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April 12, 2014

Spain\’s men remain on top of FIFA global rankings for April 2014

Spain’s men remain on top of FIFA global rankings for April 2014

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

File photo of Spanish international Diego Costa playing for Atletico Madrid
Image: Carlos Delgado.

The latest FIFA global rankings were published on Thursday. While there were changes for eight of the top ten ranked teams, the Spanish team‘s top ranking remained unchanged. Germany‘s rank of number two also remained unchanged. All the teams are all-male, with women ranked separately.

Portugal, Colombia and Uruguay each moved up one to be ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively. Argentina dropped three places to be ranked sixth, tied in the rank with Brazil who moved up three. Switzerland and Italy each moved down one, ranked eighth and ninth respectively. Greece moved up three to be ranked tenth.

Azerbaijan is ranked the highest in the team’s history at 85th, up six from the previous rankings published in March. Afghanistan is the second team in this ranking to have a team best ranking with a 122nd ranking, up 5 from the previous ranking period. Scotland was the biggest mover in this ranking period, climbing 15 spots for a ranking of 22. Liberia had the biggest drop, moving down 22 spots to 119. This was down only one more team than New Zealand who dropped 21 spots to be ranked 111.

Later this year, Spain is scheduled to play the Netherlands, Chile and Australia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup during pool play. The Netherlands dropped four places to be ranked fifteenth. Australia rose four places to be ranked 59th. Chile rose one place to be ranked fourteenth.

Several members of the Spanish national team are currently scheduled to play in the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, including Diego Costa, Koke and David Villa who play for Atletico Madrid and Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas, Álvaro Arbeloa, Nacho, Xabi Alonso, Isco.



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January 5, 2014

Portuguese government declares three days of mourning for Eusébio

Portuguese government declares three days of mourning for Eusébio

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Obituaries
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A 1968 Ajman stamp commemorating Eusébio.
Image: Ajman Post Office.

Eusébio and Brazilian footballer Neymar in 2012
Image: Stevebridges35 .

As news broke today of the death of legendary Portuguese footballer Eusébio, the government of Portugal declared three national days of mourning.

The 71-year-old died this morning at at 4:30am Portuguese time (0430 UTC) in Lisbon of a heart attack. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, known at the Black Panther, scored 41 goals in 64 appearances for the Portuguese men’s national football team, was voted the best player in the world in 1965, and won the World Cup Golden Boot in 1966 after scoring nine goals. He led the country’s national domestic competition in scoring in seven seasons, guided S.L. Benfica to eleven league championships, won the European Cup in 1962, finished second to Real Madrid in the European Cup in 1963, and finished his professional career with 739 goals in 745 games.

Born in Mozambique in 1942, he arrived in Portugal incognito using a woman’s name when he was 18 years old. Soon after, he joined Benfica where he went on to win the European Cup two years later.



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December 1, 2013

All plane occupants die in Namibia crash

All plane occupants die in Namibia crash

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

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The wreckage of a crashed plane carrying by various reports 33 or 34 occupants has been found in Namibia but none of its passengers or crew survived, police in the country said yesterday. LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 took off from the Mozambique capital‘s airport at 11:26 CAT (0926 UTC) Friday and was scheduled to reach an airport in Luanda, the capital of Angola, at 14:10 WAT (1310 UTC).

The remains of the plane were discovered at Bwabwata National Park in Namibia, close to the borders between Angola and Botswana. Kavango Region police coordinator Willie Bampton reportedly said yesterday: “My team on the ground have found the wreckage. No survivors. The plane is totally burned”. A nearby game ranger with the surname Shinonge described bodies being “scattered all over the place”, adding, “It’s a horrible sight”. Shinonge also said investigators managed to find and recover the aircraft’s black boxes.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, when the aircraft’s exact location was unknown, LAM Mozambique Airlines stated: “Information obtained indicates that the flight has landed in a location in Northern Namibia, bordering Angola and Botswana near a place called Rundu.” However, the airline later confirmed the plane had in fact crashed. “At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew who were on board the aircraft. LAM has established family assistance centres at Maputo and Luanda airports to support the families who are naturally distressed”, a further statement from the company said. Authorities from Namibia, Angola, Botswana, and South Africa were thanked by the airline for their assistance in the search for the plane.

