Germany boss Loew faces calls to drop Leroy Sane for England clash

Germany boss Loew faces calls to drop Leroy Sane for England clash
Germany’s Leroy Sane reacts during match against Hungary. Germany legends Stefan Effenberg and Lothar Matthaeus urged coach Joachim Loew to reconsider his midfield options and drop the underperforming Sane. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 25 June 2021

Germany boss Loew faces calls to drop Leroy Sane for England clash

Germany boss Loew faces calls to drop Leroy Sane for England clash
  • Sane struggled on his first start of the tournament in the 2-2 draw against Hungary
  • Germany former midfielder Stefan Effenberg said Jamal Musiala, 18, created more danger in 8 minutes than Sane the whole game

BERLIN: Germany’s coach Joachim Loew is under pressure to shake up his starting side for Tuesday’s blockbuster Euro 2020 last 16 clash against England at Wembley and drop underperforming winger Leroy Sane.
As a replacement for Thomas Mueller, who was sidelined by a knee injury, Sane struggled on his first start of the tournament in the 2-2 draw against Hungary, with Germany needing a late equalizer to reach the knockout stages.
Sane made little impact up front, reflecting an inconsistent first season for Bayern Munich where the flashes of brilliance were all too few and far between.
When Sane failed to convert a chance from a corner against Hungary, whistles echoed around Munich’s Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
Former Germany midfielder Stefan Effenberg says Loew must react by dropping the 25-year-old for the England showdown.
“Loew shouldn’t start Sane, he is not doing the team any favors, but neither is Sane himself,” Effenberg told t-online.
“He (Sane) lacks self-confidence — and that means that he can’t use his fantastic abilities.”
Both Effenberg and Germany legend Lothar Matthaeus urge Loew to reconsider his midfield options and turn to players from Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich.
“Jogi (Loew) trusts the wrong players. Above all, it was the Bayern players who pushed us through,” said Matthaeus.
Leon Goretzka, who came off the bench to score the crucial late goal against Hungary, is expected to start at Wembley having shaken off a leg injury.
Effenberg also wants to see more of 18-year-old Bayern midfielder Jamal Musiala, a substitute against Hungary, who “created more danger in the last eight minutes than Sane in the whole game.”
Matthaeus wants the Bayern midfield to start en masse against England with Joshua Kimmich switched from right-back to central midfield.
“I don’t just recommend Loew starts with Jamal Musiala, I recommend the whole Bayern midfield start,” said Matthaeus who captained West Germany to the World Cup title in 1990.
“Joshua Kimmich plays the ball deep, Leon Goretzka makes runs into the penalty area and Thomas Mueller organizes the team — for me, that midfield has the quality to set the tone against any team,” explained Matthaeus.
To make way for Goretzka and Kimmich, Matthaeus suggested Loew drop two regulars in midfield.
“Nothing against Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos, but with them, some things are missing that are urgently needed,” he added.


Japan expands virus emergency after record spikes amid Games

Japan expands virus emergency after record spikes amid Games
Updated 53 min 5 sec ago

Japan expands virus emergency after record spikes amid Games

Japan expands virus emergency after record spikes amid Games
  • Prime Minister declared an emergency in Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba and Osaka effective Monday until Aug. 31
  • Upsurge in Tokyo cases despite over 2 weeks of emergency measures is raising doubts that they can effectively slow infections

