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DAY 14 WORLD CUP PREVIEW/STATS/H2H: Brazil Are Unbeaten In 13 Matches, Germany Have Never Failed To Progress From The Group Stage At A World Cup PLUS Mexico, Sweden & Serbia



Wednesday 27 June
South Korea vs Germany (Group F) – Kazan – 5pm
Mexico vs Sweden (Group F) – Ekaterinburg – 5pm
Serbia vs Brazil (Group E) – Moscow (Spartak) – 9pm
Switzerland vs Costa Rica (Group E) – Nizhny Novgorod – 9pm
Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner are available for Switzerland after avoiding bans for a ‘double-headed eagle gesture’ during their crucial victory over Serbia.
The trio were instead fined by Fifa for “unsporting behaviour” following their controversial celebrations.
Costa Rica saw their resistance broken in the 91st minute in a 2-0 defeat against Brazil last time out.
Oscar Ramirez’ side are yet to earn a point or score in Group E.
Switzerland took a huge step towards securing last-16 qualification courtesy of Shaqiri’s 90th-minute winner against Serbia, leaving Vladimir Petkovic’s side only requiring one point from their final match to progress.
Largely outplayed by their opponents in the first-half, the Swiss rallied as Xhaka’s powerful strike cancelled out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s opener to set up a thrilling finish.
However, in the days since that win in Kaliningrad the team have been made to sweat over Fifa’s verdict on whether Xhaka, Shaqiri and Lichtsteiner would receive two-match bans.
With that threat lifted, focus returns to qualifying from, or potentially winning, Group E.
Costa Rica were the surprise package in Brazil four years ago, reaching the quarter-finals, but have fallen short in Russia and are unable to qualify,
A narrow opening defeat to Serbia, followed by two injury-time goals for Brazil last time out have left Los Ticos playing for pride in Nizhny Novgorod.
Having only once failed to take a point in three group games at a World Cup in 2006, the Costa Ricans could have a big say in who progresses from Group E.

Switzerland and Costa Rica will be meeting for the third time and for the first time at a major tournament.
Both nations have recorded one win each; Switzerland defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in 2006, before Costa Rica recorded a 1-0 victory in 2010.

The Swiss are unbeaten in their previous four World Cup games against sides from Concacaf (W2 D2) – most recently defeating Honduras at the 2014 World Cup (3-0).
Switzerland have conceded a goal in each of their last three World Cup games; they had only conceded in three of the previous 10 before this run.
Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland’s last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist).
Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for versus Serbia – the most of any Swiss player.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica are winless in their last four World Cup games against European sides (W0 D3 L1), scoring just one goal across those four matches.
Costa Rica are winless in their last five World Cup matches (W0 D3 L2), failing to score in four of those.
A loss for Costa Rica will mean they will finish the group stage on zero points – only at World Cup 2006 have they failed to pick up a single point at the tournament.

Brazil are expected to be unchanged from the side that started the 2-0 win over Costa Rica, as Philippe Coutinho and Neymar scored injury-time goals.
Danilo is out with a thigh problem and Douglas Costa has a hamstring injury.
Six of the Serbia squad have been booked and will be suspended if they are booked again and reach the last 16, but coach Mladen Krstajic is expected to stick with his first-choice side.
Both sides can still top Group E, finish second or be eliminated.
Five-time winners Brazil started the competition with a 1-1 draw with Switzerland but the win over Costa Rica kept them on course to advance as group winners.
For Serbia, they won 1-0 against Costa Rica thanks a goal from former Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov, before suffering a 2-1 loss to Switzerland as Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a last-minute winner.
However, Serbian Football Association president Slavisa Kokeza and Serbia coach Krstajic were each fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,800) for comments they made after the match.
Krstajic told Serbian journalists that German referee Felix Brych should be tried for war crimes in The Hague for failing to award his team a second-half penalty.
The Serbian FA was also fined 54,000 Swiss francs (£41,250) for the behaviour of fans during the game – they displayed discriminatory banners and messages and threw objects.
Brazil’s performances have been surprising considering they had only lost one match in 21 in the build-up to the tournament, scoring 47 goals and conceding just five.
However, a draw for them against Serbia will be enough for a place in the knockout stage. If they win and second placed Switzerland beat Costa Rica, then both teams will have seven points, although Brazil currently have a one-goal advantage in goal difference to see who wins the group.
If both Brazil and Switzerland have identical records then the group winner could be decided by disciplinary records: Brazil have three yellows, Switzerland four. If they both lose then it will be the second and third places potentially decided by the same process.
Serbia will qualify if they defeat Brazil. A draw would be enough if Switzerland lose to Costa Rica by more than one goal. Serbia can still win the group but need to beat Brazil and hope Switzerland lose to Costa Rica.

Yugoslavia included, Serbia and Brazil have met four times at the World Cup. Their head-to-head record is perfectly balanced with one win each and two draws.
Serbia and Brazil’s first ever World Cup appearance was in a match against each other in 1930 – Yugoslavia running out 2-1 winners.
In total though (including as Yugoslavia), Serbia have faced Brazil on 19 occasions – winning just twice (drew seven, lost 10).
This will be the second meeting between Serbia and Brazil with the former as an independent nation – their first encounter was in a friendly in June 2014, Brazil winning 1-0.

