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DAY 15 WORLD CUP PREVIEW/STATS/H2H: Senegal Praying For A Point To Progress, England And Belgium Fighting For First Place

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Thursday 28 June
Japan vs Poland (Group H) – Volgograd – 5pm
Senegal vs Colombia (Group H) – Samara – 5pm
England vs Belgium (Group G) – Kaliningrad – 9pm
Panama vs Tunisia (Group G) – Saransk – 7pm
Japan could recall Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki, who has featured in both of their previous games as a substitute.
Veteran goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima has made costly errors in consecutive matches and may be replaced by 23-year-old Kosuke Nakamura.
Already eliminated Poland could make changes for their final game.
Experienced defender Kamil Glik made his comeback from a shoulder injury as a substitute against Colombia and may return to the starting line-up.

Head-to-head
Japan have won the two previous games between these sides, scoring a total of seven unanswered goals.
They beat the Poles 5-0 in Hong Kong in February 1996 and won 2-0 in the Polish city of Lodz in March 2002. Both games were friendlies.

Japan
The only previous occasion Japan went through a World Cup group stage unbeaten was as co-hosts in 2002 (W2, D1).
Japan have failed to score in four of their last five World Cup games against European opponents (W1, D2, L2), with their only goals coming in a 3-1 victory over Denmark in 2010.
Keisuke Honda’s goal against Senegal made him the first Japanese player to score at three different World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018).
Honda has been involved in seven of Japan’s last 10 World Cup goals (four goals and three assists).

Poland
The only previous occasion that Poland failed to win a single game at a World Cup was on their debut in 1938. The tournament was pure knockout, and they were beaten 6-5 by Brazil after extra time.
The Poles were the first European side eliminated from the 2018 World Cup, and they have now bowed out at the group stage in three successive appearances (2002, 2006 and 2018).
They won their final group game in both 2002 and 2006.
Poland’s only previous World Cup meeting with an Asian side was their 2-0 defeat to tournament co-hosts South Korea in 2002.
The Poles have not kept a clean sheet at the World Cup since a 1-0 win against Portugal in 1986, conceding 23 goals in their 10 games since then.

Senegal used a 4-4-2 formation in the win against Poland but switched to 4-3-3 for the draw with Japan.
A point will guarantee they reach the last 16 so coach Aliou Cisse may be tempted to field a defensive line-up.
Carlos Sanchez is available for Colombia after serving a one-game suspension.
Fellow midfielder Abel Aguilar was forced off after half an hour against Poland because of an injury and will not be risked.
Mateus Uribe replaced him as a substitute and could be promoted to the starting line-up, while goalkeeper David Ospina is fit despite suffering a knock against the Poles.
James Rodriguez and Wilmar Barrios are one booking away from a ban, as are five Senegalese players.

Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse: “A player like Sadio Mane is a player with a lot of expectations and he is one of the players under the spotlight.
“He can do better, but [against Japan] he was better than against Poland and he needs to do better against Colombia.” Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman: “There are so many situations that can make or break a football team. This is a World Cup. We have to simply forget any quick judgements or prejudices that we might have.
“When I [choose] the starting line-up, I do it taking account of the whole context in which we find ourselves.”

Head-to-head
Their only previous meeting was a friendly in Buenos Aires prior to the last World Cup in May 2014.
Colombia led 2-0 at half-time through goals from Teofilo Gutierrez and Carlos Bacca but Moussa Kounate and Cheikh Ndoye struck after the break to earn Senegal, who ended the game with 10 men, a 2-2 draw.

Senegal
Senegal have faced South American opponents just once before in the World Cup, drawing 3-3 in their final group game in 2002 against Uruguay (a game in which they led 3-0).
The Senegalese kept a clean sheet in their first ever World Cup match, against France in 2002, but have not recorded a shut-out in any of their subsequent six games.
They have conceded three goals from just seven shots on target faced at this World Cup.
Moussa Wague, 19, became the first African teenager to score a World Cup goal in the 2-2 draw with Japan.
Senegal are unbeaten in the 15 matches Sadio Mane has scored in (W9, D6).

Colombia
Los Cafeteros’ first World Cup match against African opposition was a 2-1 loss to Cameroon in extra time in 1990. Since then, they’ve beaten Tunisia (in 1998) and Ivory Coast (in 2014).
They have scored four goals from seven shots on target at the 2018 World Cup, including three from four against Poland.
Colombia’s 3-0 win against the Poles equalled their biggest win at the World Cup (in 2014 they beat Greece 3-0 and Japan 4-1).
James Rodriguez has six goals and four assists in seven World Cup appearances.


