Brilliant Ashour denies he is world title favorite

Updated 08 December 2012
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Brilliant Ashour denies he is world title favorite

DOHA: Ramy Ashour, the world’s most in-form player, denied he is the popular favorite to win the title back despite another exhilarating performance to begin his world championship campaign yesterday.
Ashour was in as fine form with words in his second language as with his increasingly impressive deeds in an 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 first round win over Marwan Shorbagy, the world junior champion.
The man from Cairo illustrated some of the reasons why he has been winner of three Super Series titles this year, with moments of outrageous skill against his dangerously promising fellow Egyptian.
When told that many players regarded him as the likely forthcoming champion, Ashour replied: “they want me to think that I’m favorite, so that they can win.
What they really think is ‘he’s a good player, but I will be world champion myself.” Asked if he thinks he is the favorite, he evaded the question smilingly by saying: “I don’t think they think it.” It was notable though that he did not deny the suggestion.
Shorbagy nevertheless had his moments, saving a game ball to reach 10-all in the second game, and brilliantly saving four successive match points in the third.
But Ashour always seemed to be able to accelerate, masking his intentions with his unorthodox swing-less drives and flicks, and feeding off the adrenaline gained from his more spectacular efforts.
He also reveled in the fitness, which has inspired him with new-found belief, after finishing both the last two world championships with injuries and very public tears.
“I look back at how things were and I see myself now with my whole perspective changed,” the 25-year-old said. “My perspective on squash and on life in general is different.
“It’s so pleasing just to be healthy, and to play in a tournament, and to be among these incredible athletes. It’s something for real you know. You really appreciate things after they have been taken away from you.
“I have different priorities now. Of course I want to become world champion again, but my priorities are my health, to be able to play and my sanity.” Ashour next plays Adrian Grant, a top 20 Englishman, and if he wins again he could have a quarterfinal with one of his greatest rivals, Gregory Gaultier, also a former world No.1.
The third-seeded Frenchman similarly started well, winning 11-5, 11-5, 11-1 against Mohammed Abbas, an experienced former top 20 Egyptian who has been struggling with injuries.
Gaultier was struck down by injury himself a week ago, when he quit at match point down with a damaged ankle against Ashour in Hong Kong. But now his movement looked reassuringly good.


Ramadel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina star as stylish Colombia break Polish hearts

Updated 25 June 2018
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Ramadel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina star as stylish Colombia break Polish hearts

  • The disappointing Poland became the first European side eliminated from the tournament
  • The South Americans’ bid for a place in the last 16 will be determined by the results from their final game with Senegal

KAZAN: Radamel Falcao, Yerry Mina and Juan Cuadrado scored as stylish Colombia boosted their World Cup last 16 hopes with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Poland on Sunday.
In a match destined to see the loser sent home after the group stages, Colombia overcame a nervous start against Adam Nawalka’s men to move up to third place in Group H, one point behind Japan and Senegal.
The disappointing Poland became the first European side eliminated from the tournament.
“I’m very sorry and very sad about the result, but tomorrow’s another day and we have to come to terms with things,” said Poland coach Adam Nawalka.
“Our players did their best until the end of the game. We lost to a very strong team and this is something we have to accept.
“I extend my congratulations to Colombia.”
The South Americans’ bid for a place in the last 16 will be determined by the results from their final game with Senegal, who drew 2-2 with Japan earlier in the day.
Colombia’s march to the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago came thanks to James Rodriguez’s six-goal tally for Los Cafeteros.
And days after a troublesome calf injury restricted him to a half-hour cameo role as 10-man Colombia stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against Japan, the Bayern Munich midfielder was back to his best.
Starting alongside Juan Quintero and Cuadrado on the right, Colombia’s ultra-offensive starting line-up was a forewarning.
After riding a tense start that forced Mina and then Wilmar Barrios to react quickly to thwart early threats from Robert Lewandowski, Colombia eventually got into their stride.
Cuadrado was wasteful on several occasions when finding space deep on the right flank.
The Juventus winger’s trickery would eventually pay dividends, but it was Falcao — who has dreamed all his life of scoring a World Cup goal — who turned on the style, dancing through the Polish defense to win the corner that led to Colombia’s opener.
Rodriguez’s short corner eventually found Quintero, whose smart through ball back to Rodriguez gave him time and space to curl a perfect left-footed cross that Mina rose to header powerfully past Szczesny on 40 minutes.
Colombia resumed in positive fashion, Cuadrado holding up well to set up Falcao for a first-time drive that sailed over Szczesny’s crossbar.
A Colombia counter saw Falcao’s drive from the edge of the area deflected out for a corner.
Nawalka replaced Dawid Kownacki with the more experienced Kamil Grosicki and the switch almost paid dividends.
Only the bravery of goalkeeper David Ospina saved Colombia from conceding what looked like the equalizer when he rushed out to block from Lewandowski after the Bayern Munich striker did well to get a shot away from a long ball from midfield.
Poland threatened again, but when Lewandowski got his head to a cross into the area he was marked by both Mina and Davinson Sanchez.
Colombia, however, were not to be denied.
When right-back Sanitago Arias found Quintero, the midfielder sliced Poland’s defense apart with a low pass that found Falcao on the run before he beat Szczesny down low with the outside of his right boot.
Five minutes later, Rodriguez produced arguably the assist of the night, drawing several Polish players on the left flank before somehow finding Cuadrado on the run with a superb cross-field pass that the pacey winger tucked away.