Connect with us

Sports

Four things to look out for as LaLiga kicks off in Spain

FI

Published

on

MADRID, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — LaLiga gets underway with Spain suffering its third heatwave of the summer and with most clubs still looking to put the finishing touches to their squads. Here are four things to look out for as football is back in Spain.

1. Long matches lasting well over 90 minutes.

Prepare to engage with games that stretch beyond 90 minutes in the initial weeks of the new season. Spain’s ongoing heatwave requires hydration pauses during both halves, immediately adding an approximate four to five minutes to the game duration. Moreover, referees, with new directives to compensate for play interruptions, substitutions, and delays, are expected to add at least an additional five to six minutes following the second half.

All of this suggests matches might approach 100 minutes before regular play durations stabilize.

2. All eyes on Bellingham debut

Jude Bellingham, acquired in this summer’s most significant transfer move, has cost Real Madrid over 100 million euros to sign him from Borussia Dortmund. The English midfielder is anticipated to enhance Real Madrid’s lineup in their forthcoming match against Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday evening. Bellingham, known for his vision, stamina, and goal-scoring abilities, could introduce a new dynamic to the team, especially in the noticeable absence of Karim Benzema’s link-up play.

While Athletic will compete without defender Inigo Martinez, now with FC Barcelona, there’s hope that Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta will stabilize the midfield, and that Nico Williams and Oihan Sancet will invigorate the forward line.

3. Courtois loss a huge blow to Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s preparations for Saturday’s game (and the rest of the season) suffered a huge setback on Thursday when Thibaut Courtois broke his cruciate knee ligament, with the club informing that he will have an operation in the coming days.

Courtois has saved Real Madrid many times since arriving in 2018 and his injury arrives without the club having a reliable backup. Substitute keeper Andriy Lunin disappointed when he stood in for Courtois last season and Real Madrid had hoped to sell him over the summer, only for Lunin to dig his heels in and stay.

The Ukrainian keeper now looks likely to start in the San Mames Stadium and Athletic will view that as something that could help them kick off the season with an upset.

4. Barca will have to dig deep for a win in Getafe.

FC Barcelona are running out of time to find the money to be able to inscribe players such as Alejandro Balde, Ilkay Gundogan and Oriol Romeu into the squad for the weekend opener away to Getafe and if they can’t meet financial fair-play requirements before then, coach Xavi Hernandez will have to use B-team players.

Getafe are likely to be difficult opponents and with Jose Bordalas remaining in the dugout, they will use every tactic they can to break up Barca’s play, run the clock down and stop their passing game.

Expect a dry pitch and lots of stoppages in a match where being effective from set pieces could be vital.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Sports

Chile, Peru rue missed chances in Copa America stalemate

FI

Published

on

By

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Xinhua) — Chile manager Ricardo Gareca said his team remains hopeful of reaching the Copa America knockout stage after a goalless draw with Peru in their tournament opener on Friday.

Chile controlled 65 percent of possession but had only one shot on target against a Peru side that forced four saves from Roja goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

“It was an evenly fought contest,” Gareca, who served as Peru’s manager from 2015 to 2022 before taking charge of Chile in January, told reporters after the duel.

“Beyond the fact that we wanted to win the game, the most important thing of all is to stay in contention. We are now where we started, with possibilities [of advancing].”

Gareca insisted he had felt no added pressure against his former team and said the result allowed Chile to “improve, see and analyze” for the rest of the tournament.

His Peru counterpart, Jorge Fossati, expressed satisfaction at the Blanquirroja’s performance.

“We had a great attitude and started well,” Fossati said. “But we became anxious and lacked confidence at key moments.”

Source(s): Xinhua

Continue Reading

Sports

Argentina outlast spirited Canada in Copa America opener

FI

Published

on

By

ATLANTA, June 20 (Xinhua) — Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez scored second-half goals as defending champions Argentina began their Copa America defense with 2-0 victory over Canada here on Thursday.

Alvarez sent an angled finish into the far corner before Martinez put the result beyond doubt by slotting home after Lionel Messi’s pass.

