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Croatia keeper ties WC record with 3 penalty shootout saves

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Nizhny Novgorod (Russia): Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic entered the World Cup record book in Nizhny Novgorod, becoming only the second man in the history of the tournament to save three penalties in a shootout.
Subasic stopped Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone, and Nicolai Jorgensen in the round of penalty kicks after the teams ended 120 minutes deadlocked at 1-1.
Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel was likewise impressive, but stopped just two of the five Croatia shooters, allowing the Balkan side to win the match and advance to the quarterfinals.
With his performance, Subasic equaled the feat of Portugal keeper Ricardo Pereira, who thwarted England’s Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher in a shootout to decide a quarterfinal clash in the 2006 World Cup.
Croatia’s Luka Modric must have felt joy tinged with relief here Sunday when his side bested Denmark on penalties after he failed to convert from the spot in extra time in the battle for the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals.
Stymied by Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the dying minutes of the second extra period, the Real Madrid midfielder made no mistake on his second effort.
While Schmeichel continued to impress in the shootout, Croatian counterpart Danijel Subasic went him one better, saving three shots to the Dane’s two. History weighed on both teams ahead of Sunday’s round of 16 contest in Nizhny Novgorod.
The Croatians hoped to at least equal the achievement of the country’s 1998 squad, which finished third at the 1998 World Cup in France. For Denmark, the bar was also set by their 1998 side, who reached the quarterfinals in France.
But the Croatians, especially the 33-year-old Modric, seemed to feel the pressure more and they conceded just two minutes into the match. Jonas Knudsen’s throw-in reached Mathias Jorgensen in the box and his shot found the back of Subasic’s net after careening off a pair of Croatian players.
Two minutes later, however, the sides were level at 1-1 thanks to a Mario Mandzukic strike from inside the box. Then began the real match, as the promise of the exciting start gave way to a grinding duel that saw the Danes largely neutralize Croatia’s skill players.
Yet the Danish approach also left their own best player, Christian Eriksen, marginalized for long stretches. The torpor continued into the second half and both squads seemed more interested in conserving energy than attacking as they contemplated extra time.
But with the clocking ticking down on the second extra period, Modric threaded a great ball to Ante Rabic bearing down on Schmeichel and Jorgensen resorted to a foul to stop the attacker. The referee awarded the penalty and Modric stepped to the spot. The Danish keeper – with proud dad and predecessor Peter Schmeichel watching from the stands – denied Modric and the match went to a shootout.
In the end, three Danish players failed to convert, including Eriksen, to deliver the victory to Croatia, who will face host nation Russia in the quarterfinals.


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Focus on short formats alone will lead to problems: Virat

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Adelaide: Virat Kohli is peerless in ODI cricket but he has a priceless message for youngsters — focus on limited-overs formats shouldn’t be an “excuse” for not being able to cope with the challenges of Test cricket. The world’s No. 1 batsman with 25 Test hundreds warned that youngsters will have mental problems if they don’t embrace the pristine form of five-day cricket. “If we focus too much on shorter formats — yes, they’re important — but if we solely focus and look at them as an escape or an excuse to not be in the kind of situations that Test cricket presents, then I think there will a mental problem with upcoming cricketers,” said Kohli.

The Indian skipper, who has played defining knocks against world class bowlers like Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mitchell Starc and Kagiso Rabada during the past year, spoke about the hard work that goes into the making of a quality Test player.

“As long as you’re willing to wake up every morning for five days and do the hard yards and go do the dirty work — if you’re willing to bat for two hours and not score a run for the team — I think that is what people should prepare (youngsters for),” he said.

 

Kohli said the current batch of Indian Test cricketers was trying to set an example for the younger generation. “That (vision) will require the team to lay out certain things that needs to be done and for the next lot to keep following. So (when) the next lot comes in, they have to maintain that vision and then the people coming in will follow.”

