11-07-2018

S3

SCORE with theSun july 11, 2018

Cakir, themanwhosent off Terry, is semifinal referee Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir (pix) and his team of officials will take charge of England vs Croatia in the semifinal of theWorldCup. charge of Morocco vs Iran without any problems and oversaw Argentina take on Nigeriawherehecouldhaveawardedapenalty but chose not to review an incident in the box. in the second leg of the 2012 semifinal against Barcelona, and the current England defender, Cahill,wasdismissed for anoff theball incident in the final of the 2012 FIFA ClubWorldCup. The part-time insurance agent showed a redcard toMarioBalotelli and produced a further eight

Roohails ‘fantastic’ Lions England andManchester United top career goalscorer Wayne Rooney praised his home- land’s “fantastic”World Cup effort yesterday, cheering the buzz and belief their semifinal run in Russia has inspired. Rooney appeared at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new home stadium of DC United, where the 32-year-old striker makes his Major League Soccer debut on Saturday against Vancouver. “They are doing fantastic. Hopefully we can get the win,” Rooney said. “It’s great. You see the atmosphere back home. There are billions watching it. Hopefully we can get through and go on to the final.” “For the players and Gareth (Southgate), I wish themmassive good luck. They are making us all proud,” Rooney said. “Hopefully they can get that one step further and get to the final and bring the Cup home. “I’ve enjoyed all the buzz coming out of this. We’re enjoying it and we believe.” Kramaric: EPLwasgreat Andrej Kramaric says his time in English football was “a great story” even though he rarely played during a brief stint at Leicester City as Croatia gear up for their World Cup semifinal against England. The 27-year-old moved to Leicester in January 2015 from Rijeka but left a year later – midway through the club’s remarkable run to the Premier League title – as he was loaned to German side Hoffenheim. “My stay in England is a great story for me. It was my first time outside Croatia and every- thing was really new,” said Kramaric, who played just twice during the Foxes’ title-winning campaign. “It turned out that I didn’t play that much. It was difficult for me to get into the team because they were playing really great throughout the season so obviously no coach would change a winning team,” he added. “It was a great experience that I could talk about for days,” he told reporters. “However, I do hope to talk about Croatia and this World Cup for years.” Diernotcountingchickens There may be an air of euphoria back home but England midfielder Eric Dier is adamant that for all the progress, success has yet to be achieved for the Three Lions at the World Cup in Russia. “I don’t think we have succeeded yet, success is hard to define but in my eyes and I think in everyone else’s eyes back at the (team) hotel I think this isn’t a success yet,” Dier told reporters yesterday after the team’s training session. “We are hungry for more and we want more and hopefully we can show that on Wednesday. After the Sweden game we fixed our attention purely to Wednesday. “We are as focused as ever on that game, there has been no complacency, no talk of anything else other than Wednesday. “We have kept things the same throughout the whole tournament, keep going in the same way and we will do also leading up to Wednes- day,” he said. The Tottenham Hotspur player said that a great part of the team spirit has been the commitment and approach of all players, regardless of their place on the team sheet. “Everybody is willing to put everything aside purely for the team to be successful. “I think you can see that in the way that we play, the way that we fight for each other. The way we train during the week is fantastic, always with high-intensity, everyone pushing each other. “It is a fantastic attitude and mentality. We are just trying to be in the best possible place on Wednesday.”

