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FIFA suspends two African countries

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FIFA has suspended Kenya and Zimbabwe for government interference, according to Gianni Infantino, the president of the world football governing body.

Infantino revealed this at a press conference on Thursday.
Kenya’s Ministry of Sports in November 2021, suspended the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and appointed a caretaker committee to take charge of soccer activities in the country.

In Zimbabwe, the country’s federation was also suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in November 2021.

“We had to suspend two of our members; Kenya and Zimbabwe, both for government interference in the activities of football associations. The associations are suspended with immediate effect,” Infantino said.

“They know what needs to be done for them to be readmitted or for their suspensions to be lifted.”

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Germany Slump To Japan In Another World Cup Shocker

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Japan stunned Germany 2-1 in their World Cup opener on Wednesday, punishing the four-time champions for not taking their chances after they dominated the first half.

The German team covered their mouths for the team photo before the match in a powerful protest against FIFA’s decision to ban rainbow-themed armbands.

Hansi Flick’s team came to Qatar under huge pressure to avoid the disaster of 2018, when they failed to make it out of the group stage in Russia as holders.

They took the lead through a first-half penalty from Ilkay Gundogan and should have been out of sight after creating a host of chances.

But Japan hung on and equalised through substitute Ritsu Doan in the 75th minute.

Takuma Asano then completed a remarkable turnaround eight minutes later, smashing the ball home to send the boisterous Japanese fans wild.

Germany’s World Cup future is now on the line, with games to come in Group E against Spain and Costa Rica.

Japan are eyeing a place in the knockout round after a dramatic comeback that scarcely looked possible at the end of the first half.

The Blue Samurai made a positive start, with Daizen Maeda putting the ball in the net as early as the eighth minute only for the linesman to flag for offside.

 

 

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Spain Ignite World Cup Bid By Smashing Seven Past Costa Rica

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Spain shredded Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in a brutal destruction in their Group E opener which launched their bid to lift a second World Cup.

Avoiding the fate of giants Argentina and group rivals Germany, who lost 2-1 to Japan earlier on, Luis Enrique’s fancied side sparkled at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, dominating possession and taking their chances mercilessly.

Ferran Torres netted twice and Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata were also on the scoresheet for the Euro 2020 semi-finalists in an emphatic romp.

In the past the 2010 World Cup winners have paid the price for profligacy but all three forwards Luis Enrique selected netted in the first half to pay back his trust in them.

The coach placed Asensio at false nine, flanked by Olmo and Torres, starting with Morata and Ansu Fati on the bench.

The coach opted to deploy Manchester City midfielder Rodri Hernandez in central defence, alongside club team-mate Aymeric Laporte, correctly anticipating his team would monopolise the ball.

It took only 11 minutes for La Roja to open the scoring, with Gavi stabbing a pass forward for Olmo to receive in the area and the RB Leipzig winger taking one sublime touch to turn and another to stroke the ball gently past Keylor Navas.

Costa Rica, who were a surprise package at the 2014 World Cup, beating Italy and Uruguay and drawing with England to top their group, were sliced apart again for the second goal 10 minutes later.

Jordi Alba’s low drilled cross was rammed home by Real Madrid forward Asensio past his former team-mate Navas, who might have done more to keep it out.

Torres stroked home from the penalty spot after Alba was fouled by Oscar Duarte –- a soft call on a hard night for Los Ticos, who were never in the game and failed to muster a shot at goal.

Barcelona forward Torres capitalised on more slack defending to fire the fourth past Navas early in the second half.

Luis Enrique was able to take off the effervescent Pedri and Torres before the hour mark in order to rest them for Sunday’s clash with Germany, and handed teenage Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde his debut.

The 19-year-old roared up the pitch in the build-up to Spain’s fifth goal, with substitute Morata crossing for Gavi to drill home with aplomb.

Kopa Trophy winner Gavi became the third youngest goalscorer at a World Cup at 18 years and 110 days old, after Mexico’s Manuel Rosas and record holder Pele.

Soler and Morata then got in on the act with stoppage-time strikes to pile further misery on Costa Rica and help Spain flex their muscles in a perfect opening match in Qatar.

AFP

 

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Saudi Arabia Declare National Holiday After Shock Win Over Argentina

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Saudi King Salman has declared a national holiday after the football team’s stunning World Cup win on Tuesday over Argentina, state media reported.

The 86-year-old monarch “orders that tomorrow, Wednesday, be a holiday for all employees in the public and private sectors, as well as male and female students at all educational levels”, the Al-Ekhbariya channel said on Twitter.

The move comes in the middle of final exams in the Gulf nation, indicating that they will have to be rescheduled.

The Saudi Green Falcons bounced back from conceding an early Lionel Messi penalty to produce one of the greatest World Cup shocks thanks to a Saleh Al-Shehri equaliser and a sublime Salem Al-Dawsari winner at the Lusail Stadium in Doha.

Celebrations erupted throughout the capital Riyadh after the final whistle blew, with fans forming impromptu dance circles and waving the sword-emblazoned national flag from the windows of speeding cars.

Al-Ekhbariya posted pictures of King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, celebrating after watching the game with a group that included energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

Turki al-Sheikh, an adviser at the Royal Court and head of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, announced on Twitter that admission fees would be waived at major theme parks and entertainment centres in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Few could have predicted that Herve Renard’s Green Falcons, ranked 51st in the world, would topple the twice-world champions led by the feted Messi, who has seven Ballons d’Or to his name.

The team’s next match is on Saturday against Poland.

 

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