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German reporter who exposed Russia doping ‘won’t be at World Cup’

German journalist Hajo Seppelt, whose investigative reporting exposed Russia's alleged state-sponsored doping, will not travel to the football World Cup tournament out of security concerns, national broadcaster ARD said. World Cup host Russia had initially refused to issue Seppelt a visa, but later relented after massive international pressure, with FIFA stressing the importance of media freedom to President Vladimir Putin's government. But Germany's security agencies have since evaluated the situation and found that it was risky for the journalist to travel to Russia, said ARD in a statement late Wednesday. Representatives from the broadcaster also held talks with Foreig...Keep on reading: German reporter who exposed Russia doping ‘won’t be at World Cup’.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJun 14th, 2018

German reporter who exposed Russia doping ‘won’t be at World Cup’

German journalist Hajo Seppelt, whose investigative reporting exposed Russia's alleged state-sponsored doping, will not travel to the football World Cup tournament out of security concerns, national broadcaster ARD said. World Cup host Russia had initially refused to issue Seppelt a visa, but later relented after massive international pressure, with FIFA stressing the importance of media freedom to President Vladimir Putin's government. But Germany's security agencies have since evaluated the situation and found that it was risky for the journalist to travel to Russia, said ARD in a statement late Wednesday. Representatives from the broadcaster also held talks with Foreig...Keep on reading: German reporter who exposed Russia doping ‘won’t be at World Cup’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

Dutch humiliate Germany in Nations League, Gibraltar wins

By The Associated Press Germany's UEFA Nations League campaign took a humiliating blow after a 3-0 loss at old rival Netherlands on Saturday. Germany remains without a win in the top-tier League A and has yet to score a goal. In the second-tier League B, the Czech Republic got its first win in the new competition — beating host Slovakia 2-1 — and Ireland and Denmark drew 0-0. In League D, Gibraltar won its first competitive game on a memorable night for the tiny territory. Here's a look at Saturday's games. NO GOALS FOR GERMANY Following its disastrous World Cup defense in Russia, Germany has been under pressure to show some progress but it didn't come at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Saturday night. The Germans failed to score for the third straight competitive game, including a humiliating 2-0 loss to South Korea in Russia and a 0-0 draw with France at home in the Nations League. Captain Virgil van Dijk scored only his second international goal before Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum added two more as the Dutch ran riot late in the game. The comprehensive defeat left Germany at the bottom of Group 1 with a single point, days before it heads to Paris to take on group leader and World Cup champion France. France leads the Dutch by a point at the top of the standings. The result also heaped more pressure on Germany coach Joachim Loew, who opted to stay in the job after the 2014 world champion crashed out of the summer's World Cup in Russia at the group stage. "Why are we not scoring? That's difficult to answer, we have clear chances," Loew said. "Had we lost 1-0, it would have been acceptable but breaking apart like this in the last 10 minutes is not good." Germany's scoring woes were personified by Loew's decision to play Mark Uth as a lone striker despite the 27-year-old Schalke player failing to score a goal this season. Uth didn't impress and was substituted in the second half. A corner from the right by Depay exposed German defensive frailties in the 30th. Ryan Babel rose between Jonas Hector and Mats Hummels to head against the underside of the bar and the ball bounced up invitingly for the unmarked Van Dijk to head in. Depay doubled the lead in the 87th, calmly finishing after a quick break down the right by substitute Quincy Promes. The Olympique Lyon striker then hit the crossbar in extra time before Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum made it 3-0 with virtually the last kick of the match as Germany crumbled. CZECHS WIN Substitute striker Patrik Schick scored the winning goal for the visiting Czech Republic to beat Slovakia 2-1 in Trnava. All the goals were in the second half. Three minutes after coming off the bench, Schick rose in the area in the 76th minute to head in a cross from captain Borek Dockal for his second goal in two matches. It was the first win for the Czechs in the competition after losing to Ukraine. Ukraine leads Group 1 in second-tier League B, with three more points than the Czechs. Slovakia remains pointless. Playmaker Marek Hamsik marked his record 108th appearance for Slovakia with his 22nd goal, a rebound after a corner, after Czech striker Michael Krmencik scored the opener following a through ball from Dockal. Ireland drew with Denmark in Group 4 in the only other game in League B later Saturday. Denmark tops the group with four points, one more than Wales in second. Ireland has one point. BULGARIA LEADS Ole Selnaes scored the only goal for Norway to beat Slovenia 1-0 in Group 3 of League C for its second win and trail leader Bulgaria by three points. Bulgaria rallied from a goal down to beat Cyprus 2-1. Cyprus has three points while Slovenia is on zero. GIBRALTAR ENDS LOSING STREAK Gibraltar's national team has recorded its first victory in a competitive match, a 1-0 win at Armenia, after losing its previous 22 competitive games. Joseph Chipolina got the historic winner from the penalty spot in the Group 4 game in League D. Gibraltar players had to listen to the national anthem of Liechtenstein before the match, a mistake for which Armenia FA apologized. Gibraltar hosts Liechtenstein on Tuesday. Macedonia kept a perfect record in the same group with a 4-1 victory over Lichtenstein to lead with nine points. The other three teams are tied on three points. In Group 1 of League D, Georgia made it three wins in three by beating Andorra 3-0 to dominate the standings with nine points. Andorra, Latvia and Kazakhstan all have two points after Latvia and Kazakhstan drew 1-1......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 14th, 2018

