Monthly Archives: June 2016

England leaves it late to defeat 10-men Portugal

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England leaves it late to defeat 10-men Portugal

England finished their warm-up ahead of Euro 2016 in a lackluster international friendly against Portugal, leaving it late to score the winning goal to end the match 1-0.

Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for the tournament, packed with a strong forward ensemble, did not look threatening for much of 90 minutes. Wayne Rooney was plonked down at the middle as Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy – visibly uncomfortable – were played wide.

In fact, it was as unfortunate as it was awkward that two of the Premier League’s top scorers – both central strikers – were being played as part-time wingers. Additionally, with Kane pulling to the right most of the time and his Tottenham teammate Dele Alli playing left on the midfield, there was none of those magical link-up play often saw during their time together with the club.

But the team can revel in relief as Portugal simply lack the pedigree to move up or seriously threaten Joe Hart. They looked uninspired without talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo, and their situation worsened early.

In the 35th minute, Bruno Alves was sent-off immediately for his flying, studs up challenge that caught the side of Harry Kane’s head. It did not even faze Kane; he stumbled, but quickly went back on his feet in pursuit of the ball. There was little argument that it was the right call for referee Marco Guida to stop play and pull out a straight red.

Still, then it was only with minutes left that England got the job done. Raheem Sterling, coming on for Vardy, showed how a winger does his job. He swung a cross into the box, where Chris Smalling glancing header puts it into the back Portugal’s net.

But as the fourth favourite in Euro 2016, anyone could tell that if England has any desire to claim the trophy in France, the team needs to perform a lot better than this.

Other Friendly Results

Mexico 1 – 0 Chile

Spain 6 – 1 South Korea

Russia 1 – 2 Czech Republic

Warriors complete seventh game comeback against OKC

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Warriors complete seventh game comeback against OKC

gaw Q1Q2Q3Q4Total thudner

Golden State Warriors win series by 4-3.

The Golden State Warriors defy all odds against Oklahoma City Thunder by completing one of the unlikeliest of comebacks in NBA history, rallying from near defeat to win game 7 by 96-88 and move into the NBA final for the second year running.

NBA MVP Stephen Curry and his team had lagged far behind at 3-1 in the series and looked fated for an early exit from the postseason tournament. But after two straight wins they managed to level the series at 3-3, forcing a winner-takes-all game 7 decider.

Still, things did not look as it was all going according to plan for the Warriors despite their advantage of playing on home ground. They fell behind as much as 13 points before the first half ended 48-42, with OKC taking the lead.

Then everyone in the Golden State camp seemed to fire up, and every player suddenly seemed eager to test themselves for how many 3 pointers they have got in them.

Stephen Curry, reliable as always, scored the game-high 36-points as Klay Thompson added 21 and six threes to follow-up a record breaking performance in game six.

“We survived by the skin of our teeth”, said Golden State coach Steve Kerr. “We were able to pull it out, and we’re moving on.”

But it was not all Warriors here – Thunder had suffered a little drop in performance too. The team had been notorious in losing out in the final quarter even in regular season, just as in game 6 against the Warriors.

They also paid the price as their dynamic duo struggled at the worst possible time – Russell Westbrook was only 7-for-21 from the floor while Kevin Durant shot 10-for-19 for a total of 27 points, his lowest-scoring Game 7 performance ever.

“We laid it all out there,” a somber Durant said after the game. “Everybody left their soul out on the court. We have no regrets.”

But in the end, whether by ability and circumstance, the defending champions had won and is now set for a title rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, with hopes to repeat their 4-2 win last year – or better than that, given their record breaking season.

Euro 2016 squads finalized for the tournament

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Euro 2016 squads finalized for the tournament

All troops are finalized as the main event for football in this summer approaches; here are the few national teams and their squads tipped to lift the trophy in France.

France (odds: 7 to 2)

Being the host nation, and having a significant strike force with the likes of in-form forwards Antoine Griezmann and midfilder Paul Pogba would definitely give an edge to any team hoping to grab the European Championship trophy.

