Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2024

Indiana Pacers Crush Knicks in Game 7, Secure Spot in Eastern Conference Finals

In the high-stakes environment of Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, the Indiana Pacers delivered a masterful performance, overwhelming the New York Knicks with a decisive 130-109 victory. This triumph propels the Pacers to the Eastern Conference finals, where they will face the Boston Celtics starting Tuesday.

From the tip-off, the Pacers were relentless, showcasing an offensive onslaught that left the Knicks scrambling. Indiana's shooting was spectacular, making 10 of their first 11 shots, 20 of their first 25, and finishing the first half at an incredible 76% shooting from the field. This offensive efficiency was the best shooting half in a playoff game in the past 25 years. By the final buzzer, the Pacers set an NBA playoff record with a 67.1% field goal percentage, breaking the previous mark set by Boston in 1990.

Tyrese Haliburton led the charge with 26 points, exemplifying the team's high-octane offense. The Pacers' starting lineup all scored in double figures: Pascal Siakam and Andrew Nembhard each added 20 points, Aaron Nesmith contributed 19, Myles Turner scored 17, and T.J. McConnell chipped in with 12 points. This balanced attack was crucial for Indiana, making them the first team since 1987 to have five players score more than 15 points in a Game 7.

On the Knicks' side, Donte DiVincenzo put up a valiant effort with a game-high 39 points, including nine three-pointers. However, the Knicks' injury woes severely hampered their chances. Already missing key players like Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Knicks faced further setbacks as OG Anunoby and Jalen Brunson, who had been pivotal throughout the playoffs, were both significantly hampered by injuries. Brunson, who had been a standout performer with multiple 30-point games, fractured his hand in the third quarter, effectively ending the Knicks' comeback hopes.

Despite a brief rally that cut Indiana's lead to 73-67 early in the third quarter, the Knicks couldn't sustain the momentum. The Pacers responded with poise, pulling away with a commanding lead and maintaining control until the end. Indiana's ability to rebound and capitalize on turnovers, combined with their impeccable shooting, left little doubt about the outcome.

"This is what we've been doing all season long and we were able to show it on the biggest stage," said Myles Turner. Haliburton, wearing a hoodie featuring Reggie Miller's iconic taunt of Spike Lee, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the team's fast-paced, high-efficiency offense.

For the Knicks, the season's end was marked by resilience in the face of adversity. Coach Tom Thibodeau praised his team's effort despite the injuries and tough breaks, emphasizing their relentless spirit. "This team fought like crazy and there’s no regret," Thibodeau said, reflecting on a season that saw the Knicks exceed many expectations but ultimately fall short due to physical tolls.

Looking ahead, the Pacers will carry their momentum into the conference finals against the Celtics. With their potent offense firing on all cylinders, Indiana is poised to challenge the top-seeded team in what promises to be a thrilling series.

For New York, the offseason will be a time to regroup and heal. Players like Brunson and DiVincenzo expressed optimism about the future, focusing on the lessons learned and the camaraderie built during this challenging playoff run. Despite the disappointing end, the Knicks' journey this season has set a foundation for future success.

In the end, the Pacers' dominant Game 7 performance at Madison Square Garden will be remembered as a testament to their skill, resilience, and readiness to compete at the highest level of playoff basketball.

Jurgen Klopp's Emotional Farewell as Liverpool Manager: An Era Ends at Anfield

On a sunlit Sunday at Anfield, the emotional farewell of Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool's manager marked the end of an era. Tears flowed freely among fans, players, and Klopp himself, as they celebrated his near nine-year tenure, which transformed Liverpool Football Club and brought unprecedented success.,w_1160,c_fill/f_webp

Klopp had announced at the beginning of the year that this season would be his last with Liverpool. "It’s time," he said, a sentiment reluctantly accepted by the fanbase who had grown to revere the charismatic German manager.

As the team bus made its way to Anfield, thousands of fans lined the streets, their presence painted with red flares and banners. A new mural featuring Klopp's name was unveiled, and flags with "the normal one" fluttered in the wind, a nod to his humble introduction during his first press conference as Liverpool's manager.

"It's really difficult to take as a human being," Klopp shared with Sky Sports before the match, overwhelmed by the adoration from fans. This adoration crescendoed as Liverpool took on Wolverhampton Wanderers, winning 2-0 in a match that was more about sentiment than score.

Throughout the match, chants and songs dedicated to Klopp echoed in the stadium. In the final 10 minutes, the volume and intensity of the fans' tributes reached their peak, bringing Klopp to tears. Cameras captured the poignant moment, including his wife, Ulla, in the stands, equally emotional.

Under Klopp’s leadership, Liverpool's trophy cabinet was replenished with a Premier League title, the Champions League, the FA Cup, and two League Cups, among other honors. However, his impact extended beyond these victories; he revitalized a club that was languishing in the mid-table, transforming it into one of Europe’s elite teams.

"A man who made a seismic impact on this city and its people," the stadium announcer proclaimed as Klopp stepped onto the pitch for a post-match presentation. His tenure saw not only the accumulation of silverware but also the rekindling of joy and pride among Liverpool supporters.

At the final whistle, Klopp embraced his players, with some visibly emotional. Captain Virgil van Dijk struggled to hold back tears as he hugged Klopp. "I’ve got no words, it’s a very emotional day," Van Dijk told Sky Sports.

Klopp’s description of himself as “the normal one” at his unveiling proved to be modest. “He’s definitely the special one,” goalkeeper Alisson remarked, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to work under Klopp.

The matchday program bore the phrase “Danke Jurgen,” a simple yet profound thank you from the fans. Klopp, too, acknowledged the emotional weight of his departure in his program notes, writing, “… as much as I know it is the right time for me to leave I know also that it will take some getting used to.”

Even the Premier League will find it challenging to adjust to a post-Klopp era. The stadium remained packed post-match as fans lingered to hear Klopp’s farewell speech.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the club anthem, resonated through Anfield one last time for Klopp. Trent Alexander-Arnold, who had only known Klopp as his manager, was among those in tears. The reluctance to leave the stadium signified the end of an extraordinary chapter.

Reflecting on the season, Klopp wrote, “This season we aimed for the moon and ended up in the stars,” referring to a campaign that began with hopes for a quadruple but concluded with a League Cup and a third-place league finish.

