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Monday, 30 June 2014
Rahul Dravid to assist Indian team in England

Rahul Dravid to assist Indian team in England

Mumbai, Jun 29: Batting great Rahul Dravid will join the Indian team in an advisory role to prepare for the tour of England. He will be with the team till the start of the first Test July 9.

“Rahul Dravid, former India captain, has accepted a request from the Indian team management, to support and advise the team in its preparatory stages of the tour of England, given his vast experience and knowledge of the game,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement Sunday.

“He will be with the team till the beginning of the first Test.” India have already played a warm-up three-day match against Leicestershire (June 26-28) and will take on Derbyshire in another practice game July 1-3.

India will then play five Test matches against England from July 9 to Aug 19 followed by five One-Day Internationals (ODI) from Aug 19 to Sep 5 and a lone Twenty20 International at Birmingham Sep 7.

The last time India visited England in 2011, they miserably lost the four Test series 0-4 which was followed by their 1-2 loss at home in 2012-13. Dravid was India’s best batsman in the 2011 tour with 461 runs, three centuries and a staggering average of 76.83.
 Nick Kyrgios swears to beat Nadal by avoiding rapper Drake's music

Nick Kyrgios swears to beat Nadal by avoiding rapper Drake's music


Johannesburg, June 30 :American teen tennis ace Nick Kyrgios is of the opinion that he can beat World No. 1 Rafael Nadal to send the Spaniard tumbling out of Wimbledon on Monday, as long as he steers clear of Canadian rapper Drake. The world No 144, who is making his debut at the All England Club, is relishing the prospect of facing the two-time champion and said that he has nothing to lose in the battle for a place in the quarterfinals.
According to Sport24, Kyrgios, who is widely tipped as a star of the future, said that he is overwhelmed with happiness, adding that he never thought that he would be seeing Nadal in his fourth round Wimbledon in his 19th year. Kyrgios, who listens to music when he walks on court to get himself in the mood, also feels that he can cause an upset at Wimbledon by beating Nadal, but said that he might avoid playing someDrake before facing the Spaniard.
The 19-year-old advanced to the fourth round after beating Jiri Vesily, his fellow former junior world number one, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Williamson miffed over action being reported

Williamson miffed over action being reported

Bridgetown (Barbados), June 24 : Part-time off-spinner Kane Williamson is said to be “miffed” at having his action reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC). The New Zealander was reported by umpires for having a suspected illegal action, following the second Test against West Indies in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, which the hosts won by ten wickets, CMC reported Tuesday.

“He [Williamson] realises he’s not the only player in the world who has a suspected illegal bowling action, so he’s a little bit miffed because he’s been doing the same thing for a couple of years,” said Blacks Caps head coach Mike Hesson. ”If that’s the case and they want to clamp down, then all players and coaches want is a level of consistency.”

Umpires raised concern over a number of deliveries by Williamson following the Trinidad Test, and he will now have his action tested within 21 days, as per ICC stipulations. However, he will be allowed to continue bowling until the results of the tests are known. Williamson sent down 14 overs during the second Test, taking a single wicket.


Indian born wrestler in Oz team for Commonwealth Games

Indian born wrestler in Oz team for Commonwealth Games

Melbourne, Jun 24: The Australian women’s wrestling team for this year’s Commonwealth has an Indian connect to it with the Punjab-born Rupinder Kaur making the cut in the three-strong squad for the July 23 to August 3 event Glasgow. Kaur will compete in the 53kg division.

In an interview to SBS Punjabi radio channel recently, Kaur said she is set to compete internationally for the first time. ”This is the first time I am participating in an international game for Australia as I did not have my permanent Australian residency,” Kaur said. Kuar, who migrated to Australia seven years ago from Punjab, said she had won many gold medals in several National Games in Australia.

“I was born in Patiala.?I was into Judo and played national level competition at school,” Kaur disclosed. ”However, my coach encouraged me to join wrestling. I took part in all national games in Australia including Australian cup and have won Gold Medals,”?she said. ”Everyone in my family and friends have always been very supportive. They have always encouraged me and have been happy to see my success in the game,” she said.

Wimbledon's all white rules: A tradition gone too far

Wimbledon's all white rules: A tradition gone too far


Sydney, June 24: Wimbledon organisers have announced a crackdown on players aiming to sneak colours into their outfits over the next two weeks, extending right down to their underwear.

Under the new guidelines, players might only break up their all-white outfits with a coloured trim of 1cm width and even then it should only be on the edge of a garment.

According to News.com.au, the new rules also includes underwear and items that become visible during play due to perspiration, which means no coloured bras as well.

If a player is found breaking the rules, they would be sent to the referees’ office where a supply of ‘suitable clothing’ would be given to them to change.

Wimbledon spokesman Jon Friend said that the rule was in place last year but not strongly enforced and that is about to change this year. Friend said that there is now a clarification and if there was a question in years gone by those questions have been well and truly answered.Day 2: Top matches to look out for on Tuesday, 24th June
Day 2: Top matches to look out for on Tuesday 24th June Wimbledon 2014,

Day 2: Top matches to look out for on Tuesday 24th June Wimbledon 2014,

Day 2 of Wimbledon Championships will mark the entry of heavyweights of the tennis world. The day could not get bigger and better with the names like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from the men’s side to take court. As for the ladies’ action is concerned, on and off court rivals Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will play their opening round on Tuesday at the All England Club. Wimbledon 2014 has been different as either out of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played on Day One.

Wimbledon 2014 has been in created some stir with its rattling guidelines and unique seeding that saw Rafael Nadal being seeded second behind Serbian Novak Djokovic. The organisers also came under scanner as they gave a green signal over the name of Sabine Lisicki of Germany ahead of five times Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams to begin the play on Centre Court. This tricky scenario occurred with defending champion Marion Bartoli of France retitiring just a month after winning her title at Wimbledon and not returning to defend. Wimbledon organisers went ahead with last year finalist Sabine to start the proceedings on the Centre Court.

