International round-up: Chelsea furious at Alex's inclusion for Brazil
Thursday 18 November 2010
Chelsea were last night seeking an explanation from Brazil as to why Alex was named as a substitute for the international against Argentina in Doha despite both the club's doctor and his counterpart with the national team insisting the defender requires surgery on a knee injury.
The Premier League champions are furious as they only agreed to let Alex travel to Qatar for last night's game, which Brazil lost 1-0, so that national team doctors could confirm the diagnosis that he needed an operation – a decision that would mean eight weeks out. Brazil's medics agreed, but then news filtered back to London on Tuesday that Alex had trained, and then yesterday he was involved in the warm-up.
Although he took no part in the match, Chelsea are upset as they have injury problems in defence, with John Terry also facing a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
The match itself in Doha was settled by Lionel Messi whose sumptuous last-minute goal delivered a first victory for Argentina over their arch-rivals since 2005.
In a robust encounter, as they often are between Latin America's two giants, Messi was kicked on more than one occasion by a Brazil side who are less aggressive than they were under former manager Dunga, but only just. Indeed, Messi did well to stay on his feet in the game's decisive moment with Liverpool's Lucas Leiva hacking at the Barcelona maestro as he cut in from the right wing past four defenders and then reversed his shot into the bottom right-hand corner of Victor's goal.
Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist chants from his country's own supporters in Italy's 1-1 draw with Romania in Austria. A banner held up by Italian fans read: "No to multi-ethnic national team."
After the game, the Manchester City striker said: "I'm just going to say that where I live, in Brescia, Italy is already multi-ethnic." His coach, Cesare Prandelli, added: "I feel disappointment and anger. We always hear these chants and something has to be done about it. We feel helpless."
It's not the first time Balotelli has suffered racist abuse. While at Internazionale, he was subjected to chants by rival fans. Balotelli played for an hour last night before being substituted. Ciprian Marica gave Romania the lead in the 34th minute, but then cancelled out the advantage with an own goal eight minutes from time.
Morten Gamst Pedersen proved the Republic of Ireland's tormentor as Norway came from behind to snatch victory at the Aviva Stadium. The Blackburn midfielder curled home a superb 34th-minute free-kick to cancel out Shane Long's fifth-minute penalty and then provided the cross from which Erik Huseklepp scored the winner.
A late penalty from Rory Patterson spared Northern Ireland goalkeeper Alan Blayney's blushes after he gifted Marouane Chamakh the opening goal for Morocco at Windsor Park. Blayney's attempted clearance from a backpass hit the striker and ended up in the net.
Portugal gained a measure of revenge for their World Cup exit at the hands of Spain by inflicting a humiliating 4-0 defeat on their Iberian neighbours in Lisbon. Goals from Jorge Carlos Martins, Spain defender Sergio Ramos, who put into his own net, Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida sealed a deserved win for the Portuguese.
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