Off The Pitch Wrap 10th July 2014

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It’s been another great week of sport with some great action taking place in the FIFA World Cup and Super Rugby as well as the finals of Wimbledon. The Tour de France started on Saturday in England and South Africa started their tour of Sri Lanka. There is also a wrap of the British Grand Prix that took place at Silverstone on Sunday.

Football:

World Cup

The quarter-finals of the World Cup was played last week Friday and Saturday, with the first game being played between France and Germany at the Beautiful Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Germany made it through to theWorld Cup semi-finals after a 1-0 victory over France. The Germans took the early lead in the 13th minute with a Mats Hummels header past Hugo Lloris, after going behind Les Bleus struggled to get back into the game a hardly threatened the Germans goal.

In the other Friday night game the hostess Brazil took on the exciting Colombians, Brazil came through a tough test as they beat Colombia 2-1 in Fortaleza.Brazil scored early thanks to Thiago Silva, and put the match away late on with a stunning David Luiz free kick. A late penalty gave Colombia hope, but the equalizer wouldn’t come.Silva will miss the semi-final against Germany after picking up a needless yellow card midway through the second half, this is a big blow for the Brazilians as the Captain has been brilliant throughout the tournament. A bigger blow for the Brazilians is the loss of their star player Neymar for the rest of the tournament through injury.

On Saturday Argentina booked their place through to the semi-finals with a 1-0 win over the talented Belgium team at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia.Gonzalo Higuaín’s half-volley in the first half gave them the lead, thereafter Belgium pushed forward throughout the rest of the game but lacked the quality to threaten the Argentine defense in the final third. It wasn’t the most exciting game of the World Cup as there were only three shots on target between the two teams for the entire 90 minutes.

In the final quarter-final game the Netherlands advanced to the semi-final by beating Costa Rica 4-3 in a penalty shootout with substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul saving two of the penalties after the match finished 0-0 following extra time. Louis Van Gaal produced a stroke of genius as he subbed his first choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessens with Tim Krul who saved low to his left to thwart efforts from Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana while the Dutch fired home all four of their penalties.

Brazil, Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands are now only two games away from claiming the ultimate prize of international football. The first semi-final will take place on Tuesday night at 22:00 pm between Brazil and Germany, then on Wednesday night at 22:00 pm it’s Argentina vs Netherlands. These are going to be two cracking games of football you don’t want to miss them!

Neymar out of the World Cup

Off The Pitch wrap on Mixed Apples

Brazil forward Neymar has been ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing his vertebrae in the closing stages of the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia on Friday, his team said.

“It’s not serious in the sense that it doesn’t need surgery, but he’ll need to immobilize it to recover,” team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said after the player had been taken to hospital.

“Unfortunately, he’s not going to be able to play,” he said, adding he expected the recovery period to take at least a few weeks.”

Neymar, who has scored four goals, went down after a challenge by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga in the 88th minute and was stretched off the field.

Transfer News

Luis Suarez is never far from the news even when his band from football, it looks like if he is on his way to Barcelona. Last week delegates from Barcelona and Liverpool met in London to negotiate the transfer of Suarez to Barcelona.Liverpool are holding out for £80 million for their star forward, a sum that would activate a release clause in his contract, while Barcelona hope to lure him for a figure in the region of £60 million. FIFA have already confirmed that Suarez will be allowed to have a medical ahead of a transfer, despite receiving a four-month ban from football.

In other transfer news Liverpool have completed the signing of midfielder Adam Lallana from Southampton and Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen. Adam Lallana has joined Liverpool on a long-term deal, believed to be worth around £25 million. WhileEmre Can signed a long-term contract withReds last week for £10 million.

Alexis Sanchez is wanted by Arsenal and Liverpool this transfer window. Barcelona are offering cash plus Alexis Sanchez to Liverpool for Luis Suarez but the Chilean forward would prefer a move to Arsenal, according to reports. The Gunners have been trying to push through a deal for the 25-year-old for the past two months, and have offered £32 million for the Chilean.