Few managers in football get to choose their departure on such high terms. The unique Klopp era, marked by both triumph and emotional connection, left an indelible mark on Liverpool and its supporters.

Liverpool ensured Klopp's farewell was victorious, clinching a 2-0 win over Wolves. Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Jarell Quansah secured a memorable ending. Klopp's decision to leave was met with a bittersweet celebration of his achievements and the deep bond he forged with the club and its fans.

As the final whistle blew, Klopp was embraced by his team, with Virgil van Dijk visibly emotional. "It was always going to be a tough afternoon. We wanted to make sure we do our job and then be very emotional after the game," Van Dijk said.

Klopp, who had initially described himself as “the normal one,” proved to be anything but. “He’s definitely the special one,” Alisson reiterated.

The day’s program had “Danke Jurgen” emblazoned on the cover. Klopp acknowledged the sentiment, writing, “… as much as I know it is the right time for me to leave I know also that it will take some getting used to.”

For Liverpool fans and even the Premier League, adjusting to a post-Klopp era will be challenging. Fans stayed after the final whistle, listening to Klopp’s farewell speech.

As “You’ll Never Walk Alone” echoed through Anfield, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who had played under no other manager, was in tears. The reluctance to leave the stadium underscored the emotional weight of Klopp’s departure.

In his final program notes, Klopp wrote, “This season we aimed for the moon and ended up in the stars.” This campaign, which once promised a quadruple of trophies, ended with the League Cup and a third-place finish.

The Klopp era, unique and unreplicable, left a lasting legacy. Liverpool’s fans know this, and their heartfelt farewell was a testament to Klopp’s profound impact.

As Klopp left Anfield, the murals and memories of his transformative reign remained. Klopp, the man who turned doubters into believers, had departed, leaving behind an era that will be remembered for generations.

Manchester City Clinches Historic Fourth Consecutive Premier League Title with Decisive Victory Over West Ham

Manchester City has made history by winning their fourth consecutive Premier League title, cementing their status as one of the most dominant teams in English football history. The final day of the season saw City triumph over West Ham with a 3-1 victory, led by the brilliance of Phil Foden, who opened the scoring just 79 seconds into the match. This early goal set the tone for a day of celebration at the Etihad Stadium, as City fans eagerly awaited the confirmation of their latest triumph.,w_1160,c_fill/f_webp

City entered the final match two points ahead of Arsenal, knowing that only a victory would guarantee their title win. Arsenal also won their game against Everton 2-1, but it was not enough to overtake City in the standings. Foden’s stunning goal was followed by another 15 minutes later, showcasing his exceptional talent and solidifying his status as the Premier League Player of the Season. West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus briefly made the game interesting with a spectacular bicycle kick, but Rodri’s goal early in the second half ensured that the title would remain in Manchester.

The atmosphere at the Etihad was electric as City fans celebrated their historic achievement. The iconic "PoznaƄ" dance, where fans link arms and jump with their backs to the pitch, filled the stadium with joy and blue smoke from flares. City captain Kyle Walker lifted the trophy, emphasizing the team effort behind their success. "We’re a team. There are four other captains, and we all pull our weight," Walker said, highlighting the collective effort that has defined City’s dominance.

Under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, City has redefined success in the Premier League. Since his arrival in 2016, Guardiola has led City to six titles in seven seasons, showcasing their tactical brilliance and mental resilience. Guardiola praised the competition from Arsenal and Liverpool, acknowledging that these rivals have pushed City to new heights. "Especially Arsenal for pushing us to another level. We’ve got the message; I know they will be there for many years because they have a young manager and a young team," Guardiola remarked.

Despite their on-field success, Manchester City faces significant challenges off the field. The club is currently dealing with 115 charges of alleged financial wrongdoing, which could impact their future. City denies any wrongdoing and is prepared to contest the charges. Jurgen Klopp, in his final address as Liverpool manager, commented on the situation, praising Guardiola’s managerial prowess and the quality of the City team.

Looking ahead, City’s immediate focus is on the FA Cup final against Manchester United, where they aim to secure another trophy. The team’s ability to maintain their success will depend on strategic decisions in the transfer market and the outcome of the ongoing financial investigations. Arsenal, with their young and talented squad, appears poised to challenge City more fiercely in the coming seasons.

As City celebrates this historic achievement, the football world recognizes the era of excellence they have ushered in. Guardiola’s team has set new benchmarks for success, combining tactical brilliance with mental toughness. While uncertainties loom, the immediate future looks promising for City, with fans and players alike reveling in their unprecedented accomplishments. The journey continues as they seek to expand their trophy collection and maintain their dominance in English football.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Paul Skenes Dominates with 11 Strikeouts in Pirates' 9-3 Victory Over Cubs

Paul Skenes delivered an impressive performance, striking out 11 batters over six no-hit innings to secure his first major league win as the Pittsburgh Pirates triumphed 9-3 against the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

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In just his second MLB start, Skenes (1-0) demonstrated exceptional control and velocity, striking out the first seven batters he faced. The 22-year-old right-hander's only blemish came in the fifth inning when he issued a walk to Michael Busch, the lone baserunner allowed during his outing. Skenes threw 100 pitches, 67 of them strikes, before being relieved by Carmen Mlodzinski in the seventh inning.

"It’s really tough to compete without fastball execution, no matter who you are,” Skenes said. “It was a lot better today, something I could lean on a little bit more than the last week.”

Offensively, the Pirates were led by Connor Joe, who finished with three hits, while Jared Triolo and Yasmani Grandal each contributed two hits and three RBIs. Andrew McCutchen and Jared Triolo also homered for Pittsburgh.

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (0-4) struggled, giving up eight runs (seven earned) and 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 10.57. Miguel Amaya hit a solo home run for Chicago, but it wasn't enough to overcome Skenes' dominant pitching and the Pirates' robust offense.

"It was extremely impressive,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Skenes' performance. “I mean he went right after them.”

The Pirates have now taken the first two games of the four-game series, while the Cubs have lost four of their last five games.

Caitlin Clark Struggles During Indiana Fever Home Debut in 102-66 Loss to New York Liberty

In her highly anticipated home debut, Caitlin Clark struggled to find her footing as the Indiana Fever were defeated by the New York Liberty, 102-66, on Thursday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Despite the sellout crowd of 17,247 fans, Clark managed only nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists, as she continued to adjust to the heightened physicality and speed of the WNBA.

