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PH Women’s Football team bows down to S. Korea, fails to qualify for World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – The World Cup wasn't meant for the Philippines this year. The Philippine Women's National Football team failed to clinch the 5th spot that could've catapulted it to the 2019 FIFA World Cup as it lost to South Korea, 0-5, on Monday, April 16 (Tuesday, Manila Time) at the ........»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerApr 17th, 2018

PFF President Nonong Araneta reveals exciting times ahead for Philippine football

Mariano “Nonong” Araneta is pumped up for Philippine football, and it's easy to see why. The Philippine Football Federation president has divulged exciting details of the federation's plans to develop the national training center in the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. Plus the Azkals are also getting ready for a busy few months ahead. Araneta is keen on ramping up the federation's partnership with the Manila Jockey Club in SLLP, where the FIFA Artificial Turf Pitch is situated. Already a training ground for youth national teams and club sides, Araneta says that lighting towers will soon be installed that will permit nighttime play. “We are just waiting for AFC because the lights will be bidded out,” Explains Araneta. “Hopefully they will be installed by the end of the year.” The lights will feature an intensity of 900 lux, more than the accepted 800 lux minimum for televised matches. The lights will complement the hundreds of new seats that have already been put in place around the pitch. But that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the PFF has planned for Carmona. “We have spoken to Manila Jockey Club about transferring our headquarters there,” says Araneta. “We are ready to start the bidding and construction.” The PFF is planning to purchase a 3000 sqm parcel of land within the San Lazaro Leisure Park and build a complex with dormitories, classrooms for coaching and referee courses, and a gym. “The funds are ready, initially we will be getting US$1.5 Million from FIFA,” says Araneta, who says the federation will be selling their current building in Pasig to help fund the move. But Araneta says that another option is available, to buy a different 2000 sqm plot of land beside the artificial pitch that is separate from the 3000 sqm parcel. There a grandstand could be constructed, transforming the pitch into a stadium. The headquarters could then be situated under the seating while the other site houses the dorms, classrooms, and gym. More fields are also in the pipeline in the training center. Araneta says that two artificial turf mini-pitches measuring 40 by 20 meters will be made right beside the main pitch. These will also be lighted and can accommodate recreational play and festival competitions. Incredibly, there will be yet another pitch in the training center, a natural grass regulation field within the Manila Jockey Club's racetrack. “That is for our national teams so that if they are set to play on grass, they can train there,” explains Araneta. The middle of the racetrack already has a grass area where football is played. Manila Jockey Club and PFF have yet to decide if the new grass pitch will be a brand new one or if the current surface will be improved. “We want our activities to be there,” declares Araneta. “We have already had coaching seminars there. Schools can also use our facilities. The pitch is there to be used not to be seen,” he adds with a chuckle. Araneta is a former national team player himself and is also optimistic about the near future with the Azkals. The squad is facing two big tournaments in the coming months: the AFF Suzuki Cup in November and December and their maiden appearance in the AFC Asian Cup in January 2019. Araneta says the Azkals will travel to Bahrain during the September FIFA window to play a Bahraini club side, likely on Sept 7, before tangling with the Bahrain national team on September 11. There will also be a FIFA window in October, and Araneta says the Filipinos can enjoy at least one friendly at home. Araneta hopes that Rizal Memorial will still be available before it gets spruced up in preparation for the country's hosting of the 2019 SEA Games. “Our fans will get to watch our new team,” said the president with evident pride. Crunch time begins in November, with the Azkals in a five-team round-robin group with a new home-and-away format. The Philippines will host Singapore in Bacolod's Panaad Stadium on November 13 before playing either Brunei or Timor Leste away four days later. The two ASEAN minnows will square off in a two-legged qualifying series in September to to determine who makes the group stage. On November 21 the Azkals entertain Thailand in Panaad in what promises to be a mouthwatering contest, before closing their group stage against Indonesia, probably in Jakarta, on November 25. The semis will run from December 1 to 6, with the two-legged finals being held on the 11th and 15th. After a quick Christmas break the team jets off to the Middle East on December 26, where final preparations for the Asian Cup will commence in earnest. There are plans to play in Qatar against either a club team or their national side, and then perhaps a game in Kuwait before the team goes to the United Arab Emirates. The group schedule is as follows: January 7 against Korea Republic in Dubai, January 11 versus China in Abu Dhabi, then January 16 against Kyrgyzstan in Dubai. The top two will advance to the knockout round, but the Philippines can also sneak through as one of the better third-placers. But the senior national team isn't the only competition Pinoy football fans can focus on this year. The boys U15 national team were in action while the U16 girls play in an AFC competition. The U19 men also played in the AFF U19 Championship, where they beat Singapore 2-1. The senior ladies team also notched a win against the Lion City in their AFF tournament. Araneta says the very successful PFF Women's League from last year will be run again, and that the PFF also plans a youth league. Both will be partly funded by FIFA. Of course the Philippines Football League will continue, with a League and Cup phase. The realization of these plans will be one of the achievements of Araneta's presidency. Another will be his membership in the 33-person FIFA Council, which acts as a board of directors of the organization. Araneta was recently in Russia to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup along with other council members. Araneta is one of six Asians in the FIFA Council, alongside members from China, Malaysia, Korea Republic, Bahrain, and Bangladesh. He is the first Filipino to serve in this level of leadership in FIFA. The Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo native freely explains the benefit the country can enjoy from this connection. According to Araneta “we have firsthand information on funding, and the Philippines is part of the body that will decide on what's best for football.” He says that in the next cycle of FIFA funding he might be able to acquire an additional US$ 2 million for the development of the training center. The PFF President also enjoys the inside track when it comes to acquiring development funds from the Asian Football Confederation, since he also serves as the Chairman of the AFC Finance Committee. “All budgets pass through us. We know the funding, the revenues. We know when to ask for projects. Like the lights in Carmona, that was approved by the AFC development committee,” continues Araneta. But being part of the FIFA Council is not all glitz and glamor, confesses Araneta. He mentioned a recent Council meeting in Bogota, Colombia, that necessitated an arduous 33-hour trip through Europe for a stay that lasted just two days. Sometimes deliberations in FIFA meetings can stretch for as long as six hours. Immediately after the Bogota confab he jetted off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for another meeting. “It's no joke,” says Araneta, who is 64 years old. But the former striker and defender has no complaints and reveals his motivation to keep on going at the job. “I went to the Youth Football League. I visited the Allianz National Youth Futsal Invitational. You see the kids playing there, you see kids play everywhere. The enthusiasm of the players is what keeps me going.” - RELEASE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2018

