Tag Archives: heartache

London 2012 Olympics: Fran Halsall finishes sixth in 100m freestyle final

Heartache for Halsall as Fran finishes a disappointing sixth in 100m freestyle final

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UPDATED:

20:27 GMT, 2 August 2012

Fran Halsall was in tears after failing to land a medal in the 100m freestyle on another disappointing evening for Team GB who have just two medals so far in the pool.

Holland's Ranomi Kromowidjojo ensured there would not be an American clean sweep of the evening's four finals, powering to victory and lowering her Olympic record – set on Wednesday – to 53.00.

The 21-year-old was only fourth at the turn but stormed down the final length to finish ahead of Aliaksandra Herasimenia and China's Yi Tang.

More to follow…

No fun for Fran: Halsall finished just outside the medal places in the 100m freestyle

No fun for Fran: Halsall finished just outside the medal places in the 100m freestyle

Disappointment: Halsall was close to tears after coming so close to nabbing a podium finish

Disappointment: Halsall was close to tears after coming so close to nabbing a podium finish

Mario Balotelli is father to Raffaella Fico"s child

Who's the daddy now, Mario After suffering heartache in Euro 2012 final, Balotelli is due to become father

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UPDATED:

11:40 GMT, 2 July 2012

It has been a rollercoaster week even by the standards of Mario Balotelli.

First he scored two stunning goals in the Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany. Then it was heartache in the final against Spain on Sunday.

But now Balotelli has received perhaps the biggest news of all – that he is to become a father.

Down and out: Mario Balotelli reacted angrily to Italy's Euro 2012 defeat

Down and out: Mario Balotelli reacted angrily to Italy's Euro 2012 defeat

The 21-year-old has been told by his pregnant former girlfriend Raffaella Fico that it is his child.

He was told on the eve of the match against Germany when he grabbed a brace to book his country's place in the final. He reportedly told her: 'You gave me the best news of the world.'

And Italian model Raffaella has claimed that the pair are patching up their relationship.

She said: 'Mario and I are rebuilding
our relationship. He never stopped loving me. Those who think I've
wanted to trap the rich and famous footballer will have to think again.

'Last Christmas, he told me: “Let's
get married and make a son” and I accepted. Now I'm waiting for Mario to
discover the sex of the child, although he would prefer a boy, and to
choose the name.'

Meanwhile, AC and Inter Milan have been warned that Balotelli is worth 200million following his star showing at Euro 2012.

Baby bump: Mario Balotelli's ex-girlfriend Raffaella Fico has sparked rumours she's pregnant with his child after showing off her baby bump

Balotelli's The Italian model, who split up with the striker two months ago, was at a charity event when she showed off her bump and has reportedly said it is Mario's

Baby bump: Mario Balotelli's ex-girlfriend Raffaella Fico sparked rumours after showing off her baby bump

As they were: Mario and Raffaella dated for a year until they broke up two months ago

As they were: Mario and Raffaella dated for a year until they broke up two months ago

Balotelli, 21, a self-confessed
Milan fan, is a target for the Italian giants but will set any
prospective suitor back the eye-watering figure, according to his agent.

The striker could not prevent Italy
crashing to a 4-0 Euro 2012 final defeat to Spain on Sunday night but
stole the limelight by scoring two superb goals in his national team's
2-1 triumph over Germany in the semi-finals of the tournament in Poland
and Ukraine.

'I have always said that Mario
Balotelli is one player that could become the strongest in the world,'
Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola told Sky Italia. 'He is probably amongst
the strongest in Europe.

'How much is he worth He is worth what the market says, he is one that can make a difference.

'In the actual market I don't think
there is a value for him but if I had to give a price I would say he is
worth 250million (euros).

Down and out: Mario Balotelli reacted angrily to Italy's Euro 2012 defeat

Down and out: Mario Balotelli reacted angrily to Italy's Euro 2012 defeat

'I say this to give a figure but you would have to ask the City owner (Sheikh Mansour) how much he is worth.'

