soccer

Dembele is surprise Belgium pick as Matuidi returns for France

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Moussa Dembele was a surprise pick to replace the suspended Thomas Meunier in Belgium’s line-up and Blaise Matuidi was restored to the France midfield for Tuesday’s World Cup semi-final.

Matuidi missed the 2-0 quarter-final win over Uruguay due to suspension but has been recalled in place of Corentin Tolisso.

Belgium’s right wing back Meunier was cautioned for a second time in the tournament in their quarter-final victory over Brazil and Dembele takes his place in the starting side.

Dembele will play alongside Axel Witsel in the centre of midfield with Belgium coach Roberto Martinez moving Marouane Fellaini to the right.

Nacer Chadli goes from the centre to the left where he will try to nullify the threat of speedy France striker Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe and midfielder Ngolo Kante were included in the France team despite sitting out training on Monday.

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Source: SABCNews

England beat Colombia on penalties to reach quarterfinals

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England finally ended their penalties curse when they beat Colombia 4-3 in a shootout after drawing their World Cup last-16 clash 1-1 following extra time after the South Americans equalised in the 93rd minute.

England had previously lost all three World Cup shootouts and three of four in the European Championship but prevailed on Tuesday when Mateus Uribe and Carlos Bacca failed to convert, leaving Eric Dier to win the game for England

It was the first time Colombia had been involved in a World Cup shootout and they took first blood when Jordan Henderson missed his spot kick – but for once fortune smiled on England.

Earlier Harry Kane smashed in a 57th-minute penalty, his sixth goal of the tournament, and England looked to be through until Yerry Mina headed an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time.

It was England’s first win in a knockout game since 2006 and earns them a quarter-final with Sweden, who were far from impressive in beating Switzerland 1-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Then comes a potential semi-final against hosts Russia or Croatia with Tuesday’s win appearing to vindicate – just – coach Gareth Southgate’s decision to field a second-string side in the the final group game loss to Belgium to secure an easier route.

Colombia’s hopes suffered a huge setback before kickoff when key playmaker James Rodriguez was ruled out with a calf injury and without him they took a defensive approach and never rarely threatened.

England were always the more purposeful side but they lacked the key final ball and needed a gift to take the lead.

The South Americans had been getting away with blatant holding and wrestling at each of England’s many corners and the referee’s patience finally snapped when Carlos Sanchez hauled down tournament leading scorer Kane once too often.

After four minutes of mayhem as the Colombians protested, Kane kept his cool and smashed in his third spot kick of Russia 2018.

When Juan Cuadrado blazed horribly over the bar with the goal gaping 10 minutes from time with Colombia’s first chance of the match it looked all over for them but there was a fiery sting in the tail of normal time.

England keeper Jordan Pickford made a superb save to touch wide a furious long shot by Uribe but from the following corner – Colombia’s first of the match – giant defender Mina rose highest to head in the equaliser and send the massed Colombian fans into a frenzy.

England substitute Dier missed the best chance of the extra period when he headed over the bar but he made up for it in emphatic fashion with the winning penalty in the shootout.

The post England beat Colombia on penalties to reach quarterfinals appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Analysis: Swedes steam into last eight with big names in their wake

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Sweden’s brand of football may not be easy on the eye but on Tuesday they added Switzerland to a list already including the Netherlands, Italy and Germany as they marched into the World Cup quarterfinals.

Had results in qualifying, the playoffs and the group stage gone another way, it might be any one of that illustrious trio preparing to face Colombia or England in the last eight on Saturday.

Much as it might offend the purists, however, it is Janne Andersson’s no-name outfit who will make the trip to Samara after a typically rugged 1-0 victory over Switzerland in St Petersburg.

The Dutch, third in Brazil four years ago, were barged out of the way in qualifying when Sweden edged the three-times World Cup finalists on goal difference to finish second in a group that France won.

In the playoffs the Swedes were paired with four-times world champions Italy and sensationally saw them off over two legs to keep the Azzurri out of the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

On seeding, defending champions Germany would have expected to be in Samara on Saturday but they finished bottom of Group F in Russia, an ignominious exit that would have come sooner had Sweden held out for a few seconds more to draw their clash in Sochi.

