England second class
A day after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson fired his team for losing to Liverpool he's now turned his criticism to the England team. All that while the England coach has just been named Sweden's personality of the year. Ferguson says England has no chance of winning next year's World Cup and that David Beckham and Michael Owen are the only world-class performers in the English side.
According to him, Europe's challenge in Korea and Japan will come from Italy and Spain, but his bet for 2002 is that European champions France will defend their title. His player of the tournament though is Italian striker Francesco Totti, ahead of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry for France.
And Ferguson is not too pleased with his team right now either. He would particularly be upset with goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, who seems to be making a habit of venturing out of his post at all the wrong times. He made two blunders against Deportivo La Coruna in United's 3-2 loss at Old Trafford in the Champions League. And then again against Liverpool in the Premiership this weekend. Manchester went on to lose the match 3-1.
Ferguson had said after that loss that some of the players have been in Manchester too long and are probably taking it a bit too easy. But Barthez doesn't come in that category. The English champions are currently in 6th place in the Premier League, with 18 points from 11 games. They have conceded as many as 20 goals this season.
Accolades for Eriksson
England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has been named Sweden's Personality of the year at the Stockholm Football Gala. The former Lazio manager turned England's fortunes around when he took over from Kevin Keagan last year. His side is now on its way to Korea and Japan for the World Cup finals next year, after a massive 5-1 win over Germany and a crucial draw against Greece.
Delicate soccer ball
World Cup 2002 fever is catching on in South Korea. The Korean World Cup Organising Committee recently staged a fashion show dedicated to the World Cup and an exhibition touting the ever increasing number of soccer related products. Amongst them is a soccer ball which has been made of bone china. The ceramic soccer ball is the brainchild of Cho Kyung-soo, a well-known artist in South Korea. The ceramic soccer ball has one flaw though, it has a hole or a ventilation gap at the bottom. But Cho said it had to be done to prevent the clay work from exploding. The ceramic soccer ball retails for anything from $165 to $2,900. But that has still not deterred companies and people from buying it.