France captain Yannick Noah's odd choice of Jeremy Chardy and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the opening singles rubbers backfired spectacularly as Croatia built a 2-0 lead inside the huge Stade Pierre Mauroy -- home to Lille's soccer club. World number 12 Coric gave Croatia a flying start with an emphatic 6-2 7-5 6-4 win over an erratic Chardy and the 33-year-old Tsonga, out for most of the season after knee surgery, was then pummelled 6-3 7-5 6-4 by world number seven Cilic. Chardy, ranked 40th, and Tsonga, now down at 259, were both trusted ahead of world number 32 Lucas Pouille. Zeljko Krajan's team need one of the three remaining rubbers to emulate their 2005 Davis Cup triumph while French hopes of extending the contest to Sunday rest with doubles pair Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Noah has lost only one of 10 ties since returning for a third stint, against Croatia in the 2016 semi-final. The 58-year-old will step down after the final but his hopes of signing off with a fourth … [Read more...] about Tennis: Coric, Cilic put Croatia in charge of Davis Cup final
Cup final odds
As the excitement builds ahead of the final of the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship, all eyes are on the two title contenders, Vietnam and Uzbekistan. Neither team has ever made it beyond the group stage of the biennial championship prior to this year. Previous winners include Japan in 2016, who lost 4-0 in this year’s quarterfinals to Uzbekistan, and Iraq in 2013 (when it was the AFC U22 Cup), who lost in the quarterfinals on penalties (5-3) to none other than Vietnam. This year, both finalists lost a match in the group stage. Vietnam lost 2-1 to South Korea, but the Koreans were subsequently defeated by Uzbekistan in the semis, while Uzbekistan lost to Qatar 1-0, who then lost to Vietnam… also in the semis. As for goal stats, Uzbekistan has so far fared better than the more defensively minded Vietnam. Vietnam Uzbekistan Goals scored 7 10 Goals conceded 7 2 Top goalscorer Nguyen Quang Hai (4 goals) Jasurbek Yakhshiboev (3 goals) Formation … [Read more...] about Vietnam vs Uzbekistan in U23 Asian Cup final: Who do you think will win?
Zigzagging across the road like a clown car they may be, but Liverpool are also just 90 minutes from Wembley ahead of Tuesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Stoke City. LONDON: Zigzagging across the road like a clown car they may be, but Liverpool are also just 90 minutes from Wembley ahead of Tuesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Stoke City. A team that recorded seven 1-1 draws in nine games in September and October is beginning to gain a reputation for slapdash spectaculars, following the recent 3-3 draw at home to Arsenal and Saturday's remarkable 5-4 victory at Norwich City. Jurgen Klopp's side have a 1-0 lead to protect at Anfield on Tuesday, but despite the slender nature of their advantage, he is not worried that their defensive problems will prove their undoing again. "I have to find a solution of course, but it is not the biggest problem in a semi-final," the German told his eve-of-match press conference. "We don't have to think about it because it is … [Read more...] about Liverpool eye League Cup final spot
Lionel Messi's Argentina beat Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout in Sao Paulo to reach the World Cup final for the first time since 1990. SAO PAULO: Lionel Messi's Argentina beat Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout in Sao Paulo on Wednesday to reach the World Cup final for the first time since 1990. Penalties were required after the two sides were goalless after extra time, the first ever World Cup semi-final to produce no goals after 120 minutes. The match had gone to penalties after an attritional battle at the Corinthians Arena which saw neither side manage to break through disciplined defending. It was the second time that Holland, who lost the 2010 final to Spain, were beaten on penalties in a World Cup semi-final. They fell to Brazil in 1998. "We have given everything and I'm incredibly proud of this team," Dutch star striker Arjen Robben said after. "It came down to penalties and they simply did better," he told Dutch broadcaster NOS. "To lose like this simply sucks, … [Read more...] about World Cup: Argentina beat Dutch on penalties to reach final
HÀ NỘI - Although the chances of Việt Nam reaching the final round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers are slim, Việt Nam will try to beat Iraq in the final match of the event's second qualifying round to be held in Iran today, according to Vietnamese coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng. Việt Nam's 4-1 victory over Chinese Taipei on March 24 is a driving force for the team in their match with Iraq. Meanwhile, Iraq has had a change in coaching. The team's coach, Yahya Alwan, resigned following the 2-2 draw with Thailand on March 24. Abdul Ghani Shahad took charge of the Iraqi team. Việt Nam now have seven points after five games, standing third in Group F. Thailand took the lead with 14 points. Iraq came second with nine points, whereas Chinese Taipei remained at the bottom with zero points. The group winners and four best runners-up (12 teams total) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The next best 24 … [Read more...] about VN to face Iraq in joint cup