How 15 Minutes of Downtime a Day Has Changed OSU’s Season

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. What can you do in 15 minutes? Actually the question is probably, what can you not do in 15 minutes if you’re Oklahoma State? For Mike Gundy, this season, the answer is “practice.”Gundy has long been on the cutting edge of tapering practice time and limiting hits on Sunday-Friday to keep his teams fresh for Saturdays. It’s a big deal to him, and it has seemed to be something that works. He said on Saturday he has taken that to the next level this year.“Last year we got beat up and got a little tired,” said Gundy on Saturday. “But we also didn’t play very well. We got out of position last year. We got out of position against good teams which makes it really bad. We’ve adjusted our practice routine this year. We’re considerably less overall. I think it paid off for us today.“Actual on-field time … we’re about 14 hours less of actual on-field practice time cumulative now than we were this time last year. Now you say, ‘it doesn’t seem like a lot.’ Well it does if it’s 15 minutes a day, four days a week. You add it up give or take and we’re about 14 hours less on the field. Knock on wood, it’s helped us from an injury standpoint. And our players seem like they’re fresh. But their attitude is tremendous.”This is very smart, and it does seem like it has added up. Of course OSU is also facing fewer plays per game on defense this year than last year and not playing those insane 100-play games like it did in 2015. Through 11 games in 2016, OSU’s defense has faced 76 plays per game. Through 11 games in 2015, it had faced 79 a game.Combine this with the practice time with the fact that, let’s be honest, OSU has gotten a little lucky with injuries this season (and it is also a deeper unit on defense), and now you’re on the precipice of your second Big 12 title in six seasons.Mike Gundy: time-management guru. Who knew?last_img read more

Sneijder retires from Netherlands duty

first_imgWesley Sneijder Sneijder retires from Netherlands duty after Koeman meeting Joe Wright 19:50 4/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) wesley sneijder - cropped Getty Images Netherlands Al Gharafa Stars League World Cup With the new man at the helm eager to bring young players into the Dutch set-up, a man with 133 caps to his name has agreed to step aside Wesley Sneijder has retired from Netherlands duty, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has announced.The 33-year-old agreed to walk away from international football following a meeting with head coach Ronald Koeman.”Wesley is one of the best Dutch footballers of recent years,” Koeman said via the KNVB’s official website. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “But I want to build a new Oranje and I have to make some decisions.”Sneijder, who joined Al Gharafa in January, admits the move to Qatar was always likely to bring his international career to an end.”When I left for Qatar, I knew of course that this could have an impact on my career as an international,” he said.”I also understand that Koeman wants to make a new start with younger players. We spoke very openly about this and it was a very pleasant conversation.”I respect his choice.”Sneijder made his senior Netherlands debut in a friendly against Portugal in April 2003.The midfielder went on to make a record 133 appearances, breaking the previous highest tally of 130 set by retired goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.He won the Silver Ball and Bronze Boot for his performances in the 2010 World Cup, when he inspired Netherlands to the final, where they lost 1-0 to Spain.last_img read more

Rangers must be sh***ing it for Celtic – Sutton

first_imgRangers v Celtic Rangers must be sh***ing themselves for Old Firm clash – Sutton Robin Bairner 21:54 10/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Daniel Candeias Kieran Tierney Celtic Rangers Getty Images Rangers v Celtic Premiership Rangers Celtic The former England striker believes that the Bhoys will be fired up and ready to take the Ibrox club down a peg or two Chris Sutton believes that a few Rangers players will be sh***ing themselves ahead of Sunday’s Old Firm meeting with Celtic.The Gers have closed the gap on the Bhoys at the summit of the Scottish Premiership table to six points and could move to within three of their great rivals if they were to win the fixture at Ibrox, albeit having played a game more. It is a match that Graeme Murty’s side seem to feel they have a strong chance in, given their celebration that greeted the Scottish Cup semi-final draw, which also paired Glasgow’s two biggest clubs for a showdown in mid-April. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sutton, though, believes that was little more than bluster.“I’d ask the question, were they cheering because they were happy with the draw – or was it a total bluff?” he wrote in his column for the Daily Record.“Come on. The closer we get to kick-off the more reality will kick in. They will be s****ing themselves when they go to bed tonight.”Having won nine of their last 10 games, their confidence is up, but Sutton believes the actions of the Ibrox club will only inspire Brendan Rodgers’ men.“I would have loved to have heard that stuff when I was a player. It would only make me even more determined to ram it right back down their throats,” he said.“I’d see this as a brilliant opportunity. Deep down I’d be thinking, this is a chance to prove you’re not really up to much – and we’re going to bash you.“The motivation for Celtic should come from the fact they’ve not been very good this season and it’s about time they did something about it.“But the ridiculous stuff from the Rangers dressing room only cranks it up a notch.”Although Rangers held Celtic to a scoreless draw in the New Year derby match, they have not beaten their cross-city rivals over 90 minutes since March 25, 2012.last_img read more

