France v Croatia: 3 key World Cup final battles

first_img0Shares0000Creative forces: Croatia’s Luka Modric (right) and Antoine Griezmann of France could hold the key to the World Cup final © AFP / Pierre-Philippe MARCOU, Gabriel BOUYSMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jul 14 – France are favourites to win the World Cup for a second time in Moscow on Sunday when they take on a Croatia side forced to go through three periods of extra-time to make their first ever final.By contrast, Didier Deschamps’s side have seen off Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium, all in 90 minutes, and enjoyed a day’s extra rest to prepare after their semi-final on Tuesday as they look to make amends for defeat in the Euro 2016 final to Portugal. As the smallest country to reach a World Cup final for 68 years, Croatia cannot call on the same resources as the French but have shown incredible mental strength to battle back from falling behind in each of their three knockout games.AFP Sport looks at three key battles that could decide who are crowned champions of the world:Luka Modric v Paul PogbaPaul Pogba has done his share of defending to help France to the World Cup final © AFP / Adrian DENNISModric has been widely hailed as the world’s best midfielder for his performances in Russia and has emerged as a Ballon d’Or contender after also winning his fourth Champions League in five years at Real Madrid.That is a status Pogba aspires to, but the one-time world’s most expensive player has sacrificed some of his creative talents for the good of the team in Russia.Manchester United’s Pogba has formed a formidable partnership with N’Golo Kante at the heart of the French midfield that has helped snuff out the threat of Lionel Messi, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.Should Pogba and Kante also prevent Modric from taking control of the midfield as he did despite tired legs in the second half of Croatia’s semi-final against England, it will take France a long way towards a first World Cup in 20 years.Mario Mandzukic v Raphael VaraneMario Mandzukic scored Croatia’s semi-final winner against England © AFP / Yuri CORTEZMandzukic often saves his best for the big occasion, most recently shrugging off a knee injury to strike the winner against England in the semi-final.The Juventus forward also has a great record when facing Varane. Mandzukic scored a stunning overhead kick in the 2017 Champions League final, netted twice as the Italians beat Real Madrid 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in April and grabbed the winner for Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Spanish Super Cup.Mandzukic will be used as a focal point to try and bring Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic into the game, but Varane has arguably been the best centre-back at the World Cup and has the speed, height and power to nullify Croatia’s biggest goal threat.Marcelo Brozovic v Antoine GriezmannDifference maker: Antoine Griezmann has scored three goals and set up two more in Russia © AFP / FRANCK FIFERecalled by Zlatko Dalic for the semi-final, Inter Milan midfielder Brozovic freed up Modric and Rakitic from defensive duties at the base of the midfield and always provided an out ball for his centre-backs as Croatia dominated possession.Griezmann has not shone as brightly as at Euro 2016, when he won the Golden Boot. His three goals have come from two penalties and a goalkeeping mistake by Uruguay’s Fernando Muslera.However, the Atletico Madrid star has improved as the tournament has progressed and has been France’s main playmaker, providing the assists for Varane’s and Samuel Umtiti’s goals in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.Griezmann’s energy and intelligence will see him find space to feed Giroud and Kylian Mbappe if Croatia’s energy levels run low. It’ll be Brozovic’s job to make sure he does not.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

How Liverpool could line up next season with Mario Gotze and more signings

first_img Attacking midfield: Philippe Coutinho Central midfield: Piotr Zielinski 11 11 Right back: Nathaniel Clyne 11 11 Centre back: Mamadou Sakho 11 11 11 11 Attacking midfield: Roberto Firmino 11 Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Click the right arrow above to see how Liverpool could look next season… 11 11 Liverpool might still be on the fringes of a top four battle but that isn’t stopping them planning next season’s transfers.Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has already lined up a deal to bring in Schalke’s Joel Matip but now rumours are circulating he’ll be doing all he can to land Bayern Munich star Mario Gotze.There is plenty more speculation too with the German’s defence and midfield needing some tinkering over the summer.But how might they line up should they land some of their current targets? talkSPORT takes a look.Click the right arrow above to see how Liverpool’s starting XI could look with Mario Gotze, Joel Matip and other possible signings… Left back: Jonas Hector Centre back: Joel Matip Central midfield: Emre Can Central midfield: James Milner Striker: Mario Gotzelast_img read more

