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WORLD CUP – ROUND OF 16: Can France Eliminate Stubborn Argentina? Portugal Unbeaten Against Uruguay

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WORLD CUP – ROUND OF 16

Saturday 30 June 
France vs Argentina 5:00pm
Uruguay vs Portugal 9:00pm

France coach Didier Deschamps will be without Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy because of a muscle injury.
Lucas Hernandez should be available and Deschamps is expected to recall the players he rested against Denmark.
Nabil Fekir is pushing for a start after impressive cameos off the bench so far, while right-back Djibril Sidibe may play instead of Benjamin Pavard.
Argentina have no new injury concerns and could stick with the same side that began the 2-1 win against Nigeria.
Midfielder Enzo Perez has a slight thigh problem but should be fit enough to start.
This will be Argentina’s 15th game under coach Jorge Sampaoli and it could be the first time he has named an unchanged side.
Two footballing heavyweights who haven’t even come close to finding their best form so far face off in Kazan knowing they are going to have to seriously up their game if they are to win one of the most open World Cups in years.
Argentina’s nerves were jangling before they somehow sneaked through a tumultuous group stage thanks to a rare and priceless goal from defender Marcos Rojo in the 86th minute against Nigeria.
“It was win or die,” said Gonzalo Higuain, while Lionel Messi admitted he “could not remember such suffering before.”
The French, on the other hand, fielded their youngest team in a World Cup game since 1930 in their opening match against Australia. But despite their youthful exuberance they have underwhelmed.
Their passage to the last 16 may have been as serene as Argentina’s was fraught, but coach Didier Deschamps still can’t seem to get the best out of the fabulous array of attacking talent at his disposal.


Head-to-head
This will be the first time these sides have met in the knockout stage of a World Cup.
France and Argentina will be facing each other for the 12th time. The South Americans hold the upper hand with six wins to two, keeping a clean sheet in eight of their previous 11 encounters.
They have only played twice in the last 32 years, in friendlies in 2007 and 2009, which were won by Argentina (1-0 and 2-0 respectively).
The fixture is the first between two previous world champions at this World Cup.

France
The French haven’t lost in their last eight World Cup matches against South American opposition at the World Cup, since a 2-1 defeat to Argentina in 1978.
Didier Deschamps will take charge of his 80th game as France head coach, overtaking Raymond Domenech’s record.
Excluding penalty shoot-outs, France have lost only one of their last 11 games in the knockout stage of the World Cup (W8, D2), which was a 1-0 defeat to eventual winners Germany in 2014.
Since the introduction of the round of 16 in 1986, Les Bleus have always made it past that stage whenever they’ve reached it (1986, 1998, 2006 and 2014).
France only conceded five shots on target in their three group games. The only goal they let in was a penalty from Australia’s Mile Jedinak. It is the first time they have not conceded a goal from open play at a World Cup group stage since 1998, a tournament they went on to win.

Argentina
Argentina have gone past the first round for the 12th time in their last 13 World Cup appearances, with the only exception coming in 2002.
Their last four knockout games in the tournament have produced only three goals (two goals for, one against).
They have won each of their last 27 World Cup matches in which they were leading at half-time, since a 4-2 defeat in the 1930 World Cup final against Uruguay.
Argentina have been involved in five World Cup penalty shoot-outs, more than any other nation – winning a joint record four. France have been involved in four, winning twice.
They have reached the quarter-final stage in four of their last five World Cups, only failing in 2002 when they didn’t get out of their group.
Three of Argentina’s four knock-out games at the 2014 World Cup went to extra time.


Uruguay centre-back Jose Gimenez could return to the side after missing the game with Russia with a back injury.
Portugal winger Gelson Martins and left-back Raphael Guerreiro are in contention to play after they returned to full training.
Defensive midfielder William Carvalho is a doubt after he missed a training session on Thursday.
Midfielder Joao Moutinho could come into the side after starting on the bench against Iran.

WILL A FAILURE TO WIN THE GROUP HAUNT PORTUGAL?
Will Portugal live to regret the injury-time goal they conceded against Iran? That 1-1 draw on Monday saw them finish second in Group B to set up a match against Luis Suarez and Uruguay, whereas group winners Spain face an easier-looking tie against hosts Russia.
Two-time winners Uruguay cruised through Group A, winning all three games, scoring five times and not conceding any, with a 3-0 win over Russia securing top spot.
A late goal from Jose Maria Gimenez gave them a 1-0 win over Egypt in their opener before Barcelona striker Suarez scored the only goal to see off Saudi Arabia.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four times in the tournament, with only England’s Harry Kane having scored more (five).
Ronaldo’s hat-trick gave them a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain in their first game, before the Real Madrid forward got the only goal in a 1-0 win over Morocco.
Ricardo Quaresma’s superb strike gave them the lead against Iran in their third group game, before Ronaldo missed a penalty.
Iran then gained an injury-time penalty after a handball by Cedric Soares, with the spot-kick given via the video assistant referee, and Karim Ansarifard converted it to drop Portugal from first to second in the group.

Head-to-head
This will be the third encounter between Uruguay and Portugal and their first at the World Cup. They have not faced each other since July 1972, when they drew 1-1 at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium. Portugal are so far unbeaten in their two previous meetings (won one, drew one).

Uruguay
Since the format of the World Cup changed in 1986 to include a round of 16, Uruguay have been eliminated on three of the four occasions they have reached that stage, losing in 1986, 1990 and 2014, but progressing in 2010 against South Korea.
Uruguay will be looking to win their opening four games at a World Cup for only the second time after 1930, when they won the first ever World Cup.
Uruguay are yet to concede a single goal at the 2018 World Cup, facing just six shots on target in three games – the last South American team not to concede in their first four matches of a World Cup tournament was Brazil in 1986.
All five of Uruguay’s goals at the 2018 World Cup have been scored from set-pieces (three from corners, one from a direct free-kick and one from an indirect free-kick). Meanwhile, three of Portugal’s last four goals have come from outside the box.
Luis Suarez has scored seven World Cup goals for Uruguay, second only to Oscar Miguez (eight) – Suarez scored twice against South Korea in his only previous World Cup appearance in the round of 16, in 2010.

Portugal
Penalty shoot-outs excluded, Portugal have lost only one of their last 17 games at major tournaments (won eight, draw eight), a 4-0 defeat against Germany at the 2014 World Cup. However, they have lost their last three games in the World Cup knockout stages (one goal scored, five conceded).
Cristiano Ronaldo has so far failed to score a single goal for Portugal in the knockout stages of the World Cup: 424 minutes, no goals. However, he did score a hat-trick against Spain in his previous game at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium.
If he plays, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (37) will equal Bastian Schweinsteiger (38) as the player with the most appearances at World Cups and European Championships.
This is Fernando Santos’ fourth major tournament in a row as manager. He has reached the knockout stages on each previous occasion: Euro 2012 quarter-finals & World Cup 2014 round of 16 with Greece; Euro 2016 winners and at least World Cup 2018 round of 16 with Portugal.

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Magogo’s Ticket Scandal Deepens: Lawyers Pin MP Anita Among, Land Probe Boss Of Playing Dirty Tricks And Exonerating Magogo From Corruption Charges

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Moses Magogo and Anita Among

Suspended Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) president Moses Magogo’s 2014 world cup ticket scandal has deepened after lawyers pinned Bukedea woman Member of Parliament (MP) Anita Among and Assistant commissioner legal advisory in the solicitor general’s office,  John Bosco Rujagaata Suuza exenorating Magogo from corruption charges.

Early this week, Suuza who also doubles as the deputy lead counsel of the commission of inquiry into land matters gave his opinion stopping the Ministry of Education and Sports from investigating Magogo on corruption charges. Suuza’s opinion comes after a directive from Janet Kataha Museveni, the minister of education and sports to the Permanent Secretary of the same ministry seeking an opinion from government’s legal adviser on the way the ministry can handle   Magogo’s issue. Lawyers presenting the petitioner who is also the Makindye west legislator Allan Sewanyana challenged Suuza’s legal opinion not to investigate Magogo.

In an exclusive phone interview with the Grapevine, Sewanyana’s lead lawyer Allan Mulindwa said that, “we cannot agree with that opinion, we have evidence that it was drafted from FUFA house. It was taken to MP Anita Among’s office and Suuza signed on it from there,” Mulindwa said. He further revealed that MP Among acted as the broker and negotiated the deal between Magogo and officers in the solicitor general’s office.

He added that they have already written to Francis Atoke the solicitor general to revise the legal opinion.

It should noted that on Tuesday morning, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) publicist Ali Munira told theGrapevive that the directorate had not yet received the written directive from the Minister of Education and Sports to investigate Magogo. When we contacted Charles Atwine the investigating officer who is handling Magogo’s corruption file at the directorate of criminal intelligence, he told us that the file is not yet closed and they are still investigating the matter. He refuted claims by Sewanyana’s lawyers that Magogo and Edgar Watson, the FUFA Chief Executive Officer refused to appear at the CID headquarters to record statements.

“It’s not true. I am the one handling that file and I have not yet summoned them,” Atwine said. Sewanyana wants Magogo to be prosecuted locally in the anti-corruption court after pleading guilty in the FIFA disciplinary committee to illegally selling 2014 world cup tickets which FIFA had given to Ugandans to go and watch the games. After pleading guilty, Magogo was suspended two months from office as FUFA president.

By Jamil Lutakome

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CRIME

Cranes Top Supporter Uncle Money Remanded For Killing City Businessman

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Uganda Cranes number one supporter Jackson Sewanyana alias Uncle Money has been charged and remanded to Luzira prison over the murder of a city businessman. 

Buganda road court magistrate Miriam Ayo Okello charged Sewanyana who also doubles as the Kasubi zone IV Vice Chairperson and Benson Senyonga, his defense secretary with manslaughter.

According to the charge sheet, the accused together with others at large on 16/08 this year killed Siraja Akim Tumusiime a city businessman.

Tumusiime, a phone dealer at Mutasa Kafeero plaza was called by Uncle Money to buy their phones. When the deceased met them at Kasubi, uncle money grabbed him by the neck to forced him into a valley while warning him that he was going to be killed. 

Abdul Mulembe, a brother to the deceased told this website that he followed uncle money with his brother until they warned him to stop following them, he feared and backed off.

He said that when Uncle Money murdered the deceased, he dumped the body at Mulago mortuary where the family picked it from.

The case was adjourned to 1/10/2019.

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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You Are Greedy And Dishonest, Only A Fool Will Believe That Desabre Accepted To Leave Because Whatever He Has Done, We Saw It On The Pitch – Aldrine Nsubuga Blasts Magogo’s FUFA

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Football pundit Aldrine Nsubuga who is currently the marketing director at StarTimes has blasted football governing body Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) for being Greedy and dishonest to Ugandans concerning the departure of the National team the Cranes coach Sabastian Desabre.

Aldrine, who in 2012 led Save Our Soccer (SOS) pressure group that called for the resignation of the regime at that time led by Lawrence Mulindwa over poor governace and mismanagement has warned that Magogo’s FUFA are lying about Desabre’s resignation.

Today morning, FUFA released a statement saying that Mr. Desabre Sebastien Serge Louis mutually agreed to terminate his contract.

“The reasons for termination of the employment contract are for the benefit and growth of both parties. FUFA recognises the contribution by Mr. Desabre for the improvement of the sporting and professional organisation of the Uganda Cranes inclusive of qualification to the AFCON 2019 Finals and also to the Round of 16,” the statement stated

“Mr. Desabre is grateful to the people and the Government of Uganda, FUFA, Sponsors, Staff and the players that have provided him a good environment to fulfill his obligations in his first time role as a National Team Coach.

FUFA will communicate any further development about the Uganda Cranes technical staff and future programmes of the National senior team in the nearest future,” the statement concluded.

Desabre with Uganda Cranes winger Farouk Miya

ALDRINE BITTER

In response, Aldrine, via his Facebook page said, ” Desabre is out! Contract terminated.

By mutual consent.

The moment you see those words ‘mutual consent’ you know it wasn’t. It’s the language used in professional football purely for PR purposes.

It gives us the freedom and right to speculate. So we can begin now…..if you know something tell us. ‘Mutual consent’ is a white collar term used to cover ugly truths. Lets be wiser.. I will go first…

The money. The embarrassment. The dishonesty. One of the parties (FUFA or Desabre) must be guilty of committing one of those crimes which led to the pre-mature end.

Could it be Desabre who ate the.money? No.

Is it Desabre who embarrassed the nation? No.

Is it Desabre who has been dishonest? No.

Whatever Desabre has done, we saw on the pitch. Did we see everything that the players did? Yes we did..including the strike and the reasons were put in broad day light. There was nothing hidden.

That leaves FUFA – do we know everything that FUFA did behind the scenes? No we don’t. They are the only ones between the 3 parties whose actions and deeds were never fully known to the public.

Mutual.consent? Only a fool will believe that.

You think we have moved a step.in the right direction but then , as always, we conspire to kill our own progress.

Ugandan football loses another good man in the name of ? Greed. This is always the problem.. Now let me wait for the guns to be turned against me for speaking about this. It comes with the territory.

Now what do you know, tell us….we are all ears.”

MUSEVENI TO MEET PLAYERS

President Museveni will on Monday at 4pm host the Uganda Cranes contingent that returns home tomorrow from the 2019 AFCON tournament in Egypt to congratulate the team for its great performance that saw them make it to the knock out phase of the AFCON tournament for the first time since 1978.

The Cranes contingent will leave Cairo at 10.50pm on Sunday night and arrive in Entebbe on Monday morning aboard Egypt Air.

By Doreen Menezer

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