PAOK president’s gun invasion sparks suspension

first_imgPAOK PAOK president invading pitch with gun leads to Greek Superleague being suspended Dom Farrell Last updated 1 year ago 22:52 12/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments() Paok president Ivan Savvidis PAOK Super League 1 PAOK v AEK Athens AEK Athens Premier League Ivan Savvidis entered the field armed with a gun towards the end of Sunday’s clash with AEK Athens, with top-flight football having now been shut down The Greek Superleague has been suspended indefinitely following the remarkable scenes that forced Sunday’s title clash between PAOK and AEK Athens to be ended early.PAOK president Ivan Savvidis entered the field with his security team to confront the referee after his side had an 89th-minute goal from Fernando Varela ruled out for offside with the score at 0-0.Images taken on the pitch showed Savvidis apparently carrying a gun in a holster during the chaos that followed, with players and officials eventually leaving the field. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp The match was abandoned two hours later and, although PAOK tweeted to claim a 1-0 win, the goalless draw was upheld, meaning the hosts remain five points shy of AEK in third and winless in their past three games.When they will have the opportunity to remedy that slump is now anyone’s guess after Deputy Minister of Sport George Vassiliadis announced all matches would be suspended until further notice.”We will not allow the phenomena of the past to be resurrected, assuming the political cost where necessary,” he said after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, having pledged to make “bold decisions” on the matter earlier on Monday.”The most important thing is the rules that apply to everyone. We decided to discontinue the championship.”Controversy has marred Greek football over recent years.The Greek Government has taken the decision to suspend the Greek Championship until further notice— Hellas Football (@Hellas_Football) March 12, 2018 Games were suspended in all divisions after referee’s chief Giorgos Bikas was the victim of an arson attack in November 2016, while investigations into a match-fixing scandal that came to light in 2011 remain ongoing.Two weeks ago, PAOK’s home game with Olympiacos was abandoned before kick-off when visiting coach Oscar Garcia was struck by an object thrown from the stands. PAOK were initially docked three points but overturned the decision on appeal.”For three years now, the government has fought to redeem path of football,” Vassiliadis continued.”In the next few hours we will start meeting with the federation and the league. We are in open communication with UEFA and will not restart unless there is an agreed framework from everyone to move forward with terms and rules.”We are continuing the battle for transparency and better football. Everything is on the table.”We are waiting for the proposals from the federation and the league. We’re on an indefinite interruption. We are expecting a new framework of rules.”UEFA and FIFA have both condemned the events at PAOK versus AEK but maintain any disciplinary measures to be imposed fall under the jurisdiction of the Greek Football Federation (HFF).last_img read more

When are the UCL and UEL quarter-final draws?

