How Nigeria moved from 45th to 33rd position in FIFA World Rankings.

Nigeria have moved up to 33rd place in the Fifa World Rankings released on Thursday for the month of July.

On the back of their bronze-winning feat in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles climbed 12 places from their 45th position in June, accruing 1481 points.

After finishing second in the group stage, Gernot Rohr’s men edged out five-time African champions Cameroon in the Round of 16 and went on to defeat 1996 champions South Africa in the quarter-final.

The three-time African champions, after losing to Algeria in the semi-final, clinch a narrow 1-0 victory over Tunisia in the third/fourth-place playoff to claim their eighth bronze medal in the tournament.

The Super Eagles, however, remain third in Africa behind Senegal (20th), who won the silver medal in the continental tournament in Egypt and Tunisia (29th), who finished fourth in the competition.

Reigning African Champions Algeria moved up 28 places to 40th position and fourth in Africa while Morocco (41st) are placed fifth.

Belgium remain the top-ranked team in the world while reigning South American champions, Brazil are second and France third.





How Neymar made Paris Saint-Germain’s 33-man squad for their pre-season tour of China.

Neymar has been named in Paris Saint-Germain’s 33-man squad for their pre-season tour of China, despite heavy speculation regarding his future.

Thomas Tuchel is taking his team to China from July 23 to August 4 as part of their preparations for the new season, when PSG will look to defend their Ligue 1 title and challenge in the Champions League.

The 27-year-old Neymar has been constantly linked with a return to Barcelona and, more recently, a shock move to Real Madrid, but for the time being at least he remains a PSG man.


Leonardo, the club’s sporting director, confirmed over the weekend that they are yet to receive a concrete offer for their flagship star despite weeks of persistent speculation.

While Barcelona fans may have been dreaming of a Messi-Neymar-Griezmann front three, it has been suggested that the signing of the Frenchman from Atletico Madrid makes another huge transfer outlay on Neymar unlikely.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, have emerged as contenders over the last few days after it was reported that they could look to broker some sort of deal with PSG as they look to oust black sheep Gareth Bale.

After the injury problems which kept him out of Brazil’s Copa America win over the summer – their first major title since Neymar’s international debut in 2010 – it is unclear whether or not he will feature in PSG’s upcoming games.


The Parisians have friendly matches with to look forward to, before rounding off the tour with the Trophee des Champions against Rennes on August 3.

The match will be a chance for revenge for PSG after their Coupe de France final defeat to Rennes at the end of last season. They were shocked by a 6-5 penalty shoot-out defeat following a 2-2 draw in which Neymar scored.

Currently tied on eight titles each with Lyon, PSG are hoping to become the most successful club in the history of the Trophee des Champions.

Held for the second consecutive year in Shenzhen, China, this year’s match will also mark ten years since the event started taking place outside of France.

Since then, the match has been played in Morocco, Tunisia, Canada, the USA, Austria and Gabon.

PSG strolled to victory last year, thrashing Monaco 4-0.



How USA Ladies won the female world cup back to back.

LYON, France (Reuters) – The United States beat the Netherlands 2-0 to win the women’s World Cup for a record-extending fourth time on Sunday.



Captain Megan Rapinoe converted a VAR-awarded penalty in the 61st minute and Rose Lavelle wrapped up the victory eight minutes later as the U.S. added to their 1991, 1999 and 2015 titles.









How Megan Rapinoe of USA send France out of World Cup.

Megan Rapinoe did it again. And again.

Team USA’s co-captain scored in the fifth minute to give the U.S. an early lead on France in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinal, and the team never looked back, defeating the host country, 2-1, Friday at Parc des Princes in Paris.

France scored off of a set piece from Wendie Renard in the game’s 81st minute.


USA’s Tobin Heath also landed a ball in the net 75 minutes into the game. USA’s Crystal Dunn, who crossed to Heath for her goal, was deemed offside, and the goal was declared invalid.

Rapinoe has scored five goals in the tournament after netting both goals in USA’s 2-1 win over Spain in the Round of 16 on Monday and scoring one of its 13 goals in the opener against Thailand.

The U.S. will face England in the semifinals Tuesday at Stade de Lyon in Lyon.



How Nigeria U20 women squad is dominated by home-based professionals.

Rivers Angels goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie and FC Robo defender Chidinma Okeke made Nigeria’s 25-player provisional squad for 2019 All African Games in Morocco.

Nnadozie and Okeke helped Nigeria to the Last 16 at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France and were recalled to the U20 team by coach Christopher Danjuma for the showpiece.

