x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dempsey goal clocked at 30 seconds, Rouhani is watching and Maradona is worried

Clint Dempsey's goal against Ghana was officially timed at 30 seconds, Hassan Rouhani praised Iran on Twitter and Diego Maradona thinks Germany are the team to beat.

Clint Dempsey of the United States celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Ghana on Monday at the 2014 World Cup. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images / June 16, 2014
Clint Dempsey of the United States celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Ghana on Monday at the 2014 World Cup. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images / June 16, 2014

United States

Fifa officially timed Clint Dempsey’s goal at 30 seconds into the United States’s 2-1 win over Ghana on Monday, making it the fifth-fastest score in World Cup history. The goal was initially timed at 29 seconds before being confirmed at one second later by Fifa. The only faster goals at a World Cup were by Turkey’s Hakan Sukur (11 seconds against South Korea in 2002), Czechoslovakia’s Vaclav Masek (16 seconds against Mexico in 1962), Germany’s Ernst Lehner (25 seconds against Austria in 1934), and England’s Bryan Robson (27 seconds against France in 1982). Dempsey became the first American to score in three World Cups.


Jay-Jay Okocha, the former Nigeria captain, blamed coach Stephen Keshi for the African champions dropping two points in a 0-0 draw against Iran on Monday. Okocha said: “This was a must-win for Nigeria, but we did not take it. We did not do enough in terms of our tactical play. Keshi did not do enough work on the team. The tactical play of Eagles was so bad. I hold Keshi responsible for this.” Okocha thought Stoke City’s Peter Odemwingie and Liverpool’s Victor Moses should have played more minutes.


Iranian president Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter yesterday to praise his country’s 0-0 draw with Nigeria, after a lacklustre World Cup opener. “Proud of our boys who secured our first point – hopefully the first of many more to come,” Rouhani tweeted, alongside a picture of him in tracksuit bottoms and a sports shirt adorned with the national flag. It was a rare casual image of the president, who is normally seen in a formal robe and white turban. Rouhani’s optimistic take on the match was at odds with supporters in Brazil, who booed Iran off the pitch after a defensive performance.


Security staff at the Maracana left a TV journalist sweating over his appearance when they confiscated the clothes hanger he was using to keep his shirt pristine for a live TV report. “We arrived nice and early to get in through the X-ray machines and metal detectors,” said Bryan Swanson, a Sky Sports News reporter. “We had a banana banned the other day and now they wouldn’t allow me in with a wooden coat hanger because they said it was a security risk. They allowed me in with all our cables – I could strangle someone with them, couldn’t I?” A spokesman said security at the stadium was continually being monitored and apologised to Swanson for the inconvenience.

Diego Maradona

Argentina legend Maradona says Germany’s powerful performance in their 4-0 win over Portugal is cause for concern among the other World Cup favourites. “We saw a devastating Germany, a Germany who roamed around with perfection,” the 1986 World Cup-winner told his Venezuelan television show De Zurda. “They caused a bit of worry with their physical strength.”


Germany forward Lukas Podolski got his selfie with chancellor Angela Merkel. So did midfielder Julian Draxler and backup goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler. One teammate missed out, however, when their country’s leader dropped into the dressing room after the win over Portugal. Per Mertesacker wrote on Twitter: “The chancellor didn’t have a selfie for me today,” followed by a frowning face. “But,” he added, “maybe I’ll get a rose,” followed by a smiley face.

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