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24.05.2014 04:35
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The first five days of action at EURO 2012 have produced plenty of talking points and some fantastic storylines as we have witnessed surprises, star performances and a lot of top quality action. Cheap NFL Jerseys . Here are a few thoughts from the tournament so far: A Show From Sheva It was an incredible story. My highlight of the first five days was seeing a vintage performance from Andriy Shevchenko. The 35-year-old rolled back the years to score two goals in Ukraines opening match against Sweden, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. On our EURO Tonight broadcast following the match, Darren Anderton said "class is permanent" when talking about Shevchenkos performance. The veteran may have lost a little bit physically in the latter stages of his career, but he still has the ability to produce in front of goal when the pressure on. The movement from Shevchenko for both goals was superb, as was his execution. In the first half, Shevchenko missed a couple of excellent opportunities, but as an experienced striker, he kept his composure and didnt let the misses affect him. The scenes at the end of the match were something that will live long in the memory for fans and players alike as Shevchenko received the adulation of a grateful nation. Shevchenko has won the Champions League, Serie A, five Ukranian titles, and been named his countrys Player of the Year six times, but this was a night he will never forget. It was a fantastic sight to see. Pressure on Poland After Polands opening day draw with Greece, their coach Franciszek Smuda said his side were unable to deal with the psychological pressure of playing in the opening match as a host nation. Taking a point from the opening match of the tournament is not a bad result, but after starting in such a positive fashion, it was alarming to see how Poland were unable to build on their early lead. Robert Lewandowski gave the co-host a deserved 17th minute lead as they caused Greece all sorts of problems attacking from wide positions. But Poland couldnt add to their advantage and had to settle for a point after succumbing to a comeback from Greece in the second half. Greece actually played better with 10 men, but it will have been frustrating for Poland not to make the man advantage count. That was their opportunity to open the tournament with a bang, and they wasted it. They did, however, manage to earn a point in their second match against Russia, thanks to a stunning strike from their captain Jakub Blaszczykowski. It was an impressive comeback from the co-hosts after Russia had taken a first half lead. It leaves Polands fate in their own hands. If they can win against Czech Republic in their final group game, they will advance to the guarter-finals. Best Game So Far? In terms of the quality of play on show, Spain against Italy is the stand-out match of the tournament so far for me. The players involved in that match are some of the best in the world, and it showed. Seeing the way a player such as Andres Iniesta is able to influence the game was a joy to watch. His control, passing, speed of play was superb to see – and there were many others who lived up to that same standard. The Italian performance was impressive. They are solid defensively as expected, but under Cesare Prandelli, they also have an attacking mindset. The 3-5-2 formation was a surprise to see, but it worked well against Spain. The Spaniards themselves sprung a surprise when they played with Cesc Fabregas as their main forward, despite having more natural attacking options such as Fernando Torres on the bench. Heading into the tournament, the absence of David Villa was the main reason why I didnt pick them to repeat as champions, and that seems to be a major issue for them after watching their first match. Taking Villas goals out of the Spanish team is difficult for them to deal with. It will be interesting to see if Vincente Del Bosque changes things up for their second match against Ireland on Thursday and decides to go with Torres from the start. A Knockout Blow The biggest shock of the tournament so far was seeing Denmark beat the Netherlands in Group B. That result blew the toughest group in the tournament wide open. The Dutch were the better side but couldnt finish their chances and were made to pay for it. It now means they need to avoid defeat against Germany on Wednesday in Kharkiv in their second game of the group stage, which is an extremely difficult task. The Germans were quietly effective in their win over Portugal and look the favourites to win the group. They were my favourites heading into the tournament, and Ive not seen anything from the opening few days of action in Poland and Ukraine to make me change my mind. NFL Jerseys China . The Carolina Hurricanes have neither, and they realize theyre running out of time to get it. Alec Martinez scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play with 11:45 to play, Quick made 24 saves, and the Kings beat the Hurricanes 3-1 Saturday for their third victory in four days since the break. Wholesale NFL Jerseys .co/uSI7SKyiyA — Lacrosse All Stars (@LaxAllStars) April 4, 2014 Goalie?! Go figure. Sidney Crosby laxin it up at @XcelEnergyCtr before @Minnesota_Swarm game with @penguins in town.LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ill Have Another looked like just another horse at the Kentucky Derby. Until the final furlong, that is. Thats when the Canadian-owned chestnut colt -- sold for a paltry US$11,000, ridden by a rookie jockey hardly anyone