Raiola added that he could see no immediate return to Italy for Balotelli.

'I'm 200 per cent certain that Mario will not return to Italy at least while I'm his agent.'

Balotelli is under contract at the Etihad Stadium until June 2015.

The volatile front-man was reduced to tears in the wake of the Euro 2012 final. He endured a frustrating evening as Spain romped to a historic third successive major international tournament victory.

Firing blanks: Balotelli was unable to prevent Spain from running away with the trophy

Firing blanks: Balotelli was unable to prevent Spain from running away with the trophy

And unfortunately after the match the ugly side of his game came to the fore once more after the striker clashed with members of Italy's backroom staff.

Balotelli had had a splendid
tournament until that point, most notably when he blasted Italy into
Sunday's showpiece with a stunning double to down Germany.

However at the full-time whistle in Kiev, the Manchester City man made a beeline for the dressing room. He came up against resistance from senior figures and appeared to push one.

After several minutes, Balotelli could then be seen on his haunches in the centre of the pitch. He later collected his medal but broke down in tears as soon as he returned to the pitch.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli says his player will emerge stronger from the shattering experience.

'I told Mario that these are experiences you have to deal with and have to accept,' said Prandelli. 'You have to hold your hands up and say the opponents were better, accept defeat.

'But you also have to make sure this helps you going forward and you can grow from the experience. This has happened to a number of players, and will happen again, but this is what sport is all about.'

MARIO BALOTELLI CLOCKWATCH

I'm outta here: Mario stormed off at full-time

I'm outta here: Mario stormed off at full-time

Five minutes: Appears to have a minor lash out at Spain defender Sergio Ramos after being beaten in the air.

12: Narrowly fails to get on the end of Andrea Pirlo's ball over the top, with Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas hurriedly clearing his lines.

26: Casillas once again thwarts the Manchester City striker, who looks poised to head home Federico Balzaretti's excellent left-wing cross, but for the Spain goalkeeper who just about turns it away.

38: Ends a promising Italy attack with a strike from 25 yards that sails high over the bar.

48: Fails in his efforts to win a penalty after falling to the ground under pressure from two Spanish defenders, having tried to jink his way past.

51: Narrowly fails to get the rebound after Antonio Di Natale's close range strike is parried by Casillas.

58: Shoots over from just outside the area after Casillas had clawed Pirlo's free-kick away.

67: Continues to show an impressive work-rate and wins three free-kicks in 10 minutes after being fouled by Alvaro Arbeloa, Pedro Rodriguez and Xabi Alonso.

90: Cuts a frustrated figure up front as Spain run riot in the closing stages and walks straight off the pitch following the full-time whistle.

Words of sympathy: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli comforted his striker

Words of sympathy: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli comforted his striker

Wimbledon 2012: Tamira Paszek beats former No 1 Caroline Wozniacki

Grand Slam heartache goes on for former No 1 Wozniacki after Paszek sends her crashing out in Round One

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UPDATED:

18:36 GMT, 27 June 2012

Eastbourne champion Tamira Paszek was the last woman standing after a marathon battle on Wimbledon's Centre Court with seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki.

The Austrian world No 37 was on court for three hours and 12 minutes against the Dane – hardly a brisk first-round workout – as she came back from a set down to spring a minor surprise.

Wozniacki became the second-highest seed to be dumped out of the women's draw – but despite her lofty ranking and former standing as world number one, her game is not considered to be one of the most solid on tour and so it proved as Paszek emerged a 5-7 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 winner.

Going through: Tamira Paszek celebrates her victory over Caroline Wozniacki

Going through: Tamira Paszek celebrates her victory over Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki, girlfriend of golf superstar Rory McIlroy, let two match points and 15 break points slip away in a match which was largely played under the stadium's roof due to outside drizzle.

It was not to be for Wozniacki and the big-hitting Paszek, who impressed with a fearless string of winners, went through at the expense of her fellow 21-year-old.

