What is the Sipi Tau?

What is the Sipi Tau?  Akin to the Haka, famously performed by the New Zealand All Blacks, the Sipi Tau is a ferocious war dance performed by the Tonga national rugby union team, a.k.a. the Ikale Tahi, or Sea Eagles, by way of laying down a challenge to the opposition. The current version of the Sipi Tau was written at the best of the erstwhile King of Tonga, Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV, to commemorate a successful, albeit short, tour of New Zealand in 1994. The dance, which originally took over two minutes to perform, is accompanied by an emotional, highly charged war cry, which warns, ominously, ‘Today, destroyer of souls, I am everywhere.’

The Sipi Tau was first performed, in its contemporary form, at the third Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995. Nevertheless, while far from being an ancient ritual, the Sipi Tau serves as a reminder of the history and culture of the Pacific Islands and, for the Tongan players, evokes the warrior spirit of their seafaring ancestors. Prior to the Sipi Tau, the Sea Eagles traditionally performed another Tongan cultural dance, known as the Kailao, which involved clubs or sticks.

Soccer World Cup 2022: Everything you need to know

Soccer World Cup 2022: Everything you need to know  The 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to take place in Qatar from November 20 until December 18 this year.

This is the first time the prestigious soccer tournament will be hosted in an Arab country, and it is only the second time it has been hosted in Asia.

32 teams from 5 confederations will compete in the championship, played at eight different venues in 5 host cities.

History

Let’s take a walk down memory lane…

The FIFA World Cup hosted its first tournament in 1930. The cup was paused in 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War.

The event is hosted every four years and has a qualification phase that all teams must comply with. The coveted trophy has been clinched by eight national teams, and Brazil took home the cup an astonishing eight times in World Cup history.

Brazil is also the only team in the tournament’s history to have not missed a tournament since its inception. Germany and Italy have won the cup four times; Argentina and France have clinched top honours twice, and English and Spain have won one competition, respectively.

The current champion is France, who took home the title in an air of blazing glory in 2018.

World Cup 2022: Where will it take place? 

The Soccer World Cup is usually played in either May, June or July, but due to Qatar having an excessively hot climate, the games will run between November and December.

During Qatar’s cooler season, the average temperatures hover around 20 degrees Celsius.

Australia, the United States of America, Japan, South Korea and Qatar were all in the running to be chosen as the host country for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Qatar was chosen after securing 14 points during the bidding phase. Around 17 countries have hosted the World Cup games since its inaugural tournament in the 1930s.

World Cup Teams 2022

The 32 teams that qualified for the 2022 World Cup have already been split into their groups. At the end of the group stages, the leading teams from each group will progress to the following rounds.

Wondering who will be facing who? Here are all the groups and the countries that are in each:

Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, The Netherlands

Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales

Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia

Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan

Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia

Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon

Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea

World Cup Viewership

The FIFA World Cup is the most watched sporting event in history. FIFA president Gianni Infantino expects close to 5 billion fans from around the globe to tune in to watch the matches – that’s a lot of football fans!

Kick-off

The first match will place between Qatar and Ecuador on November 20 at 7 pm at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor. The final game will be played between the winners of matches 61 and 62.

They will go head-to-head in the FIFA World Cup Final to be played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail on December 18 this year.

For all your online betting needs, visit Neds and learn more about all the FIFA World Cup fixtures.

Who will win?

The current favourites to win the tournament outright is Brazil, at odds of 9/2. France and Argentina are close behind, at 6/1 and 7/1 respectively.

Next World Cup

The 2026 World Cup is scheduled to take place in cities across North America. Three countries will jointly host the tournament: Canada, USA, and Mexico.

Ticket Information

Tickets to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. FIFA has revealed that almost 2.5 million people have already secured tickets for the much-anticipated games.There are still around half a million seats available at the time of writing, so if you want to see the spectacle, be sure to get in quick!

If you want to head to the final, a ticket will cost you roughly $205 dollars, and that’s before paying for a flight to Qatar to see your favourite soccer stars in action.

 

 

 

What are France’s Chances of Winning the World Cup for a Second Consecutive Time

What are France’s Chances of Winning the World Cup for a Second Consecutive Time

At Russia 2018, French goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris, led his team to their second World Cup title. After lifting the trophy on home soil in 1998, France were among the favourites, but few expected them to coast to victory with such relative ease.

Four years later, many of the squad that tasted success in Russia are preparing for the defence. Can they become the first nation since Brazil in 1962 to win two World Cups in succession? What are the chances of back-to-back titles?

France Rated

There is definite support among the bookmakers. France are currently second favourites to win the World Cup in Qatar and the majority of football betting operators are offering odds of 11/2.

