Salah ‘Almost 100%’ Certain To Play In Egypt Opener, Coach Says

Egypt coach Hector Cuper said that star striker Mohamed Salah has recovered from his shoulder injury and will almost certainly play in their World Cup opener against Uruguay on Friday.

Salah’s return is a massive boost for Egypt and for the tournament in Russia because it means one of the hottest players on the planet at the moment will be in action.

“We still have to see how training goes today, but I can almost assure you 100 per cent that he’ll play, we are all very optimistic that he will be on the pitch,” Cuper said on Thursday, shortly before leading out his squad for training at Yekaterinburg Arena — with Salah among them.

The 62-year-old Argentine Cuper added: “Salah is very good and he’s recovered very quickly.”

Salah, who sustained the injury in Liverpool’s Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on May 26, is crucial to Egypt’s hopes of making it out of a weak-looking Group A also featuring hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Egypt play Uruguay — tipped by some to be dark horses — in just the second game of the tournament, following Russia against Saudi Arabia in the opening match later Thursday.

Salah was one of the outstanding players in the world this season as he helped propel Liverpool to the Champions League final.

But his World Cup dream was left on the brink when he exited the Champions League final three weeks ago in tears after Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos wrestled him to the ground.

Salah, who turns 26 on the day of the game, gave 100 million frantic Egyptians a huge lift on Wednesday when he joined a squad training session at their Grozny base.

And Cuper hinted on Thursday that it was the player who had the final decision whether to play.

“Doctors are giving him the option,” said Cuper.

“If he does decide to play he will have full guarantee (about his condition) and I am sure that he will be fine.

“If we see at the last minute that there is an issue then we will see if it can be resolved, but certainly he does not feel afraid.”

Cuper has attempted to dismiss the notion that Egypt are a one-man side, but with 44 goals in all competitions this season for Liverpool, Salah’s badly timed injury had become a national obsession back home and made global headlines.

Salah is regarded as a contender for the Ballon d’Or for his spectacular debut season at Anfield, alongside Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar of Brazil.

Egypt, a no-frills side who play on the counterattack under the wily Cuper, face hosts Russia on Tuesday and the Saudis on June 25 in their last group game.

AFP

ISIS Terrorists Hints Attack On World Cup in Russia

ISIS Terrorists  have not just hinted their intentions to attack at the coming World Cup in Moscow, Russia, the group has urged supporters to launch attacks.

The 2018 World Cup, which kicks off on June 14 in Moscow, Russia.

The terror group made the chilling threat in a new poster released by a French ISIS-linked group, according to SITE Intelligence, which monitors terror activity.

They wrote in French on the poster translated as ‘Kill them all’.

Back in April, ISIS also released a poster which warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will ‘pay the price for killing Muslims’.

They wrote: ‘Russia 2018. Putin you disbeliever. You will pay the price for killing Muslims.’

Babangida: Super Eagles Must Remain Humble Ahead Russia 2018

Former Super Eagles winger Tijani Babangida has advised the team to remain humble ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia following Friday’s 1-0 win against Poland.

The three-time African champions edged out the Poles 1-0 at the Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw with Victor Moses scoring the winner from the spot in the 61st minute.

The victory followed November’s 4-2 impressive win against two-time world champions Argentina which saw the Super Eagles come from a two-goal deficit to emerge winners.

Despite the recent success achieved by the team, handler of the team, Gernot Rohr has warned the players against over optimism ahead of the finals an opinion shared by Babangida.

“I would advice that we must not put too much pressure on the team ahead of the World Cup. It is also important for the players not to raise the bar too high,” Babangida, a member of Super Eagles side to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.

 

“It is good when you do well and win in friendly games before a major tournament like the World Cup but it is also important to be cautious because things will be different in competitive games.

“I like the fact that we are playing these friendlies against top quality sides which is good for our preparations for the World Cup.

“I hope we get things right at the World Cup and surpass our previous achievements in the competition.”

Poland To Launch New World Cup Kit With Super Eagles Friendly

Poland will launch their World Cup kit during their friendly with Nigeria in Wroclaw on Friday.

