Cup hopes low: report
Pessimism about England’s World Cup prospects seems to have reached the highest levels after a government document suggested that the national team faced their customary early exit from the tournament. “While England are certain to be playing in the matches in the first period, there is a high probability that they will not be playing in the later matches,” said a report looking at the arguments for allowing pubs to open later during next month’s World Cup. England are to face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in a tough opening group from which two teams advance. “England have a 54 percent probability of progressing past the group stage and an 11 percent probability of progressing past the quarter-finals,” it added. The forecast was not based on the predictions of a soccer-loving civil servant, but drawn from the odds offered by online betting exchange Betfair. “The government is of course 100 percent behind the England soccer team and we wish the players every success in the World Cup,” said a spokeswoman for the Home Office, the government department responsible for the report.
Ronaldo named in squad
Cristiano Ronaldo is to lead Portugal’s World Cup campaign after being named on Tuesday in their provisional 30-man squad for the finals, despite currently being out with a hamstring injury. The Portugal captain picked up the injury playing for Real Madrid against Real Valladolid last week, and missed their defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday. However, the 29-year-old is expected to recover in plenty of time for Portugal’s opening World Cup match on June 16. Portugal coach Paulo Bento also included Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma in his provisional squad. The 30-year-old former Barcelona player rejoined Porto in January after six months out of the game following his departure from Dubai’s Al-Ahli last year.
World Cup travelers warned
Japanese visitors to the World Cup in Brazil have been told by their government to guard against crimes there such as robbery, kidnapping and credit card skimming. In a safety advisory to overseas travelers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Crimes occur in Brazil at a very high frequency by world standards, including many organized crimes involving narcotics.” Japan are to play Ivory Coast on June 14 in Recife; Greece on June 19 in Natal and Colombia on June 24 in Cuiaba. The notice said that the number of murders occurring in Recife’s state is 43 times higher than in Japan, while there are about 200 times as many robberies. The frequency of crimes is also high in the other areas. It advised Japanese visitors to move in groups, refrain from going out at night, avoid deserted places, dress modestly and keep cameras and smartphones out of sight. The ministry is to set up temporary offices in the three cities to help Japanese travelers in trouble.
Sherwood axed by Spurs
Tim Sherwood has been sacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspur, the English Premier League club announced on Tuesday. The 45-year-old replaced the axed Andre Villas-Boas on an 18-month deal in December, but the short-term nature of his contract meant his position was subject to constant speculation. Sherwood, whose final game in charge was a 3-0 league win at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, guided Spurs to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, ensuring the north London club’s qualification for next season’s Europa League.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational