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ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Saudi Arabia are looking towards the Asian Cup with hope after they showed signs of progress in their 1-0 defeat to Uruguay as they exited the World Cup Wednesday.

The Saudis were crushed 5-0 by hosts Russia in the opening game of Group A before a goalkeeping blunder from Mohammed Al-Owais handed Uruguay their place in the last 16 and eliminated the Green Falcons.

Saudi Arabia, however, were competitive throughout, playing neat football and enjoying most of the possession at the Rostov Arena.

"We played at a much better level than in the Russia game, and that is more our style of play, but we just did not have the right tools to break Uruguay down," said Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi.

Despite occasions of clever passing, the Saudis rarely threatened and managed only three shots on target in their two matches in Russia.

"We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution," said Pizzi.

"We conceded a goal from a random play and didn't have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren't really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score."

"This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games," he added.

"We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven't quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forwards are in high demand and are the elite players in world football."

Efficiency is something Saudi Arabia will have to massively improve on for the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates but at least, in one game against Uruguay, they showed pride.

"The difference between this display and the first game was massive, the change was obvious, it gives us tranquillity for the future for the months ahead," Pizzi concluded.

MOSCOW, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited Moscow Friday on a trip intended to boost bilateral economic ties.

Following Moon's talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, officials from the two countries signed agreements on cooperation in various economic projects, energy, transport and innovative technologies.

Putin emphasized that South Korea is one of Russia's top partners in the region and voiced hope that their two-way trade will expand.

He hailed contacts between the two Koreas and the US-North Korean summit.

"We hope that it would help significantly reduce tensions around the Korean Peninsula and create conditions for creating conditions for forming a stable security for all countries in the region," Putin said.

He vowed that Moscow also would try to help settle problems concerning North Korea.

Moon said Seoul was ready to promote a "strategic partnership" with Russia and paid homage to Russian culture, saying that he "fell in love with Russia after reading Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky."

He noted that Moscow and Seoul share a desire to further expand their ties.

The Kremlin has pushed for prospective trilateral economic projects involving Russia and both Koreas, including a railway link and a natural gas pipeline.

GROZNY, June 22, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt's national football team mission performed Friday prayers at the "Heart of Chechnya mosque in Grozny city.

The mission was received by senior Chechen officials, notably the parliament speaker and Chechnya's Mufti, who delivered a sermon on Egypt’s status at the heart of the Islamic world.

The Egyptian national football team will hold their last training session in Grozny city on Saturday morning at the Akhmat Arena stadium before heading to Volgograd city to play against the Saudi national team in the last clash of Group A in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

MOSCOW, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Russia said Friday that the US and its allies have relied on fabricated evidence to accuse the Syrian government of launching chemical attacks against civilians.

Russia's foreign and defense ministries also charged the international chemical weapons watchdog with failing to objectively investigate the alleged chemical attacks and with being subject to political control.

Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the chief of the Russian military's radiation, chemical and biological protection unit, said investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had failed to visit the sites of alleged use of sarin and chlorine, and trusted evidence produced by activists, which he described as rigged. Syria has rejected the accusations of chemical attacks.

"The US, Britain, France and their allies have misled international community ... relying on fabrications to accuse Syria of violating the chemical weapons ban with Russian assistance," Kirillov said at a briefing.

Kirillov alleged that the White Helmets first responders working in rebel-controlled areas had doctored samples and used explosive devices to make craters that looked like those left by bombs. In the images presented by activists, they worked at the site of the alleged use of sarin without protective gear, which would have been impossible if the nerve agent had indeed been used there, he added.

 

 

MOSCOW, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Moscow on a state visit intended to boost bilateral economic ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted Moon Friday in an elaborate Kremlin ceremony before they sat down for talks.

At the start of the negotiations, Putin emphasized that South Korea is one of Russia's top partners in the region and voiced hope that their two-way trade will expand. He vowed that Moscow would try to help settle tensions around North Korea.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said the two presidents were set to discuss some prospective trilateral economic projects involving Russia and both Koreas.

Moscow has proposed building a railway and a natural gas pipeline linking Russia and the two Koreas, arguing that the endeavors could help promote peace and stability.

Saint Petersburg, June 20, 2018 (News Wires0 - Russia’s delight in their home FIFA World Cup continued after a hotly-contested clash with Egypt burst into life in the second half.

After a frenetic opening period, lacking the chances the energy and endeavour warranted, Egypt captain Ahmed Fathi handed Russia a gift by deflecting into his own net – already the fifth own-goal at Russia 2018.

Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba then repeated their opening-match heroics by netting twice in three minutes to extinguish almost all of Egypt’s remaining hope.

Mohamed Salah struck from the penalty spot, but the Pharaohs must rely on Saudi Arabia doing them a favour to keep their slender chance of progression alive.

After a very even and intense opening, the tide turned with those goals straight after the break. Although the first was bad luck for the Egypt captain, after that there was nothing fortunate about Russia’s three-goal lead.

Two great moves sealed the victory: a beautiful run and a pass from Mario Fernandes to help Cheryshev score his third of the tournament, before some great technique from Dzyuba in the box capped off the night. Salah may have jangled some nerves, but the victory was deserved.?

It was a justified win for Russia and ultimately Egypt suffered a deserved defeat, having not produced what was necessary. Most of the players didn’t perform as expected and the goals came from some naive defensive mistakes.

Most importantly, the Egyptian team lacked the offensive courage needed. The performance did not reflect the importance of the game and leaves their second round hopes hanging by a thread.

“The game was 94 minutes, and we had 10 to 15 very bad minutes, and that was the reason we lost,” said Egypt’s Argentine manager, Héctor C?per.

“What would have happened if he (Salah) had been in top form in both matches?” C?per asked after Egypt’s loss on Tuesday. “That is very hard to say.”

He paused, gathered his thoughts, then added: “I always say, behind a brilliant player, or two brilliant players, there has to be a team.”

C?per, Salah and Egypt are now left with dreams of what might have been. With two losses in two games here, they have virtually no chance of advancing to the knockout round. All that remains, most likely, is a final group-stage match against Saudi Arabia on Monday.

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