Messi and Aguero set for Argentina Copa America returns

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and the returning Sergio Aguero headed the 23-man Copa America squad announced by Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Wednesday.

Paris Saint Germain winger Angel Di Maria was also included but there was no place for striker Gonzalo Higuain, who is on loan at Chelsea from Juventus.

“These are the best players in an important time for the national team,” said Scaloni ahead of the tournament hosted by Brazil, which begins on June 14.

Argentina will play in Group B alongside Colombia, Paraguay and guests Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts and current Asian champions.

Messi, who only returned to the Argentina squad in March after an eight-month absence following the World Cup in Russia, will turn 32 during the competition. Various betting options are available on NaijaBet

Di Maria, like Messi, made his post-World Cup return in March ahead of friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco, but Manchester City’s Aguero had not been called up since Argentina’s 4-3 last 16 defeat to eventual champions France in Russia. Continue reading “Messi and Aguero set for Argentina Copa America returns”

Nadal beats Djokovic to win ninth Italian title

Rafael Nadal defeated his greatest rival Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to win a ninth Italian Open title and a record 34rd Masters on Sunday, leaving his vanquished foe to label the Spaniard as “the number one favourite for Roland Garros”.

World number one Djokovic, winner at the Madrid Open last week, produced an error-strewn performance in his 54th meeting with second-ranked Nadal, who claimed the 81st title of his career.

“It’s always an honour for me,” said Nadal after securing his first title of 2019.

“I remember my first time here in 2005. To still be here with this trophy so many years later means a lot of me.”

Djokovic had beaten Nadal in the final of the Australian Open this year for his third straight Grand Slam win after Wimbledon and the US Open. Bet Now on NaijaBet

Nadal overtakes Djokovic at the top of the list for Masters wins — the pair were level at 33 each before Sunday’s final — in a timely boost ahead of his assault on a 12th French Open crown in a week’s time. Continue reading “Nadal beats Djokovic to win ninth Italian title”

Germany woman returns to world elite after decade in doldrums

Germany are targeting a return to the world’s elite at the Women’s World Cup next month after a string of disappointing results for the two-time champions in recent years.

The Germans won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007 but were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2011 and finished fourth in 2015, and the fans’ passion for women’s football appears to have waned.

A shock quarterfinal exit at the 2017 European Championship, an abysmal performance at the invitational SheBelieves Cup and a poor start to their World Cup qualifying campaign led to coach Steffi Jones being sacked last year.

Former Germany international and youth coach Horst Hrubesch took over on an interim basis to secure World Cup qualification, and after restoring order with seven wins and a draw from his eight games, handed the reins over to Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.

The Germans, who have been drawn in Group B with Spain, China and South Africa, are widely expected to advance to the knockout phase, where they should avoid hosts France and defending champions the United States until a potential final. Various betting options are available on site for today’s Games

“We obviously want to win the group,” Voss-Tecklenburg said.

“That is our first aim. Then we reach the knockout stage and as we want to qualify for next year’s Olympics we need to reach minimum the quarterfinals or the semifinals (depending on the number of European teams.) This is our minimum demand.” Continue reading “Germany woman returns to world elite after decade in doldrums”

Aston Villa beat West Brom to reach playoff final

Aston Villa progressed to within one game of a return to the Premier League after edging West Midlands rivals West Brom 4-3 on penalties in the Championship playoff semifinals on Tuesday.

West Brom won 1-0 on the night at the Hawthorns to level the tie at 2-2 on aggregate thanks to Craig Dawson’s first half header.

However, the Baggies’ hopes of an immediate return to the top-flight were dented when captain Chris Brunt was sent-off 10 minutes from the end of normal time. Place bet on Virtual Games 24/7 0n NaijaBet

The hosts held out manfully during extra-time, but Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer saved West Brom’s first two penalties of the shootout from Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi Continue reading “Aston Villa beat West Brom to reach playoff final”

Halep holds off Barty to reach Madrid semis-Finals

Two-time champion Simona Halep overcame Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 7-5 to reach her fourth Madrid Open semifinal on Thursday.

Romania’s third seed and former world No 1 will next play the winner from top seed Naomi Osaka and on-form Swiss Belinda Bencic.

Halep, who has been struggling with injury, took the opening set and went up a break in the second before losing it against the ninth-seeded Australian who won the Miami title in March.

