FIFA Confed Cup: Portugal Through To Semifinal, Mexico Eliminate Hosts

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal progressed to last four as winners of Group A, finishing above Mexico on goal difference.

Mexico eliminated hosts Russia with a 2-1 win in Kazan to join Portugal on seven points, with Fernando Santos’ side to face the runners-up of Group B on Wednesday for a place in the July 2 final.

Copa America holders Chile lead Germany on goal difference ahead of the final round of matches in Group B, although Australia and Cameroon still harbour outside qualification hopes.

Santos fielded an attacking line-up packed with experience and resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo with Portugal still requiring a point to qualify and vying with Mexico and Russia for top spot.

Russia will probably feel they could have given more in their two defeats to Portugal and Mexico but the authorities and fans can be proud of what has been a successful event so far. Stadiums have been relatively full and there is an ease of operation around the venues. Thousands of smiling volunteers are only too happy to help.

And far from gangs of MMA fighters lying in wait for opposition fans in dark alleys, the Russian supporters have done plenty to overturn any preconceived notion travelers might have had about coming here. Russian football supporters get plenty of negative press but here they showed that characterizations in the western press are moronic.

They are couples, friends, parents and children, just like you’d find anywhere else on the continent. It’s a shame the home support has no more matches to look forward to.

FIFA confirms doping investigation into Russian players

Russia's entire 2014 World Cup squad is being examined by FIFA after allegations of suspected doping, according to a report by the Mail on Sunday, with world football's governing body confirming an investigation is ongoing.

The 23 players on the Russia team that lost in the group stages in Brazil three years ago are among at least 34 Russian footballers in the list of over 1,000 athletes listed as "people of interest" in reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on state-sponsored interference in 30 sports, according to the English newspaper.

"FIFA is still investigating the allegations made against [Russian] football players," a FIFA spokesperson told the Mail.

Russia is currently hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup in preparation to host the next World Cup in 2018.

Five of the players from the 2014 squad -- Igor Akinfeev, Denis Glushakov, Maksim Kanunnikov, Aleksandr Samedov and Yuri Zhirkov -- are in the current team, which was eliminated on Saturday following a loss to Mexico.

The Mail cited a source who said some players may have had their urine samples swapped out for clean batches regardless of whether they were involved in a doping programme.

The report comes after FIFA replaced its top two ethics officials without warning at FIFA's annual congress last month in Bahrain.

Former WADA chief Dick Pound told the Mail: "There is a huge onus on FIFA to reach a sensible conclusion on these matters before the World Cup takes place.

"It is incumbent on them to say what steps they are taking, what they find, and take whatever action necessary to protect the integrity of sport. Even within a governing body with as little credibility remaining as FIFA, if you were a senior official you wouldn't want to be part of a body that ignores this.

"There has been an institutional denial of doping in football for years ... I've seen too many presentations by FIFA, straight out of fantasy land, about how they don't have a problem. They absolutely have to take this case seriously."

STAGE EN FRANCE : Trois coureurs du FFSC-KFC à Locminé

Cédric Ramtanon, Shawn Kwoon, issus du FFSC-KFC, et Treven Ramasawmy, du VCJCC, se rendront le 5 juillet à Locminé en France pour un stage qui durera un peu plus d’un mois. Les trois coureurs ont reçu un chèque de Rs 119 000 au cours d’une cérémonie qui s’est tenue dans les locaux de KFC à Bagatelle.
À eux trois, les coureurs totalisent une douzaine de victoires depuis le début de la saison. De quoi faire pencher la balance en leur faveur au moment de la désignation de ceux qui iront se parfaire en France. « Nous prenons les meilleurs cadets et nous leur donnons l’occasion de se perfectionner », explique Jean-Philippe Lagane, vice-président de la Fédération mauricienne de cyclisme (FMC) et président de la commission cycliste au sein du Faucon Flacq.
L’idée a germé en 2012 lorsque Lagane, lui-même ancien coureur, a décidé de jouer de ses contacts pour y envoyer son fils aîné, Grégory, puis l’année suivante son fils cadet, Christopher, et Dylan Redy. « Chaque année, nous essayons d’envoyer au moins deux coureurs en France. C’est un moyen de gagner en expérience et en maturité dans des courses où il y a un peloton plus nombreux au départ », poursuit-il.
« Tous les coureurs qui y sont allés sont revenus plus aguerris », ajoute Jean-Philippe Lagane. Cette année, ils ont bénéficié du soutien de KFC, le sponsor principal du FFSC. « Je tiens à remercier notre sponsor pour son soutien indéfectible au cours de ces dernières années. » Le sponsor-titre du FFSC a cru dans le projet depuis le début. « Le partenariat entre KFC et le Faucon Flacq a porté ses fruits à tous les niveaux. »
Junaid Muslun, directeur général de KFC, s’est dit honoré de pouvoir associer sa marque au cyclisme. « On a vu que le Faucon Flacq a produit de très honorables résultats au cours de la saison. Nous sommes heureux de nous associer à cette équipe dans sa quête d’excellence et de progression. »
Pour ce déplacement, les coureurs seront logés chez Thierry et Sandrine Lantrin, qui ont déjà accueilli des coureurs mauriciens dans le passé. Shawn Kwoon, Cédric Ramatanon et Treven Ramasawmy disputeront six courses pendant leur séjour. Ils seront de retour le 10 juillet.

