World Cup 2010: French secretary of state for sport blasts France's World Cup hotel

French secretary of state for sport, Rama Yade, criticised the choice of hotel for the French squad at the World Cup finals as overly luxurious and called for "decency" at a time of general belt-tightening.

Raymond Domenech - World Cup 2010: French secretary of state for sport blasts France's World Cup hotel
Hotel blast: Rama Yade believes Raymond Domenech's France do not deserve their World Cup hotel Photo: AP

"I would not have chosen this hotel. Spain, for example, has chosen a university campus," noted Yade in an interview, alluding to France's hotel inSouth Africa for the World Cup.

"If France goes a long way (in the tournament) the choice of a site offering the best training conditions will appear judicious. But if results do not come up to expectations then those in charge will have some explaining to do," Yade commented.

"I hope that the French team wow us by their results rather than the swankiness of their hotels. I have called on them to show some decency in times of crisis," Yade concluded.

The French, champions in 1998 but who struggled to qualify for this summer's event in South Africa, will stay at the five-star Pezula Resort at Knysna on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

French football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes responded by teling AFP: "What do you want me to say? If the secretary of state says something then she says something. I am not here to make comments on an hotel I do not even know myself - that is not my role."

France will meet Uruguay on the opening night of the tournament in a group also containing hosts South Africa and Mexico.


Blatter - Keep out technology

Blatter against using technology in football

Blatter - Keep out technology

Blatter: Against using technology

Fifa president Sepp Blatter believes introducing technology in football would spoil the passion and emotion felt for the sport.

Football's world governing body has emphasised its objection to using technology to aid decisions on controversial incidents during matches, such as assisting referees in judging whether a ball has crossed the goal-line.

Blatter insists the sport should retain its human element, and that bringing in technology would prevent spectators from having their own opinions on the game.

"When you are in a football match there is no social level, everybody is the same and everybody in the stadium and at their television is an expert," said Blatter.

"Everybody is an expert and that is why we are not going into technology on the field of play, because if you have technology on the field of play, then there are no more experts."


The International Football Association Board (IFAB), football's rule-making body, in March voted against employing technology to decide if the ball crosses the goal-line in cases where it does not make contact with the net.

And Blatter says the fervour that comes with the sport would be damaged if science was introduced.

He added: "Then the science is coming in the game, no discussions, we don't want that. We want to have these emotions, and then a little bit more than emotions, passion."


Time marches on ... and so does Pam

Time marches on ... and so does Pam
CRAIG SIMCOX/The Dominion Post
MARKING TIME: Johnsonville's Pam Findlay reflects on 50 years' involvement with marching, having just been honoured for her services to the sport.

Getting girls to stay in time can be a challenge, but the team environment is worth it for Pam Findlay. The Johnsonville resident becomes a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit today, after more than 50 years' service to marching.

During that time she has marched, coached and worked as a promoter and administrator. She has been president, vice-president and treasurer of Marching New Zealand. She is a life-long member of Marching New Zealand, and a life member and patron of Marching Canterbury.

Ms Findlay, 64, who does project work for Workbridge, said she felt surprised but honoured by the recognition.

Giving back to the sport had always been important to her, she said. "It's not just been taking advantage of the sport, it's been putting a lot back in ... I didn't expect any recognition around it."

She began marching in Christchurch aged 12. She loved the team atmosphere, though it was not for everyone, she said.

"It's the challenge of keeping 15 girls on the one line, being able to move and act as a team. Often, when you get a few females in a position, you get a few dissenting voices."

The sport struggled to get members now, because there was a greater number of options for young people, she said.

Both her daughters had been involved in marching, and she hoped her granddaughter – one of four grandchildren – would also take it up one day. "I'd like to see her do that."



McNamara - said display was unacceptable.

Bradford boss Steve McNamara described his side's heaviest defeat for five years as "unacceptable" but felt their 52-6 battering by Huddersfield was partly down to their epic Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat by Warrington.

The Bulls were out of sorts from the kick-off and trailed 28-0 by half-time as the Giants, refreshed by a week off, rediscovered their early-season sparkle to end a four-match losing run in emphatic fashion.

"We're hugely disappointed with our efforts, it's not acceptable to come up with a scoreline like that," said McNamara.

"There was a big gulf in the two sides today. You could see the difference in energy levels right from the start.

"Obviously we invested a lot physically and emotionally last week but that's not an excuse at all.

"That game was seven days ago and we should have performed lot better.

"I have to say I thought Huddersfield were very good. Their kicking game was superb, they kept us in our own half and took nearly all the opportunities that came their way."

Bradford missed the creative playmaking skills of Matt Orford, who pulled out of the match through illness, and were 40-0 down before Steve Menzies scored their only try.

Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown claimed his side had hit "rock bottom" in their previous match, a 36-20 defeat at Warrington a fortnight ago, and was delighted with this display, although he conceded that Bradford experienced a Challenge Cup hangover.

"If you watch all the sides that played in the quarter-finals last week, I don't think any of them came out and played their best this week," he said.

"Obviously, the quarters are emotionally-charged games. We came in off the back of a week off and we were definitely fresh.

"Any time you can score 50 and keep the opposition to six, you can feel you've done well.

"We really just did the basics well and our discipline was much better this week. We didn't give the referees many reasons to penalise us."

Right winger Jermaine McGillvary, who was loaned out to Championship clubs Batley and Barrow after being unable to force his way into the Giants line-up, made the most of his opportunity by scoring two tries on debut.

"He's had to wait a long time for his chance and he did well," said Brown. "He had a couple of opportunities to finish well. He had a good, solid game and I'm happy for him."

Left winger David Hodgson also touched down twice, taking his tally for the season to 18 to top the league scoring chart, but the star of the show was full-back Brett Hodgson, the club captain who will join Warrington next season.

He scored one of his side's nine tries and succeeded with all but one of his nine conversion attempts to finish with a 20-point haul.

"I thought it was his best game for a long time," said Brown. "He's had a lot of stuff on his plate but now his body is healthy and his mind is pretty clear. He was outstanding."


Davies - went round in 62 on Sunday.


Local hero Rhys Davies treated his fans to a course record 62 in the Celtic Manor Wales Open, and admitted: "I enjoyed every second of it."

The 25-year-old from Bridgend - a European Tour rookie - carded six birdies, two eagles and just one bogey to finish 12 under par, three shots behind winner Graeme McDowell.

While this year's Ryder Cup, back on the Celtic Manor 2010 course in early October, might prove tantalisingly beyond Davies' reach, Welsh golf has undoubtedly discovered a new star.

The former Glamorgan academy cricketer produced a round to match his dazzling attire of orange shirt and white trousers, collecting £200,000 for his efforts.

Former Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam is the only Welshman to win a European Tour event in Wales - the 1983 British Masters and 1990 Epson Grand Prix - but Davies' time will surely come.

That McDowell needed a score of no worse than 65 to avoid facing Davies in a play-off said everything about the runner-up's scorching round.

In the end, McDowell carded a 63, but Davies had left a lasting impression on this year's tournament - and possibly current Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.

"I tried to push a little too hard yesterday, and I was mindful of that, so I went out with a really relaxed attitude and was going to accept anything that came my way," said Davies, who now sets his sights on the US Open at Pebble Beach later this month.

"I knew I was playing well and I felt there was a good round in me.

"It didn't cross my mind winning the tournament, but at eight under, I birdied nine, 10 and 11, then I looked at the leaderboard and I was top, which was both surprising and pleasing.

"If I am honest, if I thought I would have shot 62 I think I would have fancied winning the tournament, so all credit to Graeme, who has gone and done something very similar.

"Major championships and big world events are always tournaments I've set my mind to and wanted to go and play.

"I wanted to do it as soon as possible in my career to give myself the most experience I could.

"For the remainder of the season now I can pretty much plan and prepare to play the biggest tournaments, and that's really exciting for me."

And what of the Ryder Cup on home soil?

"It's not a thought, simply because it is still so early in my career. I am very good at taking things week by week," he said.

"I have improved a lot in a short time, but if I am honest, I always felt I could do so and have been doing so.

"For the latter stage of my amateur career, I was playing some really good golf and it hadn't quite shown up in the early stages of my professional career.

"That often happens when people turn pro. There are things you have to adapt to and adjust, and the standard is that much higher.

"But I am constantly improving, and that's all I want to do. I feel that every year, since about the age of 15, I've got better, and that is all I am striving to do."


Bell - won the man-of-the-match award.


Ian Bell immediately looked forward after England had wrapped up the npower Test series with victory over Bangladesh.

The Warwickshire batsman picked up the man-of-the-match award for his 128 at Old Trafford, helping England to victory by an innings and 80 runs.

He said at the post-match presentation, televised by Sky Sports 1: "You have to keep proving yourself and keep improving and I'm desperate to put in some more big performances for the team in the next 12 months."

Bell continued: "My play of spin has improved over the winter and my footwork was going nicely - I enjoyed it.

"It was a reality check having to go back to Warwickshire to get some form and win my place back.

"I've tried to fight hard for England, maybe that's what I've not done in the past...when the circumstances are tough, digging in for the team. It's nice to produce that."

