Prop Nicky Smith’s close-range try was all Wales had to show from a lacklustre first half against Uruguay2019 Rugby World Cup: Wales v UruguayWales (7) 35Tries: Smith, Adams, Penalty try, T Williams, G Davies Cons: Halfpenny 4 Uruguay (6) 13Try: Kessler Con: Berchesi Pens: Berchesi 2A shadow Wales side laboured to a bonus-point victory over minnows Uruguay to set up a World Cup quarter-final against France.Wales only led 7-6 after a first half littered with handling errors, the only try coming from prop Nicky Smith.Josh Adams’ fifth score in Japan and a penalty try extended the advantage, only for German Kessler to drive over.Replacements Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies both crossed to seal the bonus point as Wales topped Pool D.They only needed two points to do so – thanks to their head-to-head record against Australia – but this result also means they have won all of their World Cup group matches for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1987.Wales injury problems ease for FranceWorld Cup tablesChances squanderedThis was not the match Wales had envisaged.Head coach Warren Gatland was always planning to make wholesale changes because this fixture came just four days after their bruising victory over Fiji.The physical nature of that match increased the need for squad rotation, with fly-half Dan Biggar, centre Jonathan Davies and wing George North among those to sustain injuries and prompt 13 changes.But regardless of the 15 players taking to the field – and no matter how impressive Uruguay were in their shock opening victory over Fiji – Wales were expected to make light work of Los Teros.
Wales replacement Gareth Davies’ late try against Uruguay gave the scoreline a little glossThe Six Nations champions started with plenty of attacking intent, with backs and forwards alike throwing the ball around freely and trying to make the game as wide and open as possible.However, the execution did not match the ambition.There were multiple handling errors – Aaron Wainwright squandered a chance to score a try as he spilled the ball over the line, and Hallam Amos had a try disallowed for a forward pass by Hadleigh Parkes.Between the many knock-ons and dropped balls, Wales took the lead as prop Smith burrowed over from close range to score his first international try.A half-time lead of 7-6 left a lot to be desired, and the mistakes continued in the second half.The sheer volume of errors was illustrated by the fact Amos had a hat-trick of tries disallowed, two for forward passes and one for dropping the ball over the line.Luckily for Wales, however, it did not matter. Four second-half tries sealed a bonus-point win which few will remember – not that anybody in Wales will care if they follow it up with victory over France on 20 October (08:15 BST).Los Teros bid to ‘shock the world’Uruguay had already ensured this was their best World Cup campaign thanks to their thrilling victory over Fiji in their opening fixture.Los Teros were not content with one win, though, and they spelled that out with a message written in big red letters on a whiteboard at their hotel which read: “Shock the world.”Given Uruguay had lost all eight of their previous World Cup fixtures against tier-one sides – by an average of 54 points – beating Wales would have done just that.
German Kessler’s try was just reward for Uruguay’s performance against WalesTheir squad is largely comprised of amateur and semi-professional players, and their tight-head prop in Kumamoto, Diego Arbelo Garcia, is a taxi driver.But they made a mockery of the gulf in quality and resources as they defended stoically to frustrate their opponents on Sunday.They got under Welsh skins too, with captain Juan Manuel Gaminara goading Aled Davies and Parkes to prompt a scuffle in the tunnel at half-time.Uruguay had their tails up at that point, only trailing 7-6 at the break thanks to two penalties from Felipe Berchesi.And although any hopes of another famous win disappeared with Wales’ flurry of second-half scores, Kessler’s try was reward for an admirable effort from a Uruguay side who have made huge progress during this World Cup.MAN OF THE MATCH – Bradley Davies. Only added to the squad following Cory Hill’s injury, the experienced lock was busy with ball in hand and carried Wales forward with his power in his first appearance of the tournament. Wales coach Warren Gatland said: “I’m happy with four from four, not too happy with some of tonight. We were poor at times, not clinical, too many turnovers in that first half and probably blew about four or five chances but we showed a little bit of character in the second half.”We spoke about being a bit more direct. We were probably trying to play a bit too much rugby.”They’re a tough outfit to put away. They’re tenacious, they make the tackles and they’re a tidy little side.”We probably didn’t respect the ball enough, (there were) a lot of turnovers. Then, second half, we started being a bit more direct and earning the right to play and we were a bit better.”TeamsWales: Halfpenny; Adams, Watkin, Parkes, Amos; Patchell, A Davies; Smith, Elias, Lewis, B Davies, Beard, Shingler, Tipuric (capt), Wainwright.Replacements: Dee, Carre, W Jones, Ball, Moriarty, James Davies, T Williams, G Davies.Uruguay: Mieres; Leivas, Cat, Vilaseca, Freitas; Berchesi, Arata; Sanguinetti, Kessler, Arbelo, Dotti, Leindeker, Gaminara (capt), Civetta, Nieto.Replacements: Pujadas, Echeverria, Rombys, Magno, Diana, Ormaechea, Inciarte, Silva.Officials: Referee, Angus Gardner (Australia); Assistant referees, Luke Pearce (England), Karl Dickson (England); TMO, Rowan Kitt (England).
