No.10s Messi and Benzema share World Cup limelight

admin   •   June 16, 2014   •   2542

Argentina’s Lionel Messi (R) scores a goal during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro June 15, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/MICHAEL DALDER

 

(Reuters) – Lionel Messi ended an eight-year wait for a World Cup goal on Sunday as Argentina edged past debutants Bosnia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while fellow No. 10, France’s Karim Benzema, put two past Honduras in a man-of-the-match display.

The goals continued to rattle in across Brazil. France cruised to a 3-0 victory in Porto Alegre, and in the other Group E match, Switzerland came from behind to beat Ecuador 2-1 with a dramatic, counter-attacking winner in injury time.

The buildup to the fourth day of action at the 2014 World Cup had all been about Messi, the 26-year-old Barcelona forward who has lit up club soccer like few others but has so far failed to repeat those heroics on the biggest stage of all.

His last World Cup goal came on June 16, 2006, the sixth out of six Argentina put past Serbia & Montenegro in Germany.

Messi’s roar of delight after a fine left-foot strike from the edge of the area on Sunday suggested the goal would lift a huge weight from his shoulders.

“It was important to start with a win and to get three points, but we need to improve,” Messi said after also being named man of the match in the 2-1 victory in Group F.

Until that point Messi’s display had been lackluster, but it proved a crucial goal when Bosnia scored late on to set up a tense end to a game many had expected Argentina to win easily.

There was a touch of fortune in the outcome, after Bosnia’s Sead Kolasinac netted the fastest own goal in World Cup history in the third minute.

His side recovered from the shock and began to look the better team, but a lack of composure in front of goal saw several long-distance efforts fly high and wide.

Messi’s successor as World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, expects to start for Portugal against Germany in the pick of Monday’s matches.

The 29-year-old said he was fit for the Group G encounter in Salvador, despite struggling with tendinosis in his left knee.

Asked whether a great World Cup was all that was missing from a glittering career, he replied: “I don’t think I have to show anyone anything. If you look at my statistics and my resume… I have no words for that question.

“I think I do not have to demonstrate anything, not now, before, not after. What I have to do is just continue my career, which has been great so far.”

In the other Group G clash, Ghana meet the United States in Natal, while Iran and Nigeria play in Curitiba in Group F.

FRANCE REUNITED

In Porto Alegre, France survived a bruising encounter with Honduras, but passed the test with aplomb in a game where Benzema grabbed two and goal-line technology was used to confirm the ball had crossed the line for the first time at a World Cup.

Benzema’s shot hit the upright and the ball rolled across the goal, only for Honduras keeper Noel Valladares to divert it over the line by inches.

Honduras were reduced to 10-men after Wilson Palacios charged into French midfielder Paul Pogba seconds before the break in a challenge that earned him a second yellow card.

Benzema stroked home the resulting penalty, and 18 minutes from time he struck again from a narrow angle, earning a rendition of “La Marseillaise” from the red, white and blue clad French fans.

The result will have delighted France coach Didier Deschamps, especially after Les Bleus’ 2010 debacle in South Africa when they failed to win a game amid bitter squabbling that blew up into a national scandal.

SWISS SMASH-AND-GRAB

In arguably the most exciting contest of the day, substitute Haris Seferovic finished off a breathtaking box-to-box counter-attack in stoppage time to give Switzerland a 2-1 win over Ecuador in Brasilia.

A brilliant block tackle by Valon Behrami in his own area instigated the break, which was allowed to continue by an excellent decision from Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov after the midfielder was body-checked.

With more than three goals a game on average, and a surprisingly expansive style of soccer for the early stages of a World Cup, action on the field has grabbed people’s imagination in a country considered by many to be the sport’s spiritual home.

The tournament has gone much more smoothly than many had expected, with protests against the $11 billion spend on new stadiums and infrastructure small compared with mass demonstrations that rocked Brazil a year ago.

On Sunday, police blocked a small group of anti-World Cup protesters who were trying to reach the Maracana stadium before the Argentina-Bosnia game.

About 150 bandanna-clad demonstrators carrying banners that said “FIFA go home” marched towards the stadium, but police on horseback blocked their path, leading to minor scuffles.

A similar-sized march was held ahead of the Switzerland-Ecuador game, but participants simply laid down their banners in front of a police cordon and dispersed when the game started.

(Additional reporting by Mike Collett and Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro, Angus MacSwan in Porto Alegre, Neil Maidment in Salvador and Patrick Johnston in Brasilia; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Brazil’s Bolsonaro says vaccine will be free and non-mandatory

Marje Pelayo   •   December 9, 2020

President Jair Bolsonaro

BRAZIL — President Jair Bolsonaro said vaccines for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be free of charge and non-mandatory for the whole population of Brazil after it acquires certification from regulatory agency ANVISA. 

“We will protect the population by respecting their freedom, and not using it for political purposes, putting their health at risk because of personal gains,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter on Tuesday (December 8).

The Ministry of Economy assured that there will be no shortage of resources and every Brazilian will be attended to. 

“Once certified by @anvisa_oficial (scientific guidelines and legal precepts), @govbr will offer the vaccine to all, free of charge and not mandatory,” President Bolsonaro added.

Brazil ranks third among countries in the world with the highest number of COVID-19 infections after registering more than 6.6 million cases.

The South American country also records the second heaviest death toll worldwide with more than 177,000. MNP / Beth Pilares

PH envoy to Brazil could face charges for staff abuse

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2020

Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. on Wednesday (October 28) vowed to address ‘to the fullest extent of the law’  the incidents of physical abuse by former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro against her household staff.

In a series of tweets, Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be “firm in meting out the appropriate sanctions and administrative or criminal charges” on the former envoy if results of the investigation on the matter would demand as such.

Locsin broke the news of Mauro’s recall from post on Monday (October 26).

The incident of physical abuse by Mauro against her staff was aired over Brazilian news outlet GloboNews with dates listed on the video footage as taken in March, August and October this year.

As the Philippine Ambassador to Brazil, Mauro also held concurrent jurisdiction over Colombia and Venezuela.

READ: PH envoy to Brazil recalled over alleged maltreatment of staff — DFA

DA lifts temporary ban on mechanically deboned poultry meat from Brazil

Marje Pelayo   •   September 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) announced Monday (September 7) that it is partially lifting the temporary importation ban on mechanically deboned poultry meat (MDM) from Brazil.

This, after the agency conducted a review of the measure based on available information provided by Brazilian authorities. 

The Brazilian government submitted documentary requirements ensuring the strict implementation of plans for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention, infection control and occupational safety and health relative to the operations of foreign meat establishments. 

Agriculture Secretary William Dar clarified however, that the lifting of the temporary import ban only applies to  foreign meat establishments without a single worker that is COVID-19 positive.

The importation must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate which proves that the meat was handled and processed in facilities with functional food safety management system and where stringent hygiene and sanitation measures are practiced. 

Likewise, the poultry products must carry a safe handling label and all importation must be for the sole use of an accredited meat processor. 

The DA warned that all shipments into the country that do not comply with the above conditions shall be confiscated.

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