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Sarri puts Chelsea to the test, admits Rudiger

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first_imgAntonio Rudiger has added to Maurizio Sarri’s problems by comparing the beleaguered Chelsea manager’s intense training methods to being at school.Sarri is fighting to save his job after a dismal first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.A tame FA Cup fifth-round defeat against Manchester United on Monday was the latest setback for Sarri, who has seen Chelsea suffer humiliating defeats against Manchester City and Bournemouth in recent weeks.In a bid to cram in extra work on his football philosophy for players reported to be unconvinced by his plans, Sarri has introduced training on match days.And Chelsea’s Germany defender Rudiger admitted the sessions can be a psychological challenge.“It’s not like we are doing box to box runs. It’s not physical. It’s just the tactical things he likes to do,” Rudiger told reporters.“It’s the same if you sit in the school the whole time listening to someone. Of course, sometimes, it gets mental, but at the end of the day you have to do your job.”Chelsea fans turned on Sarri during the United game, criticising the possession-based style the Italian favours and calling for him to be sacked.Amid reports he would be dismissed if Chelsea lose any of their next three matches, Sarri bemoaned a lack of time to spark a turnaround.Thursday’s visit of Malmo in the Europa League last-32 second leg is followed by Sunday’s League Cup final against Manchester City and a London derby with Tottenham in the Premier League on February 27.While Rudiger and his team are focused on defending their 2-1 first-leg lead against Malmo, he conceded Chelsea face a season-defining moment at Wembley on Sunday.“First of all, let’s speak about the game tomorrow because it’s important for us to stay in this competition and fight to win it,” he said.“Then, on Sunday, a big game against City at Wembley. That will show the truth. That will show our way this season.“The truth in terms of keeping up with opponents like City, and also Liverpool and Tottenham.“You always play for your manager, but you want results. You want to win. No player on earth likes to have the kind of run we’ve had.”last_img read more

China takes World League revenge

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first_imgThe result at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium saw China finish second in Group D with a 6-6 record while Japan settled for third at 5-7. Poland won the group at 9-3 and Egypt was at the bottom at 4-8.The final round of the World League will be held in Rio de Janeiro on July 23-27 featuring six teams. Japan has been given a place in the final round as a wild card. GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES OSAKA (Kyodo) Cui Jianjun scored a game-high 23 points to help China beat Japan in four sets Sunday in their final preliminary round match of the men’s volleyball World League.China troubled the Japan defense with a series of swift combination attacks en route to a 25-20, 25-21, 27-29, 25-23 win in a meeting between teams drawn together in the first round of the Beijing Olympic tournament.center_img IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img read more

