Barcelona's Spanish coach Josep Guardiola (Top) is thrown in the air

Barcelona's Spanish coach Josep Guardiola (Top) is thrown in the air in celebration after his team beat Manchester United 3-1 during the UEFA Champions League Final football match at Wembley Stadium in London, on May 28, 2011.

Manchester United's Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (Top) fails to save a goal scored by Barcelona's Spanish forward David Villa

Manchester United's Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (Top) fails to save a goal scored by Barcelona's Spanish forward David Villa (not pictured) during the UEFA Champions League final football match FC Barcelona vs. Manchester United, on May 28, 2011 at Wembley stadium in London.

The #10 Chevrolet Dallara of Ricky Taylor

LAKEVILLE, CT - MAY 30: The #10 Chevrolet Dallara of Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli is shown in action during the Memorial Day Classic Grand-AM Rolex Series race at Lime Rock Park on May 30, 2011 in Lakeville, Connecticut.

Chicago Cubs center fielder Tony Campana

Chicago Cubs center fielder Tony Campana dives and misses a ball off the bat of the Houston Astros Jeff Keppinger that fell for an RBI double in the first inning of a baseball game Monday May 30, 2011 at Wrigley Field. The Houston Astros won 12-7.

Scholes of manchester united announced his retirement from football with immediate effect

(FILES) A file picture taken on August 16, 2010, shows Manchester United's English midfielder Paul Scholes (L) celebrating with team-mate Ryan Giggs during an English Premier League football match against Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Manchester. Scholes on Tuesday May 31, 2011, announced his retirement from football with immediate effect and will join the club's coaching staff. The 36-year-old made 676 appearances for the club, winning 10 Premier League titles as well as two Champions Leagues and the FA Cup three times.

The Memorial Day Classic Grand-AM Rolex Series race

LAKEVILLE, CT - MAY 30: The #01 BMW Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas leads a line of cars during the Memorial Day Classic Grand-AM Rolex Series race at Lime Rock Park on May 30, 2011 in Lakeville, Connecticut.

The English Premier League soccer trophy 2011 Manunited

Manchester United's Patrice Evra, is seen holding the English Premier League soccer trophy in front of fans reflected in the trophy, on the route of an open top bus parade, in Manchester, England, Monday, May 30, 2011. Manchester United celebrated winning the league for a 19th time, beating Liverpool's long standing record.

Manchester United celebrated winning the league for a 19th time, beating Liverpool's long standing record

Manchester United's Patrice Evra, celebrates with the English Premier League trophy aboard an open-top bus during a parade with supporters in Manchester, England, Monday, May 30, 2011. Manchester United celebrated winning the league for a 19th time, beating Liverpool's long standing record.

Barcelona players celebrate after beating Manchester United 3-1 during the UEFA Champions League

Barcelona players celebrate after beating Manchester United 3-1 during the UEFA Champions League Final football match at Wembley Stadium in London, on May 28, 2011.

The 20th stage of the Giro d'Italia

Overall leader Alberto Contador of Spain, left, pedals during the 20th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race from Verbania to Sestriere, Saturday, May 28, 2011. Belarus' Vasili Kiryienka won the stage after riding solo for the majority of its 242-kilometer (150-mile), while overall leader Contador finished eighth maintaining his lead at the top of the standings.

Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United: Barcelona are European Champions (1)


Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United: Barcelona are European Champions (Analysis 2)


May 29, 2011

The starting line-ups

Goals from each of Barcelona's front three gave Pep Guardiola's side victory at Wembley.

Sir Alex Ferguson named his recent 'big game' XI – which meant Javier Hernandez upfront with Wayne Rooney behind, and Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick in the centre of midfield. The biggest surprise was Dimitar Berbatov not even being on the bench.

Guardiola was able to call on Eric Abidal at left-back, but not Carles Puyol at centre-back, so Javier Mascherano started in defence after all.

The overall pattern was not completely different from the 2009 final. United enjoyed a good opening few minutes, but were then the poorer side for the rest of the contest.

Barca dominance

There are two ways to consider the game. The first is the obvious approach – Barcelona are clearly the best side in the world, arguably one of the best of all time, and when they are on top of their game, they are unstoppable. It's an approach that suits everyone – Barca are happy to take the plaudits, United can take the defeat easier knowing they've been beaten by a superb side, and the neutral can take pleasure from witnessing such a marvellous performance.