first_imgUEFA Champions League When are the Champions League and Europa League quarter-final draws? Goal Last updated 1 year ago 15:30 16/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(6) Arsenal Milan UEFA Champions League UEFA Europa League Lazio Porto Milan Lokomotiv Moskva Salzburg Real Madrid Borussia Dortmund Bayern München Athletic Club Beşiktaş PSG Dynamo Kyiv Manchester United RB Leipzig CSKA Moskva Liverpool Basel Manchester City Juventus Tottenham Hotspur Sevilla Roma Shakhtar Donetsk Chelsea Barcelona Arsenal Atlético Madrid Olympique Lyonnais Viktoria Plzeň Sporting CP Olympique Marseille Zenit As we head into the latter stages of the tournaments, Goal brings you everything you need to know ahead of the draws The full complement of teams to take their place in the Champions League and Europa League quarter-finals is now known.A total of 16 teams have secured safe passage to the last eight of each competition, with the Europa League last-16 clashes coming to an end just one day prior to the draw on Friday.Here, Goal takes a look at everything you need to know ahead of the Champions League and Europa League draws for the quarter-finals. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp When is the Champions League quarter-final draw? Champions League drawThe Champions League quarter-final draw will take place Friday, March 16 at 11:00 GMT (06:00 ET) .It will happen at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, and fans will be able to follow it via live stream on UEFA’s official website as well as being able to follow the latest news on Goal.The first legs will be played on April 3 and 4, with the return legs taking place a week later on April 10 and 11. How does the Champions League quarter-final draw work?Unlike previous draws, there are no restrictions on which clubs can draw one another.So, should Barcelona reach the next round, for example, a Clasico matchup against Real Madrid could be on the cards.Which teams are in the Champions League quarter-finals? Real Madrid secured their spot by beating Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain in both legs of their tie; Zinedine Zidane’s side picked up a 3-1 home victory before beating PSG 2-1 in the return leg. Joining Real in the last eight of the competition will be Premier League duo Liverpool, whose 5-0 victory at Porto in the first leg of their double-header was enough to see them through, and Manchester City, who progressed past FC Basel with an aggregate score of 5-2.Tottenham, however, were beaten 2-1 by Juventus at Wembley in the second meeting between the two clubs, meaning the Italian champions squeezed into the next round with a 4-3 aggregate scoreline.Manchester United were knocked out following a 2-1 defeat at home to Sevilla, while Roma progressed at the expense of Shakhtar Donetsk thanks to away goals.On Wednesday, Barcelona were inspired by Lionel Messi’s double in seeing off the challenge of Chelsea, sealing a 4-1 aggregate victory at Camp Nou.There were no surprises, meanwhile, in Istanbul, as Bayern completed an 8-1 drubbing of Besiktas to advance once more. Confirmed Teams Real Madrid Liverpool Manchester City Juventus Sevilla Roma Barcelona Bayern Munich When is the Europa League quarter-final draw? The Europa League quarter-final draw will be made at 12:00 GMT (07:00 ET) on Friday, March 16.The first leg of the quarter-final ties will take place on Thursday, April 5, with the reverse fixtures to be played a week later on Thursday April 12.Which teams are in the Europa League quarter-finals? Ramsey celeb Milan ArsenalThe likes of Atletico Madrid and Arsenal marched into the quarter finals with dominant wins on Thursday.Atletico saw off Lokomotiv Moscow in an 8-1 aggregate victory, while the Gunners’ class held out against AC Milan as they advanced thanks to a 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium. Borussia Dortmund, however, were not so lucky, falling in a big upset at the hands of Austria’s RB Salzburg; their neighbours, and fellow Red Bull side, RB Leipzig kept the German flag flying by seeing off Zenit. Lazio are the only Italian team left, while France’s Marseille, Sporting of Portugal and CSKA Moscow represent their respective nations. Curiously, the eight quarter-finalists hail from eight different nations, while only four countries will be on display in the Champions League quarter-finals. Confirmed Teams Atletico Madrid CSKA Salzburg Arsenal Lazio RB Leipzig Marseille Sportinglast_img read more

