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Argentina, Belgium through after extra-time drama

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Argentina, Belgium through after extra-time drama
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Argentina scored in the 118th minute to beat Switzerland and Belgium clung on to defeat the United States in another heart-stopping period of extra time to reach the World Cup quarter-finals amid more extraordinary drama on Tuesday.

Angel Di Maria struck with two minutes of the extra period remaining to give Argentina a 1-0 win over stubborn Switzerland, who still had time to hit the post amid unbearable tension in Sao Paulo.

Belgium took a 2-0 extra-time lead through Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku but, after Julian Green pulled one back, they had to survive an extraordinary end-to-end finale as the U.S. threatened an equaliser before winning 2-1.

“Football is brutal, brutal, brutal. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have enough strength at the end to get through extra time,” Switzerland’s assistant coach Michel Pont told reporters as the tournament continued to surpass itself for drama and emotion.

Argentina and Belgium will meet in Brasilia on Saturday (1600 GMT) after completing a quarter-final line-up which will feature all eight group-stage winners with four teams each from Europe and Latin America.

Hosts Brazil face Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday (2000), preceded by France against Germany in Rio de Janeiro (1600) and the Netherlands take on rank outsiders Costa Rica in Salvador on Saturday (2000).

The Dutch, runners-up four years ago, will almost certainly be without hard-tackling midfielder Nigel de Jong for the rest of the tournament after he was ruled out for two to four weeks with a groin injury.

Off the field, Cameroon’s football federation (FECAFOOT) said it would investigate claims that seven players were involved in match-fixing at the World Cup, centred on the 4-0 defeat by Croatia when Alex Song was sent off in the first half.

“Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon’s three 2014 World Cup games, especially Cameroon v Croatia, as well the existence of “seven bad apples (in our national team)” do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration,” FECAFOOT said in a statement.

The allegations against Cameroon came from convicted fraudster Wilson Raj Perumal, who it emerged during a discussion with German magazine Der Spiegel had accurately forecast the result and the fact that a player would be sent off

PENALTIES LOOMING

Twice champions Argentina dominated the last-16 game against Switzerland but their attacks lacked variety and too often ended with hopeful crosses into the penalty area.

Switzerland were expertly marshalled by veteran coach Ottmar Hitzfeld who had already announced that he would retire after the tournament.

With penalties looming, Angel Di Maria stroked the ball home from the edge of penalty area to put the finishing touch to a trademark Lionel Messi run, sparking wild celebrations among the South American team and their fans in Sao Paulo.

The celebrations nearly proved premature when Swiss substitute Blerim Dzemaili headed against the post from point-blank range and the ball rebounded on to his knee and went centimetres past the post.

With goalkeeper Diego Benaglio joining the attack, Switzerland won a free kick on the edge of the area but, amid extraordinary tension and with Argentine substitutes praying on the bench, Xherdan Shaqiri sent his effort into the defensive wall

“It was a game that we deserved to win in 90 minutes,” Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella told reporters.

“It was even during a first half in which they had two clear chances to score, but in the second half we were clearly superior, we had five or six shots at goal and in extra time we also had more chances.”

Belgium dominated normal time and were frustrated by an inspired Tim Howard in the U.S. goal but struck early in extra-time when De Bruyne collected the ball before turning and firing home an angled shot from seven metres.

Substitute striker Lukaku powered home a second on 105 minutes after a clever De Bruyne pass before Green’s volley at the start of the second period set up a pulsating finale in which Clint Dempsey almost sneaked an equaliser.

The U.S. could have sealed it at the end of normal time but substitute Chris Wondolowski skewed his effort horribly wide from five metres.

“We had about 15 chances, we were controlling the game I think it is largely deserved even though at the end we conceded one,” Belgium coach Marc Wilmots told reporters.

Howard felt heart-broken to lose.

“We left it all out there but we lost to a really good team. It hurts but hats off to Belgium they were fantastic,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and Kolour events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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Transport

Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui

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Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand's version of the Suez Canal blockage.

Footbridges in Phuket stood in the way of a luxury yacht travelling from its home in Phuket to Koh Samui when the boat was too tall to pass. Police received a call around 8 pm last night from the truck driver after his trailer carrying the yacht had trouble getting under one of several bridges for walkers to pass over the highway. The boat was travelling down Thepkrasattri Road, where it was stopped by the bridge near Baan Tha Reua School. The boat also had trouble at the pedestrian bridge at the Provincial Electricity Authority Thalang Branch and the bridge at Baan Lipon School in Srisoonthorn.

All the bridges were supposed to have a 5-metre clearance, though one observer speculated that all the repaving of the road over the years may have raised the road and lowered the clearance. Traffic police responded to the first bridge incident by sending officers to direct traffic and make sure bikes and cars didn’t pass and impeded progress on freeing the boat. The second incident about 30 minutes later was resolved by letting air out of the truck’s tires to lower it just enough to pass under the bridge. The third snag prompted the driver to go in person to the Thalang Police station to request help yet again.

This time police were less amused and suggested the truck driver try to resolve the issue himself and call back to the police only if he was unable to free the luxury yacht. A traffic police officer went to follow up with the stranded boat at the end of his shift and found the driver had given up and decided to return the yacht to its Phuket origin at Boat Lagoon Marina in Koh Kaew. The boat, now damaged from the bridge bumps, wasn’t going to make it to Surat Thani to be sailed to Koh Samui on this journey. The boat radar had broken off on one of the bridges. No word on any major damage to the pedestrian bridges.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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