Sports – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Thu, 21 Jun 2018 07:44:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Favorites struggling to impose themselves at World Cup 2018 https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/favorites-struggling-to-impose-themselves-at-world-cup-2018/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/favorites-struggling-to-impose-themselves-at-world-cup-2018/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 21:48:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663413 The post Favorites struggling to impose themselves at World Cup 2018 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Spain’s reliance on a lucky goal to edge past Iran continued a pattern of labored displays from the pre-World Cup favorites. With the odd exception, the top teams have not been firing on all cylinders. DW takes a look.With 20 matches gone, the standout team performances of Russia 2018 have come largely from unfancied nations; Senegal’s clinical upset against Poland, Mexico’s thrilling dismantling of world champions Germany and Russia’s party-starting hammering of Saudi Arabia.

Of course, it’s early in the tournament and none of the six pre-tournament favorites will be too nervous just yet. But none of them can rest easy either. Let’s have a look at how the “big six” have fared, and what’s around the corner.

Brazil

Under the guidance of Tite, Brazil were thought to be a better side than the one that crumbled to a 7-1 defeat to Germany on home turf four years ago. But after a Coutinho stunner got them off to a flyer, they were pegged back by Switzerland in their Group E opener by some slack defending and were worryingly quick to lose their rhythm. Their talisman Neymar was an injury doubt before the tournament and has missed training ahead of the Selecao’s next fixture against Costa Rica on Friday, while the country’s federation complained about VAR not being used in some key moments of the game.

Germany

Where Brazil labored and complained, Germany had no choice but to take their loss to Mexico on the chin. A team that has looked so united for so long suddenly seemed to age before the eyes of the world on Sunday and were fortunate to escape with only a 1-0 loss.

The mood around the world champions’ camp has been both introspective and bullish this week but there must be serious question marks against some of Joachim Löw’s key men. Sami Khedira lost control of the midfield, Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller were both absent and even Joshua Kimmich, normally so impressive, failed to react to the Mexicans taking advantage of his positioning. Löw himself has also come under scrutiny for leaving his substitutions so late. A loss against Sweden and Die Mannschaft could become the fourth of the last five world champions to exit at the group stage the tournament after victory.

Spain

The 2010 winners were impressive on the front foot against Portugal and came up against the inspired figure of Cristiano Ronaldo. But they also shot themselves in the foot — huge errors from David de Gea and Nacho were gifts to the Real Madrid man. Wednesday’s performance against Iran was probably more troubling for rookie coach Fernando Hierro. Iran were content to sit deep but Spain were unable to pick the lock, relying on a hugely lucky bounce off Diego Costa’s leg to break the deadlock and surviving a disallowed Iranian goal. Hierro’s men still need at least a draw against Morocco to ensure they progress.

France

France have a glut of attacking talent that looks, on paper at least, the pick of the World Cup bunch. But too many cooks spoilt the broth as they limped to a late 2-1 victory over Australia on Saturday with the help of technology — both VAR and goal-line — and a good old-fashioned deflection. Didier Deschamps has never really convinced as coach of the side he captained to a World Cup win in 1998 and the pacy forward line of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele failed to impress, with Olivier Giroud a candidate to offer a different threat against Denmark on Thursday.

Belgium

Roberto Martinez’ men have probably graduated from dark horses to genuine contenders and, after a slow start, easily picked off Panama on Monday. Dries Mertens’ opener was outrageous while Romelu Lukaku’s brace is a boost to the Red Devils’ chances. But, truth be told, the World Cup debutants were never likely to pose any great threat while Tunisia, who they face on Saturday, are similarly limited. England, on June 28, may be their first real test. But it’s been the mental challenge of the knockout round that’s been Belgium’s biggest problem in recent years, whether they can clear that particular hurdle remains to be seen.

Argentina

Despite their inexperience and lack of star names, Iceland are no mugs. As England will testify. But still, any side containing Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria and able to leave Paulo Dybala kicking his heels on the bench should feel confident of putting them away. Messi’s penalty miss grabbed the headlines but Argentina lacked any real cohesion, constantly looking to the Barcelona man to pull a rabbit out of the hat on Saturday. For once, he couldn’t. But it’s difficult to escape the feeling he may need to if they are to reach the latter stages in Russia. A talented Croatia team await on Thursday before a potentially-decisive final group game against Nigeria.

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EFA sponsor destroys Egyptian football, Cuper to end contract with Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/efa-sponsor-destroys-egyptian-football-cuper-to-end-contract-with-egypt/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/efa-sponsor-destroys-egyptian-football-cuper-to-end-contract-with-egypt/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 18:09:21 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663328 The sponsoring company of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) issued a statement replying to criticism on the team’s mission in the Russia World Cup. The statement was issued a few hours before Egypt’s match against Russia took place, during the second round in the first group of the World Cup. The company acquitted itself from …

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The sponsoring company of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) issued a statement replying to criticism on the team’s mission in the Russia World Cup. The statement was issued a few hours before Egypt’s match against Russia took place, during the second round in the first group of the World Cup.

The company acquitted itself from the chaos occurred at the team’s base hotel, hours before the match with Russia, even though the company is involved in this miserable situation.

The company explained in its statement that it has invited 1,350 Egyptian fans to support their team. They were winners in the competitions held by the sponsoring companies, celebrities, public figures, and sportsmen. It stressed that it succeeded in its mission and this resulted in making Egyptians fans look good in the stadium, where the world cup matches are played.

Sources told Daily News Egypt that the sponsoring company was responsible for the chaos that took place at the hotel, through allowing fans inside it to take pictures with the players and celebrate the Egyptian presence in the World Cup.

The sponsoring company incident is not the first of its kind. It was preceded by several incidents, with the most prominent the issue realted Mohamed Salah, the team’s striker, and the English team Liverpool due to the player’s ad rights.

The sponsoring company continued to destroy Egyptian football after controlling some members of the EFA, by giving them a chance to work in its channels and radio stations, which led to the members implementing the instructions without objections or discussions out of fear of being overthrown. 

The EFA, headed by Hany Abu Rida, has decided not to extend the contract of Egypt’s head coach Hector Cuper, after the national team suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia in St Petersburg on Tuesday. Having lost their first game 1-0 to Uruguay, Egypt now only has a weak chance of advancing to the knockout round.

Abu Rida had agreed with Cuper before the World Cup to hold a meeting after the tournament to negotiate over the possibility of renewing his coaching contract of the national team.

After the bad results in World Cup, the EFA’s management council asked Abu Rida not to renew the Argentinian’s contract. Abu Rida gave in to the EFA’s council’s pressure, despite his desire to extend Cuper’s contract, to maintain the stability of the team.

Cuper took the job in 2015 and has led the Pharaohs to their first World Cup finals since 1990. In 2017, he also steered the team to the final of the African Cup of Nations.

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Lions of Atlas to clash with Portugal in 2nd round of Group B https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/lions-of-atlas-to-clash-with-portugal-in-2nd-round-of-group-b/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/lions-of-atlas-to-clash-with-portugal-in-2nd-round-of-group-b/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 05:30:37 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663253 Saudi Arabia aims to make positive result against Uruguay

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The Moroccan national team will face a tough contest on Wednesday, when they clash with Portugal at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, amid the second round of Group B in the 2018 World Cup.

The Lions of the Atlas are in a difficult situation after they lost their World Cup opener to Iran, leaving the team at the bottom of Group B.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese team, led by international star Cristiano Ronaldo, seeks to win the game to increase their qualification chances for the round of 16, especially after they drew with Spain (3-3) last week in their World Cup opener. Iran is now on the top of the group with three points, followed by Portugal and Spain in the second and third places, respectively.

The clash between Portugal and Morocco will also witness a special confrontation between Ronaldo, who scored the first hat-trick of the tournament against Spain, and the Moroccan goalkeeper, Munir Mohamedi.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia will also go through a difficult contest against Uruguay, defending their prestige after their huge loss (0-5) to Russia in the tournament’s opening match.

Despite the difficulty of the game, the Green Falcons seeks to achieve a positive result against Uruguay and to show the strength of Saudi football, after they were fiercely attacked and mocked for their poor performance against the Russian team.

Saudi Arabia is in at the bottom of Group A, which also includes Egypt, Russia, and Uruguay.

Uruguay aims to tighten its lead of the group and achieve the game’s three points, to ensure their qualification for the second stage.

Spain’s star-studded team is looking forward to beat Iran, as they need the game’s three points to increase their qualification chances for the round of 16, after drawing with Portugal in their World Cup opener.

Iran will enter their next match with high moral, after they won their World Cup opener and seized the first place in Group B. The Iranian goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand, aims to keep his clean sheet run against Spain to maintain his team’s lead of the group and ensure qualifying for the next stage.

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Russia end Egypt’s hopes in World Cup, almost qualifies for next stage https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/russia-end-egypts-hopes-in-world-cup-almost-qualifies-for-next-stage/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/20/russia-end-egypts-hopes-in-world-cup-almost-qualifies-for-next-stage/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 05:00:27 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663234 Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah finally returned and scored his first World Cup goal against Russia, but the Pharaohs’ hopes of progressing to the round of 16 vanished, as the hosts found scored  three times during the second half of the game held on Tuesday at Saint Petersburg stadium. The match’s first 45-minutes were …

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Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah finally returned and scored his first World Cup goal against Russia, but the Pharaohs’ hopes of progressing to the round of 16 vanished, as the hosts found scored  three times during the second half of the game held on Tuesday at Saint Petersburg stadium.

The match’s first 45-minutes were entertaining and frenetic. Both teams have attacked at every opportunity and created many clear chances. In the second half, Russia was more clinical in front of the goal and put pressure on the Egyptian defensive line, forcing the visitors to make mistakes, which happened in the 47 minute, when the right-back Ahmed Fathy deflected the ball into his own net. The following minutes were catastrophic for Egyptians, as their defence collapsed completely and relieved more two goals within only 15 minutes.

The Egyptians pushed hard in the last 20 minutes of the game, making three substitutions to support the forward line; Mohamed al-Nenny, Mahmoud “Trezeguet,” and Marwan Mohsen were replaced by Mahmoud “Kahraba,” Ramadan Sobhy, and Amr Warda.

Salah tried hard despite his injury he suffered in the Champions League final. In the 73 minute, Salah managed to score from a penalty Egypt’s its first World Cup goal since 1990, but then it was too late.

Afterwards, Egypt’s head coach, Hector Cuper, expressed his sorrow for the team’s second loss in the World Cup, adding that all the players did their best, however there were many mistakes that gifted the hosts their big win. Cuper said that he understands if the Egyptian Football Association is unsatisfied with the results, or wants to end his contract, however he refused to reveal his future plans regarding his management of the Egyptian team. 

Egypt will face Saudi Arabia with hopes to register their first ever World Cup win in their last group game.

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Ministry of Investment delegation showcases Egypt’s investment opportunities in St Petersburg https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/ministry-of-investment-delegation-showcases-egypts-investment-opportunities-in-st-petersburg/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/ministry-of-investment-delegation-showcases-egypts-investment-opportunities-in-st-petersburg/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 18:32:03 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663166 ‘Egypt — Experience & Invest’ aims to promote Egypt as a global investment destination

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A delegation from the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation showcased Egypt’s investment opportunities with an investment map at the Egypt pavilion in the fans’ area of St Petersburg, ahead of the match between Egypt and Russia on Tuesday.

The Fan Zone is part of the agreement signed between the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) and the Egyptian government last week, allowing Egypt to become an official regional supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The agreement, under the title “Egypt — Experience & Invest” aims to promote Egypt as a global investment destination and to attract more tourists from around the world to visit the country.

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said, “the ministry aims to take advantage of the world’s largest sports event to promote the huge investment diversity and potential that Egypt has to offer.”

The agreement marks the first time that the FIFA signed sponsorship deals from countries other than Qatar, China, and Russia in the World Cup. It now has 20 sponsors, including Adidas, Hyundai, and Qatar Airways.

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Germany full of reflection ahead of critical Sweden game https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/germany-full-of-reflection-ahead-of-critical-sweden-game/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/germany-full-of-reflection-ahead-of-critical-sweden-game/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 14:41:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663097 The post Germany full of reflection ahead of critical Sweden game appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Germany’s captain revealed on Tuesday that Germany’s players have been doing a lot of talking to each other. This team must get better, but the most encouraging thing for Germany fans is that the players know it.Having been late to almost every ball in their opener against Mexico, it almost seemed fitting that Manuel Neuer was nearly an hour late to Germany’s press conference on Tuesday. The reason for the Germany captain’s tardy arrival though, was more telling.

“Sorry. We just had a team meeting that lasted a little longer than planned,” Neuer said. “We are our own toughest critics and we are disappointed and angry over our performance against Mexico.”

Since the defeat, Germany have closed the doors somewhat — a scheduled press conference with Philipp Lahm on Monday was scrapped and the team’s training sessions have largely been recovery-focused. Even the sessions in front of the media have been limited to 15 minutes, which makes true impressions hard to come by.

“No one is shying away from responsibility. We talked about the game in the bus, and we talk at every meal. We say our opinion,” Neuer said, bluntly.

Read more: Kevin Kuranyi: ‘Joachim Löw must find the right words’

A lot of questions have been asked of this Germany team, both before the start of this tournament and after the shock defeat in their opening game. Now, they are asking questions of themselves.

“We lacked bravery, self-understanding and trust. Why, I don’t know,” Neuer said in a revealing press appearance. “We weren’t ready and our body language wasn’t right. The main cause was with the team leaders. We didn’t have the readiness on the pitch to take control and organize things.”

Time for leaders to rise

Perhaps in this case figures such as Per Mertesacker or Bastian Schweinsteiger are missing, but this team has leaders. They just need to take control.

