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Race for World Cup berths heats up in Europe



While a select quartet of Europe’s heavyweights battle for the Nations League crown this week, Germany, England, Portugal and Denmark will train their sights on locking down a place at next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

European champions Italy, Spain, France and Belgium take centre stage contesting the Final Four in Milan and Turin, but five of the 10 automatic World Cup qualifying spots could be secured come next Tuesday.

Denmark appears the most likely to complete the job, knowing wins over Moldova and Austria will secure the top spot in Group F.

Kasper Hjulmand’s Euro 2020 semi-finalists are the only country with a 100 percent record. Denmark has scored 22 goals in six games without reply and thrashed Moldova 8-0 at home in the reverse fixture.

Four-time world champions Germany have bounced back from a shock loss to North Macedonia in March, surging four points clear in Group J after Hansi Flick began his reign last month with three wins from three, including a 6-0 thumping of Armenia.

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Denmark qualify for 2022 world cup




Denmark have qualified for the 2022 World Cup after beating Austria 1-0 on Tuesday.

Joakim Maehle scored the decisive goal as Kasper Hjulmand’s team preserved their perfect record in qualifying, making sure they will finish first in Group F.

The Danes are seven points clear of second-placed Scotland after eight matches, with two left to play.

Denmark headed into the clash with Franco Foda’s team knowing a win would solidify their place at the top of the table.

Had Scotland failed to beat Faroe Islands, a draw would have been enough for the group leaders to go through.

Denmark have been untouchable throughout the qualifying campaign.

Not only have they won all of their matches so far, they have not even conceded a goal.

They are averaging over three goals per game, too, having scored 27 times.

Who else has qualified for the tournament?

Denmark are just the second European team to confirm their place in next year’s competition.

Germany booked their ticket the previous night when they ran out 4-0 winners against North Macedonia.

The only other team sure of a place in the World Cup finals at this stage are the hosts, Qatar.

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BREAKING: Fury knocks out Wilder to retain WBC crown in heavyweight classic



Tyson Fury retained his WBC heavyweight crown on Saturday with a spectacular 11th-round knockout of Deontay Wilder as their trilogy fight delivered a boxing classic.

In an epic battle in front of 15,820 fans at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, both fighters were knocked down on multiple occasions in a contest full of improbable twists and turns as the two rivals traded blows.

Fury looked to have gained the upper hand after flooring Wilder in the third round, only for the 35-year-old from Alabama to respond with two knockdowns of Fury that had the English champion clinging on desperately in the fourth.

But it was the bigger, heavier Fury — landing the cleaner and more damaging blows — who finished the stronger, and the champion had Wilder down once again in the 10th with a right hook.

Wilder responded bravely to that knockdown by wobbling Fury in return.

But the brutal energy-sapping nature of the fight, and Fury’s relentless physicality, finally took its toll on Wilder in the 11th.

With the American exhausted and on the ropes, Fury landed the decisive combination.

A right uppercut scrambled Wilder’s senses before Fury crashed a right hook into his opponent’s temple that sent the challenger tumbling to the canvas, barely conscious.

‘Don’t ever doubt me’
“Don’t ever doubt me,” Fury said afterwards. “When the chips are down I will always deliver.

“I give him the glory for the victory. He’s a tough man — he took some big shots tonight.

“It was a great fight tonight as well as any trilogy in history.”

Saturday’s bout was the third instalment of an acrimonious rivalry between Fury, the trash-talking self-styled “Gypsy King” and Wilder, the heavy-handed knockout specialist regarded as one of the most destructive punchers in the sport.

Fury had scored a seventh-round knockout of Wilder in their second fight 20 months ago, after the two men shared a controversial draw in their first meeting in Los Angeles in 2018.

Both fighters entered the ring on Saturday at their heaviest ever fighting weights, with Fury tipping the scales at 277lbs (125.6 kg) and Wilder at 238lbs.


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Rohr receives outstanding salaries as Super Eagles record full house



Super Eagles Manager, Gernot Rohr, yesterday had the full complement of the players invited for tomorrow’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Central African Republic (CAR) as he took the team through the rounds at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.

Yesterday’s session was the team’s first 11-aside game at the venue, which will host the first of the two matches against CAR.

With the arrival of all the players listed for the game, the team will continue their preparation for the match today at 6.00 p.m.

Nigeria, with six points from two matches, is aiming to win the back-to-back clashes with CAR, which will stamp their qualification for the final round of the 2022 World Cup qualifying series.

To boost the team’s morale ahead of the match, The Guardian learnt that Rohr has received the last four months of his outstanding salaries and other emoluments from Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) partners, AITEO.

His assistants, Alloy Agu and Joseph Yobo have also received their salaries, a source at the NFF told The Guardian yesterday.

Meanwhile, two of the Super Eagles’ major sponsors, 33 Export Lager and Amstel Malta Ultra, have charged the team to remain focused on their mission for a seventh World Cup appearance.

33 Export Lager is the official beer of the team, while Amstel Malta Ultra doubles as the malt drink of the national teams.

Having propelled the Eagles to double victories in earlier matches against the Lone Star of Liberia and Blue Sharks of Cape Verde, the brands have charged Rohr’s men to make it a hat trick of wins against ‘The Wild Beasts’ as the CAR national team are fondly referred to.

In a message to the team yesterday, Brand Manager, 33 Export Lager, Rexanthony Anieke, urged the players to remain strong as they have been in the ongoing qualifying matches and not lower their guards nor give room to any form of lapses.

“Yes we are getting nearer to the final qualifying tournament and having been able to unite millions of passionate football fans with consumers’ favourite brand of beer, the players will no doubt rise to the occasion and give Nigerians the deserved result,” he stated.

While the Super Eagles will be gunning for maximum points, 33 Export/Amstel Ultra will also be offering a maximum reward with N1m up for grabs for whoever is voted as Man of the Match.

With six points, the Super Eagles are top in Group C ahead of the Lone Stars who are second with three. Cape Verde and the Central African Republic have a point each after two games.

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