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FIFA Ranking: Nigeria slides to 34

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ fortunes in the latest FIFA Ranking plummeted as the former African champion slide to 34 in the world rating released yesterday by the world football governing body.

Apart from dropping in its global rating, Nigeria nosedived into the fifth position in Africa after being overtaken by Morocco.

The ranking is coming on the heels of Coach Gernot Rohr’s winless Eagles following two defeats and one draw in their last three friendly matches against Cameroon and Mexico in Austria and United States.

In the FIFA world rating, Eagles who occupied 32nd place in their June ranking dropped to 34 to place fifth in Africa behind Senegal (21), Tunisia (28), Algeria (30), and Morocco (32) who are the top four teams in the continent.

According to FIFA, 348 matches have been played since the last FIFA World Ranking update, as winners of the various continental championships all made significant advances.

Meanwhile, Belgium managed to retain their top spot despite being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the European Championship. Their last-eight opponents and eventual winners of the tournament, Italy, moved up into the top 5, just behind EURO runners-up England. Just above that pair, Brazil and France swapped places.

Argentina reaped the benefits of a triumphant Copa America campaign, while the two Gold Cup finalists broke into the top 10. Victorious in that tournament and winners of the CONCACAF Nations League as well, United States climbed no fewer than ten places, eight more than Mexico, who, despite losing in the final of both competitions, now sit one spot above their continental rivals.

In addition, it is worth noting the impressive progress made by Gold Cup invitees Qatar, who reached the semi-finals in the USA, thereby recording the largest climb of the month and equalling their highest-ever position in the ranking, which dates back to the first edition in 1993.

The next edition will be published on September 16.

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2022 World Cup: FIFA announces new date for kick off

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FIFA has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup will now kick off on Sunday, November 20, rather than the initially scheduled date of Monday, November 21.

The first game will now be between the host nation Qatar and Ecuador instead of Senegal’s match against the Netherlands.

This means the tournament will be extended to 29 days, with the final taking place on Sunday, December 18.

FIFA confirmed this on Thursday, in what was a unanimous decision by a committee comprising FIFA president, Gianni Infantino and presidents of the six continental soccer bodies.

“The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the FIFA World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions.

“The decision followed an assessment of the competition and operational implications, as well as a thorough consultation process and an agreement with key stakeholders and the host country,” FIFA said in a statement.

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Rashford takes decision on joining PSG

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Manchester United striker, Marcus Rashford has decided to rule out any possibility of leaving the club to join Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

PSG are strongly interested in signing Rashford from Man United this summer.

The French Ligue 1 champions have held talks with Rashford’s representatives and want to bring the England international to the Parc des Princes.

But according to Daily Mail, Rashford has now responded to their approach by saying that he is happy at Man United and that his priority is to stay at Old Trafford this summer.

The report added that Man United are relaxed over the situation – despite the fact that Rashford’s contract is set to end on June 30, 2023.

Rashford has scored 93 goals in 304 games for Man United.

The 24-year-old has helped Man United win the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League since he made his debut back in 2015, having progressed through the club’s youth ranks.

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Aguero warns Guardiola against selling Man City star

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Former Argentina striker, Sergio Aguero, has warned Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City against selling Bernardo Silva this summer.

Aguero said Silva is a great player, adding that he would be surprised if City under Guardiola let the Portugal international leave the Etihad this summer.

Silva has been linked with a move to LaLiga giants, Barcelona, this summer.

“Bernardo is a great player. He carries the ball, he sacrifices, has quality to assist and score goals, and he can play in different positions,” Aguero told Stake.

“It would surprise me if City let him go. He’s a player who contributes a lot every season, but everything is possible.

“If he finally arrives at Barca, then he’ll be someone who can be key to the possession game that Xavi likes.”

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