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2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Roundup: Defeat for Thailand and UAE as Vietnam climb to the top of Group G

It was an entertaining fifth match-day in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday as Iraq and Saudi Arabia produced late dramas while Australia, Syria, and Japan made it four wins out of four in their qualification campaigns. 

Iraq condemned IR Iran to their second straight defeat with a winner at the death while Herve Renard’s Saudi scored two goals in the final five minutes to overcome Uzbekistan. While Australia and Japan maintained their perfect record, Syria’s fourth win at the expense of China PR has led to the resignation of Marcello Lippi.

Here, we take a comprehensive look at all the results from November 14’s 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round ties held across eight groups in Asia.

Group A – China’s defeat to Syria ends in Marcello Lippi resignation

China PR head coach Marcello Lippi has resigned after a 2-1 defeat to Syria at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. Osama Omari had scored in the 19th minute to give the Assyrians the lead, but Espanyol forward Wu Lei had leveled the score before half time. However, a Zhang Linpeng own goal in the second half led to a defeat for China and a resignation from a furious Lippi at the post-match press conference. Meanwhile, the Philippines, who had led to the Italian’s downfall by holding China to a goalless draw last month, continued their good run with a 2-1 win over the Maldives. The Azkals now have seven points, the same as China, and sit third while Syria tops the group with 12 points.

Group G – Defeat for Thailand and UAE as Vietnam climb to the top

Vietnam is now group leader in Group G after they defeated a 10-man United Arab Emirates 1-0 at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi. A spectacular strike from Nguyen Tien Linh in the first half was the winner against UAE who played close to an hour with a man less. Meanwhile, Thailand, who had begun the day at the top, slipped to second after a 2-1 defeat to ASEAN rivals Malaysia. Chanathip Songkrasin had given Akira Nishino’s side an early lead, but Brendan Gan scored and assisted goals as an impressive Harimau Malaya recorded their second win of the campaign. Malaysia and UAE now have six points each while Thailand is the second with seven and Vietnam top with 10.

Scotland make their way into ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020

Having finished fourth in Group A, Scotland had one chance, in the third qualifying play-off, to seal their spot in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020, and they grabbed it.

They knocked hosts UAE out with a 90-run win at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday, 30 October, to become the fifth team from the qualifying tournament, after PNG, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia, to secure a place in the event in Australia next year.

The batsmen, led by George Munsey and Richie Berrington, went on the attack posting a strong 198/6. The UAE reply never got going, and in the face of disciplined bowling and catching, they folded for 108.

Opener Munsey’s knock was defined by his signature, emphatic sweeps. He accelerated from a solid start with a couple of sixes to near his half-century, and finished with five shots over the ropes in his 43-ball 65. It took a sensational one-handed catch from Rameez Shahzad at the ropes to stop him.

Berrington picked up where Munsey left off, racing away to 48 off 18 with three sixes. Calum MacLeod’s 25 off 12 balls acted as a late cameo to push the total near 200.

It took a special one-handed catch from a leaping Rameez Shahzad to end George Munsey’s innings at 65 off 43 balls.

Those all came on a foundation of a strong opening stand of 87 in 11.2 overs, with captain Kyle Coetzer keeping pace with his partner.

With a tall total to defend, Scotland’s bowlers came out confident. Safyaan Sharif struck in the first over, Chirag Suri fending awkwardly at a rising delivery. Rohan Mustafa edged behind to the wicket-keeper and UAE had lost their openers for 12.

Rameez Shahzad offered some entertainment, but when he became the first of Mark Watt’s three wickets, there was little else to prop UAE up.

Scotland will now feature in the 5th/6th place play-off match on Thursday.

BUY OFFICIAL TO ENSURE ENTRY INTO THE RUGBY WORLD CUP KNOCKOUT MATCHES

  • Fans warned to purchase the Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets via official sources only amid huge demand for the knockout matches. Check whether your intended source is official at rugbyworldcup.com/buy-official
  • Those who want to sell tickets bought through the official website for the knockout matches should use the official resale service at rugbyworldcup.com that provides a safe and convenient platform in order to sell unwanted tickets on to other fans
  • Limited new ticket inventory for the knockout matches is available on the official ticketing site at rugbyworldcup.com that follow optimization of stadia configurations and ticket hand-backs from commercial partners as well as participating unions
  • Those with tickets that are purchased via unofficial sources risk being denied stadium entry

Following an emotional pool stage, the Rugby World Cup 2019 is proving to be the must-have sporting ticket for this year. The hot tournament has captured the imagination of rugby fans all around the world; meanwhile, millions of Japanese fans are caught up in the Rugby World Cup mania.

