Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 26th 2013 Contents A39
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MADRID---Spain's judiciary is
investigating a support network
that allegedly helped Lance
Armstrong with doping while he
trained in the country from
1999-2005, the head of the
nation's anti-doping agency said
Ana Munoz, who heads
Spain's Sports Health
Protection Agency, which
includes its anti-doping
activities, said that in May 2012
she received a request for help
from the USADA, which was
then discreetly probing
Armstrong on suspicion that he
and his entourage had been
involved in doping to win races.
As a result of the request,
Munoz said a careful investigation
began to compile information
about Armstrong's training
periods in the Spanish regions of
Gerona in the northeast, Alicante
in the east and on the Canary
Island of Tenerife. Munoz said
testimonies and other evidence
were gathered as part of the
investigation that she then
presented to Spain's State
She said the evidence was
currently being used by a Spanish
court to investigate Armstrong
and those who may have helped
him to win seven Tour de France
titles. She declined to specify
which court was involved.
Armstrong has since been
stripped of those titles. (AP)
FORTALEZA---Spain will have to beat Italy in
the semifinals of the Confederations Cup, and
deal with a few distractions, too.
The World Cup winners answered almost as
many questions yesterday about a robbery in
their team hotel last week---and denied it was
linked to late-night partying---as they did about
the tropical heat in northeastern Brazil and Italy s
desire for revenge. The Italians were beaten 4-
0 by Spain a year ago in the final of the European
One distraction will be missing---Italian striker
Mario Balotelli---who is out with a thigh injury
as Spain tries to reach Sunday s final in Rio de
Spanish players responded to repeated ques-
tions about reports in the Brazilian media that
a robbery last week in Spain s team hotel was
connected to a party after beating 2-1 Uruguay
in their opening match.
The Spanish federation has acknowledged that
six of its player were robbed, but denied any
partying and the presence of women from outside
the Spanish traveling delegation.
"It s totally a lie," defender Jordi Alba said.
Fellow defender Sergio Ramos said the reports
were soiling the reputation of the Spanish team
and "attempting to discredit with lies a generation
of football players who have shown themselves
to be the best."
"You can t play with a country with a repu-
tation like Spain that has a super clean image,"
Ramos added. "You also can t play with families,
with the children we have, with girlfriends. To
put all of this in doubt by inventing a serious
story. In this regard, I hope the law does what
One Spanish reporter suggested the report was
a plot to upset the Spanish team.
"I don t know if it s a strategy on their (Brazil-
ian) part," Ramos replied. "But we re not going
to be destabilized by comments that have no
Spain laboured through a 3-0 victory over
Nigeria on Sunday, looking fatigued by the heat
and humidity from the 4 pm match in Brazil s
Nigeria ran more, and had overwhelming sup-
port from the Brazilian crowd, which jeered Spain.
Italy should have the fan backing, and will also
try to outrun Spain s control and ball possession.
"The other day we were hurt by the weather,
the time of the match and the physical toll it
took," Ramos said. "But the heat is the same for
both teams. Same with the time of the match
and other conditions. It is what it is and we have
to execute our game plan." (AP)
BELO HORIZONTE---Brazil s stunning
home loss to Uruguay in the final of the
1950 World Cup is always in the back of
the Brazilians mind. Even more now ahead
of the teams match in the semifinals of
the Confederations Cup today.
Not a lot of Brazilian fans have actually
seen that final, but few forget what happened
in the game, which became known as the
"Maracanazo." The come-from-behind 2-1
win that gave Uruguay its second World Cup
title silenced nearly 200,000 fans at the
Maracana. Just as happened 63 years ago,
Brazil will be carrying the hopes of the country
against the Uruguayans on Wednesday, but
coach Luiz Felipe Scolari doesn t want any-
body thinking about the loss of decades ago.
"I wasn t even born in 1950, I was born
only in 64," Scolari said with a smile, trying
to downplay the importance of that match.
"I don t think that plays any role psy-
chologically today," he said. "It was a loss.
It was a football match in which both teams
wanted to win and it turned out that
Uruguay was better in the end."
Brazil could have won the title in 1950
even with a draw, but conceded the come-
back in what became one of its worst losses
ever. Brazil rebounded with five World Cup
titles after that, while Uruguay remained
with its two. In recent years, though, it was
Uruguay which excelled in world football
while Brazil struggled.
Brazil hasn t won a significant title since
the 2009 Confederations Cup and didn t
advance past the quarterfinals in the last
two World Cups. Uruguay, meanwhile, is
the defending South American champion
and finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup
in South Africa.
"This Uruguayan team has been playing
well the past few years," Scolari said. "I
think that about 90 percent of the players
here were in the 2010 World Cup team.
They have showed a lot of quality."
Uruguay had been struggling in South
American World Cup qualifying but picked
up an important win at Venezuela in its last
match before the Confederations Cup,
remaining in contention to make it into foot-
ball s showcase event again next year. At the
Confederations Cup, it lost to Spain in its
opener, then defeated Tahiti and Nigeria.
"They are coming with a lot of confidence
after that win over Venezuela and so far they
have played very well in this tournament,"
Scolari said. "They have a very good system
in place, and with this added confidence
they will pose a lot of difficulties for us."
Brazil is trying to revamp its squad after Scolari
returned to the national team earlier this year.
After a disappointing start in which the team
won only one of six matches, Brazil appears to
be on the right track again. It has won four
straight matches, beating Japan, Mexico and Italy
in the group stage of the Confederations Cup.
The victories brought back the support
of the local fans, which had been loudly
jeering Brazil at home. That was the case
a few months ago at the Mineirao Stadium
where Brazil will play Uruguay today. The
national team was booed by nearly 50,000
fans at the venue after a disappointing 2-
2 draw in a friendly with Chile.
"The fans have been behind us everywhere
we have played at the Confederations Cup,"
said Scolari, who led Brazil to the 2002
World Cup title. "And we are going to need
that to happen again tomorrow (today)
against Uruguay." (AP)
Spanish court investigates Armstrong
Brazil forgets ghosts of
the past against Uruguay
Brazil's Neymar plays the ball during a
practice of his national football team at the
Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil,
yesterday. Brazil will play one of the
semifinals of the Confederations Cup
against Uruguay today. AP PHOTO
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