Portugal found an unlikely hero as Eder’s thunderous finish deep into extra time secured their first European Championship title after they overcame the early loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to snatch a 1-0 victory over hosts France on Sunday.The substitute picked the perfect time to score his first competitive goal for his country, marauding forward before letting fly with a bullet shot from 25 metres in the 109th minute.It was a magic moment for the 28-year-old, who plays for French club Lille after a largely unglamorous career, and a cruel blow for France and their coach Didier Deschamps.His side had dominated the match, but squandered a number of chances, in front of their devastated home support, who arrived at the Stade de France hoping to celebrate a third European crown.Cristiano Ronaldo stretchered off after suffering a knock in the early stages of the gameThe trophy was lifted triumphantly by Portugal captain Ronaldo, who broke down in tears at the final whistle after his own game had come to a frustrating end after 24 minutes when he was carried off the pitch on a stretcher with a knee injury.The script had been written for him to produce a performance to match his status as one of the game’s greats, but he had to settle for a back-stage role after Dimitri Payet’s challenge left him in a heap on the floor.So much of the build-up had focused on Ronaldo and his hopes of crowning a glittering career with the only achievement missing from his CV, a piece of international silverware.That was achieved, but, with Eder stealing the limelight and his own role reduced to that of a cajoling cheerleader, it was probably not how Ronaldo would have envisaged his evening panning out.Yet having been part of the Portugal side that were stunned in the final as hosts by Greece in 2004, he celebrated wildly with his team mates as ticker tape rained down from the rafters.“This is one of the happiest moments in my career,” he said. “I’ve always said I wanted to win a trophy with the national team and make history. And I did it. Thank God, things went well for us.”Coach Fernando Santos, whose side had won only one match inside 90 minutes out of seven at the tournament, hailed a perfectly executed tactical display.“We were as simple as doves and as wise as serpents,” he said.“Wherever we’ve gone there have always been Portuguese fans. This lifted our souls. It’s hard to describe the players’ emotions — it’s incredible.”DEBILITATING DEFEATFor France it was a debilitating defeat after they had come into the match as heavy favourites and hoping to lift the spirits of a nation still recovering from last November’s attacks in Paris.“We missed a chance, maybe not a unique chance, but a great chance to become European champions,” Deschamps said.“Our disappointment is immense and will take time to digest. We won together, we suffered together and we lost together. It would have been magnificent to offer this trophy to our supporters, here at home.”For the much of the match, there had looked like being only one winner as France began with early attacking intent, fuelled by the bullish presence and charging runs of Moussa Sissoko in midfield.His 34th-minute shot was well-parried by Portugal keeper Rui Patricio, but by that point the match had settled into a pattern of France probing and pushing but struggling to break down their more defensively-minded opponents.Without Ronaldo, Portugal seemed in no hurry to rush the ball forward, happy to see the game descend into a cagey, tactical battle.They had a scare, however, in the 67th minute when Kingsley Coman’s cross found Antoine Griezmann unmarked six metres from goal, only for the tournament’s top scorer to head a golden opportunity over.Minutes later, Olivier Giroud, fed by sprightly substitute Coman, forced a diving save from Patricio, who then parried away a pile-driver from Sissoko as France turned the screw.France’s best chance of the night arrived in stoppage time when substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac turned his marker inside out before scuffing a shot past the keeper and against the post, with the ball bouncing across the face of goal and then out of harm’s way.While Portugal continued to sit back in extra time, they had the better chances with Eder’s header parried by Hugo Lloris and Raphael Guerreiro striking the crossbar with a free kick before Eder’s moment of magic.Portugal’s Eder celebrates with the trophy
Liverpool’s German international midfielder Emre Can, who has missed the past two months with injury, returned to training ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.Can trained with the Liverpool squad on Monday and his return to fitness is a boost for Klopp whose midfield options have been restricted by injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.But Klopp cautioned about Can’s potential involvement in the game in Kiev.“It depends always on the reaction. But let me put it this way, 10 days ago I didn’t think it is possible he could do what he did today. It looked good. It was really positive but we have to wait,” he told reporters.“The door is open – he is really desperate to be a part. We shall see,” Klopp added.James Milner, who missed the final Premier League game of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion with a muscle problem, also took part in the training session.