France has been the bookies odds-on favorite even after Didier Deschmaps had left our Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. Les Bleus will face Romania in Group A in the opening game of the tournament on June 10 before playing Albania and Switzerland.

France’s Euro 2016 squad:

Goalkeepers: Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Roma), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), N’Golo Kante (Leicester), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle)

Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Dimitri Payet (West Ham)

Much is expected from France’s Griezmann-Pogba combo

Much is expected from France’s Griezmann-Pogba combo

Germany (odds: 4 to 1)

Despite performing not quite up to expectations after winning the World Cup two years ago, Germany is still a team to be watched given their strength behind to up front. They will have a relatively easier time too, facing Northern Ireland, Poland and Ukraine in the group stages.

Marco Reus was visibly left out of the team following injury concerns but Bastian Schweinsteiger, who also struggled with injury, was included.

Germany’s Euro 2016 squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Emre Can (Liverpool), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Antonio Ruediger (Roma)

Midfielders: Julian Draxler (VfL Wolfsburg), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray), Andre Schurrle (VfL Wolfsburg), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund).

Forwards: Mario Gomez (Besiktas), Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Schalke 04)

Germany dropped Marco Reus off the team hours after wishing him a happy birthday.

Germany dropped Marco Reus off the team hours after wishing him a happy birthday.

Spain (odds: 11 to 2)

The defending champions were a shadow of their form since their group stage exit in the World Cup, but their ageing team then had since been refreshed by Vincente Del Bosque with youngsters the like of Thiago Alcantara and Koke.

Spain’s Euro 2016 squad

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mikel San José (Athletic Club), Juanfran (Atlético Madrid), Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal FC)

Midfielders: Bruno Soriano (Villarreal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atlético Madrid), Thiago Alcântara (Bayern), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Cesc Fábregas (Chelsea)

Forwards: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Pedro Rodríguez (Chelsea FC), Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid)

Spain will look to win the Euro for a third consecutive time.

Spain will look to win the Euro for a third consecutive time.

England (odds: 9 to 1)

Roy Hodgson will be spoilt for choice as he loads up on strikers for the team, featuring Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and teenager Marcus Rashford – all of whom had enjoyed a fruitful season in the Premier League. The group plays Russia in Group B’s opening fixture, and subsequently against Wales and Slovakia.

England’s Euro 2016 squad

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Fraser Forster (Southampton)

Defenders: John Stones (Everton), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Danny Rose (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), James Milner (Liverpool)

Forwards: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are both Premier League top scorers

Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are both Premier League top scorers

Mourinho will not ‘get personal’ with Guardiola next season

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Mourinho will not 'get personal’ with Guardiola next season

Jose Mourinho had vowed not to get into personal disagreements with Pep Guardiola next Premier League season when both of them take charge of Manchester’s two biggest clubs, because it would mean “someone else” winning the title.

From 2010 to 2012 the pair had shared a fierce rivalry that was dipped with hostility in Spain, when Mourinho managed Real Madrid and Guardiola, Barcelona.

Pep Guardiola was announced as City manager next season in February; his first game will be against United in a pre-season friendly in Beijing on 25 July.

However, Mourinho, appointed recently as manager at Manchester United, has hinted that it would be counter-productive for them to focus on each other.

“[What has happened in the past] does not allow me to be innocent. For ​two years Pep and I were in a league where the champion would be either me or him, Real Madrid or Barcelona,” Mourinho said.

“In a situation like this,​ individual fights make sense because they can influence things,” He added. “[But] in the Premier League, if I focus on him and Manchester City, and he on me and Manchester United, someone else is going to win the league.”

During their time competing in La Liga, Guardiola and Mourinho each won one La Liga title, one Spanish Cup and one Spanish Super Cup. Guardiola had the trophy advantage of one Champions League title and the Fifa Club World Cup.

But now, the Portugese manager is prepared for his first season in Old Trafford, and has shown interest in signing Chlesea’s Willian and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – the latter is currently on free agent.

He was also asked whether he would sign anyone from Portugal. He quickly replied thus: “No, I will definitely not take anyone [from Portugal] to Old Trafford.”