‘We don’t fear anyone,’ says European captain Bjorn

Thomas Bjorn’s got one eye on the Ryder Cup and one eye on Tiger Woods. (Reuters)
Updated 24 September 2018
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‘We don’t fear anyone,’ says European captain Bjorn

  • Thomas Bjorn: I spent 25 years playing professional golf with Tiger Woods on the scene, and any time he does anything great, that’s a story and that’s where we want to see him
  • Bjorn: We don’t fear anyone because we’ve played against them so many times before individually but we respect our opponents and know what we are up against

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, FRANCE: Europe captain Thomas Bjorn said ‘his team “don’t fear anyone” as they prepare to take on a powerful United States line-up packed with nine major champions including a resurgent Tiger Woods at this week’s Ryder Cup.
France’s Le Golf National, just south of Paris, is only the second European venue outside of Britain and Ireland to stage the biennial showdown in which the United States will be targeting a first win on foreign soil since 1993.
The Americans are bidding to retain the trophy after a 17-11 rout at Hazeltine two years ago, and bring over a squad that has combined for 31 major titles — compared to just eight for Europe.
“These are 24 of the best players in the world, and you know, when they go up against each other, they are all capable of amazing things on both sides,” Bjorn told reporters at a joint press conference with US counterpart Jim Furyk on Monday.
“We don’t fear anyone because we’ve played against them so many times before individually but we respect our opponents and know what we are up against. That I think is the key to all this.
“We’ll go out and do what we can and play our game. What stands on the other side we know is one of the strongest American teams of all time, and we know we’ve got to play our best to come up against this team.”
The star attraction in France will undoubtedly be Woods, who is making his first Ryder Cup appearance since 2012 following a long road back from injury that threatened to curtail his career.
Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday at East Lake for his 80th career US PGA Tour title, two shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record, and his first victory in 1,876 days.
“I spent 25 years playing professional golf with Tiger Woods on the scene, and any time he does anything great, that’s a story and that’s where we want to see him,” said Bjorn.
“We want to see him at the top of the game. He does so much for the game of golf. Watching that last night, I thought it was brilliant to watch. It was great for the greater aspect of the game.”
Fans chanted “Ti-ger, Ti-ger” and “U-S-A, U-S-A” amid a spectator stampede surrounding Woods in a rush to see him on the 18th green, with the 42-year-old fighting back tears before his clinching putt.
“I think you could see the emotion in talking about fighting back tears. I think the arms in the air and the fist in the air, it was important for him to win,” Furyk said of Woods.
“When you look at now, maybe comparing past Ryder Cups to this one, I think what’s so special is Tiger has engrained himself in our team atmosphere and became such a big part of the team in 2016 as a vice captain, and then again in 2017 as an assistant captain at the Presidents Cup.
“I think it’s special for him now to kind of join these younger players as a teammate.”
Furyk says Woods’ presence will simply add another level of anticipation to an event that is expected to welcome more than 270,000 fans through the turnstiles.
“It obviously brings — not that this event needs much more energy or that brought to it; it’s probably the biggest, the grandest event in all of golf but it will add that much more excitement, I believe, and you know, it’s exciting either way, but it adds to it,” he said.


Goalkeeper gaffe helps Brazil trounce Peru to reach quarterfinals

Updated 23 June 2019
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Goalkeeper gaffe helps Brazil trounce Peru to reach quarterfinals

  • Peru must now wait to see what happens in the other two groups to find out if they will qualify for the knockout rounds
SAO PAULO: Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese committed a horrendous error as Brazil ensured top spot in their Copa America group on Saturday with a 5-0 victory in Sao Paulo.
Goals from Casemiro, Roberto Firmino, Everton, Dani Alves and Willian ensured the Selecao would finish top of Group A and will play their quarterfinal in Porto Alegre, potentially against out-of-sorts Argentina, their bitter rivals.
“We knew we’d get there sooner or later because we worked very hard,” captain Alves told TV Globo.
“It’s thanks to wins like this that we’re connected with the fans. When we’re all together, we feel the positive energy,” he added, alluding to the jeers that greeted the team in their first two group matches.
With Peru already 1-0 down, it was Gallese’s dreadful error that led to Firmino’s goal and swept the mat from under Peru’s feet, with the game turning into a rout.
Darwin Machis scored a brace as Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 in Belo Horizonte and leapfrogged Peru into second place, securing a quarterfinal at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.
Peru, who finish third on four points, must now wait nervously to see what happens in the other two groups on Sunday and Monday to find out if they will qualify for the knockout rounds as one of the two best third-place finishers.
Never before since the Copa America adopted a 12-team format in 1993 with eight sides going through to the quarterfinals, has a side mustering four points failed to progress.
Hosts Brazil took an early lead in scrappy fashion when Philippe Coutinho’s corner was flicked on at the near post for Marquinhos to head goalwards from inside the six-yard box, with Gallese rooted to his line.
The ball came back off the post, grazed Marquinhos’s shoulder and was then headed over the line by Casemiro on 12 minutes.
If Gallese was partly at fault there for not commanding his area, he was totally to blame for Brazil’s second.
The goalkeeper dallied over a clearance and when he tried to hoof the ball upfield, it cannoned off a jumping Firmino, looped over his head and again came back off the post.
The ball bounced back to Firmino who waltzed around the stranded Gallese and slotted the ball into the empty net on 19 minutes.
Peru had barely been in the game but captain Paolo Guerrero did curl a free-kick over the top.
Yet the match was effectively over as a contest on 32 minutes when Everton cut in off the left flank and fired a snap effort into the bottom corner, with Gallese a touch slow to react and beaten at his near post.
With almost two thirds of the match to go, Peru were relying on a favor from Bolivia to hold onto second place in the group.
Brazil, who were boosted by a visit from the injured and absent Neymar on Friday, did not let up in the second half.
Alves was next in on the scoring act after playing a pair of one-twos with Arthur and Firmino before firing across Gallese on 53 minutes.
Willian sealed the rout in the last minute with a stunning strike from the corner of the 18-yard box.
And there was still time for Gallese to give away and then save a Gabriel Jesus penalty in stoppage time.
In Belo Horizonte, Venezuela were off to a dream start when Machis headed home a cross from Ronald Hernandez in the second minute.
Machis doubled Venezuela’s lead on 58 minutes, converting a pass from Tomas Rincon.
But just after Jhon Chancellor missed the chance to extend Venezuela’s lead when he hit the bar with a header, Leonel Justiniano pulled back a goal for Bolivia from outside the area.
Venezuela, though, were not to be denied and Josef Martinez flick home a header from Yeferson Soltedo’s dinked cross to book their place in the knockout stages.
“We dedicate this to the whole country, which is always keeping an eye on us,” said Martinez.