With the knockout round upon us, there is a lot of demand for tickets but with such demand comes inevitable incidents that are related to ticket scams, third-party websites selling tickets unofficially, and touts selling fake tickets. Cases have been reported at some Rugby World Cup 2019 matches, with fans having purchased tickets via unofficial sources being denied stadium access.

Although the numbers are relatively small in comparison with the tens of thousands of fans that have enjoyed matches without issue, incidences seem to increase as demand for tickets for the knockout round and the final reaches fever-pitch.

To ensure the experience of attending a Rugby World Cup match in the host country Japan will not be ruined by being refused venue entry, fans are reminded to purchase tickets exclusively via official Rugby World Cup 2019 sources (check whether a source is official at www.rugbyworldcup.com/buy-official) and use the official ticketing resale service at www.tickets.rugbyworldcup.com.

Fans should also keep up to date with all the latest information about the tournament, including the location of the Fanzones as well as official merchandise stores through the multi-lingual official App, Twitter, and website.

England to face Argentina at Rugby World Cup

George Ford is again at fly-half with captain Owen Farrell at the inside center as England face Argentina looking to claim 3 Rugby World Cup wins in a row.

The team of Saturday is the same one opening the tournament against Tonga, besides the inclusion of lock George Kruis in place of Courtney Lawes.

Ben Youngs will become the England female team’s third most capped player as he plays in his 92nd game.

Head coach Eddie Jones said that Argentina was always about the physical contest. He also added they got good players and a reasonably settled way of playing. They enjoyed World Cups more than the other teams because there was such pride and passion. Therefore, the challenge for his team is to show the same level of intensity and passion at the very start of the game.

Eddie Jones has opted for a second-row combination of Kruis and Maro Itoje allied to the youthful back row of Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, and Tom Curry for a match that has been predicted to be like a war by Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy.

Prop Mako Vunipola and winger Jack Nowell have been chosen on the replacements’ bench for the first time in this tournament after recovering from long-term injuries, and late squad bolter Lewis Ludlam also has got the nod.

Joe Marler, who retired from England duty one year ago, is in the front row beside Kyle Sinckler and Jamie George.

Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, and Jonny May are selected in the back three.

Jones was in an emotional mood after the death this week of the coach Jeff Sayle at Randwick in Sydney who first picked him for that famous club and then nurtured him.

Sayle was also the coach of the 1980s’ great Randwick team including the Ella brothers, David Campese, and current Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Defeat for Argentina would end their World Cup campaign at the pool stage, 4 years after they marched to the last four.

Although they have not beaten England since 2009, their recent record in the tournament is superior to that of their opponents.

Meanwhile, England knows a win would put them into the last eight, with either Wales or Australia likely opponents in the quarter-finals.

More than 1 billion social media interactions record at the UEFA Champions League final

The 2019 UEFA Champions League final has broken a record of more than 1 billion social media interactions, cementing its place as the biggest annual sporting event of the world.

According to available and comparable data, the final of the premier football club competition of the world outperformed all other major sports events in 2019 by more than 30 percent, meanwhile according to Conviva, the video optimization, and online video analytics company, “the UEFA Champions League final is presently the biggest sports event on Instagram stories from a single account” with 177 million impressions.

The impressive figure of 1.09 billion social media interactions consists of all engagements (including likes, shares, and comments) and video views, 110% up from the final one year ago. Interactions were tracked across all of the UEFA’s social accounts and the official accounts of the participating teams, players as well as various media organizations from all over the world. Impressively, almost half of the interactions were generated from the UEFA’s social media platforms, with the remaining coming from other sources.

Moreover, UEFA  supported its commercial partners actively by promoting their activities on social media. Given the popularity of UEFA’s social channels, they can be used to engage targeted audiences for each partner with specific branded messages.

For example, the opening ceremony of the UEFA Champions League final, presented by Pepsi, which saw the famous group Imagine Dragons perform minutes before the match, attracted up to 88 million video views as well as 381 million impressions across Instagram and Facebook.