  • Published in Local

Gatlin wants to be part of history with Bolt in London

After years of being Usain Bolt's main rival, Justin Gatlin wants one more race with the Jamaican world record holder and for a special reason.
Bolt is retiring after his final 100 metres at August's world championships in London and Gatlin, who is competing in the U.S. trials this weekend, hopes to be in the race. "It's a part of history," said the American Olympic 100m silver medallist.
One that will be both fun and sad.
"It's going to be a changing of an era," Gatlin told Reuters. "We are going to be looking at a person who came along and made his mark and who has not only excited the crowds but he has made history over and over."
Although he has beaten Bolt only once, Gatlin said the race would also be fun. "I always wanted to battle with the guys with the records," the American said. "When I came back into the sport, my goal was to be...I said to myself 'I just want to be shoulder to shoulder with him'," Gatlin told reporters at the U.S. nationals/world trials.
The 2004 Olympic champion, Gatlin was ineligible for the 2008 Beijing Games while serving a four-year doping ban.
Bolt wipes out world records

He watched from a restaurant as Bolt wiped out world records in the 100 and 200 metres.
"It was just total respect for how fast he is, the competition he brings," the 35-year-old Gatlin said.
Since then, with Gatlin returning from his ban in 2010, they have raced nine times at 100 metres with a 2013 Diamond League win in Rome Gatlin's only victory.
While Bolt was racking up world and Olympic gold medals, Gatlin won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics followed by silver at the 2013 and 2015 world championships and at last year's Rio Games.
This season has been a struggle with various injuries, but Gatlin said it would be pleasing to be back at worlds in London. "It would be the toughest year for me," the 2005 world champion said. "But it would be an honour to get through and show the fortitude that I have."
While London will be the last race for the 30-year-old Bolt, Gatlin, more than four years older, hopes to continue running.
"That's the fun part," he told Reuters. "Now that void that Usain will leave will open the door for others to step up and be competitive. That's going to be exciting."

Doping: IPC VP says Russia has until September to conform

Russia has until September to prove it has made the necessary reforms to participate in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) presidential candidate Andrew Parsons said on Thursday.

Brazilian Parsons, an IPC vice president who unveiled his election manifesto and is the fourth presidential candidate to succeed Philip Craven in the September election, said Russia still had work to do.

"The Russian Federation and the Russian Paralympic Committee, they know the steps they have to take until September because in September we have a governing board meeting and in this meeting we can decide if we lift the suspension or not," Parsons told reporters in London.

"So, of course if we decide in September that they're not ready to come back as a full member it will be difficult for the Russian athletes to compete in Pyeongchang."

"We don't want that to happen. We want the Russian athletes back but of course what happened in Sochi (in 2014), in the lead-up to Sochi, cannot be forgotten."

Last year the independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report compiled by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren showed more than 1,000 Russian competitors across more than 30 sports were involved in an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over the course of five years.

The report provided exhaustive evidence of an elaborate doping scheme sponsored by Russia's Sports Ministry leading up to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The IPC banned the Russian Paralympic Committee from participating in the 2016 Rio Games and Parsons said there would need to be substantial evidence provided in September.

"We have to respect not only the rights of the Russian para-athletes but also the rights of all the other athletes in the world to compete on a level playing field," he said

Russia has rejected the accusations that doping took place with political support, but has pledged to reform its anti-doping structures and the World Anti-Doping Agency has noted progress.

The election for a new IPC president will take place at the IPC General Assembly on September 7-8.

Manchester United is very close to Fabinho

Mourinho is on the lookout for a wing back. That name is Fabinho, born in 1993, the Monaco player is very close to Manchester United. His future may be as a Red Devil, with after a bid of 50 million euros (bonuses inlcluded). The negotiations are underway and Fabinho's future could be in the Premier League under Mourinho's stewardship.

Mauricio Pellegrino has been appointed as the new Southampton manager on a three-year deal.

Despite guiding the Saints to eighth in the Premier League and the EFL Cup final in his first season, frustrations behind the scenes and in the stands led to Claude Puel’s sacking last week.

Southampton have acted quickly to name his successor, with former Alaves boss Pellegrino penning a contract at St Mary’s.

“I am really happy to become the new coach of Southampton Football Club,” said Pellegrino.

“The club has a great reputation for having a strong and stable structure, competing in the Premier League and playing attractive football.

