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Football: France's Paul Pogba banned for four years for doping, reports

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) World Cup winner and former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been banned from football for four years after failing a dope test, said a report.

Former general secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Shaji Prabhakaran shared the news on X.

“Paul Pogba has been suspended from football for four years after a failed anti-doping test. Pogba was initially handed a provisional suspension by NADO (the Italian Anti-Doping Organisation) in September after the failed test, which followed his side Juventus’s 3-0 win at Udinese on August 20,” he wrote.

The ban means that Pogba, who won the FIFA World Cup for France in 2018, could potentially be 33 by the time he can play again. Pogba’s contract with his current employer Juventus is set to run until the summer of 2026 and he will now never play for the side again. His second stint with the Italian club has been a disaster, said another report in The Mirror.

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More details awaited

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: What changes Afghanistan's epic win over Australia brings to SF scenarios

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Kingstown, June 23 (IANS) Afghanistan’s epic 21-run victory against Australia has thrown Group 1 of Super Eight stage of the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup wide open. With just four games left in closing out Super Eights stage of the tournament, IANS looks at what teams need to do to be in contention to enter the semifinals.

In Group 1, India are seated on top of the table with four points and net run rate of 2.425, which makes them prime contenders to enter the semifinals. A win against Australia at St Lucia on Monday will help India retain top spot in Group 1.

But a loss, especially heavier, could see them being overtaken by Australia and even by Afghanistan if they win with a huge margin over Bangladesh at St Vincent. If India do qualify for the semis they will play their semifinal game in Guyana on June 27.

For Australia, things are dire after being at two points and their net run rate going down to +0.223 after a shock defeat to Afghanistan. A win against India will likely see Australia qualify for the semi-finals, while a loss to the Rohit Sharmaled side will leave a chance for either Afghanistan or Bangladesh to qualify for the semifinals.

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Meanwhile, Afghanistan can qualify for the semifinals with another win against Bangladesh in their final Super Eights match. Their task can become easier if India beat Australia earlier in the day, which will help them know by what margin they need to beat Bangladesh to claim their semifinals spot.

Despite defeats to India and Australia, Bangladesh are also in the mix and need to win by at least 30 runs to sneak ahead of Afghanistan and would require for Australia to lose heavily to India if they are to enter the semifinals.

In Group 2, things are still interesting ahead of the business end of Super Eights. South Africa, unbeaten in the competition so far, need to win big against tournament co-hosts West Indies to ensure they top their group and setup a semifinal clash with the second-placed side in Group 1.

West Indies need to defeat South Africa to reach the semifinals. If they lose, they would have to rely on USA defeating England at Barbados and ensure their net run rate doesn’t suffer a huge dent.

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Defending champions England need a victory over the USA in their final Super Eight contest to reach the semifinals, coupled with a South Africa win over West Indies. Even if a washout happens in Barbados, England would need for South Africa to emerge victorious.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Viv Richards presents best fielding medal to SKY after India beat Bangladesh

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North Sound (Antigua), June 23 (IANS) After India’s 50-run win over Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup Super Eight match, West Indies great Sir Vivian Richards presented the fielder of the match medal to Suryakumar Yadav.

Suryakumar despite the windy conditions in Antigua took a running catch to dismiss Litton Das.

Team India’s fielding coach T Dilip announced that the award will be presented by the West Indies great, after whom the Vivian Richards Stadium is named.

“Today we have a true legend, whose name is synonymours with fearless play and unmatched charizma on the field. The game0changer in every sense, who showed that in every sense; what it means striving for greatness. Its none other than Sir Vivian Richards,” said Dilip in the video shared by BCCI on social media.

After presenting Suryakumar best fielder medal, Richards said, “I can only say that if they guys in Maroon doesn’t get it done, I will be back in your room,” he laughed.

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Richards also hailed Rishabh Pant for his comeback after the accident and said, “Pant its great to see you back man after what you have been through. We would have missed the great talent and exactly what you have to offer in the future.”

The Windies great concluded with hailing the India’s performance in the tournament so far.

–IANS

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Euros and Copa America fever spreads in football-mad pockets of cricket-crazy India

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Euro 2024 and Copa America are both underway as the hype and excitement to watch, the biggest stars of world football representing their respective countries, has already begun to spread throughout India like wildfire.

A country that has historically adopted cricket as its main sport is not that far behind in football when it comes to passion. Fans are regularly seen at screenings in hotspots in various major cities while repping their favourite team’s jersey. Here’s a deeper dive into the rooted fixations that fans from all over the country have for their favourite players.

“In Kolkata, people are traditionally more of a FIFA World Cup and South American football fans. People are majorly neutral about European nations unless it’s Brazil, Argentina, or other South American powerhouses,” told a passionate football lover from Kolkata to IANS.

