Paper reporter Pu Yaolei
Ma Ning apologized for not being the World Cup referee
The World Cup in Qatar has entered the final stage, but the time of the Chinese referees is over.
Three Chinese referees, Ma Ning, Cao Yi and Shi Xiang, participated in the law enforcement work of this World Cup. The three have recently returned from their missions.
During this World Cup, Ma Ning participated in the enforcer of 6 group matches as the fourth official. However, Cao Yi and Shi Xiang participated in the law enforcement of 3 group matches as alternate assistant referees, and neither served as the main referee or assistant referee.
In an interview with Five Star Sports, Ma Ning also apologized for the fans’ unmet expectations.
“In fact, my mood is quite complicated, because I have never been to the World Cup before, so after I arrived at the venue that day, I chatted with Cao Yi and said that I was very excited when I stepped onto this court.”
“Many people are very worried and have paid attention. I apologize here. It is true that we didn’t really stay on the pitch to boo. Through this World Cup, we will also face the gap and move forward.”
Before that, Ma Ning also said on social media: “Unfortunately, let everyone down! Face the gap, find out the shortcomings, accumulate experience, summarize and improve!”
Argentina coach: the team will fight for the motherland
In the early morning of the 14th the semi-final of the Argentina World Cup against Croatia was about to begin, the Argentine coach Scaloni expressed the team’s determination in the pre-match press conference.
“We will fight for ourselves, for our family, for Argentina and we will always be grateful to the fans who worked so hard to come here and support us.”
For the difficulty of this match, the Argentine team has already prepared itself mentally: “Croatia is a great team with great players. This will bring us difficulties. They have their own way of playing.”
“We expect a very tough game – said Scaloni -. We have to evaluate the minutes available to everyone and as far as I know we have 19 players available”.
Four years ago at the World Cup in Russia, Croatia beat Argentina 3-0 in the group stage, which is why Scaloni believes: “The comparison with the last World Cup is not spot on. This is a different game.”
The player Tagliafico also said: “Croatia has a good structure and it’s similar to four years ago. We are another team and the game will be completely different. Croatia will also take another path, we have to be careful.”
Furthermore, Argentina’s probability of winning reached 37%, France 35%, Croatia 16% and Morocco 13%.
Di Maria and DePaul can both play
There have always been hidden dangers of injury in the Argentine team, and Scaloni’s answer at the press conference reassured everyone.
“Both players (DePaul and Angel Di Maria) are healthy, which reassures us. We have to think about how many minutes they can play. We will make a decision today or tomorrow, but both (conditions) are fit for the match.”
While the Argentine side ushered in good times, they also faced the troubles of two full-backs, Acuna and Montiel, who were suspended for accumulating yellow cards.
Tagliafico should replace Acuna as starting left-back, he said having Messi is the best thing.
“For us, Messi is our captain, our leader, the one who pushes us, inspires us,” said Tagliafico.
“We know there will be some difficult moments in the round of 16. But we have experience and we need to have enough character to face them and overcome them and that motivates you even more.”
Croatia coach: we want more
With the semi-final against Argentina fast approaching, Croatia coach Dalic is also looking forward to the match.
“We are going to compete with a great team led by Lionel Messi who are definitely under more pressure than us. I believe in our players, their level and spirit are very good.”
According to Dalic, reaching the semi-finals is already a success: “We are now one of only four teams left in the World Cup, which is a great success for Croatia. Strong, now we want more.”
“(After consecutive overtime games) we haven’t had any health issues that would slow us down, and I’m not going to ask them if they’re tired because they don’t want to be tired.”
His response was: “It’s a completely different game, before it was the group stage, now it’s the knockout stage, the two games have nothing to do with each other. If I win tomorrow, it will be the most important match in Croatian history for me”.
For Croatia, Messi will naturally be the center of attention: “Messi is in good condition, he can solve the match on his own and he also has the support of his teammates in terms of aggression.”
“The current Argentine team is excellent and balanced, and Argentina will receive more support from the fans. We are playing against the strongest national team, and they have one of the best players in history.”
Hospital update on Bailey’s status: Condition remains stable
On December 12, the hospital where the old king of the ball was staying released a statement saying: “Pele was admitted to Einstein Hospital on November 29 to reevaluate his chemotherapy regimen for colon cancer discovered in the September 2021”.
“Although it is not possible to predict the time of discharge, the patient’s clinical condition continues to improve, especially the respiratory tract infection. The patient is still in the general ward, conscious and his vital signs are stable.”
Previously, there were media reports that Bailey had edema all over his body and symptoms such as heart failure when he was admitted to the hospital. It was also reported that Bailey’s body had not responded to chemotherapy and he was transferred to a hospice area.
But then news broke that Bailey’s physical condition had improved. The hospital had previously released a statement saying Pele’s health was stable and the football legend is still actively working towards being released from hospital.