Aubameyang To Iwobi: Show Me I’m Right To Support Super Eagles

By James Agberebi: Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has challenged his Nigerian teammate at Arsenal, Alex Iwobi, to prove him right for supporting the Super Eagles by putting up an impressive performance against Croatia in Saturday’s Group B clash at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Aubameyang stated this on his verified Twitter handle with a […]
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World Cup 2018: Carlos Queiroz hails Iran’s late minute victory over Morocco

Carlos Queiroz side’s benefited from a late minute own-goal to beat the North African powerhouse Carlos Queiroz has hailed “beautiful” World Cup victory over Morocco on Friday.Aziz Bouhaddouz scored an own goal as Iran handed Morocco a 1-0 win in their opening group B game on Friday.Carlos Queiroz in his first consecutive World Cup appearance as a coach expressed his joy over his side’s victory.READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo ‘accepts two-year prison sentence’ over tax evasion”After so many years in this business, the first game of a World Cup is always difficult and tough and this was no different – but it was also beautiful,” said Iran coach Queiroz.”We started very carefully and I’m sure they studied the Iranian team. We knew they have a very strong and powerful start to the game – always with full speed and a great attacking spirit.”Our strategy was, from the first minute, to create a mental collapse in the Moroccan players, we try to do that by creating frustration and block all the playmakers and the players who can create something.”With European heavyweights Spain and Portugal the other nations in Group B, any chances of Iran or Morocco providing a shock and reaching the knockout stages looked likely to need a positive result here.Portuguese Queiroz takes Iran to Kazan to face Spain next time out and admits a different approach will be required.”Since we were able to create panic in their defensive line the game changed,” he said. “The players for Morocco knew we could win the game and that changed everything in the last minutes.”It was a beautiful win, three points, and now it is time to rest and think about the game against Spain. Against Spain, everyone from the goalkeeper to the striker can create things so we have to think of a different strategy.”Defeat for Morocco means they have it all to do to go beyond the group stages – but coach Herve Renard is not ready to throw in the towel.”In a competition where three matches need to be played, as long as there are still two matches to be played, whoever the opponents, there is still hope,” he said.”When one starts the competition with no points, we are in a difficult situation but many things can happen so we need to concentrate on what we did right and things we did not do so well.

Three Things We Learned At The World Cup Today

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots to score his third goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Portugal and Spain at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 15, 2018. Nelson Almeida / AFP
 
The blockbuster clash of the day at the World Cup didn’t disappoint as Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick denied Spain the perfect response to a turbulent week following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui in a thrilling 3-3 draw in Sochi.
Both sides will remain confident of progressing to the knockout stages as Iran shocked Morocco 1-0 in Saint Petersburg to move to the top of Group B.
And in a day dominated by late goals, Jose Gimenez’s header handed Uruguay a perfect start by beating an Egypt side shorn of Mohamed Salah 1-0.
Here, AFP Sports looks at three things we learned from day two at the World Cup.
Ronaldo reigns supreme in Sochi
Spain’s troublesome week looked set for a much-needed win until Ronaldo curled home a sensational free-kick to cap a hat-trick and salvage Portugal a point two minutes from time.
Ronaldo had scored just three goals in his previous three World Cups, but already looks a strong favourite to win the Golden Boot as he won then dispatched a fourth-minute penalty and took advantage of an uncharacteristic error from David de Gea to twice put Portugal in front before the break.
Diego Costa had silenced suggestions he is incompatible with Spain’s short-passing game with a double of his own before Nacho’s wonder strike looked to have sealed the perfect debut for Fernando Hierro just two days after he was handed the job as Spain coach.
But the five-time World Player of the Year wasn’t to be denied when he lined up a free-kick 20 yards from goal before bending it over the Spanish wall and dipping perfectly into the top corner.
Egypt relying on Salah return
Uruguay’s defender Jose Gimenez (R) and Egypt’s midfielder Abdallah Said (L) go up for a header during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Egypt and Uruguay at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Ekaterinburg on June 15, 2018. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP
 
