England women’s World Cup campaign came to an end with a crushing 52-4 defeat by New Zealand in Sunday’s semi-finals in Sydney.
England women’s World Cup campaign came to an end with a crushing 52-4 defeat by New Zealand in Sunday’s semi-finals in Sydney.
Inter Milan managed to win their second consecutive match in the league after a narrow 1-0 win over Sampdoria. This victory helped keep the club in the contention for a Champions League spot at the end of the season. Inter have taken just 15 points from the opening nine matches and they already trail leaders Juventus by a mammoth seven points. More importantly, just one point separates them from the third place in the league. Finishing in third place will be enough to get a club into the qualification stages of the Champions League.
After this win, manager Walter Mazzarri appeared to be a pleased man, but he was also aware that Inter would not be able to get victories against top teams if they had such poor finishing skills. He has stated that the club should target scoring more goals in the coming matches. Inter have averaged just over a goal per game, while also conceding a similar amount. The form of teams around them like AC Milan and Sampdoria will give them a lot of confidence going into the upcoming matches against Parma and Hellas Verona.
Inter will also have to concentrate on the Europa league in the meantime. They have made a fine start and are top of their Europa league group with seven points from the three matches. “We’ve beaten a side that had not lost once this season. The only negative is that we couldn’t take more of our chances,” the Inter coach said at a press conference. At the end of the day, we’ve won, but hopefully we’re saving up the goals for the next match. I think my team put in a great performance in terms of the football we played. We’re happy with how the lads are playing. This is a united group made up of good men. This team feels truly mine,” said Mazzarri.
Italy’s national team boss Antonio Conte recently oversaw his first match as an international manager. Italy played against Norway in the first Euro 2016 qualifiers after having just beaten Netherlands in a friendly. Both games finished as a 2-0 victory for the Italians, which pleased manager Conte. One of the high-profile absentees in the Italian squad for these two matches was Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, who recently returned back to England in a £ 16 million deal from AC Milan. The forward was valued much higher before the World Cup 2014, but the return of just one goal in three matches did not help his valuation.
Balotelli has also been singled out by many as one of the reasons for the exit, as he was astronomically poor in the group matches against Uruguay and Costa Rica. His only goal came in the opening match against England. Balotelli has previously been criticised by former manager Cesare Prandelli on several occasions in order to keep up his form. Conte deciding to omit the 24-year-old has raised a lot of eyebrows, but the former Juventus manager has confirmed that he has not left out Balotelli in order to send out a message. Conte will have to overcome accusations of favouritism within players in order to succeed as the Italy boss.
“We have been monitoring every match. The call-ups are based on those we observed, with those we had footballing evidence on. I don’t have to send a message to anyone. Those who know me know very well how I operate, how I am, I do not present gifts to anyone. I also told the lads that today there is this group and that as long as they deserve to be in the national squad, to wear the Azzurri shirt they will remain, but that doesn’t mean that who’s there today will be there tomorrow and vice versa,” said Conte.
Inter Milan have so far been a mixed bag in the pre-season. After managing to beat Real Madrid on penalties in the first pre-season friendly match, they were defeated by United in a similar fashion in the next encounter. This has been followed by a 2-0 win over Roma. As a result, Inter have effectively stayed unbeaten during the three pre-season matches. This has improved expectations ahead of the new season. Last campaign, the club could only manage a fifth-place finish in the league. This meant that they will have to satisfy themselves with only Europa league football for the coming campaign.
For a club that has won Champions League titles only a few years ago, this is not good enough. Mazzarri has accepted this and he says that the club will be challenging on all fronts in the coming campaign. The former Napoli manager recently signed a contract extension despite many fans calling for his head. This is seen as a move from Inter to give a big support the manager. They started last campaign in excellent fashion, but a title challenge went away midway through the season. Mazzarri is keen on rectifying this mistake in the upcoming season, but he says that people should not to give too much importance to the win over Roma.
“So far everything has worked well in the US. Now we face Roma. It is worth a lot for us to beat Roma, but we must look beyond the result. They are a very strong side and we know it will be a good test, but this isn’t Serie A yet. We don’t want to lose Kovacic, so he’ll be on the bench and will possibly play a few minutes, but without running any risks. I wanted to let him start this one, but in training I saw he’s still struggling a little,” said Mazzarri before the Roma match.
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Inter Milan’s problems under Walter Mazzarri continued after the team failed to win for a third straight match. Despite this disappointing result, Mazzarri claimed that the players should remain positive in order to get success. It was a disappointing evening for the club after they were leading 2-0 at half-time, but they conceded two goals in the second half only get a point against Livorno. Considering that this match was against the relegation threatened team, Inter Milan have dropped more praise response as they are struggling to even qualify for the Europa league.
Mazzarri was expected to improve the fortunes of the team dramatically after they have been struggling in recent years under the managerial reins of Claudio Ranieri and Andrea Stramaccioni. However, the former Napoli manager has failed to keep up the form of the first half of the season. He says that this has been one of the years where everything seems to go against them. According to him, it is imperative that the players stayed positive during such troubles and only then they can take advantage of the good times.
Inter have slipped three points behind Fiorentina in the fourth place with seven matches remaining in the campaign. The club’s last win was against Hellas Verona in the middle of March.
“Those who saw the match realise that it’s one of those years. We just need look at it in a certain way. We need to take the positives from the game. My players showed a lot of character until, perhaps unconsciously, they thought that the game was over. Livorno were given a new lease of life after their first goal. We should have put the game to bed at 2-0 and we missed two or three big chances at 2-1,” said the manager, whose team next take on Bologna at home.