The next senior World Cup is in France, not Qatar

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — The "next" World Cup got plenty of hype in Russia. A massive cube was alight with video images of "Qatar 2022" in Gorky Park, while the ground floor of the high-end shopping mall at Red Square was devoted to displays touting the event. But apart from a social media campaign, there was little attention on the (actual) next senior World Cup: the women's tournament next year in France. That was surprising. In the past several years since scandal enveloped soccer's governing body, FIFA has made a point of proclaiming that it aims to raise both the role of women in the organization and the profile of the women's game. President Gianni Infantino appointed Fatma Samoura as the first female secretary general of soccer's international governing body in 2016, while also announcing the creation of a women's soccer division. The men's World Cup in Russia could have provided an opportunity to address equity in the sport while also pointing to the women's tournament next year. But France 2019 wasn't promoted much at all: No signs, events or displays in tourist areas. Samoura made some appearances, but was not visible during the awards ceremony following France's victory over Croatia on Sunday. Venezuelan forward Deyna Castellanos was deemed the women's soccer ambassador in Russia and she starred in a social media campaign anchored by the hashtag #DareToShine. But while the 19-year-old is considered a rising star in the women's game, Venezuela failed to qualify for France so the selection seemed odd. Infantino acknowledged more could be done for the women's game at his wrap-up news conference in Moscow. There's no doubt that the men's World Cup every four years is FIFA's financial juggernaut. But the women are the governing body's second-biggest commercial asset. "We have to invest in women's football. We are thinking of a new women's world league, because 50 percent of the world population, the ladies, need to be treated in the right way as well in a sport which is said to be macho like football," Infantino said. "We have to invest in women's football, we have programs and we have ideas." The call for greater equity in soccer is not new. In the run-up to the last Women's World Cup in 2015, a group of international players, led by U.S. star Abby Wambach, protested because the tournament would be played on artificial turf, which is considered by many to be inferior to real grass. The men's tournament had always been played on grass. Once the point was made about the turf, the tournament in Canada turned out to be a rousing success, attracting the biggest crowds of any FIFA tournament outside of a men's World Cup. It also broke TV rating records in North America, with the final drawing more viewers than any other prior men's or women's match in the United States. Following their victory over Japan for the trophy, the U.S. women went on to bargain for, and receive, a better contract with U.S. Soccer that brought them closer to the compensation level of their male counterparts. The Americans were not alone, national teams from other countries won more equitable contracts with their federations, including Australia and Ireland. France could provide FIFA an opportunity to showcase concrete change at the highest level, and the possible messaging couldn't get more perfect: France won a World Cup, and now will host it. Two issues stand out. It remains to be seen how much prize money will be increased in 2019. The U.S. women took home $2 million in 2015. In contrast, France's men earned $38 million for their victory on Sunday. And there's no word yet whether video replay will be used just as it was for the men for the first time in Russia. U.S. women's coach Jill Ellis was in Moscow the final week of the tournament for a media session put on by FOX, which has the domestic TV rights for 2019 France. She'd like to see an increase in prize money and the use of replay. "I don't know what the ramifications were in other countries, but you look at our own team, in our own country and the viewership and the attendance — there's no difference (with the men)," Ellis said. "So I think that FIFA 100 percent should look at our game as a game, not as a women's game or a men's game." ___ AP Sports Writer Ron Blum in Moscow contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2018

Football: Azkals fighting for redemption, recognition in upcoming tournaments

As important as the first quarter of 2018 was for the Philippine Azkals, the coming months are definitely even more crucial. With the introduction of former England skipper Terry Butcher as the national team’s new head coach, the road to redemption and recognition begins. "The next 12 months is huge for Philippine football. If we can have success in the Suzuki Cup and the Asian Cup, that will be huge strides in the development of football here in the Philippines." said Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband. Redemption is the goal for the upcoming 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, which kicks off in November. The last time that the Azkals participated in the biennial Southeast Asian tournament, it was definitely one to forget. For the first time since 2008, the Philippines failed to qualify for the Suzuki Cup semifinals, snapping a streak of three straight Final Four appearances. This year, the Azkals once again find themselves grouped with Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, just like in 2016. “We have the same group as in the 2016 Suzuki Cup, so it’s a chance for us to redeem ourselves and do better.” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami.      “[It's] the same draw we had two years ago when we didn’t qualify,” said Younghusband. “We know it will be tough and it’s a challenge for us.” The Fil-British striker added that in order to establish themselves as a force to reckon with in Southeast Asian football, teams like Thailand and Indonesia, and Singapore are ones that they need to take care of. “If we want to continue to help the growth of Philippine football, these are teams we will have to play and win against.” A successful AFF Suzuki Cup campaign will also definitely give the Azkals the much-needed momentum as they begin their AFC Asian Cup campaign, their first in team history. On the biggest stage that they’ve been on, their goal is to be recognized as a legitimate contender in Asian football. “The Asian Cup draw is a difficult group, but there are other groups that are more tough. It will be great to get the experience of playing a World Cup side to see what level we are at.” Younghusband said. In the Asian Cup, which kicks off in January of 2019, the Azkals find themselves grouped with South Korea, China, and Kyrgyzstan. All three teams are ranked higher than the Philippines. And while it’s bound to be an uphill battle for the Azkals, Younghusband is hopeful that they can come up with some surprises. “China will be very difficult, but we played them last year so we know what to expect. I would rather play a team we have played before. Kyrgyzstan, we played twice recently and had good victories so it should be interesting. Hopefully, we can claim a best third spot or even surprise a few people and claim second spot.”  Much like the captain, Palami acknowledges that the Asian Cup will indeed be a tough go, but going through tough opponents is the only way for the Azkals to prove themselves among Asia’s elite, and that’s what Palami wants to see from the Pinoy side. “For the Asian Cup, it will be a tough group, but I think if we do it right, we can pull off one of the biggest surprises in the tournament, and that’s what we aim to do.” “We don’t want to be mere participants, but we want to be true competitors in the Asian Cup.” Palami added......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

For the Philippine Women s National Team, the road to the World Cup begins now

As the amazing high from the Philippine Azkals historic win over Tajikistan to book a slot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup last week slowly simmers, the Philippine Women’s National Team embark on their own journey as the kick off their Women’s AFC Asian Cup campaign later this week. A day after the men took care of business against Tajikistan, the ladies were given a proper send-off as they head to Amman, Jordan with the hopes of also making even more Philippine football history. “I hope by next month, we will have ’The Miracle in Jordan’, where in we will compete in the World Cup,” Philippine Football Federation President Mariano ‘Nonong’ Araneta said during the send-off, referencing the Azkals’ win over Tajikistan being called ‘The Miracle in Manila.’ “I believe that we can do it. The coaches here told me that the team is well-prepared and we can pull some surprises in Jordan. I know that you will fight hard, you will play for the Philippines, and that’s our goal, is for football to be uplifted here in the Philippines, with your help.” Araneta added. In their eight previous appearances in the prestigious Asian tournament, the Filipinas have only managed up until the Group Stages. The last time that the Philippines made it to the tournament was way back in 2003.   How’d They Get There? Before we talk about what’s at stake, let’s first look back at how the Philippine women’s squad made their way into the the 2018 Women’s AFC Asian Cup. Part of a 21-team pool that was drawn in January of 2017, the Philippines found themselves in Group A of the Qualifying Tournament, along with AFC Cup host-nation Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, and Iraq. The Qualifying Tournament began in April, with the Philippines putting on an impressive outing and finishing with a 3 win - one loss - one draw record, which was good enough for second in Group A, behind Jordan. The second-place finish earned the Philippines a trip to the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.   Who Else Made It? The Philippines will be competing against seven other teams: JORDAN - Host Nation, 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group A Winners JAPAN - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions AUSTRALIA - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Runners-Up PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Second Runners-Up SOUTH KOREA - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group B Winners THAILAND - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group C Winners VIETNAM - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group D Winners   Of those eight qualified nations, China, Japan, Australia, and Thailand have all gone all the way and won the tournament. China has the most AFC Women’s Asian Cup titles with eight, while Japan, Australia, and Thailand all have one each.   What’s At Stake? A trip to France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. That’s the dream, right there. To get there however, won’t be an easy road, as the Philippines will be facing some top-tier talent in their group alone. The eight teams have been split into two groups of four, and the Filipinas have been put in GROUP A, together with Jordan, China PR, and Thailand. To ensure qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Philippines will need at least a runner-up finish in the group. The last qualification spot will go to the winner of a fifth-place match between the second runners-up of each group.   The Glory As with any national football team, the ultimate dream is to play in the World Cup. With five teams from the Asian Cup set to earn qualification, this is the biggest chance that the Philippines has of making the premiere tournament for the first time in the nation’s history. For the Philippines, qualification not only puts the Philippines on the map in terms of Asian football, but it also cements their place in the history of the Women’s World Cup.   Schedule The Philippines’ Women’s Asian Cup campaign will be as follows: Philippines vs. Jordan - Saturday, April 7, 1:00 AM Manila Time Philippines vs. China PR - Monday, April 9, 9:45 PM Manila Time Philippines vs. Thailand - Thursday, April 12, 1:00 AM Manila Time.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2018

