Yesterday, Eagles touched down in Russia in exotic, white kneel length caftan-like designer dress with a white hat to match. The designers of their outfits also kept faith with football by placing patches of football on the collars of the white and green outfits.Just like it happened in London at the sale of the jerseys, the social media went agog, with mostly Nigerians and Africans celebrating the three-time AFCON winners and their dress-to-kill- sense.One fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Love the fact you guys aren’t going in suit. We are Africans. We dress like one to Russia. Goodluck.’From Captain John Mikel Obi to new entrant like Bryan Idowu, Instagram and Twitter celebrated the arrival of the first team to clinch the ticket to Russia 2018 from the African continent.‘Tell the world we are coming #positivevibesonly #worldcupvibes #eue3 #supereagles @ighalojude @ogu30’ Nigerian international Elderson Echiejile – also of Monaco – wrote on Twitter as they made their way to their Essentuki training base in Southern Russia.Captain John Obi Mikel also wrote on Instagram: ‘Russia here we come’.Of course, it is not only the native attires that the world will see in Russia, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) under the leadership of quintessential Amaju Pinnick, has also design trendy suits for the glory-seeking Eagles.Nigerian designer, David Bowler, was contracted to kit the players in smart, sweet-looking official suits that will be talk of the tournament.Bowler had similarly designed the suits Eagles wore to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A last minute red tape at the supervising Federal Ministry of Sports in Abuja denied the 2016 Rio Olympic Games contingent from similarly benefiting from the craft of the top Nigeria clothe designer.However, despite all the razzmatazz that trail Super Eagles jerseys and designer dresses, Gernot Rohr and his wards are not lost on the essence of their going to Russia.They immediately settle down to business after the six hours flight from Austria to the teamâ€™s base camp in Yessentuki, a city in Stavropol Krai, Russia. It is located at the base of the Caucasus Mountains.Although camp sources confirmed the players had light work out before the trip, they are not expected to have serious drill until later in the evening ahead of their first game against Croatia.Eagles who are in the competition as one of the lowest ranked teams, (48th in the FIFA rankings released last Thursday), accept their underdog tag but insisted they are not going to lie down for any team to roll over. Both Rohr and Mikel admitted to reporters before leaving Austria for Russia they were unfazed by the underdog tag.Nigeria is to kick off her World Cup 2018 campaign against Croatia in Kaliningrad on Saturday, June 16, before taking on Iceland in Volgograd and then complete the group stages against Argentina in St Petersburg.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Duro IkhazuagbeFirst it was Super Eagles home and away World Cup jerseys that created a frenzy around the world on the day sportswear giants, Nike, put them on sale in London. In just matter of hours, the entire stock sold out! Never in the 24 years of Nigeriaâ€™s participation at the Mundial has such a thing happen previously.Little did the world realize the jersey frenzy was going to be little compared with the glitz and buzz that will surround Super Eaglesâ€™ arrival in Russia from their training camp in Austria on Monday afternoon.