“I think my philosophy and the culture of the club will work well together. We have to be a team on and off the pitch. I want to make the supporters proud of the players and to feel part of the game every week.

“I want to win matches, be successful and develop a team spirit where everyone gives 100% and supports each other.

“I am excited and passionate about what the future holds for us and look forward to meeting the players and beginning our preparation for the new season.”

Pellegrino becomes Southampton’s second Argentinian manager, with Mauricio Pochettino previously at the helm.

The 45-year-old, a former international defender, will officially join up with the club next week, in time for the start of pre-season training.

Pellegrino last season led Alaves to the Copa del Rey final in his only campaign at the helm after spells in charge of Valencia, Independiente, and Estudiantes. The former Argentina international coached under Rafael Benitez at Liverpool and Inter Milan.

Les Reed, the Saints’ vice-chairman of football, said he was impressed by his philosophy and personality.

“I am delighted that after a diligent selection process we have recruited Mauricio Pellegrino as our new first-team manager,” said Reed.

“We had an impressive list of candidates and went through a comprehensive interview process. Mauricio impressed us throughout with his depth of knowledge, motivation and ability, communicating this in a professional and passionate way.

“He has an excellent understanding of the Southampton way, and his style of play and aspiration matches the philosophy, culture, and ambition of the club.

“We firmly believe Mauricio is the right person to help us take the next steps. He knows our players and believes we have a great squad that with some fine-tuning will be able to deliver continued success.

“Mauricio believes with the quality we have we can play exciting, attacking football, taking the game to our opponents by playing a high-intensity game. He will continue to develop and introduce young players, while building on the core of experience that we have in the squad.

“During the recruitment process, Mauricio quickly became our first choice and, while he had other options, we are delighted he feels that St Mary’s is the right place for him and we believe he is the right fit for us. We are looking forward to working with Mauricio to take the club forward and achieve more success with this team.”

England U21 3-0 Poland U21: Young Lions roar into semi-finals

England roared into the European U21 Championship semi-finals after their 3-0 win over Poland was enough to finish top of Group A.

Aidy Boothroyd's side knew a victory would enough for a guaranteed place in the last four and wasted no time in getting the job done, with Demarai Gray netting with just six minutes on the clock.

England peppered the Poland goal with plenty of efforts and got their deserved cushion through further goals in the second-half from Jacob Murphy and a Lewis Baker penalty, after Tammy Abraham was taken down by Jan Bednarek, who was sent-off for a second yellow card.England will now play in Tuesday's semi-final against an opponent yet to be decided.

Egypt forward Salah joins Liverpool

Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah has completed his move to Liverpool from AS Roma, the Premier league club said on Thursday.

British media reported that Liverpool paid 34 million euros (£30 million) to sign Salah, who is returning to the Premier League two and a half years after leaving Chelsea following an unproductive 12-month spell in which he scored two goals and started six Premier League games.

“I’m very excited to be here. I’m very happy," Salah told the Liverpool website.

“I will give 100 percent and give everything for the club. I really want to win something for this club."

The 25-year-old flourished in Serie A, rediscovering the form that marked him out as one of Europe's emerging talents at Basel and persuading Chelsea to pay 11 million pounds ($14 million) for him in 2014.

After a six-month stay at Fiorentina, during which he scored six goals in his first seven games, Salah proved a major force in Roma's improved form.

He will hope to join a list of former Chelsea players, including Manchester United's Juan Mata, Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Everton's Romelu Lukaku, who have prospered after leaving Stamford Bridge.Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has been keen to add depth and quality to a squad that will face a Champions League campaign in 2017-18.

Salah will form part of a potent Liverpool attack which includes Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge, although the latter has been linked with a move away from Anfield.

Striker Dominic Solanke, who recently won the Golden Ball playing for England at the Under-20 World Cup, has also joined, from Chelsea.

Ronaldo continues scoring streak for Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo has continued his incredible scoring streak for Portugal at major tournaments after his opening goal against Russia at the Confederations Cup.

The 32-year-old has scored at every international tournament he has appeared in, and extended that to the Confederations Cup with his header against the hosts in Moscow.

Ronaldo now has 74 goals for his country, including strikes at three World Cups and four European Championships. In fact, his first international goal came at Euro 2004, when Luis Figo set him up in stoppage time against Greece, according to Goal.He netted just once at the 2006 World Cup, scoring from the penalty spot against Iran, and a single goal at Euro 2008 against Czech Republic. He scored in the 7-0 rout of North Korea at the 2010 World Cup, and three goals at Euro 2012.

The 2014 World Cup saw him score just one again, in the 2-1 win over Ghana, but he had an excellent return at Euro 2016, scoring three times as Portugal lifted the European Championship trophy for the first time.

Portugal were held to a 2-2 draw by Mexico in their opening Group A game at the Confederations Cup, with Hector Moreno grabbing a late equaliser after Cedric Soares and Ricardo Quaresma had scored for Fernando Santos’ side.

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