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Gareth Southgate: England manager warns Three Lions will have to adapt to setbacks in Qatar ahead of final World Cup audition




Gareth Southgate admits the forthcoming Nations League games in September will be a final chance for players to audition for inclusion in his World Cup squad this coming winter.

England travel to Milan to face Italy at the San Siro on September 23 before hosting Germany at Wembley three days later. Southgate will be required to have his final 26-man squad ready for the tournament in Qatar by Friday, October 21.

It will be the final chance for Southgate to take a look at players who may have not been included during the last England camp in June, when England failed to win any of their four games and were notably beaten 4-0 at home to Hungary.

The Three Lions boss acknowledges we are approaching crunch time in his selection thoughts – and he is after a response.


“We’re not going to get the players together again before the World Cup,” admitted the England boss to Sky Sports. “You’d normally have around a 28-day training camp and a couple of friendlies leading into a tournament to work with the team.

“This is the last realistic opportunity to do that. When we get together in the winter, we’ll be flying to Qatar and it’ll be a normal one-week prep for a game.

“This is a great opportunity to test ourselves against really top teams. We want to respond to the performances we gave in the summer, and it’s really important for preparation ahead of the World Cup.”
There are certainly plenty of talking points emerging already from the opening three weekends of the Premier League season concerning players who have been regularly called upon under Southgate.

Jack Grealish has only played half the minutes for Manchester City, having been left out entirely in the 3-3 draw at Newcastle, where defender John Stones made his first start of the campaign.

At Manchester United, there is further intrigue regarding how significant a role both Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will play in Erik ten Hag’s defence following the morale-boosting win over Liverpool.


In terms of the deep pool of creative options, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford both put forward their case for inclusion by scoring in the game at Old Trafford and must continue their own upturn in form over the coming month, while James Maddison has been the standout performer for Leicester.

Conversely, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount and Jarrod Bowen are all yet to score this campaign. Southgate, however, is not too concerned about making snap judgments just yet.

He said: “At this time of year, the Premier League table doesn’t settle down for a few weeks and you’ve still got the transfer window open, which causes so much chaos in every club.

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“Things have to settle but we’re perhaps fortunate as the international window normally falls in about a week but we’ve been given more time. It’s nice to have a few more weeks to see how things map out and see where players are physically and fitness-wise.

“There have been some unexpected results, but I think at this time of year that can happen. Things will take on a more familiar look once we get into two games a week across multiple competitions.”


Does Southgate know his preferred starting XI in Qatar, barring any injuries?

It is a question fans will want to know given how close we are now to the tournament beginning, but it is not one that he believes is a true reflection of how international management works.

“Everyone always says that you need to be clear on your best team, but you’ve always got to leave space and opportunity for people who are playing well,” said Southgate.

“You know you’re going to lose players from the squad in the next few months. It’s already happened with some of the countries so whatever the idea is in your head of who your best players are – which we have – that’s going to fluctuate and you’ve got to adapt.

“Possibly in this World Cup more than any other, that ability to adapt and to operate quickly to make the right decisions is more important than ever.”


Southgate: Women’s sport took centre stage this summer
England's Beth Mead celebrates with England's manager Sarina Wiegman after winning the 2022 Women's Euros
Beth Mead celebrates with Sarina Wiegman
After securing their first piece of major silverware with the 2-1 extra-time victory over Germany at Wembley on July 31, England Women will be back in action with World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Luxembourg on September 3 and 6.

Sarina Wiegman named her first squad since the summer’s historic Euros triumph on Wednesday – the first of the post-Ellen White era – and Southgate was full of praise for how the Lionesses’ united the nation.

Southgate added: “Women’s sport took centre stage for that period and there are very few occasions where I can remember that happening in my lifetime, so it’s a big statement in itself.

“How big it was only really hit home to me when I went back into St George’s Park, when you saw some of the coaches who’d worked with the girls in the development teams and who were working in the development centres around the country because their work has been going on for decades without a lot of recognition.

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“You could see the likes of Jill Scott, in particular, who has been part of that team’s journey through three or four head coaches, hitting semi-finals and getting closer and closer to winning.


“It was a huge win for all of those reasons.”

The hope now is for the men’s team to use the Lionesses’ triumph as a blueprint for their own success in Qatar this winter.

