England�s perfect execution of basics
No problems with Srinath: Sourav
Constantine takes charge
Jeev makes cut
Md. Sp. colts felicitated
Bangalore Racing/ Zurbaran for Colts Stakes

June 15: 
An early goal can often make or break a team and England rode one en route to the World Cup quarter finals. The 3-0 scoreline was a little too flattering in the end, considering Denmark weren�t that bad, but the young English team showed sound tactical maturity to protect and build on the early lead. Germany, earlier, did well to snatch a late winner despite playing without three frontliners.

English preparations were hit hard by a series of injuries but now it seems, the ball has started rolling their way. The contribution of luck was profound in at least two of their goals but they worked hard to ensure the opportunity didn�t slip. They didn�t get carried away and showed good temperament to close out Denmark�s comeback routes. England�s defensive organs showed discipline and their conversion rate on the counterattacks made the difference between the teams.

Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen gifted England the first goal when he let Rio Ferdinand�s header slip over the line and it was just the start a team craves for. England wasted no time in getting more men behind the ball inside their own half and though the Danes reached the striking zone, they didn�t have the bite to rip open England�s defence. Sven-Goran Eriksson has opted for the tried and tested 4-4-2 format and his defenders are strong, tall and good in the air. Denmark did the wise thing by keeping the ball down but the heavy downpour dampened their plans.

Like most contemporary teams, England prefer the waiting game and an early lead is ideal for this plan to succeed. Michael Owen�s speed is best used in such situations, as he gets the room to break free, and though this didn�t happen against Denmark, England still managed two more against the run of play. Fortune favoured them as well with an error in clearance helping David Beckham set up the third goal.

Eriksson has instilled a strong sense of discipline in the team and taught them the importance of concentration. The margin for error in this World Cup is minimal, as was realised by some of the slain giants, and the feature of England�s performance so far has been the neatness in executing the basics. A faulty clearance cost them the equaliser against Sweden, but since then, they have rarely erred.

Denmark were handicapped by injuries to central defender Thomas Helveg and midfield mainstay Stig Tofting, but they couldn�t convert a golden opportunity to make it 1-2 in the 27th minute and that effectively ruled out their comeback chances. England, on the other hand, cashed in on three of the five chances they got in the first half and virtually sealed the match even before the half-time whistle.

Germany, too, knew the importance of an early goal and tried to push Paraguay back right from the start. Paraguay were probably the weakest team in the last 16 but Germany had three regulars on the bench which made them cautious once their early edge was blunted. The first half was disappointing and the contest was reduced largely to a battle for control of the midfield. Paraguay had an extra man there against Germany�s 4-4-2 and stopped them from wresting the initiative.

Germany made a small tactical change in the second half. With little pressure on their defence, they moved a man up to the midfield which helped them take control of the area and for almost the entire second half, Paraguay did all the defending. The German forays lacked the element of surprise and weren�t too fast but they added variety by using the flanks and the crosses kept flying in with greater regularity. One of those centres from the right led to the goal.


Calcutta, June 15: 
With much of the focus this week being on France and Argentina�s shock exit from the soccer World Cup, few perhaps took note of a �teasing� Sunil Gavaskar observation in his fortnightly column.

Talking about Jawagal Srinath�s retirement from Test cricket, the former captain wrote: �Sourav Ganguly indicated at his press conference, on arrival from the West Indies, that he would try and persuade Srinath to reconsider�

�That will be an interesting conversation for, during the just-concluded Test series, there seemed more than one occasion when the bowler did not see eye-to-eye with the captain and there was plenty of arms-flapping��

As it turns out, Sourav didn�t miss that bit from Gavaskar and, speaking to The Telegraph, clarified �there wasn�t any problem� between him and Srinath.

�Look, some things can be said on the field, some gestures may seem� Fact is Srinath was trying his hardest to help India win the series. Equally, I was trying my hardest to get the same result. Our objective, then, was common� I certainly didn�t have a problem with our most experienced quick.�

Sourav confirmed having actually spoken to Srinath prior to last Saturday�s selection committee meeting, but the veteran still declined to make himself available for Tests.

�I could only ask Srinath to have a re-think� However, he ruled out that possibility, insisting he just didn�t wish to again play Tests� As it�s a personal decision, I obviously couldn�t press beyond a point.�

Sourav, of course, agreed Srinath�s absence would be felt. �That we now have an inexperienced attack is a reality� Of all the quicks, only Ajit Agarkar (who was in the 1999 World Cup squad) has experience of conditions in England��

Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan and Tinu Yohannan complete the specialist quicks� line-up.