Roger Federer dashed home hopes of an outlandish upset at Wimbledon by easing into the third round with a 6-1 7-6(3) 6-2 win over Britain’s world number 169 Jay Clarke on Thursday to reach the third round.Federer had never lost a Grand Slam match to somebody as low as Clarke in the rankings and, despite the Briton putting up a brave fight in the second set, the huge gulf in class ensured the Swiss never had to get out of second gear.Chasing a ninth Wimbledon title, Federer blasted out of the blocks, winning the opening set in double quick time, before Clarke got a foothold in the contest, holding serve throughout the second set to force a tiebreak.The home crowd began to sense the beginnings of an upset when Clarke secured a mini-break on the Federer serve, but it was a fleeting advantage, with the Swiss taking the set and breaking early in the third.The 20-year-old Clarke handed Federer matchpoint with a double fault and the 20-times Grand Slam champion wrapped up the contest when the Briton sent a backhand wide.“I really enjoyed myself. The tank is full. I came here with a lot of confidence, the first few matches haven’t been very taxing physically. You try to win your matches regardless of the score, if you win them in straights that’s better,” Federer said.“This first week has been going well and I know the opponents in terms of ranking will now get better.”The Swiss will next face either Lucas Pouille or Gregoire Barrere.
The world, more particularly New Zealand, is trying to come to grips with the horror of last Friday’s (March 15) shooting that left 50 people dead and many others injured, some critically. Many watched in complete shock on social media as a lone gunman opened fire on the gatherings at two Mosques during the Friday prayers. It was an attack that was well planned in advance based on various now known facts most evident from the live-streaming.From reports, the Australian-born gunman had earlier published a manifesto in which he strongly objected to immigration and multiculturalism. In that document, he reportedly showered praise on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. That suggests that his deliberate and calculative actions were premised in hate for a particular group of people; from those targeted, Muslim immigrants and refugees.He seemingly spared no effort in his planning to maximise casualties given the calibre and amount of weapons he had in his possession. The fact that he also spared no effort to have it streamed live meant he wanted a worldwide audience to see in real time his actions of triumphalism; actions that are seemingly becoming routine in various parts of the world as seen on March 18 when three persons were killed by a Turkish citizen in the Dutch city of Utrecht; actions that can only be blatant acts of terrorism.Some of the victims would have fled their war-torn homelands in a gruelling search for peace and a place to be shielded from such atrocities. New Zealand in many ways offers such and was deemed and believed to be a safe country with its sanctuary city of Christchurch; now infamous for that shooting. While it was another incident of spewing hate with deadly consequences, two things stood out in its aftermath; the coming together of the country and the announced intention of the political leadership to swiftly change existing gun laws.The images of New Zealanders, especially those with visible Caucasian extraction, comforting surviving relatives and the Islamic community while at the same time forthrightly condemning the barbaric action, are not only comforting, but send a strong message of tolerance, peace and love. Common was the sentiment that the action of the gunman is not representative of the people of New Zealand.Over time, many such despicable actions of hate crime targeting different groups have occurred and in every case, people from all backgrounds have rallied in support of the victims. It shows that people in the vast majority across the world want peace and tolerance to prevail. It also unfortunately shows that some will do their utmost to continue to create disharmony in propagation of their belief and which is not in keeping with the efforts of forging togetherness.By rallying around each other, New Zealanders, like others in various parts of the world in the past, continue to send a very strong message rejecting those who perpetrate hate. There must be no place for hatred and all efforts to dispel it from society must be fully supported. Guyana has had incidents that resulted in many innocent ones being murdered. The massacres at Lindo Creek, Lusignan and Bartica continue to haunt us all. Those tested resolve and stability, but in the end, despite the challenges posed, the actions of the perpetrators were and continue to be rejected.The onus is upon all, especially those with influence, to continue to advocate for the rejection of hate and for efforts designed to promote and strengthen tolerance and harmony to be supported. Come March 21, a constitutional crisis, which could have been avoided had the Government abided by the supreme law that governs the successful passage of a parliamentary no-confidence motion, would engulf the country.It’s unchartered waters and could challenge the social fabric of togetherness. With historical incidents that tested that resolve, especially with elections as a catalyst, the upcoming period will have to be traversed with a profound sense of responsibility in words and actions by all, including those who are prolific on social media.Unfortunately, there will be those who will find it difficult to curb their tendencies to spew hate and disharmony. Again, they must be rejected and made to feel that what they advocate is not representative of the people of Guyana.From all reports, the unity play staged by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) was well received with members of the audience welcoming those bonds expressed at the grassroots but the Government at the top has acted to tear them asunder.The Government’s actions in rejecting the Constitution has push the nation to the impending constitutional crisis. That sends a strong message of disrespecting law and order which will naturally cause resentment in some quarters. It is therefore not helpful to the process of building harmony; a process which must be led by the government of the day.A lesson can therefore be had from New Zealand as its Government is leading in the healing process and has demonstrated a willingness to take immediate action to help prevent a recurrence in an effort to safeguard the welfare of its citizens.
Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy has told Liberians not to have fear about liberalizing trade and commerce in Liberia as the country is poised to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO).Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has been making great efforts to achieve accession to the WTO, and predicated upon this WTO’s guests including Ambassador Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General for United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and chairperson of the working party, and Dr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director of Accession Division of WTO Secretariat are in the country to work out some modalities that will lead Liberia to the WTO conference that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya this December.The conference in Kenya will be the first to be held on African soil and it is a crucial point at which Liberia’s acceptance to be a member of WTO will be made, depending on whether it will meet criteria having to do with reforms of trade laws in conformity with global standard.Speaking on August 19 at the occasion marking the visits of the guests, Minister Addy intoned that the world is changing, and what people do anywhere now should be in conformity with global standard.He said transformation will never take place if a country builds a fence around its borders, and if Liberia can benefit from global initiative such as the WTO, it must carry out domestic reforms of its laws and policy to reflect predictability and transparency.Despite the open trade policy joining Liberia to the global trade community under WTO, the Minister indicated in his statement that they have negotiated and put in place mechanisms that will protect Liberians’ interest in doing business.Elaborating further on the significance of becoming a part of WTO, the Minister said it “provides predictability” by allowing trade regulations and policies to be the same in all member countries; and that fees for transactions will be the same and transparent everywhere.In this manner, he said it will encourage investment that will also enhance job opportunities for Liberians since investors will be able to create job opportunities.He said in the 20 years of anarchy during which the country suffered, he envisions seeing a new Liberia like pre-war days where rule of law and accountability will be in place to regulate people’s behavior.He indicated that setting up and implementing rules in the country will enhance vibrant private sector that will provide medical and educational services which will cause people not to seek such services outside of Liberia.In his remarks, Ambassador Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and chairperson of the Working Party, said their visits are meant to commend Liberia’s work leading to accession to WTO.He, however, said for membership to WTO to be successful, the country must take ownership and no one else.He said the journey to success in Nairobi in December this year depends on reform programs Liberia will carry out in its domestic laws in conformity with global standard.He acknowledged that while Liberia has made some tremendous progress, he also advised that the rest of the activities left should be completed in the next few months if Liberia can be successful at the WTO’s first conference on African soil.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,It was reported in the Tribune, a Bahamian newspaper, on March 2, 2017 that President David Granger and his select cohort arrived in The Bahamas for a three-day State visit by private plane. Thinking that there was an error with the report, since there was no possible justifiable reason to use a private plane instead of a commercial flight (whether first class or otherwise), my further investigation revealed that not only was this report of the use of a private plane accurate, but it was further evidence of insensitive profligacy and waste of taxpayers’ money by President Granger.The investigation revealed that not only three Ministers, one of whom is his son-in-law (Mr Gaskin, the Minister of Business), but a team of speech writers, bodyguards, assistants, and media personnel accompanied President Granger on this private plane and for whom daily stipends and accommodation had to be provided at the hotel, the rates of which are about US0 per night. In addition, a number of gifts were purchased and presented to the Bahamian Government all bought and paid for with taxpayers money. The total spent on this three-day trip was about G million. The cost of the private plane alone was about G million. Two questions ought to have been asked by the media which holds the significant responsibility of being the fourth estate on behalf of the people of Guyana: 1) How could President Granger justify the use of a private plane instead of a commercial flight? 