WADA to discuss Russia on January 22 | The Manila Times Online

PARIS: WADA officials will discuss recommendations on the compliance of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) on January 22, the World Anti-doping Agency announced Saturday (Sunday in Manila). WADA.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJan 14th, 2019

Russia misses Moscow doping lab deadline | The Manila Times Online

MONTREAL: Russia faced the possibility of renewed sporting sanctions on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed the country had missed a December 31 deadline t.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2019

Deadline passes without Russian turnover of data to WADA | The Manila Times Online

The deadline for Russia to turn over samples and other data from its Moscow anti-doping lab has passed, leaving the World Anti-Doping Agency to decide whether to reinstate the banREAD The post Deadlin.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2019

World War I timeline: From first shot to silence of peace

PARIS --- Unleashed by an archduke's assassination, World War I gradually entangled more and more countries, killing millions of soldiers and civilians and touching several continents. As the world marks 100 years since the fighting stopped, here is a look at some key moments in WWI: 1914 June 28: Serb teenager Gavrilo Princip kills Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand July 28: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia Aug. 1: Germany declares war on Russia Aug. 3: Germany declares war on France Aug. 4: Germany invades Belgium; Britain declares war on Germany Aug. 23: Japan declares war on Germany September: Battle of the Marne stops the German advance in France Oct. 29: Ottoma...Keep on reading: World War I timeline: From first shot to silence of peace.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 11th, 2018

Infantino expects release of info from cyberattack on FIFA

LONDON --- FIFA President Gianni Infantino is braced for a release of private information gained by hackers after world soccer's governing body said its computer network was subject to another cyberattack. The disclosure comes in the same month the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI said Russia's military intelligence body was responsible for a hack on FIFA in 2016, which led to evidence from anti-doping investigations and lab results being published. FIFA did not provide details about the data gained in the latest attack this year on e-mail systems, but it has been contacted by media outlets about internal information contained in private exchanges. "The questions we re...Keep on reading: Infantino expects release of info from cyberattack on FIFA.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2018