Matt Prior weighed in with 93 and Bell added: "We have always batted well together - it was good to go out and score some runs again."

Steven Finn was named England's man of the series - but despite five wickets in the second innings he found room for improvement.

He added: "The other guys bowled a lot better than me but luckily it was me that took the wickets.

"I bowled better at Lord's and there are a lot of areas to improve - going at more than four an over is not ideal really in a Test match.

"It's about putting the right amount of balls in the right areas -

I've bowled too many four balls and been a bit loose at times.

"It's been very challenging. It's easy to cope mentally when you are winning but physically two Tests take it out of you - the intensity of it."

On his struggle to keep his feet on his follow-through, the Middlesex paceman added: "It's something I've done every now and again but not this regularly before - it's something worth looking at.

"When the wicket breaks up I can slide about a bit more, so if it means coming from further back in the crease so be it."

England captain Andrew Strauss revealed enforcing the follow on was a straightforward decision for him.

He said: "The wicket was deteriorating so it was tempting to battle again but we came in last night and saw the forecast, then when we turned up here was an easy decision to make.

"I'm pretty happy with our work over the two Tests. There are a lot of good things to come out of it but we are also aware there are more tests to come in the future. We're happy with how we've performed."

"Ajmal Shazad and Steven Finn have shown they've got the capability it takes to play at this level - but against Tamim Iqbal we were resorting to Plan D and E by the end, he was smacking us everywhere. Fair play to him, he played a fantastic innings.

"We can improve with the new ball but sometimes you've got to give credit to the way they play.

After hailing the contributions of Jonathan Trott at Lord's and Bell and Finn in Manchester, Strauss added: "There is still work to do. We are not kidding ourselves we're the number one side in the world on what we've done in the last couple of games."

Team director Andy Flower said: "It's very good to win both matches convincingly and continue some of the momentum built up over the winter.

"I think Eoin Morgan can be a Test player. He handles pressure well and I think we got little glimpses of him playing a different way. I think he can incorporate his attacking ways into Test cricket.

"It would be nice if Steven Finn didn't fall down as often as he does. I think he has some strength work that he can do - he can develop physically and improve in various areas of his game in the skills department but he's a smart young man.

"Shazad showed good pace was good getting a look at him - he showed a lot of promise."

England achieved the series success without recent regulars Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad and Flower added: "There's healthy competition for all places.

"We have a clear idea who we would bring in if Graeme Swann got injured but there is space and time during the season for people to push their names forward.

"We've got a very important series against Australia coming up and we are meeting to select that squad in the middle of this week. It's very important to continue our winning ways."

Bangladesh man of the series Tamim said his team-mates "need to work harder". The opening batsman scored 268 runs in the series at an average of nearly 67 and said: "I've worked harder than the others. They need to work harder.

"There are lots of tournaments ahead and we need to work hard as a team. I'm sure we'll put up a better show the next time we play.

"The team performance matters but individually it's nice to get some runs in England."

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan said: "We didn't want to finish the series like this. We've done well for the last 12 months but this match ran away.

"There are some positive things we can learn but our middle order batsmen need to work.

"We are improving every day. We will win some games and that will give us confidence - but we are a much better one-day side."

Coach Jamie Siddons added: "I've got to pick the boys up again. We are used to having terrible sessions but in big pressure our boys don't cope that well.

"Situations come along and they don't cope, so I've got to teach them. A lot is technical but the mental side is not great as well.

"There is a lot of inexperience but there are no senior players so it will come from me and Tamim and his work ethic.

"It was set up for us to make a score of 450 or more but for some unknown reason our better players didn't cope in these conditions and it's really disappointing.

"A lot is to do with spin, when it spun a lot we were in a lot of trouble."

Asked about Tamim, the Australian added: "I think you guys (the media) are helping me by telling him to pull his head in a bit - he listens to what you say."


Dr Richard Cox hopes to have Scotland mentally ready for next year’s World Cup

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  • Richard Cox’s inclusion in the touring party is a sign that Andy Robinson is thinking ahead to New ZealandPhotograph: Steve Cox

Cox has long been one of the most eminent, albeit self-effacing, sports psychologists in Scotland and his skills could be critical to the national rugby team’s prospects of success as they set off on the long haul to next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

The first step on that journey took place on Friday when Andy Robinson’s squad, and the 17-strong management team of which Cox is a member, set off on their two-Test tour to Argentina. His inclusion raised a few eyebrows when it was announced last month, but the truth of the matter is that Cox has been a central figure for the Scottish squad since last August, when he was invited to the national training camp in St Andrews.

