Connect with us

Sports

FIFA World Cup 2018 : France Rides to World Cup Final on Defense’s Back

defender Samuel Umtiti lost his marker, a corner kick found his forehead, and he turned the ball into the net for the only goal in France’s 1-0 victory over Belgium.

Published

on

France

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — They talked about the attacking for two days before France played Belgium in a World Cup semifinal here, about Kylian Mbappé’s speed and Eden Hazard’s dribbling and Antoine Griezmann’s style and Kevin De Bruyne’s playmaking.

But France is back in the World Cup because of the simplest of things: defender Samuel Umtiti lost his marker, a corner kick found his forehead, and he turned the ball into the net for the only goal in France’s 1-0 victory over Belgium.

The goal, in the 51st minute, sent France to its first World Cup final since 2006, and gave it a chance to win the title for the first time since its one and only world championship, claimed on home soil in 1998.

France’s manager, Didier Deschamps, was the grinding midfield heart of that team, the player who did the hard work behind the flash of bigger stars like ZInedine Zidane. He has crafted a team that now draws comparisons to those French heroes — dangerous in attack, diligent in midfield, rock-solid in defense.

This France can only match that France, though, if it wins one more game. That will come Sunday at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, the site of Wednesday’s second semifinal between Croatia and England.

Umtiti’s goal ensured France would be there. It came, seemingly, out of nothing: a corner won by France, the ball crossed in by Griezmann, Umtiti running to the near post to meet it. But, crucially, he had stepped away from his marker, Toby Alderweireld, just as the play began, and even though Marouane Fellaini arrived at the final moment to offer at least a token challenge, it was too late. Umtiti’s header sailed over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and France, outplayed for a large portion of the first half, suddenly had its destiny in its hands.

The goal gave the French a brief burst of energy, but they soon settled into the kind of practical, businesslike approach that was their manager’s calling card as a player. Raphael Varane and Umtiti cleared whatever balls were served into the penalty area, N’Golo Kanté smothered Eden Hazard every time he moved inside, and Hugo Lloris raced off his line to punch away anything that got past them and looked even remotely dangerous.

Sports

Jorge Lorenzo wins pole position for 2018 Aragon MotoGp

Published

on

Jorge Lorenzo

Teruel (Spain), Sep 22 : Spanish motorcyclist Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) won the pole position for the 2018 Aragon MotoGp, his fourth this season, being the fastest in Saturday’s second qualifying round held at MotorLand Aragon circuit.

Lorenzo finished the second qualifying round clocking one minute and 46.881 seconds, 0.014s ahead of his Italian teammate Andrea Dovizioso in second, reports Efe news.

The overall leader, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) of Spain, earned the third spot with 0.079s off the pace, sealing the first row spots.

Cal Crutchlow (Honda RC 213 V) of the United Kingdom will begin Sunday’s race from the second row, having finished the session in fourth spot, followed by Italy’s Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) in fifth and the Spaniard Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) in sixth.

IANS

Continue Reading

Sports

Pakistan edge past Afghanistan in nail-biting Asia Cup tie

Published

on

Pakistan vs Afghanistan
Pakistan vs Afghanistan

Abu Dhabi, Sep 22: Pakistan got themselves prepared for the India challenge on Sunday with a nervy three-wicket win over Afghanistan in a nail-biting Super Four contest of the Asia Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Friday.

Chasing a modest 258, Pakistan were in control with a 154-run second wicket stand between Imam-ul-Haq (80) and Babar Azam (66) before losing their way with the fall of regular wickets, only to be rescued by former skipper Shoaib Malik’s belligerent 43-ball unbeaten 51.

Pakistan managed to recover from the early loss of opener Fakhar Zaman (0), thanks to Imam and Babar’s patient knocks before a mix-up resulted in the run-out of Imam.

Babar soon followed the opener to the pavilion even as Pakistan’s middle order woes continued to haunt them with number 4 Haris Sohail (13), skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (8), Asif Ali (7) and Mohammad Nawaz (10) all departing within a span of just 48 runs.

Malik, however, wasn’t deterred by the situation and held one end up to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive, and together with Hasan Ali (6 not out) overcame the scare to finally overhaul the target with three balls to spare.

