0Shares0000Captain Kane to the rescue: Harry Kane scored twice in England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia © AFP / Mark RALSTONSAINT PETERSBURG, Russian Federation, Jun 18 – England and Belgium got their World Cup campaigns off to winning starts as the Video Assistant Referee system proved its worth to help Sweden edge past South Korea on Monday.Here, AFP Sports looks at three things we learned today at the World Cup. Kane kickstarts EnglandEngland captain Harry Kane didn’t play down his expectations on the eve of the Three Lions opener against Tunisia, claiming Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick for Portugal against Spain had already put him under pressure in the race for the Golden Boot.Kane didn’t get the hat-trick he wanted, but now trails Ronaldo by just one after riding to his country’s rescue with a double to seal England’s first opening win at a major tournament since 2006.Three points were little more than Gareth Southgate’s side deserved even if they laboured to break Tunisia down in the second-half.The game should have been out of sight but for a series of gilt-edged misses by Jesse Lingard before the break.Kane had already shown his predatory instinct after just 11 minutes to tap home from close range and thankfully for England the ball fell to Kane once more as the clock ticked into stoppage time in Volgograd to produce a deadly near post header to break Tunisia’s resistence.Belgium still seeking balanceRomelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium beat Panama 3-0 © AFP / Odd ANDERSENUnlike a host of the other pre-tournament favourites, Belgium got off to a winning start against World Cup debutants Panama, but a 3-0 victory did little to convince the Red Devils golden generation are ready to deliver on their potential.Coach Roberto Martinez has tried to cram as much of Beglium’s attacking talent as possible into his starting XI in a 3-4-2-1.However, with Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku all starting from central areas, they often lacked width to stretch the Panama defence in a goalless first-half.Mertens’s sensational dipping volley just after the break and two fine finishes from Lukaku underlined the moments of individual brilliance Martinez can rely on.But much sterner tests await of whether Martinez’s set-up will leave Belgium too exposed against better opposition.‘Keepers blame FIFA for balls upThe World Cup ball is causing big problems for goalkeepers in Russia © AFP / MANAN VATSYAYANAAn old favourite World Cup controversy is beginning to bubble again, with Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary directing criticism towards the tournament’s ball on Monday.One burst during the match between France and Australia on Saturday while long-range strikes from Aleksandar Kolarov and Philippe Coutinho have caused some to suggest Adidas’ ‘Telstar 18’ is too heavily weighted in the striker’s favour.“We are victims of FIFA and the ever developing football,” said El-Hadary who, at 45 years old, has seen a few.“Every four years there are new footballs. The ball might be more acceptable to the players than goalkeepers but I am sure there have been previous footballs that have been of the same quality in the past.”Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is also not convinced. “I know what you are talking about and there was a lot of criticism against this ball but we cannot change this now,” he said. “Technology is improving and players are scoring from 40 metres.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
The International Cricket Council on Tuesday appointed media professional Manu Sawhney as its new chief executive officer, replacing incumbent David Richardson, who will step down after the World Cup.Richardson’s contract expires at the end of this summer’s ODI World Cup in England and Wales.Sawhney, the former CEO of Singapore Sports Hub and Managing Director of ESPN Star Sports, will join the organisation next month before formally taking over the reins from Richardson in July, the ICC said in a statement.The appointment was ratified by the ICC Board following a global search and appointment process led by the apex body’s chairman Shashank Manohar and the Nominations Committee.Manohar said: “He brings 22 years of outstanding commercial experience to the ICC and will lead the delivery of our new global growth strategy for the game…Manu stood out as the man to work with our Members and take cricket forward.”Sawhney, was with ESPN Star Sports for 17 years and, during his tenure as Managing Director was responsible for scaling the business and doubling annual revenues.”He has proven success in a number of leadership roles in both sport and broadcasting. He is a strategic thinker and understands the cricket landscape and its complexities. The decision of the Nominations Committee to recommend Manu to the Board was a unanimous one…”Additionally, Sawhney led the global broadcast partnership deal with the ICC that ran from 2007-2015. He is also a non-executive director and member of the Audit Committee of Manchester United Ltd.advertisementHe said: “It is a great privilege and responsibility to serve the global cricket community as CEO of the ICC.”Sawhney will work alongside outgoing CEO Richardson to ensure a smooth transition of leadership before assuming control in July.