Scotland’s hopes of reaching France 2016 were dealt a huge blow following the defeat to Georgia in Tbilisi.The Tartan Army look nervous throughout and were punished for it by Valeri Kazaishvili’s opener in the first half.The visitors continued to toil without reward and the loss leaves them in a precarious position in which they could struggle to even make the play-offs.Scotland started tentatively, making a few excursions into the Georgian half but it was the hosts who dictated the majority of possession early on.Scotland’s best chance came in the 29th minute when Andrew Robertson bent in a dangerous cross, only for Steven Fletcher to be a stud’s length away from getting the vital touch to turn it into the net.Then came the shock for Gordon Strachan’s men in the 36th minute as Kazaishvili swept the ball past David Marshall after the Scots stalled in clearing the danger from their box.It was almost level just after the break when, on 50 minutes, Shaun Maloney swung in a cheeky corner to the near post looking to catch the Georgian goalkeeper off guard but Nukri Revishvili clawed the ball off the line.Fletcher then curled a shot against the post as Scotland began to show more attacking intent, but he was ruled to have been offside.As the Scots continued to pile forward in search of an equaliser, Georgia looked dangerous on the break with only Marshall getting in the way of Levan Mchedlidze and a second goal.That was the end of the action as Scotland struggled to get out of their half and, with world champions Germany to play next, they face a steep uphill battle to reach the European Championships next summer. 1 Scotland
1 Arsene Wenger and Aaron Ramsey Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his side to recapture the hunger which saw them blow away Manchester United when they head to Watford on Saturday.The Gunners resume domestic action at Vicarage Road for the late televised kick-off looking to maintain momentum from their demolition of the Red Devils, who were taken apart with three goals inside the first 20 minutes.Wenger, though, knows that stunning performance will quickly be forgotten should they fail to deliver against the Hornets.“It can increase the belief and the hunger of the team (to win convincingly). On the other hand you have to show that you can come in to every game with that focus,” said Wenger, who is hoping Alexis Sanchez returns fit from international duty with Chile having been carrying a hip problem.“The level of champions and people who want to fight at the top is urgency – and urgency is something that keeps you alert, so we know what will be expected of us.“We have to be conscious that it will be a different game at Watford, but the level of urgency is a big part of success and that is what we work on.”Wenger accepts such little time to regroup following the international break is not ideal, especially with the players having been on a high following the manner of their win over United.“It was difficult, we separated on a positive vibe. After, the task is to reconnect quickly because everybody goes to their national teams and has different worries,” said Wenger.“The target now is to refocus on what we want to achieve.“Watford are a very difficult team to play against, so we have to focus to get a positive result on Saturday.”Arsenal’s win over United moved them to within two points of Manchester City.Wenger believes this season’s title race could prove to be the most open of recent years and refused to rule out champions Chelsea – already 10 points adrift – mounting a recovery.“At the moment the top eight can mathematically compete,” said Wenger.“(Realistically), I would say five or six teams (can win the title).”The Gunners boss added: “(Chelsea) have some ground to make up. Of course when you have many teams in front of you it is difficult to catch up, but they have the quality.”
1 Laurent Blanc Paris Saint-Germain are ready to end talk of a swoop for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho by offering Laurent Blanc a new contract. The 49-year-old’s current deal with the French champions expires at the end of the season and there had been speculation he would not be handed a new one.PSG’s Qatari owners have reportedly been keen to lure Mourinho to the club desperate his struggles at Chelsea this season.However, they now look set to put an end to speculation they could make a move for the Portuguese by putting their faith in Blanc long-term.After evaluating the Frenchman’s performances, the club’s owners are said to believe he is the right man to take them forward.Blanc has won Ligue 1 on both occasions during his two years in charge, while he has also lifted the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue.