RP Blu Girls set sights on 2020 Tokyo Olympics

With the return of Softball in the upcoming 2020 Olympics, the Philippines is making a serious run to book a trip to Tokyo. The first step in qualifying for the 2020 Olympics is the 11th Asian Women Softball Championships next week in Taiwan where the RP Blu Girls will compete. Actually, not just compete. Our world no. 17 softball squad will go after a medal. However, it's not going to be easy though. Despite the Blu Girls being ranked fourth best in Asia, three Asian teams belong in the top 10 in the world. Japan is no. 1, China is no. 6, and Taipei is no. 9. All of them will also compete in the Taiwan tournament, not to mention the always-dangerous South Korea who are 26th in the world and fifth in Asia. Still, there is quiet confindence from the Blu Girls after a banner year. "Trying to look at it from the last Asian Games and the last tournaments that we have been playing, we have beaten top-10 teams. I think we can do it," head coach Venerando Dizer said. This year alone, the RP Blu Girls have scored impressive wins over world no. 3 Canada and world no. 4 Australia. The team also already beat Taipei twice. The Blue Girls will open the Asian Championships on November 28 against no. 1 Japan. "We're playing Japan right away, for me, I would rather play them right away so that at least from there, we can adjust to qualify for the playoffs," Dizer said. MISSION POSSIBLE: TOKYO OLYMPICS With the return of softball to the Summer Games, the primary goal for the Blu Girls is to nab one of the six spots available in the quadrennial showcase. And with a team that is described as the country's best in quite some time, the people behind the program are confident that the Blur Girls can make a serios run for it. "You can tell, that even from the 19-under level, our girls are getting ready to move up the world rankings. We are very, very happy to seee the potential of us being a Olympic-level team in the future," Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) president Jean Henri Lhuillier said. "2020 is going to be tough with only six spots, but we're gonna try," he added. "That's the goal."   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2017

Megan Rapinoe sees disparity as World Cup approaches

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press FRISCO, Texas (AP) — With the Women's World Cup less than eight months away, U.S. national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe is dismayed by what she sees as ongoing issues of inequality in soccer. From uncertainty about the use of video review and the amount of prize money, to scheduling other tournament finals on the same day as the championship game, equity issues are getting more attention as the World Cup looms. From Rapinoe's standpoint, that's symptomatic of the short shrift paid to the women's game by FIFA, soccer's governing body. "And that's not to say they (FIFA) don't do anything. They obviously do things for the women's game. But in the way that they truly care about the men's game, they don't truly care about the women's game," she said. The United States qualified for the World Cup on Sunday night with a victory over Jamaica in the semifinals of the CONCACAF women's championship tournament. The top three finishers earn spots in the World Cup, so the U.S. and Canada secured berths with semifinal victories. The two teams will play each other in the championship match Wednesday night. Rapinoe has always been one of the most vocal players on the team. She was among a chorus of voices that criticized FIFA in the run-up to the 2015 World Cup in Canada because the tournament was played on artificial turf, which was considered a slight to the women. So it's understandable the 33-year-old national team vet would call out FIFA for more recent issues. FIFA has been criticized for scheduling the Women's World Cup final on the same day as the men's Copa America final and the CONCACAF Gold Cup final. There have been calls for FIFA to use VAR, or Video Assistant Referees, at the tournament in France. VAR was used at the men's World Cup for the first time in Russia. Prize money has been an issue since 2015, when the U.S. women's team received $2 million for winning the World Cup, out of a pool of $15 million. By comparison, the prize pool for the men's World Cup in Russia was $400 million. FIFA's Chief Women's Football Officer Sarai Bareman responded to some of the criticism last week when the organization released its first-ever global strategy for women's soccer. The wide-ranging policy seeks to grow the women's game overall — and one aim is to get more women involved in the decision-making processes at all levels. "We have to keep pushing," Bareman said. "Because it's proven that having more women in these decision-making bodies creates a more diverse decision-making process, and also a more robust and I would say — how do I put this diplomatically — a more honest and integral process as well." The strategy shows that FIFA is committed to the women's game, she said. As for VAR, a decision has not been announced. FIFA did not announce its intention to use VAR for the men's World Cup until just a few months before the tournament. Bareman also confirmed that World Cup prize money would be increased but did not reveal a figure. An announcement is expected later this month at the FIFA Council meeting in Rwanda. She said the prize structure would include "new elements that haven't existed before in the women's game" including money to help qualified teams prepare. Sports Illustrated reported last week that the prize pool would be doubled, to $30 million. Rapinoe wanted to know what metric was used in determining the amount — especially in light of the disparity with the men's. "I mean, I think that they're probably looking for pats on the back for the increase. They're not getting any from here. I mean, until they're really going to take meaningful steps to truly show that they're caring about the women's game in a sort of deeper way, I don't know. $15 million is nothing to them. ... If they wanted to just sort of arbitrarily do it, they could increase it by $100 million," she said. Rapinoe is not alone. Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn have also publicly addressed some of the controversies. Coach Jill Ellis first called for VAR at the Women's World Cup when she visited Russia for the men's tournament, and during qualifying she has questioned the scheduling decisions. The U.S. team is uniquely positioned to speak to contentious issues. The players fought for and received an improved collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer in 2017 that brings player compensation more in line with the men's team. And as the No. 1 team in the world, the players' voices carry weight. "I think they themselves are an incredible mouthpiece for our game, for the women's game. Not just because of their popularity, but also their investment. This is a group that wants the game to grow," Ellis said. "So I think them speaking their minds, honestly, and being open about how they feel about issues — as in bonuses for winning, dates of competition, VAR, all those things that you want to be on the same level and same platform as the men's game. And that's the expectation, and anything less that that is not acceptable.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2018

