A sad story comes from Nigeria just a week before their national team plays the United States in Jacksonville to get ready for the World Cup.
Police in Mubi, Nigeria have confirmed a bomber targeted fans watching a soccer match, killing at least 40 people in a violent explosion.
Mubi is in the country’s northeast, which has been ravaged by Boko Haram resistance forces. The Nigerian president 2 days ago has promised “total war” will be waged on this Islamist group.
“There has been a bomb explosion at a football field this evening and so far more than 40 people have been killed,” an anonymous police official said.
The city of Kano, Nigeria (pictured), just to the west of Mubi in Nigeria’s northern region, has been on the receiving end of a number of vicious bombings in the past few days, including a suicide attack just two weeks ago which killed four.
But this new attack sadly targeted a soccer gathering, as the five-year Boko Haram uprising has gained steam in the northeast with the government working hard to put it down.
The town of Mubi was the same town that played host to a brutal killing spree at a technical college.
With Nigeria looking towards the World Cup, the attack is a dark spot on their preparation for the biggest stage, and there will surely be heavy hearts during their next two fixtures, against Greece on Tuesday and versus the United States on Saturday in Jacksonville.
The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
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The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.
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In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.
Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.
The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.
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Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.
With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.
Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:
What a special moment in my professional life!
Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.
I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.
Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.
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While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.