Halep regained control with a break for 6-5 as her opponent returned wide. She wrapped up victory with an untouchable forehand to the corner. Place bet on Live Tennis Games 24/7

“It’s not easy to keep winning here,” Halep said after a victory in which she broke four times. Continue reading “Halep holds off Barty to reach Madrid semis-Finals”

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All hail Woods! Trump, Serena, Nicklaus congratulate Tiger

President Donald Trump and Barack Obama were among those hailing Tiger Woods on social media after his 11-year major drought was ended by a thrilling and emotional Masters victory on Sunday.

“Congratulations to @TigerWoods,” tweeted the US president Trump, who played a round of golf with Woods earlier this year. “A truly Great Champion!”

“Congratulations, Tiger!” former president Obama tweeted. “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.”

As Woods went on a charge on the back nine at Augusta National with birdies at 13, 15 and 16 to win by a stroke and claim his 15th major and fifth Masters, social media lit up in a frenzy of congratulations.

“I am literally in tears watching @TigerWoods this is Greatness like no other,” tweeted 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion Serena Williams.

“Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today? Wow Congrats a million times! I am so inspired thank you buddy.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7

Fellow golfers and former greats of the game were also quick to hail Woods’ achievement in returning to the summit of the sport after multiple surgeries and a string of off-course problems since his 14th major win at the 2008 US Open. Continue reading “All hail Woods! Trump, Serena, Nicklaus congratulate Tiger”

Premier League Match Preview: Chelsea vs Brighton

Chelsea benefitted from a hugely controversial offside goal to beat Cardiff on Sunday to keep themselves in the running for a top-four finish. Chelsea supporters were calling for Maurizio Sarri to be sacked prior during the game.

Brighton’s two-game winning streak came to an end at the weekend after losing 1-0 at home to Southampton. Chris Hughton’s side are five points clear of the bottom three heading into Wednesday’s match at Stamford Bridge.

Team News

Chelsea- N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard were only fit enough to start on the bench in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Cardiff but they will both return to the starting XI here.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek came off the bench and scored the winner against Cardiff. He will hope to be rewarded with a start in midweek.

Callum Hudson-Odoi didn’t even get off the bench at the weekend but Maurizio Sarri has hinted he will start upcoming matches.

Gonzalo Higuain turned in another poor display and Olivier Giroud can count himself unfortunate if he doesn’t start on Wednesday. Bet Now

Emerson and Andreas Christensen will hope to benefit from any rotation in defence in midweek. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Chelsea vs Brighton”

Neymar to resume training after two-and-a-half months out

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar will returning to training on Wednesday for “on-pitch tests” after two-and-a-half months out with a foot injury, the club said on Tuesday.

The world’s most expensive player has been sidelined since hobbling off during a French Cup win over Strasbourg on January 23, missing PSG’s Champions League last-16 defeat by Manchester United.

“@Neymarjr’s recovery from injury is progressing well and he will return to training on Wednesday as scheduled for on-pitch tests,” PSG said on Twitter.

“Club specialists will carry out a full medical and radiological assessment in two weeks’ time.”

PSG were hoping Neymar would be healed enough to get back on the pitch in time for a potential Champions League quarterfinal later this month, but the French side suffered a humiliating exit as United sensationally overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit. Continue reading “Neymar to resume training after two-and-a-half months out”

Messi helps Barcelona to survive Villarreal scare in eight-goal thriller

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi came off the bench to help the Liga leaders battle back from 4-2 down in stoppage time to snatch a remarkable 4-4 draw at struggling Villarreal on Tuesday.

The Catalans avoided a first league loss since November with a last-gasp Luis Suarez strike after captain and top scorer Messi gave them hope with a deadly free kick in the 90th minute.

The draw resulted in Barca’s lead over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid, who had earlier won 2-0 at home to lowly Girona, being trimmed to eight points ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown at the Nou Camp.

Even without Messi, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic in their starting line-up, the visitors still strolled into the lead through a Philippe Coutinho goal in the 12th minute, which Brazilian forward Malcom soon doubled with a header. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

But Villarreal, who began the game hovering one point above the relegation zone, hauled themselves into contention with a strike from 19-year-old Samuel Chukwueze midway through the first half. Continue reading “Messi helps Barcelona to survive Villarreal scare in eight-goal thriller”

Unstoppable Mbappe silent Toulouse resistance

Kylian Mbappe fired Paris Saint-Germain to their eighth straight Ligue 1 win with a stunning goal that earned the champions a 1-0 victory at Toulouse on Sunday and kept them miles clear at the top of the league. silent

The 20-year-old World Cup winner crashed home his 27th league goal of the season, his seventh in as many league games, with 16 minutes left as he continues to shine in the absence of the injured duo Neymar and Edinson Cavani.