She did so with a break of serve in the 10th game of the third set – a third break in a row and the fifth of the set.

'It's not a nice feeling,' Wozniacki said. 'Especially after having two match points and not taking them.

Down and out: Wozniacki crashes out of first round

Down and out: Wozniacki crashes out of first round

'It wasn't that I played badly. She just went for them and that's it.'

She added: 'Maybe I should have played the match points differently, I don't know.'

The match was stopped at 2-2 in the first set last night by rain and also interrupted again this afternoon when Paszek was serving at 5-4, forcing the players off.

She initially fluffed her lines under the roof, conceding serve twice in a row as Wozniacki stole the opening set.

Frustration: The wait for Wozniacki's first Grand Slam goes on

Frustration: The wait for Wozniacki's first Grand Slam goes on

The unpredictable nature of the contest continued into the second set – serve was broken in four of the first five games – before Wozniacki teed up match points in the 11th game. She was unable to cash them in, firing a forehand way beyond the baseline and the players went to a tie-break.

Again Wozniacki had chances but again she frittered them, slamming her racquet into the ground in frustration after another loose one-hander.

She looked to have regained her composure at the start of the decider, breaking to 2-0, before capsizing again, conceding serve in the fourth, eighth and 10th games.

Euro 2012: England arrive back in Krakow after Italy penalties heartbreak

We are all gutted… England squad can't hide the heartache on arrival back in Krakow

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 25 June 2012

England's heartache at their Euro 2012 quarter-final exit to Italy was clear to see as the players arrived back at their Stary Hotel base in Krakow on Monday morning.

The squad looked tired and miserable following their flight back from Kiev, where England were dominated by a superior Italy side but took the tie to extra-time with a goalless draw before suffering another penalty shootout defeat.

Ashley Young and Ashley Cole were the unlucky players who missed in the 4-2 loss, and Cole looked particularly upset as he arrived back in Poland.

Crucial miss: Ashley Cole (right) looked particularly upset alongside Danny Welbeck in Krakow

Crucial miss: Ashley Cole (right) looked particularly upset alongside Danny Welbeck in Krakow

Gutted: England captain Steven Gerrard

Gutted: England captain Steven Gerrard arrives with the squad back at the Stary Hotel in Krakow on Monday

Euro 2012

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Wayne Rooney, who converted his spot-kick but had an otherwise uninspiring game, admitted another quarter-final exit on penalties was hard to take.

'It was a horrible way to go out,' said Rooney. 'We are all gutted. 'It was a tough game and we all worked hard, so to lose on penalties is a horrible feeling for everyone.'

Rooney added: 'We can hold our heads up high. There are a lot of young players in the squad and that will help them in next tournament.'

Joleon Lescott, whose strong show against Italy capped a fine personal tournament, said that England could could take pride after taking a strong side to penalties.

Troubled: Wayne Rooney

Scowls: Wayne Rooney (above) and James Milner (below) arrive back at England's Krakow base on Monday

Scowl: James Milner wears a troubled look

'Obviously we are disappointed with the way things have happened,' Lescott told Sky sports. 'But we have progress and showed a lot of pride and passion and every England fan wants to see in our performances and we have shown that.

'We can take a lot of credit from the performances we dug in at times when we were under pressure and showed a lot of pride.'

James Milner, substituted in the second half after an ineffective show, admitted he was struggling to come to terms with the penalty shootout defeat.

Agony: Joe Hart

Frown: John Terry

Agony: (clockwise from top left) Joe Hart, John Terry, Andy Carroll and Joleon Lescott

Optimistic: Joleon Lescott

Upset: Andy Carroll

But the Manchester City midfielder insisted that England could take positives out of their performance in the tournament as a whole and called on the squad to keep improving for the World Cup in Brazil in two years.

'I can't really put it into words,' Milner told Sky Sports. 'We had a good group stage and came to the quarters, but to go out on penalties again you can't put into words how disappointing it is.