Italy leaves it late to earn 1st competitive win in a year

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Italy is finally showing signs of emerging from its crisis, nearly a year after failing to qualify for the World Cup. Cristiano Biraghi's goal in stoppage time earned the Azzurri a much-needed 1-0 win in Poland on Sunday in the UEFA Nations League. Playing in Group 3 of League A, Poland became the first team to be relegated in the new European competition. Italy also hit the crossbar twice in the first half, first with Jorginho then with Lorenzo Insigne. Still, the match appeared headed for a scoreless draw until Biraghi slid in to redirect a corner inside the far post two minutes into injury time. "We dominated the game completely and should have scored earlier," Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. "A 0-0 would have been an unfair result. We played very well but we can still improve a lot. In football you only need time and hard work; magicians do not exist." It was the first national team goal for Biraghi, a full back at Fiorentina. Biraghi celebrated by making a No. 13 with his fingers, a dedication to former Fiorentina captain and Italy defender Davide Astori, who died from cardiac arrest in March. Astori wore the No. 13 shirt. "Astori is a part of me," Biraghi said. "I dedicate my goal to him because if I'm here it is only thanks to him and all the things he taught me when we played together." It was Italy's first competitive victory in more than a year, since beating Albania 1-0 in World Cup qualifying last October. It also ended a five-match winless streak in all competitions and gave Italy a slim chance to catch group leader Portugal. Portugal leads with six points, two ahead of Italy, while Poland is last with one. Italy hosts Portugal in its next and final match but then Portugal has another game at home against Poland. RUSSIA RISING World Cup quarterfinalist Russia needs only one more point to be promoted into League A following a 2-0 win over visiting Turkey in Sochi with goals in the Group 2 game from Roman Neustadter and substitute Denis Cheryshev. Turkey will be relegated from League B if it loses to Sweden on Nov. 17, while Russia can move up with a draw in Sweden three days later. GOALKEEPER ASSIST A long pass from goalkeeper Ariel Harush set up Israel's first goal by Tomer Hemed in a 2-0 win over visiting Albania in League C. Harush also made a series of saves before Israel got its second from Dia Seba. Israel is three points ahead of Scotland and Albania atop Group 1. Also in League C, Romania played the entire second half with 10 men and still drew 0-0 with Serbia. Serbia, which had captain Dusan Tadic miss a penalty, stayed atop Group 4, one point ahead of Montenegro, which won 4-1 in Lithuania. Romania is two points back. UNBEATEN KOSOVO Kosovo held on for a 1-1 draw in the Faeroe Islands to remain unbeaten atop Group 3 in League D. After Milot Rashica's early opener, Rene Joensen equalized after the break for the Faeroes. In the same group, Azerbaijan and Malta also played to a 1-1 draw, with Araz Abdullayev's second-half equalizer canceling out Rowen Muscat's opener for Malta......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2018

PH chessers score rare double

The Philippine scored a rare double late Wednesday when the men's team turned back Zambia, 2.5-1.5, while the women's squad routed South Korea, 3-1, in the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Ba.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsOct 5th, 2018

Stewart, Wilson propel US to 100-88 win over China

By Doug Feinberg, Associated Press SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Spain (AP) — After a quiet first half, Breanna Stewart felt she needed to be more assertive on both ends of the court. She certainly made her presence felt in the final 20 minutes. Stewart scored 21 of her 23 points in the second half and A'ja Wilson added 20 points to help the United States beat China 100-88 on Sunday in the second day of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. "I needed to be more aggressive. There were a few things that I could have done better — defense and rebounding. Focus on that and the offense comes," Stewart said. China trailed only 36-35 midway through the second quarter as the U.S. was still trying to figure out a lineup that worked on offense and defense. The Americans then closed the half on a 12-4 burst. Wilson had six points during the run. Layshia Clarendon, who played a few minutes in the first game, also provided a spark off the bench in the spurt. She had two points, two assists and two rebounds. The Chinese team hung around in the third quarter and trailed 60-54 before Stewart, who played in China the past few winters, took over. She scored nine of the next 11 points and China couldn't get within seven the rest of the way. "She was trailing a lot, and obviously the defense sucked down. The post players did a great job rim running," U.S. coach Dawn Staley said. "That left Stewie wide open at the top of key and she took advantage of them time and again. That's what we come to expect, Stewie like things. We needed her to be that way to give us some separation and widen our lead in the third quarter." The Americans were still missing Brittney Griner, who suffered a slight sprain of her right ankle in practice Friday. Griner said after the win over Senegal she would have played if it was an elimination game. China was able to exploit the lack of Griner with its own 6-foot-9 center Han Xu. Han showed an impressive array of post moves as well as a deft touch from 10 feet. The 18-year-old finished with 20 points and left to a warm ovation from the crowd with 20 seconds left. "Coach encouraged us to play with confidence. The U.S. is a very good team. We just went out and enjoyed ourselves," said China guard Shao Ting, who had 10 points. The Chinese team, which is the youngest in the tournament with the average age 23 years, lost to the U.S. by 43 points in the 2016 Olympics. The U.S. (2-0) hasn't lost to China (1-1) in six meetings in the World Cup. The Americans won the first five meetings by an average of 25.8 points. The victory was the Americans' 18th in a row in the tournament and 43rd in the past 44 games in the World Cup. The only blemish over the past 20 years was a loss to Russia in the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. Sunday's game came on the 12th anniversary of that loss. CHINA CONNECTION: Many of the U.S. players have competed in China in the offseason. Stewart, Griner, Morgan Tuck, Jewell Loyd and Tina Charles all have spent time there. Wilson will be headed there this year. "You're having some of the top WNBA players going over there to China and showing them the standards of what we put ourselves through," Stewart said. RECOVERING: Elena Delle Donne played only 3 ½ minutes on Sunday. She suffered a bone bruise in the WNBA playoffs and is still recovering. She said that she and Staley would talk before each game to discuss how she was feeling. Delle Donne said after the game the back to back was difficult. SCOREBOARD: It was a great day for Africa with both Senegal and Nigeria winning. It's the first time in the history of the tournament that an African team won a pool play game, let alone two. Senegal beat Latvia 70-69 and Nigeria edged Turkey 74-68. In other games, Canada beat South Korea 82-63; Australia routed Argentina 84-43; Japan edged Belgium 77-75 in OT; France beat Greece 75-71 and Spain topped Puerto Rico 78-53. UP NEXT China: Will face Senegal on Tuesday with second place in the group at stake. U.S.: Will face Latvia on Tuesday looking to continue its dominance......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2018

AVC Asian Cup: PH fails to sustain strong start, falls to Australia in 5 sets

Team Philippines came off the gates with fire in its eyes, but unfortunately lost steam only after the second set to yield to AustraliaSundaynight in the opener of the AVC Asian Cup women's championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. With Alyssa Valdez and Aby Marano at the helm, the Filipinas played at full speed and power to stun the Australians in the first two frames but failed to adjustments when the taller, stronger enemy made its move en route to a 21-25, 21-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-10 come-from-behind triumph. The Philippines, ranked 79th in the world, shocked the world No. 42 with off-tangent shots coming from different directions to put the Australian defense in disarray. Qui...Keep on reading: AVC Asian Cup: PH fails to sustain strong start, falls to Australia in 5 sets.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 16th, 2018