The plane reportedly had a crew of six and 27 or 28 passengers. Ten of the passengers were Mozambique nationals, while nine were from Angola and five were from Portugal. One passenger from each of France, Brazil and China were also onboard.

The exact cause of the crash is unknown, although officials in Mozambique said weather and visibility were poor on Friday. In a statement, LAM Mozambique Airlines said: “We do not have any information on the circumstances of the accident and we cannot speculate on possible causes as the investigators must be given the time and space to do their work without interference or prejudice.”



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September 5, 2012

Greece defeats Portugal in boccia match at 2012 London Paralympics

Greece defeats Portugal in boccia match at 2012 London Paralympics

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 Summer Paralympics

Trafalgar Square, London - London 2012 - countdown clock.jpg

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Big smile from Greek competitor on clinching gold
Image: Laura Hale.

Greek and Portuguese pairs prep for their shots
Image: Laura Hale.

Players during the fourth end
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England— Greece defeated Portugal on Tuesday in the boccia BC3 pairs gold medal match, by four points to one. 2012 is the eighth Paralympics since the introduction of the sport, which is similar to lawn bowls.

The Greek pair Nikolaos Pananos and Grigorios Polychronidis won three sets, and lost one, against Portugal’s Armando Costa and Luis Silva by scores of 2—0, 1—0, 1—0 and 0—1. They enjoyed enthusiastic support from Greek fans repeatedly shouting, “Bravo!” after each took their respective shots. Following the Greek win, supporters broke into rhythmic clapping, continuing their flag-waving and chanting. One of the Greeks competitors rolled his electric wheelchair around, whilst smiling and posing for photos.

Georgian-born Polychronidis holds an accounting degree from the Athens University of Economics and Business. He came into the London Games as a silver medallist from the BC3 individual event at the Beijing Paralympics. Having spinal muscular atrophy, he took up the sport at university where he was introduced to it by George Tzimas.

With London being Pananos’s debut Paralympic Games, he only took up boccia competitively in 2007 and took part in both individual and team events at these Games. Pananos, who has cerebral palsy and is retired, is coached by Andreas Keramidas and plays his club boccia for ASAX Eidiki Olympiada.

Portugal qualified for this match after beating South Korea 4—3 in the semi-finals. The Greeks earned their gold medal round opportunity after beating Belgium who went through pool play undefeated. Portugal won two of their three matches in pool play, losing one, and taking 14 points with only four scored against them. In pool play, Greece won two matches, lost one, and took eight points versus 13 points against them.

Boccia, which is similar to lawn bowls, was first played at the 1984 Summer Paralympics. As a Paralympic sport, it is played by people with cerebral palsy and similar locomotor conditions; players are divided into four different classifications based upon their functional ability.



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September 4, 2012

Greece defeats Portugal in the boccia BC3 pairs gold medal match at London Paralympics

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012 Summer Paralympics

Trafalgar Square, London - London 2012 - countdown clock.jpg

Newest 2012 Paralympic stories

The Greek pair and Portuguese pair prepare for their shots
Image: Laura Hale.

Players during the fourth end
Image: Laura Hale.

A big smile from the Greek competitor after he clinched gold
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England — Greece defeated Portugal on Tuesday in the boccia BC3 pairs gold medal match 4 points to 1.

The Greek pair of Nikolaos Pananos and Grigorios Polychronidis won their three sets and lost one against Portugal’s pair of Armando Costa and Luis Silva by scores of 2-0, 1-0, 1-0 and 0-1. They enjoyed support of enthusiastic Greek fans who repeatedly shouted, “Bravo!” after each made their respective shots. Following the Greek win, supporters broke out into rhythmic clapping, continued their flag waving and chanting. One of the Greeks rolled his electric wheelchair around, while smiling and posed for photos.

Georgian-born Polychronidis, who has an accounting degree from the Athens University of Economics and Business, came into the games having earned a silver medal in the individual event at the Beijing Paralympics. Having spinal muscular atrophy, he took up the sport at university where he was introduced to it by George Tzimas.

At his first Paralympic Games, Pananos took up the sport competitively in 2007 and competed in both the individual and team events in London. Pananos, who has cerebral palsy and is retired, is coached by Andreas Keramidas and plays his club boccia for ASAX Eidiki Olympiada.