Notebook: Jelani Woods on Offensive Involvement, and OL Reshuffles

first_imgSTILLWATER — This season of Cowboy football has brought plenty of talking points.From Chuba Hubbard’s rampant pace, a young but promising gunslinger, an experienced offensive line and an inexperienced defensive line, things certainly aren’t boring.Members of the Oklahoma State football team met with the media after practice Tuesday before the Cowboys bout with Kansas State this weekend. Here are a few of the topics that were discussed.Woods Not Concerned with Lack of Targets to this PointJelani Woods has been a fan-favorite since his move from quarterback to tight end, but he hasn’t appeared much on the stat sheet in his redshirt sophomore season.Until Saturday, when Woods made his first two catches of the season. Woods’ two snags were good for 22 yards against Texas. Although Woods is just getting in on the passing game this season, he has been impressive in his progression as a blocker.On Tuesday, Woods said it was fun to get involved in the passing game, but it isn’t all that he’s after.“I was pretty happy about it, but it really didn’t mean too much to me,” Woods said. “I got a lot of opportunities, just different teams play different coverages. So, of course I’m not going to get it always, so I’m not really upset about that or anything.”Woods was also involved in the controversial fake field-goal attempt. It didn’t work, but Woods touched on the topic a bit Thursday.“I was pretty excited on the inside because I was like, ‘It’s time to make a play,’” Woods said. “I was pretty excited. I’ve watched multiple times just to see what I could do better the make that play work.”Tuihalamaka Making StridesSamuela Tuihalamaka is leading OSU’s interior defensive linemen in tackles four games in, and most of those have come in the past two weeks.A redshirt freshman from Riverside, California, Tuihalamaka had only two tackles entering the Tulsa game, but he’s had 10 total tackles in the past two games. His 12 tackles this season rank ninth on the team and is second among all defensive linemen. However, Brock Martin is the only other D-lineman ahead of Tuihalamaka, and Martin sometimes lines up as a linebacker.“I kinda got a grip of it,” Tuihalamaka said. “I had guidance from the older guys like Cam Murray, Brendon Evers, Brock, Michael Scott, all them guys that played and a couple other guys back then like Enoch (Smith), Darrion (Daniels), all them guys. They kinda showed me the ropes a little bit.”Marcus Keyes Talks Offensive Line ShuffleDylan Galloway left the Texas game with an injury, and it forced some reshuffling for the Cowboys up front.Teven Jenkins filled Galloway’s spot at left tackle. Bryce Bray moved from right guard to right tackle. Then Ry Schneider came in and filled Bray’s open guard spot. Galloway’s status heading into Saturday is unknown.“Dylan, he’s doing his treatment; he’s going to try to come back as fast as possible,” Marcus Keyes said. “We’re going to do better as an offensive line to get everybody rolling.”The Texas game wasn’t an outstanding performance for OSU’s O-line. Star running back Chuba Hubbard couldn’t find many of the lanes he has found in recent weeks, as on 37 attempts, Hubbard averaged only 3.3 yards per carry.“We just need to finish our blocks more,” Keyes said. “That’s all we need to do. We just need to come off and finish, don’t let people cross our face. That’s all.” While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

SPORTS LEADERSHIP GRANT FOR WOMEN IN MEDIA SECURED

first_img In conjunction with the TFA Media Coordinator plan and coordinate a state affiliate media program to train, educate and up-skill affiliates on media generation and publication. Develop state and affiliate media networks and disseminate this amongst the affiliates Touch Football Australia has secured a grant from the Australian Sports Commission to assist with a Media Training Scholarship program in the latest round of Sports Leadership Grants for Women. The Media Training Scholarship program is an ideal opportunity to recognise the roles that women volunteers play in the sport and reward specific individuals with additional training and professional development in the sport.Touch Football Australia Member Services Coordinator, Nathan Hollman is excited by the scope the program will offer women who wish to persue level entry media training/marketing training.“Touch Footbll Australia is delighted to be able to provide this opportunity to women who aspire to become employed, or broaden their skill set in the media/marketing area. The sport will benefit immensely from this initiative and we look forward to being able to capitilize on this program in the future promotion and marketing of the sport.” Hollman said.As part of the allocated funding, TFA will be coordinating a two day media training induction program in conjunction with the Australian Sports Commission and the University of Canberra’s Sports Media training department on the 26 – 27 February 2007.Applications will close on the 8th December with the successful candidates commencing the role in February 2007.Any enquiries, or access to the Position Description needs to be directed to the relevant State Office.Each State will seek applicants for the scholarships and the main areas of position responsibility will be to: Encourage and up skill local affiliates on development of their affiliate media promotion Encourage and promote relationship building with their local media contacts last_img read more