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Clark, who has been the face of women’s basketball since her collegiate days at the University of Iowa, admitted post-game that the transition to the professional level is proving challenging. “The game seems a little fast for me right now. The more I play and the more comfortable I get, it’s going to slow down a little bit. It will be easier for me to make reads, see things develop,” she told ESPN.

The Fever’s rookie sensation had shown promise earlier in the week, scoring 20 points in her full WNBA debut, although it came with a record-setting 10 turnovers in a loss to the Connecticut Sun. In contrast, Clark improved slightly against the Liberty, committing only three turnovers, but her shooting woes persisted as she went 2-of-8 from the field and 1-of-7 from three-point range.

Breanna Stewart led the Liberty with a dominant performance, scoring 31 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and adding four assists, three steals, and two blocks. Jonquel Jones also contributed significantly with 14 points and 10 rebounds, helping New York secure their second win of the season.

Clark’s struggles did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Fever’s fans, who gave her a raucous ovation during player introductions. “People are excited,” Clark said. “Like when I was driving here, people on the streets are in Fever gear. You can just feel the buzz and excitement around this team, not only for this game tonight but just the entire season.”

Indiana’s coach, Christie Sides, expressed confidence in Clark’s ability to adapt and improve. “It’s a process and she’s going to be fine,” Sides said. “She just needs to get a little bit of confidence right now. I think she’s taking shots that she normally would knock down.”

Despite the challenging start, Clark’s impact on the league is already significant. Her full WNBA debut drew an average of 2.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched WNBA game in over two decades. The game also marked the first live sports broadcast on Disney+, peaking at 2.3 million viewers.

Clark’s former University of Iowa coaches, Lisa Bluder and Jan Jensen, were in attendance to support their former star. Bluder recently announced her retirement after a storied 24-year career, making her the winningest women’s basketball coach in Big Ten history. Jensen is set to take over as head coach next season.

The Fever will face the Liberty again on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Clark and her team are looking to bounce back and secure their first win of the season in what is expected to be another challenging matchup.

As Clark continues to navigate her rookie season, her journey will be closely watched by fans and analysts alike, eager to see how one of college basketball’s most electrifying players will adapt and evolve in the professional ranks.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Boston Celtics on Brink of Eliminating Cleveland Cavaliers Despite Challenges

As the Boston Celtics find themselves on the brink of eliminating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the journey has been marked by challenges and scrutiny. Despite the Celtics' commanding 3-1 series lead, questions persist about their ability to navigate through adversity and maintain focus on their championship aspirations.

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In Game 4, the Celtics showcased resilience as they overcame a determined Cavaliers team to secure a hard-fought 109-102 victory. Led by a stellar performance from Jayson Tatum, who poured in 33 points alongside Jaylen Brown's 27-point contribution, Boston demonstrated the offensive firepower needed to seize control of the series.

However, the win was not without its tense moments, as Cleveland, despite missing key players like Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen due to injuries, kept the contest competitive until the final minutes. The Cavaliers' tenacity forced the Celtics to dig deep and execute crucial plays down the stretch to secure the victory.

While the Celtics' talent has propelled them to a 7-2 record in the playoffs, including a 3-1 series lead against the Cavaliers, lingering doubts remain about their consistency and ability to close out games decisively. Boston's tendency to make winning a series more difficult than necessary has raised concerns about their championship potential, especially in light of past playoff disappointments.

Looking ahead, the Celtics face the challenge of maintaining their focus and intensity as they aim to close out the series against the Cavaliers in Game 5. With the opportunity to advance looming large, Boston must harness their collective resolve and play with the urgency required to clinch the series at home.

As the Celtics navigate through the remainder of the playoffs, scrutiny will continue to follow their every move. The team's ability to rise above adversity, stay locked in on their goals, and deliver when it matters most will ultimately determine their success in pursuit of the franchise's 18th championship.

The road ahead remains daunting, with potential matchups against formidable opponents from the Western Conference awaiting the Celtics in their quest for postseason glory. However, with a talented roster led by the dynamic duo of Tatum and Brown, along with strategic adjustments from President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens, the Celtics possess the necessary tools to overcome obstacles and contend for NBA supremacy.

As the pressure mounts and the stakes heighten, the Celtics must embrace the scrutiny and rise to the occasion, knowing that every game brings them one step closer to either hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy or facing the disappointment of falling short once again.

Jamal Murray's Incredible Buzzer-Beater Propels Denver Nuggets to Victory, Ties Series

In a pivotal Game 4 showdown, the Denver Nuggets showcased their championship mettle, snatching a 115-107 road victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves to even the Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2. The Nuggets' triumph was punctuated by an awe-inspiring moment just before halftime, as Jamal Murray delivered a breathtaking half-court buzzer-beater that sent shockwaves through the Target Center.

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Trailing by just seven points in the dying seconds of the second quarter, the Timberwolves looked to cut into Denver's lead with a quick basket. However, a crucial turnover led to a sequence of events that will be etched in NBA lore. Murray intercepted a wayward inbounds pass near the sideline and, with a blend of finesse and audacity, launched a 55-foot prayer that found nothing but net as time expired. The improbable shot not only extended the Nuggets' halftime lead to 15 points but also ignited a frenzy of celebration among Murray's teammates, who swarmed the guard in jubilation.

The Nuggets' victory was a testament to their resilience and championship pedigree. Despite dropping the first two games of the series at home, Denver displayed unwavering resolve, bouncing back with two consecutive road wins to seize momentum heading into Game 5 on their home court.

Nikola Jokic, fresh off being crowned MVP for the third time, delivered another masterful performance, leading the Nuggets with 35 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Aaron Gordon emerged as a pivotal contributor, showcasing his versatility with 27 points on a near-perfect 11-of-12 shooting, while also making significant defensive contributions.

For the Timberwolves, rising star Anthony Edwards poured in a game-high 44 points, but his heroic effort was ultimately overshadowed by Murray's miraculous buzzer-beater and Denver's collective resilience.

