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Here in my opinion I have given details and my views on 3 top PCs currently at the cutting edge of the market. Enjoy! Name of PC: Advent P4 1.8GHz Base Unit (without monitor) Found on: www.pcworld.co.uk Price: £850 (including VAT) Features · Pentium 4 1.8 GHz Processor · 256 Mb SDRAM · 40Gb Hard drive · DVD-ROM · CD-Rewriter · 32Mb Geforce 2 graphics · 128v Sound and Speakers · 56K Modem · Windows millennium edition · Works 6.0 and games pack Specification · Processor Type: Intel Pentium 4 · Processor Speed: 1800mhz · RAM memory: 256mb · Hard Disk Capacity: 40Gb · Graphics card memory: 32mb · Drives fitted: CDRW and DVD · Drive Speed: 8x4, 32, 16 · 3d Accelerator Graphics: Yes · Card shared with RAM: No · Modem: Yes · Operating System: Windows Millennium Addition · Brand: Advent I found this PC whilst I was surfing through the PC world site. Although it does not come with a monitor, it does come with practically everything that you could want from a PC, and also uses the very latest technology and memory capacities. The Pentium 4 that it uses is the latest Pentium Processor to be released, and is very powerful; enabling programs to run very fast. It also has a huge storage space of 40 Gigabytes on its hardrive, which is more than adequate to run and store a very large variety of programs and applications software and still have plenty left over. It has a DVD Rom drive, which enables you to play DVDs onto your monitor and is the next step up from CD ROMs. This is very advanced and DVDs allow you to play films using the highest quality pictures and sounds, and also with added features such as interviews and directors cuts. This computer also comes with a CD-Rewriter, which again is the very latest technology and allows you to copy and edit CDs from your computer. This is a great advantage, as it means that t he term CD ROM, meaning Read only memory, is no longer read only. You can now store data and information on CDs, which is a great advantage as they have a much bigger memory than floppy discs do. This computer also comes with a very powerful graphics card, which means that you will be able to play computer games of the highest quality without having the problems of the jumps and pauses as the processor searches for more memory. This PC comes with the standard 56K modem, which I can say from my own experience is a very good one and enables fast connection to the Internet, as well as letting you surf at high speed. This is not the most up-to-date modem, as a 128K modem is now available, but the 56K is more than adequate of handling most jobs required of it by a PC user. A disc for Windows Millennium Addition also comes with this PC and this addition is the latest one to be released from Microsoft and is capable of running most programs, all CD ROMS and DVDs and more. With 1800mhz processing speed, this is right at the cutting edge of technology, as at the moment the fastest processor is around 2000mhz. This is extremely fast and far exceeds my own PC. It also comes with the now standard 256mb of RAM, which is the most at the moment, but increases all the time so I can guarantee that within months the amount of RAM available on a PC will have increased and storage space will become greater. In my view, this model of PC from Advent is a very good one as it includes many features that are right at the front line of technology. Of course, it will be outdated within weeks as technology continues to advance, but this computer will be more than enough and due to the features it has, should be compatible with the user for a very long time. My own PC has a memory of 5gb which is enough to store and run most programs, but this PC has one 8 times this amount, which is not only incredible but is also getting a bit excessive. If things keep going the way they a re, we will soon have processors that give instant response and so much memory that we won’t know what to with it! But since this computer is designed to cater for most users, whether they want to use it for the leisure of watching DVD or need to use the more professional features of the Windows Millennium Edition, it is indeed a superb computer and £850 is a very reasonable price for such a powerful machine. The only real disadvantage about this computer is that it does not come with a monitor, but I recommend that a high-resolution one should accompany it to get maximum enjoyment from the awesome machine. Name of PC: MAXX 4D P4 2000 Found on: www.maxxpc.com Price: £1,500 (including VAT) Features/Specification: · Intel Pentium 4 2000 Mhz CPU · 256 RAM · 64MB GeForce II Max 3D Graphics Card · 40 GB Hard Drive · Samsung CD ROM/DVD/CD Rewriter Drive · 56K Modem · Sound Blaster 1024 Surround Sound speakers · Windows Millennium Edition · Hutchinson Encyclopaedia 2000 · Lotus Smart Suite Millennium Edition · 20 Free Games · 17” Monitor The first thing that has to be said about this computer is that its price is £1,500; nearly double the previous computer from the PcWorld site. This is partly down to the fact that this time a monitor is included in the package and so in the price, but the other reason is the even more advanced technology that has been applied here. This computer comes with an extremely fast Pentium processor, with a processing speed of 2000 Mhz. This exceeds the PcWorld computers speed of 1.8Mhz and as far as I can find, is the fastest one available at the moment. It also comes with the standard storage space of 256 RAM, which is very adequate and compatible with almost any thing the user chooses to do with it. This computer also comes complete with the biggest storage space on the Hard Drive available at the moment, of 4 0 GB. It also comes complete with a Samsung drive, which is compatible and able to run CD-ROMS, DVDS and act as a CD Rewriter, all in one! This is superb as it has the ability to run data and information to or from any format, including of course floppy disc. It also has the standard 56k Modem, which again is not the fastest but is more than adequate for the purpose that it will be most likely required for-Personal and leisure use, as opposed to professional. The speakers that it comes with, which are surround sound and highly delicate, are also awesome, and produce sounds very clearly, also eliminating background noise which so often distorts the sound omitted by the speakers. It also comes with, of course, the latest Microsoft software of Windows Millennium Edition, although the next edition is already in the development stage. Some handy applications software also accompanies this computer, including 20 free games that will be able to be run very easily given the capabilities of the computer. Unlike the previous computer covered, this one comes with a monitor of 17”, which is sufficient in size to give a high quality output of high resolution. I think that this PC is very good as it is has all the latest technology and is also an improvement on the PC from PcWorld. It also comes with a monitor unlike the other one, which means that this really is the complete computer package and is one that you can buy without having to buy anything else at all to go with it. I would recommend that this computer be for more advanced users as it has all the requirements that an advanced and competent user would need and could manage well. I think all of the capabilities that it has may be a bit much for the novice or inexperienced user but nonetheless this is a superb computer, although it will put you back a fair bit in the pocket. It is up to the potential buyer to work out if it is worth it, given the fact that the machine will soon be outdated and replaced by a newer and better model at the top end of the market. Name of PC: MAXX CE 1000 Found on: www.maxxpc.com Price: £699.99 (including VAT) Features/Specification · Intel Celeron 1000 Mhz CPU · 256 Mb RAM · Integrated AGP Graphics · Samsung DVD/CD ROM/ CD Rewriter Drive · 56K Modem · Integrated Stereo Sound · 2 Amplified Stereo Speakers · Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition · 20 Top Games · 15” Monitor This computer costs around £600 in total and as a result does not have the same capabilities or top of the range technology as the previous models that I have covered. It is, however, still a very good computer and much better than my 3 years old model. It comes with a 1000 Mhz Intel Processor, which is quite fast and can perform most tasks quickly without delay. It has the 256 MB Ram, which is the same as the more advanced models that I have already covered, so there is no difference at all there. Its graphics card is poorer in comparison but it still is a top quality card and one that is capable of producing high quality images and running most games software and other software. It also has the superb integrated CD/DVD drive, which allows you to run and overwrite CDs and well as run DVDs. It also comes with the 56K Modem, which again is not the fastest but is good nonetheless and well capable of producing most tasks efficiently. Its sound capabilities are surprisingly average, as it comes with two stereo sound speakers, which are the same that you would expect to find on your CD player. There are not particularly poor speakers, they are just not as advanced as the ones that are now available and so look poor in comparison. This computer also comes with Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, which seems to be standard now on all new PCs, and is a top quality operating system. It also comes with 20 brand new PC Games courtesy of the c ompany and a standard 15” inch monitor, which gives an average output. I feel that this computer would more suit the novice user than the ones previously covered, although it would probably suit the professional user as well, depending of course on the purpose. It is at quite a reasonable price and I would recommend this computer to be suitable for a family or student who does not want an “over-the-top” or expensive computer but still wants one that will get the job done and which includes some top software and technology. I feel that all the computers I have covered are top of the range, although the level of quality that the user should purchase depends very much on the user requirements.
I must admit, I am not really a fan of the Sci-Fi genre. I despise Star Wars and all other similar programs. Why then, do I find this game so addictive? It is set upon the same sort of theme as these awful movies, with ships in space, in the future etc. If my tastes followed the trend, I would hate this sort of thing almost as much as I hate the movies. But no, quite the opposite in fact! I love this game! Background The background of the game is basically that each user owns their own small planet, which they can protect by building up different kinds of ships and other things. The game is set in the future as most Sci-Fi things are and is played in what I would call the ‘Championship Manager’ format. This means that you don’t actually get to see any of the graphics or action commencing, just the results in a sort of text format on the screen. I don’t think this detracts from the gameplay too much, as I am quite a big fan of this type of game, where it is your decisions and management rather than your playing skills that count. Planetarion has been running for just over a year now, and it is reported that is has over half a million members from all over the globe signed up and fighting against each other. Galaxy’s, Clusters and The Universe When you sign up and are assigned a planet, you aren’t just stuck in the middle of space and left to get on with things. Instead, you are assigned to a galaxy with 24 other members in, whom will help you out and guide you through the early steps of the game. You can also work together with these other members in launching ‘joint attacks’ and defending each other during times of need. What is more, your galaxy is not stuck in the middle of nowhere either. Each galaxy is part of a ‘cluster’ of 25, and the most successful clusters learn to work together and help each other out, rather than destroy and attack each other. All of these plan ets in all of these galaxies in all of these clusters make up the universe. Because there are new members signing up all the time, the number of planets, galaxies and clusters is constantly increasing, probing scientists right; the universe really is expanding! Game Basics When you first start to play this game, you can’t really expect to jump in and start causing chaos left, right and centre. In the fashion of the great ‘Command and Conquer’, certain research and constructions have to be completed before you can unlock new weaponry and items. In the same way, every piece of research completed opens up a new construction, and every new construction opening up new research. As the game is so big and is played over a constant ’24 7’ time, these constructions take a number of hours to build. For example, you can start a construction that takes 24 hours and come back a day later to find it completed. I think this is a nice touch as it means the game is continuous and much depends on your timing and ability to build the right things. Of course, all of this construction and research doesn’t come free. You have to use the currency of the game, which is metal and crystal, to invest in this new equipment and research. This currency is obtained from mining asteroids, with obviously the more asteroids you have the more resources you have. As the game goes on, you can pick up more ‘roids’ from the remainders of destroyed planets and by doing ‘asteroid scans’. Ships Once you have completed certain stages of this research and constructions, the fun can start to begin. You can use your completed constructions to produce different kinds of ships, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. As your stages of construction become more advanced, as do the technology of the ships that you produce, with the beast and most powerful ships coming at the very back end of it all. Of course, each ship that you purchase and produce costs you some of your precious resources, and you can order these ships to perform certain tasks, including attacking others, defending others and perhaps most important of all-defending yourself! You can also produce other things to defend yourself, but the disadvantage of this is that they stay around your planet and cannot be transported. The ships are the main part of the game and are really what the whole thing is based around. A planet without ships is like…(insert your own pun) Alliances If you want to go somewhere far in this game, a guaranteed route to fame and success is to join or organize a mighty alliance. If you have many planets and users helping you out, with all of you defending and attacking at the same time, your alliance will be pretty hard to stop. I know this because there are several mighty alliances in the game that have the power to totally destroy virtually anybody they want. Not a good idea then, to do as I did and attack even a small member of this giant alliance. I found all of my ship destroyed and found myself totally destroyed. The only good thing about this is that the constructions that you have remain when everything else has fallen around them. The bottom line of this section is-If you want to be successful, find yourself more than a few other people to team up with! Interaction The interaction and the ability to contact other players of this game are extremely good. You have the ability to send personal messages to anybody you want simply by clicking on their name and typing in your message. You can also contact everybody else in your galaxy by posting messages on the ‘Politics’ board, which everybody within your galaxy is free to reply to. You can also view ‘galaxy news’ which informs you of incoming or outgoing ships to or from your galaxy friends. This is useful because it means that others can see that you are be ing attacked and defend you when you are not online, as you can do for others. If your ships have not been sent away on a bold and dangerous mission anywhere, they will automatically defend your planet, but it is always nice for your fellow galaxy members to see what is going on so that they can assist you as necessary. This interaction also makes it a good opportunity to make new friends, as I have done. The Reset Probably the best news of all is the news of the reset for all you people out there who haven’t signed up yet! This is happening in two or three weeks and every single person on the game has everything taken away, meaning that they have to start again from scratch. This makes it the ideal time for any new members to join as they will not find themselves miles behind everybody else and I did when I joined, with everybody starting on a level par again. Server Problems The only downside to the whole game is the recent server problems that they have been having. However, this was to move to a faster service and it is said that playing conditions are back to normal! There are many features and parts of the game that I have not included in this opinion, as I feel too much technical jargon could put most people off! Although it does look complicated to start with, I can assure you that you soon get used to it and believe me, it is not as hard as it looks. I think that this is the best online game I have played, as it is ongoing and the gameplay is superb. Even if you are not a fan of this sort of game or genre, it is still well worth signing up, as I am not a fan of that sort of stuff but am now totally hooked. So I say simply go to planetarion.com and give it a try. You have nothing to lose and you end up making some new friends and having a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience!
