Argentina 1 Belgium 0: Shades of Diego Maradona in 1982 as Lionel Messi steals the show

News4u-sports Desk- Lionel Messi’s dazzling display against Belgium carried echoes of the great Diego Maradona terrifying defenders during the 1982 World Cup

Just before the drinks break in the first-half here Lionel Messi stroked a 40-yard pass that would have delighted a crown green bowler. It cut the daisies, crept behind a Belgian defender and rolled into Angel Di Maria’s path with a trace of backspin. The majesty of Messi’s club form is spreading to this World Cup.
Everywhere you looked in that first period it was on show, beginning with the midfield pirouette that sent his body rotating into the right position to release a pass that led to Gonzalo Higuaín’s first goal for Argentina in 528 minutes.

With Di Maria off the field with a thigh injury, the three-time world player of the year posted his own Belgian-bamboozling moment on the edge of the D to match the famous Diego Maradona photo from 1982. He lifted the ensuing free-kick over the bar, but there was no hiding from his talent.

The megastars are crashing out of this tournament. First Cristiano Ronaldo, ejected at the group stage, then Neymar, the face of this tournament, in an ambulance, and Colombia’s James Rodriguez, probably the next great No 10.

The stage has cleared for Messi to slip across the border and plant Argentina’s flag at the Maracana next Sunday, starting with Wednesday’s semi-final in Sao Paulo.

A quieter second-half from Maradona’s heir could not diminish his importance. “I feel he had a wonderful match,” Sabella said.

“He sucks in three opponents to get the ball to team-mates. Every move he makes is a sign of hope to us and a danger to opponents. The influence he has on the pitch is decisive. A player like Messi receives the ball and almost never loses it. He draws three players. It’s water in the desert to us. Water in the desert.”

How Sabella needs that tap. There was greater zip to Argentina’s early play but they locked themselves into a siege for the last half hour. When it mattered, Messi sensed the opportunity to leave Brazil as the undisputed champion conjurer.

As he drew level with Maradona’s 91 caps the news reached Brazil that Alfredo Di Stefano, born in Buenos Aires 88 years ago, had suffered a serious heart attack in Madrid, where he won five European Cups with Real. The bulletin placed even Neymar’s broken back in perspective.

Normal human frailty is not extinguished from the greatest footballers, but is simply better hidden. Though Belgium dominated the second-half, this was a day for giving thanks that we get to see Messi doing so many extraordinary things so often. The game is unimaginable without him.

Providence placed in front of La Albiceleste meanwhile a country who are synonymous with that great photo of six Belgians in a terrified defensive huddle as Maradona danced towards them with the ball at the 1982 World Cup.

The image expressed both Maradona’s brilliance and the fear he instilled in the mortals hired to stop him. Messi has much the same effect on defenders in Spain in his day job at Barcelona. In World Cup knock-out games, though, he was still searching for the bravura performance that would establish him as player capable of carrying a nation.

With Germany and Brazil through to one semi-final, Belgium in Brasilia seemed a good place for Messi to start owning make-or-break World Cup fixtures, as Maradona so often did. Within three minutes he was sweeping a beautiful pass from right to left for Ezequiel Lavezzi to run on to and cross. In a front-loaded Argentina side, Lavezzi and Messi were joined by Di Maria and Higuain, one of the disappointments of the tournament leading into this match.

Argentina had lost their last three World Cup quarter-finals, to Germany in 2010 and 2006 and Holland in 1998, but were unbeaten in the previous 25 games in which Messi had played. Barcelona’s scuttling, impassive magician had scored four already and set-up a fifth, for Di Maria, in Argentina’s tally of seven. The one-man-team label was starting to stick.

Goals in each of the group games were followed by a precision pass to Di Maria to break Switzerland’s resistance in the second-round. The mutual loathing between Barcelona and Real Madrid has not spread to the Messi-Di Maria relationship, which has been Argentina’s main asset here.

