Tite backs Egypt to shine at the World Cup

Egypt are highly fancied by Brazil’s boss. (AFP)
Updated 08 December 2017
0

Tite backs Egypt to shine at the World Cup

MOSCOW: Ten years ago, long before he was preparing to lead Neymar and Co. on a journey to Russia in search of a sixth World Cup title, Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, or Tite as he is more popularly known, was coaching in the United Arab Emirates. Employed by Al-Ain to replace the outgoing Walter Zenga, he stayed in the Garden City for only six months before returning to Brazil, where he led Internacional to the Copa Sudamericana title. In 2010, he returned to the UAE, this time with Al-Wahda, but again stayed only half a season, returning home to take the reins at Corinthians. 
“Arab teams have a very strong European influence,” Tite said. “The basic system is with two lines of four and two attackers, one of them coming back to recompose the midfield. They are teams that compact well and occupy spaces intelligently to defend. In Al-Ain and Al-Wahda I learned to play with these two lines of four and two attackers because it is the predominant system with this European influence.”
His experience coaching in the Gulf may afford him a more astute view of football in the region, but it is unlikely to be required in Russia — Brazil and Saudi Arabia can only meet in the semi-finals. 
It’s a similar story with Egypt, who were also drawn in Group A alongside Arab neighbors Saudi Arabia. Tite faced Al-Ahly in 2012 when he led Corinthians to victory at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. His side won 1-0, but his overriding memory was of a solid, well-drilled outfit. “I knew more about Egyptian football in 2012 when I faced Al-Ahly,” he said. “They were a team that gave us a lot of difficulty. But the Egypt national team has evolved a lot, with some high-level professionals playing in Europe. They also have the tactical part very well crafted.”
 


Oleksandr Usyk wins big fight moved from Saudi Arabia to Moscow

Updated 22 July 2018
0

Oleksandr Usyk wins big fight moved from Saudi Arabia to Moscow

  • Ukrainian beats Murat Gassiev by unanimous decision
  • Usyk wins $10 million and the Muhammad Ali Trophy

Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk unified the cruiserweight division by beating Russian Murat Gassiev by unanimous decision on Saturday in a fight that was originally due to take place in Saudi Arabia.
The two titans were due to meet at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on May 11, but the fight was called off because Usyk suffered an injury in training. The showdown in the final of the World Boxing Super Series was subsequently moved to Moscow and took place on Saturday night, with $10 million at stake in addition to the honor of winning the first Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Despite facing a hostile crowd in Moscow, Usyk controlled the fight with his jab to add Gassiev’s WBA and IBF titles to his own WBC and WBO belts.
Gassiev landed some heavy body shots when he got inside Usyk’s reach, but started to tire and the Ukrainian was utterly dominant in the later rounds as Gassiev swung wild haymakers.
Usyk, a former Olympic gold medalist, holds all four major titles after just 15 professional fights, all of which he won.
“Moscow, 2018. Bang! Daddy’s in the building,” Usyk said.
Usyk added he could move up to heavyweight to fight the experienced British fighter Tony Bellow.
“If he doesn’t want to drop down (to cruiserweight), I’ll happily go up to meet him,” Usyk said. “I’ll just eat extra pasta.”
It was Usyk’s third fight in 10 months as part of the World Boxing Super Series, in which he also beat German Marco Huck and the then-WBC champion Mairis Briedis.
Gassiev’s record dropped to 26-1 with one no contest. “I had the best opponent in my professional career,” Gassiev said. “I do my best, just today is Oleksandr’s day.”
Usyk was born in Crimea and has said he was forced to leave the peninsula after Russia annexed it from Ukraine in 2014. Despite the tension between the two countries, Usyk and Gassiev embraced warmly after the fight with broad smiles.
On the undercard, Cecilia Braekhus remained the undisputed women’s welterweight champion after beating the relatively inexperienced Russian Inna Sagaydakovskaya by unanimous decision.
The Norwegian, who first won a world title in 2009, has a 34-0 record.