Take a look at some of the important matches of the day:

Men’s Singles First Round

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) 5:30 pm
[4] Roger Federer (SUI) vs Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 5:30 pm
[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Joao Sousa (POR) 4:00 pm
[8] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs Matthew Ebden (AUS) 4:00 pm
[10] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs Kenny De Schepper (FRA) 4:00 pm
[13] Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs James Duckworth (AUS)
[9] John Isner (USA) vs Daniel Smethurst (GBR) 4:00 pm
Ladies’ Singles First Round

[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs Anna Tatishvili (USA) 10:30 pm
[5] Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs Samantha Murray (GBR) 9:00 pm
[13] Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) vs Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 11:00 pm
[4] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs Andreea Mitu (ROU) — To Finish 4-2 4:00 pm
[16] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs Shahar Peer (ISR) — To Finish 6-3, 2-0 4:00 pm
[14] Sara Errani (ITA) vs Caroline Garcia (FRA) — To Finish 6-2, 6-7(3) 4:00 pm
[11] Ana Ivanovic (SRB) vs Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 9:30 pm
[3] Simona Halep (ROU) vs Teliana Pereira (BRA) 9:30 pm
Complete Schedule for Wimbledon Championships 2014



MS Dhoni to be Arrested? Andhra Pradesh Court Issues Bailable Warrant

MS Dhoni to be Arrested? Andhra Pradesh Court Issues Bailable Warrant

Hyderabad, June 24 : A court in Andhra Pradesh Tuesday issued an arrest warrant against Indian cricket team captain M.S. Dhoni for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. A local court in Anantapur issued the arrest warrant as Dhoni did not appear in the court despite three summons served in the past. It directed police to present Dhoni in the court July 16.

The case relates to a picture on the cover of a magazine. Business Today in its April 2013 edition had carried the picture. Dhoni was portrayed as Hindu god Vishnu with a sub title “God of Big Deals” and holding products of several companies including a shoe in his hand.

Y. Shyam Sunder, a local leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), had filed a petition in the court in February this year alleging that the cricketer hurt the sentiments of Hindus by denigrating a Hindu god. The summons issued by the court to Dhoni on three occasions were returned. The court, which took up the hearing Tuesday, issued the arrest warrant.

Similar petitions against Dhoni were filed in Delhi, Pune and other cities.
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
England facing first home series defeat against Sri Lanka

England facing first home series defeat against Sri Lanka

London, June 24: England is facing a first home series defeat to Sri Lanka after a dismal fourth day’s play during the second Test at the Headingley. Chasing 350 to win, the hosts’ top order was destroyed by fast bowler Dhammika Prasad’s 4-15 as they slipped to 57-5 in their second innings.

Sri Lanka had earlier amassed 457 at Headingley, led by a masterful 160 from captain Angelo Mathews, who was supported by Rangana Herath’s 48. They added 149 for the eighth wicket, Mahela Jayawardene having made 79. Mathews and Herath spent all but one ball of the afternoon session together and were parted only when Herath was run out in a mix-up off the final delivery before tea.

During his innings, Mathews gave one chance on 87, a relatively straightforward caught and bowled off Plunkett, who had earlier taken two wickets in two balls to give him nine in the match. When it came to England’s turn to bat, Prasad struck quick blows by bowling a full length. Skipper Cook continued his year-long run of poor form by dragging a pull on to his stumps. One drop Gary Ballance was plumb lbw to the next ball, which shaped back in. Fellow opener Sam Robson chased a wide one to edge the same bowler to second slip and Ian Bell was bowled by a beauty that nipped back to take off stump.

A miserable day was completed by nightwatchman Plunkett chipping Herath to cover from what proved to be the final ball of the day.
Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray through to second round

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray through to second round

London, June 24: Top seed Novak Djokovic and third seed Andy Murray sailed through with straight-set wins at the opening round of the Wimbledon championships here Monday. Djokovic of Serbia defeated Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6- 1, 6-4 while defending champion Murray made short work of David Goffin from Belgium 6-1, 6-4, 7-5, reports Xinhua.

Djokovic, playing his first match since the Roland Garros final, won the first 11 games before Golubev managed to get on the scoreboard. The Serbian broke to go up 5-4 in the third set and wrapped up the victory after 87 minutes. He struck 34 winners and did not face any break points on serve.

“It was a great start,” he said. “Obviously first official match on a grass court this year. Coming into Wimbledon with no official matches, it always gives you an extra reason to get that commitment and focus from the start and try to play as best as you can, so that’s what I did. Very, very pleased with my performance overall today.”

The world No. 2 will next play Czech Radek Stepanek, whom he leads 10-1 in their head-to-head record, including a victory two years ago in the third round of Wimbledon. Stepanek, a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, advanced with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas.

Djokovic won the Wimbledon title in 2011 with victory over Rafael Nadal and finished runner-up to Murray last year. Murray also made a strong start with a victory over Goffin in the first round.

“I played very well. I hit the ball very well. I hit the ball clean from the beginning of the match. I thought the second and third sets were very high level. I thought he played very well. He was aggressive. He goes for his shots, moves extremely well and he’s very quick around the court.”

Murray next plays Slovenia’s Blaz Rola, who was a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 winner over Pablo Andujar from Spain. Sixth seed and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych opened his campaign with a 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Victor Hanescu of Romania. Other winners include Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis and Spain’s David Ferrer.

Neymar feels Brazil's win over Cameroon was their best performance

Neymar feels Brazil's win over Cameroon was their best performance


Brasilia, Jun 24 : Two-goal Neymar hailed Brazil’s 4-1 victory over Cameroon as the hosts’ “best performance yet” after a man-of-the-match display that fired his team into the World Cup last 16. ”The most important thing was the team and I think this was our best performance,” said the 22-year-old after receiving his award at the National Stadium in Brasilia yesterday. ”Not because of the number of goals we scored but because of how we played, pressing our opponents in the way we wanted to. Congratulations to everyone.

“We are on the right track and are growing all the time as we get closer to making our dream come true.” Brazil’s win saw them finish top of Group A on goal difference from Mexico and took them through to a last-16 tie against Chile on Saturday in Belo Horizonte. ”I think it will be a very difficult match. Everyone who is watching the World Cup knows that there are no weak teams in the competition,” said

Neymar, who has now scored four goals in his first three World Cup matches, equalling a feat achieved by his great predecessor Pele. ”Everybody is at the same level. Football is becoming harder and harder so we will be up against very strong opposition.” Neymar also praised his fellow forward Fred and claimed that the striker’s new moustache helped him get among the goals for the first time in this World Cup. ”I told him that he needed to have a moustache to score goals and when he got the goal I reminded him of that,” said Neymar.

Fred came in for constant criticism for his performances in Brazil’s opening 3-1 win against Croatia and in the 0-0 draw with Mexico last week, but he produced a much-improved all-round display against Cameroon, including netting his side’s third goal on the day. The 30-year-old forward declared: “I had been suffering after these two games in which I had not scored and the criticism that I had received. ”I must thank the rest of the team for having faith in me, for acknowledging my importance and quality. Now I am even happier because of the way the team played and the spirit that we regained.