Castro rues poor transition D, not his cold shooting, in loss to Globalport

first_imgLOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Gavina blows his top after yet another Kia loss: ‘I’m tired of this’ UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension And these attempts were point blank floaters and layups that Castro, who finished with 15 points, usually makes.“Everybody has off nights but I think our mistake was our transition defense because once they get the ball we let them start running,” said Castro in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThere were also some calls—or lack thereof—that seemed questionable for TNT but Casto would not comment on the officiating in the loss.“We can’t do anything about it, that was what the referees called so we just have to focus on the game next time around,” said Castro. LATEST STORIES View comments The KaTropa failed to stretch their winning streak to three with the loss as they dropped to 4-3. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnessescenter_img PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO—–TNT point guard Jayson Castro had the coldest hands inside Ynares Sports Center in the KaTropa’s loss 119-112 loss to Globalport in the PBA Governors’ Cup.Castro went on a decent 5-of-12 clip from the field but missed multiple crucial shots in the fourth quarter when the KaTropa attempted to come back against the Batang Pier.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:42Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Gameslast_img read more

Shoaib Akhtar gives coach Mickey Arthur eight-month deadline to improve Pakistan cricket

first_imgThe former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has given new coach Mickey Arthur eight months of deadline to improve Pakistan cricket or step down from the position if he fails in his assignment.However, Akhtar backed the appointment of Arthur as Pakistan’s coach and feels the Pakistan players will benefit from his past international experience with top teams.”But I think in eight months time we will know whether he will make a difference or go like others before him. Because in this period we play some very important series and either he will reshape the way we play our cricket or decide to bid goodbye,” Akhtar said.Akhtar also pointed out that coaching Pakistan is a tough job for any foreign coach because of different cricket culture in the country.’Disciplinarian and innovative'”Arthur has a reputation of being a disciplinarian and innovative coach and Pakistan cricket needs both but he has to decide when and where to draw the line,” Akhtar told a local television channel.Pakistan in the next eight months has full Test tours to England, New Zealand and Australia and also play the West Indies in a full series in the UAE.”Arthur has all the credentials to change the attitude and mindset of our players the way they play top cricket. So I am hopeful.”The fast bowler, whose colourful career included number of clashes with the establishment, said while he agreed that discipline was necessary in cricket teams but insisted players needed to be made to feel responsible for their actions as professional athletes.advertisement”Only a professional player can decide what is best for him. When I played there were some undisciplined characters in the team but on match days they only focused on cricket and when they went out to play they tried to give their best that is why our team in those days was so good,” he recalled.Referring to the decision by the new selection committee to drop batsmen Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal from the training camp being set up for the coming tour to England, Akhtar said both players had brought this upon themselves.Players need to start performing “For a long time we have all backed them, appreciated and encouraged their undoubted talent but while others who started with them have moved on to become top performers for their country we are yet to see the best from them.”Akhtar said both needed to rethink their priorities and focus on their cricket and do justice to their talent. “I believe it is important for players to be relaxed on non-match days but what matters is you perform when required.”Asked about the accusations by Arthur in 2009 about having suspicions that the fifth and final one-day international that Pakistan played a fixed game against South Africa in Lahore in 2007, Akhtar said all this was rubbish.”I played in that match and I took four wickets. I was at the non-strikers end when our wickets fell. We just played badly under pressure. Because if there had been anything fishy going on believe me I would have dealt with such players myself,” Akhtar said.He said Arthur had clarified his stance and one needed to move on and not keep bringing up the issue now.Akhtar also criticized the month-long training camp being set up before the England tour and emphasis on fitness tests.”I don’t understand this practice because it is hot and every player has his own particular fitness issues and requirements. You cannot lay down same fitness standards for a batsman, spinner and fast bowler. It makes no sense to me.”I always had a knee problem but carried on for so long in international cricket because I knew what I had to do.”(with PTI inputs)last_img read more

