Arnaut Groeneveld’s equaliser rescues Netherlands against Belgium in friendly

first_imgArnaut Groeneveld scored his first international goal to help Netherlands play out a 1-1 draw against Belgium in a friendly at the King Baudouin Stadium on Tuesday.Dries Mertens volleyed an excellent opener for Belgium after five minutes, but the young Dutch side grew into the game and were level before the break thanks to Groeneveld.It was the first draw in 13 matches for Belgium, who had won 11 of their previous 12 games, the only blemish being the World Cup semi-final loss to eventual champions France in July.It was also a second positive result in four days for the rejuvenated Netherlands, who beat Germany 3-0 in the Nations League on Saturday and showed more signs of progression under coach Ronald Koeman as they came close to another victory.Belgium took the early lead when Eden Hazard’s mazy run into the penalty area saw the ball eventually fall for Mertens, whose powerfully volley crashed into the corner of the net.Mertens almost turned provider shortly afterwards when his cross was headed over the bar by striker Romelu Lukaku, while at the other end Memphis Depay only had Simon Mignolet to beat but fired straight at the Belgium goalkeeper.The Dutch were level after 27 minutes when an incisive breakaway saw Depay provide a low cross for unmarked Groeneveld to score his first Dutch goal in his second international.The visitors had seized the momentum and were unlucky not to take the lead when Quincy Promes struck the post with a shot from the edge of the box, although Hazard should have scored for the hosts soon after when he fired wide from 10 metres.advertisementBelgium coach Roberto Martinez withdrew Hazard, Lukaku and Mertens at halftime and one of the replacements, forward Michy Batshuayi, had two chances just after the break but shot wide and had a header saved by goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.The second period lacked the intensity of the first as both teams tired but Dutch defender Nathan Ake forced an excellent save from Mignolet with a header from a corner, while Pablo Rosario also missed a headed chance for the visitors.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

a month agoBarcelona coach Valverde eases Messi injury concerns

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Barcelona coach Valverde eases Messi injury concernsby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona coach Ernesto Valverde eased injury concerns for Lionel Messi after went off at halftime for victory over Villarreal.Returning to action this week, Messi appeared to injure himself.”When something happens to Messi the world stops,” Valverde said.”But it doesn’t seem to be anything more than a nuisance in the adductor.”We took him off as a precaution.”Barcelona earned the points, but they didn’t impress at the Camp Nou. Nonetheless, Valverde was pleased to get the win.”The first thing is, as always, to win,” he explained. “I think we’re playing well at home. Today was tough.”We had a moment in the first half wherein we weren’t good.”But we’re good at home. We have to see if we can add to it away from home, too.” last_img read more

