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‘No plan B’ for Paris opening ceremony after knife attack, says French sports minister

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Olympic rings to celebrate the IOC official announcement that Paris won the 2024 Olympic bid are seen in front of the Eiffel Tower at the Trocadero square in Paris, France, September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights    

There is no “plan B” for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games, the French sports minister said on Monday, after a man armed with a knife and hammer killed a German tourist and left two people wounded near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday.

“We have no plan B, we have a plan in which there are several sub-plans with a certain number of adjustment variables,” Amelie Oudea-Castera told France Inter radio.

The 26-year-old suspect, a French national arrested after the attack, had pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a video recorded beforehand, anti-terrorism Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said on Sunday.

The attack occurred on the Quai de Grenelle – a spot also included in the plans for the opening ceremony.

Asked if the government was mulling a change to its plan to hold the ceremony on the River Seine, with several hundred thousand spectators expected along its banks amid the security threats, the minister said: “This not something we’re working with.”

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“We have the capacity to secure the event”, she said, adding that certain details, including the number of additional cultural events surrounding the main spectacle and said the security perimeter would be adjusted closer to the Games.

France has been on high alert since raising its security threshold in October, when a Chechen-origin man with a knife killed a teacher in a school in northern France.

European security officials have warned of a growing risk of attacks by Islamist militants amid the Israel-Hamas war, with the biggest threat likely from “lone wolf” assailants who are hard to track.

Some 160 boats will set off on July 26 from the Pont d’Austerlitz for a six-kilometre journey to the Pont d’Iena in an event Tony Estanguet, the head of the organising committee, described as “unique and spectacular”.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Olympics

Paris 2024 soccer tournaments: Groups, schedule and qualified teams

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Paris 2024 Olympics - Press visit at the Olympic and Paralympic athletes Village - Saint-Denis, France - July 16, 2024 The Paris 2024 Olympics logo is seen along with mascot Olympic Phryge on a building in the Olympic village REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo 

Groups and knockout schedules for the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments at the Paris Olympics:

MEN’S TOURNAMENT

The men’s tournament consists of 16 teams, divided into four groups. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals.

GROUP A: France (hosts), United States, Guinea, New Zealand

SCHEDULE

Guinea v New Zealand, July 24 at 1500 GMT in Nice

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France v United States, July 24 at 1900 GMT in Marseille

New Zealand v United States, July 27 at 1700 GMT in Marseille

France v Guinea, July 27 at 1900 GMT in Nice

New Zealand v France, July 30 at 1700 GMT in Marseille

United States v Guinea, July 30 at 1700 GMT in Saint-Etienne

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GROUP B: Argentina, Morocco, Iraq, Ukraine

SCHEDULE

Argentina v Morocco, July 24 at 1300 GMT in Saint-Etienne

Iraq v Ukraine, July 24 at 1700 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

Argentina v Iraq, July 27 at 1300 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

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Ukraine v Morocco, July 27 at 1500 GMT in Saint-Etienne

Ukraine v Argentina, July 30 at 1500 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

Morocco v Iraq, July 30 at 1500 GMT in Nice

GROUP C: Uzbekistan, Spain, Egypt, Dominican Republic

SCHEDULE

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Uzbekistan v Spain, July 24 at 1300 GMT in Paris

Egypt v Dominican Republic, July 24 at 1500 GMT in Nantes

Dominican Republic v Spain, July 27 at 1300 GMT in Bordeaux

Uzbekistan v Egypt, July 27 at 1500 GMT in Nantes

Dominican Republic v Uzbekistan, July 30 at 1300 GMT in Paris

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Spain v Egypt, July 30 at 1300 GMT in Bordeaux

GROUP D: Japan, Paraguay, Mali, Israel

SCHEDULE

Japan v Paraguay, July 24 at 1700 GMT in Bordeaux

Mali v Israel, July 24 at 1900 GMT in Paris

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Israel v Paraguay, July 27 at 1700 GMT in Paris

Japan v Mali, July 27 at 1900 GMT in Bordeaux

Israel v Japan, July 30 at 1900 GMT in Nantes

Paraguay v Mali, July 30 at 1900 GMT in Paris

QUARTER-FINALS (All matches on Aug. 2)

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Winner Group B v runner-up Group A at 1300 GMT in Paris

Winner Group D v runner-up Group C at 1500 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

Winner Group C v runner-up Group D at 1700 GMT in Marseille

Winner Group A v runner-up Group B at 1900 GMT in Bordeaux

SEMI-FINALS (All matches on Aug. 5)

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Winner quarter-final 2 v winner quarter-final 4 at 1600 GMT in Marseille

Winner quarter-final 1 v winner quarter-final 3 at 1900 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

BRONZE-MEDAL MATCH

Loser semi-final 1 v loser semi-final 2, Aug. 8 at 1500 GMT in Nantes

GOLD MEDAL MATCH

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Winner semi-final 1 v winner semi-final 2, Aug. 9 at 1600 GMT in Paris

WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT

The women’s tournament consists of 12 teams, divided into three groups of four. The top two teams from each group and the two highest-ranked third-placed teams will qualify for the quarter-finals.

