Kiev, July 2 (IANS) The following is the list of Golden Boot winners at the European football championship: The top scorers in the UEFA European Championship finals: 2012: Fernando Torres (Spain) 3 2008: David Villa (Spain) 4 2004: Milan Baros (Czech Republic) 5 2000: Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands), Savo Milosevic (Yugoslavia) 5 1996: Alan Shearer (England) 5 1992: Dennis Bergkamp (Netherlands), Thomas Brolin (Sweden), Henrik Larsen (Denmark), Karl-Heinze Riedle (Germany) 3 1988: Marco van Basten (Netherlands) 5 1984: Michel Platini (France) 9 1980: Klaus Allofs (West Germany) 3 1976: Dieter Muller (West Germany) 4 1972: Gerd Muller (West Germany) 4 1968: Dragan Dzajic (Yugoslavia) 2 1964: Ferenc Bene (Hungary), Dezso Novak (Hungary), Jesus Maria Pereda (Spain) 2 1960: Milan Galic (Yugoslavia), Francois Heutte (France), Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia), Valentin Ivanov, Viktor Ponedelnik (both USSR) 2 Overall top scorers at the Euro: 9: Michel Platini (France) 7: Alan Shearer (England) 6: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Thierry Henry (France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands), Nuno Gomes (Portugal), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands) 5: Milan Baros (Czech Republic), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany), Savo Milosevic (Serbia), Wayne Rooney (England), Marco van Basten (Netherlands), Zinedine Zidane (France)
Moscow, July 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Four-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf has moved to the Brazilian League with Botafogo, the club said Sunday. The 36-year-old Dutch midfielder has signed a two-year deal with the top-flight Rio de Janeiro side. "This is the greatest ever signing of a foreigner by a Brazilian club," Botafogo said in a website statement. Seedorf left AC Milan earlier this month after a 10-year spell that included two Champions League titles and two Serie A championships, saying that the Italian club had been prepared to offer him a new contract. At the time, he said he was looking for a "project" to continue his career, and could return to Milan in a non-playing capacity at a later stage. Seedorf's wife Luviana is reportedly a passionate Botafogo supporter. Seedorf switched to Milan from city rivals Inter in 2002 in exchange for defender Francesco Coco after earlier spells with Ajax and Real Madrid. He retired from the Dutch national team in 2008 after scoring 11 goals in 87 appearances during a 14-year international career. Botafogo have not won a major trophy since lifting the 1995 Brazilian title, and are eighth of 20 teams in the Brazilian Serie A after playing six games of the 2012 season. --IANS/RIA Novosti abr/vt
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) He might have been forgotten in his homeland, but poet, writer and doyen of Bhojpuri theatre Bhikhari Thakur's ballads and folk songs are garnering huge appreciation in places as far apart as Mauritius and France. A musical album titled "The Legacy of Bhikhari Thakur" was released by Mauritius Prime Minister Anil Kumar Bachoo at a function in Port Louis in Mauritius earlier this month. Singer Kalpana Patowary launched the musical documentation album with nine tracks together with London-based Virgin Records/EMI Music. It will be launched in London in August and later in the year in Trinidad and South Africa. The album is even available online and has evoked a lot of interest on the web. Kalpana says Bhojpuri is spoken in 14 nations around the world. The language, primarily, spoken in Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh spread to across the world as Indians were taken to the British, French and Dutch colonies around the world. It was the language and cultural traditions that gave the Indian workers their identity. Bhojpuri is understood and spoken in Mauritius, Trinidad, South Africa, Suriname, Guyana, Fiji as well as among the migrant communities in Canada, the US, Britain and Australia. "I want Bhojpuri music to go international. In Mauritius people of Indian origin speak traditional Bhojpuri - the original Bhojpuri as it was spoken a hundred years ago. It is now mixed with some Creole and French words," said Kalpana. "The people in Mauritius understand the songs; the 'bidesi' songs of migration - of leaving the family home and going away to find work, touch a deep chord among the listeners. They get emotional listening to the songs from India," she added. Legendary cultural personality Bhikhari Thakur was often called the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri literature for he led the renaissance in Bhojpuri folk music and launched a folk theatre movement. Bhikhari Thakur was born in a backward, barber community in Kutubpur village of Saran district in Bihar in 1887. Unlettered and practically illiterate when he left home and went to Kolkata for work, he educated himself and began writing poetry with an emphasis on social issues. After returning to native Bihar, Thakur wrote about social-ills such as child marriages and wove them into folk songs. His best known work is the creation of the theatre form 'Bidesia' on the lines of 'Jatra' in Bengal. Kalpana tried to locate the old songs of Bhikhari Thakur talking to folk artists and singers in the small towns and villages of Bihar. But it was a fortuitous meeting with an old man in a remote village called Bakhorapur in Arrah district, Bihar that opened the wealth of Bhikhari Thakur's oeuvre for her. Kalpana was in the village for a cultural show when a few local artists were called to sing a few songs before she began her own performance. Among the singers was a 95-year-old artist, whose rustic songs had a very different presentation that had a powerful appeal. It turned out that he was from the original Bhikhari Thakur mandali. He helped Kalpana record many of the legendary poet's songs in their original 'thekas' (rhythms) and style of presentation. Kalpana could extract additional information through "Bhikhari Thakur Rachnawali", the only written material about the great folk traditionalist. "I am trying to bring out the original vibrancy and richness of the Bhikhari Thakur folk forms so that people from the world over can experience the originality and richness of Bhojpuri music," said Kalpana. (Shubha Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)