NETFLIX ACCUSED OF USING FOOTAGE OF LACMÉGANTIC QUEBEC DISASTER IN BIRD BOX

first_imgAdvertisement Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac-Mégantic, Que., Saturday, July 6, 2013. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press) Facebook “I don’t know if this is happening all the time, but we are looking for assurances from Netflix that … they are going to remove them,” Morin said in an interview.“You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side.”High school ethics teacher Guillaume Bouchard was watching the most recent season of Travelers on Netflix over the holidays when he noticed something oddly familiar on his screen. Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment In the science-fiction series, a nuclear device had just exploded on the streets of London, but instead of seeing fires ravaging locations in the U.K. capital, Bouchard was looking at orange flames towering over a small town. At the end of the street, a black oil tanker burned in the background.“I thought: No way. No way did they do that,” Bouchard said in an interview. He paused the show and after a quick internet search had his suspicions confirmed.The brief images on Netflix were taken from real-life footage of one of the deadliest disasters in recent Canadian history, when a train carrying crude oil derailed, exploded and killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic in 2013.“I don’t know anyone who died in Lac-Mégantic,” Bouchard said. “But if I was someone who lost someone close and I was home and I saw this, I don’t know how I would react.”“It wouldn’t be good.”Travelers, created by Canadian Brad Wright, was shot in Vancouver and produced by Peacock Alley Entertainment Inc., originally in association with Netflix and Showcase. Netflix picked up the show as the exclusive distributor for the latest season, the third.Carrie Mudd, president of Toronto-based Peacock Alley Entertainment, said her company acquired the footage from a stock image vendor called Pond 5, which is based in New York City, and they “weren’t aware of its specific source.” A request for comment from Pond 5 was not returned.“We sincerely apologize and had no intention to dishonour the tragic events of 2013,” Mudd said in an email. “We are already working to replace the footage in the show.” As of Tuesday evening, the images were still part of the Travelers episode available for viewing on Netflix Canada.A spokesman for Netflix did not want to be interviewed, but said the company has contacted Peacock Alley Entertainment, and confirmed the images would be removed. When asked by email to confirm Bird Box also used real-life footage from the disaster, the company said it needed time to look into it.Morin said she first heard of the images used on Travelers Monday.“We find that it’s really a lack of respect, to use these images as fiction and entertainment,” she said. “It’s hard enough for our citizens to see these images when they are used normally and respectfully on the news.“Just imagine, to have them used as fiction, as if they were invented.”On Tuesday, a Lac-Mégantic citizen posted images on social media of the movie Bird Box, where in the early moments of the movie, a television newscast used the images for a few seconds to illustrate a town being under attack.Morin said she viewed the footage posted by the citizen. “We see the images (of Lac-Mégantic) clearly,” she said. The Canadian Press viewed the footage in Bird Box, which is identical to amateur video shot immediately after the derailment. The amateur video can be easily found online.Bouchard said he felt it was his “duty as a citizen’” to go public after identifying the Lac-Mégantic content. He said he knows what happened was a mistake, but “it needed to be talked about.”He said he also considers it a teachable moment he can use in his ethics class. “Naturally, I will talk about it one day (in school),” he said.By Giuseppe Valiante | The Canadian Press A day after learning that a science-fiction show on Netflix used actual footage of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, the mayor of the Quebec town said she believes images of the tragedy were used in a second Netflix production, Bird Box.Lac-Mégantic Mayor Julie Morin wants the streaming service to take a look at its movie and TV catalogue to make sure no other production is using images of the tragedy as entertainment. Twitterlast_img read more

Global stock markets sink slammed by tech losses

first_imgSEOUL, South Korea – Shares fell in Europe and Asia on Wednesday as tech stocks extended losses following sell-offs of their U.S. peers overnight. Investors are selling technology-related shares on concern governments might tighten scrutiny over Facebook after it was revealed that users’ data was shared with a consulting firm affiliated with President Donald Trump.KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 1 per cent to 6,930.51. France’s CAC 40 slid 1.4 per cent to 5,043.96 and Germany’s DAX lost 1.6 per cent to 11,784.17. Futures augured weak starts on Wall Street. Dow futures fell 0.3 per cent while S&P futures also retreated 0.3 per cent.ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 sank 1.3 per cent to 21,031.31 and South Korea’s Kospi slid 1.3 per cent to 2,419.29. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sank 2.5 per cent to 30,022.53 while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.4 per cent to 3,122.29. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 retreated 0.7 per cent to 5,789.50. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries also fell.BAD DAY FOR TECH: Investors cut their holdings of Asian tech stocks after a series of incidents sent their U.S. peers lower again. One of those cases is a report that authorities will investigate a fatal crash that involved a Tesla electric SUV equipped with a semi-autonomous control system. In Asia, Samsung Electronics Co. fell 2.6 per cent and Sony Corp. lost 1.1 per cent. Softbank Group Corp. slumped 4 per cent. Tencent Holdings Ltd. was down 4.6 per cent.ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “So what spooked markets? Well, it looks like the rearing of the (ugly) Facebook privacy infringement was a convenient excuse to sell-off ahead of the long weekend,” Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 68 cents to $64.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined 30 cents to settle at $65.25 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 52 cents to $68.94 per barrel in London.CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 105.64 yen from 105.34 yen. The euro fell to $1.2386 from $1.2404.last_img read more