2) What investment did the three-day State visit garner for Guyana?Of course, the media can be partially forgiven since President Granger assiduously avoids answering questions by dodging and not holding press conferences. But most sections of the media are also complicit by neglecting to ask President Granger the hard questions when the impromptu opportunity arises, quietly hoping instead to receive the perks of free travel with the Head of State or his Ministers, while Guyana continues along a path of visionless high-tax submersion and wasteful spending.With admittedly dwindling investment and a reduction in all of the productive sectors except for gold, it is now obvious why there has been this urgency to increase taxes and an emphasis on increased tax collection – the “good life for the government”. This, ironically, on the authority of a president who has collected over $50 million in salary since his assumption of office as President but pays not a single penny of tax on his income.Guyanese are feeling the squeeze more than ever and struggling to make ends meet while our President displays his manifest insensitivity to our circumstances in grandiose style by driving around in Lexuses with large entourages and security detail and travel internationally by private planes. If the Bahamian newspaper did not publish the use of the private plane by President Granger, it certainly makes one question how would Guyanese ever have known about it or worse what else do we not know?When times are hard, we expect our leaders to be sensitive to our struggles and not flaunt the “great life” in our faces. The famous Guyanese saying “he who feels it knows it” and with the “great life” the Government now enjoys it raises the question whether decisions can be made in the best interest of the Guyanese people, who need the support of a government who “knows it”. Leadership begins with responsibility, but lasting change happens by example.Sincerely,Charles S Ramson
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1 Gary Cahill Gary Cahill believes it was important for Chelsea to express their support for under-fire Jose Mourinho, even if his illustrious CV does speak for itself.Just a matter of months after comfortably securing the Premier League crown, the Blues now sit 16th in the standings after Southampton last weekend inflicted their fourth league defeat of the campaign.It has naturally led pressure to ratchet up on Chelsea’s Portuguese manager – talk the club attempted to extinguish by surprisingly releasing a statement saying Mourinho retained their “full support”.It is a move centre-back Cahill certainly supports, highlighting the success and calibre of the man at the Stamford Bridge helm.“(The statement) is important,” he said. “I think everybody knows the situation we’re in at the moment.“It has been a very, very difficult start. The Southampton game, for me personally, was a real low and I’ve come away here totally determined to make that right when I come back.“That’s the kind of attitude I’ve got towards it all and I am sure my other team-mates are probably feeling the same – pure determination to turn it around and make sure that when we have the good times again, they’re even sweeter because of what we’ve been through. I think that’s important.“I think in terms of backing the manager, of course we all back him, of course we are all around him.“Dare I say, he doesn’t even need backing. When you’ve done so much in the game, got the CV and been through everything that he has been, not just in this league or what he has done for Chelsea but in other leagues.“I don’t even think he needs backing, but obviously it is nice to have that and he has certainly got that from the players and the club.”Before Cahill can help Mourinho and Chelsea get back to winning ways comes the small matter of representing England.Roy Hodgson’s men round off Euro 2016 qualifying with a trip to Lithuania after Estonia visit Wembley on Friday, when the Chelsea defender will lead his country out as captain for the very first time.“Obviously it is an extremely proud moment for me tomorrow, not just for myself but my family,” Cahill said, skippering the side in the absence of Wayne Rooney. “It is one I am looking to enjoy as much as I possibly can.“It is a great honour, a dream come true. Since the boss gave me the vice-captain role I’ve enjoyed that, but waiting and hoping obviously to at some stage lead the team out.“I know I’ve had the armband once or twice when Wayne has come off the pitch, but to lead the team out will be something incredible for myself.“Definitely a career high for me and something I’m really looking forward to.”
