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FIFA rankings: Super Eagles drop to 36

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles have dropped by one spot in the January Ranking of the Federation of International Football Associations to now occupy the 36th position in the world.

In the rankings released by FIFA on Thursday, the Nigerian team retained the 1474 points recorded in December.

The latest rankings saw Nigeria retaining its fifth spot on the continent behind Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco respectively.

On the global scene, a total of 43 full internationals (including one played in December 2020) were taken into account.

The standout tournament in recent weeks has been the African Nations Championship, where a total of 32 games took place and with Nigeria not participating.

These fixtures, as well as the other 11 games played, have been classified as friendlies, because only players competing in their countries’ national championships are eligible to participate in CHAN.

In the standings, CHAN winners Morocco (33rd, +2), and runners-up Mali (54th, +3) have made the most progress.

Third-placed Guinea (72nd, +1) and quarter-finalists Congo (90th, +1) have also advanced.

Other teams moving in the right direction include Costa Rica (50th,+1), currently back in the Top 50 after an absence of several months, Cape Verde (80th, +1) and Oman (81st, +1).

There are also Benin (82nd, +1), Azerbaijan (108th, +1), Estonia (108th, +1), Thailand (110th, +1), Guinea-Bissau (119th, +1), Tajikistan (120th, +1) and Guatemala (130th, +1).

Those teams aside, no other country has enhanced its position since December, and the Top 32 places in the standings remain unchanged since the end of 2020.

Belgium, France, Brazil, England and Portugal continue to occupy the top spots, with the leading trio of Belgium, France and Brazil only separated by 37 points.

The fight for top spot promises to be an exciting one this year, with a string of major tournaments scheduled (Copa America, UEFA EURO and CONCACAF Gold Cup).

There is also the resumption of qualifying competitions for the 2022 FIFA World Cup scheduled for Qatar.

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Nigeria’s Oshoala leads Barcelona to first women’s Champions League win

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Asisat Oshoala won the Women’s Champions League title with Barcelona Femeni after humbling Chelsea 4-0 in the final on Sunday.

The triumph is the first Champions League title for Barcelona Femeni and Oshoala became the first African woman to win the trophy.

Lluis Cortes’ girls took Chelsea apart with some blistering football at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Melanie Leupolz netted a freak own goal 33 seconds into the one-sided first 45 minutes.

Despite not getting on the score sheet, Lieke Mertens, the 2017 UEFA and FIFA women’s player of the year, was simply unplayable. The midfielder contributed to three of the four goals her side netted.

After making it 2-0 with a controversial spot kick, Alexia Putellas put a sensational pass through to Aitana Bonmati, who scored the third.

A glorious run from Martens ended with a tap-in for Caroline Graham Hansen to compound Chelsea’s woes in the first half.

Chelsea came into the second half guns blazing but were successfully contained by the Blaugranes.

Oshoala came off the bench in 71st minute for Jennifer Hermoso. The Super Falcons captain scored in added time but the goal was ruled offside.

Barcelona Femeni clinched their league title last Sunday with eight games remaining. They have won all 26 Primera Division games this season.

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Joshua, Fury heavyweight showdown confirmed for August 14

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Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury world heavyweight title showdown will take place in Saudi Arabia on 14 August, Fury has said.
He announced the fight date Sunday in a video on Twitter, saying, “All eyes of the world will be on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and I cannot wait to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all times.
“This is going to be the biggest sporting event ever to grace the planet earth. Do not miss it.”
Neither Joshua, his promoter Eddie Hearn nor Fury’s co-promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren have confirmed the fight date.
Last week, Hearn confirmed that the fight would take place in Saudi Arabia.
The all-British bout has been billed as one of the biggest in heavyweight boxing for decades and the winner will become undisputed champion.
Joshua, 31, holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts while Fury, 32, is WBC champion.
The fight will see all four belts contested in a heavyweight bout for the first time in history.
The last undisputed heavyweight champion was Britain’s Lennox Lewis from 1999 to 2000 before a boxer had to also hold the WBO belt to be recognised as undisputed champion.
-BBC

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Iga Swiatek humiliates Pliskova to lift Rome Masters title

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Polish teenage star Iga Swiatek produced the best tennis of her short career to thrash Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 to win the Rome WTA 1000 title on Sunday.

The match lasted just 46 minutes.

Swiatek dropped just 13 points in total – four in the first set and nine in the second, to record the double bagel.

She faced only four game points against her opponent as she claimed the most one-sided victory in the history of the event, since 1983.

This was when Andrea Temesvari defeated Bonnie Gadusek 6-1 6-0.

The French Open champion last year will climb five spots to No 10 in the rankings on Monday after sealing her third WTA title.

After winning the championship, Iga posted this on Twitter:

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