Brave Falconets fall 0-2 to USA

Nigeria’s U-20 team the Falconets this morning fell against the USA team in the semi-final stage of the FIFA Women World cup as they were defeated 2-0 by the Americans.

Goals from Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai in either half of the encounter sealed victory for the Americans.

The Falconets started well with Francisca Ordega latching onto a through ball, beating USA goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin in a race to the ball in the seventh minute of the opening, but her effort went wide of the post.

Brian scored the all-important opening goal midway through the first half from a perfect header over goalkeeper Ibubeleye Whyte.

The Americans took charge of the game after the opener, creating several chances in the closing stages of the half.

Nigeria came back stronger after the break but Desire Oparanozie’s effort was ruled out for offside.

Almost immediately a skilful run from Ngozi Okobi set up Oparanozie for an equaliser only for her to blaze it over.

Ohai slotted in the second for the Americans which literarily ended the game as a contest midway into the second half.

Falconets will now meet Japan on Saturday to contest for the third place as Japan also fell to Germany.

Germany gets world’s longest bus

The Dresden city in German will soon be getting a transport system described as train on wheels to add to their means of transportation.

This bus is a three-section Auto -tram Extra Grand Bus which is 98 feet long and can carry over 256 passengers and doesn’t require any special training for its driver.

It was designed by Fraunhofer IVI and the Technical University Dresden, the bus is said to be as easily maneuverable as a normal bus and the Auto-tram Extra Grand Bus uses a computer to aid or direct the driver.

The system’s primary purpose is to ensure that the rear section of the bus precisely follows the front and middle sections at all times.

In addition to the sophisticated guidance system, the bus incorporates green technology in the form of a hybrid gas and electric engine that can travel five miles operating purely on battery power, reports Today in Tech.

The designer says the bus will hit the street by October after a successful test running outside the city.

“We have already received inquiries from other cities around the world about getting their own versions of the bus, since it costs much less to put into operation and maintain than commuter rail systems”, yet still carries a massive amount of passengers.

Man dies during Javelin throw

The German city of Dusseldorf has lost an official during an athletic event after being speared in the throat with a Javelin. 

Dieter Strack who was 74-year-old was rushed to hospital after the accident but died due to the injuries.

Reports say Dieter had gone to measure a throw but was hit by a javelin before it hit the ground.

The competition was called off after the incident.

The competitor a 15-year-old who threw the javelin is receiving psychological counseling.

In a press statement released by the Local Athletics Association, Dieter was a “Much loved and experienced sports judge”.

“All of us who were there are horrified and in shock… We will always remember Dieter Strack,”

Boot with a Brain: Adidas F50 miCoach monitors Messi’s performance

The work rate and movements of Argentina/Barcelona superstar can now be monitored in terms ratings which can be applied into a graph and pie chart thanks Adidas’ new creation, the F50 miCoach boot.

Tagged a ‘boot with a brain’ the Adidas F50 miCoach boot which was unveiled in September 2011 and was also endorsed by the Argentine is built to have a microchip installed into it and it also has Speed Cell and dongle that helps in capturing your performance stats.

The F50 miCoach boot was put to test to gather stats from the recent friendly between Argentina and Germany, where Messi scored a goal and missed a penalty but saw the South-American side emerge winners with a 3-1 score line.

Stats revealed by the Adidas boot showed that Messi ran 8.49 km, sprinted 44 times throughout the match and reached a maximum speed of 30.71 km/hour.

According to Adidas,the F50 miCoach boot is meant for everyone form the World class players to the ordinary football lovers who meet on Sundays to have fun on the field.

British PM “jokes” over introduction of goal line technology

With debates for the introduction of the goal line technology getting heated, British Prime Minister David Cameron, on Tuesday joked that, he may drop his support for goal line technology.

His remark is coming after the English team benefited from referee’s error in the on-going Euro 2012 group stage match against Ukraine.

England defender, John Terry cleared a ball after it had clearly crossed the goal line but despite the introduction of a fifth official, the error went unnoticed. The goal would have brought the game to 1-1 and probably could have changed the course of the game.

England beat Ukraine 1-0 in Tuesday’s match, qualifying for the quarterfinal knockout stage in the process.

Asked about the game at a news conference at the G20 summit in Mexico, Cameron was happy to offer his warm congratulations, but a little artful when asked if the mistake should lead to the introduction of sensors to confirm goals.

He referred back to the 2006 World Cup match in which England was the team on the wrong end of a bad refereeing decision.

“Goal-line technology?” he pondered.

“I remember thinking it was a thoroughly good idea when Frank Lampard was disappointed in that previous England-Germany game. I’ll have to reflect a little bit further but don’t expect an immediate U-turn,” he joked.

England’s win sets up a quarter final clash with Group C runner up, Italy on June 24.

Blatter succumbs

Meanwhile, Fifa’s president, Sepp Blatter, has confirmed that goal-line technology is ‘no longer an alternative but a necessity’.

He took to the social networking site, Twitter, to voice his opinion on the issue. “After last night’s match #GLT [Goal-line technology] is no longer an alternative but a necessity” he posted.