On the other hand, United probably shouldn't have been dominated to such a large extent. Losing 3-1 is far from shameful, but the overall shots figure (22-4 to Barcelona) and the shots on target figure (12-1 to Barcelona) demonstrate quite how superior Guardiola's side were. Tactics is not a case of 'right' or 'wrong' depending solely upon the approach, but it's difficult to argue that United's tactics helped them compete in this game at all, even when starting from the earlier viewpoint – that Barca are by far the best around.

Hernandez starts

The key decision before the game was whether Hernandez would play upfront, or be dropped in favour of another midfielder. The choice to play him was an attacking move from Ferguson, but the inevitable knock-on effect was that Carrick and Giggs were overwhelmed in the centre of midfield. Wayne Rooney was given the job of tracking Sergio Busquets – a difficult task considering Rooney wanted to be in space when United won the ball – but Busquets started many of Barcelona's attacks, and was able to find more attack-minded teammates in space very easily.

Hernandez isn't the consistent threat over the top he should be considering his speed (though he's obviously had a fantastic first season in terms of goalscoring) and he found himself frequently offside early in the game. Credit should go to Barcelona for that – in fact, in a game where Barcelona were largely able to play their 'natural' game, their aggressive offside trap was one of the few key tactical features. It takes a lot of confidence to be able to play so high up the pitch against Hernandez, especially with a back four that had played as a unit for just 60 minutes before this match.

United early pressure

United looked dangerous early on, and much of their good play came down the left, trying to get in behind Alves

All this said, Hernandez did help press Barcelona early on in this match – and Ferguson's side were helped by the fact that Barca were without Puyol at the back – he's a better passer than Abidal or Mascherano, and so it wasn't a disaster if either of them had time on the ball. United settled quickly, won the first couple of tackles against Messi and played long balls, sometimes diagonal, into dangerous areas. Daniel Alves started nervously and Park Ji-Sung was a threat in the opening minutes.

Out of possession, Valencia and Park dropped deep and played narrow, helping United out in the centre of the pitch. The potential problem with Iniesta identified in the preview was part-solved by Valencia playing close to him. This then gave the Barcelona full-backs time on the ball, however, and it was partly because of that freedom that Barca were able to grow into the match and keep possession.

United's defence dropped deep when Barca kept the ball, and so when it was played forward to Andres Iniesta, his favoured through-balls between centre-back and full-back trickled out of play for goal-kicks.

Space between the lines

The defence playing deep meant that Messi enjoyed too much time on the ball between the lines. It was obvious from the first minute that United's strategy was to allow Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand to move forward to confront Messi, but this didn't always work, and Messi got into intelligent positions to cause them problems.

The first goal came about because of space between the lines in two ways – first Xavi Hernandez became free there, and then Messi being unoccupied dragged Patrice Evra towards him, opening up space for Pedro Rodriguez to fire home.

Almost all Barcelona's chances came from passes played to a position on the edge of the 'D'

That summed up United's failings without the ball, because they were too easily dragged out of shape – although usually in the midfield, rather than at the back. Giggs, Park and Valencia all found it difficult to compete, and Carrick was faced with Xavi and Iniesta coming past him, and Messi in behind him. That's 3rd, 2nd and 1st in last year's World Footballer of the Year award forming a triangle around him – he desperately needed help, and United needed another body in that zone.

And yet they managed to get back in it, though it was after the pressing that had worked early on, rather than good work in the midfield. They boxed in Barca when Abidal took a throw in the left-back position, won the ball quickly and then Rooney played an excellent double one-two with Carrick and Giggs, and finished superbly.

Second half

After the break, Giggs and Park were told to switch positions permanently, though they'd sometimes swapped in the first half. The wisdom of this was questionable – yes, United needed more energy in the middle, but Park was guilty of switching off for Aaron Ramsey's goal recently when pushed into the centre, and when watching the replay for Messi's goal here, he seemed to have given up off before Messi had struck the ball. That said, as mentioned earlier, it was the centre-backs' job to come up towards Messi, and they were slow to do so.

The other effect of the switch was Giggs becoming exposed to Alves' runs, and twice in the first ten minutes of the second half, Alves was through on goal after one of his classic darts down the right – once he shot at Edwin van der Sar, the other time he squared for Messi. Ferguson knew something different was needed in midfield, but switching Park and Giggs was unlikely to be the answer. With three central midfielders on the bench – Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Paul Scholes – he did have options.