It has not been stated explicitly, but in personnel terms the Argentina trip is pretty clearly a dry run for the support team Robinson is likely to want beside him when the World Cup gets under way in just over 15 months. There is, to be frank, no other real justification for such a top-heavy management contingent in South America – the group also includes a lawyer and a nutritionist – save that Robinson will want to know that 
everyone can work effectively together.

So what does Cox bring to the party? Well, there is the scientific detachment of one who analyses all sporting activities
as sets of behaviours, but he also offers the passion for rugby that has been a consistent theme of his 60-odd years. Besides which, he knows his way around Murrayfield already, having been part of the back-up team in 1995 and 1996, two seasons when the decline of previous years was reversed and Scotland ended successive Five Nations campaigns in Grand Slam battles against England.

The best combination for success in sport is to have fire in the belly and ice in the mind

As is usually the case in this business, regime change did for him back then, but he never lost his enthusiasm. “The fact I wasn’t involved for a while didn’t stop me coming here and paying my money instead of getting a freebie,” he smiled. “It wasn’t a frustrating experience, though. I’ve worked with five top football clubs down the years and I accepted with each that my time would come to an end, usually when the manager changed. I’ve always had plenty of work to do.”

Much of that work has been low-key, well below the radar: working for competitors who would no sooner own up to consulting a sports psychologist than they would provide vivid details of an embarrassing rash. Even as the discipline is becoming increasingly respectable, Cox abides by a rigorous professional code of never talking about clients unless they happen to talk about him first. In which context, it was only when Paul Lawrie did just that after winning his Open Champ-ionship title at Carnoustie in 1999 that he was really thrust into the public domain.

The sudden wave of attention that followed was unsettling for Cox – an ironic state of affairs for a man whose craft involves tutoring others to keep their cool in testing circumstances. A few years later he took early retirement from Edinburgh University – he stresses that he is a psychologist who works in sport, emphasising his belief in a solid grounding in the discipline – and took on a roving consultancy brief. His route back to Murrayfield was via secondment from the Scottish Institute of Sport, although his enthusiasm for rugby is such that an arrangement that ought to take up two days of his week typically swallows much more time.

“I’m here to do a job,” he said. “I’ll do it to the best of my abilities. That I only get paid for two days doesn’t matter.”

Cox’s enthusiasm for the role is not unconnected to his admiration for Robinson. Having worked closely with many frontline coaches down the years, he knows a good one when he sees one.

He said: “In Andy Robinson we have a world-class coach. I’ve worked with a lot of coaches and he is top notch. He has the ability to analyse any situation in rugby, to put detail on it, and to take the boys out there and create practice situations in which they actually test themselves.”

All very well, but mutual admiration in the backroom will count for nothing
if Cox’s skills cannot be made to bear fruit between the touchlines. His alchemy has limitations, however, and the suspicion remains then even the most psychologically sorted duffers are still duffers deep down, and apt to finish second to a side of highly-skilled basket cases. What Cox can do is try to ensure that Scotland’s players are not held back by what happens between their ears.

“Every day we’re learning more and more about how the brain works and what a wonderful computer it is,” he said. “The most recent developments are in that line, in what we call psychobiology. But it could be another 200 years before science finally defines what makes man tick.

“Among other things I talk to the squad as a whole. I’ve done workshops on thinking, and why people think in certain ways. We talk about task-
relevant thinking, which is simply about keeping your mind on the job.

“In rugby, you can be hit hard or struggling for air in the last 20 minutes, or both. It can be very hard to concentrate on the task, and you concentrate on yourself instead. What I do is try to develop players who can offset that. Once you raise their awareness of what will happen under normal circumstances you create an opportunity for them to interfere with that sequence of events.”

One of Cox’s favourite expressions is that the best combination for success in sport is to have fire in the belly and ice in the mind. From that, he talks about how too much ice can extinguish the fire, and how too much fire can melt the ice. Yet the sort of homespun aphorisms that weigh down the shelves in every bookshop’s self-help sections are far from his normal register, as is the sort of rampant self-promotion that is all too common at the more disreputable end of his trade.

“There are some good businessmen out there,” he said when the name of one of the more obvious snake-oil salesmen was mentioned. “There are a lot of people who specialise in 
motivation, which isn’t a difficult subject if you want to read up on it.”

Instead of telling his clients what wonderful people they are, Cox invites them to understand, by way of clear and cool-headed analysis, just what they have to do to give themselves the best chance of success. In rugby, that means breaking down activities into component parts and unloading the emotional baggage that can often interfere. From there, the real challenge is to make sure that the correct application of skills becomes habitual, so that everything works on the burning deck of an international pitch as well as it does in a training session. “Repetition,” says Cox, “is the mother of skill.”

