THE BIG 5: A Scandal, High-Scoring Fixtures, And ‘A Gunner Turned Eagle’ Make The Weekend’s Headlines

From the good to the bad, to the ugly, All Baller Zone highlights the stories from the world of sports that dominated the headlines over the weekend. 

With a new week upon us, we cast our minds back to a scandal ahead of the Olympics, three high scoring fixtures in three different continents, and a managerial takeover in the English Premier League.

5: IT’S COMING HOME: Ruthless England Shines In EURO 2020 Quarter-final, Set Up Denmark Semi-final

Harry Kane struck twice with Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also putting their names on the scoresheet as England thrashed Ukraine 4-0 on Saturday to reach their first European Championship semi-final since 1996 and set up a clash with Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday.

It was a well set out game for Gareth Southgate’s men, starting with a Kane goal in the 4th minute – the earliest goal in a Euros match for England since 2004, meaning, the Three Lions are now one win away from a first major tournament final since 1966, and two wins away from giving every English football lover a reason to happily sing, “Football Is Coming Home”.

4: RULES ARE RULES: Sha’Carri Richardson To Miss Olympic 100m Due To 1-month Ban

US sprint sensation and Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold-medal-hopeful, Sha’Carri Richardson was on Friday issued a one-month ban after failing a drug test at the US Olympic trials, and hence will miss the women’s 100m at the Tokyo Olympics for testing positive for marijuana.

The 21-year-old who has been one of the most talked-about athletes in 2021 after having run the sixth-fastest time in history this year, could still be selected for Tokyo as part of the 4x100m relay squad under USA Track & Field rules. US president Joe Biden was one of many popular figures to weigh in on the suspension of promising sprinter with him saying later on Saturday “the rules are the rules”.

3: THE SOUTH AMERICAN ‘GOAT’?: Messi Stars As Argentina Set Up Colombia Copa Semi-final

Argentina captain Lionel Messi was the centre of attraction on Saturday as he scored a free-kick and served up two assists to see his side beat Ecuador 3-0 and set themselves up for a Copa America semi-final against Colombia.

Despite missing a golden chance in the first half, the Barcelona star who now has 4 goals and 4 assists in the Copa America this year, set up Rodrigo De Paul five minutes before half-time and then did the same for Lautaro Martinez five minutes from the end before stepping up in the ninety-third minute to score his 58th career freekick, and his 76th goal for Argentina – just one within Pele’s South American record.

2: COME ON YOU EAGLES: Crystal Palace Appoint Patrick Vieira As New Manager

After weeks of having Lucien Favre and Nuno Espirito Santo get close to being appointed as the club’s new manager following the departure of Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace on Sunday, confirmed it was ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira who would be Hodgson’s successor.

Although not Palace’s first choice, Vieira who last managed Ligue 1 club Nice and got sacked in December, now not only takes the Eagles job on a three-year contract that should yield positive results but is expected to hit the ground running by getting involved in contract talks with several wantaway players.

1: WHITE-WASHED EAGLES: Mexico Wallop Nigeria’s Super Eagles 4-0 In Friendly

Two quickfire goals in the second and fourth minute and another two in the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the early hours of Sunday, ensured Mexico’s El Tri wrapped up their preparations for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup in fine fashion.

The Super Eagles squad dominated by players from the Nigeria Professional Football League, and led by head coach Gernot Rohr were unable to produce any fireworks for 90 minutes at the 77,500 capacity Stadium which led to a winless run in friendly games for Nigeria extended into eight. The last time the Super Eagles would record a win in a friendly match was in March 2019 – a 1-0 victory over Egypt.

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