It is not only the 2019 UEFA Champions League final that surpassed all expectations but the competition itself – from the group stage to the final – drew more than 6.5 billion interactions that originated from UEFA’s own social media channels with 3 billion cross-platform video views.

The 2019/20 season has also started strongly with 149.5 million interactions that are generated on UEFA’s owned platforms by content around the group stage in Monaco in late August, which is more than 4 times the amount of interactions compared with last season.

Novak Djokovic out of the US Open after retiring in match

Novak Djokovic got left shoulder pain and his chances faded in the fourth round against Stan Wawrinka. Then, soon enough, the defending champion and No. 1 seed of the U.S. Open was out of the tournament and left to a chorus of boos.

The Serbian superstar shook his head while walking over to the chair umpire to say that he was retiring from the match due to that shoulder ache while trailing 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 and being outplayed thoroughly Sunday night.

Novak Djokovic got left shoulder pain

Perhaps some spectators confused by the sudden turn of the tournament, and likely disappointed in the brevity of the show that they got to watch for their expensive tickets, they jeered when Djokovic walked off the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium to move to the locker room with his two equipment bags over his right shoulder. He responded with a thumbs-up.

The 32-year-old tennis player explained that he had been taking different stuff to instantly kill the pain but sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

Novak Djokovic had won up to 36 of his past 37 Grand Slam matches, and 4 of the last 5 major titles, in one of the most dominant stretches that the sport has seen. That pushed his total of Slam trophy to 16, moving within 4 of Roger Federer‘s record 20, and within 2 of Rafael Nadal’s 18.

When the match was over, Wawrinka gave Djokovic a hug. The No. 23 seed also said that it had never been the way you want to finish the match and he felt sorry for Novak. He will face No. 5-seeded Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

This was the 13th mid-match retirement of Novak Djokovic’s career and his sixth at a Grand Slam tournament, according to the ATP.

This result scuttles the discussed possibility of a semifinal in New York between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, which would have been a rematch of their Wimbledon final in last July when Djokovic won in an unprecedented fifth-set tiebreaker after nearly five hours.

If you’ve been experiencing withdrawals as the Women’s World Cup ended last month, there is some good news: The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are only less than one year away with four brand new sports. While swimming, track and field, and gymnastics usually steal the show, there are even more events to watch in 2020.

Karate

Fittingly, karate is a martial art which originated in Okinawa during the Ryukyu Dynasty. Karate will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo, joining taekwondo, judo, and wrestling. It consists of both men and women disciplines: kata (forms) and kumite (sparring).

Skateboarding

Skateboarding is a sport that is relegated to the streets of southern California and mostly niche competitions. It is making its Olympic debut, bringing a dash of street culture to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Olympic skateboarding will include two events: park and street.

Sport Climbing

In the Olympics, the sport climbing of men and women will include three disciplines: bouldering, speed climbing, and lead climbing.

Although climbers compete in these three disciplines separately in World Cup competition, each Olympic climber will have to participate in each one and final rankings will be determined by combined scores.

Surfing

Men and women shortboard competitors will hit Shidashita Beach on Pacific coast of Japan in 2020. Four athletes will compete at a time, with each heat lasting about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the waves’ quality. During that period of time, each wave can only have one rider. The athletes are judged on the difficulty of the maneuvers that they perform instead of being judged on how many waves they catch. And masterful execution on large waves will bring the highest scores. An athlete’s 2 highest scores count, with the 2 surfers at the top of the rankings moving on to the next round.

Besides these four brand new sports, two sports, including men’s baseball and women’s softball, will return to the Summer Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo after being absent from the last two Summer Olympics.

The Hungarian Grand Prix results: the Winners and Losers

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton gave us a memorable race with a thrilling battle for victory at the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix 2019 – the Hungaroring. And they will head into the summer break on a high while the other racers will hope to use the time off to regroup after a tricky weekend. Here we pick out of the winners and losers of this tournament.

Winner: Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen well summed it up, “Lewis was on fire.” After his disappointing F1 performances in Germany, Lewis Hamilton hit back by working hard. He was straight out in FP1 and completed 41 laps of running in a way much better than he normally does and more comfortably than anyone else.

Loser: Max Verstappen

Early on, the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix victory seemed to be heading the way of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, the Dutchman that controlled the race had led away from pole position.