Football is now not only a sport; it has become an industry. Gone are the days when players strode out on the pitches wearing woolly and itchy jumpers to play for a few quid, gone are the days of fans screaming from the terraces. And what has arisen in their place? A multi-million pound industry, where ticket, players and wage prices are soaring through the roof. With these huge changes in status have come huge changes in the jobs and roles that are involved in the game. My opinion is going to look at just what the beautiful game has become now, and what is exactly expected of different people doing different jobs and performing different roles. The Managers I start with the managers because they are the ones who are responsible for the tactical side and are the ones who pull the strings behind the clubs (making signings, selling players etc). They are also the ones who come under the most fire when things go wrong, as the first thing that comes to most peoples minds when they see performances declining is an inadequate manager. Sometimes they are right, as in the case of Ossie Ardiles at Tottenham, the man should have not only been relieved from his position as manager but also thrown into a mental home. Five up front? You must be mad! However, a poor manager is not always the reason for the inability and under-performing of the players. After all, the manager can only do so much and as soon as his selected eleven step out onto the pitch, it is up to them to perform and it is out of the mangers’ control. As well as choosing the team and tactics, other jobs that managers have to do include keeping relations between club and fans happy, pleasing the board, co-operating with the chairman and having a good relationship with the players. A failure to do any one or indeed a mixture of these will more often than not see the managers head rolling down the stands and into the hell of managerial unemployment. This is why managers have changed and shif ted so much in recent years—No more loyalty is shown to the club that saved the club from a fierce relegation scrap last season. Oh no! A few bad results and all that is soon forgotten and a few weeks later so is the man who is guilty of bringing ‘turmoil’ and ‘anarchy’ to the club. Or maybe the club feel that a ‘fresh approach to the team’ is needed. Either way, a manager could find himself ousted from his club before he has had time to get his seat in the boardroom comfy. The manager’s head is the one that is permanently on the chopping block and, all things considered, he does actually have a huge burden to carry. You can’t feel sorry for them though, with all the cash they earn…. The Coaching Staff The coaching staff consists of the team of people that is employed by the club to support the manager. It includes the Assistant Manager, Coaches, Scouts, Physio’s. These are the men who have to assist the manager with things such as training and making decisions. For instance, a coach can be assigned to one particular area to help improve performance there or a scout could be used to watch a particular player who the manager may think has the potential to be a good signing. The Coaching Staff is vitally important to the manager and the club, and no matter how great and terrific managers are, they simply cannot be in several places at once and perform several different jobs at once. A good coach can also be invaluable to the club as they will be able to extract the best from the players and improve their skills and attitudes. Physios are important for the obvious reasons, as in the event of an injury to a player they are the ones who are responsible for nursing that player back to full fitness and to recover from it. Scouts are the slaves of the managers in the way that they are sent to unknown territory in hostile surroundings to search for emerging talents (Well, what did you think a ll that boy scout training was really for! Lol). It is impossible for a manager to perform all of the necessary tasks on his own-therefore it is essential for him to have assistance in the form of his coaching team. The fact that the Assistant Manager may seize on the vacant position on the likely event of his dismissal does not stop the manager from sharing all of the darkest secrets of football with him… The Board The board are the fat cats who sit around smoking cigars with charts and graphs scattered out in front of them as well as the latest form guide to the horses. They are also the people who the manager has to try his up most to please-Any fellow Championship Manager fanatic will know that you can’t cause too much stir in the boardroom and expect to get away with it! The same goes for real life, as these are the people that have invested their hard earned cash into trying to make the club successful, and woe betide the manager if she splashes all their cash on a load of under-performing ‘has beens’. If you ever become a manager and are looking for the quickest way to get out of your job, simply go out of your way to displease them and you will be out of the door quicker than you can say ‘Profit and Loss’. Many a manager has come a cropper this way, and take it from me, there is guaranteed to be many more. Despite their ability to have eyes only for pounds signs, they are quite a valuable part of any top team. Without rich people like these buying up the shares, the money flowing into the club would dry out and the club would not be able to compete very well with the other ‘top clubs’. This is particularly true of the clubs of Premier League status, but is also true of the ‘smaller’ clubs. A recent example is Luton Town, who nearly fell into receivership due to the lack of funds being offered from directors, amongst other things. The bottom line is, like it or not, the board are t here to run the business side of the club, and no matter what, a manger must please his board! The Chairman The Chairman is the man right at the top of the club. He is the only man who is at the ‘top of the food chain’ when it comes to club football. He is also the man who is head of the board, and he too injects a large amount of funds into the club. A good chairman can rake dividends for the financial side of the club as he has the ability to sign up the lucrative sponsorship deals. However, a bad chairman can see figures plunge off of the bottom of the graphs never to be seen again. In football, it is said that the only people that can sack the Chairman are the fans. I believe this to be true, as the fans can make their opinions known, as shown at Tottenham where Alan Sugar was forced out by a growing majority of fans calling for his head. To upset the fans, all you have to do as a chairman is to be tight with the cash, and although being a good business man is important, I feel that the most important thing is to have the clubs best interests placed above all of these facts and figures. Do that, and I think the Chairman will be all right in the eyes of the fans. Do an ‘Alan Sugar’, and you will be on your bike. Other Staff Other staffs include the people that never really get a mention when the club does something good or bad and whom nobody cares about, but the simple fact is that if they didn’t exist then there wouldn’t be any football at all. From the bloke who operates the gate at the turnstiles to the people who peel the potatoes for the half time chips, they are all-important and are people that the club can’t really do without. As a famous philosopher once said, ‘A mountain is made up of many small stones’, which basically means that every single little person goes who works and does something for the club goes into making the club the success that it is. Without the se small stones’, we can never have the big mountain. I think that it is worth remembering these people, as no club can operate without them really. On a smaller scale, such as in small town football, these people are not quite as important but are still there. For example, with a local football team, the ‘small stones’ would be the council workers who mark out the pitches and ensure that they are kept in reasonably good condition. Anyway, I am sure I have bored you enough with my speaking of great philosophy; I think you can see my point, time to move on to the next section… The Players The players could be the most important members out of all the people employed at the club. They are more important than all of the managers and businessmen that lie behind the club for the simple reason that they are the ones that actually play the sport here. It is still to be remembered that the great business of football is based around the sport, and without the sport being actually played, all the rest of it in unnecessary. The players are the ones who the business in ultimately based around and once the financial side of the club is taken away, they are what it all boils down too. Once a player is out there on the pitch, it is up to them to perform. No matter what the manager has done or can do, the footballers are the only ones who can go out on the pitch and produce the goods. Sure, the manager can motivate them to do it and tell them how to do it, but the bottom line is that they have to do it themselves. The players are also the ones that most people see, and are the ones plastered all over the newspapers for a variety of reasons. These reasons could be anything from slating off other players to transfer rumours to their personal lives, but the fact is that they are the ones mostly in the limelight. This rubs off on the spectators as well, particularly the younger generation. An example of this is how teenagers and school children in play grounds and football fields all over the world rein acted the infamous ‘Hand of God’ act by Maradonna and imitated the diving of Jurgen Klinsmann. Footballers have a responsibility to the fans and to each other to act professionally, both on and off the pitch. After all, they are on contracts which us normal people could only dream of, earning over millions of pounds in a year. When all the multi-million pound transactions have been completed, it is up to the players to do themselves, each other and the club proud by doing what they do best-playing football. The Fans In many people’s eyes, including my own, the fans are the people who play a significant part in making the world of football ‘tick’. No good paying millions of pounds for the top entertainers if nobody is going to watch them or care about what happens. The fans are the ones that pay the rather expensive ticket prices to cram their way through the gates each and every week, in all weathers. They are also the people that stand on the sidelines in the bitter coldness of Sunday League Football, week in, week out in all weathers. I don’t think that any club would be able to survive without fans paying money to see it, and even at the lowest levels of grass roots football, the desire and passion would be significantly reduced if the team had no supporters following its actions. In my opinion, the fans are the reason that many players put so much effort into winning-to satisfy not only themselves and each other but also the people that are interested in every single kick of the ball. It is often said that fans go a long way to making football the game that it is today. I would certainly agree with that, and I feel that they are up alongside the actual players as the most important people in football. The fans also help to generate a significant amount of income for the top clubs, through ticket sales and merchandising, and this is another reason w hy the fans are so important to this huge industry. The Captain Being captain of a minor local team, I feel that I must write something about the roles and the responsibilities of being captain of the side. I myself consider it a great honour to be given the responsibility even at this minor level. As captain, it is your duty to ensure that all of your teammates play to the best of their ability and it is also your job to calm down any heated incidents, as I have had to do many a time in the past. As captain, you simply cannot afford to lose control or your temper, as if you do, the other players are most likely to follow your example and do the same. I must admit this has happened to me on a few occasions in the past, but the captain must really lead by example and make sure that they do set a good example to follow. The captain is also the one who has to relay the message given by the coaching staff and manager to the players on the field, and I often find myself being told to instruct a player to do a certain action or play a certain way. Also, it’s the captain’s duty to supply a link between the manager and the team. For example, if it is felt that a certain player is not at full fitness and a substitution may be in order, it is up to the captain to point this out to the manager, perhaps at half-time. He can also advise the manager on what he feels is going wrong or indeed right from a first hand experience of the action. As a summary, many people are involved in the ever-growing world of football. Each person or group of people have their own specific job to do, which can be quite different from that of another. But at any level, all of these roles and jobs must come together to form a successful team and club. Thanks for reading, steveymacca J
After playing the superb first game in this series, I simply had to go out and get myself the second. The only thing that stopped me buying the game the moment it came out was a lack of funds, but as soon as that spare £30 came my way, I found myself standing in the queue in Woolworth’s, game in hand. I had a rough idea of what to expect after playing the first game: - A lot of puzzles, dinosaur killing, survivor rescuing and plot twists. The game is based around the same sort of story line as the first one-Experiments into the highly dangerous ‘third energy’ have once again got out of control and have somehow managed to replace a pocket in space with the same pocket from a different time zone! This of course brings the dinosaurs back, and Regina along with co-agent Dillon set about their mission of recovering Third Energy data and rescuing all the survivors they come across. The first thing that is fairly evident as the game goes on is the fact that the amount of puzzles involved is significantly lower compared to the last game. In fact, the only real puzzles are ridiculously easy to solve, apart from one, which is near impossible! During the game, you take turns in playing the part of both Regina and Dillon depending on the situation and both have their own special weapons and attributes. For example, with Regina’s ‘Stun Gun’, you can short circuit electronic locks for doors whilst with Dillon’s machete you can hack away at giant plants that seem to have positioned themselves in your way. One of the best features of this game is the amount of extra features that are included. I have never quite played a game, which involves such a wide range of different activities as this one does. At one point you find yourself taking Dillon to the depths of the ocean amongst hoards of crocodiles to search for an elusive key card. Another scene allows you to blast away at sea dinosaurs from the back of a travel ling boat using the famous ‘Goldeneye’ view, where you look down the barrel of a gun. A similar sort of thing is involved when you have to blast away at rampaging Triceratops from the back of a moving jeep, and when you have to cover your friend from a gun tower whilst he performs an activity which allows you to progress in the game. All of these added features combine along with many others to offer truly superb gameplay. As far as the standard main gameplay is concerned, this game excels at that department too. The superb features allow you to use a never seen before combination of two weapons at once, allowing you to take out enemies using combos and the attributes of the different weapons to good effect. Also, if you pick up two of the same gun, it is possible to aim at two enemies at once, making for some excellent realistic shooting actions. The amount of dinosaurs involved in this game is increased greatly, and almost whenever you enter a new area you are ambushed by up to four or five dinosaurs at once. The attention to the background detail is superb in this game, as instead of just presenting us with an assortment of bushes and shrubbery as many other games may have, a wide variety of less dangerous dinosaurs (such as herbivores) can be seen stamping around in the background. The use of sound effects and music means that a very tense atmosphere is created when playing this game, as you never know when the next raptor is going to jump out of the trees. I was actually started several times during this game when these sorts of events unexpectedly happened, which although shocked me at the time, made for a great gaming experience. There is one feature of this game that is totally different from others seen on any game and is one that certainly needs to be explored and understood before this game is played. As you kill your enemies, you obtain points called ‘extinction points’, which is rather like obtaining p oints on any standard platform game. The amount of points that you obtain depends on the type of enemy that you face and how efficient you are at dealing with them. For example, if you deal with several dinosaurs at once without taking any damage, you will achieve a higher score than if you struggled to defeat them and ended up bleeding out of every limb in your body! You can also obtain extra points for a ‘combo’, which means that you have to take of and blast away several dinosaurs or creatures in a row without taking a single bit of damage. If they get a hit on you, the combo ends. A similar system operates for if you perform a counter attack on an enemy, such as shooting it just as it flies at your throat, and extra points are awarded for this. However, I found the best way of obtaining these points is to get through an area unscathed, as bonus points are awarded for no damage. By now you are probably wondering what the hell I am going on about all these points for and why they are so important. Well, at the certain save panels, which look rather like cash machines, you have the opportunity to purchase new weapons and equipment using the points as the form of currency. This is a great little feature as it means that you no longer feel inclined to run away from your foes but feel more inclined to stand and fight to obtain the points. The weapons and tools that you buy with these are essential in completing the game, as well as the recovery items that are up for sale, such as medi kits of all sizes. It is worth noting that there are no continues in this game as there were in the previous ones, and it is essential that you carry around a ‘resuscitation pack’ or several as this is the only way of continuing in the unfortunate event of death. The arsenal that you can carry around in this game is extensive, as you can obtain and use a wide range of guns of every type, from bullet, fire and electricity. This range is not only making for great choice and a variety of killing machines but is literally essential, as only certain weapons are effective against certain enemies. For example, only ‘chain mines’ can be used against a cave dinosaur, as its hardened shell means that it is only affected by the wave of fire travelling across the ground. You can find out what does what to whom by picking up ‘Dino files’, located in the game. These files give details of each dinosaur’s strengths and weaknesses, and do actually help you a great deal in the game. The FMV sequences involved in Dino Crisis 2 are nothing short of magical, as these add real power to the game. The graphics in them are superb as well as the action, which shows you things such as explosions, battling dinosaurs and other dramatic scenes which all add to the great quality of the game! They are also well timed, and kick in just at the right moment, making for a great reward for getting through a certain area or performing a certain task. At the end of the game, you are awarded a grade, which is becoming typical of this genre of game. The grade depends on many things, such as the amount of Dino Files collected, the time in which you completed the game, the accuracy to shots ratio and the amount of extinction points obtained throughout the whole game. A further award for the completion of the game is a mode called ‘Dinosaur Coliseum’, which enables you to fight against a range of enemies depending on your grade throughout the game. In this mode, you can also control the legendary characters of the first game-Gail and Rick, which is a nice touch to see these old warhorses back in the action. If there is a down side of this game, it is the fact that the hugely enjoyable ‘control your own destiny’ mode that was very popular with myself and several other players that was included in the original Dino Crisis. This option allowed you to make up your own m ind about the route you take through the game. However, this does not detract from this game in the slightest, and the quality of other options included in the game more than makes up for this omission. In summary, this is another truly superb game, which is typical of the makers Capcom. This game has everything that you could possibly want from an action/role playing game, and more then meets the benchmark set by the original Dino Crisis and great Resident Evil series. The great thing is, you don’t even have had to play the first game to be able to thoroughly enjoy this one, and I would say that this is the best game out on the Playstation console at the moment. Please, do yourself a favour and spend that £30. It is a great gaming experience and I promise you won’t be disappointed!
This game is a racing game which involves racing Touring Cars over a variety of circuits all over the globe. It is the third in a series, with Toca and Toca 2 coming before it. The first in the series was released quite a few years ago now, and the second was released a couple of years back, so the series was due an update. And here it is with this excellent game completing the trilogy. I played this game without any knowledge at all of the world of Touring Cars. I have not played the last two in the series, and although my mate was a fan and tried to get me into it, the idea never really appealed to me, as I was more a fan of F1 and did not want to be converted. After playing this game, my thoughts had changed, and I actually realised that I knew more about Touring Cars then I thought, as I seemed to recognise a few of the driver's names, I swear I have heard the name Maini before! After a while of playing, I found I was really starting to get into the sport! The game starts with an animation with cut scenes and video clips from the real sport, along with a lot of facts and figures rolling by. It then switches to a picture of a crash helmet and racing gloves, which is displayed everytime the game loads up a new scene or menu. The start menu of the game displays several options, including the chance to compete in the main part of the game, the Championship, have a Free Race which is pretty much like an Exhibition and is ideal for a multiplayer game, a Time Trial mode where you can compete against the clock at a variety of tracks and a Quick Race option, which just jumps you straight into the race. Of course, there is also the 'Options' category, where you can do things such as configure controllers and look at lap records. The controls needed for the game are pretty standard of racing games, with x beig used to accelerate and square used to brake and reverse. The only additional buttons that you need are L1, which brings up the map of the car damage and R1 which allows you to look behind to see how close your rivals are to you. There is also a map which helps you do this but he rear view is better for finding out how close other cars are when they are near you. The Championship mode is the main part of the one player game, and starts you off without a team to drive for at National level. You can then accept a drive at any one of the teams that offer you one and complete the test drive if one is required. Every team is in a league, such as Mediterrnean and European, with the tracks and competition in each league varying in difficulty. Each team also has different criteria, such as to win a certain number of races or to obtain a certain amount of points in a season. Once you have obtained enough points at this level by entering as many leagues and driving for as many teams as you need to you can progress to the next stage which is International Level, and again to World Class level, where the difficulty increases. As well as obtaining points from victorys, you can also unlock different tracks for use in the Free Race mode, along with other cars to add to your garage. As you complete more and more seasons and win more and more points, the variety of class of cars and tracks get higher and better, which is an added incentive to complete as many seasons as possible. As well as accepting offers given to you, there is a Career option underneath 'Offers' and I have not been able to access this yet and so do not know what it consists of, but I have a feeling from the name of it that you can follow a chosen career with a team instead of hopping from team to team. As racing games go, this game is one of the most realistic that you will find. There are a choice of five views of the car, which include the cockpit, where you can see the driver changing gear and the vastly detailed dashboard, and the third person view, where you can witness the results of all the bumps and crashes that happen to your car. Another thing that makes it realistic is this factor-The results and effects of crashes upon your car. You can view a map of the car which changes colour depending on how damaged your car is, and things can happen such as bumpers can fly off, wing mirrors can smash, windscreens can smash, tyres can deflate and the car can even set on fire. Unlike other car games, you can damage other vehicles and force them into pit stops where the easy option would have been to make the car indestructable like on so many racing games. This shows the thought that has gone into producing the game, as attention to detail has been payed fully. Graphically, this game is excellent and the sound is also great, with some realistic car and smash noises included. The game also does not jump and runs very smoothly and the commentary both after and during the race is quite smooth and sounds authentic. I would have liked to see a bit more of a career involved in the Championship mode, but that could even be in the game in the part that I have not reached yet. During the race, you are constantly radioed from the pit crew giving you updates on the potential outcome of the race and the state of your car, which is yet another nice touch and makes you feel really involved in the game. When the race is finished, a commentator gives you a run down of the result including how it effects the Championship if you are in this mode. Also it is worth noting that the opposition cars do not stay nailed to the racing line as they do in other games such as Gran Turismo, where the cars refuse to budge even when hit at high speed. In Toca, the other cars can be forced off of the track and they can even make driver errors! This makes this game even better than the great Gran Turismo in this sense! Another nice little touch is the weather conditions, which can have an effect on the cars handling and performance. The weather settings range from cloudy, drizzle, rain, storm and sun and you can also have the race set at night and at sunset. Another example of how much detail is in this game is the fact that when it rains, the windscreen wipers get going on the front of the car to clear away the water. A further feature that I like about this game is that you do not feal as controlled as you do on other games, as you are able to explore parts of the circuit that are not parts of the track and you can also drive on grass and gravel without spinning widely like you would do on most other games. The only down side I think that there is to the game is that it is pretty hard for the novice to the sport and game to get anywhere near winning a title. Oh well, I don't suppose this is really a bad thing as it means you have to practice and improve your driving skills to get to the top. It is just pretty frustrating for a person with not a lot of patience to do this, me included. I suppose those of you that do have this skill of patience will find it fine. I would recommend this game to almost anyone, fan of the sport and genre or not. Any ages would be able to play this game, from the five year old to the pensioner, as the controls are not hard to master and the concept is not that hard to grap either. If you are not a fan of Touring Cars and enjoy playing driving games occassionaly like me, then you will definetly enjoy this one. Even if you do not like sports games much you will probably like this one as it is quite fun to play and the controls are easy. You will enjoy competing against your friends and ramming them off of the road as I did and I would advise you to go and get this game. Miss out at your peril!
