Spurs hopeful about Kane
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane has entered the final stages of recovery from an ankle injury and manager Mauricio Pochettino is optimistic the striker will be fit enough to play in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday next week. Kane sustained what appeared to be a season-ending ligament injury against Manchester City in the quarter-finals, but Pochettino believes he now has a good chance of at least making the bench against Liverpool. He “is training and has entered the final stage of his recovery,” the Argentine told reporters in Spain on Thursday. “We’re hoping he’ll be able to give us a hand, either from the start, from the bench, or if not, then by giving us moral support in the dressing room, but we’re optimistic he’ll be able to help us on the pitch.”
Barca had ‘mental block’
Barcelona suffered from a mental block during their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool that knocked them out of the Champions League, having been scarred by the memory of a similar collapse to AS Roma last year, defender Gerard Pique said in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais published yesterday. Pique described the semi-final, second-leg defeat that wiped out his side’s 3-0 first-leg win as “a nightmare,” saying it would take years to get over. “You could see that the team just wasn’t functioning, they were putting us under pressure and what had happened last year [against Roma] was very present in our minds,” he said. “I’m sure it was a mental block, but we also didn’t play good football.”
City owners eye addition
The owners of Premier League champions Manchester City are eyeing a stake in a Malaysian team to add to their growing portfolio of clubs, City Football Group chief executive Ferran Soriano said yesterday. The group, which is bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family, raised the possibility when he met Minister of Sports Syed Saddiq in Malaysia.
Lippi set for return
Marcello Lippi is set to return for a second stint in charge of China’s national team as the country targets a place at the 2022 World Cup with qualification starting in September. The Chinese Football Association yesterday announced that the 71-year-old would start back next month. He ended his initial 27-month tenure after China’s exit in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup in January. “When Lippi was previously in charge of the national team, the players showed a positive attitude and a fighting spirit,” the association said in a statement. “We believe that with Lippi and his team of assistant coaches, the Chinese men’s football team will leave no stone unturned in realizing their dream of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.”
Young squad named
Japan named a young squad for next month’s Copa America in Brazil with head coach Hajime Moriyasu yesterday naming only six capped players in the 23-man squad. Moriyasu’s decision to take such a young and raw squad to Brazil is further indication of Japan’s desire to go for gold when they host the Tokyo 2020 Olympics next year. Soccer at the Olympic Games allows only three players aged over 23.
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 —
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
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