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Czech Republic take on Denmark, England to fight Ukraine

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NEW DELHI

The second day match of the quarter finals at the Euro Championship 2021 will be played between the Czech Republic and Denmark at the Olympic Stadium in Baku—the capital and the largest city of Azerbaijan. While not many expected either of the two to reach this far in the tournament, no one can deny that they earned their place among the top 8 teams who have made their way to the quarterfinals. The two teams have locked horns 11 times in previous encounters where the Czech Republic have won 3 ties, Denmark have won twice. Coincidentally 6 fixtures between these two nations have ended in draws.

The Czech Republic have had the credit of finishing runner-up in 1996 and a semifinal finish at the 2004 edition of the Quadrennial Continental tournament. The Czechs have won both their games against Denmark at the Euros, scoring five goals and conceding none in the process. Slotted in Pool C they finished third in their pool behind England and Croatia but made it to the Round of 16 as one of the best 4 third placed teams. They started their campaign at the Euros this year on prolific note with a 3-0 win over Scotland and a 1-1 draw with Croatia followed by a loss to Pool toppers England by a solitary goal. The icing on the cake was their 2-0 win against the flying Dutchmen where their 4-2-3-1 formation and a disciplined performance booked their ticket to the quarterfinals.

Denmark have had their share of European Football glory when they were crowned champions in 1992 and reached the last four in 1984 along with a Quarterfinal finish in 2004. They even won the top prize at the FIFA Confederation Cup in 1995 and reached the Quarterfinals of the FIFA World cup in 1998. This year the Danes finished second in Pool B behind Belgium with 3 points from their 4 league matches. After losing Christian Ericson due to a mid-match collapse they had to deal with a 0-1 loss to Poland and 1-2 defeat at the hands of Belgium. The Danish Dynamites as they are fondly referred to finally lit up the tournament with a 4-1 victory over Russia at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.

The Danes will have their strength in the goal scoring performances of Nice striker Kasper Dolberg, Atlanta full back Joakim Mæhle and Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen who have found the opponents net twice while, Barcelona winger Martin Braithwaite, Sampadoria’s Mikkel Damsgaard, Chelsea Central Defender Andreas Christensen have scored once for the Danes in this edition of the Euros. One cannot deny the role of Kasper Schmeichel who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Leicester City and is the son of the legendary Danish and Manchester United custodian Peter Schmeichel.Harry Kane leads this extremely talented squad that is brimming with potential and exuberance. The only challenge is that with all their talent, they were the lowest scoring team to qualify for the round of 16 – with 2 goals. The consolation that many will look to is that their defense has not been breached till date and that seems to be one of the biggest problems that has been solved. England registered a 1-0 win over Croatia in their opening game which was followed by a goalless draw with their arch rivals Scotland and a 1-0 win over the Czechs. In the round of 16 their biggest reason to cheer was when they dominated a lackluster Germany with a 2-0 win.

Manchester City striker and winger Raheem Sterling has scored thrice for England while captain Harry Kane scored against Germany. Hope springs eternal in the English hearts as their talented young players have created many chances.  Substitutes Jack Grealish and Jordan Henderson have done wonders coming off the bench while Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden have proved their ability to shackle any opposition with their pace and skill. A matter for worry for Southgate will be that four English players carry the danger of being unavailable for  next game as Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, Maguire and Foden are all one booking away from a suspension.

Ukraine on the other hand are a very young nation and played their very first international game in April 1992.  Ukraine were slotted in Group C and finished third with 3 points. In their opening tie, Ukraine impressed with 2-3 defeat to the Netherlands while narrowly winning against tournament debutants North Macedonia 2-1. Ukraine lost to Austria by a solitary goal and clawed their way into Round of 16 as fourth best team among the 3rd placed teams in group stages.

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Olympics: Deepika Kumari bows out after losing to top-seed An San

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Star Indian archer Deepika Kumari bowed out of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics after losing to South Korea’s An San in the women’s individual quarter-finals here at Yumenoshima Park on Friday.

Top seed San defeated world number one Deepika in an absolutely dominating fashion 6-0 to march into the semi-finals of the individual event. 20-year-old San is aiming for her third gold medal at Tokyo after finishing top of the podium in the mixed team event and the women’s recurve team event. Korean An San had a brilliant start to the first round as she aimed at three 10s while Deepika shot 7-10-10. San carried that momentum in the second round and clinically shot 9-10-7 to which Indian responded with 10-7-7.

The dominance of the South Korean continued in the third set as she gathered 26 as opposed to 24 of Deepika. Match ended in less than six minutes. With this San will either face USA’s Mackenzie Brown or Mexico’s Alejandra Valencia in the last four.

Earlier in the day, Deepika defeated Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Ksenia Perova to progress into the quarter-finals (6-5) in the 1/8 Eliminations round in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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YUZVENDRA CHAHAL AND GOWTHAM TEST POSITIVE IN SRI LANKA

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Three days after Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19, it has come to light that spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and K. Gowtham have also tested positive for the virus in Sri Lanka.

