Luka Doncic posted a triple-double to lead Slovenia to their first Olympics berth in men's basketball as European nations claimed the final four spots in the Tokyo 2020 field. 

Dallas Mavericks star Doncic had 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as Slovenia defeated hosts Lithuania 96-85 in Kaunas on Sunday. 

In other qualifying tournament finals, Italy stunned Serbia 102-95, Germany defeated Brazil 75-64 and the Czech Republic downed Greece 97-72. 

With those countries headed to Tokyo later this month, the field is now set. 

Group A will consist of defending champions the United States, France, Iran and the Czech Republic, with Australia, Nigeria, Germany and Italy in Group B.

In Group C, hosts Japan will contend with Argentina, Spain and Slovenia. 

Doncic and Slovenia face a difficult group, as Spain won the bronze medal at Rio 2016 after a close loss to the USA in the semi-finals, but the 22-year-old was ecstatic after qualifying. 

"I don't care about the MVP," Doncic said. "We won here. We're going to the Olympics, the first time in our country.

"It's amazing. I think every kid dreams about being in the Olympics. I did too. So, here we are. We fought really, really hard, and I think we deserve to be here."

Italy's defeat of short-handed Serbia, who were missing NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, was the biggest upset of the final qualifying round. 

Serbia were beaten finalists against Team USA in the Rio 2016 gold medal game, while Italy are in the Olympics for the first time since taking silver in Athens in 2004. 

 

Reggae Boyz captain, Damion Lowe, described the team’s 1-1 draw against Serbia in Japan this morning as a step in the right direction for the team that is preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and FIFA World Cup qualifiers later this year.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has been forced to pull out of its upcoming friendly international against Japan, as a breakdown in COVID-19 protocol communications will see the Caribbean team unable to field enough players.

The game was scheduled for Thursday, June 3rd but the majority of the team’s English-based contingent will not arrive in time for the fixture.  The issue stems from the fact the English-based players did PCR tests using the widely accepted dual method of the nostril and oral swabs, however, Japan only accepts the more complicated nasal PCR tests.

According to reports, the Japan Football Association (JSA) had not informed the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) of the specific requirement.  As a result, the six players were denied boarding in Amsterdam after they were found to not have the specific PCR coronavirus test results required for entry into Japan.

The England-based players have since returned home to do the necessary PCR test but, having rebooked, will not reach Japan until Wednesday. The members of the delegation who left Jamaica did the correct PCR test and were accepted on the flight from Houston to Japan, except for Tyreek McGee who did not board the flight to Japan for reasons yet to be conveyed.  The player, however, did have the required PCR test done. He is set to return home.

The remaining matches against Serbia, on the 7th, and the Japan Olympic team, on the 12th, will go ahead as planned.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has confirmed that several players invited to be part of the national squad for the team's upcoming matches against Japan and Serbia next month.

Initially, the JFF had named a 30-man for the pair of friendlies but has since revealed that a few of the players will be unavailable for the engagement due to various reasons. 

According to the release some players had injuries, visa and documentation issues, extended club commitments, and personal reasons. The football body, however, remained hopeful of having the full team assembled in time for the Gold Cup, which will take place in July.

The team will face Japan in Sapporo, on Thursday, June 3, followed by Serbia on June 7 in Kobe and the Japan Olympic team in Nagoya on Saturday, June 12.

 

Jamaica squad

  1. Dennis Taylor
  2. Jeadine White
  3. Dillon Barnes
  4. Liam Moore
  5. Javon East
  6. Curtis Tilt
  7. Kasey Palmer
  8. Oniel Fisher
  9. Amarii Bell
  10. Luca Levee
  11. Andre Gray
  12. Tyreek Magee
  13. Blair Turgott
  14. Adrian Mariappa
  15. Kevaughn Isaacs
  16. Kemal Malcolm
  17. Jahshaun Anglin
  18. Kevon Lambert
  19. Damion Lowe
  20. Wesley Harding
  21. Devon Williams
  22. Junior Flemmings

 

Leon Bailey and Michail Antonio will not be available for the Reggae Boyz matches against Japan and Serbia that have been scheduled for June as Jamaica’s senior squad continues its preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers in September.