It’s worth adding that defending a World Cup title is also a lot harder than pursuing one. Perhaps Germany have underestimated that. In the last few months, they have often looked presumptuous at finding solutions. This team can presume no more.

Germany now need to recover in time for their second group game against Sweden on Saturday.

“The communication within the team has never been stronger than it was after the Mexico game,” Neuer said. “Lots of players are getting involved. We believe we’ll make the knockouts.”

It’s hard not to believe Neuer’s positivity, especially because the captain could have fallen back on a host of template statements about what teams do when they’re up against it. Instead, he delivered an insight into the reflective state this Germany team is in. In Sochi — a welcome change of scenery according to Neuer the team can show how good they really are.

“The first half against Mexico was a wake-up call. We don’t need another one,” Neuer said. If Germany need waking up again, then they’ll only have themselves to blame.

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Japan topple ten-man Colombia in Group H upset https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/japan-topple-ten-man-colombia-in-group-h-upset/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/japan-topple-ten-man-colombia-in-group-h-upset/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 11:38:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663119 The post Japan topple ten-man Colombia in Group H upset appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Bundesliga duo Shinji Kagawa and Yuya Osako both got themselves on the scoresheet as Japan triumphed over ten-man Colombia. They become the first Asian team to ever beat a South American side at the World Cup.Japan became the first Asian team to ever beat a South American side at the World Cup as they picked up a narrow 2-1 win over Group H favorites Colombia, inspired by a Bundesliga double act.

Colombia got off to the worst possible start when midfielder Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the third minute for deliberate handball – the second fastest red card in World Cup history.

Shinji Kagawa scored the resulting penalty, but Japan were unable to press their man advantage against an ambitious Colombia side who equalized through Juan Quintero, who squeezed over the line shortly before halftime.

After the break,Colombia seemed intent on not conceding, but did introduce superstar James Rodriguez off the bench after the Bayern midfielder was left out of the starting line-up due to muscle pain.

The 2014 Golden Boot winner failed to provide the match-winning heroics though, as Yuya Osako grabbed the decisive goal with a glancing header in the 73rd minute to secure victory for the Blue Samurai.

LIVE SCORE: Colombia 1-2 Japan (Kagawa 6′, Osako 74′; Quintero 39′)

FULL TIME! It’s all over. Japan hold on to claim victory in their opening game of the World Cup 2018 thanks to a Bundesliga double!

90+4′ – Japan get a scare with a short backpass. Fortuntely Kawashima was quickly off his line.

90′ – Five minutes ot time added on. Nerves!

89′ – Do Colombia have it in them. A hopeful ball forward is knocked down by Falcao. The offside flag was up though.

87 ‘ – Tired legs have definitely caught up with Colombia, who have been a man down since the third minute.

84′ – Japan are looking very solid defending their lead. Colombia need to produce a moment of magic to avoid defeat in their World Cup opener.

81′ – There’s a first time for everything…

78′ – CHANCE! A cheeky backheel catches out Japan’s backline. James Rodriguez is clean through on goal, but smashes his effort well over after fantastic defensive work from Osako!. Wasteful.

77′ – From one former Cologne player to another (Yuya Osako has agreed to join Werder Bremen)…

74′ – GOAL! Yuya Osako heads Japan in front. The resulting corner is teased into the area and Osako, squeezing two or three Colombian defenders manages to meet the cross and plant a header in off the far post.

73′ – SO CLOSE! Japan really want the win as Yuya Osako tees up Hiroki Sakai to have a go at goal. Deflected behind for a corner.

71′ – First sight of goal for Honda as Colombia opt not to close him down. Fortunately, his shot is scuffed along the ground from 20 yards and easy to deal with.

69′ – He opened the scoring from the spot and now makes way for Keisuke Honda. You have to say it was a solid, not spectacular outing for the Dortmund man. Needed to pull a few more strings in the final third for my liking.

67′ – The answer to the last question is: unlikely. Right now it’s most one-way traffic in Japan’s favor as Inui sees another half-chance blocked.

64′ – It’s worth noting that James came off the bench to score in Colombia’s 4-1 win over Japan in the 2014 World Cup. Will history repeat itself?

62′ – Hiroki Sakai’s run in behind is found by Kagawa. The Marseille right-back has no one to aim for in the box, goes for goal himself and sends the ball out for a throw in.

59′ – James Rodriguez is on! He won the Golden Boot in 2014, can he rescue his side here?

57′ – CHANCE! Japan have really ramped up their efforts since the restart. Takashi Inui tries to bend one towards the far corner, but it’s seen all the way by Ospina.

54′ – CHANCE! Yuya Osako works the channels to get by Davinson Sanchez. His resulting shot from a tight angle does little to trouble Ospina in goal though. Too easy from Colombia, not good enough from Japan.

52′ – Referee Damir Skomina was letting a lot of minor fouls go in a physical first half, but is pulling players up a lot more often after the break. It will be difficult for players to know where the line is now before they cross it.

50′ – It was at this moment that Japan’s wall knew… they’d messed up!

47′ – Colombia haven’t panicked since going down to 10 men, which is impressive. They’ve come out in the second half wanting to control the game, which isn’t always the case for a side down to ten men.

SECOND HALF! We’re back underway in Saransk. Can Japan make their extra man count or will Colombia complete a stunning comeback? Both sides are unchanged.

HALF TIME! All square at the break following one of the most dramatic first halves we’ve seen this summer.

A penalty, red card and goal all inside the opening six minutes saw Japan take an early lead through Shinji Kagawa’s spot kick, while Carlos Sanchez was given his marching orders for Colombia.

Juan Quintero’s cheeky free-kick levelled the scores and, right now, you feel anything is possible.

44′ – Japan may have a man advantage, but they look the more nervous of the two sides and are making more mistakes. The Blue Samurai’s passed up chances to put this game beyond Colombia, who are now in the ascendancy.

41′ – There were plenty of protests from the Japanese players. Replays show that the ball clearly crossed the line. Though they may be trying to challenge the free-kick being given. Either way the referee is unmoved.

39′ – GOAL! Free-kick for Colombia. Juan Quintero steps up and sends it UNDER the wall and into the bottom corner. Kawashima scrambles across his line, but not in time to keep the effort out. Cheeky!

34′ – A clipped ball over the top finds Falcao, but just like his chance from earlier, he’s on the stretch and can’t get enough power on the ball to truly trouble Kawashima.

33′ – Colombia have not created any real chances as of yet, but their pace was a real threat. With Cuadrado going off, that won’t neccessarily be the case anymore. Seems a very strange decision.

31′- The biggest compliment I can give Colombia is that them being down to ten men isn’t noticeable. They’re demonstrating the right amount of ambition, but haven’t found a way the break Japan down yet. Jose Pekerman is making a change though as Barrios comes on to replace Juan Cuadrado. What?

28′ – There’s a clash between Haraguchi and Mojina. Both players receive treatment and are able to continue.

25′ – Cuadrado earns his side a corner. The intial cross comes to nothing, but Japan fail to clear their lines allowing Cuadrado to get a shot off from the edge of the area. It’s blocked.

22′ – Just think, you’ve travelled halfway round the world and inside three minutes your team are a goal and a man down.

The Colombia fans to their credit are still making quite a racket and, based on how proceedings are being played out, you can’t rule it out that they’ll turn this around. Juan Cuadrado is looking very lively.

19′ – Sanchez was shown a straight red and could miss the remainder of the tournament dependant how Colombia fare. A turning point.

16′ – CHANCE! Takashi Inui is played into space on the left side of the box only to curl his first-time effort well wide of the target.

14′ – The last couple of minutes have seen more Colombians rolling on the ground after a challenge than football. Japan are getting physical and keeping tight, but there are a lot of theatrics on show right now.

12′ – CHANCE! A free-kick is floated into the Japan area, Falcao gets a touch on the stretch, but can’t guide it past Kawashima. It’s not often he lets chances like that go unpunished..

9′ – A man down following Sanchez’s sending off, Colombia are trying to find their feet in the game. Japan are having more of the ball as a result.

6′ – GOAL! Shinji Kagawa converts from the spot. Cool as you like, the Dortmund man waits for Ospina commit before rolling the ball the other way. Dream start for Japan!

4′ – PENALTY + RED CARD! Yuya Osako breaks in behind only to fail to beat Ospina in a one-on-one situation. Shinji Kagawa fires at goal on the follow up and his effort is blocked by the arm of Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez is sent off as the referee points to the spot. VAR not needed because it was as clear as day.

3’ – Japan have barely touched the ball so far, with Colombia looking very comfortable in possession.

KICK OFF! – We’re underway in Saransk. Four Bundesliga representatives on show for Japan with Makoto Hasebe, Shinji Kagawa, Genki Haraguchi and Yuya Osako all worth keeping an eye on for various reasons.

13:58 CET – Gündogan watching on

Germany may have lost to Mexico, but it won’t stop Ilkay Gündogan from cheering on his former teammate.

13:55 CET – Soaking up the atmosphere!

Out man in Russia, Jonathan Crane has been incredibly impressed with the Latin American flair on display amongst the travelling fans. Click on the link in the Tweet to get his view…

13:50 CET – Aren’t we all unofficial mascots?

13:45 CET – TEAM NEWS!

James Rodriguez is on the bench. I repeat, James Rodriguez is on the bench.

The Colombian has been unable to overcome a minor calf injury, but is in the matchday squad.

13:40 CET – Welcome to Day 6!

Welcome back to DW’s coverage of the World Cup 2018 in Russia, where today we’ll see the final four teams get their group stage underway. Group H participants Colombia, Japan, Senegal and Poland have been waiting patiently in the wings, but now is their time to shine before hosts Russia take on Egypt in today’s final game.

We’ve got matchday fever once again and, let’s be honest, when it comes to the World Cup we’re all Oscar Murillo. Silky moves!

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We will fight to defeat Russia: Cuper https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/we-will-fight-to-defeat-russia-cuper/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/19/we-will-fight-to-defeat-russia-cuper/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 09:30:10 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663069 Egypt’s head coach, Hector Cuper, said his team will seek victory over Russia and Saudi Arabia to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the next stage of the World Cup and go further in the tournament after a 28-year absence. He noted that the Egyptian team, despite Mohamed Salah’s absence, presented an outstanding performance in …

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Egypt’s head coach, Hector Cuper, said his team will seek victory over Russia and Saudi Arabia to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the next stage of the World Cup and go further in the tournament after a 28-year absence.

He noted that the Egyptian team, despite Mohamed Salah’s absence, presented an outstanding performance in their first game against Uruguay, and everyone believed that the better side had not won.

Cuper added that the Egyptians were unlucky in their first game, hence they must fight in their next clashes against the host, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, stressing that all players are ready and fit, especially after the full recovery of Salah, Amr Warda, and Tarek Hamed, as well as Mahmoud Hassan “Trezeguet.”

The Argentinean coach said that Salah’s return will give additional strength to the team’s forward line and increase their efficiency with respect to their performance and particularly in front of the goal. He noted that Egypt failed to score against Uruguay although they had many chances, stressing that he has worked with the coaching staff on fixing this problem.

Salah’s controversial photo

A photo was circulated on social media and media outlets showing a number of Egyptian players while they were helping Salah put on his shirt during the team’s training in Grozny, raising controversy over Liverpool star’s readiness to play the next game against Russia.

Egypt’s team manager, Ehab Leheta, affirmed that Salah was fit and perfectly ready to lead the Pharaohs’ forward line against Russia, noting that he could have played in the team’s first match against Uruguay, but the coaching staff, led by Cuper, had a different opinion, citing tactical reasons.

He explained that the players were just joking with Salah and the photo does not mean that the player will not play in the next game. The Liverpool star was spotted in the team’s last training and was ready to face Russia.

Salah’s security guards ask fans to keep away from his shoulder

When Egypt’s players exited their team bus, an Egyptian fan tried to get a selfie with Salah, approaching the winger from his right and placing his left hand on Salah’s injured shoulder. Salah quickly urged the fan to take his hand away.

Other fans also approached Salah and tried to take selfies with him. The player asked the fans not to touch his injured shoulder, so the security guards assigned to protect the Premier League top scorer intervened and kept the fans away, before Salah continued to take pictures naturally.

Salah suffered a serious injury during a challenge with Real Madrid’s defender Sergio Ramos in the UEFA Champions League final, held in Kiev, Ukraine on 26 May before the World Cup.

Black market for tickets booming

The tickets for Egypt’s match against Russia sold out fast several weeks ago, as thousands of fans from both sides were keen to attend this important game. A few days before the game, the black market for tickets was booming. The ticket was sold at more than $600 (about EGP 10,700).

The Egyptian team arrived on Sunday in St. Petersburg, coming from Grozny, Chechnya, the team’s base camp during the World Cup. Egypt will play their next game against the host, Russia, within the second round of the World Cup group stage at Zenit Arena Stadium, which has a capacity of 64,287 people.

Abu Rida checks on Salah’s condition

Hany Abo Rida, president of Egyptian Football Association (EFA), held a long meeting with Dr. Mohamed Abu El-Ela, head of Egypt’s medical staff, at the team’s residence in St. Petersburg. Abu Rida wanted to check on Salah’s health condition to clarify whether the player can participate in the next game against Russia or not.

Abu Rida arrived in St. Petersburg from Moscow, where he discussed with FIFA officials the World Cup broadcasting rights crisis.

A disagreement had erupted between Egypt’s Competition Authority (ECA) and FIFA recently over the tournament’s broadcasting​ rights. The ECA said that FIFA is the sole organisation able to grant broadcasting rights for the World Cup, which is a violation of Egyptian freedom of competition laws.

The broadcasting rights in the Middle East for the World Cup, which began in Russia on Thursday, was sold to the Qatari beIN Sports channel. However, the ECA said that most Egyptians cannot afford beIN’s subscription fees.

