Archive | June 2016

Hulk completes Shanghai switch….

Hulk

AFP are reporting that Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk has completed his record £41.5m move to Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG.

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Maradona urges Messi to continue with Argentina….

Messi looks distraught

Lionel Messi has been urged to reconsider his international retirement by Argentina legend Diego Maradona and the country’s president. The forward, 29, quit after missing in a penalty shootout as Argentina were beaten by Chile in the Copa America – a fourth major final loss in nine years. “Those saying he should quit don’t want us to see what a disaster Argentinean football has become,” Maradona told La Nacion newspaper. “Messi must go on.” Maradona, who captained Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and managed the team at the 2010 World Cup, added: “Messi has to stay because he will reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia in conditions to become world champion. “The lads have to be supported more to help him take the team forward.” Messi said after Sunday’s defeat that for him, the national team was “over” and that “it hurts not to be a champion”.

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Sadio Mane joins Liverpool….

Sadio Mane

Liverpool have signed Senegal forward Sadio Mane from Southampton for £34m. Mane, 24, joins on a five-year deal and is the Reds’ third summer signing after German goalkeeper Loris Karius and Cameroon defender Joel Matip. The fee could rise to £36m, which would make him the Anfield club’s most expensive signing, beating the £35m paid for striker Andy Carroll in 2011. Mane scored 21 goals in 67 Premier League appearances for Saints after joining for £10m from Salzburg in 2014. “Today is a big day and I am very happy to sign for one of the biggest clubs in Europe,” he told the club’s official website. “It’s a club that has won a lot of trophies and has a big history.” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed he had been tracking Mane “since his impressive performances in the Olympics in 2012”. “Since I came here I have spoken to the staff a lot about him and have always felt he could be a very good signing for us,” the 49-year-old German added. Mane becomes the most expensive African player in history, with his transfer topping the £28m Manchester City paid Swansea City for Wilfried Bony in January 2015. He is the fifth player to make the switch from St Mary’s to Anfield since the summer of 2014 – following Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert – now at West Brom – Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne.

Vincenzo Montella is AC Milan’s new coach….

Vincenzo Montella

AC Milan have named former Sampdoria boss Vincenzo Montella as their new head coach on a two-year contract. The 42-year-old will take over from Cristian Brocchi, who was acting as caretaker boss following Sinisa Mihajlovic’s sacking in April. Milan finished seventh in Serie A last season and lost to Juventus in the Italian Cup final. The San Siro club said it was looking forward to “the brilliant system of play of the new Rossoneri coach”. Former Italy striker Montella has also managed Catania and Fiorentina, following a playing career spent mainly with Roma and Sampdoria.

Fuchs quits international football….

Christian Fuchs

Leicester defender Christian Fuchs, the Austria captain at Euro 2016, has announced his retirement from international football. Fuchs, 30, made his debut in 2006 and earned 78 caps for his country, but the Austrians failed to progress beyond the group phase in France.

Commotion in Trans Amadi Port Harcourt as Rivers Government agents strike….

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This was sent in by a reader who witnessed the happenings:

Please hide my ID and post. This is happened a few minutes ago at Trans Amadi area of Port Harcourt precisely in front of Halliburton and Schlumberger companies. Both companies (and many others around) did interlocking floors at the front of their offices where staff and visitors park their vehicles. This morning, some agents of Rivers State government with up to 15 vehicles written Park Control on them stormed Schlumeberger first and started towing cars of workers who were inside their offices in commando style. They later came up to the Halliburton end where they were promptly resisted by Halliburton staff with the company’s Mopol team which led to the commotion you can see from the pictures. They said Halliburton has to pay N41 million before they can use their front space for parking.

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Euro 2016 Quarterfinal fixtures….

Thursday 30th June, 2016:

Poland vs Portugal 8pm

Friday 1st July, 2016:

Wales vs Belgium 8pm

Saturday 2nd July, 2016:

Germany vs Italy 8pm

Sunday 3rd July, 2016:

France vs Iceland 8pm

*Time = Nigerian (GMT + 1)

Euro 2016 round of 16 results….

