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World Cup qualifying: South Africa, Ghana face tough roads to Qatar

Craig Burley praises Sadio Mane, after the Liverpool and Senegal star won the CAF African Player of the Year.

Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and South Africa face tough roads to Qatar as African qualifying competition for the 2022 World Cup was unveiled on Tuesday.

Group D, which features regional powers Cameroon and Ivory Coast, will also include Mozambique and Malawi.

Ghana and South Africa, already paired together in the qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, will join Zimbabwe and Ethiopia in Group G.

In total, 40 teams were into 10 groups of four teams, with the group winners advancing to...

Germany's 1966 goalkeeper Tilkowski dies at 84, England's Hurst pays tribute

Hans Tilkowski, Germany
Hans Tilkowski has died at the age of 84, having played for Germany and Borussia Dortmund.

Germany's 1966 World Cup final goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski has died at the age of 84.

The former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper was in goal in the Wembley final, which hosts England won 4-2.

Ex-England forward Geoff Hurst, whose hat trick in that match remains the only treble in World Cup final history, posted a touching tribute to Tilkowski on social media.

"Very sad to receive a call earlier to let me know that Germany's goalkeeper from 66 World Cup, Hans Tilkowski, has died," Hurst's tweet read.

"Terrific...

Gabriel Barbosa's amazing 2019 for Flamengo brings up a big decision: should he try again in Europe?

The FC guys say VAR is what needs to be fixed, not the offside law.
Gabriel Barbosa has been a revelation in 2019 for Flamengo, but now he faces the agonizing decision of whether or not to go back to Inter Milan and fight to break through in Europe.

Can Gabriel Barbosa buck the trend?

With 45% of the vote, the Brazilian striker has just been announced as South America's player of the year in the prestigious annual survey organized by the El Pais newspaper in Uruguay. He has enjoyed a wonderful year: top scorer in the Copa Libertadores with nine goals, including the two in the last few minutes of the final against River Plate that turned defeat into victory, and top scorer in the Brazilian Championship with 25 goals in Flamengo's joyful...

Watford's Joao Pedro can be the next Brazilian Premier League star but it won't happen overnight

Joao Pedro, 18, is the latest Brazilian teenager to move to Europe, following the likes of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Gabriel Martinelli.

Watford's next game -- at home on New Year's Day against in-form Wolves -- could be the European debut for newcomer Joao Pedro. The 18-year-old Brazilian, who recently arrived from Fluminense, was presented to the crowd before the last home game, and now is eligible for selection. Some Watford fans see him as a possible saviour, the striker whose goals will haul the side to Premier League safety, but that surely is asking too much, too soon from the teenager.

Back in May, Pedro went from unknown...

Did Flamengo's CWC performance provide a sign of things to come?

Flamengo suffered a heartbreaking loss to Liverpool at the Club World Cup.

The Club World final loss last week to Liverpool was Flamengo's last game of the year. And, unlike Europe, the competition is seen as one of the highlights of the South American calendar. So much that the loss to the English side is still being debated and re-debated in the Brazilian media.

Could Flamengo have won? Did they deserve better? And what does it all mean? Such issues are being endlessly discussed, with a key fault line forming around one question; was this year's clash of European and...