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Tunisia fall to England – 2018 FIFA World Cup

Tunisia started their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group G  campaign with a 2-1 defeat to England at the Volgograd Arena in Russia on Monday.

The victory took the 3 Lions to next place on the Team G standings following match day a single, while the Carthage Eagles are placed 3rd on the table.

The 3 Lions dominated the game from the start off with their inspirational captain Harry Kane top their assault.

The very first likelihood of the game fell for England midfielder Jesse Lingard, who unleashed a very low shot which was saved by Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen four minutes into the game.

On the other hand, the France-primarily based shot-stopper was then crushed when John Stones’ header was saved by Hassen and Kane pounced and fired home the rebound to make it 1- to England.

The Carthage Eagles then experienced a further blow in the 14th minute as they had to make an early substitution with Hassen wounded and he was replaced by Farouk Mustapha.

Mustapha turned a busy man as he had to cease Jordan Henderson’s prolonged-vary shot in the 18th minute, before denying Harry Maguire, who was seeking to score with a header just following the first half mark.

Tunisia then grew self-assurance and they pushed forward in numbers, with Fakhreddine Ben Youssef seeking lively upfront for the 2004 African champions.

The towering centre-forward was fouled by Kyle Walker within the England box and Tunisia was being awarded a penalty in the 33rd minute.

Ferjani Sassi then stepped up and made no error from the spot-kick as he beat England shot-stopper Jordan Pickford to make it 1-1 for Tunisia.

The 3 Lions then piled tension on the Carthage Eagles defence and they virtually scored in the 39th minute via Stones, who fluffed his left-footed effort from close vary.

The last likelihood of the first half fell for Lingard, who was unfortunate as he managed to beat Mustapha, but his effort strike the upright and Tunisia survived a scare just before the half-time split.

Tunisia and England were being locked 1-1 at the interval subsequent a motion-packed very first half.

The 3 Lions were being the superior facet in the early levels of the next half and they virtually scored from a properly-taken corner-kick by Kieran Trippier.

The diminutive full-back again managed to find his England team-mate Harry Maguire, whose header was conveniently saved by Mustapha seven minutes into the next half.

England head coach Gareth Southgate determined to make a transform 8 minutes following the hour-mark – pulling out the ineffective Raheem Sterling and he released marksman Marcus Rashford.

The Carthage Eagles were being content to sit back again and launch brief-counter assaults, but they could not examination Pickford, who had a tranquil next half in England’s goal-posts.

On the other hand, the Tunisia defence, which was led by Syam Ben Youssef, looked reliable and organised with England attackers battling to penetrate the backline in the closing levels of the game.

On the other hand, England retained probing and they deservedly snatched a late winning goal via Kane, who scored with a header from the blind spot in stoppage time, with the Tunisia defence exposed, and finally, England emerged 2-1 winners.

Tunisia (1) 1 (Sassi 35′)

England (1) 2 (Kane 11′, 90’+1)

Tunisia: Hassen (Mustapha 15′), S. Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul, Sassi, Sliti (Ben Amor 73′), Skhiri, Bronn, Khazri (Khalifa 85′), Badri, F. Ben Youssef.

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young, Trippier, Henderson, Alli (Loftus-Cheek 80′), Lingard (Dier 90’+2), Sterling (Rashford 68′), Kane.

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Germany vs. Mexico: FIFA World Cup Group F – possible line Ups

World champions Germany get the defence of their title underway against Marco Fabian’s Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday (kick-off: 5 pm CEST/4pm BST/11am ET) with captain Manuel Neuer returning to form and physical fitness at just the correct time.

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The Bayern Munich shot-stopper broke his foot two times in the 2017/18 campaign and was restricted to just three Bundesliga appearances – each and every one of them clean sheets – as the champions sealed their 28th German major-flight title. Getting played a put together 135 minutes in Die Mannschaft’s latest friendlies with Austria and Saudi Arabia, the 32-year-old will guide his team out against Mexico with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen acting as the 1st understudy. Leroy Sane was perhaps the most surprising omission when coach Joachim Löw announced his ultimate 23-man squad for the match, but with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus – like Neuer – again to his finest, the Manchester City winger’s absence could perfectly prove to be negligible.

If Germany had been impressive in winning all 10 of their games in UEFA qualifying portion, Mexico had been not far behind. El Tri only missing a single of their twelve games in the CONCACAF zone – their ultimate a single, against Honduras, when qualification was already assured. In Fabian and Carlos Salcedo, Mexico boasts two players who lifted the DFB Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt, at Bayern’s expenditure, in May. The pair is anticipated to begin, with previous Bayer Leverkusen favourite Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez primary the line.

Possible line-ups

Germany: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector – Kroos, Khedira – Müller, Özil, ReusWerner
Subs: ter Stegen, Ginter, Plattenhardt, Rüdiger, Süle, Brandt, Draxler, Goretzka, Gündogan, Rudy, Gomez, Trapp
Absentees: N/A
Mentor: Joachim Löw

Mexico: Ochoa – Salcedo, Reyes, Moreno, Layun – Marquez, Guardado (c) – Vela, Herrera, Fabian – Chicharito
Subs: Telavera, Alvarez, Ayala, Gallardo, Aquino, G. dos Santos, J. dos Santos, Corona, Jimenez, Lozano, Peralta
Absentees: N/A
Mentor: Juan Carlos Osorio

Match stats

  • Bayern forward Thomas Müller has 10 World Cup goals to his title, the most of any lively player.
  • Germany has played Mexico 13 times, winning 6, with 6 attracts and just a single defeat.
  • The last time the sides satisfied was in the Confederations Cup semi-finals in Russia past June. Germany gained 4-1, with Fabian scoring Mexico’s consolation.
  • The teams have satisfied when just before at the World Cup, with Germany prevailing 2-1 at France ’98, previous United States of America coach Jürgen Klinsmann and latest Germany Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff scoring in Montpellier.
  • This is Germany’s 19th World Cup and they have reached at the minimum the quarter-finals in each and every of the earlier 9 editions, producing it to at minimum the semi-finals at each and every opposition as of 2002.
  • Previous Leverkusen ahead Chicharito is Mexico’s all-time primary goalscorer with 49 goals.
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    2018 World Cup: Group H preview

    2018 World Cup, Group H

    Dates – 19-28 June 2018

    Venues – Saransk, Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Volgograd, Samara

    West African aspect Senegal will glimpse to revive reminiscences of their breathtaking World Cup debut in 2002 when they battle for ascendancy in a large open up Group H at Russia 2018. Colombia, Poland and Japan full a sturdy foursome which promises to be one of the most unpredictable at this year’s tournament.

    Senegal shocked the world sixteen decades back when they initially beat reigning champions France in their opening game before obtaining as far as the quarterfinals – a feat no other African team has bettered before or given that. The ‘Teranga Lions’ are led by manager Aliou Cisse – a veteran of that 2002 team – and boast an admirable array of expertise, nevertheless Liverpool ahead Sadio Mane is the clear celebrity of their team.

    Poland is not the initially identify that arrives at mind when one thinks of Europe’s strongest football nations, but the ‘White Eagles’ arrive into Russia 2018 positioned in the best 10 of FIFA’s world position and they appreciated a good qualification campaign.

    Not only did they best their team forward of Denmark, but they also produced the co-primary scorer in the world-large level of competition: Robert Lewandowski’s sixteen goals ended up matched only by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Sahlawi and UAE’s Ahmed Khalil. Adam Nawalka’s aspect is perfectly-organised, rough-to-beat and boasts loads of practical experience.