Senior Marek Michalicka has an outside chance to make the NCAA singles individuals, but UW isn’t expecting to make the tournament as a team.[/media-credit]An emotional end to the Big Ten season leaves the Wisconsin men’s tennis team with little hope for a spot in the NCAA tournament.The Badgers started the weekend off looking very strong against No. 11 seed Penn State. They were able to knock them out in the first round with a 4-1 win. But their run ended with a 4-0 loss to third-seeded Minnesota Friday.The Gophers got off to an early lead by grabbing the doubles point. First to fall for UW was the No. 3 doubles pair of Ricardo Martin and Petr Satral. They were unable to withstand the aggressive play of the Gophers’ Tobias Wernet and Bendan Ruddock, as they lost 8-2. The Badgers’ top doubles team of Marek Michalicka and Billy Bertha brought things back to even with an 8-4 win over Phillip Arndt and Sebastian Gallego, but the fate of the doubles point was left up to freshman pair Rod Carey and Fredrik Ask. They were unable to get the win, giving the doubles point to Minnesota.“They are a team that jumps on you pretty quick,” Bertha said. “They scream and yell and have high energy. The hole we got in was too big, and we couldn’t dig out of it.”After the devastating doubles loss, the Badgers reconvened and decided not to go down without a fight.“Everyone was pretty upbeat after that, and we wanted to rally,” Bertha said.Unfortunately, the confidence boost wasn’t enough to stop the Gophers’ momentum. Five out of the six Badgers’ singles courts lost their first set, leaving Wisconsin with a huge deficit to make up. Carey was Wisconsin’s first singles loss, followed closely by Alex Robles, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to Julian Dehn. Bertha was the next Badger loss, which sealed the win for Minnesota and ended Wisconsin’s tournament run.“[Rok Bonin] played really well,” Bertha said. “He wasn’t missing many balls, and nothing I was doing was that effective.”Despite the loss, assistant coach Joe Bates was pleased with the team’s overall effort.“We were a little bit down and disappointed after doubles, but we raised our energy and we wanted to take that momentum into singles,” Bates said.Second-round play wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for a successful first round. To get to Minnesota, the Badgers had to make it past Penn State for a second time this season.Wisconsin jumped out to an early lead by winning the doubles point from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. First to finish were Michalicka and Bertha, with an 8-6 win over Eddie Bourchier and Russell Bader. When Bertha struggled from the net, Michalicka stepped up like a true senior and took over the match. Despite the early struggles, Bertha was able to close out the match with a sweeping last serving game ending in an ace. Ask and Carey got the win that earned the doubles point in a close victory over Jason Lee and Christopher Haysn.“I almost thought we were going to let it slip away from us, but Fred did a good job of keeping me focused so I give him a lot of credit for that,” Carey said.The Badgers kept the momentum from the doubles win going throughout the majority of their singles matches. Michalicka was the first of the singles players off the court with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Penn State’s Eddie Bourchier.“I tried to stay focused because once you get four, everything stops,” Michalicka said. “You want to stay on the court and focus on every point.”After his win, Michalicka watched hopefully from the sidelines as Ask and Satral followed in his footsteps, securing the dual win for Wisconsin and sending them into the next round. Satral defeated Bader 6-4, 6-4, and Ask finished off the day with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Bryan Welnetz.The season-ending loss to Minnesota leaves the Badgers with little hope for a spot in the NCAA tournament as a team. However, the coaching staff is keeping their fingers crossed for some individuals.“We probably won’t make the tournament, but hopefully Marek will make the singles individuals,” Bates said.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Before Baez took over, the only difference between the two teams was a fourth-inning home run by Daniel Murphy that landed on the grass of the Mets’ bullpen. “My first at-bat he chewed me up and spit me out,” Murphy said of Kershaw. “That’s kind of what it looked like. I got a lot of sliders that I didn’t see well and he put me away with them fairly easy. The next at-bat I was able to get my foot down just a little earlier, got a 2-0 heater in the middle of the plate, and I was fortunate to put a good swing on it.”Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada and Curtis Granderson all drew walks in the fateful seventh inning, interspersed between a pair of ground-ball outs. When A.J. Ellis caught Kershaw’s 113th and final pitch a couple inches outside to Granderson, Kershaw could only look to the heavens and droop his shoulders.It was Baez who relieved Kershaw last October, too, after Matt Adams hit a three-run home run on Kershaw’s final pitch in St. Louis. Whether he faced one batter too many or one batter too few, Kershaw’s final inning ensured he would be dogged by the same questions about not rising to the occasion of the postseason.But he could not, and did not, argue with Mattingly when he was removed from this game.