2022 FIFA WC: France defeats Morocco to book a ticket to the final?

Doha, Qatar, Dec.15, GNA – France has made it to the finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup for the second consecutive time after defeating the Atlas Lions of Morocco 2-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

An early-minute thunder by AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez and a late strike from Kolo Muani helped the French side to book a ticket to the next stage of the competition to face Argentina on Sunday at the Lusail stadium.

Morocco looked quite confident anytime they had the ball, with high hopes of grabbing yet another all-important win coming in against the defending champions.

Kylian Mbappe’s first opportunity of the game led to a goal as left-footed Hernandez flung himself into the air to slot in a shot in the fifth minute of the game, after the 23-year-old’s effort could not pay off. 

The injury of Moroccan skipper, Romain Saiss left the defense of his side struggling to stop Ousman Dembele and Mbappe, as the two kept on tormenting the African side up front. 

Olivier Giroud nearly doubled the lead for the French side in the 16th minute after he was denied by the woodworks.

The tactical 5-4-1 formation by the Moroccan side was up to the task as they made quick runs to cover up anytime they lost the ball to their opponent.

Jawad El Yamid almost got an equalizer for his side but his effort was denied by Hugo Lloris who was solid in between the sticks.

Morocco developed a strategy to send in more men upfront getting to the end of the first half of the game as they mounted lots of pressure on the European side with their long crosses, but could not make any impact as the first half of the game ended 1-0.

After recess, the second half of the game saw the Moroccan side coming all out, hoping to get back into the game. 

Hakim Ziyech and Hakimi were threats to the French side as they were forced to play defensive whiles Morocco also enjoyed possession outside the 18-yard box.

Mbappe’s master mind gave the Moroccans a tough time as he managed to make his way out anytime he had the ball on the wings with his skillful play.

The Paris Saint Germain forward got it right this time round as he managed to dance through five Moroccan defenders, releasing a pass to Kolo Muani who was left with no other choice than to slot in the ball to give his side a comfortable 2-0 lead in the 79th minute of the game. 

Morocco despite suffering a 2-0 defeat, still came all out to give the Europeans a tough challenge but could not get a consolation goal as Mexican referee, Cesar Ramos brought the game to an end after six minutes of additional time.

France would now face Argentina in the finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup hoping to repeat their 2018 record on Sunday.

Source: Ghana News Agency

French President Macron ahead of World Cup final: prefer Messi at PSG

Brussels, Dec 15, (dpa/GNA) – French President, Emmanuel Macron, has huge respect for Lionel Messi, whose Argentina team will face France in the World Cup final in Qatar, on Sunday.

Messi finally wants to win the trophy a first time, but out to stop will be the French title holders around Kylian Mbappe, who plays together with Messi at French champions, Paris Saint-Germain.

“He is a great player when he plays in Paris, but I prefer him in Paris than in his national team,” Macron said of Messi on Thursday, at a European Union summit in Brussels.

He added he had big respect for the “wonderful” Argentina team, but remains upbeat that his French team will lift the trophy, because the team was well prepared and had a great mix of young and experienced players.

“I believe we are the favourites,” Macron said.

Macron was in attendance Wednesday in Al Khor, when France booked their place in the final with a 2-0 victory against Morocco. He has said he would be back in Qatar for the final in Lusail.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Stonebwoy to mount FIFA Fan Festival Stage in Qatar

Award-winning Ghanaian reggae and dancehall musician Stonebwoy will perform at the penultimate 2022 FIFA fan festival in Qatar.

The fan festival slated for Friday, December 16, 2022, would see the Ghanaian artiste thrill thousands of football fans from around the world.

The fan festival which is meeting point for football fans to celebrate the excitement of the FIFA World Cup would see over 100 hours of live music from international artistes.

Other African artistes, including Nigeria’s Kizz Daniels and Patoranking, have performed at earlier festivals held a few weeks ago.

Afrobeat icon Davido is also billed to perform at the finals of the World Cup, while Jamaican musician Sean Paul is expected to grace the fan festival on December 17, 2022.

In other related developments, Argentina have booked a place in the finals of this year’s World Cup as they await the winner of the other semi-final clash between France and Morocco.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Film crews play vital role in the progress of movie industry – David Dontoh

Legendary Ghanaian actor and Chairman of the National Film Authority (NFA), Mr. David Dontoh, has acknowledged the crucial role played by the film crews in churning out quality screen contents for the growth of the movie industry.

He said this at the launch of the second edition of the Ghana Film and Television Awards in Accra on Wednesday.

The award scheme seeks to celebrate the unsung heroes of film and television, which includes crew members, whose efforts are often downplayed.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. David Dontoh said the crew represents one of the largest stakeholder associations in the movie industry and ought to be recognised for the crucial role they play in the progress of the industry.

According to Mr. Dontoh, this award was very vital to help inspire film crews who are at the heart of movie production.

“The film industry is one where you can’t do it on your own. So recognising the effort of the film crew is very crucial, as it would inspire them to do better and thrive in the movie industry.

“You play a crucial role in keeping the film industry on its feet, and that is why I am very delighted with the awards scheme,” he said.

Madam Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, Chief Executive Officer of the National Film Authority (NFA), stated the film crew was at the top of their agenda as an authority and they would continue to engage them to aid the progress of the industry.

She commended the Film Crew Association of Ghana (FICAG), for taking a bold step in recognising the hard work of its members and believes it would help motivate them.

The second edition of the awards which will be staged on 25 March 2022 is being powered by the FICAG, GH Media Schools, Epicwave, Footprint Entertainment and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Creative Arts Agency, NFA, among others.

Some categories of the awards include Best Producer, Best Production, Best Production Manager, Best Director, Best Editor, Best Film, Best Make-up Artiste, Best Script Writer, and Overall Best Crew.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Hearts of Oak, two other GPL clubs forced to change venue after NSA rent out Accra Sports Stadium

The Accra Sports Stadium has been closed down by the National Sports Authority (NSA) after renting it out for several programs.

According to reports, the venue has been rented out for activities which include musical concerts and political events ahead of the festive season until January 2023.

However, the pitch have have been left in a poor state after the flopped Wizkid show which was expected to happen over the weekend.

However, Hearts of Oak, Accra Lions and Great Olympics who have been using the edifice as their home grounds will play their home games from away.

Hearts of Oak are expected to play their home games at the Cape Coast Stadium.

Accra Lions will move from Accra to Sogakope to use the Red Bull Arena while Great Olympics will move to Dawu to use the Theatre of Dreams.

Division League teams are also expected to switch venue as well.

The teams are expected to return to the Accra Sports Stadium in February next year.

Source: Modern Ghana

2022 World Cup: It was remarkable to watch how much Morocco’s team has been able to achieve – Biden

US President Joe Biden has joined a growing list of people who publicly admired Morocco’s national team following its eye-catching performance at the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Biden expressed his honour to watch Morocco vs France semi-finals match along with Morocco’s Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch.

Akhannouch travelled to Washington this week to take part in the US-Africa summit.

“No matter who you’re rooting for, it was remarkable to watch how this team [Morocco] has been able to achieve,” Biden wrote.

The tweet also displayed a photo of Biden watching the game along with Akhannouch, as well as African leaders, such as Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari.

The US has been one of the admirers of Morocco’s Atlas Lions throughout the global competition.

The US embassy in Rabat geared up for every game that Morocco played during the World Cup to cheer for the Atlas Lions.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also shared a heartwarming post following Morocco’s qualification for the semi-finals last week.

“Africa making history and leading on and off the field. On the eve of the #USAfricaLeadersSummit22, I congratulate @EnMaroc, the #AtlasLions, on their win today and on becoming the first African and Arab team to ever reach the semi-finals of the @FIFAWorldCup. #DimaMaghrib,” Blinken said.

Morocco’s national team lost to France 2-0 in the semi-finals.

The Atlas Lions’ performance, however, caught the attention of millions of football fans across the world.

Morocco has made a historic record for being able to concede just three goals during the global competition.

One of the goals was mistakenly hit by Moroccan football player Nayef Aguerd during Morocco vs Canada in the group stage.

Morocco’s national team also made international headlines for becoming the first Arab and African country to qualify for the semi-finals in World Cup history.

Following its defeat against France, Morocco will now play for third place in a match against Croatia on Saturday.

Source: Modern Ghana

Real Madrid sign 16-year-old Brazilian Endrick from Palmeiras

The 16-year-old forward, who has been touted as one of Brazil’s best upcoming talents, will join the European and Spanish champions in July 2024.

