Chicago [USA], March 10 (ANI): US Women’s National Team (USWNT) will travel to face Sweden in a friendly match on April 10 at Friends Arena in Stockholm.
The match will be the first of two during the April FIFA international window, with US Soccer saying the USWNT is currently finalizing the second match in Europe on April 13. The clash against Sweden will be played behind closed doors. Sweden is currently fifth in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings and this will be the first match ever for the USWNT in Sweden’s capital city.
The most recent meeting between the countries came in Vlatko Andonovski’s first match as USWNT head coach on November 7 which the US won by 3-2. The USA also faced Sweden in the group stage at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup which was also won by the US (2-0).
Unbeaten through five games so far in 2021, these will be the first away games of the year and mark a relatively quick return to Europe for the US Women who defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in Breda last November.
“We want to play as many of the top teams as possible to prepare for the Olympics and Sweden certainly falls into that category. They are proven winners, have tremendously athletic players, are led by an excellent coach and are tactically savvy and experienced,” Andonovski said in a statement.
“We need as many tests as possible like the ones we’ll face at the Olympics and these games in Europe will give us that. We only have a few matches left before we have to pick the Olympic Team so we need the players to show how they can impact the success of our team and we need to see them do it against world-class teams,” he added. (ANI)
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Very unhappy about referee’s two decisions: Barca coach Koeman
Real Madrid held on to earn a narrow 2-1 El Clasico win over Barcelona on Sunday and go top of the La Liga charts on Saturday. Karim Benzema broke the deadlock in the 13th minute with his ninth goal in seven league games, finishing Lucas Vazquez’s cross with a back heel nudge.
Madrid doubled the lead before the half-hour mark when Toni Kroos’ freekick deflected against Sergino Dest’s back and flew past Jordi Alba on the line, reports DPA.
Barcelona fought back in the second half in torrential rain, with Oscar Mingueza pulling one back from close range. Substitute Ilaix Moriba almost equalised in stoppage time but hit the crossbar.
Atletico Madrid travel to face Real Betis later on Sunday and could go back top with a point. They are currently level with Real on 66, while Barcelona are third on 65.
Barcelona complained of two penalty decisions they were not given, with Ferland Mendy clashing with Ousmane Dembele and later Martin Braithwaite in the area.
“I think everyone saw the game, if you’re a Barcelona fan you’re furious, very unhappy about the two refereeing decisions,” said an angry Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman.
“In the first half we were not good in attack or defence, in the second we improved. It’s a very clear penalty, once more we have to shut up and accept it.”
The Barcelona coach later walked out of a pitch-side interview after a reporter did not answer his question about whether his team should have been given a penalty.
Neither incident was clear cut, and Madrid could have put the game to bed in the first half when Fede Valverde hit the post with the score already at 2-0.
“I’m happy for (the players), we made a lot of subs today, we suffered but nothing changed,” said Real manager Zidane. “They are all committed, and they want to play and that’s the good thing. We have to enjoy today and the other day,” he said, referring to the team’s defeat of Liverpool in the Champions League.
PSL 6 TO RESUME ON 1 JUNE, FINAL ON 20 JUNE
The Board of Governors (BoG) of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) met through a virtual conference call and the board received a presentation and an update on the report of the two-person fact-finding panel that was set-up by the PCB chairman to review the bio-security protocols, bylaws, and arrangements for the Pakistan Super League.
The presentation was given in order to help them make recommendations on how to better ensure the implementation of a bio-secure environment for future events. The BoG discussed and debated the panel’s findings in detail. They expressed their disappointment at the failures that were highlighted in the report and advised remedial actions needed to be taken. The BoG also endorsed all recommendations of the fact-finding panel, including robust and stringent implementation of the protocols, as well as maintaining a zero-tolerance approach towards all those who breach the Covid-19 SOPs, which are put in place for safeguarding the health and safety of all participants.
The BoG was informed that as part of the strategy to ensure the PSL 6 resumed and completed in a safe and secure environment, the PCB was in the final stages of appointing a globally recognised safety management company that specialises in providing Covid-safe technology solutions, bio-secure monitoring & management, as well as response and reaction to positive tests.
The members were informed that a mandatory seven-day quarantine period for all participants will commence from May 22 in one hotel and following three days of training sessions, PSL matches will resume on June 1 with the final scheduled for June 20.
Will Morris, Stokes help RR to vanquish Punjab Kings?
Indian Premier League’s (IPL) most expensive player of all time Chris Morris will be on display and facing a huge challenge when Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on Punjab Kings in their opening encounter of this season on Monday.