“This evolution must continue because we are heading into the knockout phase where we cannot afford to make any mistakes. I hope I don’t stop scoring goals now.” As for the moustache, the Fluminense striker said: “It is only coming off if my team-mates shave it off.”

World Cup 2014: Neymar scores two as Brazil beat Cameroon

World Cup 2014: Neymar scores two as Brazil beat Cameroon

Two goals by the wonderfully gifted Neymar helped steer Brazil into the last 16 of the World Cup tonight.

The Brazilian superstar took centre stage with two excellent finishes to give the hosts a 2-1 lead at the break.

Brazil are still some way short from being a great side but with Neymar in his current form they are clearly going to be there or thereabouts at the business end of the tournament.

Neymar has now scored four goals in three games and most of the good things that Brazil produced involved the Barcelona whizzkid before he was substituted in the 70th minute.

Elsewhere there were a few moments of uncertainty for the hosts particularly after Joel Matip equalised midway though the first half.

They were exposed defensively on occasions and further forward doubts still persist over Paulinho, Fred and Hulk.

Fred at least got off the mark when he scored Brazil's third from close range early in the second half and Brazil made the game absolutely safe when impressive substitute Fernandinho slotted home six minutes from time to set up a last 16 clash with Chile.

In the other Group A game, Mexico beat Croatia 3-1 to book a second-round tie against Holland.

Monday, 23 June 2014
Wimbledon 2014: A look at the Big Four’s chances at All-England Club

Wimbledon 2014: A look at the Big Four’s chances at All-England Club


One of the major highlights of the Open Era has been the coming up of Big Four in the men’s singles– Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The most celebrated fours have dominated tournaments and ranking. Coming into the Wimbledon Championships, these four have won 35 titles out 37 grand slams among them since 2005. We take a look at the draw of the Big chances to lift the Wimbledon trophy:

Roger Federer

The Swiss Ace in his quest to win the eighth Wimbledon trophy is back at All-England Club. Fourth seeded Roger Federer who last won the trophy in 2012, feels confident about his chances at the third grand slam of the year. He is coming off a great win at the Halle Open as a part warm up tournament before Wimbledon. Federer opens against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi and is likely to meet former grand slam winner Leyton Hewitt in the fourth round.

Rafael Nadal

A great record made after winning ninth Roland Garros title but Nadal followed it with the worst possible start to his grass court tournament, losing in the opening round at Halle. Second seeded Rafael Nadal has some serious threats in his draw with the likes of Lukas Rosol, Ivo karlovic and Gael Monflis in the opening stages of the tournament.

 Novak Djokovic

After the disappointing loss at the hands of Rafael Nadal in the final of French Open, Djokovic will look to rebound in Wimbledon. Top seeded Novak who has been winner in 2011 needs to thwart off the major obstacles in his draw like Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Ernests Gulbis and Tomas Berdych. Djokovic will have to tackle the niggling wrist issues and tough opponents on the way for his second title.

Andy Murray

Thanks to the unique seeding system of Wimbledon, defending champion Andy Murray is lucky not to have any encounters with the other members of Big Four before semi-finals. Third seed Murray who ended the drought for country’s grand slam title hope last year will have to come up with yet another inspiring performance this time around. Partnering Amelie Maursemo as female coach for the first time, Murray has already brought revolution in the sporting world.

Apart from the big four, the other names that could well emerge as the potential winner are the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Stanislas Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.
Schedule for Wimbledon Championships 2014

Schedule for Wimbledon Championships 2014

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club or simply All-England Club is all set to host its 128th edition of Wimbledon Championships. The third grand slam of the year will start from 23rd June to 6th July and is scheduled to be broadcast by Star Networks in India (Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1). The first rounds of both men’s and ladies’ singles will take place on 23rd and 24th June.
The defending champion Andy Murray will kick start at the Centre Court of Wimbledon. Murray takes on David Goffin in the opening match on Monday. Wimbledon Centre Court will also witness top seed Novak Djokovic and ladies’ second seed Li Na from China. The first day will not feature either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal as both had disappointing performances last year.
The defending champion Marion Bartoli will not be participating in the tournament as she took retirement a month after winning her first major title at Wimbledon. The top women players to feature on Monday are Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kviotova, Caroline Wozniacki and Samantha Stosur.
Take a look at the full schedule of Wimbledon Championships 2014:

Date

Day

Time

Round

June 23, 2014
Monday
4:00 pm to 11:30 pm
1st Round
June 24, 2014
Tuesday
4:00 pm to 11:30 pm
1st Round
June 25, 2014
Wednesday
4:00 pm to 11:30 pm
2nd Round
June 26, 2014
Thursday
4:00 pm to 11:30 pm
2nd Round
June 27, 2014
Friday
4:00 pm to 11:30 pm
3rd Round
June 28, 2014
Saturday
4:00 pm to 11:30 pm
3rd Round

Rest Day

June 30, 2014
Monday
4:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Round of 16
July 1, 2014
Tuesday
5:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Ladies’ Singles Quarterfinals
July 2, 2014
Wednesday
5:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Men’s Singles Quarterfinals
July 3, 2014
Thursday
5:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Ladies’ Singles Semifinals
July 4, 2014
Friday
5:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Men’s Singles Semifinals
July 5, 2014
Saturday
5:30 pm to 8:00pm
Ladies’ Singles Final
July 6, 2014
Sunday
5:30 pm to 8:00pm
Men’s Singles Final
Wimbledon Women's Betting: Larcher de Brito hoping to repeat heroics

Wimbledon Women's Betting: Larcher de Brito hoping to repeat heroics

On a packed schedule for Monday, second seed Li Na is amongst the top names to feature although the Chinese star hasn't been in the best of form and has failed to deliver on this surface previously.

Nevertheless, she will be confident of her chances against qualifier Paula Kania, as will former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska who faces Andreea Mitu in her opener, with both top seeds having one eye on their opponent in the next round.

In contrast, as mentioned in our first round upsets piece, things could be a little trickier for Victoria Azarenka, with the former world number one spending a significant amount of time in the treatment room prior to her unsuccessful comeback at Eastbourne last week.

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is a dangerous opponent, and having previously made a run to the semi-finals here back in 1999, her Belarusian rival will not take her lightly as she looks find her feet and get back to her dominant style of play.

Elsewhere, the likes of Sam Stosur, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki all make their Wimbledon bows, and we don't foresee any of the trio having too many problems in overcoming their first round tests.

In contrast, having caused quite the stir last year with her win over Maria Sharapova, Michelle Larcher de Brito will be hoping a return to the grass of Wimbledon will be a good omen for her despite her relatively underwhelming year thus far.