However, the extra officials appear to have made little difference with many still calling for goal-line technology to be deployed.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s only threat – Maradona

Former controversial Argentine player, Diego Amando Maradona has singled out Real Madrid Striker and former Manchester United forward man; Cristiano Ronadlo as the only threatful player Paulo Bento has on his squad wearing Portuguese national team jerseys for Euro 2012, claiming that Portugal has one of the weakest line-ups in the tournament.

The loud Argentine who was formerly the coach of his country’s national team expressed his belief Portugal will struggle in the European Championship to make an impact if at all there will be any, as Coach Paulo Bento has arguably one of the weakest sides in this tournament.

Portugal will be having their first acid test against Germany today, while Netherlands take on Denmark in the other Group B fixture.

Now coaching Al Wasl, Maradona tipped the Seleccao to crash out at the first hurdle, pointing out that Cristiano Ronaldo is their only player who can make the difference as Portugal got qualification through playoff to be in EURO 2012.

Moreover the national team has not been enjoying the support their followers since the squad messed up at home against Turkey despite having Ronaldo on ground; this tells you that Ronaldo cannot do it alone if he lacks vibrant support from all corners, Maradona said.

Commenting on the Netherlands versus Denmark game which is also slated for today, he said the Oranje men will too much Denmark to curtail or handle as very few national teams can match their prowess on-field in terms team and player to player talent.

EURO 2012, a make or mar for senior Oranje boys

It’s going to be battle to the last in the 2012 European championship for the likes of Robben, Sneijder,Rafael van der Vaart and Van Persie; senior Oranje boys as this might their final shot at the European title.

This is  because most of the star players Bert Van Marwijk brought together as a squad are at their peak as a chance at EURO 2016 which will be hosted France might be a dream too hard to come to pass for the key players When players such as Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben all broke into Netherlands’ senior side in the early years of the 21st century, the Dutch’s hopes of winning a major trophy for the first time since 1988 were raised.

After failing to go all the way at the European Championships of 1992, 1996 and 2000, Oranje finally seemed to have another generation that looked capable of following in the footsteps of the ‘Heroic Holland’ of Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten.

Nevertheless, despite the seemingly perfect combination of established stars and promising youngsters, Netherlands once more stumbled on their way to glory at Euro 2004, regardless of some inspired performances from Sneijder, Van der Vaart, and most notably Robben. The nation’s new stars were not too disappointed, though, after their semi-final exit against Portugal.

It was quickly pointed out that they were still young, and would undoubtedly get another shot at glory. Indeed, that chance would come four years later at the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland. Players like Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie, Joris Mathijsen and Nigel de Jong had by then become key players for the side as well, and Oranje went into the tournament with a young, yet already relatively experienced, team.

Despite being paired with 2006 World Cup finalists Italy and France, the Dutch progressed to the quarter-finals with ease, and were immediately seen as the stand-out favourites to win Euro 2008. However, they crumbled under the pressure, again, as Russia proved to be too strong after extra time to end Oranje’s title dreams.

Indeed, eight of the 11 players who are expected to start in Oranje’s opener against Denmark are between the age of 25 and 30, with Jetro Willems, Gregory van der Wiel, and Mark van Bommel, as the only exceptions who are aged 18,24 and 35.

It’s therefore fair to say that Euro 2012 is the perfect, and probably the last, opportunity for the likes of Van der Vaart, Robben and Co. to finally live up to the expectations, as there is a big chance that they will not be around in France in four years’ time.

At Euro 2016, Van Bommel, Kuyt and Mathijsen will all have left the team, while Van der Vaart, Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie will all be in their thirties when the next tournament kicks off.

Although it is by no means a certainty that the latter four will not make another European Championship, it appears to be a safe bet that this summer’s tournament will be the last shot at European glory for at least one of them.

For now, Netherland’s key men are all in superb condition, though, and they will be desperate to take full advantage of it in Poland and Ukraine. Facing opponents such as Denmark, Germany and Portugal in the group stage will be an uphill task, but the realisation that Euro 2012 could very well be their last shot at European glory will a motivating factor for these star players to put their best forward so as to achieve their dream and that is lifting the European cup.

 

EURO 2012: Poland wary of Greek defense

Coach and captain of the Polish national team, Franciszek Smuda and Kuba Blaszczykowski, have both confessed that the defense of the Greek team is a major worry for them ahead of the opening match of the EURO 2012 on Friday.

According to the coach, they believe the Greek’s tactic from back to front is purely defensive in play.

one the co-hosts of the much awaited EURO 2012 tournaments spoke up today on what worries them they clash with Greece as the tournament opens today.#

Coach Smuda, admitted that the ironclad defense of Greece will be a hard nut to crack.

He said this while the team was having their training in Warsaw National Stadium where the first clash of the tournament will hold. He said their strong point is their style of play as it is defensive-minded.

On the part of the captain, Blaszczykowski admitted that the Greeks will introduce a defensive style of play but went further, saying a breach can always be created as his own team can boast players who can achieve that for Poland.

Greece went into the EURO 2012 finals without any defeat against all the teams they clashed during the qualifiers, scoring 14 goals and conceding 5 goals in the process.