Heartache: Theo Walcott

Pain: Glen Johnson

Pain: Theo Walcott (left) and Glen Johnson (right) will fly home on Monday with the rest of the squad

'We practised penalties and we needed a bit of luck. We got ahead in it but it was just not our night. You would have thought that perhaps we were due one at some point, but it just was not to be.

'We have got to take the positives from the tournament and the experience.

So near yet so far: Ashley Young crashes his penalty onto the crossbar in the shootout

So near yet so far: Ashley Young crashes his penalty onto the crossbar in the shootout

Humbled: England lost yet another quarter-final penalty shootout in Kiev on Sunday night

Humbled: England face up to losing yet another quarter-final penalty shootout in Kiev on Sunday night

Germany, here we come: Italy celebrate their progress past England and into the semi-finals of Euro 2012

Germany, here we come: Italy celebrate their progress past England and into the semi-finals of Euro 2012

'There are a lot of lads who have come into the squad and is their first tournament and it is good experience and hopefully they can take that into the next tournament.

'We will rest now and then we have got one more friendly before the season starts and then the qualifying starts for the World Cup so that is the next aim.'

London 2012 Olympics: Spurs defender Kyle Walker set for call-up

Tottenham defender Walker set for Olympic call-up

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UPDATED:

22:44 GMT, 31 May 2012

Kyle Walker's Euro 2012 heartache is set to be softened by making the Great Britain Olympic squad.

The Tottenham right back looked a
certainty to make Roy Hodgson's 23-man party to fly to Ukraine and
Poland before a toe injury ruled him out of the tournament.

Fitness battle: Tottenham's Kyle Walker

Fitness battle: Tottenham's Kyle Walker

Team GB boss Stuart Pearce will whittle down his list of Olympic hopefuls to 35 next week and the 22-year-old looks set to make the cut so long as he can prove his fitness.

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere looks as if he will miss out, however.

Despite Pearce's desire to select him, Sportsmail understands the 20-year-old is '99 per cent certain' not to be selected after deciding it would be too risky given his injury-hit 12 months.

Thomas Vermaelen buoyed by Arsenal"s quality and spirit

We'll be back! Vermaelen buoyed by Arsenal's show of spirit

Thomas Vermaelen has called on Arsenal to banish their Euro heartache by securing a Champions League place.

Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and captain Robin van Persie gave the Gunners a resounding 3-0 lead against AC Milan, but they were unable to grab the fourth goal that would have taken the tie to extra-time and they bowed out of the competition.

Up for it: Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen

Up for it: Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen

It was always going to take something
special for Arsene Wenger's men to bounce back from their 4-0
capitulation in the San Siro three weeks ago, but the Gunners squad are
now full of confidence heading in to the last quarter of the season.

And Vermaelen feels that spirited performance will help them secure European qualification for the 15th consecutive season.

'It’s really important because Arsenal is a team that belongs in the Champions League,' said Vermaelen.

'We will try to achieve that in the next games and get into the top four. At the moment, after the way we played in the first half against Milan, I am really confident.

'It’s hard to be consistent in top-level football. The team that is the most consistent will win prizes, I believe in that. But we have to be confident that we have the quality in the team and that is what we showed against Milan.

'The way we played in the first half, if we can do that consistently all season I am not worried because we will be in the top four.

'Of course we are disappointed because we are out of the Champions League but we need to take the great feeling out of this game, and take that into the next game [against Newcastle].”

Heads up: Koscielny set the Gunners on their way at the Emirates

Heads up: Koscielny set the Gunners on their way at the Emirates

Bacary Sagna also believes Arsenal can use their display against AC Milan as the blueprint for a quick Champions League return.

'We are fourth now and we have a bit of an advance on Chelsea,” he said.

'We want to put Arsenal back [in the Champions League] and we are only four points behind Tottenham now. We know we can do it and now we have to win the next game against Newcastle, which is as important as the one against Milan.