[Incidentally, looking to the England tour, which begins Tuesday, the captain had this to say: �It�s going to be tough� England�s home advantage is bound to be significant and, clearly, our task is cut out.�

While the tri-series will be played between June 27-July 13, the four Tests will cover the period July 25-September 9.]

Asked whether there could still be a one-day role for Srinath (who is �keen� to feature in the 2003 World Cup), Sourav was candid: �At this point, I can�t make a definite comment� It�s possible� Let�s see how things unfold.�

Srinath, who must surely be disappointed at being ignored for the forthcoming tri-series, should take some comfort. After all, the captain didn�t say the door was firmly shut.


Calcutta, June 15: 
Stephen Constantine took over as the new Indian football coach rather surreptitiously but with loads of promise on Saturday, even when the entire nation is in the grip of the World Cup frenzy.

The 39-year-old Anglo-Cypriot, who is one of the selected Fifa instructors, had an hour-long meeting with the AIFF top brass in the city, laying down his plans for Indian football.

Although Constantine refused to detail much of his future contour, he said he was prepared to give the hardest possible push to Indian football.

�Today is my first day. But I can�t say anything before knowing the players and their profiles,� he said.

It has been learnt that the new Indian coach was briefed on India�s preparations for forthcoming meets like the Asian Games and a preparatory camp will soon be launched in consultation with Constantine.

AIFF secretary Albert Colaco, technical director Sukhwinder Singh, its project director Santo Mitra and IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta were present at Saturday�s meeting. Constantine is learnt to have signed a three-year deal of $250,000 with the AIFF.

It was also learnt that a preparatory camp for the Vietnam tour in August and Pusan Games in September will start on July 7 at SAI Eastern Centre or in Bangalore. The list of 34 probables for the tours will be declared Sunday. Bhaichung Bhutia and Debjit Ghosh will be two of the three players in the above-23 category who will make the tours.

The players from Bengal who are likely to be selected are Dipankar Roy, Dipak Mondal, Satish Bharti, Rennedy Singh, Shasthi Duley, Chandan Das, Sangram Mukherjee and Rajat Ghosh Dastidar.

Stephen who?

Stephen who? That�s the response most Cypriots would give if asked about Constantine, even though he spent several good seasons in Cyprus plying his trade as a football coach, AFP adds from Nicosia.

�I spent seven years trying to make a name in Cyprus but everybody kept telling me I was too young or I didn�t have what it takes to manage a big team...�


Calcutta, June 15: 
Jeev Milkha Singh Friday became the first Indian to make the cut in a major championship when he sealed his place in the weekend rounds of the 102nd US Open golf championship at the par-70 Bethpage Black course here.

With the skies having opened up, Jeev shot his second successive five-over round and then endured a six-hour wait for the evening round to finish, before tying for the 60th place and sealing his place in the money-making rounds, according to information reaching here.

�This is definitely the most memorable moment of my career. The fact that I made the cut in my first major and that too at the US Open, without doubt the toughest golf meets in the world, and at a venue like the Bethpage Black makes it even more fantastic,� said a delighted Jeev.

Gaurav Ghei and Jyoti Randhawa are the other Indians who have qualified for a major in the past � 1997 and 2000 British Open, respectively � but they failed to make it to the money rounds.

Tiger marches ahead

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods� march towards winning the second major in a row continued unabated as he added a two-under 68, worth its weight in gold under the circumstances, to extend the lead on top by three strokes at five-under 135.

Only Padraig Harrington is within striking distance, at two-under 138. Choi Kyung-ju (Korea), Davis Love III, Jeff Maggert (both US) and Sergio Garcia (Spain) were tied for the third place at two-over 142.

Jeev made it, but not before creating some drama. He was sailing along smoothly at one-over for the day after 13 holes. And then, he dropped four strokes in the next five holes, including a double bogey on the 16th (the seventh of the course as Jeev started from the 10th tee), and a bogey on the final hole.

Jeev began the day with a bogey on the difficult par-4 tenth, but got back to even par after draining a monstrous 80-footer birdie putt on the longest par-4 in the history of the US Open, the 499-yard 12th. A bogey on the 14th and a double on the 17th saw him make the turn at three-over for the day.