ASIAN GAMES: PHI triathletes plunge into action

PALEMBANG --- Although virtually unbeatable in Southeast Asia, Nikko Huelgas and Kim Mangrobang are aware that they will be going up against Asia’s big guns in the 18th Asian Games triathlon competitions unfolding on Friday. Reigning Southeast Asian Game’s women’s triathlon champion Mangrobang and vastly-improved Fil-Am Kim Kilgroe take first crack in the swim-bike-run event starting at 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. in Manila) within and around the Jakabaring Sport City complex here. “With her present from, a top 5 finish would not be farfetched for Kim, and if she steps up, I woudn’t be surprised of a podium finish,” said coach Annie de Leon-Brown of the Europe-trained Mangrobang, who placed ninth in the last Asiad held in Incheon, South Korea four years ago. While defending Japanese champion  Ai Ueda is not around, compatriot Yuka Sato, ranked No. 20 in the International Triathlon world ratings, looms as the top favorite in the women’s division, Brown pointed out Huelgas, a two-time SEA Games goild medalist,  and  John Chicano, the 2017 Malaysian SEA Games medalist, will see action in the men’s competition  on Saturday, and which Brown said would be even tougher considering there will be more entries.   “If either Nikko or John finish in the top 10 we would be happy,” Brown said. In the mixed relay on Sunday, Huelgas and Mangrobang will be joined by Claire Adorna, the 2017 Singapore SEAG gold medalist, and Mark Hosana, she added. “Claire and Mark were chosen (to be part of the team) because they were really meant for the mixed relay, which promises to be an exciting race,” Brown stressed. While she had no complaints about the swim leg at the JSC man-made lake, the coach was a bit worried about the bike course “because we saw there were still grains of sand on the road during practice. This could result in accidents once the triathletes race around the route, which is a bit technical (hard).”    Brown said that they were assured by Asian Games organizers that they would clear the road of sand to make it safe and secure for the riders.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2018

ASIAN GAMES: Gold medal winner Saso eyes Youth Olympics next

JAKARTA — Yuka Saso, owner of an individual gold in golf at the 18th Asian Games that also towed the women’s team to the crown, intends to bring her winning act to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires is hosting in October. The Filipino-Japanese was still in could nine over the double-gold victory on Sunday but she couldn’t wait to buckle down to serious training for the YOG. The Asian Games gold medals were  overwhelming for Saso and teammates Bianca Pagdanganan and Louis Kay Go that they could not seem to get over their success that easily. “These [gold medals] are really, really big. The Asian Games are like the Olympics,” Saso, 17, said. “I’m proud of myself, my team and everyone who supported us.” Their coach, Rick Gibson, a journeyman on the Asian Tour who has won the fabled Philippine Open, was as ecstatic as the young girls. “Unbelievable,” Gibson said. “Wow, these girls!” “It’s my honor to be part of the team, to be part of NGAP [National Golf Associaton of the Philippines] and put the pieces [of these championship team together.” Saso’s path to the gold medal—and so as the team’s—were laced with sheer talent and destiny. An eagle-3 in the 18th and final hole coupled with the collapse of erstwhile leader Liu Wenbo, who had a quadruple bogey in the same hole, spelled a double victory for the Philippines four days after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first gold. The 17-year-old Saso was in her best form when it mattered most at the Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club course, rallying from four shots down to end a gold medal drought that started after Ramon Brobio won the men’s individual title in the 1986 Seoul Games. Pagdanganan also clinched bronze in individual play as the Philippines dominated the podium for the first time in the Games.  “I just never lost faith in myself and I never doubted this team form the beginning,” Saso said. “We are all fighters and we really fought hard for our country.” Although still in their teens, Gibson said Saso and her teammates already possess the experience to excel under pressure and win major tournaments. “Yuka is a US NCAA champion. She has the makings of a world champion,” Gibson said. Gibson confided that it was only Pagdanganan and Go who walked the course ahead of the Games. “Yuka? She didn’t join the two girls. But she knows the course, she played there three years ago,” he said. The YOG are set October 6 to 18 and Gibson said Saso is eager to get back to the course and prepare herself for another gold. Saso’s No. 48 world ranking qualified her for the YOG. She will be joined by Luis Miguel Castro, who also played here in the Games along with Lloyd Jeferson Go and Ruperto Zaragoza but finished eighth behind Japan, China and South Korea. “The girls have shown that Filipinos could win in the Asian Games,” Gibson said. “It was a great day for Filipinos.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2018

A squad built in weeks: Man United women’s team is revived

MANCHESTER, England --- Within a few weeks, Casey Stoney has completed the job many soccer coaches would envy and some find daunting: Assembling a squad completely from scratch. Thirteen years after Manchester United women's team was disbanded to prioritize resources on the men, gender equality has returned to one of the world's richest sports teams. Only 83 days after being granted a license by the English Football Association, United's women's side plays on Sunday against Liverpool with Stoney as coach. "It was a blank canvas," Stoney said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I wasn't coming in and clearing up anyone else's mess. I wasn't inheriting players. It was stressful...Keep on reading: A squad built in weeks: Man United women’s team is revived.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 18th, 2018