“We had to wait, be patient and in the end, we won with Kylian’s speed,” said PSG skipper Marquinhos.

“It brought a great deal of joy to our fans, I’m sure of that.”

PSG now have 80 points, 20 ahead of second placed Lille with a game in hand to boot.

Coach Thomas Tuchel said he was delighted that the runaway leaders have not been tempted to take their foot off the gas. Various betting options are available on site for today’s game

“Many of our players were away in the international break and there was a bit of fatigue in some of them,” said the German.

“It could have been tempting to relax, especially with the lead we have in the league, but nobody does it and I like that.” Continue reading “Unstoppable Mbappe silent Toulouse resistance”

Meet the Latest World Richest Footballer, Not Messi & Not Ronaldo

When you try to think of the world’s wealthiest footballers, it’s natural to have your mind immediately flit to the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo – or perhaps simply a formidable player playing for a top-class European club.

Alexis Sanchez earns £350,000 per week at Old Trafford and is the highest-paid player in the Premier League, while Aaron Ramsey will be paid a handsome £400,000 per week at Juventus.

In reality, the world’s richest footballer just so happens to be 20-year-old Leicester reserve player Faiq Bolkiah. The nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, the enigmatic youngster is worth an estimated £15 billion ($20bn) – blowing Ronaldo’s estimated net worth of between £200m and £250m out of the water.

Bolkiah has been plying his trade with the Foxes academy, having first signed a three-year professional contract in March 2016. He has yet to make a first-team appearance with Leicester, however, and little is known about his involvement with the reserves set-up.

Regarded as a talented midfielder, Bolkiah – who was born in the Los Angeles and could have chosen to represent the U.S. national team but opted to play for Brunei – started his youth career at AFC Newbury. Start forecasting your weekend games Now

In 2009, he joined Southampton’s esteemed youth set-up and stayed there for four years before making the move to Arsenal after the Gunners offered him a trial in 2013. Continue reading “Meet the Latest World Richest Footballer, Not Messi & Not Ronaldo”

Morata two goals gave Spain victory over Malta

Alvaro Morata’s remarkable revival continued on Tuesday as he scored twice for Spain in a 2-0 victory over Malta.

After edging past Norway 2-1 on Saturday, Morata’s double at the Ta’Qali stadium gives Spain two wins from two in Euro 2020 qualifying and the perfect start in Group F.

Luis Enrique‘s side again showed the inability to convert possession into chances that clouded their early exit from last year’s World Cup.

But Morata’s brace offers room for encouragement, the striker extending his return to form since he joined Atletico Madrid on loan from Chelsea in January.

He has five goals in six games, his best return since September 2017, and has strengthened his case for a position that has proved so troublesome for Spain in recent years. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

“The boss knows how happy I am to be here and I am grateful to him,” Morata said. “We want to qualify as soon as possible for the Euros so it was important to win today.” Continue reading “Morata two goals gave Spain victory over Malta”

Mbappe continues his rise as France down Iceland

Kylian Mbappe answered his critics with a sterling performance as France thrashed Iceland 4-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday, showing no signs of irritation this time to continue his meteoric rise.

The striker, whose nerves had been pointed out in the 4-1 win against Moldova last Friday, kept his cool throughout to find the back of the net after the break and set up Samuel Umtiti and Antoine Griezmann for the first and fourth goals.

In Chisinau, the Paris St Germain forward often sought individual solutions and was booked for diving, appearing less threatening than usual.

Coach Didier Deschamps, however, was never worried by a player who has now scored 12 and delivered seven assists in 30 games for France.

“There’s no problem with Kylian. He’s in the game like all the others. If you had been a football player you would understand,” Deschamps said at the Stade de France. Continue reading “Mbappe continues his rise as France down Iceland”

Cristiano Ronaldo expects to return in one or two weeks

Cristiano Ronaldo does not think the injury which forced him out of Portugal’s match against Serbia on Monday is overly serious and he told reporters he expects to return to action in one or two weeks.

Ronaldo went off in the first half of the Euro 2020 qualifier with an apparent hamstring injury. The match ended 1-1.

“I’ll know more in 24 or 48 hours,” he told reporters.

“It happens, it’s football. If you go out in the rain you get wet … I’m calm, I’ll be back in one or two weeks.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

A long absence would be a blow to his club Juventus, who signed Ronaldo last year to boost their chances of winning the Champions League. Juventus travel to face Ajax Amsterdam in their quarterfinal first leg on 10 April with the return six days later. Continue reading “Cristiano Ronaldo expects to return in one or two weeks”

Euro2020: Loew trash Pressure after Netherlands win

Germany coach Joachim Loew was lavished with praise on Monday morning after his team snatched a late win over the Netherlands in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday.

Loew has been under enormous pressure since Germany crashed out of the World Cup and suffered relegation in the Nations League last year.

In recent weeks, he has faced growing criticism for his decision to drop veteran stars Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng from the national team.

Yet after Sunday’s dramatic victory in Amsterdam, the 59-year-old appears to have got the German media back onside.

“Loew delivered in the first truly important game since the World Cup, and showed up everyone who said he is no longer the right man for the job,” wrote Bild on Monday. Place bet on Live Bet 24/7 on NaijaBet

“A victory for the coach!” read the headline in Kicker magazine.

“Loew has managed to unite this young team behind him,” he said. Continue reading “Euro2020: Loew trash Pressure after Netherlands win”

Euro2020 Update: Poland beat stubborn Latvia as Israel sink Austria

Poland made it two wins out of two at the start of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign after second-half goals by Robert Lewandowski and Kamil Glik gave them a 2-0 home win over Latvia in Group G on Sunday.

In the group’s other games, an Eran Zahavi hat-trick steered Israel to a 4-2 home win over Austria while Slovenia were held to a 1-1 home draw by fellow former Yugoslavs North Macedonia.

Poland, who beat Austria 1-0 away in their opening match, lead the way with six points from two games. Israel and North Macedonia have four each and Slovenia have two while Austria and Latvia are pointless.

Lewandowski hit the post with a deft shot in the first half and missed three other chances as Latvia keeper Pavels Steinbors pulled off a string of superb saves before he was finally undone by a pair of headers. Bet Now 

Left-back Arkadiusz Reca produced a fine run and cross for Lewandowski to break the deadlock with a thumping header from six metres in the 76th minute before Glik netted with almost a carbon copy in the 84th. Continue reading “Euro2020 Update: Poland beat stubborn Latvia as Israel sink Austria”

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Super Eagles out to build on World Cup momentum against Seychelles

Already qualified Nigeria will be aiming to end their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on a high with victory over Seychelles at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Friday afternoon, Kick-off is at 4 pm.

The Super Eagles have already booked their spot at this year’s showpiece in Egypt, following a 1-1 draw away to South Africa in Johannesburg last year.

Nigeria lost their opening game of the qualifiers 2-0 at home to Bafana Bafana, but followed the result with three wins in succession. The sequence included back-to-back victories over Libya and a 3-0 win over Seychelles in Victoria.

This fired the Super Eagles to the top of Group E and they will remain in the position with victory over the Island nation this weekend. Bet Now on NaijaBet

Nigeria will be without the injured duo of Ola Aina and Samuel Kalu for the clash, but welcome back top-scorer Odion Ighalo who missed the clash in South Africa.

Continue reading “Super Eagles out to build on World Cup momentum against Seychelles”

Osaka sister act primed for Miami Open spotlight

Serena and Venus Williams usually get top billing at the Miami Open but this year there is another sister act vying for the spotlight with world No 1 Naomi Osaka showing older sibling Mari the ropes.

The Williams sisters have hoisted the Miami trophy 11 times between them and all those victories were celebrated at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne.

But this year the tournament has moved to the suburbs and Hard Rock Stadium is Osaka country with Naomi and Mari growing up three miles away and learning to play tennis almost in the shadow of the Hard Rock home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, who are part-owned by the Williams sisters.

Naomi will be joined in the draw by her 338th-ranked sibling who needed a wildcard to get a place in the tournament. Bet Now

“It is a bit weird that I have to give her advice and she is my older sister,” Naomi told reporters on Wednesday. “But she has been doing like newbie mistakes. Continue reading “Osaka sister act primed for Miami Open spotlight”

International Friendly Match Preview: Germany vs Serbia

It’s a new dawn for Germany, with coach Joachim Low looking to use this tricky friendly as a means of finalising his tactical plan for what promises to be a challenging qualifying group, potentially utilising a 4-3-3 formation to take some focus off of a lack of depth in the central striking department.

Serbia have enviable attacking options but should they start, the ageing full-backs could be in for a long evening against the hosts rapid wide players.

This should be an entertaining affair with plenty of in-form players on either side, but the hosts should just have the edge.

