West Indies U19 advanced to the quarterfinals of the ICC U19 World Cup on Thursday after they steamrolled debutants Nigeria by 246 runs at Kimberley in South Africa.

Brazil lost Neymar to an early injury scare and stuttered to a 1-1 draw with Nigeria as their post-Copa America malaise continued in Singapore.

Having last month restored him to the starting XI, Paris Saint Germain will have been especially concerned when Neymar clutched at his hamstring as he headed to the bench in the 12th minute of Sunday's international friendly.

Joe Aribo fired Nigeria into the lead not long later before Casemiro scrambled Brazil level within three minutes of the interval.

The Real Madrid midfielder went closest to winning it, seeing a header cannon against the crossbar on the hour, but the Selecao were unable to end what is now a four-game winless streak.

Roberto Firmino threatened with a well-struck shot on the turn before Ederson denied Victor Osimhen in an entertaining first five minutes.

Tite was forced to call on Philippe Coutinho when Neymar made way and Brazil's woes were compounded in the 35th minute.

Moses Simon controlled Osimhen's cross and spotted the late-arriving Aribo, who doubled his international account after dancing through Marquinhos' weak challenge.

The defender went some way to making amends when his header from a Dani Alves cross came back off the woodwork and dropped for Casemiro to sweep home.

Casemiro almost single-handedly completed the comeback from Coutinho's corner before substitute Richarlison turned a chance the wrong side of the upright.

Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho had to be taken off on a stretcher after landing awkwardly while attempting to thwart the Casemiro chance.

But his absence failed to hinder the Super Eagles, who held on for a creditable draw after Semi Ajayi blocked a meek Coutinho finish at close range in the closing stages.

What does it mean? Selecao still stuck in a slumber

Brazil's inability to build on their Copa America success has been startling.

Securing continental silverware on home soil was expected to prove the catalyst for Tite's team to grow but they have recorded no more than three draws and a defeat since edging Peru in July.

Centre-back stars for Super Eagles

William Troost-Ekong looked a defender of international class at the World Cup in Russia and acquitted himself well against Brazil's strike force, tallying six clearances and several moments of impressively calm defensive work.

Marquinhos culpable for opener

Meaningless friendly or not, the lack of desperation Marquinhos displayed in defending Aribo's opening goal cannot be tolerated by a team fighting for form.

What's next?

Brazil are to face rivals Argentina in a Superclasico de las Americas clash in Saudi Arabia on November 15, while Nigeria commence Africa Cup of Nations qualifying next month.  

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham says he has not decided on his international future as Gareth Southgate prepares to name his latest England squad.

Southgate will reveal his squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria on Thursday.

The in-form Abraham would not look out of place after marking his 22nd birthday with an eighth goal of the season in Chelsea's 2-1 victory at Lille in the Champions League.

Abraham won two England caps in a pair of friendlies in November 2017 but remains eligible for a change of allegiance to Nigeria.

"It is always a privilege to be wanted by both nations," Abraham told the BBC.

"I love both nations and for me I am clearly doing something right for Chelsea.

"My time will come. I haven't made a decision yet. I am focusing on the club."

The admission comes despite a claim from Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr that Abraham had been "assured" of a Three Lions call-up.

"They [Abraham and Chelsea team-mate Fikayo Tomori] are both interesting players, but we have made our immediate plans without Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori," Rohr added in an interview with the BBC.

Abraham represented England at the recent European Under-21 Championships.

He has been a regular starter under Frank Lampard since returning to Stamford Bridge from a loan spell at Aston Villa.

Gabriel Barbosa has earned a recall to the Brazil squad for the friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria following a rich vein of form at Flamengo.

Since arriving at Flamengo on loan from Inter in January, 23-year-old striker Gabigol has scored 30 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions.

He has been rewarded with a first call-up since the Copa America Centenario in 2016 by head coach Tite and is joined by club team-mate Rodrigo Caio.

The news will come as a blow for Flamengo boss Jorge Jesus, though. His side sit top of the Campeonato Brasileiro at the halfway point but the league does not stop for the international calendar.

Athletico Paranaense goalkeeper Santos won the Copa do Brasil on Wednesday and has been selected for international duty for the first time in his career, a fate shared by Gremio midfielder Matheus Henrique and Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi.

Gabriel Jesus returns to the fold after sitting out the 2-2 draw against Colombia and 1-0 loss to Peru in September due to suspension. Neymar, Richarlison, Everton and Roberto Firmino have also been named in a Selecao squad boasting a wealth of attacking options.

