The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Veron admits he wasn’t fit

Manchester: Juan Sebastian Veron was not fit enough to play for Argentina at the World Cup, the Manchester United midfielder has said.

Veron played on with an Achilles injury for United towards the end of last season but says he was desperate to play for his country at this year’s finals in South Korea and Japan.

“With hindsight I wasn’t physically fit enough to be taking part in such an important competition as the World Cup,” he told the Manchester United magazine.

“I probably went to Japan out of personal pride because after working so hard to get fit I couldn’t say no,” said Veron, who captained Argentina in Japan.

“I knew I wasn’t ready from a fitness point of view and that I’d been carrying that Achilles injury for two or three months.

“I went there because I was really keen to play and I thought the injury would clear up.”

‘Maradona factor’ in Japan

Tokyo: Japan coach Zico warned on Monday that his players would not be intimidated by the “Maradona factor” when they face Argentina at home on November 20.

Even with European-based trio Junichi Inamoto, Hidetoshi Nakata and Shinji Ono unavailable, Japan possess enough strength in depth to counter the attacking quality of players such as Pablo Aimar and Ariel Ortega, Zico said.

“ Maradona was the inspiration for a lot of their players. Argentina have a lot of clever players in the same mould who can break you down with one piece of individual skill,” he said. “We need to focus on denying Argentina the space to play their type of game. The players I have picked are all capable of coming in for Inamoto, Ono or Nakata and doing just that.” As promised, Zico made a number of changes from the squad that disappointed in a 1-1 home draw against Jamaica last month, his first match in charge since taking over from Philippe Troussier after the World Cup.

Carla Khan makes history

London: Carla Khan, the grand-daughter of legendary former world No.1 one Azam Khan, has become the first woman representing Pakistan ever to win a title on the Women’s International Squash Players Association (Wispa) world circuit.

The 21-year-old London-based player has captured the El Salvador Open title,by beating Frania Samantha Teran of Mexico 9-1, 2-9, 9-3, 9-1 in the final.

However her success comes at a time when she is considering switching her allegiance back to England.

Hayden’s burden

Brisbane: Former Australia player Bill Brown, a member of Don Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’ team who toured England in 1948, says Matthew Hayden is a “complete opener” but cannot be compared to Bradman.

Hayden said on Monday he was uneasy about the comparison. The 31-year-old is rated the top batsman in world after scoring 7 centuries in his last 10 Tests, a feat unmatched by any oth_er Australian apart from Bradman.

Kaiser flays players

Berlin: Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer has slammed the players for their unsportsmanlike conduct in Saturday’s clash between his side and German champions Borussia Dortmund.

“I’ve had enough,” Beckenbauer said “It cannot be tolerated that the players use the referees as an outlet for their frustration.”

n Cricket, India vs West Indies — Third ODI from 8.30 am on DD Sports and DD I n Cricket, Pakistan vs Zimbabwe — First Test, Day IV live from 4 pm on ESPN n Tennis, Masters Series from 12 midnight on STAR Sports

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