Team News

Germany

It’s been a case of out with the old and in with the new for Joachim Low, who told Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller that they would no longer come into consideration, though the long-standing coach has reaffirmed that Manuel Neuer remains his first choice keeper, despite a disappointing season so far.

That said, Marc-Andre ter Stegen may well start this friendly, while Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann, Hertha Berlin’s Niklas Stark and Werder Bremen’s Maximilian Eggestein are all hoping to make their debuts. Bet Now on NaijaBet.com

The likes of Leon Goretzka (minor injury) and Timo Werner (illness) may not be risked ahead of what already looks like a crucial qualifier against Netherlands at the weekend, though the latter is the only natural striker in the squad, and Serge Gnabry is out of Wednesday’s game through injury. Continue reading “International Friendly Match Preview: Germany vs Serbia”

Club rivalries will not affect our national duty call- Kane

England’s team spirit under manager Gareth Southgate has helped players from competing clubs to set aside their rivalries when they report for national duty, according to captain Harry Kane. affect

England begins their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Czech Republic on Friday at Wembley Stadium and visit Montenegro three days later, with several of Southgate’s players competing for trophies at club level.

Club rivalries have contributed to England’s failure to perform at major tournaments in the past, with former players Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard revealing how factions had formed when players reported for England duty.

“We’ve heard about things happening in the past – people sitting on different tables and teams being divided,” Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane told reporters. Start forecasting your Euro 2020 qualifications Matches Now

“We put that to one side and even with Liverpool and (Manchester) City boys when we are here it is 100 percent England. That has been part of our success.”

Continue reading “Club rivalries will not affect our national duty call- Kane”

Ronaldo returns to Portugal camp ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers

Cristiano Ronaldo rejoined his Portugal teammates on Tuesday ahead of the start of Euro 2020 qualifying this week following a nine-month absence from the national team.

The 34-year-old Juventus forward was recalled by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for games at home to Ukraine and Serbia, having not played for his country since the 2018 World Cup.

Ronaldo was rested for the last six Portugal games while he settled at his new club following his departure from Real Madrid last July. Start forecasting your games Now

The reigning European champions, who are through to the Uefa Nations League final in June, kick off their Group B campaign in Lisbon on Friday against Ukraine before facing Serbia on March 25. Continue reading “Ronaldo returns to Portugal camp ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers”

Germany boss Loew ready to face Serbia with New Team

 

Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes to prove his critics wrong and open 2019 with a win when his new-look team host Serbia in a friendly in Wolfsburg on Wednesday.

Loew, who arrived in Wolfsburg later than expected due to a dental operation this week, is hoping to bounce back from a painful 2018, in which Germany suffered an early World Cup exit and were relegated from the top tier of the Uefa Nations League.

The friendly against Serbia is a warm-up for Sunday’s prestigious opening Euro 2020 qualifier away to the Netherlands with the Germans hunting revenge after a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of the Oranje last October at the Amsterdam Arena.

Amid fears that German football is in decline, the 59-year-old Loew is under pressure to show that he can build a new era of success around a younger generation of players.

Yet he has also faced fierce criticism for his decision to strike veteran World Cup winners Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Mueller from the national team set-up, falling offside with their club Bayern Munich in the process. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

The controversial call has been seen as a gamble, which has heightened the pressure ahead of Wednesday’s game. Continue reading “Germany boss Loew ready to face Serbia with New Team”

Champions League Match Preview: Bayern Munich vs Liverpool (Agg 0-0)

Bayern will have been the happier of the two sides with the stalemate at Anfield last month but approach the second leg in worse shape than their visitors as far as injuries and suspensions are concerned.

The Bundesliga champions did record a thumping 6-0 win at the weekend and will be in confident mood, though Liverpool looked back on form in the attacking third themselves with a win over Burnley, so this promises to be an intriguing battle.

As a result this is an incredibly tough match to call, with the Reds knowing that away goals could be enough to see them through.

Team News

Bayern Munich- Joshua Kimmich received a third yellow card of the tournament in the first leg and joins Thomas Muller on the sidelines through suspension.
Rafinha will come in at right-back, while Serge Gnabry may switch flanks to that side to enable Franck Ribery to replace Muller from the 6-0 win over Wolfsbrug, with the Frenchman registering three assists from the bench at the weekend. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Arjen Robben could come back into contention following injury, though given Kimmich’s ban the more pressing need is to have David Alaba back available at left-back, with Rafinha having acted as cover in that position of late.

Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Bayern Munich vs Liverpool (Agg 0-0)”