Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world Italy was at the epicenter and suffered the maximum casualties due to coronavirus in Europe. This win of Italy in the Euro cup, seems to have brought the nation together after the crisis as a nation to rejoice and celebrate. A resilient Italy won the European Crown after edging past England in penalty shoot outs.
A total of 142 goals have been scored in the 16th edition of the Euro and millions of fans cheered as Christiano Ronaldo edged past Patrik Schick of Czech Republic to claim the top scorer of the tournament. While both strikers had 5 goals to their tally, Ronaldo’s assist count helped him claim the Golden Boot. The Portuguese skipper with a total of 14 goals is now the player with the most number of goals in the European Championship history.
CR7 also equalled Iran legend Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals in the process. Milan and Italian superman keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was adjudged as the best goalkeeper of the tournament and earned him the Golden Ball while Barcelona’s Pedri at age 18 was declared as the Young Player of the Tournament Award. While each of the 24 teams that reached the finals received a participation fee of €9.25 million, the Champions took home the Trophy and 34 million Euros. Runner Up England was richer by 30.25 million.
England were handed a dream start when Manchester United’s left back Luke Shaw gave the hosts an early lead in the 2nd minute. The script had a perfect start for the three lions playing in front of more than sixty-seven thousand vociferous fans at the Wembley – the mecca of modern day football. Right wing back Kieran Trippier had an opportunity to cross from the edge of the Italian box and an overlapping and unmarked Shaw’s first time left footer sneaked into the Italian goal. The right full back to left full back combination had caught the Italian defense unaware and a helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma could do nothing but watch the ball going in the net.
This seemed to be the year for redemption for Gareth Southgate as he had taken the English side this far for the first time in Euro history. Southgate had chosen a five man defense line with three Central defenders- John Stones in the center, flanked by Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Manchester United’s Harry Maguire. Full backs Trippier and Shaw were the lungs of this side and in the first few minutes it seemed that the night and the trophy belonged to England. The 5-2-3 formation aimed to plug the threat posed by the Italian midfield and a potent forward line.
The goal had woken up the Italian defense and certainly their captain Giorgio Chiellini who played the central defenders role in Roberto Mancini’s 4-3-3 formation. Juventus winger Federico Chiesa who is on loan from Fiorentina, was creating chances with shots from the central midfield position but the tenacity on the shots were rarely on target to bother Jordan Pickford at the English crossbar. Italy did not want to lose this one as the hurt of losing in the finals back in 2000 and 2012 were ghosts that had haunted them for too long.
The second half was a contrast to the first with England opting to sit back while Italians pressed hard in search of an equalizer. England seemed to rely on their defense line especially since they had conceded only once in this tournament by a brilliant Danish free kick from the 21-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard. Italians too had shifted their gear and had packed almost five to six players into the attacking third to create spaces and hunt for the chink in the English armour.
Italian resilience and prayers were answered when a 67th minute corner had Marco Verratti’s diving header admirably stopped by Pickford but only to find the predatory Leonardo Bonucci lurking on the top of the English goal line. The 34-year-old centre-back who serves both as Vice-Captain for Juventus and Italy, slotted the ball into the net for the Azzurris. In the 72nd minute, Bonucci came close to creating an opportunity for Domenico Berardi with a long ball from deep defense and the Sassuolo forward’s sublime run that outfoxed the offside trap was not matched by the acrobatic volley that ballooned hopelessly over the English crossbar.
After the 90-minute mark, the extra time failed to find a winner and Dutch referee Björn Kuiper signaled for the Penalty shoot out. It was the first final to be decided on penalties since Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in 1976.
