A heartbreaking, blockbuster World Cup exit for England

first_imgPerseverance, sweat, tears, VAR and pure-as-it-comes belief – it still wasn’t enough to stop England suffering a heartbreaking Women’s World Cup semi-final defeat to the U.S.And this was as heartbreaking as they come for the Lionesses. A missed penalty by captain Steph Houghton, a goal disallowed by mere inches that could have secured Ellen White’s Golden Boot – it was excruciating.There was absolutely no shame in their loss, coming to the reigning world champions and upsetting no odds whatsoever after they rallied with everything they had to come back – even when reduced to 10. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare There was no hiding from it either. In a cauldron of noise in the Stade de Lyon, chants of “U-S-A” rang around the ground as the players slumped to the grass, aware of just how close they had come to making the country’s first-ever Women’s World Cup final.But after years of disappointment, their performances in France bookended 12 months that have seen England fall back in love with their national teams – with the Lionesses themselves breaking countless TV records back home with each game.And, among the millions tuning in at home, there will be many whose stereotypes and stigmas around women’s football were rightfully changed on Tuesday night.It’s become an unfortunate theme in modern football that the most hyped-up games don’t live up to expectation.For recent examples, watch France’s clash with the USA in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals, or the men’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham.But when a game bucks that trend, surviving all the build-up to produce an absolute spectacle, it rightfully earns its place among the classics.This game perfectly fit that criteria.England USA Women's World CupThis was a blockbuster movie of a football match, complete with all the drama and plot twists that the best have.The United States assumed the role of the villain from the start of this tournament. The reigning champions, the team everybody wanted to beat – plus, they met the tournament hosts in the quarters.They seemed happy to assume that role from the off. Anyone still on the fence about their feelings for this team was quickly swayed one side or the other when Ali Krieger said: “We have the best team in the world, and the second-best team in the world.”Annoying arrogance or commendable confidence? Depends which side you are on.England have never been the neutral’s favourite. Their renditions of ‘It’s Coming Home’ at last summer’s World Cup rubbed many people up the wrong way, particularly Croatia, who duly dumped them out in the semi-finals.But as the plucky underdog in this tale, especially when drowned out by the sea of American fans who had flooded into Lyon for the clash, they were the choice of many – particularly the French.“A lot of people at Lyon have text me over the past two days. They didn’t text at the start of the tournament, but since France have gone, they’ve sent me a few messages,” Lucy Bronze said before the game.“I’ve had a few messages saying good luck, beat the USA for us. So I think we have a few more supporters than we normally have in the French.”England women’s manager Phil Neville predicted as much in his pre-match press conference, but light-heartedly and reluctantly. Yet, when the Stade de Lyon opened on Tuesday evening, the locals were wearing the colours of England, with St George’s Cross painted on their faces.It was going to take everything for the Lionesses to beat the U.S. and they tried everything.England USA Women's World CupThe mind games added a dramatic twist to things just before kick-off, with England’s line-up absolutely unpredictable while Megan Rapinoe – the undoubted star of Jill Ellis’ side – was on the bench.U.S. Soccer refused to comment on whether it was an injury, adding further chaos. Rapinoe stood on the sideline, fully kitted with her boots on, and watched her team-mates warm up, begging the question – is she really injured, or was this a mind game?Neville tried similar. When asked about the match up of Bronze and Rapinoe before the game, he suggested Rachel Daly could play that position and Bronze could be deployed in midfield, as happened when these two played out a 2-2 draw in March.It wasn’t until at least 10 minutes into the match that regular followers of England could figure out just what the starting XI was.The teams that took to the sparkling Lyon field could have tipped the scales from hype to over-hype – but it wouldn’t be the case.This was 90 minutes of relentless, attacking, unpredictable football, so much so that fans of defending should have been warned when switching on to watch.Three goals by half-time – all of great quality but from bad defending – summed up the end-to-end nature of this exhilarating affair.The heartbreaking scenes came in White seeing a goal ruled out for offside by VAR, and when captain Houghton stepped up to take a pivotal penalty, which was saved by Alyssa Naeher.It had everything for the neutrals, but at the end of the day, not everyone is a neutral.“Americans love winners,” Hope Solo said before the game.These England players will get a hero’s welcome all the same when they return home, just as they did in their heart-breaking 2015 semi-final defeat. But not the winner’s medal they wanted.last_img read more

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for dialogue tolerance and peace Guterres

The UNESCO chief pointed out that radio has adapted to 21st century changes and offers new ways to participate in conversations that matter, retaining its role as “one of the most reactive, engaging media there is”, especially for the most disadvantaged.For example, she flagged that rural women constitute one of the most under-represented groups in the media and are twice as likely as men to be illiterate, “so radio can be a critical lifeline to express themselves and access information”.Ms. Azoulay made clear that “UNESCO provides support to radio stations in sub-Saharan Africa that enable women to participate in public debate, including on often-neglected issues such as forced marriage, girls’ education or childcare”.Linguistic diversity, and people’s right to express themselves on-air in their own languages, is also crucial – especially true in 2019 which has been designated by the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the UN.“In former conflict zones, radio can dispel fear and present the human face of former foes”, she elaborated, citing North-West Colombia where community radios are healing old wounds “by highlighting the good deeds of demobilized combatants, such as clearing polluted waterways”.Around the world, the “inclusion of diverse populations makes societies more resilient, more open and more peaceful”, Ms. Azoulay spelled out.“The challenges we face – whether they be climate change, conflict or the rise in divisive views – increasingly depend on our ability to speak to each other and find common solutions”, she concluded. “Even in today’s world of digital communications, radio reaches more people than any other media platform” explained the UN chief, adding that it “conveys vital information and raises awareness on important issues”.“And it is a personal, interactive platform where people can air their views, concerns, and grievances” he added, noting that radio “can create a community”.UN Radio was established on 13 February 1946, and since 2013, the day has been commemorated to recognize radio as a powerful communication tool and a low-cost medium.“For the United Nations, especially our peacekeeping operations, radio is a vital way of informing, reuniting and empowering people affected by war”, said Mr. Guterres. UNESCORadio brings together people and communities from all backgrounds to foster positive dialogue for change. Despite the rise of the internet, many parts of the world, especially remote and vulnerable communities, have no access, making radio broadcasting via transmitters, a vital lifeline. Joining a community of local listeners, also provides a platform for public discussion, irrespective of education levels.Moreover, it has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.“On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue, tolerance and peace”, concluded the Secretary-General.Radio still sparking ‘new conversations’The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) underscored “the unique, far-reaching power of radio to broaden our horizons and build more harmonious societies”.“Radio stations from major international networks to community broadcasters today remember the importance of radio in stimulating public debate, increasing civic engagement and inspiring mutual understanding”, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in her message.Since its invention as the first wireless communication medium well over a hundred years ago, “radio has sparked new conversations and broadcast new ideas into people’s homes, villages, universities, hospitals and workplaces,” she continued. “To this day, dialogue across the airwaves can offer an antidote to the negativity that sometimes seem to predominate online, which is why UNESCO works across the world to improve the plurality and diversity of radio stations”. read more