Speedball 2100 is a game that is available for the Playstation. I believe that previously two more had been released, but this was a long time ago on the Amiga, where the old format of using tapes to play games was used. Speedball is a fast action sports game that is set 100 years in the future, so naturally you would expect the technology to have advanced and evolved by then. The game starts with an animation telling you the main background and outline of the game. It is from this that you can discover that there is no war or fighting, but there is Speedball! If the title does not give it away, it actually tells you the setting of a century into the future in this same sequence. From the main menu, you can choose a variety of options. These include Single Player, Two Player, Exhibition, Customise Team, Options and Memory Card. These options fairly explain themselves, as they are clear and direct. The one player game is where the main part of the playing experience takes place, as you embark on a sort of career. Once this option has been selected from the start menu, you can choose a number of options, including a 'Silver Knockout', where you have to try and win as many manages in a row as you can without being eliminated, 'Bronze League', where you compete in a league of eight teams, playing each other twice, a Cup or Training, where you can improve your skills against no opposition. There are two options available with the League mode-Player Manager and Team Manager. With the player manager, you take control of the team and all actions in the arena, but with team manager, you can select only the team and influence such option but can not control the team on the field. In my view, the Player Manager option is much more enjoyable, as you play a more active role in the game. When you play the one player game, you automatically take control of the team called 'Brutal Deluxe'. You can alter the name and team members from the start of the game if you want to personalise your team. In the game, there are a lot of teams to compete with, all with different strengths and weaknesses', as well as weird and wonderfull names, such as 'The Renagades' or 'Violent Desire'. From the one player league mode, you can do things such as train different areas of your playing squad to give you maximum performance, providing you have enough credit to this of course-Ahh, yes, everything comes at a price! From this one player menu, as well as hitting the gym, you can change kit colours if you see a potential kit clash with the opposition coming up, view the league table, gain some information on your next opposition or 'Go to Management', where you can configure the members of your first team. Of course, you can choose the option to play the next match as well. The matches themselves are pretty weird and can take a while to get used to. The game is played in a third person view, looking down from above. You are in an arena which appears to be indoors and you are surrounded by flashing lights and such like. At the start of the game, the two teams feel the need to walk up to each other in their American-Football style outfits and stare at each other before running off to their respective positions. The game is started by what seems like a canon launching a metal ball out of the centre of the ring, with both teams scrambling for possesion. This can be obtained by simply running to the ball, where it will be picked up by your player automatically, as well as using the square button to beat the hell out of the other players upon the way. This is a feature deeply involved in the game, with everybody continuously being pummeled to the floor. The X button is used to change player and throw the ball upon retreval. These are the only two buttons you need, so the controls themselves are pretty basic. The hardest thing to grasp about this game is the scoring system. It is q uite complicated and it can take you a while to work out what is going on. A goal is scored when the ball is thrown past the automatically controlled keepers at either end, with you having to attack the oppositions goal obviously. This presents your team with ten hard earned points. In addition to this, there are 'Bounce Domes' placed on the half way line and just outside each goalkeeping area, where two points can be scored if a member of your team hits these with the ball. There are also 'Stars' on the wall of the arena, which consists of five targets to hit. Both of these are on the left of the goal that you are attacking and are positioned about half way up the pitch. Each star hit is worth two points, but if you manage to hit all five targets and extra ten points is awarded. Points can also be gained from injuring another player, as for every member of the opposition you force to leave the pitch through injury you gain a further ten points. The number of points that you can obtain for each score can be changed, as if you thrwo the ball up a 'multiplier', which is a ramp which the ball loops around, then the alue of each score increases. As well as scoring in a game, there are also a number of items that can be picked up to improve the performance of your players. These are objects which randomly appear anywhere around the pitch and when picked up will automatically benefit the receiving player. These include being able to freeze the opposition, increase both teams attributes to a maximum and make your team immune to attacks. There are many more which are featured in the instruction booklet which comes with the game, and this also tells you which symbol activates what. As well as 'Tokens', you can pick up coins. These add value to your credit, which can then be spent on improving the attributes and capabilities of your players for the next game. Armour and weaponary can also be obtained during the course of play, and the se will temporarily improve the attributes of the player. A final point that should be mentioned about the game is that the ball can be thrown against the wall and other items such as the bouncers and other items, and when this is done the ball will simply reflect off at a ninety degree angle. This can be useful for getting your team on the offensive quickly or to clear the ball and recover from any threat to your goal. There are also two teleport warps which can be used to do this, which are located next to the stars. When the ball is thrown in here, it simply appears out of the opposite one, and this can be used to wrongfoot the opposition. I would say that the gameplay for this game is quite good, as it can be humerous with several bizarre sounds made by the crowd and the inappropiate comments made by somebody as a goal is scored are also quite humerous, as for no reason at all somebody decides to announce 'Ice Cream' very loudy. Due to the speed of the game, it can be hard to adjust and be able to put together two decent passes at first, as it can be hard to get the ball to go in the right places and unless you have played the previous two games, it will take some time getting used to. I would say that this is not a bad little game, as it seems to have quite a bit to do in it with a variety of options available and the fast and furious action can attract quite a few people. I would say that this game is mopre suited for the younger generation, but I see reason why the older one can not enjoy it as well. It is certainly an original game, as here a whole new sport has been invented and I do not know of too many games like this one. The graphics could have been improved though and the ease at which the players move also, as if you want to run to a certain point on the pitch you find yourself running in straight lines rather than diagonally as you would like. In this sense, the movement is very much restricted, with only 'compass poin t' movement available (North, North East, East etc.). However this does not detract much from how much you should enjoy the game, as it is a good laugh. The multiplayer mode is a good laugh too, with you and your mates not being able to concentrate through the laughter as you battle and smash each other to pieces in the ninety seconds that you have for a half. One annoying thing we found about the multiplayer mode is the fact then when a goal is scored, the ball is neutrally fired up into the air from the centre again. This can be quite annoying, as this gives the more accomplished the player the opportunity to just take hold of possesion and score repeatedly (Well, this didn't actually bother me much as I was the one that was doing this!), leaving the 'weaker' player feeling frustrated and helpless. I think the idea behind this game was a good one, and credit should go to the makers and designers (Empire Interactive and The Bitmap Brothers) for having a good stab at producing a futuristc sports game, which can not be easy to do! I didn't really find any major problems with the game, as the graphics and sound all ran smoothly and there was no break ups! One major improvement that could be made is the way in which you save the game, as to do this you have t ogo right back to the start menu and select the 'Memory Card' option, and this took me a while to figure out how to do this. I would probably not consider purchasing the game if I saw it on shop shelves without any knowledge of the game, but if I had rented it and played it first then I would probably have ended up buying it. This game will not disappoint, as it promises to be a good laugh. Makes a great present for the kids or even yourself!
In my view, Holland underachieved in Euro 2000. Ok, they managed to reach the semi-finals before going out on penalties to Italy, but due to the very high standards that were set for themselves before the tournament began, this was not good enough for the vast majority of fans. Many people expected it to be a contest between France and Holland in the final, but due to the inability to finish off the Italians by the Dutch, this 'dream' final was not able to happen. Throughout the competition, the Dutch played some very fine and attractive football which was a pleasure to watch. They passed the ball around well, moved for each other, defended well and basically did all the things that you would expect with the players of top quality that they have in their line-up. On home soil, you would have had to tip them to go all the way, and after the record equalling 6-1 quater final victory over Yugoslavia, Holland were hot favourites to lift the trophy. If they hadn't have slipped up against Italy, I could have seen this team giving France a very very good run for theirmoney in the final and would even have tipped them to beat the French. Holland have not always been at the top of the game, as in the last decade they have been what is fair to be described as sub-standard football. In the last couple of years though, they have started to show the quality and form which will inevitably lead them to success in a major International competition. They have a strong goalkeeper, a reliable defence, a midfield full of flair and ability and a strikeforce that is simply terrifying. With the players that they have, I can see them doing very well in the next World Cup which they will do doubt qualify for and, with a good draw, can even end up winning the competition. Unlike the Italains, English and the Spaniards, many players in the Holland side are based in foreign countries, with not a great number of players actually playing their regular club football in Holland. This could be as the Dutch league is not seen as very competitive compared to other leagues, and I would say that this is probably true although it also has to be said that the quality there is improving. The fact that many of the members of the regular first team squad play abroad may actually be a good thing for the National team, as it means that the players are playing at the highest level against quality opposition week in, week out and so they are well prepared when it comes to competing for their country. I am now going to have a look at the players that are included in the Dutch national team and comment on their ability and capabilities. Winston Bogarde Winston has never really settled in at Chelsea and has struggled to find first team football there. It is reported that he is looking for a move and this is something he badly needs if he is to break back into the Dutch first team and build upon the 17 caps he has won so far. He should be seeking a move quite urgently, as at the age of 29 he is not exactly getting any younger and rotting away in the Chelsea reserves is no way to improve the hopes of playing for your country. I think that this player should be playing regular first team football somewhere, as he has good ability and is very capable in the centre back or left full back roles that he can play. For Winston, I feel that it is time to pack his bags, leave Chelsea and then maybe we will see him back in the Dutch first team on a regular basis, where he belongs. Arnold Bruggink Arnold is not very well known outside of Holland as he plays his club football for PSV and is only 23 years of age. Arnold plays either centre midfielder or centre forward and his ability has already seen him earn his debut cap. I think that if this player develops into the player that his potential is showing, he will be a very useful and regular member of the Holland side in years to come and may even force hi s way into the Dutch first team. This man is one of the hot prospects for the future that the Dutch have, so keep your eye open for him! Phillip Cocu Cocu is a long serving Barcelona player whose loyalty to the club for many years has paid off. Phillip was not always getting into the Barcelona first team, but instead of requesting a move he stayed and battled his way there and credit should go to him for that. This player is now a regualar player in the Dutch starting line up and rightly so, as he is a very strong and reliable player who has a tough tackle. His ability to play in defence and midfield either on the left or in the centre makes him a very versatile player and Phillip should and probably will be allowed to add to the 28 caps and 4 goals that he has achieved so far. Phillip is an asset to the Holland side and they will do well to keep him in the first team and squad for some time to come yet. Edgar Davids This man is one of the best players in the Holland team, if not in the world. He can hold the centre of midfield well, as well as run with the ball, distribute the ball accurately, tackle back when needed and finish sweetly with either foot. Davids does have a problem with the vision in his eyes, and as a result has to wear special glasses to filter the amount of light entering the eyes. Credit should go to the player, as he has not allowed this problem to effect his career in the slightest. Credit should also go to FIFA, who have endorsed these special glasses and have not stood in the way of this great player. Davids plays his club football for Juventus and is rightfully a first team player there after his move from Barcelona. He has earned 34 caps to date and he will obviously be played in the Holland team again and will be for quite a few years to come, as he is only 27. This player has remarkable skill as he has shown off in the adverts he has done for Nike and this player is very very important to the success of the Dutch team. If he continues to pull all the strings in the midfield as he has been doing, then I expect the Dutch team to go far, and for Davids to add to the awards he has already received from the top governing bodys in the sport. Personally, I enjoy watching this player as he is very exciting and is a pleasure to see play. Lets hope he stays clear of injuries so we will all continue to enjoy his talents. Frank De Boer Frank is not only one of two brothers that have made it to the top of world football, but one of two twins that have done it, which is even more rare and unlikely. This Barcelona centre back is very reliable for both his club and country and is also a first team regular for both. Frank has had a good long International career that is set to continue and he will almost definitely add to the big total of 63 caps that he has won so far. He isn't one of the most exciting players to watch but is one that does his job with no nonsense. Frank is a top class defender who still has a lot of playing time at the highest level left in him, although he is 30 years old. He is the most experienced International in the squad at the moment as he has the highest number of caps. He will no doubt be given the chance to build on his experience. Ronald De Boer Ronald is the more attacking minded of the two twins as he plays as either an attacking midfielder or a striker. He has recently moved away from Barcelona to Rangers, where he since has made a big impact and shown his ability to the full. He has so far made 48 caps for his country and scored 12 goals, with a ration of a goal every 4 games. This is quite a good statistic for a player that is often played as a right winger due to the vast amount of quality in the Dutch strikeforce. Ronald is a very useful player to the Holland side and will continue to be a regualr first team player for some time to come yet. Ed De Goey This Chelsea keeper does not make it into the first team squad on a regular basis any more, as van der Saar is favoured above him. As a result, De Goey finds himself sitting on the bench more often than not and only really gets a game these days when the first choice keeper is injured or suspended. Ed has made 29 appearances for his country and has proved as reliable for Holland as he often does for Chelsea. De Goey is a reliable keeper that has been known to pull off some tremendrous saves which can keep his side in the game. At the moment he is not complaining about only being second choice for Holland but I am sure he would rather be in the first team. Maybe one day he will be again. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink This Chelsea striker is not really involved in the Dutch set up but I have included him beacause if he continues to maintain his excellent form for Chelsea, he may well be given the chance to add to the 7 caps he has so far earnt. He is a very strong and powerful striker who has a keen eye for goal and a prolific finish. His pace and power is what scares defenders and there is little that most defenders can do once this man gets going. He is great both with his feet and in the air and is starting to show the form that made him so feared by others in his time at Leeds. He has had no problems adapting back into the Premier league after his time away in Spain and if he maintains his form he may well be called into the Holland team again very soon. I would like to see this because I feel that this man would be an asset to the side and would only improve it even further. Patrick Kluivert Kluivert is rightfully regarded as one of the best strikers in the world at the moment. He is very strong in the air and although some doubts have been cast over his ability to finish, he went some way in silencing his critics with his superb displays and goal tally in Euro 2000. He has been a regular for some time now at one of the biggest clubs in the world, Barcelona, which s ays something about his ability. This centre forward is still only 24 and has not yet forefilled his ful potential so I feel that he we have still to see the best from him yet. This is quite a scary thought, as he already has one of the best scoring records in the world, scoring a staggering 28 goals in 33 appearances. This man is going to set the world alight when he reaches the top of his form and there will be absolutely no stopping him. One of the worlds best strikers? Defitnely! Roy Makaay This weirdly named centre midfielder is avery important one to the prospects of Holland as he is a player of great ability who can also play up front. He doesn't make the Dutch first team that often due to the vast amount of quality that they have in these areas. As a result he has only made 9 appearances for Holland but I expect to him to make some more before very long, as he is a player of exceptional talent. He is valued at over £10m and would be a first team regular in practically any other team in the world that does not have such great competition for midfield places. A good player whose talents should not be wasted. Mario Melchiot Another one of those players that seems to have done his hopes of playing for Holland more harm then good by moving to Chelsea. Mario does not really get in the Chelsea starting line up on a regular basis and it is this that could hinder his quest for his first International cap. He is still young at the age of 23 and is a player of great potential who can play either as a centre back or as a right back. I think he should be given a chance to show what he can do playing for Holland, perhaps in a freindly or something. The experience will also do him good. Maybe if Mario starts to get first team football a little more often he will find himself in the frame for his first cap. Marc Overmars Marc has recently moved from Arsenal to Spanish giants Barcelona. He is a player of exceptional a bility and has been a first team regular for Holland for some time, earning a total of 53 caps so far and managing to score 11 goals. Marc is just coming into the prime of his career at the age of 27 and in my view he should continue to be included not only in the Holland squad but in the first team for some time to come. Marc is an exciting player with a lot of skill ad flair which he showedin his time at Arsenal. His one criticism is that he is not up to the physical side of the game and does not really like to get involved in any haeavy challenges. Oh well, nobodys perfect, but this player is certainly a very good one who benefits the Dutch team enormously. Michael Reiziger Michael is a very loyal and committed Barcelona player and has been for the last five or six years. He is a very solid and relaible right back who can also play centre back, although his preferred role is the full back position. Michael is a regular player in this position for holland and at the age of 27 he looks set to keep it that way for a while to come yet. His vast expereince helps him keep his place at both club and country level and he is an asset to both. Lets hope he can continue being the solid and reliable defender he has neen so far and this way he will maintain his first team place for a while yet. A good, no nonsense right back! Clarence Seedorf Clarence is another player who has had vast amounts of experience with the Dutch team despite his young age. He is only 24 and has picked up quite an amazing 57 caps so far, meaning that he is well on course to reach a career milestone of 100 caps for his country. Clarence can play either on the right or in the centre of midfield and he is equally effective in both, setting up and assitisting far many more goals than he has scored, as his name as only appeared on the scoresheet on 7 occassions. Clarence is a highly regarded player all over the globe and I too rate him very highly and think that he can continue to be a major star for the Dutch team. I believe that this player is good enough to win many major trophies at both club and country levels, although he has already won quite a few cups in his time at Real Madrid. We can defitnely look forward to seeing this player wearing the legendary orange shirt in future. Jaap Stam Jaap has stamped a firm place in the starting line up of both the Holland team and Man U. He is vastly valued by both, and it was fairly obvious that Man U missed his solidness at the back in the time that he was injured. He is a good tackler as well as being strong in the air and he has vast experience, being a key player in many of Man Us recent triumphs. He has earned 34 caps so far and this figure is definetly going to rise. He may even add to the 3 goals he has scored for his country, but he really should learn to leave free kicks to the experts, as I remember him blazing one high over the bar in Euro 2000!! Stick to your strengths at the back Jaap, that is where you are highly valued as one of the best defenders in the world. Pierre Van Hooijdonk This Nottingham Forest rebel has to be included not because he is in the Holland team but because he is not. The reasons for this are fairly obvious. He has made 17 caps for his country, scoring 7 goals, but due to his bad attitude and inability to settle at any particular club, he has simply thrown any chances he had of making it at the top down the drain. At the ae of 30 he is not getting any younger and I can't really see him wearing the shirt of his country again. He will have to stick to playing club football at his new found club Benfica. Sander Westerveld Sander is a very good keeper who keeps goal reguarly for Liverpool. Sadly, due to the huge competition for the number one jersey in the Dutch squad, this player doesn't really get a look in and has made only 5 appearances so far. At the age of 25 he is the youngest of the th ree keepers and maybe his chances are not yet over, as he is a solid and reliable keeper and one that I feel would perform very well for his country if given the chance I believe. If this player is given a chance, he will be able to show the world how capable of a keeper he realy is. Until that time, he will have to be content in backing up the main first team, maybe on the bench or in other ways. Boudewijn Zenden This player has not really made many appearances for his country with only 19 caps under his belt but he is now starting to come a bit more into the frame after some fine performances for Barcelona. He is a versatile player as he can play either as a left sided striker or midfielder and we did actually see a bit of this man during Euro 2000. There was specualtion that he was moving to Tottenahm but this just turned out to be specualtion and now he is very happy due to the fact that he is getting more first team football at Barcelona. This player is actually a good one and as he is still only 23, I believe that we will see a lot more of his ever growing talent yet. Ruud van Nistelrooy I don't tink there is anybody who follows the sport that does not know who Ruud van Nitselrooy is. He is the PSV player that was on the verge of a move to Man U, only to break down during the medical. This shattered his hopes and dreams of playing in Euro 2000, but it has been reported recently that Ruud has started light training again and may be back to playing first team football again soon. I certainly think that he has a good career with Holland ahead of him as he is only 24 and has made 10 caps for Holland so far. He has tremendous ability and I beleive that we will see a lot of this man wearing the orange shirt of Holland when he is back to his full fitness and form. Edwin van der Sar Lastly, we have the reason that Ed de Goey and Sander Westerveld are kept out of the Holland team. This keeper is truely superb an d is rated as one of the best keeps in the world. He showed his ability in Euro 2000 with some fine saves and reliable goalkeeping and you could just watch any Juventus match if you need proof of his reliability. Edwin is a first choice regular for Holand and has been for some time, earning 52 caps to date. I think that he has a lot of playing time left in him as he is only 29 years old and this man can only assist Hollands bid to get to the very top of world football. So, the Holland team. They have some very fine individuals who more importently can blend together well as a team. I beleive that with the players that they have, Holland have the ability and potential to reach the very top of world football for years to come yet, and I can see them winning a major tournament before too much more time passes. I always enjoy watching Holland play as they are a very exciting and skillful team and are always pleasing to the eye. You may underestimate this team, but it would be at your peril. Holland are going to the very top of world football, and nothing is going to stand in their way!
Here in this opinion I am going to do exactly the same as I have done for my opinions on the England and Spain team, give my view on the state of the team as well as each of the players that are involved presently in the squad. Italy managed to reach the final of the most recent International tournament-Euro 2000. They did this by winning some matches convincingly and playing some fast and flowing football. Many people believe that the Italians were lucky to win their semi-final clash with the Dutch, as they went through after a penalty shoot out. The main foundations for this belief was that the Dutch were so poor at taking penalties, as they unluckily missed two in normal time and the match finished 0-0 thanks to some resilliant typical Italian defending. The Italians were also a man down in this match after a player received a red card early on, and so the best bet was to try and hold on and take a gamble on the shoot out. Suprisingly, this tactic payed off! The Italian team has had its fair share of trouble in recent years after failing to qualify from the group stage of Euro '96 and failing to win their qualifying group en route to France '98 which has seen the heads of various managers and coaches of the team roll. In Italy, they have a vastly competitive league and nearly all of the players that are involved in the regular first team are based in Italy at respective top Italian clubs. I think that the Italian team does have the potential to do very well in coming years, but then they have always been near the very top of world football so this is really no suprise. The Italians have been caccused of cheating due to their rather exaggorated dives and falls whenever contact with any part of the player is made. I agree that these look rather too dramatic and can actually result in bookings for 'diving' and play acting. Others may argue that this is intellingent play, as if you get hit illegally by an opposing playe r you should go down. Still, this is still a major issue for outsiders of the Italian game and was certainly very noticeable in Euro 2000. The Iyalian team has also been under some heavy critisim for what has been said to be 'score a goal then play eleven behind the ball' tactics. This certainly does not make for an exciting attacking game of end to end game action but it is certainly an effective style of play that has semed to have worked over and over again. Looking back on Euro 2000, Italy will think themselves unlucky not to actually win the whole competition and you have to agree with them. 1-0 against the world champions France, they were crually pulled back to 1-1 in the dying moments of the match when victory just about seemed certain. France then went on to win on the golden goal rule and Italy were left ruing their many missed chances that they somehow managed to squander. All in all though, runners-up is not exactly a bad place to come in a competition full of so many world class players and teams and although they will feel only disappointment at failing to win the tournament, worse things could have happened. I am now going to take a look at the players that are and will be involved in Italys future plans. Demetrio Albertini This 28 year old centre midfielder has made the position in the Italy squad his own over the last few years. He has managed to win a rather large amount of 73 caps for his country, although only managing to get on the score sheet on two occassions. This is because this player is used in more of a defensive role than attacking due to his ability to tackle hard and instantly kill an attack from the opposition. He is also a regular at his club AC Milan, and I feel that Italy will depend quite heavily upon this man to lead the midfield in their bid for success in future matches and tournaments. A fine player. Roberto Baggio Ok, so this man isn't really involved in th e Italian plans any more but over the last decade he has turned himself into a legend with the performances he has put in in the 55 caps he has won for his country. He will be infamously remembered for the penalty miss in the 1994 World Cup Final where he blazed his spot kick over the bar, but the failure of one nation surely can not be planted on just one mans shoulders. He scored 27 goals at the highest level for Italy which is a fairly good total. At the age of 34, he is probably passed his best and will also probably not wear the blue shirt of Italy again, but his contributions over the last decade were much appreciated by the Italians and he will probably be remembered for a great while to come. Playing his club football at Brescia now, he is still a fairly good player but has lost some of the sharpness that goes with age that is needed to compete well at the very top level. Surely an Italian legend though. Jonaton Binotto Not many people would have heard of this uncapped 25 year old, but I can teel you that he is a promising player and is one that could break into the Italian squad very soon. He can play anywhere in midfielder and often does for his club Bologna. Although I have yet to see this man in action, I have heard that he has great passing ability and vision when he has the ball and it is these two factors that could see him be given a try out and so a chance in a freindly. Then we will see if he is really capable of producing the goods at the top level. Gianluigi Buffon This goalkeeper is one of the highlights of the Italian team. Although he isn't really a first team player at the moment, kept out of the team by Peruzzi, he is a very promising and able player and has made 15 appearnaces in goal for his country-not bad for somebody who is just 22 years of age! This man certainly does have a bright future ahead of him and his club Parma will do well to keep hold of him as I can see him becoming a regular number 1 in the not too distant future for Italy. Fabio Cannavaro Fabio has become a first team regular for Italy playing at the centre back position over the last few years, and he has mangaged to earn himself 42 caps to date. At the age of 26, this Parma player still has a long time to go at the highest level and I am sure that is where he will stay. He is a very strong and reliable player who takes no nonsence from anybody and is also good in the air. He has consistently put in some very good performances for Italy and did so in Euro 2000 too. Still to get on the score sheet for his country but his ability is needed at the back by Italy and so they rarely let him venture forward. Another top player in my view and one that will be a major decider in the success of the National team in the next few years. Antonio Conte This man is in and out of the Italian team more often than an Italian on a moped! One day you will see him being played in the centre midfielder role for Italy, another you will see him sitting on the bench as his position is taken by a more defensive player. Whether this player gets in the team or not depends on the tactics of the manager rather than his own ability I feel, as he has always put in some good performances in the 20 caps he has made for his country. This Juventus player is not really getting any younger at the age of 31, but I feel that he can still be a useful player both at club and International level and Italy are likely to call upon his services regularly for the next few years. Alessandro Del Piero The ability of this player has never really been in doubt, as he is obviously a player with bags of ability and one that is purely world class. The only problem seems to be that he does not really seem to convert his superb performances either up front or in midfield for Juventus into good performances for his country on a regular basis. One match you will see him setting the world alight, the next you will not hear his name mentioned at all. A player of his ability