Germany’s Stand on ‘Despicable’ Fans Puts Silent England to Shame

German supporters light flares during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Germany and the Czech Republic in Prague on September 1, 2017. (Reuters)
German supporters light flares during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Germany and the Czech Republic in Prague on September 1, 2017. (Reuters)
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Germany’s Stand on ‘Despicable’ Fans Puts Silent England to Shame

German supporters light flares during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Germany and the Czech Republic in Prague on September 1, 2017. (Reuters)
German supporters light flares during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Germany and the Czech Republic in Prague on September 1, 2017. (Reuters)

That was some performance from Joachim Löw, the Germany national manager, after the jarring evidence during the international break that there are still a few troglodytes among his team’s support who seem hell-bent on providing living proof of Einstein’s theory that there is no limit to human stupidity.

Löw had just seen his team win 2-1 against the Czech Republic in Prague, maintaining an immaculate record in their World Cup qualifying group, but when he arrived for his press conference, face like thunder, the questions about his team’s performance had to wait. “I am neither upset nor sad,” he began. “I am full of rage, that explains my feelings better. I am really, really angry about this – that some so-called fans have used the stage of an international football match, and the stage of football, to bring shame on our country with their embarrassing behavior and appearance. We don’t want these anarchists. We are not their national team and they are not our fans. Their behavior was the lowest of the low and utterly despicable.”

It isn’t usual to hear a manager speak this way but, then again, these weren’t usual circumstances. A section of Germany’s support had disrupted a minute’s silence, abused one of their own players, Timo Werner, and followed up the traditional chants of “Sieg” (victory) towards the end of the game with an echoed “Heil”. It was an abomination and, at the final whistle, something happened that the people who follow die Mannschaft tell me they have never seen before. Germany’s players refused to go to the away end. They didn’t wave, there was no clapping, zero appreciation. It was a choreographed protest, a public disavowal and a clear, defiant message that they didn’t want any association.

For that, the players deserve our applause and Mats Hummels, in particular, as the captain who directed his team-mates off the pitch and made it absolutely clear it was a time to make a stand. “The chants were a catastrophe,” Hummels said later. “They started during the minute’s silence, which shows you the kind of people we’re dealing with. Timo Werner was insulted and ridiculed. Then the fans started shouting their insults. We distance ourselves completely from it and want nothing to do with it. And that’s why we didn’t go [to them].”

Bravo, that man, and what a pity England’s players did not have it in them to do the same in response to that abysmal night in Dortmund six months ago and the absence of respect for their hosts from the corner of the Westfalenstadion decorated in St. George’s flags.

That occasion needed a strong voice, too, when virtually the entire soundtrack was about the second world war and the only real choreography came in the form of the outstretched arms, creating a fleet of pretend fighter planes, during the various renditions of Ten German Bombers, one lasting fully 15 minutes, and how “the RAF from England shot them down”.

Unfortunately, it did not get one. Gareth Southgate’s comments were, frankly, not nearly enough and let’s not kid ourselves: it won’t even have crossed the players’ minds that they might be in a position to affect change and try to stop it happening again. The modern‑day England footballer just isn’t made that way. You will never find one speaking in the way that Hummels did. And more’s the pity.

The only counter-argument is that the 21,000-capacity Eden Arena in Prague is a much smaller stadium than the Westfalenstadion, making what happened feel even more intrusive and lamentable, and the behavior was on a different, more sinister level than the backdrop to the Germany-England encounter.

Maybe that’s true. Reports in Germany say the 100 or so troublemakers were associated with Dynamo Dresden and a number of other clubs from the former East Germany, where right‑wing extremism is said to be more prominent than other parts of the country. They mostly wore black and targeted their own football association with chants of “scheisse, DFB” during what was supposed to be a minute’s silence. Rudolf Kocek, president of the Czechoslovak FA when they won 1976 European Championship, was one of the people the host nation wanted to remember. Rudolf Bat’a, the organization's former general secretary, was another; and so was Lenka Civinova, who was on holiday in Egypt during the summer when a terrorist went on the rampage in two beachfront hotels. Civinova, 36, the Czech FA’s accountant, was among the seven tourists stabbed. Two of the dead were actually from Germany.