All very practical, but Cox also believes in the existence of the Scottish inferiority
complex. “There is a history of that in Scottish sport,” he said ruefully. “We’re far more capable than we believe ourselves to be.” If the good doctor can do anything to cure that perennial ailment then his time will have been well spent.



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Frank Lampard's ambitions have been moulded by England's World Cup triumph in 1966

THE picture of England World Cup 1966 heroes Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters used to greet an impressionable Frank Lampard every time he walked into West Ham United’s training ground.
It might have faded over the years but the image is still crystal clear in Lampard’s mind as he prepares for another World Cup campaign in the knowledge that the heroes of 44 years ago still stand alone in English football history.

Generation after generation have failed to emulate the class of ’66. No one is more aware of that than England’s new vice-captain, promoted following his big mate Rio Ferdinand’s unfortunate injury.

Lampard said: “I saw that picture when I entered the West Ham training ground every day from an early age. You know the romance of 1966. You know how those players are held in people’s memories, how people look at them and how they respect them.

“When everyone in the England camp see Sir Geoff Hurst now they show ultra respect for him and quite rightly so. There is a certain magic to it all. Hopefully we can get somewhere near that. It would be nice to have my own picture up there one day.”

Germany 2006 ended in tears with another quarter-final exit, with Lampard missing one of the penalties in the shoot-out against Portugal.

It seemed cruel to remind the Chelsea midfielder that he had also failed in his last two spot-kicks in the FA Cup final and during last Sunday’s scruffy 2-1 friendly win against Japan.

Lampard remained unfazed – good news with England’s opening game against the USA looming. “As far as I know I’m still the penalty taker,” he said. “Taking them regularly, it’s a fact of life you can miss occasionally. That miss in the friendly against Japan was a little reminder to myself.

“I will practise them here and go back to basics but I have great confidence in myself and I believe if we get a penalty in this World Cup I will be the one to pick up the ball.

“I don’t think I have missed back-to-back penalties before. Maybe when I was young, but not professionally. It’s not an issue for me. I believe I will score if we get one here.”

It’s also the last chance saloon for the likes of Lampard and Steven Gerrard – the final throes of the so-called golden generation, which was supposed to deliver in the past two World Cups. “Let’s hope that this being the last World Cup for my generation will give it an extra edge,” Lampard added.

“There is nothing better in the game than having experience. If this is the last World Cup then you want to finish in the best way you can. We all know the names of the 1966 World Cup-winning team and there would be nothing better as a group to do the same. It’s been a long time and there has been many a great English player who has never won a World Cup. If you want to go down in history then you have to win something.”

Having been brought up at Upton Park with Ferdinand he wishes the Manchester United defender could have played a part.

Damaged knee ligaments has put an end to those ambitions, with 31-year-old Lampard admitting: “I felt sick in the stomach for him. But now we have to rely on the strength of the group. There can be no excuses.” It was a bad news day all round, with Lampard’s Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba being ruled out of the tournament with a broken arm.

He added: “I also spoke with Didier on Friday. I know we play full pelt in the Premier League but these were freak injuries and nothing to do with the season we have just had.”

Lampard was also quick to round on so-called England fans who have been slating Emile Heskey, who was involved in the tackle with Ferdinand which ended his World Cup.

“I didn’t know until now that some people have been blaming Emile. That is ridiculous,” he said. “There is no blame surrounding anyone.” Lampard knows it is essential to make a good start against the USA in Rustenburg on Saturday.

He admitted: “The first game is always tough. Considering we are playing the top team in the group, apart from us, we know it will be a tight game.” And if England are awarded a penalty, Lampard will take it.

Messrs Moore, Hurst and Peters would be proud.


First tropical storm of NE Pacific pounds Guatemala

It's the beginning of the hurricane season in the north eastern Pacific Ocean, too, and it's off to a tragic start as remnants of Tropical Storm Agatha continue to drench parts of Guatemala, Mexico NOAAand El Salvador with up to 20 inches of rain. At least 16 people have died and 69,000 have been evacuated amid the torrential rains and resulting landslides.

In contrast with the Atlantic, the eastern Pacific is expected to have a quiet season this year, with forecasters giving the region a 75 percent chance of a below-normal number of tropical storms forming, and a 10 percent chance of only a normal season. Forecasters cite ongoing multi-decadal cycles that are suppressing storm formation in the region, and the expected neutral or La Nina phase of the Pacific cycle of seas-surface temperatures.

Those are some of the same reasons why predictions for the Atlantic basin call for an active to extremely active season this year. While La Ninas tend to suppress tropical storm formation in the Pacific, the long-distance atmospheric patterns they set up tend to take the brakes off storm formation in the Atlantic. And, the Atlantic remains in its own multi-decadal cycle which, since 1995, has stimulated above-normal storm formation there.