Final stages

Messi dribbled past opponents easily in the 'number ten' position

Ferguson waited until the 69th minute to make a change, and that was enforced, as Fabio da Silva was struggling, possibly with cramp. Nani came on, Antonio Valencia went to right-back. Incidentally, it's not uncommon for Fabio to depart because of fitness problems. He's started 16 games this season and been removed 10 times, whilst his twin brother Rafael has been taken off in 8 of his last 9 games. These figures include tactical substitutions as well as changes because of injury, but a decent number have been fitness-related, and therefore it was a surprise that Ferguson named no full-back on the bench, with John O'Shea left out of the 18 altogether.

The substitution had little impact on the game, because David Villa soon curled a brilliant shot into the net to put Barcelona 3-1 up, and that settled it. United rarely threatened at two goals down, and Barcelona – particularly Messi – were keen to keep the ball rather than extend the lead.


"We never really controlled Messi," Ferguson admitted after the game. "But many people have said that. We never really closed the midfield well enough to counter them. We tried to play as near to the way we normally play. For instance, it's alien to us to try to man-mark players. We tried to play as normally as we can. It wasn't good enough on the night, we acknowledge that."

Guardiola was pleased with his side. "We pressed the ball a lot, we were on top of Carrick and Giggs and that shows the quality of our team. You'll always have problems in the Champions League final but we had less problems than in Rome – we had more chances and we made more of them.

Lionel Messi is the best player I've seen, the best I will ever see probably. We have good players but without him I don't think we'd be able to make that decisive leap."

As both managers touched upon, there were two key factors – first, United didn't get to grips with Barca in midfield, and second, Messi was sublime

دييجو مارادونا ثاني أعلى المدربين أجراً في العالم Maradona has taken up the job of Coach at Al Wasl (Dubai) with a 12M€ salary

SPANISH SPORTS daily "Sport" has an interesting article today that I thought may interest readers. They take a look at the highest earners in World Football-Soccer from the angle of Coaches .

Highest Paid World Football Soccer Coaches


What catches the eye & motivated the press story is the number two spot now under Diego Armando Maradona. The ex-Argentine National Team Selector & Coach has taken up the job of Coach at Al Wasl (Dubai) with a 12M€ salary. The only person ahead of Maradona is José Mourinho the REAL MADRID Coach in the Nº1 position with 13,5M€.

There is a Spanish Coach in the list who is RAFAEL BENITEZ & has the figure of 10,2M€ when he was at Inter Milan. The man is currently without Club & with that salary very few could pay for his services.

بعد تعاقده المفاجئ مع نادي الوصل ، سيكون الأسطورة الأرجنتينية ثاني أعلى مدربي العالم أجراً

براتب قدره 12 مليون يورو سنوياً ، متفوقاً على مدربين كبار في عالم كرة القدم أمثال فيرجسون ،

بيب جوارديولا ، فابيو كابيلو ، و أرسين فينجر . بينما يبقى أعلى مدربي كرة القدم أجراً في العالم هو

البرتغالي جوزيه مورينيو مدرب ريال مدريد براتب قدره 13.5 مليون يورو في السنة .

صحيفة سبورت الإسبانية

US team flies to North Korea as Kim visits China

A U.S. government team flew to North Korea to assess food shortages Tuesday, while the country's cloistered leader Kim Jong Il allegedly traveled to an eastern China city on a visit aimed at studying Beijing's financial reform.

The allocation led by Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issue, deceased Beijing for Pyongyang for a five-day visit to verify food supply surveys conduct by the United Nations and U.S.-based charity and see if there are ways to monitor aid allocation.

North Korea asked for food support in January after summer floods and during a bitter winter that hit staple crops. While compassionate organizations say aid is right away needed, the U.S., like other intercontinental donors, distrusts the secretive North Korean government, which has pursued illicit nuclear weapons and missile programs in spite of its dire food shortages.

Obama in jubilant Ireland: `I've come home'

He down a pint of Guinness with a far-away cousin and checked out centuries-old parish records tracing his family to Ireland. From the tiny village of Money gall to a huge, reassuring crowd in Dublin, President Barack Obama opened his four-nation trip through Europe on Monday with an unlikely homecoming far detached from the grind politics of Washington and the world.

