The EURO 2016 Tournament which is the biggest football tournament for European nations, will be held across 10 stadiums in 10 cities in France with the capacity of the smallest stadium being 33,000 while the largest being 81,000 (Stade de France) making it an easy target for terrorists attack.
UEFA bosses are considering closing stadiums from fans this summer in France as the world is still coming to terms from the shock of the Paris Terror attack in the Stade de France last year and most recently the Brussels airport attack that gulped 34 lives.
The tournament barely 3 months away, UEFA executive committee vice-president Giancarlo Abete has admitted the best option could be to play the matches behind closed doors. Naija and Bet
‘Euro 2016 is the kind of event we can’t delay or postpone,We can’t exclude the possibility of playing behind closed doors as we cannot exclude terrorism. – Abete
Former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has spoken in understandably glowing terms of Cristiano Ronaldo, the man who helped him win La Decima for Los Blancos in 2014.
The pair enjoyed an excellent relationship throughout Ancelotti’s two-year tenure in the Spanish capital, during which Ronaldo registered a staggering 112 goals and 35 assists.
Indeed, the Portuguese forward is reported to have openly expressed his sadness at the Italian’s departure at the end of the 2014/15 campaign, and the latest comments from Pep Guardiola’s replacement at Bayern Munich have inevitably served to spark rumours that the two could be reunited in the summer in Bavaria.
“He [Ronaldo] is one of the best players ever, the best forward in the history of football,I have never coached a better player than him.”he said Naijabet.com
Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville battle for top spot in Group E of the 2017 Africa Cup qualifiers when they meet on today at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Both sides head into match-day-three unbeaten and tied on 4 points with Congo pipping second placed Zambia to top spot on goal difference.
The match is the first leg of a doubleheader that could just decide the direction in Group E.
Six points are up for grabs over the next five days starting on March 23 in Ndola and later on March 27 in Brazzaville.
That prospective six-point haul will give the beneficiary a massive advantage in the race to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup finals in Gabon heading into the penultimate round of games in June when they would need a draw then to book their flight to Libreville with a match to spare.
Zambia head into the first leg with just one loss against Congo from ten previous meetings and with four wins and a draw since losing 1-0 in November 1996 in a 1998 World Cup qualifying match away in Pointe Noire. Naijabet
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez said he will not change the way he plays, but will return to international football with ‘moderation’ when he makes an expected return on Friday from a nine-match ban for biting.
Suarez is set to face Brazil in a 2018 World Cup qualifier after sitting out nine competitive international fixtures for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the last World Cup in Brazil almost two years ago.
The Barcelona player has managed to keep out of trouble for his club since the incident but said he will not change his aggressive style that has helped to make him one of the world’s deadliest strikers. Naija and bet
“I am going to have the same attitude, I will still run, still pressure, still argue because no one is going to change the way I play,” he said.
“But with moderation, like I am doing now at Barcelona, being more intelligent about a lot of things, trying to take advantage of the situations life is putting in front of me…
“The only thing I want to do is play with the national side again and enjoy the warmth of the fans.”
Uruguay have enjoyed a good start to their qualifying campaign, winning three out of their four games to sit in second place in the 10-team table, behind Ecuador, the only side to win all of their games so far.
After facing Brazil, Uruguay return home to play Peru next Tuesday.
Leicester City will play Barcelona, Celtic and Paris St Germain in this year’s International Champions Cup (ICC), the Premier League leaders said on Today.
The pre-season tournament is organised by Relevant Sports whose chairman Charlie Stillitano met representatives of top European clubs this month to discuss changing the Champions League to ensure the elite are always in it and the likes of Leicester are not.
Leicester, one of five Premier League teams involved in the 2016 event, begin their campaign against Celtic on July 23 in Glasgow. They travel to Los Angeles to face Paris St Germain on July 30 before taking on Barcelona in Stockholm on Aug. Naijabet.com
“This is the best roster of teams in ICC history and having them start their 2016-2017 campaign playing against each other will be a treat for both fans and the players,” Stillitano said in a statement.
Fifa’s ethics watchdog has started formal proceedings against six individuals, including soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, over the awarding of hosting rights to Germany for the 2006 World Cup, global soccer’s governing body said.
Other individuals included former German soccer officials Wolfgang Niersbach, Helmut Sandrock, Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Stefan Hans. Naijabet.com
“In the cases of Mr Beckenbauer, Dr Zwanziger, Mr Schmidt and Mr Hans, the investigatory chamber will investigate possible undue payments and contracts to gain an advantage in the 2006 Fifa World Cup host selection and the associated funding,” the investigatory chamber of Zurich-based Fifa’s ethics committee said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Beckenbauer denied any wrongdoing in an affair involving the 2006 World Cup in Germany and said he knew nothing of a multi-million payment to a disgraced former Fifa official in Qatar.
Alex Iwobi, has pledged his international future to Nigeria and he is ready to play against Egypt this Friday.
The teenager missed training on Tuesday morning fuelling rumours that he may be nursing second thoughts amid reports suggesting that the England FA is keen to lure him over following his appearances for them at under-16, 17 and 18 levels.