Germany s struggles continue with loss to France

By Graham Dunbar, Associated Press GENEVA (AP) — Germany is out of contention for another international trophy after France handed Joachim Loew's struggling team its latest loss on Tuesday. The balance of power in European soccer is swinging even further away from the 2014 World Cup champion since its poor title defense in Russia. World Cup winner France rallied for a 2-1 win in the UEFA Nations League against Germany, which fell to a fourth loss in its last six competitive games. The result means Germany, eliminated in the World Cup group stage in Russia, cannot advance to the Final Four tournament in June for the Nations League top-tier group winners. Germany wasted its first-half dominance at Stade de France, having led via a 14th-minute penalty from Toni Kroos. Antoine Griezmann struck twice in the second half — a precisely guided header in the 62nd and a penalty in the 80th — to take France's unbeaten streak to 15 games and extend its lead in Group 1 of League A. Germany also risks an embarrassing relegation to the second-tier League B when it finishes the group program against the Netherlands on Nov. 19. Elsewhere in the Nations League, Ukraine won promotion to League A by beating the Czech Republic 1-0 in Group 1 of the second tier. Ukraine, coached by former star forward Andriy Shevchenko, also improved its chances of qualifying for the 2020 European Championship. Nations League group winners are assured of a place in the playoffs for the Euros, if they don't qualify directly. UEFA created the Nations League to replace most international friendly games, though Belgium's schedule was free Tuesday to host the neighboring Netherlands in a 1-1 draw in Brussels. France was overrun for a period in the first half after Germany converted a penalty that followed midfielder Paul Pogba being dispossessed too easily in his own half. German winger Leroy Sane was sent clear and his low cross hit the arm of defender Presnel Kimpembe. France drew level when left-back Lucas Hernandez crossed for his Atletico Madrid teammate Griezmann to guide a rising header beyond goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's dive. Griezmann later wrong-footed Neuer from the penalty spot after a foul was called on defender Mats Hummels against midfielder Blaise Matuidi. Television replays showed Matuidi appeared to stand on Hummels' ankle sliding into the challenge, but UEFA is not using video review in its competitions this season. UKRAINE UP A third straight win for Ukraine ensured it became the first League B team promoted into the top tier for the next edition of the Nations League. Ruslan Malinovskyi's long-distance shot in the first half was enough to beat the Czechs in Kharkiv. Wales now leads Group 4 in League B after beating Ireland 1-0 in Dublin through Harry Wilson's second-half free kick. Wales hosts Denmark on Nov. 16. In League C, Norway now leads Bulgaria in the four-team Group 4 after beating the Bulgarians 1-0 in Oslo. Slovenia staved off relegation by drawing 1-1 with Cyprus in a game featuring three red cards. GEORGIA PROMOTED Georgia ensured promotion from League De with its fourth straight win, 3-0 at Latvia, ensuring it will win Group 1. The No. 93-ranked Georgians will also have a chance to advance to Euro 2020. One of the fourth-tier League D teams is sure to reach the Euro through the playoff route for Nations League group winners. Gibraltar earned just its second ever competitive victory, beating visiting Liechtenstein 2-1. Gibraltar also closed to within three points of Group 4 leader Macedonia which lost its perfect record in a 4-0 loss at Armenia. The final rounds of Nations League games are played Nov. 15-20. The Euro 2020 qualifying draw, seeded by Nations League standings, will be held Dec. 2 in Dublin......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2018

