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Euro 2020: Swiss coach confident of last-16 spot despite tough travel

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic is confident his side have done enough to reach the last 16 at Euro 2020 after a 3-1 win over Turkey on Sunday but he criticised the long distances his side have had to travel during the tournament. Xherdan Shaqiri scored two superb goals as Switzerland secured third place in Group A at Euro 2020 with the win against Turkey, but they now face an anxious wait to see if they will reach the last 16. The Swiss, who finished level on four points with Wales but behind on goal difference, will hope to secure a spot in the knockouts as one of the four best third-placed finishers from the six groups. “We scored a few goals but unfortunately we had more chances we didn’t convert,” Petkovic said. “It wasn’t a perfect game but it was a good game.” “It should be enou...

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: Spain boss rues missed chances but defends game plan

Spain coach Luis Enrique rued missed chances from his side in their 0-0 European Championship draw with Sweden on Monday, insisting he will not be changing his style of play despite getting off to a disappointing start in the tournament. It was a familiar story for Spain, who enjoyed 85 per cent possession in Seville, the highest figure for a team in a European Championship fixture since 1980 when Opta started recording the data. “We were by far the better team, the opposition tried to hang back, we completely controlled the game and tried to generate as many chances as possible,” Luis Enrique told a news conference. “We were up against a physically strong team. We did have the chances to win the game. What went wrong was that we did not take these chances.” The Spain coach was also keen t...

Rapid spread of Delta variant throws England’s re-opening into doubt

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hopes of ending England’s coronavirus lockdown on June 21 hung in the balance on Friday as data showed a further rise in cases of the rapidly spreading Delta variant. Johnson is due to announce on Monday whether the planned lifting of restrictions, which would see an end to limits on social contact, can go ahead on time. But the rapid spread of the Delta variant, officially a “variant of concern”, has thrown those plans into jeopardy, prompting speculation that the June 21 date will be pushed back, or that some restrictions will remain. “We have to be really careful. We had a very big opening on the 17th of May where people could meet friends indoors, in a restaurant, in a pub, and socialise indoors as well,” COVID-19 vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi t...

Roger Federer hints at withdrawal from French Open after Saturday’s hard won match

Former world one, Roger Federer, was made to go at great lengths to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam for a record-extending 68th time by Germany’s world number 59 Dominik Koepfer in their battle, which the Swiss won 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 in a late-night slugfest at Roland Garros. Although the tennis icon was solid in his opening two matches, with encouraging victories over qualifier Denis Istomin and former US Open champion Marin Cilic, upon his return to Open action after two knee surgeries, he got a tough test of his mettle on Saturday. The 20-time Grand Slam champion knew it was not going to be plain sailing, as newsmen reported him as saying, and he found out just how in the night-session showdown with Germany’s Koepfer. It was tough enough to make Federer admit that, base...

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...

JUSUN strike: NBA accuses governors of reneging on agreement

Pool Photo The 1st Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), John Aikpokpo-Martins, has said that governors have not fulfilled their agreement with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, (JUSUN) who are currently on strike. Aikpokpo-Martins, said that as things are now, the governors are holding everybody to ransom. “The agreement was very straightforward. They are supposed to have paid last week upon receiving allocations. But when they received the allocations, they didn’t pay.” he said According to him, the governors are saying that “we should wait for last week of June when they will get another allocation from the federal purse. But the question is: if they entered into an agreement whose implementation was to start this May, what guarantee do we now have that even in that ...

UEFA supremo: Barcelona, Real Madrid & Juventus ‘paralysed themselves’ with ‘strange’ Super League approach

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have “paralysed themselves” with their “strange” approach to the Super League, according to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. A controversial proposal for a new competition to rival the Champions League was met with universal condemnation in April, leading to the withdrawal of nine of the original 12 founding clubs. The Super League plans were subsequently put on hold, but Barca, Real and Juve have vowed to continue pushing for change despite being threatened with serious sanctions by UEFA, who are in the process of investigating their involvement in the breakaway. The three remaining clubs released a statement criticising European football’s main governing body last week, which read: “FC Barcelona, Juventus FC and Real Madrid CF wish to express their a...

President Buhari seeks international support for peaceful transition in Chad

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday called on the international community to support a peaceful transition from military to democratic government in Chad. He made this known at a summit put together to discuss recent developments in Chad after the death of President Idris Deby last April. At the summit, Mr Buhari called on: “development partners and countries particularly France, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia; the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, as well as other friendly and partner nations to support the transition framework put in place by Chad’s Transition Military Council led by General Mahamat Idris Deby.” ‘‘The need to support the Chadian government to effectively carry out its planned 18-month transition is sacrosanc...

Minister: Nigerian government to scale up domestic gas expansion, monetisation drive

Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, has stated that the federal government will continue to ramp up its current domestic gas expansion drive as well as its monetisation programme to increase the country’s supply of the much needed foreign exchange earnings. Speaking when he appeared virtually at the formal opening of the new headquarters of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the minister stressed that the company was expected to play a major role in achieving the objective. Sylva noted that the country’s gas reserves must be fully explored for the full benefit of Nigerians, noting that has remains a major game-changer for Nigeria, especially with the renewed attention to the commodity as a lower carbon energy source. “In ...

Minister charges diplomats to change the narratives about Nigeria

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, yesterday, charged officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to change the narratives about the country. Onyeama stated this during the opening of a three-day induction programme for over 350 officers posted to Nigerian missions abroad in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Onyeama told the officers that it had been a rocky and bumpy road to get to the point in which they were set to depart the country, adding that he was however glad that the day had arrived. “I am here to rejoice and to express my love for you all and to say that we have to keep hope alive, we have to maintain solidarity. We are in this thing together and by God’s grace, we will all be an asset for our country, Nigeria. That is what it is really all about, about Nigeria,...

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