Saturday 25th June, 2016:

Switzerland 1 – 1 Poland (Poland won 5 – 4 on PSO)

Wales 1 – 0 Northern Ireland

Croatia 0 – 1 Portugal (AET)

Sunday 26th June, 2016:

France 2 – 1 Ireland

Germany 3 – 0 Slovakia

Hungary 0 – 4 Belgium

Monday 27th June, 2016:

Italy 2 – 0 Spain

England 1 -2 Iceland

Roy Hodgson resigns as England manager….

Roy Hodgson has resigned as England manager after his side suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by Iceland to crash out of Euro 2016 at the last-16 stage. The 68-year-old had been in charge for four years after replacing Italian Fabio Capello but has won just three of 11 games in major tournament finals. Iceland – with a population of just 330,000 – were among the lowest-ranked teams in France at 34 in the world. “I’m sorry it will have to end this way but these things happen,” Hodgson said. “Now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of a hungry and extremely talented group of players. “They have done fantastically and done everything asked of them. I hope you will still be able to see an England team in a final of a major tournament soon.” Hodgson, who won 33 of his 56 games as England boss, would have been out of contract at the end of the tournament. The former Liverpool and West Brom boss was due to discuss a possible contract renewal but Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said he would only stay on if England “do well” in France.

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Blanc leaves PSG….

Ligue 1 winners Paris Saint-Germain have parted company with boss Laurent Blanc after three seasons. Blanc won 11 trophies in his three seasons in charge of Paris Saint-Germain. However, his failure to get the club past the quarter-final stage of the Champions League has seen the French club part ways with the World Cup winner. PSG said in a statement that Blanc’s departure was handled in “a serene atmosphere”.

Lionel Messi retires from international football….

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international duty after missing in a penalty shootout as Argentina lost a fourth major final in nine years. “It’s not meant for me. For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said after defeat by Chile at the Copa America. With Barcelona, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues. But his only major international honour is 2008 Olympic gold. Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final by Germany before two Copa America final defeats by Chile on penalties. Messi was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final. “It’s been four finals, I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over,” he added. “I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, and then for everyone. I think there’s a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it. “It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.”

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Madagascar stadium blast kills two….

Wounded are treated at a hospital in Antananarivo

A grenade explosion has killed at least two people during Madagascar’s national day celebrations in the capital Antananarivo, officials say. About 80 people were wounded in the blast at a stadium, general Anthony Rakotoarison told AFP news agency. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina said it was a “terrorist act”, and blamed it on “political divergences”. The situation remains fragile in the country, with supporters and opponents of the president at loggerheads. The blast happened during a free concert at the Mahamasina stadium. A military parade had been held there earlier. It was not immediately clear who or what was behind the explosion.

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Ikem “Potential” Udeh to host novelty match in Enugu….

Enugu, the ancient coal city of Nigeria, would on 30th July, 2016 play host to a huge novelty football game. This game would see the Ex Udoji United players come up against Ex Nigeria Internationals and this is in hour of the dead Ex Udoji Players like Charles “Charlie Parker” Nduka, Kalu Umah and Herbert “Alibosa” Anijekwu. The match is billed for Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu, a great cathedral of football in Nigeria and would feature Ex Udoji players like Ikem “Potential Ayaya” Udeh (the convener), Coach John Obuh, Chukwu Ndukwe and Adolphus “Careca” Ofodile. It would also feature Ex Nigeria Internationals like Emma “JJ” Okocha, Precious Monye Onyeabor and Austin “JayJay” Okocha. There would be raffle draws with a car for the taking. This is a commendable project as the proceeds would be used to aid the widows and families of the fallen Udoji FC heroes and as such, Naija Sports Crib is lending her voice to it.

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Nigeria release provisional Olympic squad….

Image result for pic of super eagles

Nigeria have named Kelechi Iheanacho alongside John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo in their provisional 35-man squad for this summer’s Olympic Games, despite opposition from Manchester City. The Premier League club are yet to decide whether to release the teenage forward for the tournament, and it is reported he has agreed to stay with City in an effort to impress new manager Pep Guardiola during preseason. The Olympics takes place from Aug. 4 to 20, meaning Iheanacho would miss a substantial amount of City’s preseason schedule and even the start of the Premier League season should Nigeria reach the latter stages. But Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia is holding out hope, and has listed him in his provisional squad.