Vedanta Ltd makes oil discovery in KG block

first_imgNew Delhi: Mining baron Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd Wednesday announced an oil discovery in its Krishna Godavari basin block in the Bay of Bengal. The block previously had a gas discovery in the very first well drilled. In a statement, Vedanta said “it has notified the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of an oil discovery in the second exploratory well H2, located in the block KG-OSN-2009/3, Krishna-Godavari Basin, East Coast of India”. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalVedanta holds 100 per cent participating interest in the block. “Multiple reservoir zones were encountered in the well H2 within the Mesozoic sequence between the depths of 3,310 metres to 4,026 metres with hydrocarbon indications during drilling and downhole logging,” it said. The zone from 3,403 metres to 3,431 metres was tested through conventional well testing (Drill Stem Test) and flowed oil to the surface. “Further appraisal will be required to establish the size and commerciality of the oil discovery,” Vedanta said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe first exploration well A3-2 drilled in the block was a gas discovery. “Evaluations are ongoing based on the results of the first well A3-2 and the second well H2 to finalise the forward programme,” it added. Cairn India, the company Vedanta bought and merged with itself, had in June 2010 won the KG-OSN-2009/3 block in the 8th round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). It had committed to drill six exploratory wells on the block. These were expandable to 10. The KG basin is a proven basin where there have been many hydrocarbon discoveries. The company acquired around 1,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic data based on which it drilled two wells. KG-OSN-2009/3 offshore block in the Bay of Bengal was originally spread over in an area of about 1,988 sq km which was later reduced to 1,298 sq km due to exclusion of area within firing range. It is located in the shallow waters of the Indian Ocean along the East coast of India, approximately 1.5 km from the Indian coastline.last_img read more

Nadal wins 9th Rome title

first_imgROME: Rafael Nadal is right back where he wants to be. After losing in the semifinals of three straight clay-court tournaments, Nadal dominated for stretches against his longtime rival, Novak Djokovic, in a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win Sunday for a record-extending ninth Italian Open title. It marked the first time in an Open Era-record 54 meetings, and in their 142nd set against each other, that Nadal won a set against Djokovic without conceding a game – otherwise known as a Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijijubagel. The timing for Nadal’s return to form could not have been more opportune, as he will seek a record-extending 12th title at the French Open starting next weekend. ”Winning a title is important but for me the most important thing is feel myself competitive, feel myself healthy,” Nadal said. ”Then with the feeling that I am improving. I know if I’m able to reach my level you can win, you can lose, but normally I’m going to have my chances, especially on this surface.” Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersTop-ranked Djokovic, meanwhile, appeared exhausted after spending more than 5 1/2 hours on court against Juan Martin del Potro and Diego Schwartzman the previous two days. Djokovic was also coming off the Madrid Open title last week. ”I don’t want to talk about fatigue or things like that,” Djokovic said. ”Rafa was simply too strong today.” In the women’s final earlier, Karolina Pliskova captured the biggest clay-court trophy of her career by beating Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4. The Foro Italico crowd continually tried to encourage Djokovic with chants of ”Vai Nole!” – Go Nole! – but the top-ranked Serb struggled with his overhead and drop shots. Midway through the second set, Nadal chased down a lob with an over-the-shoulder shot and Djokovic’s ensuing overhead landed in the net to conclude a long point. Djokovic again netted an overhead in the next game and then kicked the ball in frustration when he missed a drop shot attempt late in the second. But Djokovic hung around in the second and converted his first set point when a looping forehand from Nadal sailed wide for his first break of the match. As he walked to his chair after winning the second set, Djokovic waved his arms to get the crowd behind him. However, Djokovic didn’t have much left in the tank. When Nadal pushed Djokovic deep into the corner in the opening game of the third set and Djokovic’s desperation lob sailed long to hand Nadal a break, Djokovic smashed his racket to the clay three times in frustration and received a warning from the chair umpire. Djokovic won only 29 percent of the points on his second serve and committed 39 unforced errors to Nadal’s 17. Also, Nadal won 23 of the 31 rallies with nine or more shots. It was his 81st tournament win and it takes him 34-33 ahead of Djokovic in Masters 1,000 Series titles. Victory is a boost before the French Open for Nadal, who was beaten by Djokovic in the Australian Open final in January, and had lost at the semi-final stage in his past four tournaments. Since 2005, Nadal has won at least one of the nine Masters 1,000 events in a season every year except 2015. Nadal and Djokovic will be the top two seeds in the second major of the year at Roland Garros later this month.last_img read more

