France One Win From First Basketball Gold
(Eurosport) - Tony Parker is one win from finally guiding
France to its first major basketball title.
32 points to lead France past two-time defending champion
Spain 75-72 in overtime in Friday's semifinals at the
European championship, Parker needs just one more big
performance when his team plays Lithuania for the gold medal
He was in the same position two years ago,
only for his team to lose to Spain in the final.
we have to control our joy. Two years ago we were so happy
for having qualified for the Olympics that we botched the
final,'' said Parker, the San Antonio Spurs star guard.
By beating Spain, France finally overcame an opponent that
has long dominated Parker's talented generation. France had
a 5-19 record against Spain going into the semifinal,
including the loss in the 2011 final and at last year's
Olympic quarterfinals in London.
France has two silvers
and five bronze medals at the European championships - and
had it not been for the gifted Spanish generation, it
probably would have won the gold, too.
coming closer and we want the best medal now,'' Parker said.
While Parker is the team's leader, he is not the only
talented player - he's one of six NBA players on the French
roster that includes Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum.
France has two silvers and five bronze medals at the
Gasquet Eye Thailand Title
BANGKOK (AFP) - Defending
champion Richard Gasquet and world number six Tomas Berdych
will attempt to make the most of Andy Murray's absence from
this week's Thailand Open as the battle to reach the
season-ending Tour finale heats up.
The withdrawal of the
Wimbledon champion, who undergoes back surgery on Monday, is
a major blow for tournament organisers but a golden
opportunity for a clutch of players seeking points to reach
November's ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Berdych is fifth in the race to London -- which features the
season's top eight players -- while Gasquet is in ninth
place. Canada's Milos Raonic is also in the mix as the tour
starts its Asian swing.
In the course of a breakneck few
weeks, there are also events in Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Beijing
and Shanghai, before the players return to Europe for the
final stages of the season.
Frenchman Gasquet, 27,
returns to Bangkok where he lifted the trophy in 2012,
sweeping aside compatriot Gilles Simon in the final.
second seed will hope to carry the momentum to Thailand from
a run to the US Open semi-finals, where he lost to eventual
champion Rafael Nadal.
Raonic, ranked 11, who reached the
quarters in Bangkok last year, will be hoping Murray's
absence opens the way for a genuine title shot to add to his
solitary singles win this season in San Jose.
Canadian third seed changed coaches in the spring, taking on
Croatia's former top-five player Ivan Ljubicic, who has
urged his new charge to improve his all-round game, which is
often overly reliant on his ferocious serve.Since making the
change, Raonic has made the final of the Montreal Masters,
reached the second week of the US Open and this month played
a major role in unfancied Canada's narrow Davis Cup
semi-final loss to Serbia."
I think I've improved a lot
of things, I'm playing quite a different way," said the
22-year-old. "That's the way I need to keep playing if I
want to achieve what I want to achieve.
helping his country swat away Argentina in the Davis Cup
semi-finals, Berdych, 28, is playing in Bangkok for the
first time since 2008, when he lost a semi-final to Novak
He arrives as the highest-ranked player and top
seed. The top four seeds all receive byes into the second
* Frenchman Gasquet returns to Bangkok where
he lifted the trophy in 2012.
Scores First Premier League Goal
LONDON (Goal) - In the
84th minute of his 185th Premier League match, Chelsea
midfielder John Obi Mikel scored his first league goal to
top off his side's 2-0 win against Fulham.
player has made more Premier League appearances before
scoring their first goal, according to Opta.
the image above is something you should print out and save
forever. In the future, it will be worth more than any
amount of gold or Bigfoot droppings. Children will whisper
tales of how their great grandparents claimed to have seen
it happen, though no one can be sure it actually did. This
is what a miracle looks like.
Mikel scored twice in the
FA Cup during his first season with Chelsea way back in
2006/07 (and once for Norwegian club Lyn before that), but
it's been nothing but shots into row Z since then. His
inability to score at the club level (he has four goals in
51 appearances for Nigeria) has become a running joke. Now
he has more league goals than Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and
Samuel Eto'o combined this season.
With that win, Chelsea
went from a club "in crisis" to the top of the Premier
League table. The lesson of the day? Patience, dummies.
* Obi Mikel scored his first league goal to
top off his side's 2-0 win against Fulham.
Wenger Warns Against Ozil Arsenal Overload
(Goal) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has attempted to play
down the expectations surrounding Mesut Ozil ahead of the
Germany international's eagerly anticipated home debut
against Stoke City on Sunday.
