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FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier: Euro champions Italy equal WORLD RECORD for most unbeaten games

  • Sep 06, 2021
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Jorginho missed a penalty when Italy draw 0-0 with Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday September 5, a result that meant Roberto Mancini's side equaled the world record for consecutive undefeated international matches in a row. Italy is now undefeated in 36 consecutive games, equaling Brazil's record set between 1993 and 1996. The result could have been more positive if Jorginho had converted from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute after a foul by Domenico Berardi, but the Chelsea midfielder was thwarted by goalkeeper Yan Sommer. Italy had other opportunities to snatch the victory from them, but had to settle for a draw, which means they remain top of qualification Group C on 11 points from five games, four ahead of the second-placed Swiss, who have two matches in hand on the Azzurri.Also Read- Cristiano Ronaldo becomes all-time highest goalscorer in international football with brace against Ireland Mancini's team entered the game after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Bulgaria on Thursday, in their first match becoming European champions two months ago. But the visiting team did much better in the first half in Basel and should have taken the lead through good chances for Berardi and Lorenzo Insigne, both of whom were denied by Sommer. The best chance of the night came seven minutes of the second half after Ricardo Rodriguez trying to atone for being caught in possession, lunged in on Berardi to award a penalty. Jorginho, who missed his spot kick in in Italy's penalty shootout victory over England in the Euro 2020 final, stepped up but put his effort far to close to Sommer, who made an easy save. European champions Italy set a new world record of 36 international matches unbeaten with their draw in Switzerland Congratulations @Azzurri_En pic.twitter.com/VxL9CERn8D— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 6, 2021Sommer proved impossible to breach as he denied Insigne again to leave Italy heading home having been frustrated for the second successive qualifier.Also Read- Tokyo Paralympics: Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian woman to win 2 medals at single Games edition

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LaLiga will not be weakened by Lionel Messi's exit, says ex-Real Madrid player Fernando Morientes

  • Sep 08, 2021
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La Liga may be shorn of its biggest name in Lionel Messi who left FC Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain but former Real Madrid player Fernando Morientes feels the Spanish league would not be "weakened" by the exit of the Argentine maestro.Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain's club last month is not the only high-profile exit from La Liga. In the last five seasons, players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Sergio Ramos have left Real Madrid or Barcelona."La Liga throughout its history has lost players, just like any other league... It is nothing new. Cristiano left, Neymar left, Messi and Ramos have also left," Morientes, who is also the La Liga ambassador, said during a virtual media interaction."Footballers will eventually leave, but clubs will stay. La Liga doesn't sell itself through a single player. La Liga is never going to have a problem to sell itself as a competition"."La Liga has done a spectacular job attempting to attract the best players to make it as competitive as always been."Morientes said it's an opportunity for the Spanish clubs to prove themselves at the marquee Champions League.“I would like to see a Spanish final in fact, because there are many people who think that Messi's departure has weakened the league. We have to show that this is not the case.Also Read- Lionel Messi signs two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona"In the last 10-15 years, La Liga teams have always been very competitive in all European competitions. And I'm convinced this coming season the Spanish teams will demonstrate their true potential in this competition," said the former Spanish center-forward.The 45-year-old said it was the responsibility of the clubs to change, adapt and sign great players."La Liga will continue to be a really attractive league that will bring in new players and I'm sure there are great players who will want to play here," said Morientes, who played 183 games for Real Madrid between 1997 and 2005."The Spanish league is strong enough to be attractive to everyone. I am convinced that you in India will continue to follow the league and continue to follow our teams as fans and not just as individual players."On the prospect of 'El Clasico' without Messi and Ronaldo, he said: "Real Madrid and Barcelona at the end of the day are much more than just two players. It's true that both Cristiano and Messi have made history in Spanish football."Obviously we would like to have players of this level. But we must remember that the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona goes back many years, and Messi and Ronaldo are not always at the club." Also Read- Cristiano Ronaldo becomes all-time highest goalscorer in international football with brace against Ireland

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Lionel Messi Makes First PSG Start But Club Brugge Hold On For A Draw

  • Sep 16, 2021
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Lionel Messi failed to provide Paris St Germain with any sparkle as the Ligue 1 team's potent attacking trio lacked inspiration in a disappointing 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.In his debut with the French team, the Argentine forward managed to surpass him, but he was far from his brilliant best next to the disappointing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who set up Ander Herrera for PSG's first-half opener before being replaced injured after the break.Brugge, who levelled before halftime through Hans Vanaken, were more powerful and had the best chances against a PSG that lacks quality and defensive focus.The result left Paris Saint-Germain and Bruges two points behind Group A leaders Manchester City after the Premier League champions crushed RB Leipzig 6-3."We didn't play a fantastic game but to be fair we did enough to win, we deserved to win," said Herrera."Maybe they had opportunities at the beginning of the second half but I think we controlled the match, we had a lot of chances."Also Read- Lionel Messi surpasses Pele's goalscoring record, leads Argentina to win in World Cup qualifiersBrugge keeper Simon Mignolet disagreed."I didn't have a lot of work, I just pulled a couple of saves. We played as a compact side, it was the right approach," the Belgian said.With Messi, Neymar and Mbappe together on the pitch for the first time, PSG made a confident start but Brugge responded well.FULL-TIME: Club Brugge 1-1 @PSG_English The points are shared on Matchday 1 of the @ChampionsLeague. #UCL | #CLUPSG pic.twitter.com/P3EVbjqQxP— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) September 15, 2021Mbappe broke the left flank and his low cross was met by Herrera, and opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a low shot to score his fourth goal this season-his third goal in the last two games.Messi set up Mbappe, who went close in the 23rd minute with an angled shot that was deflected by Mignolet but PSG were lulled into a false sense of security.Also Read- LaLiga will not be weakened by Lionel Messi's exit, says ex-Real Madrid player Fernando Morientes

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FIFA Rankings: India rise one spot to 106th, Belgium hold onto top position

  • Oct 22, 2021
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October 2021 was a busy month in international football, with qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, friendlies, and the final rounds of the UEFA Nations League all on the agenda. A total of 160 fixtures were played, the impact of which can be seen on the FIFA Rankings. Though their lead is now under threat, Belgium remains on top despite UEFA Nations League defeats to France (3rd, 1) and Italy (4th, 1). Among the top five, only Les Bleus and Gli Azzurri have improved their positions. India has also moved one spot ahead to the 106th position after the Sunil Chhetri-led side won the SAFF Championship. The Blue Tigers had defeated Nepal in the summit clash. Brazil remains in second place but are breathing down the neck of Belgium, just 12 points behind. England, meanwhile, dropped two places to fifth."A little further down, Spain's (7th, 1) progress at the expense of Portugal (8th, -1) is also noteworthy, as is that of Germany (12th, 2), who leapfrog USA (13th). Uruguay lost most ground among the top 20 by dropping three places to 15th," read an official FIFA statement. It is after that, however, where we find some of the most significant movers on this edition. Morocco (29th, 4), Russia (33rd, 4), Egypt (44th, 4), Saudi Arabia (49th, 7) and South Africa (66th, 7) all made strides on the back of two wins from two this month in Qatar 2022 qualifying. Two nations in the second half of the table fared even better, with New Zealand (111, 10) and Indonesia (165, 10) the joint-biggest movers this month, ahead of Central African Republic (115, 9) and Cambodia (170, 8).Also Read- IPL 2022: Ranveer Singh And Deepika Padukone To Bid For Two New IPL Teams- Reports