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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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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 World Cup – Group A preview: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay & Egypt

Group A at the 2018 World Cup will function a Russian team on the lookout to stay clear of the shame of an initially-spherical exit, although Egypt will be hopeful of advancing in their initial appearance at the event in almost 3 decades.

Hosts Russia will open the event and the team with a clash against Saudi Arabia in Moscow on 14 June. Although it is barely the most engaging of opening matches for these a significant event, it is a crucial clash for the Russians, who will need to have a sturdy start off to ease fears that they will stick in the footsteps of South Africa in 2010 and come to be just the 2nd host nation to fall at the initial hurdle.

South American heavyweights Uruguay appear to be the dominant pressure in the team, with Oscar Tabarez’s facet 2nd to only Brazil in the notoriously complicated CONMEBOL qualifying event. Boasting the likes of Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, two-time champions ‘La Celeste’ have a very good combination of youth and encounter and ought to have no issues ending in the major two.

The team most likely to join Uruguay in advancing could properly be Egypt. The North Africans are returning to the World Cup for the initially time since 1990, but they have a talented, multipurpose team and a manager in Hector Cuper whose pragmatism is properly suited to the do-or-die mother nature of event football.

But the query mark above the fitness of talisman Mohamed Salah is a significant worry, with the Liverpool man in a race against time to be suited for the finals immediately after suffering a severe shoulder personal injury in the UEFA Champions League remaining the final month.

Saudi Arabia is returning to the World Cup immediately after lacking the final editions in 2010 and 2014, and their reliable displaying in qualifying (they finished runners-up to Asian powerhouses Japan in their team) indicates they are not to be underestimated. The Eco-friendly Falcons are capable of disheartening a lot more talented groups, but they lack the real attacking potency necessary to contend at the maximum amount.

Group A fixtures (all times CAT)

14 June 2018, 17h00 – Russia v Saudi Arabia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

15 June 2018, 14h00 – Egypt v Uruguay – Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg

19 June 2018, 20h00 – Russia v Egypt – Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

20 June 2018, 17h00 – Uruguay v Saudi Arabia – Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

25 June 2018, 16h00 – Uruguay v Russia – Cosmos Arena, Samara

25 June 2018, 16h00 – Saudi Arabia v Egypt – Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

Group A head-to-heads (as per FIFA stats databases, in reference to ‘home’ team)

Russia v Saudi Arabia – P1 W0 D0 L1 GF2 GA4

Egypt v Uruguay – P1 W0 D L1 GF0 GA2

Russia v Egypt – No preceding matches

Uruguay v Saudi Arabia – P2 W0 D1 L1 GF3 GA4

Uruguay v Russia – P8 W1 D2 L5 GF5 GA14

Saudi Arabia v Egypt – P6 W1 D1 L4 GF7 GA19

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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.

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Smolov: I am ready to just take on extra duty for Russia

Only two months continue being until the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and the exhilaration is rising amid the home fans in advance of the Opening Match among the match hosts and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium. Russia desperately requirements a hero, anyone who can inspire the Sbornaya to new heights at the World Cup and carry the region some lengthy-awaited football joy. Fyodor Smolov – without having an issue the team’s most important hope at the match – is undoubtedly an applicant to fill that purpose.

However, it was only a handful of shorter many years in the past that the 28-year-old Krasnodar entrance man was just one of the most criticised figures in Russian football and the butt of many jokes. All that has adjusted, nonetheless, and the insulting memes and open up derision about his previously unimpressive scoring records are a point of the earlier. And listed here are the factors why:

Cause No1: Smolov is Russia’s most dependable striker
Smolov has created into an unstoppable power up front, topping the Russian Leading League scoring charts for the previous two seasons and effectively in the mix to win the award for the third time working this campaign. The multipurpose striker also scored 5 goals for the Russian national team in 2017, extra than any other player.

“It’s considerably less complicated to get to the top rated than to remain there,” Smolov stated in an interview with FIFA.com. “Firstly, at a particular point, your drive drops because you believe that you have previously made it. Secondly, your opponents start to adapt to your game and deal with you in different ways. I see it with myself defenders in no way depart me alone now, which was not the circumstance prior to. It’s considerably more durable to keep your standards in this sort of instances, but I’m making an attempt.”