Salah endured a miserable 26th birthday as he was forced to watch from the bench with his injured shoulder not quite recovered as Uruguay snatched all three points in Yekaterinburg.
Egypt manager Hector Cuper had claimed on the eve of the game Salah was “almost 100 percent sure” to feature.
But with his side holding out against the firepower of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani until the 89th minute, Cuper elected against risking Salah as a substitute.
With Russia thrashing Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Group A’s opening match, Egypt will almost certainly need to beat the hosts in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday to progress to the last 16.
Salah carried the Pharaohs to their first World Cup since 1990 and his quick return is paramount to avoid a tournament Egyptians have looked forward to for so long ending prematurely.
Morocco ‘crucify’ themselves
Iran’s goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand (C) deflects the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Morocco and Iran at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 15, 2018. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
 
Morocco coach Herve Renard lamented a series of self-inflicted wounds as their return to the World Cup after a 20-year wait ended in the most heartbreaking fashion when Aziz Bouhaddouz’s 95th-minute own goal handed Iran a famous 1-0 win in Saint Petersburg.
The Atlas Lions dominated for the opening half hour, but failed to take their chances through Hakim Ziyach, Ayoub El Kaabi and Mehdi Benatia.
Morocco qualified on the back of six consecutive clean sheets in qualifying, and they were only undone by one of their own when a distraught Bouhaddouz threw himself at a last ditch free-kick and bulleted the ball home at the near post.
With the might of Spain and Portugal to come in Group B, Morocco’s chances of now making the last 16 hang by a thread.
“We were crucified by our own errors,” lamented Renard.
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‘Who Is The Presidency?’ Babachir Lawal Explains Controversial Question

File photo: Mr Babachir Lawal
 
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, has explained the reason for a controversial question he asked journalists while being investigated by the Presidency over allegations of corruption against him.
Shortly after his suspension in April 2017, journalists had asked him how he felt about the decision by the presidency to suspend him.
He responded with a question. “Who is the presidency?”
The question sparked controversy as critics questioned the President’s war against corruption and claimed there were ‘sacred cows’ who were being spared.
Mr Lawal was also accused of being arrogant.
Read Also: Grass Cutting Scandal: Former SGF, Babachir Lawal Happy With EFCC Investigation.
More than a year later, Mr Lawal who was fired as SGF in October 2017, has rejected claims that the question was disrespectful.
In an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s Hard Copy on Friday, he said, “I asked that question because the president has a specific routine.
“If you are going to be removed from office, the president insists that you be told personally, first of all, so that your people don’t hear it on the television.
“It’s your duty to notify them that I’m going to be removed from office or I’ve been removed from office – so you’re not watching TV and they see the news.
“The president doesn’t like it. So that was the context in which I was asking this question,” he explained.
President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended the SGF on April 19 and fired him six months later on October 30, 2017, after he was investigated for the diversion of funds meant for crisis relief in the northeast.
He was immediately replaced by Boss Gidahyelda Mustpha, a lawyer, businessman, and management consultant.
For the full programme, watch Hard Copy on Channels Television at 8:30 pm today (Friday).
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Ronaldo Bags Hattrick, Costa Scores Brace As Portugal, Spain Draw In Six-Goal Thriller

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first hattrick of the 2018 FIFA World Cup as Portugal forced Spain to a 3-3 draw in Group B on Friday. Diego Costa and Nacho were the scorers for Spain. It was a game that lived up to expectations as both teams went at it with Spain edging possession while Portugal […]
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Breaking: Portugal vs Spain 3 – 3

Ronaldo hat-trick as Portugal and Spain draw 3-3 in World Cup
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World Cup 2018: Twitter hails King Ronaldo as Portugal draw Spain 3-3 in opener

Here are the reactions as Portugal draw Spain 3-3 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Twitter users hailed Cristiano Ronaldo who scored a hattrick as Portugal drew Spain 3-3 in their 2018 FIFA World Cup, group B opener on Friday, June 15.Ronaldo was at his best and gave Portugal the lead when he converted a penalty from the spot in the third minute, Diego Costa equalised for Spain in the 24 minute.A rare mistake from David De Gea gave Portugal the lead going into the break at half time, as he turned in a Ronaldo shot into the net.Spain responded in the second half and were rewarded when a well worked free kick led to another goal or Costa.Nacho scored a brilliant goal to put Spain front, but Ronaldo save the day when he converted a free kick to earn Portugal a point.King Ronaldo hailed as he scores hattrick for Portugal in 3-3 draw with Spain  Portugal take on Morocco in their next fixture, while Spain take on Iran both matches will be played on Wednesday, June 20.

