Mallorca bans fan who racially insulted Vinícius Júnior

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior reacts during their La Liga match against RCD Mallorca at Mallorca Stadium, Palma, on Feb. 5, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 March 2023
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Mallorca bans fan who racially insulted Vinícius Júnior

  • The fan, reportedly a 20-year-old Mallorca season ticket holder, is accused of calling Real Madrid forward Vinícius and Villarreal midfielder Chukwueze a monkey
  • Spain’s anti-violence commission has already proposed a fine of $4,300 and a 12-month ban from stadiums for the fan

MADRID: Spanish club Mallorca handed the fan who racially insulted players Vinícius Júnior and Samu Chukwueze a three-year ban from club membership on Tuesday.
The fan, reportedly a 20-year-old Mallorca season ticket holder, is accused of calling Real Madrid forward Vinícius and Villarreal midfielder Chukwueze a monkey in separate Spanish league games this year. Both Vinicius and Chukwueze are Black.
Spain’s anti-violence commission has already proposed a fine of 4,000 euros ($4,300) and a 12-month ban from stadiums for the fan, who may also face criminal charges. He was identified by club security officials.
“RCD Mallorca are against all xenophobic manifestations and will continue to work actively to eradicate this scourge,” said the club, whose president is American Andy Kohlberg.
Vinícius was also insulted after the Mallorca match when he stopped to pose for photos and sign autographs for fans.
The Brazilian has been subjected to insults since arriving in Spain five years ago, though little has been done to punish fans.
Valladolid recently suspended 12 season ticket holders while investigating their alleged verbal abuse of Vinícius.
The first trial against a fan who racially insulted a player in Spain is expected to begin this year following remarks by an Espanyol supporter against Athletic Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams a few years ago.
The Spanish league has filed several complaints to authorities for racist insults or chants against Vinícius, with some of them being shelved by prosecutors.
The league has also increased the number of overseers at matches to try to identify perpetrators, especially when Vinícius plays.
Authorities have yet to find those responsible for hanging Vinícius’ effigy from a bridge in Madrid before the derby against Atletico Madrid earlier this year.
The attacks against Vinícius increased after he began celebrating his goals by dancing.


Kylian Mbappé scores on return from broken nose as France draw 1-1 with Poland at Euro 2024

Updated 24 sec ago
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Kylian Mbappé scores on return from broken nose as France draw 1-1 with Poland at Euro 2024

  • Mbappé removed his protective mask to celebrate in front of France’s fans after converting his 56th-minute penalty for his first goal at a European Championship
  • Lewandowski found the bottom corner with his second attempt

DORTMUND: Kylian Mbappé scored from the penalty spot on his return after breaking his nose before France conceded a spot kick by Robert Lewandowski in a 1-1 draw with Poland at the European Championship on Tuesday.
Mbappé removed his protective mask to celebrate in front of France’s fans after converting his 56th-minute penalty for his first goal at a European Championship. It wasn’t enough to secure his team first place in Group D at Euro 2024, though.
Lewandowski had his penalty saved in the 77th minute by France goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who was adjudged to have come off his line. The Poland striker found the bottom corner with his second attempt.
France finished as runner-up to Austria in the group and will play the runner-up in Group E, which could be Belgium, Romania, Slovakia or Ukraine, in the last 16 on July 1.
France have yet to score an open-play goal at Euro 2024, having beaten Austria 1-0 on an own-goal and then drawn 0-0 with the Netherlands — when Mbappé was missing after breaking his nose against the Austrians.
Mbappé returned to the starting lineup against last-place Poland, which were already eliminated before the match began, and was clearly impaired by wearing a mask that limits his peripheral vision.
He largely kept away from overly physical challenges and didn’t compete for the ball in the air.
Still, Mbappé remained France’s most dangerous attacker and finally got his first goal in six matches at the tournament — taking in four at Euro 2020 and two at Euro 2024 — after Ousmane Dembele was tripped in the area.
Mbappé played the full game, starting as a central striker before ending up on the left wing, in another unconvincing display from France — a two-time European champion and the World Cup runner-up in 2022.