“I put myself in that spot,” Kershaw said. “Not much room for arguing after you put yourself in that situation.”More than Kershaw, the Dodgers’ offense failed to rise to the occasion Friday. DeGrom’s 98-mph fastball and 91-mph slider were too much for the Dodgers’ lineup. Their big hits against the shaggy-haired right-hander — a double by Justin Turner off left fielder Michael Cuddyer’s glove and a double by Corey Seager, also off Cuddyer’s glove — stood in isolation.The Dodgers’ only run came in the eighth inning, when Adrian Gonzalez punched an opposite-field single off right-hander Tyler Clippard to score Howie Kendrick. They finished 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.“We didn’t do much when we had guys out there,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve got to do a better job (Saturday) and put the ball in play.”DeGrom allowed five hits and walked one batter in addition to his 13 strikeouts. Closer Jeurys Familia relieved Clippard in the eighth inning and recorded a four-out save, retiring Joc Pederson on a weak ground ball back to the mound to end the game himself.Zack Greinke will start opposite the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard in Game 2, a game scheduled to begin at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.“Not that (Game 2) is a must-win, but it’s a game that we definitely need to compete in, and play well in, and do everything we can to get to New York with a split,” Ellis said. The outcome of the game, and the Dodgers’ 1-0 deficit in the series, are consistent with Kershaw’s October trajectory. The ace is winless in his last five October starts. He’s allowed at least three runs in his last four.But this game was its own animal — the very thing Mets manager Terry Collins compared Kershaw to before the series began. And much like the last time he pitched in the playoffs (a Game 4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in last year’s NL Division Series), Kershaw appeared to have tamed the October beast for six innings.So did Mets starter Jacob deGrom, who did not allow a run in seven innings in his first playoff start.“I got out-pitched,” Kershaw said. “That’s basically the moral of the story. Jacob pitched an amazing game. We battled, got even in some counts, got his pitch count up there, but he out-pitched me plain and simple.”DeGrom (13 strikeouts) and Kershaw (11) became the first postseason opponents to strike out 11 batters in the same game. The Mets collected only four hits and, until the seventh inning, only one walk — a masterful 12-pitch at-bat by Wright in the first — against Kershaw. While the announced crowd of 54,428 at Dodger Stadium shifted in its seats Friday night, Clayton Kershaw sat and watched. He had walked three batters to load the bases for the Mets’ David Wright in the seventh inning, putting Don Mattingly in a precarious position that the Dodgers’ manager has been in before.This time, Mattingly pulled Kershaw in favor of right-handed reliever Pedro Baez. Kershaw calmly took a seat on the bench. He leaned his elbow on his leg and his cheek in his hand. He shifted his arms as Baez fell behind 2-0, then 3-1, then served up a 99 mph fastball down the middle of the plate.Wright smoked a line drive back up the middle of the diamond for a two-run single, the decisive hit in the Mets’ 3-1 win in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday.• PHOTOS: Mets take Game 1 advantage
Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney are still feuding over an incident last week at Watkins Glen where contact between the two drivers sent Johnson spinning off course.After the race, Johnson and Blaney exchanged words in a tense scene. Blaney offered his side of the story.“I have nothing to apologize about,” he told NASCAR.com. “He came down on me. I apologized to him right then and there, even though it was his fault. I have a lot of respect for Jimmie — or had a lot of respect — that’s why I kind of let him chew my a– out for a minute, minute-and-a-half or whatever he did and I didn’t go back into him, especially when he put a finger in my face.“Then his comments after we got done talking pretty much threw all that out the window. That respect is very little.”It’s clear Johnson is still frustrated by the event, which contributed to him finishing 19th. The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion is tied for 16th in the point standings, the last driver in the playoff field with four races remaining until the postseason.After the race, Johnson claimed Blaney’s move was “stupid … he just drove right through me,” and claimed he couldn’t understand what Blaney was saying because “his lips were quivering.”When informed Johnson had said he was scared, Blaney responded, “He said I was scared? … If he wanted to go, we could go.” Friday, Blaney declared “I’m over it” when asked about the racing incident and the postrace discussion.“I was there and he came down across me, then we talked about it after the race,” Blaney said. “You do that to yourself and then expect me to apologize for that? It’s not like I flat ran him over. I told him that. … It’s his doing, but he wants to be mad at me about it.” Johnson told NASCAR.com Friday he’s still waiting for an apology, but Blaney said he apologized after the race — even though he said the incident wasn’t his fault in the first place.“We know what happened on the track … the drivers do,” Johnson said. “There was a window of opportunity there from my standpoint for Ryan to handle it a certain way, to engage in at least the way that I know I have when it wasn’t on purpose and I have yet to see or hear from him. So, that only validates my line of thought and how angry I was in the car.” Related News Jimmie Johnson changes crew chief as clock ticks on Cup Series playoffs