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Police shoot man with pickaxe ahead of Netherlands vs Poland Euro 2024 match: Report

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Hamburg (Germany), June 16 (IANS) Hamburg police have shot a man with an axe who threatened security officers “with a pickaxe and an incendiary device” ahead of the Netherlands match against Poland in the Euro 2024.

The incident happened on Sunday afternoon in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district, just before the match at the neighboring Volksparkstadion.

As per police statement, a major operation is underway in St Pauli and the attacker is receiving medical treatment.

“At St Pauli there is currently a major police operation. According to initial findings, a person threatened police officers with a pickaxe and an incendiary device. The police then used their firearms. The attacker was injured and is currently receiving medical treatment,” the Hamburg Police said in a official statement as quoted by Sky Sports.

Video footage posted online, shows a man wielding an axe in front of police officers before a series of suspected gunshot sounds can be heard, the BBC reported.

The man has not been identified by the police and the authorities have not commented on what motivations they believe were behind the incident, it added.

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–IANS

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Copa America final: 28-game unbeaten Colombia stand in the way of Argentina’s record title win (preview)

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Miami, July 14 (IANS) The 2024 Copa America has boiled down to its final game. The defending champions Argentina, will be taking on a strong Colombian side at the Hard Rock Stadium on Monday (IST).

Argentina’s path to the finals was straightforward with their biggest hurdle proving to be Ecuador in the quarter-finals which the side won on penalties thanks to the heroics of Emiliano Martinez. Lionel Scaloni’s men defeated Canada 2-0 in the semi-finals of the tournament.

Colombia on the other hand are on a dream run which has seen them remain unbeaten in 28 games which is a national record. Their previous record was of 27 games and their victory over Uruguay in the semi-finals saw them create history.

Argentina’s Lautaro Martinez is currently the leading scorer at the tournament with four goals to his name whereas James Rodriguez sits miles above the rest in the assists leaderboard with six to his name with the next best being several players tied with two assists.

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Head-to-head: The two sides have faced each other 42 times in their history with Argentina holding a impressive lead with 25 wins to their name compared to Colombia’s eight, nine games ended in draws.

What the managers said-

“I hope the fans have a party, I want it with all my heart. Apart from the joy of winning the title, I think it would be a joy for everyone if it ends well,” said Scaloni to reporters in the pre-match conference. “Even though we know it will be his(Angel Di Maria) last game, we will always decide first what is best for the team. If he has to play it’s because he has to play, if we decide not to play him it’s because we think differently,” he added.

“We hope that everything goes well and that Angel can retire in the best possible way. We need to be the best Colombia, the best version, to beat Argentina, the champions of everything. To win against Argentina, we have to be very well-prepared, because they are the champions, it will be a very demanding match,” said Colombia head coach Nestor Lorenzo.

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–IANS

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England will miss Anderson, it's difficult to replace his rare skill: Ian Chappell

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Former Australia captain Ian Chappell believes England are going to miss James Anderson in Test cricket, citing the difficulty to replace his rare skills of swinging the ball.

Anderson finished his 21-year Test career for England as the third-most successful bowler in the longest format with 704 wickets at an average of 26.45 in 188 matches, when the hosts’ thrashed the West Indies by an innings and 114 runs at Lord’s earlier this week.

“Jimmy Anderson retired as the greatest swing bowler the game has seen. There have been many other fine swing bowlers but none have plied their skill for such a long period at the highest level.

“Anderson had that rare ability to swing the ball both ways with very little change to his action. Where other good bowlers gave the batter a clue with their change of arm slot, Anderson was able to produce swing both ways minus the early warning signal.

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“This is a remarkable skill and it made Anderson an extremely tough opponent. England will miss Anderson as it’s difficult to replace his rare skill. Importantly, though, Anderson’s career is now a celebrated one where he’s recognised as the best swing bowler the game has produced,” wrote Chappell in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.

He also went on to laud Anderson for his hardwork in terms of maintaining his longevity and not wandering from his testing lines and lengths in Test cricket. “Twenty-one years at the top is a tribute to his fitness, skill and ability to learn. There was also his desire to keep playing when big life changes, like having a wife and kids, could easily have surpassed the priority of Test cricket.

