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Alex Morgan signs for Tottenham in remarkable coup for WSL | Football



Tottenham have signed the USA Women star Alex Morgan on a short-term loan deal that will run to the end of the year, subject to the player being granted a visa.

The 2019 World Cup silver ball winner, who famously celebrated her goal against England in their 2-1 semi-final defeat by pretending to sip tea, has swapped Orlando Pride for Tottenham to increase her game time as she tries to win a place in the US squad for the delayed Tokyo Olympics.

In August Morgan made her return to action after the birth of her daughter, Charlie, on 7 May, but she left the pitch after a heavy collision. Orlando Pride will compete in the NWSL Fall Series but the mini-tournament will provide only four competitive fixtures. Morgan will undoubtedly be the highest-profile import in the history of domestic women’s football in England.

USA’s Alex Morgan defends tea-cup celebration before World Cup final – video

She scored five goals against Thailand in the USA’s 13-0 victory on the way to her second World Cup trophy. The striker joins Pride teammates Shelina Zadorsky and Alanna Kennedy, who also signed loan deals with Tottenham this summer.

It is not Morgan’s first spell in Europe: the 31-year-old spent a year at Lyon in 2017, picking up a league title, the French Cup and a Champions League winner’s medal in the process. She also won Olympic gold at the London 2012 Olympics, scoring the extra-time winner against Canada in the semi-final.

Morgan and her fellow forward Megan Rapinoe became the first women to sign up to the Common Goal campaign, in which footballers donate 1% of their salaries to footballing charities. She also co-captains the USA team with Rapinoe and the former Manchester City striker Carli Lloyd.

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Ashwin holds the key for India: Monty Panesar | Cricket News




Spinner feels hosts will miss Jadeja despite Axar’s inclusion for Tests against England
CHENNAI: The Indian team will not have much time to soak in the euphoria around their stupendous show in Australia as their next assignment — a four-Test series against England at home — is just round the corner.
England arrived in Chennai on Wednesday for the first two Tests of the series after registering a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka. More importantly, England will take heart from the fact that they were the last international side to have won a Test series in India — a 2-1 result back in 2012-13.

Monty Panesar, who took 17 wickets in that series at an average of 26.82, believes that the opening two Tests in Chennai will set the tone for the series. “If they manage to win a game in Chennai — they will get a lot of confidence for the rest of the series. I expect England to put in a good fight against a strong Indian side,” Panesar told TOI.
Monty, who featured in 50 Tests, 26 ODIs and a lone T20 for England, feels the English spin duo of Dom Bess and Jack Leach shouldn’t put undue pressure on themselves while bowling to the vaunted Indian batting line-up. “In India, bowlers need to have an in-and-out field. You should have fielders at close-in positions as well as in the deep. You have to keep mixing things up and cut down the scoring opportunities for the Indian batsmen which will make them take risks. That’s where England bowlers have a chance,” the 38-year-old mentioned.

The R Ashwin factor will be crucial in the series, according to Monty. “Ashwin had a great tour of Australia and will come into the series with tons of confidence. How England play Ashwin will decide the outcome of the series. Ashwin has become smarter with the way he has bowled in recent times and is in prime form,” Monty said.
Monty feels the absence of Ravindra Jadeja could prove to be a weak link in the Indian ranks. “Jadeja will be missed. The second spinner will be crucial for India as Ashwin will need support from the other end to put England under pressure. They have named Axar Patel in the squad but I do believe that Jadeja adds a different dimension to the Indian team,” he said.

The opening Tests will mark an important milestone for Joe Root. The English skipper will be playing his 100th game in the opening Test at Chepauk from February 5. “If England are to have a chance of winning this series, Root will have to bat well. He needs to bat for long periods of time just like Alastair Cook did during the 2012-13 series. He has been brilliant in Sri Lanka and I do hope Root continues batting in the same way against India,” he said.

