[Live] Day 7 of 2018 FIFA World Cup: Spain (1) vs Iran (0), Portugal (1) vs Morocco (0), Uruguay (1) vs Saudi Arabia (0)

In Group A, Uruguay take on Saudi Arabia, playing for a chance to qualify to the next stage, while in Group B, there will be clashes between Portugal and Morocco, plus Spain taking on Iran.

Spain gets their first win at this year’s World Cup, after holding on to its 1-0 lead against Iran.






Diego Costa adds to his tally at this year’s World Cup, with a goal in the 57th minute.



It’s Spain (1), Iran (0).



Up next is another Group B tie where Spain take on Iran. Iran will be hoping to follow its opening match win over Morocco with another upset, while Spain will be desperate to add to their points and goal difference tally.






Iran vs Spain



The game which will be taken very seriously by Spain who need to improve their goal difference and points tally after the opening draw with Portugal, will be a clash of attacking prowess against solid defending.



The Spaniards who have a wealth of attacking talent at their disposal must find a way to break through the defensive wall built by Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz. The 65-year-old former Real Madrid coach and Manchester United assistant, oversaw Portugal at the World Cup in 2010 and Iran four years ago in Brazil.



Iran did not concede a single goal until the last of their 10 final round Asian qualifiers when their spot in Russia was already secure, while Spain haven’t lost a game in 21 matches.



Saudi Arabia, Egypt eliminated



The Uruguay win over Saudi Arabia marks the end of the road for the Green Falcons an

d Mohamed Salah’s Egypt.



Russia and Uruguay are through to the next round of the World Cup.






Luis Suarez scores his first goal of the tournament, and Uruguay are in the lead.






It’s kick-off here at the Rostov Arena.



Will Saudi Arabia avoid elimination at the hands of Uruguay who are led by lethal striker Luis Suarez?



The match between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia could spell doom for yet another African side.



The Group A fixture could confirm qualification to the next round for the South American side and the hosts Russia, and effectively eliminate Mohamed Salah’s Egypt.






SUGGESTED READING: An African team will win the World Cup: Senegal coach



Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia



Saudi Arabia, who were humbled by a 5-0 defeat to the hosts Russia in the opening game of the tournament, have declared that they are out to ‘prove that we are competitive’ in their clash against Uruguay.



“We are anxious to change our image, we need to forget our problems and focus on the positive elements to bring happiness to the hearts of the Saudis,” said Saudi Arabia midfielder Taisir Al-Jassim, whose team also suffered a mini plane scare as they landed in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.



Among the challenges facing Saudi Arabia will be how to contain Luis Suarez, but Al-Jassim does not want to obsess over the influential Uruguay striker.



Uruguay will be playing with extra motivation, knowing that a win against the Green Falcons would seal their qualification to the next stage after Egypt lost a second consecutive game to Russia on Monday.



Morocco are eliminated from 2018 World Cup



It’s all over for Morocco, as they lose 1-0 to Portugal and become the first team to be effectively knocked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.



Ronaldo opens the scoring for Portugal.



It’s Portugal (1), Morocco (0).



And the match is underway here at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.



In less than an hour, Morocco will take on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in a fixture that both teams need to win.






Portugal Vs Morocco



Morocco’s coach Herve Renard has said it might prove futile to lay out a plan to neutralise five time world player of the year Ronaldo. Instead, he said his side will do their best to ‘make him less exceptional’.



“Even if you conjure up the best plans to halt Ronaldo, he will find a way to break free. He always makes the difference, at the minimum to put his side on the right track and at best to win the game for them,” Renard said on Tuesday.



Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the game against Spain to underline his superstar status and spark the tournament into life.



Morocco need to win to keep their chances of going past the group stage alive after they lost to Iran in the opener, while Portugal will also be playing to win having earned just one point in the draw against Spain.



MatchDay 7 at 2018 World Cup



Day 7 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia could have some dramatic implications for the fate of teams in Group A and B.



As Uruguay takes on Saudi Arabia in the second round of Group A action, a win for the South Americans would eliminate both the Saudi Arabians and African side Egypt, who lost 1-3 to Russia on Tuesday.



In Group B, North African side Morocco will be aiming for a win against reigning European champions Portugal, after their heartbreaking loss to Iran in stoppage time of their opening game.



Iran will take on 2010 world champions Spain, who played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Christiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in their opener.






FIFA maintains 32 teams for 2022 World Cup in Qatar

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans « following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process » which led to the conclusion that « under the current circumstances such a proposal could not

The world’s football governing body, FIFA took a decision to maintain 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, rejecting president Gianni Infantino’s proposal to expand the tournament to feature 48 teams.

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans “following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process” which led to the conclusion that “under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now”.

“(The tournament) will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June,” FIFA said in a statement.

Why Gianni wanted 48 teams

The expansion was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the likely need for Qatar’s neighbours to put aside a two-year blockade and help to host an expanded tournament.

“The involvement of these countries in the organisation of the tournament jointly with Qatar implies the lifting of this blockade, in particular the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people and goods,” said a feasibility study submitted to March’s FIFA Congress in Miami.

