Plaza named after team
The Spanish city of Zaragoza has honored the country’s World Cup victory by dedicating a square to the national team. Spanish soccer federation head Angel Villar was in attendance on Monday as the “Plaza La Roja” square was inaugurated. On local newspaper Heraldo’s Web site, Zaragoza sports official Manu Blasco describes the move as “a well-deserved tribute to the Spanish team.” The team has received a number of accolades since their 1-0 win over the Netherlands in last summer’s final in South Africa, including Spanish King Juan Carlos naming coach Vicente del Bosque a marquis last week. Zaragoza has previously named city streets after movies and video games, such as Super Mario Brothers Avenue.
Knife-wielding fans arrested
Five people were hurt, one with a serious head wound, and police arrested 21 people for carrying knives as the Colombian season got off to a violent start at Millonarios’ 3-2 home defeat by Atletico Huila, media reported. Rivals gangs of hooligan fans of Millonarios, one of Colombia’s most popular teams, clashed outside Bogota’s El Campin Stadium before kickoff on Sunday, El Tiempo newspaper said on its Web site. The fighting was over the control of match tickets, El Tiempo quoted Alirio Amaya of the Bogota-based church organization “Goals in Peace” as saying.
McCaw to undergo surgery
All Blacks and Canterbury Crusaders captain Richie McCaw has suffered a stress fracture to his right foot and said yesterday he will miss the first six weeks of the Super 15 season. McCaw said he had seen a foot and ankle surgeon and has been booked in for surgery to insert a small screw into a bone in his foot. “The injury is obviously disappointing, but it’s not likely to be one that will bother me in the long term,” he said. “I’ll have the operation and then get on with my rehab and look forward to turning out for the Crusaders when I’m given the all-clear by the medical staff.” McCaw had been scheduled to play his first match of the year on March 4 against the New South Wales Waratahs after sitting out the first two rounds of the Super 15 as part of a rotation policy for All Blacks in a World Cup year.
Cole wins fans’ hearts
Despite feeling frustration at being regularly jeered by his own supporters, England defender Ashley Cole has won their official online player-of-the-year vote. Cole, who has made 86 international appearances, said: “It’s been hard for me at times, but now I think I’ve got their appreciation.” The Chelsea left back’s public image has been tainted by perceptions he is greedy, plus his failed marriage to pop star Cheryl Cole. He is sure fans haven’t been booing him because of any failings on the pitch, telling FATV that “it was a more personal thing, so it hurt me even more, but every time I put on an England shirt I try my hardest.”
Boonen ahead in Qatar
Tom Boonen won Monday’s opening stage of the Tour of Qatar, his first major race since undergoing knee surgery in May last year. The Belgian finished the 145.5km ride from Dukhan to Al Khor in 2 hours, 59 minutes, 29 seconds. Heinrich Haussler of Australia and countryman Mark Renshaw were next. It was Boonen’s 18th stage win in Qatar. He won the race in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Boonen leads overall by 4 seconds from Renshaw.