The eastern Pacific has it own name list for the 2010 season, too, starting with Agatha. Here is the list for the Atlantic season, beginning with Alex.


Dance act Spellbound wins Britain's Got Talent but singing gran Janey Cutler makes Scotland proud

Spellbound win Britain's Got Talent

SCOTLANDS favourite granny Janey Cutler had no regrets last night despite rivals Spelbound winning Britain's Got Talent.

After a shaky start, the 81-year-old wowed the judges with a show-stopping performance of Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regrets) in the talent show's climax.

The gymnastic group were last to perform and saw off tough competition from dance act Twist 'N' Pulse, who were runners-up, and wonderkid drummer Kieran Gaffey in third place.

Janey messed up her timing a little but still did Scotland proud.

Judge Piers Morgan said: "You are over 80 years old and I could tell you weren't going to let it beat you. You're a remarkable lady."

Amanda Holden said: "You asked me for my autograph in the corridor the other day, well now I will be asking for yours. The last part of that was terrific."

Simon Cowell said: "You are one gutsy lady."

Her pals cheered her on by throwing a final party in her local pub. It was standing room ony in the Victoria Bar in Hamilton as Janey took to the stage.

Christine Watson, 51, from Blantyre, said: "I was sick when she missed her timing right at the start but she caught up well and that is what is important.

"I really think she deserved to win as she did so well and this was her big chance."

Barmaid Margaret Coghill, 52, from Hamilton, said: "She was absolutely fantastic. Janey has done so well and we are all absolutely over the moon for her.

"We are so proud of her. She is the best, despite the result."

Spelbound - made up of 13 acrobats, aged from 12 to 24 - jumped and screamed as host Declan Donnelly announced they had won the £100,000 prize.

Member Alex Uttley, 24, said: "This is unbelievable, thank you to everyone who voted for us.

"All our hard work has paid off." Cowell said: "This show is called Britain's Got Talent and the right guys and girls won on the night. I am very proud of you, well done."


Sounders FC 3, N.E. Revolution 0 -- Seattle player quotes

LEO GONZALEZ, defender via translator

(On getting forward, when Schmid told you to stay back to worry more about Nyassi) "Indeed it was the guidance from the management staff, but the opportunities showed up. I managed to go to offense and thank God managed to score."

(On the goal) "Even before talking about the goal, I want to dedicate this to our friends. Guys like Hurtado and Fucito. Thank God, again, it was a beautiful goal and gave us confidence for the remainder of the game."

(Continued) "It was a matter of getting the confidence to kick and a little bit of luck as well. Thank God and it was good goal."

KASEY KELLER, goalkeeper

(On the result) "It could have been nasty. We could've really ran on 'em. Obviously 3-0, we're very happy with that. Long overdue. I thought the mentality from the very first minute was tremendous. We pushed them. We kept them in their half. We challenged for everything. The work rate was second to none, this season, and the standard has been set. It's great. Anytime it drops, I think everyone can go and watch a little film and say, 'You do this or we find someone else who does it, because you've proven that you can.' I'm just happy. I'm happy for everybody. I'm happy, obviously, for the fans and for ownership and the players because this is what we've been working hard to earn. But we know we've got another game on Thursday. Although we're going to enjoy ourselves, and fans are going to enjoy themselves, we can't do this halfway. We know we've got another game on Thursday that we're more than capable of winning as well. And what a great way to go into the minibreak with six points. It's halftime for me. Now the second half starts against D.C."

(Anything more to be had in the dominant way that you won?) "I, for one, after we scored the third goal, I wanted to make sure we did all the little things right to keep the clean sheet at the back because I think that's very important for us right now. We conceded some goals late in games. We lost our concentration. I didn't want to have that negative thought process go in our head after this game. I wanted everybody to come out of this game knowing we got an unbelievable goal from Leo, a great goal from Zakuani, Fredy did his thing - popped up and banged it - and then to have the defense have that confidence as well knowing they had nothing to lose and were going to push things forward, and challenge for things, and that we could keep that 'zero' in the back. This is hopefully a large, large step towards a lot better things coming."

(Was this the best defensive performance of the season?) "Obviously they're a decent team and they're so dangerous on set pieces. And we've conceded too may goals on set pieces this year, so on that side of it, I'm very proud. The guys did brilliantly I think. Shalrie Joseph is a very dangerous player for them. I thought the combination of Pat and Brad did a great job defending him the whole game. I'm sure he was very frustrated. Just very, very proud of the way the guys battled from minute to minute. I think what I was happy about, is I know that they put us under a little bit of pressure, but in different games we were very slow getting the ball out of the back and just playing really kind of across and keeping the ball. We put it in their half, we put them under pressure and we were rewarded for it. And way they cleared it, we were up their back and headed it back into pressure. I think we've cleaned up a mentality that has been kind of creeping into us this season and now the standard's been set."