The final scoreline barely did justice to a spirited Canada outfit, who troubled the reigning World Cup winners for long periods of the first half and early in the second.

“It was a tough game against a team that is physically very strong,” Albiceleste captain Messi said after the match at Mercedes-Benz stadium.

“They gave us very little space, particularly in the first half. But we moved the ball more quickly after halftime and knew that if we were patient and took control of the game we would get over the line.”

Canada unsettled Argentina early with a high defensive line that often made it difficult for Messi and company to advance beyond the halfway line.

Les Rouges also looked dangerous in attack and Jonathan David should have done better as he scuffed a shot wide after Alphonso Davies’ overlapping run and cross.

Argentina almost broke the deadlock through Alexis Mac Allister but the Liverpool midfielder could only manage a tame header straight at goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau following Rodrigo de Paul’s lofted pass.

Canada’s best chance of the first half came when Cyle Larin delivered a sumptuous cross into the path of Stephen Eustaquio, whose header was kept out by Emiliano Martinez. The rebound fell to Davies, who had time and space but only succeeded in blasting his first-time effort over the bar.

Argentina emerged from the interval with renewed verve and they took the lead in the 49th minute in a move that started with Messi.

The Inter Miami forward’s perfectly weighted through ball found Mac Allister, whose deft touch in traffic released Alvarez. The Manchester City forward showed his scoring instinct by pouncing and lashing a first-time effort into the far corner.

Canada continued to press and Davies had a chance to equalize minutes later with a header that sailed over.

By now Argentina were also attacking with intent but were wasteful in the final third as Messi and Martinez both missed chances when they had only the goalkeeper to beat.

Martinez, who was a 76th minute substitute for Alvarez, made amends two minutes from time by running onto Messi’s pass and threading a shot between the legs of Crepeau.

Source(s): Xinhua

Continue Reading

Sports

Denmark draws with England, Spain edges Italy in Euro 2024

FI

Published

on

By

BERLIN, June 20 (Xinhua) — Harry Kane’s goal wasn’t enough for the Three Lions as Morten Hjulmand’s hammer secured Denmark a 1-1 draw while Spain won in Group B after beating Italy on the own goal from Riccardo Calafiori in the second round of the Euro 2024 group stage on Thursday.

England dictated the pace and pressed Denmark onto the back foot from the kick-off at a sold out Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt.

The Three Lions created their first half chance when Kyle Walker teed up Phil Foden, who pulled wide from central position with 13 minutes gone.

Walker kept Denmark’s defence busy and assisted Harry Kane with the opener after providing a deflected cross into the box, five minutes later.

Denmark remained unimpressed and pushed forward whereas England put all their men behind the ball.

The Danes got rewarded for their efforts at the half hour mark when Morten Hjulmand drilled the equalizer from 25 meters past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

After the restart England came out with their guns blazing as Foden rattled the woodwork with a low drive in the 56th minute before Denmark goalie Kasper Schmeichel denied Ollie Watkins a goal following a one-on-one in the 71st minute.

Denmark almost clinched a late win, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s curl missed the target narrowly wide in the closings stages.

“We struggled to have control in the game, and it led to an anxious performance. That must be better if we want to go further in the tournament,” said England head coach Gareth Southgate.

In the other Group C clash, Serbia snatched an injury time leveller through Luka Jovic, who cancelled out Benjamin Sesko’s opener for Slovenia, to maintain their chances to advance into the next round.

With the results, England (4 points) stays atop the standings followed by Denmark, Slovenia (both 2 points) and Serbia (1 point).

In Group B, Spain booked their berth for the last 16 after securing the second straight win.

Spain dominated the one-sided affair but needed help by Calafiori to break the deadlock in the second half. Italy lacked in ideas to threaten Spain’s defence and goalkeeper Gianlugi Donnarumma made several saves to prevent a higher loss.

“It wasn’t easy, but we know Italy is always a tough opponent. The happier we are to have secured all three points as we want to win the title,” said player of the match Nico Williams.

Spain tops the group with six points while Italy remains on the second with three points followed by Albania and Croatia, both with one point.

Source(s): Xinhua

Continue Reading

Trending