By Brian HomewoodFrance ended Nigeria’s hopes of a first World Cup quarter-final appearance when they scored two late goals to beat the Super Eagles 2-0 in a rough and physical second-round match on Monday.Midfielder Paul Pogba put France ahead in the 79th minute, heading in at the far post after Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama flapped at Mathieu Valbuena’s corner following a sustained spell of French pressure.The win was sealed when Joseph Yobo turned a low cross into his own goal in stoppage time and France will play Germany or Algeria in the last eight.It was a controversial victory, however, as the game had swung France’s way after Nigeria’s influential midfielder Ogenyi Onazi was injured and carried off following a late tackle from Blaise Matuidi, who was lucky to escape with only a yellow card.Nigeria also had a first-half goal by Emmanuel Emenike disallowed in a marginal offside decision.“I am very proud of everything we did from the start,” France coach Didier Deschamps said in a television interview.“There was tension out there. They are a very strong side and there were a lot of duels. But we’re through. We’re in the quarter finals and we’ll do everything we can to go a stage further.”Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi was upset at both the tackling on Onazi and the disallowed goal.“I am not happy with the officiating,” Keshi told a news conference. “On two occasions Onazi had very bad tackles. He’s out now probably for weeks.“This is the first time in my life I speak about the referee but it wasn’t good.”“If you look at the goal that we scored I don’t think there was any infringement,” he added. “I would love to know the reason why the referee disallowed the goal.”Pogba was elated after scoring such an important goal.“There are no words to describe this,” he said.“I know there is a whole country behind us. Scoring that goal really liberated us. I am so happy for the team and all France. I’m speechless.”“To score a goal for your country, especially in an important match like this to get into the World Cup quarter finals, it’s one of the best moments of my life.”Nigeria had been defending increasingly desperately in the run-up to Pogba’s goal.France were centimetres from going ahead when Karim Benzema poked the ball past Enyeama, who managed to partly block his shot and Victor Moses hooked the ball off the line.Nigeria escaped again when John Obi Mikel cleared Benzema’s shot off the line, then Yohan Cabaye struck the underside of the crossbar with a thunderous long-range strike.Enyeama then tipped Benzema’s close-range header over the bar, leading to the corner from which France scored their first goal.The first half had been much more even.Nigeria made a bright start and thought they had gone ahead when Emmanuel Emenike turned in Ahmed Musa’s low cross at the near post but the effort was ruled offside in an extremely close call.Pogba was denied when he met Valbuena’s low cross from the right with a flying volley, only to be brilliantly denied by Enyeama who parried the ball away with a tremendous reflex save.Nigeria produced some neat moves in midfield interspersed with basic unforced errors and Mikel was lucky to escape when he sliced Patrice Evra’s low cross towards his own goal and was relieved to see the ball land in Enyeama’s hands.Nigeria should have gone ahead just before halftime when France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris parried Emenike’s fierce shot back into his area but Moses handled as he attempted to control the rebound.
OlderEtihad Airways prepares for Hajj season NewerFred. Olsen Cruise Lines launches new passenger app Irish golf is set for an extended spell in the spotlight following Shane Lowry’s Open Championship victory, with the announcement of Adare Manor as host venue for the 2026 Ryder Cup. Since reopening in April last year on completion of a two-year reconstruction commissioned by its owners, the McManus family, the golf course at Adare Manor has been propelled to global recognition by a host of well-wishers.The property has been an immediate hit with industry figureheads and top players alike, each rich in praise for the Tom Fazio design and, in particular, its pristine condition. In its first eighteen months of operation, Adare Manor has collected numerous global accolades, capped off with today’s confirmation of its Ryder Cup host venue status. The property was recognised as Ireland’s Leading Hotel at the World Travel Awards earlier this year.ADVERTISEMENT“I am delighted that the prestigious Ryder Cup will return to Ireland,” said JP McManus, owner of Adare Manor. “Noreen and I are very happy that Adare Manor was chosen as the venue for this world-renowned tournament in 2026 and we look forward to welcoming our worldwide visitors. “It is a wonderful tribute to the many great Irish golf ambassadors and success stories Ireland has had in golf over the years and a nice follow on from Shane’s momentous Open win on Sunday in Portrush. “The nation was behind Shane, it was a great achievement and very well deserved. “I am confident that the people of Ireland will get behind The Ryder Cup and take the opportunity to showcase Ireland on the world stage and ensure that the 2026 Ryder Cup will be an outstanding success. “I hope the many tourist, golfing and business organisations will work together to identify all the opportunities for the benefit of The Ryder Cup tournament, the Irish economy and across the south west community.”The announcement was made by Ryder Cup Europe, which unveiled its partnership with the Irish government and described the positive economic outcomes the Ryder Cup will yield by amplifying Ireland’s distinct golf tourism offering. Hot on the heels of the return of the Open Championship to the island of Ireland, and the extraordinary achievement of national hero, Lowry, the exceptional feats of golf in the region show no signs of abating.“Adare Manor is a world-class venue, both in terms of the golf course and the wider resort facilities,” commented Guy Kinnings, European Ryder Cup director. “We could not be happier to be able to take golf’s greatest team contest back to Ireland and are delighted that Adare Manor will be the venue to showcase the next chapter in Ireland’s Ryder Cup story in seven years’ time.”Adare Manor is already familiar to some of the world’s best players. The 2020 Ryder Cup Captain, Padraig Harrington, was consulted on the design of the golf course, providing player insights to Tom Fazio and his team. To celebrate its re-opening in 2018, Lowry and Harrington were joined by four-time major champion, Rory McIlroy, and former Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, for a charity exhibition match. Colm Hannon, Adare Manor chief executive, said: “We could not be more honoured to be successful in bringing the Ryder Cup back to Ireland and to Adare Manor.“Today’s announcement is extremely humbling for all of us and my heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to all of those who have played their part in the Adare Manor story so far.”