German football legend Franz Beckenbauer has died aged 78

German football player Franz Beckenbauer, who died on Monday, waves to the spectators after winning the World Cup 1974 final against Netherlands. (AFP)
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German football player Franz Beckenbauer, who died on Monday, waves to the spectators after winning the World Cup 1974 final against Netherlands. (AFP)
German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, world champion as a player in 1974 and as coach in 1990, died on Sunday at the age of 78, the German Federation (DFB) announced on January 8, 2024. (AFP)
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German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, world champion as a player in 1974 and as coach in 1990, died on Sunday at the age of 78, the German Federation (DFB) announced on January 8, 2024. (AFP)
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Updated 08 January 2024
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German football legend Franz Beckenbauer has died aged 78

German football legend Franz Beckenbauer has died aged 78
  • Tributes poured in for the football icon
  • Beckenbauer one of only three men to win World Cup as player and as coach

BERLIN: Legend Franz Beckenbauer, who left a unique imprint on German football as player, captain and coach, has died at the age of 78, the German football association said Monday.
“Franz Beckenbauer was definitely the biggest German footballer of all time, and above all one of the greatest men who I have known,” said DFB vice president Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Beckenbauer, one of only three men to win the World Cup as player and as a coach, passed away on Sunday, the DFB said.
Tributes poured in for the football icon, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and former German captain Lothar Matthaeus alike saying “we will miss him.”
UEFA hailed Beckenbauer as “one of European football’s greatest sons” who “shaped German football like no other,” while the English Premier League described him as the “most beautiful of footballers who won it all with grace and charm.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Instagram called Beckenbauer “a true legend,” saying “we’ll never forget you dear Franz, thanks for everything.”
On his 75th birthday, Beckenbauer told German tabloid Bild he prayed regularly.
“They are prayers of thanks,” the frequent Bild columnist said “thanks for the beautiful life I have been able to lead.”
Former captain of the German team in the 1970s, Beckenbauer had health problems in his later years and lived mostly withdrawn from the public eye in Salzburg in Austria, just across the border with Germany.
Known in football-mad Germany as “the Kaiser” meaning “the Emperor,” Beckenbauer played a central role in some of the country’s greatest sporting achievements, but his legacy was later tarnished by his involvement in scandals surrounding Germany’s successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup.
Born in Munich in 1945, Beckenbauer helped establish Bayern as his country’s strongest club.
Alongside Brazilian Mario Zagallo — who died aged 92 on Friday — and France’s Didier Deschamps, Beckenbauer is one of only three men to have won the World Cup as both a player and a manager.
He captained West Germany to the 1974 World Cup title on home soil when they beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the Munich final, then managed the team that beat Argentina 1-0 in Rome to lift the trophy at Italia 90.
Beckenbauer, a commanding figure on and off the pitch, was named European footballer of the year in both 1972 and 1976.
He made 424 appearances in the Bundesliga, scoring 44 goals, including in a 13-year spell for Bayern, before joining Hamburg and New York Cosmos, where he finished his playing career in 1983.
Beckenbauer had stints as manager in club football at both Bayern and Marseille, winning the French league title in 1991 and the Bundesliga in 1994.
In 1996, he stopped coaching and his role as president of Bayern led to a place on the Executive Committee with football’s governing body FIFA.
Off the field, Beckenbauer led Germany’s successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup, a successful tournament that is still nostalgically referred to in Germany as “das Sommermaerchen” — “The summer fairytale.”
However, the story turned sour in October 2015 when Spiegel broke a cash-for-votes scandal story.
The magazine alleged that, in 2000, the German Football Association (DFB) had bought the votes of four Asian members of FIFA’s 24-strong executive committee to secure the hosting of the 2006 World Cup finals. Beckenbauer had maintained his innocence.
Beckenbauer had heart surgery in 2016 and again in 2017, when worrying news about his ill health began to emerge.
At the beginning of January 2023, the football icon was absent from Pele’s funeral. A few months later, in August, he missed the traditional annual gathering of Germany’s 1990 world champions.
On each occasion, his health was cited as a reason.
The last time he appeared at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena was in August 2022, when he attended a match against Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Wolfgang Overath, who lifted the World Cup with Beckenbauer in 1974, said it was “unimaginable that (Beckenbauer) is no longer around.
“He towered over everyone... and yet he was so down to earth,” said Overath, recalling that Beckenbauer had phoned him just three months ago for his birthday “with all the strength he still had then.”


Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff

Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff
Updated 15 July 2024
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Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff

Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff
  • For Garcia, the script couldn’t have been written any better, as he won for the first time after three previous playoff losses
  • It was LIV Golf’s first double playoff, and just the second team playoff in league history

SOTOGRANDE, Spain: On an unprecedented day in LIV Golf’s young history, captain Sergio Garcia and his Fireballs GC produced a storybook finish for their Spanish fans on home soil at LIV Golf Andalucia.Garcia rallied from seven strokes down to win his first LIV Golf individual title on the second sudden-death playoff hole against Crushers GC’s Anirban Lahiri.

Meanwhile, teammates Abraham Ancer and David Puig beat the Crushers duo of captain Bryson DeChambeau and Paul Casey in the team aggregate-score playoff as the Fireballs — with three Spaniards on the roster — swept both trophies at Real Club Valderrama.

It was LIV Golf’s first double playoff, and just the second team playoff in league history. The first team playoff came earlier this year at LIV Golf Adelaide, when the home Australian team — Ripper GC — also won.

For Garcia, the script couldn’t have been written any better, as he won for the first time after three previous playoff losses. That it happened on his favorite course, one in which he’s won three other professional events and has now finished inside the top 10 in 16 of his 17 starts, made it even more special.

“To be totally honest, there’s a connection between Valderrama and myself that I can’t even explain it,” said the 44-year-old Garcia, who ended a four-year winless drought while winning his 37th professional title.

Garcia started the day at even par, seven shots behind overnight leader Lahiri.

But the Spanish star played flawless golf for 17 holes, posting six birdies and applying pressure on Lahiri, who was trying to break his own winless drought of nine years.

While Garcia suffered his only bogey of the day with a three-putt at the par-3 third to wrap up his 5-under 66, Lahiri birdied the par-5 17th. That put the tournament in Lahiri’s hands going to the par-4 18th, the most difficult hole on the course this week.

Lahiri found the middle of the green with his approach shot and rolled his birdie attempt to 3 feet to set up the potential winning par. But with a chance to win the individual title and secure the team title for the Crushers, he missed the putt for a final-round 73 to drop back to 5 under and set up the double playoff.

Garcia was riding in a van back to the clubhouse at the time. “We obviously heard the crowds going crazy, so we figured that he might have missed his par putt,” Garcia said. “… It was nice to be able to have another shot at it.”Garcia and Lahiri each parred their first playoff hole. Meanwhile, in the team playoff right behind them, DeChambeau found trouble off the 18th tee and had to lay up with his second shot. Casey’s approach finished in the rough behind the green. DeChambeau bogeyed the hole while Ancer and Puig made easy pars to claim the Fireballs’ first team victory of the season.

Like his captain, Lahiri’s errant tee shot on the second playoff hole left him in trouble, and Garcia won with a par, with his teammates and family racing onto the green to drench him in celebratory champagne.

“Obviously individual for me, it’s a dream come true to do it on my favorite course in front of my family and friends and in front of my teammates,” Garcia said. “But to even make it even better by winning the team championship, too, it was amazing. So proud of these guys, the way they played.”

On the flip side, it was heartbreak for the Crushers, who have won twice this season and lead the season-long points standings as they look to repeat as team champions.

“It sucks. Losing is never fun,” said DeChambeau. “That’s what makes winning so much better. I feel for Baan.”

Perhaps it was simply fate for the Fireballs and their captain to win on home turf in front of a partisan crowd.“A dream weekend for all of us,” said young Fireballs star Eugenio Chacarra. “Super happy for Sergio. He’s been up there a lot, and he’s been playing at a high level for 20 plus years. It’s really nice to see it from close every single day, and so happy for him that he got it done on his favorite course.”


Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America

Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America
Updated 23 min 11 sec ago
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Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America

Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America
  • The win was the third straight major tournament title for Argentine following their 2021 Copa victory
  • Messi appeared to suffer a noncontact injury while running full speed on the pitch

MIAMI: Lautaro Martinez scored an extra-time winner as Argentina beat Colombia 1-0 to win a record 16th Copa America title at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

A poor game which had been marred by security and crowd issues, forcing a 82-minute delay, was decided by a quality finish from Martinez — his fifth goal of the tournament.

The win was the third straight major tournament title for Argentine following their 2021 Copa victory and their triumph in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

There were tears before the celebrations though with Argentina captain Lionel Messi going off injured in the 66th minute watching the rest of the game distraught on the bench, while there was an emotional farewell for Angel Di Maria in his final game for the national team.

For Colombia, whose only title came in the 2001 Copa America, it was a disappointing night when little seemed to work for Nestor Lorenzo’s team.

There was chaos around entry to the stadium for fans, with organizers blaming supporters for trying to enter without tickets while fans blamed the lack of an efficient entry system to the venue.

The scenes were alarming with some fans needing medical attention for heat exhaustion but after the decision to suddenly throw open the gates, with no checks on those entering, the situation was largely resolved and the game finally went ahead.

Colombia’s Jhon Corboba hit the bottom of the post with a speculative shot in the seventh minute but neither side were able to find their flow in the early stages.

Di Maria found Messi in the 20th minute with a low ball into the box and Messi’s left-foot shot was saved by Colombia keeper Camilo Vargas.

Colombia had looked the more lively in the opening period and they went close in the 33rd minute when Jefferson Lerma tried his luck from 25 yards out and his low drive forced Emiliano Martinez into a diving save.

There was concern for Messi in the 36th minute when he dribbled to the byline but was halted by a sliding challenge from Santiago Arias which was ruled fair left the Argentine captain needing treatment.

Messi, who now plays his club football in Miami, then curled a free-kick in from the left flank but Nicolas Tagliafico’s header was just off target.

It had been a disappointing first half and it didn’t improve much after the break, when the fans had at least received some entertainment from Colombian singer Shakira.

Argentina failed to deal with a James Rodriguez corner and the ball looped to Davinson Sanchez but he was unable to keep down his header which floated over the bar.

There was finally some of the expected quality when Di Maria produced one of his trademark runs in from the left and forced Vargas into action, the Colombia keeper turning the ball wide of the post.

Then came a major blow for Argentine hopes when Messi went down, without contact, as he ran in midfield, and clearly in pain he went off to be replaced by Nicolas Gonzalez in the 66th minute.

It was too much for Messi, in what may have been his last major tournament, as he sat in tears on the bench, unable to hold back his emotions.

The Argentine fans thought they had grabbed a winner in the 75th minute when Tagliafico found Gonzalez in the box, who beat Vargas with a low drive but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Little changed in extra-time with a half-chance from Miguel Borja after a flick from Jorge Carrascal but the game was settled by a worthy winner.

Leandro Paredes won the ball in midfield for Argentina with a perfectly timed tackle, found Giovani Lo Celso whose first time pass was perfect for the on-running Martinez who confidently fired home the winner.


Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France

Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France
Updated 15 July 2024
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Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France

Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France
  • The Slovenian dropped the last of his rivals with five kilometers to go after five more Pyrenean peaks
  • The 25-year-old racked up a second straight iconic mountaintop triumph and a 14th Tour de France stage win

PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France: Tadej Pogacar extended his overall lead at the Tour de France to more than three minutes on Sunday with a convincing second-straight stage win in the Pyrenees.
The Slovenian dropped the last of his rivals with five kilometers to go after five more Pyrenean peaks. A valiant Jonas Vingegaard could only finish 1 minute and 8 seconds adrift in second, with Remco Evenepoel in third at 2min 51sec on the day.
As Pogacar crossed the line at the magnificent Plateau de Beille deep in the Pyrenees, resplendent in his yellow outfit, he had racked up a second straight iconic mountaintop triumph and a 14th Tour de France stage win aged just 25.
The overall leader expressed surprise at Vingegaard and his team.
“Jonas did most of the work,” Pogacar said after Visma hogged the front of the peloton most of the day.
“With today being the 14th of July you might have expected a French win, but Visma went at it very strong.”
“I wasn’t sure myself I’d be able to keep up the pace, but this year I’ve adopted a different approach and it seems to be working,” said Pogacar, munching on a candy bar.

