Marc Wilmots insists Iran have plenty of work to do after Cambodia rout

Iran head coach Marc Wilmots has said that the country have plenty of work to do in order to progress to the third round of the Asian World Cup qualifiers. Team Melli have started off their qualifying with back-to-back wins and their most recent came against Cambodia, who were beaten by a staggering 14-0 scoreline.

 

 

Speaking after the game, Wilmots said that he was pleased with the intent shown from the players but stressed that the team are still in a transition phase. He added that the squad need to retain their concentration, given they have an important match against Bahrain which could be crucial to deciding their qualification fate.

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Qatar Will Have No Blockade on Gulf State Visitors and Alcohol

Qatar has opened up doors for football fans from other Gulf states to attend the World Cup 2022. The head of the organising committee has confirmed that there will be no blockade on fans from UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt for the special event. Qatar has been involved in a fight with these countries since 2017 and even trade services have been disrupted. However, the World Cup 2022 will be the first time such a grand event is being held in the Middle East and preparations have been in full swing for a while. Qatar will be constructing brand-new stadiums that are air-conditioned in order to prevent the desert heat from hitting players and spectators.

A number of fans are likely to descend upon Qatar. Crucially, fans of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are also likely to be amongst them. Among the four teams that are involved in a battle with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are likely to qualify for the tournament. Spectators will also need not worry about the availability of alcohol, which is a difficult topic since Qatar is a conservative Muslim country with strict laws about alcohol. A majority of the 1 million visitors expected to visit the country will demand alcohol and the organising committee has confirmed that they are discussing the potential of lowering this product’s price.

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Kurt Zouma determined to represent France at Euro 2020

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has said that he wants to be playing regularly with the Blues in order to enhance the prospects of making the national team for Euro 2020. The France international was recently called up for the European qualifiers in June following a successful long stint with Marco Silva’s Everton.

Speaking to reporters, Zouma indicated that he has worked hard to get into contention for the national side and he wants to continue making a good impression such that he can represent Les Bleus at next summer’s European Championships, he said: “That is very important for me. It was one of my targets to get into the France team. I had been there before and wanted to come back. “I managed to do that. Now the target is to play at the Euros – but to be there you have to be playing at your club. So I am working very hard – and let’s see what is going to happen.”

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IS ROHR THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE SUPER EAGLES?

The 2022 World Cup is in three years and different nations have signed new managers to execute the set of campaigns. While some nations have already begun preliminary qualifiers for the tournament. One of the major problems that affect national teams especially in Africa is the lack of continuity in the coaching staff.

There is this common tendency of coaches to be replaced after international tournaments or after a poor run of results. This has led to the issues of teams having new coaches few months or weeks before major tournaments. Nigeria typically falls into that category but the West African nation has been a beckon of stability in the past three years.

The German tactician has held on to the top position despite discontent within the country over his managerial acumen. However a look back at Rohr’s tenure as head coach is that of improvement and development of talents.

Since the German took over in 2017, he has been able to nurture the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Kalu and Samuel Chukwueze into the first team. Prior to his arrival the Super Eagles always had to wait until the last hour to know their World Cup qualification status.

Rohr was able to achieve World Cup qualification with a game to spare in a group that contained three African heavyweights in Cameroun, Zambia, and Algeria.  He was able to qualify the team for the 2019 Afcon tournament after a four-year absence.

He is far from perfect as some of his substitutions can be questionable at times but he has been able to achieve all that was set by the football federation. With the qualifiers for the World Cup on the horizon, Nigeria will do well to support him in his quest to lead the team to Qatar in three years time.

Kurt Zouma determined to represent France at Euro 2020

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has said that he wants to be playing regularly with the Blues in order to enhance the prospects of making the national team for Euro 2020. The France international was recently called up for the European qualifiers in June following a successful long stint with Marco Silva’s Everton.

Speaking to reporters, Zouma indicated that he has worked hard to get into contention for the national side and he wants to continue making a good impression such that he can represent Les Bleus at next summer’s European Championships, he said: “That is very important for me. It was one of my targets to get into the France team. I had been there before and wanted to come back. “I managed to do that. Now the target is to play at the Euros – but to be there you have to be playing at your club. So I am working very hard – and let’s see what is going to happen.”

Zouma has spent the past two campaigns on loan with Stoke City and Everton, but it appears unlikely that he would go through the same route this summer. Blues boss Frank Lampard has already confirmed that he wants to work with the 24-year-old and that should prove a blow for the Toffees, who have expressed the intention to land the defender on a permanent deal.