So, is he participating in the ideal football of his profession at the second? “Rarely,” smiled the centre-forward, who has bagged above 60 goals in a few seasons for Krasnodar. “I’m arranging to peak at the World Cup.”

Cause No2: Invaluable working experience at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017

Russia fans fondly try to remember the opening match of final year’s Confederations Cup, as the Sbornaya confidently dealt with New Zealand. Smolov managed to get on the scoresheet in that 2- win and was voted Man of the Match. Sad to say, from that second on issues stalled for the hosts, and subsequent losses against Portugal (1-) and Mexico (2-1) meant they went out of the Match of Champions at the group stage.

“Evidently we lacked working experience,” the striker ongoing. “We were in no way outplayed our opponents just punished our faults. The small particulars charge us. For instance, in the next half against Portugal, I could’ve scored a header. I was genuinely just one or two centimetres absent from earning a correct link. I know I could’ve acquired in position earlier, but even still… I believe this working experience will work in our favour at the World Cup. Lapses in focus or sluggish determination-earning are only not appropriate in tournaments at this stage.”

Cause No3: Particular drive
Smolov has lengthily dreamed of screening himself in just one of Europe’s top-rated leagues. The striker has steadily been heading in this direction for a handful of seasons now and it seems only an issue of time prior to he gets his wish.

“In 2016 I obtained a remarkable offer from China,” he discovered, “but I realised that if I signed, my prospects of participating in a top-rated European league would vanish. How could I set dollars prior to my aspiration?

“European clubs in the Champions League are sceptical about Russian players, but I believe that if the Sbornaya conduct effectively at the World Cup, it could possibly adjust attitudes to our footballers. All the men could have a real chance to move to some of the continent’s ideal championships. I believe all people in the team wants this.”

Cause No4: He is ready to just take on duty
March was a hard month for the Russians. As effectively as going down to painful 3- and 3-1 defeats to Brazil and France respectively, they endured a really serious damage setback when Aleksandr Kokorin tore a cruciate ligament and was ruled out of Russia 2018, robbing them of just one of their important players in an assault.

“I was really upset when ‘Sasha’ acquired his damage,” stated Smolov, who captained the aspect in the pleasant against Les Blues. “We’ve acknowledged each individual other for a lengthy time and performed in the exact team when we were young ones. It’s generally been straightforward participating in with him and we were on the lookout forward to reigniting the partnership at the World Cup. It’s a shame what happened.

“But I’m ready to just take on extra duty myself all through online games. I’m just one of individuals players who actively get concerned in play and cares about the result. I want our functionality to be as very good as attainable at Russia 2018, primarily as it’s on home soil, which implies we will have the aid of the entire region, and our group is not the toughest. Of program, Uruguay is just one of the ideal nationwide groups in the globe, but the game against them is the last just one in the group and we can attain our goals in the initial two fixtures. I’m optimistic.”

Cause No5: A player who in no way offers up

All through his profession, Smolov has experienced to cope with his fair share of hardships: prolonged dry spells in front of goal, relentless criticism from the media, and exclusion from the squad for Brazil 2014 to title a handful of.

“I experienced a intricate partnership with Fabio Capello,” the striker stated of the previous Russia head coach. “On the just one hand, I made my debut for the national team beneath him, but on the other, it was uncomfortable and seriously harm when he suddenly didn’t phone me up for the World Cup in Brazil, despite the reality I’d in no way be out of the team for the year and a half prior to. Nonetheless, I’ll generally try to remember some of the guidance he gave me: ‘Don’t at any time pity by yourself. Work tricky no matter irrespective of whether you are in soreness or not.’ When issues get hard, I just try to remember his face and I’m capable to split as a result of the barrier. Capello’s text has seriously aided me in life and I consider in no way give up.”

Did you know?
Smolov scored both equally Russia’s final goal in 2017 when he equalised in the 3-3 draw against Spain, and they’re initial in 2018, when he found the net against France.

