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Czechs stun England in Euro qualifying; France, Portugal win

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press It was a night of European soccer to forget for England, and one to remember for Andorra. England conceded a late goal against the Czech Republic on Friday and paid the price with its first defeat in a qualifying game in 10 years, while France and Portugal made progress in their bids for places at next year's European Championship. As for Andorra, it ended a 56-match losing streak. A goal five minutes from the end halted England's unbeaten streak in qualifying for a major competition with the Czechs beating Gareth Southgate's team 2-1. A victory in Prague would have secured a spot for England at the finals with three games to go. Instead, England squandered a one-goal lead and lost its first match in European or World Cup qualifying since falling to Ukraine in 2009. That loss came with England already qualified for the 2010 World Cup. Its last meaningful defeat in qualifying was against Croatia in 2007. "We didn't play well enough, simple as that," said Southgate. Captain Harry Kane gave England the lead in the fifth minute from the penalty spot. But Jakub Brabec leveled for the Czechs four minutes later and substitute Zdenek Ondrasek completed the comeback late with his first international goal. He scored with a low right-foot shot from inside the area. "I just wanted to hit the ball right and put it in the net," said Ondrasek, who plays for FC Dallas. "I saw tears in the eyes of my father probably for the first time in my life. It's a great win and great feeling." England had won all four of its previous games in Group A. It is tied atop the standings with the Czechs on 12 points but has one more game to play. Group strugglers Bulgaria and Montenegro drew 0-0. Top-ranked Belgium became the first team to qualify for next year's tournament on Thursday. The top two teams of each group advance automatically. The other four qualifiers will come through four tiers of playoffs in March. PORTUGAL ROLLS ON Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 94th goal for Portugal to help the defending European champions brush aside Luxembourg 3-0 in Lisbon. Ronaldo pounced on a bad pass near the area and chipped the goalkeeper in the 65th. Bernardo Silva put Portugal in control from the 16th. With Portugal 2-0 ahead, substitute Goncalo Guedes added a third goal. Ukraine kept its lead of Group B after midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi scored twice in a 2-0 victory over Lithuania. Unbeaten Ukraine has 16 points. Portugal has 11, ahead of Serbia with seven. Both Portugal and Serbia have one more game to play than Ukraine. Portugal plays at Ukraine on Monday. FRANCE ON PACE World champion France and Turkey both took big steps in qualifying with wins which consolidated their Group H lead. Olivier Giroud scored to help France earn a hard-fought 1-0 win at Iceland, while Turkey needed a 90th-minute goal from Cenk Tosun to push it past Albania 1-0 in Istanbul. Both France and Turkey have 18 points. Iceland, the revelation of Euro 2016, is in third place with 12 points and at risk of missing the 2020 edition. France hosts Turkey at Stade de France on Monday. Giroud converted a penalty in the 66th after a foul earned by Antoine Griezmann. Giroud set up Griezmann by heading down a long ball for his fellow forward, who was then fouled by Iceland's Ari Freyr Skulason. France midfielder N'Golo Kanté was ruled out of the match reportedly for a hamstring problem. It was game No. 200 for Didier Deschamps as player and now coach of France. He played 103 games for France and has directed 97 from the dugout. Steve Mandanda played in goal for France in place of Hugo Lloris, who is out with a broken elbow. FIRST WIN Andorra made history of its own in Group H with a 1-0 win over Moldova, the first time the tiny mountainous nation had avoided defeat in 57 European qualifiers. Midfielder Marc Vales headed in the Andorran goal in the 63rd after Moldova had been reduced to 10 men. Andorra, with fewer than 80,000 residents nestled in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, had lost all 56 of its previous games in European qualifying......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 12th, 2019

Spain, Poland stay perfect in Euro 2020 qualifying

By Karel Janicek, Associated Press PRAGUE (AP) — Spain and Poland maintained perfect records in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship by winning their third straight games on Friday. Spain took a 4-1 victory home from Faeroe Islands while Poland also won away, 1-0 at North Macedonia. Israel beat Latvia 3-0, thanks to Eran Zahavi's hat trick, to surprisingly stay in contention for a spot in the final tournament and Ukraine routed Serbia 5-0. In the last rounds of qualifiers before the summer break, world champion France and powerhouses Croatia, Germany and Italy will be in action on Saturday while the Netherlands, Portugal, England and Switzerland wrap up play in UEFA's inaugural Nations League final four on Sunday. SPAIN SHINES Sergio Ramos put Spain in front after six minutes with his 19th international goal and Jesus Navas followed with his first score for "La Roja" since 2013. Klaemint Olsen beat goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to reduce the lead, but an own goal by goalkeeper Teitur Gestsson made it 3-1 before halftime and Jose Gaya closed things out in the 71st minute. Assistant coach Robert Moreno once again took charge of Spain with Luis Enrique absent due to personal reasons. Enrique continues to do most of the planning for Spain's training and receives also video of the sessions at his home in Barcelona. It's unclear when he might return. Spain tops Group F with nine points, two more than Sweden, which beat Malta 3-0. The two leaders face off on Monday. SCHICK ON TARGET England had taken command of Group A with big wins over the Czech Republic (5-0) and Montenegro (5-1), but its participation in the Nations League gave the others a chance to catch up. In Prague, the Czech Republic came from a goal down to spoil the coaching debut of Bulgaria's 1994 World Cup star Krasimir Balakov. Ismail Isa headed home from close range to put Bulgaria in front after just three minutes. But Patrik Schick slotted home a first-half equalizer and scored the winner early in the second half. The Czechs, who have qualified for each European championship since the 1993 breakup of Czechoslovakia, are three points behind England in second. Bulgaria has two points, the same as Montenegro and Kosovo, which drew 1-1 in Podgorica. SERBIA SUFFERS Ukraine moved to the top of Group B with seven points by routing Serbia. Viktor Tsygankov scored twice in a three-minute span of the first half and Yevhen Konoplyanka sandwiched a pair of goals around one from Roman Yaremchuk after the break. Luxembourg drew 1-1 at Lithuania to stay second in the group with four points. It will face a more serious test on Monday when it plays at Ukraine. Portugal has two points after a slow start, one more than Serbia. ZAHAVI UNSTOPPABLE Krzysztof Piatek's overhead kick goal early in the second half may have proved Poland's favorite status, but it was again Israeli's Zahavi who stole the show in Group G. Zahavi curled in a free kick in the ninth minute and added two more goals in the second half, giving him seven in three qualifiers. Poland's nine points are two more than Israel, while Austria registered its first points with a 1-0 win over Slovenia. DUFFY THE RESCUER Shane Duffy scored with five minutes remaining to give Ireland a 1-1 draw with Denmark that kept it at the top of Group D. Substitute Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg put Denmark in front in the 76th minute, only for Duffy to equalize late with a header. Ireland has seven points, three more Switzerland. Georgia is third with three points after beating Gibraltar 3-0, and Denmark has two points......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

