Archives for July 6, 2014
BRAZIL, (July 6) (The Sydney Morning Herald) — The Netherlands left it late when they mugged Mexico to win a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup five days earlier, and they almost found themselves mugged in Salvador by Costa Rica before seeing off the unconsidered outsiders in a penalty shootout to progress to a World Cup semi-final meeting with Argentina next Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
The Dutch had dominated all but the first 20 of the 120 minutes of this game, hit the woodwork, rained in shot after shot and created chance after chance, but could not find a way past Tico goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who has been the hero of his country and looks a major contender to win the Golden Gloves award for best keeper of the tournament.
The game eventually hinged on another goalkeeper, however, Dutch substitute Tim Krul. With seconds left in extra time and penalties looming, Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal made World Cup history by taking off his number one, Jasper Cillessen, and replacing him with the Newcastle custodian.
Krul did not let his boss down, saving two of the Costa Rican penalties to ensure that his side progressed and the wonderful run of the Central Americans came to an end.
But it was a close run thing. After two hours of football Navas and his teammates had kept the Dutch scoreless, denying stars like Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder at every turn. They had offered little in the way of threat themselves, but showed that organisation, commitment and some luck can take a team a long way, even if this was the afternoon their good fortune would eventually run out.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said militancy and extremism that lead to mass murder in the name of religion is forbidden.
“Even in war, we are not allowed to kill ordinary people let alone take our own life and the life of innocent people.
“Such acts will have an adverse impact not only on the family but Islam itself,” he said when presenting aid to senior citizens and single mothers at Masjid Al-Muhajir, Batu 8, Lepar near here Saturday.
Earlier, he performed Isyak and Tarawih prayers with the villagers. It was also attended by Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Rahim.
Najib said Islam always encourages its followers to be moderate in all aspects of life.
Muslims in this country should be grateful for being able to live in peace with a government capable of bringing about comprehensive change.
Without peace and stability, it was impossible for the government to bring development and guarantee freedom of worship as is practised during Ramadan.
The country’s peace and stability allow the government to chart growth which is the highest in the region.
Najib said the moderation practised by Malaysia won compliments of other Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, which often praised our haj pilgrims as among the best.
“Our compliance with laws and regulations and mutual respect reflect our understanding of the Islamic religion. This way, more people will respect us.” –BERNAMA
Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the public should not be influenced by parties claiming they could issue passports and visit the Immigration Department for passport matters.
“The current system is solid. Legal action will be taken if there are weaknesses including alleged passport forgery by syndicates,” he told reporters after presenting ‘Ihya Ramadan’ aid to 450 recipients comprising single mothers, the poor and orphans in Rungkup state constituency, here Saturday.
Zahid urged the public with information on passport forgery to report the matter at Immigration offices nearby.
“If we receive information or anyone has concrete information, we will take immediate action to solve the problem.”
He said Malaysia has the latest technology that has been enhanced by the use of scanners that can distinguish between the fake and the genuine passports.
“There is nothing wrong with our system and the technology can be enhanced. It will be a mistake for anyone to test the level of security of our passports,” he added. –BERNAMA
“Since the first game of this World Cup I said I was calm, that the goals would come. It came and at an important moment,” Higuain said. “It’s been so many years since we made it to the semifinals. Now we did.”
Higuain came into the World Cup still recovering from an ankle injury that had sidelined him since early May. The 26-year-old Napoli striker looked out-of-form in the group stage and wasn’t giving Argentina the edge it needed in the penalty area.
That changed in the eighth minute of the game in Brasilia, as he picked up a deflected pass from Angel Di Maria just inside the area and beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a half-volley toward the far post.
“Higuain has the class to put the ball where he wants it. There is nothing we could do about it,” Courtois said.
A poor consolation for the Belgium goalkeeper was that he once again kept Messi from scoring, as he had done in seven straight matches at club level.
The Argentina captain missed a chance to get his fifth goal of the tournament when he failed to beat Courtois in stoppage time.
Argentina’s next opponent will be the winner of the last quarterfinal between the Netherlands and Costa Rica, who were playing later Saturday in Salvador.
Buoyed by the melodic chants of its fans, Argentina protected its lead thanks to a near-flawless defensive line, bolstered by strong performances from central midfielders Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia.
Belgium lacked the imagination to find a way into the final third of the pitch, and created few clear chances apart from a pair of headers by Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini.
Belgium’s most creative player, Eden Hazard, had little impact on the game beyond receiving a yellow card for a studs-first challenge on Lucas Biglia. Hazard cut a disconsolate figure as he was substituted by Nacer Chadli in the 75th.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots didn’t think that his team fell to a stronger opponent, calling Argentina “just an ordinary team.”
“If we had equalized in the last few minutes, they are dead, they are finished,” Wilmots said.
Long after the game, thousands of Argentine fans flocked to one section of the Estadio Nacional to celebrate the country’s best World Cup performance since it lost the 1990 final to West Germany.
“They played an excellent match,” Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said of his team. “After 24 years, we can be among the four best teams in the world. At least we lived up to the minimum objective.”
Argentina has won every match in Brazil by a single goal. In previous games, it scraped by thanks to individual moments of magic by Messi. But against Belgium, Argentina looked in control even after losing Di Maria — the team’s most influential player in Brazil aside from Messi — to a right thigh injury in the 33rd minute.
Sabella said the Real Madrid midfielder will have medical tests on Sunday to discover the extent of the injury.
It was Di Maria who set up Higuain’s goal as he picked up a pass from Messi and cut in from the right. He tried to find fullback Pablo Zabaleta, but the ball bounced off Jan Vertonghen into Higuain’s path. (AF)