The Columbia Lions Are The Best Football Team In NYC

3Wagner Seahawks2-4 TEAMRECORD One of the greatest turnarounds in college athletics is occurring in the media capital of the world, and you probably haven’t heard about it.1Unless you follow Twitter.com/ForecasterEnten. The Columbia Lions football squad sits at 4-0 and on top of the Ivy League heading into homecoming against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on Saturday. To say its undefeated start is shocking would be an understatement.Just three years ago, I wrote that Columbia was taking part in the worst college football game of the year. The 0-8 Lions were hosting the 0-8 Cornell Big Red in Upper Manhattan. Columbia would lose that game 30-27 and finish the year 0-10. That season was part of a 24-game losing streak, which one might call a baby version of the Lions’ 44-game losing streak in the 1980s.Indeed, Columbia hasn’t won more than four games in a season in more than a decade and hasn’t had a winning season since 1996. In fact, there have only been three seasons since 1982 when the Lions finished .500 or better:Perhaps the strangest thing about what’s happening at the top of Manhattan is this: Columbia is arguably the best college or pro football team in New York City right now. The Giants are 0-5, the Jets are 3-2 (talk about weird), and all the other college teams that play in the five boroughs have worse records. (Though being the best college football team in New York City is like being the most accurate Stormtrooper.) 2New York Jets*3-2 *Technically not New York CitySource: ESPN So how the heck did the constant losers turn it around and make this Lions fan2I went to every home game from 1994 to 2000 and still attend at least one game a year. very happy? It all started when the school hired former Quaker head coach Al Bagnoli in 2015. The team has progressed incrementally since then, and a look at the stats reveals that Columbia has improved in nearly every facet since entering the game against the Big Red three years ago. Simply put, the Lions are scoring a lot more points than they did then. Heading into that game against Cornell, they were dead last (out of 121 teams) in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with just 8.6 points per game. They had scored more than 7 points only once. But through four games this year, the Lions have scored at least 17 points every game and have put up an average of 30.3 points per game. That ranks 35th out of 123 teams.The main cause of the offensive explosion has been an improvement in the passing game. Three years ago, Columbia ranked 52nd with 221.6 passing yards per game (YPG). This year the Lions have jumped to 21st with 276.8 YPG, thanks in part to the strong play of senior quarterback Anders Hill. Of course, as I pointed out in 2014, Columbia was always so far behind that year that they needed to pass pretty much all the time. In passing efficiency — which takes into account completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown rate and interception rate — Columbia has jumped from 120th to 21st.Although the rushing game hasn’t improved anywhere near as much as the passing game, Columbia has shown it can move the ball on the ground. Heading into their 2014 game against Cornell, the Lions averaged just 51.3 rushing YPG. Again, that was dead last. This year, they’re up to 68th place with 136.0 YPG. As anyone who has ever watched football can tell you, the ability to both pass and run the ball gives you a better opportunity to fool the defense and score more points.On the other side of the field, the Lions put one of the worst defenses in the country on the field just three years ago. They were giving up an average of 273.8 rushing YPG (120th worst in the FCS) and 246.9 YPG (100th worst). It’s tough to win football games when you can stop neither the run nor the pass.This year, Columbia is doing a good job of stopping both. The Lions are giving up only 121.8 rushing YPG (32nd least in the FCS) and 194.8 passing YPG (39th least). In total defense (which combines both of these), Columbia ranks 26th for the least yards by giving up 316.5 YPG. That has allowed them to give up the 17th least points per game overall at just 17.3.The Lions have also excelled at special teams, where their kicking, punting and return games have all improved dramatically.3Three years ago, Columbia made just two field goals in its first eight games and was ranked 111th and 75th in average yards per kickoff and punt return, respectively. This season, the Lions have already made three field goals in four games, and are ranked 23rd in yards per kickoff return (with 23.27) and 13th in yards per punt return (with 13.00). And they have a point differential average of +13.0 points per game, which is 16th best in the country. That’s 44.2 points better per game than when they had a -31.2 point differential that ranked 118th when heading into their game against Cornell in 2014.So can this streak continue?Columbia’s season is not even halfway to completion. The rest of the games are against Ivy League opponents, which will help to determine whether Columbia wins its first league title since 1961.The team has had a little luck on its side. The Lions seem to be doing a little better on third down than their overall offensive and defensive ranking. Such success usually reverts to the mean. I’d also be worried about the fact that they rank 92nd in fewest penalty yards per game. Older Columbia fans may remember that a pivotal Marcellus Wiley penalty hurt the team dearly in its unsuccessful bid for a perfect season in 1996.Even so, Columbia is off to an impressive start. It’s been strong in all facets of the game — offense, defense and special teams. Other New York area football teams (OK, mainly the Giants) could only dream of doing so well. Bizarro New YorkCollege and pro football programs in New York City as of Oct. 13, 2017 5New York Giants*0-5 4Fordham Rams1-5 1Columbia Lions4-0 read more

