OK, so clearly I need to get a life, that’s well and truly established, but I was just a bit little excited yesterday as I waited for the release of the Premier League fixtures for next season.
And granted, the first game may still be almost two months away, but with no World Cup this summer to look forward to, the kick-off for the Premier League can’t come quick enough.
And talking of the World Cup, with the bigwigs at UEFA deciding this year’s global showcase tournament will be held in Qatar, the fixtures for next season look a lot different than ever before.
As the World Cup will take place in November and December, there’s a rather gaping hole in the fixture list this time around.
Phase one’s run of games will end on November 12, ten days before the opening game of the World Cup.
There will then be a 44-day hiatus in the Premier League, and indeed all leagues around the world, until domestic football returns on December 26, some eight days after the World Cup final is played.
Many of the European managers plying their trade in the UK have been calling for a winter break in the season anyway. And although to some extent, that’s exactly what they’ve got, many of the top players will still be taking part in the World Cup.
So for those not fortunate enough to have qualified for Qatar – Mohammed Salah is one noticeable absentee as Egypt failed to progress – then it’s a nice welcome break in the middle of what will be a tough and congested season.
But let’s get back to the Premier League.
Champions Manchester City begin the defence of their Premier League crown at West Ham, while title rivals Liverpool travel to newly-promoted Fulham.
The new Manchester United manager will feel he’s been dealt a good hand on opening day, beginning his new reign at Old Trafford with a perfectly winnable home match against Brighton.
But he won’t have it easy for too long as Liverpool play United, at Old Trafford, on August 20.
Chelsea, as fate would have it, travel to Everton for their opener, who of course are now managed by former Chelsea hero Frank Lampard.
But it’s the end of the season I’m taking a particular interest in. If last season is anything to go by, it could certainly go down to the wire once more.
Champions City’s last six games are: Arsenal (h), Fulham (a), Leeds United (h) Everton (a) Chelsea (h) and Brentford (a).
Liverpool on the other hand, who pushed City so close in the last campaign, play in the last six games: West Ham United (a), Tottenham Hotspur (h), Brentford (h), Leicester City (a), Aston Villa (h) and Southampton (a).
To me, that looks like the fixture Gods have been somewhat kinder to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. But of course, that’s a long way off. And really and truly who knows what the top of the Premier League will look like as the campaign wraps up next May.
But one thing is for sure – the start of the season just can’t come quick enough. VNS
Việt Nam crush Philippines in Southeast Asian U19 event
By Thanh Nga
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam crushed the Philippines 4-1 in the 2022 Southeast Asian U19 Football Championship held in Indonesia on Monday afternoon.
Following the goalless draw against Indonesia in the first match, Việt Nam were determined to secure three points.
From the off, Việt Nam were on the front foot. After missing two good chances in the opening exchanges, striker Nguyễn Quốc Việt found the net with his third early effort to open the scoring.
In the 16th minute, striker Nguyễn Văn Trường had a good chance to double the lead but after dribbling through the defence his effort was saved by Lance Jeter Aquino Bencio.
With the sun beating down in Indonesia, Việt Nam conserved their energy in the first half to ensure they never ran out of steam.
The Philippines pushed for an equaliser but couldn’t beat Cao Văn Bình in Việt Nam’s goal.
After the break, Đình Bắc’s pinpoint free-kick was met by Việt who headed home to double the lead.
In the 51st minute, the Philippines had the opportunity to narrow the gap when Sandro Reyes was clean through but his shot went over the crossbar.
However, two minutes later, Sandro Reyes did manage to claw one back for the Philippines.
As the clock ticked, Việt Nam made the game safe, with midfielder Nguyễn Văn Khang scoring from the spot after he was fouled inside the penalty area.
In the 77th minute, Antoine Ortega fouled striker Trường in the Philippines’s penalty area giving the referee no choice but to point at the spot for a second time.
Trường stepped up and cooly slotted home, Panenka-style to take the score to 4-1.
Việt Nam will next face Brunei on July 6, Myanmar on July 8 and then Thailand on July 10.
The regional event have attracted the participation of 11 teams who were divided into two groups, competing in a round-robin format. The first and second teams in each group win the right to the semi-finals.
The tournament will finish on July 15.
Việt Nam won the Southeast Asian U19 Championship once in 2007. VNS
Lan to run against powerhouses at world athletic champs
HÀ NỘI — Quách Thị Lan has earned a place at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon, the US, where she will face off against the best athletes in the world this month.
She is the sole Vietnamese competitor at the 18th edition tournament, receiving a wildcard position as Việt Nam did not earn any official berth from qualifications.
It will be her second time in the US. Lan enjoyed a one-year training course in Florida, the US, in 2015.
Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, general secretary of the Việt Nam Athletics Federation, said Lan was chosen as the most successful of the Vietnamese competitors.
The 26-year-old was the only track-and-field athlete from Việt Nam to compete at the Tokyo Olympics last July. Her presence in the women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals was Việt Nam’s best athletics performance at the Olympics.
Lan won the 400m hurdles in the 2018 Asian Games and 400m hurdles in the Asian championship in 2019.
She claimed two SEA Games titles in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay, and a bronze in the 400m last month.
Lan will travel to Oregon with her Bulgarian coach Vladimir Simeonov who also accompanied her at the Tokyo Games.
“The selection by the sports leaders and coaches is based on different criteria. But I think that I am chosen because of my peak, which will fall in that period,” Lan told Việt Nam News.
“On my side, I have been working hard in my career and hope to contribute as much as possible to the nation. The world championship will be a good opportunity that will push me up and I will show off my ability as a Việt Nam representative,” she said.
Lan said she was honoured to be selected for the first time at the world event. After a short time visiting family after the SEA Games 31 success, she has been back in action to prepare for the event.
“My coaches and I are in an intensive training course. As you all know, my drive to the finish line in the last metres is not good. I understand my weakness. Together with my coaches, I will have to improve that.
“In a long-term job, we will have to build up a suitable plan which will fix my weaknesses and lift my results.”
In the coming event, which is scheduled from July 15-24, Lan will face the world’s strongest runners, including Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin who broke her own world record in the 400m hurdles at the US track and field championships last week.
“To me, participating in the championship and competing against world-leading athletes is an honour. I will have the chance to learn from them and enrich my knowledge and experience for my career. It will help me to strive to run as well as they can,” Lan said.
The Vietnamese athlete said she is not under any pressure of high results but is encouraged to run as best as she can.
Lan will run in the 400m hurdles qualification on July 19. If she qualifies, the semi-finals will be held a day later, while the finals are on July 22.
At the previous world championship in 2019 in Qatar, Việt Nam sent youngster Ngần Ngọc Nghĩa to compete in the men’s 100m event. He did not make the finals. — VNS
Something fishy going on at Everton
I’ve never been to Scott’s seafood restaurant in London’s exclusive Mayfair district, and chances are I never will.
It looks proper fancy, and although I’m sure worth every penny, a little expensive for my modest tastes. (Fish, chips and mushy peas will set you back VNĐ1 million).
According to one English national newspaper, on Monday evening earlier this week two men met there for a dinner meeting.
They were Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy and his good friend and Everton FC counterpart Bill Kenwright.
It seems the pair were discussing the sale of Everton striker Richarlison to White Hart Lane with the price thought to be somewhere in the region of $60m.
The 25-year-old Brazilian is a great talent, already a regular in his national team and still has his best footballing years ahead of him.
He will be a fine addition to Antonio Conte’s Tottenham side and could be the difference that will see Spurs finally win a trophy, their last being the Carling Cup in 2008.
But the big news here for me is not Tottenham’s attempt to buy the Brazilian, but Everton’s willingness to sell.
Maybe by the time this column is printed, a deal will have already been completed, and Richarlison will soon be revealed as a Tottenham Hotspur player.
Good news for Spurs, awful for Everton.
Last season the Blues hung on to their place in the Premier by the skin of their teeth. It was touch and go as the campaign drew to a close but in the end, helped massively by a galvanised supporter base, Everton clung on.
This coming season could see one of two things happen. Either they take on board the scare of last, and use it to push on and improve, or they spend another season desperately fighting for every point in the hope of survival.
In Frank Lampard they have a good, young, keen and willing manager, ready to do all he can to improve the club.
But it seems the willingness from those who hold the purse strings to sell their best players could be the death of Everton.
There have also been rumours surrounding the futures of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and midfielder Anthony Gordon.
Goalkeeper Jordon Pickford, also England’s number one, is another soon out of contract. If those three, on top of Richarlison, also decide to leave Goodison Park then I fear for their future.
Everton are what you would class as a ‘selling club’. It’s highly unlikely a mega-star will choose the Blues over the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea.
But that said, Everton need to do all they can to hold on to their very best players, for at least next season, before deciding to cash in.
Selling the likes of Richarlison may bring a tidy profit, but it could just send Everton spiralling headfirst into the Championship.
And that will be something Evertonians will find hard to swallow, even if it is served with the best possible oysters on the menu at Scott’s. VNS
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Hanoi to build $4.3mn road tunnel through Red River dyke
Vietnam’s 2022 economic growth projected at 7%
Revenue in the IT market is to reach $57 billion
Construction waste dumping recurs in Hanoi
ASEAN discusses Russia-Ukraine, Myanmar issues
$1.9 billion allocated to build Mekong Delta expressway
E-waste collection at a standstill in Hà Nội
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Củ Chi lures investor interest with beneficial policies, location
First Vietnamese representative at a Winter Olympic
Da Nang museums attracting domestic visitors with free entry policy
Nom, nom, Việt Nam – Episode 76: Fried cheese sticks
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Nom, nom, Việt Nam – Episode 74: Huế beef noodle soup
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