The battle smoke drifting over the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes obscured a disquieting reality. England are currently not playing well enough to win this World Cup. Now that the Great Rotation has delivered them to a quarter-final against Norway in Le Havre, all known logic suggests Phil Neville needs to decide on his best starting XI and work with them intensively. It may already be too late to bring England up a level from toughness, tenacity, and grinding out wins, which they have been doing throughout four games in France, because Norway present a formidable challenge. The quarter-finals, though, would be a good time for Neville’s squad to acquire the rhythm and accuracy of passing that characterises the best teams at this tournament. After a chaotic 3-0 win against Cameroon, many of England’s followers repaired to local bars to watch France knock out Brazil in a game that displayed a level Norway’s opponents on Thursday have yet to consistently match. Strike … [Read more...] about England are not playing well enough to win this World Cup – when will Phil Neville decide his best XI?
India win asia cup
China's interest in Africa has long been documented but India, Asia's second biggest economy, is also increasing its footprint on the continent. India's trade with Africa is flourishing like never before, so much so that in 2016, it became Africa's second most important trading partner after China. Although China's trading volume with African countries is still three times higher, India is catching up. According to United Nations figures, India-Africa trade has grown at an average annual rate of 17.2% since 2001. Read more:Attacks on Africans expose India's racist inclinations "These are incredible dimensions that were unthinkable twenty years ago," said Philipp Gieg, a political scientist and India expert at the University of Würzburg in Germany. "With this rapid growth in trade with Africa, India has overtaken even the former colonial powers Great Britain and France," he told DW. Historical bonds Indian and Africa had forged ties because of their colonial history but in … [Read more...] about India makes a comeback in Africa
It was a 38-year wait - but the hard work paid off for Christina Tham at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines this week.Tham first represented Singapore at the SEA Games - a regional Olympic-style event - in 1981, winning silver in swimming at the age of 12.Now aged 50, she returned to the games and finally went one better.Tham won not one, but two gold medals in underwater hockey - a sport making its debut in the games."I never thought I would be back [at the] SEA Games and winning golds and scoring goals," she said. "I never thought I could perform at this level again."Tham got into swimming aged seven, when her father had a near-miss while canoeing on a lake during a family trip to Malaysia.Her father, who was in his late 40s, could not swim and initially resisted wearing a life jacket - but relented on her mother's insistence. "I remember I was in another canoe across the lake when I heard a loud shrill," Tham told the BBC. "I saw my dad floating on the water, held up … [Read more...] about SEA Games: Athlete finally wins gold – 38 years after debut
JAPAN kicked off the 2019 Rugby World Cup with a 30-10 victory against Russia. Kotaro Matsushima scored a hat-trick for the tournament hosts as Japan overcame a scare after Kirill Golosnitskiy gave Russia a shock lead early on. Here, former Ireland international Stephen Ferris gives his predictions for his nations clash against Scotland and England's match against Tonga. I REMEMBER the buildup of excitement and just being eager to kick things off in 2011. You think about the weather, the atmosphere, the fans, the stadium and just have to take it all in. You’ve got to think about the processes in place and the lead-up to the match. I concentrated on my training. The last thing you want is to go into matches and not be in good shape, dropping balls and getting nervous and anxious. Waiting to go, you have the nerves, the energy and the buzz. But as soon as that first whistle blows, you go into match mode and everything else takes care of itself.IRELAND VS SCOTLAND - Ferris predicts … [Read more...] about Ireland hero Ferris gives you his Rugby World Cup tips ahead of England v Tonga and Ireland v Scotland clashes
France’s recent history with football has been tightly linked to the struggle over its identity. For decades, politicians have used the diversity of the national team either as a symbol of integration at work, or as a warning of Le Grand Remplacement (the big replacement) – that “ethnically French” citizens are being excluded by those whose roots lie in Africa. Following France’s win, the far-right writer Renaud Camus has retweeted videos criticising diversity in France. More than half the squad are of African origin, including key players Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappé and N’Golo Kanté, so the team in some ways represents his greatest fears. Yet the scenes of celebration on the Champs-Élysées and beyond show how France has claimed these players. It feels like the breath of fresh air that France has so badly needed, after the trauma following the terror attacks of recent years, and an election in which the far-right Front National made … [Read more...] about France squandered the unity of its last World Cup win. This time must be different