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Qatar 2022: Stakeholders, Fans Tip African Teams For Glory 

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Reactions have started to trail the performances of African teams at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, which started on Sunday.
The african continent has five representatives in the World biggest Football tournament, with the African Champions being Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana and Cameroon.
So far, no African country has gone beyond the quarter final stage in the tournament but only Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana had secured the quarter final ticket but crashed out at that stage.
In recent times, many countries have improved in football as no country can be described as total underdogs.
Consequently, some upsets have already been recorded at the ongoing World Cup, where you see Saudi Arabia beat number one Football nation Argentina, while Japan beat another Football giants Germany.
In the continent, football enthusiasts have tipped any of the African teams to go beyond quarter finals and probably win the World Cup.
Former Super Eagles Captain, Sunday Oliseh, has earlier expressed confidence in Senegal and Ghana, saying that they will make Africa proud in the tournament.
According to him, their commitment, pattern of play and the quality of players have convinced him that they will go far.
“ I have confidence in Senegal and Ghana, they are committed and play good football, so I tip them to go beyond quarter finals and perhaps win the trophy,” Oliseh said.
Former African Footballer of the Year, Samuel E’to, has also said that his country Cameroon, will lift the World Cup.
According to him, his country has the potentials to win the tournament following the quality of players in their team.
“ We are going to this World Cup with the intention to win the trophy, because we have good players and determined to win all our games”, E’to said.
Former defunct Sharks FC player,  Ibe Orlu, said despite the fact Senegal lost 2-0 in their opening game against Netherlands he is still optimistic that they will surprise the World.
“I believe that African teams at the ongoing World cup will perform better than they did in the previous editions. For me, Senegal and Morocco will be exceptional in their second games,” he said.
In his reaction, Manager of a popular viewing Centre, at Hospital Road, Old Port Harcourt township,  Ibiba Harry, said looking at North African teams’ performance  in Qatar 2022, he believed that they will give good account of themselves in the competition.
“ The North African teams  will surprise people in this World cup.
“I watched Senegal and Morocco teams and saw them going beyond  quater finals of the competition,” Harry said.
A strong football fanatic, Prince Emmanuel, also said that African teams will dominate as the tournament progresses.
He said in spite of the fact that the Super Eagles did not qualify for the World Cup, he has so much confidence in the five countries that are representing the continent.
“Even though my country (Nigeria) did not qualify for the competition, I will support the other Africa teams in the tournament,” Emmanuel said.
Head coach Shining Stars Football Club in Oyigbo Local Government Area, Rivers State, Gift John, said he did not  expect any good performance from the african teams.
“I do not really see any African team putting up an impressive performance at the World Cup.
“We can see that most African players are representing various countries in Europe instead of  their countries in Africa, take the likes of Bakayoko Saka, Tammy Abraham and many others. These players are expected to make impact in their countries, so I do not really see any African team going beyond the knock out stage “, John  said.
A sports enthusiast, Ekene Nwachukwu, disagreed with Gift John. He said,  African teams will do well in the 2022 edition of  World Cup, holding in Qatar.
He noted that from the recent friendly  matches played between African teams and European teams, it is apparent that they will perform impressively in the tournament.
“I believe that the African teams will  reach the finals or even become the World Champions, because they have quality players that will win the world Cup,”Nwachukwu said.

By: Tonye Orabere with reports from Kiadum Edooko & Ogolo Alali

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World Cup 2022: Man Killed In Iran Celebrating Team’s Loss

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A man is reported to have been killed by security forces in northern Iran, as anti-government protesters publicly celebrated the national football team’s elimination from the World Cup.
Activists said Mehran Samak was shot in the head after he honked his car’s horn in Bandar Anzali on Tuesday night.
Videos from other cities showed crowds cheering and dancing in the streets.
Many Iranians refused to support their football team in Qatar, seeing it as a representation of the Islamic Republic.
State-affiliated media blamed hostile forces both inside and outside Iran for putting unfair pressure on the players following their 1-0 loss to the USA in the final group game.
The players did not sing the national anthem before their first game, a 6-2 defeat by England, in an apparent expression of solidarity with the protesters.
But they did sing at the Wales game, which they won 2-0, and at the politically-charged showdown against the USA.
Some protesters saw that as a betrayal of their cause even though there were reports that the team came under intense pressure from Iranian authorities.
The unrest started 10 weeks ago following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab.
Authorities have responded to what they have portrayed as foreign-backed riots with a violent crackdown in which the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights says at least 448 people have been killed, including 60 children. More than 18,000 others are reported to have been arrested.