Brazil's 17-match unbeaten run came to an end when they went down to Peru and they will hope to get back to winning ways against Senegal in Singapore on October 10.

 

Brazil squad in full:

Ederson (Manchester City), Santos (Athletico Paranaense), Weverton (Palmeiras); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Dani Alves (Sao Paulo), Danilo (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Caio (Flamengo), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain); Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fabinho (Liverpool), Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan), Matheus Henrique (Gremio), Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich); Everton (Gremio), Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Richarlison (Everton), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Spain put in a dominant performance against heavy hitters Serbia to set up a clash with Poland in the quarter-finals of the FIBA World Cup.

Serbia had the best offense of the tournament heading into Sunday's encounter, but Spain held firm in Wuhan to secure an 81-69 victory and top spot in Group J.

Poland finished second behind Argentina in Group I following a 91-65 defeat to the South Americans, while Russia beat Venezuela 69-60 in the same pool.

Meanwhile, Italy ended their campaign with an impressive comeback against Puerto Rico, Tunisia came out on top by just two points against Angola and South Korea got the better of Ivory Coast.

RUBIO RUNS THE SHOW AS SPAIN STALL SERBIA

Ricky Rubio was in scintillating form as he scored 19 points and added four assists to lead Spain to victory over Serbia, who suffered their first defeat since February.

Rubio was backed up admirably by Marc Gasol and Victor Claver, as Spain earned a fifth successive win.

It was the first time Serbia failed to score 70 points or more in a World Cup match, even though Bogdan Bogdanovic grabbed 26 points in a supreme individual display.

While Spain will face Poland in the last eight, Serbia must rally for a tough test against Argentina.

NIGERIA BOOK OLYMPIC SPOT

Hosts China slipped to an 86-73 defeat in Guangzhou, as Nigeria grasped a place at the 2020 Olympics.

Josh Okogie helped himself to 19 points for Nigeria, with 11 coming in the final quarter. Jianlian Yi was the start of the show with 27 points, but his performance was not enough to secure a Chinese victory.

Nigeria's NBA forward Al-Farouq Aminu said on the FIBA website: "I remember when I joined the team in 2012 we said we did not want to miss an Olympics. It's a beautiful feeling. It's amazing."

China are in danger of missing out on direct qualification for the Olympics, with Iran going above them in the race for Tokyo thanks to their 95-75 win over Philippines.

AZZURRI FIGHT BACK TO OVERCOME PUERTO RICO

Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari inspired Italy to overcome a 26-point deficit as the Azzurri triumphed 94-89 in overtime against Puerto Rico to end a frustrating campaign on a positive note.

Italy had never previously won a World Cup match in which they trailed by 15 points or more at half-time, but Belinelli and Gallinari rallied their team-mates after a timeout taken when 59-33 behind midway through the third quarter.

Belinelli converted a game-high 27 points, while Gallinari became the first Italy player to accumulate more than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a World Cup game since 1994.

"It was a very bad game for us in the beginning. We did not show up," Gallinari said. "We knew that we had to come out with a different attitude and different intensity in the second half and I think that we did a great job."

Poland progressed into the second round of the FIBA World Cup after securing a 79-76 overtime victory over tournament hosts China.

Yi Jianlian missed a three-pointer in the final seconds in Beijing, and China's hopes now hang in the balance as they head into their final group game against Venezuela, who beat Ivory Coast 87-71.

Serbia amassed a huge haul of 126 points as they demolished the Philippines in Foshan, where Italy had beaten Angola 92-61 earlier on Monday.

In Group B there were wins for Argentina and Russia, while Tunisia overcame Iran and Spain got the better of Puerto Rico.

HOSTS DOWNED IN BEIJING THRILLER

Poland clinched their progression from Group A with a dramatic triumph over China in a thrilling encounter.

Mateusz Ponitka became the first player to score 10 or more free throws in the World Cup as he and AJ Slaughter led the way for Poland, who were a point behind with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Ponitka made no mistake with one of the free throws, and after Damian Kulig nudged Poland ahead in overtime, the Zenit man converted another point, which ultimately proved decisive when Yi squandered a three-pointer at the death.

In Group A's other match, Heissler Guillent put in an inspired performance to lead Venezuela to victory over Ivory Coast.

SERBIA STORM INTO ROUND TWO

Seven players got into double figures as Serbia marched into the second round with a demolition of the Philippines.

Nemanja Bjelica missed Serbia's opener against Angola, but came off the bench to steal the show, scoring all seven of his field-goal attempts.