England, Ronaldo keep up scoring form in Euro qualifying

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — England's scoring form was on display again in European Championships qualifying on Tuesday. So was Cristiano Ronaldo's. England made it four wins out of four in Group A with a 5-3 win over Kosovo and Ronaldo netted four goals in European champion Portugal's 5-1 away win at Lithuania. On a night of heavy scoring, it took the five-time Golden Ball winner's international tally to a whopping 93. Ronaldo might well hit the century mark before next year's tournament, considering Portugal still faces Lithuania at home and twice plays lowly Luxembourg. "I'm going through a good phase, but the team has been playing well too," Ronaldo said. "I'm enjoying this moment not only because of my goals, but also because of the team's performances in recent years. I just have to keep helping the team." Striker Harry Kane moved onto a more modest 26 for England, whose fans got a jolt when midfielder Valon Berisha put the visiting side ahead after just 35 seconds. They were soon reassured by Raheem Sterling's equalizer and Kane's latest goal for England, both inside the opening 20 minutes at St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton on a rare occasion England wasn't playing at Wembley Stadium. By halftime fans had been treated to five home goals, including 19-year-old winger Jadon Sancho scoring his first two for England. But the second half proved more inspiring for Kosovo's fans as they witnessed a mini-comeback, with Berisha enjoying a memorable night with a fine second goal curled into the top corner. Kane could have netted a brace, too, but saw his penalty saved by Arijanet Muric. World Cup winner France labored at times against a well-organized Andorra side in a 3-0 home win, with Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann missing a penalty for the second straight qualifier. After Kingsley Coman found a way through in the first half, center half Clément Lenglet and substitute Wissam Ben Yedder added goals after the break. DEFENSE IN QUESTION England's attack is purring with 19 goals in four games, but alarming questions will be asked of the defense. From a commanding position of 5-1 up, England leaked two goals after the break — one of those a penalty conceded by the expensively-acquired Manchester United center back Harry Maguire. Kosovo's opening goal was the result of a careless pass from defender Michael Keane. England still hasn't lost a qualifier for either the World Cup or European Championship in 10 years. But coach Gareth Southgate knows his defense has to eradicate such sloppy errors if his side wants to win Euro 2020. "The outstanding play was obvious," Southgate said, "and the errors were obvious." The Czech Republic overtook Kosovo to move into second place in Group A with nine points after a 3-0 win at Montenegro and hosts England on Oct. 11. RAMPAGING RONALDO Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the seventh minute, before Lithuania hit back through Vytautas Andriuskevicius' header. Portugal's second goal was given to Ronaldo before being changed to an own goal, and then given back to him on UEFA's website. The bizarre-looking 62nd-minute effort was a low shot from outside the area. It was saved by Lithuania goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus, before the ball bounced off the goalkeeper's back and went in. Three minutes later, Ronaldo tapped in from Bernardo Silva's pass, and the attacking midfielder set him up again in the 76th. William Carvalho completed the scoring in stoppage time against last-place Lithuania. Portugal is second in Group B with eight points and five behind Ukraine, which has 13 points having played one game more. Powerful striker Aleksandar Mitrovic netted twice as third-place Serbia won 3-1 away to Luxembourg. PENALTY FLOP Griezmann remains stuck on 29 international goals after hitting his spot kick too close to goalkeeper Josep Gomes in a one-sided first half where France largely struggled to turn possession into chances. Coman pounced in the 18th after latching onto Jonathan Ikone's pass behind the defense for his third goal in two France games. Griezmann's curling free kick from the left was headed in by Clément Lenglet soon after the break. Substitute Wissam Ben Yedder added the third during injury time, steering the ball in from close range after Nabil Fekir's free kick was spilled by Gomes. Turkey and France top Group H with 15 points and meet at Stade de France on Oct. 14. Striker Cenk Tosun netted twice in Turkey's 4-0 win at Moldova. Third-place Iceland slipped three points behind the top two after losing 4-2 away to Albania. Andorra has scored no goals and conceded 14 in six defeats......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 11th, 2019

Portugal, France, Germany drawn together at Euro 2020

Reigning European champion Portugal will come up against World Cup winners France and Germany in the standout group at Euro 2020 following Saturday’s draw for the tournament, while England was placed with Croatia. Neither France nor Portugal were in Pot One for the 24-team competition being held in 12 cities across Europe, making them the […] The post Portugal, France, Germany drawn together at Euro 2020 appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsDec 1st, 2019

UEFA confirms seeding pots for unusual Euro 2020 draw

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has confirmed seeding pots for the 2020 European Championship, where some teams are slotted into groups ahead of the draw next week. An unusual draw for the 24-nation tournament is made Nov. 30 — four months before four final entries are decided in a playoffs round — and with seven of the 12 host nations already allocated to groups giving them home games in the tournament. The 20 direct qualifiers are ranked according to points gained and goal difference tiebreakers in 10 preliminary groups completed this week. Top-ranked Belgium, which is not a host nation, has to be pooled with Russia and Denmark in Group B played in St. Petersburg and Copenhagen. Either Wales or Finland from seeding pot 4 will complete that group. Ukraine in top-seeded pot 1 cannot be pooled with Russia for security reasons so had to be placed with the Netherlands in Group C, being played in Amsterdam and Bucharest. Romania could qualify through the playoffs in March. UEFA holds a separate draw Friday to finalize the 16-team playoffs in four separate knockout brackets. The playoffs lineup includes four host nations — Hungary, Ireland, Romania, Scotland — who must be given home games if they advance. Kosovo is in the fourth-tier playoffs and, because UEFA ruled the Balkan nation cannot be drawn with Russia for security reasons, the winner of that bracket could not be drawn in Group B. The finals tournament draw is made on Nov. 30 in Bucharest. Euro 2020 kicks off June 12 with Italy opening Group A in Rome. The final is July 12 at Wembley Stadium in London. ___ Pot 1: Belgium (Group B), Italy (hosts — Group A), England (hosts — Group D), Germany (hosts — Group F), Spain (hosts — Group E), Ukraine (Group C). Pot 2: France, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia, Netherlands (hosts — Group C), Russia (hosts — Group B). Pot 3: Portugal, Turkey, Denmark (hosts — Group B), Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic. Pot 4: Wales, Finland, Playoff winner Path A, Playoff winner Path B (includes Ireland — Group E), Playoff winner Path C, Playoff winner Path D......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2019