If one has to look for football fans in our country, then one would have to look no further than Kolkata, the city that breathes football. The fans went on to talk about the love the people have because of their roots and historical connection to such countries.

“With that said, there are parts of Kolkata where people are mad about England because of the colonial regime. There is a place called Bow Barracks where Anglo-Indians support the English, Dutch, and Scots because of their European roots. If you look on the outskirts of Kolkata, you will find your actual goldmine in Euro Football.

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“There is a place called Chandannagar in Hooghly district, the locals support France because the locality was under French rule until the independence of India. The Churches, Chapels, and a French diaspora help it to boost the French connections there,” added the die-hard Mohun Bagan supporter.

In previous editions of the Euros, Copa Americas, and the World Cups, social media has heavily highlighted the unreal passion that is on display by fans from Kerala. The 40-foot cutouts of Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar went viral not just in India but across the globe as FIFA also applauded the dedication and passion of the home fans.

“Here in Kerala, the fan bases for European teams are quite fragmented. This contrasts with the Copa America, where there’s a clear and intense rivalry between fans of Brazil and Argentina. That being said, Spain’s national team has significant support in Kerala, particularly due to their era of dominance and the magical style of play characterised by players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and David Villa.

“Their brand of technical, possession-based football (tiki-taka) has created a lasting affection for the team. I would say that the love for La Liga, especially for teams like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has contributed to the support for the Spanish national side. The Portugal team also enjoys a massive following among the mallu youth, mainly because of their love for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been the poster boy for the Portuguese side for quite a few years,” a football fan hailing from Kerala told IANS.

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When it comes to recent times, the focal point of the sports events in the country has slowly transitioned from places like Kolkata and Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The city is filled with passionate football fans and one spoke fondly about the love that the city has for Ronaldo.

“I remember back in the day, we used to have a CR7 club in Ahmedabad. And I vividly remember how they took to the streets after Portugal won in 2016. 2021 was the year of COVID but I can guarantee you this year, places like TopSpin (club) will be packed especially when Portugal play. And given this is Ronaldo’s last Euros, who knows if he goes on to win it then the underground community of CR7 lovers will definitely have a little stroll past the Sabarmati Riverfront at night,” a Real Madrid fan and resident of Ahmedabad told IANS.

Messi and Ronaldo have been the epicentre of world football for the past two decades. The ongoing Euros have been a stepping stone that has displayed amazing talent from youngsters in the likes of Yamine Lamal and Jamal Musiala. One particular fan discussed his bond with the hosts of the 2024 Euros and how he watches the games despite being away from his home as he is currently studying in Punjab.

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“I have been a huge admirer of German football since 2010, and watching them go from Schweinsteiger and Muller to now Musiala and Wirtz has been nothing short of a crazy experience. The good part is that I am not alone, people here in Punjab are mad about football too. The excitement during the Euros is very visible here, with match screenings being set up in every possible corner of the town. It felt like an occasion during the 2022 World Cup when artists came to perform on screenings before the semifinals or the final, and I expect nothing less during the Euros.

“The local grounds are booked to capacity with a screen set up right in the middle of the ground, which makes sure the vibes are immaculate, and I expect nothing less. The arrangements plus the ample space in front of it make it the place to be during a match. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that it is very similar to the famous Boxpark in London,” said the admirer of German football to IANS.

Indian football fans over the years have grown accustomed to foreign fans trolling and questioning their dedication to international football but despite having to watch matches at ungodly hours and living in a country where cricket dominates all sporting discussions, the footballing fraternity has built a strong and unbreakable community to express their love for the beautiful game.

–IANS

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Football: Euro and Copa America fever spreads like wildfire through cricket crazy India

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Euro 2024 and Copa America are both underway as the hype and excitement to watch, the biggest stars of world football representing their respective countries, has already begun to spread throughout India like wildfire.

A country that has historically adopted cricket as its main sport is not that far behind in football when it comes to passion. Fans are regularly seen at screenings in hotspots in various major cities while repping their favourite team’s jersey. Here’s a deeper dive into the rooted fixations that fans from all over the country have for their favourite players.

“In Kolkata, people are traditionally more of a FIFA World Cup and South American football fans. People are majorly neutral about European nations unless it’s Brazil, Argentina, or other South American powerhouses,” told a passionate football lover from Kolkata to IANS.

If one has to look for football fans in our country, then one would have to look no further than Kolkata, the city that breathes football. The fans went on to talk about the love the people have because of their roots and historical connection to such countries.

“With that said, there are parts of Kolkata where people are mad about England because of the colonial regime. There is a place called Bow Barracks where Anglo-Indians support the English, Dutch, and Scots because of their European roots. If you look on the outskirts of Kolkata, you will find your actual goldmine in Euro Football.

