Connect with us

World Cup

Penalty hands Tunisia victory as Africa’s World Cup qualifiers resume

Published

on

Tunisia needed a late penalty to beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 and move to the top of the standings in their World Cup qualifying group as Africa’s preliminaries for the 2026 finals resumed on Wednesday.

Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane struck the 81st-minute spotkick to deny Equatorial Guinea a deserved point as they looked to shrug off the FIFA sanctions that stripped them of the six points from their opening two qualifiers in November.

FIFA found striker Emilio Nsue, a former Spanish junior international, was ineligible to play for the small central African nation despite being in the team over the past 11 years, and reversed Equatorial Guinea’s victories in their opening two matches against Namibia and Liberia.

But the sanction that has seen Nsue, top scorer at the Africa Cup of Natiions finals at the start of the year, suspended for six months looked to have little ill effect on Equatorial Guinea, as they again punched above their weight against one of Africa’s top achievers.

The goal came after a collision between Jannick Buyla and Tunisia’s flying fullback Hamza Mathlouthi that the referee deemed a push.

Advertisement

Tunisia move to nine points in Group H, above Namibia who were held earlier in the day to a 1-1 draw by Liberia in Soweto, South Africa.

Tjipee Karuuombe made a surging run from deep in midfield to get onto a delightful chip from Ben Namib to steer home the ball after eight minutes for Namibia, forced to move the match because of the lack of a suitable stadium.

Terry Sackor got the equaliser in the 65th minute as Liberia finally profited from the long throw that created endless havoc in the home defence.

Togo, who went to the World Cup finals in 2006, were held to a surprise home draw by South Sudan after opening the scoring through their German-born striker Khaled Narey in the 61st minute.

But South Sudan, who have never won a World Cup qualifier, were level within seven minutes after an own goal by Roger Ahoulou.

Advertisement

OWN GOAL

The midfielder also conceded an own goal in last month’s African Champions League final as his club Esperance of Tunisia lost 1-0 on aggregate to Al Ahly of Egypt.

Former Aston Villa defender Curtis Davis, who debuted for Sierra Leone last year at the age of 38 after previously winning England under-21 caps, got the opening goal against Djibouti in El Jadida.

But the small Red Sea state equalised through a 35th-minute penalty, converted by Gabriel Dadzie, born in Ghana but naturalised after playing club football in Djibouti.

Augustus Kargbo snatched the second-half winner for an unconvincing 2-1 triumph that advanced the Lone Stars to four points in Group A.

Djibouti have now lost their last nine World Cup qualifiers.

Advertisement

French-based midfielder Venuste Baboula got the only goal after 29 minutes as the Central African Republic edged Chad 1-0 in Oujda in Group I.

Like Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic hosted their home match in Morocco because their own facilities were deemed not up to international standard.

Africa’s qualifiers continue on Thursday with 10 more qualifiers, including games for Ghana and Senegal, who were at the last finals in Qatar in 2022.

-Reuters

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World Cup

Home grounds of Barcelona, Real Madrid among 11 proposed World Cup 2030 venues

Published

on

- Real Madrid celebrate winning the Champions League - Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - June 2, 2024 General view inside the stadium and Real Madrid's Toni Kroos during the Champions League celebration with fans REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

Spain’s soccer federation (RFEF) has proposed 11 stadiums as candidates to host matches during the 2030 World Cup, including the home arenas of LaLiga clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Spain, who will co-host the tournament with Portugal and Morocco as well as centenary hosts Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, will also have 45 additional grounds as team bases, the RFEF said on Friday.

Other LaLiga clubs whose home arenas have made the list include Sevilla, Malaga, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao, Las Palmas and promoted Espanyol.

Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium, despite being the fifth-largest stadium in LaLiga with a capacity of 49,430, was not included in the list of potential venues.

“In order to define the venues, all the possibilities have been analysed, including the option of expanding to 13, an option that must be taken unanimously by the three federations,” the RFEF said in a statement.

Advertisement

The tournament will have a maximum of 20 venues, the RFEF added.

