Argentina are looking to put their tricky World Cup start behind them against 1998 winners France in the last 16 on Saturday.A 1-1 draw with minnows Iceland and a humbling 3-0 defeat to Croatia left the 2014 finalists on the verge of elimination, but a 2-1 win over Nigeria saw Argentina through in second place.Jorge Sampaoli’s position was reportedly in doubt before that crucial Nigeria victory, but the Argentina coach is now looking forward to playing 1998 winners France in the last-16.”We are going to play against a team with great individual players,” Sampaoli said. “They are among the very best contenders and we will need to be very consistent to come out on top of a very difficult match.”After Argentina’s victory over Nigeria, Sampaoli headed to the dressing room without celebrating alongside his players, but Lionel Messi went over to hug his coach before he departed in a show of unity with the under-fire manager.”Leo’s gesture with me makes me proud. He knows all the passion I put into everything I do,” Sampaoli said. “We share the dream of coming to Russia to achieve something important for Argentina.” Much has been made of Messi’s influence on the Argentina side, but France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rejected suggestions they were a one-man outfit.He said: “There is so much expectation around Messi, which I think is normal, but still I think the Argentina team has a lot to show.”They have had difficult times and still have been able to qualify. I am sure they will feel like going much further in the competition, they have won the World Cup before.”This is going to be a big match, and a difficult one, we are going to have to step up our level.”Team newsBenjamin Mendy will miss out for France through injury, having come off the bench in their dead rubber with Denmark last time out. There are no new concerns for Argentina, who could name the same side that beat Nigeria to qualify for the last-16.Opta stats France and Argentina will be facing each other for the 12th time. The South Americans hold the upper hand with six wins to two (D3), keeping a clean sheet in eight of their previous 11 encounters with the French.Argentina have won their two World Cup encounters with France, back in 1930 (1-0) and 1978 (2-1). On both occasions, they reached the final, losing it in 1930 and winning in 1978.The last South American team to beat France at the World Cup were Argentina in 1978. Since then, France are unbeaten in eight World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W4 D4).Argentina have gone past the first round for the 12th time in their last 13 World Cup appearances, the only exception coming in 2002. Their last four knockout games in the tournament have produced only three goals (2 goals for, 1 against).Since the introduction of the round of 16 in 1986, France have always made it past that stage whenever they’ve reached it (1986, 1998, 2006, 2014).Messi has never scored in the knockout stages of the World Cup: 666 minutes, 0 goals. He is the last Argentinean player to score against France, back in February 2009 in a friendly (2-0).Lionel Messi is the third Argentinian player to have scored in three different World Cup tournaments, alongside Diego Maradona (1982, 1986, 1994) and Gabriel Batistuta (1994, 1998, 2002).France’s Olivier Giroud has failed to score in his last 357 minutes at World Cup/Euro, his longest drought at major tournaments, with his last goal dating back to the Euro 2016 quarter-final against Iceland. He’s yet to register a shot on target at this year’s World Cup, having spent 200 minutes on the pitch. The will be live on Joy FM. See our live commentary schedule here —
EL SEGUNDO — It might be one of the few times the word “doubtful” can inspire some hope.LeBron James has been upgraded from out to doubtful for Thursday night’s Hallway Series game against the Clippers. It’s the first time the 34-year-old All-Star has even been considered a day-of-game decision since injuring his groin on Christmas Day.The game has been preceded by early a week of upbeat updates from Lakers’ practices and shootarounds, in which James is now a full participant.“(James) looked good but still listed as doubtful,” Coach Luke Walton said. “We’ll continue to, like we were doing yesterday, planning on not having him.” How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Throughout the week, James has been introduced to more contact and has been seen shooting after practice. Walton wasn’t sure exactly how the final decision whether James can play will be made: It’s up to the medical staff, he said.“Obviously as his coach his health is always our top concern,” he said. “But I’ll be excited for whenever that is that they let me have that player back.”The Lakers’ two other day-to-day players, Kyle Kuzma (hip strain) and Josh Hart (knee tendinitis), are questionable against the Clippers. Both participated in shootaround, and Walton said Kuzma, who has missed two straight games, looked like he was moving better than Hart, who has played through his injury. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersJames has missed 17 games since suffering the injury, which is both the most consecutive games he’s missed as well as the most he’s missed in any of his 16 seasons. The Lakers have gone 6-11 in the absence of their leading scorer, who recently received the most votes in All-Star balloting.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.The game is of particular importance: The Lakers are tied for ninth in the Western Conference, two losses back in the standings from the eighth-place Clippers. The Clippers already won the first meeting of the four-game series in December.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
2 Jan 2013 Sammy’s super six Surrey teenager Samantha Fuller has set a transatlantic record with her sixth consecutive win in the Pars Florida International Junior Championship. The 13-year-old from Roehampton has won her way through the age groups every year since 2006. Her latest victory came at the PGA Club, in Port St Lucie, when she won both the U14 division and the overall girls’ prize. Sammy, a past winner of the English U13 girls’ championship, shot 70-72-77 on the 5,900 yard Par 72 Pete Dye course and won by one shot over Denmark’s Cecile Bofill. Pars organised a special presentation to mark the record breaking achievement and had Hall Of Fame golfer Nancy Quarcelino present Sammy with a crystal jug. Sammy’s younger sister, Annabell Fuller, tied second in the 9-10 group. Eloise Healey from West Lancashire had a great first round of 69 and, despite struggling with the strong winds in the next two rounds, finished third in the 15-18 group and 5th overall. Sammy’s result crowned a successful trip for the teenager, who earlier won her age group in the Honda Junior Classic for the third straight time. She won the 13 and under title by five shots, with scores of 73-72 and the highlight was a hole-in-one on the 120 yard par 3 10th hole of the Palmer course. Annabell won the 10 and under division when she holed a 20-footer for birdie on the 5th hole of a play-off.