On this day in sport: Brazil make World Cup history, LeBron's wait comes to an end

By Sports Desk June 21, 2020

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  • JFF congratulates former Reggae Boy Wes Morgan, who hints at retirement after FA Cup success JFF congratulates former Reggae Boy Wes Morgan, who hints at retirement after FA Cup success

    The Jamaica Football Federation has offered its congratulations to former Reggae Boy Wes Morgan, whose side Leicester City defeated a star-studded Chelsea 1-0 to win the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

    Youri Tielemans’ long-range strike in the 63rd minute was enough to give the Foxes a 1-0 victory over their more celebrated rivals.

    “We are extremely happy for Wes,” said JFF President Michael Ricketts. “He has been a great soldier for Leicester City and a willing servant for Jamaica. There is no better way to bow out of the professional game than with a prestigious trophy. We wish nothing but the very best for him in the future.”

    Morgan hinted at retirement following Saturday’s victory that gave Leicester City their first-ever hold on the trophy.

    “Nothing’s been announced yet, I need to discuss it with the club, but I don’t think I’ve got too many more miles on the clock, we’ll say that,” said Morgan who played the last eight minutes of the match after being out with a back injury since December.

     “I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the squad. The gaffer asked me if I could make it on the bench and I said if I’m needed for the last 10 minutes, I’ll be available. We were 1-0 up and the last thing I expected a week ago was to be playing again, but I came on and now I have won the FA Cup.”

    The FA Cup is the second major trophy captain Morgan has won with Leicester City. He lifted the English Premier League with the club in 2016.

    Morgan made 30 appearances for the Reggae Boyz between 2013 and 2016.

     

  • Mancini extends Italy deal until after 2026 World Cup Mancini extends Italy deal until after 2026 World Cup

    Roberto Mancini has been given a significant vote of confidence by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) after signing a new contract that will keep him in charge of Italy until after the 2026 World Cup.

    Mancini was appointed in May 2018, taking over from caretaker manager Luigi Di Biagio after he had replaced Gian Piero Ventura the previous November.

    Ventura had failed to guide Italy to the 2018 World Cup, the Azzurri losing out to Sweden in a play-off.

    It was the first World Cup Italy had missed since 1958 and forced the FIGC into a serious rethink before turning to Mancini, one of the nation's most-respected coaches.

    He was initially appointed only until 2020, with an automatic extension to be granted upon qualification for Euro 2020, which Italy duly achieved with three matches to spare.

    That triggered a two-year extension to run until after the 2022 World Cup, but the FIGC is seemingly so impressed with Mancini that they have deemed him worthy of a long-term deal.

    Speaking at the end of the FIGC's federal council meeting, president Gabriele Gravina is quoted by ANSA as saying: "It is an investment of the federation for the future, and one that we owed to the fans.

    "I am very happy, because as Roberto knows, it was an objective of the federation to continue this job and give it continuity in the future."

    Mancini, who was also in attendance, added: "I am very happy, I thank the Federation and I thank the president.

    "We have extended the contract, there will be many events and as the president said it is not easy to win, but we are trying to carry out a job that was started three years ago, which up to now has given good results.

    "We have many young players to focus on, especially in the youth national teams, so our hope is that this work can bear fruit very quickly, we are very positive."

    Mancini's Italy broke a longstanding national team record in November 2019 as they won 10 consecutive matches with a 3-0 result against Bosnia-Herzegovina, the streak eventually ending at 11.

    They won all of their Euro 2020 qualifiers and their 10 victories in 2019 set a new record for the most wins in a calendar year for the national team.

    Italy were drawn into Group A for the Euros, which start next month, meaning they will face Turkey, Wales and Switzerland for the right to reach the knockout phase.

  • NBA Heat Check: Clarkson shows his value, Payton's place under threat? NBA Heat Check: Clarkson shows his value, Payton's place under threat?

    The regular season is over. All teams have made it through 72 games in a campaign played out amid the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    For some, the focus now switches quickly to the playoffs. Those who missed out, however, get an early start to their offseason, a time for rest, reflection and perhaps a reset ahead of the NBA Draft in late July.

    The contrasting situations for teams at this time in a campaign offers opportunities to those perhaps not used to being in the spotlight. It may be the final act in the show, but it allows some players to step in and take centre stage.

    Powered by Stats Perform data, here is a look at some of those who have seized the moment in the latest edition of Heat Check.

    RUNNING HOT...

    Jordan Clarkson

    Clarkson has excelled this season with the Utah Jazz and is the overwhelming favourite to be named Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA Awards. He has averaged 18.4 points across 68 games, of which he has started in just one. His final act in the regular season was a 33-point haul in a win over the Sacramento Kings, including landing half of his 12 attempts from beyond the arc.

    Despite being without Mike Conley Jr and Donovan Mitchell down the stretch, the Jazz still finished strongly to end up as the top seeds in the Western Conference. Now they wait to find out who they will face first up in the playoffs, aiming to avoid an opening-round exit for a third successive campaign.

    Kelan Martin

    Martin is a prime case of a player capitalising on extended game time. Having gone undrafted, he had a spell in Germany before getting an NBA debut with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2019. However, he has looked right at home of late with the Indiana Pacers, including recording a career-high 25 points on May 10. During the past week, the 25-year-old has averaged 14.2 points per game and 2.6 successful three-point attempts.

    Indiana have a play-in game to come against the Charlotte Hornets as they aim to keep their campaign alive – do not be surprised to see Martin remain involved in the rotation.

    Malachi Flynn

    Few teams have had it as tough as the Toronto Raptors. For starters, the Canadian franchise was relocated to Tampa due to travel restrictions in place during the global pandemic. Health and safety protocols have also taken a toll on player (and coach) availability and, with no hope of a top-10 finish in the Eastern Conference, several of their starters have been absent from duty.

    That has offered further minutes for Malachi Flynn, though. The rookie guard rounded out his debut year with 26 and 27 points respectively in losses to the Dallas Mavericks and the Pacers. Across the past week, he averaged out at 3.25 successful attempts from three-point range, demonstrating his scoring touch from deep.

    GOING COLD...

    Elfrid Payton

    To say Payton’s numbers are a concern is an understatement. The starting point guard for the playoff-bound New York Knicks has not reached double figures for points in his previous seven outings.

    Indeed, across the past week, the former first-round pick by the Philadelphia 76ers has averaged 1.0ppg. One. Point. He made just two of 14 field goal attempts across four games. Considering the Knicks also have Frank Ntilikina and Derrick Rose on the roster, a change to the line-up would not be at all surprising.

    Nikola Vucevic

    Vucevic did not play on Sunday as the Chicago Bulls wrapped up their campaign with a win over the shorthanded Milwaukee Bucks. The center averaged 12.67 points in the three appearances across May 10-16, comfortably down on his mark of 23.9 entering the week. He struggled against the Brooklyn Nets in particular, landing just four of his 18 shots, including none of the eight attempts launched from three-point range.

    Here is an example of how sometimes good intentions do not quite pan out as planned. Vucevic's arrival prior to the trade deadline was a show of intent by the Bulls to make the playoffs. Instead, they are left on the outside in the East, finishing up in 11th place in the standings for a second season in a row.

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