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Portugal edge past Holland to lift Uefa Nations League cup



Portugal has now triumphed in two of the last four competitive international tournaments that they've appeared in.

Lisbon: Portugal took home the Nations League trophy with a 1-0 victory over The Netherlands in the finals in Oporto without needing the goal-scoring help of team captain and top striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

On Sunday, Ronaldo ended the match without scoring and it was Goncalo Guedes who notched the winning tally for the Portuguese in the 60th minute.

Portugal came onto the pitch with a clear offensive strategy with Berardo, Guedes and Ronaldo in the forward positions on the hunt for goals and glory, and the team – coached by Fernando Santos – masterfully controlling their rivals’ passing game.

A patient and careful Holland, without a top goal-scorer and a notch below the scrappy 2016 European champions, couldn’t quite measure up to the active Portuguese, but played well nevertheless except toward the end, when things began to fall apart a bit for them.

After getting their bearings over the first 10 minutes of play with three attempts that were saved by Cillessen, the Dutch goaltender, the Portuguese began to bear down on their rivals and manufactured their best chance of the first half in the 31st minute, when Ronaldo knocked a header toward the net only to have it trapped by the netminder and be whistled out of play.

The Portuguese, however, did a prime job of limiting the Dutch scoring chances, allowing only one good shot on goal during the entire match, a header by Memphis Depay which Rui Patricio easily handled.

Just before the break, Portugal began firing off a seemingly endless series of fruitless shots on goal without managing to connect, showing their impatience to get on the board before heading to the locker room.

It wasn’t until the 60th minute that Guedes sealed the deal with a shot from the side that Cillessen, despite stretching to the max, just couldn’t stop.

Holland tried to bounce back five minutes later, pushing toward the Portuguese area and firing their first shot on goal but running up against Rui Patricio, who was there to fend off Memphis’s attempt.

Guedes was taken out in the 75th minute and replaced with Rafa Silva, who gave the Portuguese a little more speed but did nothing to up the score. Meanwhile, the orange squad was fighting hard to set up counterattacks and break down Patricio’s barrier.

The match, during which neither side let themselves get carried away by negative emotions, showed its only tense moments in the 83rd minute when the Dutch demanded a penalty that the ref did not see.

Overall, the home team controlled the ball for just 42 per cent of the time but fired 12 shots on goal to Holland’s one.

With the win, Portugal has now triumphed in two of the last four competitive international tournaments that they’ve appeared in, their other win coming at Euro 2016, while The Netherlands have lost four of their last five finals in major international tournaments (three in the World Cup, once in the UEFA Nations League).

Football Lounge

Coutinho stars as Brazil thump Bolivia in Copa America opener




Brazil lacked a cutting edge in the absence of star forward Neymar.

Sao Paulo (Brazil): Philippe Coutinho scored two second-half goals as Brazil kicked off their Copa America with a 3-0 victory over Bolivia.

On Friday, the Barcelona attacker netted twice inside five minutes before substitute Everton put the result beyond doubt with a long-range strike at Sao Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium, reports Xinhua news agency.

Despite the comprehensive scoreline, the five-time world champions were below their best against an organised if unthreatening Bolivia outfit.

For long periods, Brazil lacked a cutting edge in the absence of star forward Neymar, who was ruled out of the tournament last week because of an ankle injury.

“It was a tough match for us,” Coutinho told reporters after the game. “At half-time, the manager (Tite) asked us to focus more and to control the ball better. We managed to do that. The first goal changed the course of the match.”

Brazil dominated possession early but struggled to find ways past a resolute Bolivia defence. Roberto Firmino and Thiago Silva had early chances from corners while Coutinho failed to make clean contact with a header after a Filipe Luis cross.

Tite opted against making changes at half-time and his faith was rewarded almost immediately.

Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana consulted the video assistant referee before ruling that Adrian Jusino used his left hand to obstruct Richarlison’s chipped shot. Coutinho then dispatched the resultant spot-kick into the bottom left corner.

The goal quickly released the pressure on Brazil and the Selecao netted again four minutes later when Coutinho headed in after a precise cross from his former Liverpool teammate Firmino.

Everton, introduced as an 85th-minute substitute for David Neres, completed the rout with a fine solo goal, five minutes from time.

The Gremio forward cut in from the left before smashing a low drive from the edge of the box that curled into the bottom right corner of Carlos Lampe’s goal.

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Brand Lounge

Star Sports renews exclusive broadcast rights for EPL till 2022



Star Sports will broadcast over 250 Premier League games LIVE across the network and beam all 380 games LIVE on its digital platform Hotstar

Mumbai: For the past two decades, Star Sports, India’s leading sports broadcaster has continued to entertain football fans in India with top flight English football. On Friday, Star Sports announced that it will continue its partnership with Premier League for the next three years running up to the 2021-22 season.

The renewal reinforces Star Sports’ and Hotstar’s commitment to football in India, with the best of global and Indian football action. Star Sports will broadcast more than 250 Premier League games LIVE across the network and beam All 380 games LIVE on Hotstar.

Commenting on the partnership, Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports, said, “We are excited to continue our partnership with the Premier League and are proud to showcase the best of football on Star Sports. As the home of sports, we are delighted to bring the Premier league to passionate fans in India and look forward to many fantastic seasons of football in the years ahead.”

Premier League director of broadcasting, Paul Molnar said, “We look forward to continuing to work with Star to make the best Premier League action available to the many passionate football fans in India who closely follow our clubs and the competition.”

The world’s most watched league will continue to showcase the talent of Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Mo Salah (Liverpool), Paul Pogba (Man United), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenham) on the field with Pep Guardiola (Man City), Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool), Unai Emery (Arsenal) and Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Man United) orchestrating the team movements from off the field. The quality of play continues to get better in the league with promoted teams putting up a challenge.

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Football Lounge

Casillas yet to decide on future




Iker Casillas suffered a heart attack recently.

Madrid: Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas on Thursday said he had not yet decided whether he would retire from the sport after suffering a heart attack amid rumours in several Portuguese newspapers that he would hang up his gloves before the start of the next season.

Cassilas, on his Twitter account, reshared a previous tweet in which he said he was yet undecided about his future in the sport.

In the original tweet, published just over two weeks after his heart attack on May 1, the former Real Madrid goalie said: “Retirement, there will be a day that I’ll have to retire. Let me announce this when the moment comes. For now … everyone relax! I had an appointment yesterday with Dr. Filipe Macedo. Everything is ok. This is great news that I would like to share with all of you!”

In his retweet, he said: “The same from this tweet from one month ago, except the part of the meeting with the Doctor. More than anything because my appointment is tomorrow. Big hug to everyone.”

The former Real Madrid captain suffered a heart attack during a training session with his current team, FC Porto, casting major doubt about his ability to continue in the sport.

Casillas’ personal situation got even more complicated when his wife, journalist Sara Carbonero, announced that she went through a malignant ovarian tumour surgery on May 21.

On June 6, various Portuguese newspapers said that Casillas met Pinto da Costa, President of FC Porto, where he was offered the possibility to continue working in the club, but as part of the technical staff.

Casillas made his professional debut with Real Madrid under then coach, Welshman John Benjamin Toshack, against Athletic Bilbao in September 1999 in San Mames at the age of 19.

At Real Madrid, Casillas was in the team that won the UEFA Champions League three times, LaLiga five times, the Copa del Rey twice, the Spanish Super Cup four times and the FIFA Club World Cup twice.

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