TOKYO: Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to four more areas in addition to Tokyo on Friday following record spikes in infections as the capital hosts the Olympics.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared an emergency in Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba, near Tokyo, as well as in the western city of Osaka, effective Monday until Aug. 31. Emergency measures already in place in Tokyo and the southern island of Okinawa will be extended until the end of August, after the Olympics and well into the Paralympics which start Aug. 24.
The upsurge in cases in Tokyo despite more than two weeks of emergency measures is raising doubts that they can effectively slow infections.
Five other areas, including Hokkaido, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka, will be placed under less-stringent emergency restrictions.
Tokyo has reported a record increase in cases for three days in a row, including 3,865 on Thursday, before logging another 3,300 on Friday. The cases have doubled since last week, although officials say the surge is unrelated to the Olympics.
“Infections are expanding in the Tokyo and western metropolitan areas at an enormous speed that we have never experienced before,” Suga said as he declared the expansion of the state of emergency. If the spike continues at the current pace with the spread of the more contagious delta variant, Japan’s medical system could collapse, he said.
Japan has kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries, but its seven-day rolling average is growing and now stands at 28 per 100,000 people nationwide and 88 per 100,000 in Tokyo, according to the Health Ministry. This compares to 18.5 in the United States, 48 in Britain and 2.8 in India, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Officials said 2,995 are hospitalized in Tokyo, about half the current capacity of 6,000 beds, with some hospitals already full. More than 10,000 others are isolating at home or in designated hotels, with nearly 5,600 waiting at home while health centers decide where they will be treated. Tokyo is also setting up a facility for those requiring oxygen while waiting for hospital beds.
Nationwide, Japan reported 10,687 cases Thursday, exceeding 10,000 for the first time. It has recorded 15,166 fatalities from COVID-19, including 2,288 in Tokyo, since the pandemic began.
The emergency measures focus on shortened hours and an alcohol ban at eateries and karaoke bars, but have become less effective because people are only requested to remain and work at home. Many have been defying the measures as they become tired of restrictions.
Suga said his key strategy will be largely unchanged — to target dining. He said subsides will be paid faster to business owners who cooperate, and local authorities will patrol “to increase the effectiveness of the measures.” Many bars and restaurants complain they are being unfairly targeted.
He said at a later news conference that the government has approved the use of an antibody cocktail treatment for patients with mild symptoms to prevent them from worsening. But as thousands of people wait for hospital beds, the treatment may be too late for many, experts say.
Suga, who has faced criticism for insisting on hosting the Olympics despite widespread health concerns, said the recent upsurge is not linked to the Games. He pledged to accelerate inoculations of younger people who are increasingly becoming infected.
But holding the Olympics “sends a conflicting message when people are being asked to limit their activities,” Tetsuya Shiokawa, an opposition Japanese Communist Party lawmaker, said in parliament Friday.
Earlier Friday, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike noted that people in their 30s or younger account for many recent cases and urged them to “share the sense of crisis” and follow basic measures such as mask wearing and avoiding having parties.
As of Thursday, 27 percent of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated. The percentage of the elderly who are fully vaccinated is 71.5 percent.


Novak Djokovic fails in Olympic ‘Golden Slam’ quest as US-Russia doping row erupts

Novak Djokovic fails in Olympic ‘Golden Slam’ quest as US-Russia doping row erupts
Updated 30 July 2021

Novak Djokovic fails in Olympic ‘Golden Slam’ quest as US-Russia doping row erupts

Novak Djokovic fails in Olympic ‘Golden Slam’ quest as US-Russia doping row erupts
  • The Serb collapsed from a set and a break ahead as German fourth seed Zverev won 1-6, 6-3, 6-1

