LAGOS Nigeria (Xinhua) --
The Super Eagles of Nigeria still had chance to
progress to the knockout stage of the Russia 2018 FIFA World
Cup, Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation
(NFF) said Monday.
He said in Lagos,
Nigeria’s economic hub that in spite of the Eagles’ 2-0 loss to
Croatia, the team could still make something out of the Group D.
The Nigerian team
faltered in their first match of the World Cup losing to Croatia
via Oghenekaro Etebo’s own goal and Luka Modric penalty.
Pinnick said no team
in Group D can yet boast of qualification, adding that in
football, a lot is possible if the heart is there to go out and
“Losing your first
match of a major competition is not an automatic exit ticket.
Spain lost their first match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals
and still went ahead to win the tournament,” he added.
“We have a young
team that can achieve so much with the right attitude and
invention, and we must now reach deep down for those qualities
when we play Iceland in Volgograd,” he said.
The NFF president
and member of the CAF Executive Committee, also appealed to
Nigerians back home to continue to support the young team with
The Super Eagles
returned to their team base camp in Essentuki on Sunday, and
have commenced training for Friday’s encounter at the
45,000-capacity Volgograd Arena.
striker Kalinic hope after refusing to enter game as sub
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic was sent home
from the World Cup in disgrace by head coach Zlatko Dalic on
Monday after refusing to enter Saturday’s 2-0 win against
Nigeria as a late substitute.
“In agreement with
his coaching staff, Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic decided to
exclude Nikola Kalinic from the World Cup squad. Kalinic leaves
Croatia basecamp in Roshchino on Monday and returns to Croatia,”
confirmed the Croatian Football Federation.
Dalic confirmed the
decision in a news conference on Monday afternoon, when he told
reporters that “during the Nigeria match, Kalinic was warming-up
and should have come in the second half. However, he said he
wasn’t ready to go on because he felt a back problem.”
“He did the same
thing against Brazil and England, saying he wasn’t ready, and
for yesterday’s training session too. I accepted it calmly,
because I need ready and healthy players who can help their
teammates. He’s not like that, on three occasions he hasn’t been
ready, so I made this decision,” said the Croatian coach.
The 30-year-old is
expected to join Spanish LaLiga side Sevilla next season on a
loan deal which includes the option for Sevilla to make the move
permanent for 20 million euros.
Rodriguez in doubt for World Cup opener against Japan
SARANSK Russia (Xinhua) --
Colombia superstar James Rodriguez is still
doubtful for the team’s opening match against Japan in the World
Cup Group H actions, coach Jose Pekerman said on Monday.
“We are still
waiting to see what the doctors will say on James,” Pekerman
said in a pre-match news conference on Monday. “We always wait
until the very last minute before we decide. The World Cup is
played after a busy season and it’s true some players arrived
here in Russia not feeling very well, so we need to be very
careful about players’ health.”
Rodriguez, 26, is
still recovering from a leg injury but expected to spearhead the
best generation of Colombian players since the 1990s at this
year’s World Cup. He was the top scorer in Brazil World Cup 2014
with six goals in five matches.
“We have enough
players for replacement. Our team is much richer and much
stronger than in 2014,” the coach added.
Colombia is grouped
with Japan, Senegal and Poland. The Colombia vs Japan match will
be held on Tuesday.
Poland count on team work
rather than Lewandowski alone
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Robert Lewandowski is one of the best players in
the world, but Poland will count on the whole team rather than
any individual, coach Adam Nawalka said at a press conference on
Monday, prior to the match against Senegal in World Cup Group H.
“Robert is a good
captain who supports other members of the team, and the
atmosphere in the team is excellent, each player contributes to
the team,” Nawalka said.
“The scale and size
of Robert’s talent are immense, besides that, a lot of work and
time, professional attitude to football, as well as form and
physical efficiency, are the composition of the reason for what
he achieved, “ Nawalka said, praising the Bayern Munich forward
as a “good example” for other players.
The Poland coach
said that teams in this group are quite leveled in capabilities
and skills, matches are going to be exciting and he considered
Senegal as a strong opponent.
“Senegal is a team
capable of attacking, very fast, and it has dangerous players,
many of which play in good clubs. Tomorrow’s game will be
difficult, but we believe that we will play better and come out
victorious,” he said.
Poland will take on
Senegal at Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Tuesday, while another
showdown of the group between Japan and Colombia is to take
place at Mordovia Arena in Saransk on the same day.
Cisse piles praise on star striker Mane
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has piled the praise on
striker Saido Mane ahead his side’s World Cup debut against
Poland in Moscow on Tuesday night.
Speaking in his
pre-game press conference, Cisse was asked about the player who
plays for Liverpool in the Premier League and who scored their
goal in the final of this season’s Champions League as Liverpool
lost 3-1 to Real Madrid.
Mane netted 10 goals
in the Premier League and 10 in Europe for Liverpool last
season, while he has 11 goals in 32 appearances for his country.
“Sadio Mane is a
unique player and he cannot be compared to any other Senegal
player, even the best ones we’ve had in the past,” said Cisse,
who said that despite the world-wide fame his move from
Southampton to Liverpool has brought, the 26-year-old is the
same as a person.
“He plays for one of
the most famous clubs in Europe and he has been excellent for
them... However, despite everything that has happened for him
over the last two years, he hasn’t changed; he’s just as humble
as he was when I first met him at the 2012 Olympics,” continue
the Senegal coach.
