I played World Cup finals with back injury, says French striker Kylian Mbappe


I played World Cup finals with back injury, says French striker Kylian Mbappe

Paris: France striker Kylian Mbappe has revealed he played the World Cup semifinals and final with a back injury he hid from his rivals. In an interview with France Football magazine, Mbappe says he displaced three vertebrae in his back during the tournament in Russia three days before France defeated Belgium 1-0 in the semifinals.

France won the World Cup with a 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final. “It was essential not to alert our opponents, otherwise they could have taken advantage of that and targeted this sensitive area,” said Mbappe, who scored four goals in the tournament including one in the final.

“That’s the reason why with the staff and the players we kept it hidden, even for the final.” The 19-year-old Mbappe was one of the stars of the tournament and picked up the award for the best young player at the World Cup. He became the youngest player to score two goals in a World Cup game since Pele in 1958, and also became the first teenager since Pele to score in a World Cup final.

Mbappe, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the French league, also told the magazine he hopes he can be a contender for the Golden Ball award alongside his PSG teammate Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.




Asia Cup 2018: Defending champions India to face Pakistan on September 19; read full schedule


Asia Cup 2018: Defending champions India to face Pakistan on September 19; read full schedule

Dubai: Defending champions India will face arch-rivals Pakistan on September 19, the day after the Virat Kohli-led side open their Asia Cup 2018 campaign against a yet-to-be-confirmed qualifier here, the ICC announced the schedule late on Tuesday.

Bangladesh will take on Sri Lanka in the opener of the biennial tournament that runs from September 15 to 28, according to a statement from the International Cricket Council (ICC). India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are all confirmed participants, with the remaining spot still up for grabs amongst hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Oman, Nepal, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Group A consists of India, Pakistan and the qualifier while Group B comprises of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super 4 and two teams will then play the final on September 28 here.


 
Asia Cup 2018 full schedule

Group Stage

15 Sept – BAN vs SRL (Dubai) 
16 Sept – PAK vs Qualifier (Dubai) 
17 Sept – SRL vs AFG (Abu Dhabi) 
18 Sept – IND vs Qualifier (Dubai) 
19 Sept – IND vs PAK (Dubai)
20 Sept- BAN vs AFG (Abu Dhabi)

Super Four
21 Sept – Group A Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Dubai)
21 Sept – Group B Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
23 Sept- Group A Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Dubai)
23 Sept – Group B Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
25 Sept – Group A Winner vs Group B Winner (Dubai)
26 Sept – Group A Runner-up vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Final
28 Sept – Asia Cup 2018 Final (Dubai)




Tamim Iqbal smashes century to bag victory for Bangladesh by 48 runs against West Indies in 1st ODI


Tamim Iqbal smashes century to bag victory for Bangladesh by 48 runs against West Indies in 1st ODI

Providence: A record double-century partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Shakib al Hasan paved the way as Bangladesh bounced back from their Test series drubbing with a 48-run win over West Indies in their opening one-day international on Sunday.

Man-of-the-Match Tamim blasted an unbeaten 130, the highest by a Bangladeshi in ODIs against the West Indies, while Shakib weighed in with 97 a second-wicket partnership of 207. Captain Mashrafe Mortaza then led the way with the ball in taking four for 37 as the hosts were limited to 231 for nine in reply.

 
“It was important for us to make a strong statement here after the way we played in the Tests,” Mashrafe said after the victory at Guyana’s National Stadium. “This ground has been a happy one for us over the years and we are looking now to clinch the series in the next match on Wednesday.” West Indies were on course to seriously challenge the target with Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer at the crease.


However when Gayle was run out for 40 and Hetmyer fell to Mustafizur Rahman for a topscore of 52 the innings went into freefall and an entertaining unbroken last-wicket stand of 59 between Devendra Bishoo and Alzarri Joseph merely delayed the inevitable.

Smarting from the annihilation endured over the two Tests, both of which ended inside three days, Bangladesh immediately found the less challenging circumstances of ODI cricket more to their liking. “For those of us who were involved in the Test series it mattered to us to come out here fighting and I am glad we did that,” Tamim said. Mushfiqur Rahim also belted 30 off just 11 deliveries and made a significant difference to his side’s innings in the final overs.


 
His late assault contributed to 43 runs being taken off the last two overs — the most productive ever for Bangladesh in their ODI history — off the bowling of Jason Holder and Andre Russell. For Holder it represented a turnaround from earlier in the morning, when he removed opening batsman Anamul Haque for a duck in his opening over after Mortaza chose to bat first.

Tamim then found a resolute partner in Shakib as they set about the task of preventing the sort of batting capitulation that was repeatedly evident in the Test matches. Their cause was assisted considerably by sloppy West Indies catching. Tamim was missed on 17 and 20 while Shakib was let off on 15 and 85. They made the home side pay dearly for those lapses. Shakib’s luck eventually ran out when three runs short of the landmark. Their partnership was the highest for any wicket in ODI’s at Providence.

“We didn’t help ourselves at all with poor work in the field and our death bowling wasn’t the best either,” Holder said. “We need to redouble our efforts and come back for what is now a must-win situation for us.” Shakib’s dismissal and the swift demise of Sabbir Rahman turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Bangladesh as Mushfiqur launched into the bowling almost immediately while also stirring Tamim into life.


He struck consecutive sixes off Russell in the last over of the innings although it could not change the fact that his innings – 130 not out off 160 balls with ten fours and three sixes – was the slowest-ever hundred in ODI’s by a Bangladeshi.




‘Miraitowa’ and ‘Someity’: Japan reveals mascots for Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games


‘Miraitowa’ and ‘Someity’: Japan reveals mascots for Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Tokyo: Japan on Sunday unveiled the names of its mascots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively. “Miraitowa”, a blue and white checked character will appear at the Olympic Games, while “Someity”, a pink and white checked character will be seen at the Paralympic Games, CNN reported.

The organisers of Tokyo 2020 Games also shared pictures of the two creatures on Twitter. “??It’s official! The name of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot is #MIRAITOWA and #SOMEITY as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games mascot! Comment down below and Say Hi to our official mascots!” the organisers tweeted.


 
Miraitowa, when broken into two Japanese words, means future (mirai) and eternity (towa), while Someity is named after the cherry blossom variety “Someiyoshino” that is grown in Japan. In December last year, the organisers of Tokyo 2020 Games had released a list of mascot pairs and asked Japanese schoolchildren in the country and Japanese schools outside Japan to choose the best mascots.


Over 16,700 schools had participated in the voting process, as per the report. In February, the two futuristic creatures were unveiled without names. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 24 to August 9, while the Paralympics are slated to take place from August 25 to September 6.




Sri Lanka batsman Danushka Gunathilaka suspended over charges of misconduct


Sri Lanka batsman Danushka Gunathilaka suspended over charges of misconduct

Colombo: Batsman Danushka Gunathilaka has been suspended over a misconduct charge in the middle of Sri Lanka’s second Test against South Africa, the country’s cricket board said today. The 27-year-old opener will be barred from all forms of the game pending the outcome of an investigation, the board said, without specifying the alleged misconduct. The suspension will go into effect after the Test is concluded in Colombo, it added.

The board will also “withhold Gunathilaka’s fee for the ongoing Test match until the outcome of the inquiry”, it said. The batsman scored 57 and 61 runs in the second and final Test, with Sri Lanka on track for a series whitewash after trouncing the visitors in Galle last week. 

South Africa were 5/139 chasing an impossible-looking 490 target at close of play on Sunday. Another member of Sri Lanka’s Test squad, leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay, was on Friday given a suspended one-year ban from international cricket after pleading guilty to misconduct during last month’s tour of the West Indies.




FIFA World Cup 2018: Midfield still a problem, but can forwards carry Brazil to win?


FIFA World Cup 2018: Midfield still a problem, but can forwards carry Brazil to win?

Samara: So can Brazil go all the way in this World Cup? Their win against Mexico in the Samara Arena took them one step closer to the title they haven’t won since 2002, but still left some questions to be answered. Once again, the Brazilians made it clear that their attacking trio of Willian, Gabriel Jesus and Neymar, with Philipe Coutinho in close attendance can cause damage if they get the ball, but the key word is ‘if’, reports Xinhua news agency.

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“We had 21 chances, it was a great game and I really enjoyed it. Our transitions were really quick,” said Brazil coach Tite after their 2-0 defeat of Mexico on Monday night and he was half right. In the first 45 minutes against Mexico, Brazil again struggled to get the ball to their best players on a regular basis, due partly to a pragmatic midfield of Casemiro and Paulinho.

Casemiro performs the holding role he has adapted to so well at Real Madrid, but at Real Madrid he is accompanied by Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, two of the best passers in the game, while with Brazil he is accompanied by Paulinho. Paulinho has had a good season with FC Barcelona, where his ability to break into the box and score key goals was important, but that doesn’t make him one of the great passers in the game.

Image result for FIFA World Cup 2018: Midfield still a problem, but can forwards carry Brazil to win?

