Connect with us

Sports

Relieved Messi grateful at surviving Nigeria ordeal

Published

on

IST


St Petersburg:A relieved Lionel Messi said he had not expected to suffer so much against Nigeria, but that he and his Argentina team mates were always confident about winning the crucial FIFA World Cup clash that secured them a place in the last 16.
The Barcelona forward opened the scoring with a fine goal in the dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria that sent the South Americans through to the knockout stages behind Croatia in Group D.
“We already knew we were going to win, we were confident that God would help us, that all would turn out well. But we did not expect the complication of the draw, of suffering so much,” Messi told Argentine media.
After the Africans equalised through a Victor Moses penalty in the 51st minute, captain Messi said his side got “nervous.”
“We had the impression that time was going by faster. That’s the reason we started attacking and pressing more and that’s how we managed to score to go through,” he said in a news conference later .
Deliverance came at the 86th minute thanks to a strike from defender Marcos Rojo that secured the win.
“We made many changes, trying to create opportunities but the important thing today was the players were really brave. That courage made this result possible,” said Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli.
Argentina will need to be more consistent when facing France in the last 16, he added.
“The match against France is going to be tough as well and we need to be very coherent to win,” Sampaoli said.
Messi echoed his coach’s comments, saying that the squad had watched all of France’s games and that they had to brace themselves for the skilled Europeans.
“I also have team mates who I know very well both in the front and the back lines. I know who they are and I know what we will have to do,” said Messi.
Asked by Argentine media how he felt personally, Messi, who turned 31 this week, replied: “I’m good. I’m very happy. It would have been very painful to have been eliminated in the first round.”
Sampaoli defended his talisman from perennial criticism that he plays with more effort for his club Barcelona than for his home country.
“Messi every time he plays he shows that he is a fantastic player, that he is above any body else. But he needs the support from his team mates. Only then will he play at his best,” said Sampaoli.


Comments

Sports

Most football associations support 48-team WC in Qatar:FIFA

Agencies

Published

on

London: FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said, “Most soccer associations in the world back increasing the size of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams from 32, with some matches to be played in neighbouring countries.”

Infantino told in a news conference that the Qataris were open to the larger format.

“FIFA would make a decision no later than June, once a feasibility study is over,” he added.

 

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017 that has complicated the prospect of sharing the tournament.

The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

Speaking on it, Infantino said, “We are doing football not politics.”

FIFA voted in 2017 to increase the size of the tournament to 48 teams starting from 2026 but, since then, Infantino has been considering the possibility of bringing the change forward to 2022.

“Most football associations across the globe hope for opening up the World Cup to more teams,” he said, lamenting that continental champions such as Cameroon, Chile and the United States were absent from last year’s World Cup after failing to qualify.

“If it is possible to organise a 48-team World Cup in Qatar with some games in neighbouring countries, that will be great,” he further said.

Infantino also quoted that it was “premature” to speak of a planned joint bid from Spain, Portugal and Morocco for the 2030 World Cup, which would be the first time countries from different continents had applied to stage the tournament.

“I welcome all bids. The more the better,” he said.

Infantino was speaking following a FIFA executive summit in Marrakech which brought together some 60 football associations.

Continue Reading

Sports

Ready to bat anywhere:Dhoni

Agencies

Published

on

Mumbai: Wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni, expressed his willingness to bat at any position in the Indian batting order, following a match-winning knock in the series-decider against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The veteran, who was named as the man of the series following consistent performances in the ODI clashes, stepped up with a quality knock yet again following an early dismissal for the openers and skipper Virat Kohli.

The 37-year-old cricketer scored 87 runs in 114 deliveries, stitching an unbeaten 121 run stand off 115 balls with Kedar Jadhav, as India chased down a target of 231 with four balls to spare.

 

“I am happy to bat at any number. The important thing is where the team needs me,” said Dhoni.

“Whether I play at 4 or 6, we need to see if the team balance can be retained. I’m happy to bat lower down at 6. I can’t say I can’t bat at No. 6 after playing 14 years,” he added.

The cricketer was full of praise for Kedar Jadhav, who he credited for providing valuable support at the other end, on a slow wicket.

“It was a slow wicket, so it was difficult to hit whenever you wanted to. No point going after the bowlers who were bowling well, so we wanted to take it deep and that was the plan,” said Dhoni.

“Of course supported brilliantly by Kedar, who plays unorthodox shots. He did a great job in executing,” concluded the cricketer.

Continue Reading

Sports

Pakistan seek first win on SA tour as ODI battle begins

Agencies

Published

on

PORT ELIZABETH: Pakistan will be looking to chalk up the first win of their South African tour when they face the Proteas in the first of five One-day Internationals in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s team, swept 3-0 in the preceding Test series, enjoy playing at St George’s Park, winning two of their three ODIs at the venue, with the other washed out.

Pakistan beat South Africa by 182 runs in 2002 when Abdul Razzaq and Saleem Elahi hit hundreds, and then by one run in 2013 in a game reduced to 45-overs-a-side due to rain.

 

South Africa hold an edge over Pakistan in ODIs as far as their head-to-head record is concerned.

So far, the Proteas have faced Pakistan in 73 ODIs, winning 47, losing 25 while one match ended in no result. Pakistan do not hold an impressive record (matches 29, wins 10, losses 18, one no result) in their matches staged against South Africa at the latter’s home venues).

Interestingly however, Pakistan on their last tour to the African country in 2013 when Misbah-ul-Haq the led tourists, clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1, the country’s maiden ODI series triumph on South African soil.

The tourists currently playing in South Africa have been dealt a boost with the news that Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock have been rested for the first two ODIs in the series — Saturday’s fixture and Tuesday’s match in Durban.

However, they will have to contend with fast bowler Duanne Olivier, who bagged 24 wickets at 14.70 during South Africa’s win in the Test series and now looks nailed to make his ODI debut.

Rassie van der Dussen should also make his ODI bow having finished as top-run scorer in the recently-concluded Mzansi Super League, South Africa’s new T20 competition.

The 28-year-old hit 469 runs in 11 innings, including four fifties, for champions Jozi Stars and should join Heinrich Klaasen — De Kock’s deputy as wicketkeeper-batsman — in South Africa’s middle order.

Left-handed Shan Masood could open the batting for Pakistan having impressed in the Tests while pacer Mohammad Amir is back in the visitors’ ODI squad for the first time since the Asia Cup staged in the UAE last September.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor and receive notifications of new stories by email.

Join 980,149 other subscribers

Archives

January 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Advertisement