“We could see how the nation is when it’s engaged in major sporting events,” Southgate said. “We saw it for ourselves in the Euros and we knew what it would be like for the girls if they could get through to the final and they went one step further.

“It reignites the passion on our side.”

Rice hoping men’s team can follow in Lionesses’ footsteps
After naming her first squad since winning Euro 2022, England manager Sarina Wiegman has been full of praise for the retiring pair of Jill Scott and Ellen White.


After naming her first squad since winning Euro 2022, England manager Sarina Wiegman has been full of praise for the retiring pair of Jill Scott and Ellen White.
Declan Rice is hoping England’s men can follow in the footsteps of the country’s women and deliver a major tournament victory at the World Cup in Qatar.

West Ham captain Rice was a key part of Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad as they reached the final before suffering a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy at Wembley.

Rice was also at the national stadium when the Lionesses made history by becoming the first England team – men or women – to win a major trophy since the 1966 World Cup by beating Germany in July’s Euro 2022 final.

The 23-year-old midfielder now has his sights set on a second major title of the calendar year for England, with the World Cup set to get under way in November.

“Definitely (it would be special to lift the World Cup),” Rice said.


“We got so close as a team (at Euro 2020) and then to see the women win it… I was (at Wembley) myself and it was so special to see how the country came together.”

Rice: We need to raise the standards
West Ham's new club captain, Declan Rice says speculation about him potentially leaving the club can be annoying but insists he puts it to one side when he is on the pitch.
Declan Rice says the Lionesses can inspire the men’s team
England have struggled for form in recent months, failing to win any of their four Nations League matches to leave them on the brink of relegation from Group A3 with just two points.

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However, Rice believes the players know that performance levels must be raised ahead of next month’s trip to Italy and a home clash with Germany which will be their first match at Wembley since March.

England have drawn with Italy and lost to Hungary at Molineux since their last outing at their traditional home.

“I feel like it’s good to go around the smaller stadiums in the country so those fanbases can see us,” Rice said.


“Obviously it wasn’t the results we wanted, but the lads know that we need to raise the standards and we can do that in September, which is a positive sign.”

Harry Kane echoed Southgate's pleas for fans to stick with England
England face relegation from Nations League Group A
On the upcoming encounters with Italy and Germany, he added: “Two massive games, games that you want to play in as an international player, (especially the one) here at Wembley and another chance to keep pushing in the Nations League, so we want to do well.”

England drew 1-1 with Germany when the sides met at the Allianz Arena in June and Rice reckons testing themselves against teams of that calibre will serve them well in Qatar.

“(It’s a) massive (game), you want to test yourself against the best,” he said.

“In the World Cup, if you get through the group it’s obviously knock-out games and then you’re playing against the best teams in the world, so you need to test yourself against the best and beat the best to win the tournament.”


What’s next for England?
England will convene in September ahead of the two remaining group stage matches in the Nations League.

They face Italy at the San Siro on September 23 before hosting Germany three days later at Wembley.

Southgate will submit a long list of players to FIFA on Friday October 21, but the England manager is expected to announce his final World Cup 26-man squad on either November 9-10. The FIFA deadline is Monday November 14.

England will depart for Qatar on Tuesday November 15 before they face Iran in their opening World Cup group game on November 21 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha.

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Emir of Doma Hosts Women’s B’ball League Players in Lafia



The Emir of Doma, Dr. Aliyu Amadu, has called on the sponsors of the Women’s Basketball League in Nigeria, Zenith Bank, to do more for basketball in the country.

He stated this while receiving all the teams and officials participating in the Second Phase of the Savannah Conference of the ongoing Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League in Lafia, Nasarawa State yesterday.

The Emir who was a former basketball player appreciated the bank and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) for allowing the state to host the national competition while assuring all the players and other visitors a great stay in the community.

The teams; Nigerian Customs, Nigerian Army, Air Warriors, Nasarawa Amazons and Plateau Rocks alongside their officials and all the referees were at the Andoma Palace on a courtesy visit while also getting the royal blessings.


“I want to welcome the ladies, who made this tournament possible, you are welcome to Nasarawa State and Doma Kingdom, the only palace in Nigeria with a basketball court,” he said.

“I want to specifically appreciate Zenith Bank for facilitating this competition, we are hoping they will do more for basketball so that the day the NBA players will be coming, we will see their banner side by side with other sponsors and it will document what they have been doing for the game of basketball in Nigeria.

