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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

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    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.

    Head-to-head
    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.

    Switzerland
    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.

    Head-to-head
    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.

    Serbia
    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.

    Brazil
    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.

    Head-to-head
    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
    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.

    Head-to-head
    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.

    Mexico
    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
    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.

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    NEWS

    SHOCKING: NCS Officials Forced To Vomit She Cranes Money After Girls Protest Being Given Shs.50,000 Upon Returning From Birmingham Instead Of Shs.7 Million…

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    She Cranes in Birmigham

    It was a tug of war as the netball national team (She Cranes) persuaded officials from the National Council of Sports [NCS] to give them their money.

    The drama started when the first batch of Ugandan Athletes who competed in the just concluded Common Wealth games in Birmigham, England returned today.

    Kayiira Jackson, the netball media officer told theGrapevine that the netball federation hired a minibus to pick the players from Entebbe airport.

    Kayiira divulged that upon reaching the airport, they found a parliamentary mini bus already picking some players and because it was not enough to take all of them, including the cyclists, the remaining athletes had to occupy their mini bus.

    TEARS AT NCS

    Upon reaching the premises of National Council of Sports in Lugogo, where the players hoped to get their seven million shilling (Shs.7,000,000)  allowances, which was promised to them by NCS as soon as the tournament ended, they were given the bad news that their allowances were not ready.

    Each player was quickly given fifty thousand shillings (Shs.50,000) as transport by the gate man at the premises to return home.

    According to Kayiira, no NCS officials was around by the time the team arrived at the premises. Instead, the official decided to run into hiding and gave the gateman money the Shs.50,000 for each player as transport.

    TheGrapevine has learnt that two players from netball, Juan Nampungu and Jesca Achan received their seven million shilling while in Birmingham and the rest were told that their money is in Uganda, 10 players and 4 officials were not paid.

    Later today, when the officials learnt that the media was following up on the matter, they started quietly paying some players.

    Sandra Nabirige, who plays as a goal defender (netball), told theGrapevine that she received six million shilling (instead of seven) on her mobile money account at 1:46pm.

    Irene Eyaru, who plays as a goal attack (netball) also assured theGrapevine that she received the six million shilling on her mobile money at 1:46pm.

    Sources in NCS have intimated to theGrapevine that officials decided to vomit part of the money after increasing pressure from the players, that is why they had to pay them via mobile money.

    According to inside information, each player who went to Birmingham for the commonwealth games was supposed to receive their money through equity bank.

    When Grapevine called the assistant general secretary NCS, he said that he cannot comment on the matter.

    Uganda netball team beat South Africa 54-48 to end their campaign in a historic 5th place – one better than their 6th-place finish in 2018 in Australia.

    The final position meant that Uganda ended the Games as the highest-ranked African nation, with South Africa taking 6th place and Malawi 7th.

    Overall, Team Uganda bagged a total of five medals in Birmigham and they included three gold medals.

    Notably, Teddy Nakimuli became the first Ugandan female boxer to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

     

    By Juma Ali

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    I’m Going To Win Commonwealth Medal For My Mum Who Was Knocked By Speeding Boda Boda – Bombers Captain Vows…

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    Bombers captain Joshua Tukamuhebwa in action

    Bombers captain Joshua Tukamuhebwa has told theGrapevine that he is determined to win a medal at this year’s commonwealth games in Birmingham, England for his late mother.

    Tukamuhebwa’s mother, Enid Bindishanga died after she was knocked by a speeding motor bike along Jinja Road.

    Enid had gone at the meat parker along Port Bell Road to buy meat for the family.

    She was rushed to hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

    “I am going to do everything possible to win a medal in this competition for my mum,” the Naguru based boxer said.

    Tukamuhebwa narrated that after his mother’s death, life became meaningless because she meant a lot to him and his siblings, “that’s why I want to win a medal in her memory.”

