Monday, 30 June 2014

Pogba inspires France to 2-0 win over stubborn Nigeria!


  Paul Pogba scored with a late header to finally break Nigeria's stubborn resistance and Joseph Yobo scored an own-goal as France won 2-0 to reach the World Cup quarterfinals on Monday.  Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama had just made a superb save to tip over Karim Benzema's header, but he flapped at the ball from the ensuing corner and Pogba pounced in the 79th minute to nod in his first goal of the tournament.   Yobo turned the ball into his own net in stoppage time under pressure from France substitute Antoine Griezmann. France started slowly and finished strongly in the second round match. African champion Nigeria had a goal ruled out for offside in the 19th minute after Emmanuel Emenike poked home Ahmed Musa's cross. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Costa Rica prevail in penalty shootouts to reach quarters!


 Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was Costa Rica's hero as his penalty shoot-out save put ten-man Costa Rica into the World Cup quarter-finals after a 1-1 draw in extra time against Greece in Recife. Los Ticos will face Netherlands in the last eight following a hard-earned shoot-out win in a tense, cagey match between two of the surprise qualifiers for the knockout phase.

Bryan Ruiz scored seven minutes into the second half, when he spotted Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis out of position and simply side-footed the ball into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box.   Oscar Duarte was then sent off 14 minutes later for a second yellow card - a decision he accepted without a murmur - but the Central American side appeared to have held on until Greek defender Sokratis chose the perfect moment to score his maiden international goal, an equaliser in injury time.  Only a fine save from Navas prevented Greece from pinching it at the death - and Navas was again the hero with a brilliant save from Theofanis Gekas.  Only a fine save from Navas prevented Greece from pinching it at the death - and Navas was again the hero with a brilliant save from Theofanis Gekas.    

Saina Nehwal wins Australian Super Series!

 
 
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal produced a dominating performance to lift her second title of the season, winning the $750,000 Star Australian Super Series after beating Spain's Carolina Marin in the summit clash here on Sunday.

The sixth seeded Indian, who had won the India Open Grand Prix Gold earlier this year, prevailed 21-18 21-11 in a 43-minute contest which left her richer by $56,000.


The 24-year-old Saina, who enjoyed a 1-0 head-to-head record against Marin going into this match, logged the first point and displayed some deft net play against her rival, stroking in some delectably timed volleys to take a 5-2 lead in the opening game.

But the 21-year-old Marin was not the one to give up easily and showed just why she is considered one of the most feisty players on the circuit. She narrowed the gap to 6-8 but seemed distinctly out of her comfort zone every time Saina dragged her towards the net.

Also, Marin didn't help her cause by committing a service error to gift an easy point to Saina, who went into the interval leading 11-7 after an intriguing rally which ended with the Spaniard smashing the shuttle wide.

Marin raised her game and the decibel levels after the break but Saina was quick to counter-attack and returned her rival's attempted smashes with quiet intensity.

In between, Marin played some fine strokes but they never came consistently enough as Saina made it 17-12. Marin's dogged determination was there to be seen in every point she played for but that alone was never going to be enough to upstage a composed Saina.

The Indian, who didn't seem affected at all by Marin's aggressive outpouring of emotions after every claimed point, sealed the opening game 21-18 after her world number 11 rival smashed one into the net 23 minutes into the match.

Dutch survive Mexico scare, in quarters!


  A stoppage-time penatly from Klaas Jan Huntelaar earned the Netherlands a dramatic 2-1 round of 16 win over Mexico in Fortaleza on Monday morning.  After a scoreless first half in sweltering heat, the breakthrough came in the 48th minute when Giovani Dos Santos unleashed a devastating long-range strike that dipped into the bottom corner.   The Dutch pressed for an equaliser, coming closest when Stefan de Vrij's header was incredibly kept out by Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa, but seemed unable to break a stubborn defence.  ​That was until the 88th minute, when Wesley Sneijder pounced on Klaas Jan Huntelaar's header and belted home from the edge of the area to equalise.  With extra-time looming, disaster struck for Mexico when Arjen Robben was clipped in the area, allowing Huntelaar the chance to win it from the spot - a chance he duly took.  The Netherlands, fortunate to scrape through, will now play either Costa Rica or Greece in the quarter-finals.   

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Rodriguez powers Colombia to quarters, face Brazil!