The armband tossed away by an angry Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal's match against Serbia last Saturday has sold for more than £50,000 in a charity auction.

Jovan Simic, founder of the humanitarian organisation Zajedno za Zivot (Together for Life), said the discarded armband had been bought by a betting firm for the "great figure of 7.5million dinars".

That amounts to around £54,300 and the funds will go towards paying for treatment for a Serbian six-month-old boy, Gavrilo Djurdjevic. According to Serbian news reports, the young child has spinal muscular atrophy and the treatment he requires will cost over €2million, with a major fundraising campaign under way.

Firefighter Djordje Vukicevic, at pitchside for the game, was able to pick up the armband and donate it for auction.

Portugal superstar Ronaldo flung it away and stormed off the pitch in Belgrade in the closing moments of the March 27 match, having felt he was wronged by a decision to disallow his last-gasp effort.

Ronaldo was certain the ball had crossed the line, but officials disagreed as Serbia rallied from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw in the World Cup qualifier. The 36-year-old forward was booked for his protestations.

Simic added: "Congratulations to firefighter Djordje and his colleagues, as well as to all the wonderful people who helped!"

The auction was blighted by fake bids, Serbian news reports said, before the Mozzart Bet company made its winning offer.

Cristiano Ronaldo will not be stripped of the Portugal captaincy after his "moment of great frustration" in the closing stages of Saturday's controversial draw with Serbia, head coach Fernando Santos has insisted.

Ronaldo was convinced his last-gasp effort crossed the line, but the officials disagreed as Serbia rallied from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw in World Cup qualifying.

Stefan Mitrovic made back-to-back goal-line clearances to thwart Portugal in stoppage time, though Ronaldo was adamant his effort crossed the line in Belgrade, where there was no VAR in place to review the decision.

Ronaldo was booked for his protestations before he angrily threw his captain's armband on the floor and walked off the field with just seconds remaining.

Santos revealed after the game that "embarrassed" referee Danny Makkelie had apologised upon reviewing footage of the incident. 

While Santos accepts Ronaldo should not have behaved the way he did, the Portugal boss has no intention of taking the captain's armband away from his talisman ahead of Tuesday's Group A clash with Luxembourg. 

"He will keep the armband," Santos told a media conference. "If he had offended the coach, his colleagues or the federation, then yes, we would have to think. Nothing like that happened. 

"What happened was a moment of great frustration that could have happened to me. Frustration of someone who always wants to win, who gives everything for the national team. It happened to him, it could have been someone else. 

"He was the first to recognise that he should not have done it. He will be captain for sure."

Midfielder Ruben Neves spoke alongside Santos on Monday and hailed Ronaldo as an "exemplary captain". 

"He did not apologise and he does not have to," the Wolves man said. "He is an exemplary captain for everyone. 

"We all felt the frustration he felt at that moment; it was a difficult moment for everyone. We know Ronaldo very well and we know what he can give us every day."

Portugal are level with Serbia on four points atop Group A, one point ahead of Luxembourg after their stunning win over the Republic of Ireland.

Cristiano Ronaldo said he will "never change" following his angry outburst after the Portugal captain was denied a dramatic late winner in contentious circumstances against Serbia.

Ronaldo was convinced his last-gasp effort crossed the line, but the officials gave the all clear as 10-man Serbia rallied from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Stefan Mitrovic made back-to-back goal-line clearances to thwart Portugal in stoppage time, though Ronaldo was left fuming as the superstar was adamant his effort crossed line in Belgrade, where there was no VAR in place to review the decision.

Ronaldo was booked for his protestations before he angrily threw his captain's armband on the floor and walked off the field with just seconds remaining.

Afterwards, Ronaldo used Instagram and social media to discuss the controversial incident away to Serbia in the Group A showdown.

"Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest pride and privileges of my life," Ronaldo wrote. "I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change.

"But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being punished. Lift your head and face the next challenge now! Come on, Portugal!"

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos revealed "embarrassed" referee Danny Makkelie apologised post-match in the Serbian capital.

