Daily Archives: June 27, 2016

Raheem Sterling gets Pep talk boost ahead of Iceland start

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UEFA European Championship Last 16

England vs Iceland (prediction: 2-1)

Roy Hodgson is ready to restore Raheem Sterling as a starting player for England in their last 16 match against Iceland after the Manchester City player received a personal intervention from his future coach Pep Guardiola.

The Catalan manager had decided to get in touch with Sterling after learning that one of the players in his future club suffered from abuse and mounting criticism in France.

Guardiola had made his admiration on Sterling clear even as the 21-year-old was left out following two erratic performances in the opening Group B fixtures against Russia and Wales.

He explained that it was important to block out negative thinking and encouraged Sterling to remember his better qualities as they prepare to work alongside each other in Manchester next season.

“As long as you work for me, I’ll fight for you,” Guardiola told him in a phone call. “Keep your head up, don’t worry, I know you’re a good player and you are a big part of my plans.”

Sterling will be expected to replace former Liverpool teammate Adam Lallana in the left side England’s front three, with Harry Kane operating centrally and Daniel Sturridge on the right.

Team captain Wayne Rooney will return to central midfield, with Tottenham Hotspur full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker returning for England’s defense.

Both Sturridge and Rooney had given votes of confidence to Sterling.

Another former club teammate, Sturridge believes that Sterling is “one of the most talented players in the world”.

“It is just a matter of time before you see him take his game to the next level and I am sure that will be very soon,” Sturridge said. “In the games he has played for England, he has not performed as badly as people have made out – he has done quite well.”

 

 

 

Chile repeats cruel feat to deny Messi international trophy

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Copa America Centenario Final

Argentina vs Chile 0-0

(Chile wins 4-2 on penalties)

As Francisco Silva slots in the final penalty, Chile players erupt in jubilance as they celebrates their second ever pan-America title in just as many years in an almost identical repeat of last year’s Copa America final.

The game went goalless after 120 minutes, along with two-red cards to either side. It was almost a complete replay of last year’s Copa final which Chile also won on penalties, and traumatisingly cruel for Argentina, who will now go 23 years without a major trophy.

On the bench sat their shell-shocked superstar Lionel Messi, who blew his team’s first penalty attempt way over the bar. With his latest final defeat, five-time Ballon D’or winner is denied an international trophy once more after coming just fingertips away for three years running.

The Barcelona forward had been collecting goals and records ahead of the final in MetLife Stadium, but will now throw in the towel for his national team.

“For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said. “It’s been four finals, it’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.”

It is also fair to say that the disappointments piles as Argentina had made their hopeful way through the knockout stages of the tournament with victories boasting huge margins against their opposing teams, and with Messi performing well if assists as well as goals.

Earlier, he broke Argentina’s goalscoring record by getting his 55th goal in the match against USA, exceeding Gabriel’s Batistuta’s record of 54. Even that goal was something to marvel at.

And any bookmaker would place the odds against Chile, who lost 2-1 to Argentina in the group stages. Indeed, the La Roja players looked ragged, tired and ripe for the taking during the final 10 minutes of extra time, but they proved to have the mettle to withstand any Argentinian offense when it mattered.

With that, having already been crowned champions of South America last year, they now claim their rightful spot as the best national side in the Americas.

 

Team Secret the first to book The International 6 spot

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Team Secret the first to book The International 6 spot

Team Secret claims victory in the European Regional Qualifiers group stage at the end of a three way tiebreaker and are the first team from the region to qualify to The International 6.

Secret went through to this year’s Dota 2 main event after winning a tiebreaker against Escape Gaming and Fantastic Five. All three teams were tied with six points after their best of one round robin group stage.

They started by going hard against Escape, engaging in heavy team fights and pushes. Using Death Prophet’s Exorcism as soon as it came online, they took early tier one towers and claimed map control.

