Ammon News, Sports

Qatar wins AFC Asian Cup game against Saudi Arabia

[1/19/2019 2:50:58 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Qatar won the AFC Asian Cup Group E game against Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi with a score of 2-0 on Thursday. Qatar's forward player Almoez Ali scored the two goals. Earlier in the first half, a penalty kick for the Qatari team almost scored, but Saudi Arabia's goalkeeper Mohammed al-Owais dived in for a perfect save. Qatar finished top of the group with both sides already qualified having taken a maximum of six points from their previous two games. While Qatar have never gone further than the quarter-finals, Saudi Arabia's team is one of the continent’s traditional football powers, winning the Asian Cup three times and playing five World Cups. Both sides said on Wednesday they were focused on the game, not politics. “It will be like any other game for us,” Saudi Arabian forward Fahad al-Muwallad told reporters. “We only think about the pitch,” he said. “We are against mixing sports with politics,” said Turki Al-Awad, a Saudi Arabia Football Federation board member. “It’s a football game and shouldn't be anything else.” Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez said. “It is only one game for us. An important one, but a football game.” Qatar head into the Gulf derby on top of Group E with a superior goal difference after thrashing North Korea 6-0, including a record-equaling four goals in a single match from striker Almoez Ali. Qatar will face Japan or Uzbekistan from Group F in the knockout stage and Saudi Arabia meets Iran or Iraq. * Agencies

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Players face career or conscience dilemma over Qatar World Cup

[1/19/2019 2:46:41 PM]

AMMONNEWS - A tour to World Cup 2022 host Qatar by the Nordic football associations has forced players to confront both their consciences and their career ambitions, and it is turning out to be a tough choice. While many players from Sweden, Iceland and Finland jumped at the chance to represent their countries, Finland striker Riku Riski boycotted the trip due to ethical concerns, jeopardizing his international ambitions. The question of how best to protest against the human rights abuses that Qatar is accused of is a complex one, Finland captain Tim Sparv told Reuters. “Boycotting is one way of doing it, but I don’t believe the people who say it’s the only way,” Sparv said after his arrival back home to Denmark, where he plays for FC Midtjylland. “It’s not as black and white as people want to make it. We’re all aware of what’s happening in Qatar, we read the articles in the newspapers, but for us the decision to go to Qatar is not that simple,” Sparv said. “Even though I think it was a really brave move from Riku, it would be very difficult for me to do it.” Finland beat Sweden 1-0 and lost 2-1 to Estonia in friendlies in Qatar, but the focus was on more than football. Officials of the Nordic FAs were joined by union representatives to assess the human rights situation in the emirate, which has come in for heavy criticism since it was announced that it would host the World Cup. Legal Status The safety, wages, and legal status of workers building the arenas in which games are to be played were raised with local organizers. “It shows that we’re not only there to have a good football camp, but that we’re also taking part in helping, supporting, developing the areas that are not at the level that we want to see,” Sparv said. FIFA and the local organizing committee declined to comment on Sparv’s concerns. The Finns, who have never qualified for the finals of a major tournament, won their Nations League group and are on a roll under manager Markku Kanerva who has said players like Riski who boycott events may be in danger of losing their places in the squad. “It (Riski’s decision) must be respected, (but) I also must emphasize that this camp is very important. It is in these games that players put their foot in the door for the (Euro 2020) qualifiers,” Kanerva said. Inspired by the performances of Sweden, Denmark and Iceland at the World Cup in Russia, Sparv and his team mates feel their time is coming. “We’re looking forward to the next few years, because we feel we can do something that has never been done before in the men’s national team,” he said. Now 31, time is running out for Sparv and he knows his last chance to play for Finland at the World Cup will most likely be in 2022. A social media post explaining his decision to take part in the trip attracted praise and criticism from fans at home and abroad, but the midfielder will continue to put his case forward. *Reuters

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Saudi Arabia in 4-0 win against North Korea

[1/8/2019 5:59:20 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Saudi Arabia had few problems starting their Asian Cup Group E campaign with a win as Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side handed 10-man North Korea a 4-0 defeat in Dubai. Hatan Bahbri put the three-times winners in front after 28 minutes when he cut inside from the left to hit a right-footed shot past Ri Myong-guk and Saudi Arabia doubled their lead nine minutes later when Mohammed Al Fatil flicked home Hussain Al Mogahwi’s free kick. Han Kwang Song was sent off for a second booking a minute before the interval while Salem Al Dawsari put the result beyond doubt 20 minutes from fulltime and Fahad Al Muwallad added a fourth in the 87th minute. *Reuters

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Iraq stun Vietnam with late Adnan free kick