WADA report: Kenya doping serious, not institutionalized

By GERALD IMRAY,  AP Sports Writer Kenyan athletes are the target of nearly a quarter of out-of-competition doping tests in track and field, a statistic that underlines how much suspicion there is over the world's most successful distance-running nation. Figures were revealed Thursday by the head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles anti-doping for the world track and field organization, the IAAF. Brett Clothier said Kenyans made up 22% of the AIU's out-of-competition testing program, and the country's athletes took up "at least the equivalent amount of time in our investigations and intelligence team." "Kenya is a great and justly proud athletics nation, but it now has a serious doping problem," Clothier said in comments accompanying the release of a report following a near two-year investigation in the East African nation by the AIU and the World Anti-Doping Agency's intelligence and investigations department. The joint report concluded there was "widespread doping" in Kenya but "the doping practices of Kenyan athletes are unsophisticated, opportunistic and uncoordinated and there is no evidence of an institutionalized system." It didn't need a two-year investigation to discover a problem, with a clear spike in cases involving athletes from the African country since around the time of the 2012 London Olympics. What the report did do, however, was dig deeper into some of the reasons behind the mess in Kenya. It appeared to separate Kenya's doping problems from that of Russia and that country's organized, state-sponsored scheme. Doping in Kenya "is different from other doping structures discovered elsewhere in the world and, as such, it requires a different approach," WADA director of intelligence and investigations Gunter Younger said. In Kenya, athletes are "insufficiently educated on doping and/or wilfully blind as to the consequences of doping," the report said. The investigation also stressed the need for better control over medical practitioners and "quasi-medical practitioners" who are "highly relevant" to the doping problem and often the source of banned substances. Overall, the report pointed to a weak and at times non-existent anti-doping effort in Kenya exacerbated by the unwillingness of athletes to help. WADA and AIU investigators said they reached out for information to 31 Kenyan athletes serving doping bans. Only seven attended interviews and none of them said they had used prohibited substances despite being found guilty at doping hearings. None of them provided any information that was helpful to the investigators. There were other findings in the report: — A total of 131 Kenyan athletes failed doping tests between 2004 and this year. Track and field was by far the worst sport in the country for failed tests. In the same period, all other sports in Kenya produced seven failed tests. — The anabolic steroid Nandrolone was the most prevalent banned substance for Kenyan athletes. The corticosteroids group, anti-inflammatories that can improve athletic performance, were the next most used. The blood-booster EPO was third most prevalent. — The AIU's focus on out-of-competition doping tests on Kenyans was prompted after only 13% of their athletes caught for doping were caught through out-of-competition tests. — Two elite Kenyan athletes, Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong and Rita Jeptoo, provided falsified medical records in an attempt to avoid doping bans. Sumgong made up a story about having to attend hospital for an emergency blood transfusion to explain testing positive for EPO. Jeptoo, the leading marathon runner in the world when she was caught in 2014, claimed she was given EPO by a doctor to treat malaria and typhoid. Both athletes were found to be lying and banned for four years......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2018

After Russia vote, anti-doping group calls WADA compromised

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2016, file photo, Sergei Tetiukhin carries the flag of Russia during the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The World Anti-Doping Agency.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2018

After Russia vote, anti-doping group calls WADA compromised

A leading anti-doping group hinted at changing the structure of the World Anti-Doping Agency, saying the decision to reinstate Russia’s drug-fighting operation is a sign WADA leaders are saddled with “conflicting priorities.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2018

Russian athletes to return to competition as WADA lifts doping ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Thursday lifted a ban on Russia's anti-doping agency, paving the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports. "Today, the great majority of WADA's Executive Committee decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code subject to strict conditions," WADA president Craig Reedie said. Reedie said the decision "provides a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples". He said that if the commitment was not met, WADA would reinstate the ban on the Russian anti-doping agency. The decision was taken at a meeting in WADA in Victoria, capital...Keep on reading: Russian athletes to return to competition as WADA lifts doping ban.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

Potential end of Russia anti-doping suspension sparks outcry

FILE - In this June 5, 2018, file photo, Beckie Scott, World Anti-Doping Agency athlete committee chairperson, Beckie Scott, speaks at a news conference following the agency's first Global Ath.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