To assess France’s hopes of winning the trophy for a third time, we should firstly consider their closest challengers. Which country is in front of Head Coach Didier Deschamps and his men and who are listed alongside them in the chasing pack?

Closest Rivals

According to those same sportsbooks, Brazil are the favourites for glory in Qatar. Overall records are on their side: They are the most successful nation in the 92-year history of the World Cup with five wins.

The issue with history is that it isn’t always relevant to the modern day. Brazil’s most recent success in a world cup final came back in 2002. Twenty years of hurt has elapsed, but this is a strong team with solid recent results which include consecutive 4-0 home wins over South American rivals Paraguay and Chile.

In Neymar, Brazil have one of the most prolific strikers in world football, but their position as favourites is debatable. The French could face a bigger challenge from England who are progressing well under coach Gareth Southgate.

England made the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 before appearing in the final of Euro 2020. This is a young and developing team who will be hopeful of going one better this time.

French Strikeforce

France will rely heavily on their front line at Qatar 2022. The team plays an attacking style under Deschamps, and they have a productive strikeforce who can score the vital goals needed to get their team over the line.

Antoine Griezman is one of the most experienced strikers at the World Cup and he was handed the Man of the Match award at the end of the 2018 World Cup final. Griezman is likely to start alongside PSG’s Kylian Mbappe while the manager has the options of Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema on the bench.

Between them, those four players have scored over 150 goals at international level. This French team has a strong supporting cast, but the front men will be key to success in Qatar.

The Case for the Defence

Experience is also evident at the back where goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is closing in on 150 international caps. The captain will also go past Lilian Thuram’s record of 142 senior French appearances before 2022 is done.

Any player who has remained at the top for so long must possess some star quality and that’s very much the case here. Lloris will sit behind a French defence which can be their weakness at times. The Croatians exploited this to an extent with two goals in the final in 2018, so this is an area that needs to improve.

Continuity the Key

Could consistency of team selection be a positive factor for France in 2022? They will arrive in Qatar with the same coach and the same captain that guided them to success in Russia four years ago.

In fact, head coach Didier Deschamps can trace his international success all the way back to 1998. He was the national team captain when the country won its first World Cup, on home soil.

Hugo Lloris keeps the skipper’s armband that he wore with pride in Russia while Antoine Griezman and Kylian Mbappe both scored in the final. The fact that so many French players know what it takes to win a World Cup could make all the difference in 2022.

Initial Opponents

The draw for the group stages of the 2022 World Cup placed France in the same section as Denmark, Australia and Tunisia. The Danes can be dangerous but it’s fair to say that Group D offers a relatively straightforward passage into the knockout rounds.

French opponents from the Round of 16 onwards will depend on results elsewhere, and this is obviously where things will get tougher. The draw has, however, given Didier Deschamps’ men an advantage and they shouldn’t be too drained by the time they reach the second phase.

Can France go Back-to-Back?

The sportsbooks may have a slight preference for Brazil, but there is a lot going for France in 2022. They have that continuity and the fact that they are the defending champions could be a factor in Qatar.

There is quality running right through the squad and that extends to the dugout where Didier Deschamps has such a fine record. France have also been drawn in a relatively easy group and shouldn’t be tested too much in the opening rounds.

History may not be on their side but there is enough depth of talent in this squad to make France the first back-to-back winners of the World Cup in sixty years.

What is the Emsley Carr Mile?

What is the Emsley Carr Mile?  The Emsley Carr Mile is a one-mile, or 1,609-metre, running race for men, entry to which is by invitation only. The race has been run annually in Britain since 1953, when it was inaugurated by Sir William Carr, in memory of his late father, Sir Emsley Carr, who had been editor of the ‘News of the World’ newspaper for 50 years between 1891 and his death in 1941.

The Emsley Carr Mile was conceived at a time when several athletes, notably Australian John Landy, had come agonisingly close to achieving the elusive four-minute mile. However, by the time of the second renewal, Sir Roger Bannister had already set his historic world record of 3:59.4. In fact, the first athlete to break the four-minute barrier in the Emsley Carr Mile was the 1956 winner, Derek Ibbotson, who would go on to set a world record of 3:57.2 the following year.

Until 1969, the Emsley Carr Mile was run, exclusively, at the now demolished White City Stadium in London, but has subsequently been run at various venues around the country, including Crystal Palace in London, Gateshead Stadium in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and, more recently, Olympic Stadium in London.

Historically, famous British middle-distance runners to win the Emsley Carr Mile include David Moorcroft, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Peter Elliott, but the last Briton to win was former European junior champion Jake Wightman in 2017. In 2000, Hicham El Guerrouj, who was, and still is, the world record holder for the men’s mile, ran the fastest ever Emsley Carr Mile, in a time of 3:45.96; the Moroccan athlete returned to Crystal Palace to win the race again in 2001 and 2002.

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