But with Di Maria limping off on 33 minutes to be replaced by Enzo Perez, Argentina became even more dependent on the jinking No 10 who will face no further competition from Neymar or James Rodriquez for the artistry award.

In 1986 in Mexico, Argentina were more dependent on Maradona than they are on Messi, a more stable, less egocentric type who receives greater protection from referees and is not prone to self-destruction.
Oddly Argentina have never quite found a formula that makes helping Messi to shine their No 1 priority, though he can have no complaints about his role in the current side. The 4-3-3 he favours was more 4-2-4 on the team-sheet here and Argentina’s failure to counter Belgium’s midfield numerical superiority could have cost them the game.

“I think Messi has been outstanding so far in this tournament. He has been their main man,” said Jan Vertonghen before the kick-off “But if we defend like we did in our previous matches we will stop him.” Nobody conveyed this message to Marouane Fellaini, who was like a man chasing a wasp around a kitchen.
A Brazil-Argentina final is still the South American dream but there can be no Messi-Neymar face-off. Messi carries the megastar torch alone. He seems to quite like that lonely task. The Telegraph


Lionel Messi steals the show

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Quick-fire Kvitova crushes Bouchard to win Wimbledon title

News4u-Sports Desk- Petra Kvitova stormed to her second Wimbledon title in the shortest women’s final since 1983 as the Czech sixth seed crushed Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 on Saturday.

Kvitova, who first won Wimbledon in 2011, took just 55 minutes to end her three-year wait for a second Grand Slam crown, leaving shell-shocked world number 13 Bouchard helpless to repel a brutal barrage of 28 winners and four aces on Centre Court.

Playing in her first Grand Slam final since her maiden triumph at Wimbledon, the 24-year-old Kvitova produced a brilliant display of power-hitting to secure the 12th career title.

Fittingly, Kvitova’s breathtaking performance came in front of her childhood hero Martina Navratilova, whose 54-minute win against Andrea Jaeger 31 years ago was the last Wimbledon final to take less time than this ruthless demolition.

“I had great tactics from my coach, he always knows how I need to play,” Kvitova said. “All my team helped me a lot throughout the years to come back here and win the trophy again.

“I can’t say it’s more special but after three years to be back here with the trophy is so special.”

After struggling to cope with the fame and increased expectations that came with her first Wimbledon triumph, Kvitova has finally recaptured the thrilling form that brought her that breakthrough success.

The left-hander dropped just one set in her seven matches en route to lifting the Venus Rosewater dish for the second time and will rise to fourth in the world rankings next week.

While Kvitova celebrated, Bouchard, the youngest finalist at a major since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009, was left to lick her wounds after a chastening defeat in her first Grand Slam final.


Petra Kvitova

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Army Chief visits naval base, ship in Shanghai

News4u-News Desk- Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Saturday visited a naval base and a naval ship in Shanghai on the final day of his China visit during which he interacted with the People’s Liberation Army top brass to improve ties between the two militaries.

General Singh visited the naval base, one of the biggest of PLA’s Navy (PLAN) and interacted with local commanders, officials said.

He later visited a newly built corvette class naval ship of PLAN before leaving for home concluding his five-day China trip.

During his visit to Beijing, Singh held talks with PLA Chief of Staff General Fang Fenghui on improving relations between the two militaries.

They discussed a host of issues, including the implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) at the ground level to avert incidents like in the Depsang Valley in Ladakh last year when the presence of Chinese troops resulted in a standoff.

The two sides signed the BDCA last year laying out a standard operation procedures for troops aggressively patrolling disputed borders.

Fang has called for strengthening border control to prevent disruptions to the broader military-to-military relationship and bilateral ties.

Singh, who is the Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, also held talks with Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission General Fan Changlong, Vice President Li Yuanchao and Vice Executive Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui.

Singh’s visit came immediately after Vice President Hamid Ansari’s visit to Beijing last week to take part in the 60thanniversary of Panchsheel celebrations.

