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FIFA World Cup: Super Eagles In The Eye Of The Storm

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As the Super Eagles file out to tackle the Strakkamir Okkar of Iceland at the Volgograd Arena, the players must have it at the back of their mind that Nigerians expect nothing less than victory from the must-win-match.
It is against this backdrop that we expect the Mikel Obi-captained squad to play the game of their lives to grab the three points at stake that would likely prolong Nigeria’s campaign at the Coupe de Mundial.
Tide sports source reports that Nigeria currently sits at the bottom of Group D standings with zero points, while the Vatreni of Croatia tops the table with three points followed by Albiceleste of Argentina and Strakkamir Okkar with 0ne point each.
With the unsavoury scenario staring the team in the face, the Super Eagles would have to raise the level of their game against their rugged Icelandic opponents who look poised to take the wind out of the sails of the Super Eagles.
Mikel and his colleagues should know that if Nigeria should fail to defeat Iceland in the crucial showdown at Volgograd, their names would go down into the hall of infamy in the annals of Nigerian football; hence the need for them to go excel.
By now Coach Gernot Rohr must have reviewed the video recordings of the team’s 2-0 loss to Croatia, and work very hard to avert mistakes made in that match, and to perfect the strategy and tactics needed to battle the Strakkamir Okkar.
Judging from the robust performance they put up against the Albiceleste in the 1-1 draw, the Strakkammir Okkar would likely adopt the ultra-defensive tactics they used to frustrate Argentina in their opening match.
With this in mind, we expect Rohr to come up with the right team selection to articulate his strategy and tactics for the match against the Northern European team.
The Super Eagles must play as a functional coherent team in the field and guard against conceding needless free kicks around our 18 yard box area, which Gylfi Sigurdsson, their dead ball specialist could exploit to punish Nigeria.
In the defence area, we expect Troost Balogun, Troost Ekong, Brian Idowu and Abdullahi Shehu must be vigilant to ward off lightning counter attacks from the Strakkamir Okkar who would strive to catch our defence off-guard.
We expect to see a more vibrant display from the Super Eagles in the midfield area, anchored by Mikel in the holding role alongside John Ogu/Wilfred Ndidi, while Oghenekaro Etebo should be allowed to rove.
There was no creative play from the Super Eagles in their opening match against the Vatreni, which denied Ighalo et al the defence splitting passes he and other attacking midfielders like Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi could have exploited.
Our strikers, either Odion Ighalo, Simeon Nwankwo or Kelechi Nwankwo must be clinical in front of the goalmouth of the miserly defence of the Strakkamir Okkar, while the midfielders should be highly mobile and compact to contain forays from their opponents.
Ideally, we would love to have Rohr deploy a two man strike force against Iceland, but the coach is actually one man at the helm to decide team tactics.
But Rohr must strive to get the team’s architecture right this time around, having studied earlier tapes of the friendly matches played by Iceland against Ghana in that 2-2 draw and the way they lined up against Argentina.
Before the team jetted out from their Essenteki” base on Wednesday for Volgograd, Rohr told the media that he was already aware of the various suggestions being thrown at him, on how the Eagles should play against Iceland.
“We have watched the game against Croatia to see our mistakes so that we can correct them.
“Our match on Friday will be a tough game and we have to be at our best and be more professional with our defending, especially from set-pieces.
“We have to be fully focused and not lose concentration all through the game. I believe with hard work we can get a good result.
“In truth, there is no need to add to the pressure we have now. More pressure on the team will not necessarily translate to better result,”the German technical adviser said.
In the same vein, Mikel also vowed to play any role that will be assigned to him to help the Eagles soar over the hard fighting Icelandic team.
“I am ready to play in any position the coach wants me to play. I am comfortable with either a defensive or offensive midfield role.
“The most important thing is the team and nothing else,” said the former Chelsea FC of England midfielder.

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FA Charges Man United Over Fans’ Misbehaviour

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Manchester United has been charged by the Football Association (FA) for failing to control its players during their 2-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday.
Having gone ahead in the 14th minute through Virgil van Dijk’s header, Liverpool thought they had a second when Roberto Firmino curled home soon after.
However, the goal was subsequently disallowed following a VAR check, with Van Dijk having been deemed to foul United’s goalkeepers David De Gea prior to Firmino’s strike.
Referee Craig Pawson did not initially blow up for a foul, with United’s players – including goalkeeper De Gea, who received a booking – gathering around the official to protest prior to the video review.
The FA has now taken action against United, charging the club with a breach of FA Rule E20(a).
“It is alleged that the club failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 26th minute of the Premier League fixture against Liverpool on Sunday,” read a statement on the official FA spokesperson’s twitter account.
United has been given until Thursday to respond to the charge.

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‘S’Eagles Will Be Ready For Any Team’

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Samuel Chukwueze says Nigeria’s Super Eagles are not afraid to take on any team for a place in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The draw for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers’ draw ceremony will take place in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday and Nigeria will find out her opponents.
Speaking ahead of the draw, Chukwueze admitted that it will be a tough hurdle to qualify for the World Cup, but they are happy to take on any opponents as well.
“Anyone they bring for us will be good, every team is tough in Africa, so we are going to try our best against any team that falls in our group. We know it will be very tough, but we are prepared for battle,” Chukwueze told Tidesports source.
Here are the full pots for the draw :
Pot 1: Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Pot 2: Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, Guinea, Uganda, Cape Verde, Gabon, Benin, Zambia, and the Congo.
Pot 3 is made up of Madagascar, Mauritania, Libya, Mozambique, Kenya, Central Africa, Zimbabwe, Niger, Namibia, Guinea-Bissau, while
Pot 4 has the likes of Malawi, Angola, Togo, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Djibouti.

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NPFL: Rivers United Becomes Joint League Leaders

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Rivers United nicked a hard fought draw in Kano against Jigawa Golden Stars to go joint top of the table with Plateau United after a Festus Austin’s late own goal canceled Cletus Emotan early first half strike in the MatchDay 16 of the 2019/2020 NPFL season at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano last Monday. The visitors believed they have won the game as the 14th minute Cletus Emotan strike gave them the opening goal, but the home side fought back in the second half to nick a late equalizer few minutes to go, when Mujaheed Ibrahim’s strike was turned into the net by skipper Festus Austin for an own goal.
Thus, they started the match with all seriousness but were jittery in the midfield and misfiring in the attack. As early as the third minute they had their first chance at goal but it went begging. Three minutes later, Moshood Kasali sprung the offside trap and was face to face with the keeper but had his efforts saved twice by Akande Abiodun in Rivers United goal. But against the run of play, Rivers opened scoring when Emotan latched onto a pass in the box to tap home. The goal energized the visitors, but woke up Jigawa who fought back like raging bull with Kasali Moshood shooting wide when given a good chance. Ali Kalla was next to waste a counter attack effort in the second half. Ishaq Rafiu drew out a save from Kenneth Christopher in Jigawa Stars’ goal, as Ali Kalla again shot wide. Rivers’ Stephen Gopey dribbled past the Jigawa defense before cutting back for his teammate but the pass was cut out for a corner kick.
He said: “I appreciate the way the players played. We are in the relegation zone but we will find our way out. Playing away from our home in Kano affects us but we have to adapt to the situation we found ourselves. I appreciate the Kano fans.” For Rivers United Coach, Stanley Eguma, they came for the three points but Jigawa deserved a share of the points.

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