England and Denmark win to put one foot in Qatar next year but France and Italy both stutter
(Football news) After a scintillating matchweek 4, the World Cup qualifiers were in full flow, with victories for England and Denmark they maintained their perfect record in the qualifiers to put one step in Qatar next year. World Champions France and European Champions Italy are still yet to find their mojo in these ongoing qualifiers.
England won comfortably 4-0 against lower ranked opponents Andorra. Gareth Southgate completely changed his playing eleven as he handed out full international debuts to Patrick Bamford and Sam Johnstone. The star of the show was Jesse Lingard as he bagged two goals and an assist for Saka who scored his first goal for England on his birthday. Harry Kane put the finishing touches by scoring a penalty on a dominant performance for the Three Lions. With this result, England have 5 wins out of 5 matches and lead Group I with 15 points.
The World champions France drew 1-1 to Ukraine in what was their fifth consecutive draw. Dider Deschamps made changes to the starting line up by deploying out of favour Manchester United striker Anthony Martial who only scored his second goal for Les Bleus. Ukrainians under new management showed a good account of themselves as they put the French under the back foot in the first half which resulted in them scoring through Mykola Shaparenko. With this draw, France still lead Group D with 9 points from 5 matches.
European Champions Italy were held to a dull 0-0 against Switzerland, Robert Mancini’s side couldn’t break the resolute defence of the Swiss as they had majority of the possession and more shots on goals. The Italians won a penalty in the 53rd minute which was taken by Jorginho but it was brilliantly saved by Yan Sommer who was arguably the man of the match as he kept the Swiss in the game. With two draws the Italians now have 11 points from 5 matches in Group C but have played two more games then Switzerland.
Also read: Rampant Belgium and England win comfortably but European Champions held at home
Germany won 6-0 against Armenia in a resounding performance, this was Hansi Flick’s first home match and they were rampant in the first half as two goals from Serge Gnabry, Marco Reus and Timo Werner put the contest to an end in the first half itself. The story of the second half was of the debutants as goals from Jonas Hoffman and Karim Adeyemi helped put the Germans top of Group J as they have 12 points from 5 matches.
The Dutch won 4-0 against Montenegro as two goals from Depay helped them consolidate their 2nd position in a tough group G consisting of Turkey and Norway. Spain won 4-0 against Georgia as goals from Jose Gaya, Carlos Soler, Ferran Torres and Pablo Sarabia helped them reclaim top spot in Group B but have played two matches more than Sweden. Belgium continued their winning run as they won 3-0 against Czech Republic as goals from Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Saelemaekers helped the Red Devils to 13 points from 5 matches to lead Group E from the Czech’s.
The other notable results were:
Denmark 1 (Jonas Wind) - 0 Faroe Islands
Belarus 2 (Lisakovich, Sedko) - 3 Wales ( Gareth Bale x3)
Slovakia 0 - 1 Croatia (Brozovic)
Gibraltar 0 - 3 Turkey (Dervisoglu, Calhanoglu, Karaman)
Latvia 0 - 2 Norway ( Haaland, Elyounoussi)
Chennaiyin FC rope in Vladimir Koman to complete their foreign signings
(Football news) Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC (CFC) have signed the Hungarian midfielder Vladimir Koman,who will be their 6th and final signing of the se
Vladimir has played for Hungary 36 times since making his debut for the senior national team in 2010, he went on to score 7 goals for them as well. He was one of their main players in the country’s third-place finish in the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup as he scored 5 goals for and was the tournament's second highest scorer. He also helped the U-19 Hungarian side to the semi-finals at the 2008 UEFA European Championship.
“Vladimir is the perfect end to our foreign signings. He’s an experienced player who has represented Hungary and turned out in top leagues,” CFC co-owner Vita Dani commented on the club’s new signing.
The Ukrainian-born footballer began his career in 2006 with UC Sampdoria in the Italian league, Serie A. His career spanned over 15 years, the attacking midfielder made 300-plus club appearances, including scoring 22 goals and assisting 23 times.
“I’m happy to join Chennaiyin, because it’s a completely new atmosphere for me and a new experience. I would like to do my best to help the team to be successful and make the fans proud and happy,” Vladimir expressed his excitement on joining CFC.