In the past Brazil would have had Dani Alves and Marcelo tearing upfield from full back, but injury ruled Alves out of the tournament and a hotel mattress (apparently) saw Marcelo start on the bench against Mexico. His replacement Felipe Luis usually is more solid defensively and gets forward well but has just come back from a broken leg, while, Fagner, who played on the right is no Alves. As a result Brazil struggled to play the ball out as long as Mexico were able to maintain their pressure high up the field and had Mexico been a bit sharper upfront or maybe had a bit more faith, they could have made them pay.

You wonder whether a Belgium with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazzard and Kevin de Bruyne or France with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud would be quite as unforgiving.What can Tite do to change things? Marcelo should be back for the quarterfinals. While the inclusion of Fernandinho, who had a good season with Manchester City, may offer more fluidity than Paulinho, although Casemiro’s suspension means that Paulinho will probably keep his place.

When Mexico tired Brazil created enough chances to have won by more than 2-0. But those first 45 minutes just leave that seed of doubt that against a really top side things might be different.

AGENCY 




FIFA World Cup 2018, France vs Peru preview: France to ramp up intensity against Peru


FIFA World Cup 2018, France vs Peru preview: France to ramp up intensity against Peru

Yekaterinburg: With their title rivals failing to fire, France have vowed to ramp up the intensity and put their stamp on the World Cup with victory over Peru here tomorrow.

Didier Deschamps’s team were far from fluid against Australia in their opening game in Russia, needing VAR (the Video Assistant Referee) and consequent Antoine Griezmann penalty, then an own goal about 10 minutes from time, to snatch a 2-1 win. But, while unconvincing, a French side featuring a misfiring front three of the usually prolific Griezmann and starlets Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele at least avoided embarrassment.

With holders Germany losing to Mexico and Spain, Argentina and Brazil all drawing their opening games, the Peru clash is a prime opportunity for the French to stake their claim as the team to beat in Russia.
“We took stock of what was done well or not so well and all agree that we will have to increase our physical intensity and improve our attitude in general,” Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, the France vice-captain, said yesterday.

“Other teams (among the favourites) did not win or even lost. We won, but we know that there are things to improve on. We know what direction we need to go in.” Deschamps, a World Cup winner as a player in 1998, has an impressive selection of forwards to choose from and could give Olivier Giroud a start.

Talking to the press ahead of the Group C game in Yekaterinburg, the most eastern city at this World Cup, Varane leapt to the defence of Mbappe, who faded after a strong start against Australia.

“This is a player that is 19 years old and who did what few or no players did (in playing for France at such a young age). He has a lot of talent,” said Varane, 25.

The defender also backed Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, who struggled for consistency in the Premier League last season and at times found himself on the bench. Pogba, 25, told French television at the weekend that he was “the most criticised player in the world”.

“Not bitter,” was Varane’s assessment of Pogba, before adding to the press: “If you could be a little bit more positive as well, that would be cool.” France’s talented but young squad will be favourites against a Peru side beaten 1-0 by Denmark in their opener.

But Peru, backed by their vocal fans who have travelled in numbers, were the better side for long spells against the Danes and missed a golden opportunity to go in front when Christian Cueva ballooned his penalty over Kasper Schmeichel’s crossbar.

Another defeat for Peru, who will again be sporting their distinctive red sash shirts, could spell the end of their hopes of reaching the knockout rounds, in their first World Cup since 1982.

The 34-year-old striker Paolo Guerrero, who won a late reprieve to play in Russia after his drugs ban was overturned, came on for the last 30 minutes against Denmark and Peru’s all-time leading goalscorer looks likely to start.




IPL 2018, Match 35: FPJ’s Dream XI for Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore


IPL 2018, Match 35: FPJ’s Dream XI for Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore

MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) who lost their last three games will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The top concern for CSK is their bowling which doesn’t look to subside anytime soon. CSK are second on the points table and are on the edge to make it to the playoffs once again. This season, CSK have been involved in some dramatic finishes. The last time CSK met RCB, they managed to pick up an easy win at Bengaluru. Here are the probable dream XI for the Super Kings:

CSK: Shane Watson, Faf Du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar.

On the other hand, RCB has pulled up their socks in the last encounter against Mumbai Indians which they won by 14-runs. But the job for RCB is not yet done. In eight matches, they have only managed to win only three, and now they need to win all their remaining matches to make it through the playoffs. The good news for RCB is that their explosive batsman AB de Villiers has recovered from his illness and will be added to the playing XI against CSK. RCB will be eager to exploit the recent setbacks CSK have faced and will look to bring a more confident side to challenge the home side. But they still would need to be cautious considering the tremendous batting line-up at CSK’s disposal. Here we see the probable dream XI for the Royal Challengers:


RCB: Brendon McCullum, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Corey Anderson, Mandeep Singh, Mohammad Siraj, Manan Vohra, Washington Sundar, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav.




