France beat Morocco 2-0 to set up World Cup final against Argentina

France beat Morocco 2-0 on Wednesday to set up a World Cup final showdown against Argentina and Lionel Messi.Theo Hernandez put the defending champions ahead in the fifth minute after Morocco failed to clear their lines and substitute Randal Kolo Muani doubled their lead in the 79th minute.France players celebrate at the end of the World Cup semifinal soccer match between France and Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (Photo: AP)

Superstar Murphy shines with records at FINA short-course championships

Gold medallist Ryan Murphy of the US competes in the mens 100m backstroke final at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2022 in Melbourne on December 14, 2022. (Photo: AFP)MELBOURNE, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. swimmer Ryan Murphy on Wednesday won gold in the mens 100m backstroke and also helped the U.S. set a world record in the mixed 4x50m medley relay on day two of the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).The six-day short-course event at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center runs until Dec.18.Murphy proved why he was the hot favorite in the mens 100m backstroke after setting a championship record of 48.50 seconds. Italys Lorenzo Mora provided stiff competition to win silver, while Australian Isaac Alan Cooper thrilled the home fans with a personal best time of 49.52 seconds to claim bronze.Day two of the competition started with a bang as the United States set a world record time of 1:35.15 in the mixed 4x50m medley relay to win the gold medal. Murphy got the U.S. off to a fast start and they held off late challenges from Italy and Canada, who won silver and bronze respectively. China finished fifth.In the womens 100m breaststroke, Tang Qianting from China finished equal second in the first semi-final with an impressive time of 1:04.36 to qualify for the final on Thursday.Elsewhere in the womens 50m butterfly final, Chinas Zhang Yufei grabbed the bronze with a renewed personal best of 24.71 which also tied the Asian record. Canadas Maggie MacNeil and U.S. swimmer Torri Huske tied for gold with a time of 24.64.Teenage Romanian sensation David Popovici finished second in the first semi-final of mens 100m freestyle with a time of 45.91 seconds to book a place in Thursdays final. He narrowly finished behind Frances Maxime Grousset.Brazils Nicholas Santos outshone younger competitors in the mens 50m butterfly with the 42-year-old spectacularly winning gold and setting a championship record...

Modric: I hope that Messi wins the World Cup

DOHA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Croatia star Luka Modric played what could be his penultimate game on the World Cup stage on Tuesday as his side lost the World Cup semifinal 3-0 to Argentina.Substituted in the closing minutes of the game, Modric received a warm ovation from nearly all of the fans in the Lusail Stadium and after the final whistle, the efforts of the 37-year-old were also recognized by several members of the Argentina side, such as Leo Messi and Angel Di Maria.Croatias midfielder #10 Luka Modric and Argentinas forward #10 Lionel Messi looks on during the Qatar 2022 World Cup football semi-final match between Argentina and Croatia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 13, 2022. (Photo: AFP)Modric returned the generosity speaking to the Argentine press saying he wished Messi the best for the final."I hope Messi wins this World Cup. He is the best player in history and he deserves it," said Modric.The veteran was asked about whether Tuesday was his last game for his country, but replied, "its too soon to talk about that," and pointed out there was still the play-off for third and fourth place on Saturday."That isnt a punishment for Croatia. We have had a great World Cup and now there is a bronze medal at stake and we have to prepare well, because that would be a success," he said.Modrics only criticism after the game was for Italian referee Daniele Orsata, who awarded Argentina a penalty which saw them open the scoring after a collision between Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic and Julien Alvarez."We were comfortable, controlling the game and following a corner that the referee didnt give us, they got the penalty which changed everything," said Modric."The Argentinean dived and collided with our keeper. I cant believe he gave that penalty, which changed the game," he lamented.