Iwobi only suffered from traveller’s flu and should be in good condition to join up with the squad in subsequent training sessions ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Egypt in Kaduna this Friday. Naijabet.com
The Arsenal man has also made the trip to Kaduna and sat next to Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel, throughout the journey to the Northern Nigerian city.
“Yes Alex Iwobi missed training,” But it was due to traveller’s diarrhea, and he was told to rest. So it shouldn’t be any reason to panic. As I speak Alex is with us. He ate lunch to show he’s fine. If he wanted to play for England, he would not have travelled down to Nigeria or be with us in the team bus now (headed to Kaduna) or even dressed in the green and white colours of Nigeria.” Super Eagles spokesman, Toyin Ibitoye,
Pep Guardiola will be hoping Bayern Munich suffer no Champions League hangover when they return to Bundesliga action at Cologne on Saturday on the back of their stunning victory against Juventus.
Bayern came from two goals down to beat Italian champions Juve 4-2 after extra time in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday and advance to the quarter-finals 6-4 on aggregate.
The Bavarians, who are in the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition for the fifth campaign running, have won all seven of their league fixtures immediately after European matches this season, often running up big scores in the process. naijabet
“Juventus is history, now our focus is on Cologne,” said Guardiola as he oversaw Bayern training on Thursday.
With eight games left, second-placed Borussia Dortmund are just five points behind the leaders and Guardiola went for the old cliche of “every game is a final now” with Bayern looking to become the first team to win four successive German titles.
Centre-backs Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng are all still sidelined for Bayern against a Cologne side on a high after beating Hanover 2-0 last weekend.
That was their first victory in five league games and their first clean sheet since November. Naijabet
Midfielder Mesut Ozil says Arsenal have a fight on their hands to overtake Leicester City at the top of the standings and win the Premier League after exiting two cup competitions in the space of four days.
Arsenal were beaten in the FA Cup by Watford last Sunday and lost 3-1 at Barcelona on Wednesday to exit the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the sixth season in a row.
Manager Arsene Wenger’s team trail Leicester by 11 points, having played a game less, and the Premier League represents their last hope of silverware this season.
“We have to concentrate now and give everything on the pitch. We have to fight,” Ozil.
“I know the teams playing us will fight to take the points against us, so the games will be tough. We have to work harder than before.”
Defender Laurent Koscielny spoke of the frustration and fragile confidence of a team that has failed to win a league game in their last three outings to go alongside their dispiriting losses to Barcelona and Watford.
“We haven’t been fighting like we did in the last six months because we lost a little confidence in ourselves and it is harder to win some games,” he said.
“We need to come back to our basics, be simple and then the confidence will come back.”Naija and bet
Liverpool were protecting a two-goal lead from the first leg at Anfield but Anthony Martial’s 32nd-minute penalty offered United brief hope after he was fouled by Nathaniel Clyne.
Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata had missed clear opportunities for United but Liverpool were also a threat as David de Gea saved superbly from Coutinho while Daniel Sturridge hit the bar with a free-kick and Jordan Henderson missed an open goal.
The away goal Liverpool threatened, and which left United needing four on the night, came right on half-time when Coutinho beat Guillermo Varela with ease before lifting a near-post finish past De Gea.
It ended the game as a contest with United unable to rouse themselves again as Liverpool completed the formalities to win the first European meeting between the two clubs.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hailed Barcelona’s front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar as capable of turning football into art as all three struck to eliminate his side from the Champions League.
The Gunners bowed out at the last 16 stage for a sixth consecutive season 5-1 on aggregate after a 3-1 defeat at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, but gave the European champions a scare with a spirited display.
However, the difference in quality in front of goal was the deciding factor in the tie as Barca’s South American trio all netted to take their combined tally for the season to 106.
“We have to admire art and they have two or three players that transform normal life into art,” said Wenger.
“I have to say we played against a team with the best strikers I’ve seen. The three are exceptional and from nothing they can create a chance.”
By contrast, Arsenal’s whole squad have managed just 72 goals this season and their downfall was once again a lack of cutting edge up front.
Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck missed great chances to level after Neymar’s early opener. Naijabet.com
Bayern Munich’s stunning four-goal fightback to beat Juventus had the ‘wow’ factor for Pep Guardiola as the they reached the Champions League quarterfinals for the fifth season in a row
Bayern Munich fought back from two goals down to beat Juventus in extra time, dramatically progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals.
With the tie poised at 2-2 after the first leg, Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado scored to put Juve in command.
Robert Lewandowski’s header gave Bayern hope but Juve looked to have seen them off until Thomas Muller’s 90th-minute goal forced the match into extra time.
And a buoyed Bayern finished in style through Thiago and Kingsley Coman. Naijabet.com
The hosts – who had dominated possession to little effect in normal time – played with more urgency after Muller’s lifeline, with the introduction of substitutes Coman and Thiago playing a key part in the turnaround.
Barcelona will be looking for a tenth straight Champions League home win when they host round of 16 rivals Arsenal Today.
Arsenal will hope to avoid defeats against Barcelona who beat them previously in two-legged ties in the Champions League in 2010 and 2011.
