TweetPinShare0 Shares LILLE, France (AP). There were several ripped shirts and even a burst ball during France’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland on Sunday at the European Championship.The scoreless result was good enough for both teams, with the host French taking first place in Group A and the Swiss moving on to the round of 16 in second place.France twice hit the crossbar as it again squandered numerous chances, but the torn Switzerland shirts and the ball being ripped apart during a challenge will likely end up being the most memorable moments of the match at Stade Pierre Mauroy.“It means there was a lot of fight on the pitch,” Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer said. “For us and for the country it’s important to be in the last 16.”Switzerland midfielder Admir Mehmedi’s shirt was torn in the first half, forcing him to the sidelines for a backup. Teammate Granit Xhaka then had his ripped once in each half, and teen striker Breel Embolo also slightly tore the back of his in the first half.“If a shirt is pulled, they can come apart,” Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said. “There were four (ripped) tonight. When you pull shirts they do actually break.”France coach Deschamps preferred to turn his attention to the rough state of the pitch, which cut up in places.“It was better than the pitch we saw at Marseille (against Albania) but it’s annoying,” he said. “I don’t know who is responsible, but we are only in the group stage of the competition and having such a pitch is not a good thing.”Then there was an issue with the official Adidas “Beau Jeu” ball.As France pushed for a goal in the second half, forward Antoine Griezmann was dribbling when Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami stepped in to tackle. The two converged on the ball and it burst, with Behrami picking up the deflated leather and showing it to Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.Just like in its previous games against Romania and Albania, France failed to turn pressure into goals.“Everyone hopes we play better, the players do and so do I,” Deschamps said. “I’m not blind, I know we can do better — but a new competition starts for us on Sunday.”Even with a new ball to strike, France’s shots lacked conviction, and Griezmann held his head in his hands when he placed his strike too close to Sommer after swapping passes with striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and bursting into the area.Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili, center, fights for the ball with Yohan Cabaye, left, during the Euro 2016 Group A soccer match between Switzerland and France at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve dAscq, near Lille, France, Sunday, June 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)There was a hint of bad luck, too.Paul Pogba hit the crossbar in the first half with a swerving shot from 25 meters and substitute Dimitri Payet did the same in the 75th minute with a superb volley following a surging run down the right and cross to the back post from midfielder Moussa Sissoko.Pogba also went close twice early in the first half, drawing smart saves from Sommer.“Paul really was the driving force during the first half,” Deschamps said. “He was the heart and soul.”The Swiss threatened mainly on the break, using the 19-year-old Embolo’s pace, but France looked more likely to score as Payet shot just wide from outside the penalty area late on.In the other Group A match, Albania beat Romania 1-0 and finished in third place with three points.Thanks to Pogba, it seemed like France’s midfield dominance might make the difference in the first half, but good situations were wasted.Shortly after France center half Laurent Koscielny failed to direct his header on target following a flurry of corners, the defender then had to block Embolo’s slanting shot in the 30th minute following a rare Swiss foray.France’s main threat in the second half was Sissoko, who made another powerful run and then fed the ball to Gignac, whose 53rd-minute shot was easily saved by Sommer. He had also scuffed a first-half chance after Griezmann had set him up near the penalty spot.French fans chanted for Payet.But having scored an 89th-minute winner against Romania in a 2-1 win and an injury-time strike in the 2-0 win against Albania, he could not repeat it this time.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has apologised after his racial abuse directed at South African all-rounder Phehlukwayo. Sarfraz’s comments were heard on the stump microphone during Pakistan’s defeat in the second ODI in Durban in Tuesday.His comments were widely condemned on social media and former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar asked Sarfraz to apologise.In line to be sanctioned by ICC, Sarfraz tweeted out a long apology but it remains to be seen whether that is enough. The world governing body is already investigating the incident.1/2 – I wish to extend my sincere apologies to any person who may have taken offence from my expression of frustration which was unfortunately caught by the stump mic during yesterday’s game against SA. My words were not directed towards anyone in particular and…Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 20192/3 – I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone. I did not even mean for my words to be heard, understood or communicated to the opposing team or the cricket fans. I have in the past and will continue in future to appreciate the camaraderie of my fellow cricketers from…Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 20193/3 – …across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field.Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 2019Sarfraz Ahmed was getting frustrated as Phehlukwayo and opener van der Dussen were stitching a match-winning stand for the sixth wicket after Pakistan had South Africa reeling at 80 for 5 in chase of a modest 204-run target.In the 37th over the chase, Sarfraz was caught on the stump mic saying: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?” [Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What (prayer) have you got her to say for you today?]advertisementSarfraz made the comment even as Phehlukwayo inside edged a Shaheen Afridi delivery to deep fine leg and was running towards the non-striker’s end.Pakistan Cricket Board also released a statement expressing regret over Sarfraz’s comments and asserted that PCB does not support such remarks. PCB was confident that the incident will not affect the spirit with which Pakistan and South Africa have competed so far.”The PCB expresses regret over the remark made by their captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and picked up by the stump mic during the second ODI against South Africa in Durban. The PCB neither endorses nor supports any comments that have the potential to cause offence, and firmly reiterates their zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments made; in whatever context.”This incident has also highlighted the importance and significance of player education and training at all levels. The PCB endeavors to improve their player education programmes to ensure these types of incidents do not happen again.”Sarfaraz is one of the most respected cricketers in the world. However, captaining Pakistan is a massive honour and any hurtful remarks by any cricketer, let alone the captain, are not acceptable to the PCB.”The PCB is confident that this incident will not affect the series, which has been played in great spirit with some excellent performances from both side. The PCB is also hopeful that the crowds will continue to turn up in big numbers for the remaining matches to support cricket,” PCB said in a statement.Notably, the South Africa all-rounder enjoyed a lot of luck as Pakistan had handed him a reprieve only in the previous over via a dropped catch. Phehlukwayo also got an LBW decision against him successfully overturned after using the Decision Review System. Phehlukwayo remained unbeaten on 69 as South Africa gunned down the total with five wickets to spare and levelled the five-match series at 1-1.Also Read | Rassie van der Dussen guides South Africa to series-levelling victory vs PakistanAlso Read | 2nd ODI South Africa vs Pakistan in Durban: Highlights
Building up to the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership season, NITV has teamed up with the NRL to bring viewers a special Super Sunday of sport on Sunday, 1 March including a replay of the TFA All Stars versus Indigenous All Stars game. Hosted by Djuro Sen, alongside expert commentators Petero Civoniceva, Bo de la Cruz and Justin Loomans, the coverage features a range of matches from the NRL All Stars tournament, culminating in a full replay of the Harvey Norman All Stars game. Super Sunday begins at 4.30pm and will include the NRL Touch Football game, followed by the Under 16’s New South Wales versus Queensland match and the Women’s All Stars clash. This is the first time these three matches will be broadcast in Australia. NITV Super Sunday4.30pm to 9.30pm, Sunday, 1 MarchMixed Touch Football – Indigenous All Stars v NRL All StarsUnder 16’s – NSW Indigenous v Qld IndigenousWomen’s Indigenous All Stars v Women’s NRL All StarsHarvey Norman Indigenous All Stars v NRL All StarsMore information at nitv.org.auRelated LinksAll Stars on NITV