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Mexican players can have beef again at the World Cup

By Carlos Rodriguez, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — Mexico's mantra for this World Cup is "No Excuses," and that includes no complaining about the menu. The team brought two tons of food to Russia, along with everything necessary to make their players' favorites, including traditional tacos, cheesy quesadillas and, of course, their hot salsas. When Colombian manager Juan Carlos Osorio took over the Mexico team in 2015, he gathered a staff that includes a mental coach, a kinesiology specialist, a recovery expert and nutritionist Beatriz Boullosa. "Professor Osorio says it all the time, there are no excuses here, he's a man that makes his decisions based on hard facts and he has opened the chance for every one of us in our respective areas to give something to the national team", Boullosa told The Associated Press. "We know that in the past, soccer has been ruled in the belief that: 'since I was a player and that worked, it applies,' but that is not how we run things around here, every decision is based on science." Boullosa has worked for the national teams since 2010. She was part of the staff that won the Under-17 world title in Mexico in 2011, and also worked for the Olympic team that won the gold medal in 2012, but coach Miguel Herrera was not convinced and let her out of the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Osorio heard about Boullosa's work and brought her along to take care of the diet and nutrition of the squad. "Every player has specific needs, not just based on his position but also based on his physique and his performance in training and in games. It's not the same for someone who played 90 minutes, to someone who stayed on the bench, we take every variable into account to make sure every player gets what they need", said Boullosa. The nutritionist is also responsible to monitor the nutrition supplements for the players to avoid any chance of doping violations. She says everything was supervised by a laboratory in Germany before the World Cup. The team did not ingest any red meat from Mexico to avoid any chance of positive tests with clenbuterol, a banned substance that is widely used by Mexican ranchers as a growth-enhancer. In 2011, five players from Mexico's squad tested positive for clenbuterol, among them Guillermo Ochoa, the starting goalkeeper in this World Cup. The country's federation ruled the positive tests were caused by contaminated meat. More recently, Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez tested positive for the same forcing the postponement of his rematch with Gennady Golovkin. "We started consuming red meat since we arrived in Denmark", Boullosa said. "Players are carnivorous by nature and they are happy to get the red meat back on their diet, and in nutrition terms it was also important because it has great bioavailability and we had it banned while in Mexico". With red meat available, players can now eat all their favorites, and that includes tacos. "We brought a lot of food and we also brought a chef to make every dish as the player likes it, we are making corn tortillas that taste like glory", Boullosa added. "Players ask for their quesadillas and their tacos and that really helps psychologically, because you bring them closest to home". But there can't be a good Mexican taco without their ancestral partner: the hot sauce, an item that also crossed the ocean from Mexico. "We made a spicy chili-peanut sauce that is delicious, and we also have traditional salsas some of the super spicy and some mild ones", added Boullosa. "We also brought cans of beans and corn. We are super loaded.".....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 23rd, 2018Related News

Chechnya leader grants Salah honorary citizenship

By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press VOLGOGRAD, Russia (AP) — Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov granted honorary citizenship on Friday to striker Mohamed Salah at a banquet held to say goodbye to Egypt's World Cup squad. The players adopted the Russian region's capital, Grozny, as their base for the tournament. The Egyptian Football Association said the banquet was held at Kadyrov's presidential palace in Grozny. It is the third time in two weeks the Chechen leader, a keen sports fan, has shown his admiration for 26-year-old Liverpool striker Salah. Kadyrov attended Egypt's first practice session in Grozny on June 10. After watching for about 30 minutes, he drove to the squad's hotel where Salah, nursing a shoulder injury, was relaxing in his room. The Chechen leader asked Salah to accompany him back to the stadium, where the two posed for photos and greeted the 5,000 fans watching Egypt practice. According to the FA, the Chechen "leadership" sent a large cake to the team hotel on June 15 to mark Salah's 26th birthday. The squad are due to leave Grozny on Saturday for Volgograd, where they will play Saudi Arabia in their last group match on Monday. Both teams have already been eliminated from the World Cup......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 23rd, 2018Related News

