Sixteen have become eight as we enter the decisive stages of Euro 2016.

The first knockout round produced plenty of memorable matches. Hosts France survived a scare, Italy got revenge on holders Spain, while England had a clear-out of coaching staff after their worst defeat in years – although few can begrudge Iceland the continuation of their journey.

The quarter-finals may involve a few surprise packages, but it remains far from simple to predict the last four, such have been the upsets to date. Below, Omnisport does its level best…

Poland v Portugal (Thursday June 30, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)

The manner of Poland’s progress to the last eight has come as something of a surprise, even though they were expected to progress from Group C at least.

A defence that let in 10 goals in 10 qualifying games has conceded only once in these finals – and that was a Xherdan Shaqiri wonderstrike. Meanwhile, despite scoring 33 times in preliminaries – 13 of which came from Robert Lewandowski – they have yet to score more than once in a game in France, and the Bayern Munich star has begun to misfire, and is without a goal in the competition.

Portugal limped into the last 16 with three draws but showed a much more solid platform in knockout action, keeping Croatia frustrated before Ricardo Quaresma’s extra-time sucker-punch. The histrionics of captain Cristiano Ronaldo have drawn plenty of scrutiny, but his two goals against Hungary kept them alive, and his one and only shot against Croatia led to the winner.

It is difficult to see goals galore in this one, even with Ronaldo and Lewandowski on the same pitch, but the Real Madrid star’s unrelenting quest for glory might just tip the balance.

Prediction: Poland 0-1 Portugal

Wales v Belgium (Friday July 1, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille)

Defeat to England in the group stage seems only to have spurred Wales on even more. A 3-0 hammering of Russia set up another ‘Battle of Britain’ against Northern Ireland in the last 16, and they deserved their 1-0 win, even if it took an own goal to get it.

Belgium were the first to fall victim to Antonio Conte’s imperious Italy, but they are one of the few sides who appear to be peaking at the right moment in France. Clinical wins over the Republic of Ireland and Sweden preceded a ruthless 4-0 dispatching of Hungary in the last 16, in which Eden Hazard offered glimpses of something at least close to his very best form.

Gareth Bale has been Wales’ inspiration in these finals, and it was he who hit the winner when these teams met in qualifying last June. Chris Coleman’s side kept two clean sheets in those two meetings, but even if Bale makes his mark again, Belgium look unlikely to break this time.

Prediction: Wales 1-2 Belgium

Germany v Italy (Saturday July 2, Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux)

It says a lot that Germany fans will have preferred to meet holders Spain at this stage. In eight past tournament meetings, including the Euro 2012 semi-finals, they have never managed to beat Italy.

Joachim Low insisted after a highly impressive 3-0 win over Slovakia that he would not lose any sleep over their quarter-final opponents, but pondering a way to breach the magnificent ‘BBC’ defence is enough to haunt anybody’s dreams.

Italy were composed and clinical in their 2-0 win over Spain and look supremely confident in their set-up, though exploiting counter-attacks against a side yet to concede a goal here represents their toughest challenge yet.

Germany looked as strong as anyone else in the last round, but an Italy team written off by almost the entire population back home is starting to believe in their chances. Whatever the result, the winner in Bordeaux will almost certainly be favourites for the trophy.

Prediction: Germany 0-1 Italy (after extra time)

France v Iceland (Sunday Jule 3, Stade de France, Saint-Denis)

Doubts persist over Didier Deschamps’ France but, so far, the host nation have got the job done.

Unbeaten as winners of Group A, they faced a real threat of a shock against the Republic of Ireland in the second round before Antoine Griezmann turned the game on its head and Shane Duffy’s red card made the closing stages a little more comfortable.

On paper, France have the easiest quarter-final, but anyone who has followed a minute of Iceland’s remarkable campaign knows how perilously short-sighted such a view might be.

If a draw with Portugal and victory over Austria sent shockwaves through the tournament, a fully deserved 2-1 win over England caused the kind of seismic tremors last felt when Eyjafjallajokull grounded the continent in 2010.

France, at least, are unlikely to underestimate Lars Lagerback’s side. If they can finally hit their stride in Saint-Denis, they should have the firepower to end Iceland’s fairytale.

