16 June 2014

Schumacher leaves French hospital, out of coma

Driver Michael Schumacher, of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, takes his session on the track on Nov. 15, 2012.
Nearly six months after sustaining serious head injuries in a skiing accident, seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher left a French hospital on Monday and was transferred to neighboring Switzerland to continue his recovery.

Schumacher "is not in a coma anymore," his manager, Sabine Kehm, said in a brief statement announcing that the German driver had left the Grenoble University Hospital, where he had been treated since his accident Dec. 29.
In this Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 file photo, Michael Schumacher announces his retirement from Formula One at the end of the 2012 season during a press conference at the Suzuka Circuit venue for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix in Suzuka, Japan. Schumacher's manager says the Formula One great is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December. Manager Sabine Kehm says in a statement Monday, June 16, 2014, that Schumacher has left the hospital in Grenoble "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation." The statement did not say where the seven-time F1 champion was taken or give any details of his condition.


Kehm gave no further details of his condition or medical outlook, saying only that he would "continue his long phase of rehabilitation."

Schumacher left the Grenoble hospital Monday morning, said hospital spokeswoman Brigitte Polikar, who declined to give any details on his condition.

He was transferred to the Lausanne University Hospital, near the Schumacher family's Swiss home. Hospital spokesman Darcy Christen confirmed the 45-year-old German was admitted but stressed that the facility wants "to ensure that he and his family fully enjoy privacy and medical confidentiality."

The Aug. 6, 2006 file photo shows retired Ferrari Formula One driver Michael Schumacher in Istanbul, Turkey. Schumacher's manager says the Formula One great is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December. Manager Sabine Kehm says in a statement Monday, June 16, 2014, that Schumacher has left the hospital in Grenoble "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation." The statement did not say where the seven-time F1 champion was taken or give any details of his condition.
Schumacher's accident happened on a family vacation as Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son at the Meribel ski resort in the French Alps. He hit the right side of his head on a rock, cracking his helmet. Doctors operated to remove blood clots from his brain, but some were left because they were too deeply embedded.

Schumacher's condition stabilized after he was placed in a drug-induced coma. In late January, doctors began the process of withdrawing sedatives to try to wake him up.

Over recent months, little information has been released on Schumacher's condition. Monday's announcement was the first substantial update since Kehm said in early April that Schumacher "shows moments of consciousness and awakening."

The family "would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months," Kehm's latest statement said.
Michael Schumacher poses for the photographers at the Silverstone circuit in England, in this Saturday, July 7, 2012 file photo. Schumacher's manager says the Formula One great is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December. Manager Sabine Kehm says in a statement Monday, June 16, 2014, that Schumacher has left the hospital in Grenoble "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation." The statement did not say where the seven-time F1 champion was taken or give any details of his condition.


"The family also wishes to thank all the people who have sent Michael all the many good wishes. ... We are sure it helped him," it added. "For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye," it added.

Much remains unclear about Schumacher's future as well as the length and extent of his recovery.

"If he's been released from the hospital he was in, it means he's able to support his own breathing and bodily functions," said Dr. Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at Oxford University's John Radcliffe Hospital.

The fact that Schumacher is going into rehabilitation "suggests there's been long-term side effects of his injury," he added.
"With rehabilitation, they'll try to train him to cope with the disabilities that he's got to achieve as much life function as possible," Aziz said. "If he's had a brain injury, he may have weakness in his limbs secondary to loss of brain function. He may have problems with speech and swallowing."

In this May 17, 2008 file photo, Germany's former Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher looks up as it begins to rain, ahead of starting the second qualifying heat of the Superbike International German Championship (IDM) race in Oschersleben, eastern Germany. Schumacher's manager says the Formula One great is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December. Manager Sabine Kehm says in a statement Monday, June 16, 2014, that Schumacher has left the hospital in Grenoble "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation." The statement did not say where the seven-time F1 champion was taken or give any details of his condition.
He said that "rehabilitation would probably take a good few months" but noted that Schumacher was an athlete before his accident "so was in good shape."

Schumacher earned universal acclaim for his uncommon and sometimes ruthless driving talent, which led to a record 91 race wins. He retired from F1 racing in 2012 after an unmatched seven world titles.

The Mercedes team, for which Schumacher raced in the last three years of his career, posted on Twitter: "Encouraging news on Michael's condition this morning. We couldn't ask for a better start to the week."