Bjelica sunk a hat-trick of three-pointers as he finished off with a game-high 20 points in 16 minutes.

Serbia will be joined in round two by Group D rivals Italy - who they face next - after their 92-61 victory over Angola.

ARGENTINA REACH MILESTONE VICTORY

Another side into the next round are Argentina after they claimed a 94-81 win over Nigeria.

Nigeria clawed themselves back into contention with a late rally, but an early charge from Argentina proved enough to secure their second win in Group B, and a 60th overall in the World Cup.

Luis Scola was key to the victory with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and he is now the second all-time highest scorer in World Cup history with 611 points.

Russia, meanwhile, were 87-73 winners over South Korea.

Former Nigeria head coach Samson Siasia has been banned for life from football after FIFA found him guilty of agreeing to take bribes to manipulate matches.

The 51-year-old has also been fined CHF50,000 (£42,000) for breaching FIFA's code of ethics.

Siasia had a 15-year career with the Super Eagles as a player and was head coach between 2010 and 2011 and in 2016.

The former Nantes forward also had spells in charge of Nigeria's Under-20 and U-23 sides.

FIFA did not specify when Siasia's alleged infractions occurred.

World football's governing body said in a statement on Friday: "The adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee has found Mr Samson Siasia, a former official of the Nigeria Football Federation, guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA code of ethics.

"The formal ethics proceedings against Mr Siasia were initiated on February 11 2019 and stem from an extensive investigation into matches that Mr Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes."

Singaporean Perumal is a self-confessed former serial match-fixer who has served prison time for past offences, and who has previously claimed to have influenced results involving Nigeria.

FIFA's statement added: "In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Siasia had breached art. 11 (bribery) of the 2009 edition of the FIFA code of ethics and banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 50,000 has been imposed on Mr Siasia.

"The decision was notified to Mr Siasia today, the date on which the ban comes into force."

John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from international football after helping Nigeria to third place in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles lost to Algeria in the last four in Egypt, but atoned for that disappointment to a degree with a 1-0 win over Tunisia in the third place play-off.

That game marked the last appearance in a Nigeria shirt for Mikel, who confirmed the end of his career for his country in a post on Instagram.

It read: "Egypt is a country where I've started and have finished my national career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my country. [The] 2019 Africa Cup of Nations marks my last championship for national team with Super Eagles. 

"My national career started in 2003 [at the] under-17 World Cup and I'm grateful for the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible national and international career.

"At the age of 32 it's time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, who've done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019. 

"Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you've shown me over the past 15 years.

"Mikel am out!"

MIkel won the AFCON in 2013 and collected a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, while he also featured for the Super Eagles at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

Odion Ighalo was gifted an early goal as Nigeria claimed third place in the Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Tunisia.

Aiming to maintain their perfect record in AFCON third-place play-offs, Nigeria were presented with the lead when Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia and defender Yassine Meriah combined to tee up Ighalo.

Wahbi Khazri looked sharp as Tunisia rallied, and created his side's best chance when he set up Firas Chaouat for what should have been a simple finish early in the second half.

Chaouat could not take advantage, though, and while Ben Cherifia's excellent save from Samuel Chukwueze kept Tunisia's hopes alive, Nigeria had little trouble holding on to their lead.

Nigeria had the lead inside three minutes, Ighalo tucking home after Ben Cherifia and Meriah made a mess of Jamilu Collins' cross.

Tunisia responded well and would have been level had Ferjani Sassi's header not been cleared off the line.

Ighalo's game came to an end at half-time - the former Watford striker appearing to suffer a hamstring injury.

Khazri's superb throughball put Chaouat through on goal a minute into the second half, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, Tunisia's substitute lashed into the side netting.

Chukwueze's long-range strike looked to be creeping in just after the hour, but Ben Cherifia made a superb save at full stretch.

Ghilane Chaalali bundled himself into shooting range as full-time approached, though a weak effort wide of the upright was all he could muster as Tunisia ended their tournament with a whimper.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr was not disheartened by his team's semi-final defeat, convinced the Super Eagles pushed Algeria all the way as they prepare to tussle with Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off.

Rohr's men looked to have forced an extra 30 minutes in their last-four clash on Sunday, as Odion Ighalo's 72nd-minute penalty cancelled out William Troost-Ekong's first-half own goal.

But Riyad Mahrez struck at the end with a gorgeous free-kick, sending Algeria – who have not lost at this year's tournament – into the final, where they will face Senegal.

Although the prospect of a third-place finish is rather underwhelming given how close they were to a final spot, Rohr insists he is not disappointed by Nigeria's showing, pointing out how they shaded Algeria in several areas last time out.