The deadline day arrival of
Ozil from Real Madrid for a club record آ£43 million ($69
million) provided a huge lift to the north London side.And
the playmaker made an immediate impact, taking just 11
minutes to set up Olivier Giroud's opening goal in the 3-1
victory at Sunderland last time out.
appearance suggested he'll slot into his new surroundings
easily, but Wenger insisted it takes time to adjust to the
"I think he is not at the top physically
yet," Wenger said. "Overall we are very pleased to have him
with us, but he will demand a bit of time to adjust to the
vigorous body challenges he will face in the Premier League.
Once he has done that, he will be even stronger.
at the Stadium of Light made it six wins in a row for the
Gunners since their opening day home defeat by Aston Villa
-- a run that has seen them qualify for the Champions League
and taken them towards the head of the domestic
And while Ozil's arrival has dominated
events at the Emirates Stadium, the form of Giroud has been
one of the main factors in Arsenal's progress. The France
international has scored five times already and after a
pre-season in which the club was repeatedly linked with a
new forward, Wenger believes Giroud deserves credit for his
response. Every day when you opened a newspaper he saw
another striker coming here but he didn't say anything,"
"For me that's the best answer you can
give when you're a football player. Don't talk too much,
play and show how good you are. Many people forget that
sometimes but that's the core of your job."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes has saluted fellow Welshman Aaron
Ramsey for his stunning start to the season at Arsenal.
It was Potters captain Ryan Shawcross's challenge on the
Arsenal player three years ago which left Ramsey with a
However the midfielder has finally looked to
have put the incident behind him this term, having already
found the net seven times for club and country.
really pleased for him," said Hughes, a former Wales
manager. "He's an outstanding player and is playing really
well. He has added goals to his game and turned it round.
* Ozil's first appearance suggested he'll slot into his
new surroundings easily.
Second Best in Possession
MADRID (Reuters) -
Possession-kings Barcelona had less than 50 percent of the
ball for the first time in five years when they won 4-0 at
Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Saturday.
champions always take pride in their technical ability and
the amount of possession they enjoy but Barca have been
undergoing something of a change in strategy under new coach
The Argentine has been encouraging the
team to mix up their playing style to avoid predictability
and the sight of goalkeeper Victor Valdes and his defenders
drilling long passes from the back has become more common
Against lowly Rayo, who also value
possession highly under coach Paco Jemez and who have the
second highest percentage figures behind Barca in La Liga,
the champions finally met their match.
Rayo edged them 51
to 49 percent on Saturday to end a run of 316 games where
Barca have controlled possession, according to the sports
and media company Infostrada.
"Rayo pressured us a lot,
and high up the pitch, and at times made it difficult to
play the ball out from the back with short passes," Martino
told a news conference after winning the game with a
hat-trick from Pedro and a goal by Cesc Fabregas.
Newman Starts New Hampshire Race on
NEW HAMPSHIRE (AP) - Ryan Newman's 51st pole came at
a familiar place. He'll lead the field to green on Sunday
for the second race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
at New Hampshire Motor Speedway,
It's Newman's seventh
career pole at the track, and it ties Atlanta Motor Speedway
as his most prolific qualifying location. In 2011, Newman
won the pole for both New Hampshire races and won the spring
In his only victory this season at Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, Newman started on the pole there.
be joined on the front row by Kasey Kahne, and Kahne's
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon starts third. Kurt
Busch is fourth and Martin Truex Jr. is fifth.
12 of the
13 Chase drivers start in the top 17. The only driver
outside that window is Carl Edwards, who starts 26th. Joey
Logano starts 6th, Kevin Harvick 8th, points leader Matt
Kenseth 9th, Greg Biffle 10th, Jimmie Johnson 11th, Kyle
Busch 12th, Clint Bowyer 16th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is
at Tour Championship
ATLANTA (AFP) - By the end of the
day's play at East Lake Golf Club, which came shortly before
2 p.m. ET, the rain was blowing sideways.
were soggy and the greens were soaked. Indeed, there wasn't
a surface anywhere outdoors at the Tour Championship that
was anything close to dry.
Even so, Henrik Stenson,
veteran of pelting-rain British Opens, called this just a
"five out of 10" on the severe-weather scale. "This is kids'
stuff, compared at least to the Saturday round at the
British Open at St. George's. If I remember, that was like
playing in a car wash."
Even so, the weather had its
inexorable way with Stenson and the rest of the field. At
the turn, Stenson was leading the tournament by nine strokes
and looking like he was in complete control of the FedEx
Cup. Nine holes later, his lead had dwindled to four, and
his chances of taking home the Tour Championship weren't
quite so bright.
"I'll choose to look at it from the
bright side even though the weather is not that bright at
the moment," he said. "Started the day with a four-shot
lead, and I still got it. So that's all that matters,
After carding just two bogeys the first 45
rounds of the tournament, Stenson bogeyed four of the final
nine holes. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson was putting together a
string of birdies, including three over the final six, to
pull within four of Stenson.