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Conflicting reports on unprecedented in Egyptian football Al Assiouty Sport takeover https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/18/conflicting-reports-on-unprecedented-in-egyptian-football-al-assiouty-sport-takeover/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/18/conflicting-reports-on-unprecedented-in-egyptian-football-al-assiouty-sport-takeover/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 18:27:09 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663076 Reports linking acquisition to Al-Sheikh

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The board of directors of the Al Assiouty Sport football team, headed by Mahmoud Al-Assiouty, officially announced on Monday the approval of the acquisition of the team to an unnamed company that requested the purchase.

However, Al-Assiouty denied few hours after the initial announcement, and claimed that his Facebook account was hacked, and that the statement was issued by the hackers, in which he announced reaching a final agreement with a company—without disclosing its name—to sell the team, and that the team’s name will be changed to Al-Ahram, indicating that the acquisition is only for the football team, not the whole sports club.

Yet, sources inside the club told Daily News Egypt, that the acquisition deal is still standing, and that Al-Assiouty hacking claims are only for media until the deal is officially completed. Several reports have linked Turki Al-Sheikh, the Saudi sports administrator and president of the Arab Football Federation, and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Sahel to the club’s takeover.

In May, then Al Ahly’s honorary president, Al-Sheikh announced on his Facebook page that he will leave his position at Al Ahly.

Al-Sheikh played a significant role at the club through providing financial support. However, the relationship between him and Al Ahly fans came to an end when the team’s negotiations with the Argentinean manager Ramon Diaz failed and he was appointed as the new manager of Jeddah’s Al-Ittihad.

Moreover, he also claimed that he supported Mahmoud El Khatib with EGP 6m during his campaign and that he supported the club with almost EGP 260m.

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World Cup 2018: South and Central American fans bring Latino spirit to Russia https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/18/world-cup-2018-south-and-central-american-fans-bring-latino-spirit-to-russia/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/18/world-cup-2018-south-and-central-american-fans-bring-latino-spirit-to-russia/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 08:51:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662988 The post World Cup 2018: South and Central American fans bring Latino spirit to Russia appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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They have spent hours on multiple planes just to get to Russia. But the long journey and huge costs have certainly not dampened the spirits of hundreds of fans from South and Central America.Anyone wandering through central Moscow over the past few days might have been forgiven for thinking that Russia was playing host to the Copa America and not the World Cup. Such is the array of Brazilian, Argentinian and Mexican flags on show.

Read more: Germany embarrassed by passionate Mexico fans

Hundreds of thousands of fans from South and Central America have made the long and expensive journey for the tournament, adding vibrancy and color to the Russian capital. Indeed, their presence in comparison to the seemingly inconspicuous European fans has been one of the most striking features of this year’s World Cup so far.

For Brazilian fan Gabriel Leite, the time it has taken to get here and the money it has cost him is not important. Despite knowing the tricks of the trade, the 34-year-old travel agent from Sao Paulo estimates he has spent up to $8,000 (€6,900) on flights and accommodation. But he thinks it is all worthwhile.

“I started planning my trip two or three years ago and started saving money,” Leite, who is enjoying his third World Cup after South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 told DW. “It is worth it because the atmosphere is so good. I’m going to start planning to go to Qatar [for the 2022 tournament] as soon as the World Cup finishes here.”

Some fans have gone to drastic lengths to be in Russia. There have even been tales of people selling their cars to buy plane tickets. According to Spanish media, one Peruvian fan – desperate to watch his country compete in its first World Cup since 1982 – purposely put on weight so he would qualify as obese and therefore be entitled to tickets in the disabled section, the only area where they were available.

FIFA has sold nearly 2.5 million tickets for this tournament, and while the vast majority have gone to Russian fans, those from South and Central America have snapped up a more than healthy share. Brazilians lead the way with 73,000 tickets bought, followed by Colombians with 65,000 and Mexicans with 60,000.

“I think everyone is making an effort to be here right now,” said Nina Carrizo, one of 54,000 Argentinians to have been allocated tickets. “This is my first time [at the World Cup] and it’s amazing. It’s a dream come true. We are very glad to be here.”

With Moscow’s Red Square temporarily closed off as authorities clear up after a concert last week, many fans have instead congregated in and around the nearby Manezhnaya Square, bringing with them their own brand of festivities.

“We like to party,” said Mexican fan Diego Rodriguez, who has traveled to Russia with a group of sombrero-wearing friends. “Mexicans have been here since the first World Cup in 1930 and we’re going to be here until the last. There are a lot of us here and we’re going to make a lot of noise.”

Morning and night, chants in Spanish can be heard ringing out across the square. The recent blazing sunshine in Moscow has made this feel like a home away from home for the Latin American visitors, while locals have been queuing up to pose for photos with their new-found friends.

Read more: Lozano goal causes mini-earthquake in Mexico City

Adriana Barrero of Colombia was one of those dragged away from selfie duty to talk to reporters. Unable to leave her young son at home, she has brought along her entire family to the World Cup.

“We love football and we love our country,” she said. “Colombia is my team and I love them. I follow them all over the world.”

Singling out Bayern Munich’s James Rodriquez as Colombia’s star player, Barrero predicts a good World Cup for her country.

“We have a very good team,” she said. “We hope they go very far in the tournament.”

And it is not just humans joining the party. Lola the Mexican rag doll has racked up nearly 13,000 followers on Instagram. She belongs to Marcela Graudins, a 36-year-old environmentalist who now lives in California. Lola has been accompanying Graudins on trips abroad for the past 15 years and has become something of an internet sensation.

“I used to travel for work and my mum was worried I was going to be lonely,” Graudins said. “She told me, ‘Oh you should take the little doll.’ One day I was in Chinatown in San Francisco and because she’s super Mexican I thought it looked interesting to have her there. So I started taking pictures.”

Of course, this World Cup – like many international sporting tournaments before it – has not escaped criticism. Russia’s human rights record has come under renewed scrutiny, with concerns over the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) fans, as well as over racism in the country.

On Thursday, British LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested in Moscow for staging what police said was an illegal protest. And on the same day, attackers allegedly targeted a gay French football fan in St. Petersburg, leaving him badly beaten. World Cup organizers have said everyone can expect a warm welcome in Russia. But perhaps the best example can be found in those visiting for the tournament.

“[The World Cup] is very important for peace all over the world,” said Brazilian fan Jose Andrade Neto. “Argentina, Mexico and the rest, we are all friends. We live in one continent and in one world. I hope for peace, that people live in peace. I’m so happy to be here.”

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Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick stunner secures Serbia win over Costa Rica https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/17/aleksandar-kolarovs-free-kick-stunner-secures-serbia-win-over-costa-rica/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/17/aleksandar-kolarovs-free-kick-stunner-secures-serbia-win-over-costa-rica/#respond Sun, 17 Jun 2018 11:50:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662928 The post Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick stunner secures Serbia win over Costa Rica appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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A brilliant second half free kick from captain Aleksandar Kolarov led Serbia to a deserved win over Costa Rica. Serbia were wasteful in front of goal but did enough to secure three vital points in Group E.+++ Refresh page for updates, all times in CEST +++

Costa Rica 0 – 1 Serbia
(Kolarov 56′)

FULL TIME: They made heavy weather of it, missing several big chances, but Serbia get their Group E campaign off to a winning start. Kolarov’s free kick was an absolute belter in a tournament that’s already had its fair share of those. Our match report will be with you shortly.

90+8- They are going to VAR to see if Prijovic should be sent off for an off-the-ball incident. But it’s just a yellow.

90+5 – Bolanos blazes over from six yards but he was miles offside.

90+4 – We have ourselves a little spat. As the ball rolled out of play a member of the Costa Rican coaching staff picked it up to keep it from Matic. The Manchester United midfielder reacted furiously and mush pushing and shoving ensued. Very odd given the match situation.

90+3 – Kostic breaks clear after a Costa Rican corner but wastes the opportunity with plenty of support.

90+1 – Gamboa has a crack from miles out but it’s comfortable for Stojkovic. There will be five minutes of added time.

89′ – That’s that for Mitrovic. He’s removed for Prijovic.

87′ – Mitrovic finds acres in the penalty area after another excellent Milinkovic-Savic pass but his first touch is poor and he can’t get a shot away. He goes down looking for a penalty but that was just to save his blushes. Two big missed chances for him today. Will it matter?

81′ – Milinkovic-Savic tries to lift one over the defnse but Duarte just gets a toe on it. Serbia make their final change, with Tadic replaced by veteran right back Rukavina. Mladen Krstajic appears to want to protect this slender lead.

76′ – Serbia have ramped it up a bit and could’ve gone two ahead. Tadic got free on the right and tried to measure one to Kolarov but Navas got a critical fingertip to the cross. The Real Madrid keeper has kept his side alive.

75′ – Milinkovic-Savic lets fly from miles out but it’s wild.

73′ – Campbell bursts through for Costa Rica but can’t bring it under his spell and the defender gets across. Costa Rica are starting to trouble Serbia now. They’veplayed a lot deeper since taking the lead and it’s not really working out so well at this stage.

70′ – Serbia bring on Hamburg’s Filip Kostic for Adem Ljajic.

67′ – Joel Campbell comes on for Costa Rica, who haven’t really created anything in the second period. Urena exits.

64′ – Aside from that bad first half miss, Milinkovic-Savic has been very impressive today. He appears to have that rare combination of physicality and genuine technical ability.

61′ – Costa Rica have responded decently to that setback, pinning Serbia back a little without creating anything clear-cut.

56′ – Wow. What a hit from Kolarov. He stands over a free kick about 25 yards out on the right and whips it powerfully past Navas’s right hand. Another sensational free kick, that’s three already in the tournament.

54′ – Kolrav whips in a dangerous ball to the back post aimed at Milinkovic-Savic but it’s just over the Lazio man’s head and goes out for a corner. Which comes to nought.

50′ – HUGE chance for Mitrovic. He lays it off to Milinkovic-Savic and runs in behind to pick up the return ball. He’s one-on-one with Navas but hits it too close to the keeper. Has to score there.

46′ – We’re off again.

HALF TIME: It sagged a bit in the middle but that was an entertaining half. Milinkovic-Savic missed the chance of the first 45 for Serbia but almost produced a moment of magic near the end. Costa Rica have been second best but aren’t without threat and their best chance was also wasted by Ginacarlo Gonzalez, who put a free header in to the keeper’s arms.

44′ – From a ball over the top Milinkovic-Savic produces a brilliant overhead kick that Navas sprawls to save. The Serbian was flagged offside but replays suggest he was on. Doesn’t matter too much now but had it gone in, VAR would surely have been called upon.

42′ – Costa Rica are starting to get back in to it after absorbing that spell of Serbian pressure. Calvo drags one just wide from the edge of the box.

39′ – Tosic slips in his own box and gives the ball away. Urena demonstrates some silky footowork but blazes over.

36′ – Tadic draws a foul wide on the right and whips in the resulting free kick but Navas flies out to punch clear.

33′ – After an even opening, it’s all Serbia right now. Costa Rica can’t find a way out of their own half.

27′ – Milinkovic-Savic takes down a long ball that dropped over the Costa Rican backline. His first touch is good but his finish is the opposite, he just rolled it at Navas from 10 yards out. Serbia starting to boss this.

24′ – Tadic, who has looked sharp so far, curls one down the line with the outside of his boot, but it’s just ahead of Ljajic who can’t control his cross.

20′ – Calvo is the first name in the book after going right through Tadic. Difficult to argue with that one.

16′ – Tadic slips in Ivanovic and the veteran rumbles down the right and looks to cut it back, but Navas pushes it away.

15′ – Urena almost latches on to a through ball but is denied at the last.

13′ – Milinkovic-Savic finds Mitrovic who has a pop but it’s easily dealt with.

12′ – Big chance for Costa Rica. They work this corner short and there’s an overload at the back post when they whip it in. Gonzalez is in acres but heads straight at Stojkovic. It was very slightly behind him and there wasn’t much pace on the ball but he should have scored there.

7′ – Kolarov winds up that deadly left boot for his first effort of the game but it whizzes past the post

5′ – Another corner for Serbia but it’s overhit.

3′ – Gonzalez has a free header eight yards out but it’s straight at the Serbian keeper. Bright start here.

2′ – Mitrovic gets a head to an early corner but can’t get enough power on it. then, at the other end Urena races clear but he’s crowded out. The corner is easily cleared.

1′ – And we’re off in Samara!

13:55 – The national anthems are being belted out and we’re almost ready to go.

13:45 – Here we go again. We’re exactly half way through the first round of group games of the 2018 World Cup. Spain vs. Portugal has been the undoubted highlight of the tournament thus far and all eyes will be on defending champions Germany when they face Mexico in their opening game at 17:00.

But, before the main course, we have an appetizing starter. Costa Rica excelled in Brazil, qualifying ahead of Italy and England before exiting to the Netherlands on penalties in the last eight. They have Keylor Navas, outstanding in the latter stages of the Champions League, in goal but leave out Joel Campbell, the Arsenal winger on loan to Real Betis, who impressed four years ago.

Serbia missed out on 2014 but but have a number of talented individuals to call on. Defenders Aleksandar Kolarov and Branislav Ivanovic have bags of experience at the top level but the jewel in their crown is Lazio’s midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been linked with a host of top European clubs. Here’s the teams.

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EFA appreciates FIFA’s efforts to facilitate following World Cup https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/efa-appreciates-fifas-efforts-to-facilitate-following-world-cup/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/efa-appreciates-fifas-efforts-to-facilitate-following-world-cup/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 20:36:34 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662902 The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) thanked the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) for its efforts to allow Arab fans, especially Egyptians, to follow the World Cup, according to a statement on Saturday. A disagreement had erupted between Egypt’s Competition Authority (ECA) and FIFA recently over the tournament’s broadcasting​ rights. The ECA said that FIFA …

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The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) thanked the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) for its efforts to allow Arab fans, especially Egyptians, to follow the World Cup, according to a statement on Saturday.