"The referee apologised to me in the booth and told me he was embarrassed," Santos said during his news conference. "I was in the dressing room with him and he apologised to me. He had told me on the pitch that he was going to see the images and that if it was the case he was calling me to apologise ... and so it was.

"It is the second time in a qualifying phase that they apologise after the game ... I told him on the field that such a test there is no VAR or goal line ... Incidentally, one of the things he told me was that the goal line was important… but I told him that the ball was half a metre inside the goal. There was no obstacle between the goalkeeper and the goal line.

"We have to rethink. The referees are human and make mistakes, but that's why there is the VAR and the goal-line technology to avoid this."

The result left Serbia and Portugal level on four points atop Group A, one point ahead of Luxembourg through two matchdays.

On the incident, Serbia boss Dragan Stojkovic added: "I never comment on referee's decisions whether they go our way or not. Mistakes by officials are part of the game and should be viewed as such. I didn't see it clearly, I can only pass a verdict after I've seen the replay.

"Ronaldo is a great player but we largely contained him tonight and in the second half we showed true grit and character to fight back from two goals down.

"We always knew what to expect from a top team like Portugal but against such opposition you have to be brave and never give up. This group of players is quickly learning that."

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a dramatic late winner in contentious circumstances as Portugal threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Diogo Jota had seen his double cancelled out by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic – the former becoming Serbia's all-time leading scorer with his 39th international goal – at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.

Portugal skipper Ronaldo was then convinced his last-gasp effort had crossed the line but the officials judged Stefan Mitrovic cleared before all of the ball had done so, with the Juventus superstar booked for his protestations before he angrily threw his captain's armband on the floor.

It means both Portugal and Serbia, who had Nikola Milenkovic sent off prior to the late drama, each have four points - one more than Luxembourg, who sealed a remarkable 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos hailed the impact made by Joao Felix against Azerbaijan and said no conclusions can be made following his side's unconvincing 1-0 win.

Santos claimed his 50th victory in charge of Portugal in his 80th match thanks to Maksim Medvedev's first-half own goal in Wednesday's World Cup 2022 qualifying fixture at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.

The European champions managed 14 shots on target - compared to none for Azerbaijan - but struggled to find a way past inspired goalkeeper Sahruddin Mahammadaliyev.

Despite the slender nature of the scoreline against a side ranked 108th in the world, Santos insisted picking up three points in the Group A opener is all that counts.

"We won, which was the most important thing," he told RTP. "These games can be difficult.

"I expected to win more comfortably, but we must not draw conclusions. We can see what went well and didn't.

"In the first half we controlled things, though sometimes we could have built attacks better 

"I think that in the first half Azerbaijan didn't even pass the midfield mark. The team was well organised, compact, reacted well to losing the ball.

"The game was controlled, but we lacked when it came to creating certain chances.

"Azerbaijan started playing in the second half. At that moment we were not so strong in the recovery and we allowed three or four attacks." 

Joao Felix was brought on for Andre Silva 15 minutes from time and completed 12 of his 14 passes, 11 of those attempted passes in the opposition half.

Santos felt the Atletico Madrid forward made a telling impact on the game, even if it was a familiar tale for Portugal as Mahammadaliyev made a string of late saves.

"The team improved with the entry of Joao," Santos said. "There was more circulation to our play and he played a part in one of our best moves - it was brilliant."

Portugal have now won five games in a row against Azerbaijan without conceding and have lost just two of their last 25 matches since the last World Cup.

The Selecao turns their focus to Saturday's trip to second seeds Serbia, who beat the Republic of Ireland 3-2 to join Portugal on three points at the top of Group A.

Santos added: "Entering that game with victory was essential and now we are going to talk as a group and analyse the game. 

"The Serbia match will be different [to the Azerbaijan one], but I always maintain confidence in my players."

Azerbaijan had drawn their previous four games by the same 0-0 scoreline and head coach Giovanni De Biasi is taking confidence from the narrow loss to Portugal.

"I am happy and disappointed," he told UEFA.com "We tried to play our football only in the second half. Never say never, football is made of dreams and we can qualify."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.