Berardi opened the scoring for the Italians sending Everton keeper the wrong way but Harry Kane and Maguire were upto the task and slotted the ball easily past Donnarumma to give England a slender lead as Belotti was denied by a well anticipated dive from Pickford. England’s fate seemed to have deserted them as Bonucci and Rashford hit the ball wide of the upright. While Bernardeschi scored from the spot, Jadan Sancho was denied by the 6feet 5inch gigantic Gianluigi Donnarumma. Italians now led the penalties 3-2 and Chelsea’s defensive midfielder Jorginho stepped up to seal the deal for the Italians. Jordan Pickford rose to the challenge diving to his right, at full stretch parried the ball away and gave a lease of life to English hopes as Bukayo Saka had the opportunity to score and take England into Sudden Death. The 19 year old wonder boy from Arsenal could not beat the Italian giant and Donnarumma anticipated well diving to his left and turned all of the English revival hopes into ashes.
The fifty-two year long wait for Italy to win Europe’s biggest football prize ended yesterday as Roberto Mancini’s guerrieros breached the English defense and emerged Continental Champions for the first time since 1968. The Azzuris had won the European championship after defeating Yugoslavia 2-0 in a rematch of the finals at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. After the first Final ended in a 1-1 draw, the rematch was played 2 days later where Luigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi scored for the hosts.
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Tokyo Olympics: World No. 1 Kento Momota knocked out
Japan shuttler Kento Momota on Wednesday was knocked out of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics after the world number one failed to progress from Group A in the men’s singles event.
On Wednesday, Momota was defeated by South Korea’s Heo Kwang-hee. The South Korean defeated Momota 21-15, 21-19. Momota had won his first match of Group A against Timothy Lam 21-12, 21-19, but he failed to rise to the occasion in his next match, and as a result, he has bowed out of the ongoing Olympics in the men’s singles event.
Earlier on Wednesday, India shuttler Sai Praneeth lost his second Group D match against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in the Tokyo Olympics here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 3. Caljouw defeated Praneeth 21-14, 21-14 in straight games.
Star shuttler PV Sindhu defeated Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung in her second Group J match of the Tokyo Olympics here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 2 on Wednesday.
Sindhu defeated Ngan Yi Cheung in straight sets 21-9, 21-16 to cruise into the elimination round of women’s singles. Elsewhere on Tuesday, India men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy defeated Great Britain’s duo of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in a crucial final Group A Play Stage game. The Indian duo defeated Lane and Vendy 21-17, 21-19 in their final group stage match.
Rahi Sarnobat, Manu Bhaker to resume India’s challenge in shooting
India’s Rahi Sarnobat and Manu Bhaker will resume India’s shooting challenge at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics, when they take the field in the first precision round of qualification in the Women’s 25M Pistol competition on Thursday at the Asaka Shooting range.
The precision round is slated to begin at 5.30 am IST. Rahi, fresh from an ISSF World Cup stage gold in Osijek, Croatia, leading up to the Games and Manu, will have to go through two days of qualification on Thursday and Friday before the top eight are separated after the second rapid-fire round. The 44-strong women’s Sport Pistol field on day six of the Olympic Shooting competition closely resembles the Air Pistol competition of day two and will have all the finalists of that event, barring the Chinese who have changed personnel.
India too has the experienced Rahi, also the reigning Asian Games champion, in place of Yashaswini Deswal who played the Air Pistol event, to accompany Manu.The 15-member squad has six starts to go and is still searching for its first shooting medal at the Games.
India archer Pravin Jadhav crashed out of the men’s individual event in Tokyo Olympics after losing to USA’s Brady Ellison at Yumenoshima Ranking Field on Wednesday. The 25-year-old suffered a 6-0 defeat in the Round of 16 match against Brady Ellison — also the current World Record holder.
World No.1 in men’s recurve category, Brady started the match with 9-10-9 in response to which Jadhav scored 9-8-10, which handed Ellison two easy points. In the second set, Ellison had a very bad start with an 8 but the Indian didn’t manage to benefit from that mistake of the American as he scored a poor 7 with the final arrow after he aimed 10 and 9 with the first two arrows.
OLYMPICS: INDIA WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM LOSE TO GREAT BRITAIN 4-1
The Indian women’s hockey team suffered a third successive defeat in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics as Great Britain won the encounter 4-1 here at the Oi Hockey Stadium — South Pitch on Wednesday.
