Senegal became the first African team at this summer’s World Cup to record a victory as a goal in each half helped them see off Poland.
The Teranga Lions 2-1 victory over Poland in Moscow on Tuesday. The team was helped by two fluky goals: a deflection, and a goal scored by a player who was apparently unnoticed by the Poland defense.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 19, 2018
In their first World Cup appearance since 2002, when manager Aliou Cisse was still playing, Senegal earned a well-deserved victory over a disappointing Poland side at the Otkrytie Arena.
The Senegalese showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion and could have taken the lead after 18 minutes when Youssef Sabaly wonderfully picked out M’Baye Niang, but the former AC Milan and Watford forward could only drag a left-footed effort well wide of the far post.
Robert Lewandowski dragged a volley wide after teeing himself up shortly afterward, but the Poles largely failed to get their star man into the game, forcing him to feed off scraps.
Winger Ismaila Sarr impressed for Senegal, though his probing runs were slightly marred by a couple of very dubious dives which he might not have got away with on another day.
With just eight minutes to go before the break, Senegal took the lead, though they required a huge slice of luck to do so.
Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye is not renowned for his goals, but it was he who contributed to breaking the deadlock as his low effort from 20 yards crashed into the shins of Thiago Cionek before wrong-footing Wojciech Szczesny in the Poland goal and rolling into the back of the net.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 19, 2018
A half-time change of system didn’t help Poland particularly, though they did create slightly more than they had in the previous 45.
First, Lewandowski forced Khadim N’diaye into his first real save of the game as he parried away the Bayern Munich man’s curling free-kick before Mame Biram Diouf somehow failed to make contact with Sarr’s low ball in from the right just minutes later.
Poland’s full-backs were noticeably more advanced after the break and Lukas Piszczek should have done better when he side-footed Kamil Grosicki’s inviting ball from the left wide at the far post.
50% – Senegal are one of just eight countries to have won at least half of their World Cup games (3/6), and they are the only African nation to do so. Lions. #SEN #POLSEN #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/oofB2oEMdW
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 19, 2018
Adam Nawalka’s side were made to regret that miss on the hour mark as Senegal double their lead, once again with a major helping hand.
Krychowiak opted to loft a ball back to his goalkeeper from inside the Senegal half, despite being under little pressure.
Clearly taken by surprise Cionek was caught sleeping, causing Wojciech Szczesny to come racing off his line. He wasn’t quick enough though, with M’Baye Niang stealing in to race clear and roll into the unguarded net for his first goal for his country with his first shot at goal of the World Cup.
That goal spurred Poland in life somewhat, though they were still well below par for a side ranked eighth in the world.
Arkadiusz Milik prodded wide as he met a Piszczek centre at the near post before substitute David Kownacki forced a save from N’diaye with a routine header.
With four minutes to go the Poles did find a lifeline, Krychowiak making amends by heading home Grosicki’s free-kick from deep at the far post, but it proved to be too little too late as Senegal held on.
And after today's results, Group H looks like this…
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 19, 2018
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.