US OPEN 18: Zverev leads group of up-and-comers in New York

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Alexander Zverev has shown he can win run-of-the-mill tournaments and Masters titles, too. He's shown he can make it to the second week of a major. What everyone is watching — and waiting — for now is a Grand Slam semifinal, final or trophy. "Sascha Zverev," said Citi Open co-founder and chairman Donald Dell, using Zverev's nickname after the 21-year-old German won Washington's hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open a second consecutive year, "is the future of pro tennis." Zverev is seeded No. 4 at Flushing Meadows, where play begins Monday, and is widely considered the likeliest member of the latest generation of tennis pros to make a deep run at this U.S. Open after getting to his first major quarterfinal at the French Open. Zverev isn't alone, though. He's part of a crop of youngsters who might be ready to take over the sport from the old hands who have dominated it for more than a decade. Stop us if you've heard that before, though. "They're still there," Zverev said about the so-called Big Four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. "Obviously, they're still contenders for every single tournament they play." It's worth noting that Zverev is one of only five active players who's won at least three Masters events. The others? Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, who are all in their 30s and have combined to win 49 of the past 54 Grand Slam titles. Men's tennis just keeps skewing older: Last month at Wimbledon, all four semifinalists were in their 30s, the first time that happened at any Slam in the half-century of professional tennis. Ah, but look closely, and there are signs that change could be on the way. "They're definitely knocking on that door," Federer said, "and there is some exciting talent around." At the Citi Open this month, for example, Zverev's victory over 19-year-old Alex de Minaur of Australia made for the youngest final on the ATP World Tour since a 20-year-old Nadal beat a 19-year-old Djokovic at Indian Wells in 2007. And the ages of the two losing semifinalists in Washington? Andrey Rublev is 20; Stefanos Tsitsipas turned 20 the following week at the Toronto Masters, where he became the youngest player to beat four top-10 opponents at one tournament since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990. "Four 'NextGen' players in the semifinals. That's amazing for tennis, I think," Zverev said in Washington, referring to the marketing campaign the tour uses to promote up-and-comers. "Me being the oldest — that never happened to me before. It's interesting. And I like where tennis is going. I like the development of the other young guys. It's going to be interesting to see what it'll be like in the future." Agreed. Zverev is one of seven men who are 21 or younger and ranked in the top 50. Here's a look at the other half-dozen, each worth keeping an eye on during the U.S. Open: ___ STEFANOS TSITSIPAS Country: Greece Age: 20 Ranked: 15th (career high) Plays: Right-handed; one-handed backhand Career Titles: Zero 2018 Record: 30-20 Best Grand Slam Showing: 4th Round at Wimbledon in 2018 Best U.S. Open Showing: Making debut His Words: "I am part of a group of (young) players that make me better — and I make them better. We have a very good competition among us. Without this, I probably wouldn't even be inside the top 100." ___ BORNA CORIC Country: Croatia Age: 21 Ranked: 20th (career high) Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand Career Titles: 2 2018 Record: 26-14 Best Grand Slam Showing: 3rd Round, four times Best U.S. Open Showing: 3rd Round in 2017 His Words: "I learned by now that this is tennis and, you know, one week can be great; another one can be a disaster." ___ DENIS SHAPOVALOV Country: Canada Age: 19 Ranked: 28th (career high is 23rd) Plays: Left-handed; one-handed backhand Career Titles: Zero 2018 Record: 25-20 Best Grand Slam Showing: 4th Round at U.S. Open in 2017 Best U.S. Open Showing: 2017 His Words: "I'm only 19 and I've proved a lot to myself this year." ___ ANDREY RUBLEV Country: Russia Age: 20 Ranked: 37th (career high is 31st) Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand Career Titles: 1 2018 Record: 15-14 Best Grand Slam Showing: Quarterfinals at U.S. Open in 2017 Best U.S. Open Showing: 2017 His Words: "When you see, for example, somebody, a young guy, winning a big match, I start to think, 'If he can win, maybe I also can win it. Why not?' Is (giving) me more motivation." ___ FRANCES TIAFOE Country: United States Age: 20 Ranked: 42nd (career high is 38th) Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand Career Titles: 1 2018 Record: 24-16 Best Grand Slam Showing: 3rd Round of Wimbledon in 2018 Best U.S. Open Showing: 0-3 record His Words: "There's so much more work that needs to be done to be at the top of the game. I'm at the middle grounds now. I just want to do more. I want to keep working." ___ ALEX DE MINAUR Country: Australia Age: 19 Ranked: 43rd (career high) Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand Career Titles: Zero 2018 Record: 16-13 Best Grand Slam Showing: 3rd Round of Wimbledon in 2018 Best U.S. Open Showing: 0-1 record His Words: "I really wanted to be known in the locker room as that guy that's never going to give up: He's going to find until the end and you're really going to have to play well to beat him. That's something that I've tried to do every time I step out on court." ___ AP Sports Writer Brian Mahoney in New York contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2018

