Group B

Late goal gives Brazil controversial win over Colombia in Copa America

Brazil continued their winning romp through the Copa America on Wednesday, eking out a controversial 2-1 victory against Colombia after struggling most of the match to answer a magnificent bicycle-kick goal by Luis Diaz. The 11th-hour win gave the “Selecao” a perfect nine points from three matches in the South American championships, and extended their current winning streak to 11 matches. However, the victory was steeped in controversy: Brazil’s second-half equalizer, a Roberto Firmino header, was preceded by a Neymar pass that glanced off Argentine referee Nestor Pitana. Colombia heatedly argued afterward that play should have been stopped, but Pitana ruled neither side was hindered and allowed the match to continue. Disgruntled Colombia fans on social media turned the referee’s name int...

Copa America: Lionel Messi equals record as Argentina progress

Lionel Messi earned a record-equalling 147th cap for Argentina as they progressed to the Copa America quarter-finals with victory over Paraguay. Papu Gomez scored the decisive goal early on, meeting a pass from Angel Di Maria before producing a fine finish. Messi, 34, equalled Javier Mascherano’s appearance record for the national team in the hard-fought win in Brasilia. Argentina top Group A ahead of Chile, who drew 1-1 with Uruguay to also advance to the knockout stage. The hastily-rearranged tournament in Brazil, which was moved from Argentina just two weeks before it was scheduled to start because of a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, is Messi’s latest chance to win silverware with the senior team. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was typically influential, playing a part in the ...

Euro 2020: Wales set for hostile crowd as Italy eye knockouts

Wales are bracing for a hostile reception when they face Turkey in Baku at Euro 2020 on Wednesday while rejuvenated Italy can seal their place in the last-16 with victory against Switzerland. After drawing 1-1 with the Swiss in their opening Group A game, Wales play in the capital of Azerbaijan, with locals expected to get behind their Turkish neighbours, who will also have several thousand travelling fans on their side. Wales captain Gareth Bale, who experienced a dizzying run to the semi-finals at Euro 2016, said he was unfazed by the prospect of an aggressive atmosphere. “Hostility is no problem,” said the Real Madrid forward. “This is what we do for a living. We’re used to playing in away games and being in front of hostile crowds.” Turkey are desperate to shake off the disappointment ...

Euro 2020: Jose Mourinho ‘prayed’ and ‘cried’ after Eriksen collapsed

Jose Mourinho revealed he “prayed” and “cried” for Christian Eriksen after the Denmark star collapsed during Saturday’s Euro 2020 clash against Finland. Inter midfielder Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest when collapsing on the pitch before being resuscitated, Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen said. Eriksen was given CPR by medics in the first half of the Group B match after falling to the ground with no other player around him – the fixture was originally suspended, but the former Tottenham star was later confirmed to be “awake” and the game resumed a little under two hours later, with Finland winning 1-0 in Copenhagen. Ex-Tottenham head coach Mourinho spent time with Eriksen prior to the Denmark international’s move to Inter in 2020 and the Roma-bound boss said he was reduced to tears. “I...

Belgium coach: Kevin De Bruyne’s Euro 2020 participation still unclear

The possibility of Kevin De Bruyne competing for Belgium in the European Championship remains unclear as he recovers from facial fractures, coach Roberto Martinez said on Wednesday. The midfield talisman broke his nose and eye socket in a clash in the Champions League final last weekend but it would be days before Belgium were clear about his chances of competing, Martinez told reporters. “I would say that until next week we won’t know exactly where we are with Kevin. Now, allow him now to relax. “He could be available for the Euros but when, we don’t know at the moment. It’s too early to give you an answer now, we must first get the green light from the medical side.” De Bruyne had been scheduled to join up with Belgium’s squad just days before their opening Group B match against Russia i...

AFCON: Aston Villa congratulate Bertrand Traore, Burkina Faso on qualification

Premier League side Aston Villa have congratulated Bertrand Traore and Burkina Faso after qualifying for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations. Despite playing a 0-0 draw against Uganda on Wednesday evening at St. Mary’s Stadium-Kitende, Entebbe, Kamou Malo’s men booked a place in Cameroon with a game to spare. That will be the 13th time the West African country would reach the finals since their maiden appearance at Ghana 1978 – where they finished in eight position. The Villa Park giants have taken to social media to celebrate their winger and his country on their recent success. “Congratulations to Bertrand Traore and Burkina Faso, who qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 with a goalless draw against Uganda on Wednesday!” a tweet from the club read. Burkina Faso – who currently lead Gr...

