Monday, 9 September 2013

EuroBasket: GB fail to make the second round after defeat to Ukraine

Great Britain missed the chance to make the second round of EuroBasket for the first time as they slipped to an 87-68 defeat at the hands of Ukraine in their final game in Ljubljana.
Great Britian missed out of the second round of EuroBasket after losing to Ukraine
Great Britian missed out of the second round of EuroBasket after losing to Ukraine
Sunday's win over Germany had given Joe Prunty's men hope of advancing from Group A, but they were behind for almost the entire contest against Ukraine, slipping to a comprehensive defeat.
GB did at least manage to keep things close in the first quarter and with Kieron Achara sinking a three-pointer at the end of the first 10 minutes they trailed just 21-18.
But a 27-13 second for Ukraine in effect killed the game off and Britain never looked like getting themselves back into the game from there.

Balanced attack

Andrew Lawrence and Devon van Oostrum each had 12 points for GB to lead all scorers, while Kyryl Natyazhko and Ihor Zaytsev paced a balanced Ukraine attack with 11 points apiece.
The result meant that while Ukraine went into the second round, either Belgium or Israel were certain to finish ahead of GB and clinch the third and final qualifying spot from the six-team group.
The campaign was nevertheless a reasonable one for Britain's young team, who claimed two victories - over Israel and Germany - from their three games.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Frank Lampard aims to mark his 100th England cap with win

England midfielder Frank Lampard Frank Lampard says he is more concerned about helping England beat Ukraine in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier than winning his 100th cap for his country. 

The Chelsea midfielder will become only the eighth Three Lions player to reach the milestone if he features in Kiev. 

England top Group H but will be leapfrogged by Ukraine if they lose. 

"The main thing is to get the result," said Lampard, 35. "I just hope to be involved. It wouldn't be enjoyable to get to 100 and not do it right." 

Lampard's goals for England

England midfielder Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard has scored 29 times since being handed his England debut by Kevin Keegan against Belgium in 1999. His favourite goal? "It would be the header at Euro 2004 against France," he said. "It was my first major tournament goal. We lost the game but the fans were terrific."

Lampard made his England debut under Kevin Keegan and alongside Alan Shearer, Paul Ince and David Seaman in a 2-1 friendly win over Belgium at Sunderland's Stadium of Light in October 1999. 

Since then he has gone on to score 29 times for his country and has captained them five times. 

He will join a select band of centurions to have played 100 times for England if he features against Ukraine, a list that includes current international team-mates Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole. 

England, who go into Tuesday's game with limited options in attack after Daniel Sturridge joined the list of players unavailable because of injury and suspension, might lead Group H but their place at next year's World Cup in Brazil is far from guaranteed. 

Roy Hodgson's side are level on points with Montenegro, although with a superior goal difference, but third-placed Ukraine are only a point behind the top two. 

"I never dreamt of getting anywhere near 100 caps to be honest," added Lampard. "I will be very proud, 100 is a long time [playing], but first and foremost we need three points. 

"I'd love to fly back from Ukraine with three points because that would put us in a strong position." 

Reflecting on his previous 99 caps, the former West Ham forward said: "I've enjoyed every minute of travelling and playing for my country. What an honour that is. 
"The carrot of Brazil, I would love to take part in that and everyone in the squad would." 

Ukraine have won their past four qualifiers - scoring 18 times - and while Hodgson's side comfortably overcame Moldova 4-0 at Wembley on Friday, Ukraine hammered San Marino 9-0. 

Lampard's late penalty rescued England a 1-1 draw when the teams met at Wembley in September 2012. 

"They had a bad start to the group but against us they played with a lot of talent, they have a lot of technical ability and pace on the wings," added Lampard. 

"I don't think we were at our best that night but to not lose when you're not at your best is a good thing," added Lampard. 

"We'll go there conscious they're a strong team but confident in our own abilities.
"We've got the team to get a result, no doubt."