Daily Archives: September 5, 2016

Germany breezes past Norway with Muller brace

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Thomas Muller was on point for Germany as the World Champions commenced their World Cup qualifying campaign with an easy 3-0 victory over Norway.

The Bayern Munich star scored a brace and supplied an assist to round-off an impressive performance by Die Mannschaft, after a slightly disappointing show in France during Euro 2016.

Led by newly appointed captain Manuel Neuer in a visit to Oslo, the Germans led just after 15 minutes.

But it was the hosts who threatened to begin the scoring. Josh King, catching Mats Hummels off guard, stole the ball from the defender on the touchline but failed to convert his chance.

Mesut Ozil then finds Muller in their opponent’s penalty box. Despite taking a tumble and having defenders quickly closing in on him, he still managed a prod that slips past Norway goalkeeper Rune Jarstein into the back of the net.

With the goal advantage, Germany gradually presses Norway back into their own half. The hosts register little offensive efforts from that point forward, and were limited to wayward attempts from King and his striker partner Alex Tettey.

As half-time approaches, Muller finds Bayern teammate Joshua Kimmich on the right, who hammers it in emphatically for Germany’s second.

Muller then met Sami Kedira’s cross with a placed header to top off an almost routine three points for the team.

Lallana goal spares England blushes against 10-men Slovakia

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Adam Lallana left it late to score a winner for England to defeat Slovakia by 1-0, saving England from more embarrassment since their inglorious European exit against Iceland.

Martin Skrtel, Lallana’s former Liverpool teammate and captain for Slovakia, was sent off in the 57th minute for picking up a second yellow card after he fouled Harry Kane in the World Cup qualifying game.

However, just as it was in the European Championship, Sam Allardyce’s men still struggled to break down the Slovakian defense despite having strength in numbers this time around.

It was obvious that the team still had problems up front as Wayne Rooney finally registers England’s first shot on goal at the 65th minute. But even with that contribution, he lacks impact in his midfield role, often dropping far too deep.

Harry Kane, too, looks short of confidence the entire time before he was taken off and replaced by his Tottenham teammate Dele Alli. Kane himself had been shoved around much by Skrtel and had often looked cut off, isolated by the host nation’s defensive line.

The Euro 2016 match back in June between the two teams had ended in a goalless draw; this match looked destined for the same fate before Lallana finally scores his first goal for his country after 26 appearances.

The midfielder managed to snatch the winning goal as the ball dropped to him, eight yards from goal, and he pulled back his left foot in a congested penalty area to squeeze a low shot underneath past Slovakia keeper Matus Kozacik.

There was only time for Slovakia to take the kick-off before the referee blew for the end of the game, sparking scenes of wild celebrations on England’s bench as their World Cup qualifying campaign went off to a winning start.

France’s Lucas Pouille upsets Rafael Nadal in US Open

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France’s Lucas Pouille claimed the biggest win of his career yet as he defeated two-time US Open champion Rafael Nadal in an intense five-set fourth round match.

The 22-year-old outfought Nadal in a match lasting four hours and seven minutes to end the game by 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6.

Nadal had several perfect opportunities to get match point in the fifth set, including one he squandered by playing his forehand into the net with the court wide open.

Tournament 24-seed Pouille pulled off a winner down the line the next point to seal victory.

“I was very aggressive all the match and at 6-6 I didn’t want to miss,” he said after the match. He will face compatriot Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals.

For Nadal, it was the first year since 2004 that the 30-year old failed to reach a Grand Slam quarter final. His best achievements since his 2014 French Open Grand Slam victory had been two quarter-final spots at the 2015 Australian and French Opens.

However, it was clear that this was not the end for the Spaniard.

“There were things I could do better. Had the right attitude. I fought right up to the last ball,” he explained after the match “But I need something else. I need something more that was not there today.”

Nadal also played down fears for his fitness. “My wrist is improving a lot. The injury is at the end of the process. I am ready to keep playing. That’s what my body is asking me now.”

Meanwhile, tournament ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also reached the quarter-finals, beating Jack Sock in four sets to make it three Frenchmen in the quarter-final of a grand slam for the first time in the Open era.