It isn’t easy to understand why anybody would want to shout that down, but don’t forget what happened when England arranged a minute’s silence against Brazil in 2013 to honor the people who died in the Munich air tragedy, the 20th anniversary of Bobby Moore’s death and the 238 victims of a nightclub fire in Santa Maria. Perhaps you might remember the England-Wales match in 2004 and what happened after a request by the authorities for a minute’s silence for Ken Bigley, the news of whose murder by terrorists in Iraq had broken the previous day.

The difference on those occasions is that it is very rare for anyone involved with England – the manager, the captain, any of the players – ever to dare criticize their own supporters, even when criticism would be deserved, and it is a shame they have never found their voice when Löw, Hummels and their various colleagues have shown that it is possible to make a stand and in the process, change the narrative.

The FA did hold a media briefing three months after the Dortmund game to go over what had happened but nobody from the England setup itself was prepared to go on record even though it was clear by that point it was more than just a few beery, offensive chants. The footage of England’s end showed people making Nazi salutes and slit-throat gestures. One member of the choir could be seen holding a finger above his lip to imitate Hitler, in between gesturing that he would stab the German fans. All of which brought to mind the verdict of one Philadelphia Inquirer columnist after the United States had been awarded the 1994 World Cup. “What’s the first word to come into your head when I say: ‘British soccer fan’?” he asked. “It was ‘sub-human’, wasn’t it? I rest my case.”

It’s a nice line but, in reality, there are plenty of people who go abroad to watch England and enjoy their adventures without restoring to time‑warp chanting, 90-minute xenophobia or pretend patriotism about conflicts from another phase of history.

Yet it was still easy enough to find lads going through “No Surrender” in the queues on Wembley Way after England’s last game and, when it comes to next year’s World Cup, it has been interesting to hear from the relevant authorities about some of the supporters who will be making that trip to Russia and why those people had better wise up bearing in mind what could be waiting for them.

England’s troublemakers still tend to wear the same uniform that was fashionable on the terraces a quarter of a century ago – Stone Island, Burberry, Adidas trainers (more Gazelles than the Maasai Mara) – but it is a different form of trouble these days. The old category-C hooligans have gone, for the most part, and in their place it is a new breed of younger supporters, largely 19 to 25, who are not so dangerous but make up for that by adopting an anything-goes, stag-weekend mentality, whereby they take pride in behaving badly and regard England trips as a bit of escapism. When the FA’s travel club emailed its members after the Germany game a number of replies came back telling the FA to stop being spoilsports, arguing the behavior was exactly how they liked it.

The difficult part is breaking that kind of mentality and perhaps Southgate and his players missed a trick when the alternative, as their equivalents in Germany have shown, would have been to turn their backs and disown the people who still confuse international football matches with old medieval tournaments.

It doesn’t automatically mean that when Germany go on future excursions the demagogues and dunderheads will stay away or come with a new songbook. But at least the manager and players of the world champions have realized this kind of behavior affects them, too, and that it would be better to confront it rather than sitting on their hands and deciding it is somebody else’s problem. That has to count for something and, for that alone, it is tempting to think their English counterparts could learn a thing or two.

The Guardian Sport



Klopp Seeks Private Life after Liverpool Exit, Rules Out Immediate Return

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp reacts after his very last match with Liverpool after the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp reacts after his very last match with Liverpool after the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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Klopp Seeks Private Life after Liverpool Exit, Rules Out Immediate Return

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp reacts after his very last match with Liverpool after the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp reacts after his very last match with Liverpool after the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Former Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he plans to retreat into a private life following his departure from the Premier League club and has no immediate plans to return to management.
Klopp bade farewell to the Anfield faithful in a long address after Liverpool's 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday and led the crowd in a song for incoming manager Arne Slot, who has enormous shoes to fill, Reuters said.
Klopp, who famously introduced himself as "the normal one" in his first Liverpool press conference, was glad he is leaving the club in a good position after enjoying a trophy laden career.
"But look, it's not burning behind me and that gives me a good feeling," Klopp told reporters on Sunday in his last post-match press conference, adding that he will return to Anfield someday as a spectator.
The German will be packing his bags after a few emotional weeks in the city. In January, the 56-year-old announced he will leave at the end of the season after nine years at the helm due to draining energy levels.
"A private life must be planned and I didn't plan anything yet because I was here," Klopp said. "Probably Ulla (Sandrock, his wife) will update me where we go but I follow happily."
"I don't know exactly why nobody believes I probably will not be a manager again but I understand because obviously it seems to be a drug, because everybody comes back and everyone works until they are 70-something.
"Other people can do it in different ways, I have to be all-in, I have to be the spark, I have to be the energy, I have to be all these kind of things and I'm empty.
"You only have to look outside which clubs are obviously available. There will be opportunities, but I don't sit here and think, 'Maybe in a year's time I take that.'"