Brian Harman takes 1-shot lead in Travelers

By Pat Eaton-Robb, Associated Press CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Brian Harman shot a 4-under 66 on Friday to move to 10-under par and watched that hold up for the second-round lead in the Travelers Championship, thanks in part to a 10-second rule. Harman finished a stroke ahead of Matt Jones and first round co-leader Zach Johnson, who lost a stroke during his round of 68 when his birdie putt hung on the lip of the cup at the third hole for longer than the maximum allowed 10 seconds before falling in, giving him a par. "After 10 seconds, the ball was moving and at that point even if the ball is moving, It's deemed to be at rest, because it's on the lip," Johnson said. "Don't ask me why, but that's just the way it is." Harman had his short game working for the second consecutive day, taking 26 putts after needing only 23 during the first round. "The putter has been really good so far, but I've been in position a lot," he said. "I've had a lot of good looks at it. I'm just able to put a little pressure on the course right now, which is nice." Jones hit 16 of 18 greens for the second consecutive day, following up his first round 65 with a 66. Bryson DeChambeau (66), Paul Casey (67) and Russell Henley (65) were two strokes back going into the weekend. But Johnson, who started on the 10th tee, had the day's most interesting round, which included just two birdies, but one amazing par save. He hit the ball into the TPC River Highland's signature lake on No. 17, dropped across the water near the 16th tee box and then put his third shot within 8 feet of the hole from 234 yards away. "You can't hit that shot and then not make that putt," he said. "It felt good to get away with that four. That's as good an up and down as I've ever witnessed or performed." Lanto Griffin and two-time Travelers champion Bubba Watson were at even par coming into Friday. But both shot a 63 to move into contention heading into the weekend, three shots behind the leader. Watson jump started his round with an eagle on his third hole, the par-5 13th. "I had some mental mistakes yesterday, and then I didn't make some putts," said Watson. "Today I started out hotter. I made a good shot on 11, our second hole, made the putt, making a solid par putt on 12, and then that freed me up a little bit. Gave me some confidence going into the next hole where I made the eagle." Rory McIlroy also is at 7 under after a 69. McIlroy, Watson and Justin Thomas (5 under) were grouped together Thursday and Friday, drawing large galleries. "I definitely helps, Thomas said. "It's fun playing with good friends. You definitely get more momentum when guys are playing well. I obviously couldn't get a whole lot of momentum out there. I was kind of hovering around 1- or 2-under. It was pretty much just Bubba today. Rory didn't play great either and both of us definitely could have had a lot lower rounds" Defending champion Jordan Spieth, tied with Johnson after an opening 63, had a 73 to drop into a tie for 25th at 4 under. His round, which started on the back nine, included a triple bogey on the par-5 13th hole and an eagle on par-5 sixth, when he put his second shot within 2 feet of the hole from 276 yards away. "I don't go to the range after 63s very often, and I was there for an hour yesterday trying to figure out the golf swing," he said. "So it's not like things are on. Sometimes it can get disguised by rounds, but it's not far off. It really is close." Masters champion Patrick Reed, coming off a fourth-place finish in the U.S. Open, shot a 67 to miss the cut by a shot at minus-1......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 23rd, 2018Related News