Nations League: Ronaldo s Portugal looks for another title

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press PORTO, Portugal (AP) — The inaugural UEFA's Nations League reaches its conclusion this week with the competition's Final Four in Portugal, when Cristiano Ronaldo will try to lead the hosts to another European title. For England, it's a chance to lift an international trophy for the first time since the 1966 World Cup, while a revamped Netherlands squad and Switzerland will also be fighting for the title. Portugal meets Switzerland in the first semifinal on Wednesday in Porto, while England takes on the Dutch on Thursday in the nearby city of Guimaraes in northwestern Portugal. The winners play the final on Sunday in Porto, with the losers meeting in the third-place match in Guimaraes. Ronaldo, who led Portugal to its first major title at the 2016 European Championship, took some time off from the national team after its elimination in the round of 16 of the World Cup last summer, but he is back at full strength for the inaugural Nations League at home. He didn't play in any of the team's matches in the competition last year, though he was back for the European qualifiers earlier this year. "We want to win it not only because we are playing at home, but because we want to win titles," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "And winning the first edition of the Nations League would be great." UEFA launched the Nations League to try to give national teams more meaningful games and reduce the number of friendlies. The creation of yet another UEFA competition attracted a lot of criticism at first but eventually it produced some exciting games. With a format in which only the group winners advanced, and which included relegation between leagues, there were several matches with high stakes involved, especially in the final rounds. England needed a late winner by Harry Kane against World Cup runner-up Croatia to eliminate Spain and seal the team's spot in the Final Four. "Some people were skeptical against the Nations League, especially the clubs. They didn't think this could be an interesting competition," Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said, through a translator. "But it's the contrary. Every single team in every single league wanted to win. We are happy to be here, and I think in the future we will see that this competition might become even more interesting." The tournament also gave smaller nations a better chance of qualifying for the 2020 European Championship, as all group winners in the four leagues were guaranteed a place in a qualifying playoff. For a team like England, though, the competition is mainly another opportunity to win an official title, something it hasn't done it in more than five decades since that World Cup at home. The Englishmen have been on a roll recently, having made it to the semifinals of the World Cup last year. They followed that up with convincing wins over Spain and Croatia in the Nations League, and began the year with a 5-0 rout of the Czech Republic and a 5-1 victory over Montenegro in European qualifying. Switzerland is yet to win an international trophy, and the Netherlands hasn't won a title since the 1988 European Championship when current coach Ronald Koeman still played for the national team. The Dutch eliminated World Cup-winner France and Germany in its Nations League group. "You are playing for a trophy," Dutch forward Memphis Depay told UEFA's website. "That's very important for us. We need to try to get used to winning trophies if we want to be a successful team, because that's what successful teams do. And when you're this close, two games away from the prize, then that's a great goal." The Nations League winner will be taking home a prize of 10.5 million euros ($11.7 million), with 9 million euros ($10 million) going to the runner-up......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2019

Ronaldo nets 600th club goal as goalscoring race heats up

By Daniella Matar and Andrew Dampf, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo's unrelenting hunger for goals is plain to see. The Juventus forward netted his 600th club goal on Saturday and celebrated with typical joy. But his desire to score was far more evident in the first half against Inter Milan when he fired over the bar and showed anguish and frustration. That appeared to spur Ronaldo to the equalizer after the break as Juventus came back to draw with bitter rival Inter 1-1 in Serie A. "Ronaldo is lethal, I have him, and I'm happy," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "It's important to have a player like him. After he missed a chance he got very angry, then he played a different game." Ronaldo already plays a different game to most. And after alreading clinching a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title, Ronaldo could become the first player to win the top goalscorer award and the Serie A title in his first season in Italy. The 34-year-old Ronaldo has 20 league goals for Juventus, three less than league leader and Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella. He could also become the first player to win the top goalscorer award in three of Europe's top five leagues, having claimed the prize in Spain (three times) and England. There are four rounds remaining. Ronaldo has been playing and scoring regularly, even while being accused of raping a woman in 2009 in the United States — something the Portugal star denies. The strike against Inter Milan was his 27th for Juventus in all competitions. Ronaldo scored 450 for Real Madrid, 118 for Manchester United and five for Sporting Lisbon. "With him you always start in front, we are lucky to have him with us," Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini said. "He will help Juventus win more." Earlier in the season, Ronaldo became the first player to net 400 goals across Europe's top five leagues. CONTE CRAZINESS Roma fans are starting to believe the reports that Antonio Conte could become the club's next coach. With Claudio Ranieri in a caretaker role following Eusebio Di Francesco's firing, speculation is rampant that Roma is in talks with Conte about taking over the team for next season. When Conte, the former Juventus, Italy, and Chelsea coach, was spotted at Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport on Sunday, Roma fans stopped him for selfies and spread the word on social media — even though it appeared Conte was merely traveling to his home in Turin. While the Roman-born Ranieri has said he would like to remain with Roma, even he acknowledged the club would do well to hire Conte. "I would love to see him on the Roma bench, but I don't know anything: I would be the last to know," Ranieri said with a smile following Roma's 3-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday. "I would be super happy if Conte came in. I would go and collect him from the airport." Retired Roma captain Francesco Totti, who has a position in Roma's management, called Conte "one of the best coaches in Europe." "Wherever he's gone he's won. Any squad would do something crazy to get him," Totti said, adding that there are also reports that Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are interested in Conte. "There are a lot of squads chasing him." ATALANTA STADIUM Fresh off qualifying for the Italian Cup final, Atalanta has announced plans for a complete overhaul of its Atleti Azzurri d'Italia stadium. Work on the 40 million euro ($45 million) project will begin following Atalanta's game against Udinese on Monday, meaning the team will play its final two home matches of the season in Reggio Emilia at Mapei Stadium, Sassuolo's ground. The three-phase project should be completed in time for the 2021-22 season, at which time the stadium will be renamed Gewiss Arena. Atalanta beat Fiorentina on Thursday to advance to the May 15 Cup final against Lazio. ___ Dampf reported from Rome......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2019