"My name is Barack Obama, of the Money gall Obamas, and I've come home to find the apostrophe we lost anywhere along the way," a clearly tickled Obama — make that Obama — told the spread out throng at Dublin's College Green with his wife, Michelle, right by him. "We suffer very much at home."

Obama's feel-good immoderation in Ireland came at the start of a four-country, six-day trip that is bound to get into stickier matters as he goes. The only hindrance on day one was the exposure of a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland that led the president to leave Ireland with no even a night's stay and land in England on Monday night.

NATO airstrikes hit Tripoli, heaviest bombing yet

NATO warplanes bombard targets in Tripoli with more than 20 airstrikes early Tuesday, striking around Moammar Gadhafi's housing complex in what appeared to be the heaviest night of bombing of the Libyan capital since the Western coalition launch its air campaign against his forces.

The rapid string of strikes, all within less than half an hour, set off thunderous booms that rattled windows sent heavy, acrid-smelling plumes of smoke over the city, counting from an area close to Gadhafi's rambling Bab al-Aziziya complex.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said at least three people were killed and dozens hurt in NATO strikes that beleaguered what he express as buildings used by unpaid assistant units of the Libyan army.

Netanyahu: Israel cannot return to 1967 borders

Israel's prime minister assured to present his vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace in a talking before U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday, but vowed his country would not go back to mid-1967 borders that he termed "hard to defend."

Benjamin Netanyahu made this pledge in an address Monday to thousands of pro-Israel American Jews and U.S. lawmakers. His language drew roaring cheers and standing ovations, a sign of the commanding backing he enjoys in the U.S. as the White House pressure him to do more to refurbish stalled Mideast peacemaking.

The warm reception Netanyahu enjoy at the gala dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs commission contrast piercingly with the contentious quality of some of his new interactions with President Barack Obama accurately over border issues.

13th stage of the Giro d'Italia


Qatar may be stripped of World Cup, says Blatter


Blatter is currently running in the election for Fifa president


The Fifa president Sepp Blatter made the startling disclosure yesterday that he could not rule out a rerun of the voting for the right to host the 2022 World Cup finals which was controversially won by the tiny Arab emirate of Qatar in December.

Blatter, who is seeking re-election next month for a fourth term, said that a Fifa inquiry into claims made by The Sunday Times that there was corruption in the vote could lead to the Fifa executive committee (ExCo) voting again. It would represent the biggest U-turn in the governing body's history.

While Blatter was not thought to have cast his own vote for Qatar, he knows that any move to go back on the decision would cause huge ructions within world football. While the 75-year-old did not say what he thought the likely outcome of Fifa's investigation would be, he refused to put any limit on the measures they could take if they uncovered wrongdoing.

In an interview with the Press Association, Blatter said that the notion that the 2022 vote would be reheld was "alarming" but conceded it was one that had a groundswell of popular support and was "circulating around the world". He said: "But don't ask me now yes or no, let us go step by step. It's like we are in an ordinary court and in an ordinary court we cannot ask: 'If, if, if'."

Yesterday the Football Association announced it would be abstaining in the Fifa presidency vote on 1 June, which pits Blatter against the Qatari president of the Asian football confederation Mohamed Bin Hammam. The decision was made at an FA board meeting yesterday although it was not passed unanimously. The key opposition was thought to have come from Premier League chairman Dave Richards.

Unfortunately for the FA, its decision to place itself firmly outside the camps of the two power-brokers of world football was undermined by its unwillingness to back its actions up with a detailed condemnation of either candidate. Instead, the FA simply referred to a "well-reported range of issues" as its reasons for abstaining.

In private, the FA felt that it could not be more explicit until its own inquiry – headed by James Dingemans QC – into the explosive revelations of Fifa corruption in the 2018 World Cup bid process by former chairman Lord Triesman, reports a week today.

In response, Blatter described the FA chairman David Bernstein's announcement that the FA was abstaining as "strange". Refusing to accept that an abstention was a political gesture, Blatter said: "It is a bit strange when the No 1 association in the world – which is the FA – have two candidates to choose from and they cannot make a decision which one they support. It's strange."

The key corruption allegations that could trigger a rerun of the 2022 vote were uncovered by The Sunday Times which alleged to a Commons select committee investigation into football governance that ExCo members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma took bribes of $1.5m each to vote for Qatar.