The squad is dominated by home-based professional players who represented the nation at the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in France last year, and won the 2019 Wafu Women’s Cup.

Also invited are usual suspects like Ijamilusi Folashade, Akarekor Rita, Adebisi Saheed, Efih Peace, Amoo Bashirat and Monday Gift and Obia Christiana.

The team is expected to commence camping preparations for the tournament in the first week of July in Abuja ahead of the trip to Morocco in the second week of August.

Nigeria are drawn against South Africa, Cameroon and Zambia in Group B and will begin their campaign against Basetsana at Stade Academie Mohamed VI on August 18.

The women’s football championship, which will be the fifth edition for women is featuring U20 sides for the first time and is scheduled to be held from August 17 – 29 in Rabat, Morocco.


Duru Joy ( Nasarawa Amazons), Efih Peace ( Rivers Angels), Amoo Bashirat ( Confluence Queens), Peter Monday Uduakobong ( Ibom Angels), Monday Gift ( FC Robo), Saheed Adebisi ( Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie ( Rivers Angels), Igboamalu Grace Chinyere ( Nasarawa Amazons), Saiki Mary ( Nasarawa Amazons), Okeke Chidinma ( FC Robo), Tarnum Dooshima (Nasarawa Amazons), Olapade Zainab (Sunshine Queens), Ogbona Akudo (Sunshine Queens), Momoh Esther ( Confluence Queens), Innocent Patricia (Sunshine Queens), Kenneth Katherine Ijeoma (Rivers Angels), Obia Christiana Chinaza (Osun Babes), Akarekor Rita (Sunshine Queens), Mathias Josephine (Rivers Angels), Aku Cynthia (Rivers Angels) Sule Rufiat (Bayelsa Queens), Adeboye Esther (FC Robo), Anjor Mary (Bayelsa Queens), Oshobukola Omowumi (Sunshine Queens), Folashade Ijamilusi (FC Robo).



Qatar Inquiry: Michel Platini Arrested.

French anti-corruption police have arrested former UEFA president Michel Platini, in a case related to “Qatargate” — the ongoing investigations into Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup. Platini is also a former vice president of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body.

Platini, 63, was taken into police custody and is now at the offices of France’s anti-corruption judicial police in Nanterre, according to the French web site Mediapart, which was first to report the news. Known by the acronym OCLCIFF, the French police agency specializes in complex cases involving financial fraud, corruption and breaches of integrity.

News of Platini’s arrest gripped the world of international football Tuesday. Just four years ago, Platini was the powerful head of Europe’s football association and was seen as the heir apparent to then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter. At the time, the former French soccer star was also a FIFA vice president.

But Platini was sidelined by FIFA in late 2015, when the body’s ethics committee suspended him from all soccer-related activities for eight years, citing a $2 million payment Platini received from FIFA when Sepp Blatter was its president.



How Nigeria was trashed by France in World Cup.

France completed World Cup group play with a 3-0 record for the first time, beating Nigeria 1-0 Monday night at Rennes when Wendie Renard converted a penalty kick in the 79th minute after missing her first attempt but getting a second chance.

France will play a third-place team on Sunday at Le Havre in the round of 16, and the winner will advance to a quarterfinal against the United States, Sweden or Spain.

Referee Melissa Borjas of Honduras awarded the penalty kick when Viviane Asseyi was knocked over by Ngozi Ebere, a call upheld in a video review and one that drew vehement protests from the Super Falcons. Eberle was given her second yellow card of the match for the foul, causing Nigeria to finish a player short.


Renard’s initial attempt was wide to the right of goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, but Borjas ordered the kick retaken because Nnadozie came off the line before the ball was kicked. Renard’s second try went in to Nnadozie’s right for her third goal of the tournament.

A crowd of 28,267 watched host nation Les Bleues outshoot Nigeria 22-2 and hold 69 percent possession. France advance to the knockout stage for the third straight World Cup.

Nigeria finished third in Group A with three points and a minus-two goal difference, and the Super Falcons will have to wait to find out whether they can advance as one of the four top third-place teams. Nigeria has played in every Women’s World Cup but advanced past the group stage just once, reaching the quarterfinals in 1999.



How South Korea was beaten by France.

PARIS — France’s women took a first step to follow in the World Cup footsteps of the French men.

Wendie Renard, at 6-foot-2 the tallest player in the tournament, scored twice on headers off corner kicks, and Les Bleues overwhelmed South Korea 4-0 Friday night in a gala World Cup opener.