Portugal got into the match after beating South Korea 4-3 in the semi-finals. The Greeks earned their gold medal round after beating Belgium who had gone undefeated in pool play. Portugal won 2 of their 3 matches in pool play while losing 1, whiling having 14 points for and 4 points against. In pool play, Greece won 2 matches, lost 1, had 8 points for and 13 points against.

Boccia, which is similar to lawn bowls, was first played at the 1984 Summer Paralympics. At the Paralympics, it is played by people with cerebral palsy and related locomotor conditions, with players divided into four different classifications based on functional ability.



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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 3, 2012

Boccia under way on fourth day of London Paralympics

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2012 Summer Paralympics

Trafalgar Square, London - London 2012 - countdown clock.jpg

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Portugal and Belgium’s boccia players in action
Image: Laura Hale.

Thailand’s boccia players in action
Image: Laura Hale.

Hong Kong and Great Britain’s boccia players in action
Image: Laura Hale.

Portugal and Japan’s boccia players in action
Image: Laura Hale.

China and South Korea’s boccia players in action
Image: Laura Hale.

Brazil and Thailand’s boccia players in action
Image: Laura Hale.

Thailand thinking of their shot
Image: Laura Hale.

Spain, Canada and others watch boccia
Image: Laura Hale.

Ramps are moved in the Spain and Thailand match
Image: Laura Hale.

Boccia is being played
Image: Laura Hale.

Ramps are set up for Belgium and Portugal
Image: Laura Hale.

Thailand versus Spain scoreboard results
Image: Laura Hale.

Brazil and Thailand contemplate shot options
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England — On the fourth day of competition of the London Paralympics, boccia was underway at London’s ExCeL South Arena 1.

The first rounds of the day were pool play, with matches in Mixed Pairs – BC4 between Brazil and Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Portugal, Great Britain and Thailand, and Canada and Slovakia. In the Mixed Pairs – BC3, the first session featured matches between Greece and South Korea, and Canada and Great Britain.

The second session included more Mixed Pairs – BC3 pool play, with matches between Portugal and Belgium, and Thailand and Spain. Four quarter-final events took place in the Mixed Team – BC1-2 event, with South Korea playing China, Thailand playing Brazil, Great Britain playing Hong Kong, and Japan playing Portugal.

Medal round competitions in boccia start tomorrow.



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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

June 29, 2012

African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey

African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey

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Friday, June 29, 2012

With only a few days before final nominations for spots to compete at the London Olympic Games and little less than a month until the start of them, African Olympians are trying to finalize their selections while preparing for their moment on the Olympic stage. Meanwhile, with two months before their own event, African Paralympians continue their own preparations this week including qualification competitions and tournaments that aid in team selection.

With a £25,000 grant on offer to any Olympic team willing to base themselves in the United Kingdom ahead of the Games, several national delegations took advantage of the opportunity to arrive early to train, acclimate and get the full Olympic experience. Gambia, Lesotho, and Egypt are a few countries that took advantage of the grant program. Egypt’s athletes will spend two weeks at the Forum sports complex in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Gambia’s Olympians will prepare for the Games at the University of York’s Huntington Athletics Stadium.

Eight Algerian boxers are making the trip to London, with Abdelhafid Benchebla leading his country’s Olympic delegation. La Tribune is optimistic about the opportunity for the country to capture its first Olympic boxing gold medal since the 2000 Sydney Games but worries that the country does not invest in its sports representatives until it is too late to improve their performance. Olympic judo medalist Ammar Benyekhlef will miss the London Games because of passport problems.

Algeria’s Paralympians are also preparing for London. Earlier this week, the national goalball team participated in a Lithuanian hosted tournament featuring teams from Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Brazil, Belgium, the United States of America, and England. The team coach Mohamed Bettahrat talked about the tournament, saying to the French language Algerian papaer La Tribune, “A new opportunity to work with the great nations offered to us to optimize our preparation for the upcoming Paralympic Games. This is a great tournament that brings together renowned this time, the selections that will be present in London, one of our group.” tournament performance played a role in final team selection.

150 of Angola’s Paralympic hopefuls were in Luanda this week competing in the national athletics championship hoping to earn a trip to the London Paralympics. For those qualified, they will then participate in a training camp starting on July 7 in Huíla before traveling to Portugal on July 14 ahead of the Games. They then leave for London on August 4.

