Chile Kicks Off America Football Cup with Win Over Ecuador
Tournament hosts Chile blasted off their Copa America campaign with a 2-0 victory over Ecuador on Thursday night, at the National Stadium in Santiago. The night began with a 20-minute inauguration show, named The Heart of Football, which encompassed acrobatics, music and fireworks. The ceremony paid tribute to the unique cultures of the Americas, reflecting the indigenous peoples and diversities of the continent.
“It is a party of the Americas, but it is also a party of Chile,” said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
On the field, Chile, with the force of the fans behind them on the opening night of the biggest tournament in the Americas, applied all the pressure in the first half without success, as a steadfast Ecuadorean side held firm. But the star-studded team needed a lot of luck in the second half to open the scoring.
Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, who lost in Saturday’s Champions league final playing Barcelona, had a sweeter night winning a penalty after 67 minutes and he then found the net for the home side. After Vidal struck home, the home team closed the deal just over a quarter of an hour later when Eduardo Vargas made a clinical finish from an Alexis Sanchez assist. Chile are one of the tournament favorites but have never won the competition in its 99 year history.
Cuba and Kazakhstan’s battle for supremacy set for June 20-21
This season of the World Series of Boxing has already qualified 17 boxers for the next Olympic Games. It now reaches its final stage with two teams left in the running -- the Cuba Domadores and Kazakhstan Astana Arlans. The finals are set for June 20-21 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Cuba historically has been the dominant force in amateur and won WSB Season Four in 2014 and remain undefeated this season so far but the Kazakh team shot to prominence after London 2012 and dominated the most recent men’s World championships.
“World Series of Boxing is a very important boxing challenge for my team”, said head coach of Cuba Domadores Rolando Acebal. “We have trained extremely hard and I always tell my boys that WSB Trophy has a special meaning, as it is the only one we can win together, as a team.”
Marat Jakiyev, the head coach of Astana Arlans said, “The last weeks of the regular season have been very challenging for the boxers to reach once again the finals. It will be the third time for Arlans at this level and I’m particularly excited that my country hosts this competition in Astana and the team will have the chance to compete in front of thousands of home fans.”
FIFA says executive committee will convene on July 20 to discuss replacing Sepp Blatter, other issues
FIFA announced Thursday that its legally embattled executive committee will convene July 20th in Zurich, the scene of shocking hotel raids two weeks ago.
An “Ex-co” meeting agenda released by the governing body includes “reform of FIFA’s organizational structure,” the setting of a timetable for election of a new FIFA president to replace Sepp Blatter and “any other items proposed.” That last item could make for a dramatic meeting at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, given the U.S. Justice Department’s multi-year criminal investigation into FIFA, which has been driven by an ongoing investigation by the FBI and IRS.
The announcement comes shortly after FIFA said Thursday that its director of communications, Walter De Gregorio, has “decided to relinquish his office” but will serve FIFA on a “consultancy basis” through the end of the year.
The BBC and other outlets reported that De Gregorio’s demise was prompted by this joke he made on Swiss interview show “Schawinski”: “The FIFA president, secretary general and communications director are all traveling in a car. Who’s driving? The police.”
Blatter has also promised to resign but has said he will stay on for several months, claiming he intends to introduce reforms before he goes.
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