ALSO READ:  Sarvesh Kushare wins high jump title in California; Paralympics medallist Nishad finishes sixth

“There is a place called Chandannagar in Hooghly district, the locals support France because the locality was under French rule until the independence of India. The Churches, Chapels, and a French diaspora help it to boost the French connections there,” added the die-hard Mohun Bagan supporter.

In previous editions of the Euros, Copa Americas, and the World Cups, social media has heavily highlighted the unreal passion that is on display by fans from Kerala. The 40-foot cutouts of Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar went viral not just in India but across the globe as FIFA also applauded the dedication and passion of the home fans.

“Here in Kerala, the fan bases for European teams are quite fragmented. This contrasts with the Copa America, where there’s a clear and intense rivalry between fans of Brazil and Argentina. That being said, Spain’s national team has significant support in Kerala, particularly due to their era of dominance and the magical style of play characterised by players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and David Villa.

“Their brand of technical, possession-based football (tiki-taka) has created a lasting affection for the team. I would say that the love for La Liga, especially for teams like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has contributed to the support for the Spanish national side. The Portugal team also enjoys a massive following among the mallu youth, mainly because of their love for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been the poster boy for the Portuguese side for quite a few years,” a football fan hailing from Kerala told IANS.

ALSO READ:  PVL Season 3: Calicut Heroes stun Kolkata Thunderbolts with a dominant win

When it comes to recent times, the focal point of the sports events in the country has slowly transitioned from places like Kolkata and Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The city is filled with passionate football fans and one spoke fondly about the love that the city has for Ronaldo.

“I remember back in the day, we used to have a CR7 club in Ahmedabad. And I vividly remember how they took to the streets after Portugal won in 2016. 2021 was the year of COVID but I can guarantee you this year, places like TopSpin (club) will be packed especially when Portugal play. And given this is Ronaldo’s last Euros, who knows if he goes on to win it then the underground community of CR7 lovers will definitely have a little stroll past the Sabarmati Riverfront at night,” a Real Madrid fan and resident of Ahmedabad told IANS.

Messi and Ronaldo have been the epicentre of world football for the past two decades. The ongoing Euros have been a stepping stone that has displayed amazing talent from youngsters in the likes of Yamine Lamal and Jamal Musiala. One particular fan discussed his bond with the hosts of the 2024 Euros and how he watches the games despite being away from his home as he is currently studying in Punjab.

ALSO READ:  Chennaiyin FC announces signing of midfielder Jitendra Singh

“I have been a huge admirer of German football since 2010, and watching them go from Schweinsteiger and Muller to now Musiala and Wirtz has been nothing short of a crazy experience. The good part is that I am not alone, people here in Punjab are mad about football too. The excitement during the Euros is very visible here, with match screenings being set up in every possible corner of the town. It felt like an occasion during the 2022 World Cup when artists came to perform on screenings before the semifinals or the final, and I expect nothing less during the Euros.

“The local grounds are booked to capacity with a screen set up right in the middle of the ground, which makes sure the vibes are immaculate, and I expect nothing less. The arrangements plus the ample space in front of it make it the place to be during a match. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that it is very similar to the famous Boxpark in London,” said the admirer of German football to IANS.

Indian football fans over the years have grown accustomed to foreign fans trolling and questioning their dedication to international football but despite having to watch matches at ungodly hours and living in a country where cricket dominates all sporting discussions, the footballing fraternity has built a strong and unbreakable community to express their love for the beautiful game.

–IANS

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3rd ODI: Priya, Shreyanka come in as SA opt to bat first against India

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Bengaluru, June 23 (IANS) Top-order batter Priya Punia and off-spin all-rounder Shreyanka Patil come in for India as South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first in the third women’s ODI at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

India have a 2-0 unpassable lead in the series and a win for them on Sunday will confirm their clean sweep over South Africa. The Proteas women did run India close in a run-fest second ODI on June 19, but fell short of a victory by four runs in pursuit of chasing 326, where Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Marizanne Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt slammed centuries.

For Sunday’s match, which is still worth ten ICC Women’s Championship points, left-arm seamerTumi Sekhukhune replaces pacer Masabata Klaas, while Sinalo Jafta remains ruled out due to a mild concussion.

For India, Priya makes a return to the playing eleven after last playing in the format against Bangladesh in 2023, and replaces Dayalan Hemalatha.

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On the other hand, hometown favourite Shreyanka replaces leg-spinner Asha Sobhana, with the match to be played on the pitch used for the ODI series opener last week.

Playing XIs

India: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Priya Punia, Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh (wicketkeeper), Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy and Shreyanka Patil

South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt (captain), Tazmin Brits, Anneke Bosch, Sune Luus, Marizanne Kapp, Nadine de Klerk, Nondumiso Shangase, Mieke de Ridder (wicketkeeper), Tumi Sekhukhune, Nonkululeko Mlaba and Ayabonga Khaka

–IANS

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