As the series heads back to Denver for Game 5, the Nuggets find themselves in a prime position to seize control and assert their championship aspirations. With Murray's remarkable shot serving as a rallying cry, the Nuggets aim to harness the momentum and continue their quest for playoff glory. As coach Michael Malone aptly quoted, "Never underestimate the heart of a champion," and the Nuggets are poised to prove their championship pedigree once again.

Atlanta Hawks Secure No. 1 Pick in 2024 NBA Draft Lottery Against the Odds

In a stunning turn of events at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, the Atlanta Hawks defied the odds by clinching the coveted No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft. With just a mere 3% chance of landing the top spot, the Hawks leapfrogged their competition, securing the first overall selection despite finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference this season with a 36-46 record. This marks the first time since 1975 that the Hawks will have the privilege of making the first pick, a historic moment for the franchise.

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The Draft Lottery results came as a surprise not only to basketball enthusiasts but also to Hawks General Manager Landry Fields, who expressed his disbelief and excitement at the unexpected outcome. Despite their relatively low odds, the Hawks emerged victorious, leaving teams like the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons, who held higher probabilities, in shock.

Now armed with the No. 1 pick, the Hawks face an array of possibilities as they look to chart the course for their future. While there is no clear-cut frontrunner in this year's draft class, prospects like French talents Zaccharie Risacher and Alexandre Sarr, along with UConn standout Donovan Clingan, offer intriguing options for the franchise.

The upcoming draft, scheduled for June 26-27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, promises to be an exciting affair, with the Hawks positioned at the forefront of the action. As they weigh their options and strategize for the future, all eyes will be on Atlanta as they prepare to make a franchise-altering decision with the top overall pick.

Friday, May 10, 2024

President Biden Honors WNBA Champions Las Vegas Aces at White House

In a celebration of women's basketball, President Joe Biden welcomed the Las Vegas Aces, the reigning champions of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), to the White House on Thursday. The event, held in the historic East Room, marked what Biden hailed as a "banner year" for women's sports.

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Addressing a diverse audience, President Biden emphasized the importance of representation, particularly for girls and women, in sports. He underscored the significance of supporting women's sports across the nation, acknowledging its impact on American society.

Accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, President Biden graciously received jerseys from the Las Vegas Aces, symbolizing their championship victory. With humor, Biden held up his jersey and exclaimed, "Put me in, Coach, I'm ready to play!"

Vice President Harris commended the Las Vegas Aces for their remarkable performance both on and off the court, describing them as role models who inspire individuals not only in the United States but around the world.

The Las Vegas Aces secured their second consecutive WNBA title by defeating the New York Liberty in a thrilling match last October. President Biden, in a light-hearted remark, expressed his admiration for the team's back-to-back victories, hinting at his own electoral aspirations.

Cavaliers Dominate Celtics, Tie Series at 1-1 Behind Mitchell's 29 Points

In a commanding performance, the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back from their Game 1 defeat to the Boston Celtics with a resounding 118-94 victory on Thursday night. Led by Donovan Mitchell's stellar 29-point performance, the Cavaliers displayed their resilience to level the second-round playoff series at one game apiece.

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Donovan Mitchell showcased his scoring prowess, contributing 29 points to the Cavaliers' triumph. Mitchell's exceptional performance included a memorable banked-in 3-pointer from beyond the arc, highlighting his offensive firepower.

Evan Mobley proved instrumental for the Cavaliers, tallying 21 points and securing 10 rebounds to notch his third consecutive double-double of the postseason. Mobley's dominant presence in the paint bolstered Cleveland's offensive and defensive efforts.

Caris LeVert provided valuable contributions off the bench, chipping in with 21 points and playing a pivotal role in extending the Cavaliers' lead during crucial stretches of the game.

Despite a solid performance from Jayson Tatum, who scored 25 points for the Celtics, Boston struggled to contain Cleveland's offensive onslaught. Jaylen Brown added 19 points, but Derrick White failed to replicate his Game 1 performance, managing just 10 points.

The series now shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4, with both teams seeking to gain an edge in what promises to be a fiercely contested matchup. With momentum on their side, the Cavaliers aim to capitalize on their home-court advantage and seize control of the series.

Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff emphasized the importance of maintaining their defensive intensity and capitalizing on offensive opportunities, expressing confidence in his team's ability to compete at a high level.

Despite missing key players due to injuries, including Kristaps Porzingis and Jarrett Allen, the Cavaliers demonstrated their depth and resilience, overcoming adversity to secure a crucial victory on the road.

As the series unfolds, basketball fans eagerly anticipate the next chapter in the Cavaliers-Celtics showdown, with both teams poised to deliver thrilling performances as they vie for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Rafael Nadal Triumphs in Epic Battle to Advance at Italian Open, Eyes Historic 11th Title

In a display of unwavering resolve and sheer grit, Rafael Nadal, the undisputed king of clay, overcame a stern test from Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs to secure a hard-fought victory in the opening round of the prestigious Italian Open. The Spanish maestro, eyeing an unprecedented 11th title at the Foro Italico, showcased his trademark resilience on Thursday afternoon, rallying from a set down to outlast his determined opponent and book his place in the next round.

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The match, played out in front of a raucous crowd in Rome, provided a captivating spectacle as Nadal, a 14-time Roland Garros champion, found himself locked in a fierce battle against the spirited Bergs. Despite an unconvincing start that saw him drop the opening set, Nadal remained composed, drawing upon his wealth of experience and champion's mentality to mount a stirring comeback.

Bergs, a relative unknown ranked No. 108 in the world, showcased his fearless approach and attacking prowess, pushing Nadal to the limit with his aggressive play and relentless pursuit of every point. However, Nadal's class and determination ultimately shone through as he gradually wrested control of the match, imposing his authority with a blend of power, precision, and unwavering focus.

As the match progressed, Nadal's trademark intensity and fighting spirit came to the fore, much to the delight of the passionate crowd gathered at the iconic Italian venue. With each thunderous forehand and acrobatic volley, the Spanish stalwart endeared himself to the fans, who roared their approval with every stroke of brilliance.

Despite facing some nervy moments and fleeting lapses in concentration, Nadal remained resolute, refusing to yield to the mounting pressure from his opponent. With his back against the wall, the 37-year-old maestro summoned his best tennis when it mattered most, producing a series of clutch shots and decisive winners to turn the tide in his favor.

