A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Croly continues to build squad at Shamrock Rovers
Shamrock Rovers manager Trevor Croly continued to assemble his squad for next year yesterday with the Dubliners confirming they have signed Barry Murphy and Daniel Ledwith while Conor Powell has agreed terms for another season at the club.
Murphy returns to Rovers after spells with Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic while Ledwith arrives after almost two and a half years at UCD.
Earlier this week Paul O’Conor and Graham Rusk also confirmed their departure from Belfield with the pair joining Drogheda United.
Powell, meanwhile, said he was delighted to get the opportunity to be a part of making “amends” for the disappointment of the club’s most recent campaign.
Cork City have re-signed 32-year-old goalkeeper Mark McNulty who has been at the club since 2003 and says that he is hoping to see out his career with the Turner’s Cross outfit.
Defoe fixed on staying at Tottenham
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has rubbished speculation linking him with a move to QPR and wishes to remain at White Hart Lane for the remainder of his career.
Defoe has been in fine form for Spurs and is their leading scorer with 10 goals in all competitions. Yet rumours have circulated the England international would be prepared to move across London to link up with Rangers boss Harry Redknapp, with whom he has worked under at West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham.
“That’s not going to happen. I’m not leaving Tottenham, I love the club and to score goals at a big club like this is fantastic,” Defoe said. “If the opportunity comes to leave the club it won’t be happening. I don’t want to leave.”
Scolari unfazed by pressure of leading hosts into World Cup
Luiz Felipe Scolari shrugged off the pressure of leading Brazil at home in the World Cup and said they were “obliged” to win the title as he took over for a second stint as their coach yesterday.
Scolari (64), who led Brazil to their fifth and last world title in 2002, was officially presented as coach of the 2014 World Cup hosts, while Carlos Alberto Parreira (69), in charge when they won their fourth World Cup in 1994, was named technical director. “We have the obligation to win the title; we are not favourites at the moment but we intend to become favourites during the competition,” Scolari said. Scolari replaced Mano Menezes who was surprisingly sacked last Friday, just as his team appeared to be taking shape.Scolari’s first game in charge is a friendly away to England in February.
Morgan and USA too strong for Ireland
The Republic of Ireland suffered a 5-0 loss to the USA in Portland, Oregan, yesterday. Sue Ronan’s side were outsiders against the Olympic champions and an Alex Morgan hat-trick in the first half and a double from Sydney Leroux after the break decided the game in front of 10,092 spectators.
The sides will meet again tomorrow in Glendale, Arizona.
The deadlock was broken in the 24th minute when Morgan struck from just outside the box. She made it 2-0 in the 34th minute from close range. Just before half-time she completed her hat-trick after her initial shot was blocked. Substitute Leroux made it 4-0 in the 62nd minute and she added her second in the 81st minute.
Messi favourite to win again ahead of Ronaldo and Iniesta
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andrés Iniesta will compete for this year’s Ballon d’Or, Fifa has announced. The trio, chosen from a 23-man shortlist, will attend the final presentation on January 7th.
Barcelona’s Messi, winner in 2009, ’10 and ’11, is favourite, having scored 82 goals since January, meaning he needs just three more to equal Gerd Müller’s 1972 record of 85 for club and country. Real Madrid’s Ronaldo, who won in ’08, scored 60 goals in all competitions. Barca’s Iniesta was named as the tournament’s best player at Euro 2012.
The candidates for coach of the year are Spain’s Vicente del Bosque, former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and Real coach José Mourinho.
Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach of the US and Brazil’s Martha were the nominations for the women’s World Player of the Year.