'If we want to qualify for the Champions League we cannot let it go now.

'[The second leg against Milan] can be a reference game. It was not easy because AC Milan are a good team. We lost 4-0 away and we managed to beat them 3-0 here. That is football, we have to take it as it is and we have to learn as well.

'We did well from the front to defence, the goalkeeper too. We have to keep on fighting until the end as a team and show the same performance again.'

Stuart Pearce would scrap 30-man selection process

EXCLUSIVE: Pearce would scrap 30-man squad selection process if made boss for Euros

Stuart Pearce will consider scrapping the process of selecting a 30-man provisional squad if he is England manager for Euro 2012.

It is common practice for England bosses to pick 30 players ahead of naming their final 23-man squad before tournaments.

But Sportsmail understands Pearce is keen on the idea of not naming a provisional squad, instead going straight into announcing his final 23.

All change: Pearce would scrap the system England have traditionally used

All change: Pearce would scrap the system England have traditionally used

Pearce feels their would be a number of advantages to bypassing the usual method of naming a preliminary squad.

There is a feeling that it would
prevent the seven players who would fail to make the final cut from
having to go through the heartache of missing out on a major tournament.

The move would also allow Pearce to
spend more time with the players who will actually lead England’s Euro
2012 assault, rather than the opening days deciding on the make up of
his final 23.

Pearce also feels having the squad
finalised early will make for a more relaxed camp leading up to the
tournament and end unnecessary speculation over who will and will not go
to Poland and Ukraine.

The stand-in manager – who has put his
name forward as a candidate to take England into the tournament – will
discuss the idea with FA chiefs if he is handed the task of leading the
Three Lions this summer.

UEFA's deadline for the submission of
each nation’s final squad is May 29, though the Football Association
have planned a training camp ahead of that date.

Leader: Pearce knows much of the squad from the Under 21s

Leader: Pearce knows much of the squad from the Under 21s

Leader: Pearce knows much of the squad from the Under 21s

Pearce has made a positive impact on a number of England players during his first taste of senior international management.

Sportsmail sources from within the
England camp claim Pearce’s cool and calculated manner – a complete
contrast to the Psycho stigma that was attached to him during his
playing days – was well received by squad members.

The players were also said to be
impressed with how clearly Pearce communicated his instructions before
and during Wednesday's defeat against Holland, something that was
sometimes deemed a problem under Fabio Capello due to the language
barrier.

'There was no ranting or raving from the manager during any part of the squad's time together,' said the source.

'He had worked with a lot of players from the Under 21's so they knew what was expected of them.

'And for the players who had not
worked with him, there was an instant respect because of what he
achieved during his playing career.'

Respect: The players recognise Pearce achieved a great deal during his career

Respect: The players recognise Pearce achieved a great deal during his career

Cheick Tiote gave his Africa Cup of Nations medal away

It hurt to look at! Tiote admits to giving his Africa Cup of Nations runner-up medal away

Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote gave away his African Nations Cup losers' medal because he did not want to be reminded of his heartache.

The 25-year-old, who is likely to return to the Magpies' starting line-up against Wolves on Saturday after missing the last seven games, was part of the Ivory Coast side which lost 8-7 on penalties to Zambia in a dramatic conclusion to the tournament.

Tiote told the club's official website: 'All the people there, they love the national team and they love the country, so we are really disappointed because we didn't win the competition.

Out of Africa: Ivory Coast's Cheick Tiote was a beaten finalist at the Cup of Nations

Out of Africa: Ivory Coast's Cheick Tiote was a beaten finalist at the Cup of Nations

'I gave my medal to my friend because I was so disappointed. I didn't want to keep that, so I gave it to my friend. We did well, but we didn't win it. Maybe next year we will win the competition.'

Tiote will now turn his attention to helping his club bounce back from a 5-0 Barclays Premier League drubbing at Tottenham.