Warsaw, July 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Italy goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon hopes his team can pull off one final shock result against favourites Spain in Sunday's Euro 2012 final. Two fierce strikes from Mario Balotelli stunned Germany as Italy won the semifinal 2-1 to book their place in the final in Kiev. "Italy have been a surprise side at this tournament throughout. I hope there will be another one tomorrow," Buffon said. "Spain have more chance of winning. They've been working at this for years, together, and are full of quality players." Italy coach Cesare Prandelli took over from Marcello Lippi after the team finished last in their group at the 2010 World Cup, behind even minnows New Zealand. Buffon praised the former Fiorentina coach for changing Italy's style to return the team to winning ways. "We can say we're world champions four times but there comes a time when you need to be a bit humble and says it's time to change things," he said. "Mr. Prandelli has helped oversee this, ushering in a new way of playing. We're on a different path now and must continue along it." Italy's only win at the European championships came on their first appearance in 1968, when the then-hosts beat Yugoslavia 2-0 in a replay after the first final ended 1-1. Since then they have reached the final once more, losing to France 2-1 thanks to David Trezeguet's golden goal in the final. --IANS/RIA Novosti pm
London, July 1 (IANS) Argentine ninth seed Juan Martin del Potro booked his passage into the fourth round at Wimbledon with a commanding straight-sets win over Japan's Kei Nishikori, RIA Novosti reported. Del Potro fought off a second-set challenge from the 19th seed to win 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-1 and set up a match with either seventh seed David Ferrer or former champion Andy Roddick. Elsewhere in the men's draw, American qualifier Brian Baker continued his remarkable resurgence in only his second Grand Slam event since returning to the sport after six years off the tour with injury. Baker beat the big-serving Benoit Paire of France 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in their third-round match and will now face German 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Paris, July 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) French coach Laurent Blanc has left his job after refusing an extension to his contract, which expires Sunday, the French Football Federation said. France lost 2-0 to reigning champions Spain in the Euro 2012 quarterfinal, but Blanc said afterwards that France could have beaten their more illustrious opposition. Blanc mulled over a two-year contract offer before refusing, the federation said. "Within the period provided for reflection, Laurent Blanc contacted on Saturday the president of the FFF, Noel Le Graet, to indicate his decision not to seek the renewal of his contract as national team coach," the federation said in a website statement. Federation chief Noel Le Graet had expressed a desire to retain Blanc as coach, saying that the quarterfinal was not a failure, and praised the atmosphere in the dressing room. Blanc, 46, succeeded Raymond Domenech after France's disastrous 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where France finished last in their group with one point from three games. He immediately dropped all 23 players from the World Cup squad for his first game as collective punishment. Blanc proceeded to lead France to Euro 2012 with a lengthy unbeaten run that ended after 23 games with a 2-0 group stage defeat to Sweden. --IANS/RIA Novosti pm
London, June 30 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Tenth seed Sara Errani crashed out of Wimbledon Saturday against wildcard Yaroslava Shvedova, who became the first player to win every point in a set at the tournament. Shvedova won 6-0, 6-4 and utterly dominated the first set of the third-round match, preventing her Italian opponent from winning even one of the 24 points. The match pitted together two sensations of the French Open in Errani, a surprise finalist, and Shvedova, who reached the fourth round as a qualifier, knocking out defending champion Li Na on the way. Shvedova's reward is a match against four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, who overcame China's Zheng Zie in an epic three-setter. Williams came back from a set down to beat Zheng 6-7 (5-7),6-2, 9-7 in a match lasting two hours and 28 minutes. Elsewhere, reigning champion Petra Kvitova booked a fourth-round match with 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone by trouncing Varvara Lepchenko of the US. Kvitova, the fourth seed, demolished the Uzbekistan-born Lepchenko 6-0, 6-1 in just 53 minutes. Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, thrashed Czech player Klara Zakopalova in the first set and held her nerve in the second to seal a 6-0, 6-4. Serbia's Ana Ivanovic came back from a set down to knock out 22nd seed Julia Goerges of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Ivanovic, the 14th seed, will play world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round if the Belarusian manages to beat Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova. --IANS/RIA Novosti sr/vd/vm
London, June 30 (IANS) A professional surfer who thought he was on a plane to France was shocked when he discovered he was about to touch down in Sweden after bungling Ryanair staff put him on the wrong flight. A probe was launched Saturday into how Toby Donachie ended up more than 1,200 miles from his planned destination - sparking a security scare, The Sun reported. He had booked a flight from Stansted, London, to Biarritz, France, with Ryanair. But the departure gate was changed at the last minute and he was shepherded onto a plane to Malmo, Sweden instead. Toby, 19, only realised he was heading to the wrong place when the pilot told passengers they were cruising over Denmark, the newspaper said. The teen, from Cornwall, said: "Half-way there, there was a call saying 'We're flying over Denmark'. "The cabin crew just felt really bad for me when I told them. They were worried about me and super helpful. Toby - who was put up in a hotel and given a new ticket to Biarritz by the airline - said the incident raised questions about the security of Ryanair's boarding procedures. Stansted Airport said the responsibility for checking passengers at the gate and onto planes lay with airlines.
Madrid, June 30 (IANS) Spanish side Real Madrid confirmed the club has extended the loan of midfielder Pedro Leon to Getafe for a further season. Talented right sided midfielder Leon, joined Madrid from Getafe for 10 million euros in the summer of 2010, but for reasons which have never become known, he was ostracized by coach Jose Mourinho and made only six first team appearances in the 2010-2011 season, reported Xinhua. Last season saw him loaned back to Getafe, who also had an option to buy the player back. Getafe were unable to pay the transfer fee, but given that Mourinho doesn't want the player back at Real Madrid the two clubs have reached an agreement to extend the loan for a further campaign. Leon, whose brother Luis Leon Sanchez is a professional cyclist who won the Spanish national time trial last weekend and who rides for the Rabobank cycling team in the Tour de France, was badly affected by injuries last season and managed only 13 appearances for Getafe scoring one goal. --Indo-Asia News Service sr/vm
New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) India's specialist drag-flicker Sandeep Singh says he has worked out a plan to hoodwink the European chargers rushing out to foil him from taking perfect penalty-corner hits. How exactly he is going to get the better of the lightning fast marauders? "How can I reveal a secret plan, you only have to see it while it is being executed in London," Sandeep quipped mischievously. "Jokes apart, I have really worked out something special to tackle the Europeans when they charge out to check my penalty-corner flicks or drives. I hope I can beat them, though I can't divulge what exactly I intend doing," Sandeep told IANS in an interview before leaving on the European tour. A catalyst in India qualifying for the Olympics, scoring five goals including a hat-trick in India's 8-1 demolition of France in the final, Sandeep was the tournament's top scorer with 16 goals. "While taking penalty corners my aim is to somehow score. It takes a lot of hard work to master the skill, you can't become an expert overnight. For 10 years I have worked tirelessly to reach the level I am today." Around 2009 when he captained India to victory in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, he was considered the world's best drag-flicker, imparting a speed of 145km in his hits. With a conversion rate of almost 90 percent, there is no denying Sandeep's drag-flicking ability and finesse. However, experts have doubts about his defensive and play-making skills. "I know my limitations as a defender and coaches Michael Nobbs and Dilip Tirkey have helped me a lot in improving my defence. I underwent special training to improve my footwork and speed," said Sandeep. Sandeep, along with Ignace Tirkey, will be the only two players in the team to have any Olympic experience. They were part of India's team to Athens in 2004 where they had a horrendous time. The team failed miserably. With just two victories, India had to settle for seventh position, as they did in Sydney in 2000 Four years later, India for the first time in 80 years failed to qualify for the Olympics, in Beijing. "We have a great mix of youth and experience in our team. After the Beijing disappointment, I'm sure we will perform much better this time around, we have a mature bunch. "We are in a tough group, but we have performed well against them in bi-lateral series and their is no reason why we can't do it at a major competition like the Olympics," said Sandeep. Sandeep feels Nobbs and physiologist David John have done wonders with the team's physical fitness and the two have brought about some positive changes to the team. The Indian team has always been known for its flair rather than its robustness and Sandeep feels the high-altitude training has made the team a lot fitter. "Fitness was a concern earlier. But thanks to the high-altitude training, we have a improved a lot. Our team is much fitter now and we feel we are ready for the Olympics." (Santosh Rao can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)