The Portuguese ace is still ranked outside of the top 100 and hasn't set the tour alight since her memorable win last year, but her semi-final run in Nottingham earlier this month proves that she can be a different proposition completely on this surface.

She faces Svetlana Kuznetsova in her opener, and while the Russian star will expect to have enough on the day, there is a chance of a potential upset in this one.

Meanwhile, Lauren Davis will also harbour ambitions of carrying out a professional job on Alisa Kleybanova, as while the American starlet produced some solid tennis in Birmingham last week, her rival has done no preparation of note in the build-up to Wimbledon.

As a result, a straight sets win could represent good value given that Davis is the strong favourite to prevail in the match odds market.

Other stars to look out for on the first day include Garbine Muguruza and Dominika Cibulkova, while Flavia Pennetta will likely join them in the next round after she has successfully overcome Jana Cepelova.

In addition, Tsvetana Pironkova will be looking to improve her head-to-head record against Varvara Lepchenko to 5-1, with the Bulgarian winning in straight sets in all four previous victories.
Saturday, 21 June 2014
India vs Bangladesh ODI series: Stuart Binny is the find of the tour

India vs Bangladesh ODI series: Stuart Binny is the find of the tour

Before the start of three match ODI series it was expected that India despite sending a second string team will win and Bangladesh if nothing  will at least put up a fight, but latter part of the expectations proved to be plain imagination as India comprehensively won series 2-0 with final ODI ending in no-result courtesy rain. Below we summarize India’s tour of Bangladesh in few positives and negatives.

Positives:

Stuart Binny may have bowled just 4.4 overs in the series, but those deliveries were enough for him to prove his ability. Binny handed India an unbelievable win in 2nd ODI and helped his team defend a mere total of 105. He also broke the decades old record of best bowling figures in ODIs for India previously held by former captain Anil Kumble. With England tour coming up Binny’s performance has given Indian think tank a breather and he can prove quite handy in English conditions as well. In last ODI Binny batted for a brief period but looked good on a wicket were runs were hard to come by, this tour will certainly help him grow as an international player.

Other positives from the tour could be Mohit Sharma he was the only bowler apart from Binny to pick wickets in the 2nd ODI, even though he struggled a bit in 1st ODI but he was altogether a different bower in last ODI. He might find a place in squad for India’s limited overs fixture in England.

Negatives:

Cheteshwar Pujara is a vital component of India batting structure in Tests, but in three matches he scored aggregate of 38 runs with an average of 12.66. With ball moving in both directions Pujara did not looked at ease in each of his outings. This series was a good opportunity for him to stay in hunt for the ODI prospect with some good performances, but the conditions were such that he stumbled to put up any noticeable innings. What’s worse is better bowling opponent is waiting for him and his work is cut out for the England tour.

Ajinkya Rahane has been in and out of the ODI team, but lately has found his place in the test team with a solid outing in New Zealand earlier this year. He played a match winning innings of 64 runs in the 1st ODI but after that failed miserably in last two ODIs. He holds an important middle-order position in Tests and with conditions in last two ODIs alike to England, stay at the wicket would surely have helped him prepare better for the tour.

Apart from Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa no other batsmen scored a fifty on this tour and even these two struggled in last two ODIs. Suresh Raina did a reasonable job on his comeback and led team well but being senior a lot was expected from him with the bat. Raina should have batted higher in the order, given that he is one of the first choice middle-order batsmen in the country.

Overall, Team India did well to go home back as a winning bunch and undefeated.
 Watling and Mark Craig take Trinidad Test into fifth day

Watling and Mark Craig take Trinidad Test into fifth day


Port-of-Spain (Trinidad), Jun 20: Gritty New Zealand defied a purposeful West Indies bowling attack, forcing the second Test into fifth and final day on Friday at Queens Park Oval.

At the close of Thursday’s penultimate day, New Zealand were 257 for eight – only 18 runs ahead – and with little hope of preventing West Indies from completing a series-levelling victory, reports CMC.

In-form Kane Williamson top scored with 52, his 13th Test half-century, Bradley-John Watling hit an unbeaten 38, while opener Tom Latham and stroke-maker Ross Taylor both chipped in with 36.

Mark Craig, in his second Test, was unbeaten on a defiant 29, and was involved in a vexing 45-run, ninth-wicket partnership with Watling, which kept West Indies at bay for the last 100 minutes of the day.

When Ish Sodhi perished for 14 in the fifth over after tea and Tim Southee (15) fell 20 minutes later to leave New Zealand on 212 for eight, West Indies appeared to be closing in on a four-day victory.

But Watling buckled down in an innings that has so far consumed 150 balls, lasted four hours and 14 minutes, and included two fours. He found an ally in Craig who has faced 102 deliveries in 104 minutes, and counted three fours.

Roach has taken three for 53 while fellow seamer Jerome Taylor and combative left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn claimed two wickets apiece. It was Benn who proved the key man for the West Indies, claiming two of the three wickets to fall in the first session, as New Zealand slipped from their overnight position of 73 for one.

Bowling in an unbroken spell through the morning session, the lanky Benn got rid of unflappable opener Latham and Jimmy Neesham for seven, to leave the Kiwis on 126 for four at lunch.

He removed Latham in the ninth over of the morning, getting one to bounce and turn and take the batsman’s glove for Kraigg Brathwaite to take the catch close in. The left-hander added just six to his overnight 30.

Williamson, unbeaten on 38 overnight, plodded on circumspectly and brought up his half-century with a single to cover off Benn, in the fourth over after the drinks break.

He saw New Zealand past 100 before falling, flirting with a widish delivery from Roach and nicking to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin. The right-hander faced 178 balls in just over 3-1/2 hours at the crease, and struck five fours.

New batsman Neesham drove Roach sweetly past mid-off for four to get off the mark but lasted just 15 balls before falling in the penultimate over before lunch, to a brilliant return catch by Benn, one-handed diving to his right.

In the final over before the break, Taylor hit Roach for two fours to be unbeaten on 28 along with Watling, yet to score. On resumption, New Zealand got early boundaries when Watling cut fast bowler Shannon Gabriel past gully and Taylor swept Benn fine.

However, Taylor found himself tied down and attempting to break the shackles, played a rash drive at Gabriel and edged behind to Ramdin at 153 for five, about 50 minutes after lunch. He faced 88 balls and struck six fours, in two hours at the crease.

Rutherford, batting down the order because of illness, then frustrated West Indies for nearly an hour without really threatening. He flicked Gabriel square for four to get off the mark but then grafted his way through the session.


He got a streaky boundary through slip off Taylor but then succumbed in the bowler’s next over, the third before tea, lbw offering no stroke to one angled in.

