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Never count him out – Nadal’s historic comeback

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Two months ago Rafael Nadal didn’t think he’d make it to Australia, but now he has written history, claiming his twenty first grand slam

Claiming title wasn’t easy, taking a long, hard and tough road to fight back from two sets down to beat Russia’s Medvedev in the Australian Open final.

The crowd here in Melbourne were left on the edge of their seats, witnessing history after watching the pair battle for the title an incredible five hours and 24 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal says his victory is “unforgettable” and said it was without a doubt one of the most emotional matches of his career.

This win is being dubbed Rafa’s greatest comeback of his tennis career.

Now the tennis great has a record 21 majors, breaking the previous tie with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Medvedev lost last year’s final to Djokovic, but he didn’t lose without a fight.

Nadal praised the Russian for accepting the loss graciously after the pair wrapped the match just after 1am local time, the second longest Grand Slam final in history

A thrilling finish to the tournament, that started off on the wrong foot with Novak’s visa debacle.

Novak took to twitter to congratulate both Ash Barty and Nadal for their grand slam victories.

Now – the Spaniard’s incredible victory will be remembered as an Australian Open triumph.

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Australian Football League ditches white uniform for women and girls

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The women’s football league in Australia has made a landmark move to scrap white shorts on field

The AFL has decided to ditch the white on field uniform for women and girls, in a bid to ease their anxiety surrounding periods.

It’s hoping the decision will ease feelings of anxiety for women and girls about their menstrual cycle when playing.

“I’m proud of the position the AFL has taken with this decision and thank our players for their leadership and passion…

Whilst this is a policy change for women and girls in AFL-run competitions, the ripple effect for community sport for women and girls is immense…

We want to lead to remove any barriers that prevent women and girls participating in Australian football.”

Nicole Livingstone- AFL general manager of women’s football
Credit: Traveller.com.au

The bold ban inspired by Wimbledon, means females will now wear coloured shorts.

The AFL received numerous reports of women and girls not wanting to participate in the sport because of worry tied to their period.

Now, they’re breaking down those barriers.

“Australian football has progressed since the introduction of AFLW, and this change of policy showcases the commitment to the integration of women’s football and its unique needs.”

NICOLE LIVINGSTONE- AFL GENERAL MANAGER OF WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

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FIFA’s World Cup technology runs into extra time as tough decisions are made

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Video-assistant refereeing and automated offside technology are on show at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup

At the end of the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Russia, President Gianni Infantino kicked off a new vision: to harness the full potential of computers in football.

FIFA started working with researchers, football teams and players to bring the latest cutting edge technology into the game.

At this year’s Men’s World Cup in Qatar, video-assistant refereeing (VAR), semi-automated offside technology, and a sensor-filled football have made their mark on the game.

“FIFA is committed to harnessing technology to improve the game of football at all levels, and the use of semi-automated offside technology at the FIFA World Cup in 2022 is the clearest possible evidence,” Mr Infantino said.

Australian researchers were part of the partnership to bring this innovation to life in Qatar.

Professor Robert Aughey is from Victoria University, who recently became the first university in the world to become an official FIFA Research Institute for Football Technology.

“It’s speeding the game up in terms of how video-assisted referees are able to operate, and it’s even more accuracy in decisions,” he said.

Professor Robert Aughey collaborated with FIFA on the technology.

Researchers used biomechanics, exercise physiology and data analytics to meet FIFA’s technology brief. The university has previously developed wearable technologies with the Western Bulldogs in the Australian Football League Club.

How does the technology work?

The technology uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras, which are mounted underneath the roof of Qatari stadiums to track the ball.

Twenty-nine data points are attached to each individual player, which are then tracked 50 times per second.

Together, they calculate a player’s exact position on the pitch and can determine whether they are offside.

“It’s really exciting that we are expanding our collaboration in a much deeper and more meaningful way with one of the biggest brands in the world,” Professor Aughey said.

The official match ball for the Qatar World Cup, known as Al Rihla, also uses real-time sensors.

These devices feed into FIFA’s video operation room at 500 times per second. It means even the most precise movements, or tight offside offences can be detected.

Professor Aughey said his team of researchers filed a 10-page document responding to questions from FIFA, while travelling home from Zurich.

“As researchers, we could be quick, agile and responsive.”

The technology was trialled at several test events and live at FIFA tournaments before the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup.

Does it ever get it wrong?

In the final Group D match at this year’s World Cup, French forward Antoine Griezmann had his goal overturned against Tunisia.

France ultimately lost the game 1-0 because over a VAR review of Griezmann’s goal in the 98th minute of the match.

The goal was controversially ruled out as offside despite defender Montassar Talbi touching the ball before it fell to Griezmann.

The French National Football Team subsequently filed a complaint, after referee Matthew Conger elected to continue play with kick-off.

“We are writing a complaint after Antoine Griezmann’s goal was, in our opinion, wrongly disallowed,” the team said.

Antoine Griezmann’s goal against Tunisia was disallowed.

However, FIFA’s disciplinary committee shut down the claims five days later.

In a statement, the organisation said it had “dismissed the protest submitted by the French Football Association in relation to the Tunisia v. France FIFA World Cup match played on Nov. 30.”

Similarly, a Japanese goal was allowed to stand against Spain despite VAR ruling it had not not crossed the line.

Alternative angles reportedly led to the VAR team’s decision, which showed the whole ball had not been out of play.

Professor Aughey said FIFA has rigorously tested the technology to prove its worth.

“If there’s been some sort of error in the process, perhaps there is recourse there. But I seriously doubt that will actually happen,” he said.

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Emergency World Cup departure by England’s Raheem Sterling

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In a nightmare situation for the English national football team, Raheem Sterling has returned home after intruder broke into his family residence

Football superstar Raheem Sterling has returned home on an emergency flight, after intruders broke into his family residence.

Police are investigating the burglary at Sterling’s home in a town called Leatherhead, just south of Central London.

Reports suggest a number of expensive items were stolen, including watches and other jewellery.

Sources close to Sterling say he is “shaken” and “concerned” about the wellbeing of his loved ones and wants to be home to “support his family.”

There have been nothing be best wishes and support from fellow team mates and staff. 

“For the moment the priority is clearly for him to be with his family…

We are going to support that and make sure he has as much time as he needs…

At the moment it’s a situation where he needs time with his family and I don’t want to put him under any pressure with that…

Sometimes football isn’t the most important thing and family should come first.

Gareth Southgate – ENGLAND FOOTBALL MANAGER
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – International Friendly – England v Ivory Coast – Wembley Stadium, London, Britain – March 29, 2022 England manager Gareth Southgate before the match REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

It comes as England get set for a big semi-finals match against France.

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