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Page 63 stories French league to go ahead as scheduled France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend, Sports…

Page 63 stories

French league to go ahead as scheduled

France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend, Sports Minister Thierry Braillard told AFP yesterday, a week after the terror attacks in Paris.

Last weekend’s sporting programmes in and around Paris were cancelled in the wake of Friday’s terrorist assault on the French capital which killed 129 people.

One of the attacks was on the Stade de France, where three terrorists and one person died, as France were playing Germany in an international friendly.

This weekend’s league progamme “has been maintained”, Braillard announced ahead of talks between the Interior Ministry and French Professional League (LFP) later yesterday.

The meeting will determine what security measures to set up at all the stadia staging matches across France, with champions Paris Saint-Germain away to Lorient on Saturday.

LFP president Frederic Thiriez will attend the talks before flying to London for France’s friendly against England at Wembley.

Chelsea need one win to regain confidence – Ramires

Chelsea midfielder Ramires insists the Premier League champions are just one win away from getting their season back on track after seven defeats in their first 12 games have left the Blues three points above the relegation zone.

Jose Mourinho’s men have looked a shadow of the side that won the league title by a comfortable eight-point margin last season and have only lost fewer games that the three sides that occupy the relegation places.

Despite his club’s struggles, Ramires, along with Brazilian compatriot Willian, has statistically been one of Chelsea’s few successes this season, bagging three goals in 15 appearances.

“As far as the mood is concerned, it is fine. We are training and working hard. We are doing the best we can to get out of this situation we have put ourselves in,” Ramires told the club’s website.

“I think the team has a good mentality but when you don’t have victories you lose some confidence and we need to come back and start winning games again.

“When we have a good victory, where the team plays well and all of us return to our best, then the confidence will come back and our situation will change,” added the 28-year-old, who recently extended his contract at the club to 2019.

Chelsea will be hoping to secure a morale-boosting win when they host Norwich City, who are one place above them in the table, when the league resumes after the international break on Saturday.

Higuain has no plans to leave Napoli – agent

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is not planning for a future away from the club, according to his agent.

The Argentina international has scored 11 goals in 15 games for Maurizio Sarri’s side so far this season as the San Paolo club have started their Serie A and Europa League campaigns in encouraging form.

Higuain, who was linked with a move during the most recent transfer window, remains a rumoured target for struggling Premier League champions Chelsea.

But Nicolas Higuain – the 27-year-old’s agent and brother, says even a club willing to match president Aurelio De Laurentiis’ €100million price tag would struggle to convince him to leave.

“We’re doing really well with Napoli,” he told TuttoNapoli.net.

“I’ve been in Argentina for five months, I’m not travelling around the world trying to sell my brother.

“If tomorrow a club arrived and found an agreement with De Laurentiis it would be another matter and we would talk with him about it, but from our part that intention isn’t there.

“We aren’t planning a future elsewhere.”

A lack of Champions League football or a genuine Serie A title challenge has fuelled speculation regarding Higuain’s future in the past, but Nicolas believes the current side is closer than ever to a major trophy.

“Gonzalo has had a dream of winning something big with this team from the day he first set foot in Naples,” he added.

“This year, we are confident: the team is doing well, they play with more intensity, they’re more organised.

“There is a special feeling [with Sarri]. Gonzalo grew up as a footballer and a person as the world’s biggest club, surrounded by champions. Now he is reaching maturity.

Walters fires Ireland into Euro 2016

John Walters was the toast of Lansdowne Road as his brace against Bosnia-Herzegovina in a 2-0 victory fired Ireland to next summer’s European Championship Finals in France.

The Stoke City striker missed Friday’s playoff first leg through suspension but he made up for that with a goal in each half that saw Martin O’Neill’s men progress 3-1 on aggregate.

Bosnia manager Mehmed Bazdarevic will be bitterly disappointed with his side’s poor showing, but for Ireland it was the most complete performance of a roller coaster campaign, on the most crucial night.

The hosts were simply better in every department, bullying the visitors in the first half and taking their chances when they arrived.

With an away goal advantage, Ireland could have set out to merely defend, but O’Neill sent out a team to attack with Walters starting while retaining the set piece skills of Robbie Brady, who scored in Zenica at left back.

Bazdarevic made three changes to his team with Sead Kolasinac, Ongjen Vranjes and Haris Medujanin starting as he returned to a typical 4-2-3-1 formation, with Edin Dzeko spearheading the attack.

Ireland came into the game on the back of eight home games without defeat, with last month’s victory over Germany the standout result, but few of the home crowd expected anything less than a tense night.

While Bazdarevic vowed to attack, Bosnia’s first half performance was marked by indiscipline with Emir Spahic, in particular, fortunate to remain on the field.

Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick were central to the best of Ireland’s play, with much of the attacking play directed at Bosnia’s right wing.

Though Brady’s crossing was erratic, he continued to worry the Bosnian defence with Asmir Begovic and Ervin Zukanovic both required to make last ditch clearances from his deliveries.

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