GROUP A: France (hosts), Colombia, Canada, New Zealand

SCHEDULE

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Canada v New Zealand, July 25 at 1500 GMT in Saint-Etienne

France v Colombia, July 25 at 1900 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

New Zealand v Colombia, July 28 at 1500 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

France v Canada, July 28 at 1900 GMT in Saint-Etienne

New Zealand v France, July 31 at 1900 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

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Colombia v Canada, July 31 at 1900 GMT in Nice

GROUP B: United States, Zambia, Germany, Australia

SCHEDULE

Germany v Australia, July 25 at 1700 GMT in Marseille

United States v Zambia, July 25 at 1900 GMT in Nice

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Australia v Zambia, July 28 at 1700 GMT in Nice

United States v Germany, July 28 at 1900 GMT in Marseille

Australia v United States, July 31 at 1700 GMT in Marseille

Zambia v Germany, July 31 at 1700 GMT in Saint-Etienne

GROUP C: Spain, Japan, Nigeria, Brazil

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SCHEDULE

Spain v Japan, July 25 at 1500 GMT in Nantes

Nigeria v Brazil, July 25 at 1700 GMT in Bordeaux

Brazil v Japan, July 28 at 1500 GMT in Paris

Spain v Nigeria, July 28 at 1700 GMT in Nantes

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Brazil v Spain, July 31 at 1500 GMT in Bordeaux

Japan v Nigeria, July 31 at 1500 GMT in Nantes

QUARTER-FINALS (All matches on Aug. 3)

Winner Group B v runner-up Group C at 1300 GMT in Paris

Winner Group C v third-placed team in Group A or B at 1500 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

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Runner-up Group A v runner-up Group B at 1700 GMT in Marseille

Winner Group A v third-placed team in Group B or C at 1900 GMT in Nantes

SEMI-FINALS (All matches on Aug. 6)

Winner quarter-final 2 v winner quarter-final 4 at 1600 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

Winner quarter-final 1 v winner quarter-final 3 at 1900 GMT in Marseille

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BRONZE MEDAL MATCH

Loser semi-final 1 v loser semi-final 2, Aug. 9 at 1300 GMT in Decines-Charpieu

GOLD MEDAL MATCH

Winner semi-final 1 v winner semi-final 2, Aug. 10 at 1500 GMT in Paris

-Reuters

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Israel clear to play in Olympic soccer tournament

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FIFA Completely Opposed To 'blue Cards' -

FIFA has postponed a decision on a Palestinian proposal to suspend Israel from international soccer because of the war on Gaza, clearing the way for the Israeli men’s national team to play at the Paris Olympics.

Soccer’s world governing body had been set to make a decision Saturday at an extraordinary council meeting after asking for an independent legal assessment of the Palestinian proposal two months ago.

That decision would have come just four days before the start of the Olympic soccer tournament, where Israel has been drawn into a group with Japan, Mali and Paraguay.

However, FIFA said Thursday that it had pushed back the timeline because “more time is needed to conclude this process with due care and completeness” — meaning a decision is now set to come after the Olympics have finished.

FIFA said both parties had made requests for extensions “to submit their respective positions” and that the independent assessment will now be shared with FIFA by Aug. 31 at the latest.

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The men’s Olympic final is set to take place on Aug. 9.

-AP

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Teams plan for lack of toilets on Paris opening ceremony barges

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A possible lack of toilets on the barges used for carrying athletes during the Paris Olympics opening ceremony on Friday has thrown national teams an unexpected curve ball.

The opening ceremony will take place on the River Seine with athletes on barges floating past hundreds of thousands of spectators in one of the most anticipated events of these Games.

Some of those vessels, though, will not have toilets.

“Being one of the larger delegations, we haven’t yet had confirmation whether we will have a boat with a toilet but we do hope so,” Australia’s Chef de Mission Anna Meares told a press conference on Saturday.

“But preparations in the case that we don’t have a toilet on the boat are underway, and making sure that we have access to facilities both prior to and on the departure of the boat.”

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Athletes, however, will be pleased to hear that the expected time on the water for the opening ceremony will be only around 45 minutes.

“There will be toilets at the boarding and departure of the boat,” Meares said. “So the boat, the time of the sail is about 40 to 45 minutes.”

The Games will run until Aug 11.

-Reuters

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