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Italy win Euro 2020 final on penalties to wreck England party



Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini lifts the Henri Delaunay trophy at Wembley. AFP/VNA Photo


LONDON — Italy wrecked England’s Euro 2020 party at Wembley on Sunday, winning the final on penalties to plunge the host nation into despair and prolong their 55-year wait to win a major title.

Roberto Mancini’s men recovered from the shock of conceding the quickest goal ever in a European Championship final to equalise and held their nerve to claim a 3-2 shootout victory.

It is the second time Italy have been crowned European champions and comes after the embarrassment of failing even to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“We did well,” Mancini told RAI Sport. “We conceded a goal straight away and struggled, but then we dominated the game.

“The lads were wonderful, I don’t know what more to say. It’s important for all the people and all the fans. I hope they’re celebrating (in Italy).”

The partisan crowd was whipped up to a state of fever pitch by rousing renditions of “Three Lions” and “Sweet Caroline” before kick-off.

Both teams took the knee before the whistle in a display of solidarity against racial injustice before England raced out of the blocks.

Gareth Southgate’s team were ahead in just the second minute when defender Luke Shaw finished coolly at the back post after an inviting cross from the recalled Kieran Trippier.

The goal stunned a disbelieving crowd of more than 67,000, mostly decked out in red and white.

In steady rain, the crowd provided a relentless wall of noise as the home side repelled Italy’s attacks and threatened to increase their lead.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a fine one-handed save from Federico Chiesa’s effort to preserve his side’s advantage with about half an hour to go.

England’s Bukayo Saka reacts after missing a penalty as Italy’s players celebrate winning Europ 2020. AFP/VNA Photo

But minutes later they were level when Leonardo Bonucci scrambled the ball into the net from close range after England failed to clear.

Italy were now dictating play and their supporters found their full voice behind the goal they were attacking.

With four minutes remaining of normal time a pitch invader stopped the action and stewards struggled to catch him adding to a sense of chaos at the stadium after ticketless fans earlier forced their way in.

Normal time finished goalless despite a flurry of substitutions and the sides were still locked at 1-1 after extra time.

Pickford saved spot-kicks from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all failed to find the net.

Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini lifted the trophy to the delight of the country’s fans as the small pocket of Italian fans celebrated wildly.

Fans started gathering outside Wembley hours before kick-off. AFP/VNA Photo

Fan frenzy 

The atmosphere around the stadium was frenzied in the build-up to the match, which kicked off at 1900 GMT, with supporters draped in England colours downing pints of beer and chanting anthems.

But as the start neared, the climate became tense, with thousands crammed into the pedestrianised Wembley Way, strewn with broken glass.

Fans — with few signs of mask-wearing despite surging coronavirus infections in Britain — threw cans of beer, flares and traffic cones into the air.

Footage posted on social media showed hundreds of supporters battling to get past lines of stewards and police, trying to force their way through security cordons and scaling walls.

Another video appeared to show violent clashes between fans inside Wembley itself.

Police said in a statement that a “breach of security… resulted in a small number of people getting into the stadium without a ticket” but the number appeared to swell the official crowd significantly.

Crowds also filled Leicester Square in central London. AFP/VNA Photo

Italy had been arguably the team of the tournament heading into the final, sweeping through the group stage with a perfect record before knocking out Austria, top-ranked Belgium and Spain to reach the final.

Revitalised since Mancini took over after their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the Azzurri were on a remarkable 33-match unbeaten run leading into the final.

The four-time world champions’ lone previous European Championship triumph came in 1968. They were beaten finalists in 2000 and 2012.

Southgate has revolutionised English football since taking charge in 2016, leading his team to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, where they were beaten by Croatia but they fell just short at Wembley.

It means they are still waiting for their first major title since winning the 1966 World Cup on home soil.

Southgate said it was his decision to put Arsenal teenager Saka as his team’s final penalty taker

“I chose the takers,” Southgate told ITV. “I’m unbelievably disappointed not to go one step further.

“We decided to make the changes at the end of the game, but we win or lose together as a team.”

British authorities had warned of the dangers of large gatherings ahead of Sunday’s final, fearful of the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant that is firing outbreaks across the world.

Health experts have expressed concerns about Euro 2020 events becoming super-spreaders throughout the tournament, especially in Britain and Russia. AFP



First win for Vietnam at Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone



The Vietnamese tennis team got off to a perfect start at the 2021 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group III tournament in Jordan after a 2-1 win over Pacific Oceania in their Pool B opener on September 15.

Vietnamese players in red jerseys at the 2021 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group III

Vietnamese players in red jerseys at the 2021 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group III

The team representing Pacific Oceania is made up from various national teams from the Oceania region, except for Australia and New Zealand, including Colin Sinclair who currently ranks 723rd in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings, the highest place in the tournament.

In the first singles match, Trinh Linh Giang handled Mainguy Clement 4-6, 6-3, and 7-5 in three sets, putting Vietnam 1-0 in front.

The second singles clash saw Colin Sinclair of Pacific Oceania overwhelm Vietnamese star Ly Hoang Nam 4-6, 6-4, and 4-6 in three sets, earning an equalizer.

In the doubles match, Ly Hoang Nam/ Le Quoc Khanh defeated pair Colin Sinclair/ Baudinet Brett to go 2-1 up.

Next up for Vietnam will be a clash against Qatar on September 16 afternoon.

Source: VOV


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Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win



Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win

Vietnam players celebrate after the victory over Pacific Oceania in Davis Cup on September 15, 2021. Photo by Vietnam Tennis Federation

Vietnam won 2-1 against Pacific Oceania on the first day of Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone matches Wednesday.

Trinh Linh Giang played first, facing Mainguy Clement. Giang let Clement win the first set, but came back stronger in the next two sets to claim victory.

In the second match, the key player of Vietnam, Ly Hoang Nam, battled Colin Sinclair, the star of Pacific Oceania. Sinclair won the first set and Nam equalized, but the Vietnamese lost in the last set.

After two matches, the score was 1-1 and the result was decided by the final match, as Nam and Le Quoc Khanh played Sinclair and Baudinett Brett in the doubles. The Vietnamese players won the first set, before Pacific Oceania equalized. In an intense third set, Nam and Khanh wrapped it up with a triumph. Overall, Vietnam won 2-1 after 7.5 hours of competition with Pacific Oceania.

This victory pushed Vietnam to the top of their group. The team will play Qatar on the second day Thursday.

Previously, Vietnam had been chosen to host group three of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone. But because of the ongoing Covid-19 wave in the country, the International Tennis Federation instead appointed Jordan as host.


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Hải Phòng FC proposes plan to organise World Cup qualifiers matches at their stadium



Hải Phòng FC would like to host Việt Nam’s matches team in the final round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers campaign at Lạch Tray stadium after international media complained about the grass quality at Mỹ Đình stadium. Photo courtesy of Hải Phòng FC

HẢI PHÒNG — Following complaints about the state of the pitch at Việt Nam’s national stadium, Hải Phòng FC is offering to host the next round of World Cup qualifier games.

After the loss to Australia last week, the condition of the pitch at Mỹ Đình was heavily criticised.

Now Hải Phòng FC president Trần Văn Hoàn, has written to the People’s Committee and Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng, asking to work with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on the possibility of Lạch Chay stdium hosting the matches against Saudi Arabia on November 16 and China on February 1.

In the proposal, the club says they believe that organising Việt Nam’s matches on low quality grass surface such as Mỹ Đình will affect the professional quality of the game as well as the image of the country.

VFF board members said that they have not yet received the proposal from Hải Phòng. However, the possibility of the national team playing at Lạch Tray is low due to many regulations of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Rules state the stadium must be near an international airport so that the visiting team can minimise the travel distance, be close to a five-star hotel to ensure safety and have training facilities nearby.

After the 1-0 victory against Việt Nam, Australian coach Graham Arnold complained about the grass of Mỹ Đình, saying it had detrimental effect on his team’s performance.

Australian media even compared the stadium surface to a “cow paddock”.

Mỹ Đình Stadium is a non-business unit under the management of the General Department of Physical Education and Sports. VFF has to pay a fee every time the national team plays there.

Addressing the criticism of the pitch, director of the Mỹ Đình National Sports Complex Nguyễn Trọng Hồ said: “The grass is still good as AFC has checked and assessed the pitch to be of good quality, thereby allowing the match to be held.”

Currently, Hải Phòng FC is waiting for the permission of the People’s Committee and the Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng city to work with VFF. If this is approved, the representative of the club will send an official letter to VFF.

Lạch Tray stadium used to be considered one of the low-quality stadiums in Việt Nam. However, the team has just invested to improve the grass, lights and facilities.

In the 2022 World Cup third round qualification, Việt Nam are still to win a point after two defeats to Saudi Arabia and Australia and are only above the bottom team China in group B thanks to a better goal difference.

The team will return to training on September 16 to prepare for the two away matches against China and Oman in October.


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