Man City Wins Record Fourth Straight Premier League Title

19 May 2024, United Kingdom, Manchester: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne lifts the Premier League trophy with team-mates as they celebrate after the English Premier League soccer match against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/dpa
19 May 2024, United Kingdom, Manchester: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne lifts the Premier League trophy with team-mates as they celebrate after the English Premier League soccer match against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/dpa
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Man City Wins Record Fourth Straight Premier League Title

19 May 2024, United Kingdom, Manchester: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne lifts the Premier League trophy with team-mates as they celebrate after the English Premier League soccer match against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/dpa
19 May 2024, United Kingdom, Manchester: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne lifts the Premier League trophy with team-mates as they celebrate after the English Premier League soccer match against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/dpa

Manchester City won a record fourth straight Premier League title on Sunday by beating West Ham 3-1 in the final game of the season.
City is the first team to be crowned champion of English soccer’s top division four years in a row after holding off the challenge of second-place Arsenal, which beat Everton 2-1.
Two goals from Phil Foden in the first half set Pep Guardiola's team on course for its latest title. Mohammed Kudus pulled a goal back for West Ham with a stunning overhead kick, but Rodri restored City's advantage as it marched toward a sixth title in seven seasons.
Guardiola’s team needed to beat West Ham at Etihad Stadium to be certain of the title, having gone into the game two points clear at the top of the standings.
Foden helped ease any potential nerves among the home fans when firing City ahead with a brilliant goal inside two minutes.
Receiving a pass from Bernardo Silva, Foden side-stepped West Ham midfielder James Ward-Prowse and unleashed a left-foot shot outside the area that rocketed into the top corner. The goal was timed at just under 80 seconds.
Foden, England’s footballer of the year, added a second in the 18th minute when converting Jeremy Doku’s cross from close range.
Kudus produced a moment of magic in the 42nd with an acrobatic overhead kick that might have given Arsenal hope of an unlikely comeback.
But it didn’t take City long to extend its lead again after the break as Rodri fired low from the edge of the box that West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola could not keep out despite getting a hand to the ball.
City ended the season with 91 points — two more than Arsenal.


Paralympics Open in 100 Days. Paris Organizers Launch Campaign to Boost Ticket Sales

FILE - The padded hands of Diane Roy of Canada are seen as she waits to compete in the women' 800-meter T54 heat at the 2012 Paralympics games, on Sept. 4, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
FILE - The padded hands of Diane Roy of Canada are seen as she waits to compete in the women' 800-meter T54 heat at the 2012 Paralympics games, on Sept. 4, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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Paralympics Open in 100 Days. Paris Organizers Launch Campaign to Boost Ticket Sales

FILE - The padded hands of Diane Roy of Canada are seen as she waits to compete in the women' 800-meter T54 heat at the 2012 Paralympics games, on Sept. 4, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
FILE - The padded hands of Diane Roy of Canada are seen as she waits to compete in the women' 800-meter T54 heat at the 2012 Paralympics games, on Sept. 4, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