A guide to FIFA's options for expanding the 2026 World Cup

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is preparing to decide Tuesday on adding 16 more teams to the 2026 World Cup for a 48-team tournament. President Gianni Infantino's favored format would break with soccer tradition to play in groups of only three teams. Two would advance from each group to a Round of 32 knockout bracket. If agreed by the Infantino-chaired FIFA Council in Zurich, the 2026 hosting contest could formally open in weeks. A co-hosted North American bid is widely seen as the best option. Here are some things to know about overhauling the greatest competition in the world's most popular sport: ___ WHY EXPAND? A bigger World Cup was an Infantino campaign promise before his election last February, when his plan was 40 teams. It might have been key. Infantino's momentum for victory in a second-round poll was a three-vote lead over Sheik Salman of Bahrain in the first. Sheik Salman had promised only to review if more World Cup teams were wanted. Infantino also pledged to give more of FIFA's money to member federations — all 211 are now entitled to $5 million from each World Cup — and send more to continental and regional soccer bodies. So, more teams also had to mean more games, earning more revenue from broadcasters and sponsors. The '16x3' format arguably works better with only group winners advancing. But that would leave total matches unchanged at 64. Infantino also wants to create fervor in the extra countries which would qualify. In the short-term, competing national teams attract more sponsors. The long-term goal is appealing to more young people who are the future players, fans and officials. Expect to hear much FIFA talk of helping the next Costa Rica or Iceland — feelgood stories at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 — by inviting 16 more teams to the party. ___ 48-TEAM OPTIONS A near-consensus is growing around the '16x3' option revealed just one month ago. All 80 games would be played in exclusive time slots. That's more hours of TV exposure for sponsors and sales time for broadcasters in the same 32-day tournament period. By advancing two teams from each group, a Round of 32 ensures most teams still play at least three matches. FIFA's own analysis predicts this format will raise revenue by 20 percent from the equivalent $5.5 billion forecast from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The flaw for purists is planning for penalty shootouts to settle drawn group matches. If each game has a 'winner' that guards against teams colluding on a mutually favorable result in the last group games. Previously, Infantino suggested an opening playoff round of 16 matches to decide who would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group phase. That was unacceptable to many FIFA members federations who said 'one-and-done' teams were not part of a real World Cup. It also would stretch the tournament to 39 days. ___ 40-TEAM OPTIONS Infantino's plan from one year ago is now almost friendless. Either of two options, 10 groups of four teams or eight five-team groups, gives lopsided or weak match schedules, FIFA judged. In '10x4,' only 76 matches are played and only six group runners-up advance from a muddled tiebreaker process to a Round of 16. In '8x5,' the 88 matches include meaningless ones in a flabby group phase ripe for collusion. Also, the four semifinalists would play eight matches and that workload is unacceptable to European clubs releasing employees to national-team duty. ___ PROVEN 32-TEAM FORMAT Why fix something that is not broken? Germany, the defending champion, has publicly asked this question. The 32-team format and perfect 64-match bracket has worked well since being introduced at the 1998 World Cup in France (where Europe had 15 teams). FIFA acknowledged that it produces the best soccer — 'the highest absolute quality' of games pitting high-ranked teams against each other. Recall that former winners Italy, England and Uruguay were drawn in the same 2014 World Cup group — and yet Costa Rica finished top. Still, enough of FIFA's 211 members want change and their chance to play. ___ WHO WILL PLAY? A big question is likely not being resolved Tuesday. FIFA has yet to announce exactly how many entry slots each of six confederations would get for their own qualifying program. Quotas for a 40-team World Cup were proposed in December 2015 by a FIFA advisory group that included Infantino, then UEFA's general secretary. Some saw a cynical move to sweeten skeptical FIFA voters who were being asked to vote through modernizing and anti-corruption reforms on the same day they picked a new president. Then, assuming a single host nation would get automatic entry, the proposal for sharing 39 qualifying slots was: Europe 14; Africa 7; Asia 6; South America 5; North, Central America and Caribbean 5; Oceania 1; plus a final slot awarded 'based on sporting merits using a method yet to be defined.' Going from 40 to 48 can add at least one more from each continent. Who could those new teams be? On current form, maybe Wales and Panama, Congo and Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and Oman, will bring something new to the 2026 World Cup. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Euro 2016 finalists Portugal, France open World Cup tamely

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> GENEVA (AP) — European Championship finalists Portugal and France came down from their summer highs with tame starts to World Cup qualifying on Tuesday. Without Cristiano Ronaldo again, s.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2016

Ronaldo and Van Dijk face off in Nations League final

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press PORTO, Portugal (AP) — The final of UEFA's newest competition will feature another clash between Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, two players likely to be competing for the world player of the year award this year. The inaugural Nations League will come to an end on Sunday in Porto with Ronaldo's Portugal taking on the Netherlands of Van Dijk. The Portuguese superstar and the thriving Dutch defender haven't met since last year's Champions League final, when Ronaldo's former team Real Madrid came out on top of Van Dijk's Liverpool. Ronaldo will try to lead Portugal to its first title since the 2016 European Championship, while Van Dijk will look to help the Netherlands lift its first international trophy since the 1988 European Championship. Victory at Estadio do Dragao will give the Dutch some redemption after failing to qualify for the last two major tournaments, the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 European Championship. Van Dijk, touted as one of the best central defenders in the world, called Ronaldo "a fantastic player" but downplayed their matchup. "We play Portugal, we are not playing Cristiano Ronaldo," he said. "They have a very good team. It's going to be tough. We need to be ready." Van Dijk, who hasn't allowed anyone to dribble past him in more than 60 consecutive matches, lifted the Champions League trophy last week with Liverpool, being voted the man of the match in the final against Tottenham in Madrid. He is expected to be in the running for the world player of the year award for the first time. He has already been named player of the year in the English Premier League. Ronaldo has won the world player of the year award five times. "He's already had a really good season," Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said of his teammate. "I think he's been trying to stop everyone he plays against. But it's not up to us to decide if he wins the Ballon d'Or. For us, he's the best defender in the world, and if you look at his season, he definitely deserves the Ballon d'Or, but it's not up to us, it's up to other people to decide." Van Dijk also was voted man of the match in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over England on Thursday in the Nations League semifinals. Ronaldo was man of the match for Portugal when it defeated Switzerland 3-1 on Wednesday in the other semifinal. Ronaldo scored a hat trick, with two of his goals coming in the final minutes. "The Netherlands are an excellent team," Ronaldo told UEFA's website. "They have been playing pretty well. I've been watching them in recent matches and they have an excellent squad with great players — young players and more experienced players, which makes their team even stronger." Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman said he is not planning to change his defense plans to adapt to Ronaldo's threat. "We know he's one of the best," Koeman said. "And the nicest thing in football is that you cannot stop (a player like him) 100 percent (of the time) because sometimes he's too good. We know the qualities of that player, and of course we need to defend well when we have the ball, we need good defensive organization, but it's not a special marking (system), one on one, because we don't like that." The Netherlands eliminated the last two World Cup winners in the qualification round of the Nations League, Germany and France. Portugal reached the semis by getting past Italy and Poland. On Sunday, the hosts will be without veteran central defender Pepe, who broke his right shoulder against Switzerland. Koeman, who played at the 1988 Euros, said he should have all of his players available even though the Netherlands had one less day to rest for the final. The winner on Sunday will be crowned the first champion of the competition UEFA created to give national teams more meaningful games and reduce the number of friendlies. The winner receives 10.5 million euros ($11.8 million). The runner-up will get 9 million euros. The amounts include the 4.5 million euros all four semifinalists have already secured. The final marks the swansong of 45-year-old Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco. England and Switzerland will play the third-place match in Guimaraes earlier on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Former England coach Graham Taylor dies at 72