really should have punished France for slack slack defending in the final of Euro 2000, only for him to squirm numerous chances when through on goal which could ave won the tournament for Italy. Alessandro should still be given a chance as he is a top player and has a very bright future ahead of him as he is only 25, but he really needs to start being a bit more consistent for his country. Ciro Ferrara At the age of 33, Ferrara's International career is most probably drawing to a close. It has been a very good one, as the central defender has made 49 caps for Italy in toal. He has proved a valuable player in the last few years for Italy, as his exoperience and talent has been greatly appreciated in the back line. We won't see this man much any more I fear, as Italy will need to start building towards the future but his performances have been one of the many reasons that Italy seem so strong at the back. He is still getting in the Juventus team and still has the ability to do the business at International level if called upon. Stefano Fiore Stefano was really given his chance in the Euro 2000 tournament and he did not disappoint. He put in some competent displays and proved that he is very good at both distributing and running with the ball. At only the age of 25, Stefano probably has a long career in the limelight ahead of him if he can keep in full fitness and form. He is one of the players that has been accused of going to ground a little too easily but this does not really detract from his game. I hope that this player continues to add to the 11 caps he has won so far, as I feel he can be a vital player for Italy in the next few years. I believe that he is the best player at his club, Udinese and certainly the one with most potential. Diego Fuser Diego is another of those players that has failed to consistently stay in the I talain first team during his career, and at the age of 31 his 25th cap won may well be his last. Diego is a useful defender with plenty of ability but he does not really get into the Lazio team on a regular basis due to the huge amount of quality that they have on offer to choose from there. A move to a different club where he can get first team football may well see him back in the team, but for now I think this player is nothing more than a useful squad player who is able to do the business if called upon through injuries to other players. Filippo Inzaghi Inzaghi is one of the best players in the Italy team in my view and is now starting to make the first team on a regular basis. This player is a very sharp striker with lightning pace, a superb finish and other attributes such as being able to dribble and move well off of the ball that are needed in one of the world's best strikers. Inzaghi has played first team football for his club Juventus over the last three or four years and at the age of 27, he is now coming into the prime of his career. I think that we will se Filippo banging in the goals wearing the blue shirt of Italy for some time to come yet, and his goals will be valuable if Italy are to proceed to the finals of the next World Cup. Mark Iuliano This is another one of those players that has failed to make the Italian first team on a regular basis but is nearly always called up to the squad as good cover, much like Diego Fuser. Mark has made 12 appearances for his country and is very relaible playing either at the heart of midfield or defence when he is called into action. Mark struggles to get in the Juventus team, but just recently he is enjoying an extended run in the first team which could boost his claims to be included in the next World Cup squad (should Italy qualify of course!) Don't count this man out yet, I feel we could be seeing some more of him on the world stage. Vincenzo Montella Vincenzo is one of the top players for Roma and consistently scores goals which the team would quite frankly struggle without. At the age of 26, he is yet to truely forefill his potential and has failed to make a good impression and get on the score sheet in the 6 matches he has been involved in with Italy. Seeing this player play in Serie A, it is obvious that he is a player with lots of ability and certainly is one that should not be overlooked when the next Italy team is chosen. I believe this player could become a first team regular fairly soon if he maintains his top form and produces the goods in the chances he gets playing for Italy. Paolo Negro Paolo is a player that has promised much and produced little, hence why he has only made 8 unconvincing appearances for Italy. This man can either play in the centre of defence or in the right back position, though when he has been picked for his good performances for his club Lazio, he has failed to produce the goods and so the Italian coaching team have appeared to have lost faith in him. Another one of those players that needs to turn his club form into good form for his country, otherwise we will not see much of him, which would be a shame and this player does have quite a bit of talent. Alessandro Nesta Woah, this centre back has gone as far as to convince me that he has is one of the best deenders in the world with his performances for both Lazio and Italy. At the age of only 24 he certainly has a long career in the Italy team ahead of him. He has made 32 caps in the heart of defence to date and has certainly impressed me with his competent and confident displays for Italy. If you have not yet heard of or seen this player I suggest you check him out because I can guarantee that you will be very very impressed with what you see. Any manager in the world would love this player in the team, so the Lazio and Italy coaches are very lucky people! Angelo Peruzzi P eruzzi has been the first chocie keeper for Italy for quite a while now and he is a very capable and reliable goalkeeper indeed. His displays in Euro 2000 helped illustrate this, as he made some critical saves at crucial times which helped Italy progress to the stage that they did. Peruzzi has made 26 caps for Italy so far and it really is quite suprising that he has not made more. At the age of 30 he is not getting any younger but I feel that he still has a good career with Italy left in him and will keep going for a good number of years yet. Gianluca Pessotto Gianluca is a defencive midfielder who has struggled to get in the Italian first tea. He has been a regular member of the squad but this Juventus player has more often than not found himself sitting on the bench. He has made 20 caps for his country and has performed very well when he does play. The Italian coaches and selectors probably do have their reasons but I think that they would do well to install little more faith in this man. He is at the age of 30 so they would do well to make the most of his talent before it is too late and he is over the hill. I feel he deserves a run in the first team, with which he would have a chance to prove himself. Francesco Toldo Toldo is another goalkeeper with lots of ability. Toldo copmpletes a line up of three top class goal keepers which Italy have the luxury of choosing from. This Fiorentina first team keeper is very reliable and has been known to pull off some truely remarkable reflex saves. Toldo has made 15 appearances for Italy to date and if he does not get in the first team very often it is only because of the other two fine keepers and is no reflection on his own ability. If Italy could play three keepers they most certainly would, as between these three keepers you would have a force that is truely unbreakable and italy would keep a clean sheet every game. I hope this man gets further chances in the Italy team as he will ben efit the team and will be a pleasure to watch. Moreno Torricelli This Fiorentina player has not really been given a large chance apart from the odd appearance now and again for Italy. This is a shame as I feel that this defender does have a lot to offer his country, but is kept out of the team with by some other good players. Playing in a team where the overall standard was not so high, this man would certainly be a first team regular. Moreno is at the age of 30 so time may be running out for him. All he can do is keep on performing consistently for his club and hope that a break will soon come his way. Francesco Totti Totti is another truely exceptional talent of the Italy team, and is unbelievably priced at a staggering £18M, not bad for a player of just 23 years of age!!! Totti has already proved his worth to Roma and Italy with some fine performances and this player could go on to be a worlds best player in the not so distant future. He has won himself 19 caps so far and more are sure to follow, in which he can build upon his tally of 3 goals scored. Totti is a true pleasure to watch and I would recommend this huge talent to anybody! Christian Vieri Vieri has been unlucky as far as the Italy team goes as he has unfortunately managed to pick up injuries at bad times, such as just before the Euro 2000 squad was selected. If he was not injured, this Inter player would almost certainly have been given repeated chances to build upon his 20 caps and 10 goals previously obtained. At the age of 27 this player is now reaching his best and we are guaranteed to see a lot more of this man in the next few years and for years to come, providing he stays free of those injuries of course! So, there you have it. There is my run down on the Italy squad. As usual, there will be players that I have not covered in your view or players that I have over rated, but then isn't that the beauty of writing the opinion? Ital y certainly do have a very strong squad capable of competiting with the best teams in the world. The players in the squad have ensured that a very bright future lies ahead for Italian football. Say what you want about their contraversal tactics and stratedgies, the bags of talent simply speaks for itself!
I really can not work out what is happening with the English International side. We have what is supposedly the best league in the world over here, the Premiership. This league contains some great stars, many of which are English. These players manage to perfrom consistantly for their clubs week in, week out. Why is it then that these players struggle when together out on the big world stage, and constantly persist on underachieving, making fools of themselves in the process! There are many, many reasons that us, the adoring public, have said to be the downfall of the team. Here are just a selection of the more common ones that I have heard: "There are too many foreigners players in the Premiership!" This statement is true, but I do not think that it has that much of an effect on the performance of the team. I think this for one simple reason-All around the world the same thing is happening; in Italy, Spain and other competitive countries. If this factor does not have a great impact over there, then why should it here? No, this reason is just the easy option for people to point their finger at if you want my view. The foreigners make a good addition to this vastly competitive league, although I agree it may soon spiral out of control and leave too many. However, I do not think that this is the case yet but something surely must be done about the amount of players of other nationalities entering the English league, or else it could soon be a problem. "The team are divided and not united" This statement I partially agree with. There have been reports of 'betting syndicates' and gambling during the spare time in the England camp, and this with no doubt could cause an unsettlement between the players. People also say that the team is not together for long enough before a match. This is true, but it makes it impossible to call players away for large periods of time due to the hectic, non-stop fixtures of the English Premiership. I certainly feel that the England team would benefit from being together for longer periods, as I believe the German team spent a long period together building team spirit and feeling confotable with each other before the match against England. As a result of this, they seemed to show much better composure and passing skills than the English team, who had only been togther a few days, and I am convinced that this is one of ther easons that England were totally outplayed by the Germans, who looked so shoddy in Euro 2000. "The players are too old" It is certainly the case that some of the players are getting on a bit now and some may be past their best. I agree that the youth coming through the ranks should be given a chance, but you have to have that bland of youth and expereince that all great teams in the past have seemed to have had. I believe that faith should not be kept in players that frequently do not perform and as nobody should be indispensable, particularly at this level, they should be dropped after a few bad performances, maybe to be given another chance when they have proved themselves to be worthy again at club level. Basically, the growing amount of youth players should be given a chance and mixed with some of the more experienced players, although I think that nobody, even the great Mr. Shearer, should have their place guaranteed. "The manager keeps getting it wrong" Well, if I rememeber rightly, it was 'the fans' that appealed for Kevin Keegan to be instated in the first place, only for him to be turned on, with some people say he should never have been appointed. Well, if this was the case, why did 'everyone' want him in the seat in the first place? What a fickle bunch us, as England fans, are. But there you go. Those of us that have called the appointment of Sven Goran Eriksson a joke will be smiling and chearing as much as everybody else should he bring home a trophy or two no doubt. Oh well. As for the manager getting his tactics wrong, the manager can only do his bit. Once the players walk onto the pitch, thier actions are no longer in the power of the man in charge and he can only do so much. At the end of the day, if the players do not have their heart in it, they will not perform. Maybe this is the case with the England team-They do not display rnough passion and desire to win for their country. Maybe a bit of inspiration is what the boys need! There are many other reasons that people have pinned upon the England team for failure but to be honest I could go on all day. Listed above are just the more frequent reasons that I hear. Still, we can all run the team better than everyone else can't we? Or so we like to think! In reality, there is only one manager with the hopes and expectations of an entire country riding upon his back and the public watching every move that he makes. Certainly not an easy job! As for the players, I think that some of them should be given a better chance and some of them shouldn't be in the squad at all. Here is a run down of all the players, together with my view in whether he should be in the squad or not: David Seaman Getting on a bit now. His manager Arsene Wenger claims that he can still produce the goods at the highest level. I am not too convinced due to the dreadful mistakes that he has made in some recent matches. I would keep him in the squad as he has certainly proved a useful player in the past. A bit more reliability and seeing him regain his old form will see him straight back in goal for my team, no problem! But he is not getting any younger and his International career may well be coming to an end. Lets just hope that his last few years are golden for England. Nigel Martyn A keeper that has failed to be given a real chance at the top level. This is a shame, as I feel that this Leeds keeper has a lot to offer, and ap art from the odd game for Enland, his talent has not really been used to the full. I believe he is out injured at the moment but I hope to see him fit and well again soon. I would have this man in my squad as he has proved very reliable for Leeds many a time. Richard Wright Was given a chance in the friendly against Malta which he did not really take to be honest. This keeper is quite young and certainly does have a lot of potential. I would keep him in my squad for backup, and I feel that this man can appear regularly in goal for England in a few years time. Ian Walker Ian is quite a good keper, however I do not feel that he is quite world class quality as he is a bit too unreliable for me. Ian's main problem at the moment is trying to get back into the Spurs team. Ian has only been given one chance for England, where he was harshly blamed for costing England victory in the World Cup qualifier against Italy. Maybe if he manages to get in the Tottenham team and keep his top form regular, me may see Ian back in the England squad. But for now, I would leave him out. David James The Aston Villa keeper has been nicknamed 'Calamity James' after making some howling mistakes in goal for his club. He certainly has all the attributes of a potential top keeper, but until he starts to become a bit more reliable and consitent, he will not be making waves on the big stage. I would leave him out for now. Paul Robinson Yes, I know. Many jaws would have dropped open after seeing this name associated with the England team and many of you may even be asking who he is. Paul has played some truly excellent games for Leeds in goals recently, including a brilliant match against AC Milan, where he managed to pull off some brilliant saves to assist Leeds to a win. Not a first squad player yet, but keep your eye on him. I can see this player becoming big if he carrys on the way he is going and forefills hi s potential. And remember, you heard it here first!! Phil Neville This left back has been scape-goated perhaps a little harshly for Englands exit of Euro 2000 for giving away a last minute penalty against Romania. It was certainly a rather stupid thing to do, but I do not feel that you blame one player for the failure of a whole team. Phil has been known to put in some blinding performances