Russias Group Is The Easiest In Modern World Cup History

2002CBrazilTurkeyChinaCosta Rica1750-51.8 1994DArgentinaGreeceNigeriaBulgaria1757-43.6 Powerhouse France, coming off a loss in the finals of the 2016 European Championship to Portugal, will be looking to move through and claim its second ever World Cup trophy. Peru owns a 47 percent chance to make its second-ever knockout stage appearance and first since being defeated by Pelé’s Brazil in Mexico in 1970. Group B is projected to be the strongest in the tournament, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index, and will be headlined by an early game between old rivals Portugal and Spain, which will face off for just the second time at a World Cup. The Iberian Peninsula neighbors met for the first time in 2010, when the Spaniards won 1-0 on their way to the country’s first ever World Cup victory. And the duo could meet again on the grandest stage of them all: They have the highest combined chance of making the final of any two teams in the same group. 2018ASaudi ArabiaEgyptRussiaUruguay1720-97.8 2010FParaguayItalySlovakiaNew Zealand1713-66.9 Luck of the draw?The easiest groups in expanded World Cup history based on the difference between average Elo rating of group and the average of the tournament, 1986-2018 YEARGROUPTEAM 1TEAM 2TEAM 3TEAM 4AVG. ELO RATINGDIFF. FROM TOURNAMENT AVG. 2006HSaudi ArabiaTunisiaUkraineSpain1744-44.7 2014HAlgeriaBelgiumSouth KoreaRussia1734-92.0 1998BAustriaCameroonChileItaly1747-52.3 2002BParaguaySouth AfricaSpainSlovenia1749-53.0 Belgium and England will be extremely pleased with how the draw turned out for them, as they’re combined chances of making it out of the group stages are the highest of any two teams in the same group. What’s more, they don’t play each other until the final round of group-stage matches, so depending on how they fare against Tunisia and Panama, the Belgians and English could have already qualified by the time they meet. Before the World Cup draw on Friday, there was reason to suspect that Russia would get off easy. As the host country, it was slotted into Pot 1, which made it impossible for them to be grouped with a powerhouse like Brazil or Germany. But it looks like the Russians also had a little luck on their side. In fact, by one metric, Russia’s Group A is the weakest group in modern World Cup history.Based on Elo ratings — a measure of a team’s quality that takes into account factors such margin of victory, game importance and game location — Russia’s group with Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia has an average rating of 1720, which is 98 points worse than the average of all World Cup teams. That’s the largest gap between group strength and the World Cup average for any group in the World Cup since the expansion to the modern format in 1986.1With group play and a 16-team knockout tournament; 24 teams from 1986 to 1994 and then 32 from 1998 onward. 1986BBelgiumMexicoIraqParaguay1757-45.0 Using Elo averages, no group in this next World Cup cracks the top 10 most difficult since 1986, but all are obviously tougher than Group A. Here’s a look at which teams should advance from each: The Russians avoided a whammy each time a pingpong ball was selected. After Uruguay joined them as the group’s Pot 2 team — Uruguay is middle of the pack, with an 1849 Elo rating — things really started going Russia’s way. Egypt, which has the second-weakest Elo of any team in Pot 3, was drawn, and the group was rounded out with Saudi Arabia, which has the lowest Elo in the field of 32. Compared with all of the potential ways Russia’s draw could have played out, its group ended up being among the easiest 2.2 percent of all possible combinations, according to the average Elo rating of its members.