Some things from the weekend ~ 28-05-12
International ~ Hodgson's England scrape past Norway
Roy Hodgson's career as England manager began with a winning start thanks to Ashley Young's ninth-minute goal in Oslo. The uninspiring 1-0 win will hardly have the other European nations fearing a resurgent England, who lacked pace, imagination and an ability to attack in numbers. The overall discipline of the side will have pleased Hodgson, but there were regular lapses in concentration across the pitch and Phil Jones struggled at right back against John Arne Riise. The team that started on Saturday will not be the one that lines up against France on June. Gareth Barry, who limped off during the second half, could miss the tournament.
League One ~ Huddersfield promoted after 22 penalties in shoot-out
Huddersfield Town gained promotion to the Championship after beating Sheffield United 8-7 on penalties at Wembley on Saturday. Following a drab, goalless 120 minutes of football, in which the Terriers had the better chances, the penalty shoot-out provided plenty of drama. Neither team appeared able to score when the first three spot-kicks were missed. After each side had taken five penalties the score was 2-2, then 7-7 before Huddersfield's keeper, Alex Smithies, scored. Steve Simonsen blasted over the final penalty as Sheffield United extended their record of losing play-offs finals without scoring a single goal to four games. Huddersfield return to the second tier for the first time since 2001.
League Two ~ Crewe go up as Powell takes the plaudits
Nick Powell, the 18-year-old midfielder, scored a wonderful goal to help Crewe Alexandra on their way to a 2-0 victory over Cheltenham on Sunday. Powell, who has been drawing attention this season because of his superb goals, performed a sharp turn and volley from just outside the area to put his side 1-0 up in the 15th minute. Despite plenty of pressure, Cheltenham could not equalise and Bryton Moore scored Crewe's second with eight minutes remaining. Crewe manager Steve Davis is prepared to receive offers for the teenager, with Manchester United rumoured to be interested. "He's a special player, who produces special things on big occasions," said Davis. "He's a big-game player. He has done that many times this season. For a lad of 18, it's a great start for him. I think he will go to the Premier League. Whether he'll do that in the next 12 months, I don't know. But he's a very capable lad."
Spain ~ Barcelona give Guardiola successful send-off
The Copa Del Rey became the first and last trophy won by Pep Guardiola during his reign as Barcelona manager, after he watched his side beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the final on Saturday. Guardiola's first trophy also came in this competition, again against Athletic Bilbao, in 2009. Between them he has won another 12 trophies, becoming the most successful manager in Barcelona's history with three La Liga titles, two Copa Del Reys, three Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups and two Champions Leagues. After the game, Guardiola said: "I am going to rest, then – I don't know when – if there is another challenge, I will take it. I am tired. If I was on another bench I would still be tired." Tom Hocking
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