When Diego Maradona played in Saudi Arabia – Arab world mourns passing of a legend
DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday. The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th…
DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday.
The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th minute to help the Japanese side consolidate their position at the top of their group with two wins from as many matches.
They are now five points ahead of Guangzhou and Suwon Samsung Bluewings and assured of a spot in the knockout phase after the group was reduced to three teams following Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim’s withdrawal from the tournament.
In another match on Wednesday, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors pipped Sydney FC 1-0 in Group H with Na Sung-eun scoring in the 44th minute.
It was the Australian side’s third defeat in four matches while Jeonbuk revived their hopes with their first victory.
Iniesta, who was declared MVP of the match, had been an influential presence for Vissel Kobe throughout the encounter with his quick thinking and crisp passing, and that reflected in their first goal in the 44th minute at the Khalifa International Stadium.
The Spanish veteran dashed his way up on the left flank to control a long diagonal pass and after advancing further turned around near the goalline to tap the ball onto the path of the advancing Kyogo Furuhashi who struck with a clean, low shot from close range.
Furuhashi’s personal joy at scoring lasted only 10 minutes as the forward first conceded a corner and then watched in horror as his attempted clearance from the resultant kick found his own net to give Guangzhou the equalizer.
Cannavaro made three substitutions in a desperate bid for victory after having drawn their opening game against Suwon Samsung Bluewings. But although the two-time champions enjoyed a couple of brief purple patches during which they had the Kobe defence under pressure, the goal they were looking for never materialized.
Vissel Kobe regained the lead in the 74th minute when Douglas, who had just come in five minutes prior, took advantage of a great back-heel from Daigo Nishi and blasted the ball home.
Brazil-born Elekson, now known as Ai Kesen, had a goal disallowed for off-side on eight minutes and when Iniesta struck two minutes later, it extended Cannavaro’s misery in Doha.
“The result is bad. We tried but I know that something in my team is not clear. I don’t know if they are afraid to play or they are not confident anymore,” the Italian complained after the match.
“I need to try and do my best to give them the confidence to play. This is my job. I know they are very good players, and we can do much, much, much better.”
Vissel Kobe had landed in Doha after a string of disappointing results back home, conceding a whopping 58 goals in 33 league matches and losing five games in a row.
But their coach Atsuhiro Miura was basking in joy on Wednesday, saying he was ready with a game plan against a side packed with several Brazilians.
“Guangzhou is a very strong side, they have several good Brazilian players but we analysed how they play and how to prevent them from playing to their strengths,” said Miura.
“We did everything well and everything went how we wanted it to. That’s why we got this result.”
Going for goal: Saudi Arabia kicks off first women’s football league
RIYADH: First they opened the grandstands to women, now Saudi Arabia is encouraging them to cross the touchline and compete in the Kingdom’s first Women’s Football League tournament. The historic competition kicks off on Tuesday morning, with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup, and a $133,000 cash prize. The…
RIYADH: First they opened the grandstands to women, now Saudi Arabia is encouraging them to cross the touchline and compete in the Kingdom’s first Women’s Football League tournament.
