Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 dreams fell at the final hurdle as Michal Duris’ extra-time winner sent Slovakia to next summer’s finals with a 2-1 win at Windsor Park.Slovakia had led for most of normal time with the opening goal handed to them by George Saville, whose poor backwards header was pounced upon by Juraj Kucka to fire home from the edge of the box (17).- Advertisement – Image:A total of 1,060 fans were allowed inside Windsor Park for the play-off final Subs: Thompson (6), Whyte (6), Lafferty (7), Boyce (6), Flanagan (5), Ferguson (5).Away Team: Rodak (5), Pekarik (7), Satka (7), Skriniar (6), Hubocan (6), Lobotka (5), Rusnak (7), Kucka (7), Hamsik (6), Mak (6), Duda (5).Subs: Duris (7), Hrosovsky (6), Mraz (6), Gregus (5), Gyomber (n/a).- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Eight minutes into the second period, Stanislav Lobotka became a victim of the hosts’ newfound threat, and from McGinn’s interception, Conor Washington turned in the box before shooting straight at Rodak when he should have levelled.But real chances remained at a premium after that near-miss, including the hosts’ equaliser when it finally came, three minutes from time. McNair found space on the right flank and after reaching the byline pulled the ball to a long queue of players in the six-yard box. However, it took only first man Skriniar to clumsily divert the ball past his own goalkeeper and bring them level.Into extra-time, the game went with Northern Ireland finally enjoying the bit between their teeth, and influential substitute Kyle Lafferty coming close to capping his superb cameo with a goal when glancing McNair’s volley goalwards, but straight at Rodak. How Northern Ireland went so close, yet so farNorthern Ireland have not started games well under Ian Baraclough – they were yet to score the first goal in a game under him – but in front of just over 1,000 home fans, they began at a good tempo.Unable to turn their territory into opportunities, however, Slovakia grew in confidence and increasingly began to cause problems on the flanks. But their goal would owe little to quality, with a mistimed backwards header from Saville pounced on by Kucka, who strode forward to beat Peacock-Farrell. Team newsIan Baraclough’s only change from Northern Ireland’s win over Bosnia-Herzegovina saw the injured Corry Evans replaced by Conor Washington.New Slovakia Stefan Tarkovic made six changes to his side, including a return for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar. Josh Magennis should have tested Rodak with a free header from Paddy McNair’s corner minutes later but misjudged his effort. Only moments before the break, they threatened again, with Stuart Dallas and Niall McGinn both missing the target with wayward efforts in quick succession.As has become increasingly familiar, the only similarity between Northern Ireland’s first and second-half performances was the numbers on their backs – and in harrying and pressing their visitors from the restart, they looked a different prospect altogether. A much-improved second-half performance from the hosts was finally rewarded three minutes from full-time when Paddy McNair’s cross was bundled past his own goalkeeper by Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, which took the tie to extra-time.But some more poor defending allowed a loose ball to find Duris with 10 minutes of the extra half-hour remaining, and after Bailey Peacock-Farrell allowed his shot to beat him at his near post, Northern Ireland could find no way back as their qualification hopes were extinguished in the play-off final. At the other end, with the experienced Craig Cathcart forced off through injury, Tom Flanagan’s decision to step into midfield left the hosts’ backline exposed. Kucka’s ball towards Duris deflected off Evans’ unwitting backside and into the Slovakia forward, who kept his composure to beat Peacock-Farrell’s weak dive at his near post.Evans nearly made amends with one of the final kicks of the game when Jordan Thompson’s glorious cross found him unmarked six yards out. But just as Rodak kept out his poor header with ease, so too did Slovakia see off any hopes of another late fightback to qualify for only their second European Championships finals.Match factsNorthern Ireland have been defeated in extra-time for the first time in their history.Slovakia have won for the first time in 2020, drawing twice and losing three times since beating Azerbaijan last November.Northern Ireland have lost three consecutive home matches for the first time since September 2011-February 2012.Northern Ireland have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 matches, at home to Netherlands last November.Juraj Kucka’s opener was his third goal of Slovakia’s EURO 2020 qualification campaign, the joint-most of any player for the side along with Marek Hamsik and Robert Bozenik. It was his first goal for the national side since October 2019 when he netted against Wales.What’s next?Northern Ireland have a Nations League double header against Austria and Romania coming up before the international break concludes, with both live on Sky Sports.Their visit to Austria is live on Sky Sports Football this Sunday from 7.30pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Then see them host Romania in their final group game live on Sky Sports Mix next Wednesday from 7.30pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Player ratingsNorthern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell (5), Dallas (6), Cathcart (7), Evans (6), Lewis (6), Davis (6), Saville (5), McNair (7), McGinn (6), Magennis (5), Washington (5). – Advertisement – Man of the match: Juraj Kucka Image:Juraj Kucka put Slovakia ahead at Windsor Park before half-time
Funds could be used to buy equipment to collect, store and test convalescent plasma, the document said, adding the money could come from the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), a European rainy-day fund.The use of the ESI could allow funds to be provided this year. Usually EU funding projects are planned years in advance.Money from the 2.7-billion-euro ($3 billion) ESI has so far only been used or committed for highly sensitive issues, such as buying scarce face masks at the peak of the pandemic in Europe and advance purchase of potential COVID-19 vaccines .Over 300 million euros have been spent and about 2 billion is penciled in to buy possible vaccines, EU officials told Reuters. This leaves some 400 million euros available. The European Union wants to fast-track funding to treat COVID-19 patients with blood plasma collected from survivors, an EU document seen by Reuters shows, in a sign of the bloc’s growing confidence in the experimental treatment.The move also highlights the more assertive approach being taken by the 27-nation union in the race to find effective drugs and vaccines against the new coronavirus, after the United States scooped up several promising candidates.The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has invited national blood authorities to apply for possible emergency funding by July 10 to boost their collection of convalescent plasma, which is obtained from people who have recovered from COVID-19, the document seen by Reuters said. The use of the ESI is still being considered, the Commission noted in its document. A Commission spokesman did not immediately reply to questions on the matter.Plasma rushSince the beginning of the pandemic, medics across the world have been transfusing convalescent plasma into critically ill COVID-19 patients, often with positive results, although its efficacy is still under investigation.People who survive an infectious disease like COVID-19 are left with blood plasma containing antibodies, or proteins made by the body’s immune system to fight off a virus, that can be transfused into newly infected patients to try to aid recovery.Plasma, which is the liquid component of blood, is also being tested by public authorities and companies to develop medicines against COVID-19, such as hyper-immune globulins.Separate research is underway on its possible use to prevent COVID-19 infections, as antibodies extracted from it could be transfused to boost immunity defenses of vulnerable people. That could be particularly important in the absence of a vaccine.The Commission has already funded research on convalescent plasma, but unblocking emergency funding to promote collection would be the boldest move so far.The EU is currently financing a project to develop a plasma-derived therapy against COVID-19 and has also set up a database to share results of treatments applied in European hospitals.It is also working to reduce its long-standing dependency on plasma imported from the United States to manufacture critical non-COVID medicines such as immunoglobulins and medication that helps control bleeding. Topics :
When the 2015 NFL schedule came out, many pointed to the Week 17 showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale as a sort of NFC West Championship Game.Turns out, it’s not really that important a game after all.The Cardinals wrapped up the NFC West two weeks ago and the Seahawks are also in the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Of course, there is a rivalry between the two teams, so Sunday will feature two organizations still trying to beat each other. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Thursday, December 31• Suddenly, the Seahawks’ fate seems tied to Marshawn Lynch (ESPN.com)If this is Lynch’s final go-around with the Seahawks, it’s playing out exactly how one might expect.• Seahawks won’t have Marshawn Lynch for regular-season finale; Michael Bennett’s status unknown (MyNorthwest.com) • Pete Carroll anticipates Marshawn Lynch will be back with team Mon. (ESPN.com)We won’t see Lynch on Sunday, but the Cardinals could see him again in the playoffs.• Russell Wilson credits part of durability to swimming routine (ESPN.com)There’s no doubt about how elusive Russell Wilson is in the pocket and the quarterback for the Seahawks has oddities in his training regiment like massages and swimming.• Sure, he can run, but Russell Wilson is poised to shatter Seahawks season passing marks (Seattle Times)“Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could break the team season records for touchdown passes, passing yards and completion percentage.”• Injury to J.R. Sweezy means rookie Mark Glowinski could start at guard for Seahawks Sunday at Arizona (Seattle Times)Friday’s injury report lists Sweezy as out on Sunday, which means that Glowinksi will likely get his first career NFL start. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Saturday, January 2• Seattle Seahawks: 5 players to watch Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (Seattle Times)With the injuries the Seahawks have, the supporting cast will need to step up. That includes RG Mark Glowinski filling in for J.R. Sweezy and TE Chase Coffman replacing Luke Willson.• Cardinals have more incentive than Seahawks in regular-season finale (MyNorthwest.com)The Cardinals can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win and a Panthers loss, which gives them far more incentive in Week 17 than the Seahawks. The best Seattle can do is the No. 5 seed and with an offensive line missing starters, there is a debate regarding how long Russell Wilson should stay in the game Sunday.• Playing Russell Wilson vs Arizona embodies Pete Carroll’s approach with Seahawks (MyNorthwest.com)Despite the risk in playing Wilson, Pete Carroll is going to play the star quarterback. Seattle saw a 5-game winning streak snapped last week in a 23-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams.All week, we’ll keep you up to date on everything going on with the Seattle Seahawks as they prepare for their annual trip to University of Phoenix Stadium to face the Cardinals. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires • How Seahawks’ Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett work together (ESPN.com)Over and over, Bennett and Avril would refer to how one player stayed outside, and the other moved down and in, and how one man helped the other to make a play. It was yet another illustration that football is the most interdependent sport, and if you don’t embrace that on the field, you don’t have much of a chance.• Seahawks remain on pace for a number of impressive stats as final game nears (Seattle Times)It’s time for another look at the Seahawks’ weekly stats and where they rank as we head into the final game of the regular season with Seattle still on track to break or near a number of franchise records.• Was Seahawks’ loss to St. Louis just a misstep or a sign of regression? (MyNorthwest.com)Was the Seahawks’ clunker of a performance a sign that their second-half turnaround wasn’t quite as real as it appeared, of regression toward their early-season form?Or was that 23-17 loss to the 6-8 Rams – as coach Pete Carroll characterized it – merely a bad day at the stadium, a one-week slip-up for a team that had been playing its best football of the season?• Revisiting the Seahawks’ preseason pursuit of guard Evan Mathis (MyNorthwest.com) 0 Comments Share Marshawn Lynch’s return will have to wait at least another week. And if there is any good news with the running back’s continued absence, it’s that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes it will only be another week.• Wednesday Practice Report: Four Seattle Seahawks Do Not Participate To Open Week 17 vs Arizona Cardinals (Seahawks.com)The Seahawks first practice report of Week 17 is out and it includes one player not previously noted by the team or head coach Pete Carroll.• Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin continuing to excel despite more attention (MyNorthwest.com)Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin has been receiving all kinds of attention during his record-setting touchdown reception streak – during games, in the media, and even off the field.• Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch gets trademark approved for phrase, ‘I’m just here so I won’t get fined’ (SeattleTimes.com)A phrase originally aimed at not losing money can now put money in Marshawn Lynch’s pockets. Top Stories Friday, January 1 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Seahawks didn’t lose much in terms of playoff positioning on Sunday.They did lose the momentum they had gained during their five-game winning streak, and after falling 23-17 to St. Louis, the biggest question heading into the final week of the regular season is whether Seattle lost much in the way of confidence.• How Week 17 will decide Seahawks’ first-round playoff opponent (MyNorthwest.com)The Seahawks are guaranteed a playoff berth.But then we already knew that. Just where the Seahawks will be playing, however, remains very much up in the air after their six-point loss to St. Louis. In fact, Sunday’s games didn’t eliminate any potential sites for Seattle’s wild-card game.There are three possibilities that will be depend on the outcome of two games in Week 17: Seattle (9-6) at Arizona (13-2), 1:25 p.m. and Minnesota (10-5) at Green Bay (10-5), 5:30 p.m.• What people are saying after Seahawks lay an egg in loss to Rams (SeattlePI.com)After a month and a half of offensive excellence, the Seahawks attack couldn’t get anything going against a stout (but by no means dominant) Rams defense. The offensive line reverted to its early season form, meaning the Marshawn Lynch-and Thomas Rawls-less running back corps couldn’t get anything established on the ground while quarterback Russell Wilson took a beating. The Seahawks’ offensive line didn’t play well on Sunday against St. Louis.That was better than Broncos guard Evan Mathis, though. He barely played at all Monday night.Six snaps. That was the total playing time for the former Pro Bowl guard who visited the Seahawks before the regular season started before ultimately choosing the Broncos, signing a one-year deal that will pay him about $3 million.Tuesday, December 29• Ranking the Seahawks’ potential NFC opponents based on matchups (ESPN.com)Going into Week 17, the field in the NFC is set, but the only seed that’s locked up is Washington at No. 4.The Seattle Seahawks will go in as the fifth or sixth seed, meaning they’ll need to win at least two games (most likely three) on the road to get back to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year.• Could Seahawks assistant Tom Cable get a head coaching gig? (ESPN.com)• Are Seahawks’ offensive-line struggles a trend or an aberration? (Seattle Times)That’s the question the Seahawks’ offensive line will answer, one way or the other. The Seahawks’ next opponent, the Cardinals, sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers nine times Sunday.• Three Things from the Seahawks’ loss to St. Louis (MyNorthwest.com) Wednesday, December 30• How the Seahawks are attacking defenses downfield (ESPN.com)Russell Wilson is averaging 8.41 yards per attempt, which ranks third. And while the offense stumbled Sunday against the St. Louis Rams — largely because of protection issues — the Seahawks have done an outstanding job of generating big plays through the passing game.