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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 29 November 2014
SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2014 31 SPORT Socceroos out of top 100 Greece also loses a lot of ground, falling outside the top 20 in the FIFA world rankings Australia's slide down the FIFA world rankings continued with the Socceroos dropping eight spots to fall outside the top 100 to 102 for the first time. It comes a month after coach Ange Postecoglou saw his team drop to a then record low of 94, and leaves the Socceroos just three places above Faroe Islands. Postecoglou has the worst record of any Australia coach, having won just two of his 12 games in charge. The Socceroos, which remain ranked 10 in Asia, had a 2-1 loss in their last outing to the top-ranked Asian team Japan, which fell one place to be 53 in the world in the latest rankings. Greece is a long way from its World Cup highs. PHOTO: AP/THANASSIS STAVRAKIS. Greece, on the other hand, is flat-lining in just the same manner, currently ranked 25th in the world, down seven points, and is a long way from its top 10 ranking since the World Cup. Greece is now still without a permanent coach, after showing the door to Claudio Ranieri. The Faroe Islands are very thankful they were able to win against Greece recently, as they have climbed a whopping 82 places to 105 as one of the biggest country gains this ranking round. Cyprus is ranked 88th, up eight points, gaining some ground in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. It's one of their best rankings since 2009. World champion Germany still leads the rankings, while two of Europe's smallest nations made big gains after upset results. Germany stayed ahead of Argentina, Colombia, Belgium and the Netherlands in an unchanged top five. Brazil remains sixth despite a six-match winning streak since the FIFA World Cup. Wins in EURO 2016 qualifying moved England up to 13, Romania climbed six places while the Czech Republic jumped five. FIFA Rankings Top 20 (previous ranking in brackets) 1. Germany (1) 2. Argentina (2) 3. Colombia (3) 4. Belgium (4) 5. Netherlands (5) 6. Brazil (6) 7. Portugal (9) (tie) France (7) 9. Spain (10) 10. Uruguay (8) 25. Greece (18) 88. Cyprus (96) 102. Australia (94) First defeat for Olympiakos in Euroleague GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS Olympiakos suffered its first Euroleague loss of the season, going down 89-70 at Laboral Kutxa, although the Greek team remains the favourite to clinch the top spot in its pool. The Basques were ahead throughout the match, advancing 24-17 after the first quarter and 44-37 at halftime, but it was the partial 22-9 score during the third period that decided the game for Laboral. The third period ended with a 16-point margin (6852) for the host as Olympiakos had a bad night both in defence and in attack. The players of coach Yiannis Sfairopoulos were unable to turn things around as the spread grew to 21 points toward the end (8766). On Tuesday PAOK lost 8477 at Zielona Gora for the Eurocup. Olympiakos’ US guard Tremmel Darden (R) tries to grab the ball off Laboral Kutxa’s Kim Tillie (L). PHOTO: EPA/ADRIAN RUIZ DE HIERRO. Phil Hughes tributes flow Following the shocking news of cricketer Phil Hughes’ death, the world has joined in honouring the fallen athlete The Australian and international community have been struck hard with the devastating news of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes death. The 25-year-old died on Thursday, just two days after being struck by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The outpouring of grief has not been isolated to the cricketing world, with many around the world putting their cricket bats out by their front doors in memory of the athlete. National captain Michael Clarke fought back tears when reading out the Hughes' family's message. "It's been a very difficult few days," the statement read. Northern Territory enters FFA Cup The Northern Territory will be joining the FFA Cup preliminary rounds, the last state and territory to join making the competition truely national. One Northern Territory team will have the chance to make it to the round of 32 next year, taking on the like of the A-League clubs. Football Federation Australia (FFA) this week announced the number of slots that each of the member federations will receive in the round of 32, with the bigger states getting more spots for the business end of the Cup. Victoria and Queensland will once again get four spots, while NSW will get the most, with both central and northern NSW getting places, totalling seven all up. NPL champions, South Australian club MetroStars SC, will automatically enter the round of 32 thanks to their finals win. "We appreciate all the support we've received from family, friends, Cricket Australia and the general public. Cricket was Phillip's life, and we shared that love of the game with him. We love you." Rival team England also reached out, offering their "deepest sympathies to Phil Hughes' family, friends and team-mates". "Phil was admired and respected by all he played with and against, and will never be forgotten by the cricket community," said the English team. The Indian touring team who had shared the cricket pitch with Hughes paid their tributes, saying "we cherish the memories of playing along with him and deeply The late cricketer Phil Hughes. PHOTO: AAP/DAN PELED. respect his contribution to the game of cricket." Alongside the offers of condolence for the player and his family, people have also been directing their encouraging messages to bowler Sean Abbott. Flags were flown at half mast across pitches around the world to honour the memory of the young cricketer. The tragedy has also sparked debate about the protective gear worn by the players. Source: ABC, The Guardian Olympiakos with slim chances of qualification Greek champion Olympiakos only has mathematical hopes left for a spot in the next round of the Champions League after Atletico Madrid left it reeling with a 4-0 loss. In its last group game next month, Olympiakos needs to avoid defeat to visiting Malmo in order to continue. The only way for the Reds to make the next round of the Champions League is to beat Malmo and see Juventus lose at home to Atletico. Olympiakos could never re- cover after a Mario Mandzukic hat-trick after Raul Garcia's opener sank the reds. The Greek team fielded three Spanish players and only one Greek on the field, even being coached by a Spaniard was not enough to make a difference. Olympiakos has scored no points from its three away games this season in the group stage of the competition. Atletico’s Mario Mandzukic, third right, scores the fourth goal of his team against Olympiakos. PHOTO: AP/DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA.
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