The new Nike jerseys were officially presented on Wednesday in Wroclaw, while the players will on Thursday take part in a photo session in their World Cup suits, Polskie Radio reported on Wednesday.


According to the Polish outlet, the new jerseys will be first worn in Friday’s World Cup friendly against the Super Eagles in Wroclaw and four days later against South Korea in Chorzów.

The new jerseys, one predominantly red, the other mostly white, were presented in one of Wrocław’s shopping centres by national team stars Łukasz Piszczek and Piotr Zieliński in an unannounced event that surprised fans.

Polish FA spokesman Jakub Planckowski told Polskie Radio that the players are happy with the new jerseys which they noticed are lighter and more comfortable than the previous ones.

Poland are using the Nigeria friendly to have a feel of African opposition ahead of their Russia 2018 group clash with Senegal.

The Super Eagles will face Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D at the World Cup.

Nigeria Foes Croatia Choose Anfield For World Cup Friendly Vs Brazil

 

Nigeria’s Russia 2018 World Cup group opponents Croatia have picked Liverpool’s home ground Anfield as venue for their international friendly fixture against five-time world champions Brazil scheduled for June.

Officials of the Croatia Football Federation and their Brazilian counterparts agreed on the date for the friendly towards the end of last year with Stamford Bridge, home of English Premier League champions Chelsea, and Anfield proposed as venue for the game.

According to a report in Croatian online news hub, Sportske. jutarnji.hr, the two federations have now agreed for the game to be held in Anfield.

The Croats who have a South American team, Argentina in their group will use the game to test strategy ahead of their game against the Albiceleste who they will face in their second group game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Croatia will face the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their opening fixture at the global fiesta on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will run from June 14 to July 15 in Russia.

2018 World Cup Fixtures, Including Dates, Kick-Off Times & Venues

The complete fixture list for the 2018 World Cup in Russia following Friday’s draw in Moscow (all times GMT):

Thursday, June 14

(1500) Russia v Saudi Arabia, Moscow (Luzhniki)

Friday, June 15

(1200) Egypt v Uruguay, Yekaterinburg

(1500) Morocco v Iran, Saint Petersburg

(1800) Portugal v Spain, Sochi

Saturday, June 16

(1000) France v Australia, Kazan

(1300) Argentina v Iceland, Moscow (Spartak)

(1600) Peru v Denmark, Saransk

(1900) Croatia v Nigeria, Kaliningrad

Sunday, June 17

(1200) Costa Rica v Serbia, Samara

(1500) Germany v Mexico, Moscow (Luzhniki)

(1800) Brazil v Switzerland, Rostov-on-Don

Monday, June 18

(1200) Sweden v South Korea, Nizhni Novgorod

(1500) Belgium v Panama, Sochi

(1800) Tunisia v England, Volgograd

Tuesday, June 19

(1200) Poland v Senegal, Moscow (Spartak)

(1500) Colombia v Japan, Saransk

(1800) Russia v Egypt, Saint Petersburg

Wednesday, June 20

(1200) Portugal v Morocco, Moscow (Luzhniki)

(1500) Uruguay v Saudi Arabia, Rostov-on-Don

(1800) Iran v Spain, Kazan

Thursday, June 21

(1200) France v Peru, Yekaterinburg

(1500) Denmark v Australia, Samara

(1800) Argentina v Croatia, Nizhni Novgorod

Friday, June 22

(1200) Brazil v Costa Rica, Saint Petersburg

(1500) Nigeria v Iceland, Volgograd

(1800) Serbia v Switzerland, Kaliningrad

Saturday, June 23

(1200) Belgium v Tunisia, Moscow (Spartak)

(1500) Germany v Sweden, Sochi

(1800) South Korea v Mexico, Rostov-on-Don

Sunday, June 24

(1200) England v Panama, Nizhni Novgorod

(1500) Japan v Senegal, Yekaterinburg

(1800) Poland v Colombia, Kazan

Monday, June 25

(1400) Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Volgograd

(1400) Uruguay v Russia, Samara

(1800) Spain v Morocco, Kaliningrad

(1800) Iran v Portugal, Saransk

Tuesday, June 26

(1400) Denmark v France, Moscow (Luzhniki)

(1400) Australia v Peru, Sochi

(1800) Nigeria v Argentina, Saint Petersburg

(1800) Iceland v Croatia, Rostov-on-Don

Wednesday, June 27

(1400) South Korea v Germany, Kazan

(1400) Mexico v Sweden, Yekaterinburg

(1800) Serbia v Brazil, Moscow (Spartak)

(1800) Switzerland v Costa Rica, Nizhni Novgorod

Thursday, June 28

(1400) Japan v Poland, Volgograd

(1400) Senegal v Colombia, Samara

(1800) England v Belgium, Kaliningrad

(1800) Panama v Tunisia, Saransk

Saturday, June 30

Round of 16

(1400) Group C winners v Group D runners-up, Kazan (R1)

(1800) Group A winners v Group B runners-up, Sochi (R2)

Sunday, July 1

Round of 16

(1400) Group B winners v Group A runners-up, Moscow (Luzhniki) (R5)

(1800) Group D winners v Group C runners-up, Nizhni Novgorod (R6)

Monday, July 2

Round of 16

(1400) Group E winners v Group F runners-up, Samara (R3)

(1800) Group G winners v Group H runners-up, Rostov-on-Don (R4)

Tuesday, July 3

Round of 16

(1400) Group F winners v Group E runners-up, Saint Petersburg (R7)

(1800) Group H winners v Group G runners-up, Moscow (Spartak) (R8)

Friday, July 6

Quarter-finals

(1400) Winner of R1 v Winner of R2, Nizhni Novgorod (Q1)

(1800) Winner of R3 v Winner of R4, Kazan (Q2)

Saturday, July 7

Quarter-finals

(1400) Winner of R7 v Winner of R8, Samara (Q3)

(1800) Winner of R5 v Winner of R6, Sochi (Q4)

Tuesday, July 10

Semi-final

(1800) Winners of Q1 v Winners of Q2, Saint Petersburg

Wednesday, July 11

Semi-final

(1800) Winners of Q3 v Winners of Q4, Moscow (Luzhniki)

Saturday, July 14

(1400) Third-place play-off, Saint Petersburg

Sunday, July 15

(1500) Final, Moscow (Luzhniki)

Rohr: First Game Vs Croatia Crucial; Eagles Will Make Nigerians Happy

Technical Adiviser of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr has run the rule over Nigeria’s Group D opponents at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia and revealed that the team will have a good start to the competition if they get a favourable result against Croatia in the opening match on June 16, 2018.

Speaking moments after the draw were conducted at the Kremlin Palace here in Moscow on Friday, Rohr also said he is wary of ‘dark-horses’ Iceland and South American powerhouse Argentina but will pay special attention to the Europeans.

“The first game (against Croatia) is the most important because you need to start well for your confidence,” Rohr said.
“Croatia are better ranked than us by FIFA so we are supposed to be the weakest team in the group. If we win the first game, it will help us against Iceland in the second game because we will not be under pressure.”

The German also called for quick and efficient planning and preparation as the Super Eagles will be playing their three games in different parts of the Russian Federation which are very far from each other.

He said: “Our first game is in Kaliningrad which is in the western part of the country. Then we travel to Volgograd in Central Russia to face Iceland before goint to St Petersburg for the final game against Argentina. All of these require planning and preparations.”

Rorh was also full of praises for his young team which he said was getting better with each passing game.

“We have a young team. We are getting better so we will be humble and continue to work hard in other to bring happiness to the Nigerian people,” he added.

Russia Prepares For 2018 World Cup Draw

A rehearsal for the FIFA soccer World Cup draw was held in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday.

Teams were drawn by the likes of former Uruguayan player Diego Forlan ahead of the official draw ceremony on Friday (December 1).

Russia, competing both as Russia and the Soviet Union, has made 10 World Cup appearances and will host the tournament for the first time next June and July.

In their three appearances since the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1994, 2002 and 2014, Russia have failed to reach the knockout stage. Doing so on home turf at the 2018 tournament would represent a significant accomplishment for Stanislav Cherchesov’s side.

Reuters