The Gunners, however, have a mountain to climb after Lionel Messi’s late double in the first leg gave Barcelona a 2-0 victory– the fourth year in a row Arsenal have lost at home in the round of 16 first leg.
When the teams met in the 2010/11 round of 16, Arsenal came from behind to win the first leg 2-1, Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin overturning David Villa’s first-half goal.
Barcelona recovered with a 3-1 second-leg success in which Messi scored twice. Sergio Busquets had briefly given Arsenal hope with a 53rd-minute own goal that made it 1-1 three minutes before Van Persie’s dismissal.
The previous season Messi had hit all four Barcelona goals in a 4-1 second-leg quarter-final triumph over Arsenal. Arsène Wenger’s men had given themselves hope in the first leg by coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 through Theo Walcott and Cesc Fàbregas (penalty).
Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1 in the 2006 final at Stade de France with Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti scoring late on to overturn Sol Campbell’s strike for an Arsenal side who lost Jens Lehmann to a first-half red card. Naijabet.com
Juanfran scored the winning penalty as Atletico Madrid beat PSV Eindhoven 8-7 in a shootout to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The two sides could not be separated over 210 minutes, in what was the first-ever Champions League knockout tie to end 0-0 in both legs.
In a high-quality shootout, the first 14 penalties were all converted.
But Luciano Narsingh, on as a late substitute for the Dutch champions’ top scorer Luuk de Jong, then hit the bar.
“It was a real heart stopper,” said Juanfran. “I am very happy to see how the crowd got behind the side. We believe, our coach makes us believe and we have a lot of hunger and heart. We believe in all that we do.”
It is the second consecutive season in which Diego Simeone’s men have progressed to the last eight on penalties, having seen off Bayer Leverkusen in similar fashion last year. Naijabet
Eagles have continued preparations for the March 25 Africa Cup of Nations against Egypt with the return of players in camp after the weekend games in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
The players were put through their paces by interim coach Samson Siasia and his assistants with emphasis on fitness and ball movement.
First choice goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa led the group which includes Emmanuel Daniel, Chisom Chikatara, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kalu Orji, Seth Sincere, Ifeanyi Matthew, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Etim Matthew, Austin Obaroakpo and Godwin Obaje.
Enyimba duo of Chima Akas and goalkeeper Femi Thomas were excused to rejoin their club for the second leg CAF Champions League tie with Vital’O of Burundi, Naijabet.com
The home-based players will be joined by the foreign-based players from March 20, five days before the all-important clash with the Pharaohs of Egypt.
Super Eagles are second in Group G of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, two points behind leaders Egypt.
Manchester City reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time despite a goalless draw against Dynamo Kiev.
City, 3-1 up from the first leg, were in control of the tie but lost both centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi to injury early on.
In a slow-paced first half, neither side threatened a shot on target.
Jesus Navas hit the post with a low drive in the second half and Yaya Toure struck straight at the goalkeeper.
Manuel Pellegrini wants to finish by making City champions of Europe for the first time, Champions League remains City’s only realistic hope of a second trophy this season, as they lie 12 points behind leaders Leicester in the Premier League. Naijabet.com
Ryan Giggs is ready to become Manchester United’s next manager if Louis van Gaal is shown the door a year early at the end of this season, former club captain Bryan Robson.
Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been tipped to takeover at Old Trafford but Robson says United great Giggs, who has been assistant to Van Gaal, would be a perfect choice.
“The thing for me is that Van Gaal was always going to be a three-year contract with Ryan working under him so that they could see whether he was ready to step in,” Robson Added.
“Ryan was a great player for this club, he loves playing football the United way, he’s done all his badges and for me he’s in the right place at the right time.”
Former England skipper Robson, 59, was still at the heart of United’s midfield when a teenaged Giggs broke into the first team in 1991. The Welsh winger went on to make a record 963 appearances and claim 34 trophies.
He has been working alongside the much-travelled Van Gaal in what has been a tricky transition period for United following the retirement of Alex Ferguson, who had been in charge for 26 years, in 2013 Naijabet.com.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side face an almost impossible task when they travel to face a red-hot Barcelona on Wednesday looking to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in six years.
As so often in the second half of Wenger’s 20-year reign, Arsenal will travel to the Camp Nou with a sense of what might have been.
They had their chances to lead at the Emirates three weeks ago before Barca’s brilliant forward triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez cut through them with an unerring ease they have made routine.
Messi, Neymar and Suarez have scored a combined 103 goals this season while Arsenal’s entire squad a mere 71.
Top of the list of Wenger’s detractors has been his inability or unwillingness to splash out on the top-class striker needed to turn Arsenal from perennial pretenders into winners.
Yet, he tried to land Suarez whilst the Uruguayan was still at Liverpool in 2013.
In a tale of Arsenal’s penny-pinch culture under Wenger, they infuriated Liverpool by launching a bid one pound over Suarez’s reported £40 million buyout clause.
Even more damming for Arsenal was that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard managed to talk Suarez into staying for an extra season at Anfield by telling him he was “too good for Arsenal” and that his move to Barcelona would come, Naijabet.com