Warner begins Ashes war of words with ‘hate’ jibe
Warner begins Ashes war of words with ‘hate’ jibe
The first ball will not be bowled for another five weeks, but such is the rivalry between the two teams that hostilities usually break out early. And this time it is Warner who has bowled the first bouncer, describing the historic series as “war” and revealing his plans to get under the skin of the England players.
“As soon as you step on that line it’s war,” the opening batsman said.
“You try and get into a battle as quick as you can. I try and look in the opposition’s eye and try and work out ‘how can I dislike this player, how can I get on top of him?’
“You’ve really got to find that spark in yourself to really take it to the opposition.
“You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to actually get some hatred about them to actually get up when you’re out there. History is a big part in this and that is what carries us onto the ground.”
Warner is no stranger to dishing out pointed comments. While the 30 year old has mellowed in recent years he is still remembered for punching current England captain Joe Root before the 2013 Ashes clash and for comments made about Jonathan Trott during the series that followed in Australia later than year. He described the England batsman’s innings in Brisbane as “poor and weak” — just a few days later Trott left the tour suffering from a stress-related illness.
This time around, though, Warner insisted he will be more subtle in trying to annoy the English.
“Four years ago, during that first Test I made some statements in the media and at the time I thought it was a great thing to come out and speak what I said,” he said.
“I have no regrets about that and I think that could have played a little bit of a role in the back of their minds.
“At the moment I’m not going to put any vibes out there or get into a verbal (battle). But come day one when we walk out there, there will definitely be some words exchanged. But I think the subtle approach these days is how it is and how it goes.”
‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay
- A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
- Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance
ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”