PAT NOONAN, forward

(On this being the one to turn it around) "I sure hope so. That was a complete effort for 90 minutes. We got the early lead, built upon it and had a nice lead going into the half. We didn't let up. We continued to create chances. We didn't get another one, but our defense kept them off the board, which is great to see. It was an all-around team effort tonight."

(Boost of the early goal?) "It was good. Obviously coming from Leo, a great finish. It was huge and you could tell it got the crowd into it early and got the guys confident. We didn't look back after that."

(On the second goal) "Just a class finish. Montero, heads-up play just to get an early throw in and Brad got a little thigh on it and flicked it over. It was an all-around heads up play."

(On having fun out there?) "That's when you enjoy what you're doing. We're always enjoying it, but the way it's been lately - not finishing - it's tough. It's tough on the defense too when we're trying to come from behind, or we're zero-zero, and we're not putting the ball in the net. Tonight to get the early lead and get the crowd into it and kind of build off of that, that was for key us. Because we kept attacking, had good opportunities and kept moving the ball and our finishing and getting our shots on goal were first-class tonight."

STEVE ZAKUANI, midfielder

(On the win) "It was important. I think the three points is the most important thing, because we have to win. I think I said on Tuesday, this was the most important game of our Sounders careers so far. We had to win, we just had to win. We've been saying for a while that there will be a game where we're going to break out, and tonight happened to be that night. I think even more than just the result, the performance was fantastic. It was interplay, great exchange of one-twos. On another night we could have five or six, I think that's the only disappointment, but no, it was a good result. Good to give the fans that, and it sets up very well for D.C. on Thursday."

(How important was movement off the ball?) "Oh, it was very important, we were buzzing. I think it came from our defensive effort first. We went into the game not letting them settle. We were on them from the first whistle. You could see guys were making tackles, guys were hustling, and from that you end up getting possession, and we were nice with the ball today. Very clean, very efficient, and it just sometimes takes a special goal, and Leo gave us that. Once he did that, we kind of settled, they were more open, and like I said we could have scored five or six."

(Your goal?) "I had an earlier one, an earlier volley, where I caught it well but I couldn't keep it down. Then I had the one-on-one that the keeper saves, so I said, 'I have to score.' I couldn't leave the pitch without scoring. It's just one of those, you take it. It could either go in the back row or it could go in the top corner, and today it went in the top corner and I'm happy with it."

(Fredy wouldn't let you take the team-high in goals for long, eh?) "No, of course, of course. That's his job. Fredy's our goal-scorer, so when he scores, I'm happy if he scores and the team is happy. We talk about it though, it's healthy competition. But it's good, it's good. It was a great goal as well, there were three tremendous goals."

(On Leo's goal) "He hit it to me, but it was a bit too far. Then Alston slipped so I wanted to cut back, and I cut back too far, and it was good because Leo came in and finished it. I told Leo before the game I'm going to need him tonight because when you're playing against a quick defender you need one-twos and we had that tonight and he was there for it."


High-tech exhibit takes a bite out of myths

Among the things you'll learn at the Georgia Aquarium: You're more likely to be injured by a toilet seat than a shark.

   One gallery holds wall bubbles containing the wicked-looking jawbones of five species found along the Carolina coast.
One gallery holds wall bubbles containing the wicked-looking jawbones of five species found along the Carolina coast.


Getting there: A number of airlines fly nonstop from South Florida to Atlanta, a trip just over two hours. Roundtrip airfare starts around $140.

The aquarium: ``Planet Shark'' runs through September at the Georgia Aquarium, 25 Baker St. NW Atlanta. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday. Admission $31.50; $26.25 for 65 and older; $23.50 for ages 3-12. 404-581-4000;

Atlanta information: The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, 404-521-6600;


The Ellis, which dates to 1913 (although under other names and ownership), opened in 2007 after a $26.8 million renovation. It is a distinctly modern space with a bold personality and is a few blocks south of the aquarium. 176 Peachtree St. NW; ; 404-523-5155 or 866-841-8822. Rooms from $179.

The Georgian Terrace: Another recently renovated historic building, this Midtown Atlanta hotel has 326 rooms and a rooftop swimming pool. It is about a mile north of the aquarium. 659 Peachtree St. NE; 800-651-2316; . Rooms from $168.

