Nigeria’s coach Rohr wary of much improved Algeria

Algeria’s Islam Slimani and Rais M’Bolhi celebrate at Egypt’s Suez Stadium after Thursday’s victory. (Reuters)
Updated 14 July 2019
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Nigeria’s coach Rohr wary of much improved Algeria

  • Six military planes to fly fans to Egypt if Desert Foxes reach final

CAIRO: Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr admitted he expects a far tougher challenge against Algeria in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations semifinals than during qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The Super Eagles finished top of a section including 2017 African champions Cameroon and Algeria on the road to Russia last year, defeating the Desert Foxes 3-1 at home before a 1-1 draw in the return fixture.
Algeria were later awarded a 3-0 walkover for the second game in Constantine after Nigeria fielded an ineligible player, and Rohr has been impressed by their improvement since Djamel Belmadi took over last August.
“He’s done a very professional job. They were shaky at the time. We beat them 3-1 (in Uyo) and they made lots of individual errors and defensives mistakes that made it easier for us to win. They were also fragile in the draw,” Rohr said on Saturday.
“Now I see a solid Algeria side with a good balance between attack and defense. They’re still physical but they have come on since and it will be a much harder match than in World Cup qualifying.”
Nigeria eliminated holders Cameroon in the last 16 before knocking out South Africa, the conquerors of hosts Egypt, in the quarterfinals in their first Cup of Nations since lifting the title for a third time in 2013.
Rohr’s side have bounced back strongly following a shock 2-0 loss to Madagascar that cost them top spot in their group here, leaving the German confident they can overcome an Algeria team that has scored 10 goals in Egypt while conceding just once.

The one that we won was in 1990, a long time ago when it was at home. We’ve never won since. This is away from home, it’s more difficult of course.

                                               Djamel Belmadi, Algeria coach

“As coach you’re always optimistic. We know they’re a good side but we have a strong team too. We can reasonably hope to win based on our last two performances but we’re wary because of our opponents,” said Rohr.
“We still have things to improve, for example if we have chances to score a second goal we need to be more clinical. They’ve been more impressive than us on the whole so far.”
Algeria’s hopes of winning their first Africa Cup of Nations for 29 years will be boosted by the arrival of another 600 fans on board military planes should they reach Friday’s final.
The Ministry of Defense said six military planes will be used to shuttle supporters of the Desert Foxes to Cairo for the final if they beat Nigeria in Sunday’s semifinal.


England celebrate World Cup triumph with young fans

Updated 15 July 2019
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England celebrate World Cup triumph with young fans

  • After 44 years of trying, England became world champions with a stunning victory over New Zealand

LONDON: England revelled in their first World Cup triumph on Monday, soaking up the adulation of a disbelieving nation after one of the most extraordinary finishes to a cricket match in history.

The host country, after 44 years of trying, finally became world champions with a stunning victory over New Zealand at Lord’s, triumphing on superior boundary count after both the match and the additional Super Over shootout ended with the scores level.

The game was watched by the biggest audience in a generation, with around 30,000 packed into Lord’s, thousands congregating in front of a big screen in Trafalgar Square in central London and the first free-to-air terrestrial coverage in 14 years.

Hundreds of children flooded across the outfield at the Oval — across town from Lord’s — to help Eoin Morgan’s men celebrate their historic triumph. The south London ground was where England launched their World Cup campaign with a victory over South Africa way back on May 30.

Many of the young children at the Oval were wearing the kit of the All Stars junior program run by the England and Wales Cricket Board and others were dressed in their school uniforms.

As “Happy” by Pharrell Williams blared out, the youngsters were delighted to catch sight of England stars such as Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer and flocked toward their new heroes.

It was a more modest celebration than the open-topped bus parade through the streets of London for England’s 2005 Ashes victors but was in keeping with the push to sell the game to a new generation.

“I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet but coming down here and seeing what a small portion of the support we’ve had feels about it, the kids, the adults, the energy they all had for what they saw yesterday is amazing,” said man-of-the-match Stokes.

England coach Trevor Bayliss, drafted in with the aim of winning the World Cup following their miserable first-round exit at the 2015 tournament, said: “I heard some of the young guys in the team say the 2005 Ashes inspired them to bigger and better things.

“I think they are very proud they’ve been put in a position where they can hopefully inspire a few of the next generation.”

On Sunday the Queen sent her congratulations to England and the Royal Mail postal service announced it would issue a series of special stamps and decorate 15 post boxes to celebrate both the World Cup win and England’s victory at the 2017 Women’s edition of the tournament.

Prime Minister May, a lifelong cricket fan, was due to host the team at a reception.

“Yesterday (Sunday) was a brilliant performance by a brilliant team,” said May. “They showed flair, courage and an absolute determination to become world champions.

“The achievement, delivered in such a thrilling style on home soil, will live forever in our sporting history.”

“It’s also exciting to think just how many children will be inspired by this victory to pick up a bat for the first time and hopefully become the great cricketers and World Cup winners of tomorrow,” she added.

“We must build on this success.”