Watling was unbeaten on 18 at the interval along with Sodhi on three, but the latter top edged a cut at Roach to Ramdin to fall for 14 in the fifth over after the break, with the Black Caps on 193 for seven.
Southee livened up things little, cracking two fours and a six – a mighty blow over long-on – in one over from Gabriel but succumbed in the next over to a brilliant diving catch by Kirk Edwards at cover off Roach.

Watling and Craig then blunted the West Indies attack until umpires finally pulled stumps late in the day.

Brief scores:

New Zealand: 221 (Tom Latham 82, Ross Taylor 45 not out, Kane Williamson 42; Jerome Taylor 4-34, Sulieman Benn 3-73, Shannon Gabriel 2-43) and 257 for eight (Kane Williamson 52, BJ Watling 38 not out, Tom Latham 36, Ross Taylor 36, Mark Craig 29 not out; Kemar Roach 3-53, Jerome Taylor 2-46, Sulieman Benn 2-62)

West Indies: 460 (Kraigg Brathwaite 129, Darren Bravo 109, Jermaine Blackwood 63, Kirk Edwards 55, Shiv Chanderpaul 47, Denesh Ramdin 32; Ish Sodhi 4-96, Trent Boult 3-75)
Wimbledon Men’s Draw Analysis

Wimbledon Men’s Draw Analysis


The Wimbledon men’s singles draw is out. Click on each quarter of the draw to scan the full 128-player field.
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If there’s a single theme which looms over the 2014 Wimbledon men’s tournament, it is that the first week can no longer be seen as an easy, breezy prelude to the second week. This statement flies in the face of the tournament’s history, but new winds are blowing at this point in the sport’s existence. In order to understand how different this year’s Wimbledon could become, you must first take a brief history lesson on the tournament in the Open Era:

Wimbledon is a place where the greatest tennis players do indeed prevail. The last truly surprising Wimbledon champion was Roger Federer — yes, the Swiss did rate as a somewhat unexpected champion once upon a time — in 2003. Yet, it goes without saying that Federer subsequently backed up that 2003 championship with six more Wimbledon crowns. Over the past 40 years at the All-England Club, you’ll find only a few unexpected champions, and even then, you’ll be able to identify players who possessed considerable quality:

Arthur Ashe, a genuinely distinguished player, took home the 1975 trophy with an upset of Jimmy Connors.
Boris Becker came from nowhere to win in 1985. As was the case with Federer in 2003, an unlikely champion proved how good he really was in subsequent years.
Pat Cash — who stands alongside Richard Krajicek as the weakest of any Wimbledon men’s champion over the past 40 years — won his only major title in 1987.

Michael Stich, a much more accomplished player than Cash, won his only major at Wimbledon as well in 1991. Unlike Cash, Stich managed to find a way to still be a factor after his Wimbledon win. No, he didn’t exactly enhance his credentials the way Wimbledon’s greatest champions managed to do, but he was at least good enough to produce one high-level major tournament every one and a half years or so.
Andre Agassi won Wimbledon in 1992, to the astonishment of everyone, including himself. Yet, several additional trips to the Wimbledon semifinals and a career Grand Slam marked him as a genuinely great performer regardless of surface or surroundings.

Krajicek’s 1996 title was every bit the surprise Agassi’s 1992 championship turned out to be. Krajicek made the Wimbledon semifinals in 1998 and lost to Goran Ivanisevic in a marathon fifth set, but he really didn’t sustain a high level of performance at the All-England Club.
Speaking of Ivanisevic, his 2001 title came out of the blue because the Croatian sensation was a wild card at that particular tournament. However, Ivanisevic produced a better career than either Krajicek or Cash, as much as that might surprise some tennis fans. Ivanisevic was a legitimately strong grass-court player, much more than Cash or Krajicek — at least in terms of results. “Emergency Goran” and his many moods reached a number of Roland Garros quarterfinals as well. He wasn’t quite a Johnny-one-note player away from Wimbledon.

Lleyton Hewitt’s 2002 championship was not expected, even though the Australian was one of the best players in the pre-Federer period. He made good (though not great) use of a small stretch of time in which Pete Sampras was too old, Andre Agassi was getting old, and Federer was still learning how to play the sport.

All in all, that’s eight surprise champions over 40 years. Three of them — Ashe, Agassi and Becker — won at least three of the four major tennis tournaments. Two others — Ivanisevic and Hewitt — were formidable contenders or floaters for roughly a decade on the ATP Tour. Only three of Wimbledon’s surprising champions over the past 40 years — Cash, Krajicek, and Stich to a slightly lesser degree — produced careers that were either ordinary or brief outside of their victories at SW19.
This really is a place where the best of the best hold the trophy on Centre Court after a full fortnight’s work.
History, therefore, says that the legends win here. Moreover, in 2014, it’s quite likely that another legend of the game will prevail. Yet, it’s anything but certain that more than two of them will get out of the first week. That’s what’s new at the All-England Club.
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When his prime period ended, Roger Federer lost in Wimbledon quarterfinals — to Tomas Berdych in 2010 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011. Last year, though, Federer — albeit while playing a perfectly solid match — lost in the first week of a major for the first time in NINE YEARS.
That’s right — Federer’s second-round loss to an out-of-his-mind Sergiy Stakhovsky (the Ukrainian played that well in what was a high-level match) broke a streak of 36 consecutive major-tournament quarterfinal appearances for the Swiss.


