LITESPORT WAYNE ROONEY goes into tomorrows World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine admitting: It would be amazing to cap- tain my country at home in 2018. England are strong contenders to host the tournament in nine years time and Rooney is keen to play a central role if the competition is held in this country. Though he will be 32 by then, Rooney said: Hopefully I will still be playing and it would be great to play in my home country.If Imcaptain,thatwouldbeeven better. It would be amazing. The last tourna- ment here was Euro 96 and I was only 11 then, a bit too young to appreciate it. You see what London 2012 has done for kids getting into sport, and Im sure the World Cup here would get more young kids playing the game, which can only be a good thing. The Manchester United striker, cur- rently Europes top scorer in qualifying with nine goals in a perfect eight victo- ries, refuses to take the final two Group 6 games lightly, though England have already qualified for the finals in South Africa next summer. And he admits he owes a debt of gratitude to Cristiano Ronaldo for ensuring he did not shoulder the blame for Englands World Cup exit in Gelsenkirchen three years ago. Rooneys red card in the quarter-final defeat to Portugal was overshadowed by Ronaldos infamous wink, which was roundly condemned at the time, as the pair were Old Trafford team-mates. Rooney,whohasmaturedsomuchsince the angry years, now recognises Ronaldo didhimafavour--becausehisownstamp on Ricardo Carvalho was largely over- looked, unlike David Beckhams petulant dismissal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France. I didnt really get any stick, said Rooney. Ronaldo took a lot of it and I was pleased about that. I still got it when I played for my club but that is just normal. In that instance, I know I could have taken a lot more. Rooney maintains he did not mean to catch Carvalho, though the 23-year-old accepts it looked bad. Rooney, who has yet to be cautioned in the current campaign, said: There is a balancethatyouneedtogetrightbecause if you go over the top, you will miss a lot of games through suspension. And if youre too aggressive, you cant really concentrate on the game. The frustration does build up if you are not scoring, even if you still play well. I am not saying it makes you do stupid tackles, but you do get frustrated. With Capellos entire squad making the flight out to Dnepropetrovsk last night, the Italian is likely to pick Emile Heskey alongside Rooney up front, though both Carlton Cole and Peter Crouch have been in better goalscoring form recently. Rooneys view? I love playing up front with Emile. He is big, strong and holds the ball up. He has been criticised about his goal- scoring but what he brings to the team is different. It is great to play off him. 46 Friday, 9 October 2009 London Lite SKIPPER ROONIt would be amazing to lead the country in a World Cup at home CROATIA coach Slaven Bilic, the man who ended Englands hopes of playing in Euro 2008, is now relying on Fabio Capellos men to beat Ukraine and boost his countrys chances of qualifying for the World Cup. The former West Ham star says he will be a nervous wreck during tomorrows match but is desperately hoping Fabio Capellos side do him a favour. Croatia, who beat England home and away to stop them qualifying for Euro 2008, are in serious danger of missing out on the World Cup next year following their 5-1 defeat at Wembley last month. They lead Ukraine by two points in the race to finish runners-up to England in Group Six and claim a place in the play- offs, but they have played one game more. This means Croatia will effectively be knocked out if England lose in Dnipropetrovsk because Ukraines last game, next Wednesday, is against minnows Andorra, who have lost every match. Bilic will be preparing his side for their final game against Kazakhstan when Englands match kicks off, but will take time out to cheer on the men in white. He said: I will watch it in my room. We are making plans so the whole team can watch it, but I think I will be alone -- I need to watch it alone. Its the worst feeling when you need to watch something decisive and its not in your hands. It will be difficult for me to watch. BY GEOFF TEATHER Give us a hand: Slaven Bilic relying on England Inbrief Tosh must fight to the Finnish WALES have suffered another blow with the loss of Sheffield United forward David Cotterill for tomorrows World Cup Group 4 qualifier in Finland. Manager John Toshack said: This seems to be never ending. We lost Danny Gabbidon, Joe Ledley and Sam Ricketts within 24 hours before we left Cardiff. Now David has had to go home, and Rob Earnshaw is a real doubt, he injured himself training here. Prince remains up for the Kop PROSPECTIVE Liverpool investor Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud would consider a complete takeover of the club if the debt levels were more manageable. The Saudi prince has been involved in discussions with George Gillett about buying at least a part-share in the Merseysiders. The Princes advisor Barry Didato said: His Highnesss shareholding could go from anything from nought to 100%. Sting in tale of Juve dope row JUVENTUS maintain they acted within doping rules over claims Fabio Cannavaro failed a drug test and the club will co-operate with the Italian Olympic Committees investigation. The Bianconeri insist Cannavaros adverse test result was due to an injection that was administered to the player following an insect sting last August, which could have been fatal had the clubs medical team not intervened. Cultured Cahill isnt a clogger GARY CAHILL believes he is not an old-fashioned head it and clear the ball type of defender and has the qualities needed to step up to international level with England. Cahill is pressing for an England debut after being called into the squad for the trip to Ukraine in place of the injured Joleon Lescott. He said: Id like to think Im not just a head and clear it sort of defender. Id like to think I can get the ball down and play it. Triesman lauds Englands bid LORD TRIESMAN is hoping Englands history of tackling racism in football will play a part in the 2018 World Cup bid. As he announced a host of foreign ambassadors supporting the campaign including Ossie Ardiles and Gianfranco Zola he said: We faced our demons in the past. When we see any signs of a re- emergence well stamp on it. Triesman was responding to Jack Warners criticism of Englands bid. UKRAINE vENGLAND LATEST BETTING MATCH ODDS Ukraine 9-5, England 6-4, draw 13-5. FIRST GOALSCORER Rooney 6-1, Shevchenko 7-1, Crouch 8-1, Milevskiy, Lampard 9-1, Voronin 9-1, Agbonlahor 9-1, Heskey 10-1, Yarmolenko 11-1. LAST MEETING 1 APRIL 2009 ENGLAND 2 UKRAINE 1 (WCQ) PERHAPS the most entertaining moment of this tedious qualifier came when Peter Crouch heeded the advice of comedian James Corden, who in a sketch for comic relief advised Crouch to revive his robot dance were he to score for his country again. Crouch duly obliged and fed the rope after firing England into an early lead. Andriy Shevchenko stunned Wembley and levelled things up before John Terry snatched a late winner. MATCH FACTS This is Englands first ever international match in the Ukraine. They have won six of their previous seven visits to former Soviet states, scoring 17 goals and conceding only three. This is only the second ever competitive match Ukraine will have played in Dnipropetrovsk they drew 2-2 against Albania in their final WCQ match in October 2005. Ukraine manager Alexei Mikhailichenko has previously scored against England he netted for the USSR in their 3-1 win against England at the European Championships in Frankfurt, June 1988. If Wayne Rooney scores today he will become Englands 11th highest scorer alongside Bryan Robson who netted 26 international goals. If he scores twice he will enter the top ten and draw level with David Platt who netted 27 times. At least Bilic will be able to watch game on telly GROUP 6 P W D L F A PTS ENGLAND (Q) 8 8 0 0 31 5 24 CROATIA 9 5 2 2 17 12 17 UKRAINE 8 4 3 1 14 6 15 BELARUS 8 3 1 4 15 11 10 KAZAKHSTAN 8 2 0 6 10 23 6 ANDORRA 9 0 0 9 3 33 0 BY NEAL COLLINS Winks a lot: Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006 index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html