Ronaldo Nets Hat Trick As Portugal And Spain Share Spoils In Six-Goal Thriller

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates his goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Portugal and Spain at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 15, 2018.PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP
 
Hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational free-kick two minutes from time earned Portugal a 3-3 draw with Spain in a pulsating World Cup Group B encounter on Friday.
Ronaldo had given Portugal a dream start winning and scoring a fourth-minute penalty. Diego Costa levelled only for Ronaldo to put the 2016 European champions back in front just before half-time.
Costa once again got Spain back level with Nacho scoring his first ever goal giving Spain the lead, only for Ronaldo’s magical 88th-minute set piece to earn Portugal a share of the spoils in Sochi.
More to follow…
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Mikel: It’s 11 Vs 11 Against Croatia; Our Young Team Must Beat Their Stars

By Nnamdi Ezekute in Kaliningrad: Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi has declared that the team will look to start their campaign at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on a positive note on Saturday by picking maximum points in their Group D clash against Croatia at the Kaliningrad Stadium, reports Completesportsnigeria.com. “We are ready. Obviously […]
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Rivers LG Elections: Army says soldiers will be on standby at tomorrow’s poll

The Army spokesman said soldiers will be deployed at strategic points several kilometres away from polling centres. The Nigerian Army has said that soldiers would be on standby to forestall possible violence in the Rivers State council elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, June 16, 2018.A colonel and spokesperson of the Nigerian Army 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Aminu Iliyasu, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).He said soldiers will be deployed at strategic points several kilometres away from polling centres.Iliyasu explained that the army is adopting that position because “we are not directly involved in the election and no soldier is going to be deployed for any election duty.”Police, DSS will be in chargeAccording to him, it is only the police and the Department of State Security (DSS) that have the constitutional responsibility to provide security in the election.”However, we are always on alert whenever there is election. We will only be on standby at the periphery in case our services are needed,” he said.Iliyasu said soldiers were banned from going into polling centres and escort polling materials to the centres.ALSO READ: Wike accuses APC of planning to disrupt LG electionsThe Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) will conduct the elections in the 23 local government areas of the state.

Ikpeba: Whatever Happens, Super Eagles Must Not Lose To Croatia

I have listened to a lot of folks saying we will thrash Croatia, we will win the World Cup and nobody can stop us. It’s okay to be patriotic but people must learn to have respect for the opposition especially one like Croatia which comes with a lot of quality players, talent and experience. They […]
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“Excited” Rohr On Croatia Challenge, Russian Girls, Super Eagles Chances, Balogun’s Fitness, Racism

By Nnamdi Ezekute in Kaliningrad: Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is excited to lead Nigeria to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, reports Completesportsnigeria.com. Rohr, who will be making his coaching debut at the World Cup in Russia, in his pre-match conference here in Kaliningrad on Friday ahead of his side’s opening game against […]
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Sacked Lopetegui Backs Spain For World Cup Glory

Julen Lopetegui (File photo). Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP
 
Julen Lopetegui has given his backing to Spain at the World Cup, despite being fired as coach just 48 hours before their opening game at the tournament in Russia.Lopetegui was sensationally sacked on Wednesday after the announcement that he would be taking over at Real Madrid following the World Cup, with Fernando Hierro hastily brought in to replace him.
“All the best in this World Cup to Fernando and a magnificent team and group of people: our Spanish national team,” wrote Lopetegui on Twitter as Spain prepared to take on Portugal in their Group B opener in Sochi.
“We will feel part of your strength, union, and passion,” added Lopetegui, who was unveiled by Real on Thursday after his sudden dismissal from the Spain camp in Russia.
La Roja had been unbeaten in 20 games under the former goalkeeper following his appointment two years ago, and came to the World Cup among the favourites as a result.
AFP
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Etebo: Super Eagles Will Fly High In Russia

By James Agberebi: Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo has tipped the Super Eagles to put an impressive showing at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Super Eagles will begin their campaign in Russia against Croatia in Group D on Saturday. They will also take on Argentina and Iceland (who will also play on Saturday) […]
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Brazilian referees for Nigeria vs Croatia match

Brazilian referee, Sandro Ricci, will alongside two compatriots and two Spaniards, handle Nigeria’s opening Group D game against Croatia at Kaliningrad on Saturday in World Cup in Russia.
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