This is due to Fifa rules prohibiting players under the age of 18 from being transferred abroad.

Palmeiras and Real Madrid did not disclose the length of the contract but said Endrick will be visiting his new club’s facilities in Spain next week.

Endrick told the Palmeiras website: “I thank Palmeiras, forever the club of my heart, for offering me everything necessary to become what I am today, for helping me to accomplish several of the my dreams and for respecting my desire and that of my family to make another dream come true.

“Until I join Real Madrid, I will continue to dedicate myself as I have always dedicated myself to being able to offer Palmeiras even more on the field.”

Endrick is both the youngest player and goalscorer in Palmeiras’ history.

The Brazil under-17 international has scored three goals in seven Brazilian Serie A games this season.

The Brazilian club’s president Leila Pereira said: “We have completed the biggest negotiation in the history of Brazilian football.

“Real Madrid’s proposal is compatible with Endrick’s enormous talent and corresponds to the sporting and financial goals that we have established since the beginning of negotiations.”

Source: Modern Ghana

Uefa and Fifa backed in bid to block Super League

Uefa and Fifa have received significant backing in their battle to block the creation of a European Super League.

In a report released by the European Court of Justice, its advocate general said the rules of football’s European and world governing bodies were “compatible with EU competition law”.

Athanasios Rantos gave his observations after a court case earlier this year brought by ESL and its backers A22.

A final ruling will be made by a 15-member Grand Chamber next spring.

It had been claimed that Uefa and Fifa were breaking competition law by threatening to sanction clubs and players who joined a breakaway league.

Plans for a European Super League caused a fallout across the football world when they were announced in April 2021.

The six Premier League sides that signed up to the project – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal – quickly withdrew their support after a backlash from fans, football governing bodies and even government.

However, the plans have not been scrapped completely, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus still pushing the Super League idea.

• ‘Warmly welcomed’

In a statement on Thursday, European football’s governing body Uefa said it “warmly welcomed” the observations from Rantos which it said supported “our central mission to govern European football, protect the pyramid and develop the game across Europe”.

“[It] is an encouraging step towards preserving the existing dynamic and democratic governance structure of the European football pyramid,” Uefa said.

“It reinforces the central role of federations in protecting the sport, upholding fundamental principles of sporting merit and open access across our members, as well as uniting football with shared responsibility and solidarity.

“Football in Europe remains united and steadfastly opposed to the ESL, or any such breakaway proposals, which would threaten the entire European sports ecosystem.”

Fifa added: “Fifa welcomes the recognition by the Advocate General of the special nature of sport, including the pyramid structure, which preserves the nature of sporting merit and open competitions accessible to all, as well as the principles of promotion and relegation, competitive balance, and financial solidarity.”

The report is Rantos’ written opinion on the case and is non-binding, but it could influence the final decision by the court’s Grand Chamber.

“The Fifa-Uefa rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with EU competition law,” Rantos said

“Whilst ESLC is free to set up its own independent football competition outside the Uefa and Fifa ecosystem, it cannot however, in parallel with the creation of such a competition, continue to participate in the football competitions organised by Fifa and Uefa without the prior authorisation of those federations.”

He added: “It would appear that ESL’s founding clubs want, on the one hand, to benefit from the rights and advantages linked to membership of Uefa, without however being bound by Uefa’s rules and obligations.”

After the Super League plans were announced, nine of the clubs involved were fined by Uefa. But action against the remaining three – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – was halted following this legal process.

In response to the announcement, A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart said: “The opinion of the Advocate General is one step in an ongoing case, and we are pleased with the recognition of the right of third parties to organise pan-European club competitions.

“The Advocate General made clear that Uefa has a monopolistic position which comes with important responsibilities for enabling third parties to act freely in the market.

“However, we believe the 15 judges of the Grand Chamber who are entrusted with the responsibility to examine this case, will go substantially further and provide the opportunity for clubs to manage their own destiny in Europe.”

A statement from the European Clubs Association said: “Rantos proposes a clear rejection of the efforts of a few to undermine the foundations and historical heritage of European football for the many.

“As the body representing nearly 250 of Europe’s top football clubs, ECA is explicit in its strong opposition towards those self-interested few seeking to disrupt European club football and undermine the values that underpin it.”

Source: Modern Ghana