In a match that ebbed and flowed with tension and drama, Nadal ultimately emerged triumphant, prevailing over Bergs with a gritty 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory that showcased his enduring greatness and indomitable spirit. As he celebrated his hard-fought win, Nadal's gaze turned towards the challenges that lie ahead, with his sights firmly set on adding yet another chapter to his storied legacy at the Italian Open.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the tournament, Nadal remains focused and determined, fully aware of the obstacles that await him on his quest for glory. With his unmatched pedigree on clay and unparalleled competitive drive, the Spanish champion stands poised to conquer the challenges that lie ahead, as he continues his relentless pursuit of excellence on the hallowed courts of Rome.

For Nadal, the Italian Open represents more than just another tournament; it is a battleground where champions are forged, legacies are cemented, and dreams are realized. With history beckoning and destiny calling, Nadal stands ready to answer the challenge, prepared to etch his name once again into the annals of tennis greatness with a record-breaking 11th title in the Eternal City.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

POLITICS Mike Johnson takes risk on separating Israel and Ukraine aid

 House Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday unveiled a proposal to send wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine as he seeks to stave off a right-wing insurgency that could jeopardize his leadership.

The Louisiana Republican said he plans to introduce four separate bills, separating aid to Israel from aid to Ukraine, which has faced strong opposition among some members of his conference. The third measure includes providing aid to Taiwan, and the final bill addresses other Republican foreign policy demands.

“We will not vote on the Senate supplemental bill in its current form, but we will vote on each of these measures separately in four different parts,” Johnson told reporters after his meeting with Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The spokesman said he expected to publish the text of the bills on Tuesday and would then respect the 72-hour rule that gives lawmakers time to read the legislation before voting and allowing amendments. If the measures survive the House Rules Committee, a vote could take place as early as Friday.

Johnson said they are still discussing whether to combine the individual bills into one package before sending them to the Senate for approval, although he would prefer to send them individually. The spokesman called President Biden to update him on his plan to divide the funding on Monday, a White House official confirmed to CBS News.


Mike Johnson risks separating aid to Israel from Ukraine

Written by Caitlin Yelek

Updated on: April 16, 2024 at 9:17 AM. EDT/CBS News

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday unveiled a proposal to send wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine as he seeks to stave off a right-wing insurgency that could jeopardize his leadership.

The Louisiana Republican said he plans to introduce four separate bills, separating aid to Israel from aid to Ukraine, which has faced strong opposition among some members of his conference. The third measure includes providing aid to Taiwan, and the final bill addresses other Republican foreign policy demands.

“We will not vote on the Senate supplemental bill in its current form, but we will vote on each of these measures separately in four different parts,” Johnson told reporters after his meeting with Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The spokesman said he expected to publish the text of the bills on Tuesday and would then respect the 72-hour rule that gives lawmakers time to read the legislation before voting and allowing amendments. If the measures survive the House Rules Committee, a vote could take place as early as Friday.

Johnson said they are still discussing whether to combine the individual bills into one package before sending them to the Senate for approval, although he would prefer to send them individually. The spokesman called President Biden to update him on his plan to divide the funding on Monday, a White House official confirmed to CBS News.

Johnson resisted pressure from defense hawks in both parties to deliver a $95 billion package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan that passed the Senate in February with bipartisan support. Johnson is struggling to find a way forward amid divisions between Republicans and Democrats over emergency aid to Ukraine and Israel. But an Iranian drone and missile attack over the weekend on Israel, which came in response to an attack on an Iranian consulate in Syria earlier this month, has increased pressure on Johnson to vote on the Senate bill this week. Supporters of the Senate bill believe it has enough support to pass the House.

Putting aid to Ukraine to a vote carries with it the threat of ending his six-month term as president, which was marked by GOP infighting that led to House dysfunction. The narrow majority enjoyed by Republicans in the House of Representatives forced Johnson to repeatedly rely on Democrats to pass major legislation, which angered some conservatives. Republican Representative from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene, threatened to trigger a vote to remove Johnson from office if he went ahead with an aid package for Ukraine.

Green called the proposal "yet another wrong direction" for Johnson, but said she had not yet decided whether to go ahead with trying to oust him.

“I am strongly against the plan as it stands,” Green said after Monday's caucus meeting. “This is a scam

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Colorado is spreading Boise State's March Madness misery. Will the Buffs make the NCAA tournament?

 Will the Buffaloes come?

The first round of the NCAA Tournament is officially set after Colorado defeated Boise State 60-53 in the First Four, setting up a showdown with Florida State.

Colorado entered the game sixth in the country in three-point shooting percentage at 39.4%, but it was a bad night for the Buffaloes, who were just 4 of 15 (26.7%). Still, Colorado was able to shoot from inside the arc and pulled away from Boise State with clutch shots.

Colorado, one of the most watched teams in recent weeks, needed all its wins at the end of the season to qualify for the tournament. Wednesday's win was Colorado's ninth in its last 10 games. Can the Buffaloes continue their run and go deep into March Madness?

Colorado defeats Boise State in the first 4

The first half was a terrible performance for both teams, with Colorado shooting 38.5 percent and Boise State shooting 29 percent. The Buffaloes and Broncos combined to shoot 2 of 18 from 3-point range, with neither team able to generate any momentum.

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The slow pace continued in the second half and turned into a slug fest. However, the Buffaloes were able to arrive late. After Boise State trailed by four points with 4 1/2 minutes left, Colorado State increased its lead to 11-0 over the next four minutes, effectively closing the gap when Eddie Lumpkin Jr. converted an airball into a bucket with 33 seconds left. won the victory. The match was sealed. Boise State missed six straight shots during that time.

Head coach Tad Boyle credited his team's defense for the victory, even though Boise State grabbed a whopping 19 offensive rebounds.

"We started out playing really hard on a glass team. Boise State is a physical team and they always come at us. And we made enough plays until the end. We played well all night. I thought our defense was great and our guys stuck together. —Boyle said.

Boise State is 0-10 in March Madness play.

Who will Colorado play next in March Madness?

The Buffaloes' next opponent is the Florida Gators, ranked seventh in the South. The teams are scheduled to play at approximately 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of Marquette vs. Western Kentucky in the second round on Sunday.

When was the last time Colorado State participated in the NCAA Tournament?