    The same can be explained of South American heavyweights Colombia. They finished fourth in the notoriously complicated CONMEBOL qualification zone and have saved alongside one another the core of the team which reached the previous 8 of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    Their star in that tournament was attacker James Rodriguez – the 26-year-old has not long gone on to just take the world by storm, as was envisioned soon after his incredible displaying four decades back and subsequent transfer to Real Madrid (he’s now on the books of Bayern Munich), but he stays a vital cog in Jose Pekerman’s aspect.

    Japan finished best in their AFC qualification team and arrive into Russia 2018 searching to improve on their team phase exit from four decades back. Managed by Akira Nishino, the ‘Samurai Blue’ has a workmanlike team dotted with the occasional standout expertise, these types of as Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki, Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa and Eintracht Frankfurt defensive midfielder Makoto Hasebe, who also serves as the national side’s captain.

    Group H fixtures (all times CAT)

    19 June 2018, 14h00 – Colombia v Japan – Mordovia Arena, Saransk

    19 June 2018, 17h00 – Poland v Senegal – Otkritie Arena, Moscow

    24 June 2018, 17h00 – Japan v Senegal – Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg

    24 June 2018, 20h00 – Poland v Colombia – Kazan Arena, Kazan

    28 June 2018, 16h00 – Japan v Poland – Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

    28 June 2018, 16h00 – Senegal v Colombia – Cosmos Arena, Samara

    Group H head-to-heads (as for each FIFA stats database, in reference to ‘home’ team)

    Colombia v Japan – P3 W2 D1 L0 GF5 GA1

    Poland v Senegal – No preceding matches

    Japan v Senegal – P3 W0 D1 L2 GF2 GA5

    Poland v Colombia – P5 W2 D0 L3 GF8 GA7

    Japan v Poland – P2 W2 D0 L0 GF7 GA0

    Senegal v Colombia – P1 W0 D1 L0 GF2 GA2

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    2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Five Russia players to enjoy

    Russia is not able to boast of any world-renowned stars at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and only two reserve players in the squad, Denis Cheryshev and Vladimir Gabulov, ply their trade abroad. Even so, this does not necessarily mean the Host Country is not able of causing a number of surprises at the event. FIFA.com names the players who have it in them to lead the team and inspire the fans each domestically and abroad.

    Igor Akinfeev, goalkeeper, 32

    Akinfeev’s unshakeable self-self-assurance and charisma are qualities that authorized him to make his intercontinental debut aged only eighteen. At any time due to the fact, he has been the Sbornaya’s, undisputed initial-alternative goalkeeper. Of program, no one is invincible or immune to the occasional mistake, but when Igor is in the zone, finding the ball past him is nigh on extremely hard. Many pundits all around the world are thinking whether the hosts will be ready to offer with the strain at the World Cup on home soil, but this worry will not have crossed Akinfeev’s brain after.

    Sergei Ignashevich, centre-back again, 38

    As stunning as it may seem, the oldest player in the Russian national team is also one of the most inimitable. All through Russian and Soviet football history, no one else has continued playing intercontinental football to such an age. Soon after originally retiring from the Sbornaya two a long time ago, Ignashevich answered the call to return from head coach Stanislav Cherchesov and will again be an essential determinant in defence. In his own words and phrases, “my work is basic: to win back again the ball, give it to my team-mates, present address, play the ball out of defence and assist the team.” Ignashevich does this superior to anyone else in the squad.

    Aleksandr Golovin, attacking midfielder, 22

    At just 22, Golovin is the youngest member of the squad but has now proved himself important to the team’s attack. The agile midfielder is a normal modern player who loves to play in a totally free part, typically dropping deep into midfield or drifting into a centre-forward. He possesses a superb shot, which includes from selection, and is able of scoring some genuinely sublime goals. In spite of his relative deficiency of experience, Russia fans are relying on him previously mentioned all to be their creative spark at the World Cup. The event will also be a prospect for Golovin to place himself in the shop window, as a number of best European clubs are rumoured to be interested in him.

    Fyodor Smolov, striker, 28

    Smolov was in the working to pick up his 3rd consecutive Russian best-scorer award appropriate till the conclusion of the final season, just before at some point losing out to Dutch forward Quincy Promes by a solitary strike. The Sbornaya have a short while ago found goals challenging to occur by, so Smolov is their most important hope in this respect. Throughout Cherchesov’s time at the helm, Smolov has scored 7 goals, which includes a brace against Spain. He is intent on introducing to that tally at the World Cup, wherever he is probable to be deployed as a lone striker.

    Aleksandr Samedov, appropriate winger, 33

    Talking to Samedov, you are remaining in no question as to how fired up he is for Russia 2018. He a short while ago declared, with no a trace of hyperbole, that “it’s the major event of my life.” While not assured a starting place at club level, his part for the national team is not able to be overestimated. In excess of the final number of a long time, his output in conditions of goals and assists put together has been greater than anyone else in the squad. The player made his Sbornaya debut in 2011, played at the World Cup throughout Brazil 2014, but has only a short while ago founded himself as an initial-team normal. He has that scarce ability to arrive in the appropriate place at the appropriate time, an excellent that could assist the team to fulfil the anticipations of tens of millions of fans this summertime.

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    2018 FIFA World Cup Russia- The favourites

    With Russia 2018 just days away, it is currently being greatly prompt that this could be the most open up and unpredictable FIFA World Cup in a long time.

    But while there is a prolonged list of possible winners, discussion of pre-match favourites has tended to focus on 4 star-studded sides. With that in the brain and the massive kick-off looming, FIFA.com takes a nearer search at this quartet of leading contenders.

    BRAZIL

    A team transformed below the astute leadership of Tite, Brazil has been the to start with the country – aside from the hosts – to book their place at Russia 2018. The ghosts of 2014 and that 7-1 walloping by Germany have been exorcised by some exceptional performances, like a current 1- win above the world champions in Munich. Gabriel Jesus, the goalscorer in that match, Alisson and Coutinho have also risen to prominence considering the fact that the very last World Cup, and number among numerous exceptional players in a solid, well-well balanced and united Seleção squad.

    Crucial player: Neymar

    There was a collective consumption of breath when Brazil’s talisman endured a season-ending foot personal injury for Paris Saint-Germain in February. But Neymar, who at 26 now has fifty-four goals for his country and is closing in on Romario, Ronaldo and Pele in the all-time list, is now back again in action. His comeback against Croatia, which featured an excellent specific goal, reminded every person of this superb player’s capability for the remarkable.

    Coach’s watch

    “Brazil is a favourite at the World Cup. By the football introduced, the campaign completed, by level, performance as well as results… we are 1 of the groups [who can win the Trophy], sure.”

    FRANCE

    Didier Deschamps comes at Russia 2018 with a squad crammed entire of specific talent. A mere search at their 23-man list, which incorporates names this sort of as Pogba, Griezmann, Mbappe and Dembele, assures a degree of expectation. Need to Deschamps settle on a method that brings out the very best of this stunning array of stars, he could turn out to be just the 3rd man – soon after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer – to win the Trophy as coach and player.

    Crucial player: Antoine Griezmann

    Superb for the French at UEFA EURO 2016, and the hero once all over again for Atletico Madrid in their current UEFA Europa League last, Griezmann has proved himself to be a man for the massive occasion. Dynamic and fatal, this speedy ahead will all over again be predicted to spearhead Les Bleus’ multi-gifted assault.