Past Kenyan Paralympians Joseph Kibunja and Henry Wanyoike in Hong Kong a few years ago
Image: Dennislo.

Mandatory Bristol based training has been arranged by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya for nation’s runners ahead of the Games but Kenya’s runners have implied this will disrupt their preparations. Middle-distance runner Silas Kiplagat is quoted in The Star of Nairobi in response to this mandate, “I’m not for the idea because all along, we have been training in high altitude and switching to the low altitude in Bristol is likely to be counter productive.” The Bristol idea is also opposed by Athletics Kenya, with the organization’s chairman Isaiah Kiplaga saying “The athletes have put in hard work for the last couple of months for the Olympic Games and Bristol being a low altitude area, it will hurt our medal hopes.” Kenya’s runners are expected to leave for London in two waves, with the first group leaving early next week and the second wave, which includes long distance runners, leaving closer to the start of the Games.

This past Saturday, Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi qualified for the London Games at the country’s national championships but his trip to the Games may be in jeopardy as two days ago, he was accused of stabbing a woman in Eldoret. According to Capital FM, Team Kenya has yet to issue a formal response to the allegations.

For two weeks, seven to nine Lesotho Olympians will prepare for the Games in north Wales, in Wrexham. Local Welshmen have been recruited to assist Lesotho competitors in their preparations for the Games, with local organizers looking for potential sparring partners if Lesotho qualifies a boxer. Two Lesotho marathon runners have already qualified. Swimmer Masempe Theko needs alternative arrangements because the Wrexham pool is only 25 meters, half the distance of the Olympic course pool. What strokes Theko will compete in at the Games is still to be determined.

At least two of Liberia’s Olympians go into the Games having competed in their sports at universities in the United States. One attended University of Texas. Another, Jangy Addy, attended the University of Tennessee and will represent the country in the decathlon after having qualified for the event.

Malawi Olympians will be headed to London with their national Olympic committee under a cloud, with the Nyasa Times alleging corruption in the contractor bidding process for facilities and other monetary handouts. The Malawi delegation only manage to qualify its athletes through the Olympic solidarity movement, which allows athletes to compete by invitation after they failed to meet qualifying standards. Fourteen year old Joyce Tafatatha and twenty-three-year old Charlton Nyirenda will represent the country in swimming. Neither swimmer has swum in a 50 meter pool before, practicing in a 25 meter unheated pool at home in Malawi. Charlton goes into the game with a goal of breaking the Malawi record of 25.46 in the 50 meter freestyle swim. Rounding out the Malawi competitors are marathoners John Kayange and Mike Tebulo, and Ambwene Simukonda who will compete in the 400 meter track event. Arriving in London earlier this week, the team is training at University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus.

According to Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) President Sani Ndanusa, Nigeria’s athletics competitors go into the Games with medal expectations. In the lead up to London, the country’s Olympic hopefuls participated in most of the major track competitions. The national Olympic Committee has until next week to finalize the list of track and field competitors they will send to London, but they have already made the decision to only send competitors who have made Olympic A qualifying times and scores. The Committee wants to avoid the embarassment of Olympic B qualifying competitors doing poorly at the Games in front of a large population of Nigerians who live in the United Kingdom. One of the Nigerian Olympians has been able to prepare for the world stage by competing at University of Texas as an athlete. Nigeria’s national football team does not have to worry about Olympic preparations as they failed to qualify for the Games in what is seen as a major blow to football in the country.

Rwanda T46 Paralympic competitor Theoneste Nsengimana qualified for the Paralympic Games in the 1500 meter event this past Saturday following a 4.06.05 finish at the Belfort Championship in France. In the process, he set a new national record for the distance in what was only his second international competition, with his first occurring last year at the All Africa Games held in Maputo, Mozambique. Other Rwandan competitors who will join him in London include the national sitting volleyball team, power lifter Théogène Hakizimana and runner Hermas Cliff Muvunyi.

Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World championships Athletics in Daegu
Image: Erik van Leeuwen.

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius‘s Olympic 400 metre qualifying time efforts have yet to meet with success. At a qualifying race in Benin two days ago, he finished second in a qualifying heat with a time of 46.32 seconds, 1.2 seconds slower than than the required time. He missed the qualifying time again in yesterday’s semi-final when he posted a time of 46.14 in another second place finish. He has one more opportunity to qualify for the Games before Sunday, when the qualification window closes. The double amputee’s efforts to make the Olympic Games has made international news following a 2011 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that deemed him able to compete against able bodied athletes.

