Costa treble inspires Blues

first_img Chelsea’s response was slow in coming, but when it did Costa got his timing spot on, heading in his fifth Premier League goal just before the interval. The Brazil-born Spain striker appears to be the ‘killer’ frontman Jose Mourinho coveted last term in becoming the first Chelsea player since 1928 to score in his first four games. Jack Meredith managed just six goals in all for the Blues, a mark Costa soon surpassed as he tucked in his second after yet another assist from Cesc Fabregas. The new signings have developed a strong understanding early in their Chelsea careers in a partnership integral to the Blues’ bid for a first Premier League title since 2010. Costa’s goals are key to that, too, and he completed his hat-trick before making way for Loic Remy, who struck the fourth on his debut. Jonjo Shelvey pulled a goal back, but it appears Chelsea and Costa will take some stopping this season. The Blues begin their Champions League Group G campaign against Schalke on Wednesday night and meet Premier League holders Manchester City next weekend in a test of their credentials. Mourinho might have been tempted to keep Costa in reserve for the week after a hamstring injury saw him withdraw from international duty with Spain. Swansea, like Chelsea, opened the season with three wins from three games, and early on the visitors looked more like title challengers than their lethargic hosts. The lead, courtesy of a John Terry own goal, was just reward for City’s early dominance. Diego Costa demonstrated his killer instinct with a hat-trick as Chelsea came from behind to extend their 100 per cent winning start to the Barclays Premier League season with a 4-2 win over Swansea at Stamford Bridge. But it soon became apparent that the Blues would need him after Swansea started well. Wayne Routledge volleyed wide and then dispossessed Nemanja Matic in a challenge he should not have won in the move which led to the opening goal. Ki Sung-yeung, influential early on, fed left-back Neil Taylor, whose cross Terry could only turn in to his own net. Bafetimbi Gomis – Swansea’s one change following the 3-0 defeat of West Brom, Wilfried Bony dropping to the bench – twice had half chances but could not find the target. Routledge curled one narrowly wide as Swansea threatened again before Chelsea finally came into the game. Jordi Amat and Shelvey were each booked for fouls on Eden Hazard on the edge of the Swansea box and from the second opportunity Andre Schurrle’s free-kick was tipped over by Lukasz Fabianski. A Branislav Ivanovic cross evaded Costa and was headed over by Oscar, who then tested Fabianski with a low shot before his dangerous cross from the right was dealt with by the Polish goalkeeper. Costa and Amat tangled on the touchline as the striker showed his menace before delivering another blow. The £32million summer signing – a man Mourinho chased for a year – lurked behind Ivanovic before meeting a Fabregas corner with a low, firm header. Mourinho was clearly not satisfied with seeing his team reach the interval level as World Cup winner Schurrle was replaced by Ramires. Amat, treading a fine line against Costa, went off for Federico Fernandez for Swansea. Costa immediately tested Swansea’s defence, his effort from a corner ballooning over off Ivanovic. Soon Chelsea – and Costa – had a second after a one-two between Fabregas and Hazard on the left edge of the Swansea box. In a combination that is becoming familiar even at this early stage in the season, Fabregas laid on the assist, pulling the ball back for Costa to finish clinically. Mourinho spoke on Friday of his strikers being an upgrade on last term and the statistics prove it. Fernando Torres, now at AC Milan on a two-year loan, took over a year to score the same total after his £50m arrival from Liverpool in January 2011 and netted five Premier League goals in 28 appearances last term. Shelvey sliced wide and Gomis was unable to lift the ball over the onrushing Thibaut Courtois, who had a quiet second half as he celebrated his new five-year contract. Courtois watched from afar as Costa struck once more. Ramires scuffed his shot into the path of the striker, who pounced to complete his hat-trick. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich smiled widely and joined in the applause as Costa departed after 72 minutes for Remy to make his debut. Remy, signed only after Torres’ move to Italy, quickly made his mark, tucking in Oscar’s pass. Shelvey pulled a goal back with four minutes to play after substitute Bony’s incisive pass. Mourinho tucked the ball under his arm after it entered his technical area from the restart and Swansea could not breach the Chelsea defence again. Press Associationlast_img read more