    Coach’s watch

    “We have a large amount of ambition but if we search at the other nations, there are two in Europe (Spain and Germany) who are in advance of us, and 1 in South The USA (Brazil).”

    GERMANY

    Retaining the World Cup is notoriously challenging, and no-1 has managed it considering the fact that Brazil in 1962. Germany, on the other hand, gets there at Russia 2018 with a group of players that is arguably even stronger than the 1 that brought them glory 4 many years ago. Their victory at the FIFA Confederations Cup with a youthful squad heralded the arrival of youngsters this sort of as Timo Werner, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich, all of whom are all set and ready to contribute to the team’s impending title defence.

    Crucial player: Mesut Ozil

    Good on his day, and a stalwart of Low’s Germany, Ozil has been criticised in current many years for his inconsistency for both of those clubs and country. He stays as gifted and inventive as ever, nevertheless, and if the holders are to retain their Trophy, they will have to have their assist king at his creative very best.

    Coach’s watch

    “Germany will be hunted like never ahead of, and near-superhuman forces will be desired if we want to stop up getting world champions all over again.”

    SPAIN

    After early exits at Brazil 2014 and UEFA EURO 2016, Spain has rediscovered their swagger and approach Russia 2018 in wonderful fettle. In mixing heroes of the team that won three successive major titles between 2008 and 2012 with a new technology of exciting players, Julen Lopetegui appears to be like to have found the fantastic blend. Superb showings in qualifying, and against massive-name friendly opponents, have strengthened the belief that this is hungry and hugely gifted Spain facet is all set to go the length.

    Crucial player: David Silva

    However a veteran of well above 100 internationals and a member of Spain’s golden technology, Silva tended to play a supporting job throughout that aforementioned, silverware-laden 4- year time period. Now, aged 32, he is 1 of the team’s undisputed stars, with sparkling performances and five goals throughout qualifying getting cemented the Manchester City hero’s place at the coronary heart of Julen Lopetegui’s designs.

    Coach’s watch

    “You generate the title of the favourite when you win. Spanish football has lived through a remarkable time period in 2008, 2010 and 2012, but soon after that, the team has not found the exact consistency or success. We have the major ambitions but we get there at this World Cup experience humble and seeking to verify ourselves.”

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    2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – News – Vintage Kawashima aims to scale new heights with Japan

    Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima heads to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ with an obvious goal to realise: to make up for their coronary heart-breaking Round-of-16 exit at South Africa 2010.

    8 yrs ago, Kawashima was selected into the Japan squad as a backup to Seigo Narazaki. With the competition kicking off, however, he emerged as the surprise starting off goalkeeper in the choice to the initial-alternative custodian because of to some standout performances in the course of pre-match friendlies. He duly seized the alternatives, excelling throughout as the Samurai Blue progressed from a team which also highlighted the Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon.

    That marked Japan’s initial development to the knockout phase on foreign soil. Though it is surely an achievement to be happy of, it was their loss against Paraguay in the second spherical meeting that Kawashima nonetheless laments. In simple fact, Kawashima and Co impressed against the South Individuals by keeping them goalless after a hundred and twenty minutes, only to lose out 5-3 in the penalty shoot-out.

    “We have been so unhappy by the result in 2010,” the 35-year-old explained to FIFA.com in a unique interview. “We came so close to achieving the last eight. But in the conclude we skipped the prospect. Hunting back, I believe that some specifics made the difference and made a decision the result.”

    A collection of star players from that 2010 squad, like Kawashima, highlighted for Japan at Brazil 2014 where they failed to progress past the team phase. 4 yrs on, these similar cogs continue being in the skilled core of the recent squad heading to their third FIFA World Cup. Kawashima believes that they will never let the prospect slip away this time all around.

    “The recent team have much more skilled players than before,” he mentioned. “Various of us will play in our third World Cup. Meanwhile, there are a host of younger players who has made rapid progress. These children boast greater self-assurance. So with a mix of skilled veterans and talented youth players, I am self-assured that we are able of building heritage in Russia.”

    Vintage goalkeeper
    Japan will open their Russia 2018 campaign by reacquainting on their own with none other than team favourites Colombia, who dealt them their last blow at Brazil 2014 in a 4-1 defeat. Past them lie encounters with Senegal and Poland. In spite of the overwhelming tasks in advance, Kawashima maintains that they have bought on their own organized to fare far better than 4 yrs ago.

    “I believe this team is huge open and each team have chances of their very own. Our team goals are easy – to concentrate on how to progress to the next spherical. We failed to conduct nicely in the last World Cup in Brazil so we are particularly determined to do our work far better this time,” he extra.

    The common check out is that a goalkeeper’s worth improves in excess of the yrs like a vintage wine. So it is with Kawashima, who stays Japan’s undisputed No1 even, however, he is the oldest member of the squad.

    “I am fortuitous to have contributed to the national team for so numerous yrs. Now I am the oldest of the team. As a veteran, I will consider to direct the team in a good way and to get the finest doable outcomes.”

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    2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – Information – Nainggolan misses out as Martinez names Belgium squad

    Roberto Martinez has named a star-studded provisional Belgium squad for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup, but there is no place for Roma’s Radja Nainggolan in his 28-man pool.

    Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Edin Hazard and Vincent Kompany are amid the significant names on whom the Belgians will be pinning their hopes, although the likes of Christian Benteke and Nasser Chadli have been picked in spite of complicated seasons at club amount. Lukaku and Hazard could also be joined in Russia by their brothers, with Thorgan Hazard and Jordan Lukaku amid the 28 picked at this stage.

    The omission of Nainggolan inevitably dominated the squad’s unveiling even though, with Martinez insisting that the controversial determination was determined purely by tactical considerations.

    “Initial and foremost, we all know Radja is a top player, there is no concern about that,” Martinez instructed an information convention. “It is a tactical cause. In the last two yrs, the team has laboured in an offensive way, in a quite specific manner.

    “In the scenario of Radja, we all know he has a quite significant role at club amount and I do not feel we can give him that in the national team. I travelled to see him yesterday in Rome and we experienced a quite excellent conversation.

    “The determination is not a straightforward a person, I understand how popular the player is, but we have to develop the team to try to grow to be a successful team. It is purely a tactical determination.”

    All squads are provisional right until the last checklist of 23 players is introduced by FIFA, subsequent to their submission by participating teams, on 4 June.

    Provisional Belgium squad

    Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg/Germany), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea/England), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool/England), Mats Sels (Newcastle United/England)

    Defenders:  Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur/England), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic/Scotland), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles FC/United states of america), Christian Kabasele (Watford/England), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City/England), Jordan Lukaku (Lazio/Italy), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain/England), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona/Spain), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur/England)

    Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion/England), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/England), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur/England), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht/Belgium), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United/England), Youri Tielemans (Monaco/France), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian/China PR)

    Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/England), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace/England), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang/China PR), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/England), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach/Germany), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad/Spain), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United/England), Dries Mertens (Napoli/Italy)

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    2018 FIFA World Cup Russia -Southgate names provisional England squad

    England manager Gareth Southgate has named a 23-man provisional squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, with a couple of surprise names generating the reduce in a youthful-looking record.

    The most noteworthy inclusions see uncapped duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nick Pope named, though Chelsea‘s Ruben Loftus-Cheek – who has expended the 2017/18 season on personal loan at Crystal Palace – also will make the squad in spite of possessing never ever made a competitive appearance for the Three Lions.