South African triathlete Kate Roberts will be based in Davos until four days before the start of the Games. She will then travel to London, where she will familiarize herself with the Olympic course ahead of the start of her event. She asked The South African to ask South African fans to chant “Hou Bene Hou”, “Go Kate Go” and “Go Vrystaat!” when she is on the Olympic course.

London bound Ugandan Janet Achola, who qualified for the London Olympics earlier this week in the 1500 meter event during the seminfinals at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Benin, made the event final to be run later today. Fellow countryman Viola Chemos is also competing. She needs to set an Olympic qualifying time in the final in order to book her own trip in the 5000 meter event.

With thirty days to go, the British ambassador assisted Zimbabwe Olympians and Paralympians with the biometric requirements for their passports and visas. When they arrive in London, their entry will be expedited. Rower Micheen Thornycroft‘s was one of the first of the Zimbawe Olympic athlete delegation to have her biometric data collected. Competitors will leave for London on July 15 with swimmer Kirsty Coventry, marathon runners Wirimayi Juwawo, Cutbert Nyasango and Sharon Tavengwa, triathlete Chris Felgate and rowers Jamie Fraser-Mackenzie and Thornycroft having already qualified but some spots for London still available at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Benin happening this week.

The 2012 London Olympic Games get underway on July 27 and will run until August 13. The Paralympics get underway on August 29 and will run until 9 September.



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March 18, 2012

Football: Both Manchester teams out of Europe as Bilbao and Sporting profit

Football: Both Manchester teams out of Europe as Bilbao and Sporting profit

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

They might be occupying first and second place in the Premier League back in England, but Manchester United and Manchester City were defeated following the second legs of their respective UEFA Europa League ties.

March 15, 2012
Athletic Bilbao 2 – 1 Manchester United Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: C. Çakır
Llorente Scored after 23 minutes 23′
de Marcos Scored after 65 minutes 65′
(agg 5 – 3) Rooney Scored after 80 minutes 80′

Óscar de Marcos scored Bilbao’s second
Image: Рыбакова Елена.

Manchester United went into their game against Athletic Bilbao seeking to overcome a 3–2 deficit dealt in the first leg; they were soundly defeated.

Bilbao began the game strongly, immediately pressing United and looking to attack whenever possible. The English side were the first to strike, with left midfielder Ashley Young‘s early shot needing a block to stay out. Iker Muniain saw his 14th minute shot strike a post, and Óscar de Marcos miss the rebound, as Bilbao worked to break United’s defence down.

The opener came on 23 minutes, with young Spaniard Fernando Llorente converting from Fernando Amorebieta‘s lobbed through ball after completely fooling the United back four. The game ended early for Llorente, as he was forced off the pitch after an injury.

The Manchester side picked up their game in the second half; they were continually thwarted by the host’s defences. Bilbao remained at their high tempo to prevent any sort of response, and soon full back Andoni Iraola knocked wide after an impressive run.

Bilbao’s lead was doubled on 65 minutes as de Marcos converted from a floated cross by Iraola from the right, and the club never looked like slipping up throughout the rest of the game. Wayne Rooney, playing as a lone striker for United, finally gave his club’s fans their money’s worth with ten minutes left to play as he hit home from long range.

It was surely a humbling defeat for a team pushing to beat their city rivals to their domestic title, inflicted by seventh-placed Bilbao of La Liga. It means that for only the first time in ten years, Manchester United have failed to reach a cup final.


March 15, 2012
Manchester City 3 – 2 Sporting Clube de Portugal City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Attendance: 38,021
Referee: T. H. Hagen
Agüero Scored after 60 minutes 60′, Scored after 82 minutes 82′
Balotelli Scored after 75 minutes 75′ (pen)
(agg 3 – 3)
Sporting win on
away goals
Fernández Scored after 33 minutes 33′
van Wolfswinkel Scored after 40 minutes 40′

Sergio Agüero, pictured here playing for Argentina, scored twice on the night
Image: Ludovic Péron.

Portugal‘s Sporting Club had beaten Manchester City 1–0 at home, and only needed to consolidate that result in Manchester. The hosts put up a spirited fightback in the closing minutes; it was not enough to avoid elimination.

