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– FIFA on GBP Sports

“This qualification means a lot to Haiti. We’ve gained credibility and respect. In a nation that is socially resistant to change, this victory for women’s football is an important step forward. These girls have made the country proud, which helps the emancipation of women here and their personal fulfilment.”
Haitian Football Federation (FHF) president Yves Jean-Bart speaks with FIFA.com about the significance of Haiti’s qualification for the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 to the country

USA women’s national team’s all-time leading goalscorer Abby Wambach shows her support for her country’s U-20 side, who are in with a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals

“The champions are Manchester City and they didn’t lose any player and brought in [Riyad] Mahrez so they are not weaker. We saw the [Community Shield] game against Chelsea and both sides were impressive. We are still Rocky Balboa and not Ivan Drago. We are the ones who have to do more and fight more. That must be our attitude.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists his side are underdogs to win the 2018/19 English Premier League title

“I said ‘no’ to Real Madrid because I made a commitment with the president. Therefore, my maximum respect for Juventus and given word were why I rejected the call of Real Madrid, the biggest club in the world and the dream for every coach. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I wasn’t honoured by their consideration, but I’m absolutely convinced that I made the right decision.”
Juventus head coach and The Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2018 nominee Massimiliano Allegri speaks with magazine Stile Mese about rejecting the opportunity to coach Real Madrid and to remain at the helm in Turin

Manchester United left back Luke Shaw​ scored his first goal for his club on the opening day of the new season in a 2-1 victory over Leicester City

“I am eternally grateful to Villarreal for giving me unconditional support during these two years and always opening the doors for me. It’s a club that for me is an example and that always does things well despite the difficulties. I’ve always said that giving up was not an option. It is true that I still have some pains that prevent me from being 100 per cent, but I work daily to remove them. Every day I have better feelings, but I am very demanding and I want to keep improving. Now it’s time to give everything for this shirt and this club.”
Midfielder Santi Cazorla speaks at a news conference after being unveiled at Villarreal in quite a unique fashion

“Of course, and I say this with force, I have the same desire to leave that I have to die.”
Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas tells Onda Cero about his desire to stay at the club despite the signing of Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois

“As a coach you always want to take on new challenges and keep improving. Honoured to be given this opportunity to develop Tanzania football.”
Former Nigeria international Emmanuel Amuneke writes on his Instagram account about his decision to take charge of the Tanzania national team

“It’s obvious [Mbappe] has something more than others. I hope he will remain humble and keep this desire to progress and make sacrifices. If so, he will make a mark in the history of football and write incredible pages of the sport.”
New Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon speaks about his teammate Kylian Mbappe in the club’s official magazine

Colombia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ star Yerry Mina completes his deadline day move to Everton

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The Best: What’s next? – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • ​Voting for The Best closed on 10 August
  • Next big date in the calendar: 3 September
  • Host of announcements set to come

The voting window slammed shut for fans at midnight on Friday 10 August, with hopeful supporters now having to wait to see if their favourites walk away as one of The Best men’s and women’s players and coaches.

But what happens next?

With the fan vote accounting for 25 per cent of the overall tallies in the race for The Best FIFA Men’s Player, The Best FIFA Women’s Player, The Best FIFA Men’s Coach and The Best FIFA Women’s Coach, the results of the online ballots will now be added to those cast by journalists, national team coaches and captains.

The final three for each award will be announced on 3 September live in London, so come back to see if your favourites remain in the running to win on 24 September. Who will be hoping to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo, Lieke Martens, Zinedine Zidane and Silvia Neid this year?

That’s not all that will be revealed on 3 September, though!

You will also discover the three nominees for The Best FIFA Goalkeeper, the ten contenders for the FIFA Puskás Award and the FIFA Fan Award’s three candidates.

Voting for both the FIFA Puskás Award and FIFA Fan Award – which are both solely decided by supporters – will begin after their announcement.

So there’s plenty of excitement ahead with The Best FIFA Football Awards show itself to come!

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– FIFA on GBP Sports

The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has banned Kalusha Bwalya, member of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), for two years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.

The investigation against Mr Bwalya was opened on 28 February 2017, and focused principally on benefits that Mr Bwalya had received from Mr Bin Hammam. 

The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Bwalya guilty of having violated art. 16 (Confidentiality) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics. A fine in the amount of CHF 100,000 was also imposed on Mr Bwalya.

The decision was notified to Mr Bwalya today, and the ban comes into force immediately.

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Resilient Koreans still have eyes on the prize – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Korea DPR’s title defence still on track at France 2018
  • Win over Mexico a boost to Young Chollima’s aspirations
  • A U-17 Women’s World Cup winner, Kim Pom-Ui is seeking success in Brittany

The ability to overcome adversity has always been a hallmark of leading teams. On Wednesday in Dinan-Lehon, Korea DPR needed to show their resilience to put their FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 campaign back on track.

Title holders from Papua New Guinea 2016, the East Asians suffered a setback in their bid to become first team to defend the U-20 Women’s World Cup crown when they lost 3-1 to England in their Group B opener.