However, he and his boss Christian Horner later admitted that they weren’t quick enough to hold off a faster Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes and weren’t able to third win in four races.

Winner: Max Verstappen

Finally, Max Verstappen is also in the list of the winners, thanks to his second-place as well as the bonus point for fastest lap helping him become the top scorer in the last four races.

By scoring his first pole position, the Dutchman ticked another box on Saturday and became the fourth-youngest driver to do so. And once again he showed that he has the talent to get big results although he doesn’t have the class-leading car.

Loser: Pierre Gasly

While one Red Bull of Max Verstappen is starring, the other of Pierre Gasly is struggling. Pierre Gasly was not doing an awful job by having scored in seven of the last eight races.

He’s unlucky that he’s racing alongside a driver with the talent that you only see once in a generation; however, those are the cards which he’s been dealt.

His total points are only a third of Verstappen’s. The Frenchman needs to start delivering as fast as possible.

Mercedes to run one-off livery for German Grand Prix

It is Mercedes AMG team’s second home race in a row when they depart their UK base at Brackley to head to the Hockenheim, not far from Mercedes-Benz’s global home in Stuttgart, for the German Grand Prix.

This week marks the 125th anniversary of the world’s very first motor race, that was held between Paris & Rouen in 1894. Moreover, with a ‘Benz’ taking part in the race, it also marks the origins of the involvement in motorsport of Mercedes and Wolff, the Mercedes boss, has confirmed that the dominant 2019 F1 team will mark this anniversary: “The world’s first car race was held from Paris to Rouen in 1894, and the winning machine had an engine manufactured to the design of Gottlieb Daimler at its heart. It’s the start of a great motorsport tradition which continues to this day and we are incredibly proud of writing the next chapter in this legacy. We’ll run a commemorative livery to pay tribute to our heritage.”

Though the team has tweeted out a picture of an old brand logo in order to mark the anniversary week, there have no details of what this livery might entail.

Wolff continued, “2019’s race is a very special event as we are the title sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz Großer Preis von Deutschland and it will also mark the 200th start for Mercedes in F1.”.

While having claimed a dominant 1-2 last time out at Silverstone, Wolff praised his team for their fair and dramatic fight in the British Grand Prix’s opening laps: “It’s a spectacular race and also a great showcase for our sport. It is great to see our team battle on track in the opening stint; our drivers fought hard but always fair. It was good to bounce back from the poor performance in Austria with a strong finish. ”

He added that although the weather forecast predicts high temperatures and Hockenheim is also a relatively short circuit, they will stay humble and work hard to achieve the best result.

Federer beats Nadal to reach Wimbledon 2019 final

The Swiss superstar Roger Federer booked a place at The Championships final and will attempt to lift a record-extending ninth trophy after a masterclass against World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, a two-time former titlist, on last Friday at Wimbledon.

Federer played at his best on return of serve and in long rallies to beat Nadal 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in their three hours and two minutes semi-final on Centre Court, seizing the momentum in his 40th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against his long-time rival Nadal with a break of serve at 3-1 in the third set and, despite an early break in the fourth set, kept Nadal at bay before converting his fifth match point chance. This was the first grass-court clash of the two superstars since their legendary Wimbledon final in 2008 when Nadal won 9-7 in the fifth set.

Roger Federer (37 years old) becomes the Open Era’s third oldest man to reach a Grand Slam championship final and is going to challenge World No. 1, the defending champion and four-time winner, Novak Djokovic, on Sunday at the All England Club. Serbian tennis superstar Djokovic, who beat No. 23 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals earlier on last Friday, leads Federer 25-22 in their career history, including his victories in the Wimbledon finals of 2014 and 2015.

World No. 3 Federer, having registered his 100th Wimbledon match win over Kei Nishikori from Japan in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, is now attempting to capture the 21st major championship crown in his 31st final. He won the Wimbledon title in 2003-07, 2009, 2012, and 2017.

The 33-year-old tennis player Nadal, having captured his 12th Roland Garros trophy last month, is now 37-6 on this year, also including a ninth title of Internazionali BNL d’Italia. He had been trying his best to win his third Wimbledon/Roland Garros title double this fortnight (also 2008, 2010). He is also the first player to qualify for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, which is going to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November.