Rohr Reveals Tactics Against Croatia, Iceland, Argentina

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has revealed that his tactics will depend on what their group opponents will throw at them when the World Cup begins this week. The German has tested out the 3-5-2, 4-1-2-1-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations in recent friendlies and training sessions. ‘’Our offensive is well-known, that’s right. But I think we are already balanced,’’ said Rohr to welt.de. ‘’Our style of play also depends on the opponent. We beat Argentina 4-2 in a friendly in November. It is not just about the results, but also about the appearance of the team. ‘’We want to give a good picture of the African continent – together with Senegal we are the only black African team in the tournament.’’ The Super Eagles will be seeking their first win in their opening game of the World Cup in 20 years when they clash with Croatia on June 16.

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Egypt Fans Pin Hopes On Injured Salah For World Cup Glory

Encircled by expectant cheers of Egyptian fans, Mohamed Salah appeared at the Pharaohs’ final pre-World Cup training session and kindled hopes he can overcome injury to aid Egypt’s first shot at the tournament in nearly three decades. Egyptian national team football player and Liverpool’s star striker Mohamed Salah (C) disembarks from the plane with his team at Grozny International Airport on June 10, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup. Egypt’s national football team will use the Grozny as their base camp. / AFP PHOTO Liverpool’s star striker, who is recovering from a shoulder injury that saw him crash out of the Champions League final, strolled around the Cairo pitch talking to colleagues and supporters, but did not take part in the team’s last late night practice before heading to Russia. Horns blasted, snack-sellers hollered and chants of “Come Salah, Come Salah!” rang through the capital’s stadium, crowded by thousands of fans keen to encourage their team ahead of their first World Cup appearance since 1990. READ ALSO: FIFA World Cup : Team Profile – EGYPT Salah, who hit a stunning 44 goals for Liverpool last season following his move from Roma, is the linchpin of Egyptian hopes in Russia. He has been picked for the World Cup squad despite having been forced out of the Liverpool’s 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in tears clutching his left shoulder. Many of his fans had feared he would miss the World Cup altogether, but his appearance in Cairo has reignited expectations in The Pharaohs’ key striker. “He will participate, God willing, he must,” said Seif Ibrahim, a 24-year-old salesman wearing Salah’s Egypt jersey. Fans screamed in delight when Salah’s name was read out over the loudspeaker, while those able to get to the pitch took selfies with their hero. He gave fans a sliver of hope when he managed to briefly dribble the ball on the corner of the pitch, before returning to the sidelines. “I was so sad, but now I’m happy to see him in real life, and he seems to be doing fine even if he isn’t actually training with the others,” said Nahed Mostafa, 38, who attended the session with her young children. – ‘Historic moment’ – The Pharaohs, record seven-time African champions, have qualified for the World Cup for only the third time. They begin their Russian campaign on June 15 against twice former winners Uruguay. The Egyptian football federation said after Salah’s injury that he could be out for three weeks, meaning he would miss their opening Group A match but could then be available against Russia on June 19 and Saudi Arabia on June 25. Supporters at the Cairo ground, waving the national flag, also yelled enthusiastic approval for the team’s other star players — goalkeeper Essam El Hadary and midfielder Abdallah El Said. Police in riot gear patrolled the stadium, which was filled to around a quarter of its capacity — a rare sight at Egypt’s highly-restricted football grounds. Authorities imposed a ban on fans attending local matches after a 2012 stadium riot in Port Said left 74 people dead. The restriction was partially relaxed earlier this year. “This is an exceptional event because a whole generation has been excluded from stadiums,” said Mostafa Abdallah, a 64-year-old schoolteacher, who wore a checkered shirt and a delighted grin. “I came for this historic moment, and to admire my country’s team.”

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Nadal Eyes 11th French Open As Thiem Shrugs Off Expectations

Rafael Nadal admits that his desire to clinch an 11th French Open title on Sunday is fired by his growing realisation that the end of his career may not be too far away.