“His subtle skills became more obvious as he continued to run in with the same smooth rhythm and produce a probing delivery on a testing line. He continued to do so no matter whether he was bowling to a right- or left-handed batter. That was another skill that set him apart from many swing bowlers – it made little difference what type of batter he was facing.”

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Chappell signed off by praising Anderson for maintaining his patience despite getting no rewards in his stern bowling spells, a factor which he thinks was crucial in the pacer’s success.

“The tributes for Anderson have been many, touching not just on his undoubted bowling skill but also his grumpiness, the changes of hairdo and his stubbornness with the bat. It’s not surprising that he was occasionally grumpy, which resulted in the odd terse comment.

“Most people’s patience would be severely tested if they regularly charged in to bowl only to beat the bat and receive no reward. Despite the occasional outburst Anderson retained his patience, which was partly responsible for his amazing success.

“As retirement loomed, the thing that stood out most in Anderson’s often reluctant comments was his desire to win. This was a crucial motivating factor in his success.”

–IANS

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'Pleasure for everyone if final concludes peacefully', Argentina coach ahead of Copa America final

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Florida, July 14 (IANS) Ahead of the Copa America final against Colombia, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni hopes for a peaceful match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Monday (as per IST).

Scaloni’s comments came at the heels of the clashes that erupted between Uruguayan players and Colombia supporters after the former’s 1-0 loss in the semifinal match in North Carolina.

“I hope the fans can enjoy themselves, I sincerely wish for that. Besides the joy of winning the title, it would be a pleasure for everyone if the final concludes peacefully,” Scaloni said during a press conference on Saturday.

Scaloni showed compassion in response to the incident between Uruguayan players, recognising the anguish that results when family members find themselves in such circumstances.

“We expect players to set a positive example, but in such circumstances, reactions can be difficult to predict. I hope incidents like these are not repeated. Witnessing your loved ones amidst such chaos must be deeply distressing,” he remarked.

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Speaking on forward Angel Di Maria’s farewell match for Argentina, Scaloni remains committed to the goal of winning the trophy over individual accolades.

“Even though it may be his final match, our primary consideration remains the team’s needs. Whether he plays or not will be decided accordingly,” Scaloni expressed.

Argentina sealed the final berth after defeating Canada 2-0 in the semi-final. Argentina hope to build on their previous finals success, having won the Copa America in 2021, the Intercontinental Cup in 2022 against Italy, the European champions, and the World Cup in Qatar against France.

“Every final has its own unique challenges. We will approach it with determination to win. Every team understands the significance and pressure that comes with a final,” Scaloni concluded.

–IANS

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Euro 2024: Luis de la Fuente claims Spain are not 'favourites' heading into finals

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Berlin, July 14 (IANS) The joint-record winners of the European Championship, Spain will be taking on England in a blockbuster final of the Euro 2024 at the Olympiastadion Berlin on Monday (as per IST).

Ahead of the highly-awaited encounter, many believe that the Spaniards are the favourites given the ruthlessness they have shown throughout the tournament but head coach Luis de la Fuente has stated that ‘there are no favourites’ in the matchup.

“There are no favourites. It’s an even match-up, just as our previous knockout games were. If we are not above the level we displayed in those games, we won’t have a chance of winning — and the same if we make mistakes,” said de la Fuente in the pre-game conference.

Spain have been one of the best teams at the tournament, they are playing with a fun, free-flowing identity, raising their game to a level which we are accustomed to seeing the La Roja perform at.

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They have scored 13 goals so far in the Euro 2024, the highest by any team in the tournament whilst only conceding three goals which has seen them remain the only team that has won all their games so far.

“It’s fantastic to be here and we are excited to be in the final. It’s one of the biggest sporting achievements there is. We are relaxed and looking forward to playing. Sunday will be a complicated game against a great team, between the best two teams [in the tournament], that’s why we are in the final,” he added.

Out of the two finalists, Spain have definitely had the harder road to Berlin. The side defeated Georgia 4-1 in the Round of 16 which set their clashes against Germany in the quarterfinal (2-1) before a 2-1 victory over France in the semi-finals of the tournament.

“These matches, which are so even, are often decided by the finer details. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will have the best chance of winning,” concluded the Spanish head coach.