Chelsea confirmed last week Tuesday that an agreement has been reached with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of Diego Costa. Chelsea had met the buy-out clause for the Spanish international. The 25-year-old scored 36 goals for Atletico last season and helped them to win La Liga and to the final of the UEFA Champions league.

Rugby:

Super Rugby 

The South African teams were back in action with the Lions taking on the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night at Ellis Park, Springbok Marnitz Boshoff kicked 19 points with the boot as the Lions downed the Rebels 34-17. On Saturday afternoon the Stormers beat the Blue Bulls 16-0 in Cape Town to dash the hopes of the Bull making the Super Rugby play-offs. Then on Saturday evening the Cheetahs caused the upset of the weekend with a 27-20 win over the Sharks in Bloemfontein. The Sharks’ aspirations took a massive knock as they slid into third place on the log, now behind the log-leading Waratahs and the Seven-time champions, the Crusaders.On Sunday the Waratahs beat the Highlanders 44-16 to clinch first place and a home semi-final in Super Rugby with a round to spare.

Weekend Results:

6 July Waratahs 44 – 16 Highlanders

5 July Cheetahs 27 – 20 Sharks

5 July Stormers 16 – 0 Bulls

5 July Western Force 30 – 20 Reds

5 July Crusaders 21 – 13 Blues

4 July Lions 34 – 17 Melbourne Rebels

4 July Chiefs 24 – 16 Hurricanes

Cricket:

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South Africa started their tour in Sri Lanka on Sunday, they beat their hosts Sri Lanka by 75 runs in the first one-day international in Colombo. Opener Hashim Amla smashed 109 runs off 130 balls to help South Africa to a total of 308 runs. The hosts appeared to be heading towards victory at one point, but pacemen Ryan McLaren dismissed Thirimanne and Sangakkara in the 38th over to trigger a collapse that saw Sri Lanka lose their last five wickets for just 13 runs and were all out for 229.

The second ODI will be played in Pallekele on Wednesday, followed by the third and final match in Hambantota on Sunday.

Tennis:

Wimbledon

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Novak Djokovic claimed a second Wimbledon title after coming out on top in an epic battle over seven-times winner Roger Federer, eventually triumphing 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4 in a gripping encounter on Sunday. The Serb, who has now won seven grand slam titles, denied Federer the opportunity to win a record eighth Wimbledon title but was pushed all the way by the Swiss legend who faced a match point in the fourth set before forcing a decider. This final will go down as one of the greatest Wimbledon finals, it took Djokovic three hours and 56 minutes to beat Federer.

In the women’s final on Saturday Petra Kvitova thrashed Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-0 to become a Wimbledon champion for the second time. After just 55 mind-blowing minutes, she was celebration while spectators stood up to hail a majestic Centre Court performance.

Motorsports:

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix on Sunday and with his team-mate Nico Rosberg failing to finish he closed the gap at the top of the drivers’ championship from 29 points to only four. In front of the 120,000 crowd Hamilton surged into the lead when Rosberg dropped out of the race with gearbox problems on the 29th lap. Finland’s Valtteri Bottas finished second for Williams and Australian Daniel Ricciardo was third for Red Bull.

Cycling:

Tour de France

Off The Pitch wrap on Mixed Apples

The Tour de France kicked off on Saturday in Yorkshire, England with Germany’s Marcel Kittel sprinting to victory on the opening stage and claiming the yellow jersey. On Sunday Italian Vincenzo Nibali claimed the Tour de France yellow jersey with a late attack on the second stage to take the stage victory. Defending champion Chris Froome crossed the line in the group just behind Nibali in 18th place and climbs to fifth overall, while his main rival, Alberto Contador, was also present and is now eighth in the standings. With the tour still in its early days the overall standing should change especially when it gets to the mountain stages, the Tour de France end on 27 July in Paris.

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