Ayton arrives as symbol that Suns are on the rise

By Bob Baum, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Since the heady days of Steve Nash came to an end, there have been few signs of joy from a dwindling fan base that watched the Phoenix Suns tumble to the bottom of the NBA standings and miss the playoffs for the eighth year in a row. Then came the announcement that Deandre Ayton would go to the Suns with the first overall pick. A huge cheer went up from the several thousand fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) for the draft party. General manager Ryan McDonough, owner Robert Sarver and coach Igor Kokoskov came out of their meeting room to watch and bask in that rare moment of sheer joy from the fans. “It was a pretty special moment for our franchise,” McDonough said. Not only that, but McDonough engineered a last-minute trade for swingman Mikal Bridges of Villanova, the 10th pick. It was a spendy move because Philadelphia demanded and got Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick. But the Suns are weary of stockpiling assets. It’s time to cash in, they figured, and did it with that trade. “We weighed the pros and cons of trading it heavily and carefully,” McDonough said. “We were only going to put it in play if we had a chance to get a special player and that’s how we feel about McKell.” All four of the Suns’ picks showed up on a crowded dais in Phoenix on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) — Ayton, Bridges, French point guard Elie Okobo (chosen 31st) and forward George King of Colorado (the 59th selection). The 7'1" Ayton towered over the others, in a white unbuttoned collared shirt and a sharp blue suit, but he looked and sounded a bit weary from the whirlwind of being the No. 1 draft pick. His only sleep lately, he said, was a couple of hours on the plane ride from New York on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “I’m just excited to finally get a jersey on and be able to play five-on-five again,” Ayton said. Ayton had been the frontrunner for the No. 1 pick ever since the draft lottery and any doubts were erased when he went through an individual workout with the Suns, the only team which he did so. McDonough said that Ayton’s workout “in and of itself was as impressive as I’ve ever seen in my 16 drafts in the NBA.” Ayton is seen as strictly a center, so how does he fit in the modern style of the NBA, when center plays is diminished and players are essentially interchangeable, is a question. Ayton replied that he’s no ordinary center. “I don’t like it when people think I’m just a guy down low,” he said. “They haven’t watched me shoot the basketball.” Ayton and Bridges say they got to know each other well at the college awards ceremony in Los Angeles but never figured they’d be on the same team. “It’s like I’ve known him my whole life,” Bridges said. Now comes the hard work, molding a team with Ayton, Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. A billboard of those three already has been erected downtown. The Suns, so bad for so long, seem on the brink of being relevant. “We’re very hungry,” Ayton said. “I think the great team chemistry and the work ethic that we have, especially us guys coming in, we’re going to bring it to the next level. We’ve got young lets. We can run all day. ... We can really start a winning legacy.” And Ayton is the reason for the sudden leap in optimism, even though he won’t turn 20 until next month. “I embrace it a lot,” he said of the expectations placed upon him. “Through my career I’ve always had that on my shoulder, the expectations. I represent a whole nation [Bahamas] I just do that the best that I can and just help this community start over and be the best player I can possibly be. I just want to be the best great player.” Kokoskov says Ayton possesses “a unique talent for the decades.” Ayton said he wants “to be the best person on and off the court.” Now the Suns move on to the next phase. Free agency starts July 1 (July 2, PHL time) and McDonough wants some veteran players to add to this very young core. He said the team should have $15 million to $20 million to spend. “We were aggressive last night with the picks and the trade up to get Mikal,” McDonough said. “We’re going to continue to be aggressive for the next couple of weeks in free agency. We’ve got some money to spend and we’re looking to spend it on the best players we can get.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 23rd, 2018Related News

In Focus: You Don t Need To Pay Cash To Enroll In These Barter-Based Creative Classes

The #BarterForKnowledge movement is back and here to stay!.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: LifestyleJun 22nd, 2018Related News
Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: LifestyleJun 22nd, 2018Related News
Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: LifestyleJun 22nd, 2018Related News
Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: LifestyleJun 22nd, 2018Related News

Arvin Tolentino and Brandy Kramer enjoy Palawan

Student-athlete couple Arvin Tolentino and Brandy Kramer got to enjoy the lush confides of Palawan, and bask in its glory in one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The FEU Tamaraw and the former San Beda Lady Red Lion posted documented their trip on social media, having fun in many of the island's scenic attractions. Tolentino's posts were reacted to by his teammates, joking and praising him.   Exploring nature's beauty 🌴 A post shared by Arvin Tolentino (@arvintolentino5) on Jun 20, 2018 at 12:50am PDT     Palawan with my only one 🌴 A post shared by Arvin Tolentino (@arvintolentino5) on Jun 20, 2018 at 10:34pm PDT Brandy, the sister of PBA player Doug Kramer, also got to post some beautiful photos, making most of the picturesque scenes they got to enjoy in the island paradise.     So happy to be back in Palawan. ❤️😍 A post shared by Brandy Gayle R. Kramer (@kramerbrandy) on Jun 19, 2018 at 10:48pm PDT     Beach more, worry less.😊 A post shared by Brandy Gayle R. Kramer (@kramerbrandy) on Jun 21, 2018 at 3:03am PDT     Thanks for having me @victoriassecret 😘 hahahaha 😂😂😂 A post shared by Brandy Gayle R. Kramer (@kramerbrandy) on Jun 20, 2018 at 11:00pm PDT.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 22nd, 2018Related News

Flood, illness could not stop Robert Bolick from getting his well-deserved trophy