Cisse has brought 8
forwards to the World Cup finals as Senegal look to repeat their
heroics of 2002, when they beat reigning World Champions, France
and reached the quarter-finals in Japan and South Korea, but
insisted Sane was “absolutely unique because he is so
unpredictable and that’s what makes him great, he can make the
difference with a pass or shot.”
praising Sane, Cisse insisted he was coaching more than a
“Senegal isn’t just
Sadio Mane, he has a good team built around him and I think it
should be a positive that we are all supporting him,” he
Saudi Arabia World Cup plane
catches fire, no injuries
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
A plane carrying Saudi Arabia’s national football
team at the World Cup in Russia caught fire mid-flight before
landing at Rostov-on-Don airport on Monday, according to
Footage uploaded on
social media showed flames apparently coming from the engine of
the Russian Airlines Airbus after it landed.
The Saudi Football
Federation said in a statement that there were no injuries.
“The Saudi Football
Federation wishes to reassure everyone about the safety of all
members of the mission of the national team after a minor
technical malfunction in an engine,” it said.
The plane was taking
Saudi Arabia’s squad to Rostov for their next World Cup match
against Uruguay on Wednesday.
broadcaster reports record viewing figures for Argentina draw
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Iceland’s 1-1 draw with Argentina in their
opening World Cup match on Saturday was the country’s
most-watched sporting event in history, according to national
Some 99.6% of
Icelanders watching television at the time were tuned into the
Group D fixture in Moscow, RUV said in a statement.
A goal from Alfred
Finnbogason cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s earlier strike as the
Nordic team secured their first ever World Cup point.
showed that 60% of Iceland’s 335,000 inhabitants were watching
the match, beating the 58.8% that viewed the team’s Euro 2016
victory over England.
on social media that the 0.4% that didn’t watch on Saturday was
on the pitch at Spartak Stadium.
Aussie football fans left
fuming as streaming service fails during World Cup
SYDNEY Australia (Xinhua) --
The chief executive of telecommunications giant
Optus, Allen Lew, has continued to apologize to Aussie football
fans on Monday, after its streaming service once again failed,
for the third consecutive day of the Russia World Cup.
unreservedly to all Australians,” Lew said.
“We should have done
better, we can do better and we will do better.”
With the airing
rights to all 64 matches, Optus charges mobile customers 15
Australian dollars (11 U.S. dollars) per month to stream the
World Cup and the English Premier League.
But with droves of
fans down under unable to watch the group matches, many of them
took to social media to vent their anger and demand refunds.
Among the irate fans
was former Socceroo Robbie Slater.
“We all just want to
watch the FIFA World Cup but we can’t!” he tweeted.
“Shame on all of
you! And you know who you are!”
A prominent sports
columnist also chimed in to voice his frustration at the lack of
“Dear Optus Sport,
the only way out is to hand over your World Cup coverage to a
proper TV network,” Richard Hinds posted to Twitter.
the loss of goodwill is catastrophic. Not to mention the simple
decency of allowing football fans to watch the world’s biggest
sporting event. Please?”
During the first
incident in the match between Egypt and Uruguay on Friday, the
company blamed “an extremely high number of viewers” logging
into the platform just before kickoff as the reason for the
systems to overload, which caused playback errors and problems
But over the
weekend, the issues have continued.
On Monday afternoon
however there remains hope, with Australian Prime Minister
Malcolm Turnbull coming to the rescue of soccer fans down under.
“I have spoken with
the Optus CEO, Allen Lew,” Turnbull tweeted.
“He assures me he is
giving the World Cup streaming problems his personal attention
and he believes it will be fixed this evening.”
stern test against Morocco, says Andre Silva
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Portugal striker Andre Silva says the European
champions are preparing for a tough assignment against Morocco
when the teams meet in Group B of the World Cup here on
Portugal kicked off
their campaign in Russia with a 3-3 draw against Spain while
Morocco conceded a late own goal in a 1-0 loss to Iran.
“I think we are
stronger than Morocco if we compare the two teams, but I’m not
saying the game will be easy for us,” Silva told a news
conference on Monday at Portugal’s base in Kratovo, 40km
southwest of Moscow.
underestimate them and must have respect for any opponent. Any
game at the World Cup is difficult,” he added
“They lost their
first game but it happens and now they will focus on winning and
will try their best. They’re used to playing against European
teams and will do their all to get this victory. There are no
favourites. Morocco have excellent players and the result of
their game against Iran could have been different,” he
Silva, who was
introduced as a late substitute against Spain in Sochi, said he
was unsure if he will again be used off the bench on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old AC
Milan forward formed a lethal attacking partnership with
Cristiano Ronaldo during qualifying, as the pair scored 24 goals
“As I’ve said it’s a
big honour to play with him [Ronaldo], he’s the best footballer
in the world,” Silva said.
“I’m very happy to
be on the same team with him. When he needs me to do something
I’m always where he needs me to be. And when I need him he’s
always by my side. We always try to work together and in
combination,” he said.
More than 5,000 fans travel
through Belarus to Russia for 2018 FIFA World Cup
MINSK Belarus (Xinhua) --
More than 5,000 fans have traveled through
Belarus to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the State Border
Service Committee of Belarus said Monday.
The majority of fans
cross the border via Minsk National Airport. More than 3,400
fans have already traveled to Belarus this way. The second
popular way is to travel by train, and the third one is by road,
the State Border Service Committee said.
Foreigners can enter
Russia without visas when they show their FAN IDs that are valid
from June 4, ten days before the start of the game, through to
July 25. To cross the Belarusian border, a foreign traveler must
present a FAN ID and a valid passport.
On May 29, Belarus
and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement on the mutual
recognition of visas issued to foreigners coming for the FIFA
World Cup and European Games.