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer   LONDON (AP) — Graham Taylor, the England coach derided for failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup after flourishing as a club manager working for pop star Elton John, has died. He was 72. Taylor, who won admiration by leading Aston Villa and Watford into the top-flight in the 1980s, died early Thursday of a suspected heart attack, his family said. 'The family are devastated by this sudden and totally unexpected loss,' a family statement said. Taylor is one of only four managers to have taken the same team from the fourth to the top division in English soccer, and he achieved it within five years at Watford. Elton John, who owned Watford during Taylor's two stints in charge, said it was a 'sad and dark day' for the club. 'He was like a brother to me,' John wrote on an Instagram post . 'We shared an unbreakable bond since we first met. We went on an incredible journey together and it will stay with me forever. 'He took my beloved Watford from the depths of the lower leagues to uncharted territory and into Europe. We have become a leading English club because of his managerial wisdom and genius.' Taylor reached the pinnacle of English management when he was hired by the national team in 1990, inheriting a side that reached the World Cup semifinals. 'His enthusiasm for life and football was incredible,' former England player Paul Gascoigne said. Taylor guided England to the 1992 European Championship, but the team was eliminated at the first stage, setting the tone for the rest of his time with the national team. After England lost 2-1 to Sweden in its final game at Euro 92, The Sun tabloid trashed Taylor with the headline: 'Swedes 2 Turnips 1.' Taylor's head was superimposed on a turnip, a caricature that led to the manager becoming known harshly as 'Turnip Taylor.' 'It hurts and that's what really, really annoys me,' Taylor recalled in a 2012 BBC documentary. 'They have no recognition about how much it hurts you. They think you don't care. 'And those people that know it hurts you, they put the knife into you so it hurts you even more.' Taylor's decision to grant behind-the-scenes access to a television crew for the qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup backfired when the extent of the strain of the job was exposed. In 'The Impossible Job,' Taylor was filmed complaining about a refereeing decision during a qualifier against the Netherlands, telling the linesman: 'Tell your mate he's just cost me my job.' Reflecting later on his shortcomings in the England job, Taylor said: 'I am not bitter. I am just disappointed in myself.' The failure to reach the 1994 World Cup in the United States was a blot on Taylor's accomplishments in management after a modest playing career ended at age 28 due to a hip injury. Having already become the youngest person to attain a full Football Association coaching badge, Taylor was able to move straight into management with Lincoln after playing for the team. After winning the fourth tier, Taylor moved south to Watford. With the boardroom backing of John, Taylor guided Watford from the fourth division to the first division (then the top tier), an FA Cup final and European competition in five years from 1978. John then allowed Taylor to move to Aston Villa, where he secured promotion to the top-flight and a second-place finish in 1990. He returned as club management after his England management, taking Watford back into the Premier League and enjoying one final spell at Villa before leaving the dugout for good in 2003. He was a regular commentator on matches in recent years for BBC radio. He is survived by wife Rita and daughters Joanne and Karen. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo wins FIFA best player award for 4th time

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — Capping what he called the best year of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fourth FIFA best player award on Monday. The double European champion with Portugal and Real Madrid beat great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards. 'It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sporting level,' the 31-year-old Ronaldo said in Portuguese in his acceptance speech, which he began by exclaiming 'Wow, wow, wow.' Ronaldo's fourth career FIFA award closed the gap on five-time winner Messi, who has been the runner-up to each Ronaldo victory. His 34.54 percent of total voting points in a 23-candidate ballot was clearly better than Messi's 26.42 percent. Griezmann got 7.53 percent. Voting was by national team captains and coaches, selected media, and fans online. Messi did not attend after being pulled out hours before the ceremony by his club Barcelona to prepare for a cup match on Wednesday. 'Of course, I wish that they (Barcelona players) had been here tonight like in the other years. We have to respect the decision,' Ronaldo said. Yet again, Ronaldo and Messi snubbed each other on ballot papers they got as captains of Portugal and Argentina. Ronaldo selected three Real Madrid teammates headed by Gareth Bale, and Messi picked Luis Suarez atop an all-Barcelona ballot. Ronaldo's 2016 trophy haul included the European Championship, Champions League, and Club World Cup, plus individual best player awards from UEFA and France Football magazine. 'I won a lot trophies, collective and individual, so I am proud,' said Ronaldo, adding he would send the inaugural silver FIFA Best trophy to the museum dedicated to his career on his home island, Madeira. Messi's Barcelona won the Spanish league and cup double in 2016, though Argentina lost another Copa America final. Griezmann's France and Atletico Madrid lost their finals to Ronaldo's teams. Ronaldo's mentors for club and country were beaten to the coaching award by Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, who earned the prize for a stunning English Premier League title. 'What happened last year was something strange. The God of football said Leicester must win,' said Ranieri, who was in his first season at the unfashionable provincial club widely tipped for relegation. Ranieri rose from his seat and politely shook hands with his two opponents, Madrid's Zinedine Zidane and Portugal's Fernando Santos, plus their partners before heading to the stage. The 65-year-old Italian collected his trophy from Diego Maradona, who earlier Monday played in an exhibition match with other retired greats at FIFA headquarters. Carli Lloyd of the United States won a FIFA player prize for the second straight year, despite a quarterfinals exit at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. With gold-medal winner Melanie Behringer of Germany in third place, Lloyd got more than 20 percent of the vote and five-time winner Marta of Brazil was runner-up with 16.6 percent. Behringer got 12.34 percent. 'I honestly was not expecting this,' Lloyd said. 'I know Melanie did fantastic in the Olympics.' Germany did win the women's coaching prize as Silvia Neid earned her second FIFA prize, after also winning the 2010 award. Neid beat two previous winners: last year's winner, Jill Ellis of the United States, and Pia Sundhage of Sweden, the Olympic silver medalist. The Puskas Award for best goal was won in an online poll by Mohd Faiz Subri, who scored with a wildly swerving long-range free kick for Malaysian club Penang. A players' vote organized by international union FIFPro gave a World XI of: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona/Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid); Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid); Messi, Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona), Ronaldo. The First FIFA fan award was chosen by fans and was made to supporters of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, who joined in singing the English club's anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before a Europa League quarterfinal. The other nominees were Iceland fans at Euro 2016, and Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord. FIFA made its Fair Play Award to Atletico Nacional, the Colombian club which was scheduled to host Chapecoense in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final on Nov. 30. After most of the Brazilian team died in a plane crash flying to the match, Atletico Nacional asked the South American soccer confederation to present the title and trophy to Chapecoense. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Ronaldo favored to win his 4th FIFA award as world's best