Would you rather…?
Enjoy New Zealand in the opening match of the Confederations Cup 2017 or Saudi Arabia in the Opening Match of Russia 2018?
“The Saudi Arabia game is considerably extra critical and the stress of duty is totally diverse. Then there is the reality that the Saudis are a considerably more durable prospect than New Zealand.”

Get the Golden Boot at the World Cup, and go down in history like Oleg Salenko, but not make it out of the group, or get to the knockout rounds even though not at your ideal?
“Of program, I’d want to get out of the group. It’s considerably far better when the entire team are on variety and not just one specific.”

Edinson Cavani, Mohamed Salah or Luis Suarez?
“Suarez is the ideal. I have been an admirer of his for a lengthy time. Apart from his goals and helps, he works so tricky and does so considerably for the team, pressing defenders, troubling his marker and creating an area.”

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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Group A: Hosts to face Arabic test



After learning they would host the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in December 2010, Russia finally learned their long-awaited opponents on 1 December 2017. Stanislav Cherchesov’s side will take on Asia’s Saudi Arabia, Africa’s Egypt and South American nation Uruguay. 


Teams
RUSSIA | SAUDI ARABIA | EGYPT | URUGUAY

Key Game
Russia v Saudi Arabia (14 June, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow)

The World Cup Opening Match is an event that football fans the world over eagerly tune-in to, marking the beginning of another exciting global finals. At Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, hosts Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in the eagerly-awaited curtain-raiser on 14 June 2018. The Saudis will be the first Asian team to take part in an Opening Match at the global finals.

What you need to know
Russia 2018 will mark Egypt’s first World Cup since Italy 1990. Star man Mohamed Salah bagged the goal which sealed qualification to the global finals in dramatic fashion, as he converted a 94th-minute penalty against Congo to get the party started in Alexandria.

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Sahlawi netted 16 goals on the road to Russia. The 30-year-old frontman finished 2018 World Cup qualifying as joint-top scorer, along with Poland’s Robert Lewandowski and UAE’s Ahmed Khalil.

Uruguay are two-time champions of the World Cup. La Celeste were inaugural winners of the tournament in 1930, before winning it a second time, at Brazil 1950. 

The stat
45 – The age that Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary will be when the Pharaohs take to the pitch at Russia 2018. Should he feature, El-Hadary would surpass Faryd Mondragon’s record as the World Cup’s oldest player. The Colombian goalkeeper set the current record when he appeared at Brazil 2014 at 43 years and three days.



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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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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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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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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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Egypt talking to Sweden for a friendly international – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 13:30


Media reports in Egypt reval that the country’s Football Association is engaged with top European national teams for friendly matches.

EFA chairman Hani Abou-Reida announced that they are in talks for friendlies as part of preparations for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but would wait until the final draw before finalising plans.

The Pharaohs secured a World Cup berth for the first time since 1990 after topping Group E with 13 points, finishing ahead of Uganda on nine.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: JOHN OBI MIKEL – NIGERIA SKIPPER CRITICISED BY ACADEMY FOUNDER

“There are ongoing talks with some European teams like Sweden to play friendlies ahead of the 2018 World Cup finals,” Abou-Reida told a radio programme.

“There are also talks with South Korea from Asia but we are waiting for the World Cup draw,” Abou-Reida said.

“After the draw we will know Cuper’s plan for the preparation as well as whether he needs only one friendly or more because of the shortness of the period [before the start of the cup,” the EFA boss added.

Meanwhile, the draw for the highly anticipated global showpiece will take place on December 1 in Moscow.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Khalid Boutaib – Moroccan striker eager to prove a point in Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Khalid Boutaib of Morocco

by
Bertin Basson

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 10:00


Having successfully booked their place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Morocco are desperate to prove their worth in Russia according to star forward Khalid Boutaib.

The Atlas Lions enjoyed an almost flawless qualifying campaign, having gone all six games without conceding a goal. They run included three wins and three draws, but the North African’s truly flexed their muscles with a 2-0 win over the Ivory Coast in Abidjan.

Victory over the defending African Cup of Nations holders booked their place at the world showpiece for the first time in 20 years, having last featured at a World Cup in 1998.