Prediction: France 2-0 Iceland


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Watch “Badminton at Makati Square Badminton court” on YouTube

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My first time playing bowling

First time playing bowling//

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Ten reasons to watch Copa America – BBC Sport Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani, Brazil’s Neymar and Lionel Messi of Argentina will all be hoping to impress at the Copa America Copa America 2015 Venues: Eight cities across Chile Dates: 11 June to 4 July Coverage: Live text commentaries and reports on selected matches online and on the BBC Sport app. Big names, big games, forgotten faces and tomorrow’s heroes await as the Copa America kicks off in Chile on Thursday. Until 4 July the 10 South American nations, plus guests Mexico and Jamaica, will be contesting the 44th edition of the continent’s championship. BBC Sport brings you 10 reasons to follow the action. This is where the stars come out to play Luis Suarez, still serving his suspension, will not be seen at the Copa. But his partners in the Barcelona forward line certainly will. Neymar will captain Brazil, and Lionel Messi will lead Argentina alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and company. Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez will be there for Colombia and Paris St-Germain’s Edinson Cavani for Uruguay. The cast list is dazzling. Recently the idea of a European breakaway World Cup was floated. Can you imagine how much it would miss all of these names? History The Copa is the world’s oldest continental competition. It began in 1916, and was often held annually in the early years. It promoted a rapid rise in playing standards, and can clearly be seen as a key event in the build-up to the first World Cup in 1930. The tournament, then, is a huge part of football’s heritage. Strength in depth In the Copa’s 99-year history, this could well be the tournament with the strongest field. In contrast to the club game, national team football in South America is living a healthy moment. Colombia have just enjoyed their best World Cup, as Paraguay did in 2010 and Ecuador in 2006 – and Chile have just had their best two bar 1962, when they were the hosts. There are few minnows about. Indeed, in the last two World Cups only one South American side (Ecuador last year, and by a narrow margin) have failed to make it out of their group. Unpredictability Copa America 2015 Group A Group B Group C Chile Argentina Brazil Mexico Uruguay Colombia Ecuador Paraguay Peru Bolivia Jamaica Venezuela There are two explanations for the fact the Copa can be difficult to forecast. One is the format of the competition; eight of the 12 teams qualify for the knockout phase, where, this year, extra time will not be played in the quarter or semi-finals. There is room, then, for what Paraguay did in the last Copa four years ago, when they reached the final without winning a single game. The other factor is the place of the tournament in the calendar. After a year of friendlies, the Copa kicks off a new cycle of competitive games. Most sides are mainly concerned with whipping a team into shape for the next set of World Cup qualifiers, due to start in October. There are plenty of new coaches, who so far have had very little time with their players. This is not like the World Cup or the Euros, where teams have qualified and built towards the tournament. In contrast, the Copa has plenty of half-cooked sides, going into the competition with little preparation behind them. Manageable size The World Cup has 32 teams. The Euros keep growing. There is something to be said for the shorter, smaller tournament. With 12 teams and lasting just over three weeks, the Copa can be followed without it taking over your entire life. Pressure on the big three Teams in the Copa are divided into three groups, and there is an obvious hierarchy of favourites – Argentina and Brazil plus the home side. In this case there is special pressure on all three. It falls on Chile because they have never won the trophy – unlike Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Paraguay. This is seen as the best team in Chile’s history and, unlike most, they have specifically prepared for the Copa. How will they cope with the burden of expectation? Coach Jorge Sampaoli saw at first hand the damage home ‘advantage’ did to Brazil last year as they were thrashed 7-1 by eventual winners Germany in the semi-final, and ever since he has been thinking of ways to avoid the pitfalls the 2014 World Cup hosts fell in. It falls on Argentina because they are having to endure a wait of their own for a senior title. The last one was the Copa of 1993. There is not a lot of experimentation in coach Gerardo Martino’s squad – 14 went to the World Cup, and another two were in the 2010 party. This generation are running out of chances to lift some silverware. And it falls on Brazil because the World Cup left a huge stain on their carpet. Nothing that happens in Chile will wash the stain out. Under Dunga they have won their first eight friendly matches – but all that will be forgotten if they have a poor Copa. A good performance would be the first step towards regaining some of their prestige. Attacking balance Tournaments often find a tone, which can have a tendency to hang over all the matches. In the last Copa, played in Argentina four years ago, defences came out on top. This Copa has the potential to produce something much less attritional. In 2011 Argentina had yet to find a way to harness the talents of Lionel Messi. Neymar was a callow youth, still in the early stages of development. James Rodriguez was with Colombia’s Under-20 side – and as soon as he was promoted the senior side started to get full value for their generation of strikers. Ecuador were a mis-selected mess in 2011. All these teams would clearly seem to have more attacking firepower to offer this time round. Atmosphere Only a few years ago there were Copa America games where there were more police than spectators in the stadium. Matches involving the hosts would sell out. Others attracted very little interest. That has changed. The continent has become richer. More people can travel. Last year’s World Cup was a South American party. The Colombians travelled in huge numbers while Argentines and Chileans took advantage of the proximity to drive over the border. The Copa does not have the same pulling power. But it can still move people. The 2011 Copa gave the first signs of what was to happen in the World Cup. There were travelling fans in Argentina and there will be travelling fans in Chile. Almost all the matches are sold out, and so the atmosphere in the stadiums should be something to relish. English-based players The inclusion of Jamaica helps, but does not entirely explain why this Copa has the biggest English-based contingent in history. Amongst those who played in England last year are six of the Argentina squad, four Brazilians and Colombians, three each from Chile and Ecuador, two from Uruguay and one from Venezuela. There are also plenty of names (five alone in the Chile squad) of players who have left the Premier League. The Copa, then, is a chance for English fans to follow their heroes – and perhaps re- acquaint themselves with long forgotten faces. Burnley fans can catch up on their one time goalkeeper Diego Penny of Peru, while Manchester City supporters need ask no more what became of Argentine-born striker Mathias Vuoso – he is representing Mexico. A cracking opening game Usually the Copa kicks off with a match between the hosts and Bolivia – picked to get the home side off to a winning start. Often the Bolivians fail to read the script, and hang on for a dogged draw. This time, though, Chile have to wait until the third game to have a go at Bolivia. First up on Thursday are Ecuador, opponents who carry a much bigger threat. Chile coach Sampaoli is worried by the pace of the Ecuadorians on the counter-attack – a point well made on Saturday when, with Swansea’s Jefferson Montero on fire, Ecuador saw off a decent Panama side by a 4-0 margin. Chile, true to their style, will look to carry the game to opponents who can break at great speed. It is a classic clash of styles, and promises to get the 2015 Copa off to an enthralling start. Posted from WordPress for Android

