Tunisia out of World Cup despite stunning win over defending champs France

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is full of surprises. After Argentina and Germany, 2018 World Cup champions France suffered a massive defeat in their Group D clash against Tunisia. As a result, France were beaten in a World Cup match for the first time since the 2014 quarter-final (0-1 v Germany), ending a run of nine games without defeat.

The match started with France making nine changes, with the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Kingsley Coman and Jordan Veretout given chances to shine. France was quickly down on the backfoot as the Tunisian players took advantage of the low chemistry of the French team. They attacked relentlessly and came quite close to beating the French defence.

The match’s turning point came in the 58th minute when Wahbi Khazri, Tunisia’s star striker, cut through the French defence to land the ball into the net. The goal shocked the entire French team. However, they tried to make a comeback by bringing their first-choice players, including Rafael Varane, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Greizmann and Ousmane Dembele.

With the clock ticking towards the ninth minute of added-on time, Griezmann looked like he’d broken Tunisian hearts by firing in a loose ball in the box. However, a VAR review was eventually triggered, and the referee was ordered to the pitchside screen to review Griezmann being two yards offside from the original ball.

With this ruled-out goal, Tunisia had one of their most famous World Cup wins. But the FIFA #30 ranked team crashed out of the tournament as Australia defeated Denmark and occupied the second qualifying spot in Group D.

Cristiano Ronaldo offered a huge “£173million-a-year” deal by Saudi’s Al Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be making headlines every day. After having a controversial goal denied against Uruguay in their World Cup clash, the former Manchester United attacker is in the news again. As per reports, Ronaldo has accepted Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr’s two-and-a-half year deal for £173million-a-year.

Spanish publication Marca report he has accepted a two-and-a-half-year deal with Saudi side Al Nassr. This deal which excludes bonuses and incentives, would see Ronaldo eclipse PSG’s star man Kylian Mbappe and become the costliest signing of all time.

With him being in his late 30s, Ronaldo is seeing very little interest from European clubs. Earlier, Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn had denied the reports suggesting that the club is interested in signing Ronaldo.

Ronaldo is yet to respond to Al-Nassr’s proposal, but his desire to continue competing at the highest level was clear in his interview with British journalist Piers Morgan.  Besides Al Nassr, Newcastle United and Chelsea had shown some interest in signing the superstar. Now only time will tell which club signs the superstar.

Stephanie Frappart to become first women referee at a men’s World Cup game

On Thursday, when Germany and Costa Rica take to the field for their World Cup clash, the attention will be on Stephanie Frappart, the official referee for the match. Frappart will be the first women referee to officiate in a men’s World Cup game.

France’s Stephanie Frappart is one of three women referees among the 36 selected for the tournament in Qatar, alongside Rwandan official Salima Mukansanga and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita. Additionally, three female referees have travelled to Qatar as assistant referees.

Frappart is no stranger to big games. She was the first woman to referee in France’s Ligue 1 in 2019, the same year she took charge of the women’s World Cup final in her home country.

Frappart also officiated the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea before refereeing the Champions League in 2020 and the French Cup final last season.

Ronaldo to exit Man United

“Bayern will not sign Ronaldo”, says CEO Oliver Kahn

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich’s Chief Executive Officer Oliver Kahn has announced that his team will not be signing Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. This comes after several rumours surfaced that the German club will be signing the former Manchester United player since their latest signing, Sadio Mane, didn’t live up to the expectations.

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn announced, “I can rule out a move for Ronaldo. We’ve considered it, we all love Ronaldo, but the strategy is different.” He further said, “We’ve a clear idea, philosophy of how our squad should be put together.”

After weeks of drama, the former Manchester United attacker recently mutually decided to part ways with the club. The G.O.A.T. is currently without any club. However, there were many reports suggesting that he has got a mammoth $225 million offer from Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr. The deal will see Ronaldo bag a whopping $75 million deal in his late 30s.

Cameroon’s Onana suspended from the national team following ‘disciplinary reasons’

Cameroon’s first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana has been suspended from the national team due to disciplinary reasons, the country’s federation (FECAFOOT) said after he was left out of the squad for their clash against Serbia at the FIFA World Cup.

The official statement from FECAFOOT said, “The Cameroon Football Federation hereby informs the public that following Mr. Rigobert Song Bahanag’s decision, head coach of the Indomitable Lions, the player Andre Onana has been temporarily suspended from the group for disciplinary reasons.”

The statement further stated, “The Cameroon Football Federation reiterates its full support to the head coach and his entire staff as they implement the federation’s policy aimed at preserving discipline, solidarity, complementarity, and cohesion within the national team. FECAFOOT further reaffirms its commitment to create a peaceful atmosphere for the team and to provide them with adequate facilities for an outstanding performance.”

Devis Epassy played in the absence of Onana in their Group G clash against Serbia, which ended in a draw with 3 goals scored from both sides. 

Ruturaj Gaikwad creates history in Vijay Hazare Trophy; smashes 7 sixes in one over

Ruturaj Gaikwad has etched his name into cricket’s history books. The right-handed batter has become the first man to hit seven sixes in one over of List-A cricket.

Gaikwad, 25, achieved the feat in the 49th over of the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal clash between Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The opener smashed four consecutive sixes off the first four deliveries of Shiva Singh. The fifth delivery, a no-ball, also went over the boundary ropes. The batter hit the last two legal deliveries also for maximums totalling 43 runs off one over, the joint-most expensive over in List A cricket history.

Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 220 runs off 159 deliveries with 10 boundaries and 16 maximums, helping his team score 330 for the loss of 5 wickets in their allotted 50 overs.

Belgium loses to Morocco

Morocco shocks Belgium thanks to Sabiri & Aboukhlal’s goals

Belgium who was considered one of the favourites for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Morocco. The second-ranked football team was outclassed by Hakim Ziyech’s team 2-0 thanks to the two second-half goals scored by Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal.

The match started with both teams attacking consistently to get the lead. Morocco, however, got the better of the Belgian defence. In the 47th minute of the first half, Hakim Ziyech, the star winger of Morocco, scored a fantabulous goal before the stroke of the whistle. But the goal was ruled out as VAR called it offside.

This didn’t deter the confidence of the Moroccan team as they continued to keep possession of the ball and take shots at the target. In the 74th minute, the Moroccans breached past the Belgium defence. Abdelhamid Sabiri scored a carbon-copy free-kick to Ziyech’s earlier ruled-out goal. The Belgians were left shocked due to this absolute error by their defence.

To make the matters worse, the Moroccan team scored another wonderful goal thanks to Zakaria Aboukhlal’s graceful strike inside the box. Aboukhlal’s strike sealed the game for Morocco and gave his team their first World Cup win in over 24 years.

The loss makes matters worse for Belgium to qualify for the knockout stage. They have 3 points from 2 matches with one win and one loss and are in the third position in Group F. The Belgians have one match remaining against 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up Croatia.

Tite inform Neymar to continue playing in WC

“Neymar will continue to play”, informs Brazil coach Tite

Brazil manager Tite has provided an update on the entire Neymar situation. He informed that the Brazilian will continue playing despite the ankle injury suffered by the player during his team’s opening clash against Serbia.

Although the team won the match quite comfortably, thanks to Richarlison’s brace, there was a lot of talk about Neymar, who himself, asked to be subbed in the 79th minute of the game.

The Paris St. Germain forward was seen limping off while coming out and looked close to tears as he received treatment on the bench, before being pictured with a swollen ankle as he made his way to the dressing room.

Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed the 30-year-old will undergo further assessment in the next 24 to 48 hours. Tite, Brazil’s head coach revealed Neymar continued playing a further 11 minutes after sustaining the injury and is adamant he will return.

“[Neymar] felt this pain throughout the game, but he decided to stay on the pitch to help his team,” the head coach said. He further said, “So it’s remarkable that he could bear this pain while his team was playing. He stayed 11 minutes on the pitch after his injury, until the moment he could no longer continue, and he was substituted.

“We are confident that Neymar will continue playing; he will continue playing in the World Cup”, Tite revealed.

Archer is MI Cape Town's wildcard

Jofra Archer is MI Cape Town’s wildcard in SA20

England’s pace bowling sensation Jofra Archer’s comeback is on track. The cricketer was seen playing for England Lions and appeared to be in great shape. The latest news is that the right-arm pace bowler has been announced as a wildcard signing by the MI Cape Town franchisee in the SA20 league.

“MI Cape Town announces the signing of Jofra Archer as their SA20 wildcard player ahead of the inaugural season of SA20,” the franchise said in a statement. Archer was signed by Mumbai Indians during the 2022 IPL auction for INR 8 crore despite the franchisee knowing he would be unavailable. He has, in fact, been retained for the 2023 season.

Archer has been taking giant strides on his return and he is currently in the UAE with the England Lions team as part of his rehab programme. He is working under a group of coaches of the ECB. Videos of him bowling full throttle have emerged in social media and English media reports have also said that the pacer has troubled batsmen at a good pace during a friendly game in Abu Dhabi.

The signing of Jofra Archer makes MI Cape Town even more strong which already comprises superstars like Kagiso Rabada, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Olly Stone, Dewald Brevis and Rashid Khan.

The SA20 runs from January 10 until February 11, with a short break in late January for England’s re-arranged ODI series in South Africa. It is reported that Archer will be making his international comeback in the series.

Japan stuns Germany

Japan stuns 2014 World champions Germany in FIFA World Cup

Two big upsets in two days. After Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina, it was time for Japan to outclass the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions Germany. The South Asian team defeated the 11th-ranked football team to register a 2-1 victory in their Group E match.

The game started with the German players posing with their mouths covered to revolt against FIFA’s ban on the “One Love” armband. This was the team’s idea to show their dissent against the decision.

The Germans showed their dominance on the pitch by relentlessly attacking the opposing team’s goal. They came close multiple times. However, it was their captain Ilkay Gündogan who converted a penalty in the 33rd minute to give his team a lead.

Germany went into the break with a comfortable 1-0 lead over the Asian team. However, little did they knew Japan would turn the tables in such an astounding fashion. After multiple attempts to breach the German defence, Japan finally succeeded. Japan’s Ritsu Doan equalised in the 75th minute with a wonderful goal.

The game was nicely poised with the Germans looking to score the winner with their attacking gameplay. But it was Takuma Asano who smashed the winning goal from a tight angle in the 83rd minute to win the game for Japan.

Germany now faces an uphill task to qualify for the knockouts in a tough group consisting of Spain and Costa Rica besides Japan. 

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