Hot Chile up next for Spain
Third time lucky for Dempsey and US vs Ghana
Iran, Nigeria booed after a tame draw
Opener: Gen next did not live up to their nicknames
Casillas gets support from Mourinho
Binny breaks Kumble’s record, Bangladesh’s back
West Indies take first-day honours
Salvador, June 17 The best player in the world has, in the last 12 months, hauled himself back beyond old rival Lionel Messi. He won back the Ballon d’Or, five years after he last held it. He won back the European Cup, after a six-year wait. But the one remaining gap in Ronaldo’s glorious haul is with Portugal and on the basis of this evidence they are not close to doing anything about it.
Salvador, June 17
The best player in the world has, in the last 12 months, hauled himself back beyond old rival Lionel Messi. He won back the Ballon d’Or, five years after he last held it. He won back the European Cup, after a six-year wait. But the one remaining gap in Ronaldo’s glorious haul is with Portugal and on the basis of this evidence they are not close to doing anything about it.
Portugal wilted in the heat of Salvador, putting in one of the worst performances of the World Cup so far. For all the hopes that they might undermine Germany’s challenge at first hurdle, showing up a missed fragility at the heart of Joachim Löw’s side, they were never able to do anything of the sort.
There were two brief moments, in the first 10 minutes, when it could have been Ronaldo’s day. He played one sharp pass to Hugo Almeida, whose shot was saved by Manuel Neuer, before hitting his own shot from a tight angle at Neuer after Veloso’s pass. It was an even start, a show of intent, which might have unsettled Germany had it lasted slightly longer.
The problem is that football is a team-game and even Cristiano Ronaldo is at the mercy of the quality and application of the other 10 players. He does not need them to be as good as him, he just needs a platform. Unfortunately, the rest of the Paulo Bento’s side could not even give him that.
When Almeida waited too long to play a pass through to Ronaldo – eventually inviting a tackle which forced him off with an injury – Ronaldo made abundantly clear how unimpressed he was, with the helicopter arm-waving he always shows when upset.
Teams can recover from imprecision up front, though. The game was lost at the back, where Portugal were dismal and Ronaldo was too far away to do anything about it. Joao Pereira allowed Mario Göetze to wriggle goal-side of him, brought him down and was lucky to stay on the field while Thomas Müeller scored the penalty.
The second goal was bad marking from a corner, the third was Bruno Alves being pushed off the ball by Müeller and the fourth was Rui Patricio spilling the ball to Müller in the box. It was amateur stuff but Pepe, whose red card made everything so much harder, was inexcusable. Upset by Müeller’s reaction to a flailing arm, Pepe thrust his head into Müeller’s. It was less malicious than much of what the Honduran players did on Sunday but it was unforgivably stupid from a player who has so much experience at the top end of the game.
As the match went on, Ronaldo was left charging around trying desperately to make any impact he could, hoping that even if he could not rescue the situation, he could remind people he was there. He won the ball and won a free-kick, but hit it into the wall. He robbed Götze, darted forward, but hit his shot at Mats Hummels. When referee Milorad Mazic turned down a penalty appeal after Benedikt Howedes tripped Eder, Ronaldo reacted as if he had just been cost the final.
It was a sad sight, Ronaldo increasingly irrelevant and increasingly desperate when he did get the ball. Deep in added time, a brilliant dipping free-kick was well kept out by Neuer’s dive. There was nothing Ronaldo could do to save his team-mates, and nothing that his team-mates could do for him. When the game was over the captain stormed down the tunnel, while the other players in red huddled in the middle, all of them knowing the gap between him and them is too big. — The Independent
I have no words for that question (match outcome), I just have to continue my career, which has been great so
far. Cristiano Ronaldo, sums up the mood after making his 112 th international appearance
I have no words for that question (match outcome), I just have to continue my career, which has been great so far.
Cristiano Ronaldo, sums up the mood after making his 112 th international appearance
Hot Chile up next for Spain
Salvador, June 17
Their title defense got off to the worst possible start on Friday when they surrendered an early lead and were thrashed by the rampant Dutch in what was Spain's worst World Cup loss in more than 60 years.
Casillas was one of several players who endured a nightmare game in Salvador and the goalkeeper conceded that he and his team mates were simply “not up to the job” against the nation they beat 1-0 in the final in South Africa four years ago.
“Now this (Friday's) match is in the past and we shouldn't dwell on it but move on to the next one,” Casillas told reporters. “This team have always been characterized by the way the players help each other.”
“We have to face up to the consequences, train hard and win the next game. Chile will be a tough opponent and for us it will be like a final,” added the Real Madrid stopper. Spain's mauling brought back memories of their surprise 1-0 opening game defeat by Switzerland in South Africa four years ago, although the scale of Friday's reverse was stunning.
On their way to winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, Spain conceded a mere six goals in 19 matches.
Friday's result against the Dutch was a wake-up call to a side used to controlling opponents with their slick passing game, and coach Vicente del Bosque may consider reshuffling his team and tweaking his tactics against the Chileans. The Spanish defense, normally so difficult to penetrate, appeared helpless against waves of attacks in the second half and centre back Sergio Ramos said urgent improvement was needed. “For better or worse you cannot stand still in football, you have to look forward,” he told reporters. “It's not normal that we concede so many goals,” he added. “We have to improve in the next few days and only a win against Chile will be enough for us.” Chile began their World Cup on Friday with a 3-1 win over Australia, who Spain play in their final group game on June 23. If Del Bosque's side manage to progress to the last 16 as group runners-up, they are likely to face hosts Brazil. — Reuters
Friday's result against the Dutch was a wake-up call to a side used to controlling opponents with their slick passing game, and coach Vicente del Bosque may consider reshuffling his team and tweaking his tactics against the Chileans.
The Spanish defense, normally so difficult to penetrate, appeared helpless against waves of attacks in the second half and centre back Sergio Ramos said urgent improvement was needed. “For better or worse you cannot stand still in football, you have to look forward,” he told reporters.
“It's not normal that we concede so many goals,” he added. “We have to improve in the next few days and only a win against Chile will be enough for us.”
Chile began their World Cup on Friday with a 3-1 win over Australia, who Spain play in their final group game on June 23.
If Del Bosque's side manage to progress to the last 16 as group runners-up, they are likely to face hosts Brazil. — Reuters
Natal, June 17
The U.S. were beaten by Ghana in their final group stage game in 2006 and in the last 16 four years later.
“It just so happened we had history with Ghana," said Dempsey, who scored after 29 seconds on Monday but also suffered a broken nose.
The Americans hope they can carry the momentum into their next match with Portugal on Sunday before taking on Germany as they bid to make the last 16 for the fourth time in the last seven tournaments.
A first step was finally beating Ghana and Dempsey's goal also marked sweet vindication for a player who helped lead the American attack in the two previous defeats against the Black Stars.
In 2006, the U.S. equalised when Dempsey scored late in the first half only for Ghana to convert a penalty minutes later to take a 2-1 lead that would send the Americans home. The Americans again fell behind in their last 16 match in South Africa in 2010 before Landon Donovan equalised from the penalty spot — only for Asamoah Gyan to split the U.S. defence in extra time and lash the winner past Tim Howard. Despite their early lead on Monday, it looked like Gyan would once again help break American hearts when his sublime backheel set up Andre Ayew's 83rd minute equaliser after intense Ghana pressure.
A powerful header from substitute and World Cup debutant John Brooks three minutes later, however, gave the Americans their first win over their African rivals in three attempts.— Agencies
Curitiba, June 17
While Iran could take some small satisfaction in keeping a clean sheet for the first time since their debut in 1978, the bore at the Baixada arena stood out like a suit salesman on Copacabana beach.
With Lionel Messi's Argentina, installed as clear Group F favourites, and exciting debutants Bosnia still to come, the other two look destined for an early exit unless they can raise their game considerably.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi warned on Sunday that the African sides were as good as any in Brazil and could win the tournament, but on Monday's evidence they will not be celebrating.
Keshi said his side dominated but suffered from "nervousness and anxiety" in front of goal. "We want to score and want to score and it’s not coming. We just have to calm everybody down and take it from there."
Both teams were whistled and booed off the field by the largely Brazilian crowd of 39,000 after a first half that looked shockingly meagre compared to the goal feasts served up elsewhere.
Iran packed their defence as expected and Nigeria, with Emmanuel Emenike rarely posing a threat as the main target man for the African champions, squandered their chances with long balls to nowhere and passes straight to opponents. — Agencies
In the national debate after Brazil’s 3-1 victory against Croatia in their opening game last week, opinion coalesced around the view that three players had not come up to scratch: Paulinho, Hulk and Fred.
Paulinho failed to perform his role helping the defence and supplying dangerous balls forward, Hulk was invisible and Fred’s only contribution was the apparent dive that led to Brazil’s penalty.
Yet as well as being heavily criticised, the trio have something else in common. They are the only members of the national team who are known by their nicknames. Paulinho is the diminutive of Paulo, Fred is an abbreviation of Frederico and Hulk is named after the Incredible Hulk.
The nickname is one of Brazil’s many contributions to world football. Many of the country’s greatest players have used them – from Pele and Garrincha to Kaka and Ronaldinho. These playful noms de guerre add charm. If you have a special name, then surely you are a special player.
Use of nicknames in Brazil is not just a sporting custom. The correct way to refer to someone here, even in formal situations, is by their first name, or, if they have one, a nickname. Lula, the name of the former president, is a nickname, the diminutive of Luiz – his full name Luiz Inacio da Silva. The everyday use of first names and nicknames is reflected in football. Yet what is striking is that the type of player you are often determines the type of name you have.