For the Afghans, leg-spinner Rashid Khan (3/46) and offie Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/33) were the main wicket-takers while Gulbadin Naib chipped in with one scalp.

Earlier, electing to bat after winning the toss, Afghanistan rode an undefeated half century from Hashmatullah Shahidi (97 not out) and skipper Asghar Afghan’s stroke-filled 56-ball 67 to post a challenging 257/7.

Afghanistan started off well with Rahmat Shah (36) and Shahidi raising 63 runs for the third wicket before the latter went on to add 94 runs with his skipper to propel the team to a decent total.

In another Super Four match on Friday, India rode on an all-round show to outclass Bangladesh by 7 wickets.

India will next play Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday while Bangladesh and Afghanistan will lock horns here on the same day.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 257/6 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 97 not out, Asghar Afghan 67; Mohammad Nawaz 3/57) lose to Pakistan 258/7 (Imam-ul-Haq 80, Babar Azam 66, Shoaib Malik 51 not out; Rashid Khan 3/46) by 3 wickets.

IANS

Continue Reading

Sports

Asia Cup: Rohit, Jadeja star in India’s 7-wkt win over Bangladesh

Published

on

India Vs Bangladesh

Dubai, Sep 21 : India dished out another comprehensive performance to thrash Bangladesh by seven wickets in a Super Four stage match of the Asia Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium here on Friday.

Skipper Rohit Sharma led India from the front with a fluent unbeaten half-century to overhaul the paltry target of 174 with more than 13 overs to spare, after the men-in-blue rode on left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja’s magical spell of 4/29 on winning the toss and opting to chase.

The defending champions were off to a brilliant start once again with Rohit (83 not out off 104 balls; 5X4, 6X3) and Shikhar Dhawan (40 off 47; 4X4, 6X1) putting on 61 runs before the southpaw was trapped leg-before by left-armer Shakib Al Hasan in the 15th over.

Thereafter, Rohit and new man Ambati Rayudu (13) added 45 runs for the second wicket before the No.3 batsman was caught behind off pacer Rubel Hossain.

With India cruising to an easy victory, former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33 off 37; 4X3) was promoted up the order and the talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman played the perfect second fiddle to the skipper, who clobbered Shakib for three sixes, one among those to get to his 36th ODI fifty.

Dhoni soon joined the party, belting two consecutive boundaries off skipper Mashrafe Mortaza to raise India’s 150 and also the 50-run stand for the third wicket.

Mortaza, however, avenged the thrashing with the wicket of the stumper, who in an attempt to finish off the innings with a six, gifted his wicket away with India just four runs shy of victory.

Dinesh Karthik (1 not out) then joined his skipper to complete the formalities in style.

Earlier, Jadeja, playing his first ODI since July 2017, wreaked havoc among the Bangladeshi middle-order that comprised the key wickets of Shakib Al Hasan (17), Mushfiqur Rahim (21), Mohammad Mithun (9) and Mosaddek Hossain (12), to help India restrict the opposition for a paltry 173, centred mainly around a 66-run eighth wicket stand between lower-order batsmen Mehidy Hasan (42) and skipper Mashrafe Mortaza (26).

Jadeja was complimented well by the pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/32) and Jasprit Bumrah (3/37).

Put in to bat, Bangladesh immediately found themselves on the backfoot after Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah removed the openers Liton Das (7) and Nazmul Hossain Shanto (7), respectively, with just 16 runs on the board.

Thereafter, Jadeja spun his magic around the Bangladesh batsmen which reduced them to 65/5 by the 18th over, before Mahmudullah (25) and Mosaddek steered the total past the 100-run mark with a brief 36-run sixth wicket stand.

Towards the end, Mehidy and Mashrafe batted sensibly to take the side past the 150-run mark even as the Indian bowlers came back well to restrict them to a below-par score.

Brief Scores

Bangladesh: 173 (Mehidy Hasan 42, Mashrafe Mortaza 26; Ravindra Jadeja 4/29, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3/32, Jasprit Bumrah 3/37) lose to India: 174/3 (Rohit Sharma 83 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 40, M.S Dhoni 33) by 7 wickets.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular