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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



    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.

    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.

    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).

    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.”

    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 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).

    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.

    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 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 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.

    This will be the first meeting between Panama and Tunisia.

    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 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.



    She Cranes Star Nuba Reveals Why She Decided To Play For Uganda Not South Sudan; Why She Regrets Giving Birth Early…



    She Cranes player Mary Nuba

    Born in South Sudan but grew in Uganda, that’s the story of the She Cranes goal shooter Mary Nuba Cholhok who was voted as the best shooter in the just concluded Fast5 Series tournament which was held in New Zealand.

    Uganda emerged in fifth position in the tournament. theGrapevine had a chance to talk to Nuba before she went back to England for her professional career.

    Grapevine: Why did you decide to play for Uganda and not for your native country South Sudan?

    Nuba: South Sudan is still lagging behind in Netball and I’m getting old, that’s why I decided to play for Uganda’s She Cranes.

    Grapevine: What challenges have you faced so far in your career?

    Nuba: Thinking about my five-year baby who stays in Uganda yet I’m in England playing for my professional club.

    Grapevine: Then what about your husband [the baby’s father] ?

    Nuba: I’m not married, though I gave birth.

    Mary Nuba was awarded Fans player of the Fast5 Series tournament

    Grapevine: How did you manage giving birth and playing Netball?

    Nuba: I realized that later that I made a mistake of getting pregnant. But I stood on my feet, forgot all the past and decided to move on with my child and my career.

    Grapevine: How do you manage those good performances?

    Nuba: I work very hard ever day in order to achieve my goals.

    Grapevine: Where do you see She Cranes in four years to come?

    Nuba: I see She Cranes winning the Netball World cup because we have good players who are still young.

    Grapevine: Tell us about the best game in your career?

    Nuba: When we defeated South Africa in the Common Wealth games in Birmingham.

    Grapevine: Who’s your role model in the game of Netball?

    Nuba: Peace Proscovia because of the way she managed to lift her life from a poor background. She is now superstar in the game.



    By Juma Ali


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    MIRACLE: All She Cranes Players Return After Incidents Of Players Disappearing While On Duty Abroad…



    She Cranes players and one of the start player Goal Shooter Mary Cholhok Nuba

    It was a miracle this time around after all the She Cranes players returned from New Zealand.

    It has been a habit for some Netball players to escape when the team travels for international tournaments.

    Just last month, two She Cranes players; Nakanyike Shakira, who was a Police Player and Rose Namutebi, who was a KCCA Player, disappeared in UK, during She Cranes international friendlies.

    The disappearance of these two players followed the disappearance of centre Player, Halimah Nakachwa, who disappeared in UK, in 2017 during another international friendly in UK.

    However, this time around, all the nine players who went for the first five series tournament in New Zealand, where She Cranes emerged fifth, after wining three games and losing three games, all returned with the team.

    National players disappearing while on duty abroad is also a habit in other sports disciplines like; boxing, table tennis, Rugby among others.


    By Juma Ali


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    It’s Time For Golola To Rest: I’m Going To Punch Him Into Retirement – General Fungu Vows…



    Moses Golola (L) and General Fungu (R)

    General Hamza Fungu has vowed to fight Moses Golola and send him into retirement come 26th December. 2022.

    Fungu said this during the launch at Akamwesi gardens today.

    Uganda’s middle weight kick boxing champion, Golola Moses is set to face his former trainer, General Hamza Fungu on bixing day at Akamwesi shopping mail gardens.

    Golola, who is known for his many words said that he has beaten many fighters who were better than Fungu, “now look at this piglet, I’m going to show him why I’m called Golola Moses ‘of Uganda ‘  and I call upon Ugandans to come and be witnesses on that day.”

    Though Golola said that he signed a contract which allows both fighters to fight until one gets tired, officials in charge of organizing the show said they will fight K-1 style for five rounds.

    Grapevine had a chance to sit down with Golola’s challenger General Fungu and and this is what he had to say;

    theGrapevine: How are you prepared for this fight?

    Fungu: I’m well prepared but they have also given us enough time. So, I’m going to prepare more.

    theGrapevine: Why, among fighters did you choose Golola?

    Fungu: I have been asking to fight Golola for the last five years but he has been dodging me. He one time asked for 20,000 dollars to fight me.

    theGrapevine: Why do you think he accepted this time around?

    Fungu: I think this time, he has been given a lot of money.

    theGrapevine: Which tactics are you going to use to defeat Golola?

    Fungu : Golola has words but I have the tactics which will defeat Golola.

    theGrapevine: Many people have come out to challenge Golola but he finally wins?

    Fungu : He has been favoured many times.

    theGrapevine: Is it true that the contract you signed for the fight allows you to fight until one of you gets tired?

    Fungu : The contract is a disadvantage to Golola not me because I was born a fighter.

    theGrapevine: What next after this fight?

    Fungu : After this fight, I will fight three more three bouts and retire.


    By Juma Ali


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