NIGERIA’S LEON BALOGUN STRUGGLED BECAUSE OF FITNESS AGAINST ARGENTINA

“We will do our best in the upcoming World Cup,” Boutaib told France Football.

“We have to prove our worth in Russia. The players will not head there to make tourism but to prove that we deserve to be in Russia,” he concluded.

The Turkey-based striker played an integral part in Morocco reaching the world showpiece, netting four goals in four games, including a hat-trick in a 3-0 thumping of Gabon in Casablanca.



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Ivory Coast beaten in Abidjan to miss out on Russia 2018 – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Nov 11, 2017. 21:33


Ivory Coast will not appear at a fourth successive World Cup after they were beaten 2-0 at home by Morocco in a Group C qualifier on Saturday evening.

The match at the Stade Felix Houpouet-Boigny in Abidjan saw the Atlas Lions secure a first World Cup appearance since 1998 thanks to goals from Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia.

After a patchy opening quarter hour, Ivory Coast created the first clear chance on 17 minutes when a ball over the top allowed Gervinho to spring the offside trap, but his attempted finish ended up in the stands behind the goal.

Yet Morocco, against the run of play, claimed the lead on 25 minutes: midfielder Nabil Dirar play an in-swinging cross from the right flank which beat the players in the middle but found the net just inside goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo’s right-hand post.

On the half hour mark the North Africans doubled their advantage, with captain Medhi Benatia getting ahead of marker Jean-Philippe Gbamin at a corner kick to half-volley home from close range.

The half time whistle saw the Atlas Lions 2-0 up and very much on course to secure a place at the 2018 tournament.

Morocco almost claimed a third goal early in the second stanza, with Mbark Boussoufa’s scuffed effort desperately cleared off his own line by defender Serge Aurier.

And the Tottenham Hotspur fullback missed a great chance to bring his side back into the game on 64 minutes, blazing a shot over the target when he had only the goalkeeper to beat – and teammate Seydou Doumbia in a better position.

The Elephants threw everything they had at Morocco in the last 20 minutes or so, but the fact that they hardly troubled the goalkeeper says everything for Morocco’s defensive stability and composure.

The Atlas Lions join Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal and Tunisia as the five African representatives at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Ivory Coast 0

Morocco (2) (Dirar 25’, Benatia 30’)

Ivory Coast: Sylvain Gbohouo, Serge Aurier, Simon Deli (Ghislain Konan 46’), Wilfried Kanon, Seko Fofana (Maxwell Cornet 62’), Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Franck Kessie, Wilfried Zaha, Max Gradel, Gervinho (Salomon Kalou 76’), Seydou Doumbia

Morocco: Mounir El Kajoui, Medhi Benatia, Hakim Ziyach (Sofyan Amrabat 82’), Romain Saiss, Mbark Boussoufa, Noureddine Amrabat, Karim El Ahmadi, Khalid Boutaib (Achraf Bencharki 75’), Achraf Hakimi, Younes Belhanda (Faycal Fajr 90+1’), Nabil Dirar



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Morocco’s Khalid Boutaib hopeful or reaching Russia in 2018 – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Khalid Boutaib of Morocco

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 18:30

Moroccan striker Khalid Boutaib says scoring a hat-trick against Gabon in their previous 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier brought hope of reaching Russia.

The Atlas Lions are close to securing a ticket to the global showpiece, but will need a draw against a star-studded Cote d’Ivoire side on Saturday.

Although their hopes were not so bright in the opening stages of the campaign, Boutaib’s hat-trick against the Panthers last month kept Morocco’s chances alive, leaving them needing a draw in Abidjan to qualify for Russia 2018.

“We absolutely wanted to beat Gabon at home to tackle the last match in Abidjan with a chance to qualify,” Boutaib told FIFA.com.

“There was a lot at stake because the Gabonese had to win if they wanted their chances to stay alive. We took advantage of the Mali draw and now we are in a good position.

“To score three goals, in a game as important as the one against Gabon and in the Casablanca stadium, where there is a great atmosphere, was a great moment.

“I felt a lot of joy and pride. I had already scored once in the 6-0 victory against Mali at the end of August. But these three goals allowed us to take three points and lead the group.”