    The most noteworthy omission is the seasoned Joe Hart, who has just concluded a hard season at West Ham United, and was England‘s goalkeeper at the past 3 important tournaments: UEFA EURO 2012, Brazil 2014 and EURO 2016.

    Southgate has named five standby players for Russia 2018: Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana, Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, his club team-mate James Tarkowski, 2017 FIFA U-twenty World Cup-profitable captain Lewis and Jake Livermore of West Bromwich Albion,

    Southgate claimed the 23 names he chosen are “a squad which we can be enthusiastic about.”

    “It is a younger group,” he advised TheFA.com, “but with some actually essential senior players so I sense the equilibrium of the squad is excellent, both of those in phrases of its experience, its character and also the positional equilibrium.

    “We have a good deal of electrical power and athleticism in the team, but players that are similarly cosy in possession of the ball and I believe men and women can see the style of play we’ve been looking to produce.”

    “The very first call-up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we choose younger players, it is not just because they are younger, it is because their performances are worthy of it.”

    All squads are provisional till the remaining record of 23 players is declared by FIFA, next to their submission by participating teams, on 4 June.

    England squad

    Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope

    Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Fabian Delph, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young

    Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek

    Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck

    On standby: Lewis, Tom Heaton, Adam Lallana, Jake Livermore, James Tarkowski

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    2018 FIFA World Cup Russia volunteers uniform unveiled

    Just as every country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ has its possess unique and easily recognisable playing kit, so does the premier team included behind the scenes at the match: the volunteers! On 30 April, a presentation was held to unveil the eye-catching uniform that all volunteers from the Nearby Organising Committee (LOC) will be donning the FIFA World Cup.

    The uniform, created by FIFA’s sponsor company adidas, was unveiled at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Football Park in Ekaterinburg. A group of volunteers modelled the outfit on an improvised runway for the community, which incorporated a very specific guest: France 1998 World Cup winner Marcel Desailly, who was in Russia’s easternmost Host City for the weekend to attend the opening of the park. The FIFA Legend inspired absolutely everyone present with his positivity and incredible mindset. Afterwards, he shared his impressions of the uniform and conference the volunteers.

    “It’s difficult to think about the FIFA World Cup without the need of volunteers. Extra than seventeen,000 folks will be aiding each organiser and fans, and now we can say they’ll be easily recognisable far too, as the uniform is not only at ease and stylish, but also eye-catching,” reported Desailly. “I’ve previously chatted with some of them these days and I can see that they are incredibly constructive folks, who will be completely ready to enable at any second through the World Cup.”

    “Volunteers are our main assistants, they not an only health supplement the function of the organisers in quite a few different factors of getting ready and staging the FIFA World Cup, but also develop the tournament’s unique atmosphere,” reported the CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC Alexey Sorokin. “We’re very pleased that our volunteers have received an easily recognisable and eye-catching uniform, which will enable our visitors to pick them out in a crowd and build a pleased, celebratory mood between supporters and individuals at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.”

    The designers have performed an outstanding occupation and the uniform, which has included factors of the 2018 FIFA World Cup model image, looks genuinely great. Most importantly, it will be uncomplicated to pick out volunteers for enabling and guidance through the match. The outfits and footwear do not just glance fantastic, they are at ease and purposeful as properly. The total kit incorporates a t-shirt, jacket, trousers, trainers, baseball cap, rucksack, shoe bag and raincoat. For the relaxation of their lives, the uniform will be a souvenir of the volunteers’ working experience of helping out at the FIFA World Cup.

    Adidas has been FIFA’s sponsor to the fact 1970 and this is not the very first time they have intended a uniform for volunteers at a single of the world governing body’s tournaments. For illustration, they provided the volunteer uniforms at final year’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

    In the final thirty day period-and-a-50 percent just before the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off, the volunteers are undergoing their ultimate preparations for the levels of competition. Having previously finished most of their schooling, they are now getting part in taking a look at matches at stadiums and will quickly have a lot more coaching classes at World Cup sites in all Host Cities. At that point, all the volunteers will be completely ready to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the extended-awaited very first FIFA World Cup to be held on Russian soil.

    Ogenyi Onazi desires to make Nigerians proud in Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup

    Ogenyi Onazi desires to make Nigerians proud in Russia

     Ogenyi Onazi,Nigeria

    Ogenyi Onazi


    Nigeria’s global midfielder Ogenyi Onazi suggests he has developed in leaps and bounds since generating his debut for the Tremendous Eagles for a long time in the past. Onazi made his debut in the course of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and points have been relatively demanding although donning the Tremendous Eagles environmentally friendly.

    Just after failing to qualify for successive 2015 and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for the initially time in about forty a long time, he admits the place was struggling. “At that minute we experienced a lot of issues in the place, with the federation, between the players and there was a lot of confusion in the team,” Onazi admitted to FIFA.com. “We did not give up mainly because we experienced the option to demonstrate we were really a team and we were capable to make it. “We just advised ourselves we have to do this for all people we gave all our hearts from working day one to the pretty final.” However, in advance of the 2018 global tournament’s version, the Trabzonspor player extra that he desires to make persons pleased and proud of the team.
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    “This is my goal in lifestyle: To make persons pleased and to make certain that they have hopes that points are likely to be improved in lifestyle,” extra Onazi. “It was a really good minute for us. We experienced to celebrate it pretty effectively with our captain John Mikel Obi.”

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    Africa’s 2018 World Cup teams to receive $500,000 – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


    CAF 1st Vice President, Kwesi Nyantakyi

    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Saturday Dec 02, 2017. 12:00


    The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will give US$500,000 to each the of the continent’s 2018 FIFA World Cup teams.

    Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia will receive the money ahead of next year’s finals in Russia.

    CAF released the following statement on their official website.

    “At its last meeting held on 16 November 2017 in Rabat, Morocco, the CAF Executive Committee decided to set up an ad hoc committee chaired by the CAF 1st Vice President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, to map out a kind of support to be provided to African representatives to the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.

    “The committee, which has CAF Executive Committee member Kalusha Bwalya and presidents of the Football Associations of the five qualified countries as members, met in Moscow, Russia, on the sidelines of the draw for the FIFA World Cup scheduled for 1 December 2017.

    “At the meeting, it was decided that CAF will grant a financial subsidy of $500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand dollars) to each of the five African teams. The financial package will be used mainly to strengthen and improve the technical supervision of each team.

    “In addition, CAF will provide each African representative with “fieldwiz” equipment, a technological device and physical performance measuring tool for outdoor team sports players,” a statement read.



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    Eric Bailly – Ivorian defender threatened by rival’s form – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


    Eric Bailly (L) of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League match

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Friday Dec 01, 2017. 19:00


    Eric Bailly may have a tough time getting back into Manchester United’s starting XI following the impressive form shown by rival and teammate Victor Lindelof.

    Though the Swedish defender has taken his time to settle at Old Trafford following a big-money move from Benfica in the European summer, he has impressed in United’s last two matches and may have jumped ahead in the pecking order for central defenders.

    The Swede was composed in the 1-0 and 4-2 wins over Brighton and Watford respectively and may have done enough to claim a starting place for the big game away to Arsenal tomorrow evening.

    Bailly also faces competition from the return of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones from injury, though Jose Mourinho’s use of a back three in the win at Vicarage Road in midweek means an abundance of centre-backs is needed.

    The Ivorian remains one of the Red Devils’ best ‘natural’ defenders and will surely see plenty of action, especially over the busy upcoming festive season, when games come thick and fast and squad rotation becomes more prevalent.