Biggest Moments of Democrat Debate in Detroit

first_imgAuthor and activist Marianne Williamson is the number one Googled candidate at the Democratic presidential candidate debate Tuesday night.She took the debate stage in Detroit along with nine other hopefuls. Williamson, who mounted an unsuccessful congressional bid in California five years ago, led searches in 49 of 50 states.Governor Steve Bullock was number one in his home state of Montana.Democratic presidential candidates addressed immigration in America.Speaking at the second Democratic Debate in Detroit, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke said he would reserve the right to prosecute those who illegally cross the border.Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said needs border security border security but shouldn’t criminalize families wishing to start a new life in America. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said “a mother and child walking a dangerous path” to cross the border are not criminals.last_img read more

Hope Indian Fans Support New Zealand In World Cup Final: Kane Williamson

first_imgManchester: After beating Virat Kohli’s men in the semifinals, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is hopeful that Indian fans are not too angry with the Black Caps and would be supporting them in the finals of the ongoing World Cup.On Wednesday, New Zealand came out with a brilliant bowling performance as they registered a 18-run victory over the Men in Blue at the Old Trafford to make it to their second successive World Cup final. Also Read – Meghalayan mid-fielder Phrangki Buam joins ISL side FC Goa “I hope they’re not too angry. Obviously, the passion for the game in India is unrivalled and we are all fortunate to play this sport and have a country like India be right behind it,” Kane Williamson said at the post-match press conference.“But hopefully we can adopt 1.5 billion supporters and they’ll be supporting us,” he added.The Black Caps defended a chaseable 240-run target as they bowled out India for 221 in the final over of the game. Also Read – COVID-19: Football team observes ‘social distancing’ during match, loses 37-0“The game of cricket is fickle in its nature especially when it comes to the white ball and T20 and one-day cricket.“Today perhaps some of those small margins went our way and it was great that we could get across the line and beat a very strong side,” he added. IANSAlso Read: We Believed We Could Put Pressure On India With 240: Kane Williamsonlast_img read more

Flash play surprises students

first_imgUSC students, faculty and visitors received a surprise in the courtyard behind Doheny Memorial Library Thursday afternoon in the form of a “flash play,” put on by USC Libraries in partnership with the School of Dramatic Arts.Flash act · Students, alumni and an actress perform in a surprise flash play in the courtyard of Doheney Memorial Library on Thursday. afternoon. – Isabella Sayyah | Daily TrojanThe play, directed by Oliver Mayer, associate professor of dramatic writing, was performed by a group of four students and alumni, as well as Dallas actress Marlene Forte, Mayer’s wife.“I love the idea of agitprop, which is what really made a difference back in the day, so when I heard about the flash plays I was like, ‘I want to be in one,’” Forte said.The group put together the first flash play last year in front of Doheny, and is planning on holding three or four more this semester.“We’re doing one for Lewis Carroll because that’s a big thing that they do around Alice in Wonderland; one for the ONE collection, which is the LGBT archive; one we think we’re going to do in the Engineering [Library], because it’s the most used library and one in [the] Fine Arts [Library],” Mayer said.Though the play focused specifically on Doheny and the different libraries within it, the group also described Thursday’s play as an introduction to the libraries in general.“It’s a remount of the premier of the original one we did in the spring,” said Jonathan Munoz-Proulx, a recent graduate and the director of the flash play. “We remounted it with some adjustments and another cast to celebrate it again and to remind everyone [the libraries] are here.”Though, true to its name, the flash play was a surprise, some people were tipped off that it would happen. Around noon, many Doheny librarians and staff descended to the courtyard because they had heard that “something” was about to happen there.For those who do not work at the library, USC Libraries tweeted, and USC retweeted: “Can you keep a secret? Something special might happen today around noon outside Literatea. #USC.”Others, however, remained in the dark about the approximately five-minute performance, which interrupted their work.“I was here with a student having a conference, so I was a little bit annoyed that they were interrupting,” said Jessica Harmon, a graduate student in linguistics and a Writing 140 lecturer. “I thought it would be good that a student was there who maybe didn’t know about the libraries and [would] hear about stuff that he wouldn’t necessarily know from living on campus.”Mayer said that in the future, the plays will be teased through Twitter and Facebook.Future plays may also have other special guest performers.“I’m the one who tries to get people who are on TV to do [the plays]because I think that makes it a little fun for everybody,” Forte said.last_img read more