Koreas extend conciliatory steps to Asian Games

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — With the Koreas, there's no separating their sports from their politics. The war-separated rivals will take their reconciliation steps to the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, where they will jointly march in the opening ceremony and field combined teams in basketball, rowing and canoeing. "Sports have played the role of peacemaker between the Koreas," said Kim Seong-jo, vice chairman of South Korea's Olympic committee and the country's chef de mission at the Asian Games. "If the combined teams put out good performances and win medals, that would be putting the cherry on the top." North and South Korea have used sports diplomacy this year in a bid to decrease animosity and initiate a new round of global diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang. South Korea leaders consider goodwill gestures as crucial to keep the positive atmosphere alive for what could become a long and difficult attempt to persuade the North to give up its nuclear and missile programs. There's not much Seoul can do beyond such gestures, though, as joint economic projects are out of the question when lifting sanctions against North Korea is far beyond the South's control. The more substantial discussions on the North's denuclearization — including what, when and how it would occur— are always going to be between Washington and Pyongyang. Here's a look at what the Koreas are planning for the Asian Games and their ebbs and flows in sports diplomacy: ___ BLUE FLAGS AND COMBINED TEAMS In the opening ceremony in Jakarta, athletes from North and South Korea will parade together under the flag featuring a blue map that symbolized a unified Korean Peninsula. It will be virtual repeat of the joint march during February's Winter Olympics in the South Korean ski resort of Pyeongchang, minus the gloves, parkas and fur hats. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent hundreds of athletes, artists and government officials to the Pyeongchang Olympics. The Koreas also fielded their first combined Olympic team in women's ice hockey, which drew passionate support from crowds despite losing all five of its games with a combined score of 28-2. At the Asian Games, the Koreas will be expected to deliver more than just feel-good stories. There's pressure for the investment to yield gold. A group of 34 North Korean athletes, coaches and officials have been in South Korea since last month for combined teams in women's basketball and the men's and women's events in rowing and canoeing. Coach Lee Moon-kyu, who has retained a core of South Korean players who won gold at the 2014 Asian Games at home in Incheon, got a first-hand look at North Korean players during exhibitions in Pyongyang in early July. Lee later picked three North Korean players for the Asian Games squad, including center Ro Suk Yong. Lee will also have a North Korean assistant coach on his bench. The Koreans will face Taiwan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and India in their preliminary group. South Korean forward Lim Yung-hui said the chemistry between the players has been improving. "The Northern players share the same goal of the gold medal and we talk a lot about how we should be putting out a good performance there," Lim said. "We weren't given much time, but we are practicing hard in a positive atmosphere." The Koreas will field combined teams in dragon boat events in canoeing and the lightweight men's four, lightweight men's eight and lightweight women's double sculls in rowing. If a combined team wins gold, athletes on the podium will hear the traditional folk song of "Arirang,"used in both Koreas as an unofficial anthem for peace, instead of their respective national anthems. The Korean athletes are likely to become an attraction at the Asian Games, where the international media will follow closely. At the Pyeongchang Olympics, South Korean figure skater Kam Alex Kang-chan created a media frenzy by taking a selfie with North Korea's Kim Ju Sik and posting it on Instagram. The photo recalled a famous 2016 selfie taken by two North and South Korean gymnasts at the Rio Olympics which International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach described as a "great gesture." ___ THEY DON'T ALWAYS PLAY NICE The Koreas have a history of using sports to foster diplomacy since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The 1991 world table tennis championships in Japan were the first time the Koreas fielded a combined team at a major international event. The atmosphere wasn't always friendly, though. During the height of their Cold War rivalry and recurring periods of animosity since, sports often became an alternate political battlefield. North Korean athletes and coaches would reject handshakes with their South Korean competitors and berate South Korean reporters during news conferences. The sports detente of 1991 evaporated when a North Korean athlete who competed at the world judo championships in Barcelona defected and arrived in South Korea amid heavy media coverage. North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the '88 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and relations dramatically worsened on the eve of the Seoul Olympics with the bombing of a South Korean passenger jet that killed all 115 aboard in December 1987. The inter-Korean warmth heading into this year's Asian Games contrasts with the awkwardness between the rivals surrounding the 2014 Asiad held in South Korea. Seoul's then-conservative government invited North Korean athletes to compete, but made it clear it had no interest in joint marches or combined teams. North Korean subsequently withdrew an offer to send its all-female cheering squad to Incheon after squabbling with the hosts over costs. North Korean leader Kim did send a senior government delegation to the closing ceremony, but they returned home without meeting then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The North was still seething over the Asian Game treatment years later as it gleefully observed Park's presidency crashing over a corruption scandal. "The Park Geun-hye group's mad confrontational racket is to blame for why (the North Korean) visit to Incheon did not result in improved relations," the North said in a statement in April last year. ___ WILL THE GOOD TIMES LAST? Kim has found a willing counterpart in Moon, a liberal who won the presidential by-elections to replace Park last year. Since the Pyeongchang Olympics, Kim has met Moon twice and leveraged the summits to get to U.S. President Donald Trump. After their June summit in Singapore, Kim and Trump issued a vague aspirational goal for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing specific plans. Sports exchanges and other goodwill gestures are important policy tools for Moon, who wants Seoul to be in the "driver's seat" in international efforts to deal with Pyongyang. The Koreas have also agreed to resume temporary reunions between relatives separated by the war and are holding military talks to reduce tensions across their heavily armed border. "Hopefully, (the Asian Games) will provide an opportunity to use sports to facilitate diplomacy and cooperation," Moon said while meeting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Seoul last month. Seoul's presidential office hasn't announced yet whether Moon would attend the opening ceremony in Jakarta on Aug. 18. Whatever happens in Indonesia or with nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, the Koreas will always have those heartening selfies posted by athletes. "Sports can be used to build momentum and trust, but they don't solve fundamental problems," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to Moon. "There's not much South Korea can currently do, but at least it's trying to actively do the things it can to keep the positive atmosphere alive. ".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

Young and united, England looks good as a title contender

By Graham Dunbar, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — A famous song lyric neatly describes the upbeat feeling around England's rejuvenated national soccer team. It's not "football's coming home." Instead, try the old punk rock line: "If the kids are united, they will never be defeated." The positive emotions of England's young players are evident toward coach Gareth Southgate despite the 2-1 loss to Croatia in extra time in the World Cup semifinals. "You've brought belief and the love of football back. Thank you boss from the whole nation," 20-year-old forward Marcus Rashford wrote on his Twitter account Thursday. You’ve brought belief and the love of football back. Thank you boss from the whole nation ❤️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/2meUAFlIN5 — Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2018 Over-achieving in a first major international test for Southgate and many of the squad has banished the anxiety that harmed too many England teams in recent years. Rashford, a sharp and fast second-half substitute in Moscow on Wednesday, is not even the youngest of Southgate's players in Russia. At 19, Trent Alexander-Arnold impressed in the Champions League final for Liverpool in May, and weeks later started his first World Cup game, against Belgium. "It has been an honor to be a part of this special team. We will be back stronger," Alexander-Arnold wrote on Twitter early Thursday. Absolutely devastated that our journey is over! We enjoyed every moment as a nation, I’d like to thank all the staff and fans for being behind us. It has been an honour to be a part of this special team. We will be back stronger 💔🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 pic.twitter.com/LErwj4QqZm — Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) July 11, 2018 Alexander-Arnold, a quick, right-sided defender, will need to force his way into the team past Kieran Trippier, perhaps the standout success of England's tournament. Trippier delivered world-class corners, crosses and free kicks, including the fifth-minute goal against Croatia that raised hope of a first World Cup final berth since 1966. The Tottenham player gave an emotional endorsement of Southgate, who seems likely to guide England's team to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. "It all comes from the manager, unbelievable manager for me personally, the way he handles the team," Trippier said at the Luzhniki Stadium. "He sets the tone, he brought this team together." A relatively late bloomer at 27, Trippier is a rare England player who will turn 30 before kickoff in Qatar on Nov. 21, 2022. The four attackers who started Wednesday, including 24-year-old captain Harry Kane, are between 22 and 25. The heart of the defense — John Stones, Harry Maguire, plus goalkeeper Jordan Pickford — are in the same age bracket. It's a talent pool setting up England as a serious title contender in the coming years. There is still room for envy if England can bear watching the World Cup final on Sunday. In the midfield duels, France fields the elegance and power of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante against Croatia's precise pair of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. There isn't likely to be a Modric-type player in England's team ahead of the 2020 European Championship to help retain the ball, pace the play, and manage the toughest games. Those are the kinds of qualities England needed after halftime against Croatia. "If we're in the position again, we'll be better off because of the experience of what we've just had," said 28-year-old Jordan Henderson, who was Liverpool's captain in that Champions League final loss to Modric and Real Madrid. The incentives are huge. Euro 2020 is being hosted across 12 countries, but England could qualify and be placed in a group based at Wembley Stadium, travel for two knockout rounds, then come home for the semifinals and final at Wembley. "The aim if we're at the Euros in two years' time is to go again," said Kane, who should be Southgate's chosen captain for years to come. Before qualifying starts next March, England is in a fascinating group for the inaugural UEFA Nations League, which starts in September. Spain, under new coach Luis Enrique, visits Wembley on Sept. 8. England then travels to face Croatia on Oct. 12. The return games will be completed by November......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2018