The rains had deteriorated the course conditions, making it a test of skill and mental strength. On the back nine, Jeev birdied the first hole, and then added another on the fourth.


(after 36 holes)

135 � Tiger Woods (67,68); 138 � Padraig Harrington (70,68); 142 � Davis Love III (71,71), Jeff Maggert (69,73) Choi Kyoung-ju (69,73), Sergio Garcia (68,74); 143 � Shigeki Maruyama (76,67), Phil Mickelson (70,73), Billy Mayfair (69,74).


Calcutta, June 15: 
The young cricketers of Mohammedan Sporting, who won the all-India Pepsi Trophy in the under-13, 15 and 19 categories in Bangalore recently, were felicitated at the club tent today.

Speaking on the occasion, former Indian opener Arun Lal advised the youngsters to �stay focussed on their job�.

Handicap snooker

Rahul Hodkhasa made it to the semi-final of the YMCA, Chowringhee one-frame handicap snooker meet, beating Ravi Dhupar 104-86 Saturday.


FOOTBALL: IFA 5th division � Matches at various grounds from 4 pm.

SNOOKER: One-frame handicap meet at YMCA (Chowringhee) from 12 noon.


Bangalore, June 15: 
The S. Padmanabhan-trained Zurbaran appears to have edge over Superior Force in the 1,600m Colts Trial Stakes on Sunday here. Malesh Narredu partners the Peaks And Valleys-Cut of The Cloth colt.


2 pm: Xorra 1. National Crown 2. Bacardi Star 3.

2.30 pm: Star Strider 1. Falconet 2. Cardinal Rule 3.

3 pm: Fast Trick 1. Tide of Fortune 2. Sunraj 3.

3.30 pm: Daggers Drawn 1. Star Alone 2. Ashleen 3.

4 pm: Zurbaran 1. Superior Force 2. Royal Force 3.

4.30 pm: Accede 1. Aureus 2. Augill Castle 3.

5 pm: Startrix 1. Astigmatic 2. Springtide 3.

5.30 pm: Nationalistic 1. Sea Royale 2. Slim Twist 3.

Day�s Best: Accede

Double: Fast Trick & Nationalistic.

Saturday�s Bangalore results

(With inter-state dividends)

1st race: Tal (Rajinder) 1; Rythm �N� Blues 2; Crown Ice 3. Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 20; 20; Quinella: 58; Shp: 51; Tanala: 237. Fav: Crown Ice (4).

2nd race: Airworthy (Appu) 1; Dare You Say 2; Cold Fire 3. Tote: Win Rs 85; Place: 15; 22; 12; Quinella: 361; Shp: 51; Tanala: 2,290. Fav: Cold Fire (1).

3rd race: Rusticana (Mr Storai) 1; Mehvish 2; Krugar Park 3. Tote: Win Rs 178; Place: 27; 32; 29; Quinella: 615; Shp: 107; Tanala: 17,730. Fav: Rizer (2).

4th race: Allespagne (J. Chinoy) 1; Society Dream 2; Machrie Bay 3. Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 12; 12; 23; Quinella: 19; Shp: 43; Tanala: 203. Fav: Society Dream (4).

5th race: Priceless (Prakash) 1; Ching Mai 2; Free Radical 3. Won by: 5-1/2; 1/2; (1-39.5). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 10; 29; 12; Quinella: 108; Shp: 73; Tanala: 232. Fav: Priceless (4).

6th race: Misty Charms (Warren) 1; Persian Goddess 2; Ek Ek Ek 3. Not run: King of Mohra (1).Tote: Win Rs 73; Place: 24; 50; 16; Quinella: 808; Shp: 184; Tanala: 17,473. Fav: Moonlight Rays (5).

7th race: Appeaser (Shroff) 1; Spark of Life 2; Whatmore 3.Tote: Win Rs 146; Place: 34; 14; 15; Quinella: 435; Shp: 44; Tanala: 3,302. Fav: Iflookscouldkill (6).

8th race: Astrocharm (Prakash) 1; Announcer 2; Cool Jazz 3. Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 14; 27; 17; Quinella: 133; Shp: 75; Tanala: 548. Fav: Astrocharm (1).

Jackpot: Rs 16,084; (C) Rs 2,838.

Treble: (i) Rs 4,256; (ii) Rs 4,743.


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