With 100 days until the Paralympics begin, Paris organizers are delivering a message from the athletes in a bid to boost ticket sales: I am not missing anything, except you.
The countdown campaign for the Aug 28-Sept. 8 Paralympic Games begins Monday. It features three Paralympic athletes, each of them alone in an empty stadium. The campaign slogan — “Il ne me manque rien, sauf vous” (I’m not missing anything, except you) — is a rallying call to get people to come along and watch them competing.
The French athletes featured in the campaign are Arnaud Assoumani, a long jump and triple jump specialist who won gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing; wheelchair tennis player Pauline Déroulède, and blind soccer player Gaël Rivière who was a European championship winner two years ago. He plays at club level for Bondy Cécifoot Club — in the same suburb where France star Kylian Mbappé grew up.
National broadcaster France Télévisions will show the campaign in a bid to raise awareness and — ultimately — boost sales. So far, 900,000 of the 2.8 million tickets have been sold, The Associated Press reported.
A total of 4,400 athletes will take part in the Paralympics. Tickets are available from 15 euros ($16) for track and field sessions at Stade de France, wheelchair tennis at Roland Garros, or blind soccer at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The finals cost from 25 ($27) euros and it's 45 euros ($49) to watch the closing ceremony.
Ticket sales could escalate once posters start appearing around Paris, with organizers aiming to raise awareness and increase fan engagement and solidarity.
There will be 651 posters dotted around the city, 972 on the subway and a further 2,520 on the sides of buses.
On Tuesday, four Paralympic athletes will walk up the famed steps at the Cannes Film Festival along with Paris 2024 Olympic head Tony Estanguet.
Of the tickets sold so far, organizers said 300,000 have been bought by the state and 150,000 by the International Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee.
Organizers haven't released details for the amount of tickets sold for the opening ceremony, which takes place along a section of the famed Champs-Élysées.
Paul McCartney has let the song “We All Stand Together” be used in a promotional film for the International Paralympic Committee.
The Paralympics will have a record 164 broadcasters worldwide covering 549 events across 22 sports.
The 12-day event follows the July 26-Aug. 11 Olympics in Paris.


West Asian Deaf Federation Council Approves Saudi Bid to Host the 2025 Bowling Championship

File photo of Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh
File photo of Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh
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West Asian Deaf Federation Council Approves Saudi Bid to Host the 2025 Bowling Championship

File photo of Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh
File photo of Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh

The Board of Directors of the West Asian Regional Federation for Deaf Sports has held a meeting in the capital, Riyadh, headed by the President of the Federation, Dr. Saeed bin Mohammed Al-Qahtani.
The meeting was attended by the President of the Asian Pacific Federation for Deaf Sports, Muhammad Pargar, SPA reported.
During the meeting, it was decided that the Kingdom will host the West Asia Bowling Championship for the Deaf in 2025.

Among other issues, the renewal of the membership of the Board of Directors, pending the approval of the Federation’s General Assembly next meeting as well as the adoption of the Federation’s annual program during the coming period were also discussed.


Zverev Serves his Way to Italian Open Title

Germany's Alexander Zverev holds the trophy after winning the Men's final against Chile's Nicolas Jarry at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament at Foro Italico in Rome on May 19, 2024. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
Germany's Alexander Zverev holds the trophy after winning the Men's final against Chile's Nicolas Jarry at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament at Foro Italico in Rome on May 19, 2024. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
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Zverev Serves his Way to Italian Open Title