#football, #sports-2

Russia and Qatar could be stripped of World Cups, warns FIFA official

Seriously? United States officials leading the campaign versus inquiries on the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups? Not good! President Vladimir Putin has already given his negative remarks on why the US became involved in the inquiries. US vs Russia?? remember the Cuban missile crisis. This is Football. The world’s most famous sport. I’m not sure about this but this might spark another international cold war.

Funny thing is, the US isn’t even a football crazed nation.

I wonder what were the reasons of US involvement.

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#football, #sports-2, #world-cup

Qatar organisers insist World Cup bid met ´highest ethical standards´

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Contador Survives Astana Onslaught to Extend Giro Lead

Contador Survives Astana Onslaught to Extend Giro Lead

Giro ‘D Italia 2015 enters its final week with 4 stages remaining plus the final stage in Turin to Milan.

I’m supporting Fabio Aru and the Astana Team to win this competition but Alberto Contador of Saxo-Tinkoff was just too strong in yesterday’s Stage 16. He got punctured but still managed to lead the race behind Mikel Landa, another Astana rider currently at 3rd place in the GC standings.

Aru and Landa looked too tough for Contador but the former Giro Champion, went on to climb very strong with Landa. Aru just didn’t have  enough power to stay with the race leaders and he lost precious seconds after his bike’s derailler malfunctioned during the descent before the final climb of the day.

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#cycling, #giro-d-italia, #sports-2