and also has proved solid in the tackle. I would keep Phil in the team, partially due to the lack of left sided players that appear to be around at the moment. Gary Neville A solid right back who has enjoyed a long run in the England squad. He has also become a regular for Manchester United over recent years, and I feel that this player is a good one, both going forward to support the attack and defensively. I feel that this player should be left in the England squad if not the first team, as he is certainly a very useful one. Lets hope he can start to produce the goods more on the world stage and be a bit more consistent though. He certainly has the potential to make it to the top. Tony Adams This player is pretty much past his best in my view. He is getting on a bit now and has pretty much lost that cutting edge needed to make it big at the top. He has been a great servant to England in the past but enough is enough. I think that Tony is past it, despite claims made that he still has a bit left in him. The main reason I feel this is that with age comes a lack of pace, which the top strikers all over the world will be able to exploit. I feel it is time for Tony to go. Thanks for the great job you have done in the past Adams, but it is time... Sol Campbell Captain of Spurs and previously England on occassions, this man is to be a key figurehead in determining the success of the England team in the next few years. He is a great, strong physical player with a lot of heart and who leads by example. He posesses a tough tackle and also has the consistancy and composure to make it on the world stage. Big Sol is going to be one of Englands most important players over the next few years I think, providing he has no run of injuries or loss of form. This player not only would go in my squad, but also in my first team. A quality player. Martin Keown Like his club mate Tony Adams, this less than attractive player to say the least is a bit past it now in my view. He has proved strong and mighty in the past, yes, but he must now move aside to allow others to have a chance. I would still keep him in the squad as his experience could prove vital to mix with the youth in the squad. Still has a few years left in him though, but beginning to fade now. Still a useful player though. Graeme Le Saux Yes, we haven't seen this player for quite a while have we. This is partly because of the long run of injury he is having at the moment and the choice of the England managers. I feel that this player is quite a good one as he is very versatile, able to play either in defence or midfield, and also possess one of those rare English qualities of being able to play on the left hand side. I would reinstate this player into my squad if I had the choice, as he could prove to be a very useful player and he is not exactly the worst of players is he? Gareth Barry This young man that has come through the ranks of Aston Villa has a bright and glorious England career ahead of him. He has certainly impressed me with his ability to handle pressure in the couple of chances he has been given in the England shirt, and now that he has broken into being a regular in the Villa team he is developing more and more as a player. Gareth certainly has a lot to learn but he is learning fast and has shown that he is capable of competing with the top players in the Premiership. This player would certainly be in my squad. Rio Ferdinand A huge spotlight has been cast upon this man after setting a record breaking transfer cost on the way from the Hammers to Elland Road. I think that paying £18m for an unproved player is going over the top, but he is certainly going to have a bright career ahead of him and is showing a lot of potential. Still taking time to settle after his move, but I would consider this player to be in my squad. Stuart Pearce After a good long run in the West Ham team, some people are calling for Pscycho to be called up once more to the England set-up. This player is certainly a plucky one with a huge heart but I feel that at the rather untender age of 39, his time as an International player is over. Sorry Stuart, but I'm afraid I would have to leave you where you are. A good servant to England, but his last cap has been won. Steve McManaman Steve was the forgotten man of the England setup, but has recently been caled up to the squad after some good performances for the Spanish club Real Madrid. I would keep Steve in my squad as he has put in some decent performances for his country in the last few games in which he has played. He is struggling to get in the Real team at the moment and may have to move in order to find first team football. Still would keep him in my England squad, but may slip out if he does not start to get regular first team football. Nick Barmby He has also just got back into the England team after a long long time in the desolate wilderness of club football. He had proven himself to be a very useful player in the couple of matches he has played for England and looks as if he is redicovering the kind of form that may just keep him there. I would personally leave him in the squad as he looks a useful player and one that England could use to strengthen the squad. Joe Cole Some people have dubbed this man 'the next Michael Owen.' He has certainly sent shock waves all over the country with his matu rity and fine performances for his club and I feel that this player could be breaking into the England team very soon. I would not risk putting this player in the first team squad until he gains a bit more experience, but in a couple of years he is a sure England must be! Paul Scholes This fiery midfield player is another one of those who is going to be vital in the plans of England in the next few years. He is a prolific finisher and a great passer of the ball. Paul is also quite young and I feel that he has not yet forefilled his full potential. When he does, I eel he has the ability to set the world alight, providing he keeps his temper under wraps. A definate for my squad! David Beckham Well, what I can say about this man? He has got it made hasn't he! Say what you like about him, call him arrogant if you want. But when you have taken away the cloud of the image that surrounds him, you are left with a player of just pure brilliance. He can shoot, pass, cross, take free-kicks, tackle, run with pace, dribble-Basically, do everything that you would expect of a world class player. And that is exactly what he is. Anyone who would not see David as a top player in the England side is a fool, he has blatant ability. Straight into my squad, underlined heaily with black marker! Dennis Wise A plucky little Chelsea player who is struggling to get in the Chelsea first team at the moment. He is a good little addition to the International team and I feel that he can continue to be one if he can get back into the Chelsea first team. I would state him in my England squad if I had the privilage of being able to choose one but only on the condition that he manages to get regular first team football. A useful memebr of the squad with the commitment that is needed. Michael Owen Michael is seen as one of the hottest prospects of the entire England team. He has the pace and finish that is required in a top pla yer as he has shown on previous occassions. Michael is going to be a real star in the next decade if he manages to stay clear of the injury that has troubled him over the last couple of seasons. Watch out world, here comes Michael Owen! A must be in anyones team surely, including mine. Kevin Phillips Kevin has not really been given a chance for England, which is a shame as I feel that he has a lot to offer. He finished leading goal scorer with thirty goals in the Premier League last season and this is quite a big feet considering he is not exactly playing for the best team in the League in Sunderland. I feel that this player should be given a better chance to prove himself then he has had to date and I would be the man to give him that chance! If only I was manager!!.. Andy Cole Andy has had quite a few chances to prove himself in the England team and has failed to do so on most occassions. I would still probably include him in my squad due to his prolific form for Manchester United. Andy has proved over and over for his club that he can perform the goods at the top levels. He now needs to convert this form onto the International stage in order to become one of the best players. Emile Heskey 'Bruno' is just starting to hit form at the moment. This powerhouse centre forward is certainly a hot prospect and he is now starting to produce the goods for his club. Heskey can be a quality player if he manages to become a bit more selfish with the ball and take people on, as he certainly has the ability to do so. Emile would certainly be in my squad and maybe would soon be breaking into the first team with an extended run of good form. Teddy Sheringham Some calls have been made for Teddy to be reinstated in the England squad as a result of some good form which has left him top goal scorer in the league at this present moment. I do not know what to do about this player and is the only one that I am going to have to find myself sitting on the fence about. It would certainly take some though (Age vs Form etc.) Certainly a candidate. OK, there is my view on the players of the England team. Of course, you will be left wondering 'Why has he got him in' or 'Why has he been left out' but everybody has there own views on the England team. Still, that is what everybody an individual I suppose. As for Sven Goran Eriksson, lets all get behind him an give him a chance. Personally, I don't care if he comes from Timbuktoo, as long as he can produce the goods and make England the force they once were. So lets get behind him and the boys! Hope you found my opinion a good read!
Yahoo is the search engine I use nearly all of the time, as I find it provides you with a quick service and is often accurate too. Like most directories, all you have to do is type in what exactly you are looking for. Tip: It is far better to type in what you want ot find specifically, otherwise you are likely to end up with a lot of links to sites which have nothing to do with what you are looking for eg. If you wanted to find a site about Manchester United (don't know why!!) and tped in Manchester, you would get links to every site that has even the remotest link to Manchester, where as if you entered 'Manchester United Football Club', you are very likely to find what you are loking for. As well as being able to type in things to look for, you can also click on the links around the page to Yahoos own sites, which are ususally very good. These consist of chat, sports, competitions and other things such as sponsors. You can also click on a variety of headings to get information and links, and these are actually set out a lot like dooyoo, with a lot of main headings and sub-categories within each one. I find this directory very useful and always make it my first choice when searching for things. If, on the rare occassion this can not give me the information I need, I use my second choice, lycos. But it is rare that Yahoo fails to satisfy my needs, so I do not have to resort to this. Yahoo is one of the more popular search engines, and I suggest that if you need to find something, you should look here. Besides, its name sounds like Dooyoo, so it must me a good thing...
I have been using this style of razor for quite a while now and am pleased to announce that I have found no real problems with it. It offers a cose shave, meaning no need to constantly hack away at the same piece of your face over and over again to remove a patch of troublesome care, as the hair is often removed in one or two strokes. The razor glides smoothly over your skin and rarely leaves you with any cuts, as many other razors that I have tried have done. This is a good feature, meaning that applying the aftershave won't sting as ,uch as there are no cuts for it to worm its way into!! This razor comes in a variety of head designs, including the badge of football teams being able to be displayed upon the handle and back of the blade head. You can also get a few designs including small pictures and this enables you to have your razor personalized a bit more. When you first buy this razor, it comes with four blades if I remember correctly. The blades have quite a long life and when they do have to be replaced they are cheap to buy too. The razor itself costs only £1.99 and as it comes with the four blades, this is quite a decent deal. I know worse ones! The razor has a long life also as my one lasted quite a while before I threw it away and got a new, of the same make as I liked the result. For a cut-free, close and smooth shave, I would recommend this razor to men of all ages, from young teenagers to the fully mature adult!
Well, this subject is certainly a controversial one to say the very least! There are very good arguments both for and against the punishment of murderers and killers in this way, and I am going to have a look at both sides of the coin before making my mind up on whether I would condone it or not. The advantages of capital punishment are that the serious offenders that have taken somebody's life will at least be punished for the terrible crime they have committed, even if this does not bring back the other person. The murderer can at least then suffer in the same way that they have made somebody else do and endure the same pain if there is any. The argument against this though is do we really have the right to play God and decide whether somebody deserves to die or not? A counter argument for this would be "Well, if they can do it to someone else, surely we can do it to them." This may be an argument but doing this may also be stooping down to the low level at which the criminal themself has lowered themself too, which, in a way, makes us almost as bad as them. But then, if somebody has done something this bad towards another member of the human race, do they really deserve to live... A further reason for not doing it is if it is unsure that the culprit is guilty or not. Wouldn't it be terrible to electrocute or kill by other means an innocent person? It certainly would. This sort of thing happened a lot when hanging was permitted in previous centuries, and any suspect was instantly given a noose around the neck without any protest being heard or any argument being undertaken. I would hate to think of such an injustice happening now, as even with the court system suspects can be wrongly imprisoned and murderers can walk free. I think that capital punishment should only be considered under the following circumstances: - It is absolutely certain that they are guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. - It is first degree murder, meaning that it was done with intent and has been pre-meditated. Any other condition and I think serious thought should be taken as to whether they should carry out this punishment or not. At the moment, capital punisment is legal in most parts of the USA and is not legal over here. There are, however, calls to bring it back in the UK which have so far been rejected. My personal feeling is that 'Why should they be able to just end their life and go to a better place when they should be made to suffer in prison for what they have done'. I think simply killing them is not really an answer as they are not being made to pay for what they have done as if they are dead, they can not be made to feel guilty or suffer as they could with a long prison sentence. My view: Let them live, but make the rest of their lives unhappy to make them pay for what they did!!!
I connected to the internet through NTL as I am already a customer of many of their services such as the telephone line and cable TV. When I saw the advert leaflet for completely and totally free internet access, I thought it was too good to be true and so studied all of the small print very carefully in order to find the 'catch'. To my suprise, there was none, and the only condition was that you spend at least ten pounds on the phone bill a month. This I do easily, and my bills are often in excess of thirty pounds, so no need to worry there! I soon found that my phone line was permantly in use, much to the annoyance of my friends and family who kept receiving the engaged tone everytime they phoned. I soon found an answer to this. I have had a second phone line installed at a cost of only five pounds a month, and now my phone line is free and I can write as much as I like on dooyoo without having to worry about people trying to phone me. One problem I did have was when I first tried to connect to NTL, as I had a few problems with registration and had to spend quite a while on their rather costly helpline, frantically scribbling down instructions on how to register. Another 'problem' is that after you have been connected to the Internet for two hours, you are automatically 'booted'. This isn't really a problem as such as you can easily connect again straight away and I hardly ever have to spend more than this time on the Net anyway, but it could be annoying for someone who needs to spend long periods of time constantly connected. I have found that this service in all is quite a good one as it allows you to operate normally, with downloads and connection time being relatively fast and the fact that it is totally free is great, resulting in no heavy phone bills. So the total costs for my connection to the Net, considering all things, is only five pounds per month. Pretty good when you think about it. I would recom mend this service to anybody, particularly those who would want top spend a great deal of time on the Net without any phone bill or just somkeone who is an occassional user. If you have NTL services already, such as 'On Digital', it may well be worth choosing NTL as your ISP, as it costs you nothing and this service is as good as any other!
