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the longest such streak • Author: jinshuiqian0713, Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:58 am

It was a day of disbelief at the World Cup. A day where thousands sat in stunned silence. A day when a minnow deservedly beat a European powerhouse; when a former European powerhouse awoke from years of discontent and immaturity to put it all together on the biggest stage of all. Italy 0-1 Costa Rica D4. It stood right there on the board. It was the World Cup draw and every country was represented. D4, where hopes and dreams would have to go through not one, not two but three extremely hot Northern locations in group play. Manuas, Recife and then Natal. Three matches, including two at 1pm local time. Once the draw was made D4 got even worse, becoming the position where two non-European seeded teams came together. Two former winners. Englands entourage at the draw may have made headlines for the famous cut-throat gesture when handed their three opponents but this was far from what Italy wanted. Yet, still they remained in their base, at the seaside resort of Mangaratiba, over a thousand miles away from all three locations. The Italians put aside any worries about slow starts with a master class against England in their opener and arrived in Recife hoping to book their place in the next round against the groups apparent whipping boys, Costa Rica. For 30 minutes it was going to plan. Daniele De Rossi sat deep, allowed the full backs to motor on and Andrea Pirlo pulled the strings for the others to dance to. Mario Balotelli should have scored at least once and Claudio Marchisio, a misplaced backpass aside, was outstanding. Then the heavyweights hit the deck. Hard. Giorgio Chiellini misplaced a back pass, allowed Joel Campbell to blow by him before fouling in the box. Penalty. Except the referee missed it. Of course he did, look where he was? Apparently the counter-attacking World Cup isnt as easy to ref as people would hope. Italy got away with a standing count but a minute later they were floored again, this time for real. Their narrow 4-3-3 can be very successful with the ball but the wide members of their attack do tuck in and when Junior Diaz motored down the left wing the hapless Ignazio Abate had no help. Diaz whipped in a wonderful cross and Bryan Ruiz completed a miserable two minutes for the ball-watching Chiellini by heading in at the back post. Italy were down and apparently out; a wounded heavyweight with no energy or quality to help them back up. The biggest surprise was not them losing a competitive first half 1-0, it was their pathetic display in the second. Once again, just like Spain, we saw a European powerhouse labor through a game in South America devoid of ideas in the unfamiliar scenario of being behind. Cesare Prandelli, one of the games great flexible coaches, played three cards with his subs and they were all wrong. Instead of looking like a complete side, knowing what each others roles can be, against England, Italy were clueless against a magnificently organized Costa Rican back five. The image of Antonio Cassano rather than Ciro Immobile, for example, trying to get them back in the game was as sad as seeing the likes of Iker Casillas, Xavi and Steven Gerrard underperform at this World Cup. The game is changing in front of our very eyes and if Italy dont get back to what makes them special theyll soon be flying home just like Spain and England. Despite mistakes on Friday, their back seven - Buffon, back four, De Rossi and Pirlo - is good enough to win a World Cup. Who plays with them, and how they play, will ensure just when this teams tournament will end. France 5-2 Switzerland If you read any previews heading into this World Cup you probably had them tell you how difficult Switzerland are to break down and how mentally fragile France are. Welcome to the 2014 World Cup where stereotypes and form guides are being broken down as quickly as the Maracana security. Switzerland had a nightmare from start to finish. Everything went wrong for them, from a key early injury to massive errors by usually reliable players it was simply a game they just need to forget immediately. Win their last match against Honduras and they should qualify. If you cant beat them then they dont deserve to advance. France was magnificent. It was the best performance they have produced post- Zinedine Zidane and it wasnt even close. When France got to the final in 2006 they never produced back-to-back halves as good as this one. They scored five, missed a penalty and scored another fine goal less than a second after the final whistle blew. It was only fitting this game ended with the ball in the back of the net. In three matches in Salvador this World Cup has now produced SEVENTEEN goals. Or, the same amount of goals Norwich City scored at home all of last season. Suddenly, France looks like a legitimate, serious contender for this World Cup. Hated by their own people back in October after losing the opening leg against Ukraine, Les Bleus have gone from a bunch of arrogant, unlikeable underachievers to a formidable power with tremendous depth, full of players with Champions League experience who fear no one. Even their key nemesis in recent years, Spain, cant get in their way now. Guaranteed winners of a comfortable group, the tournament opens up for them now and Germany in the quarterfinals looks like a real possibility. Just dont call them dark horses. They were always too talented for that. The moment the draw was made, these so-called dark horses left the stable as a shiny white horse more than capable of easily jumping the first fence at the World Cup. Now that star striker Karim Benzema is finally playing as good as he does for Real Madrid this once lazy, uninterested horse is trotting hard towards the last week of this tournament. Ecuador 2-1 Honduras This was another great game at the World Cup. Honduras took the lead through Carlo Costly and it was then that we saw what Ecuador could do. Enner Valencia, their new goal scoring hero, grabbed a brace with a combination of good finishing and poor defending. Honduras will be furious with how they conceded, particularly the winning goal, which was another header from another good cross at this World Cup. Man of the Day Nominees Bryan Ruiz - No matter what this proud country do at this World Cup from here on in, they