This will be Colorado's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2021 and 16th overall. The Buffaloes enjoyed early success in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Final Four in 1942 and 1955. But since the tournament expanded in 1985, Colorado has never made it past the second round.

First four successes in the NCAA tournament

Colorado hopes to become the newest team to enter the tournament after playing in the First Four. Since its inception in 2011, a First Four winning team has failed to win a first round match only once, in 2019. Here are the teams that found success in the tournament after winning the First Four and how well they did. was.

2011: Virginia - Final Four

2012: South Florida - Round 2

2013: La Salle - Sweet 16

2014: Tennessee - Sweet 16

2015: Dayton - Round 2

2016: Wichita State - Second Round

2017: Southern California - Round 2

2018: Syracuse - Sweet 16

2021: UCLA - Final 4

2022: Notre Dame - Round 2

2023: Pittsburgh - Round 2. Fairleigh Dickinson - Round 2

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

2024 March Madness TV Schedule, Announcers: How to Watch the NCAA Tournament, Type Schedules, TV Channels, Brackets

The 2024 NCAA Tournament officially opened Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, with First Four wins for Colorado State and Wagner. This means March Madness is in full swing, with 68 teams competing to be the 2023-24 national champion. With 67 games scheduled to be televised on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, fans will be able to watch every game in real time, wherever and whenever they want.

There will be several notable voices in this year's NCAA Tournament call, with some new names taking on visible roles. Ian Eagle will step in as the lead play-by-play announcer, joining Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and reporter Tracy Wolfson as the new voices of the Final Four.

Eagle, a longtime staple of NCAA Tournament coverage, isn't the only one taking on a new role on the team. Former Purdue star Robbie Hamel joined the NCAA Tournament broadcast team for the first time as an analyst for first- and second-round games.

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During the NCAA Tournament, CBS and TBS will televise 21 games each, while truTV and TNT will broadcast 13 and 12 games, respectively. In addition to the March Madness Live app, where you can watch all the games, Paramount+ subscribers will now be able to watch all the games CBS broadcasts, and subscribers to the B/R Sports add-on on Max will be able to watch the remaining ones. Masu games.

From the selection show to the performance of "One Shining Moment" after the champion is crowned, CBS Sports and TNT Sports will bring you the magic.

Take a look at the announced 2024 March Madness teams and the complete 2024 NCAA Tournament schedule.

2024 NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions: March Madness Expert Picks, Winners, Surprises and Favorites

 Selection Sunday officially announced the 68 teams competing for the national title, but the number was reduced to 66 after Wagner and Colorado State won the first four games on Tuesday. That number will drop to 64 by the end of Wednesday.

Now only one choice remains to be made for the start of the first round on Thursday.

The CBS Sports experts did just that below. We have spent months observing, analyzing and predicting teams. We stayed up late to watch games in the Mountain West and Pac-12. We get up early to polish film and interview players and coaches. To help guide your own decisions, we have used all of our accumulated knowledge and filled it in parentheses below.

Consider this a cheat sheet if you like. You are welcome to use my selections to autocomplete the brackets. Honestly, I won the group last year, so I don't blame you. But there's also no shame in relying on braces as a crutch. Have a strong preference for Purdue but can't watch the Nevada game? Want to know what GP thinks about Tennessee's chances of making the Final Four? Please see the various sections below. Get a sense of how we look at this group together as a team before everything falls apart.

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Now let's get to the good part: the parentheses. ...''

2024 NCAA Tournament seeding prediction

It would be great to see UConn become the first back-to-back national champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. And to prove that the Huskies are the favorites in the betting market. So I understand that it might be foolish to disagree with them. But recognizing that, I'm going to continue doing what I've been doing for most of this season and trust the Boilermakers. Wouldn't it be great to see Purdue win the 2024 NCAA Tournament after losing to a 16th seed in the opening game of the 2023 NCAA Tournament? Zach Eady is a two-time National Player of the Year.・Do you have a championship trophy for this year? Has Matt Painter become the first coach since 1980 to lead Purdue to the final weekend of the season, relinquishing his label as the greatest coach who never reached the Final Four? It's all very good. Getting to the Final Four will be difficult considering Tennessee, Creighton and Kansas are also in the Midwest region. But I'll still make it to Arizona with the Boilermaker in tow. And once we get there, I think we'll win two more games and be in the net on the second Monday in April.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Hubert Hurkacz Triumphs Over Andrey Rublev, Clinching Shanghai Masters Title


Hubert Hurkas saved a match point en route to victory over Andrei Rublev in the Shanghai Masters final.

Harkash fell behind 6-5 in the decisive tie-break, but held on to defeat the fifth-seeded Russian 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).

Both players are aiming for their second Masters 1000 title, with world No. 17 Hurkas overcoming very stiff competition.

The 26-year-old Polish player made 21 aces en route to his first title at this level since winning in Miami in 2021.

The 25-year-old Rublev did not drop a set in the final, but could not prevent Furkas from winning for the seventh time in eight ATP Tour finals.

Ranked seventh in the world, he remains in a good position to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin in November. He is fifth in the Race to Turin classification, while Furkas has moved up to 11th place, 335 points behind Dane Holger Ruhn, who occupies the final eight place in the classification.

Jonny Evans' Remarkable Resilience: From Considering Retirement to Leading Northern Ireland Against Slovenia

 Euro 2024 qualification: Northern Ireland vs. Slovenia

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has revealed that there was a time last season when he feared he would have to retire from football.

Evans, 35, who will captain Northern Ireland against Slovenia on Tuesday, returned to Old Trafford in the summer.

Then, an injury-hit game against Leicester City ended in relegation from the Premier League.

When asked if he could have imagined such a positive change in his career, Evans replied, "No, definitely not."

"I think I went through a phase last year where I started thinking, 'Maybe this is coming to an end.'

“So there’s no doubt I’ve had those thoughts before. I never recovered from the injury and every time I came back, my heart was broken.

"A lot of people said, 'There's no way I'm close to finishing,' but I had to prove it to myself and I feel like I did that.

“I have been training a lot and completing the games forgetting everything. I think every time I complete a game, I lose another one.

"Sometimes you have to confirm that to yourself, but I'm glad I went through that process. I feel like I'm in a good place."

Evans came through United's youth ranks and won three Premier League titles and a Champions League during his first spell at the club, before moving to West Bromwich Albion in 2015 before moving to Leicester three years later. In 2021, he won the FA Cup with the Foxes.

