Goal

Roberto Martinez to stay on as Belgium coach

Roberto Martinez will stay on as Belgium coach despite the country’s European Championship exit and attempt another tilt at a major title at next year’s World Cup, he said in an interview with Belgian newspapers on Friday. Martinez, whose contract runs until after next year’s tournament in Qatar, had not given any clarity on his plans since Belgium were beaten 2-1 by Italy in Munich in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals a week ago in a major disappointment for the team, who have spent the last three years top of the Fifa rankings. “I’m staying as coach. When I feel I no longer have anything to contribute is when I will leave,” he said. “But I don’t have that feeling now. I was a bitterly disappointed to be knocked out but now I’m looking ahead to the World Cup in Qatar. And also the Nations Leag...

UNICEF to supply AU states 220 million coronavirus vaccines

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has signed an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV to supply up to 220 million doses of the J&J single-dose vaccine to all 55 member-states of the African Union (AU) by the end of 2022. Some 35 million doses are to be delivered by the end of this year, UNICEF stated in a statement issued on Thursday in New York. The agreement, between UNICEF and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, will help implement the Advance Purchase Commitment (APC) signed between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and Janssen last March. That agreement secured an option to order another 180 million doses, bringing the maximum access up to a total of 400 million doses by the end of 2022. The AU established AVAT in November 2020 to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the African continen...

Former Everton boss calls Richarlison to discuss possible Real Madrid move

New Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has been in contact with Richarlison, a player he is eager to reunite with in Spain this summer. Ancelotti was hired by Real Madrid in June as he opted to leave Everton to return to his former club on a contract that runs through 2024. The Italian boss is now interested in bringing one of Everton’s stars to Madrid with him, as he has held conversations with Richarlison over that possibility. Goal can confirm that a call between Ancelotti and Richarlison happened recently, with the forward currently on duty with Brazil for Copa America. Ancelotti is eager to bring him to the Bernabeu, but any potential talks are in the early stages. Still, the conversation between the two could evolve into an offer for Everton to consider in the coming weeks. The Braz...

Mexico coach: Victory vs Nigeria good test ahead Concacaf Gold Cup

Gerardo Martino, Technical Director of the Mexican national team, has described the win against the home-based Eagles as a good test for his side ahead of this year’s Concacaf Gold Cup. A brace from Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera and a goal each from Jonathan Dos Santos, former Barcelona forward and Rogelio Funes Mori, earned Mexico a comfortable 4-0 win in Los Angeles, USA, in the early hours of Sunday. Speaking at a virtual press conference, the former Barcelona coach said: “It always gives peace of mind, especially since we are on the eve of a very important tournament for us. “Recovering feelings of the game and scoring goals, gives a greater margin of tranquility, this is a friendly match, it has been a good test and a good way to introduce ourselves into what is to come.” ...

Euro 2020: Cristiano Ronaldo ‘proud’ of Portugal’s efforts after elimination

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo said on Monday he was “proud” of holders Portugal’s efforts despite bowing out of Euro 2020 after the weekend’s 1-0 last 16 loss to Belgium. “We did not get the result we wanted and we leave the competition sooner than expected,” the 36-year-old Juventus star and five-time Ballon d’or winner admitted as his side failed to match their 2016 exploits. “But we are proud of our showing. We did everything we could to retain the title of European champions and this group proved it could still give the Portuguese people much joy,” the former Manchester United and Real Madrid attacker posted on social media after Sunday’s loss. “Congratulations to Belgium and good luck to all the teams left in. As for us, we shall return stronger,” vowed the veteran who at least could cons...

Copa America: Ecuador ends Brazil’s winning run, qualify for quarterfinals

Brazil’s ten-game winning run came to an end after Ecuador earned a 1-1 draw in the final Copa America group game in Goiania. Coach Tite made ten changes from the midweek win over Colombia as Neymar, Casemiro, Thiago Silva and Richarlison were rested. The reigning champions had already booked their spot in the next round as group winners and Venezuela’s defeat to Peru, means Ecuador join Brazil in the final eight. And it was nearly the perfect start for Brazil as Renan Lodi broke clear down the left and looked to be bundled over inside the box within the opening minute. The referee and VAR disagreed. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo was then stretchered off on 17 minutes with a knee injury in a blow to Ecuador, with Angel Mena coming on. Then Ecuador skipper Enner Valencia came close to scoring t...