As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded, winning the two in which they kept clean sheets.
Serbia forward Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 18 goals in 26 games for club and country in 2018.
A victory for Serbia in this match will see them qualify from their World Cup group for the first time as an independent nation, after qualifying for the next phase in the 1998 tournament as Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia qualified for the next round on three of the four occasions when they won their first match at the World Cup, doing so in 1930, 1954 and 1998; their only failure to qualify was in 1950. The 1-0 win over Costa Rica was the first time Serbia, as an independent nation, won their opening match.

In all competitions, Brazil are unbeaten in 13 matches (won nine, drew four), conceding just three goals in that run.
Brazil have only managed one victory in their past seven World Cup games against European opposition (drew two, lost four) – a 3-1 win against Croatia in 2014.
Philippe Coutinho has scored in each of his past three appearances for Brazil.
Brazil’s Neymar has been directly involved in 18 goals in his past 17 appearances for the national side (10 goals, eight assists).
Neymar has scored 56 goals in 87 matches for Brazil; only Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) have scored more.
Brazil have managed only one shot on target in the first half in each of their past three World Cup games.

South Korea will be without captain Ki Sung-yueng, who has a calf strain.
Coach Shin Tae-yong knows his side have to win so may pick an attacking line-up as a result.
Germany are without Jerome Boateng after his red card against Sweden, but fellow central defender Mats Hummels is fit again after a neck injury.
Midfielder Sebastian Rudy may be able to play with a protective mask after undergoing a minor operation on his nose on Sunday.
Never write off the Germans. Toni Kroos’ spectacular and dramatic late winner against Sweden kept their hopes of becoming the first team to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962 firmly alive.
But they have a long way to go before they can seal a place in the last 16, let alone dream of another final on 15 July. The permutations of what they need to do could be complex, but in simple terms Joachim Low’s side must beat South Korea by two or more goals or better Sweden’s result to guarantee qualification.
Their win over the Swedes has been tarnished somewhat by the unsavoury touchline scenes that marred their celebrations after Kroos’ goal. The German Football Association (DFB) has suspended two members of staff following the angry exchanges that occurred between both benches.
South Korea are the only side at this World Cup to have lost their first two games but to still be in with a shout of qualifying, albeit a very, very slim one.

Two of the three matches between South Korea and Germany have been at World Cup finals, with the Germans winning both matches (3-2 in 1994 & 1-0 in 2002). South Korea’s only victory against Germany was in a friendly in 2004.

South Korea
Son Heung-min attempted eight shots in their defeat to Mexico – three more than South Korea managed in their opening match against Sweden.
South Korea have conceded a penalty in both of their matches – they had conceded just one penalty in their previous 29 World Cup games combined.
They have lost their last four consecutive World Cup matches, their joint-worst run since they also lost four in a row between 1986 and 1990.

Germany have never failed to progress from the opening group stage at a World Cup.
They have won all five of their World Cup games against Asian opponents, scoring 19 goals in total and keeping clean sheets in each of their last three matches.
Germany’s victory over Sweden was their first at the World Cup after they had conceded the opening goal since the 1998 finals when they beat Mexico 2-1.
They have won 15 of their last 17 competitive matches (D1, L1) since losing to France at Euro 2016.
Toni Kroos has been involved in five goals in his last five World Cup games (three goals and two assists).
Joshua Kimmich has put in 22 crosses, the most of any player at this World Cup after two rounds of matches.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio is renowned for rotating his squad and with a third game in 11 days, several changes could be made.
Marco Fabian is pushing for a first start of the tournament, while Jesus Corona is also in contention.
Sweden should stick with the side who were only denied a draw with Germany by Toni Kroos’ injury-time winner.
Sebastian Larsson, Viktor Claesson and Albin Ekdal are one booking away from suspension.

Qualifying permutations
Mexico need a point against Sweden to go through and top the group. They are definitely through with a defeat if Germany fail to win.
Sweden are guaranteed to qualify if they win or better Germany’s result. If they beat Mexico and Germany fail to win, Sweden will top the group.
Germany must win by two or more goals or better Sweden’s result to guarantee qualifying.
If both Germany and Sweden draw, the team in the higher-scoring game will finish second.
If both draws are the same scoreline, Germany finish second on head-to-head.
South Korea must beat Germany and hope Sweden lose to Mexico to have a chance of qualifying.

With everything to play for in Group F, the build-up to this match should be dominated by football, but in an age of social media, when the stakes are high, unpleasant things can follow.
Following Germany’s last-gasp equaliser against Sweden, via the brilliant boot of Toni Kroos, knives were quickly sharpened in sickening fashion. Swedish midfielder Jimmy Durmaz, who conceded the free-kick which Kroos converted in the 95th minute, was subjected to death threats online.
Durmaz issued a statement in response, with support from his team-mates, branding the abuse “unacceptable” and added: “We stand united. We are Sweden.”
Unity on the pitch will also be required if Sweden are to recover from that heartbreaking defeat to make it into the knockout stage.
Mexico have performed well in winning their opening two games and could become the first CONCACAF team to win three consecutive World Cup matches. They need just a point to go through while a win would be enough for Sweden.