The Green Island Academy graduate was handed his 100th international win last summer by Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings ahead of Saturday's 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifier win over San Marino at Windsor Park. I received a plaque in commemoration of this.

As Evans prepared to captain his country again on Tuesday when Slovenia return to Belfast for Euro qualifiers, he was thinking about the possibility of retiring at the end of last season.

The game is doubtful because Evans' central defensive partner Daniel Ballard of Sunderland suffered a thigh injury on Saturday in the match that ended Northern Ireland's five-game losing streak in Group H.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will also be without experienced Paddy McNair, who is suspended after being booked late against San Marino, but plans to call up additional players to his squad. There isn't.

"He (Ballard) woke up with pressure in his thigh and we've had to deal with that for the last 48 hours," O'Neill explained.

"It's not like he was playing around with anything. Obviously we could have taken it away, but it didn't alert us to anything. It just happened after the game."

He added: "I think we have enough cover in our group. We have Eoin Toal, Try Hume plays as a centre-back for the club and Shay Charles also plays as a centre-back. "There is," he added.

"I think we have enough talent in the team even if we don't call anyone up. If Daniel is not available, I think what we can do is bring in someone from the U-21 team."

NI team is a 'really safe place' for young players

Northern Ireland knew before this home qualifying double-header that they had no chance of progressing to Euro 2024, but the win against San Marino took them to six points from seven games.

They will face Group H leaders Slovenia on Tuesday night. Slovenia won 4-2 in the first leg in September, leaving them 10 points behind but are determined to finish the season strong.

Evans and O'Neill highlighted the threat posed by young Slovenian forward Benjamin Sesko, while Evans insisted Northern Ireland were very likely to achieve their third win of the season.

“I think they have two good forwards, they were good in the last game and they have a good reputation.

As the most experienced member of the team, Evans also had words of encouragement for the younger, less experienced players who have endured a difficult season so far.

"It's a first season for a lot of them, but apart from a good start in their first season (at 18), they didn't have a good season until they were 27.

“I know there are ups and downs in international football, but the most important thing is to keep playing.

"This is a great place for everyone to come. Their career at the club may have its ups and downs, but this is a really safe place for them."

“I hope Michael stays here as long as he was with me at the beginning of my career. He gives you a real foundation, you can come back and be part of something. I feel like I belong to the club.”

“It’s a great place to come and play because the fans are always there to support them.”

Australia Clinches First Victory in Cricket World Cup 2023 by Overcoming Sri Lanka in Lucknow

 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, Lucknow: Sri Lanka 209 (43.3 overs): Perera 78, Nissanka 61. Zanpa 4-47

Australia 215-5 (35.2 overs): Inglis 58, Marsh 52. Madhushanka 3-38

Australia won by 5 wickets

Australia finally achieved their first World Cup win, but only after overcoming a tense moment against Sri Lanka.

The five-time champions, who lost their first two matches to India and South Africa, found themselves in difficult situations once again as Sri Lanka reached 125-0.

However, Sri Lanka collapsed, losing all 10 wickets for 84 runs, which was 209 runs.

Despite facing a modest target, Australia won 24 and lost two, thanks to Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis, making their first World Cup appearance in half a century, scoring 52 and 58 points respectively. We were able to.

Glenn Maxwell added another burst with 31 not out off 21 balls and Marcus Stoinis added an unbeaten 20 from just 10 balls to seal Australia's victory with five wickets and almost 15 overs to his name.

The swing of the contest led to some off-field drama in Lucknow, with a banner blown off the ceiling by strong winds.

Spectators were forced to move to a protected area behind the stands as debris fell on the field and seats. The International Cricket Council said there were no injuries and a sparse crowd was allowed to approach the pitch once the wind died down.

Australia are currently just two points clear of the top four in the group standings and will face Pakistan in Bangalore next Friday. This match, as well as the matches against New Zealand and England, will go a long way in determining their progress.

Sri Lanka, the only team with three defeats in the tournament, will face the Netherlands in Lucknow on Saturday knowing that one more loss would likely see them eliminated.

Australia is finally on the move

Australia's only World Cup loss to Sri Lanka was in the famous 1996 final, but there was a moment in the game that could have been repeated.

Australia, who had a disappointing performance in the first two matches, lost their rhythm after dropping the toss in Lucknow.

Kusal Perera and Pathum Nissanka took advantage of meek bowling and fielding mistakes to add 125 for Sri Lanka's first wicket.

Nissanka fended off a half-chance with wicketkeeper Inglis and flyer Marnus Labuschagne at midwicket. Perera could have escaped Maxwell's spin, but Australia probably did so reluctantly after Mitchell Starc gave a terrible review of Nissanka from the first ball of the match.

David Warner took a brilliant catch on the leg-side boundary, missing Nissanka and giving Australia a shot. It was the first of two smart catches by Warner, who also helped deliver blankets to field staff when it rained.

Sri Lanka's collapse was inexplicable. 52 for 9 wickets and 31 for 6 wickets. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa improved as the day progressed, picking up four wickets while captain Pat Cummins took two and a direct hit.

The wind created a sandstorm at the end of Sri Lanka's innings, and Australia's chase start was lost to left-arm spinner Dilshan Madhushanka, who kept an infuriated Warner and Steve Smith LBW scoreless in the same over. It was Smith's first loss in a World Cup match.

But Marsh, perhaps playing as a replacement for Travis Head who has returned to fitness from a broken hand, was excellent at driving the ball into the opposition half. He cruised for an unnecessary split second before coming back, but was removed by Dimuth Karunaratne's accurate shot from deep.

With 129 still needed, Inglis' shaky start did little to calm Australia's nerves, but the Leeds-born gloveman improved to reach 77 with Labuschagne.

He was 40th when Labuschagne failed to midwicket to give Madhushanka his third wicket. However, by then the situation had been removed from danger and Maxwell arrived with four fours and two sixes, while Stoinis finished with a maximum.

“We hope this moves us forward”: their words

Australia captain Pat Cummins: ``We didn't talk much before the game, but after losing twice we wanted to get back to where we knew we could hold ourselves to high standards.