A slow first half from a full-strength City side meant they were easily contained by the visitors, and indeed Sporting were first to test the goalkeeper. Xandão‘s header early on was a sign of things to come for City, and they opening the scoring on 33 minutes with a free kick taken directly by Matías Fernández.

Just seven minutes later the Manchester team were beaten again, as Marat Izmailov set up a pinpoint cross allowing Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel to tap in a close-range finish and make it 3–0 on aggregate.

Despite trailing by three, City looked far more determined in the first half. Their first goal of the two legs came after an hour, as Argentinian international Sergio Agüero finished off Yaya Touré‘s good pass from just inside the penalty box.

Agüero assisted in the second goal, in a way; after falling from a poor tackle by Sporting defender Renato Neto, the hosts were awarded a penalty kick. Mario Balotelli duly took the ball past Rui Patricio to level the scores on the night.

Late substitute Edin Džeko nodded a good corner from Aleksandar Kolarov towards Agüero, who was left completely open at the far post, who made no mistake with his finish to put Manchester City ahead with eight minutes left to play.

An action-packed eight minutes was topped off by City goalkeeper Joe Hart, who got his head onto a ball drifted from the host’s corner but was denied by a good save from Patricio. Sporting struggled to withstand intense pressure, but held out to win the tie on the away goals rule.



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May 15, 2011

Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest

Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eurovision Song Contest
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The Esprit Arena, the venue for the contest

Azerbaijan has won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf, Germany. Duo Ell & Nikki, which consists of Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal, won the contest with 221 points after their performence of Running Scared. This is the first time that Azerbaijan has won the contest, they first appeared in 2008. Italy took second place and Sweden finished third.

Commenting on their country’s win the pair said “the one thing we want to say is, we just love you. Thank you for your support”. Gasimov continued to say that he was “the happiest man in the world”.

Azerbaijan received the maximum of 12 points from three countries, Russia, Turkey, and Malta.

Ukraine came fourth in the contest and fifth place went to Denmark. Switzerland came in last with 19 points. Host and last year’s winner Germany finished in tenth place. Other countries that participated in the final include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Ireland, Georgia, the United Kingdom, Moldova, Slovenia, Serbia, France, Russia, Romania, Austria, Lithuania, Iceland, Finland, Hungary, Spain, and Estonia.

Two semi-final heats were held in the days before the final to determine which acts would proceed to the final. Greece and Sweden won the semi-finals with 133 and 155 points. The countries that failed to make it to the final are Malta, Armenia, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, San Marino, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Belarus, Israel, F.Y.R Macedonia, Latvia, Cyprus, and the Netherlands



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April 9, 2011

Bailout signals Lisbon\’s capitulation to financial markets

Bailout signals Lisbon’s capitulation to financial markets

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Portugal
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Having resisted financial-market pressure for months, Portugal has finally requested an International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union bailout.

The emergency loan, believed to total around 75 billion euros, comes three weeks after the country’s prime minister, José Sócrates, resigned following parliamentary rejection of his government’s proposed austerity measures.

Following recent sovereign debt crises in Greece and then Ireland, the Portuguese government’s actions have attracted harsh criticism in the European press. Applauding the request for foreign assistance, Britain’s The Guardian nonetheless lambasts Mr Sócrates for the tardiness of his decision. The British newspaper described Portugal as “the financial-market equivalent of a dead man walking” in an editorial dated April 7.

In Portugal, Público observed that “it will not be easy to accept more austerity, but it will be impossible to accept any more demagoguery, denial of reality, political incompetence or irresponsibility”.

The National Daily noted, however, that the “return of the IMF represents a stinging defeat for Portugal”. Indeed, the political intransigence since Mr Sócrates’s resignation on March 23 was widely viewed as doomed to failure from the outset. The Portguese request, pointed out Spain’s El País, “surprised no-one, but [had] been delayed for political reasons”.

These latest developments will no doubt fuel further criticism of the single currency. In Austria, Vienna’s Der Standard labelled the euro a “deceitful entity”, mocking the claim by European leaders that “States bailed out using taxpayers’ money will be able to repay their debts with restructuring”.

There have been widespread claims that a will to protect the euro has led Brussels to unduly downplay the gravity of the sovereign debt crisis sweeping the continent.

The emergency loan is expected to be delivered before Portuguese elections on June 5.



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