Sports News Roundup: Soccer-Stojkovic puzzled by Serbia’s drop in intensity; Cricket-‘Utter rubbish’: Langer rejects reports of rift with Australia players and more

Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.

Soccer-Stojkovic puzzled by Serbia’s drop in intensity

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic acknowledged the strength of the Brazil team after losing 2-0 to them at the World Cup on Thursday but was struggling to understand a “strange” drop in intensity from his own players. Brazil outclassed Serbia in their opening clash as Richarlison’s second-half goals sent the five-times champions top of Group G.

Cricket-‘Utter rubbish’: Langer rejects reports of rift with Australia players

Former Australia head coach Justin Langer has denied reports of a rift with captain Pat Cummins and his team, saying he remains in regular communication with the majority of the players and “can’t wait” to catch up with them. Langer reopened old wounds over his acrimonious resignation of him in a podcast interview released this week, lashing out at unnamed “cowards” in the team who complained in the media about his intense coaching style of him last year.

Soccer-Japan’s Doan delights in shutting up patronizing Germans

Japan striker Ritsu Doan said he was particularly delighted with Wednesday’s stunning victory over Germany at the World Cup after being forced to endure patronizing comments before he headed to Qatar. Eight members of the Japan squad play their club football in Germany and it was goals from Freiburg’s Doan and VfL Bochum’s Takuma Asano that gave them the shock come-from-behind victory at Khalifa International Stadium.

Soccer-Ecuador federation asks fans to avoid offensive chants

Ecuador’s football federation urged its fans on Thursday to clean up their act after football’s governing body FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings for homophobic slurs during the South Americans’ opening World Cup game against Qatar. Ecuadorean fans were heard insulting Chileans at Sunday’s match, probably in response to Chile’s claim that they had fielded an ineligible player in the qualifiers.

Analysis-Soccer-Tite’s courage pays off as Brazil forwards deliver

When Brazil manager Tite announced he was taking nine forwards to the World Cup, many questioned if that was too many and wondered if he would really dare to abandon his traditionally defensive approach to unleash so much attacking talent. The answer came in an impressive 2-0 victory over a strong and organized Serbia team who did not make it easy for Brazil and frustrated them in a goalless first half.

Soccer-Thanksgiving football could include tasty US soccer treat

United States coach Gregg Berhalter opened his World Cup news conference on Thursday by wishing all the Americans in the room a happy Thanksgiving which normally means a feast of turkey and football. No, not that football, although Berhalter and his men who take on England in a tasty Group B clash on Friday hope that one day soccer might find a place at the table.

Soccer-Richarlison turns on style as silky Brazil see off Serbia

Brazil outclassed Serbia 2-0 in their World Cup opener on Thursday as Richarlison scored two second-half goals, including a spectacular overhead kick, though an ankle injury sustained by Neymar put a damper on their celebrations. Richarlison has been in fine form when wearing the golden yellow kit of Brazil this year and he opened the scoring with an easy tap-in before doubling the lead with his acrobatic effort.

Analysis-Soccer-Amidst the circus, Ronaldo proves ringmaster yet again

Booted out by his beloved Manchester United, suspended by the Football Association and deemed over the hill by many, Cristiano Ronaldo answered everything in the best possible fashion with another record-breaking display on Thursday. Just another week then in the glittering career of the 37-year-old Portugal talisman who attracts plaudits and criticisms like no other player in the history of the game.

Soccer-Brazil expects Neymar to carry on in World Cup despite ankle injury

Brazilian striker Neymar should be fine to continue in the World Cup despite limping off with a swollen ankle during his team’s 2-0 victory over Serbia on Thursday, coach Tite said.

“We are confident that Neymar will continue playing, he will continue playing in the World Cup,” Tite told reporters, confessing that he was initially unaware of his striker’s injury.

NHL-Maple Leafs great Salming dies at 71 after battling with ALS

Toronto Maple Leafs great Borje Salming, whose accomplishments and longevity in the NHL paved the way for many European stars in the 1970s, has died at the age of 71, his former team said on Thursday. Salming, who became the first Swedish player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, announced in August that he had been diagnosed with the progressive nervous disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

(With inputs from agencies.)

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