New Zealand beat Fiji 1-0
Stand-in captain Tommy Smith scored the lone goal as New Zealand struggled to a 1-0 win over Fiji in its opening match at the Oceania Nations Cup soccer tournament yesterday. The Ipswich defender tapped home a rebound after goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau failed to hold Leo Bertos’ free-kick in the ninth minute. Fiji had several chances to equalize, the best coming in the 49th minute when veteran Roy Krishna back-heeled the ball to striker Osea Vakatalesau on the edge of the box. However, keeper Mark Paston tipped Vakatalesau’s shot over the bar.
FIFA checks Guatemalans
The Guatemalan soccer federation said on Friday that investigators from FIFA were in the country looking into a match-fixing scandal involving four matches, with three players implicated and suspended from the national team. Bryan Jimenez, president of the National Football Federation of Guatemala, confirmed the three players involved are Gustavo Cabrera, Yoni Flores and Guillermo Ramirez. They were suspended from the Guatemala national team earlier this week for what coach Ever Hugo Alemeida called acts of “indiscipline.” “Their exit from the team is due to indiscipline, which probably has to do with these rumors,” Jimenez said. He said he could not comment further because of FIFA’s investigation. In World Cup qualifying, Guatemala play at Jamaica on Friday and then face the US on June 12 in Guatemala City. “This is not going to influence the Jamaica game or the match with the United States,” Jimenez said.
King wants to stay at Spurs
Ledley King wants to stay at Tottenham Hotspur even if he can no longer play for them, the veteran defender said on Friday. The 31-year-old, who has endured numerous injury problems, was not on the retained list provided by the club to the Premier League, but he has not ruled out signing a new contract. King, who has been at Spurs since he was a trainee, told the club’s official Web site: “I had a really good start to last season and was pleased to play as many games as I did. A knock in training set me back towards the end, but I opted to carry on playing rather than take the time out to have the knee seen to. Unfortunately that meant that I didn’t play the last few games at the standard I would have liked. ... The club has been fantastic in supporting me and given me several options to stay involved with Tottenham. ... Tottenham have been the only club for me and if I can’t play here then I shall look to be involved in another capacity.” Other notable players not on their club’s retained list include Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, Manchester United’s Michael Owen and Manchester City’s Owen Hargreaves.
Ben Mowen joins Wallabies
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen joined the Wallabies camp yesterday as cover for Western Force No. 8 Ben McCalman, who is continuing to be affected by a shoulder injury ahead of Australia’s rugby Test against Scotland on Tuesday. Australia will name their team today for the Scotland match at Newcastle north of Sydney. Six Nations champions Wales will play Australia on the following three weekends. Mowen has previously represented Australia in under-21s and Sevens, but is uncapped in test play. He led the Australia Conference-leading Brumbies to a 27-19 win over the Melbourne Rebels in a Super 15 match on Friday.