Until the very end, Robert Bolick had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. The undisputed leader of NCAA champion San Beda University was all set to be recognized as the Player of the Year in the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Basketball Awards held last Thursday at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. Three hours before the event organized by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps, however, he had bad news. As it turns out, Bolick was not feeling well and his stomach flu had him on the verge of going to the hospital. “Masakit talaga. Two days na nga akong hindi nakapag-practice (with San Beda),” his message read. And so, it appeared that the 5-foot-11 lead guard would not be able to hoist his first-ever individual trophy. With that, the air became heavy inside the venue as, aside from Bolick, also absent from the event were four awardees from Ateneo de Manila University, who were in Greece for tuneup games, and two awardees from Lyceum of the Philippines University, who were in Calatagan, Batangas for team-building. The downpour of rain and, of course the sudden flooding it entailed, didn’t help either as several representatives of the awardees were regrettably forced to miss the awards night as well. And then, right in the middle of the heavy rain, Bolick told the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps that he was willing his way to the event. “Sirs, pupunta (na) ako, for sure. Para sa inyo, sirs, kakayanin ko ‘to,” his message read. Not only that, he was going to Intramuros from Sta. Ana in Manila by booking an Angkas. “Sarap pala mag-Angkas no? Traffic lang saka natakot ako sa mga truck,” he shared. And so, until the very end, the now 21-year-old had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. Whatever it was, though, he said that finally holding the Player of the Year was well worth it. “Ang sarap. Meaning lang nito, mahal niyo ako,” he said, joshing with reporters. True to form, however, he was also quick to add, “Pero sa akin wala talaga yung individual. All I want is a championship.” Along with the trophy, event backer Chooks-to-Go also rewarded all of Bolick’s efforts with PhP 15, 000 in cash. In the end, the stomach flu, the heavy rain, and the flood he had to overcome were no match for the well-deserved recognition as well as pocket money to celebrate it. After all, the pride of Ormoc, Leyte had already proven that he could persevere through the longer, harder route just to get to his destination. While he was the hands-down King Lion, coming through when his team needed him the most, he was left out of any individual hardware after being disqualified for the Mythical Team due to a controversial ejection in an elimination round game and after being edged out by teammate Donald Tankoua for Finals MVP. And so, even with two team championships, Bolick was yet to receive individual honors – from his time as a reserve in De La Salle University to his time as main man of San Beda. Not anymore, as the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps set up the stage for, at long last, his one shining moment. And just like he always does, Robert Bolick, finished it all with a flourish. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 22nd, 2018Related News