With Jofra Archer missing from at least the first part of the IPL season due to injury, Morris will have to shoulder the responsibility of being his team’s frontline bowler as RR will look to stall the power-packed batting of Punjab Kings.
RR’s biggest problem is the lack of support to overseas pace bowlers. Last year, Archer failed to get any support from others as only spinners did well. This time though Morris should have the support of pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman.
However, whether Rahman finds a place in the playing XI remains to be seen. With batsman Jos Buttler, all-rounder Ben Stokes and Morris a certainty, RR will be hard-pressed to pick between Rahman, a fast bowler, or other big-hitting overseas batsmen like Liam Livingstone or David Miller.
“Sanju (Samson) and I will both agree that it’s a big blow for us. Jofra is a very vital part of our make-up and not to have him is unfortunately the reality of it. We have to work around it and plan contingencies,” Kumar Sangakkara, the Rajasthan Royals director of cricket, told media in an interaction on Sunday afternoon.
With the Mumbai wicket being batting-friendly, it is likely that RR will go in with Rahman who is known to bring variations with his cutters and can extract something from the pitch.
Punjab Kings batsman KL Rahul, who was the Orange Cap winner last year, had an indifferent run in recent times at international level. But he and Mayank Agarwal could again be the backbone of Punjab franchise’s batting.
It will also be interesting to see how Punjab balance their overseas quota of four players. They will play West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran but whether they will play Dawid Malan, the top ranked batsman in T20 Internationals, or not remains to be seen.
TOKYO QUALIFIERS: WRESTLERS BRING LAURELS TO INDIA
Indian female wrestlers Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik on Saturday made the country proud as they booked spots for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in the 57kg and 62kg category respectively.
At the same time, in the 77 kg Greco-Roman style wrestling, Gurpreet Singh, despite defeating the former Olympic champion, could not succeed to get an Olympic ticket. Although India won several medals in this Asian qualifying competition, it was necessary to at least reach the final for qualifying for Tokyo mega event. Many Indian wrestlers, including Gurpreet, lost in the semi-finals, losing their penultimate chance. Nevertheless, the last Olympic qualifying competition will take place in Sofia (a city in Bulgaria) from 6th to 9th May.
Once Anshu and Sonam were rivals at the school level. Sonam decided to participate in the above weight category. Sonam’s qualification means that Rio Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik will not be able to participate in the Olympics this time as WFI only permits those wrestlers to the Olympics who win the Olympic quota.
This time in the semi-finals, she faced Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazakhstan who won the silver medal in the Asian Championship in New Delhi last year. Sonam defeated Ayaulym 9-6 to fulfill her dream of participating in the Olympics. Similarly, 19-year-old Anshu’s dominant display against Uzbekistan’s Akhmedova in the semi-final enabled her to seal a spot for the Olympics.
Earlier, Sonam defeated Taipei’s Hin Ping Pai with technical superiority and defeated China’s emerging Jia Long by 5–0.
Anshu Malik competed in 57 kg and topped the trials first and then won the wrestling based on technical superiority against the wrestlers from Korea, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. In the final, she lost to Mongolia’s Khongorzul BoldsaiKhan 4-7 who was the gold medalist of the Asian Under-23 Championship.
In the Greco-Roman-style wrestling, Gyanendra, Ashu, Gurpreet Singh, Sunil, and Naveen lost in the semi-finals. Winning this competition meant qualifying for the Olympics. Similarly, in the freestyle, Sandeep Mann, Satyavrat Kadian, and Sumit lost their semi-finals, with their hopes being exhausted.
Thus so far, six Indians have qualified for the Olympics: Ravi, Bajrang, Deepak Poonia in the freestyle, and Vinesh, Anshu Malik, and Sonam in the women’s category. Now, this is the last opportunity for our wrestlers at World Olympic qualifying in Sofia (Bulgaria) from 6th to 9th May. It will now be interesting to see if the participation of Indian wrestlers will be able to surpass the number seven of Rio.
Morgan’s XI defeat SunRisers by 10 runs
Kolkata Knight Riders, after posting a total of 187/6 in the allotted twenty overs, managed to restrict SRH to 177/5. SRH skipper David Warner said that poor bowling and losing early wickets ended up costing them the match.
Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi’s knocks of 80 and 53 were backed by a spirited bowling performance as Kolkata Knight Riders triumphed over SunRisers Hyderabad by 10 runs on Sunday here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
KKR first posted a total of 187/6 in the allotted twenty overs and then the bowlers managed to restrict SRH to 177/5. For Eoin Morgan’s side, Prasidh Krishna managed to take two wickets. For SRH, Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey played knocks of 55 and 61 respectively. Chasing 188, SRH got off to a bad start as the side lost its skipper David Warner (3) in the second over of the innings. Prasidh Krishna provided the first breakthrough to KKR. In the very next over, Shakib Al Hasan clean bowled Wriddhiman Saha (7), reducing SRH to 10/2.
Pandey and Bairstow then got together at the crease and the duo revived SRH’s innings as both batters put on 92 runs for the third wicket. The partnership between these two batters saw Bairstow registering a half-century. However, the introduction of Pat Cummins in the 13th over, paid off as he got the prized scalp of Bairstow (55), with SRH still needing 86 runs for the win.
In trying to hit big shots, Mohammad Nabi (14) also ended up losing his wicket to Prasidh in the 16th over and hopes of an SRH win relied heavily on Pandey. Vijay Shankar (11) also did not manage to stay at the crease for a long haul, but Abdul Samad hit Pat Cummins for two sixes in the penultimate over to revive SRH’s hopes of a win. However, in the end, KKR managed to hang on to gain a 10-run victory.
Earlier, Rana and Tripathi played knocks of 80 and 53 respectively as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) posted a total of 187/6 in the allotted twenty overs. Asked to bat first, KKR got off to a solid start as openers Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill put on 50 runs in the first six overs. Rana took on the aggressive role and he dispatched all the SRH bowlers for regular boundaries, while Gill played the second fiddle.
The introduction of Rashid Khan paid off instantly as he clean bowled Gill (15) in the seventh over of the innings, ending the 53-run opening stand between Gill and Rana. Rahul Tripathi next joined Rana in the middle and the duo kept on ticking the scoreboard along. In the 10th over, Rana dispatched a short ball bowled by Vijay Shankar and as a result, he brought up his fifty.
Rana and Tripathi continued with their carnage and they started the onslaught from the 11th over of the innings. Tripathi went on to register his half-century in the 15th over of the innings and KKR looked set for a big total after being 145/1 at the end of the 15th over. However, in trying to further accelerate the innings, Tripathi (53) ended up losing his wicket to Natarajan in the 16th over, ending the 93-run stand for the second wicket.
Andre Russell (5) failed to leave a mark with the bat as he was dismissed by Rashid Khan and in the very next over, Rana (80) and Eoin Morgan (2) were sent back to the pavilion by Mohammed Nabi as SRH maintained a stranglehold over the KKR batters in the death overs. In the final two overs, Dinesh Karthik (22*) and Shakib (3) managed to add a few crucial runs and KKR’s total got beyond the 185-run mark.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 187/6 (Nitish Rana 80, Rahul Tripathi 53, Rashid Khan 2-24); SunRisers Hyderabad 177/5 (Manish Pandey 61*, Jonny Bairstow 55, Prasidh Krishna 2-35).
Dravid surprises Kohli with his ‘angry’ avatar
Former India batsman Rahul Dravid has surprised many, including current skipper Virat Kohli, with his never-seen-before angry side.
Featuring in an ad, Dravid can be seen shouting at others from his car and even saying: “Indiranagar ka gunda hun main.” Dravid featured in an ad for CRED, a Bangalore-based credit card bill payment platform. In the ad, shared by Kohli on Twitter, actor Jim Sarbh can be seen saying: “When you pay your Credit Cards bills on CRED, you earn CRED coins. Use them to claim cashback and rewards. I know this sounds ridiculous. It is like saying Rahul Dravid has anger issues.”
Later, Dravid appears in the ad, shouting at everyone from his car and even breaking the side-mirror of a car standing next to him with his bat before getting out of the car’s rooftop and shouting: “Indiranagar ka gunda hun main.”
“Never seen this side of Rahul bhai,” said India skipper Kohli while preparing for the opening game of IPL season 14 as his team Royals Challengers Bangalore (RCB) takes on defending champions Mumbai Indians in Chennai on Friday. Kohli said he expects a great game against the defending champions and added that the side will focus on their skills and strength. “I truly believe that we have to focus on our skills and our strengths as a side. Mumbai, obviously, is a champion team they know how to win this competition, we know the strength of their team so if focus too much on that then we are not gonna focus on what we can do.
“At the end of the day, you are playing cricket which is played on the day in the moment and you could be better than any other guy in the world at that moment,” Kohli said in a video posted by the RCB on their official Twitter handle.
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