Mexican soccer fans and pride marchers mingle in celebration

By Amy Guthrie, Associated Press MEXICO CITY (AP) — Soccer fans converged at Mexico's Angel of Independence monument to celebrate the national team's second win in the World Cup, mingling with an annual gay pride parade in a country that has been reprimanded for anti-gay slurs during soccer matches. Revelers cheered the Mexican team's second straight win after a 2-1 victory against South Korea while marveling at the harmony between the two celebrations. Some waved rainbow flags. Some waved Mexican flags. Some waved both. "We are very glad to see that these two groups can share the space," said Karla Vera, 27, who came to the pride march with her girlfriend in matching green soccer jerseys. "This is a very important day for Mexico." FIFA fined the Mexican Football Federation $10,000 for offensive fan behavior in Mexico's opening match against Germany. The Mexican team thanked its fans in a tweet Saturday for not shouting the slur during the South Korea match, saying that Mexico "won on and off the pitch." Fans deploy the slur, which literally translates as male prostitute, to distract players attempting goals. Defenders of the chant say the word is more akin to coward or wimp. Eduardo Reyes, 24, said he was initially afraid to attend Saturday's gay pride festivities knowing that soccer fans could flood the parade route. "Soccer is sometimes a little macho," he said, adding that he dies a little inside every time he hears the anti-gay slur during matches. "If you think about it, they're attacking their brothers." Reyes attended the march dressed as a Mexican cowboy, pairing a large embroidered sombrero and bolero jacket with tight underwear briefs. The historian beamed as soccer fans approached to snap pictures with him. Mexico has made great strides in gay rights. The Mexican Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2010, five years before the U.S. But a 2016 study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico showed that Mexico ranked second after Brazil in Latin America for anti-LGBTQ crimes. And the country's National Human Rights Commission has labelled the culture as macho and patriarchal. Saturday's festivities painted a picture of a more tolerant and inclusive Mexico. Crowds of soccer fans jumped for joy next to men dressed as samba dancers and sweet-15 princesses. Drums beat. Spray foam spewed into the air. Signs saying "Stop Homophobia" glided past groups singing the Mexican folk song Cielito Lindo. "You can feel the harmony among everyone," said 18-year-old Renata Inurreta, who poured into the streets with her friends immediately after the match. "This is the essence of Mexico — that we love the party.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

Sweden has a lot to be upset about after last-minute loss

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A last-minute goal. A non-called penalty. A disrespectful celebration. Sweden had a lot to be upset about when the final whistle blew on Saturday. The Swedes were within seconds of holding defending champion Germany to a draw, and moving into good position to advance to the round of 16 at the World Cup, when Toni Kroos scored deep into stoppage time to give Germany a 2-1 come-from-behind victory. "I'm sorry that we didn't get at least one point," Sweden coach Janne Andersson said. "But I'm not blaming anyone tactically or analyzing too much right now, there are so many emotions going around. This is probably the heaviest conclusion that I've experienced in my career." Kroos' goal from a set piece came in the fifth and final minute of injury time. The draw would have kept Sweden ahead of Germany in Group F and needing only a draw against Mexico in the last match. "It was just bad luck," Sweden forward John Guidetti said. "Now we need to try to find a way to win the last match. In a few days we play again and we have to win it. It's simple." Germany, which is tied with Sweden on points and goal difference, will play against South Korea in the final round. "We still have an excellent opportunity to qualify," Andersson said. "Now we have to clean up, tidy up after this game. We're going to do that." The Swedes were leading Germany at halftime thanks to Ola Toivonen's goal in the 32nd minute at Fisht Stadium. They felt they could have been ahead even earlier if the referee had called a penalty when Marcus Berg appeared to be fouled inside the area with a clear chance to score. There was no formal video review called for. "If we have the (VAR) system, it's very unfortunate that he (the referee) can feel so secure in the moment that he doesn't go and have a look at the situation," Andersson said. He and the Swedish players said they also couldn't understand why Germany decided to celebrate near their bench. "You shouldn't celebrate in front of our bench the way they did, that's disrespectful," Guidetti said. "You can celebrate with your own fans. Don't celebrate in front of our bench like that. That's why they apologized, because they knew they did something wrong." Andersson said he was "very annoyed" by seeing the Germany team "running in our direction and rubbing it in our faces by making gestures." "We fought hard for 95 minutes," he said. "And when the final whistle blows, you shake hands.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

Russia cuts World Cup squad player who faced doping case

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia cut from its World Cup squad a player who faced a doping investigation. The Russian Football Union said on Monday defender Ruslan Kambolov injured a calf muscle during a game for Rubin Kazan the day before. He was replaced by 38-year-old veteran Sergei Ignashevich, who has come out of international retirement. The RFU said coaches dropped Kambolov, "taking into account the training time (until the World Cup begins) and the possibility of exacerbating the problem." Kambolov was investigated by FIFA this year following the publication of World Anti-Doping Agency investigations alleging Russian officials covered up earlier doping cases. Lawyers for Kambolov said last month his case was closed for lack of evidence, though FIFA hasn't confirmed that. The center back Ignashevich has made 120 appearances for Russia but last played for the team at the 2016 European Championship. Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said he met on Sunday with Ignashevich, who refused previous comeback pleas. "Ignashevich heard me out calmly," Cherchesov said in a statement. "And today he gave his agreement after the results of Kambolov's examination became clear." Ignashevich said the call was a surprise "but I thought saying yes was the right thing to do," in comments on the team Twitter feed. "After all, it's the World Cup and moreover it's happening in our country. I'll give every effort to help the team." Russia is struggling ahead of the tournament with no wins in its last five games. Since the start of 2016, it has played 13 games against teams who will be at the World Cup and won only once, against South Korea. In Group A, Russia plays Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the World Cup on June 14 in Moscow, followed by Egypt and Uruguay. Ahead of the tournament, Russia has scheduled friendlies against Austria away on May 30 and against Turkey in Moscow on June 5. Russia's 28-man preliminary squad must be cut to 23 players by June 4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2018