Facebook to release Russia ads beef up election integrity

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook is slowly acknowledging the outsized — if unintended — role it played in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.Bowing to pressure from lawmakers and the public, the company said it will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators, while also pledging to make political advertising on its platform more “transparent.”“I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook video and wrote in an accompanying post . “That’s not what we stand for.”The moves Thursday come amid growing pressure on the social network from members of Congress, who pushed Facebook to release the ads after the company disclosed their existence in early September. Facebook has already handed over the ads to the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.Facebook’s reluctance to be more forthcoming with information that could shed light on possible election interference has prompted the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee to call for the company to testify in its election-meddling probe.A MORE TRANSPARENT FACEBOOKIn one of the first steps Facebook has ever taken to open up its secretive advertising system to observation, the company will now require political ads to disclose both who is paying for them and all ad campaigns those individuals or groups are running on Facebook.That’s a key step that will allow outsiders to see how many different variants of a given ad are being targeted to various groups of individuals, a tactic designed to improve their effectiveness. At the moment, there’s no way for anyone but Facebook to track these political ads, or for recipients to tell who is sponsoring such messages.Since average users “don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else,” Zuckerberg said, Facebook will “make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook.”The company will hire 250 more people in the next year to work on “election integrity,” Zuckerberg said.The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel would go farther. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is writing a bill that would require social media companies to disclose who funded political ads, similar to rules on television broadcasters. In an interview with The Associated Press, Warner said he hoped to work with social-media companies on the bill.AND YET STILL SECRETIVEZuckerberg suggested that the company may not provide much information publicly, saying that the ongoing federal investigation will limit what he can reveal.The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have sought to bring Facebook executives before their committee for the past couple of weeks. But critics say Facebook should go further. They say the company should tell its users how they might have been influenced by outside meddlers.The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, for instance, stressed again on Thursday that the company should make the ads public, “so that everyone can see the nature and extent of the use of Facebook accounts by Russia.”Zuckerberg also warned that Facebook can’t catch all undesirable material before it hits its social network.“I’m not going to sit here and tell you we’re going to catch all bad content in our system. We don’t check what people say before they say it, and frankly, I don’t think our society should want us to,” Zuckerberg said. But those who break the law or Facebook’s policies, he added, “are going to face consequences afterwards.”Facebook won’t catch everyone immediately, he added, but it can “make it harder to try to interfere.”FACEBOOK HAS COMPANY IN THE HOT SEATZuckerberg’s move came a day after Twitter confirmed that it will meet next week with staff of the Senate intelligence committee, which has been scrutinizing the spread of false news stories and propaganda on social media during the election.Warner said the committee wanted to hear from Twitter to learn more about the use of fake accounts and bot networks to spread misinformation.“Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our Terms of Service,” the company said in a statement.__LoBianco reported from Washington. Associated Press Writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Chad Day contributed to this story from Washington.last_img read more