Austria beat Netherlands 3-2 to reach knockout stage of Euro 2024 as group winner ahead of France

Updated 12 min 46 sec ago
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Austria beat Netherlands 3-2 to reach knockout stage of Euro 2024 as group winner ahead of France

  • First-half substitute Xavi Simons set up Cody Gapko to equalize two minutes after the break
  • Sabitzer restored Austria’s lead two minutes later with a fierce strike from a difficult angle

BERLIN: Marcel Sabitzer scored late for Austria to advance to the knockout stage of the European Championship as group winner with a 3-2 victory over the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Austria topped Group D thanks to France drawing with Poland 1-1 in the other game. Both France and the Netherlands were already assured of progress thanks to results in other games.
The Austrians had needed a point to be sure of advancing and got off to a great start with Dutch forward Donyell Malen scoring an own goal in the sixth minute.
First-half substitute Xavi Simons set up Cody Gapko to equalize two minutes after the break, but Romano Schmid headed Austria back in front in the 59th.
Memphis Depay equalized with a brilliant finish in the 75th, though he had to endure a VAR check as referee Ivan Kruzliak felt he handled the ball. The check found Depay hadn’t.
But Sabitzer restored Austria’s lead two minutes later with a fierce strike from a difficult angle.
It proved to be the winner despite a frenetic finale with chances at both ends.
Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman made three changes to the team that drew against France. He had criticized Simons for not pressing enough in that match and subsequently dropped the young player in favor of Joey Veerman in midfield. Lutsharel Geertruida started for Denzel Dumfries at right-back, and Malen started in place of Jeremie Frimpong, who plays as a wing back for Bayer Leverkusen.
But Koeman’s team made a lethargic start in contrast to the busy Austrians, who scored when Malen turned Alexander Prass’ cross inside the left post.
Tijjani Reijnders and Malen both missed good chances to equalize. Koeman berated his charges and told his substitutes to warm up. He sent Simons on for Veerman in the 35th.
Simons’ entrance gave the Dutch more urgency. Depay saw a header cleared off the line before the break, and Simons set up Gapko after Florian Grillitsch lost the ball in midfield.
Koeman’s side maintained its pressure and looked more likely to score until Grillitsch crossed for Schmid to head Austria back in front with his first international goal. Ultimately, the Austrians were more clinical.


Show your love for Turkiye by supporting us, Montella tells critics

Updated 25 June 2024
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Show your love for Turkiye by supporting us, Montella tells critics

  • Montella’s men are one of the best supported sides in Germany, where nearly three million people with Turkish roots call home
  • “I’d like to remind the critics, if you love this country, support your country as much as you can,” Montella told reporters

HAMBURG: Turkiye coach Vincenzo Montella urged his side’s huge following to show their support in a crunch Euro 2024 showdown against the Czech Republic, rather than getting on his players’ backs.
After beating Georgia 3-1 to get their tournament off to a flier, Turkiye were swatted aside 3-0 by the class of Portugal.
Montella’s men are one of the best supported sides in Germany, where nearly three million people with Turkish roots call home.
However, there has been a backlash to the Italian boss and his squad after failing to compete with Portugal for large spells in Dortmund.
“I’d like to remind the critics, if you love this country, support your country as much as you can,” Montella told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“This is the only team that represents Turkiye. These lads have put a smile on our face in recent teams.
“We need your support and the players deserve it based on what they have achieved on the pitch.”
Turkish football features some of the fiercest rivalries between clubs in the world.
But Fenerbahce winger Irfan Can Kahveci urged fans to put those tribal differences aside to unite in support of the national team.
“Within the team we have a great atmosphere and we try to demonstrate that whether the players are from Galatasaray, Besiktas, Trabzonspor or Fenerbahce.
“We are united under the national flag. We should let those divisions go.”
Turkiye remain second in Group F and just need a draw against the Czechs in Hamburg to secure a place in the last 16.
Even a narrow defeat could see Turkiye through as one of the four best third-placed sides.
But Montella said he would set out for victory.
“We have to go out and win the game,” he added. “We can’t get hung up on permutations.”
Real Madrid’s Arda Guler is set to return to the Turkish starting line-up after Montella revealed he was only left on the bench against Portugal due to an injury that meant he could not play the full 90 minutes.
“If he doesn’t play it will be footballing reasons,” said Montella. “He didn’t start the last game not because of footballing reasons.”


Portugal chase third win against newcomer Georgia while wary of selfie-seekers

Updated 25 June 2024
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Portugal chase third win against newcomer Georgia while wary of selfie-seekers

  • A draw might give Georgia a chance at qualifying
  • There will be scrutiny of Euro 2024 security after no fewer than six different fans invaded the field or tried to seek selfies with Cristiano Ronaldo

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: Portugal are already qualified for the European Championship knockout stages and can sign off from Group F in style with a third win when they play newcomer Georgia on Wednesday.
A draw might give Georgia a chance at qualifying, depending on results elsewhere, but they’re likely to need a shock win. The kickoff in Gelsenkirchen at the same time as group rivals the Czech Republic and Turkiye meet in Hamburg is 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT).
There will be scrutiny of Euro 2024 security after no fewer than six different fans invaded the field or tried to seek selfies with Cristiano Ronaldo at Portugal’s 3-0 win over Turkiye.
Four of them reached Ronaldo. UEFA said on Sunday they increased security but there was another fan on the field on Monday as Spain beat Albania 1-0.
On their major tournament debut, Georgia have won praise for their battling style of play and nearly beat the Czech Republic in their second game if not for a last-second miss. Beating Portugal would be a huge upset and would guarantee Georgia a spot in the round of 16.
Georgia will know before kickoff if a draw will potentially be enough to qualify as one of the four best third-place teams, or if only a win will do. If Georgia draw, they would still require the Czech Republic to lose against Turkiye, though.
Moreover, Ronaldo has yet to score at Euro 2024 and could potentially be rested against Georgia, since Portugal has won Group F no matter what.
Coach Willy Sagnol said Georgia midfielder Otar Kiteishvili missed the first two matches amid fitness concerns but is available to face Portugal
One of the records the 39-year-old Ronaldo can break is that of oldest ever goal-scorer at the European Championships. Croatia’s Luka Modric scored on Monday at age 38 against Italy to set a new record.
Two more milestones for experienced Portuguese players: Ronaldo can play his 210th international game and 41-year-old Pepe can play his 140th.
It’s 18 years since Ronaldo and Sagnol last faced off at a major tournament in Germany. Sagnol was the right back on the France team which beat Ronaldo’s Portugal 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup semifinals.
Meanwhile, Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa on fans invading the field said: “It’s clearly an annoying situation, both for us and for our opponents. It worries us, we’ve already made the statement and let’s hope that the situation improves in the next games, so that the football is richer.”
“The Georgian fans should expect more from me because I haven’t done the maximum I can do. And I will try to show that in the match versus Portugal and hopefully I can assist the team to gain a victory,” said Georgia star forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.


Rodriguez steers Colombia past Paraguay at Copa America

Updated 25 June 2024
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Rodriguez steers Colombia past Paraguay at Copa America

  • Colombia play Costa Rica in their second group game of the tournament on Friday, before wrapping up their first round campaign against Brazil on July 2

HOUSTON: James Rodriguez rolled back the years with a vintage performance to help Colombia open their Copa America campaign with a 2-1 victory over Paraguay in Houston on Monday.
Rodriguez, whose club career has languished in the decade since he rose to prominence with a dazzling performance at the 2014 World Cup, created both of his team’s goals in a deserved Group D victory at the NRG Stadium.
The 32-year-old midfielder, who has played just a handful of minutes for Brazilian club Sao Paulo in the two months leading into the Copa America, set up the opening goal for Colombia in the 32nd minute.
After finding space on the left flank, Rodriguez flighted a pinpoint cross to the far post to pick out Daniel Munoz, who beat Paraguay goalkeeper Rodrigo Morinigo with a firm downward header to make it 1-0.
Ten minutes later Colombia doubled their lead and again it was a goal engineered by the trusty left boot of Rodriguez.
This time the goal arrived from the opposite flank, with Rodriguez swinging in a wicked free-kick that was glanced in by Crystal Palace midfielder Jefferson Lerma.
That made it 2-0 at half-time to leave Colombia firmly on course to extend their unbeaten streak to 24 games.
Colombia continued to carve out the better chances in the second half, but Paraguay set up a nervy finish after Brighton and Hove Albion’s Julio Enciso pulled one back in the 69th minute.
Ramon Sosa crossed from the left and Enciso punished slack marking in the Colombia area to hook an angled first-time volley into the bottom corner past Camilo Vargas.
Colombia, however, controlled play after the Paraguay goal and looked the more threatening team.
The Colombians thought they had earned a penalty in the 84th minute when another teasing Rodriguez cross into the box ended with defender Yerry Mina appearing to be hauled down by Gustavo Velazquez.
Argentinian referee Dario Herrera pointed to the spot but subsequently overturned the decision after a VAR review.
Colombia play Costa Rica in their second group game of the tournament on Friday, before wrapping up their first round campaign against Brazil on July 2.
Brazil open their Copa America campaign against the Costa Ricans in Inglewood, California, later on Monday.