The 41-year-old has been a regular figure in the latter stages of the Champions League and took charge of Netherlands vs Argentina in the semifinal of the 2014WorldCup. Cakir caused controversywhen he sent off Manchester United’s Nani in the Champions League round of 16. United were winning on aggregate but went on to lose and exit the competition after Cakir questionably sent off Nani for catching Alvaro Arbeloawithahigh foot, adecision that left SirAlex Ferguson raging. The omens appear to be bad for England as John Terry and Gary Cahill have both been dismissed by the Turkish referee. Terry was suspended from the Champions League final when he saw red S amuel Umtiti headed France into the World Cup final in Saint Petersburg with a 1-0 win earlier today, consigning Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ to another bitter disappointment. France’s own supremely talented young squadwill aimtomake amends for defeat on home soil in the final of Euro2016 inSunday’s showpiece against England or Croatia. In a World Cup replete with set-piece goals, a corner again proved decisive when Umtiti timed his run perfectly to meet Antoine Griezmann’s delivery six minutes into the second half. Francewere thankful for fine saves from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris either side of halftime. Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne warned KylianMbappewas ready to take theworld by storm on the eve of the game and the most expensive teenager in the history of football showed why inside the first 60 seconds. He skipped past Jan Vertonghen with ease and only a last-ditch tackle by Vincent Kompany prevented Griezmann from latching onto his cross. Thibaut Courtois rushed from his goal just in time to save Vertonghen again from Mbappe’s pace on 12 minutes, but it was Belgium who started the better in possession. One of the Red Devils’ many French connectionswas the biggest danger as Eden Hazard, who began his career with Lille in Ligue 1, pulled the first attempt of goal just beyond the far post. The Chelsea forward’s next effort was arrowing into the top corner until it flicked off Raphael Varane’s headanddeflected just over. Lloris and Courtois played a huge part their sides’ quarterfinal wins and itwas only thanks to two of the best ‘keepers in the world the game remained goalless at half- time. First, Lloris flew to his right to turnToby Alderweireld’s shot on the turn behind. At the other end, Mbappe demonstrated the subtler side to his game to play in Benjamin Pavard, but Courtois used his massive 6ft 5ins (199 centimetre) frame to deny the Stuttgart fullback his second goal of the tournament. Didier Deschamps’ men ended the opening period on top, but again Olivier Giroud looked short of confidence as the focal point of the French attack. Giroud has not scored in eight games and is yet to even have a shot on target in Russia. His best chance arrived via more good work fromMbappewith a cushioned cross, but the Chelsea striker could only slice horriblywide on his favoured left foot.

The FIFA listed referee of 12 years is no strangertobigoccasions.Heofficiatedthe2015 ChampionsLeaguefinalbetweenJuventusand Barcelona and took charge of the semifinal second leg game between Real Madrid and BayernMunich in this season’s competition. Cakir’s style of refereeing is very strict when it comes to the smaller matters of the game, he is very precise when measuring distances and will have a keen eye on any skulduggery taking place.

yellow cards when Manchester City met Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League in 2011. ThiswillbeCakir’s

third World Cup match in Russia, he t o o k

The highly-rated referee by FIFA and UEFA is fair with his cards and tends to use themas a last resort if he can help it. – The Independent

Gritty Umtiti

France edge Belgium to reach World Cup final

France’s Samuel Umtiti (right) heads the ball to score during the Russia 2018 World Cup semifinal match against Belgiumat the Saint Petersburg Stadiumearlier today. – reuterspix

Giroud did at least have a part to play in the decisive opener as, after his shot was deflected wide, Griezmann’s corner was flicked in at the near post byUmtiti. Once in front, France had even more space to exploitMbappe’s pace, but it was a majestic piece of skill that nearly created a second with a backheel that again freed Giroud only forMousa Dembele to block. Roberto Martinez introduced an extra attacker in Dries Mertens in an attempt to turn the tide andhenearlyhadan immediate impact as his crosswas headed incheswide byMarouane Fellaini. That was as close as Belgium came to

taking the game to extra time, though, as Lloris parried a long-range piledriver from AxelWitsel. But for Courtois, France’s margin of victorywould have been even greater as he made saves fromGriezmann and Corentin Tolisso in stoppage time. For the generation of Hazard, De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, beating Brazil in the quarterfinals was meant to be the breakthrough on route to winning a major tournament. Instead, it proved to be another false dawn as France march on to Moscow. – AFP

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