USC prepares for conference tournament

first_imgDespite losing three of its last six regular-season games, the USC women’s basketball team enters the Pac-10 tournament with a strong chance of earning a postseason bid.All-around player · Junior guard Briana Gilbreath is a consistent offensive and defensive force for USC. This week, she was named to the All-Pac-10 team for the second straight season and Pac-10 All-Defensive Team for the third straight time. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan First up for the Women of Troy (18-11, 10-8) is a game against Washington State, a team they beat twice during the regular season.Last week, USC overcame a second-half deficit to take down the Cougars (8-22, 6-12) at the Galen Center.“Washington State is a hot team,” said USC coach Michael Cooper. “They have some guards who can shoot the ball. One thing we have on our side is that the game is being played at the Galen Center.”Cooper says his team is peaking at the right time. In their final regular season game, the Women of Troy blew a double-digit halftime lead against Washington, but rallied to win in overtime.“Two weeks ago we might have lost that game,” Cooper said. “We’re excited because we ended [the season] on a positive note. We hold our destiny in our hands and have a chance to get into the tournament.”All season long, the Women of Troy have pointed to 20 wins as the benchmark for earning a postseason berth.Last season, USC won 19 games and was denied a tournament bid.Reaching that number will be made more difficult by the absence of junior guard and all-conference performer Ashley Corral, who will serve the second game of her suspension tonight against the Cougars. Corral was suspended before the Washington game for violating team rules.In her place, USC will rely on redshirt senior guard Jacki Gemelos and freshman guard Len’Nique Brown. Gemelos, who started handling the ball more as the season progressed, gives the Women of Troy a versatile threat at point guard.“[Gemelos has] done a great job handling the point position,” Cooper said. “We’re going to need her leadership and perimeter shooting.”Brown, who has played well in limited duty, will be called on to relieve Gemelos at the point.“Len’Nique just has to play good, steady basketball,” he said. “[We] don’t need her to score 20 points, we just need her to play good defense and get us into our plays.”If the Women of Troy beat Washington State, they will play the winner of the Arizona-Oregon game. USC split the season series with the Wildcats and swept the Ducks.Tip-off is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. on Thursday.Looming after that game is a semifinal clash with  No. 2 Stanford. USC hung tough with the Cardinal last month at the Galen Center and is looking for a repeat performance.“We know what we need to do,” Gemelos said. “We need two wins in the Pac-10 tournament, and then against Stanford we need to compete and beat them as well.”Tip-off is at 5 p.m. tonight at the Galen Center.last_img read more

Syracuse football to host Wagner, an FCS opponent, in September 2018

first_img Published on June 26, 2017 at 12:24 pm Contact: jtbloss@syr.edu | @jtbloss Syracuse will host Wagner on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, the schools announced Monday, finalizing SU’s nonconference schedule for the 2018 season. Wagner, located in Staten Island, New York, competes in the FCS, the tier below FBS, in which SU competes. The Seahawks finished 6-5 last season. The Orange has faced the them just once program history, winning a 2013 bout in the Carrier Dome, 54-0.“This game fits with our philosophy of putting together a schedule which collectively balances our non-conference opponents and ACC opponents,” Syracuse Director of Athletics John Wildhack said in a statement.    Here’s the rest of SU’s 2018 schedule, with the specifics of Atlantic Coast Conference games expected to be announced in January:Sept. 1 at Western MichiganAdvertisementThis is placeholder textSept. 8 vs. WagnerSept. 29 vs. ConnecticutNov. 17 at Notre DameACC home games: Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina, NC StateACC away games: Boston College, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Wake ForestSyracuse opens the 2017 campaign Sept. 1 in the Carrier Dome. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Lax has what it takes to win it all

