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Euro 2024: England stun Netherlands to face Spain in final

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Berlin, July 11 (IANS) Substitute Ollie Watkins sent England to their second successive Euro final with a 2-1 victory over the resilient Netherlands in the semifinal.

Ronald Koeman’s men got off to the perfect start when Xavi Simons danced through the England defense before unleashing a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock after just seven minutes.

The Netherlands’ advantage didn’t last long, as Harry Kane converted a foul-play penalty following a VAR review with a well-placed shot into the bottom right-hand corner in the 18th minute, reports Xinhua.

The Three Lions gained momentum and almost doubled their lead in the 23rd minute when Denzel Dumfries cleared Phil Foden’s shot off the line.

Dumfries remained in the thick of things after rattling the woodwork with a header from a promising position on the half-hour mark.

Gareth Southgate’s men controlled possession but couldn’t convert their chances before the half-time whistle.

After a slow start to the second half from both sides, the Dutch gradually gained the upper hand, but it was not until the 65th minute that Pickford was called into action to save Virgil van Dijk’s header.

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England continued to threaten and thought they had regained the lead, but Bukayo Saka’s goal was ruled out for offside in the 79th minute.

The Three Lions stunned the Oranje in the 91st minute when Watkins finished off an attack with a curling shot into the right-hand corner.

The Netherlands piled on the pressure, but England’s defense held firm to set up a meeting with Spain in the final on July 14.

“I’m lost for words! I didn’t want to come off the pitch at the end because I wanted to soak it all in. I don’t think I have ever hit a ball that sweet. I never thought I would play at a Euro 2024 with England, but I’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to this point,” said Watkins

–IANS

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Siniakova and Townsend bag Wimbledon women's doubles title

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London, July 14 (IANS) No. 4 seed Czech-American duo of Katerina Siniakova and Taylor Townsend battled past No.2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe to clinch Wimbledon women’s doubles title.

Under a closed roof in the late evening, Siniakova and Townsend came back from two set points down in the first set before beating the reigning US Open champions 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in 2 hours and 4 minutes to wrap up a memorable result. The victors wrapped up the win just before 10:30 pm London time.

This is the duo’s first title together as a pair in only their third tournament alongside one another.

Moreover, it is Siniakova’s third Wimbledon doubles trophy and a ninth major overall while Townsend tasted a Grand Slam success for the first time having finished runner-up in doubles finals at both the US Open and Roland-Garros in the past.

“I feel great. I got 500 text messages. I didn’t know that many people had my number. That’s going to take a while to go through,” Townsend said after the match.

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“This is my first one, my first Grand Slam title. I’ve been close two other times. To get over the finish line the way that we did, I think we played so well. We were just locked in, in control. We played our way. It felt good the way we did it,” she added.

The result completed a remarkable couple of months for Siniakova who makes it back-to-back majors on two different surfaces – with two different partners – after landing the Roland-Garros title in June with Coco Gauff.

“I agree with Taylor, I think it was a really tough match. “We played amazing. I think we stick together. That’s what makes the team even stronger. So I’m really proud of ourselves. Even if it’s nine (Slams), I’m every time happy. It feels every time different, every time good,” Siniakova said.

–IANS

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Colombia must be at best to beat Argentina: Lorenzo

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New Jersey, July 14 (IANS) Colombia will need to be at their best to have any chance of beating Argentina in the Copa America final, Cafeteros manager Nestor Lorenzo said.

Argentina, the reigning Copa America and World Cup champions, occupy top spot in FIFA’s latest world rankings and, according to Lorenzo, are favorites going into Sunday’s duel at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Colombia – who are seeking their second Copa America title and first since 2001 – are 12th in the rankings, despite a 28-game unbeaten run dating back to early 2022.

“We need to be the best version of Colombia to defeat the champions of everything,” Lorenzo said, who also alluded to Argentina’s victory over Italy in the 2022 CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions.

“If we had not performed well we would not be here. But to beat Argentina you have to have the best version of each player and multiply it.”

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Colombia reached the final by defeating Uruguay 1-0 in their last match, despite playing for more than 45 minutes with only 10 men. Argentina advanced by overcoming Canada 2-0 in the other semifinal.

