Iceland enjoys worldwide support as tiny soccer nation on the rise

SANTA CLARA — Heimir Hallgrimsson wasn’t bothered by the singing, swaying crowd Friday night that turned Levi’s Stadium into Little Mexico.

Never mind the 68,917 raucous fans attending the World Cup tuneup amounted to one-fifth of the population of Hallgrimsson’s Iceland, the blip of a country that has caught the imagination of soccer worldwide.

“I think everybody will support Iceland in Russia,” the dentist-turned-coach said. “They will all be on our side.”

And why not?

Iceland, the Nordic island best known for volcanoes, geysers and hot springs, is making its World Cup debut June 16 against soccer giant Argentina.

The game, by the way, already is sold out for the smallest country in history to reach the tournament. The only other sellout so far is the final July 15.

Iceland brings some excitement to a tournament that won’t include soccer powers Italy, Netherlands and Chile. Those countries, along with the United States, failed to make it to Russia.

The exhibition Friday against Mexico and its star-studded roster was another big moment in Iceland’s ascent in joining soccer’s elite — even with a 3-0 drubbing. But the Icelanders haven’t let the momentous achievements change them.

Not with Hallgrimsson at the helm. The coach from the island of Heimaey returns home from time to time to practice dentistry at a local clinic.

“Some coaches like to play golf in their spare time, others go fishing.,” he has said. “I go to my dental office.”

Hallgrimsson has developed another tradition that has endeared him to Iceland fans. He makes house calls at local Reykjavik pubs to chat with fans hours before national team home games.

After qualifying for the first World Cup in the fall the players performed their Viking ‘Thunderclap with their supporters and then joined crowds at Ingolfstorg square in downtown Reykjavik.

Even as the players have become hometown celebrities they’ve remained level-headed, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


Stephen Curry leaves game with left knee strain in Warriors-Hawks game

Want Warriors news in your inbox? Sign up for the free DubsDaily newsletter.

OAKLAND — Warriors guard Stephen Curry left with 3:09 left in the third quarter of Friday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks after suffering a left knee strain.

The source of the injury: Warriors center JaVale McGee contested a shot, fell down on the ground and tumbled into Curry’s left leg. Immediately, Curry hobbled around the court and the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena groaned collectively. Curry kept pacing around the court in hopes to shake the ailment off. But Curry still limped. Moments later, Curry sat on the bench with his head down on his hands.

Incidentally, this marked Curry’s first appearance since missing the past six games with a right ankle injury. Although Curry’s latest injury involves his other leg, it still raises concerns about his long-term healthy and durability.

Curry finished with 29 points with efficiency from the field (10-of-18), 3-point range (3-of-8) and free-throw line (6-of-6) in 25 minutes, a steep improvement after shooting 1-of-6 in the first quarter.

To subscribe to the Planet Dubs podcast, click here.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


CIF state basketball: Sacred Heart’s rally falls short

SACRAMENTO — This wasn’t how Sacred Heart Cathedral envisioned its trip to the state basketball championships going.

Eight minutes into the Division I girls final Friday against Serra-Gardena, the Irish trailed by 14 points.

SHC charged back, cutting the deficit to three in the third quarter, but ran out of gas as the Irish lost 70-54 at Golden 1 Center, an outcome that denied the program its sixth state title.

Gianna Silvestri scored 14 points to lead Sacred Heart, the only player on the team to reach double figures.

“We were flat,” SHC coach LyRyan Russell said of the first quarter. “They hit us first. We didn’t hit back. You can’t get down 18-4 and have to dig your way out of the hole that big.

“The girls fought. They did close the gap quite a bit in the third quarter. Just couldn’t take control of the game.”

Serra outscored SHC 23-6 in the final quarter.

Cheyenne Givens shot 6 for 6 from the field and finished with 20 points to lead Serra (25-8).

SHC finished 15-15.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


Takeaways: Life could be a lot easier for Raptors

TORONTO — How many times can the Toronto Raptors hand a categorically bad team a sizable first-half lead, allowing the opposition to get essentially anything it wants offensively for most of the night, before eventually deciding to play to their ability, and overcoming the deficit in the final dozen minutes to secure another victory in what will ultimately be a franchise-best season?

These Raptors, they’re determined to find out. Friday brought yet another game that looked fine if you only saw the final result — a 116-112 Raptors victory over the Brooklyn Nets — and anything but fine if you saw the process. It’s become a habit. It happened Tuesday in Orlando, a week ago versus Dallas, and the Tuesday before that while in Brooklyn playing these very Nets.

And the list continues. Time and again, the Raptors coast against a team far beneath them in the standings, putzing around for three quarters before coming alive in the end and pulling out the win. It’s the result you want. But considering the talent on this team, life could be so much easier.

“For us to come out and play like we did, it’s terrible,” said DeMar DeRozan. “I feel like we’ve been going into games and turning on and off when we want. We’re playing for something bigger. No disrespect to [Brooklyn] at all, but we’ve got a bigger goal in mind. And we’ve got to go out [against] teams like that and play hard out of the gate. And not be in a dog fight coming down to the last couple possessions.”

What does it all mean? Hard to say. The wins have been there in the end, as the Raptors are now 33-2 against sub-.500 teams, and have never lost to one at home. …read more



1 2 3 4 5 523