UE spoils Ricci Rivero’s UP debut in Got Skills Summer Showcase

STANDINGS (Under-25) Letran 7-2 FEU 6-3 LPU 6-3 La Salle 5-3 UE 5-3 NU 5-4 Arellano 4-4 UP 4-4 MLQU 1-8 UA&P 0-9 Ricci Rivero officially wore the UP jersey for the first time on Friday at the Buddha Care Gym in Quezon City and made an immediate impact with 34 points. However, Rivero’s scoring spree wasn’t enough to overcome a balanced UE side which held on for a 69-68 win that sends the Fighting Maroons to back-to-back losses in the 2018 Milcu Sports Basketball presented by Got Skills Adidas Summer Showcase. UAAP Season 80 Mythical Team member Rivero was determined to make a good first impression on his new team and was on the mark from start to finish with a sky-high 63.6 clip from the field. Despite UP’s strong start, however, the Red Warriors just kept coming behind swingman Chris Conner and big man Wilson Bartolome who finished with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Forward Rey Acuno was right there with them and scored 10 points of his own while rookie guard Jojo Antiporda chipped in nine markers. Behind the balanced attack, UE overcame the Fighting Maroons and their newest prized recruit to improve to 5-3. Rivero, who had just transferred from La Salle to State U last month, did not get much help from his teammates as no one else joined him in double-digits. The loss is the second straight and fourth overall in eight games for UP which was also beaten by National U, 64-59, last Tuesday at the Trinity University Gym also in QC. Sweet-shooting forward JP Cauilan was the lone scorer in double-digits with 14 points on top of seven rebounds, but his efforts were more than enough to tow the Bulldogs to 5-4. Fil-Am forward David Murrell shone for the Fighting Maroons in that game with 14 points and six rebounds. Meanwhile, Letran powered its way onto the top spot after outmuscling La Salle, 72-67. Wing player Allen Mina showed the way for the now 7-2 Knights with 17 points while bigs Gerwin Sangalang and Daryl Pascual merged for 22 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks. Transferee guard Jordan Bartlett was the lone bright spot for the Green Archers with 24 points. La Salle was coming off a 71-56 domination of Manuel L. Quezon University three days ago. They now stand at 5-3. BOX SCORES TUESDAY GAMES FIRST GAME LA SALLE 71 – Bartlett 20, Bongay 14, Manuel 10, Alcala 13, Alcoriza 6, Cu 4, Santillan 2, Manaytay 2, Javelosa 0, Bates 0 MLQU 56 – Peralta 13, Sual 10, Gula 7, Alimasa 6, Jamila 6, Pastor 5, Verzosa 5, Fabila 2, Zulueta 1, Hermosa 1, Teobengco 0 QUARTER SCORES: 16-21, 31-32, 45-48, 71-56 SECOND GAME NU 64 – Cauilan 14, Oczon 8, Sistoza 7, Rangel 6, Yu 6, Diputado 5, Flores 5, Minerva 4, Morido 3, Salim 2, Chatman 2, Penano 2, Malonzo 0, Atienza 0, Puray 0 UP 59 – Murrell 14, Kangga 12, Santiago 9, Gomez de Liano Ja 6, Gomez de Liano Ju 5, Espanola 4, Battad 3, Ong 2, Malingin 2, Madrigal 2 QUARTER SCORES: 10-7, 27-20, 42-44, 64-59 FRIDAY GAMES FIRST GAME LETRAN 72 – Mina 17, Sangalang 12, Pascual 10, Gonzales 10, Reyson 8, Favila 6, Pamulaklakin 5, Pambid 4 LA SALLE 67 – Bartlett 24, Manuel 13, Bongay 10, Cu 8, Abadeza 6, Alcala 5, Escandor 1, Alcoriza 0, Javelosa 0 QUARTER SCORES: 12-12, 31-28, 55-42, 72-67 SECOND GAME UE 69 – Conner 14, Bartolome 11, Acuno 10, Antiporda 9, Varilla 6, Lacap 6, Maloles 4, Dimayuga 3, Gagate 2, Manalang 2, Beltran 2, Gallardo 0, Strait 0, Sobrevega 0, Cullar 0, Guion 0, UP 68 – Rivero 34, Madrigal 9, Battad 7, Gomez de Liano 5, Gregorio 5, Ong 4, Malik 2, Ollano 2, Malingin 0 QUARTER SCORES: 16-27, 33-34, 56-52, 69-68.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 22nd, 2018Related News

PBA: Pringle drops 50 points as Globalport makes playoff push

Stanley Pringle just had the best scoring performance by a local in 14 years. Pringle scored a career-high 50 points, leading Globalport to a big 133-115 win over Columbian in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup Wednesday at the Big Dome. Stanley set his new career high of 37 points after three quarters. He added another 13 in the fourth to make a run for 50. His last score was a breakaway slam in the final minute. Pringle's 50 points is the most since Asi Taulava scored 51 for Talk 'N Text in the 2004 Fiesta Conference. Taulava was the last local to break the 50-point barrier......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 22nd, 2018Related News

BDL to make debut for the Tornadoes

Games Saturday: (Araneta Coliseum) 3:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies 4:00 pm – Generika-Ayala vs UA-UP 6:00 pm – Foton vs F2 Logistics   Former Ateneo de Manila University star Bea De Leon makes her debut under the Foton banner when the Tornandoes open their campaign in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Saturday at the Big Dome. De Leon, a 5-foot-11 former national team member, will join a loaded frontline composed of Jaja Santiago, Dindin Manabat, CJ Rosario, Maika Ortiz and Gen Casugod, making the Tornadoes the league’s tallest squad. Two of the early favorites, the Cargo Movers and Tornadoes take the floor at 6:00 p.m. main game. United Auctioneers-University of the Philippines (UA-UP), meanwhile, makes its much-anticipated debut when it tangles with Generika-Ayala in the first match at 4:00 p.m. Prior to that, an Indonesian-inspired opening ceremony will usher in the start of this mid-season conference. Unfortunately for the Lady Maroons, star spiker Tots Carlos will miss the rest of the conference after sustaining a shin injury that needs at least eight weeks to recover.   UA-UP head coach Godfrey Okumu, Carlos’ absence will open things up for the Ayel Estranero and Jessma Ramos, who will play their first club league outside the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), while Isa Molde can now display her talent after getting limited minutes with Foton in the previous Grand Prix. “We were given a special chance to play in this league,” he said. “I have a very young team, but it’s a good team, a very strong team. We’re here to gain experience and share what we have with other teams. So we might be a very surprising team.” But all eyes will be on the super showdown between F2 Logistics and Foton. The Cargo Movers will parade the core of UAAP champion De La Salle University led by Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, Michelle Cobb, Desiree Cheng and Tin Tiamzon while veterans Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, Ara Galang and Cha Cruz will return for another tour of duty......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 22nd, 2018Related News

