Pele confident about Brazil’s chances
DUBAI: The 77-year-old football legend Pele confident about Brazil’s chances at the upcoming World Cup.
Pele said he was expecting that injured Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar would be fully fit to lead the side to lead Brazil to a possible sixth football title in Russia.
“We don’t know exactly what is going to happen, but I think for the World Cup he’s going to be in shape because his injury is not so bad,” said Pele, the only person to have won the World Cup three times as a player.
“I wish he has the same luck I had in the World Cup.” PSG’s Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, has not played since breaking a metatarsal bone in his right foot on February 25 in a Ligue 1 match against Marseille.
He said last week he was still recovering following surgery but expects to be fit in time for the World Cup from June 14 to July 15.
Pakistan Standard Time
France defied poor stats at World Cup
LAUSANNE: Passing, running and ball possession were not key in producing victories at the 2018 World Cup, but accurate shooting and clear tactics were, according to a FIFA report released on Tuesday.
It showed that champions France were only 19th among the 32 teams in possession percentage, 16th in a total number of passes completed and 28th in distance covered per game, but were second, behind only hosts Russia, in the percentage of shots that scored.
“France did not win the trophy on the back of one performance: they won it over seven matches,” said the report by FIFA’s seven-man Technical Study Group, including Dutch great Marco van Basten and Brazilian World Cup-winning coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.
“France did not rely on ball possession but rather focused on getting into the opposition’s half as fast as they could. And they had the players to do just that.”
“The successful teams had a distinct way of playing based on their players and coaching philosophy,” Parreira, who led Brazil to victory in the 1994 tournament, said of the four semi-finalists. “They had a game plan
and believed in it.”
The report also said that the World Cup was short of classic playmakers, but the two who caught the eye both reached the final.
“We saw less of the so-called playmakers at this World Cup, perhaps as a result of the way teams played,” the report said. “However, there were still some outstanding individuals in this area, Paul Pogba of France excelled, but Luka Modric stole the show.”
“Playmakers can impose themselves on games, speed up or slow down the tempo, switch play, create and make things happen,” Parreira.
For many teams turning possession or passes into victories was a struggle. “The team with the most average ball possession per match, Spain (69%), failed to progress from the round of 16,” pointed out the report.
Germany, whose title defense ended in the group stage, was second in possession followed by Argentina, eliminated in the last 16, and another team that played only three matches, Saudi Arabia.
Spain also completed the most total passes in the tournament (804) in just four matches, followed by two teams who played only three times: Germany(668) and Saudi Arabia (613). France completed just 460 in their seven games.
Germany (84%) and Spain (81%) were the only two sides to complete better than four-fifths of their passes. France completed 70 percent.
“Serbia was the hardest-running team at the tournament, covering an average of 113 km per game,” said the report. “By contrast, France was 28th in this respect, averaging 101 km per match.”
Russia scored a goal from every 4.5 shots, France was second with a goal from every six attempts followed by Colombia with one from every 6.5. Germany had by far the worst conversion rate, scoring just two goals despite 72 shots.
The report added: “Shooting efficiency from outside the penalty area improved dramatically: the average strike rate was a goal per 29 long-range attempts, compared to one in 42 at Brazil 2014.”
But it also said that the way defenses were organized limited long-range shots and the number from outside the area has dropped 32 percent since the 2010 World Cup. In all, 15 teams did not score from outside the area.
“Teams at this World Cup were more compact in defense,” said the report. “The amount of space available has been dramatically reduced, making it challenging to find openings.”
Yet, Parreira insisted “there was an attacking mentality. The attackers looked very sharp: they created good opportunities and took them! The midfielders got forward in support and chipped in with goals.”
ICC charges Jayasuriya in anti-corruption probe!
DUBAI: Dashing former Sri Lankan batsman and ex-chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has been charged for not cooperating with a match-fixing probe and concealing information, the International Cricket Council said today.
“The International Cricket Council (ICC) has charged Jayasuriya on two counts of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and have given him 14 days to respond,” the ICC said in a statement.
Jayasuriya, 49, was reportedly asked to cooperate with an inquiry from ACU chief Alex Marshall who visited Sri Lanka last week.
“The charges include failure or refusal, without compelling justification, to cooperate with any investigation carried out by the ACU, including failure to provide accurately and completely any information and/or documentation requested by the ACU as part of such investigation,” the ICC said.
The other count included “obstructing or delaying any investigation that may be carried out by the ACU, including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information that may be relevant to that investigation and/or that may be evidence or may lead to the discovery of evidence of corrupt conduct under the Anti-Corruption Code”.
The ICC’s ACU is acting on the lead given in a sting operation in a documentary by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television earlier this year.
The documentary revealed how fixers rigged two Test matches between Sri Lanka and India in July last year and Sri Lanka versus Australia in August 2016.
Jayasuriya played 110 Tests, 445 one-day internationals and 31 Twenty20s for Sri Lanka and was also a former captain during his illustrious career between 1989-2011. He is also a former member of Sri Lanka’s parliament.
Cricket: WI 76-6, lead India by 20 runs in 2nd Test
HYDERABAD: The West Indies were 76 for six at tea, leading India by 20 runs in their second innings on day three of the final Test in Hyderabad today.
Sunil Ambris on 20 and skipper Jason Holder on 4 were batting at the break in a bid to fight their way back into the match. They trail the series 1-0. Paceman Umesh Yadav took three wickets to take his overall match tally to nine.