Macron Awards World Cup Champions With Legion Of Honour

France’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris holds the trophy as he celebrates with teammates during the trophy ceremony at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

 

The players in France’s football team which last year won the World Cup, on Tuesday were awarded the Legion of Honour in the new year’s honours list.

The 23 players, including star strikers Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, each received France’s top medal for their part in beating Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow.

The French team that won the 1998 World Cup also received the Legion of Honour.

A total of 402 people — half men, half women — were on this year’s list, including French writer Michel Houellebecq, whose latest book “Sérotonin” is to be published later this month.

Houellebecq became a pin-up of France’s far right after publishing “Submission”, with its vision of a France subject to sharia law after electing a Muslim president in 2022.

Others included Marin Sauvageon, a student who was badly beaten up in Lyon in November 2016 after standing up to a gang that was insulting a kissing couple.

AFP

Service Chiefs, Govt Officials Attend Special Parade For Buhari At 76

 

As President Muhammadu Buhari clocks 76 years on Monday, a special parade has been mounted at the forecourt of the Aso Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital as a mark of honour.

The event organised by the presidential Brigade of Guards had in attendance, Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, ministers and other top government officials.

Although President Buhari’s birthday this year was in a rather low-key celebration, he, however, cut his birthday cake and was presented with goodwill cards from well-wishers.

Buhari who was born on December 17, 1942, is seeking a second term in office as the flagbearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

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England Coach Southgate Defends Decision To Honour Rooney

England’s manager Gareth Southgate (C) talks to England’s defender John Stones (L) and England’s defender Kyle Walker during an open training session at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, central England on September 4, 2018, ahead of their international friendly football match against Spain on September 8. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Gareth Southgate defended the decision to honour Wayne Rooney by fielding England’s top international goalscorer in a friendly against the USA at Wembley next week.

The Football Association announced on Sunday that Rooney would be awarded his 120th cap as a tribute to his England career which appeared to have come to an end when he retired from international football in August 2017.

That decision has been criticised in the English media with a number of exciting young prospects needing more game time to be tested at the international level and the USA game seen as preparation for what could be a crucial Nations League decider against Croatia four days later.

“I am still able to look to the future in terms of the squad we have picked,” insisted Southgate.

“But also I have talked a lot to the players about the importance of the shirt, the history of the shirt, honouring the former players, and I think all the players would respect that Wayne’s contribution deserves the best possible send-off.

“I understand that has caused debate but for me it is a small way of appreciating what he has given to his country.”

Rooney, 33, scored 53 goals in his previous 119 caps. However, he failed to carry his country to the level of success they enjoyed under Southgate at the World Cup this year by reaching the semi-finals.

The former Manchester United captain has starred for DC United since moving to Major League Soccer in June.

But Southgate confirmed that Rooney wouldn’t start the match or wear the number 10 shirt, but could be handed the captain’s armband as a substitute.

“He won’t wear number 10 because he won’t start the game,” added Southgate.

“When he came on in his last game, Jordan Henderson ran over and gave him the armband. I guess that it will depend on the circumstances of the game and the players who are out there but I have no issue with that.”

Wilson called up 

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson is rewarded for his fine start to the campaign with a first England call-up among a bumper 28-man squad named on Thursday.

No English player has scored more than Wilson’s six Premier League goals so far this season.

“He’s a threat in terms of running in behind defences. He’s been involved with either scoring or assists, with a high number of goals this season, so it’s a good opportunity for us to have a look at him and see how he fits into what we do,” said Southgate.

After beating Spain 3-2 in Seville last month, England could progress to the semi-finals of the inaugural Nations League with a victory over Croatia if Spain fail to win in Zagreb on November 15.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers

Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders

Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City),  Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur)

Forwards

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (DC United/USA), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

AFP