Eugénie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry also got goals on a cool, windy night at Parc des Princes, the home of Paris Saint-Germain. French pop star Jain provided the pregame entertainment for the sellout crowd of 45,261, and French President Emmanuel Macron was among the spectators singing “La Marseillaise” and looking on.

“We knew that it was going to be a really emotional evening. But I think we managed it well,” Renard said. “When you have more than 45,000 people singing the French national anthem, obviously it drives you forward.”

France is hosting the tournament at a time when women’s teams are increasing their push for equal treatment from FIFA and other soccer governing bodies. It is vying to become the first nation to hold both the men’s and women’s World Cup titles at the same time.

“I’m sure people expect or hope, and the same goes for us, we’d like to follow in the footsteps of the senior men’s national team,” French coach Corinne Diacre said. “But everything takes time. We won tonight, but we haven’t still won anything. We have six more steps on the road that need to be taken. We need to be serious and focused for six games, and then we’ll see what comes of it.”

Norway and Nigeria meet in the other Group A opener on Saturday. France faces Norway on Wednesday and Nigeria on June 17.

France’s margin of victory was the largest in a Women’s World Cup opener since China beat Norway by the same score at the first tournament in 1991. Four years ago, all nine teams that won their opener advanced from the 24-nation group stage to the round of 16.

The world’s fourth-ranked team wasn’t tested by No. 14 South Korea. France had a 17-0 advantage in shots during the first half and 21-4 overall.

Les Bleues, eliminated by Germany on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals four years ago in Canada, applied pressure from the start on goalkeeper Kim Minjung.

Le Sommer scored in the ninth minute off a cross from Henry and held up her hands in the shape of a heart in celebration after her 75th international goal, the earliest in a Women’s World Cup opener. South Korea has conceded the first goal in all eight World Cup games it has played.

Griedge Mbock Bathy appeared to score in the 30th minute but the goal was disallowed in a video review, technology also used by FIFA at last year’s men’s tournament in Russia.

“On the spur of the moment you’re happy and when the goal’s disallowed it’s frustrating, but you have to switch quickly,” she said. “We had a lot of time left and we had a lot of opportunities to score.”

Renard doubled the lead in the 35th from Gaëtane Thiney’s corner kick as the crowd chanted “Wendie! Wendie!”

She made it 3-0 from Amel Majri’s corner kick in stoppage time with her 22nd international goal. Ten of her last 11 goals have come on headers.

“It really feels good on a personal level,” Renard said. “But I think above all as a team, because these were very important goals. It allowed us to go into the break with a 3-goal lead.”

Henry added her 12th international goal off a pass from Le Sommer in the 85th.

South Korea substitute Lee Mina had the best chance for her team on a breakaway in the 76th minute, but the shot went just wide.

Renard, selected player of the match, is among seven players on France’s roster that play for Lyon, which routed Barcelona 4-1 to win the women’s Champions League for the fourth straight year and sixth time overall.

Diacre had surprised many when her roster did not include PSG’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto, a 20-year-old who led the French league in scoring. Diacre also made the somewhat unexpected decision not to start Valérie Gauvin, who entered in the 70th. The coach said the decision was tactical.

France eliminated South Korea 3-0 in the round of 16 four years ago. Yoon Deok-yeo, South Korea’s coach since 2012, said his team was simply outmatched by Les Bleues.

“The first match, the result is not that good,” he said through a translator. “So for the upcoming two matches, we have to do our best. It is a must.”




Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral ‘saved’ after massive fire

Paris firefighters have declared Notre Dame Cathedral saved late on Monday even as flames continued to burn in the wreckage of the Western cultural icon’s roof.

The huge blaze, that started a little over four hours earlier, destroyed the timber roof of the Gothic building and about two hours into the conflagration, the upper part of the 93-metre-high spire swayed and fell as flames shot up.

About 400 firefighters battled the fire, aiming jets of water at the 850-year-old cathedral as solemn crowds watched quietly from behind police cordons.

Fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said that the structure of the cathedral had been “saved and preserved overall” and its bell towers, at one point thought to be at risk, were safe.

French media reported that the fire might have been linked to renovation work. The Paris prosecutor’s office said that “as matters stand” it was investigating a count of “involuntary destruction by fire”.

The cathedral’s most precious relics had been saved, rector Monsignor Patrick Chauvet said.


Shortly afterwards, French President Emmanuel Macron said “the worst has been avoided, even if the battle has not been fully won”. Calling the cathedral “the very centre of our lives”, he vowed that France “will rebuild Notre Dame”.