This will be the 10th game between these sides but just a second at a World Cup.
Sweden won their only previous meeting in this tournament, a 3-0 victory as hosts in the opening group match in 1958.
Mexico are unbeaten in four of their last five matches against Sweden (W2, D2), although all of those games were friendlies.

Javier Hernandez scored his 50th international goal against South Korea, taking him level with Luis Hernandez as Mexico’s leading scorer.
Forty eight (96%) of Javier Hernandez’s 50 goals for Mexico have come from inside the box.
Mexico have won their opening two World Cup games for just the second time (also 2002).
On the previous seven occasions Mexico have gone unbeaten in their opening two games, they have progressed to the knockout stage.
They’re now unbeaten in their last five group stage matches and have lost just two of their last 19 games at this stage.

Sweden’s defeat to Germany was their first in the group stage of the World Cup since 1990, when they lost 2-1 to Costa Rica.
They registered just 24% possession in their 2-1 defeat to Germany, their lowest figure in a World Cup match since 1966.
Sweden have won only four of their last 13 World Cup games when they have scored first (D5, L4).
After not scoring in 23 games for Toulouse this season, Ola Toivonen’s strike against Germany came in just a second World Cup game via his second shot of the tournament.
Toivonen’s goal was Sweden’s first from open play at a World Cup since Freddy Ljungberg’s strike against Paraguay in 2006.



MESSI: Suarez Was Unfairly “Forced” Out…



Argentinian star and Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi has expressed emotional grief after the departure of Uruguayan counterpart Luis Suarez to rivals Atletico Madrid for £5.5m on a two-year deal.

The 33 year old had one more year to run on the contract he signed with Barca in 2016, but was told by new head coach Ronald Koeman last month that he was not part of his plans.

Suarez and Lionel Messi struck up a strong friendship on and off the field at Barcelona.

With Messi, Suarez won La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys, the Champions League, the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup during his hugely successful time at the Nou Camp.

Suarez was filmed leaving Barcelona’s training ground in tears on Wednesday as his transfer to Atletico neared completion.

Suarez departs Barcelona as their second-highest goal-scorer of all time, having scored 198 goals since signing from Liverpool in 2014.

Lionel Messi has aimed fresh criticism at the Barcelona hierarchy, following Suarez’s departure from the club to Atletico.

Messi, who came close to leaving the Nou Camp earlier in the transfer window before reversing his threat to end his contract unilaterally, has hit out at the club’s management of Suarez’s departure from the Spanish giants.

He wrote on Instagram: “You deserved a fitting farewell for the person that you are: one of the best players in the club’s history, having achieved incredible things both individually and collectively. You didn’t deserve to be pushed out the way they did, but the truth is nothing surprises me anymore.


Via SkySports


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Kajoba Has No Excuse Of Not Retaining The League Title For Vipers – Coach Makumbi…



Former Bunamwaya FC coach, Richard Makumbi has said that Fred Kajoba will have no excuses for not winning the Uganda Premier League title next season.

Makumbi who is the current head coach, for Mbarara outfit Nyamitoobora in the FUFA Big league added that Vipers management have given Kajoba everything he needs like; signing players of his choice and recruiting experienced Paul Kiwanuka from Bright Stars as his assistant coach.

Coach Makumbi says there will therefore be no excuse if Kajoba doesn’t win the league, because he has been given what he asked for to retain the league.

“If you are given what you ask for, you have to get the job done, there’s is no excuse for that, coach Kajoba must make sure Vipers are crowned league champions,” Makumbi emphasized.

The experienced coach however also cited the need for coach Kajoba to make winning at home traditional, and register victories on the road,  as part of his bargain.

Makumbi who was baptized the ‘King of promotions’ after leading various clubs to the Uganda Premier League from the FUFA Big League tipped Vipers for the title crown.

He however also noted that KCCA and URA have prepared well and are in for some stiff competition.


By Juma Ali


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COVID19 Has Left Us Penniless, We Now Need Support – Boxing Council Boss Katongole Cries Out…



Uganda Professional Boxing Council (UPBC) Vice President, Simon Katongole has said that their lives have been negatively affected since the outbreak of the COVID19.

In an interview with theGrapevine, Katongole said that the cancellation of all boxing fights buried their source of income.

Katongole disclosed that before the lockdown, three international fights had been arranged, one at Hotel Africana and two at International University of East Africa (IUEA).

Frank Kiwalabye was scheduled to take on a South African opponent while heavy weight boxer Shafic Kiwanuka was set to face an Egyptian.

Katongole said that they now need support like all the other organisations that have been affected by COVID19, “We are broke, we don’t have anything in our pockets.”

Katongole further hinted that even if government opens up sporting activities including boxing, as long as fans are excluded from attending these events, they will still struggle financially.


By Juma Ali


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