Still, Escape made it hard for them with high ground defense, and pushed against high ground only when they had Aegis advantage.

The game was even up until 48 minutes, with Escape depending heavily on Timbersaw for barracks defense. It was then that a five man smoke saw Artour ‘Arteezy” Baebaevwas catch a four man Chronosphere into Vacuum-Wall followed by Winter Curse. The inevitable team wipe followed, and Argeezy won perhaps the most vital fight for his team.

Up next against Fantastic Five’s early gank draft, Secret picked up a strong team fight hero roster.

With Night Stalker, F5 flourished with the first night time rotation alongside Earth Spirit and Morphling. The latter quickly earned a Linken’s sphere and forced fights repeatedly, allowing him to lead in economics. However, they failed to hunt down Arteezy’s Templar Assassin in all of their skirmishes, and that allowed Secret room to breathe as his core items gradually built up.

Then, two crucial kills on Morphling at 40 minutes allowed Secret team fight advantage, and subsequently mega creeps with one push. Though there were hiccups, they managed to hold F5 off and complete their journey to TI6.

Meanwhile, Escape and F5 will still be able to qualify in the qualifier playoffs that kick off today. There, second to fifth-placed teams in group stages will play a double elimination bracket. The winner will secure a spot in TI6, while the runner up will compete for a Wild Card slot.

EURO 2016: round of 16 predictions

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The matches for Euro’s round of 16 have been decided and will kick off this Saturday. Here are the predictions for this weekend clashes.

Saturday

Switzerland vs Poland

Thus far, the Polish defense is the only formation capable of keeping everyone, even world champions Germany out. Though their attack could be underwhelming, they goal tally is right on par with Switzerland, who conceded once in a 1-1 draw against Romania. A slight advantage for Poland, although extra time can be expected.

Prediction: Poland 1-0 Switzerland

Wales vs Northern Ireland

After England vs Wales, this is another match that pits British Isle nations against each other. Still, Wales almost certainly holds definitive advantage with the sparkling forms of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen that won them a rout against Russia. Should Northern Ireland not shape up on defense heavily they certainly will face the same situation; but in the very least, both teams do share the same team spirit and fan support that carried them forward during hard times.

Prediction: Wales 2-1 Northern Ireland

 

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Luka Modric and Croatia are surprise stars in the tournament so far.

Croatia vs Portugal

Croatia looked strong after emerging top of the group and above defending European champions Spain. Their comeback win against the odds-on favourite made them one of the favourite teams right now in the tournament. Additionally, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are struggling to find form and had been unconvincing in defense. This could be an easy one for the Croatians and Luka Modric, who was seen returning to training.

Ps. If rumours of Modric helping out against the Sergio Ramos’s penalty were actually true, there is every chance that Croatia’s star midfielder could give pointers against Ronaldo too.

Prediction: Croatia 1-0 Portugal

France vs Republic of Ireland

With so much at stake in the knockout stages, there is hope for France that the pressure could get them so that they would perform much better in the group stage, than depend on late goals clinch results. But the odds are certainly against the Irish who needs all the Irish luck they could get against the host nation.

Prediction: France 2-0 Republic of Ireland

Germany vs Slovakia

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Germany looked a shadow of their World Cup winning side, but when they had included Mario Gomez up front they were formidable once more. They potentially face a hard defense team against Slovakia in what could be the same scenario they experienced in the group stages. However, the talents that Jogi Loew’s team boasts is simply as undeniable as the coach’s sniffing habits are gross.

Prediction: Germany 2-0 Slovakia

Hungary vs Belgium

Hungary’s performance in the group stages went startlingly well. Their collective spirit brought them a win against Austria, and a thrilling 3-3 draw against Portugal – achieving the latter even when most of their main players were sitting the game out. But they face a hard foe against Belgium, who boasts talent but lack the ability to turn it into results. Their slim win against Sweden is proof enough.

Prediction: Belgium 2-1 Hungary