“It is what French people expect, because it is what our history deserves, because it is our deep destiny,” he told reporters at the scene.

His statement came as Parisians and visitors gathered to watch in horror and disbelief from the nearby banks of the River Seine as emergency workers fought back enormous flames coming out of the iconic Gothic landmark. The firefighters were unable to save the building’s spire, which was toppled by the blaze, and large swaths of the structure’s roof.


The cathedral was in the middle of a $6.8m renovation, with some sections under scaffolding, while bronze statues were removed last week for works.

A church spokesman said the entire wooden interior of the 12th-century landmark was burning and likely to be destroyed.

Those living close to the cathedral have been evacuated in case of a possible collapse of the building, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.

France’s civil security agency said “all means” except for water-dropping aircraft

were deployed to put out the flames.

But the defence agency said those were unsuitable for fires like the one at Notre Dame because dumping water on the building could cause the whole structure to collapse.

“The moment #NotreDame’s spire fell

— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) April 15, 2019”


“A terrible fire is under way at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said earlier on Twitter. “There are a lot of artworks inside … it’s a real tragedy,” she later told reporters at the scene.

Police urged people to avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles.

Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said she saw tears streaming down the face of some onlookers.

“The cathedral is a French icon, it is a symbol of Paris all over the world,” she said. “To see it in flames is extremely sad for so many people.”





Claire, a 15-year-old onlooker, told Al Jazeera crying: “Notre Dame is the heart of Paris and I came as soon as I heard. This is our heart and it is disappearing in the flames. What do we have left?”

Yvette, a French-American student, told Al Jazeera: “I came as soon as I could because I didn’t know how bad the fire was going to be or how much of the structure was still going to be standing, and I wanted to stand witness while it was still here.”

Nedjma, another witness in Paris, said she saw the fire on her way home from work.

“As we walked, we could feel ashes on our faces. Everyone was really shocked by this,” she told Al Jazeera. “It’s a huge monument and a huge part of Paris’s history.”


Notre Dame, Paris, is on fire and it feels

like the end of the world.— Shiv Malik (@shivmalik) April 15, 2019”


Notre Dame is celebrated for its size, antiquity and architectural interest.

The cathedral, which is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, attracts millions of tourists every year.

It was here that Christian crusaders prayed before going to fight in the Holy Land, where revolutionaries defiled representations of French kings and Napoleon crowned himself emperor in 1804.

“It’s a devastating image because Notre Dame, Paris and France play a key role in the history of European Christendom, that is second only to Rome and the Vatican,” Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, told Al Jazeera.

“This is really a fire at the heart of Christianity,” he added.

French historian Camille Pascal, meanwhile, told France’s BFM television news channel the blaze marked “the destruction of invaluable heritage”.

“It has been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris … happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame,” Pascal said.

“We can be only horrified by what we see.”



























Photo of ‘father and daughter’ playing outside Notre Dame Cathedral turns into viral search

A heartwarming photo of a man and a little girl playing outside Notre Dame Cathedral shortly before it was engulfed in flames has gone viral after the tourist who snapped the picture shared it on social media in hopes of finding the pair.

In the image, captured by Brooke Windsor, a man is seen spinning the child in the air outside the Paris landmark. The man and child, who Windsor believes are a father and his daughter, are smiling at each other.
“I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it,” Windsor tweeted Monday. “Now I wish I had. Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this.”


In an update Tuesday, Windsor said she has not been able to find the pair but was “hopeful.”

About an hour after the touching moment was captured on camera, many onlookers were left in tears as they watched a massive fire rip through the historic church causing the building’s roof to collapse and destroying a spire.

The blaze began at 6:50 p.m. after the cathedral had closed to the public. No one was killed, but two police officers and a firefighter were injured.


Around 400 firefighters worked to contain the inferno, which was extinguished early Tuesday after a nine-hour battle. The city’s fire service said in a tweet that the cathedral’s structure was saved and that “main works of art are safe.”

A spokesman for Paris’ City Hall told NBC News that some of the church’s famed rose windows and main organ were in good condition, and the cathedral’s “most precious treasures” had been spared from the flames and moved to an undisclosed location.

“With pride, I tell you tonight that we will rebuild this cathedral, all together,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. “It’s part of the fate, the destiny of France, and our common project over the coming years. And I am committed to it.”





Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the “accidental” fire, Paris prosecutors said. Authorities said they have begun questioning witnesses and more than a dozen construction workers who were at the church, where $6.8 million in renovations were being completed.