Beach to Brazil captain: Marcelo living the dream

first_imgWorld Cup From beach football to Brazil captain: Marcelo living World Cup dream Iain Strachan 02:59 6/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Marcelo Brazil Getty World Cup Brazil Brazil v Switzerland Switzerland Marcelo The Real Madrid defender will be immensely proud to wear the armband when the Selecao begin their Russia 2018 campaign against Switzerland Real Madrid star Marcelo says captaining Brazil at the World Cup will see him realise the ultimate childhood dream.The 30-year-old full-back is set to skipper the Selecao when they face Switzerland in a Group E clash in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday.Brazil are among the favourites to win the finals in Russia, with an expectant nation hoping Tite’s side can seal the country’s sixth World Cup triumph. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the pressure weighing down on the players, Marcelo is embracing his prestigious role.”It’s something I like about leadership, I feel I can transmit it to the group,” he said.”Everybody contributes to the group. I’m 30 years old and everything you go through in football, you take something from it. “Way back as a child playing football on the beach, you dream of being a player representing your national team on the big stage – and now I get to be the captain. “It’s something money can’t buy.” Ahead of their campaign beginning this weekend, Brazil have been unable to escape reminders of a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals of the tournament on home soil four years ago.Marcelo, though, is adamant he does not dwell on the extraordinary thrashing in Belo Horizonte.”These are things that happen in football,” he said.”Of course I wish it were different. There’s no trauma, if there was trauma I wouldn’t play football any more, I would have retired. “I look for a goal and I try to keep my focus on it. The World Cup is another challenge, tomorrow there’s another one. “To not get hurt is one, to train without pain is a challenge, to change from my club to the national team. Life is made up of challenges. “There’s no trauma. Even the good things don’t go to my head and I don’t let the bad things affect me.”last_img read more

Tite: Neymar ready to shine for Brazil

first_imgWorld Cup ‘Neymar is ready to shine for Brazil’ – Tite sounds warning to World Cup rivals Iain Strachan 01:56 6/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Neymar Brazil 2018 Getty Images World Cup Brazil Brazil v Switzerland Switzerland Neymar Brazil coach Tite has said Neymar is yet to return to peak condition, but expects the forward to make an early impact at the World Cup. Neymar is yet to reach 100 per cent in his recovery from a broken foot but is poised to star for Brazil at the World Cup, according to head coach Tite.The 26-year-old forward, the world’s most expensive player following his €222 million (£194m/$258m) switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last year, sustained a fractured metatarsal in February, placing his World Cup participation in some doubt.The former Santos attacker made a scoring return to action in friendly wins over Croatia and Austria prior to Brazil’s arrival in Russia, where they will take on Switzerland in their Group E opener in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar And while Neymar still has work to do to get back to his very best level, Tite believes he is still capable of exerting a decisive impact as Brazil go in search of a sixth World Cup triumph. “Neymar is not 100 per cent yet,” he told a news conference at Rostov Arena. “But he is very privileged physically, his sprinting capacity and his speed is really impressive, he hasn’t lost that. He’s not 100 per cent yet. But he’s good enough to play very well.”It remains to be seen who Tite chooses to play alongside Neymar in attack, with the coach refusing to confirm Chelsea’s Willian will be part of the expected three-man frontline.  “Well, you’re going to see this on the pitch, it changes, it gets stronger, it shows itself,” he said of his preferred XI, as Gabriel Jesus, Douglas Costa and Roberto Firmino also vie to feature from kick-off. “With 23 top athletes, today yes [Willian could start], but I can’t say about tomorrow, I don’t know what could happen, if you have a physical problem… I would like him to play a lot but he has to prove himself.” After suffering a crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals of the previous World Cup on home soil, Brazil also underwhelmed in the Copa America, a group-stage exit in 2016 ending Dunga’s second spell in charge. Neymar GFXThe Selecao have flourished under Tite, though, and the focus of the 57-year-old, a Copa Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores winner with Internacional and Corinthians respectively, wants Brazil to sustain their excellence in the lead-up to the finals in Russia. “It was a challenge, it still is, to keep the standards [up],” he said. “We were challenging them [the players]. We want to have this expectation for ourselves. We want every game to reproduce this standard or even top it.”At the emotional level, there’s all this pressure. I feel like the world is looking at us… The [score at the] final whistle you can’t always control. Football is like that.”last_img read more

