Belgium and England reluctantly meet again in World Cup third place decider

England and Belgium must pick themselves up and dust themselves down after suffering the crushing disappointment of semi-final defeats to play for the modest prize of third place in a fixture often cr

Belgium and England have already met during the World Cup in a match both teams seemed reluctant to win and on Saturday they will face each other again in a game they both seem reluctant to play.



The two sides must pick themselves up and dust themselves down after suffering the crushing disappointment of semi-final defeats to play for the modest prize of third place in a fixture often criticised as pointless.



Belgium, England coaches ‘disappointed’



“It’s not a game any team wants to play,” said England manager Gareth Southgate after his team lost 2-1 to Croatia after extra time in Wednesday’s second semi-final.



“Of course, we want to win, we’ll be ready to go again because the team take great pride in their performances. It’s a bit too early after that defeat to think about it.”



His Belgian counterpart Roberto Martinez was similarly unenthused about the game after his side were beaten 1-0 by France on Tuesday.



“It’s a difficult emotion to manage. You’re disappointed because you lose the semi-final, and it’s very difficult to see the opportunity of playing another game as a positive,” he said.



Even so, he said he would try to lift his team.



“We need to regroup and recover and see the opportunity. To try to finish third in the World Cup doesn’t happen often. The only time it happened in Belgian football was in 1986, when we finished fourth.”



Belgium vs England at group stage



The two teams previously met in their final group stage game when both had already guaranteed a place in the last 16, with the twist that the side who finished second would land in the easier side of the draw.



Martinez switched nine players and Southgate brought in eight, a decision he described as a ‘no brainer’ in the circumstances.



Belgium won 1-0 and were rewarded with games against Japan, Brazil and France while England played Colombia, Sweden and Croatia but the end result for both sides was the same — semi-final elimination.



“Sometimes I think you have to look at the bigger picture and make decisions that might be criticised,” said Southgate at the time.



Controversial 3rd place decider



The third-place match was dropped from the European championship by UEFA following the 1980 tournament but has remained part of the World Cup calendar despite complaints. FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



Both teams are in their second third-place match, Belgium having lost to France in 1986 and England to Italy four years later.



It tends to be a high-scoring fixture with each of the last four winners scoring three goals — Turkey in 2002, Germany in 2006 and 2010 and Netherlands in 2014.



REUTERS



Anthony Joshua to defend his titles in New York on June 1

After the fight against Miller, Joshua, in the event of a victory, would logically have to compete for the supremacy of the heavyweights against winner of the Duel between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fur

Anthony Joshua, IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion, will defend his titles on June 1st in the United States.

The Brit, who had 21 victories by KO in 22 fights, will face America’s Jarrell Miller, nicknamed “Big Baby”, in the Madison Square Garden in New York.

This is Joshua’s first professional fight in the United States.

“Wembley means so much to me, it’s a wonderful and fantastic place. I fought in small halls, arenas, and it was an honour and a blessing to do so in the stadiums. But it’s time to change”, Joshua said.

The Nigerian-British boxer also regrets the cancellation of a fight between him and Deontay Wilder, the undefeated WBC world heavyweight champion.

“Deontay Wilder and I are the heavyweight world champions, and we were hoping to have this fight on April 13, but things didn’t go as planned, because of the boxing rules – I’m sure you’re aware of that. So we had to adapt and look for other options and Jarrell Miller arrived”, added.

After the fight against Miller, Joshua, in the event of a victory, would logically have to compete for the supremacy of the heavyweights against winner of the Duel between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.

These two contenders are expected to face each other by the end of the first half of 2019.

Reuters

PSG hands Man United first defeat under Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as caretaker manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December and United have secured 10 wins in 11 games under his charge.

Manchester United’s interim manager recorded his first defeat after the Red Devils were handed a 2 – 0 result against French giants, Paris Saint Germain, PSG, on Tuesday evening.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as caretaker manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December and United have secured 10 wins in 11 games under his charge, their latest victory a 3-0 win at Fulham on Saturday.

The Parisians despite playing away from home scored twice in the second half of the Champions League round-of-16 fixture at Old Trafford.

The goals came through Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe, a result that all but secured PSG’s progress into the quarter-finals of the competition. The game was Solskjaer’s first outing in Europe since taking charge.

Solskjaer had said on Monday that the time was perfect for his side to face PSG: “Of course we’re going to play against some top teams the next few games but now it’s just the focus on this one.

“It’s always been like that, you have to think about the next one and that’s been one of the big pluses that the players have been focused on, the next task all the time. We don’t look too far ahead because then you lose your focus, so I’m looking forward to this,” he added before the game.

The French Champions were without Brazilian star Neymar Junior, Edinson Cavani, and Thomas Meunier – all of them are likely to be available for the return leg whiles United will be without Paul Pogba who was sent off late in the game for a second bookable offence.

CAF reinstates Ismaili after ban [Football Planet]

We now know the representatives of Africa at the next World Cup for under-20s. There will be four of them, the four best in the African Cup of Nations in the category whose semi-finals are being playe

We now know the representatives of Africa at the next World Cup for under-20s. There will be four of them, the four best in the African Cup of Nations in the category whose semi-finals are being played on Wednesday. And it will be without the host country, Niger.

Huge controversy at the CAF Champions League. Almost three weeks after her exclusion by CAF, Ismaily will return to the tournament. The Egyptian club therefore won their appeal, which further disrupts Group C, which will begin the return phase with TP Mazembe’s deadly trip to Club Africain in Tunisia.

Excitement touching roof levels in UEFA Champions League and the clash between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain sets the pace. A Parisian team that will have to do without Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier for the trip to Old Trafford. Parisian coach Thomas Tuchel will have to find solutions

CAF reinstates Ismaily after ban [Football Planet]

We now know the representatives of Africa at the next World Cup for under-20s. There will be four of them, the four best in the African Cup of Nations in the category whose semi-finals are being playe

We now know the representatives of Africa at the next World Cup for under-20s. There will be four of them, the four best in the African Cup of Nations in the category whose semi-finals are being played on Wednesday. And it will be without the host country Niger.

Huge controversy at the CAF Champions League. Almost three weeks after her exclusion by CAF, Ismaily will return to the tournament. The Egyptian club therefore won their appeal, which further disrupts Group C, which will begin the return phase with TP Mazembe’s deadly trip to Club Africain in Tunisia.

Excitement touching roof levels in UEFA Champions League and the clash between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain sets the pace. A Parisian team that will have to do without Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier for the trip to Old Trafford. Parisian coach Thomas Tuchel will have to find solutions.

Nantes hold emotional tribute to Sala

Sala, had agreed to join Welsh Premier league club Cardiff for a club-record fee of 15 million pounds or $ 19.63 million dollars from Nantes.

An emotional tribute to Emiliano Sala before a match by Ligue 1 sides Nantes and Nimes on Sunday.

Nantes, where Sala spent four seasons, wore black shirts with the name ‘’ Sala’‘ printed to the back.

Fans also held up the number 9 in memory of the Argentine.

Players and coaching staff members from both sides joined the Nantes fans in applauding and cheering in memory of Sala. He died in a plane crash.

The 28 year old was en route from Nantes in Western France on January 21 to make his debut for Cardiff when the plane he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel.

The wreckage was found on Sunday February 3 following a privately-funded underwater search.

Sala, had agreed to join Welsh Premier league club Cardiff for a club-record fee of 15 million pounds or $ 19.63 million dollars from Nantes.

He and the pilot, David Ibbotson, are believed to have died as the single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft crashed into the sea.

Reuters