“Their first few games started very well and we were staring down the barrel of big scores. But we stuck together and all our bowlers did their job and were able to finish with 209. It was a great effort.”

“Hopefully this result will push us in the next direction,” the forward said. “All three aspects of the game came together today, so we have to keep it that way.”

Sri Lanka captain Kusal Mendis: "Congratulations on our first partnership. But then our top and middle order struggled and that's why we got the lowest score in the end. I think - I can defend 290 or 300.”

"We have been batting very well in the last two matches. Today was a little difficult. There are six more matches left where we can do better. I am confident in our batting team. Madhushanka has also bowled very well. did."

Kyle Walker: England Aims for Redemption Against Italy in Euro 2024 Qualifier


Kyle Walker hopes England can bounce back against European champions Italy in Tuesday's Euro 2024 qualifier.

It will be Italy's first match against England at Wembley since their victory at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final.

A point would ensure Gareth Southgate's side top Group C and secure a place in next summer's finals, but Italy's hopes of qualifying remained hanging in the balance.

Looking back on the Euro 2020 final, Walker said: ``We couldn't have come close that night.''

And he added, "I wish I could get revenge."

In the Euro 2020 final, which was held a year later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic, England took the lead with Luke Shaw's goal after two minutes, but Leonardo Bonucci equalized from a corner kick in the 67th minute. After that, England took the lead. We won in the penalty shootout.

Manchester City defender Walker said: ``We did what we did in that special summer to come this close. To concede a goal from a set-piece when we were doing so well was shocking.'' '' he said.

He drew parallels to Manchester City's Champions League victory over Inter Milan in June, two years after they lost the final to Chelsea in Portugal.

Walker said, ``At club level, we went to Porto and lost to Chelsea, and two years later we won the treble. People and teams evolve from there. I think we learn from the experience of losing in the final.'' Ta. Finals and setbacks and then achieving something great.

England manager Southgate said the current team is different to the one that lost in the Euro 2020 final.

"(We have) a history of winning big matches and showing consistent performances. We have been ranked in the top five in the world since 2018. No other time in the last 30, 40 years has we seen anything like this. "I don't think it happened in this case," Mr Southgate said.

Italy, led by Luciano Spalletti, are in second place in Group C, level with Ukraine on points, but they have only played a few games and will face Ukraine in the final qualifying match on November 20th.

Southgate said England were not reckless in their pursuit of victory. “If you get to the 87th minute and it’s tied, you don’t need to throw the goalkeeper into the box,” he said.

Walker added: "It's important to perform, go out and win, but even if it's a 0-0 result, I'm not embarrassed. We're at the Euros and I'm going to represent my country in the final." he added. ”

Ireland's Road to Rugby World Cup 2023: Embracing New Leadership Post-Sexton Era

 Ireland truly captured the imagination at this World Cup, from their amazing fans to the warriors on the pitch who played the best rugby of their lives. But now, the weight on Ireland's shoulders has become a little heavier after failing to advance to the semi-finals.

Unfortunately, as good as Ireland have been in recent years, they haven't been at their best when it matters most. We know from past World Cup experience that it can only mean one thing: go home early.

Despite being elated for his country, the former All Black half-half Andrew Mertens, who was a commentator on BBC Radio 5 Live, was actually suffering for Ireland.

This shows that Ireland has earned a great deal of admiration and respect for their efforts in France. But in the end, we lost again in the quarter-finals, and for the eighth time in our history, we were eliminated after an off-base performance.

They did not play with the precision and ruthlessness that has become synonymous with this team under manager Andy Farrell. Those traits were there in the group stage, but they were missing against the All Blacks and it cost us.

New Zealand, on the other hand, was clinical. They did their homework about Ireland. They knew how to stop the ball and were physically dominant. Ireland lost aerial duels, both kicks and throw-ins.

They were second best in important areas such as scrums and breaks, but could have done more damage to New Zealand in the second innings with 14 players on the field.

Despite this, they somehow found a way to beat the All Blacks to the end. This shows how good Ireland are and they managed to stay in Ireland, but that won't be much consolation to them right now.

It's a big win for New Zealand, who suffered a humiliating loss to Ireland in last year's Test series and will relish the chance to face Argentina in the semi-finals.

Ireland will be returning home and everyone involved in Irish rugby is extremely proud of them. They are extraordinary ambassadors of this country and have taken us on memorable journeys over the past few years.

They are rightly ranked number one in the world and have played the type of rugby that is admired across the sport. They can be proud because they have brought pride to their country.

"A cruel way to retire for Sexton"

It felt like everyone in the stadium was overwhelmed by full-time Johnny Sexton. He was a great leader of this group and a first-class ambassador for Irish rugby, but he was someone even the greatest players sometimes don't reach the heights they dream of.

Sexton will always cherish the special memories he made while wearing the green jersey. He has earned the respect of his opponents because he embodies his fighting spirit, which is part of the Irish identity.

He has always been the ultimate competitor and has led himself and this team to great heights over the past few years. It would be devastating for him to retire with pain etched on his face. Because, as he himself said, during the final 37-phase effort, Ireland looked like they were going for it in the second half.

It appeared that Ireland was preparing to complete the script for the film, but that was not the case. For Johnny, hanging his boots is a very cruel method. You won't fully understand until you get on the flight home, empty your bags, and put away your boots one last time.

It will take time, but the players will have to prepare for the World Cup again with a new captain. Personally, I don't think the Irish team has ever come into a tournament as well prepared as this one. My confidence was really high.

It's hard to imagine an Irish team generating such exciting momentum again, but there are plenty of good young players there. It's over for players like Jonny and Keith Earls, but Irish rugby is still alive and well and there's still a Six Nations title to defend next year.

But whoever plays for Ireland at the next World Cup will carry the heaviest burden an Irish rugby player can shoulder. It was strongly emphasized throughout this tournament that Ireland had never been able to win in the quarter-finals. It's going to be even stronger in Australia and that means even more pressure on the players.

What was really good about this World Cup was the Irish support. Irish fans showed why we are loved around the world with our good character and ability to have fun and move our country forward. The atmosphere in his three games at the Stade de France was electric and it was special to be there to witness it. On Saturday after the game, I went back to the hotel to have some beers and meet up with some Americans who had come to watch the last few games. Ireland game.

It's something we can be proud of, even if sadness is the dominant emotion right now.