Rampant Russia make record-breaking start

first_imgWorld Cup Rampant Russia make record-breaking start at home World Cup Chris Burton Last updated 1 year ago 04:36 6/20/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Artem Dzyuba Russia Egypt World Cup 190618 Getty World Cup Russia v Egypt Russia Egypt Powerade The hosts were given little chance heading into a global showpiece, but they have burst out of the blocks quicker than any side in history Russia’s remarkable efforts in their opening two games at a home World Cup have seen them set a new tournament record for flying starts.Having been given little chance heading into the tournament, as the lowest-ranked side in the competition, the hosts have made a mockery of that doom-mongering.They were given a helping hand in their opening encounter, with Saudi Arabia folding badly under pressure as Russian president Vladimir Putin watched on from the stands. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Five goals without reply got the home side off to the perfect start, with the mood of a nation and the belief within an experienced squad lifted by a dominant display.Already perched at the top of Group A on the back of that performance, the Russians produced more of the same when presented with the challenge of seeing off Egypt and Mohamed Salah.It did take an own goal from Ahmed Fathy to break the deadlock in St Petersburg, but two more efforts had been added by the 62nd minute and the final result was beyond doubt.Salah pulled one back from the spot for Egypt, but Russia held on for a 3-1 win which means that they have collected six points from their opening two games while finding the target eight times.No side in World Cup history can claim to have bettered that record.Italy, back in 1934, also opened their campaign with eight goals in two games, but they conceded twice and were held in their second outing by Spain.8 – Russia’s eight goals in the first two #WorldCup games is a joint-record for a host nation (Italy 1934 also 8). Party. pic.twitter.com/YFzzMcFid6— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 19, 2018France, meanwhile, also boasted a goal difference of plus seven after two games in 1998, but that was the collective tally of their efforts – with two clean sheets secured.Russia will be delighted to be following in the footsteps of former champions, with their recent World Cup history having offered little to suggest that such form was on the cards.8 – Russia have scored two more goals in this #WorldCup (8) than they had in their previous two World Cup tournaments combined (6 across 2002 and 2014). Entertainers. #RUS #EGY #RUSEGY pic.twitter.com/Z9OTHv6fuC— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 19, 2018Stanislav Cherchesov’s side now have one foot in the last-16 and will feel that anything can happen from there, with their goal tally already equal to that of a Spain side which went all the way in 2010.8 – Russia’s eight goal total in their two games at the 2018 World Cup is equal to the tally that Spain scored overall in their 2010 tournament victory (in seven games). Madness.#RUSEGY #RUS #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/IUDFRhgds2— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 19, 2018Russia do still have one more Group A outing to take in before attention turns to knockout football, with Uruguay next up for them on Monday.last_img read more