Kohli has reaffirmed his commitment towards Test cricket, saying he wants India to become a superpower in the game’s longest format. “I wouldn’t say a goal but I would rather speak of a vision, which is for India to be a superpower in Test cricket or a very, very strong side in Test cricket in the years to come,” he said.

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Ganguly backs Pandya and Rahul, says ‘humans make mistakes’

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Mumbai:Former Indian cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly has defended cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, following a controversy over their appearance on a television chat show. The former skipper and legendary cricketer defended the players, saying, “people make mistakes but everyone should move on and ensure it doesn`t happen again”.

Asked if modern day cricketers should be responsible while giving statements on a public platform as a whole lot of youngsters look up to them, Ganguly said “I haven’t watched that episode. I feel that you can’t generalise that only modern day cricketers should behave responsibly. People make mistakes. Let’s not get too far into that. I am sure whoever has done it will realise that and come out as a better person. We are all human beings. We are not machines that everything you put in comes out perfect. You have just got to live life and let others live. They are responsible people. They may be role models but they are under pressure all the time to perform. Certain things happen in life and as everyone, we should move on and make sure that it doesn`t happen again.”

When asked if he feels modern day cricketers of India aren’t responsible in their behaviour as compared to the past generation of cricketers, Ganguly said “I feel modern day cricketers are also responsible, disciplined and obedient. In life, certain things happen and you make some mistakes so, let`s not get too far into that.

 

Look at Virat Kohli, he is such a fantastic role model. India is a fortunate country. Every generation produces players who all of us cherish.”

He said India has produced great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli over the years.

“There was Sunil Gavaskar and when he retired, people thought who is next, then Sachin Tendulkar came and when Tendulkar retired, people again asked who is next then people saw Virat Kohli. So, we are a very fortunate country in terms of sports and a lot of these cricketers are fantastic human beings because they come from very middle class backgrounds and fight their way up.”

Ganguly made the remark while speaking at the trailer launch of the Hindi film “22 Yards”, with the cast members Barun Sobti, Geetika Tyagi, Chaiti Ghoshal and director Mitali Ghoshal on Wednesday.

On questioned, about who he would like to see playing his role, if a biopic is made on his life, Ganguly replied “It is difficult for me to answer that question because I haven`t thought about a biopic on my life. People should first make a biopic of other sports personalities and if people have an interest in my biopic, then we will see.”

He added, “I really liked the biopic of Milkha Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The film on Sachin Tendulkar was a bit different. Now, I have heard that the film on India`s 1983 World Cup win is being made. I feel that was a great time for Indian cricket, so I am looking forward to see that film. As far as my biopic is concerned, we will wait and see as at the moment I haven`t thought about it.”

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Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to retire at end of season

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London: Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old, who won four Premier League titles with Chelsea, revealed his decision on Twitter.

He wrote: “This is my 20th season as a professional player and it is 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, so it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire at the end of this season.”

 

The Czech, who arrived in the Premier League with Chelsea in 2004 and moved to Arsenal in 2015, added: “Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve.

“I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season, then I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”

Cech joined Arsenal in 2015 and has made 129 appearances for the Gunners after winning multiple trophies at rivals Chelsea.

Signed from Rennes by Claudio Ranieri in 2004, Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and three League Cups with the Blues.

Cech suffered a serious head injury in 2006 following a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt.

Hunt’s knee crashed into Cech’s head, leaving him with a fractured skull, but he returned to action four months later wearing what became his trademark protective headgear.

Cech became the first goalkeeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Watford last season, during which he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney.

He is also the Czech Republic’s most capped player, making 124 appearances.

Cech is no longer first choice at Arsenal, with Bernd Leno preferred for most of this season so far, but the club were quick to pay their own tribute.

Arsenal tweeted: “For your consummate professionalism, for being the perfect role model, for the 50 clean sheets, for your honesty, your integrity and for your inspiring work with @AFC_Foundation, we want to say … Thank you, @PetrCech!”

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