Yet, Federer’s loss was merely one of many calamities for not just high seeds, but highly accomplished players, in the first week of the 2013 edition of (as the locals call it) The Championships.
“Black Wednesday,” the tennis version, struck the All-England Club just three days into the event last year. As this overview of the day takes care to note, the flurry of shockers was accompanied by injuries caused by various slips and stumbles on the new, slick grass which is a part of life during Wimbledon’s first few days.
As early as 2006, Rafael Nadal showed how skilled he was as a grass-court player and, beyond that, as a tennis player who could take on any surface, any challenge, and any situation. After five years of great results at Wimbledon, though, the toll of playing on slick grass just two weeks after finishing Roland Garros has proven to be too much for the 14-time major champion. Can Nadal once again conquer the first week at SW19? If he can, he will once again be a favorite to win this title... but not until then.
As early as 2006, Rafael Nadal showed how skilled he was as a grass-court player and, beyond that, as a tennis player who could take on any surface, any challenge, and any situation. After five years of great results at Wimbledon, though, the toll of playing on slick grass just two weeks after finishing Roland Garros has proven to be too much for the 14-time major champion. Can Nadal once again conquer the first week at SW19? If he can, he will once again be a favorite to win this title… but not until then.
Rafael Nadal — who made the finals in each Wimbledon he entered from 2006 through 2011 — has, like Federer, tasted vulnerability and tennis mortality earlier in this tournament in recent years. He lost in the second round of the 2012 event, to Lukas Rosol, and he lost in round one last year to Steve Darcis. If it’s not a unanimous opinion on Nadal, it’s definitely a majority opinion: The first week of Wimbledon is just as much of a challenge as the second week. If Nadal can get out of week one, the increasingly worn courts will play more to the 14-time major champion’s strengths in week two. Given Nadal’s second-week draw — Milos Raonic, an historically bad grass-court player, is in his quarter; Federer is in his half — the Mallorcan should be favored to win Wimbledon if he can escape week one.
The question is: “Will he get there?” It’s not as likely as it was six or seven years ago.
Yes, even in the past, Nadal has struggled in the first week en route to a championship at SW19. In 2010, he needed five sets to beat two below-average journeymen, Robin Haase (second round) and Philipp Petzschner (third round). Once he got past those tests, though, he rolled to the title. Is Rafa going to be able to survive week one this year, or will his body — perhaps dragged down by the cumulative strain of added miles on the tennis odometer — fail to move the way it needs to on slick grass? That’s just one of many “first-week” dramas tennis fans will have to pay attention to.
Here are the others:
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Federer’s draw through the quarterfinals is very manageable, with one massive landmine lurking in the second round. He could either face Julien Benneteau — who came within two points of ousting him in the 2012 third round — or Gilles Muller, a thunder-serving lefty who has hugely underachieved in his career yet is eminently capable of having a great day at the office and scoring an upset.
More background about Muller is warranted here: He upset Andy Roddick in the first round of the 2005 U.S. Open. He pushed Nadal in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2011. He gave Federer a tough ride in the 2008 U.S. Open quarterfinals. What did all those matches have in common? At least two tiebreakers. Muller serves like a demon, and if he gets past Benneteau, Federer will have to expect to win two tiebreakers to beat Muller, especially since his return is the weakest single part of his game at the moment.
A scary postscript for Federer: His momentous loss to Stakhovsky last year had this scoreline: 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5). If Muller (the tougher matchup for Federer) meets the Swiss in round two, that kind of scoreline would hardly rate as a shock. All in all, when you look at the bottom half of the draw — with Federer and Nadal as the highest seeds — the second and third rounds could wind up being tougher than the fourth round and the quarterfinals. That’s not your father’s Wimbledon.
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Novak Djokovic didn't play in Madrid because of  concerns about his wrist. He didn't encounter any problems at Rome or in the French Open, but he's being cautious about that same wrist in advance of Wimbledon. How that wrist holds up could very well determine if Djokovic is able to get past defending champion Andy Murray in a possible semifinal showdown.
Novak Djokovic didn’t play in Madrid because of concerns about his wrist. He didn’t encounter any problems at Rome or in the French Open, but he’s being cautious about that same wrist in advance of Wimbledon. How that wrist holds up could very well determine if Djokovic is able to get past defending champion Andy Murray in a possible semifinal showdown.
In the top half of the draw, there’s a little bit of a Roland Garros repeat dynamic at work. Ernests Gulbis and Tomas Berdych met in Paris on red clay. This year, they could meet in the fourth round, with the winner to face Djokovic in the next round, as was the case at the French Open. Djokovic is also slated to play Tsonga in the fourth round, which would be an exact repeat of the just-concluded clay-court major.
Also mimicking Paris is the reality that Andy Murray once again received a great draw. He figured to make the quarterfinals at the French Open even though his credentials on clay have not been much to speak of over the course of his career. At Wimbledon, Murray’s only moderately difficult opponent through the first four rounds figures to be Roberto Bautista-Agut in the third round. Given that David Ferrer has not been particulary healthy in recent weeks — he’s in Murray’s quarter — the defending Wimbledon champion should be able to earn a semifinal date with Djokovic. Given that fresh questions have emerged about the health of Djokovic’s wrist, Murray’s odds of making the final are rather good… perhaps better than he could have expected before the draw was released.
If Murray gets to play anyone other than Nadal in the final (should he get there, of course), he would have to like his position.
We’re all waiting to see if Nadal — owner of five appearances in Wimbledon finals and two titles — will be able to fulfill his end of the bargain.
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Unlike the period from 2007 through 2010, the answers to tennis’s most persistent Wimbledon questions just don’t come as easily as they used to. The content of those answers will point the way to the 2014 Wimbledon champion, which will be a member of the sport’s ruling class… but perhaps not the one you’re expecting.
Friday, 20 June 2014
 Colombia into last 16 after Japan Greece bore draw

Colombia into last 16 after Japan Greece bore draw


Natal: Colombia qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time in 24 years after Japan and 10-man Greece played out a dire 0-0 draw in Natal on Thursday.

Japan failed to take advantage of the Greeks being reduced to 10 men from the 38th minute when captain Konstantinos Katsouranis was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Both sides picked up their first point and can still qualify from Group C, although they must win their final matches to do so.

Greece play Ivory Coast, who are on three points, in their final match while Japan tackle Colombia, who have a perfect six points.

Japan winger Shinji Kagawa`s terrible year continued as after a miserable season with Manchester United Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni dropped him to the bench after a poor showing against Ivory Coast.

Japan controlled affairs in the first-half thanks to the surging runs of left-back Yuto Nagatomo and the tight, short passing of a potent midfield being marshalled superbly by Keisuke Honda.

Greece`s chances of taking something from the game lessened dramatically during a disastrous five minutes in the first-half.

First leading striker Kostas Mitroglou`s injury nightmare, which saw him barely play a game for Fulham after a multi-million pound move in January, continued as he hobbled off in the 35th minute.

Three minutes later he was followed by his Katsouranis, though for a less commendable reason as he was sent for an early shower after being booked for a second time in the game.

Greece coach Fernando Santos reacted to Katsouranis`s red card by turning to the experience of substitute Georgios Karagounis, Greece`s most capped player of all time, and sacrificing Genoa midfielder Ioannis Fetfatzidis.

Greece, though, have shown that they are never more dangerous than when their backs are against the wall and soon after they produced their best chance of the half, Vasilios Torosidis stinging the palms of Eiji Kawashima with a fierce drive from the right of the area.

Zaccheroni eventually sent on Kagawa on 57 minutes as Greece appeared to be comfortably holding their opponents.

Greece, however, again came closest to breaking the deadlock as Kawashima did brilliantly to get down and turn away for a corner a header from Theofanis Gekas.