Also read: Chennaiyin FC sign Polish striker Łukasz Gikiewicz
The experienced campaigner has also played in the Asian countries such as Iran and the United Arab Emirates and is now set to make his ISL debut. Vladimir’s presence will help the CFC’s squad ahead of the upcoming season as they have already signed Rafael Crivellaro, Mirlan Murzaev, Slavko Damjanovic, Ariel Borysiuk and Łukasz Gikiewicz..
“Anything to say about Vladimir is superfluous. His career says it all about him as a player and as a character,” said CFC head coach Bozidar Bandovic.
In 2010-11, Vladimir also featured in the six Europa League matches for UC Sampdoria before moving to the French club AS Monaco, followed by stints in Russia and Turkey as well.
Mary Kom slams IOC Boxing Task Force for 'poor judging', says can't believe I've lost
New Delhi, Jul 29 (Olympics news) Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom on Thursday slammed the International Olympic Committee's Boxing Task Force for "poor judging" in her flyweight (51kg) pre-quarterfinal at the Tokyo Games which she lost despite winning two of the three rounds.
The Task Force is conducting the boxing competition in Tokyo after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) was suspended by the IOC for alleged misgovernance and financial wrongdoing.
"I don't know and understand this decision, what's wrong with the Task Force? What's wrong with the IOC?" she asked in a telephonic interview to PTI after the 2-3 loss to Colombian Ingrit Valencia in the pre-quarters in Tokyo.
"I was also a member of the Task Force. I was even giving them suggestions and supporting them in ensuring a clean competition. But what have they done with me?" she said.
The 38-year-old, multiple-time Asian champions who was eyeing her second Olympic medal after the bronze at the 2012 London Games, said this evening's loss did not sink in even after she had gone for her dope test.
"I was happy inside the ring, when I came out, I was happy because in my mind I knew I had won. When they took me for doping, I was still happy. Only when I saw the social media and my coach (Chhote Lal Yadav repeated it to me), it sunk in that I have lost," she said.
"I had beaten this girl twice in the past. I couldn't believe that her hand was raised by the referee. I swear, it hadn't struck me that I lost, I was so sure," she added.
The Indian trailed 4-1 in the opening round with four of the five judges scoring it 10-9 in favour of Valencia. In the next two rounds, Mary Kom got three of the five judges to rule in her favour but the overall score-line was still in favour of Valencia.
The Manipuri needed a 4-1 verdict in the final round to swing the bout for her.
"The worst part is that there is no review or protest. Honestly I am sure the world must have seen, this is too much what they have done," she said.
"I should have got the second round unanimously, how was it 3-2? What happened was totally unpredictable," she reasoned.
The IOC's Boxing Task Force had promised a more transparent judging system after amateur boxing's credibility took a hit during the 2016 Rio Olympics judging fiasco which led to suspension of 36 officials.
Mary Kom is part of the BTF's 10-member athletes ambassadors group.
She represents the Asian bloc in the panel, which also comprises the likes of Ukrainian legend Vasyl Lamachenko (Europe), a two-time Olympic and world gold-medallist who now plies his trade in the professional circuit, and five-time world champion and 2016 Olympic gold-winner Julio Cesar La Cruz (Americas) among others.
"...in a minute or in a second everything gone for an athlete. This is unfortunate what has happened. I am disappointed by the judging," she said.
But the veteran is in no mood to quit despite her Olympic journey coming to an end with the Tokyo edition. At present, boxers above 40 are not eligible to compete at the Games.
Also read : Indian boxer Simranjit Kaur loses to Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand in the Round of 16 clash
"I will take a break after coming back, spend time with family. But I am not quitting. If there is any competition, I will continue and try my luck," she said.
The AIBA is trying to regain IOC recognition by ringing in several changes in the administrative set-up under new President Umar Kremlev, which includes the introduction of the bout review system to ensure that boxers' grievances are addressed.
"You can't do that here. I would have definitely protested otherwise," Mary Kom said.
News source: PTI
Indian tennis players need miracle to go deep in draws
Tokyo, Jul 23 (Tennis news) Indian tennis players need no less than a miraculous performance to get close to the medal rounds as an under-prepared team of Sania Mirza and debutant Ankita Raina faces a tough Ukrainian challenge in the opener while Sumit Nagal has got a tough draw in the singles competition starting Saturday. Mirza, who is making a record fourth Olympic appearance, and debutant Raina are going into the Olympics without playing a single competitive match together this year, which is far from ideal preparation for the biggest sporting event on earth.
