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    DAY 8 WORLD CUP PREVIEW/STATS/H2H: Croatia Ready To Suprise Argentina, Peru To Struggle Against Pogba’s France PLUS Denmark & Australia

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    Today’s games (Thursday 21 June)
    Denmark vs Australia (Group C) – Samara – 3pm
    France vs Peru (Group C) – Ekaterinburg – 6pm
    Argentina vs Croatia (Group D) – Nizhny Novgorod – 9pm

    Denmark’s Jonas Knudsen flew home to see his baby daughter immediately after Saturday’s World Cup win over Peru but returned to the squad on Tuesday and is in contention to face Australia.
    Lasse Schone could replace William Kvist, who was taken off on a stretcher during Denmark’s opener, though the midfielder remains hopeful of returning before the end of the group stages.
    The tournament’s youngest player, 19-year-old Daniel Arzani, was introduced in Saturday’s defeat for Australia and could start against Denmark.
    Denmark began their World Cup campaign with a hard-fought victory against a Peru side making their first appearance in the competition since 1982.
    Peru had earlier missed a penalty which was given by the video assistant referee for a foul by Yussuf Poulsen but the offender then gave Denmark a slim lead in the second half.
    It took Denmark 27 minutes to have their first shot on goal in Saransk and they were forced to defend for large periods of the game but will still fancy their chances against an Australian side who have only made it out of the group stages on one occasion at the World Cup (2006).
    Following the shock resignation of coach Ange Postecoglou in November, Van Marwijk has had limited time to prepare his Australia squad but they produced a good performance against one of the tournament favourites France.
    Australia are aiming to emulate their achievements in 2006, but got off on the wrong foot with a late 2-1 defeat in Kazan.

    Head-to-head
    This will be the fourth encounter between Denmark and Australia, their first at the World Cup. None of their previous fixtures – all friendlies – have ended in a draw (two wins for Denmark, one for Australia).
    Australia have lost seven of their nine World Cup encounters against European opposition (W1, D1), their only win coming against Serbia in 2010 (2-1).

    Denmark
    Only in their first ever appearance in 1986 have Denmark won both of their opening two matches in a World Cup campaign.
    Denmark kept a clean sheet in their opening match against Peru, but have never kept consecutive shutouts in the World Cup before.
    All 28 of Denmark’s World Cup goals have come from inside the box.
    Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has kept a clean sheet in each of his last five matches for Denmark, last conceding a goal 534 minutes ago against Republic of Ireland.
    Christian Eriksen has had a hand in 17 goals in his last 14 appearances for Denmark (12 goals, 5 assists).

    Australia
    Australia have lost each of their last four World Cup matches, conceding at least two goals in each game.
    Australia have kept just one clean sheet in their 14 previous World Cup finals matches, a 0-0 draw with Chile in 1974.
    Mile Jedinak’s goal against France was his second for Australia in World Cup finals matches. Only Tim Cahill (five) has scored more for the Socceroos in the competition (Brett Holman also two).


    France and Peru could name unchanged XIs for their Group C tie but Olivier Giroud will be hoping for a start after he was involved in the build-up to the winning goal against Australia.
    Peru’s all-time leading scorer Paolo Guerrero could also earn a start in attack after coming off the bench in the narrow 1-0 defeat by Denmark.
    Guerrero, Peru’s captain, had a 14-month drug ban lifted so he could play in Russia after the captains of rivals Australia, Denmark and France wrote to Fifa asking it to lift the ban.
    France went into the competition as one of the favourites but they needed a late own goal to break Australian resistance in their opening game in Group C on Saturday.
    Paul Pogba’s lobbed effort deflected off Australia full-back Aziz Behich after history was made with the World Cup’s first video assistant referee-enabled goal.
    VAR penalised Josh Risdon for a sliding challenge on Antoine Griezmann and the Atletico Madrid striker scored the spot-kick before Australia equalised through Mile Jedinak’s penalty.
    Peru’s World Cup campaign started with defeat against Denmark after the South American side has missed a penalty.
    Christian Cueva’s strike flew over the crossbar – after another VAR-awarded spot kick – and that miss proved crucial as the Danes took the lead through Yussuf Poulsen, who had conceded the penalty.
    Peru are competing in their first World Cup finals since 1982 and more than 40,000 Peruvians have travelled to Russia to cheer them on.