TOKYO: World number one Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday and a defeated American swimmer launched doping accusations against a Russian rival.
As the athletics events began in a stadium deprived of spectators by anti-coronavirus measures, Jamaican sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made an impressive entrance.
Djokovic's bid for a calendar Golden Grand Slam -- all four Grand Slam tournaments plus the Olympics -- was dramatically ended by Alexander Zverev.
The Serb collapsed from a set and a break ahead as German fourth seed Zverev won 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to set up a final against Russian Karen Khachanov.
In a bitter row at the pool, American swimmer Ryan Murphy accused Evgeny Rylov of doping after he was beaten by the Russian in the 200m backstroke.
Murphy said he had been "swimming in a race that's probably not clean".
Rylov said he was "surprised" by Murphy's "strange" suggestion.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) hit back on Twitter, saying "the broken record is once again playing the song about Russia doping and someone is diligently pressing the button on the English-language propaganda".
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency said Rylov had been tested three times this year and that he was "prepared and clean".
Russia are banned from Tokyo 2020 after being found guilty of state-sponsored doping, meaning their athletes cannot use the Russian flag and anthem.
But more than 330 Russian athletes have been allowed to compete under the ROC moniker, and they had won 10 golds by Friday evening to lie fourth in the medals table.
As competition began in the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, Fraser-Pryce successfully launched her bid to become the first woman to win an individual Olympic athletics event three times.
The Jamaican, 100 metres champion in 2008 and 2012, shut down with 20 metres remaining and strode over the line for a comfortable first-round victory in 10.84sec.
One of her rivals, the Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou, blasted to an African record-equalling 10.78sec and reigning champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica recorded 10.82sec on what appears to be a fast track.
"If you notice the heats, there's some really quick running. It's good for female sprinting. It's long overdue," Fraser-Pryce said.
The semi-finals and final of that event take place on Saturday evening.
World record-holder Karsten Warholm of Norway strolled to victory in his heat of the 400m hurdles heat, an event that could be one of the highlights.
"It was nice to get out on the track again," said Warholm. "I've been here for two weeks already, I'm starting to get bored so it was very nice to get around."
Qatar's Abderrahman Samba eased through but said he felt the absence of spectators: "It was really, really difficult. I really missed the crowd."
In the pool, South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker was overjoyed after becoming the first South African woman to win an Olympic swimming gold for 25 years as she obliterated the eight-year-old world record in the 200m breaststroke, timing 2min 18.95sec.
Australia's Emma McKeon claimed her fourth medal in Tokyo as she blazed to the women's 100m freestyle title in a new Olympic record of 51.96sec.
Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey -- one of the surprises of the swimming events -- earned another silver medal to add to that from the 200m freestyle.
French judo superstar Teddy Riner came up short in his bid to win a historic third consecutive heavyweight title, losing to Russia's world number one Tamerlan Bashaev in the quarter-final. Riner had to settle for bronze.
The shadow of coronavirus hung over the start of the athletics with the Australian team saying three of its members would remain isolated from the rest of the squad "as a precautionary measure" after a scare.
The three are classed as close contacts of US pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who has been ruled out of the Games after testing positive for Covid-19.
Ian Chesterman, the chef de mission of the Australian Olympic Committee, told a press conference: "They all tested negative which is good. They also confirmed the daily test results which have also been negative and confirmed their test results before they left Australia."
Coronavirus cases are surging in Japan a week into the Games.
On Friday, Tokyo 2020 organisers reported 27 new cases related to the event -- the highest daily figure yet -- although they insist there is nothing to suggest a link between the Games and rising infections in Japan.


Husein Alireza’s Olympic rowing adventure ends after injury hampered Tokyo 2020

Husein Alireza’s Olympic rowing adventure ends after injury hampered Tokyo 2020
Updated 30 July 2021

Husein Alireza’s Olympic rowing adventure ends after injury hampered Tokyo 2020

Husein Alireza’s Olympic rowing adventure ends after injury hampered Tokyo 2020
  • 27-year-old carried Saudi Arabia’s flag alongside sprinter Yasmine Al-Dabbagh at Olympics opening ceremony

RIYADH: Saudi rower Husein Alireza’s Tokyo 2020 journey at the Sea Forest Waterway has come to an end after an injury plagued Olympics.

He bowed out of the competition coming 24th in a field of 32 after finishing sixth in the men’s single sculls final D on Friday.

It was the fifth race in just over a week at the Olympics for Alireza, who has been competing with a lung injury that significantly affected his performances in the heat and humidity of the Japanese capital.

His first race took place on July 23, the same day he became one of the Kingdom’s two flagbearers at the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony, alongside 100 meters sprinter Yasmine Al-Dabbagh.

Alireza had suffered a punctured lung during an Olympic qualification regatta on May 5, which left him unable to train until June 22, just one month before the start of the tournament. The 27-year-old had been advised to give the Olympics a miss with the injury initially expected to heal in no less than three months without any physical exertions.

The handicap clearly affected his form, with his technical team devising a strategy that would see Alireza navigate the best path toward improving his ranking, with medal hopes not seen as realistic in any way.

He started rowing while studying for a master’s degree at Cambridge University in 2017, and it soon became clear he had the talent to go far in the sport. After graduation, he won two Saudi Indoor Rowing Championship golds as well as posting a first-place finish at the US Indoor Rowing Championships.

Alireza had a successful 2019 with wins at the Molesey Regatta in London and the Head of the River Fours, a bronze at the Asian Indoor Rowing Championships in Thailand, and participation at the Asian Rowing Championship in South Korea.

Earlier this year he won gold at the Asian Continental Qualifiers for the 2021 World Indoor Rowing Championships.