first_imgI figured it wouldn’t happen a second time in a row. Two years ago, during another very strong season in 2014, the women’s lacrosse team improved its national reputation as a formidable team, continuing to grow as one of the up-and-coming programs. But the Women of Troy hadn’t broken away as the clear force to be reckoned with, the true best of the west, in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.The Women of Troy dropped three of nine conference games  in 2014, including a heartbreaking overtime thriller at Colorado by a score of 12-11. The Women of Troy followed that up with another frustrating 1-goal loss that weekend at Denver, losing 8-7. Denver was already one of the dominant forces in women’s lacrosse on the West Coast, so it was easier to understand how an upstart USC program wasn’t quite on the Pioneers’ level yet.The loss to Colorado, though, was an upset in the other direction. Colorado was the kind of team USC had to beat consistently if it wanted to be a threat to win the conference. Not that there are any games to give away in a nine-game conference season, but splitting between Denver and Stanford still leaves open the possibility of finishing on top of the standings. Everybody else, though, including Colorado, are pretty much must-wins.It’s similar to the football team’s season. There’s usually enough parity and margin for error for ’SC to drop one to either Stanford or Oregon, but win every other game, and finish on top of the standings. It’s arguably more important that the Trojans show up for all of the potential sleepers and avoid a bad upset than it is for the Trojans to be at a different level against the toughest competition.So that’s what made this year’s trip to the Rockies so important for the women’s lacrosse team. Not only would it feature arguably the Trojans’ toughest conference test all season in Denver, but it also featured the biggest opportunity for an upset. It was so crucial that the Women of Troy brought their best focus into Boulder. Because as the late and great Star Wars voice actor Erik Bauersfeld would say, “It’s a trap.”Sure enough, the Women of Troy found themselves back in overtime.Let’s backtrack a bit — up until that point, this had been by far the best season in the program’s history. The Women of Troy are undefeated, they have climbed into the top-10 of the national poll and they looked poised to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.The biggest win up before the Colorado trip was a breakout performance against Duke. The Blue Devils, one of the perennial national powers, knocked the Women of Troy out of playoffs the year before and advanced all the way to the national semifinals. But with a big 11-5 win over the Blue Devils, the Women of Troy not only avenged last year’s playoff loss but also set the tone for the rest of this season. The new expectations were that this team would be a legitimate national title contender — this would be the season the Women of Troy take another huge step forward.Since then, the Women of Troy had done nothing but dominate. They certainly validated the updated national polls that continue to rank them higher and higher. With the exception of a 14-10 victory over Stony Brook, a well-established East Coast program, the Women of Troy won all nine of their next games by at least 9 goals.In some ways, it was a great sign for the program. They were truly wiping the floor with the MPSF competition. But the team was in need of a challenge. Not only had the team played every game in California, including the Duke matchup, but the Blue Devils were the only opponent really on USC’s level.So that’s what made the Colorado trip crucial. It was not just the undefeated record of the team that was on the line, or the chance to take command of the MPSF standings and set the team up for an advantageous NCAA tournament run. It was a chance for the team to show its true mental toughness.It certainly wasn’t a flawless performance. I’m sure players would say that Colorado shouldn’t be the kind of team taking USC to the brink of defeat. But in the face of the team’s first true test, the team answered the call. It showed up and made the big plays when they mattered most, and came away with a hard-earned victory.The road will continue to get harder. The Women of Troy will still have to hit Stanford and visit another national power in Northwestern this weekend.But the team made another big step this weekend. This season is no longer about USC hypothetically having a shot at the national title, or having the talent to compete for a national title. This team legitimately could win it all in its fourth-ever season. The Women of Troy seriously have what it takes.Luke Holthouse is junior majoring in policy, planning and development and print and digital journalism. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs on every other Wednesday.last_img read more