While conceding that Argentina were formidable rivals, Lorenzo was quietly confident that his team could cause an upset.

“The reason is because we are not satisfied,” he said. “The group is hungry. I said that we have to play at our best level to beat Argentina, but we are confident that we can do it.”

Lorenzo also paid tribute to Colombian fans and expressed hope that his team would bring them joy on Sunday afternoon.

“There is no more joyful and fanatical fan,” Lorenzo said. “We would like to be able to reach finals of big tournaments regularly and not make our fans wait for so long.”

“But staying at the top is not easy. This group has a bright a future. I hope this [run of success] continues and that in the future it won’t be such a surprise to see Colombia in a final,” he added.

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–IANS

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India beat Pakistan to clinch World Championship of Legends title

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Edgbaston, July 14 (IANS) India Champions crowned the World Championship of Legends winners after beating Pakistan five wickets in a pulsating finale.

The Yuvraj Singh-led side showcased their dominance in the competition and secured the coveted title in a match that went down to the wire as two teams fought hard.

Pakistan Champions, opting to bat first after winning the toss, posted a competitive total of 156/6 in 20 overs.

Kamran Akmal (24 off 19) and Maqsood (21 off 12) gave the team a solid start, but regular wickets kept the scoring in check.

The standout performer was Shoaib Malik, who scored a crucial 41 off 36 balls, anchoring the innings. Captain Younis Khan failed to make a mark as he was clean bowled by Irfan Pathan for 7. The middle-order collapsed and Misbah-ul-Haq was retired hurt after a brisk 18, late contributions from Sohail Tanvir (19* off 9) ensured Pakistan posted a respectable score.

Indian bowlers, led by Anureet Singh who claimed three wickets with support from Vinay Kumar, Pawan Negi and Irfan Pathan (one wicket each) were instrumental in containing Pakistan’s batting lineup.

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In response, India Champions started their run chase with intent. Despite losing Robin Uthappa (10) early, Ambati Rayudu’s explosive 50 off 30 balls set the foundation for the chase for the Men in Blue.

Suresh Raina too departed cheaply for 4 in the same over, helping Pakistan make a comeback. But a strong partnership between Rayudu and Gurkeerat Singh Maan (34 off 33) kept India on track.

Rayudu and Mann also departed in a space of 10 runs but the momentum stayed firmly in India’s favour with Yusuf Pathan’s blistering 30 off 16 balls before the latter was dismissed in the penultimate over.

With captain Yuvraj Singh (15*) and Irfan Pathan (5*) at the crease, India sealed the win, finishing at 159 for 5 in 19.1 overs.

Pakistan’s bowlers, despite their best efforts, couldn’t halt India’s march towards the target. Aamer Yamin was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-0-29-2, supported by Sohail Tanvir and Sohail Khan, who took one wicket each.

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Brief Scores: India Champions: 159/5 in 19.1 overs (Ambati Rayudu 50, Gurkeerat Singh Mann 34, Yusuf Pathan 30; Aamer Yamin 2/29) beat Pakistan Champions: 156/6 in 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 41, Kamran Akmal 24; Anureet Singh 2/43) by 5 wickets.

–IANS

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Sonam Kapoor exudes grace at the Wimbledon Women's Final in London

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, recently seen in the streaming movie ‘Blind’, attended the Wimbledon Women’s Final in London.

Making a fashion statement, the actress exuded elegance and style. She donned an outfit designed by Bottega Veneta. For the occasion, she chose a sophisticated striking long yellow, blue, and black dress layered with the Optical Crinkle Cotton Check ensemble from the Pre-Fall 24 collection.

The outfit featured a long-sleeved white, blue, and black shirt and a matching long skirt. She accessorised her look with a pair of sleek Tex Mule shoes in black, also from the Pre-Fall 24 collection.

Adding a touch of exclusivity, Sonam carried the Liberta bag in black from the Winter 24 special preview, making a chic and timeless fashion statement at the prestigious event.