Inter Milan missed an opportunity to close the gap on the title rivals after 0-0 draw with Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. After the match, Walter Mazzarri was disappointed man, as he felt that three phones were there for the taking against a very good Roma team. Rudi Garcia’s men are fighting for the title along with Juventus, although they are several points behind the table leaders. Despite playing against one of the top teams in the division, Inter Milan created a lot of opportunities over the course of the 90 minutes.
However, both teams were unable to take their chances as it finished a disappointing stalemate. Mazzarri said that Inter Milan had come in the best tactics and players, but they simply were unable to get the crucial three points due to the lack of killer instinct in front of goal. The dropped points mean that Inter continue to struggle in a bid to seal the final Champions League spot. It also means that they have failed to win for the last two matches after their disappointing 1-1 draw with Cagliari last weekend.
Napoli occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot with 52 points, while Inter are a long way off the pace at 41 points in the fifth place. There are only a few matches remaining in the season for Inter to overtake Napoli.
“In the second half we were tired, as we had used up a lot of energy, but still played very well. There was the risk of defeat and we did see that risk from close range. After the break they changed their attitude and we lost in intensity. We moved well on the wings and forced Roma to work hard, causing them problems and limiting their scope. The credit for making Roma play badly is down to Inter,” said Mazzarri.
Inter Milan recently brought an end to a disastrous run of form, which saw them go without a win in the last six matches. Prior to this current, Inter had a 1-0 win over archrivals AC Milan at the San Siro. However, this poor run of form has put them out of contention for the top three positions, which will give them the chance to get back to the Champions league. The club finds itself a massive 11 points behind third placed on Napoli with only just over 10 matches remaining in the campaign.
However, manager Walter Mazzarri was more than satisfied to have just completed the winless run, which threatened to put the club out of Europa league contention. Defender Walter Samuel scored the only goal of the match, as Inter managed to get this victory. Mazzarri said after the match that every opponent and has become difficult in the Italian league right now. Hence, he is under no illusion that this was a tough match for his team, but they came out successful at the end of the 90 minutes. Mazzarri also praised Samuel, who scored the winning goal. The 35-year-old is one of the few members left from the Champions League winning squad of 2010.
“We finally broke the spell. We handed a good performance but it was tough as Sassuolo are a good side. Every rival is difficult and it took us a while to break the deadlock. The important thing was that we were able to return to victory. Samuel should be an example to everyone in the team. He is an outstanding player, who has been many trophies in his career. He showed a lot of determination and hunger,” said Mazzarri to the club’s official site.
Inter Milan’s next match will be a tough away trip to Fiorentina.
The goalkeeper position in Manchester City has seen Joe Hart and Costel Pantilimon being switched out every week during this season. Pantilimon has had the upper hand in the spot for the past few weeks but Manuel Pellegrini decided to change it up and during their last Premier League encounter against Fulham, it was Joe Hart the man chosen to be in between the sticks.
This was Joe Hart’s first Premier League start since October as Pellegrini preferred to put upfront the Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon.
During this match against Fulham, Joe Hart conceived 2 goals but Manchester City managed to claim the crucial victory and snatch all 3 points. Despite having allowed 2 goals to be scored, neither of them was because of the English goalkeeper Joe Hart who enjoyed a fairly successful time being chosen ahead of Pantilimon.
Hart made a number of saves to deny Adel Taarabt from scoring as well as denying the rest of the Fulham players from finding the back of the net. When the match concluded Manuel Pellegrini even praised the performance from Joe Hart.
“I think he did well. It was not easy,” he said. “The pitch was very quick and there was a lot of wind but I think Joe had a very good game.”
“The Premier League games are always close, especially when home teams are in bad positions in the table as they try to win points at home,” he added. “We knew it would be difficult.
“Before they scored for 2-1, we had three or four chances to score and when you miss so many chances the other team often scores. We had some bad luck for their second goal, it was unbelievable, but it was important for us to recover.
Joe Hart still has a lot more to prove if he wants to get a permanent position as the main goalkeeper for Manchester City but this performance will surely make him a much more viable option and keep him in the race.
Walter Mazzarri had a lot of success at Napoli and it was largely due to the presence of striker Edinson Cavani. The two shared a great working relationship because they achieve the fame during their time at Napoli. Both of them have gone on their separate ways with Mazzarri joining Inter Milan as the new manager, while Cavani has moved to PSG in a £ 60 million deal to become one of the most expensive players in the world. However, he has been overshadowed by the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the French club.
The big Swede continues to dominate the headlines due to his impressive form and extrovert character. This has led to rumours that Cavani may decide to leave PSG after only a few months of joining the club. Mazzarri has raised the possibility of being united with his former striker by saying that he would like to have him at the San Siro. It looks highly unlikely that Inter Milan will be able to afford him, but the recent takeover by Indonesian investors may just do the trick.
“Cavani, what can I say about Cavani? I like to point to facts: he joined from Palermo, I believe I played a part in getting the best out of him, and now he’s a global star. I’d love to have him here but I don’t think there’s any chance of that happening in the short term. These are questions you need to ask the ownership rather than me. The ownership always dictates the club’s approach,” said the 53-year-old manager about his transfer targets.
Mazzarri has transformed the fortunes of Inter Milan, who have been struggling since the departure of Jose Mourinho in 2010. The team are just a few points off the top of the table with more than 12 matches being played.