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France beat brave Croatia to win World Cup 2018

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France
Fifa World Cup 2018 Champions

France won the Fifa World Cup for the second time by overcoming Croatia’s bold challenge in a thrilling final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Didier Deschamps’ side repeated the success on home soil at France ’98 by a margin that hardly looked possible as Croatia stood toe-to-toe with the favourites for an hour.

France’s victory meant Deschamps, who captained them 20 years ago, became just the third man to win the competition as a player and coach.

Croatia also felt their luck deserted them, but ultimately France ran out victorious to erase the memories of the loss to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris.

In one of the most exciting World Cup finals of the modern era, played out to a soundtrack of thunder, Croatia and France delivered an enthralling spectacle that brought the joint highest goal tally in a final since 1958, a pitch invasion, and a controversial intervention from the video assistant referee that had a huge influence on the outcome.

France took the lead after 18 minutes when Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick deflected in off Mario Mandzukic’s head – but Croatia was by far the better side in the first half and deservedly equalised courtesy of Ivan Perisic’s left-foot finish.

Croatia were left nursing a burning sense of injustice when France restored their lead seven minutes before half-time through Griezmann’s penalty, awarded by referee Nestor Pitana for handball against Perisic after a lengthy delay while VAR was consulted.

In a compelling second half, France looked to have wrapped it up with two strikes in six minutes from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe either side of the hour mark.

Croatia, however, showed unbreakable spirit and even threatened a comeback when Mandzukic took advantage of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris hesitating over a clearance to pull a goal back.

But France closed out the win to bring redemption for Deschamps after defeat at the Euros two years ago, sparking wild celebrations and ensuring Lloris lifted the World Cup.

France are the team for all seasons – possessing an all-around quality that has carried them to this World Cup triumph.

When that is added to an element of good fortune, it can prove a deadly combination.

Croatia will complain bitterly that Griezmann went down theatrically for the free-kick that led to Mandzukic’s own goal, and they will also feel Perisic’s handball was not clear-cut enough for VAR to make that decisive intervention just before half-time.

What is not in doubt, however, is the sheer quality this France side possesses, a potent attack the spearhead for a strong midfield and outstanding defence.

When Croatia threatened to come back once more early in the second half, Pogba and Mbappe’s strikes from the edge of the area past the static Danijel Subasic – who still looked less than fully fit after injuring a hamstring in the quarter-final against Russia – proved the defining passage of this final.

France celebrated joyously at the final whistle after claiming the sport’s greatest trophy once more, with Deschamps – the coach whose conservative methods have often brought criticism – tossed high into the air by his players.

Croatia returns home as beaten World Cup finalists but their approach to this match will have won the hearts of neutrals and earned them a prolonged standing ovation from their fans at the final whistle.

Zlatko Dalic’s side was the better team for the first hour despite trailing and were pushing France back when they were hit by those two swift hammer blows from Pogba and Mbappe.

Croatia had done it the hard way to reach this final, winning on penalties in the last 16 and quarter-final against Denmark and hosts Russia respectively before requiring extra time to beat England in the semi-final.

Yet they showed no signs of tiredness as they tore into France from the first whistle, and even when the game looked out of reach they never once let their heads drop, threatening an unlikely comeback when Mandzukic cashed in on Lloris’ error.

It was not to be but world-class midfielder Luka Modric has illuminated this World Cup, while the energy, commitment and threat of Perisic stood out here.

Croatia’s footballers and their coach will return home as national heroes – a status they fully deserve after their contribution to this spectacular World Cup and their all-out approach to this final.

This was the first World Cup to utilise VAR – so it was perhaps inevitable it would play a major part in the final.

The moment came just before half-time when France’s players appealed instantly for a penalty when a corner struck Perisic’s hand at the near post.

Referee Pitana took what seemed an age to consult VAR – even having one last look to make sure after moving to turn away – before, to Croatia’s horror and France’s delight, pointing to the spot.

Croatia will argue it was not a “clear and obvious” mistake and the handball was not a deliberate act on Perisic’s part, and their pain increased as Griezmann slipped home the penalty that was to play a crucial role in the outcome.
BBC

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HEALTH

Sixteen NBA players test positive for coronavirus

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Malcom Brogdon

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said that 16 players tested positive for coronavirus in the first wave of mandatory tests done in preparation for the restart of the season. Those 16 players were part of a pool of 302 tested on Tuesday. Tests continue for all 22 teams that will be participating in the restart at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, next month.

The player names were not disclosed. However, some players, such as Malcolm Brogdon of Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings teammates Jabari Parker and Alex Len have publicly acknowledged they have tested positive.
The league and the union say that “any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician.”Al Jazeera

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NEWS

Peter Chingoka dies

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Peter Chingoka

THE International Cricket Council described yesterday as a sad day for the game around the world after former Zimbabwe Cricket chairman, Peter Chingoka, died in Harare.

He was 65 and is survived by wife Shirley, two children Farai and Dambudzo, and one grandchild.

Mourners are gathered at 36 Sandringham Drive Alexandria Park.

“The International Cricket Council (ICC) was today saddened to learn of the death of Peter Chingoka,” the ICC said in a statement.