Barr & Gregan out of Worlds

first_imgIreland’s Thomas Barr has been forced to withdraw from tonight’s 400-metres hurdles semi-final at the World Athletics Championships.The Waterford man, who was fourth at the Olympics last summer, has picked up to a vomiting bug.Barr says it’s ‘beyond disappointing’ to miss the semi as his whole year had been focused on the Worlds. © IAAF Brian Gregan’s World Athletics Championships campaign has also drawn to a close with the Irish athlete exiting the men’s 400 metres at the semi-final stage.It was certainly an expected result in terms of the seeding, but Gregan still clocked one of the fastest times of his life, and also beat former world and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt in bowing out.last_img

BLUES FOR MY ARGENTINA FRIENDS

first_imgBut Moscow and St Petersburg, the two major bubbling cities in Russia remain in top tempo as they are stiff full of actions with matches lined up till semi finals, third place and final in the two respective cities.In most hotels in St Petersburg for instance, the sky-blue and white colours of Argentina that used to be the dominant jerseys in sight have started to fade following the exit of the Albiceleste against France Sunday night.The boisterous fans of the South American nation were seen in solemn moods at most bars Sunday night, wondering why they have to leave at this stage.A group of five that have become close to this reporter failed to show up at our usual rendezvous. Franco, who appears as the top dog of the travelling Argentine party in St Petersburg was seen at breakfast table this morning not his usual self. “Amigo, I am not happy today,” he muttered in his heavily accented Spanish guttural intonation. “Why, Messi, Why?” he continued to stress over Argentina’s loss to a Kylian Mbappe inspired Les Bleus in that Round of 16 seven-goal thriller at the Kazan Arena.I could not hide my happiness that the Argentines were going home like the Super Eagles, not after that insulting, ‘f–k you’ finger gesture from Maradona, when camera picked him out from the crowd during that last Group D game against Nigeria. Though I feel sad losing the company of these noisy, football crazy Argentine fans, I said in my heart that the injustice of Turkish centre referee, Neyt Cakir, not awarding a second penalty to Nigeria has been taken care of by my ‘African brothers’ playing for France here at this Mundial.BAD MARKET FOR LATE ARRIVALSThe exit of African teams at the group stage is not only been felt by those of us that came here all the way from home but also turning out bad business for those selling jerseys of the five teams here. Our ‘Aso Ebi’ that was the ‘hottest cake’ here exchanging for as high as $300 for the original stuff from Nike has dropped in value. Racketeers who were selling the ‘China-made’ for equivalent of between $50 and $30 are now at a loss. Customers have thinned out due to the loss. The same applies to jerseys of other African teams already gone home.Even in the face of bad business, one lady who came in early with her stuff from Nigeria is smiling away, having sold off her wares while the market was ‘hot.’ She certainly must have learnt her lesson from previous outings to make hay while the sun shines.Last Batch of Nigeria Football Stakeholders Depart RussiaThe last batch of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) officials and football stakeholders left St Petersburg Saturday night for Nigeria via Dubai, one week after Super Eagles crashed out of the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup here in Russia.Eagles players had earlier left their Essentuki camp base in batches for their respective clubs to either join their teammates in preseason camps or holiday.At the Hilton Hotel and adjoining Haempton in St Petersburg Sunday, most of the Nigerians football stakeholders who boarded the midnight flight from the Pulkovo Airport were mostly NPFL football administrators and NFF secretariat staff.Most of the NPFL administrators were seen discussing the restart of the domestic topflight this weekend.Rangers International FC of Enugu Administrator, Davidson Owumi, Rivers United’s Okey Kpalukwu and several others were amongst those who boarded the Emirates flight out of the Pulkovo Airport for Lagos Saturday night.Eagles crashed out of the Russia 2018 tournament with just one victory in three Group D games. Nigeria lost the opening game 2-0 to Croatia and defeated Iceland 2-1 but lost the bruising battle with perennial group rival Argentina by the same 2-0 to leave the tournament with dream unfulfilled.Brazil on Redemption Mission against MexicoFACTIn their four previous World Cup matches with Mexico, Brazil has never conceded a goal against El Tri, outscoring them 11-0 in those encounters.Brazil’s mission to rectify their disappointing 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign is still on course after they navigated their way to the summit of Group E at Russia 2018. Brazil’s journey to the Round of 16 has been anything but smooth: After drawing 1-1 with Switzerland in their opener and leaving it late to claim a 2-0 win over Costa Rica, they beat Serbia 2-0 to ultimately move on as expected group winners.One of the questions that Mexico will need to answer is: has their momentum gone? After starting their Russia 2018 journey off with two solid wins, most notably a 1-0 victory over 2014 champions Germany, they followed that up with a 3-0 defeat to Sweden. El Tri may take confidence from their most recent World Cup meeting with Brazil in 2014, a goalless draw in Fortaleza on 17 June, the only of the four encounters between the