History-makers Morocco eye France upset at World Cup

History-making Morocco look to pull off another upset against holders France in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday with Argentina and Lionel Messi lying in wait for the winner.Moroccos midfielder Hakim Ziyech takes part in a training session at the Al Duhail SC Stadium in Doha on December 13 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football semi-final match between France and Morocco. (Photo: AFP)France know victory against surprise package Morocco would leave them just one win away from becoming the first team in 60 years to successfully defend the trophy.Didier Deschamps men are heavy favourites to win at the Al Bayt Stadium but face a Morocco team that have conceded just one goal in a remarkable giant-killing run that has seen them become the first team from Africa ever to reach the last four of a World Cup.Frances forward #09 Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between England and France at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar on December 10, 2022. (Photo: AFP)Morocco have already upset 2010 champions Spain and highly rated Portugal on the way to the semi-finals, a record that left France captain Hugo Lloris warning his team-mates against complacency."When a team is capable of beating Belgium, Spain and Portugal, and finish top of their group, it is because they have lots of quality on the field and undoubtedly off it too, in terms of cohesion and team spirit," Lloris said."They will be formidable opponents, and on top of that there will be a hostile atmosphere in the stadium."Deschamps team are closing in on a third World Cup triumph in seven tournaments but will be aware that no team have retained the World Cup since Peles Brazil performed the feat in 1962.Fan factorWednesdays game will have added spice given France was Moroccos colonial power and more than a million Moroccans live in the country.Their not-so-sec...

Brazil star Neymar acquitted in fraud case by Spanish court over Barcelona transfer

Neymar during Brazils World Cup clash with Croatia at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, December 9, 2022. (Photo: CFP)A Spanish court on Tuesday acquitted Brazil star Neymar and other defendants in a fraud and corruption case over his 2013 transfer to Barcelona from Santos after prosecutors had dropped all charges in the high-profile trial, the court said in a statement.The suit had been brought by Brazilian investment firm DIS, the owner of 40 percent of the rights to Neymar when he was at Santos. He now plays for Paris Saint-Germain.DIS argued it had lost out on a cut from the transfer because its true value was understated and sought a five-year jail term for Neymar and a total fine of 149 million euros ($157 million) for the defendants.Neymars high-profile trial got underway in mid-October in Barcelona, just a month before the start of the World Cup in Qatar.Prosecutors had initially sought a two-year jail term and a 10-million-euro fine for Neymar but in a surprise move they dropped corruption and fraud charges against all the accused at the end of October.During the trial Neymar said he didnt remember if he took part in the transfer negotiations, saying he only signed documents presented to him by his father.All of the other defendants, including former Barcelona presidents Bartomeu and Rosell, denied any wrongdoing.

Messi sprinkles stardust at World Cup as Argentina one step away from final glory

Argentina captain Lionel Messi reacts after their World Cup win over Croatia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, December 13, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Josko Gvardiol would probably remember this jaw-dropping moment for the rest of his life.The 20-year-old linchpin of Croatias authoritative defensive line is considered as the worlds most promising and top-rated center-back. He repelled the relentless threats of ferociously talented superstars, such as Kevin De Bruyne and Neymar, edging out Belgium and then Brazil along the way. He led his team to fight back from the brink of elimination on several occasions at this World Cup. He refused to lose and never knew defeat. Not until he crossed paths with Lionel Messi.As the clock ticked into the 69th minute of the feisty semifinal between Croatia and Argentina, Messi picked up the ball on the halfway line and sprinted away from Gvardiol with sensational ease and deftness. The 35-year-old maestro then stopped, waiting for the burly defender approaching, and seized the opportunity to dance past him once again. Lionel Messi (R) of Argentina dribbles past Josko Gvardiol of Croatia during their World Cup clash at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, December 13, 2022. (Photo: CFP)To Gvardiols credit, he recovered his composure to quicken his pace and attempted to nudge Messi to the byeline. Much to his chagrin, however, the ageless wizard slalomed his way past him for the third time in just a few seconds before setting up Julian Alvarez for Argentinas third goal of the night. Gvardiol was exposed, destroyed and helpless. So were Croatia. One could do nothing but marvel at Messis masterpiece that finally put the game to bed.It was always going to be a history-making night for Messi. The seven-time Ballon dOr winner equaled German legend Lothar Matthaus all-time World Cup appearance record (25) when he set foot on the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. He has scored in each knockout round before the encounte...