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Zaha ready to lead Elephants to Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Staff Reporter

Saturday Nov 04, 2017. 13:00


Wilfried Zaha will be aiming to lead the Ivory Coast to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the Crystal Palace winger having been named in the country’s 25-man-squad for their crucial clash against Morocco next week.

The Elephants welcome the Atlas Lions in Abidjan on the 11th of November, with the hosts needing nothing but victory if they are to secure a place at the upcoming showpiece.

Morocco currently lead the way in Group C with nine points from five fixtures, one more than their counterparts.

Zaha has been in impressive form for the Eagles this season and duly clinched the club’s Player of the Month accolade for October. He has also been nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award.

Ivory Coast head coach Marc Wilmots will be hoping that 24-year-old carry his impressive form onto the international stage as the West African nation set their sights on qualifying for a fourth successive World Cup.

Moreover, the Elephants will be without Manchester United defender Eric Bailly who will miss the game through suspension.



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Nigeria to pocket $9,5m at World Cup in Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


John Obi Mikel carried on shoulders of players Abdullahi Shehu, Kelechi Iheanacho and Chidozie Awaziem as Nigeria qualify for the World Cup during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match between Nigeria and Zambia on 07 October 2017 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria ©Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Oct 29, 2017. 14:00


Nigeria’s successful qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup has helped the Nigerian Football Federation to make more money.

FIFA has officially announced a $9,5m windfall to teams who are going to be participating at next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The Super Eagles are going to earn a participation bonus of $9.5m according to a release on the official website of the global soccer body.

Teams are also going to earn more based on their progress at the tournament with the winners set to earn a new revised and agreed cash price of $38m‎.

The amount is a 40% increase from the cash price given to Germany for winning the 2014 edition of the World Cup.

“As approved by the FIFA Council at its meeting in Kolkata on 27 October 2017, the total contributions for the participants of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ will amount to USD 791 million, up 40 per cent compared to the previous edition in 2014″, a statement on FIFA website reads.

“From this total, the biggest share –USD 400 million- will be paid as prize money to be distributed among the 32 participating teams. The winners will receive USD 38 million, while the runners-up will get USD 28 million and the third-place team USD 24 million.

“The minimum prize money for teams eliminated at the group stage will amount to USD 8 million each.. The complete details can be consulted in this table. All prize money will be paid after the tournament.”



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Africa’s best will not dazzle Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

by
Bertin Basson

Friday Oct 27, 2017. 13:00


Africa’s best player, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, will play no part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The continent’s outstanding player, who has scored 15 goals in 14 appearances for Borussia Dortmund across all competitions this season, failed in his attempt to lead Gabon to a first ever world showpiece.

Born in France, Aubameyang opted to play for the Panthers at national level and what might have appeared as an obvious choice eight years ago – one wonders if he doesn’t rue the decision.

Over the past week we have seen Wissam Ben Yedder snub Tunisia’s approach, with the Sevilla forward desperate to represent Les Blues.

In fact, many of Africa’s top players weren’t even born on the continent with the likes of Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) & Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) born in the Netherlands and France respectively.

An added luxury or curse – most of Africa’s ‘cream’ qualify to represent two and sometimes even more nations at international level.

What might seem an obvious choice to us, might not be as straightforward for the footballer in question and while Aubameyang might live to regret his decision – who says he does?

Furthermore, who says he would’ve



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Nigeria to face Argentina in Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Zunis Stopilla of Zambia challenges Obi Mikel of Nigeria during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match between Nigeria and Zambia on 07 October 2017 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria ©Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Oct 22, 2017. 13:00


The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has announced that the Super Eagles will take on South American giants Argentina in an international friendly next month.

The encounter is scheduled to take place at the Krasnodar Arena Stadium in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Tuesday, 14th November 2017.

Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the NFF General Secretary, revealed at the weekend that nearly all arrangements have been concluded with regards to the big match, subject to approval by world football – ruling body, FIFA and agreeable flight arrangements.

“We have had long and fruitful talks, and we can say that we have an agreement. We await the approval by FIFA and also, we have to agree on the flight arrangements that would be comfortable for the players and crew,” Sanusi told the NFF’s official website.

