Round-up of the bizarre and the beautiful at the 2018 World Cup in Russia
SowetanLIVE will be bringing you a daily news round-up from the World Cup‚ from the bizarre to the beautiful.
Today we look at Nigeria‚ Tunisia‚ Senegal and a tragedy in Russia just days before the start of the tournament.
Much has been made of Nigeria’s jazzy kit for the World Cup‚ and while some believe it is a hit and others a miss‚ there can be no denying they arrived in style at the tournament in Russia on Tuesday.
Nigeria‚ including Chippa United goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi‚ the only PSL player at the tournament‚ landed in Mineralnye Vody from their Austrian training base‚ with coach Gernot Rohr saying their camp in Europe had been mixed.
“Nine days was hardwork. Every day we had two training sessions in very good conditions‚ wonderful grass‚ the country side is nice‚ is clean with mountains‚” Rohr said.
“Everybody is fit‚ no injury which is the most important and they did very well. And I think everybody is much better now so it was a good preparation.”
Nigeria open their Group D campaign against Croatia on Saturday (21h00 SA time)
Germany have not always gone into the World Cup with a top team‚ but you have to admire their ability to grind out results when needed. If only Bafana Bafana could learn a thing or two!
Since 1954‚ the last 64 years‚ they have reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup every single time and reached the semifinals 75 percent of the time. And they have reached the final in exactly half of the World Cups played.
The defending champions from Brazil 2014 may not have been in the greatest form of late‚ but who would bet against them?
MAALOUL BEMOANS TUNISIA BLOW
Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul says the loss of forward Youssef Msakni for the World Cup is like playing without their very own Lionel Messi.
Msakni has been ruled out of the competition with a knee injury‚
"Tunisia without Msakni is as if Argentina was playing without Lionel Messi or Portugal without Cristiano Ronaldo.
"He's a very important player‚" Maaloul bemoaned.
Tunisia open their World Cup campaign against England on Monday (20h00 SA time).
RELIEF FOR SENEGAL
Senegal ended a four-match winless run when they beat South Korea 2-0 in their final World Cup warm-up match.
It will be relief for Aliou Cisse’s side‚ who have not been in great form in the build-up to the global showpiece.
They took the lead when Guangzhou Evergrande defender Kim Young-gwon turned the ball into his own net‚ before Moussa Konaté‚ a teammate of Bongani Zungu at Amiens‚ added a late penalty.
Senegal take on Poland in their first match on Tuesday (17h00 SA time).
Russia is no stranger to man-made disasters and city of Volgograd has been struck by tragedy just days before hosting matches at the World Cup.
Eleven people died when their riverboat on a pleasure cruise turned into a nightmare as it collided with a tugboat.
According to local reports‚ the riverboat was overcrowded and had its lights turned off for the nighttime cruise.