We wanted to win this title badly says Chhetri

first_imgMumbai: An elated Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri termed his team’s maiden Indian Super League victory against FC Goa as a “sweet one” especially after his side had faltered in the summit clash last season against Chennaiyin FC. Courtesy Rahul Bheke’s championship-winning header in the second extra time, Bengaluru defeated FC Goa 1-0 in an edge of a seat thriller last night here to win their maiden ISL title. Bengaluru had last year lost last year’s final to Chennaiyin FC Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”Last year after the final, I said next year we’ll come back. Right from the ball boy to Carles (Cuadrat the coach), everyone wanted this. We wanted to win it (the title) badly. When you lose the way we did last year, it’s sweet to win this one. Asia, we are back,” Chhetri said at the post match media conference late Sunday night. Now by winning the ISL, Bengaluru FC will play in the AFC Asian Cup next year. Chhetri also said it was “commendable” that a player like Ferran Corominas, who bagged the Golden Boot award, did not get any chance against his team on all the three occasions when the two teams clashed. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”The message from the coach was that we should try to attack but as soon as we lose the ball, we should fall back and defend and have numbers (at the back). For players like me, Miku and Udanta (Singh), it was not easy because we are attacking minded people,” Chhetri said. “I am happy we did it because Nishu (Kumar) and (Harmanjot) Khabra got that security when Udanta and I traced back. It is commendable that a player like Coro (Corominas) did not get open chances against us in three games,” he said. “Last year, we conceded off set pieces and we were dominant until those two goal, so we were sure on not letting it happen today,” he added. Asked where he would rate this win, Chhetri quipped, Top-two. Number 2.” The winning coach Carles Cuadrat said that the team was trying not to take the game to the penalties as then it can be anybody’s game. “We were trying not to get into tie-breaker as it then becomes a lottery a lot of times. We are happy that one ball in the box gave us the victory. This is the seventh goal done by a set-piece and it shows how important set pieces are in the game, Cuadrat said. Meanwhile, FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera termed Ahmed Jahouh being sent off the field after earning a red card as the key moment of the match. “The key moment was when were reduced to 10-men in the first half of extra time. It was a very tight game was going to be a matter of small details and the sending off was a big handicap for us,” Lobera said. Despite the loss, the FC Goa head coach said he was proud of his players. “Till today, we were focused today only on this game (the final). From tomorrow onwards, we will start working towards the (upcoming) Super Cup. I said to my players in the dressing room that I am proud of them and (what) they have done in the season.”last_img read more

PM Modi greets Widodo on reelection as Indonesian president

first_imgNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted Joko Widodo on Tuesday for his re-election as the Indonesian president, saying he looked forward to working with him to further deepen the bilateral partnership. Widodo was re-elected as the leader of Indonesia, the third-biggest democracy in the world, on Tuesday. “Heartiest congratulations @jokowi on your re-election! As two large democracies, we take collective pride in successful celebration of democracy. We wish you and people of Indonesia all success under your dynamic leadership,” Modi said in a tweet. He added that as the two nations marked seven decades of diplomatic relationship, “I look forward to working closely with you to further deepen our bilateral Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”last_img read more