A disagreement had erupted between Egypt’s Competition Authority (ECA) and FIFA recently over the tournament’s broadcasting​ rights. The ECA said that FIFA is the sole organisation able to grant broadcasting rights for the World Cup, which was a violation of Egyptian freedom of competition laws.

The broadcasting rights in the Middle East for the World Cup, which began in Russia on Thursday, was sold to the Qatari beIN Sports channel. However, the ECA said that most Egyptians can not afford beIN’s subscription fees.

The ECA threatened that it will “oblige” FIFA to allow it to broadcast 22 matches of the 2018 World Cup.

Meanwhile, the EFA affirmed that it has nothing to do with the recent crisis of the World Cup broadcasting​ rights, asserting that FIFA only owns the broadcasting​ rights of the tournament. Moreover, the EFA stressed that they are always committed to the international laws and regulations governing this issue.

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Luka Modric sends Croatia top of Group D https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/luka-modric-sends-croatia-top-of-group-d/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/luka-modric-sends-croatia-top-of-group-d/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 18:39:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662933 The post Luka Modric sends Croatia top of Group D appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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A Luka Modric penalty doubled Croatia’s lead against Nigeria in Kaliningrad, sending the Croats top of Group D. Eintracht Frankfurt’s Ante Rebic and Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric both impressed for Croatia.Croatia 2-0 Nigeria
(Etebo o.g. 33′, Modric pen 71′)

Croatia, with Bundesliga stars Ante Rebic and Andrej Kramaric, went top of Group D following a deserved 2-0 win over Nigeria.

Th Croatians started the match well and controlled the first 15 minutes, former Wolfsburg winger Ivan Perisic with the best chance as he took a shot from inside the box, but the bell went just above the Nigeria goal.

The opener came in the 32rd minute as a corner met the head of Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, and the ball ricoched off the legs of Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo. The deflection went straight in to make it 1-0 at halftime.

In the second half, a Victor Moses corner met the head of Leon Balogun straight after the break, but the Mainz defender was off target. Four minutes later it was Moses himself who almost equalized as the Chelsea man dribbled into the box, but his shot was just wide of the mark.

Nigeria continued to try and score the equalizing goal as Watford’s Odion Ighalo headed the ball from inside the box after a great cross in the 58th minute, but Croatia’s goalkeeper Subasic easily claimed it.

Despite Nigeria’s best efforts, it was Croatia who got the second in the 71st minute. The referee awarded a penalty after Mario Mandzukic was held in the box by Ekong following a corner. Real Madrid’s Luka Modric calmly sent the keeper the wrong way.

Croatia looked likely to get a third but Nigeria tried to find a way back into the game. Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho had a chance to score Nigeria’s first in the 77th minute after a brilliant pass by John Obi Mikel, but the striker was off target.

The last ten minutes were smooth sailing for Croatia, who sealed an important win.

As it happened:

+++ FULL TIME! Croatia 2-0 Nigeria +++

90′ Four minutes of added time …

87′ Nigeria are still pushing for a late goal. Moses turns and shoots in the box but it’s blocked and Croatia clear.

79′ Perisic sends in a dangerous cross from the left which substitute Mateo Kovacic, on for the impressive Rebic, just can’t connect with.

77′ Kelechi Iheanacho, on for Ighalo, is immediately involved for Nigeria, swivelling and shooting wide.

76′ Rebic twists and turns and twists and turns again on the left wing but then gives the ball away. Always think the Frankfurt man is more dangerous when he doesn’t over-complicate things.

75′ Modrid and Rakitic linking up more dangerously on the right hand side now since being pushed further forward. Over on the Croatian left however, Perisic is having a quieter evening.

71′ GOAL! Croatia 2-0 Nigeria (Modric – pen)
Never in doubt! Modric sends Uzoho the wrong way and places it into the bottom corner.

70′ PENALTY FOR CROATIA
From Modric’s corner, Troost-Ekong is grappling all over Mandzukic, dragging him to the floor, and the referee points to the spot! Good decision!

66′ Nigerian claims for a penalty as Moses goes to ground following Mikel’s throughball, but the Chelsea man has fallen far too easily and the referee waves his appeals away.

62′ And a change for Nigeria too, as Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi is replaced by Ahmed Musa, who plays his football in Russia with CSKA Moscow.

60′ Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric is replaced by Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, allowing Luka Modric to advance further forward. Will we see more from the little Real Madrid genius now?

56′ Great cross! Rakitic finds Perisic on the Croatian left with a pin-point first-time ball and Perisic’s cross is a dangerous one which Rebic volley over from close range. Lovely move, although the referee blows for offside against Perisic from Rakitic’s ball.

54′ Nigeria win another corner as they increasingly look to attack down the right wing … Moses sends it deep this time, but too deep.

50′ A rocket from Rakitic! But the Barcelona man’s shot is always rising and sails over the bar.

48′ … Unfortunately not for Nigeria, as that one is cleared too. But a positive start from the men from western Africa.

48′ … cleared for another corner … third time lucky perhaps?

47′ Early corner for Nigeria, down in the far right corner where their fans are gathered. And Leon Balogun gets his head to it! Another corner …

+++ SECOND HALF +++
Croatia get us underway in the second half. Both sides are unchanged.

+++ HALF-TIME +++
Croatia 1-0 Nigeria

45+1′ … Moses’ cross is cleared for Iwobi to drive back in but Croatia throw bodies in the way. Nigeria come forward again and Moses fires over.

45′ Nigeria have a free-kick on right hand side after Rebic brings Moses down …

44′ Vrsaljko tries his luck from the edge of the box for Croatia but his shot sails well wide.

40′ Croatia close to a second as Rakitic sends in a dangerous cross from the left but Kramaric’s header goes over the bar.

33′ GOAL! Croatia 1-0 Nigeria (Etebo o.g.)
Rebic flicks on the corner at the near post and Mandzukic’s header is turned into the net by Etebo. Unfortunate for the Nigerian who really couldn’t do much about that.

32′ Rebic again! Mandzukic lays off to the Frankfurt man with a neat chested knock-down and Rebic’s shot is deflected wide for a corner.

30′ Credit to Nigeria defensively though. A solid line of four with Iwobi and Ndidi sitting just in front, making it hard for Croatia to break through. Perhaps pushing Modric further forward would give them more creativity?

28′ Must say I’m a bit underwhelmed by Croatia so far. Of course Nigeria pose a threat on the break but Rakatic and Modric are sitting very deep. Rebic has threatened a couple of times from the left but Perisic has been quiet. Expect more given the talent in this Croatian team.

24′ … and Balogun is back.

22′ First corner for Nigeria, initially cleared but John Obi Mikel lofts the ball back in, where Balogun gets an elbow in the face from Vida. The future Brighton player gets the blood cleared up on the sidelines …

20′ … Modric floats the free-kick to the back post but 19-year-old Francis Uzoho in the Nigeria goal catches easily.

19′ Free-kick for Croatia in a promising position after Balogun fouls his Bundesliga colleague Kramaric …

16′ Next effort from Croatia as Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric shoots just wide from the edge of the box.

14′ First chance for Croatia! Rebic cuts inside from the left and feeds the ball into Mandzukic who lays it off to Perisic on the edge of the box, but the Inter Milan striker fires just over. Good move!

12′ Modric loses possession down by his own corner flag but Mikel’s cross is claimed by Subasic.

11′ A first good spell of possession for Nigeria is greeted by whistles from the fans in Kaliningrad, the majority of whom are Croatian. Nigeria eventually work the ball foward towards Victor Moses but the move ends with a Croatia goal kick.

9′ Croatia’s first corner of the game is easily cleared at the front post

6′ Free-kick to Nigeria in the center of the park after Mandzukic fouls Mikel, but the long ball into the box is harmless and Croatia clear.

3′ Ante Rebic’s first chance to stretch his legs down the Croatia left but the Frankfurt man’s low cross is cleared.

1′ An early Nigeria free-kick is easily headed clear.

+++ KICK-OFF +++
We’re off! Nigeria get us underway, kicking from right to left in their dark green changed kit. Croatia from left to right in their traditional red and white checks.

– Nigeria’s coach is the Franco-German tactician Gernot Rohr, and he will hoping that his players can bounce back from warm-up defeats to England and the Czech Republic.

Read more from Rohr here, who says: ‘We don’t need a Nigerian Mo Salah’

The “Super Eagles” also have Bundesliga representation in their ranks in the form of Mainz 05 defender Leon Balogun, but the star man remains former Chelsea legend John Obi Mikel.

– Croatia go into the game as favorites, which is no surprise given the talent available in midfield and up front. Real Madrid star Luka Modric sits in front of the back four with Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, allowing some household Bundesliga names to carry Croatia forward.

Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Ante Rebic both start behind former Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, and the attacking ensemble is complemented by former Wolfsburg and current Inter Milan forward Ivan Perisic.

– It’s all to play for in Group D! With Argentina having failed to beat Iceland, top spot is there for the taking – but can Croatia or Nigeria take it?

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Joachim Löw puts faith in Julian Draxler ahead of Mexico clash https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/joachim-low-puts-faith-in-julian-draxler-ahead-of-mexico-clash/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/joachim-low-puts-faith-in-julian-draxler-ahead-of-mexico-clash/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 17:36:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662935 The post Joachim Löw puts faith in Julian Draxler ahead of Mexico clash appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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The intrigue continues to swirl around the German camp in Vatutinki as the world champions prepare to start their title defense against Mexico in Moscow on Sunday. But one question appears to have been answered.”We’ve not yet finished our considerations,” teased head coach Joachim Löw, in discussion with German public broadcaster ZDF on Saturday. But he did answer one question regarding Germany’s starting line-up in the Luzhniki Stadium: Julian Draxler will start.

“Julian has been in great form over the past couple of months and could be decisive at this World Cup,” said the 58-year-old coach. “He has a lot to offer the team — and that’s what I expect from him.”

Once again, the value that Joachim Löw places upon experience, consistency, stability and personality in his team has become apparent.

“Julian has developed really well in the past two or three years and he’s been part of our team for a long time,” said Löw. “He played well as captain at the Confederations Cup and took a huge step forward at that tournament in terms of his personality, his directness and his professionalism. He’s already played in some of these stadiums [in Russia] and I’m a big fan of his abilities.”

Given the esteem in which Löw clearly holds the Confederations Cup, the pre-World Cup warm-up tournament which FIFA uses to test the host nation’s readiness, one has to wonder whether Leroy Sane regrets choosing to undergo a nose operation last summer rather than travel to Russia — as Draxler did.

The Paris Saint-Germain winger will likely form one third of an attacking trident behind striker Timo Werner in the Luzhniki Stadium. Thomas Müller will make up a second part of that trio, while Mesut Özil looks set to edge out Marco Reus for the final spot.

The Arsenal man is another of Löw’s favorites but hasn’t enjoyed an ideal build-up to Russia 2018. He became embroiled in political controversy after allowing himself to be photographed next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before a knee problem ruled him out of Germany’s final warm-up game against Saudi Arabia — but Löw confirmed that he is “fully fit” after completing “two extra training sessions” this week.

“He seems really happy in training,” added teammate Draxler. “And he’s probably the most creative player we have.”

Reus may be starting his first World Cup on the bench, but two other debutants will be thrown in from the start. Joshua Kimmich and Timo Werner represent a new generation of German players at both ends of the pitch, although they would prefer to see themselves as much more than just like-for-like replacements for Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose.

“I’m not shy about speaking up,” a confident Kimmich said on Friday, exhibiting a maturity which belies his 23 years. “If I have something to say then I am prepared to speak to my teammates about it.”

And Löw has total confidence that Werner can provide the firepower upfront that Germany have sometimes lacked. “Timo’s greatest strength is his huge speed and penetration,” he said. “He has the ability to score a lot of goals which has made him very important for us.”

Germany’s World Cup preparation has been typically underwhelming in terms of results, but “Die Mannschaft” have proven time and time again that they know how to perform when things get serious.

“It has a lot to do with the belief of the players in their own abilities,” explained Löw, when asked by an envious English journalist why Germany are such a good “tournament team.”

“They have the experience to perform when it matters. And I’m convinced that we’ll do it again tomorrow.”

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EgyptAir presents travellers Egyptian national  football team shirts, kahk cookies https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/egyptair-presents-travellers-egyptian-national-football-team-shirts-kahk-cookies/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/egyptair-presents-travellers-egyptian-national-football-team-shirts-kahk-cookies/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 16:00:09 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662878 On the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, EgyptAir, the national airline carrier, said on Friday that it is granting it’s travellers national  football team T-shirts and kahk cookies in celebration of Eid Al-Fitr and the first football match for the Egyptian team in the Word Cup Russia 2018 on Friday afternoon. The statement added that the company’s …

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On the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, EgyptAir, the national airline carrier, said on Friday that it is granting it’s travellers national  football team T-shirts and kahk cookies in celebration of Eid Al-Fitr and the first football match for the Egyptian team in the Word Cup Russia 2018 on Friday afternoon.
The statement added that the company’s celebrations are held at Cairo Airport’s Terminal 3 and attended by some celebrities, noting that Egyptian travellers to Russia receive small books for learning Russian, which is offered in collaboration with the Russian Egyptian University.
The statement mentioned that EgyptAir operates 38 flights to and from Russia responding to the high demand due to the World Cup; moreover, EgyptAir operates 91 flights to local touristic destinations on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr.