PBA: Stanley Pringle is first local to score 50 points in 14 years

Stanley Pringle didn't really care about scoring 50 points. But after he got to 48, his team wanted him to go for 50. So he did. Pringle scored a new career high of 50 points Wednesday, leading Globalport to a crucial 133-115 win over Columbian in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup. Stanley's 50 was also a franchise record and a PBA season high. Pringle is the first local to break the 50-point barrier in 14 years or since Asi Taulava scored 51 points for Talk 'N Text in a victory over Purefoods in the 2004 Fiest Conference. "I wasn't thinking about 50 points, I was just thinking about getting the ball to the rim because my shot has been flat. Finally made some threes and then next thing you know I have 40 something points," Stanley said. "When I hit 48 then they were like oh get two more points, leak out. So I was like alright. Coach didn't even want to sub me out, he was like score to more. So I was okay, I need two more," Pringle added. 50-point games in the PBA are rare, let alone those that were done by locals. Apparently, despite his reputation as a deadly scorer, 50-point games are rare for Pringle too. "Last time I scored 50 I think I was in junior high, long time ago. I was like in 7th grade so it's been a while," he said. "But in here, you play so many games so eventually somebody is gonna score a lot of points," Pringle added. Scoring 50 was nice but Pringle is focused on more important things like making the playoffs. At 5-5, the Batang Pier have a fighting chance of making it to the next round. "I honestly don't care about the 50 points, I'd rather get to the playoffs and do something in the playoffs," Stanley said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 22nd, 2018Related News

Salah, Neymar, Messi, messy, messy: World Cup stars stifled

By Mauricio Saverese, Associated Press SARANSK, Russia (AP) — With nagging injuries, heavy marking from opponents and some simply uninspired play, the top stars of the 2018 World Cup have struggled to deliver on the impossible expectations they carried into the tournament, with one prominent Portuguese exception. Aside from Cristiano Ronaldo, who has all four of Portugal's goals in its two games, many of the biggest names are off to a shaky start. No one has had rougher treatment from the opposition than the world's priciest player, Neymar. During Brazil's opening 1-1 draw with Switzerland, the 26-year-old was fouled 10 times, the highest number on a single player in a single match since the 1998 World Cup, when England's Alan Shearer took 11 challenges against Tunisia. Overall, Switzerland fouled Brazil 19 times , with little intervention from the referee, and it worked — especially on Neymar. Brazilians suggested their opponents were too violent; Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes thinks Neymar has another problem. "He just falls too much," Fernandes said after the game in Rostov-on-Don. "Out of these 10, only seven or eight were fouls. We have to stop their star, and he is the star." Neymar felt the effects of the Swiss strategy long after Sunday's match ended, limping out of training Tuesday as he continues to recover from a foot injury he picked up before the tournament. He trained Wednesday and was confirmed as a starter for the match against Costa Rica on Friday. Superstar Lionel Messi did face heavy marking too, but he also had two uninspired performances for Argentina, which is now on the verge of early elimination after a 3-0 defeat against Croatia. Throughout the matches against Iceland and Croatia, disciplined defenders and midfielders stopped Messi from making his famous runs and getting one-on-one chances. Against Iceland, Messi saw his penalty spot kick saved by goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson, and the game ended 1-1. Against Croatia, he crumbled with the rest of the team, which now desperately needs to beat Nigeria in the last round of group stage to have a chance of advancing to the next phase. "Messi is human," Aguero said after the Iceland match. "Sometimes things happen for a reason. We need to be with him. This was a bad day, but he can decide a match at any given moment. Hope he is better against Croatia." Croatia was taking note. "You can't stop him with one player, you have to defend like a team. You saw that with Iceland," defender Dejan Lovren said ahead of the Argentina clash late Thursday. Egypt striker Mohamed Salah set a Premier League scoring record for Liverpool and held all the hopes for a deep run by the Pharaohs in their return to the World Cup, until he injured his shoulder playing for Liverpool in the Champions League final in a clash with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, of Spain. Salah sat out the opening 1-0 loss to Uruguay in Yekaterinburg, with coach Hector Cuper hoping to have him fit for Egypt's second match, against Russia. He made his World Cup debut in St. Petersburg and scored from the penalty spot, but only after the hosts led by three goals, and his mobility was clearly affected. He barely touched the ball in the first half and avoided physical contact with Russian defenders during the entire game, and Egypt was eliminated with one match left to play. Ronaldo isn't entirely alone in starting strong. Diego Costa has three of Spain's four goals, Harry Kane has both of England's, and Luka Modric scored one goal and set up the other in Croatia's 2-0 win over Nigeria. And there's plenty of time for others to turn things around. Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old striker at the center of the second-most expensive transfer in history, managed just one chance in France's 2-1 win over Australia in Kazan, but scored Thursday against Peru in front of an empty net. His famous runs and dribbles, however, were blocked by Australia's physical game. It's early, and the tournament has seen plenty of stellar play from lesser-known players, but many of the star scorers have work to do......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 21st, 2018Related News