The Team UAE leader’s audacious bid for a Tour de France and Giro d’Italia double in the same season seemed closer after a third stage win on this year’s Tour lifted him comfortably clear.
The last man to win such a double was Marco Pantani in 1998. On his way to his French triumph, the Italian also won a stage ended on the Plateau de Beille.
Pogacar on Sunday ascended the mountain over four minutes faster than Pantani.
“That’s a very good sign,” Pogacar’s team director Mauro Gianetti said.
There are two murderous mountain slogs to go in the Alps, where the weather will likely be much hotter, which Pogacar dislikes.
The final-day lottery is a fearsome 34km individual time trial on the corniche between Monaco and Nice.
For now, the sun shines on the Slovenian as he leads the two-time defending champion Vingegaard by 3 minutes 9 seconds with the young Belgian Remco Evenepoel on his first Tour de France third at 5min 19sec.
Evenepoel also looked happy with his day’s work after he arrived for his debut Tour de France stating he was targeting the best young rider’s jersey, which he looks good for now.
“I felt it was a mistake to try and follow them when they went. It was a race between them two,” he said.
“I kept going at my steady rhythm. it was a good weekend for us.”

Evenepoel is third overall, five minutes clear of Mikel Landa, and leads the young rider category by six minutes from Carlos Rodriguez.
Vingegaard and Evenepoel were both involved in a bone-breaking crash in March, and it remains to be seen how their stamina stands up in the third week. After Monday’s rest day the race rushes back to the Alps, where tradition holds that the Tour is won.
Pogacar agreed with that Sunday.
“Only when I cross the finish line will I believe I have won,” said the 2020 and 2021 champion.
The weekend crowds were well-behaved Sunday. A roadside spectator who threw crisps in the faces of Pogacar and Vingegaard on Saturday was charged with violent behavior Sunday morning, after spending a night in the cells to sober up.
The Tour de France also stepped up protective measures to “limit health risks” with the reintroduction of the dreaded face masks due to a resurgence of Covid-19.
Monday is a rest day.
“We go into Monday with a big smile,” said Pogacar.
The fans watching roadside or in armchairs also likely left with a smile.
 

 


Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title

Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title
Updated 15 July 2024
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Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title

Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title
  • Oyarzabal slid in to poke home Marc Cucurella’s cross, just when the game at Berlin’s Olympiastadion seemed destined for extra time

BERLIN: Spain won a record fourth European Championship title on Sunday after Mikel Oyarzabal’s 86th-minute goal clinched a 2-1 victory over England, whose painful decades-long wait for a major trophy goes on.
Oyarzabal slid in to poke home Marc Cucurella’s cross, just when the game at Berlin’s Olympiastadion seemed destined for extra time after the latest show of resilience by England at the tournament.
Substitute Cole Palmer equalized for England in the 73rd minute to cancel out Nico Williams’ opener in the 47th from 17-year-old prodigy Lamine Yamal’s pass.
Spain also won the title in 1964, 2008 and 2012.
“I did my job and what I had to and was lucky enough to score the goal for the win,” said Oyarzabal, who came on as a substitute for captain Alvaro Morata. “When you are among the 26 names to be picked, that is special enough, but then to get to help the team like I did, that is the most important part.”
England men’s team has now lost back-to-back Euro finals and is still without a major title since winning the 1966 World Cup.
It is another agonizing loss for one of the world’s most underperforming national teams, this one coming in front of Prince William and Spain’s King Felipe at the venue built for the 1936 Olympics.
“This time it just wasn’t meant to be,” the prince wrote on social media. “We’re all still so proud of you.” 


