Uruguay beats Iraq to face France in U20 final

Updated 12 July 2013
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Uruguay beats Iraq to face France in U20 final

ISTANBUL: Uruguay scored the equalizer in the 87th minute to draw with Iraq 1-1 and won the penalty shootout 7-6 to reach the final of the Under-20 World Cup on Wednesday.
Runner-up in 1997, Uruguay will play first-time finalist France on Saturday. The Europeans beat Ghana 2-1 in the first semifinal.
Iraq midfielder Saif Salman sent the decisive spot-kick over the crossbar after both teams missed one penalty. Gianni Rodriguez had Uruguay’s first attempt saved by Iraq goalkeeper Mohammed Hameed and Ali Faez also missed the first for Iraq as he hit the post.
Uruguay substitute Gonzalo Bueno leveled the score with a volley in the closing minutes of regulation after Iraq took the lead in the first half on a free kick by Ali Adnan.
Iraq missed the chance to reach the final of a FIFA tournament for the first time.
Iraq’s successful run to the semifinal has been warmly welcomed at home. Streets and cafes in Baghdad and other cities were the scene of jubilant celebrations after the wins over Paraguay and South Korea, but the streets remained calm on Wednesday.
Iraq also drew a lot of Turkish fans, who switched allegiance after the host team lost in the first knockout round.
Striker Florian Thauvin scored both goals for France against Ghana. Two minutes before halftime, Thauvin was set up by Jean Christophe Bahebeck, dribbled past Ghana goalkeeper Eric Antwi and netted into the empty goal.
Ebenezer Assifuah equalized for Ghana in the 47th with his fifth goal of the tournament as he collected the ball with his back to the goal, and held off three defenders before directing a 20-meter strike past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Thauvin found the net again coming in from the right and beat Antwi with a low shot at the near post in the 74th.
France defender Samuel Umtiti was sent off for receiving a second booking in the 80th and will miss the final.
France, improving on its best result of fourth two years ago, can become the first European winner since Spain in 1999, which has been the sole European victory in the competition for the past 20 years.


Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir ‘100 percent ready’ to face England, says coach

Updated 23 May 2018
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Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir ‘100 percent ready’ to face England, says coach

  • Left-armer is fit after a knee injury
  • “He’s fine, he’s ready to go,” says team coach Mickey Arthur

LONDON: Pakistan spearhead Mohammad Amir is “100 percent ready” for the first Test against England at Lord’s starting on Thursday despite a knee injury, according to team coach Mickey Arthur.
The left-arm fast bowler was seen stretching out his right knee as Pakistan beat Test debutants Ireland by five wickets during a one-off match in Malahide, Dublin concluded last week.
Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood suggested Amir had suffered a recurrence of a “chronic” problem.
But head coach Arthur, speaking to reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday, had no qualms about the fitness of Amir.
“He’s perfect, 100 percent,” Arthur insisted. “He’s fine, he’s ready to go.”
As for Amir, missing Pakistan’s final warm-up match ahead of the two-Test England series, last weekend’s drawn match against Leicestershire, Arthur added: “It was his rotation. (Mohammad) Abbas sat out the first (tour) game, Hasan (Ali) sat out the second, so he sat out the third.”
Amir was the hottest property in world cricket after bursting on the scene as a teenager in 2009 and at 18 he was the youngest bowler to have taken 50 Test wickets.
But his world was turned upside down in 2010 when he became involved in a spot-fixing scandal after deliberately bowling no-balls during the Lord’s Test against England — an incident that would eventually see him sent to prison by an English court and given a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council.
Amir’s first 14 Tests saw him take 51 wickets at just a fraction over 23 apiece, figures that had him on course to be an all-time great.
But the 17 Tests since his comeback two years ago have seen him take 49 wickets at a more expensive average of 34.91
Amir, and Pakistan for that matter, have not been helped by the fact that those 17 Tests since 2016 have also seen 16 catches dropped off his bowling.
The stigma of his spot-fixing exile has started to fade, with Amir playing for Pakistan during their 2-2 draw in a four-Test series in England two years ago.
He also starred for Essex as they won English domestic cricket’s first-class County Championship title last season.
Now the 26-year-old Amir is set to be the leader of an inexperienced Pakistan attack.
England, who didn’t manage a single win during their recent seven combined Tests in Australia and New Zealand, collapsed to 58 all out in Auckland in March as Kiwi left-arm quick Trent Boult took six wickets.
And Arthur backed Amir to do similar damage
“I think Mohammad Amir is the finest exponent of pace and swing when he gets it 100 percent right,” Arthur said.
“We’ve used that spell that Trent Boult bowled in Auckland. We’ve had a look at his lengths.
“We believe he (Amir) bowls incredibly well at left-handers and there will be three left-handers (Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan) in the (England) top four.
“He’s ready, I just hope it goes really well for him because he’s been unlucky at times with the amount of dropped catches.
“He’s ready, he’s determined, he’s fit, he’s strong, he’s excited, he’s in a very good place at the moment.”
Arthur is unusual in having served as the head coach of three leading nations — his native South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.
But he was adamant he had no desire to replace Trevor Bayliss when the Australian steps down as England coach next year.
“No, I’m very happy,” Arthur said. “I’d like to keep going with Pakistan for as long as they will have me because it’s unfinished business for us at the moment. This is a very young cricket team and I worry if we move on what happens to these guys. Their fitness regime is outstanding, they are training hard and they are enjoying their cricket. I’m very, very happy with where I am at the moment,” he insisted.