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable run of success can continue with a fourth FIFA award as the world's best player on Monday. A European champion with club and country last year, the Real Madrid and Portugal forward is favored to beat great rival Lionel Messi and France forward Antoine Griezmann when winners of the rebranded Best FIFA Football Awards are presented in Zurich. Messi leads Ronaldo 5-3 in their career-long duel for FIFA's top individual prize. However, Ronaldo is set to complete a hat-trick of major awards for 2016 after taking home trophies presented by UEFA and France Football magazine's prestiguous Golden Ball. FIFA will also name the best women's player, and the best coaches in men's and women's soccer. Voting is by national team captains and coaches, selected journalists and — for the first time — an online poll of fans. Each category counts for 25 percent of the points. Here is a look ahead to the awards ceremony: ___ CRISTIANO RONALDO After Messi in 2015, it was Ronaldo's turn to win the Champions League in 2016 as the prolific scorer netted 16 goals in the competition. He also got the decisive penalty in a shootout after a 1-1 draw with Griezmann's Atletico Madrid. But where he really dominated Messi was on the national-team stage. Ronaldo captained Portugal to a long-awaited first title at the European Championship — two weeks after Messi's Argentina again lost the Copa America final to Chile. Portugal seemed a long way from glory, and faced a humiliating group-stage exit, before Ronaldo's two goals helped salvage a 3-3 draw with Hungary. He also netted in the 2-0 semifinal win against Wales. In the final against host France, Ronaldo went off injured in the first half, then returned to the bench for extra time as — with his knee strapped — he passionately urged teammates on to a 1-0 win. For good measure, Ronaldo scored a Club World Cup final hat trick against Kashima Antlers in December, but that was after FIFA voting had closed. ___ LIONEL MESSI Messi looks to extend a streak of being winner or runner-up in nine straight seasons since placing second behind Kaka of Brazil in 2007. Last year, Messi and won a Spanish league and Cup double with Barcelona. Yet there was another painful Copa America final loss — a third straight year Argentina lost a major final without scoring — and a Champions League quarterfinal exit against Atletico. Nearing his 30th birthday, Messi's prolific scoring rate has not slowed, and 10 goals in the Champions League group stage means that Ronaldo's season record of 17 — set in 2013-14 — is within his sight this year. ___ ANTOINE GRIEZMANN Griezmann's goals helped get France and Atletico Madrid into major finals in 2016. In the Champions League final in Milan, Atletico trailed 1-0 to its city rival when Griezmann missed with a penalty kick that struck the crossbar. Still, he confidently converted his kick in the penalty shootout. Griezmann's six goals at Euro 2016 made him the tournament top scorer. In a tricky round of 16 match, his two goals overturned an early Ireland lead, and he also struck twice — including a coolly taken penalty — against favored Germany in the semifinals. However, he missed two good chances in the final against Portugal as France 1-0 in extra time. ___ COACHING AWARD Could the coach of a provincial club side beat the men who coached European champions Real Madrid and Portugal? Yes, when that coach is Italian Claudio Ranieri and his team, unheralded Leicester City, won an English Premier League title that delighted and stunned fans worldwide. Zinedine Zidane started 2016 having never coached a senior match. The newly appointed Madrid coach won a Champions League title within five months and started 2017 riding a 37-match unbeaten run. Fernando Santos marshalled one of the less obviously talented Portugal teams of recent years to win Euro 2016 despite winning only one of its seven matches during the 90 minutes. ___ WOMEN'S AWARDS Germany's Olympic gold medal-winning team is favored to sweep the awards. Midfielder Melanie Behringer is challenging two past FIFA award winners: defending champion Carli Lloyd of the United States and five-time winner Marta of Brazil. All three coaching candidates are previous FIFA award winners: Silvia Neid of Germany, last year's winner Jill Ellis of the United States and Pia Sundhage of Sweden. ___ FIFA AWARDS FIFA has added a Fan Award to its annual ceremony, and all three candidates from an online poll are European. Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, whose fans sang You'll Never Walk Alone before a Europa League match at Anfield; Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord; and the Iceland fans at Euro 2016 for their inspirational clapping salute to players after games. A fans' vote will also decide the Puskas Award for best goal. The candidates are: Marlone of Corinthians, Daniuska Rodriguez of the Venezuela women's Under-17 team, and Mohd Faiz Subri of Malaysian side Penang. FIFA will also present a Fair Play award, and members of the players' union FIFPro worldwide have voted to select a World XI team. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Huge European rescue plans, vaccine hopes fuel virus optimism

A half-trillion-euro European fund laid out by France and Germany sparked optimism Monday about fighting economic fallout from the coronavirus, as did encouraging early results on vaccine research by a US biotech firm. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 19th, 2020

France readying historic package for Air France, Renault

PARIS, France – France said on Friday, April 24, it was readying a "historic" package of multibillion-euro loans to help carmaker Renault and flag carrier Air France through the crisis caused by the coronavirus . For Air France, a 7-billion-euro ($7.5-billion) package is planned and ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 25th, 2020

