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Liverpool's Klopp rips AFCON move
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Liverpool’s Klopp rips AFCON move, says FIFA needs to step in but won’t

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Jurgen Klopp is furious about Cameroon moving the Africa Cup of Nations to January 2021, something that would hinder the Reds’ likely title defense.

(No, Klopp is not counting his title chickens before they hatch, even if it’s a foregone conclusion).

Cameroon moved the tournament from summer to winter due to its climate, which seems like a decision that could’ve been made ages ago. The nation had hosting rights stripped away for the 2019 tournament, but will host in 2021.

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The Reds could be without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita for the better part of a month should Senegal, Guinea, and Egypt all qualify for the tournament. Joel Matip could be there with hosts Cameroon if the federation is successful in convincing him to return to the international fold.

Klopp went on a lengthy and mostly understandable diatribe against the move. We write mostly because there’s something lost in translation regarding the import of the tournament.

He’s upset at how it will tax his squad and how he keeps the players happy if he needs to add players just to deal with one month of the schedule.

“Do we really want to open this book? I couldn’t respect Africa Cup of Nations more than I do, I like it, I’ve watched it a lot. Difficult circumstances a lot of times,” Klopp said, via The Liverpool Echo. “It is another tournament, there are too many of them. Other thing is it doesn’t help African players. We won’t sell Naby, Mo or Sadio because of it but if we bring someone in, it affects the decision. Normal process. We have to think about that. Players aren’t asked. … FIFA, who should [step in] doesn’t look like being involved. It’s a strange situation. If we want lesser games they will say take less money. I will say, I am ready to do so. Yes.”

He continued.

“For us it’s a catastrophe, If we say (a player) can’t go, he’s suspended. How can the club who pay his salary not decide. If he’s injured and we say he cannot play for us, we have to send him to Africa so they can have a look. We don’t have any say. We just plan the route. These are all things that should not be like this. I speak about it now and no one will listen. The moaner from Liverpool again. It’s a complete waste of time. As long as nothing changes, I will keep saying it. It’s about the players, not me.”

Manchester City (Riyad Mahrez), Arsenal (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang), and Leicester City (Wilfried Ndidi) are among the many clubs who could lose stars for a month.

AFCON: Madagascar in QF as fairytale debut goes on; Algeria joins them

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CAIRO (AP) — Madagascar beat Congo 4-2 in a penalty shootout Sunday to ensure its fairytale debut at the African Cup of Nations continued as it advanced to the quarterfinals.

Congo defender Chancel Mbemba equalized in the last minute of normal time for 2-2 to send the game into extra time, and neither team could break through to avoid the shootout in Alexandria.

Defender Marcel Tisserand sent Congo’s first spot kick well over the bar and Yannick Bolasie also missed when he had to score after Ibrahim Amada, Romain Métanire, Thomas Fontaine and Jérôme Mombris all converted their penalties for Madagascar.

Algeria booked its place in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Guinea, which was missing influential midfielder Naby Keïta through injury.

Goals from Youcef Belaïli in the first half, and Riyad Mahrez — with an impressive finish — and Adam Ounas in the second, set up a game against Mali or Ivory Coast on Thursday.

Madagascar’s team, mostly consisting of players plying their trade in the lower leagues in France, had already ensured a dream debut in the tournament after staying unbeaten to finish top of Group B, ahead of former winners Nigeria and Guinea. Madagascar’s 2-0 win over Nigeria was one of the biggest surprises in African Cup history.

Amada got the side off to a flying start against Congo when he let fly from outside the penalty area to send the ball in off the far post in the ninth minute, and captain Faneva Andriatsima set off wild celebrations when he canceled out Cedric Bakambu’s first-half equalizer with a diving header in the 77th, only for Mbemba to keep Congo’s hopes alive.

Cheered on by the Madagascan president, Andry Rajoelina, and around 450 jubilant fans, Andriatsima’s side held its nerve in the shootout to set up a quarterfinal against Ghana or Tunisia on Thursday.

Live, Africa Cup of Nations: Madagascar v. DR Congo, Algeria v. Guinea

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The Round of 16 continues in the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday, as upsets have rocked the competition in Egypt in recent days.

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Hosts Egypt were stunned by South Africa on Saturday, while much-fancied Morocco were beaten by Benin on penalty kick.

Sunday’s two last 16 clashes see surprise package Madagascar face DR Congo, as the former won Group B. Algeria are one of the favorites to win it all as Riyad Mahrez leads their charge, and Guinea’s hopes haven’t been helped due to Naby Keita‘s tournament-ending injury.

Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Sunday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.


2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Sunday, July 7

Round of 16
Madagascar v. DR Congo – 12 p.m. ET
Algeria v. Guinea – 3 p.m. ET

FOLLOW LIVE: Day 2 of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt

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Egypt’s national team kicked off the tournament on Friday, and now the nations turns its eyes to playing host to the Africa Cup of Nations with three Saturday kickoffs.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations scores ]

Yannick Bolasie, Arthur Masuaku, and the Democratic Republic of Congo get us started with a Group A match against Uganda at 10:30 a.m. ET.

That’s followed up by the Super Eagles of Nigeria, with Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City preparing to tangle with Burundi at 1.

Finally, Guinea and Madagascar round out the day’s matches with a 4 p.m. start.

Group A
Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda – 10:30 a.m. ET

Group B
Nigeria v. Burundi – 1 p.m. ET
Guinea v. Madagascar – 4 p.m. ET

U-17 World Cup draw results: USA in tough Group A with Chile, Nigeria, Croatia

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The draw for the 2015 U-17 World Cup was held Thursday evening in Santiago, Chile, the host nation for this year’s prestigious youth tournament.

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When the tournament kicks off on Oct. 17 (final scheduled for Nov. 8), the Americans will find themselves in yet another “group of death” — one of them, at least — where they’ll face the host nation Chile, defending U-17 World Cup champions Nigeria and perennial youth powerhouse Croatia in Group A.

Meanwhile, 2013 runners-up and the US’s bitter CONCACAF rivals, Mexico, have been handed an equally nightmarish Group C, which features European and South America powers Germany and Argentina, and Australia.

Full 2015 U-17 World Cup draw results:

Group A: Chile (hosts), Croatia, Nigeria, USA

Group B: England, Guinea, Brazil, South Korea

Group C: Australia, Germany, Mexico, Argentina

Group D: Belgium, Mali, Honduras, Ecuador

Group E: South Africa, Costa Rica, North Korea, Russia

Group F: New Zealand, France, Syria, Paraguay

The top two sides from each four-team group will advance to the round of 16, alongside the four third-place finishers with the most points won during the group stage.