[1/8/2019 5:50:29 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Iraq’s Ali Adnan scored with a curling free kick in the final minute as the former champions were twice forced to come from behind to beat Vietnam 3-2 in the Asian Cup on Tuesday. Italy-based winger Adnan placed his strike high and to the left of Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam to give 2007 winners Iraq a barely-deserved victory in their opening Group D encounter in Abu Dhabi. “It is very important to get three points in the group stage of this tournament,” said Iraq coach Srecko Katanec. “It was tough at times, but I am sure we will develop as the competition goes on. If I am honest, we also need to be even better than we were in the second half which was obviously better than the first. “I saw today who can and cannot play going forward, who is in a good condition and who is not.” Defensive errors In a game strewn with defensive errors, Vietnam took the lead in the 24th minute when Ali Faez back-heeled the ball into his own goal after a mix-up with goalkeeper Jalal Hassan. Mohanad Ali levelled for Iraq 11 minutes later when he dispossessed Que Ngoc Hai 25 metres from goal before driving into the penalty area and slotting past Van Lam. Vietnam reclaimed the lead three minutes before the break when Nguyen Trong Hoang’s low shot was parried by Hassan and Nguyen Cong Phuong tapped in the rebound. Iraq, however, were level again on the hour mark when Humam Tariq slid home from close range, making the most of Vietnam’s inability to clear the ball following Ali’s downward header. The teams looked destined to share the points, only for Adnan to give Van Lam no chance with his curling effort into the top corner. *Reuters

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Jordan beat reigning champions Australia in Asian Cup opener

[1/6/2019 12:20:11 PM]

AMMONNEWS - A brilliant header by Anas Bani Yaseen (midfielder) in the net of defending champions, Australia, was enough for Jordan's national football team to snatch its first win in the opener of its Asian cup bid, which kicked off yesterday in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Bani Yaseen scored in the 27th after a well-worked corner and the result could have been doubled with Baha Abdulrahman's free kick which hit the crossbar. With superb defense and astounding goalkeeping by Amir Shafia, the Nashma denied the Socceroos any real chance to score. Jordan will play Syria on Thursday before ending round one of the tournament against Palestine on January 15th.

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FIFA should expand 2022 World Cup to 48 teams if possible: Infantino

[1/2/2019 3:55:04 PM]

AMMONNEWS - FIFA should if possible increase the size of the soccer World Cup in Qatar in 2022 to 48 from 32 teams, the global governing body's president Gianni Infantino said. Last month, Infantino said a majority of national soccer federations were in favor of expanding the tournament and a decision was expected ahead of the qualifying draw in March. (More). Infantino, speaking at a sports conference on Wednesday, also said FIFA was seeing whether it would be possible for some of Qatar’s Gulf neighbors to host some of the matches. He said last month that it would be "difficult" to stage an expanded tournament in Qatar alone. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017 that has complicated the prospect of sharing the tournament. FIFA voted in 2017 to increase the size of the tournament from 32 to 48 teams starting from 2026 but, since then, Infantino has been mulling the possibility of bringing the change forward to 2022. "If you think it's a good thing to have 48 teams in the World Cup, why not try four years before, that's why we are analyzing whether its possible to have 48 teams already in 2022," Infantino said on Wednesday. "The World Cup will take place in Qatar with 32 teams. Obviously, if we can increase it to 48 teams and make the world happy we should try it." Qatar said it would not take a final decision on the tournament expansion until it has seen details of a feasibility study from FIFA. The study is expected to discuss aspects of scheduling, the number of required venues, training sites, and how many games per day would be played under an expanded format. Qatar has moved ahead with ambitious plan to scale up infrastructure ahead of the 2022 tournament that includes $6-8 billion on eight stadiums and sporting facilities. "If we can accommodate some of the neighboring countries in the gulf region which are very close by to host a few games in the World Cup this could be very beneficial for the region and the entire world," Infantino added. "There are tensions in this particular region and it's up to their respective leaders to deal with that but maybe it's easier to talk about a joint football project than more complicated things. "If it can help all the people in the Gulf and all the countries in the world develop football and bring a positive message to the world about football, then you should give it a try." *Reuters

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Jamie Vardy strike gives Leicester 1-0 win at Everton

[1/2/2019 3:48:31 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Jamie Vardy’s 58th-minute strike gave Leicester City a 1-0 win at Everton on Tuesday and condemned the Merseysiders to their fourth defeat in five Premier League games. Leicester boss Claude Puel made four changes from the team that lost to Cardiff City on Saturday, including leaving midfielder James Maddison on the bench, while Marco Silva recalled Brazilian Richarlison to his starting line-up. After a poor first half, the decisive goal came when Everton defender Michael Keane mis-controlled the ball to Ricardo Pereira, who sent Vardy through. The striker made no mistake with a low drive past Jordan Pickford before celebrating with a cartwheel in front of the travelling Foxes fans. Gylfi Sigurdsson blasted over from a promising position for Everton but Leicester should have doubled their lead when Harry Maguire somehow missed the target from point-blank range. Everton, with just one win from their last eight games have now failed to win in their last four home matches while the win moves Leicester up into seventh place, on 31 points, four behind Manchester United. *Reuters

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