(Reuters) -Ousmane Dembele scored and provided assists for Sergi Roberto, Robert Lewandowski, and Ferran Torres as Barcelona overtook Athletic Bilbao 40 in La Liga on Sunday. Barcelona remains second in the standings on 28 points, three behind leaders Real Madrid and five clear of third-placed Atletico Madrid.
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Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde was returning to Camp No for the first time after being sacked from Barcelona in January 2020. The Basque team had an excellent start to the season, rising to third place in the standings with one point, but after four straight weeks without a win, they are sixth with 18 points.
After his team got completely outclassed in their 3-1 loss at Real Madrid last week, Barca manager Xavi Hernandez said he would shake things up and kept his word. On Sunday, he switched from Barca’s usual 433 system to a 4231 with Lewandowski as his frontline target, giving Dembele the space and creative freedom to thrive. The hosts scored in the first half three times in 10 minutes, starting with Dembele’s towering header from close range in the 12th minute.
The French forward then put Roberto to the test with a brilliant one-touch build-up play in the 18th minute. With the Spanish full-back’s shot bouncing off a defender and the defenseless Unai Simon. Four minutes later, Dembele ran down the right channel before crossing to Lewandowski, who swiveled and finished with a powerful shot.
After thumping Villarreal midweek, Barca was on their way to another victory. However, there was a concern for midfielder Gavi who was in tears when substituted midway through the first half, having received a knock to his groin area. The 18-year-old has become an important part of Xavi’s squad and is also a key member of Spain’s squad, which heads to the World Cup in Qatar next month.
“It looks like it’s not serious, it was a big blow to the muscle, but we have to wait until tomorrow for the medical test,” Xavi told Movistar Plus. “Dembele was brilliant as all of our players performed in the attack. I have great confidence in the future of our team. In the second half, Barca eased off, but for Dembele, there was still time for another assist with less than 20 minutes left, the ball in the box on the left wing for Torres, who scored from close range.
Irish Wolfhounds’ return to American football ends in defeat in Spain
IRELAND’S national American football team, the Irish Wolfhounds, fell to a 26-7 defeat at the hands of Ciaran O’Sullivan’s charges, who were playing their first international in three years, traveled to the Estadio Municipal Rafael Mendoza he expects a tough challenge against a Spanish side playing their first match under new coach Fernando Guajardo.
And the scale of that challenge became clear to the Irish, who struggled to move a well-organized Spanish defense, being held scoreless in the first half of this IFAF European Championships Group B clash. Hosts quarterback Sergio Barbero netted a touchdown before a false field goal attempt produced another touchdown for Spain, who built a 170-minute lead at halftime. The Irish came agonizingly close to putting points on the board early in the third quarter, but the Spanish defense was again impregnable.
After suffering another touchdown pass from Barbero, the Irish finally got some points, a touchdown scored by Gregory Johnson off a pass from QB Stephen George Hayes to make it 26-7 at the game’s end. The game was Ireland’s first in these championships, and they are currently drawn into a group with Spain, Turkey, and Israel. The overall winner of the group will qualify to face Germany in 2023 with a chance of promotion to Group A.
German football wants to forge its road forward
At the start of Euro 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took to Twitter to demand equal pay for Germany’s women’s and men’s teams. “We are in 2022. Women and men should receive the same salary. That also applies to sport, especially for national teams,” the Chancellor wrote. During the intermission of the final on Sunday, the Chancellor told public broadcaster ARD that he and German FA (DFB) Director Oliver Bierhoff were scheduled to meet to discuss the matter shortly.
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Going their way
However, while members of the German national team are very vocal in championing gender equality, they want to forge their way forward instead of simply following the men’s model. While equal pay is often the automatic battle cry, German stars are more focused on demanding a level playing field. They’re also wary of replicating what they see in men’s football, where €100,000-per-week wages ($104,500) are commonplace.
“When discussing equal pay, it always sounds like you’re saying that women should earn as much as men. I wonder, is that also what we want? Germany striker Laura Freigang told DW. I don’t even know if I want women’s football to evolve in that direction, to reach the same size as men’s football. It will not deter their fight for equality, but they recognize issues in the modern landscape of men’s football and aren’t afraid to confront perceived flaws.
“The sums in men’s football are quite crazy,” said German midfielder Tabea Wassmuth. “Maybe we could find some common ground. Freigang believes women’s football can offer an alternative to the money-driven men’s game. “That’s capitalism. That’s it. The world works a bit like that. Said Freigang. The question is, can you somehow introduce structures that can contain it?
They have welcomed changes like the recent increase in prize money at Euro 2022, but they’re focused on achieving some middle ground. Pay salary Major changes have recently been made. Spain, England, Norway, and the United States are among the other countries that have reached equal pay agreements between their men’s and women’s teams. But Germany has decided to focus on conditions rather than pay packets, and the gap between women and men is closing.
They stay at hotels of the same standard as the men, with staff accompanying them to games and tournaments, including physiotherapists, medical staff, and their chef. “A lot has happened over the past few years. We have well looked after. No one can complain and ask for more,” German midfielder Lena Lattwein told DW.
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