2018 WORLD CUP: Since 2014 highs, a struggle for Colombia, James

By Jairo Anchique, Associated Press BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia has a lot to live up to in Russia after providing one of the standout moments of the last World Cup. James Rodriguez was catapulted to football stardom when he took the ball on his chest and swiveled before smashing a volley in off the underside of the bar in the Maracana against Uruguay. It helped to secure Colombia's spot in the quarterfinals in 2014 — and ultimately a move to Real Madrid. But James has struggled to live up to the highs of Brazil, where he scored a tournament-leading six goals. He struggled to make an impact in Spain and has been trying to regain form ahead of this World Cup at Bayern Munich. It was a struggle, too, for Colombia to even qualify for a second straight World Cup with a spot only sealed in the last match. It enables Radamel Falcao to finally appear at football's biggest event after missing the trip to Brazil with a left knee injury. Here's a closer look at the Colombia team: COACH Jose Pekerman has spent six years in charge of Colombia, following successes with his native Argentina. He guided Argentina to under-20 world titles in 1995, 1997 and 2001 and then guided the senior squad to the 2006 World Cup quarterfinals, where it lost to host Germany in a penalty shootout. Pekerman has long had close ties to Colombia: He played with Independiente Medellin in the 1970s and Vanessa, his eldest daughter, was born in the capital in 1975. GOALKEEPERS David Ospina is the undisputed choice to top the team sheet, despite being restricted to playing in cup competitions for Arsenal while Petr Cech starts English Premier League matches. Camilo Vargas, who plays for Deportivo Cali in Colombia, is Ospina's understudy, just like at the 2014 World Cup. Jose Fernando Cuadrado, who also plays at home for Once Caldas, is also set to make the cut. DEFENDERS Pekerman has been forced to reshape the defense due to the retirement of Mario Alberto Yepes and the trio of Pablo Armero, Camilo Zuniga and Carlos Valdes losing form and fitness. But quality center backs have broken through: Yerry Mina of Barcelona, Oscar Murillo of Mexican side Pachuca and Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham. Cristian Zapata is set for a second World Cup, along with right back Santiago Arias. Frank Fabra has taken the place of Armero on the left. MIDFIELD James, Juan Cuadrado of Juventus and Carlos Sanchez of Fiorentina are set for a second World Cup. Edwin Cardona, Mateus Uribe, Wilmar Barrios, Giovanni Moreno and Juan Fernando Quintero are other options. The goals of the flyers were vital when the attackers spent about a year without converting. FOWARDS Falcao is the only striker who looks certain of a starting spot while Duvan Zapata, Luis Fernando Muriel, Carlos Bacca, Miguel Angel Borja, Duvan Zapata and Yimmi Chara are competing for the remaining places. Pekerman tends to go for a lone strike either in 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 formations. GROUP GAMES Colombia opens Group H on June 19 against Japan, plays the second game near its Kazan base against Poland on June 24, and concludes against Senegal on June 28......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2018

US leagues are on the verge of going international

By Paul Newberry, Associated Press An NFL team in London? Count on it. An NBA franchise in Mexico City? Yep, that's coming too. What was once a pipe dream — major-league teams based in cities outside the United States and Canada — is now just a matter of time. The aforementioned cities are the ones most likely to break through first, but others will surely follow when everyone sees how much potential revenue is there for the taking. "The market is saturated in the U.S.," said Gil Fried, a professor and chair of sports management at the University of New Haven. "They need to find new markets." The NFL has been trying for years to make inroads in Europe — especially London — and those efforts were turned up to full blast by revelations that Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is attempting to buy Wembley Stadium, a 90,000-seat, state-of-the-art venue known the world over. Khan brushed off the obvious speculation that this is the first step toward moving the Jaguars to London — where they already have been playing "home" games since 2013 — but didn't exactly provide a resounding vote of confidence for Jacksonville, one of the smallest markets in the NFL. "The first thing you want with certainty is you want a venue," he said. "And this gives us a stadium solution, for us or anyone else." In other words, better get used to calling his team the London Jaguars. "Shad Khan's purchase of Wembley Stadium portends that a substantive NFL presence in London, and ultimately a franchise, is inevitable," said Vince Benigni, a professor of sports communication at the College of Charleston. The NBA, which last expanded in 2004, is looking to get the jump on Mexico City, a sprawling metropolis of more than 20 million people that opened an NBA-ready arena in 2012. That facility hosted a pair of NBA regular-season games each of the last two seasons , drawing an average of more than 20,000 fans. "You can feel it, you can smell it, you can breathe it in the streets." said Gilberto Hernández, president of the Mexican Basketball Federation. "They're just craving basketball." Of course, there are a number of challenges that must be addressed before international expansion becomes a reality — especially so for Mexico City, which is 7,350 feet above sea level (more than 2,000 feet higher than Denver), is plagued by crime and economic-disparity issues, and might have trouble signing top players who are reluctant to step outside their cultural comfort zone. But the appeal is enormous. "It's the largest city in the Western Hemisphere," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. "It's part of a 130 million-person country. There's a very strong, passionate Mexican-American fan base in the United States. This is also a potential gateway for all of Latin America." The NHL first floated the prospect of a European division in the late 1960s. Detroit Red Wings owner Bruce Norris was so fixated on the idea that he launched his own team, the London Lions, who played a 72-game schedule against top European teams in 1973-74. Unfortunately, the Lions never had a league of their own, so the team quietly disbanded after that single season, leaving behind nothing more than a cool logo . Over the last two decades, the NHL has scheduled regular-season contests in Europe and Japan, including two games in Stockholm this past November. The Asian market also remains a top priority, especially heading into the 2022 Olympics in Beijing — though the league sent mixed signals by refusing to send its players to this year's Winter Games in South Korea. For the NHL and the NBA, the enormous travel times between North America and either Europe or Asia remain the biggest obstacle to adding teams in those markets. Unless some sort of supersonic transportation becomes available, it would simply be too difficult to incorporate such faraway cities as London and Tokyo into an 82-game schedule, which requires teams to play games all through the week and sometimes on back-to-back days. Also working against European expansion: the lack on U.S.-quality arenas (even the most modern facilities generally lack the size and amenities to generate as much revenue as their American counterparts) and established basketball and hockey leagues in many countries would surely object to the NBA or NHL coming in to steal their limelight. For the NFL, the challenges aren't nearly so daunting, and the potential rewards could be even greater for a league that has faced declining TV ratings and lots of bad publicity about the devastating physical toll on its players. There are no major pro football leagues in Europe. Teams play only once a week, generally on Sunday, and the entire regular-season schedule is just 16 games. A team in London would have to make the cross-Atlantic trek no more than eight times a year, and the demands could be lessened by scheduling back-to-back road games, halving the number of long-range roundtrips. A London team could even maintain its base of operations in the U.S., essentially playing all its games on the road but perhaps making it easier to sign players in free agency and cope with legal issues and currency fluctuations. Travel would not be a concern for a Mexican team. The NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball have all played regular-season games south of the border — next weekend, in fact, the Los Angeles Dodgers will meet the San Diego Padres in a three-game series at Monterrey . MLB seems the most logical candidate to launch a Mexican team, given baseball's popularity and the large number of Latin American players in the majors, but the NBA is leading the way. Silver wants to put a G League development team in Mexico City, testing the waters for a possible NBA franchise. "As we look down the road, frankly, to see whether there can be an opportunity to even dream about an NBA franchise here in Mexico City, we believe it makes sense as a first step to have a development league team here to work out some of the issues, to better understand what it would mean to have a team in Mexico," Silver said. There are still plenty of questions to answer, that's for sure. But one is crystal clear. Are U.S. leagues going international? No doubt about it......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018