Muguruza loses in Birmingham 2nd round, Kvitova advances

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza tried to look on the bright side of her second-round 6-2, 6-4 defeat to unseeded Barbora Strycova in the Birmingham Classic on Thursday. "We have a lot of time now to prepare (for Wimbledon). In a way it's good," Muguruza said. "I wish I could play more matches, but nothing really worries me." The top-seeded Spaniard struggled in windy conditions against the tenacious Czech, who has won their last three encounters on grass. Muguruza sometimes looked languid in responding to the challenge of a hard-working opponent, and occasionally became irritated by the strong winds. She also let slip a 4-2 second set lead, and was several times passed when she increased her ratio of net attacks. "I'm going to practice more to get ready for Wimbledon. I'm not going to do anything very different," Muguruza said. "I'm staying in the same place and things like that, but I'm not superstitious. I don't have to do anything special. That's silly. "Obviously my level wasn't at its best. But credit to her. I think she played well." Although Muguruza lost in Birmingham last year too, she played four useful warmup matches against two this time. But she also lost to Strycova at Eastbourne a week later last year before going on to win Wimbledon. Strycova reached the quarterfinals here for a third time and now plays Lesia Tsurenko, the unseeded Ukrainian who overcame sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. "I like to fight, on and off the court," Strycova said. "Sometimes you fight and get a reward. "You have to play tricky in these conditions, and I did that, although I admit in that last game I was very nervous." Earlier, defending champion Petra Kvitova beat Daria Gavrilova, a troublesome opponent in the past, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. Gavrilova won their last two matchups being persistent and mobile enough to contain Kvitova's uncompromising hitting. But the wind pushed and pulled the Australian into errors at important moments. During Gavrilova's first two service games, she committed four double faults and lost both service games, helping Kvitova to a rampant start. "The conditions were tough in that wind," acknowledged Kvitova, who delivered five double faults herself. "But that's fine. The grass helped me for sure. We hadn't played each other on this surface before." Fourth-seeded Kvitova next plays Julia Goerges, the world No. 13 from Germany, who beat last year's runner-up, Ashleigh Barty, 7-6 (6), 6-3......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 21st, 2018Related News