The study, seen by AFP, also claimed that a Qatar World Cup with 48 teams would generate “between $300-$400 million (265-354 million euros) of additional income”.

Specifically FIFA was counting on an additional $120 million in TV rights, $150 million in marketing rights and $90 million from ticket sales.

An announcement of the final decision had not been expected until next month’s FIFA Congress to be held in Paris ahead of the women’s World Cup that takes place in France between June 7 and July 7.

Obstacles to expansion

The news comes after Europe’s top football clubs said in March they would boycott an expanded 24-team Club World Cup — also backed by Infantino — which is planned to take place in June and July 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup tournament.

Expanding the competition for the 2022 tournament was always a complicated proposition. FIFA had sounded out potential co-hosts in the region willing to support Qatar, which is subject to an ongoing embargo by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee, charged with the organisation of the tournament, said in reaction to FIFA’s decision that “Qatar had always been open to the idea of an expanded tournament in 2022 had a viable operating model been found and had all parties concluded that an expanded 48-team edition was in the best interest of football and Qatar as the host nation.”

But it said there was insufficient time to make a deeper assessment before the June deadline and “it was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.”

“With just three and a half years to go until kick off, Qatar remains as committed as ever to ensuring the 32-team FIFA World Cup in 2022 is one of the best tournaments ever and one that makes the entire Arab world proud,” the Supreme Committee said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the charges and says Saudi Arabia and its allies are aiming to incite government change in the emirate, the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas.

Gulf states Kuwait and Oman have not taken sides in the crisis. However, Oman said in April it was “not ready” to host matches.

AFP

South Africa appoints first ever female national rugby coach

The union announced two other former female internationals in team management roles with ex-captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe to be Springbok women’s team manager and Natasha Hofmeester the Under-20 women

South Africa’s Rugby authorities on Tuesday appointed the first ever female coach of a national team, announcing that Laurian Johannes will take charge of the country’s Under-20 women’s side.

She will begin next month with two internationals against neighbouring Zimbabwe in Harare.

“This is a massive achievement for Laurian and for South African rugby, and we wish her luck in this significant role,” said SA Rugby chief executive officer Jurie Roux.

“The fact that Laurian played for the Springbok women’s team and participated in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup before learning the ropes of coaching at Western Province makes this achievement even more meaningful.

“She has come through the ranks, and I hope she will inspire other former female players to enter into coaching and follow their dreams.”

The union announced two other former female internationals in team management roles with ex-captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe to be Springbok women’s team manager and Natasha Hofmeester the Under-20 women’s team manager.

Agencies

Ghana's president convinces Gyan to cancel retirement

Asamoah Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

Gyan back from retirement

Just 48 hours after announcing his international retirement, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has bowed to a presidential request to make himself available for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations

‘‘I have taken the request of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in good faith, and will make myself available for selection by coach Kwasi Appiah to help win the AFCON trophy,’‘ Gyan tweeted.

Government spokesperson Eugene Arhin in a statement confirmed the president’s intervention.

“The President urged him, in the national interest, to rescind his decision to retire from the Black Stars, and make himself available for selection by coach Kwesi Appiah.”

Fans applaud Gyan’s national record

Football fans across the world are paying tribute to Ghana’s all-time leading goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan who announced his international retirement on Monday.

The news which comes a month before the start of the African Nations Cup, follows shortly after he was removed as the national team’s captain.

Striker Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

“Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team (squad) of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,” Gyan said in a statement.

“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently,” he said.

The 33-year-old netted 51 goals in 106 international appearances, both Ghana national team records, which includes scoring at six consecutive Nations Cup finals, as well as three World Cups between 2006 and 2014.

Social media reactions

Fans applaud Ghana's Asamoah Gyan following international retirement

Asamoah Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

Football fans across the world are paying tribute to Ghana’s all-time leading goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan who announced his international retirement on Monday.

The news which comes a month before the start of the African Nations Cup, follows shortly after he was removed as the national team’s captain.

Striker Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

“Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team (squad) of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,” Gyan said in a statement.

“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently,” he said.

The 33-year-old netted 51 goals in 106 international appearances, both Ghana national team records, which includes scoring at six consecutive Nations Cup finals, as well as three World Cups between 2006 and 2014.

Social media reactions

CAF unveils AFCON 2019 mascot [Football Planet]

Guinea’s U17 side, finalist at this years youth championship have been disqualified from participating in the next two editions of the U17 AFCON as well as the world cup in Brazil lat

Guinea’s U17 side, finalist at this years youth championship have been disqualified from participating in the next two editions of the U17 competition as well as the world cup in Brazil later this year, as they fielded two over aged players during the competition in Tanzania.

RS Berkane last night muscled a late goal in the Caf Confederation Cup first leg finals against Zamalek of Egypt. Playing their first continental finals, the Moroccans take a one goal lead into the return leg to be played this weekend.

Less than a month to the kickoff of Africa’s most prestigious football come together, Caf has officially released the mascot for the competition do not blink it is brief.

Exclusively getting the views of former premier league player George Elokobi’s views on the surge of record breaking Africans in the EPL this season and he tells us what has changed from when he played for Wolverhampton Wanderers from 2009 to 2011.