World Cup: England (1) vs Croatia (2)

While Croatia possess arguably the best central midfield pairing in the tournament in the shape of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, Southgate’s language does not indicate

England manager Gareth Southgate says he is not about to change his team’s approach for Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia, saying he wants the “same again” from his young side.



Although Croatia are the most difficult opponent England will have faced in the tournament, Southgate’s words suggest he will continue with his attacking formation and personnel.



‘Don’t fix what’s not broken’



Asked what he would be demanding from his players, the England coach told ITV: “To be able to keep doing what we have been doing, play with real defensive discipline, good organisation, tactical awareness and then with the ball play with the freedom and expression that we have and the same patterns and movements that we have shown.”



While Croatia possess arguably the best central midfield pairing in the tournament in the shape of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, Southgate’s language does not indicate he is about to bring in Eric Dier as an additional defensive midfielder alongside Jordan Henderson.



But he is certainly well aware of the threat that Croatia pose in the centre of the field.



“They of course have a very strong midfield so, (it is about) denying them space and making sure awareness of distances and coverage of the pitch is correct and (knowing) the right moments to press.



“The higher the level of opponent, if you press in a disorganised fashion, then you will get picked through and we have got to be conscious of that,” he said.



To play Raheem Sterling or not?



The contribution of Raheem Sterling remains a polarising debate in England with the Manchester City player without a goal for his country since October 2015 but Southgate says the forward’s contribution in Russia has been essential.



“I think Raheem has been fundamental to the way that we have played – his movement, the positions he takes up, his pressing of the ball, his work-rate for the team, the winning of free kicks and corners, his speed to stretch teams.



“He was a constant threat to Sweden, of course he hasn’t scored the goals he would have liked to have scored but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way that we have been playing,” he said.



Facing a tired Croatia?



While England enjoyed a relatively stress-free 2-0 win over Sweden in the last eight, Croatia had to come through a gruelling extra time against hosts Russia and then a penalty shootout.



But Southgate thinks talk of that handing a physical advantage to England is being overplayed.



“We experienced the extra time and penalties (against Colombia) and we know the physical and emotional consequence of that,” he said.



“But any team in a World Cup semi-final is going to find the energy and going to find the motivation. So we won’t win the game just because Croatia had half an hour more football than us three days ago, we’ve got to win because we play better.”



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