IPL 2018: 5 Talking points from Mumbai Indians’ win over Kings XI Punjab


IPL 2018: 5 Talking points from Mumbai Indians’ win over Kings XI Punjab

Defending champions Mumbai Indians kept their campaign alive with a win over Kings XI Punjab by six wickets at Indore on Friday. Mumbai, who have struggled right throughout the tournament won key phases of the game and would now look to string together a couple of wins to get some momentum at the business end of the tournament.

5 talking points from Mumbai’s win:

1. Rahul-Gayle stitching together another 50 run partnership:

AFP Photo

Chris Gayle and KL Rahul are having a wonderful tournament and both of them again gave Punjab a wonderful start and added 54 runs for the first wicket. Gayle, who likes to attack and take down opposition was kept quiet by Jasprit Bumrah, but on the other hand, Rahul played with positive intent and this partnership has allowed Punjab’s middle order some breathing room.

2. Is Yuvraj Singh playing his last IPL?:

AFP Photo

India’s foremost one day player and winner of 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup (man of the tournament) is currently going through a really rough patch. After getting dropped in the last game, Yuvraj made a comeback and batted at No 3, but struggled for timing and fluency and could only score 14 off 14 balls before being run out.

It would be very sad if this turns out to be Yuvraj’s last IPL, but time and tide wait for none and every legend has to take a call on his career at the right time.

3. Jasprit Bumrah proving his worth:

File Photo

Indian speedster Jasprit Bumrah is not having a great tournament by his lofty standards and has been guilty of being expensive in the death overs. But on Friday, Bumrah brought his A game and only gave away 19 runs in four overs and picked up a wicket. Bumrah had to ball against a rampaging Gayle and kept him quiet and this augurs well for Mumbai that Bumrah is bowling at his best.

4. Punjab bowlers keeping Mumbai in check:

AFP Photo

Kings XI Punjab’s bowling attack has been doing the job with limited resources and on a small Indore ground, KXIP bowlers almost won the game for their side. Punjab struck at regular intervals and if it weren’t for Krunal Pandya-Rohit Sharma partnership in the end then Punjab might have been on the winning side.

5. Krunal Pandya clinching it for Mumbai:

PTI Photo

Mumbai Indians in this tournament have lost quite a few matches and their big signing players have failed to perform. Krunal Pandya, who is more known as Hardik Pandya’s brother came to the party and alongside Rohit Sharma won the game for Mumbai.

Pandya scored a quickfire 31 off 12 balls and was there till the end. Pandya has been a utility player for Mumbai in the last couple of years and playing a match-winning knock will boost his confidence.




Sandesh Prasannakumar preparing for Thailand Superbike Championship 2018


Sandesh Prasannakumar preparing for Thailand Superbike Championship 2018

Sandesh Prannakumar is an arduous, meticulous and speed loving bike racer. Although it was not decided that he will be a bike racer one day, he was destined to be one. His inclination towards sports was however quite evident since his childhood. He even played Zonals under 14 cricket for a year and opted out as India’s most popular sport couldn’t hold his interest for long.

It was after he received a bike on his 20th birthday that he fell in love with speed and there was no looking back since then. Matching up to his dreams, he won his debut motorbike race in 2011 named Nandi Hill climb. Then he didn’t know that he was the champion in the making who will one day become the first Indian to do a Lap Record in Buddh International Circuit in the year 2015.

Winner of JK Tyre Superbike Cup race (2016), Sandesh Prasannakumar has also finished podium 3rd at Malaysia Superbike Championship (2015) in Superstock 1000cc category. This was his maiden international race. Earlier, he also finished a runner-up in the Yamaha One make championship in 2012 and got selected in Underbone Race (Indonesia).

Sandesh has his belts tightly fastened to pump up his motorcycle in Thailand Superbike Championship in superbike category which is supposed to be the toughest championship in Asia in motorcycle racing. No Indian has participated in Thailand Championship on a 1000cc yet. Challenging himself further, he also looks forward to a wild card entry in Asia Supermoto championship which is scheduled to be held in Bangalore, India. He will also participate in the JK Tyre National Superbike Cup which will be held in Delhi.

Sandesh Prasannakumar believes that fitness, zeal, rigorous training and undying passion for the sport together can make one a winner no matter how hard the competition.




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