on the Santos duo of Ganso and Neymar.
Paulo Henrique Chagas de Lima, known as ‘Ganso’, is a 21 year-old number ten, has drawn comparisons with Zinedine Zidane and seems the obvious replacement for Kaka once he hangs up his boots. His first game in the yellow and green was in last August’s 2-0 friendly win over the USA.
The name of Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, who turns 19 this week, has been in global circulation a little longer, as he exploded onto the scene as a 17 year-old striker, but only made his Brazil debut in the same friendly last summer, bagging the opening goal.
Needless to say, almost every big European club has been linked with the duo, especially with Neymar, and one hopes neither young man will risk hopping across the Atlantic too soon.
With Brazil sure to be a force in 2014 with the World Cup on home soil, this young pair from Pelé’s old club could be following in the great man’s footsteps and raising gold to the sky…
Golazo from Yer Man!
Not every day the Northern Irish league is in the spotlight, but was there a more audacious strike in 2010 than this effort by Glentoran’s Matty Burrows, which looks better on each viewing…
Burrows’ strike makes it to the ten best goals of the year chosen by FIFA, along with usual suspects Messi, Neymar & Robben, plus Bafana Bafana’s opening strike of the World Cup Finals:
* Here’s one they missed, from Andrea Pirlo, as the Parma defence obligingly opens up.
George got 2 results right last week and 1 perfect score.
Sat 1 January 2011
WBA 1 v Man Utd 2
Liverpool 1 v Bolton 0
Manchester City 2 v Blackpool 1
Stoke City 0 v Everton 2
Sunderland 2 v Blackburn 0
Tottenham 2 v Fulham 1
West Ham Utd 0 v Wolves 0
Birmingham 1 v Arsenal 1
Sun 2 January 201
Chelsea 3 v Aston Villa 1
Wigan Athletic 2 v Newcastle 1