Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

Socceroos arrive in Brazil

Australia became the first of the 31 foreign squads to arrive in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup finals on Wednesday. The Socceroos arrived in the southern city of Curitiba, before transferring to another flight to Vitoria, where they will be based. Australia are in a tough Group B alongside World and European champions Spain, Chile and the Netherlands, finalists four years ago in South Africa. “We are the underdogs,” midfielder Tommy Oar said in a FIFA statement. “It will be a good opportunity for the Australian team to surprise, so this is all very exciting, and being in the ‘soccer country’ is an extra motivation, of course.” The tournament kicks off on June 12 when Brazil play Croatia in Sao Paulo, while Australia’s first game is against Chile on June 13 in Cuiaba.

NETHERLANDS

Van der Vaart ruled out

Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup finals after the experienced international picked up a calf injury at a training camp in Portugal, the Dutch soccer association (KNVB) confirmed on Wednesday. Capped 109 times for his country, the 31-year-old Hamburg SV midfielder suffered the injury at a training camp on Tuesday, with the KNVB saying he was not expected to recover in time to participate in the June 12 to July 13 finals. The former Ajax, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder competed at the last two World Cup finals and was expected to a play a major role for the team in Brazil. His injury means the squad have lost two key midfielders in the run-up to the tournament, with AS Roma’s Kevin Strootman ruled out in March with a serious knee injury.

ENGLAND

United owner Glazer dies

Malcolm Glazer, the self-made billionaire who owned English Premier League club Manchester United and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has died. He was 85. The Bucs said Glazer died on Wednesday. The reclusive Palm Beach businessman had been in failing health since April 2006 when a pair of strokes left him with impaired speech, and limited mobility in his right arm and leg. Glazer’s unobtrusive management style helped transform the Bucs from a laughingstock into a model franchise that in 2003 won the Super Bowl 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders. He raised his profile in 2005 with a US$1.47 billion takeover of Manchester United that was bitterly opposed by fans.

PORTUGAL

Ronaldo most marketable

Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s most marketable player, according to a study released by an international sports market research company on Wednesday. Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi ranked second in the study conducted by Repucom, ahead of club teammate and surprise third-placed entry Gerard Pique of Spain. The data measured the perceptions of more than 6,500 people in 13 countries, including the UK, the US, Brazil, China and India, which was reportedly claimed to represent the views of more than 1.5 billion people worldwide. Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo was also found to be the most well-known player on the planet with 83.9 percent of people aware of who he was. “Ronaldo is an endorser’s dream. His value is as important to the teams he plays for as they are for the companies that endorse him,” Repucom chief executive Paul Smith said. “Global awareness of Ronaldo is what drives his commercial power and with over 82 million Facebook likes and 26 million Twitter followers, he is also one of the most liked in the business.”

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