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Lionel Messi’s missed penalty hands Iceland first World Cup point https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/lionel-messis-missed-penalty-hands-iceland-first-world-cup-point/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/lionel-messis-missed-penalty-hands-iceland-first-world-cup-point/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 12:42:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662888 The post Lionel Messi’s missed penalty hands Iceland first World Cup point appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Lionel Messi’s second half penalty miss cost Argentina the chance to open their Group D campaign with a win. But the emotions couldn’t have been more different for Iceland, who grabbed a point on their World Cup debut.Argentina 1-1 Iceland
(Aguero 19′ – Finnbogason 23′)

If one of world football’s playing duopoly dominated Friday night, the other stole the spotlight on Saturday afternoon, but for all the wrong reasons.

Despite the backing of their distinctive and decibel-rich fans, Iceland looked in trouble early on, Nicolas Tagliafico going close for Argentina and Ragnar Sigurdsson almost scoring in his own net.

The Scandinavians then began to get a foothold in the game before being hit with a sucker punch. Marcos Rojo’s ambitious shot flew to the feet of Sergio Aguero and the Manchester City striker turned in a flash and unleashed a rising thunderbolt that flew past Hannes Halldorsson, the Iceland goalkeeper who works as a film-maker.

If it all looked to be following the familiar script, no-one had told Alfred Finnbogason. Willy Caballero could only push Gylfi Sigurdsson’s drive in to the path of the Augsburg man and he rammed home Iceland’s first World Cup goal just 23 minutes in to their bow on the global stage.

Then, enter the superstar. Lionel Messi had shown flashes of his usual inspiration throughout and was handed the chance to restore Argentina’s lead just after the hour mark. But his spot kick was desperately poor and Halldorsson comfortably kept it out.

Argentina’s skipper should have had another chance to address his patchy recent record from the spot 15 minutes from time when substitute Christian Pavon was clipped in the box by Birki Mar Saevarsson but the referee saw nothing wrong and decided not to call on VAR to check his decision.

The 2014 runners-up had several other opportunities to open their campaign with three points. Messi was inches away from redemption with a trademark left foot curler and had a goalbound shot blocked by a teammate.

But ultimately neither Argentina nor their talisman did enough to beat an Iceland side who enjoyed just 22 per cent of possession but had more than enough reserves of resolve, discipline and skill. They could surprise us all again.

As it happened

FULL TIME: What a display from Iceland. Lionel Messi’s missed penalty will dominate the discussion but incredible stuff from the first timers. The match report will be along here any minute.

90+5 – He hits the wall and it’s all over.

90+4 – The ball breaks to Otamendi and he….produces a weird chip that floats in to the keeper’s arms. Iceland have defended heroically in the late stages. But Argentina have a free kick. Messi over it….

90+2′ – Messi is so keen to make up for the penalty miss but it’s just not happening. He twists and turns to find half a yard but hammers over with his right.

90′ – There will be five minutes of added time. Can Iceland cling on?

89′ – Finnbogason is down with cramp and is removed in favor of Sigurdarson. The Augsburg man will go down in the history as the first Icelander to score at the World Cup.

88′ – It’s wave after wave of attack from Argentina now, as Halldorsson is forced in to two smart stops in succession.

84′ – Messi really wants this now! After a neat exchange with Aguero, he beats a man and smashes an effort towards goal. It only makes it as far as Banega, however, who inadvertently blocks his teammate’s shot. Just after, Meza is substitued for Gonzalo Higuain.

81′ – So close from Messi! Argetina’s captain collects the ball in space and unleashes a curling drive from 25-yards. It’s a whisker away from the post. Huge let off for Iceland.

77′ – Argentina should have had another penalty there. Pavon is blatently tripped in the box by Bikir Saevarsson. Huge call by the referee and it was surprising that he didn’t opt for a replay. Had he done so, I’m sure he’d have changed his mind and awarded it.

74′ – Substitutions for both sides. For Argentina, it’s Christian Pavon on for Di Maria. Iceland swap Aron Gunnarsson for Ari Skulason.

71′ – Messi drives through the Iceland midfield, skipping past opponents as he goes. It looks as if he’s going to cut in and bend a shot to the far post but is halted in his tracks by Ragnar Sigurdsson. The ball falls to Banega but his shot barely troubles the keeper. Iceland are holding on admirably.

63′ – Penalty save! Halldorsson denies Lionel Messi from 12-yards and, in truth, that was a poor penalty. Aguero won the kick after being tripped by Hörður Magnusson. It looked very harsh.

54′ – First substitution of the match. Argentina’s Lucas Biglia makes way for Ever Banega

50′ – An Iceland penalty claim is waved away by the referee. Nicolas Otamendi did handball in the box but that would have been harsh. He didn’t even have his eyes open.

46′ – The second half gets underway in Moscow.

HALF TIME – Great opening 45 in Moscow. End to end stuff despite Argentina boasting vastly superior ball posession. Will we see a goal from Messi today?

45′ – Iceland so close on the stroke of half time! A free kick is lofted to Bjarnson at the back post. The midfielder’s cross is blocked but it drops to Gyilfi Sigurdsson. The playmaker drops a shoulder before wiggling through the tightest of gaps and getting a good shot away. Cabellero parries and danger is averted. Lovely move!

40′ – A couple of penalty shouts for Argentina but they’re waved away by the referee. Quite right, too. Lucas Biglia is chopped down by Ragnar Sigurdsson in the area but the big defender took the ball first. No complaints there.

29′ – Iceland are showing no signs of stage fright whatosoever on the biggest stage of all. Every time Argentina concede possesion, Iceland break with speed and power. Another positive showing for the nation that keep surprising us at every opportunity. A long way to go yet, though. Can they keep it up?

23′ – GOAL! Instant reply from Iceland. Gyilfi Sigurdsson finds space on the left and whips a low ball down the corridor of uncertainty. Caballero paws it away, but only so far as Alfred Finnbogason. The Augsburg forward gratefully slots home to register his nation’s first ever World Cup goal.

19′ – GOAL! Argentina take an early lead through Sergio Aguero and it’s a belter. Marcos Rojo strides out of defence with the ball, he’s unchallenged so chooses to drive a low shot towards Iceland’s goal. Aguero traps it on the penalty spot, spins away from his marker and lashes a powerful drive into the top corner. Lovely finish from the Manchester City striker.

17′ – Vintage Messi. The little genius shimmies in from the left, dodges a tackle and unleashes a fierce drive towards the top corner of Hannes Halldorsson’s net. The keeper is equal to it, however, and it’s punched to safety.

10′- So close from Iceland! A bizarre mix-up between Javier Mascherano and Willy Caballero leads to much confusion and Iceland pounce. The ball is worked to Birkir Bjarnson, who slices wide when he really should have worked the keeper.

8′ – Another free kick for Argentina, another close shave for Iceland. Messi whips it in this time and left back Nicolas Tagliafico meets it. The full back steers it inches wide.

5′ – Argentina almost take the lead early on via an own goal. Di Maria lofts free kick to the back post and it’s almost headed in by Ragnar Sigurdsson.

1′ – We’re off! Alfred Finnbogason gets things underway in Moscow. Iceland in white and Argentina in a rather dashing dark blue number.

Here we go again. Teeny-tiny Iceland, England’s unlikely conquerors at Euro 2016, line-up for their first ever World Cup game and what a baptism of fire this is. They face Argentina, who have enough attacking talent to leave Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain on the bench. They reached the final of this competition four years ago and are hell-bent on going one better this time round.

Lionel Messi bares his teeth in a deep-lying forward role behind the tenacious Sergio Aguero in attack, with Angel di Maria and Maximilliano Meza providing service from the wings. Iceland will fancy their chances, however, with Gyilfi Sigurdsson fit again to pick pockets behind a creaky Argie defense. It’s not quite David vs. Goliath, but don’t let that spoil the narrative.

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World Cup 2018: Paul Pogba’s late goal rescues slack France against Australia https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/world-cup-2018-paul-pogbas-late-goal-rescues-slack-france-against-australia/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/16/world-cup-2018-paul-pogbas-late-goal-rescues-slack-france-against-australia/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 09:47:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662891 The post World Cup 2018: Paul Pogba’s late goal rescues slack France against Australia appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Paul Pogba’s late lob spared France’s blushes after Les Blues were taken to the wire by unfancied Australia. Pogba’s intervention was neccessary after Mile Jedinak’s penalty had levelled things up for Australia.It’s safe to say this match won’t be included in any “Best of” montage reels when all is said and done. France, so unimaginaive for practically the entire 90 minutes, are off to a winning start, but there is very little else they can be pleased with on an afternoon when they made life hard for themselves.

That both France goals arrived thanks to the intervention of technology speaks volumes about how unnecessarily tight this game was. Antoine Griezmann dispatched his penalty with ease to give his team the lead on the 58 minute mark, though one suspects it wouldn’t have even been awarded at previous tournaments, given the refree allowed play to continue before reviewing the incident by the side of the pitch. On balance it was the correct decision, Josh Risdon catching a whole lot of the Griezmann as the Atletico striker homed in on the Australia goal.

The Socceroos, obdurate from the opening whistle, struck back almost instantly. The refree was at the centre of things again, awarding a penalty after the ball struck Samuel Umtiti’s arm in the penalty area. Mile Jedinak never looked like missing.

If fans were hoping a quick-fire pair of goals would liven up a turgid game, they were soon disappointed. The dross that preceded Griezmann’s opener continued as Australia dug deep and France did their very best not to trouble Mathew Ryan, Brighton and Hove Albion’s second-choice goalkeeper and Australia’s no.1.

Just as Australia fans were daring to believe a point had been secured against one of the pre-tournament favorites, France took the lead again. Paul Pogba, who had vacillated between anonymous and wretched for the preceding 80 minutes, looped a hopeful ball towards the Australia goal and appeared as surprised as anyone when it dropped in off the underside of the bar. The referee consulted his smartwatch and Australia’s heartbreak was confirmed.

France fans will be hoping the performance was a result of jitters, as opposed to issues with cohesion and tactics. Australia, bruised and beaten, will take heart from a solid performance but know another loss will likely spell the end of their Russian adventure.

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France 2 – 1 Australia
(Griezmann 58′, Pogba 80′ – Jedinak 62′)

FULL TIME: That’s it. A big let off for France, who were pretty poor throughout but pick up the three points thanks to a rare moment of quality from Paul Pogba. It’s a cruel blow for Australia, who matched their more illustrious opponents for most of the match. But with Peru and Denmark to come, it’s far from over for the Socceroos. France will need to be much better than this to match their expectations.

90+4 – Australia try a couple of crosses and have a deep throw-in. Last chance.

90+2 – Ryan gets himself in a spot of bother with a cleraance and hacks out of play. Time running out.

90′ – Mbappe hares through on the left and Ryan’s out of the box to meet him . The PSG man lobs a ball back in but France can’t get a shot away. There’ll be five minutes of injury time.

89′ – The ball is at the wrong end from Australian perspective. They can’t get out of their half.

87′ – Have Australia got anything left? They look tired and Bezich goes in to the book for a frustrated grab of Fekir’s shirt.

83′ – The goalline technology has just flashed up and that can’t have been more than a centimeter over the line. So tough to take for the Aussies and this looks like being a huge let off for France. Australia have to gamble now and Arzani replaces Kruse.

80′ – GOAL! France finally get themselves together and carve out a lovely move, Pogba exchanges passes with Giroud and dinks it over Ryan beautifully. It hits the underside of the bar and lands just over the line. That’s cruel on Australia.

78′ – Last change for France. Matuidi for Tolisso. The game is very scrappy now but tiredness may well play a role in the closing stages. Australia have done a lot of running.

76′ – A cynical trip from the otherwise-anonymous Tolisso earns him a booking.

73′ – Pavard tries an outrageous and misguided scissor volley that is not even remotely close.

71′ – Another sub for Australia. Irvine on for Rogic. That looks like an attempt to tighten things up from Bert van Marwijk.

70′ – The French pair are on. Giorud for goalscorer Griezmann and Fekir for Dembele, who has been poor.

68′ -Fekir and Giroud look ready to come on for France. They need something here, they have lacked fluency all game. Giroud should at least ensure the ball sticks up front.

65′ – Australia make the first change of the day. Juric replacing Nabbout up top.

62′ – GOAL! Jedinak rolls it down the middle and the Socceroos are level!

60′ – PENALTY TO AUSTRALIA! Unbelievable. Umtiti is penalized for handling the ball as it went over his head. Totally unneccessary that one.

59′ – France come again through Dembele and Griezmann gets a shot away. But he’s off balance and screws wide.

58′ – GOAL! Griezmann absolutely leathers it in to the right corner. France lead.

56′ – It’s a penalty! Risdon escapes with a booking.

55′ – We have a VAR call.. Griezmann races clear from Pogba’s through ball and hits the deck under challenge from Risdon. Looks a penalty to me but the referee didn’t initially give it.

53′ – Leckie finds Risdon on the overlap after some smart hold up play but his cross is just behind the man. Decent stuff from the men in gold.

50′ – Dembele looks to play an ambitious ball out to the left but it runs straight out of play. Fair to say France haven’t exactly flown out of the box.

46′ – The players are back out and we’re off. Can Australia keep this up?

HALF TIME: The referee does us all a favor and blows up. After a promising first 10 minutes, France have shown next to nothing going forward. Despite clinging on early, Australia probably came closest when Pavard almost deflected in to his own net and they will be very happy with their first half work. But there’s a fair way to go yet.

45′ – Leckie has a pop for Australia but it’s not troubling Lloris.

44′ – Dembele swings a hopeful cross straight in to the arms of Ryan. This is very poor from France. At least they have options to change it up. They may need them.

40′ – This is pretty soporific stuff now, which is exactly what Australia want. France seem to be waiting for things to happen. Griezmann is dropping deep becuase his team are not moving the ball well through the lines. It’s all very ponderous.

36′ – Mooy makes an excellent slide tackle to deny Mbappe the chance to run. The Aussie fans loved that one.

33′ – Pogba forces the ball wide to Hernandez. It’s a decent opening but he takes too long, drags the shot across goal and it’s cleared. France stepping it up a gear though.

