EURO 2012: Poland wary of Greek defense

Coach and captain of the Polish national team, Franciszek Smuda and Kuba Blaszczykowski, have both confessed that the defense of the Greek team is a major worry for them ahead of the opening match of the EURO 2012 on Friday.

According to the coach, they believe the Greek’s tactic from back to front is purely defensive in play.

one the co-hosts of the much awaited EURO 2012 tournaments spoke up today on what worries them they clash with Greece as the tournament opens today.#

Coach Smuda, admitted that the ironclad defense of Greece will be a hard nut to crack.

He said this while the team was having their training in Warsaw National Stadium where the first clash of the tournament will hold. He said their strong point is their style of play as it is defensive-minded.

On the part of the captain, Blaszczykowski admitted that the Greeks will introduce a defensive style of play but went further, saying a breach can always be created as his own team can boast players who can achieve that for Poland.

Greece went into the EURO 2012 finals without any defeat against all the teams they clashed during the qualifiers, scoring 14 goals and conceding 5 goals in the process.

It was thought to be a relief by Polish fans after the draw was done and they were not drawn in the group of Germany, the 2008 EURO finalists-Spain.

The performance of the Polish team is however unsure having failed to reach the 2010 World Cup, they have relied on friendly matches for 968 days in preparation for Euro 2012 with the squad with an average age of 25, the pressure is on for the young squad to reach and surpass older squads as they are on paper as the weakest team at the 16-nation European championship, hosted with neighboring Ukraine, and as hosts did not have to come through qualifying.

Smuda reiterated that his basic target is to make it out of Group A, which also includes Russia and the Czech Republic.

Torres on target as Del Bosque hails striker

Spain manager, Vicente Del Bosque could not hide his joy seeing Chelsea striker; Fernando Torres as a target against South Korea as Spain walloped the Asian side 4-1 on Wednesday night.

The Striker headed in the first goal for Spain after which Kim Do-Heon secured an equaliser for South Korea before the first half ended.

Strikes from Xabi Alonso,Santi Cazorla and Alvaro Negredo sealed victory for Spain in the second half of a match played in Bern, Switzerland.

Del Bosque went into the game without the nine Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao players who were given time to rest after the Copa Del Rey final.

It is the first outing of the champions before they defend their European Championship title. They will be playing China in Seville on Sunday before heading to the tournament as one of the opponents of the Republic of Ireland in Group C.

Del Bosque said the squad is happy because there has been no injuries while training and two games have been played plus the fact that players have been relating well with each other.

On Torres’ goal, the manager said with his goal, he is now the fourth highest Spanish goal-scorer of all time which is why he is very pleased with his contribution.

He continued by confirming Torres as one of the players that offers combination play with his teammates adding speed and movement to it which provided the goal from the Spaniard and everyone is happy about this.

David Villa to miss Uefa Euro 2012

Barcelona striker David Villa ruled himself out of the running for a place in Spain’s squad for Euro 2012 on Tuesday after failing to fully recover from a broken leg.

Villa, Spain’s all-time leading scorer, broke his left leg while competing in the Club World Cup with Barca in December, and has not played a competitive match since then.

“I tried right to the end but I wasn’t able to get to 100 percent for the Euros,” Villa said on his official Twitter feed.

“Today I called the coach to tell him. It was the most honest thing to do. Thanks to all of you for your support.”

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) broke the news with an earlier statement.

“After failing to achieve the desired progress in recent training sessions, Villa spoke with Del Bosque,” the RFEF said.

“(He) told him although he would like to be with the team in Poland and Ukraine, his physical state ‘isn’t the best’ for a competition like the Euros.

“The RFEF and Spain’s coaching staff wish the player all the best in his recovery and hope he will return soon to the national team, and value the effort made by David to get back to full fitness.”

Villa has scored 51 goals in 82 national team appearances for Spain helping them victory at Euro 2008 and in the World Cup finals in 2010.

His Spanish international teammates were quick to send messages of support on their Twitter accounts.

Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas wrote: “Keep your spirits up, you are a star. You have been and will continue being the best goal-scorer in the national team.”

Chelsea winger Juan Mata wrote: “You have proved again you are an example, we will miss you a lot. You will soon be back scoring goals.”

Barca’s doctors had already said he would not make the King’s Cup final on Friday, when Pep Guardiola’s side take on Athletic Bilbao.

Del Bosque named a provisional squad for Euro 2012 last week which included many fringe players, and added Chelsea duo Fernando Torres and Mata on Monday after they helped their side win the Champions League final.


Kidnapped Spanish doctor gains freedom

After weeks of frantic search, Spanish doctor; José Manuel Machimbarrena Corcuera kidnapped in Nigeria’s South Eastern city of Enugu April 4th has been freed and in good health, according to the Spanish Foreign Ministry and Nigerian police.

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo; Spain’s Foreign Minister said in Madrid that the man was believed to have been abducted and that his disappearance “has all the characteristics of a kidnapping for economic reasons.”

“Mister Corcuera was released on Friday,” a ministry spokesman said but did not divulge details of the circumstances that led to his freedom.

He said the man had been seized for ransom, but it is not clear if any ransom was paid, on the insistence of discretion from the doctor’s employers in the matter.

The 58-year-old doctor, works for a clinic belonging to a foundation financially supported by a Catholic institution called Opus Dei in Nigeria.

His kidnap, which sparked an outrage in his home country due to his work in missions, resulted in a 24-hour manhunt of his abductors until he was released, according to Enugu Police Spokesman Ebere Amaraizu.

The Spanish embassy worked hand in hand and tirelessly with Nigeria till he was confirmed alive and free so also were they in constant contact Dr. Jose’s family down in Madrid.

Kidnappings has been the order of the day in southern Nigeria for a while now  as ransom are being demanded before release of hostages mostly in the oil-producing region of the country; the Niger Delta and following payment of the requested ransom, they release the victims unharmed.

A recent event of kidnap which would have caused diplomatic rancour between Nigeria, Britain and Italy as Italian authorities pointed accusing fingers at Britain for non-dissemination of information was that of the kidnap of a Briton and an Italian by  Islamist group Boko Haram, which is concentrated mainly in northern Nigeria.

With a botched coded mission carried out after the hideout of the hostages were known, both hostages died in crossfire between government forces and the Islamist group.



Nigerian drug cartel busted in Spain, 15 arrested

A Nigerian drug cartel responsible for smuggling of cocaine and other drugs into Spain and other European countries from the Latinos and Africa has reportedly been busted by Spanish police officials with 15 members arrested.

The group, based in the Madrid suburb of Alcala de Henares, use drug mules who injest pellets filled with drugs and avoid detection at airports, the police said in a statement.

Police seized about 18 pounds of cocaine and 17,000 euros in cash as part of their investigation, which began in September 2011.

The majority of those arrested were Nigerian citizens.

Police carried out their first arrest as part of the operation in October 2011 at the airport at Palma de Majorca of a man who had swallowed 77 pellets of cocaine.

Later that month police detained another man at the same airport who had swallowed 68 pellets of cocaine.

“These people had been sent by the organisation to Madrid to collect cocaine from other members of the ring which based in Alcala de Henares. From there they would also send mules to South America and Africa to collect the drug,” a police statement said.

Spain’s proximity to North Africa, a key source of hashish, and its close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine producing region, have made it a major gateway into Europe for drug traffickers.