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets group for U-17 AFCON revealed by CAF

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets have been drawn in Group B of the 2021 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Morocco. Five-time world champions are one of three top seeds for today’s draw along with host nations Morocco and defending champions Cameroon. CAF revealed the draw via their Twitter handle as Golden Eaglets avoided the Group of Death after pitted alongside Tanzania, Algeria and Congo. Hosts Morocco head Group A along with Uganda, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire, while defending champions Cameroon will battle it out with Senegal, Mali and South Africa in Group C. The overall winners of the three groups, as well as the best runners-up from all three groups, will advance to the semifinals of the competition. The competition will start in Morocco on March 13. Nigeria may have conquered the wo...

Golden Eaglets qualify for WAFU U17 Cup semi finals

Nigeria reached the semi finals of the WAFU U17 Cup Tournament ongoing in Lome, Togo on Tuesday evening after Group B pacesetters Cote d’Ivoire hammered the Black Starlets of Ghana 3-1 at the city’s Stade Municipal. Five-time world champions Nigeria, who lost by the odd goal to the Ivorians on the opening day of the competition and were forced to a 1-1 draw by the Starlets at the weekend, needed a favour from the Ivorians to progress to the knockout stage. And the Ivorians obliged. The Baby Elephants raced into the lead after only nine minutes and consolidated at 2-0 as the match wore on. But the Starlets, themselves two-time champions of the world, pegged back their neighbours to leave Nigeria’s chances on the wire. The Eaglets and their Ghanaian counterparts had both scored through penal...

AFCON: Golden Eaglets fail MRI test three weeks to kick-off

In another embarrassing age-related moment for Nigerian football, 40 out of the 60 boys pencilled down as part of the Golden Eaglets contingent to prosecute the Under-17 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers in Benin Republic failed the mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) age test. Coming just three weeks to the qualifiers, this means the coaching crew will have to race against the clock to pick a squad qualified enough to represent the country at the West African Football Union (WAFU) Group B qualifiers billed to kick-off on Tuesday, January 5. Out of the 20 players who passed the tests, only five of them are part of the main squad and just two of the five are included in coach Fatai Amoo’s preferred starting lineup for the competition. Most of the players the coach banked on d...

WAFU B Cup: Ghana fall to Cote d’Ivoire but book Niger date

Ghana have ended their group stage campaign at the ongoing Wafu B Cup of Nations in Benin with a 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast but will still progress to the next round of the competition courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Nigeria on the last matchday. Kossi Nguessan’s second-half free-kick proved the separating factor at Stade de Gaules in Porto Novo on Saturday. The Black Satellites ultimately finished second in a three-team group, setting up a semi-final date with Niger. The 2009 world champions had already booked the qualification to the next round of the championship before Saturday’s last group game, having amassed vital three points in their first game against archrivals Nigeria. Ghana coach Abdul Karim Zito made five changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s game, bringing on Alhassan U...

Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal transfer European form into Premier League

Mikel Arteta has demanded Arsenal transfer their Europa League form into the Premier League, where he says his side need to start winning matches “immediately”. Goals from Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny, Joe Willock and Folarin Balogun helped the Gunners ease past Irish side Dundalk 4-2 in Dublin on Thursday to finish top of Group B with a 100 per cent record – the first time they have won six successive European matches since 2005. That fine European form is in sharp contrast to their domestic struggles, where the club have lost six out of their last nine matches to slump to 15th in the table. With the Europa League now finished with until February, Arsenal can focus all their attention on domestic competition, with Arteta stressing the urgent need to pick up positive results, starting wit...

Mikel Arteta expects difficult January transfer window

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says the club do not have much room to manoeuvre in the January transfer window and may have to offload players before they can add to the first-team squad. Arsenal are reportedly looking for a creative midfielder, with RB Salzburg’s Dominik Szoboszlai and Olympique Lyonnais’ Houssem Aouar among the options being considered, while Arteta would also like to improve his defensive options. “We are planning, talking with (technical director) Edu and with the club about the things we can do in January,” Arteta told reporters. “But at the moment it’s pretty difficult, unpredictable as well. In terms of places, we are very restricted in the moment. “We will need to do something knowing the limitations of that market in January and the limitations we have as well to si...

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