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Lagos to Host 22nd African Athletics Championship

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Thirty-two years after hosting the sixth edition of the African Senior Athletics Championship, Lagos has been confirmed as the host of the 22nd edition billed to hold on June 23 to 27 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.

After a meeting on Monday in Cairo, Egypt between President of Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Kalkaba Malboum, and Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare, Lagos was affirmed to host the crème-de-la-crème of African athletics in an event that will serve as the last qualifying event for African athletes for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Auxiliary support will be provided at the National Stadium, Surulere and the Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, both in Lagos during the five-day championship.

This will be the third time Nigeria will be hosting the Championship after Lagos (1989) and Asaba (2018) hosted the sixth and the 21st editions respectively.

Nigeria has now tied with Egypt as the two African countries to host the championships thrice since the inaugural edition in 1979 in Dakar, Senegal.

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Spain Triumphs in Euro 2024 Final, Defeats England with Last-Minute Winner

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Spain clinched their fourth European Championship title with a thrilling 2-1 victory over England, thanks to a last-minute goal from Mikel Oyarzabal.

The dramatic finale at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Sunday saw Spain’s dominance throughout the tournament crowned with a well-deserved win, while England suffered their second consecutive final defeat.

The match began cautiously, with Spain controlling 65% of possession in the first half but failing to capitalize on their dominance.

England’s Phil Foden had the only shot on target, reflecting a tense and tightly contested opening period.

The breakthrough came just two minutes into the second half when teenager Lamine Yamal, who had been effectively contained in the first half, found space down the right wing.

His precise cross met Nico Williams, who slotted the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, giving Spain a 1-0 lead.

Spain enjoyed a period of sustained pressure following the goal, with Dani Olmo, Alvaro Morata, and Williams all coming close to extending their lead.

England’s previously solid defense appeared to be losing its shape under the relentless Spanish attacks.

In response, England manager Gareth Southgate made strategic substitutions, bringing on Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer.

The changes paid off when Jude Bellingham set up Palmer, who curled a low shot from 20 meters out into the net in the 73rd minute, leveling the score and igniting hope among the English fans.

The match seemed destined for extra time until a lapse in England’s defense allowed Spain to strike again. Marc Cucurella, left unmarked on the left flank, delivered a cross into the box.

Oyarzabal, who had come on as a substitute, stretched to poke the ball home, securing Spain’s victory four minutes from the end.

The final moments of the game saw frantic action, with Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon making a crucial save from a Declan Rice header, and Dani Olmo clearing a follow-up effort off the line. Despite England’s late surge, Spain held firm to secure the 2-1 win.

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente expressed his pride in his team after the match. “I couldn’t be happier. This confirms what we are. For me, they are the best in the world,” he said.

England, who had fought back from a goal down for the fourth consecutive match in the tournament, were left to rue missed opportunities and defensive lapses.

Southgate, who has led England to two Euro finals and a World Cup semi-final during his tenure, acknowledged the team’s effort but conceded Spain’s superiority.

“The players have got to take enormous credit for getting us to the point they did. They fought and represented the shirt with pride. But I think Spain were the best team in the tournament and they deserved to win,” Southgate said.

Spain’s victory adds a fourth European Championship title to their collection, following wins in 1964, 2008, and 2012.

As only the third team in the last nine Euros to win the trophy without a penalty shootout, Spain’s triumph cements their place as one of the dominant forces in European football.

Meanwhile, England’s wait for a major tournament victory continues, extending their “30 years of hurt” since their 1966 World Cup win to at least double that number.

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PSG Ready to Splash €200 Million on Napoli Stars Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia

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Victor Osimhen

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has reportedly set its sights on Napoli’s dynamic duo, Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

According to reports emerging from Italy, PSG is prepared to table €200 million bid to secure the services of these coveted talents.

The French giants, having recently seen Kylian Mbappe depart for Real Madrid, are keen to bolster their attacking prowess.

Osimhen, renowned for his blistering pace and clinical finishing, has emerged as a prime target.

The Nigerian striker’s performances have garnered attention from top Premier League clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea.

However, Napoli’s steadfast insistence on Osimhen’s €130 million release clause has thus far deterred potential suitors.