31′ – Griezmann almost latches on to a dinked ball over the top but Milligan just about makes up the ground to nick it off his toe.

28′ – Mooy has another free kick, this time on the right, but Lloris makes a dominant claim. France have been somewhat muzzled after their fast start and the Aussies will be delighted with their work so far.

23′ – Didier Deschamps is not happy with the referee. Sainsbury looked outsripped by Dembele and seemed to block the Barcelona man’s path but the man in the middle was having none of it.

22′ – That spell from Australia seems to have calmed them. They looked in big trouble early on but it’s a little more even now.

17′ – Another free kick from Mooy in a similar area and Australia go so, so close. Someone gets a flick and Pavard deflects it towards his own goal. But Lloris is down well to paw it away. The resulting corner comes to nothing.

12′ – Mooy lifts in a free kick from the left that Kruse gets a head to it but it’s harmless. At least Australia have got their foot on the ball a little in the last couple of minutes.

10′ – Australia are in the French half!

8′ – Risdon brings down Hernandez. Australia are struggling enormously with France’s pace.Griezmann grazes the free kick with his head but it bounces off a defender and in to Ryan’s arms.

6′ – Another save from Ryan as Griezmann chances his arm from 25 yards. That’s three saves in the first six minutes from the Brighton keeper.

5′ – Milligan clips Mbappe on the edge of the box and France have a freekick in a dangerous position. Pogba strikes it straight at Ryan, who is probably in for a busy 90 minutes.

2′ – A beautifully-weighted through ball from Pavard sets Griezmann off straight away. The angle is tight but he forces Ryan to tip round the post. Big early warning for the Aussies.

1′ – And we’re off!

11:55 – We’re almost ready to roll in Kazan. There look to be less empty seats for this game than some of the early matches.

11:50 – The players are in the tunnel and the enormous flags are being unfurled on the pitch. What’s a decent result for Australia today? Would they take a 2-0 loss?

11:45 – Hello, and welcome to day three of Russia 2018. Hopefully we’ve all had time to recover from that absolute pearler of a game between Portugal and Spain last night. While we’re waiting, why not have a read of our forensic analysis of that instant classic?

The teams have been announced for today’s early game and there’s a bit of a shock for Les Blues, who name Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard at right back. He’s winning his seventh cap after a stellar rise over the last couple of years. France’s forward line looks, on paper, as good as any at the tournament while they opt for Bayern Munich’s record signing Corentin Tolisso in midfield.

There’s no place for 38-year-old Australian talisman Tim Cahill in their starting lineup but they do boast a scattering of players from major league’s. Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy will attempt to conduct from midfield while the pace of Hertha Berlin’s Mathew Leckie may cause a few issues for the 1998 champions.

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World Cup 2018 live: Opening ceremony and Russia vs. Saudi Arabia https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/world-cup-2018-live-opening-ceremony-and-russia-vs-saudi-arabia/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/world-cup-2018-live-opening-ceremony-and-russia-vs-saudi-arabia/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 14:07:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662851 The post World Cup 2018 live: Opening ceremony and Russia vs. Saudi Arabia appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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The wait is almost over. After weeks of previews, speculation and anticipation, hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia in the opening match of World Cup 2018. But before that comes the opening ceremony. Follow it live with DW.+++Refresh this page for updates, all times in CEST+++

16:54 – Putin is dragging this out somewhat, so let’s finally get back to the football. It looks like both sides will line up in 4-5-1 formations but, with both significant underdogs in their other group games, the need for a win could make this more entertaining than many expect.

16: 50 – Both teams are out on the pitch and Vladimir Putin is in the spotlight and about to deliver a few pre-World Cup words.

16:44 – It’s over, at a mercifully short 14 minutes. The stage has now been dismantled and some football should break out soon.

16:38 – The pair join forces to sing Angels as 32 individuals, one representing each nation, enter the field led by a German representative in an elaborate hat that I think is supposed to look like an eagle. Ronaldo has a kickabout with the wolf mascot.

16:35 – Robbie makes way for Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, who enters on some kind of litter decorated with, I think, butterflies.

16:32 – And the opening ceremony is underway. After some colorful performers emerge from the tunnel, we get a quick glimpse of Brazilian legend Ronaldo and then Robbie Williams starts shouting/singing depending on your perspective. Let Me Entertain You, naturally.

16:30 – The trophy – or should I say Germany’s trophy? – is in the stadium. It’s in an exceptionally fancy case and is hanging out with Spanish goalkeeping great Iker Casillas.

16:25 – A fair bit of experience in both tonight’s sides. Russia go with Sergey Ignashevich, the 38-year-old CSKA Moscow man tempted out of retirement for the tournament at center back while Saudi pair Osama Hawsawi and Taiseer Al Jassam have 136 and 133 caps respectively.

16:20 – Now we have official confirmation of both teams from FIFA. These may be the two lowest ranked teams in the tournament but the eyes of the world will be on them in 40 minutes.

16:15 – The atmosphere in Moscow is, by all accounts, pumping. The hosts are out warming up on home turf and the anticipation has been cranked up a further notch. More than 80,000 expected tonight.

16:10 – The hosts are keen to get this party started and have announced their team long before their opponents. Fedor Smolov the man to watch for the Russians.

16:00 – Hello! It’s finally here, the day we’ve all had circled in our mental diaires since Germany’s win in Rio almost four years ago. The time for talking, transfer gossip and coach sackings is over and now we can sit back and savor 64 matches over the next month.

We start where we finish on July 15, in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow where the hosts surely need to start with a win if they’re serious about escaping a group that also includes Uruguay and Egypt, who play tomorrow. The big news from that one is that Mo Salah looks set to win his fitness battle.

While much of the attention will be on the Russians tonight, both on and off the pitch, the Saudis put up a decent showing against Germany last Friday and look pretty up for this one, if the tweet below is anything to go by.

The opening ceremony should start around 16:30 and will apparently feature Robbie Williams and 500 “local performers” including trampolinists and dancers.

You can read more about Russia’s chances here while we wait for things to get started and find out about how Germany are coping with external pressures here.

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World Cup 2018: Germany ‘have to pick things up’ in first game https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/world-cup-2018-germany-have-to-pick-things-up-in-first-game/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/world-cup-2018-germany-have-to-pick-things-up-in-first-game/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:49:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662854 The post World Cup 2018: Germany ‘have to pick things up’ in first game appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Jerome Boateng and Toni Kroos say Germany will increase their intensity when they play their first World Cup game. Kroos also believes he’s still title hungry despite winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.The German national team are gearing up for their World Cup opener against Mexico on Sunday, hoping to preserve their spotless start to big events under head coach Joachim Löw.

The Germans have won their opening matches at Euro 2008, 2012 and 2016, as well as the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. They also have a goal difference of 13-0 in those opening matches under Löw, who became Germany’s head coach in 2006.

Read more: Pressure grows for Germany to do more than just win

The defending world champions have won just one of the six international friendlies leading up to this summer’s tournament — a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia last Friday. In fact, Germany haven’t won their last two warm-up games before a major tournament since 2010, but they always step up their game when things get serious.

“The last friendly you could see that we were missing something and you could see that we did not have the fire you need for a World Cup. And it’s normal that things get testy in training. You have to fight for every inch,” Germany defender Jerome Boateng told a press conference Thursday at Germany’s World Cup headquarters in Vatutinki.

“We are always known as a team that makes a good start to tournaments. It’s very important for us to win the first game. And a good result will also give us confidence for the rest of the campaign.”

Midfielder Toni Kroos, who was sitting to Boateng’s left, added: “We know that we have to pick things up. But we are looking forward to the World Cup finally starting.”

No Champions League hangover for Kroos

Kroos has achieved pretty much everything there is to achieve. He has won league titles in Germany and Spain and has lifted four Champions League trophies, one with Bayern Munich and three with Real Madrid.

Indeed, the reason for his tardiness to the national team’s pre-tournament training camp was because of his participation in Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory in the Champions League final in May.

Despite all of his success, he insists his hunger for trophies is as insatiable as ever.

“With the Champions League win, you could easily say the season is over, you’ve achieved your goals. You tend to shut yourself down, not just physically but also mentally,” Kroos said. “But playing a World Cup with this team is a pretty good motivation.”

Not as luxurious as Brazil

Four years ago, the Germany team resided in a purpose-built five-star hotel and resort on an island off of the Brazilian mainland. Their accommodation this year is much less picturesque — a red brick hotel block in Vatutinki, an industrial village outside of Moscow.

Read more: Germany arrive in Russia as title defense begins in earnest

Löw has said the complex possesses the “the charm of a better sports school.” Kroos and Boateng said Thursday that the downscale in luxury was not an issue and will not be an excuse if they fail to defend their World Cup title.

“Sports school, yes ok but we are here to do sport,” Kroos said. “I think it’s ok. We can spend our time here with two, three activities that we can do. It is absolutely ok and the desire for vacation afterwards becomes even stronger.”

Boateng added: “We are here to play football and hopefully for a longer period of time.”

dv/mf (dpa, Reuters)

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Talented players tipped to sparkle in Russia World Cup https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/talented-players-tipped-to-sparkle-in-russia-world-cup/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/talented-players-tipped-to-sparkle-in-russia-world-cup/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:00:05 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662779 Ahead of the tournament, which begins when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Daily News Egypt sheds light on eight players predicted to shine at the World Cup. Porugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo The 21st World Cup edition can be Ronaldo’s, now 33, final one. The Portugese star will lead his team in a tough …

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Ahead of the tournament, which begins when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Daily News Egypt sheds light on eight players predicted to shine at the World Cup.

  • Porugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo

The 21st World Cup edition can be Ronaldo’s, now 33, final one. The Portugese star will lead his team in a tough group stage against Spain, Iran, and Morocco. Ronaldo scored 81 international goals in 150 appearances with Portugal.

  • Argentina’s Lionel Messi

All eyes will be on Messi in the 2018 World Cup. The magnificent midfielder, now 30, is arguably the best player in the world, and has been named so five times since 2008. He led Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final against Germany but lost 0-1. Messi scored 45 international goals in 54 appearances with Argentina.

  • Brazil’s Neymar da Silva

Neymar is one of the favourites to lift the World Cup trophy. The 26-year-old striker became the world’s most expensive player last year after Barcelona sold him to Paris-Saint Germain for around $262m. Neymar scored 55 international goals in 85 appearances with Brazil.

  • England’s Harry Kane

Kane scored 13 goals in 24 appearances since breaking into the senior England side. He won the Golden Boot of the English Premier League in two consecutive seasons, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. Kane, now 24, will captain his country at the World Cup, aiming to lead the team to go further in the tournament.

  • France’s Antoine Griezmann

Although his height is only 1.75 metres, Griezmann is very clinical in front of the goal. The Frenchman, now 27, was named the world’s third-best player in 2016, in part because he led France to the finals of the 2016 European championship.

Experts believe that Griezmann is one of only a few strikers who play very well with their feet and head. That makes him one of the best players on a supremely talented French squad. If Griezmann has a good tournament, expect France to contend for the title. Griezmann scored 20 international goals in 54 appearances with France.

  • Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne

After his stunning performance with England’s Manchester City, De Bruyne is expected to make an immediate impact for Belgium. While the team is actually full of talented players, De Bruyne stands out among them all. A pure attacking midfielder who consistently makes passes that lead to goals, the 26-year-old will orchestrate Belgium’s attack. Since breaking into the senior Belgium side, De Bruyne scored 14 international goals in 62 appearances.

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After 28-year absence, Egypt starts World Cup journey by facing Uruguay https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/after-28-year-absence-egypt-starts-world-cup-journey-by-facing-uruguay/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/after-28-year-absence-egypt-starts-world-cup-journey-by-facing-uruguay/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:00:54 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662802 Mo Salah unlikely to participate in Egypt's first World Cup match

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Egypt, on Friday, will make a long-awaited return to the World Cup. The Pharaohs will face Uruguay in their opening 2018 World Cup match at the Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg. The game will start at 2:00 pm (local time). It will be the second match of Group A and the tournament, following the first clash between Russia (the hosts) and Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Venue

The Central Stadium or Ekaterinburg Arena will be able to hold up to 35,000 spectators. After the World Cup, the plan is to reduce the capacity by removing the temporary stands. It is one of two venues that were built from scratch for the World Cup. The old Central Stadium had stood on the same site since 1956 and even before that, there was a velodrome there. The arena is a monument to Stalinist architecture and during the reconstruction, the facades of the old western and eastern stands were preserved. It features a modern and technologically advanced stadium roof, measuring 45.5 metres from the ground. It was installed above the stands.

The Ekaterinburg Arena will become FK Ural’s permanent home after the World Cup. The 87-year-old club has established itself in Russia’s top flight and last season reached the Russian Cup final. The Ekaterinburg Arena will host four matches in the group stage of Russia 2018, featuring countries from five different confederations: UEFA, CAF, CONMEBOL, AFC, and CONCACAF.

Mohamed Salah: Unlikely to play in Egypt’s opener
According to the media reports coming from Russia, Liverpool’s Egyptian star Mohamed Salah’s condition has improved, but he has not fully recovered from the injury he suffered on 26 May in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid. Salah’s chances to play Egypt’s World Cup opener against Uruguay remain uncertain.

Alternatives

Egypt’s line-up against Uruguay seems clear to everyone. The goalkeeper Mohamed El Shennawy, favoured by goalkeeping coach Ahmad Naji, is more likely to play the game rather than the veteran international goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who is set to make history this summer by becoming the oldest player in World Cup history.

The other expected players are Ahmed Hegazy, Ali Gabr, Mohamed Abdel Shafy, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed, Abdallah Said, Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan, Amr Warda, and Marwan Mohsen.