Germany's Alexander Zverev holds the trophy after winning the Men's final against Chile's Nicolas Jarry at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament at Foro Italico in Rome on May 19, 2024. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
Germany's Alexander Zverev holds the trophy after winning the Men's final against Chile's Nicolas Jarry at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament at Foro Italico in Rome on May 19, 2024. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Alexander Zverev put on a serving clinic in a 6-4, 7-5 win over 24th-ranked Nicolas Jarry to claim his second Italian Open title Sunday and earn his biggest trophy since tearing his ankle apart two years ago.
Zverev opened the match with three straight aces on the red clay court and won 20 of his 21 service points in the first set. The German didn't drop a point on his first serve until late in the second set when the 6-foot-7 (2.01 meter) Jarry ran down a well-placed drop shot and replied with a cross-court winner.
It’s been a long road of recovery for the fifth-ranked Zverev after tearing three ligaments in his right ankle during the 2022 French Open semifinals against Rafael Nadal, The Associated Press reported.
This year’s French Open starts next Sunday and now Zverev has established himself among the favorites again — especially with top-ranked Novak Djokovic and 14-time Roland Garros champion Nadal both struggling lately. Djokovic and Nadal were eliminated in the second and third rounds, respectively, in Rome.
There are also injury concerns for second-ranked Jannik Sinner (hip) and third-ranked Carlos Alcaraz (right forearm) — who both withdrew from Rome.
Although Zverev, who has disputed a penalty order from a German court over allegations that he caused bodily harm to a woman, faces a trial starting during Roland Garros. He said recently that he won’t attend the start of the legal proceedings.
And Zverev isn’t 100% healthy either. He had the pinky on his left hand bandaged due to a fall in his quarterfinal win over Taylor Fritz, after which he said he “tore a capsule” and that his finger was “crooked.” The German plays right-handed but uses a two-handed backhand.
Zverev will also be defending his gold medal when the Paris Olympics tennis tournament is held at Roland Garros starting in late July.
Jarry, a Chilean playing in his first Masters Series final, upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.
Jarry was cheered on by his grandfather, Jaime Fillol, who was a top-20 player and who gave Jarry his first racket as a kid. Fillol was on Chile’s Davis Cup team that lost the 1976 final to Italy.
It was Zverev’s third final in Rome. He won in 2017 by beating Djokovic in straight sets for his first Masters Series title then lost to Nadal in the title match a year later.
It was also Zverev’s first Masters final since getting beat by Alcaraz at the 2022 Madrid Open. The only previous titles he won since his ankle injury came in Hamburg, Germany, and Chengdu, China, last year.
Zverev earned a winner’s check of 963,225 euros (more than $1 million).
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek beat No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the women’s final on Saturday.
In the women’s doubles final, Coco Gauff double faulted on match point to hand Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini of Italy the title with a 6-3, 4-6, (10-8) victory. Gauff teamed with Erin Routliffe.
Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos beat Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic 6-2, 6-2 for the men’s doubles title.


Verstappen Holds Off Norris to Win Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and Extend F1 Lead

Formula One F1 - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy - May 19, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
Formula One F1 - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy - May 19, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
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Verstappen Holds Off Norris to Win Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and Extend F1 Lead

Formula One F1 - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy - May 19, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
Formula One F1 - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy - May 19, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

In the real world or the virtual world, Max Verstappen remains the driver to beat.
The defending Formula 1 champion held off a challenge from McLaren’s Lando Norris to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday and extend his standings lead, The Associated Press reported.
Verstappen doubled up this weekend by taking part in an online 24-hour race, driving stints for his team from a simulator set up in the Imola paddock. He won that, too, making his F1 victory his second of the day.
Verstappen started on pole position and stayed ahead of Norris at the start but was put under pressure by the McLaren driver again near the end. He held on to take his 59th career win by less than a second.
“Especially the last 10, 15 laps, I had no grip any more. I was really sliding a lot. I saw Lando closing in,” Verstappen said. “It’s very difficult when the tires are not working anymore and you have to go flat out, so I couldn’t afford to make too many mistakes. Luckily, we didn’t and super happy, of course, to win here today.”
On a weekend when F1 remembered Ayrton Senna, the three-time champion who died in a crash at Imola 30 years ago, Verstappen took his fifth win in seven Grand Prix races this year after having lost out to Norris in Miami two weeks ago.
Norris' second place Sunday underlined McLaren's credentials to be the closest challenger to Verstappen and Red Bull this season. “It hurts me to say it, but one or two more laps, I think I would have had him,” Norris said. “It would have been beautiful, but just not today.”
After waiting until his sixth F1 season for his first win, Norris found himself disappointed not to get back-to-back victories. “It’s still a surprise to say it’s frustrating not to win,” Norris said.
Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari, the Italian team's first podium finish at Imola since 2006, ahead of his home race in Monaco next week.
It's never easy to overtake on the narrow Imola track, and risk-taking was further discouraged this year when asphalt run-off areas on key corners were replaced with gravel traps.
Leclerc closed in on Norris mid-way through the race but made a mistake and ran across the grass, losing time.
Oscar Piastri had qualified second for McLaren but was dropped to fifth because of a penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen in a Haas. He got ahead of Sainz at the pit stops and finished fourth, ahead of the Spanish driver.
Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and his teammate George Russell were sixth and seventh after a difficult weekend for Mercedes.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez started 11th after a mistake in qualifying and finished eighth. His main impact on the race was when he briefly held up Norris and Leclerc after their pit stops, indirectly helping Verstappen.
Yuki Tsunoda was ninth for RB and Lance Stroll took the last point in 10th for Aston Martin.
With the victory, Verstappen opened up a 48-point standings lead over Leclerc, who moved above Perez into second. McLaren was off the pace at the start of the season but has improved rapidly since and Norris is fourth, 60 points behind Verstappen.