Peru captain Guerrero banned again awaiting final verdict

ZURICH (AP) — Peru captain Paolo Guerrero, who was cleared to play at the World Cup by Switzerland's supreme court, has again been blocked from playing because a federal judge ended the freeze on his 14-month doping ban. The Swiss Federal Tribunal has lifted "the provisional suspensive effect" that allowed Guerrero to play in Russia, FIFA said Thursday. The decision means the 34-year-old Guerrero will not be allowed to resume playing with his new club in Brazil, Internacional, pending a further decision in the Swiss court. "FIFA took note of the decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal to lift the provisional suspensive effect that had been granted with respect to the sanction imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport," soccer's world body said. The Swiss federal court is expected to give a final verdict soon in Guerrero's appeal against a CAS ruling that increased his six-month ban by FIFA to 14 months. The court did not immediately respond to requests for details of the procedure. Guerrero tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine at a World Cup qualifying game against Argentina in October. His lawyers argued the small amount of cocaine detected was not performance enhancing and was accidentally consumed in contaminated tea. FIFA first banned Guerrero for one year, then reduced the sanction to six months on appeal last December. The case went to a CAS hearing in May after the player appealed to overturn the ban, and the World Anti-Doping Agency counter-appealed for a longer sanction. Two weeks after the urgent CAS ruling, a Swiss federal judge decided Guerrero should not be denied a possible "crowning glory of his career" in Peru's first World Cup appearance for 36 years. He scored one goal at the World Cup, in a 2-0 win over Australia. Peru had already been eliminated by 1-0 losses against Denmark and eventual champion France......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2018

High jumper Ukhov among top Russians facing doping cases

MOSCOW --- Some of Russia's best known track and field athletes are facing doping cases, including former Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov. The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees anti-doping cases in track and field, released details on Friday of 109 cases from around the world in a new transparency drive. Besides Ukhov, the list includes top Russians such as the double world champion shot putter Tatyana Lysenko, Olympic bronze medal-winning long jumper Svetlana Shkolina, and 2014 world indoor triple jump champion Lyukman Adams. The AIU said they are among 13 Russian cases based on evidence uncovered during World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren's...Keep on reading: High jumper Ukhov among top Russians facing doping cases.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

France s Mbappe hailed as new global superstar

RUSSIA – France players and the world's press hailed Kylian Mbappe as an emerging superstar after the 19-year-old eclipsed Lionel Messi in a match that felt like the passing of a torch to a new generation. Mbappe's speed and power ruthlessly exposed Argentina's defense in Kazan in a thrilling 4-3 victory ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 1st, 2018

Post-Russia: A twilight of the German football gods

The world and the internet have been looking for terms to define or encapsulate Germany’s crashing out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia following its 0-2 loss to South Korea......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