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India bowling coach Bharat Arun eyes Joe Root’s scalp after stifling Steve Smith | Cricket News




MUMBAI: Steve Smith is done. Joe Root is next. As India shifts focus from the demanding tour of Australia to relative “comforts” of playing at home, Joe Root’s scoring high tide at Galle isn’t lost on them.
At 426 runs in four innings, an average of 106.50, and a double century under the belt, the England captain is in great form. “They couldn’t have asked for a better time for Root to be in this kind of touch,” says Bharat Arun, India’s bowling coach, and the man behind India’s 72 wickets in four Tests in Australia.

“We are going to work on him,” the Chennai-based Arun told TOI as Team India arrived in the city on Wednesday.
Thankfully, barring Shami and Jadeja, the rest of the attack will be available in full force. It’ll be a good contest and since we’re playing at home, our boys will be in a far more comfortable space – after having gone through what they did in Australia,” Arun says.
Trust another strategy to fall in place, this time for Root, the way it was for Smith before the Indian team had embarked on the long journey Down Under in November last year.
It was in July last year that Arun received a call from Ravi Shastri. West Indies had landed in England to play the first cricket series after the pandemic set in, cricket was restarting and Shastri realized that India’s tour of Australia, scheduled towards the end of the year, would be a possibility after all.
“It was a lengthy chat but the long and short of it was simple. ‘Take the offside out of Australia. I want you to devise a plan where the entire attack is straighter and a field to go with it’, Shastri told me during that conversation.

“The idea was to dry-up the scoring as much as possible. And it would have to begin with the taming of Steve Smith. He was, after all, their main man – the best batsman in the world,” says Arun.
Smith would eventually go on to score a total of 313 runs in the series, of which 131 would come only in one innings (182 runs in seven innings) and Australia, for the first time in history, would end up scoring 200 or less in three consecutive innings at home.
“I got an analyst to share the data. Smith’s batting graph, the wheel, all scoring charts and where he has got the bulk of his runs. We began to look into the minute stuff – where does the ball go in the air maximum when he plays towards the on-side, etc,” says Arun. His struggle against Trent Boult in 2019 was fresh in mind.

Along those lines, strategies began to fall in place.
He adds: “Data showed 70% of Smith’s runs were on the offside. If that could be cut, set fields to restrict him from playing his shots, make him play more on the on-side, it would naturally get difficult to control the ball. Unlike most right-handers who can control the ball more effectively playing on the offside, the risk factor when playing on the on- side with a restricting field is that much more.”
Smith loves his boundaries. That was another factor. The idea was also to stop him from getting those boundaries, slow him down.
“He is someone who likes to use his hands a lot, he likes it when the ball comes faster on to the bat. So, we knew we would have to keep it slower. He hates it. He admitted as much when playing New Zealand in 2019,” says Arun.
India stopped themselves from using any of these strategies early on. They wanted to wait. “He’s a world class batsman. He wouldn’t take time figuring it out.
In the Test series, the plan was to ensure that even if Smith ended up getting a hundred, he would still have to consume 200 balls getting there, and the bowlers managed to contain him impressively.

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I would prefer Messi to stay but La Liga is above clubs and players: Javier Tebas




La Liga has already lost two of the world’s best players in Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, and might lose another one in Lionel Messi but the Spanish football league’s president, Javier Tebas, is not perturbed by these developments.

“Yes, I would prefer the likes of Messi, Neymar and such great players to play in the La Liga, but it is not a determining factor,” Tebas said in a virtual conference with select journalists in India.

“We have been working for years so that the La Liga is above clubs and players in all aspects.”

Tebas also touched upon various other issues, including the impact of and lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, Barcelona’s financial crisis, the proposed Super League and the broadcasting strategy for India. Excerpts.

On Fifa threatening players with ban if they join the proposed Super League

We totally agree. We are against this Super League and we have been saying this for years now. It will be harmful for the national leagues. I can talk about this a lot, but I am against it. So, we are very pleased with the Fifa press release where they are against this league. I also think (Fifa president) Gianni Infantino should make some things clear. I have heard that he was also behind this project.

On Messi’s uncertain future and its likely impact on brand La Liga

Well, as the best player in the world, I would like Messi to stay at La Liga. We have had previous examples like these. We had Neymar, he left for France, but I have not seen the French league improve in the international market. (Cristiano) Ronaldo went to Juventus, and I have not seen the international markets change. Yes, I would prefer the likes of Messi, Neymar and such great players to play in the La Liga, but it is not a determining factor. We have been working for years so that the La Liga is above clubs and players in all aspects.