The Most Impressive Run to the Final Four And Its Not Kentuckys

Which team had the most impressive run to the Final Four?The question might seem like the sports equivalent of “Which of your children do you love the most?” Any team that wins four straight games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has a lot to be proud of. Papa Brackets thinks all the Final Four teams — Florida, Connecticut, Kentucky and Wisconsin — are very special.But conventional wisdom appears to hold Kentucky’s path in ever-so-slightly higher regard than the other schools’. The Wildcats defeated an unbeaten No. 1 seed (Wichita State) and both of last year’s finalists (Michigan and Louisville) en route to Arlington.Kentucky has been great. Despite entering the tournament as a No. 8 seed, it has a 19 percent chance of winning the NCAA championship, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model. That’s up from only a 2 percent chance before the tournament began.Still, Connecticut’s run has been slightly more special than Kentucky’s so far. And Wisconsin’s, even more so.The FiveThirtyEight model has a particular way of answering our question. It evaluates teams not in any absolute sense, but relative to its expectations. And it accounts not only for wins and losses (by definition, any team that makes to the Final Four has won at least four straight games), but also for margin of victory.To be more specific, the model calculates not only the win probability for each game, but also an implicit point spread. For example, it gives Florida a 69.9 percent chance of beating Connecticut on Saturday. That translates into Florida being 5.5 point favorites. The model has Wisconsin with a 58.2 percent chance of beating Kentucky, which would equate to the Badgers being favored by two points.How a team fares relative to this point spread affects how the model evaluates it going forward. Why? Tournament results are quite predictive of future tournament results: A team that is terrific in the early rounds often does well in later ones.Occasionally, a team can end up in worse shape despite winning its game. This happens when the model expects a blowout and the team wins by a smaller margin.A case in point is Florida in its opening-round game against Albany. The model had the Gators as 24-point favorites, but Florida won by 12 points (in fact, the game was a little closer than the scoreline implies).What about Florida’s three other wins? It was clear that the Gators were the favorite in each game, but they performed about in line with the model’s expectations — beating its point spread by six points against Pittsburgh and four points against UCLA, and underperforming it by two points in their win Saturday against Dayton. To be clear, the Gators have been great — and the model has them as the plurality favorite to win the tournament. But Florida was a great team going in. It has performed roughly as expected against a relatively easy draw.How about Kentucky? If viewed as a No. 8 seed, the Wildcats have been extremely impressive — not least on account of the quality of competition they’ve faced. But Kentucky was no typical No. 8. The Wildcats ranked first in the country in the preseason AP and USA Today Coaches polls, a factor for which the FiveThirtyEight model accounts. They took 10 losses in the regular season, but they faced a tough schedule; all but two of the losses, both to Florida, came by single digits.Kentucky was badly underseeded to begin with, in other words. The FiveThirtyEight model actually had Kentucky as slight favorites against Michigan, despite the Wildcats’ inferior seed. The Wildcats were underdogs against Louisville and Wichita State, but only modest ones, and both games were close. Kentucky outperformed the FiveThirtyEight point spread by two points against Michigan, four points against Wichita State and 10 points against Louisville.By this standard, both Connecticut and Wisconsin have done more to exceed expectations. The Huskies were the narrowest of favorites against Iowa State on Friday, in part because Madison Square Garden is a de facto home court for them. (Geographic distance from a team’s home campus is another factor that the FiveThirtyEight model accounts for; the author of this article went to the games at MSG for “research purposes” and can confirm that there was a lot of Huskies love there.) But Connecticut also won as underdogs against Michigan State and Villanova. The Villanova win, which came by 12 points, was relatively emphatic.The improvement in the model’s esteem for Wisconsin is partially the result of the Badgers’ upset of No. 1 seed Arizona on Saturday. But it has more to do with the their performance in earlier rounds. Wisconsin thrashed Baylor by 17 points Thursday, and the Badgers beat American University by 40 points in their opening game. On average, Wisconsin has outperformed the FiveThirtyEight point spread by 12 points, as compared with nine points for Connecticut and four for Kentucky.Evaluating teams by their margins of victory is unpopular; it may seem as heartless as rating your kids by their SAT scores. We’re fans of systems such as the Basketball Power Index (BPI) that account for the scoring margins throughout games and not just at the final buzzer. But margin of victory predicts future performance reasonably well — better than ratings based on wins and losses alone do. By that measure, Wisconsin heads to Texas with the most momentum.(Nerd alert: The point spread can be derived through the formula NORMSINV(WINPROB)*10.36 in Microsoft Excel, where WINPROB is a team’s probability of winning.) read more

Lightning strikes twice Moeller out for second straight season

Tyler Moeller is no stranger to bad luck. Perhaps that’s how he knew more of it was coming when he suited up to play Illinois on Saturday. While the senior defensive back was pulling up his uniform pants, he could feel a tweak on the left side of his chest that had bothered him since partially tearing his left pectoral muscle in 2008. By his own count, he’s partially torn the muscle 10 to 12 times during the last two-and-a-half years. Those injuries never fully healed, and Moeller could sense that it was only a matter of time before it would cost him. “I kind of thought it was a ticking time bomb,” Moeller said. “Something big was going to happen eventually.” Sure enough, something did happen. During Illinois’ opening drive, Moeller tried to wrap up Illini running back Mikel Leshoure. Moeller’s left arm was pulled back violently as the hard-charging Leshoure burst through his arm tackle. Before hitting the turf, he could feel the muscle rip from the bone. As he got up and rushed toward the sidelines, Moeller knew his fate. “I knew it was totally torn when it happened,” Moeller said. “I ran off the field, and the trainers didn’t even have to tell me what was wrong. I knew what was wrong.” Moeller had completely torn his left pectoral muscle, finishing his season and possibly his career at Ohio State. The NCAA must grant him a medical redshirt and a sixth year of eligibility for him to return. But none of that news could dim the radiant smile Moeller wore on his face as he addressed the media on the eve of his surgery Tuesday night, accepting his latest misfortune. “Bad things happen,” Moeller said. “You have to keep your head up and you have to work hard. Then you can overcome everything.” Moeller, who missed all of last season with head injuries he sustained during an attack in Florida, will have to overcome another setback. “It’s really sad for a guy to be able to put so much work into something and have it taken away twice in a row,” defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said. “It is kind of tough for everybody on the team, especially since he was a great player for us and did some great things.” The injury comes just as his career was finally taking off. Before Moeller came to OSU in 2006, he was a relentless pass rusher at Colerain High School in Cincinnati. He spent his Friday nights wreaking havoc in the offensive backfield, recording 15.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss as a senior. But questions regarding his 6-foot-1-inch, 210-pound stature clouded the outlook of his future. Seen as too big to play safety but too small to play linebacker, Moeller developed into a solid defender on special teams during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. “I wanted to be a linebacker,” Moeller said. “I always had the mentality. I wish I had the mentality to play safety because linebacker kind of beat me up.” During the summer of 2008, Moeller partially tore his left pectoral muscle for the first time. Unable to fix the injury with surgery and too focused on the season to bother with rehab, Moeller essentially played 2008 with only one functioning arm. “I was younger then, so I wasn’t as intelligent as I am now,” Moeller said. “If I could do it again, I would definitely rehab it a lot more.” He made his first career start at linebacker, strangely enough, against Illinois in 2008. He recorded seven tackles, including two for a loss and forced a fumble. Before the 2009 season, Moeller was expected to win a starting linebacker job, even though doubts about his chest problems and size still lingered. But those issues would prove to be the least of his troubles. On July 26, 2009, Moeller was with his family in Florida to celebrate his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. He doesn’t remember much else from that night. While eating at Gators Cafe and Saloon in Treasure Island, Moeller was punched in the face by Ralph Gray Decker, 28, of Kenneth City, Fla., in what was described as an “unprovoked” attack by an assistant state attorney. The back of Moeller’s head smacked against the ground as he fell, leaving him to spend the coming days fighting for his life in a Florida intensive care unit. Details of the altercation with Decker remain murky because of legal issues, but on June 3, Decker pleaded guilty to assaulting Moeller and in August was sentenced to two years of probation. He’s paid the Moeller family more than $11,000 in medical expenses. After the attack, Moeller had severe memory loss and trouble speaking. Doctors learned there was bleeding in his brain and had to drill two dime-sized holes into his skull, which now has a metal plate. Moeller said the surgery had him worried for his life, even if only for a little bit. “I was worried in the beginning, going into surgery,” Moeller said. “But after surgery I knew I was fine and was going to be OK.” Even though some doctors suggested he should’ve ended his football career, Moeller’s passion for the game wouldn’t let him stop. “Why would I want to keep playing? Because I love it,” Moeller said. “I love the game of football.” He spent the next few months preparing for his return to the football field. Unable to train for more than seven months, he spent most of his time away from the football team, focusing on his school work. He couldn’t participate in any contact drills until summer practice, but by the time the season started, coach Jim Tressel had a spot for him that would maximize the speed and physicality of the undersized Moeller. Inserted at the “star” position, which is a hybrid between a linebacker and a defensive back, Moeller’s tenacity resurfaced immediately during the season-opener against Marshall as he registered seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. It was good enough to earn him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Moeller would spend the next three games harassing the offensive backfield unlike any time since high school, recording 12 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss during that span. But his comeback would be cut short after his season-ending injury against Illinois. And even though the injury isn’t comparable to the one he suffered at the hands of Decker, the two injuries are related. Because of the brain surgery, Moeller was unable to exert himself physically enough to treat the lingering pectoral damage he suffered in 2008, leaving him vulnerable to more damage. He hasn’t bench pressed in two years. The Moeller family has forgiven Decker for his crime. Tyler, who no longer suffers from short-term memory loss, said he’s moved on from the attack. “I don’t really think about it anymore,” Moeller said. “If he’s sorry or not, I don’t really care. I wish him all the best. I hope he controls his inner demons.” The Buckeyes’ loss of Moeller can’t be understated. As one of the most effective pass rushers and leaders on the team, Tressel knows he won’t be easy to replace. “You just feel sick for him because you saw the pain he was in last year not being able to help his teammates and now he was, and now he was having fun,” Tressel said. “So, yeah, it’s very disappointing and obviously it hurts us.” Moeller won’t be able to train for the next three months but he expects to be much more involved with the team this year and help freshman Christian Bryant take over his role at the “star” position. Regardless of whether his career as a Buckeye is over, the ever-resilient Moeller expects to play football again at an even greater level. “I know I can play at that caliber level, and if I can get a medical redshirt, I’ll be better than ever,” Moeller said. “I’ll have a chest to work with and my legs will be stronger.” As unlucky as Moeller has been for the last two years, he refuses to let bitterness consume him. Moeller thrives on confidence, even while on the road to recovery. It’s a road he knows very well. read more