Xi is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil this month.


Army Chief visits naval base, ship in Shanghai

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200 more Indians from Iraq return

News4u-News Desk- Two-hundred Indians landed in New Delhi from Najaf in trouble-torn Iraq on a special chartered flight of Iraq Airways early on Sunday.

The flight landed in New Delhi at around 0430 hours in the morning carrying the passengers.

More passengers are expected to be airlifted and brought back from Iraq over the next two days from special flights including that of Air India.

The plane was chartered by the External Affairs Ministry.

This comes a day after 46 Indian nurses, who were held captive by ISIS militants in Iraq, and 137 others including 70 from Kirkuk in the northern part of Iraq, who returned in a special AI flight to Kochi via Mumbai on Saturday.

Nearly 600 Indian nationals will come back from conflict-hit Iraq over the next two days, External Affairs Ministry had said on Saturday.

Nurses return home, joy erupts among family members

Forty-six nurses, who were held captive by ISIS militants in Iraq, on Saturday returned home by a special Air India flight to a happy reunion with their families in Kochi, bringing to an end their about month-long ordeal.

The special aircraft, which also had on board about 137 others, touched down the tarmac at the Kochi International Airport at 11.57 AM, a senior airport official said.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy whose coordinated effort with the Union Government that ensured liberty to nurses from his state, besides another who hails from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu received them at the airport.

Family members of nurses, on whose face a sigh of relief was writ large had assembled in large numbers to see their beloved ones return and were joined by political leaders from BJP and Congress at the airport.

The ordeal of the nurses, who were working at a hospital in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, began when ISIS (Islamic State for Iraq and Syria) militants launched an offensive in that region on 9th June.

Even as Indian authorities continued to maintain constant touch with their counterparts at Iraq for safe release of nurses, they were moved out on Thursday against their will and detained in the militant-held city of Mosul.

Efforts by External Affairs Ministry led to setting free the nurses held in captivity and they were transported in buses to Erbil International airport on Friday.

The Special Flight that left Erbil in the early hours of on Saturday arrived at Mumbai for a brief stop over for refuelling and catering supplies.

Besides the nurses, the flight also carried 137 other Indian nationals, including 70 from Kirkuk in the northern part of Iraq, 23 crew members and three government officials, including a joint-secretary level IFS officer and an IAS woman officer from Kerala.

Chandy thanked the Centre, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Indian Embassy in Iraq and MEA for ensuring the return of nurses from strife-hit Iraq.

“The Centre has acted in complete understanding of the deep anxieties of Kerala. The Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Iraq have made sincere efforts in securing release of the nurses,” Chandy told reporters in Kochi.

Kerala Government has made arrangements to enable nurses to reach their respective destinations across the state.


Nurses return home, joy erupts among family members

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Ukraine hoists flag over pro-Russian bastion

News4u-News Desk- Resurgent government forces on Saturday hoisted the Ukrainian flag over pro-Russian rebels’ main stronghold after a devastating shelling assault that levelled much of the city but delivered Kiev its biggest success of the campaign.

The self-proclaimed mayor of Slavyansk confirmed to the news agency that insurgents had abandoned the rustbelt city of 120,000.

A local resident said by phone that barricades once manned by the camouflage-clad gunmen stood abandoned since the early morning.

Ukraine’s ability to win back Slavyansk- the country’s biggest weapons storage facilities that fell to the insurgents on April 6 - marks a key turning point in three months of low-scale warfare that has threatened the very survival of the ex-Soviet state.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a Facebook post that the withdrawal was led by senior militia commander Igor Strelkov - alleged by Kiev to be a colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit.

Both Strelkov and Moscow deny any GRU link despite Western claims that the Kremlin is covertly funding and arming the uprising to destabilise Kiev’s new pro-European leaders and retain control over Russian-speaking eastern regions of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey told President Petro Poroshenko that his forces had raised the national flag over city hall “in accordance with your order to liberate Slavyansk.”

