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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup chit chat: Rooney hits back at media, Coentrao ruled out

World Cup chit chat: Rooney hits back at media, Coentrao ruled out

June 18, 2014 01:42 IST

World Cup chit chat: Rooney hits back at media, Coentrao ruled out

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Wayne Rooney has criticised sections of the media who questioned his form and speculated that the England forward had been relegated to training with the reserves at their base in Brazil.

The Manchester United striker came in for criticism following a muted performance in their opening 2-1 defeat by Italy in Group D on Saturday, with the Daily Mirror reporting he was now battling "to save his World Cup."

Rooney, who was used in a less-favoured left-sided role against Italy, was the only outfield player who started that match to do a full training session on Monday with the other nine only doing a gentle warm-down.

"Sometimes wonder what the press are getting at," Rooney said on Facebook.

"I said from the start I want to do everything I can to make sure I'm ready for these World Cup games and as part of that I was doing extra training a week before the squad joined up.

"That's exactly what I did yesterday, my own extra training because that's what I wanted to do."

For a player who has enjoyed a glittering club career, Rooney's international form has frequently been questioned, especially around major tournaments, where he has struggled to make an impact following an impressive Euro 2004.

Rooney has never scored a World Cup goal.

He has been shunted out of his favoured position in the current England set-up with Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge occupying the sole central striking role.

He was not lacking in industry against Italy, but often found himself on the margins of the game despite playing a pivotal role in setting up Sturridge for England's equaliser.

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Image: Wayne Rooney
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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'Our country loves it, creating a drama around one player'

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England vice captain Frank Lampard urged the country’s media to drop their "fixation" with the striker.

"If people start trying to focus on individuals again and again and again, it can become a bit detrimental. In the squad, behind closed doors, we’re just trying to win games," Lampard told a news conference.

England assistant coach and former Manchester United team mate Gary Neville complained of an English obsession with targeting big players.

"Our country loves it, creating a drama around one player," Neville said on the BBC.

"This time it's Wayne Rooney but that comes with the territory of being an important player in a big nation. I've never known there not be an obsession around one player.

"It was (Paul) Gascoigne from 1996 to 1998, (David) Beckham from 2000 to 2006. From 2006, it was Rooney and Beckham. Now it's Rooney in 2014.

"Unfortunately - or fortunately, because he is a big player - this time it's Wayne Rooney. You can't get him to do a light day's training. That's his character. He just wants to play every second of every day.

"He has an enthusiasm for football that is incredible and he's been like that since the moment I played against him when he was a young Everton kid."

Neville also defended England's display against Italy, saying the poor result was tempered by the quality of the football on show.

"Some of the football was the best I've seen from England in 10 or 15 years in a World Cup or European Championship match," the 39-year-old said.

"As we came off the pitch, we weren't thinking anything other than the team played pretty well, but we got the fine lines wrong."

England face Uruguay in their second group match on Thursday in Sao Paulo.

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Image: Wayne Rooney of England in action during a training session
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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World Cup over for Portugal's Coentrao

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Portugal left back Fabio Coentrao has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a thigh muscle injury, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said on Tuesday.

The Real Madrid player was taken off during the second half of Monday's 4-0 defeat by Germany after stretching to try and control an over-hit pass.

Goalkeeper Rui Patricio and Hugo Almeida also suffered muscular injuries during the match in Salvador but could play again in the tournament, the FPF said.

The FPF said in a statement that Coentrao had suffered a second degree strain on the adductor muscle in his right thigh.

"Due to the severity of the injury, he will be unfit for competitive football for a period which extends beyond the duration of the World Cup," it said.

The 26-year-old is playing at his second World Cup and his place in the team is likely to be taken by Andre Almeida.

Hugo Almeida went off injured in the first half and was reported to have a grade one strain in his left thigh. Patricio, who played the whole game, all suffered a thigh strain.

"Hugo Almeida and Rui Patrico's injuries have the possibility of a clinical recovery during the competition, and they have started programmes of rehabilitation," said the FPF.

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Image: Fabio Coentrao of Portugal lies on the field after an injury
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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98 per cent of all seats have been used in the games so far

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The empty seats visible at some stadiums in the World Cup's opening 14 matches are due to fans who have bought tickets but have not turned up for the games rather than corporate clients not using them, FIFA said on Tuesday.

FIFA's official figures show that 701,710 of the 716,176 seats available in the opening games have been filled, meaning that 98 per cent of all seats have been used in the games so far.

Only one match - Sunday's Group F opener between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana - has produced a capacity of 100 percent with all 74,738 seats sold and used.

The lowest percentage attendance, was that for the third match of the tournament, the Group B classic between the Netherlands and world champions Spain in Salvador which the Dutch won 5-1.

Only 48,173 of the 51,900 available seats were used - producing the lowest percentage attendance of any of the games so far of 92.8 per cent.

"These seats are not empty because corporate people are failing to turn up for them," FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer told reporters.

"They are empty, because for whatever reason, fans who bought tickets are not turning up for the matches.

"FIFA has done a great deal of work to ensure that there are not rows of empty seats taken and not used by corporate clients and you will not see that at this World Cup, but we cannot legislate for people not coming to games despite buying tickets."

As well as the Argentina v Bosnia game producing a 100 per cent capacity figure, three other matches had attendances of over 99 per cent of the stadium's capacity.

Monday evening's attendance at the United States v Ghana match was 39,760, representing 99.5 per cent of the capacity at the Dunas arena in Natal.

The attendance for the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday was 62,103, representing 99.3 per cent of the Corinthians arena's capacity, while the France v Honduras game at Porto Alegre's Beira Rio stadium was 43,012, representing 99.1 per cent of the capacity.


Image: An overhead shot of fans on the stands during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao in Fortaleza.
Photographs: Francois Xavier Marit - Pool/Getty Images

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