Belgium send defending champion Portugal out of Euro 2020

Belgium have sent out defending champions, Portugal out of Euro 2020, with a lone goal victory on Sunday. Portugal dominated the game with 24 goal attempts and five shots on goal, while Belgium scored with its only shot on goal and six goal attempts. Thorgan Hazard got the only goal of the match for Belgium on 42 minutes. He latched on to a superb pass and breaks through the defence before firing a shot from mid-range that goes past the goalkeeper inside the right post. On 58 minutes, Diogo Jota had a chance to draw Portugal level. He picked up an inch-perfect pass inside the box and fired the ball just over the crossbar. On 83 minutes, Raphael Guerreiro fired a brilliant shot from the edge of the box, but the effort rattled the right post It could have been a superb goal for Portugal if i...

Dick van Burik: Kevin-Prince Boateng could have reached Lionel Messi’s level

Retired former Dutch professional footballer Dick van Burik believes Kevin-Prince Boateng had the potential to reach Lionel Messi’s level. The former centre-back captained Hertha Berlin and played with the Ghanaian in the same team between 2005 and 2007. The West African, recently, made a return to the team where he started his career and signed a one-year contract. The now 47-year-old Dutch concedes the qualities of the attacker in the German team were world-class and much was expected from him. “Even when Kevin came from the youth to the first team, his potential was immediately world-class,” Van Burik said as quoted by Ghanaweb. “He can do things that you go to the stadium for. Even then he had the… attitude and simply showed what he can do. “He has become a great player but I actually ...

Euro 2020: Angelo Ogbonna frustrated by Italy snub

West Ham United defender, Angelo Ogbonna, has admitted frustration missing Italy’s Euros squad. Ogbonna feels his form with the Irons was enough to earn him a place in coach Roberto Mancini’s selection. The former Juventus defender told Sky Italia: “For me it was a positive year, our goal was salvation and we managed to grab the Europa League. “I was saddened by the lack of a call-up, I can’t hide it, but I’m very happy with the path of our national team, the approach to the matches is totally different than in other years. In my case, I think there was little meritocracy but the coach will have had his reasons for making such choices. “But it is my analysis, it is not a criticism of the coach. But after such a year…” Asked if he was penalised for not playing in Italy, Ogbonna added: “I do...

Late goal gives Brazil controversial win over Colombia in Copa America

Brazil continued their winning romp through the Copa America on Wednesday, eking out a controversial 2-1 victory against Colombia after struggling most of the match to answer a magnificent bicycle-kick goal by Luis Diaz. The 11th-hour win gave the “Selecao” a perfect nine points from three matches in the South American championships, and extended their current winning streak to 11 matches. However, the victory was steeped in controversy: Brazil’s second-half equalizer, a Roberto Firmino header, was preceded by a Neymar pass that glanced off Argentine referee Nestor Pitana. Colombia heatedly argued afterward that play should have been stopped, but Pitana ruled neither side was hindered and allowed the match to continue. Disgruntled Colombia fans on social media turned the referee’s name int...

Copa America: Lionel Messi equals record as Argentina progress

Lionel Messi earned a record-equalling 147th cap for Argentina as they progressed to the Copa America quarter-finals with victory over Paraguay. Papu Gomez scored the decisive goal early on, meeting a pass from Angel Di Maria before producing a fine finish. Messi, 34, equalled Javier Mascherano’s appearance record for the national team in the hard-fought win in Brasilia. Argentina top Group A ahead of Chile, who drew 1-1 with Uruguay to also advance to the knockout stage. The hastily-rearranged tournament in Brazil, which was moved from Argentina just two weeks before it was scheduled to start because of a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, is Messi’s latest chance to win silverware with the senior team. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was typically influential, playing a part in the ...

Antoine Griezmann: Karim Benzema will end goal drought soon

Karim Benzema needs just one goal to get up and running for France again, says team-mate Antoine Griezmann. The striker approached Euro 2020 off the back of an excellent season at Real Madrid, having scored 30 goals in 46 matches, but Benzema is yet to find the net since making his return to the France squad after a six-year absence. Griezmann is confident the 33-year-old will start scoring regularly for Les Bleus before long, insisting he just needs one to get him going. “I think each attacker wants to score the first goal and the quicker he does that, the better it is for everybody,” Griezmann said at a press conference. “As soon as Karim gets one in the net, that will help him. We just need to be patient and remain confident. “You know me, I feel a lot better in the centre, I feel a lot...