And on Tuesday, Sweden proved that once again that dogged defending and huge collective effort can be very effective, even in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Sure, they were helped by the fact that Switzerland were toothless up front but no team is going to find it easy to break down the Swedes.

Ranged across the pitch in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, they are happy to cede possession – Switzerland enjoyed 63 percent on Tuesday – confident that by working indefatigably for each other they would get it back.

In attack, they lack the world-class edge that Zlatan Ibrahimovic once brought but they are big and strong and keep pumping balls into the box until one falls right for them.

In St Petersburg, their goal came with an element of luck when Emil Forsberg’s shot from the edge of the area took a huge deflection off defender Manuel Akanji and spun into the net.

The yellow-shirted hordes in the stands cheered it just as loudly as they once would an Ibrahimovic wonder-strike and, like the fans, Andersson does not really care what outsiders think about the way his team plays their football.

“We know that we are a good team, we’ve earned our successes, we know how we’ve got this far,” he told a post-match news conference.

“What other teams and countries think about that, you’ll have to ask them.”

The post Analysis: Swedes steam into last eight with big names in their wake appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Brazilian pair ruled out of Sunday warm-up vs Croatia

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Renato Augusto

Renato Augusto and Douglas Costa will miss Brazil’s World Cup warm-up friendly against Croatia in England this weekend due to injury, the Brazilian Football Confederation said on Friday.

Costa will travel with the squad to Liverpool, but will not play in Sunday’s match due to a thigh strain.

However, Renato Augusto, the Beijing Guoan midfielder who has been a regular starter under coach Tite, will stay in London to have physiotherapy on an injured left knee.

Brazil play Croatia at Anfield on Sunday in what will be their penultimate warm-up before heading to Russia.

The five-time World Cup winners also face Austria in Vienna on June 10.

Striker and talisman Neymar, who has not played since injuring his foot in a league match for Paris St Germain back in February, is expected to feature in both games, although reports said he will start on the bench against Croatia.

Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 and also play Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E.

The post Brazilian pair ruled out of Sunday warm-up vs Croatia appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Banyana Banyana face Sweden in maiden game in Cape Town

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The South African national women’s football team is excited about the friendly international match against Sweden at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.

It’s a big year for Banyana Banyana who won the 2017 Cosafa Cup and who are the No.: 1 ranked team in Africa and the match against Sweden will be good preparation in their attempts to qualify for the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations and the 2019 Soccer World Cup.

The team is hard at work after the December holidays.

2017 was a great year for South African women’s football under interim coach, Desiree Ellis, but even bigger challenges and competitions lie ahead.

Banyana Banyana Captain, Janine Van Wyk says: “Preparation for the game against Sweden on Sunday is going really well. We’ve been well together after a long break that we had in December holidays and working towards our goal is obviously, qualifying for the world cup.”

Sweden, who are ranked 10th in the world and 5th in Europe, will be a tough nut to crack, but with players like Thembi Kgatlana, who was voted Cosafa player of the tournament in their ranks, anything is possible.

Kgatlana says, “It’s a good preparation for us because we ended the year on a good note, winning Cosafa Player of the Tournament and the team won the Cosafa Cup.”

It will be Banyana Banyana’s first-ever match in the Mother City and the players are hoping fans will take the opportunity to come and support the team.

Banyana Banyana midfielder Leandra Smeda says, “We very excited to play Sweden in Cape Town, my home city. It’s the first time we are playing in the Mother City. So, hopefully, a lot of supporters will come out to support us.”

Entrance to the Cape Town Stadium will be free on Sunday, but fans will have to acquire a ticket from Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers, Checkers Hyper, OK Furniture or U Save stores.

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Source: SABCNews

Banyana to play against Sweden on Sunday

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The South African national women’s football team will play their first ever match in Cape Town when they take on Sweden in an international friendly at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.

Banyana Banyana, the 2017 COSAFA champions and the number one team in Africa, have a big year ahead with qualification for the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations and the 2019 Soccer World Cup taking place.

Playing Sweden who is ranked 10th in the world and fifth in Europe will be a tough assignment, but great preparation for the exciting challenges that lie ahead.