Rajevac: Winning is all that matters

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first_imgMore than a month has elapsed since Ghana narrowly missed taking the African crown, suffering a 1-0 defeat against Egypt in the final of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. With that disappointment behind them, Ghana have now turned their focus to their next assignment; the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.Milovan Rajevac, the man charged with moulding Ghana into a strong and potent unit, says that the next few months will be used wisely as the Black Stars look to win their way out of the group and beyond. There is still much work to be done if they are to transform their dream into a reality, starting with their Group D opener against Serbia in Tshwane/Pretoria on 13 June before further matches against Australia and Germany.There has been much change regarding the teams approach to matches since Rajevac assumed the reins 18 months ago. Sometimes criticised for not playing in the carefree manner that is often associated with west African football, Rajevac is not a man swayed by emotion, preferring a more pragmatic approach. FIFA.com had a heart-to-heart chat with the 56-year-old as the countdown to South Africa 2010 continues.FIFA.com: You lost to Egypt in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals, which must have been a bitter pill to swallow. What lessons did you draw from the competition?Milovan Rajevac: Considering what we had to deal with before the tournament, we can consider our experiences a success. Of course we would have loved to win, but unfortunately Egypt won it. I think the players played very well throughout the event, maybe with the exception of our (group) game against Cote d’Ivoire. Before the tournament, we lost key players to injury and I was forced to think very hard on our strategy. There were many valuable lessons for us. I think it is important for the team to carry the momentum forward.There has been some media comment suggesting that Ghana did not play good football in Angola. What is your view on that?Good football? I believe in winning football, in tournaments you have to get results, that is what is important for me and the rest of the team. What is the point of playing around with the ball in your own half if you are not scoring goals. We had to decide on what we wanted to do; whether we wanted to be entertainers or win our matches. So, I don’t think we were boring, maybe we were not as exciting as some people wanted us to be, but I wouldn’t say that we were boring at all.Do you believe the likes of Samuel Inkoom, Dede Ayew, Anthony Annan have now come of age at international level?Yes, those players have done very well. Not only the three that you have mentioned, but there are also some outstanding guys who have put their hands up and done well whenever given an opportunity. Players like Abadu and Opuku Agyemang. Most of these boys did a great job at the U-20 World Cup and it was only fair to give them a chance at senior level, most especially considering the fact that we had to deal with injuries before the tournament. I think now Ghana has a good list of young and old players. Just how important are players like Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah and John Mensah for your FIFA World Cup preparations?You are now talking about experience, and that is valuable for us. Those players are part of our plans, they are key to our ambitions. Yes, some might say the youngsters did well in Angola, but the reality is, at the World Cup, you need a lot of experience, you need guys who are going to be able to deal with the pressure. We need to mix youth and experience and find the right balance. By that, I mean we must continue using the youngsters but they need guidance, they need people around them who will be able to deal with pressure and that is where players like Essien, Mensah and Appiah come in.There has been a lot of speculation about Inter Milan forward Mario Balotelli. In your view, could he yet play for Ghana and what will be his role be if he decides to play for the Black Stars?Well, at the moment it’s up to the player whether he wants to play for Italy or Ghana. That is a decision that has to be taken by Balotelli. It’s no secret that I would love to have him on my side, he is an exciting youngster who can add a lot of value to this team. But in such issues, one has to be sensitive and not say much.Sulley Muntari was omitted from the squad that went to Angola in January, reportedly for disciplinary reasons. Has that issue been resolved and can we expect to see Muntari in South Africa?I flew to Milan for five days to meet Muntari and we are fine now and we have resolved our differences. I made it known how I felt and he also aired his views. He is a good player and Ghana needs him going forward. I think whatever happened is in the past and we have to move on now. He told me he wants to play for Ghana and that is important.Do you feel any added pressure being an African side playing on African soil in a tournament of this magnitude?First of all, playing in a World Cup is a huge honour for any player or country. And, a lot has been said about this World Cup being an African World Cup. For us, we don’t want to put ourselves under unnecessary pressure. The most important thing is to get results – first in the group stage then in the knockout stages.How much do you know about the conditions in South Africa?I have been to South Africa about five times now and I love it. It’s a beautiful country. My team knows what to expect in South Africa after having our pre-Africa Cup of Nations camp in Nelspruit. This was important for us because we also got an opportunity to get a feel for the country before the World Cup. Source: Fifalast_img read more

US bombers fly over Sea of Japan in show of force to North Korea

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first_img Related ABCNews.com(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — The U.S. military conducted another show of force to North Korea on Wednesday as long-range B-1 bombers flew a nighttime mission over the Sea of Japan accompanied by Japanese and South Korean fighter aircraft.The two bombers flew to the Sea of Japan from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.A U.S. Pacific Air Forces statement described the mission as “the first time U.S. Pacific Command B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with JASDF and ROKAF fighters at night.”“Participating in bilateral training enables the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also building bilateral confidence and strong working relationships,” according to the statement.“Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea, and hones the tactical prowess of each nations’ aviators,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Patrick Applegate of the 613th Air Operation Center said. “This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies anytime anywhere.”The mission was the latest show of force to North Korea after its long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests and hydrogen bomb test that have ratcheted tensions with the United States. Such missions have been conducted immediately after the provocations, but more recently as stand-alone events to demonstrate to North Korea U.S. military capabilities that would counter a North Korean military threat.In late September, B-1 bombers flew the first mission this century north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides North Korea and South Korea. Accompanied by U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters, the bombers flew the mission more than 200 miles east of the Korean peninsula. At the time, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman said the mission was in response to North Korea’s recent ICBM and nuclear tests.The United States has a rotating squadron of long-range B-1 bombers stationed in Guam known as the “Continuous Bomber Presence.”“ ‘Continuous Bomber Presence’ missions ensure the U.S., along with key allies, have a credible capability to respond to a variety of levels and types of threats throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” the Air Force statement said. “These actions are consistent with long-standing and well-known U.S. freedom of navigation policies that are applied to military operations around the world.” Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