Taking the World Cup from Qatar would be a huge blow to the prestige of Fifa which has been widely criticised for its decision to award the biggest sports event in the world to a country of 1.6 million people with little football culture and temperatures of around 50C in June and July. Qatar spent by far and away the most on its bid, committing £27m on communications alone in one year. To put that in perspective, the next biggest budget in the 2022 race was Australia who spent £28m in total.

It is Bin Hammam's involvement with the Qatar 2022 World Cup campaign that means the FA does not regard him as a suitable alternative to Blatter. If The Sunday Times allegations are proved right then he will be implicated.

Blatter revealed yesterday that Fifa had agreed with The Sunday Times that the newspaper's whistle-blower, who disclosed the alleged bribes paid to the two ExCo members, would come to Zurich to give evidence in person to Fifa's own investigation. Lord Triesman made allegations against a further four ExCo members – Trinidad's Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, Brazil's Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi of Thailand – who he accused of soliciting bribes and favours from the England 2018 World Cup bid.

There was trouble closer to home for the FA yesterday when the results of a staff survey heavily criticising the organisation's management were leaked. In it, FA staff expressed a lack of faith in senior management, including the general secretary Alex Horne who has had to pick up the pieces after the resignation of two FA chairmen and one chief executive in the space of nine months last year.

FA sources expressed surprise yesterday that the survey had not found itself into the public sphere earlier given that it had been readily available on the intranet of the notoriously leaky organisation for months. The FA says that it has already had extensive meetings to try to put the problem right and that it will be judged on its performance in staging the FA Cup final last Saturday, the Champions League final in eight days' time and the England Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland on 4 June.

التصنيف الشهري الصادر عن الاتحاد الدولي لكرة القدم- فيفا

زيوريخ (سويسرا) 18-5-2011 (ا ف ب) - لم يطرأ اي تعديل على صدارة التصنيف
الشهري الصادر عن الاتحاد الدولي لكرة القدم (فيفا) اليوم الاربعاء وحافظت اسبانيا
بطلة العالم وهولندا وصيفتها على مركزيهما الاول والثاني.
وبقيت بالتالي المراكز العشر الاولى على حالها في هذا التصنيف الذي تتصدره
اسبانيا برصيد 1857 نقطة امام هولندا (1702 نقطة) والبرازيل التي حافظت على مركزها
الثالث (1425 نقطة).
وعلى الصعيد العربي، بقيت مصر في المركز 36 امام المنتخب الجزائري الذي تراجع
مرتبة واحدة ليصبح في المركز 41، في حين بقيت تونس في المركز 61، والمغرب في
المركز 73، والسعودية في المركز 88.

- ترتيب المنتخبات ال20 الاوائل:
1- اسبانيا 1857 نقطة
2- هولندا 1702
3- البرازيل 1425
4- المانيا 1413
5- الارجنتين 1267
6- انكلترا 1163
7- الاوروغواي 1094
8- البرتغال 1052
9- ايطاليا 1019
10- كرواتيا 991
11- النروج 987
12- اليونان 985
13- تشيلي 967
14- اليابان 961
15- غانا 918
16- صربيا 907
17- سلوفينيا 903
18- روسيا 896
19- فرنسا 883
20- استراليا 876

- ترتيب المنتخبات العربية:
36- مصر 676 نقطة
41- الجزائر 609
58- ليبيا 534
61- تونس 527
73- المغرب 445
88- السعودية 386
89- العراق 383
92- قطر 380
93- الاردن 378
97- البحرين 338
101- الكويت 320
104- سوريا 295
104- السودان 295
107- عمان 294
111- الامارات 273
129- اليمن 203
171- فلسطين 67
178- لبنان 51
180- موريتانيا 45
187- الصومال 23
188- جزر القمر 19
192- جيبوتي 17

Tunisia Threatens Libya Over Rocket Attacks

Tunisia has threatened to statement Libya to the UN Security Council if it fires on boundary areas once more amid claims rockets were fired by Colonel Gaddafi's forces. Weight has been piling on the Libyan head after an obvious defection by his oil minister and additional Nato air strikes on Tripoli.

Now, a Tunisian foreign ministry source has warned the government would take following action over "ongoing firing of rockets" towards Tunisian country. Earlier on Tuesday at least four Russian-made Grad rocket fired from Libya landed inside Tunisia, according to reports.

The attacks forced Libyan rebels to pull back temporarily from the Dehiba-Wazin border crossing, save for they kept control even with several rebel deaths and injuries. A Tunisian government official has said oil minister Shukri Ghanem, a expert of Col Gaddafi's regime, had left Libya at the weekend and was in neighboring Tunisia.

IMF chief under suicide watch at NYC jail

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed under a suicide watch in jail, while weight mounted on him to leave Tuesday and the hotel maid who accused him of attempted rape said from end to end her lawyer that she had no idea who he was when she reports him to the police.

Law enforcement officials emphasize that Strauss-Kahn had not tried to harm himself except that guards were keeping a shut watch on him just in case.

In the interim, information began to emerge about his complainant, a 32-year-old migrant from the West African nation of Guinea with a 15-year-old daughter.

"There is no way in which there is any feature of this occasion which could be construed consensual in any mode. This is not anything other than a physical, sexual assault by this man on this little woman," her lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro, told The Associated Press. He added: "She did not be familiar with who this man was until a day or two following this took place."

Senate blocks bill repealing $2B in oil tax breaks

The Senate blocked a bill Tuesday that would cancel about $2 billion a year in tax breaks for the five major oil companies, a Democratic retort to $4-a-gallon gasoline that might fare better when Congress and the White House discuss a deal afterward this year to add to the government's ability to have a loan of.

The bill was beaten on a procedural vote. But Democrats hope to erect their case to contain the measure in a deficit-reduction package being negotiated by key lawmakers and the Obama administration. Lawmakers from both parties are challenging deficit reduction as part of deal to boost the government's capacity to borrow and avoid a record default on U.S. Treasury bonds.

"This bill says that yet the most rich and powerful between us must do their fair share to help us reduce the shortfall," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the bill's sponsor. "Their high-priced lobbyists cannot stop us from doing what is fair and what is right."

Borussia Dortmund celebrate with the German soccer championship trophy

Players of Borussia Dortmund celebrate with the German soccer championship trophy during a ceremony after their German first division Bundesliga soccer match against Eintracht Frankfurt in Dortmund, May 14, 2011.

Dortmund won the match 3-1 and the Bundesliga title this season

Dortmund's players celebrate with the trophy after the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt in the western German city of Dortmund, on May 14, 2011. Dortmund won the match 3-1 and the Bundesliga title this season.

19 vs 18 times Manchester United overtaking the record for league titles from Liverpool

Manchester United fans celebrate after Manchester United won the English Premier League at Ewood Park, Blackburn, England, Saturday May 14, 2011. The banner refers to the team's overtaking the record for league titles from Liverpool.

Manchester United won the English Premier League at Ewood Park

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, left, and manager Alex Ferguson, center, celebrate after Manchester United won the English Premier League at Ewood Park, Blackburn, England, after they tied their soccer match against Blackburn, Saturday May 14, 2011.

Manchester City wins English FA Cup Final soccer match at Wembley

Manchester City's Argentinian footballer Carlos Tevez (C) celebrates with team-mates after his team beat Stoke 1-0 during the FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Stoke City at Wembley Stadium in London, on May 14, 2011.

Sun Life Stadium

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MAY 10: General View of Sun Life Stadium during a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Florida Marlins on May 10, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Officials: Bin Laden eyed small cities as targets

Although hunted and in hiding, Osama bin Laden remained the driving force behind each recent al-Qaida terror plot, U.S. officials say, citing his private journal and other documents recovered in last week's raid.

Awaiting Navy SEALs killed him a week ago, bin Laden dispensed chilling advice to the leaders of al-Qaida groups from Yemen to London: Hit Los Angeles, not just New York, he wrote. Target trains as well as planes. If possible, strike on major dates, such as the Fourth of July and the impending 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Over all, he urged, kill added Americans in a single attack, to drive them from the Arab world.

Bin Laden's written words illustrate that counterterrorist officials worldwide underestimated how key he remained to running the organization, shattering the conservative thinking that he had been summary from side to side separation to being an inspiring figurehead, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

AP-GfK poll: Americans more upbeat about economy

Americans are growing more positive about the U.S. economy, a sentiment that is benefit President Barack Obama in spite of public disillusionment with his handling of rising petrol prices and swollen government financial plan deficits.

An Associated Press-GfK poll shows that more than 2 out of 5 people believe the U.S. economy will get better, while a third think it will stay the same and nearly a fourth think it will get worse, a spring up back from last month's more negative attitude. And, for the first time since the 100-day mark of his presidency, somewhat more than half agree of Obama's stewardship of the economy.