Coutinho steps up for Brazil and out of Neymar’s shadow

first_imgWorld Cup Coutinho steps up for Brazil and out of Neymar’s shadow Sam Lee In Saint Petersburg Last updated 1 year ago 22:32 6/22/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(10) Philippe Coutinho Neymar Brazil 2018 World Cup Getty Images World Cup Neymar Brazil v Costa Rica Costa Rica Brazil Philippe Coutinho The Barcelona man has struggled to perform consistently throughout his career but he is proving in Russia that he can be his country’s talisman Two games into the World Cup campaign that they entered as favourites, Brazil are starting to find their rhythm. And, while it took Neymar until the very last kick to get his own all-singing, all-dancing show on the road, Tite’s men had at least been able to rely on Philippe Coutinho.Neymar, after weeks/months/years of scrutiny, after two games of rough treatment from his markers, and after flattering to deceive in Russia so far, finally made a positive mark in the 97th minute, with a goal which, just moments later, provoked floods of tears as he sank to his knees on the Saint Petersburg pitch after the 2-0 win over Costa Rica.It had been a trying afternoon for the Paris Saint-Germain star up until that point, and had it not been for Coutinho the headlines would have been entirely different. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Coutinho, for the second time in two games, came up with the goal Brazil needed. He was their best player in the disappointing draw with Switzerland, the first time Brazil have not won their first game at a World Cup since 1978, and he was there again on Friday, with his side staring down the barrel of another frustrating stalemate.It was the Barcelona man who charged into the box in the 91st minute to meet Gabriel Jesus’ knock-down, poking the ball through the legs of Keylor Navas, who had hitherto produced yet another World Cup masterclass.It was a goal that could be described these days as ‘a bench emptier’. The Brazil substitutes and coaching staff leapt from their seats and charged up the touchline to celebrate with their hero, just like Iran did in this stadium one week ago, when they snatched a last-minute win over Morocco.Yet Brazil are not Iran, they are the favourites for this tournament, and their celebrations were born more out of relief than the sheer joy of the Iranians.Indeed, Tite, the highly-regarded coach who has got this team into shape, was so overcome by it all he ended up falling face-first into the ground as he attempted to keep pace with his younger, fitter countrymen.For Tite the goal provided vindication. The coach had made shrewd changes to spark Brazil into life after an underwhelming first half, but for so long it looked as though they would have had to make do with a goalless draw.The nature of the World Cup dictates that such a result would not have been seen favourably, but make no mistake: it was clear for much of the second half that Brazil deserved to win this match.Tite’s decision to replace the poor Willian with Douglas Costa at half-time was wise, and also showed that he knew he could not afford to wait.Costa immediately looked bright and his side came close to breaking the deadlock when Gabriel Jesus headed against the bar and then, somehow, Coutinho’s shot was narrowly deflected wide.HD NeymarThe blue shirts sensed that a goal was a matter of time but as they struggled to put the ball in the net they turned to another quality back-up, Roberto Firmino. The Liverpool man, who has been battling with Jesus for a starting berth, was pushed on just behind his Premier League team-mate, with midfielder Paulinho making way. With Costa Rica digging in, this was another clever, and brave, substitution by Tite.Yet somehow, despite the increased energy in the side and a raft of chances created, it seemed it would not be enough.Neymar, first and foremost, would have been the villain of the piece. He was criticised for his nomadic, overly flash performance against Switzerland but here he was far more involved – and usually not for the better.He forced a fine save from Navas, though had he kept his shot down he would have given his side the lead. Later on he found himself with space to burst into but decided to take his shot early, from the edge of the box, and curled a powerful effort just wide. It would have looked spectacular had it gone in, but it didn’t, and that looked set to sum up his performance.In fact, what had looked to sum up his performance was the penalty he thought he had won. After receiving the ball inside the area, close to Navas’ goal, he checked back onto his right foot, losing the momentum of the attack. The referee initially awarded a penalty, judging that the forward had been pulled, but after consulting with his colleagues in the VAR team he reversed his decision. Rightly, too; after making a mess of another good chance Neymar had gone to ground too easily.A few minutes later he was booked for petulantly slamming the ball into the ground after committing a foul. Coutinho got a yellow too, for airing his displeasure at his mate’s booking.Philippe Coutinho Brazil Costa Rica World Cup 2018But 10 minutes later their fortunes changed. Coutinho, the man brought to Camp Nou with much of the money Barca received for Neymar, proved yet again that he is the ace up Tite’s sleeve.Tite has only used the former Liverpool man in the midfield three in the past couple of weeks, and on this evidence, and that of his first few months in Catalunya, it is a role that suits him.Coutinho regularly struggled to perform consistently at Anfield, his stunning goals often papering over the cracks of patchy performances against England’s bigger clubs – and some of the medium-sized ones, too.But since joining Barca, and particularly in Russia, he is showing that he is the man for the big moment.His goal forced Costa Rica forwards, finally, and liberated Brazil. Neymar certainly seemed unburdened – he produced a textbook rainbow flick over his marker’s head down in the corner, as if all of his troubles had disappeared.They certainly did moments later, when the impressive Douglas Costa got in behind the defence and provide the perfect cross. Neymar, at last, was there to make the difference.Or at least  a difference. He will not have to worry about too many negative reviews tonight, as Brazil picked exactly the right moment to kick their World Cup into gear. But it will not be forgotten that it was Coutinho who did it.last_img read more