two sides that did not end in a Brazil victory.Brazil has been gradually improving, following the coaching staff’s plans. The team enters the knockout stage with plenty of confidence, and it feels like those first 180 minutes of tension are way behind them. The expectation around the players is that Mexico will go for a full-pitch press. This may put pressure on the defensive line to make plays, but could also open up spaces for A Seleção’s stars to shine.Mexico on the other hand will try to break their Round of 16 hoodoo by defeating the most difficult team possible, but one whom they have fared pretty well against in recent times. The team will also have the motivation of bouncing back from their disappointing performance in the last group match against Sweden, and will have to do so without suspended central defender Hector Moreno, one of its most important players.POSSIBLE LINE-UPSBRAZIL: Alisson; Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Casemiro, Paulinho; Willian, Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, Gabriel JesusMEXICO: Guillermo Ochoa; Miguel Layun, Hugo Ayala, Carlos Salcedo, Jesus Gallardo; Hector Herrera, Jonathan Dos Santos, Andres Guardado; Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, Hirving LozanoCasemiro: A Selecao’s Steadying Man in the MiddleCan it be said that behind every great attack there is a great midfielder? While that may not be a hard and fast rule, Casemiro is doing everything he can to prove that, in the case of this Brazil side at least, the answer to the question is: yes.The midfielder is the first to say that he is not playing a lone hand. Yet there can be no doubting that he is a steadying presence for A Seleção, just as he is for Real Madrid.“I’m ready and willing. I always say that the boss (Tite) asks me to do more or less the same thing I do for my club,” he told FIFA. “If there’s a reason why I’m here then it’s because I’ve done a good job there and because he has faith in me. Obviously, he changes a thing or two but he always tries to get us doing what we usually do. I have to give him credit for that.”With an enterprising Mexico side providing the opposition in Samara Monday, Casemiro will have an even more important role to perform than he usually does. The kind of player who seems to be everywhere at once, he offers vital support to the team’s star acts up front.“He has an amazing command of his role. I admire the way he occupies space and his level of concentration,” said an approving Tite. “Even in the dressing room he’s got peripheral vision.”Casemiro is not at all bothered by the fact that in football it is the front men who usually attract all the headlines. The midfielder has gifts that usually go unnoticed by the fans but which arouse nothing but admiration from a very specific audience: coaches.“When it comes to Real Madrid’s balance, he’s their most important player,” said Atletico Madrid Coach Diego Simeone on analysing their great rivals. “The team has changed a lot since he won a starting place,” said another high-profile coach, Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus.If Casemiro can draw those kind of comments from opposing coaches, it is not hard to imagine what Zinedine Zidane, one of those responsible for his rise at the Bernabeu, has to say about him: “He provides balance between defence and attack. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He’s full of confidence and he’s improving with every passing year.”Casemiro admitted to being too embarrassed to even speak to Zidane at the start of his working relationship. His rapid development ended up bringing that barrier down, and though the player might be shy off the pitch, when the conversation turns to football and tactics, he loosens up.Tite has even said that his conversations with the midfielder gave him some ideas that proved valuable in the qualifying wins over Uruguay and Colombia.His vision aside, given the journey Casemiro has made in coming from a poor background to reach the top, he has no reason to feel embarrassed when talking to the greats of the game. Abandoned at a very early age by his father, and the eldest of his siblings, he helped his mother Magda look after his two brothers.Then, at the age of 14, he left his hometown of Sao Jose dos Campos for Sao Paulo to join the youth ranks of the club that bears the city’s name. With the allowance that he received, he was able to cover virtually all his family’s bills back home.Within four years, he had turned professional and was playing for Brazil’s youth teams, and was well on the road to financial security. “When I made my World Cup debut, I had this little film playing in my head,” added Casemiro, Brazil’s pivotal presence. “It was like watching a dream come true. I’m also thinking about another world title to go with that dream. I want to win.”Free Scoring Belgium in Battle for Q’final Ticket against JapanThe leading goal scorers in the group phase take on Asia’s last remaining representatives as Belgium meet Japan in the final 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia match to be hosted at Rostov Arena Monday.The Red Devils are aiming to reach their third World Cup quarter final (after Mexico 1986 and Brazil 2014) and equal their world finals record of four consecutive wins, set four years ago. Their unbeaten 22-match run – the longest in Belgium’s history – reflects the quality of a hugely talented side.Japan advanced from the group phase on fair play points and are intent on winning a last 16 tie for the first time ever. They have the experience to do just that: Eiji Kawashima, Makoto Hasebe, Yuto Nagatomo and