Warda is expected to be Salah’s alternative, based on the team’s pre-World Cup friendly matches, especially after the poor performance showed by Ramadan Sobhy. Egypt drew 1-1 with Kuwait, and 0-0 with Colombia, and lost 0-3 to Belgium. In these friendly clashes, Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel Razek was prepared to be Said’s replacement, while Mahmoud “Kahraba” Abdel Monem can replace Mohsen. Other defensive options include Ahmed Al-Mohamady as right wing supporting Fathi, and Omar Gaber can play in the midfield to cause more pressure on the other team.

Egypt’s head coach Hector Cuper is concerned about limiting the danger of Uruguay’s forward line, including Paris Saint-Germain’s striker Edinson Cavani and Barcelona’s star Luis Suarez, two of the most dangerous strikers in the world. This places a great responsibility on the defensive duo Gabr and Hegazy, midfielders Hamed and Elneny, and the backs Abdel Shafy and Fathi to prevent the Uruguayan team from sending the ball to their dangerous forwards, either from the sides or depth of the stadium, so as to keep a clean cheat.

Cuper usually does not change much in his plans, which depend primarily on defence. Cuper’s defensive scheme, at least to this point, has been predominately zone-based, with each player executing properly, meaning covering the distance within their allotted zones and maintaining their spatial integrity. Cuper’s system is also based on the principle of gap control, relying on sending the ball to Said, the team’s main playmaker, in the midfield to create chances through passing the ball to the right, left, or in depth.

Normally, Egypt relies on Salah’s aggressive play and enormous pace, but Cuper now has to depend on Trezeguet, who can be the team’s key player in the absence of Salah. Trezeguet is also an aggressive player with plenty of pace. He mainly plays in the left wing, however he can strike from different directions, assisted by the highly experienced Abdel Shafy. Both wingers will have a big role in Cuper’s plan that will depend on sending cross balls to Mohsen in Uruguay’s 18-yard box.

Uruguay respects the Pharaohs

The Uruguayan team’s press statements showed much respect for the Pharaohs, as Atletico Madrid’s defender Jose Maria Gimenez said: “The Egyptian team is very strong, especially in defence, so we have to be special on the offensive side.” He added: “They have fast players, but we have the strength to face them, we only have to keep cool.”

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has established a strong mentality for the team. He has been coach since 2006, and with so much time in charge, he has been able to instil into his team a playing style that will suit them in the World Cup. Uruguay are a team that play a stable 4-4-2 that looks to defend first and seal the opposition out after taking the lead. They rely on sending direct passes to the duo Suarez and Cavani, who are very clinical in front of the goal.

Uruguay’s line-up

Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godín will lead the team’s defensive line with Gimenez, Maximiliano Pereira, and Martin Caceres. Suarez and Cavani form a key partnership upfront and we can expect the duo to start in the old fashioned 4-4-2 formation. A flat four midfield of Christian Rodriguez, Matías Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Gastón Ramirez is expected to provide the much-needed shield for the back four and have control in the midfield.

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Brazil has highest probability of winning World Cup: Goldman Sachs https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/brazil-has-highest-probability-of-winning-world-cup-goldman-sachs/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/brazil-has-highest-probability-of-winning-world-cup-goldman-sachs/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 09:00:07 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662798 Brazil will win its sixth World Cup title, defeating Germany in the final on July 15, according to the The World Cup and Economics report issued by the Goldman Sachs Group on Tuesday. “When Lionel Messi observed that ‘in football…talent and elegance mean nothing without rigor and precision,’ he was clearly thinking as much about …

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Brazil will win its sixth World Cup title, defeating Germany in the final on July 15, according to the The World Cup and Economics report issued by the Goldman Sachs Group on Tuesday.

“When Lionel Messi observed that ‘in football…talent and elegance mean nothing without rigor and precision,’ he was clearly thinking as much about the econometrics behind forecasting the score as the tactics behind winning the match. But while selecting the best starting 11 requires human judgment and experience, choosing the best variables to predict the outcome of a game is better left to a statistical model,” the report said.

Furthermore, the predictions made in the report are based on 200,000 models, harnessing recent developments in machine learning through mining data on team characteristics and individual players to work out which factors help to predict match scores. Consequently, this allowed the group to predict various outcomes, which are combined to produce an overall projection. After that, one million possible evolutions of the tournament to gauge the probability of each team progressing through the rounds is simulated.

Forecasted highlights

According to the report, France has a higher probability than Germany of winning the World Cup. But its (bad) luck in the draw sees it meeting Brazil at the semi-final stage, and the team may not be strong enough to make it past Seleção.

Those looking for a repudiation of Gary Lineker’s observation that “football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and, at the end, the Germans win” will not be disappointed, as the report forecasts that Germany will beat England in the quarter-finals on 7 July.

In Spain and Argentina’s cases, both are expected to underperform, losing to France and Portugal in the quarter-finals, respectively. Meanwhile, Russia is expected to fail in the group stage, despite the traditional boost that comes with hosting the competition.

Football and machine learning: How the forecasts work

The machine learning models used in the report can sift through a large number of possible explanatory variables to produce more accurate forecasts than conventional alternatives. This is done through feeding data on team characteristics, individual players, and recent team performances into four different types of machine learning models to analyse the number of goals scored in each match.

The models then learn the relationship between these characteristics and goals scored, using the scores of competitive World Cup and European Cup matches since 2005. 

After that, multiple team-level and player-level variables are grouped together for ease of exposition, of which four characteristics stand out. Team-level results are the most important driver of success. Recent team performance—measured with the Elo rating system—accounts for about 40% of overall explanatory power. But even after taking team performance into account, individual players make a difference.

The report finds that player-level characteristics—including the average player rating on the team, as well as attacking and defending abilities—add another 25% of explanatory power. Recent momentum—as measured by the ratio of wins to losses over the past 10 matches—matters. Similarly, the number of goals scored in recent games and the number of goals conceded by the opponent team help gauge success in the next game.

Accordingly, Brazil is clearly the strongest team across these metrics, with the highest Elo rating, talented individual players, and a good win/lose ratio in recent games.

Moreover, the report indicates that France and Germany run neck and neck for second place: Germany has a higher Elo rating than France, but France has performed better in recent games. And France appears to have a more unfavourable draw than Germany; if France and Germany started in each other’s respective group, the most likely result would be a Brazil-France final (although the winner would remain Brazil).

Meanwhile, Spain’s chances are likewise diminished by a tough draw, facing Portugal in the group, and needing to get past France and Brazil in the knock-out stages. Finally, Argentina ranks higher on Elo than Portugal, but loses to Portugal in the quarter-finals due to poor performance in recent games.

However, the report states that it is difficult to assess how efficient these predictions are. The forecasts remain highly uncertain, even with the fanciest statistical techniques, simply because football is quite an unpredictable game. This is, of course, precisely why the World Cup will be so exciting to watch.

Egypt

Egypt is the most successful national football team in Africa, having won the Africa Cup of Nations a record seven times. But it has found it surprisingly difficult to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Egypt will be making only its third appearance at the World Cup in 2018 and its first in 28 years.

Salah’s injury stumbling block

The Pharaohs made a nerve-jangling qualification in 2017 after finally scoring an injury-time penalty against Congo, scored by star-striker and talisman Mohamed Salah. And therein lies Egypt’s greatest strength, as well as its biggest weakness.

Egypt’s national squad is coached by the former Valencia coach, Argentine Hector Cuper, and endowed with a number of experienced professionals, starting with 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, who could become the oldest player ever at the World Cup, Aston Villa’s consistent wingback El Mohamady, a capable mid-fielder of Arsenal’s, Mohamed El Neny, and Stoke City’s Ramadan Sobhi. But without question, the team’s fortunes have been heavily reliant on the goal-scoring prowess of Liverpool forward Salah, the report states.

Moreover, the report explains that Salah enjoyed a prolific 2017/2018 season with Liverpool, with his 44-goal haul in all competitions (never bettered in a single Premier League season), eliciting justifiable comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo and especially fellow left-footed forward Lionel Messi. So his shoulder injury, early in the showpiece Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in late May, was all the more pivotal. From here, ‘Salah’s shoulder’ is to Egypt what ‘Beckham’s metatarsal’ was to England ahead of the 2002 World Cup, when everyone from the sage at the local mosque to the president will have strong views on shoulder injuries, recovery times, and his ability to star in Russia.

While Salah himself is optimistic about his prospects, without his goals, the team will need the solidity of the Aswan Dam at the back and the cunning of a cat further forward to get out of a tough but not impossible Group A, which includes the hosts Russia, as well as Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.

Was the football renaissance the other side of economic recovery?

Both Egyptian football and its economy are recovering after the period between 2011 and 2016; the political uncertainty that followed the 2011 revolution took a heavy toll on Egypt’s economy and its football. After a riot at a football game between clubs Al Ahly and Al Masry in February 2012, the domestic league was suspended for a couple of years. Over that period, the national team failed to qualify for three successive editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, finally making it back to the competition in 2017, when it reached the final, only to lose against Cameroon.

Political tensions also brought to light the underlying fragility of Egypt’s economy. Following a period of declining growth, falling tourism receipts, and a widening current account deficit, in November 2016, the Egyptian authorities took a number of decisive steps to address the economic crisis.

The currency regime was liberalised, with a deep devaluation of the official exchange rate; a three-year fiscal consolidation programme was launched to reduce high budget deficits; monetary policy was tightened to contain inflationary pressures; and reforms were launched to improve the business environment.

While there are still significant risks of delivery, so far, the programme has been surprisingly successful; the current account deficit is gradually correcting alongside inflation and business, and investor confidence has been restored. Indeed, one of the key risks is that Egypt may be a victim of its own success. The combination of high treasury bill yields and an undervalued exchange rate has attracted plenty of foreign investors into the local bill market. There is a risk that if the recent market volatility extends, Egypt could be hard hit simply because that is where a lot of the investment is.

On the plus side, the upturn in the fortunes of Egypt’s football suggests that there is more room for the economic revival to extend. The exhibit, which is clearer than your average hieroglyphic script, suggests that the peak in tourist arrivals coincided with Egypt’s best recent football ranking in 2010, and the recent recovery may therefore be a good omen.

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Egypt is Arab youth’s best chance for victory in 2018 World Cup Russia:  ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/egypt-is-arab-youths-best-chance-for-victory-in-2018-world-cup-russia-asdaa-burson-marsteller/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/egypt-is-arab-youths-best-chance-for-victory-in-2018-world-cup-russia-asdaa-burson-marsteller/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 08:00:25 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662794 Survey respondents choose Germany, Brazil, Argentina as likely winners with 14%, 13%, 12% chance respectively

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Young people across the Arab region believe that Egypt may have the best chance of qualifying into the second round of the 2018 World Cup Russia, according to ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller’s 10th annual Arab Youth Survey. This year’s tournament includes the highest number of participating Arab national teams, as four teams are competing this year, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.

Nearly two in three young Arab respondents (65%) said they will closely follow the World Cup competition,

which kicks off in Russia on 14 June 2018, with the Saudi Arabia team playing the hosts of the World Cup.

In gender terms, young Arab women (60%) responded that they are planning to follow the competition, while 70% of young Arab men said they would.

Among those who will follow the competition, 14% said that Germany will be crowned the FIFA World Cup 2018 champions, 13% said Brazil has the best chance of winning, while another 12% expect Argentina to win.

Moreover, 11% of survey respondents among those who will follow the competition said that they will support Egypt, making the Egyptian team as popular as Argentina (12%) and Germany (10%). Egypt is the clear fan favourite in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with 24% of the GCC youth saying they will support Egypt in the competition

Egypt was the choice of one-third of respondents (34%) as the outperforming Arab team, when they were asked specifically about the four Arab nations taking part in the World Cup, followed by Morocco (22%), Saudi Arabia (21%), and Tunisia (19%).

“The FIFA World Cup is going to be a major event for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. With the highest ever participation from Arab national teams, it is not surprising that two in every three young Arabs will be following the competition closely. The FIFA World Cup encourages a sense of unity among supporters in the Arab world and brings feelings of hope and excitement across the region,” said Sunil John, founder and president of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, Middle East, Burson Cohn & Wolfe.

The survey was conducted prior to Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah’s shoulder injury in Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final held in Kiev, Ukraine, leaving their World Cup hopes in complete tatters.

Salah’s involvement in Russia is still hanging in the balance, though plenty of Egyptians are optimistic that the winger will be able to play at the beginning of Egypt’s World Cup campaign in Russia, starting with a match against Uruguay on 15 June.

The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey is the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East’s largest demographic—its youth. For this year’s survey, international polling firm PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews exclusively with Arab men and women aged 18-24 in the GCC countries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain, as well as Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Yemen.

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21st World Cup edition kicks off in Russia https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/21st-world-cup-edition-kicks-off-in-russia/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/14/21st-world-cup-edition-kicks-off-in-russia/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 07:00:04 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662789 Russian Bear faces off against Saudi Green Falcons in opening match

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Russia will clash with Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup, to be held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, amid expectations that Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders will attend the match.

It will be the 21st FIFA World Cup for men, hosted by Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018.

On 2 December 2010, Russia was selected to host the prestigious tournament, overcoming three bids by Spain and Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium, and England.

It will be the first edition of the World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe, and also the first international championship in Europe since the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Russia’s hosting of the World Cup will give an advantage to the Russian players, who aim to secure their first victory in the group stage before their difficult clashes with Uruguay and Egypt.

Russia’s head coach Stanislav Cherchesov said he aims to lead his team to go further in the championship, stressing that they are ready to face Saudi Arabia in the opening match. Russia closed out preparations for the World Cup by losing 0-1 to Austria on 30 May and drawing 1-1 with Turkey on 5 June.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia will be the lowest ranked team in Group A, which also includes Uruguay, Egypt, and Russia. However, Saudi Arabia will do its best to achieve a positive result. The Arab Gulf team showed an impressive performance in the World Cup’s Asian qualifiers and achieved quite positive results in its friendly matches held in preparation for the World Cup.

