AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS QUALIFICATION: Road To Cameroon 2022
Catch up on all the action attraction as more countries continue to secure qualification for the African Cup of Nations.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles arrived Porto Novo after completing short boat trip from Lagos ahead of Saturday’s AFCON qualifying fixture against the Squirrels of Benin Republic.
The Nigerian contingent left Lagos on Friday morning through the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) boat jetty in Ikoyi and underwent mandatory Covid-19 testing on arrival at the neighboring West African nation, before heading to their base at the Golden Tulip Le Diplomat hotel.
The Super Eagles had a feel of the game’s venue, the Stade Charles de Gaulle on Friday evening, but were left fuming after having to train under partial darkness due to a lack of electricity in the stadium.
Coach Gernot Rohr however revealed that all of his invited twenty-four players are healthy and raring to go in Saturday’s clash against the Squirrels.
“It was a very special journey, it was nice but it was not easy, we had some little problems but we arrived well and even if it was late we could do a training session,”said Rohr after Friday evening’s workout.
Nigeria, who sit top of Group L with eight points from five games, will secure qualification to compete at Africa’s most prestigious football showpiece in Cameroon next year if they avoid defeat against second-placed Benin in the game which kicks off at 17:00 local time on Saturday.
Coach Michel Dussuyer’s team will hope to preserve their eight-year long run without a home defeat but will have to make do without the services of experienced former West Brom and Sunderland attacking midfielder Stephane Sessegnon after naming him as only “a special guest” for the encounter.
The reverse fixture in Nigeria ended 2-1 in favour of the Super Eagles, with goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu completing a 2-1 comeback win.
WHO HAS QUALIFIED?
Comoros caught the eye by overcoming more established opposition; Togo and Kenya in Group G to qualify for the African Cup of Nations for the first time in their history.
The island nation secured qualification after forcing Togo’s Hawks to a goalless draw on Thursday, winning the crucial one point required to see them through.
The continent’s most successful team Egypt have also qualified from the group after playing out a 1-1 draw against Kenya in Nairobi.
FULL LIST OF QUALIFIED TEAMS FOR AFCON 2022
- Cameroon (Host nation)
- Burkina Faso
- Equatorial Guinea
EUROPE: ROAD TO QATAR 2022
Zlatan Assist Inspires Sweden To Win On Return
Zlatan Ibrahimović made history by becoming the oldest player to represent Sweden after turning out for the team for the first time in five years, in their 1-0 win over Georgia on Thursday.
The 39-year-old AC Milan striker provided the assist for Viktor Claesson to score the game’s only goal but could not get in the act himself as the Swedes started their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign on a winning note.
“It felt good. It felt like it was my first international match. It was a lot of adrenaline,” Ibrahimovic told Sverige Radio.
“I think I could have done a lot more, but we won the match, and that is the most important thing,” he added.
Germany started their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign on a winning note after a comfortable 3-0 triumph over Iceland.
The four-time world champions raced to a two goal lead inside the opening seven minutes courtesy of goals from Leon Goretzka and Kai Havertz, before Ilkay Gundogan added a third in the 56th minute.
“It wasn’t our most incredible performance, but it was very important to make a positive start to the new year and that’s what we’ve done tonight,” said Germany manager Joachim Low after the game.
“We knew they’d sit deep and we knew we were going to have to force them to move in order to create space. I think we did that really well for at least 60 minutes.”
Germany have also cap tied 18-year-old Bayern Munich forward Jamal Musiala, following the announcement of his decision last month to represent the country of his birth and not England.
Die Mannschaft will visit Romania in their next Group J match on Sunday while Iceland are away to Armenia.
The Netherlands were treated to a shocker by Turkey as their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign kicked off on a losing note.
A Burak Yilmaz hattrick and another from Hakan Calhanoglu saw Turkey’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification campaign off to a flying start with a resounding 4-2 victory over the Netherlands at the Atatürk Olympic stadium in Istanbul.
There were also wins for England, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark as Spain and Scotland were held to a draw by Greece and Austria respectively.