have their moment and their hero. Giancarlo Gonzalez - The Columbus Crew defender was absolutely marvelous against the Italians, leading a very high line and spending much of the game with Mario Balotelli in his pocket. Jorge Luis Pinto - The Costa Rica boss has got his tactics spot on in back-to-back games. Olivier Giroud - It proved to be a masterstroke inserting the Arsenal man into the lineup by Didier Deschamps. A superb header opened the floodgates but his buildup and attacking run - allowing Mathieu Valbuena to be onside - for the third goal was just as good. Enner Valencia - Every World Cup has a player from a smaller nation who some target in their pool heading in. The Ecuadorian hitman is no Lucas Barrios from 2010 thats for sure. The Winner… Jose Luis Pinto - Games are won and lost by players but Pinto, a veteran coach of 19 teams in 30 years, has outcoached Oscar Tabarez and Cesare Prandelli inside a week. A phenomenal achievement. What comes next? Argentina vs Iran (12pm/9am), Germany vs Ghana (3pm/Noon), Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Nigeria (6pm/3pm). Burning question for tomorrow Will Iran be the perfect opponent for Lionel Messi to score some more goals at a World Cup and quiet those who only think he plays well when he scores? Key stat of Day 9 Honduran goal scorer Carlo Costly was not even born the last time his country scored at the World Cup (1982). Brian Sutter Jersey . Toronto FC hosts the three-time Italian league champions in a friendly Aug. 7 at BMO Field, a game that Roma CEO Italo Zanzi said falls within a key part of their pre-season. Jacob de la Rose Jersey . During halftime, Love told The Associated Press he would receive treatment Saturday night and hoped to play Monday night against Houston. "I knew that my quad was bothering me pretty bad so I went out there and tried to move around a little bit and it just wasnt quite right," Love said. https://www.cheapblues.com/. Groves signed with Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent last year after a season with Arizona. He was in the linebacker rotation and had a sack in the season opener against Miami. Jay Bouwmeester Jersey .C. -- Kurt Busch put his chances at "70 per cent" at running the Indianapolis 500 this year because of recent developments that have pushed a potential program along. Ivan Barbashev Jersey .ca has you covered for whos in, whos out and what to expect from all 30 teams.ST. LOUIS -- Another game, another goal for Alexander Steen. Steen scored his NHL-leading 14th goal in 14 games, Brian Elliott stopped 18 shots for his 100th career win and the St. Louis Blues beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 Thursday night. St. Louis has won five of six and is 6-1-1 at home. Calgary has lost four of five and eight of 11. Maxim Lapierre and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for St. Louis. Elliott, who got the start in place of Jaroslav Halak, improved to 2-0-1 with his second straight strong performance. He stopped 31 shots in a 4-0 win at Florida on Nov. 1. Steen has a point in a career-best nine games in a row. He has scored in all but two contests this season. Despite his sizzling pace, Steen remains focused on the Blues quick 10-2-2 start and not his individual run. "I dont really analyze myself that way," Steen said. "You dont think about that or youll start focusing on the wrong things." Steen converted on a backhand from the slot in the second period to push the lead to 3-0. "He works his butt off and its nice to see him get rewarded," St. Louis defenceman Jordan Leopold said. "Whatever hes doing, hes got to keep doing it." Leopold had two assists in the game, his first points of the season. Steen scored the winning goal in the final minute of a 3-2 win over Winnipeg on Oct. 29 and a 3-2 victory over Chicago on Oct. 9. He became the first St. Louis player to score 14 goals in the first 14 games of a season since Brett Hull had 16 in that span in the 1990-91 campaign. Tim Jackman and Mike Cammalleri scored third-period goals for Calgary. Cammalleri tallied at 14:49 to bring the Flames to within 3-2. But Elliott was able to close down Calgary with some help from a staunch defence, which blocked 18 shots. "They got two on us, but we battled the last few minutes and squeaked it out," Elliott said. Calgary rookie goaltender Reto Berra fell to 1-2 in his third career start. Tarasenko broke an eight-game scoring drought with his fifth of the season on the power play at 3:01 of the opening period.dddddddddddd. He put home a rebound of a shot by Jay Bouwmeester. Lapierre pushed the lead to 2-0 just over seven minutes later with his first goal as a member of the Blues. "Everything we needed to do, we did in that first period," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We were really going, really on top of our game." Lapierre was suspended five games for a hit on San Joses Dan Boyle on Oct. 15. He got his first points of the season Thursday in his ninth game. "Its been a slow start for me the first three weeks, almost like two training camps," Lapierre said. "Tonight is more like the player that I am." The Flames, who were 0 for 6 on the power play, have failed in their last 28 man-advantage chances. "Id like to buy one," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said of the goal drought. "I know that the guys are working hard. It seems we just cant turn the red light on." Calgary, after taking five first-period penalties, rallied with a solid third-period effort. "A tale of two games," Cammalleri said. "We really didnt push the play early. At some point, we were able to get some momentum." St. Louis defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk picked up an assist in his seventh successive game, the longest such streak in the NHL this season. NOTES: Calgary forward Curtis Glencross is out four to six weeks with an MCL sprain suffered in Tuesdays 5-1 loss at Minnesota. The team is not disclosing which knee is hurt. "One of the two, what does that change?" Hartley said tersely. ... Blues have scored first in their last six games.... St. Louis opened a season-trying five-game homestand that concludes Nov. 16 against Carolina. ... The Blues have not allowed a power play goal in the last four games. ...Calgary did not record its third shot on goal until 14:30 left in the second period. ' ' '


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