A simple opening ceremony

Russia will raise the curtain on the 2018 World Cup at 4:30 pm (Cairo local time) on Thursday, just 30 minutes before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The opening ceremony will be held at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which will also host the final. There will also be a concert held in the city’s famous Red Square simultaneously with the opening ceremony.

The event will focus on a series of musical acts, with Robbie Williams and celebrated Russian soprano Aida Garifullina headlining. Legendary Brazilian player and two-time World Cup champion Ronaldo will also appear on stage during the event. Around 500 dancers, gymnasts, and trampolinists will also be performing in an opening display that will pay homage to all things Russian. The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will have a slightly different format compared to previous editions of the tournament, with a particular focus on musical acts.

Channel One Russia will produce the opening show, directed by Felix Mikhailov, who has directed the main ceremonies of all 2018 FIFA World Cup events, starting with the Preliminary Draw in 2015.  Mikhailov will also direct the closing ceremony, scheduled for 15 July.

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FIFA signs Egyptian government as official sponsor of 2018 World Cup https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/fifa-signs-egyptian-government-as-official-sponsor-of-2018-world-cup/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/fifa-signs-egyptian-government-as-official-sponsor-of-2018-world-cup/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 18:30:09 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662719 Agreement aims to promote Egypt as global investment destination, attract more tourists

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The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) signed an agreement with the Egyptian government on Wednesday to become an official regional supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia for the first time, the Ministries of Tourism and International Cooperation said, without revealing the value of the deal.

The deal, which will be under “Egypt Experience & Invest”, is aimed at promoting Egypt as a global investment destination and to attract more tourists from around the world to visit the country.


“Being an official regional supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ gives us the outreach in Africa to highlight and communicate the premium positioning and enormous investment diversity and potential Egypt has to offer,” said Egypt’s minister of investment and international cooperation, Sahar Nasr. 

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat said, “this is the first FIFA World Cup™ that the Pharaohs have qualified for since Italia ’90 and Egypt—Experience & Invest is determined to use this opportunity to showcase in a modern way the rich and rewarding diversity of tourism experiences that our country offers.”

For his part, FIFA Marketing Sales and Strategy Director Iain Downie expressed his pleasure with the agreement, emphasising, “Egypt—Experience & Invest’s main objective is to highlight the beauty of Egypt as a country and promote its economical investment possibilities.”

It marks the first time that the FIFA signed sponsorship deals from countries other than Qatar, China, and Russia for the World Cup. It has now 20 sponsors, including Adidas, Hyundai, and Qatar Airways.

On Sunday, Egypt’s National Media Authority (NMA) announced that it will broadcast 22 matches of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, including the Egyptian national football team’s matches, on Egyptian state television. The NMA noted that it communicated with the FIFA earlier in June to obtain the rights to broadcast 28 matches in return for certain fees but received no response.

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Managers of teams Participating in 2018 World Cup https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/managers-of-teams-participating-in-2018-world-cup/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/managers-of-teams-participating-in-2018-world-cup/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:57:14 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662715 The post Managers of teams Participating in 2018 World Cup appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Moral courage: Former Germany star Gerald Asamoah calls on fans to stand up to racism https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/moral-courage-former-germany-star-gerald-asamoah-calls-on-fans-to-stand-up-to-racism/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/moral-courage-former-germany-star-gerald-asamoah-calls-on-fans-to-stand-up-to-racism/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:24:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662702 The post Moral courage: Former Germany star Gerald Asamoah calls on fans to stand up to racism appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, former Germany and Schalke striker Gerald Asamoah has called on football players, fans and functionaries to show “moral courage” in combatting racism in the game.The build-up to this year’s tournament has been marred by reports of racism in Russian football, with the anti-discrimination FARE Network reporting 80 discriminatory incidents over the past season alone, including 19 racist chants – a significant increase on previous years.

In one high-profile incident, French players Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Ousmane Dembele were racially abused by Russian fans in a pre-tournament friendly in Saint Petersburg in March.

Whether abandoning matches, imposing financial sanctions, organizing player walkouts or handing down supporter bans, there is no easy answer to racism. But former Germany and Schalke striker Gerald Asamoah, who was himself a victim of racist abuse during his playing career, believes the first step is to talk openly about it.

“As footballers, we can be role models by speaking openly and honestly about it,” he said, speaking at the 2018 Global Media Forum in Bonn, hosted by DW. “But it’s equally important to have the courage to speak out and react if you see or hear racism in a stadium and say: No, that’s wrong.”

Born in Ghana, Asamoah, 39, made 279 Bundesliga appearances for Schalke 04 between 1999 and 2011 and was part of the Germany team that reached the World Cup final in Japan in 2002 and came third in 2006 – Germany’s “home” World Cup which came to be known in this country as the Sommermärchen, or summer fairy tale.

The end of the fairy tale

But just two months later, he was the victim of racist abuse at a German Cup match in Rostock when home fans made monkey noises whenever he touched the ball.

“It really hurt,” he told DW. “After being part of the team during the Sommermärchen, I thought I’d finally been accepted in Germany. Had it all been forgotten just two months later?”

When Kevin-Prince Boateng was racially abused while playing in a friendly match for AC Milan in Italy in 2013, he left the pitch in protest, accompanied by his teammates.

Ahead of the World Cup in Russia, Nigerian defender William Troost-Ekong has said the Super Eagles would also consider walking off should any of their players be subjected to racial slurs, while England head coach Gareth Southgate has said that wouldn’t be an option for the Three Lions.

“It’s a decision that each person has to make for themselves,” Asamoah said. “Of course walking off would be send a strong message but we also have to ask ourselves: Do we really expect players to walk off in a World Cup match after working so hard for so many years just to get there?

“The main thing in Kevin-Prince’s case is that the whole team went with him. Had they left him alone, that would have sent no message. But going as a team was a great signal and I have a lot of respect for that.”

‘Racism and discrimination are societal problems’

At the World Cup, FIFA will be implementing a new three-step procedure whereby referees have the authority to stop, suspend or even abandon a match in cases of discrimination or racism from the stands.

Patrick Klaus Gasser, head of UEFA’s Football and Social Responsibility Unit, says huge progress has been made in tackling racism in the game and has faith in the new system, but believes there is only so much that football can do.

“Racism and discrimination are societal problems,” he said. “We can kick racism out of the football arena but it won’t solve the problems we have in society. Football can make a contribution, and we are, but it has to come from all sides.”

Racism in football isn’t limited to Russia, either. From anti-Semitic stickers in Dortmund and Leipzig to neo-Nazi chants and KKK banners in Cottbus, incidents in recent seasons have shown that it’s still a problem in German football too – something that doesn’t surprise football culture expert and author Christoph Ruf.

“We have a right-wing party represented in parliament, voted for by 15-20 percent of the population, which means a significant number of people have such attitudes,” Ruf told DW. “Racism is clearly not taboo.”

– Read more: ‘Not a neo-Nazi club’: Energie Cottbus supporters battling right-wing image

Back in Rostock, the referee asked Asamoah if he should stop the game in response to the chants, and at halftime, then-Schalke coach Mirko Slomka offered to substitute him. But the striker insisted on playing on, and was ultimately involved in seven of Schalke’s goals in a 9-1 win.

“I carried on, but the disappointment sat very deep,” he said. “How could people in 2006, just months after the World Cup, be so backwards that they make monkey noises?

“I decided to continue to show them that I can play well even despite such negativity. If I had been substituted, then the racists would have won.”

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Frenchman Carteron to lead Cairo giant Al Ahly for 2 seasons https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/frenchman-carteron-to-lead-cairo-giant-al-ahly-for-2-seasons/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/13/frenchman-carteron-to-lead-cairo-giant-al-ahly-for-2-seasons/#respond Tue, 12 Jun 2018 22:03:31 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662602 Al Ahly’s football management committee, headed by the club’s president Mahmoud Al-Khatib, announced on Tuesday signing a two-season contract with Patrice Carteron to lead the football team’s coaching staff, replacing Hossam Al-Badry, who left his position last month following a deterioration in the team’s performance and results. The Cairo-based club announced that the Frenchman will …

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Al Ahly’s football management committee, headed by the club’s president Mahmoud Al-Khatib, announced on Tuesday signing a two-season contract with Patrice Carteron to lead the football team’s coaching staff, replacing Hossam Al-Badry, who left his position last month following a deterioration in the team’s performance and results.

The Cairo-based club announced that the Frenchman will arrive in Egypt on Wednesday, coming from the United States where he was the head coach of Phoenix Rising.

Carteron, 47, has a successful record of coaching that started in 2007 with AS Cannes, after which he moved to Dijon FCO. During his time with Dijon, he got the club promoted to the top French football division. In 2012, he parted company with Dijon, which had been relegated from the top division Ligue 1.

Carteron was then named as the head coach of Mali, where he led the African team to finish third in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The brightest period in Carteron’s coaching career thus far was with Congolese club TP Mazembe. He led the club to two league titles, three African Super Cup titles, and one African Champions League title.

In 2016, Carteron had his first coaching experience in Egypt with Wadi Degla. The team won 20 of their 30 league matches during Carteron’s tenure. He moved to the Saudi Professional League’s Al-Nassr in 2017, helping the team qualify for the Asian Champions League.

Al Ahly won the 2017/2018 Egyptian Premier League, marking its 40th league title.

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World Cup 2018: Germany arrive in Russia as title defense begins in earnest https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/12/world-cup-2018-germany-arrive-in-russia-as-title-defense-begins-in-earnest/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/12/world-cup-2018-germany-arrive-in-russia-as-title-defense-begins-in-earnest/#respond Tue, 12 Jun 2018 20:45:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662627 The post World Cup 2018: Germany arrive in Russia as title defense begins in earnest appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Four years after lifting the World Cup in Rio, Germany have touched down in Russia as they look to repeat the trick. But with their opening game just five days away, not everything is going entirely to plan.It was all smiles, statments and selfies as Germany’s players and coaching staff touched down in Moscow early on Tuesday evening to begin the defense of the trophy they won in Brazil.

The 23-man squad and support staff checked in to their base hotel in Vatutinki, on the outskirts of Moscow, ahead of their opener against Mexico in the Russian capital before they head south to Sochi for Sweden and then eastwards to face South Korea in Kazan.

Among the selfie-posers on Germany’s flight was Ilkay Gündogan. The midfielder has been at the center of something of a media storm in recent days after he was booed during Germany’s friendly win over Saudi Arabia, following his decision to pose for a picture with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with German teammate Mesut Özil.

German tabloid Bild reported that the pair recently attended a “confidential” meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff said their actions may impact on selection.

“Jogi [Low] does not make any populist decisions just to satisfy someone, he rather looks at the sporting side of things,” Bierhoff said. “But it could as well be a small aspect [in Löw’s choice of line up].”

Özil is also a major injury doubt for the opener – having played just 76 minutes since early April – with both Marco Reus and Julian Draxler staking a claim for his starting spot. Bierhoff said the Arsenal playmaker had made a naive error of judgement but will remain silent on the matter, unlike Gündogan who has made public statements on the issue.

“That’s his position [to not speak to the press during the World Cup]. I assume that he’ll stick to this,” Bierhoff said of Özil. “Whether it’s right and good for him in this case is another matter. We have seen the consequences and he is experienced.”

Löw, who could become the first coach to lift back-to-back world titles since Vittorio Pozzo in 1934 and 1938 has been more focused on the pitch. He expects his team to be severly tested: “France have improved, Spain have improved, Brazil – and Argentina too.”

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer also wants to focus on the tournament after winning his own fitness race. “It’s bothering the whole nation” and not just the two players,” he said of the Erdogan picture. “We’re footballers and we want to think about football, essentially the World Cup, which is what matters,”

In a little over a month, Moscow will again be the center of the footballing world’s attention, with the final at the Luzhniki Stadium on July 15. Germany are hoping, and perhaps even expecting, not to have boarded a plane back by then.

mp (SID/DPA)

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Real Madrid announce Spain coach Julen Lopetegui will take top job after World Cup https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/12/real-madrid-announce-spain-coach-julen-lopetegui-will-take-top-job-after-world-cup/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/12/real-madrid-announce-spain-coach-julen-lopetegui-will-take-top-job-after-world-cup/#respond Tue, 12 Jun 2018 16:16:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=662638 The post Real Madrid announce Spain coach Julen Lopetegui will take top job after World Cup appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Just two weeks after Zinedine Zidane stepped down, Julen Lopetegui has been named as his Real Madrid replacement. The current Spain coach will join the Champions League winners after the upcoming World Cup.Lopetegui, 51, has signed a three-year deal with the Spanish club with his stint beginning after he’s coached his home nation in Russia. Spain open their campaign with a clash against Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

The former goalkeeper spent a season as coach of Real’s B-team a decade ago, before taking over as Spain Under-19 manager in 2010 and will replace Zidane, whose shock resignation just days after a third successive Champions League final win created a vacancy.

After taking the Spain job in 2016 after the 2010 World Champions were eliminated in the last 16 of the Euros, Lopetugi recently signed a new deal which was designed to take him through to 2020, but the pull of Real seems to have been too strong.

“Real Madrid announce that Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of the first team during the next three seasons. Julen Lopetegui will join the club after Spain’s participation in the World Cup, after two years leading the national team,” Real said in a statement.

Lopetegui enjoyed success with the country’s youth sides, winning the 2012 Under-19 European Championship before repeating the feat as Under-21 boss 12 months later.

The senior national team have gone 20 games unbeaten under Lopetegui but his record as a club boss is less impressive. He was sacked from a brief spell in charge of Rayo Vallecano in Spain’s second division in 2003 and left Portuguese club Porto after failing to win any silverware from 2014-16.

mp (AP/DPA)

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