British Open canceled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The Masters goes from that annual rite of spring to two weeks before Thanksgiving. The U.S. Open now is scheduled in September for the first time since amateur Francis Ouimet took down Britain’s best at Brookline in 1913 to put golf on the map in America. And the oldest championship of them all won’t even be played. Golf organizations tried to salvage a season unlike any other Monday with a series of changes, starting with the British Open being canceled for the first time since 1945. The PGA Championship, which last year moved to May, would go back to August. That would be followed by the PGA Tour’s postseason, the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup in consecutive weeks, and then the Masters on Nov. 12-15. “Any Masters is better than no Masters,” Augusta native Charles Howell III said. Still to be determined was when — or even if — golf could resume because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down sports worldwide. Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said the Masters identified November as “intended dates.” CEO Seth Waugh said the PGA of America was “holding” Aug. 6-9 as dates for the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco. USGA chief Mike Davis said moving from June to September was the best chance to mitigate health and safety concerns — Winged Foot is 5 miles from New Rochelle, New York, a virus hot spot — to have “the best opportunity” of staging the U.S. Open. The British Open effectively is pushing its schedule back one year, saying the 149th Open still is set for Royal St. George’s on July 15-18, leaving the 150th Open for St. Andrews the following year. “I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year, but it is not going to be possible,” R&A chief Martin Slumbers said. Golf’s major organizations, starting with the PGA Tour and its calendar filled with tournaments, have been trying to piece together a puzzle for the last three weeks. Each agreed to announce their plans together in a show of collaboration. Still missing is the starting line, along with some details on what could be the most hectic pace golf has ever known. “We hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport,” Ridley said. “We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials.” Augusta National closed early this year because of the coronavirus and does not open until October. The bloom of dogwoods and azaleas will give way to fall foliage. Instead of being the second full week in April, it will compete against football. “It feels like in these extraordinary times, we need to do extraordinary things,” said Kevin Kisner, who grew up 20 miles away in Aiken, South Carolina. “We can sacrifice a little bit of our life being perfect.” The PGA Tour has tentatively planned to complete its FedEx Cup season close to schedule, with the Tour Championship finishing on Labor Day. It is contemplating putting tournaments in dates that previously belonged to the U.S. Open, British Open and Olympics. “It’s a complex situation, and we want to balance the commitments to our various partners with playing opportunities for our members — while providing compelling competition to our fans,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “But all of that must be done while navigating the unprecedented global crisis that is impacting every single one of us.” The new schedule: — Aug. 6-9: PGA Championship. — Aug. 13-16: End of PGA Tour regular season at Wyndham Championship. — Aug. 20-23: Start of FedEx Cup playoffs at The Northern Trust. — Aug. 27-30: BMW Championship, second playoff event. — Sept. 4-7: Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup. — Sept. 17-20: U.S. Open at Winged Foot. — Sept. 25-27: Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. It was not immediately clear how the teams from Europe and the United States would be determined for the Ryder Cup, although European captain Padraig Harrington has said he would not be opposed to picking all 12 players. For the 24 players, that means going from what long has been regarded as the toughest test in golf to what has become the most tiresome three days in golf. “It’s definitely better than leaving the Tour Championship and going to France, or leaving the Bahamas to go to Australia,” said Patrick Cantlay, referring to the Americans' most recent Ryder and Presidents cup itineraries. Like everything else, so much remains up in the air until golf get the signal to resume. Gian Paolo Montali, the general director for the 2022 Ryder Cup, said on Italian radio Monday that officials faced a May deadline to postpone the Ryder Cup to odd-numbered years (as it was before the matches were postponed by the Sept. 11 attacks). He described the chances as 50-50. Montali also said players already have vetoed a Ryder Cup without its raucous fans. Other details must be sorted out, such as U.S. Open qualifying. The next tournament on the PGA Tour schedule is Colonial on May 21-24, though that appears unlikely. Ridley said every player who has received invitations to play the Masters in April will stay on the list. He said the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was canceled, and every player can keep their spots for next year provided they don’t turn pro. The U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Brooklawn Country Club in Connecticut have been canceled. As for the British Open, Shane Lowry gets to keep the claret jug longer than anyone since Dick Burton, who won in 1939 at St. Andrews in the last Open before World War II. Burton went from “champion golfer of the year” to member of the Royal Air Force. Lowry said in a video tweet he understood and supported the R&A’s decision. “You can trust me when I say the claret jug is going to be in safe hands for another year,” Lowry said. ___ AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Italy contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2020

Britain, eurozone face 2% recession in 2020 – S& P

PARIS, France – The coronavirus pandemic will push Britain and the euro area into recession this year, with their economies expected to shrink by as much as 2%, the international ratings agency S&P Global warned on Thursday, March 26. "The eurozone and UK ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 26th, 2020

Olympics-bound boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno under self-quarantine after Qualifying Tournament

The celebration will have to wait for 2020 Tokyo Olympics-bound pugs Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno as they have put themselves under self-quarantine after arriving in the Philippines, following a successful campaign in the recently-concluded Asia and Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers that was held in Amman, Jordan.  Marcial, the top-seeded Men's Middleweight breezed through his division, taking home the gold medal as well as a ticket to the Summer Games in Tokyo.  Magno, meanwhile, made good on her second chance in the tournament, winning her Women's Flyweight Olympic Box-off to also earn a place on the Philippine Team.  “Naka-self-quarantine po ako dto sa Baguio. Ganun din po ‘yung iba ko pang teammates,” Magno told ABS-CBN News' Dennis Gasgonia. The Iloilo native will have to get clearance to go home and celebrate with her loved ones once her quarantine is up. "Wait ko pa po ang sasabihin ng mga coaches after po ng quarantine kung pwede po muna umuwi. Pero kung back to training po, training po muna para mapaghandaan ang Tokyo Olympics,” she said.  Also coming back from Amman, Jordan were Women's Featherweight World Champion Nesthy Petecio, Men's Flyweight bet Carlo Paalam, Men's Bantamweight Ian Clark Bautista, Men's Lightweight James Palicte, and Women's Lightweight Riza Pasuit. All of them will also have to undergo self-quarantine as a precautionary step against the spread of the COVID-19 virus that is affecting the globe.  The current COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the timetable for Petecio, Paalam, and the rest of the Tokyo hopefuls since the upcoming World Qualifiers set for Paris, France this coming May has been postponed because of the health crisis that's sweeping the world. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 18th, 2020