Shinji Okazaki are each set to play their 11th world finals matches, a national record. Along with Keizuke Honda, they will be looking to make up for the defeat to Paraguay at South Africa 2010, the last time that the Japanese featured in the knockout rounds.Roberto Martinez left most of his first-choice players on the bench for the England match so they could rest and avoid suspensions. Even with a weakened side, the Belgians still recorded a fine win that buoyed morale even further and has put some pressure on the squad’s habitual starters. The Red Devils are expected to play a dynamic, offensive game against the Japanese. Should the Asians adopt the same mindset, it should make for an open, entertaining game.Japan used a 4-4-2 formation in their last group match against Poland and lost 1-0. Coach Akira Nishino is likely to revert to the 4-2-3-1 system he deployed in the win over Colombia and the draw with Senegal. Attacking midfielders Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa and Takashi Inui will have important roles to play. The Japanese will look to attack down the flanks and their chances of success will hinge on how well they can supply Gaku Shibasaki.PLAYERS ON YELLOWSeveral players on both sides will start the game on yellow cards. A further caution in this game will see them miss the quarter-finals, should their team win, of course. Thomas Meunier, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker are the men in question for Belgium, while Japan’s Kawashima, Hasebe, Tomoaki Makino and Takashi Inui find themselves in the same position.POSSIBLE LINE-UPSBELGIUM: Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld; Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Meunier; Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard; Romelu LukakuJAPAN: Eiji Kawashima; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki; Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui; Yuya OsakoCollina Reveals New Orders for World Cup Refs after Penalty ProtestsAleksandar Mitrovic and Harry Kane, if early matches of Serbia and England were replayed, would benefit from penalty claims turned down in their respective games against Switzerland and Tunisia.World Cup referees were enabled, by the introduction of video assistance, to hit a 99.3pc ‘perfection rate’ according to FIFA refereeing Chairman Pierluigi Collina. But Collina has also indicated one particular flaw in officials’ initial orders, reports AIPS News.This was not so much an issue of VAR but about what should, and should not, be permitted in terms of physical contact.Mitrovic and Kane were both manhandled by defenders in those games without any support from referees Felix Brych of Germany and Colombian Wilmar Roldan.England, happily, did defeat Tunisia 2-1 eventually but Serbia were left furious: the score in their game against Switzerland was 1-1 at the time of the incident and they ultimately lost 2-1 to a last-minute goal.England and Serbia both raised queries about the incidents and Collina told a media briefing: “At a certain point of the group phase there were some incidents which disappeared.“We had some holdings (of players) but in the following matches they either disappeared or, if they continued, were punished by the appropriate decisions and, if in the penalty area, a penalty kick.“We noticed, intervened and fine-tuned. You were able to appreciate that something had changed.”The issue of penalty box man-marking was the only note of negativity conceded by Collina among his paean of praise for VAR.Collina reported the 3.4 average of cards per game as equal to major club competitions at domestic and international level and noted with satisfaction that only three red cards had been shown, two of those for double-yellows. The number of penalties had doubled compared with 2010 and 2014 through “more accurate control of what went on inside the penalty area.”Some 335 incidents had been checked by VAR including all 122 goals. Collina’s team had registered 17 VAR reviews during games with 14 seeing the referee run to his monitor screen. The three decisions immediately corrected concerned two for offside and one for mistaken identity on a booking.Collina added: “We have had 14 decisions changed by the intervention of VAR, six penalty awards changed on the intervention of VAR – with one changed from a free-kick to a penalty and two penalty awards by the referee being reversed after a monitor review.”This meant that Collina assessed 95pc of the referees’ own decisions as having been correct, a ‘perfection rate’ improved to 99.3 by the use of VAR.He added: “Before the competition we said VAR does not mean perfection, there could be some wrong interpretation of or mistake but 99.3pc is very close to perfection.”The average time for a VAR review was 80 seconds which answered pre-finals concerns about time lost. Referees are under instructions to add time for video reviews though they do not add time for standard match interruptions such as free-kicks and throw-ins.FIFA’s Director of Refereeing, Massimo Busacca, concluded: “After 48 games, we haven’t had a single scandal, and that’s very important.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram DURO’S RUSSIA NOTES….Now, the men have been separated from the boys. The real gladiators have taken over the battlefields here in Russia with majority of the pretenders either home already or on the way to their various destinations.Most cities where the group matches were played are now witnessing quiet moments, with rancorous atmospheres witnessed in pubs and eateries gradually simmering to their usually acceptable levels.last_img read more