Womens Hockey No 5 Ohio State records first loss of season against

Ohio State then-freshman forward Emma Maltais (17) heads back out on the ice to start the second period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignNo. 5 Ohio State (3-1) lost its first game of the season in the second game of the weekend series against No. 8 Colgate (2-2) by a score of 5-2.Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said she saw a different team than the one that defeated the Raiders last night.“You don’t know why a team can play so dominant yesterday and the first 20 minutes of the first period and then disappear,” Muzerall said. “Against a good team like Colgate, they are going keep coming back at you, so you can’t wait until the third to try and win the hockey game.”Ohio State struck first less than eight minutes into the first period off a strike by sophomore forward Liz Scheppers to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead. Senior forward Madison Field and redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne recorded assists on the goal. This assist was Dunne’s third on the season in only four games. Still early in the game, the Buckeyes extended their lead off a goal less than three minutes later when sophomore forward Tatum Skaggs scored her fourth goal of the season in as many games to make the score 2-0. Sophomore forward Emma Maltais received an assist on the play. However, momentum quickly shifted to Colgate as the game moved into the second period.Colgate struck back just 36 seconds into the second period to close the gap to 2-1 when freshman Nemo Neubauerova knocked a shot by freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli with an assist by senior defenseman Olivia Zafuto. Taking advantage of a power play, Colgate tied the game up at two all 5:10 into the second period off a power play goal by freshman forward Delani MacKay with assists by sophomore forward Malia Schneider and senior forward Jesse Eldridge.The domination of the second period by Colgate continued as a goal by senior forward Shae Labbe 14:59 into the second period gave Colgate the lead for the first time, 3-2. Senior forward Bailey Larson got an assist for the play. “It was unfortunate that we gave up in the second, which dominantly, we don’t,” Muzerall said. “We usually dominate the second period, so when we had such a great first period, I was very excited for the second knowing that we usually are in control of it, but Colgate came to win, and Saturday games are always tougher.”Throughout the entirety of the second period, Ohio State was held to just four shots on goal to Colgate’s 14. The Buckeyes outshot Colgate 19-8 in the first period. “I think our first period was great, but then Colgate came out flying in the second period,” Dunne said. “You got to give them credit, they are a national championship contender. They don’t quit, and they don’t give up. I think we were a little on our heels and they took advantage of that.”The Buckeyes continued to lose momentum, as with just 2:10 left in the third period, sophomore forward Coralie Larose added an insurance goal for Colgate to extend their lead to 4-2, marking the fourth goal that Braendli gave up. Larose was assisted by senior forward Bailey Larson and sophomore defenseman Shelby Wood.In Braendli’s first start of her collegiate career, she recorded 32 saves and gave up four goals. “If you look on the scoreboard, that doesn’t tell you everything if you watch the hockey game,” Muzerall said. “She couldn’t see two of the goals. We had way too much traffic and if we’re going to do that, we have to block it. The other two, you have to give Colgate credit. They scored four goals on us this weekend with that top shelf goal shot. Her angling was pretty good on both of them, they were just good shots.” Just over a minute later, senior forward Shae Labbe scored her second goal of the game with an empty net goal to make the score 5-2 and end all chances of an Ohio State comeback. “I don’t think you ever put yourself in a good position when you have to play desperate,” Dunne said. “We were given chances and we just got to capitalize. I think it’s opportunity for us to learn how to play when we’re down, and when we do need an extra goal, what do we need to do to get that.” read more