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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 07 July 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 JULY 2018 27 SPORT Captain Kane leads English charge in Russia GEORGE STOGIANNOU Each of the four teams on tonight's World Cup quarterfinals draw: England, Sweden, Russia, and Croatia, will believe their side of the draw is the more open and gives them the best opportunity to reach the World Cup final. Tonight's quarterfinal matches begin with England versus Sweden. It could be a final determined by the key match-up of the two opposing captains who have led their countries by example thus far in the tournament. For Sweden, centre back Andreas Granqvist will have the task of minding his opposite captain Harry Kane, who is currently the tournament's leading scorer. In a sense, the two reflect the way their countries have progressed through the tournament. The Swedes, who favour a 4-4-2 system, have conceded in just one of their four matches in the tournament; the loss to Germany in the group stage. Apart from their opening group match against South Korea, Sweden has been content to allow its opponents the lion's share of possession. The Swedes’ organised, disciplined defence has proven very difficult to break down. This will be England's challenge. Co- England captain Harry Kane. PHOTO: FOX SPORTS ASIA lumbia also played this way against England frustrating the English attack. Both England and Sweden play with two front men. For Sweden, Ola Toivonen partners former Panathinaikos forward Marcus Berg, however between the two, they have just the one goal in the tournament from Toivonen in the 1-2 loss against Germany. England's two front men, the prolific Kane and the free-roaming Raheem Sterling, lead a 3-5-2 system. Coach Gareth Southgate uses a back three and wing backs Trippier and Ashley Young or Rose, to cause overload in the wide areas and feed Kane with crosses in the box. Defenders Stone and McGuire are very powerful in the air and good with the ball at their feet allowing England to build out from the back. The tireless Henderson screens the back three while Jess Lingard's movement helps open up stubborn defences, something which could prove cru- cial against the tight Swedish defence. Loftus Cheeks' powerful driving forward runs also opens up space in behind defenders. England may be forced into another penalty shoot-out by the Swedes. Jamie Vardy is England's main injury concern going into the match. In the later quarterfinal match on Sunday morning, host nation Russia, which has surprised everyone by getting out of the group stage, takes on the impressive Croatians. The Croatians have great individual talent in every line, from keeper Subasic, defender Lovren, Spanishbased midfielders Rakitic and Modric, and big Juventus target man Mandzukic. They have also been playing well as a team. The Russians, in contrast, while lacking the individual quality of the Croatians, have shown an immense fighting spirit to reach this stage of the competition. The players have shown immense reserves of energy, covering great distances in their matches. Uruguay exposed their weaknesses in the group stage, inflicting a heavy defeat and forcing coach Cherchesov to switch from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-4-2-1, which favoured a tighter defensive bloc effectively blunting Spain's attack. For the game against Croatia, forward Denis Cheryshev and midfielder Gazinsky are both available again after missing against Spain, and the Russians may revert to a more attack-minded 4-2-3-1, aimed at creating more goalscoring chances. Green sleeve surprise awaits Bergers in Dockerty Cup final There’s little that the opposing coaches, John Anastasiadis and George Katsakis, don’t know about the respective opponent team GEORGE STOGIANNOU For the Bentleigh Greens and their coach John Anastasiadis, the Dockerty Cup final has become something of an annual calendar event for the Cheltenham-based club. Tuesday night's final at Jack Edwards Reserve in Oakleigh will be the third year in succession the club is going to the final. For fans of the two adversaries, Bentleigh Greens and Heidelberg United, the final promises to be a tense contest between evenly matched opponents, while for the neutral, it promises to be an exciting match between the two top teams in the NPL who have developed an intense rivalry. In fact, this will be the third instalment in the storied rivalry that's developed between the two, as the Bergers and Greens contested both the Cup and League finals last season, with the Bergers wresting the Dockerty Cup from the then holders, Bentleigh Greens in a penalty shoot-out. The Greens got their own back, by taking out the NPL Grand Final, after the two teams again went to extra time. Greens coach Anastasiadis told Neos Kosmos mid-week, "We know the importance of being in another final and what it means for the players as for their careers." With Tuesday night's final being a rematch of last year's final, Anastasiadis said, "Last year we were unlucky to lose a penalty shoot-out. This year we hope it doesn't go that far and we actually get the result from the start." He says the chance to win silverware is the prime motivation, rather than defeating the team who took the Cup from them last season. There's little that the opposing coaches Anastasiadis and the Bergers' George Katsakis don't know about their opponents. They are friends off the park, and have known Friendly rival coaches John Anastasiadis ( L) and George Katsakis (R) will pit their wits against each other in Tuesday’s Dockerty Cup final. PHOTO: K DEVES each other since they were former teammates in the mid-late 80s in the Bergers' U20 squad. Anastasiadis says, "We know each other quite well. There's a lot of respect there, no doubt, between each other and the families." However, the two clubs have a strong rivalry which borders on the fierce, which doesn't look like abating. Anastasiadis says, "We're always trying to find an extra edge - both clubs. So you know we've got something up our sleeve and hopefully we'll put that extra edge to work in the final. We're hoping it pays off, because it is risky at times. Because we both, more or less, know each other that well, you know you've got to be careful what you do and how you take those risks. It's a final and we always go out to win every game. We don't wait for things to happen. I'm sure George also has something up his sleeve. It will be a very interesting game on Tuesday night." Anastasiadis anticipated that the final, "will be a typ- ical Heidelberg game, where they'll be really tough to beat and physical. We'll just go about and play our game and do what we do best – try and keep possession of the ball. I think if we do that, we'll probably get the result we want." The Greens have strengthened across all lines with their mid-season transfers picking up defender Jacob Alexander, strong defensive midfielder Ethan Wesley, and versatile attacker Brody Taylor. With two Friday league games in just a week, and the Cup final on Tuesday sandwiched in between, the Greens coach says of the fixture congestion: "We know what to expect. We'll be prepared for it. The good thing is that everybody's healthy in the squad. There are no injuries. Eighteen players ready to go. There's no doubt our rotation policy still sticks, especially when something like this happens."
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