(Of course, this is even better news for Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, because they get to face Russia — the worst Pot 1 team by a wide margin — in addition to one another.)While Group A is the easiest when compared to the 2018 World Cup field, it actually doesn’t hold the claim for lowest raw score among all groups since 1986. That distinction belongs to Group F in 2010, which featured the defending champion Italy, Slovakia, Paraguay and New Zealand. No team from this group would make it past the quarterfinals.That said, Russia should stroll into the knockout stage. Indeed, FiveThirtyEight is giving Russia a 74 percent chance of advancing that far, with Uruguay followed closely behind with a 72 percent chance of reaching the knockouts. After scraping through the qualifying stages, Argentina is the clear favorite in Group D, with a 74 percent chance of advancing. But all eyes will be on Iceland, which famously beat England in the 2016 Euros on their way to the quarterfinals, to see if the country of just 330,000 people can go on another magical run. And they may be ready to shock the world again: Iceland’s chance of advancing to the knockout stage is just 33 percent, which will likely become even smaller after they face the Argentines in its first game. 2006GFranceSwitzerlandSouth KoreaTogo1732-57.2 Group F is in the mix for being this tournament’s “Group of Death” as reigning champions Germany will be joined by Mexico and Sweden. The Mexicans’ and Swedes’ qualifying chances are separated by just 3 percentage points, which is the smallest difference of any teams drawn out of Pots 2 and 3 in the same group. Rounding out the group is South Korea, which famously made it all the way to the semifinals in 2002, when they co-hosted the tournament, and currently have the third-worst SPI rating of any team traveling to Russia. The prize for second place in Group F? A possible date with Brazil in the Round of 16. Good luck. After its heartbreaking 7-1 defeat by Germany in front of its home fans in the 2014 World Cup semifinals, Brazil will be out for revenge in Russia. The way the tournament’s bracket is set up, Brazil and Germany could be on a collision course to meet in the final if they both win their respective groups. As it stands, Brazil and Germany have the highest and third-highest chances of making the final in 2018. The Polish could be the most likely team from Pot 1 to fail to qualify for the knockout stage, as they currently have the second-lowest SPI rating of any team from Pot 1. They’ll be joined by Colombia and Japan, which have a 70 percent and 49 percent chance of advancing to the knockout stage, respectively. This means that Group H is the only group that has three teams with at least a 49 percent chance of making it out of the group stage. With the Colombians ranked the ninth-best team in the tournament and the Japanese being the highest-ranked team of any from Pot 4, Poland faces one of the toughest tests of teams from Pot 1.Additional contributions from Neil Paine and Dean Strachan.CORRECTION (Dec. 4, 10:50 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Colombia’s and Japan’s chances of making it to the knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup were 2 percentage points apart. Poland’s and Japan’s are 2 percentage points apart. read more