    If Bailly doesn’t make the cut for the match at Emirates Stadium tomorrow, he is at least likely to see action in next week’s UEFA Champions League match at home to CSKA Moscow, where United will be looking to confirm their place in the last 16.



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    African teams learn 2018 World Cup group rivals – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Friday Dec 01, 2017. 18:37


    The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals was conducted at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Friday.

    Thirty-two teams including five African nations were drawn into eight groups of four.

    Egypt, who qualified for the finals for the first time since 1990, were pitted against Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and the host nation, Russia.

    Their North African rivals Morocco were drawn into Group B along with Portugal, Spain and Iran. Morocco will make their sixth appearance in the finals next year.

    Three-time African champions Nigeria, who will also make their sixth appearance in the finals next year, were drawn into Group D along with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia.

    North African giants Tunisia were pitted against Panama, England and Belgium in Group G. Tunisia qualified for the finals for the first time since 2006.

    Lastly, West African side Senegal are in Group H along with Poland, Colombia and Japan. Senegal will make their second appearance in the finals in Russia.

    Group A – Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

    Group B – Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

    Group C – France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

    Group D – Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

    Group E – Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F – Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

    Group G – Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

    Group H – Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan



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    2018 FIFA World Cup Draw – As it happened – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Friday Dec 01, 2017. 18:34


    That’s all from Russia where we witnessed the draw for the #FIFAWorldCup2018.

    Complete #FIFAWorldCup2018 draw

    Nigeria are the last African team to be drawn. They are in Group D along side Iceland, Croatia and Argentina, who recently lost to Nigeria in a friendly match.

    Group D is also complete and African side Morocco have joined Spain, Iran and Portugal.

    We are done with Group A  which features Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay, who won the first ever World Cup tournament as hosts.

    Senegal, who qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 16 years, are drawn into Group H. They join Poland and Colombia.

    African side Tunisia are drawn into Group G. They will play their first game against England.

    Pot 3 side Egypt are the first African nation to be drawn. They join Uruguay and Russia in Group A.

    England and Colombia drawn into Group G and Group H respectively.

    Pot 2 teams Peru and Croatia join France, and Argentina in Group C and Group D respectively. While Switzerland and Mexico join Brazil, and Germany in Group D and E respectively.

    We are done with Pot 1. Pot 2’s Uruguay join Russia in Group A, while Spain join Portugal in Group B.

    Germany and Belgium are drawn into Group F, and Group G respectively. The last Pot 1 team Poland are drawn into Group H.

    Pot 1 teams Portugal and France are drawn into Group B, and Group C respectively. While Argentina and Brazil are drawn into Group D and Group E respectively.

    The draw has finally started. Russia, who are the host nation, automatically go into Group A.

    England legend Gary Lineker explaining how the #FIFAWorldCup2018 will be conducted.

    The trophy has arrived! Legendary German striker Miroslav Klose brought it on stage. He is the top goalscorer in the history of the FIFA World Cup having scored 16 goals in the global tournament.

    We are just a few minutes away from the . Five African teams have qualified for next year’s tournament.

    The Nigeria Football Federation official delegation are present at the  draw in Moscow.

    Russia state president Vladimir Putin is opening the # draw here in Moscow.

    The teams are placed in pots one to four from highest to lowest FIFA ranking with the exception of Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, who are automatically placed in pot one alongside the top seeds.

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw which takes place today at 17:00 CAT (18:00 local time) from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.

     



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    PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Khalid Boutaib – Moroccan forward to lead club side out of trouble – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


    Khalid Boutaib of Morocco

    by
    Bertin Basson

    Friday Dec 01, 2017. 10:00


    Moroccan forward Khalid Boutaib will be aiming to lead his club side up the Süper Lig standings when they return to action this coming weekend.

    Yeni Malatyaspor, who currently sit in 13th spot on the log standings, are away to Akhisarspor on Saturday afternoon.

    Boutaib played 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw against Besiktas in the club’s latest league fixture, but remained on the bench in a midweek cup defeat to Osmanlispor.

    MOROCCO’S BEST AND WORST CASE DRAW SCENARIOS

    Boutaib has bagged six goals in 12 games this season for Yeni Malatyaspor, with 30-year-old the third highest scoring African in the league. Former English Premier League stars Emmanuel Adebayor and Arouna Kone have scored eight and seven goals apiece

    The league’s leading scorer is Frenchman Bafetimbi Gomis who has scored 13 goals for Galatasaray this season.

    The Atlas Lions will today discover their group opponents for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, having booked their return to the world showpiece for the first time in 20 years.



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    Senegal best and worst case draw scenarios – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    Sadio Mane of Senegal celebrates a goal with teammates during the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers football match between South Africa and Senegal at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 10 November 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Thursday Nov 30, 2017. 18:30


    Ahead of tomorrow’s draw for the 2018 World Cup, AfricanFootball looks at both the best and worst case group stage scenarios for Senegal’s Teranga Lions.

    Which pot are Senegal in?

    The West Africans are in Pot 3 due to their world ranking position (32) in October, which determined which section of the draw teams were assigned to.

    Which teams can they be drawn against?

    – One of the teams in Pot 1: Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France

    – One of the teams in Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Croatia

    – One of the following teams in Pot 4: Serbia, Australia, Japan, Panama, South Korea and Saudi Arabia

    Which teams can they not be drawn against?

    All of the other teams in Pot 3 – Tunisia, Egypt, Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden and Iran – as well as the two Africans teams in Pot 4: Nigeria and Morocco.

    What’s their best-case scenario?

    From Pot 1, Senegal will want to draw Russia. The 2018 hosts are easily the weakest team in that pool. Short of getting the home side, Belgium and Poland are probably a touch overrated and have traditionally struggled at big tournaments.

    From Pot 2 they’ll want to draw Peru, who haven’t been to the World Cup since 1982, or one of England, Switzerland or Croatia – they’re all fine teams, but not as powerful and dangerous as the likes of Spain, Uruguay and Mexico.

    From Pot 4 the Teranga Lions will want Panama, who are making their tournament debut, or the lowest ranked team, Saudi Arabia. Though none of the others – Serbia, Australia, Japan and South Korea – are particularly intimidating either.

    Summary: Senegal’s dream group stage draw would see them pooled with Russia, Peru and Panama/Saudi Arabia.

    And their worst?

    As a combination, this is about as bad as it could get for Senegal: South American heavyweights Brazil from Pot 1, 2010 champions Spain from Pot 2 and Serbia from Pot 4. You could swap out Brazil for Argentina and it would be just as tough, or go with Germany from Pot 1 and Colombia or Uruguay from Pot 2. There are plenty of combinations to get African fans nervous.

    Summary: A group with Brazil, Spain and Serbia would represent the worst case for the Teranga Lions.



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    Egypt best and worst case draw scenarios – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Essam El Hadary of Egypt celebrates after saving Bertrand Traore of Burkina Faso penalty in shootout, embraced by teammates during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon semifinal football match between Burkina Faso and Egypt at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 01 February 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Thursday Nov 30, 2017. 18:00


    Ahead of tomorrow’s draw for the 2018 World Cup, AfricanFootball looks at both the best and worst case group stage scenarios for Egypt’s Pharaohs.

    Which pot are Egypt in?

    The North Africans are in Pot 3 due to their world ranking position (32) in October, which determined which section of the draw teams were assigned to.

    Which teams can they be drawn against?

    – One of the teams in Pot 1: Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France

    – One of the teams in Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Croatia

    – One of the following teams in Pot 4: Serbia, Australia, Japan, Panama, South Korea and Saudi Arabia

    Which teams can they not be drawn against?