Sonam, who is known as a fashion icon in the Hindi film industry, has long been celebrated for her impeccable fashion sense. Her consistently brilliant sartorial choices have made her a favourite among top fashion brands worldwide.

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As she gears up for her comeback after her pregnancy, Sonam has two major projects lined up, including ‘Battle for Bittora’, with details of the second tentpole project being kept under wraps.

The actress and her husband Anand Ahuja welcomed their son, Vayu Kapoor Ahuja, in August 2022.

–IANS

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Tour de France: Jasper Philipsen edges Wout Van Aert in chaotic Stage 13 Sprint as big crash mars finale

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Paris, July 13 (IANS) A wild day at the Tour de France, the most prominent cycling race in the world, ended on Saturday with Jasper Philipsen taking his second win. Visma-Lease a Bike were tested after Adam Yates, the teammate of race leader Tadej Pogacar, managed to get in the break, prompting a fierce chase in crosswinds. After the race came back together, Biniam Girmay set his team to work in pursuit of a fourth win, but ultimately it was Philipsen who won the day.

A crash-strewn finish after crosswind chaos in south-west France resulted in a second sprint win for Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) over his Belgian rival Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) in Pau. Philipsen came from deep to show his class and hold off Van Aert and the German Pascal Ackermann (Israel-Premier Tech) after a crash on the home straight dashed the hopes of Belgian champion Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) and a handful of other outsiders.

The in-form green jersey Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty) could only finish a distant fourth after his hopes of a famous fourth win did not materialise after a stage that felt more like a hilly spring classic than a sprint stage of the Tour de France. The sight of the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) taking ninth place in the bunch gallop only emphasised the bonkers nature of the 165.3km ride from Agen, which was animated from the get-go as blustery winds twice tore through the peloton and caused dangerous splits and some serious soul-searching.

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Pogacar retained his 1 minute 06 seconds lead over Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) ahead of a decisive weekend in the Pyrenees, with defending champion Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) lurking in third place a further eight seconds back.

All three riders found themselves in a split off the front of the peloton in the opening hour after winds on exposed roads saw six Visma riders and half a dozen others go clear in pursuit of a select breakaway that included the world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin–Deceuninck) and Pogacar’s UAE team-mate, Adam Yates.

After this select group returned to the peloton, a second wave of echelons occurred around 60km from the finish with the peloton splitting in three. The first two groups came back together after swallowing up the breakaway – but the final group on the road, which included sprinters Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) and Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), would never see the front of the race again.

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The attacks rained down on the lumpy approach to Pau but the main field eventually came back together in time for the finale, which was marred by a crash that saw a handful of riders hit the deck after Belgium’s Maxim van Gils – bringing up his Lotto Dstny team-mate De Lie – violently clipped the shoulders of a retreating Amaury Capiot of Arkea B&B Hotels.

The incident occurred on the opposite side of the road as the battleground occupied by Philipsen, Van Aert and Ackermann, who put on a show to finish in that order after a fast and unforgiving three-and-a-half hours in the saddle.

The mountains that loomed on the metaphorical horizon served as no deterrent to a group of 22 riders that went clear shortly after the start of a day with no shortage of contenders for the combativity prize.

Joining Van der Poel was one of his rainbow predecessors in Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), the Slovenian Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), De Lie and his Lotto Dstny team-mate Brent Van Moer, and the polka dot jersey of Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility).

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The breakaway had not been clear for long before the first gusts of wind began to wreak havoc. An acceleration from Vingegaard’s Visma team was expertly covered by Pogacar and Evenepoel as a dozen zipped clear for a brief foray ahead of the pack. If they were soon pegged back, it was a precursor to what was still in store.

With Yates threatening the general classification places of riders from Visma-Lease a Bike, Soudal Quick-Step, and Ineos Grenadiers, an alliance soon formed on the front to keep the gap no bigger than a minute.

The upshot of the fast pace and early drama also involved the UAE team of the race leader, with Spain’s Juan Ayuso – struggling with illness for a few days – forced to become the 17th rider to abandon after losing touch with the peloton. The climbing lieutenant’s presence in the mountains could well prove to be a huge loss for Pogacar in his bid to win a third Tour and complete a famous Giro-Tour double.

–IANS

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