Banyana Banyana interim coach Desiree Ellis says: “Last year was a fantastic year for us and this year is the beginning of a very big year for Banyana Banyana.”

Sweden has played Banyana Banyana twice before winning 4-1 at the London Olympics and 1-nil at the Rio Olympics.

The City of Cape Town have become involved and are serious about giving women’s soccer a voice and a platform for the players to display their talents and provide inspiration to the youth.

City of Cape Town Stuart Diamond says: “Cape Town feels privileged to say thank you to Sweden for coming here so we can honour women’s football and give it the place that it deserves and for young girls to achieve their dreams.”

It will be an historic occasion at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday and there will also be free entrance to the public although a ticket will be required to enter the stadium.

 

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Source: SABCNews

Chiefs get their man, but it’s not Ntshangase

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Having missed out on Baroka FC midfielder Siphelele Ntshangase, Kaizer Chiefs have instead swooped for Bloemfontein Celtic winger Kabelo Mahlasela.

Chiefs had been linked with Ntshangase since his Black Leopards days and appeared to be closing in on capturing his signature.

But according to Baroka CEO Morgan Mammila, Amakhosi were not willing to meet their asking price and the deal was called off on Wednesday.

However, it was still to be a fruitful day for the Soweto giants as they confirmed the arrival of Mahlasela, the 26-year-old former Royal Eagles player having been on Chiefs’ radar after some scintillating performances for Celtic this season.

“Kaizer Chiefs would like to confirm the signing of attacking midfielder Kabelo Mahlasela from Bloemfontein Celtic on a 2 and a half year deal with a one year option,” the club tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.

And as part of the deal, central defender Lorenzo Gordinho will head to Bloemfontein for a one-year loan period.

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy, meanwhile, continues to reshape his squad, the Citizens on Wednesday announcing the signing of the former Stars of Africa attacker Surprise Ralani, who arrives from Swedish outfit Helsingborg IF.

The 30-year-old from Kimberley has never played in the PSL, having spent his career in Sweden and Denmark. His signing follows on from that of Kenyan forward Masoud Juma on Tuesday.

The Cape side have, however, seen Lehlohonolo Majoro leaving for Bidvest Wits while Aubrey Ngoma went to Mamelodi Sundowns in a big money move.

In other confirmed PSL transfer business, Bloemfontein Celtic have signed Menzi Masuku from Chippa United.

Bidvest Wits, meanwhile, parted ways with former Bafana Bafana and Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, who leaves after just half a season during which time he featured in only six league matches.

The 35-year-old, who also played for Ajax Amsterdam, Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland in a glittering career, had been linked to Orlando Pirates before joining the Clever Boys. But that was before Milutin Sredojevic was appointed head coach at Pirates.

The post Chiefs get their man, but it’s not Ntshangase appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Manchester United’s Young charged with violent conduct – FA

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Manchester United’s Ashley Young was charged with violent conduct by the English Football Association (FA) on Sunday after his altercation with Southampton midfielder Dusan Tadic in the Premier League the previous day.

Young appeared to strike Tadic with an elbow during Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

“Young’s charge follows an incident during Saturday’s game against Southampton which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video,” the FA said in a statement.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino said after the match: “I haven’t seen the replay but it is difficult for the referee to see in one second what happened in all different places — but I have to respect the decision.”

Swansea defender Kyle Naughton has also been charged with violent conduct by the FA for allegedly stamping on Watford’s Stefano Okaka during the Welsh side’s 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Young and Naughton have until 1700 GMT on Sunday to respond to the charges.

The post Manchester United’s Young charged with violent conduct – FA appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Zuma joins Kaizer Chiefs

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Kaizer Chiefs FC has on Thursday announced the signing of former Bloemfontein Celtic winger Dumsani Zuma on a three-year contract. The right footed player has represented the country with the Under-20 and Until-23 national teams. He has recently been called to represent the country with the national team while Bafana Bafana was playing Botswana in
Source: The New Age

Man Utd boss Mourinho welcomes Africa Cup changes

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Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho on Wednesday welcomed the decision to hold the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in June and July, calling it “perfect” for Premier League clubs. “If that’s the change it’s perfect for us obviously,” he said. “Because it’s hard in the middle of the season to lose players like we do
Source: The New Age

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