Co-hosts Morocco last year announced plans to build a stadium near Casablanca and upgrade six others before the World Cup.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

World Cup

It’s 28 years since Super Eagles’ worst competitive defeat

Published

on

Denmark unexpectedly beat Nigeria 4-1

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

Denmark face Germany on Saturday hoping to recreate their famous victory at the Euro 92 when they secured their first title, although they were the underdogs.

 This day 28 June, a day before their Round of 16 Euro 2024 clash with Germany also brings the memory of their famous Round of 16 win over Nigeria at the France ‘98 World Cup.

Their 4-1 defeat of the Super Eagles remains the biggest defeat that the Nigerians have gotten in a competitive duel in nearly 30 years.

 It was an unexpected result considering that the Super Eagles contributed to the elimination of one of the tournaments favourites, Spain.

Advertisement

A goal down under two minutes and two down under 12 minutes presented a huge mountain for the Super Eagles to climb.

 What a twist of an event most had thought the Nigerian team would be the dominant side.

The world was awaiting a match-up of Nigeria and Brazil in the quarter-finals.

It was to rekindle the memorable encounter of both countries’ Olympic teams two years earlier when Nigeria famously defeated Brazil 4-3 in a golden goal decider at the semi-finals.

     A rematch at the quarter finals of France ’98 would have brought up a novel match-up of reigning Olympic gold medallists and reigning World Cup holders. It turned out a mere dream.

Advertisement

 Nigeria’s manager, Bora Milutinović fielded a starting line-up with seven midfielders and no attacker.

Could that had been a new tactical formation in football in a knockout game Nigeria had to score and win? Call it the 3-7-0. Call it overconfidence.

      Even Nigeria’s manager was reportedly half-kiddingly remarked before the match: “We’ve got a very important match coming up in Nantes” – a reference to a possible quarter-final meeting  with Brazil.

  Member of the team, Mutiu Adepoju told Sports Village Square that poor tactical approach cost Nigeria the match.     “The game was taken as a routine one and hence, no special preparation for it.

  “The coaches did not even border to get insight into the Denmark team”, said Adepoju who was called ‘Headmaster’  for his heading skill. It was with an header that he scored Nigeria’s first goal that put scores at 1-1 in a 3-2 defeat of Spain in the opening match.

Advertisement

  He dismissed a well publicised claim by teammate, Taribo West that the players had busy nights with women prior to the match.

  He however admitted that there was discontentment in camp and that the coaching crew lost control of the team.

  It came light that the players did not sleep all night as the now very familiar agitations for enhanced match bonuses came up.

As published in the on-line version of Al-Jazeera in 2014, Sunday Oliseh was quoted as saying: “We wasted too much energy on the eve of our game haggling over bonus, something like that should not be the focus at a big tournament like the World Cup. “We lost that game off the pitch and not on the pitch.”           

Advertisement
Continue Reading

World Cup

FIFA awards win to Niger after Congo no-show in World Cup qualifier

Published

on

bf5f50d9-fifa.jpg

FIFA has awarded Niger a win and the full three points in a 2026 World Cup soccer qualifier with Congo that was postponed this month, the world governing body said on Wednesday.

Congo had refused to travel to Kinshasa, capital of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, for their home game after their stadium in Brazzaville was deemed not to have met hosting requirements.

Niger did travel, and were awarded the game 3-0, which leaves them second in Group E on six points, three behind leaders Morocco. Congo are stuck on zero points from their three matches.

Only the top team in each of the nine pools is guaranteed a place at the expanded World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to declare the match lost by forfeit 3-0 by the representative team of Congo,” FIFA said in a statement.

Advertisement

It said the Alphonse Massemba-Debat Stadium in Brazzaville could not have been used until renovations, including the laying of a new pitch, were completed

Congolese Sports Minister Hughes Nguilondile declared the stadium ready in late May, but it was deemed too late to move the fixture. FIFA ordered it to go ahead in Kinshasa as originally planned, leading to Congo’s withdrawal in protest.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed