Russia 2018: Mikel, Moses, Ndidi, Lokosa Make Super Eagles 30-Man Squad

Captain Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa are among the Super Eagles 30-man provisional squad

Captain Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa are among the Super Eagles 30-man provisional squad released by Gernot Rohr ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Home-based goalkeepers Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Dele Ajiboye, Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi made the cut.

There is also the surprise inclusion of Crotone striker Simeone Nwankwo and Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) top scorer with 18 goals Junior Lokosa.

Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, who is recuperating from a hamstring injury, is also included.

Others who made the list are Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Elderson Echiejile, Bryan Idowu, Shehu Abdullahi, Ola Aina, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Uche Agbo, Stephen Eze, Tyronne Ebuehi, Moses Simon, Kelechi Iheanacho, Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem, Oghenekaro Etebo and Joel Obi.

Meanwhile Henry Onyekuru who just returned from injury and Victor Osimhen were not listed. Olanrewaju Kayode, who has been in fine form with Shakhtar Donetsk is also not included.

#WorldCupSeries: Watch As DStv Takes You Through Behind The Scenes With Football’s Finest

Nigerian magical maestro, Augustine “Jay-Jay” Okocha, had some nostalgic feeling during the shoot of SuperSport’s 2018 FIFA World Cup stories


Nigerian magical maestro, Augustine “Jay-Jay” Okocha, had some nostalgic feeling during the shoot of SuperSport’s 2018 FIFA World Cup stories and thus attested to the power of the football as being a tool for peace and development.

It has always been referred to as the beautiful game, yet football continues to prove that it is much more than just the extraordinary skills and the stunning goals exhibited on the pitch.

A shy person, yet it was astonishing to see Okocha become very emotive and recount with vivid examples on how the World Cup could help bring about global unity in a time of uncertainty. Okocha’s heart rendering story is one of the several poignant stories currently broadcast on DStv as a build-up to the 2018 showpiece event in Russia.

The crew soon jetted off to London for a date with Victor Moses, a man charged with spearheading Nigeria’s quest for glory in Russia in a few months. Moses, a shy and emotionally reserved player by nature, was shown the video of Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan penalty miss in 2010 which evoked a physical and emotional response from him. Moses felt for both Gyan and Luis Suarez, especially as he had become good friends with Suarez during their time together at Liverpool.

The campaign, dubbed Connect with Greatness, has six football legends who exquisitely recounted iconic moments at the World Cup that remain indelible in their hearts.

Giving their perspective on memorable World Cup moments included World Cup greats such as Michael Owen, Pele, Sunday Oliseh, Okocha and Sir Geoff Hurst. Also included in the campaign is Victor Moses, who will be making history in his debut tournament with Nigeria.

DStv viewers, like no one on the continent, will connect with greatness – all 64 matches will be broadcast live and in High Definition with insight and analysis provided by a panel of local and international footballing greats.

The post appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.

Iceland Leaders To Snub Russia 2018 World Cup

  File photo   Iceland announced Monday it will stage a diplomatic boycott of the football World Cup in Russia

 

File photo

 

Iceland announced Monday it will stage a diplomatic boycott of the football World Cup in Russia over the poisoning of a former double agent in Britain.

“Among the measures taken by Iceland is the temporary postponement of all high-level bilateral dialogue with the Russian authorities,” the foreign ministry said in a statement said.

“Consequently, Icelandic leaders will not attend the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer,” it said.

The Reykjavik government also exhorted Moscow to provide “clear answers” over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in southwestern England on March 4.

“The Salisbury attack constitutes a grave violation of international law and threatens security and peace in Europe,” the statement said.

Britain announced in mid-March that British royals and ministers would stay away from the FIFA tournament set for June 14-July 15.

Iceland’s decision came as 16 European Union countries on Monday gave a large number of Russian envoys notice to leave their territory.

The United States, Canada and Ukraine have also announced the expulsion of dozens more  Russian diplomats.

Iceland, a member of NATO but not of the EU, imposed sanctions against Russia along with the EU over the annexation of Crimea.

This year’s World Cup will see Iceland compete for the first time at the highest level.