Messi and Alvarez fire Argentina past Croatia into World Cup final

An inspired Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot and Julian Alvarez struck twice as Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 on Tuesday to reach their second World Cup final in eight years.Julian Alvarez (1st R) of Argentina celebrates scoring teams second goal during the Semifinal between Argentina and Croatia at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Dec. 13, 2022. (Photo: Xinhua/Cao Can)The two-times world champions, backed their passionate, singing followers at the Lusail Stadium, produced their best display of the tournament to ensure they will meet the winners of Wednesdays semi-final between holders France and Morocco in Sundays final.Messi, 35, who suffered defeat to Germany in the 2014 final, is desperate to crown his extraordinary career by winning his first World Cup and a third for Argentina after wins in 1978 and 1986.And after getting his team on the way to victory with a perfectly struck first-half penalty he made sure of the win by brilliantly creating the third goal."Its crazy, we did it, we did it, were going to play one more final, once again Argentina is in a World Cup final," said Messi, after celebrating in front of the massed ranks of South American supporters who have travelled to Qatar."Seeing all these people, this family, throughout the World Cup, what we have experienced is something incredible. We are going for the last game, which is what we wanted," he added.Croatia, runners-up in Russia four years ago, paid the price for some poor defending as they went out in the last four for the second time after their 1998 loss to France."We lost the match. I have nothing to complain about regarding the boys. They gave their best during this whole tournament.... It is a deserved defeat," said coach Zlatko Dalic.It was not until the 25th minute when the game showed signs of life with a low pot shot from outside the box by Enzo Fernandez but Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic did well ...

China's Zheng Qinwen named WTA Newcomer of the Year

Zheng Qinwen in the second round match against Paula Bardosa at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan, September 21, 2022. (Photo: CFP)BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinas Zheng Qinwen was named the 2022 Newcomer of the Year after rising over 100 places in the rankings this season, the WTA announced on Monday.Zheng started her season ranked No.143 before breaking into the top 27 by the end of the year, as the 20-year-old advanced to the last eight at the National Bank Open and reached her first WTA 500 final at the Pan Pacific Open, after an impressive run at Roland Garros, where she stunned two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep of Romania and French veteran Alize Cornet en route to the last 16."As a first-year student on the WTA tour, Im delighted to receive this award, its a great reward for my efforts and the best way to end the year. 2023: keep up the good work," Zheng commented on her social media.World No.1 Iga Swiatek of Poland was named Player of the Year. At the same time, Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic won Doubles Team of the Year, while Brazils Beatriz Haddad Maia earned Most Improved Player of the Year.

Moroccan unity the key to best World Cup defense since Italy in 2006

DOHA, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Morocco are the revelation of the Qatar World Cup, becoming the first African side ever to reach the semifinals of the World Cup thanks to performances brimming with passion and defensive intensity.Moroccan fans have given life and color to the stands in a tournament that has at times lacked a true football atmosphere.Youssef En-Nesyri (C) of Morocco celebrates after scoring a goal in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals against Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, December 10, 2022. (Photo: CFP)The stadium announcers have tended to make the biggest noise in most of the World Cup Stadiums, but thats not the case when Morocco play, with the wave of red shirts and flags turning the last two ties into virtual home games for Morocco.Moroccos progress is maybe not as big a surprise as many are making out, given that nearly all of their team plays at the highest level of European football, but there is no doubting that coach, Walid Regragui has drilled them into a formidable defensive unit.Morocco have conceded just one goal so far in the World Cup and that was an own goal that came in their 2-1 win over Canada in the last group game.Prior to that, the Moroccan defense shut out Croatia in a 0-0 draw and then beat Belgium 2-0.In the last-16, they had just 23 percent of the ball against Spain, but succeeded, not just, in shutting out the Spanish for 120 minutes, but stopping them getting a single shot on target from open play in that time. Spains only two efforts on goal in that game came after set pieces.And of course, in the quarter-finals, Morocco held on against Portugal, with Youssef En-Neysris early goal enough to see them make history.No side has reached the semi-finals of a World Cup with defensive numbers like that since Italy in 2006, and that Italy has a defensive line-up of Gianluigi Buffon in goal alongside Fabio Cannavaro, Marco Materazzi and Gianluca Zambrotta, with Gennaro Gattuso and Mauro Camora...

A weekly review of World Cup Qatar 2022 (12/05-12/12)

The quarterfinals are over and four teams remain as the third quarter of the 29-day FIFA 2022 World Cup draws to an end.For anyone who did not follow the tournament game by game, here are some takeaways in the past week of the tournament that will conclude on December 18:Croatia survived in dying moments at cost of BrazilFor Croatia, Fridays match against Brazil was a source of justified national pride.A finalist at the World Cup four years ago in Russia, Croatia stunned tournament favorite Brazil in Qatar to reach the semifinals for the second straight time.Zlatko Dalics men won 4-2 on penalties after a nail-biting last-eight tie finished 1-1 at the end of extra time.Croatian players celebrate after defeating Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinal round in Al Rayyan, Qatar, December 9, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Brazil had looked set for victory when veteran Neymar opened the scoring with a wonderful strike midway through extra time that gave the South American powerhouse the lead. But Bruno Petkovic cancelled out Neymars solo opener in the dying minutes.Croatia converted all four of their penalties, while Rodrygo and Marquinhos missed their spot kicks, denying the need for the fifth penalty that was reserved for Neymar to deliver brilliance.Dominik Livakovic was vital to his teams progress to the semifinals. He produced a series of key blocks to keep the Brazilians at bay as the teams drew 0-0 in regulation and 1-1 in extra time.Croatia captain Luka Modrics quest for the trophy continues. But for Neymar, the World Cup dream has slipped away again.Brazils Neymar (L) scores the first goal in his teams World Cup quarterfinal match against Croatia in Al Rayyan, Qatar, December 9, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Neymar tied legendary Pelés international scoring record of 77 goals for the national team in Fridays match, but still he failed to lead Brazil to go further, and has not helped the team take home a major title.The footballs most expens...

Global swimming federation FINA rebrands as World Aquatics

International swimming governing body FINA voted Monday to rebrand itself as World Aquatics after 114 years, acknowledging that most people had no idea what its name stood for.FINA -- French for Federation Internationale de Natation -- said the move was meant to symbolise inclusivity for all aquatic disciplines, not just swimming.A logo of the is the international governing body of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open water swimming, FINA is displayed during the FINA World Championships in Rome on July 25, 2009. (Photo: AFP)"These days, swimmers are only one, important, part of our FINA family. We need a name that reflects the whole FINA family," FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said after an extraordinary general congress in Melbourne."I will always tell you that our athletes must come first, so I would never make a big decision like this without consulting our athletes," he said. "Their response has been very clear. More than 70 percent of the athletes that we have spoken with have said that they would like us to change FINAs name. Many of them could not even tell us what the letters in FINA stand for."The new World Aquatics identity will be rolled out at the first events of 2023."Our new vision and mission also reflect how World Aquatics and our members have already begun expanding our work beyond competition and swimming as a life skill, to include sustainability, environmental advocacy and wellbeing," Al-Musallam said. "Our new brand and visual identity will also enable us to connect with new audiences and encourage new generations of athletes across our disciplines to be united by water, safely, fairly and sustainably."FINA delegates also voted to amend its constitution, including the creation of an independent Aquatics Integrity Unit to come into operation on January 1.They also agreed to lift female representation on the FINA Bureau -- essentially its committee - to 38 percent.&q...

Badminton World Tour Finals: Axelsen, Yamaguchi win singles titles, Chinese shuttlers reign in doubles

Viktor Axelsen of Denmark won the mens singles title during the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, December 11, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Mens badminton world No.1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark regained his mojo to claim his eighth title for 2022, steamrolling Indonesian ace Anthony Ginting at the season-ending Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals in Bangkok on Sunday."It feels absolutely amazing," Axelsen said post-match, after dancing across the court and thanking his wife and two young daughters in the crowd."I couldnt have wished for a better ending (to the year)."Akane Yamaguchi of Japan won the womens singles title at the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, December 11, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Reigning world champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan defeated Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei to claim the womens singles crown."My opponent was skilled and quite strong, on the second game I was trying to do my best, using all my skills and power," Yamaguchi said post-match.Chinas Ou Xuanyi (R) returns a shot next to teammate Liu Yuchen on their way to winning the mens doubles title at the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, December 11, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Chinese shuttlers won three titles in the season finale. In the mens doubles final, Chinas Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi had the upper hand for most of their match against Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia. Liu and Ou regained their dominance to take the match 21-17, 19-21, 21-12."We made many unforced errors in the second set, which should not have happened. But we stuck to our game plan and tried our best in every single play. Its rewarding for us to take the match back into our hands," said Liu afterwards.Chen Qingchen (L) and Jia Yifan of China won the womens doubles title at the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, December 11, 2022. (Photo: CFP)In the womens doubles final, China...