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–IANS

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'Bharat in Paris': Celebrating India's Olympic Movement and adoption of Esports

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) All roads on Sunday converged at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to witness the first major convening of traditional sports and Esports ahead of the Paris Olympics that is scheduled to be held from July 26 to August 11.

The maiden inaugural run, titled ‘Bharat in Paris’ is a celebration of India’s Olympic movement and a prelude to the inclusion of Esports in Olympics.

The ‘Bharat In Paris’ event marks the recognition of Esports amongst traditional sports. Inspired by the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to position India as a global sports power with aspirations of hosting the Olympics in the near future.

The run aims to integrate traditional sports with the fast growing Indian Esports segment, which even the Government of India, by the Prime Minister himself, has acknowledged recently.

The Bharat in Paris Inaugural Run was flagged off Chief Guest Giriraj Singh, Minister of Textiles in the presence of Guest of Honour Manoj Tiwari, Member of Parliament.

In his address Giriraj Singh said, “First of all, I recognise the efforts of Abhishek Issar and Ishan Verma for organising this event. Today India has made big strides in Olympics. India has achieved so much in the global sporting arena, which is unimaginable. India is winning medals in every sports making the country proud”

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He further stated, “the growing opportunity of digital India offers great possibilities in leveraging new Olympic medal sports such as ESports. This is a great occasion for India to establish its presence in the ESports industry and win medals along with traditional sports.”

Manoj Tiwari said, “Today’s 7-km run is good wishes going to the athletes going to Paris for the Olympics. It is our wish to the Indian contingent to double the medals tally. It is good to see the progress and fillip given to ESports along with traditional sports. The recognition of ESports in Olympics is a big step which will motivate enthusiasts and propel them to do better”.

UNIV Sportatech, a pioneer in the Esports policy adoption, with a vision to cultivate robust Esports ecosystem by advising the State Governments, is also hosting esports tournaments across multiple regions of the country, with the aim to create an enabling policy-led environment to empower the Government and have a trickle down effect for grassroots development of the sector.

The ‘Bharat In Paris’ event also includes an esports tournament, along with the run, where all winners are being attributed a cumulative prizepool of INR 2,64,000 (INR 1,50,000 for the podium finishers from the run and INR 1,14,000 for esports winners). The event is a representation of Indian citizens getting to participate in the Olympic sports (run, BGMI, Chess, FIFA) and show their skills.

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While there are three age-categories for the runners on the race day, the Esports tournament had three titles (BGMI – BattleGrounds Mobile India, E-Chess and EA Sports FC24) over the last 10 days culminating in Sunday’s grand celebrations. The 10-day esports tournament witnessed participation from 1500 applicants from all corners of the country. The winners have been flown in specially from Patna and Mumbai, while there are others from Kolkata and Delhi as well.

The winners were felicitated by India’s iconic ESports athletes – Tanmay “Scout” Singh, Ammar “Destro” Khan and Lokmanyu Chaturvedi at a special Meet & Greet Session giving an opportunity for ESports aspirants to take their autographs, take pictures with them, and hear from them their inspiring journey in the world of gaming/ESports.

Speaking about the initiative, Abhishek Issar, Founder, UNIV Sportatech, said, “The ‘Bharat In Paris’ Olympic awareness run is a celebration of Bharat’s rising force as part of the Olympic movement. Akin to the International Olympic movement of creating the Esports Olympics, today we are proud to have played our part in creating an inclusive approach having to accord winners of the run and esports at the same event.

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“We are proud to be taking esports ground up having to have advised the central Government for recognising esports as a sport and now empowering the state governments, like the Bihar Government, to create state esports policies. Given India’s fantastic digital infrastructure, and the central Government’s positive outlook, Esports may well be Bharat’s moment to take a podium finish at the Olympics.”

Ishan Verma, Founder, UNIV Sportatech, added, “Bharat in Paris’, an Olympic awareness run also aims to draw attention towards inclusion of esports at the Olympics. India’s esports market is growing rapidly, expected to reach USD 919 million by 2032. Interestingly, India currently holds a very small player pool, and recognising this anomaly UNIV Sportatech is committed towards building talent identification and incubation programs to support emerging talent nationwide. The Bharat In Paris Esports event is one small step in that direction. We hope a consistent build up of this approach will soon position India as a global esports leader and inspire future esports athletes.”

–IANS

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