Full Time Results
THURSDAY 25TH MARCH
- Bulgaria 1-3 Switzerland
- Israel 0-2 Denmark
- Andorra 0-1 Albania
- England 5-0 San Marino
- Germany 3-0 Iceland
- Hungary 3-3 Poland
- Italy 2-0 Northern Ireland
- Lichesteiner 0-1 Armenia
- Moldova 1-1 Faroe Island
- Romania 3-2 North Macedonia
- Scotland 2-2 Austria
- Spain 1-1 Greece
- Sweden 1-0 Georgia
WEDNESDAY 24TH MARCH
- Turkey 4-2 Netherlands
- Belgium 3-1 Wales
- Cyprus 0-0 Slovakia
- Estonia 2-6 Czech Republic
- Finland 2-2 Bosnia & Herzegovina
- France 1-1 Ukraine
- Gibraltar 0-3 Norway
- Latvia 1-2 Montenegro
- Malta 1-3 Russia
- Portugal 1-0 Azerbaijan
- Serbia 3-2 Republic Of Ireland
- Slovenia 1-0 Croatia
- Chelsea are considering a move for Romelu Lukaku, should they fail with an ambitious bid to land 20-year-old Norwegian hitman, Erling Braut Haaland in the summer, according to the Telegraph.
- Manchester City are also interested in Lukaku, who has scored 59 goals in 85 appearances for Inter Milan, according to Calciomercato sport via Manchester Evening News.
- Haaland’s transfer fee this summer has been set by Borussia Dortmund with interested clubs needing £154m in order to have a chance of signing the striker, according to ESPN.
- Senegal striker Sadio Mane, 28, has dropped a huge hint that he intends to stay at Liverpool – even if Jurgen Klopp’s side fail to make next season’s Champions League, according to the Sun.
- Sevilla and Roma are interested in Arsenal and France forward Alexandre Lacazette, according to ESPN.
- Paris St-Germain are hopeful that Brazil forward Neymar, 29, will sign a four-year contract extension, but Kylian Mbappe’s future is uncertain. The France forward, 22, is out of contract in 2022, according to Marca.
- Manchester United are open to a return this summer for 28-year-old England midfielder Jesse Lingard, who is currently on loan at West Ham – and there could be talks over a contract extension, according to the Sun.
- Manchester United have made an approach to sign Atletico Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente, 26, for £68.5m, according to AS.
- Liverpool manager Klopp has made one final plea to the club’s owners to come to an agreement with Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, 30, over a new contract, according to 90min.
- The Reds are also leading AC Milan and Juventus in the race to sign PSV’s Dutch striker Donyell Malen, 22, this summer, according to Gazetta dello Sport, via Mail.
- Arsenal are the favourites to sign Real Betis forward Nabil Fekir. The Frenchman, 27, has also been linked with Liverpool and Barcelona, according to Tuttomercato Sport.
- AC Milan will “do everything” to sign 23-year-old English defender Fikayo Tomori permanently from Chelsea, says honorary vice-president Franco Baresi, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, via Standard.
- Newcastle United’s Paraguay midfielder Miguel Almiron, 27, has admitted he would like to ‘play in a team that fights more’ amid speculation over his future on Tyneside, according to the Chronicle.
ENGLAND: EVERTON GET GOVERNMENT APPROVAL FOR BROMLEY-MOORE DOCK SITE
Everton’s 25-year search for a new home ground will be coming to an end following an announcement by the club that they have been granted final approval by the UK Government to carry on with plans for a new 52,000 capacity stadium at the Bramley-Moore Dock site located on the Liverpool waterfronts.
The Toffees, who have played at Goodison Park since 1892, have described it as a “momentous day” in their 143-year history.
Former Arsenal, Barcelona and France striker Thierry Henry has deleted his social media accounts in protest against racism and bullying across various platforms.
Henry wrote on his personal Twitter handle:
“it is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous,” tweeted the Frenchman. The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore”Thierry Henry
The 43-year-old has vowed not to return to social media until companies “regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright”.