Argentina has big weaknesses to address before facing France

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press ST. PETERSBURG, France (AP) — After the euphoria of scraping through to the last 16 of the World Cup, Argentina now must address its glaring weaknesses. Argentina has little time to prepare for Saturday's match against France, which is considered among the tournament favorites, yet has much to work on. Particularly on defense. Argentina's feeble defense was exposed in 3-0 defeat to Croatia last week and once again in Tuesday's 2-1 must-win game against Nigeria. Argentina won with an 86th-minute goal from defender Marcos Rojo, but during the second half the team looked on the verge of another capitulation at the back. Here is a look at some of the key issues facing Jorge Sampaoli's team before taking on France in Kazan: MASCHERANO MISERY If Javier Mascherano is supposed to be protecting the defense, he's not doing a very good job. With 146 international appearances, the 34-year-old Mascherano should be a rock for Sampaoli's team. But instead of offering the protective screen in front of the back four, Mascherano is often proving to be a weak link. As his bloodied face on Tuesday showed, there is no doubting his commitment. But his judgment, especially for someone with so much experience, is lacking. Two horribly misplaced passes gave Nigeria dangerous positions to attack from, while it was Mascherano's clumsy challenge that led to Nigeria's equalizing goal from the penalty spot. In his defense, there may be mitigating circumstances. Although a holding midfielder by trade, Mascherano dropped deeper when deployed as a center half for Barcelona over the past few years. Now back in his traditional position, he often appears caught in two minds as to whether to push up as a midfielder does, or stay back more sensibly like a defender. While it does not excuse his poor passing, it may explain some of his confused judgment. FALLEN STARS Angel Di Maria's failure to control a simple pass during a promising counterattack against Nigeria was a sad sight for such a fine talent. As the ball flew off his foot and went out of play, a helpless look formed on Di Maria's face. Long considered one of the world's best wingers, the 30-year-old Paris Saint-Germain player is not living up to his reputation in Russia. He looked despondent when he was taken off against Nigeria with 20 minutes left, his self-confidence glaringly absent. But it is feasible he is still affected by what happened during the season with PSG. Di Maria was PSG's most in-form player heading into the first leg of its Champions League last-16 game against Real Madrid on Feb. 14, but was surprisingly left out entirely by PSG coach Unai Emery. "I was boiling (inside) because I felt I should have played, or at least have come on," Di Maria said. Perhaps his fragile confidence has not been repaired. But Mascherano and Di Maria are not the only big-name players performing well below their best. So is Gonzalo Higuain. The burly striker looked nervous and heavy-legged against Nigeria, blazing a great chance high and wide with the score 1-1 with 10 minutes left. In the end, he was reprieved by Rojo's late winner, but it was not the finish expected of a forward with a combined 267 goals for Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus. He has 31 for Argentina, too, but tellingly he has not scored in his past eight games for his country. WHERE IS DYBALA? Fans hoping to see Paulo Dybala, one of the brightest attacking talents in soccer, playing in Russia may not get their wish. The 24-year-old forward regularly impresses Juventus fans with his trickery and spectacular goals — scoring 26 times in 46 appearances last season — but for whatever reason, Sampaoli does not seem to need him. With time running out against Nigeria, the coach still did not bring him on, even though Dybala has the skill and imagination to unlock defenses. He has only played once for Argentina all year, and with Sampaoli in charge this does not look like it will change. FRENCH THREAT Although France has yet to find its top form , Argentina's creaking defense will be under threat from its highly rated forwards. Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele are two of the fastest players in the world, while Antoine Griezmann was top scorer at the European Championship two years ago. Imposing striker Olivier Giroud is one of the best headers of the ball around, which gives Sampaoli's back four even more to worry about from crosses, corners and free kicks......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

DJ Calvin Harris stoked by Harry Kane nod to One Kiss

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (AP) — Harry Kane led England into the round of 16 at the World Cup then gave a nod to Scottish DJ Calvin Harris. Kane was asked after England's 6-1 victory over Panama to pick a song to play on a Brazilian program as reward for his hat trick in the victory. Caught off guard by the request, the striker mulled the question from the Brazilian reporter. "I'll go 'One Kiss' by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa," he offered Sunday. Dua Lipa is British, and both she and Harris were thrilled with Kane's selection. "Yes I'm Scottish but I don't care the legend Harry Kane picked our song," Harris posted on Twitter with a clip from Kane's post-match news conference. Yes I’m Scottish but I don’t care the legend Harry Kane picked our song hahahahaha pic.twitter.com/r0JclobgzN— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) June 24, 2018 Dua Lipa acknowledged the shout-out by reposting a tweet about Kane's selection. Fans of both the soccer player and the artists also flooded social media supporting Kane's song choice......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2018