Darned right Ohio States got something to play for

Ohio State football coach Everett Withers made light of the Buckeyes’ impending Big Ten Conference opener during a Monday press conference. “Big Ten week, huh?” OSU’s co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach said with a smile. Withers’ lightheartedness aside, there’s no mistaking that the No. 14 Buckeyes (4-0) know exactly what time of year it is. There’s also no mistaking whether the Buckeyes have anything to play for either – they do. The first team to oppose OSU in pursuit of the divisional title is Michigan State. In a meeting of the conference’s top-ranked teams, OSU will journey to East Lansing, Mich., to face No. 20 MSU (3-1) at Spartan Stadium. Preparation for Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer’s first-ever Big Ten tilt began Sunday with a “state of the union meeting” to address chasing the divisional crown. The goal of winning the Leaders Division half of the conference was first established for the Buckeyes during that meeting, Meyer said. “The first time we talked about (winning the Leaders Division) was (Sunday) in our team state of the union meeting we had and this is you have an opportunity to go win your side of the Big Ten,” Meyer said. Meyer chose to address winning the division because it was not discussed as a goal for any of the Buckeyes’ first four games against Miami (Ohio), Central Florida, California or Alabama Birmingham, he said. OSU redshirt senior defensive back Orhian Johnson said the team is focused on MSU. Meyer will handle the rest if the Buckeyes take care of business on the field, Johnson said. “You know, (winning the Leaders Division is) a possibility for us, but regardless of the situation, we’ve got a game,” Johnson said. “As long as we go out there and do what we do against Michigan State.” Meyer previously claimed to be unaware of OSU eligibility for the Leaders Division title, but some of his players, like redshirt receiver Jake Stoneburner, were aware. Stoneburner said the state of the union meeting was Meyer’s first mention of winning the division. The opportunity to win a piece of hardware during the 2012 season has given players added motivation, Stoneburner said. “I think he was finally saying that we have something to play for other than just going undefeated,” Stoneburner said. “We can win our division and I think it gives guys a little bit of hope, not that we didn’t have any in the first place, but it gives guys a little extra incentive.” Saturday’s meeting will be the teams’ first in East Lansing since 2008. Only two Buckeye players who are reshirt seniors – defensive end Nathan Williams and linebacker Etienne Sabino – played in that game, a 45-7 OSU victory. A visit to a ranked in-conference opponent is nothing to fear, Johnson said. It’s exactly the reason (players) come to OSU. “It’s definitely fun to get back in the Big Ten ball. I mean, that’s what you come here for,” Johnson said. “So we just want to come out there and lock in, and playing on the road is definitely fun. Just playing in a different atmosphere.” Senior fullback Zach Boren agreed, saying the competition is heightened at this time of year because every team understands what is at stake. “The Big Ten is always a new part of the season. It’s always a new chapter because, you know, this is a tough, physical conference,” Boren said. “The games start to matter that much more because you’re playing for conference championships.” That’s exactly the position OSU is in. The games matter more because OSU does indeed have something to play for, Meyer said. “Are we playing for something? You’re darned right we are,” Meyer said. “It’s really important here. Look around. Really important.” OSU and MSU are scheduled to kickoff their Saturday game at 3:30 p.m. Grant Gannon and Andrew Holleran contributed to this article. read more