The 32-year-old Spaniard, with 16 majors to his name, will play his 24th Grand Slam final at Roland Garros against Dominic Thiem who is in his first.

Victory on Sunday will give Nadal an 11th title in Paris and equal Margaret Court’s all-time record for wins at the same Slam event — in her case, the Australian Open from 1960 and 1973

 

Nadal still trails great rival Roger Federer by four major titles although the Swiss star is more than four years older.

“For me, the motivation to play here always is high, high as possible,” said Nadal after breezing past Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in Friday’s semi-finals in what was his 85th win in Paris against just two defeats.

“But for me, I believe that there are limited chances in your career.

“I have lost a lot of opportunities through injuries, and I know the years are going quick. So there is not 10 more chances to keep playing here.”

The statistics illustrate Nadal’s concerns — he has missed at least eight Slam tournaments in his career through a legacy of wrist and knee problems.

Such is his motivation to win his 17th Grand Slam on Sunday, that the task facing Austrian 24-year-old Thiem was described as “almost impossible” by Del Potro.

“It is almost impossible to beat Rafa,” said Del Potro who had his chances in the semi-final but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into weary hopelessness.

“He’s too strong. He’s improving his backhand a lot. That’s why he’s the No. 1 and beating all the guys.

– ‘He is fresh, healthy. Everything is perfect’ –
“He looks fresh. He is healthy. And the strength that he has and the mentality, everything is perfect, works perfect for him playing on clay.”

There have, however, appeared to be one or two chinks in Nadal’s armour at Roland Garros this year.

On Friday, del Potro was by far the better player in the first set while, in the quarter-finals, Diego Schwartzman won the first set.

It was the first time in three years that Nadal had dropped a set in Paris.

“You can win a set, but not a match against Rafa,” said Del Potro keen not to over-egg any hint of weakness in Nadal’s game.

At least Thiem has in the past found the key to unravelling the Nadal clay court enigma.

He is the only man to beat the world number one on clay in the last two years — in Madrid this spring and in Rome last year.

In Madrid, Thiem thrived in the quicker, higher altitude conditions to win their quarter-final in straight sets.

But that was only after Nadal had allowed him just two games in a last-eight mauling in Monte Carlo.

In Madrid, Thiem said the key was to be positive against Nadal.

“If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid. But I’m also aware that here it’s tougher,” said Thiem, the first Austrian in a major final since Thomas Muster won in Paris in 1995.

“He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure. Best of five is also a different story.

“But I have a plan.”

Nadal and Thiem have met nine times — all of them on clay.

Thiem also defeated his rival in Buenos Aires in 2016, joining Novak Djokovic and Gaston Gaudio as the only men to have beaten Nadal three times on clay.

However, Nadal has won both their clashes at Roland Garros — in 2014 and in last year’s semi-finals by a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 margin.

“I’m facing Rafa so I’m not the one who has the pressure,” said Thiem.

Despite the expectation ahead of the final, the weather may prove the only winner on Sunday with heavy rain and thunder storms expected around 1500 (1300GMT) when the final is due to start.

 

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Czech Republic v Nigeria: Obi Mikel gives reasons for Super Eagles 1-0 loss

Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel has given two reasons the team lost their last friendly game against Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Gernot Rohr’s men finished their warm-up games with three defeats on the board, losing to European opponents Serbia, England and Czech Republic.

Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Czech meant the Eagles will be lacking confidence before their World Cup opener against Croatia next week.

Mikel revealed that their latest defeat was due to two factors, namely the inclement weather during the game and the long journey from their training camp in Bad Tatzmannsdorf to Schwechat.

German-based Nigerian journalist Oma Akatugba, who spoke to Mikel, told allnigeriasoccer.com: ”Mikel complained about the long trip to the stadium and the bad weather.

“It took them one and half hours before they got to the match venue.”

 

The team continued their training on Thursday morning and in the evening.