Motorsport Company Reveals Details of 6th Edition of Saudi Dakar Rally

The Dakar Rally’s fifth edition in Saudi Arabia will be held from January 5 to 19, 2024. (Dakar Rally)
The Dakar Rally’s fifth edition in Saudi Arabia will be held from January 5 to 19, 2024. (Dakar Rally)
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Motorsport Company Reveals Details of 6th Edition of Saudi Dakar Rally

The Dakar Rally’s fifth edition in Saudi Arabia will be held from January 5 to 19, 2024. (Dakar Rally)
The Dakar Rally’s fifth edition in Saudi Arabia will be held from January 5 to 19, 2024. (Dakar Rally)

Saudi Motorsport Company, operating under the umbrella of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, has announced the details of the sixth edition of the Dakar Rally, held in Saudi Arabia since 2020, which is one of the biggest races in the world of motorsports, SPA reported.
Participants in the sixth edition of Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia will start on January 3, 2025, from Bisha, in the south of the Kingdom, and head north along the Red Sea before turning east towards Shaybah, in the Empty Quarter.

Participants will cross the finish line on January 17, after having covered diverse desert landscapes over a distance of 950 kilometers.
The rally will feature five stages on separate tracks to reduce the number of times cars overtake motorcycles. The event will include the prologue, the marathon stage, the mass start stage, and other exciting stages.

Hundreds of participants are expected to compete in various categories, exploring some of the most breathtaking natural scenery and historical areas in the Kingdom.


Juventus Appoints Montero as Interim Coach for Final 2 Matches after Allegri Fired

Juventus' head coach Massimiliano Allegri, left, shouts during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Udinese, in Turin, Italy, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 (AP)
Juventus' head coach Massimiliano Allegri, left, shouts during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Udinese, in Turin, Italy, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 (AP)
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Juventus Appoints Montero as Interim Coach for Final 2 Matches after Allegri Fired

Juventus' head coach Massimiliano Allegri, left, shouts during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Udinese, in Turin, Italy, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 (AP)
Juventus' head coach Massimiliano Allegri, left, shouts during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Udinese, in Turin, Italy, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 (AP)

Juventus Under-19 coach Paolo Montero will take charge of the senior team for the final two matches of the season after Massimiliano Allegri was fired last week.

The 52-year-old Montero, who played for the Bianconeri, has never coached a Serie A team but Juventus announced on Sunday that he would make the step up for the final two league matches.

Montero will take charge of his first training session on Sunday before the team plays at Bologna the following day. Juventus ends the season at home to Monza next weekend, The AP reported.

Allegri was fired on Friday for his ugly outburst toward the referees in last week’s Italian Cup final. The coach was also reportedly aggressive toward journalists after the match and Juventus said his behavior was not in line with its “values.”

Juventus is fourth in Serie A and has already qualified for next season’s Champions League but before Wednesday’s Italian Cup victory it hadn’t won any of its previous six matches and there was speculation that Allegri’s contract –which was set to expire at the end of next season – would be ended a year early.

Montero, a former defender, played nearly 300 matches for Juventus between 1996 and 2005 and has coached the Under-19 team for the past two years.

The Uruguayan also coached several teams in Argentina.

 

 

 


History-chasing Man City Eye Premier League Title 'Destiny'

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola - AFP
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola - AFP
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History-chasing Man City Eye Premier League Title 'Destiny'

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola - AFP
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola - AFP

Pep Guardiola urged Manchester City to seize their chance to make English football history on Sunday as the battle for Premier League supremacy reaches a thrilling climax, with Arsenal hoping for a final-day miracle.

Guardiola's all-conquering team go into the final day of the season with a two-point lead over the second-placed Gunners thanks to an eight-game winning streak.

City host West Ham knowing a win will seal an unprecedented fourth successive English title.

Arsenal have been near flawless themselves in 2024, with 15 wins and one draw, away to City, in 17 league matches.

However, the Gunners' costly 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa last month looks set to be decisive in a thrilling title race that also involved Liverpool until their recent stumbles.