Simon Mignolet [View the story “‘It can only mean no goalkeeper in the world wants to sign for Liverpool!’ – Reds react to new Simon Mignolet contract” on Storify] Reports have surfaced that Liverpool have offered Simon Mignolet a new contract, in further evidence of Jurgen Klopp’s confidence in the player.Klopp has insisted several times that he was not interested in replaced the Belgian, despite Reds legend Bruce Grobbelaar telling talkSPORT the former Borussia Dortmund boss was scouting Germany.Mignolet recently came under-fire for holding on to the ball for 22 seconds in the Europa League match against Bordeaux, which led to the French side scoring a goal.Consequently, news of a contract extension has not gone down well among Liverpool fans on social media.See the best reactions from Twitter below! 1
Liverpool midfield target Granit Xhaka has fuelled speculation he will be moving to the Premier League in the summer, saying it is his “childhood dream” to play in England.The 23-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach captain has attracted plenty of attention from top clubs around Europe this season.But with Liverpool reportedly top suitors, there is only one place where he would love to play.“Everybody has a childhood dream, and for me it is England,” the Switzerland international told Sport1.de.“That doesn’t mean that I have to or would like to go there – I’m extremely happy here and everything suits me down to the ground – but you do have to take a look around and talk with the club.“Gladbach have given me everything I wanted and this has become a second home for me.”Xhaka has scored three goals in 18 Bundesliga appearances this season and has now played 130 times for the Foals since joining them from Basle in 2012.And despite interest from Liverpool, plus Chelsea and Manchester City, Xhaka says his future is in the hands of his agent and the Bundesliga club and he will not be putting pressure on either.“I don’t know if it will become an issue,” he said. “It’s not up to me, but my club.“My task is to focus on my football. For as long as I am here, I want to give 100%, the rest will be done by my club and my agent.“It really isn’t the case that I desperately want to leave. Everything would really have to come together [for that to happen].”Former Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld recently said Xhaka is worth between €30-50million [£23-38million], and that is a sum Gladbach would likely entertain for their captain.“When somebody like Ottmar Hitzfeld says that about you, then it can only make you pride,” Xhaka added.“I’ll leave it up to others to judge if I’m really worth between 30 and 50 million. I don’t know.” Liverpool target Granit Xhaka 1
MISSION: A satellite in orbit around the moon gives country a jump on China and India. By Eric Talmadge THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityTOKYO – Japan put its first satellite into orbit around the moon today, placing the country a step ahead of China and India in an increasingly heated space race in Asia. The probe was set into lunar orbit after completing a complicated navigational maneuver late Thursday, space agency officials said. The probe will gradually move into orbit closer to the surface to the moon before conducting a yearlong observational mission. “We believe this is a big step,” said project manager Yoshisada Takizawa. “Everything is going well and we are confident.” Though four years off schedule, the mission comes at a crucial time for Japan. China is expected to launch its own moon probe by the end of the year, and India is to follow with an unmanned lunar mission in 2008. Japanese officials claim the $279 million Selenological and Engineering Explorer – or SELENE – is the largest lunar mission since the U.S. Apollo program in terms of overall scope and ambition, outpacing the former Soviet Union’s Luna program and NASA’s Clementine and Lunar Prospector projects. The mission involves placing the main satellite – called “Kaguya,” after a legendary moon princess – in a circular orbit at an altitude of about 60 miles and deploying two smaller satellites in elliptical orbits, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA. Researchers will use data gathered by the probes to study the moon’s origin and evolution. Takizawa said it will begin its observation phase in mid- to late-December. “The timing was very delicate,” he said at a news conference in JAXA’s Tokyo headquarters via a video link from the mission command center south of the capital. “It was important to the completion of the mission, and it was successful.” Japan launched its first satellite in 1970 but is now struggling to keep up with rival China. Japan launched a moon probe in 1990, but that was a flyby mission. It canceled a 2004 moon shot, LUNAR-A after repeated mechanical and fiscal problems. SELENE was launched on Sept. 14 aboard one of the space program’s mainstay H-2A rockets from Tanegashima, the remote island where the agency’s space center is located. To garner public interest, the probe carries sheets engraved with messages from 412,627 people around the world in its “Wish upon the Moon” campaign. China’s minister of defense and technology told China Central Television in July that everything was ready for a launch “by the end of the year” of the Chang’e 1 orbiter, which will use stereo cameras and X-ray spectrometers to map three-dimensional images of the lunar surface and study its dust. China sent shock waves through the region in 2003 when it became the first Asian country to put its own astronauts into space. More ominously, China also blasted an old satellite into oblivion with a land-based anti-satellite missile, the first such test ever conducted by any nation. That test was widely criticized for its military implications. A similar rocket could be used to shoot military satellites out of space, and create a dangerous cloud of space debris. India plans a manned space mission by 2015, using indigenous systems and technology. That will be preceded by an unmanned moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, in April 2008.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