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Belgium Out Of W/Cup

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Belgium have been knocked out of the World Cup at the group stage as Croatia progressed at their expense with a goalless draw in Qatar.
Roberto Martinez’s side, who finished third in Russia four years ago and are ranked second in the world, have had a disappointing tournament with just one win and one goal in their three matches
They produced another lacklustre display against Croatia despite knowing victory was necessary to progress to the last 16.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku had numerous chances in the second half but his failure to convert any sealed his country’s fate.
Lukaku, searching for sharpness following injury, hit the post from in front of goal, poked an effort wide when well-placed and reacted too slowly when the ball hit him in the six-yard box in stoppage time.
Croatia, finalists in 2018, got the point they needed to progress from Group F as runners-up, with Morocco taking top spot thanks to a 2-1 win against Canada.
Zlatko Dalic’s side will face the winners of Group E , which is currently Spain, in the last 16.
Belgium players fell to the turf at full-time as their supporters behind the goal politely applauded them off the pitch.
Lukaku, who replaced Dries Mertens at half-time, came into the game with intent and immediately brought energy and purpose to his side.
But his missed opportunities in the second half proved costly, with each one bringing an audible collective groan from the stands and the on-loan Inter Milan striker punched the dugout in frustration after the final whistle.
Croatia were not especially convincing, their most threatening moment was a first-half penalty award being ruled out by VAR because of an offside infringement in the build-up – but did enough to secure progression.
They did however look a level below what they showed to reach the final in Russia four years ago and their celebrations were fairly subdued after scraping through.

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Germany Crash Out Of World Cup Despite 4-2 Defeat Of Costa Rica

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Germany crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage for the second time in succession despite a 4-2 win against Costa Rica on Thursday.
The four-time World Cup winners came into the match needing a win but were also relying on the result of Japan’s game with Spain to progress.
But the Germans were eliminated due to goal difference as Japan followed up their defeat of Germany with another shock result by beating Spain 2-1.
Germany took an early lead but briefly fell behind in the second half as coach Hansi Flick made a flurry of changes, reacting to the live score of the Japan v Spain fixture.
The Germans started positively, with Flick’s all-Bayern Munich front line turning the screws early, battering the Costa Rica defence before Serge Gnabry got his head to a curling cross from Leipzig defender David Raum after 10 minutes to open the scoring.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka almost doubled Germany’s lead just five minutes later but his header was directly at Keylor Navas.
Complacency began to creep into Germany’s game. Keysher Fuller, Costa Rica’s goal-scoring hero in a 1-0 win against Japan, forced Manuel Neuer into a fingertip save after some half-hearted defending from Raum and Antonio Ruediger.
Flick moved Kimmich back to his familiar defensive midfield position at half-time, bringing on Lukas Klostermann at the expense of Goretzka, who like Kimmich started the match on a yellow.
Just seven minutes into the second half, word crept around the vast Lusail Stadium that Japan had scored two quick goals to take the lead against Spain, a result which would force Germany out of the tournament.
Flick reacted immediately, bringing on Niclas Fuellkrug and taking off another midfielder in Ilkay Gundogan.
Germany appeared disjointed as Costa Rica went on the counter on the 58-minute mark, the ball rebounding off Neuer and into the path of Yeltsin Tejeda, who slammed it home.
Flick continued to chase the game, making more changes but it was Costa Rica who scored next when Juan Pablo Vargas tapped a free kick past Neuer to put his side past Spain and into the Round of 16. The goal was later recorded as an own goal.
Germany hit back minutes later through Chelsea forward Kai Havertz to draw level.
Havertz scored again in the 86th minute and Fuellkrug added another in the 89th minute to bring the score to 4-2, but the side’s focus remained nervously fixed on the group’s parallel fixture.
The night ended with Germany losing out to second-placed Spain on goal difference.
It means Germany, who had not missed out on the knockout stages of a World Cup for 80 years until the 2018 tournament in Russia, have been bundled out in the group stage for the second World Cup in a row.

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