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Russia 2018: Nigeria gets tough draw….

Nigeria celebrate

Three of the five African teams at the 2014 World Cup have been drawn in the same group to qualify for the 2018 edition. Only one of Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria will play at the next tournament in Russia after the Confederation of African Football made the draw for five qualifying groups on Friday. The three traditional powers were grouped with Zambia. Just the group winners in all of five four-team pools will advance to the 32-team tournament in Russia.

Group A: Tunisia, Libya, DR Congo, Guinea

Group B: Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria, Nigeria

Group C: Gabon, Mali, Ivory Coast, Morocco

Group D: Senegal, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde

Group E: Ghana, Egypt, Congo, Uganda

Euro 2016 Round of 16 fixtures….

Saturday 25th June, 2016:

Switzerland vs Poland 2pm

Wales vs Northern Ireland 5pm

Croatia vs Portugal 8pm

Sunday 26th June, 2016:

France vs Ireland 2pm

Germany vs Slovakia 5pm

Hungary vs Belgium 8pm

Monday 27th June, 2016:

Italy vs Spain 5pm

England vs Iceland 8pm

*Time = Nigerian time (GMT+1)

Messi breaks record as Argentina reach Copa America final….

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi became Argentina’s leading scorer with a superb free-kick as they beat hosts the USA 4-0 reach Sunday’s Copa America final. The Barcelona forward, 28, passed Gabriel Batistuta’s 54-goal tally with a 25-yard strike. Messi provided the assist for Ezequiel Lavezzi’s opener, then scored his stunner before Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain fired in to make it 3-0. Higuain scored with a tap-in in the 85th minute to complete the rout. “I am happy to have surpassed Batistuta’s record and I want to thank my team-mates, it’s theirs as well,” said Messi, who turns 29 on Friday.

Ezequiel Lavezzi tumbles and fractures elbow….

Lavezzi

Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi will miss Sunday’s Copa America final against Colombia or reigning champions Chile, because he fractured his left elbow after tumbling over the advertising boards. The incident happened in the second half when the former Paris St-Germain player fell over backwards, trying to control a pass with his chest.

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Messi equals Batistuta’s Argentina goals record….

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Lionel Messi scored a record-equalling 54th international goal as Argentina beat Venezuela 4-1 to reach the Copa America semi-finals. Messi’s fourth goal of the tournament puts him level with Gabriel Batistuta. The Barcelona forward, 28, also created goals for Gonzalo Higuain, who scored twice, and Erik Lamela to set up a last-four meeting with hosts USA. Holders Chile will face Colombia in the other semi-final after inflicting a record 7-0 defeat on Mexico. Four goals for Eduardo Vargas helped Chile top Mexico’s previous record loss at a major tournament – a 6-0 defeat by West Germany in the 1978 World Cup. Edson Puch also scored twice for the defending champions, with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez completing the rout. The competition’s centenary edition gives Argentina, also runners-up in the 2014 World Cup, a chance to avenge last year’s final loss and win a first trophy in 23 years. “For us to be back in another semi-final of a big tournament like this one is a great achievement for these players,” said Messi. “I’m happy for what it means and it’s nice to be next to ‘Batigol’ [Batistuta], but for me the most important thing is the result.”

Ibrahimovic named in Sweden’s provisional Olympic squad….

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been named in his country’s provisional 35-man squad for the Olympic Games. The 34-year-old, who is currently at Euro 2016, has said he will not make a decision on his participation until after the competition is over. Hakan Ericson – Sweden’s coach at the Rio Games – said he wants to keep the chance Ibrahimovic will compete “open” but admitted his “hopes are not huge”. The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and AC Milan striker ended his four-year stay at Paris St-Germain at the end of the season. He has remained quiet on his future but speculation on a link-up with his former Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford has been widespread. Ibrahimovic – who created Sweden’s goal in their opening draw with Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016 – has scored 62 goals in 114 appearances for his country. Ericson has said it would be “fantastic” to have Ibrahimovic at his disposal at the Games and Sweden will select their final 18-man squad next month. They have been drawn against Colombia, Nigeria and Japan at the Olympics. The men’s football tournament – won by Mexico at London 2012 – begins on 3 August in Brazil, two days before the official Olympic opening ceremony.