“The match will come up on 14th November, four days after the Super Eagles’ final 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match away to Algeria. We had offers from teams like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Morocco but we have opted for the Argentines,” Sanusi said.

Before facing Argentina, Nigeria will take on Algeria’s Desert Foxes in their last match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group B on 10 November 2017.

The match is set to take place at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui in Constantine, Algeria. Nigeria have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup as Group B winners.



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Egypt’s Usama Nabih would prefer to face Brazil in Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


epa06186696 Egyptian player Mohamed Salah (L) in action against Uganda player Joseph Ochaya (R) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Uganda at Borg Al Arab stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, 05 September 2017 EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Oct 13, 2017. 15:30


According to Egypt’s assistant coach Usama Nabih, he would prefer to face Brazil in the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stages rather than Germany or Spain.

The Pharaohs right-hand man to coach Hector Cuper claims the Selecao plays a more open game than the European giants, Spain and Germany.

Egypt made history when they booked a spot at the global tournament following a 28-year absence and will hope to do well.

IS DODGY ORANGE JUICE TO BLAME FOR GABON’S WORLD CUP FAILURE?

“Brazil plays open football that would allow us to use empty spaces in the field to make counter attacks, but Germany or Spain are more organised tactically,” Nabih told an Egyptian sports show.

“The ability to qualify for the next stage of the World Cup depends on the group opponents the draw will reveal on December 1.”

The African giants will finish their qualifying campaign by playing against Ghana away in Accra in a dead rubber after they topped Group E with 12 points.



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Toure concerned about racism in Russia ahead of 2018 World Cup – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Veteran Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Oct 13, 2017. 10:00


Former Ivory Coast Yaya Toure says he is concerned about racism ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals which will be hosted by Russia.

Toure, who is on the books of English side Manchester City, will not be part of the Ivorian squad if the Elephants qualify for the tournament as he retired from international football last year.

Ivory Coast will qualify for finals if they beat Morocco at home in their last match in the World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group C next month.

“I have been abused by racism and because those things happened to me, I try to be involved and I want to help those people who don’t have a voice to control this situation,” Toure said on Goal.com.

“For me to defend an African boy in this situation is a blessing. What we are looking to do is to try and stop those idiotic people doing that. We have to be focused and have fair play everywhere.

In 2013, Toure was the subject of racist abuse from CSKA Moscow supporters at the Arena Khimki in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League while playing for City. Russian club CSKA were charged by UEFA.

“If racism situations are going to be involved then it is going to be a big mess. We have to hope and be positive about that,” the 34-year-old continued.

“Everyone is talking about Russia maybe being a little bit difficult. But I hope that Russia surprises everybody by trying to make something very nice.

“I have played football in Ukraine and Russia as well before I moved across Europe – it’s like my second country because I used to speak Russian as well.”



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Mohamed Salah brace sends Egypt to Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Brian Lee

Sunday Oct 08, 2017. 21:22


A brace from Mohamed Salah sees Egypt uncatchable at the top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group after beating Congo 2-1 at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Sunday night.

It was not all plain sailing for the Pharaohs who needed a 95th minute penalty goal to seal the victory in their penultimate Group E qualifier.

The win, though, is enough to see Egypt go to the top of Group E with 12 points from five matches.

Uganda, who drew 0-0 with Ghana on Saturday, are second in the group with eight points and with only one 2018 World Cup qualifying game to go.

Ghana are third with six points and Congo last with one point in Group E.

The match itself in Alexandria on Sunday was a rather dull affair with Egypt very cagey in attack as they opted to defend in numbers to avoid defeat.

Congo, on the other hand, offered very little in attack and the opening half ended 0-0.

Egypt played much better in the second half and threw numbers forward in attack in search of the goal that would send them to Russia next year.

The Pharaohs thought they had found that goal in the 63rd minute when Mohamed Salah found the back of the net with a clinical finish, 1-0.

Egypt looked to be cruising to victory until Arnold Bouka Moutou equalised for Congo in the 88th minute.

The drama, however, was not over with Mohamed Salah converting from the penalty spot in the 95th minute to hand Egypt a 2-1 win and a place in the World Cup next year.