Japan found their rhythm again and carved out a fine opportunity when Kagawa sighted Atsuto Uchida ghosting in deep on the right, but after the defender`s delivery across goal Yoshito Okubo could only splice wide from a tight angle.


A Nagatomo delivery then caused confusion in the Greek box, but Uchida spurned another chance with a sliding effort that was just off target.

A speculative 30-metre drive from Okubo forced Orestis Karnezis to parry on 77 minutes and Japan`s final chance fell to Yasuhito Endo in the 90th minute when a free kick was awarded on the edge of the area, but the midfielder`s curling effort was parried to safety by Karnezis at his far post
 England vs Uruguay Official Video 2014

England vs Uruguay Official Video 2014

Luis Suarez scored twice to give Uruguay a 2-1 victory over England at the World Cup on Thursday, making an instant impact on his return from injury to revive his team's Group D campaign.

The Liverpool striker, who hadn't played since undergoing surgery on his left knee last month, lashed in the winner in the 85th minute, after seeing his first-half opener canceled out by Wayne Rooney.

After surprisingly losing its Group D opener to Costa Rica, Uruguay's qualifying chances have now been given a major lift, while England's hopes of advancing to the round of 16 are in real jeopardy after its worst World Cup start in more than half a century.

Suarez seemed to revel in inflicting England's second successive loss in Brazil, having been punished twice by the country's Football Association for misdemeanors, serving bans for racism and biting in the Premier League.

Of Uruguay's six efforts on target, five were from Suarez - including the two that beat goalkeeper Joe Hart as England's slack defending was exploited.

"I dreamt this," Suarez said at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo. "I'm enjoying this moment, because of all I suffered, the criticism I received. So, there you go."

By taking his World Cup tally to five goals, Suarez ensured that Rooney's first-ever goal in 10 matches on football's biggest stage was in vain at his third tournament.

Rooney tapped the ball home from close range in the 75th minute after connecting with Glen Johnson's pass. Having also lost against Italy, England now faces the prospect of not advancing from the group stage for the first time since 1958.

"We are a team that is making progress but results decide everything and both results have been negative," coach Roy Hodgson said.

"Where does it leave us? I don't know. I don't quite know."

Group D leader Italy and Costa Rica, who both have three points, meet for their second group game on Friday. Uruguay now has three points, while England is on zero points after consecutive defeats following its losing start to Italy.

It is in the England where Suarez has stepped up a level and powered in the goals that saw him voted the Premier League's best player last season. And despite lacking sharpness at times, he still managed to recapture the scoring form that helped Liverpool finish second last season with 31 goals.

Suarez was in the thick of the action in the opening minutes against an edgy England side. Goalkeeper Joe Hart's first save came after Suarez's cross-shot was deflected off the head of Gary Cahill.

"Quite frankly, for long periods of the game we kept him very quiet," Hodgson said. "We are normally used to seeing him much more active in and around our penalty area than we saw him today."

When Suarez did break forward, though, he was a real menace.

Suarez's first goal came in the 39th when Diego Godin picked up possession on the halfway line and sprayed it to Edinson Cavani on the left. Suarez easily evaded Phil Jagielka to head over Hart, seizing on defensive lapses just as Mario Balotelli did in Italy's win.

Although after several chances, Rooney ended his World Cup hoodoo it was rendered meaningless by Suarez's devastating final touch.

Suarez's Liverpool teammate, England captain Steven Gerrard, tried to clear a long punt by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, and the ball glanced off the head of midfielder and back toward his own goal. Suarez ran onto it and beat Hart with a right-footed shot from about nine yards.

"If this was a movie, people probably couldn't have wished for a better result, at least in Uruguay," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said.

Team Lineups(from):

Uruguay: Fernando Muslera; Martin Caceres, Jose Gimenez, Diego Godin; Alvaro Pereira, Alvaro Gonzalez (Jorge Fucile, 79), Egidio Arevalo, Cristian Rodriguez, Nicolas Lodeiro (Christian Stuani, 67); Luis Suarez (Sebastian Coates), Edinson Cavani

England: Joe Hart; Glen Johnson, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines; Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson (Rickie Lambert, 87), Raheem Sterling (Ross Barkley); Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck (Adam Lallana), Daniel Sturridge

Thursday, 19 June 2014
FIFA World Cup 2014: Belgium defeats Algeria 2-1

FIFA World Cup 2014: Belgium defeats Algeria 2-1

Belgium opened its World Cup campaign with a 2-1 comeback win over Algeria on Tuesday, relying on second-half goals from two substitutes after a tense start in Group H.

Algeria opened the scoring with a penalty in the 25th minute and the surprising lead stood for 45 minutes unti Marouane Fellaini 's strong glancing header, with his back to goal, from a Kevin De Bruyne cross.

Fellaini, who many had considered would start the match, had only come onto the pitch five minutes earlier and was coach Marc Wilmots' final substitution.

Dries Mertens' right-foot strike beat Algeria's goalkeeper in the 80th minute after Eden Hazard saw him free on the right and set him up for the decider. Mertens, who went on at the start of the second half, sent his shot high in the net outside of Rais Mbolhi's reach.

"We knew it would be tough, that there would be no space," Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said. "We made one error and we paid for it. The bench made the difference. We showed mental strength and we came back."

Algeria attacking midfielder Sofiane Feghouli converted a penalty in the first half after he was dragged down in the area by Belgium left back Jan Vertonghen.

At that point, Algeria was on course to produce another upset of a major team as it did in 1982 when it beat West Germany in its first group match. But the Algerians were tired by the end, having started the game brightly.

"We just missed a big upset, a victory," Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic said. "We were so close.

"My players have no reason to blush. They may be disappointed, but there is no reason to cry."

Belgium is widely billed as the favorite in Group H, which also includes Russia and South Korea. But Algeria dominated possession in the opening minutes, surging forward and moving the ball with flair. Belgium eventually settled down and regained control, ending the match with 65 percent possession.

Before Belgium's comeback, the Algeria defense held firm, setting up a bulwark in the final third of the pitch. When Belgium had the ball, Algeria defenders allowed them little room to maneuver. Algerian defenders at times doubled up on Hazard, shutting down space for him to operate down the left.

Defensive midfielder Axel Witsel had Belgium's best two opportunities in the first half - powerful 25-yard shots parried by the Algeria goalkeeper in the 21st and 34th minutes - and also snuffed out Algeria threats by protecting the back four and winning numerous aerial duels.