Both findings characterize a boost for Obama, nevertheless he still must triumph over ill will over government red ink and the price of gas at the pump, at the present hovering around $4 a gallon.


Hernández (1)
Vidic (23)
(HT 2-0)
Lampard (68)
Javier Hernandez and Nemanja Vidic were the goal scorers as United virtually ensure a record 19th league title -Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1: match report
Chelsea beaten: Javier Hernandez and Nemanja Vidic were the goal scorers as United virtually ensure a record 19th league title Photo: ACTION IMAGES

Manchester United celebrated like champions at Old Trafford after a 36-second opener from Javier Hernandez and a Nemanja Vidic header took them to the brink of a record 19th league title.

One point from the final two games against relegation-threatened Blackburn next Saturday and Blackpool on the final day of the season will be enough to seal a championship which will take them past the mark Liverpool have been on for so long.

Sir Alex Ferguson felt victory over closest rivals Chelsea was worthy of a couple of bows to the Stretford End as he knows, as do all United's rivals, the prospect of them not getting over the line now is unthinkable.

Built up as the title decider for a week, so important Ferguson selected a shadow side for a Champions League semi-final, these matches are so often a disappointment.

Not this one. Not when United were ahead so quickly.

Carlo Ancelotti must have been devastated to concede quite so simply so early in the game.

Ryan Giggs began the move, stroking a short pass forward for Park Ji-sung, who turned out to be one of United's most effective players.

The South Korean knew Hernandez would be right on the shoulder of the last defender. He could not legislate for that defender failing to cut out the pass.

Ancelotti made his feelings known about that in the aftermath as he berated David Luiz from the touchline. Hernandez was not hanging about to consider it, darting forward before burying his 20th goal of the season into the bottom corner.

Old Trafford erupted and then watched spellbound as their team produced an awesome display of attacking power.

Wayne Rooney was agonisingly close on two occasions, Hernandez should have tucked home Park's far-post cross despite Luiz's touch. Park himself brought an excellent save from Petr Cech.

From the latter effort United gained the corner that brought their second as first Salomon Kalou, then Branislav Ivanovic fell asleep.

Kalou's crime was to allow Park to race past him and play a short corner with Giggs.

The Ivorian was then beaten too easily as Giggs nipped to the byline before dropping a cross into the heart of Chelsea's box where Vidic strode past fellow Serb Ivanovic and powered home from close range.

Chelsea did create opportunities themselves. Edwin van der Sar made an excellent save to repel Kalou and Didier Drogba went close on a couple of occasions.

But those chances came against the backdrop of a game set up exactly as the Red Devils would wish, which made the otherwise outstanding Rooney's decision to react to the baiting he was receiving from the visiting fans all the more puzzling.

Having expressed his concern about United being on the wrong end of a refereeing decision, Ferguson could at least console himself his side had established a winning position before Howard Webb turned down their penalty appeals for what seemed a clear Frank Lampard handball to block Antonio Valencia's cross.

With no comeback in sight, Fernando Torres became the third Chelsea replacement after an hour.

Having spent big in January to land some silverware, owner Roman Abramovich must be wondering whether his £75million has been invested wisely given Luiz, an accident waiting to happen on this occasion, had understandably been taken off at the break, along with John Obi Mikel.

The changes brought the reaction Ancelotti was looking for though as Ivanovic climbed highest to reach a Ramires cross and headed down for Lampard, who prodded home from close range.

United should have snuffed the visitors' lingering hopes out immediately though as Hernandez nicked possession away from Ramires and seemed to have presented Rooney with a tap-in, only for Alex to slide across to make a crucial goal-line clearance.

Rooney then spurned three chances to seal the contest, firing the first wide, inexplicably failing to even shoot with the second, before finally having an effort deflected over by Alex.

Hernandez wasted an even better opportunity when he nodded Valencia's teasing cross over from six yards.

It was all happening at the wrong end for Chelsea though, apart from a Torres effort that never threatened.

Indeed, the visitors were resigned to their fate long before the final whistle, with United knowing they could be celebrating history at Ewood Park next Saturday just as Manchester City are taking the field for their first FA Cup final in 30 

West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers

West Ham's Senegalese striker Demba Ba (L) vies with Blackburn's Congolese defender Christopher Samba (R) during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, in East London, England, on May 7, 2011

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 07: (R-L) Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines throws a right to the body of Shane Mosley in the WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 7, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.