McClair Pogba needs more consistency to become worldclass

first_imgEx-Manchester United forward Brian McClair demands more from an inconsistent, yet talented, Paul PogbaThe French midfielder scored for the fifth time in last Sunday’s 2-1 win over Everton, but continues to be criticised for his rather underwhelming performances.United fans and critics alike believe Pogba is yet to deliver the kind of displays that saw the club fork out a then-world transfer fee of £89m to Juventus.But McClair, who used to be the director of United’s youth academy, knows first-hand just how talented Pogba is.And while manager Jose Mourinho reckons his happy with Pogba’s campaign, McClair knows the United academy graduate is capable of better things.The 54-year-old feels some more consistency from Pogba could help him on his way to true greatness.“Pogba is doing pretty well at Manchester United,” McClair told ESPN.Daniel Fark, Norwich City, Premier LeagueDaniel Farke, From mid-table in the Championship to the Premier League Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Norwich City manager, Daniel Farke, has taken his team from the middle of the table in the English Championship to play with the big boys in the Premier League.“There is a bit too much social media nonsense, which is nothing to do with playing football, but Pogba has scored some important goals and played well in important games.“World-class players grab the main events, the semi-finals and finals for club and country, the biggest league games. France won the World Cup this year.“But I don’t know how many people would say that one particular player grabbed the whole thing. Pele grabbed World Cups, Garrincha and [Diego] Maradona too.“[Michel] Platini grabbed European championships. Real Madrid, with players like Cristiano Ronaldo, [Luka] Modric and Sergio Ramos, grab the most important games when it really matters.“They change games when things are going against you. Lionel Messi does the same. Cristiano did it when he was at Manchester United.“A top Manchester United player needs to be at least 7/10 every game. And in the proper big games you need to make some 10/10 appearances.”Pogba has managed five goals and four assists in 13 appearances across all competitions for United this season.last_img read more

Schopf Schalke can beat Dortmund

first_imgSchalke 04 midfielder Alessandro Schopf believes victory over a world-class team like Borussia Dortmund is possible in Saturday’s derbyFollowing last season’s second-place finish, Schalke have struggled this time around and currently find themselves only 12th in the Bundesliga table.The Royal Blues have only won four times in 13 league games this term and will now face the runaway and unbeaten leaders Dortmund this weekend.But, while he has a lot of respect for Dortmund, Schopf sees no reasons why they cannot inflict a first defeat on their rivals ahead of the Revierderby.Jadon SanchoMerson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.“Dortmund are currently a world-class team and are rightly the league leaders,” Schopf told WAZ.“It’s important for us to be defensively compact and look for our chances going forward. We want find our feet with fight and the right mentality and then play football as well.”“If we perform, we can beat Dortmund in front of our home crowd.”The Schalke and Dortmund derby will take place at the Veltins-Arena with kick-off set for 15:30 (CET).last_img read more

Solari hopes Messi plays in El Clasico

first_imgThe Real Madrid coach wants the Argentinean superstar to play for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey Semifinal.Real Madrid and Barcelona will play in the Copa del Rey Semifinal.The first leg will be played tomorrow at night at Camp Nou, while the second leg is scheduled for February 27th at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.But Barca’s superstar Lionel Messi might not play the first leg of the Semifinal, because of a thigh problem in Saturday’s 2-2 Spanish La Liga draw with Valencia.“In football, it is good for the best players to play in all games,” Solari said to ESPN as he wants Messi to play this match.“That is how it is.”When asked if the doubt over Messi’s participation will change his preparation for the match, Solari replied: “Not at all.”“Nobody is undroppable in football,” he said after being asked about Vinicius JuniorMadrid will have one less day to prepare for the match, as Barcelona played earlier in the weekend, but for Solari, that’s just something that happens in football.Gerard Pique, Neymar, BarcelonaLa Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…“I hope not, although it is curious, to say the least,” Solari said.“We do not set the calendar, which is for La Liga [authorities] to answer for. We just have to go out there and give our best.”Madrid has a very difficult month of February, as they take on Barcelona tomorrow in Copa del Rey, then on Saturday, they visit Atletico Madrid.Next week Los Blancos will play against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, and then will have two La Liga matches: against Girona and Levante.They end their February month hosting Barcelona in Copa del Rey action.🎙💬 This is what Solari had to say about tomorrow’s Clásico!#RMCopa | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/Wi3GkRrs6b— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) February 5, 2019last_img read more