He said: 'It has been great to see my friends and to be back in Newcastle. Now I have to think about Newcastle, because the tournament with my national team is finished now.

'It's important when you come back from your national team to do more of what you do every time. It's important for the fans and the manager to see that we have ambition for the club to do well and to play well for the team.

'I have to do my job for the team and for the fans, and I think we have a possibility to win on Saturday.'

Roberto Mancini says next two months are make or break

Next two months are make or break! Mancini calls on his Euro flops to bounce back in style

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini believes his side will take some stopping if they can emerge unscathed from the next two months.

The Barclays Premier League leaders face a stern test of their title credentials in the coming weeks with tough fixtures against Chelsea and Arsenal before Christmas.

January appears even more imposing with three clashes against Liverpool – including the two-legged Carling Cup semi-final – a visit from Tottenham and the start of the FA Cup defence against arch-rivals Manchester United.

Under pressure: Roberto Mancini wants his team to pick up their spirits after European heartache

Under pressure: Roberto Mancini wants his team to pick up their spirits after European heartache

City will also have to make do without their midfield inspiration Yaya Toure, as well as his defensive brother Kolo, early in the new year due to their involvement in the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast.

The Toures will return before City begin their Europa League campaign in mid-February and Mancini hopes his team have asserted their dominance by then.

Mancini said: “We have done well but the season is long. Now we have two difficult games against Chelsea and Arsenal. I have said before the next two months will be important months.

“Yaya is an important player for us – we don”t have any other players like Yaya. We will probably lose an important man for one month at a crucial moment.

Going missing: Yaya Toure is off to the Africa Cup of Nations

Going missing: Yaya Toure is off to the Africa Cup of Nations

“For this reason I think if we do well in January, and we are top after January, it will be difficult to lose.”

Yaya Toure has played more than any other outfield player for City this season and has started every non-Carling Cup match.

City have other midfield options in Gareth Barry, James Milner, Nigel de Jong and Owen Hargreaves but the 28-year-old former Barcelona player will undoubtedly be missed.

Mancini said: “The Europa League will start in February. Yaya will finish the African Nations Cup by February 10-11 and then he can come back.

“It is important in that month that we don”t have players injured. If we don”t have players injured I think we are strong enough for the FA Cup and Carling Cup.”

City will hope to put this week”s Champions League setback behind them as they return to Premier League action at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

Mancini”s men failed to progress beyond the group stage of Europe”s elite competition on Wednesday despite beating Bayern Munich in their final fixture.

Yet performances in a stuttering European campaign have not affected Premier League form this term with City undefeated in 14 games in the domestic competition having scored a remarkable 48 goals.

City”s only dropped points have been in draws at Fulham and Liverpool and Mancini expects his players to rise to the challenge of Chelsea.

He said: “I think it is good to play this game, it is an important game against a top team. But if we want to win at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea we must play a strong game.

“I think we should do well like when we played against Tottenham. Chelsea are a fantastic team. They have important players and are experienced.”

One challenge for Mancini in the second half of the season will be to guide his side through an unfamiliar routine of Thursday and Sunday football due to the Europa League.

The Italian will rotate his squad extensively but he does not want anybody to be in doubt that he intends to win that competition.

Strength in depth: City are still chasing four trophies at home and abroad

Strength in depth: City are still chasing four trophies at home and abroad

After claiming the club”s first trophy in 35 years in the FA Cup last season, Mancini wants to take every opportunity to secure more silverware.

He said: “The Europa League is difficult because you play Thursday but if we are lucky with players, and we don”t have a lot of injuries, maybe we can play with two different teams.

“Maybe we can go through in the Europa League and stay on the top in the Premier League. We have never won this trophy [Europa League].

“I understand it is not as important as the Champions League but for us it is important.

“We fought last year to win the FA Cup because it is an important trophy. It is the same for us in the Europa League.

“I have said we need to try to win two trophies this season, if possible. If we win two important trophies I think we improve as a club and as a team.”