AFP

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Nigeria’s World Cup Foes Croatia, Iceland Lose To Peru, Mexico In Friendlies

Super Eagles of Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup Group D opponents Croatia lost 2-0 10-man to Peru in Miami, United States

Super Eagles of Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup Group D opponents Croatia lost 2-0 10-man to Peru in Miami, United States of America while Iceland were thrashed 3-0 by Mexico in California in their international friendlies played in the early hours of Saturday.

The Croatians who will open their World Cup against campaign the Super Eagles, paraded players like Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic.

Peru went 1-0 up in the 12th minute through Andre Carrillo before Edison Flores doubled their lead in the 49th minute.

With 15 minutes remaining, Yoshimar Yotun was sent off for Peru after receiving his second yellow card.

And against Iceland, Mexico broke the deadlock in the 37th minute following Marco Fabian opened the scoring.

In the 65th minute, Miguel Layun made it 2-0 before scoring again in the 90th minute to end the game 3-0.

On Friday, Argentina defeated Italy 2-0 in another friendly game played inside the Etihad Stadium.

Ever Banega and Manuel Lanzini were the scorers for Argentina who was rested for the game.

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Match Preview: Eagles looking for World Cup polish against Lewandowski’s Poland

The countdown to the World Cup in Russia is less than 90 days and still, some Nigerian football fans harbour

The countdown to the World Cup in Russia is less than 90 days and still, some Nigerian football fans harbour doubts about the Super Eagles’ first choice defensive pairing – Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong popularly called the ‘Oyibo Wall’.

On Friday, at the 42,000 capacity Stadium Wroclaw, Gernot Rohr will understand better his defenders and their synergy, and his whole team when they face the first rate marksmanship of Poland led by Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

If they stand up to the test then some fans will breathe easier as they look ahead to matches against Serbia, Iceland, and Argentina at Russia 2018.

Poland have pedigree at the FIFA World Cup, having come third twice – in 1974 and 1982. The class of 2018, led by the goal-scoring phenomenon and captain, Lewandowski looks like a formidable unit. They won their World Cup qualifying group – Group E, by a massive five points ahead of second-placed Denmark, scoring 28 goals in six matches.

Nigeria has never gone beyond the round of 16 in her five appearances and the class of 2018 with youthful zest and a zany jersey are hoping the stars will align in Russia just as they did in 1996 in Atlanta when the national U-23 team won Olympic gold.

Current Form: Poland [L-D-W-W-W]; Nigeria [L-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

Never met before

Not in Contention

Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi is sorting out paper issues in China; Daniel Akpeyi and Junior Ajayi could not get visas on time from South Africa and Egypt respectively. Oghenekaro Etebo was not listed for Las Palmas in their last league match but he should be in England for the Serbia friendly.

Bartosz Bereszynski, Sampdoria defender is out with an adductor injury copped in his last Serie A game.

3 questions Rohr wants an answer to in Wroclaw

1. If Joel Obi gets to play any part, Gernot Rohr will look for the synergy between the Italy-based midfielder and Ogenyi Onazi and Wilfred Ndidi. Will he be a better fit if Mikel Obi is absent technically or tactically? What options does he offer the Eagles in keeping his defensive shape against very mobile opponents?

2. There will be a lot of crosses put into the Nigerian box, looking for Lewandowski – Rohr will be patient in seeing Uzoho’s reaction to the bombardment and how he commands the players in front of him.

3. Can Iheanacho play at the tip of the diamond – in the No.10 role? Does he have the tactical discipline to dictate play in the final third and join in to score frequently? Will he chase after a lost ball to give his midfielders defensive stability?

”The game against Nigeria will be a valuable test for us,” said Lukasz Fabianski.

“I remember from the friendly match against Côte d’Ivoire that they are teams that have high-level individual players in their ranks. They are always well prepared physically. It will be a very good test and good preparation for matches at the World Cup.”

Adam Nawalka will be looking at the physical solidity of his team as they are physically buffeted and bruised; and how they stand up to it. He will also be studying ways of nullifying that physical robustness exhibited by many West African teams, including Senegal, their first opponents in Russia.

Iceland FA Boss Issues warning To Nigeria, Others: We’ll Shock The World Like At Euro 2016

Icelandic Football Association President Guðni Bergsson is confident that the team can make it to the knockout rounds of the

Icelandic Football Association President Guðni Bergsson is confident that the team can make it to the knockout rounds of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia like they their amazing performancein 2016 European Championship in France.

Iceland in the 2016 European Championship in France  got to the knockout stages without  any game loss to their Group F matches before losing to France in the last eight.

The underdogs, gracing the worldcup mundial for the first time, are drawn in the same Russia 2018 group as Nigeria, Croatia and Argentina.

“Getting into the World Cup is one of the most important events in the history of the whole of Iceland,” Bergsson told Russian News Agency TASS.

“We have a rather complicated group, but two years ago we already surprised the whole football community with a performance at the European Championships in France, and now we are ready to repeat.

“I cannot imagine how far our team will go in the World Cup, but I can say with certainty that those players who will go to Russia will play with the heart and with all their heart.”

The federation has chosen Gelendzhik as the team’s base during the forthcoming tournament and the former Bolton Wanderers player feels the resort town will enhance the team’s performance in the tournament.

“Before the final choice, we allocated two bases for ourselves, the first one in Rostov-on-Don and the second one in Gelendzhik. We originally planned that we would be based in the southern cluster, so that the team could thoroughly prepare for the matches. After visiting the base in Gelendzhik, all other options have disappeared: it is perfectly equipped with all the most necessary for preparation and the location in the mountains and proximity to the sea will add to our national team of energy,” he said.

“Another factor in the choice of the base is the close proximity to the cities of matches in the group stage, so long-term flights will not be a problem for our team, especially since we used to fly long distances when playing matches of the qualifying round .. In my opinion, for all teams this should not be a problem, because you need to come and play football, and not think about flights.

“At the moment, 80% of the (ticket) quota is bought; I can say that the fans of the Icelandic team will be no less than at the European Championships and about 20% of the total population of the country. Many plan their holidays even for the sake of one match in Russia and, in my opinion , it’s great, I’m absolutely sure that everyone who comes to Russia will get maximum pleasure and enjoy the beauties of Russian nature and learn the true Russian hospitality.”

TIceland will begin their World Cup campaign on June 16 against Argentina at the Otkrite Arena before facing Nigeria on June 22 at the Volgograd Arena and Croatia on June 26 in Rostov-on-Don.

Friendly rivalry pushing Super Eagles to excel in Russia – Etebo

Oghenekaro Etebo believes two or more players are contesting every position in the Super Eagles – a position he posits

Oghenekaro Etebo believes two or more players are contesting every position in the Super Eagles – a position he posits is good for the team as they prepare for another assault on the FIFA World cup.

In an interview with ACL Sports, published on Twitter, at his base in Las Palmas, Etebo warned that the Super Eagles are not going to Russia to joke.

“For sure Nigeria is going to do well in the World Cup, believe me,” Etebo stated confidently.

“Believe me, it is not going to be easy but we are going to do well – trust me,” said by a player who has held his own since transferring to La Liga from Portugal in January and one who scored four goals in one game at the 2016 Olympics.

Etebo continued: “It is going to be really tough for everyone [invited for the two friendlies] and everyone should put on their seat belts as Nigeria has a lot of players playing in Europe and it is important because every position has to have two, three players.

“It is a good competitive game amongst each other and it is important to have a team like that because if one man just sits and he is going to be the only one playing, he is going to feel so relaxed sometime but at times when you have a rival for your position is very important,”

Etebo has been a squad member for the Eagles’ last couple of matches but he is hoping to force his way into the starting 11 going by his recent performances for Las Palmas.

The 22-year-old also revealed that his favoured position is the second striker role; though he added he could play from whatever position his team needs him to play. He should play some part in the friendly matches against Poland and Serbia scheduled for March 23 and 26 respectively.

World Cup Coaches Brace Up For ‘Modern Life’ Of VAR

  World Cup coaches expressed a quiet confidence on Wednesday about Video Assistant Referee technology ahead of its likely adoption

 

World Cup coaches expressed a quiet confidence on Wednesday about Video Assistant Referee technology ahead of its likely adoption for this year’s showpiece event in Russia.

Representatives from the 32 teams to have qualified for the World Cup gathered in the Black Sea resort of Sochi for a briefing on how “modern life” was taking over the beautiful game.