Poroshenko stormed to victory in a May 25 election thanks to his vow to quickly resolve the country’s worst crisis since independence in 1991.

Most analysts think that the 48-year-old chocolate baron desperately needed an early success in the campaign to secure the trust of Ukrainians frustrated by their underfunded army’s inability to stand up to what they see as Russian aggression.

“The departure of the fighters was a surprise. Nobody was aware it was happening,” city resident Kolya Cherep told the news agency by telephone.

This morning, I saw that there were no fighters in front of the town hall then I saw that there were none manning the barricades in town,” he said.

Strelkov himself had told the pro-Kremlin LifeNews channel yesterday that his units “will be destroyed… within a week, two weeks at the latest” unless Russia helped secure an immediate truce or moved in its troops.

Slavyansk is the symbolic heart of an uprising sparked by the February ouster of a pro-Kremlin administration in Kiev and fuelled by Russia’s subsequent seizure of Crimea.


Ukraine hoists flag over pro-Russian bastion

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Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader, 36 Islamists to life

News4u-News Desk- In yet another blow to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, its Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and 36 other Islamists were on Saturday sentenced to life by a court for involvement in deadly protests after military’s ouster of president Mohammed Morsi last year.

Badie, convicted of involvement in deadly protests, has already received death sentences in two other cases. Badie was among the 37 out of 48 defendants, accused of inciting violence and blocking the Qalyoub Highway last year, who were given life sentences today.

Another 10 defendants, sentenced to death in absentia in June, had their verdicts approved by the country’s grand mufti, who according to Egyptian law must review all capital punishment verdicts.

One defendant was given three years in jail. Among those sentenced to life apart from Badie were leading Brotherhood members Mohamed El-Beltagy and Osama Yassin.

The prosecution also accused them of being members of a terror group, blocking roads, vandalising public and private properties, illegal possession of arms and disrupting the general peace.

The presiding Judge Hassan Farid said the defendants were involved in violence and murder during protests last July after the army’s ouster of Morsi.

The judge said the defendants had committed the violence “to achieve terrorist goals.” This is not the first mass death sentence announced against the loyalists of Morsi.

In March, Minya Criminal Court in Upper Egypt sentenced 529 Brotherhood supporters to death on charges of murdering the deputy commander of the Matay district police station during riots that erupted in the aftermath of the forced dispersal in August 2013 of Islamist protest camps in Cairo and Giza that left hundreds dead.

Morsi loyalists have been arrested in thousands since last August.

Following Morsi’s overthrow, Islamists have staged rallies and clashed with police and their opponents.

At least 1,400 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in street clashes and more than 500 officers and soldiers have died in militant attacks following Morsi’s ouster.

The Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly denied involvement in the violence.

The group was declared a terror organisation last December. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the ex-army chief who toppled Morsi, was elected in May to succeed Morsi.

He has pledged to wipe out the Brotherhood.


Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader, 36 Islamists to life

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Chandy expresses relief, thanks Centre for return of nurses

News4u-News Desk-Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday thanked the Narendra Modi government for ensuring the return of the Indian nurses from strife-hit Iraq with their safe evacuation capping days of anxiety for the state as it waited for a resolution to the crisis.

A visibly relieved Chandy expressed his gratitude for the Centre, especially External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, for bringing the matter to a happy conclusion.

“The Centre has acted in complete understanding of the deep anxieties of Kerala. The Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Iraq have made sincere efforts in securing the release of the nurses,” Chandy told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday morning.

Even his political rivals at home admitted that persistent efforts by Chandy, who had camped in Delhi for the last two days, saw the Centre making all out efforts to secure the return from Iraq of the 46 nurses, one of whom hails from Tamil Nadu.

The nurses remained trapped in a hospital in Iraq’s Tikrit for several days after the area came under the control of the militants of ISIS.