GiG expands Euro profile with upcoming Spain & Romania launches

first_img Share Martin Lycka – Regulatory high temperatures cancel industry’s ‘silly season’ August 11, 2020 Winamax maintains Granada CF sponsorship despite bleak Spanish outlook August 19, 2020 Related Articles Stockholm-listed Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has expanded its European footprint by securing new licensing provisions for the markets of Spain and Romania.Updating investors, GiG governance confirms that Spanish gambling regulator DGOJ has granted GiG B2C online sportsbook and casino licences.The company has also disclosed that it will move to launch its flagship RIZK brand for the Spanish market, viewing the move as the launchpad to further LATAM opportunities.Supporting its Spanish initiatives, GiG further reveals that it is in the process of certifying its B2B sportsbook and igaming provisions with the DGOJ.“We are delighted to be awarded the Spanish licenses and are looking forward to serving the market with our top-performing operator Rizk and our full suite of B2C and B2B products and solutions,” said GiG chief executive Robin Reed.Further to its Spanish market announcement, the Stockholm enterprise confirms its GiG Media division has secured a Romania ONJN class II licence which allows the unit to service affiliate marketing services.As a result, GiG’s media services will be permitted to refer traffic to online casino and sportsbook operators holding a licence to operate in Romania.Richard Brown, Group COO of GiG, said of the licence approval: “We are excited to extend our market reach by starting to refer end users to operators with a Romanian licence.“We are expanding into another regulated market, where we will be able to utilise the full range of marketing channels available across both the sports and casino verticals. Romania is still a developing market and with good projected underlying growth in the online sector which has accelerated in the last couple of years.“ Share Submit StumbleUpon Andrea Vota – Jdigital’s challenge of Spanish restrictions is led by logic and rationale August 13, 2020last_img read more