Both England and Belgium are assured of their place in the last 16, and are expected to make a number of changes for their final Group G game.
Three Lions midfielder Dele Alli, who suffered a muscle problem against Tunisia, trained on Wednesday but is unlikely to be risked.
Marcus Rashford and Gary Cahill could earn recalls, and Eric Dier will start.
Kevin de Bruyne, Thomas Meunier and Jan Vertonghen are a booking away from a ban and unlikely to play for Belgium.
Striker Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out, Dries Mertens also has an ankle issue while captain Eden Hazard has been nursing a calf problem.
Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini says the denouement to Group G between Belgium and England will be a “strange game”, and it certainly feels like it has a surreal edge to it.
With both sides already qualified, and level on points, goal difference and goals scored, their disciplinary records will decide who finishes top of the group if they draw in Kaliningrad. Should they still be level on that factor, the rare sight of the drawing of lots will take place to determine who finishes top.
There has been much debate in the media, pubs, offices and living rooms across England about whether Gareth Southgate’s side would actually be better off finishing second rather than top as it could see them avoid a quarter-final against Brazil.
It’s not something that Southgate is letting affect him. He said: “I’ve heard talk of it being better finishing second, but how do you work all that out, really?
“What I’ve discussed with the players is that we must not waste any energy thinking whether it’s better to be first or second in the group, or who we might play in future rounds.”
One thing in England’s favour is the incredible record they have against Belgium. Their only defeat in 21 meetings came back in 1936.

Head-to-head
England are unbeaten in their previous two matches against Belgium at the World Cup.
They drew 4-4 in 1954 and won 1-0 in the second round in 1990 courtesy of a volley from David Platt in extra time.
They are unbeaten in the last 11 meetings with Belgium, most recently winning a friendly in June 2012.

England
England have scored eight goals at this World Cup, as many as in 1954 and 1990. The only time they have scored more was the 11 they netted in 1966.
The only time England have won all three of their games in the group stage of a World Cup was in 1982, when they beat France, Czechoslovakia and Kuwait.
Harry Kane has scored five goals in the group stage of this tournament. The last player to score more in the opening round of a World Cup was Russia’s Oleg Salenko, with six in 1994.
Kane has scored in each of his past five appearances for England. The last player to score in six games in a row for the Three Lions was Tommy Lawton in 1939.
The only England player to have scored more at a single World Cup is Gary Lineker, who scored six on his way to winning the Golden Boot in 1986.
Kane has five goals from five shots on target at this tournament.

Belgium
Belgium have won each of their past two World Cup matches by a margin of three goals – no team has won three consecutive matches at the tournament by three or more goals.
This is the fifth occasion at a World Cup that Belgium have won their opening two matches – the only previous time they have won all three was in 2014.
The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last 11 World Cup group games.
Michy Batshuayi scored one goal from six attempts from just 22 minutes of action so far.


Tunisia will have to use their third different goalkeeper in the tournament in their final match against Panama.
Mouez Hassen suffered a shoulder injury against England in their first game and Farouk Ben Mustapha, who played against Belgium, injured his knee in training.
That leaves Aymen Mathlouthi as the only available keeper in their squad.
Panama will have to make at least two changes from the side that lost 6-1 to England on Sunday as Michael Murillo and Armando Cooper are both suspended.
Tunisia will also be without central defender Dylan Bronn, who was carried off with a left knee injury after scoring in the 5-2 loss to Belgium on Saturday.
Both sides are already eliminated after two defeats each and Panama need to win to avoid finishing bottom of Group G in their first appearance at a World Cup finals.
Panama have conceded the most goals in this tournament as a 3-0 loss to Belgium was followed by the heavy defeat by England, although Felipe Baloy made history by becoming the first Panamanian player to score at a finals.
Tunisia will regret conceding a last-minute goal to Harry Kane as England won 2-1 in their opener, before the African side were outclassed by Belgium.
This was their first appearance at a finals since 2006 and they have maintained their unwelcome run of never making it out of the group phase. However, they will be confident of recording only their second World Cup victory, with their previous win being a 3-1 success over Mexico in 1978.
Tunisia are 21st in the world rankings, while Panama are down in 55th as they look for their first World Cup victory after their shock qualification, which pushed the United States out of contention in October.

Head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Panama and Tunisia.

Panama
Panama have conceded nine goals from 13 shots on target faced so far at the World Cup.
The last time a nation lost their first three World Cup games in their history – as Panama could do – was in 2006, with both Togo and Serbia doing so.
In their last game against England, Panama’s Felipe Baloy scored his country’s first World Cup goal, at the age of 37 years and 120 days.

Tunisia
Tunisia are winless in their last 13 World Cup matches (drew four, lost nine) since winning their first ever World Cup match in 1978 against Mexico.
Tunisia have already conceded more goals at this World Cup (seven) than they did in any of their previous four tournaments; their previous high was six conceded in 2006.
Tunisia’s only ever World Cup victory came in their only previous match against a North/Central American nation – beating Mexico 3-1 in 1978.
Tunisia faced 12 shots on target in their 5-2 defeat to Belgium, the most they have ever faced in a World Cup game.
No player has been involved in more World Cup goals for Tunisia than Wahbi Khazri (two), who both scored and assisted in their 5-2 defeat against Belgium.

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MESSI: Suarez Was Unfairly “Forced” Out…

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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…

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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…

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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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