Sports Burst – Africa Expects

EFE

 

by Tim Stannard

 

Senegal looks for Africa’s first World Cup win

For those of a more neutral bent watching the World Cup, one of the hopes for 2018 is having a winner that doesn’t hail from Europe or South America for the first time in the tournament’s history.

Indeed, ever since Roger Milla’s Cameroon broke through in the 1990 Italian edition, the question has been when an African team will win the trophy. Unfortunately, that dream looks just as far away with four defeats from all four of Africa’s participants who have played in Russia 2018 so far.

However, Tuesday offers some hope for a bit of a rebound with Senegal in action for the country’s debut in Russia and then a second bite at the World Cup cherry for Egypt.

Senegal are back at the World Cup for the first time since 2002 when the team caused one of the all-time shocks by defeating the defending champions of France in the opening game before falling to Turkey in the quarterfinals.

That famous team was captained by Aliou Cisse, who is now Senegal’s coach and a formidable figure who does not feel the burden of the continent on his shoulders. "African teams lost their opening matches here, but it's not extra pressure for us. We are just Senegal, we only think about the work we have been doing and we'll see what happens tomorrow.”

The stand-out player for Senegal is Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and he will be up against another illustrious opponent in the form of Robert Lewandowski in Group H’s second clash of the day. The first ended with a 2-1 loss for Colombia against Japan opened by a spectacular three-minute performance from Carlos Sanchez which saw the footballer losing his marker, giving away a penalty with a hand ball and pick up a red card.

 

Egypt to play Russian Roulette with Salah fitness  

If all goes well, Africa might well end up with double reason to cheer on Tuesday with the second round of matches officially getting underway with Russia taking on Egypt.

Narrative one - will the real Russia stand-up after an impressive-looking 5-0 opening win against Saudi Arabia, waaaaaaay back on Thursday?

Narrative two - will Mo Salah play for Egpyt, and if so will the Liverpool man’s shoulder stand up to some potential rough Russian treatment? "We are ready to do this and we will do this, " boomed Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov on dealing with the Salah threat.

Head to our Facebook page for every halftime of every game at World Cup 2018 for a special 360 degrees watch party punditry experience where you too can get involved.

Pique in hot water over Griezmann Decision Day

Once Spain’s World Cup journey is over – quite the turbulent trip so far with the manager already abandoning the ship – and Gerard Pique might have some explaining to do after the ridiculous ‘Decision’ documentary from Antoine Tease-mann showed how tough his life was by choosing to either stick with a multi-millionaire contract at Atletico Madrid or picking up another at Barcelona.

Well, Gerard Pique was remarkably active in the social media reaction to the video in what ultimately turned out to be bad news for Barcelona, who quite fancied bringing in the fleet-footed Frenchman. That was because it was the Barca man’s media company Kosmos, the produced the video. And Pique’s bosses are not happy about this.

“We have told Pique that his participation caused surprise and uneasiness both at the club and among Barcelona fans,” intoned Jordi Mestre, Barcelona’s Vice President. Speaking of Griezmann and the footballer has reportedly renewed with the Rojiblancos until 2023 with a buy-out fee of $230 million – still very doable for a money-stuffed rival.

 

TRANSFER TRACKER!

Arsenal continue to be the smoothest movers in the transfer market this summer with Unai Emery reshaping the squad.

Sampdoria and Uruguay midfielder, Lucas Torreira and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno are sit to be heading to the Emirates for the new season in a combined splurge of around $55 million.

Elsewhere, Financial Fair Play restrictions have forced PSG into selling off some property this summer – one of the footballers to see the exit door looks like being underused Argentinean, Javier Pastore who is set for a career rumble with Roma and penciled in for a medical on Thursday.

And Real Madrid’s continued and rather pointless quest for a new goalkeeper continues with a reported interest in Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois – ex Atletico Madrid – after the price tag on Alisson from Roma was deemed too steep.

 

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The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. Sports Burst is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.


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