The historic competition kicks off on Tuesday morning, with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup, and a $133,000 cash prize.
The Kingdom opened its stadiums to women football supporters in January, 2018, but this is the first time they will have been allowed to compete in a tournament.
The competition has been lauded as an important step for the Saudi sports world, with many in the game throwing their support behind the event.
Calling the competition a “positive step,” Abdullah Alyami, Saudi football coach and sports reporter, said he expects many more women to participate in future tournaments.
“This is a very happy day for all athletes, be they male or female. And based on what we’ve seen, and how beloved the sport of football is all over the Kingdom, I believe we will see many more of our sisters getting involved in professional sports,” he said.
عبدالله اليامي: انطلاق #الدوري_النسائي في #السعودية خطوة إيجابية.. وأتوقع إقبالا كبيرا على المشاركة في فرق كرة القدم النسائية#تواصل #قناة_الرسالة@m3sss3 pic.twitter.com/UxRa8pZSWo
— قناة الرسالة (@alresalahnet) November 17, 2020
Saudi sports reporter Riyan Al-Jidani tweeted his support.
“To all my dear sisters participating the Women’s Football League, your success in the tournament is a step in the right direction towards our dream of universality and representing our homeland to the outside world. Raising the flag on the field is a glory and pride,” he said.
The tournament was due to start in March – but the coronavirus pandemic stopped play.
But for some that just presented the opportunity to up their game.
“We started preparations early, and the delay due to the pandemic actually worked in our favor. We were able to take more than two months to prepare for the tournament,” Maram Al-Butairi, general manager and head coach at Dammam-based Eastern Flames FC.
Amal Gimie, 26, an Eritrean midfielder for Jeddah’s Kings United, previously told Arab News that she had been playing the beautiful game since she was eight.
“There was a match every weekend. The boys made us play as goalkeepers in the beginning, and in 2002, when I first saw the Women’s World Cup, it sparked my passion to learn more about this sport,” said Gimie, who is also a management information systems graduate. She joined her first female football team, Challenge, in Riyadh in 2014.
She said: “It was the first time I joined something organized. I was happy to be playing but at the same time I felt as though it was an unreachable goal (to become a professional athlete or join an official league), I felt like I was growing older without achieving anything.”
The matches won’t be broadcast, but Saudi’s army of football fans remain excited by the tournament.
Wejdan Al-Shammary, who grew up playing sports in school, said she would have tried for a team “in a heartbeat” if she had been just a few years younger.
“I played both basketball and football on my high school teams. I was a complete sports nut, but it makes me happy to know that even if it’s too late for me to achieve those dreams, there’s a chance now for young Saudi girls that I never had,” she said.
Najla Ahmed, a 16-year-old from Riyadh who plays on her school’s football team, said she would try for a local team in 2021.
“I’ll be 17, and therefore eligible, and I would love to see anyone try and stop me,” she said.
Both women said they hoped this was just the start and that more sports would be opened up to women.
“Football is just the beginning. I would love to see more focus on other sports, as well. Basketball, tennis, maybe even competitive swimming,” said Al-Shammary. “I’m sure we have so many potential Olympians among us who just need their talents nurtured.”
NFL game postponed over Covid-19 cases
Tennessee Titans’ long snapper Beau Brinkley (left) and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (right) have been put on the reserve/Covid-19 listThe NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases.The game will be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday after the outbreak among Titans players and staff.On Tuesday,…
Tennessee Titans’ long snapper Beau Brinkley (left) and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (right) have been put on the reserve/Covid-19 listThe NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases.The game will be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday after the outbreak among Titans players and staff.On Tuesday, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson were put on the reserve/Covid-19 list.The NFL has since shut down the team facility.According to the NFL network, a fourth player also returned a positive test on Wednesday.The Titans played the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis last Sunday.The Vikings’ facility was also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and it is unclear whether their scheduled game with the Houston Texans will take place on Sunday.