    All of the other teams in Pot 3 – Tunisia, Senegal, Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden and Iran – as well as the two Africans teams in Pot 4: Nigeria and Morocco.

    What’s their best-case scenario?

    From Pot 1, Egypt will want to draw Russia. The 2018 hosts are easily the weakest team in that pool. Short of getting the home side, Belgium and Poland are probably a touch overrated and have traditionally struggled at big tournaments.

    From Pot 2 they’ll want to draw Peru, who haven’t been to the World Cup since 1982, or one of England, Switzerland or Croatia – they’re all fine teams, but not as powerful and dangerous as the likes of Spain, Uruguay and Mexico.

    From Pot 4 the Pharaohs will want Panama, who are making their tournament debut, or the lowest ranked team, Saudi Arabia. Though none of the others – Serbia, Australia, Japan and South Korea – are particularly intimidating either.

    Summary: Egypt’s dream group stage draw would see them pooled with Russia, Peru and Panama/Saudi Arabia.

    And their worst?

    As a combination, this is about as bad as it could get for Egypt: South American heavyweights Brazil from Pot 1, 2010 champions Spain from Pot 2 and Serbia from Pot 4. You could swap out Brazil for Argentina and it would be just as tough, or go with Germany from Pot 1 and Colombia or Uruguay from Pot 2. There are plenty of combinations to get African fans nervous.

    Summary: A group with Brazil, Spain and Serbia would represent the worst case for the Pharaohs.



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    Morocco’s best and worst case draw scenarios – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Herve Renard, coach of Morocco and players celebrates a victory during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Morocco and Ivory Coast at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Thursday Nov 30, 2017. 15:30


    Ahead of tomorrow’s draw for the 2018 World Cup, AfricanFootball looks at both the best and worst case group stage scenarios for Morocco’s Atlas Lions.

    Which pot are Morocco in?

    The North Africans are in Pot 4 because their world ranking in October (48) put them amongst the eight lowest-rated teams to qualify for Russia 2018.

    Which teams can they be drawn against?

    – One of the teams in Pot 1: Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France

    – One of the teams in Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Croatia

    – One of the following teams in Pot 3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Iran

    Which teams can they not be drawn against?

    All of the other teams in Pot 4 – Nigeria, Serbia, Australia, Japan, Panama, South Korea and Saudi Arabia – as well as the three Africans teams in Pot 3: Tunisia, Egypt and Senegal.

    What’s their best-case scenario?

    From Pot 1, Morocco will want to draw Russia. The 2018 hosts are easily the weakest team in that pool. Short of getting the home side, Belgium and Poland are probably a touch overrated and have traditionally struggled at big tournaments.

    From Pot 2 they’ll want to draw Peru, who haven’t been to the World Cup since 1982, or one of England, Switzerland or Croatia – they’re all fine teams, but not as powerful and dangerous as the likes of Spain, Uruguay and Mexico.

    From Pot 3 the Atlas Lions will want to draw Iceland, who are making their tournament debut and have overachieved just by qualifying. But in truth, none of the other teams from Pot 3 are particularly strong.

    Summary: Morocco’s dream group stage draw would see them pooled with Russia, Peru and Iceland.

    And their worst?

    It couldn’t get much worse than drawing reigning world champions Germany from Pot 1, 2010 winners Spain from Pot 2 and then Costa Rica from Pot 3 (because you can only have two European teams in a group).

    Or how about Brazil from Pot 1, Spain from Pot 2 and Denmark from Pot 3? Either way, that’s about as bad as it can get for Morocco.

    Summary: Germany, Spain and Costa Rica, or Brazil, Spain and Denmark – either would represent the worst case for the Atlas Lions.



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    PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Idrissa Gueye – We will make Senegalese people proud at 2018 World Cup – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Thursday Nov 30, 2017. 10:00


    The Everton FC midfielder has reflected on Senegal’s successful 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

    His club has struggled in the English Premier League (EPL) this season which has resulted in the departure of coach Ronald Koeman, who has since been replaced by Sam Allardyce.

    Gueye, who remains one of the most important players for Everton, has at least enjoyed the escapism of helping Senegal qualify for the World Cup.

    The holding midfielder was 12 when Senegal first reached the tournament in South Korea and Japan in 2002.

    In those days Gueye was playing barefoot on sandy roads with rocks for goalposts.

    “I was in my village as a boy at that time and when Senegal score everyone is going out and celebrating,” Gueye told Daily Mail.

    “I will never forget this moment – it was the first time Senegal was at the World Cup.

    “Now it’s the second time we have qualified and hopefully we make the people of Senegal proud.”

    Gueye, who is a key player for Senegal, played eight games during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

    The 28-year-old helped Everton beat West Ham United 4-0 in an EPL match on Wednesday.

    He played the entire match which was played at the iconic Goodison Park.



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    Obafemi Martins likely to return to Nigeria squad – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Eagles striker Obafemi Martins against Swaziland in Lobambo

    by
    Phumzile Ngcatshe

    Thursday Nov 30, 2017. 09:30


    Nigerian national team scout Victor Agali has hinted that striker Obafemi Martins and midfielder Joel Obi could make their return to the Super Eagles squad.

    Igali has warned the team’s fans not to be surprised if the duo is called up by coach Gernot Rohr for their games next year.

    Martins ended the season in spectacular form for Chinese Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua, whilst Obi has impressed Rohr with his displays for Italian side Torino.

    Their form has caught the attention of Rohr, and according to Agali, the duo are set for a recall to the team next year, but they have to keep ‎working hard.

    “All players who are currently performing to expectation in their respective club sides have equal chance,” Agali said to Sportsvillagesquare.

    “The coach {Rohr] is a disciplinarian who welcomes players based on merit.

    “Don’t be surprised to see the likes of in-form Obafemi Martins, Joel Obi and others returning to the team, and I myself won’t hesitate to scout for more legs that will help maintain the good form.”



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    Morocco’s Adel Taarabt linked with Spanish move – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 18:30


    Genoa’s Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt has been linked with a move to Spain’s La Liga following his strong form this season.

    The 28-year-old Atlas Lions player has been a standout figure for Genoa in Serie A, making 13 appearances (12 starts) and racking up two goals.

    His efforts have mostly been in vain, with Genoa sitting just above the relegation zone after 14 rounds, but they have attracted attention from elsewhere in Europe.

    Calcio Mercato reports that Taarabt is being closely monitored by Spanish giants Sevilla (amongst others), who are poised to make a move for the player at the end of the season.

    The versatile attacking midfielder is currently on loan at Genoa from Portuguese side Benfica, and has also featured for Lens, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers, Fulham, Fulham and Milan in his club career.



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    AfricanFootball’s guide to the 2018 World Cup draw – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Sadio Mane of Senegal celebrates a goal with teammates during the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers football match between South Africa and Senegal at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 10 November 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 17:00


    AfricanFootball presents a guide to the upcoming draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    When and where will the draw be held?

    The draw will be conducted at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Friday, December 1, beginning at 17h00 CAT. However, there are likely to be multiple ceremonies and speeches before any balls are drawn out of pots.

    Can I follow the draw live?

    Yes, we’ll have live updates right here on AfricanFootball.com, starting at 17h00 CAT.

    How does it work?

    The 32 teams which will play in the tournament next year have been separated into four pots of eight each, based on FIFA’s world rankings in October.

    Pot 1 features the seven highest-ranked teams as well as hosts Russia, who have automatically been assigned to the first position in Group A.