That was echoed by former world champion and Schumacher rival Fernando Alonso, who tweeted: "Good start of the week with the news of Michael! So happy this is going in the good direction!"

The Lausanne University Hospital (the ''CHUV'') is pictured in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, June 16, 2014. Former German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December, but has been transferred to the Lausanne University Hospital his manager said Monday, June 16 2014.
Germany midfielder Lukas Podolski also took to Twitter hours before his team's opening World Cup match, writing: "What a great news!!! Get well soon Schumi!!! I'm so glad and happy when I just heard it!!" 
(AP)
In this Nov. 23, 2012 file photo, Grand Prix driver Michael Schumacher, of Germany, sits in his car during a free practice at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Formula One great Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December, his manager said Monday June 16, 2014.
This is a Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. file photo of Michael Schumacher of Germany as he holds a helmet after a test drive prior to the Race Of Champions at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. Schumacher's manager says the Formula One great is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December. Manager Sabine Kehm says in a statement Monday, June 16, 2014, that Schumacher has left the hospital in Grenoble "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation." The statement did not say where the seven-time F1 champion was taken or give any details of his condition.
The Lausanne University Hospital (the ''CHUV'') is pictured in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, June 16, 2014. Former German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December, but has been transferred to the Lausanne University Hospital his manager said Monday, June 16 2014.
Media stand in front of the Lausanne University Hospital (the ''CHUV'') in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, June 16, 2014. Former German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December, but has been transferred to the Lausanne University Hospital his manager said Monday, June 16 2014.

Messi scores and lifts Argentina 2-1 over Bosnia

Bosnia's Sead Kolasinac, right, tries to stop Argentina's Lionel Messi (10) during their group F World Cup soccer match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
It took Lionel Messi just over an hour in Argentina's World Cup opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina to show why so many fans consider him the best in the world.

After a frustrating first half, the Argentina captain scored in trademark style in the 65th minute on Sunday night, completing a quick 1-2 connection with Gonzalo Higuain and running through defenders before striking a brilliant left-footed shot off the post. 

The goal - only the second for Messi on football's biggest stage - set off wild celebrations among the throngs of Argentine fans that had turned the famed Maracana stadium into a sea of blue and white. It also energized an unimpressive Argentina team that was ahead at that point only because of an early own goal by Bosnia.
Argentina's Lionel Messi strolls past Bosnia's Sead Kolasinac during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.


Vedad Ibisevic scored a close-in goal in the 85th, but Argentina held on to win 2-1 in the Group F match.

"It's the first game, I was anxious, nervous," Messi said. "It was important to start with a win. We've got to improve certain things, but it was important to start with the three points."

Bosnia got the worst possible start to its first World Cup when Sead Kolasinovic scored an own goal after just three minutes.

Messi sent a free kick from the left flank into the penalty area that Marcos Rojo barely touched before the ball bounced off Kolasinovic's foot into Bosnia's goal.

An Argentine supporter yells during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
Bosnia bounced back after the early setback, with Izet Hajrovic slipping through Argentina's five-man defense but failing to beat goalkeeper Sergio Romero. Five minutes before the break, Senad Lulic tested Romero's reflexes with a well-timed header on a corner kick.

Meanwhile, there was no sign of Argentina's vaunted attack, as Bosnia gave Messi no space to work his magic and Sergio Aguero hardly touched the ball.

Coach Alejandro Sabella put in Higuain at halftime, which allowed Messi to take a step back. That shift proved crucial, getting the Barcelona star more involved in the action.

"The changes gave Messi more support," Sabella said. "He doesn't need much, because he's the best in the world. But there is always a context that can enhance him a little bit more."
Argentina's Lionel Messi (10) challenges Bosnia's Sead Kolasinac (5) for the ball in front of Bosnia's goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (1) during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.


After a string of dangerous runs, Messi combined with Higuain, pulled left along the penalty area, and scored after leaping over defender Ermin Bicakic without losing speed and balance.

Messi, who has been accused by critics of not playing with as much heart for the national team as he does for Barcelona, pulled on his blue-and-white striped jersey and ran to the sideline before pumping his fist toward the fans.

"I wanted to release all the energy from other times when things didn't go right (with the national team)," he said. "It's always a pleasure to score with the national team."

Higuain said Bosnia was a strong opponent that didn't allow Argentina to control the game.