Here in my opinion, I am going to compose a player by player guide of each player in the Spanish International football team. As this changes on a regualr basis, I am going to take a recent squad and base my opinion on that. Spain went out of Euro 2000 in the quater finals, losing 2-1 to World Champions France in Bruges. Before this, they had managed to win their group despite losing their first game to Norway 1-0. There was the cracker of the game between Spain and Yugoslavia, with a couple of goals going in at the last moments for Spain to win 4-3. I feel that this strong side would have gone further in the tournament if they had not been drawn against the runners-up of group D, France. But then thats the luck of the draw I suppose. They should qualify for the next world cup and should progress far, form and draw permitting. After all, you can not deny them the great talent they have in their team! The main thing about the team is that most of them play in their home country in the Spanish Premier Division. This is different from teams such as Brazil, where virtually no top class players play at home. This reflects kindly on the quality of both the Spanish players and league. Here is now a run down of the Spanish players that you are likely to see wearing the red shirt of their country on the pitch: Abelardo This player is a long serving player for Barcelona who is now 30 years old. He has been a regular in the Spanish line up for quite a few teams now, with a total of 54 caps to date. Because of his position of either playing centre back or right back, he has only managed to score 3 goals for his country. I think this player is a good one and I have seen him play for his country a few times in major competitions. I feel that he can play a big part in the next World Cup for Spain, as he is a no nonsense, tough tackling defender, which is why he has become a regular in the first team and squad. This player has a good few years l eft in him, and he could even travel to Germany with Spain for the 2006 World Cup. He will be 36 then, but if Matthaus can do it at the tender age of 39, then why can't Abelardo. A good servant to his club who has had a well deserved long international career. Long may it continue! Alfonso This player has recently moved to Barcelona from Real Betis. He is a highly valued centre forward whom at the age of 28 is in the prime of his career. Like Abelardo, this player has obtained quite a large number of caps, 42, although he has manged to score 11 goals, with a strike rate of about 1 in 4 games. This player is not really a striker that will set the world alight with skill, more one that will keep plugging away for the cause of his team. You probably won't see him in a Barcelona shirt too often due to the enormous amount of competition down there, but he is certainly a useful addition to the squad of both his club and country. Lets just hope he can score a few more goals on the big stage. Agustin Aranzabal This player is not really known of that well, as he is not graced with bags of skill like some of his team mates. He has had quite a decent international career, earning 24 caps and this long term Real Sociedad player is only 27, so I think that we have a lot still to see of him. He can play either left full back or on the left wing which makes him adaptable so he can fit in with the managers plans and can be moulded to fit in with tactics. This player, who has committed most of his career to the same club, is quite a useful one and I hope that he manages to make the headlines a bit more. He has never scored for his country in his 24 appearances and this is probably why most people have never heard of him. Trust me, he is a useful player! Claudio David Arzeno This Spanish left back with an unusually English middle name has only made one cap for his country and at the age of 30 it is unlikely he is going to get that many more. He can also play centre back and does so on a regular basis for his Spanish Premier League club, Racing Santander. Unsuprisingly, this player is not that well known over here and other places outside Spain. I have never really seen this player play before so I have only facts and figures to go on here, but the fact that he makes the squad in the first place must instantly rate him as a fairly good player. I will be looking forward to seeing more from him. Ruben Baraja This player is relatively young, at the age of 25. He can play either in the midfield or just behind the front two, either in the centre or on the right. He has recently signed for Valencia and is rated as a decent player. In the two caps he has earned with his country, he has managed to get his name on the scoresheet on one occassion, which is a pretty good ratio for a midfielder. He still has a pretty long way to go in his career and I hope to see more of him playin for Spain. I have seen him play once for Valencia and he seemed to pass the ball around well. Looking forward to seeing you again, Mr. Baraja! Santiago Canizares Canizares is one of the more well known members of the team and has kept goal well for both Spain and his club Valencia in recent years. At the age of 31, he still has a good few years left in him to add to his tally of 26 caps he has accomulated so far. This keeper seems to have goo handling and reflexes from what I have seen from him in the Champions League and Euro 2000. He has kept clean sheets on a few occassions for his country, but managed to let in 3 against Yugoslavia, mostly due to a disorganized defence. Lets hope the defence in front of him can protect him a bit better in the future! Dani This young starlet has forced his way both into the Spanish and Barcelona team in recent years. He can play in both midfield and the strike force and is a goal scoring machine recently. He has only got on the s coresheet once in the move from B Team to full International level but I am sure that as his age and confidence grows that he will soon turn into a striker that the Spaniards can be proud of. He has already scored some goals that any striker would be proud of at the Nou Camp and this 26 year old can only get better from now on. Best of luck to this either footed player, hope he goes on to be successful! Francisco Javie De Pedro Yet another player with a weird and wonderful name. De Pedro can play in the centre of midfield or on the left. He has made four appearances to date for his country and has managed to net on one of these. A long term player for his club Real Sociedad, this player has shown great loyalty to the lub that brought him up through the ranks and into the big time-a quality that is sadly missing in so many players who are just in the game for financial gain these days. As this player is only 27 I expect to see him in the red shirt of Spain a few more times before he hangs up his boots. Francisco, we will probably be seeing you soon, form and injury permitting! Ivan De La Pena Ah yes, Ivan. He has moved around a bit but now has eventually found his way back to his favourite club and the one that brought him up through their youth system, Barcelona. He is a vastly experienced midfielder and also makes for a great captain. He is only 24 but has been in the first team of every major club he has visited in the last few years, including Barcelona, where he even managed to take over the captaincy for a while. So far, he has 24 caps and 4 foals to his name, a splendid record for such a young player. This player is tough in the tackle and good with his distribution, and I feel he can be a key player for Spain for years to come. He still has another good 10 years left in him, so lets hope he makes the most of it and makes it to the very top! Good luck Ivan! Joseba Etxeberria This player really is a world cl ass one. He plays for Athletic Bilbao and has been a prolific striker in recent years. He is so young too at the rather tender age of 23 and has already earned a staggering 38 caps! I find this is quite amazing seeing his age, and he has managed to score 8 goals in these appearances. He is going to be a real class player in the next few years, and I believe that he is already worth over £12M. When this player really starts to hit form, he is going to cause defences even more hell then he does already, with his blistering pace and great finishing. Just remember the name and who told you that he is going to big once he has a multi million pound contract and is scoring goals for fun! Santiago Ezquerro This player is worthy partner at club level for the previously mentioned Joseba Exteberria. Santiago can play either on the left wing or as left sided centre forward and is equally acomplished in both roles. He is one year older than Joseba at the age of 24 but he has not made nearly as many international appearances, with just 4 to his name. However, he has scored 2 in these matches setting himself a good early reputation to which he can build on. He is a regular first team member for Bilbao and also scores goals on a regular basis. Although I have never seen him play, he sounds like an exciting prospect and one to watch for the future. Albert Ferrer The only player in the Spanish squad to actually play outside of Spain, as Albert play for English club Chelsea. He has been in and out of the team quite a lot in recent years and this right back has been capped a total of 35 times, although he has never scored for his country. This is not where his strength lies, as when I have seen him play for Chelsea he seems to be a good talented, no nonsence defender. I don't know if he is a regular member of the Spanish team any more but I do know that he certainly makes for a useful member of the squad. Every success to you Albert, look forward to seeing you on 'Match of the Day' in a Chelsea shirt! Gerard Ahhh, here is one of the gems in the Spanish crown. This 21 year old is one of the hottest prospects I know around in world football at the moment. He holds the centre of midfield spot for Spain and rightfully so. Already with 9 caps producing 1 goal and many more assists for his country, this player really is going to be like fire when he reaches the peak of his career. This is the sort of player that you would give anything to have in your team, and is Spains answer to David Beckham and Michael Owen combined. I rate this player very highly indeed and he deserves all of the praise he gets, as he has already achieved so much at such a young age! This one named wonder is going to turn more than a few heads! Hierro Hierro is a hard hitting central midfielder who is a long term server of Real Madrid. He is similar in style to Roy Keane, and is also captain of his country. At the age of 32 he is getting on a little now but still has a good few years left in him, and his 78 caps that he has managed to get is a huge total. Extrodinary that he has managed to score a total of 24 goals for his country-a great amount for a defencive midfielder! This man is very well known and you will see him play for Real Madrid in the Champions League, possibly spearheading them towards another title! His loyalty is superb, with the majority of his career spent at Real. I just hope that he manages to keep going for a while longer! Iker Casillas This player is another hot prospect for Spain, as he is a keeper whom is only 19 years pld. He has been honoured to wear the number one jersey for his country a total of 5 times, though most of them in friendlies to give him some experience at the top levekl. He is still at the club that brought him up through the ranks, Real Madrid, and although he is not a first choice at the moment they will certainly be looking to keep him around for a while longer and this player is a future International in the making. Look out for this boy, he is going to be hot! Ivan Helguera Yet another Spanish player that also plays for Real Madrid! This one is only 25 and he has made 12 appearances for Spain so far. He can play either as a centre back or defencive midfielder. I don't know much about this man but I know that he has become a first team regular for Real over recent years. Yet another Spanish player to watch for the future in my view-There do seem to be a few don't there! Luis Enrique A Barcelona player that is extremely adaptable, as he has been known to play in every position in the forward and midfield places. Occasionally, he has been known to play in defence, but I have not yet heard of him taking up the gloves in goal! He has made a total of 57 appearances for his country as well as scoring 12 goals. Luis has been at Barcelona for quite a long time and is a first team regular, being able to produce the goods week in, week out. He is regarded all over the globe as a top class player, and this is no different in the Spanish squad, as he play almost every international he is fit for now. He is committed to his club and country both on and off the field and I think he is going to remain to be a talented player for a few years to come yet. Gaizka Mendieta Gaizka is a recent signing for Valencia and is now a regular in the centre back position for both club and country. This 26 year old has been capped 20 times, scoring in a quater of these games, with his 5 goals being an impressive tally for a defender! He is said to be valued at a staggering 17 million pounds, and he is probably worth every penny of this money. I think he is a good player and he impressed me with his solid performances for his country in Euro 2000. Lets just hope that he continues to impress as he is an asset to the International game and is a pleasure to watch. We w ill no doubt see you in matches in the not too distant future! Jose Francisco Molina This name will seem familiar with many sports fans as he is quite a well known keeper with a few caps to his name, 11 to be exact. He used to play for newly relegated Athletic Madrid before he and a host of other players including Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in search of new pastures. He now keeps goal for Deportivo and is now putting himself back in the running for the International jersey, and his hopes were somewhat damaged last season due to the clubs leaky defence and poor league position. This is a good thing as the country is assisted by this keeper being in good form and high confadence. Lets hope he can keep it that way, as I feel he can soon make himself a first team regular for Spain if he has the right fortune. He deserves it. Good luck Jose! Fernando Morientes Another Real player that words can simply not describe. I'll have a go; his finishing is superb, his pace is immaculate and he is simply a world class player that can provide the goods up front. I expect this player to be a great one for many years to come, and he has already made his mark on the International scene, with 9 goals in just 15 appearances. This player is going to be red hot in years to come, as he is only 24 and has not yet forefilled his full potential. When he does, the world is going to be forced to sit up and take notice. I would wish this man luck, but I have the slight suspicion that he doesn't need it! Ramon This player is a recent signing for Spanish club Las Palmas and a decent signing he is too! Although he has not been capped yet, he has been called up to the Spanish squad several times now and as he is only 26 I feel that he will make quite a few appearances in the Spanish back four before his career is over. I have not seen this player play yet, but from what I have heard we can expect to see him on the big stage soon! Ra ul And then we come to one of the most hyped up players in recent years-Raul. This speculation is not undue however, as he is only 23 and has already made 42 appearances, scoring 20 goals! By the time he is in his late twenties he will probably have made over 100 caps, scoring a load of goals in the process. Personally, I am a big fan of this man, as he is fast, quick, accurate and basically just terrifies the hell out of defenders. Who would not want this boy in their team? He is going to be a world class player and a half when he is older, just wait and see!!! Sergi Sergi is a long serving player who has played for Barcelona for a large chunk of his career. He is still only 29, and has made hinmself a first team regular for both Barca and Spain, making the left back position his own. He has picked up 59 caps for himself along the way and scored one goal. This player is a good tackler and passer of the ball, and I rate him quite highly. This player has a good few years left in him and U feel that he can still be a valuable asset for both club and country.# All in all, Spain have a host of young players coming through which look as if they are going to make Spain a very very successful nation in years to come. They are certainly a nation to watch out for at the moment, with a good blend of both experience and youth making them the ideal challenges for any of the major honours in world football. I think that they have a realistic chance of really doing well in the next world cup with the players that they have in their squad that are currently coming into their prime. The thing to note is that only one of these players plays abroad, the rest can survive in a very competitive league. Which is a major compliment to them all. The best of luck to both the team and the players!!!
So, we are in December of the new season and Manchester United look formidable again. I am by no means a supporter, in fact quite the opposite! However, you have to admire the strength, depth and talent in the squad. I do not think that Arsenal have then talent needed to stop them and although the likes of Liverpool are getting better, I do not think they are ready to give Man U a good run for their money just yet. Chelsea were supposed to be up there challenging after the purchase of several key players, but due to their away form being almost as bad as my teams (Spurs), they are now a long way behind. It would look to me, although I hate to say it, that the title will end up at Old Trafford once again this year. Maybe next year, with the strengthing of a few squads around the league they will be harder pushed but at the moment they seem to be winning matches with their reserve side out! They have only lost one league match at home in two years, and that was against Liverpool a few days ago. But their away form is also great, and as Spurs are not yet ready to compete with the big boys, my money is going on Man U this season and anybody with any sense would probably follow suit!