In pre-season, Zouma has been a regular presence at the heart of the defence and he could get the chance of making the starting XI alongside David Luiz for the league opener. Still, nothing is assured and he needs to produce a consistent level of performance to ward off the competition from Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, who is currently recovering from a knee problem. Chelsea start their league season with an away game at Manchester United.

Graham Arnold Happy with Draw for Early World Cup 2022 Qualifiers

Australia national team coach Graham Arnold welcomed the World Cup 2022 draw in the second stage of the Asian qualifiers. Australia have been bad up alongside Jordan, Nepal, Kuwait, and Taiwan. The national team has had huge success at World Cups before, but the team is at a crossroad due to the retirement of several high profile players. Arnold is expected to go for a young team at this World Cup. The team assembled by Guus Hiddink at the start of the century was able to achieve five consecutive qualifications to the World Cup. Australia is one of the top teams in the five groups, which have 40 teams in total, from Asia.

Arnold was especially pleased with the opportunity to face Kuwait, who were Australia’s opponents in his first match in charge. Australia were able to claim a comprehensive 4-0 win in this game and the psychological advantage provided by this victory will be a key factor. At the same time, Australia have also played against Jordan. The big challenges for Australia will be to manage Nepal and Taiwan – two relatively unknown teams. After having worked with 80 different players, Arnold says that Australia are in a good position to qualify.

Apart from competing to play at the World Cup 2022, Australia have also agreed to take part in the Copa America 2020, which will be held in Colombia and Argentina. The tournament takes place between June 12 and July 12.“We are happy with our draw. My first game in charge was in Kuwait City, and we won 4-0, so we have been there and experienced Kuwait as a group.There are two teams that we have drawn (Kuwait and Jordan) that we have experience against and two teams that we are not as familiar with,” said Arnold.

CAF MODIFIES WC QUALIFIERS SYSTEM

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have announced modifications to the qualifying system for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The continental football governing body decided to drift from the system used to select participants in the 2018 World Cup.

The current system will see the top 26 sides in the FIFA rankings skip the first stage. The rest of the 28 teams will be split in two with the top 14 playing against the lower rung. The lower half will host the higher ranked counterparts in the first leg before the return leg – a move that seems to give an advantage to the higher ranked sides.

The 14 sides that qualify from this will join the exempted 26, making a list of 40 sides to slug it out. The 40 teams will be shared into 10 groups, 4 teams each based on the prevailing FIFA ranking. This list will have all the top, mid and low ranked sides to ensure a balance.

The final stage will see the top teams in each group, making 10split in half. The top five ranked national teams will face the lowest ranked sides hosting – this means the higher ranked sides will have to prove their mettle to get the nod.

CAF modified this system as against putting 20 teams in 5 groups. The 20 teams were selected via two knockout stages. The current system was used for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With the 2022 World Cup being the last to take 32 teams, the next World Cup qualification method is expected to be altered again to fit the expended 48-team system.

England’s 1966 World Cup hero fancies country’s chances in Qatar

England’s 1966 hero Geoff Hurst believes the Three Lions have a good chance of lifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, considering the matches would be played between November and December. The schedule for the global tournament was postponed to the winter period to avoid the heat wave in the host nation and Hurst feels the same could benefit the Three Lions.

Speaking to FIFA.com, Hurst said that England players generally find their peak form during the month of November and that could be advantageous for the nation at the tournament in Qatar, he said: “Yes, I do – November is the peak of the season for us. After starting in August, the players will be at their peak – they should not be tired – so I can only see a benefit to our country.
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Bayern Munich signed me because I am one of the best – Pavard

France World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard has said that Bayern Munich acquired his signature because he is one of the best full-backs in the Bundesliga. The young right-back played a crucial role for Les Bleus during the 2018 World Cup where they were crowned champions for the second time in their history.

As such, there was always expected to be widespread interest in his signature, but Bayern acted at the earliest possibility to secure his services from next season. Speaking to Canal Football Club, Pavard said that he has been consistent in the German top-flight and that has been the prime reason behind him joining the Bundesliga holders.
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Nigeria head coach insists his players are one of the best for the country

Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has said that the current crop of national team players are among the best since the days of Kanu Nwankwo and Jay-Jay Okocha. The Super Eagles have comfortably qualified for the last two major tournaments under Rohr, but they were disappointing at the recent World Cup, where they could not make progress beyond the group phase.

Speaking in a press conference, Rohr suggested that Nigeria are going through their best generation when it comes to the footballing talent, and the team has players, who can transform into big stars in the future, he said: “We all know that Nigeria once had big stars like Kanu Nwankwo and Austin Okocha. Since they retired, Nigeria has not found a replacement. But I can assure you that we have very talented players among the young people who are currently playing, but there is still a lot to be done to make the Eagles become stars. This team has quality, but you have to work on it to become big stars.”
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