"After our loss to Algeria, we were a bit disappointed because it's disappointing when you lose a game in the last seconds," he told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We've analysed the match, we saw the video with the players yesterday [Monday] and we saw also it was a good match and we gave a good fight.

"The statistics were even better for us, because we had 11 shots on goal, they had only six. We had better possession of the ball against probably the best team so far in the tournament.

"So, losing to them is not a shame and we have to be positive as we want to finish this competition well together."

Tunisia's semi-final was similarly close, as they were defeated 1-0 by Senegal thanks to a Dylan Bronn own goal in extra time.

Most of the Carthage Eagles' matches in the tournament have been tight, with their 3-0 quarter-final win over minnows Madagascar the only game they have emerged victorious from in 90 minutes.

Having gone into extra time twice so far, coach Alain Giresse accepts his side might be struggling with fatigue, suggesting Nigeria may have a physical edge on Wednesday.

"The match will be very difficult, physically and technically," Giresse said. "We'll try everything we can to finish third.

"Of course, we wanted to reach the final, but now we focus on the third-place match. I can't say all my players are perfectly fit, we have a little time to know how ready the players are."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tunisia - Wahbi Khazri

Even though he was a little quieter than usual against Senegal, Khazri was still one of Tunisia's more threatening players, creating three opportunities. Giresse will certainly be looking to him to make the difference.

Nigeria - Samuel Chukwueze

A lively, dazzling winger at his very best, Chukwueze has simmered at the AFCON without truly exploding. Nevertheless, he crafted three scoring chances against Algeria, more than any of his team-mates.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Nigeria have never lost against Tunisia in four encounters in the AFCON (W2 D2). They will face each other for a third-place game in the competition for the second time after 1978 (Nigeria won 2-0).
- Tunisia have won only one of their three third-place games in the AFCON (D1 L1). It was in 1962 against Uganda (3-0).
- Nigeria have won each of their six third-place games. The Super Eagles can become the team with the most third-place games played in the tournament (seven).
- Tunisia's midfielder Youssef Msakni is the only player involved in at least one goal in each of the last six AFCON editions. He has completed 93.3 per cent of his dribbles in the 2019 event, the highest ratio among players with more than five dribbles attempted.
- Ighalo has been involved in five goals in the 2019 AFCON (four goals, one assist), more than any other player. The striker has been involved in 63 per cent of Nigeria's goals in this edition (five of eight).

Riyad Mahrez described Algeria reaching the Africa Cup of Nations final as "unbelievable" after setting up a showdown with Senegal thanks to his stunning last-gasp free-kick.

Mahrez was the hero in Cairo, where the Manchester City star curled a 95th-minute set-piece past Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory on Sunday.

Algeria had initially led through William Troost-Ekong's own goal before Nigeria equalised via an Odion Ighalo penalty with 18 minutes remaining following a VAR review.

Mahrez and Algeria will now contest their first AFCON final since winning the tournament on home soil in 1990 when they face Senegal on Friday.

After his man-of-the-match performance, Mahrez said: "It was a very tough game today against a strong team.

"We were one goal up and were in control before VAR's decision – they scored the penalty and in the last minute we converted our free-kick.

"We are very happy because to be in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations is something unbelievable.

"I think we have been very good in this tournament. We scored 12 goals and conceded two, that is the source of our confidence.

"We are looking forward to the final against Senegal. We played them in the group stage and we are expecting another tough game."

Algeria topped Group C ahead of Senegal, who lost 1-0 to the Desert Foxes on matchday two last month.

Riyad Mahrez scored a sensational free-kick in the 95th minute as Algeria beat Nigeria 2-1 to seal their place in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Algeria led thanks to William Troost-Ekong's own goal but Nigeria hit back through Odion Ighalo's penalty, awarded following a VAR check.

Extra time was looming until Algeria, who have not been to the final since winning the tournament on home soil in 1990, won a free-kick on the edge of the box.

And Mahrez, star man for the Desert Foxes, bent the ball around the wall to beat Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and seal his country a place against Senegal in Friday's final.

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi recognises his team are just two steps from "history" ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations semi-final with Nigeria, but reminded his players it will take their very best to lift the trophy.

The Fennec Foxes have been the standout side in the tournament, avoiding a single defeat in their five matches and conceding just once, that goal coming in the 1-1 quarter-final draw with Ivory Coast that they went on to win 4-3 on penalties.

Sunday's clash with Nigeria will be only Algeria's second semi-final since winning the competition as hosts in 1990, when they last contested the final.

While most coaches would look to deflect talk of such historic achievements and demand absolute focus, Belmadi reminisced about the 1990 victory and believes success this time around would be even more impressive as they are not playing on home soil.

"The one that we won was in 1990, a long time ago when it was at home. We've never won since. This is away from home, it's more difficult, of course," Belmadi told reporters.

"This is our target, we want to write our history and the players want to write their history as well.

"It's not far — two more steps, but two very difficult steps to this great achievement. We will try our best."

Nigeria have, for the most part, enjoyed a solid tournament as well, with their only hiccup coming in a surprise 2-0 defeat to minnows Madagascar in the final group match.

Since then the Super Eagles have seen off defending champions Cameroon and South Africa, the conquerors of Egypt - the hosts and one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Nigeria beat Algeria 3-1 and also drew 1-1 with them in World Cup qualifying, but coach Gernot Rohr is adamant the Fennec Foxes are in much better shape now under Belmadi.

"He's done a very professional job," Rohr said of Belmadi in his pre-match news conference on Saturday. "They were shaky at the time. We beat them 3-1 and they made lots of individual errors and defensive mistakes that made it easier for us to win. They were also fragile in the draw.

"Now I see a solid Algeria side with a good balance between attack and defence. They're still physical, but they have come on since and it will be a much harder match than in World Cup qualifying."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Algeria – Youcef Belaili

One of Algeria's form players at the AFCON, Belaili was particularly lively in the quarter-final against Ivory Coast. The attacker created five goal-scoring opportunities, more than anyone else on the pitch and has already proven himself to be decisive, having netted twice in the tournament.

Nigeria – Samuel Chukwueze

His goal in the 2-1 win over South Africa in the last round made 20-year-old Chukwueze the youngest goalscorer at the tournament. Possessing a dazzling combination of blistering pace and fine dribbling, the Villarreal star is an explosive talent and will surely be key if the Super Eagles are to get past Algeria.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Algeria and Nigeria will face each other for the ninth time in the AFCON, becoming the most regular encounter in the competition for both teams. The record between them is perfectly balanced, with three wins apiece and two draws.
- Algeria will play their seventh AFCON semi-final, their first since 2010, having qualified only twice in their previous six. Three of their AFCON semis have gone to penalties (winning once in 1980 and losing in 1984 and 1988).
- Nigeria will play their 14th AFCON semi-final, more than any other team. However, the Super Eagles have qualified for the final only once in their past five semis. It was against Mali in 2013 (a 4-1 win).
- Algeria midfielder Adam Ounas has been involved in a goal every 30 minutes in this year's tournament (three goals, one assist in 121 minutes played), the best ratio in the competition.
- Nigeria midfielders Peter Etebo (46) and Wilfred Ndidi (41) have won possession more times than any other outfield players at the AFCON.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed players will receive a massive bonus for Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Algeria.

Reports suggest Nigerian business magnates Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola will finance the fund, which comes after a lengthy row between the Super Eagles players and the NFF over unpaid bonuses and allowances.

Players threatened to strike in the build-up to the tournament and then refused to appear for the pre-match news conference ahead of a Group B match against Guinea due to unpaid bonuses following their 1-0 win over Burundi.

A statement on NFF's official Twitter account said: "More Nigerians make cash pledge to boost the Super Eagles' morale, with two business moguls promising to give the team $50,000 each for every goal scored against Algeria."

Nigeria reached the semi-finals by beating South Africa 2-1 in a closely contested quarter-final, with William Troost-Ekong scoring the winner in the 89th minute.

Nigeria took a step closer to becoming Africa Cup of Nations champions after Ronwen Williams' late error gifted William Troost-Ekong a late winner in a 2-1 triumph over South Africa in Wednesdays' quarter-final.

Bafana Bafana, who shocked hosts Egypt in the previous round, had equalised with 19 minutes remaining in Cairo when Bongani Zungu headed home and the match was seemingly headed for extra-time.

But Troost-Ekong bundled home in the 89th-minute minute after Williams made a hash of a corner to dash South Africa's hopes of progressing and left Nigeria still chasing their dream of a fourth AFCON title.

It was a just result for a Nigeria team after they had largely dominated and led in the 27th minute through Samuel Chukwueze, who was part of a lively Nigeria front four that opened South Africa up several times

The result extends South Africa's record of never having beaten Nigeria at the Cup of Nations, while Gernot Rohr's men moved into the last four – where Ivory Coast of Algeria await - with a disciplined, determined performance.

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