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




    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.

    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.

    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 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 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.

    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).

    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.

    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.



    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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