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See Brazilian friendly match as world cup game – Kanu Nwankwo tells Super Eagles

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Former African Footballer of the Year, Nwankwo Kanu, has advised the Super Eagles to approach their October 13 friendly match against the Brazilian national team as a world cup game.

In a video interview posted on the official Youtube page of the Super Eagles, the ex-Nigerian skipper, said the players should know Nigerian fans do not see any game as a friendly, but always expect them to give their best.

He said, “I see every game as a World Cup match, as a competition, friendly or no friendly, and if the boys can take that on board, knowing that every game they play, Nigerians will not want to know if it is friendly or not.

“There is a lot of pressure because everybody loves football, they don’t want to hear that Nigeria went to a game and lost.

“I don’t think people will really appreciate the boys if they lost in a friendly game, that’s how it is here. The boys have to take it on board and ensure that every game they play, they have to do well.

“Against Brazil, they are one of the best, and those are the kind of friendlies we should be playing. I say thanks to whoever has made this possible.

“Playing against Brazil will show the level of football they are playing and where they are, and if they can beat Brazil, the full confidence and belief of the boys will grow.

“And for me, it’s always tough when Nigeria and Brazil play each other, whoever will represent us should know it’s not a friendly game,” Kanu added.

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Qualified countries in Euro 2020

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Six countries have already booked their spots at next year’s European Championships.

They are Belgium, Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

Belgium qualified for the finals on Thursday, with a 9-0 victory at home to minnows San Marino and Russia joined them on Sunday with victory in Cyprus.

Spain secured their place in the finals draw with a 1-1 draw in Sweden on Tuesday, while Poland beat North Macedonia 2-0 on Sunday.

With seven wins out of seven, Italy are also through.

The top two teams (20 in total) in each group qualify automatically.

Four more nations will qualify via playoffs, qualification for which is based on UEFA Nations League performance.

The draw will be held on Saturday, November 30 in Bucharest, Romania.

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Chelsea suffer six injury blow ahead of EPL clash with Newcastle

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Chelsea have suffered six injury blow ahead of their English Premier League, EPL, clash with Newcastle United this weekend.

According to Evening Standard, Mateo Kovacic and Ethan Ampadu were the latest Blues players to pick up injuries during the international break on Sunday.

Both players lined up against each other on Sunday evening as Wales played a 1-1 draw with Croatia in a Euro 2020 qualifiers encounter.

Kovacic was replaced by Barcelona midfielder, Ivan Rakitic after a strong challenge from Tottenham’s Ben Davies, while Ampadu was replaced by Bristol City’s Joe Morrell just three minutes into the second half after a hard tackle from Bruno Petkovic.

However, Chelsea defender, Andreas Christensen sustained a groin injury during Denmark’s 1-0 win over Switzerland.

Chelsea youngers, Reece James and Trevor Chalobah withdrew from the England Under-21 squad last week ahead of their matches against Slovenia and Austria due to ‘fitness concerns’.

Midfielder, N’Golo Kante picked up a groin injury in the warm-up before France’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on Friday.

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Why I retired from international football at age 32 – Mikel Obi

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Former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, has revealed why he retired from international football at the age of 32.

TIMELY POST recalls that Mikel Obi announced his retirement from Super Eagles following the conclusion of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Egypt.

Mikel said he retired from international football because he wanted to give chance to the younger players in the Super Eagles squad, adding that he does not have many years of football in front of him.

The former Chelsea star spoke to Trabzonspor’s weekend magazine on why he quit the Super Eagles at the age of 32 years.

Mikel said: “I served the national team for 13 years, a larger part of those years as captain. In this process, we have achieved significant successes as a team. I first wanted to leave in 2013, but as a result of our negotiations with the authorities, I decided to continue.”

“We currently have very talented young players. They’re all bright. I think these players can handle the challenges. I had to make room for them. Besides, I don’ t have many years of football in front of me. I want to focus on my team.”

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