Federal data show health disparities among states

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first_imgJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | The slow rollout of a new federal health insurance marketplace may be deepening differences in health coverage among Americans, with residents in some states gaining insurance at a far greater rate than others.The demarcation may be as simple as Democrat and Republican.Newly released federal figures show more people are picking private insurance plans or being routed to Medicaid programs in states with Democratic leaders who have fully embraced the federal health care law than in states where Republican elected officials have derisively rejected what they call “Obamacare.”On one side of the political divide are a dozen mostly Democratic leaning states, including California, Minnesota and New York. They have both expanded Medicaid for lower-income adults and started their own health insurance exchanges for people to shop for federally subsidized private insurance.On the other side are two dozen conservative states, such as Texas, Florida and Missouri. They have both rejected the Medicaid expansion and refused any role in running an online insurance exchange, leaving that entirely to the federal government.The new federal figures, providing a state-by-state breakdown of enrollment in the new health care program through November, showed that the political differences among leaders over the initiative are turning into differences in participation among the uninsured.Even though many conservative states have higher levels of poverty and more people without health coverage, fewer of them may receive new insurance, said Dylan Roby, an assistant public health professor at the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.With the patchwork implementation of the federal health care law, “the gap will exacerbate,” Roby saidThe U.S. Health and Human Services Department reported this week that 364,682 people had signed up for private coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces as of Nov. 30 and an additional 803,077 had been determined eligible for Medicaid.But the rate of residents gaining health coverage was more than three times as great in the states embracing the federal health care law than in those whose leaders have resisted it.In the dozen states embracing the overhaul, more than 50 percent of those who applied for coverage picked an insurance plan or were eligible for Medicaid. That rate was barely 15 percent in the two dozen states that aren’t cooperating in the implementation of the federal health care law.“It’s very frustrating,” said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who voted for the federal law only to see it twice rebuffed in a statewide vote and repeatedly rejected by her home state’s Republican-led state Legislature.“The political point has trumped the services that Missourians need,” McCaskill said.In Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the U.S., the GOP-controlled state Legislature opted not to create a state-run insurance marketplace and Republican Gov. Rick Perry also declined to expand Medicaid to cover more of the working poor. As of the end of November, just 14,000 Texans had signed up for insurance through the federally run marketplace and fewer than 17,000 of the nearly 245,000 applicants on the exchange had been determined to be eligible for Medicaid.State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democrat from San Antonio who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said he nonetheless remains optimistic about the meager numbers.“To know that there are people who, despite those odds, are still enrolling is encouraging,” Fischer said.In California, which also has a high uninsured rate, more than 107,000 people had picked an insurance plan through the state-run marketplace as of the end of November, and nearly 182,000 others had been determined eligible for Medicaid. That means nearly two-thirds of the 448,133 individuals who applied through the insurance exchange could gain some sort of coverage.Federal grants in California have helped finance TV and radio commercials, billboards, bus signs and town hall meetings encouraging people to participate in the new health insurance marketplace.That sort of promotion has been lacking in many of the states that have refused to run their own insurance marketplaces.In Missouri, where a law forbids the government from implementing an insurance exchange, a coalition supporting the marketplace delayed its promotional campaign because of the technical troubles that marred the launch of the federal website.“We didn’t want to drive people to a frustrating experience,” said Thomas McAuliffe, a policy analyst at the nonprofit Missouri Foundation for Health.Now, advocates for the federal law face a steep challenge to implore people to sign up by Dec. 23, which is the deadline to be covered by health insurance policies that take effect in January.“When we look at enrollment numbers, we’re obviously going to lag behind, because in many parts of the state there’s still a sense that Obamacare is not going to help me — even by the people it’s going to help the most,” McAuliffe said.Heather McCabe, an assistant professor of social work at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said the low enrollment numbers in many states raise questions about whether people are turned off by the problematic website, don’t know they’re eligible to use the exchange or have found the policies unaffordable.“If the answer is that people still don’t understand what the exchange is and how to use it, then the answer is we need to do education and help people better access the system,” she said. “But if the answer is that the premiums are too high, then we have an issue that’s a little more difficult to deal with.”___Associated Press writers Will Weissert in Austin, Texas, and Rick Callahan in Indianapolis contributed to this report.last_img read more