knew and stuck in an outside post -- blazed past highly regarded Bodemeister to win by 1 1-2 lengths on Saturday, beating one of the deepest fields in years. Ill Have Another stormed out of post No. 19 -- the first winner from there in 138 runnings of the Derby -- and bided his time back in mid-pack while Bodemeister set a blistering pace on a muggy, 85-degree afternoon at Churchill Downs. "Hes an amazing horse. I kept telling everybody, from the first time I met him, I knew he was the one. I knew he was good," jockey Mario Gutierrez said. "I said in an interview, even if they allowed me to pick from the whole rest of the field, I would have stayed with him, 100 per cent, no doubt about it." Making his Derby debut at 25, Gutierrez got his chance to ride Ill Have Another after trainer Doug ONeill and owner J. Paul Reddam of Windsor, Ont., happened to see him at Santa Anita in Southern California. "I dont know if he won or not, but he really looked good in the irons to me," said Reddam, who owns CashCall, a lending company in Anaheim, Calif. "I said, We need to try some new blood." It was another chapter in Gutierrezs unusual route to the Derby winners circle. He followed in his fathers footsteps as a jockey, getting on quarterhorses in Veracruz, Mexico, at 14. After a stint in Vancouver, where he came up at Hastings Racecourse, he eventually started getting noticed on the West Coast, especially after winning the Santa Anita Derby last month. "Top trainers, top owners, of course, theyre not going to know anything about me," he said. Still, Gutierrez was largely a mystery to the record crowd of 165,307, who didnt know 15-1 shot Ill Have Another or the jockey had the right stuff until the 20-horse field turned for home. Thats when Gutierrez, who moved up between horses around the final turn, positioned his colt not far from the rail and set him down to run. "I know my horse was reaching every single step of the way, but I wasnt going to stop riding until I was passing the wire," he said. "That is when the horse race is finished." Ill Have Another overhauled a tiring Bodemeister to win by 1 1-2 lengths. He paid $32.60, $13.80 and $9. He ran 1 1-4 miles in 2:01.83. "We knew we had a good horse, and we wanted to make sure he was fresh because the Triple Crown is a gamble and it looks like it paid off," said Reddam. Bodemeister, trained by three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, was second and returned $6.20 and $5.60 as the 4-1 favourite. Dullahan was a neck back in third and paid $7.20 to show. ONeill didnt waste any time vowing that Ill Have Another will go on to the Preakness in two weeks. "Maryland, here we come, baby!" he said. Theyll go to Pimlico as one of the favourites as a result of Ill Have Anothers Derby win and his catchy name. Wholesale Jerseys. . It has nothing to do with alcohol; its Reddams response to his wifes nightly query of "Do you want any more cookies?" as he lounges on the couch. Reddam had a late introduction to horse racing. After earning an undergrad degree in psychology from the University of Windsor and a masters degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto, Reddam went to the University of Southern California for his Ph.D. in philosophy. It was at Windsor Raceway where a friend who worked as a Standardbred groom introduced him to the sport. "I never really dreamed I would be in a position to own racehorses, but I got very lucky in my life and it happened," he said. "I guess Im still lucky." Ill Have Another made his way to the starting gate accompanied by his stable pony, Lava Man, another cheap purchase turned into a career winner of more than $5 million by ONeill. The trainer has made his name predominantly in Southern California, although hes won three Breeders Cup races. One of his best horses, Steviewonderboy, was the winter favourite for the 2006 Derby before being sidelined by injuries early that year. "When you tell people youre in the horse racing game, they ask you, Have you won the Kentucky Derby?" ONeill said. "Now I can say, Yes, I have, 2012." A hot pace was anticipated from speedster Trinniberg, although, surprisingly, it was Bodemeister under jockey Mike Smith who bolted to the front and forced Trinniberg to take a backseat. In the late afternoon heat, Bodemeister set impossibly fast fractions. He ran the opening quarter-mile in 22.32 seconds and the half-mile in 45.39. "I told Mike, Look, if he breaks great and feels like running, we can win it," said Baffert, who was hospitalized just five weeks ago following a heart attack in Dubai. "Thats the only time Ive run second where Ive been happy because he ran his race." Meanwhile, Ill Have Another was comfortably galloping along behind the speedsters. Gutierrez angled his colt clear on the final turn and took dead-aim at Bodemeister, who was clearly in front at the top of the stretch. "I knew we were in trouble when I saw Dougs horse coming," said Smith, who won the Derby with 50-1 shot Giacomo in 2005. Union Rags, the 5-1 second choice, never had a chance. He got pinched at the start and was trapped between rivals. Gemologist, the 8-1 third choice, lost for the first time in six starts, finishing 16th. Hansen, the Breeders Cup Juvenile winner and two-year-old champion, faded to ninth. Went the Day Well finished fourth, followed by Creative Cause and Liaison. Rousing Sermon was eighth. Daddy Nose Best was 10th, followed by Optimizer, Alpha, El Padrino, Done Talking and Sabercat. Trinniberg was 17th, followed by Canadian-bred Prospective, Take Charge Indy and Daddy Long Legs, who was last. ' ' '

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