“Chingoka had a long career as a cricket administrator, including as the president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (as Zimbabwe Cricket was called then) from 1992 to 2014, where he assumed the title of chairman in 2001 and significantly contributed to the game’s development across Africa.

“He also was a member of the ICC Board during that time.”

ICC Chief executive, Manu Sawhney, said the global cricket family was mourning.

“The death of Mr Chingoka is sad news for the cricket world. He was widely acknowledged as an important leader in cricket in Zimbabwe and was a respected member of the ICC Board.

“It was with great sadness that we learnt of his death. On behalf of the ICC, I would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

Chingoka died yesterday morning at the Avenues Clinic.

According to a family spokesperson, Patrick Chingoka, his younger brother, the late administrator was in and out of the hospital and suffered from a combination of hypertension and kidney problems.

ZC chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, described him as a humble and dedicated person

“It’s sad for cricket. It’s a sad day for sport. He served over 20 years on the ZC board and served in the cricket council. He was there when we got our Test cricket status. I served under him as vice-chairman.

“We will greatly miss Peter. He was very humble and approachable. He weathered the storm for cricket locally and internationally.

“He will be missed by many,” said Mukuhlani.

The Sport and Recreation Committee also paid tribute to Chingoka.

“The Sports and Recreation Commission has received with a deep sense of sorrow and sadness the news of the passing on of Peter Chingoka a revered and long-serving cricket administrator.

“Peter’s commitment to sport in general and cricket, in particular, was unquestionable as evidenced by his immeasurable and invaluable contribution to the growth and development of cricket.

“Though Peter had retired from the active administration of Cricket, he still remained a vital cog and a repository of cricket knowledge in the country which could be called upon to give wise counsel at any time.

“The void that Peter has left will undoubtedly be very difficult to fill.

“On behalf of the Sports and Recreation Commission, we will like to convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and the cricket fraternity for the sad loss of a beloved one and a colleague.’’

His death comes a year after his brother Paul, a former Tennis Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Olympic Committee president, also passed away.

Chingoka was one of the first black Zimbabweans to establish themselves in cricket where he started as a player and then an administrator.

A local cricket fan, Columbus Makumbe, also offered his condolences.

“With deep sorrow, I learnt about the death of one of the best cricket administrators in this country.

“As a devout fan of the Chevrons, I will remember Peter Chingoka as a highly experienced administrator, outstanding personality endowed with unique human properties,’’ Makumbe said.

Chingoka was made honorary life president of ZC just three months after he stepped down as chairman.

During his playing days, he was a seamer and quite a handy lower-order batsman and played in the Gillette Cup knockout competition in 1975-76 and 1976-77.

One of his most notable scalps was South African legend, Barry Richards.

“Peter Chingoka was the first black Zimbabwean to make his name in cricket,’’ the authoritative Cricinfo said.

“A seam bowler and useful lower-order batsman, his greatest cricketing achievement was his appointment as captain of the South African African XI that played in the Gillette Cup knockout competition in 1975-76 and 1976-77.

“He was able to play multiracial club cricket for Universals, but was not a major figure and pursued cricket administration.

“He was appointed vice-president of the ZCU in 1990 and took over as president at the resignation of David Ellman-Brown in 1992, shortly after Zimbabwe gained Test status.’’The Chronicle

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NEWS

Zimbabwe Cricket governing board to be reinstated following court order

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ZIMBABWE CRICKET TEAM

Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has decided to reinstate Zimbabwe Cricket’s suspended governing board, which it had replaced by an interim committee last month.

The move led to the cricket board’s suspension by the ICC, which deemed it as “political interference”. ZC was given an October 8 deadline to “unconditionally reinstate” the governing board led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani.

“Accordingly, and pursuant to the said court order, the SRC hereby lifts the suspension of the directors of ZC, including that of the acting managing director [Givemore Makoni], with immediate effect,” read the statement released by SRC on August 8. “The interim committee accordingly ceases to administer the affairs of Zimbabwe Cricket forthwith.”

The decision by SRC follows a court order that came about after the suspended directors of ZC appealed the decision in the administrative court of Zimbabwe. The reinstatement of Mukuhlani and others paves the way for Zimbabwe’s inclusion back into the international fold. The ICC will convene for its next meeting on October 12, four days after the deadline for Zimbabwe ends.

In a July 24 letter, the ICC had warned about a possible termination if Zimbabwe Cricket fails to find a way back to the democratically elected board.

“Should the ICC not receive a satisfactory response from you on the above terms, within the stipulated time frame, the ICC reserves its right to take such further action as it deems appropriate including to proceed by way of termination of your membership as provided for in the Articles of Association,” the ICC letter read.

Zimbabwe, with their full member rights suspended, have already lost on berths in the upcoming World T20 qualifiers. Nigeria replaced them in the Men’s qualifiers whereas Namibia replaced them in the Women’s qualifiers.

Besides that, Zimbabwe’s domestic competitions were also put on hold due to frozen funds but the news of their participation in the triangular series in Bangladesh, which earlier looked doubtful, came as a huge boost. Cricbuzz

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