The last round of qualifiers will take place in November with Congo hosting Uganda and Egypt traveling to Ghana.

Egypt (0) 2 (Mohamed Salah 63’ + 95’ pen)

Congo (0) 1 (Moutou 88’)

Teams

Egypt: El Hadary, Hegazy, Fathi, Abdelshafi, Rabia, Elneny, Hamed, Sobhi (Elmohamady 88’), Salah, Hassan (Gamal 78’), Gomaa (Mahmoud 56’).

Congo: Mouko, Itoua, Mayembo, Etou, Badila, N’dinga, Saint-Louis (Gandze 93’), Delarge (Bouka Moutou 71’), Oniangue, Bahamboula (Ndockyt 84’), Bifouma.



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Gernot Rohr switches focus to Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Gernot Rohr – Nigeria coach

by
Staff Reporter

Sunday Oct 08, 2017. 16:00


Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has immediately switched his focus to preparing his troops for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, after the Super Eagles sealed their place at the global tournament.

The West Africans booked their ticket to Russia with a 1-0 win over Zambia in Uyo on Saturday evening. Arsenal‘s Alex Iwobi emerging off the bench to net what proved to be the winner.

As a result, Nigeria will head to Algeria next month knowing that they are already among the teams on their way to 2018 showpiece.

Boasting four wins from five matches in a group that boasts the current African champions (Cameroon), a star-studded Fennec Foxes outfit and an improving Zambian team, Rohr admitted that he is left surprised by their success.

NIGERIA THE FIRST AFRICAN TEAM TO SECURE PLACE IN RUSSIA 2018

“The work is not finished,”said Rohr. “Now we need to build a solid team for the World Cup.

“We won four of the five matches played. With the quality of teams in the group, I didn’t think it would be possible,” the German concluded.



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Nigeria the first African team to secure place in Russia 2018 – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 07, 2017. 20:11


Nigeria have become the first African team to book a place at the 2018 World Cup after they defeated Zambia 1-0 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Saturday evening.

The result – secured by a second-half goal from Alex Iwobi – ensures the Super Eagles will finish top of Group B ahead of Chipolopolo, Cameroon and Algeria.

Nigeria started the stronger of the two teams and should have opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Moses Simon played a fine low cross from the right flank, but striker Odion Ighalo wasn’t quite able to reach the ball.

The hosts suffered an early injury blow when midfield Ogenyi Onazi picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Ndubisi Agu, affecting the rhythm of Gernot Rohr’s team.

Zambia saw less of the ball but they had the better chances, with the powerful and speedy Alex Ngonga proving a real handful: just past the half hour mark he outmuscled Leon Balogun before stabbing a shot over the crossbar, while on 36 minutes he hit the post with a long-range effort which took an awkward bounce.

Nigeria responded with half-chances on the volley for all of John Obi Mikel, Ighalo and Simon, but none of them troubled goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.

However, the Zambian ‘keeper was called into action in the 57th minute to make a superb save from a looping header by Wilfred Ndidi – the attempt looked destined for the back of the net.

The Super Eagles finally broke through in the 73rd minute, with substitute Alex Iwobi latching onto Shehu Abdullahi’s cut-back from the right flank before firing a low shot through a crowd of bodies and into the back of the net.

The Arsenal attacker’s goal proved to be the difference between the teams, with Nigeria seeing out the rest of the game in relative comfort to secure a place in next year’s World Cup.

Nigeria (0) 1 (Iwobi 73’)

Zambia 0

Nigeria: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Shehu Abdullahi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Elderson Echiejile (Ola Aina 80’), Wilfred Ndidi, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi (Ndubisi Agu 30’), Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Moses Simon (Alex Iwobi 66’)

Zambia: Kennedy Mweene, Simon Silwimba, Fackson Kapumbu, Ziyo Tembo, Stophila Sunzu, Kondwani Mtonga, Enock Mwepu, Chisamba Lungu (Ernest Mbewe 51’), Augustin Mulenga (John Chingandu 87’), Fashion Sakala (Justin Shonga 78’), Alex Ngonga



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