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Argentina rally behind Messi ahead of key Croatia clash

first_imgIt was a result that has renewed doubts about Argentina’s ability to mount a sustained challenge at this World Cup, four years after they reached the final in Brazil.Another adverse outcome on Thursday and many may even start to consider the unthinkable — that Argentina could be on their way out at the group stage, mirroring their shock first round exit in 2002.Legend Diego Maradona called the Iceland result a “disgrace” and warned coach Jorge Sampaoli he would not be able to return to Argentina with similar performances.Adding to the sense of disappointment, Messi’s missed penalty was accompanied by 11 unsuccessful shots, the most in a World Cup game without return by a single player since Italy’s Luigi Riva in 1970.Argentina’s players however have been quick to close ranks around the Barcelona superstar.“We are all with him, he knows that he can count on the support of all of us more than ever,” said Argentina striker Paulo Dybala.“We are here to help him every moment, and of course we will be at his side,” Dybala added.Defender Cristian Ansaldi meanwhile insisted Messi was in good spirits despite the Iceland setback.“We all know what Messi represents to our team and to our country,” Ansaldi said. “Not only is he the best player in the world on the pitch, he is also best player off the field. He’s in good shape and that’s good for us.”Despite the solitary point against Iceland, Argentina can take solace from a performance which saw them muster 26 shots and have 72 per cent possession against Iceland.Sampaoli is reportedly considering several changes for the game, including drafting in young forward Cristian Pavon for Angel Di Maria for more creativity up front.Similarly in midfield, Paris Saint-Germain’s Giovani Lo Celso could start as Argentina seek more attacking options, possibly at the expense of Lucas Biglia.Their jobs would be to supply Messi and goalscorer against Iceland Sergio Aguero with the kind of service on which they would thrive in a potential 3-3-3-1 formation.Croatia may have secured a vital three points in their 2-0 win against Nigeria in their opening game, but their mood can hardly be described as euphoric.They came into the tournament under a cloud, with captain Luka Modric charged with perjury in a corruption scandal which has rocked Croatian football.And striker Nikola Kalinic has left Russia due to a back injury, says coach Zlatko Dalic, but amid reports he refused to come on as a substitute after being left out of the starting line-up.Off-field problems for now though have not affected them and they are expected to field an unchanged team, which also includes Messi’s Barcelona teammate Ivan Rakitic.The teams have met only once before in the World Cup, in 1998, when Argentina won 1-0 and were the only team that year to prevent Golden Boot winner Davor Suker from scoring.One other possible omen for Thursday; when Riva racked up his unwanted record in 1970, the Italian legend promptly scored two goals in his next match.Argentina will be hoping for the same from Messi.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Lionel Messi made an unhappy start to the World Cup, missing what would have been a winning penalty as Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Iceland © AFP / Mladen ANTONOVNIZHNIY Novgorod, Russian Federation, Jun 20 – Argentina are rallying around captain Lionel Messi as the South American giants prepare for their crucial Group D clash with Croatia here on Thursday.Messi made an unhappy start to the World Cup on Saturday, missing what would have been a winning penalty as Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Iceland.last_img read more

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first_imgThere are concerns that erosion could demolish Portnablagh Pier.PortnablaghMore than 85 years after the issue was first raised in the Dail, the condition of the pier at Portnablagh is back in news again this week.Local fishermen have raised new fears that erosion at the base of the structure could lead to the collapse of the structure which they say is no longer fit for purpose. And while 85 years is a bit long of a wait for essential repairs, the fishermen say that a solution to the erosion at Portnablagh is nowhere is sight.Boatmen who contacted the Tirconail Tribune this week say they been battling for a generation to get a water and power supply onto the end of pier and the place still does not a basic toilet.Apart from a breakwater the pier structure has remained unchanged for a hundred and sixty five years.Meanwhile the fishermen in Dunfanaghy have urged Donegal County Council to carry out an inspection of the pier. They say the past winter’s ferocious storms have damaged the 1849-built pier below water level, adding to the impact of heavy seas over many years. Ivan McElhinney who has operated a boat from Portnablagh since he was a teenager, says the recent low tides revealed that more damage had been caused this winter.“When the low tide occurred on last Saturday we were able to see for ourselves that some masonry was missing from the base of the pier, particularly from the most exposed corner,” he said.“We are worried that unless something is done, this may ultimately undermine the pier. We want Donegal County Council to carry out an urgent inspection and take remedial action before it is too late.”The fishermen say that several large stones which help support the pier have been dislodged over the past winter and Mr. McElhinney said the stonework was in worse condition now than he could ever remember.Around six commercial fishermen are based at Portnablagh, fishing primarily for crab and lobster and they are concerned that their livelihoods will be at stake if anything happens to the pier. The facility is also widely used for leisure boating and sport. The pier and slipway are used by sub-aqua groups, outdoor pursuits groups and the owners of leisure craft, making it a key component of the local tourist industry and an important element the area’s economy.Mr McElhinney said: “The storms have thrown stones and rocks onto the slipway and have also washed away sand and gravel from the foot of the slipway, leaving a nine inch drop. We are concerned that this may affect leisure boat owners who are launching or recovering their boats.“What is really needed is for the slipway to be extended so that it would be accessible at all tides like the slipway at Downings. This could easily be accomplished by laying a concrete extension which would be to the benefit of all.”Other locals have expressed concern that the stones which have been dislodged may prove to be a danger at low tide for children who like to “jetty jump” from the pier, as they are now lying on the seabed immediately at the end of pier. We sought information from Donegal County Council, which is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pier but no response was issued as we went to press.The structure at Portnablagh Pier was first raised in the Dail in March 1929 by one of Donegal’s eight deputies. Barrister and Cumann na Gael Deputy for Donegal,Hugh Law:  asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries whether he was aware that the Donegal County Council, at a recent meeting, agreed to pay one-third of the estimated cost of repairs urgently required to be effected at Portnablagh Pier; and whether, having special regard to the fact that since the silting-up of Dunfanaghy Harbour, this is the only pier available for fishing and other boats on the western shore of Sheephaven, he is prepared to recommend to the Department of Finance that it shall grant from State funds the balance of moneys needed for this purpose.Deputy Martin Roddy, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister said: “Portnablagh Pier is vested in the Donegal County Council, which is the body responsible for its maintenance and repair; and I am, therefore, not in a position to recommend any contribution from State Funds to the cost of repairs.”FISHERMEN EXPRESS FEARS THAT EROSION COULD COLLAPSE PORTNABLAGH PIER was last modified: March 26th, 2015 by StephenShare 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)Tags:donegalerosionfishermenPortnablagh Pierlast_img read more

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