It was thought to be a relief by Polish fans after the draw was done and they were not drawn in the group of Germany, the 2008 EURO finalists-Spain.

The performance of the Polish team is however unsure having failed to reach the 2010 World Cup, they have relied on friendly matches for 968 days in preparation for Euro 2012 with the squad with an average age of 25, the pressure is on for the young squad to reach and surpass older squads as they are on paper as the weakest team at the 16-nation European championship, hosted with neighboring Ukraine, and as hosts did not have to come through qualifying.

Smuda reiterated that his basic target is to make it out of Group A, which also includes Russia and the Czech Republic.

EURO 2012: Schweinsteiger passes fitness test,to play against Portugal

Han-Wilhelm Muller-Wolfahrt, the team doctor for Germany has given German and Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger a clean bill of health after a fitness test to feature in Germany’s first game in EURO 2012 tournament.

The Team Doctor recommended that the German can now be listed among the first team squad billed to face Portugal which also is the first game of the tournament for Germany.

The influential Bayern Munich midfielder recently suffered a succession of nagging injuries, and there were initial doubts over whether he would be able to participate in first game of his country.

The 27-year-old expressed so much joy when the team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt confirmed that he will be at Joachim Low’s disposal for the clash with Portugal.

According to the team doctor “Bastian has no problems, no more pain, he will be available but cannot begin training until Monday because has a bit to do to get fully fit of course, but I’m assuming that he will be ready to face Portugal.”

The game between Germany and Portugal will be kicking off on June 9th in Lviv.

Schweinsteiger apologises to President Gauck for purported snub

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich forward player who missed his penalty the night Chelsea claimed the Champions League final played on Saturday was paralysed with disappointed that he claimed he did not see German President Joachim offer his hand to him.

Schweinsteiger apologised for the incident but said he did not intentionally snub Gauck as the team collected their medals following the penalty shootout defeat by Chelsea.

Schweinsteiger said on Bayern’s website that “It’s a misunderstanding,”.

The Bayern Munich forward man asked that people should place themselves in his shoes and look at the photo taken of him and the German President would see that after such a great disappointment, he was not aware of what was going on around him.

“I was desperate, disappointed, as if I was paralysed. I didn’t see the president’s hand.

“I’m sorry that in that moment I left the wrong impression. I would like to apologise to the president.”

Nigeria arrests five over kidnap of German engineer

Security sources confirmed on Tuesday that Nigerian authorities arrested five men, including a foreigner from Mauritania, who are believed to have ties to Al-Qaeda’s north African branch and are involved with the kidnapping of a German national in January.

According to reports, four of the five suspects had been arrested during a raid on a store owned by a Mauritanian last week and the fifth detained in a different raid.

“Guns and a laptop were recovered in the store and the documents found in the computer, including an AQIM operation manual, showed that the suspects are linked to AQIM and were involved in the kidnap of the German engineer in January,” one of the sources said in describing the store raid.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, claimed responsibility for the kidnap of German engineer Edgar Raupach, who was abducted in Kano in January. The radical group said in a statement last week that they were willing to swap him for a jailed Muslim woman.

Nigeria has recently faced criticism over its failed bid to rescue an Italian and British hostage earlier this month. The hostages had been killed by their captors during the failed rescue op by combined British and Nigerian forces.

Gunmen kidnap Lebanese business man in Edo State

Police officials on Thursday confirmed that gunmen have kidnapped a Lebanese businessman in Edo state, the second abduction in one week.

State police spokesman Etim Bassey confirmed that the kidnapping had taken place “on March 20 in Auchi by some unidentified gunmen who scaled the fences of his house and took him away”.

The spokesman said the culprits were yet to make any demands, adding that the man in question was a private business owner.

His kidnapping is one of a rash of recent abductions that have spread through Nigeria’s oil-producing regions in recent months.

Recently, Al Qaeda’s north Africa branch said it was holding another German engineer who had been kidnapped in Nigeria two months ago.

According to a Mauritania news agency, Al Qaeda in Maghreb (AQIM) said it was willing to negotiate the release of the captive with that of a jailed Muslim woman.

“We inform you that your compatriot Edgar Fritz Raupach is a prisoner of fighters from AQIM,” the group said in a statement published by the ANI agency.

The group demanded in the statement that the woman, Felis Lowitz, a recent Islam convert who now goes by the name Um Seiv Al-Islam Al-Ansariya, be released from her detention in Germany where they claim she is being tortured.

According to AFP reports, a video obtained by the ANI news agency showed Raupach, surrounded by masked gunmen with his hands tied behind his back.

In the video, Raupach, an engineer, called on his “parents, friends and German public opinion” to convince Berlin to “bring an end to the torture of our Muslim sister”, adding that his life depended on her freedom.

AQIM warned against any heroic rescue efforts, adding that his fate would be the same as that of Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara and British colleague Chris McManus, who were killed earlier this month during a failed rescue bid by British and Nigerian forces.

Germany confirmed Raupach, who was kidnapped on 25 January, is a citizen and construction company Bilfinger Berger has said he is one of their employees.