    Pot 2 is comprised of the next eight best-ranked teams, and so on through Pots 3 and 4.

    When the draw is conducted, one team from each pot will be assigned to a group, A through H.

    However, the one complication is that teams from the same confederation cannot be drawn together in the same group.

    For example, Senegal and Nigeria are both CAF (African) teams and therefore cannot be grouped together.

    This rule does not apply to UEFA (European) teams, who can have up to two teams in the same group.

    What is the line-up for each pot?

    Pot 1 is made up of Russia (hosts, world ranking 65), Germany (1), Brazil (2), Portugal (3), Argentina (4), Belgium (5), Poland (6) and France (7).

    Pot 2 is made up of Spain (8), Peru (10), Switzerland (11), England (12), Colombia (13), Mexico (16), Uruguay (17) and Croatia (18).

    Pot 3 is made up of Denmark (19), Iceland (21), Costa Rica (22), Sweden (25), Tunisia (28), Egypt (30), Senegal (32) and Iran (34).

    Pot 4 is made up of Serbia (38), Nigeria (41), Australia (43), Japan (44), Morocco (48), Panama (49), South Korea (62) and Saudi Arabia (63).

    What’s the best/worst-case scenario for the African teams?

    Let’s use Nigeria as an example, and their best-case scenario is to be pooled in Group A with Russia (easily the weakest team in Pot 1) and get Peru or Mexico from Pot 2 and Iceland or Iran from Pot 3.

    Their worst-case scenario is to get reigning champions Germany from Pot 1, Spain from Pot 2 and Costa Rica (since there can be only two European teams per group) from Pot 3.

    Obviously there are numerous permutations that could play out for each of the five African teams, but the bottom line is that at least four of them will have two teams in their group ranked inside the world’s top 20.



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    Chelsea manager: Victor Moses an important player for us – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Chelsea’s Victor Moses (L) in action against Arsenal‘s Danny Welbeck (R) during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 15:00


    Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted that the injury-enforced absence of Nigerian star Victor Moses has been a major blow to his team.

    The Super Eagles wide-man has missed the last nine matches across all competitions for Chelsea, having picked up an injury in a 2-1 loss against Crystal Palace in mid-October.

    Moses began training with the first team last week and was an unused substitute in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool this past weekend.

    He could well make his comeback into the team during tonight’s Premier League clash at home to Swansea City.

    “He is in contention but at the same time I have to make the best decision for every player,” Conte was quoted as saying by Football.London.

    “For sure Victor is back from a bad injury and needs a bit of time to find the best physical condition. He is an important player for us.”



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    Gernot Rohr extends his contract with Nigeria until 2020 – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


    by
    Phumzile Ngcatshe

    Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 09:00


    Super Eagles of Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr has penned a new two-year deal until 2020.

    The Nigerian Football Federation has decided to tie down the German manager after masterminding their qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with one game to spare.

    Rohr was appointed on an initial two-year contract in August 2016 until 2018, taking over a team in turmoil following Sunday Oliseh’s reign.

    Announcing the contract extension, NFF boss Amaju Pinnick said the federation was impressed by Rohr’s work ethic.

    “When we saw the draw for the World Cup, we knew we were condemned [by a tough group] and we determined that we must overcome it,” Pinnick quoted by ESPN.

    “The first thing we identified was that we needed a new coach so we reached out to Arsene Wenger, to Gerard Houllier, and one name kept coming to the fore: Rohr.

    “Now we have no regrets about hiring him and he has proven himself not just by qualifying for the World Cup, but with the foundation he is laying for our team, which now has young players from the age of 19, [he is] doing well.

    “That is why, as we launch this fan engagement platform, I am proud and happy to announce that we have extended Rohr’s contract for another two years, and paid him his wages until December 2017.”

    Rohr’s new deal means this is the first time that a Super Eagles coach has had his contract renewed before a World Cup as Pinnick launched the NFF’s campaign to take 100 fans to Russia



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    Nigeria and Egypt headline CAF Award nominee list – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Rohr with Eagles skipper Mikel

    by
    Staff Reporter

    Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 17:30


    The Confederation of African Football has announced a list of nominees to vie for a number of CAF Awards come January next year.

    Among those nominated is Egypt coach Hector Cúper who will hope to bag the CAF Coach of the Year Award after guiding the Pharaohs to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

    The 62-year-old is joined on the shortlist by Wydad Casablanca manager Hussein Amotta, whose side lifted the CAF Champions League title, and 2018 CAF African Cup of Nations winning coach with Cameroon, Hugo Broos.

    On the other hand, Nigeria national team manager Gemot Rohr and TP Mazembe’s Mihayo Kazembe are also set to battle for the ward.

    Rohr guided the Super Eagles to the World Cup whilst Mihayo led the Congolese side to the CAF Confederation Cup title.

    Meanwhile, Egypt have been nominated for the 2017 African National Team of the Year after reaching their first World Cup in 28 years and their first AFCON final in seven years.

    2018 African champions, the Indomitable Lions and World Cup participants Nigeria have also been named in the shortlist whilst Zambia U20 and Mali U17 sides are part of the list.

    Al Ahly are also in the running for the CAF African Club of the Year Award after a winning the Premier League unbeaten, reclaimed the Egyptian Cup for the first time since 2007, as well as reaching the CAF Champions League final.



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    A brief history of the FIFA World Cup – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 15:30


    With the 2018 FIFA World Cup set be hosted in Russia from 14 June to 15 July, we present a brief history of football’s most beloved tournament.

    The success of football as an Olympic Sport in the early 20th century inspired FIFA (the world governing body of football, which was founded in 1904) to create its own international tournament outside of the Olympics – the World Cup was born.

    The first tournament was held in Uruguay in 1930 and featured 13 teams. A total of 18 matches were played and the hosts were crowned the first World Cup champions on 30 July 1930 in the capital Montevideo, when they defeated Argentina 4-2 in the final.

    Two further World Cups were held in 1934 and 1938 (both won by Italy on European soil) before the outbreak of World War II forced the cancellation of the proposed 1942 and 1946 tournaments. The 1934 finals in Italy also featured a landmark for African football, with Egypt becoming the first team from the continent to appear at the tournament.

    The World Cup was reborn in 1950 and featured one of the tournament’s most famous matches in history, the ‘Maracanazo’ when Uruguay stunned hosts Brazil in Rio de Janeiro to snatch the trophy out of their hands and claim a second world title.

    Yet Brazil would shrug off the heartbreak and become the dominant force in world football, as they went on to win three World Cups in the space of four tournaments from 1958 to 1970.

    The 1970 event in Mexico is widely regarded as the greatest World Cup: this is partly because it was the first to have a truly global broadcast, the first in colour television and, last but not least, it featured a truly magnificent Brazilian team.

    Led by Pele, undoubtedly one of the greatest players ever, the ‘Selecao’ swept all before them and their attacking style reached a crescendo in the final in Mexico City when they crushed Italy 4-1.

    The tournament has since expanded to 24 teams (1982 to 1994) and then 32 (1998 onwards), allowing further representation from North and Central America, Asia and Africa.

    For the latter continent, the World Cup has remained a difficult challenge for its teams to come to terms with: Africa has yet to produce a semifinalist at the global tournament, with the high water mark being the quarterfinal appearances of Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010).

    The expansion of the World Cup has not been limited to the number of participants – the geographic areas of the globe the tournament has been staged in have expanded as well.

    The World Cup went to the United States for the first time in 1994, South Korea and Japan became both the first co-hosts and Asian countries to stage the tournament in 2002, while South Africa proved herself a worthy venue for the global showpiece with a flawless 2010 finals.