What's next for Ronaldo after Portugal's heartbreaking World Cup exit?

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal walks off the pitch after their World Cup loss to Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, December 10, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Cristiano Ronaldo would never have predicted that his last World Cup appearance would end in this way.The 37-year-old Portuguese superstar was tasked with coming off the bench to mount another rescue mission on the grandest stage, but in cold reality, he was booed and whistled with every touch of the ball by Moroccos boisterous fans, who populated most of the Al Thumama Stadium.With his ears ringing, Ronaldo never really posed a serious threat to the well-organized Moroccan defensive line and could not drag his country back into the feisty quarterfinal tie. As the final whistle blew, he headed right down the tunnel without breaking his stride and was caught wiping tears from his eyes."If we take two people that were the most upset about the game, perhaps it was Cristiano Ronaldo and myself," said a crestfallen Portugal coach Fernando Santos afterwards.Cristiano Ronaldo (#7) of Portugal reacts after their World Cup loss to Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, December 10, 2022. (Photo: CFP)This Qatar campaign was supposed to be Ronaldos last dance, his final big moment in the spotlight. The five-time Ballon dOr winner netted in the opening fixture to become the first male footballer to score in five different World Cups. But things went downhill from there.He was subbed off in the shock loss to South Korea and reacted angrily. "I didnt like his reaction," fumed Santos. "Not at all. I really didnt like it." He was then dropped from the starting line-up against Switzerland, and his replacement Goncalo Ramos bagged a record-breaking hat trick in the youngsters first ever international start and led Portugal to a sensational 6-1 win.Portuguese sports newspaper Record revealed that Ronaldo threatened to leave the World Cup after being told he would n...

Venues to capitalize on Olympic legacies

As the first snow season since the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games approaches, venues of the Games in Beijing and Hebei province are readying themselves for visitors.

Paul Silas, 3-time NBA champion, longtime coach, dies at 79

Charlotte Bobcats coach Paul Silas argues a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Charlotte, N.C., April 18, 2012. (Photo: AP)Basketball taught Paul Silas how to be patient.As a player, he waited 10 years before winning his first championship. As a coach, he waited 15 years for a second chance at running a team. As a father, he waited 20 years before seeing his son get a chance to lead a franchise.“I always tried to remain positive," Silas said in 2013, “and I think it usually worked out."Silas — who touched the game as a player, coach and president of the National Basketball Players Association — died, his family announced Sunday. Silas, whose son, Stephen Silas, is coach of the Houston Rockets, was 79.“He combined the knowledge developed over nearly 40 years as an NBA player and coach with an innate understanding of how to mix discipline with his never-ending positivity," Charlotte Hornets chairman Michael Jordan said. “On or off the court, Paul’s enthusiastic and engaging personality was accompanied by an anecdote for every occasion. He was one of the all-time great people in our game, and he will be missed."Silas daughter, Paula Silas-Guy, told The New York Times that her father died Saturday night of cardiac arrest. The Boston Globe first reported Silas death.“We mourn the passing of former NBA All-Star and head coach Paul Silas," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “Paul’s lasting contributions to the game are seen through the many players and coaches he inspired, including his son, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas. We send our deepest condolences to Paul’s family."Tributes began arriving quickly. New Orleans had a moment of silence for Silas prior to its game with Phoenix on Sunday, and both Suns coach Monty Williams and Charlotte coach Steve Clifford spoke at length about Silas role on their careers.“For my family, he’s a God. He’s larger than life," Clifford said.Si...