Hotel Indigo is a former Days Inn refashioned as a boutique hotel close to the High Museum of Art and about a mile north of the aquarium. 683 Peachtree St. NE; 404-874-9200 or 800-972-2404; . Rooms from $129.


Two Urban Licks features what it describes as fiery American food and others call a fusion of New Orleans and Southwest fare. Creative selection of small plates as well as traditional-size entrees. 820 Ralph McGill Blvd.; 404-522-4622; . Entrees, $19-$28.

Colonnade: This meat-and-three Southern-cooking restaurant has operated more than 80 years and still packs in the crowds. 1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd.; 404-874-5642;; entrees $9-$22; Early Bird Menu, $11-$13.

Highland Bakery has its roots in a few coffee carts, then a bakery. Now it is a café serving big Southern breakfasts and lunches. 655 Highland Ave. NE;; 404-586-0772; breakfast entrees $3.95-$12.95; sandwiches and salads $5.95-$10.95.

At least that's what the shark thinks.

Or does it?

Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium currently covers this and other toothsome subjects in Planet Shark: Predator or Prey, an elaborate 14-gallery traveling exhibition created in Australia. The Atlanta showing, its world debut, continues through September.

Planet Shark is an out-of-water exhibit that includes interactive computers, films and actual-size, cast-from-life replicas.

After an hour or so at Planet Shark, check out the 70 live ones in the aquarium's permanent collection.

You'll know by then that they've evolved little since their prehistoric heyday and have always been extremely efficient killing machines. Also, that while attacks on humans are rare, fatalities are rarer still. You'll learn sharks can sniff you from a mile away and can also detect vibrations, as well as a body's electrical impulses.

There's nothing charming about them. The curiosity-plus-fear that pulls you through the entrance never goes away.

Is Planet Shark suitable for kids? Yes, if they're old enough for Jaws (especially if they enjoy Steven Spielberg's famous flick; some artifacts and footage from the 1975 release are on display).

One documentary is about a woman who loves to dive with bull sharks in the Bahamas. Another is about a New Zealand couple who continue to dive in shark-infested waters after the man lost his forearm to one. Another video tells the story of Australian Rodney Fox, who was attacked by a 16-foot great white. His injuries required 400 stitches; his ripped wet suit is on display. (Fox is one of the organizers of Planet Shark.)

The high-tech aspects kick in early, at amazing touch-screen computer consoles the size of small jukeboxes. They're programmed to cover the basics about the eight orders of modern-day sharks (only three of the 350-plus species present any significant danger to humans), as well as the evolution of the shark.

Use the buttons to access text- and computer-generated images of the fish. The technology lets you rotate the drawings, roll the sharks over and also make them swim.

Especially cool are seven incredibly strange extinct sharks, like the helicoprion, a 15-footer with a spiraled lower jaw.

Some of the still-around sharks have their own peculiarities -- such as the green sawfish, which has teeth on its nose. Or the deep-water, cookie-cutter shark, whose belly glows in the dark.

The monitors edge a room filled with a four tabletop display cases of shark fossils and modern bones. A timeline puts the pieces in perspective. It also notes the first recorded shark attack on a human was in 1580, when a Portuguese sailor fell overboard on a voyage to the Indies.

By this time, you've passed placards with factoids pointing out the unlikelihood of your coming to a gruesome end. Out by the 20-foot great white replica, for instance, it notes that in 1996, only 20 Americans were injured by sharks -- while 44,000 were injured in mishaps with toilet seats.

The second gallery holds wall bubbles containing the wicked-looking jawbones of five species found along the Carolina coast -- and your mortality odds. Shortfin mako: Chances of an attack are no greater than 1 in 93 million (you're 10 times more likely to be killed by a sand hole collapsing at the beach).

Blue shark: You're 700 times more likely to be killed in a plane crash.

Dusky whaler: You're 30 times more likely to be killed in a train crash.

Great hammerhead: In the United States, you're 200 times more likely to be killed by a deer.

These species, according to exhibit text, account for a mere 10 confirmed kills. But reassuring stats fade when you reach the room holding eight life-size shark replicas -- each as large as a kayak. They're compared in a ``Battle of the Jaws'' data matchup, where the great white (437 attacks, 64 kills) easily beats the orca (12 attacks, four kills).

In short order, you'll view the Rodney Fox interview video and see his chewed-up wet suit. Then you come to the video where Mike Frasier tells how a shark made off with his arm.

You find yourself in a saltwater limbo, darting between reassuring data and gruesome Down Under anecdotes about what divers there call ``shacks.'' You may not acquire galeophobia (fear of sharks), but you will be glad you're not a small and tasty fish.


copyright Oxkoon Inc.