Daily Archives: July 1, 2016

Andrew Luck extends contract with Indianapolis Colts

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Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has signed a contract extension with his team which could make him the highest paid American football player.

Reports from NFL Media Insider Ian Rapport states that the deal extends Luck’s contract through to 2021, and is worth $140 million.

Rapport said Luck’s six-year contract will surpass Luck’s new salary will surpass current average salary of Baltimore Raven’s Joe Flacco, whose average salary is approximately $22.1 million.

Rapport’s report added that the contract extension pays him $75m over the first three years of the deal, and slightly less over the final three.

Colts owner Jim Irsay was hopeful that the constractual agreement would be completed before Independence Day, with three weeks left before the Colts report to training camp on 26 July.

“This is an exciting day for the organization and Colts fans around the globe,” Irsay said.

“Andrew is the consummate professional, possesses extraordinary talent and is our leader on and off the field. When you consider what this team has accomplished in four seasons with Andrew under center, you cannot help but be thrilled about the future.”

Luck was the No1 overall pick in 2012, having enjoyed a successful start to his career in Indianapolis.

He consistently led his team, carrying them to the NFL playoffs in each of his first three seasons, as well as winning the AFC championship game in 2014 and back-to-back AFC South titles.

However, his form dipped last year, and his season ended early after suffering a kidney injury against the Denver Broncos. He also missed two early starts with a shoulder injury, and completed just 55.3% of his pass attempts while committing 13 turnovers in 2015.

His current 74.9 quarterback rating put him in the bottom of regular starters in the NFL.

But he is keen to get back on top of things.

“I am thrilled and excited to continue with this great organization,” Luck said in a statement.

“I am thankful to the Irsay family and Mr Irsay for providing me with this great opportunity and the trust that they’ve shown in me. I can’t wait for this season to start.”

US national team set for historic friendly visit to Cuba

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The US national team is set for a historic visit to Cuba for an international friendly that will take place in Havana on October 7 at Estadio Pedro Marrero.

This was the first time since 1947 that the U.S. team visit Cuba, making it their second friendly visit to the island nation in 69 years.

Both teams previously met competitively in Havana in 2008 during the 2010 South Africa World Cup qualifiers, with the US team winning 1-0. Clint Dempsey scored the winning goal for USA to qualify for the finals while Cuba was eliminated in the third round.

They met again in Baltimore in last year’s Gold Cup; Dempsey netted four as his team cruised to 6-0 victory.

US Soccer confirmed the match, a result of US President Barack Obama’s effort to pursue improved Cuban-American relations after more than 50 years of hostility between both countries.

“We are happy to have the chance to bring our team to Cuba,” said US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“In addition to good competition, we are always looking for our group to have different experiences, and this is a unique opportunity.”

The US team recently finished fourth at Copa America Centenario, and will play two more qualifiers for the 2018 Russian World Cup before visiting Cuba.

Currently second in their four-team World Cup qualifying group, the US team is up against St Vincent and the Grenadines on 2 September, and take on Trinidad & Tobago four days later.

The final qualifying round of six teams, also known as the Hex, begins in November, with three teams advancing directly to the final tournament in Russia.




Portugal beats Poland by penalties to reach semi-final

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Euro 2016 quarter-finals

Portugal vs Poland 1 -1

(Portugal wins 5-3 on penalties)

Portugal defeated Poland by penalties to become the first team that reaches the semi-final stage of the 2016 European Championship.

This time around, Fernando Santos’s team made themselves out to be the better team deserving of a win.

They were not quite in the game when their opposition’s star captain Robert Lewandowski struck the first goal in normal time. The striker had his usual clinical finishing at the ready when Kamil Grosicki’s found him with a low cut back after just 100 seconds.

Portugal remained courageous amidst adversity, with Cristiano Ronaldo getting two opportunities to equalize. First he was found open by a Nani pass but shot the ball straight to Lukasz Fabianski, and then should have a penalty when Michal Pazdan charged into him.

But Portugal finally rested doubters about them being a one-man team. 18-year-old Renato Sanches equalized 12 minutes before normal time break with a thumping left-footed shot from the edge of the area, which took a deflection off Grzegorz Krychowiak.

He then followed up act by nervelessly stepping up and converting his team’s second penalty.

After Nani pulled Portugal ahead by 4-3, Rui Patricio dived far to his left to block Jakub Blaszczykowski’s effort with one hand. Ricardo Quaresma was next, and while Fabianski got his fingertips to the effort, the Polish keeper failed to keep it out, thus sealing Poland’s fate and sparking delirium amongst Portuguese supporters.

“It was enormous pressure and I had an entire country in my hands,” Quaresma said after. “But I stayed positive and I knew I was going to score. I was very confident. We’re on the right track and we’re going to continue.”

Still, many would remark on how Porgual reached the last four without winning a single game in normal time after three draws in a group in which they finished third, and triumphing over Croatia in extra time in the last 16.

No side has ever got this far without winning a match within 90 minutes, and Portugal also only led a match for 22 minutes during the whole tournament.

In comparison, Poland had not trailed behind for a single minute.

Still, there is little room for error for Portugal next as they either face Belgium or Wales next.