Arsenal, who finished second last year, must beat Everton at the Emirates Stadium and hope City fail to win if they are to end their 20-year wait for the title, AFP reported.

Guardiola does not expect a favour from Everton, who have nothing to play for, and will instead focus on ensuring his players finish the job themselves.

"The destiny is in our hands, but if you are thinking that Everton are going to do something, forget about it. I have seen Arsenal all season," he said.

"We just focus on what we have to do against West Ham. There is not any contamination in my brain about anything other than what we have to do to beat West Ham."

Not for the first time, City have been at their relentless best in the intense heat of the run-in.

Guardiola's men have dropped just six points since mid-December, in draws against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

As City close in on a sixth title in seven seasons under Guardiola, the competitiveness of the world's most-watched league has been questioned.

But the Catalan coach has hit back at suggestions the Premier League has become boring and that City's dominance is thanks purely to the financial muscle of their Abu Dhabi-based owners.

"It's not boring. It's difficult," Guardiola said.

Arsenal have set a club record by winning 27 Premier League games this season, but that still might not be enough to dethrone City.

"We have to give ourselves the opportunity to live a beautiful day on Sunday, where the dream is still alive and is possible," said Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, whose team have a marginally better goal difference.

"It's football and once we are there we just have to live the moment."

There will be an emotional farewell for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp at the end of his memorable nine-year reign, but the Reds will finish third regardless of their result against Wolves at Anfield.

"I spoke before about how hard it will be to say goodbye," Klopp said.

"I love absolutely everything about this place. I do. I take memories with me, fantastic memories, I take relationships with me forever."

Manchester United are at risk of missing out on European football altogether after a miserable season.

Erik ten Hag's men sit eighth and must better Newcastle's result at Brentford when they visit Brighton to avoid finishing outside the top seven for the first time since 1990.

Roberto De Zerbi is taking charge of his final game as Brighton boss after the Italian and the club "mutually agreed" they would part ways.

Tottenham visit relegated Sheffield United knowing a point is enough to guarantee fifth spot, while in-form Chelsea would secure a top-six finish with a draw against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

The top six teams will all definitely qualify for Europe, while seventh could be enough as long as Manchester United do not shock City in next week's FA Cup final.

At the bottom, Luton are almost certain to join Burnley and Sheffield United in next year's Championship, needing a mathematical miracle to survive.


Messi Held Scoreless but Inter Miami Extends Unbeaten String with 1-0 Win Over DC United

Lionel Messi - File/AFP
Lionel Messi - File/AFP
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Messi Held Scoreless but Inter Miami Extends Unbeaten String with 1-0 Win Over DC United

Lionel Messi - File/AFP
Lionel Messi - File/AFP

Lionel Messi was kept off the scoresheet for the second consecutive match but Inter Miami extended its unbeaten string with a 1-0 win over DC United on Saturday night.

Leo Campana scored four minutes into second half stoppage time as Miami, 6-0-3 since a 4-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls on March 23, avoided a second consecutive scoreless draw. Campana, who entered the match a minute earlier, received a pass from Sergio Busquets on the right wing and converted on a shot that landed inside the left post.

The win improved Eastern Conference-leading Miami to 9-2-4 with 31 points. DC United dropped to 4-5-5 and 17 points.

Miami has now won six and tied three since a 4-0 loss at New York Red Bulls on March 23, The AP reported.

Messi returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s match at Orlando because of knee soreness.

The Argentine star forward had at least one goal and assist in five consecutive matches until a 3-2 win at Montreal May 11. Messi began Saturday with a league-leading 12 assists.

Tightly-marked for most of the match, Messi found a slight opening in the 71st minute but his shot from 22 yards sailed high above the crossbar.

Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender preserved the shutout when he stopped a shot from United’s Jacob Murrell in the 86th minute.

The start of the match was delayed 25 minutes after thunderstorms hit Chase Stadium before the clubs’ pregame drills. The rain intensified again shortly after kickoff then subsided in the 30th minute.

Messi had two free kicks blocked by a wall of United defenders in the 21st and 39th minutes.

Both clubs continue their league schedule next Saturday, when Inter Miami visits Vancouver and DC United hosts Chicago.