Creative forces: Croatia's Luka Modric (right) and Antoine Griezmann of France could hold the key to the World Cup final AFP/Pierre-Philippe MARCOU, Gabriel BOUYS France will also be spurred on by trying to put behind them the bitter disappointment of losing the Euro 2016 final to Portugal in Paris. It is a final few people anticipated when football's global showpiece kicked off four weeks ago. Croatia have brought joy to their Balkan nation of just four million people by defying the odds to progress to the final while reigning champions Germany, then Argentina and Brazil all fell by the wayside in Russia. They have been inspired by mercurial midfielder Luka Modric while coach Zlatko Dalic, who only took over last year with the squad in chaos, has coaxed remarkable performances from his team. Deschamps would become only the third man to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager - he was captain when France lifted the World Cup in 1998. His France side, spearheaded by … [Read more...] about France and Croatia seek World Cup glory
Cup final odds
Eden Hazard and a brilliant Belgian generation stand between France and a place in the World Cup final as the countries bring their historic rivalry to Tuesday's (Jul 10) first semi-final in Saint Petersburg. Eden Hazard (left) and Kylian Mbappe go head to head as neighbours Belgium and France meet in the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday (Jul 10). (Photos: AFP/Odd Andersen, Franck Fife) Not since 1986 have Belgium made it this far at the World Cup, losing to a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina in Mexico and then going down 4-2 to France in the third-place play-off, the last competitive meeting of the nations. In the years since, France have won one World Cup and one European Championship, and lost the 2006 World Cup final. Now, with Kylian Mbappe their new standard-bearer, they are dreaming of getting there again. Belgium disappeared from the forefront of the international scene for years before emerging once more with their current gifted crop. With Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and … [Read more...] about Hazard’s Belgium block France path as neighbours clash in World Cup semi
As the excitement builds ahead of the final of the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship, all eyes are on the two title contenders, Vietnam and Uzbekistan. Neither team has ever made it beyond the group stage of the biennial championship prior to this year. Previous winners include Japan in 2016, who lost 4-0 in this year’s quarterfinals to Uzbekistan, and Iraq in 2013 (when it was the AFC U22 Cup), who lost in the quarterfinals on penalties (5-3) to none other than Vietnam. This year, both finalists lost a match in the group stage. Vietnam lost 2-1 to South Korea, but the Koreans were subsequently defeated by Uzbekistan in the semis, while Uzbekistan lost to Qatar 1-0, who then lost to Vietnam… also in the semis. As for goal stats, Uzbekistan has so far fared better than the more defensively minded Vietnam. The upcoming match is not the first time the two teams have met. Just last month, Vietnam’s U23 team lost 1-2 to Uzbekistan U23 at the M150-Cup in … [Read more...] about Vietnam vs Uzbekistan in U23 Asian Cup final: Who do you think will win?
VTV Cup victory fires up women's volleyball (24-05-2007) HA NOI — Viet Nam's success at the International Women's Volleyball Tournament (VTV Cup) in HCM City last weekend should serve as inspiration for future competitions. It was Viet Nam's third appearance in a VTV Cup final since the competition debuted in 2004. They fell short at the 2005 women's international volleyball championship, losing 3-1 to Japan's Denso Ariry Bees. The following year, Viet Nam went down 3-2 to China's Sichuan. This year however they were successful, beating the US's St John University 3-1 in a nail-biting final. This is the first time Viet Nam have won the VTV Cup, which has been held here four times. Making this year's triumph even sweeter was the fact that nine of the 12 team members had not competed in the VTV Cup before. What is more, key players such as captain Kim Hue and Pham Thi Yen were also absent through injury. Among those competing at national level for the first time was setter Ha Thi … [Read more...] about VTV Cup victory fires up women’s volleyball
LONDON, May 19, 2010 (AFP) - England will win the World Cup this summer after overcoming their traditional Achilles heel to beat Spain on penalties in the final, according to "lighthearted" analysis by JP Morgan on Wednesday. The US bank's number crunchers have applied complex quantitative analysis -- more normally used to assess investment opportunities -- to the 32 teams in the tournament in South Africa, which kicks off on June 11. JP Morgan says Brazil are the strongest team but predicts they will crash out to the Netherlands after a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals. The model sees Wayne Rooney's England knocking out the Dutch in the semi-finals before conquering Spain in the final, winning in a penalty shootout -- the method which has so often been their downfall. While England's predicted victory may not be too far-fetched, even the most ardent fans of minnows Slovenia will have trouble believing JP Morgan's prediction that they will reach the semi-finals before losing to … [Read more...] about Financial analysts bank on England to win World Cup