The referee? Penalty shootouts? A curse of foot injuries? Bad luck? Or just not good enough. \nEngland headed home from another international soccer tournament on Friday failing to meet the expectation of a country which invented the game and hosts arguably the most popular club competition in the world. \nA penalty shootout loss to host Portugal in the quarterfinal of the European Championship -- after a thrilling 2-2 extra time draw -- was a heartbreaking elimination for an England side with key players at their peak. \nFor the fourth time in a major championship, England lost a big game on penalties, which included captain David Beckham kicking his spot kick over the bar. \nIt happened against the Germans in the semifinal of World Cup 1990 in Italy and against Germany again in the semifinal of Euro' 96 at Wembley. England lost another shootout to Argentina in the second round of the 1998 World Cup in France. \nTo rub salt into already sore wounds, the loss was after 18-year-old striker Wayne Rooney had limped off the pitch at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon with a brokem foot, the same kind injury that David Beckham sustained before the 2002 World Cup and which also ruled Gary Neville out of it. \nBritish newspapers blamed referee Urs Meier for disallowing a Sol Campbell goal in the final minutes of normal time against Portugal, the injury to Rooney and the lackluster form of Beckham who also had a penalty saved against France. \n"Of course we could have kept the ball better, we could have attacked more," Beckham said. \n``What's to say what could have happened? We could have defended well and got a bit of luck and won 1-0. That's football.'' \nBeckham angrily defended his role as captain. \n"Do you think I can inspire the team as I did in the past? I am England captain," Beckham said. "I will not be resigning my position. I am proud to be England captain. I love to be playing football and I am England captain." \nEngland coach Sven-Goran Eriksson also said he wouldn't step down. \n"If it is the wish of the English people and the Football Association, who are my bosses, then I will leave," Eriksson said. "If I got it wrong then I don't know what I got wrong." \nIronically, England played at its best during its two defeats in Portugal. In its opening match against France, England led 1-0 until 91 minutes, before Zinedine Zidane snatched victory for France with a free kick and a penalty. \nEngland rebounded with a 3-0 win over Switzerland in Coimbra, a uninspiring match apart from two goals from Rooney. They made him the youngest scorer in European Championship history -- until the slightly younger Johann Vonlanthen scored for the Swiss four days later. \nThe superlatives didn't stop for the stocky Everton striker when he netted twice again in a 4-2 win over Croatia. Compared to Pele by Eriksson and the talk of the tournament, Rooney was tipped to shine again against Portugal. \nLimping off the field after his ankle had been stepped on by Portuguese defender Jorge Andrade, Rooney was replaced midway through the first half by Darius Vassell. Sadly for the Aston Villa striker, his shootout penalty was saved by Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo who then converted the winning spot kick. \n"It was a sad end to an amazing few games and an amazing few goals," Beckham said of Rooney. "We are very proud of him. We are very lucky to have him as an England player."
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —