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Euro 2024: Germany is first team into the last 16 with a 2-0 win over Hungary

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Stuttgart, June 20 (IANS) Goals from Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan ensured hosts Germany became the first team to confirm their place in the knockout stage of Euro 2024 with a comfortable win against Hungary on Wednesday.

Germany, who had started their campaign with a 5-1 win against Scotland, registered their second win in the four-team Group A and stormed into the knockout stages of the competition. They now have six points from two matches with Switzerland on four, Scotland on 1 and Hungary yet to open their account.

Germany found it a more difficult evening than their 5-1 win against Scotland in Matchday 1. Julian Nagelsmann’s side had enough about them to get the three points, which ensured they would at least finish as the best third-place team in the group stage.

After an even opening, Musiala became the first player to score more than once at this edition of the European Championship, adding to his strike against Scotland last week by blasting in from close range to give the hosts the lead.

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Manuel Neuer, making his 17th Euro appearance to go level with Gianluigi Buffon’s goalkeeping record, was called into action on 26 minutes as he dived to his right to brilliantly save a curling Dominik Szoboszlai free-kick.

Toni Kroos came close to doubling Germany’s lead ten minutes into the second half but his deflected effort was clawed away by Péter Gulacsi before Barnabas Varga headed narrowly over for Hungary.

The game was effectively settled when Maximilian Mittelstädt’s low cross was beautifully stroked into the net by Gundogan to make sure of Germany’s place in the last 16.

–IANS

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Former Pakistan allrounder Billy Ibadulla passes away at 88

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Former allrounder Billy Ibadulla, who was the first Pakistani to score a century on Test debut, passed away on Friday at 88.

The Pakistan Cricket Board extended its condolences to the deceased cricketer’s family.

“PCB extends its heartfelt condolences to his friends and family,” the board said in a statement.

Ibadulla made his Test debut against Australia in Karachi in 1964. He played a historic knock of 166 in the first innings of his first international appearance. His innings was part of a record-breaking 249-run opening partnership with fellow debutant and wicketkeeper Abdul Kadir, a record that still stands as the highest partnership between two debutants for any wicket in Test cricket.

Despite his spectacular start, Ibadulla’s Test career was brief. He played only three more Tests, and picked up one wicket in the format.

Ibadulla’s prowess was more pronounced in first-class cricket, where he amassed 17,078 runs at an average of 27.28 and claimed 462 wickets. He played 417 first-class matches, 377 of which were for Warwickshire, a club he served with distinction for over a decade.

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Later in his career, Ibadulla moved to New Zealand, where he played for Otago for a couple of seasons. His contributions to cricket extended beyond his playing days, as he stood as an umpire in 20 first-class matches and 12 List A games.

In List A cricket, Ibadulla scored 829 runs and took 84 wickets in 64 matches. His love for the game was passed down to his son, Kassem Ibadulla, who played 31 first-class games and 19 List A games for Gloucestershire and Otago.

–IANS

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Emotions are still going through, it was an unbelievable experience: Samson on WC win

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Harare, July 14 (IANS) Sanju Samson, India’s vice-captain on T20I tour of Zimbabwe, recalled being a member of T20 World Cup winning team last month, saying emotions from the victorious scenes at Barbados are still going through his mind and called it an unbelievable experience.

“The emotions are still going through. The photos are still around. It was an unbelievable experience. I couldn’t stop smiling. Very fortunate to be part of the team. Credit to everyone who contributed. It was a complete team effort,” said Samson to broadcasters.

Talking about the change to bring in Mukesh Kumar and Riyan Parag, as well as being the deputy to Shubman Gill in the series, Samson remarked, “There will be some shuffle in the batting order, hoping to get some time in the middle. I have been leading RR for the last four years.”

“There have been some legends. I take care of legends and youngsters. You understand cricket a bit more. When you are a captain, you think about other players and team as well. I have been getting better.”

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Zimbabwe fast-bowler Richard Ngarava said he feels quite alright now after dealing with fitness troubles. “I have put in the hard yards over the past month. I had a knee issue, quite happy to be back in the team. Quite a lot of lessons you take from playing in the (T20) leagues. You come across a lot of coaches and fitness trainers. You get to learn a lot of things. At the end of the day, you want to do the simple things better.”

Asked about what makes his bowling partnership with Blessing Muzarabani effective, Ngarava said, “We have been in the same academy, it’s been going for us for a long time. He’s one guy who pumps me when I am low and I pump him up when he’s low. Hopefully, we keep taking wickets. Hopefully, both of us can take fifers in the same match.”

–IANS

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'I’m a believer of dreams': Southgate and England stand on the cusp of greatness

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Berlin, July 14 (IANS) The 1996 Euros were not a pleasant one for English manager Gareth Southgate. The former Three Lions defender was the one who missed the penalty in the shootouts against Germany in the semi-finals of what was their home tournament. Deutschland went on to win the tournament.

After 28 years, Southgate has the chance to lead the nation to their very first European Championship in Germany. When asked about the chance to complete his fairytale ending, Southgate answered with a wonderful response.

“I am not a believer in fairytales, but I am a believer in dreams. We have had big dreams and felt the importance of that, but you have to make those things happen. The run we’ve had, the late goals and penalties, doesn’t equate to it being our moment. We have to make it tomorrow and perform. It would be a lovely story and it’s in our hands but the performance is the most important thing,” said Southgate to reporters in the pre match conference.