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology is expected to be given the green light by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), when the body that determines the laws of the game meets on Saturday.

VAR has been heavily promoted by world football’s governing body FIFA, despite its implementation this season in leading leagues such as the German Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A not convincing everyone.

Earlier this week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said European football’s governing body would not introduce VAR in next season’s Champions League due to ongoing “confusion” surrounding its use.

But coaches emerging from the Sochi meeting said they were ready to ring in the changes — even if the system had not ironed out all the kinks.

“This is the new life. This is modern life,” said Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz.

“It is obvious that football cannot go on with its eyes closed to the modern world.”

Referee mistakes 

VAR can only be used when there is doubt surrounding any of four key game-changing situations: after a goal, penalty decisions, after a straight red card or in cases of mistaken identity.

Two of the top complaints have involved VAR either being used too often and slowing down the game or — conversely — not being called on in decisive moments.

One case in England — where VAR has been trialled in the FA Cup — saw the referee given a different picture from the one shown to confused fans on television.

Some head coaches said Russia will be something of a test case about which it was premature to pass judgment.

“It’s something to improve football, we suppose,” said Uruguay’s assistant coach Celso Otero.

“I think VAR will be approved and then we will evaluate it.”

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr said FIFA’s refereeing department chief Massimo Busacca assured sceptics at Wednesday’s meeting that video replays produced fairer outcomes.

Busacca said “it was very important for the referee to make less mistakes to have the video assistant,” Rohr told AFP.

“VAR is coming to eliminate mistakes by the referee. It’s actually something that makes the game fair,” Saudi Arabia’s assistant coach Manuel Suarez agreed.

England, in particular, have had famous run-ins with disputed goals at the World Cup.

Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” saw Argentina through in 1986 while Germans are still smarting about a goal that helped England win their only World Cup in 1966.

Some coaches agreed that resorting to replays could result in match interruptions that break up a team’s rhythm and momentum.

“It might slow down a little bit the play,” said Egypt assistant coach Jose Fantaguzzi.

“But in general, the technology is very important for the time being.”

Yet Fantaguzzi also admitted that his squad was a little bit anxious about how it will all turn out.

“A little bit, but not that much,” Fantaguzzi said with a laugh. “We are just ready to follow the rules and prepare.”

AFP

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Russia 2018: FIFA Insists No Security Threat

World football body, FIFA, has insisted there is no security threat to the forthcoming World football competition scheduled to hold

World football body, FIFA, has insisted there is no security threat to the forthcoming World football competition scheduled to hold in June this year in Russia.

This assurance follows the wake of violent incidents involving Spartak Moscow supporters on Thursday in which a policeman died of a heart attack.

The street battles had occured before their UEFA Europa League last 32 second leg tie at the San Mames stadium.

Nine people were arrested following the clashes.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo said two Russian ultras were taken to hospital with injuries, one with stab wounds.

The 2018 World Cup begins on June 14 in Russia and local authorities are putting strict security procedures in place to control hooligans, including Russian fans.

Russia 2018: Amokachi reveals why Super Eagles will win World Cup

Daniel Amokachi, former Super Eagles forward has predicted that Nigeria will win the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Speaking at

Daniel Amokachi, former Super Eagles forward has predicted that Nigeria will win the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Speaking at the partnership signing ceremony between Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, and the Nigerian Breweries, the Benue-born former Everton star said Super Eagles have a very bright chance of lifting the trophy.

Amokachi noted that the level of commitment from the current Super Eagles players was top notch “because they are well bred professional.”

He said, “I am their number one fan. We have a bunch of new generation players who are from the diaspora, who started from academies at early age and played through the ranks to the national team. They understood the game at an early age and that impacted on the team’s performance throughout the qualifiers.

“It is going to be one game at a time. I am happy the focus is not only on the Argentina match as we also have Croatia and Iceland. Croatia are a technical side and Iceland have a disciplined side that hits you after which they will park a bus.

“I was asked in the studio, where I work about the chances of African representatives at the World Cup this year, I was emphatic. I said four teams from Africa would be in the second round, three teams from Africa would be in the quarter final, two in the semi final and one will be in the final. And Nigeria will win the World Cup. That is what I said, that is what I believe. You may have your own belief.”