France defense excels in 1-0 victory over Peru in Group C

By Karel Janicek, Associated Press YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — With all its attacking talent, France proved it also has class in defense. Other coaches might envy Didier Deschamps, who has a forward line bursting with skill, speed and goals. But Peru coach Ricardo Gareca looked at the other end Thursday after his team lost 1-0. "I think France did some outstanding work of defense," said Gareca, whose team was eliminated while the French advanced to the knockout stage. "Credit needs to be given to France, it's not that Peru fell short," Gareca said. "Unlike their other games, France had very strong tactical discipline to neutralize Peru. Something that wasn't visible in their other matches." After Peru lost its opening game to Denmark 1-0, it needed a least a point against France to stay in contention following a 36-year absence from the tournament. With striker Paolo Guerrero back in the starting lineup, Peru's players used any and every opportunity to put France under pressure. It didn't work. Deschamps made two tactical changes for the game, using Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi in the starting line-up. The result upfront was visible. France was more fluid than in the 2-1 victory over Australia and the cooperation between midfielders Paul Pogba and Ngolo Kante with the attackers resulted in a number of scoring opportunities. But when Peru was on a desperate attack, they all were ready to help at the back. It was not just defenders Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez who were solid for the second straight game. "It doesn't come only from the French defense," Deschamps said. "The attacking players did what they had to do. They made an effort for the team to be compact, to work together. It was very important to have very solid defense." France neutralized Guerrero to a single chance in the first half. But goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who made his 100th international appearance, saved his low shot from close range. In the second half, France kept Peru at a distance, allowing mostly only long range attempts on goal. Even such an offensive ace as Kylian Mbappe, who scored the winning goal in the first half, came to help. "If the team needs it, you need to sacrifice yourself," Mbappe said. "Today, sometimes we didn't need to be up the field ... this is what I did.".....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 21st, 2018Related News

On a roll in Russia, Mexico begs World Cup fans to behave

On a roll in Russia, Mexico begs World Cup fans to behave.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 21st, 2018Related News

Zach Johnson holds early lead at Travelers Championship

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Zach Johnson has shot a first-round 63 to take an early lead at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. The former Masters and British Open champion birdied six straight holes on the back nine and finished 7 under par, one shot ahead of American Peter Malnati. Brooks Koepka followed his U.S. Open championship with a 2-under 68 on the TPC River Highland's course, putting him five shots off the pace. The Travelers was selected by the PGA last year as its "Tournament of the Year" and the "Players Choice." That has helped attract a 156-player field that includes five of the world's top 10 ranked golfers and all four reigning major championship winners. British Open champ Jordan Spieth, who won last year's tournament by holing out from a greenside bunker in a playoff, eagled his sixth hole of the first round by sinking his third shot from the sand and was 4 under par through eight holes. Rory McIlroy, who like Spieth played the tournament for the first time a year ago, was also at 4 under on the front nine. Masters winner Patrick Reed and PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas also were on the course Thursday afternoon......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 21st, 2018Related News

Switzerland, Serbia coaches don t want to talk about Kosovo

By Mike Corder, Associated Press KALININGRAD, Russia (AP) — The coaches of Serbia and Switzerland only want to talk about football, not about an entrenched political dispute casting a shadow over their teams' World Cup showdown in Russia. Tensions have been building in Serbia before the Group E match Friday in Kaliningrad. Not between Swiss and Serbian fans, but between Albanian and Serbian supporters. That is because several players in the Swiss squad have Kosovo Albanian roots, including midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri who was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense. Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic didn't want to discuss the issue Thursday. When a reporter asked Petkovic him how he would discuss it with his players, he sidestepped the question. "We will tell them we had a great match against Brazil. That's not enough; we have to play better against Serbia," Petkovic said through an interpreter. Switzerland held Brazil to a 1-1 draw in their opening match, while Serbia beat Costa Rica 1-0 to top the group after one round. Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic was equally reluctant to be drawn into the debate. "I'm not into politics," he said, also speaking through an interpreter. "We have our goals. We're here for sports to represent our country in the best possible way and we're not at all interested in anything else." Shaqiri makes no secret at his pride for his heritage at the World Cup. At training Thursday, he wore football boots with Kosovo's flag on his right heel and the Swiss flag on his left. Midfielder Valon Behrami grew up in what is now Kosovo, moving to Switzerland with his family in 1990 amid rising tensions between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. He has the flags of Switzerland and Kosovo tattooed on his left arm. Such displays have angered some Serbian fans, who often wear T-shirts bearing the map of Kosovo with the Serbian flag on it. The reaction of some Serbian players has also been sharp. "If they are such great patriots, why don't they play for their own countries instead of Switzerland?" Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic asked recently. Friday's match also features two coaches who both come from Bosnia, a country that emerged from the former Yugoslavia after a bitter war in the 1990s. Bosnia finished third in its qualifying group and didn't make it to Russia. "I think that Mr. Petkovic is from Sarajevo. I hail from Zenica," Krstajic said. "So we have two coaches from Bosnia-Herzegovina representing different teams at the World Cup." Zenica is a town about 70 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital. ____ Associated Press writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia contributed to this report......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJun 21st, 2018Related News