Ronaldo won't make 'heat of moment' decision after Portugal exit

Cristiano Ronaldo said on Sunday "theres no point in reacting in the heat of the moment," as he responded to Portugals World Cup elimination.Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts during the Quarterfinal between Morocco and Portugal of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 10, 2022. (Photo: Xinhua)Ronaldo stayed in Qatar as many of the Portugal squad returned home and landed in Lisbon on Sunday afternoon."To win a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career. Fortunately, I won many titles of international dimension, including for Portugal," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.His post did not talk about international retirement but he started Portugals last two matches in Qatar on the bench, a decision which provoked debate in Portugal and across the football world."Lets hope that time will be a good counsellor and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions," he wrote.The Instagram post was accompanied by a photo showing Ronaldo, head down, trudging off the field in Doha after the 1-0 quarter-final loss to Morocco on Saturday.At 37, Ronaldo was playing his fifth World Cup. As soon as the final whistle blew he headed down the tunnel with tears streaming down his face.Ronaldo is without a club after a bitter divorce with Manchester United.According to the Portuguese press, Ronaldo threatened to leave the squad after he was dropped from the starting lineup, but that was denied by coach Fernando Santos, who will soon meet with the Portuguese Football Association to discuss his own future."I just want everyone to know that a lot was said, a lot was written, a lot was speculated, but my dedication to Portugal didnt change for an instant," Ronaldo added."I was always one more player fighting for everyones goal and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.""In the five World Cups I played, always alongside great players a...

Chinese shuttlers bag three titles at BWF World Tour Finals

BANGKOK, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese shuttlers won three titles in the season finale of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals which ended here on Sunday.In the mens doubles final, Chinas Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi had the upper hand for most of their match against Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia. After taking the first set, they seemed to be cruising to victory when leading 15-8 in the second set. But they suddenly lost tempo to allow the Indonesian veterans to force the match into a decider, in which Liu and Ou regained their dominance to take the match 21-17, 19-21, 21-12."We made many unforced errors in the second set, which should not have happened. But we stuck to our game plan and tried our best in every single play. Its rewarding for us to take the match back into our hands," said Liu afterwards.In the womens doubles final, Chinas world champions Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan encountered little challenge from Thailands Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard before claiming a comfortable 21-13, 21-14 victory.In the mixed doubles final, world champions Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong disappointed home fans by defeating Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand for a third straight end-of-season crown. Zheng and Huang won 21-19, 18-21, 21-13 to take their tenth title of the season."We were separated at the beginning of the year and when we regrouped later, we couldnt have anticipated we could have recovered from the slump we were in to be at where we are now," said Zheng after the match, referring to their dismal performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games and the following difficulties."It seems that we have returned to normal form, and we hope to be calmer to face what we encounter, no matter whether its good or bad, so that we can work on our next target," he added.The titles of mens and womens singles went to the respective world No.1 s...

En-Nesyri sends Morocco into World Cup semifinals

Youssef En-Nesyri scored with a first-half header as Morocco became the first African team to reach the World Cup semifinals with a thrilling 1-0 win over Portugal here on Saturday.Morocco took the lead on the stroke of halftime when En-Nesyri met Yahia Attiat Allah's cross with a towering header at

France edge England in thrilling World Cup quarterfinal

  France's Olivier Giroud scores their second goal during the World Cup quarterfinal match against England at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar, December 10, 2022. [Photo/Agencies] DOHA - France qualified for the Qatar World Cup semifinal after winning a thrilling game 2-1 over England on Sa

FIFA opens investigation after ugly scenes in Argentina v Netherlands quarterfinal

DOHA, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Both Argentina and the Netherlands face disciplinary action from FIFA as a result of some ugly scenes towards the end of their dramatic World Cup quarterfinal match at Lusail Stadium on Friday night. Photo: AgenciesThe first major incident in the game, which Argentina won on penalties after surrendering a 2-0 lead to a late Dutch fightback, came in the 89th minute, after Leandro Paredes committed a nasty foul on Dutch defender Nathan Ake and then slammed the ball into the Netherlands dugout.That saw players and technical staff from both teams involved in pushing and shoving, and hostilities were resumed after Wout Weghorst equalized for the Netherlands in the 10th minute of injury time."The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Argentinian Football Association due to potential breaches of articles 12 (Misconduct of players and officials) and 16 (Order and security at matches) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the Netherlands v. Argentina FIFA World Cup match that took place on 9 December," FIFA informed on Saturday.The Netherlands also has to face an investigation for "potential breaches of article 12 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code in relation to the same match."Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz has been much criticized for his handling of the game in which he showed 16 yellow cards, with Lionel Messi saying after the game that, "I dont want to talk about the referee, because you can get a suspension, but people saw what happened. FIFA have to look at that, they cant put in a referee who isnt up to the job at this stage."Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong implied that Mateu had been influenced by Messi."As soon as normal time ended [Argentina] went for him. From that moment he only whistled for Argentina. It was really scandalous. I think he lost his way in extra time," he commented.

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