A bus carrying Rangers fans to the game against Partick Thistle crashed, leaving one man dead A 39-year-old man has died following a Rangers supporters’ bus crash in Ayrshire which left a further 18 people in hospital.The crash happened on the A76 at the Crossroads roundabout near to Bowhouse Prison on Saturday at around 1.15pm.One passenger said the coach “swerved” at the roundabout and the bus landed on its side on a grass verge.The coach was travelling to Ibrox Stadium, where Rangers were due to play Partick Thistle.Police Scotland said in a statement: “Police Scotland can confirm a 39-year-old man has died following a serious coach crash on the A76 near Crosshouse Roundabout.“Eighteen people are receiving treatment in hospital, three of whom are in a serious condition. This includes seven men under 20 years of age, three men and three women aged between 30 and 59 and five men over 60.“A report will be prepared for the procurator fiscal.”A total of 36 people, plus the driver, were on board at the time of the crash. Earlier, police said three people being treated in hospital were in a serious condition.Rangers assistant manager Davie Weir said he had “only just heard” about the crash.He said: “I’ve only just heard about it. Obviously there are things more important than football.“Until we get all the details, I think it would be unwise to comment.“But our thoughts are with the people involved, the families involved, and I’m sure the club will be very supportive in regards to anything they can do to help the situation.”Ryan Rowe, from Darvel, East Ayrshire, was driving to work when he passed the crash scene.He said: “It must have happened just five minutes before I got there.“Within two minutes the fire service, ambulance and police all turned up.“There were still people trapped inside.“One man I spoke to was just sitting down and in tears and he was shaking.“He said the bus had swerved.“Another young man had cuts all over his arm and blood all the way down it. He was holding it in the air to try and stop the bleeding.“Two or three windows on the bus had been smashed and when I was there paramedics were still trying to get people out of the other side that the bus was lying on.”He said many of the passengers appeared to be in their teens or early twenties.A screen has been erected around part of the damaged coach.John Linton, a photographer who was at the scene, said it appeared the coach had either skidded into the verge or caught the camber of the roundabout and been left on its side.He said: “They have screened it off, so that would suggest there was something pretty bad down there. There’s a screen at the rear end of the coach.“There were smashed windows and an emergency door at the back was broken.”Emergency services remain at the scene and the road has been closed in both directions while crash scene investigators carry out inquiries.Inspector Darren Faulds said: “Inquiries are ongoing to establish the cause of the crash and anyone with any information is asked to call road policing officers at Irvine Police Office on 101.” 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to lift more trophies before his first season at Manchester United is out.For your chance to win £100K, sign up to play Dream Team Europe Fantasy FootballThe 35-year-old arrived to much fanfare in the summer and has lived up to the hype, having already become the first United player to score 20 goals in a season since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.There will be plenty of opportunities to add to that tally as United are fighting on four fronts, with the EFL Cup final against Southampton awaiting after matches in the FA Cup and Europa League.Chelsea’s indomitable form means the Premier League title is likely beyond reach, but Ibrahimovic is determined to add to August’s Community Shield triumph.“We just need to keep going,” Ibrahimovic said after Saturday’s 2-0 win against Watford.“We want to go through the Europa League and we have a good game at home against St Etienne.“From five trophies this season we have won one and we are still in four.“I think from the teams in front, only one will become champions. The rest will not get a trophy, but we have one and we can get our second one.“And we are still in the Europa League and FA Cup, so if we don’t become champions in the Premier League at least we can try and win two or three trophies.”United certainly have the strength in depth to juggle domestic and continental exertions, while their improvements under Jose Mourinho continue.The Portuguese described his side’s first-half display against Watford as “art”, epitomised by Juan Mata’s impressive team goal that the recalled Anthony Martial added to after the break.Ibrahimovic was frustrated not to net himself on an afternoon that saw United move into fifth place for the first time since October.Liverpool’s win against Tottenham in the late kick-off saw them drop down to sixth once more, but just two points now separate them and Mauricio Pochettino’s side in second.“We know where we are and that we have been stuck in the same position for many months,” Ibrahimovic said.“We had it for 20 minutes perhaps and we are back in the same position now, but we know what we need to do.“We need to keep winning to climb in the table and hope the others lose points and we can go past them.” The 35-year-old is determined to add to August’s Community Shield triumph 1