OCEANIA NATIONS CUP
Totori scores equalizer
Benjamin Totori scored a 57th-minute equalizer for the Solomon Islands in a 1-1 draw with New Zealand yesterday as both teams clinched places in the semi-finals of the Oceania Nations Cup, the second round of regional qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. New Zealand, which represented Oceania at the 2010 World Cup, entered their last Group B match unbeaten and with their semi-finals place already secured. The Solomon Islands faced uncertainty at the start of the final day of pool play, but were able to relax when Fiji were held to a 1-1 draw by Papua New Guinea. Fiji needed to win to have any chance of displacing the host nation in the final four. The top four teams progressed to the third round of World Cup qualifying.
FRANCE V ESTONIA
Benzema gets brace
Karim Benzema scored twice and brilliantly set up Franck Ribery for his third goal in three games as France beat Estonia 4-0 on Tuesday to boost confidence ahead of next week’s Euro 2012 match against England. France have won their three Euro 2012 warm-up matches and are undefeated in 21 straight games. Although the defense still looks shaky, France are bristling with menace in attack, with the attacking trio of Ribery, Benzema and Samir Nasri in ominous form. Winger Jeremy Menez completed the scoring in injury time.
UKRAINE V TURKEY
Euro co-hosts lose again
Ukraine slumped to their second straight defeat ahead of Euro 2012 when the tournament’s co-hosts were beaten 2-0 by Turkey in a warmup game on Tuesday. Midfielder Caner Erkin gave Turkey the lead with a low shot past goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov after 30 minutes, and striker Mustafa Pektemek doubled the score in the 70th from a quick counterattack after the Ukraine offside trap failed. The defeat came four days after Ukraine’s 3-2 loss to Austria in another friendly. In both matches, Ukraine looked vulnerable in defense and powerless in attack. Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin rested key players Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Andriy Voronin, while Andriy Shevchenko only appeared for the second half.
SWEDEN V SERBIA
Defense looks shaky
Sweden beat Serbia 2-1 in their final pre-Euro 2012 friendly on Tuesday, securing an encouraging victory which nonetheless raised questions about whether the team’s defense is up to scratch ahead of the Euro championship. Sweden started off the scoring in the 23rd minute after Serbia’s ’keeper Branimir Aleksic fumbled the ball on a Swedish corner and Ola Toivonen tapped it through the posts with his heel. However, Serbia equalized just four minutes later, after a tackle by midfielder Anders Svensson gave Serbia a free-kick that led to a corner, which Neven Subotic headed in between two Swedish defenders. Serbian ’keeper Damir Kahriman, who replaced Aleksic at the start of the second half, pulled down Toivonen and earned Sweden a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, which Zlatan Ibrahimovic blasted into the far-left corner to produce Sweden’s winning goal. However, despite the win, the hosts looked shaky and uncertain, nowhere near the smooth-playing and united team seen during training camp, raising concern as to whether coach Erik Hamren would be able to iron out the wrinkles before the Euros start. Also of concern was Sweden’s starting goalkeeper, Andreas Isaksson, who left the pitch in the 71st minute with a slight groin injury.
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
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 —
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
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