The emir said that it was possible to bring NBA to Nigeria.

“We can bring NBA teams to Nigeria, we have hosted the World Cup in football, and other sports have been to Nigeria and basketball must have its place, all the other sports have been hosted and sponsored by the Nigeria government, they should do same with basketball. Several Nigerians are bringing fortunes from NBA, so why can’t we bring the game here for our people? It will be on record that Nigeria have hosted superstars here.“

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Meanwhile, Nigerian Customs Ladies whitewashed Nigerian Army 76-36 points yesterday to seal their qualification to the finals in Lagos.


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UCL: Bayern compounds Man U’s woes in 7goals thriller, as Arsenal return with a bang



Bayern Munich on Wednesday night compounded Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United’s woes in a seven-goal thriller at the Allianz Arena.

The German champion beat Manchester United 4-3, leaving manager Ten Hag with more questions than answers about his defensive options following the team’s humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Brighton over the weekend.

Goals from Leroy Sane, and Serge Gnabri gave the German side a two-goal advantage in the first half before United fought their way back into the game.

Harry Kane and Mathys Tel completed Bayern’s lead over Man United in a game that was more of a contest than many expected.


After the break United again started well, pulling a goal back on 49 minutes with Rasmus Hojlund recording his first goal for the club with the aid of two deflections.

Within minutes, Bayern won a penalty which made the game safe, and Eriksen was adjudged – first by VAR, who advised the ref to watch a replay – to have handled Dayot Upamecano’s header.

From the penalty spot, Kane made no mistake, and though Casemiro bagged two late goals to make things interesting, Tel’s goal saw the German champions take control of the group while United desperately needed a break.

Arsenal on the other hand enjoyed a fine return to the Champions League as they thrshed PSV Eindhoven 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners made a return to the Champions League after six years of absence from Europe’s elite competition. Arsenal last played in the Champions League in 2017.

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Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus, and Martin Odegaard all scored as Arsenal sent the right warning across.

Arsenal started a goal rush with Saka getting Gunner’s first inside eight minutes before Trossard doubled the lead, Jesus added a third before the break and Odegaard capped off a fine evening.

David Raya retained his place in the Arsenal goal having replaced Aaron Ramsdale for Sunday’s Premier League win at Everton.

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Amusan relishes historic Diamond League win



World women’s 100m hurdles record holder, Tobi Amusan, says the track in Eugene, Oregon holds a special place in her heart and her list of conquests.

The Nigerian wrapped up her season on an outstanding and record-breaking note by clinching the Wanda Diamond League title for the third consecutive year on Sunday night on the track she has come to affectionately call her own.

The 26-year-old posted an impressive performance in the 100m hurdles event at the Oregon Diamond League despite facing tough competition from Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Kendra Harrison, Danielle Williams, Nia Ali, Tia Jones and Megan Tapper.

Amusan started off strong and maintained her lead, clearing the final hurdle and finishing with an impressive season best time of 12.33secs. Camacho-Quinn from Puerto Rico gave a strong chase, coming in second in 12.38secs, while USA’s Harrison took third place in a time of 12.44secs.


The world champion, Jamaica’s Williams, finished fourth in 12.47secs.

This remarkable victory marked Amusan’s third consecutive Diamond League title, making her only the second woman in Diamond League history to achieve a hat-trick of 100m hurdles titles.

The Nigerian athlete accomplished this feat on the same track in Oregon, where she had won the World Championship the previous year and set the current world record of 12.12secs.

After the race, an elated Amusan said, “I came out here and said it’s my race to lose, and I will give my all. I said it’s 200 or nothing because, 100 per cent, I am not winning today (Sunday). So, I came out here, and I told God to give me the strength.

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“I said this (racing in Eugene) is God’s track. I came here, I’m like ‘This is my track; I’m going to dominate’ and God did just that.”


Amusan expressed gratitude to God, dedicating her win to her coach, her family, her fans and everyone who had supported her throughout the challenging year.

“Right now, I just want to rest. I’m just grateful to God; that’s all I can say this season. This win is not about me; it’s for my coach, my family, and everyone who supported me throughout this year. It’s been a rough one, and I’m just thankful,” she said.

The record-setting victory provided a glorious end to the season for Amusan, who had experienced disappointment after failing to defend her world title at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August.

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