UPDATED: A VICTIM of the great Donegal swindler has told us tonight that he has once again been given more excuses as to why he is not getting his money back.In fact, it’s the same excuse as the last SIX excuses: “Our lawyers are working to freeze assets from accounts!”Earlier this week donegaldaily.com exclusively revealed that investors had met at a Donegal hotel and were told they would get more information on their cash today. But a source told us: “I’m afraid it’s another excuse. I was hoping against hope that this would be it, but deep down I knew this was rubbish, some story about money tied up in investments and frozen accounts. I should have known better. It’s no surprise really.”Earlier today, in yet another exclusive revelation, we revealed that the number of people scammed in the Ponzi scheme is much higher and more widespread than first thought.At first it was thought that just Donegal people had been cleaned. The roly-poly crook was based here in the county.Then we revealed there were investors in Tyrone and Derry. But last night we also learned there are more swindled people in Belfast, Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Clare and Dublin.And a well-placed source told us: “Frankly I’d be very surprised if this latest promise is actually met by this man.“He has hoodwinked everyone.”With the number of investors growing, many people will lose out.One of them – owed €50k – told us: “I’ve given up on my investment. I believe we might get something back if this man thinks he can avoid jail by doing so, but I seriously doubt it.” email [email protected] SURPRISE! SWINDLER HAS MORE EXCUSES FOR NOT PAYING INVESTORS was last modified: January 14th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Roma have opened talks with Arsenal over another season-long loan deal for goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.The Poland international enjoyed a successful spell at the Italian club last season and is keen to continue with Luciano Spalletti’s side rather than deputise for Petr Cech next season.According to Sky Italia, Roma have now entered talks with Arsenal regarding another loan agreement, with the Gunners open to letting Szczesny go for another season.A sticking point had been how much of Szczesny’s wages Roma were willing to pay with Arsenal keen on the Serie A club taking on a larger percentage of his salary compared to last season.But it is understood that both clubs are close to reaching an agreement and a deal is expected to be completed early next week to allow Szczesny to join up with Roma for pre-season. Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is set to stay at Roma for another season 1
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champNewer fossils point to the deer-like Indohyus. The animal is a “missing link” to the sister species to ancient whales, said Hans Thewissen, an anatomy professor at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. “As a zoo animal, it looks nothing like a whale,” Thewissen said. But, he added, when it comes to anatomical features, the Indohyus “is quite strikingly like one.” Thewissen, who earlier published papers on fossils of what he called the first amphibious whale and the skeleton of the oldest known whale, studied hundreds of Indohyus bones unearthed from mudstone in the Kashmir region of India. From that cache of bones he created a composite skeleton of a 48 million-year-old creature. The key finding connecting Indohyus to the whale is its thickened ear bone, something only seen in cetaceans. An examination of its teeth showed that the land-dwelling creature spent lots of time in the water and may have fed there, like hippos and whales. Also, the specific positioning and shape of certain molars connects Indohyus to the earliest whales, which are about 50 million years old, Thewissen said. “The earliest whales didn’t look like whales at all,” Thewissen said. “It looked like a cross between a pig and a dog.” They lost their legs and ability to walk on land about 40 million years ago, he said. And the Indohyus? “A tiny little deer maybe the size of a raccoon and no antlers,” Thewissen said. He said it most resembles the current African mousedeer, which has a rat-like nose and “when danger approaches, it jumps in the water and hides.” India and Pakistan were the general region where early whales lived. That matches with the Indohyus but not the early African hippos, Thewissen said. While modern-day cetaceans are known to be smart, early whales and Indohyus had small brains, the researcher said. Other scientists were intrigued, but far from convinced, especially since the case for hippos has looked good, they said. “While this new hypothesis for the origin of whales is compelling, it will require further testing, especially since other recent studies have suggested both hippos and Raoellids were involved in whale ancestry,” San Diego State University biology professor Annalisa Berta said in an e-mail. Raoellids are the larger grouping of species that include the Indohyus. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – The gigantic ocean-dwelling whale may have evolved from a land animal the size of a small raccoon, new research suggests. What might be the missing evolutionary link between whales and land animals is an odd animal that looks like a long-tailed deer without antlers or an overgrown long-legged rat, fossils indicate. The creature is called Indohyus, and recently unearthed fossils reveal some crucial evolutionary similarities between it and water-dwelling cetaceans, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises. For years, the hippo has been the leading candidate for the closest land relative because of its similar DNA and whale-like features. So some scientists were skeptical of the new hypothesis by an Ohio anatomy professor whose work was being published today in the journal Nature.