A look at the status of Olympic qualifying events

By The Associated Press As the IOC attempts to keep the 2020 Olympics on schedule, many of the events that determine who would compete in Tokyo have been postponed or canceled. Here is the status of U.S. or world qualifying in many of the Olympic disciplines: ATHLETICS The U.S. Olympic track and field trials are still scheduled for June 19-28 in Eugene, Oregon. Other countries use a variety of methods, including trials, world rankings, and appointment based on results. BASEBALL Four countries — Israel, Mexico, South Korea and host Japan — are in the six-team field. The final two spots are to be determined by tournaments that were postponed: An Americas qualifier in Arizona has been indefinitely postponed, and a last-chance qualifying tournament in Taiwan slated for April is now scheduled for June 17-21. BASKETBALL Men: Eight teams, including the United States, have already qualified. The remaining spots in the 12-nation field will be determined in four winner-take-all, six-team tournaments scheduled from June 23-28 in Serbia, Canada, Croatia and Lithuania. Women: The 12-team field was filled in February with four tournaments. Although defending world champion United States and the host Japanese were already guaranteed spots, both finished in position to qualify anyway. 3x3: FIBA has postponed the qualifying tournament scheduled for March 18-22 in India. A second qualifying tournament scheduled for April in Hungary is in limbo. Four women’s teams and four men’s teams have already qualified for the eight-country fields. BEACH VOLLEYBALL Most Olympic spots are earned over a two-year points race on the international tour. At least three of the final 10 events have been canceled or postponed, and the final event is scheduled for Rome on June 9-14. BOXING Two of the four regional Olympic qualification tournaments have already taken place, and the third for European fighters began Saturday in London. The Americas qualifier scheduled for March 26 in Buenos Aires has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, and organizers haven’t set a plan for the final steps in qualification, including the last-chance World Olympic Qualifying Tournament scheduled for May 13 in Paris. CYCLING The selection criteria is different for each discipline: BMX freestyle and racing, mountain biking, track cycling, and the road race and time trials. Each discipline has a series of automatic qualification standards, and a committee will choose athletes to fill out the U.S. team. The world championships May 30-31 in Houston is crucial for BMX, and at this point is still scheduled. The last Olympic qualification event in freestyle BMX, the World Series in Hiroshima April 3-5, has been postponed. Final rosters for each discipline are announced in June. DIVING Dozens of divers have already qualified based on their performances at last summer's world championships or other major meets over the last eight months. The last big qualifier is the Diving World Cup, set for the new Olympic aquatics venue in Tokyo on April 21-26; FINA is still considering whether to proceed. U.S. divers also must get through the national trials in Indianapolis on June 13-21 to confirm their Olympic spots. No decision has been announced on the Canadian trials scheduled for March 30-April 5 in Toronto. EQUESTRIAN All of the equestrian qualifying events have been completed in every discipline. None of the events was affected by the virus. FENCING Qualification was to be based on rankings set to be released on April 4, with some additional slots to be determined in zonal events from April 15-26. But the International Fencing Federation suspended all international competitions for 30 days, delaying five major competitions that must be completed before zonal qualifying. The FIE is requesting an extension of the qualification period. FIELD HOCKEY Tournaments to fill the 12-team men's and women's fields were completed in 2019. Ten countries qualified for both: Australia, Argentina, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands and Britain. GOLF Sixty golfers are determined by the world rankings, two per country with a maximum of four if they are among the top 15. The PGA Tour and European Tour, which offer the most ranking points, have canceled or postponed all events at least through April 12. GYMNASTICS The team fields for both men’s and women’s gymnastics were set at last year's world championships. The remaining individual all-around and single apparatus spots are determined at World Cup events. The International Gymnastics Federation has cancelled an all-around World Cup event in Germany and postponed an apparatus World Cup event in Qatar from March until early June. HANDBALL The International Handball Federation has postponed the final qualifying tournaments until June. The host nations were Spain, Hungary and Montenegro for the women and Norway, France and Germany for the men. Six of 12 spots remain open for each field. JUDO The International Judo Federation has canceled all Olympic qualifiers through April 30, including a Grand Slam and two Grand Prix. Another Grand Prix last weekend, in Morocco, was canceled earlier. Qualifying ends on May 25. ROWING World Rowing has canceled a European Olympic qualifying regatta that was scheduled for April 27-29 in Varese, Italy, and relocation is being considered. US Rowing said Olympic trials in Sarasota, Florida, from March 16-21 and April 13-18 have been postponed and the organization will not hold a national team event for at least 30 days. SAILING Many spots in the 10 classes have been clinched. An Asian Olympic qualifier in Abu Dhabi has been postponed until mid-April, and a World Cup Series regatta in Genoa, Italy, that would have been a qualifier for African, Asian and European countries, has been canceled. The IOC has granted World Sailing an extension of the qualification period to June 30. SOCCER Men: Fourteen of 16 teams have already qualified. The tournament to produce the two teams from the North and Central American and Caribbean region was scheduled for March 20 to April 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico, but was indefinitely postponed. Women: Ten of 12 teams have already qualified, including the reigning World Cup champion United States. China and South Korea were scheduled to play in a two-legged playoff that has been pushed back to early June. Cameroon is set to play Chile in a two-legged playoff in early April but no announcement on those matches has been made. SOFTBALL The field for the six-nation competition was set in four qualifying tournaments in 2018 and 2019. SWIMMING Most Olympic berths will be determined at national trials. The U.S. meet is scheduled for Omaha, Nebraska, on June 21-28; Australia's is scheduled for June 14-19 in Adelaide; Japan's national championship is in Tokyo on April 1-8. The final two events on the TYR Pro Swim Series, a big part of pre-Olympic training, are scheduled for April 16-19 in Mission Viejo, California, and May 6-9 in Indianapolis. TABLE TENNIS The U.S. already wrapped up qualifying, with three men and three women earning spots in Tokyo. Qualifying elsewhere was still in progress and scheduled to continue through May. But the International Table Tennis Federation suspended all activities until the end of April and recommended that continental associations follow that decision. An emergency meeting of the ITTF executive committee is scheduled for Monday. TENNIS The International Tennis Federation says Olympic eligibility still will be based on the WTA and ATP rankings of June 8, even though more than a month of the tours' schedules in March and April have been scrapped. Requirements related to minimum participation in Fed Cup or Davis Cup remain in place — as does an appeal process for players who do not meet those standards. VOLLEYBALL The qualification was completed in January with the 12 teams for both the men’s and women’s competitions already set. WATER POLO Men's and women's qualification tournaments scheduled for this month have been postponed until May. At stake are the final three spots for the 12-team men's field and the last two openings in the 10-team women's competition. The U.S. men and women have already qualified. WEIGHTLIFTING Spots are decided by the world ranking. The continental championships next month were meant to be the last gold-level events offering extra qualifying points. However, the European, Asian and African championships have all been postponed along with another gold-level event, junior worlds. WRESTLING The U.S. trials that had been scheduled for April 4-5 in State College, Pennsylvania, have been postponed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 15th, 2020

Virus fear hits global sports hard

Paris, France—The Six Nations rugby union match between Italy and England was postponed on Thursday (Friday Philippine time), the latest high-profile sports event to be scratched from the international calendar due to the global spread of the deadly coronavirus......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 7th, 2020

How the coronavirus has hit global sport

PARIS, France – The Six Nations rugby union match between Italy and England was postponed on Thursday, March 5 – the latest high-profile sports event to be scratched from the international calendar due to the global spread of the deadly coronavirus. AFP Sport looks at the effects on sport of the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020