Voicing relief over the return of the nurses, CPI (M) leader VS Achuthanandan acknowledged the efforts of the Centre and the state government in the matter.

A special Air India flight carrying the 46 Indian nurses and 137 others released by ISIS arrived on Saturday morning in Mumbai, from where it is headed to Kochi.


Oman Chandy

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Goa Governor B V Wanchoo resigns

News4u-News Desk- B V Wanchoo on Friday resigned as Governor of Goa as government went about finalizing its plans for replacing the Governors appointed during the previous UPA regime.

63-year-old Wanchoo sent his resignation after he received a call from Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami on Friday morning asking him to resign, official sources said.

The resignation of Wanchoo, a former chief of elite Special Protection Group, will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for acceptance.

A 1976-batch IPS officer, Wanchoo’s resignation came a few days after former National Security Advisor M K Narayanan quit from Governorship of West Bengal.

Wanchoo was quizzed by CBI as a witness in connection with AgustaWestland deal bribery scandal as was Narayanan just before his resignation.

Besides Wanchoo and Narayanan, three Governors have already resigned and they are B L Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh) and Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland) following a nudge from the NDA government.

Two Governors H R Bhardwaj (Karnataka) and Devanand Konwar retired late last month.

However, a few other Governors appointed by the previous UPA regime continue to remain in office.

They include K Sankaranarayanan (Maharashtra), Sheila Dikshit (Kerala), Jaganath Pahadia (Haryana), Kamala Beniwal (Gujarat), Shivraj V Patil (Punjab), besides some others.

The sources said the government was considering appointing some BJP veterans as Governors.

The names doing the round include those of former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, former UP Assembly Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi, former Union Minister Ram Naik, former Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon, former Bhopal MP Kailash Joshi, BJP leader from Kerala O Rajagopal besides others.


Goa Governor B V Wanchoo resigns

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Situation tense but under control in UP’s Moradabad

News4u-News Desk- The situation in violence-hit Kanth area of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh is under control as the road traffic between Moradabad- Haridwar has been restored.

The rail route is being repaired and is likely to be reopened soon. Heavy police force including eight battalions of PAC, and two of RAF have been pressed in to service in and around Kanth and are keeping a vigil on the situation.

The administration has lodged an FIR against 500 unidentified people. 62 people, who were arrested on Friday during stone-pelting and firing and for blocking the Moradabad-Saharanpur railway track, were produced before the judicial magistrate on Saturday.

Amidst a political Blame game, SSP Dharamveer Singh has alleged that the BJP is trying to extract political mileage from the incident as by-elections of Thakur dwara assembly seat are to be held soon.

However the BJP has said that the district administration is working under political pressure.


UP Map

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Curfew imposed in MP town after clash; 7 injured, 33 held

News4u-News Desk- Curfew was last night imposed in this town in Madhya Pradesh after a clash between members of two communities which left seven persons injured, three of them with gunshot wounds, and saw a number of shops and vehicles being torched, police said today.

Police lathi-charged the rioters and lobbed teargas shells before being forced to fire in the air as the situation got out of control, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mukesh Vaishya, told reporters.

So far, 33 persons have been arrested for the violence which left seven persons injured. Three of those suffered bullet injuries but it was not clear whether they were wounded in firing by the clashing mob or in police firing, he added.

The clash took place after two youths from separate communities got into a heated argument over a seat on a Raisen -bound bus.

After the bus reached the town, which is situated about 50km away from state capital Bhopal, the two youths called their respective supporters and the matter then soon got out of control The mob engaged in stone-pelting and arson.

Four shops and as many vehicles were set on fire while several other shops and parked vehicles were also damaged, the ASP said.

The district administration imposed an indefinite curfew in the town last night as a precautionary measure, Vaishya said, adding that those who suffered bullet injuries have been referred to Bhopal for treatment.

The situation in the town is tense but under control, the ASP added.


MP map

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