There were joyous scenes after the final whistle among the Spanish players, with Williams putting his hands to his face before he was embraced by his teammates. Dani Carvajal slumped to the field and was piled on by jubilant teammates.
Yamal, Marc Cucurella and Dani Olmo were among the first to jump over the advertising hoardings to reach the Spanish fans in the stadium’s east end of the stadium.
It was fitting that Yamal and Williams combined for the crucial first goal as they are the poster boys of this exciting, multicultural team that mirrors the new reality in Spain.
Yamal’s mother is from Equatorial Guinea and his father is from Morocco, while fellow winger Williams has Ghanaian parents who made the long journey to Europe looking for a better life. To make it to Spain, they had to ride on the back of a crowded truck and walk barefoot through the Sahara desert.
“Euphoria! We are so happy. We deserved this,” said Williams, the player of the match. “This is for our fans and our parents, who have supported us throughout.”
Unlike his brother Inaki, who is a Ghana international, Nico chose to play for Spain and will now be regarded as a national hero there.
As, indeed, will Oyarzabal and the rest of the Spain team, who have won all seven of their matches at this tournament — an unprecedented feat — and beaten heavyweights Germany, France and England, back-to-back in the knockout stage.
Spain is back as a major player in senior soccer after winning both the Women’s World Cup and the men’s UEFA Nations League in 2023.
Since 2001, Spanish men’s teams have won 23 consecutive major finals in club and international soccer.


India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1

India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1
Updated 14 July 2024
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India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1

India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1
  • Sanju Samson, who was part of India’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, hit four sixes to help India score 167-6 in 20 overs
  • In reply, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 125 runs in 18.3 overs with medium pacer Mukesh Kumar taking 4-22 from 3.3 overs

HARARE: Sanju Samson scored 58 as India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in their fifth Twenty20 on Sunday to win the five-match series 4-1.
Samson, who was part of India’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, hit four sixes in his 45-ball innings to help India score 167-6 in 20 overs after losing the toss and batting first.
In reply, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 125 runs in 18.3 overs with medium pacer Mukesh Kumar taking 4-22 in 3.3 overs.
Zimbabwe had won the first T20 by 13 runs, with India then rebounding with four consecutive wins. It won the second, third and fourth T20s by 100 runs, 23 runs, and 10 wickets, respectively.
India’s top-order batters got double-digit starts Sunday but couldn’t build on them.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, who scored 93 not out on Saturday, was bowled for 12 off five balls. Skipper Shubman Gill was caught for 13, while Abhishek Sharma was dismissed for 14 as India reached 40-3 in five overs.
Samson and Riyan Parag (22) added 65 off 56 balls for the fourth wicket and stabilized the innings as India crossed the 100-mark.
The acceleration came late and cost India a few wickets, with Samson holding ground at one end. Shivam Dube scored 26 off 12 balls, hitting two sixes, and putting on 30 off 19 balls for the fifth wicket.
Zimbabwe pacer Blessing Muzarabani finished with 2-19 in four overs.
Kumar disturbed Zimbabwe’s start as opener Wessly Madhevere was bowled for a three-ball duck. He also sent back Brian Bennett for 10 runs.
Zimbabwe fought back with a 44-run partnership between Tadiwanashe Marumani (27) and Dion Myers (34).
Washington Sundar (1-7 in two overs) got the breakthrough in the ninth over, while Dube (2-25) dismissed Myers.
The hosts couldn’t fight back thereafter, especially with captain Sikandar Raza run out for eight. Zimbabwe crashed from 85-3 to 94-7 in the space of 15 deliveries.
Faraz Akram scored 27 off 13 balls to take Zimbabwe past 100, but the hosts never looked like winning.
Gill was leading India this series for the first time. He called it an “excellent series” for the young side.
“The hunger that we showed after the first loss was phenomenal to watch,” Gill said. “A lot of our players weren’t used to these conditions, some of them were on long flights, and we adapted very well.”