Wilmots brought on Mertens for Nacer Chadli after halftime to give Belgium more of an attacking edge. He also took off lone striker Romelu Lukaku, who was left stranded and had a disappointing match, and replaced him with Divock Origi in the 58th. He made his final substitution in the 65th when he brought on Fellanini for Moussa Dembele to give the team more of a physical presence.
FIFA World Cup: Mexico Brazil encounter ends in a goalless draw

FIFA World Cup: Mexico Brazil encounter ends in a goalless draw


Riding on a stellar performance by goalkeeper G Ochoa, Mexico kept the star-studded lineup of Brazil at bay as the match ended up in a draw in the ongoing FIFA World Cup. Both the teams failed to score a goal in the crucial Group A match.

Ochoa made some brilliant saves to ensure that Brazilian strikers failed to net the ball. He saved 25 strikes, some of them almost went in the net. He was adjudged Man of the Match for his performance.

Brazil won the tournament's opening game last week against Croatia whereas Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 in its first Group A game. A win for either team would have helped each secure a spot in the next stage.

Both the teams have gone to the final group stage at 4 points. But Brazil is ahead on goal difference going into their decisive final matches. Croatia and Cameroon meet on Wednesday for their second games after both opened with defeats.

Ochoa's first remarkable save prevented Neymar from scoring in the 26th minute. The Brazil striker's powerful header looked set to fly just inside the post when the goalkeeper dived to his right to push the ball wide.

Ochoa also made three other difficult saves to keep the hosts from breaking the deadlock - a shot by Paulinho in the 44th, a second-half effort by Neymar from inside the area and a close-range header by Thiago Silva in the 86th minute which produced a remarkable block by the Mexico keeper.

After that, there was still time for a thrilling end to the game in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.

The referee dismissed Brazilian claims for a penalty after Marcelo seemed to have been grabbed in the 88th minute. Mexico then had two great chances, first with Andres Guardado's shot over the crossbar in the 90th and then with an effort by Raul Jimenez that was stopped by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar in injury time.

"In the end, the 0-0 mirrors what happened, it was a very hard-fought match," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "The draw wasn't a good result because a victory would have already allowed us to advance, but we need to be able to respect our opponent, which played very well."

A win by either team would have guaranteed a spot in the next round if Cameroon and Croatia were to draw in the jungle city of Manaus.

Brazil had won all three previous World Cup matches between the teams without conceding a goal, but the Latin American rivals hadn't met in the sport's showcase tournament since 1962.

It was an evenly balanced game at the Arena Castelao, with Mexico not allowing Brazil to take control. El Tri didn't play defensively and created chances throughout the match, especially with long-range shots by midfielders Hector Herrera and Jose Vazquez.

Brazil, playing without injured strike Hulk, turned up the pressure in the second half, but there was no getting past Ochoa.

He denied Paulinho just before halftime, blocking the midfielder's shot after a loose ball inside the area, and then got his body in the way of Neymar's drive from inside the area. In the 86th, he was there on cue to block Silva's powerful header from point-blank range.

Fans wearing Brazil's green and yellow colors were the majority as expected, but Mexicans took over large seating sections of the stadium and at times were louder than the local fans. Among those in the crowd of 60,342 was NBA star Kobe Bryant, of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brazil, the only team to play in all 20 World Cups, has reached the second round every time since 1970. Mexico is seeking to advance for its sixth straight appearance in the last 16, where it has been eliminated in the last five World Cups.

Mexico had won six of the last 10 matches, including in the final of the 2012 London Olympics, keeping the Brazilians from earning their first gold medal in football. In their latest match, Brazil won 2-0 in last year's Confederations Cup, also in Fortaleza and also in the second match of the group stage.
(With AP inputs) 
FIFA World Cup: Russia South Korea play 1-1 draw

FIFA World Cup: Russia South Korea play 1-1 draw

Blundering Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was bailed out by teammate Alexander Kerzhakov in a 1-1 draw with South Korea in the World Cup on Tuesday that exposed both teams' deficiencies.

Akinfeev had already looked suspect in dealing with long-range shots before spilling Lee Keun-ho's speculative effort into his own net in the 68th minute, gifting South Korea the lead at the Arena Pantanal.

Kerzhakov, though, came to Akinfeev's rescue by turning in a shot from close range six minutes later - just three minutes after coming on as a substitute - to earn Russia a point from a poor-quality Group H match.

Akinfeev stayed on the ground inside his own net, head in his hands, after making his error, clearly embarrassed after dropping what was a routine save from a shot from about 30 yards. He was consoled by a couple of teammates, who patted him on the back.

"He is a great goalkeeper," Russia coach Fabio Capello said of Akinfeev. "There can be mistakes, of course - some can get a penalty wrong ... and it's logical for a goalkeeper to make a mistake as well.

"We were able to make up for that and we can accept a mistake by a great keeper like Akinfeev."

The explosive six-minute spell that featured both goals was not in keeping with the rest of a fairly mundane game characterized by slow build-up play, poor passing and wayward finishing.

A point leaves both teams behind Belgium, which beat Algeria 2-1 earlier Tuesday, but the group appears wide open based on the opening two fixtures.

Having lost four of its last five games heading to Brazil, the South Koreans came into their eighth straight World Cup with concerns over their flimsy defense and a lack of goal threat. A 4-0 thrashing by Ghana in a warm-up in Miami last week highlighted those worrying deficiencies perfectly.

There was no hiding their toothless attack here, either, with the experienced Park Chu-young starting as the lone striker but justifying fears that he has lost his way after three ineffective years with Arsenal in the English Premier League. He was substituted in the 56th and his replacement, Lee, scored South Korea's goal.

Russia, led by former England coach Fabio Capello, was just as lifeless in attack - at least until Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev came off the bench - and too functional in midfield. A dire first half was marked by the large contingent of Brazilian fans in the crowd doing slow hand clapping but South Korea coach Hong Myung-bo was satisfied by what he saw.

"In such a tournament, the first match is the most difficult," Hong, who captained the nation to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup, said through a translator. "There is a lot of pressure on it so I thought the players played very well."

Save for a shot by Son Heung-min that flew over the bar in the 39th when the forward was free at the edge of the area, there was barely a chance created in the first half. Capello stood with his hands on his hips in the technical area throughout the first 45 minutes, looking distinctly unimpressed.

There was a major improvement after the break, although it required the mistake by Akinfeev to really get the game going.

However, South Korea couldn't hold on and when Dzagoev's cross-shot was spilled out by goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and defender Hwang Seok-ho's clearance went straight at Andrei Yeshchenko, Kerzhakov was on hand to bundle home from inside the six-yard box.

"I thanked them for their reaction," said Capello, who turns 68 on Wednesday. "It was the greatest birthday present I could receive."