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Holders U.S ousted by Musovic-inspired Sweden



Holders U.S ousted by Musovic-inspired Sweden

Reigning champions, U.S are out of the Women’s World Cup after a nerve-shredding penalty shootout loss to Sweden on Sunday.

The holders will return home without a FIFA Women’s World Cup medal for the first time in their history.

This was after losing 4-5 to Sweden on penalties, following a goalless 120 minutes of football in an unforgettable last-16 tie in Melbourne.

Lina Hurtig squeezed home the winning spot-kick, albeit only just, after goalkeeper Zecira Musovic had been the Swedes’ heroine in the 120 preceding minutes against a dominant U.S side.

Although it wasn’t laden with goals and attacking inspiration, this much-anticipated match produced fascinating, full-blooded fare from the opening minutes until the last kick.

The first half undoubtedly belonged to U.S, with Trinity Rodman’s elusive, incisive wing play the most effective offensive weapon on either side.

Twice inside eight minutes the youngster showed pace and skill to burst away from her marker, each time firing in a right-foot shot that stung the palms of Musovic.

Sweden’s goalkeeper and player-of-the-match was exceptional throughout, and her team were once again indebted to her early in the second period.

This was when Lindsey Horan – who had earlier rattled the bar with a header – went for goal again.

The U.S captain could not have struck her first-time right-foot effort any more sweetly, but just as the ball looked set to nestle in the bottom corner, Musovic stuck out her left hand to divert it wide.

Those fears would have increased when Musovic produced another superb save to keep out a late Alex Morgan header.

Holders’ hearts were also in mouths when, with five minutes of the 90 remaining, Stina Blackstenius cut inside and forced Alyssa Naeher into her first save of the match – and, remarkably, the entire tournament

Extra time brought more Musovic magic, with the Sweden keeper thwarting Morgan, Lynn Williams and Sophia Smith as the tension continued to build.

That left penalties to settle the outcome, and while the U.S again seemed to be in control, crucial misses from Megan Rapinoe, Smith and, finally, Kelley O’Hara left Hurtig with the chance to make history.

The substitute’s spot-kick looked to have been saved by Naeher but, after an agonising few seconds in which the entire stadium held its breath, the ball was shown to have crossed the line.

Sweden celebrated wildly and can now look forward to a quarter-final against the in-form Japanese at Auckland’s Eden Park.

This was U.S’s first Women’s World Cup defeat – excluding penalty shootouts – since Sweden themselves beat the Americans in 2011… 4414 days ago!

Lindsey Horan, USA captain rued her team’s missed goal scoring opportunities, adding that losing by the lottery of penalties was a cruel way to bow out from the tournament.

“We played beautiful football today, we entertained, but we didn’t score and this is part of the game.

“Penalties, to be frank, they suck. They’re cruel, I’ve gone through too many in my career, and I’m proud of every player who stepped up to take one today.

“Score or miss, it’s courageous to step up and take a penalty.”

Vlatko Andonovski, U.S coach hailed his team for putting up a good showing, saying however that it was unfortunate that their best wasn’t good enough.

“I’m so proud of the team and I know we were criticised for the way we played in the group stage.

“But I think we came out today and showed what we’re all about – the grit, the resilience, the bravery.

“Unfortunately, football can be cruel sometimes,” he said.


16th INAC: Indian instructor educates Nigerians on benefits of Yoga



The Indian High Commission in Nigeria on Friday in Abuja urged Nigerians to embrace Yoga as a means of exercise for their overall well-being..

Diptiranjan Mohanty, Teacher of Indian Culture, High Commission of India in Abuja, gave the advice during the 16th International Arts and Craft Expo (INAC).

Mohanty, who demonstrated the exercise , said that Yoga is an aspect of Indian culture known to reduce stress, anxiety as well as improve brain function.
He said that practicing Yoga also improves cardiovascular function, quality of sleep, bone health and reduces inflammation.

“Yoga is part of our culture, we want our Nigerian friends and people across the globe to practise it as a lifestyle.
“It improves body flexibility and balance.

“Yoga is known to harmonise the mind, body and soul, and it is a method to detoxify theo body and make a healthy mind and a happy soul,” he said.

Mohanty said that Nigerians who were interested in learning how to practice yoga could attend free classes for the execise at the Indian High Commission in Abuja.

According to him, this is held Monday to Friday, from 4.00p.m. to 7.00p.
He said that India was at the expo to showcase its arts and crafts like Saree fabric, Masala Chai (indian tea), locally prepared to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

In the course of the expo, delegates from Taraba, Kaduna, Borno, Katsina, Ogun and Rivers states presented colourful dance performances.

Ogun and Rivers as well as Cuba presented cuisines peculiar to their culture, which delegates from other nations savoured.

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UEFA to raise payments for clubs not in European competition



Clubs that fail to qualify for UEFA’s competitions are set to receive a greater share of revenue from the European governing body from next season.
The arrangement is under a new distribution model announced on Wednesday by UEFA.
UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) signed a renewed working agreement until 2030 which will “bolster long-term stability and sustainable growth in European club football,” the governing body said in a statement.

The change will be effective from the start of the 2024-25 season, coinciding with a new format in UEFA’s Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

Under the new model for the 2024-2027 cycle, seven per cent of the revenue UEFA earns from the three competitions will be distributed to clubs not competing in them, up from four per cent.

The European Leagues Association, which represents professional soccer leagues in Europe, said the change would result in 308 million euros ($330.02 million) being shared among non-participating clubs, up from the current 175 million euros.

“Today’s announcement … will help all clubs across Europe to safeguard their competitiveness on and off the pitch while keeping investing in youth and talent development,” it said in a statement.

UEFA said further details of the new system would be unveiled at a later date.

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