Sources in the know of developments confirmed that the duo have tested positive for COVID-19. “Unfortunately, they have tested positive. They were close contacts of Krunal and were already away from the rest of the squad in the team hotel,” the source said. Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and eight Indian players — Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Manish Pandey, Ishan Kishan, and K Gowtham were identified as close contacts.

Being close contacts of Krunal, they were staying away from the rest of the team and didn’t participate in the last two T20Is after Krunal’s test came positive.

Meanwhile, Wanindu Hasaranga’s four-wicket haul and Dhananjaya de Silva’s unbeaten 23-run knock helped Sri Lanka defeat India by seven wickets in the third and final T20I. With this win, Sri Lanka won the series 2-1.Sri Lanka won the T20I series while India had earlier won the ODI series.

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TOKYO OLYMPICS: NUMBER ONE SEED DJOKOVIC BOWS OUT, LOSES TO ZVEREV

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Number one seed Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic on Friday was knocked out of the men’s singles event in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics after losing the semi-final clash. Germany’s Alexander Zverev defeated Djokovic 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the men’s singles event.

As a result of this loss, Djokovic would not be able to achieve the Golden Slam (all four Grand Slams and Olympic gold) in the same year. Djokovic had brought out his A-game to the court in the first set, and he ended up winning it 6-1. However, disappointment followed for the Serbian as he lost two back-to-back sets and as a result, he bowed out of the tournament.

Djokovic had won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year and now he would look to win the US Open, beginning August this year. Earlier, top seeds Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka were also knocked out of the Olympics.

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INDIA WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM BEAT IRELAND 1-0, KEEP QF HOPES ALIVE

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The Indian women’s hockey team defeated Ireland 1-0 here at the Oi Hockey Stadium North Pitch on Friday. As a result, India’s hopes of making it to the quarter-finals of the women’s hockey event remain intact.

Earlier, the Rani Rampal-led side had suffered defeats in its first three group-stage games. The first quarter between India and Ireland saw no goals and after the end of the first 15 minutes, the scoreline remained 0-0.

A similar story was on the offer in the second quarter and at the halftime mark, the scoreline remained the same and it was Rani Rampal’s side that was feeling the pressure going into the third quarter. The third quarter also saw no goals, however, Navneet Kaur finally broke the deadlock in the fourth quarter and she gave India a lead with three minutes left to play. In the end, India managed to hang on to the advantage to score a 1-0 victory.

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INDIA MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM FIRE ALL CYLINDERS, DEFEAT JAPAN 5-3

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A resilient Indian hockey team came firing on all cylinders to thrash Japan 5-3 in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Friday. This was India’s fourth win of the ongoing quadrennial event. The Men In Blue will next be in action in the quarter-finals of the mega event. Japan might have scored three goals but the Indian boys made sure the Men in Blue were in the lead throughout the game and dominated proceedings.

Just two minutes before the end of the third quarter, India earned their second Penalty Corner only to miss the net. But the Indians were in the lead (3-2) with one quarter to go. Both teams got off to a cautious start but the Manpreet Singh-led side broke the shackles and netted the first goal in the 13th minute.

Gurjant Singh then scored early in the second quarter as India doubled the lead over Japan. However, Japan came back with a goal as Tanaka opened the team’s account.

In the third quarter, Kota Watanabe scored an equaliser but Shamsher Singh again put India on top as he scored a goal in the 34th minute. At the end of the third essay, India led 3-2 with a thrilling final quarter on cards. In the final quarter, Nilakanta Sharma doubled India’s lead after a desperate attempt from both sides to find the net.

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TOKYO OLYMPICS: SINDHU DEFEATS YAMAGUCHI, GETS INTO SEMIS

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India shuttler P.V. Sindhu stormed into the semi-finals of the women’s singles event after defeating Japan’s number four seed Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 1 on Friday. Sindhu defeated Yamaguchi 21-13, 22-20. The quarterfinal clash between Sindhu and Yamaguchi lasted for 56 minutes.

The first game was more close than the scoreline suggested and Sindhu had to bring out the best in her to win it 21-13. The scoreline in the first game might not indicate how closely it was fought, but Yamaguchi made her fight for every point. The star Indian shuttler was just one more game away from progressing to the semi-finals.

Yamaguchi made Sindhu toil hard in the second game, and for every point, the Indian shuttler had to be at her best. In the end, the number six seed Sindhu ended up winning the match in straight games.

In the second game of the quarter-final, there was a 54-shot rally between Sindhu and Yamaguchi and it lasted for one minute and two seconds. On Thursday, Sindhu had defeated Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the Round of 16 match of women’s individual event in the Tokyo Olympics here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 3. Sindhu defeated Blichfeldt 21-15, 21-13 in just 41 minutes to cruise into the quarter-finals.

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