Traditionally, the further forward you go in a team, the more likely it is that a player will be known by his nickname. Ten of Brazil’s top 15 all-time scorers are known by their nicknames. (And the ones that aren’t, like Rivaldo, Romario and Neymar have very rare names that might as well be). Brazilian defensive players, on the other hand, are most likely to be known by their first names. Or – in a tradition that began in the 1990s and is now the norm – their first two names. Brazil’s central defence is made up of Thiago Silva and David Luiz, one full-back is Dani Alves and Luiz Gustavo is the defensive midfielder.
It is no coincidence that attackers have nicknames and defenders do not. Brazilians love their attacking players more than their defensive ones, and calling someone by a nickname is more affectionate. The beautiful game is about flair in moving forward, not solidity in defence. A young player showing Brazilian skills is likely to earn a nickname, perhaps with the diminutive “–inho” attached to his first name, which conveys fondness and warmth.
A nickname is also a small deception, hiding the player’s true identity, betraying the guile and artifice associated with Brazilian skills.
With defenders, you do not want fancy tricks. You want someone you can trust to take responsibility for their actions. “When was the last time that a successful Brazilian national team had a central defender with a nickname?” asked the author Luis Fernando Verissimo in the O Estado de S Paulo last week.
“As well as height, propulsion, fearlessness and an ability to head the ball, the principal requirement for a quality defender is that he has two names. In fact, I think that when you give the team line-up you should give the defenders’ name, surname and a telephone number for complaints.”
— The Independent
Name tags needed for Russia, South Korea
Both Russia and South Korea freely admitted that they had no idea as to the identity of the players they were about to face in the World Cup Group H clash in Cuiaba. Russia's coach, Fabio Capello, when asked if it wasn't an insult that his team couldn't name any Koreans, shrugged: "It's not important to know names of players, what is important is to know their characteristics." The Korean captain, Koo-Ja-Chael, was equally candid when challenged later if he could list any of the Russian side. "No, I don't know their names, but I know their numbers," the Mainz 05 midfielder replied. Korea's coach, Hong Myung-Bo, was asked at the post-match press conference whether he regarded the Russians' admission as an insult, smiled: "Actually it's not easy for Korean players to be memorised by foreigners.”
Ibrahimovic calls the USA a ‘big joke’
Zlatan Ibrahimovic might not be at the World Cup, but did you think we would go the whole tournament without hearing from him? Of course not. The PSG striker is seemingly on holiday in the Los Angeles, and was accosted outside a restaurant there by a representative from tabloid website TMZ. Zlatan, understandably not looking particularly pleased about being stopped on the street, firstly seems not to be entirely sure of who Landon Donovan, surprisingly left out of Jurgen Klinsmann's squad for the World Cup, is, and was then asked who he thinks will win in Brazil. And his reply was...well, typically Zlatan. “USA,” he said.
Belgium made to sweat for 2-1 win over Algeria
Much-fancied Belgium fought back from a goal down to score twice in the final 20 minutes and earn a hard-fought 2-1 victory over gutsy Algeria in the Group H opener on Tuesday. Substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens turned the game around after Algeria playmaker Sofiane Feghouli had given them a 25th minute lead with a penalty at the Mineirao stadium. Belgium, back at the World Cup after a 12-year absence, enjoyed the majority of possession but struggled to break down a disciplined two-line Algerian defence which kept Eden Hazard and forward Romelu Lukaku well in check. The Algerians, with El Arabi Soudani surprisingly in the starting lineup for key forward Islam Slimani, posed little threat up front with winger Riyad Mahrez firing well wide in their only foray in the Belgian box early in the game. They were far more successful the second time they ventured forward when left back Jan Vertonghen brought down Feghouli after a fine cross from Faouzi Ghoulam. Feghouli calmly fired past keeper Thibaut Courtois to end his country's 28-year wait for a World Cup goal and send the green-white-clad Algerian fans delirious. Belgium's Axel Witsel tried his luck with a couple of long-range shots but the Red Devils looked nothing like the menacing team that qualified unbeaten for the tournament. Coach Marc Wilmots took off lacklustre Lukaku early in the second half, bringing on teenager Divock Origi in the hope of breathing new life into his team.