  James Rodriguez scored twice to put Colombia into the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in a 2-0 victory over Uruguay on Saturday. Colombia will play host Brazil in the last eight. Rodriguez gave his team the lead with a stunning long-range volley on the turn in the 28th minute and added the second from close range shortly after the break as Colombia dominated a Uruguay side that sorely missed banned striker Luis Suarez.   Rodriguez now has a tournament-leading five goals in Brazil and further enhanced his status as perhaps the tournament's biggest revelation.  Uruguay, meanwhile, struggled badly in attack without Suarez and his replacement Diego Forlan was substituted in the 53rd after a disappointing performance in what was probably his final World Cup appearance.

Brazil beat Chile in dramatic penalty shootout!


  Brazil beat Chile 3-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup quarter-finals after their dramatic last-16 match in Belo Horizonte ended 1-1 after extra time.  Chile's Gonzalo Jara missed the vital spot-kick after Neymar had converted for Brazil.  Brazil went ahead after 18 minutes when Thiago Silva nodded on Neymar's corner and David Luiz was on hand at the back post to bundle the ball over the line, though replays suggested Chile defender Gonzalo Jara got the last touch.  Chile got back on level terms in the 32nd minute when sloppy defending let in Alexis Sanchez, who fired past Julio Cesar from close range.  Hulk had a goal disallowed for using an arm to control the ball and although Brazil dominated the second half and extra time, Chile almost stole it in the final moments when Mauricio Pinilla hit the bar.  Brazil, who beat Chile 3-0 at the same stage four years ago in South Africa, will face Colombia or Uruguay in the quarter-finals. 

Lionel Messi: 10 reasons why he's the world's greatest player



1. Balance: At 5ft 7in, Lionel Messi is just two inches taller than his idol Diego Maradona, and shares the same astonishing balance and lower body strength. This allows Messi to move laterally at incredible speed, which is why he darts inside flat-footed left-backs with such ease. 

2. Composure: Messi wastes few chances once through on goal, and rarely snatches at a shot. Once into the penalty area, he will often wait for a goalkeeper to commit himself before drinking the ball over him and into the net. 

3. Control: Like all true greats, Messi doesn't need one touch just to control the ball. Instead, his first touch often doubles as the opening stage of a goal-bound surge. 

4. Dribbling: If there's one strength which elevates Messi above the rest of the world's great players, it is dribbling. The ability to beat a number of defenders in succession makes him a truly unique talent, and, at times, almost unstoppable. Although spectacular, there is nothing ostentatious in Messi's dribbing, he's runs are often lethally direct. Just like Maradona, Messi is a largely one-sided player, rarely using his right foot once he reaches full speed. But his magnetic control of the ball with his left is so extraordinary that he can go inside, outside, or through the legs of a defender. 

5. Generosity: Messi puts a dent in the idea that forwards must be selfish to score goals. Although, on occasion, he can be guilty of ignoring better placed team-mates, Messi isn't motivated by personal glory. That's the reason why he's got more assists to goal as compared to his rivals.

6. Passing: Messi has the vision and deftness to pick out his team-mates & we've seen numerous example's of his passing ability.  

7. Power: Messi is an artist & does not rely on power. He prefers the scalpel to the shotgun, but  he is able to generate great shooting power from outside the penalty area, and do so with a barely perceptible backlift.  

8. Speed: With the small, squat build of a sprinter, Messi has incredible acceleration from a standing start. He bursts out of the blocks and reaches full speed within five yards, the kind of pace which defenders find so difficult to deal with. His short stride means he is also able to change direction at nauseating speed while keeping control of the ball. 

9. Awareness: Unlike other natural dribblers, Messi keeps his head up while on the move. This gives him options, so if a team-mate has found a pocket of space, Messi will release the ball with a deft flick, then look to receive it again, just like a great fly-half in rugby. That he is surrounded by such intelligent players, who use the ball with such alacrity, means his runs are picked out more often than not. 


10. Strength: Kicking Messi doesn't work, as lots of tough defenders across the world have understood it very well. Again, the Maradona comparison is impossible to avoid when discussing Messi's strength, as the bravery and tenacity he shows in possession is equal to that which was the hallmark of the legendary player. Messi was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency as a child, which meant he learnt his trade against bigger and stronger opponents, lessons that have remained with him.

Friday, 27 June 2014

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Friday, 6 June 2014

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