    Head-to-head
    France and Peru’s only previous encounter was a friendly in April 1982. The South American side won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes.
    The last South American team to beat France at the World Cup were Argentina in 1978. Since then, France are unbeaten in their last seven World Cup fixtures against South American opposition (W3, D4) with three of the last four games ending goalless.
    France have kept a clean sheet in each of their last six World Cup games against South American sides.

    France
    After consecutive defeats against Mexico and South Africa in 2010, France are unbeaten in their last four group stage games in World Cup finals (W3, D1, L0).
    Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in nine of France’s last 13 goals scored in major tournaments (World Cup and European Championships), with seven goals and two assists.
    Having become France’s youngest ever player in a major tournament in their opening match, Kylian Mbappe is also looking to become their youngest ever goalscorer in a World Cup or European Championships. (Currently David Trezeguet vs Saudi Arabia in 1998 – 20 years, 246 days).
    Should he make an appearance against Peru, Hugo Lloris will earn his 100th cap for the national team and will become the first goalkeeper to reach this milestone for France.

    Peru
    Peru are winless in their last five World Cup encounters against European opposition (D2, L3), their last win coming against Scotland in 1978.
    Peru are winless in their last seven World Cup matches (D2, L5).
    They mustered 17 shots in their opening game against Denmark, but still failed to find the net in a 0-1 defeat.


    Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli is reportedly considering abandoning the 4-2-3-1 formation used against Iceland in favour of a 3-4-3 system.
    Boca Juniors winger Cristian Pavon could start his first competitive game, while Gabriel Mercado and Marcos Acuna may also earn recalls.
    Croatia, who will reach the last 16 with a win, are without Nikola Kalinic.
    The striker was sent home after refusing to come on as a substitute against Nigeria, citing a back problem.
    The Croats didn’t field a recognised defensive midfielder in their opening game, and must decide whether to stick with that adventurous line-up.
    Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Iceland followed a familiar script; a painful struggle to break down opponents who sit deep, plus costly defensive errors. It was their qualification campaign in microcosm – and while they eventually booked their place in Russia thanks to Lionel Messi’s hat-trick in Ecuador, this time the great man’s aim was wayward.
    Messi had 11 shots at goal in the opening game (including a penalty), the most by a player at a World Cup without scoring since 1974.
    Croatia didn’t need to be at their best to beat Nigeria 2-0, and only registered their first shot on target from open play in the 92nd minute.
    The Croats are hoping to win back-to-back World Cup games for the first time since their brilliant debut campaign in 1998. They boast a star-studded midfield more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the Argentines, and know that a win will book their place in the knockout stage.

    Head-to-head
    Their four previous meetings have produced two wins for Argentina, one Croatian victory and a draw.
    The only encounter at a World Cup came in the group stage at the 1998 World Cup. Both sides were already through to the last 16, but Argentina’s 1-0 win – secured by a Mauricio Pineda goal – ensured they topped the group.

    Argentina
    The last time Argentina failed to win either of their first two World Cup games was in 1974.
    Their only defeat in their last 16 group games is the 1-0 loss to England in 2002 (W12, D3).
    They have scored more than once in just two of their last 10 competitive games, netting nine times in total during that run.
    Argentina had the worst shot conversion rate in South American qualifying (8.1%).
    Sergio Aguero has scored in each of his last four appearances for Argentina.
    Lionel Messi has failed to score with his last 21 shots in matches at World Cup finals.
    But over the last two years he has scored 14 goals in 17 games for Argentina, including six in his last four games (hat-tricks against Ecuador and Haiti).

    Croatia
    Victory would see the Croats win back-to-back World Cup games for the first time since 1998.
    Croatia have never lost their second group game at a World Cup (W3, D1), conceding just one goal in four matches – in a 2-1 victory against Italy in 2002.
    The Croats have lost all four of their World Cup games against South American opposition (three defeats versus Brazil and one against Argentina).
    Despite beating Nigeria 2-0 in their opening match, Croatia didn’t register a shot on target from open play until the 92nd minute. Luka Modric’s 71st minute penalty was their first shot on target.
    Vedran Corluka, who was an unused substitute against Nigeria, could win his 100th cap.

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

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    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…

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    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…

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    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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