It left little margin for error when Korea DPR lined up against Mexico in their second group match, and despite falling behind early, they produced under pressure. A Choe Kum-Ok equaliser and a late header from Kim Kyong-Yong kept alive their hopes of making the quarter-finals, heading into the final round of group games on Sunday.

“I think this match could be a kind of turning point for us to claim an even bigger victory in the match against Brazil,” midfielder Kim Pom-Ui told FIFA.com after Wednesday’s win over the North Americans. “Even though we conceded the first goal, it was an opportunity to get even more confidence in ourselves and recover as soon as possible.”

In implementing an aerial attack against Mexico, especially in the second half, Korea DPR unsettled their opponents – much to the satisfaction of the Young Chollima No9. “We were quite flexible to play on the ground or in the air, but we thought it was more suitable to attack Mexico in the air,” she said.

A 2016 champion

The 19-year-old, who was an attacking threat against the Mexicans at the Stade du Clos Gastel, knows all about the journey to winning a world title. Two years ago in Jordan, the midfielder played her part in leading Korea DPR to a second U-17 Women’s World Cup title, appearing in every one of her team’s matches and scoring three goals. The Koreans ended the year with a double of U-17 and U-20 women’s world titles.

That taste of success from 2016 is fuelling the desire of this U-20 side to go on and win a third title in this age category in Brittany. A positive result over the Brazilians in their Group B finale in Concarneau will go a long way towards making that dream a reality.

“We will run and run and do our best to get the championship,” a determined Kim said. “I’m quite satisfied with the way we are playing right now. If we are able to go on like this, we will be able to win the title.”

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– FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Infants of the Caribbean
  • Costly gloves to fill
  • On-fire forwards from the Dalmatian Region and The Avila’s Sultana

200 goals for Manchester City is what Sergio Aguero became the first player to register. The 30-year-old’s double’s sunk Chelsea and ended a run of four straight years in which the FA Cup winners beat the Premier League champions to the FA Community Shield.

71 million pounds is what Chelsea paid Athletic Bilbao to make Kepa Arrizabalaga the most expensive goalkeeper in history. It was more than double what the record fee for a keeper was one year ago – the £35m Manchester City gave Benfica for Ederson. Thereafter, Alisson joined Liverpool for £67m.

17 goals in 11 MLS matches is what Josef Martinez has rattled home to fly Atlanta United to the summit of the overall standings. The little Venezuela striker is 11 clear of his closest rival for the leading marksmen award, and just one shy of the overall record for goals in an MLS regular season, shared by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips. The Five Stripes have ten games remaining.

14 years and 327 days was the age at which Haiti defender Dougenie Joseph became the youngest player to start a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup match against China PR. The youngest to appear in one was Sydney Leroux, who was 14 years and 187 when she came on for Canada against Australia in 2004. Haiti, remarkably, started two 14-year-olds in their opening two outings at France 2018, with the impressive Melchie Dumonay the other.

12 corners is what Flamengo had in the first 45 minutes against Cruzeiro on Wednesday – the most a team has had in a half in the Copa Libertadores over the last five years. The Carioca giants only had one in the second period, and Thiago Neves’s first goal in 11 games sealed a 2-0 win for Mano Menezes’s Mineiro visitors at the Maracana in their last 16, first leg.

6 successive French Super Cups – and eight overall – were the Lyon records Paris Saint-Germain equalled with a 4-0 smashing of Monaco in Shenzhen. The Trophée des Champions hadn’t been won by a bigger margin since its maiden edition in 1955, when, despite being without poster boy Raymond Kopa, a Reims side including Robert Jonquet and Rene Bliard destroyed Lille 7-1.

6 goals in two appearances is how Ivan Santini has begun his Anderlecht career. The 29-year-old bounced back from the disappointment of getting cut from Croatia’s 32-man provisional squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ by hitting back-to-back hat-tricks to inspire the Brussels behemoths, who lost their last three games of 2017/18, to a 4-1 win at Kortrijk and 5-2 victory over Oostende.

3 goals in a game is what Patri Guijarro became the first Spanish female to score in a FIFA competition. The Barcelona midfielder then helped Spain beat Japan 1-0 – the same scoreline by which they beat the same opponents in the previous FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

0 goals is what PSV and Feyenoord served up – despite the presence of Luuk de Jong, Hirving Lozano and Robin van Persie – to produce the first goalless Dutch Super Cup in history. The Johan Cruyff Shield had never gone to penalties until last year, but has now been decided by a shootout in back-to-back seasons, with Feyenoord winning both, on Saturday after 16 spot-kicks as South Africa 2010 Final team-mates Mark van Bommel and Giovanni van Bronckhorst pitted their wits against one another for the first time.

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Chiamaka Nnadozie, Nigeria’s saviour – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Chiamaka ​Nnadozie’s outstanding saves secured 1-0 win for Nigeria over Haiti
  • Goalkeeper was key player for her team
  • “We fought until the very end”

There is a fine line between success and failure, and often all it takes is one player to make the difference.

That much was evident as the Haiti players sank to the ground, unable to disguise their disappointment, while on the other side of the pitch the Nigerians celebrated a victory that kept their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive.

They did so in large part thanks to goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, who kept Haiti at bay with several superb saves. Melchie Dumonay in particular will not forget Nnadozie any time soon, having been denied on a number of occasions.

“It was a very tough game,” the towering goalkeeper told FIFA.com. “They were strong, but we’re strong as well. We played according to our coaches’ instructions and we did all we could. We fought until the end, were able to withstand the pressure and at the end of the match we won. I’m so happy.”

And with good reason. Her outstanding performance led to the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) handing her the “Dare to Shine” Player of the Match award at the final whistle, while her team-mates also showed her their appreciation.

“After the match everybody came to me and they were very, very happy,” she said. “It was so great. They came to me, hugged me and told me how well I did. They encouraged me.”

That should give Nnadozie plenty of confidence ahead of Nigeria’s decisive match against China PR. Given the Africans’ superior goal difference a draw would be enough for them to reach the next round, but the goalkeeper, who dons her gloves for Rivers Angels in her homeland, is well aware it will be no easy task.

“We have the same amount of points as China, so it’s going to be a tough match,” she said. “It’s the final match in the group stage, so we have to try our best and give everything we have. This is the final fight.”

It will be intriguing to see just who Nnadozie might stop this time.

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Nigeria hang on to defeat enterprising Haiti – FIFA on GBP Sports

Rasheedat Ajibade’s first-half penalty kick was enough to see Nigeria edge Haiti 1-0 in Group D at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 to secure a crucial three points, keeping their knockout round qualification hopes alive.

The match started at a furious pace but neither side were able to off any real goalscoring threat. It took until the 36th minute to see the breakthrough, with Nigeria being awarded a penalty kick after Anam Imo was fouled in the area by Haiti’s Dougenie Joseph.

Africa’s top scorer in qualifying for France 2018, Nigeria captain Rasheedat Ajibade made no mistake when presented with the opportunity and converted what turned out to be the winning goal from 12 yards.

Haiti responded to going behind almost immediately but No10 Nerilia Mondesir was denied by the post after a swift counter-attack. The Caribbean side continued to push for the equaliser but Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie proved to be equal to every challenge that came her way.

Mondesir and Melchie Dumonay took much of the initiative going forward, looking dangerous at times, but the Nigerian backline, marshalled by Nnadozie, held on for the victory.

“Dare To Shine” Player of the Match: Chiamaka Nnadozie

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– FIFA on GBP Sports

The FIFA Appeal Committee has rejected the appeal lodged by Ramón Maradiaga, and confirmed the decision taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee.

The Appeal Committee, after analysing and taking into consideration all circumstances of the case, considered that Mr Maradiaga’s conduct constituted a violation of art. 21 (Bribery & corruption) and art. 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting) of the 2012 FIFA Code of Ethics.

Being in agreement with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in its calculation of the sanction, the Appeal Committee found that the two-year ban from all football-related activities, as well as the fine imposed against Mr Maradiaga in the amount of CHF 20,000, as ruled by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, was adequate in this case.

Consequently, Mr Maradiaga’s ban and fine are maintained. The ban imposed on Mr Maradiaga entered into force on 2 May 2018.

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First-half goals lead Germany over China PR – FIFA on GBP Sports

Germany scored a pair of first-half goals, as they defeated China PR 2-0 at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 in Saint-Malo on Thursday afternoon.

After an even start to this Group D contest at the Stade de Marville, the Germans broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark. Giulia Gwinn took a through ball from Stefanie Sanders and powered a rising shot home from the right of the China PR box.

The Europeans then doubled their advantage on 40 minutes after China PR failed to clear a Germany corner. Sophia Kleinherne’s looping ball back into the Asian side’s box found an unmarked Laura Freigang at the far post. Her downward header eluded a diving Huan Xu in the Chinese goal for 2-0.

The Chinese did their best to respond after the break, but only Qiwen Xie went the closest to scoring after striking the post. At the other end, Germany substitute Klara Buhl forced a good save from Xu in the late stages.

The result puts the Germans in a good position to claim a quarter-final spot from Group D.

“Dare To Shine” Player of the Match: Janina Hechler (GER)

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One day left to vote – FIFA on GBP Sports

Want to help decide who The Best is? Well, your window of opportunity is almost shut. The polls for the men’s and women’s player and coach awards will close at midnight CEST on Friday 10 August.

Get your votes in before it’s too late! Those cast by fans will help make up 25 per cent of the nominees’ overall votes, receiving an equal weight to those from national team coaches, national team captains and journalists.

You could help your favourite take to the stage in London on 24 September and be crowned as The Best in their field. Pick your top three from this year’s shortlists, with your first choice receiving five points, your second getting three points and one point for your third.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lieke Martens walked away as The Best FIFA Men’s Player and The Best FIFA Women’s Player a year ago, while Zinedine Zidane and Sarina Wiegman were named The Best FIFA Men’s Coach and The Best FIFA Woman’s Coach.

Don’t delay! Make your choices now before you miss out. See below for a reminder of the candidates.

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