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Ronaldo cannot block Neymar’s move to Real Madrid – Marcelo

Real Madrid defender, Marcelo has said Neymar will play for the club one day and that Cristiano Ronaldo will not be able to block the transfer.

Neymar has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, while Ronaldo’s future is up in the air.

Marcelo is keen to line up alongside his compatriot at Madrid and he told reporters at Brazil’s training camp: “Cristiano doesn’t own Real Madrid so if the president wants to sign somebody, he will do it.

“If Cristiano stays, does that mean that Neymar can’t come? We all want Ronaldo to stay and Neymar has our doors wide open.

 

“Madrid always have to find the best players and I think Neymar will play for Real Madrid one day.”

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England vs Costa Rica: Rashford, Welbeck seal win for Three Lions

Marcus Rashford scored a stunning effort, as England beat Costa Rica 2-0 in a pre-World Cup friendly at Elland Road on Thursday.

Gareth Southgate made 10 changes from the team that beat the Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 last Saturday.

Rashford unleashed a dipping drive from the right in the 13th minute, that flew past Keylor Navas.

After the break, Jordan Henderson forced a fine save from Navas, before the win was sealed in the 76th minute.

Substitute Danny Welbeck stooped to head in a Dele Alli cross.

 

England start their World Cup Group G campaign in Russia against Tunisia on June 18.

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Nigeria vs Czech Republic: Rohr reacts to Super Eagles’ defeat

Head coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has urged fans not to panic, following their 1-0 loss to Czech Republic on Wednesday, in their final warm-up match before the 2018 World Cup.

It was Nigeria’s second consecutive defeat within four days, following a 2-1 reverse against England last Saturday.

It has led to concerns about how well the Eagles will fare in Russia.

However, Rohr insists there is no cause for alarm and says he is confident the team will be ready for the challenge when the tournament begins.

“I don’t worry about friendly results. We are not ready now for the World Cup but we will be ready in 10 days,” Rohr said after the game.

 

Nigeria will play Croatia in their opening fixture on June 16.

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Transfer News: Liverpool gives Barcelona conditions for selling Salah

Barcelona are considering making a bid for Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah as an alternative to Atletico Madrid forward, Antoine Griezmann.

Spanish publication, AS, claims Salah’s representatives “have offered him to the Catalan side.”

The report adds that there have been “meetings between people of confidence to the player and people from Barça with the objective of assessing a possible move to the Camp Nou.”

It is believed that Liverpool would be willing to sell Salah, but only for more than £100million.

 

Also, the Egyptian winger can only leave, if the Reds succeed in signing Nabil Fekir from Lyon.

French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal v Diego Schwartzman held up by rain

Top seed Rafael Nadal will resume his fight to stay in the French Open on Thursday after his quarter-final against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman was held up by rain.

Nadal, aiming for an 11th French Open title, trails the 11th seed 6-3 3-5.

The Spaniard lost his first set at Roland Garros since 2015 before a one-hour rain delay halted play.

Nadal, 32, fought back when the match resumed but more rain came and it was abandoned for the day at 18:37 BST.

Nadal and Schwartzman will resume a gripping last-eight match at 11:00 BST on Thursday, with the 25-year-old Argentine seeking to become only the third player to beat Nadal in 86 singles matches at the French Open.

Nadal suffered a shock last-16 loss to Sweden’s Robin Soderling in 2009 and, less surprisingly, to then-world number one Novak Djokovic in their 2015 quarter-final.

He also pulled out of the 2016 tournament with a wrist injury before his last-32 match against fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

Wednesday’s other quarter-final was also postponed until 11:00 BST on Thursday because of the rain, with Croatian third seed Marin Cilic and Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro level at 5-5 in a first-set tie-break.

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Kanu Backs Eagles To Shine In Russia

Nigeria legend Nwankwo Kanu is tipping the Super Eagles to impress at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Gernot Rohr’s men have not been at their best recently after a three-game winless run, which saw them lose to both Serbia and England.

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