The last time Mirza and Raina shared the court was in March 2020 during the Billie Jean King Cup.
They will open their campaign against Ukraine's twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok.
"Every match is going to be a challenge and we will take one match at a time. Because Of pandemic and quarantine rules we were playing different tournaments. So after Fed Cup we didn’t get a chance to play together," Raina told PTI.
However, Mirza has tons of experience and she is playing with a player who is known to punch above her weight while representing the nation.
Raina has a big heart for fight but it will all depend on the performance of Mirza, who has not been in the best of form with her serve being an issue.
During the recent Wimbledon championships, Mirza gradually upped her game from the baseline but her feeble serve was easily tackled by the rivals.
Interestingly, when Mirza returned to competitive tennis after the COVID-19 induced break in March this year, she and her Sloveinan partner Andreja Klepac had faced the same Ukrainian sister pair and had prevailed. Ranked as low as 137 post maternity break, 34-year-old Mirza has played only eight matches this season with a 4-4 win-loss record.
Also read: Deemed 'extreme risk' nation, India denied entry into ITF World Junior Finals
The 28-year-old Raina, ranked 100, has just one singles main draw victory to show since the beginning of the 2021 season.
In the doubles, she grabbed her first ever WTA title with partner Kamila Rakhimova at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne in February and broke into doubles top-100 but suffered five straight first round defeats after that.
Had it not been for Mirza's Protected Ranking of nine, India would not have a women's doubles team at the Games.
In complete contrast, Nadiia, ranked 44, had played eight WTA Tour events with her sister Lyudmyla Kichenok, ranked 48, in 2020 and one this year.
Together they did not enjoy much success but Nadiia otherwise had decent results with Romania's Raluca Olaru in 2021.
They won the won St Petersburg (WTA 500) in March and reached the semifinals in Stuttgart (WTA 500) in April and ended runners-up in Bad Homburg last month.
If Mirza and Raina win their opener, they could face American eighth seeds Nicole Melichar (doubles world number 9) and Alison Riske (singles world number 36) in the next round.
In the men's singles, Nagal is extremely lucky to get an entry into the Olympics as with a rank of 144 on the cut-off date of June 14, he was far away from making the cut.
However, a spate of withdrawals pushed him inside.
Nagal's recent performances do not inspire confidence though at the start of the season he had pulled off the biggest victory of his career when he beat then world number 22 Cristian Garin.
However, after that he has managed only two quarterfinal appearances at the Challenger level, struggling badly on the Tour.
Nagal had hinted that he was struggling with some health issues and that was the reason for him not getting the desired results.
He faces Asian Games champion Denis Istomin in his first round. The Uzbekistan veteran had won the quota from the 2018 Jakarta Games by taking the men's singles title.
The grinder that Nagal is, there is a possibility of him getting past the 34-year-old Uzbek but the Indian may next face world number two and Australian Open runner-up Danill Medvedev from Russia and that could be end of the road for him.
News source: PTI
Indian GM Nihal Sarin wins Serbia Open chess
Belgrade, Jul 8 (Sports news) Young Indian Grandmaster Nihal Sarin on Thursday emerged champion in the Masters' section of the Serbia Open Chess Championship here.
This is the second consecutive tournament victory for sixteen-year old Sarin after he claimed the title in Silver Lake Open.
The GM from Thrissur, Kerala, on Thursday, played out a draw with GM Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia to finish with 7.5 points out of a possible nine to finish clear first in the 289-player field in the nine-round tourney.
Sarin, who became a Grandmaster in 2018 at the age of 14, won six games and drew three, to remain unbeaten. Sarin, who started the Serbia Open with wins in the first two rounds, ended the tournament with three successive wins and a draw in the final round, finishing a clear half point ahead of the field.
The Silver Lake Open was his first over-the-board event after the COVID-19 pandemic break.
Sarin's compatriot Arjun Erigaisi finished seventh with seven points.
The 14-year-old Indian IM Aditya Mittal also ended up with 7 points and took the 10th spot. He also earned his maiden Grandmaster norm in the process.
Chennai was V Pranav, 15, earned his first GM norm and became an International Master. He lost the ninth and final round game to Ukrainian Kiril Shevchenko and ended with 6 points.
Also read: Croatia Grand Chess Tour event: Anand held to a draw in sixth round
News source: PTI