Saudi sprinter’s memorable month ends with elimination from Olympics 100m

Yasmine Al-Dabbagh during Heat 2 of the Women's 100 Preliminary Round at Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Friday morning. (Supplied/Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee)
Yasmine Al-Dabbagh during Heat 2 of the Women's 100 Preliminary Round at Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Friday morning. (Supplied/Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee)
Updated 30 July 2021

Saudi sprinter’s memorable month ends with elimination from Olympics 100m

Yasmine Al-Dabbagh during Heat 2 of the Women's 100 Preliminary Round at Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Friday morning. (Supplied/Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee)
  • Yasmine Al-Dabbagh, 23, was Kingdom’s flagbearer with rower Husein Alireza at opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020

RIYADH: Saudi sprinter Yasmine Al-Dabbagh has been eliminated from the 100 meters competition at Tokyo 2020 after finishing with a time of 13.34 seconds in the preliminary round heat 2 at the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

It was the first ever Olympic participation for the 23-year-old, who despite finishing last in her race can still look back on a memorable month with some pride.

Al-Dabbagh only confirmed her qualification for the Games through a universality place on July 2 and three weeks later she was one of Saudi Arabia’s two flagbearers at the Olympics opening ceremony, the other being rower Husein Alireza.

Speaking recently to Arab News, Al-Dabbagh expressed her pride at wearing Saudi colors in Japan and the sporting progress in the Kingdom that has allowed her to achieve her dream of racing at the Olympics.

She said: “It means the world to me, especially being part of a diverse and expansive team representing so many different activities. Everything from judo, to table tennis, rowing, karate, archery, weightlifting, swimming, shooting, and football.

“The sports sector in Saudi Arabia has witnessed unprecedented growth and investment, thanks to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030.

“As Saudi athletes, we are all proud of the important role sports plays in the country’s transformation. We have a great sporting ecosystem that allows us to perform at the highest level and I can’t wait to go out on the track, to repay that faith by performing to the best of my ability,” she added.

As a schoolgirl Al-Dabbagh was skilled at many sports including swimming, gymnastics, horse riding, and ice skating. Running, however, proved to be her calling.

While studying at Columbia University in New York she trained to be a short-distance sprinter and after graduation continued to be backed by the Saudi Athletics Federation. She was eventually trained by British Olympic gold medal winner in the 100m, Linford Christie.

In her first 100m race in the Kingdom she broke the existing Saudi record ahead of her progress toward qualification for Tokyo 2020.


Saudi Arabia’s Tahani Al-Qahtani departs Tokyo 2020 Women’s Judo competition after loss to Raz Hershko of Israel

Saudi Arabia’s Tahani Al-Qahtani departs Tokyo 2020 Women’s Judo competition after loss to Raz Hershko of Israel
Updated 30 July 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Tahani Al-Qahtani departs Tokyo 2020 Women’s Judo competition after loss to Raz Hershko of Israel

Saudi Arabia’s Tahani Al-Qahtani departs Tokyo 2020 Women’s Judo competition after loss to Raz Hershko of Israel
  • The 21-year-old was the last of the 33-athlete Saudi delegation to book her place at the Olympics

A high-profile week for Saudi athlete Tahani Al-Qahtani came to an end on Friday morning when she departed Tokyo 2020 after losing to Raz Hershko of Israel in the Judo Women’s +78 kg Round of 32 at Nippon Budokan arena.

Al-Qahtani had been the subject of intense media attention as she had, unlike several other Arab athletes, decided to not withdraw in protest from her contest against an Israeli athlete at Tokyo 2020.

The 21-year-old Saudi lost 11-0 to her opponent, who ended the contest with an ippon, the highest score that can be posted from a judo move.

Before taking to the mat, Al-Qahtani was given words of encouragement by Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) President Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal.

Her’s decision to participate received almost unanimous support in Saudi Arabia, with sports fans and high profile figures taking to social media to praise her for not giving up on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

She had became the last of the 33-athlete Saudi delegation to confirm her spot at Tokyo 2020 thanks to an invitation by the International Judo Federation on July 13, just 10 days before the start of the tournament.

It was while studying at King Saud University in Riyadh that Tahani Al-Qahtani took the first steps towards becoming a judoka.

Despite participating in several other sports, it was judo that proved to be her calling.

She won silver at the Saudi Women's Championship 2019 and gold a year later. In 2020 Al-Qahtani joined the Saudi Judo Training Centre at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh and then gained valuable experience by setting up camp in Tashkent where she mixed with world champions, the Uzbekistan women’s judo team and other athletes from the World Judo Tour.

In June, Al-Qahtani took part in the World Judo Championships Hungary 2021 in the Kingdom’s colours.