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Germany were eliminated by Spain in the quarterfinals of the tournament in what was perhaps one of the best games of the tournament.

Southgate is not the only one who has the chance to finally complete his dream. England captain Harry Kane has been criticized for many years on his trophy record. The all-time top scorer in English football claimed ‘it is no secret,’ when asked about his trophy aspirations.

“It is no secret that I haven’t won a team trophy. Every year that goes by, you are more determined to change that. Tomorrow, I have the opportunity to win one of the biggest prizes you could ever win and to make history with my mates. I’m extremely proud to be English, so no question I would swap everything I’ve done in my career to have a special night and a win,” concluded the Bayern Munich striker.

–IANS

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Durand Cup returns to Kokrajhar for the second consecutive year

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Kokrajhar, July 14 (IANS) The return of the Durand Cup tournament, now in its 133rd edition, is a very prestigious event for Kokrajhar in Assam. The three coveted Durand Cup trophies (Durand Cup, President’s Cup and the Shimla Trophy) were displayed at the Bodofa Cultural Complex, Chandamari here on Sunday.

The iconic trophies were presented in the presence of Pramod Boro, Chief Executive Member, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and Nandita Gorlosa, Minister for Power, Sports & Youth Welfare.

Also present at the event were the Cooperation and Indigenous Tribal Faith & Culture (Archaeology) Dept Government of Assam, Lt General RC Srikanth VSM, Chief of Staff, HQ Eastern Command, Chairman Durand Cup Organising Committee (DCOC).

Kokrajhar hosted six group matches in the previous edition of the Durand Cup, when it became only the second city in Assam to host the prestigious tournament. The tremendous response received has ensured that Kokrajhar not only continues as hosts this year, but also hosts an additional match and that too a knockout game.

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Clearly enthused on the occasion, Boro while welcoming all dignitaries and guests said, “I am very happy that the Indian Army has favourably responded to our request of holding an additional game this year in Kokrajhar and have kept their promise to us. As a result a seventh game, that too a quarter-final knockout of the Durand Cup will be held here for the very first time. We are very grateful and such magnanimity will only do wonders to the already cordial civil-military relationship, existing in the Bodoland region.

“Like everyone here, I too will be rooting for our favourite Bodoland FC boys, however, we look forward to competitive and exciting football matches in the coming days and wish all visiting teams and guests a wonderful time at Kokrajhar,” he added.

Assam Sports Minister Gorlosa said, “We have seen last year how a tournament like the Durand Cup brought the entire Kokrajhar together and this year, thanks to the leadership of our Chief Minister and the Chief Executive Member, it promises to be bigger and better here. Boro has done a tremendous job with the infrastructure here and Kokrajhar is now firmly established on the footballing map of India, thanks to his tireless efforts. I wish the football-loving youth and fans of Kokrajhar a wonderful time supporting your local heroes, while also appreciating good football from all quarters.”

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Of the six groups, Group E, comprising ISL sides North-East United FC (NEUFC) and Odisha FC along with BSF, besides the local Bodoland FC team, will be based in Kokrajhar.

The first match is scheduled to kick off at the SAI Stadium between the popular Bodoland FC and NEUFC, in what can be dubbed as an all-Assam derby, on July 30.

All matches of the Durand Cup will be broadcast live on the Sony Sports Network and can also be live-streamed on the SonyLiv OTT platform.

A total of 24 teams, including two Services teams from Nepal and Bangladesh, will be seen in action across 43 matches, which will be played in the four host cities of Kokrajhar, Shillong, Jamshedpur (last two named making their debut as host cities) and Kolkata. Kolkata will also host the grand final at the hallowed Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on August 31.

–IANS

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5th T20I: Mukesh, Riyan come in as Zimbabwe win toss and elect to bowl first against India

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Harare, July 14 (IANS) Mukesh Kumar and Riyan Parag come into India’s playing eleven as Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl first in the fifth and final T20I of the series at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday.

India have already sealed the series with a 3-1 unassailable lead, thanks to their ten-wicket triumph in the fourth game on Saturday. Mukesh and Riyan replace Khaleel Ahmed and Ruturaj Gaikwad in India’s playing eleven, as they aim to end the series with a 4-1 scoreline.

“We were looking to bat first anyway. Our spinners have bowled well and the fast bowlers have been economical. The players have been hungry. It’s not easy to play back-to-back matches,” said India captain Shubman Gill after winning the toss.

Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza said Brandon Mavuta has replaced Tendai Chatara in the playing eleven for Sunday’s game, which they are eyeing to win for ending the series on a high.

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“The wicket will get better when we bat second. Not difficult at all, the motivation is there, the confidence is there and the skillset is there. We want to do well and finish the series on a high. Chatara has been rested, he’s played four games in a row and we have a Test match coming up (against Ireland),” he said.

Playing XIs-

India: Shubman Gill (captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Abhishek Sharma, Sanju Samson (wicketkeeper), Riyan Parag, Rinku Singh, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Tushar Deshpande and Mukesh Kumar

Zimbabwe: Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Brian Bennett, Dion Myers, Sikandar Raza (captain), Johnathan Campbell, Faraz Akram, Clive Madande (wicketkeeper), Brandon Mavuta, Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani

–IANS

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