German Company Revels in Controversy
The company that created the hi-tech cameras which ruled on a World Cup goal for the first time on Sunday is happily anticipating involvement in a growing number of football controversies, but not in its German home market. GoalControl, which aims 14 cameras at the two goals in each World Cup match and produces 500 computer generated 3-D images in a split second, was called into action for the first time in France's 3-0 Group E win over Honduras. This is football and even the way the technology worked caused arguments. But GoalControl, only set up in 2012, is enjoying its moment in the spotlight. "The World Cup is of course an international showcase which will significantly increase demand for goal-line technology in general and our system in particular," company chief Dirk Broichhausen told AFP. In the match, Karim Benzema's shot cannoned off a post and then hit Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares and went over the line. The computer gave two judgements which were flashed onto the stadium screen. The ball was not over the line when it rebounded off the post, it said. Some fans thought that was the end of the matter. Then it said that there was a goal after the ball hit Valladares. FIFA said Monday they will modify the way decisions are communicated to fans.
Selfie with Merkel delights Podolski
Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski delivered on his pre-match promise to get a dressing room photograph with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after Germany’s rout of Portugal. The 29-year-old Gunners star had previously said he wanted to get a selfie with the German leader who was at Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova to watch the match which saw Thomas Mueller score a hat-trick. “4-0 win, awesome start! And here the promised Selfie with the chancellor,” he posted on Twitter with a picture of him beaming alongside Merkel. Her press spokesman Steffan Seibert later posted a picture on Twitter of Merkel with the entire team. “Congratulations – a perfect start to the tournament!” he Tweeted. Merkel has made a habit of visiting the national team after matches. Her popularity soared when pictures of her enthusiastically celebrating a World Cup win in 2006 – which Germany hosted – were published by daily Bild.”
Rooney Asked to Train With Substitutes: FA
The Football Association has reacted to speculation about striker Wayne Rooney's place in the England team by explaining that he trained with back-up players at his own request on Monday. Playing in an unfavoured left-sided role, Rooney produced a subdued display as England lost 2-1 to Italy in their opening game in Manaus on Saturday. He trained alongside the substitutes from that match at England's Rio de Janeiro training base on Monday, prompting reports in the British media that he may be dropped for his side's second Group D game against Uruguay on Thursday. But in a statement on Twitter, the FA said that the Man United striker was merely eager to maintain peak fitness between matches. — Agencies
Netherlands ready to dazzle Australia
Croatia, cameroon look for first win
Curitiba, June 17
Mourinho, who was widely reported to have fallen out with the club captain, said he would not discard Casillas just because of one poor showing. “The goalkeeper position is a very specific one and I wouldn't like to make a change just because of one poor game,” said Mourinho.
“I would only change something after a bad run of form that clearly shows a keeper lacks confidence and stability and his body language suggests it would be better to change,” added the Portuguese, who is in his second spell at English club Chelsea.
“Iker has had a fine run with the Spanish national team and he has the confidence of his coach. One bad game is not sufficient reason to change keepers.” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is unlikely to drop Casillas, whose performances in helping Spain win Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 earned him the nickname “Saint Iker” among fans of the Iberian nation. — Reuters
Dhaka, June 17
Sent into bat, Indian batsmen produced a below-par performance to be bowled out for a paltry 105 runs in rain-truncated 41 overs-a-side game. But the pace combination of Binny (6-4) and Mohit Sharma (4-22) saved India from humiliation as they bundled out Bangladesh for a record 58 runs in 17.4 overs to help the visitors defend their lowest score against the hosts.
The Binny heroics came after Bangladesh pacer Taskin Ahmed scalped five wickets for 28 runs on his debut to bowl India out for 105 in 25.3 overs.
But if India's 105 was much less than their previous low of 191 in Port of Spain during the 2007 World Cup then Bangladesh also sank to a new low as their previous lowest against the Men in Blue was 76 in 2003 at Dhaka.
Binny, whose figures are best by any Indian bowler in ODI's bettering Anil Kumble's 6-12 against West Indies in 1993, was ably supported by medium pacer Mohit from the other end.
After Mohit sent back the Bangla openers, Binny joined forces to send innings top-scorer Mithun Ali back for 26 and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim for 11. The rest of the batting fell like a pack of cards as Binny and Mohit had little time to celebrate between wickets.
Earlier put into bat, the stunning Indian collapse was triggered by Taskin, who returned with figures of 5-28, making it the best debut bowling performance by a Bangladesh player. Suresh Raina's 23-ball 27 was the best that an Indian batsman could manage under overcast conditions. — PTI
MoM: Stuart Binny
Port of spain, JUne 17
Jerome Taylor's rehabilitation as a Test fast bowler took a few more strides forward with the Jamaican claiming four for 34 to emerge with the best figures.
However, the tourists' captain, Brendon McCullum, appeared fully justified in electing to bat first after winning the toss with the Black Caps cruising along at 120 for one early in the afternoon session. But it never materialised and the luck eventually turned the West Indies' way as New Zealand lost nine wickets for 101 runs, the last six sliding for just 29 in an unexpected capitulation.
Brief scores: 221 all out (Latham 82, Williamson 41, Taylor 42no, J Taylor 4/34, Benn 3/73). — AFP
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