Kvaratskhelia, the Georgian winger who dazzled alongside Osimhen during Napoli’s triumphant Serie A campaign, has also captured PSG’s attention.

Named Serie A Player of the Year, Kvaratskhelia’s electrifying pace and creativity on the wing have made him a sought-after commodity in European football.

Despite PSG’s substantial bid, Napoli remains resolute in their stance.

The Italian club rebuffed a €110 million offer for Kvaratskhelia earlier in the summer and is unlikely to entertain PSG’s current proposal, even with Osimhen included in the deal.

Sources close to the negotiations suggest that if Osimhen does make a move, Napoli is poised to secure Romelu Lukaku as his replacement.

The Belgian striker, currently with Chelsea, has reportedly agreed to terms with Napoli and expressed his eagerness to reunite with manager Antonio Conte.

Osimhen, meanwhile, harbors ambitions of playing in the Premier League, but PSG’s €200 million bid may force Napoli to reconsider their position.

Nevertheless, the Italian club’s resolve to retain their star players remains firm, leaving the footballing world on edge as the transfer saga unfolds.

PSG’s pursuit of Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia underscores their determination to strengthen their squad ahead of the new season, aiming to reclaim domestic glory and mount a serious challenge in European competitions.

As negotiations continue, all eyes are on Napoli’s response and whether PSG’s record-breaking bid will sway the Serie A club’s resolve.

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Germany Advances to Euros Quarterfinals After Dramatic Win Over Denmark

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Germany

In a match that will be remembered for its dramatic twists and turns, host nation Germany secured a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Denmark on Saturday.

The win came amidst a thunderstorm-induced delay and two crucial video review calls, sending the jubilant German fans into raptures.

The game, played in front of a packed Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, was interrupted by a thunderstorm that brought torrential rain and hail, causing a 25-minute halt in play.

Despite the adverse weather, the atmosphere remained electric as the soaked fans continued to cheer for their team.

The turning point of the match came in the second half. Denmark’s Joachim Andersen appeared to have put his team ahead in the 50th minute with a close-range finish.

However, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) spotted an offside in the buildup, disallowing the goal.

Immediately after, Germany launched a counter-attack, leading to a cross by David Raum striking Andersen’s outstretched arm. Another VAR review resulted in a penalty for Germany, which Kai Havertz converted, breaking the deadlock.

Jamal Musiala added a second goal for Germany in the 68th minute, securing the win and his third goal of the tournament, tying him with Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze for the most in the competition so far.

The victory marked Germany’s first win in the knockout stages of a major tournament since 2016, a significant achievement for a team looking to shake off a series of disappointing performances in recent years.

“We played a super game — we had crazy fans again today,” said Germany defender Nico Schlotterbeck. “We’re playing with euphoria, we’re playing with fun, and that’s what the most beautiful thing about football is.”

Germany’s coach, Julian Nagelsmann, used the rain delay to his advantage, showing his players key moments from the first half-hour of the game.

“We came through adversity in those seconds where it was, ‘Was it a goal or not a goal?’ and ‘Was it handball or not a handball?’ That makes me proud,” Nagelsmann said. “The team deserves it and hopefully we are getting rid of the old memory stick and understand how good we actually are.”

Denmark’s coach, Kasper Hjulmand, expressed frustration over the VAR decisions, particularly the handball ruling.

“It was one centimeter offside. In terms of statistics and data, it doesn’t make sense. This is not how we are supposed to be using VAR,” he said. “And I am so tired of the ridiculous handball rule. Joachim was running normally. It’s a normal situation.”

Despite the controversy, it is Germany who advances, with the team set to face Spain or Georgia in the quarterfinals.

As the German fans sang “We’re going to Berlin,” the team now looks forward to potentially turning this European Championship into a summer fairy tale, hoping to end their run of underwhelming performances on the grand stage.

“It was a wild game altogether,” Nagelsmann remarked. “We understand how good we actually are. Now, it’s time to prove it.”

With two more wins needed to reach the final in Berlin on July 14, Germany is riding high on confidence and national pride, ready to make the most of their home advantage.

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