Kroos quitting Germany would ‘hurt’ Matthaus

first_imgWorld Cup Kroos quitting Germany duty would ‘hurt’ World Cup winner Matthaus Stephen Creek 21:16 7/3/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) tonikroos-cropped Getty Images World Cup Germany A former skipper of Die Mannschaft considers the Real Madrid midfielder to remain a key player despite the need for change on the back of Russia 2018 Germany great Lothar Matthaus dubbed Toni Kroos one of the country’s “future leaders” and called for the Real Madrid midfielder to stay with the national team after their World Cup disappointment.Kroos gave Die Mannschaft hope of reaching the knock-out stage with his dramatic late free-kick in a 2-1 Group F victory over Sweden, but he was unable to prevent the subsequent 2-0 defeat to South Korea that sent Germany home from the World Cup at the opening stage for the first time in 80 years.The 28-year-old midfielder was one of few Germany players to come out of the tournament with much credit and Matthaus warned that the national team could ill afford to lose his services. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar “Toni Kroos leaving the German national team would hurt me very much,” Matthaus told Bild.”He played an extraordinary season for Real Madrid.”He can still play on the top level for four more years and improve those around him. Him stepping down would be a real loss.”For me, he’s one of our future leaders.”Matthaus said that Germany coach Joachim Low should address the question of whether his more experienced players are ready for the challenge of restoring the team’s pride during qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.”Coach Low must have a clear idea regarding the WC 2022,” said the 1990 World Cup winner. “He should talk to every older player in the squad about motivation and perspectives.”He doesn’t need to attack those players, it’s just an ordinary process because we’re Germany, not Panama.”There are alternatives for each position.”last_img read more

Solskjaer: I can deal with Man Utd stars… I learnt from Sir Alex!

first_imgNew Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will draw from the teachings of legendary Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson, and is confident he can handle the egos of the club’s top stars. The 45-year-old was appointed to a temporary role at the club on Wednesday following the sacking of Jose Mourinho on Tuesday .He finds the club sixth in the Premier League, nine points behind the top four, and in grave danger of missing out on the Champions League next season. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The Norwegian turned out at Old Trafford as a player for 11 years during their most successful era under Ferguson and netted the decisive goal in the 1999 European Cup final.The Scot’s man-management skills were considered his major strength and Solskjaer says he has learned from it.Meanwhile, United’s campaign to date has been soured by reports of internal conflict, with Mourinho and World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba embroiled in persistent sniping. Indeed, the 25-year-old was regularly found on the bench in recent weeks and did not even take to the field during last weekend’s 3-1 defeat against Liverpool, which proved Mourinho’s swansong .Solskjaer, by contrast, became a fans’ favourite at Old Trafford due to his loyalty to the club, despite often being reduced to the role of super-sub.”My job is to help the players and make them grasp the opportunity now because they all want to be a part of Man Utd and I’m going to be here to help them of course, help the team,” he told the media.”It’s down to man-management. I had the best manager as a player and as a coach to learn how he dealt with people. It’s about communication.”Of course, I’ll sit down and speak to the ones who are not playing, what I expect from them.”When you’re at Man Utd there are a set of demands and standards we set and one of them to be a team player, and I don’t think anyone has been on the bench more than me!”Ferguson’s management style is one that Solskjaer says runs through his ethos.”He’s influenced me with everything, the way he’s dealt with people the way he was manager of the club, how he kept 25 international players happy and hungry wanting to improve but also the staff in and around the place,” he said. “He’s been my mentor but I didn’t understand early on he’d be my mentor.”Towards the last, maybe the injury in 2003, I was making all the notes what he did in certain situations and I’ve already been in touch with him, there’s no one to get better advice from.”Sir Alex spent 27 years in charge at Man Utd, but emulating that is not immediately in the thoughts of the new man in the hot seat.”When you get a job like this and you sign for six months, you say: ‘I’m happy to help out.’ My job now is to do as well as I can and move the club forward as well as I can,” he said.”I understand that there are so many managers that would love to be at this club. I am one of them. Staying longer is not something that we have talked about. “They are going to do their process for the next six months.”Settling in, however, is not proving to be a problem.He added: “I’ve been here as a player, 11 years, coach three and a half years, the best part of 15 years of my life – it’s a third of my life,” he said. “Nicky Butt was the first lad I met … You’re excited but it feels like home.”His first challenge will come against Cardiff City, the only British club that he has previously managed, in the Premier League on Saturday.  Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more