On whether Barcelona could handle the Lionel Messi situation better

It is difficult for me to answer. I need to have more data. I don’t know how many meetings they have had. How many meetings did Messi have with Barcelona? It is very difficult to know all these things. Secondly, you have to remember we are talking about human relationships, people’s characters. We are not talking about machines, but people, their moods at different times. So I really do not know the mood of the chairman of Barcelona, Messi and people around him (during the time)…I am afraid I can’t say any more.

On Barcelona’s financial crisis

We are reading about Barcelona’s financial problems but the situation is not as bad as the headlines say. You need to know that if you have a debt, it needs to be in line with your revenues. I think they have a billion (euros) in debt but they also generate one of the highest revenues in the world. So when the pandemic comes to an end FC Barcelona can change their strategy slightly and easily get through their problems.

In India, there are big multinational companies and if we look at their balance sheets, we find that they have big debts. And that does not mean anything unless you take their revenue into account. Barcelona has said that before the pandemic they had a billion euros in revenue which was equal or more than their debts. They still have 725 million (euros) in revenue and so they need to reduce the salary volume like most companies are doing around the world. Their revenue capacity has not gone down a lot and they will be able to recover when things get back to normal.

On reports of non-payment of December salary

Barcleona, like big clubs, have their own payment methods. And I do not think it is about non-payments. Anyways, in general terms, Barcelona are more worried about… not having a chairman at the moment, their elections getting delayed and it is important for them to have executives and a chairman to make a decision.

On financial control put in place by La Liga

The idea behind it was to make Spanish football healthy. If we look at the figures available, the Spanish clubs, excluding the big clubs like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, owed three 300 million euro before the control was put in place and now prior to the pandemic they were earning 300 million euros.

The economic control has also meant that the Spanish clubs can adapt to new situations of financial crisis like the one the world is facing now. This means the clubs are more financially sound and can face the crisis when they are having less revenues. This is truly something that other competitions can learn as prior to every season, La Liga determines how much the clubs can spend on the salaries of the players and the technical staff. We do studies on their spending and the revenues and hence this has become quite a successful model.

On how La Liga is helping the Spanish clubs come out of the crisis

We are helping them by making them follow the economic control rules, which put a cap on the salaries of the players and spending of the clubs as a whole.

On lessons learnt during the pandemic

…That you have to make a lot of decisions in different areas. I never thought it would be healthcare-related, competition protocols to be able to play matches etc. Important decisions have to be taken very quickly. We can’t leave them entirely to speculation. We should not be worried about having to make certain decisions depending on the situation. Those are the lessons we have learned. Maybe you should always be ready for such extraordinary circumstances, which can arise.

On La Liga’s broadcast strategy in India

India is a market where we have Facebook and we have worked on a special model for the audio visual. It is a social media (channel) that is broadcasting football matches and now we are looking at the tender. In the Indian market, the priority is not actually the amount of money. I can tell you that. We want to see the treatment and the exposure that we will have with our product. The tender has got a lot of new things and there could be a situation where several people could win the legal rights in India.

On bringing a La Liga club to India for an exhibition match like Gerona in 2017

It is possible. These clubs have a lot of commitments. For example, Barcelona and Real Madrid, had it not been for the pandemic, had their calendar chalked out. You have to take into account the technical issues. We cannot do a lot about that, but yes, we do have the intention and we like to work on these kinds of matches. We would like to go to India. I am sure we will achieve this. We have to see the right time. India is not as far as many other countries, which means it is more viable.

On Indian Super League

The Indian federation has reorganised it well with the ISL, which is very important. One of the factors in football is that you have to be patient with development. It is a 15-20 year project and in that time India will surely grow a lot as far as football is concerned. Your worst enemy is trying to be quickly No. 1 in any sphere of competition.

And to reach that level of excellence India needs to have enough coaches and train the clubs to track and groom talent in an organised manner by having good academies. India is a huge country and I am sure there are many good footballers like the many good cricketers it has. And to do that, you need to find them and that can begin at schools.

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