    Next year will see the World Cup go to Russia for the first time – something which was almost inconceivable at the time of the Cold War – while the Middle East will have its first tournament in Qatar 2022.

    Through all this change and expansion, South America and Europe remain the dominant on-field forces – the World Cup has yet to produce a champion from outside of these two traditional power bases of the sport.

    It’s unlikely that this hegemony will be broken in Russia next year, but the beauty of football has always been it’s ability to produce a surprise: perhaps the 21st World Cup will be the global event where the ‘Beautiful Game’ truly defies expectation.

    World Cup history: Year – Host country – Champions

    1930 – Uruguay – Uruguay

    1934 – Italy – Italy

    1938 – France – Italy

    1950 – Brazil – Uruguay

    1954 – Switzerland – West Germany

    1958 – Sweden – Brazil

    1962 – Chile – Brazil

    1966 – England – England

    1970 – Mexico – Brazil

    1974 – West Germany – West Germany

    1978 – Argentina – Argentina

    1982 – Spain – Italy

    1986 – Mexico – Argentina

    1990 – Italy – West Germany

    1994 – USA – Brazil

    1998 – France – France

    2002 – South Korea & Japan – Brazil

    2006 – Germany – Italy

    2010 – South Africa – Spain

    2014 – Brazil – Germany



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    PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Kalidou Koulibaly – Senegal’s finest named in Italy Team of the Year – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli

    by
    Phumzile Ngcatshe

    Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 13:00


    As he continues to help Italian Serie A giants Napoli to challenge for the Serie A title, Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly has been named in the Serie A Team of the Year.

    Together with the likes of Juventus and former Azzurri goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, the Lions of Teranga centre back has been included in the Best XI.

    With Koulibaly’s excellent displays, Napoli have conceded nine goals and scored 35 as they lead the Serie A table with 38 points from 14 matches.

    They are yet to lose this term and together with AS Roma, are the only two teams with a good defensive record after conceding less than 10 goals so far.

    An inclusion in the team of the year comes as a massive boost for the 26-year-old defender who will hope to lead the side to glory come the end of the campaign.

    Apart from Buffon, Koulibaly has been named in the Best XI with six Juve players teammates from last season such as Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanic, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.

    Napoli has Koulibaly, Marek Hamsik and Dries Merten in the squad whilst Roma’s Radja Nainggolan completes the squad and Maurizio Sarri is named the Coach of The Year.

    Fresh from a 1-0 win over Udinese last weekend, they will now turn their focus to the tie against Juventus on Friday, December 1 at home.

    Manager Sarri will want to bag a win and will count on Kalidou and company to secure another clean sheet to consolidate their top spot.



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    Baghdad Bounedjah: Thank god my injury is not serious – 2018 FIFA World Cup


    Baghdad Bounedjah of Algeria is challenged by Taha Khenissi of Tunisia during the Afcon Group B match between Algeria and Tunisia on the 19 January 2017 at Franceville Stadium, Gabon Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

    by
    Graeme Jackson

    Monday Nov 27, 2017. 20:00


    Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah has expressed his relief that the knee injury which forced from the field for Al Sadd this past weekend is not a serious one.

    The 25-year-old Fennec Foxes attacker lasted just 42 minutes of his team’s 4-2 win over Al Duhail in a Qatar Stars League match on Friday evening, before being replaced by Salem Al Hajiri.

    There were fears that the North African could have an extended spell on the sidelines, but fortunately he is set to miss no more than a couple of weeks.

    “It was an injury contracted in the middle of a match, it’s not as bad as it was anticipated. More fear than evil as they say, it just requires a little rest and all will be well, Inshallah,” he is quoted by Le Buteur.

    A scan on Bounedjah’s knee on Sunday morning revealed that the damage sustained was relatively minor.

    “I started the treatment yesterday, and I will continue for a few days, in less than two weeks I will be, Inshallah, operational.”



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    Player Spotlight: Mohamed Salah – ‘The Egyptian winger’s goalscoring record is ridiculous’ – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


    by
    Austin Ditlhobolo

    Monday Nov 27, 2017. 19:00


    English international Joe Gomez has described Salah’s goalscoring record since his move to Liverpool as ‘ridiculous’.

    This is after the Egyptian international hit the back of the net for the Reds in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at the Anfield Stadium in an English Premier League game.

    Salah, who broke the deadlock in the 65th minute against his former side, netted his 15th goal of the season out of 20 competitive appearances for the Reds.

    As a result, the 25-year-old is the league’s top goalscorer with 10 goals having joined Liverpool from Italian side AS Roma prior to the current season.

    “He’s come in and he’s been a massive addition to us, unbelievable. The goals he has scored but also his general play, his link-up,” Gomez told Liverpool’s official website.

    “Our whole attacking force is quality, everybody knows that, so hopefully he can keep doing it for us.”

    Salah’s goal was ultimately cancelled out by a late goal from Chelsea substitute Willian, but Gomez remained keen to take the positives from an industrious performance.

    “I think we battled well and were aggressive from the start. We dominated generally, created some good chances and Mo got another goal for us, then we looked like we were going to hold on,” the 20-year-old said about his club teammate.

    “But it was a decent bit of a skill [from Willian], I don’t know whether he meant it or not but it’s unlucky for us and disappointing not to get all three points.

    “We knew they’d have the wing-backs wide and Hazard and Morata would come and pick up the ball and do what they do,” he continued.

    “We were wary of their threats and did our best to try and stop them. We had our fair bit of play as well – they had their chances but so did we.

    “They’re a top side, they’re champions, so we’ve got to take the positives.”

    Salah will be keen to continue his scoring form for Liverpool when they face Stock City away in a league game on Wednesday.



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    Uganda name 2017 CECAFA Cup Squad – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


    by
    Phumzile Ngcatshe

    Monday Nov 27, 2017. 18:30


    Ugandan national team coach Moses Basena has named his squad ahead of the 2017 CECEAFA Senior Challenge in Kenya.

    Basena has assembled a squad of 26 players to start training on Wednesday ahead of the regional tournament.

    The regional tourney kicks-off on Sunday, December 3 until December 17 as the Cranes will want to defend their trophy.

    NIGERIA’S IGHALO OPEN TO ENGLAND PREMIER LEAGUE RETURN

    Uganda are in Pool B against Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan and guest team Zimbabwe.

    The full squad:

    Isma Watenga (Vipers SC), Benjamin Ochan (KCCA FC), Ikara Tom (Kirinya Jinja SS),Wadada Nicholas (Vipers SC), Joseph Nsubuga (Sc Villa Jogoo), Isaac Muleme (KCCA FC), Aggrey Madoi (Police FC), Juuko Murushid Simba-Tanzania), Timothy Awanyi (KCCA FC), Savio Kabugo (Proline FC), Bernard Muwanga (Sc Villa Jogoo), Tom Masiko (Vipers SC), Mutyaba Muzamiru (KCCA FC), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC), Stephen Mugisha (Police FC), Karisa Milton (Vipers SC), Mucureezi Paul (KCCA FC), Allan Kateregga (KCCA FC), Allan Kyambadde (Sc Villa Jogoo), Nelson Senkatuka (Bright Stars FC), Derick Nsibambi (KCCA FC), Hood Kaweesa (Police FC), Batte Seif (Bright Stars FC), Saddam Juma (KCCA FC), Daniel Isiagi (Proline FC), Basse Methodious (Mbarara City FC).



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