France reject 'favorites' tag as they approach World Cup final against Croatia

France face the Croats in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday, but they are rejecting the favourites tag which cost them dearly two years ago.

France are determined not to make the same mistakes they did two years ago in losing the Euro 2016 final when they take on Croatia for the biggest prize in football, midfielder Paul Pogba said on Thursday.



France face the Croats in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday, but they are rejecting the favourites tag which cost them dearly two years ago, he said.



France’s Euro 2016 horror



The French beat Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-final setting up an encounter in Paris against then-underdogs Portugal, who stunned them 1-0 in extra time to win the continental title.



“We are conscious of the situation, we do not want to make the same mistakes like two years ago. We want to work for it, to give everything we have to take this Cup home,” Pogba told reporters.



“I think at the Euro we thought it was already a done deal, the mentality was not the same as now. I cannot lie that when we beat Germany we thought that was the final. I know the taste of losing a final. I don’t want it to happen again.



France’s steady run to the final



France have been improving throughout the tournament and have beat Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in the knockout rounds without needing extra time or penalties.



Croatia needed spot kicks to advance against Denmark in the last 16 and against Russia in the quarter-finals. They then came from a goal down against England on Wednesday to win 2-1 in extra time.



That is not a sign of a struggling team, according to Pogba, but one that has a lot of talent.



“The Croats had a very difficult match and they were behind. But they are mentally very strong. There are two teams in the final, a Cup and there are 90 minutes more.



‘We are not favorites’



“For us, we are not the favourites. We stay as we are from the start of the tournament. We have no doubts, we play together, that’s our strength. We are chasing something and will do everything to succeed.”



France, world champions in 1998 after beating Croatia in the semis, are in their third World Cup final. It is unknown territory for Croatia however.



“For sure the Croats they want the star (for winning the title) they have had a good run. They want to win. But I have no star either although there is one on my shirt. I want mine.”



Pogba said while Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was their driving force the French plan would not be limited to stopping the Real Madrid playmaker.



“The Croats are not just Modric. They have (Mario) Mandzukic, (Ivan) Rakitic and (Ivan) Perisic,” Pogba said.



“Even their defenders are outstanding players. I don’t think there is a plan just for Modric. The plan is to win the match.”



AFCON U-20: Mali crowned champions

Mali beats Senegal at the finals of the U- 20 AFCON in Niger to back home her first continental title for the category.

Mali beats Senegal at the finals of the U- 20 AFCON in Niger
to back home her first continental title for the category.

Liverpool, Juventus, Barcelona and Fc Bayern all take center stage as the journey to unseat Real Madrid as Europe’s best continues with the 16th finals of the Uefa Champions League.

Ahead of the 2019 Afcon Yannick Bolasie of the DR Congo seeks play time in Belgian top flight, we shall be getting his reaction at the end of his first game with his new employers.

Kaepernick reaches deal with NFL - Lawyer

He was unsigned as a free agent through the fall of the season after he opted out of a contract with the San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick, one of the most visible players to protest against racial injustice during the U.S. national anthem, has resolved grievances with the National Football League.

His attorney, Mark Geragos said via Twitter on Friday that the resolution was subject to a confidentiality agreement and so the team said there would be no further comment by either party.

Kaepernick, 31, filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners in October 2017.

He was unsigned as a free agent through the fall of the season after he opted out of a contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Since then, the former NFL quarterback has been unable to find a team to play for.

Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl game in 2013.

Reuters

Saudi flags Crown Prince - Man United acquisition report 'offside'

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is not seeking to buy Premier League football club Manchester United, the kingdom’s media minister said on Monday, denying reports and adding that there had only been a meeting with the Saudi wealth fund regarding sponsorship.

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

He was reacting to reports that the crown prince had sought to tempt the Glazer family to cede control of the club.

“Manchester United held a meeting with PIF Saudi to discuss (a) sponsorship opportunity,” Shabanah said, adding that no deal materialised.

On Sunday, the British newspaper, the Sun, said the crown prince was in a £3.8-billion ($4.9-billion) takeover bid for one of football’s most popular clubs.

The paper said a bid was first submitted in October but the fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul put the “skids” on a potential offer.

REUTERS

Ethiopian teenager smashes 1,500m world indoor record

It came on the same Birmingham track where Tefera had won the world title last year.

Ethiopian teenager Samuel Tefera outduelled compatriot Yomif Kejelcha to break the world indoor 1,500 metres record in Birmingham on Saturday.

Tefera, 19, clocked three minutes, 31.04 seconds at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting to take down Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1997 record of 3:31.18.

It came on the same Birmingham track where Tefera had won the world title last year. Tefera kicked past Kejelcha after the bell for the final lap and charged to the finish line. Kejelcha finished second in a personal best of 3:31.58.

Kejelcha, the 21-year-old two-time world indoor 3,000m champion, had come within 0.01 of the world indoor mile record last week in New York. He had announced before Saturday’s race he would be going for the 1,500m record.

Scotland’s Laura Muir became the third-fastest indoor miler of all-time at the same meeting when she broke the British record. The European champion clocked 4:18.75.

The world record is 4:13.31 by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2016.

REUTERS

Sala's family bids final farewell

28 year old Sala, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on January 21 to make his debut for the Premier League team.

A coffin carrying the remains of footballer, Emiliano Sala carried from a vigil site to a hearse by the star’s friends and family on Saturday.

Sala’s coffin was at a vigil inside Sala’s childhood club, San Martin de Progreso, in Santa Fe, Argentina, during the day before being moved to a hearse.

Crowds applauded and some openly wept as the Cardiff player’s coffin was driven through the streets to a private ceremony in Santa Fe city, where Sala’s body is due to be cremated.

Sala,28, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on January 21 to make his debut for the Premier League team.

His single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel.

Wreckage was found on February 3 following a privately-funded underwater search and a body recovered on February 6.

The body was taken to southern England where it was positively identified as Sala.

Reuters