    I AM THE FATHER NOW

    Tukamuhebwa  also disclosed that after his mum’s death, he is now the bread winner at home and has to act like a parent to his young siblings and also look for their school fees.

    I WILL USE THE MONEY I GET TO HELP MY SIBLINGS

    He added that he is going to use the money government will give him as his facilitation, funds from Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) president Moses Muhangi and President Museveni’s pledge if he wins a medal, to cater for his siblings.

    This will be Tukamuhebwa’s second international competition after the all Africa games in 2019 in Morocco, where he was defeated in the first encounter.

    The commonwealth games are scheduled to take place between 28th July to 8th August 2022.

    Uganda will be represented in several sports disciplines which include; boxing, athletics, swimming, squash, table tennis, badminton, rugby 7’s and netball.

    theGrapevine wishes our men and women the best in Birmingham.

     

    By Juma Ali

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    UOC President Discusses How Team Uganda Is Prepared To Sweep Medals In Commonwealth Games And How They Are Going To Handle Issue Of Athletes Disappearing…

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    President Museveni with wife Janet flagging off Teams for the Commonwealth games. Bottom right is UOC boss Donald Rukare

    Few days are left to the commonwealth games that are scheduled to take place in Birmingham in England, between 28th July to 8th August 2022.

    Uganda will be represented in several sports disciplines which include; boxing, athletics, swimming, squash, table tennis, badminton, rugby 7’s and netball .

    In the last edition, in 2018, bomber’s boxers Reagan Ssimbwa, Nasir Bashir and table tennis player Halimah Nambooze disappeared in Gold Coast in Australia and never returned with the team.

    This has been a norm after several international games. Some athletes disappear after the games in search for greener pastures.

    theGrapevine sat down with Uganda Olympic Committee president Donald Rukare to discuss how the Ugandan team is prepared for the games and how they are going to handle the issue of athletes disappearing.

    Grapevine: How are you prepared for the commonwealth games as team Uganda?

    Rukare: The preparation are good and we are ready to win medals.

    Grapevine: How many medals do you hope to win this time around?

    Rukare: In 2014, we got 5 medals, in 2018 we scooped 6 medals, this time around we hope to double the medals we got in 2018 to twelve or more.

    Grapevine: Of all athletes, who do you think has more chances of getting a medal?

    Rukare: All the athletes have equal chances of getting medals.

    Grapevine: What were the challenges you are facing as you prepare the teams for the commonwealth games?

    Rukare: We still need financial assistance to help us prepare our athletes.

    Grapevine: Will athletes like Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kiplimo, Halimah Nakayi, Peruth Chemutai, who competed in World Athletics Championship in Oregon also compete in commonwealth games? And will it not affect them?

    Rukare: Are you a coach? Hahaha [he laughs], they will definitely participate and it will not affect them because they are sportsmen and women. So, they are aware of the tight sports schedules sometimes.

    Grapevine: Have you prepared any incentives like prizes for those who will win medal?

    Rukare: We are still discussing that, but the prize money from President Museveni is there. Gold medal winners get Shs.5 million, silver medal winners get Shs.3 million and bronze medal winners get Shs.2 million.

    Grapevine: Why were you given few athlete slots [18 athletes] yet Uganda’s hope is in athletics?

    Rukare: We were given only 41 slots which were supposed to be shared with other federations.

    Grapevine: What challenges do athletes face when they go to such competitions?

    Rukare: The issue of food. Sometimes they are not used to the food in some of these countries.

    Grapevine: So, are you going with your own cook this time around?

    Rukare: Yes, we hope to go with our own cook.

    Grapevine: Let us talk about the issue of athletes who escape during international games, how do you plan to handle it this time around?

    Rukare: (Jokingly says) I think if it is possible, we need to hire the services of Maama Fiina to come to our rescue and tell us those who are going to escape since she is a traditional doctor who can see things before they happen.

     

    By Juma Ali

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