Argentina's Marcos Rojo (16) gets ahead of Bosnia's Izet Hajrovic to stop the ball during their group F World Cup soccer match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
"We scored the second goal at an important moment of the match and that calmed us down a bit," the Napoli striker said.

Second-half substitute Ibisevic put some nerve back in the match when he picked up a pass from Senad Lulic and slotted the ball between Romero's legs.

Bosnia started with Edin Dzeko as a lone striker and coach Safet Susic only added Ibisevic after Argentina's second goal.

"I told him that playing against Argentina I cannot play two attackers," Susic said. "And besides in the midfield we have very offensive-minded players. Playing two strikers (from the start) would have been very risky."

Argentina plays Iran on Saturday, while Bosnia will play Nigeria.
Bosnia's Sead Kolasinac, left, closes down Argentina's Pablo Zabaleta during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.


The match was the first World Cup game at the Maracana since Brazil lost to Uruguay in the final round of the 1950 tournament, which remains a deep wound in Brazilian football history. The July 13 World Cup final will also be held at the Maracana.

By KARL RITTER 
The Associated Press
Argentina's Lionel Messi (10) scrambles to get back to the ball against Bosnia defenders Emir Spahic (4) and Sead Kolasinac (5) during their group F World Cup soccer match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.

France beats Honduras 3-0 at World Cup

Karim Benzema scored twice and created a third that was confirmed by goal-line technology as France eased into its World Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over Honduras on Sunday

The convincing victory - albeit against a 10-man team for more than 45 minutes - was in stark contrast to the team's performances in South Africa four years ago, when the highly paid squad failed to win a single match and was sent home in a disgrace after going on a training strike.

It now tops group E and, with Switzerland and Ecuador left to play, stands a good chance of staying there.

"Winning 3-0 at a World Cup isn't easy," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "(The players should) savor the moment, there's nothing more wonderful. We're going recover and then go again in five days' time."


Benzema's first goal came from the penalty spot just before halftime after Wilson Palacios was sent off with his second yellow card for charging into the back of Paul Pogba. The Real Madrid striker calmly slotted the ball to the left of Noel Valladares to give the French a deserved lead going into the break.

"It's my first World Cup and I think we're all satisfied with the result," Benzema said. "It was important to win this match."

With Honduras down to 10 men, France didn't take long to double the score, thanks again to the Real Madrid striker and the first decisive use of goal line technology in a World Cup.

Yohan Cabaye, whose pass had earlier picked out Pogba to give the French their penalty, struck a long ball that Benzema shot across the goal. The ball came back off the post across goal before Valladares fumbled it over his own line. With the new technology system confirming the ball crossed the line, referee Sandro Ricci gave the own goal despite Honduran protests.

Benzema got his second on the 72nd minute, firing in powerfully from inside the area after a long-range shot by right back Mathieu Debuchy was blocked.

"Obviously Karim did well because he scored and he was decisive for us," Deschamps said. "But I was also pleased with our team spirit and our collective way of playing. They defended with a lot of aggression; it was pretty difficult to find an opening even though we hit the crossbar twice. The sending off changed things. We had a lot of space and could take advantage of it."
French players celebrate their 3-0 win after the group E World Cup soccer match between France and Honduras at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.


Les Bleus, featuring just five holdovers from 2010, dominated from the opening whistle against a Honduran team seeking its first World Cup win. The Central Americans had a reputation for aggressive play going into the match, and their 14 fouls and one expulsion will only add to that.

The Hondurans' physical approach succeeded in stifling some of the approach play of the French, but the 1998 champions looked especially dangerous down both flanks in the first half hour.

Blaise Matuidi connected with a cross but saw his header tipped onto the bar by Noel Valladares, while Antoine Griezmann, playing in place of Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, also rattled the woodwork after climbing high in the six-yard box.

French keeper Hugo Lloris didn't have to touch the ball until the 31st minute and didn't have to make a save all night against a team that managed just 37 percent of the possession.

"I think they played better than us so there are no excuses," said Honduras coach Luis Suarez. "There are certain things that we will have to improve in the future, but sometimes it is difficult to play with a man less, especially when you are facing a team that's very well organized."

He denied his team had played rough.

Honduras' Brayan Beckeles, right, challenges France's Blaise Matuidi, left, during the group E World Cup soccer match between France and Honduras at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
"I don't think we crossed the line," he said. "Of course we have a strong and intense style, but we respect the game."

The only downside for the French fans was that the teams' national anthems weren't played before the game because of an apparent malfunction - meaning they didn't get a chance to sing "La Marseillaise." FIFA later saidt was a malfunction and promised that it wouldn't happen again.

By CHRIS BRUMMITT 
The Associated Press

Switzerland beats Ecuador 2-1 at World Cup

Switzerland's Haris Seferovic scores his side's second goal during the group E World Cup soccer match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
Switzerland grabbed a winner with virtually the final kick to earn a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in the World Cup on Sunday, extending a run of come-from-behind wins that are becoming a theme of the tournament.

With just seconds left in the third and final minute of stoppage time, substitute Haris Seferovic finished off a length-of-the-field move by slamming home a close-range shot. After wild Swiss celebrations, Ecuador's shell-shocked players barely had time to restart before the final whistle was blown.

It was the fifth time in the first nine matches in Brazil that a team had come from a goal down to win - but this was the most dramatic of all the comebacks.

"It was a dream to be able to win this match in the very last minute like this," Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said through a translator. "It was emotional - it will be important for the morale of the team."
Swiss players celebrate after the group E World Cup soccer match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014. Switzerland won the match 2-1.


Sluggish in the first half-hour, Switzerland - highly fancied after rising to No. 6 in the FIFA rankings - conceded a sloppy goal to go behind when Enner Valencia rose unmarked in the 22nd minute and headed in a free kick from six yards (meters).

Ecuador's defending for the 48th-minute equalizer was just as abject, however, with Admir Mehmedi finding space from even closer in to nod in a corner.

With Mehmedi and Seferovic both second-half substitutes, it was no wonder that the wily Hitzfeld - a veteran coach with two Champions League titles on his resume - had a huge grin on his face at the final whistle.

Not so his counterpart.

"We were naive and that cost us the game," Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rieda said. "(The loss) is more our fault. We were not beaten by our opponent."

Ecuador's Enner Valencia celebrates scoring the opening goal during the group E World Cup soccer match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
After being among the bores of the last two World Cups, it was expected to be all change for Switzerland with Hitzfeld putting his faith in a young, dynamic class of 2014 that had come up together through the national youth ranks.

But nerves ensured they started the World Cup poorly, misplacing simple passes and overhitting crosses in a drab first half. The second half wasn't much better either - but Seferovic rescued them, having only come on in the 75th minute for the ineffective Josip Drmic.

The Real Sociedad forward scored a 90th-minute winner against Cyprus in June in Switzerland's unbeaten run through qualifying but he has lost his place to the emerging Drmic.
Switzerland's Haris Seferovic, right, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the group E World Cup soccer match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.


"Haris is a striker through and through," Hitzfeld said. "What he lacked was practice in terms of playing time at Real Sociedad. In the tournament build-up, he performed excellently but he still needs time to develop."

Seferovic scored the crucial goal, but teammate Valon Behrami deserves just as much credit.

It was the central midfielder who produced a perfectly timed tackle in his own box and then embarked on a lung-bursting run up the field in the lead-up to the winning goal. At one stage, he was hacked down near the center circle but he got up and carried on his run, with the referee playing an excellent advantage.

The ball was fed to the left, where left back Ricardo Rodriguez - who set up Mehmedi for the equalizer - slid a low cross for Seferovic to crash a finish high in to the net.

Switzerland's Haris Seferovic scores his side's second goal during the group E World Cup soccer match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
Cue Switzerland's entire bench spilling into the pitch to celebrate with Seferovic, with some players choosing to mob Behrami.

"It was a great feeling," Behrami said. "Those 30 seconds were amazing for us."

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was present - and was booed by sections of the crowd - for what was probably the poorest game at this World Cup in terms of quality. Thousands of fans missed the first part of the match because of long queues to pass through security.

It meant there were still plenty of empty seats when Valencia stole a yard on Johan Djourou and guided a simple header into the net from Walter Ayovi's free kick, with Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio left completely stranded.

An Ecuadorean fan sits in the stands following Ecuador's 2-1 loss to Switzerland during the group E World Cup soccer match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.
It was one of the few clear-cut chances created by Ecuador, which is now on the back foot in a Group E also containing France and Honduras.

By STEVE DOUGLAS 
The Associated Press