Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy became the first African goalkeeper to win a Champions League title in its current form after Chelsea defeated Manchester City 1 – 0 on Satuday night.
The Senegalese international is also the first African keeper to play in the final since Bruce Grobbelaar in 1985.
According to records, Zimbabwe’s Bruce Grobbelaar won the titles during the European Cup era in 1984 with Liverpool.
At that time, the former Zimbabwe international became the first African player to feature in a European Cup final, a game in which the Reds defeated AS Roma on penalties in 1984. He was almost a two-time winner, only for Liverpool to fall short against Juventus in 1985 final.
Mendy was signed from Ligue 1 outfit Rennes in a £22m ($31m) deal after the club got tired of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s costly errors. Since his arrival, he has proven to be one of the best signings, making crucial saves for the Londoners who finished fourth in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.
What to Expect in the 2022 World Cup
As the 2022 World Cup will be the first to not be held in May, June, or July, we still have a few months to wait until it officially begins. Taking place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December, this will be the 22nd edition of the tournament. While Africa will have only five nations playing among the 32 teams, it’s still a fun event that gets people from every country excited even if they’re not passionate football fans. So, which teams are participating, and who has the highest chances of winning the title? Keep on reading for some fun predictions and information about the upcoming tournament.
Which teams have the highest chances according to predictions?
Let’s start by noting that this will be the last World Cup to involve 32 teams as the 2026 tournament will have 48 teams. Moreover, only 29 of the 32 teams are currently known, as the three final squads will earn their place during the playoffs in the summer. The upcoming matches between Costa Rica and New Zealand, Ukraine and Wales, and UAE or Australia and Peru will determine who will travel to Qatar.
Seeing as how many bettors from Africa are impatiently waiting for the tournament to start, they are also looking for predictions and useful tips for making the best betting decisions. With that in mind, let’s go over the current favorites.
For starters, Brazil is in the top spot according to many experts. Their team is full of amazing players, such as Neymar, Fabinho, Casemiro, and Vinicius Junior. Plus, they are the most successful team in the history of the tournament with five titles, while they also went unbeaten for 17 games during the CONMEBOL qualifying. On the other hand, they didn’t win the title since 2002 and lost Copa America to Argentina, on home soil.
Then, the defending champions – France – are also thought to have a high chance of lifting the trophy. If they do, they will be the first nation to manage to win back-to-back titles since Brazil in ’58 and ‘62. France will probably have some of the most dangerous forwards on their side, as Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema are both expected to play.
Other favored countries include England, Spain, and Germany, which are all within the top 15 countries on the FIFA Men’s World Ranking. Argentina is also ranked relatively high, with similar chances as Germany. On the other hand, nations like Qatar, Tunisia, and South Korea are more towards the bottom, but we all know that underdogs shouldn’t be disregarded either.
The groups, schedule, and stadiums
If you prefer making your own predictions according to the extensive knowledge of the game that you have, you should know more about the draw and which groups are the most difficult to get through in order to reach the Round of 16. Here are the 2022 World Cup groups:
Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group B: England, Iran, USA, winner of Wales vs. Ukraine
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group D: France, IC play-off 1 (either Australia, UAE, or Peru), Denmark, Tunisia
Group E: Spain, IC play-off 2 (Costa Rica or New Zealand), Germany, Japan
Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
The group matches will start on 21 November, with four being played each day at 13:00, 16:00, 19:00, and 22:00 during the first two rounds while the last round will have simultaneous kick-offs at 18:00 and 22:00. The latter schedule will also be used for the knockout stage of the tournament. The third-place match is scheduled for 17 December at 18:00 and the final will take place on 18 December also at 18:00.
This is the first World Cup to take place in the Arab world and the first in a country that is predominantly Muslim. Due to the climate, the event was moved from the summer to the November/December slot. Moreover, the stadiums where the matches will be played are to be equipped with cooling systems that should reduce the temperature by up to 20 °C.
The tournament will be played at eight stadiums across Qatar. These are: Lusail Iconic Stadium (capacity of 80,000), Al Bayt Stadium (65,000), Stadium 974 (40,000), Al Thumama Stadium (40,000), Education City Stadium (45,350), Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (44,740), Khalifa International Stadium (40,000), and Al Janoub Stadium (40,000).
The match for the third place will be held at the Khalifa International Stadium while the final will take place at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Are you eagerly waiting for the World Cup to start? Who is your favorite?
Why Ronaldo to miss Portugal Nations League trip to Switzerland
Why Ronaldo to miss Portugal Nations League trip to Switzerland: Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho and Raphael Guerreiro will all miss Portugal’s Nations League match against Switzerland this weekend, coach Fernando Santos announced on Saturday.
The trio have been excused the journey to Geneva on “management” grounds rather than injury.
“It’s not about physical problems, it’s a question of management,” said Santos during a press conference in Lisbon.
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“It wouldn’t make sense to travel to Switzerland with 26 players, when we can only have 23 on the bench,” he added without further details.
Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, did not take part in the final training session before the squad took off for Geneva.
Portugal face Switzerland on Sunday to stay top of Group 2 in League A of the Nations League.
After a 1-1 draw in Seville with Spain and two wins in Lisbon over Switzerland, in which Ronaldo scored twice, and the Czech Republic, Portugal have seven points, two ahead of the Spanish.
Man City’s Mendy pleads not guilty to nine sex offences
Manchester City and France footballer Benjamin Mendy denied nine sexual offences against six young women as he appeared in court on Monday.
The 27-year-old player stood in the dock at Chester Crown Court and repeated: “Not guilty” as the charges were put to him and he entered pleas for the first time.
The defender denies seven counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one count of attempted rape, relating to six complainants.
All the alleged offences are said to have taken place at his home address near Macclesfield, northwest England, between October 2018 and August last year.
Mendy entered his pleas during a hearing on Monday ahead of his trial, scheduled to begin later this year.
He will go before a jury on July 25 along with his co-defendant Louis Saha Matturie, 40, who also entered not guilty pleas to all charges.
Matturie denies eight counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault, relating to eight young women. His alleged offences span from July 2012 to August last year.
After both defendants entered their pleas, the hearing went into private session with press excluded from the courtroom.
Mendy joined Premier League champions City from French club Monaco in 2017. He has played 75 times for the club but his playing time has been limited by injuries and a loss of form.
The last of his 10 caps for France came in November 2019, after the defender won the World Cup in 2018.
Mendy was suspended by City after being charged by police.
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