Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

RIO OLYMPICS

France, Germany qualify

Germany and France on Monday both booked their tickets to the next year’s Rio Olympics as two of the best European teams in the Women’s World Cup in Canada. “It’s very, very good news for everyone,” France coach Philippe Bergeroo told reporters. “We’re going to the Olympics, but first of all we’re focusing on our quarter-final against Germany. The girls are all delighted. There’s a lot of joy, but we have to refocus very quickly.” In the event where results from the Women’s World Cup do not clearly identify the third-best team from Europe, a playoff with the two remaining teams would be organized by UEFA. Sweden is to miss out on the Olympics for the first time after their 4-1 defeat to Germany in the last 16. England do not participate in the Olympics, rather the UK competes at the Summer and Winter Games, so the Three Lionesses do not count in the qualification rankings for Rio.

RUSSIA

Usmanov foots Capello’s bill

Billionaire Alisher Usmanov has given the Russian Football Union (RFS) 300 million rubles (US$5.5 million) to pay salary arrears owed to the coach of the national team, Fabio Capello. Italian Capello took over as head coach in July 2012 before having his contract extended until the end of the 2018 World Cup, which Russia is to host. “As a member of the Russia 2018 Local Organizing Committee Supervisory Board, Usmanov decided to give financial help to the RFS to the tune of 300 million rubles,” Usmanov’s media service told the R-Sport news agency. “Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, the question regarding the head coach is of great importance for the national football team.” Usmanov, who according to Forbes magazine is Russia’s richest man, with an estimated fortune of US$14.7 billion, earlier this year loaned the RFS 400 million rubles on favorable terms to help pay Capello.

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

Wambach criticizes referee

Abby Wambach could face a FIFA reprimand after the US striker suggested the French referee in Monday’s Women’s World Cup tie against Colombia “purposefully” booked players who had picked up yellow cards earlier in the tournament. The US beat a resolute Colombia 2-0 at Commonwealth Stadium, but had midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday booked in the first half, and the pair are now to be suspended for the quarter-final against China. “I don’t know if they were yellows. It seemed like she was purposefully giving those to the players she knew were sitting on yellows. I don’t know if it was just a psychological thing, who knows?” Wambach told reporters. Rapinoe and Holiday were the only two US players that had started the game under the risk of a possible suspension. Referee Stephanie Frappart booked Holiday in the 17th minute and Rapinoe was given a yellow card four minutes before halftime.

U-20 WORLD CUP

Serbians celebrate victory

About 50,000 people on Monday gathered in downtown Belgrade to greet Serbia’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup winners. Chanting “Champions! Champions!” the crowd cheered the team that appeared at the balcony of Belgrade City Hall, a place where Belgraders traditionally greet Serb winning athletes. “I love you Serbia!” player Andrija Zivkovic said, as the crowd went wild after being showed the trophy. “Our dream has come true,” Serbia’s U-20 team coach Veljko Paunovic said. Serbia on Saturday pulled off a historic 2-1 extra-time defeat of favorites Brazil in the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Auckland.

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