Great Britain got off the blocks very quickly as Hannah Martin opened the scoring from the team’s first circle entry of the match inside just 75 seconds. The Indian team got better as the first quarter progressed to create few chances here and there, but GB’s defence assured their team went ahead without conceding a goal into the next fifteen minutes.
In the second quarter, Hannah Martin again prevailed for GB as she scored her second goal of the match. Indian goalkeeper saved the first shot but Martin converted on the second chance as the ball crept in between the feet of Savita.
India responded in quite a fashion after Sharmila Devi came up with a poacher’s finish from a PC. This was Sjoerd Marijne’s team first goal in Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the Indian No. 7 waited at the goal-mouth to guide the ball in following the flick by Gurjit Kaur.
The second half gave Indians no respite despite winning multiple PCs as GBR extended their lead by scoring on the rebound. The fourth quarter had the same story in store for the Women in Blue as the defending Olympic Champions hit the final nail by scoring their fourth goal of the match.
This is India’s third successive defeat after losing to Germany in their second match 0-2 on Monday.
FORWARD LINE HAS TO DO BETTER AGAINST ARGENTINA IF INDIAN HOCKEY WANT TO DO WELL IN TOKYO
The Indian hockey team has played three matches so far in which they have lost the second match to Australia very badly and the results of the remaining two matches have undoubtedly gone in India’s favor but I am not completely satisfied with the way Indian players have performed. Especially the forward line has disappointed me a lot.
Looking at India’s forward line, it seems that they are not in the match. I have full faith in the abilities of my forward players. Lalit Upadhyay or Dilpreet all are very talented. All of them have played good hockey recently but they are far from their best performance in the Olympics. Trapping near the forward line is not good. They need to do more than what they are doing. So far only 25 percent of them have come forward.
The need is to continuously do well. Our team has to play the open game. I only say one thing, make the most of the first quarter. Be aggressive in this quarter and score first, which pays a lot. Secondly, we are good during penalty corner, and we can take advantage of it. We don’t have to lose points after losing the match against Australia. Now there is a need to show all-round play. Goal chances have to be created. The way Simranjit Singh was playing, he made way for the goal.
Let’s assume that the defense line will make mistakes but the effort should be that mistakes are minimized. Also, lessons have to be learned from past mistakes. Argentina is the Olympic champion but we are no less than them in terms of capabilities. I am sure the forward line will definitely do better in this important match.
(The author is a member of the gold-winning team at the 1980 Moscow Olympics)
DHANANJAYA, KARUNARATNE SHINE AS LANKA DEFEAT INDIA IN 2ND T20I
Dhananjaya de Silva’s unbeaten knock of 40 runs followed by Chamika Karunaratne’s cameo of 12 runs helped Sri Lanka defeat India by four wickets in the second T20I of the three-match series here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Wednesday.
With this win, Sri Lanka has levelled the three-match series at 1-1. The final game will be played on Thursday. Chasing 133, Sri Lanka got off to a bad start as Avishka Fernando (11) was sent back to the pavilion by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the second over of the innings. Sadeera Samarawickrama scored 8 runs from 12 balls and his struggle finally ended in the 7th over as Varun Chakravarthy clean bowled him, reducing Sri Lanka to 39/2.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka (3) failed to leave a mark as he was stumped by Sanju Samson of the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav and Sri Lanka were reduced to 55/3, still needing 78 runs more for the win from 65 balls. The set batsman Minod Bhanuka (36) was also dismissed by Kuldeep and Sri Lanka was put on the back foot at 66/4.
Dhananjaya de Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga then joined hands together and they put on 28 runs in quick succession, but this partnership was cut short by Rahul Chahar as he dismissed Hasaranga (15) with Sri Lanka still 39 runs away from the target.
In the last three overs, Sri Lanka required 28 runs for the win, and de Silva along with Chamika Karunaratne ensured that the hosts get over the line.Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with a knock of 40 runs as India posted 132/5 in the allotted 20 overs. Sent into bat first, India got off to a steady start as openers Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad put on 45 runs inside the first six overs. The first-wicket stand of 49 runs finally came to an end on the final delivery of the seventh over as Gaikwad (21) was sent back to the pavilion by Dasun Shanaka.
Devdutt Padikkal then joined Dhawan in the middle and both batters found it tough to rotate the strike. However, in the 11th over, Padikkal broke the shackles as he dispatched Dhananjaya de Silva for a massive six. However, the 32-run stand between these two batters finally ended in the 13th over as Akila Dananjaya clean bowled Dhawan (40), reducing India to 81/2.
In trying to look for a big shot, Padikkal (29) also perished in the 16th over, having been clean bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga, reducing India to 99/3.Sanju Samson (7) also failed to leave a mark and India were struggling to post a respectable score on the board.
In the final overs, India struggled to register boundaries and were restricted to under the 150-run mark. For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Navdeep Saini remained unbeaten on 13 and 1 respectively.
Brief Scores: India 132/5 (Shikhar Dhawan 40, Devdutt Padikkal 29, Akila Dananjaya 2-29); Sri Lanka 133/6 (Minod Bhanuka 36, Dhananjaya de Silva 40*, Kuldeep Yadav 2-30).
Tokyo Olympics: Sindhu, Pooja, Deepika steal spotlight on Day 5
Shuttler P.V. Sindhu, archer Deepika Kumari, and boxer Pooja Rani stole the show for the Indian contingent on Wednesday in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, but the women’s hockey team disappointed and their road to the knockout stage is now looking difficult.
Shuttler P.V. Sindhu and archer Deepika KumariBoxer Pooja Rani
It was shuttler Sindhu who brought respite to the entire nation as she stormed into the pre-quarterfinals in the women’s singles in the ongoing Olympics. Sindhu defeated Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung in her second Group J match. The 26-year-old defeated Ngan Yi Cheung in straight sets 21-9, 21-16 to cruise into the elimination round of women’s singles. Archer Deepika Kumari defeated USA’s Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez at Yumenoshima Ranking Field on Wednesday. The India archer defeated her opponent from the US 6-4 in the 1/16 eliminations round. The match was on a knife’s edge, but Deepika’s composure was amazing to watch, and she ended up winning the match.
Boxer Pooja Rani registered a dominating performance as she stormed into the quarter-finals of the women’s middleweight (69-75kg) category after defeating Ichrak Chaib of Algeria in the Round of 16 here at the Kokugikan Arena. Rani defeated Chaib 5-0.
The day had started off on a bad note for the Indian contingent as the women’s hockey team stumbled to a 1-4 defeat against Great Britain. This is now the third consecutive match that the Indian women’s hockey team has lost. The side earlier suffered defeats at the hands of the Netherlands and Germany.
This is India’s third successive defeat after losing to Germany in their second match 0-2 on Monday. The Netherlands had thrashed India in their opening game on Sunday. India will now face Ireland (July 30, 2021), and South Africa (July 31, 2021) before the knockout stage, which begins on August 2.
Archer Tarundeep Rai had shown an amazing fighting spirit to make a comeback and win against Ukraine’s Oleksii Hunbin 6-4 to march into the round of 16. However, his campaign ended on the very same day as he lost to Israel’s Itay Shanny in the 1/16 eliminations round.
A similar fate was in store for archer Pravin Jadhav as he crashed out of the men’s individual event in Tokyo Olympics after losing to USA’s Brady Ellison. The 25-year-old suffered a 6-0 defeat in the Round of 16 match against Brady Ellison — also the current World Record holder.
India shuttler Sai Praneeth lost his second Group D match against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in the Tokyo Olympics at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 3. Caljouw defeated Praneeth 21-14, 21-14 in straight games.With this loss, Praneeth has failed to qualify for the next stage as he lost both his group stage matches. In the first game, Praneeth was the one in the lead, but Caljouw staged a comeback and he took the first game 21-14. A similar story unfolded in the second game, as Praneeth was not able to capitalise on a good start, and in the end, he ended up losing the match in straight games.
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